HC Deb 05 July 1880 vol 253 cc1640-729

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [25th June], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

And which Amendment was, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Chaplin.)

Question again proposed, "That the word 'now,' stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


said, it was with considerable regret he found himself unable, owing to the late hour at which the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland spoke on Tuesday, to offer some reply to his speech. He would remark generally, with respect to that speech, that there was one thing in it which filled him with surprise, and it was the tone of vindictive animosity towards landlords which pervaded the speech from the beginning to the end. He should really have been astonished had it been made by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell); but, coming as it did from one of the most able and respectable members of the Irish Bar, he was filled with considerable dismay. It occurred to him that if that speech faithfully represented the views of the Government, the Bill was not merely a temporary measure for the relief of Irish distress, but it was something widely different—it was the commencement of a campaign against landlords; it was the first step in a social war; it was an attempt to raise the masses against the propertied classes. And in connection with this view there was another feature in that speech which was most remarkable—that although there was going on at present an agitation of the most unmeasured nature on the Land Question, and although language was being used of a very singular kind at meetings which must have given the Attorney General for Ireland grave cause for anxiety and alarm, not a word, not a single syllable, not a hint, even, did the Attorney General give that could afford to the House a suspicion that he deprecated that agitation, or disapproved of that language. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman were to be judged by the promoters of that agitation from his speech, then those promoters had every right and reason to look on the Law Officers of the Crown in Ireland as their sympathizer, friend, and ally. He would leave the legal arguments with which his speech abounded to others who were more acquainted with the subtleties of lawyers than he was; but what the Attorney General said practically amounted to this—The landlords have had £1,250,000 from the State; how could they have the face to object to a measure for the relief of their tenantry? Amore ungenerous and misleading argument was never used in the House of Commons. What was the real position? At a most critical period of last year the late Government found themselves compelled to provide employment for the people in such a manner as to avoid the disasters which resulted from their employment upon public works in 1848. They sought the assistance of the Irish landlords, and offered them terms, which were not extravagantly in their favour, in order to secure the employment of the people and the development of the agricultural resources of the country. The landlords throughout the distressed districts came forward and accepted the terms of the Government; and thousands of people had been employed, and were being employed, by means of an outlay for which the landlords had rendered themselves liable. If the landlords had had any suspicion that what they had done would be turned against them in the way it had been by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the House must not suppose that a six-pence of the loan would have been taken up. What Her Majestys' Government said to the Irish landlords was to this effect—"When no prudent man would willingly have incurred fresh liability, when agitation was increasing and rents were failing, when you were being denounced throughout Ireland as a criminal class, you came forward and incurred liabilities for the good of the people and of the State; in return for this we will now deprive you of a portion of the means by which you could hope to discharge those liabilities with any ease. Such is your reward for your action in a time of difficulty; such is the encouragement we offer you to devote yourselves in the future to the service of your country at a time of trial." The Attorney General insinuated—and it was an insinuation that could only derive value from that want of knowledge of the details of Irish affairs which, to a certain extent, prevailed in all English audiences—although it had been contradicted over and over again, that the £1,250,000 had gone into the pockets of the Irish landlords, instead of which, as the right hon and learned Gentleman knew perfectly well, it had simply gone from the hands of the landlords into the hands of the Irish people and into the soil of Ireland. The benefit which would be derived by the landlords from that expenditure would be indirect, remote, and uncertain, while the benefit to the tenant was direct and immediate. Well, then the right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of Irish distress as the necessity for this Bill. On this subject of Irish distress he thought he could back his knowledge against that of the Attorney General for Ireland. He did not say so in any spirit of arrogance; but thought it was his duty to let the House know what had come under his personal notice. He happened for a period of 10 weeks, when the distress was at its height, to be associated with a Committee that was relieving that distress on a very vast scale, and his work in connection with it occupied him, almost without intermission, from eight to ten hours a day during that time. He was in constant communication with the Local Government Board and its Inspectors, and with the Inspectors employed by the Committee, and with Chairmen of Boards of Guardians in all parts of the country. If any person absolutely free from all responsibility and care, and perfectly unprejudiced, had had an opportunity of ascertaining the real extent and nature of the distress, he was that person; and he did not hesitate to say that although the distress was most severe at times and in parts and would have been most disastrous but for the relief afforded, yet it never at any time, and did not now, warrant the introduction of a Bill of that kind. The people had been nobly supported through the crisis not by the charity of one country or another, but by the charity of the world; and he gladly recognized the conspicuous services of the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Mayor of Dublin (Mr. Gray) and the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) in stimulating that charity. Not only had food been received in enormous quantities, but clothes and bedding, and immense quantities of excellent seed, to aid in securing a return of former prosperity. But, although the distress was great, the fraud and imposture which sprang up alongside of it were also great. Although the relief afforded was great the demoralization occasioned by it was also great. He did not think there could be any doubt in disinterested minds that if Ireland, under God's providence, were blessed with a good harvest this year, the Irish people would be able to extricate themselves from their difficulties without recourse to any such violent measures as that now proposed by the Government. He could quote volumes of testimony in support of that assertion, but would not weary the House with it. He preferred resting his case on the statements and arguments of Members of Hex-Majesty's Government; he would not notice the statement of the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Frederick Cavendish), when he said the other afternoon that the distress was not of a very exceptional nature, because he did not think the noble Lord had had an opportunity of knowing what the extent of the distress was. He would rather remind the House of the remarkable statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General (Mr. Fawcett), made a few days ago, which showed that the deposits in the Savings Banks in Ireland had absolutely increased in the last year all over Ireland, and increased even in the distressed districts. In spite of the distress, there had not only been no decrease, but, on the contrary, an increase. He thought that the faces of the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary for Ireland grew uncommonly gloomy as they listened to that statement of the right hon. Gentleman. Again, he asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland the other day why, if the distress was so severe and intense as to warrant the introduction of such a Bill, a grant to relieve it had not been made from the Imperial Treasury? If the distress were sufficient to warrant the Government in plundering one particular class, why was it not great enough to warrant them in granting the money out of the Imperial Treasury? Taking, then, into account his own experience and the statements and arguments of Members of the Government, he maintained that if the Bill was supported on the ground of existing distress, it was put forward on a ground entirely inadequate and fallacious. The Attorney General for Ireland entirely ridiculed the view advanced as to the uses which the Irish tenants would make of the Bill to the disadvantage of the landlord, and ho said that to substantiate such views it should be shown that Irish tenants wore all knaves and Irish County Court Judges all fools; and he asked, were they on that side of the House prepared to show that? Well, he, for one, was not prepared to use such bad language; but he knew the acute and natural intelligence of the Irish people, and he was prepared to say that the advatanges which would be derived by the tenantry under this Bill, without their being liable to such savage imputations, would not be inferior to the advantages which would be derived in a case where the tenant was a knave and a Judge was a fool; and he thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman had very little doubt in his mind on that point. It had been said that the Bill was an attack upon property.? The Attorney General for Ireland had jeered at that assertion; but he wondered whether the Prime Minister could inform the House what he considered the value of a Parliamentary title to land in Ireland now was. When the Encumbered Estates Court Act passed much was said as to the value of a Parliamentary title. One distinguished Law Lord said that the purchaser would have a clear title; another, that he would have a fresh title; another, an unencumbered title; and Lord Campbell, then Lord Chancellor of Ire- land, said—"This Bill will give titles which will be good against all the world, and purchasers of estates under this Bill will have a title which nothing can affect." When the Land Act of 1870 passed prices of land hardly fluctuated. Notwithstanding much agitation, prices rose after the passing of the Act from 20 to 22, 23, and 24 years' purchase. What was the case now? Since the introduction of the Bill, sales of land in the Landed Estates Court had come to a dead stop. Purchasers would not come forward. Capital acted instinctively and almost unerringly; it refused investment in Irish land. The present Government were, it was supposed, ambitious to acquire renown as Land Reformers; but how could they hope to gain the confidence of the people if, as a consequence of their first step in land legislation, a Parliamentary title which had been thought the most desirable became the most worthless, depending no longer on the honour of the British Parliament; but merely on the exigencies of Party, and on the hourly demands which the Business of the House might make on the patience and fortitude of Ministers. The Chief Secretary for Ireland, in the extremely able and ingenious speech with which he had introduced the Bill, told the House that it merely carried out the spirit of the Land Act. He had never been one of those who denounced the Land Act of 1870. No one acquainted with Ireland—with its history, its people, with its customs of land tenure and land cultivation—could, he thought, truthfully assert that the Act of 1870 was not a necessary Act, that it was not wise in its purpose, and had never been, on the whole, beneficial in its operation; and he was prepared to co-operate in any attempt which, consistently with justice to all parties, would still further ameliorate the condition of the Irish farmer. But what was the spirit of the Land Act? It was to secure to the tenant compensation for his improvements, and to restrain the landlord from capricious evictions, and from arbitrary increases of rent. But the cardinal and loading feature of the Land Act was the inviolability of the rent which the landlord demanded and which the tenant agreed to pay. The rent was the one incident of a tenancy which the Act respected and safeguarded, and which Parliament refused to endanger. What did this Bill provide? That, under certain circumstances, the existence of which was to be determined by an inferior Court of Justice, and by an official, the lowest possible in the judicial scale, the rent should not be enforced without the landlord having to pay heavily for its enforcement. That, he maintained, was a correct description of the principle of the Bill, which was utterly opposed to the principle and spirit of the Land Act. He could prove his statements by the illogical position which the Government occupied. If the Bill was framed in the spirit of the Land Act, why was it not made permanent in its operation and universal in its scope? It was because it was opposed to the principles of preceding legislation that it was limited both in time and extent; for the Government knew very well that if they had proposed to make the Bill a permanent one their tenancy of the Government Bench would be very insecure. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had a most powerful mind; but he was obliged to have recourse to the most extraordinary shifts to justify the measure. He said the other night with great accuracy that it was not in the power of the Irish landlord to raise his rents without becoming liable for compensation under the clauses of the Land Act. He then went on to make the extraordinary and unparalleled announcement—"The circumstances of the present year were equivalent to an increase of rent"—those were his very words. What, in the name of Heaven, did that mean but that failure of the earth to produce her accustomed fruits, owing to the operation of great national laws, uncontrollable, unknown, and unforeseen, which gave us an increase of cold and moisture, and a decrease of sunshine and warmth, was equivalent to, or exactly the same thing as, an arbitrary increase of rent by landlords throughout Ireland generally? That argument, it had been said, was in the spirit of the Land Act. He (Lord Randolph Churchill) appealed to the Prime Minister to say whether he was not right when he said that the Land Act was passed to protect tenants from the arbitrary action of the landlord, and not to save them, at the expense of an equally suffering landlord, from the operations of the phenomena of nature? That was an instance of the extraordinary shifts—the weak shifts—to which the Chief Secretary had been obliged to have recourse to justify the measure. He would give the House another example of his arguments. The right hon. Gentleman had said how unfair it was that a tenant living on one side of a particular boundary under the Ulster custom could not be turned out even for non-payment of rent without being compensated, while on the other side of the boundary a tenant not under the Ulster custom could be evicted for non-payment of rent without any compensation. That, no doubt, was a very melancholy thing, as all poverty and all distress and misfortune were pitiful and melancholy; but the Chief Secretary had altogether forgotten to tell the House that the tenant under the Ulster custom had bought and paid for his right to compensation, which was as much his property as the furniture of his house, and that the other, outside the boundary, had no such property, and had made no such purchase. The Bill, however, proposed to confer on him a property which was never his, and at the expense, not of the State, but of the class least able to bear it. If that was in the spirit of the Land Act, why had not the Prime Minister in 1870 legalized and extended the Ulster custom over the whole of Ireland? He had refused to do so at the time; and now it was too late, besides being entirely inaccurate, to say that the extension of the custom —for that was what the Bill really came to—was in the spirit of the Land Act. The Chief Secretary had made a great point of the increased number of evictions; but, in stating the figures, ho had taken care not to tell the House the real cause of that increase. Here and there, in Ireland as in all other countries, there were hard landlords; but, in the great majority of cases, wherever there was a real inability to pay rent, the landlords had come forward to remit them. ["No, no!"] If he was wrong, the statement easily admitted of refutation. He would remark, however, that the Land League in Dublin had published a statement to the effect that the recent remissions of rent amounted to £3,000,000. The real cause of the great majority of the evictions was that the tenants were not allowed to pay their rents. They did not dare for their lives to do so, on account of the tremendous pressure put upon them by the land agitators, the secret societies, and those who advised them to "keep a firm grip of their land." The majority of evictions were resorted to because tenants had set up a claim to the fee simple of the soil; and the cause of them was not the cruelty of landlords, nor the general distress, but the maxim, "keep a firm grip of your land," to which the right hon. Gentleman had lent the whole weight of the authority of the Government, when he introduced this measure. There was another inconceivable inconsistency in the attitude of the Government. They brought in a Bill of the most remarkable and forcible character, and, at the same time, told the House that they were going to issue a Royal Commission to inquire into the operation of the Land Act. What did the issue of that Commission mean but that the Government wanted information? Nay, more; the issue of a Commission at the time when another Commission was sitting to inquire into precisely the same subject meant that the Government were so absolutely without information that immediate and concentrated inquiry was absolutely necessary before they could move a single step. And yet, having made this announcement, they had introduced a measure which nothing but the most exhaustive and impartial inquiry, the fullest information, could possibly justify. It was said that the Bill was only a temporary measure. That was the account given of it by the Government, and he would take it for granted that such was their intention. But it must be remembered that its effects would be permanent in this way—it would instruct the people, it would give a new feature to the Land Question, it would greatly guide the Royal Commission, and it would greatly influence Parliament when further land legislation was presented to it next year. The House ought to boar in mind that, if it adopted the measure, its action would not be free and unfettered when future legislation was proposed; and yet they were asked to tie their hands before dealing with the most difficult question by a Government that confessed, without scruple, almost without shame, that they were absolutely without information. He could mention another circumstance that ought to make the House pause before giving its assent to the Bill. The Chief Secretary had told them that, perhaps, he should hardly be believed in saying that when he took Office he had not the slightest idea that it would be incumbent on him to introduce such a Bill. For his own part, he had no difficulty whatever in believing the right hon. Gentleman; he felt sure that the Government had all along intended to squeak through the Session, by hook or by crook, without touching the Irish Land Question; and they would have succeeded in their intention, no doubt, had it not been for the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power), which came on, by some extraordinary accident, in the small hours one morning. He was present, and he saw the dismay that came over the faces of the Chief Secretary and the Prime Minister as they listened to the arguments of the hon. Member for Mayo in behalf of his modest proposals, and as they detected the gathering storm in the Irish Party, in case they should refuse to consider the measure. Where would be their "Supply?" Where would be the Estimates? Where the poor hares and rabbits? Where would be the unfortunate elect of Northampton in case the Irish Party should be allowed to get its "back up?" The Bill was a device suddenly invented to meet that great danger. It was "a Ten Minutes' Bill," If ever there was one, and no part of the original policy of the Government; an afterthought, not a deliberately counselled measure; an inspiration, but not from above. The fact was, that this Bill was intended not for the relief of Irish distress, but for the purpose of oiling a portion of the Parliamentary machine, which threatened to become dangerously rusty. It was for that small and temporary purpose of oiling the Parliamentary machine 'that the House of Commons was asked to give its assent to legislation of a kind which was never before proposed to Parliament by a Government— which was based on principles so dangerously near to Communism, that only the most extraordinary coincidence of circumstances could in any degree justify it, and which had given to many of their own Party a shock from which they would take a long time to recover. This, then, was the Irish policy, long looked for, long promised, of this great Government! When the Chief Secretary took Office, he was evidently under the impression that he was conferring a great compliment on Ireland. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: No, I did not.] That was the inference he drew from the right hon. Gentleman's speeches and actions, which he had observed with great minuteness. He believed that the mere fact of his acceptance of that Office would change the face of the country and the nature of the people—that the mere fact of his arrival at Kingstown would calm the Irish nation. He had not been 24 hours in the country before he decided on a policy of conciliation. He came to the conclusion that the state of the country was so peaceful, that the inhabitants were so contented, life and property, law and order so absolutely secure, that the mild exceptional powers possessed by the late Government, though they might be good enough for them, were absolutely useless to the new Administration. The right hon. Gentleman at that time reminded him of a miner, going into a fiery and explosive mine, with which he was totally unacquainted, and declaring that safety lamps were, in his view, unnecessary incumbrances, and that an ordinary tallow candle was good enough for him. The right hon. Gentleman, after he had been a little longer in Ireland, came to the conclusion that the policy of conciliation, pure and undiluted, was, perhaps, a trifle risky, and the policy of conciliation developed into what he might call a policy of appeals. The Chief Secretary came down to the House and made a tremendous appeal to the Irishmen of the North—to the Protestant boys and Catholic boys of Ulster—to forget their differences and bury their animosities, and to unite in one hysterical embrace in celebration of his accession to Office. He then went on to make a powerful appeal to the Irish Members to co-operate with him in the task of governing Ireland, and to use their great influence to keep the country quiet; and, not content with this, he made a most pathetic appeal to the Irish landlords not to think of exacting their rents under any circumstances at the present moment, the whole burden of the appeals being —"For God's sake keep the country quiet, or what an awful hole I shall be in." The policy of appeals not proving altogether satisfactory, outrages going on as briskly as ever, and law being defied as successfully as ever, the policy of appeals developed into a policy of bribes—a policy which was marked by the generosity which was characteristic of people who were dealing with the property of others. He feared that the next phase of the Government policy would be one, and must be one, of repression; and he was the more afraid that this would be the case, because he had noticed that, in a recent speech of the Lord Lieutenant at the Mansion House in Dublin, the noble Lord had stated his intention to put the law in force in order to preserve peace in Ireland, and there could be no doubt that before long they would see the Chief Secretary come down to the House and ask for Westmeath Acts, Arms Acts, Curfew Acts, and other similar measures, which were always required for the government of Ireland wheneverthe Liberal Party was in power. [Laughter.]The right hon. Gentleman laughed; but if he would look to history he would find that the whole history of Ireland was a series of repressive measures imposed by the Whigs, relaxed by the Tories, and re-imposed by the Whigs. The Chief Secretary had said, in one of his outbursts of candour, that if there was another bad harvest in Ireland he would wish himself anywhere than where he was; but there was another day when he would wish himself anywhere than where he was, and that would be the day when he came down to ask Parliament for unconstitutional powers for the preservation of peace in Ireland. On that day he need not look for sympathy or approval of his policy. He had stimulated disorder and placed a premium on outrage, when he had not the courage to renew the Peace Preservation Act, and he stimulated disorder and placed a premium on agitation of the most violent kind, when he introduced this plundering Bill. He had deliberately and recklessly sowed the wind, and he would most certainly reap the harvest of the wind. He had shown the House that this was a Bill which, if it reposed on Irish distress for its justification, reposed on inadequate grounds. He had shown that it was a Bill which was in direct violation of the spirit of the Land Act. It was a Bill brought in by a Government which had freely confessed that it was without adequate information as to the requirements of the Land Question and the necessity of the case. It was a Bill brought in, not for the benefit of Ireland—on the contrary, it was fraught with disaster to Ireland and the Irish—but for the purpose of expediting the Government Business, and for the wretched purpose of rendering the government of Ireland momentarily easier, without one thought, or one spark of thought, as to the future welfare of the country. All wore anxious to see the Government make progress with their legitimate Business, and they were all anxious to resume the discussion of the various measures which had been recommended in the Royal Speech; but, however anxious they might be in that matter, however desirous to bring this unsatisfactory Session to a speedy close, there were principles involved in this measure which Parliament could not sanction, and rights endangered by it which Parliament would never override.


