§ As amended (by the Standing Committee), further considered.
§ *MR. MOULTON (Cornwall, Launceston)
The Amendment which I am now moving must be considered with three others which follow and which are consequential. The purpose of the Amendment is to save this very useful and important clause from becoming, I fear, an absolutely dead letter. I am quite sure that as it stands, it will be impossible to obtain any useful result from it, and I am oven doubtful whether the language I am proposing is sufficient to meet the difficulty. According to the doctrine of Chancery penal rents cannot be enforced when they appear in the form of penal rents. But, unfortunately, by a series of decisions so firmly fixed for years that it is hopeless to attempt to disturb them, that doctrine has been practically nullified. If the penal rent, for instance, is expressed in the form that the rent of £200 shall become £300 in the last year of the tenancy, if the way-going crop is sold off' the farm, it may well be that Chancery will not enforce it. But if the lease provides that the rent in the last year of the tenancy is to be £300 to be reduced to £200 if the way-going crop is not sold, that great Court allows itself to be hoodwinked by the form of the clause and fails to see that it means precisely the same as the clause I first referred to, and I regard it as a valid and enforceable clause. This form of provision in a lease will not be touched by the Bill if the clause we are discussing stands in the form it is at present, so that it will be open to any conveyancing clerk, in drawing a contract of tenancy, to avoid the provisions of the clause, and make penal rents just as much enforceable as at present by merely using the affirmative form rather than the negative. By that simple turn of a sentence, the whole action of the clause can be avoided. In order to escape the incidence of these decisions, it will of course be necessary to draft the 1338 clause very carefully to show that it is the intention of the Legislature that by no form or device of conveyancing can penal rents be enforced. The language which I propose, and which is contained in this and the subsequent Amendments is as follows—Notwithstanding any provision or exception in a contract of tenancy relating to the payment by the tenant of an increased rent or liquidated damages or any other penal consequences for a breach of a covenant or non-compliance with a condition,the landlord shall not be entitled to recover any sum in excess of the damage actually suffered by him. I do not think that the words I propose are too wide. We have not to consider forfeiture for breach of conditions. This class of penal provision, which is the most important, was settled by Earl Cairns' Act in 1881. All we have now to consider is that the clause should prevent exaggerated money payment for a breach of conditions. In other words, we have to make this clause adhere to the great English principle that if a man makes a breach of contract, the other party is adequately compensated by the full damages following on that breach. This principle is a most just one. The clause does not take from the landlord the power to recover full and ample damages for breach of contract; all it says is that a contract of tenancy shall not be based on the principle that a man may get a profit out of a breach of contract—that is to say, that he can recover damages out of all proportion to the damage that he has suffered. I cannot but think that the object of the Amendment will be sympathised with on both sides of the House. The presence of the clause in the Act shows that the Government have the intention not only in form, but in substance, to get rid of these penal consequences. For the reasons which I have given to the House it is necessary that the clause should be drafted in a very wide way. I have no special affection for the language I propose, but it appears to me that if we adhere at all to the form of that clause, that language is the best. Of course if the Government acknowledge that their object is the same as mine, and that it is their intention that penal rents in any form shall not, be enforceable, I have no desire that these particular words should be accepted. If I may express my own opinion, I think that the point being one of great diffi- 1339 culty, the best course for the Government to pursue would be to have a new clause drawn up with due regard to the decisions which have been given. I beg to move.
In page 4, line 1, after the word 'provision,' to insert the words 'or exception.'"— (Mr. Moulton.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'or exception' be there inserted."
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir ROBERT FINLAY,) Inverness Burghs
I am sure the House will thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for the great clearness and the temperate manner with which he has dealt with this question. The principle which the hon. and learned Gentleman has in view is one to which the Government have no objection. At the same time, I share the misgiving of the I hon. and learned Gentleman as to whether the words on the Paper are quite adequate to carry out the purpose intended. The words which are on the Paper as to "any other penal consequences" might be held to include—at all events it might be argued that they included, the right of re-entrance. Is is perfectly true, as was pointed out by my hon. and learned friend, that the provisions of Lord Cairns' Act limited the right of re-entry, and it might be said that these words would put an end to the right of re-entry altogether. Under these circumstances the Government will carefully consider the matter before the Bill reaches Committee stage in another place.
§ *MR. STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
hoped that the Attorney General would make it clear whether the Government, in accepting the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Launceston, meant to make the penal clauses in regard to breaking up permanent pasture, grubbing underwoods or felling, cutting, lopping, or injuring trees, inoperative.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to say so, I never stated that I would accept the Amendment in reference to the concluding words; of the clause.
§ *MR. STRACHEY
said that when the Government introduced the Bill it did not 1340 allow the landlord to introduce any penal clauses in their contracts of tenancy; and it was necessary to have a distinct understanding on this point, because, while it was quite right to enact that only certain penal rents should be operative, it was not right to give permission in certain cases to impose penal rents, and then by insertion of certain words to make those rents voidable, as the Amendment would do. The Government were playing fast and loose.
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. LONG,) Liverpool, West Derby
The hon. Gentleman has shown clearly that he does not understand the clause as it stands, the Amendment of my hon. and learned friend, or the Bill as introduced by the Government. He has entirely misrepresented all three, and has stated broadly to the House that it was intended by the Government to sanction the breaking up of permanent pasture.
§ *MR. STRACHEY
What I said was that the Government in the first place, by their Bill as introduced, prohibited all penal rents, even for breaking up permanent pasture. In the Standing Committee on Trade the Government, under pressure, had to move, and carried, an Amendment allowing penal rents in the case of breaking up permanent pasture without consent of the landlord. Now the Government, if they accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Launceston, will be undoing what they did in the Standing Committee, for the hon. Member, in moving his Amendment, stated that its object was to make the penal rents inoperative.
§ *MR. LONG
The view the Government took was fully explained in Committee upstairs. It was that the landlord,. | in the case of permanent pasture being broken up, could recover from the tenant as for an act of waste, and that the insertion of a penal clause did not strengthen his position. It was pointed out by the 1341 hon. and learned Member for Launceston that the effect of the clause in the Bill as it stands would not be such as the Government desire, that a coach and four might be driven through it, and that a penal clause might be made outside it. In order to prevent that the hon. and learned Gentleman proposed words which my right hon. and learned friend the Attorney General has accepted in spirit, in order that the words in the clause may do exactly what the Government desire them to do, neither less nor more.
§ *MR. MOULTON
I am quite satisfied with the assurance given, and ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
I would hardly have ventured to trouble the House with the Amendment standing in my name on the matter of penal rents were it not that in this clause there is a rather vicious principle which deserves consideration. On the face of it, the clause would appear to intervene in contracts of tenancy now existing, and which have still seven or eight years to run. If that is so, it would break up these contracts and set up a new state of things. I think that is rather a dangerous principle to introduce into an Act of Parliament. The purpose of my Amendment is to safeguard existing contracts, and leave the operation of the clause to contracts made after the passing of the Act. I hope my Amendment will be accepted. I think it would be a great pity if the progress of the Bill, which, on the whole, has proceeded on very moderate lines, should be arrested by embarking on a principle of a revolutionary character, and which would subvert the rights of property, which the President of the Board of Agriculture should be the very first person to safeguard.
In page 4, line 1, after the word 'tenancy,' to insert the words' made after the passing of this Act.' "—[Lord Hugh Cecil.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. LONG
I do not at all wonder that the noble Lord has found it necessary to call attention to the operation of the clause. It is undoubtedly true, as he 1342 has stated, that it makes a serious breach in the existing law in regard to contracts already made. I hope I shall be able to show the House some good grounds for the course the Government have adopted, and I trust that my noble friend and others who, like myself, attach great importance to the preservation of existing contracts, will acknowledge that except in name and in a technical sense it can hardly be said that this clause will involve the serious results which my noble friend fears. What are those so-called penal rents which the Government wish by this clause to abolish? First, let me point out that by the exception to which reference has already been made those penal clauses which are abolished refer only to what I may call the tenant's cultivation of the soil as opposed to any act of agriculture which would interfere with the character of the holding. We have separated these two matters' in all that we have proposed in the Bill. At the present time in regard to a great many of these penal clauses, we find, from the evidence of the most experienced valuers, that they are disregarded by the valuers because they consider them inoperative and unjust. What is the object of these penal clauses? It is not, I submit, to give the landlord power to recover against the tenant, but to enable him to prevent the tenant from indulging in certain practices which the landlord believes and probably rightly, will result in great permanent damage, or at any rate in a serious change in the character of his property. Now this result has followed— that although the land has been maintained in proper condition, and damage has been avoided, when the ultimate settlement between landlord and tenant has to be made, these penal clauses have been suddenly dug out of obscurity, as it were and have been held against the tenant in such a way as has led the tenant not only to lose the compensation for the improvements which everybody admits he has made on his farm, but to his actually being mulcted in damages over and above his own claim, because he has been guilty of a breach of contract covered by a penal clause. There was a case the other day in which the tenant had so far improved the value of his holding that the rent was actually raised from thirty-five shillings to £8 per acre, but by doing so he had brought himself within the law because he had broken a 1343 penal clause. The result was that, although the land was improved in value to the extent I have named, not only did he lose the compensation due to him for unexhausted improvements, but he was mulcted in heavy damages besides. In the first place these penal clauses are very often discouraged and disregarded by the valuers, and not only are they disregarded, but when their validity is admitted, they very frequently result in manifest injustice to the tenant. What would be the result if this Amendment were carried? It would lull the landlord into a false sense of security by giving him protection which is protection only in name. It would not protect him against the injury done to his property by the tenant. In all these discussions upon the question of land legislation proposals have been made from each side of the House pressing for drastic reforms. On both sides of the House reasons have been adduced to show that great and permanent injury would result to the land unless those proposals were admitted; but one claim has been universally admitted, and that is that the tenants within proper limits should have absolute freedom in the cultivation of his land. There is no freedom to cultivate the land if these penal clauses are retained and held in terrorem over the head of the tenant, who knows that if he indulges in freedom of cultivation he will have to pay for it when he leaves. I submit that the Government have been justified in the course they have taken in regard to this particular question, and I hope the House will support us.
