Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment [18th February] to Main Question [2nd February], "That
an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth:—
Most Gracious Sovereign,—
§ "We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Mr. Hardy.)
Which Amendment was—
At the end of the Question to add the words, 'But we humbly represent to Your Majesty that serious Amendments, including the abolition of the zones system, are required in the Irish Land Act of last year to prevent the unjust inflation of the price of land in ire-land; and that the powers possessed under that Act by the Estates Commissioners and the Congested Districts Board for the acquisition of untenanted lands are not sufficient to provide a remedy for the evils of congestion by the redistribution of the land among the population of the poor districts of the country, without which the Irish land question can never be settled; and that a power of compulsory purchase of untenanted lands such as the Congested Districts Board unanimously asked for in 1805 should be conferred upon that body and upon the Estates Commissioners acting under the Land Act of 1903; and that provision should be made that sales in cases of congested estates under that Act should be made only to the Board or the Estates Commissioners.'"—(Mr. P. A. McHugh).
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ * MR. O'DOWD
, continuing his speech, said that when the House adjourned he was mentioning the fact that last year was one of the most disastrous that Irish farmers had ever experienced, owing to the continuous floods during the summer and autumn. He spoke from personal knowledge, from his own vain endeavours to save his own crops. Yet it was at the close of such a year, with ruin and misery facing the impoverished farmers, that the landlords were endeavouring to impose their impossible conditions by asking such prices as compelled the tenants in despair to abandon the idea of negotiating with them altogether. Under such circumstances could it be wondered at that in many parts of Ireland the Act remained a dead letter? Could the blame for such an unsatisfactory state of affairs be laid at the door of the tenants he would ask? Unquestionably it could not. Last November, when the Act came into 308 operation, after a most disastrous harvest; with their rents falling due, and many in arrears, in the hope of having their rents and arrears either partially wiped out or included in the purchase-money should sales be effected, the farmers were prepared to offer, and did offer, terms of a more than generous nature for the purchase of their holdings. They were met by the landlords with exorbitant and extravagant demands. Encouraged by the zones clause, which had undoubtedly tended to inflate the value of land, and taking advantage of the tenants whoso rents had fallen due, the landlords pressed for impossible prices, and, failing to secure them, prosecuted for the recovery of both rents and arrears. In consequence of that stand-and-deliver policy, most of the tenants in his constituency found themselves in this position to-day, that having had to pay their rents and arrears, they were in no hurry now, and were not wishful, at present, to reopen negotiations until a better spirit was displayed. It appeared to him that the landlords had entered into a combination to deliberately defeat the aims and objects of the Land Act. The Estates Commissioners, the supreme authority charged by Parliament with the administration of this Act, had been boycotted by them. The reason for this was easy to find. When the House voted £12,000,000 last year in the shape of a bonus, all parties honestly intended that that immense sum should go a long way towards settling the agrarian question. They intended that it should have the effect of bridging the gulf between the landlords' demand and the tenants' offer, and of facilitating purchase bargains on a fair basis. It should be remembered also that several other bonuses wore secured to the landlord under the Act of last year. First, there was the bonus of 12 per cent. difference between the value of cash and land stock; and secondly, the value of the permission to sell demesnes to the State and to re-buy them on the same terms as ordinary tenants; and thirdly, in the matter of the costs of sale, which were now borne by the Estate. It might have been supposed that with all these bonuses or bribes dangling before his eyes, the landlord could be brought to act in some kind of a reasonable spirit, but there seemed to be no place in his heart for either reason or justice. His idea of reason and justice 309 seemed to be to pocket the bonuses and add seven or eight years purchase to the price of the estate. In the face of these facts it was clear that the zones system should be abolished, and that, pending compulsion, which was bound to come, all future sales should be made independent of the landlords, and only through the Estates Commissioners or the Congested Districts Board.
In regard to the question of congestion in the West, and the solution of the Western problem generally, he could reiterate what was stated in this House from these benches last Jul}' when the clauses of the Land Bill relating to the congested districts were under discussion. Unless some popular representation was introduced into the constitution of the Congested Districts Board, and additional powers given to that body and to the Estates Commissioners to acquire land compulsorily for those having no farms and those occupying uneconomic holdings, emigration could not be stopped, and the land problem, was so far as the West concerned, would still remain unsolved. What was going on even now in the West? In a portion of his own constituency, scheduled as a congested district, a large grazing farm, which had hitherto been let annually to the small tenants surrounding it for grazing purposes had been sold, not to the tenants surrounding it, but to a neighbouring landlord who, besides being a notorious disturber of the peace in that part of the country for years, held large estates and large grazing farms already in Sligo and in Galway. In another case a gamekeeper had been placed on a large farm in the congested district of Aclare. That stranger, without a penny in his pocket, had been advanced public money to purchase out a ranche which should be divided among the people. In another part of his constituency there was an estate in the Land Judge's Court which contained a large grazing tract surrounded by small holdings, which should have been used in all justice for the enlargement of those holdings. But no; it had been given to a speculating land-jobber. Those were the men to be bolstered up, to the exclusion of those who had no land, and these three men, Mr. Phibbs, of Chaffpool; Mr. Perdon, of Aclare; and Mr. McDermott, of Knoc-allassa, whose cases I have mentioned, 310 have been a source of trouble to the Government for years. They are a source of expense to the Treasury just now, for I suppose the cost of extra expenditure incurred mainly in their account must now be borne by the Treasury, seeing that payment of it has been successfully resisted by the Sligo County Council.
