§ (Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Forster, Mr. Bright, Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland.)
§ COMMITTEE. [SECOND NIGHT.]
§ [Progress 26th May.]
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ PART I.
§ ORDINARY CONDITIONS OF TENANCIES.
§ Clause 1 (Sale of tenancies).
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
said, he rose to move the Amendment which stood first on the Paper—namely, the postponement of the 1st clause until after the consideration of Clauses 31 to 43, which dealt with the Court and Land Commission. In moving this Amendment, he desired to take the first opportunity of assuring Her Majesty's Government that he did not do so in any dilatory spirit. He felt that, for every reason, it was the duty of those who sat on that (the Ministerial) side of the 1465 House to do everything they could to contribute towards the early discussion and settlement of what they must all feel was a most arduous and a most difficult question; and he also felt, and felt most deeply, that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government had, for many reasons which he need not mention, because they were perfectly well known, a claim upon the attention and patience of the House which everybody, at any rate on that side and, he believed also, on the other side, of the House, would be very unwilling to deny. Probably no more difficult task had ever been undertaken by any Government; and he, for one, would do nothing that could retard Progress. He should be able to show to the Committee that if Her Majesty's Government would adopt the Amendment he was moving, they would be in a far more favourable position for getting the clauses through than would otherwise be the case. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had said—and had said with great truth, as it had appeared to him (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice)—that the Court and Land Commission were the core of the measure. To quote from a recently-published volume of Hansard, the words the Prime Minister used were these—Now, Sir, I come to the great question which I think must constitute the salient point and the cardinal principle of the Bill, the institution of a Court which is to take cognizance of rent, and which, in taking cognizance of rent, will also, according to the provisions of the Bill, not be debarred from taking cognizance of tenure and assignment."—[3 Hansard, cclx. 904.]He thought that elsewhere in his speech the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the Court as the "core" of the Bill. He said—We have accordingly made the entrance into Court an essential part of the Bill; indeed, it is the very core and centre of the measure we now submit".—[Ibid., 923.]He had observed, and he thought other Members had also observed, that it was now the practice of the draftsman, in drafting important Bills, to place in the forefront of the battle, as it were, the main or principal clause of a Bill, so that what might be said to be the principle of the measure—the "salient point" and "cardinal principle"—and the "core and centre" of the measure—might be discussed and settled as 1466 soon as possible. Accepting, as he did, from the Prime Minister that the Court and Land Commission was in reality the "core and centre" of this Bill, it appeared to him that it would have been well if the draftsman, following the modern practice, had placed the Court and the Land Commission first in the Bill. No one could have followed the interesting discussions they had had on the second reading without becoming aware that the Court, both in regard to procedure and the persons who were to constitute it, was a question of very grave doubt and anxiety to many hon. Members, even to those who were amongst the most cordial supporters of the Bill. There was a tolerably general agreement, coupled, no doubt, with a difference as to details, with regard to what might be called the main outlines of the duties which were to be conferred on the Court; but there was no such agreement as to what the Court was to be, and he could not help feeling that the discussion of the first 30 clauses of the Bill would be very much coloured in Committee, as it had been on the second reading, by the idea which hon. Members might have formed to themselves of what the Land Court was to be. There were many proposals which hon. Members would be willing to accept, if the Land Court were to be constituted in a certain manner, which they would not accept for a moment if it were differently constituted. For example, they had all heard the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leitrim. (Mr. Tottenham). He had a great and holy horror of the lawyer, and seemed to be exceedingly anxious, as far as possible, to withdraw questions under the Bill from the cognizance of the lawyers, and to trust them rather to agricultural experts. Then there was the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the County of Antrim (Mr. Macnaghten), in which he disclosed a plan of his own for the appointment of certain roving Commissioners in each of the four great Provinces of Ireland. There was, also, an important Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for the County of Kerry (Mr. Blennerhassett), and another in the name of the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage). All these were Amendments to be moved by Gentlemen possessing either considerable knowledge 1467 of Ireland or a very great knowledge of agricultural questions, and sometimes of both. He had every reason to believe that other Amendments had been, or were about to be, placed on the Paper in regard to such questions, so that it was perfectly clear that if they entered on the discussion of the first 18 clauses of the Bill without settling what the Land Court on which they were to confer all these delicate, difficult, and arduous duties was to be, they would be more or less legislating in the dark. He had, on the other hand, been told that it was absurd to constitute a Court before they had ascertained what the duties of that Court were to be; but his reply to that was a very simple one. It was, as he had said just now, that there was, on the whole, a tolerable general agreement as to the main duties and outline of what the work of the Court was to be; therefore, if they discussed the constitution of the Court first, they would not be discussing the question of the duties of the Court in the dark in the same manner that they would be discussing the constitution of the Court in the dark if they took first the question of what the duties of the Commissioners were to be. These seemed to him to be tolerably satisfactory reasons for the Amendment which he had placed on the Paper. He might just add, in case any objection was taken on what might be called technical grounds, that there were an abundance of precedents for the course he had suggested; but he had no wish to detain the Committee by stating them, unless an objection was taken. If Her Majesty's Government would take the course he proposed, they would materially facilitate the passing of their own Bill, and would take a course which would give very great satisfaction in Ireland, where a great number of persons viewed the question of the constitution of the Court, both in regard to the formation of it and also in regard to the persons who were to compose it, with the greatest anxiety. These persons would view the other clauses of the Bill from a much clearer standpoint if they knew exactly how they were situated in regard to the composition of the Court. If his Motion were agreed to, he should move, as a consequential Motion, the postponement of the subsequent clauses between Clause 1 and the beginning of Part VI., 1468 so as to take Part VI. before they approached any other matter.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Clause I be postponed till after the Consideration of Clauses 31 to 43 (Part VI. Court and Land Commission.)—(Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice.)
said, that, from a very different reason to that stated by the noble Lord, he rose to give a certain amount of qualified support to the proposal. He was totally opposed to the insertion of the 1st clause in the Bill, believing it to be worthless and even mischievous. If it were true that the Duke of Argyll had seceded from the Cabinet on account of this clause, he could only wonder why on earth he had taken the trouble to do so, because, though proposing to confer the right of free sale on the tenant, the clause really did nothing of the kind. It simply proposed to put on that right certain restrictions which did not exist under the present law. Nothing could be clearer in Common Law than that every man who had an interest in selling, whether it were hay, corn, or land, had the right of free sale. As to the interest of the tenant in the land, he would quote from the handbook of the Chairman of County Kilkenny, in which it was stated on pages 101 and 102—It may be stated that every person having a legal interest in land may assign it, and the right to assign it is legally vested in every lessee.He maintained that every tenant in Ireland had the right of free sale; but why could he not exercise that right? It was not because of the want of the one "F," but of the other two "F's"—
The Question before the Committee is simply the postponement of Clause 1. Clause 1 cannot be discussed until it is put as part of the Bill.
§ MR. HEALY
said, that if that was the case he should have to postpone his remarks; but he had been under the impression that he was at liberty to give his reasons for supporting the Motion for the postponement of the clause. His Opinion was that the clause should be held over, because it was utterly worthless. He saw the Prime Minister laugh. He was aware of the large amount of time and study and patience the Government had given to the measure—no one who had read the clauses could doubt 1469 that they had given an enormous amount of consideration to them. He freely and readily admitted it; but what he said was this—that the tenants of Ireland did not want free sale; but what they required were the other two "F's." The Prime Minister had said that the measure did not give all three "F's," and that was certainly true. The tenants of Ireland could not exercise free sale, because the landlord could prevent an outsider who had purchased a man's improvements from remaining on the land either by raising his rent or turning him out. The outgoing tenant's right to sell was undoubted; the incoming tenant's right to pay the other the money was undoubted; and if the Government wished to settle this matter, they must not restrict the undoubted rights which the parties possessed to buy and sell; but they must give the tenant two things, the absence of which at present enabled the landlord to encroach upon the right of free sale—namely, fixity of tenure and fair rent. It might be said that if the clause was struck out, if a man assigned his property, the incoming tenant could be turned out by the landlord; but such was not the case. If there was anything clear in law it was that there was an abstraction called a "tenancy" created by the letting of land. That abstraction—if the clause were struck out—as soon as the new tenant entered into possession, with or without the landlord's consent—as soon as he stood in the other man's shoes—gave him the right of his predecessor. The landlord could not come in and summarily turn him out. If he wished to remove the person, he would have to get an ejectment decree, as he would have been obliged to do if he had wished to proceed against the original tenant whilst in occupation. Therefore, he (Mr. Healy) contended that what was wanted was not an encroachment upon a man's present rights, but the conferring upon him of that which he did not possess already—namely, fixity of tenure and fair rent. He should like to put two or three questions to the Prime Minister, and he would do so, of course, subject to the Chairman's ruling.
The hon. Member will have an opportunity on Clause 1 of giving a full explanation of his views with regard to the provision. If he dislikes it when it is moved to stand part 1470 of the Bill, he can speak against it; but the question now before the Committee is simply whether Clause 1 shall be postponed until after some other clauses have been considered.
§ MR. P. MARTIN
considered that the Amendment was a most proper one, and, if adopted, would tend materially to facilitate the progress of the Bill. The noble Lord (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) asked the Committee to determine the constitution of the Court and Commission before they should be called on to discuss the powers and extent of the jurisdiction the Committee might be called on to vest in that body. As the noble Lord had very rightly said, the Court and Commissioners was the salient point and cardinal principle of the Bill. If a proper Commission and a proper Court were constituted, he thought, so far as he was acquainted with the matter, that the Irish Members and the Members of this Committee would be very likely to confer, freely and generously, all powers to give effect, practically, to the operations of the Commission. Let the Committee reflect on the nature, character, and jurisdiction of this Commission that the Government at present required them to constitute under the provisions of the Bill. It was a Commission wholly unknown heretofore to our law. It would be superior to every Court in Ireland, possessing powers greater than the Court of Appeal, greater than the Court of Queen's Bench, and possessing a jurisdiction never before exercised. In coming to consider the question whether they should decide this part of the Bill first, it was of the utmost importance that they should have these points clearly in view. The Court would have power to rescind and vary its orders. It would have power, in point of fact, over everything affecting the law of landlord and tenant. It would have the power of distributing millions of money, freed from all restraining or controlling powers. He would not go into the question of decisions as a Court of First Instance, as that would he rather entering into a discussion of the clauses; but he would confine himself solely to the question of the Commission. Seeing that it would have to consider matters touching the every-day life of 1471 landlord and tenant in Ireland, that it would be absolutely without control, and that the distribution of many millions of money would be handed over to it, they ought, he contended, to proceed, in the first place—before going further—to settle what was to be the character of the Court they were going to intrust with these powers. He could understand something being said against that course if this was a judicial tribunal governed by known usages and rules; but, unfortunately, as he said, this was a tribunal sui generis. Then, he might remind hon. Members who had taken the trouble up to the present to look through the Amendments on the Paper, in many instances their consideration must necessarily be much influenced and discussion prolonged if the Committee remained in doubt as to the character and constitution of the proposed tribunal. Let him take, by way of illustration, the Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. Charles Russell), which increased the powers of the Court in the 1st clause of the Bill. Well, if they had a satisfactory tribunal—one which the House and the people of Ireland could have confidence in—of course, they could fairly accede to all propositions of this kind. But it was said that the tribunal which was to exercise these enormous powers over so many millions of property was to be movable, at the option of the Government of the day. That was a singular feature in the Bill. The Court of Queen's Bench were to be prevented from exercising jurisdiction over the Commission, and the Land Court was to be constituted solely at the pleasure of Her Majesty, and, consequently, removable by the Government for the time being. Under these circumstances, when they saw what were the final intentions of the Government in respect to this matter of the Land Commission, they would be in a far better position to come to a decision as to the provisions they should insert in the measure than they were now. He would not enter into the question whether a Court of this character should not be a Court of dignity and independence, free from all Governmental influence, for that would be entering into the merits of the clauses; but he did think that the Committee, before entering upon the consideration of the various 1472 sections, had a right to know whether the Government would accede to the suggestions which had been thrown out, and would give them a Court free from Governmental influence. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!] He (Mr. Martin) was glad to hear that intimation from the right hon. Gentleman; and, as to that part of the question, he would say nothing further. All he would say was this—there were, as they all knew, all through these clauses, in respect to the Land Court and Commission, references of vital importance, and many of the difficulties in connection with them might be removed by the admission they had had from the Prime Minister. The progress of the measure, he had no doubt, would be much facilitated by what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman.