§ *EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)
said that this was not a point upon which he felt very strongly, but he thought the fact that these penal clauses were now in abeyance, because the arbitrators did not think fit to enforce them, was no argument for doing away with them. The precedent of changing the law because people did not pay attention to their statutory obligations was a very bad one, and ought not to be made. He thought the argument that the penal clauses were not essential to the interests of the landlords, and they did inflict an injustice on the tenants, was true, and it was a good argument against penal clauses, but no argument at all for breaking contracts which the tenant had entered into with 1344 his eyes open. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture was rather severe on the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire a few days previously because he explained that tenants, as a rule, were people who were not capable of looking after their own interests, but it was only on that principle that this clause was defensible or excusable. He did not think where a tenant entered into a contract with full knowledge it was desirable to allow him to break it. The right hon. Gentleman might very well accept the Amendment, because, after all, it dealt with a very small number of cases. Of all the decisions given upon agricultural questions only 5 per cent. came under the operation of this Bill, and of that 5 per cent. there was a considerable number of yearly tenancies which would not be affected by the operation of this clause. Under those circumstances, he thought the right hon. Gentleman might have accepted the Amendment. At the same time, having regard to the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman, he should advise his noble friend to withdraw it.
§ *MR. MOULTON
said he could not help feeling great relief when he heard that the Government were going to insist upon the clause. Upon the defence of the clause he did not intend to add a word to what had been already said. All he desired to do was to say a word as to the course the right hon. Gentleman proposed to follow. So far from his proposal being revolutionary, as some hon. Gentlemen had suggested, it was simply a continuation of a process which had been going on for centuries, by which the English law was shaking itself free from the odious task of enforcing penal clauses. Gradually all these penalties and forfeitures were being done away with, a great many of them by the Conveyancing Act of 188V, passed by Earl Cairns, who was too conservative ever to be revolutionary in the least degree. With respect to this clause being applied to existing contracts, of which the noble Lord seemed to be afraid, he desired to point out that in every step taken up to the present the change had been made to apply to existing contracts. It was so in Earl Cairns Act, and in this case they need have no fear in so doing.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL (Yorkshire, N. R., Holderness)
thought it was rather 1345 difficult for hon. Gentlemen who were now urging the passage of the Money-lending Bill through the House to com plain of this principle being applied to existing contracts. He was not a very earnest advocate of the Money-lending Bill, but many of those who sat around him were anxious to see it passed into law, and he had not heard any of them express a regret that that was to apply to existing contracts. In the part of the country from which he came they did not know much of those penal rents, but he was inclined to think it was better not to interfere with existing contracts when it could be avoided, and if it were true that these penal clauses in agreements were so exceedingly rare that nobody knew very much about them, he thought the Amendment might have been accepted.
§ *SIR W. HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)
said the discussion showed that there was little need for harsh legislation, and he trusted the noble Lord would not press the matter to a division. It was the evil days through which agriculture had passed which had rendered such legislation unnecessary. But, as the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill had pointed out, only 5 per cent. of the agricultural tenants would come under this Amendment, and the majority of those would not require to be dealt with. He knew of no landlord who would interfere with a good tenant, and he did not believe such a man existed; but he went further, and said if such a landlord did exist he ought to be relegated to the county asylum.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. LOPES (Grantham)
In moving the Amendment which stands in my name, perhaps I may be allowed first of all to remind the House what took place in the Standing Committee on this question. On that occasion an Amendment was moved by the hon. Member for South Somerset which would have had the effect of increasing the limit of the law of distress from one to two years. That Amendment was withdrawn, and an Amendment was proposed by the Member for South Kensington similar to that which I now propose. My right hon. friend the Minister for Agriculture, speaking to the Amendment, said that he had a perfectly open mind upon the question, and that 1346 he would be prepared to accept the decision of the Committee. The Committee divided on the question, and there were fifteen who voted in favour of the retention of the clause and fourteen against I can only hope that the small majority of one which my right hon. friend obtained on that occasion will not hermetically seal his mind with regard to the question, and that he will be prepared if possible to accept my Amendment and, at any rate, I think it will be a justification for me in bringing the matter up. The Amendment I propose is obviously to amend the law as it at present exists under the Act of 1883. Prior to that the law of distress was a considerable bone of contention throughout the country. It was frequently discussed in the House, and a Select Committee was appointed in 1882. The result of that Committee was that Section 44 of the Act of 1883 was passed. Under that, section the landlord's power regarding distress was limited to one year, but there was a proviso to this effect— that where in the ordinary course of dealing between the landlord and the tenant of a holding the rent of such holding had been allowed to be deferred until the expiration of a year or half of a year, the law would be that the rent of that holding should be deemed to have become due at the expiration of that quarter or half-year, as the case might be, and not the date at which it became legally due. It is easy to lose one's self in the intricate maze of Parliamentary phraseology, but I do not think there can be any doubt as to what the intention of the Legislature was at that time. It meant to safeguard the landlord's interest where it was the custom to allow three or six months grace to the tenant in the payment of his rent. That has been the practice ever since that Act was passed, and the present Bill proposes to do away with that compromise for it was a compromise, which was arrived at by both parties in the State on that occasion, and if this clause becomes law it will only allow the landlord to distrain for one year's rent. I must say that it does not seem to me very difficult to understand why this clause has found its way into the Bill. It is impossible to say at the present time that the law of distress embodies any principle of injustice. It is used with the greatest toleration, the greatest forbearance, and the greatest discretion by landlords and their 1347 agents, and although it may be said that it is very seldom made use of, to admit that is not to admit that it is either useless or unnecessary, because, while at the same time it allows a landlord to give the greatest possible latitude and the greatest credit to a good tenant, it also enables him to deal with a tenant who cannot be so described. I would say at once that I do not consider this to be at all a landlords' question. It is simply and entirely a tenants' question, and it is as such that I venture to press it upon the attention of the House. The exercise of the law of distress at the present time, when it is exercised at all, is chiefly in the direction of giving relief to the tenant, and I venture to say that a large body of tenants throughout the country would be dismayed at any limitation of the landlord's power of distress, because such limitation would mean that it would limit the landlord's readiness to give them credit at the time when they require it. Although it may be said that if you diminish the law of distraint you will increase the power of the tenant to get credit from tradesmen, my answer to that is that the law of competition itself will enable him to get reasonable and fair latitude in this direction from trades people, and it is far better for him to borrow money from his land- lord than to apply to a bank or any other source whatsoever. I believe that, so far from simplifying the relations between landlord and tenant, the effect of this limitation would be to promote discord between the two parties. It would tend to create an unnecessary revolution in the arrangement that at present exists between them which would be prejudicial to both of the parties concerned. I do not want to weary the House by giving very many instances of what might arise if this clause was passed as it now stands, but I should like to point out three cases at least in which it would inflict very serious injury upon the tenant. Let me take the instance of a farmer who pays £100 a year in rent to his landlord by half-yearly payments—in December for the Michaelmas rent and in June for the Lady Day rent. Supposing that, at the June collection for Lady Day, he is £75 in arrear with his rent, it is obviously impossible that the landlord could allow the tenant to go on another six months if this clause was passed, because then he would have exhausted the limit under 1348 which he would be allowed to recover, and, therefore, to obviate such a risk as this it would be necessary to make the rent audit close up to the term day. This in many parts of the country would have a disastrous result on the tenants themselves, because rents are collected at such times as to permit the tenants to have the opportunity of attending the local fairs which are held in their neighbourhood. To make any alteration in the arrangements for the payment of their rents would, therefore, have a most injurious effect upon them. Then, upon every property there are instances of tenant farmers who have been occupying their farms for upwards of thirty or forty years on what are known as yearly tenancies. It has been the custom with them——
In page 4, line 11, to leave out Clause 7." —(Mr. Lopes.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words of the clause to the word 'more,' in line 12, stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. LONG
I should like to toll the House why I propose to accept this Amendment. My hon. friend has asked why it is that the Government should put this Amendment in the Bill. The question of the law of distress is a complicated and difficult one. I have no doubt my hon. friend's interpretation of the Act of 1883 is correct, but it certainly was understood at that time that the power of the landlord to recover under the law of distress was to be limited to a year's rent. When it was discovered that a year's rent meant in reality practically eighteen months rent, it was still held that that was intended by the Act of Parliament to mean a year's rent, and that the landlord was entitled to recover for that period. There have been several suggestions made on the subject. The Royal Commission recommended that it should be limited to a year, and therefore the Government thought it right to put this clause in the Bill, but since doing so we 1349 have received representations from many quarters, and many of them from hon. Members sitting on the other side of the House, pointing out to us that the effect of this change in the law would be distinctly injurious to the tenants themselves, especially in cases where the properties are held not by single individuals in their own right, but where they are held by trustees on behalf of charities, colleges, and other institutions. It was stated that the result of any such change in the law would be distinctly injurious to the tenant farmers. My hon. friend opposite who represents one of the Divisions of Somerset proposed in the Grand Committee upstairs not that the law should remain as it is, but that the period should be definitely extended to two years. As my hon. friend the Member for Grant-ham has pointed out, the cutting out of this clause was only defeated by a majority of one. I voted for the retention of the clause, but I loft it entirely to the Committee to decide it as they liked. Since then I have been assured in many quarters that the retention of this clause would be injurious to the tenants, and that being so, I advise the House to accept the Amendment my hon. friend has moved for the dropping of this clause out of the Bill.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Remaining words of the clause omitted.
§ MR. JEFFREYS (Hampshire, N.)
said the Amendment he desired to move dealt with Clause 8, and its effect was to make Section 28 of Part III. of the Schedule retrospective.
§ MR. JEFFREYS
said the point was that compensation was given in the schedule for temporary pasture, and the farmer would like that to be retrospective. That was the only question he desired to raise, and for that purpose he moved the Amendment.
