§ Order for Committee read.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
There is upon the Paper an Instruction in the name of the 435 hon. Member for East Mayo.* The rule as to Instructions for dividing a Bill into two Bills is that the Bill must either be one which is in two parts itself, or which relates to two separate and distinct subject-matters, so that it may naturally and easily be divided into two Bills. It appears to me that this Bill is a Bill for giving relief or concessions to the tithe-payers in Ireland, and although the first section proposes to give a special relief to a special class of tithe-payers, this does not constitute such a creation of two distinct matters as to facilitate a division into separate Bills. Therefore I am of opinion that the Instruction is out of order; but I may point out that the same result may be obtained by striking out the first clause and amending the definition clause by amendments in Committee.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:—
In page 1, line 9, after 'rent-charge' to insert 'and the land has not been, since the date of such order, conveyed to any person on a sale thereof.' "—(Mr. T. M. Healy.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY OF STATE FOR IRELAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR,), Leeds, Central
who was indistinctly heard, said this question did not appear to be quite so simple as the hon. and learned Gentleman apparently thought. There might be some justification for the Amendment on the ground that persons who had purchased an estate since 1872 upon which tithes were payable knew the exact position, and that any repayment or annuity payable out of the estate would have to be paid; but, on the other hand, hon. Members must remember the person who suffered the hardship was the vendor of the estate. He did not think it was possible to admit the principle of the hon. Gentleman's Amendment as regards estates sold between* The notice was as follows:—" That it be an instruction to the Committee to divide the Bill into two Bills, one dealing with the case of lay impropriate tithe-payers and the other with the case of ecclesiastical tithe-payers.436 1872 and 1896, but he was prepared to consider the question raised by this and the later Amendment which the hon. Gentleman had set down before the Report stage, with a view to its being dealt with in one clause.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
did not consider that the Report stage was the proper stage for the consideration of a matter of the kind raised by the Amendment he proposed. This was admittedly a blot upon the Bill, and it was essential that it should be remedied. If the Government were determined to pass a Bill against the wishes or desires of the Irish people by which a million and a quarter was to be given to the landlords, he would suggest that the Government should also at the same time give say £200,000 to tenants. He would be quite willing to withdraw his Amendment upon the promise of the right hon. Gentleman to put a clause into the Bill, of which fair notice had been given, if it were brought in before the conclusion of the Committee stage, so that it might be fairly discussed. The question before the Committee was one which greatly affected the Irish tenants. The Government passed for the benefit of those tenants the fortieth section of the Act of 1896. He voted against that section because he believed that instead of working for the benefit of the tenants it would work in favour of Irish land values, which, unfortunately, had been the case. Instead of the tenants getting the land which they desired, the Act had been availed of to put over the heads of the tenants, after they had made a market, these land grabbers. It was not the landlords who made the trouble, but the land grabbers, and those were the persons who were now to receive a bonus of 25 per cent. on their tithe rent charge, although they were clearly purchasers with notice. Take the case of the sale of the Muckross Estate, which had been purchased by Lord Ardilaun for £500,000; was he to receive a reduction of 25 per cent. in his tithe rent-charge because the men who lived on the bogs on his estate received 25 per cent. reduction on their rents? Was he in the same position as the ancient landed gentry, who had held their land since the time of Cromwell, in whose favour, perhaps, something might be said? The same state of things was going on all over the country, and, in his opinion, it was 437 most unjust. Not only were those people to get out of paying their tithes, but at the end of a number of years payment was to be cut down by seven years. Supposing the Committee were dealing with an English Bill, and a man went to Token-house Yard and purchased a property to be paid for by fifteen annual instalments; was it just that a Bill should be brought in the next year whereby those fifteen annual instalments should be reduced to eight? That is what the Bill now under consideration did. He had not put the case for the Irish landlords who had struggled and gone down; they might have an arguable case, but these people had no case at all. In 1869 the present Chancellor of the Exchequer denounced the action of Mr. Gladstone as sacrilege; were they now to give the benefit of that sacrilege to the persons who purchased their property the day before yesterday? When Mr. Gladstone was pulling down the Irish Church he was destroying an ancient institution, though he did his best to be friendly with his enemies; but he would turn in his grave if he thought that those persons were going to benefit by his action. Much as he (Mr. Healy) objected to the Bill, he had put down no Amendments of an obstructive kind. The Amendment before the Committee was of a businesslike character, and, if the right hon. Gentleman could not accept it at the moment, he would withdraw it upon the promise of the right hon. Gentleman that he would bring in a clause during the Committee stage of the Bill, when it could be dealt with in a businesslike manner.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
This Amendment is a valuable one, forming as it does a test of the bona fides of the Bill. We are told by the Chief Secretary that the Bill is introduced simply for the purpose of remedying a grievance. The hon. Member for North Louth brings in at the outset of the discussion an Amendment which deals with a case which the Government did not foresee. If this Bill is to remedy a grievance, why do not the Government accept this Amendment?— because the Government surely will not contend there is any grievance so far as the people who bought since 1872 are concerned; and it is quite true, as the hon. Member for North Louth said, that the land-grabbers who purchased estates 438 in this way had purchased them recently. But there were a great many purchases of estates before the purchase Acts were introduced. In the interval which elapsed between 1872 and 1885 there were a great many people who purchased upon notice as regards the burdens that this clause deals with, and therefore the Government cannot contend for a moment that they have any grievance whatever. The particular clause we are now discussing deals with cases of terminable annual instalments. There is no question as to the tithe rent-charge. There was previously a variable charge, but it has now become an invariable charge. There is only the annual instalment by which these people purchased their tithes. As regards this clause it cannot be pretended that any person who has bought an estate in Ireland has any grievance whatever to complain of. I cannot imagine that the Government can offer any reason for objecting at all events to the principle of the Amendment.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I am ready to meet, as far as I can, the views of the hon. Member for North Louth. The Government will draw up a clause dealing with this question, as well as the subsequent question raised by the hon. Member, and will give sufficient time for the House to consider it. I hope, on the other hand, that this particular bone of contention is removed for the present, and that the Government will be able to get the Bill through Committee this evening. I think I ought to say that while I will endeavour to meet the views of the hon. Member as far as possible, I do not wish him to be under the impression that I am giving a pledge beyond what I have already indicated as to the date of limitation. I will endeavour to frame a new clause which shall meet the case as far as equity requires.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
I think it would be much more satisfactory if the Government or the Committee were now to dispose of this Amendment. It must be borne in mind that it is not merely the hon. Member for Louth, or even hon. Members below the gangway, who are interested in this question, but that every Member of this House is more or less interested in the question which will ultimately, or may ultimately, affect the Imperial taxes; 439 because every penny that is taken away from the Church Fund by the operation of this Bill diminishes the security which the British taxpayer has now in case of default being made in the caraying out of the Land Purchase Acts of Ireland. Therefore I do not think it is satisfactory of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to say, "If you are satisfied with my engagement to bring up a particular clause you must give me an undertaking that the debate will close to-night." I confess that, for my part, I will give no such undertaking. I disapprove of the clause in toto, but assuming that, for the purpose of this Amendment, that clause will stand, I wish to point out why I think the Amendment of my hon. and learned friend the Member for North Louth should be adopted by the House. I do not think many Members of the House exactly understand the case. It must be borne in mind that redemption of tithe rent-charge was a voluntary act on the part of the tithe-payers, after the passing of the Irish Church Act of 1869. No tithe-payer was bound to come forward and enter into that arrangement by which the tithe was redeemable at the end of fifty-two years, or any other time. It was altogether optional. He might have gone on paying the rent-charge as before. This was a privilege given to them either to redeem by twenty-two and a half year's purchase, or instead of that, by paying an annuity terminable at the expiration of fifty-two years from the date of the order, and calculated on the basis of £4 9s. per cent. That was altogether a voluntary act. I know many tithe-payers who redeemed by paying twenty-two and a half years purchase. There is no relief offered to them. There is no restitution made or sought to be made to them.
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is now dealing with the point in the Amendment. I think the right hon. Gentleman might confine himself to that.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
It is impossible to illustrate my argument by always confining myself to the particular words of the Amendment. I am illustrating the argument that the persons who elected to convert their tithe rent-charge into this terminable annuity were volunteers. 440 They were under no compulsion to do so, and the State owes nothing to them any more than the State owes anything to those who put their hands into their pockets to redeem the tithe rent-charge by paying twenty two and a half years purchase. I happen myself to have done that many years ago. It never occurred to me that under any circumstances the House of Commons would give me the opportunity of getting a rebate on that amount. It is stated that the land is sold subject to this terminable annuity of fifty-two years, calculated at £4 9s. per cent., and that the purchaser, when calculating the purchase money, pays so much less because of that burden being on the estate, and why should he now get the benefit? It is really the vendors who would be entitled to that benefit. The vendors twenty or thirty years ago would be the persons entitled to get this drawback. The purchaser, with his eyes open, bought the estate subject to this charge, and now why should the person who so purchased—it may have passed through intermediate hands—get so much knocked off the purchase money? It appears to me the most illogical and unreasonable thing ever brought into Parliament in that respect. This Amendment would go a very short way to remedy the illogical nature, and the unjust nature, of the measure, but it would go some way, and at all events it would indicate that as regards those persons who were in possession of estates, or their immediate successors since 1869, who have not done anything either to redeem the tithe rent-charge, or to convert it into a terminable annuity, and who have suffered from the reduction of the rents paid by the occupying tenants, there might be some reason for saying that they should come in and get the benefit of that Act, but those who have purchased land on a particular basis, and who took the property subject to that charge are, it appears to mo, on an altogether different footing. I trust that this Amendment will be accepted by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. WILLIAM MOORE (Antrim, N.)
