HC Deb 12 March 1884 vol 285 cc1292-307

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that the House was aware that a general system of registering deeds had prevailed in certain parts of the County of York for a considerable period, the Acts by which the system was established having been passed in the early part of the 18th century. The first Act was passed in I703, and related to the West Biding of Yorkshire, and in 1706 an Act was passed amending it. In 1707 its principles were extended to the East Biding of Yorkshire, and in 1734 a similar Act was passed for the North Biding. By the operation of these several Acts a system of registering deeds, wills, and other documents affecting the titles of the property in the principal portions of Yorkshire came into existence; but it was not a little remarkable that none of the Acts applied to the City of York or the district of Ainsty surrounding that City, although these portions were situated in the heart of the County. The Acts were very similar in character, the West Biding being the principal, and the others were subordinated to it. The only important difference between the various Acts was, that whereas in the North Biding it was permissible to register a deed or any other document in full length, or by way of memorial, in the other two Ridings deeds could be registered by memorial only. The laws had remained unaltered from 1734; but it did not, therefore, follow that there had not been great and very general dissatisfaction with these Acts in many particulars. One of the greatest objections to them was that the Registrars were appointed by freeholders whose properties were of the annual value of at least £100, and the result had been that when there were vacancies very considerable expenses had been incurred, and the charges levied were made heavier than were necessary for the proper discharge of the duties of the offices. The Registrars had not had any legal qualifications for the offices; but these offices had become sinecures for members of the principal County families. Another ground of dissatisfaction was that it was necessary that one of the attesting witnesses should attend at the place in the Riding where the deeds were registered to be sworn for the execution of the documents if the parties resided in the Riding or within 40 miles of the Riding. If they resided beyond that distance, then the deeds might be registered by affidavit. Last year the hon. Member for Whitby (Mr. Pease) introduced a Bill dealing with the registration by affidavit and other points, and as far as it went it was satisfactory to the public and to the Legal Profession; but the general feeling was that it did not go sufficiently far, and that when legislation took place some other changes should be effected, especially with reference to the appointments of Registrars. At the instigation of several Law Societies in Yorkshire, he (Mr. Dodds) prepared several Amendments to the hon. Member's Bill, and placed them on the Paper; but owing to the feeling that the old Acts should be repealed and re-enacted, with such Amendments as the change of circumstances and time made necessary, the Bill was not proceeded with. That feeling was increased by the fact that Mr. Marsden, the late solicitor for the West Riding, and residing at Wakefield, had prepared a Bill for the repeal of the existing Acts. and the consolidation of the whole into one. He (Mr. Dodds) was then asked to take the step he was doing that day; and consequently, before the Prorogation of Parliament last year, he gave Notice of his intention to introduce the present Bill. Steps were taken to prepare it, and during the antumn an intimation was sent to him that the Justices assembled at the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions had determined that they should take up the subject. Under these circum stances, the Law Societies in the North Riding waited to see the course which the Justices would take; and had the Justices dealt with the matter in the way it was thought necessary, probably he should not have been proceeding with the present measure. At the Christmas Sessions he found that a Report from a Committee of Justices appointed in October was presented and adopted by the Justices of the West Riding; but the Justices of the North and East Ridings adopted a totally different course, and in the face of their own Committee's recommendations passed resolu- tions condemning the proposal to abolish the election by £100 freeholders, and sought to vest it in the County Justices until a county authority should be formed, when it should be vested in that authority. If there was an adequate county authority, he, for one, should not be unwilling to accept it; but he was unwilling to agree to a course which, instead of leaving the appointments to the £100 freeholders, of whom no register existed, would transfer them to the magistrates at the different Quarter Sessions. That would result in the continuance of the appointment of gentlemen highly honourable in every way, but having no legal qualifications for the offices, and in whose hands the offices became sinecures. Under these circumstances, he was again appealed to to complete the Bill; and accordingly this measure had been prepared by the eminent counsel who had prepared the Bill which Mr. Marsden had some years ago promoted at the direction of the Justices of the