In page 4, line 20, after the word 'Act,' to insert the words 'provided that, in the ease of an improvement such as is described in paragraph twenty-eight in Part III. of the First Schedule to this Act, where any such improvement has been carried out within three years before the determination of the tenancy, compensation may be claimed and obtained under the provisions of this Act.' "—(Mr. Jeffreys.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. LONG
hoped the Amendment would not be pressed. There was not an argument in support of making the Bill retrospective in regard to this particular point which could not with equal force be advanced in regard to many other improvements. There was really not much importance to be attached to the inclusion of temporary seeds. As a matter of practice, the farmer who laid down pasture did so knowing, in the first place, that as the law stood he had no right to compensation, and, in the second place, that if he quitted while that temporary pasture was in it would be to the advantage of the owner of the land to take it over rather than to allow the farmer to break it up, as he would have full right to do if the owner would not take it over. There-fore the point was not so great as it at first sight might appear. It would not be fair or wise to make an exception in any particular instance; if the measure was made retrospective at all it ought to be made generally retrospective, and that the Government could not agree to.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Another Amendment made.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
said that in putting down the motion to omit Clause 10, he desired to call attention to a matter which had been brought up on several occasions—namely, the position in which Scottish agriculturists were placed by the way in which this measure applied to them. This was a totally new departure. Hitherto, in regard to this important subject, Scotland had had its own system of legislation perfectly separate from the English sys-tem, and it was desired that in the future they should proceed upon the same lines as in the past, having separate legislation on this subject, so that Scottish agricul- 1351 ture could continue to develop on the lines which had led to such marked progress since the beginning of the century. He did not say that the Scottish legislation should not be on the same lines as the English. The progress of agriculture must necessarily move very largely upon the same principles and the same lines in both countries. But as a matter of good administration and good legislation, the Government, in this Bill, and particularly in the clause under discussion, were taking a retrograde step. Instead of making legislation easier and simpler for the ordinary person to understand, and for the Scottish tenant and landlord to have their grievances remedied and their differences settled, it became more difficult and expensive, because, in addition to their own Acts, this Bill under discussion would come in, and that had to be interpreted by means not only of Scottish Acts but also of English Acts. By this measure the Government were taking a retrograde step both as regards legislation and administration, and for that reason he moved the omission of Clause 10.
In page 4, line 26, to leave out Clause 10." —(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. LONG
said he was not overwhelmed by the charge which had frequently been made in the course of the debates that the action of the Government was either retrograde or injurious to the best interests of agriculture. Nobody admired more than those on this side of the Border the energetic and enlightened manner in which Scottish agriculturists had carried on their busi-
§ ness; but at the same time there was a place called England in which were a large number of competent agriculturists who could hold their own in competition even with Scotchmen. The views expressed by the hon. Member were entirely at variance with the views held by those who had some claim to represent Scottish agriculture—by such a body, for instance, as the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture. That body was probably quite as much entitled to consideration on this question as the hon. Member, and he (the speaker) was justified in putting their views forward in answer to those of the hon. Member. The Scottish Chamber of Agriculture had petitioned Parliament in favour of the Bill; they had held a, meeting at which they welcomed the Bill as one of much importance, containing provisions calculated to give more effective force to the compensation principle; and oddly enough, the provision empowering the Board of Agriculture to appoint an arbitrator, which had been condemned by the hon. Member, was one of the parts of the Bill to which they attached special importance. It therefore did not look as if that body shared the rather peculiar views of the hon. Gentleman in regard to the Board of Agriculture. It was not desirable or necessary to debate on this Amendment the whole question of whether or not the Bill should apply to Scotland. The object of the Government was so far as necessary to amend the law as applied to both countries, and gradually to consolidate the whole of the agricultural laws into one Act, so that it would be easy for anyone, whether in England, Scotland, or Wales, to ascertain what the law was and how it stood.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 222; Noes, 105. (Division List No. 212.)1355
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Bethell, Commander||Butcher, John George|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Bigwood, James||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glas'w)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bill, Charles||Carlile, William Walter|
|Arrol, Sir William||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Boulnois, Edmund||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Bousfield, William Robert||Cayzer, Sir Charles William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Man.)||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds)||Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Brassey, Albert||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Chamberlain, J Austen (Wore'r)|
|Beaumont, Went worth C. B.||Bullard, Sir Henry||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Burt, Thomas||Charrington, Spencer|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Heaton, John Henniker||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Coddington, Sir William||Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H.||Peel, Hon. W. R. Wellesley|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Helder, Augustus||Percy, Earl|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Henderson, Alexander||Perks, Robert William|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)||Pilkington, R.(Lancs Newton)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Hoare, Sir (Samuel (Norwich)||Pilkington, Sir G. A. (Lancs S.W)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Houston, R. P.||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Howard, Joseph||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg'w)||Howell, William Tudor||Pryce Jones, Lt-. Col. Edward|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Purvis, Robert|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Rankin, Sir James|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas Thomson|
|Cross, Herbert S. (Bolton)||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Round, James|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham)||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Knowles, Lees||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Doxford, Sir William T.||Leeky, Rt. Hn. William Ed. H.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart||Leighton, Stanley||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Elliot, Hn. A. Ralph Douglas||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'nsea)||Simeon, Sir Harrington|
|Faber, George Denison||Lodor, Gerald Walter Erskine||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverp'l)||Spencer, Ernest|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Finch, George H.||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Stanley, Ed Jas. (Somerset)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lowe, Francis William||Stanley, Sir Henry M. (Lambeth)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lowles, John||Stewart, Sir M. j. M'Taggart|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. (Kent)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Lloyd, Archie Kirkman||Strauss, Arthur|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Flower, Ernest||Maclean, James Mackenzie||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Forster, Henry William||M. Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Un.)|
|Fry, Lewis||M'Killop, James||Tennant, Harold John|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Malcolm, Ian||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Garfit, William||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Gedge, Sydney||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Mellor, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Yorks.)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (C. of Lond.)||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Wallace, Robert|
|Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Welby, Lt.- Col. A. C. E. (Taunt.)|
|Gilliat, John Saunders||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. John||Wellby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Freder'k||Monk, Charles James||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||More, R. J. (Shropshire)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Williams, J. Powell. (Birm.)|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Morrell, George Herbert||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morrison, Walter||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Mount, William George||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Murray, Rt Hn. A Graham (Bute)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wyndham, George|
|Gunter, Colonel||Myers, William Henry||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George||Nicholson, William Graham||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Hanson, Sir Reginald||Pease, Alfred E (Cleveland)|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork. N. E.)||Billson, Alfred||Crombie, John William|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Bramsdon, Thomas Arthur||Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Caldwell, James||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Cameron, Sir Charles (Glasgow)||Dilke, Rt. Hn. Sir Charles|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Dillon, John|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Carvill, Patrick George H.||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Bain bridge, Emerson||Cawley, Frederick||Doogan, P. C.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Clark, Dr. G. B.||Dunn, Sir William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Colville, John||Emmot, Alfred|
|Engledew, Charles John||Maddison, Fred.||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Mappin, Sir Frederick T.||Steadman, William Charles|
|Evans, Sir Francis H. (South'ton)||Mather, William||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Strachey, Edward|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarth'n., E.)|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Morgan, W. Pritchard (M'rthyr)||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Gurdon, Sir William Brampton||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Harwood, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Horniman, Frederick John||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wason, Eugene|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Oldroyd, Mark||Weir, James Galloway|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Malley, William||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Philipps, John Wynford||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Jones, David Brynm. (Swansea)||Pickard, Benjamin||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Price, Robert John||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Lough, Thomas||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Woods, Samuel|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Reckitt, Harold James||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Macaleese, Daniel||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie||Yoxall, James Henry|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|M'Dermott, Patrick||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Buchanan and Si rWilliam Wedderburn.|
|M'Ewan, William||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|M'Ghee, Richard||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Souttar, Robinson|
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The House having just affirmed the machinery for applying the Act to Scotland, the next Amendment, standing in the name of the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire, providing that the clause shall not apply to Scotland, is out of order.
§ SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN (Banffshire)
The Amendment which stands in my name is to encourage the construction of cottages for agricultural labourers. In the district which it is my privilege to represent there is a very great want of accommodation for agricultural labourers; in fact, it has become a social scandal that there is no proper accommodation for them. I think the Member for East Aberdeenshire brought before the House a number of cases of very great hardship which had happened in both his constituency and mine, where the sanitary inspector, having visited the cottages of agricultural labourers, finds that they must be condemned on sanitary grounds. But the sanitary inspectors are in a great difficulty, because the cottages, if condemned, would probably be pulled down, and no others put in their place, in which case the position of the labourers would be worse than before. This is not only a very great scandal, but a very serious obstacle to good farming throughout the district. 1356 The labourers very often have to walk many miles to get to their work. It must also be remembered that an agricultural labourer cannot be made in a day, for he must serve his apprenticeship, and those hardy crofters make the very best material for agricultural labourers. In the Report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture various reasons were given why farmers are not able to contend with farmers abroad, and one of the principal was because of the increased cost of production, and because they could not get good labour. Farmers are perfectly willing to pay for good labour, but they cannot get it, one of the chief reasons being that there is no adequate accommodation for labourers. What I therefore propose is chat cottages for agricultural labourers should be taken out of Part I. of the schedule of improvements which require the consent of the landlord, and put into Part II., in which the farmer is only required to give notice. It must be remembered that a great many of these farmers have leases for twenty-one years, and it is perfectly certain that no farmer would spend money in building cottages unless they were absolutely necessary for the conduct of his farm. We have been told by the right hon. Gentleman and others that the farmers are very capable of knowing their true interests, and I do not see how their true interests in this matter differ from the true interests of the landlords.