I should like to make a few observations on the Amendment. I think the object which the hon. Member for North Louth has announced as his object for moving the Amendment can be met without going a considerable 441 distance in what scorns to mo to be a dangerous direction. The present state of things arose owing to a miscalculation. The hon. Member for North Louth will admit that. [Mr. HEALY: No!] He does not admit it, but we on this side of the House say that the term of fifty-two years ought to have been forty-five years, and, as I understand, whether that assumption is right or wrong, the hon. Member for North Louth does not object to the application of this section in the case of those parties in whose possession the laud was originally. But this Amendment deals with those cases where the land has, since the order, changed hands. If the original owner is entitled to the relief the Bill gives, surely it would follow that any person who purchased his land would be entitled to whatever rights, as an ordinary matter of the law of property, the original owner might have. The hon. Member for North Louth objects to the clause because a land corporation or speculators may have come in and purchased the land, and it seems to me he makes a fair enough case for excluding that class of persons. I do not think any one can blame the procedure of the Land Judges Court, because it is the duty of a Land Judge to get all the money he can for the parties concerned. He is bound to realise at the highest price, no matter from what quarter it comes. But the 40th Section is not used to facilitate land purchases, and I would suggest that to meet the difficulty the hon. Member has stated as arising from the transactions of the Land Judges Court this Amendment should be limited to people who have come in over the tenants' heads. There may be a difficulty if you are going to apply it to every case of sale. Sale is a large word. There may be cases where there has been a mortgage, and where the mortgagee has foreclosed and come in. This is the way to meet the grievance to which the hon. Member for North Louth refers. I think that to do otherwise would be to go a considerable way in a dangerous direction.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
If I make a bargain by which I undertake to pay a certain number of annual or monthly instalments, it would be intolerable that an Act of Parliament should be brought in, and that I should be relieved out of the public funds of seven of those instalments. That is the proposition made 442 here. I remember what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said the other day when we pressed him about the income tax. We said the income tax under the arrangement made at the time of the Union was not payable in Ireland as it was in England or Scotland. His reply was: "When I find millionaires and speculators drawing large incomes in Ireland, why should not I make them pay income tax as in England and Scotland?" When you find millionaires picking up property in the open market, is it tolerable that you should consent to seven of their instalments being knocked off out of the public pocket? It is the most extravagant, erratic, and burlesque proposal I ever heard of. I felt it to be a grievance that I should have to pay anything towards the war in South Africa, because I did not contract it. These people entered into a contract by which they were subject to pay so many years instalments, and the Government now turned round and said they would, out of their kindness, let them off seven instalments, not out of English, but out of Irish money. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh once said —Whenever England wants to wipe away a tear from the eye of Ireland she is always careful to make Ireland pay for the pocket-handkerchief.It is one of the truest things ever said, and it is not the less true because it was said by the hon. and gallant Gentleman. They are ready enough to remedy the mistakes made against Irish millionaires when they have an intolerable grievance, but why do they not remedy the mistakes made against the Irish National teachers? When they make mistakes against Irish landlords they remedy them out of Irish funds, and the Government are now-making an assault upon the one petty little fund available in Ireland for education, in order to let the gentlemen who bought this land off seven years instalments. The English Government do many grotesque things, but I do not think that they ever in their wildest moments did anything like this. I can say no more. You can pass anything with regard to Ireland through this House. There was a time when these things caused amusement, but nothing amuses anybody now. You give Ireland £30,000 or £40,000 out of this fund to teach us how to churn butter one year, and the year after you take away from 443 us £1,500,000. If this grievance exists, why do you not remedy it out of the English funds? Why does the right hon. Gentleman not insist that the English should buy the pocket-handkerchief? He said that upon the hustings.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Well, then, you must have repeated it in the House. The Government in this matter have acted in a manner which is absolutely incomprehensible, for there was no pressure put upon them in regard to these new speculators. A more monstrous proposition never emanated from any Government.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
asked what understanding had been come to between the Chief Secretary and the hon. Member for North Louth.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The understanding is that at the end of the Committee stage I shall bring forward a new clause dealing with the question raised in the present Amendment. I understand that, under those circumstances, the hon. and learned Member for North Louth consents to the Committee stage being finished to-night.
§ MR. DILLON
I did not understand at all that the hon. Member for North Louth went so far as the right hon. Gentleman says. The hon. Member for North Louth made some observations as to the possibility of the Bill passing through Committee to-night, but that depends on the course of the discussion. Of course, if the Government are prepared to give any fair concessions, to meet our Amendments in a reasonable spirit, the Bill would pass more rapidly.
§ MR. FLYNN
said the more this clause was considered the more the justice of the Amendment must become apparent. There were cases in which speculators came in and bought land over the heads of the unfortunate tenants, and it was not fair that they should get the benefit of this clause. He thought that they were more than justified in insisting that there should be a discussion on this clause, and that the consideration of the new clause should not be relegated to the 444 hour of midnight. Something ought to be done to meet the views of those who were in favour of what seemed on all hands to be a most logical and proper Amendment.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
said that if what the Chief Secretary had stated did not carry out fully the views of the hon. Member for North Louth, it would at all events give a very large measure of what he desired. As he understood the arrangement, it was that the Committee stage should be finished that night, with the exception of the new clause which the Chief Secretary had undertaken to bring up, the discussion on which should be taken early on Thursday.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
said that his Amendment would be accepted in principle, and therefore, so far as he was concerned, he accepted the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. He begged leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. DILLON
We shall have an opportunity of discussing the Clause as a whole later on, and the Amendment I rise to move touches only in a very slight degree the principle of the clause. I desire at the very earliest moment to reply to the statement that the clause itself and the demand of the Irish landlords upon which it is founded spring from a miscalculation made in the settlement of 1869. There is not a shadow of foundation for that statement. It rests upon an absolute invention which was first heard of thirty years after that settlement was arrived at, and which till then had never been stated by the Irish landlords or anybody on their behalf. The point was raised in the House of Lords in 1894 by Lord Belmore when he asked why the Treasury in 1869 recommended the Government to alter the terms of the annuity of £4 10s., including interest at 3½ per cent. for forty-five years, to an annuity of £4 9s. for fifty-two years, and he insinuated at the time that there had been a miscalculation on the part of the Treasury. Here is the answer of the Treasury in the Memorandum of June, 1895—The Land Commissioners have recommended that in such cases the terms of 445 redemption of the perpetual tithe should be reduced from twenty-two and a half years' purchase, the rate prescribed by the Acts of 1869 and 1872, to twenty years' purchase, but the Treasury have not felt justified in concurring in this proposal. The primary reason which led this Board and their predecessors to that conclusion was the very serious loss which this proposal, and the consequences which might be apprehended from it, would inflict on the Church Fund. The possible amount of that loss was estimated by the Land Commission in 1888 at £845,000, supposing the concession limited to the tithe only, "without application to other portions of the Church property; and it may be taken as certain that no such amount could now he surrendered without serious risk to the solvency of the Church Fund. Other considerations, however, affecting the proposal on its merits cannot be overlooked, two of which the First Lord may place on record:—(1) It is in effect a compulsory reduction of the (statutory) value of one particular charge on the land—namely, that held in trust for Irish public purposes, unaccompanied by any suggestion of reduction in other and less will-secured charges such as mortgages. Measuring the security of a charge by the rate of interest which it carries this proposal would treat the tithe as a 5 per cent. charge, and, therefore, as being no better secured than mortgages carrying 5 per cent. interest, and worse secured than those carrying 4½ per cent. As all such mortgages are posterior to tithe the First Lord thinks that the statutory price of twenty-two and a half years' purchase, implying interest at 4½ per cent., is not illiberal to the tithe payer in view of the ordinary rates of interest on mortgages on Irish land.(2) This proposal to treat the tithe as no better secured than a 5 per cent. charge is in striking contrast to the suggestion that loans from the Church Fund on precisely the same security should be made at a rate not exceeding 3½ or even 3 per cent., which rates involve a high estimate of the security. It would be extremely illogical, apart from other objections, to apply simultaneously both these methods of relieving the tithe-payer at the cost of the Church Fund.In conclusion, the First Lord desires to remark that he has endeavoured in this memorandum to distinguish between the matters for which the Board is, and those for which it is not, responsible. In the case of the former, it is their Lordships' duty to defend their own decisions; but as to the latter, it is only necessary to state facts and figures for the consideration of the Legislature.For thirty years this tithe rent-charge was accepted as a, first statutory charge on the land of the owners who were subject to it without any complaint or suggestion that it was otherwise than fair and legal. What is the nature of the clause we are now discussing? Under 446 the Church Act of 1869, by Clause 32 the tithe rent-charge payers of Ireland were entitled, if they so desired, to redeem the tithe rent-charge by an annual payment for fifty-two years equal to the perpetual payment to which they wore subject. There was no question of the amount of interest or sinking fund, but they were given permission as a bribe to get rid of a perpetual charge on their estates by a terminable annuity extending over fifty-two years. What landlord or private individual owning property is there in this House who would not accept such a generous settlement? Moreover, no Irish landlord was compelled to accept those terms. After the clause was passed any landlord who redeemed on those terms entered into a voluntary contract with the Church Fund and the Government—a contract which he was bound to observe. Landlords were subject to the tithe rent-charge to the extent of nearly half the revenue of the Church Fund arising from tithe redeemed, and we have to remember the extent to which that redemption has gone and the amount of the present terminable annuities. According to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on Church Temporalities in Ireland for the year ending 31st March, 1898, the annuities amounted to £167,717 per annum. Therefore, what is proposed in this clause is to strike off seven instalments of those annuities. I am going to move an Amendment which will have this effect—that instead of presenting to the Irish landlords a sum of considerably over £1,000,000, we should content ourselves with giving them a sum of £167,000, that is to say, one annual instalment instead of seven. Although I do not intend on this Amendment to raise the whole question of the principle of the clause, I have thought it light to take the opinion of the House on this particular question, so that if we are to make any gift at all to the Irish landlords it shall be not £1,200,000, but only £167,000. I beg to move.
In page 1, line 10, to leave out the words 'forty-five,' and insert the words 'fifty-one.'"—(Mr. Dillon.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'forty-five' stand part of the Clause."447
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The hon. Member for East Mayo said he did not desire to discuss the principle of the clause on this Amendment, but it appeared to me that at least four-fifths of the speech to which we have listened was, as a matter of fact, devoted to the general principle of the clause, and not to the Amendment. With respect to the Amendment I will only say that the case for reducing the number of years purchase to fifty-two was thought at the time to be overwhelming, but that was because a miscalculation was made. If we were to accept the hon. Member's Amendment to reduce the number of annual instalments by one, we should be cutting the ground from under our own feet; therefore, it is not an Amendment the Government could possibly accept.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
wished in the strongest way permitted by Parliamentary language to deny the assertion that there was any miscalculation in this matter. Lord Belmore, who was the first to start this claim, was a young man in the House of Lords at the time the Church Act was passed, but he did not oppose the settlement. A very eminent landlord on the opposite side of the House voted for the disestablishment of the Irish Church, but he never saw that he was being robbed, or that a mistake was being made. The hon. Member himself could remember the fearful prophecies that were made at the time of the passage of the Church Act as to what would become of the funds of the Irish Church; it was said that the money would go to the building of lunatic asylums and lighthouses and so on, but instead of that it was being used to make presents to the landlords. This was not the first time that that which belonged to the Irish people had been taken and given to a class of land-jobbers, but he defied anybody to find, in the whole English Statute-book, a proposal more audacious than that now before the Committee. Without difficulty he could make a list of under thirty names which would comprise the men who would benefit the most by this Bill, and no fewer than five members of Her Majesty's Government would by it shovel public money into their own pockets.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said he was addressing himself to the monetary interest of the members of the Government in this proposal. He should resist this. Bill by every means in his power, and when it was passed denounce it on every possible occasion throughout the country.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I think there are one or two matters in reference to this Amendment on which the Committee ought to be informed before they come to. a decision. The Chief Secretary has stated that the fifty-two years was based originally on a miscalculation, but he has not informed the Committee what that miscalculation was or wherein the error consisted. I apprehend that it was an arbitrary figure determined upon, when giving; an option to tithe-payers which they might either adopt or refuse. I presume the right hon. Gentleman will state to the House how he makes out that this was an actuarial error. The other matter upon which I should like a little information is this. At present the great majority of tithe rent-charges in Ireland have not been either redeemed or converted into terminable annuities. Will this section enable future buyers to get this, advantage?