West Riding, and also the Bill prepared for the Justices of the same Riding, which was rejected by those of the North and East Riding. He believed the Bill had the approval of almost everyone connected with the three Ridings. It was divided into two portions—the first relating to the Law of Registration, and the second to the administration of the law. As regarded the Law of Registration, while there were some not unimportant differences, generally speaking the clauses were very similar to what had existed, and to what had been approved of by the Justices of the West Riding. When the hon. Member for Whitby introduced his Bill last year, it was thought desirable to have a Return from the different Registrars showing the amount of fees received during the preceding 10 years; and that Return gave full information as to the receipts from the registration of deeds and documents in the various Ridings, and as to the expenditure connected with it. The first clause to which he would draw the attention of the House had reference to the memorials. The registration of memorials was the common practice, because they were shorter than the deeds, it being only required that they should give the leading portions of the deed, such as the date it was executed, the names and descriptions of the parties to it, the property to which it referred, and the mode in which it had been executed, the parties by whom it had been attested, and the mode in which it had been attested. When that was done the memorial required to be signed and sealed by one of the parties to the deed, and that signing and sealing was required to be attested by two witnesses, who also attested the same signature to the deed itself; and then came the onerous provision requiring personal attendance, if it was executed in the Riding or within 40 miles of it. Another onerous provision was that the memorial should be on parchment with a half-crown stamp, so that it cost 5s. The whole charges practically amounted to about, or a little more than, £3. In the Bill it was proposed that the memorial should be written upon a sheet of paper and attested by one witness, and that when that was done it should be sent to the Registry by post to be entered. If that was adopted, it would reduce the total charges to about, £1. That seemed a small sum in the registration of deeds in any large transaction; but when they came to cases such as existed in that portion of his own borough, situated within the county of York, and in the Cleveland District, where working men had built for themselves cottages, then, where the cost of the land was from £10 to £20, and the cost of conveyancing was about £5, the addition of £3 for registration was a very heavy and serious matter. The appointment of the Registrar not only affected the £100 freeholders, but these working men, who had no voice in the matter. There were some very important provisions with regard to caveats and other matters which he would not refer to; but he would remark that some of the clauses had been accepted by all parties. He thought he might say that the greater portion of the first part of the Bill was what, he believed, would be acceptable to the House generally, and would be acceptable to the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Dundas), who had given Notice to refer this and the other Bill referring to Yorkshire Registries to a Select Committee; but when they came to the other portion of the Bill they diverged from each other, and proceeded on distinct and different lines. The first point upon which they differed was the principle upon which the Registry Offices should be conducted. He (Mr. Dodds) had come to the conclusion that the best course to adopt would be to ask Her Majesty's Govern- ment to make these Registries public offices, instead of, as at present, being vested either in the Registrars for the time being or with the Justices of the Ridings. He desired them to be under the management of the First Commissioner of Works, as the Post Offices and County Courts were. His next proposal was that the person to be appointed to the office of Registrar should in future be appointed by the Lord Chancellor. He supposed it would be said that the Lord Chancellor would make it a "job;" but he did not believe anything of the kind. He had inserted a Proviso that the person selected should be a solicitor of at least 10 years' standing, and must give up all private practice, so as to devote himself entirely to the duties of the office for an adequate salary. He saw no objection, however, to the Registrar holding such a semi-public office as Deputy Clerk of the Peace, or Registrar of a County Court. It had been suggested that a barrister should be appointed to the place; but his objection to giving the Lord Chancellor that power was that it would result in no solicitor being appointed at all. ["No!"] At any rate, it was his experience that barristers were appointed in nine cases out of ten where they could be appointed. His whole object, however, would be gained if the Bill provided that a fit and proper person should be appointed by the Lord Chancellor. He did not object to the hon. Member for Northallerton (Mr. G. W. Elliot) taking the office if he liked. All he objected to was the system which had been pursued. The last election in the West Riding took place in 1863. There was no record of what the cost was; but the