In page 6 (First Schedule), line 5, after the word 'buildings,' to insert the words 'except cottages for agricultural labourers.'"—(Sir William Wedderburn.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. LONG
I can hardly imagine that the hon. Member will insist on this Amendment, because I am convinced it is not in the least desired. The first great demand—probably a stronger and greater demand than any other—which the labourers make is that that they should hold their cottages independent of farmers and direct from the landlords, and that their cottages should not be part and parcel of the farms on which they are engaged. I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman how he proposes to carry out the Amendment. Supposing a labourer does not desire to live in a cottage on the farm, is the farmer to bear the cost of that cottage, which no one will occupy, and is the landlord to be compelled to buy it without having been consulted in the first instance as to the number of rooms, the site and whether it was wanted or not. From the point of view of the landlord and the labourer, I cannot conceive that there would be any advantage in this proposal. As for the farmer I think it will be found that he is not inclined to lay out capital when he can only expect a return of 1½ per cent, at the utmost. I hope, therefore, that the hon. Member will not persist in the Amendment.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
With regard to the argument on behalf of the landlord, surely if the cottages which a tenant puts up do not add to the letting value of the farm, then there would be no claim for compensation. The right hon. Gentleman says that they may be useless cottages and not wanted, but in that case he tenant would not be entitled to compensation. The substance of the Amendment of my hon. friend is to provide for the cottage accommodation which experience has shown exists in many parts of Scotland. Very often in Scotland, especially where the tenants are a more enterprising body of men than the landlords, they are quite willing to put capital into the development of their farms, and one way of developing a farm is to provide 1358 accommodation for labourers. My hon. friend in his Amendment wishes to remove a restriction on enterprising tenants who desire to improve their farms in that way.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ *EARL PERCY
I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name, and will do so very briefly, as I have already stated my views on the subject. This Bill for the first time proposes to allow a tenant to make gardens, orchards, and osier beds not exceeding three acres in all without the consent of the landlord. I propose to leave out the words "exceeding one acre" in order to bring the law back to the state in which it now exists. The principle of the Act of 1883 was that improvements for which the tenant might gain compensation without the consent of the landlord were to be strictly limited to those absolutely necessary for the cultivation of the soil. The tenant has entered into a legal obligation to farm the soil to the best of his ability, and he can only do so if allowed a certain amount of latitude in the selection of appliances which his experience tells him are best fitted for the capacity of the soil. But in this Bill the principle is adopted that a tenant is to be allowed to convert an agricultural holding to other purposes, and in that manner to try experiments. You are introducing a principle which is wholly indefensible and which lends itself to indefinite extension. The tenant has entered on the holding with full knowledge of its character and the conditions attaching to its cultivation. If he does not like that character and those conditions he is at perfect liberty to go elsewhere. It might be said that this is a small point. Of course, it is a small point in itself. It may also be said that in one or two parts of the country we may have cantankerous landlords, who will refuse to allow a small indulgence to their tenants, and that it is therefore the duty of the Legislature to step in and remove that hardship. It is these hard cases which, in my opinion, make bad law. I do not see why you should stop short at legislation which would deprive the landlord of all control over his land once he has leased it to a tenant. It may be said that three acres are a very small slice 1359 out of an ordinary farm, but the right hon. Gentleman must remember that many of the farms dealt with under this Bill are farms of five, ten, fifteen, or twenty acres, and three acres is a considerable slice in such cases. It is a monstrous thing that we should allow tenants who have only a temporary interest in a holding to convert it from an agricultural holding to purposes for which the soil may be absolutely unfitted, and for the produce of which there might be no local sale, and then to come to the landlord and ask for compensation. What would be thought if we were to apply this principle to the ordinary practice of letting houses? What would be said if the right hon. Gentleman were to let his house to me at an ordinary rent and I were to convert his drawing-room into a gymnasium and his dining-room into a theatre, and then ask him for compensation on the ground that the theatrical entertainments had added to the value of the house. That is precisely an analogous case. If you allow these tenants to make these gardens and osier beds why confine them to one acre; why place any restriction upon them at all? Personally, I think the whole proposal is ludicrous and unnecessary. If the gardens are likely to increase the value of the holding, then clearly the landlord, who has not merely a temporary interest in the land, will give facilities to the tenant to make them. The proposal in the Bill is therefore unnecessary. If you are going to introduce this principle where are you going to stop. It is practically certain that when you propose to confine this new licence to tenants to one acre the party opposite will certainly propose to extend it still further when they come into power. I must point out to the right hon. Gentleman that it is not contended that there is any great demand for this proposal. It is admitted it has been framed to meet possible or casual cases of hardship: it would bring no popularity to this side of the House, and it has nothing to do with the simplification of procedure which is the main object of the Bill. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will think twice before he introduces a principle into the Bill which in future will enable the party opposite to claim an acceptance of a development of that principle for which the right hon. Gentleman or any of his colleagues would not have any sympathy at all.
In page 6, line 8, to leave out the words 'exceeding one acre.'"—(Earl Percy.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. LONG
It is useless to deny that the proposal to give this power to the tenants is a limitation in some degree of the principle that has been more than once laid down—namely, that the right should be preserved to the landlord to deal with any ultimate change in the character of a farm as he thinks best. What my noble friend has said is undoubtedly true, but I am bound to say, when he expresses inability to draw a distinction between one acre and ton acres, I am doubtful whether he has not studied more carefully the logical aspect of these cases rather than their practical aspects. I can assure my noble friend that farmers fully realise why a distinction is drawn at one acre. Logically, from my noble friend's point of view, the limitation may be a very improper one, but from the general point of view, it is a very proper and sensible proceeding. It is the limitation in Part I. that leads to the absence of limitation in Part II. of the schedule. My noble friend moves to omit these words in order to follow up his Amendment by moving to omit other words in the next part of the schedule. Therefore it is necessary that i should point out to the House that the power which it is proposed that the tenants should acquire under Part II. is limited in this way. If the tenant desires to do this work, he must give notice to his landlord, and if the landlord desires to do the work himself, he has not only the right to do it, but has statutory power to charge the tenant 5 per cent. That is a great protection to the landlords. I entirely agree with my noble friend that this is a very small matter indeed, and that there is not a very great demand for it. So far as I am aware, no great interest is taken in it by landlords or tenants outside the House of Commons. It has been recommended by the Central Chamber of Agriculture and also by the Royal Commission. Supported an it is by these two recommendations, I do not think it can be regarded as a, dangerous power to confer on the tenants. I cannot help hoping that the House will 1361 retain these powers, because they will he useful to farmers who desire to exercise them, and I do not think there will be any danger in giving them.
Mr. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
The question we have to consider is whether a tenant farmer to whom land is let for the purpose of cultivation should be allowed to take a considerable portion of the holding and apply it to purposes not contemplated when his agreement was entered into, and which I think it is impossible to argue would be in the interests of good farming. Can my right hon. friend say that agriculture will be improved or the tenant's position amended by speculations of this kind? It is absolutely a new business—business which I undertake to say tenant farmers know nothing about, and in my opinion it would be a very foolish thing for them to embark on it. I do not know whether my right hon. friend can tell me of any case in which a farmer has done well by dabbling in such speculations. I think the principle we are now asked to establish is most mischievous and undesirable. As regards the general subject, ray right hon. friend has not noticed my noble friend's strongest point—namely, that the relative proportion of these experiments to the area of the holding is not defined. I can imagine anyone saying that three acres would be a mere nothing on a farm of 1,000 acres; but how about small farms? Three acres would be, relatively speaking, a large portion of a small holding, and it is a very strong proposal to divert it from the purpose for which the land was let. An acre of land is a great deal to till as a. garden. Of course if a tenant intends to go in for market gardening he ought to apply to the landlord as a market gardening tenant. As for orchards, I have some slight experience of them, and I can only say it is a very wearisome thing to have to wait until the trees grow. I say we are doing an ill turn to the tenant farmers by inviting them to embark upon speculative enterprises of this kind. I do hope, especially, that my right hon. friend will not commit himself to the osier beds. He will see that there is a vital distinction between a farmer wanting a few rows of potatoes or a small quantity of fruit for home consumption and the planting of osier beds. he should remember that osier beds, unless protected by fences, would be of 1362 serious injury to the farm. Perhaps a portion of a field may be unduly moist, and the farmer, instead of taking any trouble to relieve it of its waterlogged condition, would decide under the Act of Parliament to plant osiers. He would get over the trouble of making the land drier, and could also claim compensation. That would be most mischievous. Has my right hon. friend contemplated what the estimated cost would be of planting an acre of osiers and fencing the same? I think it would be found that quarrels would arise in the exercise of this power, and as to whether osier beds would add to the letting value of the holding, that would be a moot point. It cannot be seriously considered that the planting of these beds is likely to benefit the tenant farmers of England, and I hope my noble friend will take the sense of the House on the proposal.
§ MR. JEFFREYS
could not see that the planting of an orchard could injure a farm. As a matter of fact, if it did not turn out a success the only man who would be injured was the man who had taken the risk. It was absurd to say that a farmer could not even plant an acre of fruit trees without getting the consent of the landlord. It should be remembered that this was only in the second schedule, and the tenant could not do the planting without giving notice to the landlord, when the landlord might prevent him from carrying out the alteration. This modest proposal was made by the Royal Commission, and he thought it would be very wrong not to pass it. He lived in a dry country, and did not know much about osier beds, but if a farmer planted osier beds on soil which was not suitable or damp enough, and they turned out a failure, he would get no compensation.
§ *CAPTAIN PRETYMAN (Suffolk, Woodbridge)
hoped his noble friend would press his Amendment to a division; for, after all, there was an important principle at stake—namely, the alteration of the permanent character of a holding without the consent of the landlord. His hon. friend said that drainage was more important than this particular class of improvement; but the question was, did the improvement alter the character of the holding? Now, draining did not alter the character of the 1363 holding, and, what was of more importance, it was beyond dispute a class of improvement which would be of equal use to the succeeding as to the present tenant. On the other hand, if osiers were planted it would probably be done by a man who was a basket maker. But the successor might not be a basket maker, and could not make use of the osiers, and he would go to the wall. But there was another important point, the landlord might be an extremely poor man himself. In the case of large farms, cultivated by large tenants, an acre taken up for an orchard or an osiery would not be a matter of great importance. But in the case of a small holding a comparatively large sum of money might be spent in laying out two acres of land as a fruit garden and an osiery. These might not be of any great value to the succeeding tenant, and payment of compensation for them might be a very large charge on a small owner. Why should a great principle be departed from, and the small owner be subjected to what might be a very great risk for a thing his tenant did not particularly want? The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture had conducted the Bill with such moderation that he felt very 10th to ask his noble friend to divide, but he hoped he would divide, as the point was a most important one. When he looked at the schedules it occurred to him that this proposal had been inserted into Part II., because it looked so very meagre when it only contained the item "drainage," but he would remind his right hon. friend if he thought the second part too thin, that a bit of good thin ham was preferable to a bit of thick bad bacon in a sandwich. He hoped that the question at issue would not be made, on division, a Government question.
§ MR. WALLACE (Perth)
thought the hon. Member who had just spoken must have forgotten the very terms of the Bill which he had criticised. He took as an illustration a tenant who planted an osier bed which would be of no use to the succeeding tenant, and yet the landlord would have to pay compensation for the bed, on the determination of the tenancy. Now, the express words of the compensation section were that where a 1364 tenant had made an improvement on his. holding he was to be entitled—At the determination of the tenancy, on quitting his holding, to obtain from the landlord as compensation under the said Acts for the improvement, such sum as fairly represents the value of the improvement to an incoming tenant.Therefore, if the improvement was of no value to the incoming tenant there was no compensation. His object in rising was to make a most earnest appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to stand by this clause as it was. After all, this schedule was something of a compromise, for Amendments had been moved from both sides suggesting to leave out and to add to. He intended to support the Government, not because the Bill was all that he wished it to be, but because it was the best possible that they could get. If the right hon. Gentleman stood by this schedule he would very soon get the Bill through.
