§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. BROADHURST
, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, he did not profess that this was a perfect measure, but it was a plain and simple Bill; and, so far as they had been able to do so, the Bill was based upon such lines as would do injustice to no one, but confer upon the nation great and widespread advantages. It proposed to enable any person having an unexpired term of 20 years in a lease of any house, cottage, or chapel, to purchase the fee-simple. The process by which this was to be accomplished was simple, reasonable, and ready to hand—namely, through the County Courts. The Bill proposed, further, that improvements made by the leaseholder or tenant, as the case might be, after the passing of this Act, and not made by the express contract and conditions of the lease, should not be taken into consideration in fixing the cost or value of the house. In order to meet many of the objections raised to the Bill, it proposed that after the leaseholder had become possessed of the freehold he should not be allowed to use the house for any other purpose than those stipulated for in the original agreement of purchase for at least the same number of years as 213 was unexpired in the lease. This had been drawn in order to meet the objections that if this Bill became law a person living in the middle of a terrace might purchase a freehold as a house, and at once commence to turn it into a gin palace, or a butcher's shop, or, as one writer very vigorously put it, it might be turned into a hall for the Salvation Army, or other purposes. Clause 11 would remove the difficulty indicated in this direction; but what he wished to say was this—that under the Common Law possessed by Vestries, by Town Councils, and other Local Governing Bodies, freeholders could not erect whatever properly they liked if it could be shown that their proposed erections were likely to be a nuisance to the neighbourhood, and were unnecessary for the wants of the inhabitants. One illustration of this kind had come within his notice. Within a short, distance of his own residence a freeholder had become possessed of a small estate, and, making use of it for building purposes, wished to erect a row of shops fronting the main road the neighbourhood felt that this was unnecessary; that it would be an annoyance to those in the district, and a disfigurement of the locality; and therefore the Vestry—which said a good deal for a London Vestry—had actually the patriotism and the good sense to oppose the application. A complaint had reached him from various quarters that the Bill did not contain a clause to give compensation to the freeholder for the forced sale of his property, while under the system hitherto pursued an allowance of something like 10 per cent was made to the freeholder for the forced sale of his land. It was argued that this had been done both in the case of Railway Companies, and under a more recent law for the erection of Board schools. But he would point out that in the case of Railway Companies and School Boards, at the time of their application to freeholders for the purchase of land they had no claim upon the land, and no interest in it, other than that of public necessity. But the case of the leaseholders, whom he was proposing to enfranchise, was totally different. The leaseholder had already three-fourths the value of the land; in other words, the leaseholder, possessing a house and other erections on the land, had three times more interest in the laud than the 214 landowner himself. There was, therefore, no parallel between the case of Railway Companies and that of the leaseholders. The machinery chosen for putting the measure into operation was the readiest that came to hand— namely, the County Courts. The County Court was everywhere, within the reach of everyone; it was cheap and rapid in its process, and it gave general satisfaction. The County Court Judges were trusted to administer nearly all the Civil Law bearing upon the interests of the working classes in this country; and, therefore, they might be trusted to administer the law under this measure, which would, in the majority of cases, affect only the 10th, the 20th, or the 40th part, of an acre of land. On this point he might further observe that it was the tendency of the day to appoint to the office of County Court Judges men of greater eminence in the Legal Profession than had usually been selected for that office in former days. The leasehold system was as bad as it could be. It was briefly this—land worth little for other purposes was let to speculative builders to be covered with houses. Where a man purchased the lease of one of these houses he found that, after paying for the house, paying for the legal transfer, being compelled to insure in a particular Fire Insurance Office, and other conditions often objectionable, the house was really not finished. That which was described as a garden was not a garden. The roads were not roads, and the leaseholders wore obliged to pay the parish authorities from 12s. to 15s. a-foot for re-making them. Those in favour of the existing system argued that leaseholders had no just cause of complaint, as they were free to decline entering into the contract. That was an absolutely misleading view. If a man and his family were to set up a house on the highways and bye ways, he would soon have the Home Secretary down upon him as a rogue and vagabond. Landlords possessed the monopoly of a commodity, which could not be enlarged, and the use of which was essential to the existence of the human race. Therefore he dictated his own terms to the house occupier, who was bound to accept them or to go homeless. It was a more fiction to call that state of things freedom of contract. The only freedom that existed was for 215 the landlord to impose such terms as he thought proper; and generally those terms were limited only by the highest; price and the most irksome conditions for the use of the land which he could find a desperate people willing to submit to. He contended, therefore, that the theory that the leaseholder was a free agent would not hold water. The land ought to be liberated from those trammels before the purchaser could have anything like freedom in the choice of his home. The existing system degraded, and lowered, and almost ruined the art of house building throughout the country. Wherever one saw leasehold estates covered with house, these houses, in the majority of instances, ought not to be called houses, for they were unfit to be lived in. If any Member disputed that statement he would undertake to show him many thousand houses within five or six miles of the Houses of Parliament which were an absolute disgrace to the nation, and which, if they were not already fever dens, were rapidly becoming so. Talk of nuisances! He could not imagine a more vicious and intolerable nuisance than that under which hundreds of thousands of the people of London were compelled to live daily in consequence of these shadowy erections. They were nothing more than cob-web houses. They could be crumbled to dust almost by a strong hand; and it was well known in the building trade that in the process of erection a stiff wind coming up before they were covered in would carry the walls to the ground. Let any Member of that House go at the unearthly hour at which he was able to leave the House, and pass the night in one of the structures to which he was referring. He would find that, though he might go to bed, his sleeping was wholly dependent on his neighbours, whose very conversation he might hear through the walls, and whose music, if they were musically inclined, would make repose for him absolutely out of the question. Such an experience would make any man an enemy of the present system. An eminent retired conveyancer, who had had long professional experience in the matter, said that the system of letting land for periods of 99 or 80 years powerfully discouraged the erection of substantial buildings; and that although on the larger estates the covenants were stringent enough to secure 216 good building, it was not so in the majority of cases, where the offer of a pound or two higher ground rent induced the freeholder to be perfectly indifferent to the class of houses which were put up. There was another feature of the leasehold system. During the last 12 months the country had been shocked by vivid descriptions in the Press and elsewhere as to the wretched houses in which the great mass of the poor people of London were compelled to live. He charged upon the leasehold system the main cause of this wretched class of poverty. He contended that it was impossible to expect any other result under the leasehold system than that which had been clearly demonstrated in the course of their investigations as to the poor of that vast Metropolis. The lessee of that class of property who had only a few years of the term unexpired was not likely to spend much money in putting his houses into a decent state of repair. In many cases it would cost him more to do so than to surrender his whole interest in the property without compensation. He had in his hand a Report of the state of things which existed largely in Clerkenwell. The Report stated that property was largely in the hands of middlemen, who were impelled by greed to make the most they could out of the property, and who had no interest in keeping it in good condition, and that it was not the greed of the original landlord which was to blame. He was not, however, so sure that the original landlords were not to blame; in as much as their first object was to secure as large a ground rent as possible, instead of providing for the erection of buildings honestly and substantially erected. Thus a sort of game of battledore and shuttlecock was the result, in which the unfortunate occupants of the wretched tenements were invariably the shuttlecock. But there was another class of leaseholds of which the evils were still more flagrant. He meant the system of leases for lives in which the uncertainty of the term rendered the evils even more intolerable. That system prevailed largely in the West of England; and he was glad to find that the right hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote), in a published, letter on the subject, had expressed what he could not but think, although its language was somewhat 217 guarded, was a strong condemnation of the system. The usual practice was to select three lives, and when the last life had dropped the property reverted to the original owner. The result had been the utter stagnation of the towns and districts whore the practice prevailed. He had received a letter from Great Malvern, where that class of interest had been created in many instances. He was informed that in order to obtain lives which were not likely to escape observation, it was the custom in that neighbourhood to choose members of the Royal Family. When the Prince of Wales was so ill that his life was despaired of it was calculated that in respect of one property his death would have cost the leaseholder some £1,500; and in another cast, where the Duke of Connaught's name had been inserted in the lease, the Insurance Company demanded, when His Royal Highness went to the Egyptian War, 25 per cent extra payment; but now he was in India the demand was less though something in addition to the original sum. In the same district it was said that the worst houses and the worst hotels were always to be found on leasehold ground. The Mercantile Association of Devonport had issued a Report on the system of leasing for lives which largely prevailed there. That Report stated that life-leasing tended greatly to hamper trade and diminish prosperity, and that it tended to paralyze the energies of the lessees, upon whom, by the uncertainty of a single life perhaps, an intolerable burden of anxiety was imposed. It was not right or just that the industry of large portions of the population should be checked by the uncertainty of the tenure upon which the traders and other inhabitants occupied their houses and places of business. But the injustice was not confined to houses. Nonconformists, generally speaking, had no freeholds in land; and in some cases when they wanted to renew the leases of the sites of their chapels the applications had been refused. What did opponents of the Bill think of a Nonconformist chapel being turned into a ginshop, a barn, or anything else that the ground landlord expected to get the most profit from; and this after two or three generations of working and middle-class people had worshipped in it? Certainly the House ought to give to Nonconform- 218 ists the right to retain the one place where all classes met with one common object. He would give one instance of the operation of the system in that regard. The Wesleyan Chapel at Newport was erected on land of which there were 23 years of the term unexpired. The ground rent was £8 4s., and the conditions imposed for a lease were the surrender of the current term and the payment of a rent of £100 in place of the rent of £8 4s. In Bangor, seven chapels were built on leasehold tenure. In Blaina Festiniog, out of 19 chapels, only four were freehold, or on leases of 999 years. In Conway the leases were for 99 years. Three years ago the trustees of a chapel, on a lease of which 48 years were unexpired, wanted to repair it, and to build a schoolroom at a cost of £2,000. The freeholder refused to meet them, and they were obliged to spend their money without any conditions. He wanted to know whether this was a freedom of contract, and whether, in view of such facts, the opponents of the Bill would venture to apply to it the term "confiscation?" Blaina Festiniog was chiefly inhabited by quarry men, and of £400,000 worth of buildings, £350,000 was represented by 2,117 houses, built on 60 years' leases. Here the community were anxious to live in their own houses; but could not be expected to build them as substantially as they would do on freehold land. The system was being introduced into Scotland, the land of perpetual leases. On an estate in Aberdeenshire the Lords in Council, in 1876, granted to the guardian of the properly power to grant leases of 99 years. By the terms of the lease the ground rent was doubled every 25th year from the period of entry, and the erections were to be made under the strictest supervision. At the end of the term the buildings were to be handed over in good and tenantable repair, without any price or allowance for the improvements made. The leasehold system, he believed, was as bad in Ireland as it was in England, Wales, and Scotland. A correspondent wrote to him from Waterford that the town was suffering from a plague of idiotic landlords; some would not let land on fair terms, and some would not let on any terms; building was at a standstill, although there was great competition for houses; and the town was being strangled by absentee land- 219 lords, who did not care what