HC Deb 08 July 1904 vol 137 cc1105-43


Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

said that under ordinary circumstances he should have supposed that the right hon. Gentleman would have made this Motion in a speech to the House. He had no right to complain that the right hon. Gentleman had taken another course. The right hon. Gentleman had intimated to him a few moments ago his desire to speak at the end of the debate, and in these circumstances it devolved upon him (Mr. Redmond) to move the Motion standing in his name upon the Paper. He moved this Motion as the outcome of the decision arrived at in a national convention held in Dublin a few months ago. That convention was an assembly which might fairly be said to be representative of the national sentiment throughout the whole country. These assemblies represented not merely branches of the political organisation with which the Irish representatives on those Benches were identified, but all the elected public bodies in Ireland— county councils, district councils, and so forth, all through the country. They were representative of the clergy of all denominations, or they were open to the clergy of all denominations, and, therefore, he felt it was only fair to say that the decision unanimously come to by an assembly of that kind was a decision representing the overwhelming sentiment of the Nationalists of Ireland. He therefore moved this Resolution as the outcome of that convention and on behalf of the Irish Nationalist Party in the House of Commons.

The first thing he desired to say to the right hon. Gentleman and the House was this. This Motion was not to be taken by the right hon. Gentleman or anybody else as an expression of hostility or unfriendliness to the proper working of the Land Act of last year or as indicating any departure whatever from the attitude they adopted on the Third Reading of the Bill at the end of last year. This Motion was a protest against the action of the Government in so framing this Bill as to preclude the possibility of discussing those various defects which had come to light in the working of the former Bill, and in so framing it as to limit discussion to one particular drafting defect which affected the payment of the bonus in certain cases. Now he might say that exactly this time last year, when speaking upon the Third Reading, he used the following words which he hoped he might be forgiven for quoting to the House. He said on that occasion— We cannot remain silent upon this occasion lest our critics may say that our silence was an indication of our satisfaction with the shape in which the Bill stands at this moment, and that we accept full responsibility for everything in it and for its successful working. I had better say at once this is not our Bill, it is the Bill of the Government, the responsibility for it rests not upon us but upon the Government. The Bill as it stands is marked by defects and omissions which make it necessary for us to emphasise the fact that after all the responsibility is not ours, the Bill is the Government's Bill. He then proceeded to point out those various matters in which his friends and he considered the measure defective. He though the could truly say that upon every one of those points the working of the Act, so far as it had gone, had proved that they were right, and he moved this Motion as a protest against this manœuvre on the part of the Government whereby they were prevented from discussing on this Bill the various defects which had come to light and which urgently needed amendment.

