§ Compensation for Improvements.
§ Clause 1 (General right of tenant to compensation).
§ SIR ALEXANDER GORDON moved, in page 1, line 8, after "tenant," to insert "has added to the value of his holding by good cultivation or." He said he proposed this Amendment in order to supply what was wanting in the Bill as it now stood—a want that was felt by tenant farmers throughout the length and breadth of the land. The proposal, if agreed to, would be the means of fulfilling the promises which had been made to the tenant farmers of the country on all occasions by Members in all parts of the House. It raised no Party question. The question was one purely of agriculture, and any Member might support the Amendment without 1684 in any way infringing his loyalty to his Party. Above all things, it would be a test of who were and who were not the farmers' friends in that House. Hon. Members on the Conservative side of the House had assumed to themselves for many years, and with good reason, the title of the farmer's friends, and they had on many occasions endeavoured to improve the condition of the farmers. He hoped they would to-day show that they were really worthy of the title of farmers' friends by voting for his Amendment, and by that means giving to the tenant farmers that which they wanted for the completion of the Bill. He hoped that the Irish Members who might take part in the Division would vote for the Amendment, and would thus secure for the tenant farmers of England some of the benefits they had obtained, by the liberality and the justice of that House, for the tenant farmers of Ireland. He hoped the Liberal Members, both above and below the Gangway, would support the Amendment, and thus show that the promises they made so freely in 1880, during the Elections, were not made merely to got votes, but were given with the intention of being carried into effect. The professed object of the Bill was to put an end, as regarded tenant farmers, to the practice which now existed, and by which owners of land appropriated to themselves, at the end of the lease or tenancy, the improvements the farmer had made, without giving any compensation. This object had been avowed by Members in all parts of the House and throughout the country; and on all hands the doctrine had been proclaimed that the tenant was entitled to reap the benefit of his improvements. The principle embodied in the Bill was that full compensation should be given for the outlay of the tenant, as also for the labour he had expended on his holding. The Schedule annexed to the Bill divided the improvements on which compensation was to be paid into three distinct classes. His Amendment would supply a fourth class—namely, good cultivation, thus making the thing complete. In many cases good cultivation was as important a factor, if not more so, in the improvement of the value of the land as any of the improvements which were scheduled in the Bill. There were many thousands of farms in the country which required none of the improvements given 1685 in the Schedule, as they were well supplied with buildings, well-drained, and in good condition. In such cases as these all that was required was that the tenant should keep the land in good condition by a course of careful farming. If he did this, say for 20 years, he improved the value of the land quite as much as if he made any definite improvement on which he could put his finger as having executed at any particular time. He (Sir Alexander Gordon) maintained that the tenant farmer was as much entitled to the value of this improvement as to that of any other. At present, the landord got all the benefit of such improvement; and the object of the Amendment was to provide that the advantage should be reaped in future by the tenant. The Bill provided against bad cultivation on the part of the tenant; and it was only reasonable, under these circumstances, that the tenant should be compensated for improved value due to good cultivation. He wished, furthermore, to point out that, in regard to Schedule 1, the tenant was obliged to obtain from the landlord his consent in writing to the execution of the improvement. This gave an inducement to the landlord to refuse his consent which did not now exist. The landlord knew now that if the tenant executed an improvement of the first class, whether the former gave his consent or not, it became his property under the terms of the lease. Under the Bill, if the landlord once gave his consent, he immediately rendered himself liable for the expenses incurred by the tenant, and to that extent incurred a liability which did not exist under the present law. The Schedule was divided into three portions. The 1st Part was purely permissive, and in that respect be could see no practical difference between the Agricultural Holdings Act and the measure now under discussion; and, indeed, for all practical purposes, the two measures were in this respect precisely the same. The 2nd Part of the Schedule would, as it stood, operate with a certain amount of hardship upon the landlords, and he hoped to see it altered. The 3rd Part was declared by practical agriculturists to be, as it stood, quite unworkable. The difficulty of dealing with the improvements included in the 3rd Part of the Schedule was so great that most experienced agriculturists declared it was 1686 quite impossible. When they came to that Schedule he should certainly take part in the discussion; but he mentioned it now in order to show that, unless they paid the tenant for the increased value due to good cultivation, they would really be conferring very little benefit on the farmers by passing the Bill; and that, in fact, they would do much more to benefit the landlords than to give any advantage to the tenants. He was surprised to see yesterday, in The Times, a letter which was supposed to have been written for the information of the Cabinet. It was without any signature; but as it was avowedly composed for the purpose of supplying information to the Cabinet, he presumed it was written by some legal adviser of the Government. He (Sir Alexander Gordon) was surprised to see that this gentleman commenced his argument by a quotation from Johnson's Dictionary—namely, that "improve" meant not to amend a bad thing, but to improve a good thing. This was a very "special pleading" argument; but he (Sir Alexander Gordon) should like to point out to the Committee that if this learned adviser of the Government read his Johnson's Dictionary a little more closely he would find that the word "improvement" might be used without any reference to perfection, and that improvement meant progress in any respect. In Webster's Dictionary the word "improvement" was described as "the amelioration and the improvement of barren or exhausted land." If, therefore, the Government trusted to the information supplied by their learned adviser, they would fall into a very great error as to the real meaning of the word "improvement." Again, in Richardson—[Cries of "No, no!"] Hon. Gentlemen said "No, no!" but when this adviser of the Government made such a statement as that which he (Sir Alexander Gordon) had quoted, it was advisable to ascertain how far it was borne out by the best authorities. Richardson gave a similar explanation to that furnished by Webster. He thought, therefore, they could no longer believe that the term "improvement" in this Bill was only to be applied to land already in a good state of cultivation. He had no doubt it would be said that if the Committee approved of his Amendment, very great difficulties 1687 would have to be encountered in carrying it into effect; but be could not help thinking that if the Committee adopted its principle, with the assistance of the 121 learned lawyers who were numbered among the Members, there would be no difficulty in formulating words to give effect to that principle. Did the Committee really wish the tenant to have the full value of his improvements, or not? If they did, no difficulty would be found in securing it for him. He had lately received a letter from a farmer of very large experience in Scotland, who told him it was quite possible to improve the value of a farm more by careful cultivation than by a lavish expenditure in manure. He (Sir Alexander Gordon) could only assure the Committee that farmers, from one end of the country to another, were anxious to have good cultivation included in the improvements which were specified in the Bill, in order that they might derive full benefit from the care and labour they expended on their holdings.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 8, after the word "tenant," to insert the words "has added to the value of his holding by good cultivation or."—(Sir Alexander Gordon.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. BIDDELL
said, he quite agreed with the hon. and gallant Member that good cultivation on the part of the tenant should be paid for; but he did not think it was necessary to adopt the hon. and gallant Gentleman's proposal. Suppose a man was about to take a farm of, say, 100 acres, which was in a very bad state of cultivation, he would probably say to the landlord—"I cannot give you the rent you ask for the whole of the tenancy. I must have 5s. an acre off for the first half-dozen years, on account of the bad state the farm is in." Thus a reduced rent would be paid during the years of reclamation. Under these circumstances, he did not see how the Committee could reasonably pass this Amendment. He quite agreed with the hon. and gallant Member that it was desirable to encourage good cultivation; but he could not agree that it should be paid for twice. He knew nothing in the present day that more increased the value of land than good 1688 cultivation; and he was sure that in the present state of the market any tenant, on taking a farm, could obtain a reduction of the rent if the land were in a bad state of cultivation. That being so, he (Mr. Biddell) did not think the tenant could also claim compensation in a direct way. He must, therefore, vote against the Amendment.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
said, he should not follow the lead of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Aberdeen by discussing portions of the Bill which were not really affected by the Amendment. He would confine his remarks to the proposal immediately before the Committee. He wished to point out that when a landlord let a farm he did so on the assumption that the tenant would resort to good cultivation. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman desired to effect the object he had in view—an object with which he (Mr. Howard) entirely sympathized—he should have used the words, "better cultivation" instead of "good cultivation." But he would point out to the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the first Amendment in his (Mr. Howard's) name completely covered the present proposal. He proposed to alter the 1st clause by making it provide for compensation to the tenant who had improved his holding. This would ensure good cultivation in all cases where compensation was awarded under that portion of the Bill. He hoped, therefore, his hon. and gallant Friend would withdraw his Amendment in favour of that of which he (Mr. Howard) had given Notice.
§ MR. STORER
said, there was an additional reason why the Amendment should not be adopted. All farms should be cultivated in a good and husbandlike manner, and to pay a man for cultivating his land well was to give him more than he was entitled to. This was a sufficiently strong reason for not acceding to the proposal.
§ SIR ALEXANDER GORDON
said, that as the Amendment did not seem to be acceptable to the Committee, he would ask leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD moved, in page 1, line 8, to leave out "made on," and insert "improved." He said that the alteration which the carrying of this Amendment would effect in the clause 1689 was of such a simple character that its object might not be apparent; but it really embodied a very important principle. The wording of the Bill fell entirely short of what should be the object of a declaratory clause; because, after all, the 1st clause was simply a declaratory one. It declared that where a tenant had made on his holding any improvement comprised in the Schedule, he should be entitled, on quitting such holding, to compensation for such improvement. This was to be the case whether he had improved the whole of the holding, or whether he had only improved a small portion and neglected the greater part of it. Thus, if this clause remained as it stood, the tenant who had drained a particular part of his holding, but had neglected the rest of the farm, and had allowed it to deteriorate to a considerable extent, would be entitled to compensation. He believed that his Amendment embodied a far sounder principle. It provided that the tenant should improve the holding as a whole, and not an infinitesimal portion. He had no sympathy with bad tenants, and not a single Amendment that would be moved on this Bill would be of the slightest benefit to any but an improving tenant. He believed his proposal raised an important question. At all events, the Amendment was of a Conservative character; and he hoped that the Government would accept it, and that hon. Gentlemen opposite would support it.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 8, to leave out the words "made on," in order to insert the word "improved."—(Mr. James Howard.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. PICKERING PHIPPS
said, he was opposed to the Amendment, because he was of opinion that the effect of it would be same as that of the proposal which had just been made and withdrawn. He considered that if the words "made on" were left out, and the word "improved" were inserted in the place of them, it would mean the recognition of a right to compensation for ordinary good cultivation. He should, however, if this proposal were withdrawn, support the next Amendment of the hon. Member for Bedfordshire (Mr. J. Howard), on the principle that the tenant, on the 1690 determination of a tenancy, had a right to be paid for any improvement he had made.
§ VISCOUNT LYMINGTON
said, he wished to call the attention of the Committee to the real scope and the importance of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bedfordshire. That Amendment seemed to make a very simple alteration in the Bill; but he hoped he should not be regarded as trespassing on the time of the House if he called attention to its effect when taken in connection with the further Amendments placed on the Paper by his hon. Friend. His hon. Friend now proposed to leave out "made on," and to insert "improved." Further on, in the last line of the clause, be proposed to leave out the words "the value of the improvement to an incoming tenant," and to insert "the increase of the value of the holding properly due to its improvement." If both these and a consequential Amendment were accepted, the clause would run as follows:—Where the tenant has improved his holding he shall, on and after the commencement of this Act, he entitled, on quitting his holding, at the determination of the tenancy, to obtain from the landlord, as compensation under this Act for such improvement, such sum as fairly represents the increase of the value of the holding properly duo to its improvement.He thought that this proposal struck vitally at the principle of the Bill. One of the most important principles in the Bill was that which was embodied in the Schedule—namely, that the improvements for which compensation was to be given should be specified. His hon. Friend proposed practically to strike at the whole of these Schedules, and to make the basis upon which compensation was to be given the vague and very indefinite ground of the general improvement of the holding. What did his hon. Friend mean when he employed these vague terms? He (Viscount Lymington) maintained that if they carefully examined the meaning of the words "the increase of the value of the holding," they would find that very little would be left for the landlord. His hon. Friend maintained that if a tenant in any way improved his holding he had a right to compensation. He (Viscount Lymington) contended that the landlord had a right to profit by a good tenant, if he could do so without any injustice to the tenant himself. It 1691 was perfectly true, as his hon. Friend wished to imply, that it was to the interest of the landlord to secure a good tenant and to encourage good cultivation. But if the Amendment were agreed to, a good tenant who took a farm from an equally good tenant would not profit from the richness of the crops which he obtained. Again, supposing a tenant took a farm in a bad condition, and therefore at a correspondingly very low rate—at a rent, say, below the value of the property—he would not only be compensated by the lowness of the rent for bringing the farm into good condition, but he would be paid twice over by the landlord, because, at the expiration of the tenancy, he would again receive compensation. His hon. Friend had certainly been very discreet in saying very little as to the extent of the effect of this Amendment if it were adopted by the Committee. As a matter of principle, it seemed to him (Viscount Lymington) to be very fair that the landlord should be entitled to a share of the increment which good and proper cultivation of the soil produced. The object of the Bill was to endeavour to effect a proper apportionment of the respective rights of the landlord and the tenant in this respect. If the Amendment of his hon. Friend were adopted, the effect would be that the landlord would be obliged to pay for any improvements, whether they were for enriching the farm, or whether they were of such a character that the tenant himself derived the largest amount of benefit from them.
§ MR. STORER
said, the hon. Member for Bedfordshire had passed this Amendment over in a very light and airy way; but there was a great deal more in it than appeared on the surface. The proposal amounted to this—that compensation should be given for the improvement of the condition of any farm, no matter for what length of time it had been in the tenant's hands or in those of his family, as long as there had been an improvement upon the condition it was in when the tenant entered on it. The farm might have been in the tenant's hands for a great number of years; and if that were the case, how could it be proved to the satisfaction of any jury or any valuer in what state it was when the tenant entered upon it? He objected to the Amendment on this ground, 1692 and also because it would award compensation to the tenant for mere good cultivation. There was another thing to be considered. If a farmer was to be rewarded for having brought his land into better cultivation than he found it on entering upon it many years previously, the landlord ought in the same way to be recouped for the deteriorated condition of a farm. If the principle which the hon. Member wished the Committee to adopt were thus carried to its legitimate conclusion, nine farmers out of ten would suffer very greatly, because in bad seasons it would be totally impossible for them to keep their land up to the condition in which it ought to be. He hoped the Government would not accept the Amendment, because he was quite sure that, although the hon. Member professed to be a great friend of the tenant farmers, if the proposal were agreed to, and they also became liable for deterioration during all seasons of the year, it would be a very bad thing for them.
§ MR. HENEAGE
said, in proposing this Amendment the hon. Member for Bedfordshire appeared to him to be raising a question that had been settled on the second reading of the Bill. The Amendment would abolish the Schedules altogether, and, in fact, destroy one-half of the Bill. He thought if the Government would state whether it could go forward in the event of the Amendment being carried, that it would tend to abridge what must otherwise be a long discussion.
§ MR. DODSON
said, in answer to the appeal of his hon. Friend (Mr. Heneage), he rose to say that the Government were not prepared to accept the Amendment, the effect of which, as previous speakers had pointed out, would be to do away with the principle of the Bill, which was that the improvements to be paid for should be definite improvements. He pointed out that the Amendment of his hon. Friend would not necessarily mean that there should be good cultivation; it might amount to nothing more than farming the land not so badly as a bad predecessor. Again, if the tenant was to be compensated for leaving the farm in a better condition than he found it, the owner ought to be compensated for his farm being left in a worse condition than when the tenant entered upon it. That would operate very hardly 1693 and unfairly in some cases. Take the case of a widow succeeding her husband, or a son succeeding his father, or the case of a bad farmer succeeding a clever one, and leaving' the land, with the best intentions, in a worse state than he found it. A further objection to this proposal was that it would be exceedingly difficult, in many instances, to estimate the improvement. When a tenant came into possession of a farm, an accurate account would have to be taken of the condition of every field and of every acre of land, and an equally minute account would have to be taken of it when he left. It would be almost impossible to ascertain the precise amount of improvement, or even whether there was any improvement at all. For these reasons he was unable to accept the Amendment.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, the Amendment was a very important one, and he hoped his hon. Friend would take a Division upon it. The question raised by the Amendment was whether the landlord should take a share of the improvements due properly to the tenant's skill?—and that was the question they had to decide. When the Bill was first spoken of by the Prime Minister, he announced, in terms as full as possible, that the tenant was to be compensated for the whole value of the improvements. Now, that was what he and his hon. Friends asked for in presenting this Amendment to the Committee. There were a great many improvements besides those in the Schedule, and one of them was undoubtedly improved cultivation. Every practical farmer knew that the expenditure on improved cultivation was, perhaps, as large in amount as for any other improvement which the tenant could make. Take the case of heavy clay farms. The tenant's expenditure on such farms for improved cultivation would be as much as in any other single direction, or for any of the improvements which he was allowed to perform with compensation under the Schedule. Hon. Members opposite said that a tenant going into possession of a farm took into consideration the exhausted condition of the soil and bad cultivation. That was true to a certain extent; but if a tenant took a farm in that condition, he paid the landlord more rent for the farm than it was then worth; he offered for the farm not its value in 1694 the condition it then was, but as it might be when improved by his capital and skill. Now the Bill proposed to limit the tenant's compensation to the improvements named in the Schedule. Why should he not be entitled to compensation for other improvements? If the tenant left the farm in a deteriorated state, the landlord would be entitled to compensation as much as would make up to him the loss in its value to the incoming tenant. Speaking for the tenant farmers, he said they were willing to accept a clause which would give the landlord power to interfere and prevent his land being exhausted. The proposition now before the Committee seemed to him to be only reasonable and fair. The farmers wished that they should be compensated for the improvement of the holding properly due to them, not for the increased value due to other causes, and this could be more easily estimated otherwise than by means of a Schedule. Any experienced valuator, looking at a farm as a whole, would be able to say whether the farm had been improved or was going backward, and whether the improvement was due to external causes or to the capital expended on the land. He was anxious that the Bill, if it passed, should be a settlement of this agricultural question; but he was satisfied that if it passed in its present form, it would do little towards a settlement, because the farmer would still insist on his right to compensation for the whole increased value of his holding so far as due to his industry and skill. He hoped, therefore, that the Government would reconsider the Amendment, the adoption of which would in the end be of advantage to the landlord, because it would stimulate the tenants to improve their holdings; it would make the rents more secure in future, and that, from the experience during late years, could not fail to be very satisfactory to the landlords.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, he shared the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster with regard to the Amendment—namely, that if it were adopted it would render the clause impracticable. Neither did he see what would be gained by the adoption of the Amendment, which could not be gained by more fitting and more proper means. The hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. Barclay) said if 1695 the Amendment were not accepted that the tenant would be debarred from receiving the whole value of his improvements, of which he said there were a great many that were not named in the Schedule. He was not prepared to admit the accuracy of the hon. Member's contention that the tenant would be so deprived; but, supposing the hon. Member were right, surely the proper way of raising this question would be by stating to the Committee that great variety of improvements which he said were not included in the Schedule. But there was another and a graver objection to this proposal of the hon. Member for Bedfordshire, and that was that if the Amendment were accepted with the subsequent Amendments dealing with the clause, the compensation to the tenant would include not only that which he was fully entitled to, but also the improvements which were inherent in the soil, and which constituted a very considerable part of the property in land. Therefore, he hoped Her Majesty's Government would adhere to their determination, in which he was convinced they would receive the support of the large majority of the Committee.
§ MR. THOROLD ROGERS
said, he thought the inevitable consequence of the proposed alteration would be to arrest the development of rent. He was not prepared to say that the whole of the value which resulted from the cultivation of the soil should go to the tenant. The proposal would have the effect of stereotyping rent, and producing a state of things from which he could see no escape. To take away the landlord's permanent interest in the soil was to eliminate one of the most important factors in the welfare of the country. For these reasons he could not support the Amendment.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, with reference to the statement of the hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. Barclay), as to there being many improvements not included in the Schedule, that the Government, when they reached that portion of the Bill, would be prepared to consider any addition to it which the hon. Gentleman might propose. At the same time, he ventured to point out that the Schedule had been taken from the Act of 1875, and he had never heard of any improvements that were not included in that Schedule; indeed, he had a great 1696 authority in support of that view in the hon. Member for Bedfordshire (Mr. Howard) himself, who, he believed, had always been considered as the father of the Schedule in question. He found that his hon. Friend, among other statements with regard to the Act of 1875, said, no longer than 18 months ago before the Royal Commission, that the Schedule of the Act of 1875 contained all possible improvements which could be made on a farm, and that the improvements in the Schedule were taken word for word from a Schedule which he had made himself. His hon. Friend now complained that the Schedule did not contain all the improvements possible. He (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) admitted that there was one improvement—namely, the improvement by good cultivation referred to by the hon. Member for Forfarshire, which was not in the Schedule; but Her Majesty's Government considered that that was not an improvement within the sense of the Bill. Even if they were to insert the words proposed by the hon. Member for Bedfordshire he did not think the object aimed at would be attained, because he believed it had been held by the Courts of Law that good cultivation was not improvement within the legal meaning of that term.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
said, most of the objections taken had gone altogether beyond the scope of his Amendment. He objected to the declaratory form of words proposed by the Government, and had himself suggested others which he believed contained a sounder principle. The Schedule of the Act of 1875 having been referred to, and his opinion with respect to it quoted by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Commissioner of Works, he would point out that since that opinion was given agriculture had progressed, and that what was applicable to one period might not be to another. [Laughter.] Some hon. Members laughed at the statement that agriculture was a progressive industry; but, at all events, it had been so in the past, and he hoped it would continue to be so in the future. Had hon. Members forgotten the most modern introduction into agriculture—the introduction of silos? When this Schedule was placed before him he saw at once that the most modern improvement in agriculture was not included. He asked 1697 Her Majesty's Government whether, if Schedules were necessary for improvements, they were not equally necessary in the case of dilapidations and waste? The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) had attempted to show that all possible improvements were included in the Schedule. But he (Mr. Howard) remembered that on the introduction of steam power the Lincolnshire valuators framed a Schedule of compensation to the tenant for deeper cultivation. That was not in the Schedule of this Bill. Again, there was no more frequent improvement of land in Scotland than the freeing of it from boulder stones; but that also was not included. He said that the effect of the clause as it stood would be to tie the hands of farmers for a generation. The noble Viscount behind him (Viscount Lymington) had asked what he meant by improvements. Well, if he would turn to his Amendment further down the Paper, he would find this set forth on a principle which he believed to be better and sounder than that of the Schedule. Another hon. Member had said that after a man had been in possession of a farm for 40 years it would be impossible to tell whether it had been improved or not; but he would point out that that argument would apply with equal force, whether there were Schedules to the Bill or not. Then the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage) said if the Amendment were adopted it would be absolutely necessary to abolish the Schedules; but, however that remark might apply to his future Amendment, it did not apply to the present; because, if it were agreed to, there was no reason why the Bill should not retain the Schedule now attached to it.
§ MR. DUCKHAM
said, the farmers of England were that day intently watching the proceedings of the Committee. He fully agreed with the opinions that had been expressed by several hon. Members as to the incompleteness of the Schedule. For his own part, he would rather see the Bill postponed for another year than that it should be passed with the Schedule which it now contained. He maintained that unless the Schedule included everything in the nature of improvement which could be effected on a holding, it would be better that it should be left out of the Bill, and the question of improvements settled 1698 solely by arbitration. There were, undoubtedly, many improvements which were not included in the Schedule.
pointed out that the hon. Member was not confining his observations to the Amendment before the Committee.
