§ Order for Second Reading read. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
MR. HENEY DRUMMOND
* Mr. Speaker, in the present stage of this measure it is not my intention to address any observations to lawyers. Up to this point it is purely a landowners' question; the lawyers have no interest in it whatever; if the landowners are content with things as they are, the lawyers have no cause to complain. I shall, therefore, address myself to the landowners alone, and endeavour to point out to them the real state of the position in which they stand, and then the method by which it is proposed to extricate them out of their difficulties.
In order to effect this end it is necessary to consider by what means we have got into our present embarrassments, because the same causes which induced them at the first, continue to operate still. I am not stating this to you as my own opinion merely, for that would not be worth your receiving, but I am stating it as a fact, recognised by all who have considered this subject, and I will read as proof of this an extract from the work of an eminent lawyer, addressed to his brethren; to men, therefore, who would immediately detect any misstatement in the matter, and to whom he would not venture to address as admitted facts observations that he knew they could dispute, He says—I must be permitted to consider laud as a commodity, the value of which depends on the rules which govern the value of every other commodity. In a former age we know that it was treated differently. It was considered as a means of affording a defence to the State. It was governed by a different policy. Every piece of land had an armed warrior to maintain its possession for his lord. You may smile at this, but the remnant of this system is in existence at the present moment as a legal fiction. The ideal seisin of land, as it is called, is ever present to the eye of the law, and must not be disturbed for one moment; and many absurd consequences still arise from this state of the law It is of no great practical consequence; put I mention it to show that* From a speech published by Bosworth.324we are in the habit of treating land as if it were essentially different from other commodities, when the reason for so considering it has entirely ceased. We make a mystery of it; we blindfold our own eyes in all dealings with it: before we can even talk respecting it correctly, we must learn a new language. We have been, hitherto, taught to consider it as a distinct article to be dealt in by a ion, under circumstances not existing in anything else."—(Stewdrt's Lectures.)In former times the possession of land was held by military service. At the time of the Conquest the whole of the kingdom was divided into about 720 baronies—or honours, as they were sometimes called, amongst the largest of which were those of Clare and Richmond—the owners of which were bound to bring to the King's assistance, when called upon, a certain number of armed retainers. These barons, in their turn, leased out to others portions of the lands on terms similar to those on which they held their own from the Crown. The King would not suffer any alienation of these lands without being assured that the person who was to receive them was also capable of rendering him efficient service; hence fines were levied by him for giving permission to an heir to succeed to his father's inheritance; and when the inheritance came to females, they were compelled to marry as the King pleased, in order that he might be sure that he did not lose by the marriage the services which the owner of the property was bound to render.
Then, as now, however, landowners would run in debt; and when they did so, they borrowed money of the Jews and such few merchants as inhabited the towns; and as now, also, they disliked to pay their debts. The creditors could not seize the lands, because the King would not permit them to be alienated; they, therefore, applied to the Judges, and, although the creditor dared not go to the baron's castle and seize his person, the Judge could order the sheriff to go with his civic guard and seize all the produce growing upon the land. The landowners, therefore, kept the land without enjoying any advantage from it, and the creditor enjoyed all the produce under the name of the usufruct. In addition to this mode of running in debt, they devised another, by which, instead of giving a part of their lands to their children, as they did at the beginning, they fell into the habit of giving a right to their wives, younger children, and other relations, to receive annually certain sums from the produce of the land. Hence arose trustees, or persons 325 to whom the whole property was made over in order to pay these charges first, and then to give to the owner the residue that remained. Hence, too, it frequently happened then, as it happens now, that the use and profit of the land was taken from the owner, and nothing was left to him but the empty title of owner and nominal possessor of that over which he had no control, and on which he could exercise no power except the equivocal advantage of the right to kill the wild animals found upon it.
Much of this died out by degrees, partly under the Tudors, finally under the Stuarts; but those who became possessed of property when landowners were empowered to sell, began to ape the customs and manners of the barons, into a sort of fellowship with whom they had become associated; and they, in attempting to establish names and descendants, vainly endeavoured to foresee every possible contingency that could occur to their children and grandchildren, and placed their lands in the hands of trustees in order to carry out their intention towards their descendants. But they neither did nor could foresee all these contingencies—many arose in the development of time; and, consequently, it was necessary to have a court and an officer, whose duty it should be to decide on what would have been the intention of the devisor if he had foreseen the contingency, and also upon the best means of carrying that intention into effect.
The employment of lawyers, then, in real property transactions is in correcting the errors which the follies of landlords have occasioned; and landowners complain most unjustly of the lawyers who are so occupied, whilst they have none but themselves to blame for the whole. The expense of sales is immense, owing to these causes. Before making a sale it is necessary to prove that, with respect to your father, your grandfather, your great-grandfather—and I know not how much farther back—all the settlements that have been made are exhausted, and that every single person who could by possibility become entitled to the property is either dead or disposed of somehow. I have before me a list showing the heavy costs which have arisen in nine cases of sale of small properties, but will trouble the House with reading only one or two of them. There is, first, the case of a property which sold for 12,000l., on which the costs of sale amounted to 200l. or about 17 percent; 326 another, which sold for 500l., on which the costs amounted to 124l., or 25 per cent; a third, in which the property sold for 150l., and the costs were 50l., or 33 per cent; and a fourth, in which the property sold for 620l., and the costs of sale amounted to 200l., being about 33 per cent also. Every attempt which has been made to diminish the expense of sales under the present system has been futile. People talk of long recitals being the cause of the expense of preparing deeds; but I should be glad to know how they were to predetermine the length of a recital without knowing the nature of the deed. The length of the recital must depend upon the matter to be recited. You cannot expect a boy to recite the whole of Homer's Iliad in twenty minutes. Under the present system, therefore, it was hopeless to expect to derive any benefit from shortening recitals. But this is not the worst of it. The owners of property are completely in the hands of solicitors. They know no more about their lands than they do about what is going on in China. They know that there is a box of parchments belonging to them, and that some of those parchments have a bit of red wax tied to them; but that is all they know. Their solicitor brought them a paper to sign, and they signed it; and after putting a seal upon it, they delivered it as their act and deed; but what it contained they knew no more than a blushing bride of the marriage settlement to which she was led forward, covered with a veil, to put her name. Now, I contend that unless you will cut up the whole system by the roots, you will do nothing. What I want to make the country gentlemen understand is this—that it is their business to deliver themselves out of the hands of the solicitors. You are a solicitor-ridden people. It is possible to have the expenses of a court of law taxed; but how can you possibly tax any attorney's bill? It is impossible. Everybody complains of them; the more respectable part of the profession denounce them; but still the evil is unredressed. Complaints are also made of the cost and the length of legal instruments, of conveyances, &c.; but these, too, cannot be curtailed to any great extent, so long as the present system is continued. The landowners must resolve to emancipate themselves; no real and efficient help will ever come from the lawyers any more than has come from the reports of the Committees of the two Houses of Parliament, the labours of 327 Crown Commissioners, and all other machinery which has hitherto been put in operation. The landlords must not rest satisfied until they have obtained the means of transferring any portion of their lands which they please to sell in as easy and simple a manner as they could transfer stock in the books of the Bank of England.
