§ MR. S. CRAWFORD
rose to move the Second Reading of the Outgoing Tenants (Ireland) Bill. He hoped the reasonableness and utility of the Bill would induce the House to agree to its being read a second time. The Bill did not propose the establishment of any new relations between landlord and tenant—it simply proposed to confirm by law those relations and agreements which had existed for upwards of one hundred years in the province of Ulster. The importance of this question had been set forth in the report of the Landlord and Tenant Commission, and that in such strong terms that it was impossible to deny the propriety of legislating on the subject. Although the Commissioners did not point out the mode in which the relations between landlord and tenant should be adjusted, yet they expressed a decided opinion that some modification of the pre- 864 sent system was absolutely necessary, in order to afford that security to the tenant without which no improvements would be effected. The chief object of the Bill was to assimilate the common law of Ireland to that of England. The common law of England recognised, in their full force, the established customs of the country. That was not the case in Ireland; there the claims of the outgoing tenant to compensation for improvements could not be enforced in a court of law. Agrarian outrages were committed chiefly on that account. In Ulster, where tenant-right was admitted, peace, order, and prosperity prevailed. Some were of opinion that it was only necessary to legislate on this subject for the other provinces of Ireland, where the landlords were generally hostile to tenant-right; but the people of Ulster, who enjoyed the privilege of tenant-right, were as anxious as others to have that right confirmed by legislative enactment. Wherever tenant-right was respected, pauperism was comparatively insignificant. In Newtownards union there was a population of 60,000, of which 8,481 were landlords, and the average size of farms was only 11½ acres; yet, owing to the industry consequent on tenant-right, there were only 600 paupers in the union, and there was no requirement for outdoor relief. The Marquess of Londonderry, though hostile to legislation on the subject, caused tenant-right to be respected on his estate, and the result was that those occupying under him attained to a degree of prosperity and improvement rarely to be met with in any other part of Ireland. Some considered that it was contrary to the principles of political economy to interfere between two parties to a bargain; but, although he was much opposed to legislative interference in such matters, he thought that the landlord and tenant, under present circumstances, did not enter into their agreements on equal terms. When there was a monopoly in favour of one party, the other should have the protection of the State. How could the poor man, who was obliged to take the laud upon any terms, sell his labour to advantage, or make, under existing circumstances, an independent bargain? All improvements of a permanent character should be made at the expense of the landlord. It was great cruelty towards a tenant who, for a number of years had been cultivating the soil, to allow him to be outbid by any other person, without compensating him for the improvements 865 he had made. Such a course tended to weaken, if not to destroy, that attachment to the soil which was one of the noblest qualities of the human mind, and the mainspring of public liberty. The security afforded by tenant-right tended greatly to foster that attachment, and also to encourage manufacturing industry. What, for example, had led to the present prosperous condition of the town of Belfast but the long leases granted by the Marquess of Donegal? The House had already interfered by the 3rd and 4th of William IV., c. 37, to establish the rights of Church tenants against their landlords. The reports of Committees and Commissions of that House were innumerable with regard to the necessity of interference in this respect; but those reports had been a dead letter, and were standing proofs of the neglect of Parliament. The preamble of the Bill recited the custom of tenant-right in Ireland, and the Bill provided that, instead of sending small cases before two justices of the peace, who might be interested parties, the decision as to the matter of compensation should be left to the assistant barrister. In cases of importance, the parties were to have the power of coming before a jury, as was provided in the Land Clauses Consolidation Act. He admitted that the custom of tenant-right had been abused, and it was his desire to correct abuses. It was therefore provided that the tenant who claimed compensation should be able to show, not that he had expended money foolishly on the land, but that he had improved the value of the holding. The title to compensation was made to depend entirely on the increased value of the land. The Bill also contained a clause which deprived the tenant of any compensation in case the occupancy was divided into parts. He had endeavoured to make the Bill simple and perfect; but he would not say that there might not be many improvements made in it, nor would he resist any that did not alter the character of the Bill. Unless the House was prepared to pass the Bill through Committee, he did not wish to put them to the trouble of having it read a second time. He wanted a fair discussion of its principle. He hoped that, if the House did not approve of the principle, or the general details of the measure, they would not allow it to proceed any further, because he did not wish the people of Ireland to be buoyed up by false expectations. He was perfectly willing to submit to any 866 fair alteration of the clauses in Committee. He could not help expressing his surprise at the amendments which this Bill was about to undergo at the hands of the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. Magin), who, as appeared by the Notice-paper, intended to move, as an Amendment, that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee, to inquire whether the alleged grievances could not be remedied without any legislative enactment, and without injustice to the landlords. Were no interests to he respected by that House but those of the landlords? He could not bring himself to believe that the House would agree to the Amendment of the hon. Member, after the repeated declarations which had been made, not only in that House, but by the landed proprietors of Ireland, that legislation was necessary upon this subject. It was surely impossible that the House could trifle with the subject in the manner proposed by the hon. Member for Westmeath, who, he hoped, would not persevere with his intended Motion. If the hon. Member chose to show a decided hostility to the measure, he thought it would be a much better course to propose at once that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. He would much prefer such a course to any underhand manœuvres to get rid of the Bill. It was not his intention now to go into the details of the Bill proposed by his right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland; it would be time enough to discuss that Bill when it came before the House. In the mean time he would content himself with saying, that the provisions of that Bill were not calculated to satisfy the requirements of the tenantry of Ireland. The great body of that class in Ulster considered that it would totally destroy those rights which they had enjoyed for so long a period. He acknowledged that the Bill did not avowedly declare that henceforward the tenant custom of Ulster would be annihilated; but if it passed into a law, he contended that it would have the effect of abolishing that custom, because the landlords of Ulster, glad to avail themselves of the new law which would be passed for Ireland generally, would, instead of observing the custom of their province, merely act up to the strict letter of the law, which would not be so advantageous by many degrees to the tenantry as the custom of Ulster. The custom of Ulster would thus be thrown aside. He hoped that in the course of his observations he had not said one word offensive to the 867 landlords of Ireland. He did not think that such a course would have been judicious in a House where the landlords' interests were represented much more powerfully than those of any other class. But he would say that there was no class whose interests were more directly involved in the consideration of this question, either for good or evil, than those of the landlords. If they did not agree to this fair and simple adjustment of the question of landlord and tenant, the result would be that there would be an end to all improvement on the part of the occupiers of small holdings in Ireland. That stoppage of improvement would be necessarily followed by non-payment of rents. The tenants of Ulster would consider that their rights were to be abrogated, and that province would be the scene of agrarian disturbances. He called upon the landlords, then, seriously to consider what they were doing; he called upon them to benefit themselves and their tenants by consenting to the passing of this Bill. He called upon the English Members, if they were anxious to reduce taxation, not to render Ireland a burden to them, by refusing to pass measures calculated to give peace and prosperity to that country. At present, in consequence of the unjust relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland, they were obliged to maintain a large army and police force to secure the peace of that country; but if this simple adjustment of the tenant's rights was adopted, all Ireland would be as peaceful and prosperous as Ulster, where tenant-right prevailed. A refusal to pass this Bill on the part of that House would be construed into a declaration of war against the rights of the people of Ireland.
