§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 2:—
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin County, N.)
said there was an Amendment on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for North Louth, and in place of it he should move another. The Bill consisted 518 practically of two parts, and the discussion on the previous night was mainly devoted to the first portion. The second half chiefly related to the method in which the tithes were variable. It was impossible to discuss this clause without referring to the general provisions contained in the Bill with reference to the variation of the tithe in the future. The Amendment he had to move in lieu of that standing in the name of the hon. Member for North Louth was to be effect that the tithe rent-charge should be varied in accordance, not with the variation in judicial rents, but with the difference in prices and the cost of cultivation. If the proposal were carried, the first subsection of the clause would read as follows—As soon as possible after the passing of this Act, the Land Commissioner, having regard to the difference in prices affecting agriculture and the cost of cultivation in the counties, poor law unions, or other areas, between the fifteen years expiring on the 1st day of November next alter the passing of this Act and the previous fifteen years, shall on any application to vary the tithe rent-charge in such area, and on proof that the applicant is entitled to have the same varied under the laws existing before the passing of this Act determine with reference to such area what variation, if any, ought in equity to be made in tithe rent-charge payable in respect of any hereditament situate in such area other thin the tithe rent-charges payable to the Land Commission.The clause of the Bill under consideration, like the first clause, constituted a most revolutionary proposal. He was referring, of course, also to the clauses which followed, and particularly to the third clause, for which this second clause was laying the foundation. The existing system of tithe variation, as they knew, was a most complicated one, and the right hon. Gentleman by his Bill proposed to sweep it away and to substitute for it an automatic variation of tithe rent-charge. This proposal might possibly be defended if the original tithe-owners or their descendants had never sold or leased the tithe rent-charges to other people. But in regard to the particular cases in which they had been sold and with which some attempt was made by the clause to deal, and especially in regard to those tithe rent-charges which were determined by the Act of 1872 to be invariable for the future, he maintained that the clause was absolutely revolutionary. Take, for instance, the case of tithe rent-charges 519 payable to the Land Commission. They were declared by the Act of 1872 to be no longer variable. There was a good reason for that declaration. The question was fully debated at the time, and the settlement arrived at was supposed to be final. On the supposition that it was final, the Laud Commission in their treatment of the Church fund had made their calculations on that basis. To now undo that settlement after a lapse of twenty-eight years, and without anybody having asked that the tithes should be varied, was as bad as anything that was done or contemplated by the Parliament of James II. which the English Unionists had so vehemently protested against, especially during the Home Rule agitation. If that settlement were to be undone, especially after the funds had already been allocated to public purposes in Ireland, he could not imagine any answer to any demand which might be made in the future for the undoing of any settlement whatever. He would really like to hear some defence of the proposal. Take again the case of the lay tithes. In many cases they had been sold; they had been treated as articles of commerce; they had passed out of the landlords' hands and were now in the hands of all sorts of people. They had in many cases been acquired as investments for trustees, and this particular property had gone on changing hands for valuable consideration, the sale always being made on the supposition that the tithe was not variable. Yet now a Unionist Government, a Government of great conservators of property, and of great upholders of contract, proposed to abolish the system under which property had passed from hand to hand and family to family for the last fifty years, and to substitute a totally different principle for it!
The hon. Member is now discussing the whole Bill. As far as I can gather from the Amendment he read out, the only point now to be discussed by the Committee is whether it will accept the proposal contained in the Bill, viz., that the variation in judicial rent is to be taken as the standard of variation, or whether it will agree with the hon. Member that any alteration in prices is to be the standard.
§ MR. CLANCY
But I propose a very important addition—namely, "That on 520 any application to vary tithe rent-charge in such area and on proof that the applicant is entitled to have the same varied under the laws existing before the passing of this Act," etc.
§ MR. CLANCY
did so, and on returning to his seat said he wished to explain the meaning of the words he had quoted. They had reference to the old system under which tithes were varied. He could not discuss this clause without referring to that particular subject, because its object was to lay a foundation for Clause 3. The system on which tithes had been varied in the past was a, very complicated one and very difficult to work. It had not been very successful. He was glad to have the assent of the Chief Secretary to that.
As I understand it, the part of the hon. Member's Amendment dealing with the variation of tithe rent-charge is not in order on this clause at all. It should come on the next clause. I shall therefore have to strike those words out of the Amendment.
§ MR. CLANCY
I bow to your ruling, of course. I thought the same point was raised in the Amendment of the hon. Member for North Louth. It seems to me to be most convenient for the Government and for the Committee to discuss the whole question on the present Amendment. I should think the right hon. Gentleman will not object to that.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
The hon. Member must not take me as not objecting. This is purely a question of order. My experience is that when questions have been discussed on one Amendment they have been raised over and over again on other Amendments.
§ MR. CLANCY
My appeal was not to the right hon. Gentleman, but to the Chairman. I submit it is more convenient to take the debate now. I do not wish to detain the House unnecessarily.—The hon. Member then went on to point out the difficulties which attended the 521 present system of variation. Questions arose frequently as to who were really the owners of the tithe; it was not always possible to find in one parish three persons to sign the necessary notice; and the notices had to be given at a certain fixed period, and were directed to be posted on the principal outer door of the parish church, whereas sometimes there was no principal outer door, and even no parish church; and, finally, if the difference in price between one standard of comparison and another did not exceed 10 per cent., then the application for the variation of the tithe could not be granted at all. The result of these manifold requirements, as every lawyer knew, was that the variation of tithe was rendered almost impossible. People had bought on the supposition that this difficulty existed. They had taken leases——
The only part of the Amendment in order on this clause is that which suggests that the prices of agricultural produce shall be taken as the standard, instead of the change in judicial rents. The remainder is a matter for future discussion.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
Is it not a fact that this clause proposes to substitute for the old method of varying tithe a new basis of variation; and is it not perfectly competent for us to compare the old method with the new?
The hon. Member was not comparing the two methods. I do not gather that he has attempted to do that.
§ MR. CLANCY
Technically, perhaps, I may not be in order; but I put it to the Committee whether it would not be convenient to discuss this matter once and for all.
I think it is very inconvenient. The best thing is to take each Amendment as it comes up.
§ MR. CLANCY
said he was afraid that that would greatly lengthen the discussion. He failed to see that the right hon. Gentleman had given any special reasons for his proposal. One great objection on the part of those who represented the public interest in Ireland, as distinct from the 522 landlord class, was that these judicial rents wore rents in regard to which—and for the greater part of the last fourteen or fifteen years—no proper distinction had been drawn between reductions effected in respect of changing circumstances and those made in respect of improvements made by the tenants. If it were possible to draw such a distinction—and he feared it was not—then there might be something to be said for substituting the new principle for the old. This was, however,, a fatal objection, as it gave the landlords; advantages to which they were not entitled, and for their benefit an inroad was being made for no reason whatever on a public fund devoted to public purposes. The idea was to get the largest possible reduction for the landlord class. The modified form he suggested had the sanction of convenience, custom, and tradition; and as one representing public interests, which were deeply concerned in inroads upon the Church Fund, he could not consent to the Government proposal. After the ruling of the Chairman he thought he had better put aside his own Amendment and adopt that of the hon. Member for North Louth, which he begged to move.
In page 1, line 23, to leave out from the word 'Commission,' to the word 'shall,' in page 2, line 4, and insert the words 'having regard to the difference in prices affecting agriculture in counties, poor law unions, or other areas, between the fifteen years expiring on the first day of November next after the passing of this Act and the previous fifteen years.'"—(Mr. Clancy.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'and,' in page 2, line 4, stand part of the clause."