§ MR. DUCKHAM
said, he, of course, bowed to the ruling of the Chair. A reference, however, to the Schedule seemed to be essential to the discussion of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bedfordshire (Mr. Howard); and he was under the impression that he should not be out of Order in travelling over ground that had been touched upon by almost every speaker since the Amendment was proposed.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 275; Noes 35: Majority 240.—(Div. List, No. 206.)
§ MR. DUCKHAM
pointed out that it was impossible to draft a Schedule applicable to every description of holdings, and the consequence was that there were many things which were in the nature of improvements required by some land that were not included in the Schedule of the Bill. For instance, there was land that, unless the boulders and rocks upon it were removed, could not be cultivated, and the same remark applied to some pasture land, which was of little use for feeding purposes until the stone on it had been got rid of. Then there was the grubbing up of gorse, and many other things, which had to be done, and which were not dealt with in the Bill. Again, there was provision made for the planting of hedges, but none for the removal of old hedge-rows, an operation which involved the removal of stumps of trees, and was often attended with considerable expense. He need hardly remind the Committee that many years often elapsed before land could be got into profitable cultivation; therefore, unless all these things could be taken into account, the farmers in the country would not be satisfied with the Bill, or regard it as a settlement of the agricultural question. He said that if a tenant improved his holding by any means, he ought to be compensated, amongst other reasons, because he might be removed by the hand of death—as, indeed, many farmers of his acquaintance had been, shortly after making extensive 1699 improvements entirely at their own expense, the whole benefit of which had gone to the landlords, without any compensation being paid to their widows and families. For these reasons, he earnestly appealed to the Committee to adopt the Amendment he now begged to move, with the object of eliminating the Schedule from the Bill.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 9, to leave out the words "comprised in the Schedule hereto."—(Mr. Duckham.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. DODSON
said, he hoped, in view of the Division that had taken place, and the remarks made by him in connection with the previous Amendment, that his hon. Friend would not think it necessary to take a Division on this Amendment. He admitted that the observations of his hon. Friend constituted very fair arguments for making modifications in the Schedule; and when that portion of the Bill was reached, Her Majesty's Government would be quite ready to consider any Amendment his hon. Friend might have to propose for the purpose.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
said, a short time ago he made an appeal to the Government to give the Committee one reason for the introduction into the Bill of a Schedule of improvements, while there was nothing of the kind in relation to dilapidation and waste. He hoped, unless they got some explanation and some reason for this, that his hon. Friend would divide the Committee, notwithstanding the appeal made to him by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill. He again asked, if this Schedule was so necessary in the case of improvements, why a Schedule was not also necessary in the case of dilapidations?
§ MR. DODSON
pointed out that the Bill did not provide for dilapidations, and the only reference to waste was at that portion of the Bill which provided that the landlord might strike off sums due to him for waste or breach of covenant from the amount of compensation claimed from him by the tenant.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, the Committee ought to have a declaration from the Government on this point. The landlord had a claim at Common Law 1700 for dilapidations and deterioration; whereas the tenant had no claim for compensation at Common Law. It was proposed in the Bill to give the tenant a claim for compensation in the case of the improvements specified in the Schedule; and his hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire (Mr. J. Howard), by the last Amendment, proposed that the tenant should have a general claim for compensation for improvements, just as the landlord had a general claim for dilapidations; but the Government had declared against that principle. In order to put the landlord and the tenant on the same footing in the face of the law, the Schedule ought to specify what constituted the landlord's claim for dilapidation, in the same way as it did the particular improvements for which the tenant could claim compensation. If they wished to do justice to the tenants for the improvements they made, the Bill would accomplish that to a certain extent; but if they desired to see the Bill have the further effect of greatly improving cultivation throughout the country, it was desirable, in the interest both of the landlord and the tenant, that the tenant should be given general powers to claim compensation for general improvements. The point raised by his hon. Friend was, that if there were a Schedule of improvements, for which only the tenant was to be compensated, there ought to be a Schedule of dilapidations, for which only the landlord could claim. The Bill, as it stood at present, defined the power of the tenant over the landlord; and he (Mr. Barclay) agreed that the landlord's power over the tenant should be likewise clearly defined. He trusted the Government would give an assurance that this should be done; otherwise he thought his hon. Friend should go to a Division on his Amendment, as a protest against the one-sided nature of the clause.
§ MR. GUY DAWNAY
said, he intended to give Notice of an Amendment, the object of which was to import into the Bill some words in the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1875 bearing on this subject.
§ MR. STORY-MASKELYNE
said, he wished to call attention to the evidence given by the hon. Member for Bedfordshire (Mr. J. Howard) before the Royal Commission. The hon. Member, being 1701 asked if he would approve of a tenant erecting farm buildings in front of the landlord's windows, said he was opposed to the idea. But the erection of buildings of that kind was one of the improvements which the tenant might make without consulting the landlord at all if the Amendment were adopted. Again, the hon. Member who moved the Amendment (Mr. Duckham) had mentioned as an improvement the clearing away and grubbing up of scrub. He did not know whether that was so; but he thought the Committee would perceive that to give a universal right to do, without consent, things of the kind included in Part 1 of the Schedule would be to confer upon the tenant practically a new right in the soil. For these reasons, he was opposed to the Amendment of the hon. Member, although he was quite sure that the Committee would listen to anything which he had to propose by way of addition to the Schedule when that part of the Bill was reached.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ MR. BORLASE
rose to move, in page 1, line 10, after "entitled," to insert the words "on entering on a fresh contract of tenancy, where the rent is raised, or." The hon. Gentleman said, the simple object of this Amendment was to bring the continuing or sitting tenant, as he was now generally known, directly and explicitly within the purview of this Bill—in other words, it was to extend the beneficial results of the measure, which were excellent in principle, beyond that infinitesimally small class of farmers whom it now affected, and to bring within its limits that far larger and more varied class who, for better and worse, through bad times and through good times, had held on steadily in their holdings, and had constituted the backbone of English agriculture. Now, in order to afford adequate protection to the sitting tenant, one of two courses, whatever might be said to the contrary, were open to them—either they must go in the direction pointed out by his Amendment, or they must introduce a system similar to that which they had introduced into Ireland, and which he, for one, was disposed to say could not be too strongly deprecated. That course was not desired by English farmers, nor was it required in order to meet their wants; 1702 and he believed it would do much to alienate from the soil of England those good landlords who had done so much to bring this country to the state in which it was at the present moment. He ventured to say, if the Committee would pardon him for a moment, that he did not believe there was a single association of farmers throughout the length and breadth of the land who were in favour of introducing the Irish Act into England. He was certain, for his own part, that the Farmers' Alliance, with which he was identified, had not that object in view; and if it had that object in view, he should not be a Representative of that Society at the present moment. Passing by that idea as un-English and unnecessary, the other course open to them was that to which his Amendment pointed. That course was to render it as difficult and inexpedient for his own interest as possible that the landlord should raise the rent upon the continuing tenant, or, in other words, raise it upon anything less than that upon which he was justly entitled to raise it. His contention was that where a landlord raised his rent he was himself the creator of a new departure; he, and he alone, was responsible for the new conditions which would exist, and for the consequences which would be brought about; he himself admitted that the time had then arrived when the previously existing conditions had come to an end, and that he was going to take a new departure which, in his opinion, would be more profitable to himself. In those circumstances, surely he could have no objection to allow the tenant to come to him and say—"Before we start upon these new conditions, let us now have a settling up of our old scores; let us see what is due to me for my improvements during the term of my tenancy, and what is due to you for the improvement of the land and for dilapidations, owing to external circumstances, for which neither of us are responsible." He knew that the answer which had been attempted to be made to this, both by Members of Her Majesty's Government and also in the Press of the country, was that the tenant would derive no ultimate benefit, because the landlord would have power to recoup himself by adding to the previously increased rent such a sum as would repay the interest on the amount 1703 which he paid for compensation. Now, he granted that it was right to do this; he granted that under no conditions should that right be taken from him; but let him try to use that right, and he would find a factor come into play which would immediately prevent him from so doing. That factor had its existence in the market value of the holding. Supposing that a tenant whose rent it was proposed to raise said—"No. Under these conditions I cannot possibly stay; I must go, and take with me the value which I can obtain for compensation as a leaving tenant." Now, was it likely that a satisfactory new tenant could be found who would pay this double increase—first of all, the increase which the landlord made, and which was perfectly just and fair; and, in addition to that, this interest which the previous tenant would be called upon to pay if he had remained. It would be absolutely impossible, and, more than that, it would never be attempted. The landlord would have to choose between retaining his steady and good tenant and being content with the increase at first proposed, and taking a now tenant. As Sir James Caird said, the landlord had no more power to raise the tenant's rent indefinitely than he had to raise the price of Consols or Railway Shares if he desired to sell thorn. Suppose the landlord wished to raise his rent £60 a-year, and that £1,000 was due for compensation; suppose, then, that he would add £40 to the rent as interest on the £1,000 at 4 per cent.; that, together with the £60, would make an increase of £100 a-year. He asked, could that landlord find any satisfactory tenant who would take over the farm in the face of the rent which the landlord wanted to raise? This Amendment would then act simply as a deterrent; it would violate no principle of farming; it would not interfere with the freedom of trade, and it would necessitate no new machinery, because the machinery under this Bill would already be in existence, and the provisions of the Bill, with regard to the compensation to be paid to the outgoing tenant, could be brought to bear as thoroughly as in the case of the compensation due to the continuing tenant. Now, he preferred this Amendment of his to the others placed upon the Paper below it, for this reason. If the contract of tenancy were over changed on an occasion on which there was to be 1704 a settlement of the old scores, it would be found that the landlord conversely would be deterred from reducing his rent, because he would have to face the tenant with the fact that he might have to pay compensation all round. In conclusion, he would urge on the Government the adoption of his Amendment, on the ground that it was founded on a general desire in the country, as expressed by Sir James Caird and others, and which had received such general approbation. He would not trouble the Committee by quoting the words of The Times newspaper on the day that Sir James Caird's letter appeared; but he would remark that it was thoroughly in favour of the Amendment he proposed. Since this Bill had been before the public there had been a great many farmers' meetings, at one of which the following Resolution was passed—That this meeting is entirely in favour of the Bill so far as it goes; but we trust that during its passage through Committee it will be materially improved, with the view of giving the tenant farmers full and complete security for unexhausted improvements by compensation of the sitting tenant.Secondly, and lastly, he would impress this Amendment on the Government from the point of view of expediency, believing that by making this measure thorough and adequate, as it would be by the introduction of his Amendment, they would settle the agricultural question once for all on a basis both honourable to Parliament and satisfactory to the country. He begged to move the Amendment standing in his name.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 10, after the word "entitled," to insert the words "on entering on a fresh contract of tenancy, where his rent is raised."—(Mr. Borlase.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. WIGGIN
said, before the Committee went to a Division on this Amendment he would ask the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill whether, in the case of an increase of rent, the sitting tenant could only receive compensation on leaving his holding? Would the landlord have power to increase the rent for the improvements made by the tenant who did not quit his holding? If so, it would be 1705 most unfair; and, therefore, he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give an assurance that this was not intended, and that it would be made clear in the Bill.
§ VISCOUNT EBRINGTON
said, he had listened carefully to the speech of the hon. Member who moved this Amendment; but he must ask to be excused for saying that he could not understand from that speech how the proposal would work. The hon. Member repudiated any desire to introduce the Irish system into this country; and then he explained how the landlord who wished to raise the rent on the sitting tenant would be prevented from doing so by the difficulty of finding another man who would pay the increase of rent as well as the interest on the compensation he would have to pay to the tenant. But, surely, that was provided for by the Bill as it stood. Take the case suggested by the hon. Member himself, of a landlord proposing to increase the rent by £60 a year, and having to pay £1,000 for compensation; there would be altogether £100 which the landlord would require to get from the new tenant, whom, as the hon. Member said, he would not be able to find. Surely, in that case, be would keep the man he had already; if he found the total increase of rent to the extent of £100 an impossibility, he would put up with a lesser sum from the sitting tenant. If the Amendment were designed to meet the case where the rent was sought to be raised on the tenant's own improvements, that was an object with which he thought all must sympathize; but he was unable to see what more could be done in that direction than was already done by the Bill. There would be an agreement between the landlord and the tenant, so as to prevent the possibility of the rent being raised on improvements of the first class; and in the case of drainage the tenant might insist on its being done before he took the farm. The larger the outlay on it, if judicious, the greater would be his security, as, if a proposal were made to raise the rent, and the tenant preferred to go, the very magnitude of the sum to be paid would be likely to make the landlord think twice before he turned him out. And then, ordinary compensation for the unexhausted manures, fertilizers, and agricultural operations of the third class, was already secured by the Bill according to their value to 1706 the incoming tenant, which he believed was generally admitted to be the only fair standard for unexhausted improvements of the kind. It was easy to define those improvements; but the other improvement suggested was undefinable. Formerly, if a tenant did not agree to an advance of rent he ran the risk of losing his outlay on the holding as well as his home. Under the Bill he ran no risk of the former; but as to the latter, no price could be put on the pretium affectionis.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, he rose for the purpose of asking the hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Borlase) to withdraw his Amendment, and allow another to be submitted to the Committee. It seemed to him, in the first place, that the hon. Member, in proposing the Amendment, put the cart before the horse, so to speak, because he sought to place a fresh tenancy before the determination of a tenancy. The Amendment, he contended, would also be injurious to the tenant, because unless his rent were raised the hon. Member would give him no claim to compensation. It did not follow that on a fresh tenancy the rent would be raised; the rent originally might have been very much higher than a just and equitable rent for the farm, and if the tenant had to trust to the mercy of his hon. Friend alone he would find himself without any remedy whatever. He could not believe for a moment that Sir James Caird, if he were a Member of that House, would be disposed to support the Amendment now before the Committee. Upon the general question he would say one or two words only. He believed hon. Members opposite would be as desirous as were Members on that side of the House to give an advantage to the occupying tenant, if they could do so without any interference with the rights of property. From the year 1858 to the year 1868 there had been a rapid and continual rise of rent throughout the country. Sir James Caird had stated that within 20 years the rise of rent of agricultural land amounted to £331,000,000 sterling, and that the expenditure of the landowners was only £60,000,000 sterling. In this general system of raising rents the process was almost uniform. At the time he referred to, London valuers of eminence were asked to go down to the country for the purpose of valuing the estates of the 1707 landowners for a new rental. The gentlemen who went down had no knowledge of the tenants and the circumstances in which they worked, but they performed their functions; and the result was that a very large increase of rent was reported to the owner in respect of all the farms in his possession. He (Mr. Arthur Arnold) had a case in his mind at that moment, in which the rent was raised on every farm, and not a single tenant on the estate quitted his holding. But it could not be contended that there were not cases on that estate in which the tenant had a very considerable claim with regard to improvements; these tenants, however, were not in a position to make an active claim against their landlord. But what would have been the effect of the Amendment which he proposed? He did not contend that any one of those tenants would have received compensation in money; but the effect of giving them a claim for their permanent improvement in the land would have been to bring the landlord and tenants together; and, instead of the latter suffering an increase of rent upon their own improvements, the landlord and the tenant would have been able to make a bargain between themselves; they would have settled by a rough-and-ready system the apportionment of improvements, partly belonging to the landlord and partly to the tenant. The objection to the claim for payment by the landlord for transitory improvements had been already stated; these could never come into question, because if the tenant remained on the farm he would himself exhaust them. The question, then, only remained as to permanent improvements; and with regard to these, one of two operations might take place on an advance of rent; either allowance could be made as compensation for the tenant's permanent improvement, or the money could be paid down. There would be no objection to the landlord and tenant coming together and making an arrangement that there should be a modification of the rent. He did not think the Amendment referred to would carry them nearer to those objectionable principles which he desired to avoid. At the same time, he believed it would give the occupying tenants a very sound and sensible advantage, while it served the main object of the Bill, which was to promote good husbandry. For these reasons, he hoped 1708 the hon. Member for East Cornwall would withdraw the Amendment before the Committee.
§ COLONEL RUGGLES-BRISE
said, that the effect of the Amendment would be that the landlord, seeing that the tenant had a heavy claim against him for improvements, would have to let the farm again at an advanced rent. The Amendment, therefore, appeared to him not to be at all in the interest of the sitting tenant, for whom he (Colonel Ruggles-Brise) would be glad to see something done. With regard to the landlord, the Amendment would affect him prejudicially in several ways. It would make it difficult for him to raise the rent sufficiently high to compensate himself for the interest on the money he would have to pay to the tenant; while, with regard to the third part of the Schedule, the tenant would be compensated twice over, because at the end of a few years he would have exhausted all the improvements for which the landlord paid him. For these reasons, he could not support the Amendment before the Committee.
§ MR. DODSON
assured the hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Borlase) that he appreciated the terms in which he had moved his Amendment. He also took that opportunity of rendering to him the tribute of credit due to that Alliance of which he was Chairman for what they had done in the interest of the farming class, and in the interest of agriculture generally. Having said so much, he must state his objections to the Amendment which the hon. Member had moved. In the first place, it seemed to him that the Amendment was only applicable to good times. It aimed at preventing the owner from taking advantage of the tenant's improvement to raise his rent in good times; but it did not attempt to prevent his taking advantage of the tenant's improvement to refuse to reduce his rent in bad times. But if it was to be wholly efficient from any point of view, they ought to provide for the case of bad times also. That, however, the Amendment did not touch. Again, the rent might be raised in consequence of the improvement of the holding effected by the landlord; in consequence of a rise in the market value of farms generally, or of a rise in the market value of the particular farm; but in none of these cases could it be contended that the tenant ought to be compensated. Where the 1709 rent was not raised, or was only raised for such reasons, and the tenant held on and continued to reap the benefit of the improvements he had made, he could not be held entitled to compensation for them. The single case to which the Amendment applied was where the rent was raised against the tenant on his own improvements. The answer to that was this. The owner, no doubt, might ask for such a rise; but, economically, he would not be able to get it, and for this very simple reason—the tenant would object that it was a rise of rent upon his own improvements. What was the position of the owner then? He must place himself in the invidious position of giving the tenant notice to quit, and he must give him compensation for his improvements. He must provide that compensation, either out of funds of his own, or out of funds provided by the incoming tenant. If he provided the money out of his own funds, he then lost as much interest as he gained in rent; and if he provided it out of the funds of the incoming tenant, then, of course, the incoming tenant could afford to pay so much less rent. Therefore, the landlord might as well agree to go on with the existing tenant at the existing rent; and it would be better for him to do so, and thus avoid the risks and trouble incident to changing his tenant. He had put the case of an owner disposed to take advantage of the fear or disinclination of the tenant to leave the holding. His answer to that objection was that if the tenant was so anxious to stay as to submit to a rise of rent upon his own improvement without resisting, and if the landlord took advantage of that anxiety, then the Bill would not protect him; but neither would the Amendment of the hon. Member. This assumed protection to the "sitting tenant" was delusive. It would give no more protection to the tenant than was already given to him by the Bill, which it was evident was a real, because an economical, protection, since the landlord would be unable to raise the rent upon the tenant's own improvement without being liable to pay for it. The tenant would have everything in the shape of protection short of the right of staying on—that was, short of fixity of tenure and a limited rent, objects which the supporters of the Amendment disclaimed. He said fixity of tenure and limited 1710 rent, because there was no use in saying that the rent should not be raised unless they gave him the right to stay for some considerable period, and there was no use giving him the right to stay except on condition that the rent should be limited. The one was worth nothing without the other. They were not prepared to grant this fixity of tenure; and, indeed, the hon. Member himself said he was not prepared to concede it. Then they came back to this—that the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member added nothing whatever to the security given to the tenant beyond that which was already given by the Bill. He therefore objected to the Amendment, and to the words proposed by the hon. Member, on the ground that they had been converted into a mere shibboleth, calculated to cause misleading hopes, and certain to result in disappointment if they should be adopted.
§ MR. PUGH
ventured to think, with reference to what had fallen from his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, that there were very few Members in that House who possessed a practical knowledge of the subject who would agree with his right hon. Friend. He (Mr. Pugh) was quite prepared to join issue with his right hon. Friend as to whether the Bill would give the tenant 1d. more in the way of security, or whether it would not. He thought, if they were to talk of shibboleths at all, he might describe what his right hon. Friend said in regard to fixity of tenure and official rents as the shibboleth he wished the Committee to accept as the ground of rejecting the Amendment. No doubt, the right hon. Gentleman spoke in good faith in alluding to fixity of tenure and official rents in connection with the Amendment; but the Amendment itself had been described in perfect good faith, because it was believed that it would give the tenant a certain amount of additional security without departing from the principle of the Bill, or, in point of fact, extending it. What was the position of affairs? He was not going to contest the question with the right hon. Gentleman whether originally the landlord ought to have got a greater rent, or whether, logically or theoretically, he could get a greater amount of rent; but he knew, as a matter of fact, 1711 that tenants every day agreed to pay an increased amount of rent sooner than leave the holding. He knew that this was the case in Wales, and that the tenant did pay a larger amount of rent. Indeed, it was the greatest grievance that the tenant complained of. He did not feel very much for the tenant who was quitting his holding, because he received the value of his improvements to a certain extent. There was a certain amount of money coming to him—it might be large or it might be small; but if the question was whether he was to pay an increased rent owing to the improved value of the farm, he was perfectly helpless, unless he was prepared to say—"I will leave this place where my father and mother have lived before me and go away somewhere else." It was a fact within his own knowledge that the rent had been raised in that way upon the tenant's improvements, and raised to a very great extent. What was the reason the tenant was not prepared to leave his holding. The right hon. Gentleman said that, economically, if he could not pay the rent he was asked to pay he would go away; but, in the first place, the question of sentiment was allowed to enter into the matter. A man did not like to leave the place where he had been born and bred, and give up a farm every field of which he knew, and he would pay an increased rent sooner than leave. Then, if he could not afford to pay such increased rent, he would contrive to go on paying it; and every year he would go back in the world on account of the increase of rent. He did not think that was a sentiment to be sneered at, or to be disregarded. There was another thing which weighed with the tenant—namely, that he had obtained a thorough knowledge of the farm upon which he had been engaged. If he went to another he had not only to change his neighbourhood, but when he moved an auction would have to take place, and he would have to sell various things at a valuation, and then he would be required to transfer his operations to an entirely different farm, of which, probably, he would have no special knowledge at all. At present, the tenant was on a farm of which he knew every field. He knew what would grow well, and what he ought to sow, and where weeds of a certain kind might be 1712 expected to grow. Even if he had very little capital he was able to get along. But if he was compelled to give up the farm, then he had to commence life again. They could not look upon these people as persons who entered simply into a commercial contract to take a house in the country. There were many considerations which the tenant farmer had to bear in mind, and which ought to be respected by all persons concerned. Of course, the tenant was entitled, when he left the farm, to be paid for his improvements; and he was of opinion that if the Amendment were adopted the effect it would have would be this. The owner of the land would consider his own interests before he raised the rent. The landlord and tenant would be brought together; they would consider the real value of the farm; and when they met, in all probability, in most cases, the landlord would agree to a reduction of the valuation of the farm for the improvements which had been carried out by the tenant at his own expense. What was the tenants' position now in regard to the law; because they ought to make their laws, as far as they could, in conformity with the principles of equity and justice. The position now was this—that the landlord was quite right in saying to the tenant—"Well, I grant that you have made improvements which are worth £10 a-year; but according to law that is not to be taken in account before you leave the farm. When you leave the farm you will be paid the full value of your improvements; but until then you must pay, in the shape of rent, the full value of the farm." Then, unless this or some similar Amendment were adopted, it would not be open for the landlord to say that; but he would have to negotiate upon a different basis, and the tenant would have the value of his improvements to negotiate upon. Therefore, if the Amendment were adopted, the tenant would be placed in a far better position. He would be enabled to obtain the value of his improvements, not as a dormant, but an active interest. It was no answer for the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to say that the Amendment would not give him a perfect protection. He (Mr. Pugh) quite agreed that it did not give him a perfect protection; but he contended that it gave him additional 1713 security. No doubt they could not give the tenant perfect security without going a great deal further—even to the question of judicial rents. They could not, theoretically, give him perfect security; but he (Mr. Pugh) did not know that it was necessary to do so. "What he asked for, and what he believed the tenants would be satisfied with, was that they should have the security given to them by the Amendment, that they might be able to say, when they were called on to pay an increased rent to the landlord—"Part of the increase you ask for is due to the improvements I have made, and due to these improvements only." He did not see what answer to that claim it was to say—"Tour improvements do not apply to back periods, when the rent was lower than it ought now to be." The right hon. Gentleman said, also, that the rent might be raised on other grounds by the owner. That was so. It was impossible to limit the grounds for enhancing the rent; but the object of those who supported the Amendment was that whenever it was proposed to raise the rent it should be taken into consideration on what account that rise of rent was due. He certainly pressed this as a very serious matter, and the tenants of the country looked forward to it more than to any other point. He know very well, as regarded the tenants of Wales, that they all desired some additional security, and were anxious for the insertion in the Bill of some clause in the shape of the present Amendment. Under those circumstances, he hoped if the Committee went to a Division on the matter that the Government would meet them by inserting in the Bill either the Amendment of his hon. Friend or another Amendment in the same sense.
