HC Deb 06 December 1852 vol 123 cc1041-5

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be read a Second Time upon Monday next."


said, he begged to ask the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland what was the course he intended to pursue with respect to the several Bills he had introduced? He hoped an opportunity would be given for discussing them. With respect to two of the Bills, he considered them to be of the most objectionable nature. He begged to say, that one Bill for which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had taken the most credit to himself, was one which not fifty Members of that House could think of sanctioning—no, not a single line of it. [Leughter.] This might appear to be a strong observation, but he challenged the right hon. and learned Gentleman to disprove it. In fact, the provisions of the Bill were rank nonsense. Instead of postponing the Bills, he called upon the right hop. and learned Gentleman to bring them forward. He knew that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was anxious to postpone them, and that he had been negotiating to postpone them, but they were anxious to test the sincerity of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and therefore they asked for an early opportunity to discuss them.


said, if the hon. and learned Gentleman really entertained the objection he now stated to the Bills before the House, he ought to have given notice of his intention to move that they should be read that day six months. He understood that to three of the Bills there could be no possible objection; and with regard to the fourth Bill, it having already passed the House three successive Sessions, he could not have imagined that it would have been opposed now. When he introduced the Bills he said he would leave them over till after the recess, and would be glad to receive from any quarter any honest amendments. As far as he was concerned, he was prepared to discuss them tomorrow.


said, he must call upon the right hon. and learned Gentleman to withdraw the expression "any honest amendments." It was a mode of expression which ought not to be addressed towards any hon. Member of that House.


said, that he thought it was the interest of the landlords to give the tenants such an interest in the land as would induce them to invest their capital in it. [ Cries of "Question!"]


submitted that there was no question before the House.


said, that the question before the House was, that the Bill be postponed till Monday.


said, he did not mean to offer any captious objection to the Bill; but when he heard the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland describe the grievances that arise from the right of distress for rent, he was not prepared for the conclusion he had come to. He (Viscount Monck) was prepared to hear him say that having given great facilities to the landlord to recover his rent and possession of his land, he would abolish that incident to the feudal tenures, the right of distress for rent. He was very anxious that an early day should be fixed for the discussion of those Bills; and as Thursday was unoccupied by any other business, perhaps the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not object to fixing that day.


said, he thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman could have no difficulty in perceiving that it was the intention of the Members for Ireland to give an honest opposition to these Bills. He (Mr. Sadleir) did not approve of their being sent to Ireland without previous discussion in the House of Commons; for that was alone the means of enabling the people of that country to understand them. He hoped, therefore, that Thursday next would be fixed for the Bills being brought forward.


said, he was in- clined to approve generally of the Bills, with the exception of the proposition to continue the law of distress, which, after the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, he thought should be abolished altogether. But he must say that he could not award equal praise to the measure regarding compensations for improvements. He represented a county in which Mr. Sharman Crawford's Bill was made the point of contest, and he had opposed that Bill; but on the other hand, he was prepared to say that the landlords of the county were prepared for greater concessions than were proposed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He thought the measure should be discussed at the earliest possible period, because the question connected with land was one of intense interest in Ireland; and if there was one class in Ireland more than another whose inter-eat it was to have a speedy arrangement of the question, that class was the landlord class. He trusted that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not remit the Bills to a Select Committee, for if he did they would be lost.


said, he thought there was no chance, if the Bills were fixed for Thursday, that they could be got through on that day, and then the discussion on the Budget was appointed for Friday, which he did not think was likely to be terminated on that day. On Thursday, too, there was a subject of considerable importance, the Motion of the hon. Member for Westbury (Mr. J. Wilson), was appointed for discussion, which had an intimate relation to the financial statement of Friday last. With respect to the Bills themselves, he was confident that the more they were known, the more they would be appreciated. He did not think if they were brought forward on Thursday they could be fully discussed; therefore he would recommend his right hon. and learned Friend not to move any further with the Bills until after the recess.


said, he had not heard why to-morrow should not be taken for the discussion. It was important that measures relating to Ireland should be approached by the House in a temperate and friendly spirit. Under all the circumstance*, he thought these Bills should not be postponed till after the recess.


said, he was quite prepared to meet the discussion of these Bills in a calm and temperate spirit, and he hoped the right hon. and learned Gentleman would give them an opportunity of doing so.


said, he wished to make some observations on the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh), who had pronounced these Bills to be all nonsense.


said, he had pronounced thus unfavourably of only one of the measures, and with reference to which Bill he adhered to every word that he had said.


said, he was not at all surprised at the hon. and learned Gentleman adhering to a criticism of which he thought he ought to be proud. It was the privilege of genius to exhibit itself in declamation, and leave the work of patient legislation to inferior minds. The hon. and learned Member had spoken most severely of the measure, and the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Sadleir) said that the House of Commons is the place for the discussion of this question; but if he (Mr. Whiteside) was to believe the hon. Member, a public discussion and decision had taken place elsewhere. Hon. Members were prepared to come to a discussion after deciding the question in another place. They undertook to speak the sentiments of the people of Ireland; but he (Mr. Whiteside) was sure that it was of a portion only, for those hon. Members who sat around himself and his friends were the representatives of a large portion of the Irish people, and were in no way inferior to those opposite. In submitting this Bill to the consideration of the House, he felt conscious that it possessed many defects; but however defective it might be, either in matter or style, or however defective it might be for the amendment of those evils which existed, he felt sure that the justice and wisdom of the House would discuss it in calmness, and improve all the defects it contained.


said, he left to Her Majesty's Ministers the boast of discussing these Bills in calmness, but he thought the proof, so far as they had gone, was not shown. He hoped, however, that measures of so much importance would have all the calmness and moderation which the subject deserved. He desired to press most earnestly upon the mind of the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland the great importance of these Bills. The subject was one upon which honest men might differ in opinion; but he thought a fair and temperate discussion would bring them to be of one mind. The people of Ireland were waiting for the decision of that House. The Commission appointed seven years ago reported that the measures were of the utmost importance to tenants' improvements. They had waited all that time for something to be done, and a deep-rooted dissatisfaction existed in many parts of the country. The decision of the House, he hoped, would be speedily taken and prove satisfactory to the inhabitants of the sister island.


said, he could not secure the Bills coming on to-morrow, that not being a Government day; all they could do was to put them on the paper for that day, and take the change of being able to bring them on.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Bill to be read 2° To-morrow.