§ (Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Chichester Fortescue, Mr. John Bright.)
§ COMMITTEE. [Progress 5th April.]
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 3 (Compensation in absence of custom).
moved in line 13, "1. £10 and under, a sum which shall in no case exceed years' rent," after "exceed" to insert. "seven."
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
rose to Order. He believed that the Committee had now passed the words "£10 and under, a sum not exceeding." He was told that this was the case, for he was not present on the occasion, and that the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavauagh) was thereby deprived of the opportunity of substituting another figure for 10; but he thought that, if the forms of the House would allow, the hon. Member ought to be allowed an opportunity of bringing forward his Amendment.
said, he would regret if any hon. Members were deprived of the opportunity of moving whatever Amendments they desired; but the reason why, at the last Sitting, he urged the hon. Member for North Wilts (Sir George Jenkinson) to withdraw his Motion for reporting Progress was that the Committee might get on to a point where a new subject commenced.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, he was present on the last occasion and had a distinct recollection of what took place. What he understood from the language of the Prime Minister was this—that if the hon. Member for Wiltshire (Sir George Jenkinson) would withdraw his Motion for reporting Progress the Chief Secretary would lay on the Table his new scale, on which the hon. Member for Wilts would have an opportunity to give notice of his Amendments, and then there would be a clear issue before the 1434 House. The Committee then broke up. With regard to the question referred to by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gathorne Hardy), it certainly was his impression that there was a distinct understanding that at the commencement of the proceedings this evening they were to enter upon the new scale as upon a virgin subject, and he never was more surprised than when he afterwards learned that Progress had actually been made with the scale, which would prevent his hon. Friend the Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh) from bringing forward his Amendment. It was a most unfortunate occurrence, after the understanding that had been come to on both sides of the House.
said, they were at line 13, and he might state that the now scale of the Secretary for Ireland, of which notice had been given, had not been proposed to the Committee. What was done was this—an Amendment was made in line 13, and the words "not exceeding" were struck out, and the words "which shall, in no case exceed" were inserted. Then the Committee reported Progress.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, it appeared from the Notice Paper that the Amendments were still on the Paper for discussion which the Chairman said were disposed of. The Amendments of the Chief Secretary himself were inconsistent with what had passed in Committee.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
must say that his understanding of what had passed was exactly the same as that of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. He suggested that the hon. Member for Wilts should not press his Amendment, so as to leave the new scale to come on for discussion at the next Sitting. This was agreed to, and the hon. Member did not press his Amendment. Then the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Bowring) moved his Amendment, in his anxiety for accurate phraseology, and that led to the present misunderstanding.
could only repeat that the words "not exceeding" were struck out, and the words "which shall in no case exceed" were inserted in line 13, and then the Committee reported Progress. The next Amendment was one by the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Syrian), to omit "seven" years' rent and insert? "ten." Then came the Amend- 1435 ment of the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), to omit seven and insert five.
said, the Amendment of the hon. Member for Limerick could not be moved, because the Committee were past the place where it was to be inserted.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
would appeal to the Prime Minister whether what had occurred on Tuesday evening was not this—He stated that his Amendment would strike out the whole scale; and it was on the distinct understanding with the right hon. Gentleman that they should proceed with any mere formal Amendments as far as the scale, but should not enter upon its discussion, that he consented to withdraw his Motion that the Chairman should report Progress.
certainly meant that they should not go into the scale so far as regarded the number of years. He distinctly stated that the Amendment of the Member for Exeter should be moved, and the hon. Member for Exeter made a speech in proposing it.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
distinctly understood from the Prime Minister on Tuesday evening that he would not touch the scale at all. That was in answer to his hon. Friend the Member for North Wilts (Sir George Jenkinson).
After further discussion on the point of form,
§ Mr. SYNAN
, in moving the second Amendment of which he had given notice, said, the Bill was introduced with the purpose of conciliating the Irish people and shielding the small holders against arbitrary eviction, and he contended that his Amendment would better secure that result than would the clause in its present shape. At present the average amount of compensation given in the North of Ireland, where the Ulster tenant-right prevailed, was shown by the Poor Law Inspectors' Reports to range from £12 to £15, and the effect of the tenant-right existing out of Ulster was the same—in each case the compensation having no relation to the 1436 improvements on the holding. Where no tenant-right prevailed, but where the land was held of good landlords, similar compensation, at all events in the case of the smaller holdings, was invariably awarded. The proposal contained in the present Bill was, therefore, an injury instead of a benefit to the smaller holders in Ireland; and for the purpose of making the measure more popular and more effectual in Ireland, as a fine against arbitrary eviction, he moved an Amendment altering the highest scale in the case of holdings of £10 and under to ten years instead of seven.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 3, line 13, to leave out the word "seven," in order to insert the word "ten."—(Mr. Synan.)
Sir, in opposing the Amendment of my hon. Friend, I will endeavour to lay before the Committee various considerations which I think will bear upon the vote which it is about to give. But we have arrived at a point when, having made but a small nominal progress with the Bill, we have really discussed, and in part settled, and in a yet further degree have elicited the views of hon. Members upon the greater part by far of the most important of the weighty and critical questions connected with the earlier portion of the Bill, that portion I mean which relates to the occupation of land. And this word "seven" on which we are now engaged cannot well be judged of except in connection with the distinct views of the intentions of the Government as far as regards other vital matters that have been mixed up with the debate on the amount of compensation to be awarded for loss of holding. What I wish, therefore, if hon. Members will permit me to do so, is to state in the most distinct manner to the Committee—but without one word of discussion or of justification, the course which we intend to take upon those weighty and essential matters which have been raised principally by the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer), but which have also been raised by other hon. Gentlemen, because they undoubtedly bear upon the disposition of the Committee and upon the question of the vote of the Committee upon the word "seven," or such other figure as they may agree to adopt. In the first place, 1437 there is the subject of freedom of contract, and with regard to this point we propose, by the provisions now under consideration, to fix a term of years beyond which freedom of contract shall not be interfered with. Another question has been raised about the line at which freedom of contract under the provisions of the Bill shall commence, and this, undoubtedly, is a question of great importance. Upon this point, I have to state that we are of opinion that the line we have chosen is the best line; but, at the same time, we are sensible that there is a strong disposition on the part of the Committee, to lower that line. Sir, we are in a position of the highest responsibility with respect to this measure. It is a great responsibility to break with this Committee upon the terms of the Bill; but it would be a greater responsibility still were we not to fulfil the pledges we have given to the people of Ireland. But, considering the question in the combined light of these two propositions, we shall, although reluctantly—and I do not in the least degree attempt to disguise our reluctance upon the matter—consent to the reduction of that line from £100 oven as low as £50. Then, the next point raised was that we do not allow leases—some hon. Members have said of any kind, some have said of a term shorter than 31 years—to operate as conveying exemption from the Damages Clauses. Now, Sir, I wish the Committee to understand that we have never supposed that such leases ought to be overlooked. Our view upon this subject has been this—that Parliament should fix in the Bill what I may call the unit of stability—that is to say, the duration of leases which in the view of Parliament will give the tenures of Ireland the requisite stability, and which may be regarded as being a fair balance against our scale of damages for eviction. But we never supposed or desired that a less degree of stability than the unit of stability should go for nothing, and we have always anticipated that under the Equity Clauses the man who gives a 14 or a 10 years' lease, although he will not be thereby exempted from his responsibility under the Damages Clauses, will be able to claim that the Judge shall take the fact of his having granted such a lease into account, and that the latter shall award very different damages for loss for eviction from those which he 1438 would have awarded in the case of the tenancy having been one merely from year to year. What we shall propose upon this subject is to insert words—the precise technical form of which I do not pretend to give—to this effect, that the Judge under the Equity Clauses shall be at liberty to consider the nature and the duration of the lease or contract under which the tenant has held. Therefore, in awarding the amount of damages due to the latter for the loss of his holding, the Judge will take into consideration the character of the lease or contract which is better than a tenure from year to year, but which is worse than what I have called the unit of stability. There is one other important subject to which I must refer—namely, the omission of the leasing power, which, as the Bill originally stood, was proposed to be given to the landlord under Clause 16. Upon this point I may say that we have never attached the importance to the omission of that leasing power which some hon. Gentlemen appear to attach to it. The idea is that we are about to strike out of the Bill a provision by which a lease of 31 years is made to operate as an exemption from compensation for damages. Such, however, is not the case. What we have proposed to strike out of the Bill is the power of the landlord to tender such a lease and then to escape from the Damages Clauses where that tender is not accepted by the tenant. It seems to be thought that the position of the landlord will be greatly affected by the omission of the Leasing Clause; but I will show you why it does not in reality affect his position in any definite degree. Under the Bill as it originally stood, the landlord could not get rid of the Damages Clause merely by saying to his tenant—"I will give you a 31 years' lease." It was necessary, under the provisions of the clause, that the rent and all the terms of the lease must be fixed or approved by the court before the tenant was bound to accept it. Hon. Members also appeared to think that, now that the leasing power was struck out. the tenant would be able to refuse the 31 years' lease at his own will and pleasure, and would then be able to claim seven years' damages. But there, again, they are mistaken. In the case of a landlord offering a 31 years' lease upon reasonable terms, which is refused by the tenant, who demands compensation, we assume 1439 that the Judge will award no damages, or, at all events, only nominal damages. Hon. Gentlemen scarcely appear to appreciate the full scope of the Equity Clauses, which are intended to apply to a case of the kind I have been describing. As, however, the matter ought not to be left in the least degree doubtful, we are willing to insert words which shall render the meaning of the clauses perfectly clear and distinct. The hon. and learned Member for Richmond has proposed an Amendment to make it clear that the refusal of the tenant to accept a lease of 31 years upon reasonable terms shall be a matter for the Judge to take into consideration in awarding the amount of the damages. I do not wish to pledge myself to the exact words of that Amendment; but to its principle I have no objection whatever. By accepting that Amendment in the place of the clause as it originally stood, we shall save the Bill from putting an arbitrary power into the hands of the landlord, and we shall save the landlord from the trouble of having to go before the court, in the first instance, to obtain its approval of the terms of the lease he offers in lieu of damages to his outgoing tenant, while it will be in the power of the court to decide how far the offer of a fair lease for 31 years shall go towards meeting the claim of the tenant for damages. The Committee will, I feel certain, excuse my having entered at such length into these points; but it was necessary that I should render them perfectly clear and distinct, seeing that they bear with great force upon the question, what is the proper scale of damages we should fix? To this latter subject I will now address myself. We have proposed the figure seven—I will not at present advert to the precise conditions that we have proposed should attach to that figure. It is but natural, however, that, under these circumstances, we should look to what other authorities have proposed, because, as I stated at the commencement of this debate, we have received the greatest assistance from the results of the inquiries which have been instituted by many individuals. We have proposed seven years as the maximum—not the fixed—payment in the lowest class, with a diminishing maximum as we rise into the higher classes, until we arrive at one year. That is a brief and summary description of our proposal. Now, what 1440 are the proposals of those whom I may call the principal authorities upon this subject? In the first place, the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. B. Samuelson) has not, what the Scotch term, condescended upon the precise figure he would indicate; but he looks upon disturbance as something which undoubtedly should be paid for at a high price. The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. M'Lagan) has suggested that five years' rent should be the basis of the damages; but he has not taken the figure as a maximum reducible to the lowest point, and therefore we do not regard the proposal with favour. A more important authority is Mr. Thompson, who lately sat for Whitby, and I apply the words "more important" to him, because he went to Ireland with the strong conviction that it was impossible to find a way to protect the tenant beyond giving him compensation for improvements, but further reflection has induced him to change his views upon that point. All tenants under £50, even according to Mr. Thompson, who approached the question meaning to give compensation for nothing but improvements, ought to have the power of demanding five years' rent from the landlord absolutely; and not only that, but also the value of the whole of the unexhausted improvements. Now, this is the opinion expressed by a gentleman of whose moderation in every sense of the word the Committee is well aware. It is rather difficult to quote Mr. Fitzgibbon, because his mode of treating the subject is so distinct from ours that it is hard to draw a comparison between them. Still, the principle of his remarkable book is this—and, perhaps, it is all the better because it commences with 25 pages full of the most unmitigated abuse of the Government, though it is an excellent preface in many respects—the principle of his book is that by augmenting the rent voluntarily tended, in proportion, to certain scales of augmentation the actual tenants of the land should be able to demand leases for 60 years, leases for 70 years, and leases in perpetuity. That is the recommendation of the Conservative Master in Chancery, which is prefaced by 25 pages of as sound and rattling abuse of the Government as I ever read. Again, Judge Longfield, if I understand him rightly, recommends simpliciter a seven years' payment as equivalent to tenant-right. His 1441 writings on the