HC Deb 06 August 1900 vol 87 cc799-805

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."

MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)

moved that the Amendments be considered that day three months. He made no apology for taking this action against the Bill even at this late stage of the session. His hon. friends and himself had felt it to be their duty to meet this measure with the most determined opposition at every stage, and they were determined to continue that opposition to the end. From their point of view, this was one of the many measures by which Her Majesty's present advisers had sought to undo the effect upon the landlords of Ireland of the different Land Acts which had been passed for the relief of the tenants in Ireland. Speakers from the Liberal benches had described this measure as one introduced by the Government for the purpose of giving doles to certain classes of their Unionist supporters. That part of the subject had been ably dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman the late Home Secretary, and he did not propose to say anything about it. He would confine himself to the effect of this Bill upon Ireland. Some difference of opinion arose as to the manner in which the landlords received, when originally proposed, the measure which enabled them to buy out for a certain number of years the tithe rent-charge. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh strongly denied that this boon, or, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer-called it, this bribe, was received with any great manifestation of gratification on their part. But there was one point, with regard to the manner in which the speech introducing the Irish Church Bill was received as to which there was and could be no contest, and that was the feeling of emotion and satisfaction with which the announcement was received that a portion of the funds received from the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church would be devoted to the relief of unavoidable misery. Everybody assumed at the time, and rightly assumed, that what Mr. Gladstone, in that great and historic speech, meant by that was that the funds he was compelled, in the-interest of religious equality, to divert from the support of a particular religious, body would be so far reserved for, so to speak, spiritual purposes.


Order, order! The hon. Member is at liberty to discuss the general effect of the Lords Amendments to the Bill, but he cannot enter into a. discussion of a Second Beading nature.


said he had endeavoured to ascertain the exact limits prescribed by the rules of the House, but-he had misunderstood the information given to him. He thought he might be in order in discussing the general policy of the Bill, but, after the ruling from the Chair, it would be most improper to pursue that line of discussion. He regarded it as something of a Parliamentary indecency that the Government should persist in this Bill at this time of the session, and should introduce two or three days before the final sitting of the session Amendments so important as those, which had been made in the House of Lords. When he was told that he might discuss the effect of the Lords Amendments, he was sorry to say that he found it somewhat difficult to respond to the suggestion, because, though he had gone over these Amendments several times, he must say that some of the provisions remained almost as much a Chinese puzzle as they were before. So far as he was able to interpret these Amendments, they were for the purpose of making the Bill somewhat more favourable to the position of the landlords. If that was so he must enter a strong protest against the adoption of such a proposal at the eleventh hour of the session. He should await with some curiosity the explanation of these Amendments by the Attorney General.


Does the hon. Member move an Amendment?


Yes, Mr. Speaker. I beg to move that the Lords Amendments be considered this day three months.


seconded the motion. He said that, although the Amendments were technically in order, practically this was a measure dealing with money. If this money had come as a fresh grant from the public funds, these Amendments could not be considered at all, but as they were dealing with the Irish Church Fund the Amendments were technically in order. Not one line or dot in this Bill, which had been discussed in Committee of this House for nearly eight days, had been allowed to be put in the measure in consequence of Amendments from the Irish Benches. He believed he was right in stating that every one of these Amendments which the House was now asked to accept had been proposed in the House of Lords by a Minister of the Crown, Lord Ashbourne. He considered that these changes made a fresh raid on the Irish Church Fund in favour of the landlords. Therefore, he thought lie was perfectly in order in denouncing

this measure as a fraud on the original Irish Church Act. There was one Amendment in particular which he thought was exceedingly wrong, and that was the Amendment to the fourth section.

The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRE, LAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR, Leeds, Central)

That is merely a drafting Amendment.


said the Amendment was not made at the time it was proposed by his hon. friend, who represented one of the divisions of Cornwall, because the Government and the Attorney General felt that if the Amendment was accepted it would give the House a chance of discussing the Bill again on Report. He thought that course was exceedingly wrong. This was undoubtedly another raid on the Church Fund, and more especially was this the case in regard to Lord Ashbourne's poor-rate Amendment. He should oppose those Amendments, because they facilitated a further raid on the Irish Church Fund in the interests of one class who were the most worthless class in any community.

Amendment proposed— To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon tins day three months.'"—(Mr. T. P. O'Connor.)

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

The House divided:—Ayes, 85; Noes, 49. (Division List No. 282.)

