HC Deb 10 August 1848 vol 101 cc55-6

On the Motion that the House resolve itself into Committee,


opposed the further progress of the measure. It was a Bill seriously affecting English owners, whether absentees or residents of Irish property, and went, in fact, to convert the fee-simple of their land into a fee farm rent, and to confer upon middlemen the freehold now vested in proprietors. This was the first time that an arbitrary law had struck at the power of the Irish Society in the plantation in Ulster since the reign of Charles I.; and he thought it was an extreme hardship that such a course should be pursued towards a public body like this, created for public purposes, and who, with the rarest exceptions, were the only contributors to schools and public institutions. The Irish Society stated that one of the promoters of this Bill was a gentleman whose estate was liable to be forfeited, and that he promoted it in order to set aside the forfeiture, and to convey to himself a freehold in his estate. The Bill sanctioned neither more nor less than a complete spoliation of property to the prejudice of the occupier and real proprietor, and for the benefit of middlemen. He did not say that the measure was altogether bad; there were many things in the principle of the Bill and in some of its provisions which he did not complain of; but a measure affecting property to so large an extent should have machinery which applied to all cases, and not merely to the divesting of the proprietors of large estates. He entreated the Government to give him an assurance that the Irish Society would be exempted from the operation of the Bill; or that the measure would be postponed until next Session, in order that, by a different framing of the Bill, the objections to its provisions might be obviated.


referred to several opinions delivered by law authorities in Ireland, with the view of demonstrating the evils and inconveniences arising out of the existing system. It had created, over and over again, the most extensive and most vexatious kinds of litigation, and had done more to give insecurity to property in Ireland than almost anything else. Every care had been taken in framing the Bill not to deprive the Irish Society or other proprietors of any power of enforcing claims and conditions on which the leases were now held. The object of the measure was to give increased security to property; and he believed that it would be found beneficial both to the proprietor and lessee.

House in Committee pro formâ. Resumed. Bill to be recommitted.

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