subject are various, but I am now referring to his lately published "Essay," and I believe I have correctly stated the meaning of that "Essay." Lastly, I must quote a gentleman who does not belong to this House, and who has never had an opportunity of distinguishing himself here as he has had in the East. I mean Mr. Campbell, the author of as able a book on this subject as any I have read. Mr. Campbell recommends the absolute sale of tenant-rights, together with the limitation of rents. Thatis the Ulster custom and something more; it is the custom hardened, sharpened, and defined by the limitation of rents. Those who have listened to the recital of what has been recommended by the principal authorities on the subject will see that Her Majesty's Government, in approaching this subject, have not been under the influence of a disposition to adopt extreme views, or to push to the farthest point even what they might have recommended under the cover of considerable and unquestionable authority. I may remark that I did not state Mr. Thompson's case in detail. According to him, I think, in cases above £50, the landlord ought to have the option of five years' rent or five years' occupation. Of course, under such a scheme, every sensible landlord would give the five years' rent, as he would be afraid to keep a tenant on a farm with a notice that he was to compensate himself as well as he could in the course of the five years. Thus, even in the case of the higher class of holdings, Mr. Thompson proposed to give five years' rent, togther with a claim for unexhausted improvements of every sort. Will the Committee now allow me to explain the difficulty which we had to confront when we came originally to the construction of this scale, for I doubt whether it has been present to the minds of many Members of this Committee as much as it has to our minds? It is extremely difficult to construct a good and sound scale, and the reason of the difficulty is inherent in the nature of the case. It is because the case of the large holdings and the case of the small holdings do not stand in pari materia, either as to loss or as to improvements. As far as regards loss, the difficulty is easily met by diminishing the scale; but as regards improvements the case is quite different. The difficulty is, that in the 1442 larger holdings you find improvements which I venture to call—though the application of the word is not quite correct—improvements of a merchantable character. If fences and roads are made, and if drainage is carried out on a holding of considerable size, the improvement is of a kind which, when it passes to the landlord, may be regarded as property delivered over into his hands, and he is accordingly called upon to pay for it. But when you come down to the smaller holdings, improvements and loss become mixed up and blended together so that you cannot effectually separate them. On a holding under £10 or £20, and even perhaps, to some extent on a holding under £30, what are the improvements which the Irish tenant makes or can be expected to make? I do not hesitate to say that in the construction of our scale we have been mainly governed by the belief that the only permanent improvement which is found to exist on a holding of that kind, of such a nature that it could be substantiated in court and charged on the landlord, is reclamation of land, together with permanent buildings in certain instances. But it would not very often happen that there would be permanent buildings which could be so charged. What do we know about the kind of building which the Irish tenant of the humbler class raises upon his holding? In Sir George Lewis's book, On Local Disturbances in Ireland, there will be found a particular reference to the cost of an Irish tenant's mud cabin, or house, in which he and his family live, which answers his purposes, and which enables him to treat his holding as a farm. Well, he states that 22s. 6d. is the ordinary cost of such a habitation. ["Oh, oh!"] That is the money cost, as stated by Sir George Lewis. Nay, I will go further, and mention that he declares there is a cheaper kind of house, which you can erect for 7s. 6d. Now, it would, of course, be absurd to represent the mere money cost of such a house as the real value of it. Still, that is the cost of it, according to Sir George Lewis's meaning, as a marketable article. The mud, stones, moss, and turf which suffice for the circumstances of the poor tenant, are gathered together by him with immense labour. Consequently, the cabin is to him of great value, and if deprived of it he would suffer a great 1443 loss. But how is he to establish that value against the landlord, and to make out in court that the money price of the mud cabin does not in the least degree correspond with the value it is to him? If this be true of a house, it is still more true of the gates, roads, and fences made or erected on these small holdings. As, however, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) says I know nothing about it, I would rather not rest the case on my own authority, and I will, therefore, read a passage from Mr. Campbell's book. Not in this passage only, but throughout the valuable discussion in his work, Mr. Campbell deals with a subject of the utmost practical consequence, and attempts to show that in the case of small holdings you must have regard to considerations different from those which apply to holdings at the top of the scale. Mr. Campbell says—In truth, in this matter, there are two sides to the shield, discrepant and irreconcilable beyond measure. Not only frequently in the North, but sometimes in the South also, the tenants have put up substantial buildings, which no one could deny to he improvements; but, ordinarily, the state of things is this—the tenants say that they have made all the improvements, and given the land its value, as much as the smith who forges the iron and puts a handle to it gives value to a spade; the landlords deny that the tenants have made any improvements whatever which in any proper sense can be called improvements. The tenant says that he or his predecessors have reclaimed and rendered culturable the land, built the homestead, set up the fences, done everything; and that the value he sets on these things is real and not imaginary he proves by showing that men of his class are ready to give large sums for his right of occupancy. The landlord says that, far from improving the land, he has utterly exhausted it by bad farming, and having done so wants to sell what is not his, and go off with the money to America; that so far from the wretched homestead and farm-buildings and divisions of small fields by great wasteful fences being improvements, they are mere burdens upon the land, which can only be well utilized by going to the expense of levelling the fences, throwing down the houses, and consolidating the farms with adjoining farms. The improvements are of great value to the tenant; they are worse than valueless to the landlord. Between these two conflicting views no mortal man can decide the real value. It would he like trying to strike an average between incommensurate things, or deciding at an agricultural show between the relative merits of a horse and a cow.Now, without saying that this is all gospel, yet I believe that in that passage there are indicated propositions of fundamental importance with regard to the 1444 just settlement of this question, and the result is, that whereas at the upper part of the scale, where the mere loss from eviction diminishes, it is separate and separable from the value of the improvements, yet as you go down to the bottom of the scale a great part of the loss from eviction is found to consist in the loss of the use of what he has erected on his holding, and which are real improvements for his purposes, though they are not of a kind which he would be able to go into a court of law to substantiate as improvements against the landlord. If that is so, that is a difficulty we have been under in constituting this scale, and that will explain two things—first, why we made the compensation so much larger at the bottom of the scale; and, secondly, why, in altering the scale, and reducing very considerably the compensation at the upper end of it, we did not alter it also at the lower end. That reason will, I hope, be an answer to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Richmond, whose question I fully admit to be a pertinent and a weighty one. "First," he said, "you proposed that this scale of seven years should cover improvements and loss; you now propose that it should cover improvements alone." My answer to him is that, as regards that portion of the scale, we did not alter it because we believed that the practical change would be small; and I hope that answer will be sufficient to show the good faith of the Government, and that we were not intending to convict ourselves out of our own mouths by making a great and fundamental change in a leading provision of the Bill—not, indeed, unawares, but certainly without calling to such a change that degree of attention which it ought to receive. It is not quite fair to say, as has been said, that the new scale has increased the number of years, because that is not a proper representation of the case; but, as between the old scale and the new, the state of the case is this—There are seven stages in the new scale, and in one of them the number of years was increased, in two of them the number of years was left the same, and in four the number of years was diminished. Those four were the stages from £30 upwards; the stages from £20 to £30 remain as they were; and the stage from £10 to £20 is increased by one year. Now, it 1445 is with that part of the scale which is under £30 that we feel dissatisfaction has been excited among those who were disposed to give a general support to the Bill as it was first introduced, and the Government are quite prepared to admit that there is no occasion for making a serious alteration in the scale as it was originally proposed in favour of the tenant if we make it real, if we take care it is not evaded, if we take care to depart so far from our British ideas as to make it an Irish Bill, and to see that what we propose to give to the tenants by one clause is not taken away from them by doors opened in another. We are satisfied, then, that, substantially, the scale as it stood is not unfair with regard to the lower portion of the tenants, and that the object of separating improvements will best be effected by giving the tenant an option, because we admit that there are cases, even of small tenements, in which it may be desirable to separate improvements from, loss. Mr. Campbell says, and says very truly, that—In many cases in the North, and in some cases in the South, good and merchantable improvements have been made, and substantial improvements have been made, even with small holdings.For the sake of those cases it is desirable to effect a separation; but for the sake of the Irish tenant in general in the small holdings, what is really essential is to take care that we do not deprive him of that fair consideration for those elements of loss which consist in the loss of the apparatus, imperfect as it is, of his farm, under the name of giving him a compensation for all his improvements. Well, Sir, having got so far as this, I may be permitted to point out that this is not a new idea on the part of the Government, and to quote a single sentence from my own speech on the second reading. I admitted that the debate on that occasion had shown that we must attempt more in the way of separation of improvements from losses than the original scale gave, and I did not hesitate to say that as regards the higher tenants, the improving ones, the original scale would have been very unjust, because it would not have offered them a proportionate compensation for improvements. I said I thought the scale from £30 upwards would well and fairly bear criticism if there was to be a scale at all; but I felt the difficulty as regards 1446 the lower portion of the scale, and in regard to the association of damages for eviction and payment for improvements, I said this—We were governed in attempting that association by the belief that, as regards the smaller class of tenements, there was much of the produce of the labour of the occupier which might very fairly be considered improvement in relation to his claim for compensation, and yet which it might be difficult to sustain upon the separate ground of improvement as plea before an arbitrator or a Judge. We shall, perhaps, make an endeavour, without in any degree foregoing our object, to effect a more distinct severance between the two elements of payment for improvements and compensation for loss inflicted by eviction."—[3 Hansard, cxcix. 1830-31.]Well, Sir, what we now propose is expressed and conveyed by the proviso which my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland has placed upon the Paper. I am not quite sure whether all the Members of the Committee will at once perceive what will be the operation of that proviso; but I can quite distinctly state to them its intention, and I believe the words are such as will carry that intention into effect in an unimpeachable manner. That proviso is is not at all intended to touch the scale above £30 proposed by my right hon. Friend in his Amendment, for we are all satisfied with that scale, and the complete separation that it effects between compensation for improvements and damages for loss; but that proviso touches the scale below £30, and in this way: the law will say to each man who has a holding under £30—"You have a choice before you upon eviction; you may either take the scale originally proposed (that which now stands in the Bill—namely, seven years and five years) with an ulterior claim for permanent buildings and reclamation of land; or if you belong to that narrower class of small tenantry which has made valuable general improvements in the way of drainage, fencing, gates, and so forth, then we give you an option, and you may certainly claim for improvements of that nature, but in that case you must submit to a reduction in the number of years;" and the reduction would be from seven years to five, and from five years to four. I hope the Committee now well understand what will be the position of tenants. A tenant under £10 will be able to ask for the maximum of seven years' provided lie can prove that his loss amounts to it, together with a claim for the recla- 1447 mation of land and for permanent buildings, or, if he thinks it will be more to his interest to do so, he will be able to demand that all those improvements shall be valued, in which case he must limit his claim to five years. The same event will happen in cases between £10 and £30, excepting that in those cases five years will be the claim for compensation, but four years will be the maximum claim for loss in union with a claim for the value of the whole of his improvements. The Committee may perhaps think that we ought not to have found so much difficulty in arriving at a conclusion on this subject. When I introduced this Bill I stated—and the statement was true—that it had cost us much labour, that we had exerted ourselves to balance as well as we could the several parts of an extremely complicated system. I hear hon. Members complain that they cannot understand the Bill, and I admit that the Bill is difficult of comprehension; but I humbly believe that that is not on account of the obscurity of its language, but is rather owing to the difficulties that are inherent in the subject. We invited suggestions from all parties, and we desired to look impartially at those suggestions from whatever quarter they came. That invitation has not been fruitless, as anybody will be convinced who looks at the Amendments which are upon the Notice Paper of the House. We shall have to make an earnest attempt to combine as well as we can the conflicting views of various sections, and the conflicting claims of duty and of justice as looked at from various points, and I hope that the ultimate effect will be to give such a degree of satisfaction as may enable us to work through Committee on this Bill in a reasonable time. I have been obliged to trespass upon the time of the Committee at some length, because I wished to put them in full possession of the grounds on which we make this proposition. It will be understood that, so far as the word "seven" is concerned (on which we shall have to vote), that number will be subject to the conditions of the original scale, and so will the word "five" which follows it; but by the proviso an option will be given to make a claim for all improvements together with a claim for loss on the lower scale. I have only to thank the Committee for having so patiently listened to me. The great importance of the matter must be 1448 my excuse, together with our desire that the Committee should understand the position in which we place the subject; because we feel that after all we have heard about our being now in a position different to that which we occupied when we introduced the Bill, we ought to be in a condition to say—"This is the Bill in its main outlines which, with great solemnity and earnestness, with reference to the condition of Ireland, we present to you for acceptance, and we fervently hope that it may meet with your favour." Being, then, of opinion that seven years is the proper sum, we are unable to accede to the radical change involved in the substitution of the figure "10."