Sir, I am anxious, without delay, to correct a mistake which there appears to be in the minds of some hon. Members, and to make what I imagine is only a just concession to the House. I am very sorry that this Motion has been made; but I am bound to say that I think it possible I have been myself in some degree the cause of its being made. I would only ask thus much indulgence from the Committee, the admission that there is a limit to the labours of man. I can assure the Committee that I have not economized labour and effort on this Bill; but I am bound to admit—and I do it frankly, and at once—that, having worked hard with my Friends and Colleagues on those which I thought the most vital parts of the Bill, I did not pay as much attention to some of the particulars of the constitution of the Court as I should have done. One consequence of that has been—as I have already intimated—that we have not, as we intended to do, given to the parties the option of passing by the Civil Bill Court and going at once to the Commission; and I may state, also, that it is a clear and manifest error due to a shortcoming of my own, that no provision has been inserted in the Bill to render the Commission irremovable. I state that at once, because I think it may, probably, influence the judgment of the Committee with regard to this clause. In response to the noble Lord's repudiation of any such intention I must at once say that I do not cast the slightest 1473 imputation upon him of having brought forward this Motion for dilatory purposes; and I should not have thought it necessary to mention such a subject if he had not thought it right to disclaim it. I think the noble Lord is under a mistake when, in quoting me, he says I described the Court and Land Commission as the "core" of the Bill. What I consider to be the cardinal principle of the measure is the proposal to refer to a public authority the determination of questions of rent and tenant right. That I believe to be the very heart and centre of the Bill; but, as to the particular constitution of the Court, I never used any expression of the kind, and it would be entirely alien from my views to do so. On the subject of the constitution of the Court, I have assumed all along that if we could agree on the technical matters we have to deal with in considering "tenure" and "interest," we should have no difficulty worth naming as to the constitution of the Court, because we all feel that it is in the interest of the framers of the Bill, and in the interest of the landlords, the tenants, and all parties that the Court should be the most efficient we can constitute. That being so, I am sorry to say that I must resist my noble Friend's Amendment, as, in my opinion, it would throw the discussion of the Bill into confusion. There are, and there must be, a great number of provisions of detail in reference to this Court, and for two causes—first of all, the great extent and diversity of its functions in any case; and secondly, on account of the uncertainty as to the form these functions will take. It is doubly uncertain. It will be uncertain to no very small degree when this Bill becomes an Act, and, in order to meet that uncertainty, we must make the provisions elastic; and I fully admit that you can only do that by giving confidence to those who are to administer the Act. We are not desirous of turning the Bill to any account for purposes of patronage; but our position will be to give as great a control and as much power as can properly be given to the Central Commission, which Central Commission will have complete independence. But my argument as to the proposal of my noble Friend is not merely that it is not necessary if these general principles are granted, but it is that we really do not know, and cannot 1474 know until we have gone through the enacting provisions of the Bill, what will be the duties to be performed, the number of persons to be appointed, the powers to be exercised by subordinate agents, and the manner in which they are to be brought home, as nearly as we can, to the doors of the people interested in the Bill. Until we have disposed of a number of substantial questions raised in the Amendments, it is impossible for us to judge how we are to arrange the machinery. Now, my noble Friend spoke of precedents, and certainly there is no technical objection to be taken to his Motion. From a technical point of view, it is open to us to proceed in either way; but the particular measure which most bears upon this question—namely, the Land Act of 1870, does not supply anything like a precedent. We went through all the provisions—all the material provisions—relating to the claims of the tenant and the landlord respectively before we proceeded to deal with the Court. It was in the 22nd clause that we proceeded to define what the Court should be. The functions of the Court constituted by the Land Act were less difficult than those which we are going to confer upon the Commission; but the functions conferred upon that Court were quite as novel, when they were conferred, as will be the functions proposed to be conferred on the Commission. My noble Friend thinks that we have got already a very good view, subject to some differences in details, of the details of the duties the Court will have to perform. If my noble Friend can convince me of that it will almost reconcile me to his proposal. According to him, we can go at full gallop through the clauses as to the constitution of the Court; but I, on the contrary, see that there are a number of questions of very great importance to be discussed. I hope we may agree upon them; but they are of very great importance, not only as to the nature, but the amount of the duties which the Court would have to perform. For example, there is a disposition on the part of some persons to lower the privileges of ordinary tenants in Ireland, and Notices of Amendments have been given with that view. That is a point of great importance. If you raise the privileges of ordinary tenants to a somewhat high standard, they will have, comparatively, 1475 very little inducement to go into Court, and the amount of litigation will be narrowed in proportion; but if you lower the privileges of ordinary tenants very much—if you say they shall not have a recognized tenant right, or under an increase of rent they shall have no security of tenure following, the consesequence will be that the whole of the tenants in Ireland will be driven into the Court. They will go into the Court in order to obtain security. It is, therefore, vital that the judgment of the House should be taken on these questions before we proceed to consider the exact amount and character of the instrument that is to do the work. The Government have carefully considered this matter, and have a very strong conviction on it. They desire, and, as far as they are concerned, their determination is to raise, quite independently of the Court, the question of the privileges of the ordinary tenant in Ireland; and they think that in so doing they are consulting both the interests of the landlord and tenant. But others may differ from us, and the consequence will be that the whole magnitude of the circle may be varied enormously. We may have a Court with an extremely large or a very moderato power of discretion; and I cannot help saying that I hope it will be kept within moderate limits, according to the decision that the Committee may arrive at. I might enlarge upon this very much. There is a disposition on the part of some hon. Gentlemen—quite from another quarter—in approaching the Bill, to forbid all increase of rent except through the action of the Court. The Bill does not subject the increase of rent absolutely to the action of the Court; and I do not say whether we are right or wrong; but it is plain that if the landlord has no means of increasing his rent, except through the action of the Court, that the matter has a bearing upon the operation and constitution of the Court. I might mention other points, but I have said enough to show that the character of the duty the Court will have to perform—how far it can be guided by the Bill, and how far it will depend on its own discretion—will have to be determined. If we look at Part V. of the Bill, there it is still more uncertain what will be the functions of the Court. According to one of the Amend- 1476 ments on the Paper, the purchasing operations of the Court are to be enlarged, so as to enable it to purchase the estate of every landlord who wants to sell. If that is to be done—I will not say that I have not an opinion about it, or that I have not come to a decision upon it in my own mind—it will have an immense bearing on the amount of the Court and the strength of the machinery with which you will have to provide it. The same thing runs through all the provisions of Part V. Some people say—"Let the Commission undertake works of reclamation all over Ireland." That would give a new character to the proceedings of the Commission; but I do not wish to weary the Committee with further argument. There can be no doubt that the duties of the Court must be settled before we can properly determine what shall be its constitution and its strength. Its ditties may vary enormously, and we should land ourselves in great confusion if we were to accept the Amendment of my noble Friend.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
Sir, I must own that the observations of the Prime Minister do not in any degree remove the feeling which I entertain, and which I believe many entertain, as to the importance of really deciding the question of the constitution of the Court at a much earlier period than the right hon. Gentleman seems to think desirable. He says—"I will not go into the question whether this Court is really the 'core' of the Bill or not; that it is clear the Court is the cardinal principle of the Bill, and that the working of the measure, throughout all the various details which the Committee has to consider, depends upon the constitution and capacity of the Court." Now, undoubtedly, we shall find, as we go through the different clauses of the Bill, that on many occasions reference is made to the Court; and when we are discussing whether these or other provisions ought to be adopted, and when we say "there is a difficulty here," or "we don't understand the language there," we shall always find ourselves cut short at the end of our reasoning with—"Oh, that will be a matter for the Court to settle." My hon. Friend the Member for Antrim (Mr. Macnaghten) put this extremely well, in reference to one of the points to which he called attention in the discus- 1477 sion on the second reading. He said there was great uncertainty as to the mode in which you will consider this; but, after all, we need not trouble ourselves much about it, because the real solution will be found in whatever happens to be the decision as to the constitution of the Court or Commission. Considering the enormous extent and ground over which this Bill travels, and considering that we are going, by this Bill really, as it seems to me, to re-constitute and re-construct the whole agricultural, and, to a great extent, social organization of Ireland, it is of very great importance that we should know from the very beginning to whom really these great functions are to be confided. We have been told a very important thing within the last few minutes. The right hon. Gentleman has assured us that this Committee is not to be of a removable character, and that is a matter of enormous importance. Up to the present moment we had no reason at all to imagine that that point would be conceded. It appeared that the Committee would be removable. We want to have this matter clearly and decidedly pointed out and explained, not merely by Ministerial statement, but in the clauses of the Bill as we proceed, in order that we may know what sort of a measure it is we are working with, and, therefore, what kind of tasks it is possible to throw upon it. It may be said that this is a very curious view, and we may be told—"Get your work first and provide your machinery for doing it afterwards; "but unless we consider the character of the machinery, we can hardly judge whether it can do the various pieces of work that may be imposed upon it without breaking down. Nothing is easier than to say that the Court, which is an abstract creature of the imagination about which we know nothing, is to remain unknown until all its functions have been first settled for it; but then we may find that it is impossible, with any satisfaction, to establish a tribunal that can perform all those various pieces of work. It will then be too late to go back, because you will have passed all the clauses affecting work—you will be unable to get all the work done, and you will have wasted a very large number of nights in order to bring about a settlement which will be 1478 absolutely thrown away if you do not agree to a machinery of some sort. The Government will tell us, in this emergency, "this is what we have to propose," and then we shall find ourselves compelled to accept it. I do not wish to go into the details of the Bill, but these things are obvious. We are talking about postponing the 1st clause; and it is clear that there are no less than six or seven places in which reference is made to the Court. The Court has to do work of various kinds, involving questions of valuation, questions of law, questions of fact, and questions of discretion; and when you are discussing these matters, you will decide according to the confidence you have in the Court. No human being can tell whether you are going to have confidence in that Court or not until its composition has been discussed. Then there are all the other functions, to which the Prime Minister has referred, that arise in Part V. of the Bill. It is a difficult thing to constitute a Committee that will be able to exercise all these powers, and be able to exercise them properly. Do let us begin by considering whether these things are possible, and how much you dare throw upon your machinery without almost the certainty of its breaking down under your hands. Considering the difficulties of the case, it appears to me that the noble Lord has made a very reasonable proposal.