§ MR. TRELAWNY
moved that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. The hon. Member for Rochdale, whose honest intentions he readily acknowledged, appeared to him to entertain the most mistaken views as to the way in which Ireland could be best benefited. He raised hopes which could never be realised. If carried, this Bill would act as nothing more nor less than as a law of confiscation against the Irish landlords; in fact, it would be like taking a watch out of one's pocket and giving it to the first beggar we met upon the street. The principle of the Bill amounted to the same thing. Great as the suffering and discontent of the tenantry in some parts of Ireland might be, this Bill could have no other effect than 868 that of adding thereto. Much as he deprecated the evictions by landlords, he really saw no other mode of keeping the land of Ireland in proper cultivation. He could not see much injustice in the system of ejectment, because, when a man was turned out of his property, he could apply to the workhouses, which by the law of last Session had been erected throughout Ireland. He had taken some trouble to furnish himself with accurate information on the subject, and he was decidedly of opinion that the only safety for Ireland lay in the power vested in the landlords to eject their tenants. The hon. Member for Rochdale had contrasted the peaceful and prosperous condition of the people of Ulster with that of the other portions of Ireland, and said that it was to the Ulster tenant-right that Ulster was indebted for its comparative peace and prosperity. Now, he believed that the difference was owing to the superiority of the Saxon over the Celtic race. Then the hon. Member had appealed to the English Members to pass this law, for the purpose of saving the expense which the present system entailed in the shape of a large military and police force to keep down the discontented tenantry of Ireland; but he rejected any such appeal to his pocket in favour of this Bill. He did not think that the English Members would join in an unjust crusade against the interests of the Irish landlords for the selfish purpose of diminishing their taxation.
§ DR. POWER
, as he represented 800,000 of the people of Ireland, was anxious to make a few observations upon this important question. The hon. Member who had just sat down had afforded to the people of Ireland a specimen, if any were wanting, of the incapacity of a British legislator to legislate for Ireland. The hon. Member for Rochdale had brought before the House a measure which had been loudly called for by 7,000,000 out of 8,000,000 of the people of Ireland; and the hon. Member who had just down pronounced the Bill a measure of confiscation of landlords' rights. The hon. Member had said it was tantamount to taking a man's watch out of his pocket; but, for the life of him, he could not see upon what grounds the hon. Member had made that assertion. Property was designed for the benefit of the people; and if the Legislature found that it was monopolised by one class, while the other was in a state of starvation, surely they could remedy the abuse without being 869 liable to the charge of having passed a law of Confiscation. It was the duty of the Legislature to draw the true line of demarcation between the rights of the landlords and those of the tenants. The relation of landlord and tenant in Ireland had been a subject of frequent discussion in that House. In 1830, a Select Committee was appointed to inquire into the state of the poor in Ireland, and in their report he found on the subject of the ejected tenantry the following passage:—Their condition is most deplorable; it would be impossible for language to convey an idea of the state of distress to which the ejected tenantry have been reduced, or the disease, misery, and vice which they have propagated in the towns wherever they have settled.Now, it appeared that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down would add to that disease, misery, degradation, and death of the unfortunate people of Ireland, by clearing the estates of what he would term "the superabundant population." Now, the object of this Bill of the hon. Member for Rochdale was to check, and he believed that it would effectually check, such a clearance. The next inquiry into the condition of the poor of Ireland was that known by the name of the Devon Commission; and amongst the multifarious subjects with which that body dealt was the tenant-right of the province of Ulster. Now, the House would observe that that Commission consisted exclusively of landlords; that Commission was, nevertheless, reluctantly compelled to admit that that "Ulster custom," or tenant-right, was of a most salutary nature, inasmuch as it prevented pauperism, and checked murder and assassination. The people of Ireland, with such facts before them, asked that a similar right should be extended to the other provinces of Ireland. They had been deluded into the hope that the Legislature intended to comply with their requests, when the noble Lord the Member for Falkirk (the Earl of Lincoln) announced his intention to remedy the law of landlord and tenant. Their expectations were not a little enhanced by the subsequent announcement made by the noble Lord now at the head of Her Majesty's Government, that remedial measures were in contemplation for Ireland. But, instead of the just demands of the people being conceded, they were doomed to witness the fulfilment of the Æ so-pian fable of the mountain and the mouse. He could not help making some allusion to 870 the Bill which had been introduced on this subject by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland. His first objection to that Bill was founded on its alarming complexity and confusion; his next objection was, that it was confined exclusively to tenants holding under a rent of 10l. per annum. With regard to the prospective clauses of the right hon. Baronet's Bill, he observed that in the case of an occupying tenant, who paid a rent, for instance, of 100l. per annum, if he should have expended 1,000l., by that Bill he could only demand 300l. compensation, as it only allowed three times the amount of a year's rent for compensation; the other 700l., then, would go into the pocket of the landlord. Now, be asked the right hon. Baronet (Sir W. Somerville) whether that was fair, just, or equitable? It would be to the interest of a landlord, in such a case, to eject his tenant, as he could get an increased rent by reason of the 700l. invested by his tenant in improvements. But, if such a law were passed, how could they expect that any improvements would be made in the land of Ireland? Who would invest his labour and capital in land when the law directed that the landlord should have almost the exclusive benefit of both? If the Bill of the hon. Member for Rochdale were rejected, and that of the right hon. Baronet adopted in its stead, then he (Dr. Power) would say that the tenant-farmers of Ireland would be insulted by "a mockery, a delusion, and a snare." The Bill of the right hon. Baronet was a delusion, because, whilst it affected to give protection, it gave no such thing; it was a mockery, because it falsified the expectations which were held out to the people of Ireland before the passing of the Coercion Bill; and, lastly, it was a share, because in a covert and underhand manner (ho did not charge the right hon. Baronet with any dishonest intentions), it attempted to deprive a portion of the people of Ireland of the rights which they already possessed whilst it affected to increase those rights. If the rights which Ulster at present enjoyed under the Ulster custom were taken away—and they assuredly would be by the Bill of the right hon. Baronet—then, in the language of the Devon Commission, would Ulster become a second Tipperary. He, however, would ask the House to try to convert Tipperary into a second Armagh or Down, by passing this Bill of the hon. Member for Rochdale. It had been said 871 that it was impossible to legislate between landlords and tenants in the manner proposed by the hon. Member (Mr. Crawford); but that was not the opinion of the Devon Commission. In Ulster, as it had been proved, there was more prosperity and peace than elsewhere in Ireland; the rents there were higher; there were fewer ejectments; and assassination was almost, if not wholly, unknown. The hon. Member who spoke before him (Mr. Trelawny) said that that difference was owing, not to any custom, or superior landlord or tenant laws which existed in Ulster, hut to the difference of race. Now, if that difference of race were thus operative in Ireland, why was it not seen in