§ MR. DALY (Monaghan, S.)
said he considered the course proposed in the clause to be a very dangerous one. The matter should be settled as heretofore, and the tithes should not be varied at all. The Irish Land Commission was a body not favourable to the Irish tenants, and if it had power it would exercise it in favour of the landlords and against the tenants. He therefore felt that his hon. friends were perfectly right in opposing the clause. The manner in which the Irish Land Commission collected statistics was to send representatives to fairs, and 523 he had known himself that excessive prices had often been collected. Oftentimes the representative of the Land Commission met the person who had obtained the highest or the lowest price at the fair, and he did not consider that a fair criterion on which to fix prices throughout the whole of Ireland. He hoped his hon. friends would oppose the clause.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The speech just delivered by the hon. Gentleman leaves me in doubt whether he has either read the clause or the Amendment, and it also leaves me in doubt whether he intends to support the Amendment or not. What is the question raised by this Amendment? It is that we shall substitute for the proposal in the clause a provision stating that the Land Commission shall have regard to the difference in prices affecting agriculture in counties, poor-law unions, or other areas between the fifteen years expiring on the 1st November next and the previous fifteen years. According to the hon. Gentleman's speech the Land Commission is not an efficient body to collect prices, and in that case, of course, he ought to vote against the Amendment; but there are greater objections to the Amendment than those which the hon. Member has just laid before the Committee. What is proposed under the Amendment is that the prices from 1885 to 1900 should be compared with the prices from 1870 to 1885, but as a matter of fact there are no records of prices from 1870 to 1885, and on that ground alone the Committee will see that it would be impracticable to adopt the Amendment. One of the objections urged by the hon. Member for North Louth on the Second Reading of the Bill was that we proposed to put too great a responsibility on the Land Commission. The Land Commissioners, it was said, were the guardians of the Church Fund, and it was not right that they should have any interest in fixing figures by which the fund would be affected. But our proposal, which is automatic, depends on the rents fixed by the Sub-Commissioners all over Ireland, and would throw nothing like the responsibility on the Land Commissioners that the Amendment would, because the Amendment provides that the Land Commissioners shall not only determine prices in these different areas, but shall also 524 determine how far the tithe rent-charge should be equitably reduced. Under these circumstances we cannot accept the Amendment. It would involve a responsibility which ought not to be placed on the Land Commissioners.
§ MR. DILLON
The speech to which we have just listened illustrates very forcibly the extraordinary position to which we have been brought by the methods adopted in connection with this Bill. The chief part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman dealt with the tail of the Amendment which has just been cut off.
§ MR. DILLON
I want to direct the attention of the Committee to the fact that by the cutting off of the tail of the Amendment we have in the first place rendered it unreadable—it will not fit into the clause—and in the next place the meaning of the Amendment has been absolutely altered, and a very valuable Amendment it was. You are substituting for the law which existed for half a century a new method of machinery for varying the tithe rent-charge, and it is absolutely outside the scope of human intelligence to debate an Amendment on Clause 2 or Clause 3 without referring to the whole of the machinery you propose. Clause 2 leads up to Clause 3, and has no meaning or purpose except as considered with Clause 3. Clause 2 proposes to substitute a new basis of variation for the old system, and my point is that if at the beginning of Clause 2 you lay down the machinery, you govern the whole of the discussion on the remainder of Clause 2, and also on Clause 3. Therefore I maintain, with all due respect and submission to the Chair, and without the slightest intention of controverting the Chairman's decision, that the entire Amendment is in order. It was drafted by the hon. Member for North Louth, who is undoubtedly and by admission a past master in the art of drafting Amendments. The Amendment was put down for the purpose of altering the entire machinery by which it is proposed to vary the tithe rent-charge, and if it were carried it would affect materially, and necessitate consequential alterations in, Clause 3. I hold that it is impossible to discuss the machinery and method of 525 the variation of the tithe rent-charge with due regard to order after the first subsection of Clause 2 is passed, because if you impose on the Land Commission the duty of ascertaining the average reduction in judicial rents, it will then be argued that we have laid down the principle; because it may be said, "Why should the Land Commission ascertain the variation respecting judicial rents if not for the purpose of varying the tithe rent-charge?" According to your ruling, Sir, the whole Clause will be turned into nonsense if this Amendment is left as it is. The Amendment proposes to leave out all the words from ''Commission," in line 23, page 1, to "and" in page 2, line 4, and to substitute the following words—Having regard to the difference in prices affecting agriculture in counties, poor-law unions, or other areas, between the fifteen years expiring on the first day of November next after the passing of this Act and the previous fifteen years shall determine with reference to such areas what variation (if any) ought equitably to be made in the tithe rent-charge payable in respect of hereditaments situate in such area.The result of your ruling, even with the consequential Amendment to leave out the word "and," would be that the meaning of the Amendment would be totally different to what was intended. It was never contemplated that the tithe rent-charge should be varied in direct ratio to the variation of prices. That was not the Amendment at all. The proposition in the Bill is that the tithe rent-charge should vary with the same variation as the judicial rents. The Amendment proposed to substitute a different proposal—not that the tithe rent-charge should vary in direct proportion to the variation in prices—but that having regard to the variation of prices, the Land Commission shall determine what variation (if any) ought equitably to be made. It proposes to leave it to the Land Commission, in the first place, to determine whether there is any equitable case for variation at all; and in the second place, supposing there is, what variation should be made; but no one ever dreamt of laying down the proposition that the variation in tithe should be in direct ratio to the variation of prices As now presented, however, the Amendment contains a diametrically opposite proposal to what was intended. I have been very much impressed by our experience during the debates on this Bill. 526 It is a Bill of vast importance to Ireland, and with the exception of the Local Government Bill it is the most important measure introduced during this Parliament. And yet look at the condition of the House. Is it not enough to make an Irish Member despair? There are two or three unfortunate hungry Irish landlords looking on and waiting for their share of the Church Fund; there is a body of Irish Nationalists on this side, and five or six English Members, while a Bill, very technical and very difficult, dealing with a great public fund badly required for public uses in Ireland, is under discussion. Hon. Members are scattered over the reading-rooms and. dining-rooms of this House, and they will come in to vote without knowing in the least what a particular Amendment is about. It is perfectly outrageous; and yet we are told we have only got to come to this great intelligent and impartial Legislature to get all our demands considered. I venture to affirm with absolute confidence that, of the English Members voting on these various Amendments, not one in a 100 has the faintest conception of them. I think it is disheartening that we should be compelled to carry on this debate under such extraordinary circumstances. With reference to this Amendment, I do not know whether to support it or oppose it. The Amendment on the Paper is, I think, perfectly in order.
Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present (Mr. CRILLY, Mayo, N.). House counted, and forty Members being found present.
§ MR. DILLON (continuing)
I have been endeavouring to explain the difficulty we are in in connection with this Amendment. As the Amendment appeared on the Paper it would receive my most hearty support, because it raised a most important issue; but the tail of the Amendment has been ruled out of order, and the extraordinary result is that it now has, as I submit, an entirely opposite effect to what was intended. I cannot see how it can be contended that it is out of order to debate the whole question of the machinery for the revision of tithe rent-charge on the first sub-section of Clause 2, when if the the sub-section is allowed to remain as it is you prejudge to a very considerable extent the question of the machinery to 527 be provided. I think we are entitled, therefore, to know whether we are not at liberty to move the Amendment as it appears on the Paper.
The hon. Member appears to think that this is the first Amendment ever appearing on the Paper that has been ruled out of order. Part of the Amendment is in order, and part of it is out of order. Clause 2 lays down the standard which is to be arrived at by some means or other by the Land Commission as to the variation which should take place in tithe rent-charge. The Amendment on the Paper suggests another means of arriving at that standard. Clause 3 goes on to say that, having arrived at that standard showing the variation now existing as compared with fifteen years ago, it is to be applied in dealing with tithe rent-charge. The matter is divided into two sections instead of being in one. It is quite impossible to allow an Amendment on one of these clauses which would really give the go-by to the subject-matter contained in the other. The proper course for the hon. Member, if he does not approve of my ruling, is to withdraw the Amendment and object to the whole clause. The hon. Member says that by accepting the first and remaining sections of Clause 2 his hands are tied with regard to Clause 3; but it is open to him to move the rejection of Clause 2, and having got rid of it he could then suggest some other means for varying tithe rent-charge to that suggested in the Bill.