The actual proposal in the Bill was simplicity itself; it was to rectify certain mistakes in the drafting of the measure whereby the admitted intentions of Parliament had been frustrated. One of those mistakes apparently prevented the possibility of payment of the bonus in certain cases on the sale of untenanted land, and he wished to say that nothing that they did or said upon this matter should be taken as indicating any hostility upon their part to the payment of the bonus for the sale of untenanted land. On the contrary, they all recognised that upon the rapid sale of the grass lands of Ireland, upon the rapid distribution of those lands in the enlargement of uneconomic holdings in the country, and in the provision for evicted tenants, depended absolutely the settlement of the most acute phase of the Irish! land question; and if through that extra-ordinary blunder on the part of the Government draftsmen, and through the extraordinary oversight on the part of the Law Officers of the Crown, who had charge of the legal portion of this Bill passing through the House, a mistake had arisen in the wording of the measure which destroyed one of the chief inducements to promote the sale of the grass lands in Ireland then no one would dream of taking the responsibility of preventing the rectification of that mistake. But they believed that the sale of the untenanted grass lands of the country had not been in the main stopped by the mistake. The right hon. Gentleman on the preceding night, in the very inter- esting speech that he made, explained that so far as the operations of the Congested Districts Board were concerned, that mistake did not operate because he told them that he and the Board had taken the responsibility of undertaking to pay the bonus, and that the sale of land up to the present, so far as the Congested Districts Board was concerned, had proceeded as if the mistake had not taken place. And what had been the result? He had not the exact figures, but in the nine months working of the Bill the amount of untenanted land purchased by the Congested Districts Board had been lamentably small, and the reason why it had been so very small must be looked for quite apart altogether from the mistake in the wording. That was exactly what they predicted during the Committee stage last year, and on the Third Reading also they said that quite apart from the question of the bonus, the measure as it stood would not lead to the sale of the grass lands of Connaught and the West of Ireland as rapidly as was necessary. He said at that time— We do not believe the Bill as it stands will be able to grapple successfully with the congested districts question. The constitution of the Board is such that we do not believe that it has any serious chance of being able to settle this question, and I am convinced that in a comparatively short space of time the Government will find that the advice which we gave them as the result of our experience, and which they have rejected, must be accepted if this question is to be settled. And he said now that the failure of the Act to break up the grass lands of Connaught was due not to the defect with reference to the bonus, but to an entirely different cause. First of all he believed it was due to some extent, perhaps to a large extent, to the present constitution and policy of the Congested Districts Board. Last year they pressed strongly upon the right hon. Gentleman the necessity of amending the constitution of that Board. But he neglected their advice, and he believed himself that, until some radical amendment was made, its work would not be carried out with that vigour which was essential if this question was to be settled in a short space of time. But a great deal more important was the absence of all compulsory powers in the hands of the Board to acquire these grass lands. This was not a question of general compulsory purchase in Ireland. It was a limited question which came up for discussion in the land conference which initiated the Land Bill of last year, and there was no difference of opinion at that land conference between the representatives of landlords and tenants that, so far as Connaught or the grass lands in the West and Congested Districts of Ireland were concerned, compulsory powers were desirable and would be necessary, and a paragraph was put in the report which plainly indicated that that was the unanimous opinion. The opinion had been almost unanimous everywhere upon the subject. The Board itself, as the right hon. Gentleman remembered, in 1895 passed a unanimous resolution declaring that they could not satisfactorily carry on their work unless they had compulsory powers, and he could appeal to him himself, because last year in speaking of this question he declined to put compulsory powers into his Bill. What was the reason he gave? Not that he thought compulsory powers were wrong, but because he thought they were unnecessary. He said the inducements to sell under the Bill were so great that there would be no difficulty in acquiring the grass lands of the West. He clearly indicated the view that if his anticipation proved to be false and the inducements to sell were not sufficient, he himself would have no objection to the principle of compulsion as applied to this particular case. He (Mr. Redmond) and his colleagues protested against the form in which the Bill was drawn, because it prevented any possibility of raising the question of compulsory powers for the Congested Districts Board, and hindered the discussion of questions which were operating to prevent the successful working of the Act in the West of Ireland.

There were certain features in the working of the Land Act, so far as it had gone, which undoubtedly were causing the gravest possible anxiety, and which, in the highest interests of the country, ought to be immediately the subject of careful consideration and amendment of the law. The first—he put it first because he believed it was most urgent— was the question of the untenanted lands and of the enlargement of uneconomic holdings. If everything else in the Act were perfect, if it worked all over the country successfully and satisfactorily, and if this question of the breaking up of the grass lands were left out, the land question in Ireland would not be near a settlement. It was from the question of the uneconomic holdings that all the trouble, all the misery, all the crime, and all the emigration which had been caused by the land question had sprung, and it was futile to think that any measure—even although it worked satisfactorily elsewhere — would settle the Irish land war if that portion which related to the West of Ireland was unsatisfactory, and yet the Government had jockeyed them out of the possibility of effectively discussing this question, and of proposing any amendments in the law which in nine months working had been proved to be defective.

