HC Deb 16 May 1849 vol 105 cc571-9

The House then went into Committee on this Bill, when the further consideration of the first clause was proceeded with.


said, he should object to the words in the clause giving the tenant compensation for the purchase of food for cattle or sheep. The effect of the clause, if adopted, would be to give a facility to the tenant to injure or deceive his landlord if he wished to do so. For instance, the tenant might sell the produce of his farm, and then buy an inferior kind of food for his sheep and cattle, and send in the bill to his landlord to pay the amount. He would propose the omission of the words referring to the purchase of food for cattle or sheep.


said, that he believed the hon. Member objected merely to the form in which the provision was worded, but that he agreed in the principle. He considered this to be a most important provision, and in fact that it was the very corner-stone of the Bill. A power of increasing the quantity of meat produced on a farm, would have the effect of adding millions of quarters of corn to the produce of the country, as all who were familiar with farming proceedings must be aware of. He wished to treat landlords as men of common sense, and he had no fear of leaving it to them and their agents to enter into proper and reasonable arrangements with their tenants. He had adopted the suggestion thrown out on the last day by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, to the effect that only such articles of food and manure should be allowed for as were included in the original agreement. He begged therefore to move an Amendment to that effect.

Amendment proposed— To insert after the word 'manure,' these words 'or of such articles of food for cattle, sheep, or pigs, as shall be specially mentioned in the said agreements.'


repeated his conviction that the clause, even as proposed to be amended, would still leave it in the power of the occupier to deceive his landlord.


said, he thought the words which he had suggested were an improvement, and he could see no objection to their adoption after the principle of the Bill had been once agreed to. He had objected to the words "artificial manures," because it was doubted whether that would include such an article as lime, though it was well known that the greatest improvements were effected in some parts of the country by the use of lime as manure. In the same way with regard to the purchase of food for cattle and sheep, he believed it was admitted that one of the greatest elements in the improvement of agriculture consisted in increasing the number of cattle or sheep fed upon a farm. Supposing that the landlord and tenant were mutually anxious for the improvement of the soil, and that the landlord had only a life interest in the land, was there anything unreasonable in providing that such an agreement as that proposed should be sanctioned by law, and made binding on the successor to the property? As no claim could be preferred except where an agreement was entered into, and where the articles of food were specifically mentioned, he did not apprehend that any abuse would take place.


thought it a most dangerous principle that a tenant for life should be allowed to bind his successor for perhaps twelve years, when the incoming landlord might not find his finances in such a state as to warrant those extra expenses. He was fearful that the consequence of such a measure would be unceasing litigation.


said, that the hon. and learned Member's objection was to the principle of the Bill, which had been already agreed to. They were now in Committee, endeavouring to make the Bill as perfect as possible.


said that the hon. and learned Member did not appear to know the nature of the measure. If a tenant laid out 1,000l. in improvements, the compensation would be paid at the termination of his holding, not by the landlord, but by the incoming tenant; and this practice was already the custom in many counties in England, where it had all the force of law.


objected to the engrafting on the leases or agreements in Kent, Surrey, and other counties, all these various kinds of manures, in addition to the dressings for which the incoming tenants were now liable by a custom which had all the force of law. This proposal was wholly inapplicable to his part of the country.


observed, that if there were such customs in the hon. Baronet's county, there would be no reason to enter into such special agreement. The agreement was not compulsory.


said that when the tenants had a right, by custom, to compensation for manures and dressings, they would have no claim under this Bill.


thought the tenant for life should not have the power to deal with the interests of his successor in the way proposed.


said, there was evidently every desire on the part of the House to take care that the occupying tenant should be compensated for all that he did to the land; but he saw no provision in the Bill for compensating another party—the owner of the land. It was obvious that a farmer might do great mischief as well as great good to a farm, and he would like to see some means of protecting the owner against any direct injury to his land on the part of the occupying tenant.


referred the hon. and learned Member to the sixth clause of the Bill, where such a case as he had referred to was specially provided for.


