HC Deb 17 May 1866 vol 183 cc1053-126

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Attorney General for Ireland.)


, in moving the Amendment of which he had given notice— That this House, though desirous of simplifying the method of securing to tenants com- pensation for outlay made in permanent improvements, are of opinion that, in any measure relating to the tenure and improvement of land in Ireland, it is expedient to maintain the principle affirmed by the Act of 1860—namely, that compensation to tenants should be secured in respect of those improvements only which are made with the consent of the landlord, that, in the opinion of this House, the provisions as to the improvement of land in Ireland contained in the measure of Her Majesty's Government would operate injuriously on the position of holders of small farms in that country, said, he should have been glad if he could have found it consistent with his duty to have postponed his remarks upon the measure until the Bill had reached a further stage. He was also unwilling that any one should think that he was opposed to the consideration of any measure intended to secure fair and just compensation to tenants for permanent improvements upon the land. But he thought that the present Bill contained so many new principles, subversive of the rights of property, and dangerous to the interests of the tenants themselves, that he had felt it to be his duty on that occasion to offer the Resolution of which he had given notice to the consideration of the House. The provisions of this Bill were altogether new, so far as that House was concerned. He did not propose to allude, except in the most cursory manner, to the first and second parts of the Bill, though they contained provisions of an important nature, and alterations of the present law which required the careful consideration of the House; but they were more in the way of the present law, and did not contain any new principle; he should therefore confine the principal portion of his observations to the other parts of the Bill. All former measures for giving tenants compensation that had been presented to the House, including the Bill of 1860, had been based upon the principle that it should be necessary that notice should be given in the first instance to the landlord what improvements it was proposed to make. The Act of 1860 went farther, for it provided that besides notice to the landlord, his consent must be obtained to the improvements in order to give the tenant a right to compensation. That principle had been entirely departed from in the Bill now before the House; for the 28th clause enabled the tenant to make any improvement he pleased, at any period of his tenancy, without any notice whatever to his landlord, and on the improvements being certified according to the provisions of this Bill to claim compensation for them at any period within thirty-one years. Before he proceeded to consider the provisions of the Bill in detail, he wished to address himself to the reasons that had been put forward by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House as to the necessity for this description of legislation. He did not deny that the principle of compensation for permanent improvements was just, and that if it could be carried out without infringing on the rights of property, this House ought to endeavour to do so to the fullest extent. But he was entirely at issue with hon. Members on both sides of the House as to the causes which were stated to have led to the necessity of this particular description of legislation. It had been repeatedly argued that the present state of disaffection in Ireland, the emigration from that country, and the dicinclination of tenants to improve their holdings, were caused by what was called the state of the land question in that country. He entirely dissented from that proposition, because if it were attributable to that, would not the majority of the men who, he was sorry to say, were engaged in the Fenian conspiracy be found amongst the agricultural classes? But so far from that, as it was stated the other night in another place, out of the prisoners who had been arrested under the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in the South of Ireland two only could be said to belong in any way to the agricultural class. So that although it was broadly stated that the land question was at the root of the disaffection in Ireland, they found that ninety-nine out of every 100 persons apprehended for treasonable practices were persons connected with trade and commercial operations. Although there was an uneasy feeling to a certain extent amongst the small holders, he was able to state that they took very little interest individually in the tenant-right movement. They had, however, got into their heads that tenant-right meant reduction of rent and fixity of tenure. That was the reason why the movement had become to a certain extent popular. Few Members of that House lived more with the farming class of Ireland than he did; and when he had discussed this question with them—as he had done over and over again—he found that they took but little interest in the matter other than that they would be glad to get their farms as cheap as they could. Then, he was under the impression that much misapprehension existed with regard to emigration. He did not believe that the land question had much to do with emigration from Ireland. It was true small holdings in Ireland had diminished; hut they had not diminished so rapidly as was expected, and he knew of no general desire on the part of holders of either large or small farms to emigrate; on the contrary, he had found that whenever a farm became vacant half-a-dozen applicants immediately came forward desiring to take it, and very often at an increased rent. It was untrue, then, that people were in the habit of throwing up their farms in order to emigrate to America. It was the sons and daughters of the occupiers of land who went abroad, and they did so because they saw that, owing to the continual subdivision of land in their own country, little chance of their prospering existed. Precisely the same thing perforce existed in every agricultural community where subdivision of land was not allowed and practised to an enormous extent. What was going on in every agricultural parish in England? Why, the sons and daughters of the occupiers of land went into the neighbouring manufacturing towns to seek that employment which they could not obtain in their own villages, if, indeed, they also did not emigrate to seek their fortunes. Emigration and dispersion went on, in his opinion, in England quite as largely as in Ireland; and such a process was required, because of the continued increase of the population. The only remedy for such a state of things was to give facilities and offer inducements for the subdivision of land. A friend of his had inquired of an Irishman whether he had any Fenians in his neighbourhood? The answer was that there were some, because the landlords would not permit the farmers to subdivide the land, or to sublet their holdings to their sons, That incident showed what was meant by those who held an extreme view, and said the land question was at the root of the matter. He was of opinion that if such a great desire existed on the part of the tenants to spend their savings in improving their farms, the House would have become acquainted with instances where applications to do so had been refused. It was puerile to say that such applications were not made because it would be hopeless to make them. Could any one believe that if a tenant applied to his landlord for permission to lay out his savings on the farm which he held, that the landlord would answer "No, I reject your money; it shall not be laid out on my property; it would enrich you and me at the same time, but I object to your improving my land!" It had been said that no advantage had been taken of the Bill of 1860. He admitted this to be true; but the class of people to whom it was intended to apply could not easily be persuaded or informed on such a subject as this. He believed, however, that that Bill could be rendered very serviceable. He would go further and say that it was passed after a great deal of consideration; but he believed it might be very much improved. The provisions of the Bill might be simplified, and that would form a subject for very serious consideration. He held that any measure which would have the effect of oiling the machinery of the Bill of 1860, whereby a tenant might have the power to secure compensation for bonâ fide improvements made by him with his landlord's consent, should not only be carefully considered in that House, but would receive the almost unanimous approval of the people of Ireland. It was further said that the absence of leases throughout a great part of Ireland operated against any outlay by the tenant upon the land. This was to a certain extent true, but not true altogether. A great portion of the land of the country was at present held by tenants upon long leases, extending over three lives—the estate with which he was connected was held by a large number of leases—and he would ask any gentleman acquainted with the circumstances of Ireland whether from his knowledge he could see that there was greater disposition on the part of occupiers of lands held under long leases to improve them than was manifested by tenants-at-will. He maintained that a traveller through the country, if he were to make inquiries at the farms most wretchedly kept, would frequently find that they were held for the longest terms. This was a fact which was well known. Any one acquainted with the West and South of Ireland knew that the disinclination on the part of the tenants to make improvements was not dependent on the insecurity attending the holding of their lands. But there was more in this demand for what was called "tenant compensation" than met the eye. This demand had been made the pretext for endeavouring to obtain fixity of tenure at a low rent and irremovability. Those were the real objects, not of the farming class in Ireland, but of the persons who directed the movement and wrote and spoke about it. The statements of the hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue) would be the best evidence he could offer on this point. The opinions of that hon. Gentleman were well known, for, having studied the question deeply, he had spoken and written upon it repeatedly, and with great eloquence and ability, and the hon. Gentleman was not a man to conceal his sentiments on any subject. On the 22nd of March, when anticipating some such Bill as that now before the House, he wrote a letter to the Chairman of the National Association, in which he said— A Bill that does not give security of tenure is worth no more than the value of the paper upon which it is written. Hitherto it has been held that security of tenure can only be attained by an enactment such as I have suggested in my letter to Mr. M'Swiney, or by making the granting of leases compulsory, or by a compensation Bill of a retrospective character, which would give the tenants such claims for compensation upon their landlords as would render eviction, if not impossible, at all events very difficult, and thus indirectly establish the right of the occupier to dwell upon the soil. But it had been said that the different circumstances of Ireland justified this legislation. Well, he admitted that for a great number of years there had been, and that there was still, a very great difference in the mode in which the land was held in Ireland from that in which it was held in England, but a rapid change was taking place in that respect. Anybody who knew the country must be aware that during the last twenty-five years a great desire had been manifested to assimilate the mode of dealing with Irish estates to the mode in which English landlords dealt with theirs. Such a change would, of course, occupy some years before it could operate throughout the country, but that such a change was going on no one could doubt. This desire on the part of the Irish landlords had been the cause of almost all the substantial improvements that had been effected during the past twenty years. The terms on which a tenant held his property in England were tangible, and they were known; but that was not the case in Ireland. He maintained that between every landlord and tenant there was an implied compact that the latter should treat the property in a proper manner, and continue upon it a course of such good husbandry as was in accordance with the ordinary custom of the country, and that therefore good husbandry was no ground for compensation. Good husbandry was not an improvement, but the fulfilment of a duty on the part of the tenant towards the landlord, and a tenant had no right to sot up compensation for it. Now, what had the landlords in Ireland done? The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chichester Fortescue) the other night made a very striking statement as to what had been done with assistance during the last fifteen years. He stated that the charge for improvements under the Land Improvement Act amounted to upwards of £2,000,000, and he believed at this moment there was hardly a shilling in arrear upon the repayment of the instalments. That demonstrated the amount of improvement that was going on. If, however, the present Bill were to be passed into law it was probable that that improvement would be stopped, owing to the great want of confidence which would prevail throughout the country. He could conceive of nothing more likely to scare away capital from the country than the present Bill, which would reverse the system that had existed in the country for so many years. Another effect of the Bill would be to lower the value of property in Ireland. It appeared to him that those parts of the Bill now before the House which related to the rights of landlords to charge their properties were repugnant to each other, which, he contended, showed how carelessly and imprudently it had been framed. He would remind the House of what a man had to go through if he applied to the Government for a loan for the improvement of his land. He had notices to publish in the newspapers and to give to the parties even remotely interested, and the greatest care was taken by the Government that every shilling of the money granted was properly expended in the particular improvement for which it was destined, and that the improvement was made in the best possible manner. The proprietor had first to give notice of his intention to improve, then a preliminary inquiry was obliged to be held upon the spot, plans and specifications were then required to be submitted, together with a certificate of the suitableness of the improvement to the character of the holding; the money, moreover, could only be issued in instalments, and no instalment could be paid unless the certificate of the inspector showed that the previous instalments had been laid out upon the work. Let the House contrast that statement, every stage of which the Government deemed absolutely necessary to protect the advances made by them upon the security of lands, with the course which the Government proposed to take with re- gard to the property of landlords. Under this Bill tenants, withont any previous investigation showing that the improvements were capable of being made, or that if made they would be proper or suitable to the holding, were to be allowed to charge the property of their landlords with the sum which had been expended, without any means of ascertaining that such expenditure was proper and just. The mode in which the Bill would work could be tested by a few illustrations. Suppose a tenant reclaimed a small portion of a bog, but in such a way as not to be beneficial to the land or to himself; thirty-five years afterwards, if the owner proposed to resume occupation, the tenant would be entitled to claim compensation, when, perhaps, every witness and every person at all cognizant of the original transaction might have died or gone out of the country. Suppose, again, that two sets of reclamations were made—one upon the side of a mountain to which access was difficult, where the land was sterile and the climate bad, and a number of years must intervene before the improvement could prove remunerative; the other a case where the reclamation was easy, the land fertile, and the man would be rewarded for his outlay by the first crop of rape that the land produced. How was the same law of compensation to be applied in those two cases? When a house was built upon a farm which might suit the tenant himself, but might be most unsuitable for the purposes of the landlord, or those of the adjacent holdings, under this Bill the landlord could not deal with the farm until he had paid the tenant the value of the house, built perhaps thirty-five years before, and to the erection of which he had been no party whatever. And there were many cases where the existence of a house upon a farm, instead of being an advantage, was a detriment. In the case of drainage, again. This was at the root of all agricultural improvement, especially in Ireland; but, unless properly done, it might be absolutely detrimental to the land itself. Thorough drainage could not he carried out by ignorant men, or men with only small holdings. But, according to this Bill, if a man drained in the most slovenly and inappropriate way—if he ran his drains across instead of down hill, and neglected to make a proper outfall—if, in fact, the land was in any way removed to make a drain, he had a right at any time within thirty years to come down upon the landlord and make him pay for this inferior and badly-done work. What would be the effect of all this? Why, that the landlord, on taking possession of the farm, would find that the whole of the work-had to be done over again, being obliged, in addition, to repay the outlay of the tenant thirty-one years before. The same rule applied to farm roads. A farm road became perfectly useless when the land was laid down in grass; hut because at one period it contributed to increase the letting value of the estate, the landlord would be obliged to pay for it at the end of a long term of years. He might go on almost ad infinitum showing how unjust, unequal, and uncertain these principles would be in the working, and how impossible it was that any just arrangement with regard to compensation could ever be come to between landlord and tenant unless at the time of entering into the agreement there was a specific contract between them. The Government themselves appeared to have felt that they had gone a little too far in this Bill, and, after transgressing in the most wholesale manner the principles of the law of property, with a view of obviating some of the dangers of the course taken, they proposed a remedy. This safeguard was, probably, the most wonderful ever found in an Act of Parliament. The 29th clause of the Bill stated that— No tenant shall be entitled to compensation under this Act in respect of any improvements which the owner might have compelled him to make, or restrained him from making, in pursuance of any contract in writing regulating the terms of the tenancy. That clause, when read, created great astonishment, and even puzzled the legal knowledge and acumen of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Belfast (Sir Hugh Cairns), who accordingly thought it necessary to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether it might not enable the landlords entirely to defeat the operation of all the other clauses. The answer of the Attorney General was most remarkable. He said that if a landlord made a contract specifically restraining the tenant from draining, or from building a house, or from reclaiming any bog, and no particular time was specified, then there would be no claim for compensation; but if a formal clause were inserted in the contract whereby the tenant bound himself not to take advantage of the provisions of the present Bill, that contract would be entirely invalid, as repugnant to the legislation of the country. That was the way in which the matter stood; and was it, he asked, a position in which the House wished to place any proprietor? A landlord, in place of holding out inducements to his tenantry to improve the land, would be actually obliged, in his own defence, and to protect his successors, to specify in the contract between the tenant and himself the particular improvements which a tenant was not to make—an extraordinary way, certainly, of promoting the general improvement of the country. The Attorney General said, "Oh, landlords are not so hard-hearted; it is impossible to suppose that they would in general enforce any such system of contract." He was happy to believe that Irish landlords were not bard-hearted; but this was a matter, not of feeling, but of business. The question was, whether proprietors of estates should permit these to be subjected hereafter to indefinite and vague charges, the extent of which they did not know, and were ignorant of the very time when these were to be enforced. If this Bill passed into law, though landlords might have been on the most kindly relations with their tenants, in defence of themselves and of their children, they must import the most rigid terms into every contract. There was another proposition in this Bill of a wholly novel character. It was that the amount of compensation to be given to the tenant was to be calculated not on the outlay made by him, but on the increased letting value of the farm. In the first place, he thought that mode of valuation impossible; and, in the next, if it were possible, it would be unfair. It was impossible because this question was to be decided by a valuator. The valuator would be called in, and on proceeding to value an improvement made eighteen or twenty years before he would ask what was the letting value at the time the improvement was made. And how could that be ascertained? The rent would be no criterion, because the farm might have been let too high, or it might have been let too low. There would be no documentary evidence, and the valuator would be obliged to depend upon the word of the tenant. Would that be a satisfactory mode of deciding the value of land at some particular date, eighteen or twenty years before? It would be better to let the landlord and the tenant decide the matter by a toss up, than to leave it in such a state as that. But the principle was unfair. He maintained, and the law had always maintained, that the increased let- ting value of a farm did not belong to the tenant, but to the landlord; and the custom of the country recognized that it did belong to the landlord, because where compensation was given it was awarded on the outlay of the tenant. But on the principle introduced in the Government Bill he saw an old friend. It was to some extent one of the leading doctrines of a body which had existed in Ireland, and which had been called "the Tenant League." The leaders of that association laid down that in all future dealings between landlord and tenant this principle should be adopted—namely, that the only right of property which the landlord possessed was that of property in the land in its original state, and that if any improvement in the land gave it an increased value this belonged to the tenant. A more dangerous or a more communistic principle than that never was broached. He contended that one of the provisions in the Bill would lead to that principle, because if Parliament once declared that it was not the outlay of the tenant but the increased letting value which was to decide the amount of compensation, to some extent that principle to which he had just referred would be established by law. There was another important view of this subject. He wished the House to consider what effect such legislation as this might have on the tenantry of Ireland. He had never, in that House or elsewhere, made imputations on that tenantry, but much had been said from time to time about their laziness and improvidence. He believed there were to be found among the occupiers of farms in Ireland men as industrious, as honest, and as thrifty as any peasantry on the face of the earth, although they had not the commercial spirit so strong in them as the farmers of England, In his own neighbourhood there were a number of small holdings as well farmed and managed as thriftily as any farms to be found in any country in Europe. But what would be the effect of such legislation as this? Would it not engender a total want of confidence between the landlord and tenant? As had been observed by a noble Lord who gave evidence before the Committee of last Session, the interests of landlord and tenant were bound up together like those of husband and wife, and anything that improved the condition of the one ought to improve the condition of the other. He was afraid, however, that if this Bill passed an impression would spring up among the landlords of Ireland that their properties were not safe, and they would feel bound to take steps to protect the incomes on which they and their families depended, and therefore with a view to save themselves from loss, they would refuse to let their farms to men of small means. He had stated, in the few observations which he addressed to the House when this measure was introduced, that he thought the immediate effect of it would be to produce a large number of evictions. It would produce either evictions or contracts of a most stringent character. As a landlord, he was in favour of contracts between landlord and tenant; but he had great doubts whether the small tenantry would be much benefited by contracts. Though the landlord might be secured in his rent, and find his property on the whole more safe if there were written contracts, he had great doubts whether, in times of difficulty and destitution, they would not prove prejudicial to the tenant. Therefore, though in the abstract he was in favour of contracts, he thought that if he were in the position of a small tenant, his inclination would not be in that direction. But it was said that the landlords might be forced to give leases. That was true; but the landlord would have a choice. They could not force him to give a lease to a poor struggling man. If he were compelled to part with his farm for a number of years he could not be made to lease it to a tenant who could not farm it. It followed, therefore, that one of the effects of this Bill might be to make landlords consolidate their farms. Now, he never had spoken in favour of a general consolidation of farms. In some cases, such as that of grass lands, it might answer very well; but in a very large portion of Ireland small farms were more beneficial to the landlord and the tenant, and tended more to promote the interests of the country generally. He was of opinion, therefore, that observations as to the great improvement resulting from large farms might be very inapplicable to some parts of the country, while they might be correct as applied to others. If this Bill passed into a law it would hold out a permanent inducement to the landlord to resume the occupation of his farms and evict the tenants. Take the case of a tenant making improvements without the consent of the landlord. The landlord might say, a few years afterwards, "I shall have to pay for this in twenty-five years; it will pay me better to pay for it now and take possession of the land," and he would accordingly get rid of the tenant and let the farm at a higher rent. This was a case that would present itself to the mind of every landlord should this Bill pass, and he was confirmed in that opinion by one of the most experienced land agents in Ireland, who had pointed out that that would be the effect of the Bill. Then, again, as to the compensation to be given to the tenant, this was proposed to be limited to £5 an acre, and a limitation of that kind was very reasonable if so uncertain a principle were adopted. It was obvious, however, that the limit of £5 per acre might prove hereafter to be wholly inadequate to the tenant for the outlay he had made. He would take the case of a man holding a farm of ten acres, and would suppose that he made the following outlay:—Thoroughly draining two acres at £7 per acre, £14; thirty perches of road, at 5s., £7 10s.; building a cowshed, £25; sinking 100 perches of river, at 4s. a perch, £20; reclaiming and clearing two acres, at £5 an acre, £10;—making in all £76 10s. Under the present Bill the maximum compensation he would receive would be £50, but the actual sum would probably be a great deal less; whereas, under the Act of 1860, if he effected his improvements with the consent of his landlord, he would get £76—that was to say, an annuity spread over a certain number of years, and made a first charge on the land, and which was worth £76 at the date it commenced. Looking, therefore, at the question from a tenant's point of view, and putting a case which was very likely to occur, he would get £76 under the measure of 1860 and only £50 under the present Bill. He objected to this Bill, because it was wholly at variance with what he believed was the solemn decision of Parliament on this matter, and the Resolution he proposed was framed in direct accordance with the principle of the Act of 1860, and with the opinion of the Committee that sat last year. It appeard to him that the conduct of the Government upon this matter had been, to say the least, very inconsistent. In 1860 a measure was introduced by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Cardwell) on the responsibility of the Government, and it was passed after considerable discussion. The right hon. Gentleman, in introducing that Bill, stated that any departure from its principle would not only be wrong in itself, but would be fatal to any permanent settlement of this difficult question. Then, what happened last year? The hon, Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) moved for a Committee to inquire into the operation of the Act of 1860. It was granted, and the Committee sat for a considerable time, the witnesses examined being entirely in the interest of the hon. Member. At the close of the Session the Committee, by a large majority, came to a Resolution which was substantially the same as that which he now had the honour to move. Moreover, so short a time ago as last year many of the leading Members of the present Government expressed very strong opinions on this matter. Lord Palmerston, speaking in answer to the hon. Member for Cork, said— The hon. Member said that, in his opinion, the veto of the landlord ought not to be sufficient to prevent the tenant from making unauthorized improvements upon the property of the landlord, but that some tribunal should be created which should determine as between landlord and tenant what changes the tenant—for I will not adopt the word 'improvements' for they may not be improvements—may make upon the landlord's property, and what should be the conditions of rent and of period of occupation which the tenant should be liable to and have a right to with regard to the landlord. Now, it seems to me that an arrangement of that kind would violate the fundamental principles of justice."—[3 Hansard, clxxviii. 619.] Now, with the exception of the question of rent, the present Bill proceeded in precisely the same manner as that of the hon. Member for Cork. Indeed, it went further, for it omitted this proposition for establishing a tribunal to determine the value of these improvements at the time they were made. It was, therefore, substantially the same proposal as that which Lord Palmerston declared to be a violation of the fundamental principles of justice. What, too, did the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Cardwell) say at a later period? He spoke last year in the following terms:— I wish to express my individual opinion that, by whatever name it may be called, compulsory compensation for improvements effected against the will of the landlord is not a principle which is consistent with the rights of property."—[3 Hansard, clxxx. 758.] He hoped, therefore, that when the House went to a division the right hon. Gentleman would give his vote for his Resolution. The present Chief Secretary for Ireland also took an active part in the discussion of the Committee, and fully agreed with their Resolution. Besides this, there was the evidence of a noble Lord who, he rejoiced to say, was now a member of the Go- vernment, and whose evidence showed the most intimate knowledge of the subject, and had been read from one end of the country to the other. He would not trouble the House with extracts, but the whole tenour of Lord Dufferin's evidence was strongly against the principle of this Bill; and he believed the noble Lord went so far as to say that if he had an estate that was to be liable for improvements made in so uncertain and indefinite a manner lie should be inclined to give up the estate altogether. The late Prime Minister, who was intimately acquainted with the country, and the then Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Robert Peel), had always expressed themselves most strongly, most emphatically, against the principle of this Bill. Unfortunately, however, the death of Lord Palmerston took place, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel was either turned out of office or was invited to retire, and the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary was promoted in his place. It was a somewhat remarkable fact that from the date of the retirement of the right hon. Baronet the whole policy of the Government towards Ireland changed. He did not wish to go into the whole question of the present policy of the Government towards Ireland, but he would, in a few words, allude to the measures now contemplated by Government with regard to that country. The Secretary of State for the Home Department had declared that the system of education as administered in Queen's College, Ireland, was to be altered, and that Bills were to be submitted to Parliament for that purpose. They had the most important declaration from the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland that great alterations would be made in the poor schools in Ireland, and that the mixed system of education in the model schools would be so changed as in his opinion to be greatly impaired. Again, the Chief Secretary the Other night expressed his approval of a Motion coining from the Benches below the gangway advocating the total and entire abolition of the Established Church in that country. They then had the present Bill introduced, which, in his opinion, was entirely repugnant to all principles of British law, and was fatal to the rights of property. It was a singular coincidence that these changes were promised at the moment when the exigencies of party were peculiarly severe, and when equal divisions were expected. He regretted that the Government, to whom they should be able to look for the protection of the rights of property, of the Church, and of free education, should introduce such a measure as that before them, which he regarded as an attempt to fulfil a rash promise. He submitted with the greatest confidence the Resolution of which he had given notice.