In Sligo, out of 13,400 holdings, 3,500, or over 25 per cent., were valued at £4 and under, while there was 75 per cent. of the whole valued at £10 or under. In Connaught there were about 12,000 migratory labourers who had not as much land as would sod a lark, whilst there were 1,000,000 acres in the heart of the province in the hands of the land-jobbers. The circumstances of Con-naught differed from those of other provinces, for there they had the rich plains in the hands of the few, while the masses of the population were huddled together on bleak mountain slopes and patches of reclaimed moor. If the right hon. Gentleman wished to solve these questions he would have to abolish the zones and insert in an amending Bill a clause giving compulsory powers to the Congested Districts Board and the Estates Commissioners for the acquirement of the waste lands of the west for distribution among the people. In that way, and in that way only, could the western problem be satisfactorily solved, and peace and contentment brought to the masses of the population in Ireland, who had too long been the victims of felonious landlordism and British misgovernment.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
regretted that the hon. Member for Stoke was not in his place, as be had constituted himself the champion of the British taxpayers, who was likely to sutler unless the Amendment of his hon. friend were carried. In this debate the Irish Members did not come forward with alacrity, but rather in sorrow, to point out that an Act a little more than three months old had fallen far short of the intentions of the Government, and, so far as the Irish people were concerned, had been an absolute failure. Three months ago the hearts of the Irish people beat high with hope, and they congratulated each other on the fact that a better era was opening for the country, and that the great industry of Ireland, 311 agriculture, was in a very good way of being settled, and that the country might reasonably look forward to a period of peace and prosperity. To a very large extent all these hopes had been dispelled. No one who knew the condition of things in Ireland and had followed what had passed since last autumn could come to any other conclusion than that the Act was a dead letter and a failure. The tenants had been quite content to see this enormous bonus of £12,000,000 from the Treasury pass entirely into the hands of the landlords; they had been quite content that the landlord classes should have all the advantages of this great Act; nay, more, they had offered more than the average prices as ascertained by the Ashbourne Act, and yet the question was as far as ever it was from a settlement. He rose to express his surprise that the Chief Secretary had not seen his way to put the House into possession of the fullest information with regard to his Amending Bill, and with regard to the land question. The hon. Member for Leitrim had asked for a Return showing the number of purchases transacted under the Act of last year, yet up to the present, although it had been worked out that a clerk could easily get that information in a few hours, it had not been given. Why had that information not been given? Was the right hon. Gentleman afraid that it would not indicate such a condition of things that the Irish taxpayers and the British taxpayers generally would view without great alarm? When he heard the appalling figures quoted by the hon. Member for South Tyrone as the number of years purchase he could not but feel that the tenants had gone too far in their endeavour to make the Act a success. He could not congratulate the hon. Member for South Tyrone on the advice he had given to the tenants to pay this excessive price for the landlords' interest in the land. What was the landlords' interest in the land? Judge Madden, when Attorney-General years ago, stated that at the present moment the tenant owned half the interest of the holding. Then what was the tenant buying now under this Act? He was buying the landlord's interest, which was only half the interest of the holding, and yet paying twenty-four, twenty-six, and twenty-eight, 312 and even thirty years purchase, and over all this a bonus was to be given to the landlord. In all the annals of extortion a case could not be found to compare with this. There was a very grave and serious danger to the tenants if this sort of thing was allowed to go on, and also to the Empire, because it must not be forgotten that the reproductive fund was pledged up to the hilt, and was liable to make good the difference between the £100 cash which the landlord got for every £100 worth of land he sold and the price of the land stock, so that the entire Irish people were deeply concerned in this matter.
But it had been pointed out by the hon. Member for Stoke that in the last resource the general taxpayer might be called upon to pay the advance in order that the landlords, at the close of a bad year, might extort from the tenant far more than the value of his land. That was a very grave and serious condition of things. It had been pointed out that the average price under the Ashbourne Act was seventeen and a half years' purchase on what was called first-term rents. The first-term rents were supposed to be the net value of the lands at the time of sale. The second-term rents in their turn also became the measure of the test of the value of the land, and on that was based the calculation on which, under the Ashbourne Acts, purchases were made all over the country at seventeen and a half years purchase on first-term rents, yet under this Act the landlords wanted twenty-four, twenty-five and twenty-six years purchase on the second-term rents. In his part of the country they were asking twenty-four, twenty-five, and twenty-six years purchase on the first-term rents, second-term rents not having been fixed. It really came to this, that where land had declined in value, and the actual production of agricultural produce and stock had largely decreased—at times like that the landlords were asking from 40 to 75 per cent. more than was paid under the Ashbourne Acts exclusive of the bonus. That must prove to the satisfaction of the House that the landlords were not anxious to see this 313 measure passed, or, in fact, to bring social law and order into Ireland.
It was pointed out that the zones system would be availed of in order to make the zones minimum practically the basis of sale all over the country. That view was proved to be accurate. In his opinion unless the Act were amended it would prove a curse rather than a blessing to the people of Ireland. It should be re-membered that under previous Acts, owing to one cause or another, a certain amount of land came into the market year after year, which the tenants were able to buy at reasonable prices. Now, no landlord would think of selling at Ashbourne prices; and therefore if the Act were not amended the last state of things would be worse than the first. The other point insisted upon in the Amendment was that inspection was required for the protection of the British as well as the Irish taxpayer. There was no doubt that astute landlords and agents, dealing with an ignorant and over-anxious tenantry, were driving the tenants into improvident bargains which they would not be able to fulfil if there were a recurrence of a few more years like the last year. That was a very serious condition of things; and therefore the power of inspection should be revived for the protection of the tenants as well as of the general public. It sounded ironical that with a fall in the value of agricultural produce there should be an unnatural increase in the price of land, and that at a time of falling prices and great depression they should have a powerful landlord combination pressing for exorbitant prices. That situation could only be met by the Chief Secretary taking his courage in both hands and amending the Act.
Then with reference to the congested districts, their condition was one of the most appalling features in the failure of the Act. The examples which had been given by his hon. friend who had just spoken would almost seem to be inconceivable. The Act was passed for the alleviation of poverty and misery, and one of its main features was the division of the large grazing tracts in the west of Ireland. The result now appeared to be that those grazing tracts were to be retained in the hands of the landlords and grazicrs, and that the destitution of the poor people for whom the Act was passed was to be perennial. What was the use of advancing money to purchase a wretched 314 holding on a bog or mountain valued at only £6 or £7? The tenant would only exchange one condition of misery for another; and instead of being a wretched tenant he would become an occupier who would not be able to work out a position of comfort for himself or his family. The Chief Secretary, in introducing the Bill, said that they wanted to secure for the occupier an economic holding on which he could maintain his family and himself. He added that they ought to begin to build up the agrarian situation in Ireland from the bottom, and that he had no doubt that untenanted land would be freely offered for sale. The right hon. Gentleman did not believe that any man with bowels of compassion could act in the arbitrary fashion in which certain landlords were acting in Ireland. On the estate of the O'Connor Don 104 holdings were valued at less than £4, and on the Rockingham estate there were hundreds of holdings valued at less than £5; the grass lands were being retained by the landlords, and the mountain tenants were being asked to become owners of their uneconomic holdings at exorbitant prices. He did not think that the Estates Commissioners should be empowered to sanction any advance in such circumstances, and that it should be made clear that the bonus would be paid on the sale of untenanted land if the land were sold for general subdivision. He could not help contrasting the fears and anxious anticipations of the Irish people at the present time with the hopes they entertained when the Bill was passed through Committee.
With reference to the evicted tenants, the Chief Secretary would admit that he got every possible assistance from the Irish Members in improving and extending the clauses concerning them; but, with the exception of the Coolgraney evicted tenants, nothing had been done all over the country to restore them. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; the evicted tenants were anxious to return to a life of industry, and it was pitiable to find that this great Act—and it would be a great Act if it were properly administered—an Act which was passed with the co-operation of all Parties in this House, should be blocked and marred by the cupidity of a short-sighted class in Ireland.
§ MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
said he only desired to say that urban 315 districts in Ireland had an almost equal interest in this Act with the agricultural districts, because both the urban and the agricultural districts were inter-dependent. They could not have prosperous cities unless the country were also prosperous; and he, therefore, as one of the Members for Dublin, wished to make it quite clear that the urban constituencies were quite as much interested in the successful working of the Act as were the agricultural constituencies. The history of Ireland showed that ever since the British obtained possession of the country and introduced landlordism, the land system was at the root of every Irish evil. And yet when a Motion was introduced by hon. Members from Ireland, who really represented the aspirations of the Irish people, to amend the Land Act, they found the Conservative Benches and the Liberal Benches empty, and they also found an absence of that sympathetic attention which they were bound to receive from a Government which insisted on governing the country against the will of its inhabitants. The matter was one which would affect the whole future of Ireland, and the Irish Members were entitled to claim the attention of the Government; because unless real business-like attention was given to the matter the Land Act would undoubtedly be a failure. It was an extraordinary fact that the land of Ireland had been cleared of its inhabitants in order that live-stock might be produced mainly for consumption in the English market. A traveller in Belgium would imagine that there were no sheep or cattle in the country, but as a matter of fact Belgium carried three times as many cattle per acre as Ireland where the country was cleared in order to make room for cattle. Would the right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench who were political economists now take note of that economic argument? He had an intimate acquaintance with the congested districts in the West of Ireland and had driven through them all with Lord Mayor Tallon. He himself was not supposed to be one who was identified with the land war, and he never had the distinction of being in prison, but it was not his fault. He was named as a suspect under the régime of Mr. Forster, and he, with twelve other individuals, built houses on the De Freyne estate, which remained there still 316 as a testimony to their capacity. If any English Member visited the West of Ireland and saw the hovels and mud cabins which the people were obliged to in habit they would undoubtedly return with a different idea of British administration. They would find in the West all the rich land was monopolised by graziers and that the poor people were driven to the bogs, to the edges of the sea, or up the mountains. The land was created for the people, but apparently the British Government could not reconcile that doctrine in Ireland. The result was congestion. It was absolutely impossible for people who lived on small farms to exist in comfort. He hoped the Government, who insisted on governing Ireland against the wishes of the majority of its inhabitants, would recognise its responsibility in this matter. Mr. John Stuart Mill said that a Government which compelled the majority of the inhabitants of a country to leave their country because they could not exist in it, stood condemned in the eyes of the civilised world. He thought that John Stuart Mill was an authority which the Government should respect. He trusted the result of the debate would be to draw from either the Chief Secretary or the Attorney-General an intimation of the intention to pay respect to the suggestion made from the National Benches, so that the Land Act of last session, which was hailed with acclamation from all parts of the House, might have its intentions fulfilled, and thereby lay the foundation for a prosperous and contented Irish nation.
§ MR. CULLINAN (Tipperary, S.)
commented on the absence of representatives of the Irish landlords, and attributed it to the fact that they had the fullest confidence and faith that the Government would protect their interests in that debate. They had indeed every reason to be so satisfied in view of the statement of the Chief Secretary that he proposed to introduce a short Bill to remedy certain defects in the Land Act, although he did not propose to re-open the land question. Evidently the right hon. Gentleman was going to deal with the question of the bonus, in which the tenant had no interest. He ventured to say that if the right hon. Gentleman was going to confine himself to action in the 317 interests of the landlords alone he might just as well leave the Bill as it stood. Why were they discussing that Bill that night? Simply because during the passing of the Bill the right hon. Gentleman declined to accept the views of the representatives of Ireland, who knew how nece-sary it was and how beneficial it would be to settle the land question. He would accept none of their Amendments; he would not listen to their warnings; he dismissed them with his beautiful smile and a gracious waving of the hand, and he led them to believe that the landlords would be perfectly willing to join in his conciliation policy: that the land proprietors would be most eager to rush the cases through the Court, and that all sections would co-operate in making the Bill a success. That, too, was the view which was first obtained in Ireland as a result of the debates in that House. That continued until the landlords' week in August—the Horse Show week—the week when the landlords and their agents assembled to discuss matters in the Kildare Street Club, Dublin. Immediately after that event a deliberate attempt was made to thwart the working of the Bill, and it was said—although ho could not vouch for the accuracy of the statement—that the law officers of the Crown had a finger in the pie. Now writs and processes were being issued, evictions were threatened, and in almost every case in which the tenants had gone into Court and got fair rents fixed, appeals had been forced on them by the landlords—even where the reduction had not amounted to more than 3d. or 4d. per acre, the object of this action being, of course, to intimidate tenants from going into Court at all. Clearly after this meeting in Dublin, to which he had referred, the mask was thrown off and war was declared by the landlord party. There was a body known as the Irish Land Agents' Association—otherwise the Institution of Surveyors—in Dublin, the members of which had entered into a combination among themselves to try and defeat and thwart the Bill in every possible way. The policemen of the right hon. Gentleman were now on their best behaviour; they had given over batoning and bludgeoning in order to find out what the Nationalist organisation was doing, and what prices the tenants were inclined to take for their land. Perhaps, in view of 318 that, the Chief Secretary would also inquire what the members of the Institute of Surveyors were doing in the matter of intimidation. He remembered very well when, during the debates, the hon. Member for East Mayo declared that the provisions of a certain clause would enable the landlords to coerce the tenants into paying exorbitant prices, the hon. and learned Member for York declared that the tryanny was all on the side of the tenants. Events had however, completely falsified that prophecy, and the landlords and agent were using that very clause to coerce the tenants into making unreasonable and improvident bargains and into paying, unjust prices.