MR. VICARYGIBBS (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)
said one of the objections he had to the Bill was that it would embark the landlord in investments of a speculative character. It was bad to allow a man to. obtain a temporary hold on property on one representation, and then to deal with it afterwards differently from that representation. Take an illustration. A private house was let to a man who spent a great deal of money in converting it into a theatre, from which he made a large profit. At the determination of the lease was the landlord to. pay compensation, although the theatre was of no value to the new tenant? That was exactly the case with either fruit trees or osiers, the market for which was limited. His hon. friend the Member for North Hants spoke as if it were an immense advantage that notice had to be given to the landlord; but he could see none. A man was asked to spend money on the principle of "heads I win, tails you lose." For instance, a man incurred heavy expenditure on fruit trees, and before they became mature he came upon the landlord for compensation for those trees, which might be perfectly healthy and strong, but which were of no good, because the local market had either ceased to exist or was dying; and on the landlord would fall the loss of that speculation. He could not approve of the line taken by the right hon. the President of the Board 1365 of Agriculture. he understood him to say that he was not afraid of the extension of the principle of the measure. Personally, he was afraid of it; hut whether right or wrong, he objected to a principle which could not be logically extended in practice. The right hon. Gentleman had given no explanation of how the extension of the principle could be logically opposed, and it might be that in the fulness of time, when the right hon. Gentleman crossed the floor of the House he would be found saying that what was perfectly right now would be perfectly wrong then, he opposed the whole thing ab initio. A man to whom property was handed over by a landlord temporarily and for a specific-purpose had no light to use that property for another purpose without the landlord's consent. If it were in the public interest that orchards and osieries should be made without the consent of the landlord, there should be no limitation to an acre. The man should be entitled to turn the whole holding into a fruit garden or osiery. It was ludicrous to make a limitation. The truth was that the right hon. Gentleman, in his general desire to moot certain views, had fallen into an error of principle, capable of immense extension. While the thing was yet small it could be stopped, and he begged the right hon. Gentleman to listen to those on his own side of the House and withdraw a proposal containing what was a most mischievous principle.
§ *MR. PERKS (Lincolnshire, Louth)
said he represented a large agricultural constituency twelve hundred square miles in extent. Many of the tenant farmers in Lincolnshire had asked for the assistance of the Legislature to protect them from the unreasonable and unrestricted conditions imposed on them by the landlords who refused to give full freedom to tenants in carrying on their business. It was contended in the course of this debate that the land was the property of the landlords to do what they like with. But he ventured to suggest that there was a co-partnership in the products of the property between the landlord and the tenant. The farmer provided the intelligence, the capital, and the labour, and the landlord supplied the land. He trusted the Government were going to maintain this clause, which would certainly give to the tenant, though on a 1366 small scale, a latitude he ought to have, and which had not hitherto been his. In one part of Lincolnshire stiff clay land had been largely used for growing roots, but it was ultimately used with great profit to both landlord and tenant for trenching and growing celery. For many years, however, the same arguments used to-day had been employed to prevent the tenants cultivating celery instead of roots;, but the landlords had at last come to see that it was for their mutual interest to give the tenants liberty in that particular direction. "What was true of celery was true of osiers, fruit gardens, and orchards. Surely a tenant, who was a man of intelligence, and who had to watch the outgoing of every penny, would not spend money in the conversion of an acre of his farm into an osier bed or a fruit garden without an intelligent forecast of a return for the outlay of his money. If the garden or osier beds were of no value to the incoming tenant there would be nothing for the landlord to pay. The clause was a very moderate concession to farmers, who ought to be encouraged rather than obstructed in making experiments on small portions of their holdings; and he hoped the Government would adhere to it.
§ MR. HARDY (Kent, Ashford)
hoped the right hon. Gentleman might yet see his way to accept his Amendment in regard to osier beds, which stood on a ditto rent ground entirely from orchards or fruit gardens. he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman one question as concerning the words proposed to be loft out. In the Grand Committee considerable doubt was expressed as to whether it might not be possible as the section now stood to make several small osier beds on a farm which in the aggregate would cover a considerable number of acres. It was very likely that a farmer might take several small plots separate from each other on the banks of a stream, and that these collectively would be far greater than the limitation proposed in the schedule. In Grand Committee the right hon. Gentleman undertook to introduce qualifying words if he were advised that there was any doubt on the subject. He would like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman was satisfied that the words "not exceeding one acre" would obviate the difficulty which had been raised.
§ SIR J. STIRLING-MAXWELL (Glasgow, College)
said the Government might well agree to accept this Amendment without any fear of losing the Bill as a whole. The Government might rest assured that very little interest was taken in this question, which was a very small one in itself, but, as a matter of principle, of very great importance. If this schedule was passed, although it would not do much in the direction desired for the benefit of the tenant, it would be used in the future to deprive the landlord of the right to decide as to what use his land should be put. The result might be that the landlord would have to pay compensation for what had actually made the holding of less value than before.
§ MR. JOHNSON-FERGUSON (Leicestershire, Loughborough)
said if the Amendment were accepted it would strike at the real principle of the Bill, as laid down by the right hon. Gentleman, and a tenant would not be able to plant an osier Led without first obtaining the permission of the landlord. If an improvement was to change the character of the farm, he could very well understand that it should be necessary to obtain first the consent of the landlord; but if the improvement was a mere adjunct to the amenity of the holding, then that consent should not be necessary. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would adhere to the clause as it stood.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
said he had listened with great interest to the debate, and he could not congratulate his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Agriculture on having received very much support from his own side of the House. The only speech in his favour came from the hon. Member for North Hampshire, who relied mainly on his great faith in fruit farming for the benefit of the country. One of the ablest speeches made upon the Amendment was founded on a ground all those who supported the Bill regarded as most dangerous. One hon. Member regarded it as a compromise because it was supported from both sides of the House; another, with a perfectly open mind, argued on one side and formed his 1368 conclusions on the other. The right hon. Gentleman having, to judge by his speech, an eccentric love for doing what is practically useless and logically pernicious, proposed to adhere to the Bill as it stood. There were hon. Members who had not an unreasoning zeal in favour of want of logic; they preferred what was logically sound and sensible, and therefore they intended to divide the House.
MR. PHILIPPS (Pembrokeshire)
said the noble Lord who had just sat down appeared to think the landlord would be robbed because a tenant was going to be given a discretion with regard to the way he might cultivate one acre of his farm. No one could read the papers for a week without finding articles deploring the amount of eggs or other produce we were importing, and moralising on the want of energy of our agriculturalists, who allowed this importation of articles which they might produce themselves. What the Government proposed to do was to say that with regard to one acre of his holding the farmer shall be allowed a discretion, so that he might be able to move with the times if he had the capacity to do so. A variety of arguments had been urged against the clause. The hon. Member for Woodbridge did not like it for thy reason that though it would not much affect the large landowner, it might bear very hardly on the small landlords, who were poor men, if they had to give compensation for these improvements. People were always lamenting that more money was not put into the land, yet hon. Members like the hon. Member for Woodbridge objected to the tenants putting their money into it.
said that in this case the tenant spent his own money in improving the land, and if objection was now to he raised to his spending his own money as regarded improving an acre of land, how was capital to get into the land and farming to progress at all? The right hon. Member for Thanet said that fruit farming up to an acre ought not to be allowed, because a farmer in the North of England might plant an acre—which was not adapted to the purpose—with fruit trees. But as regarded one acre, which 1369 was a moderate enough proposal, it was absurd to say that a farmer should not plant fruit trees because some stupid person might plant them on unsuitable land. Two principles had been discussed on this Amendment. One principle was that somebody unconnected with agriculture and who did not understand it should teach the farmer his business; the other principle was to leave the farmer a free hand in order that he might try and do something to promote progress in his business. The Government had not gone very far in that direction, but their proposal was a right one and he should support it.
MR. GRANT LAWSON (Yorkshire, N. R., Thirsk)
pointed out that the Amendment before the Committee was not so much directed against those who wished to make an orchard or a garden as it was to the question of whether, if a man did so on another man's land without the owner's consent or against his will, the owner should pay him compensation when he gave up his tenancy. He rose for the purpose of suggesting a compromise. The Amendment appeared to apply more particularly to osier beds than to orchards and gardens, and it was argued that the change in the character of the holding was much more serious in that case. He thought, therefore, an agreement might be arrived at by giving way on the question of osier beds, and allowing the clause to stand as at present with regard to orchards and gardens.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE (Sussex, Horsham)
said that, whatever might have been the case, the proposals of the Bill had been given away by the hon. Member for Louth, who appeared to look upon the relation of the landlord and tenant as that of a partnership, and he desired that one partner should have power to break the articles of partnership and make experiments in his own interests. But a partnership was generally governed by articles, one of which forbade one partner engaging in speculations or experiments. Yet that was the relationship which it was suggested to apply between the landlord and the tenant. But, apart from that, he thought that
§ these proposals required more consideration than had been bestowed upon them. They appeared to have been pitch forked into the Bill without any consideration as to how they would work out in practice. There was no proportion about them; however small or however large the holding, the acre multiplied by three might be taken off'. So that on a holding of seven acres, nearly half might be taken for experiments, and when another tenant took the holding he might take another three and leave only one acre. Those were matters which should be guarded against, and which ought to have been foreseen, and in his opinion it would be better to withdraw the present proposal, and bring it forward in some other form which would deal with those objections. Arguments were often urged that when there was no permanent value in the improvements to the holding, the tenant would not be paid for them. He distrusted such arguments, because if the arbitrator had power to give compensation he would always look with a kindly eye upon the man who had laid out his money. The man might have laid it out unwisely, and in a manner which would bring no permanent return, but so long as human nature remained as it was, the arbitrator would see some possibilities of good to the incoming tenant. What the House had to consider was whether the proposals were good in themselves, and whether sufficient provision had been made to guard against those difficulties and possible differences which he had drawn to the attention of the House.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL
thought it would be only just and fair after what had been said on both sides of the House if the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill would allow the division to be taken without the Government tellers, and not attempt to coerce the party, but leave it free and let them by their votes give the true sense of the House upon the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 231; Noes, 53. (Division List No. 213.)1373
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N E.)||Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Banbury, Frederick George|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Bailey, James Walworth)||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir. M. H. (Bristol)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.. J. (Manch'r)||Beaumont, Wentworth, C. B.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Malley, William|
|Biddulph, Michael||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Bigwood, James||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Pease, A E. (Cleveland)|
|Billson, Alfred||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt, Wellesley|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Penn, John|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Perks, Robert William|
|Bramsdon, Thomas Arthur||Graham, Henry Robert||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Brigg, John||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Pilkington, Sir G. A. (Lancs S W)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Price, Robert John|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edwd.|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.||Purvis, Robert|
|Burns, John||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie|
|Burt, Thomas||Harwood, George||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Butcher, John George||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson|
|Caldwell, James||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Cameron, Sir Charles (Glasgow)||Henderson, Alexander||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hogan, James Francis||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Horniman, Frederick John||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Houston, R. P.||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derb'shire)||Howard, Joseph||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J (Birm.)||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Johnson-Ferguson, J. E.||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B.||Jones, William (Carnarvons.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Coddington, Sir William||Kearley, Hudson E.||Souttar, Robinson|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Spencer, Ernest|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Spicer, Albert|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Knowles, Lees||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Lawrence, Sir E Durning-(Corn.)||Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'd)||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Lewis, John Herbert||Steadman, William Charles|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swan'a)||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Crilly, Daniel||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverp'l)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crombie, John William||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Lough, Thomas||Tennant, Harold John|
|Cross, Herb. S. (Bolton)||Lowe, Francis William||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.).|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Lowles, John||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Macaleese, Daniel||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Macdona, John Cumming||Wallace, Robert|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Dermott, Patrick||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon Sir Wm. H.||M'Ewan, William||Wason, Eugene|
|Emmott, Alfred||M'Ghee, Richard||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Weir, James Galloway|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||M'Leod, John||Williams, Jos. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.||Maddison, Fred.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Monk, Charles James||Wodehouse, Rt Hon E. R. (Bath)|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||More, R. J. (Shropshire)||Woods, Samuel|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Morrell, George Herbert||Wylie, Alexander|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Wyndham, George|
|Flower, Ernest||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arey|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Myers, William Henry||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Nicholson, William Graham||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Garfit, William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Gedge, Sydney||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert Jn.||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans)||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Rankin, Sir James|
|Bethell, Commander||Hardy, Laurence||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bill, Charles||Heaton, John Henniker||Round, James|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's L.)||Helder, Augustus||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Brassey, Albert||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Sidebottom, William (Derby.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hagh (Greenwich)||Leeky, Rt. Hn. Wm. Ed. H.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Stock, James Henry|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred]||Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Un.)|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||M'Killop, James||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Malcolm, Ian||Welby, Lt.- Col. A. C. E. (Taunt'n)|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Milkank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.||Welby, Sir C. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monmonthsh.)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Faber, George Denison||Morrison, Walter|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||Mount, William George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Earl Percy and Mr. Pretyman.|
|Forster, Henry William||Pilkington, R. (Lancs. Newton)|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ *EARL PERCY
said he would formally move the next Amendment, though, after the overwhelming support given to the Government by the Opposition in the lobby, he would not take a division for the purpose of asking a question which perhaps the Attorney General would answer. Under the Bill a tenant would be allowed to make a garden to the extent of an acre without the consent of the landlord; but in the case of a yearly tenancy and the tenant going out at the end of the year, would the new tenant be free to add another acre to the tenancy?