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
Clause 4 is only in regard to redemptions. There is nothing to prevent a person who is now liable to pay the regular tithe rent-charge as fixed by the Act of 1872, coming in the day after this Bill is passed, and converting that into a terminable annuity.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON,) Londonderry, N.
My right hon. friend is quite mistaken; he is led entirely astray in his remarks by the assumption that this payment is not a sale. There is no difference between a sale when you pay cash down, and a sale when the purchase money is in annuities. Both are sales within the express wording of the Act.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I do not agree with my right hon. friend. There 449 is no definition of "sale" in the Act. There will be exactly the same happen as was the case with the Land Act of 1896: it will be a puzzle for the Courts to solve.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I think this should be discussed on the clause itself, and not on the Amendment, and the hon. Member for East Mayo has succeeded in getting a double discussion on the principle of the clause. As, however, he has insisted on raising this point, let me at once say that, if the right hon. Gentleman opposite will read Section 32 of the Irish Church Act, 1869, he will see that what is contemplated is a sale. I think the right hon. Gentleman will now admit that in both cases, whether the payment is by a lump sum or by annuity, it is a sale.
§ MR. DILLON
The right hon. Gentleman has made the charge against me that in moving this Amendment I have got a double discussion on the principle of this clause. I particularly said that I intended to be brief, and I was brief, because I did not want to discuss the principle of the clause. But this Amendment plainly involves that principle. The principle of the clause is to make a further gift to people who have no claim whatever to such a gift, and it is perfectly legitimate in a few words to show that that is the principle, and therefore is a ground for reducing the amount of that gift. If the gift is to be made at all it will be less objectionable if the amount is £167,000 instead of £1,200,000. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to a point which I intended to raise—namely, that the transaction we are now called upon to undo was a sale, and a sale carried out in most eases thirty years ago. It was no miscalculation, but a sale carried out at twenty-two and a half years purchase, the landlord being allowed to
§ borrow the money from the Church Fund at a very low rate of interest to pay for the thing he had bought. There is overwhelming force in the case put forward by the right hon. Gentleman below me of those who put their hands into their pockets and paid cash.
§ MR. DILLON
Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that nobody paid for their tithe rent-charge in cash?
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
Those who redeemed their tithe rent-charge in cash in 1872 redeemed the net tithe rent-charge and not the gross.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN (Tyrone, Mid)
supported the Amendment on the ground that it was the lesser of two evils. He objected entirely to the principle at the bottom of this proposal, and could not make out why the Government, without any pressure from any quarter, should wish to disturb a settlement of such a character. Such a course was not in the interest of any great public policy, and it certainly would not pacify the country. He was rather curious to know what defence the right hon. Gentleman would make for carrying out such a settlement. He claimed that he was doing it as an act of justice, but he did not see where the injustice of the present system came in. These parties entered into their contracts voluntarily, and they did so because they thought it would be profitable, and why should they now put their hands into the purse of the Irish nation? He desired most earnestly to support the Amendment of his hon. friend, which he hoped would be pressed to a division.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided —Ayes, 116; Noes, 66. (Division List No. 170.)451
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H (Bristol)||Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Beckett, Ernest William||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Arrol, Sir William||Blakiston-Houston, John||Charrington, Spencer|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith.||Clare, Octavius Leigh|
|Baird, John G. Alexander||Bullard, Sir Harry||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Balcarres, Lord||Butcher, John George||Colomb, Sir J. Charles Ready|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r.)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H||Colston, Chas. Edw H Athole|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W (Leeds)||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derby)||Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A H Smith-(Hunts)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Cox, Irwin E. Bainbridge||Knowles, Lees||Plunkett, Rt. Hn. H. Curzon|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lecky, Rt. Hon. William E. H.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Curzon, Viscount||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Swan.)||Purvis, Robert|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Loder, Gerald W. Erskine||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Long, Rt. Hn Walter (Liverpool)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lowe, Francis William||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Lowles, John||Saunderson, Rt. Hn Col. Edw J.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Macdona, John Cumming||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.)|
|Fitz Gerald Sir Robt. Penrose.||Maclure, Sir John William||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Foster, Sir M. (Lond. Univ.)||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Galloway, William Johnson||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Stock, James Henry|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||M'Killop, James||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Malcolm, Ian||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Goschen, Rt. Hn G. J (St George's)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord Geo.||Middlemore, John Throgm'r'n||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Helder, Augustus||Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh.)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Henderson, Alexander||Morrison, Walter||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Murray, Rt. Hn A Graham (Bute)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Howard, Joseph||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Howell, William Tudor||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wyndham, George|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Jebb, Sir R. Claverhouse||Peel, Hon. Wm. Robert W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Percy, Earl||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Kenyon, James||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Jones, William (Carnarv'nshire)||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Langley, Batty||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Lloyd-George, David||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Caldwell, James||Lough, Thomas||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Macaleese, Daniel||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr M A (Queen's C)||Souttar, Robinson|
|Daly, James||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Dillon, John||M'Dermott, Patrick||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Ghee, Richard||Thomas, David Alf. (Merthyr)|
|Duckworth, James||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Weir, James Galloway|
|Evershed, Sydney||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Moulton, John Fletcher||Williams, John Carvell (Notts)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Murnaghan, George||Wilson, Fredk. W. (Norfolk)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Gibney, James||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Woods, Samuel|
|Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Dowd, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Holland, William Henry||O'Kelly, James||Captain Donelan and Mr. Flavin.|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Malley, William|
In page 1, line 10, after the word 'forty-five,' to insert the word 'annual.'"—(Mr. T. M. Healy.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I do not think this Amendment is at all necessary, and I think it would be very reasonable to leave the clause as it is.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said the Act provided that the annual sum should continue to be paid for only forty-five payments instead of fifty-two, and it was entirely unnecessary to repeat the word "annual."
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. DILLON
said that under the settlement of 1872 the payer of tithe rent-charge had three courses open to him: (1) He could buy the tithe rent-charge at twenty-two and a half years purchase; (2) he could buy it by fifty-two years instalments; or (3) he could agree with the commissioners to pay a sum somewhat larger than that to which he was subject, and have a shorter term fixed than fifty-two years, at the end of which his annuity would expire. He did not know how many acted upon this third plan. The second sub-section proposed to extend to the purchasers of tithe rent - charge who elected to adopt the increased payment to shorten the term, a concession similar to that proposed by the first sub-section to those who adopted twenty-two and a half years annuities. This second sub-section simply proposed to slice off a portion of this fund and distribute it among the supporters of the Government in Ireland. The proposal was utterly indifferent as to doing equal justice between the gentlemen who were to have this distribution. The man who purchased his tithe rent-charge for cash got nothing, and if he bought it for an annuity at not more than thirty years he also got no relief. But if he bought it at less than thirty years he got a concession, and if he bought it at a number of years extending to fifty-two then he got seven years taken off. The Amendment he proposed was to deal with short term annuitants on the same principle as it was proposed to deal with long term annuitants.
In page 1, line 20, to leave out the word 'ten' and insert the word 'fifteen.'"—(Mr. Dillon.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'ten' stand part of the clause."
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
said the hon. Member for East Mayo was entirely in error in supposing that the Bill made a distinction between those who purchased for cash and those who made a special arrangement. Those who purchased their tithe rent-charge for cash subsequent to 1872 paid cash less the amount of the poor rate, or in other words they paid for the net tithe rent-charge. If the pro- 454 visions of this Bill were carried out the same treatment would be meted out to those paying off the charge by means of annuities. The object of the clause was to put those who had contracted for a shorter period upon the same footing as those who had arranged for fifty-two years. The change suggested by this Amendment would place at a disadvantage those who made arrangements to pay off at shorter periods.
§ MR. DILLON
said this was simply begging the whole question. It was contended that for thirty years they had been charged at the rate of fifty-two years when they should only have been charged forty-five years, and now after thirty years these extraordinary statisticians had made this discovery. In regard to the Treasury Minute of 1895 they had been told that there was a complete change in the personnel, but up to that hour they had never had a single argument or memorandum to justify that total change of policy. Now they had made this extraordinary discovery, to buy off Lord Ardilaun and the Dublin Daily Express. The right hon. Gentleman had not given a single word of explanation in regard to Sub-section 2, which appeared to him to be preposterous, and the whole clause as it stood was most absurd. It was now proposed to make this enormous concession to those who had already been allowed to borrow State money at £3 16s. 3d. per cent. They had already got that advantage over cash buyers, and they were now to get the additional advantage of an enormous reduction in the annuity. He should insist upon pressing his Amendment to a division.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
The right hon. Gentleman referred to some speech made by Mr. Gladstone as a ground for saying that there was an actuarial error. I wish to remind the hon. Gentleman that Mr. Gladstone's statement was made in 1869, but what we are dealing with now is what was done by Section 7 of the Irish Church Amendment Act in the year-1872, and there is nothing whatsoever to indicate that that Act was based upon an actuarial or any other error. It is necessary to call the attention of the Committee to the words of that Act, because it shows how very arbitrary this reduction of the interest is to £3 10s. The Act declared the purchase money 455 payable by instalments for fifty-two years at £4 9s. per cent. on the purchase money, or for such less number of years as might be agreed upon as an equivalent annual sum so as to discharge the principal and interest in a less number of years. That is the provision to which this point has reference. What grounds are there for altering this section and fixing £3 10s. as the arbitrary sum? We have no statistics or figures in regard to these annuities, and here we are asked in this arbitrary way to give the benefit to these persons by introducing this arbitrary figure, for which no reason is assigned. I shall, therefore, vote for this Amendment if it goes to a division.
