HC Deb 17 June 1903 vol 123 cc1187-241

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]

Clause 1:—

MR. J. P. FARRELL (Longford, N.)

said they had now reached the second of the most important questions raised by the Irish Land Bill. During the first two days the Committee had been discussing the subject of the minimum price, and of course it was fresh in the recollection of everybody what attitude had been taken by the Irish Members towards that provision. He believed that the question he now proposed to raise—viz., the omission of the perpetual rent-charge, was equally as important as the subject of the minimum price. He did not think the Chief Secretary could have been well advised when he sought to impose a perpetual rent-charge on future tenant purchasers in Ireland. This was the sixth Land Purchase Bill which had been introduced to the notice of Parliament, and four of the measures had been passed into law, but in no previous instance had it been sought to impose a perpetual rent-charge on tenant purchasers. They were consequently face to face with what might be described as a new phase of the Irish land question. Neither from the sentimental side nor from the side of utility was the proposal to fix a perpetual rent-charge on tenant purchasers necessary or called for. If there was one thing more absolutely clear to the minds of every Irish Member of Parliament interested in the settlement of the land question than another, it was that the Irish tenant farmers wanted the land, the whole land, and nothing but the land, and would never assent to any proposal to put a never-ending rent-charge burden on their backs, and on the backs of those who followed them in the occupation of their holdings. Let the Committee examine how the proposal would work out. Neither in a sentimental nor in a prosaic way would such a scheme give satisfaction to the Irish tenants. The great interest which had been raised in the Bill, and the great hopes which had been excited in the minds and hearts of the Irish people were based on the fact that for ever and ever they were to be relieved of the presence at their doors of the bailiff, or rent collector, or landlord's agent. But this proposal put another official in the place of the rent collector. He did not know, of course, what machinery it was proposed to create for the collection of the permanent charge, but he ventured to assert that the scheme, whatever it might be, would prove the very foundation of the undoing of the work of the Purchase Acts passed by the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary in his speech on the First Reading of the Bill, said one of the objects was to prevent sub-letting and dividing. But he did not think it could for one moment be alleged that that object would be attained by the resurrection of the gombeen system. Why should it be necessary to impose on the tenants a perpetual charge of 2¾ per cent. on the purchase money? He could understand the proposal if the Chief Secretary had provided that the money thus collected, and the fund thereby accumulated, should be used for the development of the country, or for the reduction of taxation, but, so far as he could see, no such proposal was contemplated, and he thought he might fairly describe this permanent rent-charge as an absolutely derelict proposal for the collection of money of which practically they were to get no account. It might be suggested by the right hon. Gentleman that the object was to provide additional security for the British taxpayer. But he felt inclined to agree with the hon. Member who had observed that the British taxpayer was well able to take care of himself. So far as the people of Ireland were concerned, they had it on the authority of a Royal Commission that to the Irish people the British taxpayer represented excessive and over-taxation.

The Chief Secretary did not attempt to justify his proposal on the ground that it was necessary to retain one-eighth of the purchase money, and to collect from the tenant farmers 2¾ per cent. as an additional security for John Bull. Then on what ground of equity and justice could the proposal be defended? There was no provision in the Bill for the future administration of the fund thus to be accumulated, or for its application to any purpose which would be of use to the people from whom it was to be collected. On what ground did the right hon. Gentleman make so large a charge upon the tenants? In the whole world there could not be found people so desirous, he might almost say devoted, to keeping their obligations as the Irish. That was admitted over and over again by the right hon. Gentleman. He regarded the proposal of the perpetual rent-charge as unnecessary and unjust and certain to provoke the tenant farmer of Ireland. It would undo the work of land purchase because it placed the tenant in a worse position than his neighbours who had purchased under other Land Acts, and placed over their heads the shadow of another landlordism in the shape of the British collector. This Amendment raised a very important issue. No case had been made for the inclusion of these words in the Bill save the theory that it was good to provide against sub-division, mortgage, and so forth. He desired that as much as anyone, and was perfectly prepared to assent to any moderate proposal which had that object in view, and which would save the farmer from the grabber and the gombeen man. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, lines 21 and 22, to leave out the words and perpetual rent-charge.'"—(Mr. J. B. Farrell.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."


said he hoped it would not be difficult to convince the Chief Secretary that this notion of a perpetual rent-charge was an unfortunate innovation in Irish land legislation. Nobody asked for it and nobody in Ireland wanted it except those who favoured nationalisation of the land, who were a very small minority. In reference to this proposal there could be no repetition of the somewhat unscrupulous treatment of yesterday by some spokesmen of the landlord party on the minimum prices. This proposal did not come from the landlord quarter. It did not emanate from either the landlords or the tenants in conference, and not a single member of either Irish Party had a single word to say in its favour. They were perfectly willing to accept any additional protection, any nominal reservation, which might be necessary as a protection against excessive mortgaging if there was any necessity. But was there any necessity? For sixty-eight years, at all events, this perpetual rent-charge was superfluous as a check against excessive mortgaging or sub-letting, and if this matter had to be dealt with at the end of that time, it might safely be left to those who came after, who would approach the matter under different conditions. It introduced a new and highly dangerous element into Irish land legislation. To the Irish farmer the whole charm of this Bill was the notion of property and the notion that the holding would be his own and that no man could ever interfere with him, but this perpetual rent-charge would be a perpetual reminder to him that he was not the holder but that some power which was not even denned, could step in and affect his interest in his property, with what object none at present saw, while the purchaser would be always faced with the fact that his 80,000 neighbours who purchased under the Ashbourne Acts were absolute owners of the fee simple. Irish land legislation was complicated enough without this new proposal. This proposal might contain the seeds of considerable trouble in Ireland in the future. There was a considerable feeling and a justifiable feeling of soreness in the minds of the agricultural labourers and the working classes of the towns, who thought too much was being absorbed by the farmers. He sympathised with the agricultural labourers and hoped they would be able in the future to devise means of doing justice to them. If the impression were once created that this perpetual rent-charge was an acknowledgment that one-eighth of the holding did not belong to the tenant at all, then there might be material for a considerable agitation. Ireland was not a new country, it was an old country, and those experiments could not be tried as they might be in a new. In this Bill the Government violated the principle that the holdings should be the complete property of the tenants, and gave nobody in Ireland any interest in the money collected. If they took upon themselves the odium of collecting what amounted to a second rent-charge they would leave the impression in the minds of the tenant that they, instead of being better off than when they were under the Ashbourne Acts, were worse off. He would not further detain the Committee now, as other great questions, such as those dealing with the purchase price, the evicted tenants, and the congested districts, remained to be decided. He would only say that he could not see what attraction this charge, which was so objectionable to the people of Ireland, could have to any party to the bargain, and he begged the Chief Secretary not to force upon them this new and unheard of complication, which was fraught with considerable danger to the peace of Ireland, and would create such discontent in the minds of the tenant farmers as to destroy the virtue of the other proposals.


said he shared the anxiety of the hon. Member to get to the consideration of the important questions to which he referred. It would be inconvenient if they could not in some way avoid a prolonged discussion on the rent-charge at the present stage, when they all desired to get to the subject which was very present to their minds. It had been argued that this rent-charge would perpetuate the idea that the purchaser was still a payer of rent, and that he would own only seven-eighths of his property. All he would say was that the question of the rent-charge would come up in Clause 40, and he suggested that it should be then discussed, he giving an undertaking to approach the question with an open mind, and with a disposition carefully to weigh the reasons which might be urged in favour of or against having such a provision in the Bill. He had previously contended, and was prepared, if necessary, to contend again, that this protection might in some cases be needed during the sixty-eight years. The danger he had in his mind, which might be remote, but was certainly possible, was that of persons other than those who purchased under the Act, buying up holdings, paying off the liabilities, and stealing away with all the advantages of the credit of the general taxpayer, to create holdings of a very undesirable description outside the Land Acts. It would be more convenient now to pass to a subject more germane to that which was under discussion yesterday, and he hoped, with the undertaking he had given, the Committee would agree to discuss the question of the rent-charge on Clause 40.

*MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

pointed out that if the words were passed now the Committeee would be committed to the principle of the rent-charge. While he desired to get the Bill for what it might be worth, it was necessary to be very careful where they were going and what they were doing.


explained that if, after discussion on Clause 40, it was decided to abandon the rent-charge, he should bring up a Government Amendment on the Report stage.


said he was exceedingly unwilling that the Committee should sanction a novel principle such as this without debating it. The hon. Member for Cork had implied that the whole of the Irish representatives were opposed to this proposal. But that was no reason for supposing the House of Commons would not pass it. On the contrary, that was the very reason why the House of Commons was likely to pass it. When it was remembered that last night a proposal of a most grave and vital character was carried over the heads of the Irish Members, who were absolutely unanimous against it, what reason was there for supposing that on Clause 40 the unanimity of Irish representatives would be worth a brass farthing? The matter must be threshed out before the principle was affirmed. For seventeen years there had been in operation in Ireland a land code which had been a success because to a large extent it had the assent of the Irish people. It was the one class of Irish legislation for which this House had been responsible in the last twenty years that had worked satisfactorily. There had been none of the bogies conjured up by the Chief Secretary, and why should they be anticipated now? The real secret of the success of past purchase measures had been the sense of ownership. All the while a tenant felt that he was working for another, and that if he improved the land his rent would be raised, the land remained unimproved; but immediately the landlord was got out of the way the tenant began to improve his holding. The Chief Secretary now proposed to destroy that sense of ownership, and to establish for all time the overlordship of the Crown. In his Second Reading speech the right hon. Gentleman said it was necessary to control sub-dividing, sub-letting, and reckless mortgaging. But by Clause 49 sub-dividing was absolutely prohibited for sixty-eight-and-a-half years, and reckless mortgaging was provided against for the same period. Therefore anything that was done now was for the period beyond sixty-eight-and-a-half years. Why should the Committee interest themselves so much in the people who would occupy the land seventy years hence? Unless he was mistaken Ireland would then be in such a position that the people would be able to take care of themselves. It seemed as though a Conservative Government was capable of doing anything. Who would have imagined that the first step towards the nationalisation of land in Ireland would have come from a Conservative Government? That was the principle contended for by Mr. Michael Davitt, and the Chief Secretary was adopting it.

DR. THOMPSON (Monaghan, N.)