happened. He was inundated with letters from all parts of the country where he did not expect that the system prevailed — from Cornwall, Worcestershire, the South Coast, the Thames Valley, and from Sheffield, where the grievance was described as insufferable; and the peculiarity of the letters was that each correspondent thought his own locality was being treated with exceptional hardness, and that his local case must be one of the worst. He gladly recognized the fact that the Duke of Devonshire, on his estate at Eastbourne, was offering every opportunity to his leasehold tenants to purchase the fee-simple of their property; and he wished other landlords would do the same, and render the Bill unnecessary. The hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage), who was to oppose him, or to offer an alternative scheme, was perfectly willing that his leaseholders should purchase the fee-simple on certain conditions; and he would, therefore, claim the hon. Member as a supporter. They need not be alarmed by the statement that if the Bill became law landlords would refuse to part with land for building purposes. If the land was worth more for building purposes than for cultivation, self-interest would determine the use to which they would put it. He had received letters from various parts of the country urging that the Bill would be of no value whatever unless it applied to rural districts, where the evil which it proposed to remedy existed with the same intensity as it did in the large towns. Villagers were being crowded together in small cottages simply because the terms upon which land could be obtained were such that no man would venture to speculate a shilling in building. The public bodies in the country were not entirely free from blame in this matter. A statement had been sent him as to the harsh policy of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. An Act of 1851 laid it down that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should let their property under renewable leases; but he understood that in many cases the Commissioners were refusing to renew their leases, and were acting with all the harshness and injustice, the greed and the determination to hold the land which were shown by private owners. The Bill could not be called a serious attempt to interfere 220 with the rights of the Commissioners, because the property which they held was held in trust for the nation, and they were not at liberty to dispose of it as they thought fit. This Bill would enable 2.000,000 of people to become freeholders; and he said that a measure proposing to do that should not be subjected to miserable criticism as to whether it would be possible in one case out of 10,000 for a cottage to be turned into a public-house. He rather asked that the Bill might be viewed from a larger standpoint by recognizing the benefits which it would confer upon the country at large. He saw the hon. and learned Attorney General, from his seat on the Treasury Bench, paying considerable attention to the statement which he had the honour to make; and he asked the hon. and learned Gentleman, if he replied on behalf of the Government, not to take his Bill clause by clause and show how inconsistent it was. The Bill might be improved in Committee, and he would look for that assistance from the Treasury Bench which it was impossible for him as a private Member to obtain. He asked the great landlords to remember they lived in times when questions ripened at immense rates, when the whole mass of the people was being permeated by inquiries into ancient interests and monopolies. Within the last six months there had come amongst them a stranger (Mr. Henry George), whose proposals on the Land Question he was unable to endorse, but which were drawing immense audiences in every part of the country. Let the House remember that measures of justice like this Bill would render Mr. George's doctrines unpopular. The Bill before the House was not a confiscating Bill; and he asked hon. Members to remember that he proposed to pay to every man his just due for that which they wished to take into their own private possession. He asked them to remember, in connection with this question, the history of Irish land legislation. There were years when moderate proposals were, so to speak, literally pitch-forked out of the House and repudiated; but within a few years' time great and comprehensive measures were readily voted by those who had opposed the smaller and more reasonable measures that had previously been under their consideration. He did not use 221 these remarks as a threat, but in the friendly spirit of warning. They should remember those things before they opposed this measure as an outrageous attack upon the rights of private property in this country. Above all, he asked whether they were not discharging a very high and desirable function of Parliament when they debated a proposal that had for its object the creation in their midst of large numbers of their working people who were interested in their household property freeholders for life? In other words, they proposed to make the theory of a man's house being his castle a reality, instead of, as it was at present, a sham and delusion. In reserving to a man's family the fruits of his labours and self-denial he felt that they should be acting wisely, and not only for the best interests of those whom they proposed to enfranchise, but of every man who had a stake in the welfare and progress of the people of this great country. The hon. Member concluded by thanking the House for the patient hearing that had been accorded him.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Broadhurst.)
§ MR. GREGORY
said, he regretted very much that it had fallen to his lot to move the rejection of the Bill. But the Bill involved principles so very objectionable, and carried them out to so great a length, that he could not refuse to undertake the duty of offering to it the most strenuous opposition, He was sorry the Bill was supported by several hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Opposition side of the House; indeed, it proceeded upon the lines of a Bill which would subsequently be introduced by the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill). He hoped, however, to satisfy the House that neither Bill ought to be adopted. In the first place, the measure was retrospective, as well as prospective, for it proposed that if a man held a lease it should be within his power before the expiration of his lease to turn round and say to the land-land— "I require you to sell me the freehold of the property of which I hold the lease." The consequences of that was that it imported into an existing contract a term which never was con- 222 templated originally—a term which was beneficial to one of the contracting parties, but prejudicial to the other, who had no voice in it, and for which he was never paid any consideration. Such was the retrospective action of the Bill. With respect to the prospective action, it said to any man granting a lease— "You are not granting a lease of this property, but you are subjecting the interest you reserve in this property to a liability of the most damaging character during the whole of the existence of the lease." In the case of a lease for 90 years, they gave to the party to whom that lease was granted the right of saying at anytime during that period—" I require to buy your reversion in that property." The party having that right could choose his own time and take his own opportunity for making the purchase. There were constant ups and downs in the value of building property, and this Bill would give all the chances in favour of the lessee, and allow him to take advantage of any hard times, or even to purchase the reversion at a time when it had no actuarial value. Then came the question of how this right was to be exercised. It was to be exercised through the County Court, in his opinion the worst possible tribunal for such a purpose. County Court Judges frequently were somewhat antiquated practitioners, whose experience in house property would be of the most limited character. There seemed to be an opinion among many Members in that House that County Court Judges were possessed of universal knowledge. They had been given jurisdiction in Equity, in Bankruptcy, and in Admiralty cases. Under the Agricultural Holdings Act they were supposed to have special knowledge of that subject; and now they were to be given the duty of valuing house property. If they were not up in the subject they must bring in some valuer, not selected by the parties—a person in whom they might have no confidence— and the County Court Judge might assess the value against the owner on the opinion of that party. In addition to that, the landlord was required to produce a marketable title — an indefeasible title. Now, an indefeasible title was a thing of comparatively rare occurrence; there were numbers of titles which were absolutely safe, but an in- 223 defeasible one was very rare; there might usually arise some question of the legal estate, of an unstamped document, of one lost, mislaid, or imperfectly executed, or some similar objection. This Bill would oblige the landlord to supply all these defects; or it would allow a man to turn round and say— "I will not take your property; you have not shown a proper title." And this might be cast up against the landlord on any subsequent occasion. Again, the purchaser of the reversion would be exonerated from all the covenants of the lease, and at liberty to apply the property to any purposes, however prejudicial to the adjoining owners or occupiers. The hon. Member relied upon the preservation of covenants by his Bill; but the covenants could only be enforced by the reversioner, who would in this case be the purchaser. The Bill, in his opinion, rendered contracts liable in the future to conditions most onerous, and which the contracting parties had not originally contemplated, and these conditions were to be enforced by a tribunal which for the purpose was most objectionable, and at the instance of one party entirely against the will of the other. They had been told of the great demand for building property; but he had himself had considerable experience in this direction, and it was a mistake to suppose that there was such a great demand for building property as that to which the hon. Member for Stoke had adverted. It was not so easy to find a market for such property. Considerable expense had to be incurred. First of all a competent surveyor had to be employed, and then roads and drains had to be made; and these had to be well and substantially done, or the houses could not be erected. Contracts were then entered into defining the terms and conditions on which the houses should be built, and the leases were not granted until the houses were nearly built, when it was known that such conditions had been complied with. It was greatly to be doubted whether, under this Bill, houses would be better built than under the present system, as it made little difference, in tins respect, whether a man was building upon land held for 99 years, or upon a freehold; and. Therefore, he could not agree with the hon. Member as to the effect this Bill would have in improving the con- 224 struction of houses. It was said that he (Mr. Gregory) spoke from an interested point of view, because he was connected with a foundling estate. It was true he was connected with the Foundling Hospital; but what were they doing with their property? They were having it carefully surveyed, giving notice to repair according to the Surveyor's Report, and offering a renewal of the lease to the tenants if they would carry out the repairs. They offered them a renewed lease of 40 years, and so they got a respectable tenancy, and secured the general repair and improvement of their property. With regard to what the hon. Member had said as to leases tending to multiply public-houses, there was au estate in London of which he had some knowledge where 26 public-houses had been suppressed by the owners of the property; and he know that on the estate belonging to the Foundling Hospital it was a practice not to renew leases for public-houses. If the present Bill were in operation the reversion of public - houses, which were generally held by brewers or other wealthy persons, would be bought up, and it would be impossible to get rid of them. The hon. Member had also argued that leases encouraged nuisances; but his own experience was quite to the contrary. Well-drawn leases tended to prevent nuisances, not only as regarded the inmates of particular houses, but as regarded the neighbouring occupiers. People who had a grievance against a neighbouring tenant could go to the ground landlord and get him to put the covenants of the lease in force; and the ground landlord, having the remedy in his own hands, would do so for the sake of his own property. Again, great advantage resulted from the combined action of the Vestries and the ground landlords. The Vestries, under what was known as Torrens's Act, had considerable power to require structural alterations to be made in houses. Where the lease had only 20 years to run the owner was liable, and the Vestries served him with notice, and he, of course, had his remedy against the tenant who had left the house out of repair. In that way an arrangement was generally come to which satisfied the Vestry that the necessary repairs would be duly executed. There might be cases of hardship such as the hon. Member had referred to; 225 but that matter ought to be dealt with on broad and general grounds, and not upon particular instances, especially when they were only read from letters or given to the House from reports made to this or that Member of the House. The leasehold system, he maintained, was not unsatisfactory, and it could not be put an end to without a gross violation of principle and a breach of contract between man and man. The hon. Member had referred to the rural districts; but his own experience was that the worst cottages there were those upon small plots of freehold laud which had been bought up for the purpose of running up a few cottages; and he did not think the hon. Member had improved his argument by that illustration drawn from the rural districts. In conclusion, he expressed some surprise and regret at seeing a measure of a cognate nature to the present one either emanating from or being supported by that (the Opposition) side of the House; and he hoped that the House would take that opportunity of pronouncing a decisive judgment on proposals of that character. He did not say that the system of leases could not be improved, or that it was not desirable to enable labourers and others to acquire the fee-simple for their cottages; but that should not be done at the expense of all the rights of property. That, however, he understood to be the scope and principle of this Bill; and, therefore, he begged to move that it be read a second time that day six months.
