HC Deb 12 July 1870 vol 203 cc118-37

Lords' Amendments considered.

Amendments, as far as the Amendment in page 2, line 31, read a second time; several agreed to; one amended, and agreed to.

Page 2, line 31, leave out "£10," and insert "£4," the next Amendment, read a second time.


moved to disagree to the Amendments made by the Lords in the scale of compensation in page 2, line 31, by which £4 was substituted for £10, and £20 for £30. He did not think that any statement was necessary on the subject. He need only say that the Government were entirely unable to assent to any such reduction as that contemplated by the other House.


said, that they had not followed the usual course. They had not received from Her Majesty's Government a general view of the alterations to which they did not agree. They did not know what the Government wished them to accept, and what they did not. It was desirable that they should have some general view of the course Government intend to recommend.


said, he understood that, in cases of that kind, when a great number of Amendments upon important Bills came down to the House of Commons at a late period of the Session, it was hardly possible, and it was not in accordance with the general practice of the House, that by notice of a formal character the course to be taken should be pointed out. The right hon. Gentleman asked for some general explanation from the Government as to the Amendments which they proposed to adopt or reject. With regard to that matter, he was in hopes that it had been settled and understood, for all substantial and practical purposes, by the explanation which had taken place in the House of Lords. But as he thought the right hon. Gentleman had made a reasonable demand, and provided that he (Mr. Gladstone) was not held in this multitude of Amendments to too literal a precision with regard to matters of secondary importance, what he should say would be that the Government proposed to agree to the greater part of the Lords' Amendments, and that the exceptions would be these—The Government disagreed from those Amendments which affected the scale, and also from that which concerned the term of lease, put into the Bill as an alternative to the scale. He thought it would be felt that those two views of the Government hung together, and were equal weights in the two opposite scales of the balance. They should, therefore, ask the House to restore 31 years instead of 21 years as the term of lease. They also objected strongly to an Amendment made in page 3, though he did not think it was a subject about which special interest was felt. The Government proposed to agree, with some reluctance, to the Amendments which had been introduced by their Lordships with regard to the building of cottages. They would disagree from the Amendment respecting permissive registration of improvements, and from part of the Amendment in the clause which defined what was, and what was not to be considered as disturbance by the act of the landlord. They proposed to amend slightly Clause D of their Lordships, and he believed that these were the only exceptions to a general concurrence in the Amendments which it was necessary to mention. An Amendment had been introduced to enlarge from 20 to 35 years the powers of limited owners. In matters of general legislation, there could, perhaps, be no objection to that; but it seemed to go, in the present case, beyond the analogy of the Bill, and the Government did not contemplate extending the powers of limited owners further than they were affected by the other provisions of the Bill. The Government proposed to accede to the Amendment of the Lords which restored the term of notice to six months from 12 months, to the Amendment for leaving out the 66th clause with respect to the Law of Distress, and to the Amendments made in the Definition Clause.


said, that he certainly preferred the Amendment of the Lords, and he should ask the House to divide on the subject.


said, that all the difficulty of the clause, which, in the Lords, had been called an "arithmetical puzzle," and of the original words of the Bill, would have been obviated if the scale had been a more graduated one, and if there had been smaller intervals between one class and another. It had been hinted that the Government would attempt to introduce a more graduated scale; he did not know whether it was possible that the clause could stand over in order to allow this attempt to be made; but he would suggest that something of the sort should be done in order to meet the difficulties of the Lords, and to prevent any injustice being done.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth disagree with The Lords in the said Amendment."—(Mr. Chichester Fortescue.)

The House divided:—Ayes 146; Noes 55: Majority 91.

Lords' Amendments disagreed to.

Amendments, as far as the Amendment in page 3, line 24, read a second time; several amended, and agreed to, with a consequential Amendment to the Bill; several disagreed to.