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
I quite understood my right hon. Friend when he said that the Government did not propose to increase the scale which they first laid down; and I wish, just in a couple of sentences, to draw the attention of the Committee to the exact position in which we now stand, and the position in which we shall be placed, by voting for this Amendment. There is an Amendment by the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh) to reduce the scale, and therefore we are in this position: the Motion to be put from the Chair will be—"That the word 'seven' stand part of the clause," and if that is carried we shall be precluded from subsequently attempting to reduce the scale. I think that is rather an unfortunate position to be placed in by the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan), and I venture to suggest to him that he should withdraw his Amendment. By taking that course he would be placed in a better position than that which he would occupy in voting against the reduction; for I think he cannot calculate upon such an amount of support for his proposition of 10 years' compensation as to make it necessary for him to divide the Committee upon that point, although that is a matter for his consideration. The proviso added by the Chief Secretary makes a considerable alteration with respect to the lower tenancies, and answers an objection which we have raised. But, as I understand the right hon. Gentleman, these lower tenancies require larger consideration on account of certain things being done by the tenant in that position which are not improvements from the landlord's point of view, but benefits only to the tenant.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
That is to say, it is an Irish Bill in every sense of the word; because we are told that in the ease of improvements which leave no benefit to the landlord and are, in fact, a positive injury to him, but of great benefit to the tenant, the landlord should pay compensation; that, in fact, he being a person damaged is to pay additional damages to the person who damaged him. That certainly strikes me as the only English interpretation which you can put upon this very Irish Bill. I did not rise to argue this question at length. I only want it to be clearly understood by all those Members who wish to reduce the seven years that, if they vote in the negative, as against the proposition of the hon. Member for Limerick, they will preclude themselves from discussing the expediency of reducing the seven years. If the hon. Member goes to a Division upon the question as now moved—namely, that seven be left out, I shall be compelled, very reluctantly—for I very seldom agree with the hon. Member—to go into the same Lobby with him.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
It is obvious that whichever Amendment we ultimately adopt, whether that of the hon. Member near me (Mr. Synan) or of the hon. Member for Carlow county (Mr. Kavanagh), the Question which will be put from the Chair will be the same—namely, "That the word 'seven' stand part of the clause;" and this will be my excuse for saying a few words upon the scale. In the first place, I must say my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government has, in the tone of his speech and in the proposals he has submitted, fully redeemed, the promise which he made to the House at the outset, that the suggestions and criticisms which he invited should receive fair consideration, and be listened to with a disposition to adopt them, if there was anything like reasonable ground for so doing. I, of course, do not say that upon all points my views have been entirely mot, nor do I say that upon some points I may not feel it my duty to press my views; but, generally, I have felt great satisfaction at the candour which has been; shown in considering the criticisms I have ventured to throw out. With regard to this particular clause, I am 1450 bound to say that, looking at all that has already been done, and what is now proposed to be done, by the Government with regard to the modification of the scale of compensation, I, for one, am not of opinion that it would be wise in those who take generally the view I do upon the subject to reject the terms the Government now offers to us. I compare the proposal not so much with the new scale put upon the Paper by the Chief Secretary as with the matter as it stood in the original Bill. Originally, the Committee will recollect, the whole subject of improvements—with the exception of permanent buildings and reclamation of land—was united with the subject of eviction; and, being so united, compensation was fixed at a sum not exceeding seven years' rent for holdings of £10, and for holdings between £10 and £50 at a sum not exceeding five years' rent. As I understand it, we are now invited to change the figure seven in the first case to five, and with this we must compare the Amendment put on the Paper by a very high authority—the hon Member for Carlow county (Mr. Kavanagh)—who proposes the figure four, so that there is only a single year's difference between the two. I cannot take upon myself to decide between two Amendments differing only by a single year; but, desiring to give as much support as I can to the Government consistently with my own sense of public duty, I cannot oppose the Government on this point and reject their offer. With regard to the second section, I wish to point out that it is not quite the same, because there the hon. Member for Carlow county, though he proposes only one year's difference, does not apply it to the whole category. Deference to his authority makes me hesitate again; but then I know these cases are much smaller in number, and when I take into consideration other points which I am about to mention, I feel I ought not to make a difficulty in accepting the terms of the Government. The Bill now virtually distinguishes between eviction and improvement, so that if the Court shall not find anything which can legitimately be considered as improvements, and as distinct from mere loss by eviction, it will follow the rule of the Bill and give compensation for eviction only. Then, I take into account two excellent alterations which have been made, first, that which makes it clear that the tenant 1451 is not to have a primâ facie claim to the maximum compensation, but that he must state his claim and make it good, as far as he can, towards the maximum. That is a most important alteration in combination with what is now proposed, and also with the change introduced on the Motion of the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Bowring), by which we have substituted for the words "not exceeding" other words, which make the meaning clear not that the penalty, or whatever it may be, shall in no case be below that amount, but that the sum named shall be the absolute maximum. Taking all these things into consideration, my advice is that we should accept the proposals of the Government.
§ SIR JOHN GRAY
said, after the speech just delivered by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, he thought it of little consequence whether the Committee adopted £10, or £7, or £5, or any other figure; and though he would vote with his Friend the Member for Limerick, he would not trouble the Committee with any observations on the subject. He had risen solely to protest against the course that was indicated by the Premier's unaccountable statement. He (Sir John Gray) would like very much to know whether they were sitting there as a Committee of the House or as a Committee of Inquiry. Every day some new doctrine was propounded; every day some change was suggested by the Government, and he confessed, though it might be from some want of comprehension on his part, that he was perfectly at a loss as to where they stood or what the Government intended to embody in the Bill. Government now proposed to reduce to £50 the protective restriction which originally stood at £100. The whole Bill, in fact, as it now stood, simply amounted to giving facilities for inducing landlords to offer leases for 31 years, and any landlord who did that would come under the Equity Clause, and the tenant, if he refused to accept a 31 years' lease would practically lose his right to compensation for loss of his tenancy. If this were all that the Bill proposed doing it could as well be effected by a Bill of one clause as by the elaborate machinery and contradictory contrivances now before the Committee. He should be glad if the Government would decide upon something, and determine what it was they were to deal with. The 1452 Bill was intended, according to the statement of the Prime Minister, to confer stability of tenure. He should, he confessed, like to see some little stability of opinion upon the Treasury Bench, and be pleased to find that the Government had done with those perpetual shiftings of ground and alterations of front. It would be advantageous if the Government would reconsider their position, and after finally determining what it was they were going to propose, to bring in the Bill again after Easter, and not continue the course of adopting one principle one night, and setting it aside on the next. He hoped they would henceforth indicate some decision, and act on it. The Committee would then understand where they were, instead of having one thing proposed and carried one day only to be reversed the next.
§ MR. HUNT
I hope, Sir, that there will be no mistake as to what the Division will really mean. The hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan) and myself both wish to strike out the word "seven" from the clause. We both agree in that; but there we stop. He wishes to strike it out to insert "ten;" I wish to strike it out to insert a smaller number than "seven." Now, the only way in which either he or I can effect our purpose is to both join in striking out the word "seven." The Question to be put from the Chair will be—"That the word 'seven' stand part of the clause." I shall say "no," in order to insert less than seven; he will say "no" in order to insert more than seven.
§ MR. COGAN
, believing with the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken that if the word "seven" were struck out the Committee would be much more inclined to agree to the insertion of a lower than of a higher figure, would vote for the retention of the word in opposition to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Limerick. The Prime Minister had told them in solemn terms that he regarded the retention of the word as vital to the settlement of the question. He, therefore, thought it behoved them seriously to consider whether they should not support the Government, for, as one living in Ireland, he should not like to look forward with great apprehension and fear to another year passing without a settlement of this question in a manner which 1453 would give satisfaction to the large majority of the people of that country.
§ MR. M'CARTHY DOWNING
confessed to feeling great disappointment at the speech of the Prime Minister. He had certainly expected that Amendments would have been made in the Bill with the view of putting, in the words of the hon. Member for Carlow county (Mr. Kavanagh), in good and honest terms, a penalty for eviction. He found that the 16th clause was to be reinstated in substance, and that the Amendments of those not so well acquainted with Ireland as the Irish Members had been adopted, while the Amendments supported by 30 or 40 Irish Members were not attended to. He had done all in his power to further the passing of this measure and to enhance its value, and though with that object he had placed a good many Amendments on the Paper, it was his present intention to abstain from all further participation in the debates on the Bill, and not to propose any of the Amendments of which he had given notice.
§ MR. KAVANAGH
observed that after what had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer, who had remarked that the difference between the proposal of the Government and his own was very small, he felt disposed to agree with the hon. and learned Member's suggestion, and to accept the proposal of the Government in lieu of his own. He should not, therefore, support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan).
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, the proposal with regard to penalty for capricious eviction remained unaltered. The tenant was to recover the maximum damages equivalent to seven years' rent if he showed that he had suffered loss inconsequence of causeless eviction. He could not adopt the suggestion of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) fort he insertion of a minimum, because it would be sufficient to show that the maximum of seven years' rent would honestly be attainable in some cases. Proof that loss to the amount resulted from the inequitable conduct of the person responsible would answer the arguments that it was unjust to make the landlord give compensation in every case. He appealed to English Members to be guided in this matter by the 1454 judgment of the Irish Members as to the loss sustained by the largest class of tenants from needless eviction. It had been stated that frequently the only alternative for the person evicted was emigration or the workhouse; but very often he had no means to enable him to emigrate, and the result was that he had no choice, and was obliged to go to the workhouse. Damages at the rate of two years' rent would be quite inadequate to give a man with a family the poor alternative of emigration. He would give three illustrations of capricious eviction. A lady inheriting property in Galway, which her predecessors had subdivided when small farms were profitable, thinking that a large grass waste would be preferable, evicted all the tenants, who eventually found their way into the workhouse. A few years ago in Meath a landlord expelled 72 families for a very similar reason. He held in his hand a letter from the owner of a large and well cultivated property in Fermanagh, inhabited by a prosperous tenantry. The writer stated that his property was daily and yearly improving, and that his tenants were advancing in education, in manners, and in every relation of life. He disapproved, however, of the legislation of Parliament in reference to the Church and the land, and declined to hold property under the conditions imposed by this Bill. He should, therefore, serve notices on his tenants, giving those who held at will notice to quit, and requiring the others to leave at the expiration of their leases. He hoped such instances as these would induce English Members to support the maximum rate of compensation.
distinctly understood that there was not the smallest chance of the hon. Member (Mr. Synan) being able to substitute the figure ten for seven in the clause. He wished to explain that the landlord would not be empowered to force a 31 years' lease upon his tenant, irrespective of its character; for in case of difference it would be brought before the Court, which would judge whether or not the offer made was fair and reasonable; in other words, whether the rent was moderate. The person taking the lease was not to be placed in a worse position than if he held only from year to year.
§ MR. SYNAN
denied that his object 1455 was the same with that of the right hon. Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt), and said it would not be consistent with his ideas of morality to enter into any such combination. He wished to give compensation to the extent of 10 years, because unless that amount could be recovered the smallest holder in Ireland would refuse to put improvements upon his land. However, if the figure ten could not be inserted, he hoped seven would be retained.
§ Question put, "That 'seven' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 245; Noes 50: Majority 195.
§ MR. BRODRICK
then rose to propose in Clause 3, page 3, line 13, to leave out "rent," and insert "annual value." He said that, as the clause now stood, it appeared that the foundation adopted for the scale was "the annual value" of the holdings; but when they passed to the measure of the damages for eviction the words were varied, and then it was proposed to give as damages so many years' rent. The fact was, that no proportion generally obtained in Ireland between rent and the Government valuation. So different was the valuation in different places that of two baronies in the same county the land in one would be valued at 25 or 30 per cent below the rent, while in the other the hardest and poorest landlord could not think of imposing a rent equal to the valuation. Then in the case of "accommodation lands"—that is, lands tying immediately around small towns, and the rent of which depended partly upon the population of the towns, and partly upon their trade and prosperity—it would be simply preposterous to attach damages for eviction to the rent of such lands. Thirdly, if an unfair rent had been demanded from a tenant, he must unquestionably lose very much less by being deprived of his farm than if he had occupied it at a fair rent; and, therefore, of all persons in the world, he was the least entitled to claim compensation on that rent. Now, he would not have the slightest objection to having the word "rent" used instead of "annual value," provided it were used in both cases. What he wanted was this—that whatever difference of opinion there might be as to the applicability or desirability of the scale, that scale 1456 should be straightforward and fair, and that there should be no doubt as to what it meant or did not mean. As it stood now they took as the measure of the holding the lowest scale, or, in other words, the annual value; but when they came to assess damages they took the highest measure, or the rent, which might be 20, 25, and in some cases 50 per cent above the valuation. The fact that the rent was high in proportion to the valuation did not prove that it was in any way an unfair rent. He had obtained the particulars of a case in which a gentleman farmed a considerable portion of his own land, and made on the average 36s. an acre, while it was valued under Griffith's valuation at only 15s. That gentleman had also found that the rent which his tenants were able to pay was considerably in excess of the valuation; he had been careful in choosing his tenants, and they prided themselves on being the superiors of the same class in the neighbourhood. A fair rent was what a tenant was able to pay without drawing unnecessarily on his own resources, and that could be determined only by experience. The fair thing to do in this clause would be either to place at both ends the words "annual value" or else the word "rent." He begged to move the Amendment.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, the Government, having carefully considered this point when preparing the clause, could not agree to the Amendment, and he must remind the hon. Member that all the Gentlemen who had placed Amendments on the Paper had concurred in intending that rent should be the principle of the scale of compensation, and not annual value. He thought that rent ought to be taken as the standard, and not annual value. To adopt the course which the hon. Member proposed would, in the opinion of the Government, be most undesirable, inasmuch as the effect of his Amendment would be to impose the lowest penalty on the worst landlord, and the heaviest on the best.