§ VISCOUNT LYMINGTON
, in seconding the Amendment, said, he was not merely influenced by the fact that certain of the details of the Bill were opposed to good policy, and might lead to certain inconveniences. He took a much broader ground. No one could deny that the principle involved was one of a serious and violent character, and opposed to every principle, commercial or otherwise, which had hitherto governed the legislation of that House. It might or might not be desirable that Parliament should interfere, and interfere arbitrarily, on behalf of leaseholders, to give them advantages which they never possessed before, which were never contemplated when they took the lease, and which would be very prejudicial to the property of ground landlords. But he did not oppose this Bill entirely because 226 it would inflict injury and a grave injustice on the ground landlords. Let the effect of the Bill be examined as regarded the working classes. The hon. Member for Stoke had given the House a graphic description of the degraded character of the dwellings of the poor in certain parts of London. The accuracy of that description he did not deny. But they should not be guided by mere sentiment, but by a consideration as to whether the Bill was calculated to stop the state of things which they all regretted. Before passing the second reading the House ought to demand that public necessity was clearly proved; that the system of leasehold was, as matter of fact, and not as matter of opinion, injurious, and that it struck vitally at the health and well-being of the people. If the balance of evidence, on the whole, tended to show that the system of leases, and the evils associated with it, were really peculiarly and inseparably connected with it, and that these evils could practically be removed by legislation of this character, he would agree to the second reading of the Bill, with the power to move certain Amendments to remove certain objections in Committee. But he maintained that his hon. Friend had not proved the necessity for the measure. The Bill was one of a very sweeping character, and would affect not merely large towns, but rural districts as well. The hon. Member had certainly not made out a case for the application of the Bill to rural districts. Suppose that the trustees of a minor had granted a lease for 21 years of a cottage or house, contiguous to a demesne. If this Bill were to become law the tenant of that cottage would be converted into a potential freeholder, and the owner of the demesne might be confronted with the threat that such cottage would be so used as to become an excessive nuisance if he did not purchase the reversion at an extravagant price. But the Bill, he admitted, was intended to deal chiefly with the case of leaseholders in great centres of population. Let it be judged in reference to that. It was not desirable that they should raise a debate on the question of the housing of the poor, and the miserable and wretched condition of much property let on lease in London. The question they had to consider was, would this Bill introduce practically a better state of things? Was the system of leases responsible 227 for the degrading character of the dwellings of a large portion of the population in large towns? There were slums, and frightful shuns, in New York, San Francisco, and other large towns of America, where the system of freeholds existed; and this was a strong argument against the contention of the hon. Member for Stoke. The evidence as to Continental cities was conflicting; but the condition of large towns in America proved that they could have terrible slums side by side with the freehold system. But another strong objection he had to the Bill was that there was nothing in it which would prevent a large portion of London becoming subject to the control, not of freeholders—on political grounds of high policy much value would attach to that—but of small landowners, instead of, as now, being subject to large landowners. The hon. Member for Stoke had stated that freedom of contract could not exist in the Metropolis, and that the landlord could always dictate his own terms; but that was an argument not merely against leases, but against landlordism. The Bill would not lessen the power of the landlord; it would merely replace the large landlord by a number of small landlords. The curse of the poor was the middleman. This Bill would unnaturally tend to develop the sphere of the middleman. The leaseholder in the crowded parts of London would be tempted to sell his reversion to the speculator. The speculator would buy up several reversions; and what was there to prevent his sub-letting his interest in the property which sentimental legislation had ingenuously placed at Ids disposal? In the interest of the individual and the public at large, he (Viscount Lymington) contended that smaller landlords were less to be desired than large ones. Large landlords, such as the Dukes of Westminster, Bedford, and the Marquess of Northampton, and others in London belonging to that class, were scrutinized and jealously watched by public opinion; and men in their positions were more sensitive to, and more easily reached by, public opinion than the smaller class of proprietors which the hon. Member would set up. In the interests of the public, he, therefore, thought it would be a grave misfortune if the control of properties in London— 228 especially the worst parts of London— were placed in the hands of small proprietors. There was yet another objection to the Bill. The hon. Member for Stoke laughed at the idea of a neighbourhood and the public not being able to take care of itself. He did not see how covenants could bind a freeholder. Upon a property in London, with which he was well acquainted, the covenants wore very strong as regarded public-houses and other objectionable and offensive trades. Would the freeholder tolerate such conditions being placed on him? There was at present no system of local control which would prevent the carrying on of objectionable trades in a certain neighbourhood. The question, for instance, of resisting licences for public-houses was not a matter which could be easily undertaken. It was a matter of some expense, requiring the careful and constant attention of a body of men outside the influence or reach of a publican's canvass, and of a permanent and business-like character. The publicans were a rich and powerful body, and could only be regulated and kept within bounds by the action of some distinct authority. To raise a neighbourhood was difficult; but it was easy enough to degrade a well-conducted district. The middleman and not the artizan would be the practical gainer by the Bill. How could the artizan be expected to resist the offer of the middleman to give him a large sum of money down for his reversionary interest? Those very trades which the House was not peculiarly anxious to benefit—like that of the publican—would offer the artizan an enormous price for the reversionary interest of his house, and the artizan would not unnaturally accept it. It appeared to him that the Bill of the hon. Member would have the effect of shielding a class who at the present moment were getting rather nervous of their own position. He referred to the ground landlords of London; and he would not be surprised if the large owners of degraded and bad properties in London would be exceedingly glad to accept a proposal similar to that embodied in the Bill of the hon. Member. For they would at once, and in the easiest and pleasantest manner, shake off their responsibilities, which they had so entirely shirked during the whole century. The question of leases, as it had been placed in conjunction with 229 the condition of the poor of London, was one inseparably connected with the evidence which must come before the Royal Commission. So far as public opinion was concerned, however, he thought that had decided that some more stringent and decided power should be demanded from Parliament to place the ground landlords in a position of more responsibility; and he thought that the suggestion which had received the most universal approval was that the sanitary authorities should have greater power and scope given to them. But this Bill would introduce a class of small freeholders; and he contended that a class of small freeholders in the worst parts of London would be far greater obstructionists to the sanitary authority than the class of large landowners. The problem of getting persons to use good homes was nearly as great as that of providing them. At present, they had simple sanitary regulations; but in the Vestrymen they had instruments of authority, whose interest it was not to enforce those regulations. The class of freeholders whom the Bill would create would not be the working man, whose name had been so much used during the debate, but the speculator, the Vestryman, and the persons who were at present the worst owners of the worst property. It was to be hoped that public opinion was bringing pressure to bear, and that sanitary regulations would, in the future, be more stringently enforced; but he confessed he should consider the difficulty enhanced, and the whole question of improving the domiciliary and sanitary condition of the poor thrown bade, if such legislation as this were agreed to. He thought that, before the House accepted so far-reaching a measure as tins was, they ought to consider, first of all, whether the case had been clearly made out that the evils that were supposed to exist in the system of leasehold property were evils inherent in and connected with leases. He thought the hon. Member had to show—and he maintained that he had not shown it—that this Bill was going to benefit the leaseholders of the working classes, not merely in name and in sentiment, but also that it would really multiply the class of owners whom the House wished to multiply, and would not merely be for the benefit of a class of speculators. It was because he be- 230 lieved that the result of such a Bill as this would really be not beneficial, but injurious to the artizans and the working classes; that it would benefit those whom the House wished least of all to benefit; and, lastly, that in both principle and in practice it was absolutely unworkable, that he felt himself bound to oppose the second reading.