§ MR. DILLON
There is very considerable difficulty in dealing with this Amendment under these restrictions. I did not imagine that no Amendment on the Paper had ever been ruled out of order. I suppose 500 of my own have been ruled out of order during my Parliamentary career; but in this particular instance the effect of the operation is of a most extraordinary character, because it has completely altered the Amendment, and the clause will not read. The clause as it stands is quite clear, but the ruling of the Chair with regard to the Amendment has thrown the matter into confusion. The sense of the Amendment is altered, and I contend that it does not read into the clause at all.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
If I am in order, may I most respectfully 528 ask you, Mr. Chairman, to read the whole-Amendment now, so that I may know exactly what I have to deal with?
I endeavoured to. save the Amendment as far as I could by cutting out only that which was disorderly. Of course, I am not responsible for the original form of the Amendment. The Amendment will read—As soon as possible after the passing of this Act the Land Commissioners, having regard to the difference in prices affecting agriculture in counties, poor law unions, or other areas, between the fifteen years expiring on the 1st day of November next, after the passing of this Act, and the previous fifteen years, shall certify the average percentage which such variation represents.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
As that stands there is no variation to which the "such" refers. As the Amendment originally stood there was a variation of one period of fifteen years, and another period of fifteen years, and the Land Commission was to—determine, with reference to such areas, what variation, if any, ought equitably to be made in the tithe rent-charge payable in respect of hereditaments situate in such areas.Thus the words "such variation" has reference to what was contemplated by the hon. and learned Member for North Louth. But even as the Amendment now stands on the Paper it raises a very important question of principle, because undoubtedly what is sought by Section 2, and which will be somewhat qualified by the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for North Louth, is to confiscate a very considerable portion of the Church Fund of Ireland. The effect of making the reduction of rents by the Land Commissioners the standard by which the rent-charge is to be raised or lowered will be to lop off some 20 or 25 per cent. from the existing tithe rent-charge. That is a very serious step. I am very glad that there are even forty Members of the House now present, because last night, when the House was full, and when an opportunity might have been offered to explain to English and Scotch Members the morass into which the Government was leading the House, we were closured on Clause 1. Now that there are a few Members here, I want to call their attention to what has been done on this Clause 2. We are practically reducin 529 the tithe rent-charge now payable in Ireland by 25 per cent. That is a very great boon, undoubtedly, to the tithe-payer, but in doing that we are repealing one of the most solemn statutes on the Statute-book—namely, the Act which disestablished the Irish Church. That was the result of a long period of agitation, and was forced upon this House by the Imperial necessities of the time.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I rise to a point of order. Surely the application of this provision to the period of fifty years rent-charge is a matter that will be more conveniently raised later on.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I am not speaking now of the difference between ecclesiastical and lay tithes; I am speaking of the meaning, if it has any, of this section, and the standard by which the tithe rent-charge is to be reduced by 25 per cent. That is my proposition, and if it is wrong it can be met by argument. What I was going to say to recently arrived English and Scottish Members of this House was that by the 68th section of the Church Act a trust is imposed upon the Church Fund which we have no right to violate or break, and which, if it were a private trust, could not be violated. What is that trust? By the 68th section of the Act it is declared that the surplus of the Church Fund is to be devoted "to the relief of unavoidable calamity and suffering in Ireland." That is at the basis of all Irish legislation for the last thirty-one years.
The right hon. Gentleman is now travelling beyond the limits of the Amendment, to which he must confine himself.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, L.)
With great respect, Mr. Lowther, on point of order, is not my right hon. friend justified in describing the effect of he proposed standard of variation in the clause, and in showing that that effect is a fraud of the Church Fund?
There are two alternatives now before the Committee, as I have repeatedly pointed out. One alternative is that a standard should be fixed by the Land Commission on the 530 basis of judicial rents, and the other alternative is that the basis to be taken should be the prices of agricultural produce. That is now the question before the Committee, and the only one. As to whether any standard should be fixed at all, that will come on for debate on the question that Clause 2 stand part of the Bill.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
Is not my right hon. friend absolutely in order in showing what the effect on the Church Fund would be of the section now before the House if it is not modified by the Amendment proposed by the hon. and learned Member for North Louth?
The right hon. Gentleman has not referred to the Amendment, and was not discussing the second alternative; he was discussing the effect of the whole case.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
How could I convey two sentences in one breath? The object of this clause is to alter the old existing standard, and how can I possibly argue that this clause is imperfect or bad, and that the Amendment would improve it, unless I called the attention of the House to the history of this matter?
In my opinion, that ought to be gone into when the question is put that Clause 2 stands part of the Bill. I do not think it is competent to go into history upon an Amendment which would take another basis for variation from that in the clause as it stands. The light hon. Gentleman may compare the two methods in arriving at his conclusions.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I bow, with the utmost deference, to your ruling, and shall endeavour, if possible, to keep myself within it. Now, what reason has been assigned, either to-day or when the Bill was introduced, for this organic change in the standard for fixing the tithe rent-charge in Ireland, which has existed for more than seventy years? The Act which regulated the mode by which tithe rent-charge, or tithe composition, was fixed was 2 and 3 William IV. It was a perfectly fair mode. They were to ascertain the average price of wheat or corn, according to whether wheat or corn was the staple cereal of the district, for 531 the previous seven years, and when so ascertained to compare the average of seven years with seven years, and vary the tithe rent-charge according to the variation resulting from that comparison. Now that law has never been changed; but this Bill comes in and suggests a change in the system deliberately adopted nearly seventy years ago. What has occurred to make such a change desirable? The object of the Amendment is that if you will have a now system let it approach as closely as possible to the old system, and let it be regulated not by fixing it on judicial rents—the effect of which will be, as I have said, to reduce the Church property growing out of tithe rent-charge by 25 per cent—but by fixing it on the prices of wheat and corn in particular areas. That is the way I was coming to the object of the Amendment, and to ground my reasoning why the Amendment should be adopted. The Amendment says—The Land Commission, having regard to the differences in prices affecting agriculture in counties, poor-law unions, or other areas, between the fifteen years expiring on the first day of November next after the passing of this Act and the previous fifteen years shall determine with reference to such areas what variation, if any, ought equitably to be made in the tithe rent-charge payable in respect of hereditaments situated in such area.That is following exactly the principle of the old valuation, and the words are in substance the same as those in Section 6 of the Act 2 and 3 William IV., chapter 119, which is as follows—That all compositions heretofore or which may hereafter be made and established in any parish shall … remain and endure for ever, or until the same shall have been redeemed or extinguished … but subject, nevertheless, to such variation from time to time … in the amount of such compositions as hereafter mentioned; that is to say, in respect of all compositions heretofore made and established, to variation at such periods as such compositions may now be respectively liable to; and in respect of such compositions as may be invariable during the whole period of twenty-one years for which they may have been made, to variation at the termination of such period, and thenceforth at any time between the First of May and First of November in each succeeding seventh year; and in respect of all such compositions hereafter to be established, to variation between the First of May and First of November in each seventh year next after the day from which each such composition shall commence.All that the Amendment does is to substitute fifteen years for seven years. 532 Why alter this old standard, and make the standard the result of the judicial rents? It is only to placate the supporters of the Government in Ireland. The object of the whole Bill is to stop the mouths of the tithe-payers, who have been indignant at not being compensated for the loss of their rents through the operation of the Land Acts. It is a sop to them, and the effect will be to reduce the tithe to which they are now liable by 25 per cent. The excuse for altering the standard is that, by the omission of its duty on the part of some Government Departments in Dublin, the Dublin Gazette failed to publish since 1887 statistics showing what the average price of wheat and corn had been, and because of that omission the Court had decided in Metge's case that as we have no standard to compare with now, the tithe must remain as it stood at the last previous revision. But a short Bill might have been brought in enabling the standard to be ascertained and set up—a similar standard to that provided in 1838, when the landlords of Ireland got 25 per cent. of their tithe rent-charge struck off which would otherwise have been payable to the parson. There was never such a confiscatory measure as this, because it unsettles that solemn compact by which 25 per cent. was given up by the poor parson for the purpose of having the 75 per cent. better secured. The landlords were glad to take that from the parson, and the receivers of tithe were content; but now they are not satisfied with that settlement made in 1838, and wish to rob the Church Fund to the extent of another 25 per cent.