It appears to me, Sir, that the undoubted talents of the noble Lord who has just resumed his seat would have contributed much more substantially to the disposal and satisfactory issue of this question had he been less unmeasured in his imputations, had he been content to give a little more credit for deliberate considerations and for honest and upright intentions in regard to this measure, had he dealt less in physiognomy and in prophecy, and had he, in the historical portions of his speech, made greater approaches to accuracy. The Bill which is before the House is one which, in my opinion, will lose nothing by being discussed in a less lively spirit than was thought fitting for the occasion by the noble Lord. It is a Bill undoubtedly of great importance, because it is exceptional in its circumstances, exceptional in its provisions, and because it constitutes, on the part of the Executive Government, something in the nature of a promise or engagement to the poorest part of the population of Ireland, now suffering heavily under a severe visitation of Providence. Under these circumstances, a grave discussion is all I can promise to the House. The noble Lord says it is a Bill introduced for the purpose of "oiling the Parliamentary machine," and for the purpose of bribing supporters; and there are Gentlemen who agree with those views. [Mr. WARTON: Hear, hear!] Nor can I wonder that they should so agree when I consider the inflamed and exaggerated accounts that have been given of this measure. The hon. Member for Leitrim (Mr. Tottenham), who spoke of it the other day, promised we should have harder language yet applied to the Bill than we have listened to. I entirely differ from the hon. Member for Leitrim, not because I am not willing to accept any promise he makes, but because no harder language that I am aware of is to be found in the dictionary. It has been described by the noble Lord, by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), and some others, as "plunder," as "robbery," and as "confiscation;" and, having been so described, I wait to learn what are the harder words to be used of this measure. There have been exceptions, I am bound to say, to this inflammatory style. The right hon. Gentleman who was First Lord of the Admiralty in the last Parliament (Mr. W. H. Smith), though he indulged in the most dismal anticipations which, as I think, were quite unneoded by the case, yet carefully avoided everything like exaggerated description and everything like unwarranted attack. I have had the pleasure of seeing sitting behind him a Gentleman who made his first speech to the House on this question, in opposition, undoubtedly, to the Bill—I mean the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Brodrick)—which we believe to be a necessary, and, under the circumstances, a valuable measure; but who made the speech with an ability which promises much for his Parliamentary future, and, I am bound to say, with an evident love of truth and a manifest candour which are rarer in this House than ability, and upon which I offer him my congratulations. The noble Lord has given his version of the purpose of this Bill. Allow me to give mine. The noble Lord says it is a Bill to invade the principles of property. We say it is a Bill to maintain the principles of property. We say that, in the face of those afflicting circumstances which partially prevail in Ireland with an extreme severity, it is a Bill to enable the State with a safe conscience to use the strength at its command in order to maintain the rights of property and to enforce the provisions of the law. Now, this is the account we give of the purposes of this Bill, and I think that the account given by the noble Lord may be said to confute this. He says our only object was to conciliate the support —I translate his figurative language into prose—of those Gentlemen who act with the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). It is always well to give your opponents credit for the possession of some degree of common sense and discernment; and I think the noble Lord, if he were a witness of the transactions of Saturday last, or if he were a witness of what passed in this House on Friday morning, must know that that charge bore on its face the stamp of absurdity, for no man in his senses could dream of imagining that by this measure, or any measure, we are likely to conciliate the approval of those Gentlemen. At the same time, it is the duty of the Government to listen with respect to the hon. Member for the City of Cork, and to all those who act with him, when they are uttering the words of truth and justice, and it is their duty to allow none of their differences with that hon. Member to cause them to prejudge the witness he may bear; but Her Majesty's Government would be less than children in the practice of the Business of the State and of Parliament, if they could be so weak as to suppose it was possible to bring the policy recommended by them to Parliament into harmony with the objects which the hon. Member for Cork is believed to pursue. The noble Lord, in speaking of the state of Ireland, appears to imagine that nothing has been done which is in the slightest degree exceptional, or which raises any dangerous principle into prominence, until Her Majesty's Government appeared with this Bill. He appears to think that all this is simply a matter of course. Now, we say, on the contrary, that the late and the present Governments and that both Parliaments have sanctioned, or are sanctioning, apart from this Bill, most exceptional measures. We have given loans to landlords at a nominal rate of interest. We have also permitted the indefinite extension of out-door relief to persons holding land, and thereby we have relaxed one of the most vital and essential principles of the Poor Law. We have advanced public money from the Exchequer to supply Irish occupiers with seed for the purpose of sowing their land. What are all these measures but measures of an extraordinary and exceptional character, produced by an extraordinary and exceptional state of things? ["Hear!"] I am glad to see the noble Lord assents to that fact now; but there was not the slighest trace in his speech of any impression or belief that these things were extraordinary at all. He seemed to me to be like the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, who was generous at the public charge, and said—"I do not mind what amount of relief you give to these people, provided you give it out of public funds." ["Quite right."] But these are suggestions and doctrines of the most dangerous character. When you have arrived at a state of things in which you are compelled to make the funds of the whole country—I am now speaking principally of Ireland—responsible for the support of a portion of the country, you have arrived at a state of things so exceptional that it is impossible to contend it may not be necessary, in some matters affecting private rights, to consider the state of the law on other points besides those which have been actually raised. Now, Sir, hon. Gentlemen opposite have thought that they produced a damning argument against this Bill when they mentioned that some London solicitors were debating whether it was safe to allow money to be lent on mortgage in Ireland. Do they suppose that this is the first date at which that idea has entered into the minds of London solicitors? I happen to be acquainted, more or less, with the proceedings of one of the first firms of solicitors in London; and with them it has, I believe, been the uniform practice—unless it has been very lately corrected owing to the improved circumstances of Ireland—to insert in wills a provision that the sums to be invested under a will might be invested in real property in England or Scotland, but not in Ireland. So much for that particular instance. With respect to this Bill, the noble Lord has referred to one or two points which, perhaps, are fitter for discussion in Committee than at the present moment. He states that the delicate and difficult question that is opened by the Bill is to be referred to the decision of a gentleman who is at the bottom of the judicial hierarchy. That officer will discharge this duty subject to appeal; and, moreover, he will discharge this duty with the advantage of the experience he has acquired under the Land Act in deciding questions very much of the same order. At the same time, the question whether it is right that exceptional provisions should be accompanied by a modification of the tribunal before which cases are to be tried is evidently a question which may be very well considered in Committee on the Bill. Another important question has been raised by the Notice given by an hon. Baronet (Sir Tollemache Sinclair) of a Motion to be made before Mr. Speaker leaves the Chair. The substance of it is, as I understand it, that this Bill shall not apply in cases where a landlord is willing to allow the tenant to sell his goodwill. That, undoubtedly, is a very important proposition; but it is a proposition with regard to which I am in a position to state it is the belief of the drawers of the Bill that it is incorporated in the measure as it now stands, inasmuch as no Judge in his senses could possibly allow the Bill to apply in a case where a landlord had been willing to allow the tenant to sell his goodwill. I refer to these matters for the purpose of showing that this is not the time for a Member of Her Majesty's Government to dwell largely upon them. It is the principle of the Bill that is now challenged; and while the principle of the Bill is so challenged, as involving robbery, plunder, and confiscation, it is idle for us to tender to opponents who hold such views Amendments which might meet reasonable objections and mitigate alarm. As regards a large portion of the opposition to this measure, I must say it is a revival of the hostility, the smouldering hostility, to the Land Act. [An hon. MEMBER: Hear, hear!] I believe that the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire did not attempt to conceal that, so far as he was concerned, this was the case, for I think he said this measure was a renewal and an extension of the most vicious principle of the Land Act. That was a fair and frank avowal; but I am glad to hear from the noble Lord who has just sat down that he does not share that view. Upon that we shall have more to say by-and-bye; but, in the meantime, let me ask hon. Members to place themselves upon the starting-point of the Land Act for Ireland, before it is possible for them to form any just or comprehensive judgment upon this Bill. Now, Sir, it seems to be thought sufficient by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire to say that this Bill interferes with the principles of property; that by this Bill, in certain circumstances, you take something from A and give it to B; and that this fact is enough to prove the Bill to be plunder, robbery, and spoliation. Has the hon. Member addressed his mind to a review of the legislation of Parliament during the last 50 years? Why, Sir, I should spend more than the time which I could fairly ask from the House for all I have to say were I to set out in detail the instances in which during the last 50 years the Parliament of this country has interfered with the principles of property. The principles of property are vital to the welfare of the State. They are at the very base of the social system; but, notwithstanding these great and fundamental truths, it is not less true that there are occasions when, not merely necessity calls upon you to modify the extreme application of those principles, but when the introduction of modifications are the best and the only means by which you can effectually preserve the principle of property itself. Let us see whether this is so or not. My doctrine is, not only that there are ample precedents for interference and for a modification of the extreme application of the ordinary principles of property, but that those precedents have been good and sound precedents, and have marked out a course of action in which it is safe and wise to walk. What examples shall I adduce? I will not go so far as to cross the Atlantic and appeal to the important legislation, both ecclesiastical and civil, as regards Canada. But what of the Tithe Commutation Act of England? Did you take nothing in that ease from A and give it to B? Yes; you took from the clergy of the country the entire prospective increase of tithe on the produce of the land, and you handed it to the landlords. Did any hon. Member for Lincolnshire rise then and, on the part of the clergy, protest against this "monstrous injustice," this "violation of the principles of property?" I believe that this was a justifiable, a wise, and expedient measure; but it was, undoubtedly, an interference—and a very strong interference—with the application of the principles of property; because the right of the clergy, the right of the tithe proprietor, to the future increase of the produce was a right just as much belonging to him as was the right of the landlord to the increase beyond what was covered by the tithes. And what happened in Ireland at the same time? Did Parliament scruple to in terfere in Ireland? It took away, with the unanimous assent alike of Conservative and Liberal politicians, one-fourth part of the property of the tithe-owner, handed it over to the landowner, imposed upon the landowner the responsibility of collection, valued that responsibility at 25 per cent, but never asked the tithe-owner whether he agreed to the valuation, or the landowner whether he was prepared to assume the burden. It is impossible to conceive a stronger interference with the principles of property than was involved in this. If I understood the Bill which the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire has introduced, it, too, interferes with the principles of property. According to my reading of it, it provides, with regard to the agricultural holdings of the country, that unless the landlord can agree with the tenant, on certain terms as to the property in improvements, the laws of compensation laid down as voluntary laws by the Agricultural Holdings Act shall be compulsorily applied. [Mr. CHAPLIN dissented.] The hon. Gentleman, I see, disputes my reading. I will give way if he wishes to explain; but that is my reading of the Bill. Undoubtedly, among the invasions of the principle of property the Irish Land Act holds a conspicuous place. And its justification, just as in the other cases we have found a justification, is the wisdom of its provisions with regard to the social state and the general interests of Ireland. It was a Bill ostensibly dealing with the interests of the landowner in a manner injuriously affecting those interests — ostensibly and prima facie;but we contended that although it might bear that appearance, and be subject to the imputation of "robbery," of "plunder," and of "confiscation," yet it was a Bill so required by the circumstances of Ireland, so adapted to those circumstances, that the effect of it would be to confer benefit upon the country at large, upon the landlord as well as the tenant. We shall see by-and-bye how far that is true. But let me remind the House now what the Land Act did. It did not extend the Ulster tenant right to the whole of Ireland—that has been most justly and truly stated by the noble Lord—but it did create over the whole of Ireland, beyond the limits of Ulster tenant right and of any analogous custom, sporadi- cally elsewhere, an interest, an estate, a property of the tenant in his holding which did not exist before. That was done by the act of the Legislature; and it is from the creation of that interest and property that you must set out if you want to arrive at any true and just solution. It has been said that the principle of the Land Act was that no compensation for disturbance should be paid when an action for ejectment was brought for non-payment of rent. I am not going to dissemble or extenuate the importance of this provision of the Land Act; but it appears to me to be a gross misnomer to call that the principle of the Land Act. The principles of the Land Act were its main provisions, not those subordinate provisions. The principles of the Land Act were mainly two—to secure occupiers full compensation for their improvements, which was taking from the landlord what belonged to him and giving it to the tenant; and, secondly, after creating and constituting this estate on behalf of the tenant, this interest in his holding which he never had before, the general principle of the Land Act was that, over and above his improvements, if dislodged from his holding, he was to receive compensation according to the limit of a scale on a maximum which was determined by the Act. I quite admit that to that principle there was a most important exception—namely, that eviction should not be "disturbance" in cases where it was founded on non-payment of rent. That was a great exception to the principle. But there were exceptions to that exception; and I wish the House to take into view— not because I think it is the only or, perhaps, even the principal matter we have now to consider, but as a matter which we cannot exclude from view— the terms in which the Land Act was introduced by the Government, the terms on which it was accepted by the House; because, be it recollected, that those terms were cordially agreed to by men so little revolutionary as Lord Carlingford, Lord Cardwell, and Lord Clarendon; and, further, that the Bill containing these proposals was introduced into and read a second time in this House unanimously. Lord Beaconsfield—Mr.Disraeli, as he then was called—did not find in those principles, introduced by the Land Act for the first time, any reason why he should dispute the second reading of the Bill. When the Bill was carried through this House, it contained a provision, as I have said, that an eviction for nonpayment of rent should not be a disturbance; but to that was appended a most important qualification. The mind of the House of Commons was that eviction for non-payment of rent should not be a disturbance, unless there were special circumstances which, in the view of the Judge, should make it so. That was the principle. [Sir GABRIEL GOLDNEY: As to existing tenancies.] Quite so; quite so. Well, that was the principle to which this House committed itself, with, again, a limitation which I am about to mention. The Land Act was in our view a new point of departure for Ireland. We laid down that rule for existing tenancies, without extending it to future tenancies. Nor do I at all attempt to escape from the importance of that admission. What I now call upon you to observe is that that enactment was adopted by the House of Commons by a large majority; and that, with the unanimous acceptance of the Bill on the second reading, was an enactment far wider in its scope than the proposal of my right hon. Friend. The proposal to which Lord Carlingford, Lord Cardwell, and Lord Clarendon agreed was a proposal far wider than that denounced to-day as a proposal of "plunder," of "robbery," and of "confiscation." That Bill, I freely admit, was limited to existing tenancies; and it is important we should consider the position in which we are placed by that limitation. And now a word to those who, when they have heard this description which I have given of the Land Act, may arrive at the conclusion that it, too, was an Act of "robbery, plunder, and confiscation." These words are very easily produced and thrown at the head of your antagonist. There is a great temptation to make use of them, and sometimes, as I am inclined to contend, it is unmanly not to make use of thorn. But the whole question is, whether they are justified by the circumstances of the case? What were the facts with regard to this Land Act? Down to the time of the Land Act, what had been the history of legislation with respect to land in Ireland? Well, Sir, it had been this—and it is a melancholy chapter; and, as the noble Lord is fond of studying history, I recommend him to study this history, and see how it was that this House of Parliament and the other House of Parliament, until a wider access was given to popular influence— how it was that they held the scale of justice between landlord and tenant in Ireland? Everything was for the landlord and nothing for the tenant. We are told that the landlord is the natural friend, and the natural protector of the tenant. I rejoice to think that in a multitude of cases he is so, and that he is becoming so more and more. But that doctrine, unhappily, is not borne out by history, and you must be willing to recollect that these facts, these enactments, these proceedings, this policy, although it may pass away, though the Acts may be repealed, though the temper of Parliament may be changed, are branded ineffaceably upon the memory of a country, and we are prepared to allow largely, indulgently, for those nearly ineffaceable marks, and even to exceed in some cases, perhaps, the strict letter of reason, in consideration of those monstrous, prolonged, inveterate efforts which continued so long to dishonour the proceedings of Parliament, and which have accumulated a debt to the people of Ireland which it will be difficult to redeem. These were the grounds which brought us to introduce the Land Act. It was not any indifference to the principles of property. I never attempted for one moment to disguise the gravity of the legislation we proposed. I always endeavoured, as did my Friends near me, to justify it by the more than corresponding gravity of the case. Well, this Land Act was largely denounced as robbery, plunder, and confiscation, though I must do Lord Beaconsfield the justice to say that it was a credit to him — truly signal and deserved — that, with great sagacity, he was unwilling to commit himself in any conflict in which he saw he would be worsted; and, consequently, he reined in the impatience of a portion of his Party, and, instead of encouraging them to denounce the Land Act as a measure of plunder, robbery, and confiscation, he dissuaded them, or inhibited them, I do not know which, or educated them, so that they should not divide on the second reading of the Bill. But how did the Land Act—this measure of plunder, robbery, and confiscation—operate on the peace of Ireland? The agrarian offences committed in Ire- land in the year 1869, the year before the Land Act, were 767. In 1870, the year of the Land Act, they were 1,329. Immediately after the Land Act a great change was seen, and for eight years— from 1871 to 1878—the average of the agrarian offences in that country, which had been in 1870, 1,329, had fallen to 247. That was the effect on the peace of the country. What was the effect on the interests of the landlord? Were his rents reduced? Were the prices he obtained for his land diminished? No. In Ireland we have some means of testing these assertions. The sales in the Landed Estates Courts are sufficient for the purpose. In the five years ending in 1870 the average number of years' purchase of estates sold in the Court was 21.8. In the years from 1870 to 1878 it was 22.25 years. That was not a very great, but it was a very solid, improvement. A new form of sale, moreover, had been introduced under the operation of the Land Act. A certain number of sales were made before the action of the Court which are not included in the figures I have read, when the land was bought by the tenants, and it was bought by the tenants at a price which must have seemed fabulous to all Irish landlords of the past, and in some cases must have made the mouths of English landlords water. In 1871 the price of land sold to tenants reached from 19 to 30 years' purchase. In 1872 it ranged from 18 to 27 years' purchase. In 1873 the mean was 36; in 1874 it was 29; in 1875 it was 26; in 1876 it was 29; in 1877 it was 26; and in 1878 it was 26. I ask those hon. Gentlemen who still denounce the Land Act as robbery and confiscation, or who, like the noble Lord, are willing to admit that the Land Act was necessary, but, having swallowed the camel, still strain at the gnat—I ask them whether, looking to the effect of the Land Act, and contrasting that with the depression of land at the present moment, if the true inference does not appear to be that another measure, similar in spirit, but carefully guarded and restricted, is now wanted to improve the social state of Ireland and give additional security to land? The noble Lord has, if I may say so, a good deal attenuated the character of the Irish distress. He refers with just pride to his own exertions and those of his distinguished relatives in guiding the stream of charity for the purpose of mitigating the calamity of the time. But, without the least contesting what he had said with regard to the imposture that creeps in, not only to the waste but absolute perversion of the funds intended for the relief of suffering, I find quite enough in the statement of the noble Lord which admits that, although very partial in its character, yet that this distress is one of extreme severity. I believe it is not understating it, or overstating it, when we say that the two bad harvests of 1877 and 1878 were succeeded in 1879 by a harvest which in parts of Ireland was the very worst known since the time of the great Irish Famine. With these bad harvests the number of evictions increased. With the bad harvest of 1879 their number was greatly increased. The general conduct of the landlords, I admit, was highly to their honour, although there were exceptions. But, upon the whole, I call attention to the statement of my right hon. and learned Friend (the Attorney General for Ireland) in his most able speech. He pointed out that this was a distress due to the act of God—the succession of bad harvests produced in parts of Ireland an extreme state of things. In the failure of the crops, crowned by the year 1879, the act of God had replaced the Irish occupier in the condition in which he stood before the Land Act. Because, what had he to contemplate? He had to contemplate eviction for non-payment of rent; and, as a consequence of eviction, starvation. And this eviction, it is no exaggeration to say, in a country where the agricultural pursuit is the only pursuit, and where the means of the payment of rent are entirely destroyed for the time by the visitation of Providence, that the poor occupier may in these circumstances regard the sentence of eviction as coming, for him, very near to a sentence of starvation. Such was the state of things we had to contemplate; and when the noble Lord is severe on the conduct of the Government he will, perhaps, remember the number of weeks that have elapsed since we took the reins of power. I admit that when we passed the Land Act we did not foresee everything. We hoped we were going to pass into a normal condition. We sought in good faith to do that which we told the landlord we desired to do. We told him that while, on the one hand, we created a new estate for the tenant in the soil; on the other hand, we did not desire to give him, not only a continuance of security, but an increase of security, for the payment of his rent; and such, I believe, has been the effect of the Land Act. But I admit we did not foresee every contingency. We did not foresee that there would arise in Ireland, though only in parts of it, a state of things analogous to that state of things which led to the legislation of 1847. It has arisen, and the question is, how are we to deal with it? We are now going, I admit, to constitute an exception to the Land Act. What justification ought we to show for the exception? In my opinion, it should be shown— first, that the necessity is strong; secondly, that the remedy is carefully adapted and carefully limited to the necessity; and, in the third place, that the case is of such a nature that we have taken effectual precautions against being betrayed unawares into the establishment of a dangerous precedent. Let me try the case under these three heads. We are going to establish an exception to the Land Act. Well, it is well to consider to what it is we are going to establish an exception; because here, again, I believe, that until the discussion of this Bill began, many hon. Members were quite unaware of the real position of the landlord in Ireland with regard to remedies for the recovery of his land in cases of non-payment of rent. The noble Lord said he would not refer to the legal subtleties in the speech of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland; but there were some legal portions of that speech that were not subtleties at all. A great and broad principle was laid down, in the first instance, in the able speech of the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. C. Russell), which was more largely unfolded by my right hon. and learned Friend; and I want to know from the lawyers on that side, as well as on this, whether it is true or not? The proposition is this—that every remedy which the landlord possesses for the recovery of his rents is left intact and entire by this Bill, and will remain in full force should this Bill become law. Did the noble Lord, who followed the speech of my right hon. and learned Friend very acutely and vigilantly, hear that statement? He did not contradict it. He is aware that it is true. He is aware that, by this plunder and confiscation, the landlord in Ireland, without the sacrifice of one farthing, will have every power that the landlord in England now has for the recovery of his rent. Surely, if that be so—and whether it is so the House is, perhaps, pretty well in a condition to judge—it may be thought that these attacks on the Government, as if they were undermining the foundations of property, are somewhat premature. Now, Sir, here, again, we come upon the painful history of British legislation. The House of Commons—and yet more the House of Lords—have legislated against the Irish tenants. They have provided and strengthened remedies unknown to the spirit of the English law for the purpose of increasing the power of the landlord over his tenant. I understand that anything like eviction for the non-payment of rent was unknown to the law of this land until the reign of George I., and it was then introduced as applicable exclusively to the case of leases. Various Acts were passed of which it is unnecessary to follow the history; and it was by the Acts of 1851 and 1860 that the Parliament of this country thought fit to establish and make effectual against the Irish occupier remedies of which the landlords in Scotland and in England knew nothing, and processes more stringent and severe than any previously adopted. I am quite unaware of any reason why the power of the landlord should have been fortified by such processes, which were not recognized by the general law of the land. The consequence of this was that the power of eviction was extended from leases to tenants at will and tenants from year to year; it was extended alike to cases of parole and of written agreement; and, having first been brought in subject to the limitation in amount imposed upon the Civil Bill Courts or the County Courts, the power was enlarged so as to embrace in its sweep the whole of the tenants in Ireland. Be it recollected it is only to that law—and not to the general law of the land for the recovey of rent, which will remain wholly untouched, as it is in England—it is only to this particular Maw, introduced, as I may say, behind the back of the Irish occupier, almost in fraud of the Irish occupier, that we propose an exception. I do not say on that account that an exception is to be justified beyond what necessity and prudence require. Well, Sir, is the necessity not strong? It appears to us it is exceedingly strong. You have a visitation affecting the crops in a part of Ireland such, at any rate, as comes but once in a generation, for there has been no such visitation since 1847, or for the third part of a century. You have had, as we believe, capricious evictions to a certain and limited extent practised in Ireland, and those who have practised them are chargeable with bringing upon their more numerous and better-minded brethren in the class of landlord the consequences of their misconduct. We have had, as has already been stated, a great increase in the number of these ejectments. It appears from a Return of the ejectments reported to the Constabulary, that in 1846 there were 79; in 1878, 834; in 1879, 1,698; and in five months and 20 days of this year, 1,060—showing a proportion more than double this year over last, and a number last year more than double that of the year before. But these are only the numbers reported to the Constabulary. If we look to the total numbers we find that in 1878 there were 1,749; in 1879, 2,677; and, as was shown by my right hon. and learned Friend, 1,690 in the first five and a-half months of this year —showing a further increase upon the enormous increase of last year, and showing, in fact, unless it be checked, that 15,000 individuals will be ejected from their homes, without hope and without remedy, in the course of the present year. This is a serious and formidable state of things when it comes upon the back of long, angry, and sore recollections connected with a lengthened period of misgovernment in Ireland. Sir, to that only requires to be added the recollection of how it is that the law is enforced. In the West Riding of Galway alone nearly 3,500 men have been employed in enforcing the processes of the law; and these processes are now to be enforced not by units, nor by scores, for scores are not sufficient, but by hundreds; and when you have arrived at a state of things, however it be limited to a portion of the country—andl rejoice to think it is—in which hundreds of peace officers are required to be em- ployed for the purpose of enforcing evictions, you have got dangerously near to something that would be called local civil war. If that is the case, the necessity is strong; and what is the remedy we propose to apply? Is it not a carefully limited and guarded remedy? You may devise other limitations if you will; but you will only devise them after you have come to recognize the necessity and to be in a condition so to devise them that they shall not interfere with the efficiency and purpose of this measure; and you will not devise them so long as you are content to indulge in the large and exaggerated accusations you have rained down in such abundance. Why does the noble Lord charge us with being in contradiction with ourselves, and say that we have had no information with reference to the subject-matter and scope of the Bill? It is one thing to have information with reference to a temporary necessity in the exceptional state of things created for us and recognized by this Bill; it is quite another kind of information which would be requisite for the purpose of renewing all the provisions of the Land Act, and considering in what respects they have succeeded, and in what they may have partially failed. We have ample information; the few figures stated to the House are ample to justify the present measure. It is limited in time, though, I believe, a particular date is not very easy to fix mathematically. It is limited in place again. We have drawn a line, the only one practicable for us to draw, perhaps not mathematically exact, but, at the same time, indicating a distinct intention. It is limited in subject-matter, because, as the noble Lord has seen, not one farthing can be allowed by the Judge under this Bill unless where, first, there is inability to pay; secondly, it is proved to be due to the recent visitation of Providence; thirdly, the tenant is willing to accept reasonable terms; and fourthly, the landlord unreasonably refuses them. For the interpretation of the word "reasonable," I will only refer to the Bill of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire with regard to tenants' improvements. These are the limitations, and if you think there are others state them, and let us get rid of these general charges. The question now is, whether we establish a primâ faciecase for the principle of the Bill that something ought to be done to prevent those extreme calamities which will arise when a portion of the nation, deprived by the act of God of the means of payment, is to be liable to eviction, absolutely without resource, and to the total confiscation of that estate provided for the tenant by the Land Act, in instances in which he has nothing to do with the unfortunate circumstances which expose him to it. And now with regard to the third condition I laid down, that the cause ought to be so well defined that you should not, unawares, establish precedents in eases of this kind. I will make this admission to the noble Lord and others who have spoken, that no man is more reluctant than I am to depart from the principles of the Land Act, and especially from that part of it which aims at giving the landlord increased security for the payment of his rent. I think it is almost an obligation of personal honour for us who were parties to it to maintain in spirit, though we may not in the letter, the whole bearing of the conditions of that Act for the improvement of the position of the owner as well as of that of the occupier. For that reason, I am as jealous as the noble Lord or anyone else can be of being led by this Bill to establish a precedent with respect to which I wish to reserve a perfectly clear discretion. But I venture to point out to the noble Lord, that if he is afraid of the precedent we establish by this Bill, the true danger of establishing such a precedent is to be found in the speeches of those who assert that it contains all those ulterior, wider, and unnecessary changes which we ourselves have declined to recognize as having any connection with the Bill, and as to which we desire to maintain our perfect freedom. Sir, I cannot state too broadly what I conceive to be the great safeguard which marks the present legislation as exceptional legislation, and which reserves for future and free consideration every other question, great and small, connected with the Irish Land Act. The security is that you have already created by Parliamentary legislation this exceptional state of things. I think the noble Lord was unintentionally most unjust to my right hon. and learned Friend in saying that he spoke in a spirit of vindictive legislation against the landlords. I do not speak in that sense; I wish to recognize their claims. I do not think my right hon. and learned Friend was in the slightest degree chargeable with that intention. For myself, I wish to avoid it, for I should regard it as a very great offence indeed. But you must take the facts as they stand. I regard the owner no less than the occupier as suffering in this instance by the act of God —not suffering to the same extent, but as truly suffering by the the act of God; and Parliament has recognized that state of facts, and has come down to contribute to the support of one portion of the community at the expense of the rest of the community. Well, Sir, that is the state of things. This is a proceeding on the part of Parliament which, if it were made common, would be pretty nearly a dissolution of society. It is a principle of the utmost danger, to be watched with the greatest jealousy—aye, just as great jealousy as the principle which is embodied in the present Bill. What has Parliament actually done? It has granted £1,250,000 in the shape of loans to the landlords. Supposing that sum to be taken, how much of it is the landlord to pay back? He is to pay it back subject to a deduction of £36 per £100; so that the portion of the £1,250,000 offered to the landlord for the improvement of his estate—[Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: Not merely as a boon.]—I know it is not a mere boon to the landlord. I am speaking simply of what the State is doing for the landlord and the occupier together. I cannot consent to regard their interests as separate, as the noble Lord seems to do. Of the £1,250,000, no more than £800,000 can ever come back to the Church Surplus: so that £450,000 is a gift. Of the £250,000 advanced to Guardians, reckoning it in the same way, the re-payment will be made less £16 for every £100—that is, there will be a gift of £40,000; £200,000 more is now to be placed at the disposal of the Government for the purpose of meeting this distress. Well, Sir, that is a sum in all of £690,000 actually given in relief to various bodies in Ireland. But you will, perhaps, say that the State has done nothing. The State has done little compared with what the Church Surplus has done; but, at the same time, the State gives £130,000. We have given a large sum of money— £600,000—for two years, without interest, to purchase seed, and £45,000 for piers, and we have just made a re- mission of interest as to the Church Surplus Fund of £54,000—that is, £130,000 of the total figures I have read of £820,000. Now, I am not drawing a distinction, or saying that all this is for the landlords; but I say it is given to the landlords and tenants together, of these districts—it is the gift of the State, and of Ireland particularly, from an Irish Fund, to the landlords and tenants of these districts. Now, let us divide a little between the tenant and the landlord. Where would the landlord have been if this gift had not been made? Are we really so cruel to him in proposing that in exceptional and extreme cases, where a man has no power to pay, he shall have some indulgence, limited and guarded as it is by the Bill? In answering that question, consider the position in which the landlord once stood towards the law. Why, Sir, he stood liable, through the medium of Parliament, to feed sufficiently, out of the produce and value of his land, every one of those hungry mouths—liable to well and sufficiently sustain them, and that without aid from a Church Surplus or the Exchequer. That, Sir, is the direct, the absolute, the legal liability of the landlords of Ireland. Some men of singularly-framed minds may believe that Parliament has not, in providing these means for the landlord's assistance, enormously benefited his condition, and that we are other than wise in taking some precaution against his endangering the peace of the country by pursuing to the extreme those processes of eviction of which he has become the master by legislation, quite as peculiar, I will venture to say, as any now proposed. My right hon. and learned Friend has said, and truly said, that no doubt we, like others, are liable to err. Our object in this Bill is not to sooth the feelings of anyone—to conciliate the support of anyone. It is not our object to attain any indirect or secondary purpose. If there be a special object in it, it is this—that we may be enabled, with a firm and unflinching hand, to maintain the principles of law and order in Ireland. But we do regard with a repugnance—which some hon. Gentlemen do not, however, seem to feel—the introduction of armies of agents of the State, for such I may call them, of regiments of Constabulary, for the purpose of conducting what ought to be peaceful operations. You will tell me that this is all caused by the anti-rent agitation, and the noble Lord has complained of my right hon. and learned Friend because he did not dwell upon the existence of that anti-rent agitation. I admit the existence of that which, in some parts of the country, may, undoubtedly, be called a conspiracy —not against the payment of rent only, but against the payment of all just debts. I am not able to draw a distinction between rent and other debts. Rent must be regarded as a just debt, and no admission will be made by me, or by any of my right hon. Friends, I am quite sure, which will tend in any way to weaken that proposition. But what we fear and what we feel is this—that there is no such sure way of strengthening the anti-rent agitation as leaving some pleas of justice in the mouths of those who promote it; and that there is no way of making war upon the anti-rent agitation which is so sure to have effect as that of drawing a broad and clear line between the cases where a man is stripped by the visitation of Providence of means of payment and is willing to offer reasonable terms, subject to the tribunals of the country, and cases, which the noble Lord assumes to exist— I cannot say whether they exist or not—-where, under the influence of the anti-rent agitation, persons able to pay allow themselves to lose house and home rather than pay. [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL There are hundreds.] I do not say that such cases do not exist; but I confess I am greatly sceptical. It is supposing terrorism to have reached an extraordinary extent, and one not extensively proved to us. It is a somewhat astounding proposition to say that persons having no means of support on eviction are willing to be driven forth on the wide world when the moans are in their pocket by which they might secure themselves in possession of their homes, which, whatever may be said of the Irish peasant, all will admit he most fondly loves. Sir, it is in order to oppose such agitation and conspiracy, it is in order to maintain effectually the rights of property, it is, at the same time, in order to maintain the peace of the country and the supremacy of the law, that we hope the House will not decline to pass a measure which we believe to be called for by a strong necessity, which we have endeavoured to limit to the bounds of that necessity, which rests wholly upon an exceptional state of things already created in characters that cannot possibly be mistaken by the proceedings of Parliament itself, and which we believe to be alike calculated to promote the comfort of the poorest of the population, the security of the rights of property, and the supremacy of the law in Ireland.