The principle, then, upon which the House has now to decide is this—first, that there shall be a registration of deeds and lands; and, secondly, that sales shall take place by transfer in the books of the registry just as stock is transferred and sale of it made at the Bank. Every other method but this is futile. Registration, except with the view of making transfers in the books, is merely making a catalogue of deeds, or appointing some building in which they shall be deposited.
Many objections have been made to registries, but they seem all to be summed up by Sir Edward Sugden in his Vendors and Purchasers, vol. iii. p. 373, 10th edition.
This being decided, the question that next arises is, "Who is to register?" The country gentleman, in his simplicity, answers, "I, the owner, am to register." Yes, but first you have to prove that you are the owner. An equity lawyer is very like a policeman in this respect; the policeman, when he sees a man in a good coat, thinks that he ought to be" had up" before a magistrate, and made to give an account as to how he came by it; and a Chancery lawyer says to the country gentleman, "Ah! it is very well for you to suppose that those broad acres belong to you, but has your title ever been examined?" Here, then, is the difficulty: if you are to have an examination of all the titles that are to be registered, you may call it by what name you please, but it is, in fact, instituting quoad hoc another court of equity. On the other hand, if there be no examination of titles, there is no security against a man entering lands as his which do not belong to him, and effecting a sale of them the next day.
There is great question amongst the lawyers as to the number of titles which are good, as also as to what constitutes a good or bad title. By the kindness of a friend, I have been enabled to peruse a part of the evidence which is about to be published by the Commission that is now sitting, which states the matter very clearly. One of the able Commissioners 328 puts this leading question to a witness, and it will be observed, that in the terms of it, he gives also his own opinion; he says—Knowing very well that there is not such a thing, to my belief, as a strictly marketable title in the kingdom, and knowing that a court of equity will not compel any man to take a title that is not free from doubt, cither as to matter of fact or matt or of law, we then submit, on the part of the vendor, this abstract of title to counsel, and request him to advise on that title, with a view of stopping all loopholes (if I may use such a term), or any objection that may be taken on the part of the purchaser. Counsel give their opinion. Whatever can be supplied in accordance with that opinion is supplied. What cannot be supplied is matter of consultation again with the counsel; and then conditions of sale are made and approved by the counsel to meet rather than to obviate any such objection," &c.To this the witness answers—I do not differ with a word of what you state," &c. &c.Again it is said—The present haw is evaded by conditions of sale. The holes in the title are stopped," &c.I think the great bulk of the titles in this country are good holding titles, although they are not easily transferred, being unmarketable.Sir Edward Sugden says, that out of fifty titles, the fiftieth only is bad, and that the examination of forty-nine is useless.I do not see how it is possible to compel all owners of land to expose their title-deeds to the view of every one; for there would be hundreds of attornies who would find out the means of stirring up dormant claims which, whether valid or not, would create immense loss to the landowners, and gain to the attornies; and unless some equivalent be afforded to landowners to induce them to make such disclosure, I would certainly advise them not to consent to this Bill.
This, therefore, is a great objection to making the registry compulsory; and another objection, equally strong, is the necessity of having previously in operation an immense machinery. The number of landowners is variously stated by statistical writers from between 80,000 to 280,000; nor is it easy to point out whether copyholds of inheritance and on fine certain, long leaseholders, leaseholders on lives, and many others, are included in cither enumeration. In this case the registrar, his office, clerks, and all attendants, books, and schedules, must be pro-pared and ready for instant operation on the same day when all these deeds shall be brought in to be registered. Now, it is impossible to ascertain beforehand how 329 many books, clerks, &c., shall be required. In Edinburgh, there are sufficient entries to require four hundred folio volumes to be annually filled.
On the other hand, if the registration be voluntary, it gives the opportunity of feeling our way, of commencing with a few hooks and a small office, and a moderate establishment of clerks, all of which I can be enlarged as business increases; and as in Scotland they have both a general and provisional registry, so there may be here first a central registry-office in London, which may be expanded so as to have provincial registers in every county, under, the superintendence, however, of the registrar general in London.
I have been compelled to draw this Bill in such a way as that it may be contracted or expanded, because I had to consider, not what was abstractedly right or wrong, nor what I even, with the assistance of others, judged to be best, but to consider to what extent this House was prepared to go, and also to consider my own position in it; since, not being backed by the Government, nor by any party in the House, it was not possible to force anything, and I could only embody so much as the House is already disposed to consent to. I am prepared, therefore, to limit for the present the operation of this Bill to legal estates only, and to wait for others to be put upon the register when the trusts upon them shall expire. I am also willing that there shall be only one registry for the present, and wait till the landowners demand others elsewhere. If, on the other hand, the House is prepared to go further, and not only require all incumbrances to be registered as well as estates, and to curtail for the future the power of devisors to lock up indefinitely their lands, it is easy to add clauses that will allow of this also.
At the same time I ought in fairness to add, that I think the best plan would be to register only legal estates, and to refuse all conditional trusts whatever. I do not believe that any substantial injustice would be done if you were to pass a declaratory Act, enacting that all present holders of lands, in the profits and rents of which they have been in the undisturbed possession for a certain number of years, should not have their titles disputed from this time; you would do substantial justice in ninety-nine out of every hundred cases, although I admit that one out of every hundred might be defrauded. I 330 think also that it would be a great advantage to curtail still farther the power of entailing, and not to suffer any person to tie up his lands for the benefit of more persons than those that are alive at the date of his making the devise.