America? In the United States they found the Celt running a race of competition neck and neck with the Saxon, the German, the Swede, and the Swiss. He himself had seen in that country Irishmen who, eighteen or twenty years ago, had to beg for their passage-money across the Atlantic, now in the enjoyment of large and ample fortunes. The House might depend upon it that the difference in the condition of the provinces of Ireland was not owing to a difference of race. It was owing to the difference of possessing protection and wanting it. The hon. Member quoted from the evidence taken before the Devon Commission, for the purpose of showing how much the fertility and productiveness of land in Ireland might be increased if a proper security, such as that which existed in Ulster, were extended to the whole of the tenantry in Ireland. The hon. Member also read an extract from a parliamentary paper, regarding the admirable management of Glenbeg, by the landlord, Lord Headley, which had resulted in the material and moral improvement of the people; and he said that if other landlords would act as Lord Headley had done, the turbulence of Ireland would disappear. In conclusion, the hon. Member entreated the hon. Secretary of Ireland yet to amend his Bill, and satisfy the people of Ireland on a point for which they were more eager than any other, not excepting even Repeal itself. He believed the hope of obtaining a good measure had been the chief means of preventing a general outbreak during the time of famine. The people had been led to expect this from the declarations of Government. [Sir WILLIAM SOMERVILLE: No!] They were led to expect it in-ferentially by the promises of the healing measures made by the noble Lord at the 872 head of the Government. If the Government would not fulfil these expectations, but continued to treat Ireland as hitherto—neither ruled it as a colony nor as a part of the empire—the responsibility would he on the Government, and the representatives of the people, he trusted, would be found to do their duty.
§ MR. HUME
agreed with the hon. Member who had last spoken, that at this moment this subject was of paramount importance. The statement of the hon. Gentleman was, that while in their own country Irishmen failed to prosper in the same way as Englishmen and Scotchmen similarly circumstanced, yet when out of Ireland they conducted themselves as well, and acquired wealth as rapidly, as the natives of either of the other British Isles. If that were, in reality, the case, it appeared to him to be the bounden duty of the House to inquire at once into the anomaly, and to apply immediately a remedy to the social disorganisation of which this was the result. There was no doubt that Ireland had been kept for centuries in a state of degradation and discontent, and it was equally unquestionable that they must look for the causes of her existing unhappy position to the fact that during no portion of that period had she been governed on the same principles as either England or Scotland. The people of Ireland had not been treated as men, they had not been treated as freemen; they had been dealt with as slaves. They had been treated doubly ill; they had been crushed by the proprietors of the soil, and neglected by the Legislature. He had often declared in that House, that, had he been an Irishman, he would not submit to such a system as that pursued towards that country without perpetually struggling for an amelioration; and he thought the Irish Members were fully entitled to demand that some effort should be made to remove the causes of the evils of which they complained. He advocated the extension to Ireland of all the rights enjoyed by the people of England and Scotland. Ireland was one member of the Union, and if she was really united it was a crime to introduce any difference in their legislation. Was the Union one on paper merely, or was it a fact? Did the Irish people really possess the same privileges as the people of England and Scotland? He would not go so far as to say that the Irish were incapable of self-government, because he had first to inquire if the pre- 873 sent laws admitted of habits of independence. He had had a seat in the House many years, and he did not remember one Minister having honestly attempted to do justice to the sister country. There were strong grounds for taking the subject of tenant-right into immediate consideration. They would most certainly fail in any attempt to force such a general measure as that asked for Ireland upon the agricultural classes of England. Each county in this country and in Scotland had its traditional tenant-right, in accordance with which all leases were drawn up; but no such system prevailed to any great extent on the other side of the Channel; and even though, after a discussion, the principle should be rejected, yet the debate itself would elicit the facts, and thus something would be done to content the people and set the question at rest. He regretted that Her Majesty's Ministers had been so dilatory in this matter. They had already got through five months of the Session, and nothing had been done. Why was not this question the very first considered? It was quite clear that it must be speedily settled either one way or the other. It would not do for the Government to trifle with the peace of the country, and with the time of the House. A hurricane might be heard around them, and this was not the period in which to stop in the path of social reformation in Ireland. The very last declaration made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth on closing his Ministerial career was, that he would support every measure of the Government succeeding him, which was calculated to secure equal laws and equal privileges, civil and religious, to the people of Ireland; and yet, so far, no exertion whatever had been made. There were many measures which must be granted; more correct registration and an improved representative system were the first steps. It was not to be supposed that Cork, with 800,000 inhabitants, would rest satisfied with no more extended representation than was accorded to a petty borough in England or Wales. In fact, all other questions ought to be postponed until they had properly met the difficulties which presented themselves in the sister country. Why had not the Encumbered Estates Bill been brought down from the House of Lords? There were a million of acres lying locked up and unproductive in Ireland. Were this land in the market it would at once be bought up in small lots, and the cultivation of it 874 would afford full occupation to that population which was now perfectly idle. Every one who knew Ireland must be aware that the main thing wanted was a better allocation and distribution of land. Let the evils connected with land be remedied, and discontent in Ireland would speedily be allayed. Even the proprietors of Irish estates would themselves be rendered happier by the change. Why then not give an improved system a fair trial? Till the Government set itself seriously to work we should never in this country be free from danger. Would any one say that the Irish were without grounds of complaint? Could any one say so who looked at the proceedings reported in the newspapers of that morning? He had always been opposed to any description of measure tending to interfere with the Union at present subsisting between the two countries; but every one must see that a legislative Union which merely existed upon paper was utterly worthless. To give reality and stability to the Union, it was necessary that the inhabitants of both countries should be placed upon a footing of perfect equality. Measures having such a tendency, constituted the class to which the Legislature of this country ought to direct their earnest attention. Therefore he hoped that his hon. Friend would postpone the present Bill, in order to give the Government time to consider what improvements in the tenure of land might be introduced; and, if the Government could once be prevailed upon seriously and sedulously to apply its energies to the task of improvement, some hopes for Ireland might be entertained. Till justice was done to Ireland, they could never hope to put down the cry for repeal. It was well known that people having other objects in view made that cry a pretext. Let that cry be put down by the only true method—doing justice to the people; then the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland might be dispensed with; Ireland might be governed not as a colony, but as an integral part of the empire. Ireland ought to be governed as Scotland was—subjected to the same burdens, and protected by the same laws.