said, he must take exception to the statement that the distress in Ireland was solely owing to the failure of the crops. He had a strong feeling that it sprang from the land tenure system and the altered agricultural conditions. It was the want of observation of these facts that had influenced the noble Lord and other speakers. The rental of Ireland, which was £4,000,000 before the Peninsular War, rose in 15 or 12 years to £9,000,000. He must here draw a broad and honourable distinction between the landlords of Ulster and those of the other Provinces. The landlords of Ulster had always observed rules in relation to their tenants which were ignored by the Southern landlords, and it was by the latter that the enormous increase of rent he had referred to was chiefly made. Under protective duties the value of land went on increasing till 1846, when the rent was £11,000,000. Up to the last two or three years tillage farming had suffered from the importation of corn, but live meat importations had struck the last blow at the Irish tenant farmer. While America was acting in this manner did the landlords of the United Kingdom take one step to support the tenants, in whose condition they ought to have had a partnership interest? On the contrary, it had been by coercion acts that they had met the tenantry. In the meantime the tenants had purchased the highways and public roads, and had built the workhouses and other institutions. These works were really accomplished by the tenants, and fully 25 per cent of the value of the estates in Ireland might be fairly chargeable with these works. As to the private works, by reclamation of the land by fences and other things on their private holdings, the tenantry had likewise contributed fully 25 per cent of the value of the estates. What ground, therefore, was there for hard words and talk of confiscation? He should think language of that kind might be better applied to the landlords than to the tenants. The tenant farmers had laboured under an increased cost of production, and, owing to the undulating soil and the humid climate, machinery could not be brought to bear to the extent in Ireland that it could in other more favourable countries. While the course of production had risen, the prices of produce had become reduced with wheat being sold more cheaply than it could be grown in Ireland. The home producer could not meet the foreign competitor. Within the last few years an enormous expansion of credit had taken place in Ireland, and farms were being worked by men who were deplorably in debt; and up to the present their pride had enabled them to struggle on. The present distress was said to be a temporary calamity and would pass away. On the contrary, the banking system had enabled the tenants to pay their rents; but the bubble had burst, and in 12 months a large part of them would be much worse off than now. If there were a good harvest the farmers Would have a crowd of creditors coming on them; so that they had this anomaly, that it was almost immaterial to the tenant whether his harvest was a good one or a bad one. By the system of agency estates were often put into the hands of men who knew nothing of agriculture, and whose only principles were competitive letting and the absorption of tenant's interests; and, in the end, he noticed transformation of tillage into pasturage, and the consequent loss of crops. The hon. Member was arguing that by population and the decrease of tillage Ireland had lost £150,000,000 during the past 30 years, when—


said, he must remind the hon. Member that the question before the House was the relief of distress in Ireland, and his observations scarcely seemed to him to be relevant to that question.


intimated that he would reserve his observations for some future occasion when the subject of land tenure should be under discussion. In conclusion, he asked the House to bear in mind that while England was a commercial nation, Ireland was principally an agricultural country, and it should not, therefore, censure Irish Members very much if they asked that different principles of legislation should be applied to Ireland.