§ MR. CARPENTER GARNIER
very much deprecated any interference on the part of Parliament in the question of rent at all. Very often the landlord would have a right to increase the rent owing to the state of the markets; and in many instances the improved value of a farm might be altogether independent of the improvements effected by the tenant. If the Committee accepted the Amendment he thought they would have to go much farther, and enter into the question whether the rent was rightly or wrongly raised, which, as had been pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman 1714 the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, would lead to the introduction of the Irish system into this country.
§ MR. RATHBONE
said, he was able to confirm the remarks which had been made by his hon. Friend the Member for Cardiganshire (Mr. Pugh), that this was an Amendment very much asked for and desired by the small tenant farmers of Wales, who had made reclamations and other improvements at their own expense. A vast majority of landlords would only be desirous of doing justice to the tenant for his labour and outlay; but there were exceptions, and in the past they had been the occasion of the greatest possible injustice. Although it was perfectly true, as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had stated, that it was possible for a landlord to go behind any Amendment of this sort and to evade the object of the law, yet those who studied these matters would be aware that the law often had a practical effect in indicating to those who wished to obey it what was just and right. There were a great many people who would do very hard things if the law enabled them to do them, and if they knew that they would not be breaking the law by doing hard things; but who, notwithstanding, would restrain their hand when they felt that the law was against them. Therefore, he did think, upon that ground, that the insertion of the Amendment would, in regard to what was just and right, be of considerable value. It would enable the tenants to resist any invasion of their rights, and to that extent it would afford them considerable encouragement. He, therefore, thought that some such Amendment was desirable in the Bill, even though it might be possible for the landlord to go behind it.
§ SIR GABRIEL GOLDNEY
said, he was very much at a loss to understand the argument of the hon. Member who had just sat down. The Bill, as it stood, was a very simple one, and it was placed upon a logical basis. In the relations between the landlord and tenant a sort of partnership existed, in which the landlord provided the land and a considerable portion of the capital, and the tenant provided the rest. It was agreed between them that provision should be made for the payment of interest upon the landlord's capital, probably to the 1715 extent of 2½ per cent. and then that the tenant should have the right to make the most he could out of the farm. The Bill said that at the termination of that contract, when a tenant quitted the holding, then, in addition to his taking away the capital he had placed upon the land, and the advantages he had derived from it, he should have paid to him by law from the landlord a sum of money for certain classes of improvements set forth in the Schedule which still remained in existence, and from which the incoming tenant would derive advantage. It might he fairly said that where the tenant had put up certain buildings, or carried out a certain system of drainage, or done other things, from the expenditure on which additional advantage had been derived, and if that expenditure had been incurred with the consent of the landlord, of course the tenant would receive compensation. But there were many things which might tend to improve the value of a farm which would not be owing to the outlay of the tenant. For instance, a large population might have grown up in the district, which would materially improve the value of the land, or railways might have been introduced into the district; and what it was now proposed to enact was, that no increase of rent should take place without entitling the tenant to claim from the landlord payment for the increased value of the holding. With regard to unexhausted improvements, the tenant might have made use of considerable quantities of bone or artificial manures, and might have derived the whole benefit from them during the time of his tenancy; but if any of the improvements carried out in that direction were still unexhausted, the tenant might be perpetually drawing sums of money from the landlord for such improvements, owing to the right he would have of giving notice to quit whenever he chose. The tenant could choose his own time for giving notice to quit. He would be able to say—"I have done so much upon the land, and I have a certain interest in the unexhausted improvement; and I therefore, by giving notice of my intention to leave the farm, call upon you to pay me the full value of my outlay." He thought that advantage for the tenant was controlled in some degree by enabling the landlord to say—"You shall be paid upon quitting 1716 the holding, but not in the meantime." He considered that the Bill, as it now stood, was fairly and logically drawn, and that the Amendment would be destructive of the principle of the measure.
§ MR. CARTWRIGHT
said, he would not object for one moment to hon. Members advocating their views of the Amendment; but he believed that many hon. Members who supported it had not thought out the problem, but had allowed themselves to be led away by what he might call the phrase of the "sitting tenant." The allegation was this—that it was possible, under the provisions of the Bill, for the landlord to extort a rent from a holding which properly belonged to the tenant. He would respectfully put it to hon. Members who supported the Amendment that if they would examine the provisions of the Bill they would see that the views they held were not at all warranted. The question really was—Could a tenant, after the Bill was passed, be deprived of the value of his improvements? He had no intention of speaking of what had happened 20 years ago, in such cases as those which had been referred to by the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arnold); but the question was, whether the Bill would not afford protection for the improvements of every tenant, so that if the tenant had some interest in the landlord's property that interest would be assured to him? The improvements of the tenant must come under one of the three heads of the Schedule. The first part of the Schedule applied to permanent improvements, which could only be made with the consent of the landlord. Consequently, at the time when the agreement was made between the tenant and the landlord, the tenant could make his own terms in regard to the repayment of any money he expended himself. The second part of the Schedule applied only to drainage; and then they came to the third and most important part—namely, improvements carried out in the ordinary operations of cultivation, which could be undertaken without the consent of the landlord. The argument now raised was, that if a landlord increased the rent, the tenant, if he refused to pay it, had no alternative but to leave the holding, or he would be unable to derive the advantages he ought to have from his improvements. It appeared to be imagined 1717 that the claim of the landlord to increased rent would be based upon the unexhausted improvements arising from the investment of the tenant. If the rent were sought to be raised upon any unexhausted improvements, how would the case stand? The landlord might be simply raising the rent upon grounds entirely unconnected with the outlay of the tenant; and the Amendment really involved this consideration—that the tenant was to remain in the enjoyment of land which might have been improved from external causes without paying anything for the increased value. He would, therefore, get the value of the improved position of the land, because he would be paid the value of the improvements, and would then go on enjoying them. He hoped that hon. Members would not prolong the discussion upon the question, as it seemed to him that the Bill, as it stood, afforded ample protection, and that no case had been made out in favour of the Amendment.
§ SIR ALEXANDER GORDON
said, that it was very easy for the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Cartwright) to assert that other hon. Members had not thought out this question, and that now the Committee had heard the hon. Member's arguments it was not necessary for them to hear anything more. Certainly he (Sir Alexander Gordon) had one or two words to say upon the question. He hoped Her Majesty's Government would find themselves able to accept one of the nine Amendments which stood on the Paper, all of which indicated the same spirit as that which his hon. Friend the Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Borlase) had moved. The purpose of that Amendment was to omit the words "on quitting his holding." The hon. Member had provided that the Amendment should only apply to cases where an increase of rent was made, and for this reason—that where a tenant remained in the enjoyment of his own improvements and at the same rent, he had no right to complain, because he would himself be enjoying the results of his own improvements. The hardship only existed when the landlord raised the rent. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill would see the importance of leaving out these words "on quitting his holding." He might point out to hon. Gentlemen opposite that the Bill of the late Government, of which this 1718 was very much an imitation, had no such words in it; and therefore the Bill of the present Government was much more stringent and harder upon the tenant than the Bill of the late Government. He hoped the Government would consider the matter, because he was sure they were desirous of conferring a benefit upon the tenant, and of making the Bill easier to the tenant rather than harder. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill had used the very often quoted words "fixity of tenure" and "official rents;" but he failed to see a single Amendment on the Paper of that hind, indicating a desire for fixity of tenure or official rents. What they wanted was what the Bill gave—namely, judicial arbitration, and it was the same as that of the Bill of 1875—judicial arbitration, and a judgment by the Judge of the County Court. That by no means meant "official rents;" but judicial intervention and judicial arbitration. If the Bill made provision for those objects it would give all that was wanted. All that was now proposed was that the tenant should have the right to go to an arbitrator, and that the arbitrator should decide whether or not he should have compensation, and, if so, what was to be the amount of it.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
said, this was a very important Amendment, and it would be useless to urge the Committee to go a Division until the question had been well and fully discussed. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chippenham (Sir Gabriel Goldney) had raised some objections to the present proposal; but the hon. Member's objections were just as applicable to the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1875, which the hon. Member assisted to pass. The hon. Member seemed to assume that after a tenant, on the termination of his tenancy, had obtained £1,000, or some other sum, from his landlord for improvements, he would be compelled to start afresh, and then, on the termination of another tenancy, would be entitled to a similar claim. He did not think the hon. Gentleman could seriously imagine that anything of that sort could take place. On the contrary, on the termination of the second term of tenancy the tenant would only be entitled to the additional value given to the holding during the second term. Therefore, the objection of the hon. Member would entirely fall 1719 to the ground. The Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Borlase) raised two questions; but he (Mr. Howard) would prefer to take the sense of the Committee upon subsequent Amendments which dealt with each question, although, if the Committee went to a Division, he should certainly support the Amendment of his hon. Friend. He would, however, point out one defect in the Amendment which had not received notice at the hands of previous speakers. It would do away with the necessity of the landlord giving notice to quit to the tenant before entering on a new agreement for a future tenancy. That would be a considerable point gained, because it was not a pleasant operation for a landlord to give an old tenant notice to quit, and it was much more unpleasant for a tenant to receive such notice. It had been urged by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that the Bill did, to some extent, secure the sitting tenant; but he (Mr. Howard) contended that it did not secure him sufficiently or efficiently, and he had on a former occasion shown how, in various ways, he could be better and more effectually secured. He would remind the Committee that the object of the Bill was to secure the higher cultivation of the land, and that was the only ground for an appeal to the Legislature to interfere with the relations between landlord and tenant. They could not justify the interference of the Legislature between landlord and tenant upon any ground of justice, if the object were not to secure the higher cultivation of the land. Then, why should the benefit which the tenant was to derive be made payable only on his quitting the holding? The object was to give security to the tenant for the money he might have invested in many ways; and it was conceded that in the event of the tenant quitting the holding he should be compensated, because his claim was founded on the principles of justice. The claim advanced on behalf of the sitting tenant might be resisted and rejected by the present Parliament; but it would be ultimately granted, because it would be insisted upon by public opinion. It was quite obvious that if the sitting tenant did not enjoy a full and adequate sense of security, the very improvements which it was the object of the Bill to encourage and see carried out would not be made. With the permission 1720 of the Committee, he would read a portion of a letter out of some hundreds which he had received upon this subject. It was not from a gentleman of extreme views, but from a gentleman who had occupied the position of Chairman of the Chamber of Agriculture for the County of Cambridge last year, Mr. Robert Stephenson. The writer was not a revolutionary man; but he had put his points so fully and well that he (Mr. Howard) hoped the Committee would listen to an extract from his communication. The writer said—I feel strongly that those gentlemen make a great mistake who consider that the Bill already provides security for the improvements of the sitting tenant. They argue that a less rent from the old tenant is equal to a larger rent from the now one, because the landlord escapes paying for the improvements. Of course, it is; but it does not follow that the landlord will accept this lower rent if the same man will pay a higher one, which he will do rather than go. Under the Bill as its stands, every farmer knows well that on a re-valuation he will he asked to pay as much rent as a stranger would pay. Take, for instance, the case of a good landlord who does not wish to confiscate any of his tenant's improvements, but who thinks that, owing to other circumstances, he ought to receive a higher rent—such a landlord employs a surveyor, who goes over the farm, finds it growing good crops; but, however skilled he may he, it is impossible for him to say how much of those crops is due to the natural fertility of the soil, and how much to the improvements of the tenant, unless he has before him at the time a Schedule of the improvements the tenant has made. He cannot value the land by looking at the land alone. He must have regard to the growing crops, and these may he entirely due to the tenant's outlay, although the valuer may not he apprised of the fact. When we recollect that many landlords do not regularly employ a surveyor, and only send for one to make this particular valuation, it is not reasonable to expect that he can avoid valuing the tenant's improvements in the landlord's rent—in which case he is misled into considering that to be natural and, therefore, permanent fertility which is only fertility arising from the tenant's improvements of the third class; and so the tenant gets doubly punished—he is not only called upon to pay a rent on his own improvements, but the rent which is charged is permanent, whilst the improvements themselves are only temporary. He must always recollect that if the rent is valued too highly the old tenant will pay it rather than go, for the reasons mentioned in my letter to The Times. If injustice of this kind will occur under the best landlords we know what will happen in the case of those who are not so good… . . There cannot possibly be any harm in a clause providing that whenever the tenant's rent is raised he should, before paying the increased rent, receive the value of his improvements as if he were quitting the farm. Such a clause would be in perfect harmony with 1721 the provisions of the Bill; and there are so many reasons why a tenant cannot leave his farm that—suppose the Bill passes without such a clause—it will soon he found in practice that in a great majority of cases the old tenant will he content to sacrifice his improvements, and rather than be turned out would bid as much for the farm as a new comer, or, in other words, the landlord will receive rent on the tenant's improvements, without in any way paying compensation for them. People do not sufficiently consider the great evil arising from the land being over-rented. It is all very well to say the present depression arises from bad seasons. A man can farm any land in any season if the rent is in proportion; but over-renting the land—partly owing to the system of renting a man on his improvements—keeps the farmer poor in good seasons, and in had seasons entirely ruins the agriculture of the country, and in the long run is no gain, but a loss to the landlord, as well as to the tenant and the public.From his own experience, he (Mr. Howard) could fully corroborate the views expressed in this letter; and unless the interests of the sitting tenant were in some way or other fully secured, the objects aimed at by this Bill would assuredly never be accomplished.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir FARRER HERSCHELL)
said, they were all agreed as to the desirability, necessity, and propriety of affording protection to the sitting tenant, as well as to the tenant who was leaving the holding; but the question which they had to consider—and the discussion had wandered very much away from it—was whether the acceptance of the Amendment would really add at all to the security of the tenant? That was the only question they had now to discuss. He could not help thinking that the idea of increasing that security arose from not looking into the position of the parties—the landlord and tenant—and the rights which would be possessed by the tenant under the Bill. They were not discussing the question whether he was now protected; but how the future sitting tenant was to be protected when this Bill had been passed into law, and whether, under the new state of things, he would get any additional protection by the acceptance of this Amendment. It was said that unless the Amendment was accepted the sitting tenant would have no right to compensation. He could not agree with that at all. The sitting tenant would have an active right to compensation when he was in a position to say to the landlord—"You cannot increase my rent without giving me a 1722 right to that compensation. Except by giving me notice to quit, you cannot increase my rent." Now, he wanted to know what was the position of the two parties when the tenant was brought face to face with his landlord? The tenant would naturally say—"You can only make me pay more rent by putting me in the position that I am to go if I do not pay it; and, if you do that, you will at once put me in a position that I shall have a claim for compensation to the whole value of my improvements; therefore, I insist that my claim is an active one while I remain on the farm. The fact that I can claim the sum of £100, which will be due this day week or this day month, places me in a different position from that which I should occupy if I had not that sum of £100 to claim." After all, the landlord would be placed in the position that the tenant could only have an increased rent imposed upon him by being forced to give up the farm, and the tenant could only be forced to come to terms by being paid the full amount due to him for his improvements. It was said that in many cases the landlord would be able to raise the rent notwithstanding that fact, because of the desire of the tenant to stay upon the farm. Well, how could he be prevented from doing that by the passing of the Amendment? The Amendment would only come into effect on the making of the contract for a new tenancy. It was to be rendered active face to face with the making of a new bargain; and if the bargain was one which the tenant did not feel inclined to accept, he would be in a position, rather than pay more rent, to say—"I will go away." If he was entitled to compensation, well and good; but the rent would still have to be fixed, and the Amendment did not touch the question of what the bargain might be. If the question came to a bargain with regard to the rent, then one of the elements of that bargain, according to hon. Members who supported the Amendment, was that in certain cases the tenant would be willing to pay more rent rather than go out. How were they to protect him against that if they passed the Amendment? The objection, therefore, to the Amendment was that, although they assumed to be giving additional security, in truth and in fact they were giving none. One word as to the improved 1723 condition of the tenant when the Bill passed. He thought it would not only give the tenant a legal position by enabling him to say—"You cannot make me pay more rent without giving me compensation;" but the right to compensation would often, in future, be the basis of the arrangements on which the rent would be fixed. A right-feeling man would object to raise the rent upon the tenant's improvements, when he knew that they were improvements for which he would have to pay if the tenant went out. He would not say that it would be legally impossible; but the fact that there was a recognition of the right to compensation would make it much less probable than it otherwise would be; and that fact would be an element also in the basis of a new valuation. It was a great additional protection introduced by the Bill. No doubt, there might be cases where a man, refusing to be guided by any sense of right, would act wrongly against the tenant; but, at the same time, the adoption of the Amendment would afford no protection against instances of that nature.
§ MR. W. FOWLER
agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman that the Amendment would not practically benefit the sitting tenant; but he thought that the benefit afforded should be extended all round, and that it should apply both to those who gave up the farm and those who agreed to stay. He thought the Solicitor General had not quite caught the idea which was brought to the minds of those who were in favour of the Amendment. As he (Mr. Fowler) understood the matter, the compensation under the Bill would never arrive until the man went away—that was to say, that the tenant must leave the holding before he got the compensation. That being so, it inflicted on him the fine of leaving the farm before he obtained the benefit of his improvements. He wanted to know if that was really fair? Supposing, for the sake of argument, that the rent was unfairly raised, then was it not hard that the tenant should have to go out of the farm before he could obtain the benefit of the Bill? He might get some indirect benefit, as the Solicitor General had pointed out, because, in many instances, the landlord would be no more able to afford to raise the rent than he would have been before the Bill passed. That was quite 1724 true; but cases often arose in good times and in good agricultural seasons—such as existed some years ago—when they would find 10 men going after the same farm. It appeared to him that the landlord might raise the rent most unjustly; and the Bill would give no assistance to the tenant, because it said—"Unless you go out and make a great sacrifice; unless you sell your stock and your implements, and everything about you, you shall not get a farthing under the Bill." He had been told by Sir James Caird the other day that he had no doubt the fine in most cases would be quite equal to the whole amount of compensation the tenant would get. That being so, he thought the Committee ought carefully to consider what they were doing, and not to pass what was supposed to be a great boon to the tenants of the country, if, at the same time, it was to be incumbered with all sorts of inconvenient conditions. In the latter case they would only be mocking the tenant farmers, and would not confer on them any real and substantial benefit at all. The whole object of the Committee and of the Government ought to be to make the Bill effectual for the purposes for which it had been introduced.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
sympathized entirely with the object his hon. Friend had in view; but he thought the best security for the sitting tenant would be full compensation to the quitting tenant. If the quitting tenant were fully compensated for his improvements he thought the sitting tenant would be in a position to make reasonable terms with the landlord. He believed that if they passed this Compensation Bill it would lead very much to arrangements between the landlord and tenant, and that the valuation and compensation clauses of the Bill would be very seldom called into account. On the one hand, the tenant would be placed in a very much better position for dealing with his landlord regarding any increase of rent. He would be able to say to the landlord—"If you raise my rent I must be fully compensated for my improvements. No doubt I shall suffer considerable loss by leaving the farm, and I am willing to pay you the full rent of the farm itself, but not of my improvements; but if, on the other hand, you insist upon having a rent beyond that value, then 1725 I must go, and have my compensation." The landlord would then naturally consider that if he had to pay full compensation to the outgoing tenant for his improvements whether he would get much increase of rent, and whether it would not be better for him to arrange with the sitting tenant who was in the occupation of the holding. That was the position in which the tenant farmers desired to be placed, and it was the position they were fairly entitled to hold. The tenant farmers desired nothing further than to pay a fair rent for the farm; and if a tenant was prospering well, and holding his own and paying his way, he would be willing to pay a higher rent for the farm than any other tenant, because he would dislike to leave the place where, possibly, he had been born and brought up and to go elsewhere. The landlord would be insured the full value of the farm, and, at the same time, the tenants would be in a better position to deal with the landlord. If they laid down the principle that the tenant, on leaving the holding at the termination of the tenancy, should have full compensation for his improvements, it would give the best security which the sitting tenant could possess. Although there had been a demand among the Irish farmers for fixity of tenure, there was no such demand made by the Scotch or English farmers as yet. He knew that their opinion was very much in favour of remaining on their holdings. They objected to be evicted from capricious motives, and their improvements confiscated; but he did not think it would be advantageous, either to English or Scotch landlords, that there should be a demand for fixity of tenure, and the best way to keep down such a claim on the part of the tenant farmers was to secure for them full compensation for their improvements, by making it impracticable for unscrupulous landlords to confiscate such improvements.
§ MR. DUCKHAM
urged that it was the absence of security on the part of the tenant for the improvements he effected which had placed so large a portion of the land of this country in its present state. There were millions of acres of land in this country which would be cultivated and grow infinitely more than they did now if security for the tenant's capital were provided. There 1726 are large portions of land entirely thrown out of cultivation from the want of it, and the difference between the Bill and the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Borlase) was this:—That when the landlord demanded an increase of rent the tenant should then have a right to receive the amount due to him for his improvements before he was required to pay the advanced rent. That was the difference between the sitting tenant being compensated according to the lines of the Amendment and according to the Bill. As the Bill now stood, before the tenant could be compensated he must have given up the farm; whereas, according to the Amendment, he would be entitled to compensation should the landlord determine to increase the rent. That being so, he would then have the principal he had invested in the improvements to use in his business, and would be paying interest in the shape of increased rent.