seconded the Motion.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House, though desirous of simplifying the method of securing to tenants compensation for outlay made in permanent improvements, is of opinion that, in any measure relating to the Tenure and Improvement of Land in Ireland, it is expedient to maintain the principle affirmed by the Act of 1860, namely, that compensation to tenants should be secured in respect of those improvements only which are made with the consent of the landlord; and that the provisions as to the Improvement of Land in Ireland contained in the measure of Her Majesty's Government would operate injuriously on the position of holders of small farms in that Country,"—(Lord Naas,) —instead thereof.

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


regretted that the noble Lord (Lord Naas) should not have found it consistent with his duty to permit the Bill to be read a second time; but that instead of doing so he should have thought proper to interpose the Resolution he had just moved. It was not his office to defend the general policy of the Government with regard to Ireland, but with regard to the last observation of the noble Lord, he begged to inform him that, so far from the present measure having been brought in with a view to affect the approaching critical division, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, immediately after he took office, had entered into consultation with him (the Attorney General) with respect to introducing a measure on this subject, and the present Bill was the result. The general policy of the Government towards Ireland he left to stand upon its own merits, as he was assured that the just and liberal principles upon which it was founded would meet with the general approval of the House and the country. The noble Lord had stated that he had no objection to the principle of compensation to tenants for improvements effected by them, provided that the rights of property were in no way interfered with. Well, this was precisely what the Bill did. It carried out the principle of compensation to tenants for improvements without injuring the rights of property. The conclusion which he (the Attorney General) arrived at was that the noble Lord had not read the Bill which he condemned. He had fallen into the gravest and the most serious errors as to the vital principle of the Bill, which, with his sound understanding, he could hardly have done had he read the Bill. The noble Lord told them that the Bill was founded upon principles contrary to natural justice. He said that if a tenant built upon a small farm a house, however unsuitable, even should it deteriorate the value of the property, he would be entitled to be paid the fall amount he had expended whenever he left the farm. Had the noble Lord read the Bill he would have seen that the compensation of the tenant was not to be based on the outlay or expenditure, but on the consideration whether, in making the improvement, the tenant had increased the value of the farm, and that this was to be ascertained by a valuator, and that the landlord was to pay no more than the amount of the increased value which the improvement had given to the farm. Well, was this subversive of natural justice and equity? Was this against the rights of property? Was it not rather a principle on which every honest man, without the compulsion of an Act of Parliament, would act? He believed that every English landowner would agree with him that the provision was a very just one. The noble Lord said further that if a tenant drained his farm in an ineffectual manner, or by neglect allowed the improvement to become worthless, he would still be entitled to compensation; whereas the Bill distinctly stated that where the improvements were inefficiently performed no compensation should be made, and that the valuator in ascertaining the amount of compensation should take into consideration any deterioration of the improvements owing to the tenant's neglect, and reduce the award of compensation accordingly. Was this against natural justice and subversive of the rights of property? The noble Lord fell into a further error in asking who was to compel the tenant to accept the thirty-one years' lease, the granting of which by the landlord was to be a full discharge of all the tenant's claims for compensation. But the Bill provides that the offer by the landlord of the lease was to bar the tenant's claim. The noble Lord had evidently read only the marginal note and not the clause itself. The marginal note is— Grant of a lease of thirty-one years or upwards to be in lieu of all claims for compensation. But if the noble Lord had read the clause he would have found that it runs thus— And if any owner having power to make a lease for thirty-one or any greater number of years shall notify in writing to the tenant that he is willing to make to him a lease for the term of thirty-one or any greater number of years of his farm or holding, at the rent at which the same is then held, with the ordinary covenants between landlord and tenant, and if within three months after such notice the tenant shall not state to the landlord in writing his willingness to accept such lease, he shall be debarred from making any claim for improvements either then or afterwards made by him on his farm or holding. Thus the noble Lord came there upon a mere superficial reading of the Bill to take its framers to task. He could assure the noble Lord that the Bill had been drawn up after mature, careful, and deliberate consideration, and he was confident that it would recommend itself to every man of sound understanding, who believed that property had its duties as well as its rights, and that a landlord was bound to deal justly and honestly by his tenant. The noble Lord had said that it would be impossible to get the valuation made; but there could not be any difficulty in making this valuation, when it was remembered that every tenement in Ireland was periodically and minutely valued by Government valuators appointed for that purpose; and therefore there was no difficulty whatever in ascertaining the value of any property in any particular year. To do so it was only necessary to turn to the Government books. The noble Lord, in opposing the Bill, had argued that it was destructive to the rights of the landlord, while it did not confer sufficient benefits upon the tenant. The noble Lord had objected to the limit of £5 an acre for improvements, and suggested that it should have been fixed at £1; but, instead of opposing the second reading of the Bill, it would be perfectly competent for him to move the increase of the sum named to the latter amount in Committee. The Government had limited themselves to that sum because they regarded it as a sufficient compensation for ordinary improvements; and in cases where anything beyond that was concerned, the tenant, knowing the state of the law, would have to make a special agreement with his landlord. If the House would listen to him for a short time he trusted he would be able to show that the present Bill solved a problem which the noble Lord himself admitted ought to be solved; in other words, that it benefited the tenant without interfering in any way with the just rights of property. It might be advisable to remind the noble Lord, as one connected with the landed interests of the country, that this, or any other measure of a similar character, ought to be met by the landed interest in a spirit of conciliation and concession, and that the landed interest of Ireland ought to be anxious to secure the settlement of this long-vexed question. The noble Lord had said that there was no necessity for legislation of this kind. Now he (Mr. Lawson) thought it was scarcely to be denied that a widespread spirit of discontent pervaded the tenantry of Ireland with respect to the state of the law relating to landlord and tenant. ["No, no!" "Hear, hear!"] He would show before he concluded, not only that such a feeling did exist, hut that under the present state of the law such a feeling was both natural and just, and that the Bill offered a solution of the difficulty on the points on which it touched, which would protect the just rights of the tenant without infringing on the just rights of the landlord. Let the House not forget the many attempts which had been made to legislate on the subject. From the year 1835 down to the year 1860 scarcely a Session had elapsed without some such attempt being made. In 1845 Lord Stanley introduced a measure for settling the question, and he then stated that where the tenant had laid out money he ought to have compensation either in money or in the duration of the terra; that where a tenant had increased the value of the fee-simple, and the landlord took advantage of his being a tenant-at-will and turned him out, it was the duty of the Legislature to interfere. He (Mr. Lawson) commended these sentiments to the attention of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and thought it would be very hard to distinguish them from the principles of the present Bill. Some hon. Gentlemen said—why legislate on the subject at all—why not leave these matters to be settled between the landlord and the tenant as in England? In order to answer that question it was necessary to advert to facts. The circumstances of the two countries were entirely different. This was fully set forth in the Report of the Devon Commission. The Commissioners, in their Report, said— It is well known that in England and Scotland, before a landlord offers a farm for letting, he finds it necessary to provide a suitable farmhouse, with necessary farm buildings, for the proper management of the farm. He puts the gates and fences into good order, and he also takes upon himself a great part of the burden of keeping the buildings in repair during the term; and the rent is fixed with reference to this state of things. Such, at least, is generally the case although special contracts may occasionally be made, varying the arrangements between landlord and tenant. In Ireland the case is wholly different. The smallness of the farms as they are usually let, together with other circumstances to which it is not necessary to advert, render the introduction of the English system extremely difficult, and in many oases impracticable. It is admitted on all hands that according to the general practice in Ireland, the landlord builds neither dwelling-house nor farm offices, nor puts fences, gates, &c, into good order, before he lets his land to a tenant. The cases in which a landlord does any of those things are the exceptions. The system, however, of giving aid in these matters is becoming more prevalent. The evidence given before the Committee of this House last Session proved that this state of things still continued. When, therefore, farms were let to tenants without those appliances which were necessary to their cultivation, if the tenant-at-will at his own expense made those improvements it was a question whether a landlord ought to be allowed at any moment to put an end to the tenancy, to confiscate those improvements, and deprive the tenant of the actual sum which he had thus invested. There had of course been extreme views advocated on this as on other subjects, and the noble Lord appeared to fear this measure because he saw in it something which savoured, as he thought, of the doctrine of fixity of tenure. The noble Lord on the one hand would have no change in the existing system—on the other hand a fixed tenure and compensation for retrospective improvements was insisted on by some. Now, by the Bill there was no compensation provided for retrospective improvements, nor in respect of contracts in existence before its passing. Its object was to do justice between landlord and tenant. The real question was how to secure compensation for the tenant without interfering with the just rights of the landlord. If the tenant had no compensation for improvements he would not improve; if he did improve, and the landlord had no more to pay than the actual cost of the improve- ments, he would be no sufferer, and would be in the same position as if the tenant had not improved. If he received so much more a year by reason of the improvements, he could only be called on to pay the sum which represented that increased value. The outlay of the tenant might be injudicious, and impart no value to the farm, but in such a case the tenant would get nothing. Unless his improvement was an existing improvement which added something in pounds, shillings, and pence to the value, he would not be entitled to compensation. He thought the proposed arrangement between landlord and tenant was perfectly just. But there was something higher to look to than the relations between landlord and tenant, and that was the interest of the community at large. It was the interest of the community that the land should be improved—that a state of the law should not be allowed to exist under which the tenant was discouraged from making any improvements, because he must be dependent on the mercy of the landlord whether his outlay was to be confiscated or not. What would be said of a trade or manufacture carried on upon that principle? The knowledge that any improvement introduced would not benefit the author, but that the profits would accrue to a third party, could have no other effect than that of paralyzing trade, and agriculture must in this respect he regarded as on the same footing as any other branch of industry. Under such a system no improvements would be made, for if they were to be made they would be at the disposal of the landlord. In fact, it was a good illustration of the sic vos non vobis principle. As evidence of the few freeholders or leaseholders now existing in Ireland, he said that he had often noticed during his professional experience the difficulty there was in some parts of Ireland of getting a sufficient number of jurymen, because tenants-at-will were not competent to sit in that capacity. Criminal justice, indeed, had often been delayed from that cause. Proceeding to discuss the arguments offered against the Bill, he would inquire of those who asserted that the securing of compensation without express contract was in violation of the first principles of justice, whether it was in accordance with natural justice and equity that improvements made by a tenant-at-will should become the property of the landlord? No such thing. It was the result of a legal implication founded on the feudal maxim that whatever was placed on the soil belonged to the soil; although the Act of 1860 provided that the relation between landlord and tenant should rest upon contract, and not upon feudal principles. The principle of such implied contract was not founded upon natural justice; indeed, the common law had always allowed the presumption to be rebutted by slight circumstances, and the exceptions to the rule, quicquid plantalur solo, solo cœdet, were numerous. Natural justice, in his opinion, required that the landlord should get back his land in precisely the same state as he gave it to the tenant, neither worse nor better, and it was contrary to natural justice to take it in an improved condition, caused by the outlay of the tenant, and refuse compensation when the landlord did not protect himself by an express contract; and, in his opinion, the law should be framed in accordance with that view. It should not be supposed that the Bill under consideration forbade the making of specific agreements between landlord and tenant; on the contrary, it gave full power and great encouragement to do so. The framers of the measure proceeded upon the assumption that a man who had acquired a lease for thirty-one years had sufficient motive to induce him to improve the land. According to English notions, perhaps thirty-one years might appear to be a long period, and it might be suggested that twenty-one years would be sufficient; but it should not be forgotten that many facilities existed in England for the improvement of land, while Ireland was notoriously deficient in that respect; profits, therefore, accrued less rapidly in Ireland, and the making of improvements was proportionately slow. But although the tenant in the absence of a contract could obtain compensation for any improvements he might make, the landlord could protect himself if he chose by making a special contract prohibiting the tenant from making any improvements of the kind specified in the Bill. He did not think any landlord would be so shortsighted as to make such a contract; but it was impossible to prevent a landlord from entering into a contract which might have the effect of securing the continued barrenness of the land; if that was to be done let it be done by the individual—let the responsibility rest on the man who insisted on his tenant entering into such a contract; but let it no longer be said that the law sanctioned this injustice—that in the absence of a contract the tenant should have no right to claim compensation for the additional value which he had given to the land by his outlay. At present a landlord might stand by watching his tenant-at-will as he improved the land; and when the improvement was completed the tenant might be made to leave, without power to gain compensation for its expenditure upon the land. He appealed to the House no longer to permit the law of England to sanction such monstrous injustice. If the tenant claimed compensation under this Bill the entire onus would be thrown upon him of showing that the improvements were effected and had Increased the value of his holding. That was more favourable to the landlord than to the tenant, for the latter would have to satisfy the valuator sent down by a public body that he had made a beneficial improvement and increased the value of the land to the amount claimed. Ample provision was made by the Bill for the valuation of the improvements the tenant might allege he had made. The machinery of valuation was similar to that in use when land is to be acquired by Irish railway companies under compulsory powers. A valuator, acting under the Commissioners of Public Works, inspected the property and made his award. He would in the case of improvements certify also to their efficiency, and judge of them in respect to the additional value they had given to the land. It was proposed that if either tenant or landlord were dissatisfied with the award they should have power of appeal to the Chairman of Quarter Sessions without the intervention of a jury, What could be more satisfactory or less expensive than such an arrangement, or by what means could the interests of the landlord be more jealously guarded? He denied that this measure would interfere with any just right of property. It only effect would be to prevent a bad landlord from doing that which no good landlord would ever think of doing. The noble Lord had said that in his opinion this Bill, if passed, would produce a want of confidence between landlord and tenant. On this he would remark that there had always been a want of confidence between had landlords and their tenants; but this Bill would do nothing to impair the just confidence which existed between good landlords and their tenants. If this Bill became law, a man who held, say five acres of arable land and thirty acres of mountain and bog, and who spent his whole time in reclaiming the Waste and clearing it from rocks and stones, in the hope of bringing more and more of it year after year into cultivation, would be sustained by the consciousness that he could not be despoiled at the mere will or caprice of any man, but would feel assured that the value of the improvements he had effected could not be taken from him. Now that, in his opinion, would give a wonderful stimulus to the carrying out of improvements. The noble Lord had said that the tenants had money. Well, if that were the case—and no doubt in many cases they had sums of money hoarded up—where could they find a better bank to invest it in than their little farm if proper security were given? This Bill would create an extraordinary stimulus to improvement, and would remove the discontent now existing in the minds of the peasants, without doing any injustice to the landlords. Indeed, its effect upon the tenant class could not be over estimated. When he heard this measure described, on the one hand, as being destructive to the race of landlords, and, on the other, as conferring no real benefit upon the tenants, the conclusion he came to was that it was a just, a fair, and a reasonable Bill, and that while it did not infringe in any respect the rights of property, it held out to the tenant a reasonable hope of obtaining a fair amount of compensation for his improvements. He thought it was desirable to facilitate and promote the practice of written contracts between landlords and tenants, because then each person would know exactly how he was situate, and the Bill would have this operation. This Bill did not propose to destroy altogether the right of distress, but it would prevent the exercise of that right unless it were expressly conferred by a written agreement. The harsh exercise of the right to distrain had resulted in many cases of an extremely painful character, and he could, if necessary, quote the opinions of learned Judges as to the acts of injustice which had sometimes been committed. Indeed, he could truly say that in almost every instance the existence of agrarian outrages could be traced to some harsh dealing of a landlord with his tenantry. He hoped the time had now come when the British Legislature would give its consent to a Bill so sound in principle, and based, as he believed it was, on the principles of natural justice.