In page 6, line 10, to leave out the words exceeding one acre.' "—(Earl Percy.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said the amount of compensation would arise out of the whole tenancy, and the limit in the schedule would apply to the one tenancy.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said he should certainly road the Bill as applying to one tenancy, and the next tenant would have equal right with his predecessor.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER
said the Attorney General told them distinctly that if a new tenant came in or a son took up his father's tenancy, he might set to work 1374 on other three acres. In the previous discussion he was opposed by his hon. friend the Member for North Hampshire, who was the only Conservative Member who supported the Government by speech. His hon. friend said that if a tenant experimented by planting osiers he would get no compensation from the valuer. he ventured to differ entirely from that. He was sorry to say that he had tried the experiment of planting osiers, and he had been fool enough to plant an orchard. he could assure the House that he had deeply regretted both experiments. An hon. and learned friend of his was, he knew, a great authority on gardening, and he had been so good as to afford some valuable information in a publication which he could only hope his tenants had never read. According to the hon. Member for Hereford, the way to make money was to plant orchards and embark in fruit cultivation. That might be true in his case and his neighbourhood, but in his own it was disastrous.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order I understood that all these three Amendments about osiers, gardens, and orchards were to be discussed in the first, but if there are to be separate debates on each of those Amendments the right hon. Gentleman cannot go into the question of orchards now.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER
said that in the previous debate he did not touch on the question of orchards, while his hon. friend, in moving this Amendment, never alluded to osiers at all. Of course he drew a great distinction between osiers and other experiments of 1375 that kind. He was endeavouring to show that gardening, as distinguished from osier beds and fruit trees, was a very doubtful speculation indeed. Certainly in his own neighbourhood, if any farmer were to suggest to him—he never had a tenant who would do it—that he wanted to devote his attention to gardening, he would advise him, if he wished to retain any portion of his capital, to keep out of the gardening business. It now appeared that the entire character of a holding might be speculatively altered without the consent of the landlord, and he hoped that in another place common sense would amend the Bill in this respect.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
said it was necessary to comment upon what the Attorney General had told them. It would be remembered that the President of the Board of Agriculture relied very largely on the fact that one acre was the limit. The explanation of the Attorney General disposed of the statement that this improvement or injury would be limited to one acre. They now learned as a matter of fact that if one tenancy succeeded another, acre after acre would be liable to be so treated. The question was left in a substantially different position from that in which they approached it when the discussion commenced. He believed it to be a pernicious principle to extend to one acre, but they now knew that it might be extended to a great many acres. A more ridiculous conclusion and a greater piece of absurdity it would be impossible to imagine. He hoped the Government would amend this in the other House.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL
said he had the impression that his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Agriculture had no suspicion of what was buried in the close of this Bill, and he saw the look of surprise that came over his face when the Attorney General made this painful discovery of the extent to which these proceedings might be carried in the course of a few years. He suggested that something should be done to meet this difficulty when the Bill went to a place where common sense could be applied to it.
§ SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN
My Amendment refers to item twelve of Part I. of the schedule, which requires the consent of the landlord for the reclaiming of waste land. The effect of that will be practically in the north of Scotland to-veto all the reclamation of land which is. now going on day by day. We ought rather to encourage the labour by which people make one or more blades of grass grew where none grew before. My right hon. friend the President of the Board of Agriculture does not claim to have special knowledge of the north of Scotland, but I am glad to say that the Attorney General has that knowledge, and I would appeal to him in regard to the correctness of my statement and the reasonableness of the small concession I now ask for. I think as the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill has refused to give us a separate Scotch Bill, he will feel himself bound, as far as he possibly can, to meet any particular grievance pointed out to him as arising from the different circumstances of Scotland, and especially the north of Scotland, to those of England. My proposition is that if the improvements which take the form of reclaiming the waste land require the consent of the landlord practically the improvements cannot go on. As the right hon. Gentleman does not claim special knowledge of the north of Scotland, I will very briefly explain what the circumstances are. very frequently an arrangement has been made with a large proprietor holding a great amount of waste land, as well as fertile and cultivable land. The proprietor often settles industrious cultivators on the land. I would instance the case of the Duke of Fife, who holds a large estate in Banff-shire. His predecessor settled a great number of people on these terms. He said to them, "You must not look to me for money to assist you in your improvements or your reclamation, but I will put moderate rents upon the ground, which is now very unproductive, and you will get the whole benefit that arises from building your houses, reclaiming he land, draining it, and the like." 1377 That was the understanding under which these industrious small holders have reclaimed very large tracts of country and very much improved all that district. But it is quite evident that these are small operations. How is it that one of those small holders proceeds to reclaim? It is perhaps by digging an open trench, by removing boulders, by digging up heather, and by putting down a spadeful or two of lime when he has the opportunity. He does not undertake great reclamations, but he is at it from day to day, constantly at work, and the ultimate result is that a very valuable new tract of cultivated land is brought within the proprietor's domain. If he had to get the consent of the landlord for each of these operations it would be impossible. Distances are great, and he cannot go away miles and miles to the proprietor or his agent to get his sanction for these small improvements. What I would really be glad to see would be that the reclamation of waste land should be taken out of the hands of the landlord altogether and handed over to the tenant. I cannot see how the landlord's interest can in any way be affected by a change from heather into grass. Therefore, in imposing this restriction, you are really putting a difficulty in the way of carrying out improvements by an industrious and enterprising people. In fact I think I may say that a great part of the land now under cultivation would never have been brought under cultivation if a difficulty of this sort had existed. Therefore I should be glad to see this restriction removed altogether, but I know there is no use in pressing opposition on the matter and asking very much. I have only suggested that land for reclamation, not exceeding an acre, should be left to the discretion of the tenant. I have referred to the Duke of Fife's estate rules. As long as the Duke of Fife owns that land the tenant is perfectly safe in making the reclamation, but then, unfortunately, it sometimes happens, as has happened in the case of the Duke of Fife, that the landlord sells a considerable portion of the land, and then the estate rules cease to operate, and people who have been working on the faith of those rules, find that there is no protection for their improvements at all. I beg to move.
In page 6, line 19, after the words 'wasteland,' to insert the words, 'exceeding one-acre.'"—[Sir William Wedderburn.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words; be there inserted."
§ *MR. LONG
It is obviously impossible to discuss the Amendment under consideration without reference to the one that follows it, and is consequent upon it. I have considerable sympathy with the hon. baronet in his desire that some concession should be made to tenants who-find themselves in the circumstances described, but I do not think the change he suggests is one that is desirable. He has no doubt in his mind a particular class of tenants effecting a particular kind of reclamation, but the term "reclamation of waste land" is one which is applied in various ways in different parts of the country, and while it might be quite fair to enable this work to be done without limitation in some parts of the country, under his conditions it would be unfair and unwise to permit it elsewhere. While the reclamation of waste land is of the utmost importance as affecting the future value of the land it may be land which some people consider it is altogether undesirable to improve and reclaim. There are many kinds of waste land. There is waste land over which not only the owner but particular persons, have certain rights, and it is conceivable that in such cases difficulties might arise if tenants were empowered 10 reclaim the land without the consent of the landlord or his agent. Under these circumstances I will ask the House to resist the Amendment of the hon. Baronet.