The second question which was exercising the public mind in Ireland and was causing the gravest anxiety, was the question of the evicted tenants. Again, he said with reference to the evicted tenants' question what he had said with reference to Connaught—there could be no settlement of the Irish land question which did not include a settlement of the evicted tenants question, and he was afraid the Estates Commissioners did not seem to realise how much of the success of the measure throughout Ireland depended upon their attitude with regard to the evicted tenants. He wished hon. Gentlemen to realise that there could be no peace, no settlement, and no end of the land war until these men were restored to their homes or were given farms elsewhere. Again, they were absolutely precluded from raising any question in Committee or any Amendment. But perhaps the most widely serious aspect of all was the action which had been taken by a large section of the Irish landlords themselves. He knew that the Bill of last year gave full power to the Land Commissioners to say what was an estate and what was not, and they had full power to say to the landlord, "We will not hold this to be an estate and will not allow the sale to go through unless you put in along with the tenanted land the grass lands which you have." He knew that they had that power; but he knew nothing of the exercise of that power by them. It would be satisfactory to the whole country if the right lion. Gentleman would give them an assurance that in cases of that kind the Estates Commissioners would decline to define as an estate any portion of tenanted land brought in where the landlord refused to sell the grass lands in his possession. They had knowledge of cases in which there had been a refusal to restore evicted tenants to their holdings, and they had particularly a case in which Lord Lansdowne had absolutely refused to consider the question of the restoration of an evicted tenant. His was not the case of an ordinary landlord. He was a member of the Government, the Leader of the House of Lords, and a member of the Government also that promoted the Land Act, and one of the landlords who approved of the land conference. Last year an Amendment was moved in the House of Lords by the Earl of West-meath, the object of which was practically to destroy the evicted tenants' clause in the Bill. That was resisted by the Government, and Lord Lansdowne said— If this Bill had in his eyes one recommendation more than another it was that they saw in it the possibility of the restoration of peace and goodwill between landlords and tenants in Ireland. Surely, added Lord Lansdowne, the Earl of Westmeath and Lord Barry-more must know that this provision for the restoration of the evicted tenants, or their representatives in suitable cases, to the holdings which they once occupied was an essential element in the compromise; and that if that element had been excluded the Bill might not at that moment be on the Table of the House at all. That statement was quite inconsistent with the action which had been, as far as he knew, rightly attributed to Lord Lansdowne, and it was rather a serious matter when an example of that kind was set by a person representing the Government, and who himself was one of the authors of the Bill. Further than that, there unquestionably was on foot in many parts of Ireland an attempt by certain landlords to force their tenants to "buy on terms fixed by the landlords themselves, by calling up the hanging gale, and by proceeding for old arrears. That was a most deplorable thing if it were true. He took his information not only from the Press, but from his colleagues, who came there and spoke of what they knew in their own districts. Their statement was that hanging gales, some of which had been in existence since the famine, had been suddenly called up —in many cases simply to bring pressure to bear on the tenants to agree to any terms the landlord might propose. The result was that over a large portion of Ireland there was friction, and he was afraid there was trouble brewing; and just as the hopes and anticipations aroused by the Act of last year were great so would the trouble be serious and deep if those hopes were disappointed. Yet the Government, in face of that state of things, refused the Irish Members an opportunity on this Bill of discussing Amendments to the Act which had been shown to be necessary by the working of the last nine months. In taking that course, in his judgment, the Government was acting with unheard of folly. The Irish Party's attitude towards the measure had not changed. The hon. Member for East Mayo said last year— This Bill leaves the House with the goodwill of the Irish Party, and with a pledge from us that we will give it fair play, with an honest desire, according to our lights, to make it work. That was their attitude then; it had been their attitude since; it was their attitude now. But they felt bound to protest against being deprived of the opportunity of a full and free discussion of those defects which experience had shown was marring the working of the Act, and of proposing Amendments which experience had proved to be necessary if the measure was really to secure the beneficent results to which they all looked forward last year. For these reasons he moved the Motion standing in his name.


in seconding the Amendment, said it embodied the conclusion unanimously adopted at the recent National Convention, and might therefore be regarded as practically the mandate of the Irish people. The object of the Government Bill was merely to remedy certain defects in the drafting of the Land Act of last year, and, therefore, it was, of course, a matter of far more concern to the landlords than to the tenants. At the same time this Bill, under ordinary circumstances, would be useful and would have the support of Irish Members, because it would be very desirable to facilitate the working of the Land Act if only for the sake of the restoration of evicted tenants to their homes. But, under existing conditions and in view of the exorbitant prices demanded by Irish landlords, he thought it extremely doubtful whether it was desirable to accelerate the present pace. It was intended that the tenants should gain at least some advantage from the bonus; but experience showed that the bonus had only served to increase the price of land. It seemed to have whetted the appetites of the Irish landlords. The Chief Secretary seemed to measure the success of the Act by the number of sales that had been effected. He ventured, however, to think that the real point was whether the tenants were getting value for their money. If the terms on which the sale of land was taking place were equitable and just, the more speedily the land was transferred from the landlords to the tenants the better; but, on the other hand, if the tenants were paying more than the market value of the land, each transaction increased the risk of the Irish ratepayers, because undoubtedly it must place an undue burden upon the purchaser. The whole question turned upon the point whether the terms were fair or unfair, safe or unsafe.