Sir, as one of those who joined in the Resolution of the Committee to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Lawson) has alluded—the Resolution—namely, which declared that no compensation for improvements ought to be given except where the improvements had been made with the consent of the landlord, I heard, with most unfeigned astonishment, that this Bill was in accordance with it. Because, let the House consider what the state of the law is now. The Bill of 1860, which was introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies when Secretary for Ireland, provided a most elaborate machinery for the assessment of the value of improvements; only in the 38th and 40th clauses it provided that no compensation should be paid unless the consent of the landlord had been obtained to the improvements, that is, unless be had full notice and time to dissent and had not done so. That Bill has been in force four years, and now the Government bring forward a Bill which contains a schedule for the repeal of these clauses, which render necessary the consent of the landlord before he can be charged with improvements. Not only so, but my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland, in introducing this Bill, made use of this language. He said, speaking of the Bill of 1860— There was the very great obstacle that in every instance before the improvement could be made notice had to be given by the tenant to the landlord, which would act as an invitation to dissent on the landlord's part, and which, in the unanimous opinion of all acquainted with Irish tenant farmers, had operated and would operate as a total bar to the success of the Act."—[3 Hansard, clxxxiii. 219.] The object, therefore, of this Bill is to get rid of that bar to the success of that Act. But what is that bar? Why, that the landlord was to be informed by the tenant, and was to consent to improvements before he was charged with them. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that is contrary to natural justice. He says, in substance, that the Legislature should withhold from the landlord all the means of knowledge which the Act of 1860 provides for him. That is the only ground on which the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant bases his Bill; yet the landlord, after this knowledge, has been studiously withheld from him by the Act of the Legislature—after all we could do has been done to keep him in ignorance of the fact of these improvements going on—is to be taken as consent- ing by implication of law and the principles of natural justice to the very thing we take every means to prevent him from knowing. That is not my notion of natural justice. If it is naturally just that a landlord should be charged with improvements only when he has knowledge of them, is it not a just law that provides that he shall have that knowledge? And is it not an unjust law, which provides as far as it can, that he shall not have that knowledge? Well, but to mount a little higher—we are told by the right hon. and learned Gentleman that this Bill rests on the principles of natural justice. Now, that is a very important statement, and one which I wish the House carefully to attend to. Because look at the fact—at the present moment the landlords of England, Scotland, and Ireland enjoy this right, that they shall not be charged in the absence of any contract with improvements made by their tenants unless they have consented to those improvements. It is proposed by this Bill to deprive the landlords of Ireland of this right; but it is proposed to leave this right to the landlords of England and of Scotland. It becomes, therefore, exceedingly important to ascertain on what ground this deprivation is advocated. If it is a ground peculiar to Ireland, I can understand it. It has its own importance. But if the ground is that of natural justice and right, it is not peculiar to one side of the Channel or another—and we are asked to assent to a principle which resting on such grounds may be used on another occasion with crushing and invincible force against ourselves. What, then, is this principle of natural justice? I have always understood that natural justice between landlord and tenant consists in the observance on both sides of contracts into which they have entered, and out of which their rights arise. I hold it is a retrograde notion in jurisprudence to pass laws to limit the power of free contract between landlord and tenant. I hold this introduction of a compulsory term into voluntary contracts to be a blunder—a solecism—in the very nature of things. Because it must come to this—when you introduce a compulsory term into a voluntary contract either both parties know it or they do not. If they know of that compulsory term, provision is made for it in the contract, and so the provision is nugatory; if they do not both know, a fraud is committed on the one who does not. This, therefore, is a thoroughly unsound principle on which to base any piece of legislation. I think the true principle on this matter is that as this relation arises only out of contract we should leave the contract to determine itself, having reference to custom, which is in the minds of both parties. I think, if you go beyond that, you get into dangerous and mischievous perplexities from which you will be unable to rescue yourselves. The truth is, this matter is a part of that branch of morals which deals with imperfect obligations. All jurists distinguish between perfect and imperfect obligations; and the fallacy of the Attorney General for Ireland is that he is seeking to enforce by law a matter which like gratitude and charity, for instance, ought to prevail universally, but with which positive law has nothing to do, since the only obligation the law can recognize arises out of contract, and must be left to be determined by the contract; but look a little further into this doctrine of natural justice. A tenant takes land for a specific purpose—cultivation or pasture; he should have over it just as much power and dominion as he contracts for; and if he assumes to deal with it as if he were the permanent owner, and goes beyond his mere possession as the hirer or holder, is he not going beyond the domain of natural justice, inasmuch as he avails himself of a contract entered into with him for one purpose to extend it to another not in the contemplation of the other party? Suum cuique tribuito—that is natural justice. If the tenant chooses to improve the land, unless he takes the precaution to obtain the consent of the land-land—whether he increases the value of the property or not—he has no business to meddle with it. It is in the nature of a deposit in his hands, and he ought to return it as he received it. He receives it for a particular purpose, and for that purpose only he ought to use it. If he uses it for another purpose—to build a house on it, for instance—it may be a great improvement, but he has no right to do it—it is beyond the contract he entered into; and if there be no agreement in natural justice he has no right to compensation. If you go beyond this principle and permit men to set up notions for themselves as to what they may do under certain circumstances with other men's property you involve yourselves, as the framers of this Bill have done, in endless difficulties. Look at what this Bill does. The Attorney General says it has been framed with the utmost care and solicitude; and no doubt the 28th clause, which gives this power of compensation, is perfectly clear and explicit— Any tenant of lands may make such improvements therein as are mentioned in the 37th section of the Landed Property (Ireland) Improvement Act 1860, and upon the determination of the tenancy by effluxion of time, or by the act of the owner, the tenant shall be entitled, save as hereinafter excepted, by way of compensation for his outlay, to a sum of money, &c. That is quite clear; but now comes the 29th clause, and I hope some one who speaks on the part of the Government will tell us what it means. I have read it over and over again, but it entirely baffles my powers of construction. Literally and grammatically understood it would simply repeal the 28th clause altogether. The clause says— No tenant shall be entitled to compensation under this Act in respect of any improvements which the owner might have compelled him to make or restrained him from making in pursuance of any contract in writing regulating the terms of the tenancy. It would come to this—that in order to ascertain whether a tenant is able to recover for improvements or not, you must examine whether they could have been included in any contract in writing, and if they could have been included then he would not be entitled. I know that is not the meaning; but what the meaning is I confess passes my comprehension. Had I not been told the Attorney General for Ireland had paid great care and attention to the framing of this Bill I should have said this clause was a Blip of the pen. I hope the meaning of it will be explained. [An hon. MEMBER observed, that it was matter for consideration in Committee.] Yes, it may be a matter for Committee, but unfortunately the principle of the whole Bill is in it. The Bill in the most explicit language saddles the landlords of Ireland with the necessity of paying for these improvements, and this is the clause relaxing the obligation, and therefore it is important to know what is the meaning of it. No one can have read the Irish newspapers, or attended to what has passed at public meetings in Ireland, without being aware that the most different constructions are put on it. With the view of ascertaining what the Government themselves say on the subject, I turn to the speech of the Chief Secretary of the Lord Lieutenant, and he says— At the same time it was proposed to interfere in no way with the perfect freedom of contract between landlord and tenant; but the Act pro- vided that, in the absence of any written contract to the contrary, the tenant shall, by the general rule of law, have a general beneficial interest in the permanent improvements executed at his cost. Then the right hon. Gentleman goes on to say— While they left the landlord and tenant at perfect liberty to regulate their own affairs by written contract, they yet proposed to place the law of the country on the side of natural equity and justice. Now, I ask the House can any man, reading those two passages, fail to come to the conclusion that it is perfectly open to the landlord and tenant to contract as to whether these improvements shall he made or not; but the Attorney General for Ireland has told you that is not open—that while a landlord and tenant may contract in this way about specified improvements it would be an illegal contract if applied to improvements generally. Thus the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General for Ireland are at issue, and the clause which is to decide between them is incapable of rational construction. The whole of the improvements, however, cannot be by contract exempted from compensation; we know not how much can; and that is the position in which it is proposed to place Irish landlords, and on such a state of law every man is to be told to regulate his transactions. It is such a proposed enactment as this, which allows a man to do a great deal, but not all, and which does not draw the line between what he may and may not do, which has been described as having been carefully prepared, as calculated to allay angry passions, to do away with mistrust, and to establish peace and confidence between Irish tenants and landlords. Why is this Bill introduced? On looking to the speech of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, I find that he stated in the most glowing manner the wonderful improvements which had been going on in Ireland since 1841; how 2,000,000 acres of wild land had been brought into cultivation, and what an enormous quantity of good of different kinds had been done—the right hon. Gentleman seemed to look with wonder and astonishment on what had been effected; and therefore it could not be that this Bill has been introduced because the present state of the law prevents improvements. Well, I expected that the right hon. Gentleman would show that the existing law was calculated to prevent future improvements—but there was not a syllable in his speech to that effect. Then, if the law has not prevented improvements in the past, and if improvements are likely to go on in the future, I thought he would have shown that Irish landlords in general were taking advantage of the state of the law, and grossly oppressing their tenants—but the right hon. Gentleman never alluded to that subject. He seemed to think, because improvements were going on very fast in Ireland, that that was a reason for altering the state of the law. Again, the Attorney General for Ireland disclaimed the idea of basing the Bill on the ground of oppressive conduct on the part of the Irish landlords. He said that— Flagrant instances of injustice on the part of Irish landlords were now and then brought to light; but these, he honestly believed, were the exception and not the rule. Well, the same thing may be said in respect to England—no doubt there are in this country cases of exceptional hardship. But what are you going to do? You are going to introduce a principle which is to be applied to Ireland, but not to England and Scotland, and that on the plea that it is to meet an exception and not the rule. If this be so, what ground is there for the Bill? The Attorney General for Ireland quoted some extracts from the Report of Lord Devon's Commission in 1845. But we have not been asleep since then. Enormous improvements have been made in Ireland in the interval, and are now going on, and yet you now propose to make this important change, which cuts deep into the principles on which property is based, on grounds which are to be found only in a Report made twenty years ago, and which have since disappeared. No attempt has been made to show that there is any case of practical grievance, or of serious inconvenience. In the Select Committee of last year it is true that witnesses came before us and gave evidence in support of the principle involved in this Bill; but then these gentlemen knew nothing about land. On the other hand, we had two witnesses of practical experience, Mr. Curling and Lord Dufferin, and they both gave evidence against the notion that any practical grievance existed. I am not going to enter into abstract questions, but the property of the landlord consists in his rights over the soil, not in the soil itself, and, therefore, when you take away his rights you pro tanto take away his property. We know the history of this question and what it implies. I do not believe that there is any really serious demand on the part of the tenantry of Ireland for this measure. ["Oh, oh!"] I do not pretend to have an extensive knowledge of Ireland or its people; indeed, I should not have presumed to speak on the subject at all, but having been selected to serve on the Committee of last year, I had an opportunity of investigating the question. I did not find, after hearing the evidence of a great number of gentlemen, that there was any such demand; but I found that there was in Ireland a very great wish to maintain the present subdivided state of land occupations there, and that a Bill like the present is desired not to protect the tenant from ill-treatment on the part of the landlord, but to prevent the aggregation of farms together. A tenant may make improvements which, assuming things to remain as they are with regard to the subdivision farms, are good, though in the landlord's point of view, and on the plan he has for managing the estate, of which the tenant knows nothing, they may be no improvements, but incumbrances only. It is by facilitating the creation of these so called improvements under this Bill, not only without the consent, but against the consent of the landlord, that you will retard that which most persons wish to see done, who look at the question with a view to the good of the country—namely, the putting an end to very small holdings, and aggregating them into large farms. We must remember that there is a great wish on the part of a powerful body in Ireland to maintain the subdivision of land. It is the interest of the priesthood to have the land subdivided. They have to make out their existence from the benevolence of their congregations, and they believe that they have an interest in keeping up the subdivision of land—their interests are that the people should be numerous rather than wealthy. There is another consideration which should never be lost sight of. Why is it that the tenant does not make terms beforehand with the landlord for the improvements he wants to make? The fact is that the demand for land in Ireland is so infinitely greater than the supply, and one man is so pressing upon another, that the tenant does not propose anything which would imperil his holding. That is a thing which legislation cannot remedy—it depends upon the laws of demand and supply—the evil must be dealt with by other means, and it is being dealt with by emigration, which is gradually reducing the population, and will continue to reduce it until landlord and tenant will be able to negotiate with each other on terms of perfect equality, or as in America where the landlord is at the mercy of the tenant. If you give to the tenant the power of securing compensation for the improvements he may make, it will be subtracted from him in a very disadvantageous form. Do you think that by driving the landlord to make an express contract with his tenant you will do a wise thing? Do you think that by imposing penalties upon persons who will not enter into written contracts you will advance the interests of the present tenantry of Ireland? That is not by any means so plain. This question seems to me to be two sided. The condition in which the landlord will be placed has probably not escaped the thoughts of those who drew up this Bill. The Attorney General has told us that it will be illegal to make a contract against the obligation to give compensation to the tenant; and were it not so such a contract undoubtedly would be very unpopular, and we all know what unpopularity in Irish country districts means. You are going to force the landlord to enter into written contracts by which his liberty will be circumscribed beforehand; and the effect will be that the landlord will say, "In for a penny in for a pound. Eviction is better than ruin; I will get rid of these small farms and aggregate them to others." By such a course you will probably lay the foundation for what you want to avoid. There will be a tendency to get rid of the small holdings, as hotbeds of dispute and litigation, and the consequence will be greater hardship than any that could be removed by the present Bill. Then you are to abolish the law of distress except in cases of a written contract; but do you think you are benefiting the poor tenant by such a provision? The landlords, I humbly submit, are better judges in the matter of granting leases than this House can possibly be: and do yon think that you are benefiting the poor tenant by compelling the landlord, unless he grant a lease, to bring a civil action against his tenant instead of a distress, perhaps witnessing the disposal of his property, his cattle, his beasts, before his eyes, while the action against him for rent is going its slow course towards judgment. At a future time such a law may be beneficial to the country; but its operation will be exceedingly harsh during the exodus which is now going on. It will hurry on the pro- cess of evictions, and make it necessary for a landlord, for his own preservation, to turn out any tenant whom he cannot trust. Look, again, at the relation of landlord and tenant. It ought to be determined purely by contract; but there is no doubt that in Ireland it is simply the relation of the superior to the inferior, and the richer to the poorer. The latter has frequently to look to the benevolence, the generosity, the kindness, and the forbearance of his superior; but the effect of the compulsory powers proposed by the present Bill will be largely to prevent the exercise of those qualities. It is of no use whatever to expect to meet the case by forcing upon the landlord to do that to which, in the management of his property, he is averse. By such a proceeding are you not putting a weapon into the people's hands, which, if used, is sure to recoil with ten-fold force against their own breasts? Do you think you are acting wisely in encouraging the inferior to deal with the superior in a strict, it may be harsh and coercive manner, by means of the proposed compulsory powers, and that the landlord will come out defeated in the contest? If you insist on bringing the pot of clay into contact with the pot of iron, do you think the pot of iron will go to pieces? All these attempts against nature, against the law of political economy, and against that natural law which binds men by the contracts they make, must in the nature of things recoil, and the person whom you mean to benefit is injured by them. In this way you furnish excuses and provocation to the stronger to take vengeance against the weaker. Then there is another point which has been touched on before to which I will briefly advert. We all know that there are dreams in Ireland of an extraordinary character. The tenants may say, "We must have compensation for our improvements;" but then they will add, "What is the good of compensation for improvements, when the first notice of our intention to make them is met by a corresponding notice to quit the farm altogether?" It will be useless to give them the power of exacting compensation for improvements unless accompanied by fixity of tenure. Then, however, when fixity of tenure is given, you get a position in which the substance of ownership departs from the landlord and the shadow only remains. He is reduced like the Government of India in the Presidency of Bengal to the receipt of a permanent rent which cannot be raised, and the country becomes a country of ryots, with nothing left but the zemindars and the tillers of the soil. The Government might get rid of the landlords by taking into its own hand the collection of the rent, which could be easily managed, I have no doubt, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who would make a fine financial operation of it by means of terminable annuities. To show you the kind of dreams which prevail among the Irish people, I will just state to the House what I heard the other day. Two men in a certain part of Ireland entered into a dreadful combat with each other in which both were severely wounded. A benevolent lady undertook to nurse one of these men, and at last asked him the cause of the combat. The cause was that each of them had cast his eye upon a particular portion of the estate of the husband of the lady who had so kindly attended to him, and there being no Court of Law yet appointed to try such titles as would arise in case the Fenian conspiracy were successful, they determined to try it by the ordeal of battle and almost; killed each other. Now, when you have people with such ideas in their heads, is it wise to encourage them by breaking down in their favour those laws of property which regulate tenancy, and which obtain in the rest of the United Kingdom? Is it wise to use the language we perpetually hear—that what is good sense and sound law on this side of the Channel is not so on the other? Are we to defer to Irish opinion, and let sound principles and the elementary rules of jurisprudence cease to have their efficacy? I know that it is the fashionable theory now about Ireland; and, though I wish to say nothing disagreeable, I am bound to say it seems to me to be the predominant principle which actuates the policy of the Government. I think any person who looks at these things with calmness and impartiality will see that there are not two truths in these matters. If there is a right and wrong, a wise and a foolish course, it cannot be altered by circumstances. Prejudices and old animosities make certain persons in certain parts of the country take different views of these circumstances. I have no doubt myself that in Ireland, more than anywhere else, it is necessary our legislation should be founded on principles perfectly broad, perfectly well ascertained, perfectly defensible upon the most abstract philosophical grounds. I say in Ireland especially, because in the turgid vortex of Irish opinion and discord we have nothing else but abstract principle to rely upon. You cannot give up principle without encouraging those dreams of reconquering land which has been taken from them. You cannot give up all that is asked by the Ultramontane Episcopate without encouraging them in dreams equally fatal to the welfare of the people and the country. You must take your stand upon something; that something ought to be truth, honesty, and sound principle. If it is necessary to maintain them in England, it is ten times more necessary to adhere to them with punctilious accuracy in Ireland. Our wisdom is, when we have got existing institutions in Ireland, whether they be land laws, colleges, or schools, founded on the best principles we can find out for our own use in this country, to stand by them and maintain them firmly, yielding to no clamour, seeking no vulgar popularity, but doing our duty as far as we know with reference to what is true and just, and not with any idea of momentary expediency. If I were to describe what our policy with regard to Ireland ought to be in a few words, I should say it consisted in patience, forbearance, firmness, and impartiality.


