HC Deb 07 March 1872 vol 209 cc1616-9

Motion made, and Question proposed, That there be laid before this House, a Return of the number of Landed Proprietors in each county, classed according to residence, showing the extent and value of the property held by each class:—


objected to such a Return being ordered by the House, and expressed his surprise that the Motion was not opposed by the Government.


said, that the hon. Gentleman who had made the Motion had originally given Notice for a Return requiring information which Government had made known to him could not be granted. He (the Marquess of Hartington) had at the same time told him that there was certain information in the office of the Government in Ireland which could be placed at his disposal. This Return, in fact, was in existence, having been made out two years ago. It was by no means very accurate, nor did he believe it would be of very great value; but one reason why the Government thought it not undesirable it should be produced was that it showed a considerably less amount of absenteeism than was generally supposed to exist in Ireland.


also objected to the production of the Return, on the ground that as it was two years old it was only a waste of public money to furnish it; and, moreover, if such a Return was required for Ireland it might equally be required for this country.


said, he was opposed to absenteeism; but as the Return moved for would not furnish proper information on the subject, be would suggest that the hon. Gentleman should withdraw his Motion, or put it in a less objectionable form.


trusted that the Motion would not be withdrawn, for it was important that accurate information should be given with regard to absenteeism in Ireland.


said, he thought that if they were to have Returns they ought to be accurate; but he maintained that the Poor Law Inspectors could not give accurate information on the subject.


said, that the Motion was so vague in its terms that any Return presented in pursuance of it would be perfectly worthless.


expressed an opinion that if they were to have a Return of this elaborate character, relating to every property under 100 acres, it would be desirable that they should have the results of the recent legislation of Parliament with respect to landed estates in Ireland.


said, the Returns were in existence, and he conceived that it would be of advantage that the Return should be laid on the table quantum valeat. It would show that the number of non-resident proprietors was much less in Ireland than was generally supposed.


observed that the Return would not cover much paper, and the expense of it would be perfectly infinitesimal. It would be interesting to have the Return of the resident and non-resident proprietors, and the fact that the Land Act had since passed appeared no good reason for objecting to its production, but it might be a good reason for requiring an additional Return at a future period. There was a Return of this character, furnished by the Irish Parliament, and it would certainly appear rather extraordinary if similar information were denied by the Imperial Parliament.


spoke to a point of Order. He very much doubted whether information two years old would answer the terms of the Motion now before the House. It referred to proprietors actually resident in Ireland.


suggested that the Motion should now be withdrawn and re-produced to-morrow in an amended form.

THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON moved that the terms be altered by adding after "Return" the words "for the year 1870."

Amendment proposed, after the first word "Return," to insert the words "for the year 1870."—(The Marquess of Hartington.)


said, he hoped if any Return were presented to the House, it would not be a mere vague, approximate, and useless Return.


said, the language of the Motion would give the idea that there was a peculiar class of proprietors in Ireland who were, like the Lord Mayor, annual proprietors. It really would be better to withdraw the Motion, with the view of having a Return of a more satisfactory kind. The Prime Minister appeared to think the Return of an extremely interesting character; whereas the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland spoke rather disparagingly of it. Perhaps, if the noble Lord would communicate with the Mover, and look again at the Papers the House might have a chance of getting some authentic and accurate information.


said, the Return, if granted in the form proposed by the Amendment, would no more give the idea suggested by the right hon. Gentleman than a Return of Members of this House for the year 1872 would give the idea that the Members were annual Members only.


said, he hoped some words would be inserted to show the circumstances under which it had been prepared.

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to. Ordered, That there be laid before this House a Return, for the year 1870, of the number of Landed Proprietors in each county, classed according to residence, showing the extent and value of the property held by each class:—