§ MR. ARCHDALE (Fermanagh, N.)
said he hoped the Chief Secretary would press his opposition to this Amendment. He had not the honour of knowing Lord Ardilaun, but he knew that his Lordship made good and charitable use of his money both in Ireland and in this country. He thought the clause was an attempt to remedy a gross injustice.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
The action of the Government in this matter reminds me of bimetallism. One day a member of the Government announces he is in favour of the gold standard, and next day he goes down to Lancashire and receives light on the subject, and then announces he is in favour of the fifteen to one ratio. What I should like to know is, when did the Government receive grace in regard to this gross injustice; when did the light of justice first shine upon their souls? I remember the long line of Chief Secretaries who have preceded the right hon. Gentleman; he has blasphemed them all in this Bill. I have been making a list of the number of English statesmen whom we have been asked to look up to, and to whom I have been asked many times to go down on my intellectual knees. Now I learn that they were wrong all the time, and I am told that when I was asked to respect law and order I was asked to respect a gross injustice and a fraud on the Irish landlords. Here is a list of the Irish Chief Secretaries for the last thirty years: Mr. Fortescue, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Mr. James Lowther, Mr. Forster, Sir George Trevelyan, Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, Mr. J. Morley, Sir W. Hart Dyke, Mr. W. H. Smith, Mr. John Morley; again 456 Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Mr. A. J. Balfour, and Mr. John Morley. They have all been engaged in perpetrating a most heinous wrong on a most deserving class of the community, and what is more, an irreparable wrong, because many men sold their land, and did not get full value for it. What about the Duke of Devonshire, who sold land in Cork, and Lord Derby, who sold his estate in the county of Tipperary? Look at the appalling injustice done to them; they gave away their estates, so to speak, with a pound of tea and without any consideration for the seven years compensation now to be made to their successors. The Duke of Devonshire sold his estates, and the man who succeeded to them now gets a seven years bonus, and the Duke has been grievously wronged by the Government of which he is a member. I feel appalled when I think of the black injustice which has been done to the landlords who have endeavoured to get rid of the landlordism by selling their estates. The old stock has gone, and none of them have got the benefit of this seven years bonus. Who was it that discovered this grievance; who was this financial Christopher Columbus who, embarking on the dark seas of finance, discovered it? Is his name to remain silent? Are not the present landlords entitled to know to whom their gratitude is to be given, and are not the men who sold out entitled to know to whom their curses are to be awarded? The right hon. Gentleman has taken it upon himself to reverse the policy of his predecessors; but, at all events, he has given a blow to the famous doctrine that the British Government in Ireland is a continuity. Let every Irish tenant take heart. He may be smarting under unjust laws, and he may be told that it is quite right to pay his rent, but some new Chief Secretary may arise—perhaps in an Irish Parliament— and may be able to announce that he has found salvation, that he has adopted the doctrine of repudiation, and that from the depths of his inner consciousness he finds that the tenants should be relieved of seven years annuity or perhaps seven years payment of rent. If this doctrine is to prevail now, why should it not be enacted later that for seven years every man, woman, and child in Ireland should not be liable for rent, rates, or taxes? There would be just as much reason for that as there is for the provision in this 457 Bill. Remember that the original Act was an arbitrary one, and no one could say whether the purchase price should be 22½ years or 42½ years. It had to be arrived at in an empirical manner. If it were found that the landlords should have paid forty years purchase, would you bring in a Bill to compel them to make restitution now? Would that not be as sound and logical a proposition as that now made; because, starting as you did from an empirical standard, you now contend that your empiricism was founded on justice. I cannot understand how a man with the logical mind of the right hon. Gentleman can stand up and advance such a proposition without laughing. If I were an English statesman I should say, "I have got a troublesome gang to deal with in Ireland. Lord Ardilaun has bought the Daily Express; when the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture had it things were amicable and pleasant, but now I must give them something." I can thoroughly understand that; but to invent an injustice, and now propose to make up for it in sackcloth and ashes, not at your own expense, but at ours, and to ask us to accept this absurdity is, even for an Irish Member, a little too much. I must say for myself that the only fault I find with the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Mayo is that it is too moderate. I feel inclined to denounce it as giving the whole case away. At all events, whatever may be said for the Amendment, the proposition in the Bill is one which no serious statesman should endeavour to defend.
§ MR. DILLON
I maintain, after listening carefully to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, that the second sub-section of this clause will be positive nonsense if this Amendment is not accepted. The whole of this question is very complicated, and must be examined very closely before it is understood. The section applies to men who agreed to buy their tithe rent-charge at twenty-two and a half years purchase. Then came a subsidiary agreement that that twenty-two and a half years purchase should be paid in instalments. For the sake of illustration, let us assume that an agreement was entered into for an annuity extending over thirty-one years. What does the right hon. Gentleman propose to do in that case? If the 458 agreement were made in 1870 the last annuity would be payable next year. He says that the Treasury should go back on this transaction and should recalculate it on the supposition that it was not £3 16s. 3½d. but £3 10s. per cent. that should have been charged, and that the sinking fund should be increased by the difference between the two rates. Is it not perfectly evident that by making such a recalculation the whole principal and interest would have been found to have been paid, and so far from there being an instalment due there would have been an over-payment? And this, forsooth, is to be by way of relief to a man who has already repaid more than the principal. I will road the words of the sub-section—Such annual sum shall continue to be paid until such loss number of payments thereof from the date at which it commenced as will pay off the purchase money on the assumption that the annual sum so charged included interest it the rate of £3 10s. per cent. per annum have been made, and no longer.But if he has more than repaid on the new assumption, what nonsense it is to enact a provision of this kind! What I want to convince the right hon. Gentleman of is—and it is as clear as daylight—that his sub-section is nonsense, and that he is enacting an impossibility, because a man in the case I have mentioned would have already paid his principal, and it is ridiculous to say that the instalments should continue on a debt which has been already paid. When it is found that men have more than repaid there will be a claim for compensation. The real grievance will then arise, and an amending Bill will have to be introduced. Then the persons who bought for cash will say, "Are we to have no compensation?" and their case will be a strong one. It will be no answer to say that the cash buyers bought on the gross, whereas the annuitants bought on the net. That is not a fact. The cash buyers, the short annuitants, and the long annuitants all bought at twenty-two and a half years purchase of the net value, and therefore they all stand in the same position. Now observe the extraordinary position which will arise. A buys a tithe rent-charge and pays in cash twenty-two and a half years purchase; B buys a tithe rent-charge, but does not pay cash. He borrows the money from the Government at £3 16s. 3½d. per cent., and how, by the simple fact that B has borrowed money from the Government, can he 459 have suffered any greater injustice than A, who paid cash? The argument is perfectly ridiculous. The difficulty we have to contend with is to get into the minds of hon. Members the grotesque monstrosity of this proposal. I am convinced that if hon. Members really understood these proposals the Bill would be defeated by three to one. But the fact is it is not understood. I maintain that unless this Amendment is accepted the sub-section will be nonsense, and that it will be found that it cannot be worked at all in some cases, and that it will work so unjustly in other cases that an amending Bill will be needed.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said the Treasury Bench was deserted by all the Government except the Attorney General for Ireland, who, however, knew far better than he did the utter absurdity of this Bill. It represented fraud and dishonesty, and the absolute ignorance of the gentleman who drafted it insulted the intelligence of Parliament. Anyone who read the second sub-section of Clause 1 would see clearly that a man who had been paying at the rate of £3 16s. 6d. since 1872 must have long since paid all the principal, and all the interest; and the absurdity of this clause was that he was to go on still paying. But the clause was something more than arrant absurdity; it was downright dishonesty, and amounted to the repudiation by the State itself of contracts. The Government had no right to misuse public property as they were doing under this clause. They were giving a large donation out of the public funds to various parties who were supposed to pay for their own interests.. An honest man who got the payment of his just debt at the expense of the community ought to give this money to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as conscience money. The idea that Parliament was omnipotent was true, but there were moral grounds on which this bargain ought not to be made; it was a gross fraud. He asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he could point to any instance, since the Revolution, of Parliament repudiating debts and cancelling obligations. He knew of no case on the Statute Book where, when a tenant had entered, under the provisions of an Act of Parliament, into a solemn contract with the State to pay a certain sum of money at £3 16s. 6d. per cent., thirty 460 years after the contract was made the interest should be reduced to £3 10s.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said that that was the exception which proved the rule. When was the error discovered? When was the remarkable change in the personnel of the Treasury officials, which resulted in the discovery? It was an afterthought. It was never mooted for thirty years, and then, when there was no necessity, Parliament stepped in to relieve, not the poverty-stricken tenant, but Lord Ardilaun, at the expense of the Irish Church Fund. He supported most strongly the Amendment before the House, and he hoped it would be pressed to a division. When the clause came on for discussion he would denounce the policy of the clause, and show how the Irish Church Fund had been misappropriated for the benefit of the Irish landlords. The right hon. Gentleman had intimated that the Bill was to rectify a financial fraud. That fraud had been undiscovered by Lord. Ardilaun and other landlords, but it had been discovered by a Treasury official in the back parlours of the Treasury Office, and must be rectified. The right hon. Gentleman had decided to rectify this error. Would he go further and rectify the other error committed by the Treasury officials, by which the Irish people had been robbed of three and a half millions of money? That error would not be rectified, because it would have to be rectified at the expense of the British taxpayer; but the error which this Bill was to rectify would be rectified, because the cost would, fall upon the Irish Church Fund. The sub-section was a mass of legal jargon, and, in his opinion had the provisions of the Bill been peruse by the House at large it would have bee entirely repudiated.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
said that the Government had always acted on the basis of the sanctity of contract, and he now wished to know whether the principle of sanctity of contract was to be given up; The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had alluded to the case of the Irish Church glebe tenants, in which it had been given up, but that was an entirely different case to the question of tithes. They were occupying tenants and when relief was given, to them it was 461 obvious there was a special reason for giving it. Then, again, if the Government took the other case, no argument could be based upon it, because it was the Government's own doing. The Government stated in the House a few years previously that they could not reduce a contract that had been entered into with Parliament. That was stated over and over again in another place by Lord Salisbury, and yet it was this Government which started the principle of making the reduction and doing away with the contract as well. The reason for the special reduction in the case of the occupying landlord was a very different matter, because in that case the tenant comprised the positions of landlord and tenant. Those who took advantage of a number of years purchase under the Land Act were landlords as well as occupying tenants, and it was in the combined capacity that they received the concession, and the Government mitigated the contract. If this present reduction was not put upon the ground of exceptional circumstances, which was the only warrant at all for giving a reduction, by statute, to the tenant, effect would be given to a principle far-reaching in its consequences, which could not be confined to Ireland. That principle was that if parties agreed to pay a certain sum of money under a contract to the State, Parliament could come some time afterwards and make alterations in the terms, although in the interval some other person had come forward and paid the sum in cash.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
Might I ask, on a point of order, whether this has any reference whatever to the Amendment before the Committee.