said, he addressed the House not in his capacity as a Member of the Government, but as an Irish landlord who owned property in one of the scheduled districts. He was not in the least alarmed at the proposals of Her Majesty's Government, and what he said on this subject was the result of conviction and examination. If evil consequences had already been brought about in Ireland, he unhesitatingly asserted that they were the direct result of the exaggerated language used by the opponents of the Bill, and that they were in no way the result of the provisions of the Bill itself. The able and amusing speech of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) was only one more illustration of how much easier declamation was than argument. The whole foundation on which the confiscatory denunciations of the Bill were based was a notion that, in the words of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock, it was a measure to enact that the right of the landlord should not be enforced. In reality, the Bill was nothing of the sort. Its object was to make the landlord pay if he were determined to take advantage of the present state of things to obtain possession of his land at all costs and at whatever suffering to the tenant. It was absurd to suppose that under any provision of the Bill a single tenant who could pay would not pay sooner than be evicted and receive the compensation which might be awarded to him. Although he supported the Government Bill, it was impossible not to say that during the last 12 or 18 months the landlords had had very hard measures meted out to them, and were often treated as pariahs of society. Having been the objects of much opprobrium, they were in a state of nervous prostration, and believed that any measure which they considered to be a result of the land agitation must be detrimental to their vital interests. But post hocwas not always propter hoc,and, in his opinion, nothing in the Bill had been prompted by the denunciations of the land agitators. It was all very well to say that most of the Irish landlords were humane men. That, of course, was the case; but, at the same time, it could not be denied that there were a certain number of landlords and agents who might think the present a favourable opportunity for clearing their estates; and no matter how small the proportion might be, even if it was no more than 1 per cent, it was the duty of the Government under the circumstances to interpose. A great deal of wholly unnecessary alarm had prevailed respecting the measure before the House. He believed that it would prevent no reasonable landlord from receiving as full an amount of rent as under the existing law. It would apply only to cases in which payment was impossible. Judging from his own knowledge of Ireland, he should say that there was no Communistic feeling among the peasantry against the payment of rent. On the contrary, the payment of rent was generally regarded almost in the light of a religious duty, except where the agitators had lately stirred up the people, though, no doubt, the object of every tenant was to pay as low a rent as possible. That was a purely natural desire; but, subject to that proviso, the small Irish farmer was ready and willing to meet his engagements. It was to be remembered that under the provisions of the Bill the claim for compensation must come from the tenant and after he was evicted, who, on summoning his landlord for compensation, would have to prove the justice of his case. The onus of proof was thrown on the tenant. It had gravely been suggested that an evicted tenant might obtain compensation and, after paying arrears, might, under his six months' right of redemption, return to his holding with the balance of the compensation money in his pocket. He need not say how absurd it was to imagine that a tenant could keep both holding and compensation; but this was an illustration of the wild and unfounded alarms which the Bill had roused. With regard to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock, hon. Members who, for Party purposes, used such language, had only themselves to thank if the effects of the introduction of the Bill had been in some instances rather unfortunate. He deprecated very strongly the idea that the Bill should not now be passed, because, after the language with which it had been met, the only thing that could convince the people of Ireland as to its real import would be its enactment. He would undertake to say that, if the Bill passed, the Irish tenant would very soon understand that it was not a measure in accordance with the views of agitators, but that it was intended only to throw the segis of protection over the honest and ill-used farmer. The operation of the Bill would speedily show that the Liberal Party had supported no measure of confiscation. It would reduce, rather than aggravate, the present difficulty; and he trusted that it might be allowed to become law.


said, that only one Conservative Irish landlord had spoken in the debate, and that the others, who had waited to hear the reasons for the Bill, had failed to discover them. They found no principle in any of the speeches of the supporters of the Bill, and nothing but pity and compassion for the tenants, combined with an opinion that a fine imposed upon one section of the community would meet the difficulties of the case. On looking at all the circumstances, he was convinced that, though deep distress undoubtedly existed in many parts of Ireland, many prosperous tenants had been prevented from paying their rent by the arts and incitements of agitators. He had heard with pleasure the denunciations of those persons by the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary; but he feared that, all the same, the popular idea in Ireland would be that the Government supported the peasantry in their unlawful agitation against the payment of rent. The speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland had astonished him. He regretted that speech, because he thought it likely to have an effect not intended, though he was not much surprised at the somewhat harsh view taken by the right hon. and learned Gentleman of the landlords. If any landlord who improved his property by consolidation was to be blamed as he was blamed, he (Sir H. Hervey Bruce) believed, that evening, then people would be afraid to improve their property in the way in which it was the duty of Irish landlords to do. He feared this Bill would give a great increase of employment to gentlemen of the learned Profession. If it did so, he wished to know whether they would like to wait for two years before they were paid for their services to tenant farmers? Strong expressions had been used against landlords with reference to the advance of money to them, as if it was a boon to them, and as if it was not asked for in order to enable them to act charitably towards poor people by giving them employment. As to the power of eviction, he granted that it was sometimes harshly used; but if that power of eviction were taken away for two years, he was afraid there were a great many people in Ireland who would say there was nothing dishonest in not paying for two years. It would have been a much fairer, more statesmanlike, and more generous plan than this Bill to have legalized over the whole of Ireland a certain amount of the Ulster custom. After adverting to a letter which appeared in The Timesthat day from one of the largest landlords in Ireland (Mr. King Harman), to whose opinions he said hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway would pay some attention, the hon. Baronet said he would next allude to the conciliatory speeches of the Chief Secretary, who, probably, was almost ashamed of the Bill he had introduced. The right hon. Gentleman used kind language; but he failed to see in his arguments any reason for depriving landlords of the power which they had, and for giving their money to their tenants and to the money-lenders of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman wondered why he (Sir H. Hervey Bruce), who was not in a scheduled district, objected to this Bill. He objected to this Bill because he knew that ill weeds grew apace, and he did not think the right hon. Gentleman, or all the talent on the Treasury Bench, would be able to prevent this question of non-payment of rent spreading over all Ireland. He wanted to know in what way would these tenants be better prepared to pay rent at the end of two years than now? He was afraid this Bill was no act of kindness or generosity to the tenants themselves. He feared that it would induce tenants who were able to pay to use their money in other ways, and that when the third year came they would be in a worse condition than they were now. Would the Government, at the end of the two years, find money for people to pay their back rent with; or would the Government permanently fine the landlords for being lenient and kind to their tenants? If no rents were paid, how were landlords to pay taxes, or meet their current expenses? Why should the indulgence proffered be shown to the tenant farmers of the disturbed districts in Ireland, while it was refused to the orderly English tenant farmer? When the latter found himself unable to pay his way, he gave up possession of his land in a peaceful way, whereas the Irish tenant farmer in those districts where agitators had influence tried to avoid paying his rent as long as he could do so safely. Why was this exceptional mercy to be shown to the Irish tenant farmer at the expense of a particular class of the community? In his opinion, it would have been far wiser for the Government to have brought in a measure to extend the Ulster custom to Ireland generally than to have introduced this Bill. A great deal of stress had been laid upon capricious evictions, but he did not believe such evictions were general. In any case, however, it would be better to punish the harsh landlords individually than to punish the good and bad equally. Why had the Government allowed themselves to be influenced by those who had neither law, justice, nor equity on their side—who thought fit to hold up the landlords of Ireland to odium and execration, and who characterized them as the hereditary enemies of the Irish people? The Land Act was the law of the land, and he and those who thought with him desired loyally to obey it; but it contained many unjust and unwise provisions. Thus the provision that abolished freedom of contract between landlord and tenant was a great blot on the statute, and took the people out of the hands of their landlords in order to place them in those of the moneylenders and of the small shopkeepers, who dealt far more hardly by them. If freedom of contract between the Irish landlord and tenant could be restored it would be a most fortunate thing for the country. He was afraid, however, that the views of the Government did not run in that direction. They were willing enough to protect the tenants from their landlords, but they would not protect them from each other. Nothing could be more terrible than the thirst for land which prevailed in Ireland, and which induced the incoming tenant to pay the outgoing tenant 40 years' rent of a farm in order to obtain possession of it as a mere tenant at will. The result was that men got up to their ears in debt merely to obtain possession of a farm which they were powerless to cultivate because they had not sufficient capital. He failed to see how, under the provisions of this Bill, a County Court Judge would he able to decide that the nonpayment of rent was caused by the prevailing distress. A short time ago, a well-known Irish agent told him of a case in which a man who had protested that he was unable to pay his rent had, on pressure, produced a roll of notes for an amount far beyond the amount due. In such a case how was it possible for the County Court Judge to decide whether the man was or was not able to pay his rent? On first sight the words of this Bill appeared to be wise, reasonable, and fair; but, looking more narrowly into their meaning, it would be found that they simply offered the tenant a premium not to pay his rent. When the people in Ireland heard it said by hon. Members in that House that they were to keep a firm grip of the land, they would believe the advice, and they would believe, further, that the Bill of the Government would give them that firm grip of the land. Therefore, although the wording of the Bill was good, the spirit was bad; it would lead to bad feeling, and would place the people in a worse position than they were before. It was a step towards Communism, and he would advise hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House to consider well before they passed such a Bill into law. It was said that no complaints were made against the County Court Judges; but who would take the responsibility of complaining? Not the landlords surely, and not the tenants who were liable to be called before those Judges. It was only natural that no complaints on such a subject should ever reach the ear of the Government. The hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) put this simply as a Fixity of Tenure Bill, and he avowed that openly and honestly. He admired the hon. Member's openness and honesty, though he differed from his reasons. The Government did not say they meant fixity of tenure. They said they meant no such thing; but, from the speeches they had heard, it was clear that was the object of those who supported them.


interposing, said, the Government did not say that they were not in favour of fixity of tenure. He said nothing either one way or the other.


resuming his remarks, observed, that another reason why he objected to the Bill was that it seemed to him to show sympathy with agrarian outrage, and want of sympathy with peace and order. That was where the Bill failed most materially. It said to those who were loyal, and had paid their rents honourably, "We will do nothing for you; we can give nothing to those parts of Ireland that are quiet and peaceful. It is only to those parts which have been rendered disaffected by the eloquence of hon. Members that the Government are applying this Bill." This, he maintained, would unwittingly and unconsciously back up that portion of the people in their habit of committing agrarian crime. It was not much kindness to Irish landlords to allow them to get their property in the same manner that a money-lender recovered debts. He, therefore, failed to see in what respect it would prove the boon it was expected to be. The emigration of small tenants might be productive of good both to themselves and to those they left behind them; but emigration on the lines laid down by the Attorney General for Ireland would simply have the effect of taking all the bone and sinew out of the country—the able-bodied young men and women—and to leave only the old and the decrepid. The junior Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) accused hon. Members on the Opposition Benches of obstructing this Bill. But what was most properly to be called obstruction—the searching criticizm applied to this Bill, or the long, drawling speeches by which the hon. Member for Cork and his Friends delayed for 12 hours the progress of another Bill which was designed to relieve distress in Ireland, but which had the misfortune not to be drawn up in exact accordance with their ideas? This Bill, he feared, would starve many landlords out of Ireland; and after they were driven out of their native country by penury and want, it would be hard to bring them back again. Well, he wished the hon. Member for Cork and his Friends who were agitating this question joy of the country if they were themselves to become owners of the land in such circumstances. He, for one, should pity the unfortunate people who would be dependent upon them, after what he had seen of the spirit by which they were actuated in many of their speeches addressed to fellow-subjects with whom they did not happen to agree. The main features of the Bill were, practically speaking, fixity of tenure and non-payment of rent, and the consequences of these the Government would find it very hard to meet. How was the payment of the Income Tax or of the poor rates in the scheduled districts to be made? The Bill, it seemed to him, if carried into law would have the effect of driving the landlords, a set of honourable and hardworking gentlemen, into exile from their native land, and into a state of misery greater than that which the Bill was designed to relieve among the people of Ireland.


said, it was easy for an hon. Gentleman, the hon. Member for Coleraine (Sir H. Hervey Bruce), to bring general charges against those who were better acquainted with the condition of Ireland than he was, or was ever likely to be. They had never adopted the principles of Communism, Socialism, or Nihilism, but they defined landlordism as the Shylock of Irish industry. The Bill before the House was, in his humble judgment, only intended to protect those families which the hon. Member for Coleraine had not, like him, seen placed upon the roadside. Where the tenant had effects, and even the small residue of his small crop, the landlord had his remedy and could pay himself. They were only contending for the protection of those poor people who were unable to pay; and if there was a stone of Indian meal in the house, they said that it ought to be given to the children rather than to the rapacity of an agent. This would not be so powerful a cause in the land if it were not a good one, and he would warn those "forcible feeble" Represen-tatives of Irish landlordism, such as the hon. Member for Coleraine, that if they did not listen to warning in time, and accept a conscientious and moderate reform, the hour would come when they would be told to pack up. They wanted, if possible, to do justice to all parties; but as Mayo seemed to be singled out by the hon. Member, and he happened to be the only Representative of that district present for the moment, he begged to say that as they had scheduled several of the Unions there he would say that the poor could not support the poor. That portion of the Western Island on which "the moaning of the Atlantic" had produced a sort of moaning amongst the people, if their distinguished Leader of the past were to be listened to, was in that condition, and he would tell the House in all sincerity that if they did not remedy distress in Mayo, and Galway, and Leitrim, and Roscommon—aye, and in Ulster—the time would come when the Parliament of England would regret that it had neglected its opportunity. The Bill did nothing but demand protection for an honest man; and he put it to any hon. Member whether, if they had a portion of hard-scraped food, and, five or six or seven pale, fasting children looking to them for support, they would not apply it to the support of their offspring. The tenant was, they held, bound by the law of nature and the human conscience to support his family. He had had cases before him where a poor man was thrown on the road-side where the landlord was really in his debt on account gone into to the extent of £150. If justice were done he would go to the length of saying that the land for which this rent was taken was not, in many a case, able to do more than support the family. Some of them would even go to the length of arguing that the rent was the surplus product of a farm, and that it only came in after proper deductions had been made, and the relations of the landlord to the possession of the property ought to be determined by the wants of the family. It was easy for the hon. Member for Coleraine to talk of the tenant right of Ulster being something which the people had purchased. He was there to say that the majority of the acres of Ulster were plundered from the Irish people by an unjust Monarch who talked of God while ruining many. They never could fulfil the conditions of their leases, and the day was not far distant when they would be able to say something like what they would tell the Guilds of London and the Corporation of London. He did not say the cases were identical; but when they would say you have robbed Ireland long enough, and if the Crown had the right to take the land of Ulster, then it had a right to resume it. They were twice taken in the reign of Charles I. or II., and he trusted God would spare the Prime Minister long enough to resume those lands once more, and turn them to the support of the families living upon them. If the landlords of Ireland had no better advocates than the hon. Member for Coleraine, he would say their cause was "forcibly feeble."


said, it was with great pain that he felt himself bound to separate himself from the Party with which he generally acted and oppose this Bill, which was of an exceptional and anomalous character. Ho had listened with attention to the speech of the Prime Minister; but he was still of opinion that any argument drawn from the Land Act of 1870 was entirely beside the question. He took objection to the Bill on the ground of principle as well as on the ground of policy and expediency. He could find no precedent in legislation which was in principle exactly analogous to this. It was a measure which offered facilities to a certain class to shelter themselves from their obligations to pay certain creditors, which creditors, in their turn, were not relieved from their responsibility of paying their own debts. The Bill had been accurately described by the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Law) as intended to meet an emergency. It was a Bill with regard to the distress in certain parts of Ireland to provide compensations to tenants upon failure of their crops. But he would notice, in the first place, that there was a discrepancy between the purport of the Bill and the Schedule attached to it which required explanation. The Bill provided facilities for the avoidance of payment of rent in the districts mentioned in the Schedule. But the area of distress was by no means commensurate with the area of the scheduled districts. It had been said that the Bill only deprived the landlord of one remedy, and that a remedy which was not possessed by landlords in England, while all his other remedies remained intact. That was technically true, but practically delusive. It was true that in this country the power of ejectment did not exist; but a power of re-entry existed, which was practically equivalent to that of ejectment. It had been said, too, that the Bill was limited in time and in the area to which it was applied. But what was likely to be its effect both within and without the limited districts? He would not pronounce a positive opinion; but he did not like to contemplate what would be the state of things on the 1st of January, 1882, when, probably, a large number of evictions would take place He wondered whether the Government would then think it necessary to pass another Suspensory Bill. It was denied that the effect of the Bill would be to deter capital from Ireland. But he could corroborate the experience of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster, as he knew of instances where the prospect of the Bill's passing had had that effect. It was the first time since he had had a seat in Parliament that he felt himself compelled to separate himself from the Liberal Party; but he was bound in conscience to oppose the Bill.


said, that, as one who loved his country he was as anxious as any Irishman could be for its welfare and prosperity; but he believed the Bill would be mischievous and ruinous in its effects. It had been introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, but he did not believe it was really his handiwork. If the Bill was intended to prevent destitution, he would ask were the circumstances exceptional? Why, the Secretary to the Treasury had acknowledged that the circumstances were not exceptional. But was the Bill really one to relieve distress, or was it a Bill to establish a peasant proprietary? Or was it merely a sop to agitation, as he believed it to be? But the whole question had been befogged by legal quibbles. This Bill was the work of ignorant hands; and if was brought in with a good motive, those who brought it in were the more to blame for not having first consulted those who could have told them the facts. The Bill would affect not only the landlords but the whole capital of Ireland. It would affect the yeomen, the farmers, and the shopkeepers. Those men embarked all their capital in land whenever they had made a little saving. He was afraid that that class would be absolutely ruined by the Bill. The whole feeling of the country would be one of insecurity. They would be giving the people to understand that they could not rely upon the law which was passed in 1870, and they would create such a feeling of alarm in the minds of all concerned with the land of the country that the whole of the capital to be used, as well as the desire for improvement, would be driven out of the country. But, taking it for granted that it did benefit the men it was intended for, what would be the result of the two years' grace which would be given them? Why, they would be more deeply dipped in debt than ever; and then they were told that force would have to be employed, and that the law would have to be carried out to the utmost. What would be the result of that? The man would resist, and there would be more bloodshed, more trouble, and more misery. They were told by the First Lord of the Treasury that the Law of Distress could be put in force by the landlord; but let hon. Members recollect the operation of the Law of Distress under the Tithe-rent Law. He believed that it resulted in nothing less than practical war between the occupiers and the authorities. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had spoken of emigration as a good thing. Now, there was no doubt that emigration was the only solution of the difficulties of those poor people. ["No, no!"] He could tell hon. Gentlemen that the unfortunate people were only living from hand to mouth. In good times they were labourers in England, and in bad times they were obliged to live on charity and on the rates. He now came to what he believed to be the true test of the Bill. He believed it to be a mere sop to agitators. Was it a right or a good thing to those? They knew the state of the country, in parts of which terrorism of the worst kind existed. He maintained that the present year had done more, and would have done more if they had been let alone, to bring class and class together than ever had been done before. The present year had done much, and would have done still more, if there had not been interference, to bring class and class together. They had seen every class of persons speaking together with the sole object of doing good for the people; in fact, the country had got into such a state that everyone banded together for one common good. But by the passing of the Bill all this would be destroyed, and the country would be brought into a worse state than ever. He would read a letter from Mr. Hussey, a large owner of property in the South and South-West of Ireland, in which he gave his opinion of the Bill of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Mr. Hussey said— I have been reading with attention the do-hate on Mr. Forster's Land Bill, and I venture to trouble you with my opinion on it. I receive rents from about 0,100 tenants, paying about £90,000 a-year, in the districts to be scheduled under Mr. Forster's Land Bill, and in my opinion if it becomes law demanding rent will be a useless formality, and landowners will probably be met by a general combination to demand compensation, which they will wholly be unable to meet; no rents will be paid, and creditors, as in 1846 and 1847, will call in their money and force sales with unusual rapidity; and, in fact, all properties will stand a fair chance of being confiscated. In illustration of this I wish to mention that a friend of mine had agreed to borrow £6,000 on a rental of £2,000 a-year free of charges and Landed Estates Court title; the deeds were drafted; but the moment Mr. Forster's Bill was announced, the lender's solicitor said he would break off and would not lend one shilling on an estate affected by Mr. Forster's Act, no matter how large the margin was; and I have heard of similar cases. And even since the Bill was announced I see plainly that it has affected the tenants, and there is no anxiety on their part to come to a settlement. In conclusion, I beg to say that I am the most extensive land agent in the South of Ireland, and that if the Bill passes and Government do not put a stay on all demands affecting landowners, or do not lend them money to pay the tenants the compensation awarded to them, ruin is inevitable, and the most indulgent landlords will be the first to suffer. He had also received a letter from Mr. Bentham, of the Standard Assurance Company in Dublin, who said— I always had the highest opinion of Mr. Forster's ability, but in this matter he has been completely befooled or otherwise led astray. I have never seen anything in my time of equal importance or danger with this Bill. Even the mere attempt to introduce it, whether it pass or not, is of serious importance, and shows to what length they are prepared to go. But I hope and believe that the sense of the country will be manifested before the second reading, and that the Commons will throw out the Bill if the Government have not the sense to withdraw it. For myself, I am disgusted beyond measure. You know how I have struggled to like everything Irish and to see all that is good in the country. Now I feel quite disheartened. We thought the Land Act, 1870, went quite far enough. At that time all the Scottish Offices sent combined statements of the amount they had on loans in Ireland with a view of persuading Mr. Gladstone to modify some objectionable clauses, which he did. We recognized in that Bill that the landlord might have a difficulty in dealing with the land as a commodity and with their tenants. But we thought it made the rents absolutely secure. This Bill will make them absolutely insecure. Since 1870 I suppose I have lent by my own hand something like £1,250,000 in Ireland. But I have closed my doors, and I have refused to carry out two loans already agreed to where some want of promptitude on the borrower's part (in completing title) gave me the excuse. I am sick of their eternal legislation, and I wish I was out of it. I do not know what the Scotch Companies will do, but I have no doubt strong pressure will be brought on the Government by Scotch Members. I am determined to discourage all Irish loan business in future, from the constant worry and strain as to what the Government may do. He (Mr. Fitzpatrick) thought, when such opinions were expressed, it would, at least, be wise if the Government would deal leniently with the destinies of Ireland. It rested with them to make the country the prosperous and great country it ought to be; but he did not believe in this piecemeal and hampering legislation.