Page 3, line 24, leave out from the word "Section" to "3," in line 41, the next Amendment, read a second time.


said, that in Clause 3, after "£250," he proposed to disagree to the Amendment made by the Lords, and to re-introduce an important paragraph, which had been struck out. It would run, with a slight Amendment, as follows:— Any tenant in a higher class of the scale may at his option claim compensation under a lower class, provided such compensation shall not exceed the sum to which he would be entitled under such lower class, on the assumption that the annual value of his holding is reduced to the sum (or where two sums are mentioned the highest sum) stated in such lower class, and that his rent is proportionately reduced. In order to understand the intention of the Government in reference to the Bill as it left the House of Commons, the scale must not be taken in its naked form, but as governed by the provision he had referred to. The inevitable effect of the scale, if not tempered by this provision, would be to effect gross inequality between different tenants holding at different steps of the scale, and whose rental or valuation might only vary, perhaps, to the amount of a single £1. With regard to the provision itself, he was aware that it had been designated an arithmetical puzzle; but he did not know that anything could be devised simpler or more practicable than the plan suggested by the Government. It was not pretended that an exactly accurate maximum would be obtained in every case for each tenant in Ireland, but substantial justice would be done to all, and it was for this purpose that he proposed the reinsertion of the provision struck out by the Lords.


said, the question was a very difficult one to understand; but he understood that the Amendment was designed to remedy the operation of the scale, which would otherwise give a tenant with a rent of £19 a compensation of £95, while a tenant with a rent of £21 would only get £84. On that understanding he could not object to the Amendment.


said, he thought it absolutely necessary to insert the Proviso of the Government in order to arrive at a rough equity instead of strict justice; but it might have been avoided by using more precise and accurate language in the table. If they took £10 as a constant multiple, and gave seven years' rent as compensation for the first £10, and four years for every £20 afterwards, that would give every man what he was entitled to.

Lords' Amendment agreed to; Proviso inserted.

Amendments of the Lords, in page 3, lines 5, 7, 12, and 13, agreed to.

Lords' Amendment, page 3, line 22, after ("writing") insert— ("Or lets the same or any part thereof in conacre, after he has been prohibited in writing by the landlord or his agent from so doing").


moved, that the House do agree to the Amendment made by the Lords, but with this addition, to insert after "conacre" this Proviso, "save for the growing of potatoes or other green crops, the land being properly manured." It was very desirable that conacre of a destructive character should be prohibited; but to prohibit it altogether would be to effect a revolution in the condition of the labourer which would be extremely injudicious, and he must say extremely perilous. The system of part payment of labourers by an allotment of land was so much in accordance with the habits and feelings of the labourers, that he could not see how any amount of money payment would make up to the labourers for the loss. It would also be impossible to utilize the manure which was collected by the labourers in the neighbourhood of small towns. On these grounds he proposed that the House should agree to the Lords' Amendment with his Amendment.


expressed a hope that the hon. Member would not press the Amendment, and would leave the important question to which it referred entirely in the hands of the Government. There were certain stages of a great measure like this in which private Members ought not unduly to interpose, and he trusted a Motion would be made from the Treasury Bench to disagree with the Lords' Amendment. The Irish Members were agreed upon this—that the Lords' Amendment would be destructive to the Irish labourer, who had nothing in the world but his little dung heap, which was a mine of wealth to him through the year. Such a step would drive the Irish labourer into discontent and disaffection. He had no right to complain of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson), whose intelligent support of the cause of Ireland they must all respect; but it would have been better if he had communicated with the Irish Members before proposing this Amendment. He could state that the old conacre was destructive to farming, but that had now altogether died out. The present system was in no way injurious. He hoped the hon. Member would withdraw his Amendment.


said, he hoped that the hon. Member for Banbury would not withdraw his Amendment, and that the Government would consent to it. The landlords of Ireland could have no possible objection to a system so guarded, while it would be a great boon to the labourer. Great misconception was entertained as to the origin of the word con-acre. It was used originally to mean land let for the growing of corn; but now it was applied to the letting of a small piece of land for any purpose whatever. It was plain that the hon. Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) did not understand the real sense of the Proviso proposed by the hon. Member for Banbury. He had given them a piteous account of the labourer's dung heap; but the very object of this Proviso was to enable the labourer to turn it to account. He was in the habit of letting land to his labourers himself, and all the farmers round him did the same. He hoped the Government would agree to the Amendment.