belief in and around Wakefield was that it cost something like £20,000. He believed that was very near the mark. The present Registrar was a gentleman who was respected by everyone who knew him, and no more honourable man could be found for the post than the Hon. George Lascelles. His objection, therefore, was not to Mr. Lascelles; it was that he lived near Northallerton, 50 or 60 miles from Wakefield, and was seldom seen at the Registry Office at all. The whole expenses of the office amounted to £1,300; and the Return moved for by the hon. Member for Whitby showed that in some years Mr. Lascelles had received £6,000, so that he had, for a sinecure, netted £4,700. During the 10 years covered by the Return, the amount received in fees, &c, by the Registrar, was not short of £48,000; and, in addition to that, there was something for the building and property connected with the office; but the gross amount of the expenses during that period was only £11,700, so that during the 10 years Mr. Lascelles had netted £36,000 clear for discharging the duties of an office which he had scarcely ever seen. If they took the 10 preceding years it would be within the mark to say that Mr. Lascelles had taken, at least, £70,000 clear in 20 years. Was that a state of things which ought to continue? In the North Riding a contest for the Registrarship took place in 1829 between Mr. Peirse, the owner of a very fine property within a few miles of Northallerton, and the possessor of some of the best collieries in the county of Durham, and Mr. Walton, a solicitor, of Northallerton. The contest lasted for six months, and, after the poll had been kept open for several days, Mr. Walton eventually retired. The cost of the election to Mr. Peirse was not less than £50,000, and the result was that within four years he had to sell the home of his ancestors and all his collieries; his family was almost penniless, and he was thus ruined. The cost to Mr. Walton was so serious that he shortly afterwards became bankrupt. Mr. Peirse only held the office a few years, when, upon his death, his son was elected to succeed him without opposition. In the year 1872 a contest was fought for the office between Mr. Crompton and Mr. (now Sir) George Cayley, and the belief was that they spent several thousands between them. During the 10 years Sir George Cayley had held the office his receipts had amounted to something like £10,500. The total expenses did not exceed £2,900, so that Sir George had netted something like £8,000. He, too, resided 60 miles from the Registry. In the East Riding there had been several expensive contests, and the last Registrar discharged all the duties by deputy, and was Resident Land Agent upon a large estate situate nearly 100 miles from Beverley. Since the last election, however, about two years ago, the office had been held by a gentleman who, to his credit, discharged its duties himself. He thought he had shown that the plan which the Justices advocated was not one which ought to be continued. It was his opinion that the salaries proposed in the Bill were much in excess of what would be required for procuring the services of really competent men, who would give their time and attention to this work solely, or in connection with other offices of a public character. Adequate salaries would be paid, to be fixed from time to time by the Treasury, and to be varied as circumstances required, and the gentlemen appointed would hold office during good behaviour. If any complaint arose against them there would be some person to whom it could be submitted, such as the Lord Chancellor. The question of fees would be left entirely to the Treasury, the Bill merely proposing that the amounts should be sufficient to cover the cost of the offices, including the salaries of the Registrars, but that there should be no surplus left for the Treasury. The offices would be made self-supporting; but, at the same time, those who used the Registers would not be taxed more than was necessary. At present the fees did not average more than 5s. for each registration; but the Return in the hands of hon. Members showed that the amount might very well be reduced by one-half without interfering with the self-supporting character of the offices. It was not proposed to interfere in any way with the gentlemen who at present held the offices. Looking at the respect with which vested interests were treated in the House, his desire was to make satisfactory provision for the future in the interests of the public, and especially of those who had small transactions with the Registrars. With regard to the registration of deeds and titles, if what he proposed affected the subject at all, it would be in the direction of carrying out the object the Government had in view. It would certainly not retard any change that it might be desired to bring about, but would leave the course clear and open for it. The hon. Member (Mr. Dundas) had a Bill on the subject dealt with in the present measure; and it would, perhaps, be a convenient course to allow both Bills to be read a second time, and then to refer them to a Select Committee. The matter was one of an important public character, and it would be well if the Government would take up both Bills, and, as a result of the Committee, bring in a measure of their own on the subject.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Dodds.)