§ DR. LYONS
said, he was glad to hear the Prime Minister's statement, and thought the proposal of the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) recalled the old story of Procrustes and his bed; and that to constitute a Court without first providing the work that that Court was to do, was an absurd course of proceeding. If the Court were constituted on a limited scale, it was quite possible that they would have to argue, subsequently, that such and such a provision did not fall within the scope of the Commission as constituted. This would be almost a necessary consequence in regard to many of the great and wide provisions that would come on for consideration. It seemed to him that the most natural course they could take would be to proceed with the main features of the measure, fur there was nothing like facing a great and difficult question manfully in the first instance. Let them come to an understanding upon 1479 the vital principles of the Bill, and all would be plain sailing after that. The statement of the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) had come upon him with great surprise. He had not been aware, and, to speak the truth, he did not know even now, that there was such a thing as free sale largely recognized throughout Ireland—although he had his own opinion as to whether it ought or ought not to be recognized. This touched one of the provisions which no doubt, would be warmly contested; but until that provision was settled, and until they came to an understanding as to how that principle was to be carried out, it was impossible to conceive how any Court could be so framed as to deal successfully with the matter. He did trust that without further loss of time Her Majesty's Government would press to question to an issue, and that they would go at once into the work of considering the important provisions of the 1st clause.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
said, he would venture to submit that the argument which the Prime Minister made use of in the first part of his speech greatly strengthened the position taken up by the noble Lord the Member for Calve (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice). The right hon. Gentleman had said that the "core" of the measure was the reference of the question of rent to a judicial authority. That was the "core" of the Bill—that was the novel feature of the Bill—and the right hon. Gentleman had said that the free sale conferred by the measure did not arise out of any natural right of the tenant. The Prime Minister declared that they could not have a Court to fix a judicial rent that should last for a certain time without conferring on the tenant, who had to pay that rent, some property that he was to sell. That was not an illogical view—that free sale and fixity of tenure was the consequence of a valued rent. Well, it did seem curious, if valued rent was the novel principle of the Bill, that its consideration should precede that of the authority that was to fix the rent. Had the Government considered how great a disadvantage the Committee was under in considering the provisions of the measure as compared with their own position? The Government had a fair idea of what the Court was likely to be, because they knew what they were going to exert all their powers to make it. The 1480 rest of the Committee had not the slightest idea as to what it was likely to be; they were completely in the dark, and were, therefore, not in a position to come to a sound judgment on the Amendments that might be proposed as the Government themselves were. There were a great number of Amendments on the Paper which would vitally depend upon the constitution of the Court. Certain hon. Members who followed the lead of the hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. Parnell) had proposals on the Paper, and if the Court was of a certain character, those proposals would, without doubt, be opposed by a great number of Members on that (the Opposition) side of the House, and, certainly, by a great number on the Ministerial side; whilst if the Court was of another character, hon. Member on both sides might be disposed to take a very different view of those Amendments. There was the question of the "three Fs." An hon. Gentleman who had taken a deal of interest in this question, and had considered the matter very deeply, had asked him whether the "three F's" were in the Bill; and he had replied—"I do not know; but the Prime Minister says they are not." They could make a Court that would administer the "three F's" in a moderate manner, so that, under the particular circumstances of Ireland, but little objection would be raised; but, on the other hand, they could have a Court the character of which would render the "three F's" very objectionable. This was a matter on which the Prime Minister had had such a conflict with the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson)—the question of whether in fixing a fair rent there was to be a certain deduction. The whole question turned upon the composition of the Court—of its value as a legal authority, and of the view which such an authority would take of the wording of the clause. This was a question which they could not decide until they know who were to be the Commissioners. Then, there was another point—what was to be the standard of the men they were going to employ, because the salary they mentioned in the Bill was very small? They were told that one of the Commissioners was to be a Judge of the Court of Appeal; but how could they get a man of that character to perform 1481 the functions that would be imposed by the Bill for £2,000 a-year? In fact, in considering the whole of this question, they could not shut their eyes to the disadvantage they were under in not knowing the character of the Court that was to administer the new law. There was another great question upon which a deal might turn. As the Court at present stood there was no appeal from it—it was a Court of final jurisdiction. He could quite understand that a very different view to that at present held would be taken of some parts of the Bill if an appeal were allowed either to the Supreme Court or to some other Court in Ireland. This was another instance of how greatly the view taken of this Bill would be influenced and guided by the Committee being put in possession of the views of the Government. No doubt the Government had not adopted this curious course of proceeding without a reason, and he clearly saw that if the nature of the Court had been explained it would be impossible to please both hon. Members with whom he (Lord Randolph Churchill) had the honour of acting and hon. Members from Ireland. The result would have been irreconcilable hostility to the Government proposals. Well, no doubt, this was a drawback which was worth considering; still, he did not think the Committee should be asked to consider the Bill and come to a judgment upon all the important Amendments which would be proposed on it, and to decide on the value of the various arguments submitted, when they were totally, completely, and hopelessly in the dark as to the authority that would administer the Bill. In the case of the University Bill of 1873, which was decided against the Government by a very small majority, although one sufficient to throw out the Bill, the, Commissioners who were to constitute the authority were named by the Government. That was a distinct precedent; and he submitted the question of Education was not nearly so important as this of Irish Land. Therefore, the noble Lord had founded his Motion on the best of all possible precedents—namely, the decision of the House against the Prime Minister in 1873. He would not detain the Committee any longer on this matter, except to say that he should certainly support the proposal of his noble Friend.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, he had been a Member of that House long enough to have precedents of the kind referred to by the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) in his recollection, when Members on both sides of the House combined for the purpose of defeating Government measures. One of the most important occasions on which this plan was successful was that referred to by the noble Lord, when the Bill for settling the University question in Ireland was defeated. That Bill had been defeated in a manner that ought to furnish a warning at the present time; and he hoped his hon. Friends would not be entrapped on the present occasion by an Amendment which would possibly lead to the same result. If the machinery of the Court was such as would please the opponents of the Bill, they would be, no doubt, very conciliatory, and give it their support; but if a tribunal was defined that would be satisfactory to the Irish Members, they would give every kind of opposition to it, both in that House and in "another place." He asked whether Irish Members ought to place themselves in that dilemma, and, instead of securing the substance of the Bill for the Irish tenants, whether they ought to adopt an Amendment which would have the effect of leading them into a cul de sac, and of defeating the Bill altogether? What were the arguments of the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote)? Why, that the machinery was to be appointed before it was known what work it was to do. For his own part, he had never heard of machinery being framed before it was known to what it was to be applied. Therefore, it was to his mind conclusive, and ought to be so to the mind of all hon. Members, that the business of the tribunal ought to be set down before the tribunal was appointed. Of course, the argument would not be conclusive to those who were not in favour of the Bill, and whose object was to defeat it in every possible way. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon had asked to whom was this business to be referred. But he (Mr. Synan) contended that it made no difference whether the names of the persons were given now or hereafter; 1483 but that it was most necessary to know the business to be entrusted to them before they were appointed to their duty. Because if the functions of the tribunal were small, inferior men would be equal to discharging them; but if they were very important, superior men would be required. Upon every ground, therefore—upon that advanced by the Opposition themselves, and upon the ground that the nature of the case demanded it—he hoped the House would unanimously reject the Amendment of the noble Lord.
MR. H. R. BRAND
protested against the imputation of the hon. Member for Limerick County (Mr. Synan), that a combination existed between the noble Lord the Mover of the Amendment before the Committee and the right hon. Gentleman opposite for the purpose of defeating the Bill. The speech of the hon. Member greatly differed from that of the Prime Minister, inasmuch as the latter did not for one moment accuse the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) of any desire to impede the Bill. He was certain his noble Friend was actuated by no such desire. For his own part, he supported the Amendment of the noble Lord with the sole intention of hastening the progress of the measure. But the Court and the Commission, which were to fix the amount of rents, were the foundation of the Bill—the solid basis on which the house, so to speak, was to be built. No one would dream of setting up the walls of a house before constructing the foundation upon which they were to rest; neither ought the Committee to be asked to settle and regulate the matters contained in the early clauses of the Bill before they knew whether the Commissioners to be appointed would be able satisfactorily to perform the duties to be imposed upon them. It had been said by the Prime Minister that it was absurd to appoint this Commission before the duties to be cast upon it were defined. But to this he replied that the Bill, as it was, defined this Commission, and stated what its constitution was to be. He found, upon examination, that there were 30 clauses antecedent to the clause which constituted the Commission; and, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon had pointed out, there would be many 1484 questions addressed to Ministers in the course of the discussions upon earlier portions of the Bill which, for want of the definition of the Commission, they would be unable to answer. The constitution of the Court and of the Commission occupied from the 31st clause to the end of the Bill, and one or other of them was mentioned 59 times between the 1st and the 31st clauses. He had analyzed the duties to be performed by the tribunals. They would have to settle conditions of sale, regulate statutory tenancies, determine rents, administer equities between landlords and tenants, construct leases, create tenancies, make advances to tenants, purchase estates, reclaim land, and, lastly, to conduct emigration. And the Committee were asked to consider all those important questions before they came to the question of the constitution of the Court, and when it was known that the Court would not meet with the approval of the majority of the Irish Members. Further, the evidence of one of the principal witnesses, Professor Baldwin, given before the Bessborough Commission, was that—One of the first duties of the Government would be to take the administration of the Act of 1870 and any future Act out of the hands of the County Court Judges.With regard to the County Court Judges, he was sorry to hear the Prime Minister say that one of the strongest proofs of their giving satisfaction in Ireland was that there were very few appeals from their decisions. The reason there were few appeals was that the Irish tenants did not like litigation, and as to the power of bringing their landlords into the higher Courts, that was quite beyond their means. He contended that this question was of the greatest importance. It was necessary, in his opinion, to consider, first—whether the Court would be a strong one, commanding respect for itself; and secondly, to determine that there should be no appeal to a higher Court. In conclusion, he pointed out that one of the first duties the Court would have to perform was that of valuing rents. It would have to adjudicate between parties upon questions which had excited a great deal of passion; and his contention was that there should be no suspicion of weakness with regard to any such Court. That certainly could not be said to be the case with the Court pro- 1485 posed to be established by this Bill. Without any disrespect to the County Court Judges, he was bound to say that they could not have been the most successful of men, either in law or politics, or they would never have been County Court Judges in Ireland. As the constitution of the Court was a matter of transcendant importance, and the proper discharge of its functions meant the good government of Ireland for a generation, he begged to support the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Calne.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, he had felt at first somewhat deterred from giving his support to the proposal of his noble Friend opposite by the sudden attack and warning which had been delivered by the hon. Member for Limerick County (Mr. Synan). In referring to the circumstances which occurred in connection with the University Bill in 1873, the hon. Member spoke with some severity of the combination that resulted in the defeat of the measure. But the Prime Minister, who was listening to him, could hardly have felt that it lay in the mouth of the hon. Member to make a charge of the kind. He thought the Prime Minister might well exclaim, with Prospero in the play—I had forgot that foul conspiracy Of the beast Caliban, and his confederates.He had been looking over the Division List upon the second reading of the University Bill of 1873, and he found the name of the hon. Member for Limerick County in company with that of his right hon. Friend Colonel Taylor and others who voted against the Government on that occasion. With reference to the Amendment of the noble Lord opposite, he thought the proposal, if adopted, would tend very much to increase the facilities for passing the Bill. There had been important changes announced that very day with regard to the composition of the Court in connection with a point that seemed to have received very little attention. He was sure the Committee had received with unanimous satisfaction the statement of the Prime Minister that the Commission was to be irremovable. The right hon. Gentleman also stated that tenants could pass by altogether the County Court, as a Court of First instance, and go straight to the Commission. Now, he was not going to 1486 say one word with regard to the County Court as a Court of First Instance. But, at all events, it was known what the County Court was, while it was certainly not known what the Commission or Sub-Commission was to be. He would not dwell on the importance and functions of the Court and Commission. But the Prime Minister had described them as "the heart and core of the Bill." With regard to fixing the rent, the House was told last night that the first business of the Court would be to ascertain what was the fair rent, and then make a deduction from it.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. LAW)
I said nothing about a deduction from the fair rent. I said the Court would have to ascertain the fair rent.
