MR. HENRY DRUMMOND
was aware that there was another Bill before the House, which, as far as the name went, was nearly the same as the one now under consideration; but the object of the two Bills was entirely dissimilar. The Bill to which he wished to direct the attention of the House was entirely confined to cases of tenants-at-will who had already expended money. The Bill of the right hon. Gentleman, on the other hand, was entirely prospective, and had nothing whatever to do with the object of the present Bill. He therefore, thought he could not do justice to the question, nor to the Irish people, if he abstained at the present moment from going into the discussion. He had some amendments to move in Committee; but he should not mention them now, because the present discussion would be upon the principle, and not the details, of the Bill. He was not surprised that Irish Gentlemen, looking at the whole of the circumstances which had been brought under the notice of the House in the various reports, should be in perfect despair when they attempted to effect any real benefit for the people of Ireland. At the same time, it might be some consolation and encouragement for them to remember that, although the proportions of good and evil were indeed different, nothing essential had taken place in Ireland which had not within his memory taken place in this country, and which by the exertions of those who had acted on sound principles had not been in a great measure remedied. It was necessary that English Gentlemen should understand that the words "landlord and tenant and labourer," did not in Ireland mean the same thing as here. [A laugh.] Gentlemen smiled, but he had proofs before him of everything he asserted, and he found it stated in a report delivered only that morning that in Ireland the terms "farmer and labourer" were synonymous. The fact was, that the labourer in Ireland did not live upon wages; and the consequence was, that he was compelled, in order to live at all, to give promises—no matter for what amount—to obtain possession of land, whether he meant to pay the money or 972 not. The land was the thing on which the people lived; and how came that to pass? It came to pass because the country was deluged with more people than there was capital to employ them. The English Parliament had been the means of calling this mass of pauperism into existence. When the Legislature began to do justice to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, they enacted measures which he could not better characterise than in the words used by Mr. Leslie Foster the last time he spoke in that House, when he said that they were "measures which provided for the exclusion of the aristocracy, the power of the mob, the ascendancy of the priests, and content to none." The landlords having no longer any more necessity to use the 40s. freeholders had discarded them from their lands, and pulled down the houses. The priests, by the present system of the Church, were compelled to live upon the marriage and other fees they received from the people, which was contrary to ecclesiastical law. They had no right to one of these fees; and if the Irish landed Gentlemen, and particularly the Irish Roman Catholic's, did their duty, they would explain the law to the people, and let them see how the priests imposed upon them. He repeated, that the Legislature, by their conduct towards the Roman Catholics, had driven the priest to be supported solely by these unlawful means; and, at the present moment, the oppression which they were feeling was infinitely extended. In consequence of the existing distress a vast number of their flocks had been brought into the union, where they were fed, but not paid. They received no money, and therefore could give none to the priest; consequently he was deprived of his usual means of subsistence. There was a class very little better than those, and who were in as great distress. From those he could not receive anything, and he was therefore driven to what he called the rich of his flock, though they were nothing but little shopkeepers, upon whom fell not only the enormous burden of the rates, but also the support of their ministers. There was another very remarkable thing with respect to Ireland, which was the immense number of beggars, who lived not upon the rich but upon the poor. It was a circumstance peculiar to Ireland, and increased the distress very much. As to any claims of the priests to the superior charge of their flocks, they were not well founded; and he would mention one striking fact. 973 In Mayo there were 143 places of burial, of which only 18 were enclosed, 29 were entirely open, and the other 96 were partly so. The flocks were in fact neglected by the priests, save in those cases where they could derive profit from attending to them. The enormous demand for land had not only enhanced it beyond its true value, but had made it exceedingly difficult to know what the value was. If it were like anything elsewhere, what it would fetch in the market, these people would give anything for it, and that was what was called tenant-right. With respect to the tenants-at-will, he admitted that there never was, properly speaking, the feudal system established in Ireland. But he contended that both in Scotland and in Ireland, there had been cottagers from time immemorial fixed upon the land, who held, by the continuance of occupation, their titles to their estates, as well as those who owned the castles; and it was a monstrous abuse of the rights of property to hold that a man had the same power over hundreds and thousands of acres of unenclosed moors as any Gentleman in that House had over his own kitchen garden. But those freeholders had been removed from the land by what was called the clearance system, without anything being given for their freeholds. Persons had been dispossessed who had claims on the land, though their titles could not be proved by a parchment deed. Even an Irish Chancellor had said that the law of landlord and tenant in Ireland was such, that a landlord of straw could grind a tenant of iron to powder; and whilst every law enacted for this country had been to shield the tenant from the oppression of the landlord, in Ireland they had been made the instruments of strengthening the landlord against the tenant. It was useless to suppose they could alter such a state of things without very strong measures. In the report of the Earl of Devon it was stated that, unlike England and Scotland, where the landlords built houses for then-tenants, in Ireland, the tenant built his house for himself. Now, the measure which he (Mr. Drummond) proposed was in accordance with that report" and it provided that every person who should be ejected should receive from