Some people, when they cannot find out an objection to a measure itself, which is plain before their eyes, think that they have sagacity sufficient to see into indiscernible things, and to divine the motives which have actuated the authors. For the benefit of such persons, it may be as well to observe, that I can have no personal motive in the success of this measure, because I cannot be benefited or injured by its becoming law, since all the property I have is in settlement, and I have only a life interest in it. My object in bringing forward this measure is to endeavour to enhance the value of landed property, and to enable landed proprietors more easily to effect sales of small portions of the same, in order to liberate them out of their difficulties, and to give them facilities for investing more capital in the cultivation of their lands. In uncivilised countries land is the only possible property, for all other is insecure; in civilised countries it must always possess more value than any other. Landowners have an influence in the neighbourhoods where they reside, especially where their possessions are hereditary, which no other capitalists possess; and hence the jealousy of them by upstarts of every degree: but land ought to have no legal immunities superadded to its intrinsic advantages, and its sale ought to be as free, and its transfer as easy, as that of any other commodity.
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
could assure the hon. Member for Surrey that he would not find amongst the present profession of lawyers one gentleman who would deny the evils of which he complained, or who did not agree with him as to the great importance of so simplifying the transfer of land that it could be made over with as much case as if it were so much stock. On his own behalf, as well as on that of those gentlemen, members of his own profession, with whom he was in the habit of conversing, he could assure the hon. Member, that the strongest desire was entertained to bring about that simplification. The only difference of opinion between the hon. Member and those gentlemen to whom he (the Solicitor General) referred, was as to the manner in which the proposed changes could be best carried into 331 effect. When the hon. Gentleman introduced this Bill, he (the Solicitor General) had come to the examination of it with the strongest wish to find in it a remedy for the state of things now existing—with the strongest desire to aid in carrying it into effect. But, after the best consideration he could give to the measure, he believed that if carried into effect in its present shape, the only persons who would benefit by it would be the whole class of lawyers themselves. His sincere conviction was, that it would give rise to more contests in courts of law, and to more emendatory Acts, than had been the consequence of any other measure passed for a considerable length of time. It was important to observe that the subject of registration had occupied the attention, of lawyers for a considerable time, and that the objections to registration did not proceed from the lawyers. Fifteen years ago, when the report of a Commission on the subject was issued, it was found that only one lawyer of eminence objected to registration. In 1833 or 1834, when he had the honour of a seat in that House, he bad advocated a measure in favour of the registration of deeds; and he remembered that the only opposition to the proposal came from the country Gentlemen. He believed that those country Gentlemen would have been the persons chiefly benefited by that measure; but they were so apprehensive that it would expose to public view not only the title on which they hold their estates, but the incumbrances upon, and other circumstances affecting, them, that their objections to the measure were insuperable. In seeking to establish a perfect system of registration, they must consider the principle on which to proceed; they might either supersede the present system of law, or they might adapt their plan to the existing state of the law. This Bill attempted to unite both these things. It would almost seem as if the hon. Member for Surrey had submitted his scheme, which was incompatible with the existing system, to some lawyer, who had endeavoured to adapt it to the present state of the law. Indeed, he believed that he could point out in the Bill many places where the scheme of the hon. Member stopped, and where the adapting provisions of the lawyer began. He was quite sure that a change might be introduced for considerably improving the system with respect to the registry of deeds; and he thought that something analogous to the plan suggested 332 by the hon. Member for Surrey for the registry of facts evidencing titles, and for the transfer of real property, might be adopted. In the report about to be made by the Commission to which the hon. Gentleman had referred, no doubt a very valuable body of evidence would be given upon the whole subject, from which might be worked out a scheme well worthy of attention, but which it would be impossible shortly to explain to the House; but he doubted whether this would be assisted by the Bill under discussion. Now, in reference to the Bill itself, after passing over the first six clauses, which related to the establishment of a Registration Commission, the House would perceive that by the 7th Clause it was provided that all documents should be registered, and also all evidence relating to the title of land which the owner should think of importance for the purpose of establishing his title to the property; and then, further down, there was a direction that it should be lawful for the owner to register a description of his land. It was by this clause left doubtful whether the owner was to register merely the deeds relating to the land, or whether he might register letters, or any papers containing what the owner considered to be important as the evidence of title in the land. It was also clear from the language of the clause that when any registration was effected, it would not be necessary for the owner to prove the execution of the deed, the authenticity of the document, or the truth of the fact he sought to register. By the existing law, however, no deed could be registered without an affidavit that it had been duly executed; and this observation was the more important, because this Bill provided, by the 29th Clause, that the party who had registered the document and evidence of his title, after the lapse of thirty years should become the absolute owner of the lands to which the deeds and evidence referred. Now, by the interpretation clause, the owner of the land meant a tenant for life. Now, suppose a man to be possessed of an estate settled on himself for life, with remainder to his children, and if he died without children, to his brother in like manner; if that man were to register himself as owner in fee of the property, live thirty years, and, leaving the property to a stranger, die without issue, his brother and his brother's children would be deprived of their estate. That might, indeed, not be the intention of the framers of the 333 Bill, but that really would be the effect of it. The Bill, in fact, took no notice whatever of the remainders, while all the protection that was given to the public that a man should not register himself as the absolute owner of another's property was, that the party registering should give six months' previous notice in the Gazette of his intention to do so. But how could that notice prevent a party registering himself as the owner of his neighbour's estate as if it were his own? True, the Bill provided that any party doing so should be guilty of felony; but what protection was that when it was taken in connexion with other parts of the Bill? For probably the person would be dead long before the time arrived for the infliction of the punishment, whatever that punishment might be, for it was not very clearly defined. But, further, the clause making it felony to put forward false claims would have no species of operation in the great majority of instances, because many persons really believed themselves to be the owners, when they had no earthly title to be considered anything of the kind. There was one society in particular, which he considered a very pernicious institution, he meant the Heir-at-Law Society, which was in the habit of fostering and encouraging people to fancy that if they could only once show that there was an entail attaching to lands 100 or 140 years ago, and that they were the heirs of the man so seised in tail, they had the absolute right to get possession of the property as against any present holder. It would be impossible to convict of felony a man having such a belief as that, who made a false entry on the registry. But it appeared to him that the Bill was still more absurd than that—if he might be allowed the use of the expression. The registry it proposes to establish is not to be an open registry, the hon. Member for Surrey having expressed his great objection to an open registry. Here he was directly at issue with the hon. Gentleman, on what he considered the leading principle of his Bill, because he held it to be vitally and essentially necessary that the registry should be an open one. If it were not open, this result would follow, that you receive a notice that some other man has registered a title to your estate; and you want of course to go to the office to search the registry, but this you are not allowed to do. By this Bill you must prove your title to the land as a preliminary