The Bill was piloted through the House of Lords by three Members of the then Cabinet—The Duke of Devonshire, the Marquess of Lansdowne, and Lord Londonderry. What had those noble Lords—each of whom possessed large estates in Ireland—done to give practical effect to the Bill? The Duke of Devonshire had modestly asked his tenants for 26½ years purchase, exclusive of the bonus! Lord Londonderry had made no move, and Lord Lansdowne had more evicted tenants on his estate than any other man. Surely, if the Government had been sincere in the professions of a spirit of conciliation in passing the Bill, they would have taken steps to secure that Members of their own body gave a lead to the rest of the landlords of Ireland. He would like to give one or two other instances of the working of the Act. One landlord whom he knew offered in 1902 to sell the best of his property at twenty years' purchase. Now he offered to sell the worst at 26½ years purchase. Another in 1896–7 offered to sell at eighteen years' purchase; in. 1903 he asked twenty-five years. Another some years ago offered to sell at twenty-two years, and an inspector of the Land Commission refused to sanction the sale because the price was exorbitant; that landlord was now asking 26½ years purchase, with three years bonus. Some satisfactory bargains had no doubt been completed, but in those cases the landlords had negotiated directly with the tenants and had allowed no agents or other interlopers to interfere. He repeated that there was a most deliberate 319 conspiracy in Ireland to thwart the Bill—from the Land Judges down to—
§ MR. CULLINAN
said he simply wished to point out that the Receivers of the Court were doing everything they possibly could to defeat the Bill, and until the right hon. Gentleman put his foot down on such conduct the measure would not work satisfactorily. If farmers, under the thumb of rack-renting landlords, found that thousands of their neighbours were more fortunately placed, because they had been able to purchase their holdings at fair and reasonable prices, the right hon. Gentleman must not be surprised if they followed the example of the Government and adopted a policy of retaliation. If they did he for one would give them his most strenuous support.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said he was anxious, before the Chief Secretary replied, to address two or three questions to him. He did not propose to make a speech, for several reasons. One was that time was short and he did not want to stand between the House and his colleagues who wished to speak; and further than that he did not think it was necessary for him to attempt to put their case before the Government, because it was put before them with great lucidity, ability, and completeness by the hon. Member for Leitrim, who opened the debate, and if the Chief Secretary heard that speech, then he was in possession of what their case was. He was anxious before the right hon. Gentleman spoke to address two or three questions to him; but first he wished to make one or two preliminary observations of a general character. If he might say so without disrespect, he never heard a more absurd speech than that of the hon. Member for Stoke. That hon. Member went upon the supposition that the Irish Members claimed this Bill last year as a complete and final settlement, not only of the land question, but also of the Irish question. Well, of course, it was in the recollection of the House that they did nothing of the kind. It was within the recollection of the House that 320 they distinctly said that, even if this Bill proved as successful as they all hoped it would, it could not possibly settle the Irish question, and, as far as the land question was concerned, they also safeguarded themselves by stating that in the absence of compulsion in the West of Ireland, and in the absence of other Amendments they considered essential, they did not think it possible that this Bill could provide a complete and final settlement of that question. Equally absurd was the hon. Gentleman's representation of their present action. He seemed to think they had come to the House that night to say that the whole of this Act, after three months working, had proved already a complete and ridiculous failure. That was not their position at all. Their position was between the two, and it was a perfectly reasonable one in view of what had occurred. Let him read two or three words he used on the Third Reading of the Bill just to show the absurdity of the position taken up by the hon. Member for Stoke. He said—In the first place let me say at once that it is not our Bill; it is the Bill of the Government, and the main responsibility for it rests not upon us, but upon the Government. I must point out that the Report of the Land Conference has not been accepted by the Government in its entirety, and this Bill does not represent the Conference Report in some essential particulars, but overrides that Report, and therefore I am justified in saying this is not our Bill, but yours, and that the responsibility is not ours, but yours. Since the Bill has been introduced, the Irish Members have done their best to mould it into a shape by which they believe it will go a long way to settle the land question, and, I believe, so far as they have been able to amend it, it will go a long way; but in whatever particular it is disappointing, it will be found upon the refusal of the direct advice of the Irish Members.This was the position in which they stood with reference to this Bill. On the other hand they never for a moment suggested that this Bill provided a complete settlement even of the land question; and they did not come to the House—it would be a ridiculous thing to do—and say after three months trial of the Bill that it was an absolute failure and had proved worthless. His view of this Act had not undergone the slightest change. There were certain drawbacks to its working and defects, but, speaking broadly, his opinion had 321 never changed; it was exactly to-day what it was when the Bill was passed. That is, that he believed it was a measure which, when properly amended, as in his opinion it was certain to be, would eventually lead to the abolition of landlordism in Ireland. He regarded it as a great measure because it was a measure which enacted the abolition of landlordism; it provided the necessary means for that purpose and the machinery for the restoration of the evicted tenants; and under those circumstances he said that his opinion of the measure remained today what it was when it was passed. Unexpected defects had arisen, and these defects were of a very serious character. He was of opinion if those defects were not remedied they would practically block the working of this Act. Apart from that altogether, the process of bargaining had proved more painful and slow than any of them anticipated. He for his part in that respect was greatly disappointed. He was bound to say that his experience of the working of the Act led him to believe that all the reasonableness had been, so far, upon the side of the tenants, and that the unreasonable attitude had in most cases been on the side of the landlords, and that the responsibility rested with them for the friction that had arisen and the delay which was taking place in the bargaining, owing to the excessive prices which were undoubtedly being asked by large numbers of landlords all over the country. Still, in spite of all that, if they could look ahead ten or fifteen years, he was convinced they would find the Act amended, as of course it would be long before then—working satisfactorily, putting an end to landlordism and changing tenants into small owners. He desired to ask the right hon. Gentleman some practical questions. He had told them he was going to intro-duce an amending Bill. When would that Bill be brought in?
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
hoped it would be very early. He hoped it would not be postponed, as the introduction of the Bill last year was postponed, till just; before the Easter recess. They were entitled to have this Bill at once. The 322 second question was—Would that Bill provide a remedy for all those things that were in doubt at the present time? They had been told that it would provide a remedy for the defect disclosed in the judgment of Mr. Justice Ross with reference to the payment of the bonus to the tenant for life. But that was not the most serious defect which had been discovered. He regarded the settlement on the congested estates as the most important part of the Bill, and he wanted to ask whether the amending Bill would set at rest the doubt that had arisen with reference to the powers of the Estates Commissioners in definition of estates, because it was commonly reported in Dublin that the law officers had given an opinion to the effect that where a landlord sold direct to his tenant ail holdings on his property and brought them up to the Estates Commissioners to have the sale sanctioned, the Commissioners would be bound to treat that as an estate and pass and approve the transaction, even though the landlord owned large tracts of grazing land which he refused to sell. There was the most widespread misgiving on the point in Ireland. If it should turn out to be true it would absolutely ruin the value of the Bill in the West of Ireland. The sale of the holdings without the grazing land so far from being a benefit, would be a curse. Doubt had arisen upon another point, with reference to payment of the bonus in the case of the sale of certain untenanted lands to the Commissioners. There was no doubt that where a landlord sold both the tenanted and untenanted portions of his estate, the bonus might be paid on the untenanted land, but he wanted to know whether, where the landlord sold only the untenanted land without any of the holdings, the right hon. Gentleman had been advised that the bonus could not be paid. He need not point out what a serious thing that would be. Would the Bill be in such a form as would enable Irish Members to raise, by way of Amendment or new clause, such questions as compulsion for the congested districts—the constituents of the Congested Districts Board—and the zones? The Chief Secretary the other night seemed to be of opinion that by some ingenious device he might so 323 contract the Bill as to prevent the possibility of them raising any questions except those narrow points that he desired to amend himself. He urged the right hon. Gentleman not to take that course. By suggesting these Amendments they would not want to reopen the whole Irish land question. They wanted to concentrate themselves upon two or three of these important questions. It would be most unwise to attempt by any ingenious device to confine the debate to the two or three points which the right hon. Gentleman had mentioned. To hint even at interfering with the passage of the amending Bill was a serious thing; but Irish Members took such a serious view of these other defects, believing that unless they are dealt with the Bill for years to come would be a failure in the congested districts, that he felt bound to tell the right hon. Gentleman that if he attempted to confine his measure to these questions they would feel it their duty in the interests generally of the tenants to see that no measure of that kind for the relief of one particular class of the landlords was allowed to pass unless they had a fair opportunity of raising all those other points which they considered to be of the utmost importance.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said that the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent was mistaken in supposing that he or the hon. and learned Member for Waterford or the Prime Minister or anyone else had asserted that the passing of the Land Act of last year would settle all questions of controversy between this country and Ireland.