§ 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. Gregory.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. PULESTON
said, he approved of the main objects of the Bill. In Devonport and several towns in the West of England there was a strong feeling that something should be done to remedy a state of affairs which, in many respects, had become nearly intolerable. So far as the system of granting leases on lives was concerned, that, he thought, had been now pretty well denounced all round by Members of the House. Referring to the remarks of the noble Lord, he (Mr. Puleston) feared that under any system that could be proposed there would be large numbers of people congregated in small areas, and slums would always exist. The Bill, it was said, would violate existing agreements. But the existing system must be improved, and freedom of contract must mean freedom of contract. In places like Devonport a poor man was compelled nolens volens to agree to all the stipulations inserted in his lease, and was never given an opportunity of buying an inch of land. He trusted that the Bill would be read a second time. There were, no doubt, several clauses in it which required to be amended; but those could be discussed in Committee.
§ MR. HENEAGE
said, he did not wish to speak altogether against the Bill; but the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst) had attacked in rather a wholesale manner all the landlords who had leasehold property, whereas his case had only been made out against bad landlords and bad builders. As to the Nonconformists, no one would say that their chapels should be treated differently from churches and other religious buildings. Every facility should be given them to acquire freehold sites; but if this Bill were passed it would not 231 only not rectify the condition of things in regard to bad landholders, but would abolish the leasehold system altogether. That was the question they must face. It was a very large question, and ought not to he dealt with in a private Member's Bill, but could only be dealt with by the Government, after looking carefully at the whole system connected with it. The leasehold system had not, in his opinion, been altogether an injury to the working classes. In many cases, and principally in large towns, it had boon a decided benefit. It was small landlords, as a rule, who had been rather hard on their tenants; but in cases where landlords had laid out estates for building houses for the labouring classes it had been a great advantage to them. There was no greater benefit for working men than to be able, with the aid of Societies, to build houses for themselves on leasehold sites. It was a common practice for working men to form Societies, and pay 1s. 6d. or more a-week ill order to build houses on leasehold property of which they might become possessed on easy terms. If the Bill were passed it would be difficult to exclude public-houses from an estate, for needy leaseholders would he incited to buy their tenements and to re-sell them to brewers, who, at the end of the remaining 21 years' lease, would turn them into public - houses, and double their value to let. Then, if the Bill were passed, it would be easy to establish other descriptions of houses on an estate which were injurious to the neighbourhood. He did not think it fair that the good landlords should be made to suffer for the bad ones, who wished for this Bill in order that they might dispose of their tenements. By his proposals the hon. Member for Stoke would do more for bad landlords than for the working classes. Though his own tenants could enfranchise if they chose, he had received very few applications for leave to do so. The hon. Member said that in consequence of the system of leasehold houses were built less well than in former times. But, if that were so, surely the builders were tie right persons to blame; not the landlords. The Bill proposed to give extensive powers to County Court Judges. Of that proposal he strongly disapproved. Now and then a County Court Judge was a very superior official; but that was by no means the 232 rule; and, consequently, he objected to these Judges being given new and difficult questions to decide. Another and very serious matter was that the County Court Judge was to be able to call for the titles of landlords, for persons, evidence, books, documents; in short, for everything, in order that it might be proved, if possible, that the landlord had no right over the estate. That might he a very serious thing in some cases. There might be some defect in a previous title; and was a lawyer on that account to be able to get hold of all the books of the landlord, and to investigate them with a view to other proceedings? If a title was good enough for a lease of 99 years it ought to be good enough to purchase upon. The conditions in leases were laid down for the benefit of the neighbourhood generally, and not of the landlords; and why, then, should the landlord be fined because he had done the best for the neighbourhood? A landlord might have given sites for churches and chapels; he might have laid out wide and capacious roads; and yet there was nothing in the measure about recouping him for such an expenditure; but the purchase-money was to be reduced if there were any restrictive covenants for the good of the neighbourhood. He objected to the Bill because it was a one-sided Bill. He objected to it because it included all landlords, even those who endeavoured to do their best for the advantage of those who lived upon their property, and would create for the future a class of landlords who would look only to the pounds, shillings, and pence, and would be an injury rather than an advantage to the public. He hoped that some good might arise from the discussion; but what was wanted was a very different Bill, brought in under different auspices, in which everything should be set forth fairly as regarded the rights of one side as well as the other.
COLLINS said, he did not think they should be too hard upon the hon. Member for Stoke for having brought forward a Bill which had a great many impracticable clauses in it. because he had not the advantages of legal advice possessed by Members of the Treasury Bench. He (Mr. Collins) meant to support the Bill, not because he liked the mode in which it was proposed to carry out the enfranchisement 233 of leaseholds, but because the principle was right of getting rid of dual interests which were opposed to each other, to public policy, and to the public rights. He was against taking away the rights of property without compensation, or leaving the matter to the County Court Judge. He held that the creation of a separate estate in houses and lands for 99 years was detrimental to the public interest, for this reason—that one could not have the least idea of how property was to be realized in the best way for 30 or 40 years. In 1880 they might have a genteel suburban neighbourhood where it was desirable that a row of houses should be planted a little way from the thorough fare. That neighbourhood might, in a few years, become part of a prosperous town, where the houses ought to be turned into shops and pushed into the street. But under the conditions of the leases that could not be done; and, therefore, they had "lean-tos" annexed to the dwellings, in order that the property might be utilized in the best possible way. The leaseholder who had only 40 or 50 years to run could not rebuild merely for the advantage of the reversioner, and the reversioner would not be in a position to rebuild for 40 or 50 years. It was, no doubt, a dangerous thing to interfere with contracts; and it was a question whether the hon. Gentleman would not have done more wisely if he had started by limiting his Bill to the future. It was a wise thing to get in the thin end of the wedge by inducing Parliament to lay down the principle that it was not advisable to give legal sanction to these long leases. In the North of England they know little of building leases, but he believed that in the town of Grimsby these leases did exist. He must protest against the aristocratic views of the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage), who said that if the Bill were to pass they could not keep public-houses off a large estate. That might appear to Liberal Members the right thing to do; but he did not think that any landlord should have the power to keep the people of the neighbourhood from access to proper refreshment. He merely contended for the principle that they should get rid of building leases. The Bill itself he believed to be utterly unworkable—or, at all events, that it would work great injustice, which the hon. Member for 234 Stoke would be the last man to wish, should be done. The only broad issue the House had to decide was where the balance of convenience lay. The owning of a small cottage by the occupier only meant that the cottage was in a state of perpetual dilapidation. Those houses were in the worst state of repair which were in the hands of the petty owners who occupied them. It was much, better that a man should have the choice of a score of houses and be able to follow his trade, than that he should be saddled with the ownership of a house where if he moved away he would have all the difficulty of collecting his rent from a distance. Therefore, he could not follow the hon. Member for Stoke when he talked of tin's being a poor man's question. The landlords should be treated with fairness and liberality in any scheme which might be brought before the House. If the hon. Member for Stoke would consent to his Bill, together with that of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) on the same subject, being referred to a Select Committee, where the question would be licked into something like proper shape, he would not object to the second reading.
§ MR. R. T. REID
informed the hon. Member for Knaresborough (Mr. T. Collins) that he drafted the Bill himself after consultation with several of his friends. He (Mr. Reid) wished to point out to the noble Viscount (Viscount Lymington), in reference to the observations he made on restrictive costs, that there existed in the Bill a clause providing that the question whether these covenants remained in force or not should be left to the consideration of the landlord. He ventured to think that the proper tribunal for deciding the amount of compensation to be paid was the County Court. The tribunal appointed under the Lands Clauses Act was the Under Sheriff, assisted by a jury. It was admitted that one of the greatest difficulties presented by the Artizans' and Labourers' Dwellings Act was the clumsiness of the Compensation Clauses, though it was, at the same time, allowed that their method was superior to that of the Land Clauses Act. But the proposal was to restore to the tribunal admittedly worse than that created by the Artizans' and Labourers' Dwellings Act the question 235 of compensation. The hon. Member was mistaken in his view of what was provided in the Bill on the question of title. If the purchaser was satisfied with the vendor's title no question would arise; it was only in case of disagreement that the Court was called upon to intervene. The leasing system—whether for life, or lives, or for years—was very common in this country, and no one had denied that great evils attached to it, or asserted that there were any compensating advantages. Take the common case of a house built to last for about 40 years and let on lease for 80 or 90. At the end of the first 40 years it was in utter disrepair; the tenant did not like to repair or rebuild it, and so make it a present to his landlord, and the landlord could not. Thus the property went to utter ruin, and was ultimately sold for a song to the penniless nominee of some speculator, who collected the rents while discharging none of the responsibilities of the property. The case of the tenant for life or lives was even worse. How could any man in his senses be expected to improve property when his enjoyment of the improvement depended upon that most uncertain of all contingencies, human life? It was in accordance with Parliamentary precedent as well as with true Conservatism, as he understood it, to refuse to maintain a tenure admitted to be bad. For that reason the House had permitted the enfranchisement of copyholds, though there were many incidents connected with that tenure which appealed to the lover of historical associations. Of course, he was aware that some suggestion had been made about interference with freedom of contract. He had strong opinions on the subject of freedom of contract: and he thought he could easily show the House, if necessary, that there was no Session during the last 300 years in which that principle had not been pretty well beaten about the head. But freedom of contract had never been permitted in either of two cases—first, when the parties contracting were not really free; and, secondly, when the contract entered into was against public policy, In some towns it was impossible to get land except upon lease for life or lives; and was it not contrary to public policy to permit this? The hon. Member for Knaresborough (Mr. Collins) advised his hon. Friend to exclude existing leases 236 from his Bill. That would have permitted the enormous number of leases created during the last 70 or 80 years to remain under a system which they condemned. If any advantage was to be obtained on behalf of the general community by abolishing long leases, it ought to be done at once, and not when these leases had expired. He had come to the conclusion that when it was proposed to deal with leases for a fixed term of years the best way was to deal with them at once. With regard to life leases, it was proposed not to touch those which would expire within the next ten years, but to enable those which would be probably of longer duration to be dealt with. One hon. Member spoke of the Bill as taking away other people's property. He believed the hon. Member for Stoke was about the last man in this House intentionally to confiscate any man's property. There was no desire on his hon. Friend's part—certainly there was no desire on his own part—to do anything of the kind; and he thought it would be a disgraceful thing to attempt to do it. But he did think, when it was the case of a tenure productive of such grave inconvenience and so much public loss, that people ought not to be too squeamish, nor stand too extremely on their rights, nor be too critical, when they considered a Bill honestly intended to provide a remedy.