his landlord the value of the house be had built. It was, he was aware, but a very slight measure, and he also admitted that but little could be done by legislative interference in proportion with that which might be done by the gentlemen connected with Ireland. Very strong 974 charges had been made against Irish landlords; but he believed them to be monstrously unjust if to the definition of a landlord in Ireland they gave the same meaning as in this country. For instance, he saw that Dr. Higgins said that the landlords of Ireland were, almost without exception, an utter disgrace to humanity. That was not the declaration of a Saxon Parliament, but of a genuine Milesian, W. O. Higgins. He knew that a great amendment had taken place with respect to the residence of Irish proprietors of late years; but still great abuses existed; and he would refer to the testimony of Lord Sligo, who, in a letter which had been published, stated that in some parts of 'Ireland, to which he referred, many persons had subscribed to dispensaries for the mere purpose of obtaining the county salary for the physician, and that they then insisted on the physician who was appointed refunding the amount of their subscriptions, or attending their families for nothing. The continued cry from Ireland was, that the clearance system might not go on, and he had proposed this as a practical measure to meet the evil. Seeing, then, the continual imposture on the people of Ireland, of Conciliation Hall, costing them 2,000,000l. a year, the dearest amusement, he believed, ever undertaken by a people, seeing the unexampled patience with which they suffered their afflictions, and seeing too the series of mistreatment to which they had been subjected on all sides, whether that House exempted themselves and the present generation or not, he trusted the House would allow this Bill to go into Committee, that the Irish people might receive from their hands that justice and consideration which they could receive from no other; "for (said the bon. Member) they have none to help them but God and you."
§ MR. S. CRAWFORD
thought it right, before the question of going into Committee was put, that the House should perfectly understand what was claimed from the House by this Bill. He would, however, in the first place, call the attention of the House to the numerous meetings that had taken place in Ireland connected with the subject of the tenant-right, because he believed that the public press of London had entered into a sort of combination to suppress the accounts of those meetings. He had seen no notice of them in the journals of this country, and thereby hon. Members of that House had had no oppor- 975 tunity of being made acquainted with the feelings of the people of Ireland on this subject. Tenant-right associations had been established in all parts of Ulster, and a general meeting of these associations had been recently held at Dungannon, attended by between 18,000 and 20,000 persons, at which resolutions were come to that they would not cease to agitate until they had obtained a measure of tenant-right. Similar meetings had been held at other places at which resolutions to the same effect were agreed to. They required that tenant-right should be secured by law, and no proposition that did not go to that extent would be accepted by the tenantry of Ulster as a settlement of this question. He gave the hon. Member for Surrey the highest credit for his intentions; but he wished that hon. Gentleman to understand that this Bill would not be satisfactory to the people of Ireland. By the second clause it was provided that if a landlord proposed to eject a tenant, he should either pay him some compensation for the money the tenant had given for the land, or should grant him a lease for fourteen years; but he (Mr. Crawford) did not think that the landlord should be made responsible for the amount a tenant might have paid for his holding, as sometimes most extravagant amounts were paid by individuals. Under the tenant-right system the tenant looked to a lease as a security against a rise of rent, but he also expected that at the expiration of a lease he would not be turned out without some remuneration; he looked upon himself as part proprietor with the landlord in the land, so far as he had increased the value of it by improvement. He had always admitted that there were many good landlords in Ireland; but there was also abundant evidence to prove that the general treatment of the tenants by the landlords of Ireland had been most oppressive. Captain Kennedy, a Government inspector, describing the state of things in the Kilrush union, said that he had seen many instances of the industrious man being compelled to pay exorbitantly for his improvements. A great many were ten-ants-at-will, and dared not resist; and a practice prevailed upon some estates of serving upon the tenants a notice to quit every six months, in order that they might be more completely, in the power of the landlord. It was impossible to keep a country in a state of order and prosperity in which such things were done. It had been thought by some that the granting of 976 leases would be a sufficient substitute for tenant-right, but it was clear that short leases would be no adequate substitute. Suppose a man having ten acres of land spent 200l. or 300l. in improvements; it was clear that a short lease would be of no value to protect that person from oppression. The people of Ireland would not now accept the Bill which he had formerly proposed; their demands were immensely increased by the denial of justice, and they would not now be satisfied except by a full measure in accordance with their demands. The Bill brought in by the Government was perfectly inadequate and valueless to the tenants of Ulster, and indeed of any other part of Ireland. A much greater concession of justice must be passed before the people of Ireland would be satisfied. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Surrey in thinking that there were more people in Ireland than capital wherewith to employ them. And why was that? Because there was no security for improvement. There was capital in Ireland, but it was withheld from the soil because there was no security whatever for the value of the money so laid out. It was said that Ireland was destroyed by the smallness of the holdings, but he denied that assertion. The true cause was the want of security, because in the north, where that security was found, and there were small holdings, peace and prosperity existed. He would vote for going into Committee on the hon. Gentleman's Bill; but he trusted the hon. Gentleman would be induced to admit such improvements into the Bill as would render it more acceptable to the people of Ireland.
