§ MR. W. H. SMITH
, who had the following Notice upon the Paper:—To call attention to certain dormant provisions of the Land Act (Ireland) 1881; and to move, 'That, in the opinion of this House, further legislation is imperatively required to provide increased facilities to enable tenants to acquire the freehold of the land in their occupation on just and reasonable terms,'said: I wish, Sir, to ask the indulgence of the House for a few moments, in order to make a statement in regard to the Motion of which I have given Notice. Since I gave that Notice very important events have occurred. I refer to the statements which were made by Ministers in both Houses of Parliament last Tuesday, and to the declaration of the Government that the state of affairs in Ireland is critical; that a new departure is necessary—such a departure as involves the most serious loss to the Government, and I think to the country, of the services of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). In the course of that statement, Sir—[Cries of "Oh, oh!" and "Order!"]—I appeal to the indulgence of the House. I think it will be for the convenience of the House that, with your indulgence, I should be permitted to say a very few words. I say, in the course of that statement several announcements were made, and amongst them we were told that legislation was intended, and was of overwhelming and pressing and immediate importance upon one subject at least, and would be proposed upon several others. We were informed that provision was to be made by a Bill to strengthen the ordinary law, to meet difficulties such as have been experienced in the administration of justice, and in defining and securing private rights in Ireland; and we were also informed that the Government would make proposals to Parliament on the very question with regard to which I have a Notice on the Paper. Under these circumstances, looking at the grave crisis in which we are now involved, it would not seem to me to be seemly if I proceeded with a Motion upon the subject of which I am informed authoritatively that the Government intend to 86 submit proposals to Parliament. I do not, therefore, intend to stand even for an hour between the House and these proposals for the good government of the country which the Government think necessary, and which they describe as of overwhelming and pressing importance.