What had happened during the past twelve months to boom the price of land in Ireland? While prices had gone up the value of Irish land had steadily gone down. That appeared to be a very unnatural situation. He was able to speak from personal experience and knowledge of the subject, because he was a practical Irish farmer, and although most of the land which he farmed was his own property, and no land in Ireland was farmed better, he found it more difficult each year to make any profit whatever. This was owing undoubtedly to increasing foreign competition and to the increasing cost of production. What, then must be the condition of farmers who were struggling to pay heavy annual instalments? He considered their situation most serious, and that fact ought to be recognised by the Chief Secretary. The terms would be too high even if the rents were fair rents; but how could judicial rents be fair when they were all fixed by landlords and not by tenants? The Attorney-General for Ireland had never packed an Irish jury as the present Government and the landlords between them had packed the Irish Land Commission. The question might be asked, why did the tenants agree to pay preposterous prices? He thought the chief reason was, as his hon. and learned friend had pointed out, that the last disastrous year left them at the mercy of the land-lords' combination because, although there were exceptions, the vast majority of the landlords in Ireland refused to recognise the disastrous losses their tenants suffered last year and pressed for the last penny of rent. Consequently the tenants very naturally took refuge in purchase at almost any price. The tenants were tempted to do this because under the Land Act of last year they were able to add the current year's rent to the purchase money and that no doubt gave them some temporary relief. He was afraid that in many cases the Irish tenants had clutched at this privilege as a drowning man clutched at a straw. The object of the landlords' combination had been to force up the price of Irish land to a fictitious value, and unfortunately that object had been attained. As the Chief Secretary knew very well, the current prices were far in excess of the prices paid under previous Acts, and in many cases they were far in excess of the prices of farms recently sold by the official inspectors and even by the landlords themselves. Therefore he thought it was absolutely essential to revert to the old system of inspection in order to safeguard the interests of the tenants.

As an illustration of how the present system was working in Ireland perhaps he might be allowed to mention as a case in point the instance of the Edlin tenants in his own constituency. Last winter he offered the landlord on behalf of these tenants twenty-two years purchase of second-term rents but that offer was curtly refused and under threats of pains and penalties the landlord demanded an impossible price and the immediate payment of all rent due. The tenants having offered the utmost farthing they could afford to pay very properly stood firmly to their offer, and what the result. On Saturday last, just as these farms were being put up for sale by the sheriff of the Court, the landlord yielded to firmness what he had denied to justice and fair play and accepted the terms which he (the hon. Member) had offered six months ago. In this instance, all had gone well, and "all's well that ends well." For this, however, the tenants had only to thank themselves. He thought the Irish tenant should be able to obtain justice without having to fight for it. For himself he had always been in favour of the Land Conference policy. He had invariably found tenants not only willing but anxious to meet their landlords in a liberal and generous spirit, but he regretted to say that he had very seldom found that spirit reciprocated by the landlords. He thought the time had come when this question should be looked in the face and if some change was not made, and very soon made, in the direction indicated in this Amendment it was very doubtful whether the Act of last year might not result in disaster instead of proving a blessing to the country. Compulsion was the only remedy and it had been recognised as the only real solution of the question. He begged to second the Motion.

Amendment proposed— To leave out from the word, 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, 'no measure dealing with the Amendment of the Irish Land Act of 1903 can be accepted as satisfactory which deals only with facilitating Irish landlords in obtaining the bonus, and which provides no remedy for the grave defects of that Act affecting Irish tenants, particularly the creation of a system of zones leading to the unjust inflation of prices, and the absence of provisions for the compulsory acquisition of untenanted land essential for the enlargement of holdings, the restoration of evicted tenants, and the final settlement of the Irish land question' instead thereof." — (Mr. John Redmond.

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

MR. FLYNN (Cork County, N.)

said that all along the tenantshad been most anxious that the Land Act should work smoothly and rapidly and they had been most anxious to meet the landlords fairly. Speaking as one who had had a good deal of experience in one part of Ireland during the past nine months upon this question he had no hesitation in saying that that feeling had not been reciprocated by the landlords as a rule. He thought the hon. and gallant Member who had just spoken might have emphasised his argument in regard to the case he had alluded to by stating that that very property was actually offered at a lower price to the tenants—at a lower number of years purchase —before there was any talk of purchase. The unfortunate thing in regard to this bonus which was based upon the security of Irish funds and Irish rates was that instead of assisting the tenants it had been diverted to stimulate and raise the price to be paid for the land by the tenants. Nobody who had watched the com se of events since November last could deny that the Amendment and the arguments used by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford were the very quintessence of moderation. The tenants naturally expected some share of this bonus and had thought that it would make their terms of purchase easier, but they were mistaken. He challenged any representative of the landlords, or any landlord, to give one single case in which a tenant had asked for a penny or a single farthing of the bonus. There was property in his constituency which was valued at nineteen years purchase under the Ash bourne Acts for which the landlords were now asking twenty-two and twenty-three years purchase together with the bonus. That was a most unlooked for state of things. In this case appetite grew by what it fed on. The landlords' appetite had been spoken of as having been whetted, but in his opinion it had now become voracious. In the case he had mentioned the landlord was looked upon as one of the most generous landlords, but under the stimulus of this bonus his property had gone up to the most preposterous prices and what was intended as a blessing to the tenants had turned out to be a curse. Unless the reforms suggested in the Amendment were carried out a settlement of the land question was impossible.