MR. A. F. EGERTON
thought the House should hesitate before adopting so very great a change as the Bill proposed in the laws affecting Land in this country. It had been said that the object of the Bill was to put an end to the system of building leases. The hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst) had said that the Bill had been introduced in the interests of the working classes, whose minds were being permeated to a considerable extent by the doctrines of Mr. Henry George. Having had considerable experience of the working men, he was convinced that they were far wiser in reference to this question than the hon. Member for Stoke gave them credit for being, as, during recent years, they had acquired a considerable knowledge of political economy, and were quite capable of sounding the depths of any arguments with reference to it that were placed before them. It was perfectly true that this was not a confiscation measure; but he must hold 237 to the old objection, discounted by the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken, that the Bill interfered very materially with freedom of contract, both prospectively and retrospectively. He should not have objected to the measure so strongly if it had only proposed to interfere with future leases. The Bill would operate very harshly in South-East Lancashire, whore an enormous proportion of land was let on building leases for 999 years. When a freeholder let his land on so long a term he could not expect to be paid out at anytime that the tenant might elect to buy out. The measure would interfere largely with the free-holder's right to the prospective value of the land. It must be recollected that leases always contained provisions for forfeiture; and it would be hard upon the freeholder if, when the terms of the lease were broken, he should find himself debarred from exercising his right of re-entry by the provisions of this Bill. On this point, therefore, he regarded the Bill as being unfair to the freeholders. In his opinion the question of the improvement of the dwellings of the poor ought not to be mixed up with the provisions of this measure. In South-East Lancashire the Local Boards laid down the most stringent regulations with regard to houses being kept in tenantable repair, and he did not see why those regulations should not be adopted in other parts of the country. Interfering with freedom of contract, with settlements and mortgages of property, the Bill would produce nothing but disturbance, annoyance, and confusion. He should like to see the whole system of leases for lives abolished; but it would not be abolished by this Bill, which he felt bound to oppose.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
said, he thought that the debate had been a very profitably and a very interesting one, and he was glad that the hon. Member for Stoke had introduced tins measure. Every hon. Member who had listened to the hon. Member must have sympathized with his object in introducing this measure; but he was afraid that there was a considerable difference of opinion as to the means by which that object was to be attained. He would make this concession to the hon. Member who had moved 238 the second reading of the measure—that the estate of a freeholder was a much more efficacious estate than a leaseholder's estate, because it enabled much more money to be made out of the land. For his own part, he objected to the dual tenure as much as the hon. Member did; and if it could be abolished on fair terms, and without doing injustice to anyone, he should not regret if it were swept away. He quite agreed with the observation that had been made in the course of the debate, that they could not carry the principle of the non - interference with property to its fullest extent, because all property must be held subject more or less to the convenience of those who did not hold it. It might be perfectly just to take property from the holders of it under certain conditions. In the first place, however, it must be taken for the benefit of the general community. Secondly, they must see that the person from whom it was taken received full compensation. Thirdly, care must be taken that the community, and not a private individual, obtained the advantage. When his hon. Friend showed that much property was occupied in a manner so injurious to the working classes, he did much to prove his case that the enfranchisement of the property would be beneficial to the community. But by what means did his hon. Friend propose to accomplish the ends he had in view? It was scarcely a fair argument in support of the Bill for his hon. Friend to say— "I ask the Attorney General not to criticize my Bill at all. I ask him to sympathize with the object I have in view." This might be all very well for his hon. Friend; but those whose duty it was to see that the legislation which was carried into effect was wise and beneficial must necessarily look at the means proposed by any Bill which was introduced into that House. When his hon. Friend the Member for Knaresborough (Mr. T. Collins) said—"I am a supporter of this Bill, which I admit is wholly unworkable," that was a kind of support with which those who bore a larger share of responsibility could hardly sympathize. He agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Knaresborough that the Bill was entirely unworkable; and he wished to point out how far its unworkable character extended. He would call the attention of the author of the Bill to the 239 manner in which he had drawn the Bill, because he had not shown the courage of his own opinions in this matter. What was the chief evil that was sought to be removed? It was generally admitted that a system of leases for lives was a very objectionable state of things. The uncertainty of such a system aggravated the evils of long leases. They ought to get rid of the system of leases for life. If it was right to go as far as they did, ought they not to go still further, and to say that leases for life should no longer exist? It was gravely suggested to the House that the last holder, who might have bought the fag-end of a lease, and who might have held it for only a week, should be entitled to say to the freeholder— "Because I hold the fag-end of the lease I insist upon your selling me the freehold, whether you like it or not." Then, as soon as he got the freehold he would be enabled to grant a lease for lives—the very evil which his hon. Friend wished to remedy.
§ MR. R. T. REID
What I have done in this Bill has been legally to attach to all leases for lives the incident that they may be renewed at their termination.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
said, he hoped he was not unduly confident of his own opinion; but now he was certain that he was right. His hon. Friend seemed to think that the renewal of a lease for lives would be prevented, because the lessor would know that at the termination of the lease there would be a confiscation of his property. But why should his hon. Friend do indirectly that which he had not the courage to do directly? He now turned to the proposition in the Bill in relation to leases for long terms. Of course, he heartily sympathized with the object of his hon. Friend to get better dwellings for the working classes; but they must deal with each subject as it arose, and not confuse separate and distinct ideas. This Bill affected not only small houses, but houses of every class and description; and they had no right to do injustice to one class in order to benefit another. He was anxious to support the proposition that, in the first place, full compensation must be given; but full compensation would not be granted under this Bill to any landlord. Practically, when dealing with urban property they had an estate of five or ten 240 acres, with a number of houses built thereon. Now, what was his hon. Friend's proposal? Not that a person might come in and take the reversion of the whole of that property; but that any one person holding a portion of it might take that portion and leave the rest; so that, while the landlord received compensation for the reversion of one house, he had his property cut in two, and its value thereby deteriorated to a considerable extent. Let them apply this principle to a property like Belgrave Square.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
said, he was looking at the first bud of Democratic Toryism. He was speaking, however, of the measure, and not of the individual who proposed it; and if measures of that character received the support of the noble Lord, hon. Gentlemen opposite would have to consider carefully what their new Leaders would do. But he was appealing now rather to the old than to the new Conservatism. Let them take the case of Belgrave Square, with leases which had 20 years to run. Under this Bill a leaseholder might come in and say— "I am going to enfranchise," and the property would pass away from the landlord at the end of 20 years. Then the leaseholder would probably sell it at the Auction Mart, totally unrestrained by any covenant; and therefore, not only the landlord, but also every person living on the estate, might be annoyed at finding that house in the middle of property converted into an hotel or perhaps a tallow-chandler's factory. In. this way the whole of the surrounding property would be deteriorated. This Bill dealt with the compensation which was to be given to the reversioner in estates of 50 or 60 years; but experienced valuers stated that the compensation for a reversion beyond 40 years was practically nil, and that would be the amount which the County Court Judge would be bound to give under the provisions of this measure. But was that the real value of the property of the landlord? ["Hear, hear!"] Well, but would the community get the advantage of this reversion? In his opinion it would be the land-jobber who would get the advantage of it. He would pay a very small sum for the reversion, and, having got it into his hands, he might do a great 241 many things. He might go to the owner of the freehold and say—"I am in the middle of your estate, and you must buy me out on my own terms," or he might, by carrying on an objectionable trade, reduce the property to a very small value, and then he could do what he thought proper. The result would be that, in the great majority of cases, they would be putting into the hands of the speculator and clever man the power compulsorily to introduce himself into an estate without the slightest practical good being done in relation to the object which his hon. Friend had in view. The Bill again perpetuated the existence of leasehold where there were 20 years to run. If the promoters of the Bill wanted to abolish the building of paper houses they would have to try some other plan, as the houses would be built under this Bill for 19 years and 364 days. [Sir H. DRUMMOND WOLFF] You could not get a builder to do that.] If the hon. Member for Stoke had asked the House to prevent in the future the existence of these long leases he would have had more support. All that was now sought to be done was to deal, not with future, but with existing leases, on terms grossly unjust, to the persons who had to suffer, and only of benefit to the land-jobbers. His chief objection was not to the principle of the Bill, but to the fact that it I did not deal sufficiently with the root of the evil. While everyone who had heard his hon. Friend must sympathize with the object which he had in view, he could scarcely expect that an unworkable Bill should receive the sanction of Her Majesty's Government.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