said, he thought his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny quite misunderstood the Amendment of the hon. Member for Banbury. It was absolutely necessary that the farmer in Ireland should be enabled, as he had ever been, to give land in conacre which was required, not for the purpose of growing white, but green crops. So much did he approve of the Amendment that he had prepared a Proviso almost word for word the same with that proposed by the hon. Member for Banbury. He hoped, therefore, that while the Government would not accept the Amendment made in the House of Lords, they would agree to that of the hon. Member for Banbury. If the Bill were to pass without having anything done by it for the labourers, it would be received with execration throughout Ireland.


said, he could not, on the part of the Government, undertake to accede to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny to propose to disagree from the Lords' Amendment, for two reasons. When the Bill was originally before the House there was a general concurrence among hon. Members that a distinction ought to be drawn between the con-acre for the purpose of white and of green crops, it being, for the most part, admitted that for the one purpose it was injurious, while for the other it was beneficial—though perhaps that was not clearly expressed in the Bill as it went to the Lords. That was the first reason why he could not assent to the proposal of the hon. Member for Kilkenny. The other was, that in dealing with an Amendment made by the House of Lords in a great measure such as that under discussion, the Government ought, he thought, to be prepared to consider it not altogether on the merits of the point immediately involved, but also with reference to its bearing on other Amendments as well as on the passing of the Bill. Now, if the suggestion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) were adopted, the passing of the Bill would, he was afraid, be to some extent endangered. The question for each hon. Member to ask himself was, whether he considered the object in view of such importance as to run that risk. The Government certainly could not accede to the proposal. As to the proposal of the hon. Member for Banbury, he believed it to be a good one in itself; but with respect to that also he must say he should not like to risk the passing of the Bill by calling on the House to accept it. The Government, at the same time, would gladly yield to the general expression of opinion in the House on the subject should it be found to be in favour of the Amendment. It was something that it was supported by the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh), whose views on the subject were entitled to the greatest weight, not only because of the ability and intelligence which he had brought to bear on the discussion of the Bill, but from the strong desire which he had shown to promote the welfare of his country.


thought the Amendment was a very great misfortune, and hoped hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House would follow the advice which had been given by the hon. Member for Carlow. This was not a question of party, and everyone ought to endeavour to make the Bill as palatable as possible to the lower classes.


observed that when the Bill was before the House on a former occasion, he had drawn the distinction between the two systems of con-acre referred to by the Prime Minister, and had advocated the adoption of a proposal similar to that now made by the hon. Member for Banbury. He trusted the Amendment would be agreed to.

Words inserted.

Lords' Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

Lords' Amendment, line 24, leave out from ("section") to ("3") in line 41.


moved that the House agree to the Lords' Amendment, by which certain exceptions from the general effect of the clause, which were intended to give the tenant the power of setting aside pieces of land for the purpose of building labourers' cottages, were struck out. If he were simply to consult his own wishes, he should prefer the Bill as it dealt with that point in its original shape; but the matter was one with regard to which he did not, for the reasons which had been just stated by his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government, think it would be wise to insist by dissenting from the Amendment. The importance which was attached to the provision with respect to the building of cottages had, he thought, been greatly exaggerated by the friends of the labourer, for the security which the Bill would give the tenant-farmer could not fail to react most beneficially on the labourers whom he employed. The question of encouraging the building of cottages, he admitted, was one which ought to be dealt with; but he did not think it could be done so to any useful purpose in the present Bill, and, as he had stated at a former stage of the Bill, he hoped to be able hereafter to propose legislation on the subject which would have the effect of improving the law as it stood.


regretted that the Government had accepted the Amendment of the Lords, which did not place the labourer in the position in which he ought to stand. It deprived the tenants of all power of erecting cottages for their labourers, and left it entirely in the hands of the landlords; and, in many instances, the tenants would be deprived of the power of keeping labourers on their farms. The condition of the labourers was becoming very alarming, and every effort ought to be made to improve their position; and he hoped the Government would insist upon restoring the clause to its original form.


observed that it was utterly impossible for labourers in portions of the county which he represented to get plots of ground on which to build cottages. The result was that they were driven into the neighbouring towns, where the rates had in consequence been so increased that some of the small shopkeepers were at the present moment half bankrupt. The Government, he added, should provide for such a state of things, for if the Amendment were agreed to, and it was allowed to continue, it was impossible to say what another winter in Tipperary would bring forth.