said that the introduction of the Land Bill last year led them to hope that a final and satisfactory settlement of the Irish land problem would have been arrived at. During the past century that question had prevented proper attention being given to other great questions, such as education, industrial improvement, and the housing of the working classes, which had been awaiting settlement, and naturally they were I delighted at the prospect opened up. He recognised that the Chief Secretary had done everything in his power, with the forces behind him, to settle the whole of this difficult question. But having watched the administration of the Land Act during the past nine or ten months, he was bound to say that the hopes then formed were far from being realised. The blame did not rest with the Irish farmer, who was anxious to do everything in his power to become the owner of his land. But in Ireland land was not fetching its market value but a monopoly value, and even greater than a monopoly value. During the last eighteen years in which the Irish Land Acts had been in operation £22,000,000 worth of land had been transferred from landlords to tenants, and the average price had been not more than seventeen years purchase of the rental—the highest price not being more than twenty-one years purchase. It might be said that the system of agrarian agitation pursued by the Irish people was the cause of the landlords selling at so low a price, and that the Irish people had no regard to the rights of property. He denied that. Sir Alfred Milner, giving evidence before the Commission on the Depreciation of Land Values in 1897, said that the value of Irish land had enormously decreased, and that the value of English land had in the same period decreased from thirty years to eighteen years purchase in Schedule A of the income-tax returns. Sir Robert Giffen, and every other witness before the Commission said the same thing.

On the passing of the Land Act, the tenants of the estates in his own constituency formed a committee of advice and Showed that they were only too anxious to do everything in their power, consistently with their own safety, to meet the landlords fairly and reasonably, and had shown their willingness, not only to give the market value, viz., seventeen years purchase, but to give two years purchase more than neighbouring landlords had received under the former land purchase Acts—in addition to which the landlords would have got three years purchase by way of bonus. The Irish tenants had gone further than their own safety entitled them to go in endeavouring to meet the landlords. The landlords, had, however, disappointed the hopes of men who thought they would do something for the country they had robbed for centuries. They had shown themselves hopelessly incompetent to meet the overtures made to them by the Irish tenants. If the landlords' demands were to be accepted, the children and the grandchildren of the Irish tenants would be ruined, and Ireland would be in a condition of national bankruptcy. It was true that the tenants could not compel the landlords to sell; but it was not true that the landlords could not compel the tenants to buy. He had received a letter signed by ten of his constituents stating that between March, 1903, and January, 1904, they had paid three gales of rent, and that they had been asked in the first week of April for a fourth gale. That fourth gale was the hanging gale which had never been previously demanded. Those unfortunate tenants were being persecuted in this manner notwithstanding the scarcity of food and fuel, and after a bad harvest, in order to drive them to purchase.

The landlords contended that they ought to receive an amount which, if invested in trust funds, would produce their present net income. They were, however, pushing their demands a little too far. He challenged any landlord in Ireland to produce books which would show that his net income was 90 per cent., or even 70 per cent, of his gross income. If the landlords were prepared to sell at a price which would produce their genuine net income he would not object; but why should they, of all landlords in the world, demand 90 per cent, of their gross income. According to the Agricultural Depression Commission of 1897, the net income of the landlords in this country was only 51 per cent, of their gross income. The English landlord had markets at his door; and yet his net income was only 51 per cent, of his gross income. The landlords on the western coast of Ireland, however, demanded 90 per cent, of their cross income. That was perfectly monstrous and absurd. The Irish tenant had shown his desire to facilitate the transfer of the land. The Irish landlords had, however, been true to their history; and would not be satisfied with what their colleagues in this country would accept. It had been said that the landlords were ready to help in a settlement; but he would ask how many evicted tenants, who had been living in squalor and misery, had been reinstated? There were over 400 evicted tenants in Kerry; and during the nine months the Act had been in operation not one of them had been reinstated. Neither had the Estates Commissioners taken any step in that direction. It was the duty of the Irish Members to secure justice for these men. One landlord in his constituency, Lord Ventry, had refused to sell at any price. 50 per cent, of his tenants were future tenants; and they had to continue to pay the old rack rents. They could not even have fair rents fixed. Having regard to all these conditions, it was time that the House took action in the interests of future tenants. He sincerely hoped—though he supposed the hope was vain—that the Irish landlords would at last consider the interests of their country, having regard to the advantages which the Act conferred on them and enable the Irish tenants to purchase their holdings at fair prices.

MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid)

did not suppose that any Irish Member-Unionist or Nationalist—was entirely satisfied with the Land Bill which had been brought in by his right hon. friend the Chief Secretary. They all thought that it was too small, and that many points which might usefully have been dealt with, had been omitted from it. He believed, for example, that besides dealing with the bonus, the Chief Secretary would have done well to make an effort to remove another obstacle to land purchase. He referred to the cost of proving title of superior interests, which were now thrown upon the selling landlord. These superior interests were much thicker than was generally supposed. Where they existed it was seldom that a landlord who was willing to sell could make any calculation as to what he might get in the end; because he could form no idea as to the cost of proving the titles of perhaps two or three superior interests of which he might have had no previous knowledge whatever. This uncertainty was deterring many landlords from selling their estates, and he could not help thinking that there was no greater hardship in compelling the owners of superior interests to bear the cost of proving their own titles than there was in making the selling landlord prove his title at his own expense. That was but one of many minor difficulties which would have to be dealt with in another amending Bill if the Land Act of last year was to be completely successful. He did not think that the limited character of the Bill before them was a sufficient reason for its rejection. It would serve a useful purpose by facilitating sales, and therefore he would give it his support. He did not agree with the suggestion which was contained in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Waterford that it was merely a landlords' Bill. The purpose of the measure was to expedite sales under last year's Act, by making clear what was the evident intention of Parliament in regard to the distribution of the bonus. Therefore, it was designed as much in the interests of the tenant farmers as of the landlords; and it was for that reason he should vote for the Second Reading.

The hon. Member for Waterfordappeared to desire to upset the entire scheme of last year's Act and throw the whole question of land purchase once more into the melting pot. He could not think that such a course would be in the interests of the tenant farmers of Ireland; and he regretted that the hon. and learned Member had proposed an Amendment which could not fail to encourage agitation and discourage those friendly negotiations upon which the success of any scheme of voluntary land purchase must depend. No one regretted more than he did the attitude which had been adopted by some of the landlords in Ulster. He noticed that at a recent meeting of the Landlords' Convention it was argued that Ulster landlords should get a better price for their land because the security was better. But the landlords did not create the security. The security was good because the people were frugal, industrious, law-abiding and honourably mindful of their just obligations. To contend that because tenant farmers had paid rent regularly and without giving trouble they should now be expected to give a higher price for their land was—he ventured to say — altogether unreasonable. The attempt of some landlords to put a money value upon the sentiment of ownership— which they were called upon to relinquish under the Act—could not be justified; these were simply passing phases of a great movement of reform. He, for one, did not take a gloomy view of the future of the Land Act. On the contrary, considering the short time it had been in operation, he thought the results were very encouraging. He admitted there was a danger of the extremists on both sides bringing about a state of deadlock. He felt confident, however, that the good sense of the tenant farmers would prevail on the one hand to bring about the maintenance of a reasonable spirit; while on the other hand he had no doubt that Parliament would, if necessary, grant compulsory powers of purchase—to be applied in the case of landlords who, in spite of every inducement, refused to sell their estates. As the House knew, he was an advocate of compulsory purchase—as a last resource. He had voted for compulsion in the House, and he should be prepared to do so again should it be found necessary to introduce such a measure to complete land purchase. He believed, however, that a premature agitation for compulsion would simply delay the establishment of the system of occupying ownership of agricultural land in Ireland. The Land Act of last year must have a fair chance. Parliament could assist its operation by removing obstacles to negotiation where they were shown to exist. It would—in his opinion—be a great mistake to make any violent change, at this stage, in the principles or the methods of last year's Act; and, therefore, he trusted the House would reject the Amendment of the hon. Member for Waterford and agree to the Second Reading of the Bill.