§ MR. PLUNKET
asked pardon of the right hon. and learned Gentleman if he had mis-stated his words; but he said the business of the Court was to ascertain what a solvent tenant would pay, and then make a deduction. The words of the right hon. and learned Gentleman were "the tenant's interest must be subtracted from the rent." The absolute discretion of the Court to settle this he held to be the heart and core of the Bill. His hon. Friend, who sat below the Gangway, had said that the Government might be supposed to know what they intended; but he (Mr. Plunket) only knew that whilst many hon. Membre had spoken upon and criticized the clause, a great number of them had spoken adversely to it, and no one had spoken in its favour. In giving his support to the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Calne, he expressed his fear that unless it was adopted the jealousy of the Committee towards the Bill would be increased.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir FARRER HERSCHELL)
observed. that, no doubt, the question was one of those on which it might plausibly be said—"Tell us exactly what your Court is to be, and then we will say how far we can trust it." On the other hand, it was certainly a more important consideration to determine what was the work which the Court would have to do, and then determine the efficiency of the Court for its performance. No doubt, it might be said, in discussing this clause, there were certain references to the Court, and that hon. Members ought to know what 1487 its constitution was to be. But what did hon. Members who supported the Amendment propose? Did they mean to assent to the view that substantially they were agreed as to the provisions of the Bill, and that the Court was to do all the things which had been enumerated? It appeared to him an irrational course of proceeding to discuss the constitution of the Court, and how far it was fitted to do the work, and then, possibly, after three weeks' discussion, to deprive it of the opportunity of doing anything. He suggested that the Committee should proceed at once to the consideration of the provisions of the Bill, and then determine what Court should carry them out. The Government were fully conscious of the enormous importance of providing the best possible tribunal for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of the measure, and they hoped, with the aid of the united intelligence of the House in a frank endeavour to arrive at the best result, to fix upon a tribunal that would be reasonably satisfactory to the great body of the people.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General had told the Committee that there were some plausible reasons for postponing this clause; but he had also said there was a more plausible reason for not doing so in the fact that some of the minor provisions of the Bill might not be submitted to the Court. He ventured to say that a more important question with regard to the welfare and interest of the people of Ireland than the adjustment of the relations between landlord and tenant could not possibly be considered. But until it was ascertained and known what was to be the constitution of the Court, the serious questions which would arise in discussing the first portion of the Bill could not be fully and properly dealt with. He had understood the Prime Minister to say that the Court was of primary importance, and that everything turned upon its constitution. [Mr. GLADSTONE: No.] Then, if the right hon. Gentleman did not say that, he thought he ought to have made some statement of the kind, because the primary consideration was that there should be confidence in the Court which was to adjudicate on the delicate relations between the landlord and tenant. But the 1488 right hon. Gentleman stated that he intended to introduce an Amendment into this Bill, by which the tenants might pass by the Court of First Instance. [Mr. GLADSTONE: I said the parties.] Then, if the right hon. Gentleman said that "the parties" were to be allowed to pass by the Court of First Instance and go to the higher Court, it was ten times more necessary that the Committee should know how that Court was to be constituted; and therefore he asked whether it would not be wise and prudent, under the circumstances, to give the Committee some inkling with regard to a matter in which they were at this present moment in complete ignorance?
MR. HINDE PALMER
said, his own opinion was that the Bill was not the best arranged measure, so far as the clauses were concerned; but it had certainly never occurred to him that such a proposal as the noble Lord's was applicable to their due arrangement. The question appeared to him to lie in a very small compass, and was as to whether they should in the first instance proceed to constitute the Court, before it had been decided what work the Court was to perform. If they were about to lay down a separate Code of Law, they would not begin by constituting a Court for the purpose of administering that law, but would, in the first instance, ascertain the law; and, then, in determining the constitution of the Court, they would be influenced to a great extent by knowing what were the duties which the Court had to discharge. It might be that all the proposed duties could not be satisfactorily discharged by the same Commission. For instance, it might be desirable to have some other Commission to deal with the question of emigration; and a consideration of that point would show the imprudence of attempting to constitute the Court, without first agreeing upon the character of the work to be done by it. The noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) had said if the composition of the Court was made known, and if it was such as would not be likely to be influenced, certain Members below the Gangway might agree to some provisions of the Bill. That amounted to the extraordinary argument that one would be influenced very much in deciding the justice and pro- 1489 priety of a code, by knowing the names and bias of the officers who were to administer it. It was true that he did not quite approve the arrangement of the clauses in the Bill; but the proposal of the noble Lord the Member for Calne was certainly the last alteration he should think of making by way of re-arrangement. He should, therefore, give his vote in opposition to the Amendment before the Committee.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, he had only heard one argument advanced by the Government against the Amendment of the noble Lord. It was, that "you cannot determine the constitution of the Court until you have determined what its functions are to be." Primâ facie there was some weight in that argument. But it was well known that this Court would have to discharge functions which no Court had ever been called upon to discharge before. However the Bill might be modified in Committee, it would have to settle delicate relations between two classes of the community in a manner that was entirely without precedent. Hon. Members knew this to be the case, because if the Bill were so modified in Committee in a different sense the Government would be obliged to drop it, as being a merely illusory measure. Again, the hon. Member for Limerick County (Mr. Synan) had urged, perhaps, the most extraordinary argument against the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Calne that had ever been heard in that House. He urged the Government not to state finally what was to be the composition of the Court, because they would offend by so doing either the Tories or the Members for Ireland, and that the Bill would in consequence be bitterly opposed by one of those Parties. The argument of the hon. Member was nothing else than a direction to the Government to keep the House in the dark, in order that, by playing alternately upon their hopes, both Parties referred to might be induced to pass provisions in the Bill which otherwise they would certainly reject. A more cynical argument he did not remember to have heard. Of course, he and his hon. Friends objected fundamentally to the regulation of relations between the parties concerned by any Court at all. Their objections were not directed now to matters of detail. They held that this Court would have 1490 to decide matters which it was beyond their competence to decide; that the Government were imposing duties upon the Court which required omniscience for their fulfilment; and, further, that they wanted to get that omniscience cheap. For those reasons, they felt they ought to know absolutely how that Court was to be constituted on which the proper working of the Bill must finally and entirely depend.
§ MR. W. FOWLER
said, he should detain the Committe but a very short time in giving his reasons for supporting the Government on the present occasion. The noble Lord the Member for Calne referred, in the course of his remarks, to a passage in the speech of the Prime Minister; but, in doing so, appeared not clearly to have understood the meaning of the right hon. Gentleman. The Prime Minister had said—"That the salient point of the Bill was the institution of a Court to take cognizance of rent;" and by that he (Mr. Fowler) understood him to mean that the reference of the rent to the Court, and not the formation of the Court, was the main principle of the Bill. They all agreed that the formation of the Court was a matter of great importance; but in comparing the two questions—the formation of a Court, and the making of a new code as between landlords and tenants—he regarded the making of the code as the more important of the two. For that reason, he thought it should be taken in hand before the Committee became wearied with discussion upon other parts of the measure. The amount fixed for the salaries of the Commissioners—namely, £2,000—was a matter that required further time for consideration, and should not be dealt with at first. The Committee had to consider what were the views of those responsible for this Bill; and it would, in his opinion, be adopting a strong course to take out of their hands the mode of procedure. For these reasons, he should give his vote in favour of the Government.
§ SIR HERVEY BRUCE
said, he should certainly support the Amendment of the noble Lord opposite. He believed that in so doing he should be facilitating the progress of the Bill through Committee, because he was certain hon. Members on that side of the House would be much more inclined to listen to the arguments of Her 1491 Majesty's Government when they had confidence in the Court to which the questions between the landlords and tenants were to be referred. As the matter stood, it appeared that the landlords in Ireland were in every county to be at the mercy of the County Court Judges, many of whom, as was well known, held different opinions upon the questions that would be referred to them, At present the landlords might be at the mercy of one Assistant Commissioner. For his own part, he should listen to the discussion of the earlier clauses of the Bill with much more satisfaction when he knew at whose mercy he was to be. He had been quite unable to under stand the arguments of the Attorney General for Ireland, who had differed from every other hon. Gentleman with regard to the meaning of words in the Bill.
§ MR. MITCILELL HENRY
maintained that the Bill gave all the information as to the constitution of the Court which, in the present stage of the matter, hon. Members could reasonably expect. It set forth that the Court was to be composed of a small number of persons, and its characteristics were well defined in the statement that the legal member of the Court was to be a Judge—one who either w as or had been a Judge of a Superior Court—thereby showing that the Court was to have the legal talent that could be obtained for it. The two other members nominated would be analogous to the Church Commissioners, had administered already functions of the same character as those to be discharged under this Bill. Everyone admitted that the object of the Bill was to create a number of tenant proprietors, and that had bean the kind of duty performed by the Church Commissioners to whom he had referred, and which would devolve upon the Commissioners appointed under this Bill. The Commissioners would have to settle difficult questions, undoubtedly, with regard to rents, and with. regard to the value of the tenant' holdings. But as to the settlement of rents being such an un-hoard of and delicate operation as it was now said. to be—why, it wigs a matter that had. been in the hands of time County Court Judges in Ireland ever since the Act of 1870. Everyone familiar with that Act knew that the County Court Judges had to take into consideration, 1492 when giving judgment, the fairness of the rent as between the landlord and tenant. It was perfectly true that this duty was not performed as actively as it might have been. Had it been so, it was probable that affairs in Ireland would not have been in their present dreadful position. He could well believe that, if very detail with regard to the Court to be established had been given in the Bill, it would have been said—"The Government have a cut-and-dried scheme for patronage, which the passing of this Act will give them an opportunity of carrying through the House of Commons." The Government, however, had simply indicated the character of the Court; and in so doing they had, in his opinion, acted for the best. The Prime Minister had never stated that he was unwilling to enlarge the Court, if it were found desirable to do so. Neither had he expressed any opinion as to the amount of the salaries to be paid to the Commissioners. Therefore, he had no doubt that if the Government, in the curse of the discussions upon the Bill in Committee, found that the duties which would devolve upon the Court were of a very onerous and multifarious character, they would agree to the enlargement of the Commission; and that in the matter of the salaries to the Commissioners, which was one of considerable importance, they would also be guided by the decision of the Committee. For these reasons, it seemed to him that it was scarcely reasonable or wise, when they ought to be constituting the relations of landlord and tenant, to debate upon the constitution of the Court which was to administer the Bill. He should, therefore, vote against the Amendment of the noble Lord.
§ MR. A. M. SULLIVAN
said, it was as the first time in his life that he had heard it gravely argued that the ship should be made for the crew and not the crew for the ship.