condition 334 before you are to be allowed to search, although no such obligation is imposed on any one for the purpose of registry. This was certainly a singular anomaly. You must prove your right, in order to search the registry; and unless this be done, it is the registrar who makes the search. Probably you may not be satisfied with his search, and think it very hard that a title should depend upon a possible mistake in search for a title admitted to be very often long and complicated in its intricate details. You are not at liberty to search yourself without an order of the court; and although it was not stated in the Bill how that order was to be obtained, he would assume that it was to be obtained in the cheapest and easiest manner—that was by summary application to one of the courts of law, or of equity. It was clear there must he a power to contest the order of the court, or it would be a mere idle form. You must give notice of your intention to apply for this order of the court; of course, the man whoso title to your estate is upon the registry, without the title having been proved for the purpose of registry, will contest your right to an order to search the registry before you have proved your title; and the consequence is, that a lawsuit must be litigated on both sides before you are at liberty to ascertain what it is that is upon the registry. Could there be any more monstrous provision than that? And the result would be, that you would bring the whole property of the country into endless litigation; and there would not be a single man who fancied himself the owner of another man's estate—and the number of those who laboured under such a delusion was legion—but would make entries in the registry, and afterwards compel you to go into a court of justice to disclose your title, and litigate your right to see the registry. Then, again, by this Bill there was no means of setting the registry right—there was no appeal from the decision of the registrar upon the subject; and no means (which he held to be essentially necessary) of immediately correcting an error in the registry. The man that registers might add as much as he pleased, and amend from time to time; but nobody could set the registry right without a lawsuit, and even with a lawsuit it was doubtful whether it could be set right. Now, be maintained that it was essentially necessary that they should be able to make the registry as perfect as possible, and that would be impossible if 335 they were not allowed to correct it. Then, again, the Bill provided that copies of the register should be received as evidence. Now by this Bill the register itself was a copy, and very great evils arose from copies and copies of copies being admissible as evidence. Supposing any two copies to differ, which should have preference? There was no moans to provide against that difficulty afforded by this Bill. There was also great inconsistency between different parts of this Bill—one part said the register was to be final and conclusive as against all previously existing charges upon the estate, while another provided that the charges existing at the time of the registry should not be affected. This inconsistency was between the 17th and 23rd Clauses, the former of which allowed no effect to non-registered incumbrances; and this, no doubt, was part of the plan of the hon. Member, who wished to make the register final and conclusive in all cases; but here again the lawyer stept in, and, shocked at such a result as that a man should gain an advantage by his own fraud, and destroy the mortgages on his own estate by suppressing their existence, provided by the 23rd Clause that prior unregistered incumbrances should not be prejudiced by such omission; possibly this clause might control the former one, but this union in this Bill afforded a striking-instance of the working of the two minds in preparing this Bill to which he alluded at the outset. Such were a few of the defects of the scheme of the hon. Member, though they no doubt might be amended, if it were as a whole desirable to be adopted. One part of the scheme, although not worked out by the Bill, might, he thought, be useful, namely, the recording from time to time, as they occurred, events on which the title of the owner might thereafter depend. Undoubtedly one of the evils connected with title was, that a man was often called upon to prove matters of a long anterior date respecting which all evidence of the acts had often perished with the acts themselves, but as to which there was no doubt at the time. Registrations of births and marriages would, no doubt, do much to remove that difficulty; but it was essential to secure the truth of the statement entered on the register, whatever might be the intent of any one: if the registry were secret, errors accidental or intentional could not be corrected, and yet what injuries might not arise hereafter 336 if the owner was allowed to register a pedigree of his family according to his own fancy—the provision against false representations being a mere brutum fulmen, which in most cases could never be used at all! The first great objection in principle to the hon. Member's plan was that it was secret. Another great evil of the proposal was, that registration was not compulsory, and that deeds not registered were not declared to be inoperative and void. If that were done, and if persons were compelled to register the whole deed—if that were done, great advantages would follow; every deed would soon be registered, and then every deed would be well known. The principal evil of the present system in registering counties, next to its being voluntary, was, that persons registered memorials of deeds, and not the deeds themselves, by which the real nature and effect of the deed were concealed. The enormous number and complication of the instruments that would be registered under any effective system, made it a matter of vital importance to have an index so certain and complete as to enable any one to turn in an instant to the existing state of the title in the registry. The Bill before them did nothing to provide for such an indispensable adjunct to a useful system of registration. The Bill of Mr. Duvall, brought in by Mr. W. Brougham in 1834, provided a very complete system of indexing registered deeds, which was in a great measure adopted from a system pursued for the manor of Isleworth, where there was a large number of copyholds, and which system might serve as a model in any future attempts of a similar character, He had considered the Bill, with the view of seeing whether it would form a useful measure that could be wisely adopted by the House; but he must assure the hon. Gentleman, that notwithstanding his, as He believed, most sincere desire to be able to make this an effective Bill, he (the Solicitor General) did not see how it was possible for him to approve of it in principle. It was vicious because it was secret and voluntary, and in its details it would require complete remodelling even if the principles of the hon. Member were adopted. A good system of registration would most undoubtedly be found very useful; but with regard to this Bill, if it were referred either to a Committee of the whole House, or to a Select Committee upstairs, he was satisfied the hon. Gentleman himself would find he would be obliged to give 337 up clause after clause, and to substitute fresh clauses even if his principle of a secret and voluntary registry were sanctioned by the House, so that either none of the Bill would be left standing, or an entirely new Bill would have to be substituted in its stead. A Commission was now in existence, consisting of several very eminent individuals, who had no desire to be tied by existing forms; and he thought the House should wait to see their report before any measure should be adopted. He had had some information from one of the Members of the Commission, and although he believed it to be true that their report itself would not contain any very definite suggestions on the subject, still it would doubtless contain a great body of evidence that would be found extremely valuable to any person who would bonâ fide set to work to prepare a Bill not with objects similar to those now sought to be effected by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Surrey, but with a view of introducing an universal, open, and compulsory system of registration; and, therefore, he would venture to suggest to the hon. Gentleman that his course ought to be to withdraw this Bill; for he must confess, feeling the strong desire he did in favour of registration, that he did not like to meet the hon. Gentleman's Motion with an express negative, although he was decidedly opposed to that principle of legislation on which his Bill was founded. He would ask him whether it would not be better for him to withdraw his Bill for the present, to allow time to examine and consider further a subject which he (Mr. Drummond) would allow him to say was one involved in very considerable difficulty to persons totally unbiassed by any desire to retain their old legal habits, but sincerely desirous to effect the general object proposed by this Bill, unfettered by any technicalities and trammels derived from their previous studies and legal knowledge; and if the hon. Gentleman consented to withdraw his measure, he would afterwards have the opportunity of seeing whether, with the report of the Commissioners before the House, another Bill might not hereafter be introduced that would effectually carry out his own views upon the subject.