§ MR. COGHILL
It was certainly accepted in that belief by the great bulk of Members on this side of the House.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said the two occasions when such declarations might be expected to have been made were the Second Reading and the Third Reading. On the Second Reading he said—We are asked, Will you settle the land question—will you settle the Irish question? Sir, I do not know.And the Prime Minister on the Third Reading said—A settlement of the Irish land question makes it far more probable that we should be 324 able to discuss and consider the many questions—constitutional, political, and religious, racial and financial—upon which, in the past, discussion has been so acrimonious, with a chance of an unbiassed mind.The hon. and learned Member for Water-ford had asked when they would introduce the amending Bill. At the earliest possible moment, and subject only to financial obligations and Imperial necessities. He had no reason to believe that the Bill would be introduced at a late date. A second question asked was, Would it provide a remedy for all the alleged ambiguities?—that was the phrase he chose, because there had been an amount of rumour and gossip in Ireland which certainly exceeded his anticipation. He did not complain, for if they attempted to settle the land question by a loan of £100,000,000 and a grant of £12,000,000, thus affecting the interests, not only of the landlord, but of the tenant, naturally everybody would speculate as to whether things had been definitely and conclusively decided. Therefore he could not quite answer that question. His view was that he ought to decide in an amending Bill all the alleged ambiguities which he thought could reasonably occur to any sensible man in the country. If he were to attempt in an amending Bill to settle all the ambiguities which had been suggested it would be almost as long as the original Act. He was asked, Was there any doubt of the powers of the Estates Commissioners to define an estate? On the whole he thought not, but there might be ambiguity in some directions. The same question was put to him by the hon. Member for South Tyrone, who asked whether, if a landlord with a number of uneconomic holdings, who was also in possession of a large amount of untenanted land, submitted a bargain for the sale of the tenanted land to the Estates Commissioners, were they bound to define it as an estate? He said clearly they were not. He had not a shadow of doubt on that point.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
There is no ambiguity in this Act which would prevent them from exercising the discretionary powers vested in them under this Act.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Certainly. There was not a shadow of doubt on his mind, and that was a point which he did not think need be dealt with. If, however, he was advised that there were doubts which ought to be allayed, that would be another matter. He had no doubt himself that the Commissioners were not bound to pass such an estate, and if they did their duties under the Act they would be bound in such a case to represent that a certain amount of untenanted land should be put into the pool. It must be a matter of discretion. The amount of available untenanted land varied in different parts of Ireland, and it would be unfair to penalise a landlord or his tenant if the former had not the necessary untenanted land at his disposal. It would then be the duty of the Estates Commissioners to endeavour, by purchasing untenanted land elsewhere, to remedy this economic defect. The greatest tribute he had ever received was the assumption which appeared to have been made that this Act ought to have settled the whole of the difficulties in three months. Of course that was quite absurd.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman had not received legal opinion to the effect that the Commissioners would be bound in such a case to accept the untenanted land as an estate.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said he must be excused from going into the advice which might or might not have been given him by the law officers. He had, however unguardedly given him a negative answer on the point he had raised. The next specific question was whether the bonus would be paid on untenanted land which was sold with tenanted land. That could be done in his opinion, but there was a doubt which ought to be removed. Then came the question whether the amending Bill would be drawn in such a form as to enable or facilitate the 326 raising of all the points referred to in the Amendment now before the House. For the reasons he would presently submit, he thought that would be a mistake, and he did not propose to draft the Bill in that form. Turning to the Amendment before the House he thought the ground had been fully covered by the lucid speech of the mover, so that it would be well to follow the points as raised by the hon. Member. The first was that it might be considered inopportune and unnecessary to bring forward this Amendment, seeing that the Act had been in operation only three months. He thought it was unnecessary because he doubted whether the suggested Amendments would accelerate the pace or diminish the cost of the working of the Act. As to its being inopportune it was inopportune in the sense that three months was a very short period in the life of such an Act and that the experimental stage could not be said to be over. But from another point of view it was by no means inopportune. He welcomed the opportunity of saying what had been happening under the Act. Great interest was evidenced in England in regard to the matter, as was shown by the fact that in the same week one gentleman assured him the Act was working at such a pace that a demand for £50,000,000 in one year would be irresistible, and another declared that the transactions were so impeded that the country was on the verge of a period of agrarian discontent comparable with that which all remembered and deplored. The fact that such extremes of opinion were held showed there was need of guidance. The mover of the Amendment had stated that the intention of Parliament was that there should be a transfer of land to the occupiers on terms fair to both landlord and tenant, that the evicted tenants should be dealt with, and a cure found for congestion. Well, there had been some 3,000 holdings sold for £1,500,000; that was on the average £500 a holding, and that did not suggest that the Act was being used merely to assist the purchase of large farms by comparatively opulent men. He expressed his regret that he was not able to supply Mr. Redmond with statistical information. He was only able to approach him with meagre information. He had a decided opinion that he ought 327 not to have encouraged the Estate-Commissioners to forego their arduous administrative labours in order to supply him with a debating case upon the Address. The hon. Member's argument was that the value of land was going down in Ireland. He was not going to quarrel with him on that point, but he would remind the hon. Member that in the earlier discussions on the question of purchase most of them were, in agreement that the volume of purchase under the old Acts was decreasing in amount, and that the prices in terms of years purchase were increasing. He doubted whether the Land Conference would have been held but for the presence of these two facts. During the discussion over the land question he had never made himself responsible for expressing an opinion as to what the price of Irish land should be, and he was not going to do so now. The best advice on this point was to be found in the Conference Report, which assserted general principles and left their application to the parties who knew all the circumstances of the case. The averages varied in every province of Ireland—in every estate and in different holdings of that estate, and. therefore, to proceed on the principle of averages was to adopt a very rough-and-ready manner indeed. It had been suggested by the hon. Member for South Tyrone that the people of Ulster would not do badly if they purchased on terms which gave them a reduction of Is. in the £, but the circumstances were different in every locality, and almost in the case of every individual. One landlord would not sell cheaper than the Act, and on the other hand, there were tenants who could afford to give a better price, and would sooner do that than postpone the moment at which they became owners. Again, there were tenants who did not feel that they could undertake such a serious obligation unless they saw reasonable prospects of paying the instalments for a number of years.