§ MR. GIBSON
thought no one would wisely seek to introduce into this discussion anything of heat, or the imputation of motives. Nothing could have beta more courteous than the way in which. he Prince Minister had alluded to this subject; and, therefore, in the same spirit, he wished to submit one or two ponds to the consideration of the Committee, without any intention of interfering with the progress of the Bill. 1493 It was perfectly obvious that if the clauses were discussed in their present order, there must be some appeals made to the Government in the course of the debates in Committee, in order to ascertain what the constitution of the Court was to be. He believed the Court was referred to something like 49 times before the clause was reached under which it was constituted. And there was little doubt that when the Committee entered upon the discussion of the powers and duties to be intrusted to the Court, the Government would be pressed over and over again to indicate its constitution something more in detail, and to reply, with more precision than they had done up to the present time, as to the duties of the Commissioners. That was all the more obvious because it appeared that the mind of the Government had fluctuated, and was still fluctuating, upon the important questions of the constitution of the Court of First Instance and the constitution of the Commission which was to be the Court of Appeal. From a statement made a few nights since by the Prime Minister, it appeared that the Government had not clearly made up its mind what was to be the Court of First Instance. It was also understood from the speech of the Prime Minister, when asking leave to introduce this Bill, that it was thought desirable that the County Courts alone should be the primary Courts. But it now appeared—and it was quite right that the Government should present their measure in the best form—that such was not their deliberate intention. That circumstance rendered it all the more necessary that the Committee should know at the outset what was intended to be the final proposal of the Government with regard to the Court of First Instance. He now came to the constitution of the Commission, which, after all, was the most important point, because the Commission was to be the Court of Appeal from the Court of First Instance, and was, moreover, clothed both with unbounded discretion and absolutely unlimited jurisdiction. It was, therefore, obviously a matter of supreme importance that the House should be shown what was to be the constitution of the Commission. He had listened with attention and respect to the statements of the Prime Minister; and he now asked if Her Majesty's Government had, at the present moment, a 1494 clear and definite plan in their own minds with regard to the constitution of the Commission? If they had, why did they not state it to the House? What possible inconvenience could result from a frank and clear discussion at that stage of the parts of the Bill which really came first under their consideration? The only suggestion of inconvenience that would result from this, so far as he had been able to gather from the discussion which had taken place, was that until you know the extent and character of the jurisdiction—whether limited or extended—you could not tell how wide a discretion it might be necessary to confer. Although, in his opinion, precedent was not at all conclusive of the question before the Committee, because each case of this kind must stand upon its own merits, and be considered with reference to the special circumstances that surround it, yet he would remind the Committee that when the Solicitor General made his observations just before in such a fair spirit, it had occurred to him that there were some precedents that might have presented themselves to his mind. He would pass by the Ecclesiastical Commission, and the case of the Charity Commissioners, whose constitution was given at the outset. But in Sections 2 to 10 of the Irish Church Act, 1869—the very earliest sections of the Act—the Commissioners were named, their jurisdiction was set forth, and the power of expanding or contracting their staff was conferred upon them. He admitted at once, however, that this was not a question to be decided by precedent. The constitution of the Commission was of very great importance, and if that were decided and frankly stated by Her Majesty's Government, the Committee could then proceed with advantage to consider what the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India had called the modus vivendi. Looking at this matter as one of convenience, he ventured to hope that the clauses specified in the Amendment of the noble Lord would be postponed.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. LAW)
objected to the postponement of the first clauses of the Bill, in order that the final clauses should be considered before them. He would not attempt to repeat the arguments which had been so well placed before the Com- 1495 mittee by the Prime Minister and his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General. He would only say it appeared to him that, notwithstanding the arguments which had been advanced in support of the Amendment of the noble Lord, the balance of convenience was in favour of proceding in the way which the Government proposed—that was to say, to discuss and settle what were to be the functions of the Commission before fixing its constitution. His right hon. and learned Friend opposite had appealed to a precedent which, no doubt, had a strong bearing upon the point now before the Committee, and he must venture, with their indulgence, to state precisely what were the facts of the case thus referred to by his right hon. and learned Friend as decisive of the present question. Upon the 14th of March, 1869, the Irish Church Bill was introduced by his right hon. Friend. The 3rd clause of it ran as follows:—"The following persons, A, B, and C, shall be constituted Commissioners under this Act;" and it then went on to prescribe their tenure of office, and other formal matters. The Prime Minister, on the 15th of April, when that part of the Bill was reached in Committee, moved that tile 3rd clause, appointing the Commissioners, should be postponed upon the ground that, in the opinion of the Government, both they and the House would be in a better position to judge of the proposals as to the appointment of the Commissioners and their constitution, after they had gone through' the operative clauses of the Bill and determined what were to be the duties of the Commissioners. The right hon. Gentleman (now Viscount Cranbrook) who was then acting as Leader of the Opposition, said he had no desire whatever to offer any opposition to the postponement of the clause if the Government would, at the same time, postpone also the three or four following clauses, which dealt with the appointment of officers, the fixing of salaries, and other incidental arrangements. This was at once agreed to by the Government; and, accordingly, during the whole of the month of April and the greater part of the month of May, the Committee was occupied in disposing of all the other clauses of the Bill; and it was not until the Committee had completely discussed and settled all the rest of the Irish Church Bill that his 1496 right hon. Friend moved the adoption of the 3rd clause, with the names of the Commissioners in full. He hoped his right hon. and learned Friend opposite would now act in accordance with this precedent to which he had so confidently appealed.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, he did not rise for the purpose of prolonging the debate, but to put a question to the Chairman upon a point of Order for his own guidance. He had upon the Paper an Amendment, the object of which was that Part V. of the Bill should be taken before Parts I., II., III., and IV.; and he wished to know whether, when the Committee decided upon the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Calne, he should be in Order in moving the Amendment standing in his name? If not, he should vote for the Amendment of the noble Lord.
The Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire is substantially different from that of the noble Lord, the Member for Calne. The Committee has to decide upon the Amendment of the noble Lord whether Clause 1 shall be postponed till after Clauses 41 to 43. After that Amendment has been disposed of, it will be in the power of the hon. Member to move the Amendment in his name.
§ Question put.
Sir, I rise to a point of Order. I have always been under the impression that no clause could be postponed except to the end of a Bill.
MR. GORST (remaining seated, with head covered)
Mr. Chairman, I wish to ask whether after a division has been called an hon. Member is entitled to speak?
If the House does not desire to hear the right hon. Gentleman, he is not in Order. It is only competent to speak, at present, on the question of the division. The question of Order will arise after the division is completed.
MR. GLADSTONE (remaining seated, with head covered)
Mr. Chairman, I have always been under the impression that it was not competent to move the postponement of a clause of a Bill except to the end of the Bill. I ask whether a postponed clause can be taken except at the end of a Bill?
The ordinary mode of postponing a clause is that the clause passes to the end of the Bill; but this Question is, not that the clause should be placed at the end of the Bill, but that it should be postponed until after particular clauses have been considered. Although that form of Motion is unusual, there are precedents of an analogous character both in this House and in the House of Lords. I must, therefore, put the Question in the manner in which it has been placed on the Paper.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 163; Noes 246: Majority 83.—(Div. List, No. 216.)
§ MR. MORGAN LLOYD
rose to Order. He wished to ask whether the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) was in Order in moving an Amendment in the words on the Paper? The Committee had already decided not to postpone Clause 1, and the Amendment of the hon. Member proposed to postpone that clause together with others.
The point of Order raised by the First Lord of the Treasury is not without its difficulties. The Motion already negatived was not in the usual form. The Committee has decided that Clause 1 shall not be postponed until after Clause 41. Usually, as I have said, a postponed clause goes to the end of the Bill. But, in view of former precedents, I cannot rule that the Committee has not the power to do otherwise. Only yesterday, the hon. and learned Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton) proposed to move an Instruction to the Committee to take Part V. of the Bill before Part I., which is the exact proposal of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin); and the Speaker then said—That as the Instruction of the hon. Member for Bridport was to take the 5th part of the Bill before the 1st part, this was a power which the Committee already possessed, and, therefore, his Motion could not be put.Under this ruling I am not prepared to refuse to put the Motion, which is substantially different from that negatived. But it is clear that such Motions, following on such a Motion in regard to one of these clauses, might lead to grave abuse as a means of obstruction, and I should be unwilling to consider this as a 1498 precedent which it is advisable to follow, and I only admit it in the present case from the peculiar character of the Motion which the Committee has already negatived—not that Clause 1 should be postponed, but that it should be postponed until after Clause 41. The Motion of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) would have come better as an Amendment on the Motion of the hon. Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) than as a substantive Motion.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, the point of Order having been decided, he would endeavour to submit to the Committee the reasons by which he was governed in moving the Amendment standing in his name. He was anxious that what he conceived to be the fatal mistake in the legislation of 1870 should be avoided now. It had always appeared to him that the circumstances of Ireland which caused nearly all the evils of that country were at that time entirely ignored, and that the Government directed attention to little, if anything else, than an alteration of the relations between the landlords and tenants. The circumstances of Ireland, however, remained the same, and, consequently, almost entirely defeated the object of the Act of 1870. That admission had been made during the discussions which had taken place upon this question, and had been moreover more distinctly brought into prominence in the Reports of the Commissions appointed to inquire into the facts connected with the present condition of Ireland. It was true that in the Bill before the Committee there were some provisions for dealing with the greatest evil in the country, described by the Prime Minister as the "land hunger which prevailed in Ireland." But the clauses which were introduced in order to deal with it were, as far as he could judge, inadequate to their purpose; while, at the same time, they occupied an entirely subsidiary position in the Bill. That appeared to him to be entirely recognized, because the right hon. Gentleman had stated in the course of the debates on this Bill that the Land Laws of Ireland were not to blame, and that it was to other causes than the Land Laws that the present state of things in Ireland was to be traced. It was, therefore, necessary to go to the root of the question if they desired to deal with it in a man- 1499 ner that would really alleviate and better the condition of the Irish people. The condition of the people in the West of Ireland was such that, whatever alteration was made with regard to the Land Laws, it was impossible that they could ever enjoy any material degree of prosperity. But how was any remedy to be made effective? There were proposals contained in the Bill for emigration, for making a peasant proprietary, and for the reclamation of land. These were contained in that part of the Bill which, as he had already pointed out. Occupied a subsidiary position. He should be disposed to aid the scheme of so-called migration, because he believed it would be popular amongst the people of Ireland. Emigration, he knew, was unpopular; it did not commend itself to the views of many persons in that country; while several Irish Members had raised great objections to even the limited proposal of emigration in the Bill. He Would like to give a short description of the benefit which might be expected to result from emigration, by one who could speak with knowledge and profound judgment on that question. The writer of the communication, which was sent to him a few days ago, spoke to this effect of the condition of the people in the West of Ireland—But for the extreme West of Ireland, what hope is there from any of the foregoing devices: Along that region there extends a broad river of hopeless misery, width no change in the present relations between landlord and tenant is likely to alleviate.… It would be impracticable to make them proprietors; even to give them land for nothing would afford no permanent alleviation. Many of them have no land at all. Manifestly, the only remedy is emigration.The writer went on to say that—In little more than a week a proportion of these unhappy multitudes might be landed in America.
§ MR. MORGAN LLOYD
rose to Order. As he understood the question, it was whether Clause 1 of the Bill should be postponed or not. He asked if it was competent for the hon. Member to discuss the general provisions of the Bill, and make observations which would more properly form part of a speech on the second reading?
If the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire discusses the principle of the Bill, he will be out of 1500 Order; but I understand him to be referring to emigration by way of general argument in support of his Amendment.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, it was clear the hon. Member did not in the least understand the object he had in view. He regretted that he had made himself so little intelligible. His Motion was not that Clause 1 should be postponed, but that Part V. should be taken before the other parts of the Bill.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
rose to Order. He was unable to find in the Amendment any word about Part V. The Amendment simply stated "before Clause 1 postpone Clauses 1 to 18 inclusive (Parts I. to IV)." He submitted that the hon. Member was not saying a word about Clauses 1 to 18, but was discussing another clause altogether.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, that if the hon. Member would take the trouble to look at the Amendment, he would find the words were "Parts I. to IV." It appeared, however, that the hon. Member, in spite of his great experience, had not yet been able to learn that five came after four. He felt bound to express his great regret that there should be suck an extreme indisposition on the other side of the House to take into consideration what appeared to him and to many others to be a duty to consider the question what it was that really constituted the misfortunes, misery, and unhappiness of Ireland. He hoped that he might be allowed to repeat that he was not making these observations for the purpose of delay, but because he desired from his heart to call the attention of the House of Commons, and the people of this country, to that which he believed to be the real cause of the troubles which afflicted Ireland at the present time. [Cries of "Oh!"] He trusted that he might be allowed to finish the few observations he intended to make without being interrupted by the other side of the House. He was endeavouring to point out to the House, and, through that House, to the people of Ireland themselves, the advantages of emigration over the existence now led by the cottier tenants in the West of Ireland. Upon this point he would quote a passage from a letter which had been published by Lord Dufferin. Lord Dufferin said— 1501But for the extreme West of Ireland, what hope is there from any of the foregoing devices? Along that region there extends a broad ribbon of hopeless misery, which no change in the present relations of landlord and tenant is likely to alleviate. Perennial destitution, accentuated by periodical seasons of famine, has been the sole experience of its inhabitants during the present century. To convert these poor people into peasant proprietors would be impracticable. To make them copyholders under a quit-rent would be scarcely more to the purpose. Even to give them the land for nothing would not prove a permanent alleviation. Many of them, indeed, have no land at all. What, then, is to be done? Manifestly, the only remedy is emigration ….. Within the compass of a little more than a week, after a pleasant voyage, a proportion of these unhappy multitudes might be landed on the quays of Quebec, the women healthier, the children rosier, and the men in better heart and spirits than ever they have been since the day they were born. Four or five days more would plant them, without fatigue or inconvenience, on a soil so rich that it has only to be scratched to grow the best wheat and barley that can be raised on the continent of America. I myself have seen an immeasurable sea of corn clothing with its golden expanse what two years before had been a desolate prairie ….. simply through the exertions of a small Russian colony that had run up their shanties in that favoured land.Lord Dufferin went further into this question; but he (Mr. Chaplin) had already read the concluding statements of Lord Dufferin on the second reading of the Bill. There were no proposals in the Bill at the present time for migration to other parts of Ireland; and he wished to press upon the Government the desirability of accepting Amendments in that direction. He would say nothing then as to the proprietary clauses of the Bill, as he had already expressed his opinion at some length on that subject; but he was certainly of opinion that the Government, instead of placing this part of the Bill in a merely subsidiary position, ought to give prominence to it and deal with it at once, because it was the only part by which they could effect any real or permanent improvement in the position of the people of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman had given them the reason why the last part of the Bill should have greater prominence than it now occupied. He told them what he had omitted altogether to tell them in 1870, that land hunger in Ireland was at the root of all the evil. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman called it the rooted and standing evil of the country; and yet in the first four parts of the Bill nothing was done to alleviate that evil, 1502 but the provisions proposed would tend rather to increase it. Without further delay he would move the Amendment which stood in his name.