opposed the Bill. The hon. Member for Stockton desired, under cover of an extensive measure, merely to work out one single clause, caring nothing about the question of the registration of deeds and titles.


said, he had made no statement to that effect.


complained that the hon. Member interrupted him merely for the sake of the pleasure he got out of an interruption. The hon. Member did not care whether there was to be a registration of titles or not. The Bill was objectionable on several grounds. In the first place, because it was a disfranchisement of the rights of the freeholder; in the next place, because local feeling was against it; and, further, because it would give patronage to a Member of the Government who would not be so well able to exercise it as the people in the localities concerned. His fourth objection to the Bill was that solicitors were nominated for the appointments. On all these grounds, he thought the obnoxious 31st clause ought not to be accepted. Therefore, he moved the rejection of the measure.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Mr. Warton.)

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


said, that the hon. Member for Stockton (Mr. Dodds), in introducing the Bill before the House, had referred to another Bill which had been introduced; and as he (Mr. Dundas) was one of the Gentlemen who had introduced it, perhaps he might be allowed to say a few words upon the matter. By the existing law various duties were cast upon the Justices; and, considering the nature of those various duties, they had thought it their duty to prepare and introduce a Bill upon this question into the House. They accordingly did so, and that Bill had been introduced. The hon. Member for Stockton, he should have thought, under these circumstances, would not have considered it necessary to have introduced a Bill himself; but he had, however, thought fit to do so. When he (Mr. Dundas) came to look at it, he found that it con- tained 43 clauses, and that out of them 37 clauses were in form and substance identical with those of the Bill which had been introduced by the Justices. He considered it a very high testimonial to his proposal that the hon. Member should have thought right to have adopted those clauses. With regard to the office of Registrar, there was no doubt that the present condition of things was an anomaly, and could not be upheld even by those who objected to the disfranchisement of the freeholders. It had been suggested that some system of voting papers would reduce the expenses of the election; but he himself saw great difficulty in such a system. The hon. Member for Stockton had said that Mr. Lascelles had not been near his office; but he (Mr. Dundas) knew Mr. Lascelles was a magistrate for the West Riding, and always satisfied himself that the work in the office was being carried on in a satisfactory manner. Although the post of Registrar was to some extent a sine-cure, yet it entailed very great responsibility, he being liable to make good any loss or damage that might arise. With regard to the administration of the office, it was suggested that the Lord Chancellor should appoint the Registrar, and that the expenses should be defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund. That was an intelligible proposition, and something might be said for it if the Government were intending to initiate a system of land registry throughout the country; but he was not aware that they proposed to do any such thing. He would also like to point out that, to a great extent, the success of a system of registration depended on the indexes. The Lord Chancellor was to regulate the forms and fees; but he ventured to doubt, as there was no Local Body to move the Lord Chancellor, whether a very efficient control would be exercised. If the power of making rules were vested in Local Bodies like the local County Boards, subject to the approval of the Lord Chancellor, even those Bodies would be able to put the Lord Chancellor in motion, and he thought efficiency would be secured. If the present Bill applied to all England, and not Yorkshire only, he did not suppose any objection would be raised to it. But the Bill was not general, and in Yorkshire there would be a strong local sentiment against the proposed centralization in the matter of patronage and control. For his part, he had no other desire than that the House should pass a good measure; and if this Bill, and also his own Bill, were referred to a Select Committee, he had no doubt that the right of the freeholders and the whole question of patronage would be thoroughly and justly dealt with to the satisfaction of all parties. He was of opinion that the point could not be satisfactorily decided and discussed on the second reading; and if the Bill were read a second time, he should then move the Amendment of which he had given Notice—namely, that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee.