§ LORD CLAUDE HAMILTON
As there is a Special Committee at present sitting on this most important subject—a Committee composed of most intelligent Gentlemen, who, for many weeks, have devoted themselves to its examination, and have obtained a large amount of valuable evidence, I think it is hardly treating this question with the respect it deserves to introduce this Bill before the Committee have made their report, or printed their evidence. I should not, however, have addressed the House if the Member for Rochdale had not, on this and former occasions, assumed that he was the mouth-piece of all Ulster, and arrogated to himself the exclusive right to repsesent the views of the people of that province. Now, Sir, I beg to tell him that I consider this a somewhat singular assumption on his part, seeing that 977 the province returns a considerable number of Members, and that he, in spite of frequent attempts, has been unable to secure any one of those seats. Now I have the honour to represent a very large county in that province, and I deny the correctness of his statement, that the tenantry of Ulster feel a great alarm upon the subject of tenant-right; and simply for this reason, that they know that they are quite safe in the permanent enjoyment of it. It is perfectly true that the hon. Member has travelled about the country organising an agitation in favour of his own Bill, and endeavouring to create insecurity and distrust where they did not prevail before. But what was the basis of that agitation? Why, a wholesale misrepresentation of the landowners of that province. He assumed that they had some subtle scheme to deprive the tenantry of their just rights, and he endeavoured to instil into their minds this poison—that their interests were in danger. Now, Sir, I deny that there exists any intention or wish on the part of the landlords to infringe on the existing tenant-right of Ulster. I live amongst, and in familiar intercourse with, both the landlords and tenants of the county I represent, and I have never seen any such intention on the one hand, or alarm on the other. If anything so wrong, and I will add so foolish (for it would certainly fail), were to be attempted, I would most strenuously oppose it; but really the hon. Member displays so much misconception on the whole subject, and exhibits such inconsistencies in his facts, that he is not qualified to give a second opinion on the question. Just now he stated, that in Ulster, even where there were small holdings, such was the security felt, owing to the existence of tenant-right, that perfect order, contentment, and good will prevailed; which he contrasted with the anarchy and crime that prevailed in other counties where tenant-right did not exist. Well, if his testimony is worth anything, the House would naturally conclude that Ulster was happy, contented, and quiet. Presently, however, when he is bewailing the loss of his own absurd Bill, he tells us that, perhaps, his Bill might have allayed the universal alarm, distrust, and discontent that prevailed in Ulster; but that now, the indignation created by the rejection of his Bill was so great, the tenants would not now take such terms, and had since made much larger demands. He even ventured to hold out some kind of threats as to what 978 might happen if the great irritation was not speedily calmed. My reply to these characteristic inconsistencies is, that the hon. Member is as ignorant of the existing social condition of the province as he is of the opinions of its inhabitants. I must not be understood as stating that the tenantry of Ulster are indifferent to tenant-right. Far from it. What I state is, that they are not the authors of the agitation now going on upon the subject. The hon. Gentleman has pursued the usual course on such occasions. There are hired orators and secretaries—these, making use also of the repeal agitation machinery, go about to meetings and obtain signatures to petitions which have been previously prepared, and are all exactly in the same words, probably written by the hon. Gentleman himself. These petitions are then paraded about as if they emanated from and represented the feeling of the great mass of the respectable, hardworking, and intelligent farmers of Ulster. Now I will give an example of this. We have heard his description of the recent meeting at Dungannon. He has charged the English press with endeavouring to suppress what he terms "the magnificent spectacle of the tenant-right meeting at Dungannon, where 20,000 tenants met to express their sentiments." Now, Sir, unfortunately for the hon. Member, I happen to represent the county where Dungannon is situate, and I venture to assert that such a representation is the greatest delusion that ever was attempted to be palmed on the credulity of the House. There never was so shallow an attempt to conceal a repeal agitation under the cover of a tenant-right association. I cannot understand how the hon. Member would have felt himself justified in uttering such a misrepresentation, for he might easily have verified