§ Amendment proposed, "before Clause 1, postpone Parts to IV. inclusive."—(Mr. Chaplin.)
My noble Friend behind me (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice), in moving his Amendment, with unquestionable sincerity stated that he did it in order to expedite the progress of the Bill. The hon. Member who has just sat down has made no such declaration about expediting the progress of the Bill. The hon. Member is incapable of putting forward a profession inconsistent with his intention. I wish, therefore, to point out to the Committee the principle on which the hon. Member makes this Motion. He objects practically to the first 18 clauses of the Bill. Then comes Part V., to which he does not object, and his argument amounts to this—that any hon. Gentleman who objects to any part of the Bill should make a Motion which would allow him to select the particular part of the measure he prefers, and to take that part for consideration first. Now, as to the question of progress and expediency. If the Committee were to assent to the Motion of the hon. Member, we should be travelling as straight as we could the road to utter confusion. It would be in the power of anybody to raise an indefinite number of questions of postponement, and to make upon the Motion for postponement a speech upon the merits of the clause which he prefers, so that in this way every clause of the Bill could in turn be brought into discussion before the 1st clause. Her Majesty's Government have made a proposal which shows the House what it is we think ought to be done. I submit that our course is to go forward with the 1st clause of the Bill, and not postpone it for the sake of considering any other clause. The hon. Member must excuse me if I decline now to enter into any discussion in regard to Part V. of the Bill.
Colonel STANLEY and Mr. MAC IVER rose together.
then called upon the right hon. and gallant Member for North Lancashire (Colonel Stanley).
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
rose to Order. The hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Mac Iver) was the first to rise, and he believed that it was the recognized Rule of the House that the hon. Member who was the first to rise had the right to address it.
The right hon. and gallant Member for North Lancashire (Colonel Stanley) and the hon. Member for Birkenhead rose together. and the former caught my eye. I first addressed a question to the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, and then I called upon Colonel Stanley.
I am very reluctant to interpose between the Committee and the hon. Member for Birkenhead. There can be no doubt, however, that what you, Sir, have stated is entirely correct. I sat down after I first rose, having risen at the same time as the hon. Member for Birkenhead, while you addressed a question to the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. I wish now to give my reasons why the Motion of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire does not appear to me to be quite as unreasonable as it does to the Prime Minister. Indeed, I find in the statement which has been made by the Prime Minister himself an argument in favour of the proposal which my hon. Friend makes. The right hon. Gentleman says that it is competent in this case to discuss what part of the Bill should be taken first, and that it is competent for any hon. Member to make a Motion to take that part of the Bill first which he prefers the most. No doubt, the Government are justly entitled to say what part of their Bill should come first and what should come last; but, at the same time, judging from the language which had been used by different Members of the Cabinet, there seems to be some difference of opinion among the Government themselves as to the relative importance of the various parts of the Bill. The noble Lord the Secretary of State for India has expressly said that he looks upon some of the provisions in the later part of the Bill as containing substantial remedies for the undoubted evils which exist in Ireland, and that he looks upon the first part of the Bill as being merely the modus vivendi. Now, I can- 1504 not help recalling to my mind what took place in 1871. There was brought into the House by the Government at that time a Bill not very dissimilar in its general character from the Bill now before the House, inasmuch as it consisted of one provision which was likely to give rise to considerable discussion, and of other provisions which would probably meet with general approval. I refer to the Army Regulation Bill. The first part of that Bill was for the abolition of Purchase, and was made the subject of considerable debate. The other portions of the Bill met with general favour in all parts of the House, and some Members of the Committee will recollect what was done in reference to that Bill. Perhaps some hon. Members may draw some analogy from what occurred then, which may tend to guide them as to what may happen in this case. I have no intention of making these remarks in any unfair spirit; but so far as the pressure of time is concerned, the Army Regulation Bill was introduced in March, whereas the present Bill was not introduced until April. Many persons voted for the second reading of that Army Bill, not because they had any love for the first part of the measure, but out of regard for the good which they thought might be done by the latter part of it. Now, upon the present Bill many hon. Members, in the debate which has taken place, have laid much less stress upon the first part of the Bill than upon the latter part which contains provisions in reference to emigration, purchase, and so forth. It is not unlikely that history may repeat itself, and that we may find in this case a repetition of what occurred in 1871, when Mr. Cardwell came down on the 13th of June and stated that in consequence of the protracted debate which had taken place on the earlier part of the Bill, it was necessary to drop all the remaining part. The Government then claimed the support of those who had voted in favour of the second reading of the measure. I do not say that this was intentionally done, and that it was never intended by the Government to proceed with the last part of the Army Bill; but, at any rate, the effect was the same. Having obtained the general support of the House to the first portion of the Bill, the last part was afterwards dropped, and was not heard of until a year later. 1505 Now, the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and others have justly laid such great stress upon the purchase clauses of the Bill, the provisions for enabling the tenant to acquire the holding, and the emigration provisions, that it does not appear to me to be as unreasonable as the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister wishes the House to believe that the first part of the Bill might be suspended until we have had an opportunity of considering the last part. Therefore, if my hon. Friend goes to a division, I shall certainly support him upon this ground, and I shall neither be deterred by the objections which have been raised, nor by the question of Order, which, Sir, I thought you had effectually disposed of.
MR. MAC IVER
said, he had risen, not with any intention of interposing between the Committee and the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just addressed them, nor had he any desire to impede the progress of the Bill; but he had thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had misapprehended the purport of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin). He thought that hon. Members opposite would agree in the view he took that the Bill contained many useful provisions, but that there was a great deal in it which tended to overweight those useful provisions; and he therefore thought that there was a good deal more than appeared at first sight in the proposal that they should postpone the earlier clauses of the measure, in order that they might take the clauses which he could not help thinking had a great deal to do with the present troubles of Ireland. Indeed, he would appeal to a very high authority—namely, to speeches which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He thought the speech he was about to quote was applicable to the present circumstances. It was made at a time when the right hon. Gentleman represented a Lancashire constituency, and he used these words—As a Lancashire Representative, I protest most solemnly against a system which drives the Irish population to seek work and wages in this country and in other countries, when both might be afforded them at home.1506 But in a former part of the same speech the right hon. Gentleman showed that he was sometimes inconsistent. [Loud cries of "Question!"] Perhaps the Committee would allow him to quote a further portion of that speech sufficient to indicate the varying views which, even in the course of one single evening, that right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bright) presented to the House. While at one moment censuring the Irish people in a way they little deserved, he was in the next full of praise and commendation for them. Speaking in 1847, the right hon. Gentleman used these words—he quoted from a report of the speech contained in a work edited by the hon. Gentleman who now represented Southwark—The great cause of Ireland's calamities is that Ireland is idle. I believe it would be found on inquiry that the population of Ireland, as compared with that of England, do not work more than two days per week. Wherever a people are not industrious and are not employed, there is the greatest danger of crime and outrage. Ireland is idle, and therefore she starves; Ireland starves, and therefore she rebels. We must choose between industry and anarchy; we must have one or the other in Ireland.Perhaps the Committee would pardon him (Mr. Mac Iver) if he said at once that he cordially agreed with the general spirit of these remarks, with one exception, and that was where the right hon Gentleman described the people of Ireland as idle.
I think the hon. Member is now travelling beyond the Amendment before the Committee, which is simply to consider the propriety of postponing Clauses 1 to 18.
MR. MAC IVER
thought he would be able to show the bearing of these remarks. He thought the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was more nearly right when he showed how industrious the Irish people could be in foreign lands. The right hon. Gentleman in the same speech showed, notwithstanding the extract just quoted, that the Irish people—wherever the opportunity to labour was not denied them—were known to possess habits of industry, as well, as many other good qualities. Wherever they had migrated to districts which had been too thinly populated they were industrious and thrifty; their usefulness in our Colonies was apparent to all. Under these circumstances, he could not but think that 1507 there was a great deal of force in the proposition of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) that they should put the early clauses of the Bill on one side, until they could have an opportunity of considering seriously the questions which more nearly affected the well-being of the Irish people. What were the clauses which his hon. Friend proposed to put on one side? Not one of them dealt with the terrible question of eviction, that had so much to do with emigration. He could not help feeling that there was no more serious question before the nation than the present condition of Ireland, and that there was no more serious question affecting Ireland than eviction. He felt, therefore, that the Government had done wrong in not giving emigration and eviction, two subjects which were necessarily connected, a much more prominent position in the Bill than they had done. In his opinion, it would have been far better if the Government, instead of introducing this confused Bill, had dealt broadly with this part of the question; and he put it to the Committee that it was necessary to discuss the position of those unfortunate tenants, and the compensation which would be necessary, if it were intended to deal honestly with those landlords whose property would be injuriously affected. He trusted that the Committee would consent to postpone these clauses, the discussion of which only involved a waste of time, so that they might come at once to pressing and less controversial portions of the measure, and by this means they might be able to pass a really useful Bill with as little delay as possible.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, the proposal of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) really was to cut away the body and leave the tail of the Bill. The first part of the Bill would come into immediate operation in Ireland, whereas the remaining clauses could only come into operation gradually. He did not dispute the importance of the emigration clauses; but it seemed to him that the best thing they could do now was to go to a division upon the Amendment at once, and then to proceed seriously with the discussion. of the Bill.
said, that he had voted for the Amendment moved by the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Ed- 1508 mond Fitzmaurice); but, as a large majority of the Committee had decided that the Government ought to be left to deal with the measure in the order they thought best, and as he was of opinion that the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire would really lead to further delay, he should, on this occasion, vote with the Government. He trusted, however, that his hon. Friend would withdraw the Amendment.
§ MR. BRODRICK
thought the remarks of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) formed one of the best arguments in favour of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. The basis of the hon. Member's argument was that the latter part of the Bill should be treated as if it were of no importance. He regarded the earlier clauses as the body of the Bill, and the other part of it as simply the tail. Taking into consideration the course taken by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and the views which were entertained on that (the Opposition) side of the House in regard to the relative importance of the two portions of the Bill, he thought the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire had done good service in asking the Committee to direct their attention, in the first instance, to the 5th part of the Bill.