I think the hon. Gentleman is somewhat trespassing be-yond the Amendment before the Committee.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said that his point was that by Act of Parliament £3 16s. 6d. per cent. was fixed as the amount to be paid by the parties, and it was now proposed to reduce that amount to £3 10s. If the right hon. Gentleman thought by such interruptions as he had made he would shorten the debate he might find that he was mistaken. He could find no precedent for such a reduction except in the case of the Irish Church Glebe tenants. There was no case on record, neither in Scotland nor in England, and 462 the Committee was entitled to say that the Government could not violate a contract entered into under an Act of Parliament. Was the principle of sanctity of contract to be given up? Was this to apply to every case? If not, the Government should make out a case of the exceptional circumstances which justified it in this instance. They were dealing with parties in possession of land upon which there was a first charge. It had no relation whatever to the profits of the land or what is taken off it. The charge having been made a fixed one, was there any case where the owner could not plead poverty in which this principle could be applied? The Government did not propose to give any such relief to England or Scotland, and the Committee were entitled to ask whether the Government proposed to apply this principle to persons who could not make out a special case.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
said he had asked for an explanation for the action of the Government, but had failed to elicit a reply. On thinking the matter out he had arrived at a solution of the problem. He had come to the conclusion that Mr. Gladstone was the only statesman who could have repudiated the suggestion that the Government had made an error, and the Government had not thought it safe to bring in the Bill until Mr. Gladstone had died. He had just received a letter which illustrated the manner in which tenants were treated in Ireland in contrast to the landlords. The Local Government Act relieved the landlords of all rates in the Corofin division of Tipperary, and the Local Government Board had just struck a rate of 9s. 6d. in the pound. The people wondered what it was for, and were told that the reason was that for nine or ten years the debt had been accruing, and it now had to be paid off. The Local Government Board did not discover it until the landlords were relieved of the rates. The landlords were entitled to pay that debt for the last eight or nine years, and he wished now to ask the Government whether they would make any provision for the payment of the amount which ought to have been paid by the landlords in the seven or eight years past, and which is now put on the shoulders of the people of the Corofin division of Tipperary. They applied to the Local Government Board 463 to extend the time of payment to two years, but the Local Government Board refused. If the Government were anxious to relieve one error in the case of the landlords, why were they not anxious to act in a similar manner for the relief of the tenant? He thought the attitude taken by the right hon. Gentleman on this Bill was simply deplorable. On other occasions he had been able to give reasons for his attitude, but on the present occasion he had failed to answer any argument which had been put to him.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN
, who was very indistinctly heard, was understood to say that the right hon. Gentleman had given no solid reason which would satisfy the Committee for the reductions he proposed to make by this Bill. His one point was that a mistake had been made, and would have to be rectified. The Committee had no means of verifying that fact, and it was only right that further information should be given. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to give a certain reduction on delayed payments for purchase. The man who had raised the money to pay off his indebtedness in thirty years received benefit, but the man who arranged to pay in fifty-two years benefited to the extent of the reduction of seven yearly instalments. The Irish Members were not satisfied with the figures of the right hon. Gentleman, and they were within their rights in protesting against such procedure. The right hon. Gentleman could do in this matter what he had done with the first part of the clause—he could postpone it for further consideration. He did not dispute that the right hon. Gentleman was doing all he could to act in a perfectly fair manner, but in the interest of one class——
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
On a point of order, is not my hon. friend entitled to show, when largess is given to a certain class, how that largess might be better expended?
No doubt the hon. Gentleman is a better judge than myself of these matters, but in my opinion the hon. Gentleman who was addressing the Committee was irrelevant.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN
said he objected to the right hon. Gentleman putting his hand into the pockets of the Irish people and taking money out of the Church Fund not for a public purpose. The Irish Members were entitled to have some reply from the right hon. Gentleman to the arguments which had been urged on behalf of those whom they represented. If no reply was given, they could only test the matter by a division.
MR. SWIFT MACNKILL
said the Amendment was one under which certain reductions wore to be made. He begged to remind the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary that he was not the financial authority on Irish questions. He complained that, although this was a financial question, neither the Chancellor of the Exchequer nor the Secretary to the Treasury were present to consider it. And their absence showed that they were neglecting their duties. [Laughter.] It was no laughing matter, except to those hon. Members opposite who were going to gain from it. It was a most unheard of procedure when a finance measure of this kind was under discussion, that some one was not present to defend the financial policy put forward by the Amendment. Since the Amendment had been moved, the words "financial fraud" and "Treasury fraud" had been freely used. Yet nobody was present to speak for the Treasury or for the Solomon in the Treasury who had discovered the error. It was not the place of the right hon. Gentleman to do so, he had done his duty when he had moved the clause Under the circumstances, he begged leave to move to report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question propose "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again." — (Mr. MacNeill.) But the Chairman, being opinion that the motion was an abuse the Rules of the House, declined to pro-pose the Question thereon to the Committee.
§ MR. MCKENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
I should be very glad to have some explanation why this particular sum of £3 10s. per cent. is taken as the annual charge for interest. There must be some particular reason why that sum is taken
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The general principle of this Bill was discussed very fully on the Second Reading, it was discussed again on the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for East Mayo, and again on this Amendment. We have had notice of another Amendment by the hon. Member for East Mayo. That has been my reason for not going fully into this matter.
§ MR. DILLON
I must say that it is an extraordinary position for the Chief Secretary to take up. I submit that the clause, as it stands, is nonsense and cannot be worked. In some cases it would cause gross injustice, and in other cases it would be absolutely unworkable.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The hon. Member is quite wrong. I may further say that the Amendment to reduce the rate of interest is certainly open to objection.
§ MR. DILLON
I submit that my case is made out by the admission of the Chief Secretary himself—absolutely and without any question or doubt. The whole purpose of the Bill is to benefit the landlords. There is no other justification of the Bill. They say now that a man who has arranged—and this I
§ am sure would be the case in a great many instances—to repay his loan for the purchase of his tithes, by instalments terminating in thirty-five years under the operation of this sub-section, if this new arrangement is accepted, will get four or five annual instalments knocked off, and another man who has arranged to pay the tithe loan in thirty-one instalments will get the next year's instalment knocked off, although under this new term of interest he may have repaid considerably more than the whole of his loan. Are we to be told seriously that men under these circumstances will sit down content, and that you will not be face to face with the clamour—I must say the justifiable clamour—of those treated in this fashion? Nothing at all is to be paid to the man who has put his hand in his own pocket. I maintain that my contention has not been answered, nor even attempted to be answered, by the representatives of the Government, and that the clause as it stands without my Amendment is nonsense. It will be unworkable in some cases, and in other cases it will work gross injustice.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 126; Noes, 84. (Division List No. 171.)467
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Howard, Joseph|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cox, Irwin E. Bainbridge||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Cross, Herbert S. (Bolton)||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Curzon, Viscount||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Kenyon, James|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds)||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.||Knowles, Lees|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. S. (Hunts.)||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Swans.)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Finch, George H.||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool)|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith.||Fisher, William Hayes||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Brymer, William Ernest||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Lowe, Francis William|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Lowles, John|
|Butcher, John George||Golds-worthy, Major-General||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Macdona, John Gumming|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire)||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St George's)||Maclure, Sir J. William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc.)||Green, Walford D (Wednesbu'y)||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Greville, Hon. Ronald||M'Killop, James|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George||Malcolm, Ian|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Helder, Augustus||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Henderson, Alexander||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.)||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Morrison, Walter||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon.|
|Murray, C. J. (Coventry)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.||Williams, J. Powell. (Birm.)|
|Myers, William Henry||Seely, Charles Hilton||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Peel, Hn. William R. Wellesley||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)||Wyndham, George|
|Percy, Earl||Stock, James Henry||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.)|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Thorburn, Sir Walter||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Plunkett, Rt. Hn. Horace Curz'n||Tollemache, Henry James||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Purvis, Robert||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Rentoul, James Alexander||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Richards, Henry Charles||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Horniman, Frederick John||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Kitson, Sir James||Roberts, J. Bryn (Eifion)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Lough, Thomas||Samuel, J. (Stockton on Tees)|
|Burt, Thomas||Macaleese, Daniel||Scott, C. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Caldwell, James||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn.'s C.)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Carew, James Laurence||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Souttar, Robinson|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||M'Dermott, Patrick||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.||M'Ghee, Richard||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Daly, James||M'Kenna, Reginald||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Dillon, John||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Doogar, P. C.||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||Williams, John Carvell (Notts)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Murnaghan, George||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Duckworth, James||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, J. (Durham, Mid)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Engledew, Charles John||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hud'rsf'd)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Woods, Samuel|
|Evershed, Sydney||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Dowd, John||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Kelly, James|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert Jn.||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Holland, William Henry||Priestley, Briggs|
§ Question proposed, "That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. DILLON
We now come to the serious question that Clause 1 stand part of the Bill. I shall endeavour to bring clearly before the minds of hon. Members what they are called upon to do by passing this clause. There are two main headings under which the considerations affecting this clause naturally fall. The first of these headings is the question whether there is really any grievance on the part of Irish landlords, and whether, under the arrangements which this clause proposes to break up, the Irish landlords were generously treated, and entered into 468 a voluntary bargain, without any kind of compulsion. The second heading is what will be the financial effect on the Church Fund if this clause is passed into law First of all I turn to the question of the grievance under which the Irish landlord are alleged to suffer, and to meet which this extraordinary proposal is submitted to the House. That grievance is, as I said in the earlier stages of this debate, based on the extraordinary claim that Mr. Gladstone while he was passing the Church Act through this House made a miscalculation, that the whole House condoned that miscalculation, and that the spokesmen of the Irish landlords in that day in the long debates which took place 469 on the Church Act, and particularly Clause 32, never discovered that they were the victims of a Treasury miscalculation, and that they swallowed this settlement, as I shall prove they swallowed it, with every appearance of satisfaction, and in absolute ignorance of the fact that they were being made to pay seven years instalments more than were just. The Attorney General based his case entirely on the famous speech made by Mr. Gladstone when proposing the First Reading of the Church Act. I regret to say that I shall be obliged to quote at some little length from that speech, because it has been the basis of the whole of this discussion. He came to that portion of his Bill which dealt with the disposition of the tithe rent-charge, and he announced that it was his intention to offer the tithe rent-charge to the landlords of Ireland at twenty-two and a half years purchase. Mr. Gladstone said*—That is, of course, twenty-two and a-half years purchase, not of the old gross £100, but of the £75 a year. We make that otter because we think there may be landlords in Ireland who will be disposed at once to wind up the arrangement with us. But, if Gentlemen will listen to me. they will see that we have another alternative for those who may not be disposed to purchase the tithe rent-charge out and out in money down at 22½ years purchase. It is this; we make them a compulsory sale.I would ask hon. Members to bear this in mind. This