his statement. I will give the House a more correct description of that meeting, derived from the county paper—the Tyrone Constitution—and from private sources of undoubted accuracy. The chairman was, I believe, a retired Navy surgeon. The head orator was a Londonderry newspaper editor—the second orator was a petty sessions attorney, who is head of the repeal club at Dungannon. He, I believe, was secretary to the meeting. There were barely 4,000 persons present. No influential farmer took any prominent part in the proceedings, and very few tenants were to be seen in the crowd. This is the magnicent meeting of the wealthy and intelligent 979 farmers of all Ulster. The meeting was universally deemed a failure in the neighbourhood, as were others held at different places under similar auspices. The hon. Member does not know the tenants of Ulster as well as I do; and I can tell him that if they really thought that their privileges were likely to be infringed, and their rights taken away, they would not require the petty machinery of the hon. Member's agitation to protect them. They are a sturdy and very intelligent people, very well able to defend their own interests, and to understand their own rights. They don't want the hon. Member's teaching as to what their rights are, or how they are to be maintained; and when I state my conviction that they do feel no alarm, it is because I know their confidence in their own strength and resources, if any one was so unwise and so unprincipled as to strive to assail them; and I must again remind the House that there is a broad distinction between the present agitation and the real merits of the tenant-right question. It is the organised agitation that I designate as mischievous. I really should have thought that even the hon. Gentleman would have known that the people of Dungannon were able to defend themselves without his aid. I consider that Dungannon is somewhat classical in this respect. It has made itself a name in history by its declaration of independence, and determination to uphold its rights. It does not require external promptings as to its interests, or the labours of itinerant spouters to teach the inhabitants their duty. I consider the conduct of the hon. Member as most mischievous, as he has inspired doubts where perfect security existed before. In opposing this Bill I do not wish in any way to diminish the power of tenant-right—on the contrary, I wish to see it permanent, as it has been for so many years. But the only really dangerous attack it has received has been from the hon. Member himself. He insists upon meddling with it, and moulding it into some legal form, and defining it by technical phrases. In this attempt he has overlooked the great peculiarities of the custom. In each locality it is well understood; but the practice differs materially in different places, so that the attempt to square it into some legal shape has endangered many local customs, and thrown a general doubt upon the expediency of a practice which it is found so difficult legally to define. But I am obliged to the hon. Member for one thing. I know 980 his love for notoriety—how grateful to his feelings is the incense of flattery at public dinners. Well, he went on a tour of popularity hunting, and, amongst other places, he presided at a dinner at Londonderry. At that dinner the real nature of the agitation, and the ulterior views of its authors, became manifest; and it opened the eyes of the farmers, who soon saw how foreign to their interests were the real motives of the agitators. I said the farmers of Ulster were intelligent and industrious—I must now add that they are honest and conscientious. Before that dinner they did not understand the nature of the agitation, and they thought there really must be some plot hatching against their interests, so that they were lending a willing ear to those who styled themselves defenders of the tenant-right; but when they saw that, under the mask of that name, demands were made, and claims put forth, which they knew were never included in the tenant-right system, they withdrew from the agitation; they honestly said—No, we will not demand what we know in our consciences we never thought were included in the tenant-right. For instance, the "unlimited power of sale to the highest bidder," and the right to have a Government valuation as to the amount of rent—these were never in Tyrone considered as part of the tenant-right system. One word more, Sir, and I have finished with the hon. Member. He has accused the press of a conspiracy to prevent his eloquent speeches and his magnificent meetings from being known to the public. I presume this is a Saxon conspiracy, that prevented the 20,000 tenants at Dungannon from being duly paraded before the public. The fact is, the press knows the real meaning and the true value of such meetings a great deal better than the hon. Member. They acted as honest men, who understood the character of these tenant-right meetings, and knew that they were got up to cover another and most mischievous agitation.