said, when he observed that the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite the Attorney General, in the course of his speech, mentioned Belgrave Square, he (Lord Randolph Churchill) said he thought it would come to that. The House would perceive very clearly that, they had been treated to the views of the owner of Belgrave Square. ["Oh, oh!"] That was the view which the Attorney General had taken up that day. The hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken as being the Representative of the great Whig Dukes who covered London with their bloated estates. He felt sure that hon. Members on that side of the House must have been gratified with the eloquent defence of property which 242 they had just heard from the hon. and learned Gentleman. Those who remembered the part which the right hon Gentleman the Leader of the Government took in the Session of 1881, on the question of Irish land, and how, during those discussions, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General and the Solicitor General were constantly at his elbow, suggesting to him now forms of depredation on property, must have been astonished at the squeamishness of the hon. and learned Gentleman with respect to the present little trilling matter of the enfranchisement of leaseholders. He (Lord Randolph Churchill) would not go into a defence of the Bill now before the House, because it was unnecessary, seeing that it had been done with immense ability by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst) and the hon. and learned Member for Hereford (Mr. R. T. Reid). But he quite agreed with what had fallen from the hon. and learned Attorney General in his criticism of the structure of the Bill of the hon. Member for Stoke; but that was only a proof of what they, on that side of the House, often had occasion to complain of—namely, that Radical Members were extremely clever in theory, but very stupid in practice. If he might venture on a word of advice to the hon. Member for Stoke and his Radical Friends, he would advise them, when they had any great, or even any small, land reform on hand, which they wished to present in a favourable light to the House of Commons, to come to him, or to some other Member of the Tory Party, in order that their views might, if possible, be put into a practical and a workable form. If the House had, by any chance, looked at the Bill he (Lord Randolph Churchill) had put down on that day's Paper, they would perceive that all the criticisms which the hon. and learned Attorney General had bestowed on the Bill of the hon. Member for Stoke would have fallen off completely blunted from the measure which he had proposed to submit to the consideration of the House. There was not a single objection which had been advanced by the hon. and learned Gentleman that could, in any way, refer to it. With respect to the point of leases for lives, no doubt the hon. and learned Attorney General hit a serious blot in the Bill of the hon. Member for Stoke; but that difficult question was untouched 243 by the Bill which he (Lord Randolph Churchill) had drawn up. His own idea as to leases for lives was this—supposing that there was a lease for three lives, the value and length of it could be calculated by any actuary; and then, if it turned out to be a period of over 21 years, it could be dealt with under the provisions which provided for the enfranchisement of leases of over 21 years. He thought that the method proposed by the hon. Member for Stoke was an unfortunate one. The House would see that there was an immense difference between rural and urban landlords. Urban landlords had acquired, more by chance than by anything else, property with a value attaching to it, and a power attaching to it, which never could have been contemplated by the State in framing former laws in regard to property. Let them consider the power which a great landlord could exercise in London, or Manchester, or Birmingham. He could, in those large towns, act as a complete obstructionist of all public improvements or progress. He could exercise the most despotic power over every individual who resided on his property. Nobody residing on his property could alter his house, or improve, or add to, his house without the consent of the owner of the property; and when the alterations and additions were made, with the consent of the owner, they reverted to the owner at the expiration of the lease. Would anybody tell him why an urban landlord should have privileges conferred upon him, and a power which they utterly declined to confer on a rural landlord? There was no real freedom of contract at all in those parts of towns where there were great accumulations of land. For instance, take Belgrave Square. It might, perhaps, be a great advantage to an individual to reside in Belgrave Square, or the neighbourhood. But the whole of that property was owned by one man, and where was freedom of contract? No matter how unjust that man's desires might be, people must abide by anything that he laid down, and no one could live there except on the owner's conditions. Then, with reference to the town of Devonport, which had been alluded to in the course of the debate, as things were at present that town might be owned by any one landlord, who, regardless of public opinion, 244 could absolutely turn out the population if they refused to accede to his terms. Was it ever contemplated by the State, he asked, that such powers should over be vested in any one man? Was it at all unreasonable that Parliament should be asked to limit the rights of owners of urban property? The object of the Bill of the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst), and of the Bill which he (Lord Randolph Churchill) had introduced, was one which he was sure ought to commend itself to hon. Members on the Conservative Benches, for the simple reason that it aimed at the multiplication of freeholds. There was nothing, he believed, which acted as such a powerful stimulus to Socialism and popular discontent, or favoured conditions that were likely to bring about revolution, more than enormous accumulations of land in single hands, either in the country, or in towns, but more especially in towns. Something had been done by Parliament to stop this accumulation in the country; and Lord Cairns's Settled Estates Act would, in the course of a few years, break up many estates in rural districts, for that Act was the effort Parliament made to break up the accumulations of land in the country. Why, then, should not Parliament make laws for the purpose of breaking up accumulations of land in towns, where such accumulations were 50 times more objectionable? It had been calculated that if the principle of the Bill became law, upwards of 2,000,000 of freeholders would be created and enfranchised in a short time. The Prime Minister was even now asking Parliament to add 2,000,000 of voters to the electoral roll; and he (Lord Randolph Churchill) would ask hon. Gentlemen on the Conservative side of the House, would it not be better that that number of electors should be freeholders, than that they should be men liable to be turned out of their houses and subjected to every kind of injustice and extortion? Who was the more likely to be a contented and patriotic citizen—the man who was a freeholder, and who was safe in his property, or the man who was at the mercy of a colossal landowner? It was utterly against all public interest not to take some decided action with respect to these large landed properties in towns. The breaking up of large accumulations of land in towns must be undertaken by 245 one side of the House or the other before long. Without doubt, the State had the right to set its face against particular tenures of land if it held that they were mischievous, and disadvantageous to the public at large; it had done so before, and it would do so again. No doubt, leases for lives had been most mischievous in their operation; and the sooner some Member of the Party opposite brought in a Bill to abolish them the better. Leases for 99 years caused half the misery of the present day, and had a good deal to do with the overcrowding that was being inquired into by the Royal Commission. Building leases for 99 years must be put an end to; and if the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General would show a better way than that proposed by the Bill, or by the one he had himself introduced, he, for one, would be glad to support the hon. and learned Gentleman. He (Lord Randolph Churchill), himself, was not, and he thought the hon. Member for Stoke need not, be in the least discouraged by the reception the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General had given to his Bill. They knew the process of conversion that occupants of Front Ministerial Benches underwent at, or near, a General Election. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General and his Colleagues would find that throughout the country, and in the large towns especially, there was a great and growing feeling in favour of the Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman, in consequence, would very likely be asked, by the constituency whom he might honour with his candidature, to pledge himself in favour of the Bill; and in that case he (Lord Randolph Churchill) was perfectly convinced that, when the hon. and learned Gentleman went down to the constituency he intended to favour by representing, he would, if asked on the point, take a different view from that he had just expressed. He (Lord Randolph Churchill) was perfectly certain that the Bill would become law in a very few years. He was not at all alarmed at having crashed against the Pliocene and Miocene form of antediluvian Toryism, the traces of which wore, no doubt, occasionally still to be found by the antiquarian or the archaeologist, but which did not, and need not, in the least alarm any practical politician. The hon. and 246 learned Gentleman the Attorney General made his usual sneer at what he called Democratic Toryism, though he (Lord Randolph Churchill) did not know what it had to do with the question; but if Bills like these were what Democratic Toryism produced, hon. Members on this side need not be alarmed. The Bill which was recently produced by the Corporation of London dealt not only with landed, but with funded property; and he was perfectly certain that, unless the Tory Party showed a proper desire, a willingness, and a capability of dealing with great social questions like the one under notice on grounds and in a manner which were acceptable to the popular mind, then it would be a long time before they took their rightful place on the opposite side of the House.
§ MR. CARBUTT
, in supporting the Bill, said, that, if there had been leases for 999 years, nothing would have been heard of it. He, therefore, regretted the opposition shown towards it by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General, because he felt that, before long, the enfranchisement of leaseholds was inevitable. Much more solid and comfortable houses were built on freehold than on leasehold land. That the ownership of freehold houses promoted the stability of the State was shown by the reception of Mr. George in Leeds, where he did not make a single convert. But whore houses had been built on short leases—as at Newport, in Monmouthshire—the ideas of Mr. George were much more likely to find favour. The high rents that builders exacted for houses on short leases wore ruinous to local trade. The high rents were submitted to by people who must live in Newport; but they protected themselves as well as they could by obtaining the necessaries of life from a distance.
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
said, he wished to remind the House that his name was on the back of another Bill, the principle of which was the same as the one under notice. He therefore supported the second reading, and he could not help thinking that if the Bill were to come into operation some means would be found for assessing that value, especially if the purchase of the house was settled under the provisions of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General had stated that one of the 247 reasons why he opposed the Bill was because it would prevent a landlord, by the enforced sale of one house, sweeping away an entire block of houses. That was perfectly true; but he would remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that landlords caused much inconvenience to tenants by wishing to sweep away entire blocks of houses. If, for instance, a man and his family had created a large business at the old Chelsea Bun House, which business could not exist in any other part of London, and the landlord wished to improve his property by pulling that house down, the tradesman who had been there for years would practically be deprived of earning his living. England was, perhaps, the only country in Europe where leases for 99 years existed; they were unknown in two of the handsomest capital cities of Europe, Paris and Berlin; and he could not see with what object landlords, at the present moment, desired to continue the system. As the case now stood, the 99 years' lease was productive of the very worst class of building that could exist in any country. In France, Italy, and other countries, they might see streets of stone-built houses which were intended to endure, if possible, for ever; but in this country land was let to "scamping" builders, who put up houses merely to sell, and the consequence was the tenants had to suffer. He could not see any hardship on the ground landlords which would ensue on the passage, if not of the Bill now before the House, of that of his noble Friend (Lord Randolph Churchill). The inconvenience of the present system was great. Let them look at Covent Garden—he did not say anything against the present owner, who he believed was a good landlord—which had become a nuisance and a disgrace to the neighbourhood in which it was situate. The Duke of Bedford had offered that property to the Corporation of the City of London and the Metropolitan Board of Works; but those Bodies had declined to purchase it. Who were the persons to make the improvements but those who lived in the neighbourhood of Covont Garden? The tenants, however, taking their present tenure into consideration, could not be expected to spend money on permanent improvements, as there was a difference of interest which prevented them being properly assessed. If the people were 248 freeholders, the difficulty in the way of carrying out a great local improvement would be removed. These were some of the reasons which had induced him to support, if not the Bill now before the House, at any rate the principle on which it was founded.
