HC Deb 05 June 1863 vol 171 cc472-4

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."


said, he could not but express his regret that the Secretary for Ireland had struck out of the Bill in the 58th section that which, at all events, was a little approach to justice to the Irish tenants. If any English county Member were to tax English tenants in the way in which the Bill taxed Irish tenants, he would not be able to show his face in his county afterwards. As the Bill was brought in, the power of referring to arbitration the amount of extra rent to be paid in respect of improvements was granted to the Irish tenants; but as the Bill stood, the Commissioners of Works in Ireland were to have the power of imposing taxation to which the tenants gave no consent. There could be no respect for the laws, if they were made in that way.


said, he would move that the Bill be re-committed, in order to reinsert the word "arbitrators" wherever it had been struck out.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "be" to the end of the Question, in order to add the word "re-committed,"—(Mr. Hennessy,)—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, that the substitution of the Commissioners of Works for arbitrators was made at the suggestion of many hon. Gentlemen, who pointed out that the powers given to arbitrators nominated by the Board of Works were too extensive, and they therefore thought that those powers should be executed by the Commissioners of Public Works instead. The powers were no greater than had hitherto been exercised under the Drainage Act.


observed, that the question referred, not to the proprietors, who were taken care of in every letter and corner of the Bill, but to the tenants, whose consent was not required to any part of the proposed improvements. It was a semblance of justice to those men that there should be an arbitration, because by that means they could have been heard; but there was no provision that they should be heard by the Commissioners.


said, it would be an injustice to tenants to tax them for improvements to which they did not give their consent; and he thought that if the Bill were adjourned for a day or two, many useful alterations might be suggested.


said, he was of opinion that the insertion of the word "arbitrators" would make no practical difference to the tenants, because they were mostly tenants at will, and would consent to any condition proposed by their landlords.


said, he wished to point out that the Commissioners would act exactly as the arbitrators would have acted.


said, he thought that the Bill should be reprinted, so that the House might have an opportunity, before the third reading, of considering the effect of the change which had been made.


said, he thought the Bill might be allowed to pass without further delay. The assessment under the tithe commutation was made without the interference or assent of the tenant, and he had never heard of a tenant complaining.


said, he was sorry such an Amendment had been made in the Bill as that of doing away with the power of appointing arbitrators; but as the Irish Members did not attend in their places, the Government could not be blamed for doing what they thought was best for Ireland; still, he thought, there ought to be an appeal.


said, that the language of the Bill gave plenty of protection to the tenant, and afforded him ample opportunity of stating his own case. Still, he would make no objection to the postponement of the Bill, if it were desired.


said, he must protest against the manner in which Irish legislation was conducted, and complained of the small respect which was paid to the opinions of Irish Members. [Cries of "Agreed, agreed!"] English Members, who were discussing English matters of importance, were never interrupted by such unseemly cries.

Debate adjourned till Monday next.