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said that he had alway contended that estates differed, and he thought, as a whole, that the tenants would be safe if they bought with 4s. in the £ reduction on second-term rents. He did not say that there were not estates where the might be able to 328 pay more, but he had always taken into account the differences that might exist.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said that was precisely what he intended to convey. They all admitted that there were exceptions both ways, and that was the principle embodied in the Report of the Land Conference. The hon. Member for Waterford gave them excellent advice in his speech at Newcastle, County Down, when he urged the tenants not to lose the chance of becoming the owners of the soil upon any small trivial or insignificant point, and not to enter into negotiations in a hostile, but in a conciliatory spirit. He agreed with that advice, for he thought it was very excellent. After all there was not so much in dispute. The hon. Member who moved this Amendment said that in his opinion the prices arrived at were too high. He was not going to express any opinion upon prices, because it was not for the author of an Act to lay down a standard of prices. The mover of this Amendment attributed the prices which had been given under the Land Act to the zones, but he differed from that contention altogether. They discussed the question of zones for many days last year, and during the discussion the hon. Member for Cork said he did not agree that minute inspection was a very useful matter. On the 15th of June the hon. Member said—Minute inspection and valuation of over 300,000 holdings would have to be made, with the result that a generation would pass away before any general transfer of land was effected.He invited the attention of hon. Members opposite to that point. Proceeding, the hon. Member went on to say that inside the zones it was quite necessary that some inspection should take place to ascertain that there was no subletting and other securities, but all this could be rapidly and efficiently done by men of the surveyor class, which would not involve a system of inspection by highly-paid officials to report upon security and price. Of course any Land Bill must be a compromise, but the main thing to the tenant was the substantial reduction he got upon the second-term rent he has paid. There was nothing in the Amendment for the security 329 of the taxpayer of this country, because his security depended not upon the capital that passed, but the margin between the instalments paid to the State and the fair rent fixed by the judicial Court—a rent elaborately arrived at in order to determine whether land could or could not, taking good with bad years, pay a certain sum for a period of fifteen years. Their view was that it was legitimate to shorten the time, and to say that 2s. less than that was a good enough security for them. To shorten time in another way they said that 4s. less than that might be passed without allowing any option to any other party interested to interfere in any way. Cases would readily occur to hon. Members of this kind, in which an old man, who was the owner of the property, might sell for a sons, without having due regard to the interests of others. They provided against that by an inferior limit to these reductions, and they said that on second-term rents if the reduction was lower than 4s. there should be some investigation, in order to see that neither of the parties were injured. Those terms were accepted by all parties interested on the 14th of July. It was accepted not only by the hon. and learned Member opposite but by other Members of his Party, who perhaps did not share so fully his anticipation of the success of the Land Act. He might take, for example, the hon. Member for East Mayo, who agreed that they had met hon. Members opposite half-way at least. He was not going to say whether he attached much importance to the zones or not. He did not wish to press this point in a controversial spirit, but after a long and anxious debate they all agreed that that was a compromise which might stand. Supposing the zones were of great value, or little value, he did not care which, they had no effect on 330 prices, but even if they had, was it not unwise to disturb such a compromise so arrived at, and to court, as they did, by such an act of disturbance, a feeling on the part of the other parties that all idea of security must be abandoned? Hon. Members opposite spoke with a knowledge of their own districts. In any one district it was clear that there must have been many abortive negotiations; but if they took the country as a whole they would find that the operation of the Act was. proceeding as fast, he would not say as anyone could desire, but as fast as anyone could finance it. He claimed that so far as the Government were concerned they carried out their share of the compromise, and as far as possible the additional recommendations made by hon. Members opposite. And in order not to disturb the sense of security which still did obtain in Ireland he would ask hon. Members to think once and twice before they suggested the re-opening of a compromise definitely arrived at after prolonged debate within three months of the day on which the Act came into operation.
He would now give some information as to what was going on in Ireland. The total amount of direct sales embraced 135 estates, 3,070 holdings, and £1,500,000 of purchase-money. In correction of false estimates which had been given of the money which passed in connection with the sale of the Leinster Estate, he would say that the purchase money was £640,000, and the bonus was some £170,000. It was difficult to collect all the information asked for, but inquiries had been instituted at random into 1,580 cases of sales. Of holdings upon which rents had been fixed before August, 1896, there were 580, the reduction had 331 been 29.4 and the average number of years' purchase had been 21.7. Of holdings upon which rents had been fixed since August, 1896, there had been 728, and the average reduction had been 19.7. That was very near the mean, but that was an accident. One feature in the first clause of the Act to which he invited attention was that a distinction was made between judicial rents and non-judicial rents. Of holdings upon which no judicial rent had been fixed there were 543, and the average reduction in those cases had been 30.7. He did not think he would be justified in going at great length into arithmetical calculations; but supposing such results were normal it would pay a man in Con-naught to buy on those averages, even if he had a first-term rent, rather than wait to have a second-term rent fixed.
