asked whether the Government intended to propose any Amendments in the Tenant Right (Ireland) Bill; and, if so, whether they would place them on the Notice Paper before Wednesday next, on which day the Bill stands for Committee?
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, that the hon. Gentleman had put his questions in such a form that it was necessary to make some explanatory remarks before replying specifically to them. The House would remember that, at the commencement of the Session, the noble Lord at the head of the Government, upon being asked whether he intended to legislate during this Session upon the subject of tenant right, stated that the occurrences of last year had not given the Government any encouragement to hope to legislate successfully, and that, therefore, it did not intend to introduce or to take charge of any measure upon the subject. The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. G. H. Moore) having obtained leave to introduce a Bill, the House had a fair right to expect from the Government, upon the question of the second reading, some explanation of its intentions, and he (Mr. Horsman), being responsible for the omission of any such explanation, begged to express his regret for that omission. When the hon. Gentleman sat down there were only six Gentlemen on those (the Government) benches; and he was unwilling to speak in the absence of those hon. Gentlemen who had taken an active interest upon this subject in former years. He was in expectation that some of those hon. Gentlemen would have entered the House, and therefore he waited, believing it very improbable that the discussion would terminate with the speech of the hon. Mover of the Bill, inasmuch as there were two Gentlemen present who were likely to speak after the hon. Member. He (Mr. Horsman) was however mistaken, and the House divided without any expression of opinion on the part of the Government. The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. G. H. Moore) expressed a desire that no discussion of the provisions of the Bill should take place on that occasion, but that the House should simply reaffirm a Resolution it had affirmed in the preceding Session—that the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland were not on a satisfactory footing. The Government had no 979 difficulty about reaffirming that Resolution, although he (Mr. Horsman) could not think that such a declaration of opinion would lead to any practical result. He had been quite prepared to state the view of the Government, that proceeding to Committee upon the Bill would be a mere waste of time, but a general cry of "Agreed" arose upon the other side of the House, and there was only one cry of "No," and that did not proceed from the hon. Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Stafford); and, therefore, seeing the general feeling of the House, the Government deferred to it. As, however, the Government had opposed last year the measure of the hon. Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Serjeant Shee), which was not so extensive in its character as that of the hon. Member for Mayo, it was not likely that they would support the objectionable provisions of the present Bill. If, when the Motion for going into Committee upon that Bill was made, the hon. Member for Northamptonshire would move its committal on that day six months, he would have the support of the Government.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
thought it would be as well to know whether the House was to look to the hon. Member for Northamptonshire or to the Secretary for Ireland for a declaration of the intentions of the Government upon Irish matters.