§ MR. CRILLY (Mayo, N.)
Order, order! I object to the Chief Secretary speaking to the Chairman. Let him leave the Chairman alone.
The right hon. Gentleman is in charge of the Bill, and he is perfectly entitled to give me any explanation I may desire.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
Surely his explanations ought to be given in the face of the House. I cannot possibly address the Committee when these conferences are going on.
The right hon. Gentleman will see that it is impossible 533 for me to get up and ask the Minister for the information I need.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
This is a very serious matter. I do not know whether any member of the Church of Ireland is present, but the Church was robbed of 25 per cent. of its income in 1838, and now what is represented as the Irish Church Surplus Fund is being further robbed of a similar amount. I daresay it is not pleasant to hear these statements made on the floor of the House; but I speak what I believe to be true, and I am utterly regardless whether I give satisfaction to any Member of the House or not. I know that Ireland was a scene of bloodshed, and not until the Tithe Composition Act was passed, over seventy years ago——
Order, order! The right hon. Gentleman is really irrelevant in going back on the history of tithe, which has nothing to do with the Amendment now before the Committee.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
What I say is this: that no reason has been assigned for this Bill. We are not to pass every Bill that a Government, no matter how strong, brings in, at any rate without thorough discussion. There has been no public demand for this Bill, no agitation, no boycotting, no material reason for it. It is brought forward without any explanation or comment. The right hon. Gentleman does not condescend to tell the Committee why, instead of following the old Act and getting rid of some omission of duty on the part of some Department of the Government in Ireland, he substitutes a standard for revising the tithe rent-charge in the future, which will diminish the Church property by 25 per cent. Let the right hon. Gentleman get up and say that I am wrong in my calculations. He has not told us what the practical effect of this change will be on the Irish Church Surplus Fund, which was devoted by Act of Parliament "to the relief of unavoidable calamity and suffering" amongst the Irish people. He is bound, as a trustee of the State, before he violates that trust, to tell the House of Commons to what extent he is going to impair or encroach on that fund. Neither in his opening statement nor at any period of this debate has he intimated to the House what will 534 be the effect on the Church Fund in pounds, shillings, and pence of this legislation. I think the House is entitled to that information. Some hon. Members may think that they are not. That is their concern, not mine. But it is a matter in which their constituencies are interested even more than mine, because the Imperial Exchequer must make good all the differences in the Irish Church Fund, upon the faith of which public money to the extent of nine or ten millions have been already advanced. So do not let hon. Members imagine that this is only an Irish question, and that they will not have to render an account of it to their own constituents.
Order, order! The right hon. Gentleman is again wandering from the question before the Committee. He must confine himself to the Amendment; otherwise I shall have very reluctantly to call his attention to the Order against irrelevancy.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
Of course, Mr. Lowther, I bow to your ruling; but I confess that, while I do so, it seems to me that it amounts to this: that all I can say is that the Amendment is better than the original clause, and therefore I vote for the Amendment.
§ *MR. JEFFREYS (Hampshire, N.)
The right hon. Gentleman says that, if this clause is carried, the tithe rent-charge will be reduced by 25 per cent. on account of the reduction in the judicial rents. I understand him to say that he would sooner go back to the old method of fixing the tithe rent-charge by the average corn prices. But if he did so, instead of reducing the tithe rent-charge by twenty-five per cent. it would reduce it thirty-three per cent.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
The rent-charge was not abolished by the Act of 1872 as to lay tithe. The lay tithe is exactly in the same position as before.
§ *MR. JEFFREYS
What I wish to point out is that the reduction of the tithe on the price of cereals is much greater than would be the reduction on the basis of judicial rents. At the present time in England every £100 of tithe is 535 only worth £66 15s. 10d., while hon. Members will remember that in 1878 every £100 of tithe was worth £112, showing a fall since 1878 of 43 per cent. Therefore it would be much better to acquiesce in the terms of the Bill, to the reduction of the tithe according to judicial rents, than to corn averages. I have always myself thought it was very difficult to settle the tithe rent-charge on the average price of corn, because by Act of Parliament the prices have to be recorded in various towns and are not accurately taken. It would be much easier to fix the tithe rent-charge in the various localities according to the rents in those localities. It seems to me only fair and just that tithe should be reduced according as rents have been reduced. All these payments have to come out of the land, which must support three classes of people—the landlord, the tenant, and the labourer; and if the tithe is reduced, the better it will be for all; and if it benefits all three classes, surely every Irishman, whether landlord, or tenant, or labourer, should be in favour of the Bill. The hon. Member for Dundee rather expostulated with the Government for going on with this Bill as a flirtation with the landlords; and then he took occasion to find great fault with the Government for having reduced the rates on land in favour of the farmers. Surely if that was introduced into Ireland, everybody would agree that it would be a most excellent measure. Then he went on to say that the Government had relieved the landlords of some part of the land tax.
The hon. Gentleman is not in order in discussing speeches made on an Amendment on another clause which was disposed of yesterday.
§ *MR. JEFFREYS
I only wish I had been present last night. I trust that this relief to be given to the landlords of Ireland will meet with the approval of a great number of Irish and English and Scottish gentlemen. [HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!] Why not? It is a just reduction on account of the fall in price of cereals, and the fall in rents. On that account I shall warmly support this clause as a simple act of justice.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down is wrong a little bit. The reason why the 536 Government adopt the standard in relation to judicial rents rather than in regard to the prices of corn, is that it will operate very much more largely in favour of the landlords, and by it the landlords will get a larger chunk out of the Church property. I can prove that out of the mouths of the landlords themselves. There was nothing which the landlords a short time ago insisted upon with greater force and persistency in regard to judicial rents than that these had been reduced out of all proportion to the fall in agricultural prices. I see the right hon. Gentleman who represented the landlords on the Fry Commission present, and he will remember that landlord after landlord, and agent after agent, was brought before that Commission to prove that the fall in agricultural prices had been very moderate indeed. That is the very reason why in this particular clause the Government have adopted a variation by judicial rents, and not by prices. Unquestionably there has been a reduction in the price of cereals, the largest being that of wheat, but it has not been great, if anything, in the case of butter and other dairy pro-duets and cattle. At the same time the landlords cannot have it both ways. Let them stand to one case or the other. If they are justified in contending that judicial rents have been reduced out of all fair proportion to the prices of agricultural produce, why not accept the Amendment and let that be the basis for fixing the tithe rent-charge? It has been said that the list of prices has not been published in the Dublin Gazette since 1887; but, as has been pointed out, it would be quite easy to rectify that. I would be very slow to accept prices taken by the Land Commissioners, but the authorities could readily obtain authentic data as to agricultural prices from 1887 to the present time, and that being done let them come to this House, if they are anxious to give a boon to their friends, and extract a large sum from the Irish Church Surplus Fund and hand it over to the landlords. Another reason why judicial rents should not be exclusively taken as a basis upon which the variation of the tithe rent-charge is fixed is that the reduction in the judicial rents is largely made up from the improvements made by the tenants themselves.