§ MR. STORER
remarked, that the outgoing tenant would be in most cases fully compensated by the incoming tenant; but it was now asked that he should also receive a large sum from the landlord for improvements. Who was to pay that sum? The landlord would not pay it without being repaid, and therefore it would fall upon the incoming tenant. Notwithstanding the views which had been expressed, he believed that the tenant farmers of the country did not want one farthing more than was injustice due to them, and he (Mr. Storer) should certainly not support the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 45; Noes 196: Majority 151.—(Div. List, No. 207.)
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 10, to leave out the words "on quitting his holding."—(Mr. Arthur Arnold.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
MR. STAVELEY HILL
said, this Amendment did not at all touch the sitting tenant. He quite agreed with the Solicitor General and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that compensation could only be given on the determination 1727 of a tenancy; but what was the determination of a tenancy? A breaking of tenancy at which there could be a raising or lowering of the rent. He himself had placed an Amendment on the Paper to move the omission of these words, because they were surplusage in his opinion. If that was correct, then they were mischievous, because they put the two parties in this relationship to one another—that they would be supposed not to be able to enter into a fresh tenancy after there had been compensation given. A tenant and landlord were about to quit their relationship; the tenant claimed his compensation, there being a break in the tenancy. There were many cases in which a landlord would be very glad that a tenant who had lived with him on amicable terms, and who had done his duty to the farm, should enter upon a fresh contract of tenancy. That being so, why should they put words into this clause which would prevent such a contract being renewed? These words, "on quitting his holding," were mischievous in their character, and suggested that the law would be what many would be sorry to see—namely, that there should be no fresh contract between a landlord and an outgoing tenant. It might be said that the outgoing tenant was also the incoming tenant; but that would carry no weight, against his view that a tenant, after claiming compensation, might enter into a fresh contract.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Staveley Hill) appeared to advocate the Amendment chiefly on the ground that it would be a drafting improvement to the Bill. He seemed to say that, by omitting these words, the Committee would improve the wording of the Bill; but that was not the object of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold) and others who had put the same Amendment on the Paper. If this was not a question of drafting, then the substantial question before the Committee was precisely that of the sitting tenant, upon which they had just given their verdict; and he appealed to hon. Members to consider whether it was worth while to reopen what the Committee had fully discussed and emphatically decided upon?
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
appealed to the Government to give way upon this 1728 point. It was not a question of the sitting tenant which was now raised. The Government proposed to put two conditions on the tenant before he could obtain compensation—one that it should be the end of the tenancy; the other that the tenant should quit his holding. That seemed to him to be clear evidence of the grudging spirit in which this Bill had been brought forward; for the clear and sound and honest principle was that the tenant should be entitled to compensation when the bargain was completed—at the end of the tenancy; and why should there be this further condition of quitting the holding? That was really a reactionary step. The Government were going back from the Act of 1875, which said that the tenant should be entitled to obtain compensation on the determination of the tenancy. There was no condition that he should quit his holding before being entitled to compensation, as was now proposed; and if the Government persisted upon retaining this condition they would put the tenant in a worse position than he was under the Act of 1875. If they really wished to do anything for the tenants they should give way upon this point; if not he hoped a Division would be taken.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, this Amendment was the same in substance as that which the Committee had already discussed; but it was a somewhat wider proposal than the Amendment just rejected. Under that Amendment the tenant would have been entitled to compensation on any change of tenancy involving a raising of the rent; but this Amendment would put him in that position when there was a reduction of rent. It was true that these words were not in the Act of 1875; but that Act was extremely defective, and might have operated very unjustly to tenants, because it gave a tenant a right to claim compensation on the determination of his tenancy, but no such right to a tenant who did not make a claim to hold over his improvement. The Act had not, however, come into operation in that respect, and that defect had not been discovered until now; but there was the same defect in the Irish Act of 1870, and had caused considerable injustice. Tenants who had not made their claim at the right moment had lost all right to compensation; 1729 and these words were now introduced in the interest of the tenants, in order to give them the protection which was not afforded by the Act of 1875. It was true that the Government had thought it well later on, by Clause 27, to give still further protection to the tenant, and he admitted that if that clause remained, these words would not be necessary in the interest of the tenant; but having inserted them originally, and looking at all the circumstances, they thought it better to make it plain that compensation should be given, not only on the determination of the tenancy, but on quitting the holding. The universal practice, under every agreement for compensation, in ordinary contracts, or by the custom of the country, was for the tenant to claim and receive compensation only when he quitted his holding; and he would ask hon. Members who favoured this Amendment to point out any case in which a tenant had ever received compensation on the renewal of his tenancy, and to say whether it was not the universal practice for compensation only to be given when the tenant actually quitted? The tenant who remained on a holding was both an outgoing and an incoming tenant. He was to himself an incoming as well as an outgoing tenant, and he was in exactly the same position as an incoming tenant who had paid compensation to an outgoing tenant. The Government considered that, on the whole, it was better that the law should conform to the practice, and they had, therefore, inserted these words. This was not merely a drafting question; it was an extremely important matter, and one which had been decided by the Committee by the last Division.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman was somewhat confused. Clause 27, to which he had called attention, had no application to the matter now before the Committee, for it merely continued the right to compensation for improvements in regard to a past tenant. That was the precise object of the clause, and, while it was useful, it had no relation to the present Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman had stated, and with a good deal of truth, that a tenant farmer never obtained compensation unless he was an outgoing tenant. That was the very reason why he proposed this Amendment, 1730 because within his knowledge, 25 years ago, scores and hundreds of tenants who would have been entitled to compensation under this Bill, did not obtain it because they continued as occupying tenants. The right hon. Gentleman had proved up to the hilt the necessity of this Amendment, because he had said a tenant did not receive compensation while he remained in occupation; and it was because their claims were not regarded that this Amendment was so necessary. He differed entirely from the right hon. Gentleman in thinking that this would in any way prejudice the rights of a landlord. It would simply protect the tenant, as he ought to be protected, against the raising of his rent, and the effect would be to bring a landlord and tenant together, and enable them to adjust the rent to their mutual satisfaction. The name of Sir James Caird had been frequently mentioned, and this Amendment was precisely that which he desired to see put forward and carried. He was glad to have this opportunity of taking a Division, and he hoped every hon. Member who desired to do justice to the farmers of England, and improve agriculture, would support him.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, that what he meant was that, in the case of contracts under which a tenant received compensation only on the determination of the tenancy, the tenant never received compensation if he arranged with the landlord to continue in the holding. The compensation was always carried over.
§ SIR JOSEPH BAILEY
said, that in times of depression it would be open to a tenant to give notice to quit, and he would then force the landlord to pay money for improvements at a time when it would be difficult to get a new tenant; and yet he might have no intention to quit, but merely to get money from the landlord.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he thought the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman was not satisfactory. If a tenant had been sitting for several years the introduction of this provision would not give him any compensation until the end of the period. He thought it right to point out that this Liberal Government, which had made such great promises to the tenant farmers, were really offering them less than they had already 1731 under the Act of 1875. The question was, whether a tenant should, on principle, be entitled to compensation at the end of his lease; or whether the further condition should be imposed upon him that he must quit his holding? He was glad the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) had admitted that this was not a question of drafting. There must be some other object in view to the prejudice of the tenant farmers in imposing this further condition upon them; and, therefore, he (Mr. Barclay) hoped the Committee on this point would give its decision against the Government, if they would not agree to withdraw the words.
§ MR. DUCKHAM
said, that during the debate many allusions had boon made to the Farmers' Alliance. He must beg to inform the Committee that he was not a member of that Alliance; but he had the honour to be the President of the Central and Associated Chambers of Agriculture, and he presided over one of the largest of its meetings he had ever seen on the 5th of June. At that meeting a resolution was passed unanimously in favour of eliminating these words from the Bill. He might add, further, that nearly every Associated Chamber throughout England and Wales had sent resolutions of the same nature. He did hope that the Government would find some way, if they could not consent to the elimination of these words, of making alterations which would meet the wishes and desires of the farmers of England. He assured the Committee that there was a very strong feeling entertained by them that there should be greater security in their holdings. They, like the people of Ireland, were attached to the hearths and homes of their forefathers, and often submitted to what they felt to be a wrong rather than quit; besides which, they did not care to be put to the cost of removing, which was a serious item, in some cases amounting to several hundred pounds. He noticed that Sir James Caird, in a letter to The Times on Saturday last, estimated that the loss a tenant would sustain by the cost of removing his farm stock and implements and furniture, and the damage and deterioration occasioned in the process, to say nothing of the difficulty of finding an equally suitable farm, might be moderately put at 10 per cent on his capital. Now, that was a 1732 very large item, and would very frequently be equal to the amount of compensation which would have to be paid to a farmer for the improvements he had executed on his holding.
§ SIR GABRIEL GOLDNEY
said, that, in confirmation of what the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works had said, he might say that he knew of no instance, either under custom or agreement, where any compensation was paid to a tenant for his outlay, except on quitting his holding. This Bill was to give by Statute to the occupying tenant compensation for unexhausted improvements, which neither the custom of the country, or the custom of the different counties, or agreements in the ordinary way, had secured to him. The 5th clause provided that where any particular agreement in writing secured to the tenant fair and reasonable compensation, the compensation should be payable in pursuance of the agreement, and should be deemed to be substituted for compensation under this Act. Where, however, an agreement did not prevail, the Act came into operation. They could not run counter to the existing state of things by setting up a new state of matters. He could not understand what claims could be made for compensation by a man who was still in the occupation and enjoyment of his holding.
§ SIR ALEXANDER GORDON
reminded the Committee that there were other ways of compensating a tenant besides paying him money. A new lease might be given to him at a reduced rent in consideration of the improvements he had made. He must again ask the Government whether, if they were so anxious to improve the tenant's condition, it would not be well, in the interest of the tenant, to make the matter optional by the insertion of the word "or?" A tenant then could take his choice.
§ MR. PUGH
said, the First Commissioner of Works had stated that it was because there was no custom to give the tenants security that they wanted this additional protection given to them by Statute. If there was a Statute which would give them the right to compensation for their improvements in case their rent was raised, there would be no need for this Amendment. What the farmers throughout the country were demanding was that they should have 1733 some security without quitting their holdings. It had been said that some respect ought to be paid to what was done before the passing of the Act; but surely it was not contended that if a valuer was sent down from London to value an estate in Wales before this Bill was passed he would ever dream of inquiring whether the improvements had been made by the landlord or the tenant. He presumed the course would be exactly the same before as after the passing of the Act. There were other things which had to be considered. What would they say with regard to price? Supposing there was a farm worth £100, and the valuer said it was worth £120, no one would for a moment say that a man ought not to get £120 if he could.
§ MR. BIDDELL
said, that, as a matter of equity between the two parties, he could not see why a man should be paid for his improvements as long as he was in the enjoyment of them. It might be said that all the reductions of rent now going on were taking place in consequence of improvements on the farm. That was not the case, because improvements for the time very often led to increases of rent. He was certainly of opinion that if they did not leave the clause as it stood they would step into further trouble. He would, however, like to receive some statement from the Treasury Bench as to the meaning of the words "determination of a tenancy."
§ MR. HENEAGE
said, it was clear that the valuers, under the Bill as it was drawn, would have to find out who made the improvements. For instance, the 7th clause provided that—The award shall not award a sum generally for compensation, but shall, so far as reasonably may be, specify—Therefore, the valuers would have to take great trouble to satisfy themselves as to when the improvements were made; and if they found that the improvements were made by the tenant, they, of course, would not be taken as landlord's improvements. There was another great fallacy abroad just now, 1734 and it was that the tenant only lost by quitting his holding. He maintained that no landlord who looked after his own affairs would ever wish to change a tenant, because a new tenant always desired something new being done. Although he did not attach very great importance to these words, he thought it was well they should be retained.
- (a) The several improvements, acts, and things, in respect whereof compensation is awarded;
- (b) The time at which each improvement, act, or thing was executed, done, or permitted."
§ MR. MAPPIN
said, one of the greatest complaints tenant farmers had was that they were liable to have their rents raised on their own improvements, and what was proposed to be done by this clause was to remedy such a state of things. If they did mean to redress this grievance, let them do it properly, and not compel a man to give up his holding before he received compensation. He hoped the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arnold) would go to a Division, because, unless they expressed their opinion strongly upon this matter, the country would feel that they were not doing real justice to the tenants
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
said, it was with a view of meeting the difficulty raised by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Stafford (Mr. Staveley Hill) that he (Mr. J. Howard) had given Notice of his intention to leave out of the next clause the words "at the determination of a," and to insert "or on entering into a fresh contract of." He very much preferred those words, because they cleared up any doubt as to the intentions of the clause. At the same time, if his hon. Friend (Mr. Arnold) went to a Division, he (Mr. J. Howard) should vote with him. He entirely failed to follow the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works, who would excuse him, he was sure, for saying that he entirely failed to show how the retention of the words proposed to be left out could possibly benefit the tenant farmers. The effect of the retention of the words, as he (Mr. J. Howard) had said previously, would be to compel the landlords to give notice to quit; whereas the elimination of these words would avoid this painful necessity. Furthermore, it appeared to him that by the introduction of these words the Government seemed determined to bar, not only one door, but two doors, against the tenant. He hoped, however, that he was wrong in such a supposition.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, his hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage) could not have read the Bill when he suggested that Clause 7 had no relation to the valuation by a valuer.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he was surprised no Member of the Government had given any explanation why these words had been inserted in the clause. No one could accept the explanation which was given by the First Commissioner of Works. They ought certainly to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was really meant by the insertion of these words in the clause. If the Government were not going to make any concessions to those who, like himself, urged the claims and views of the tenant farmers, but intended to stand by the Bill as it appeared in print, it was better they should abandon the Bill altogether, and not waste any further time of the House by its consideration. He and those who acted with him did not wish to act as Obstructors; they only desired to make reasonable demands of the Government, and he was satisfied that this was certainly a reasonable demand. They ought certainly to get some concession, or to receive some explanation, from the Government on this point; and, in order to give the Government and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster time to consider the question, he would move to report Progress. The Committee had every reason to demand an explanation why these words had been inserted in the clause, because they were not found in the corresponding clause in the Act of 1875. He hoped it was not too late for the Government to give some reasonable statement to hon. Members on this point. The Amendment had been supported by hon. Members on both sides of the House; and he thought the reasonableness of the demand ought to justify them in insisting upon the Government explaining the real meaning and intention of the words.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
denied the statement of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, to the effect that he and those who eat around him in that part of the House were those who alone represented the tenant farmers of England.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, that the hon. Gentleman had stated that unless the Government adopted a certain course, the only thing that those who represented the tenant farmers in the country could do was to move to report Progress.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
ventured to think that that was not what the hon. Gentleman said. The hon. Member had expressed a desire not to obstruct the progress of the Bill, but concluded with a threat that unless the Government explained what they had explained already, he would move to report Progress. Of course, the hon. Member was quite open to take that course; and, as far as he (Mr. Chaplin) was concerned, he should not be sorry to see the hon. Gentleman carry out his threat, because to-morrow the farmers would see who were really anxious to further their interests.
§ MR. PELL
said, he could not understand how it could be said that this Amendment was proposed with regard to any reasonable respect of the tenant's interests. What did the Amendment really mean? It meant that no opportunity was to be afforded for the introduction of all these rules of procedure, of what they might almost call a Court, at all events of Arbitrators, at any period a tenant might desire. That was not a desirable state of things. He had had long experience in agriculture, and he was of opinion that there was no person on a holding so objectionable as a valuer. He (Mr. Pell) would like to make, as a tenant, his arrangements with his landlord, and, as a landlord, to make his arrangements with his tenants; but if they could not come to terms, if there was some controversy between them about the value of the land or the aspect of agriculture generally, they must part, and the time would then arrive when the tenant must obtain his compensation. In his opinion, that would be quite soon enough. He had been thinking what the effect of this Amendment would have upon himself, and he had no doubt that other hon. Members had done the same thing. He did not think that a man who wished to keep out of hot water, or to keep control of 1737 his property, would ever open negotiations up with a tenant whose tenancy was terminating for a continuation of the tenancy; but immediately he would say to his tenant—"I can do nothing with you until I have served you with a notice to quit, and until we understand how we stand." He (Mr. Pell) declined to be brought into this state of uncertainty, which those hon. Gentlemen who professed to be, and no doubt were, farmers' friends would bring him into by this Amendment. Every word that had fallen from the Treasury Bench had been reasonable, sensible, and logical. The question as to whether he continued his tenancy or not was a most potent one for the tenant, and a tenant would be in a very different position after this Bill passed than he was in formerly. He would be no longer an empty fact, he would be a very different person, and could take up a very different position with his landlord. He could say to his landlord—"Recollect the consequences, if you do not come to terms with me; I do not wish to go, but shall be obliged to unless we can come to a satisfactory arrangement." Anyone who had read that Act carefully must see that in the Bill it was contemplated that there were other means of compensating a tenant than by the payment of actual money. A man might be compensated for his improvements by means of a reduction of rent, and it appeared to him (Mr. Pell) that the framers of the Bill had had that suggested to their minds. He hoped that hon. Members, if they were moving in the interests of the tenant, and not in the interests of the Board of Arbitrators or valuers, who, as a rule, were not the most efficient or best informed body of men, would not divide the Committee upon this question.
§ MR. DODSON
said, he would just say a word or two in case his right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works had in any way failed to explain the meaning of these words. Now, it was perfectly true, as his right hon. Friend had said, that these words were introduced by the Government in the interests of the tenant. It might happen that at the end of the lease the tenant continued at the same rent; but there was, nevertheless, a determination of the tenancy. Again, the tenant might take more land or give up land, and yet continue in the 1738 holding at the same rent. There would be a determination of the tenancy in every one of such cases, and the tenant continuing to sit at the same rent might very well not claim his compensation; in fact, there was no reason why he should do so. It might happen, as happened in the Irish case, that when the tenant allowed his tenancy to expire without claiming compensation he was held to have forfeited that compensation. The Government had put these words in to prevent such a state of things; they had emphasized them by adding the 27th clause, which provided that—A tenant who has remained in his holding during a change or changes of tenancy shall not thereafter on quitting his holding at the determination of a tenancy be deprived of his right to claim compensation in respect of improvements by reason only that such improvements were made during a former tenancy or tenancies, and not during the tenancy at the determination of which he is quitting.At the same time, he must point out to hon. Members that it was perfectly fair and just that, under the circumstances he had mentioned, a tenant should not receive his compensation until he quitted. If he continued to stay at the existing rent, on what possible ground could he claim compensation for improvements the benefits of which he still continued to reap? What was the distinction between the present Amendment and the one they had just considered? The Committee had just decided, by a large majority, that where a tenant continued in his holding, and his rent was not raised, he should not be entitled to claim compensation.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
wished to say, before the Division took place, that hon. Members who agreed with him failed to follow the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, just as much as they failed to follow the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman's Colleague (Mr. Shaw Lefevre). He saw the Prime Minister in his place, and he believed the right hon. Gentleman had, so far, taken no part in the debate. He wished, therefore, to make a respectful appeal to the right hon. Gentleman that he should inform the Committee what were the reasons why the Government were unwilling to accept so reasonable an Amendment? Unless the Committee received some assurance on this point they would be obliged to come to the conclusion 1739 that the rumour which was afloat that there was a coalition between the two Front Benches was really the case, and that it was perfectly useless to attempt to move any further Amendments. He appealed to the Prime Minister to give to the Committee some assurance as to the real reasons of the Government for not accepting this Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 87; Noes 30: Majority 57.—(Div. List, No. 208.)
That is a consequential Amendment, and it would be out of Order to put it after the decision which has been arrived at on the Motion of the hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Borlase).
§ SIR ALEXANDER GORDON
said, he had an Amendment before that of the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote) which had not been placed upon the Paper. He proposed to move, in line 11, after the words "quitting his holding," to insert the word "or." The object of the Amendment was to provide that the tenant should have the opportunity of obtaining compensation from the landlord under the Act at the determination of a tenancy as well as upon quitting his holding, in order that he might get as much benefit as possible from the Act of the late Government, and in order to moderate, to some extent, the new hardships which the present Bill imposed upon the tenant.
I am of opinion that that is an Amendment which is covered by the previous decision, and therefore it cannot be put.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
wished to point out to the Chairman that the Division upon the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Borlase) covered two points.
I cannot enter into that question now. I have already ruled that the Amendment which the hon. Member proposes to move would not be in Order.
§ MR. STORER
said, he had given Notice of an Amendment in line 12, which he believed was in Order. He proposed to insert after the word "landlord" the words "or incoming tenant, as the case may be." The object of that Amendment was to provide that where a tenant had made improvements in his holding he should be entitled to obtain in compensation a sum fully representing the value of such improvements, either from the landlord, or from the incoming tenant. Many things might pass from the outgoing to the incoming tenant which might be called improvements. Of course, where the consent of the landlord was necessary to an improvement the landlord was made to pay; but there were many improvements of an agricultural nature which might be made without the consent of the landlord, and in all such cases the measure of compensation was the benefit the incoming tenant derived. Certainly the incoming tenant had to pay for such improvements, and would naturally expect to do so. His capital would be appropriated to that purpose, and he (Mr. Storer) did not see why his name should not stand in the Bill in connection with such cases, at all events. The Amendment would provide that where the landlord had not given his consent the incoming tenant should be called upon to pay, and not the landlord. The landlord could repay the outgoing tenant for improvements to which his assent had been given, and the incoming tenant might be required to repay the landlord. But, without such a provision as this, it might be dangerous in many cases to admit an incoming tenant upon a farm who was only anxious to obtain part of the tenant right connected with the farm. Such tenant might come into possession of a farm and then refuse altogether under the Bill to pay for the improvements effected by the outgoing tenant, and, as long as he paid the rent, he would be able to hold the property at least for two years without being turned out. It was well known that there were tenants who shifted about from one place to another for the simple purpose of acquiring tenant right, and then getting paid to go out. The insertion of this Amendment would, he thought, get rid of that temptation and danger.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 12, after the word "landlord," to insert the words "or incoming tenant, as the case may be."
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. DODSON
said, he hoped that the hon. Member did not intend to press for the insertion of those words. The object and intention of the Government in respect to this matter of liability to compensation was to leave the liability upon the shoulders of the person upon whom it now rested by law—namely, the landlord. It was perfectly true that in many cases the incoming tenant paid the compensation to the outgoing tenant; but that was simply by arrangement. The owner of the property was the person liable by law, and that was so under every custom everywhere. There was an additional reason why they should maintain that state of the law under the Bill, because by the Bill they were going to give the owner the power of charging these matters upon the inheritance.