Arnold, Alfred Collings, lit. Hon. Jesse Heath, James
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Colomb, Sir John Charles R. Hill, Rt. Hon. A. S. (Staffs.)
Atkinson, lit. Hon. John Curzon, Viscount Howard, Joseph
Balcarres, Lord Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chath'm Hudson, George Bickersteth
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J.(Manch'r) Denny, Colonel Hutton, John (Yorks., N.R.)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W.(Leeds) Douglas, lit. Hon. A. Akers- lumber, Henry
Barnes, Frederick Gorell Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Lafone, Alfred
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H.(Brist'l) Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Laurie, Lieut.-General
Bhundell, Colonel Henry Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a
Bowles, T. Gibson(King'sLynn) Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Brassey, Albert Fisher, William Hayes Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Flannery, Sir Fortescue Lowles, John
Burdett-Coutts, W. Flower, Ernest Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.) Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Lowther, Rt. Hn J W (Cumb'l'nd
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Gordon, Hon. John Edward Lucas-Shadwell, William
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm.) Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Macarthey, W. G. Ellison
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Goschen, Rt. Hn G J(St George's Maclure, Sir John William
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Halsey, Thomas Frederick M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Win. Malcolm, Ian
Maple, Sir John Blundell Purvis, Robert Tritton, Charles Ernest
Morrison, Jas. A. (Wilts, S.) Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T. Vincent, Cl. Sir C. E. H. (Sheff'ld
Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford) Royds, Clement Molyneux Welby, Lt-Col. A. C. E. (Tauntn
Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute) Russell, T. W. (Tyrone) Williams, Jos. Powell (Birm.)
Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry) Sharpe, William Edward T. Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull)
Murray, Col. W. (Bath) Smith, James P. (Lanarks) Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)
Newdigate, Francis Alex. Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk) Wyndham, George
Percy, Earl Stanley, Edw. J. (Somerset) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Phillpotts, Captain Arthur Thornton, Percy M. Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edw. Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. M.
Abraham, William(Cork, N. E. Griffith, Ellis J. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Asquith, Ht Hon Herbert Henry Haldane, Bichard Burdon Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Sinclair, Capt. John(Forfarsh.)
Baker, Sir John Hazell, Walter Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Blake, Edward Hogan, James Francis Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Bramsdon, Thomas Arthur Jones, David B. (Swansea) Steadman, William Charles
Brigg, John Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Burns, John Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumberl'd Tanner, Charles Kearns
Burt, Thomas Lloyd-George, David Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)
Caldwell, James Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Ure, Alexander
Cameron, Robert (Durham) MacDonnell, Dr. M. A.(Qn's Co Whiteley, George (Stockport)
Channing, Francis Allston M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Wilson, Henry J.(York, W. R.)
Crilly, Daniel Mather, William Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Dilke, Kt. Hon. Sir Charles Molloy, Bernard Charles
Doogan, P. C. O'Connor, James(Wicklow, W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Edwards, Owen Morgan Palmer, Sir Chas. M.(Durham) Mr. T. P. O'Connor and Mr. MacNeill.
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis Provand, Andrew Dryburgh

Lords Amendments as far as the Amendment in page 1, line 24, agreed to.

Lords Amendments considered.

Lords Amendment— In page 3, after line 40, insert:— '(2.) Where the hereditaments out of which the tithe rent-charge is payable are situate partly in an urban and partly in a rural district any question which may arise as to the portions of the tithe rent-charge which are to be deemed for the purposes of this section to be payable in respect of the parts of the hereditaments situate in the rural and urban districts respectively shall be referred to the Land Commission, whose decision shall be final. '(3.) Section 1 of the Tithe Kent-charge (Ireland) Act, 1848 (which provides for deduction from rent paid in respect of tithe rent-charge) shall apply, with the necessary modifications, where tithe rent-charge is reduced by virtue of this section, [and, in the application of the said Section 1 to tithe rent-charge payable out of hereditaments situate within a rural district, "one-quarter" shall be substituted for "one-half."].' —read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."


thought the Attorney General was treating the House scarcely fairly in pressing these Amendments without any explanation.

The ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Atkinson, Londonderry, N.)

explained that under Section 6 a difference was made in the deduction from the tithe rent according to whether a hereditament lay in a rural or an urban district. All that this section did was to enable the Land Commission to say how much should be taken as being in a rural, and how much in an urban district.

Lords Amendment— In page 4, line 25, after 'sale,' insert '(3.) Where the estate or interest conveyed was less than the fee-simple, this section shall not apply after the determination of such less estate or interest.' —read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."


was understood to state that the object of this Amendment was to shut out from the benefits of the Act any person who purchased one of the hereditaments which under the Act of 1836 made the owner liable to pay tithes.


opposed the Amendment, the effect of which was to make a fresh raid on the Irish Church Fund in the interest of the landlords. The Chief Secretary, on behalf of the Government, ought not to accept this Amendment to his own clause, introduced in fulfilment of a promise in the House. The clause, after seven days incubation in the Irish Office, was made as favourable to the landlords as was possible in the face of that promise, and it was not fair that it should now be made more favourable.


said the section in which these Amendments were inserted was a very complicated one. The hon. Member for North Louth suggested that the clause should apply only where there had been a sale of the fee simple, but the right hon. Gentleman the late Attorney General for Ireland thought that in addition it should include perpetual interest. That was accepted, but on further reflection it was thought desirable to except certain interests.

MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)

thought the Amendment simply carried out the intention of the original proposal, and therefore the explanation of the Chief Secretary should be accepted as reasonable and satisfactory.

Subsequent Amendments agreed to.