§ MR. WADDY said
, it had been suggested by the opponents of the measure that if the Bill came into operation it would involve the confiscation of property. He did not view the matter in that light, and thought that the word "confiscation" had been used on the wrong side of the question. One of the reasons which induced him to support the Bill was, because the present state of things involved confiscation of the most flagrant character. Take, for example, the Corporation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. What happened with regard to them? They had the command of a considerable amount of money, and they went into the market, and purchased a large plot of land in the neighbourhood where he (Mr. Waddy) resided. Directly they had done that they became possessed of a great space of land upon which men must live. To say that the land might be taken or left by persons who wished to build was nonsense. People must live there because they must be near to London. The fact was, there was no freedom of contract in the matter. Estates such as the one he had mentioned were split up. A certain portion was allotted to a man who chose to take it on a lease of, say, 99 years. When that was done, did the leaseholder obtain that land upon which he was going to build his house at any reduced rate in consideration of the house that was to be erected? Not a bit of it. The full and extreme value of that land—the rack-rental of it—was the rate that was fixed, and upon which the leaseholder was permitted to have the land; and upon these terms he was forced to build his house, the value of which was altogether out of proportion to the value of the land. If he took a piece of land, the freehold of which was valued at £200, with all its roads made, and if he was called upon to build upon that land a house worth £5,000, was there any reason in the world, and was it possible to maintain, that at the end of a certain limited period that house and all its surroundings was to go to the landlord with- 249 out the slightest consideration for it, notwithstanding the fact that the full rent had been paid all the time? That, he thought, was confiscation of the grossest character. One instance of such confiscation had come within his own knowledge. A piece of land was let for a considerable number of years to people who had collected the money for the purpose of building a Dissenting place of worship. On the death of the landowner he was succeeded by his son, who had strong views on the subject of religion, and who was opposed to Dissent. On the expiration of the lease he refused to renew it, although the full rent was offered for the premises just as it would be if the building had been then newly erected, the consequence being that the law was thus made an engine of religious opinion, and the place was taken for a chapel of ease of another denomination. That was a grievance of a very serious character. It was because this sort of confiscation could and did take place that he ventured to think that the observation made by the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill), that there was no distinction between urban and agricultural improvements, was perfectly well-founded. They had granted the principle in regard to agricultural improvements, and they must go on with it in regard to other improvements as well. It was not likely that the Bill would be passed in the present Session, and they might succeed, in a Division, in overwhelming any arguments that might be brought forward by its supporters in its favour; but before very long, as sure as they were born, they would see an alteration in this respect, and it would be an impossibility for those great estates to be piled together that they had seen in London. He was not particular as to the absolute requirements of the Bill; but the principle at its bottom was one they must fight for and maintain. They must establish some principle, either from the Government Bench or from private Benches—he did not mind which—by means of which there should be no confiscation of that which was the substantial value of the land where the property had been built. He did not say that the Bill was the best means of carrying out the principle; but he should vote for it as supporting the principle with which it dealt.
§ MR. TYSSEN AMHERST
said, that during that discussion a good deal had been mentioned about large estates; but they had not heard so much of small estates. This Bill would affect hundreds, or rather thousands, of owners of freehold property let on leases, and would only affect a few whose property was very large. With regard to the object of the Bill, there could be no doubt that it had been brought forward with good intentions for the benefit of the working classes; but it was far too sweeping a measure. He was glad to see that there was to be a Royal Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes, and that the name of the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst) was upon it. It was possible that they might find out that there had been many defects in the management of large estates, and perhaps where they were least expected. He thought that neither the hon. Member for Stoke, nor any of those who had supported the Bill, had shown by their arguments that there was a necessity for such a measure as this. No doubt, before the Royal Commission, landowners would be made to see themselves as others saw them, though he considered it was very desirable that house property should be held largely in one hand in order that improvements might be effected. Speaking of his own experience of houses of a small class at the expiration of a long lease erected by the lessee, there being no restrictive covenants in the North-East of London, he said he divided the houses into three classes—those that fell down themselves, those that the police ordered to be pulled down, and those that he pulled down himself; and he thought it right to make a sacrifice, by rebuilding those houses more substantially than they had been previously built for the same class of occupants. In introducing the Bill, the hon. Member for Stoke had said that the freeholder had no right to the increased value of his land at the expiration of a long lease. He would not find many Members of that House prepared to go with him in that. One great difficulty which the Royal Commission would probably find out was the increase of large towns, which had grown more rapidly of late. Houses of the character sometimes described as "cobweb" might have been built when the land was only let for farm or dairy 251 purposes, and when there wore no restrictions as to their character. It would be better, perhaps, if the landlord could buy up the remainder of the lease, so as to reconstruct them. He considered the Bill was far too sweeping in its character, and that it went far beyond the present state of the dwellings in the large towns; and he felt sure that the measure would not meet with any large response in the House. If there were evils in the present system, by all means let them be exposed and remedied; but that should not be done by the passing of a measure which would effectually destroy all stability in property. He, therefore, hoped that the House would refuse it a second reading.
§ MR. BROADHURST
said, he was greatly relieved to find that so little could be said against the proposals contained in the Bill as had been urged by such a high authority on the subject as the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General. They had heard the worst that could be said against it, and there was no objection to it that could not be easily and justly overcome. He would appeal to the House to come to a decision on the question, and give an expression of their opinions in the Division Lobby.
§ SIR HARDINGE GIFFARD
said, that the hon. Member who brought forward the Bill (Mr. Broadhurst) appeared to be really placing additional restrictions on the free exercise and development of property and capital, which was the best security for national prosperity. Much of the speech of the hon. Member for Stoke contained only what might be, with equal reason, stated of many other matters, for it was to the effect that there were many social evils which ought to be removed. The point upon which he (Sir Hardinge Giffard) could not agree with the hon. Gentleman was, that the Bill showed any tendency to remove the evils complained of. He could not see that its provisions would at all tend in the direction of improving the dwellings of the poor in towns. The Bill placed restrictions on the free development of property and capital; and if the hon. Member opposite succeeded in getting his Bill read a second time, he would do the very thing he desired to avoid. He would interfere with that which, in due course, might find 252 its own remedy; but certainly not by restrictions of the kind proposed, for the Bill would interfere with that freedom of action which would be the best means of remedying the state of affairs to which he referred. The hon. Member seemed to hold that it would be for the advantage of the State that, under certain circumstances, certain owners of property in land should not be allowed to use their property in their own way, but should be compelled to sell it for the accommodation of particular persons, although only for private purposes; and that, also, was the argument of the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Waddy). It was argued that there were persons who must live near their work; and, therefore, they ought to have the freehold. That might be the case, but that was not in the present Bill. It might be the fact that persons desiring to continue to worship where they had been in the habit of doing so would be turned out by a particular lease; but it did not follow that on that account the whole power of leasing property should be altered. Those persons might be permitted—in order that a sacred edifice might not afterwards be robbed of its character—to purchase in perpetuity for such a purpose. That might be quite right; but what he wished to point out was that that was not the meaning of the Bill. He must confess that he felt some little alarm at the remarks of his noble Friend the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill), who seemed disposed to argue in this spirit— "Well, you, the owners of capital and of money, have thought proper to advance legislation in the direction of punishing agricultural landlords; we will take care that the same thing is applied to you, and that the owners of property in large towns shall be served in the same way." He (Sir Hardinge Giffard) failed to see that there was any such necessity, and thought it was hardly a good ground for legislation. The true objection to the Bill was that it affected to put into the hands of the State a matter in which everybody ought to be open to do as he pleased, and which ought to be the subject of private enterprize and control. The hon. Member for Stoke had talked of people being enabled to purchase their own houses; but there were two difficulties in the way of that. The first of them had reference to leases; 253 but the other, and much more formidable difficulty, was that of money. Where was the money to come from? The persons who could purchase their own houses were a very limited class. He (Sir Hardinge Giffard) supposed that the next proposal would be that if persons could not find the money the State should supply it. ["No, no!"] He knew that the hon. Member did not say that, because he had repudiated Mr. George and all his works; but that was exactly one of those Bills which advanced the small end of the wedge of dealing with other people's property. As the hon. Member for Knaresborough (Mr. T. Collins) had suggested, if they got in the small end of the wedge, and Parliament adopted the principle, the rest would follow. Now, that was why he (Sir Hardinge Giffard) opposed that Bill. Its principle he would not call Communistic; but it dealt with other people's property in a very loose way, and when the thin end of the wedge had been inserted, the State would by-and-bye be asked to go further, and in the direction of setting up a pauper proprietory in the neighbourhood of large towns. That seemed to him to be a somewhat dangerous principle; and thinking that it was only the commencement of the system of legislation which Mr. George advocated, although its supporters repudiated that gentleman's doctrines, he must vote against the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. WALTER
said, he wished to say a few words founded on his own personal experience in that matter. Having a lease of a house under a large landholder in London, he had as much interest as anybody could have in wishing to become the freeholder of that house; but he thought that the Bill which the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst) had introduced would only enable him to commit an act of great injustice and wrong towards his landlord. Thirty-six years ago he purchased the fag-end of a lease of a house in a street in the West End of London; and when the expiration of the term was approaching, it became his business to consider whether he should remain, or should go elsewhere. The ground-rent was very moderate, and the taxes were also very moderate. He, however, preferred the locality, and rebuilt the house. His ground-rent was increased, and his taxes also, unfor- 254 tunately, were increased; but as for his not being a free agent in the matter, and as to there not being perfect freedom of contract between himself and his ground landlord, such an idea was perfect nonsense and a mere delusion. And as to the system of leases leading only to the building of rubbishy houses which would only last 50 years, he repudiated the notion. His house would be as good 200 years hence as it was now. But there was one point in that Bill which it was of great importance to mention, and which had not yet been noticed by any hon. Member. The Bill was so comprehensive that it applied not only to the case of a ground landlord, but to all landlords who had a residuary future interest which would accrue to them after the term of the lease had expired. Therefore, supposing any person in London had built on any freehold property, and let it on a lease for more than 21 years, the tenant, according to the provisions of that Bill, would be entitled to say to the landlord— "I prefer to stay where I am; we will have your interest assessed; I will remain; you take your money and go about your business." The Bill would enable the tenant to do that. If they once admitted that principle where were they to stop? Why was 21 years to be the time? Why not 10 years? He might build a house on his freehold property and let it for seven, 14, or 21 years; and according to the principle of the Bill—the object of which was to enable a greater number of persons to live in their own houses—that tenant would have a perfect right to say to him— "I am your tenant; I have got a lease of your house; it is desirable in the interest of the State that the tenant should be the freeholder, and not the leaseholder; I demand to change places with you; the value of your interest is so much; take your money and be off." He thought that the House should hesitate long before it gave a second reading to such a Bill; and he, for one, could not consent to its principle, which he looked upon as being very objectionable.