said he thought the House ought to have some explanation as to why two Bills should be brought forward on the same subject. His hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Mr. Dundas) had explained that the Bill of which he had the charge had been approved of by the Courts of Quarter Sessions of the three Ridings of Yorkshire; and in those circumstances the House was entitled to an explanation of why another Bill had been introduced on the subject. If the Bill of the hon. Member for Stockton (Mr. Dodds) differed in any material respect from the other he could understand it; but, as far as he saw it, the two Bills were practically, and for the most part verbally, identical, except on the question of patronage. What he most strongly objected to in the Bill of the hon. Member for Stockton was the establishment of a system of centralization. They were told that the patronage of the appointment of the Registrar must be handed over to a central authority in London, and he must refer to their previous experience in that respect. The House had last Session vested certain important patronage in the hands of the Executive Government, receiving a distinct pledge that under no conditions should that trust be abused, and that Party politics should be wholly eliminated in the exercise of that patronage. He should incur the risk of being called to Order if he were to say how great was the disappointment which was felt in that House as to the manner in which those pledges had been kept and the patronage administered. The hon. Member for Stockton not only vested the patronage in the Lord Chancellor, but he did not even consider the local authorities of Yorkshire competent to take charge of the building where the duties of the office were to be performed, and proposed to vest the custody of those buildings in the Crown. He thought he might undertake to say that the freeholders and other inhabitants of Yorkshire considered themselves personally able to take care of those buildings without the help of any central authority. The hon. Member not only vested the patronage of the Bill after the failure of the Bankruptcy Act in the hands of the Executive Government; but he also proposed to fetter the choice of that Representative of the Executive Government, and to provide that no person should be fitted to be appointed unless he was a member of the profession to which the hon. Member himself belonged. He should have thought they might have hoped that after recent experiences there would be one particular branch of that profession who would be already satiated with the Governmental patronage, and that election agents who had devoted their services to one particular Party in the State need not hope for another turn in the wheel of fortune. He thought they must be careful in future how they handed over to the Government of the day a series of such appointments, particularly under the conditions he had referred to. The hon. Member had referred to Mr. Marsden as approving of the Bill. Mr. Marsden was a gentleman deservedly held in high esteem, not only in his own immediate district, but throughout Yorkshire, and' his opinion would always command respectful consideration. But he (Mr. J. Lowther) had the highest authority for saying that Mr. Marsden decidedly objected to the proposal to vest the patronage under the Bill in a central authority in London. The Bill was entirely uncalled for, and might be very judiciously laid aside in favour of the one of the hon. Member for Richmond, which had the greater weight of authority on its side. He had gathered from the hon. Member for Richmond's speech that some terms had been exacted from the Chairman of the Quarter Sessions of the North Riding under which the two Bills were to be read a second time and referred to the same Select Committee. As a Member of the Court of Quarter Sessions of the North Riding, his belief was that that Court would entertain the strongest pos- sible objection to the hon. Member for Stockton's Bill; and he had, moreover, every reason to believe that the same feeling pervaded the Courts of the other two Ridings; and the only reason why he would not put the House to the trouble of dividing against that Bill was that those who had the more legitimate measure in their charge might fear that that course would raise obstacles in their path, and that it might be more prudent to allow the hon. Member for Stockton's Bill to go before the Select Committee, in the confident belief that they would really hear no more of it. He thought any attempt to perpetuate the very anomalous system of constituency which now existed would be most undesirable. The expenses of the election under the present system must necessarily be very great, while the compilation of a Registry of freeholders was an almost impossible task. He hoped that the Bill which was supported by the Justices would find its way into law, and that the measure before the House would disappear.


said, that, in the absence of the Home Secretary, it devolved upon him to offer a few remarks on that Bill. He had been Chairman of a Select Committee of that House which had, five years ago, sat on the subject of land transfer, and thoroughly examined the question. That Committee carefully investigated all the different systems of local and provincial Registries; and they came almost unanimously to the conclusion that the Yorkshire Registry, although, of course, as might be expected of a system which was established 180 years ago and had not been altered, it was capable of great improvement, yet it was one that few Yorkshiremen would like to see done away with, thus presenting a remarkable contrast to the case of the Middlesex Registry, which was unhesitatingly condemned by every witness. The Yorkshire system, however, was not uniform throughout the county, and the fees were too high. The mode of appointing the Registrar was about as bad as could be conceived; the cost of his election being very much like the cost of the election of a county Member of Parliament in olden times; but here the analogy ended, for it was necessary for the Registrar to recoup himself afterwards, in a way not open to Members of Parliament, for the enormous expense to which he had been put. The two Bills now before the House were practically the same as regarded the actual legal provisions; but they differed as to the persons in whom the power of appointing the Registrars should be vested. The hon. Member for Stockton proposed to vest the appointment in the Lord Chancellor. He did not know why such severe remarks had been made upon that proposal. The Lord Chancellor appointed all the Judges in the land, the County Court Judges, and numerous other officials—in fact, the whole judicial staff of the country. But on this he did not wish to say anything to prejudice the question—it was a matter that could be decided by the Select Committee. One of his hon. Friends said he was going to oppose this Bill on the ground that the registration of deeds was altogether objectionable, and that, instead of having registration of deeds, there ought to be registration of titles. In the abstract he was in favour of the principle; but before establishing a registration of titles they must have titles that could be registered. The question had been disposed of by a Committee, of which he (Mr. Osborne Morgan) had had the honour to be Chairman. No doubt, if they could get registration of title it would be far better, because if they registered the title they registered the result itself; while if they registered the deed they registered only the process by which the result was arrived at. When the subject was before the Committee, evidence was produced to show that registration had succeeded in Australia; but it was quite impossible to apply a system adopted in a new country to an old country. After all, we had some such system under Lord Cairns's Act. At the present time, only one person in 20,000 adopted that system of his own accord; but they could not compel the universal adoption of a system which was voluntarily adopted by so small a minority of purchasers. As things stood at present, he could not look upon a system of registration of title as practically possible; and, that being so, they had to deal with some form of registration which would reduce fraud to a minimum, and cheapen and facilitate the transfer of land. The proper course to adopt was to do all they could to improve the system. He would, therefore, on the part of the Government, consent to the second reading of the Bill, upon the understanding that not only this, but the rival Bill, should be referred to a Select Committee.