was the alternative proposed in the Church Bill. Mr. Gladstone continued—I have not the least idea anyone will object to that. We convey the tithe rent-charge to them under the following conditions. We charge them in our book with £2,250 for every net £100 a year tithe rent-charge; that is to say we sell them a tithe rent-charge at a rate to yield them 4½ per cent. We then credit them on the other side with a loan of equal amount. We provide that they shall pay off that loan by annual instalments with interest. The rate of interest to be charged on the instalment is 3½ per cent. The consequence is that a fund of 1 per cent. will remain as a sinking fund to absorb the principal. The purchaser of the tithe rent-charge in that form, except that he will get rid of the fluctuation—for we must give him a fixed amount—will not be called upon to make any addition whatever to his annual payment. He will be liable for the annual payment for a term of forty-five years, and at the close of the term he will under this arrangement have the rent-charge, whatever* See The Parliamentary Debates [Third Series], Vol. cxciv., p. 448.470it may be for the residue of the time, for nothing. That will be the financial effect of the arrangement, which, I think, will not be bad for the Irish landlord.It is on that speech of Mr. Gladstone's that the whole case of the Government rests. That was a speech made while introducing the Church Bill in its original form, when it was proposed to sell the tithe rent-charge to the landlords either for cash at twenty-two and a half years purchase, or for twenty-two and a half years purchase of the land to the tithe-payer, the amount of the purchase money to be paid by forty-five annual instalments at the rate of £4 10s. per annum on the purchase money. What happened? When the Church Bill was introduced in Committee the famous Clause 32 of the Bill was altered and appeared in a different shape—in the shape in which it now stands. That is an important point to remember. It was then proposed to sell the tithe rent-charge at the same number of years purchase—twenty-two and a half years—but the landlords were allowed to deduct from the tithe rent-charge under the new arrangement what they had paid on the average of the last five years for poor rate, which, under the Poor Kate Act of 1838, they had the power to deduct from the tithe rent-charge. Therefore the actual amount was reduced by a considerable poundage. I daresay it averaged half-a-crown in the pound, and the annual instalment was reduced from £4 10s. per cent. to £4 9s., and the instalments were extended to fifty-two years instead of forty-five years. That was in the second form of Clause 32 as introduced in the Committee on the Church Act. I desire to emphasise what Mr. Gladstone said as to the amount of the interest on which the money to purchase the tithes was to be lent. That had disappeared out of the calculation altogether, and it was proposed that the tithe should be extinguished in the case of those not ready to pay by fifty-two annual instalments calculated at £4 9s. per cent. on the amount of twenty-two and a half years purchase of the net tithe rent-charge as distinguished from the gross, being the tithe rent-charge less the amount for poor rate. This second proposal was substituted for the previous proposal, and in the course of the long debate on Clause 32 no complaint was made on behalf of the Irish 471 landlords as to the change proposed. I am indignant to find the landlords— who allege that there was a miscalculation and misunderstanding, which is absolutely without foundation—going back on the speech of Mr. Gladstone introducing the Bill originally, and utterly ignoring the debate on Clause 32 in the amended form, that clause being in substitution of the proposal in the Bill as it originally stood. What we have to deal with is the proposal in Clause 32 as it appeared before the Committee on the Church Bill. The first observation I have to make in regard to the proposal in Clause 32 is this. Suppose that there had been a miscalculation, or suppose that the terms of Clause 32 as finally debated in the House were less favourable to the Irish landlords than the original terms proposed in the first draft of the Irish Church Bill, am I to be told for a single moment that the landlords in this House would not have made a strong demand upon the Government to give them better terms? But in the whole course of the discussion no such contention was put forward, as far as I can find out, on behalf of the Irish landlords. On the contrary, as I shall show beyond all question, the proposal of the Government was accepted by all parties— Liberals, Radicals, and landlords—as a gift to the Irish landlords in order to mitigate their opposition to the Bill. That proposal, which was dealt with in the discussions as a gift to the landlords, was not the original proposal to which Mr. Gladstone's speech referred in introducing the Bill. I have already alluded to some of the language which was used in the course of the debate on Clause 32. Here is what Mr. Gladstone himself said, "It was that consideration of policy which led the Government." What I want to direct the attention of the Committee to is that Mr. Gladstone's speech in defending the fifty-two years was a speech of apology against the attacks of Mr. Disraeli and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer said, in answer to Mr. Gladstone's defence of the 3½ per cent.——
§ MR. DILLON
What authority have I? Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that it is so? Does he mean to tell me that when Mr. Gladstone introduced a proposal to extinguish this sum of money by fifty-two annual payments of £4 9s. per cent. he did not know that it involved an interest of £31 6s. 3d.? You may say that Mr. Gladstone's politics were false and that his principles of finance were faulty, but this is the first time I have-ever heard it suggested that he could not work out such a simple sum as that Such a supposition is grotesque in the extreme. But mark what it involves. It means that not only were Mr. Gladstone and the Treasury deceived, but every Member of the House of Commons was deceived. Dealing with this proposal, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer-said*—He yielded to. no one in the force of his objections to many of the tenets of the Roman Catholic religion, and he could not witness with entire approval the payments to Maynooth. But he would rather see the whole of this tithe rent-charge devoted to the purposes of the Roman Catholic religion, than see it taken from the Church, and appropriated to purely secular objects. In his opinion the proposal of the Government combined sacrilege with bribery. These were strong words, but nothing less strong would express his feelings. He believed it was sacrilege because it was taking away from the Church property to which the State had no right, and devoting it to secular purposes and bribery; also because it was admitted to secure the consent of the landlords by handing over to them the property upon terms making the transfer a gift and not a sale.Then we come to Sir Frederick Heygate, the Member for Deny, one of the leading members of the landlord party—He quite agreed with his hon. friend Sir Michael Hicks Beach that the clause was nothing less than bribery and sacrilege. The Irish landlords were, in fact, asked to take a bribe and assist the Government to pass the Bill.Then comes Colonel Barttelot, who also denounced the proposal; and I must read an extract from the speech of one who was as great an authority on finance as anybody in his day—the late Mr. Fawcett. He said—He was astonished when he heard the* This and the succeeding quotations are from The Parliamentary Debates [Third Series], Vol. cxcvi. The debate on clause 32 commences at page 23 of that volume.473proposition made; he had consulted distinguished Members of the House about it, and they said: 'We know it is making an enormous present to Irish landlords, but we must do something to grease the wheels, to conciliate hostility and buy off opposition.'The reason I have referred to and quoted these speeches again is to make it perfectly clear that all these statements made in the course of the debate on Clause 32 had reference to the proposal which is now in force and is the law of the land, and that they had no reference to any proposal of 3½ per cent. for forty-live annual instalments. In his opening remarks the present Chancellor of the Exchequer put this point remarkably clearly—The second part of the clause, the omission of which was moved, consisted of a financial process under which the landlords would, for 52 years, continue to pay to the State the exact sum which they had hitherto paid to the Church; and at the end of that time would in reality obtain the tithe rent-charge as a gift.There was no doubt about it in the minds of the House, and in the face of these statements it is perfectly monstrous to talk about a miscalculation. Notwithstanding the appeals of Mr. Gladstone, which were not on logical grounds or grounds of finance, but on grounds of policy and expediency, Mr. Fawcett and other leading Radicals divided against the clause on the ground that it was too favourable to the landlords and that it gave away public funds to private individuals. What was the result? In that division every single Irish landlord in this House voted in favour of the clause. I repeat that in the whole history of that Act there is not the slightest shred of justification for the contention that there was any miscalculation or possibility of misunderstanding. What happened afterwards? Clause 32 made to the Irish landlords an offer which they eagerly accepted. There was no compulsion; they were absolutely free to accept the terms of to remain as they were. It is said that under the Act of 1872 the right to vary which was still retained by those who did not redeem was annulled. My answer to that is that that clause of the Act of 1872 passed through both Houses without a single word of protest or objection from any Irish landlord, and, seeing that in those days the representation of Ireland both in the House of Lords 474 and in the House of Commons was almost, entirely in the hands of the Irish landlords, it is an absurdity to argue that they were not a party to that enactment when they allowed it to pass through without protest. They were parties to it, because the right of varying tithes in Ireland was practically a nullity. That, right had been so fenced round with difficulties that, during the thirty years which had intervened since the settlement, out of 2,400 parishes the tithes had been varied in only sixty. One reason the landlords permitted the Act of 1872; to pass was that it was thought the variation might do them more harm than good, but the main reason was that it was a matter of indifference, because it was a right they never exercised. When the Government contend that the landlords of Ireland, in accepting the Act of 1872 as part and parcel of the settlement under the Church Act, were not, making a bargain, they are speaking against the facts of the case. No clearer case of Parliamentary bargaining was ever put on record in this House. But the question of variability as affected by the Act of 1872 has no bearing on the present proposal. This clause does not deal with the variable tithe rent charge, but with the invariable terminable annuities, and those invariable terminable annuities were set up by the landlords availing themselves of the terms of Clause 32, which were admitted by everybody to be in the nature of a gift and a bribe to the landlords. I turn now to the effect of this proposal on the Church Fund. First of all I will direct attention to a very remarkable debate which took place in this House in 1894. The Church Fund is a very extraordinary fund; it reminds one of the widow's cruse—it has frequently been said to be exhausted, and still millions can be drawn from it. In 1894 the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose brought in a Bill to reinstate the evicted Irish tenants, and in connection with that Bill it was proposed to lay a charge of £100,000 on the Irish Church Fund for the purpose of facilitating that operation. On the first reading of the Bill the First Lord of the Treasury got up immediately after the right hon. Gentleman proposed the Bill, and made a very impassioned 475 speech, in the course of which he used the following language*—Following the order of the right hon. Gentleman's explanation, I now come to the amount to be taken from the Irish Church surplus in order to meet the necessities of the Bill. I have no observations to make on that point. First, when I was in office, and had official means of information on those points, I was assured that the Irish Church surplus was mortgaged up to the hilt. The number of charges upon it were such that, after we had taken the £1,500,000 required for the Congested Board, practically nothing would be left behind. Whether since that time any circumstances have come to the knowledge of the Treasury, the right hon. Gentleman will inform me at a later stage of the Bill; but my official advisers at that time informed me that nothing beyond the £1,500,000 was available for any public purpose; and if we are to charge that fund with £100,000, or with a larger sum, and the fund proves to be insufficient to meet the liability, it will be impossible for the British taxpayer to flatter himself that he will get off without having to make up the deficiency.The soul of the First Lord of the Treasury was wrung with anxiety, fearing the contingent liability on the British taxpayer. Since then we have had a Bill setting up in Ireland a Department of Agriculture, by which the Church Fund is charged with £70,000 a year, which, I make out, is the interest on about £2,700,000. We are now invited to hand over from this fund to the landlords £1,200,000 in cash, and furthermore to reduce the income of the fund by about £30,000 a year, or to hand over to the landlords over £2,000,000 more. That is to say, that more than £4,000,000 are to be charged upon this fund, which, according to the First Lord of the Treasury, could not bear an additional charge of £100,000 in 1894. The next point is the Treasury Memorandum of 1895, which was drawn up in connection with the proposal to reduce the selling price of tithe rent-charge in the case of sales under the Land Purchase Acts. This Memorandum at great length pointed out as one of the main grounds for refusing to give the Treasury consent to this proposal of the Land Commission that the Irish Church Fund would be made bankrupt by such consent. The Treasury Memorandum states that the calculation of the Land Commission was that such consent would involve a loss of over £800,000 to the Church Fund. The proposal of the Land Commission was that, whereas in all sales up to that date they* See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. xxiii., page 886.476 were obliged to redeem tithe rent-charge at twenty-two and a half years purchase, they should in future be allowed to redeem it at twenty years purchase, and also be allowed to redeem the perpetual annuities on a basis of forty-five years payments instead of fifty-two. It was argued by the Treasury that such a proposal would involve a loss of over £800,000, and that the Church Fund could not bear such a loss. But then, within six months, overriding its own decision and argument, the Treasury granted its consent, so that in addition to the sums I have mentioned, there is this possible loss of £800,000. Where are we as regards the solvency of the Church Fund? When the Government were pressed on this matter last year they prepared a fresh Memorandum to show that the Church Fund was solvent, and a most extraordinary document it is. In the first place, the Memorandum declares that they abandon all attempt to estimate the assets or liabilities of the fund, and then it goes on to say that the estimate which is given of the receipts and liabilities of the fund for the next forty-five years is made up on the supposition that no more sales occur in the Land Courts. I contend that that is turning our whole discussion into a perfect farce. All Ireland are in favour of expediting sales in the Land Courts; they are going on now at the rate of £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 worth of property per annum, and there is growing up in Ireland a strong agitation for some means of greatly facilitating this process of sale, and yet we are invited to discuss this whole subject and consider the capacity of the Church Fund to stand this charge on the supposition that the sales in the