§ Amendment negatived.1457
§ MR. SYNAN
moved, in page 3, line 14, to leave out Subdivision 2. His object in putting the Amendment on the Paper was for the purpose of having, not this narrow scale, but a broader scale, upon which to calculate the amount of compensation; because, as it stood, it was too graduated to calculate the amount of compensation, and the effect of the graduated scale would furnish an inducement to landlords in Ireland to practice eviction upon the compensation scale. The Bill was based, he said, on the assumption that the landlords in Ireland were strongly actuated by motives of self-interest to violate by their treatment of their tenants the dictates of conscience and to outrage public opinion. The clause under discussion, however, would add a pecuniary motive to the others, which now urged them to acts of eviction. Under the present scale a charge would be imposed on the landlord where there were 10 £10 holdings of £700; but if he were to convert those 10 holdings into £100 holdings he would be liable to the payment of £200, so that he would have a direct pecuniary interest to the extent of £500 in turning out all his small tenants and consolidating their holdings into one large farm. The same observations applied to £20 and £30 holdings, and it was therefore that he wished to see Subdivision 2—"above £10 and not exceeding £30, a sum not exceeding five years' rent"—struck out, and greater protection, by that means, afforded to the small holders in Ireland.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, he thought that a full answer to this Amendment had been given by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government when he announced the changes with respect to this clause. As the holdings were lowered in value, so the improvements were inappreciable for the benefit of the landlord. It seemed to him that the matter was now put upon a, fair and firm basis. It was said that the tenant did not get the benefit of this alteration; but that was secured to him by this Bill. He thought that the Amendment was not necessary, and he trusted that the Committee would not allow its adoption.
§ In reply to an hon. MEMBER,
§ In reply to Dr. BALL,
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he had not the slightest idea of departing from the clause as it was now submitted by the Government. The argument of the hon. Member who moved the Amendment seemed to go against the scale altogether. He did not share the fears of the hon. Member.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ MR. KAVANAGH
moved, in line 14, after "and," leave out from "not" to "rent," in line 15, inclusive, and insert "under £20, a sum which shall in no case exceed three years' rent."
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he hoped the Amendment would not be pressed. The Government had gone as far as they could in duty go for the purpose of rendering the scale acceptable as far as possible to the Committee, without sacrificing the object of the clause. It was quite impossible for them to depart from the proposition which they now made.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
moved, in line 13, to leave out from "£10 and under, &c," to "reclamation of land," in line 35, both inclusive, and insert—1. £10 and under, a sum not exceeding seven years' rent; 2. Above £10 and not exceeding £30, a sum not exceeding five years' rent; 3. Above £30 and not exceding £40, a sum not exceeding four years' rent; 4. Above £40 and not exceeding £50, a sum not exceeding three years' rent.
§ MR. BOWRING
moved to leave out from the proposed Amendment the words "not exceeding," and insert "which shall in no case exceed."
Sections 1 to 4 amended accordingly, and agreed to.
5. "Above £50, and not exceeding £100, a sum which shall in no case exceed two years' rent.
§ MR. W. FOWLER
rose to move an Amendment, which involved the omission of this and of the last paragraph of the revised scale, for the purpose of substituting these words—Nothing in this section contained shall have any application to any holding valued as hereinbefore mentioned at an annual value exceeding fifty pounds.1459 The hon. Member said that the question now raised was a very important one; and that what had been said by the First Minister of the Crown did not at all affect the substance of the Motion which he now made. All that he had said was, that in Clause 10 he would propose to alter the limit at which the principle of free contract should come in from £100 rent to £50; but tenancies above £50 were still left exposed to the full effect of this clause. It was very evident that the right hon. Gentleman and those who drew the Bill felt that there should be a great distinction between the holders of small and large farms; for in the original Bill it was said that as to holdings over £100, the parties might contract themselves out of the section, whilst under £50 they could not get out of it. There was no reason why large holders should have the protection given by this clause, for the whole scope of the section was to help the small holders in Ireland, and not to assist men who were perfectly capable of contracting for themselves. The total number of holdings in Ireland was 682,199; 512,080 were under £15 rent, and of those 428,935 were tenancies-at-will, or from year to year, and were within this Bill. If his proposition were agreed to, 644,188 holdings would have the benefit of that section, and only 37,500 would be excluded from it. They heard the other day of a farmer in Ireland who held 10,000 acres. He had heard of others who held 5,000; and would it not be monstrous that in such cases the tenants should have a year's rent from the landlords in cases of eviction? He concurred in the provisions of the Bill as far as they related to small owners; but he must entirely object to do anything which would throw doubt on the propriety of freedom of contract in cases where freedom of contract could be had. The object of the Bill was to help men who could not help themselves. The principle that the Government had embodied in the Bill was perfectly well known to the law in reference to contracts by married women, minors, and sailors; but the law had always steadily avoided interfering unnecessarily with the freedom of contract. If this great been were to be given to the farmers of Ireland, the same thing should be given to those of Scotland and England. He thought, speaking gene- 1460 rally, that it would be a good thing if the tenant-farmer were more able to obtain the capital that he had put into the land in case of eviction; but they had now to deal merely with the case of poor tenants in Ireland. He thought that tenants in Ireland should be encouraged and not discouraged to contract; that they should be encouraged to rely upon themselves, and not upon an Act of Parliament. He knew it would be said of his proposal that it would simply encourage landlords to consolidate farms; but that argument applied just as much to the Government Bill as to his proposal, because the compensation proposed to be given to small holders was greater in proportion than that allotted to large holders. If it should be objected that it was capricious to draw the line at £50, he would remark that the question as to the right sum might be a matter of discussion; his only object being that the Committee should draw some line where they might stop and go no further; but he reminded hon. Members that the amount of £50 was taken from the original Bill. He had heard it suggested that it was more dangerous, and something like Communism, to give an advantage to small holders simply because they were small holders, than to alter the law altogether for large and small alike. If that were so, the Bill ought never to pass the House, because the condition of the small holders in Ireland was the ground on which it was brought forward. The Bill assumed that some great improvement was required in Ireland, and in that case the Committee ought to confine itself to the matter in hand, and not adopt a principle which it might be compelled afterwards to apply with great inconvenience to this country. He felt so strongly upon the matter that he should divide the Committee upon the Motion. What was the difference between a substantial farmer in England and one in Ireland? Were they not both men with means of their own, and quite able to take care of themselves? Were they not often a good deal sharper than their landlords? He did not think so badly of them as to believe they wanted the protection of this section. He felt great sympathy for the small holders who had been described as holders by status, and not by contract. That, however, was not the position of the substantial farmer, 1461 who had entered into a contract which he was as much bound to observe as though he had signed a bill of exchange, but the Committee were now asked to alter his contract for him. He (Mr. Fowler) had voted for this Bill cheerfully as far as it went, but, he confessed, with considerable doubt, lest he should be adopting a principle wrong and inconvenient; but he had made up his mind that he would not allow the principle to be carried any further than was needful. A hard and fast line must be drawn somewhere, and he asked hon. Gentlemen on both sides seriously to consider what they were doing, and to join in asking the Government to put a limit beyond which this section should not apply. He was not speaking now in reference to the question of improvements at all. That question could be better dealt with when they came to the 4th clause. He must say he wished every farmer in England and Scotland, as well as in Ireland, had a better law for their protection in reference to their improvements; but he was utterly opposed to the application of this Act to every tenant in Ireland, both large and small. He therefore moved the Amendment.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 3, to leave out from the word "Above," in line 16, to the word "rent," in line 18, both inclusive.—(Mr. William Fowler.)
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND
(Mr. DOWSE) said, he hoped that the Committee would not agree to the Amendment of his hon. Friend, inasmuch as it would leave the clause in a most unsatisfactory state if it were carried. Indeed, it would be absolutely necessary for his hon. Friend, in addition to his Amendment, to insert some other words in the clause, otherwise it would really defeat the object which he had in view, and a serious question would then arise—whether parties holding lands valued at a sum over £50 and not exceeding £100 would not be entitled to compensation when disturbed without any limitation whatever. This was, however, only a question of detail and not of substance. He opposed it also on substantial grounds. The scale would be a most imperfect one if this Amendment were agreed to. He was not inclined to say, however, that his hon. Friend was wrong when he alleged that a tenancy 1462 above £50 a year in value was not a much better one, as far as freedom of contract was concerned, than a tenancy of £10 or £15 a year value. But he must remind his hon. Friend that they were not now dealing with the question of freedom of contract. It appeared to him that his hon. Friend was discussing an Amendment which was applicable to another part of the Bill. What they were now considering was that portion of the clause which referred to the amount of compensation to be given in cases of eviction—whether, in fact, a tenant from year to year in Ireland was not entitled to some compensation for the loss of his holding, which according to Griffiths' valuation was worth above £50 a year. He contended that this class of farmers required protection as well as others, and that protection was best provided for by the proposition of his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland. It was always a difficult matter to draw a hard and fast line; but he asked the Committee whether it would not be a hard case if a tenant with a holding of £49 10s. a year in value could obtain compensation, and one with a farm of £50 in value were to be denied it. The scale was proposed and accepted in substance, it had been very carefully elaborated and prepared; the earlier parts of it were not inserted without due consideration of the latter part of the scale, and if they were to take away one or two steps of the scale they would to a certain extent weaken what remained. It should be taken as a whole. His hon. Friend had voted for the Bill—he did not mean for all its details; but he had approved the spirit and general intention of the Bill as dealing with the farming class in Ireland, not the small farmers merely. There was no just reason, therefore, why the scale of the Government should be cut down as now proposed. He suggested to his hon. Friend that he should withdraw his Amendment in order that they might be the better able to discuss the scale as proposed by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He had observed a tendency in the discussion to deal with the scheme as if it enacted in every case that the maximum sum should be given to the tenant by way of compensation. This was not the case. He thought it might be safely left to the Courts to say what amounts should be received. In 1463 no case could it exceed, a particular sum, or it might be reduced to nominal damages. It would be better if the hon. Member had any objection to make to defer it until they came to sub-Sections 6 and 7, when the question could be more properly discussed. In any view of the case he was entirely opposed to the Amendment, no matter what form it might assume.
§ MR. W. FOWLER
wished to explain that he had moved his Amendment at the present stage to meet the convenience of the House. He was told he could not propose his Motion as an Amendment to an Amendment.
§ MR. CORRANCE
said, he regretted to have to differ from the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just addressed the Committee; but there was a consolation in his being able to agree in the proposition before the Committee. A night or two since he moved an Amendment similar in terms, although one which went further than the present, and then he was told as now that it was not the right time or place to do so and that it was not conveyed in the right form of words. There were always those insuperable objections raised to Amendments moved by hon. Members, but he remarked that new clauses had been moved by the Government in order to get them out of their difficulty. He only wished there was some insuperable objection to the Government drawing new clauses every night. He believed some of the Amendments produced by the Government were improvements; but they were brought tip so suddenly that sufficient time was not given to hon. Members on his side of the House to fully appreciate them, whereas the Government might possibly have depended on their support if they could but understand them. When he moved his Amendment he was met by the Government that it could not be taken because it was inexpedient to consider the scale within the terms of the Amendment. But what were they doing now but considering both the scale and the Amendment? The observations of the learned Solicitor General for Ireland had been based upon the scale. He looked upon the 37,000 independent men to be taken out of the operation of the clause as a miserably small proportion; and from his knowledge of Ireland he was convinced they might have added the whole 1464 number of 97,000. The large proportion of holdings affected by this clause had been admitted; but what would be thought in England if half the number of tenants stood in this position? He had seen an entire change in these relations in his own county; and the large; landowners who had substituted the system of free contracts and large tenancies had conferred an inestimable benefit upon the agriculture of the country. He did not agree with the learned Solicitor General's statement that all above £50 would then be left out of the operation of the Bill, because they would come in under Clause 4 for compensation, and, if not, he would advise the Government to do in this respect as they had done every morning, bring up a new clause to meet it. He should wish to set up for these men a contract of a different nature, which would not exclude unexhausted improvements. They would not receive compensation because of the expiry of the period of holding, but they would be able to receive compensation for unexhausted improvements. Such a custom existed in his own county. It was a recognized and legal custom, and it rested in default of the tenant upon the landlord. Let the Government give these contracts the benefit of the 4th clause, and let other clauses, if necessary, be drawn to meet the case. The Government had that day introduced almost a new proposition, for, as he read it, he found it substantially lowered the seven years to six years, and still without detriment to the improving tenant. Under the proviso—such a tenant, who could only claim for seven years under ordinary circumstances, was in that position that he could claim for five years for disturbance, and five or six years more for unexhausted improvements, and with no disadvantage to the landlord, because the latter were left in his hands—still he very much disapproved of giving a bad tenant a right to claim for seven years. He had always contended for the principle that power should be taken to redeem the land, so as to get rid of these claims by the granting of leases instead of the miserable yearly tenancies. The whole matter rested on necessity, and great care should be taken to guard themselves in every way against proceeding in a wrong direction. He did not consider it was a Bill much in favour of the tenant, and he considered they 1465 were laying the leases on too narrow a foundation for the future prosperity of Ireland.