§ SIR W. SOMERVILLE
said, that hon. Members who addressed the House in the course of the present discusion did great injustice in asserting that the Government had done nothing in legislating on the subject to which the present measure referred. They ought not to forget that very soon after the recess he had introduced a Bill 875 embodying the views which the Government entertained on the subject. It was unfair to say that the Government had taken no step whatever. A Bill had been introduced by them; it had been read a first time, and the second reading had been fixed for next Monday. He did not see, then, upon what principle they could be accused of remissness. He was not sure that the hon. Member for Montrose was in the House when the hon. Member for Rochdale brought in his Bill; but, if he had been, there could scarcely be a doubt that he would have considered the case perfectly hopeless. The hon. Member for Rochdale upon that occasion told the House, that unless they sanctioned the tenant-right of Ulster, no other measure ought to receive the sanction of Parliament. Was he then wrong in saying that the hon. Member for Rochdale held such opinions as that there would be very little chance of settling the present question, unless they were prepared at once to legalise the tenant-right of Ulster? He had been told that if he looked at the preamble of the Bill, he would find beyond any possibility of doubt—no one could have the least doubt—that to establish what was called "tenant-right" all over Ireland, was what the hon. Member wanted; and yet, even from the statements of the hon. Member it was not easy to say what tenant-right was. He had watched the whole of these proceedings; he had heard the speech of the hon. Member when he brought in his Bill; he had listened to him on the present and upon former occasions; yet such was the discrepancy between one part of his remarks and another—so numerous and conflicting were the definitions which the hon. Member gave of tenant-right, that it became impossible to arrive at any settled decision. When he heard the conclusion of the hon. Member's speech on bringing in the Bill, he felt himself as ignorant as he had previously been; and he frankly confessed that he was not wiser now. At one time the hon. Member contended that the tenant ought to receive compensation for the money that he might have expended in improvements; at another that mere occupation, without improvements, was sufficient to entitle the tenant to no inconsiderable sum for his goodwill of the holding. There was an evident inconsistency between the preamble of the measure and the terms in which its advocates suported it. On the 9th of November the hon. Member seemed to hold one 876 opinion; on the 11th he maintained a totally different doctrine. At a public meeting in Dublin he supported a resolution declaring that mere occupation ought to constitute a tenant-right; not a word about improvement—it was to be mere occupation. Now, he did not hesitate to say that if the House sanctioned such a principle they would convert Ireland into one great field of litigation. He would not say that the measure proposed by the Government was perfect. He was quite ready to consider and reconsider its details; but this he would take the liberty of stating, that he had received a great many letters saying that he was proceeding in the right direction. He acknowledged that his plan was limited to compensation for prospective improvements, at the same time that he fully admitted the right of the tenant to be rewarded for retrospective improvements; the difficulty, however, consisted in ascertaining what they were—what was their extent, and what their value. The Government never had proposed, never had entertained, the least intention of recommending any plan to Parliament for granting any compensation to the outgoing tenants for improvements retrospectively considered: was there, therefore, no injustice in now reproaching them for not having done so? and was there not even greater injustice in imputing to them an intention to practise deception? Though they were not prepared to agree to the Bill before the House, that circumstance constituted no ground for imputing to them any want of candour. After the best reflection which he could bestow upon the subject, he could not avoid coming to the conclusion, that if they attempted to extend this plan over Ireland, the difficulty of governing that country would be greatly increased. Such a practice as the tenant-right had been described to be might very advantageously be preserved in any part of the country where it had been long established; in any place where it existed as an ancient custom a great many excellent reasons might be given for retaining it. In the north of Ireland it might be all very well; but to introduce it arbitrarily in other portions of Ireland, would, he apprehended, lead to very great injustice. He would mention Meath as one example. He was himself connected with that county, and the hon. Member for Rochdale was connected with it by property. Now, he would venture to say that the effect of arbitrarily introducing such a measure into Meath would 877 be to punish every landlord in that county who happened to be considerate, kind, or indulgent to his tenantry. Suppose that he, being possessed of property there, having 100 acres to let, offered them in the market to the highest bidder—he would do nothing of the sort—hut suppose, instead of doing that, he wished to see his tenant living in comfort and independence, able to feed, to clothe, and educate his family—suppose the land in question was worth 30s. an acre, and suppose that, influenced by feelings of kindness towards his tenant, he gave him that land at 20s., and suppose that the tenant-right, according to the plan of the hon. Member for Rochdale, existed in Meath, a tenant might, and many of them would, the moment they got possession of land at 20s., bring it into the market if it were worth more, and sell it for whatever it might bring; thus taking advantage of a generous landlord leaving his land to the mercy of a rackrent tenant, and the man to whom that landlord behaved kindly and liberally putting the difference into his own pocket—was not that the tenant-right of the north? Did any man believe that improvement could be extended by arbitrarily forcing such a system upon every part of Ireland? It was well known that in many cases where the tenant-right was exercised, the value of land had greatly deteriorated. Every one must feel that the great difficulty was to ascertain the value of land at the time improvements were made. How could it he always practicable to know that the tenant did not hold it at a reduced rent at the time of making the improvements? He did not wish to occupy the time of the House by reading long extracts, otherwise he could, from a variety of documents, lay before them many proofs of the probable ill effects of an arbitrary introduction of the tenant-right. He could sincerely say that he would readily do anything to pro-mote improvement, but he protested against the introduction of tenant-right into every part of the country. He protested against any such attempt as this to excite hopes that could never be realised.
