§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
said, he had a very important Petition to present from a very important body in Scotland—namely, the Scottish Cham- 698 ber of Agriculture at Edinburgh. It was signed by the President, Mr. Nicoll, on be-half of himself and the other Directors. He should very much like to have the Petition read at the Table; but he was anxious to save the time of the House, and therefore he would only ask that it might be printed as soon as possible, and put in the hands of Members before the Hypothec Abolition Bill was considered as amended. The Petition sot forth that the Bill contained a clause which, for the first time, recognized unconstitutional acts that were done by the Court of Session in the last century, in passing an Act of Sederunt in 1756 which contained enactments solely within the power of the Legislature to enforce, and prayed the House to prevent that recognition from passing into law. It also pointed to the inconvenience to Scotland from not allowing the Bill to pass into law at an earlier date than the end of 1880, showing that under the provisions of the Bill they might have agreements framed before the end of the year 1880 which would allow the Hypothec Act to remain out of operation for 19 years. It remarked that the course of policy hitherto followed by Parliament had been to bring all Acts which were passed into operation within a very short period; and that, although tenants were seriously injured by the Road Act, the School Act, and various other Acts, especially by the Act of 1853, the law in those cases was brought into operation in a few days. It also prayed that equality of rights should be granted to tenants; and that in any measure protecting the interests of landlords, the like consideration should be given to the interests of tenants, in respect to their outlay for manures and other unexhausted improvements. Other important matters were set forth in the Petition well worthy of attention. He would now present the Petition, in the hope that the Committee on Petitions would allow it to be printed and promptly circulated amongst hon. Members.