MR. KILBRIDE (Kildare, S.)

said he rose with considerable hesitation and a full sense of his responsibility as a Member of that House, and as the representative of South Kildare, not only to support the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford but also to oppose the Bill of the Chief Secretary. Those who had been present at the land debates in that House in the previous year must have been impressed by the fact that the chief case the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary made out for the necessity of the Land Act was the state of the congested districts in Connaught. Let hon. Members refer to what had been done in the way of removing the congestion and restoring evicted tenants in Connaught. He defied anyone to say that the Act had been anything but an abject failure. It had neither relieved congestion nor restored evicted tenants. A good deal of criticism had been passed upon the Congested Districts Board because they had not bought up untenanted lands in Connaught and distributed them among the people, but it was neither fair nor honest to put the whole blame upon them, because they had been unable to purchase untenanted land. The moment the Land Act became law the landlords demanded of Mr. Doran, the representative of the Congested Districts Board in these matters, the unreasonable price of thirty or forty years purchase and the Congested Districts Board should not be blamed because they refused to pay this exorbitant price for land which, before the passing of the Land Act, the landlords would have been glad to sell at sixteen or eighteen years purchase.

The land in Connaught rose and fell in value in sympathy with the price of land in Kildare, Meath, Dublin, and the best parts of Ireland. He frankly admitted he did everything he could to prevent his own constituents from giving twenty-five years purchase I on second-term rents, because he believed that twenty-five years purchase on second-term rents reduced twelve and a half per cent, on first-term rents was not a sound bargain. Conditions were too onerous to enable the tenants to pay that price for sixty-eight-and-a-half years and to pay their instalments punctually and with regularity. In 1888, when agricultural produce was worth much more than it was at the present time and when the financial position of the tenant farmer was much better and stronger than it was to-day, the best land was sold for eighteen years purchase; now, with the existing state of affairs in Ireland and in view of the agricultural prices which existed, who could say that twenty-five years purchase on second-term rents was a sound investment? If twenty-five years purchase on second term rents was the fair price to pay now, surely those men who in 1888 purchased land at eighteen years purchase under former Acts, and who had received one decadal reduction in their rents, were going to receive another, and would very soon have a third—surely those people ought to be rich. If, however, hon. Members went among those who purchased in 1888 in Kildare on a portion of the Leinster property, or if they went to the banks to see if their bank balances had increased since 1888, they would find that not only had their bank balances not increased but those who were able to do so were only too glad to show the same balance in 1904 as they were in 1888.

This was a matter that affected England as much as Ireland. He never entered into the Irish land agitation for the simple purpose of improving the Irish tenant's position, but because he thought it was a step towards Home Rule; he believed that once the Irish tenant farmer became a free man he would be a far stronger Home Ruler than ever he had been before. The bargains that had been arrived at in Kildare, where they had twenty-six years purchase without the bonus and nearly twenty-nine with the bonus, had been brought about in this way. The inducement in every case was the fact that one year's rent was forgiven and in some cases an extra half year's rent would be taken off the arrears and added to the purchase money. The mere fact that they were in arrear with their rent, although they had second-terms rents, was proof positive that farming was anything but a paying business in Kildare, and they required large reductions in rent if they were to meet their engagements. The right hon. Gentleman had said that fifty evicted tenants had been reinstated by individual landlords and twenty-three by the Estates Commissioners, that large amounts had been given in grants, and other moneys had been advanced by way of loan, but the question he desired to ask was, had the Estates Commissioners no power to approach a grabber who was in possession of an evicted tenant's holding, who was willing to give up the holding if he was given compensation, and allow the evicted tenant to negotiate with his former landlord? Those were two important points which he should like to have cleared up. Ireland was anxious to know, and he hoped it would know from an authoritative source like the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, what the exact powers of the Estates Commissioners were. Had they any powers at all, except to advance money, as they had done in the case of the Coolgreaney estate? Was that the full extent of their powers? Because, if so, this Bill would not settle the evicted tenants' questions. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the evicted tenants had no wish to be transplanted; they wanted no other land than that farm from which they had been evicted. All that every evicted tenant wanted was to be restored to the holding upon which he had been born and brought up, and where his forefathers had lived before him. It was the old associations which the evicted tenants wanted restored I more than anything else, and when the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh got up and spoke of the heartstrings of the Irish landlords being broken by having to part with their beloved tenants, whom for years they had denounced as rogues and vagabonds, he would ask those hon. Gentlemen to consider the broken-hearted condition of the evicted tenants. The evicted tenants did not want this land question to remain for ever open, and in order that a settlement might be arrived at, where they could not be reinstalled, they were willing to go on to other farms of approximately the same size as those from which they had been evicted, but, as he had said, their hearts' desire was to be restored to their old holdings. Their silence on the last Land Bill had not been properly considered in this light. It had been regarded as cowardice; but there was a limit to human endurance, and if the right hon. Gentleman continued to deal with this matter in the dilettante fashion in which he had been dealing with it, before he left the Irish Office his eyes and ears would be opened on the general question of land purchase.