§ MR. E. B. ROCHE
thanked the hon. Member for Rochdale for having introduced the present Bill, and complained that the measure of Her Majesty's Government had not been pushed forward with that degree of assiduity and perseverance which the Irish people had a right to expect. It had been on the Paper from day to day, and from Week to week, and it was 878 in as unfinished a state at this moment as when it was first introduced. The hon. Member for Tavistock, in opposing the Bill, had used the surprising argument that the misery of Ireland was caused, not by misgovernment, but by Ireland being inhabited by a Celtic and not by a Saxon population. He certainly never expected to hear this argument from a native of the county to which the hon. Member belonged. The hon. Member, he believed, was a Cornish man. There was an old rhyme—By Pol, Tre, or Pen,You may know the Cornish men.Now, there was no race that was more decidedly Celtic than the inhabitants of Cornwall. It was surprising that the question of race should be brought up in the nineteenth century in the manner that it had been by the hon. Member for Tavistock. Let the House look at Italy, and the fine race of people who formed its population, and it would he seen that that people, after submitting to centuries of misrule and oppression, had arisen and vindicated their claims to be treated as freemen. The Greeks, too, had exhibited a similar resolution, and the result was well known. In fact, the hon. Gentleman seemed as if he had undertaken to retail some old leading article of the Times. With regard to this question of tenant-right, he contended that there should be no evictions—that every Irishman located on the soil had a right, as long as he paid a fair and proper rent, to keep possession of his land, for in Ireland land was synonymous with life, in order to maintain himself by his own industry, and he could only be enabled to do so by having tenant-right. With regard to the two Bills now before the House, he considered that the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Rochdale clearly defined what tenant-right was, while that of the Secretary of Ireland was only calculated to promote litigation. If tenant-right was so bad as it was represented to be, how did it happen that in the county of Down there were no paupers and no outrages? Yet his right hon. Friend (Sir. W. Somerville) contended it would be a bad law which should give tenant-right. [Sir W. SOMERVILLE: It is a good custom, but a bad law.] Why, if it were a good custom in Ulster, should it not be extended to other parts of Ireland? It was not wanted where there were good landlords, but it was wanted as a defence against bad ones. The people of Ireland believed that against such, tenant-right was 879 their only defence; and therefore he should, without binding himself to support all the details, vote for the second reading of the Bill of the hon. Member for Rochdale.
§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
, before he addressed himself to the subject under their consideration, begged first to be allowed to say a few words in reference to what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, and who had accused his right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland for not having pushed forward with greater earnestness the project of the Government for the settlement of the question of tenant-right in Ireland. The hon. Gentleman must be well aware that the Government had only two nights in the week on which they could proceed with Government business; and these nights had for the last three weeks been taken up by debates on the income-tax, into which Members had introduced all sorts of matter, most of which was wholly irrelevant to the question at issue. It was therefore unfair, because the Members of the House had taken up the whole of the time devoted to Government business, that they should thus accuse the Government of having shown a want of energy in the prosecution of their measures. He (Sir B. Hall) would abstain from touching upon the merits or demerits of the Bills which had been introduced by the Secretary for Ireland and the hon. Member for Surrey, for the definition and legalisation of tenant-right in Ireland—they would be fit subjects for discussion hereafter. But with regard to the present Bill, he would confess that he had entertained much difficulty as to the vote he should give—he wished not in the least degree to interfere with the principle of tenant-right as it existed in Ireland, and yet he could not support the definition of that principle contained in the Bill of the hon, Member for Rochdale. But the hon. Gentleman had relieved him from the doubts he had previously entertained, for the hon. Gentleman said—I do not wish my Bill to be referred to a Committee. I wish the House to determine at once on the principle as laid down in that Bill; and if you do not approve of the principle of tenant-right—not as it exists, be it observed—but as laid down in the Bill, I wish hon. Members to vote against it.He therefore (disapproving of the principle as laid down by the Member for Rochdale) must vote against the Bill. He 880 was, however, quite aware that it would be extremely difficult to define what tenant-right really was. It existed in the province of Ulster, and it varied in different parts of that province; and he would undertake to say that if he were to take five persons from five different parts of Ulster, that not two of them would exactly agree as to what tenant-right really meant. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland had stated that it "was a good custom existing in a province of his own country, but that it was very questionable whether it would be advisable to extend that custom over the whole kingdom:" that it would interfere with other rights which at present existed, and which should not be subverted; and, what was a good custom in one part of the country, might be a bad law in another. He entirely agreed with his right hon. Friend, and he would cite the county of Kent, in which a custom had existed for centuries, but which could never be extended over Great Britain. But he would ask the hon. Member seriously to consider whether this Bill would satisfy the expectations which had been held out by the agitators in favour of tenant-right in Ireland. He (Sir B. Hall) had no hesitation in declaring that it would not do so; and he did not believe that any enactments, whether they proceeded from an Imperial or whether they emanated from a domestic Legislature, could materially improve the social condition of the Irish people. They might pass measures for the protection of life and the security of property; but it was utterly absurd to suppose that they could so far control the moral conduct of individuals as to compel a man to conduct himself in every respect as became a good citizen, and to perform the duties of the station in which Providence had placed him in such a manner as to fulfil the obligations which he owed to his God and to his fellow-subjects. But in giving utterance to these opinions he might be asked by those who desired upon all points legislative interference, and too often demanded pecuniary assistance from the Imperial Treasury—"How then are these evils to be overcome?" And he had no hesitation in answering, "The evils complained of are of a social nature; they admit only of a social remedy. They have been engendered by the inhabitants of the country themselves, and by them, and by them only, can they be overcome." It is vain to suppose that an Act of Parliament could make an improvident and bad land- 881 lord a careful and considerate manager of his estates—that if he was not disposed to consult the interests of his tenants and those who might be dependent upon him, they could by legislation so change the nature of such a being as to make him their friend and protector. The very discussions they were engaged in proved that the social relations in Ireland were entirely deranged. They were called upon to compel that to he done in Ireland which in England was generally effected voluntarily. In England the interests of the landlord and the tenant were not only bound up together, but each party felt they were so united. They knew that each would act fairly towards the other; they trusted mutually to each other; there was a union and an interchange of feeling; and though