§ MR. B. SAMUELSON
said, it was undesirable that a hard and fast line should be drawn above which there should be no compensation, and below which it should only be granted for three years. He considered compensation should be given for evictions, no matter what the rent of the holding might be, provided the Court adjudged it was an arbitrary proceeding on the part of the landlord. The point at which they drew the line would encourage the consolidation of the farms below it, and he did not think it was desirable to encourage in Ireland smallholdings of £20 and £50 per annum. Now it was well known that there were in Ireland very large grazing farms, the result of consolidation. They were in the hands of capitalists, who sometimes held as much as 2,000 or even 3,000 acres, and it would be absurd to suppose that such persons should, under the Bill, receive as compensation £1 per acre in case of their holding being disturbed. It seemed to him that a maximum figure ought to be named, beyond which compensation should not go, and he would venture to suggest that the limit should be £250. Whatever the, size of the holding—whether 50 acres or 100, or 300, or 400, he would propose that not more than £250 should be allowed as compensation. Of course, if the eviction were capricious—if it was well understood that the tenancy was one of mutual accommodation between landlord and tenant—no compensation whatever should be awarded. He would, when the right time came, propose an Amendment limiting the compensation to £250.
§ MR. PELL
said, he proposed to confine his remarks to the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler). On the introduction of the Bill the House was told that one of its chief objects was to check the undue competition for land. That undue competition existed mainly among small tenants, among whom also its worst effects were developed. Tenants at £50 and upwards, however, ought not to subject themselves to the evil of competition, nor to be overwhelmed by the consequences of bidding too high as in the case of the smaller tenants, and he considered that it would be a 1466 positive insult to them to propose that they should come under the scale for compensation, involving the supposition that they were unable to exercise their own free will and judgment in taking a farm. In the case of the small tenants it might be supposed that, as eviction deprived them of hearth and home and all the affections connected with them, they were to be compensated accordingly; but the man of capital who took a farm as an investment should not be compensated for ejectment at the same rate. The Solicitor General for Ireland had spoken of the difficulty of fixing a point where the rates of compensation should change, but that difficulty occurred in every scheme; it occurred in the case of the income tax, it occurred in the rating clauses of the Reform Bill, and it had occurred and been overcome in this Bill. At first the Bill had four sub-sections at the commencement of Clause 3; the Amendment of the Chief Secretary added two more. The Amendment now proposed dealt with the question in a straightforward, manner; no great injury would befall a man who quitted a holding worth £50 or £2,000 a year, because he would receive compensation on the score of improvements. He believed everything should be done, not only in the sister country but also in this, to induce the tenants to look for compensation in return for bonâ fide improvements, instead of encouraging them to catch at such a shadow as a douceur from their landlords for quitting their holdings. He should, therefore, give his support to the Amendment under discussion.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, that, for his own part, he should like to see the graziers altogether excluded from the operation of the Bill, for with that class he had not the slightest possible sympathy. The grazier he might describe as a kind of carnivorous monster, who had devoured the smaller people in his neighbourhood, and done his best to create a waste of the land he occupied. He contended that a man who held a farm at a valuation of £50 was, after all, but a small farmer, and one who could not be classed in the same category with the graziers of Limerick and Clare. He would remind the Committee that upon their decision with reference to one or two clauses it depended whether this Bill would be received with 1467 satisfaction by the Irish people or be rejected by the vast majority of the country, and he would therefore appeal to the Members of the Committee not to insist upon the adoption of their own pet schemes, but to leave a great deal of the responsibility of the measure to Her Majesty's Government. There were many farmers of the class contemplated between £50 and £100 who had made a certain kind of improvement which would not come under the operation of this Bill, and there were others who had made no improvements, but who would commence to make them directly they had the protection of a clause which gave them damages for disturbance. If his hon. Friend would amend his Amendment by striking out the graziers he would willingly give him his support; but he implored the Committee not to cut off from the beneficial operation of the Bill a large class of people who were at present really defenceless, and who were not free to enter into a contract as large farmers were in both countries. The Government in their statement that night had done quite enough to shake the confidence of the country in the beneficial operation of the Bill, and he earnestly implored them rather to abandon the measure fairly and boldly than to yield one inch either there or elsewhere to fancied and imaginary improvements. They would even prefer the Bill as it stood, and if the Government did not wish to diminish its value, he entreated the Government not to accept this or similar Amendments.
LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
observed that the farmers alluded to by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire), though no one had termed them leviathan farmers, were sufficiently elevated in the social scale to be little or not at all affected by the competition for land which was so great in the ranks beneath them. The utmost number that would be affected by the proposal of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler) was 36,000 out 0f 862,000 holdings. Every one who had heard the Solicitor General for Ireland speak in that House knew that no one was more competent than he was to make the best of a bad case. Therefore, when he heard the sort of arguments which the hon, and learned Gentleman had used in replying to the speech of the hon. Member for Cambridge, he felt that the cause on behalf 1468 of which he spoke must be a very bad one indeed. He began by saying that if they excluded those numbers, five and six, as proposed from the scale, they would open the door to an indefinite amount of compensation being applied for; but the next moment he admitted that this was merely a technical objection, and that it could, therefore, be met without difficulty. His next argument was one of a more serious character, and referred to the dangers which would attend those valuations; but if such dangers existed, they went to the very root of the Bill, so far as it rested upon the principle of Government valuations. The hon. and learned Gentleman had somewhat rashly argued that hon. Members who had voted for the second reading-had consequently pledged themselves to the principle now at issue; but he, on the contrary, maintained that many who voted for the second reading did so without giving their assent to every portion of the measure. In common with, other Members he had wished to express his opinion on the whole measure at that stage, but he declined doing so out of a desire to facilitate the business of the House. He regretted that the Bill of 1862, which he cordially supported, did not become law, as in that event there would have been no necessity for the extravagant proposals made since that time. He had voted for the present measure because he thought there ought to be some legislation for the purpose of helping those who, in consequence of their social position, could not help themselves and fight their own battles on equal terms. That was a principle which he desired to see carried out so as not to interfere unduly, as some clauses of the Bill did, with the free action of a free people. He did not wish to see it enacted that no person in Ireland should be able to make a contract without the intervention of Government officials. Nothing, he hoped, would be done to prevent the system of free contracts being maintained in Ireland, and when the Committee came to the portion of the Bill relating to valuations he intended to state the strong objections he entertained to depriving the landlords and intelligent tenants of Ireland of the liberty of contracting freely with each other. Up to the present moment he had heard nothing that made him feel that the position of the hon. Member for 1469 Cambridge had been successfully opposed, and he would, therefore, give him his support.
§ MR. PIM
said, he thought it would be a decided mistake to adopt the present Motion, and to restrict the right of compensation for disturbance to tenants below £50. It would be a hard case, if this plan were carried out, that a man who had a farm valued at £60, and for which he might pay £75 a year rent, should get no compensation, while a man who had a farm valued at £50, and which might be let for £60, would be entitled to claim. No doubt the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. Fowler) was correct in assuming that tenants above £50 were more independent than tenants on smaller holdings; but they were not so independent that they ought to be deprived of all claim to compensation. He was inclined to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. B. Samuelson), that the compensation should in no case exceed £250.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, he was not present when the Solicitor General for Ireland addressed the Committee on this subject; but he could not think that the noble Lord opposite (Lord Claud Hamilton) had correctly represented what the hon. and learned Gentleman said, for it seemed inconceivable that he should have represented the question before the Committee as one involved in the principle of the Bill—[The SOLICITOR GENERAL for IRELAND: "Hear."] He (Sir Roundell Palmer) was much impressed by the authority that had been relied on by the Treasury Bench, and, to a certain extent, was quite willing to defer to it; yet, notwithstanding that disposition, he could not but agree with the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler), that the principle of the Bill did not extend to the class of tenants now under the consideration of the Committee. That was not simply his own judgment, but an opinion which resulted from all the inquiries he had been able to make, for he found that some of the very best authorities in Irish matters, from the Devon Commission downwards, agreed in representing the tenants of holdings above £50 in value as a superior class, who had no moral claim to be relieved from the contracts they might make. He could not but adhere to the belief that 1470 there was no sound reason for including such tenants in this part of the Bill, and if that was so, practical considerations were not of a very pressing character, first, because in point of numbers such occupiers formed a very small proportion of the tenantry of Ireland; secondly, they were not unprotected, defenceless people, who needed protection; and lastly, he could not see why an exception was due to tenants in Ireland which would not be due to persons in a similar position elsewhere. If the Committee were not in a position to admit the justice of such a claim made by persons of a similar station in other parts of the Empire, the burden of proof must rest upon those who advanced the claim now made before the Committee to show that really and truly there was some reason for admitting it on behalf of the Irish tenants, and the Committee would observe that this clause extended to tenants who paid the highest rentals. His right hon. Friend at the head of the Government had made a proposition with regard to tenancies to be hereafter created which was good as far as it went, and as the parties in such cases were to be left to freedom of contract he had no more to ask. Had this been all he should have been entirely relieved from embarrassment; but there was a clause which must be borne in mind, although the Committee had not yet arrived at it, containing these words—The tenant of any holding held by him under a tenancy from year to year existing at the time of the passing of this Act shall, if disturbed by the act of his immediate landlord, be entitled to compensation under and subject to the provisions of this section.He could not find any limitation of that principle in any other part of the Bill, and that clause would therefore extend to a class of tenants who, as seemed to be the almost unanimous opinion of the House, ought not to be included in the Bill. The proposal of the hon. Member for Cambridge would confine the mischief of that section within very narrow limits, and the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. B. Samuelson) proposed to limit the maximum amount of compensation to £250. Both those proposals would cut off the larger tenancies and practically reduce the operation of the clause. He could not see any reason why a class of tenants who were not exceptional persons should have a positive limit put upon their tenancies.
§ MR. B. SAMUELSON
explained that he did not propose to put any limit on the tenancy, because those who held farms of £400 or £500 per annum might be entitled to compensation.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
did not mean to say that there was any limit to the amount of the tenancy. There was not; but the Amendment practically gave a limit by fixing the maximum amount of compensation, and it must be clear that any settlement of this question would labour under that difficulty. There must be a limitation, either upon the amount to be received or upon the value of the tenancy, nor did he say this by way of objection, because the same remark would apply to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cambridge.
§ MR. KAVANAGH
said, he understood that the Premier had yielded on the point of tenancies above £50 being excluded from the operation of the clause. ["No, no!"] He thought that a man who paid about £75 rent was a farmer quite able to protect himself and look after his own affairs, and would, as a general rule, be in a position to make a considerable claim under Clause 4. The higher they went in an increased and increasing degree, the injustice became more flagrant and more gross. They saw that the higher tenants were a class of men in many cases wealthier than the landowners with whom they dealt, and on whose behalf the faintest plea of either equity or policy could not be adduced. With every bit as much fairness might the inhabitants of the West-end of London turn on their landlords and claim compensation for disturbance. With regard to giving compensation to the graziers, he was utterly bewildered. In vain had he racked his brain to think of any plea which, to the most distorted mind, could recommend such a policy. Two ideas were vouchsafed to him, which he caught at like a drowning man at a straw. Somebody whispered to him that this was called Cardinal Cullen's clause, and he remembered that there was a firm of gentlemen of that name in Ireland who held enormous tracts of grazing land, and paid the astounding sum of £70,000 a year rent. The other straw was that the Government imagined that unless some such check was imposed too great an inducement would be held out to the Irish landlords to consolidate their properties into grazing farms, and 1472 turn Ireland into one vast prairie, and if that was the idea which had driven them to this extraordinary course, he was vain enough to think that he could relieve their minds from that fear. The right hon. Gentleman was a most powerful man, and was backed by an overwhelming majority; but he doubted whether, with all his power, and even with the whole Consolidated Fund at his disposal, he could turn the poor land, of which his property was unfortunately composed, into grazing land that would fatten bullocks; and without this he could never turn it into grazing farms, for the simple reason that those poor innocent graziers were quite wide awake enough to know that it would not pay them to take it at any rent. He was not making this protest against the graziers from any interested motive; he did not own one single acre of land in any of the grazing districts. He objected to it for the plain and simple reason that he believed and hoped every Member of the Committee would object to it—because it was unjust.
§ VISCOUNT ST. LAWRENCE
said, he felt himself pledged to do justice to every class of Irish farmers; but he could not help thinking that in the higher class of farmers the Government were dealing with men in independent circumstances, and who did not need the protection of the Bill.