Then there must be something in it.


said there was something in most proposals. He would like, however, to see the hon. Member not only accept the doctrine in the House of Commons, but also go "on stump" in North Monaghan.


said he was not in the least afraid of "taking the stump" in North Monaghan.


said the Conservative Government were actually proposing to insert the thin end of the wedge of land nationalisation in Ireland. That might be done in a new country, but Ireland was the last country in the world where such an experiment ought to be tried. If they were going to differentiate in this matter between the 80,000 tenants who had bought and those who would buy under this Act they would be laying the very seeds of disease that would produce trouble, and they would land themselves in endless difficulties. He was not prepared to wait until Clause 40 was reached, and he hoped the Committee would not consent to leave this question in abeyance.


said that this was one of those questions upon which he attached great importance to the united opinion of Ireland. The hon. Member for South Tyrone seemed to think that his word was not sufficient in regard to this Amendment.


No, no.


said the hon. Member had been discussing in rather a heated manner a subject of far less importance than the subjects discussed yesterday without any heat at all. His suggestion was that they might defer this point to a later clause, but if that was not the view of hon. Members from Ireland, he had such a sense of the importance of saving time that he would accept the Amendment. He deprecated the heated declarations of his hon. friend on a minor point like this, and he had no objection whatever to deleting the words which had been proposed to be struck out.

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

said he entirely agreed that it was not necessary to introduce the slightest heat into this discussion. The Chief Secretary had stated that he would keep an open mind until Clause 40 was reached, but that was not at all satisfactory. The right hon. Gentleman must have considered this matter very carefully, and he knew the unanimity of feeling upon this point in Ireland. He took it for granted that the Chief Secretary had come to some conclusion upon the point, and he thought the best course to pursue would be for him to inform the Committee at once. With regard to the right hon. Gentleman's request that they ought to agree to postpone this question, he would remind him that in the case he alluded to, there were certain words in the early part of the clause which limited the amount of advance to be given in certain cases, and they pressed upon the Government that they should insert the words "As amended in this Bill." In this case however the words stated that there should be a perpetual rent-charge, and the right hon. Gentleman asked them to put those words into the clause and then adjourn the question. That was a most inconvenient course. There was an Amendment on the Paper to Clause 40, standing in the name of his hon. friend who had moved this Amendment, dealing with the exact amount of the perpetual rent-charge.


thought if this was carried there could be no discussion of the point again on Clause 40.


thought the simplest way would be to accept the Amendment. [An HON. MEMBER: The Chief Secretary has agreed to delete those words.]


said if that were so he need not proceed.


thought that if they took out these words they would shut out the question for ever, but he agreed that if they left them in they would commit themselves. This was, however, only a minor matter, and he desired to proceed to the discussion of the more important questions. All he desired was to get on, and he was willing to accept the Amendment.

MR. COGHILL (Stoke-upon-Trent)

said he had risen to make a complaint. This was the second case already in which the right hon. Gentleman had thrown over safeguards in the Bill. He had up to the present supported the right hon. Gentleman when he said that he was going to stick to what he proposed upon the introduction of this measure. Already the Chief Secretary was beginning to talk about Bills which would have to be brought in during another session in order to amend this.

Mr. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

asked if the remarks of the hon. Member for Stoke were germane to the omission of the words which had been proposed.


said the Chief Secretary for Ireland seemed to be afraid of what would take place in the Division Lobby, but he assured him that he need have no such fear. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford could have defeated the Government at any time during the afternoon of yesterday had he been so disposed, but he kept his supporters addressing the House in order to avoid a division.


said there was not one scintilla of truth in that statement.


said that was how the question had struck the outsider. He hoped the Chief Secretary would not make any further concessions. [Ironical NATIONALIST cheers.] After the speeches the Chief Secretary had delivered in this House and after obtaining the sanction of the House to the Second Reading of this Bill upon the distinct pledges he gave to the House, he thought the right hon. Gentleman ought to adhere to them.


As the Chief Secretary is now in a giving mood perhaps he could give the hon. Member for Stoke a job.


said this was not a question of zones, but a purely administrative question. Let them get rid of this point and get on with the Bill.

Question put and negatived.

Amendment agreed to.


asked if after what had taken place yesterday he should be in order in moving the Amendment which stood in his name on the Paper.


The question discussed yesterday was whether there were to be any zones at all. I think this Amendment raises a somewhat different question, and if the hon. Member wishes to move it I do not think I should be justified in ruling that the question had already been discussed, although I know that a considerable amount of debate yesterday turned upon this point.


said he would move to leave out of line 23 of Clause 1 the word "ten," and insert "fifteen." The effect of his Amendment was to alter the minimum reduction in this zone from 10 to 15 per cent. He did not think it was necessary to use many words upon this occasion, because the arguments on this point had already been dealt with by other hon. Members as well as himself. Their belief was that the limit of 10 per cent. was too low, and that, owing to various reasons, certain classes of tenants might perhaps be induced to pay more for their land than from an economical point of view they were justified in doing. This was not a limit to which they attached the most importance. They did attach considerable importance however to this point. Their idea of an ideal settlement would be to raise this limit from ten to fifteen, and abolish the other altogether. He must move the Amendment in order to state his protest, which he had no doubt hon. Members sitting around him would think it their duty to emphasise in this matter. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 23, to leave out the word 'ten,' and insert the word 'fifteen.'"—(Mr. John Redmond.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'ten' stand part of the Clause."

*SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)

thought the Government would do well to stand by the limit of ten in the Bill. After all he could not see that by making it fifteen there would be very much gained. If they took the case of a £10 holder it really meant a difference of 10s. and no more. If the Committee looked at the whole question of maximum and minimum he thought that both sides were perhaps attaching exaggerated importance to the question. He knew that English Members were considerably confused by the different methods of stating this question. In some cases it was put as the maximum and minimum reduction, and in other cases it was put as the maximum and minimum price. He would like to show exactly the real meaning of this question, and for that purpose he would take as an illustration the case of the £10 holder. He did not think that the House realised what Parliament had done in the way of benefiting the tenants of Ireland at the expense of the landlords. Great changes had been made in the relations between landlords and tenants. He was not now dealing with the question whether it was right or wrong to make these changes, or whether the landlords had a grievance or not. The question now before the Committee was whether a £10 holder now was to get a minimum reduction of 10 or 15 per cent. He wanted to put before the Committee the history of this £10 holder. In the first place he was at a certain rent in 1881, when an Act was passed and his rent was reduced, according to a Return showing the average, by 20 per cent. After fifteen years under the Act of 1896, his rent was further reduced by 20 per cent., and that brought it to £10. Turned into figures it came to this, that that man's original rent was £16 before the passing of the Act of 1881. The question was whether a man who in 1881 was paying a rent of £16 was now badly treated if he was asked to accept State purchase at a rent 10 per cent. below the £10 which he was paying. It really came to this—that they were asking him to pay half his original rent and to become a State tenant. There were so many important questions dealt with in this Bill that, in connection with this particular matter, he thought they were really justified in saying that the landlords considered that the minimum of 10 per cent. sufficiently safeguarded the interest of the State. The question the Committee had now to consider was whether a difference of 5 per cent. would deter or promote purchase. He presumed that the hon. and learned Member for Waterford had only one object in his mind, namely, to promote purchase. If it was the hon. and learned Member's object to induce the tenant to buy, obviously his object must also be to induce landlords to sell. The landlords were the men in position whom they had to show that it would be to their advantage to sell. He put it to the Committee would 5 per cent. make all that difference? They started with this basis that the Government considered after examination of the whole question—that a 10 per cent. minimum was a sufficient safeguard for the State, and therefore they could dismiss the British taxpayer altogether from the question. It was the business of the Government to look after the general taxpayer. Was it worth while to waste a great deal of time over this difference of 5 per cent.? [NATIONALIST laughter.] That was his way of looking at it.

MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)

Let the Chief Secretary accept the Amendment and not waste any more time.


The Government considered that 10 per cent. was a sufficient safeguard for the general taxpayer. If he was mis-stating the case the Government, of course, would correct his statement. But he said that so far as this minimum reduction went the security of the State was covered by the figure in the Bill. Hon. Members on the other side of the House who were concerned in the matter said that an addition of 5 per cent. was after all not a very considerable matter. But they considered that by the increase of the minimum reduction above what was necessary to secure, the State was really to do something directed against the interest of the landlord. In regard to this minimum reduction, what the hon. and learned Member for Waterford had got to show was not that it would be beneficial to the tenant—of course, anything they got off the price was beneficial to the tenant—but that under this voluntary Bill the interests of the landlord must also be considered. He reminded the hon. and learned Member for Waterford that at the Conference it was agreed that the general minimum reduction should be only calculated on the basis necessary to secure the landlords income at 3 per cent. He trusted that the Government would adhere, for the reasons he had given, to the 10 per cent. in the clause and not increase it, because that might have the effect of deterring some large landlords from selling.


Fifteen per cent. minimum is the actual figure in the Conference Report which was agreed to by the landlords.


said that somehow or other they had got away from the Conference Report. But they were bound by the Conference declaration, which was exactly in the line of the Landlords' Convention declaration, that the landlord should receive as purchase money a sum which should guarantee an income for him at 3 or 3¼ per cent. An addition of 5 per cent. to the limit stated in the Bill might in some cases prevent the landlord from getting what he should have. He put it to the hon. and learned Member whether the acceptance of the Amendment would not really, instead of encouraging, deter landlords from selling. He asked the hon. and learned Member whether, without prejudice to other questions, they could not arrange to leave the figure at 10 per cent. as it was put in the Bill?