§ MR. W. P. WOOD
had listened with great anxiety to the speech of his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General, for the purpose of seeing whether or not there were any hope of some measures being at last taken to carry into full and complete 338 effect so desirable an object as that which was sought to be accomplished by the present Bill. He feared, however, from the mode in which the Solicitor General had terminated his address to the House, that they were still at as indefinite a distance from that desirable object as they were in the year 1832. In that year, after a laborious investigation, a Committee, composed of the most eminent men in the profession, who were perfectly acquainted with the whole theory and practice of conveyancing, came to a unanimous report that a Bill for general registration was imperatively demanded. That was not a new idea—it was an idea entertained by every eminent lawyer, from the time of Sir Matthew Hale down to the period when the hon. Gentleman the Member for Surrey brought forward the question on the part of the country gentlemen, who really were the parties most interested in the matter. Whatever might be the views of lawyers on this subject, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Surrey did not, he conceived, do them justice; for they were the only persons who had agitated the question until the hon. Gentleman took it up; and their greatest opponents had been the country gentlemen, who, he (Mr. Wood) believed, after all, were the parties mainly interested in the matter. He could not help referring to the words of Sir Matthew Hale, who, in the time of Charles II., saw the necessity of some measure of this kind, and who took that large and comprehensive view of the manner in which land should be dealt with, which seemed now to be entertained throughout the country, but which at that time was confined to men of his enlightened character. Sir Matthew Hale, in his Treatise on Conveyancing, refers to the mode of enrolling deeds, and points out the mischiefs that might be committed by secret judgments, mortgages, and settlements, whereby purchasers would be deceived, and creditors defeated; and that mischief, he said, was the more considerable in England, because "the great inland trade they had was the trade of buying and selling of land, and great security ought to be given to the lenders of money." Taking an enlightened view of the matter, Sir Matthew Hale thought that the dealings in land ought to be as free and uncontrolled as the dealings in any other commodity, and referred to the difficulties arising from suits in law created by secret mortgages and incumbrances. The subject was followed up by Chief Baron Gilbert, 339 Judge Blackstone, and other learned persons, up to the year 1832, when they had a commission, not only recommending a system of registration, but pointing out a defined plan. The execution of that plan was obstructed, not by efforts made on the part of lawyers, but by efforts made on the part of those who thought it would injuriously affect the country gentlemen. He believed there had been a change of opinion on the subject since that time; but he must at the same time call attention to the fact, that when the noble Lord the Member for Plymouth (Viscount Ebrington) brought forward a measure in 1846 in reference to it, the House was counted out. He (Mr. Wood) had seen with pleasure the notice of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Surrey to bring forward this measure; but though his (Mr. Wood's) name was on the back of the Bill, he must say (without following the examples they had lately witnessed of the general repudiation of measures brought before the House) that the whole credit of the measure was due to the hon. Gentleman. He was, however, prepared to say, that many of the objections which had been urged against the measure by the Solicitor General must have arisen from the circumstance of his numerous avocations not having allowed him an opportunity of perusing the Bill, for some of the objections were inconsistent with its provisions. If his hon. and learned Friend had told them that the Government was prepared to bring forward a Bill to render perfect the system of registration, he would prefer the adoption of that course. But how did the case stand? Nothing bad been done since 1832, until two years ago, when a commission was appointed to investigate this same subject, which previously had been investigated in great detail by their predecessors; and yet those learned Gentlemen had taken two years, and had not yet made their report. Were it not for the notice that had been given by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Surrey, perhaps they never would have got a report, but at last a report was forthcoming. He was glad it was so, because, if this Bill were referred to a Select Committee of the House, it might enable them to put it into an effective shape. It was not his business to say that the Bill at present was effectual—it was enough for him to maintain the principle of the Bill, and show that the Bill was capable of being rendered effective, and was brought forward for a bonâ fide object. It would be seen that the objections 340 of the Solicitor General merely applied to details in the clauses of the Bill, and did not apply to the principle of the Bill itself. That principle was of great importance, namely, that there should be some security for title, and a diminution of the enormous expense that was occasioned by the present system of conveyance. The subject was too large to admit of his then entering at length into the evils of the existing system; but he begged to call attention to certain facts contained in a book which he held in his hand, and which was written by the late Mr. Tyrrell, and the publication of which caused his being appointed one of the commissioners in 1832. That gentleman took a large and comprehensive view of the whole subject, and mentioned all the disadvantages that accrue from the want of a perfect system of registration. He mentioned no less than eight remarkable cases where enormous frauds had taken place. One was a case where a purchaser paid 20,000l. for an estate; but it was afterwards found that the fee was only held for three lives, and, the third life having expired, another claimant came in three years afterwards, and he was obliged to give up the property, and so lost the whole of his money. It was a well-known fact in the profession, that one of their leading conveyancers lost a large sum in consequence of an investment made by him on an insufficient title. Such a state of things should not any longer exist. Not a year passed in which every one of the four branches of the Court of Chancery (he did not speak of the Court of Appeal) had not to decide some question arising solely from the suppression of deeds. Then as to the expense, he could satisfy the House that by the establishment of a registry much expense would be saved, and that would of course greatly increase the value of land. How, he asked, was it that it happened that this was the only civilised country in the world that had not a registry? There was not a civilised country in Europe and America, that had not its registry. Ireland had its registry, and in every other civilised country there was a general register. It was well known that in those countries where they were established—for instance, in France and Belgium—land sold at 35 years' purchase, whereas in this country it sold only at 31 years' purchase, and in Holland it sold at 44 years' purchase. That was to be attributed solely to the fact of having a general registry; and was it right that this country 341 should go on any longer trifling with the subject by succesive commissions and reports, while nothing was undertaken? That being the case, great credit, he thought, was due to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Surrey for undertaking the matter, and bringing forward this measure. He should now apply himself to the objections taken to the measure by his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General; which objections did not appear to him to touch the principle of the Bill, with the exception of the first. The Solicitor General said that two modes were proposed of dealing with this subject: first, by a modification of the existing system of law, and the creation of a new system, by which property might be transferred on the register; and the other was by an adherence to the old system of law, requiring that all deeds and documents should be registered. He would agree with the Solicitor General in saying that the title ought to be a simple title on the registry, and that a person appointed trustee of the lands should be like a trustee of stock, having the whole control and the solo power of transfer over the land. That was done with respect to stock, and frauds might be prevented by caveats being entered upon the register. But he was far from being enabled to say that either the profession or the country gentlemen were prepared for that measure. He thought it desirable that they should make the attempt to establish it; but at the same time they should give parties the option of saying whether they would register the land in that form, and give to trustees the full power of dealing with the property, and making conveyances of it by means of the register, or continue the present system of registration. In either case the public would have the benefit of the title