he fully admitted that there were many bad landlords in England—as there would always be bad people in all great communities—yet he would assert, that an English landlord was, generally speaking, respected by his tenants, and was in fact their friend. But how stood the case in Ireland? He would not speak of the landlords as a body—he desired to guard himself against any such imputation—but he would assert, that it too frequently happened that the interests of the occupier of the soil was but seldom sufficiently considered—that the landlord and tenant had but few feelings in common—that the latter were permitted to remain in a state of ignorance, without the least chance of agricultural instruction being afforded them by their principal, and were allowed to dwell in filth and to live with their own swine. He would not go so far as to say that the bad landlord was the rule and the good one the exception; but he would say, that bad landlords were much too general in Ireland, and it was mainly owing to their misconduct, and the improvidence of those who had gone before them, that Ireland was in its present condition; and again he would assert, that the evils were much more of a social than they were of a political nature. He would take a county in Ireland as an example, as an illustration of the argument he had attempted to adduce, and he would select the county of Tipperary—the very focus of crime; remarkable not only for the extent of its outrages, but for the atrocity of their nature. It was often said that Ireland was one vast anomaly; but he would undertake to say that the county of Tipperary presented such an anomaly as never was imagined by the mind of man. There 882 was the richest land, and upon it the poorest occupiers—tenants complaining of high rents, and yet obtaining from the soil only one-third of the produce it was capable of yielding—occupiers of land demanding fixity of tenure, or security by lease, of their occupancy, and yet, frequently, as soon as they had obtained a lease, parting with that property which they before so valued that they would have murdered their neighbour to possess it. Again, they heard of tenants complaining of absenteeism, and yet when their landlord went amongst them, they shot him, and illuminated the whole district to testify their joy at having got rid of him for ever. Such was not a very overdrawn picture of the state of social relations in Tipperary. And how stood the state of crime in that county? He cited from memory, but he believed he was right in saying that the total number of outrages specially reported to the constabulary in Ireland, 1844, according to Lord Devon's report, was 6,337, out of which 1,001 were agrarian outrages; and of the gross number no less than 907 (or about one-seventh of the whole) were reported from Tipperary; and of the agrarian outrages there were 254, or one-fourth of all the agrarian outrages committed in Ireland. Now, could any one seriously believe that this wonderful anomaly, and the frightful consequences resulting from it, could arise from political causes wholly, or even to any great extent in part? Must there not be something radically bad in the social relations of the different classes of society in that country, to account for the disorganised state of its population? When Lord Devon's Commission inquired into the state of the county of Tipperary, a vast amount of evidence was taken, which all tended to confirm such a supposition. Mr. Maher, who was then manager of some of the largest estates in the country, and who was now a resident proprietor and Member for the county, gives evidence as to the ignorance of the tenants, and the indifference and want of consideration on the part of the landlords. He says, it is a common thing for a small farmer to break up ley land, to take two crops of potatoes, and then alternate crops of potatoes and oats, till the land is incapable of yielding any more when it is left alone. He is asked, if the landowners take no steps to introduce a better system of husbandry, such as having a model farm; and he answers, "No; there is not a model farm in the district—there is not one in 883 the whole county of Tipperary." Now, if that was the case generally, or even partially, was it not a disgrace to the country? The peasantry, they were told, were reduced to the lowest state of degradation, both of mind and body: there was no attempt to elevate them from the depth of misery into which they had fallen; all tended to depress them, and those who should be their protectors left them to drag out a miserable existence, till they became as inured to crime as they were to hunger; and yet when it was stated that the present Lord Lieutenant was desirious of sending round agricultural lecturers, the idea was laughed at by some persons, and ridiculed by the self-styled patriots of Ireland as an absurdity. But he (Sir B. Hall) considered that Lord Clarendon had done more by this one simple act than all those patriots who scorned it had ever attempted: he endeavoured to teach the poor tenants that which they had no opportunity of learning, and which was essential to their well-doing; and this attempt, being of a nature so simple and 60 practical, was ridiculed by those who always desired to confine themselves to schemes which were visionary and impracticable. He (Sir B. Hall) believed that if the poor of Ireland were looked after by their superiors—if they were cared for—if they were instructed in the management of their holdings—if there was any attempt made to elevate them from their present degraded position—they would be found to be tractable, grateful, and industrious, and would ultimately become good and useful members of society. But he was told "tenant-right will do all this." He denied such an allegation. He did not believe in the sincerity of purpose for which the cry of tenant-right was raised in Ireland-he believed it was put forward by those who loved to foster agitation; who found the cry for repeal was daily more unheeded, and who were obliged to invent some fresh cry to swell their numbers and replenish a sinking exchequer. He had no confidence in those persons: he agreed with what had been said by one of the most respected Roman Catholic clergymen in Ireland—he meant Dr. M'Ennery, of Tralee, whose words were entitled to the respect of all men. That reverend gentleman, in an address to his congregation on New Year's eve, after denouncing the conduct of those who had been implicated in the recent outrages, said—You must not put your reliance on the press 884 or public speakers, or on letter writers; they'll pass into their graves—sink into oblivion; their journals, speeches, letters, will pass into oblivion before them; they'll pass themselves into oblivion, and leave the country more wretched, more dependent, less powerful in its own energies, and more miserable and more discontented than they found it.He then said—They must rely in part on the benevolent disposition of the Queen towards them—and the measures that he hoped the Ministry would adopt.He then referred to the duties of the great body of the people, and said—It is a truth that our people are bad farmers, slovenly, ignorant. Like their bodies and minds, they leave the fertile lands of Ireland fallow—they work not the soil—they promote not cleanliness in their houses—they allow our lands to he idle from generation to generation—they continue to build, like the swallows, and after they build they leave the house in the same state of neglect and filth—they leave their fields from year to year to the action of the winter rains, and the abrasion of the weather. Who have the power to make this unfortunate people what they ought to be, by bringing fertility to the land? The persons having this power are bound to those classes. Those who can perform the work are the landlords placed over the tenants of Ireland. The proprietor owes a duty to the people—to give them fair play, to encourage them, to show them how to act, and, with the blessing of God, he will find the people not only willing to work and to be taught, but he will reap a harvest of gratitude when he shall have placed them in a new condition.Such was the opinion of a man who lived with the people. But he would now caution the hon. Member for Rochdale not to indulge in any very sanguine hopes that even if his Bill were to pass, that it would satisfy those