§ MR. RITCHIE
thought that the Prime Minister had hardly done justice to the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire in the remarks he had made on the proposition submitted by the hon. Member. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to imply that the object of his hon. Friend was to set aside the first four portions of the Bill, because he did not like them. Now, he (Mr. Ritchie) was not one of those who were strongly antagonistic to the first portion of the Bill. For his own part, he had come to the conclusion that a moderate tenant right was absolutely essential for Ireland; but he had also come to the conclusion, from the evidence which had been given, both in Ireland and England on the subject of Ireland, that there was even a more important question than that of an alteration of the laws between landlord and tenant—he meant the condition of the poverty-stricken, wretched, inhabitants of the Western part of Ireland. It was a disgrace to this country that the state of 1509 things which prevailed there should have been so long tolerated. It could not be said that those unfortunate people lived there, but rather that they existed. Professor Baldwin and Major Robinson gave very valuable evidence before the Richmond Commission as to the necessity of dealing with the present condition of this population. They put in the forefront the necessity of dealing with the question of emigration and immigration. The hon. Member for Galway, who had taken great interest in the question of reclamation of waste lands, had, he thought, established conclusively that this was one of the most important questions they had to deal with. It was immaterial to those unfortunate people what rent they paid. They herded together on a few acres of bog land totally incapable of keeping themselves alive decently if they paid no rent at all. Therefore, he was free to confess that, although he attached considerable importance to the first portions of the Bill, modified as he hoped they would be in Committee, he was satisfied that by far the most important portion was that which dealt with this festering sore in the West of Ireland, and which could only be dealt with by a prudent scheme of emigration and reclamation. He, therefore, supported the proposition of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire, because he was afraid that, looking at the fact that they had not disposed of two Amendments in one whole day's Sitting—[Cries of "Hear, hear!"] Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House ironically cheered that remark; but he begged to remind them that the chief part of the day had been taken up in discussing an Amendment put forward by one of their own supporters, and if they were anxious to cheer ironically they should address their cheers to the noble Lord the Member for Calne. At the time he was interrupted ho was going on to say that he was very much afraid, from the small progress they had made to-day, and from the number of Amendments which had been placed upon the Paper by the friends of the Government, that by the time they came to the most important part of the Bill they would find it necessary to drop it altogether, because there would be no time to consider it. Therefore, believing that it was the most important part of the 1510 Bill, and that they should consider it while they were fresh and had all their energy about them, instead of postponing it until a time when every Member of the House would be exhausted, he should support the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
remarked, that he had voted for the Government in the last division, and he would gladly vote for them now, if they would make it possible for him to do so. He confessed that he was strongly prejudiced against the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire—first, because of the Amendment itself, and, secondly, because it was proposed by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. He thought he was entitled to look with a certain amount of suspicion on any Amendment in regard to the tenure of land which came from such a quarter. He gave the hon. Member full credit for believing that he was right; but if the hon. Member was right, then certainly he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) was wrong. He thought the Government had a right to ask the Committee to allow them to proceed with the Bill in the order which best recommended itself to their judgment, and it was a most serious thing for any Member of the House to ask the Committee to reverse the order at which they had deliberately arrived, because the effect of such a proposal, if carried, would be to throw all the plans the Government had made for carrying the Bill into operation into a state of confusion which might imperil the measure. There was also another side of the question, and it was this—if the Government were strongly of opinion that in this matter, to use the phraseology of the hon. Member opposite (Sir George Campbell), that it was necessary to proceed with the body first and the tail afterwards—it was not desirable that they should reverse the order, and take the tail first and the body afterwards. They were agreed that the true solution of the Irish difficulty was to buy up the property of the landlords very largely, and not to attempt a solution by patching up the relations between the landlord and tenant. The part of the Bill which the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire wished to discuss was that which dealt with the purchase regulation. Now, his (Mr. T. P. O'Connor's) opinion was that, if 1511 they gave a Court or a Commission power to purchase and power to expropriate, they would do far more, directly, to give the existing tenants relief than by any other means, because, if they give power to purchase from the landlord who was willing to sell and the power of expropriation against the landlord who was unwilling to sell, they would have a guarantee for the good conduct of the landlord much better than would be afforded by any tedious process of litigation. He therefore thought that the Government had better proceed with Part I. of the Bill first. Furthermore, he was afraid that the Government, from what they had said, had net yet made up their minds as to the scope of these purchase clauses. There seemed to be an extraordinary difference of opinion on this part of the Bill between the Prime Minister and the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India. The noble Lord had spoken of the first part of the Bill with something akin to contempt, as being merely transitory or a modus vivendi, preparing the House for the happy state of things that was to be introduced by the later part of the measure. Now, whenever the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister referred to the first part of the Bill, he always gave the House to understand that his desire was not to maximize, but to minimize the later portion of the Bill, and decrease the amount of money spent in the creation of a present proprietary. He hoped the Prime Minister would condescend to say whether he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) had placed a true or a false interpretation upon his views, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would even go a little further, and say that he was not entirely hostile to the principle of compulsory expropriation, but that he would apply to bad and rack-renting landlords in Ireland, for the common weal, the same principle of compulsory purchase that was applied to the purchase of property for railway purposes. If the right hon. Gentleman would give him and his Friends some such assurance as that their course would be more easy; and he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) would cordially join with the right hon. Gentleman, as he did in the last division, in opposing the Amendment.
§ LORD ELCHO
merely wished to say a word upon the Amendment of his hon. Friend. He cordially sympathized with 1512 the view that was held by his hon. Friend that the remedial part of the Bill, and that which was for the real benefit of those who were suffering most in Ireland, was the fifth part. That was the most useful part of the Bill; but, unhappily, it was quite antagonistic to the first part. But, although he made these remarks as to the first part of the measure, he thought his hon. Friend ought to rest satisfied with what he had done in bringing the matter before the House, and that he should not divide the Committee, provided a distinct understanding were given by the First Lord of the Treasury that he would persevere with the fifth, which was the only remedial portion of the measure. He hoped to receive from the right hon. Gentleman an assurance that he would persevere with that part of the Bill until the bitter end, and carry it through as much as he would endeavour to carry the other parts through. He thanked his right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Lancashire (Colonel Stanley) for reminding them of what took place in regard to the Army Purchase Bill. At the time that Bill was introduced, there were many hon. Members who did not believe in the value of the abolition of purchase, and who believed that the measure would do very little for the Army if it only dealt with purchase, but who were of opinion that there were other parts of the measure which were valuable, and which would improve our military system. He recollected seeing the then Secretary of State for War walking up and down the Horse Guards, and holding consultations under the shade of the trees in the Park, considering what he would do with the latter part of the Bill, and the next day the right hon. Gentleman came down to the House and threw the rest of the measure overboard. He very much dreaded that a similar course might be taken in regard to the present Bill; and, therefore, he would urge his right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Lancashire to press for a distinct understanding that the Government would persevere to the end with the fifth portion of the Bill.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
I rise for the purpose of saying very nearly what has been said already—namely, that if the question is one of the order in which the clauses are to be 1513 taken, it would not be fair, after the decision at which the Committee has recently arrived, to stand against the convenience of the Government. But there is really, I apprehend, in the mind of my hon. Friend, as there is in the minds of many other hon. Members, something very much beyond the mere question of order. Whether it is justified, or whether it is not justified, there does lie at the bottom of many minds a strong suspicion that the 5th part of the Bill, much as it is looked upon as by far the most promising portion of the measure, does not command the same sympathy and support from Her Majesty's Government as do the former parts. If we could be well assured that that is not so, of course there would be no reason why we should endeavour to press for any alteration in the mode of proceeding; but I am bound to say that there have been expressions used from time to time by the Prime Minister and others which have given grounds for the not unnatural suspicion that everything is not quite right about this 5th part. If we could be assured that we are wrong, I should advise my hon. Friend not to delay the Committee, but to rest satisfied; but if otherwise, then I think he ought to divide.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
wished to take this opportunity of removing the impression which appeared to prevail on the other side of the House that his Amendment had been moved for the purpose of delaying the progress of the Bill. He could assure the Committee that it was not so. If he had desired to impede the progress of the Bill, he would have done so in a manner that could not have been mistaken. He certainly should not aim at one thing while pretending to do another. He had moved this Amendment for the reasons he had stated just now; and he had an additional reason for so doing—namely, that one or two observations had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury in regard to this question which justified hon. Members on that side of the House in entertaining an uncomfortable feeling of suspicion that the right hon. Gentleman was not himself altogether enamoured of the 5th part of the Bill. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had said on one occasion that the question of emigration was open for consideration; and, that being the case, 1514 the right hon. Gentleman could not be surprised that they who on that side of the House attached importance to the 5th part of the Bill should desire emphatically to press their views on the Committee. Some hon. Members on the other side of the House spoke as if this was the first time the question had been mentioned; but everything that had been uttered, the very words that had been used, had been heard before. Everything told them now the House heard in 1870, and with this result—that the Government failed as completely and utterly as never a Government failed before. Desiring to avoid the cardinal mistakes committed in 1870, he wished to impress upon the Government the immense importance of recognizing above all, and before all, what lay at the root of all the miseries of Ireland. They had the word of the right hon. Gentleman for it. The right hon. Gentleman had himself called the attention of the House of Commons and of the country to the fact that what lay at the root of all the suffering in Ireland was the land hunger which existed in that country. Then, was it not natural that he (Mr. Chaplin) should impress upon the Government the necessity of acting on their own words, and going to the root of the question to begin with, and not at the end? To show that he had no desire of impeding the progress of the Bill, he would not proceed with his Amendment now; but he might be allowed to say that, as the right hon. Gentleman distinctly assured the House the other night that there was no confiscation in this Bill, they on that side of the House had since then proved and demonstrated beyond the possibility of doubt that there was confiscation in it. So far, they had received no answer from the other side of the House. No single Member of the Government had attempted to meet or grapple with the question; and although on that occasion he should not further delay the progress of the Bill, he reserved to himself the right of taking whatever course he thought fit in future until it was made distinctly clear that there was no confiscation in the measure.
I must confess that it appears to me very little is gained in the progress of the Business of the House by raising debates of this kind, in which an hon. Gentleman, after de- 1515 livering himself twice of his sentiments, concludes by saying that he will proceed no further at present, but that he will reserve to himself the right of raising the question again. I am also asked for an assurance as to the relative importance I attach to the different portions of the Bill. [Mr. CHAPLIN: I made no such request.] No, it was the right hon. Gentleman opposite; but we were told by the hon. Gentleman that no Member of the Government has attempted to make the simplest reply to his demonstration on the subject of confiscation. Now, to the charge of confiscation brought against the Bill, I endeavoured to make what I thought was a sufficient reply, though, probably, the hon. Member, from the sublime height on which he stands, has failed to observe so minute an object as a counter-argument. The hon. Member says that no answer has been made to that charge. Answers have been made and answers will be made. There is no confiscation in the Bill. If there were confiscation to be found in this Bill it would be found in the recommendation for which the hon. Gentleman is responsible, which would enable the tenant to obtain the judgment of the Court to prevent a landlord from obtaining the rent he might obtain in the open market. If there is anything in the shape of confiscation the hon. Member is the author of it. But I will not enter into that matter now. I will only take the opportunity of assuring the hon. Member that he shall have it elucidated to his heart's content. As to the seductive prospect which the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) holds out to me of having his support in the coming division, if I will only give an assurance that I am ready, at the expense of the people of the Three Kingdoms, to authorize a Commission to go into Ireland and compulsorily to buy the estates of the landlords, or to buy them without any particular limit as to the amount, and for the Government to undertake the responsibility of providing the means, I will not add a syllable to what I have already said on the subject. I have gone very far in proposing that liabilities should be undertaken by the Public Exchequer; and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, who likewise wants assurances as to the importance I attach to Part V. of the Bill, and is jealous that it may be dropped, 1516 appears to have forgotten that on the night of the introduction of the Bill he pointed to the large and dangerous liabilities which the measure involved. Under the present circumstances, I do not think it wise to enter into a large discussion of this part or that part of the Bill. The Bill has been proposed by Her Majesty's Government as a whole. They draw no distinction between one part and another part of the Bill. The importance they attach to it is more than they can describe in words, and that importance they have never limited to Parts I., II., III., or IV., or any other part. Upon that ground they are prepared to stand, and as I trust we are all desirous of dealing with the matter, and of proceeding with the Bill, we may now pass to the consideration of the 1,500 Amendments which stand on the Paper in order that we may make some progress with the measure.
wished to point out to the right hon. Gentleman that having been challenged to give an assurance, he had sat down after having carefully avoided giving any. This was one of the points in which the Committee were placed in a position of great difficulty by the two voices with which the Government spoke to them. When the Secretary of State for India addressed some observations upon the subject, he laid the greatest possible stress upon Part V. of the Bill as the cardinal portion of the Bill, and the noble Lord did what the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister said the Government would not do—he did draw a distinction between one part of the Bill and the other. [Mr. THOROLD ROGERS: Where?] It was not in the House of Commons. The learned Professor who gave that ironical cheer appeared to think that the words of a Minister were not binding unless they were uttered in that House. He (Mr. Gorst) imagined that Ministers of the Crown were bound by their public utterances everywhere. The noble Lord the Secretary of State for India did what the Prime Minister said no Member of the Government would do—he drew a distinction between the two parts of the Bill, and stigmatized the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th parts as a mere modus vivendi until Part V., which was the really valuable part of the Bill, should come into operation. All he (Mr. Gorst) now wished to call the attention of the Com- 1517 mittee to was that on scores of occasions it would be their fate to listen to two distinct voices on the part of the Government, and that they would have the greatest difficulty in making out which voice they were to believe. The Secretary of State for India said the 5th part was to be the important part of the Bill. The Prime Minister, when challenged, slurred over the 5th part, evidently attaching no importance to it, and his (Mr. Gorst's) belief was that when Part I. and the earlier parts of the Bill wore safely got through Committee, they would see Part V. dropped altogether.