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

said that the hon. and gallant Member spoke of the desirability of not wasting time, and yet he had occupied an hour and a-half in discussing an Amendment which he himself had described as exceedingly trifling. If 5 per cent. was such a small matter, why did not the Chief Secretary accept the Amendment and have done with it? He confessed he would have been better pleased if the hon. Member for Waterford had moved 20 per cent. instead of 15. The principle involved in the Amendment was important. He was against the principle of these zones and limitations in toto, and after what had occurred the previous night this clause was objectionable from beginning to end. The clause would be used for raising the general level of price of land in Ireland. They had been asked to set up a standard by which the landlords might combine to demand from their tenants a mean price between the two limits. The Chief Secretary spoke of the clause as offering to the tenants an opportunity of purchasing their holdings at eighteen years purchase on first-term rents, and twenty-two years purchase on second-term rents: but did the Chief Secretary ask them to believe that all the tenants of Ireland, or any considerable section of them, were going to get the minimum price? They had heard a great deal about combinations amongst the tenants to bring pressure to bear on the landlords, but nothing of the combination of the landlords. There was such a combination, and what they wanted was twenty-eight years purchase. If the tenants gave them twenty-five years purchase they did not care where the rest came from.


said that twenty-eight years purchase would be on the basis of second-term rents which had been reduced.


said he could not understand the hon. and gallant Member, who did not seem even yet to have grasped the principles of the Bill. As he understood the application of these limits, the maximum price would be twenty-eight years purchase and the minimum about twenty-two on second-term rents as they now stood; and the mean would be twenty-five years purchase. That was what they were told the landlords would combine for. He was speaking of the great mass of the tenants who could not plead exceptional circumstances. What they were, in fact, asked to consent to, was to raise the general average level of second-term rents of tenancies in Ireland to a purchase price of twenty-five years, as against eighteen to nineteen years purchase at the present time. The proposal of the hon. Member for Waterford was most moderate, and he supported it strongly because it tended to bring down the level of the mean price. The hon. and gallant Member said, "Why not consider the case of the poor landlords?" But what would be the effect of this Amendment? The landlord would be debarred from taking from the tenantry more than six years purchase in addition to what they had ever paid before. And the hon. and gallant Member complained that that was a hardship on the landlords! But that was not all, because account had not been taken of the bonus. The hon. and gallant Member's complaint, therefore, was that the landlords were to be penalised by the Amendment because, if it was passed they would not be able to get more than ten years purchase more than they got under the present law. That was the case of the Irish landlords. He had been accustomed to see extraordinary demands put forward in this House on behalf of the Irish landlords, but all paled into insignificance before that of the hon. and gallant Member. He thought it was extremely important that they should make a determined effort by moving Amendments to this clause and discussing them moderately, to set forth to the best of their ability the realities of the clause, which he was convinced had not been grasped by the majority of the English Members of the House.


said he hoped that the Chief Secretary would adhere to the limitations he had proposed. They had been rightly told that it would be desirable to give some more elasticity to the limits than the Land Conference proposed; in other words, to increase the power of bargaining by 5 per cent. on each side of the limits, leaving the average reduction precisely the same as it was before—viz., 20 per cent. It seemed to him that if the hon. Member for Waterford desired to go back to the Conference terms upon one limit, he ought to go back to the Conference terms on the other limit; and if he cut off 5 per cent. extra bargaining power in one direction, he ought to cut it off on the other. No doubt the hon. Member would not like to do it in the second case, but he urged the Government to adhere to the terms which they had given, and which would give effect to an increased power of bargaining to landlord and tenant.


said there was another reason than that already stated why he appealed to the Government and the landlords to accept the Amendment. He thought he was right in saying that the view of the Land Conference was that 10 per cent. was the cost of collection. In his judgment that was an error so far as the tenants were concerned. It erred on the side of generosity and in favour of the landlords. If they took 5 per cent. for agent's fees; if they took the loss by legal expenses whether for the issue of writs or processes; if they took likewise the loss to the tenants through bad seasons and mortality amongst their cattle; if they took the loss which constantly arose from illness of the tenant or death—he was told that on the best estates in Munster that at least would be 15 per cent., and on the slum holdings it would run from 20 to 25 per cent. He thought that when the Conference made the agreement of 10 per cent. all round they arrived at a most generous decision. He appealed to any hon. Gentleman with experience in Irish administration to say, when the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General for Ireland were drawing such a Bill as this, whether they would put the wastage on any estate at less than 20 per cent. Mr. Gladstone's Bill put the losses and the outgoings at 20 per cent., and therefore he thought they were in a position to say that as regarded this Amendment the terms of the Land Conference ought to be insisted upon. In the first instance the Government had taken 20 per cent., and the proposition of the Conference on that head was 15 per cent. Would it not be fair to ask the landlord party opposite whether they were not bound by their own code of honour to adopt the treaty arranged by their own representatives in conference assembled? He personally felt bound by the decision arrived at by the three gentlemen who represented the side of the tenants; and that being so, hon. Members opposite ought to adhere in a similar way to a decision out of which they would obtain numerous benefits. In a treaty of this kind, where persons were taking benefits, they could not approbate and reprobate; and if the tenants in this matter said they were willing to rely upon the Conference figures, surely that bound the landlords. It was not a matter merely for the Chief Secretary, but one of a solemn obligation on both Parties. He appealed to the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh to say whether, under the circumstances he did not feel that he was as much bound as they were.


said that he was not a party to the Conference. He refused to join it; but he acknowledged that the Conference did very good work. He did not, however, feel bound at all by it. It did not represent him, nor, he thought, the majority of the Irish landlords; but he thought that the majority of the Irish landlords acknowledged the merits of the work done at the Conference; and, so far as he was concerned, and he believed also so far as the landlords were concerned, they supported the line taken by the Conference. With regard to the question now before the Committee, the Amendment was not so much against the landlords, but it narrowed the region of bargaining. Hon. Gentlemen opposite would rather not have any zones of any kind; but when they had established zones, to raise the minimum from 10 per cent. to 15 per cent. would, in his opinion, narrow the area of bargaining. His own opinion was, that when a landlord made an agreement with a tenant they would probably split the difference. He thought that the feeling of the landlords was that this opportunity of settling the land question should not be lost. He believed that if the Bill were passed into law, probably more than ninety out of every hundred landlords would sell under it. Speaking for himself, he would sell at once, although there might be a temptation to retain property which had been in his family for over 300 years. The Bill was an offer which neither the landlords nor the tenants should throw away. Personally, he was in favour of the 10 per cent. limit; and he did not think that raising it to 15 per cent. would confer any benefit on the tenants, while it would narrow the region of bargaining. He thought that the Irishman who would do anything to wreck this measure would deserve ill of his country.

MR. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)

said there was no question as to the security of the State so far as the alteration proposed by the Amendment was concerned; and therefore the objection of the hon. and gallant Gentleman disappeared. The Amendment should be considered entirely from the point of view of what was the smallest minimum of reduction which would meet all the difficulties that might arise. The Land Conference Report referred to the increased responsibility which would be placed on the tenant. There was every prospect of increased taxation; and the Land Conference had to consider what annual instalment the tenant should pay in future as compared with the rent he paid at present. The Conference came to the conclusion that 15 per cent. was the minimum reduction which the tenant should have. The question the Committee had now to consider was whether that was or was not a reasonable settlement. The proposal in the Report was universally agreed to. No objection was taken to it by the Landlords' Convention, which acknowledged the spirit of fairness of the Report, while declining to commit itself to all the details. He had never heard of any body in Ireland taking exception to the minimum reduction embodied in the Report. In future the tenant would not have assistance from his landlord, which was now given in many cases. He would not be allowed voluntary abatement. His rents would not be allowed to run into arrear; and the question which the Committee had to consider was, not in the average of cases but in extreme cases, what was the minimum of reduction the instalment should represent. Having regard to the fact that in future the tenant would stand entirely on his own basis, and that he would have a harsh and punctual landlord who had no heart, and who would be sure to extort the instalments to a day, the Land Conference came to the conclusion that the smallest figure they could reasonably recommend was 15 per cent. The landlords appeared quite as anxious that a figure should be fixed which would enable the tenant to meet his obligations. The Conference Report was adopted unanimously by the country, and he never heard any repudiation by any landlord body in Ireland of the 15 per cent. recommendation. He appealed to hon. Members, who during the last few days had been quoting the Land Conference Report against them, to at least support this proposal in the Report. So far as broadening the lines of bargaining was concerned, that could be very easily arranged by altering the other limit; but he maintained that, having regard to the obligations that would be imposed on the tenant and his difficulty in meeting them when he had made a hard and fast bargain with the State, the minimum reduction should be 15 per cent.


said if they took the Conference figures and inserted 15 per cent. they at least insured 15 per cent. coming to the tenants at once, and they gave him in exchange for this security the right to get 30 per cent. They were absolutely assured of 15 per cent. instead of 10 per cent., and had a chance of getting 30 instead of 25 per cent. on second-term rents. That was the Irish tenant's point of view, but he wished to point out that the 15 per cent. which the tenant would secure under the minimum of his hon. and learned friend was also a security to the British taxpayer. Over 2,000 bargains had been refused by the Land Commissioners because the security was not sufficient. He thought it was hardly fair for hon. Members on the Unionist side of the House to throw the Land Conference Report at the head of both Irish Parties as they had done, and the moment it came up in a concrete shape and they proposed to accept the figures to say it was only to be taken when it was in favour of the landlords.

MR. EMMOTT (Oldham)

said it might be that the lower the price which could be arranged in these transactions the better it would be for the taxpayer, but if this Bill was to be of any effect the price must be one which would induce the landlords to sell. They ought to see that the terms were as fair as possible for both sides, but were such as to induce the landlords to sell. Taking a 3¼ per cent. security, which was an infinitely better security than Irish land at the present time, the capitalised amount that would give the landlord the £90 out of every £100 that they asked for was £2,500 plus the bonus. That was 20 per cent. If the 15 per cent. figures were taken it would be about £2,650, so that £85 rent would mean a capital sum of £2,650, this would give £86, which with the 10 per cent. bonus would be £94 7s. Therefore, if they took the 10 per cent. figure, the landlord would get a trifle over the gross income to which he was now entitled.


regretted that he could not give way. The hon. Member had urged his plea with great ingenuity and force. In reply, he would ask hon. Members who had made reference to the Land Conference Report to recollect the position in which the Government were placed by it. From many points of view it placed them in a most happy position, for it gave them an unexampled opportunity. But also from some points of view it put them in a very difficult position. It was laid down at that Conference that the landlord could not be expected to sell unless he received as the result of the transaction a sum which would secure to him his net income. Whether 10 per cent. was too liberal a calculation he was not competent to decide; but it must be taken that their intention was that the landlord who had received £100 should in future, after he had been paid and had invested his money, receive £90 a year. But the Land Conference went further, and laid it down that the State should bear the whole cost of investigation of title and distribution of purchase money. It was impossible for him to say what that would amount to, but in some cases he knew it had amounted to as much as two or three years purchase. The Government found themselves unable to give such liberal terms; and on all these occasions, he must be allowed to point out, the signatories of the Conference Report happily and properly did not assume the attitude of dictation to the general taxpayer or the Exchequer. If they had their Report would not have made nearly so great an impression on the public imagination. But they said what they thought would solve the situation, and suggested that if what was necessary could not be done by the use of State credit reasonable aid might be added. He had to go closely into this problem and to make an unusual and unprecedented demand on his colleagues. The sum which could properly be allotted had been determined, and he suggested that if the Government had come to a different view as to that amount and made a larger advance he would have had greater difficulty in commending the measure to the House as a whole. Having fixed the amount of aid the State should give at £12,000,000 they were then bound to carry out, as far as they could, the Conference terms in respect both of the landlord and tenant, and he thought they had got much nearer the Conference terms in relation to the tenant than in relation to the landlord. Taking the figures of the hon. Member for Oldham, and assuming that 3¼ per cent. could be got instead of 3 per cent.—although this question must be considered in connection with the increased facilities the Government had now given for investment—he maintained that the landlord could not get his 90 per cent., for nothing had been allowed in the calculations of the hon. Member for costs. If the Amendment were accepted the landlord would get two, three, or four years purchase less than he ought to get by the Conference terms. The pecuniary position of every landlord would vary in accordance with his financial obligations, and if perfect theoretic justice was to be done in every case it would be necessary to sit as a Court upon the private affairs of each party to the transaction. That was one of the reasons for adopting the principle of the zones, and allowing the parties interested to play between the 10 and the 30 per cent. in order that, according to their particular circumstances, they might approach as nearly as they could to the terms of the Conference Report. That being so, the Government from their point of view ought not say to the tenants, "You shall not pay the price you wish to pay" except up to the point which was considered necessary for the security of the State. That point was found at a reduction of 10 per cent. on second-term rents, and the Government would be unnecessarily interfering with the bargaining if they made the reduction greater when they did not consider it need be greater for the security of the State. He therefore opposed the Amendment.

*MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)

said the Committee could not be controlled by the findings of the Land Conference. The responsibility of Members was to consider each Amendment on its merits as it came before them. If the difference between 10 per cent. and 15 per cent. was so inconsiderable as had been urged, why should not the poor men—the tenants—get the benefit of it rather than the comparatively rich men—the landlords? The fact that the existing Government was satisfied with the proposed reduction was no reason why the taxpayers should acquiesce. He certainly refused to pin his faith to the present Administration in the matter of the economy or security of the taxpayers. The duty of the Committee was to see that the security was ample. The figures quoted by the hon. Member for Oldham demonstrated that with the minimum reduction at 10 per cent. the purchase annuity might possibly exceed the second-term rents. With what face could the Committee pass a clause having such an effect as that? What security was there that the public purse would not be called upon to make good the deficiency? With the minimum reduction fixed at 10 per cent. there was no margin of security at all. He appealed to the Committee not to listen to the argument that, because of what was done at the Conference, and because the landlords insisted on receiving from gilt-edged securities as much money as they had obtained from the most uncertain and contingent of all incomes—that derived from Irish land, they should be blind to their first duty of seeing that the State was sufficiently protected against future loss.

MR. ASHTON (Bedfordshire, Luton)

said that in view of the large amount to be advanced by the British taxpayer for the purpose of carrying out this scheme, the figures produced by the hon. Member for Oldham ought to give every English Member pause before refusing to vote for the Amendment. Those figures showed that with the 10 per cent. reduction the landowner would get as much money as the gross amount of his present rent, whereas everybody who knew anything about land was aware that before the real value could be ascertained large deductions had to be made. Therefore, looking at the matter from the point of view of the British taxpayer, the figures of the hon. Member for Oldham had convinced him that with the 10 per cent. reduction the security was not good enough. It was of enormous importance that the representatives of Ireland should be satisfied in this respect. But the Irish Party had declared, through their leader, that they would not be satisfied with 10 per cent. reduction, and he certainly was not prepared to support the Bill if the Irish Members were not to be satisfied with it. Unless the people of Ireland were satisfied the arrangements would not be worth the paper on which they were written. On these grounds he should support the Amendment.


pointed out that the rents here dealt with had been fixed, not by the landlord, but by a judicial tribunal, by whom all the circumstances referred to by the hon. Member for Oldham had been taken into account. It had also to be remembered that, in addition to the rent, there were the tenants' improvements, and, in many cases, the tenants' houses to be added to the security.

*MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)

said that it appeared to him that both parties to this dispute were being so handsomely dealt with by the British taxpayer through the exploitation of the national credit, that either of them could well afford to give way on the question of the 5 per cent. A tenant of a £10 second-term rental holding would under the Bill first get a 10 per cent. reduction to £9, and then receive the whole of the twenty-five years purchase money, £225, at 3¼ per cent.—including sinking fund—making his annual payment £7 4s. instead of £10. The landlord, on the other hand, would get enough to yield him his present rent in a 3¼ per cent. investment. At the same time, as it was not a compulsory Bill, some inducements to sale must be held out, and he doubted if the tenants' representatives were wise in pressing for the reduction. If this question came to a division, as it was to the interest of the British taxpayer that no more should be paid than was absolutely necessary, he should vote for the Amendment.


said that upon this question he intended to vote with the hon. Member who had moved this Amendment.

MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)

said he knew of hundreds of cases where, in the case of judicial rents fixed within the last three or four years, the landlords had had to give considerable abatements. He knew a case where a landlord had to give 16 per cent. abatement upon a rent which had been recently reduced. Second-term rents had recently been reduced by 6, 8, and 10 per cent., although in some cases the rents had been raised. The hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth appeared to represent both the taxpayers of Yarmouth and the landlords of Ireland. They should not forget that after the passing of the Local Government Act Irish landlords were relieved of the payment of the Poor Rate and other local charges, but they were left some special charges for which they were still liable, but when the landlords took themselves bag and baggage out of Ireland those charges would have to be borne by the annuitants.

*MR. O'DOHERTY (Donegal, N.)

said he had an Amendment on the Paper increasing the minimum reduction, but after the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford he considered that he would not be justified in moving the Amendment standing in his name. Only two years ago the Landlords Convention demanded that they should be protected so far as to be able to get an equivalent sum which would produce an amount equal to their present net income. That claim had been put forward again to-day on their behalf by the hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth. The case of the Irish tenant farmer was identical with the case of the English taxpayer. Apart altogether from the absurd and unreasonable prices contained in the first clause of this Bill, in his opinion the landlords' case could be met, and they could be assured of their present net income if the minimum reduction moved by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford was accepted by the Government. There was another view of the question which had not been brought as yet before the Committee. The Chief Secretary, when he introduced this Bill, told them that he estimated the rental of the estates to be sold at about £4,000,000 per annum. It was estimated that one-third at least of the landlords' interest was mortgaged. Taking those figures as correct, there would be a sum of £40,000,000 as mortgages upon land in Ireland, and the interest upon that would be about 4½ or 5 per cent. Taken at 4½ per cent., it gave a sum of £1,800,000 per annum, as the sum paid by the landlords for interest on mortgages. Of course the cost of collection would have to be considered. At the Landlords Convention, Mr. Montgomery estimated the cost of collection at 12½, per cent., and that meant a sum of £500,000, and if they added that sum to the £1,800,000 interest, it gave a sum of £2,300,000, which they had to deduct from the gross rental of £4,000,000 in order to arrive at the net rental. These figures gave £1,700,000 as the net rental at present enjoyed by the Irish landlords. Looking at this from a landlord's standpoint, how was this sum of £1,700,000 to be secured to them without putting an unnecessary burden upon the tenant purchaser? It was proposed that twenty years purchase of the gross rental would not be an unfair price for the landlords to receive or for the tenants to pay, but if they took it at twenty years purchase the sum required amounted to £80,000,000. There was a bonus of £12,000,000 to be given to the landlords under the Act by the general taxpayer, and thus they got £92,000,000, which was to be made up under the Bill and paid to the landlords. The landlords must pay off their mortgages, and if they deducted from the £92,000,000 the existing mortgages of £40,000,000 that left them £52,000,000 for investment.

Under the Bill additional facilities were being conferred upon landlords and trustees for investing this money. The sphere of trustee investments was somewhat enlarged, and he had no doubt whatever when they came to consider the present state of the money market, the landlords would be able to invest this money at 3½ per cent. Three per cent. Corporation stocks were now being issued at a large discount, and under the extended sphere landlords would be easily able to obtain for their money 3½ per cent. The sum of £52,000,000 invested at 3½ per cent. would produce an annual income of £1,820,000 a year, or £120,000 more than the income at present enjoyed by the landlords. He would suggest that the amount of the bonus should not go according to the price of the estates or the gross rentals, but in proportion to the net income derivable from the several estates. The purchasing tenants, on the basis he had given, would pay twenty years purchase in order to secure to the landlords the income which they at present enjoyed. The argument put forward by the hon. and gallant Member for Great Yarmouth that it did not matter much to the tenant farmers of Ireland whether they paid ten or twelve years extra purchase so long as they got a reduction of their present rents was not correct. The Irish tenant farmers, as evidenced by their dealings under the Ashbourne Act, had shown themselves as shrewd business men as the farmers of any country in the world, and they would ponder over it before they undertook to pay a price which would place a burden round their necks if they purchased under this Act, and which would place them in a far worse position than their neighbours who had purchased under the Ashbourne Act. As one largely interested in the land question he could assure the Committee that if tenants could not buy in the future under the Ashbourne Act he would advise them to borrow money at 5 per cent. to pay the landlord rather than borrow from the Government under this Act.

He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would concede the small measure of justice asked for by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. After all, 5 per cent. was not much. It would not break the back of the landlord or tenant even if the Government did not yield, but the acceptance of the Amendment would help to make the working of the Bill practicable. The result of rejecting the Amendment would be that the Bill, instead of facilitating the final settlement of this vexed question, would only be another milestone on the agrarian road in Ireland. He did not think the land question could ever be settled by a voluntary Bill. He believed there must be compulsory sale. Until they had compulsory sale, year after year the same story would be repeated in this House as had been told for the last century. This Bill, from that point of view, would never settle the land question. He urged the right hon. Gentleman to consider the wishes put forward practically unanimously by hon. Members from Ireland in favour of the instalment of justice asked for in the Amendment. Although Irish landlords might, in some cases, be unwilling to sell their estates, he believed they would be induced to do so if they were satisfied that this Bill would settle the question.

MR. DUFFY (Galway, S.)

said that as one deeply interested in the acceptance of the Amendment, he wished to say a word in favour of it. He was acquainted with the conditions of the districts in County Galway, and he could not understand why some hon. Members had rushed to the conclusion that on the second-term rents the tenants had been granted a reduction of 20 per cent. Two or three years ago when the second-term rents were being fixed a wave of indignation ran over the districts at what was being done by the Sub-Commissioners. The tenantry at that time visited him and asked what they were to do in the circumstances in which they were placed. The landlords before going into Court offered second-term reductions varying from 20 to 25 per cent. On entering the Court the tenants in some cases not only did not get their rents reduced but had them increased. What possibility did that open up to the Irish Government in future? He pointed this out as a reason why the right hon. Gentleman should not take it into account to induce him to accept the Amendment now before the Committee. If the Amendment was passed hon. Members from Ireland would be able to point out to the tenants that there was a prospect of their getting a further reduction of 15 instead of 10 per cent. By retaining the minimum figure yesterday the Government committed a mistake and incorporated one of the greatest possible flaws in the measure. He hoped they would repent that mistake by accepting this Amendment.