acknowedged the able assistance which had been rendered in the passing of this Bill by the hon. Members for Cork and Limerick—[Laughter]—and was sorry to take on this occasion a course which they did not approve. He did not see why such an acknowledgment should be considered an unfitting one, for the support of these and other Members representing Irish constituencies was of the utmost consequence in passing a Bill which was founded upon moderate principles, and which the Government hoped to make acceptable to the people of Ireland. With reference to the present position, it should be remembered that the Government carried those provisions with much difficulty even through this House. Undoubtedly, they were regarded with more of jealousy and apprehension than of favour, and not upon narrow grounds. The Bill proposed to set up the right of the tenant to erect cottages for the labourer against the will of the landlord. To this the objection was raised not only that these cottages might be of an indifferent character, but, in conformity with English experience and practice, that the best landlords were perhaps the most jealous of allowing labourers on their estates to be housed by their tenants. It was more the kind disposition of the House to attend to the recommendations of the Government than the judgment of the House itself which in-induced them to pass these provisions; and, as they might raise a serious, obstacle to the passing of the Bill, he did not think it right to insist on them, especially as the House would not thereby abandon the hope of legislating in a separate shape on the subject of labourers' cottages. Whatever the convictions and desires of the Government might be, it was their duty to sacrifice them to the general prospects of the measure.


reminded the right hon. Gentleman that under the Bill as it left this House the tenant was not to erect a cottage for the labourer without applying, in the first instance, to the landlord or his agent. He regretted the course which had been taken by the Government; but he did not think it desirable to throw any obstacle in the way of the passing of the Bill.


repudiated any notion that, in supporting the Lords' Amendment, he and those on his side of the House were actuated by any want of interest in the condition of the Irish labourer. On the contrary, when the Bill was in Committee, he, with several hon. Friends, some of whom were large landed proprietors in Ireland, spoke strongly as to the want of better cottages for the labourers. But the clause as it stood did no good whatever for the labourer; because it offered no standard as to his dwelling, and provided no means of improving or alleviating his condition, and it was liable to be used not for the benefit of a bonâ fide labourer, but to facilitate subdivision in favour of relatives of the tenant, who would be introduced under the guise and assumed character of labourers. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland that the House could not legislate for labourers in the present Bill. The hon. Member for Galway (Mr. W. H. Gregory) had proposed a number of clauses laying down certain conditions with regard to the labourers; but everyone felt that it was a new scheme, relating to a different subject from that dealt with by the Bill. In supporting the Amendment, he repeated the desire of his hon. Friends to assist the labourer in every possible manner.


said, he thought that no such danger would arise under the clause, which was quite sufficiently guarded by the Proviso. If it had been allowed to stand, tenants would have applied to their landlords for cottages; the landlords would have erected them rather than allow the tenants to do so, and thus the example would have spread of providing commodious and decent cottages for the labouring population in Ireland. He could not help regretting deeply that in this Bill there was not now a single provision for the benefit of the poorest and most neglected portion of the Irish people.


thanked the Government for giving way on this question, believing that the clause would have led to the subdivision of the land, and have afforded no real benefit to the labourer. The 9th clause gave the landlord the power of taking land for the building of cottages, and he was sure the labourers were in a much better position than they would have been if the Bill had remained in its original form in this respect.


said, he hoped there would be no opposition to the Amendment, for if the clause were passed as it left the Commons it would be inoperative, or else mischievous. Bad cottages would be built, because there was nothing to prevent it.


said, the argument based upon the 9th clause implied that unless the landlords built cottages there were to be none built, and yet it was notorious that it was chiefly by the landlords that the cottages had been levelled. Under these circumstances, it was most tyrannous to say that a respectable tenant should not build cottages, for how could a man cultivate land without labourers? Energetic men were leaving the country every day, and it was bad policy not to give them some inducement to remain in it.


said, it must have gratified the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Downing) to hear from the head of the Government that he had given great assistance in the passage of the Bill, for he believed the general impression was that the hon. Member had given them many heavy and wasted hours. Throughout the debates hon. Members on the opposite side of the House had pointed out that it was the labourers of Ireland who required assistance much more than the tenants, and now that it was too late to do anything for the labourers, the hon. Member for Limerick and others were calling out that the labourers of Ireland ought to have something done for them. The result must be to sow the seeds of agitation in Ireland, and to do more harm to his unhappy country.