being apparent on the registry. When they were making a change of this description, it was desirable to leave a choice to parties with respect to the mode they would adopt; and the way in which it would be acted upon might afford a reason hereafter to the Legislature for taking a more decisive course. When the Solicitor General said they were not told what they were to register, he must have overlooked the 18th Clause. He would therefore call the attention of the House to that clause, which set forth what was to be registered, and what was to be conclusive on parties claiming an interest in the property registered. The next objection was one which could only arise from his hon. and learned 342 Friend not having an opportunity of reading over the Bill. He said any stranger might register himself as owner of an estate, and thereby ultimately establish a title against any person. He divided that objection into two branches. The first had reference to a tenant for life, who might, he said, raise a complete bar against all persons in remainder and revision. It was true that in a particular case the measure might operate in that manner; but he begged to call the attention of the House to the fact, that there were very serious embarrassments in the way of persons doing an act of that description, for there was the 22nd Clause, which directed that any person who shall register a title in land, not being the owner of it, shall be guilty of felony. In other words, it was declared that he would be guilty of the same offence as if he had registered a forged deed. His hon. and learned Friend had, however, gone further, and said that it was suggested to him by the Attorney General that A. might register B.'s estate—that a person might register a title to another person's estate. Why, the 29th Clause says that any person who shall be thirty years in possession of the rents and profits of the land (not, mind, an entire stranger), may then come and register his title. His hon. and learned Friend, he confessed, had pointed out a slight flaw with respect to a party being tenant for life under a settlement; but that was a matter of detail; and of course it was difficult, in framing a Bill of this description, to avoid all imperfections; but his hon. and learned Friend was not correct in saying that by this Bill a person not having an interest in lands might register a title thereto; but a person in possession thirty years might affect some person claiming under him. However, that would be extremely difficult; for all persons claiming would be on the registry, and no person purchasing could avoid seeing who were on it. He would not say, therefore, that the objection was hypercritical, but it went only to some portions of the Bill. His learned Friend then came to another point, that had more bearing on the question, namely, whether or not it should be an open registry. He believed the hon. Gentleman who brought the measure forward had no objection to its being an open registry, and the clause preventing it might be struck out. He was sure his hon. and learned Friend had, however, exaggerated the difficulties which persons would encounter who sought for an 343 opportunity to look at the registry. If it were to be a close registry, the party applying had only to say that he claimed in a certain respect to look at the registry, and the registrar then would see if that person had any such claim; and if he had, he would open the registry to him. It was also objected by his hon. and learned Friend, that by this Bill there would be no authentication of the documents to be registered; and, there fore, that a forged deed might be registered. That objection was foreseen by Mr. Tyrrell, when he wrote on the subject; and he said, if it were necessary, they could require an authentication; but he considered that it was not necessary; that he never knew an instance of anybody, when a deed was presented to him to make out a title, asking if the proper signatures were attached. All persons looked for protection on that point to the laws relating to forgery; and thousands of pounds were paid for estates on deeds which were not authenticated. Why, then, did they want to have on the registry a more complete authentication than was required on looking to a title in a lawyer's chamber? Why should they, when there was a greater opportunity for exposing fraud, apprehend greater danger than was felt by a lawyer looking at deeds in his own chamber? That, he conceived, was not a valid objection; certainly it was not a valid objection to the principle of the Bill, nor even, in his opinion, to the details. His hon. and learned Friend had also objected that there were not sufficient indices provided by this Bill; and, he thought, so much the better. He was ready to believe the indices were most important; but the best modes of indexing would be presenting themselves in the course of practice. They had precedents to refer to: there was the register of Bavaria, which was the most perfect on the Continent; and there were other systems on the Continent; and there was the system suggested by the Commission of 1832; so that the greatest facilities were afforded to a registrar general to draw up a system of indices that might be submitted for the approbation of the Lord Chancellor or the Master of the Rolls. But let them take care, whatever Registry Bill was brought forward, that they did not hamper the measure by giving a stereotyped form of index that could not be altered. By so doing, they would raise an insuperable difficulty in effecting their system of registration. Notwithstanding all the objections 344 that had been made, it did not seem to him that the House would be justified in postponing this Bill, without hearing something more definite on the part of the Government on the subject, or having some distinct understanding that the subject would be taken up by them. As it was a matter of such public importance, it would be better if it were brought forward by the Government rather than by a private individual; but if the Government did not bring forward the matter, and if they were still to wait for a remedy for some four, five, or six years longer, it was time for country Gentlemen to bestir themselves; it was time for all those to bestir themselves who were anxious to take off an impost upon land. At the present moment every Gentleman in the House must know what an amount was paid for expenses on the purchase of an estate. The charges were frequently as great for the purchase of a small estate as for the purchase of a large one—amounting to a percentage that was absolutely frightful; it being sometimes 5 or 6 per cent. The question was one which ought no longer to be dallied with; and he hoped that before long some measure would be introduced by the Government, if this should not receive the sanction of the House, for relieving the land from the enormous burden to which it was now subjected.
§ MR. SLANEY
said, he entirely concurred in the view taken of the subject by the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken, and thought that the gratitude of the House and the country was due to the hon. Member for Surrey for bringing forward that measure. At a time when they were addressing themselves to the consideration of the burdens upon land, it was a fair subject to discuss the large charges to which it was subject in consequence of the difficulties and expense of conveyancing, and the legal technicalities and inconvenience attendant upon its transfer from one party to another. Now, when all were agreed about the existence of the evil, it was time that something should be done to remedy it. He hoped, therefore, they would hear some statement on the part of the Government to the effect that if the present Bill was not allowed to be referred to a Select Committee, they would bring in some other measure upon the subject to do away with an acknowledged evil. There was another point of view in which he would look at the question. The great, the rich, and the opulent were able to take 345 care of themselves, and he trusted they would do so; but it was on the part of those of more limited means that some such measure would be most useful to. Many persons of the middle and industrious classes would wish to invest their savings in land, were it not for the obstacles which the present expensive system of transfer threw in their way. If greater facility were afforded that class, an increased stimulus would be given to the industry and prudence of the middle and humbler classes. There could be no greater injustice in the law of real property as it now existed, than was committed towards small proprietors under the present system. If a calculation were entered into of the number of years' purchase, it would be found that there was a decrease of no less than five years' purchase, in consequence of the expenses caused by complexity of title, and in conveyancing. Even if the present system were to be retained with respect to large properties, why not remodel it with respect to small ones, to which the injustice was the greater? He hoped, therefore, they would have an assurance from the Government, that if they would not allow the present Bill to go into Committee, they would be prepared at an early day to address themselves to that great evil, and afford that relief to the landed interest to which it was entitled, and if a Bill on that subject went through Parliament it would be regarded as a great benefit to the country.