MR. MURPHY (Kerry, E.)

said the limit of 10 per cent. had been defended by the hon. and gallant Member for Great Yarmouth. He had in his mind a case which occurred last year on the Warden Estate in County Kerry. Mr. Warden was, he understood, connected with the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth. In that case the valuer gave evidence that the value of a holding was £7, but the Sub-Commissioners who might have been expected to stand fairly between the landlord and the tenant fixed the rent at £7 10s. In connection with the fixing of second-term rents the tenant often felt aggrieved at the decisions of the Sub-Commission. He impressed on the Chief Secretary that this Amendment had been supported by every Member who spoke for Ireland. In regard to a previous Amendment the right hon. Gentleman said that on account of the unanimity of opinion on the part of the Irish Members he would give way. He thought that in this matter he ought to do the same thing. By doing so he would ensure that the tenants would be protected and that the interest of the British taxpayer would also be safeguarded.

MR. O'DOWD (Sligo, S.)

said he represented a county in the West of Ireland which was deeply interested in the matter under discussion. He could not conceive why the Chief Secretary would not, in the face of what occurred last night, without the slightest hesitation accept the very moderate Amendment proposed by his hon. friend and leader the Member for Waterford. His county, although partially congested, was peculiarly an agricultural county, and the greater portion of it was occupied by farms of between £20 and £50 valuation. The question dealt with by the Amendment concerned them very much indeed, and it would be a grievous disappointment to all classes of farmers in the county if it were not accepted by the Chief Secretary. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman and the House that under the Ashbourne Act many estates had been purchased not only in County Kerry but all over the west of Ireland on the basis of sixteen and seventeen years purchase. These purchases were effected on the basis of seventeen years purchase on first-term rents and with decadal reductions. If the limitations, proposed in the clause, to agreements between landlord and tenant were insisted on it would create in his county the same discontent as in the case of the Dillon Estate. If the right hon. Gentleman rejected the Amendment he would leave the great body of the people in Ireland under the impression that the Government had no serious intention of passing this measure into law. Even if it were passed it would become inoperative. All those who had taken part in the agrarian agitation in Ireland during the past fifteen years were as anxious as any hon. or right hon. Gentleman in the House to bring the Irish agrarian war to an end, so that they could press on their case for social reforms, the industrial development of their country and the creation of a Parliament of their own. They were sincere in their wish to bring the agrarian war to a close in the interest of every class and religious section in the community; and he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to accept this moderate Amendment and by so doing repair some of the damage he had done the previous night.


said that on a matter of this kind first impressions counted for a very great deal, and if the idea was given to people who were anxious to enter into negotiations for the purchase of their holdings that they would only get a 10 per cent. reduction from what they were now paying, many of them would fight shy. The first question he was asked in the County of Clare was what reduction they could possibly get if they entered into arrangements under the Bill; and if the right hon. Gentleman put him in the position to say that only 10 per cent. was to be given a great many of them would hesitate and hold back. The last second-term rents fixed had not been at all satisfactory, and therefore they expected a larger reduction. If the right hon. Gentleman enabled the Irish Members to go to their constituents and say that they would get a reduction of 15 per cent. on second-term rents straight away, it would greatly facilitate the progress of the Bill and induce people to take action on it. Hon. Gentlemen opposite might resist the Amendment on the ground that this was another attempt to extort terms that would not be fair to the landlords; but that was not his idea or that of his hon. friends. On former occasions he could hardly find words strong enough in which to describe the conduct of the landlords, but he recognised that a truce had been called on both sides, and that there was a sincere desire to come to a solution of the land question. They did not want to withhold from the landlords a fair and reasonable share in this bargain, but they also

wanted the vast majority of the small farmers to take advantage of the provisions of this Bill when it passed into law, and to become the owners of their own soil. If the tenants did not get a reduction of 15 per cent., which was fair, they would say that they preferred to hold out to a future time when they would be able to get infinitely better terms than those now proposed in the Bill.

Question put.

Committee divided:—Ayes, 217; Noes, 175. (Division List No. 119.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Cubitt, Hon. Henry Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Dalrymple, Sir Charles Hoult, Joseph
Aird, Sir John Denny, Colonel Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham
Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tr. Haml'ts Hudson, George Bickersteth
Allsopp, Hon. George Dickson, Charles Scott Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Digby, John K. D. Wingfield- Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse
Arkwright, John Stanhope Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Johnstone, Heywood
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E. Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H. Doxford, Sir William Theodore Kerr, John
Bain, Colonel James Robert Duke, Henry Edward Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow
Balcarres, Lord Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, N. R.
Baldwin, Alfred Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Fardell, Sir T. George Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey Fergusson, Rt. Hon Sir J. (Man'r) Llewellyn, Evan Henry
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Bignold, Arthur Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham
Bigwood, James Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.
Bill, Charles Fisher, William Hayes Lowe, Francis William
Blundell, Colonel Henry FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Bousfield, William Robert Flannery, Sir Fortescue Macdona, John Cumming
Brassey, Albert Flower, Ernest Maconochie, A. W.
Brotherton, Edward Allen Forster, Henry William M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Brown, Sir Alx. H. (Shropsh.) Galloway, William Johnson M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinb'rgh W.
Bull, William James Garfit, William Malcolm, Ian
Butcher, John George Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond. Martin, Richard Biddulph
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasg.) Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir H. E. (Wigt'n
Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Melville, Beresford Valentine
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Gore, Hon. G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop Milvain, Thomas
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc Mitchell, William (Burnley)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Goulding, Edward Alfred Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon J. (Birm Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed. More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc Groves, James Grimble Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)
Chapman, Edward Gunter, Sir Robert Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer
Clive, Captain Percy A. Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Mount, William Arthur
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G. (Midd'x Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.
Coddington, Sir William Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy) Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Harris, Frederick Leverton Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute
Collings, Right Hon. Jesse Haslam, Sir Alfred S. Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Myers, William Henry
Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole Hay, Hon. Claude George Newdegate, Francis A. N.
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Heaton, John Henniker Nicholson, William Graham
Craig, Charles C. (Antrim, S.) Helder, Augustus O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Cranborne, Viscount Henderson, Sir Alexander Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Cripps, Charles Alfred Hoare, Sir Samuel Parker, Sir Gilbert
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Hogg, Lindsay Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley
Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton) Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside) Pemberton, John S. G.
Crossley, Sir Savile Hornby, Sir William Henry Percy, Earl
Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Platt-Higgins, Frederick Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J. Tuke, Sir John Batty
Plummer, Walter R. Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight Valentia, Viscount
Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Sharpe, William Edward T. Vincent Col. Sir C. E. H. Sheffi'd
Pretyman, Ernest George Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Pym, C. Guy Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Warde, Colonel C. E.
Quilter, Sir Cuthbert Skewes-Cox, Thomas Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd
Randles John S. Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Rasch, Major Frederic Carne Smith, H. C. (North'mb. Tyneside Willox, Sir John Archibald
Rattigan, Sir William Henry Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.) Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Reid, James (Greenock) Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh., N.)
Renwick, George Stanley, Lord (Lancs.) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath
Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green) Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M. Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson
Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Stone, Sir Benjamin Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart
Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Stroyan, John Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Round, Rt. Hon. James Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ. Yerburgh, Robt. Armstrong
Royds, Clement Molyneux Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Thorburn, Sir Walter TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford Thornton, Percy M. Sir Alexander Acland-
Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M. Hood and Mr. Anstruther-
Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Abraham, William (Cork N. E.) Farquharson, Dr. Robert Lundon, W.
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Farrell, James Patrick MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.
Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud) Fenwick, Charles MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Ambrose, Robert Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Asher, Alexander Ffrench, Peter M'Govern, T.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Field, William M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)
Austin, Sir John Flavin, Michael Joseph Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe
Barlow, John Emmott Flynn, James Christopher Markham, Arthur Basil
Barran, Rowland Hirst Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Mitchell, Edw (Fermanagh, N.
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Fuller, J. M. F. Mooney, John J.
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Gilhooly, James Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen
Black, Alexander William Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J. Murnaghan, George
Blake, Edward Goddard, Daniel Ford Murphy, John
Boland, John Grant, Corrie Nannetti, Joseph P.
Brand, Hon. Arthur G. Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.
Broadhurst, Henry Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)
Bryce, Right Hon. James Hammond, John Nussey, Thomas Willans
Burke, E. Haviland Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork
Burns, John Harrington, Timothy O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)
Caldwell, James Hayden, John Patrick O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Cameron, Robert Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- O'Brien, P. J. Tipperary, N.)
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Healy, Timothy Michael O'Brien, William (Cork)
Carew, James Laurence Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas H. O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)
Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E. O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Causton, Richard Knight Holland, Sir William Henry O'Doherty, William
Channing, Francis Allston Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)
Clancy, John Joseph Jacoby, James Alfred O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Cogan, Denis J. Jameson, Major J. Eustace O'Dowd, John
Coghill, Douglas Harry Joicey, Sir James O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Jones, David B. (Swansea) O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Jordan, Jeremiah O'Malley, William
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) Joyce, Michael O'Mara, James
Crean, Eugene Kennedy, Patrick James O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Crombie, John William Kilbride, Denis O'Shee, James John
Crooks, William Kitson, Sir James Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)
Cullinan, J. Labouchere, Henry Paulton, James Mellor
Delany, William Lambert, George Philipps, John Wynford
Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway Law, H. Alex. (Donegal, W.) Pirie, Duncan V.
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall Power, Patrick Joseph
Dillon, John Layland-Barratt, Francis Price, Robert John
Doogan, P. C. Leamy, Edmund Rea, Russell
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington) Reddy, M.
Duffy, William J. Leigh, Sir Joseph Redmond, Jn. E. (Waterford)
Duncan, J. Hastings Leng, Sir John Redmond, William (Clare)
Dunn, Sir William Levy, Maurice Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)
Edwards, Frank Lewis, John Herbert Rickett, J. Compton
Emmott, Alfred Lonsdale, John Brownlee Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Evans, Saml. T. (Glamorgan) Lough, Thomas Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Robson, William Snowdon Soares, Ernest J. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Roche, John Sullivan, Donal White, Patrick (Meath, N.)
Roe, Sir Thomas Taylor, Theo. C. (Radcliffe) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Russell, T. W. Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Thomas, J. A. (Glam., Gower) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Schwann, Charles E. Thompson, Dr E. C. (Monagh'n, N. Young, Samuel
Shackleton, David James Tomkinson, James Yoxall, James Henry
Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.) Toulmin, George
Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Trevelyan, Charles Philips TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Shipman, Dr. John G. Tully, Jasper Sir Thomas Esmonde and
Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) Wallace, Robert Captain Donelan.
Sloan, Thomas Henry Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)

asked whether the next Amendment standing in his name would be in order?