§ MR. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)
I venture to express the hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be open to persuasion on this point. I think it has sometimes accelerated the progress of a measure if the Minister in charge of it gives way gracefully occasionally. I cannot help thinking that he has somewhat exaggerated the importance of the Amendment moved by my hon. friend. I do not for one moment dispute that there may be very good reasons for inserting the item in the first schedule applying to the reclamation of waste land generally, because it is quite obvious that there may be cases where money would be thrown 1379 away in reclaiming land which would never be of profit to the owner. If the reclamation of land is carried to a large extent, I think the consent of the landlord ought first to be obtained. The Amendment moved by my hon. friend is strictly limited to the reclamation of waste land to the extent of an acre. I do not want to exaggerate the importance of the Amendment—I do not know that it is of so much importance as to justify the right hon. Gentleman in refusing to consider it; and certainly in those cases to which my hon. friend more particularly referred—small holdings in the Highlands—I do believe it might have some beneficial effect. I cannot conceive a case in which a landlord would refuse his consent to the reclamation of an acre of land where it was manifest that the reclamation would improve the value of the land. Considering how very little the right hon. Gentleman has been asked to give way, he would do a good thing if he would be persuaded to change his mind.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS
I have very considerable sympathy with the hon. Baronet's object. Every argument the right hon. Gentleman used against the Amendment might be used against himself in other matters. I said some time ago that the Bill was faulty in principle, and before five months have passed we have an illustration of that fact. There is no reason whatever why, if it is right to give compensation for an orchard cultivated without the landlord's consent, it should not be right to give it for the reclamation of an acre of bog land. I can see no distinction between them. Both are good objects. The question is whether that should be done at somebody else's expense. I merely wish to point out how very quickly the effect which I ventured to prophesy has been fulfilled.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 60; Noes, 126. (Division List No. 214.)1381
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Hogan, James Francis||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Billson, Alfred||Horniman, Frederick John||Samuel, J. (Stockton on Tees)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Sinclair, Capt. J no.(Forfarshire)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jones, David Brynmor (Swans.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Burns, John||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Souttar, Robinson|
|Burt, Thomas||Lewis, John Herbert||Spicer, Albert|
|Caldwell, James||Macaleese, Daniel||Steadman, William Charles|
|Causton, Richard Knight||M'Ghee, Richard||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||M'Leod, John||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Maddison, Fred.||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Doogan, P. C.||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Fenwick, Charles||O' Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Oldroyd, Mark||Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Malley, William||Woods, Samuel|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Perks, Robert William||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Philipps, John Wynford||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Wedderburn and Mr. Hedderwick.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Davies, Sir Hor. D. (Chatham)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Dickinson, Robert Edmond|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A J. (Manch'r)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn J. (Birming)||Donkin, Richard Sim|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G.W. (Leeds)||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Doxford, Sir William Theodore|
|Bethell, Commander||Charrington, Spencer||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Biddulph, Michael||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.|
|Bill, Charles||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Colston, Chas. Ed. H. Athole||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)||Firbank, Joseph Thomas|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stan. W.||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Butcher, John George||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Flower, Ernest|
|Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Cruddas, William Donaldson||Forster, Henry William|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Garfit, William||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Lowe, Francis William||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Lowles, John||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fred.||Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Macdona, John Cumming||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo.'s)||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||M'Killop, James||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.||Spencer, Ernest|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Morrell, George Herbert||Stock, James Henry|
|Hanson, Sir Reginald||Morton, Arthur H. A.(Deptford)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Hardy, Laurence||Mount, William George||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Murray, Rt. Hn A Graham (Bute)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Welby, Lt -Col. A. C. E. (Tauntn)|
|Houston, R. P.||Myers, William Henry||Welby, Sir C. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Howard, Joseph||Percy, Earl||Williams, Joseph Powell-(Bir.)|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Pilkington, R. (Lanes, Newton)||Willougby de Eresby, Lord|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (York)|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wylie, Alexander|
|Lawrence Sir E. Durning- (Corn)||Purvis, Robert||Wyndham, George|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Llewelyn, Sir D. (Swansea)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Long, Rt Hn. Walter (Liverpool)||Round, James|
§ Another Amenment made.
§ *MR. SEALE-HAYNE (Devonshire, Ashburton)
said the Amendment which he had to propose was a very simple one, which he thought the right hon. Gentleman would he able to accept. Its object was to place the tenant farmer in precisely the same position as the Bill placed the market gardener. At the end of Part III. of Schedule I. there appeard the words—(v.) Erection or enlargement of buildings for the purpose of the trade or business of a market gardener.If the market gardener was entitled to that provision a fortiori the farmer ought to have a similar proviso. His proposal was to insert the words at the end of line 24, "erection or enlargement of buildings for the purpose of the trade or business of a farmer." To keep a large number of cattle it was necessary that shelter should be provided for them, and the farmer, to his mind, should be protected in his expenditure upon such things as shelter for his cattle, sheds for machinery, pigsties, houses for poultry, and such-like erections. It so happened that landlords were very often impecunious, and unable to provide these buildings. Under such circumstances it was only fair that the farmer should have the opportunity of putting up such accommodation for himself, and obtaining compensation. He need hardly say that he did not sympathise with those hon. 1382 Gentlemen on the opposite benches who looked askance at everything which would directly benefit the tenant, and which in their view was an infringement upon the landlords' rights of property. He had the misfortune of being a landlord himself, and he could only say that he was perfectly convinced that the greater security they gave to the tenant's property the greater would be the value of the tenancy, and the higher would be the rent which the tenant would be willing to pay for his holding.
In page 6, after line 26, to insert the words, '(16) erection or enlargement of buildings for the purpose of the trade or business of a farmer.'"-(Mr. Seale-Hayne.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. LONG
said the object was to confine Part I. to the "erection, alteration, or enlargement of buildings." He could not accept the Amendment, because the intention was to limit the power to the erection and enlargement of buildings where the consent of the landlord was required. The right hon. Gentleman had based his Amendment very largely upon the assumption that in the Market Gardeners' Compensation Act that power existed. He was not prepared at present to express any opinion upon that point, but he held very strongly that it was 1383 most desirable that in these eases the work should be done by the landlord. Buildings erected for the purposes of agriculture ought to be so erected as to be of a permanent and enduring character. He fancied that at the present moment there was really less justification for the Amendment than probably there ever was before. Therefore he was not prepared to accept the introduction of an Amendment which was entirely contrary to the intention of
§ the powers of the Bill. It might be that they had not quite succeeded in exactly carrying out their intentions, which was to limit their power to the erection of large buildings which required that the consent of the landlord should be given.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 45; Noes, 112. (Division List No. 215.)1383
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Lewis, John Herbert||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Billson, Alfred||Macaleese, Daniel||Souttar, Robinson|
|Broadhurst, Henry||M'Ghee, Richard||Spicer, Albert|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||M'Leod, John||Steadman, William Charles|
|Burt, Thomas||Maddison, Fred.||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Caldwell, James||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Oldroyd, Mark||Weir, James Galloway|
|Doogan, P. C.||O'Malley, William||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Perks, Robert William||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Philipps, John Wynford||Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Pickard, Benjamin||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Rickett, J. Compton||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Seale-Hayne and Mr.Hedderwick.|
|Horniman, Frederick John||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Flower, Ernest||Percy, Earl|
|Arrol, Sir William||Forster, Henry William||Pilkington, R. (Lancs., Newton)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Garfit, William||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bethell, Commander||Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Biddulph, Michael||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Purvis, Robert|
|Bill, Charles||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Round, James|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire)||Heaton, John Henniker||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Houston, R. P.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc.)||Howard, Joseph||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Charrington, Spencer||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning- (Corn)||Spencer, Ernest|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Stock, James Henry|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Lowe, Francis William||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Lowles, John||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Cross, Herbert S. (Bolton)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||Macdona, John Cumming||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taun'n)|
|Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Welby, Sir Charles G. K. (Notts)|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||M'Killop, James||Williams, Joseph Powell- (Birm.)|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Middlemore, John T.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Wyndham, George|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Morrell, George Herbert||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Mount, William George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Myers, William Henry|
§ A formal Amendment agreed to.
§ *MR. SHAW-STEWART (Renfrewshire, E.)
I put this Amendment on the Paper in order to meet the views of persons interested in agriculture in Scotland who think that the definition of temporary pasture laid down in the Bill is rather wide. As it is at present interpreted, it would be quite possible to lay down temporary pasture and to take off a hay crop and then to claim compensation for the remaining pasture, the value of which might have been taken out in the hay crop, or by artificial manure of an exhausting character having been used on the land. I do not ask the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Amendment as it is, but I would be very glad if he would consider a closer definition of temporary pasture before this Bill passes through the other House. I think he will see on consideration that the definition is of such wide character that it might open the door to unnecessary legislation, which I am sure we are all anxious to avoid, and that it would lead to disappointment on the part of tenants making claims for laying down pasture for three years, according to what we call in Scotland the rules of good husbandly, for the purpose of resting the land. When pasture is laid down for resting the land it is not of very much value. I should be very glad if the right hon. Gentleman would see whether a better definition could not be found to meet the case of Scotland, and especially to meet the case of pasture laid down to rest the land.
In page 7, line 12, to leave out paragraph 28 of Schedule 1, and insert the words, 'Laying down pasture with clover, grass, lucerne, sainfoin, or other similar seeds, which shall not have been sown more than three years previous to the termination of the lease, from which no hay crop shall have been taken, and which shall not have been treated with exhausting artificial manures.'"—(Mr. Shaw-Stewart.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."1386
§ *MR. LONG
The Government are entirely at one with my hon. friend in his desire that there should be no confusion as to the definitions of temporary and permanent pasture. I confess I do not altogether share the fears of my hon. friend that there would be any difficulty on the part of an arbitrator as to what constitutes temporary pasture and what constitutes permanent pasture. On the other hand it is possible that in Scotland and in some parts of England where permanent pasture is almost unknown there may be some doubt in the mind of an arbitrator, but my hon. friend will, I am sure, see that the words he suggests would not meet such a case. With reference to taking a hay crop off, I think it would be a hardship if in a dry summer a farmer found himself forbidden from taking hay from his sainfoin under the penalty of being deprived of getting compensation for an agricultural operation which would otherwise entitle him to it. If there is any doubt whatever in the definition as to what is permanent and what is temporary pasture I will take care on behalf of the Government to see that in another place the words are, if necessary, made clear.
§ MR. HUMPHREYS-OWEN (Montgomeryshire)
I should like to direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to another matter, and that is the limit of three years. It is within my own knowledge that temporary pasture is frequently allowed to ran on for more than three years, at all events in the part of the country with which I am best acquainted. I hope, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman will consider the matter very carefully before he adopts the apparently narrow limit of three years. I speak with personal knowledge of the subject, because it has been, within my own personal experience, a matter of discussion among agriculturists.