He would now deal with the question of untenanted land. The Amendment suggested that the Estates Commissioners had not sufficient power to purchase untenanted land. Strongly as he objected to the principle of compulsion, deeply as he believed it would disturb the spirit of conciliation now existing in Ireland—[A NATIONALIST MEMBER: Where is the conciliation by the landlords?]—Well, perhaps he might be permitted to waive that, and to say that he did not think it was necessary at this moment to suggest that the powers for securing untenanted land were ineffective. The procedure under the Act was entirely novel, and it was hardly possible in three months to devise a staff organisation to get into touch with all the untenanted lands that might possibly be bought. There were many difficulties in the way of working this Act, but he had not found that the absence of compulsory powers was one of them. It was of the 332 essence of the Act that where that was possible they should look rather to direct arrangements between the landlord and his tenants and others who might wish to occupy untenanted land. They could not expect that men would take up in three months an entirely novel process and devise a completely new manner of managing their estates. In the circumstances he thought the results were fairly good. He had a list of twenty-two estates, and he found that the landlords had made arrangements for selling 7,650 acres of untenanted land to persons mentioned in Section 2 of the Act or to the Commissioners for the purposes of the Act.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said his information on that point would come in better when he was dealing with the purchases by the Congested Districts Board, but some of these were in Connaught. Besides these estates there were some which had been sold under Sections 7 and 8—that was entirely untenanted land—to the Estates Commissioners under the Act. He would point out to hon. Members opposite that the question of congestion could not be dealt with on the lines which were advocated in this Amendment. It was suggested that all defined as "congested estates" must of necessity be sold to the Estates Commissioners and ought not to be dealt with by voluntary arrangement between the landlord and the tenants on the property. If they succeeded in carrying the Amendment they would 333 largely limit and paralyse the operation of the Act. Over and over again it would be found that one landlord owned a large property, part of which was composed of very rich large farms, part of fairly good farms, and part rushy and mountainous land. An estate of that character could not be dealt with on any uniform plan. They must not fetter the discretion of the Estates Commissioners before the Act had had a fair trial. Suppose he did accept the Amendment, which, of course, he could not do, and declared that all congested estates should be sold to the Commissioners, there might be estates a portion of which only was congested. That portion would have to be sold to the Commissioners and the rest would be left to be disposed of by direct sale. They must leave to the landlords a chance of solying these problems. As to the case of the evicted tenants, he had been asked whether money could be advanced under the Act as a free gift to put back evicted tenants. All he could say was that there was no more money now and no greater limitation on the use of the money. He had never had any doubt in his mind on the point; but he must not be held to say that there was an unlimited amount of money to give to people who could borrow. The hon. Member for South Tyrone had asked whether the amending Bill would be retrospective. That would be so. With regard to sales in Ulster, better news had reached him than had reached the hon. Member for South Tyrone. He knew very well large estates in Ulster which were going to be sold in the near future, and he believed the sale of them would determine the sale of others. The Bill was accepted to be worked and given a fair chance. He did not complain of the 334 Amendment, which afforded an opportunity of seeing how things were going on, but three months was a very short time, and he recommended hon. Members to give the Act a rather longer run. There had been no occasion so far for advocating compulsory sale in the congested districts. The Act had only been in operation since December, and the Congested Districts Board had purchased seven estates for £156,900; it was in negotiation for the purchase of six estates for £100,672, and it was considering the purchase of sixty other estates. Could anyone suppose that with compulsory powers they could secure the purchase in even six months of more than seventy estates? In the purchases already completed they had got more untenanted land than tenanted land. They had bought 2,300 acres of untenanted land, they were negotiating for 1,600 acres more, and were having reports made respecting 15,000 acres. What good would compulsory powers have been to them? The mere mention of compulsory powers would make every landlord of untenanted land draw back into his shell. On the other hand, they had had no difficulty in buying untenanted land suited to their needs: and he had no doubt that, when the owners of grass land knew that they were to be paid a fair price, such land would come more rapidly into the market, and they would proceed apace with the solution of the difficult question of congestion. Compulsory power, so far from helping them, would lead to loss of time, of temper, and to the breaking up of the general agreement that existed that they should deal not only with the transfer of land to the occupier, but with the problem of the evicted tenants, and with congestion. At the present rate of progress it would 335 be a severe task upon him to see that the financial limit of £5,000,000 was not exceeded in one year; and in the present state of the money market it would not be possible to ask for more than £5,000,000. Indeed, prudence dictated that they should take less, but a bargain was a bargain. He said they would finance land purchase at that rate for the first three years, and he stood by his part of the bargain. Land purchase was going on as rapidly as one could expect it to go within the financial limit he had laid down, and surely if differences existed on this or that thorny question they might be allowed to wait for six months, or even one or two years, and be settled by the general spirit of conciliation. He thought that they might all congratulate themselves that the Bill had been brought in last year instead of this. They seized the occasion which the Land Conference offered. In December, 1902, Consols were at ninety-two and a-half, in January last at ninety-three, and on 16th February at ninety-two and three-quarters. Now Consols stood at eighty-six and a-half, so that had the Land Conference not occurred last year, the fall in Consols would have made it impossible to bring in a Bill this year. They should make the best of the chance that had befallen them, and agree that in the Act there was still to be found elements which might conduce to a fuller and richer national life in Ireland, and to a more complete accord among all classes in that country.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY (Northumberland, Berwick)
said he did not propose to attempt to follow the right hon. Gentleman in the technical merits of the ques- 336 tion. That he would leave to those who might be better informed on these points than he was. Speaking from the point of view of the British taxpayer, he confessed he was not at all discouraged in regard to the working of the Land Act. Even the hon. Member for Stoke, who posed as the representative of the British taxpayer, admitted that it was better for the taxpayer that the Act should be a success than a failure; and as hon. Members came from Ireland and proposed certain Amendments, which they affirmed would ensure the success of the Act without entailing the voting of more money, the hon. Member for Stoke ought to have jumped to those Amendments. But the hon. Member took too narrow a view. While he made himself partly responsible for the Government of Ireland, he must take the view of a statesman as well as that of a British taxpayer. The hon. Gentleman made the attempt to be a statesman, and asked what was the return to be for all this money; was it to be the increased prosperity of Ireland? There was a general confession that the dual system of land ownership had paralysed the prosperity of Ireland, and it was also a general confession that the evils of the Irish land system had been due to the mistakes of the British Parliament. If all this was to be put right, the increased prosperity of Ireland and the enjoyment of a better conscience, would amply repay the British taxpayer for any sacrifices he had made. He agreed entirely with what had been said by the hon. Member for Waterford as to the limitation of the hopes to be founded on the working of the Act. It had never been put forward as a final settlement of all outstanding questions, 337 certainly never by the Chief Secretary. It might be that it would have an effect on political movements in Ireland; it might be that it would unite classes hitherto divided; it might be that it would disentangle political questions from future controversies about land, and bring about a calm and reasonable way of discussing these questions. That might be, and he hoped it would be. But no one would be aggrieved if it did less. The Act was not intended as a final settlement, but only as the great beginning of the settlement of the land question; and many things had to be left out of it last year because it was undesirable to overload it. The Chief Secretary had said that three months after the Act came into operation was too soon to consider its Amendment; but he then proceeded to promise that on an early day he would introduce a Bill to make some Amendments! Therefore, the difference between the Chief Secretary and the Irish Members was not one of principle or time, but only one of degree. He did not intend to enter into technical points, but he had been impressed by the remarks of several hon. Members from Ireland as to the apparent rise in the price of land, or the price expected for land. He could not help thinking that there was a possibility of the zones system resulting in defeating the successful working of the Act, because that system might induce people to stand out for a higher price. The question of price was of the very essence of the working of the Act, and he had always felt that sooner or later a larger measure of compulsion would be required to complete the work of the Act.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