supported the introduction of the words proposed, as being calculated to deal in the most satisfactory way with a most difficult question.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 102; Noes 27: Majority 75.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Jermyn, Earl
Arkwright, G. King, hon. P. J. L.
Armstrong, R. B. Langsten J. H.
Bailey, J. Lawless, hon. C.
Barrington, Visct. Legh, G. G.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Lemon, Sir C.
Bremridge, R. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Bromley, R. Locke, J.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Long, W.
Brotherton, J. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Clifford, H. M. Macnaghten, Sir E.
Cobden, R. M'Cuuagh, W. T.
Compton, H. C. Meagher, T.
Crawford, W. S. Manners, Lord C. S.
Crowder, R. B. Meux, Sir H.
Currie, H. Miles, W.
Deedes, W. Milner, W. M. E.
Duncan, G. Moody, C. A.
Ellis, J. Mullings, J. R.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Mundy, W.
Farrer, J. Newdegate, C. N.
Fellowes, E. Newport, Visct.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Pakington, Sir J.
Foley, J. H. H. Palmer, R.
Fordyce, A. D. Patten, J. W.
Fuller, A. E. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Greene, J. Perfect, R.
Greene, T. Pigott, F.
Grenfell, C. P. Plumptre, J. P.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Portal, M.
Grogan, E. Pryse, P.
Haggitt, F. R. Roche, E. B.
Halford, Sir H. Roebuck, J. A.
Halsey, T. P. Russell, F. C. H.
Hamilton, J. H. Salwey, Col.
Hamilton, Lord C. Scully, F.
Hardcastle, J. A. Seymer, H. K.
Harris, R. Sheridan, R. B.
Henley, J. W. Smyth, J. G.
Henry, A. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Herbert, H. A. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Spooner, R.
Hodges, T. L. Stafford, A.
Hope, Sir J. Strickland, Sir G.
Sullivan, M. Walmsley, Sir J.
Talfourd, Serj. Willyams, H.
Thicknesse, R. A. Wilson, M.
Thompson, Col. Wodehouse, E.
Tollemache, J. Wrightson, W. B.
Townley, R. G.
Trelawny, J. S. TELLERS.
Tufnell, H. Pusey, P.
Vesey, hon. T. Denison, J. E.
List of the NOES.
Bennet, P. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Broadley, H. Kerrison, Sir E.
Broadwood, H. Mackenzie, W. F.
Christy, S. Mackinnon, W. A.
Cobbold, J. C. Maitland, T.
Divett, E. Morris, D.
Dod, J. W. Mulgrave, Earl of
French, F. Packe, C. W.
Gore, W. R. O. Scott, hon. F.
Gwyn, H. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Hildvard, T. B. T. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Hill, Lord E. Vane, Lord H.
Hood, Sir A. TELLERS.
Hornby, J. Christopher, R. A.
Jervis, Sir J. Buller, Sir J. Y.

moved another amendment, in effect to allow compensation for farm-buildings for fourteen years. His amendment would be in line 5, after the word "fences," to insert the words, "or by the erection of substantial farm buildings;" and in line 10, to strike out the word "twelve," and instead thereof to insert the words, "as regards such buildings as aforesaid fourteen years, and as regards any such other improvements as aforesaid seven."


objected to the amendment, thinking it better to adhere to the recommendation of the Select Committee.


considered that the amendment would place the tenant in tail, in many cases, in very great difficulty; and therefore he should oppose it.

Amendment negatived without a division.


then moved that "nine" years be substituted for "twelve" in line 10, which would have the effect of limiting the compensation to be given for improvements on entailed estates to a period of nine instead of twelve years. The object of the clause was to extend to other parts of the country the custom existing in Lincolnshire; but that custom limited the period to seven years, and in proposing nine years he went further than was customary in Lincolnshire.


felt bound to oppose the amendment, and said that in the Isle of Wight, where the Lincolnshire system had been introduced, the period had been extended to ten years, and as that had been found advantageous, he proposed still further to extend it to twelve years.

Amendment negatived.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 (Drainage, fences, &;c., to be kept in repair),


moved some verbal amendments, the effect of which was, that the tenant should not be entitled to compensation for drainage improvements, unless they were proved to be good and efficient in the judgment of the valuers to be appointed under the Act.

These amendments having been agreed to, and the question put that the clause as amended stand part of the Bill,


said, he considered that this clause would only lead to litigation, and that Clause 0 contained everything that was necessary. He therefore moved that it be struck out.