It was in an auspicious hour for the futurity of Ireland and of the Empire of which Ireland is so important a part, that a British Administration has introduced this Bill into Parliament. I venture to express the opinion that nothing which any Government has yet done, or which any Government has yet attempted to do, for Ireland—not even Catholic Emancipation itself—has shown so true a comprehension of Ireland's real needs, or has aimed so straight at the very heart of Ireland's discontent and of Ireland's misery. It is a fulfilment of the promise held out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the beginning of the Session, when, in discharging the painful duty of calling on Parliament to treat Ireland once more—let us hope for the last time—as a disaffected dependency, he declared his purpose, and that of the Government of which he is a Member, to legislate for Ireland according to Irish exigencies, and no longer according to English routine. To have no better guide than routine is not a safe thing in any case; but to make the routine of one country our guide in legislating for another, is a mode of conduct which, unless by a happy accident, cannot lead to good. It is a mistake which this country has often made—not perhaps so much from being more liable to it than other countries, as from having more opportunities of committing it: having been so often called on to legislate and to frame systems of administration for dependencies very unlike itself. Sir, it is a problem of this sort which we still have before us when we attempt to legislate for Ireland. Not that Ireland is a dependency—those days are over; she is an integral part of a great self-governing nation: but a part, I venture to say, very unlike the remaining parts. I am not going to talk about natural differences, race, and the like—the importance of which, I think, is very much exaggerated; but let any hon. Gentleman consider what a different history Ireland has had from either England or Scotland, and ask himself whether that history must not have left its impress deeply engraven on Irish character. Consider again how different, even at this day, are the social circumstances of Ireland from those of England or Scotland; and whether such different circumstances must not often require different laws and institutions. People often ask—it has been asked this evening—why should that which works well in England not work well in Ireland? or why should anything be needed in Ireland which is not needed in England? Are Irishmen an exception to all the rest of mankind, that they cannot bear the institutions and practices which reason and experience point out as the best suited to promote national prosperity? Sir, we were eloquently reminded the other night of that double ignorance against which a great philosopher warned his co-temporaries—ignorance of our being ignorant. But when we insist on applying the same rules in every respect to Ireland and to England, we show another kind of double ignorance, and at the same time disregard a precept older than Socrates—the precept which was inscribed on the front of the Temple of Delphi: we not only do not know those whom we undertake to govern, but we do not know ourselves. No, Sir, Ireland is not an exceptional country; but England is. Irish circumstances and Irish ideas as to social and agricultural economy are the general ideas and circumstances of the human race; it is English circumstances and English ideas that are peculiar. Ireland is in the main stream of human existence and human feeling and opinion; it is England that is in one of the lateral channels. If any hon. Gentleman doubts this, I ask, is there any other country on the face of the earth in which, not merely as an occasional fact, but as a general rule, the land is owned in great estates by one class, and farmed by another class of capitalist farmers at money rents fixed by contract, while the actual cultivators of the soil are hired labourers, wholly detached from the soil, and receiving only day wages? Parts of other countries may be pointed out where something like this state of things exists in an exceptional fashion, but Great Britain is the only country where it is the general rule. In all other places in which the cultivators have emerged from slavery, and from that modified form of slavery, serfage, and have not risen into the higher position of owning land in their own right, the labourer holds it, as in Ireland, directly from the landowner, and the intermediate class of well-to-do tenant-farmers has, as a general rule, no existence. Ireland is like the rest of the world, and England is the exceptional country. Then, if we are making rules for the common case, is it reasonable to draw our precedents from the exceptional one? If we are to be guided by experience in legislating for Ireland, it is Continental rather than English experience that we ought to consider, for it is on the Continent, and not in England, that we find anything like similarity of circumstances. And this explains why so much has been said in Ireland about tenant-right and fixity of tenure. For what does Continental experience tell us, as a matter of historical fact? It tells us that wherever this agricultural economy, in which the actual cultivator holds the land directly from the proprietor, has been found consistent with the good cultivation of the land or with the comfort and prosperity of the cultivators, the rent has not been determined, as it is in Ireland, merely by contract, but the occupier has had the protection of some sort of fixed usage. The custom of the country has determined more or less precisely the rent which he should pay, and guaranteed the permanence of his tenure as long as he paid it. Such a social and agricultural system as exists in Ireland has never succeeded without tenant-right and fixity of tenure. Do I therefore ask you to establish customary rents and fixity of tenure as the rule of occupancy in Ireland? Certainly not. It is perhaps a sufficient reason that I know you will not do it; but I am also aware that what may be very wholesome when it grows up as a custom, approved and accepted by all parties, would not necessarily have the same success if, without having ever existed as a custom, it were to be enforced as a law. Only I warn you of this. Peasant farming never answers anywhere without fixity of tenure. If Ireland is ever to prosper with peasant farming, fixity of tenure is an indispensable condition. But you do not want to perpetuate peasant farming; you want to improve Ireland in another way. You prefer the English agricultural economy, and desire to establish that. The only mode of cultivation which seems to you beneficial is cultivation by well-to-do tenant-farmers and hired labourers. Well, Sir, there is a good deal to be said against this doctrine—it is very disputable, but I am not going to dispute it now. I accept this as the thing you have got to do, and assuming; it to be desirable, I ask, how is it to be brought about? This is not the first time that a problem of this sort has been propounded. The French Economists of the 18th century—on the whole the most enlightened thinkers of their time—tried to deal with a state of things not unlike what you have to deal with; and they wanted exactly what you want. They had a wretched, down-trodden, half-starved race of peasant cultivators, and they wanted to have, instead of these, comfortable farmers. Some of the more enlightened of the great landlords of France adopted the doctrines of the Economists, and would gladly have carried them into practice; but nothing came of it, and the reform of the agricultural economy of France had to wait for a revolution. Now, to what do the best writers attribute the failure of these agricultural reformers? To this—that they aimed at putting farmers in the place of the peasants, when they should have aimed at raising the peasants into farmers. If you are going to succeed where they failed, it can only be by avoiding their error. Instead of bringing in capitalist farmers over the heads of the tenants, you have got to take the best of the present tenants, and elevate them into the comfortable farmers you want to have. You cannot evict a whole nation—the country would be too hot to hold you and your new tenants if you attempted it. And supposing even that things could be made smooth for the successors of the existing peasantry by means of emigration, are you going to expatriate a whole people? Would any hon. Gentleman desire to do that? Would he endure the thought of doing it? Supposing even that you sought to use the right of landed property for such a purpose, is there any human institution which could have such a strain put upon it and not snap? Well, then, how are the present tenantry, or the best of them, to be raised into a superior class of farmers? There is but one way, and this Bill which is before you affords the means. Give them what you can of the encouraging influences of ownership. Give them an interest in improvement. Enable them to be secure of enjoying the fruits of their own labour and outlay. Let their improvements be for their own benefit, and not solely for those whose land they till. There is no parallel problem to be resolved on this side of St. George's Channel. The system of tenancy in England is found to be at least not incompatible with agricultural improvement. In England and Scotland a large proportion of the landowners either give leases to their tenants, which afford them sufficient time for reaping the benefit of whatever improvements they may make, or, when there are no leases, there is generally such a degree of confidence and mutual understanding between landlord and tenant, that they make their improvements in concert; or at all events the tenant, as a general rule, has no fear that the landlord will take an unfair advantage of him, and, by accepting a higher offer over his head, will possess himself without compensation of the increased value which the tenant has given to the land. This is the case in England: but how is it in Ireland? The reverse in all respects. There are few leases, except old and expiring ones, and no confidence at all between landlords and tenants. ["Oh, oh!"] Well, at least one-half of the landlords, or some other proportion of them, do not deserve confidence, and the consequence is that the tenants dare not trust the other half. If a tenant does trust his landlord, he does not trust, for he does not know, the next heir, or the stranger who may buy the property in the Landed Estates Court. The extent to which this want of confidence reaches is really one of the most remarkable facts in all history. There have been incontestable proofs of late years that the tenant farmers of Ireland often possess a considerable amount of savings. Where do these savings go to? They go into banks of deposit; they go into the English funds; they go under the thatch; everywhere but to their natural investment, the farm. There is something, to my mind, almost tragical in this state of things. For the fact is decidedly honourable to Irish landlords that these savings have been made by their tenants; it exculpates a large proportion of them from the indiscriminate charges often brought against the entire class; it proves that a much greater number of them than has often been supposed are neither greedy nor grasping, do not rack-rent their tenants, or take the last farthing in payment of rent; and in spite of this, the tenants are so absolutely without confidence in them, that even the sums which the landlord's forbearance has enabled them to accumulate are sent away everywhere—are employed for any purpose—except the most obvious and natural purpose, the improvement of their farms. Now, are you going to let this state of things continue? If we all deplore it—if we all are ashamed of it—what remedy is there but one? Give the tenant compensation, awarded by an impartial tribunal, for whatever increased value—and only for the increased value—he has given to the land. Do not use the fruits of his labour or of his outlay without paying for them, or without giving him assurance of being paid for them. The Bill appoints an impartial tribunal. When the parties do not agree, the case is to be adjudged by authorities who even in Ireland deserve and possess the confidence alike of landlords and tenants. Valuers appointed by the Government Board of Works will decide in the first instance, and the assistant barrister, the stipendiary Chairman of Quarter Sessions, is the Judge in appeal. I believe no one doubts that such arbitrators as these would be impartial, and would be trusted by the Irish people. But the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last (Mr. Lowe) said it was not so much the giving compensation he objected to, as to the fact that improvements might be made under the Bill, to which the consent of the landlord had not been previously obtained. That provision, however, if we consider the matter, is the very essence of the Bill, and is indispensable to its operation. If improvements are only to be made by the landlord's permission, and on his voluntary promise of an indemnity, that can be done now; saving, indeed, some insufficiency in the legal power of a limited owner to bind his successors. But experience proves that when there is a want of confidence between landlords and tenants, improvements which require the previous consent of the landlord are not made at all. The tenant is afraid to serve a notice on his landlord. He is afraid to announce beforehand to the landlord that he is in a condition to make improvements, lest, being mostly a tenant-at-will, he should be thought to be also in a condition to pay a higher rent. Or he fears that the landlord will do—what some landlords have been known to do—withhold his assent, on the speculation that the tenant may make the improvement notwithstanding, and the landlord may be able to profit by, without paying any indemnity. Or he thinks that the landlord may dislike an improving tenant, from a mere wish to keep his tenantry in a state of dependence. And what does the landlord sacrifice by renouncing the condition of previous consent? Nothing whatever but the power of taking for himself the fruits of the labour of others. He will still be free to improve the estate himself, if he can and will. But if he does not, and his tenant does, he will be prevented from appropriating the value which the tenant has created, without paying him an equivalent. What he will have to pay, will be determined not by the outlay of the tenant, but by the value actually added to the farm by the tenant's labour or outlay, in the opinion of an impartial tribunal. It is of no consequence how much the tenant may have expended; unless he has made the land worth more money to the land lord for the landlord's uses, he will receive nothing. Even in such a case as that to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded, and to which reference was frequently made before the Committee—the case of a landlord wishing to consolidate his farms, and the buildings erected by the tenant not being required when such consolidation took place—this circumstance would be taken into consideration by the valuer, and the tenant would have to bear the loss. Indeed, in no case would the landlord sustain any pecuniary loss. He would aim ply have to pay for value received. The objection is what would be called, on almost any subject but the present, a purely abstract objection. The Bill is thought to violate a certain abstract right of property in land. I call it an abstract right, meaning that it is of no value to the possessor though it is hurtful to other people. Of what earthly use to any landed proprietor is the right of preventing improvement? It is the right of the dog in the manger. Yet, wonderful to relate, even this the Bill does not take away; it leaves to the landlord the power of preventing the tenant's improvements by a previous stipulation. But it does this in the confidence—I believe the well-grounded confidence—that the power will seldom be used, except when there is something to justify it in the special circumstances of the case. The framers of the Bill place a just reliance in the influence of a sound moral principle when once embodied in the law. They know that there is a great difference between requiring the tenant to ask permission from the landlord to make improvements, and throwing the onus on the landlord of prohibiting by anticipation a public benefit, which the law, if this Bill passes, will have declared its purpose of encouraging. I maintain. Sir, that the claim of the improver to the value of his improvements, so far from conflicting with the right of property in land, is a right of the very same description as landed property, and rests on the same foundation. What is the ground and justification of landed property? I am afraid some hon. Members think that I am going to give utterance to some grave heresy on this subject. At least, those hon. Gentlemen who have been so obliging as to advertise my writings on an unexampled scale, and entirely free of expense either to myself or to my publisher, seemed to be much scandalized by some passages they had discovered, to the effect that landed property must be more limited in its nature than other proprietary rights, because no man made the land. Well, Sir, did any man make the land? If not, did any man acquire it by gift, or by bequest, or by inheritance, or by purchase, from the maker of it? These, I apprehend, are the foundations of the right to other property. Then what is the foundation of the right to property in land? The answer commonly made to this question is enough for me, and I agree in it. Though no man made the land, men, by their industry, made the valuable qualities of it; they reclaimed it from the waste, they brought it under cultivation, they made it useful to man, and so acquired as just a title to it as men have to what they have themselves made. Very well: I have nothing to say against this. But why, I ask, is this right, which is acquired by improving the laud, to be forever confined to the person who first improved it? If it requires improving again, and some one does improve it again, does not this new improver acquire a kind of right akin to that of the original improver? Of course I do not pretend that when one person has acquired a right to land by improving it, another, by improving it again, can oust the first man of his right. But neither do I admit that the man who has once improved a piece of land, acquires thereby an indefeasible right to prevent any one else from improving it for the whole remainder of eternity; or a right to profit, without cost to himself, by improvements which some one else has made. Landed property in its origin had nothing to rest upon but the moral claim of the improver to the value of his improvement; and unless we recognize on the same ground a kindred claim in the temporary occupier, we give up the moral basis on which landed property rests, and leave it without any justification but that of actual possession—a title which can be pleaded for every possible abuse. We have heard a good deal lately about "thoughtful Reformers." It seems there are a great many thoughtful Reformers in this House—some of them very thoughtful ones indeed. I wish there were as many thoughtful Conservatives; but I am afraid they keep most of their thought fulness for Reform. However, we know there are thoughtful Conservatives, and they cannot be all on this side of the House. Let me remind them of a writer with whose works they must all of them be familiar—the most thoughtful mind that ever tried to give a philosophic basis to English Conservatism—the late Mr. Coleridge. In his second Lay Sermon, this eminent Conservative propounds a theory of property in land, compared with which anything which I ever hinted at is the merest milk and water. His idea of landed property is, that it is a kind of public function—a trust rather than a property—which the owner is morally justified in using for his own advantage, only after certain great social ends, connected with the cultivation of the country and the well-being of its inhabitants, have been amply fulfilled. I am not claiming anything comparable to this. All I ask is, that the improvement of the country and the well-being of the people may be attended to, when they are proved not to be inconsistent with the pecuniary interest of the landowners. This modest demand is the only one I make; because I believe, and because it is believed by those who are better judges of the condition of Ireland than I can pretend to be, that no more than this is necessary to cure the existing evils. Sir, the House has now a golden opportunity. When I think how small a thing it is which is now asked of us, and when I hear, as I have heard, Members of this House, usually classed as of extreme opinions—men who are Irish of the Irish, who have the full confidence of what is called the National party—when such men assure us that the tenantry, who have been scarcely touched by any of the things you have hitherto done for the benefit of Ireland, will, as they hope, and as they think there is ground to believe, be reconciled to their lot, and changed from a discontented, if not disloyal, to a hopeful and satisfied part of the nation, by so moderate—I had almost said so minute—a concession as that which is now proposed; I confess I am amazed that those who have suffered so long and so bitterly are able to be conciliated or calmed by so small a gift; and deplorable would it indeed be if so small a gift were refused to them. Even if we ourselves had not full confidence in this remedy, there is nothing in it so alarming that we need be afraid to try, as an experiment, what is so ardently wished for by a country to which we owe so much reparation that she ought to be the spoilt child of this country for a generation to come—to be treated not only with justice but with generous indulgence. I am speaking in the presence of many who listened, like myself, to that touching speech which was delivered on the last night of the Reform debate, by the hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue)—when he, who is so well entitled to speak in the name of the Irish people, and of that portion of them of whom we have had the hardest thoughts, and who have had the hardest thoughts of us, held out his hand to us and declared that if there is even one party in this House and in this country who reciprocate the feeling he then showed, and really regard the Irish as fellow-countrymen, they will be fellow-countrymen to us—they will labour and contend by our side, have the same objects with us, look forward to the same and not to a different future, and let the dream of a separate nationality remain a dream. Many, I am sure, must have felt as I felt while I listened to his eloquent and feeling words, that if this House only wills it, that speech is the beginning of a new era. Let us not fling away in want of thought—for it is not want of heart—the reconciliation so frankly tendered. History will not say that we of the present generation are unwilling to govern Ireland as she ought to be governed:—let us not go down to posterity with the contemptible reputation of being unable to do so. Let it not be said of us that, with the best possible intentions towards Ireland, no length of time or abundance of experience could teach us to understand her—whether it is insular narrowness, making us incapable of imagining that Ireland's exigencies could be in any way different from England's; or because the religious respect we cherish for everything which has the smallest savour of a right of property, has degenerated, as is sometimes the case with other religions, into a superstition. Let us show that our principles of government are not a mere generalization from English facts; but that in legislating for Ireland we can take into account Irish circumstances: and that our care for landed property is an intelligent regard for its essentials, and for the ends it fulfils, and not a servile prostration before its mere name.


