§ Bill, as amended, considered.
§ MR. EVELYN DENISON
moved the addition of the following clause—That in all dealings between the Church Estate Committee acting in behalf of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England, as to lands now vested or which shall hereafter become vested in the said Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the holders of such lands, the said Church Estate Committee shall pay due regard to the just and reasonable claims of such holders of land under lease or otherwise arising from the long-continued practice of renewal, and in every case where a treaty has been entered into between the said Church Estate Committee and the said holders of land, it shall be lawful on the application of either of the said parties to such treaty to the other of them, to refer to arbitration the finding of the annual value and of the value of the fee simple thereof, subject to the exceptions and reservations, if any, to be excepted and reserved there out, and such finding shall be adopted in computing the terms of the sale, purchase, or exchange of such lands, or of any interest therein, and the said last-mentioned parties shall for the purpose of such arbitration, be subject to the provisions hereinbefore contained as to the appointment of arbitrators and the payment of costs. That the provision in the hereinbefore recited Act as to information being required respecting the proceedings under it, shall extend and be held to apply to all proceedings respecting land vested, or which may become vested in the said Ecclesiastical Commissioners.The object of this was, that all ecclesiastical property, whether held by bishops and chapters, or by the Commissioners, might be brought under the same management. It had been supposed by the House that a clause to this effect was in the former Act; but the Commissioners had held that it did not apply to the property which they held. A further object of the clause was to give the power of arbitration to the Commissioners in certain cases.
§ Clause brought up, and read 1°.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."
§ MR. GOULBURN
opposed the clause, which he said was irrelevant to the object of the present Bill, and should have formed the subject of a separate enactment. The hon. Member who proposed the clause seemed to assume that it went no further than the one which had been proposed by the hon. Member for Shields (Mr. Ingham). That, however, was not 1287 so. For this clause made arbitration compulsory at the will of either party, and would apply not only to lands held by Church lessees, but also to those which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners held at rack rent. If it were agreed to, every one of their tenants might claim to have their lands valued and enfranchised. The question of arbitration, as proposed in this clause, was a compulsory dealing with property, which every person said should be voluntarily dealt with.
§ MR. MULLINGS
did not read it as a compulsory clause, but at all events the words could be altered to prevent such a construction being put upon them as had been suggested by the right hon. Gentleman. He hoped that the noble Lord the President of the Council would sanction the clause, and he would take care, before the third reading, words should be introduced to make the arbitration permissive.
§ MR. INGHAM
supported the clause, and did not consider that the objections urged by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for the University of Cambridge, were well founded.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, that the clause was one to which he could not ask the House to assent. He did not know whether, if it were agreed to, it would act harmoniously with other Acts upon the same subject, but he objected to the practice of taking occasion, when a Bill was introduced upon one subject, to introduce a clause that had reference to quite a distinct subject. It was not fit that they should introduce in the Bill a rule with regard to the Ecclesiastical Commission more stringent than that which was applied to the Church Estate Commission. He would, therefore, ask the hon. Member for Malton to postpone his clause until the subject of the Ecclesiastical Commission came properly before the House.
MR. J. A. SMITH
supported the clause, and trusted his hon. Friend would press it to a division, as he would rather see the Bill lost than that the clause should be rejected.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
opposed the clause, on the ground that it gave too large a power to the lessees and was a departure from the intention of the Bill, which had worked beneficially hitherto, but which he considered it would be unwise to extend to the whole of the property under the management of the Church Estate Commission.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Amendment made; Bill to be read a third time to-morrow.