§ MR. FLYNN
I do not want to anticipate an interesting Amendment, and I conclude by saying that there is no denying the fact that by fixing judicial rents as the basis of variation of tithe rent-charge the largest possible amount of money will be abstracted from the Irish Church Fund, which ought to be devoted to the general benefit of the whole Irish people, for the benefit of one class only.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
In regard to the question raised by the hon. Member for Basingstoke, he may be thoroughly satisfied that if this Amendment were to give to the Irish landlords more money than the original clause in the Bill the Government would have accepted it at once. So far as I am concerned I do not look upon this matter as one of pounds, shillings, and pence, but as one of principle. Tithe in all the existing Irish, Scotch, and English Acts is based upon a footing of prices of agricultural produce. Now, why change that standard in Ireland? What principle is there for changing it? We are going to set up an unnatural
§ basis, because tithe has nothing to do with rent, whether fixed judicially or by agreement. Tithe rent is a burden on the land, without any reference whatever to rent, or whether there is a tenant or not. There may not be a tenant at all. I cannot understand why the Government should set up a new basis altogether for fixing the tithe rent-charge, which has no warrant, no foundation, no application whatever to the facts of the case. The suggestion thrown across the floor of the House that the Amendment would give more to the Irish landlords than the original clause we may dismiss as a figment, otherwise the Chief Secretary would have jumped at it.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 176; Noes, 108. (Division List No. 175.)539
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hermon-Hodge, R. Trotter|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Hoare, Edw Brodie (Hampstead)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Howard, Joseph|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hozier, Hon James Henry Cecil|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H.||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Cruddas, William Donaldson||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G.W.(Leeds)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Curzon, Viscount||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith-(Hunts)||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Donkin, Richard Sim||Kenyon, James|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. W. W. B. (Hants.)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Kimber, Henry|
|Bethell, Commander||Dyke, Rt. Hon Sir William Hart||Knowles, Lees|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Lafone, Alfred|
|Biddulph Michael||Faber, George Denison||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.|
|Bill, Charles||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r)||Leighton, Stanley|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)|
|Brassey, Albert||Fisher, William Hayes||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Flower, Ernest||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Fry, Lewis||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Hatcher, John George||Galloway, William Johnson||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow)||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Lowe, Francis William|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh'e)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Gull, Sir Cameron||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Gunter, Colonel||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinb'gh, W.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||M'Killop, James|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.||Malcolm, Ian|
|Marks, Henry Hananel||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Pretyman, Ernest George||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Purvis, Robert||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Pym, C. Guy||Stock, James Henry|
|Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Richardson, Sir Thos. (Hartlep'l)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Monk, Charles James||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Robinson, Brooke||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Welby, Lt.-Col A. C. E. (Tauntn)|
|Morgan, Hn. Fred. (Monm'thsh.)||Round, James||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Morrison, Walter||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon.|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Mount, William George||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Saunderson, Rt. Hon. Col. E. J.||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Murray. Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E.R. (Bath)|
|Myers, William Henry||Seely, Charles Hilton||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wrightson, Thomas|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Sidebottom, William (Derbys.)||Wyndham, George|
|Percy, Earl||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Pilkington, R. (Lanes. Newton)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Plunkett, Rt. Hn. Horace Curzon||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. H. J.||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Gold, Charles||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Harwood, George||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Baker, Sir John||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Price, Robert John|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Priestley, Briggs|
|Billson, Alfred||Holland, William Henry||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Horniman, Frederick John||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Blake, Edward||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jacoby, James Alfred||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Sinclair, Capt John (Forfarshire)|
|Burt, Thomas||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Souttar, Robinson|
|Caldwell, James||Labouchere, Henry||Spicer, Albert|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Langley, Batty||Strachey, Edward|
|Carew, James Laurence||Leng, Sir John||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Carvill, Patrick George H.||Macaleese, Daniel||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Cawley, Frederick||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn.'s Co.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Channing, Francis Allston||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||M'Crae, George||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Colville, John||M'Ewan, William||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Crilly, Daniel||M'Ghee, Richard||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Crombie, John William||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Wallace, Robert|
|Daly, James||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Dillon, John||Morgan, W. P. (Merthyr)||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Murnaghan, George||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Duckworth, James||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Dunn, Sir William||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Emmott, Alfred||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Engledew, Charles John||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hudd'rsfld)|
|Evershed, Sydney||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East),|
|Field, William (Dublin)||O'Dowd, John||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Kelly, James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Malley, William||Sir Thomas Esmonde and. Captain Donelan.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)|
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
, who spoke seated and covered, desired on a point of order to call attention to the fact that if the Amendment were submitted in the 540 form in which it had been put, it would ex-elude two subsequent Amendments standing in the name of the hon. Member for North Louth.
The hon. Member is quite right, but I put the question in that way in order to preserve the position of the hon. Member for East Mayo. I put the question two or three times and no objection was taken.
The hon. Member for North Louth was not present when the Amendment was called, and the hon. Member for the Northern Division of Dublin County took charge of it, and moved it on his behalf.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
With all respect, if any hon. Member is not present in whose name the Amendment stands, it is competent for any hon. Member to move it.
I have repeatedly put the question to the House during the afternoon. If my attention had been drawn to the point when the question was first put I would have done my best to reserve the following Amendments, but we cannot go back now.
Order, order! I may also remind the hon. Member that the Committee has by its vote decided that the question which I have already proposed should be put; and therefore I could not amend the form of the question if I wished to do so.
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'and,' in page 2, line 4, stand part of the clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 185; Noes, 113. (Division List No. 176.)543
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Cruddas, William Donaldson||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Band, John George Alexander||Curzon, Viscount||Kenyon, James|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Donkin, Richard Sim||Kimber, Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W (Leeds)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Knowles, Lees|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Lafone, Alfred|
|Barry, Rt. Hn A H Smith- (Hunts)||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart||Lecky, Rt. Hn William Edw. H.|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. W. W. B.(Hants)||Faber, George Denison||Leighton, Stanley|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)|
|Bethell, Commander||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||Lockwood, Lt. -Col. A. R.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Biddulph, Michael||Fisher, William Hayes||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)|
|Bill, Charles||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Long, Rt. Hn Walter (Liverpool)|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Blundel1, Colonel Henry||Flower, Ernest||Lowe, Francis William|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Brassey, Albert||Fry, Lewis||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Galloway, William Johnson||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Goldsworthy, Major-General||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||M'Killop, James|
|Butcher, John George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Malcolm, Ian|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon J A (Glasgow)||Green, Walford D (Wednesbury)||Marks, Henry Hananel|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gull, Sir Cameron||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire)||Gunter, Colonel||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J (Birm.)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Hermon-Hodge, R. Trotter||Monk, Charles James|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampste'd)||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hobhouse, Henry||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Howard, Joseph||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Hozier, Hon. J. Henry Cecil||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Morrison, Walter||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Robinson, Brooke||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Mount, William George||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Round, James||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Murray, Rt. Hn A Graham (Bute)||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)||Welby, Lt-Col A. C. E. (Taunt'n)|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts)|
|Myers, William Henry||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under, L.)|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Williams, Joseph Powell- (Birm)|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Seely, Charles Hilton||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Pilkington, R. (Lancs Newton)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn E. R. (Bath)|
|Plunkett, Rt. Hn Horace Curzon||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Purvis, Robert||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks)||Wyndham, George|
|Pym, C. Guy||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M.|
|Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Stock, James Henry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox. Univ.)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Gold, Charles||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Harwood, George||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Price, Robert John|
|Baker, Sir John||Hazell, Walter||Priestley, Briggs|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Billson, Alfred||Holland, William Henry||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Blake, Edward||Horniman, Frederick John||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hutton, A. E. (Morley)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jacoby, James Alfred||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Burt, Thomas||Joicey, Sir James||Shaw, Chas. Edw. (Stafford)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Jones, David Brynm. (Swansea)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Caldwell, James||Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth||Spicer, Albert|
|Carew, James Laurence||Kitson, Sir James||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Carvill, Patrick George H.||Leng, Sir John||Strachey, Edward|