No. I do not think it would. I think it would cover the same ground as was taken yesterday, but it would be in order to move to omit "thirty "and insert "forty."


said he would accordingly propose to omit "thirty" and insert "forty." After what had taken place the previous day, every one knew that they had endeavoured to put before the Committee in the most forcible manner their opposition to this maximum reduction limit. For the present the Government were obdurate in this matter, and although he hoped before the Bill left the House they would change their minds, he thought the best thing they could do was to improve the limitation. No object would be gained by repeating the arguments already put before the Committee, and he therefore contented himself by simply moving the Amendment.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 24, to leave out the word 'thirty' and insert the word 'forty.'"—(Mr. John Redmond.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'thirty' stand part of the clause."


was unable to accept the Amendment. He agreed that the matter had already been discussed at great length, but if hon. Gentlemen opposite thought he ought to add something he was prepared to do so.


directed the right hon. gentleman's attention to the point of the modification of the figures.


said he would confine his attention to that point, although other points would be raised by subsequent Amendments. In order to justify the figure thirty he would take up the argument which he had with the hon. Member for Oldham on an earlier Amendment. A reduction of 30 per cent. would mean £70 instead of £100, and that would produce a capital sum from the tenant of £2,154. But he ought to add something for the bonus. How much should be added it was impossible to say, but he would add 10 per cent., and then the landlord, from the tenant and the State, would receive in all £2,369. In order to get the terms which the Conference desired the landlord to get, and the terms which would induce landlords to sell, he would have to invest that sum, not at 3 per cent. or 3¼ per cent., but at more than 3¾ per cent., and he thought he should be going very far away from the Conference terms, and further than he ought to go, if he did not attempt to prevent the landlord's future income falling, as it would, below £77 instead of £90. Waiving altogether the question that the Conference proposed to pay the 10 per cent. bonus for the investigation of title, if the tenants got a reduction of 30 per cent. and the landlord invested the money at 3¼ per cent. he would only get £77 instead of £90 as proposed by the Conference. He felt bound as far as he could to carry out the spirit of that Report and to consider the rights of both parties. In this case the tenant would be getting 5 per cent. more than he would get under the Conference terms, and there would be a prospect of further reductions. They had tried to do justice in this matter between the two parties, but that was not his main defence for keeping the figures as they appeared in the Bill. His main defence of those zones was that if they abandoned them, or even altered them materially, they would inevitably go back to the procedure of the Landed Estates Court. Even if the Amendment were to be carried, when they came to work the Bill did anyone suppose that the great English Societies, who had large sums of money invested in Irish land, and who knew nothing of the system of land tenure in Ireland, would not, on hearing that their property was jeopardised, move for an injunction to restrain the sale of properties at a figure which would imperil their securities. The hon. Member for Waterford was not convinced on that point, but if necessary he could be furnished with full details, facts and figures. He had found, contrary to his expectations, that this Bill had caused a great deal of commotion and apprehension throughout the ranks of those who had interests in Irish land other than those of the landlord. The Irish Church body alone had £8,000,000 of money invested in mortgages in Ireland. If he took away this safeguard of the interests of those who had mortgages in Irish land some others would be found, and these might so delay and impede the sales as to defeat the object of the Bill. It had been asserted that in this matter the Government were mainly concerned in seeing that the landlords got a certain price. He had never denied that, in his opinion, they were bound to see that to a certain extent the terms of the Conference were carried out. But he had contended that the landlord would not get as much as the tenant. Behind all that stood these legal difficulties and the dangers of delay. They could be best met by statutory enactment, and they must be met if they wished to avoid great disappointment in Ireland and elsewhere.


said he desired to recall to the Committee the fact that in 1896 when the Bill was going through the House he moved an Amendment to give the mortgagees and encumbrancers the power to sell in the Land Court. That Amendment was opposed by the Government and rejected. The Government having refused to take the advice offered in 1896, which would have got rid of the whole difficulty, now turned round and told the Committee that the mortgagees and encumbrancers were the chief reason why the zone system was invented. It was foolish to be wise before their time. They were too wise in 1896 and were then scoffed at; they were told it would not be right to give a mortgagee power to sell the landlord out of his house and home, although the landlord, as they now knew from the right hon. Gentleman, was in many cases in the Westport Union. He had never taken up the position that some defence could not be made in respect of the zone system, and his friends in the Conference would not have come to the conclusion that there might be a zone system had they not had some reason for it. He acknowledged that in the Bill as drawn there must be some system; they might have some system of notice by which the mortgagee could come in and the whole question of priority of charge settled when they were selling what might be a bankrupt estate, a system which would involve a long procedure; or they might have a zone system. They debated that question on the previous day and decided it, and to-day they were not dealing so much with the zone system but what the limits of the zone ought to be.

Accepting the proposition of the zone system, and leaving the mortgagees and encumbrancers out of the case, he desired to ask why the right hon. Gentleman had given no answer to the question why the unencumbered land had required a zone system. The right hon. Gentleman had given no reply to that; he would give it himself. The reply was "Trinity College, Dublin." The case of the Irish Church body was an entirely different case because the Irish Church body was a genuine encumbrancer. That was not the case of Trinity College at all. The middleman in Trinity College was the owner of the fee simple, and, having been created the fee simple owner, Trinity College was in the position that it was not an encumbrancer and it was not the head landlord. It was in the position of a quasi-charger. Trinity College was in an unusual position in the eye of the law, and when he asked why was not the owner of the fee simple allowed to do what he liked he received no reply. For the sake of Trinity College, an undisclosed principal, the whole independence of the landlord was to be fettered. Let them put Trinity College in a separate and distinct category. It occupied a position abhorrent to the real principles of law; it was a creature of special Acts of Parliament with a special status given to it. Let them exempt it not from the Bill, but from the operation of this system of zones, and deal with it under some special and separate clause. The result would be that the two guardian angels of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary might fairly lead the House and not be embarrassing the Government at every turn, and they would be able to discuss Trinity College in a separate clause. If that suggestion met the view of Irish Members it might be the means of creating some freedom for the Government and the landlords and tenants of Ireland with regard to the rest of the Bill. At the present moment they were discussing the zone not as an Irish zone in truth but as a zone governed and fettered by the position of Trinity College. He wished Irish landlords in this matter would form a special group among themselves to speak in this House upon this matter, in which case the Government would be much less fettered. The Irish landlords were advising the Government from what they believed to be the point of view of their own interests, but the more he contemplated the action of the Government the less he was satisfied that the interests of the landlords were best advocated in this. The interests of the landlords did not conflict in this Bill, and therefore it was that they could approach this matter better from the position of judicious bottle-holders than as partisans. The Government should ask the landlords whether they were in the position of an Œcumenical Council giving infallible advice in this matter.


said this Amendment raised a most important question. The right hon. Gentleman put forward the appeal that he was in a measure bound to maintain the income of the landlords at the net return of the second-term rentals and not allow any freedom of bargaining which would reduce them below that level. That introduced the question of the basis on which the income was to be estimated. Under the provisions of the Bill, it would be easy for landlords to invest the proceeds of the sale of their estates at certainly 3¾ per cent., so that the estimate of the Chief Secretary was entirely wrong. That made a considerable difference in the question of the net income. Then speakers on the other side had altogether ignored the payments to mortgagees. The normal condition of landlords in Ireland was that their estates were mortgaged to at least one-third of their value, and many of them to the extent of two-thirds. The truth of the matter was that it would not be under the mark to say that the landlords would be able to invest their proceeds at an average of 4 per cent.; and it was absurd to carry on the argument on the assumption that the landlords were really compelled, in order to get their present net income, to invest the proceeds of their estates at 3¼ per cent. In many cases, instead of suffering a reduction of net income, the landlords, in addition to exchanging an absolutely rotten security for a gilt-edged security, would considerably increase their net income. What English or Scotch Member was there who, if dependent on an income from land, would not, in the present condition of agriculture, gladly exchange that income at a considerable net loss for an income from a gilt-edged security? The argument of the Chief Secretary on that point absolutely fell to the ground.

Then the right hon. Gentleman had referred to the old question of legal delay, and urged the necessity, unless there was a statutory enactment, of giving notice to all the interests concerned. But why should the statutory enactment take the particular form proposed in Clause 1? Moreover, that was no argument against extending this limit, because, even if it were increased to 40, or 50, or 60 per cent., the statutory enactment would still remain. The question of legal delay had been grossly exaggerated. The delay in the Landed Estates Court, of which the right hon. Gentleman had drawn appalling pictures, was largely due to the fact that the Court had been perverted, he believed illegally, from the purpose for which it was established, into a rent-collecting machine, a nursery for bankrupt estates, and a means of preventing rather than expediting sales. It was really monstrous to quote the Landed Estates Court as an example of what might occur. Had the right hon. Gentleman ever read the history of the Encumbered Estates Court, the parent of the Landed Estates Court? In those days, when the fate of the old gentry of Ireland—many of whom, bad as they were, were better than those who had come after them—was at stake, none of this tenderness was shown, nor were the net incomes so carefully nursed. The transactions were executed with a rapidity that would make real property lawyers in England go into fits. The estates were sold at knock-out auction in Court for ten, eight, or even seven years purchase, without the slightest consideration for the interests of the owner or the encumbered person. There was no reality in this talk about legal delay. The machine could easily be made to move if so desired. All that was wanted were officials who really desired to get the work done, and not officials whose one object was to prevent the work being done for fear of it being found that their salaries were unnecessary. But the question of legal delay did not arise on this Amendment, which was simply a question of giving a little more elbow-room to the bargainers. How was it that the Ashbourne Act had worked so well if this enormous difficulty existed? For ten or twelve years that Act worked admirably, and it would have worked better if the members of the Land Commission had stuck to their work instead of wandering over Europe inspecting stud farms in Germany, or receiving the King at Hackney Substantially the old machinery worked well, and all that was necessary to make it work more rapidly was a clearance of the old officials, the introduction of fresh blood, a sufficient number of men to do the work of minor officials—such as inspection and detail work—and some inducement to the landlords additional to the prices which the tenants had been willing or able to offer in the past. The Irish party still held that compulsion was the proper course. In the face of what had occurred, however, he was content to try the experiment of offering to the landlords three or four years purchase more than they had been in the habit of receiving, and then putting a limit to the period during which that offer should hold good. If that system gave a prospect of settling the question so much the better; but if it failed the cry for compulsion would be irresistible. That system, he contended, could get a perfectly fair trial under the old machinery. For his part he could only say that even if the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford were accepted, he should still feel bound, so long as this limit to the maximum reduction remained, to oppose the whole clause.