said, he thought there was some misapprehension as to the effect of accepting the Lords' Amendments: as he read the clause it did not say that no one but the landlord was to erect cottages; while the tenant might take his plan to the landlord and ask permission to build, and no landlord would refuse to have such an improvement carried out. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) rated the landlords too low when he supposed they would arbitrarily and unreasonably stand in the way of improvements being made in the interest of the labourer.


said, he did not agree with the Lords' Amendment. A good tenant would never be refused by his landlord permission to build a cottage; but this Amendment passed in the other House, while it would not be of much advantage to the owners of land, would, in the present position of the country be looked upon, if not with hostility, at all events with great disfavour. He regretted that the Government had not found it to be consistent with their duty to disagree with it.


said, that if he were a labourer he should much prefer to have the assurance just given by the Government that this question would be dealt with next Session, to the Proviso which had been struck out by the House of Lords under which—as no conditions were imposed as to the description of cottages to be erected—it would be in the power of any occupier to build hovels instead of proper dwellings for his labourers. He should support the Government in the course adopted by them, which only involved a delay of a year, or rather nine months, and which he believed would tend much more than the re-insertion of the Proviso to elevate the condition of the labouring class.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with The Lords in the said Amendment." — (Mr. Chichester Fortescue.)

The House divided:—Ayes 396; Noes 29: Majority 367.

Page 4, line 1, leave out the word "thirty - one," and insert the word "twenty - one," the next Amendment, read a second time.


proposed to disagree to the Amendment of the Lords. The House knew that means had been taken to enable the Courts under the provisions of the Bill to consider all the circumstances of the tenant's case; and he held it very unadvisable to enact that the existence of a 21 years' lease, which was not in accordance with Irish habits or opinions, should exclude a tenant absolutely from claiming any privilege under Clause 3. In accordance with Irish ideas, a lease, to be of any great value, must be for 31 years. He therefore moved that the House do disagree to this Amendment.


said, he would not delay the Committee with further discussion on a Bill which had been debated so fully on previous occasions. The Amendment of the Lords appeared to him to be one which was entirely justified by the circumstances of the case. Twenty-one years was a common tenure in England and Scotland, and it had been found perfectly adequate to all the circumstances which should attend a good lease. In the present case they were asked to grant a lease of 31 years, which under the Bill might be enjoyed without making any improvements whatever. That appeared a condition of affairs highly undesirable for them to support, and he should, therefore, ask the opinion of the House on the Amendment.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth disagree with The Lords in the said Amendment." — (Mr. Chichester Fortescue.)

The House divided:—Ayes 262; Noes 186: Majority 76.

Amendments, as far as the Amendment in page 7, line 4, read a second time; several agreed to; several amended, and agreed to, with a consequential Amendment to the Bill.

Page 7, line 4, to insert, after the word "pounds," the words— 5. Where the Court shall be of opinion that in consequence of its being proved to have been the practice on the holding, or the estate of which such holding forms part, for the landlord to make such improvements, such presumption ought not to be made: 6. Where from the entire circumstances of the case the Court is reasonably satisfied that such improvements were not made by the tenant or his predecessors in title: Provided always, That where it is proved to have been the practice on the holding, or the estate of which such holding forms part, for the landlord to assist in making such improvements, such presumption shall be modified accordingly.

And also insert Clause A— ("Permissive registration of improvements.") "Any landlord or tenant who may be desirous of preserving evidence of any improvements made by himself or by his predecessor in title, before or after the passing of this Act, may at any time (subject to the provisions hereinafter contained) file a Schedule in the Landed Estates Court, specifying such improvements, and claiming the same as made by himself or his predecessors in title; and such Schedule so filed shall be primâ facie evidence that such improvements were made as therein mentioned: Provided always, That notice in writing of the intention to file such Schedule, together with a copy thereof, shall be given by the landlord to the tenant for the time being of the holding on which such improvements shall have been made (or by the tenant to the landlord, as the case may be,) within the prescribed time before applying to the Landed Estates Court to file the same; and if the person receiving such notice shall dispute the claim made by such Schedule, either wholly or in part, he shall be at liberty within the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner to apply to the Civil Bill Court to determine the matter in difference, and in such case such Schedule shall not be filed unless or until leave shall have been given to file the same either in its original or in any amended form by the Civil Bill Court; Provided also, That before filing any such Schedule proof shall be made in the Landed Estates Court by statutory declaration that the notice hereby required has been duly given, and that no application has been made within the prescribed time by the party receiving such notice to the Civil Bill Court; or (if any such application has been made) that leave has been given by the Civil Bill Court to file such Schedule, the next Amendment, read a second time, and agreed to, as far as insert Clause A.