Question put, "That Clause 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 120; Noes 11: Majority 109.

Clause 4, limiting the time within which claims for compensation, and awards of the same should be made.


expressed a fear that it would operate injuriously towards the incoming tenant to be obliged to pay the money immediately on the making of the award.

After a few words from Mr. PUSEY, the clause was agreed to.

Clause 5, which regulates the appointment of valuers.


proposed, that the third valuer should be appointed by the other two, not by the Inclosure Commissioners.


said, the necessary effect of this would be, that each party would name a partisan, and the selection of the umpire would be left to chance. By the following clause the award was to be made a rule of court; consequently, it might be set aside on any informality, and all the complicated legal machinery of awards would be introduced into the agreements between landlord and tenant. Attorneys would necessarily be employed to draw up the awards, and great expense would be incurred. He hoped these most dangerous clauses would not be pressed, for their necessary consequence would be to shake all confidence between landlords and tenants.


said, the hon. and learned Gentleman appeared only to object to the award being made a rule of court. If the custom of the country were adhered to as formerly, there would be no difficulty, and the results would be, as they had hitherto been, most beneficial.


considered that the present system was open to great abuse, which the clauses in question would remove. There appeared to be no objection to any part of the provision except that which made the award a rule of court.


thought it would be better for the arbitration to be conducted by the umpire jointly appointed, or appointed by the Tithe Commissioners, if the parties could not agree.


said, the arbitration clause had been very fully considered and unanimously approved by the Committee of a former Session. He could not withdraw the clause without overturning the decision of that Committee.


said, it was quite clear the tenantry of England had had a narrow escape of getting into the Queen's Bench, and they were to be placed in a worse position by the 12th Clause, which referred matters in dispute to the Court of Chancery. He thought the best plan would be for the Chairman to report progress, with a view to the clauses being remodelled.


thought, unless these clauses were withdrawn, to report progress was the only alternative. The clauses were not those of the Committee of last year, but of the year preceding; and they had been embodied in a Bill which was thrown out by the House. If the hon. Member withdrew the clauses for consideration, he would also have to consider the bankruptcy laws, as he did not state whether, in case of bankruptcy, the assignee would have to pay the landlord as the landlord now had to pay the assignee.


was opposed to the reference to the courts, and suggested that Mr. Blamire, the Tithe Commissioner, should have a final decision in disputed cases.


said, he did not attach any undue importance to this Bill, but knowing the difficulties under which tenants laboured, and the importance of encouraging the application of capital to land, he could not consent to withdraw the clauses, or postpone the Committee for another month. He hoped the learned Attorney General would suggest some mode of meeting the difficulty, and not throw on him the responsibility of remodelling the clauses.


said, his objection had been from a sincere desire to improve the Bill; he thought the omission of these clauses would be a decided improvement. He suggested the addition of two or three words to another clause, declaring that the compensation should be awarded as was usual in such cases.


was willing to adopt this alteration, and withdraw the 5th and 6th Clauses.

The clauses were accordingly struck out.

Clauses 7, 8, 9 and 10 were agreed to.

On Clause 11 being proposed,


proposed to add to the end of the clause the following proviso:— Provided always, That no owner of any farm, of which he is not possessed in fee-simple, shall have power, under this Act, by agreement with the tenant of such farm, to render any future owner of such farm liable for any principal sum, by way of compensation for improvements, which shall exceed two years' rent of such farm, according to the annual value thereof at the time of making such agreement: Provided also, that no tenant of such farm shall have power, under this Act, to recover, by virtue of any such agreement, from any future owner, any such principal sum, by way of compensation for improvements, except by seven equal annual instalments; and at the time of the payment of each annual instalment, interest at the rate of 5l. per cent per annum upon the whole amount then due shall likewise be paid; and the first of the above instalments and payments of interest shall not be due until one year's rent of such farm shall have been paid to such future owner.


hoped his hon. Friend would not press the proviso, which seemed to be based on a misconception that the farmers were so desirous to invest their capital in land that it was necessary to restrain them in every way. That was quite contrary to his experience.


considered that malversation would take place if the Bill did not contain such restricting proviso as that which he proposed.