said, the first duty of an Irish Member, rising after such a speech as they had just listened to, must be to thank the speaker for the generous sentiments he had expressed. He (Mr. Dillon) could only wish in addition that such sentiments could be acted on for ten years in legislating for Ireland; for he was sure that at the end of such a beneficent course the relations of the two countries would be very materially different. Adverting to subjects touched on in the previous portion of the debate, the hon. Member contended that the principle of compulsory compensation to the tenant of an absentee landlord was not contrary to natural justice. The argument that a system which did not apply to landlords and tenants in England and Scotland should not apply to Ireland, his right hon. Friend the Attorney General for Ireland had already answered, by showing that the state of Ireland was peculiar. In England and Scotland farms were let with improvements made upon them; while all improvements made upon farms in Ireland were made by the occupiers, and not by the landlords. But there was another answer to that argument which he (Mr. Dillon) would take the liberty of mentioning. The responsibility for an exceptional state of things which rendered exceptional legislation necessary, rested entirely upon the Legislature and people of England. The treatment received by Ireland in past times, at the bauds of the English Govern- ment, had created an artificial relation between the classes of proprietors and occupiers in Ireland which rendered such special legislation for that country absolutely necessary. It was the English nation and the English Government who placed in Ireland a proprietary of one race and one religion over a peasantry of another race and another religion; and he submitted that when, on behalf of Ireland, special remedies were now demanded for the special and exceptional evils so created, the Legislature was simply evading its responsibility, when it referred them to the case of England and Scotland, where existing social relations were the result of free and natural development. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) had introduced into his speech an illustration which appeared to be a favourite one with him, for he had used it in a question put to him (Mr. Dillon) when examined upon the Committee last year. He had then given an answer which he would now take the liberty to repeat—namely, that the applicability of the illustration rested on the supposition that the pot of iron and the pot of clay do not now come into collision; but he was aware from his experience that collision between them was frequent, and always resulted most disastrously to the weaker vessel. He said he thought, therefore, that some protection for the sides of the pot of clay should be devised, which would enable it to bear the shock of the collision; and this Bill might be fairly taken as a protection of that kind. The discontent existing in Ireland could not be traced to a single cause, but the most fruitful source of discontent was the relation between landlord and tenant. In support of that assertion he begged to read the observations made by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland a few evenings ago in the other House.


The hon. Member is not in order in quoting in this House a speech made in the other House during the present Session.