Lords' Amendment, insert new Clause A (Permissive registration of improvements).


moved in line 1, to leave out the word "or" and insert the word "and." He explained that as the clause had been agreed to by the House of Lords a registration of improvements could take place by an action being taken either by the landlord or the tenant in the Irish Landed Estates Court. The object of his Amendment was to prevent any registration of improvements taking place except at the joint instance of both the landlord and the tenant.

Amendment proposed to the said Clause, in line 1, to leave out the word "or," and insert the word "and,"—(Mr. Samuelson,)—instead thereof.


said, he thought the Amendment of the hon. Member for Banbury unnecessary. He should adhere to the clause as it came from the Lords, the object of the clause being to prevent the great injustice which might possibly arise where the landlord and tenant were not prepared to come to an agreement of the kind which had been suggested.


said, he did not see the necessity for this registration clause at all, and it would on courage at once a multitude of what he might term quasi suits. The landlord would come to the Court to register improvements; the tenant would employ an attorney; and out of the 600,000 holdings in Ireland there would probably be several thousands of these quasi suits. He maintained that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Banbury was necessary, and that without it the Government would not accept the clause. They had always been opposed to such a clause, and one reason why they were disposed to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member was because they were anxious to go as far as possible in the direction of meeting the wishes of the House of Lords, without altogether departing from the determined opposition which they had always entertained for the principle embodied in the clause.


said, it would be better to meet the Amendment of the Lords by a direct negative than to propose a change which, while it appeared to offer something, really offered no advantage at all. The object of the Lords' Amendment was that either party might obtain the permanent record of a fact. It was not necessary for the two parties to agree between themselves as to the fact. If, indeed, they were both agreed—which was substantially the proposal of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson)—what was the advantage of going to the Landed Estates Court? The clause inserted by the Lords was to meet the very case in which they did not agree, and it was because they did not agree that the clause was requisite. He denied that the clause would give rise to litigation. It would be used only where it was right that it should be used, and where there was something to be recorded; and, considering the large transactions which might be involved, it was only just to both parties that such a clause should be retained. The clause offered a fair and reasonable means of disclosing the obligations on an estate without injustice to anyone; it would never be used to injure or oppress anyone; and he therefore hoped the Lords' Amendment would be agreed to.


said, the right hon. and learned Gentleman had stated with clearness the object and effect of the clause, which constituted the very reasons why the Government could not accept it. It was not intended for cases of dispute; but, in order to avoid possible controversies in the future, it was thought necessary to create an unknown number of controversies at once in cases respecting which, in the vast majority of instances, controversy would never otherwise arise. In many cases, by lapse of time, improvements would wear out without being the occasion of dispute; and in others the parties would agree without appealing to the assistant barrister. The Government did not wish by this Bill to create any temptation to parties to involve themselves in disputes prematurely; and they were very unwilling to expose the tenant to the danger which lurked under the clause — that of being taken up to the Court in Dublin by a timorous or suspicious landlord. To a small tenant that unnecessary process would be an expensive one. The Government opposed the clause quite irrespective of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Banbury, which of itself was a valuable one and could do no harm to either party. It would provide that where they were agreed there should be an authoritative record, and that would meet the case of encumbrances; but that case did not weigh heavily on his mind, because the charges in question could be only the result of additional value conferred by improvements, and such charges were very different from those which detracted from the value and security of property. On the whole, they would do wisely not to agree to the Lords' Amendment; but it would not be without advantage if they agreed to that of the hon. Member for Banbury.


said, that if the clause would enable the landlord to take advantage of the tenant he would oppose it; but he looked upon the clause as essential for carrying out the provisions of the Bill, and had it existed prior to the Encumbered Estates Court a great part of the discontent now existing in Ireland would have been avoided, because purchasers would have known what charges their estates were liable to.