§ MR. PICKERING PHIPPS
said, he thought the position of the owner and the position of the occupier were quite distinct. He was quite certain that the farmers of this country were not desirous of having extraordinary tenant rights to pay when they went into a farm. He could not vote for the Amendment, because it was only fair to the outgoing tenant that the owner of the farm should be responsible to him, and not the incoming tenant.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ COLONEL KINGSCOTE
said, the Amendment he was about to move in no way affected the vital principle of the Bill. It was an important Amendment notwithstanding. He proposed, in page 1, line 18, to leave out the words "such sum," and insert "so much of his outlay thereon." The object of the Amendment was to provide that when a tenant quitted his holding he should be entitled to claim from the landlord, "so much of his outlay thereon" as fairly represented the value of the improvements to an incoming tenant. It would be admitted that the tenant's interest in the improvements he had himself effected was represented 1742 by the outlay he had made. The land itself had an inherent quality for which the tenant paid rent. That was to say, that it had something inherent in it which the tenant was capable of getting out. He got profit from whatever he put into the land and whatever he spent upon it; and if he were compensated for outlay, surely he got all that he could expect, whether he was holding the land or when he quitted it. He thought it would be a most dangerous principle to establish by law that the tenant was not only to get the value of his own improvements, but also the value of improvements which were to come afterwards. It might be said that this was a question of valuation. So it was; but then he thought they ought to put before the valuers exactly what they were to value. They ought not to be asked to value anything beyond the actual cost of the tenant's outlay, because it could not be discovered all at once whether they were improvements or not. It might be said that the tenant ran two chances. He might employ manures or feeding stuffs, and he might apply them so that no real improvement was effected upon the holding, and he ought not to think it a hardship if he were obliged to produce bills showing what his outlay had been, and to place them before the valuers. He (Colonel Kingscote) very much deprecated the calling in of any other court or tribunal than the landlord; but he did not wish either the tenant or the landlord to be at the mercy altogether of the valuers. Let the valuers have clear and distinct lines laid down on which they would have to go, and let them know what they would have to do. It seemed to him a most dangerous principle that they should have merely placed before them for their judgment what they could see, and not have the actual cost put before them to show what the tenant had laid out. The matter was of so much importance that although it might be said, and some of his hon. Friends around him had said, that this Amendment would come in better in a later clause of the Bill, yet he thought that in this clause, which was the Instruction Clause, it could not be too clearly defined what was not to take place. Therefore, he felt that he really was moving in the proper place words which would simplify matters extremely, and which did not 1743 affect in any way the principle of the Bill, but simply declared and placed before the valuer what he was to do. He believed the Amendment was required in order to render the clause equitable as between the outgoing tenant and the incoming tenant and the landlord. After these few remarks he would move the insertion of the words of his Amendment.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 13, to leave out the words "such sum," in order to insert the words "so much of his outlay thereon,"—(Colonel Kingscote,)—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. DONALDSON-HUDSON
said, he thought the Committee must see the force and reasonableness of the Amendment. It appeared to him that the Bill of 1875, in this particular respect, was very superior to the clause in the present Bill, because the amount of compensation to the tenant in the Bill of 1875 was clearly defined as a certain portion of the outlay incurred by the tenant. The tenant in such cases produced his vouchers, and a valuer was not required; but, at the same time, the landlord could not be called upon to pay more than the tenant had actually expended. He should like to know how it was possible to tell how much of the improvements upon a farm was due, under this clause, to the expenditure and enterprize of the tenant, and how much was due to other external causes, such as improvements in seasons, or improved markets in the neighbourhood, or the introduction of a railway into the district, or to an inherent fertility of the soil, which might have been brought out by the action of the tenant? He thought it would be very unreasonable, in all cases like these, to attribute all the improvements to the outlay of the tenant. He could quite imagine that a tenant might have expended the sum of £20 upon his farm, and by that expenditure he might have actually increased the annual value of the farm by £5 a-year. By the clause, as it stood in the Bill, it was proposed that the landlord should be called upon to pay the capitalized value of that sum of £5 a-year; and in that case he would probably have to pay the tenant more than £100. But no tenant, 1744 for such an outlay, could reasonably expect to be paid a sum like that. He should like, for a moment, to call the attention of the Committee to a statement which appeared to have found its way into The Times newspaper yesterday, and which professed to contain an instruction on this particular point. An imaginary instance was given of a farmer who, by simply turning the course of a river, reclaimed 1,000 acres of swamp, and converted them into fertile land. In that instruction, the writer said that it would be most unreasonable for the tenant to claim compensation for the whole of that improvement; because, after all, a large portion of the improvement existed in the soil itself, from which the tenant had simply removed the water. These were questions which ought to be looked at from every point of view; and he was quite certain that the more they were considered the more the Committee would be in favour of limiting the payment to the tenant to the amount of money he had actually expended.
§ MR. FLOYER
said, that they had hitherto talked of the advantage of the outgoing tenant; but he wished to remind the Committee that there was such a person as the incoming tenant, and he thought that, as a rule, although the landlord did not like to lose sight of old friends, in order to receive new ones, yet he looked with some interest upon the incoming tenant. The incoming tenant was to occupy the farm, and it would be most detrimental to the future occupation of it if his means upon entering it and stocking it and cultivating it were to be considerably curtailed. He knew he might be told that, according to the Bill, the landlord was the person who was to recompense and pay the tenant for his outlay, and that all the liabilities lay upon his shoulders. He had no desire to find fault or quarrel with the provisions of the Bill; but there was another thing which possessed a strong power in most counties, perhaps more in some than in others—namely, the custom of the country and the habits of the people, whether landlords, tenants, labourers, or whoever they might be. Now, he fancied that under that custom they would find, practically, that although the landlord was liable for a considerable part of the improvements which the tenant had effected, and for which he was to be paid on quitting his occupation, 1745 an arrangement must be made between every landlord and every tenant on going into the farm, under which there would be a certain portion of the improvements for which the incoming tenant would be expected, and would agree to pay. Now, what portion of the improvements would that be? Under the Schedule attached to the Bill there were three Parts. The 1st Part was a very important one, and it formed a very large part of the improvements into which the tenant, if he so wished, could enter, and incur a very extensive outlay. He could not speak for other parts of the country, only for his own; but he did not think that there were many tenants in his part of the country who put up large buildings, or who went into any extensive outlay upon permanent improvements, such as the laying down of permanent pasture, planting osier beds, making water courses, irrigating the land, &c. Therefore, that part of the Schedule was one upon which the tenant would have a claim upon the landlord on quitting the farm, and he had no doubt the landlord would be perfectly ready to compensate him for his outlay, because, in the first place, the improvements must have received the consent of the landlord. Next came the 2nd Part of the Schedule, which applied to drainage? For that part, also, arrangements must be made, and opportunities were given in the Bill for the landlord and the tenant to agree together as to the mode in which the drainage should be executed; and, no doubt, if the tenant did a material part of the drainage, in that case, also, the landlord would be ready to recoup the outgoing tenant. He came now to the 3rd Part of the Schedule, and that part again affected landlord and tenant in different parts of the country in a different manner. It had reference to improvements to which the landlord's consent was not required, such as boning of land with undissolved bones, chalking, claying, marling and liming, and then there came after that repayment for the outlay on feeding stuffs, manures, and things of that nature. Now, these were matters which he did not think were very well put into the 3rd Part of the Schedule. If he remembered rightly, under the Agricultural Holdings Bill, they formed part of the second class. They were, no doubt, of a more transitory 1746 nature than the other two classes to which he had referred—namely, permanent buildings in the 1st Part, to use a generic term, and the drainage included in Part II. How was the outgoing tenant to be recouped for these purposes? He had said that, no doubt, the landlord would repay the tenant for the first portion—namely, No. 1 Part of the Schedule; and he would also be ready, as a general rule, to repay him for the second portion; but he apprehended that, although the landlord might be bound by the Act to repay the tenant for the 3rd Part, to a very great extent, at least, the repayment under the 3rd Part would be made by the incoming tenant, and it was only fair and reasonable, because the improvements under the 3rd Head of the Schedule were of a very transitory nature, consisting of chalking and liming, and still more the use of manures and feeding stuffs, which were matters which, after a few years, might cease to be productive. Chalking was supposed to last, under the Agricultural Holdings Act, up to two years. He believed that liming was pretty much the same; and as to feeding stuffs, some people, and even high authorities, thought that feeding stuffs, and more especially artificial manures, did not benefit the farm, if they benefited it at all, after one year, and certainly that they did not benefit it for more than two years. ["Oh!"] He did not give that as his own opinion, because his opinion was of very little value indeed; but he gave it as the opinion of many men of high authority and ability. Looking to the fact that the landlord would pay a certain portion, and the incoming tenant another portion, of the compensation, he thought they ought not to burden the incoming tenant too much. Let them have fair play. The outgoing tenant was a very good man; but the incoming tenant was also a very good man, and he wanted to hold the balance fairly between them. He wanted to give what was reasonable to the outgoing tenant, and not to put too much weight upon the incoming tenant. He thought the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote) pointed very strongly, and led very directly, in this line. The hon. and gallant Member wanted to accord to the outgoing tenant an amount of compensation that was only reasonable 1747 and fair. It was reasonable in the interests of the incoming tenant. It was something more than that. One of the great difficulties in this Bill, and it was illustrated at an early period rather curiously by one of the speakers on the other side of the House—he was not sure that it was not the hon. Member for Bedfordshire (Mr. J. Howard)—was this. It was stated, as an objection against the Amendment then under consideration, that there was no more difficulty in dealing with the proposed arrangements made in the Amendment than there was in dealing with the other parts of the Bill. The objection taken was to the effect that, after a lapse of time, it would be difficult to make out exactly what the improvement was. After a lapse of 10 or 20 years, it was said it would be difficult to say how far it was a case of general improvement on the farm—that was to say, how far a general improvement on the farm could be alleged to have taken place. The hon. Member for Bedfordshire had said that that was only the same objection that might be urged against every other part of the Bill. That was not saying much for the Amendment. What seemed to him (Mr. Floyer) to be a great advantage, or one of the great advantages, of the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote) was that it did define what was to be paid. The objection to the Bill was the uncertainty of the amount, and of the whole proceedings when the tenant quitted his farm. They had to call in the valuers; and what did they know about it? Suppose the improvement was chalk; the valuers would go into the field and they would see that it had been drained and that it had been chalked—they might prove it by digging into the soil, and seeing how far the chalk went down. Here he would observe that it was a curious fact that chalk went down at a moderate rate every year; and if they put a spade into the ground, by the depth the chalk went down they could tell how many years ago the material was put on the land. What they wanted was to check the valuation that might be made. If the valuation was thoroughly arbitrary, and if the valuer was to be at liberty to go upon the farm without any directions or data on which to proceed, there would be great difficulty in bringing things to a fair and 1748 reasonable conclusion. But one point certainly could be kept in view, and that point, he thought, had been very fairly argued by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for West Gloucestershire—namely, that the amount of the outlay of the outgoing tenant should be one of the items on which the valuation was formed. The outgoing tenant should not be allowed to charge more for his compensation than the sum he had expended in making the improvement. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had always rather led them to suppose that this matter had been in his mind; because he (Mr. Floyer) had observed that the right hon. Gentleman, in dealing with this Bill, had spoken of it not as an Agricultural Holdings Bill, but as a Tenants' Compensation Bill. Now, a Tenants' Compensation Bill was clearly that which repaid a man for his expenditure. That paid to a tenant purely as compensation was not a visionary sort of sum to be allowed according to the idea which a particular individual might take of the value of an improvement. The valuer, if left alone, might say—"I think this improvement was judiciously executed—I think it is a valuable one—it is such an excellent one that I think the tenant who has executed it should be paid a great deal more than his original bill." It seemed to him (Mr. Floyer) that it would be very possible for a valuer to take that position; and then the question arose as to whether that was was reasonable; and certainly, so far as he could gather from the expressions of the right hon. Gentleman, the Prime Minister had pointed in that direction. He had had it in his view that the outgoing tenant should be compensated for his outlay, but that he should not be entitled to receive any fancy sum which a valuer might be inclined to give; and it was well known that valuers differed very materially on questions of this kind. Some men took widely different views to others. Now, it was on these grounds that he hoped the Committee would adopt the views of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for West Gloucestershire, and that Her Majesty's Government would give favourable consideration to the Amendment. He did not wish to make great changes in the Bill; but he thought this Amendment would be within its legitimate scope and 1749 meaning. He did not wish to depart from the lines of the right hon. Gentleman who had charge of this measure (Mr. Dodson); but it seemed to him that this proposal was within its legitimate scope, and he therefore trusted that the Government and the Committee would give it their favourable consideration.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, the Amendment went to the principle adopted by the Government in giving compensation to tenants; and he was sorry to say that they could not consistently with that principle accept the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. He might remind the Committee that the Act of 1875 adopted a different principle—namely, a principle founded on the original outlay on the improvement, with a specified deduction for each year that elapsed after the improvement had been effected. The Government, after careful consideration, came to the determination that that principle was incapable of being adopted generally over the whole country. They came to the conclusion that it was not such a principle as worked out fairly when applied to the whole country. In some cases it might work out that the tenant would receive too much compensation, and in many cases the tenant might receive too little; and, generally speaking, they had come to the conclusion that it was impossible to adopt that principle as a universal one in the absence of a sufficient contract between landlord and tenant. It became, therefore, necessary to lay down a new principle, and the only one which had appeared to them proper was to allow the actual value at the time the incoming tenant came into possession. In most cases, probably, it would be the fact that the actual value at the time the tenant quitted the holding would be considerably less than the original outlay, because time would elapse since the improvement was made, and no doubt, in most cases, the improvement would have somewhat deteriorated in quality. But in some cases the improvement increased in value in the interval; and therefore it appeared hard that the tenant should always bear the cost of the depreciation, and that yet in those few cases where there had been an appreciation the tenant should not receive the benefit of it. The hon. Member for 1750 Newcastle-under-Lyne (Mr. Donaldson-Hudson) seemed to fear that under the Bill, as it now stood, something more than the actual value of the improvement to an outgoing tenant would be given, and that the inherent qualities of the soil should be taken into account. Well, he (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) ventured to disclaim that interpretation of the clause. He maintained that the clause, as it stood, did not bear that interpretation. The value of an improvement did not include any of the inherent qualities of the soil. The hon. Member himself had quoted a case referred to in the memorandum that appeared in yesterday's Times—he referred to the following case. Suppose a watercourse were turned from its bed, and the effect of that was to add several hundred acres of good land to a farm, would the tenant, on quitting his holding, after making such an improvement, be entitled to the land so reclaimed? He (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) said distinctly that it would not be so under the clause as it stood, because the value of that land was not the value of an improvement effected by the tenant. The improvement effected by the tenant was the diverting of the watercourse, and not the addition of the land to the farm. On this point there was no doubt, and could be no doubt, as it had been practically determined by a judicial decision arising upon almost similar words in the Irish Act of 1870, and in the more recent Irish Act of 1881. On this point he would venture to quote to the Committee the opinion of a very able and learned man, long a Member of that House—namely, the late Mr. Isaac Butt—who wrote an interesting treatise upon the Irish Land Question in 1870. Mr. Butt's contention was that the acquisition of land in such cases was not the creation solely of the tenant; it was the creation partly of the skill of the tenant, and partly of the inherent qualities of the soil. He had pointed out that it so happened that these inherent qualities did not always enter into the calculation of the letting value of the land. By improvement of this kind, said Mr. Butt, land valued at 2s. an acre had sometimes been made worth many pounds an acre. These improvements, contended Mr. Butt, which were the result of the inherent qualities of the soil, were not the property of the tenant, but were the property 1751 of the landlord, who had a right to have them returned when the tenancy expired. This was the opinion of the Irish Judges; and in this connection he (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) need hardly remind the Committee of the case of "Adams v. Dunseath," in which case that very doctrine was laid down—namely, that where an improvement had brought out the inherent value of the land the tenant was not entitled to that improvement, but only to the cost of bringing it about. He could give many instances of what would happen in such cases. Suppose a tenant were to drain a field at a cost of £6 an acre, and supposing that increased the letting value of the property by 10s. an acre, would the tenant be entitled to the capitalized value of that 10s. an acre? He said not. The tenant would be entitled to the cost of effecting the improvement only. There was another case. Supposing a tenant removed a hedge at a cost of £10, and that the effect of that removal was to throw a considerable amount of land—say an acre—into the farm, was the tenant to be entitled to the capitalized value of that acre of land? He said not. The improvement was the grubbing up of the hedge, and not the acquisition of the land which was already there. It was clear that in such a case the value of the improvement was not the capitalized value of the land, but the actual cost of the act which had been done. Reverting to the general argument, he would remind the Committee that, as a general rule, undoubtedly the value of an improvement at the time of quitting a holding would be less than the original outlay. There might be cases, and there would be cases, where the value was greater. He would put to the Committee two or three such cases. Suppose a tenant had laid down permanent pasture with the consent of the landlord—he believed he was right in saying that that would not come into its true value for some considerable time afterwards—was the tenant to be limited in his compensation by the original outlay in such a case? He said not. The tenant should have added to that the fact that the land had not been producing its true value for three, four, or five years until the pasture came to its true value. The amount lost in that way should be added to the original cost of the improvement. 1752 Take another case. Suppose a farmer, with the consent of his landlord, planted an orchard which did not come into proper value until 10 years afterwards. It was quite certain that an orchard would not begin to bear profitably for some years after the time it was planted, and during the interval probably the tenant might lose the value of his land to a great extent. Besides that he got no interest on his outlay. When he quitted his holding, was his compensation to be limited by the original outlay on the improvement? He (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) said that would be most unjust. What he was entitled to in such a case was the actual value of the improvement at the time he quitted the farm. He would put another case. Suppose a tenant had applied lime extensively to a field. He believed it not unfrequently happened that the value of the lime was not realized until two years or so after its application. He had been told there were such cases. On certain qualities of land it was undoubtedly the fact that the lime did not effect the object with which it was put down for two years after the application. Supposing that at the end of those two years a change of tenancy occurred, and supposing, in the meantime, that the value of lime had gone up, was the tenant to be entitled only to the original cost of the lime, and to no addition either on account of the increased cost of lime at that moment, or on account of two years having elapsed before any value was derived from the operation? If lime were to go down in value, then a deduction might be made from the original outlay; and yet, according to the Amendment, the tenant would not be entitled to the increased cost in regard to lime having gone down in value. If they adopted the principle that compensation was to be the actual value of the improvement at the time the tenant quitted his holding, they must take that principle with all its conditions—namely, that in some cases the tenant would get less than the original cost—in most cases probably—but in some few cases he would get more; and where the actual value at the time was more than the original cost, he thought it would be extremely unfair to the tenant if he were not allowed to get it. Under these circumstances, he ventured to hope that the Committed would retain the clause 1753 as it stood, and not adopt the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, he thought there was great force in the argument that compensation to the out going tenant should be measured by the value of the improvement at the time rather than by the extent of the outlay; and he had given expression to that opinion, as the right hon. Gentle man opposite would recollect, on the Select Committee of last year, though on that occasion he was not in accord with most of those who sat on the Conservative side of the House. But he thought the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) himself had shown that that principle could not be accepted without very considerable limitation, and very much of his argument, as he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) understood it, went practically to admit the very principle for which the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire was contending; for what did the right hon. Gentleman say? He admitted that cases might occur where by grubbing up a large, straggling fence, considerable acreage would be added to a farm. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that it would not be right that the tenant who made such an improvement should reap the whole capitalized value of the land he added to the farm, but rather that he should reap the actual value of his improvement. Well, what would be the actual value of the improvement taken upon that basis? It could not be any thing else than that portion of the cost of the improvement which remained unexhausted at the time of the tenant's quitting. The right hon. Gentleman said it would not be fair to give to the tenant the whole capitalized value of the land so added to the landlord's property, that being inherent in the estate of the landlord—just as he had shown that the natural qualities of a field which had hitherto lain dormant might be aroused into activity by drainage properly carried out to such an extent as to add very much more to the value of that field than anything that could be represented by the sum that had been spent in the drainage. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that in that case, too, the tenant was not entitled to the full capitalized value of the improvement 1754 of the land, and went almost so far as to say that the tenant's share would be measured by the cost of the improvement; for what had the right hon. Gentleman said? He had told them that the law, as interpreted by the Courts in Ireland, had laid down that the tenant could not profit in this way by the inherent qualities of the soil which belonged to someone else. But what was the decision upon which the right hon. Gentleman based that statement? Why, it was the decision in the case of "Adams v. Dunseath," which had created so much excitement in Ireland, and was so strenuously objected to by hon. Members sitting below the Gangway on that (the Conservative) side of the House, and of which the Prime Minister himself, if he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) remembered rightly, had said that it was a matter which required grave consideration whether the law should not be revised in that respect.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, that decision had not been accepted as a satisfactory interpretation of the Irish Land Act by those who had been the main supporters of that Act; and now the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) asked them to rest upon that decision as a satisfactory interpretation of the Bill which was now passing through Committee. What he would venture to suggest was this—that if the right hon. Gentleman felt, as he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) quite admitted he might very well feel, that he could not substitute for the principle of value contained in this Bill the principle of outlay, that he should insert in this measure some limiting words which would show that the tenant should not be entitled to that which the right hon. Gentleman had admitted did not belong to him—namely, that part of the increased value which was due to the inherent quality of the soil.
§ SIR THOMAS ACLAND
said, he thought they had came to a point on which he might say that he did not think the Committee had thoroughly realized the definition upon which this Bill was based. This Bill, as was customary now-a-days in Acts of Parliament, laid down a very broad principle 1755 in the very first clause. He confessed he had himself very grave doubt as to the wisdom of this definition contained in the 1st clause as applied to the whole class of what he thought were most improperly called improvements. He did not admit that the outlay of the farmer in either keeping his land clean, manuring his crops, or feeding his stock, should be called an improvement. He did not admit that such operations added to the letting value of the land. At first sight that might appear somewhat paradoxical. With regard to farms being given up in good condition, he had heard farmers complain of having their rents raised when they had got a farm into a good condition, and he had also heard others demand to have their rents lowered when the same thing had occurred. When a demand was made by a farmer to have his rent lowered under such circumstances, the landlord would say—"No; I can let the farm tomorrow at the same rent." He thought they ought to start upon the assumption that the farm was kept in reasonable condition, and that should always be borne in mind. He did not think the Committee had sufficiently borne in mind that the only compulsory part of the measure was that which applied to the 3rd clause. It followed that it was entirely the fault of the owner of the land if he allowed any power to which he objected to come into operation when he was able to stop it or to enter into a contract in the matter. He might, perhaps, appear to be depreciating the Bill; but, practically, that was what he had always thought was a right view for the Committee to take. It was a Bill for compulsory compensation to the farmer for that which was necessary for the conduct of his business. It was a Bill for free contract for that which was to the interest of both landlord and tenant—namely, the permanent improvement of the land. The compulsory effect of this Bill, practically, only applied to the 3rd clause. It was well known to the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) that there were parts of England in which nothing could be worse for agriculture generally than to recognize outlay as the basis for compensation. There were places whore they would be liable to be charged for what they ought never to have to pay for at all, and that was the 1756 origin of this clause. It was on that principle these words found their way into legislation.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, he was sorry to hear the First Commissioner of Works say that this Amendment would directly go against the principle of the Bill, because he had an Amendment on the Paper of a similar kind which was in no way hostile to the principle of the measure. His regret, however, was modified somewhat by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, which he gathered was in support of the principle of this Amendment. It was true that the speech was a picture with two sides. On the one hand, compensation was not, under any circumstances, to include anything in the nature of what the right hon. Gentleman called the inherent qualities of the soil. The compensation, moreover, in nine cases out of ten, was to be less than the original outlay, although in some exceptional cases it might exceed it. On the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman said—and in this he thought the speech was inconsistent—that this Amendment, notwithstanding all that he had told the Committee, went directly against the root of the Bill, and that the compensation was to be actual value of the improvements to an incoming tenant at the time. The right hon. Gentleman started this contention by reference to hardships which would be incurred by a tenant who had laid out money on permanent pasture, and in making orchards, and in the use of lime; but he thought it had escaped the right hon. Gentleman that the tenant would be in this position. Having given up the farm he ceased to have any rent to pay, and having ceased to pay rent there was no hardship. It must be obvious, from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, that this point ought to be cleared up. He understood that the view and intention of the Government with regard to the amount of compensation was that it should not exceed the original outlay on the part of the tenant. But the outlay was not to be decided by the views of the Government, but by valuers throughout the country. What was the actual value to an incoming tenant of the improvements at the time? How was that to be estimated? No guidance or direction was given to the valuators, nor, so far as the 1757 terms of the Bill were concerned, was any limit placed upon their valuation. If he were a valuer, under these circumstances, he would have to decide according to the original outlay on the part of the tenant. He was to give such sum as actually represented the value of the improvement to an incoming tenant. But what was that value? Would not the valuers very likely decide that that value was the whole amount of the increase in the crops which the incoming tenant found on the farm owing to the improvements effected by the outgoing tenant? The hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Acland) said he took very little exception to this proposition, because, practically, it would be limited to the improvements mentioned in the third class. He was rather surprised at that statement, because, if he remembered rightly, in the Bill which the hon. Baronet introduced the measure of compensation was to be the value of the outlay to the incoming tenant.