§ MR. W. FAGAN
said, the noble Lord had not the least justification for the attack he had made upon the hon. Member for Rochdale. The hon. Member was one of the largest landed proprietors in the province of Ulster, and upon his own property he practically carried out the principle of tenant-right, which he wished the House to adopt. The hon. Member for Rochdale was justified in saying, that the province of Ulster was in alarm concerning tenant-right; but he was glad that the 981 hon. Member for Rochdale did not oppose the Bill going into Committee; for although it was not adequate to meet all the evils, yet there was a deal of good in the Bill. There was an excellent provision which placed poor-rates and grand-jury cess on the landlord in all cases where the tenantry were at will; it would force the landlords to do that which, apparently, they were not inclined to do, namely, give leases to the tenantry. If this Bill became the law of the land, there were several provisions which would induce the landlords to change the system, or, at all events, to take off from the tenantry a great portion of the severe burdens which now oppressed them.
§ SIR W. SOMERVILLE
thought that the House had been led away from the Motion of the hon. Member for West Surrey, by the address which the hon. Member for Rochdale had thought it his duty to make; he would therefore call the attention of the House briefly to the Bill of the hon. Gentleman. He had been in hopes, considering that there was a Committee sitting upstairs, and considering the provisions of the Bill introduced by Government, which, to a certain extent, were retrospective, that the hon. Gentleman would have responded to the appeal made to him by the Secretary of State, and have consented at present to postpone his Motion for going into Committee. But what was the effect of the second clause? If the House should agree with him in opinion as to the effect of that clause, it would be hardly necessary to deal with any further provisions of the Bill, but they might consent at once to the Motion to go into Committee this day six months. The effect of the second clause was, that the landlord was not to take possession until he had paid the tenant whatever sum he had paid in obtaining the occupancy of the farm. That was, in so many words, forcing the landlord in Ireland to purchase his property over again. Conceive a landlord who had been receiving a moderate rate of 6s. an acre, under a long lease, which was a case of common occurrence: the lease dropped; he found that the farm, which had originally been an entire farm, was cut up into 100 or 200 portions; the tenants fall into arrear, he asks for possession; how do they act? Every one of them produces a piece of paper, claiming compensation for improvements. What an inducement to fraud—what an inducement to immorality! because, if this Bill passed, the 982 landlord was not to get possession till he had repaid the expenditure. He said, that that was neither more nor less than making the landlord purchase his estate over again—one of the most monstrous propositions that ever was propounded. It did not alter the real principle of the Bill if every one of these sublettings could be proved; it would be just as monstrous as if the whole farm had been handed over. There was now a Bill before the House for the sale of encumbered estates. What was the use of the House losing time in passing a Bill for the sale of encumbered estates, if they passed such a Bill as this? A man buys an estate in Ireland at twenty-five years' purchase, and the tenant shows him a piece of paper telling him that he is to pay twenty years' purchase more. It had been said that there would be no peace in Ireland unless the House sanctioned the principle of the tenant-right. What that principle was he had never been able to understand. He had seen a letter written by Mr. Laman, the secretary of one of the meetings, in which it was stated that from the nature of the Ulster tenant-right, and the difficulty of ascertaining what it was, it was impossible to legislate. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last had approved of the clause in this Bill transferring the payment of the county cess, in cases of tenancy at will, from the occupier to the landlord. That might or might not be a good provision, but it would be a provision which should form part of some Bill having reference to the grand-jury law. He was sorry that his hon. Friend had thought it necessary to produce such a Bill; but as it was produced, he hoped the House would coincide with him. He moved that the House go into Committee this day six months.