|Cawley, Frederick||Macaleese, Daniel||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||MacDonnell, Dr. M A (Queens' C)||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tennant, Harold John|
|Colville, John||M'Crae, George||Thomas, Abel (Camarthen, E.)|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H.||M'Ewan, William||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Crilly, Daniel||M'Ghee, Richard||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Crombie, John William||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Daly, James||M'Kenna, Reginald||Wallace, Robert|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Dillon, John||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Wason, Eugene|
|Doogan, P. C.||Murnaghan, George||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Duckworth, James||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts.)|
|Dunn, Sir William||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Emmott, Alfred||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Engledew, Charles John||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Evershed, Sydney||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd)|
|Field, William (Dublin)||O'Dowd, John||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Kelly, James||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Malley, William|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Palmer, George W. (Reading)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Philipps, John Wynford|
§ MR. DILLON
The object of this sub-clause, as has already been pointed out, is to set up a totally new standard for the variation of the tithe rent-charge in Ireland, a standard differing entirely in 544 principle from any system adopted either in England or Ireland, and I shall be able to show that unless my Amendment is accepted the standard proposed would be simply monstrous. It will be grotesque 545 even if my Amendment be accepted, but it will be absolutely monstrous if it is not. But I must at the present time confine my remarks to the Amendment which I propose to submit. I propose for the old system of varying the tithe rent-charge an automatic system, which shall vary automatically in exact ratio to the variation of the official judicial rents. That is to say, if the judicial rent has been re-educed during the last fifteen years 25 per cent., the tithe rent-charge in that district would be automatically reduced by 25 per cent. It is a notorious fact that reduction of judicial rents in Ireland is based mainly on a two-fold consideration, or two considerations quite distinct and apart from each other. Judicial rents may be reduced on account of the fall in the price of agricultural produce or, on the other hand, they may be reduced, and to a great extent are reduced, in consequence of the improvements made by the tenants. Now, could a more monstrous proposition be conceived than that the head rent, the tithe rent-charge of the landlord's property, should be reduced by the same amount as that by which he has been obliged to reduce the rent of a tenant owing to improvements which have been made by that tenant? I should have thought it could not have been supported by any member of this House. The landlord reduces his rent by 30 per cent. on account of the improvements of his tenant. The whole of it may be taken off, not because of any fall in the price of agricultural produce, but as an adequate allowance for the improvements of the tenant, and in respect of that allowance the landlord gets a reduction of 30 per cent. on his tithe rent-charge. I cannot understand why the Government should make such a proposal. The effect of my Amendment will be to remove this extraordinary anomaly. It will, if passed, leave a standard based on such reductions on agricultural rents as were found to be due to the fall in the prices of agricultural produce, and eliminate those reductions due to the improvements made by the tenants. This is an important point, because those of us who are acquainted with the conditions of Ireland know that the reduction in rents in great part was due admittedly to the improvements of the tenants. Therefore this clause would very seriously alter the standard by which the tithe rent-charge is collected. The whole scheme contained in Clause 2 of 546 the new scheme, upon which these reductions are to be made, is grotesque, but if this Amendment is accepted it will modify to a great extent the injustice of the Bill. There are many other elements of injustice in this proposal, but I think I should confine myself to the one particular element dealt with by this Amendment. At present I do not propose to take up further time in moving this Amendment, and I shall wait with considerable curiosity to hear what are the views of the Government, and see what attitude they will adopt on this matter. I only know of one argument which can be used, and that I have no doubt will be used. They will talk about the calculations which will have to be entered into. I quite admit that it will necessitate considerable calculation, but that is not our fault, it-is the fault of the Government; and when the Government bring in revolutionary proposals of this kind the responsibility for the mass of calculation which will be necessary to arrive at the reduction to be made must lie with the promoters of those proposals and not with us who are endeavouring to set the matter right. If the Government seek to base these reductions on that argument, some compromise may be arrived at, without going into minute calculations in each case, by leaving it to the Land Court to say how much or how little of the reduction on the judicial rent is due to tenants' improvements, and to strike out that from the amount of the tithe rent-charge, because it is due to the improvements which have been made by the tenants.
In page 2, line 4, after the word 'rents,' to insert the words 'deducting in each case, where a judicial rent has been fixed, the amount of the variation which was made in respect of improvements made by the tenants."'—(Mr. Dillon.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
said the acceptance of the Amendment was not only difficult but it was impossible, because, as a matter of fact, no record had been kept of the tenants' improvements before the year 1876, and therefore, in order to carry out the Amendment, it would be necessary to make special inquiry into every 547 holding to ascertain what the tenants' improvements had been during the past twenty years. It must be perfectly clear to the hon. Member that, from the practical point of view, the Amendment was not one which could be accepted by the Government. No doubt the reductions in rent made by the Land Commissioners had been to some extent due to the fact that the Land Act allowed a reduction for tenants' improvements, but he would remind the Committee that tithe was originally calculated on produce, and the tenant who had to pay tithe would have had to pay on his improvements in so far as the produce of the land was dependent upon them. If the English system of variation were applied in Ireland, the proper reduction would be not 25 per cent., but something over 30 per cent., and if that system were to obtain in Ireland the tithe rent-charge, having regard to the price of wheat and oats, would be greatly increased. In the case of wheat it would be 50 or 60 per cent. and in the case of oats 60 or 70 per cent. He contended that the hon. Member had made out no case for the Amendment.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said that nobody would appreciate the revolutionary boldness of this measure without bearing in mind that the right hon. Gentleman had had the courage to attempt to change a system of taxation that was spoken of in Genesis, and which was already ancient when Moses came down from the Mount with the tables of the law. He would also remind the right hon. Gentleman that when he attended Divine service his attention was called to "the kindly fruits of the earth," but even that appeal to the antiquity of this tax had not been sufficient to keep him from this revolutionary proposal. Having dealt with the theological aspect of the case, he would now turn to the political consequences of the action of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman answered the arguments of the hon. Member for East Mayo by saying that the improvements of the tenant should not be taken into consideration. Whilst listening to the right hon. Gentleman he wondered what might be the thoughts of the hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Stephen's Green—who accepted these proposals with such extravagant joy—upon the speeches of the right hon. 548 Gentleman and the hon. Member for Basingstoke. It was perfectly well known that the prices of agricultural produce had fallen so little as to justify no reduction of rent at all. The right hon. Gentleman asked that the tithe rent should be reduced because the rents had been reduced, and that the tithe should be reduced in exact proportion to the reduction of the rent. Was there ever a more extraordinary collocation of absolutely irrelevant and unconnected circumstances? What connection was there between the reduction of rents and the reduction of tithes? The right hon. Gentleman proposed by the Bill to reduce the tithes in exact proportion to the reduction of rent. He was asked by the hon. Member for East Mayo to deduct from the reduction of rent those reductions which were made in consequence of the improvements of the tenants. Could anyone who looked at the subject with a fair and open mind, unbiassed by the prospect of boodle, suggest that that was not a fair request? Rents were not reduced owing to the fall in the price of commodities, but because the Land Courts held that they were bound to take from the rent the improvements made by the tenants. The reduction was made entirely irrespective of the landlord. The landlord had his rents reduced because he was taking and putting into his own pockets property which did not belong to him. It was held that the improvements belonged to the tenant and should not be charged in the rent but should be taken from it, and because legislation had restored to the pockets of the tenants the property which belonged to them, the landlord sought to take advantage of the restoration of that property and make that a reason for asking; for a redaction of his tithes. If the right hon. Gentleman had said the tithes ought to be reduced because the amount on which they were collected was reduced the proposition would at least have been arguable, always providing that there was any justification for the reduction of tithes at all. But he held that there was no such justification. A tenant gets a bit of bog land and manures it. He and his fathers before him for thirty, forty, or even a hundred years, had by their labour, skill, and capital brought the bog into fertile action and the court came and said, "We will not charge you on the additional value you, have given to this land and the improve- 549 merits you have made," and now it was said that the landlord was to come to that House, and on the ground of his own wrongdoing make a claim for the reduction of his obligations. The proposition had only to be stated to show its grotesque absurdity. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman know the absurdity and injustice of the Bill as well as anybody in the House. They could not defeat the principle of the clause, because already it has been accepted by the Committee, but at least they could try to mitigate its evils. It was absurd to make the reduction of tithe in any way proportionate to or dependent upon the reduction of rent. If they did establish that principle they should at least mitigate its operation by excluding from the reduction of tithe such a reduction in the rent as was due to the improvements of the tenant. The right hon. Gentleman said it was not a perfect measure. It was a rule-of-thumb measure. Surely it was very easy for the right hon. Gentleman to get another rough-and-ready method—that was all his hon. friend asked—by which these improvements would be excluded from the scale which entitled the landlord to a reduction on his tithe. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, when Chief Secretary for Ireland, dealt with a point analogous to the one now before the House— namely, the sudden reduction in prices which made existing rents impossible. The right hon. Gentleman was able to pass through the House an automatic, rough-and-ready means by which the reduction of rent was made proportionate to the reduction in prices. In the same way the Chief Secretary, if he really had the will, could easily find the way of carrying out the proposal of his hon. friend. The request of the right hon. Gentleman that the landlords should have their burdens decreased was one of the most grotesque irrelevancies ever heard in that House.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN (Tyrone, Mid)
said it appeared to him that the whole principle that underlay the Bill was to benefit the landlord at the expense of the tenant. The Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for East Mayo was one that ought to receive the assent of the House. If the tenant in days gone by had paid more rent than he ought to have done he did not see why the House should interfere in the way proposed to 550 give the landlord the benefit of the improvements made by the tenant. The arrangement which the Bill proposed to set aside was entered into voluntarily. There was no compulsion put on the landlords to accept it. They thought they were entering into a very good arrangement. Now, after the lapse of a period of years, they came and sought to benefit at the expense of the tenants. That was an unfair proposal which the Committee certainly should not accept. If rents in former years were fixed on the improvements of the tenants, and were now fixed on the value of the land, that was a matter that should be taken into consideration. The tithe-rent should be fixed according to the reduction of the holding, exclusive of improvements. That was the whole point at issue.