said, the speeches delivered against the Bill had, in his opinion, done more to support the second reading than those delivered on behalf of the Bill. The speech made by the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) would almost have induced him to vote for the Bill. That speech had not been so much a criticizm of the Bill as a lively and vivacious attack on the Government. He regretted this the more because there was a great deal in the speech of the noble Lord with which he was disposed to agree. In the matter of the profession of inability to pay rent, he believed there was a great deal of fraud and imposture; and certainly the statement of the Postmaster General, the other night, that there had been an increase in the amounts paid into the Savings Banks, was rather a curious commentary on the assertion that the tenants were unable to pay their rents. The Chief Secretary had called attention to the fact that tenants under the Ulster custom had greater advantages than those who were outside that custom, to which the noble Lord replied that the difference lay in the fact that the Ulster tenants paid for them, while the tenants in other parts did not. That was only partly true, because goodwill in the holding did exist in other parts of Ireland, and it was stated by a great authority to amount to five years' purchase. The First Lord of the Treasury had told the House that he would not enter into any argument that would entangle him in legal subtleties, and yet, to a great extent, he had rested his defence of that Bill on the ground that the Irish landlord enjoyed greater advantages in respect to ejecting his tenants than the English landlord did. That was, in a legal sense, perfectly true; but, like many other things that were legally true, it was practically untrue, or practically inaccurate, because in nearly every agreement between an English landlord and his tenant there was a clause for re-entry. ["No !"] In his experience there was a clause for re-entry in every written agreement between English landlords and their tenants, and thus the distinction was a distinction without a difference. The right hon. Gentleman had, in his argument, gone beyond the scope of that Bill, because he had said that in giving the power by which an Irish landlord could eject his tenant Parliament had committed a fraud on the tenant. If it was a fraud, why had the Government not brought in the Bill as a permanent measure to be applied universally over Ireland? The principles of legislation which it was now proposed to apply to the ease of Ireland would be turned into precedents for application elsewhere. The Chief Secretary had sought to establish a certain inconsistency on the part of those who voted for the Irish Land Act, but who did not give an equally cordial support to the present measure. Now, he wished to state why, having voted for the Irish Land Act, he yet saw great objections to this Bill. The Chief Secretary had been driven to an untenable position, and had used arguments in favour of that Bill which went beyond the scope of a temporary measure. The Law Officers of the Government, in their arguments, had even gone beyond the scope of the measure of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power). The Attorney General for Ireland the other day spoke with approval of a state of the law in which, if by reason of some supervening calamity, such as the extreme inclemency of the weather, the tenant's crop did not repay him for his labour and his seed, he should not be liable for the rent. That was exactly the principle on which the leaders of the agitation in Ireland had been fighting, and from the point of view of an owner of land it was a much more objectionable principle than fixity of tenure at fair rents. He could not regard that Bill as a temporary measure. The Chief Secretary had either gone too far or not far enough. If the Bill was a legitimate extension of the Land Act, then the Government ought consistently to have accepted the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo. The argument went to the length of saying that holders of all tenancies created after the Act of 1870 should be in the same position with respect to damages for evictions for nonpayment of rent as the holders of tenancies which existed before 1870. That was a distinct breach of the understanding upon which the Act of 1870 was passed. If this Bill could not be regarded as a temporary measure, neither could it be looked upon as limited in area. How could they deprive tenants in other parts of Ireland of the advantages that were to be conferred on those in the distressed districts? The right hon. Gentleman had said that it was not a question of distress, but a question of right and of justice. The tenants of other districts would take the advice of the hon. Member for Mayo and endeavour to prove their inability to pay their rents, and would ask why they were not to have the same advantages as the tenants in the distressed districts. A friend of his who owned land in the distressed districts told him only last week that he had a letter from his agent, stating that he could not expect to give him during the next two years one shilling from his property in those districts. It might be said that that was an exaggeration of the effect of the Bill; that the County Court Judge would have to decide, and if he decided against the tenant, the tenant would have to pay. But the County Court Judge would have a difficult task in valuing the rents—for that was what it practically came to—and if he decided against the tenant he must have an iron nerve in these troublous times, because the risks of the agent and of the landlord would be transferred to the County Court Judge. The hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. C. Russell) had said the other day that the Government had only touched the extreme fringe of that question. If that were so, he (Mr. Brand) would like to know what was the kernel of it. The hon. and learned Member seemed to aim at fixity of tenure with fair rents. But the most illustrious men of that House would oppose that measure, because in the debates on the Land Act of 1870 the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian had exposed with elaboration the absurdity of putting upon an outside authority the duty of valuing rent. The present Bill was identical in principle with the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo, and was not a legitimate extension of the Irish Land Act, but was an application of the principle of the Irish Land Act to a fresh set of cases to which the promoters of that Act promised it should not be applied. The hon. Member for Mayo would be frank enough to say that he accepted the Bill as an instalment, and that he would use it as a lever to make the measure apply permanently and universally over Ireland. The hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Roundell), in defending the Bill, said he took his stand on the Irish Land Act. He did so, too; but he disagreed from the hon. Gentleman in his interpretation of that Act. The justification of the Irish Land Act was that the conditions of the occupancy and tenure of land in Ireland were different from those of England, and that principles of legislation which were applicable to the former country were not applicable to the latter. It was urged that Ireland was a country of small holdings, the occupiers of which were not able to make free contracts with their landlords, and the Irish Land Act limited the interference with freedom of contract to holdings of £50 and under. Again, in England the landlord executed all the repairs, kept the land in perfect condition for the tenant, and thereby a community of interest had arisen between the two; whereas in Ireland there was an absence of that community of interest, while, moreover, there was the sad fact, caused partly by iniquitous legislation and partly by the character of the people, and that there were more people in Ireland than the land could support. Damages for eviction were strictly limited by the First Lord of the Treasury to tenancies which existed at the time of the passing of the Act. This Bill would apply to all tenancies — to tenancies created subsequently to the Act of 1870, to tenancies created at any time. The right hon. Gentleman, in moving for leave to bring in the Irish Land Bill, said— With regard to all prospective contracts, it is absolutely necessary that if a landlord evict for non-payment of rent there should not be in the sense of the Bill a disturbance of the tenant by the landlord, for the tenant will disturb himself by non-payment of rent."—[3 Hansardcxcix. 380–1.] He (Mr. Brand) contended that this Bill was not a legitimate extension of the Irish Land Act as far as concerned the tenancies created since 1870, but that it was an enunciatioan on the part of the Government of a novel and tremendous principle—namely, that whenever a bad time came then it should be right to prevent a landlord from recovering his property, and to give the tenant a proprietary right in the soil. In any circumstances, that would be a bad policy for Ireland; in the face of the sinister agitation of last winter, it was a dangerous policy. Time travelled fast, but surely not so fast that they could forget the character of that agitation. Nor could they forget the language that was used, not only in Ireland, but in America. He did not wish to allude to the words of irresponsible agitators; he alluded to speeches which had been made by hon. Gentlemen who had seats in that House. What was the character of that agitation? The language of hon. Gentlemen did not imply that they would be content with an equitable re-adjustment of rent, with a reduction of rent on account of distressed circumstances—that language was an incitement to the people of Ireland to pay no rent at all. It was a claim on behalf of the tenant to proprietary right in the soil; the amount of rent to be assessed by himself. It took the matter entirely outside the range of law and equity, making it a question of appeal to force. Did the right hon. Gentleman believe for one moment that when this Bill was passed, the hon. Member for Mayo would not go to his friends in Ireland and say—"The Government have admitted the principles of this Bill; you have only to agitate a little more and we shall get rid of the landlord and the rent together." With regard to the position of the landlord in this matter, the right hon. Gentleman said it was not the case that the landlord would be in a worse position than any other creditor. That was true. The landlord would be in the same position as any other creditor. Up to the present time, whether rightly or wrongly, the landlord had been in a better condition than any other creditor, and the Government were proposing to take away from him the means of replacing a bad tenant by a good tenant if he wished to do so. The right hon. Gentleman said these were exceptional times, and that such times required desperate remedies. The figures that were given by the Attorney General for Ireland the other night proved a very sad and distressing state of things in Ire- land; but it appeared to him a rather lame conclusion to propose this Bill as a remedy. He could not bring himself to vote against this Bill which had been brought in by the Government. They had a responsibility under the present distressing state of things in Ireland. But he wished the First Lord of the Treasury would make a concession with regard to this Bill, and would consider the condition of the landlords. He had no wish to oppose the Government on this matter, and if he could he would desire to vote for the second reading; but as the Bill at present stood he could not do so. If, as had been said, there was a combination on the part of landlords to consolidate their farms, to add acre to acre, to take advantage of the position of these tenants, there might be some justification for legislation; but no facts had been adduced in support of that statement. At any rate, a more temporary measure, having effect at the end of the year, would have been more advisable, enabling the Government to gauge the distress and see how the case really stood.


said, he thought that the Bill was entirely consistent with the rights of property, and it was because he considered the House was the proper guardian of those rights that he appealed to the House to support the measure. Comparing the conditions of English agriculture with those of Irish agriculture, he pointed out the wide difference that existed between them in connection with the manner in which improvements had been effected. Writing in 1870, before the passing of the Land Act, Mr. O'Connor Morris, the distinguished Correspondent of The Times,had observed— That if the landlords in Ireland had properly discharged their duties the formidable problem of how to compensate the tenant for his improvements without interfering with the rights of property could never have arisen, and the class who had created the wealth of the country would not have found themselves deprived of their legitimate property by dishonest landlords. He asked hon. Members whether, when something like a property right had grown up on the part of the tenant, it was reasonable that the latter should be deprived of that right? He saw several hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House who were highly distinguished members of the Royal Agricultural Society, and he would observe that in the year 1878 that Society, assembled at Paris, was anxious to present to the world something like a fair survey of the agricultural position of the United Kingdom; and, in order that that might be perfectly done, they engaged the co-operation of a gentleman who was considered to be the very highest authority on agriculture in Great Britain —Mr. Caird. ["No, no!"] Hon. Gentlemen might say "No, no!" but they must not forget the fact that the Report made by Mr. Caird on the Agriculture of the United Kingdom was accepted by the Royal Agricultural Society and by the country as a fair, legitimate, and reasonable Report. In that Report Mr. Caird said that the relation between landlord and tenant in Ireland was altogether different to the relation between land-and tenant in England and Scotland. He (Mr. Arthur Arnold) held that that observation, made as it was by so distinguished an authority, would put on one side all that had been said of the analogy between the relations of landlord and tenant in Ireland and the relations of landlord and tenant in England. But, far more important than that, were the concluding words of the Report, upon which he would rest the whole of his case. Mr. Caird said that— Circumstances have thus brought about a situation in which the landlord cannot deal with his property with the same freedom as the landlord in England or in Scotland, either in the selection of his tenants or in the fair adjustment of rents, and this has in a great measure arisen from the neglect by the landlord of his duty in not himself executing those indispensable permanent improvements which the tenant is obliged to undertake, and who has thus established for himself a claim of co-partnership in the soil itself. He contended that that co-partnership was a fact which ought to be admitted and accepted by the Legislature. Mr. Heron, formerly a Member of that House, writing in 1872, said that hundreds and thousands of tenants had been evicted in Ireland, although it was well known that by their labour and industry for years they had permanently increased the value of the land; and he added that on the temporary pressure caused by the Famine the tenant, unable to pay one year's rent, lost a real interest in the land worth many years' rent. There was no doubt that through the legislation of that House a tenant-right did exist all over Ireland. The claim had existed, and did exist, up to the present moment. When the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) talked of a Parliamentary title, and the importance attached to it, he confused the issue, for no one would deny that every one of the estates purchased in the Encumbered Estates Court was purchased with this unslumbering claim of the tenant, which now, because there was an exceptional state of affairs, was again presented to Parliament. That tenant-right claim had been handed down from generations, not one of whom had resigned it. The Act of 1870 solidified the claim, and it was now again embodied in this Bill. The Chairman of Ways and Means had lately contributed a very instructive Paper on the resources of America, and showed by figures which were unmistakable that, owing to the decline of agriculture in Ireland, the food production of that country had greatly decreased; and Professor Baldwin, a gentleman of whom the late Government thought so highly that they placed him upon the Commission of Agriculture, had shown in admirable Reports made to the late Lord Lieutenant that the production of Ireland would be enormously increased if its tillage were extended, instead of diminishing. It had been said that Ireland was over-populated. On the contrary, another 1,000,000 at least might live happily in it. If the population of Ireland were proportionately as thick as that of Jersey—he did not say it ought to be a third of it—she would have 30,000,000 of people. It was because he had studied this question, that he was convinced that this claim on the part of the tenants of Ireland was based on right and justice. Lord Halifax, on the occasion of the former Famine, had said— I confess, with pain I can scarcely describe, that the landlords or their agents are pursuing a system of ejectment under process for rent to an extent never before known in this country. If the same course is to be generally pursued, I shall despair of the country being ever relieved. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), in speaking against the Bill, declared that no man was ready to go farther than himself in the direction of tenant right. The hon. Member lived in a county, the only English county, however, in which tenant right was thoroughly secured, and if the hon. Gentleman would extend the Lincolnshire custom to the rest of England he would willingly support him in the effort. The hon. Member, at the close of his speech, had quoted Lord Beaconsfield in prophecy. Hon. Gentlemen should never quote Lord Beaconsfield in that way, because the noble Lord had boxed the whole compass of prophecy, and for every prophecy of the noble Lord's that might be adduced on any given subject, he (Mr. Arthur Arnold) would undertake to produce another of the noble Lord's in direct opposition to it. Lord Beaconsfield had prophesied at one time that if they wanted order in Ireland they must remove English institutions. At another time the noble Lord said that if they disestablished the Church of Ireland they would seriously touch the tenure of the Crown; and when he assumed Office, he wrote a letter informing the world that the Crown was never stronger. The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) had asked why was not a Bill of this kind introduced in 1847, after the Famine? But, in 1847, did not the noble Lord know that no attention was given to any class in that House but the landlord class? The Prime Minister had spoken lately of the tithe increment. He would amplify what the right hon. Gentleman had said. He held in his had an authentic Report of the Chief Tithe Commissioner of England and Wales, and he said that since 1836 the land rental of England had risen 50 per cent, and that portion of the income which previous to 1836 would have gone to the Church had gone to the landowners. Mr. Caird added that if the old principle of participation had continued, the annual increase of the Church would have been £2,000,000 greater than it was. He presented that as a piece of useful information to their Lordships the Bishops. Our greatest poet had said that "Pity is the virtue of the law." He (Mr. Artluir Arnold) would never, from his place in Parliament, make a claim for mercy which was not founded upon justice. It was because this was a claim of justice, because it was a claim of right, that he asked the House to read the Bill a second time.


said, he was sorry he had not been able to hear the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland in moving the second reading of this Bill; but he had read that speech with attention, and he had heard the speech to-night of the First Lord of the Treasury. He must say, however, all he had read and heard had failed to convince him that he ought to support this measure. He had recently been engaged in the inquiries of the Royal Commission on Agriculture in Dublin, and the evidence there produced had satisfied him that the Bill was not only dangerous in principle, but would be most mischievous in practice. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury had made an elaborate defence of the Land Act of 1870; but he did not tell them that this Bill would mitigate distress in Ireland. His own belief was that it would not appease distress, but would have the reverse effect. This conviction was founded on what he had heard lately in Ireland. He had himself supported the Land Act of 1870; but he believed this Bill, so far from carrying out the principle of that Act, was really antagonistic to it. What would be the first consequence of this Bill? They all knew there was one thing the Irish tenant did not like, and that was to pay his rent. If the Irish tenant was left alone he would pay his rent; but there were those in that House who urged the Irish tenant to refuse to pay all rent. He believed this measure had already done great mischief, and if it was allowed to reach another stage it would do an immense deal more. It broke a principle which he desired always to see maintained—-the freedom of contract. It would certainly have the effect of withdrawing capital from Ireland. They had already heard of one large estate which was about to be purchased, but the introduction of this Bill had at once put an end to the negotiations. A similar case, though of a smaller extent, had come to his own knowledge within the last few days. These facts not only made him hesitate to support the Bill, but compelled him to vote against it. He regretted having to separate himself from most of his Party on this occasion, but the principles involved left him no alternative.' If the Bill became law hundreds and even thousands of cases would go before the County Court, in order that tenants might tide over paying their rents until 1882, and then the landlords would feel compelled to resort to the process of eviction as the only means of getting their rents. The landlords of Ireland had done as much, and perhaps more, for their tenants as the landlords of England or anywhere else. They had done everything they could to tide over bad times. This Bill would drive away resident landlords and make them absentees; it would thus drive capital away, and it would produce a worse state of things than existed now. If they would leave Ireland alone, if they could rid it of the agitators who tried to persuade the tenant farmers not to pay their rents; if they would leave legislation alone, the landlords were capable of helping the tenants over these bad times, and if it pleased Providence to give them a good harvest, of which there was every prospect, no more would be heard of the distress.