doubted whether the limitation of the liability proposed was a valuable provision in general cases, but he thought it might be desirable to introduce some such proviso in respect of glebe farms.


said, the proviso would destroy the whole effect of the Bill, for nobody would of course lay out a considerable sum in the improvement of land, if he was only allowed compensation for two years.


said, he was willing to extend the time. He would consent to extend it to compensation for four years, though he confessed he thought two years' compensation was the proper proportion.


said, the doubt thrown out by the hon. Member for Warwickshire was a doubt with regard to the principle of the Bill, and that was not the time to discuss the principle. He confessed he had doubts about the principle, and if the Bill had been to be compulsory, he would have opposed it. He should wait to see what the Bill was when perfected by the Committee, and he should reserve himself as to how he should vote on the third reading. He could not assent to the amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Warwickshire.

Question put, "That the proviso be there added."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 52; Noes 80: Majority 28.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Lascelles, hon. E.
Arkwright, G. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Bennet, P. Mackenzie, W. F.
Boldero, H. G. Manners, Lord G.
Bremridge, R. Meux, Sir H.
Broadley, H. Miles, P. W. S.
Bromley, R. Moody, C. A.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Mullings, J. R.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Neeld, J.
Chaplin, W. J. Neeld, J.
Cobbold, J. C. Nugent, Sir P.
Coles, H. B. Ossulston, Lord
Compton, H. C. Pryse, P.
Dunne, F. P. Richards, R.
East, Sir J. B. Smyth, Sir H.
Farrer, J. Somerset, Capt.
Fellowes, E. Spooner, R.
Fuller, A. E. Stafford, A.
Galway, Visct. Strickland, Sir G.
Gaskell, J. M. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Godson, R. Vesey, hon. T.
Gooch, E. S. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Granby, Marq. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Gwyn, H. Wellesley, Lord C.
Halsey, T. P. Worcester, Marq. of
Hood, Sir A. TELLERS.
Hornby, J. Christopher, R. A.
Lacy, H. C. Newdegate, C. N.
List of the NOES.
Armstrong, R. B. Damer, hon. Col.
Barrington, Visct. Deedes, W.
Bramston, T. W. Denison, E.
Brotherton, J. Du Pre, C. G.
Brown, H. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Foley, J. H. H.
Christy, S. Fox, W. J.
Clifford, H. M. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cocks, T. S. Greenall, G.
Crawford, W. S. Greene, T.
Crowder, R. B. Halford, Sir H.
Dalrymple, Capt. Hardcaatle, J. A.
Harris, R. Patten, J. W.
Hastie, A. Pearson, C.
Headlam, T. E. Pigott, F.
Henley, J. W. Pinney, W.
Heywood, J. Plumptre, J. P.
Hey worth, L. Portal, M.
Howard, P. H. Rehartes, T. J. A.
Hughes, W. B. Rushout, Capt.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Sandars, J.
Jervis, Sir J. Scrope, G. P.
Johnstone, Sir J. Sheridan, B. R.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Simeon, J.
Kershaw, J. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
King, hon. P. J. L. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Lawless, hon. C. Stuart, H.
Legh, G. C. Sullivan, M.
Lemon, Sir C. Talfourd, Serj.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Thompson, Col.
Maitland, T. Thornely, T.
March, Earl of Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Melgund, Visct. Trollope, Sir J.
Miles, W. Walmsley, Sir J.
Milner, W. M. E. West, F. R.
Mitchell, T. A. Willcox, B. M.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Willyams, H.
Mundy, W. Wood, W. P.
Napier, J.
Packe, C. W. TELLERS.
Pakington, Sir J. Pusey, P.
Palmer, R. Bouverie, hon. E. P.

Clause 12.


moved the insertion of the words "after obtaining the consent of the landlord in writing."


thought the clause altogether objectionable. He could not admit that the tenant for life should have power to authorise the erection of whatever buildings he pleased. He could imagine many cases in which such a power would operate injuriously. He knew instances in which a tenant for life would perhaps be disposed to empower the tenant in occupation to erect buildings in front of a mansion.


agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman in reference to this clause. He considered it to be open to great abuse.

Clause agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported as amended; to be considered on Monday next.