§ SIR THOMAS ACLAND
said, the Bill which he introduced was compulsory only as regarded those operations of which he had spoken.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, he understood the hon. Baronet to say that this Bill, so far as it was compulsory, practically only applied to improvements in the third class. In that case, the two Bills stood exactly on the same footing. Naturally, therefore, he thought the hon. Baronet would have supported the principle of his own Bill on the present occasion. With reference to this subject, he would mention that this principle had been admitted and adopted in every Bill introduced into that House on this subject. It was the main principle of the Bill of the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage).
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, he was aware of that; but what were temporary improvements as defined in the hon. Member's Bill? They included every kind of improvement under the sun, except those which were permanent. The improvements referred to in the Bill of the hon. Member included the whole of the second and third class improvements which were in the old Agricultural Holdings Act; and, with regard to all those improvements, he inserted a Proviso 1758 that, under no circumstances, was compensation to exceed the outlay. He thought there were very great grounds, indeed, for inserting that provision in this Bill. It seemed to him to be perfectly clear that everything which was given to a tenant as compensation over and above his original outlay represented the profits he would have gained if he had remained on the farm. But the right to make profits out of another man's land was precisely the thing for which a tenant paid rent. The rent was the consideration by which a tenant purchased the right to make profit out of another man's land; and, surely, it was only reasonable that when the payment ceased so ought the right to make the profit cease. If that were not so, it seemed to him that the landlord would be placed in this position. The incoming tenant, as a matter of course, would make his profit upon his outlay from the increased crops which he obtained, and which he sold at an increased price; but, according to the reading of this Bill, the man who went out was to have the same advantage He was to reap the same profits, because he was to have such a sum as represented the actual value of his improvements to the man who went in. He hoped he might be wrong in this, and that he had placed an imperfect and incorrect interpretation on the Bill as it stood; but it seemed very far from being satisfactory at the present time. They had heard the opinion of the Government; but he did not see anything in the Bill to lead him to believe that the opinion of the valuer would necessarily be the same as that of the Government. He did not think it was possible that the matter could rest at this point; and he hoped the Government would reconsider the matter, and consent to the adoption of some words, or make some proposal, by which this matter would be distinctly cleared up. It could not rest in any satisfactory manner where it was; and, unless the Committee heard something further from the Government of a more satisfactory character, he hoped the hon. and gallant Member would take the sense of the Committee.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir FARRER HERSCHELL)
said, that inasmuch as the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chaplin) had alluded to the views put forward by the First Commissioner of Works, 1759 but, in some respects, did not seem to have clearly followed those views, he would like to state again the view of the Government with regard to this provision. First of all, he wished to call attention to the exact effect of the Amendment. It was distinctly this—to make the outlay in all cases the maximum beyond which compensation should not go. The hon. Gentleman opposite was quite mistaken in saying that that was the proposal of the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Acland), or the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage). This proposal was that in no case could the value given to a tenant exceed the outlay. Was that a just restriction on the right of the tenant? He quite agreed with the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Chaplin) as to the great importance, if it were possible, of laying down some principle of guiding the valuers; but he wholly objected to laying down an unjust principle. Was it a just principle to say that in no case compensation should exceed the outlay? The right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had stated plainly that he did not consider that that would be in all cases just. Where there not cases in which a man might lay out a sum in improvements—say £200, in laying down permanent pasture? Supposing he spent that money, and reaped no benefit from it for some years, according to this Amendment, he would get no more than £200. Why should he only receive the exact amount he had spent? He had spent the money; and just when he was going to reap the benefit he might have to quit his holding and receive only his £200. That would be obviously unjust. In many cases when a tenant was going out the value of his improvements would exceed the amount of the outlay, and for which the incoming tenant would be prepared to pay a larger sum than had been spent by the outgoing tenant. If that were so, why should the outgoing tenant receive only the amount of his outlay? He maintained that that principle was not just, because deterioration or diminution of value would always be taken into account, and therefore, on the other hand, appreciable improvement ought to be considered. What the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Commissioner of Works had said was this. No doubt it was true that, in the great majority of 1760 cases, the datum would be the original cost. The cost itself might, in the vast majority of cases, be a guide to the value of the improvement. What a man had spent would be the starting point and the best guide for compensation; but it would not be necessarily conclusive. Then it was said that this proposition was in accordance with the proposal of the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Acland); but the hon. Baronet did not limit his proposal to the actual amount of the outlay. The measure of compensation was to be so much of the outlay as represented its value to the succeeding occupier—not so much of the outlay as represented the actual value, but whatever was the value of it to the succeeding occupier, and that might exceed the actual amount spent. It was the same in the case of the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage), and therefore he disputed that the Government were departing from their proposal. Another matter, which was a really different question, had been brought into the discussion—namely, that the tenant ought not to get compensation for what was not really his improvement, but really the improvement due to the inherent qualities of the soil. Upon that he thought they were all agreed; and his contention was that in this Bill that improvement would form no part of the improvements for which compensation was to be given to the tenant, because it would be no part of his improvements. What he was to be compensated for was his own improvements. The value of the land was no part of the value of his improvements, and he could not conceive that any valuer would act upon such a principle. With regard to the case of "Adams v. Dunseath," there were several points decided, and upon one or two of them there was great difference of opinion between the members of the Court of Appeal. There were four Judges on one side and three on the other on one point, and the view of the Prime Minister was that the decision of the three Judges was the decision in accordance with the intention of the Act rather than that of the four. That was a point which might require consideration; but upon the point now under consideration the whole of the Court were unanimous. Those who differed on the other points were agreed upon this; and, therefore, there was an unanimous 1761 decision to the effect that when a tenant's improvements were being considered only what he had done himself should be compensated for, and not any of the value of the inherent properties of the soil. But in that case it would not necessarily be limited to his mere outlay, because there was, in addition, the consideration of his skill in making improvements, which would be quite legitimately taken into account. He might, by the expenditure of a certain amount of money and a certain amount of skill, largely increase the value of the land. Of course, he was not to receive the increased value of the land so far as that was due to inherent qualities; but he should receive fair compensation for his skill, as well as the money he had laid out. That seemed to him an obviously fair view. Were they to lay down a hard-and-fast line that in no case should the value to the incoming tenant exceed the outlay, and that in no case the outgoing tenant was to get the amount for his improvements which the incoming tenant was willing to pay? In his view, it was not fair and just to lay down such a rule. Therefore the Government could not accept the Amendment.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, he thought the hon. and learned Gentleman had not cleared up this very difficult question. When the First Commissioner of Works spoke he was in hopes, in the first portion of his speech, that he was going to make a statement which would be satisfactory to the Committee; but as he proceeded with his speech the right hon. Gentleman entirely explained away what he had first stated, for in the last part of the speech he tried to prove that, although he was not anxious to give to the tenant the value of the inherent qualities which might by good farming be to the benefit of the landlord, he was inclined to provide that in certain instances the tenant should receive all the benefit of the outlay he had made. He had mentioned permanent pasture; but that improvement depended entirely upon the class of land in which the seed was sown. No rule could be laid down upon that point, because it entirely depended upon the state in which the soil was. In some instances £200 laid out in that way might even be returned in the first two years; but in clay land it required considerably more money to lay down permanent pasture, 1762 and it often happened that after three or four years the ground had to be ploughed up again and some other crop taken from it. What compensation would be given in such a case to the incoming tenant who took the land when it was to be re-ploughed? Unless there was some principle laid down to guide the valuer as to what compensation he was to give, there would be no end of difficulties in regard to this Bill. In the old Act, no doubt, it was clearly laid down that the value should be such proportion of the sum laid out by the tenant as fairly represented the value thereof to the incoming tenant. So long as a tenant was in the enjoyment of his land he had the full benefit of the value of his own improvements. He paid rent to the landlord for the inherent value of the soil, and when he left the tenancy his successor also had to pay that rent; and surely that was the man who had the benefit of whatever value there was in the soil. He would take one other instance—namely, draining, which was rather a test question. What was to be done with regard to draining? Who was to have the increased value of the land—the landlord or the tenant? Those were points which ought to be settled before this question was parted with, because they were points of paramount importance with regard to the working of this Bill. If that matter was left as the Bill now stood, in his judgment valuers would naturally be very much inclined to benefit the outgoing and not the incoming tenant; because, generally speaking, they would look to the outgoing tenant as giving them their means of livelihood, and the incoming tenant would generally be very much neglected. If there was to be a different and a new class of valuers that would alter the question altogether; but, taking the valuers as they were, they would, in his opinion, read the Bill in a contrary way to the Solicitor General and the First Commissioner of Works. Suppose a tenant laid out £10 per acre on draining land, which was at the time worth 10s. an acre. If, at the end of 10 years, that land was let at 25s. an acre through the improved drainage, the cost in the first instance having been £100, what would be the value of that drainage to an incoming tenant? The value of the land would have been increased by £150. 1763 The interest, taken at 3 per cent. would reduce that to £120. Was the outgoing tenant to receive £120, which would be exactly double what he ought to receive according to his outlay? That was a question he should like particularly to put, because it was of great importance whether, under such circumstances, the tenant was to receive the full benefit of his outlay, or whether the landlord was to receive extra benefit on account of the inherent qualities of the land? That was the sort of case they had to deal with; and when the right hon. Gentleman said that in certain cases the increased value was to be taken into account, he made no allowance in such cases for the land, but attributed the improvement to what the tenant had laid out. He knew many farms which were let at reduced terms, on the understanding that the tenant was to get the land into good condition. After he had done that, his rent might, perhaps, be increased; but he could then, if he chose, leave the farm, for he had been recouped for his operations by having a reduced rent, and he wished to ask the Government whether such a man was to receive anything for that which was his duty, and which he had agreed to do? Perhaps he had not put the point as clearly as he could have wished. If a man enjoyed the full benefit of all that he had put into the land so long as he was there, when he went out he was to receive, as he (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) and his hon. Friends contended, the full money value of all that was left in the land. When a man gave up paying rent, was he to receive anything for the inherent quality of the land, which, perhaps, by his good farming he had improved? [The SOLICITOR GENERAL dissented.] The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General shook his head; but, as the Bill stood, there was nothing to prevent a valuer putting an extra value upon the improvements owing to the inherent qualities of the soil; and unless some words were put into this Bill to show clearly what was in the mind of the Government, this unquestionably would be the case. And if it was the case, it would be unjust, not only as regarded the landlord, but also as regarded the incoming tenant.
§ MR. ALBERT GREY
said, it seemed to him that the question of what should be the maximum beyond which compensation 1764 should not go depended upon whether the Bill was compulsory or permissive. Now, it was compulsory in one part and permissive in another. It was permissive in regard to the improvements mentioned in the first Part of the Schedule, and it was compulsory as to the improvements named in the second and third Parts of the Schedule. He contended that where the Bill was permissive, as it was in Schedule 1, it was to give the widest possible presumption in favour of the tenant. The landlord could withhold his consent, and could stop an improvement from being made; but where the Bill was compulsory, he thought it was only right to limit the presumption of law, and he would be inclined to support the Amendment of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Kingscote), which limited the amount of compensation to the extent of the outlay, if his hon. and gallant Friend would limit his Amendment to the compulsory part of the Bill. He (Mr. A. Grey) would suggest to his hon. and gallant Friend that he should withdraw his Amendment, and bring it up in an altered form, so that the clause should read in this way—That compensation under this Act for such improvements, such sum as fairly represents the value of the improvements to an incoming tenant in the case of improvements mentioned in the first Part of the Schedule, and as much of his outlay therein as represents the value of the improvements to an incoming tenant in the case of improvements mentioned in the second and third Parts of the Schedule.He ventured to make very modestly this appeal to his hon. and gallant Friend.
§ SIR HENRY HOLLAND
said, that the hon. and learned Solicitor General had cleared the hon. Baronet the Member for North Devonshire (Sir Thomas Acland) of having adopted the outlay as the test of the value of the improvements; but he was wrong in his defence of the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage), for by the 9th section of the Bill of that hon. Member it was provided as follows:—Such custom fairly securing to the tenant the value to a succeeding occupier of the temporary improvements made or paid for by the tenant not exceeding the cost of such temporary improvements.Looking to these concluding words, he thought they might hope to find the hon. Member for Great Grimsby supporting the Amendment now before the 1765 Committee. He rose, however, to suggest a course which he believed might remove the difficulty felt by many Members to the Bill in its present shape. That difficulty was that there was nothing to guide the valuers in forming their judgment of the value. The Government had fairly stated their view to the effect that the inherent value of the land, though brought out and increased by the improvement, was not to be taken into consideration. This was in accord with the ruling of the Court in the Irish case, and was clearly just and reasonable. But unless some words were introduced by way of Proviso to that effect to guide and bind the valuers, how could we be sure that they would adopt that view? He hoped the Government would consent to the introduction of such a Proviso; and if they would do so he thought that the Bill would be much improved.
§ MR. HENEAGE
said, they were now dealing with a specific Amendment, and not dealing with any Amendment that might be proposed hereafter. The Amendment before the Committee was an Amendment to the 1st clause, which was the ruling clause of the Bill. This Amendment would affect not only one part of the Schedule, but the whole of it; and, therefore, he did not think that because in his Bill the compensation was limited to the outlay with regard to temporary improvements, he could be called upon to support an Amendment to which he entirely objected, and which was certainly not in his Bill. He objected to the Amendment, because he thought it would be exceedingly unfair that it should apply to the first and second Parts of the Schedule. With regard to the permanent improvements, he need not remind the Committee that it was in the landlord's power to make these improvements, and that it was even the landlord's duty to make them. If the landlord, however, was unwilling, either because he was incapable, or for any reason whatsoever, to do the improvements, he was actually borrowing the tenant's money when he asked the tenant to make the improvements for him. He regretted extremely to differ with his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Kingscote) on this occasion; but the result of the Amendment would be this—that if the tenant made an improvement and it turned out badly, he would 1766 lose his money; but if the tenant, by his own judgment and by the work of his own hand, made an improvement which turned out well, he would get nothing more than the bare outlay he had made on his farm. That was a principle so utterly unjust that he (Mr. Heneage) could not imagine anyone who seriously looked into the question from a practical point of view endorsing it. He could imagine hon. Gentlemen who left a great deal to their agents not going into this matter thoroughly and not knowing how it would affect them; but, having had some experience of managing an estate without agents, and also of valuations, nothing would induce him to have anything to do with this Amendment. Let them consider for a moment how unfairly the Amendment would work in the case of drainage, which came in the second Part of the Schedule. They all knew that whilst one man would drain a field for £60, it would cost another £100; yet the work in the case of an expenditure of £60 might be a great deal better done than that in the case of the expenditure of £100. He asked hon. Gentlemen if they had not paid very dearly for borrowing money from the Government and getting their drains done by a Company? Not many years ago he was asked to go over the estate of a friend to see if it was fair any longer to ask a tenant to pay interest for drainage which had been done under Government. He found the drainage was of no use at all, yet on an adjoining estate he could see draining done under the tenants themselves, which had been done for half the sum, and which was in very good operation. His experience led him to the conclusion that draining ought to be done conjointly by landlord and tenant. He believed there was no one who was a better judge of what draining ought to be done, there was no person who could superintend draining better, than the tenant; and if the tenant was a good man, both he and the landlord could save much money if they went conjointly into the business. The hon. Baronet the Member for Midhurst (Sir Henry Holland) had referred to his (Mr. Heneage's) Bill. Now, the words of his Bill were that the compensation "shall be the value of the improvement to the incoming tenant." He (Mr. Heneage) thought if they were to guard against fraud the Amendment to Clause 7, 1767 standing in the name of the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Duckham), which restricted the compensation which should be paid to the outlay not exceeding the average of previous years, was a much fairer Amendment than this one. He would also like to remind the Committee that many tenants laid out a great deal of money in marling and in liming. Now, on some soil such work might do well, and on others it might fail. This was a really practical matter—not a political or Party matter—and it was fair to the tenant farmers of England to look at it in a practical manner. He (Mr. Heneage), for one, could not support the Amendment.
§ MR. PELL
said, he thought that whether the Committee agreed to the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Kingscote) or not, it was evident now that some limitations must be made in the Bill to meet the very reasonable objections that had been raised on both sides of the Committee, and not only to meet those objections, but to meet certain objections which, as he understood, presented themselves to the mind of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works. Let them consider for one moment what the Bill was doing here, in contradistinction to what the Act of 1875 did. Now, the Act of 1875 in one of its clauses recited that the valuer should ascertain the sum laid out in the improvement; that was absolutely necessary before the person who made the improvement could receive any compensation. Now, in this Bill the draftsman had studiously excluded any reference whatever to the outlay. That was a very serious change, and he thought the Committee might fairly consider what the effect of it might be. It had been stated on the Treasury Bench, with perfect fairness, that it was not the desire of the Government, when a tenant executed an improvement which might have marvellous effects, effects out of all proportion to the cost of the improvements, owing to some particular qualities of the land, that he should be compensated in respect of the inherent qualities of the land. He believed that the desire and the intention of the Government was that a tenant should not derive any extraordinary return for an improvement upon which it was clear his outlay must have been very small. But how 1768 would the valuers separate the value that attached to the improvements from the real qualities of the land, or from the outlay made by the tenant? He confessed that if he were a valuer he should have great difficulty on that subject, and he should be in still greater difficulty if the tenant handed over to him this Act of Parliament, presuming it to be passed in its present shape, which expressly protected the tenant from being bound to state to the valuer how much the improvement cost. All he would do, if he were a tenant, would be to point out the startling result of his occupation of the farm. He would not tell the valuer what an improvement cost, neither would he tell him what the condition of the land was before the improvement; but allow him to find all that out himself. It really came to this—that there must be some limit put for the landlord's protection, and, indeed, for the landlord's guidance, as to the amount of compensation to be paid. These improvements might have to be valued many years after they were executed. "An improvement" was a comparative term; and if the Committee eliminated the statement of the cost of the outlay, if they dismissed this entirely, which evidently the Government were doing in this Bill, it would be extremely hard for a valuer to arrive at any just conclusion, unless the valuer had some knowledge of the actual condition of the ground before the improvement was made. Was the valuer to call in the oldest inhabitant of the place, and to rely upon general statements which were not always correct? He (Mr. Pell) was of opinion that a decision upon such a question ought not to be arrived at upon such loose evidence as would be obtained in that way. Now, before he sat down let him draw the attention of the Committee to another effect of this clause, if it were left without some such Amendment as the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Kingscote) had proposed. Now, the valuers were to ascertain what sums as compensation would fairly represent the value of the improvement to an incoming tenant. Now, he was quite aware there was an Amendment on the Paper dealing with this subject, and he would not go into it at any length at this point; but he thought that unless they accepted the Amendment they were now considering, or something very like it, great injustice 1769 would be done. The value of the improvement to an incoming tenant was not the improvement of the holding. An improvement had a life like a human being; it existed for a certain period only. No improvement lasted for ever; indeed, they lasted only for a comparatively short time. The value of an improvement to an incoming tenant was its value for the time being, or, perhaps, for two or three occupations. It was possible that under the terms of this clause a valuer might, for instance, capitalize £20 or £30 at 30 years' purchase, though the same improvements would have to be repeated in the course of 10 or 12 years. He apologized for referring to this feature of the case, because he believed they would have to deal with it further on. He hoped that if the Government could not accept the Amendment they were now considering, they would, at all events, insert in the Bill some guidance for the landlord, or some limitations which would enable the valuers to clearly and distinctly separate that part of an improvement which belonged to the outlay made by the tenant, and that part which belonged to the natural character and adaptability of the land for improvement.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, there was one consideration which had not yet been mentioned, but which he thought was of some importance in regard to this Amendment; it had been more or less pointed out by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin). The hon. Member had said that if he were a valuer, he would take into consideration the state of the crops. He (Mr. Acland) supposed the hon. Gentleman would. What was intended by the Bill was that every encouragement should be given to occupying tenants to keep up the cultivation and condition of their land to the very last day of their tenancy. The last words of the clause were—For such improvement such sum as fairly represents the value of the improvement to an incoming tenant;that was to say, that the advantage the incoming tenant should reap was that which he should pay for. The whole of the rest of the Bill was founded on the assumption that the improvements included in Parts 1 and 2 of the Schedule were improvements about which the landlord and tenant would make their own agreements. The last few words of 1770 Clause 1 really applied to the agricultural operations, which were affairs between the incoming and outgoing tenant. Therefore, in the interest of public policy, it was the duty of the Committee, if they wished to encourage tenants to do their duty by their farms, to give them every chance of reaping the full benefit of their outlays in those agricultural operations. If the Committee limited what tenants were to receive to their outlay, they would not give them a chance of getting the full value for the outlay which they would have received had they remained on the farm.