said, that he would not make any quotation from the speech to which he had referred, but probably the noble Lord's words would be in the recollection of the Members of the House. Nothing could be more strong than the observations made by the noble Lord respecting the connection between the discontent in Ireland and the relations between landlord and tenant, and the necessity for such a change in the law as the Bill con- templated. The principle of the Bill—the principle of giving compensation to an improving tenant—was founded in justice, and the House was estopped from controverting that principle by its own acts, and by the declarations of distinguished Members on both sides of the House. Three Bills obtained a second reading, embodying, in a spirit more or less liberal, the principle of compensating the tenant for improvements. He should not detain the House by reading the declarations of such eminent men as Lord Palmerston, Lord Derby, and Lord Westbury, when Attorney General; but there were three Members of the House to whose opinions he would refer. Those Members were the noble Lord the Member for Cockermouth (Lord Naas), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University, and the hon. and learned Member for Belfast. The noble Lord the Member for Cockermouth was Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1852, when a Bill was introduced embodying the principle of compensation for retrospective improvements. Retrospective compensation must have been compensation for improvements made, not only without the consent of the landlord, but made at a time when the landlord could have no suspicion that a claim would be made against him for them. The noble Lord the Member for Cockermouth spoke strongly in favour of that Bill. The right hon. Member for the University of Dublin said the Bill specified the improvements for which compensation would be allowed—they were prospective and retrospective. Therefore he said he thought they were entitled to take credit for those Bills; "because, if they were compared to the Report of the Devon Commission, they would be found to contain, not only the recommendations of that Commission, but to go far beyond them." They did not on the present occasion ask the right hon. Gentleman to go beyond the recommendation of the Devon Commission; they were more moderate in these days. The hon. and learned Member for Belfast (Sir Hugh Cairns) gave notice when the Bills referred to were pending before the House of the following Amendment:— Be it enacted that if any tenant, or those under whom he derives, shall, before the passing of this Act, have executed improvements in the holding, of the nature contemplated by the Act, and if the landlord for the time being shall proceed by any process of law against such tenant for the purpose of evicting and shall evict his interest in the holding otherwise than for non-payment of rent or breach of covenant, such tenant may re- cover from such landlord just and reasonable compensation for the expenditure of labour and money bonâ fide made by such tenant, or those under whom he derives, and the court shall award such compensation. He recalled the strong testimony borne on a former occasion by those three hon. Members to the justice of the principle of giving compensation to tenants for improvements made without the previous consent of the landlord, not only because their opinions had justly great weight with the House, but also for the purpose of reminding them that a decent regard to consistency must compel them to support the moderate affirmation of that principle contained in the present Bill. He would next refer to two still higher authorities, both of whom would probably be remembered in future times as ornaments of that House. One of them had passed away long since, having left a name as imperishable as the language in which his noble thoughts were enshrined. To the other it was still their privilege to listen when he shed the light of his calm and unclouded intellect upon the subjects of their discussions. About ninety years ago, writing on the condition of Ireland, Edmund Burke powerfully pourtrayed the evil effects of insecurity of tenure, not merely on the material condition, but on the moral qualities and character of the people in the following words:— Confine a man to momentary possession and you at once cut off that laudable avarice which every wise State has cherished as one of the first principles of its greatness. Allow a man but a temporary possession; lay it down as a maxim that he never can have any other, and you immediately and infallibly turn him to temporary enjoyments; and these enjoyments are never the pleasures of labour and free industry whose quality it is to famish the present hour, and to squander all upon prospect and futurity. They are, on the contrary, those of a thoughtless, loitering, and dissipated life. The second authority to whom he (Mr. Dillon) alluded was that of the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. J. Stuart Mill), who thus described the results of the present system of Irish Land Tenure in his Political EconomyAlmost alone among mankind, the Irish cottier is in this condition, that he can scarcely be either better or worse off by any act of his own. If he was industrious or prudent, nobody but his landlord would gain; if he is lazy or intemperate, it is at his landlord's expense. A situation more devoid of motives to either labour or self-command, imagination itself cannot conceive. The inducements of free human beings are taken away and those of a slave not substituted. He has nothing to hope and nothing to fear, except being dispossessed of his holding, and against this be protects himself by a defensive civil war. Is it not then a bitter satire for the mode in which opinions are formed on the most important problems of human nature and life, to find grave public instructors imputing the backwardness of Irish industry and the want of energy of the Irish people in improving their condition, to a peculiar indolence and insouciance in the Celtic character? Turning to the Bill then before the House, some appeared to think it an invasion of the rights of the landlord. Others held that it did not go far enough in protecting the rights of the tenant. But he believed there was a large preponderance of feeling in Ireland, which was prepared to make fair allowance for the difficulties of the Government in introducing a measure of that kind, and which acknowledged that any settlement of that question must be a compromise. If the Bill were to be received by the landlords of Ireland as a body in a spirit of hostility, he admitted that it would not be worth much to the tenantry of Ireland. For himself he had never yet advocated this question in a spirit of hostility to the landlords. He had always said that, as a body, they were disposed to act fairly, and that legislation was required not for the honest majority, but for the dishonest minority. It was enough to justify the passing of an Act of this kind if there were occasional instances of oppression; few as compared with the bulk of the transactions between the landlords and tenants, but still numerous enough to shake the confidence of the body of tenantry, and to paralyze the industry of the country. Now, he would take the liberty of asking the landlords of Ireland to consider fairly and without prejudice the present Bill, and especially to consider the securities with which it proposed to guard their interests. In the first place the Bill gave no compensation in any case, save when the tenant was evicted by the landlord; so long as the tenant was left in possession of the land, no claim for compensation could arise at all. If he were to say that landlords habitually evicted their tenants without giving them compensation, it would be resented as a calumny on the landlords. Well, assuming that the rule was the other way, the landlords as a body had nothing whatever to fear from the Bill. Again, tenants with leases for longer terms than thirty-one years would have no claim for compensation. By the 29th clause the landlord had power to stipulate that any specific improvement should not be made by the tenant, and, if made, that he should have no claim for compensation. This provision would oppose an effectual bar against attempts at making improvements which would be unreasonable and out of place. It was sometimes said that this would legalize a general agreement against all improvements whatever, but this was an unfair interpretation of the clause. The landlord had a fourth effective security in the provision that the limit of compensation was to be the increase in the letting value of the land, as fixed by an impartial valuator. To insist on the necessity of an expressed consent by the landlord preliminary to any improvement was equivalent to saying that no legislation whatever ought to take place, since an agreement between landlord and tenant might of course be made at any time without legislation at all. He warned the Government not to consent to the introduction of that fatal provision into the Bill. If the Amendment of the noble Lord were adopted the Bill would do much more to exasperate and alienate the tenantry of Ireland than to conciliate them.


said, he was surprised to hear from the noble Lord opposite (Lord Naas) that there was no strong feeling on this subject in Ireland. He held an entirely different opinion; and from his own experience he could say that there was no question, whether real or fanciful, which excited so much feeling in that country. Another topic very much dwelt upon by the noble Lord and those who followed on the same side, was the various extravagant ideas which prevailed in Ireland on the land question. No doubt very extravagant ideas in reference to tenant-right did once prevail in Ireland; but constant ventilation and agitation of the subject had done much to correct opinion; and one of the reasons why he was desirous that this Bill should become law was that he believed it would put an end to those extravagant ideas, coming as it would, backed by the approval of hon. Members who were considered the representatives of the most extreme party in Ireland on the subject of an amendment in respect of the tenure of land. A friend of his, who was a large landed proprietor, had told him he hoped the Bill would pass, because it would satisfy public feeling; and any inconvenience to which he as a landlord might be put, would be amply compensated by the agitation on the subject being put an end to. The whole of the discussion that had taken place that night had reference to the third part of the Bill; hut, though the first and second parts were not so important, still they were of considerable importance, and were necessary in conjunction with the third part, to give symmetry to the measure. The whole object of the Bill was to simplify the Act of 1860, by getting rid of Borne notices which appeared to be unnecessary. He believed that the improvements made by landlords in Ireland during the last few years were very considerable, and that the £2,000,000 to which reference had been made bad been most judiciously employed. Complications had been swept away, and landlords could spend their money with less trouble than they could formerly. He was pleased to find that the Bill, following the example of the Montgomery Act of Scotland, proposed to give power to landlords who were owners for life to charge improvements upon their estates. Nothing could be more important to Ireland than an increase in the number of proprietors and an increase in the number of resident proprietors; and it would be well if both were multiplied tenfold, because there was a great want of men of education and position to take part in the management of local affairs and to discharge the duties of magistrates, which was the real reason why it was necessary to have stipendiary magistrates. It was surprising to him that many gentlemen who called themselves Englishmen, but who were connected with Irish families, and held large properties in both countries, did not divide their property, and form two great families, which the magnitude of their estates would warrant them in doing. The second part of the Bill had special reference to the leasing powers, and showed an improvement on the Bill of 1860, and much that was calculated to impede the operation of that Act had been removed, several unnecessary formalities having been got rid of. From what he had read he inferred that very great improvements must have been made in the lowlands of Scotland within the last 150 years. He had been told a story of a man who took a lease of land at 15s. an acre for nineteen years, laid out £2,000 or £3,000 within seven years, and amply repaid himself in fourteen years, having made the land worth, at the expiration of the lease, 50s. an acre. This was an illustration of what might be done under a lease with capital, energy, and industry. He had consulted two tenants about the Bill. One, a shrewd, intelligent man, had great objections to a limitation to £5 an acre; and the other, whose family had held the same farm for 150 years—proving that there were long tenures in Ireland as well as in England—desiderated leases clearly defining what was to be done by landlord and tenant. As he understood the noble Lord the Member for Cockermouth (Lord Naas), he stated that the improvements would be concealed from the landlord. He (Mr. Pim) did not see how it was possible to conceal improvements; but he thought the tenant should within twelve months give the owner notice that he had made certain improvements which he conceived entitled him to compensation, and then the necessary evidence on the subject could readily be obtained. The noble Lord also said that if the Bill passed all land would he hereafter held under written contracts. He (Mr. Pim) thought that the most valuable effect of the Bill. The noble Lord had said that the entering into contracts to regulate the compensation would lead to an unpleasant state of things. He (Mr. Pim) did not think that would be the case if the landholders were honourable men, and men who attended to their estates personally. It was for the benefit of the State that the landlords should be obliged to attend to their properties, and this would be necessary if this Bill passed. He thought he might without exaggeration assert that a great number of Irish landlords paid no attention whatever to their property, either by themselves or their agents, beyond collecting the rents twice a year, and it would be beneficial to the country if such landlords were compelled by law to look after their property a little more. For his part, he could see no difficulty with respect to a landlord making a contract. The Bill of 1835, which contained many proposals far more objectionable than this—especially the retrospective clauses—was supported by hon. Gentlemen opposite, who, nevertheless, were now opposing this. As to legislating for Ireland in the same way as for England, that had been the dream of his life. The system of exceptional legislation for Ireland he had from his childhood regarded as so great a grievance that he used to think that if ever he should have the honour of a seat in the House of Commons, he would oppose every measure which did not extend to the three countries together. There had been numbers of Whiteboy Acts and other exceptional statutes for Ireland, and within his own memory the Habeas Corpus had been twice, if not thrice, repealed in that country. But this was not a subject to which the objection to exceptional legislation applied; the Bill intended to enforce in respect of land the mercantile principle of written contracts; and then the great benefit of the Bill would be that hardly any land would be held without a written contract, so that both parties would know their exact position, and the injustice and heartburning which had arisen from the landlord and tenant understanding matters in a conflicting manner would thus he avoided. He could see no grounds except those of class feeling for opposing the second reading. Lord Derby in 1860 urged that the Bill of that year should be allowed to go into Committee, where it might be made into a workable measure; and he (Mr. Pim) hoped that hon. Members on the other side of the House would show fairness enough to let this Bill go into Committee, where its details might be properly sifted.


said, he believed that he was the only Member of the House who derived his income entirely from the occupation of land, and it would naturally be assumed, therefore, that his sympathies were with the tenant farmers. He was rejoiced to hear that there was to be a just and generous measure introduced, which was to settle the grievances and the wrongs of the Irish tenantry. He could claim no personal knowledge of the agriculture of Ireland, but having in his younger days passed a few years in South Wales, with a soil and climate similar to Ireland, he knew something about reclaiming bogs, the cultivation of hill sides, building stone walls, and constructing rude farm buildings. He understood that what was called tenant-right in England—namely, compensation for the expenditure of artificial food and manures, and the application of lime, chalk, clay, and mineral manure—was not applicable to Ireland, and these being only transient improvements were generally paid cheerfully by the incoming tenant, required no notice from either party, and were seldom objected to by the landlord.

The object of the Bill, he took it, was to give security to the tenant in cases where everything was done by him and nothing by the landlord. It was a gross injustice that a man who had drained and enclosed and built upon a farm should soon after be called upon to pay an advanced rent or be ejected; but how was this to be remedied? Some said that no tenant should be so foolish as to trust such an earthen vessel as an Irish landlord without a lease—while others maintain that a tenant should never be ejected from a farm as long as he paid the original rent. The Bill did not go quite so far as that, but its tendency was in that direction, for it provided that a tenant should enjoy the farm for thirty-one years before paying an additional rent, and that if he spent £5 per acre on the improvement of the land he should be entitled at the end of twenty-five or thirty years to be recouped every farthing if the improvement was as good as when it was first made. There were some improvements in which this was the case, such as the removal of large boulder stones, good pipe draining, and the raising of fences. Now, his opinion was, that if a tenant occupied a farm for such a length of time as to reimburse himself, with moderate profit and fair interest, for the capital he had expended on it, the landlord should at the expiration of that period come into the full enjoyment and possession of it—and he contended that for most agricultural purposes twenty-one years were amply sufficient. But this Bill repudiated such views, and in the case of reclaiming bogs and erecting farm buildings, extended the compensation to forty-one years, without any graduated schedule, the full extent of which would be illustrated by supposing a tenant to judiciously spend £50 in reclaiming ten acres of bog this year, he could even in the year 1906—supposing his works were in good order—claim the whole of his £50 from the landlord.

Some part of his own county, a hundred years ago, was a mere heath or rabbit-warren, but in consequence of the land having been let on twenty-one years' leases it had been enormously improved in value, and the rents had increased 200 per cent, and was now occupied by a prosperous and contented tenantry; and the hon. Member for Dublin City (Mr. Pim) had just shown how a nineteen years' lease in Scotland had, to the mutual satisfaction of both landlord and tenant, raised the value of the land from 15s. to 50s. an acre, which destroyed many of his able arguments in favour of the Bill. The Irish landlords were now called upon to pay for improvements which, whether efficient or inefficient, might altogether interfere with their plans for a general improvement of the property. It was no safeguard to the landlord that he should only be called upon to pay the increased value of the property. The hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. J. Stuart Mill) was wrong when he said the valuer in assessing the compensation would regard the improvements as they bore upon the value of the whole of the landlord's estate, whereas he, on the other hand, believed that the valuer would only look to the benefit the improvements might confer upon the particular farm occupied by the tenant. It was easy to understand that improvements which might be beneficial to a particular plot of land might be inconvenient if not detrimental to the estate at large. The late Mr. Pusey had introduced three moderate measures into that House on this subject, which embodied the very reasonable principle that if a tenant with the consent of his landlord erected buildings, &c, he should at the expiration of his tenancy be paid compensation, which advantage, with others of a similar nature, had been already secured to the Irish tenantry; but Mr. Pusey's Bills were rejected, in another place, and therefore he was sure that the present measure had no chance of being carried through Parliament. He contended that if a tenant would build upon the property of another without or it might be against the owner's consent, surely justice would be satisfied by enabling him to sell and remove his buildings.

The last clause in the Bill partly abolished the law of distress, and, if passed, a similar clause would be necessary for England and Scotland. It would be absolutely impossible to maintain the law of distress in England and the law of hypothec in Scotland after passing such a measure as that before them. The abolition of the law of distress would be hailed by the wealthy portion of the tenantry with delight, as they believed that under the present system the landlord had a preference over the general creditors. They believed that the landlord often passed over a responsible man in order to let his land to a man of straw who offered a larger rent, and that he did so because he felt sure of getting his rent. But in the event of such a change taking place, land could not be let upon the same terms as at present, as the landlord would be compelled to enforce the payment of his rent before, instead of after, it was due, and in times of calamity he would not be able to grant his tenants the indulgence he could safely offer them under the existing system. But the proposal of the Government would inflict all the hardship of the existing law without conferring any of the benefits of total repeal. The general creditor would be deluded into the idea that the landlord had no preferential claim, and the owner might still prefer the man of small means, as he knew he could at any time retain the power of distress by entering into a written agreement to that effect with his tenant. It was said that the real object of the Bill was to compel landlords to grant written agreements to their tenants, and to abolish the law of distress; but if that were so he should object to such changes being effected by a side-wind, instead of being boldly carried as substantive measures.

He regretted that he had not been able to consult with any hon. Gentleman as to the legal interpretation of some clauses of the Bill, but he had had the advantage of going through the Act with his hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgowshire (Mr. M'Lagan), who represented the Scotch tenantry as much as he did the farmers of his own county, and found that he was still more decidedly hostile to some of its provisions. Therefore, believing the Government measure to be dangerous in principle and faulty in detail, he was reluctantly compelled to record his vote against the second reading of the Bill.


said, that so far as he could see the Irish landlords would have a guarantee in the 29th clause of the Bill, which would prevent them from suffering any loss from its operation. That clause would enable landlords to enter into contracts with their tenants that certain things should not be done which might be considered prejudicial to the property. Objections had been made to the proposed legislation on the ground that it was different from what had been adopted for England. No doubt if the laws of England were the same as in Ireland there would be no room for those who represented Ireland to claim any exceptional legislation. But this objection vanished when it was considered that the condition of the two countries had in the course of centuries become entirely different, and that the beneficial legislation that had made England what it was had not extended to Ireland. It was in consequence of the exceptional legislation which had taken place to the advantage of England that this Bill had become necessary. He did not believe that this Bill, if passed, would have any effect in removing the disaffection which existed in Ireland—and he denied that the tenant farmers of Ireland had had anything to do with that disaffection. For the last seventy or eighty years that body had held aloof from agitation. At the same time, he must say that the effect of bad government in Ireland would take years of good Government to completely eradicate. In 1798 there were very few farmers concerned in that rebellion; in 1848 very few of the farming class were engaged in the conspiracy which was terminated in Widow Cormack's cabbage garden, and they were altogether absent from the Fenian conspiracy of 1866. He hoped that this Bill would be passed into law after the details had been carefully considered in Committee. It was his intense and undeniable be lief that if their beloved Sovereign should require the assistance of Her Irish subjects, She would find amongst the Irish tenant farmers as many loyal and willing hands and hearts as might be necessary.