said, he agreed thoroughly with the statement of the Prime Minister as to the importance of this measure, and the necessity of considering it in a calm and sober spirit; and he should endeavour, in discussing it, to avoid the imputation of unworthy motives. It was not a little startling to find at this time of the Session the Prime Minister challenging attention to this measure on the ground of its great importance, when at the commencement of the Session, a few weeks ago, it was not mentioned in the Gracious Speech from the Throne. That was the most distinct evidence of the fact, which could not be too clearly impressed upon the House, that this measure was not the outcome of the deliberate judgment of the Cabinet. It was not thought of at the beginning of the Session; it was forced upon the attention of the Chief Secretary, not by the crisis in Ireland, but by the appearance on the Order Book of the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power). This assertion he put in the front of his argument, and he challenged contradiction from any right hon. Gentleman who might follow him. Other excuses had been put forward from the Treasury Bench by the Chief Secretary, by the Attorney General, and by the Prime Minister, but not one of them had grappled with the fact that the reason for the introduction of this Bill was found in the presentation of that of the hon. Member for Mayo. The Government might possibly have managed, in a way that experience would suggest, to have avoided looking very straightly at that Bill were it not that their attention was very distinctly challenged by one of their own clever and talented supporters, the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey), who, startled by an answer of the Chief Secretary, announced that he would oppose the principle of the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo. That did not bring forth any statement of the intentions of the Government; and it was not until the matter was pressed by his hon. Friend (Mr. Brodrick) who had received such a well-merited compliment from the Prime Minister that the Chief Secretary suddenly, unexpectedly, and, he would assert, to the surprise of many of his Colleagues, announced that he did not exactly oppose the main principle of the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo, and would consider whether he could not deal with it in some way. Afterwards the right hon. Gentleman, gifted by nature with a matchless manner for a politician, including an air of great candour and conscientiousness, stated in the most off-hand way, that he would deal with it by introducing a clause into the Relief of Distress Bill. The hon. Member for Mayo, who was a clever Irishman, knew that that statement contained a refusal and an apology, and that it was equivalent to saying—"Your Bill presents the principle in such a naked form that really anybody can see it; let me obscure it in the details of a now clause and the House will trust me." The Chief Secretary circulated his new clause by coincidence on the very morning when the second reading of the Relief Bill was to be taken; and why was it circulated that morning? It was either to influence their decision or it was not. Of course, it was to influence the decision of Irish Members, who could understand the meaning and reality of things as well as most men. They knew it was an apology and the statement of an alternative; but the moment someone on that side of the House explained what was its true meaning it was withdrawn as promptly as it was introduced. Why did the Government oppose the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo? He was not sure that they did, although they had expressed neither approval nor disapproval. The same principle was to be found in the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo as was to be found in the Bill of Her Majesty's Government; the differences were merely differences of detail, and there was not a single difference of detail which they would not be told by the Chief Secretary himself they could strike out when they got into Committee. Well, if that were so, was it not demonstration that the principle of the two Bills was the same? This was a kind of Janus-faced Bill. Its principle was for Irish Members, who were not asked to look at the details; its details were for the Whig supporters of the Government, who were asked not on that occasion to look at the principle of the Bill. And what was the attitude of the Third Party? The Irish Party were notable on that occasion for their most eloquent silence. No men were more capable of making eloquent speeches; but there was not one of them who could make a speech more significant or eloquent than in conveying their meaning to the House by their distinguished silence. He hoped the Government would answer this question — Would this Bill have been introduced but for the introduction of the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo? That was a plain question, and it ought to be answered honestly — yes, or no. They talked of great principles and of great necessities, and of the importance of the Bill; but he would bring the matter to this test. If the hon. Member for Mayo had not brought in his Bill, would the Government have brought in theirs? Well, what was the difference between the position of the Government and that of the hon. Member for Mayo? The hon. Member was irresponsible save in the sense of being responsible for the performance of his duty to his constituents. Who were they? They were the people of Mayo, a county which had been impoverished by distress, and, he would add, demoralized by agitation; and the hon. Member took occasion to present the views of his constituents, and he did so by his Bill. But the position of the Government was entirely different. They were distinctly responsible, and when the Prime Minister said it was ridiculous to suggest that he would endeavour to conciliate any of the hon. Gentlemen who sat near the hon. Member for Mayo, and that such a suggestion was unworthy and absurd, the right hon. Gentleman must have thought he was addressing Gentlemen of very little experience and knowledge of the world. The right hon. Gentleman could not be expected to make a grave announcement to the House that he did all this to conciliate the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Par-nell). Why, the whole conciliation would then be gone. It would be worthless; and if the hon. Member for Cork spoke in the debate he had no doubt he would repudiate the suggestion with indignation. The hon. Member would state that he was not satisfied with the Bill, with the usual addition that it dealt with a mere fringe of the Irish question, and that it would be absurd to say that it was anything like a settlement of it. Well, the Bill was built on the lines of that of the hon. Member for Mayo, and that was the outcome of the agitation prevailing in the county he represented; and it required a lengthened debate to show that it was not an act of spoliation directly traceable to agitation. The Relief of Distress Bill was introduced without the clause, and when it was introduced it was at once knocked out of the Bill. He asked hon. Members frankly, calmly, soberly, to look at the principle of the Bill, and he challenged their judgment with respect to these propositions. Land might be let at a moderate rent; that rent might be in arrear one, two, or three years. The landlord, who had to support himself, rear his children, and meet all his obligations, said to his tenant—"Keep your bargain to me. I am very sorry if you are unable to pay your rent; but give me back my land." That was done every day in England, and no fault was found. But this Bill said to the landlord—"No. Power is given to a Court to decide whether you are or are not unreasonable in your demand, and to mulct you in damages for your audacity if you look for either your rent or your land." These propositions were incapable of contradiction; and the Land Court in its discretion might—he did not say it would—award compensation to the tenant up to seven years of the rent for seeking to recover it. But it was said that the Bill was intended for unreasonable landlords. He would test that in a sentence. It could not be contradicted that on the construction and within the legitimate meaning of the words of the Bill the County Court Judge could award damages against a man who had let his land at the most reasonable rate, and even under the market value. The Judge must award such compensation, and the only course open to the landlord was to go to the Court and adduce arguments or evidence to induce the Judge to mitigate the amount of the damages which he would award. Landlords would not be able to save themselves from the operation of the Bill by saying that they were ready to permit the sale of the goodwill of their farms. This was no condition of the Bill, and could not, therefore, be discussed on the Motion for the second reading, although it might be said that the Land Judge could take the circumstance into his consideration in fixing the sum which should be paid by a landlord for disturbance of his tenant. He had listened to the Prime Minister with great attention, as he always did, and failed to discover anything in contradiction of the principle which he now laid down. It was argued in support of the measure that it was a very little one, and was only intended to apply to distressed districts. An excuse of that kind had been used in other affairs of life. That very statement surely proved the indefensible nature of the proposal. It had been defended on account of the special poverty that overwhelmed certain classes; but its principle was to relieve one class at the expense of another. If the defence of the Bill was that the distress was so great that the Poor Law needed to be supplemented, in the name of common sense he asked why it was that the State did not bear that supplemental charge? It was a rate in aid of the Poor Law levied on one selected class of the community. Why was it on Saturday that the Government said that the existing distress was not great enough to warrant the Treasury in bearing the loss of the difference between the 1 per cent paid by the landlords and the 2½per cent paid by the Government, although that loss would not exceed £3,000 or £4,000; and yet here, on Monday, they were found urging the extreme character of the distress as a reason for this Bill? The fact was that the Bill would apply the most harsh principle ever submitted to Parliament in a Bill in the harshest possible manner. It had been conceded by every speaker that a pro- posal of this startling character could only be adopted on evidence of the most overwhelming necessity; but where was that evidence? There was none, and, moreover, the Chief Secretary himself had negatived the possibility of such evidence, for when opposing the Bill of the hon. Member for Cork he stated that there was now a prospect of a good harvest, more employment, and less distress; and that the Government believed that whatever distress did exist it would be within the machinery of the Poor Law to meet it. If the Poor Law could meet it, what justification, he asked, was there for placing this charge upon the poor Irish landlord? Was there no evidence of the condition of the country given in the clear and distinct answer of the Postmaster General the other night? The figures which were then read by the right hon. Gentleman showed that proportionately there was more prosperity among those employed in agriculture than among the landlords upon whom the Bill would impose the additional taxation, there being an increase not only in the amounts deposited in the Savings Banks, but in the number of depositors. That state of things was distinctly traceable to the circumstance that rents had not been paid in many cases by those who had the means of paying them. The measure would ruin many, very many, landlords, and would do very little good to anybody. It would do very little to benefit tenants, whilst its demoralizing tendency had already been widespread, and would, he feared, be irrevocable. Could anyone who had the slightest acquaintance with what was going on in Ireland, who wrote to a single banker, or a single insurance agent—he passed over the landowners, because they were considered outside the pale of the law at present—but could anyone doubt that the ruin caused by this Bill would be widespread, almost universal? [The ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND: No!] Was it not obvious? [The ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND: No!] He would invite the right hon. and learned Gentleman to get up and argue his negative. Was it not obvious that the poor landowner—and the majority of them were small—with his family charges, with jointures, with taxes, and with no rents for meeting those charges, would he not be of necessity ruined? If this Bill passed a landlord would have either to forego land, or to borrow money to enable him to pay damages for its recovery. Whence would be get the means? Was the State going to lend to him? This was not in the Bill. Was the Money Market going to lend to him? Not according to the information they had bad from Ireland since the introduction of this Bill. If this Bill passed the landlords would practically have to make up their minds that they would get substantially no rent for the next two years. The Prime Minister had gravely told them that the purpose of the Bill was to maintain the principles of property. Well, unless this statement contained a threat, he would say, with all deference, that it was absurd. To take away property, to make it irrecoverable, and then to say that they were thereby maintaining the rights of property was simply absurd, unless, as he said, it contained a threat. What was the threat? Why, "If you do not submit to this exaction we will not protect you in the execution of the processes of the law." Suppose the Bill were not passed, and its principles were not affirmed, did the Government mean to say they were going to let the property of Ireland go by the board, that they were not going to defend the processes of the law? If they did not mean that, he did not understand the proposition that on the second reading of the Bill depended the vindication of the rights of property. If the unfortunate landlord should get judgment in the County Court, would he be sure of getting possession? The cry of the agitation had been "fixity of tenure and fair rents;" but the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had gone further. His cry was, "fixity of tenure and no rents" for two years; or, if the right hon. Gentleman liked it better, no rents recoverable for two years —he did not see much difference—or rents reducible at the option of the tenant. Since this subject bad been raised he had received so many letters in reference to it from persons in Ireland that he had made up his mind not to quote any of them; but there was one from an eminent Irish land agent, Mr. Kincaid, which be should be happy to show to the right hon. Gentleman as a specimen. It would give him some plain information about the character of the Bill. ["Read!"] Well, he had no objection to read it. It was as follows:— It may be anticipated that the agitation against the payment of rent which was carried on all last winter will be continued after harvest, and will be greatly strengthened by the hasty legislation now proposed; the result will be the complete demoralization of the tenants in the West of Ireland, and it will be impossible to collect rents in the ordinary way. The landlords, having already exhausted the forbearance of their creditors, will be totally unable to meet the accumulating claims on their estates. Mortgagees will file petitions for the sale of the encumbered estates, and great expense will be incurred in the first instance. Unless matters improve, sales will be pressed forward as they were in 1850 and 1851, and enormous sacrifice of property will again be made. They were told that the Bill was by no means designed to conciliate the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). If that were so, some persons connected with the hon. Member for Cork must have been inspired with a spirit of very intelligent prophecy. Mr. Michael Davitt, a gentleman not generally understood to be in the confidence of the Prime Minister, writing to an Irish paper— The Irish World—so long ago as the 22nd of April last, used these remarkable words— A measure is to be introduced on the opening of Parliament to suspend the power of evictions. Moreover, a Commission is to be demanded invested with plenary powers to disestablish the London Irish Land Companies, with the absentee and rackrenting landlords. The Land Question in all its phases is now the great issue, and it will not be put down until it is settled on a basis of eternal justice. The friends of the cause are determined to push action in Ireland, and to continue this action on the lines of 'the land for the people and utter destruction of rent and feudalism !' The right hon. Gentleman told the House that the object of the Bill was to preserve property, and that it contained a promise or an engagement. He asked what promise, what engagement? Now, he was sure the right hon. Gentleman had no sympathy with the agitation on the subject; but it was, he thought, deeply to be deplored that a statesman occupying his position had said nothing to that effect throughout the whole of his speech. He had listened to the right hon. Gentleman attentively, and from beginning to end be had not uttered a single word to deprecate the continuance of agitation. It was much to be regretted, he thought, that he had not used a solitary expression which could be afterwards quoted by the friends of law and order in Ireland. But was the Bill, he would ask, calculated to confer any real benefit on the tenant? It either went too far or not far enough. There were other creditors besides the landlord. Mr. King-Harman, in a letter which appeared in The Timesthat morning, said— On my own property I can cite several cases where cows given by mo to struggling tenants were almost immediately seized by their shopkeeper creditors. It seemed, therefore, that while other creditors might pursue their rights to the utmost, the landlords were the only class who were to be left without a remedy. Many landlords had, he might add, held their hands even without being asked, and now they were told that they had done so in vain, and that the present Bill was introduced because they could not be trusted. The excuse was that it was only intended to provide against the bad landlords; but the bad landlords took care of themselves. They did not allow their rents to fall into arrear, and when they did fall into arrear they secured themselves either by means of ejectment or otherwise. The good landlords, however, who allowed two or three years' rent to remain over, were now to be sacrificed because they had shown a charitable disposition. It was, in short, proposed to legislate against the vast majority of Irish landlords, because it was said a handful of them were not good. A most able man, Sir Charles Trevelyan, had stated of the Hares and Rabbits Bill that it was the most indefensible measure which had been submitted to the House of Commons in the present generation. The description would well apply to this Bill. He might further observe that decrees had been in many cases stayed in Ireland either by consent of the landlord or by the operation of the Judge, who was at present clothed with the utmost jurisdiction to stay the execution of ejectment decrees as long as he thought proper. At the last Land Sessions the County Court Judge delayed the execution of the ejectment on his own motion until after January. But one County Court Judge, at all events, had not felt himself at liberty to put any stay on his decree since the introduction of the present Bill, because the landlord might be brought within the operation of the measure and ruined. Upon what was the Bill based by the Government? Figures? Figures were a mere afterthought. Statistics did not cause the Bill. It was the Bill which caused the statistics. Had any hon. Member any figures before him by which to justify such a measure as this? The right hon. Gentleman, when he produced the Bill, had not a single figure on the Table to justify his action. He did not blame the right hon. Gentleman for not having any figures there, for the whole thing was got up in a hurry. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Law) came to speak, it appeared that he had been foraging for figures on his own account, and had sent telegrams to the sheriffs of five different counties in Ireland for information. And it was upon the hasty figures of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and the speculative figures of the Attorney General for Ireland, that the House was asked to say that there was ground for passing the Bill. Of course, there had been an increase in the number of ejectments. How could it have been otherwise, when many rents had been due for two or three years? Could a contrary state of things have been expected in the face of the great anti-rent agitation, which preached to the tenant not to pay his rent? [Cheers, and cries of"NO!"]


rose to Order. Was it just, he asked, or in Order, for any right hon. or hon. Gentleman to assert what was not correct?