said the hon. Member who had just sat down had expressed for the first time thorough approval of the existing system under the Ashbourne Act. Hardly a day went past in which his right hon. friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland was not asked questions as to how it was that such and such a purchase had not been carried out, what had been the meaning of the delay, and whether nothing could be done to stir up the Land Commission. The Conference Report stated that one of the main conditions of success in reference to any land purchase scheme must be its prompt application, and the avoidance of investigations and delays which had hitherto taken place in all the legislative proposals for settling the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland. There were one or two matters which had been left out of consideration. The hon. Member opposite had urged the lowering of the minimum price. They should, however, remember that they had got to deal with a number of landlords who could not afford to sell at a low price. There was no practical use in fixing a minimum of 40 or 50 per cent. below the rent, because then the choice would only be either to accept those terms with beggary or stay on and take their chance. His right hon. friend the Chief Secretary had asked him to endeavour to assist the Committee to come to a correct appreciation of the delays which it was sought to avoid by the money limit in the Bill. There were, of course, the delays necessarily incident to the ordinary procedure of the Landed Estates Court. They had to ascertain every encumbrance, fix the extent of every tenant's holding, ascertain the rights inter se of all the tenants, and every easement. It was necessary that the utmost care should be taken, and he was certain that formerly no estate was ever brought to sale in the Landed Estates Court within one or two years from the date when the petition was filed. For the first time in the history of the world they were enabling a man by this Bill, who might only have an interest for £60 a year in his property, to sell without anybody's consent or concurrence, and behind everybody's back, to the tenantry, property of which he might only hold a very small part. It was a great invasion of the right of private property as generally understood. If a Bill were passed enabling his hon. friend's neighbour to sell him out without consulting him at all, surely it would not be sufficient to be assured that he was not a "scallywag" but that he was an honourable man. Without asking anybody's consent this man might sell a property of which he did not own one-thousandth part. If they did not want robbery to take place they must give effect to these powers.

In order to maintain the interest of the tenant, the landlord, the Government, society, and the public peace and contentment of the country, it was absolutely necessary to diminish as much as possible the interval before a sale could be concluded. The ordinary legal protection was both costly and cumbrous, and the best way would be to bring every person interested before the Court. They should bring everybody whose property they were disposing of before the Court in order to ascertain whether they consented or not to the proposed sale. There was scarcely a single estate in Ireland in which that process would not involve the consideration of a couple of marriage settlements, and probably one or two wills. He would take as an example the case of a man who settled his estate upon his son. The tenant for life exercised power of appointment and appointed his second son. Therefore the tenant for life, the eldest son, and the second son were the only two persons interested. Afterwards one of the other children might come in and declare that the appointment of the brother was fraudulent because his father gained some pecuniary interest by it, and he might claim that the estate belonged to the three of them. There was scarcely a question which could be raised in a Court of law which was more difficult than to decide when an appointment was void from corrupt influence. That was why this tribunal was absolutely incompetent to deal with such a question of law, which must under those circumstances necessarily be transferred to some legal tribunal. Speaking from practical knowledge of the mode of procedure, he had no hesitation in saying that it would be absolutely impossible to get the consent of all the parties interested in a less interval than one or two years. Take another case. A lady might have an interest of £5,000 in an estate, but to sell at this low figure she would only get £2,000. When they came to look for her they might discover that she had gone to India. The first thing they had to do was to appoint a new trustee, and he had seen cases of that kind take five years. If they could not have that steady and safe protection they must have some pecuniary protection.


said that condition also arose in the distribution of the purchase money under the Ashbourne Act.


said that if it was proposed there should be a sale they had to ascertain whether the parties interested would consent, and therefore there must be a preliminary examination. Did his hon. friend mean to say that there had not been delays of one or two years under the Ashbourne Act? They must have some kind of protection, and it was obvious that if there was to be protection at all it could not be an extremely low figure. He should say that to lower the limit below the rent was no protection at all, because a part owner might sacrifice everybody by such a limit. There must be a money limit, which would be a fair and adequate substitute either for the care, caution, and supervision of the trustee whom they got rid of, or the protection given by the Landed Estates Court. There must be an adequate limit in order to facilitate the proceedings with respect to sale and purchase.

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

said that one of the charms of this Assembly was that they were liable to get a lecture by a competent expert on almost any subject under Heaven. If the hon. Gentleman the Member for London University had an opportunity he was sure that he could charm the House by a lecture on bacteriology. That lecture would be quite as relevant to the particular Amendment with which the Committee were now dealing as the lecture of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General for Ireland. He yielded to no man in his admiration of the lucidity with which the right hon. Gentleman managed to thread his way through the labyrinth of legal subtleties. He really regretted that he was not a member of the Bar, and better able to appreciate the lecture, but, still, its natural charm and literary flavour appealed even to a man who was not a barrister. But he was an old Parliamentarian, and what the lecture had to do with the matter before the Committee he did not understand. The right hon. Gentleman had said that if this Amendment were carried it would bring in the Landed Estates Court, and the Chief Secretary had practically made use of the same argument. It was said that the result would be that they would have all the delay of the Landed Estates Court. He could not understand why both of these right hon. Gentlemen did not see how that argument bore against their own position. Assuming that a mortgagee thought he was going to be wronged by the price to be paid for the land, what was his remedy? He under stood the Attorney-General to suggest that, in order to save himself from wrong, he must proceed to the Landed Estates Court. That was the very last thing he would think of doing if he were a sane man, because he knew that the right hon: Gentleman, or some other member of the legal profession, would get a great deal of the money that ought to go to the mortgagee; and therefore the whole force of the Attorney-General's argument would mean that the mortgagee would be an unmitigated fool if he went into the Landed Estates Court to deal with this matter. The Attorney-General had employed all his skill as an advocate to throw dust in the eyes of the Committee. If the remainder man or the mortgagee were to be put under those perils, let the Attorney-General raisethem on the Amendment of which the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth had given notice. The Amendment raised in a substantial and definite form the danger to the mortgagee and the remainder man, and if the right hon. Gentleman thought those dangers to be as real as the Member for Plymouth believed, there was no reason why he should not support the Amendment. He did not himself see why if the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth was able to make out a case, the Nationalist Members should not support his Amendment. It raised the question in a proper shape, because the only proper protection was by giving the right of appeal. If they imagined that they were being unfairly dealt with that was their remedy, but the remedy of the Attorney-General was that the tenant should be compelled to pay two or three more years purchase of the land than he was entitled to pay.


He has not the opportunity of appeal. The land will probably be sold before he knows anything about it.


said the property would be sold but the money would not be disposed of. This was an argument in favour of the "scallywag" landlord. The Nationalist Members had used some strong language on these benches with regard to landlords, but they had never erected the "scallywag" landlord into a main factor in the settlement of the Irish land question, as had been done by the Attorney-General. The right hon. Gentleman had brought forward the subtleties of his profession, and used his trained advocate's tongue to try to induce the House to think that the real question at issue was not whether the tenants should be compelled to pay more money than they ought to do, but that there would be these extraordinary difficulties in the way of the settlement of the question if the Committee accepted the Amendment. When he heard the right hon. Gentleman talk he almost thought that there had never been and purchase in Ireland. If the right hon. Gentleman believed in the almost metaphysical impossibilities of selling land in Ireland he could tell him that many of the landlords did not share his views. Many of them thought that this insistence upon these zones would in the end turn out to the prejudice of the landlord and not to their benefit in some cases at least. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to be determined to artificially fix both the minimum and the average price of land in Ireland at four or five years purchase beyond what had ever been given for it before. Such an extraordinary proposition would have been incredible had not the Attorney-General tried to defend it. It was an attempt on the part of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to darken the councils of the House by legal subtleties.


said he regretted with the hon. Member for Scotland Division of Liverpool what he called the lecture of the right hon. and learned Attorney-General. When the Bill was being read a second time the right hon. Gentleman was pressed to account for these zones, and the only explanation he had to offer for the maximum reduction was that it was placed there to prevent the coercion of the landlords by the tenants. They had been diligently trying ever since the Bill was printed to find out the real defence of the maximum price, and they had only discovered it that night.


Will the hon. Member tell the Committee why there were zones put into the Land Conference Report?


said that they were not dealing now with the principle of zones, but with the maximum reduction within the zones. His right hon. and learned friend had given the Committee for the first time the intelligent and real reason for the maximum reduction of the price which the tenant was to pay; and he was grateful for it, because some of them would now be able to tell their own people why it had been done. Why should the Front Bench mix up the Land Judge's Court and the Landed Estates Court as if they were one and the same thing? Almost every day questions were asked about the delay in selling this, that, and the other estate in every part of Ireland. Where did the delay take place? Not in the Land Commission, but mainly in the Irish Land Judge's Court. Motion after Motion had been made in the House in regard to these delays, but they had never had the support of the Attorney-General to try and obviate the notorious delays in the Land Judge's Court. In fact that Court had ceased to be a Court, and had become a great rent-collecting machine for bankrupt Irish landlords. As he understood the Attorney-General, the real reason for the maximum reduction was that under the previous Purchase Acts numerous inquiries were indispensable before a sale could be effected. All sorts of legal difficulties arose, and unless these were settled the limited owner could not sell. The learned Attorney-General had not answered the question of the hon. and learned Member for Louth as to unencumbered estates where there was no limited owner to arrest a sale. Because of these delays, vexatious and absurd, it was impossible to adopt the machinery of the Land Purchase Acts in this Bill. The system adopted in this Bill was much speedier, more drastic, more thorough; and it was because that had been done, and because the limited owner had been enabled to sell, therefore, the tenant who bought must pay for this easing of the machine. The conclusion to which the hon. Member for Scotland Division had arrived was irresistible. He did not say that the limited owner ought to be allowed to sell, if he had only a very small interest, over the heads of the other parties concerned; but then the remedy for that was not to tax the tenant but clearly to allow bargains to be made outside these limits subject to the decision of the Estates Commission as to the position of the remainder man. When the full effect of that part of the Bill was known it would be scouted in Ireland.


said he was most anxious to get an answer from the right hon. the Attorney-General to his question; and he was also very anxious that they should know, what nobody now knew, who the gentlemen were belonging to the Land Conference who approved of the zones. Surely a great historic matter like that should be made known to the Irish people. There must have been some reason in the mind of these strong advocates of zones. He was prepared to make a statement in reference to the services of these gentlemen to the Irish cause. Nobody more readily recognised these services than he did. But the general Irish public remained in the dark as to the inventor or inventors of these zones and as to the reason for them. He always felt as if he had one hand tied behind his back in discussing this question, because the people who invented these zones were the strongest on the tenants' side. Where was the answer from the Irish Attorney-General? That right hon. and learned Gentleman was at all events paid for answering questions. He acknowledged the very powerful and luminous speech the Attorney-General had made, so far as one portion of the case was concerned. He admitted the tremendous force of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, and he could see no answer to a large portion of it. But, on the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman had left a portion of his inquiry unanswered. He had given a reason for the protection of the remainder man, of the chargeants under a settlement when a person was allowed to sell an estate in which he had only an interest to the extent of, say, a quarter or less. The right hon. Gentleman had given a reason which was, from a lawyer's point of view, sufficient; but he had given no reason whatever why an unencumbered owner—and it must be assumed that there were some unencumbered estates in Ireland—should not be allowed to sell.