said that the Solicitor-General for England said "No, no!" to that, but he went further. He considered that the provision of a cheaper and more rapid method of working a compulsory system of land purchase was to be desired and expected not only of Ireland but for home as well. That was one of the problems we would have to solve soon. He thought that before they completed and settled the Irish system they would have at any rate to keep an open mind with regard to the introduction of compulsion. He did not wish to hustle the Chief Secretary, if he might use a fashionable phrase, but he did feel that steady pressure was justifiable and desirable; and he was not sure that the Chief Secretary himself did not feel that steady pressure sometimes strengthened his own hands. He looked upon the Act of last session—and he gave the Chief Secretary and the Government full credit for it—as a great beginning, but it was not yet the end. The Government had it in trust to see that the Act was a success. He was not surprised that experience had already suggested some Amendments to that Act. He hoped experience would suggest further Amendments. He trusted that the Chief Secretary would keep an open mind with regard to future Amendments while he was in office, because he was sure that his own Government or any future Government would have to introduce further Amendments from time to time in the working of the Act, and he hoped he would 339 carry that open mind with him if it ever should be his fate to cross the floor of the House and give a frank and sympathetic support to the Amendments which might come from the Government which succeeded him.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said he felt it almost a rudeness to try and wake up the House from the dream which the eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was calculated to excite. The whole tone of the speech of the right hon. Centleman showed an absolute want of appreciation of the real state of Ireland at the present moment. They had been accustomed to Chief Secretaries of all Parties coming to the House and picturing Ireland as a perfect Paradise of almost unbroken peace on the very eve of an outbreak of agrarian discontent. He warned the House that they should not regard Ireland from the point of view of the lotus-eater, but study the real conditions of the country. They had had a most disastrous season. He believed that in England the land question would be settled, on right and just lines, by a compromise on the part of both tenants and landlords. On the other hand, in Ireland the landlord was the spoilt child of legislation, though the hon. Gentleman opposite would say that they were the despoiled children of legislation. But it required all the machinery of agitation and courts of law to compel them to give the reduction of rent which every decent landlord here gave to his tenants. By last year's Act the Irish landlords were actually paid for selling their land at a very good price. If any landlord in England was offered 340 a price for his land equal to 90 per cent. of the gross rental, he would at once jump at it, and invest the money in industrial enterprises in this country. At the present moment the landlords of Ireland, instead of meeting the situation caused by the disastrous season in a reasonable manner, were offering their land for sale at zones prices, which no tenant ought to entertain, and which no tenant would entertain unless he took leave of his senses. Arrears were playing their ancient part in Ireland, and their old friend the hanging gale had once more raised his sinister head, and was being used by the landlord for the purpose of extracting an extravagant price from the tenant. All over the country there was a feeling of disappointment at the working of the Act, and of strong indignation against the landlords. The right hon Gentleman the Chief Secretary said he had nothing to do with the price. Was the right hon. Gentleman not the author of the zones section of the Act? The zones were in the Act for the purpose of inflating the price in Ireland. Members on these Benches had told the right hon. Gentleman so last year till they almost imperilled the Bill. When the right hon. Gentleman put up his blunder bus at their heads, what choice had they but to accept what he offered? Three or four years ago a landlord went to the Land Commission and said that he and his tenants had agreed that his estate should be sold for eighteen years purchase, but the Land Commission declared that they would not sanction eighteen years purchase, because it was unfair to the tenants and to the estate. Now, however, the same landlord was asking 341 twenty-five years purchase. The Chief Secretary had said that he was going to bring in a Bill, the scope of which most of them regarded as mainly to the advantage of the landlord, and he announced that the Bill would be in such a shape as to preclude the discussion of the interests
§ of the tenant. These declarations compelled the Irish Members to divide.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes. 124; Noes, 219. (Division List No. 5).343
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Hardie, J. Keir (M'rthyr Tydvil)||O'Mara, James|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Shee, James John|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bell, Richard||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Reddy, M.|
|Blake, Edward||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Boland, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Brigg, John||Jordan, Jeremiah||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Joyce, Michael||Rigg, Richard|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Kearley, Hudson E.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Burns, John||Kilbride, Denis||Roche, John|
|Caldwell, James||Labouchere, Henry||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Lambert, George||Rose, Charles Day|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.||Russell, T. W.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lough, Thomas||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lundon, W.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Crean, Eugene||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Shackleton, David James|
|Crooks, William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Cullinan, J.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Delany, William||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Sheehy, David|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||M'Kean, John||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Duffy, William J.||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants|
|Ellice, Capt E.C (S Andrw'sBghs||Mooney, John J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Murphy, John||Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Wason, Jn. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Field, William||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, M.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Wood, James|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Young, Jamuel|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert Jn.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick)||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Dowd, John|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Hammond, John||O'Malley, William|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hen. Eden||Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bignold, Arthur|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Balcarres, Lord||Bigwood, James|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Balfour, Capt, C. B. (Hornsey)||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F (Middlesex|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John|
|Arrol, Sir William||Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Brotherton, Edward Allen|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Mich. Hicks||Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Heath, James (Staffords., N.W.||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Heaton, John Henniker||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Butcher, John George||Helder, Axigustus||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Purvis, Robert|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Hogg, Lindsay||Pym, C. Guy|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hope, J.F (Sheffield, Brightside||Randles, John S.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hoult, Joseph||Rankin, Sir James|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A (Worc.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Chapman, Edward||Hunt, Rowland||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Ridley, Hn. M. W.(Stalybridge|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Coates, Edward Feetham||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Roberts, Jamuel (Sheffield)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Kerr, John||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Keswick, William||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Kimber, Henry||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Knowles, Sir Lees||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Lawrence, Sir J. (Monmouth)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Denny, Colonel||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Dewar, Sir T.R (Tower Hamlets||Lawson, John G. (Yorks., N. R.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)||Smith, H. C (North'mb. Tynesid|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.||Spear, John Ward|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Long, Rt. Hn. W.(Bristol, S.)||Stanley, Edward Jas.(Somerset|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Durnins-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lowe, Francis William||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Stock, James Henry|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Fison, Frederick William||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||Manners, Lord Cecil||Tuff, Charles|
|Forster, Henry William||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S.W.)||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Fyler, John Arthur||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriessh.||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Gardner, Ernest||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E(Taunton|
|Garfit, William||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Whiteley, H.(Ashton und.Lyne|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E (Elgin&Nairn)||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants.)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.|
|Greene, Sir E. W (B'rySEdm'nds||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Wilson-Todd, Sir W.H.(Yorks.)|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Morrell, George Herbert||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E.R.(Bath|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Morrison, James Archibald||Wolff, Gustay Wilhelm|
|Gretton, John||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Groves, James Grimble||Mount, William Arthur||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich||Parker, Sir Gilbert|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Percy, Earl|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ And, it being after Midnight, the debate stood adjourned.344
§ Debate to be resumed to-morrow.
§ Adjourned at ten minutes after Twelve o'clock.