said, he had listened to the speeches that had been delivered from both sides of the House; and, as far as he had been able to judge, the only Conservative speech that had been delivered was that of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney Gene- 255 ral. As a humble Member of that Party, he rose principally for the purpose of protesting against and repudiating the monstrous doctrines which had been set forth by the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill), and the attacks he had made upon the owners of large estates in towns. He was confident if they once began to confiscate the estates of landowners, they would go on and confiscate the best part of the country; and he did not see what was to prevent an impoverished squire, who had built a couple of cottages for his labourers, having them taken away from him and made freeholds, if the policy of the noble Lord became law. If that was to be the policy of the Tory Democratic Party, he should say that the policy of the Tory Democratic Party was rank Socialism—a policy of plunder and confiscation. He declined to follow a policy which was simply that of Henry George and rank plunder.
§ MR. WARTON
, who rose amid cries of "Divide!" said, he earnestly protested against the idea that certain hon. Members had the power of saying when; the House should divide upon a Bill. The only portion of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock's (Lord Randolph Churchill's) speech with which he agreed was his comment upon the conduct of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General in reference to the Irish Land Bill. He (Mr. Warton) was glad, however, to see that the hon. and learned Gentleman was now penitent. He thought his speech was a convincing answer to the proposition contained in the Bill before the House; and he was glad to find that the opinion he had long formed as regarded the hon. and learned Gentleman was quite right, that at heart he was a true Conservative, and that he only took up the principles of confiscation when the Prime Minister wished him to do so. He felt bound to oppose the Bill, which he looked upon as being, if possible, a stronger measure of confiscation than even the Irish Land Act.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 104; Noes 168: Majority 64.257
|Anderson, G.||Arnold, A.|
|Armitage, B.||Barclay, J. W.|
|Armitstead, G.||Baxter, rt. hon. W. E.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Mayne, T.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Monk, C. J.|
|Bolton, J. C.||Moore, A.|
|Borlase, W. C.||Morley, A.|
|Brogden, A.||O'Brien, W.|
|Buchanan, T. R.||O'Connor, T. P.|
|Buxton, F. W.||O'Gorman Mahon, Col.The|
|Buxton, S. C.|
|Caine, W. S.||Otway, rt. hn. Sir A. J.|
|Cameron, C.||Palmer, C. M.|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Palmer, G.|
|Carbutt, E. H.||Palmer, J. H.|
|Chambers, Sir T.||Parker, C. S.|
|Churchill, Lord R.||Parnell, C. S.|
|Clarke, J. C.||Potter, T. B.|
|Collings, J.||Price, Captain G. E.|
|Collins, T.||Puleston, J. H.|
|Corbet, W. J.||Pulley, J.|
|Cowen, J.||Rathbone, W.|
|Dodds, J.||Rendel, S.|
|Edwards, P.||Richard, H.|
|Ewing, A. O.||Roberts, J.|
|Fairbairn, Sir A.||Robertson, H.|
|Farquharson, Dr. R.||Roe, T.|
|Ferguson, R.||Rogers, J. E. T.|
|Forster, Sir C.||Ross, C. C.|
|Fry, T.||Rylands, P.|
|Gorst, J. E.||Sexton, T.|
|Gray, E. D.||Shaw, T.|
|Hastings, G. W.||Sheridan, H. B.|
|Healy, T. M.||Simon, Serjeant J.|
|Henderson, F.||Smith, S.|
|Hill, A. S.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Holden, I.||Summers, W.|
|James, C.||Thompson, T. C.|
|Jenkins, Sir J. J.||Tillett, J. H.|
|Kenny. M. J.||Vivian, Sir H. H.|
|Kinnear. J.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Labouchere, H.||Waddy, S. D.|
|Laing, S.||Waugh, E.|
|Leake, R.||Webster, J.|
|Lechmore, Sir E. A. H.||Williams, S. C. E.|
|Lloyd, M.||Williamson, S.|
|M'Arthur, Sir W.||Willyams, E. W. B.|
|M'Arthur, A.||Wilson, Sir M.|
|M'Carthy, J.||Wolff, Sir H. D.|
|Mac Iver, D.||Wortley, C. B. S.|
|Mackintosh, C. F.|
|Mappin, F. T.||TELLERS.|
|Mason, H.||Broadhurst, H.|
|Matheson, Sir A.||Reid, R. T.|
|Ainsworth, D||Birkbeck, E.|
|Alexander, Major-Gen.||Blackburne, Col. J. I.|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Boord, T. W.|
|Archdale, W. H.||Brinton, J.|
|Asher, A.||Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.|
|Balfour, Sir G.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. J. B.||Bruce, hon. R. P.|
|Balfour, A. J.||Bulwer, J. R.|
|Baring, Viscount||Buxton, Sir R. J.|
|Barnes, A.||Cameron, D.|
|Barran, J.||Cartwright, W. C.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Cavendish, Lord E.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Christie, W. L.|
|Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks-||Clarke, E.|
|Clive, Col. hon. G. W.|
|Bective, Earl of||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Compton, F.|
|Biddulph, M.||Coope, O. E.|
|Cotes, C. C.||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Cowper, hon. H. F.||Lopes, Sir M.|
|Craig, W. V.||Lowther, rt. hon. J.|
|Creyke, R.||Lowther, J. W.|
|Crichton, Viscount||M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.|
|Cropper, J.||M'Lagan, P.|
|Cubitt, right hon. G.||Makins, Colonel W. T.|
|Curzon, Major hon. M.||Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.|
|Dawnay, Col. hon. L. P.|
|De Worms, Baron H.||Master, T. W. C.|
|Digby, Colonel hon. E.||Mills, Sir C. H.|
|Dixon Hartland, F. D.||Monckton, F.|
|Douglas, A. Akers-||Moreton, Lord|
|Duff; R. W.||Morgan, rt. hon. G. O.|
|Dundas, hon. J. C.||Morgan, hon. F.|
|Ecroyd, W. F.||Moss, R.|
|Egerton, hon. A. de T.||Mowbray, rt. Hon. Sir J. R.|
|Egerton, hon. A. F.|
|Egerton, Admiral hon. F.||Muntz, P. H.|
|Newdegate, C. N.|
|Elliot, hon. A. R. D.||Nicholson, W. N.|
|Elliot, G. W.||Noel, E.|
|Elton. C. I.||Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.|
|Feilden, Lieut. - General R. J.|
|Northcote, H. S.|
|Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W.||Paget, R. H.|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Paget, T. T.|
|Forester, C. T. W.||Pease, A.|
|Foster, W. H.||Percy, rt. hon. Earl|
|Fowler, rt. hon. R. N.||Percy, Lord A.|
|Fremantle, hon. T. F.||Phipps, C. N. P.|
|Gardner. R. Richardson-||Ramsay, J.|
|Garnier, J. C.||Ramsden, Sir J.|
|Gibson, right hon. E.||Rankin, J.|
|Giffard, Sir H. S.||Read, C. S.|
|Gladstone, W. H.||Rendlesham, Lord|
|Glyn, hon. S. C.||Ritchie, C. T.|
|Goldney, Sir G.||Rolls, J. A.|
|Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.||Ross, A. H.|
|Gower, hon. E. F. L.||Round, J.|
|Grant, Sir G. M.||Russell, Lord A.|
|Grant, A.||Salt, T.|
|Grantham, W.||Scott, Lord H.|
|Grosvenor, right hon. Lord R.||Scott, M. D.|
|Seely, C. (Lincoln)|
|Gurdon, R. T.||Seely, C. (Nottingham)|
|Hamilton, I. T.||Severne, J. E.|
|Harcourt, rt. hn. Sir W. G. V. V.||Smith, rt. hon. W. H.|
|Stanley, rt. hon. Col. F.|
|Hayter, Sir A. D.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Heneage, E.||Sykes, C.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Herschell, Sir F.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Hicks, E.||Tavistock, Marquess of|
|Hill, T. R.||Thornhill, T.|
|Holland, Sir H. T.||Thynne, Lord H. F.|
|Holland, S.||Tollemache, H. J.|
|Home, Lt.-Col. D. M.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Hope, right hon. A. J. B. B.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|
|Hopwood, C. H.||Warton, C. N.|
|Jackson, W. L.||West, H. W.|
|James, Sir H.||Whitley, E.|
|Kennaway, Sir J. H.||Wiggin, H.|
|Kensington, rt. hn. Lord||Wilson, C. H.|
|Kingscote, Col. R. N. F.||Wilson, I.|
|Knightley, Sir R.||Winn, R.|
|Lawrance, J. C.||Wodehouse, E. R.|
|Legh, W. J.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Leighton, Sir B.|
|Levett, T. J.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Lewis, C. E.||Lymington, Viscount|
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Second Reading put off for six months.