said, his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland had characterized the Bill as a measure which was calculated to do no injury to the landlord, while it conferred every conceivable benefit upon the tenant, and at the same time he maintained that it was a Bill which was generally called for. He (Mr. Whiteside) challenged both statements, and asserted that it would injure the landlord and do no good to the tenant, while at the same time it was not asked for by the tenant farmers as a class. As far as the tenantry of Ulster were concerned, he believed that nothing would more excite their indignation than any measure of this kind, because they knew that it would set aside that ancient custorn under which they had prospered. He concurred with the hon. Gentleman who last spoke (Mr. Saunderson) in saying that the tenantry of Ireland were at present contented; he would go further and say he believed them to he prosperous. He denied that they were a wretched, ill-governed, down-trodden people, as the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Stuart Mill) had characterized them. The tenantry of Ireland were, he believed, in a higher state of prosperity than they had been for many years passed. They did not want this Bill, and everybody in the North of Ireland knew that it would be accepted with disfavour in that country. Much had been said of the Bill introduced upon this subject some twenty-five years ago by the then Lord Stanley. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland had referred to a Bill introduced by Lord Stanley in 1845 in the other House, but did not produce the Bill itself. He (Mr. Whiteside) had been unable to procure a copy of it, but he would venture to say that if it were produced and read its clauses would be found to be very different from those contained in the present measure. He thought it hardly fair to cite a Bill which was not produced, and which if produced would refute the very argument which it was brought forward to support. In 1852, again, the right hon. Gentleman said that the Conservatives introduced a Bill which could only be regarded as worse than the present measure—a description which was, he thought, scarcely complimentary to the Bill now brought forward. The fact of the matter was this—that the Devon Commission had produced an enormous quantity of evidence which lay in a heap before the Government of Lord Derby. The question, then, was what was to be done with it? Lord Derby's Government thereupon produced three Bills, two of which were now law. Now, the Law of Landlord and Tenant in Ireland was not, as the hon. Member for Birmingham said, existing in 200 Acts of Parliament. It existed only in one. Those 200 Acts had been all repealed, and what was considered valuable in them was selected and embodied in that one Act. The first of those Bills passed by the Derby Government was the Leasing Powers Bill, which gave what was now asked for—leasing powers for the granting of twenty-one years' leases to the agricultural classes. Next, a Bill was introduced founded upon the principle of compensating tenants for improvements. It, however, did not give money to the tenants for real improvements, hut it said that if the tenant performed all his covenants, and paid his rent, he should have a certain allotted period of time to enjoy the benefit of those substantial improvements. The present measure, however, unlike its predecessor, invited the tenant not to pay his rent, hut to set off against its non-payment improvements, which might have been effected not only without the consent of the landlord but oven against his will. Sir John Young submitted a Bill on this subject to a Committee, but it was not approved of. It proposed, amongst other things, to give the tenant a claim for emblements and fixtures. It was, however, agreed to by the Committee to pass a fixture clause, and that clause was embodied in the Leasing Powers Bill. As Lord Dufferin remarked last year when speaking on this subject, if such a principle as was now contended for was allowed a landlord might let his land to a tenant for a dairy, his object being to keep it a grass farm—nevertheless the tenant might change the nature of the plan by building on it a house, and claim compensation from the landlord for the same, although the change might be utterly opposed to the object of the latter. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) said he was at a loss to know why such a measure as this was introduced into the House. He (Mr. Whiteside) could understand the why and the wherefore. He had no doubt that it was one of the three measures which had been sketched out by the hon. Member for Birmingham in his letter to the Lord Mayor of Dublin. That hon. Gentleman in his letter stated that if the Gentlemen from Ireland would but join the Liberal party in carrying the Parliamentary Reform Bill, the Liberal party would join the Gentlemen from Ireland in their endeavours to carry three questions—the one was in respect to education, the other was the small matter of the Irish Church, and the third was this landlord and tenant question. This, then, was the honourable performance of the compact between the Liberal party and the Irish Members—a fair return for services rendered, and he could only hope that the hon. Gentlemen concerned were satisfied. Now, the landlords of Ireland did not object to compensate tenants for permanent improvements. Why, in the present Session a Bill had been introduced to enable landlords to borrow money for the purpose of making improvements of the nature contemplated by this Bill; and now, in the face of that measure, the Bill now under consideration was introduced with a view of enabling the tenant to effect improvements against the wish of his landlord, although they had already given the latter facilities in a rational way of effecting them. The effect of this measure would simply be to nullify the previous legislation. He had been astonished at hearing the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Stuart Mill) Bay that, in his opinion, the Bill before the House was second in importance to the Catholic Emancipation. He could not be certain that that was what the hon. Gentleman had said, but he should be glad to know if he had understood him rightly. [Mr. J. STUART MILL: Hear, hear!] He could scarcely have believed that the hon. Gentleman could have been possessed of such a delusion. But he could understand what the hon. Gentleman really meant when he said that this Bill was more important to Ireland than Roman Catholic Emancipation—it was important in the hon. Gentleman's eyes not from what it now did, but from what he calculated would follow it hereafter. The principle of this Bill struck at the root of property. It might, however, accomplish the objects which, perhaps, some scientific jurist had in view. What right had that House to set aside the law of contract? It was a recognized principle in all former Bills on this subject that notice should be given to the landlord of all intended improvements by the tenant; but this Bill did not require any such notice to be given, and the landlord who might be an absentee proprietor would find himself mulcted under it for compensation for what the tenant called improvements of which he had previously known nothing whatever. A Committee had been appointed some years ago on the Motion of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire), and he found that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies had voted for the following Resolution passed by that Committee:— The Committee having examined several witnesses on the recommendation of the promoters of the inquiry are of opinion that the principle of the Act of 1860, embodying the 38th and 40th sections—namely, that compensation to tenants should only be secured upon improvements made with the consent of the landlord, should be maintained. Lord Palmerston also said at that time that a Bill framed on any other principle would be a direct attack on the rights of property. The present Bill was intended to apply to an existing lease. It provided that any tenant of lands might make such improvements as were mentioned in the 37th section of the Lands Improvement Act, and that on the determination of the tenancy the tenant should be entitled to compensation. He understood the meaning of that to be, that although there was a contract in writing between the landlord and tenant, after the expiration of ten or fifteen years the tenant might claim for that term. But the masterpiece of legislation was the 29th clause, which proceeded directly to nullify the 28th clause—which was, indeed, the only thing that could be said in its favour. It provided that no tenant should be entitled to compensation in respect of any improvements in pursuance of any contract in writing regulating the terms of the tenancy. The meaning of that enactment was this—the landlord might say to the tenant, "They have passed a law to annoy me and do you no service; let us consider how we can defeat that law; we do not ignore the existence of the Act, hut as there are some things of substance and some things of no value, I will allow you to make fences that cost little or nothing, but you shall not do anything else prescribed by the Act." And this was called legislating upon principle! Those who professed to be friends of the tenant deluded themselves in the belief that this was a measure of substantial improvement. But it was a law vicious in principle—a law contradicted by the Act of 1860—a law contradicted by the Report—a law contradicted by the evidence given before the Committee. And was Parliament now to set aside the Report of their own Committees, and the Act which they passed five years ago, so as to overpower contracts? Judge Long field, in reply to questions put to him, said the desire amongst the peasantry of Ireland for the change was not very great, but when they became tenants they desired to become landlords, and to sublet. Now, it was the object of the landlord to prevent them from doing so. Lord Dufferin—a truly liberal landlord—was asked whether he did not think a long lease beneficial. His Lordship's reply was— To these long leases, which were common in that part of Ireland, I attribute to a great extent the false position in which the landlord and tenant stand. And he went on to say that the tendency of cultivation sustained by long leases was to deteriorate. Mr. Curling, an eminent agent and valuer of land, was asked if he had ever heard of a landlord to whom a tenant approached, saying he had £200 to lay out, and asked for security, and who objected to his doing so—he said he did not believe that such a landlord could be found. In reply to a question as to the effect of improvements being executed against the will of the landlord, he said it would create ill-will, and cause the most mischievous consequences. There being no probability of vindicating the Bill, and the 29th clause being contradictory of the 28th, and there being an easy mode of evad- ing the operation of the Bill, he asked why should the House agree to pass it? A good deal had been said about the emigration of tenants. The real state of the question as to the number of holdings was this:—Between 1841 and 1851 there was a reduction in the number of small holdings of five acres to 217,000 from 825,000. The diminution of holdings under five acres was 309,000. What had occurred of late years? The holdings had actually increased between 1861 and 1864 from 608,000 to 609,350, although they had diminished in 1864 to 601,750. Of the holdings above five acres instead of there having been any diminution there had been a small increase. The Attorney General for Ireland had used a mischievous argument when he said, with a view to support the Bill, that general discontent prevailed in Ireland because of the laws by which the country was governed. That was a most mischievous argument coming from one in the position of his hon. and learned Friend. It implied that the discontent was just and consequent upon oppression by the landlord. That was certainly a most severe sentence to pronounce upon landlords as a class; especially as vast estates in the country had been held by the same family of tenants from generation to generation without a scrap of writing, and without any rise of rent. He (Mr. Whiteside) would not object to a change in the law if it were really desired, but he insisted that it should be amended in accordance with some recognized principle, and made to apply to England as well as Ireland. Relieving the Bill to be entirely without principle and fraught with injustice, having reason to expect it would be mischievous to the landlord and delusive to the tenant, he supported the Amendment of his right hon. Friend as it was in exact conformity with the Report of the Committee, which had been assented to by the leading Members of the existing Administration.


I rise to address the House upon this most important question, with mingled feelings of regret and anxiety—regret that opposition should be offered in this House to this Bill, by some of the persons who, in my opinion, ought to be first to accept the present Bill as a settlement of the question—I mean some of the landed proprietors—and anxiety at the consequences in Ireland of the disappointment of the people's hopes if this Bill be rejected. It appears to me that this Bill is opposed on grounds totally untenable, and by persons who ought not be heard in this House against the principle of the Bill. It is opposed as a violation of the right of property, and by persons who call themselves defenders of those rights, but who seem to me not to have very clear notions as to what by the laws and constitution of this country those rights are. I said that the opponents of this Bill ought not to be heard in this House against this Bill as a violation of the rights of property, because if the Bill be a violation of the rights of property, they carried in this House, and in the other House twelve years ago, a Bill that was a greater violation of the rights of property. I hope the good sense of this House will not allow this question to be any longer made the subject of party strife between the two great parties in this country, but that an honest attempt will be made to settle it satisfactorily to the people of Ireland generally. I shall consider the question itself, and the objection as to its being a violation of the rights of property—the peculiar condition of Ireland which requires the immediate settlement of it, and the attempts at legislation that have failed and will fail as long as the proper remedy is not applied. One would naturally expect to hear, from those gentlemen who put forward the argument about the rights of property, a clear definition of what those rights are that are to be violated, but neither hon. Members nor hon. and learned Members have given us any such definition—vague ambiguity is better for their purpose. Now, as far as I understand the rights of property (and of course in the present discussion we confine ourselves to landed property) they rest upon the law, and that law rests upon public utility. I know no rights of property above the law, nor will I recognize any law that is a violation of public utility. As far as I can understand the legal rights of landed property, they are the following—namely, security in its enjoyment or actual occupation (if in possession), and security in the enjoyment of the rent of it, if it be in another's occupation, and to have that rent regulated by the contract between the parties. How does this Bill violate those rights? No one can assert it does. There were times and countries, when in obedience to the necessities of the times, and to the great law of public utility, to which men and nations must submit, the tenure of land was changed in almost every country of Europe. The system in Prussia, France, Austria, Holland, and Belgium, even the barbarous system of Russia has yielded to the operation of this great law, and the serfs of Russia have been emancipated into the condition of free occupiers. Now we ask for no such violent changes, and the present Bill only distinguishes in a clear and satisfactory manner the rights of the proprietor, and the rights of the occupier. I have defined the former, I now come to define the latter. The occupier is either a capitalist or a peasant occupier. In the former case the law of the land gives him the same right it gives to all other capitalists, security in the enjoyment of the profits of his capital. In the latter case it gives, or ought to give, security to the peasant occupier in the enjoyment of the profits of his skilled labour, which is the capital. Any law that does not give this security confiscates the property of the capitalist, and the profits of the skilled labourer, and confers them upon the proprietor. Let us now see what the law of Europe is in this respect. Wherever, in the countries I have mentioned the proprietor is not occupier, the Roman law prevails, and if the instrumenta for the farm were not provided by the landlord, the tenant had the power to make the improvements, and had the property in them if the landlord did not pay for them. That was not considered confiscation, but the most conservative and just of laws. In Scotland, where a farm is let without the improvements, the tenant has a right to make them, and to be paid for them in the event of his leaving the farm. The language of Lord Donoughmore in introducing the Land Bills in 1854 into the other House, fully concurs in this view of the law, and says it ought to be applied to Ireland. From various causes, he says that 'landlords in Ireland had been in the habit of letting land and not farms.' And with respect to past improvements, he stated that— Some means ought to be adopted consistent with the rights of property, to relieve the large class of persons, who had, many of them, laid out their capital on bad titles. Now I have quoted an authority that ought to carry great weight with Gentlemen who oppose this Bill, and I ask them to follow that authority and help to make this Bill better than it is by adding a clause for retrospective compensation. I now come to the second question—the particular circumstances of Ireland requiring this law. Now, in the first place, it is conceded that almost all the improvements in Ireland have been made by the tenants, I believe that state of facts will not be attempted to be controverted. Ireland is peculiarly, and, I may say, solely an agricultural country, and to use the words of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley), "all her eggs are in one basket." That state of facts has required in every country in Europe peculiar legislation on the subject of land tenure, and peculiar remedies and protection for the tenant or occupier. It had led to the adoption of the Roman or Civil Law, which gave the right to the occupier to make the improvements and to be allowed for them, or to retain possession. I have seen it somewhere stated that the commerce and manufactures of England have saved the English land tenure system, and that had she been purely agricultural her land system would be the same as the Continental. No person conversant with history can doubt the force and truth of that observation. But it is said it is the system of small farms that has produced the present condition of Ireland and render compensation for improvements impossible. ["Hear!"] Now I beg to inform the Gentlemen who say "hear!" that I hold in my hand a Return of the size of farms in some of the counties in the North and South of Ireland, made twelve years ago, and they will be surprised, I think, at the result. In Galway the average size is 55 acres; in Mayo, 29 acres (now much more); Roscommon, 22 acres; Clare, 30 acres; Kerry, 46 acres; Cork, 39 acres; Down, 19 acres; Armagh, 13 acres. That is, the farms are smallest in counties that are most prosperous, and largest when poorest. Again, what is the average value of land in the North, as compared to the South of Ireland? Why, in the North it sells for twenty-five years purchase; in the South it seldom reaches twenty years. What is the cause? I can only see one cause—the tenant-right of the North. Now I will not inquire whether that custom is the direct result of the plantation of Ulster, and the terms upon which the plantation was made and the land given—or whether it was the result of compensation for improvements—or whether it was merely a custom that arose from the better feelings and relations between landlord and tenant in the North of Ireland. Whatever be the cause, the fact stands and is a powerful argument in favour of a law that may affect the same security for improvements in the South as in the North of Ireland. Let us now turn our attention to the changes in the condition of Ireland in point of population and holdings from 1841 to the present. In 1841 there was a population in Ireland of 8,175,124; in 1851, 6,552,386; in 1861, 5,798,937; in 1841 there were of holdings of fifteen acres, 252,758; in 1851, 191,854; in 1861, 120,196. Since 1861 we may take the diminution of population as follows:—In 1852, about 150,000; 1863, 116,391; 1864, 115,428, or nearly 500,000. Now what has principally led to that? It is asserted by the people themselves that it is the consolidation of farms, and certainly the reduction of the population and consolidation of farms have gone hand in hand. That fact cannot be denied. Now, I am not here to deny that the state of things in America, and the great rise of wages in that country, have been one cause of the emigration that is draining this country of population. But I say that a much greater cause is the want of security of the peasant occupier for his skilled labour, or the improvements that he effects by it. And my reason for saying so is, that the emigration is not going on in the North of Ireland where that security exists. But it will be said that those occupiers have made no improvements. The simple answer to that is, that if they will not make beneficial improvements they will not be allowed for any under this Act. But is it true that such occupiers have not made improvements, and beneficial improvements? I beg leave to state that it is not true, and that statements have been made showing the value of such improvements in the North of Ireland alone at not much short of £12,000,000. I will candidly admit that I cannot give any figures for such a result, nor is it necessary for the purposes of the present debate. But of this there can be no doubt, that improvements had been made in Ireland to a large amount, and that it is the tenants and not the landlords that have made whatever improvements at present exist. I have authority for this which cannot be denied, and it is as old as it is authentic, and stamped with the weight of moderation, and conservatism, and wisdom. Edmund Burke in his History of the Penal Laws says that improvements were then made in Ireland by the tenants, while in England and Scotland they were made by the landlords. But I have a later authority of equal weight upon this subject—the authority of a man who never hesitated to sacrifice the personal position and opinions which he found to be erroneous, when the cause of his country required him to do so, the late Sir Robert Peel, I see every reason (said that wise and great statesman) why Ireland should be most prosperous if her position in respect of tenure could be improved. An opportunity now presents itself of improving that tenure, if the gentlemen interested are wise enough to accept it. In my opinion, instead of opposing this Bill, the Conservative party should be most anxious to support it and thereby help to settle this very vexed question. But it may be said that this is all the cry of agitators, and that the people are not interested. Are some of the largest and best landlords in Ireland, who are in favour of this Bill, agitators? Are the landlords who allow this very compensation on their estates, agitators? Are the landlords and agents who were examined before the Select Committee of 1865, agitators? I hold in my hand a letter from the most extensive agent in the South of Ireland, as published in a local paper, The Munster News, who was examined before the Select Committee, approving of the clauses of this Bill, and stating that they are substantially in accordance with his evidence. I am of opinion that this evidence goes further, and that this Bill ought to go further. But it is also said you are legislating for a state of facts that does not exist; there is really no capital in Ireland to make improvements, and no wish to do so. Upon that subject I beg to refer to what must be high authority to Gentlemen on the Conservative side of this House, Lord Donoughmore. He stated, in moving the Bill of Lord Derby's Government in 1854, that £800,000 was being imported from Ireland into England yearly, and invested in funds and speculations there for want of any field of investment in Ireland in the absence of a good law of land tenure. He said— So far from there being no capital in Ireland to be laid out under this Bill, there is more capital in Ireland than they know what to do with. Now, Sir, the amount of the investments in Joint Stock Banks in Ireland by the tenant class in that country at 30s. to £2 per cent has been repeated usque and nauseam as amounting to £15,000,000. Would it not be much better both for landlord and tenant that this sum should be laid out in improvements on the land than in this manner? But it may be said that there are no instances of tenants being prevented by landlords from improving, or being deprived of the value of their improvements. Now, Sir, I again refer to the authority of Lord Donoughmore, who gives a very remarkable case of a tenant being, I may say, robbed of an outlay of £5,000, and obliged to pay £1,500 for a lease. Mr. Sharman Crawford, in 1848, gives several examples of such confiscation of tenants' improvements. Of course every Irish Member in this House will remember cases of such confiscation, and the answer generally given is that there are more cases of hardship on the tenants' part against the landlord. I do not mean to go into this question of set-off, or inquire on which side the balance of injustice lies, but I say, here is a Bill that proposes a fair settlement, and if you are wise accept it; it can be made a good Bill in Committee. I now come to the third part of the subject, and that is, what have been the Bills and Reports on the question issuing from both sides of this House? In 1843 the Devon Commission was issued, and made its Report in 1845. By that Report, after giving a most painful description of the condition of the people of Ireland, they reported that, in their opinion the tenant-at-will, or the tenant from year to year, in Ireland, should have legal protection for his improvements. In the same year a Bill was brought in on the subject by Mr. Sharman Crawford and Mr. Martin John Blake, which does not seem to have passed beyond a second reading, and never went through Committee. In 1846, Lord Lincoln and Sir James Graham brought in a Bill on the subject which was substantially repeated in 1848. In 1850, Sir William Somerville brought in a Bill containing a clause for retrospective compensation for holdings of £10. In 1852, Mr. Napier brought in the most comprehensive Bill on the subject that was submitted to Parliament by, or on the part of, any Government, and that contained a clause for retrospective compensation. That Bill provided the following terms for compensation:—Agricultural leases thirty-one years; improvement of waste land sixty-one years; private buildings ninety-nine years; and retrospective compensation for twenty years. That was the Bill brought in by the Government of Lord Derby twelve years ago—carried through this House and through a second reading in the other House. When I consider that that Bill was introduced and supported by the Tory party, who now, for purposes well known to themselves, oppose the present Bill, I must only express my surprise and astonishment. I must only conclude that the policy hitherto foreshadowed by the friends of the Conservative party is changed, and that it is intended to give nothing in the way of remedial land measures, such as were formerly promised to the people of Ireland. I regret that conclusion, and hope it may not be too late to reconsider it. In my opinion, the first thing the party who oppose this Bill should do ought to be to frankly accept this Bill and try to settle this question. As For myself, without pledging myself to its details, I will give my support to the principle of this Bill. The want of notice with which it dispenses, and on account of which it has been opposed, recommended it to all who wish to see the tenants encouraged to make improvements. As long as that notice was required the Bill of 1860 was inoperative, and as long as the Bill of 1860 was useless it had the approbation of the hon. Members who oppose this Bill. This is the first honest attempt made to enable the tenant to make improvements, and although I do not approve of some of the clauses, and will move the Amendments of which I have already spoken in Committee, yet to enable us to go into Committee, I will support the second reading. When the clause limiting compensation is amended in Committee and the other Amendments made, the Bill may he accepted by the people of Ireland as a settlement of the question. The time is come when this House is called upon to declare the policy it means to adopt towards Ireland. If that policy is to be liberal and remedial-the House will pass this Bill, and in other respects adopt towards Ireland a generous course of legislation that may secure the peace and happiness of that distracted and misgoverned country.