§ SIR G. GREY
said, that he quite concurred in the opinion expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford, that the House was very much indebted to his hon. Friend opposite for having brought this subject before the House in a definite shape. If the hon. Member's object had been to elicit from the House an expression of its opinion in favour of a general system of registration of deeds, and documents affecting land, with a view not only to the security of property, but to the increased facilities for the transfer of real property, and a diminution of the present enormous expense which now attended it, he thought that he ought to be well satisfied with the result of his exertions. There had not been the slightest opinion expressed in that House by any hon. Member hostile to the principle of a general registration of property. Every hon. Member who had addressed the House, whatever might have been his opinions with respect to the details of the measure, had expressed 346 an opinion in favour of the establishment of a general system of registration. It was very satisfactory to compare the present feeling of the House with its opinion some years since on the subject of registration. There was a great change of opinion in the House with respect to that subject; and he believed that the country generally were becoming alive to the benefit which would attend the establishment of a general system of registration. If he were called upon to express an opinion on this Bill, wholly apart from its details, and as merely affirming the expediency of a general registration of deeds, he should have no hesitation whatever in voting for its second reading. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford had put the question merely upon that ground. He admitted, however, that the registration now proposed was a secret one; but he said that it might in Committee be made an open one—that the registration was voluntary, but might, in Committee, be made compulsory. He (Sir G. Grey) thought that that affected the principle of the Bill. It was rather more than a matter of detail to be amended in Committee, whether the registry should be a secret or an open one, and whether it should be voluntary or compulsory. He wished to repeat to the House a caution which he had expressed upon a former occasion against the practice of reading Bills a second time, in the object or titles of which they fully concurred, without any reference to the details of the measures, and then sending them up to a Select Committee, not with a view of amending them, but of having new Bills drawn up and sent back to the House, not at all resembling those which had been previously introduced, and the principle of which had been affirmed. He thought such a system a most inexpedient one. A desire had been expressed on the part of hon. Members, that Her Majesty's Government would give a pledge, that while they objected to much that the present Bill contained, and which his hon. and learned Friends the Attorney General and Solicitor General were of opinion would fail to effect the object the hon. Member had in view, they would take up the subject and bring in some measure themselves. He thought it rather unreasonable to call upon the Government to give an immediate pledge of that sort, when two years since they appointed a Commission to inquire into the whole system. That Commission was composed 347 of Lord Langdale and several other very able persons; but no report had yet been made by them to the House. In a short time their report would be presented to the House; and until he had seen that report, he could not give any pledge with respect to the course which the Government might feel it their duty to take. He would only say, that the Government fully concurred in the principle of registration; and they would be prepared to give attentive consideration to the recommendation of that Commission. Until he had seen that report, it would be premature and rash, and tend only to mislead the House, if he were to pledge himself to introduce at any early day a measure on the part of the Government. He would, however, give this pledge, that as soon as the report of that Commission should be received, it would receive the attention of the Government; and they would be glad to give their assistance to any measure calculated to accomplish the object which the hon. Member for Surrey had in view, which would be free from the objections which had been so ably pointed out by his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General as attaching to this Bill.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he thought that there were many persons who might be favourably disposed to the general principle of registration, who would yet consider the details of such an onerous and complex a nature, that they would consider them to more than outweigh the advantages to be derived from the adoption of the general principle. It had been said by some hon. Members that a system of registration would tend to improve the value of property—and the hon. and learned Member for Oxford had said, that on the Continent, where a system of registration prevailed, land was sold for several years more purchase than it was it England. He had not, however, heard it said that land realised higher prices in Middlesex, where a system of registration prevailed, than in Surrey, where it did not exist. The present Bill proposed to arrange the transfer of property on the principle of registration. He did not think the adoption of such a measure either very advantageous or very feasible. The principle of the transfer of property was very different from that of registration. He did not wish to go against the feeling of the House, in opposing the second reading of this Bill; but he wished, in giving his support to it, to guard himself against being considered as pledged in any 348 way to support the Bill in any of its future stages. He thought the matter was one which ought to be taken up by the Government, and not left to the hands of any private Member, however able or talented he might be. The extent of the machinery which would be required to carry out the principle, and the enormous inconvenience that would result from any false step being taken, formed quite sufficient grounds for inducing him to believe that the measure would be much better in the hands of the Government, and he should be very glad if the hon. Member for Surrey would consent to withdraw the Bill for the present.
§ MR. EWART
was satisfied with the assurance given by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department, that the Government was well disposed to legislate upon this subject. He did not think it would be fair to bind them down at the present moment, in the absence of the report from the Commissioners, to introduce a measure on the subject. When that report was presented, the expectation throughout the country would be that Her Majesty's Government would act upon it. As he considered it would be objectionable to proceed with this measure while that report was pending, he hoped that the hon. Member for Surrey would withdraw the Bill, on the understanding that the Government would take up the question at the earliest moment possible.
§ MR. MULLINGS
could not agree to the principle of the proposed Bill. As one acquainted with the details of one of the largest conveyancing firms in the west of England, through whose hands thousands of properties had passed, he denied that the expense of transferring property would be lessened by its operation. On the contrary, he believed, if the Bill were carried into effect, transfers of property would be attended with a vast deal more of cost. Neither did he consider it would facilitate the sale of lands. When people were about purchasing, it was not so much about the title that an inquiry was made, as the condition of the property. Those were the considerations which governed the purchase of property, and the expense of conveyance did not influence the transaction. The instances of great expense attending the conveyance of property to which the hon. Member for Surrey had referred, must have occurred previously to the abolition of fines and recoveries. Since that abolition had taken place, that which used to cost 100l. 349 in the doing could be done for 2l. If a system of registration were to be established, it should be a general one, to include all documents, and particularly marriage settlements, the deeds with respect to which frauds were chiefly committed.