§ MR. P. SCROPE
said, that there was another party to this question besides the landlords, and that was the party of the tenants. If the House would only consider what the condition of the tenants was, they would not wonder at the insecurity felt by the tenants of Ulster, or the dissatisfaction they felt at the present state of things, or their desire to have their interests put on a more permanent footing. The tenants might be dispossessed, by a short notice, of property that had been held by them for generations—property which had been looked upon as creditor and debtor property. They found that they held that property entirely at the 983 mercy of the landlord. They had become aware of the insecurity on which they held it, and were desirous that it should have a legal foundation. In spite of the statement of the noble Lord as to the feelings of Ulster, he was inclined to believe that the feeling was of a stronger character than the noble Lord was willing to admit. The opinions of the hon. Member for Rochdale were becoming prevalent in Ulster; the tenants would no longer be content to hold their vast amount of property on so uncertain a foundation as the kindness of the landlord. Some landlords had for many years past broken down this tenant-right by degrees; the tenants felt that they might lose it altogether, at all events they were liable to be dispossessed of it by degrees. The noble Lord had said, that it could not be taken away, because universal insurrection would be the consequence: but was that the tenure on which the Legislature would wish an immense amount of property to be held? In this country a feeling ought to prevail in the Legislature that the rights which belong to any portion of the industrious classes should be sanctioned by law. The customs which had prevailed in Ulster for centuries past was similar to the copyhold customs in England, which had been settled by law, and the tenants of Ulster only made a reasonable demand in asking to be placed on the same footing. The hon. Member for Rochdale was justified in calling upon the House to sanction the principle of the legislation of tenant-right in Ulster. He believed this to be a question upon which the pacification of Ireland, and the security of England depended. It was the immigration of Irish poverty which was driving the population of this country to a state of misery. He maintained that Ireland had ample means of supporting her own population; and he implored the House, as they felt for the tranquillity and safety of the empire, to take into consideration a measure of this description, which would tend to enable the Irish to live at home. There was another branch of the subject upon which he desired to say a few words. He alluded to the hardships inflicted upon the small farmers by their wholesale eviction from their holdings. He wished to ask the right hon. Baronet below him in what stage the Bill for the better protection of evicted tenants in Ireland, which he had introduced before the holidays, now stood? He considered that it was most desirable that that Bill 984 should pass with as little delay as possible, and that some check should be placed upon the disgraceful scenes which were, he was sorry to say, of almost daily occurrence: houses were levelled, and families had been turned adrift; and he repeated there could be no subject more worthy than this of the attention of a humane and Christian people. He trusted, before the Session terminated, that a measure satisfactory to the people of Ireland would be passed; for as long as the present state of things existed, there would be security for neither property nor life.
, in illustration of the ignorance which English gentlemen laboured under with regard to the real nature of the case of Ireland, stated that lately an English secretary came over to that country. It appeared that he had received a letter from a gentleman in Drogheda, and his first question upon arriving in Dublin was, where is Drogheda? Now he believed that if the hon. Member for Stroud did them the honour to visit Ireland, his first question would be a similar one. He desired the House to recollect, that in Ireland, were land put up for sale, that the highest rent would be offered without the slighest reference to the value of the property. Such was the morbid passion of the people to obtain possession of land. By this proposed Bill the landlord would be compelled to pay for what was anything but an improvement—for what, in his opinion, was absolutely the reverse. And if the hon. Member would buy an estate in the south of Ireland, he would find many improvements made; and if he came over with the benevolent intention of paying for all such improvements, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred he would return with his money in his pocket. In proof of the mischievous effect of agitation upon this subject, he had only to refer to the statement which had been made, that now the people would not be satisfied with that amount of tenant-right which would formerly have satisfied them. He did not think that he could, with any propriety, vote upon the question, should it come to a division, as he was a Member of a Committee upstairs to which a similar measure had been referred. And if English Members would come down and attend that Committee, they would see that Irish landlords were quite willing to grant all that was fair and just.
§ COLONEL CONOLLY
condemned the interference of the hon. Members for Stroud 985 and Rochdale as most pernicious, and as most productive of dissatisfaction. Since this agitation, the demands of the people had become most unreasonable. He was bound, for the security to property, to denounce in the strongest terms the course which these Gentlemen were pursuing. He had no doubt that they were actuated by the most benevolent motives. He, for his part, did not object to paying for what real improvements had been made; but what he objected to was, the restrictive character of this Bill; and persons who were desirous of the enlargement of their farms should not be prevented from carrying out their views by the cocking up of a pigsty, which would be then denominated an improvement.
§ SIR G. GREY
rose in consequence of a question which had been addressed to him by the hon. Member for Stroud. He would take the opportunity of stating that the observation of his right hon. Friend, which had been so much commented upon, namely, that such a provision would subject the proprietors to repurchase their estates, only referred to the second clause of the Bill. He was surprised to see such a Bill in the hands of the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond), who had upon a previous night so eloquently denounced the French proposition, Toute propriété est volée.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
considered the principle of the Bill as most valuable, and suggested that they should go into Committee pro formâ.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Committee put off for six months.