§ *MR. LOYD (Berkshire, Abingdon)
In my own constituency there is a little fear that some hardship may arise out of 1387 this question of temporary and permanent pasture. A certain amount of pasture for which no consent has been obtained may. be laid down, and under this Act no claim for compensation for it can arise, and the remedy of the tenant if the landlord refuses to take it off his hands at a valuation at the termination of the tenancy is to take a white crop off' before the tenancy is concluded. There is a feeling among; farmers in the country—derived, no doubt, from reading text-books and other works on the law of agriculture— that permanent pasture depends on the time the pasture has been laid down. I have often seen these statements myself, and I know how likely they are to create that impression, not without reason, on the minds of farmers. A farmer is afraid, having laid down pasture without obtaining the previous consent of the landlord, that it may have remained down too long to be lawfully ploughed up again, and that he will lose all claim to compensation by not having obtained consent and also lose the right to plough it up because it has become permanent pasture within the meaning of his covenant not to plough up permanent pasture by lapse of time. If my right hon. friend will consider the matter, I think he will see that it is a question well worthy of his consideration.
§ *MR. LONG
I do not think that the difficulties to which my hon. friend refers are likely to arise. I will examine into the matter, and if I find there is any necessity to make such a provision, I will take care that words are introduced to carry out the object the House has in view—namely, that there should be no confusion whatever as between temporary and permanent pasture.
§ *MR. SHAW-STEWART
I have every reason to be perfectly satisfied with the undertaking of my right hon. friend, and I will ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
said the Amendment he desired to move was one which followed the existing state of the law as far as possible. He should 1388 like, in the first place, to clear the air by saying that the Amendment did not ask that the arbitrator should give his reasons. He did not suggest that, and he did not wish it. He was thoroughly in agreement with the good old maxim that the wisest judge or the most competent arbitrator gave no reasons whatever for his decision, and therefore he wished to state that it was not his desire, in moving the Amendment, that the arbitrator should be compelled to give his reasons. It had also been suggested that the effect of the Amendment would be to facilitate appeals. He did not desire to facilitate appeals, and he thought it was very desirable that the procedure under the Act should be so simple and precise as to discourage rather than encourage appeals. There would be an appeal as the Bill stood on questions of law, and the effect of the Amendment, if accepted, would not be to facilitate or increase the number of appeals. There could be no appeal on questions of amount which had been once referred to an arbitrator, and that would be the principal part of the work under the Act. There might possibly be an appeal on a question of fact—as, for instance, if an arbitrator awarded a sum in respect of a matter which was not in the original claim; but that would be a case quite apart from the Amendment. His object in moving the Amendment was that the incoming tenant or the landlord might know exactly what it was he was paying compensation for. Was it unreasonable or unnatural that the landlord or the tenant should like to know what he was paying for under the several items which might make up a very considerable award? It had been stated that in commercial cases referred to an arbitrator the award was given in the shape of a lump sum, and no details were given. He did not think that that was an analogous case at all, because in such cases the arbitration took place after the parties had come into a court of law. At all the events, the courts were open to them, and any person resorting to the courts as plaintiff was subject to the liability of having to give particulars of his claim. As regards the cases which would be dealt with by the Amendment, the parties were not able to enter the ordinary courts of law, but would have to go straight to arbitration. Therefore these cases were widely different from commercial cases, in which arbitra- 1389 tion was voluntary. As the Bill stood not only might the tenant make a claim, but the landlord might make a counter claim, and yet there was nothing to compel or induce the arbitrator even to show two lump sums, one to be awarded to the landlord and the other to the tenant. It would be perfectly possible in such a case for the arbitrator to strike a balance and award a lump sum, without giving the slightest indication to either of the parties as to how it was arrived at. He would ask the House to consider a further argument. The tenant was to be put into a position to claim compensation for improvements mentioned in the first schedule of the Bill. The schedule itself was divided into three parts, which wore sub-divided into thirty-four different items. There were fifteen items in Part I., for any of which a tenant might make a claim for compensation. It was not reasonable to suppose a tenant would make a claim under every one of these heads, but he might very well make a claim for the enlargement or alteration of buildings, for the laying down of permanent pasture, for road making, and for embanking. Such ordinary improvements might very well be included in a claim for compensation, and was it unreasonable to ask the arbitrator to state in making his award how much he gave in respect of the enlargement or alteration of buildings, how much for permanent pasture, how much for road making, and how much for embanking? He thought it only fair and reasonable that the incoming tenant or the landlord should know what he had to pay under each item. Again, in Part II., in addition to the matters to which the attention of the House had been already directed, there could be five further claims. Drainage was a very important and expensive matter, and the man who wanted to keep his estate books properly might very reasonably ask the arbitrator to state what part of an award represented drainage. There were fourteen different heads of improvements under Part III. which were in a somewhat different position, because neither consent nor notice was required. They might be carried out by the tenant on his own motion without the knowledge of the landlord, and the claim for them at the expiration of the tenancy might be the first time they were brought to the landlord's attention. Such improvements included artifi- 1390 cial manures, laying down permanent pasture, food stuff's, and fertilisers, and was it unreasonable to ask what amount had been awarded in respect of these different items? If the award was made in a lump sum it must be made up of items. He did not ask for the number of years purchase, but the arbitrator must have the items from which the grand total of the award was made up, and he asked that that should be specified. That laid no particular burden upon the arbitrator. he asked for nothing which the arbitrator had not before his mind to make the award satisfactory to himself, having regard to the interests of the person who had to pay and the person who had to receive. He must know what he had given compensation for, and how much he gave in respect of each item. It was in the interest of the arbitrator also, because nothing would clear his mind more than the fact that his award had to be made up of certain items, and that he must have the details and the amount of each particular item making it up. Nothing helped a man more in a case of that sort than to know that he had to deal with definite figures which he must obtain for himself. It would, moreover, give confidence to the awards of the arbitrator, because each party would be able to go through the awards and test them, and it was greatly to the interest of all concerned that the awards should be looked at in that way, and nothing would be more likely than such a thing to popularise the Act in the country. He desired also to call attention to the fact that the law used to be far more drastic than he now asked that it should be made. For the last twenty years the law had been that the award should not give a sum generally for compensation, but should, as far as possible, specify the items upon which compensation was awarded. That was much more drastic than his proposal, and he had never heard any complaint made with regard to the working of that law. He therefore felt that he might fairly ask the House to accept the Amendment he proposed.
In page 8, to insert, as a new paragraph, before paragraph (10)—
'(10) The award shall, so far as possible, specify the several improvements, acts, or things in respect of which compensation is awarded, and the sum awarded in respect of each.' "—(Mr. Heywood Johnstone.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. LONG
said the object the Government had in introducing the Bill was to further the recommendations of the Royal Commission; one of the recommendations was that the award of the arbitrator should be final, but the Government thought it right to vary that recommendation by giving a right of appeal in regard to matters of law; but they also sought to avoid the expense and difficulty attendant on a detailed form of award, and the expense and delay attendant on litigation which invariably arose on an appeal from an award to a court of law. In earlier proposals made by the hon. Gentleman to amend the Government proposal there appeared to be a risk of litigation, and an Amendment which might give rise to litigation was one the Government must always strenuously oppose, because one of the advantages of the Bill was to make the award of the arbitrator final. The hon. Gentleman had put the case fairly to the House, and it would now be necessary to detail the reasons why the Government were not prepared to accept the Amendment. There were a number of suggestions dealing with the same subject but not in exactly the same way, and the course the Government proposed to take was to accept the Amendment standing next in the name of the noble Lord the Member for Kensington, the Amendment of the hon. Member for North Hampshire, which proposed to limit the time in which payment was to be made, and also that of the hon. Member for Shropshire, which imposed upon the Board of Agriculture the obligation of providing a compulsory form to be used by the arbitrators in making their award. He accepted the general desires which had been expressed by the hon. Member for Horsham, that there should be such a statement by the arbitrator as would enable the parties, if they so desired, to know what the grounds were upon which the award was given. He did not think the duty should be made obligatory on the arbitrator unless the parties desired it, nor did he at the moment think it desirable to suggest the form that the declaration should take, but it would endeavour to secure that the arbitrators should have a simple way of giving their awards, and at the same 1392 time there should be no risk of their being upset upon a technical ground. he hoped that would meet the views of the hon. Member for Horsham, and perhaps he would now withdraw his Amendment, so that a single proposal might be brought before the House.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
In page 8, line 21, at the beginning of paragraph (10), to insert the words, The arbitrator shall on the application of either party specify the amount awarded in respect of any particular improvement, and."—(Earl Percy.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
said he did not know w other the right hon. Gentleman would accept an Amendment to add after the word "improvement" the words, "or improvements." It would not alter the substance of the clause, but would have a very considerable effect upon the effectiveness of it.
§ MR. HEDDERWICK
desired to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the wisdom and discretion he had shown in accepting the Amendment. The object of the right hon. Gentleman was to facilitate proceedings as much as possible, to avoid litigation, and to make the whole course of the Act, when the Bill became an Act, as inexpensive as possible. There was a great deal of force in the argument urged upon the Amendment just withdrawn, because, if the arbitrator was not to specify, or did not specify upon application, the items upon which his award was made, it was quite clear that the parties might be induced, whore the sum of the award was large, to embark in expensive litigation in the hope that part of that sum had been awarded wrongly by the arbitrator under the first schedule. Had the award been final, as was pro- 1393 posed by the Royal Commission, there would have been an end of the matter, but the right to appeal had been reserved on a point of law, and there were no fewer than three points of law in the first schedule which might be raised by either party in the hope of discovering a mistake in the award. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had shown a wise discretion in accepting the Amendment of the noble Lord.
§ MR. HUMPHREYS-OWEN
pointed out that the arbitrators before whom these cases would come would be men unaccusomed to legal documents, and that they might be upset upon purely technical points.
§ MR. RADCLIFFE COOKE (Hereford)
said the words suggested by the hon. Member for Horsham made the matter a little more clear than at present, and he hoped the Amendment would be accepted. With regard to the application to be made to the arbitrator, the correct thing would be to make the application when the arbitration took place. It was extremely undesirable that a hard-and-fast rule should be made, and after the award had been taken up the parties ought to be allowed to refer back to the arbitrator, in order that he should specify how the award was arrived at.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL
joined in appealing to the right hon. Gentleman to agree to the addition, after the word "improvement" of the words "or improvements."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said the Interpretation Act of 1889 provided words which covered this clause, but as the additional words did no harm the Government were prepared to accept them.
§ Amendment amended, by inserting' after the word "improvement," the words "or improvements."
§ Words, as amended, inserted.
§ Other Amendments made.
§ Bill to be read the third time upon Monday next.