not rising,


explained that, at all events, the agitation was called "the anti-rent agitation." He supposed that that title must, at least, have suggested to the tenants to pay only such rent as they themselves should think reasonable. Everybody who read the Irish papers knew that on some occasions the tenants on rent days had appeared in numbers, so as to lend one another courage, and announced that they could not and would not pay. Other cases there were where good and honest tenants had gone quietly to the agent, when no one was looking, and asked for service of notice of ejectment, in order to have an excuse for paying their rent. Landlords had submitted, not only to reduction, but to having no rent at all, and they had enough to bear in the present distress without being assailed and vilified. He was very sorry that his right hon. and learned Friend had thought it to be his duty to assail them by such statements as that— They proceeded, with a view to consolidate their farms, to enforce their pound of flesh, and to add farm to farm, in order to grow sheep instead of men. There was not a particle of foundation for such a statement. The assertion was one that was incapable of being proved, and which he challenged anyone to prove. The Government might introduce a Bill to take away the property of Irish landlords; but their characters might surely be left untouched. He had two witnesses for the landlords of Ireland, who gave their evidence before the production of the Bill, and upon whose evidence he relied to rebut the imputations made against the landlords. One of those witnesses was the noble Earl the Lord President of the Council (Earl Spencer), who said— Many landlords were ready to make abatement to the extent of from 25 to 30 per cent; hut they were discouraged in their intentions to adopt that considerate course. For his part, he felt hound to protest against the doctrine which he had heard from time to time that the landlords, as a class, were harsh to their tenants, and he could not for a moment believe that that allegation could he proved. Who was his other witness? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary himself, who said, in the debate on the Report of the Address, when he was not thinking of this Bill, that— He had no proof himself that there was any desire on the part of the landlords of Ireland to take advantage of the present distressed condition of the tenantry to enforce their rents; and he should deeply lament it if that should be the case. He should consider that harsh conduct on their part at any time, and more especially in a season of distress, like the present, would call for the moral reprobation of the people of these Islands. But he must beg the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O'Donnell), and those who sat with him, to remember the responsible position of the Executive Government. If the existing law were allowed to he disobeyed in one case, it would be disobeyed in many cases, if not in all. It was impossible, even for those who were very anxious to reform the laws, to allow them to he trampled under foot, and to be defied. An illustration was presented by the case of a process server, serving processes, under circumstances of which he knew nothing, who had been stopped and searched, and robbed of a number of processes, those for debt being ten times the number of those for rent. That showed that, if the Government were to allow the recovery for rent to be defied, it would soon he impossible to recover any debt at all. It was rather hard, in the face of that statement from the right hon. Gentleman, that these imputations should be cast upon the landlords. The increase in the number of eviction processes had been one of the results of the anti-rent agitation. At the last Spring Assizes two sets of prisoners in Mayo and Gal-way, who were found guilty by the jury of interfering with the service of the Queen's process, were recommended to mercy, not on the ground that their landlords were harsh, but because they had been misled by bad advice. The remedy of the Government for diminishing the number of process services, and getting rid of the expense of maintaining the police, was to prevent the landlords recovering their rent. It was said that the present law in Ireland was unfair, and favourable to the Irish landlords. He was glad of the opportunity of explaining, meeting, and refuting this statement. That was a most extraordinary statement. The right hon. Gentleman had said that that Act was passed behind the backs of the Irish people. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman had forgotten that that Act was passed in the year 1860 by a Cabinet of which he was a distinguished ornament. [Mr. GLADSTONE: I alluded to the Act which was passed in 1851.] That did not help the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman went back nine years, and said that that "peculiar" Act was passed in 1851. But that peculiar Act of 1851 was amended and consolidated in the year 1860, and the Act of 1851 was worked under the procedure established by the Act of 1860, which was passed by the right hon. Gentleman, and it was under that Act that these ejectments for non-payment of rent were established. Why had the right hon. Gentleman not done away with that peculiar Act, instead of amending and consolidating it? But the law of 1860 was not a peculiar law. It simplified and cheapened procedure, and saved money both to the landlord and the tenant. In particular, it saved the tenant from great cost, and simplified everything. It gave to the tenant this right—that in no circumstances could more than one year's rent be recovered by distress. There was also another advantage for the tenant. The tenant had the right given him, by a simple and summary process, of redeeming his farm within six months of being evicted. There was a summary remedy of a cheap character which might be resorted to at the cost of a few shillings or a few pounds. Within six months, by a summary application either in the County Courts or before a superior Judge, the tenant might, on payment of the rent and costs, get back full possession of his tenancy, and compel the landlord to account. But he believed that the great majority of landlords did not bring ejectments until considerably more than one year's rent was due. The vast majority of evictions were for more than one year; many of them were for two years', and many even for three years' arrears. Then they were told that the landlord must seize the tenant's goods instead of ejecting. That was the alternative which was offered. But there was nothing to seize. Then, again, it was said, Let the landlord sell the tenant's interest in his farm. But then the tenant would be in a worse position than ever. It was also urged that the landlord should exercise the same powers as were employed by English landlords. But he denied that they had those powers. In England the landlord could distrain for several years' rent; in Ireland he was limited to one year. And if the landlord served a notice of ejectment, although there might be three years' rent due, the tenant would at once claim the benefit of the disturbance clauses of the Land Act. How, then, could the landlord in Ireland be put in the same position as he occupied in England? No two cases could be more dissimilar. Then there was the right of redemption possessed in Ireland, which had been passed over in the debate, and under which the Bill could do a monstrous injustice. Suppose a tenant had been evicted after two years' arrears of rent had accumulated; the tenant might get compensation for disturbance, and say that the compensation had wiped out the arrears, and bid his landlord good morning. That was what would happen in case after case. He had supposed two years' rent due; but if there were three years' rent awarded as damages, and the tenant was then permitted to redeem, the landlord would have to leave the tenant in possession, and give him one year's rent. How was a landlord to disprove the statements made by a tenant, and how was a County Court Judge, who was not a witch, to find out that a tenant who said he was not able to pay was able to discharge the debt due to the landlord? Then it came to this—that a tenant who was unable to pay, or who said he was unable to pay, could state to his landlord—"Oh, you are very unreasonable if, when I am not paying you the rent I contracted to pay, you are not satisfied with my promise that I shall pay you a smaller rent in the future." Was it reasonable for a landlord to accept that? He must be satisfied with the promise. or be punished for being unreasonable. That was the meaning of what the Chief Secretary said. It seemed to him a startling proposition. If a tenant refused to pay now, and promised to pay a smaller rent in the future, it would be, under this Bill, unreasonable for the landlord to refuse to accept this promise. In otherwords—"Norentnow, and a promise to pay less rent at a future time." He utterly denied that the principle of this Bill was to be found in the Land Act of 1870. This Bill was a violation of the Land Act, its principle and its exceptions; and he might refer to the speeches of the then Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Chichester Fortescue) to show that ejectments for non-payment of rent were not disturbances under that Act, except in two cases—first, in old tenancies where there were arrears handed down from the Famine time; and, second, where certain lettings were made at exorbitant rent. How, then, could it be argued, on any wonderful Darwinian theory, that the germs of this Bill were contained in the Land Act? What had been dealt with by exception in the Land Act was the sole principle of that Bill, and that exception had been expressly introduced because it was stated that there had been an injustice in the landlords holding over stale demands and claiming exorbitant rents. What injustice could be suggested now against the landlords to warrant their being treated in the same way as the landlords who were open to those observations at the time of the passing of the Land Act? Then it was said that this measure was a small one, circumscribed both in time and in place, and that it would not do much harm. But its principle was large, its limitations were entirely illogical, and, like everything illogical, must sooner or later stand condemned. There was absolutely no consistent principle on which they could stop in such legislation short of this—that where one of two parties to a contract was innocently unable to perform his share of that contract, the other party should be obliged either to perform his share of it or to compensate him for his non-performance. That was a very strong proposition. The measure was said to be small; but was not that the history of the first introduction of all dangerous principles— were they not in the first instance always moderate? No wise advocate of such a principle would over present it at the beginning in its real proportions. It would be enough for him, partly by hiding in its details the true character of the measure, partly by fixing attention on the pressing necessity which was to be its excuse and justification, and, not least, by dwelling on the smallness of the effect to be accomplished by it, if he could induce men to admit, unconsciously it might be, the principle which was so important. Then, when the legislator of the day came to introduce the permanent measure which had been alluded to, the House would be startled when they recognized clearly its principle; but they would be told that their objection to it was too late, and that they had already admitted it. The leading journal, in writing on the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo, described it as a measure which involved in a few lines a scheme of the most dangerous confiscation. He must really borrow those words to describe the Bill now before the House. When the right hon. Gentleman came to understand and realize, as he probably now did, the true bearing and effect of his Bill, he could hardly envy his reflections. The right hon. Gentleman had unquestionably ruined, or, at all events, unquestionably he would ruin, hundreds of landlords. He would break up many of their homes, and reduce many of their families to great distress and suffering without in the slightest degree rendering their tenants more contented. He had lowered the value of landed property in Ireland as an investment by hundreds of thousands, and even by millions of pounds. He had made it hardly available at all as a security; and he had encouraged agitation, though, doubtless, unintentionally, yet not less certainly. That agitation might have abated with a favourable harvest and with returning prosperity; but the right hon. Gentleman had unquestionably given it a revival and a stimulus by adopting, possibly unwittingly, some of its principles, and one, at least of its measures. The agitators would, he thought, disregard the good advice and the cautious words which had been offered to them, and would concentrate their attention on the concessions they had obtained. He believed that those who were principally interested were, as he had said, the Irish landlords of the poorest districts. He hoped it was not too late to re-consider that measure. He admitted that the Government had a vast majority behind them; but surely they were numerous enough to be strong, and strong enough to be just. The Irish landlords, many of whom were constituents of his, had but few direct Representatives in that House. All they could hope for was that every Member in the House would, as far as he could, make their case his own; that they would consider their case with all the love of fair play which had ever characterized the British House of Commons. If they considered that case from the point of view he had suggested, he hoped they would refrain from giving a second reading to a Bill which was opposed to all the principles of sound legislation, and which would assuredly tend to the demoralization of the nation and the encouragement of a feeling opposed to honour, honesty, and justice.


Sir, I have no pretension and no desire, and I feel if I had a desire I have not the ability, to sum up this protracted debate, or even to follow the able speech which has just been delivered by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who is so well qualified to enter upon all the aspects of the question. But the House will, I think, allow me to say a few words, before they divide, in very brief explanation of the reasons which induce me to support the Bill. I think I need scarcely assure the House that I have no predisposition to support exceptional legislation as regards Irish land tenure, or any extension of the principles of the Irish Land Act without full and complete consideration. I believe I can appeal to hon. Members who sat in the last Parliament, whether in or out of the House I have said one word to encourage that agitation, and those proposals which I believe to be mischievous, which I think injurious to the true interests of the Irish tenantry, and to the Irish landlords. I can assure the House that nothing would induce me to support any proposals of this kind but the strong conviction which is entertained by the Irish Government, by those who are now responsible, as hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are not, for the peace of Ireland, that a measure of this sort is necessary. But I think I can show that this Bill can be justified, not only by the responsible authority of the Government, but by its own provisions and its own internal justice. The right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down rested for a long time, at the beginning of his speech, upon the circumstance that this measure was not brought forward by my right hon. Friend at the opening of the Session, but that it was delayed till the introduction of the Bill of the hon. Member for Mayo. Sir, my right hon. Friend and his Colleagues are not altogether, or solely, responsible for this, for they had not at the commencement of this Session, and could not have, entirely mastered the affairs of the country which they have to govern. Upon very short notice Her Majesty's Government has had to deal with some very difficult questions, and with a state of things of extreme complexity and difficulty in Ireland. A great part of this discussion has very naturally turned upon the Land Act of 1870. I have no intention of going into the discussion of that Act now. The right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down said he would urge nothing against that Act; but that course has not been taken by all who sit on the other side of the Table. What was the speech of the hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of the measure (Mr. Chaplin)? It was a denunciation of the main principle of the Act of 1870, and many hon. Members who have opposed the Bill have done so on the same ground as they did, or would, have opposed the Act of 1870. The speech of my hon. Friend was nothing but an assertion in most unqualified terms of the rights of landlords to the disposal of the soil, and to the disposal of the interest of all connected with the soil. In the opinion of my hon Friend, the privilege of occupying land is conferred solely by the landlord, and he admits no right but that of the landlord, while he holds that the right of the tenant to exist on the land is conferred solely by the landlord; and, therefore, in his opinion, any failure whatever to comply with the conditions upon which that privilege has been granted justly forfeits every claim which the tenant may be supposed to possess. Some Members, like the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Brand), and the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote), profess themselves favourable to the principles of the Land Act, but oppose this Bill as being a contravention of its principles. I, on the contrary, assert that, so far from being any contravention of the principles of that Act, this measure has been framed simply with the view of preventing the objects of that Act from being defeated. The Land Act is upon its trial; and I have often said on previous occasions that I thought the time had arrived, or would soon arrive, when its results could be ascertained, and that Parliament could form an opinion as to how far its objects had been accomplished. Whatever those results may have been, all I can say is that I believe that the intention of that measure was just and equitable; it being to compel the small minority of Irish landlords to deal out some small measure of that justice to their tenants that the majority of landlords in that country did. Its intention, also, was to give the whole of the Irish tenantry the security—and the sense of security—which the great majority of them already enjoyed, and not only to give it to them practically, but to make them feel that they possessed it. I believe that that object was a just, and equitable, and a worthy object. How far that object has been accomplished, how far it has failed, and how far such failure is due to any defects in that Act, I am not going to say at the present moment. But I may say that I do not think that the measure has had fair play from any party in Ireland. It has been exposed, on the one hand, to attacks from those who object to its objects, and who have sought to evade its provisions; while, on the other hand, it has never conciliated, and it was never intended to conciliate, the extreme advocates of tenant right, or those who have exhorted the Irish tenantry to be satisfied with nothing less than the virtual possession of the soil. I will admit at once that much has occurred lately in Ireland that will not inspire Parliament with any strong desire to proceed much further in the direction of exceptional legislation, or in departing still more from the strictest principles of political economy. Neither can I anticipate what the results of the inquiry into the working of the Statute may be—whether it may show the necessity of extending or restricting the operation of the Act. The duty of a Government, at the present moment, pending the full consideration of the subject by Parliament, is to prevent, so far as possible, the intention and object of the Act from being defeated by exceptional circumstances which could not possibly be foreseen. It cannot be denied that exceptional circumstances do exist, which have enabled landlords, who have been so disposed, to defeat the main object and purpose of the Act. The principal object of the Act was, as I have already stated, to give security to the tenant, subject, of course, to the payment by him of reasonable rent; but the bad harvests which have prevailed in this country, and still more so in Ireland, have rendered the payment of a reasonable rent in that country an impossibility. Almost all over England the landlords have most willingly submitted to a reduction of rent; but the bad harvests, which in England have produced partial failure of the crops, have in Ireland produced an almost total failure. In some parts of Ireland the impoverished circumstances of the tenant have placed in the hands of the landlord a weapon which the Government never contemplated, and which has enabled the landlord, at a sacrifice of a half or a quarter of a year's rent, to clear his estate of hundreds of tenants, whom, in ordinary circumstances, he would not have been able to remove, except upon payment of a heavy pecuniary fine. I ask whether that is not a weapon calculated to enable landlords absolutely to defeat the main purposes of the Act? Supposing a landlord wished to clear his estate of a number of small tenants, he knows that this is the time to do it; and if he should lose this opportunity, he can never have it again without a great pecuniary sacrifice. Therefore, the exceptional circumstances of the times have placed in the hands of bad landlords in Ireland—and such there are—a power which will enable them absolutely to defeat the purposes of the Land Act of 1870. Well, J Sir, that is the main object which the present Bill is intended to meet. The Bill has, it is true, a further object, subsidiary to that which I have stated. Its further object is to compel a hard landlord, if he be forced to proceed to the extreme measure of eviction for the purpose of recovering rent, to use some of that moderation and patience which the great majority of landlords do extend to tenants under such circumstances; and if extreme measures are resorted to, to force him to mitigate the severity to the tenant by those means which are well known on every estate in Ireland where a small tenantry exists. If it can be shown in Committee that the provisions of the Bill go further than is necessary for securing those objects, I believe my right hon. Friend will be ready to consider any Amendment which may be proposed in that sense. But I believe the provisions of the Bill are adequate, and not more than adequate, for the accomplishment of the objects I have stated. The right hon. and learned Gentleman who last spoke attempted to show at great length that the passing of this Bill will lead to a general refusal to pay rent. I do not think, however, that a careful examination of the provisions of the Bill will lead to any such conclusions. What are the grounds for such an assertion? The landlord is left in possession of every power which he ever possessed, including the power of eviction for non-payment of rent, which was given him by the Acts of 1851 and 1860. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote) is entirely in error in supposing that the landlord will be deprived of the power of eviction for non-payment of rent. My hon. and gallant Friend seems to suppose that the landlord will have to go to a Court before he can resort to that remedy. In point of fact, the landlord may use his power of eviction against the tenant; but the tenant will subsequently be able to take the landlord into Court. I say, then, that the landlord is left in possession of every power which any Act of Parliament has ever given him. This Act enables the tenant to make a claim. The Bill provides that in order to make the claim, and to get anything under that claim, the tenant must prove his claim to the satisfaction of the Judge. It is not sufficient to make the claim—he is not judge of his own case—but he must prove his case to the satisfaction of the Court or Judge. The more you look at the provisions of the Bill you will see that it is for the tenant to bring the landlord into Court; but if the landlord can show that he has been actuated by one particle of moderation and forbearance towards the tenant—such as every good landlord exercises—then the case of the tenant fails. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has stated that he did not believe that the provisions of the Act would sufficiently protect landlords interests. I am disposed to think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is in error; but, at all events, I have not the slightest doubt that my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary will be willing to make that perfectly clear in Committee. We are told that there will be a general refusal to pay rent in consequence of this Bill. What a monstrous supposition that is. Is it to be supposed that the tenantry of Ireland, whose one great desire is, as everybody knows, to remain in possession of their holdings, are going to refuse to pay rent, and run the risk of eviction, on the chance of being able to prove, to the satisfaction of the Judge, a case against their landlords? That supposition appears to me to be monstrous. I put aside the allegations, so freely made tonight, that the Irish tenants are unwilling to pay their rents. I believe the contrary to be the fact; and most of the Irish landlords will bear witness that rents, even without the pressure of penalty or proceedings, are as well paid in ordinarily prosperous times as they are in England or Scotland. But, supposing that the tenants are really as unwilling to pay their rents as they are said to be, I say it is perfectly idle to suppose that they will run the tremendous risk of eviction from the holdings which it is their chief desire to occupy, upon the more chance of being compensated. We are told also that the County Court Judges, who are to hear these cases, are likely to be prejudiced in favour of the tenants, and that they will not arrive at a just decision in these cases. That is a very serious and unfounded allegation against those who have to administer justice in Ireland. So far as I know, that assertion has not been supported by one particle of proof. Now, who are the County Court Judges, and the Chairmen of Sessions, who are to hear these cases? They are learned gentlemen engaged in the administration of justice in Ireland, who have practised in the high Courts of Law, and who are acquainted with the principles of justice and the rules of evidence. They are gentlemen who are engaged, to a very great extent, in the administration of the Criminal Law in Ireland. On what does the security of property and order in Ireland rest, if not on the impartiality and ability of the Judges who administer the law? And how can it be supposed that the people of Ireland will respect the administration of the Criminal Law if you come forward in Parliament and tell us that the barristers who have been selected for the administration of the Civil and Criminal Law are men upon whose impartiality you cannot rely, and whose justice and ability you distrust? It is useless to deny, as has been pointed out by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary, that in many parts of Ireland the administration of the law of property depends, in a very great degree, upon the employment of force. My right hon. Friend described the number of police, sometimes supported by the military, which it is necessary to employ in aid of those engaged in process serving, or in carrying out evictions in Ireland. When the employment of force is necessary it is impossible for a Government to perfectly divest itself of all discretion. During my official connection with Ireland the Government had to exercise its discretion. I admit that in the face of a dangerous agitation, such as that which has, in my opinion, prevailed for some time past in Ireland, it is necessary for the law to be carried out by the Executive with more than usual firmness. It is desirable, however, that the administration of the Executive Government should be limited as much as possible, and that the discretion of the Executive should be controlled as far as may be by the intervention of the Courts of Law. My right hon. Friend has said that he is prepared to carry the law into execution; but it is impossible for any Government to carry out the law, unless it is satisfied that it is acting in obedience not only to law, but to justice and right; and it is in order that the Executive Government may have that conviction that my right hon. Friend is asking you to pass this Bill. I will not deny what has been asserted so frequently by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that the introduction of the measure has caused in Ire- land considerable panic and alarm. A great many of the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite have dwelt upon this topic, and letters of a most alarming description have been read; but it is difficult indeed to know how much authority ought to be attached to letters of that sort. Still, I will not deny the existence of a very considerable feeling of alarm. The question, however, is not whether the alarm exists, but whether it is reasonable or not. I think we have shown that it is, to a great extent, an exaggerated alarm; and we must remember that the people of Ireland are an excitable people, and that this excitability is not confined to the lower class of the tenants. At all events, those who are spreading this cry of alarm and panic to the utmost of their power are doing all that they can to bring about the fulfilment of their own predictions. If you insist that this Bill is a Bill to suspend payment for rent— which I have endeavoured to show it is far from being—if you insist upon telling the tenants that Parliament and the Government do not desire that they should pay any rent for the next two years—can you be very much surprised if the tenants believe it? It is quite possible that an alarm such as has been described may exist. There are circumstances in which two violent and opposing parties, acting from different motives, neither of them possessing the power to carry into execution their own opinions, nevertheless combine together to produce such a state of things as realize all the worst expectations formed of the policy of the other by either Party. There seems to me to be much apprehension that such a state of things exists at present in Ireland. Both agitators and landlords are combining together to produce a state of distrust, agitation, and want of confidence. I see no remedy for such a state of things unless Parliament will prove to the people of Ireland that it has more confidence than seems to be possessed by the Leaders of either Party in the honesty of the Irish tenantry, in the impartial administration of justice, and in the firmness of the Executive Government.