§ MR. MUNTZ
thought that the lawyers were the last persons to whom they should refer a matter of this kind, as their interest would be to multiply difficulties. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Circenster stated that he had a most extensive business as a conveyancer in the west of England, and no doubt he had found it to be very profitable. There were, however, difficulties in carrying out a measure of this kind which the hon. Member did not seem to appreciate. It was rather a monstrous thing that a man who had never read the title-deeds of his estates should leave it to the lawyers to involve him in litigation. He could not help referring to the present very expensive mode of transferring property. This might be done without the investigation of the title-deeds. What right had a man who was not interested in the matter to investigate another man's title to his estate? He thought that by means of some Act of Parliament, they might adopt a plan by which every man who chose might ask the Government for a re-grant of his estate, with new and simple titles; and this could readily be done, provided, however, he had advertised a certain number of times in the newspapers, stating his intention, and if no one made an adverse claim to the property within a certain period. By such a mode they might have very simple titles, and few papers would be necessary, and this could be effected at little or no expense.
MR. H. DRUMMOND
stated that all that he wanted was, some measure for the attainment of a practical object. He did not care about going into the lobby with a majority, but he should persist in his Motion, as he believed this was the best mode of proceeding. He wished to show landed gentlemen that there was no way to got out of the hands of the lawyers but by a registration of deeds. Unless this was made clear to the agricultural mind, they would do nothing.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
strongly recommended the withdrawal of the Bill. He protested against the establishment of a system of secret registration, as sanctioned by this Bill. Such a system would give protection to every species of fraudulent 350 conveyance of property. The system of registration in Scotland had been quoted in support of this Bill, but he begged to remind the House that that system was an open one. If the hon. Member for Surrey persisted in pressing for the second reading, he should feel it to be his duty to move, as an Amendment, that the Bill be road a second time that day six months.
, in reply: I think that to bring forward any subject merely for the sake of obtaining an expression of opinion is complete waste of time; to obtain an opinion is very well as a means to an end, and I will certainly not withdraw the Bill without a pledge on the part of the right hon. Baronet, that he will take up the measure. As to placing reliance on the exertions of lawyers in that direction, I cannot do better than adopt the sentiments and language of my right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department, in his speech a few nights ago, which are as follows:—He had alluded to the Act passed last Session for facilitating the transfer of land; and he must say that it was only by slow experience that a conviction was forced upon Gentlemen accustomed to the forms of law and equity, of the necessity of dispensing with some of those forms which in their notions, derived from education and long-cherished habits, were essential for the protection of the rights of property. No doubt those Gentlemen thought it necessary to lay down these rules for the protection of property, and they would be slow in receiving the conviction that they were unnecessary; it was no less true that the Court of Chancery was not a court likely to assist in the removal of the obstacles which prevented the transfer of property. At the same time, it was no doubt very desirable to accelerate the process of transfer.
§ SIR G. GREY
admitted the fairness of the retort made by his hon. Friend; but be hardly expected that what he had said with reference to the Irish Encumbered Estates Act would be quoted in favour of the abolition of protection to the rights of unborn children; for that it was alleged would be the effect of his hon. Friend's plan. He confessed that he had never thought that a speech of his upon such a subject would have been quoted in defence of such a measure as the present, for his observations had not the slightest reference to such matters. He was desirous that every facility should be afforded—with every regard to the rights of property—to diminish the expense of the transfer of property, by shortening the length of conveyances—by 351 giving short titles, in room of the present system. He could not, however, agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, that if a man wanted to purchase an estate, there was no reason why he should look into the title-deeds.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
stated that he should vote for the Amendment, and he did not do so from any dislike to the system of registration, but because he disapproved of the particular plan proposed by the hon. Member for Surrey. On the contrary, he knew that in Scotland it had given great security to the titles of estates. They had had experience of it for upwards of two hundred years, and it had not been found to give rise to litigation, but directly the contrary, as it ensured the greatest confidence in titles. The registration in Scotland was in the first place compulsory; and, in the second place, titles were not acknowledged unless founded on their registration. This registration was not close or secret, but was kept with the avowed object of publicity.
§ SIR R. PRICE
remarked, that it struck him that it was essential that something should be done with respect to a registration of deeds, but he felt that great difficulties were attached to many clauses of this Bill. The present system pressed most heavily on the landed proprietors of this country. The Bill of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Surrey did not go the length which was requisite; but he should vote for it with the view of showing that he thought some form of general registration was absolutely necessary, so that they might get rid of that constant system of fighting and attacking every title-deed.
§ SIR H. VERNEY
should also vote for the second reading of this Bill, because he believed it to be the only plan by which they could give effective security to title-deeds. He believed that a measure like the present was of great importance to the poor man who wished to become the proprietor of a small piece of land. He was sorry the Attorney General had not promised to introduce a measure of this kind, as he should have preferred leaving the matter in the hands of the Government; but as they had no intention of the kind, he should vote for this Bill.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."352
§ The House divided: Ayes 55; Noes 45: Majority 10.
|List of the AYES.|
|Arkwright, G.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Bailey, J., jun.||O'Connor, F.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Berkeley, C. L. G.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Brown, W.||Pilkington, J.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Pinney, W.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Price, Sir R.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Ellis, J.||Slaney, R. A.|
|Evans, W.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Fagan, W.||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Stafford, A.|
|Goddard, A. L.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Grenfell, C. W.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Gwyn, H.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Harris, R.||Thompson, Col.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Thornely, T.|
|Henry, A.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Heyworth, L.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Hood, Sir A.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Kershaw, J.||Williams, J.|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Langston, J. H.||Wyvill, M.|
|Milner, W. M. E.||TELLERS.|
|Milnes, R. M.||Drummond, H.|
|Mowatt, F.||Wood, W. P.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Maitland, T.|
|Arundal and Surrey, Earl of||Morison, Sir W.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of|
|Boldero, H. G.||Mullings, J. R.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Packe, C. W.|
|Bremridge, R.||Paget, Lord G.|
|Buck, L. W.||Palmer, R.|
|Campbell, hon. W. F.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Russell, F. C. H|
|Clive, H. B.||Rutherfurd, A.|
|Crowder, R. B.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Cubitt, W.||Smyth, Sir H.|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Fordyce, A. D.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Hawes, B.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Henley, J. W.||Watkins, Col, L.|
|Hope, Sir J.||West, F. R.|
|Hotham, Lord||Willyams, H.|
|Howard, P. H.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Hughes, W. B.|
|Jervis, Sir J.||TELLERS.|
|Lockhart, W.||Hill, Lord M.|
|Mackenzie, W. F.||Howard, Lord E.|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed to a Select Committee.