There were large unencumbered estates—those of the great London Companies—in the right hon. Gentleman's own country. When he himself fixed seventeen years purchase for the sale of the Drapers Company's estate, in the county of Derry, on the tenants' side, the Land Commission thought the price too high in a number of cases. The Mercers Company and the Drapers Company, two of the richest corporations in the world, had large estates in the county of Derry and in the right hon. Gentleman's own constituency. These estates had been acquired practically by conquest. He wanted to know why the Mercers Company, if they wanted to realise their property of a morning and pack off to London to invest the proceeds there, were fettered and compelled to sell at the price in this Bill? The Mercers Company had no maiden aunts. They had not made a will appointing a charge of £40,000 on their property to a younger son. They had made no deeds or had done nothing in any way to affect the ownership of their property; but so far as this Bill was concerned the estate of the Mercers Company, and every other unencumbered estate in Ireland, was as much bound to insist on getting this high price as a man with the most complicated encumbered estate in Ireland. Was that reasonable? No. The answer was, it was the case of Trinity College and their legal rights. The right hon. Gentleman dared not open his lips on that point, for if he did, his own colleague, the Solicitor-General, would rise up in revolution against him. He had no doubt there were many long anxious colloquies behind Mr. Speaker's Chair. They had seen them returning to the House, now with glowering looks, now with hopeful visages, apparently as the fate of the question of the minimum price went up and down in the counsels of the Government. He maintained that Trinity College occupied a legal position, the like of which did not exist on sea or land in any other country on the civilised globe. Because its case, as he understood it—and he did not pretend to understand very much about it—was that the middleman under Trinity College had been created by law the owner of the fee simple, and, therefore, in legal language, giving the unencumbered fee-simple owner the right to sell his estate outside these zones was to the prejudice of Trinity College, because Trinity College was, by some curious decision, above the fee simple owner as chargeant. Was that not the case? He saw that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General did not dissent from that statement.

SIR EDWARD CARSON (Dublin University)

The hon. and learned Gentleman is misrepresenting me to this extent, that he has not stated that, as the result of the Purchase Acts, Trinity College property would be sold compulsorily, without their having any voice whatsoever in the sale, and at a price which would be fixed by the Land Commission, and not by any bargain which Trinity College made at all. All I say with regard to myself is that I ever attempted and will, to the best of my ability, attempt to protect Trinity College, which has sent me here.


said that now the murder was out. He agreed that was the position, and yet that anomalous position of Trinity College was to be allowed to prejudice the case of all unencumbered landlords throughout the

length and breadth of the country. He did not blame the Solicitors General for either England or Ireland for being loyal sons of their alma mater; but he held that Trinity College ought to be dealt with in a special category. He also recognised that it was the most natural thing for a draftsman, when drafting a Bill, to do so in the most condensed and workmanlike way possible; but let the Chief Secretary entrust to the Solicitors-General for England and Ireland respectively the drafting of a clause which would compel those who were selling Trinity College land to give notice to the College and see that it obtained a fair price.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 214; Noes, 156. (Division List No. 120.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S. Harris, Frederick Leverton
Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden Cranborne, Viscount Haslam, Sir Alfred S.
Allsopp, Hon. George Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton) Hay, Hon. Claude George
Arkwright, John Stanhope Crossley, Sir Savile Helder, Augustus
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Dalrymple, Sir Charles Hoare, Sir Samuel
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tr. Haml'ts Hogg, Lindsay
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H. Dickson, Charles Scott Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside)
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Digby, John K. D. Wingfield- Hornby, Sir William Henry
Baldwin, Alfred Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r Doughty, George Hoult, Joseph
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Hudson, George Bickersteth
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Duke, Henry Edward Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse
Bignold, Arthur Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton
Bill, Charles Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Fardell, Sir T. George Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)
Brassey, Albert Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'r Kerr, John
Brodrick, Rt. Hon St. John Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Keswick, William
Brotherton, Edward Allen Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)
Brown, Sir Alx. H. (Shropsh) Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, N. R.
Bull, William James Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Fisher, William Hayes Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Butcher, John George FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose Llewellyn, Evan Henry
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasg.) Flower, Ernest Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.
Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ Forster, Henry William Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W. Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham
Cautley, Henry Strother Fyler, John Arthur Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.) Galloway, William Johnson Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Garfit, William Lowe, Francis William
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond. Lovd, Archie Kirkman
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby- (Salop) Maconochie, A. W.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc. M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Chapman, Edward Goulding, Edward Alfred Majendie, James A. H.
Charrington, Spencer Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed. Malcolm, Ian
Clive, Captain Percy A. Groves, James Grimble Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir H. E. (Wigt'n
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Melville, Beresford Valentine
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Gunter, Sir Robert Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Collings, Right Hon. Jesse Hall, Edward Marshall Milvain, Thomas
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Mitchell, William (Burnley)
Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G. (Midd'x Molesworth, Sir Lewis
Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge Hamilton, Marq. of (Londond'y Montagu, G. (Huntingdon
Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.) Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green) Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
More, R. Jasper (Shropshire) Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson Thorburn, Sir Walter
Morgan, David J. (Walthamstw) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Thornton, Percy M.
Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.) Robertson, H. (Hackney) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Morrell, George Herbert Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert Tuke, Sir John Batty
Mount, William Arthur Round, Rt. Hon. James Valentia, Viscount
Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C. Royds, Clement Molyneux Wanklyn, James Leslie
Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Warde, Colonel C. E.
Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry) Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Webb, Col. William George
Myers, William Henry Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J. Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton
Newdegate, Francis A. N. Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd
Nicholson, William Graham Seton-Karr, Sir Henry Whitmore, Charles Algernon
O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Sharpe, William Edward T. Willox, Sir John Archibald
Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew) Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Parker, Sir Gilbert Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh., N.
Parkes, Ebenezer Skewes-Cox, Thomas Wodehouse,. Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath
Pemberton, John S. G. Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Percy, Earl Smith, H. C. (North'mb. Tyneside Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson
Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Platt-Higgins, Frederick Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich) Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Plummer, Walter R. Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset Wylie, Alexander
Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Stanley, Lord (Lancs.) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Pretyman, Ernest George Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Pym, C. Guy Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M. Younger, William
Quilter, Sir Cuthbert Stock, James Henry
Randles, John S. Stone, Sir Benjamin TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Rattigan, Sir William Henry Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley Sir Alexander Acland-
Reid, James (Greenock) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Renwick, George Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.
Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.) Edwards, Frank Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Emmott, Alfred Leigh, Sir Joseph
Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud) Evans, Saml. T. (Glamorgan) Levy, Maurice
Ambrose, Robert Farquharson, Dr. Robert Lewis, John Herbert
Asher, Alexander Farrell, James Patrick Lundon, W.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Fenwick, Charles MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.
Austin, Sir John Ffrench, Peter MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Barlow, John Emmott Field, William MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Barran, Rowland Hirst Flavin, Michael Joseph M'Govern, T.
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Flynn, James Christopher M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Fuller, J. M. F. Mansfield, Horace Rendall
Black, Alexander William Furness, Sir Christopher Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe
Blake, Edward Gilhooly, James Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.
Boland, John Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J. Mooney, John J.
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Goddard, Daniel Ford Moulton, John Fletcher
Brand, Hon. Arthur G. Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Murnaghan, George
Broadhurst, Henry Grant, Corrie Murphy, John
Burke, E. Haviland Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick Nannetti, Joseph P.
Burns, John Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.
Caldwell, James Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)
Cameron, Robert Hammond, John Nussey, Thomas Willans
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)
Carew, James Laurence Harrington, Timothy O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)
Causton, Richard Knight Hayden, John Patrick O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Cawley, Frederick Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- O'Brien, P. J. Tipperary, N.)
Channing, Francis Allston Healy, Timothy Michael O'Brien, William (Cork)
Clancy, John Joseph Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H. O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Cogan, Denis J. Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E. O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. O'Doherty, William
Corbett, T. L. (Down. North) Jameson, Major J. Eustace O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Crean, Eugene Jordan, Jeremiah O'Dowd, John
Crooks, William Joyce, Michael O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Cullinan, J. Kearley, Hudson E. O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)
Delany, William Kennedy, Patrick James O'Malley, William
Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway) Kilbride, Denis O'Mara, James
Dillon, John Lambert, George O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Doogan, P. C. Law, H. Alex. (Donegal, W.) O'Shee, James John
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall) Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)
Duffy, William J. Layland-Barratt, Francis Paulton, James Mellor
Dunn, Sir William Leamy, Edmund Power, Patrick Joseph
Reddy, M. Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)
Redmond, Jn. E. (Waterford) Sloan, Thomas Henry White, Patrick (Meath, N.)
Redmond, William (Clare) Soares, Ernest J. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries Sullivan, Donal Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Rickett, J. Compton Taylor, Theo. G. (Radcliffe) Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)
Roche, John Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Roe, Sir Thomas Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.) Young, Samuel
Russell, T. W. Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Thomas, J. A. (Glam., Gower) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Schwann, Charles E. Thompson Dr E. C. (Monagh'n, N. Sir Thomas Esmonde and
Shackleton, David James Trevelyan, Charles Philips Captain Donelan.
Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Tully, Jasper
Shipman, Dr. John G. Wallace, Robert

And, it being half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again this evening.