, as the representative of a county (Londonderry) in which tenant-right, though not the law of the land, prevailed by custom, thought that this Bill would not give satisfaction in the North of Ireland, where there was at present no limit to the compensation which might be received for improvements, whereas this Bill would be thought to limit their right. He believed that most Irish landlords would be anxious to grant leases if there were persons to whom leases could he properly given; but how could they be expected to grant leases to tenants who held such small portions of land? It would be absurd to say that improvement leases could properly be granted to tenants who held only twenty or thirty acres of land. It was a misapprehension to believe that the principle as to the improvement of land in Ireland was throughout the whole of Ireland totally different from what it was in England. He believed that this Bill, if passed, would tend to prevent Irish landlords from taking any interest in the improvement of their property, and it would introduce suspicion between landlord and tenant; for the landlord would watch to see that the tenant did not saddle the property with what would not produce in future a compensation for what might have to be paid. As to the law of distress, he believed that Irish landlords did not place any value upon that, and would be ready to give it up if the law were abolished in England and Scotland also. He agreed with the hon. Member (Mr. Stuart Mill) that this Bill if passed would lead to fixity of tenure, for the logical result of the passing of the Bill would be the exemption of tenants from eviction; and such a law would strike at the root of the law of property. Landlords would hail with gratitude any Bill that would improve the position of the tenant and stop emigration. He did not believe that emigration was any real benefit to the country, but he would rather see it stopped by increased trade than by legislation of this character. He hoped that the period in which they were so often asked to make alterations in the principal laws of the country would soon pass away.


, repudiating on the part of landowners an assertion which had been made, said, he did not believe any landlord, who had his own interest at heart and any sense of propriety, would eject a tenant for making improvements or would take possession without paying adequately for them. In 1845, alter the Report of the Devon Commission, a Bill was introduced by the noble Lord who was then Secretary for the Colonies (Lord Stanley), and who was more looked up to by hon. Members opposite than by himself; and the object of that Bill was to provide for compensation to tenants, in case of their being dispossessed of their holdings, for improvements they might have made. In supporting that Bill the Earl of Devon said that improvements in Ireland meant things that were considered absolutely necessary in England; and Lord Stanley called upon the Legislature to do by law for Ireland what custom effected in England. A more complete and appropriate defence of the present Bill could not be found than the speech of Lord Stanley in 1845. The measure was a just medium between extravagant demands on one side and undue retention of privileges on the other, and he believed it would be found of as much advantage to the landlord as the tenant.


rose to address the House, but was met by such loud and repeated cries of "Divide! Divide!" that he desisted, and was understood to move the adjournment of the debate.


said, it would not be possible to close the debate that evening—["Oh !"and ironical cheering.] He hoped those hon. Gentlemen who had only favoured the House with their presence during the last half hour would exhibit a little patience while he stated the grounds for that opinion. A great number of Members, English and Irish, were desirous to speak on this subject, and several Irish Members had risen at different periods of the evening, and yet had not gained an opportunity of addressing the House on a subject of great importance to their constituents. Moreover, his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General would find it necessary to address the House at considerable length on this subject. Although, therefore, it wanted a few minutes of their usual time for adjournment, nothing, he thought, could be more inexpedient then to abridge in any manner the facilities of Gentlemen representing Irish constituencies for expressing their sentiments. The question was of the deepest importance to the people of Ireland, and be was bound to say that it was also one which the Government regarded with the deepest interest. An hon. Gentleman called "Go on," but he must have only just entered the House, or he would have seen that during the last half hour the greatest signs of impatience had been exhibited. He did not think it was quite fair to Gentlemen who naturally desired to express themselves freely and even copiously on the subject to bring the debate prematurely to a close. [The right hon. Gentleman spoke amid much interruption, and cries to proceed and for a division.]

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Bagwell.)

The House divided—Ayes 167; Noes 154: Majority 13.

Acland, T. D. Greville, A. W. F.
Adam, W. P. Gray, Sir J.
Akroyd, E. Grey, right hon. Sir G.
Amberley, Viscount Gridley, Captain H. G.
Armstrong, R. Grove, T. F.
Ayrton, A. S. Hamilton, E.W.T.
Baines, E. Hankey, T.
Baring, hon. T. G. Hartington, Marquess of
Barry, G. R. Hay, Lord J.
Bass, A. Hayter, Captain A. D.
Biddulph, M. Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.
Blake, J. A. Herbert, H. A.
Blennerhasset, Sir R. Hibbert, J. T.
Bonham-Carter, J. Holden, I.
Bowyer Sir G. Howard, hon. C.W. G
Brady, J. Hughes, T.
Brand, hon. H. Hurst, R. H.
Brecknock, Earl of Ingham, R.
Bright, J. James, E.
Bruce, Lord C. Kearsley, Captain R.
Buxton, C. Kennedy, T.
Buxton, Sir T. F. King, J. G.
Calcraft, J. H. M. Kinglake, A. W.
Candlish, J. Kingscote, Colonel
Cardwell, right hon. E. Knatchbull-Hugessen, E
Cavendish, Lord E. Lawrence, W.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Lawson, rt. hon. J. A.
Cheetham, J. Leatham, W. H.
Childers, H. C. E. Leeman, G.
Clive, G. Lefevre, G. J. S.
Cogan, W. H. F. Lindsay, Colonel R. L.
Coleridge, J. D. Locke, J.
Collier, Sir R. P. Lusk, A.
Colthurst, Sir G. C. M'Kenna, J. N.
Cowen, J. M'Laren, D.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Maguire, J. F.
Crawford, R. W. Mainwaring, T.
Crosland, Colonel T. P. Martin, C. W.
Dalglish, R. Martin, P. W.
Dawson, hon. Captain V. Merry, J.
Dent, J. D. Milbank, F. A.
Dilke, Sir W. Mill, J. S.
Dillon, J. B. Mitchell, A.
Dodson, J. G. Monk, C. J.
Dunkellin, Lord Moore, C.
Enfield, Viscount More, R. J.
Erskine,Vice-Adm. J.E. Morris, M.
Esmonde, J. Morris, W.
Ewart, W. Morrison, W.
Ewing, H. E. Crum- Neate, C.
Eykyn, R. Norwood, C. M.
Fawcett, H. O'Beirne, J. L.
Fildes, J. O'Brien, Sir P.
Fitz Patrick, rt. hn. J.W. O'Conor Don, The
Fitz william, hn. C.W.W. O'Donoghue, The
Foljambe, F. J. S. Oliphant, L.
Forster, W. E. Osborne, R. B.
Foster, W. O. Padmore, R.
Fortescue, rt. hon. C. P. Palmer, Sir R.
Gavin, Major Pelham, Lord
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Philips, R. N.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E. Pim, J.
Gladstone, W. H. Platt, J.
Goldsmid, Sir F. H. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Goldsmid, J. Potter, E.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. Potter, T. B.
Graves, S. R. Power, Sir J.
Gregory, W. H. Price, W. P.
Pritchard, J. Synan, E. J.
Proby, Lord Tottenham, Lt.-col. C. G.
Rearden, D. J. Trevelyan, G. O.
Robertson, D. Vandeleur, Colonel
Rothschild, Baron M.de Vernon, H. F.
Russell, A. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Russell, F. W. Vivian, Capt. hn. J. C.W.
Samuda, J, D'A. Waldegrave-Leslie, hn. G
Saunderson, E, Western, Sir T. B.
Seymour, A. Whalley, G. H.
Sherriff, A. C. Whitbread, S.
Speirs, A. A. White, J.
Stacpoole, W. Wyld, J.
Stansfeld, J. Young, R.
Stock, O. TELLERS.
Stone, W. H. Bagwell, J,
Sullivan, E. Barry, R. G.
Adderley, rt. hon. C.B. Gaskell, J. M.
Agar-Ellis, hon. L.G.F. George, J.
Archdall, Captain M. Goddard, A. L.
Arkwright, R. Gore, W. R. O.
Baggallay, R. Greene, E.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Grey, hon. T. de
Baring, hon. A. H. Griffith, C. D.
Baring, T. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Barnett, H. Gurney, R.
Barttelot, Colonel Hamilton, Lord C.
Beach, W. W. B. Hamilton, Lord C.J.
Beaumont, W. B. Hamilton, I T.
Bentinck, G. C. Hamilton, Viscount
Benyon, R. Hardy, G.
Beresford, Capt. D. W.P. Hartopp, E. B.
Bingham, Lord Hervey, Lord A. H. C.
Booth, Sir R. G. Hay, Sir J. C. D.
Bourne, Colonel Heathcote, hon. G. H.
Bovill, W. Hencage, E.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Herbert, hon. P. E.
Bromley, W. D. Heygate, Sir F. W.
Browne, Lord J. T. Hogg, Lt.-Colonel J. M.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Holford, R. S.
Cairns, Sir H. M' C. Hood, Sir A. A.
Capper, C. Horsfall, T. B.
Cartwright, Colonel Howes, E.
Cave, S. Hubbard, J. G.
Cobbold, J. C. Huddleston, J. W.
Cole, hon. H. Hunt, G. W.
Cole, hon. J. L. Jones, D.
Conolly, T. Ker, D.S.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. King, J. K.
Cooper, E. H. Knightley, Sir R.
Cox, W. T. Knox, hon. Major S.
Cranbourne, Viscount Lacon, Sir E.
Craufurd, E. H.,T. Laird, J.
Cubitt, G. Langton, W. G.
Dalkeith, Earl of Lascelles, hon. E. W.
Dawson, R. P. Lefroy, A.
Dick, F. Leslie, C. P.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Lopes, Sir M.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Lowther, J.
Dyke, W. H. M'Lagan, P.
Earle, R. A. Malcolm, J. W.
Edwards, Colonel Manners, rt. hn. Lord J
Egerton, Sir P. G. Meller, W.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Miller, S. B.
Egerton, hon. W. Montagu, Lord R.
Elcho, Lord Montgomery, Sir G.
Farquhar, Sir M. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Fellowes, E. Morgan, O.
Fergusson, Sir J. Morgan, hon. Major
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Galway, Viscount Naas, Lord
Neville-Grenville, R. Stronge, Sir J. M.
Noel, hon. G. J. Sturt, Lieut.-Col. N.
North, Colonel Sykes, C.
Northcote, Sir S. H. Taylor, Colonel
O'Neill, E. Torrens, R.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Trevor, Lord A. E. H.
Peel, rt. hon. Gen. Turner, C.
Powell, F. S. Tyrone, Earl of
Read, C. S. Verner, E. W.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Russell, Sir C. Walrond, J. W.
Sclater-Booth, G. Walsh, A.
Scott, Lord H. Walsh, Sir J.
Scourfield, J. H. Waterhouse, S.
Selwin, H, J. Welby, W. E.
Selwyn, C. J. Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Severne, J. E. Whitmore, H.
Seymour, G. H. Wise, H. C.
Simonds, W. B. Wyndham, hon. H.
Somerset, Colonel Wynn, Sir W. W.
Stanhope, J. B. Yorke, J. R.
Stanhope, Lord
Stanley, Lord TELLERS.
Stanley, hon. F. Bateson, Sir T.
Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W. Cochrane, B.

said, that as there was no hope that the debate could be resumed tomorrow night, and as it would be inconvenient to Irish Members to fix the Bill for Thursday next, the first night that the House would reassemble after the holydays, he proposed to name Monday week for the renewal of the discussion, with the view of then stating definitively when it would be again brought on.

Debate adjourned till Monday 28th May.