Sir, I shall not stand many minutes between this House and the division; indeed, after the very powerful and able speech of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson), I should scarcely have thought it necessary to say anything at all if it had not been for some concluding observations of the noble Lord. The noble Lord complains that this Bill, and the Government in respect of the Bill, are in the unhappy position of being misunderstood. He argues very strongly that we, who are misrepresenting the character of the Bill, are, to a great extent, responsible for the alarm which it may occasion. I wish to say that if this Bill and the intentions of the Government really are misunderstood, it is they who have to thank themselves for it. But although I am bound to say that I consider the Bill in itself to be objectionable, what is far more objectionable, in my opinion, is the manner in which it has been brought forward, and the arguments which have been used to support it. For there are two ways in which you may look at it, and two grounds upon which a measure of this kind may be defended. First, on the ground that the Land Act of 1870 requires amendment. If it could have been shown upon a calm investigation, and by evidence which would carry with it a certain amount of weight, that the Act of 1870 was defective, that might have led to the production of a measure of a permanent character, which would have effected an amendment of the Act, which has been in existence during the last ten years. But that has not been the ground taken. It has been put forward very prominently by the Chief Secretary, by the Prime Minister, and now by the noble Lord, that it is necessary to pass a Bill of this sort in heat and haste in order to avoid breaches of the peace. They say that it is necessary for the maintenance of order to avoid what has been called a local civil war, to prevent the break down altogether of the system of law in Ireland that we should give way to an agitation which threatens to be formidable. Now, I venture to say that is about the most dangerous argument that could be pressed upon us. When we are told that this is a small measure, and that it will have no very mischievous consequences, I say that, brought forward as it has been and justified as it has been, it contains the seeds of the very gravest danger. The noble Lord does not suppose that the passing of such a Bill will lead Irish tenants to repudiate the payment of their rents. But, if it is understood by Irish tenants and agitators that by agitating enough, and resisting the payment of rent, they will induce the Government of the day to come forward and make concessions, nothing is more likely than that they will do so. When the right hon. Gentleman speaks of the Bill as limited in point of time and area, how can he possibly say—"Up to this line the tenant shall be entitled to compensation for disturbance, though ejected for non-payment of rent, and beyond this line he shall not have that privilege?" The right hon. Gentleman, when describing the condition of the Ulster district and the district adjoining, made use of that argument. He pointed out that such a distinction would be most arbitrary, and would not give satisfaction. I say precisely the same as to the distinction which the Bill draws between scheduled and non-scheduled districts. It could not be maintained. And so with regard to the limit of time. There will always be a time when some men will not be in a position, from circumstances over which they have no control, to pay their rent; and they would say, according to the principle embodied in your legislation of 1880—"You ought to give us the advantage of that legislation."These arguments will not bear examination; and if this measure had not been suddenly taken up, following the leading of the hon. Member for Mayo, and in consequence of a fear of agitation in Ireland, we never should have had such arguments presented to us. If this measure is required it ought to have been established on careful and full consideration. For remember with what a delicate subject you are dealing. The noble Lord says, one great object of the Land Act was to establish confidence in the mind of the tenant. Is it not necessary that there should also be confidence in the minds of the landlords'? In a country that wants capital, confidence is required to enable capital to be introduced into it. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke of observations that were made with regard to solicitors advising their clients not to advance money on Irish estates, and he says that has always been the case, except during the last few years. But why does he except the last few years? I will tell him. There has, I believe, been growing up of late a greater amount of confidence in the value of Irish property. It has been thought that the Land Act of 1870 was valuable as a settlement. But now you are going to disturb that settlement, and the consequence will be that you will shock confidence; and let me add that that shock will be doubly serious if it be announced that the ground on which the Act is not to be maintained is, lest its maintenance should lead to disturbance and confusion in the country. We may hereafter have discussions more in detail, for it is thrown out, after all, that this measure has not been so seriously considered as, in some parts, it ought to have been. But the question before us now is a question of principle, on which the House ought not to shrink from pronouncing its opinion.


Sir, I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the House ought not to fear to pronounce an opinion, notwithstanding the alarming representations that have been made—representations which appear to me to be exaggerated beyond anything I have ever heard in this House, and which are calculated to alarm capitalists likely to invest money in Ireland. I have had to do with the lending and the borrowing of money, and I have discovered that when a borrower goes to a lender, the lender is very ready to believe him when he speaks of his own insolvency, but rather doubtful whether he should give him full credit when he speaks of his solvency. When these statements are made that different societies are unwilling to lend money in Ireland, they must be coupled with the exaggerated statements made as to the effects of this Bill. I should be quite content to let the case depend upon the speeches of the Prime Minister and the noble Lord who has been Chief Secretary for Ireland, and who, therefore, knows something by experience of Irish affairs, were it not for the special reference which the right hon. Gentleman made to myself. His opposition to the Bill was of a very different character from that of the late Attorney General for Ireland. He said it was not so much the Bill which he objected to as the arguments in support of it. He put into my mouth an argument I never used, and which I never should use. I never said—and no Member of the Government has said—that we brought forward this Bill because we could not keep the peace of the country without it. We know it is our duty to beep the peace of the country. We know we must make the law obeyed. We are determined to do our utmost towards attaining that end. As far as my experience has gone I have succeeded in getting process serving conducted with less resistance than previously, because I have sent a large force with the process servers, showing that we are determined that the law shall be obeyed. It is not that we want this amendment of the law in order to make the law obeyed in Ireland; the whole power of this country is behind us in doing that; but it is because we wish to be able to enforce that law, and to use that tremendous power, perhaps, at the cost of life, with, as I said before, a good conscience, and with the knowledge that we have done what we could to make the enforcement equitable and just. It is because we believe that if we did not make this amendment of the law we should have to enforce that which would not be altogether just that we have introduced this Bill. What is the real question on which we are about to divide? It is this—whether we shall so amend the Land Act of 1870 as to pre-vent its letter being vised in defeat of its spirit, and to frustrate its object. That is really the question before us. We find the tenants with an interest in their holdings acknowledged by the law. The tenants cling to their proprietary rights with tenacity. A great calamity has occurred, and by the law, as it stands, landlords might take advantage of that calamity to deprive the tenants of their rights. The great majority of the landlords would scorn to do so, but some might do so; and when the Government bring their forces to support the landlords in their just rights, they should take care that in doing so they were not enforcing the unjust claims of a few exacting landlords. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the late Attorney General for Ireland said that the safeguards in the Bill were worthless, and he named them, stating that they were merely so much set-off against the damage. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman must be aware that there can be no disturbance at all until all these conditions were fulfilled. It is not a question of set-off or diminution of compensation. It is a question whether any compensation whatever should be given. Then as to the word reasonable. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that word was used by the supporters of the anti-rent agitation; but they demand that the tenant should judge what is reasonable, while in this case it would be decided by the County Court Judge. The right hon. and learned Gentleman warned the House that the passing of the Bill would cause ruin to hundreds of landlords. I am perfectly confident, and I am fortified in that confidence by legal Gentlemen of as much knowledge, ability, experience and learning as the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, and by many Irish landlords also, that that fear is groundless. Then, again, we are told that the Bill is a mere sop. There are two ways of dealing with an agitation. You may say that the claims of agitators shall not be considered, whether they be just or not, and by so doing you may give them a power which they would not otherwise have. But is that the way in which to deal with the people of a free country having a representative Government? Is not our duty rather to find whether the agitators have any grounds for their complaints, and if they have, to remove such grounds? The noble Lord the Member for Woodstock said that he supposed the Bill had been introduced to oil the machinery of Parliament, and to remove Parliamentary obstructions; and, further, that he had for more than eight weeks been considering the question of distress in Ireland; but does the noble Lord think so badly of those who sit on this Bench as to think that in the present state of difficulty and distress in Ireland we should bring in a Bill of this kind for the mere purpose of removing or preventing obstruction? The Government has a large majority, quite apart from the assistance of the hon. Members for Cork and Mayo; but these Gentlemen who have a right to speak on behalf of the districts and the counties which they represent. It is on account, not of Parliamentary, but of administrative, difficulty, that this Bill has been introduced. This Bill is, in fact, an administrative act, temporary in form, and limited in area. We know that we could carry on the government of Ireland without it; but we think it is necessary as an act of justice. A right hon. Gentleman opposite, the other night, said this Bill was the offspring of pity and fear. I do not know that pity has very much to do with it and fear would be but a blind guide for legislation, especially for Ireland as she now is. Fear of what? Fear of hon. Gentlemen who sit on those Benches? We have no reason to fear them. But I acknowledge that the Bill is, in one sense, the offspring of fear—the fear that we, the Government of this great country, with all the force of this great country behind us, may be using that force against the miserable small cottier tenants of Ireland when, to some extent, they may have a just and true right to say that they are treated with injustice, and that is a fear which is a terror to me, and which makes me appeal to this House to take care that injustice shall not be done.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 295; Noes 217: Majority 78.

Acland, Sir T. D. Campbell, R. F. F,
Adam, rt. hon. W. P. Campbell- Bannerman, H.
Ainaworth, D. Carbutt, E. H.
Allen, H. G-. Carington, hon. R.
Allen, W. S. Causton, R. K.
Amory, Sir J. H. Cavendish, Lord F. C.
Anderson, G. Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.
Armitstead, G. Chambers, Sir T.
Arnold, A. Chootham, J. F.
Ashley, hon. E. M. Childers,rt.hn.H.C.E.
Balfour,T. S. Chitty, J. W.
Barclay, J. W. Clarke, J. C.
Baring, Viscount Cohen, A.
Barran, J. Collins, E.
Barry, J, Colthurst, Col. D. la T.
Bass, A. Commins, A.
Baxter, rt. hon. W. E. Corbet, W.,T.
Biggar, J. G. Corbett, J.
Blake, J. A. Cotes, C. C.
Blennerhassett, R. P. C'ourtauld, G.
Bolton,T. C. Courtney, L. H.
Borlase, W. C. Cowan, J.
Bradlaugh, C. Cowper, hon. H. F.
Brassey, H. A. Craig, W. Y.
Brassey, T. Creyke, R.
Briggs, W. E. Cross, J. K.
Bright, J. (Manchester) Cunliffe, Sir R. A.
Bright, rt. hon.,T. Currie, D.
Broadhurst, H Daly,T.
Brooks, M. Davey, H.
Bruce, rt. hon. Lord C. Davies, W.
Bruce, hon. R. P. Dawson, C.
Bryce, J. Dilke, A. W.
Burt, T, Dilke, Sir C. W.
Buszard, M. C. Dillwyn, L. L.
Butt, C. P. Dodds, J.
Byrne, G. M. Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.
Caine, W. S. Duckham, T.
Callan, P. Duff, rt. hon. M. E. G.
Cameron, C. Earp, T.
Campbell, Sir G. Edwards, P.
Egerton, Adm. hon. P. Leahy, J.
Eriington, G. Leake, R.
Fairbairn, Sir A. Leamy, E.
Farquharson, Dr. R. Leatham, E. A.
Fawcett, rt. hon. H. Leatham, W.
Fay, C. J. Lee, H.
Findlater, W. Leeman, J. J.
Finigan, J. L. Lefevre, G. J. S.
Firth, J. F. B. Litton, E. F.
Flower, C. Lloyd, M.
Foley, J. W. Lubbock, Sir J.
Foljambe, C. G. S. Lyons, R. D.
Foljambe, F. J. S. Macdonald, A.
Forster, Sir C. Macfarlane, D. H.
Forster, rt. hon. W F. Mackie, R. B.
Fort, R. Mackintosh, C. F.
Fry, L. M'Carthy, J.
Fry, T. M'Clure, Sir T.
Gabbett, D. F. M'Coan, J. C.
Gill, H. J. M'Intyro, E. J.
Givan, J. M'Kenna, Sir J. N.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. M'Lagan, P.
Gladstone, H. J. M'Laren, C. B. B.
Gladstone, W. H. M'Laren, D.
Gordon, Sir A. M'Minnies, J. G.
Gourley, E. T. Magniae, C.
Gower, hon. E. F. L. Maitland, W. F.
Grant, A. Mappin, F. T.
Grant, D. Marjoribanks, Sir D.
Grenfell, W. H. Marjoribanks, E.
Gurdon, R. T. Marriott, W. T.
Hamilton, J. G. C. Martin, P.
Harcourt, rt. hon. Sir W. G. V. V. Marum, E. M.
Mason, H.
Hartington, Marq. of Massey, rt. hon. W. N.
Hastings, G. W. Maxwell, J. H. M.
Havelock-Allan, Sir H. Metge, R. H.
Hayter, Sir A. D. Middleton, R. T.
Henderson, F. Milbank, F. A.
Heneage, E. Molloy, B. C.
Henry, M. Moore, A.
Herschell, Sir F. Morgan, rt. hn. G. O.
Hibbert, J. T. Morley, A.
Hill, T. R. Morley, S.
Holland, S. Mundella, rt. hn. A. J.
Hollond, J. R. Nelson, I.
Holms, J. Nicholson, W.
Holms, W. Noel, E.
Hopwood, C. H. Nolan, Major J. P.
Howard, E. S. O'Beirne, Major F.
Howard, J. O'Brien, Sir P.
Hughes, W. B. O'Connor, A.
Hutchinson, J. D. O'Connor, T. P.
Illingworth, A. O'Conor, D. M.
Inderwick, F. A. O'Donnell, F. H.
Ingram, W. J. O'Donoghue, The
Jackson, Sir H. M. O'Gorman Mahon, Col,
James, C. The
James, Sir H. O'Kelly, J.
James, W. H. O'Shaughnessv, R.
Jenkins, D. J. O'Shea, W. H.
Johnson, E. Otway, A. J.
Johnson, W. M. Paget, T. T.
Joicey, Colonel J. Palmer, C. M.
Kinnear, J. Palmer, G.
Labouchere, II. Palmer, J. II.
Laing, S. Parker, C. S.
Law, rt. hon. H. Parnell, C. S.
Lawrence, Sir J. C. Pease, A.
Lawrence, W. Pease, J. W.
Lawson, Sir W. Peddie, J. D.
Laycock, R. Peel, A. W.
Lea, T. Pender, J.
Pennington, F. Stewart, J.
Playfair,rt.hon. L. Story-Maskelyne, M. H.
Powell, W. R. H. Stuart, H. V.
Power, J. O'C. Sullivan, A. M.
Power, R. Sullivan, T.
Price, Sir R. G. Summers, W.
Pugh, L. P. Synan, E. J.
Pulley, J. Taylor, P. A.
Ralli, P. Tennant, C.
Ramsay, J. Thomasson, J. P.
Ramsay, Lord Thompson, T. C.
Redmond, W. A. Tillett, J. H.
Reed, E. J. Tracy, hon. F. S. A. Hanbury-
Reid, R, T.
Rendel, S. Trevelyan, G. O.
Richard, H. Vivian, A. P.
Roberts, J. Vivian, II. H.
Rogers,T. E. T. Waterlow, Sir S.
Roundell, C. S. Webster, Dr. J.
Russell, C. Wedderburn, Sir D.
Russell, G. W. E. Whalley, Capt. G. H.
Russell, Lord A. Whitbread, S.
Rylands, P. Whitwell, J.
Samuelson, B. Whitworth, B.
Samuelson, H. Wiggin, H.
Seely, C. (Nottingham) Williams, S. C. E.
Sheridan, H. B. Williamson, S.
Shield, H. Willis, W.
Simon, Serjeant J. Wills, W. H.
Slagg, J. Wilson, I.
Smith, E. Wodehouse, E. R.
Smithwick, J. F. Woolf, S.
Smyth, P. J.
Spencer, hon. C. R. TELLERS.
Stanley, hon. E. L. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Stansfeld, rt. hon. J. Kensington, Lord
Stanton, W. J.
Alexander, Colonel C. Cartwright, W. C.
Amherst, W. A. T. Castlereagh, Viscount
Archdale, W. H. Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Chaplin, H.
Aylmer, Gapt. J. E. F. Christie, W. L.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Churchill, Lord R.
Balfour, A. J. Clive, Col. hon. G. W.
Baring, T. O. Coddington, W.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Cole, Viscount
Bateson, Sir T. Coopo, O. E.
Beach,rt.hon. Sir M. H. Corry, J. P.
Beach, W. W. B. Crompton-Roberts, C.
Bective, Earl of Cross, rt. hn. Sir R. A.
Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C. Cubitt, right hon. G.
Bentinck. G, W. P. Davenport, H. T.
Beresford, G. De la P. Dawnay, Col. hn. L. P.
Birkheck, E. De Worms, Baron H.
Blackburne, Col. J. I. Dickson, Major A. G.
Boord, T. W. Digby, Col. hon. E.
Bourke, rt. hon. R. Douglas, A. Akers-
Brise, Colonel R. Dundas, hon. J. C.
Broadley, W. H. H. Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W. H.
Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Egerton, hon. W.
Brooks, W. C. Elcho, Lord
Bruce, Sir H. H. Elliot, G. W.
Brymer, W. E. Estcourt, G. S.
Burghley, Lord Ewart, W.
Burnahy, Gen. E. S. Ewing, A. O.
Buxton, Sir R. J. Feilden, Major- General R. J.
Cameron, D.
Campbell, J. A. Fellowos, W. H.
Carden, Sir R. W. Fenwick-Bisset, M.
Filmer, Sir E. Master, T. W. C.
Finch, G. H. Maxwell, Sir H. E.
Fitzpatrick, hn. B.E.B. Miles, Sir P. J. W.
Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. Mills, Sir C. H.
Fitzwilliam,hn. H. W. Moreton, Lord
Fitzwilliam, hn. W. J. Morgan, hon. F.
Fletcher, Sir H. Moss, R.
Floyer, J. Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.
Folkestone, Viscount
Forester, C. T. W. Mulholland, J.
Foster, W. H. Murray, C. J.
Fowler, R. N. Newport, Viscount
Fremantle, hon. T. F. Nicholson, W. N.
Galway, Viscount Noel, rt. hon. G. J.
Garfit, T. Northcote, H. S.
Gardner, R. Richard-son- Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S.
Norwood, C. M.
Garnier, J. C. Onslow, D.
Gibson, rt. hon. E. Paget, R. H.
Giffard, Sir H. S. Palliser, Sir W.
Goldney, Sir G. Patrick, R. W. C.
Gooch, Sir D. Peek, Sir H.
Gore-Langton, W. S. Pell, A.
Greer, T. Pemberton, E. L.
Gregory, G. B. Percy, Earl
Grey, A. H. G. Phipps, C. N. P.
Guest, M. J. Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.
Hall, A. W. Portman, hn. W. H. B.
Halsey, T. F. Price, Captain G. E.
Hamilton, I. T. Puleston, J. H.
Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. Ramsden, Sir J.
Rankin, J.
Harcourt, E. W. Rendlesham, Lord
Harvey, Sir It. B. Repton, G. W.
Helmsley, Viscount Ridlev, Sir M. W.
Herbert, hon. S. Ritchie, C. T.
Hicks, E. Rodwell, B. B. H.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Rolls, J. A.
Hill, Lord A. W. Ross, A. H.
Hinchingbrook, Vise. Rothschild, Sir N.M.de
Holland, Sir H. T. Round, J.
Hope, rt. hn. A. J. B. B. Russell, Sir C.
Jackson, W. L. St. Aubyn, W. M.
Johnstone, Sir F. Sandon, Viscount
Johnstone, Sir H. Schreiber, C.
Kennard, Col. E. H. Sclater-Booth, rt.hn. G.
Kennaway, Sir J. H. Scott, Lord H.
Kingscote, Col. It. N. F. Scott, M. D.
Knightley, Sir R. Seely, C. (Lincoln)
Knowles, T. Selwin - Ibbetson, Sir H.J.
Lambton, hon. F. W.
Lawley, hon. B. Severne, J. E.
Lawrance, J. C. Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.
Lawrence, Sir T. Smith, A.
Lee, Major V. Smith, rt. hon. W. H.
Legh, W. J. Stanhope, hon. E.
Leigh, R. Stewart, M. J.
Leighton, Sir B. Storer, G.
Leighton, S. Sykes, G.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Talbot, C. R. M.
Lewis, C. E. Talbot, J. G.
Lewisham, Viscount Taylor, rt.hn. Col. T.E.
Lindsay, Col. R. L. Thomson, H.
Loder, R. Thornhill, T.
Long, W. H. Thynne, Lord H. F.
Lowther, hon. W. Tollemache.hon.W.F.
Lymington, Viscount Tottenham, A. L.
Macartney, J. W. E. Wallace, Sir R.
Macnaghten, E. Walpole, rt. hon. S.
M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J. Walrond, Col. W. H.
Makins, Colonel Warburton, P. E.
Manners,rt.hon. Lord J. Warton, C. N.
March, Earl of Watney, J.
Welby-Gregory, Sir W. Wyndham, hon. P.
Whitley, E. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Williams, O. L. C. Yorke, J.R.
Willyams, E. W. B.
Wilmot, Sir H. TELLERS.
Wolff, Sir H. D. Crichton, Viscount
Wortley, C. B. Stuart- Winn, E.
Wroughton, P.

Bill read a second time, and committedfor Thursday.

Main Question put, and agreed to.