§ MR. R. H. PAGET
said, he thought the arguments just addressed to the Committee were the strongest arguments that could be used in support of the contention advanced by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Kingscote) on behalf of the Amendment they were now considering. What did the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Acland) say? Why, that the valuer was to be directed in his valuation by looking at what the land had produced; and if it had produced a fine crop, he had to conclude that an improvement had been made by the outgoing tenant for which compensation was to be paid. Now, the recent experiments at Woburn had clearly shown this—that, although they might find on lands crops growing luxuriously, they might be satisfied that there was no value left in the land; that after these fine crops of wheat or oats, as the case might be, had been reaped, the land would be absolutely exhausted. Of what service was it, therefore, that a valuer should go to land and see the crops growing there? The whole subject of their contention came to this—that everything was left to the valuer. Under the clause as it at present stood he received no guide; but this Amendment would distinctly give him a certain guide, because he would put down the outlay as a test. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works that there was a certain difficulty in absolutely and rigidly restricting the value to the exact amount of the outlay; and he (Mr. Paget) had placed on the Paper an Amendment to provide for the very few exceptional instances where no advantage might be reaped from the outlay during the first and second years, in which case it would be but reasonable 1771 that the interest should be added to the original outlay to represent the sum that the outgoing tenant would be fully justified in receiving. He did not wish to press his Amendment in the form it appeared on the Paper; but he ventured to throw out a suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Dodson), that the difficulty would be met by inserting in the Bill a definition of outlay, so that the word "outlay" might be held to include interest if the improvement had not borne any result, during the first or second years, to the man who had made the outlay. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General had said that they were all agreed. He (Mr. Paget) did not think the difference between them was at all material. The hon. and learned Gentleman thought he saw in the Bill as it was drawn something so clear that it would prevent a valuer by any chance whatever from handing over to the outgoing tenant that which was the result of some inherent substance in the land which had been developed by the improvement, and which the hon. and learned Gentleman himself admitted should not go to the outgoing tenant, but should belong to the owner of the soil. He (Mr. Paget) thought the difference between them might very easily come to an end, if the Solicitor General would exercise his intelligence in drafting an Amendment which would state clearly that which he believed they were all agreed upon, but which they failed to see in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) clearly pointed out that if a valuer had nothing to guide him, except that which was contained in the Bill at present, he would be in no way restricted from giving to the outgoing tenant that which was really the property of his landlord, and which was the result of the inherent quality of the soil. In view of this, he (Mr. Paget) had drafted an Amendment which took the form of an instruction to the valuer. There, again, he had no desire to press his Amendment, because he would much rather the Government themselves adopted some words of their own embodying the same idea. If that were done, he had no doubt that the Committee would be quite satisfied. Until it was done, and unless it was done, he should be bound to support the Amendment which was now before the Committee. 1772 He impressed upon the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General the undesirability of leaving this matter in doubt. It was very undesirable to leave the matter in this state of uncertainty, as a Court of Law, before whom the cases would inevitably be brought, might decide exactly in the way which was not intended. The intentions of the framers of the Bill ought to be clearly set forth, and ought to be so clearly set forth that no valuer could possibly misunderstand them. If the Government only gave effect to their intentions by the Bill, as they had expressed them by their speeches, there would be little or nothing to complain of in respect of the particular point which the Committee were now discussing. The Solicitor General had said that valuers would act properly; but there might be valuers who would act improperly from want of information; valuers who did not know the state of land; valuers who had nothing whatever to guide them but the vague words of the Bill. The Committee now made a reasonable request to the Government—namely, that they should put clearly and beyond all chance of dispute and misconception that which they meant, and that which they had already asserted in speech.
§ MR. DUCKHAM
supported the Amendment, and was understood to say that in cases where the tenant effected improvements by means of labour, and had to hire teams of horses, it would be possible to prove the outlay; and the improvement could be made a matter of valuation by the arbitrator or valuer.
§ VISCOUNT FOLKESTONE
said, that as he had an Amendment very much on the same lines as that moved by his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Kingscote), he hoped the Committee would allow him to say a few words, for the reason that after the discussion they had had he should not think it necessary to bring forward his proposal. Before he adverted to the Amendment, he should like to point out one curious argument made use of by the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage) whilst he was speaking upon the point just now. The hon. Member seemed to have made in his own mind a great point of the fact that one tenant might, by an outlay of £60, do infinitely more good to his holding by good drainage than another man who spent £100 might do by bad 1773 drainage, and that, therefore, the man who had spent £100 would get more for compensation than the tenant who had expended £60 on good drainage. He (Viscount Folkestone) should like to point out this—that the main consideration in the Bill was that the value of the improvement should be what the value was to an incoming tenant. Therefore, if an outgoing tenant had spent £100 on bad drainage, and if that £100 was of no value whatever to the incoming tenant, the outgoing tenant would not obtain compensation for the expenditure; whereas if a tenant had only spent £60 on good drainage, which outlay was of value to the incoming tenant, the outgoing tenant would have the value of his improvement where it was not exhausted by use. Under these circumstances, it seemed to him that the argument of the hon. Member for Great Grimsby did not hold good. He was glad to hear from the right hon. Gentlemen in charge of the Bill that they agreed with the principle of the Amendment of his hon. and gallant Friend. What they objected to was that the amount should be limited to the outlay, because in some cases which were specified by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General the actual outlay would not include the total cost of the improvement. There were two instances named by one of the right hon. Gentlemen who had charge of the Bill. One was the question of laying down the land in permanent pasture. He (Viscount Folkestone) thought the argument was a just and fair one. If a man spent £100 in laying down permanent pasture the repayment of that £100 would not compensate him for his outlay, because for some years, more or less, according to the nature of the soil, he would get no benefit out of the land he had so treated. Therefore it was that in putting down his Amendment, instead of saying what was said by the hon. and gallant Gentleman, he had proposed to move, after the word "sum," to insert the words "not exceeding the total cost of improvement," whereby it appeared to him that the valuer, taking into consideration the value of an improvement, would take into consideration not only the actual amount of the tenant's outlay, but the loss he would have to sustain after he had made that outlay in losing 1774 the use of the land upon which the outlay had been made. The right hon. Gentlemen who had charge of the Bill did not seem inclined to accept the principle of his Amendment, and, therefore, he should not press it. He had been somewhat astonished to hear one of the right hon. Gentlemen in charge of the Bill suggest that not only ought the outgoing tenant to be compensated for the amount of his outlay, but that he also ought to be compensated for the skill he had exercised whilst living on his farm. When a man undertook a contract, to his (Viscount Folkestone's) mind, he was bound to exercise the fullest amount of skill at his command in his undertaking. However, as the right hon. Gentleman, from what he could see, appeared to think he was not right, he (Viscount Folkestone) might say that if the Government thought the outgoing tenant should be compensated, when his improvement was taken into consideration, for his skill, another Amendment might be moved later on in the Bill. He himself had one down for the purpose of compensating a landlord for waste and want of skill on the part of the tenant. He thought the right hon. Gentleman would have no argument to adduce against that proposal. There was one other thing mentioned by one of the right hon. Gentlemen who had charge of the Bill, and that was the question of liming land. The right hon. Gentleman had said that after an improvement had been effected in this way lime might have risen in value, and therefore the incoming tenant ought to pay more than the original cost of the material which had been put into the land two or three years before on account of the increase in value. He (Viscount Folkestone), for his own part, could not understand why an increase in the value of lime put in three or four years ago for the purpose of benefiting the land should affect the incoming tenant. However, he trusted that the right hon. Gentlemen who had charge of the Bill, from a phrase they had let drop concerning the principle of this Amendment, would accept some Amendment or Proviso at the end of the clause analogous to that which his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Gloucestershire had got down. He earnestly hoped that the right hon. Gentlemen in charge of the 1775 Bill would take some Amendment of this description into their consideration.
§ VISCOUNT LYMINGTON
said, the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote) would not only affect Part II. of the Schedule, but also Part III.; and, in fact, it would apply to all the improvements embodied in the Schedule, and the principles upon which the Schedule was founded. He quite agreed with what had fallen from the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage), who always spoke on these matters with a great deal of practical knowledge, that it would be most unfair to the tenant not to give him the value of the permanent improvements he had made. A large majority of the improvements under Schedule I., if effected by the tenant on the majority of the holdings in England, should be looked upon as similar to those effected in Ireland. They would have an entirely different basis on which to put their rights. They would have a claim to a large measure of legislation which Parliament had thought right to give to the Irish tenants. It was, therefore, on that ground that he entirely dissented from the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire as it now stood; but, at the same time, he entirely endorsed the views which fell from an hon. Friend, to the effect that the value to the incoming tenant did in no case represent the increase of the value to the owner. He also agreed very much with what had fallen from the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland), to the effect that there were a large number of items in Part III. of the Schedule which could not fairly be said to represent tenant's improvements. On this point he would refer the Committee to the 20th section of the Schedule in Part III.—"Application to land of purchased artificial or other purchased manure." What he would recommend to the Committee would be this—would it not be possible, while agreeing with the proposition of the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire, to act on the lines suggested by the hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey), that in regard to improvements in Part III. of the Schedule the principle which was now brought forward by his hon. and gallant Friend 1776 the Member for West Gloucestershire should very largely apply? He would ask the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire whether it would not be possible for him to withdraw his Amendment as it stood, and to introduce it in some shape which would admit of the principle he now advocated applying to Part III. of the Schedule?
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he hoped the Committee would have learnt that the proposal of the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote) was a great departure in favour of the outgoing tenant from the present practice of valuation under arbitration. The present practice was, that if a tenant had made an improvement, and had had no crop, and received no return therefrom, he should receive the whole capital he had expended; but that if he had reaped the improvement by successive, say for one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven years, the original capital was held to be returned proportionately to the crops which had been benefited by that outlay. The principle which the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire proposed was, that no matter how many crops had been taken, and, therefore, how many profits had been returned for the outlay, still the outlay in toto should be returned. He (Mr. Newdegate) so understood the Amendment. But the Government, on the other hand, contended that if the improvement had been successful, the tenant who had made the improvement should be compensated for the success, notwithstanding the return he had had in the shape of improved crops. That was just reversing the present practice; and, inasmuch as he thought his hon. and gallant Friend went quite far enough, he should vote for him, and against what the Government considered their improvement, and which he (Mr. Newdegate) considered double payment and an extortion.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
said, the hon. Member for Mid Somersetshire (Mr. R. H. Paget) had alluded to an experimental farm at Woburn, which happened to be in his (Mr. Howard's) county; and that being so, and also from the fact of his being a Member of the Council of the Royal Agricultural Society, he might claim to be somewhat acquainted with the results of the experiment there. Well, if this experiment 1777 had proved anything, it had proved that compensation to the tenants should not depend upon the outlay, but upon the results, and that was the principle of the Bill. It had occurred to him, as well as to the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot), and the hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell), that they had totally misapprehended the question to be submitted to the arbitrator. They seemed to think that the question to be submitted to the Referees under the Bill was the increased value of the land. Now, he would say most distinctly that the question was such sum as fairly represented the value of the improvement, and not the increased value of the land. Well, what would the arbitrators in the first place naturally ask themselves, when they were called on to determine the question of improvements? The first question they would ask themselves would be, what that improvement would cost; and, secondly, what it would cost in the future? As far as he (Mr. Howard) had an acquaintance with land valuers, they were as shrewd a set of valuers as any in the Kingdom. No tenant farmer had a chance of being chosen arbitrator unless he had proved himself to be a superior man of business. Land agents throughout the country were selected for this work. Then a great deal was said about the risk which would be incurred of the tenant being paid for the inherent qualities of the land. Not a single illustration was given by anyone who ventured on that prophecy. Before any weight could be attached to that argument, he should imagine they ought to have clenched the matter by showing, through the medium of illustrations, under what possible circumstances such compensation could be given. Then it had occurred to him that the hon. Member for Mid Somersetshire (Mr. R. H. Paget) had entirely failed to apprehend the argument of the First Commissioner of Works. The point he had put before the Committee was, that in many cases the capital of the tenant laid dormant for years before the outlay became remunerative. That was particularly the case with grass land and orchards. The hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) said that to lay down pasture would pay a man in two years' time; but if the hon. and 1778 gallant Member had had much knowledge of the county of Suffolk, he would not have ventured upon such an opinion. Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member would allow him to remind him of the old Suffolk couplet—To break a pasture will make a man.To make a pasture will break a man.He knew cases where the result of making a pasture was, that the tenant had hardly been able to pay the rent. Then, as to orchards. Some years ago he had planted one, and it had never yet paid the cost of fencing and pruning. To him it would have been a very inadequate compensation if the measure of the outlay had been the measure of the value to an incoming tenant. It appeared to him that the object of the Amendment was, that the tenant was to run all the risks of the experiment, and if the experiment failed at once, he was to get nothing; but if it happened to succeed, he was to be limited to the amount of his outlay. It proceeded upon the principle of "heads I win; tails you lose." He asked, between man and man—between tenant and landlord—whether that was an equitable principle? If the House had a majority of tenants instead of a majority of landlords in it, would such a proposition as that be listened to for one moment?
§ MR. BIDDELL
said, he thought the evils of this clause, as it stood, had been very much magnified. He did not believe that anyone need have any fear of the operation of the clause; and as for the probability of an outgoing tenant obtaining more from an incoming tenant for his improvements than they had cost him, it seemed to him that if such a thing did occur it would be very rarely indeed. If, as a valuer, he had to value certain improvements, he should not base the compensation upon any speculation as to what the annual value of the improvements might be. For instance, if a tenant, by an outlay of £20, produced a return for a time of £4 or £5 a-year, which, capitalized, would amount to, say, £30, he should not allow the outgoing tenant that sum, as the incomer, he thought, would rightly argue thus with the outgoer—"Why should I pay you £30 for an improvement which I could, and should, have effected at a cost of £20, had you not done so?" If the larger sum was paid, the outgoer would 1779 be enjoying the profits of the farm after he ceased to pay rent for it. He should, therefore, support the Bill as it stood.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, he rose to make a suggestion, which he thought would, perhaps, meet with the approval of the Committee, who had now been debating this question for some time. Everybody must have felt the weight of the argument urged by the Government and the hon. Gentlemen who opposed this Amendment. With regard to certain of the improvements mentioned in the Schedule—he meant the argument that if a tenant took the risk of making an expensive improvement, such as erecting buildings and other species of outlay mentioned in the Schedule, it was rather hard that he should run the risk of doing it without being allowed to reap some benefit in addition to the amount of his original outlay. There was great force in that argument. He was anxious to put before the Committee a proposal, which he would not be in Order in moving now; but which, if the hon. and gallant Member who moved this Amendment would accept it, would conduce to a general agreement in the Committee. He would propose to insert, at the end of the clause, the words—Provided always, That in respect of improvements mentioned in the second and third Parts of the Schedule, for which the consent of the landlord is not required, such compensation shall in no case exceed the outlay incurred by the tenant.The advantage of that would be that the landlord would not be put to the hardship of seeing the inherent increment he had a right to going into the pocket of the tenant. The chalk on land, and things of that kind, diminished in value as time went on—they did not increase; and if his suggestion were adopted no hardship would be done to the tenant, and yet the landlord's interest would be provided for. He had sufficiently indicated the nature of the suggestion he should be inclined to make to see if it met with the approval of the Committee, and to see if they could not avoid the inconvenience of a Division on the Amendment of his hon. and gallant Friend opposite (Colonel Kingscote).
§ Mr. DODSON
said, he hoped the Committee would consider that this particular Amendment had now been so far discussed that they were in a position to 1780 dispose of it. He should not have interposed had it not been for the observation of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He wished to say that, so far as the Government were concerned, they could not accept the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Kingscote); but, at the same time, they were equally unable to accept the suggestion made by the hon. Member who had just spoken. He could not now argue at length upon that suggestion; but it appeared to him that it did not seem to draw a sufficient distinction between marling and liming, and so on, and the other improvements.
§ COLONEL KINGSCOTE
said, he had listened very attentively to the remarks of the First Commissioner of Works, as well as to those of the hon. Member for North Devonshire (Sir Thomas Acland), and he certainly thought that every word they had said supported the Amendment he had moved. The First Commissioner of Works had mentioned improvements, such as permanent pasture and marling; but the Solicitor General later on had certainly gone more directly against his Amendment. But, so far as he could judge, the hon. and learned Member had only used the same argument as his Colleague with regard to the 1st Schedule. He (Colonel Kingscote) should have been glad to have accepted the proposition put forward by his hon. Friend the Member for South Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey) and the hon. Member who had just sat down. If the Government could not accept that, or something in that form, he would be obliged to take the sense of the Committee on the matter. In submitting his Amendment to the Committee he did not wish to weary them again; he only wished to say this—that, after all he had heard from the other side of the House, he was still convinced that, in the main, his argument was a just one, and one that ought to be inserted in the Bill. With regard to permanent pasture, he owned that that was a difficult question; but it was about the only difficult question to be dealt with. The lime would certainly be recouped in the first year or two, together with the tenant's outlay; and he could see no hardship in that being so recouped. The only cause of difficulty would be, as he had said, permanent pasture, and in that case he thought something might be allowed; 1781 but he hardly ever heard of a tenant farmer laying down permanent pasture without going to the landlord first and making some arrangement. He did not mean to say that the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage) was not most practical in all his ways; but he ventured to think there were some other Members who were equally practical; and, although the hon. Member talked largely of his experience of tenants, he could not agree with the hon. Member. The object of his Amendment was to avoid pressing too heavily on the incoming tenant who, if too heavily pressed, would not have sufficient capital to expend on cultivation; and if the incoming tenant suffered in that way consumers also would suffer, because the tenant, finding his capital gone, would have to cultivate the land in the best way he could. He did not think the Amendment affected the principle of the Bill in any way. He believed it would be a wholesome check, and would be in the interest of both incoming and outgoing tenants. As the Government held out no hope that they would accept the proposition made by the hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey), or by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. A. J. Balfour), he felt he could take no other course but to divide the Committee.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 188; Noes 163: Majority 25.—(Div. List, No. 209.)
§ SIR ALEXANDER GORDON moved, in page 1, line 14, to omit the words "to an incoming tenant," in order to insert "in so far as it may be suitable to the business for which the holding was let." He said he thought the principle of the Bill with regard to the value of improvements would, in some cases, act very harshly indeed on the incoming tenant. The improvements might be such as were not suitable to the business of the incoming tenant, and yet he would be called upon to pay the full value of the improvements to the outgoing tenant; or it might be exactly the other way, and there might also be collusion between the owner and the occupier. The owner might let his farm to a tenant who would carry on a different style of agriculture from that of the former tenant, and in a year or 1782 two let the holding to another tenant to carry on the original style of agriculture; and in that case the landlord would be able to make a large sum of money by getting from the new tenant that which he had from the second tenant. An arable farm might be let to a farmer who would alter entirely the nature of the operations; and if he was obliged to pay the full value of the improvements to the outgoing tenant great injustice would be done. Therefore, he thought it would be much better that the value of the improvements should depend upon their being suitable for the style of business for which the farm was let. There would be no unfairness in such an arrangement; and he thought it was one which would give great satisfaction.
In page 1, line 14, to leave out the words "to an incoming tenant," and insert the words "in so far as it may be suitable to the business for which the holding was let."—(Sir Alexander Gordon.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he thought the Government might give way upon this Amendment. He did not know whether the words suggested by the hon. and gallant Member were the most suitable for expressing clearly his intention; and he himself would prefer to insert the words "an incoming tenant to carry on the same description of business." That would make it clear that the outgoing tenant was to be compensated for the value of the improvements for the same kind of business. If that were not done it was quite possible that an outgoing tenant, who had made improvements in the direction apparently intended by the Government, might afterwards find that he had sustained considerable loss.
§ MR. DODSON
said, he preferred the words as they stood in the clause to this Amendment. The words seemed to him to be unnecessary, while the words in the clause, in a simple manner, gave effect to the object which the hon. and gallant Member desired. The words were not "value of the improvement to the succeeding tenant or the incoming tenant," who might be a man who came in with particular views of his own, or 1783 with an intention to alter the character of the farm, but "value of the improvement to an incoming tenant"—that was, to an incoming tenant generally, who would go into a farm of a particular character, to carry on the same kind of business. Therefore, he thought the clause already did all that was necessary.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he thought that if that was the intention of the Government it ought to be clearly indicated in the clause, because to any practical valuator it would be an open question what the words meant. The holding might have been let by the landlord to carry on the business of a dairy farm. The succeeding tenant might be a market gardener, and he might say that certain of the improvements necessary for dairy farming were of no value to him. Certainly, he did not think it was clear that the outgoing tenant carrying on a dairy farm could claim compensation for improvements suitable for dairying only from a man who was to carry on the business of a market gardener. It was quite open to argument whether the outgoing tenant in that case would be entitled to fair compensation in respect, for instance, of cowsheds, because the incoming tenant might argue that they were of little value to him, and certainly not of the same value as they would be to a man carrying on a dairy farm business. He thought this ought to be clearly expressed in the Bill.
§ MR. DODSON
said, there was no difference between hon. Members and himself in principle; indeed, the Committee, he thought, were generally in accord upon this point. He should not like to accept these words off-hand; but he would assure the hon. Member that the Government would carefully consider the question, and if they thought they could make the point more clear by bringing up words on Report they would do so.
§ MR. DUCKHAM
said, he should prefer the Amendment of which he had given Notice—namely, to insert "holding," and leave out "an incoming tenant." Upon his farm he had a considerable number of buildings, which would be of no use to another farmer. A friend of his occupied his own estate, and had planted a large hop garden, which was just coming into full bearing, when the estate was sold. The incoming tenant 1784 was not accustomed to that sort of business, and in such a case, under this Bill, he would suffer an injustice. The improvements he thought which were to be paid for should be limited to the holding, and that would meet whatever class of men came in.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. ALBERT GREY
said, he wished to propose an Amendment in order to prevent a tenant being paid twice over for the same improvements. His Amendment proposed that the tenant should not be able to claim compensation for the improvements which he had covenanted to make. He hoped the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster would see his way to accept this Amendment. He thought everybody would admit that it was only fair that the improvements for which tenants should have a statutory right to compensation should be only those improvements which were over and above those which he had covenanted to execute. At the present time compensation was given in one of two ways—either by low rent, or compensation at the end of the term. If it was proposed that the tenant should in every case be able to take compensation at the end of his term for the improvements which he might have effected, it would be a deterrent to the landlords to give compensation in the shape of a low rent. In the debates of 1875 it was pointed out very forcibly by the noble Marquess the present Secretary of State for War (the Marquess of Hartington) that if Parliament attempted to re-adjust and regulate the relations between landlord and tenant the inevitable result must be a revaluation, with a probable rise of rent over a large part of England. He (Mr. A. Grey), therefore, hoped that, in the interest of the tenants, the Government might be inclined to accept this Amendment, which proposed that a tenant should not be able to claim compensation for those improvements which he had not covenanted to perform.
In page 1, line 14, at end, to add—"Provided always, That no improvement which the tenant has made in fulfilment of any particular agreement in writing shall be included in valuing such compensation."—(Mr. A. Grey.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."1785
§ MR. DODSON
said, he was not quite sure he understood the effect which the words proposed by the hon. Member would have—that was to say, he was not quite sure whether they would apply to the particular agreements contemplated under Clause 5, or whether the Amendment was only intended to meet the case of improvements under a lease in which the tenant had engaged to execute certain improvements in consideration of a lower rent. Whether that was the case or not, he must point out to the hon. Member that it would be more convenient if the Amendment were proposed on Clause 6. He trusted that, under the circumstances, the Amendment would be withdrawn and reserved for a later period of the Bill.
§ SIR JOSEPH PEASE
pointed out to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. Grey) that on Clause 6 he (Sir Joseph Pease) had an Amendment precisely similar to this one. He had put it down on Clause 6, thinking that was a much better place than on Clause 1.