§ DR. BREWER
said, he readily admitted that tenants in Ireland of £50 valuation and upwards were generally of a class able to take care of themselves, and needed less consideration undoubtedly than the class of, and under, £10 holdings, for whose protection, primarily, the provisions of the Bill were devised. The noble Lord the Member for Tyrone had, however, inconsiderately concluded that the exclusion of the £50 class of tenants from the advantages contemplated by this measure would simply affect the 36,000 persons who were numbered as occupiers of £50 and upwards. The contrary was to be feared, as the relief of landlords from all liability for causeless evictions would inevitably incline them to consolidate their farms, and the operation would be that which might be pointed out as the defect in any scale for compensation which stopped short at any particular figure—namely, that the proprietor of the land would, in his effort to free himself from the responsibility incurred under the Bill, rid him- 1473 self of those tenants whose holdings were protected by the provisions of the enactment. The effect of this Amendment would be that holdings of £10 would be merged into holdings of £20; those of £20 into £30, and so on, thus evading the whole object of the Bill, which was to protect the small tenants and secure them their occupations on terms consistent with rights of property. The noble Lord the Member for Tyrone had further advanced the assertion that this sub-section would tend to destroy the free contracts of landlords and tenants; but the noble Lord seemed to have forgotten the concession made by the Premier that evening, that the line at which the free contract, prospectively, was i to be lowered, was that of the £50 valuation tenancy. The Amendment, therefore, of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler) was wholly inexpedient and needless. It would simply evacuate the force of the whole Bill and realize the worst fears of the Irish people on the subject of English legislation. It would stimulate the consolidation they especially deplored. It was not even sought to be disguised that many hon. Members on both sides of the House viewed with favour this consolidation of small holdings, and looked upon this process as a regenerating one. But for what was the House called upon to legislate? For a portion of the Empire in a state bordering on open rebellion. ["No, no!"] Hon. Gentlemen cried "No, no!" What, then, meant the Coercion Bill? What meant the outcry of the insecurity of property, and, more, of life itself, which had filled that country with dismay? What was the motive for introducing this Bill? Was it not to calm the agitation, to pacify the excitement, and give contentment to Ireland? The primal duties of the Government were paralyzed by the general disaffection of a large—the largest class of the Irish people. The design of this measure, broadly stated, was to make the Irish respect the law; but no law was anything but a dead letter which contravened and outraged a people's sense of justice and confirmed wrong—or what they felt and considered a wrong and an injury. Far better for Ireland to reject this measure altogether than to pass it vitiated by a provision which evacuated the principle and marrow of the Bill, and which would render it inoperative save in arousing that sense 1474 of suspicion—nay, even of hopelessness in English ability or willingness to remedy their grievances, which had already worked so much misery to the country and so much perplexity to the Government. He therefore earnestly hoped the hon. Member for Cambridge would withdraw his Amendment; or, failing to do so, that the Government would elect, as a preferable alternative to the adoption of it, the loss and total abandonment of the measure.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he was sorry that the Government should find themselves in opposition to the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh); but he hoped that upon examination the practical difference between them would be found to be but small, because the Government were disposed to concur in all that the hon. Member had said respecting the grazing farmers in Ireland, and they were prepared to accept an Amendment which would exempt purely grazing farms from the operation of the clause. The difficulty was really one more of machinery and definition than anything else. Neither was there any great controversy between the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) and themselves, although he was bound to say that he agreed rather with the hon. Member for the city of Cork (Mr. Maguire) than with the hon. and learned Gentleman with respect to the position of the Irish tenants of £50 a year holdings. The greatest misunderstanding appeared to prevail among hon. Members with respect to the position of the tenants of these Irish holdings above £50 per annum who held upon Irish tenures—he did not refer to those few tenants who held, or might hold, on English and Scotch tenures, where the improvements were made by the landlord, who were provided for under another clause. He referred to purely Irish tenures coming above the line of £50 valuation, and he agreed with those Irish Members who had said that it would be a disastrous thing to draw the line at this particular point, and to leave all tenants of holdings above it to make what were called free contracts with their landlords without the protection of the clause. The truth was, that tenants of that class were not in the independent and powerful position they had been represented to occupy; they were like other Irish tenants, 1475 suffering from a system that was now condemned, although he would not deny that they did not require as much protection as tenants of smaller holdings. Government would be prepared to place the limit for compensation for loss of occupation at £250, as suggested by the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. B. Samuelson), regarding the higher class of tenants. He appealed to the Committee, and earnestly trusted that, having admitted the necessity of a measure of this importance for the peace and prosperity of Ireland, and having sanctioned such important provisions as those which had already been agreed to, they would not, on account of any doubtful assumption of authority, undo the good work they had already done.
§ DR. BALL
remarked that it was exceedingly important that the Committee should understand what they were about to do, and upon what question they were about to vote. They were not debating what was to be the rule of the future, because the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had already announced to the Committee that in Clause 10 he would alter the limit of £100 to £50, above which line there would be freedom of contract. What the Committee were now debating was, whether tenants from year to year who had holdings above £50 a year should be entitled to make any claim for compensation for disturbance. He thought that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler) might facilitate subdividing large holdings, as the landlord need not compensate when dividing them. He agreed with the hon. Member for Cambridge that a £50 yearly valuation represented a £75 annual rent. On looking at the Return he found that there were 24,857 holdings valued at between £50 and £100 per annum, and 12,668 valued at £100 and above. There were farms in the West of Ireland valued at £300, £400, and £500 per annum, and he had heard of one large estate where the whole property was broken up into farms valued at £500 per annum. Now, if the landlord of such a property desired to divide it into farms of £50 or £100 rent each he would have to pay one year's rent to the present occupiers to got rid of them, whereas under the Amendment he would have nothing to pay. Again, he thought tenants of large farms had gained great advantages 1476 under the Bill and there was no need to give them more. To instance the case of a tenant holding a farm worth £300 or £400 per annum, what was his present position, and what would be his future position, under this Bill? At present he was liable to a six months' notice to quit; the Bill extended that notice to 12 months—no inconsiderable advantage in itself. Secondly, it gave him the whole of the growing crops, all buildings and reclamations, and all unexhausted manures, although he never contracted to be paid for one of those subjects of compensation under the Bill. Then was this compensation for disturbance to extend to large tracts of grass land? There was an Amendment of his own on the Paper, dealing with the question of grazing farms, and limiting the compensation to agricultural farms, and excluding such as were merely pastoral. His right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland had said the Government would take that point into consideration; but he had given the Committee no assurance on the subject. This matter of grazing farms was a very important one, and the giving of compensation in the case of those farms would afford no satisfaction in Ireland. The large grazing farms were a subject of complaint in Ireland. It was alleged that they took up the room that might be occupied by a large number of farmers, and that the individuals who held them occupied more land than they should do, to the exclusion of tillage farmers; and the occupier of one of those grazing farms was looked upon as a more objectionable person than the landlord himself, because there was less chance of inducing him to let it. He thought the general feeling in Ireland would be to leave the large farmers to take care of themselves. The whole desire of the people was to protect the small farmers. The proposal of the Government would place a large tax on the landlords. The occupier of one of those grazing farms would absorb what might compensate a number of small farmers. The opposition to the Government proposition was no party or factious one. This was shown by the fact that the Amendment came from a supporter of the Government. As there was no demand for the proposition of the Government, he should give his support to the Amendment.
Sir, I am sorry to have to trouble the Committee with, any observations on this subject; but the grave and serious nature of the Amendment of my hon. Friend near me compels me to do so. I do not think the light hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Dr. Ball) succeeded in clearing the question of its difficulties; because he says that to-day I engaged to lower the limits of free contract from £100 to £50. Now, the right lion, and learned Gentleman is not quite correct in his recital. I did not say I engaged to lower the limit from £100 to £50. What I announced was, that we should reluctantly but ungrudgingly make that concession if required to do so by the feeling of the House. [Dissent.] I am only correcting the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman in order that the Committee may understand how the case stands. He is perfectly correct as to the concession itself; but when the Government has a strong opinion and parts with it in deference to the sense of the Committee, is it forbidden to me to say that we do so reluctantly though ungrudgingly? The right hon. Gentleman says he is satisfied as to the future with the concession we have made, and I take that to be the feeling of the Committee also; but if he is satisfied as to the future that freedom of contract should prevail in the case of holdings of over £50 a year, and if the proposal of my hon. Friend, embracing the future, goes much further, and if the Government, who are most responsible for this Bill, see the utmost possible difference between that concession and my hon. Friend's proposal, I am at a loss to see what can be the motive of the right hon. and learned Gentleman in supporting the Amendment. It has been said that the case of existing tenancies of £50 a year ought to be considered and provided for. I do not exactly see my way now on that part of the case, and I cannot give any pledge on the subject; but, setting aside for the present that which is retrospective, I want to know if the right hon. and learned Gentleman it satisfied with the concession we hare made as regards the future, he declares his intention of supporting an Amendment which goes a great deal further. [Mr. BOUVERIE: How does it go further?] it goes further in this way—because, while we say that we will leave the 1478 holder of a £50 holding free to contract himself out of the Bill hereafter if he should think fit, when Parliament gravely declared that he was not excluded from compensation, it would be quite a different thing to say that Parliament reversed that moral judgment, and declared he had no claim at all. The proposal of my hon. Friend is to strike him out. To adopt it would be to strike him out of the scale of compensation for loss, and to declare that he had no claim at all. What we propose is that Parliament should not divest him of that primâ facie. claim. If Parliament should assert not that he shall receive compensation for being put out, but that on proof of loss by being put out his claim shall not be barred, that is a moral judgment, and when that is declared we are not afraid to say we will allow free contract. We are not, however, prepared to say that in no case whatever shall he have a claim. Now, as to grazing farms, I am sure that if the right hon. and learned Gentleman possessed one Parliamentary, and it is, perhaps, the only Parliamentary, advantage he does not possess—a little more experience in that House—he would know that when the Government say they undertake to consider a point, that is no unmeaning phrase, but one from which the Government would find it very difficult to escape. I may go further and say that with regard to grazing farms, properly so called, I believe there can be no difference of opinion between us. Our proposition is to protect the real agricultural holdings. It is a question whether grazing farms fall within the literal meaning of that term; but certainly they do not come within its moral meaning. With respect to retrospective tenancies it is quite true that there is one part of the Amendment of my hon. Friend—but it is only a limited portion of it—which goes beyond that point. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says this will be a severe tax on the landlords. With regard to that I not only admit, but feel there is a great deal to be said as to the holders of large farms; and there is a concession which we are ready to make not only ungrudgingly but willingly. The concession I allude to is absolutely limiting the sum for loss by eviction to £250 in all cases. That is an Amendment which I regard as a decided improvement in the Bill; it does not draw any line as to 1479 class; it does not put any class out on account of the size of the farm; but it goes on the perfectly just principle that as the farms ascend in value, the loss descends till it conies to zero. Therefore the Committee sees to what we have agreed. I am deeply anxious—more anxious than I can say, that the Committee should understand the nature of the question at issue, and the difference between the concession we have made, and which the right hon. Gentleman says is satisfactory to him or sufficient for him as regards the future, and the sweeping changes in the Bill which my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler) seeks to introduce. Now, as to the merits of that change, Parliament is asked to declare that there can be no case for providing damages on eviction upon a valuation above £50. We are not prepared to admit, and that is our first objection—we are not prepared to admit, under the circumstances of Ireland, and with the pressure that exists for the occupation of land there, that the inconveniences and the evils calling for our interference come to a stop when you reach the point of £50 valuation. We cannot make that admission consistently with our own conscientious convictions, and with the best inquiry we could make. We admit that in certain cases, and in some parts of Ireland, that might be so. We deny that it is so universally or even as a general rule in that country. The capital which the Irish farmer has invested in stocking his farm is much less, on the average, than the English farmer has similarly invested, and consequently, at the same valuation of £50, you must not suppose that the man who holds a farm in Ireland is possessed of the same means as if he held a corresponding farm in England. Neither must you assume—and this is an important point—that if you put him out of that farm he will have the same chance or the same facilities for obtaining another as is the ease in England. If he had, that would go far to dispose of this question of loss. That is the first reason why we cannot accede to the Amendment of my hon. Friend. The second reason is its tendency to consolidation. The right hon. Gentleman opposite made an argument which, coming the first time from him, I am totally unable to understand—namely, that the change here proposed would operate adversely to consolidation. 1480 The state of the case is this—you have actually voted that up to the point of £50 you will give three years of compensation if the loss be proved; and then immediately we pass the point of £50 we are called upon to destroy that three years' compensation and bring it down to zero. Will there be no tendency in that to create such a consolidation of farms as will, at any rate, take them out of the category of £50 holdings? I do not say there would be the slightest tendency to encourage a consolidation of holdings at £70 or £80 into farms of £300 or £400. That is a totally different matter, and I should be comparatively indifferent to such a consolidation as that. But the tendency to consolidation comes in exactly where it ought not—namely, in regard to a class of farms where we do not desire to give the least inducement for consolidation. Nobody will say that the Irish farmer at £30 or £40 a year, if he be industrious and possessed of self-denial—as is the case with most of his class—is not perfectly capable of maintaining himself. Well, you grant these men compensation up to the limit of £50, and then you are to say to the landlord—?"If you only take the farm out of the category below £50 and place it above £50 you shall be free from the section as to damages altogether." That, I think, is a most serious and formidable objection, and I do not know how you are to get over it. I believe one of the things that indispose the minds of the Irish people towards English legislation is the indiscreet manner in which consolidation of farms is sometimes propounded as a wholesale remedy for the evils of Ireland; and if the suspicion goes forth at this time, at this critical moment, that Parliament is legislating with a view to that result, we could not, if we wished to find some contrivance by means of which to destroy the beneficial objects of our work—we could not possibly hit upon one more disastrously adapted for the purpose than this. But that, Sir, is not all. My hon. Friend says, with complacency—"This is only striking out 36,000 people. What is that? There are 600,000 for whom you are going to provide." Yes; and who are these 36,000 people? Why, the leaders of opinion among the tenantry. Does my hon. Friend wish that we should at- 1481 tempt to carry with us Irish, opinion? [A laugh.] Ay, the right hon. Gentleman sneers; but, notwithstanding, I hope my hon. Friend is desirous that we should carry with us on this occasion Irish opinion—I mean the opinion of the Irish tenantry. Is it possible, then, I say, to conceive a better method of disinclining Irish opinion to follow us than to take those 36,000 men, who bear about the same proportion to the whole tenantry as the officers in an army, and who, as the greater tenants, have very considerable influence with the rest, and to say to them—"We exclude you from the benefit of our Bill as far as loss by eviction is concerned. We invite you, as it were, to become enemies of the Bill, and to do all you can, in consequence of your sense of the invidious manner in which you are treated, to disincline the general mind of the tenantry from accepting the measure offered by Parliament?" In a more money point of view this might be no very great matter; the low rate of the scale would keep it within bounds. But the moral effect of this exclusion leads me to say that in our conviction a more infelicitously devised proposition than this—a proposition more calculated to disseminate mistrust and raise obstacles in the way of the acceptance of our measure, it is impossible to imagine. Sir, I have said something, I hope, to justify the statement with which I began—namely, that I am most anxious the Committee should have the point placed clearly before it, because, in our view, it is a question of the most serious nature. There are Amendments of various kinds that may be made in most important Bills of the Government. There are Amendments which the Government itself may desire to see approved. There are Amendments which the Government may not have the wit to design—as was the case in this instance—but which it may thankfully accept. There are Amendments that it may accept rather than run the risk of saddling itself with any responsibility for the miscarriage of a great measure. There are other Amendments with regard to which it is absolutely necessary that the Government should retain to itself entire and thorough freedom of action, and in respect to which it can come under no engagement whatever. I hope my hon. Friend does not think 1482 we have shown an inflexible obstinacy. If he does, I appeal to the not ill-humoured, nor illegitimate, nor infrequent jests which have been passed on the number of the changes and the modifications that we have proposed in the provisions of this Bill. I appeal, moreover, to the declarations made by myself to-night. We have shown, I think, by those declarations that it is to us a matter of the most anxious study to meet the wishes of the Committee. But I stated also that there were other matters which it was our still higher duty to keep in view—not our own character, nor our own existence. These are small matters, except to ourselves, in comparison with the interests to which I now refer. Well, what was the effect of the concession I made to-night on the part of the Government, speaking as their organ? The effect was, that my hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) rose in his place and denounced the speech that I had made, and, certainly, the speech that he made gave us no right whatever to expect from him any further support to the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for the county of Cork (Mr. Downing) rose in the same manner and denounced the concessions that we made with a view to meet the feeling of the House, and the equity of the case combinedly, and lie likewise spoke, in the tone of a man who despaired, of his intention to withdraw his Amendments and let the Bill take its course as a matter about which he had become indifferent. Sir, we cannot give way. Painful as it is to hear declarations of that kind from my hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny, who certainly has no insignificant means both of representing and acting upon opinion in Ireland, and who has evinced a great desire on many occasions to concur in the settlement of great public questions; and much as we regret to hear such declarations from my hon. Friend the Member for the county of Cork, and whoso announcement I must bear out that no man has laboured more zealously and more conscientiously, if he could, to reconcile Irish wants with British opinion, we are compelled to take our stand firmly in the face of those hon. Gentlemen, and to say that we abide by the intentions which we have announced. We do not think that they leave the Bill other than a just and an adequate 1483 Bill. But we should lose the whole of our moral strength in the face of my hon. Friends, in the face of the people of Ireland, were we to yield to a pressure which, after all, comes—and it is no reproach to my hon. Friend to say so—from those who have not, and cannot have, either the same responsibility or the same means of judging of the exigencies of this case. Sir, I address these words to the Committee, I address them to my hon. Friend. He must know that he has to play a part of no small weight and moment. We have done our best; we have striven honestly, anxiously, earnestly to consult the various feelings and sentiments with which we have to deal. We know it is idle to legislate in the abstract without regard to those feelings and sentiments. We have the consciousness of having used every effort. We must rest. Others, wiser, stronger, better than we are, will, perhaps, form their own judgment how it is well to settle the land question of Ireland.