Land Courts stop, and that no further sales are effected. A more grotesque and extraordinary theory was never placed before Parliament. Having made that impossible assumption, they proceed to make an estimate of the condition of the fund during the next forty years. What does it come to? They attempt to show that, even supposing the present Bill passes into law, the fund will remain solvent until the year 1946–47 with a very small surplus, and that after that date it will probably be necessary to seriously diminish the provision made for the Agricultural Department. This gift to the landlords will seriously diminish the Irish Church Fund, and will affect the grant to the Agricul- 477 tural Department. This is an extraordinary instance of the recklessness of the Government, for having started a department to which they attach enormous importance for instructing Irishmen in the art of agriculture, and having given us the hope that if it is successful a further sum will be granted, the Government now come forward with a proposal to take a further sum from that very fund from which the agricultural grant is drawn. Does the right hon. Gentleman anticipate that the Purchase Acts will cease to operate? In the Bill of 1896 a great concession was made to the Irish landlords. Under Clause 37 of that Act the Land Commission had the power to order the redemption of the tithe rent-charge in case of sale to the tenant at twenty years purchase and to order the redemption on the basis of forty-five years instalments. That involved a loss of £850,000; but still it was an inducement to sell. Under that concession a landlord had a bonus for selling an estate to his tenant. If he sold his estate he could redeem the tithe rent-charge at twenty years purchase, but if he did not sell he could only redeem the tithe rent-charge at twenty-two and a half years purchase. If the landlord sold his estate he could redeem at forty-five years instalments, and if he did not sell the period would be fifty two years. I admit it was an inroad on public funds for the benefit of the landlords, but it had this advantage, that it was a bribe to facilitate sale. The Government now propose to block and obstruct this process of sale, because they withdraw by this clause from the landlords the inducement to sell which existed under the Act of 1896. So far as this clause has any effect it will have a tendency to withdraw from the Irish landlords that inducement to sell their estates which existed before. Therefore the Government have no ground or argument in support of the present proposal in what was done in 1896. This clause is simply a shameless attempt to take a large portion of the public funds in order to hand it over to the landlords of Ireland. Before finally moving the rejection of this clause, I want to appeal to the Government, if they do consider it necessary to hand over this money, to at least take it from the profits which the Treasury has made by lending money at 3½ per cent. to the Irish Church Fund. The Treasury 478 must have made a profit of something like £1,000,000 by this process. If they adopted this course they would not be depriving the Irish people of money which could be devoted to much more useful purposes.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
said the hon. Member had admitted that the question was a very complicated one, but he had evidently failed to understand it. The case of the Government was strengthen ed by the fact that while the hon. Member for East Mayo had referred at length to the provisions of the Irish Church Act of 1869 he had scarcely mentioned the Act of 1872 at all. The hon. Member had left out of account altogether the fact that landlords were entitled to deduct the poor rate before paying the tithe, and in his estimate of the capital value of the tithe he had based his calculation upon the gross tithe rent-charge and not upon the net value. Therefore the value would be rather more than £800,000 less than the amount stated. In regard to the Act of 1869, in the first place Mr. Gladstone proposed that the sale should be compulsory, but, for some reason, during the interval between his introductory speech and the printing of the Bill, Mr. Gladstone changed his mind, and the compulsory proposal was dropped. It was then pointed out to Mr. Gladstone that he had neglected to take into consideration this question of the reduction of the poor-rate, and in Committee he corrected this mistake by moving without comment an Amendment. The hon. Member stated that in doing so Mr. Gladstone was increasing the rate of interest from £3 10s. to £3 16s. per cent., but he asked what authority had the hon. Member for making that statement? He could not point to any statement made by Mr. Gladstone to that effect. He merely said that he was bound to assume it because Mr. Gladstone was a great financier, and knew what he was doing. He (Mr. Bal-four) was ready to admit Mr. Gladstone's merits as a financier, but he was bound to say that the hon. Member was wrong in asserting that Mr. Gladstone, while making the reduction for the poor-rate, at the same time increased the interest from 479 £3 10s. to £3 16s., for that was not Mr. Gladstone's idea in making those further proposals. As Mr. Gladstone stated in introducing the Bill, the clause contained two proposals, one providing for a cash payment and the other for an annuity extending over fifty-two years. But it was also provided that there should be a reduction of such sum based upon an average of five years, which the purchaser should be entitled to deduct from the tithe rent-charge in regard to the poor rate. What Mr. Gladstone really did was to allow a reduction of the amount of poor rate in respect of this payment, but what he gave with one hand in that way he took away with the other, for he increased the period from forty-five to fifty-two years. The point was that the admission of this seven years exactly made the difference between the payment by the landlords of the net and the gross tithe rent-charge. What Mr. Gladstone intended to do was to allow the tithe rent-charge payer to pay a sum less the amount of the poor rate, but at the same time, in order to preserve the gross amount of the Church Fund, he deliberately increased the period from forty-five to fifty-two years. So far it could not be contended that the tithe rent payer had any grievance, because under the Act of 1869 the tithe rent-charge payer could redeem not by an annuity but by a cash payment, and he was called upon to redeem not the net but the gross tithe rent-charge. Therefore the tithe rent-charge payer who redeemed in cash was placed by the provision of the Act of 1869 in precisely the same position as the tithe rent-charge payer who redeemed by an annuity. It was not until 1872 that the real disparity commenced. In the Bill of 1872 a condition was introduced to the effect that the tithe rent-charge payer who had redeemed in cash was entitled to deduct the poor rate. That Bill passed through the House practically without discussion, and Mr. Gladstone never explained his proposal upon this point. The hon. Member for East Mayo dwelt at enormous length upon the provisions of the Act of 1869, but he said practically nothing about the Act of 1872. Therefore, he entirely ignored the real essence of the case. How could it be defended that the tithe rent-charge payer who paid in cash was entitled to pay a smaller sum, 480 while the annuitant was called upon to pay a larger sum?
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
said he still asserted that that was absolutely the case. The hon. Member had practically ignored the Act of 1872. As to the hon. Member's remarks upon the effect this proposal would have upon the Irish Church Fund, it was not his business to defend that fund. What he did say, however, was that he had had these calculations in the Treasury Memorandum checked again and again in every possible way, and he believed the figures in. that Memorandum might be taken as being as nearly accurate as circumstances would allow. The hon. Member for East Mayo made a great point of the fact that the loss upon land purchase transactions was not taken into account, but he should have read a little more from the latter part of the Memorandum, which says—It remains to consider the effect of redemptions in cases of sale under the Land Purchase Acts £100 per annum of tithe rent-charge is sold under those Acts for £2,000, which sum could not be applied so as to reduce the net annual charge on the Fund by more than £60. So there would be a loss of £40 per annum for every £100 per annum of tithe rent-charge redeemed. In the case of tithe annuities, perpetuity rents, mortgages, and land annuities, the loss would be proportionately less, and the loss on tithe and land annuities must diminish as they draw nearer to their close. If such redemptions continued on a considerable scale, it would ultimately become necessary to reduce the provision of £70,000 per annum under the Agricultural Bill; not, however, in the near future.When speaking on the Second Reading of this Bill, he stated that he believed that if the land purchase transactions went on in future at about the same pace as they had lately done, the effect on the Church Fund would be that it would still be able to afford this charge for fifteen years, and probably for thirty years, and that after thirty years they might be able to still pay £70,000 a year to the Department of Agriculture. He quite agreed with what the hon. Member had said in regard to 481 the desirability of preserving the Church Fund, but he did not think it was incumbent upon the House to dwell too carefully upon what might happen a generation hence. He ventured to say that if the Department of Agriculture proved a success the final result would be not that these amounts would be diminished, but that they would be increased. But the fact that they might be unable to pay this large sum to the Department of Agriculture was not, in his judgment, a sufficient reason why they should refuse to do justice to those whose payments constituted the Church Fund.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
As I understand the case it is simply this. Originally the persons liable for tithe rent-charge in Ireland had the option of adopting two methods. I understand that some tithe payers continue to pay the full tithe now. The others, I believe, have the option of electing to adopt either one of two systems. The Act of 1872 dealt in two different ways with two different classes of creditors, but it does not necessarily follow that there was any injustice to either of them, and in this respect I think the right hon. Gentleman has conspicuously failed to make out his case. Who knows—he evidently does not—what the mind of Parliament was in 1872 in creating what he calls this disparity? The right hon. Gentleman was not in the House when the Act was passed; I was not in the House, and many hon. Members now present were not Members of the House at that time. Those who were then Members of the House appear to be under an obligation to inform us what was the Parliamentary understanding then arrived at. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in particular, whose views have been cited during this debate in a sense entirely favourable to the contention of hon. Members from Ireland, has not favoured us with an explanation, and until he does so, I must take it that the contention of the hon. Members from Ireland must be true. I have listened very carefully to the speech of the Member for East Mayo, but I felt all the time that he was merely beating the air. This Bill is no new thing in this House. It is part of the policy to which an enormous 482 majority of this House of Commons during its whole career has devoted itself. I will not go into a retrospect of the various Acts which have been based, in my opinion, on the principle on which this Act was based. The first was an Act which took public money and gave it in relief of rates. Then there was a similar Act by which public money was granted in aid of Voluntary schools; that was public money given to a particular class. Then there was a section in the Finance Act two or three years ago, by which the Chancellor of the Exchequer put money into the pockets of a particular class. Then came the enormous bribe which was given to the Irish landlords in order to grease the wheels of the Local Government Act, and then, last year, we had the Act by which tithe rent-charge benefices were to be paid out of public funds. Every one of these Acts was based on the principle of this Bill. There is one difference, and only one, between the five measures to which I have referred and the present proposal. In Her Majesty's Speech from the Throne we were told that this Bill was going to be introduced, but we were also told that no domestic reforms which involved a large expenditure of money could be undertaken. I suppose this may be called a domestic reform, and I am told it involves an expenditure of 2½ millions. But what is the difference between it and the measures to which I have referred? They were paid for out of the Imperial Exchequer, whereas this is going to be paid for out of the miserable remnant of the Irish Church Fund. I object altogether to the proposals contained in this Bill, but speaking here as a Scotch Member, I declare I would rather see this relief a charge upon Imperial resources than on the small remnant of the Irish Church Fund which was to be devoted to purely Irish purposes. If this is a good thing, let us do it out of our own pockets, and let us not rob Ireland, for the sake of a small class, of money intended for the Irish people. I shall vote with my hon. friend against this clause.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
The last time I had the honour of addressing the House on the Irish question I condoled with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite on 483 what I ventured to call the somewhat pathetic position he occupied in this House —always lamenting the condition of the class to which he belonged. I reverse that statement to-night, and I congratulate the right hon. and gallant Gentleman on one of the most remarkable Parliamentary achievements that any man has ever been able to carry out in this House. He and his friends have succeeded in getting the Government to reverse the whole process of legislation, and to give to a particular class in Ireland monetary compensation previously refused in nearly every single case. Take some of the cases we have seen in this House. An unfortunate man is wrongly convicted; he is sent for years to imprisonment, he is deprived of the means of earning his livelihood, and his wife and children are deprived of his assistance as the breadwinner. Take the case of the two Irishmen whose release was procured by the confession of Peace the murderer. They were imprisoned for four or five years for a murder, and their relatives were deprived of their assistance as breadwinners.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