THE MARQUESS OF FIARTINGTON
The hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) and hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have referred again and again to what I said in the City not long ago; and I may as well, therefore, state exactly what it was I did say on that occasion. I referred to the different parts of the Bill, no doubt; but I am not aware that I drew a distinction between them. Certainly I did not do what the hon. and learned Member says—"stigmatize" the first portion of the Bill. I do not know why the hon. and learned Member should assert that a statement that the first portions of the Bill are intended to provide a modus vivendi must be called "stigmatizing" the Bill. I should like to know what could be more important than to provide a modus vivendi? What can be a more essential object of this Bill? No doubt I said, as I would still say, and I think most of my Colleagues would say, that the provisions of the Bill which relate to emigration and the increase in the number of landowners are the provisions most likely to effect a permanent improvement in the condition of Ireland. At the same time, I stated plainly, as I state now, that we cannot look to these parts of the Bill and to these provisions to produce any very rapid or immediate improvement in the condition of Ireland; and it is absolutely necessary, until the beneficial influence provided by that portion of the Bill can come into full operation, that other measures should be adopted which will enable the country to tide over the present state of things. I certainly never drew any distinction between the relative importance of these objects. If I am asked which is the most important object—whether to provide a permanent but very gradual 1518 cure, or to provide the means for making the existence, either of landlords or tenants, tolerable and pleasant in the meantime—I should say the immediate object is the more important one. But I do not wish to be drawn into giving precedence to the importance of one part of the Bill or the other. Nothing I have said is inconsistent with what was said by my right hon. Friend that the Government regard this Bill as a whole, and that as a whole they intend to go on with it. The condition of Ireland appears to me to be that of a patient, who from some cause—perhaps of very long standing—finds himself extremely ill. There might be an opinion that certain changes in his mode of living would alone restore him to complete good health; but these changes could not be applied immediately to restore him, and it is a remedy to be actually applied at this moment that the Government are proposing in the first part of the Bill. I hope that, having now stated what I said and what I intended to say at the Fishmonger's Hall, there may be an end of any attempts on the part of hon. Members opposite to attribute to me a desire in any way to disparage the importance of the first portion of this Bill.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
It must be a matter of satisfaction to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincoln (Mr. Chaplin) and to other Members of this House who take the view which he does—namely, that the material part of the Bill for the permanent improvement of Ireland is to be found in the 5th part, and not in the first four portions—to find that the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India adheres entirely to the statement which he made some nights ago in the City. It is most satisfactory to be informed, on the authority of the noble Lord, that not only does he hold that view, but that he is authorized to say that that view is shared by most of his Colleagues. I am sorry that the noble Lord has not been able to go a step further, and to assure the Committee that that view is shared, not only by "most," but by all of his Colleagues. Still, that assurance is most satisfactory, and I trust that my hon. Friend will not think it necessary, after that assurance, to press his Amendment to a division. With regard to the statement of the Prime Minister I have only one word to 1519 say, and that is that in the course of it the right hon. Gentleman thought it expedient again to attempt to fix on my hon. Friend that most unfounded charge that he is responsible for the constitution of the Court for settling the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland. No doubt my hon. Friend, as one of the Commissioners, assented to the Report of the Commission; but I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to find in that Report any mention of the word "Court."
MR. MAC IVER
wished to ask the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India a question in regard to the meaning of the statement which he had just made. When he, on the part of the Government, declared that they took their stand on the whole Bill, did he mean that they gave the House the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill, and that the House must accept it without having regard to any of the important Amendments which had been placed on the Paper by hon. Members on both sides of the House, and without the omission of a single clause? Did the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister mean that when they said that the House must take the whole Bill absolutely and precisely as it stood? If the noble Lord did not mean that, would he kindly point out in what direction Amendments would be accepted?
§ MR. BIGGAR
thought that the Irish Members, on a question of this sort, should have an opportunity of saying a few words. It seemed to him that the policy of the Tory Party in regard to the Bill was, if possible, to get the only portion of the measure which the Irish Members looked upon as beneficial to the Irish tenants shelved, and simply carry that part of it which the Irish Members conceived to be, not only valueless, but mischievous. Hon. Members with whom he acted were all of opinion that the clauses which had reference to emigration would be highly mischievous; and they thought the Prime Minister should not stick too firmly to the idea he had propounded that it was necessary to have the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill. The practical result of adhering to that policy would be that the Bill would still be in Committee, at least, until the 1st of August, with the certainty that it would not be passed into law during the pre- 1520 sent Session. There were two parts of the Bill that it was most important and desirable to pass into law this Session—namely, those parts which proposed to fix the rents of the holdings, and to make provision for the purchase of holdings by the tenants. If those portions of the Bill were not rapidly disposed of there would be no chance of having any really valuable measure passed this Session, and all the time which had been occupied over the Bill would be entirely wasted.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
said, the next Amendment on the Paper stood in his name, and was merely a formal Amendment to enable him to move other Amendments further on, excepting certain tenancies from the operation of the clause. He was simply anxious that when he reached the part of the clause in which he wished to move a substantial Amendment, he and others having similar Amendments should not be debarred from having the right to move them on the ground that, having accepted the earlier portion of the clause, they had shut themselves out from proposing these alterations. He hoped the Prime Minister would be able to assure him that when the exceptions to which he referred were reached, neither his hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), nor the hon. Member for Falkirk (Mr. Ramsay), nor himself, should be considered as having deprived themselves of their right. He mentioned this because it had been stated on another Bill that when a clause had been practically passed a proposal for an alteration or exception at the end was too late, the Member making the proposal having been a party to accepting the clause as it stood, without there being anything to show that there was to be an exception further on. He wished, if possible, to have an assurance from the Prime Minister that the Rules of the House for regulating the proceedings of Committees would not be used to prevent him from bringing up subsequently the Amendment which he wished to move. The best course would certainly be to discuss the exceptions on their own merits when they reached the last part of the clause.
said, he apprehended there would be no difficulty in moving the Amendment the noble Lord desired to move at the end of the clause.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
said, that, in that case, he would, with the leave of the Committee, withdraw the Amendment.
put the Question that the Amendment be, by leave, withdrawn, and declared that the "Ayes" had it.
The hon. and learned Member may have challenged my decision; but his challenge did not reach me until after I had declared that the Amendment was withdrawn.
§ MR. A. M. SULLIVAN
Is not the hon. and learned Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton) resisting the authority of the Chair?
I have no doubt the hon. and learned Member for Bridport is perfectly correct in his statement, and I can only regret that I did not hear his challenge until after I had said that the Amendment was withdrawn.
§ EARL PERCY
Would it not be as well that the Chairman, on rising to put an Amendment, should kindly look round the House before he decided?
There is no Question before the Committee on which the noble Lord (Earl Percy) is entitled to speak.
If the hon. and learned Member does not retract that 1522 expression, I must move that the words be taken down.
§ MR. WARTON
My words were not the contradiction they appeared to be, and were probably not distinctly heard owing to the noise which prevailed. I should not have been so rude as to contradict the Chair. I did not say, "You did not." The expression used by the Chairman was, "The Chair endeavours to look round," and I said, "But does not." If it is an expression I was out of Order in using, I at once withdraw it; I only wish to say that I did challenge the decision of the Chair before the Amendment was declared to be withdrawn.
The hon. Member denies having used any offensive expression. The next Amendment on the Paper is one in the name of the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy)—Clause 1, page 1, line 7, at commencement, insert—From and after the passing of this Act the 13th section of "The Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act, 1870,' shall be, and the same is hereby repealed.That Amendment cannot be put, because it proposes to insert words at the beginning of the clause. It can, however, either be brought up as a separate clause, or as an addition to the clause. The next Amendment is in the name of the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Brand).
§ MR. HEALY
said, he did not propose to challenge the decision of the Chair; but he wished to know upon what grounds an hon. Member could not propose an Amendment at the beginning or in the middle of a clause just as well as at the end? He had never heard it laid down before that an Amendment must appear at a certain corner or turning of a clause. As far as he was concerned, the present ruling did not make the slightest difference, as he was indifferent whether the Amendment came at the beginning or at the end of the clause; but he would submit that for the purposes of the Bill the Amendment would really be better at the beginning, and he did not think that he ought to be fettered in his judgment as to where it should be inserted by the judgment of 1523 any other Member, even if it happened to be the Chair. [Cries of "Order!" and "Chair!"] He had said nothing disrespectful to the Chair. He had only submitted that hon. Members ought not to be fettered in their judgment by the views of any other hon. Member.
§ MR. MORGAN LLOYD
rose to Order. He wished to know if the hon. Member was in Order in challenging the ruling of the Chair?
I have already explained to the hon. Member that his Amendment would not be out of Order if proposed at the end of the clause; but it is inconsistent with the construction of the clause to take it at the commencement; and I, therefore, rule that it is out of Order. I call upon the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Brand).
§ MR. BIGGAR
rose to Order. He begged to move that the Chairman report Progress and ask leave to sit again. There would be no use in commencing the discussion of a new Amendment two minutes before the time at which they would be obliged to adjourn the consideration of the Bill.
§ MR. CALLAN
asked whether, as the Chairman had called upon an hon. Member by name to move an Amendment, it was competent for the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) to intervene, and, stating that he rose to Order, proceed to move to report Progress?
The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan) is perfectly correct. It is not competent for the hon. Member for Cavan to intervene on a question of Order, and then to move to report Progress.
§ MR. HEALY
said, that he had also risen to a point of Order, and had not concluded his remarks when lie was interrupted by a Welsh Member. Mr. Playfair, without allowing him (Mr. Healy) to conclude, called upon the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Brand). He apprehended that the Chairman had ruled his Amendment to be out of Order simply upon his own ipse dixit—[Cries of "Name!"]—but he did not propose to challenge the decision of the Chair. It had been ruled that he could not move any Amendment at the present time. Of course he submitted to that ruling; but he respectfully asked the Chairman to state upon what grounds he (Mr. Healy) was unable to move the Amendment.
The Chairman is intrusted with the duty of presiding over the conduct of Business in Committee. After consulting the officers of the House, who have had the greatest experience, and who coincided with me that it would be inconsistent with the construction of the clause for the hon. Member to move his Amendment at the beginning of the clause, I ruled that the Amendment was out of Order. I now call upon the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Brand).
remarked, that it was impossible to move his Amendment then (6.50); and he would, therefore, move that the Chairman report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Brand.)
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.
§ And it being ten minutes to Seven of the clock the House suspended its Sitting.
§ The House resumed its Sitting at Nine of the clock.