The right hon. Gentleman asks why it is that persons on this—the Opposition—side of the House are not satisfied with the concession which the Government have made for the future. It is a very fail question, and, as far as I am concerned, I will endeavour to answer it for myself. We have been engaged nearly two days this week in an endeavour—I will not say very successfully—to get an explanation from the Government as to what it was exactly that tenants were to be paid on going out. We laboured—I am sorry to say—with indifferent success—to get a known out of an unknown. And what is the end now, towards the close of a long and weary discussion? The right hon. Gentleman himself told us that this legislation was exceptional. He told us most distinctly, and as plainly as language could put it, that the compensation was not payment for a right of occupancy. He told us also that this legislation was not applicable to England, and was not applicable to Scotland. And why? Because the state of Ireland is so exceptional. He went on to describe it, not in his own language, but quoting the language of others. Quoting the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh), the right hon. Gentleman said, with the poor Irish tenant, if evicted the only alternative is America 1484 or the workhouse. The right hon. Gentleman went on to quote Lord Russell's words in 1846—words, mind you, used at a time when there were 2,500,000 more of people quartered on the Irish soil than at this moment. See how the right hon. Gentleman uses things that he cannot say are analogous to those of the present time. Look to what the removal of 2,500,000 of people is from a soil of the limited extent of Ireland. Well, then, I say the reason we are not satisfied with the present position of the Bill is this—that, even on the terms which the right hon. Gentleman himself has laid down, the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler) ought to be carried. For if no limit is put to this principle, which is not exactly defined, why is it not applicable to England—why is it not applicable to Scotland? You say it is not applicable to England or to Scotland, but that it must be applied to Ireland on account of the special circumstances of the Irish tenants. And what are these special circumstances? Is it such a low amount of the tenancies that you yourself say if the occupiers are put out there is nothing for them but the workhouse? If that is the reason, then I say there ought to be a limit, whether it be exactly at £50 or not, because the value is very much less than the rent in Ireland. I do not think the exact sum named material; but I say there ought to be a limit in order to mark distinctly why this exceptional legislation is resorted to and why it is right. Then we should be saved from laying down a principle which might be extended to England and Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman has himself told us this legislation is exceptional. Well, then, I call upon him, because it is exceptional, and on the very ground that he has himself laid down, to admit some limit, whatever he may see to be just, in order to mark out where one state of things ends and the other comes into the general state of contract. An hon. Gentleman who spoke early in this discussion said it was not at all a case of contract. I think the circumstances I have named do bear on this matter with regard to contract, because the whole question turns upon whether persons are independent or otherwise, and a rating above £50 some 30 years ago was considered to make a tenant independent in England. But a 1485 £50 man is at least as good in Ireland as he is in England, and I think it is safe to presume that he is in a position not only to know what he is about, but also to be capable of doing for himself if by any accident he is displaced. These are the reasons, if the right hon. Gentleman asks for them, why Gentlemen on this side are not satisfied, and I feel bound to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cambridge because I think it comes within, the four corners of the principle which the right hon. Gentleman himself has laid down.
§ MR. W. H. GREGORY
said, the Committee had heard a speech made by one Irish landlord on the other side—one, he was bound to say, of the most excellent landlords in Ireland, his hon. Friend the Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh), he trusted they would hear a few remarks from another Irish landlord, who differed from his hon. Friend. When the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler) first brought forward his Amendment he felt it would have been his duty to support it, had it not been for the clearly-indicated opinion of the Government that it was necessary to deal with the question of grass lands. But now they had obtained from the Government a distinct opinion on the subject, and therefore all the objections he had previously entertained on the score of there being no barrier or limit fixed fell to the ground. With respect to the Amendment, he could only say this—and he was speaking from what he knew—that if he was to go back to his own part of the world when this Bill was passed, and if he was to meet those tenants of his who exceeded £50, and was asked by them—What did you mean to do for us by your legislation?" he should he ashamed to reply—'I have done my best to protect every other class in the community; but you, the best, the most intelligent, the most industrious, the most hard-working, the most Conservative portion of the whole population, you who exercise an influence on public opinion, who are Poor Law guardians, and fulfil all the different functions of a larger class of tenants, I have done nothing for"—if he had to say that, he should be ashamed of the position which he held in that House. For that reason he would oppose the Amendment.
§ MR. C. S. READ
said, he was glad 1486 to hear from the First Minister of the Crown that they had a distinct and intelligible issue on which to vote, for he could assure the Committee that in the last two Divisions he had been sadly puzzled and perplexed. He had been told by every Member who had spoken that this principle of compensation for eviction was to be regarded as strictly exceptional. If it were to be regarded as strictly exceptional, and to be applied only to Ireland, he would ask to what portion of the Irish nation were they to apply it? Surely to the cottier farmer; for if they were going to apply it to the large farmers, why not apply it also to England and Scotland? What was the difference between occupiers of £50 rental in England and Ireland? He would engage to say that, as a ride, the Irish farmer was richer, and a good deal sharper, than the English farmer of the same class. Why was he not so well off? Simply for this reason—that by the tenant-rights and usages that now exist he could not apply his capital so successfully as the English farmer could; and by this Bill, if they put compensation for eviction also on him, he would, in that case, have to pay a heavier tenant-right. When the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland told them that, under the English system, if introduced into Ireland, the tenant above £50 was to escape from the operation of the clause, he would ask, what was the English system? Was it a 21 years' lease? No; it was founded on a six months' notice to quit; and if there was this difference, that the landlord in England always found the buildings, why, under the other clauses of the Bill, the Irish tenant would be compensated for every penny that he might spend. He had gathered from the speech of the Prime Minister that they were to revert to what was originally in the Bill with regard to very small holdings, and that compensations for eviction and improvements were to go together, because in the case of such holdings it would be impossible to appraise the improvements. But when the right hon. Gentleman introduced the Bill, he stated that the improvements were to be of such a kind as to increase the letting value of the land and to be suitable to the holding; and yet now it was said that they were not to compensate the tenant for improvements which were no 1487 improvements at all as respected the landlord. If we must have this wretched principle of payment for eviction, it should be limited as much as possible. What was wanted was not to give to the Irish farmer this premium of sleepy security, but to instil into his mind that the better he farmed the more compensation he would receive; and, happily, under the new provisions of the Bill, Irish landlords would be encouraged to give very good and substantial leases.
§ MR. W. FOWLER
said, the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had placed him in a trying position, for he disliked to oppose the right hon. Gentleman. He had supported the Bill throughout, and he hoped it would not be thought that in proposing this Amendment he was disloyal to the right hon. Gentleman or his Government. It was fully understood when the Bill was brought in that it would be open to Amendments from either side of the House. Much as he regretted having to propose an Amendment unacceptable to the right hon. Gentleman he felt that he must persist in it, for it embodied a principle involving very important consequences. The right hon. Gentleman thought these consequences very serious with regard to the future of Ireland; but it must not be forgotten that they had to consider the interests of the United Kingdom. They ought to confine exceptional legislation within proper limits. He had proposed the Amendment with no wish to persist in the exact limit of £50, but to say there should be some limit. That point was, in fact, conceded by the right hon. Gentleman when he said that grazing farmers were not to come under the operation of the clause, and stated his readiness to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. B. Samuelson). Therefore, he thought the right hon. Gentleman might fairly accept this Amendment. He should have thought it dangerous for Parliament to give an advantage to the tillage farmer which the grazing farmer was not to enjoy. He understood that the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) agreed with him in thinking that the Amendment involved a principle so serious that he would not be justified in withdrawing it. Though with the utmost reluctance, he should press for a Division on the question.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
After the allusion just made to me, it will be my duty again to trespass shortly upon the Committee. I feel very strongly the difficulty and the gravity of the position in which we are placed, owing to the manner in which this question has been met on the part of my right hon. Friend. Acknowledging freely the disposition he has shown to meet to a considerable extent the feelings and objections of those behind him and on the other side of the House, I own I have not been convinced of the sufficiency of the reasons for the limits he has hitherto placed to his plan on this subject. At the same time, I understand that my right hon. Friend has conceded, with regard to tenancies to be created after the passing of the Act, what satisfies the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Dr. Ball) and satisfies me, as far as matters are left to free contract. That being so, I should have thought there would be no great difficulty in taking the further step of dealing with the whole question according to the proposal of my hon. Friend (Mr. W. Fowler); but the Prime Minister, who is the best judge in his own cause, thinks with regard to the future there is a great difference between the proposition he is willing to submit to the House and the Motion of my hon. Friend, and he regards that difference as one of such vital importance that he evidently thinks the Bill would be seriously embarrassed by the adoption of this proposal. If my right hon. Friend precluded all hope of any limit being placed on the retrospective part of the Bill beyond this—that every tenant from year to year above a certain value is to be paid by his landlord upon eviction some fine which may amount to £250, provided the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. B. Samuelson) is accepted, if we had no hope of anything beyond that for limiting the operation of the Bill upon existing tenancies, then, unwilling as I should be to vote against the Government on such a question, I could not reconcile it with my sense of justice to admit the principle that a man changing his tenant was to pay a fine in Ireland and not in England or Scotland. Nor can I say that the exception of grazing farms in any way whatever satisfies me. In any view of the case this seems difficult to reconcile with the principle laid down. But my right hon. Friend says, if this 1489 Amendment is not accepted it will be still open to the Committee, without placing the Government in a position of so much difficulty as that in which they will stand if this Amendment were adopted, to consider what limit ought to be placed upon the retrospective portion of the clause. Now, in the position in which I stand as to this Bill, my sole desire is to promote its passing to the utmost of my power, with such concessions as are needful for the prevention of mischief arising from what we are doing. That being so, and my right hon. Friend telling us that, if we do not adopt this Amendment, he will not feel precluded from considering the question of limiting the operation of the retrospective portion of the clause, I feel bound, in the interest of the great and paramount objects I wish to promote, to offer my respectful advice to my hon. Friend to withdraw the Amendment.