§ MR. ALBERT GREY
asked leave to withdraw his Amendment; but stated that he would move it subsequently.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, he had now to propose his Proviso at the end of the clause, which he read to the Committee during the discussion upon a previous Amendment. His Proviso ran as follows:—Provided always, That in respect of those improvements for which the consent of the landlord is not required, the amount of such compensation shall in no case exceed the amount of outlay incurred by the tenant.It would, of course, be at once observed by the Committee that this went over part of the ground only which they had already discussed. He thought he could show to the Committee in a very few words that there was really substantial justice in this Proviso, both for the landlord and for the tenant, and no injustice whatever either to the one or to the other. Lot them consider, in the first place, the case of the tenant. If a tenant enlarged his buildings or reclaimed waste land, it did seem a hardship that he should not reap the whole advantage, provided his work did not turn out well. Improvements of that sort were not affected by his Amendment. A tenant could still reap any benefit of such improvements, even in excess of the outlay; 1786 but there was another class of improvement contemplated by the Bill—such as the boning of land, and improvements of that kind. These improvements had more to do with the ordinary conduct of agricultural operations than the improvements he mentioned at the outset, and the tenant ought not to go into them merely as a speculation. It would be manifestly unjust if a tenant were prevented getting more for his outlay of this kind than what he himself laid out; and a landlord had no right to complain if a tenant gained for his improvements even more than he laid out, provided the landlord might, if he had seen fit, have stopped the improvements. He (Mr. A. J. Balfour) contemplated this possibility in his Amendment. Suppose a tenant reclaimed waste land. Of that reclamation he made a very good speculation, and a valuer gave him more than he laid out. It might be said that the landlord had no right to complain, because if he had liked he could have withheld his consent, or insisted upon doing the improvements himself. A tenant, perhaps, might lay out a great deal of money in manure for the land, which possibly did not do good, but actually injured the land—manure which stimulated the crops for a time, but produced great exhaustion, which the valuer did not see. A landlord had no power to stop him. The outlay might be injurious to the landlord, and not beneficial to the tenant; and yet it might well be that a valuer might give, judging from the growing crops he had seen, even more than the tenant had laid out. He (Mr. A. J. Balfour) maintained that this was a kind of outlay for which the tenant had no right to expect more than he had laid out; and, by providing that he should not obtain more than his outlay in such a case, they inflicted no hardship upon the tenant, but they protected the landlord. He hoped that he, in these few words, had clearly explained to the Committee exactly what his Amendment did, and exactly what it did not do. He was convinced that if hon. Gentlemen would take it into serious consideration they would see that he had really protected the tenant in all legitimate speculative outlays, and, at the same time, he had protected the landlord in his undoubted right—namely, in anything he could get from 1787 the unearned income of the soil, or in any other legitimate manner. He hoped the Government would be able to see their way to adopt his Proviso.
In page 1, line 14, at end of Clause to add—"Provided always, That in respect of those improvements for which the consent of the landlord is not required, the amount of such compensation shall in no case exceed the amount of outlay incurred by the tenant."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
expressed surprise that such an Amendment as this should come from hon. Members who had always been anxious to pose as the farmers' friends. The Government had already given the farmers very shabby compensation, only compensation in respect of certain improvements, and that compensation it was wished still further to reduce. It seemed to be imagined that it was possible for the tenant to reap a very large profit upon the improvements he made. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had spoken only of Part III. of the Schedule; but the Amendment applied also to Part II., and nothing, he (Mr. Barclay) thought, was more speculative on the part of the tenant than drainage. Drainage might produce very beneficial results, or it might prove practically worthless. If it did prove worthless the tenant was to get no compensation; but if it turned out of greater value than his outlay he could have no claim to compensation beyond his outlay. There was another fundamental objection to the proposal of the hon. Gentleman. It was proposed that a tenant farmer should be only compensated in respect of his outlay. Now, a considerable number of improvements in Part III. would be performed by a tenant farmer with the hands he had on his farm, and in respect of whom there was no real or direct outlay. Under such circumstances, a tenant farmer, even if he got the whole of his outlay, would not be compensated. The hon. Member had referred to a case where a tenant farmer might apply manure to the soil without creating any benefit; but the Bill provided that in respect of such outlays, or so-called improvements, the outgoing tenant was to have no compensation, because he left no benefit. A practical valuator would be guided in 1788 assessing the value of the improvements under Part III. by what it cost the tenant to make the improvements. He (Mr. Barclay) did not think that any claim of an absurd character, or any exaggerated claim, could possibly be entertained under Part III. by practical, fair, and honest valuators; and as regarded Part II, he thought a tenant farmer was really entitled to such increased value, whatever it might be, whether it was greater or less than his outlay, which his improvements had given to his successors. He (Mr. Barclay) certainly thought that the Government ought to adhere to the principle which they had laid down, and which, after all, was the safest and fairest to all parties—namely, to test the value by the result. He did not think that tenant farmers were at all likely to get any large profit out of their improvements. Imaginary cases were brought forward by hon. Members; but, judging from his own experience and observation, very few improvements could be expected to give a greater return than 4 or 5 or 6 per cent. He thought hon. Members opposite ought not to begrudge so moderate a return. The right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works had referred to the possible profit of taking in watercourses and reclaiming land, because it was considered that a tenant for such operation might possibly get more than he had expended. It was a curious point that if a tenant made such improvements, even with the consent of his landlord, he would not be entitled to any compensation under this Bill. He did not see any head in the Schedule under which such improvements could be classed, and in that particular he certainly considered the Bill needed amendment.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said, he hoped the Government would accept the Amendment, and not be led away by the arguments of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Forfarshire (Mr. Barclay). The hon. Gentleman wished to establish a right on the part of the tenant to a profit to which he was not justly entitled. He (Mr. Brodrick) did not wish to introduce controversial matters into proceedings which up to this had been very harmonious; but he was bound to say that a great deal had been put into the hands of valuers in the Sister Island, and that those valuers had not satisfied 1789 either the landlord or the tenant. It was possible that in this case they might find valuers deciding upon a sum of money which was altogether wholly undefined. He considered that the very modest and discreet proposal of his hon. Friend (Mr. A. J. Balfour) ought to be accepted. The Committee had, by a very close Division, shown a strong predilection for some limitation such as was proposed. As this proposal was entirely in accord with the spirit of the Bill, he hoped the Government would give it their support.
§ MR. DODSON
said, that although the Amendment proposed by the hon. Gentleman was somewhat more limited in its scope, its subject-matter was the same as that they had just disposed of. Several of the improvements to which this Amendment applied were improvements of a character as to which a tenant might fairly be entitled according to the Government's view, under certain circumstances, to more than his outlay. The hon. Member had pointed out that one, at all events, of the objects he had in moving this Amendment was similar to that which was aimed at by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Somersetshire (Mr. R. H. Paget)—namely, to secure that a valuer should not give to the tenant anything in respect of the inherent qualities of the soil. He (Mr. Dodson) regretted that that hon. Gentleman was not allowed to move his Amendment at once, because several suggestions had been thrown out in regard to that Amendment in the course of the previous discussion; and he (Mr. Dodson) thought it was quite possible, after the expression of opinion that had been made in different parts of the House, they might arrive at a substantial agreement upon that Amendment, or upon some words giving effect to the object of that Amendment, besides being satisfactory to the Committee generally. If that were so, he hoped the hon. Member would allow the Committee to proceed with the consideration of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Somersetshire.
§ MR. KNIGHT
said, it was possible for great injustice to be done under the valuation system without the landlord being able to prevent it. Let the House imagine a case of a farm worth £300 a-year, and a new tenant spending £1,000 in drainage, and very soon afterwards giving notice to quit. Two valuers 1790 are called in. The first says—"£1,000 has just been spent in draining. I value this improvement as worth 10 per cent on the outlay; no tenant will expend money on a farm under 10 per cent." The landlord's valuer, on the other hand, says—"The drainage is an improvement, no doubt; but I can only allow 5 per cent on the outlay." Suppose the tenant's claim of 10 per cent be allowed, the value of the farm will be said to be increased from £300 to £400 a-year. The increased value of £100, capitalized at 30 years' purchase, amounts to £3,000, and this sum might be claimed by the outgoing tenant. If 5 per cent only be allowed, the increased value of £50 a-year capitalized in like manner amounts to £1,500, or £500 more than the money expended. Whether the improvement be valued at 5 or 10 per cent. the tenant would go out taking a large sum of money more than he had spent, and to which he could have no equitable claim. He (Mr. Knight) feared that calculations of this kind might run through many such valuations. He thought that the only fair basis was the Lincolnshire system of cost, not value. Under that system many thousand square miles of the heath, the wold, and the fen had been brought into cultivation by tenants' capital in a manner satisfactory to both landlord and tenant.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, the last Amendment was only defeated by a very narrow majority. As they were unable to succeed in the last Division, he hoped his hon. Friend would press this Amendment; and he (Mr. Chaplin) thought the hon. Gentleman was encouraged to do so by the circumstances by which they were surrounded. Had it not been for the fact that the Royal Agricultural Show was now being held at York, he believed a good many of their friends and supporters on this question would have been present, and that there would have been a much narrower Division than had just taken place. It was possible that they might on this Amendment receive some additional support, as it was almost identical with the Bill of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage). He did not know whether that hon. Gentleman voted against the last Amendment or not; but certainly the Bill standing in his name, and now before the House, advocated precisely a similar principle 1791 to the one involved in the present Amendment. He (Mr. Chaplin) could not understand what the tenant could be entitled to beyond his original outlay. No one had attempted to explain why a tenant had any right to expect to draw a profit out of a farm after he had left it. The Government had not as yet attempted to explain this point, and until they did so his hon. Friend would do well to press the Amendment. If once it was conceded that, under any circumstances, the compensation was to exceed the outlay on the part of the tenant, he really did not know where the compensation was to stop, short of the actual increase in the crops arising from an improvement. The hon. Gentleman the Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Acland) just now let the cat out of the bag, because he said that this was just what they were aiming at. That was, no doubt, the object and purpose of the Bill, although the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works had spent a great deal of time in informing the Committee that, as a general rule, compensation was to be considerably less than the outlay, and that it was only in rare cases it was to exceed it. He (Mr. Chaplin) was surprised at the statement of the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Cornwall, because the hon. Gentleman would forgive him for reminding him that these Agricultural Bills were referred to a Select Committee, and a proposition of this nature was made in the Committee and put to the vote, and the hon. Gentleman himself was one of the Members who supported the proposition. He (Mr. Chaplin) had referred to the proceedings of the Select Committee, and he found that the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) moved an Amendment to add to one of the clauses of the Bill "and not exceeding the cost of such improvements." He then found that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen), the noble Lord the Member for North Derbyshire (Lord Edward Cavendish), the hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Acland), and two other hon. Gentlemen sitting on that side of the House—lie forgot the places they represented—none of whom voted with the Opposition on the last Amendment, supported the Motion of the hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell). [An hon. MEMBER: What were the improvements?] They were the 1792 improvements referred to in the Bill. At present they were only dealing with the improvements for which the consent of the landlord was not required; but he (Mr. Chaplin) thought that the proposal of the hon. Member for South Leicestershire referred to all the improvements named in the Bill. Under these circumstances, he thought they had a right to expect and to claim more support for this proposition than they received on the last Division. He hoped his hon. Friend would go to a Division.
§ MR. DUCKHAM
said, he thought the Amendment was moved at the wrong time; it ought to have been proposed on Clause 6, and not on Clause 1. He had given Notice of an Amendment to Clause 6; and if the hon. Member (Mr. A. J. Balfour) would refer to that Amendment, he would see it met all the requirements of the case.
§ MR. ACLAND
regretted that he could not recall exactly what the proposition before the Select Committee was on which he gave the vote referred to by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin); but he thought he explained himself sufficiently clearly just now when he said he supported the proposal of the Government on this Bill, during the discussion of the main point of the last Amendment, because, as he believed, the main point of that Amendment had reference to the agricultural operations, which were a matter between the outgoing and incoming tenant. He added that with regard to all the improvements in the 1st and 2nd Parts of the Schedule the landlord and tenant could respectively defend themselves by agreement.
§ MR. HICKS
said, before they went to a Division he would be glad if the Government would explain to the Committee how, if this Amendment were not accepted, the valuers were to form any opinion upon the sum to be given to the outgoing tenant? They had been told by some hon. Gentlemen opposite that they were to judge by results; but he thought the Committee would be satisfied that such a course would be most erroneous. A crop might be produced by means which, instead of benefiting, would go very far to injure the land, but which would create a very favourable impression upon the mind of the valuers. He contended that unless the valuers knew the exact sum expended, and the exact means by which 1793 the crops had been produced, it was impossible for them to form any just opinion as to what ought to be paid for the supposed improvements to the outgoing tenant by the incoming tenant. If Her Majesty's Government persisted in refusing their assent to this very reasonable Amendment, they ought to show the Committee how the clause would work to the satisfaction of the incoming and outgoing tenant.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 141; Noes 133: Majority 8.1795
|Alexander, Colonel C.||Giffard, Sir H. S.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Goldney, Sir G.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Gore-Langton, W. S.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Grey, A. H. G.|
|Bellingham, A. H.||Halsey, T. F|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Hamilton, right hon. Lord G.|
|Blackburne, Col. J. I.|
|Brise, Colonel R.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Broadley, W. H. H.||Harvey, Sir R. B.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Brooke, Lord||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Bulwer, J. R.||Hill, Lord A. W.|
|Burghley, Lord||Hill, A. S.|
|Campbell, J. A.||Hinchingbrook, Visc.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Holland, Sir H. T.|
|Cavendish, Lord E.||Home, Lt.-Col. D. M.|
|Christie, W. L.||Hope, rt. hn. A. J. B. B.|
|Clive, Col. hon. G. W.||Jerningham, H. E. H.|
|Cole, Viscount||Johnstone, Sir F.|
|Collins, T.||Kennard, Col. E. H.|
|Compton, F.||Kennaway, Sir J. H.|
|Coope, O. E.||King-Harman, Colonel E. R.|
|Cross, rt. hon. Sir R. A.||Kingscote, Col. R. N. F.|
|Curzon, Major hn. M.||Knight, F. W.|
|Dalrymple, C.||Lambton, hon. F. W.|
|Davenport, H. T.||Lawrence, Sir T.|
|Davenport, W. B.||Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.|
|Dawnay, hon. G. C.||Leigh, R.|
|Digby, Col. hon. E.||Leighton, S.|
|Donaldson-Hudson, C.||Lennox, rt. hon. Lord H. G. C. G.|
|Douglas, A. Akers-|
|Dundas, hon. J. C.||Levett, T. J.|
|Ecroyd, W. F.||Lewis, C. E.|
|Egerton, hon. A. de T.||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Elcho, Lord||Loder, R.|
|Elliot, G. W.||Long, W. H.|
|Ewing, A. O.||Lopes, Sir M.|
|Fellowes, W. H.||Lowther, rt. hon. J.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Lubbock, Sir J.|
|Finch, G. H.||Lymington, Viscount|
|Fitzwilliam, hon. H. W.||M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.|
|Fletcher, Sir H.||Makins, Colonel W. T.|
|Floyer, J.||March, Earl of|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||Master, T. W. C.|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Maxwell, Sir H. E.|
|Forester, C. T. W.||Miles, C. W.|
|Foster, W. H.||Monckton, F.|
|Fowler, R. N.||Morgan, hon. F.|
|Fremantle, hon. T. F.||Moss, R.|
|Galway, Viscount||Newport, Viscount|
|Garnier, J. C.||Nicholson, W.|
|Northcote, rt, hon. Sir S. H.||Smith, A.|
|Stanley, E. J.|
|Northcote, H. S.||Storer, G.|
|Onslow, D. R.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Paget, R. H.||Thornhill, T.|
|Pell, A.||Thynne, Lord H. F.|
|Percy, Earl||Tellemache, hn. W. F.|
|Percy, Lord A.||Tollemache, H. J.|
|Phipps, C. N. P.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.||Warburton, P. E.|
|Ramsay, J.||Warton, C. N.|
|Rankin, J.||Welby-Gregory, Sir W. E.|
|Ritchie, C. T.|
|Rolls, J. A.||Whitley, E.|
|Ross, A. H.||Wilmot, Sir H.|
|Round, J.||Winn, R.|
|St. Aubyn, W. M.||Wroughton, P.|
|Scott, Lord H.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Scott, M. D.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.|
|Severne, J. E.||Balfour, A. J.|
|Smith, rt. hon. W. H.||Chaplin, H.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Duff, R. W.|
|Acland, C. T. D.||Egerton, Adm. hon. F.|
|Agnew, W.||Farquharson, Dr. R.|
|Ainsworth, D.||Ffolkes, Sir W. H. B.|
|Allen, H. G.||Fort, R.|
|Amory, Sir J. H.||Fry, L.|
|Armitage, B.||Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.|
|Arnold, A.||Gladstone, H. J.|
|Asher, A.||Gladstone, W. H.|
|Ashley, hon. E. M.||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. J. B.||Gower, hon. E. F. L.|
|Barclay, J. W.||Grafton, F. W.|
|Bass, Sir A.||Grant, Sir G. M.|
|Biddell, W.||Grant, A.|
|Blake, J. A.||Gurdon, R. T.|
|Blennerhassett, R. P.||Hamilton, J. G. C.|
|Bolton, J. C.||Harrington, T.|
|Borlase, W. C.||Hartington, Marq. of|
|Brand, H. R.||Hastings, G. W.|
|Brassey, Sir T.||Hayter, Sir A. D.|
|Brassey, H. A.||Heneage, E.|
|Brett, R. B.||Herschell, Sir F.|
|Briggs, W. E.||Hibbert, J. T.|
|Brinton, J.||Holden, I.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. Lord C.||Hollond, J. R.|
|Bruce, hon. R. P.||Howard, E. S.|
|Buchanan, T. R.||Howard, J.|
|Burt, T.||Illingworth, A.|
|Buxton, F. W.||Ince, H. B.|
|Caine, W. S.||James, Sir H.|
|Campbell, R. F. F.||James, W. H.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, H.||Jardine, R.|
|Jenkins, Sir J. J.|
|Causton, R. K.||Kinnear, J.|
|Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Cheetham, J. F.||Lea, T.|
|Childers, rt. hn. H. C. E.||Lee, H.|
|Colman, J. J.||Lefevre, rt. hn. G. J. S.|
|Cotes, C. C.||M'Lagan, P.|
|Courtauld, G.||Marjoribanks, hon. E.|
|Courtney, L. H.||Marriott, W. T.|
|Craig, W. Y.||Martin, R. B.|
|Cross, J. K.||Maskelyne, M. N. H. Story-|
|Dilke, rt. hn. Sir C. W.|
|Dodds, J.||Maxwell-Heron, Capt. J. M.|
|Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.|
|Duckham, T.||Milbank, Sir F. A.|
|Mont, C. J.||Slagg, J.|
|Morgan, rt. hn. G. O.||Smith, Lt.-Col. G.|
|Noel, E.||Smith, E.|
|Nolan, Colonel J. P.||Smith, S.|
|O'Beirne, Colonel F.||Stanley, hon. E. L.|
|O'Shea, W. H.||Stewart, J.|
|Paget, T. T.||Summers, W.|
|Parker, C. S.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Pease, Sir J. W.||Tavistock, Marquess of|
|Pease, A.||Thompson, T. C.|
|Porter, rt. hn. A. M.||Vivian, Sir H. H.|
|Portman, hn. W. H. B.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Powell, W. R. H.||Whitbread, S.|
|Power, J. O'C.||Williamson, S.|
|Pugh, L. P.||Willis, W.|
|Ralli, P.||Wills, W. H.|
|Rendel, S.||Wilson, I.|
|Richardson, T.||Wodehouse, E. R.|
|Russell, Lord A.||TELLERS.|
|Russell, G. W. E.||Grosvenor, right hon. Lord R.|
|Seely, C. (Nottingham)|
|Shaw, T.||Kensington, right hon. Lord|
|Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.|
MR. R. H. PAGET moved, in page 1, line 14, at end, to add—
Provided always, That in estimating the value of any improvements in Parts I. and II. of the Schedule hereto, due regard shall be had to the amount of the interest of the owner of the soil in or on which such improvements shall have been made.
§ He did not wish to take up the time of the Committee by any lengthened observations upon the Amendment, as he understood the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was prepared to accept it. He (Mr. Paget) was not wedded by any means to the exact words of his Amendment, but was inclined to accept any alterations that hon. Gentlemen might think fit to introduce. What he contended for, however, was the principle contained in the Amendment, the principle being that the valuers should be directed, in settling the sum to be paid in compensation, to have due regard to the interests of the owners.
In page 1, line 14, at end, to add:—"Provided always, That in estimating the value of any improvements in Parts I. and II. of the Schedule hereto, due regard shall be had to the amount of the interest of the owner of the soil in or on which such improvements shall have been made."—(Mr. R. H. Paget.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
understood that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had accepted the principle of the 1796 Amendment of his hon. Friend (Mr. R. H. Paget). The wording of the Amendment, however, seemed to him (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) to be open to some objection. His hon. Friend said that due regard should be had to the amount of the interest of the owner of the soil. That, however, would imply that someone besides the owner of the soil, when a tenancy had expired, had an interest in the soil. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) would be sorry that they should do anything to give colour to any such idea; and, therefore, he should prefer some such words as these—Provided always, That in estimating the value of any improvements in Parts I. and II. of the Schedule hereto, there shall not be taken into account anything due to the inherent capabilities of the soil, or to any cause other than the skill and expenditure of the tenant in making the improvement.These words really seemed to carry out what the Government intended; and if they were adopted they would prove a most valuable guide to those who would have to interpret the provisions of this Bill. Without such a guide they would be liable to go wrong to any extent, and to lead the parties into very expensive and unsatisfactory litigation. He should be glad to move this Amendment if it were in his power to do so.
§ MR. R. H. PAGET
said, he would be glad to accept the Amendment of his right hon. Friend (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) in lieu of his own; and, therefore, would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. DODSON
said, he had suggested that they might accept an Amendment substantially carrying out the object which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Somersetshire (Mr. R. H. Paget) had in view; but the position of things had been altered by the last Division. The Committee had decided by a majority that in respect of a great part of these improvements—the improvements in Parts I. and II. of the Schedule—the measure of compensation was to be that of outlay. This Amendment, therefore, became inappropriate. At any rate, the words proposed could not be accepted without some consideration. The Government must take time to consider not merely the words of the Amendment, but whether an Amendment of this character was at all requisite or desirable under the altered circumstances of the case.
§ SIR THOMAS ACLAND
said, they had derived great benefit to-night from the statements made respecting the decisions of the Irish Courts. It was not quite clear whether those decisions would guide the Courts in England. It might possibly be said that the decisions in the Irish Courts were given with reference to the peculiar circumstances of Ireland. He would venture to suggest, however, to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Dodson) that this was a matter of enormous importance, and that he ought to take ample time to consult the draftsman in regard to it. He (Sir Thomas Acland) thought they ought not too hastily to adopt these words, although, at the first blush, it appeared to him that the words were good and reasonable.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, he would move to report Progress, and would put the words on the Paper in order that they might be properly considered.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Sir Michael Hicks-Beach.)
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
§ House adjourned at One o'clock.