§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Sir Charles Forster.)
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, he rose to move that the Bill be re-committed in respect of Clause 5, which authorized the expenditure of a sum of £50,000 in the purchase of land near Huddersfield, to be settled as part of the Ramsden Estates. He had called the attention of the House to this matter yesterday; and, therefore, it was not necessary that he should trouble it with more than a few words upon the subject now. Hon. Members would be aware that last year the House unanimously adopted a Standing Order, on his Motion, which provided that the Chairman of Ways and Means should, in the case of a Private Estate Bill being brought before Parliament, which involved any extension of the area of settled land, make such Bill the subject of a special Report. In regard to this Bill, the Chairman of Ways and Means had thought proper to make such a Report to the House; and, therefore, having regard to that Report, he (Mr. Arthur Arnold) felt it his duty to raise an objection to the measure, because he conceived that although the terms of the Report were somewhat vague, it was clear, from the fact that a Report had been submitted, that it was considered by the Chairman of Ways and Means to come within the Standing Order. By Clause 5 of the Bill power was given, under the authority of Parliament, to extend the area of land under settlement. There could be no question about that, or the Chairman of Ways and Means would net have felt it his duty to make a Report. Some hon. Members might not agree with the opi- 1198 nions he held on the subject; but, to his mind, any facilities that were afforded for the settlement of land were highly objectionable, and an evil which ought to be resisted in the interests of the people at large. He therefore proposed to take a division on the Motion now made, in order that he might emphasize, by all the means in his power, his objection to the settlement of land; and he trusted that he would receive the support of all who were in favour of land reform.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "now read the third time," in order to add the words "re-committed in respect of Clause 5,"—(Mr. Arthur Arnold,)—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'now read the third time' stand part of the Question."
§ THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Sir ARTHUR OTWAY)
said, he was not surprised that his hon. Friend should have taken the steps he had taken in regard to this Estate Bill, when it was remembered that it was at the instance of his hon. Friend that the Standing Order was passed last year, and that this was the first occasion on which that Standing Order had been put in force. He was not surprised, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman should have taken the opportunity of calling attention to this provision of the Bill. But he hoped to be able in a very few words to dissipate all the apprehensions of his hon. Friend, and to show the House that there was no reason whatever why they should adopt the Motion of his hon. Friend, and re-commit the Bill. It was perfectly true, as his hon. Friend said, that the Bill proposed to tie up some land in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield, which at present was not in the position of settled land; but his hon. Friend had omitted to state that in this instance the principle in regard to the settlement of laud, to which his hon. Friend had so often called the attention of the House, was not in any way violated by the provisions of the present Bill. The trustees of the Ramsden Estates had power at present to entail and settle certain lands, and to purchase and settle other land in the 1199 neighbourhood of the family estate, in the parish of Byram. And what was simply proposed to be done by this Bill was this. A sum of £50,000 had been authorized to be raised under an Act of 1867, and with that money were empowered to purchase land in connection with the Byram Estates. The Bill now before the House simply provided that this sum of £50,000 might be expended in the purchase of land in connection with the Huddersfield, instead of the Byram Estates. The land at Huddersfield did not exceed in any way in area the land which would have been purchased in connection with the Byram property. On the contrary, it was somewhat less, and therefore the area of land tied up under the provisions of the Bill would not in reality be so large as the trustees of the Ramsden Estates were already empowered to purchase at Byram. He sympathized very much with the object of the hon. Member in regard to the settlement of land; but there was one argument used by his hon. Friend, when the Bill was before the House yesterday, which, in his (Sir Arthur Otway's) opinion, was altogether bad. His hon. Friend alleged that as land at Huddersfield was of greater value than land at Byram for building purposes there was a very strong objection to such land being tied up. His answer to that objection was that his hon. Friend was labouring under a delusion, and that the Act already passed authorized the purchase by the trustees of the Ramsden Estates of a certain amount of land to be placed in settlement. The Bill was a Lords Bill, and had come down to him as a Lords Bill, which had not only been passed by a Committee of that House after careful examination, but had also been examined by the Judges. When it came before him, he required evidence as to the examination it had received, and he was told that the Bill had been thoroughly investigated before it received the approval of the Lords' Committee. Therefore, looking at the fact that it involved no extension of area whatever, that it simply enabled a certain sum of money to be expended in connection with one part of Sir John Ramsden's estate, instead of another, and that it had received the approval of a Committee of the House of Lords, and also of the Judges of the land, he asked the House 1200 not to accept the proposal of his hon. Friend, but to read the Bill a third time.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, the point was simply this. The House was asked to agree to the settlement of land contrary to the view entertained last year, when the Standing Order was passed at the instance of his hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold). It was, no doubt, the fact that the House some years ago allowed the trustees of Sir John Ramsden's estates to buy a certain amount of land in Yorkshire, with a view of bringing it into settlement; but that was before the House had fully considered the matter, and before the Standing Order on the subject was passed. The House was now asked to give to the trustees of the Ramsden Estates the power of buying land and settling it at Huddersfield. That was a matter altogether different, and he would certainly vote against the proposal.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 48; Noes 25: Majority 23.—(Div. List, No. 272.)
§ Bill read the third time, and passed, without Amendment.