said, the proper course for the Government to take was to meet the clause with a direct negative. The fallacy in the argument of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) was that the tenant was a free agent, a proposition which was negatived by every part of the Bill. A small holder would rather give up a claim than go to law with his landlord.


said, anybody having the slightest legal experience must know that nothing prevented litigation so much as clear and distinct statements of facts put in writing while well remembered. The clause would provide for the carrying out of such a plan. He agreed with his right hon. and learned Friend in thinking that without this provision it would be most difficult to deal with estates in Ireland.


said, that while claims for compensation could be advanced at any time by the tenant, other claims could be made only in consequence of the landlord's own act; this it was that placed claims for compensation upon a different footing from other claims; and it was only fair that the landlord should have full information when it could be afforded him without doing injustice.


said, the hon. Member seemed to overlook this point, that if this clause were not passed there could be no litigation unless there was a change of tenancy within 20 years, which change was the exception and not the rule; but if the clause were passed there might be quasi litigation whenever an improvement was made.

Question put, "That the word 'or' stand part of the Clause."

The House divided:—Ayes 186; Noes 249: Majority 63.

Amendment agreed to, with Amendments.

Amendments, as far as the Amendment in page 8, line 8, read a second time; several agreed to; one amended, and agreed to.

Then the Proviso of the clause relating to Notice disagreed to.

Lords' Amendment, page 8, line 7, after ("rent") insert "or for breach of any condition against assignment, subletting, bankruptcy, or insolvency."


moved to agree to that Amendment of the Lords in the first part of the clause, but to retain the latter part of the clause, in which another Amendment was made, as it originally stood.


complained that the Government now proposed to adopt an Amendment which had been moved in that House and rejected without a Division.


observed that it was quite a mistake to suppose that this Amendment had been moved and rejected without a Division. It was quite a different Amendment.

Lords' Amendment agreed to.

On the next Amendment, which struck out the words— Unless the Court decides that it ought on special grounds to be so deemed in the case of a person claiming compensation on the determination by such ejectment of a tenancy existing at the time of the passing of the Act, and continuing to exist without any alteration of rent up to the time of such determination.


said, these words gave a very wide discretion to the chairmen of Courts, the Government proposition being wholly unrestrained. There was no subject on which greater apprehension was felt by the landlords of Ireland than this clause, because they considered that there ought to be in the Courts the greatest facility for enforcing the payment of rent. This clause, however, gave extraordinary powers to chairmen, without affording them the slightest guide or definition of the principle on which they were to act. The Lords' Amendment appeared to him to have two advantages—first, it defined what were the cases in which a chairman might exercise his discretion; and, secondly, it totally excluded the idea of disturbance on the ground that the rent was too high. He asked the Government to be content with the wide discretion given in the Lords' Amendment.


said, the Government never concealed their opinion that this, although a necessary enactment, was a grave one. Having adopted it from a conviction of its necessity, they applied to it all the limitations which occurred to them, or were suggested by hon. Members. The clause when so modified was assented to by the Government, and no Division was taken upon it. Under these circumstances he hoped it would not be considered extraordinary if he could not assent to the Amendment.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth disagree with The Lords in the said Amendment." — (Mr. Chichester Fortescue.)

The House divided:—Ayes 248; Noes 171: Majority 77.

Amendments, as far as the Amendment in page 9, line 2, after the word "claim," insert Clauses B and C:—read a second time; several agreed to; one amended, and agreed to, with a consequential Amendment to the Bill; one disagreed to.

Page 8, line 2, after the word "claim," insert Clauses B and C, the next Amendment, read a second time, and agreed to, as far as the Amendment insert Clause B inclusive.


proposed that Clause B be agreed to.


said, he hoped the Government would not agree to Clause B, because it would be a great injury to the tenant. It would neutralize the whole of the Bill.


agreed with the hon. Member for New Ross, and thought that the Amendment was one of the most important made in the other House. The assignee ought to be protected against the act of the landlord four or five years after taking possession.


agreed that the point under discussion was one of the most difficult in the Bill. It had received the most careful consideration of the Government both in that House and in "another place," and he trusted the House would not undo the work that had been done with a view to the settlement of the question.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Consideration of Lords Amendments deferred till this day.

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