who were agitating for tenant-right in Ireland. He had already told the House what his own opinion was of the cry of tenant-right. He would now state the view of that question as given by one of the leading agitators in Ireland. At the great meeting at Kilmacthomas, held in October last, Mr. John O'Connell thus defined it:—Tenant-right is just this. The tenant, no matter whether he be a tenant-at-will or a tenant by lease, shall not be turned out until he shall have put up the possession of his holding to a kind of auction and sold it to the highest bidder; even if there is no improvement in the land, the occupancy of the farm is still to be sold.Why! this would be nothing less than a thorough confiscation of property, and it would be much better at once for the landlord to say, "Let me be an annuitant, or a charge upon the property, and do what you like with it." But at a meeting held a month subsequently, on Sunday, Novem- 885 ber 15, when Archdeacon Laffan was present and made his memorable speech, Mr. John O'Connell, in order that there might not be the least mistake as to his intentions, said—Now, what is tenant-right? It is this, that a tenant, whether he be a tenant-at-will or a tenant with an expired lease, shall not be obliged to leave the land until he has sold the possession of it to the highest bidder he can find, and if he cannot find a bidder the landlord shall not turn him outSuch was the opinion of Mr John O'Connell, the supposed leader of the Irish people; he would not comment upon it, but it only proved that if such was the idea entertained by the people and instilled into their minds by the agitators, the Bill before the House would not be very likely to satisfy their expectations. But he would now proceed to show, that although this definition of tenant-right might sound very agreeable to some persons, yet it did not prove that the property of those who advanced it was me a better condition than the estates of their neighbours. He would call the attention of the House to an estate in the county of Kerry which belonged to a gentleman who was a great advocate of tenant-right, and of which this account is given:—I entered several of the cottages at this place, within one mile of the mansion. The distress of the people was horrible. There is not a pane of glass in the parish, nor a window of any kind in half the cottages. Some have got a hole in the wall for light, with a board to stop it up. In not one in a dozen is there a chair to sit upon, or anything whatever in the cottages, beyond an iron pot, and a rude bedstead with some straw on it, and not always that. In many of them the smoke is coming out of the doorway, for they have no chimneys. In one that I entered, the door was taken off its hinges, and made a table of, by placing it on two turf baskets. The tenantry are worse off than any tenantry in Ireland; they are in a more lost, filthy, wretched, and neglected condition; and, to use the words of Lord Devon's report, 'The agricultural labourer on this estate is badly housed, badly fed, badly clothed, and badly paid;' and the only food of the tenantry is the potato.[Cries of "Name, name!"] He would tell the House the name of the property. It was Derrynane, and the name of the author was Mr. Campbell Foster, the Times' Commissioner, whoso letters gave a great deal more insight into the state of Ireland than some persons desired. Now, he was quite aware that a great deal had been said about this account; but he had not read any positive contradiction to it, and therefore it must be inferred that it Was correct. It was also quite true that 886 the late Mr. O'Connell is reported to have said, "He wished the writer had as many pains in his bowels as there were panes of glass in Derrynane Beg;" to which Mr. Foster replied, "He hoped he might never have more." But the hon. Member for Cork had interrupted him (Sir B. Hall) by expressing a desire to hear of some place where tenant-right or fixity of tenure was established, and where destitution equally existed. Had the hon. Gentlemen ever been in the county of Donegal? He would soon satisfy the hon. Gentleman's wishes, and he would show, first, that not only where fixity of tenure had been established, the greatest extent of destitution had existed, but he would show that when a good and benevolent man took possession of that district, the destitution vanished, and prosperity reigned—that the evils of Ireland arose more from social than from political causes—that they might be arrested by the inhabitants of the country themselves—and that there was not such absolute necessity for legislative interference. Let the hon. Member consider for a moment what had been done by one man in the wildest part of Ireland; how a district had been brought from a state of barbarism to, comparatively speaking, a high degree of civilisation; and how from the most abject penury the population of that district had been raised to a happy and a prosperous degree of independence. He alluded to what had been done at Sweedon by Lord George Hill. His property, lying on the north-west coast of Ireland, in Donegal, consisted of no less than 23,000 acres. The people were literally left to themselves, to do as they pleased with the property. They divided and subdivided according to their own will and pleasure. The inhabitants had not only tenant-right in its fullest extent, but absolute fixity of tenure. The agents of the absent landlords did not attempt to enforce the collection of rent; they took whatever was offered them at the fairs by the wretched cottiers. The chief employment was illicit distillation, with all the vices attendant upon such an occupation. Their drunkenness was only exceeded by their filth. He would give a very brief description of their condition, written by a person who lived amongst them:—They had amongst them one cart, one plough, twenty shovels, thirty-two rakes, two feather beds, and eight chaff beds; they had no clocks; there was not a looking-glass in the parish above threepence in price; no garden vegetables or fruits of any kind but potatoes and cabbage.887None of their married or unmarried women can afford more than one shift, some not any; whole families of sons and daughters of mature age lie indiscriminately with their parents—their beds are straw, green and dried rushes, or mountain bent; their bed clothes are either coarse sheets, or no sheets, and ragged filthy blankets. I can show 140 children bare naked, and who were so during the winter, and hundreds covered with disgusting rags. Men and beasts are housed together; some houses have within their walls from one cwt. to thirty cwt. of dung; others have from ten to fifteen tons of dung, and are cleaned out once a year.Now this was in 1837. People in England seeing this description of misery subscribed and saved the population from starving. In the year following, that is, in 1838, Lord George Hill purchased this estate, with a determination to reclaim the property, to render it productive, to improve the condition of the people, and to make these very people the instruments with which he would work out his improvements. It was an undertaking that required talent, industry, and perseverance. The noble Lord possessed these admirable qualifications, and he succeeded. He commenced by endeavouring to infuse a spirit of confidence into the wretched natives, who at first viewed him with distrust and apprehension, disliking any innovation and any interference with their supposed rights. He laid down a certain course, from which he never deviated. He treated them with kindness, but yet with firmness. They began to respect him and to feel that his object must be a good one; and so thoroughly did he gain their confidence, that without a threatening letter being written, or a shot being fired, he was able to dispossess every man of his tenement. His agents then marked out a small plot of ground for each. Lord George Hill offered premiums for various objects; but this was, in their estimation, going a step too far. The poor people could not even then believe that any person would offer such a boon, unless there was to be a corresponding benefit. They imagined he had some latent object. They, therefore, would not compete. The following year more confidence was inspired, but the competitors were few. The next year they increased; and now the members of this little colony vie with each other to obtain the prizes given them by their noble friend, and to merit the approbation of good conduct, which accompanies the presentation of the reward of their successful industry. A gentleman who had adjudged the premiums 888 in 1843 gives the following account of the district:—We have to express our satisfaction at the evident improvement in the mode of reclaiming and cultivating boggy and mountain lands by draining and spade husbandry. We are happy to find so much attention given to the home manufacture of woollens, the quality of the cloths, the flannels, stockings, &c., being most creditable. But in nothing have we had such pleasure as in the marked improvement in the dwellings and offices of the tenants. We behold in all directions neat and comfortable cottages, with well-thatched roofs and whitewashed walls, giving an aspect of health and cheerfulness; in the interior of the houses the rooms are clean and orderly—the beds and bedsteads comfortable and suitable, with a supply of bedclothing and furniture equal at least to the wants of the inmates, and in many instances showing a taste in the arrangement for which we were quite unprepared.And all this had been effected in five years; and how has it been done?