§ MR. DILLON
I wish to say a few words in reply to the Chief Secretary before the Amendment goes to a division. The Chief Secretary in his speech made no attempt to justify his refusal to accept the Amendment. I knew the argument he would use would be that it would lead to a great deal of difficulty, and that it would be impracticable. I do not think it is impracticable. The reduction of a first charge on the land is a method which has never been applied in any country before, and it is of such an extraordinary character that I say it is our duty to fence round and safeguard the proposal so as to inflict the least possible amount of injustice. Let us for a moment see how this works out. Take the historical case of Adams v. Dunseath. In that case a man built a house on his holding. It was nearly double the value of the holding, and in the original trial under the Land Act, twenty years ago, the landlord was found to be entitled to put rent on the house built by the tenant. After fifteen or sixteen years the tenant in this case came into court again the other day, and owing to certain decisions in the final Court of Appeal he succeeded in getting all the rent paid on his house taken off, and he had it properly restored to him. A concrete case of this sort represents better than anything else the gross absurdity of the proposal in this Bill. Under this Bill, if you apply the principle now before us to the case of Adams v. Dunseath, the landlord would get a first charge on 551 his estate reduced by 30, 40, or 50 per cent., whereas if he had never placed on the house the unjust rent which he has been compelled to forego he would not get the reduction. Can absurdity go further? It is quite true that that injustice was done by a rule of thumb system, but that does not affect the principle, and in order to illustrate the preposterous and grotesque nature of the principle on which this scale is to be based I am entitled to apply it to an individual case. I admit frankly that I have selected an extreme case. I do not mean to contend for a moment that the result of the Bill all over Ireland would be as extreme as it would be when applied to the case I have referred to, but the principle is equally rotten. Really I think it would be impossible to imagine a more monstrous proposition. When the right hon. Gentleman says the Amendment cannot be accepted—because, forsooth, it would give too much trouble to the Land Commission—he should devise another scheme. If he finds that he cannot by Amendments bring this scheme into consistency with logic, reason, and justice, then I say he is bound to throw away this scheme and propose another. We cannot dismiss from our minds the fact that this is one of the most extraordinary revolutions over proposed in regard to the charges on land. What did the right hon. Gentleman say in his reply? He said I seemed to forget the real character of the variability inherent in tithe. What is variability in English tithe does not apply here, because it is no longer inherent in Irish tithe. It is a monstrous abuse of language to talk about variability being inherent in tithe, which thirty years ago was made the subject of statutory settlement in this House, the basis of which was that there should be no variability. What is variability? The right hon. Gentleman might easily have told the House that it was supposed to be a tenth of the produce—that is to say, the tithe varied in proportion to the value of the produce. Rents do not and ought not to vary in direct proportion to the rise and fall in prices. This I consider a most important point as bearing on this proposal, because I contend, and every agricultural expert whose works I have ever read on this subject contends, that rent, if justice is done, must vary in much greater proportion 552 than the variation of price. That is an accepted axiom in dealing with these questions—that is to say, if the price of agricultural produce varies by 10 percent., the rent ought to drop a, great deal more. Rent pays, and ought to pay, in proportion to the cost of production, the price of labour and a variety of other considerations, but the variability inherent in tithe was based on a totally different standard. It was variability directly proportional to the price of produce. The right hon. Gentleman is. entirely wrong when he refers me to the variability inherent in tithe, and he is,! doubly wrong when he leans on the hon. i Member, who spoke in absolute sincerity. but in absolute ignorance of the history of Irish land, which is an extremely complicated subject. He thinks he can, settle the question by telling us of the, present condition of English tithes. He-might as well tell us what is the position, of tithe in China, if there is such a thing. That would have as much bearing on the position of tithe in Ireland as the speech, of the right hon. Gentleman. Tithe in Ireland has been the subject of a series of arrangements. I am acquainted with the history of these settlements. I know that tithe in Ireland has been different throughout the whole century from; what it has been in England, and to say that because variations take place in English tithes, similar variations ought to take place in Ireland, where a totally different system has been in force, where the land has been held for generations under a totally different system, is an utterly absurd and preposterous argument. You talk about the variability inherent in tithe. I maintain that, substantially speaking, there has been no variability inherent in Irish tithe since 1838. The right hon. Gentleman himself admitted that such was the variability since and before the settlement of 1838 that not one in a hundred ever succeeded in getting his tithe varied, and that for practical purposes that variability was invariable. The result was that for all practical purposes the tithe-payers in Ireland had settled down, and accepted their tithe as an invariable charge on the land. It is absurd to base an argument in support of this revolutionary and extraordinary change on anything that existed in England. We have to deal with a case of tithe which for nearly one hundred years has been practically an invariable charge, so far as the 553 ecclesiastical burden is concerned. The principle of inherent variability is invoked for the purpose of justifying this extraordinary proceeding, which really has no justification, and which is a frank and simple act of plunder.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
I have been sitting here in expectation that we should really have some arguments adduced against the Amendment, but, so far as I understood, the Chief Secretary founded his opposition mainly on the assertion that it was practically impossible to draw the distinction which the Amendment implied. He did not, so far as I am aware, find out what would be the reduction of rent as based on tenants' improvements, but I did not understand that the right hon. Gentleman at all disputed the equity of the arguments used by the hon. Member for East Mayo. I confess to having been more or less in attendance while the Bill was being discussed, and I cannot help saying that it appears to me to be perhaps the most extraordinary measure of the session, if not of the Parliament or of the century. There was the initial puzzle why the Bill was introduced at all. Then there is the further puzzle why the funds to enable this obvious and naked gift to be made to the landowners of Ireland are to be taken from the Irish Church Fund, which was given by Parliament to the relief of the poor and needy, the distressed and suffering in Ireland. Then there was the puzzle of the mysterious printer's error which crept into two Acts of Parliament, and upon which the whole case appears to me to be founded. Then we have the puzzle that tithes which have been for many years fixed and stereotyped by the law of the land, and which before that we were told were practically fixed, so difficult was it to take the means to make them vary, are all the time inherently variable, and that such variability is of a sacred character and ought to be respected. The next puzzle is that tithes are no longer to have to do with the prices of produce, but with the reduction of rents, an element which had never come into the matter before. I have gone from one of these puzzles to another, and now I come to the last, that the reduction of rent, on the ground of which the landlord is to receive a benefit, is to include a reduction made in consequence of his having exacted 554 a rent on his tenant's improvements. That was rent that he should never have had at all, and because he has been under the legislation, beneficent or otherwise, of recent years estopped from any longer exacting rent in this iniquitous fashion in a way that has been condemned by Parliament, he is to receive a pecuniary advantage now from this Bill. That is a chain of puzzles that I have never seen equalled in connection with an Act of Parliament before. In regard to the last proposal, I have waited expecting to hear some argument in its defence, and if there is no such thing to be said, why should we be stopped in preventing this gross injustice because there may be some difficulties in the way we have not heard of. It is an injustice in more senses than one, because it is in itself inequitable and illogical. Besides that, remember every penny that is taken out of the Irish Church Fund is taken from some other beneficent purpose, and there are hundreds of claims in Ireland which, I venture to say, ought to take precedence over the one with which we are now dealing.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