Oh, yes, they had; they were not married, but Irishmen always have relatives. A demand for compensation for these men was made, but ignominiously rejected by the Treasury. Officers in the Army and in the Navy who by admitted miscalculations, not conjectural miscalculations, have been treated unfairly, have come to Parliament session after session and have demanded compensation, which has always been refused. And now, for the first time in the history of Parliament, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite, representing the landlords of Ireland, basing his claim on an alleged and conjectural miscalculation thirty years ago, is able to get from the Government for his class a redemption of seven years. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman is much to be congratulated on such a remarkable achievement. The Chief Secretary introduced this extraordinary Bill, but I think the Bill is not half so 484 extraordinary as the arguments he used to-support it. Take the speech we listened to a short time ago—a speech which I venture to say is the most interesting psychological as well as Parliamentary study I have ever had the pleasure of hearing in this House. The right hon. Gentleman lays down the principle that we are to judge of the intentions of Parliament, not by the words of Acts of Parliament, but by the ideas which he projects into the minds of gentlemen responsible for them thirty years ago. Why, Sir, if the right hon. Gentleman were to come before any of the Courts of this country, and were to quote, by way of arriving at the interpretation of an Act of Parliament, speeches in debate in this House, any Judge in the land would stop him and say, "What we have to consider are not the speeches by which the Bill became an Act of Parliament; our business is to interpret the words of the Statute before us. What was said during the discussion on the Bill has nothing; to do with us." Then the right hon. Gentleman says that the Act of Parliament says so and so and moans something else, and we ask him what are his reasons. He admits that the Act of Parliament prescribes a certain number of years for the repayment of a certain debt, but then he goes on to say that when the Act said fifty-two it meant forty-five. What is his proof? We read the speeches made for and against the Bill, and we read the speeches of Mr. Gladstone and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. According to the right hon. Gentleman Clause 32 of the Irish Church Act was a fraud on the landlords, but according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was in Parliament when the Bill was being discussed, it was no fraud on the landlords at all, but a fraud on the Church, because it was a gift or a bribe to the landlords. In face of that the right hon. Gentleman now says, "Oh, really, I think I cannot give any reasons for that, except my own inner consciousness and my power of reading into the minds of people thirty years back. I think Mr. Gladstone must have meant not what he said but the opposite, and the Act of Parliament not what it said but the opposite; and what the Chancellor of the Exchequer meant when he described certain proposals as a gift or bribe to the landlords was not what he really meant, but that it was a fraud on the landlords." Then he says that 485 any hon. friend the Member for East Mayo—whose mastery of this question, as well as the energy and persistence with which he is most properly fighting this iniquitous measure, entitle him to the admiration of the House — only paid attention to one Act and said nothing about the Act of 1872. The right hon. Gentleman says that Mr. Gladstone could not have had present to his mind all the facts of the case, and could not have gone into all the details. Mr. Gladstone made a certain proposal on the gross amount of the tithe-rent; he found that it was not charged on the gross but on the net, and he then very probably did justice to the landlords by calculating on the net instead of on the gross, but when he did that he very naturally and properly increased the number of instalments from forty-five to fifty-two. The right hon. Gentleman says he took away with one hand what he gave with the other, but it is perfectly evident that, having made a calculation which was unjust to the landlords, Mr. Gladstone did justice in a second calculation, and having done justice in that way he was bound also to do justice to the Treasury by increasing the instalments. That is what the right hon. Gentleman means by saying that Mr. Gladstone took away with one hand what he gave with the other. Then the right hon. Gentleman says, "Oh, but look at the Act of 1872. See what injustice existed until that Act was passed." That injustice affected only persons who had paid cash, because they were charged on the gross, whereas persons who have bought by instalments were charged on the net. The right hon. Gentleman says that this was an injustice, and so it was, and accordingly in 1872 the cash purchasers were put in the same position as those who redeemed by instalments. That injustice was removed, but is there any reason now why you should create a new injustice? I am absolutely unable to see how the right hon. Gentleman can use the Act of 1872 as any justification whatever for the proposals in this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has alluded to the Irish Church Fund. I will not go into the question at length, but I must say that it is a very startling thing that, in face of the admitted needs of Ireland, we have this Government making a present to the Irish landlords of a large amount of money, not one penny of which, I believe, they are en- 486 titled to. If any such proposal had been made seven or eight years ago, I believe the House of Commons then in existence would have stood aghast and amazed at it. In fact, I believe that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in his heart of hearts is really in a state of almost bewildered and benumbed surprise at finding any Government so reckless as to make such a proposal. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman and his friends have again and again complained in this House of the manner in which their property, or what they are pleased to call their property, has been transferred to the Irish tenants. I say "what they are pleased to call their property" because they make no allowance for the fact that the value of the land has been increased by the labour of the tenants. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman says that when Englishmen desire to do justice to the oppressed people in Ireland, what they mean is that they are going to take money out of the pockets of one class of Irishmen in order to give it to another class. I think there is a good deal in that contention. Let us apply that point of view to the present Bill.. The Government say that the unfortunate Irish land- lords have been suffering a, gross injustice for thirty years owing to a miscalculation —a simple matter of arithmetic—which was made by the greatest financier of our time, and the Government in a noble spirit of righteousness propose to right this wrong. How do they propose to do it? Not by taking money from English pockets, but by taking money out of the Irish Church Fund, which was intended by Mr. Gladstone for the relief of Irish distress, and then they talk of the noble spirit of righteousness in, which they have righted the wrongs of the Irish landlords. I think it is shameless on the part of the Government—in face of the many calls there are for relief in Ireland—in face of the festering some of the evicted tenants for whom session after session we have asked assistance—to come forward with this proposal.
§ MR. FLYNN
I have had some years experience in this House, but I have never heard so many inconsequential, perplexed and confused arguments used as have been employed in connection with this Bill. I should have thought that, if 487 the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary were justified in the statements he made in defence of this proposal, either the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Secretary of the Treasury would have defended the acts of the Treasury. The right hon. Gentleman says that the Act of 1869, amended by the Act of 1872, means something different from what it states, but he has brought absolutely no proof either from the speeches on the Bill of 1869 or from the speeches on the Bill of 1872 which can overthrow one single figure or fact advanced by my hon. friend the Member for East Mayo. What does the whole foundation of this clause rest on? That the Treasury has been making a serious mistake all these years. In the Treasury Minute of 1895 it was stated that no case existed to support the charge of wrong-doing towards the Irish landlords, but by some strange concatenation of circumstances, some fortuitous concurrence of political accidents, we now find the Government
§ advocating the existence of an injustice which they themselves previously denied. This is a matter of the most serious importance, and I think we are entitled to have some declaration from the Treasury before we proceed further. I think also we are entitled to know how the Irish Church Fund will stand if this Bill becomes law. The Chief Secretary does not know, and we do not know whether the Agricultural Department will receive the £70,000 a year allotted to it.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 144 Noes, 64. (Division List No. 172.)489
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edwd.||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William E. H.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Finch, George H.||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn (Swans'a)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Fisher, William Hayes||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverp'l)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose.||Lowe, Francis William|
|Baird, John G. Alexander||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Lowles, John|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Forster, Benry William||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Galloway, William Johnson||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith-(Hunts)||Gedge, Sydney||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||M'Killop, James|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Malcolm, Ian|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St George's)||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Billiard, Sir Harry||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)|
|Butcher, John George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monmouthsh.)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Gurdon, Sir William B.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Bir.)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.||Myers, William Henry|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hardy, Laurence||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Charrington, Spencer||Helder, Augustus||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Colomb, Sir J. C. Ready||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Plunkett, Rt. Hn. H. Curzon|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Jackson, Rt. Hn. Wm. Lawies||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Purvis, Robert|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Curzon, Viscount||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kenyon, James||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.||Keswick, William||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Knowles, Lees||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson|
|Faber, George Denison||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Stock, James Henry||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw J.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxford U.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Seely, Charles Hilton||Thornton, Percy M.||Wyndham, George|
|Sharpe, William Edward T.||Tollemache, Henry James||Wyvil, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edward M.||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Sidebottom, William (Derby.)||Went worth, Bruce C. Vernon.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstrnther.|
|Smith, James Parker (Lanarks)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Stirling-Max well, Sir John M.||Wodehouse, Rt. hon. E. R. (Bath)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale.||Palmer, Geo. Wm. (Reading)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Horniman, Frederick John||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Billson, Alfred||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Price, Robert John|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cum'bl'nd)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Caldwell, James||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lough, Thomas||Sinclair, Capt. Jno. (Forfarsh.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Macaleese, Daniel||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Crombie, John William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Daly, James||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Ghee, Richard||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Dillon, John||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Kenna, Reginald||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Douglas, C. M. (Lanark)||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Duckworth, James||Murnaghan, George||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddersf'd)|
|Engledew, Charles John||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Woods, Samuel|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Evershed, Sydney||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Dowd, John||Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Kelly, James|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Malley, William|
§ Question put accordingly, "That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill."490
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 143; Noes, 64. (Division List No. 173.)491
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Charrington, Spencer||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo.'s)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)|
|Baird, John Geo. Alexander||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Curzon, Viscount||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith-(Hunts)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.||Hanson, Sir Reginald|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hardy, Laurence|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Faber, George Denison||Helder, Augustus|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith.||Finch, George H.||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Fisher, William Hayes||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fitz Gerald, Sir Rbt. Penrose.||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Butcher, John George||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Forster, Henry William||Kenyon, James|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Galloway, William Johnson||Keswick, William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Gedge, Sydney||Knowles, Lees|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. Edw. H.|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn. (Swans.)||Myers, William Henry||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Stanley, Edward J.(Somerset)|
|Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)||Stock, James Henry|
|Lowe, Francis William||Peel, Hon. Wm. R. Wellesley||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Uni.)|
|Lowles, John||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. Curzon||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Pretyman, Ernest George||Tomlinson, Wm. E. Murray|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Purvis, Robert||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Maclure, Sir John William||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Rentoul, James Alexander||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|M'Killop, James||Richardson Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Malcolm, Ian||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Moore, Wm. (Antrim, N.)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Wyndham, George|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Saunderson, Rt. Hon. Col. E. J.||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Morgan, Hn F. (Monmouthsh.)||Seely, Charles Hilton||Young Commanded Berks, E.)|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Murray, Col. Wynd. (Bath)||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Scale-||Peare, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Billson, Alfred||Horniman, Frederick John||Price, Robert John|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jones, Wil. (Carnarvonshire)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Caldwell, James||Lawson, Sir Wilf. (Cumb'land)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lough, Thomas||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Macaleese, Daniel||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Crombie, John William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Daly, James||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Ghee, Richard||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Dillon, John||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Kenna, Reginald||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Duckworth, James||Murnaghan, George||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Engledew, Charles John||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddrsfld)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Woods, Samuel|
|Evershed, Sydney||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Dowd, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Kelly, James||Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Guerdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||O'Malley, William|
§ It being after Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again this day.