—by public money? None has been asked for or granted. By proselytising the population? They are still Roman Catholics. Was it by Anglicising the district, as the hon. Member for Tavistock would desire, and placing others in their stead? He (Sir B. Hall) was proud of being a Celt, and he believed they were not inferior to any other race in the world. Here the previous occupiers of the soil still continue the occupants. Was it effected by the sordid mercenary cry of repeal of the Union—the sustenance of a few, the robbery of thousands? Far from it. Was it produced by monster meetings or agitation? Not at all: the whole was imagined and carried out by an Irish nobleman, a resident Irish landlord. He saw the ignorance of the people, and he resolved to instruct them: he found them drunkards, and he made them sober; instead of leaving them degraded to the level of brute boasts, he had raised them to the standard of intelligent human beings. All this was done without one act of the Legislature. Was he not right in saying, that the social evils of Ireland could he met by social remedies, and that those remedies were to be found in a proper discharge of their duties by the several classes of society in Ireland? He had cited an example of what might be done, and he appealed to those who had any stake in this country to follow it. Parliament could do but little: the cry for money would no longer be responded to—it was too stale, too unprofitable an expedient. The English Members had been taunted with their want of knowledge of Ireland by those who professed to have the exclusive knowledge of that kingdom. But the people 889 began to ask what had these wise men done? They talked, but where were their acts. If they had any property, could they prove that it was better managed than the estates of other people? Did the dwellings of their small tenants present such an aspect without, as would assure them that peace, and comfort, and happiness reigned within? or did their tenants present the same aspect of poverty, the same wretchedness, and the same degradation, as the tenants of less clamorous but equally neglectful agitators? The English people began to feel distrust, and their sympathy relaxed. They knew of the resources of Ireland, and they saw them unemployed; they heard demands for public money for the commonest improvements, and they said, "Why don't the Irish help themselves, and why is the Government to do everything and the people nothing; whilst it is our boast that our grandest schemes and our finest wishes are projected and completed by ourselves?" Dr. Kane says—Why are our harbours empty—our mines un-worked, our lands untilled, and our country impoverished?" and he answers and answers truly, "The fault is not in the country but in ourselves: they were apt to speak of their country in the language of poetry, to describe it as the first flower of the earth, the first gem of the sea.It might have been so once, for nature had indeed been most beautiful. But the day had long since passed when it merited such a poetical description. The flower had faded for want of culture—the gem had lost its splendour: they might revive the one, and restore the lustre of the other, but not by the course which they were now pursuing. They must establish amongst themselves those social relations to which he had already adverted; they must inculcate a spirit of industry, and promote a love of enterprise; they must endeavour to profit by the advantages with which nature had blessed them, and which were not exceeded in any other country in the world; in short, to use the words of his noble Friend at the head of the Government, "You must help yourselves, and then God will help you." He was quite sure that if Irish Members expected that any Parliament could by legislative enactments alter and improve the whole social condition of their country, they would be grievously disappointed; they could do more by their own exertions than any Legislature would enforce; and though he could not give his assent to the principle as laid down in the Bill of the hon. Member for Rochdale, he 890 wished it to be understood that he would not interfere with tenant-right as it existed; but having been called upon to adopt the definition which had been laid down in the Bill, and as he could not agree in that definition, and as he did not believe that the Bill would be satisfactory to the country for which it was intended to legislate, he must record his vote against the Motion of the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. SADLEIR
thought the hon. Baronet (Sir B. Hall) was embarrassing questions of this class by the continual introduction of irritating topics. With reference to the "tenant-right," he felt that a great error was committed by those who cried out for it without defining what particular tenant-right they advocated; for the practice, not recognised by law, differed in different parts, even of Ulster, Properly understood, tenant-right was not inconsistent with the just and full rights of the landlord. He (Mr. Sadleir) was not in favour of the Amendment moved by the hon. Member (Mr. Trelawny); it would only postpone remedies; but in voting for the second reading of this Bill, he should do so avowing that it contained at present the seeds of interminable litigation, but hoping that the result of the discussion of this and the Government Bill would be to send the subject before a Select Committee. He did not believe that the Government were at all indifferent to the evils by which Ireland was afflicted. The subject of the operation of the poor-law in that country would force itself upon the attention of Parliament. It would not be merely the question of the propriety of narrowing the area of taxation; but that was a very important point. The hon. Member was proceeding to compare the size, rateable property, and population of various counties in England and in Ireland, and to show that the number of unions and electoral divisions in Irish counties was very much less than the number of unions and parochial divisions in English counties, when
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH
rose to order: Many a Gentleman wished to be heard upon the subject before the House, and the hon. Member ought not to hinder them by going into a discussion on the poor-laws.
§ MR. CALLAGHAN
did not think that the Bill of the hon. Member for Rochdale went to the extent that was necessary to settle satisfactorily the relations of land- 891 lord and tenant in Ireland, though, as he had always supported that hon. Member's propositions, he felt disposed to act in the same manner with respect to that measure. The system that prevailed was a source of great uneasiness and impoverishment to the tenantry of Ireland. He had always felt that the Catholic tenant was not so well considered as the Protestant tenant in that country; and he hoped that the Government would do something to create an equality in that respect between them. He objected in some sort to the Bill, because it only affected tenants-at-will, who formed but a small portion of the tenantry of Ireland.
§ House adjourned at Six o'clock.