said, it was his intention to support the Bill of the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Dundas), which was the original measure dealing with this subject. As a matter of policy, he consented to the second reading of the Bill of the hon. Member for Stockton (Mr. Dodds). At the same time, he would remark it was fortunate for the hon. Member for Stockton that, in the printed proceedings of that House there was no law of copyright, for if there were the hon. Member would stand in a very uncomfortable position through the operation of that law. Anyone, on looking at the hon. Member's Bill, would see that he had taken a considerable portion of it from the Bill of the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Dundas). He had since so acted as to give his Bill precedence over the other measure.


My Bill, as now printed, was absolutely in the hands of the Lord Chancellor before the other Bill was printed, and has not been altered in any way whatever.


said, that might be the case; but the hon. Member knew that the draft of the Bill of the hon. Member for Richmond had been in circulation before the three Courts of Quarter Sessions for months before either Bill could get printed, and, in fact, long before the Bill now before the House was thought of. The hon. Member had received advantages similar to those which he (Mr Stuart-Wortley) had described. The hon. Gentleman, fortunately for him, although he placed himself in the position of the two women who came before Solomon, did not expose himself to the same penalty. Although he was willing to have his Bill sent before a Select Committee to be pulled about, the Bill was not his own child, except as to the one material point of difference between the original Bill and the subsequent imitation of it by the hon. Member for Stockton, as to the question who should have the appointment of the Registrar. There was no doubt that in these Bills a very important question was raised of remedying the Law of Registration, and of getting rid of the decision of the Court of Equity, by which the usefulness of the Registration Acts had been much hindered; a decision which he was surprised had never been modified or removed. Everyone knew that if we were to have a registration of titles in this country, we should have to get rid of the power of settling real estate and creating jointures and portions. But public opinion was not yet prepared for that step. That was why it was not possible here to carry out such a proposal, although it was now in existence in the Colonies. There, however, he would point out, matters of land transfer were of a simpler character than was usually the case in this country. It could only be looked forward to—if, indeed, it were ever adopted—as a thing likely to arrive at a distant date. As to the appointment of the Registrar, the Bill of the hon. Member for Richmond proposed that it should be left to the three Courts of Quarter Sessions; and that Bill, he would remark, came before them with all the weight of the magistrates of the three Ridings. It might doubtless seem right and fitting, if they were prepared to disfranchise the £100 freeholders in the county, that there should be provided a proper substitute for that body. For his own part, he was inclined to doubt whether the appointment should be left with the Court of Quarter Sessions. He doubted whether the Court of Quarter Sessions was of itself the best possible body for the selection of such an officer to rest with; still less did he believe that what the hon. Member for Stockton called "an adequate county authority," would be satisfactory; for he supposed that the hon. Member for Stockton meant a County Board. If that were so, he (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) thought that the appointment would either be left to the Lord Chancellor, or go to a small Committee of the Bench of Magistrates, subject to the approval of the Lord Chancellor. He hoped the House would consent to the second reading of the Bill, on the understanding that the measure of the hon. Member for Richmond should be read a second time to-day, and that the two Bills should go before the same Select Committee.


said, that by the Vendors and Purchasers Act of 1874 it was distinctly provided that in Yorkshire the devisee under an unregistered will should be preferred to the heir-at-law. Why was this to be now altered by a retrogressive policy so as to give the heir-at-law a prior title to such devisee?


replied, that this change was founded on the Report of 1850. If the second reading were taken, he would not press forward his measure until the other Bill had passed a similar stage, so that both Bills might go to a Select Committee together.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed to a Select Committee.