More or less. I was in attendance during the whole of the Second Reading debate, which gave me a certain knowledge of the subject.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I think it is rather a pity that the right hon. Gentleman did not address to the House on the occasion of the Second Reading of the Bill the observations he has just made, because the greater part of the observations are totally irrelevant to the Amendment now before us. I have already given the general grounds on which the provisions which the right hon. Gentleman attacks have been inserted in the Bill, and I am, therefore, content to address myself to the particular Amendment before the Committee. The hon. Member for East Mayo proposes that we should not take the reductions of rent as the standard of variation of tithes, and asks that an allowance should be made in each case for the improvements made by the tenants. My answer to that is that it 555 would he absolutely impracticable. The thing could not be done, and I would say that the acceptance of the Amendment would ruin the whole Bill, and we might as well drop the Bill at once. The hon. Member for East Mayo has stated that I said nothing whatever with respect to the justice of the proposal. What I stated previously was that I did not think the considerations of justice adduced by the hon. Member were such as to need that serious weight should be attached to them, and I have given my reasons for so thinking. I have also, over and above that, referred to the inherent variability of the tithes, and I would remind the hon. Member that tithe in its first form, in which it was really one-tenth of the produce, did and would include an amount due to the tithe-owner in consequence of greater productivity resulting from tenants' improvements, as well as the produce of the land apart from those improvements.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I think the reduction of rent has nothing to do with houses. But I would ask the Committee to look at the question a little more broadly. I have not said that tithe ought to be reduced because rents have been reduced, although I think I could quote speeches made by hon. Gentlemen opposite to that effect. What I said was that it was necessary to establish some standard of variability. There are strong objections, denied by nobody, to establishing the old standard of variability in Ireland, and we have therefore to introduce a new standard. I do not believe a fairer standard of variation
§ could be devised than the one which we propose in this Bill. I have been told again and again that it is a revolutionary proposal, and that such a thing has never been heard of before. I think the principle, if I am not mistaken, was introduced into the Act of 1891, but in any case the general adoption of a principle of this kind has not been possible in any other country except Ireland, and in Ireland it is only possible from the circumstance that there we have had rents judicially fixed. We have taken advantage of that circumstance, and I venture to think that if the Bill passes there will be a better standard of variation for tithe rent-charge than there is in this country.
§ MR. FLYNN
said it was quite evident, when the right hon. Gentleman could only make such a lame defence of the proposal, that there was no case. After all was said and done, the greater portion of the reduction was based on the tenants' improvements. They were bound to resist this Bill at every possible stage—firstly, because of its own inherent defects, and, secondly, because money was being taken from an Irish public source and given to one special class of the community. Up to 1881 the landlords of Ireland had a legal right to confiscate improvements, and to rob and penalise the tenants, and because, as the Leader of the Opposition had said, they were stopped from defrauding the tenants, they were now to get the largest possible share out of the Irish Church Fund. He hoped the House would protest against the action of the Government.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 121; Noes, 198. (Division List No. 177.)559
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Caldwell, James||Duckworth, James|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. Henry||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Dunn, Sir William|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Carew, James Laurence||Emmott, Alfred|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Carvill, Patrick Geo. H.||Engledew, Charles John|
|Baker, Sir John||Cawley, Frederick||Evershed, Sydney|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Channing, Francis Allston||Field, William (Dublin)|
|Billson, Alfred||Clancy, John Joseph||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond|
|Birrell, Augustine||Colville, John||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Blake, Edward||Crilly, Daniel||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Crombie, John William||Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Daly, James||Gold, Charles|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Dalziel, James Henry||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Dillon, John||Harwood, George|
|Burt, Thomas||Doogan, P. C.||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Holland, William Henry||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W)||Strachey Edward|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Dowd, John||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Kelly, James||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||O'Malley, William||Tennant, Harold John|
|Joicey Sir James||Palmer, George W. (Reading)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Jones D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merth'r|
|Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Philipps, John Wynford||Wallace Robert|
|Kitson, Sir James||Pickard, Benjamin||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wason, Eugene|
|Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Leng, Sir John||Price, Robert John||Weir, James Galloway|
|Lough, Thomas||Priestley, Briggs||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Macleese, Daniel||Reckitt, Harold James||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Q'n's Co)||Reid, Sir Robert Thershie||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Richardson, J. (Durham S. E.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|M'Crae George||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|M'Dermott, Patrick||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|M'Ewan William||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T (Hudders'd)|
|M'Ghee Richard||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|M'Hugh Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfars.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.|
|Murnaghan, George||Souttar, Robinson|
|O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Spicer, Albert|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hozier, Hon. J. Henry C.|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cruddas, William Donaldson||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Jackson, Rt. Hon. W. Lawies|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Curzon, Viscount||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Baillie, James E. B. (Inverness)||Donkin, Richard Sim||Kenyon, James|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm.|
|Baldwin Alfred||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kimber, Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Dyke, Rt. Hon Sir William Hart||Knowles, Lees|
|Banbnry, Frederick George||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H.|
|Barry, Rt. Hn A H Smith-(Hunts)||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Faber, George Denison||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swans.|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. W. W. B. (Hants.)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Beckett Ernest William||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Bigwood, James||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Long Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)|
|Bill, Charles||Fisher, William Hayes||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Lopes, H. Yarde Buller|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Lowe, Francis William|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Forster, Henry William||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Brassey, Albert||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Fry, Lewis||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Galloway, William Johnson||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Gibbons, Lloyd||M'Calmont, Col. J.(Antrim, E.)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Butcher, John George||Goldsworthy, Major-General||M'Killop, James|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Glasgow)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Malcolm, Ian|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Marks, Henry Hananel|
|Carson, Rt. Hon Sir Edw. H.||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J.(Birm.)||Gull, Sir Cameron||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Gunter, Colonel||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Coghill Douglas Harry||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W.||Monk, Charles James|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hardy, Laurence||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Colomb, Sir John C. Ready||Henderson, Alexander||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Morgan, Hon. F. (Monm'thsh.)|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Hobhouse, Henry||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Howard, Joseph||Morrison, Walter|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matthew W||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Mount, William George||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Vincent, Col Sir C E H (Sheffield)|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Robinson, Brooke||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Myers, William Henry||Round, James||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton)|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)||Welby, Sir C. G. E. (Notts.)|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Saunderson, Rt. Hon. Col. Ed. J.||Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm)|
|Penn, John||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Seely, Charles Hilton||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Pilkington, R. (Lancs., Newton)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wodehouse, Rt Hon. E. R. (Bath)|
|Plunkett, Rt. Hon. Horace C.||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Pollock, Harry Frederick||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Wyndham, George|
|Purvis, Robert||Stanley, Edw. J. (Somerset)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Pym, C. Guy||Stanley, Sir Henry M. (Lambeth)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Richards, Henry Charles||Stock, James Henry||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Richardson, Sir Thos. (Hartlep'l||Talbot, Rt. Hn J G (Oxf'd. Univ.)|
§ It being after half-past Five of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.