MR. E. TORRENS
called attention to the fact that the scale advanced by sums of £10 until it reached £50, when a sudden leap was made to £100. He suggested that the higher part of the scale should be further divided by the addition of the words, "above £50 and not exceeding £75;" and that a final limit should be placed at £100.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
supported the Amendment, pointing out that in the Reform Act of 1832 a tenant-farmer of £50 rental was assumed to be independent. Now, the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. C. S. Road) had told the Committee that such a farmer in Ireland was quite as well off as the same person in England, and he thought, therefore, they ought to give no exceptional advantage to the Irish farmer. It appeared that in £50 the Committee had a limit which was sanctioned by the Legislature as defining independence, and therefore competency to contract; and, that being so, he should support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cambridge, as founded not only on common sense, but on justice.
§ Question put, "That the word 'Above ' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 250; Noes 218: Majority 32.1493
|Acland, T. D.||Allen, W. S.|
|Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F.||Amcotts, Colonel W. C.|
|Akroyd, E.||Amory, J. H.|
|Anderson, G.||Duff, M. E. G.|
|Antrobus, E.||Edwardes, hon. Col. W.|
|Armitstead, G.||Edwards, H.|
|Ayrton, right hon. A. S.||Egerton, Capt. hon. F.|
|Backhouse, E.||Enfield, Viscount|
|Bagwell, J.||Ennis, J. J.|
|Baines, E.||Erskine, Admiral J. E.|
|Barry, A. H. S.||Fagan, Captain|
|Bass, A.||Fawcett, H.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Finnie, W.|
|Bazley, Sir T.||FitzGerald, rt. hn. Lord O. A.|
|Beaumont, Captain F.|
|Bentall, E. H.||Fletcher, I.|
|Biddulph, M.||Forster, C.|
|Blennerhassett, Sir R.||Forster, rt. hon. W. E.|
|Bolckow, H. W. F.||Foster, W. H.|
|Bowmont, Marquess of||Fortescue, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Bowring, E. A.||Fortescue, hon. D. F.|
|Brady, J.||Fothergill, R.|
|Brand, right hon. H.||Gavin, Major|
|Brassey, H. A.||Gladstone,rt. hn. W. E.|
|Brassey, T.||Gladstone, W. H.|
|Brewer, Dr.||Goldsmid, Sir F. H.|
|Bright, J. (Manchester)||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Brinckman, Captain||Gourley, E. T.|
|Bristowe, S. B.||Gower, hon. E. F. L.|
|Brocklehurst, W. C.||Gower, Lord R.|
|Brogden, A.||Gray, Sir J.|
|Brown, A. H.||Gregory, W. H.|
|Bruce, Lord C.||Greville, hon. Captain|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Grieve, J. J.|
|Bruce, right hon. H. A.||Grosvenor, hon. N.|
|Buller, Sir E. M.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Buxton, C.||Grove, T. F.|
|Cadogan, hon. F. W.||Guest, M. J.|
|Callan, P.||Hadfield, G.|
|Campbell, H.||Harcourt, W. G. G. V. V.|
|Candlish, J.||Hardcastle, J. A.|
|Cardwell, right hon. E.||Harris, J. D.|
|Carington, hn. Capt. W.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Carnegie, hon. C.||Haviland-Burke, E.|
|Carter, Mr. Alderman||Hay, Lord J.|
|Cartwright, W. C.||Henley, Lord|
|Castlerosse, Viscount||Herbert, hon. A. E. W.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Herbert, H. A.|
|Childers, rt. hn. H. C. E.||Hibbert, J. T.|
|Cholmeley, Captain||Hodgkinson, G.|
|Cholmeley, Sir M.||Holms, J.|
|Clay, J.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F.||Hughes, T.|
|Coleridge, Sir J. D.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Collier, Sir R. P.||Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W.|
|Colthurst, Sir G. C.||Hyde, Lord|
|Cowper, hon. H. F.||Illingworth, A.|
|Craufurd, E. H. J.||James, H.|
|Crawford, R. W.||Jardine, R.|
|Dalglish, R.||Jessel, G.|
|Dalrymple, D.||Johnston, A.|
|Dalway, M. R.||Johnstone, Sir H.|
|D'Arcy, M. P.||Kay-Shuttleworth, U.J.|
|Davies, R.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Dease, E.||Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Delahunty, J.||Knatchbull - Hugessen, E. H.|
|Denman, hon. G.|
|Devereux, R. J.||Lambert, N. G.|
|Digby, K. T.||Lancaster, J.|
|Dilke, Sir C. W.||Lawrence, Sir J. C.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||Lawrence, W.|
|Dixon, G.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Dodds, J.||Lea, T.|
|Downing, M'C.||Leatham, E. A.|
|Dowse, R.||Lefevre, G. J. S.|
|Lewis, J. H.||Richard, H.|
|Lorne, Marquess of||Richards, E. M.|
|Lowe, rt. hon. R.||Robertson, D.|
|Lush, Dr.||Robinson, E. S.|
|Lusk, A.||Rothschild, N. M. de|
|M'Arthur, W.||Russell, A.|
|M'Clure, T.||Russell, H.|
|Macfie, R. A.||Rylands, P.|
|M'Lagan, P.||St. Lawrence, Viscount|
|M'Mahon, P.||Samuda, J. D'A.|
|Magniac, C.||Samuelson, B.|
|Maguire, J. F.||Sartoris, E. J.|
|Marling, S. S.||Shaw, R.|
|Martin, P. W.||Shaw, W.|
|Matthews, H.||Sherlock, D.|
|Melly, G.||Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.|
|Merry, J.||Smith, E.|
|Miall, E.||Smith, J. B.|
|Milbank, F. A.||Stacpoole, W.|
|Miller, J.||Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.|
|Monk, C. J.||Stapleton, J.|
|Monsell, rt. hon. W.||Stepney, Colonel|
|Moore, G. H.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Morley, S.||Strutt, hon. H.|
|Morrison, W.||Synan, E. J.|
|Mundella, A. J.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Muntz, P. H.||Torrens, R. R.|
|Murphy, N. D.||Torrens, W. T. M'C.|
|Nicol, J. D.||Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-|
|O'Brien, Sir P.|
|O'Conor, D. M.||Trevelyan, G. O.|
|O'Donoghue, The||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|O'Loghlen, rt. hon. Sir C. M.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Vivian, H. H.|
|Onslow, G.||Vivian, Cap. hn. J. C. W.|
|O'Reilly, M. W.||Walter, J.|
|O'Reilly-Dease, M.||Wedderburn, Sir D.|
|Otway, A. J.||Wells, W.|
|Palmer, J. H.||West, H. W.|
|Parker, C. S.||Whatman, J.|
|Parry, L. Jones-||White, J.|
|Pease, J. W.||Whitwell, J.|
|Peel, A. W.||Whitworth, T.|
|Pelham, Lord||Williams, W.|
|Philips, R. N.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Pim, J.||Willyams, E. W. B.|
|Plimsoll, S.||Wingfield, Sir C.|
|Pollard-Urquhart, W.||Woods, H.|
|Potter, E.||Young, A. W.|
|Power, J. T.||Young, G.|
|Price, W. P.|
|Rebow. J. G.||Adam, W. P.|
|Reed, C.||Glyn, hon. G. G.|
|Adderley rt. hn. Sir C. B.||Barrington, Viscount|
|Allen, Major||Barttelot, Colonel|
|Amphlett, R. P.||Bateson, Sir T.|
|Annesley, hon. Col. H.||Bathurst, A. A.|
|Anstruther, Sir R.||Beach, Sir M. H.|
|Archdall, Captain M.||Beach, W. W. B.|
|Arkwright, A. P.||Bective, Earl of|
|Arkwright, R.||Bentinck, G. C.|
|Assheton, R.||Benyon, R.|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Beresford, Lt.-Col. M|
|Bagge, Sir W.||Birley, H.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Brand, H. R.|
|Ball, J. T.||Bright, R.|
|Baring, T.||Brise, Colonel R.|
|Barnett, H.||Broadley, W. H. H.|
|Brodrick, hon. W.||Hay, Sir J. C. D.|
|Bruce, Sir H. H.||Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.|
|Bruen, H.||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Burke, Viscount||Henniker-Major, hn. J. M|
|Burrell, Sir P.||Henry, J. S.|
|Cameron, D.||Herbert, rt. hn. Gen. Sir P|
|Cawley, C. E.||Hervey, Lord A. H. C.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Heygate, Sir F. W.|
|Chaplin, H.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Charley, W. T.||Hill, A. S.|
|Child, Sir S.||Hoare, P. M.|
|Clowes, S. W.||Hodgson, W. N.|
|Cole, Colonel hon. H. A.||Holt, J. M.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Hood, Capt. hn. A. W. A. N|
|Corbett, Colonel||Hope, A. J. B. B.|
|Corrance, F. S.||Hornby, E. K.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. T. L.||Hoskyns, C. Wren-|
|Croft, Sir H. G. D.||Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.|
|Cubitt, G.||Hutton, J.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Ingram, H. F. M.|
|Dalrymple, C.||Jackson, R. W.|
|Dawson, R. P.||Jenkinson, Sir G. S.|
|Denison, C. B.||Kavanagh, A. Mac M.|
|Dick, F.||Kekewich, S. T.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Keown, W.|
|Dimsdale, R.||Knight, F. W.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Knox, hon. Colonel S.|
|Dowdeswell, W. E.||Lacon, Sir E. H. K.|
|Duff, R. W.||Laird, J.|
|Duncombe, hon. Col.||Langton, W. G.|
|Dyke, W. H.||Laslett, W.|
|Dyott, Colonel R.||Legh, W. J.|
|Eastwick, E. B.||Lennox, Lord G. G.|
|Eaton, H. W.||Leslie, C. P.|
|Egerton, hon. A. F.||Lewis, J. D.|
|Egerton, Sir P. G.||Liddell, hon. H. G.|
|Egerton, hon. W.||Lindsay, hon. Col. C.|
|Elcho, Lord||Lowther, J.|
|Elliot, G.||Lowther, W.|
|Ewing, A. O.||Malcolm, J. W.|
|Feilden, H. M.||Manners, Lord G. J.|
|Fellowes, E.||Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.|
|Fielden, J.||March, Earl of|
|Figgins, J.||Mellor, T. W.|
|Finch, G. H.||Meyrick, T.|
|Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W.||Milles, hon. G. W.|
|Forde, Colonel||Mills, C. H.|
|Forester, rt. hon. Gen.||Montagu, rt. hon. Lord R.|
|Garlies, Lord||Morgan, C. O.|
|Gilpin, Colonel||Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.|
|Goldney, G.||Neville-Grenville, R.|
|Gordon, E. S.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Gore, J. R. O.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Gore, W. R. O.||Paget, R. H.|
|Grant, Col. hon. J.||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Graves, S. R.||Palk, Sir L.|
|Gray, Lieut.-Colonel||Parker, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Greene, E.||Patten, rt. hon. Col. W.|
|Gregory, G. B.||Peek, H. W.|
|Guest, A. E.||Pemberton, E. L.|
|Gurney, right hon. R.||Percy, Earl|
|Hambro, C.||Phipps, C. P.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Plunket, hon. D. R.|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J.||Powell, W.|
|Hamilton, Lord G.||Raikes, H. C.|
|Hamilton, I. T.||Ramsden, Sir J. W.|
|Hamilton, J. G. C.||Read, C. S.|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||Ridley, M. W.|
|Hardy, right hon. G.||Round, J.|
|Hardy, J.||Royston, Viscount|
|Hardy, J. S.||Sackville, S. G. S.|
|Salt, T.||Tollemache, J.|
|Sandon, Viscount||Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-|
|Sclater-Booth, G.||Turner, C.|
|Scourfield, J. H.||Turnor, E.|
|Selwin - Ibbetson, Sir H. J.||Vandeleur, Colonel|
|Verner, E. W.|
|Seymour, H. de G.||Verner, W.|
|Shirley, S. E.||Walker, Major G. G.|
|Sidebottom, J.||Walpole, hon. F.|
|Simonds, W. B.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Smith, A.||Walsh, hon. A.|
|Smith, F. C.||Waterhouse, S.|
|Smith, R.||Welby, W. E.|
|Smith, S. G.||Wethered, T. O.|
|Smith, W. H.||Whalley, G. H.|
|Somerset, Colonel||Wheelhouse, W. S. J.|
|Stanley, hon. F.||Wilmot, H.|
|Stone, W. H.||Winn, R.|
|Stronge, Sir J. M.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Sykes, C.||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Talbot, J. G.|
|Talbot, hon. R. A. J.|
|Taylor, rt. hon. Colonel||TELLERS.|
|Tipping, W.||Fowler, W.|
|Tollemache, hon. F. J.||Pell, A.|
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow, at Two of the clock.