The right hon. Gentleman had stated that the real security for the financial success of these transactions of land purchase was the difference of 20 per cent. between the future annuity and the second-term rent. He believed that was too slender a margin on which to build up the prosperity of Ireland for the next sixty-eight-and-a-half years. He wanted to see the Irish race raised out of the slough of despond in which they had been for so many years, and he thought that in all likelihood that this 20 per cent., especially on the large tillage farms of Ireland, would be eaten up by the increased price of labour. He believed that the Irish agricultural labourer in almost every instance in the past had not had sufficient remuneration for his labour, and it was because of that fact that they had left the country in such large numbers. They would never, in his opinion, succeed in keeping ambitious or intelligent labourers in Ireland unless the wages approximated somewhat to the wages earned in other countries. The average price paid for Irish land since the passing of the Land Act was twenty-one years purchase of first - term rents and twenty-three years purchase of second-term rents. The price had gone up in practically the same ratio as the price of agricultural produce had gone down. Irish land was one of the worst securities in the world. Yet it was bringing a much higher price than ground-rents in the best part of Dublin. That was a most anomalous state of affairs. It was a thing beyond his comprehension that the landlord should get more because the farmer earned less. He was told that the rate of interest on the annuity being 3¼ per cent., instead of 4 per cent., as tinder the Ashbourne Acts, would enable the tenant farmer to give a greater number of years purchase, but the decadal reductions under the former system were worth 20 per cent. Under this Bill there was no provision for decadal reductions. He submitted that the purchasers under this Act should be in the same position as the men who purchased under the Ashbourne Acts. It was because the acceptance of these terms gave him some temporary relief, because it put off the evil day for another year or two, that the tenant agreed to them. He would like to know of an English landlord who got twenty-six years purchase for agricultural land. There would be a great many English landlords who would be only too glad to get it.

It was because he was convinced that the transactions that had taken place under the Land Act were unsound financially that he should vote against this Bill. He could well remember that in his younger days he was fond of buying penny books which graphically described the exploits of such men as Grant and Frieney, two well - known highwaymen, who robbed the people of the country to their hearts' content, until friendly police appeared on the scene and drove them off. Well, he ventured to think that these men were not much worse than some of the Irish landlords to-day. He was justified in saying that, because under the Land Act, by the system of zones which took away the safeguard of inspection, they had got rid of the friendly policemen whose duty it was to beat off the hereditary plunderer. The Irish Members now asked that the system of inspection should be restored. Who were the inspectors appointed under previous Purchase Acts? They had been entirely taken from the landlord classes; they were landlords' sons, sons of landlords and land agents, and they over and over again reported that the prices agreed on were too high and did not give sufficient security to the Treasury. It was because he honestly believed these things that he would, with his whole heart, vote against the Bill.

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

said he had listened with great satisfaction to the moderate speech of the Leader of the Nationalist Party. Personally he looked upon the breakdown of the Act as a temporary phase, and he agreed that in dealing with any measure of the magnitude of the Land Act time and fair play must be given before judging the results; He for one had never expected complete and immediate results from a Land Purchase Act which necessarily contained many ramifications and was intended to apply to all time. He entirely agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Waterford also, that so far as the question of the untenanted land was concerned, so far as the evicted tenants were concerned, and so far as the question of the enlargement of the holdings was concerned—and these were very large items indeed—there had been a temporary breakdown, giving room for the gravest disappointment and for resolute action on the part of the Government, and of that House, if necessary. The breakdown, as regarded all three points, was largely owing to the decision of Mr. Justice Ross on the question of the bonus; that in his opinion was a most unfortunate decision. Of course, the Estates Commissioners now could not buy untenanted land without being ready to pay the bonus and Mr. Justice Ross had the satisfaction of having practically arrested one of the most philanthropic and beneficent parts of the whole Act. It was because he saw in the Bill a peremptory method of reversing that decision and allowing the Act to have free course that he welcomed a debate on the whole question. Those of them who had been in the House ever since the first Land Purchase Act came into operation and could look back, for instance, to the Act of 1885, were aware that during nineteen years, as the result of the Acts,£22,000,000 had been spent on land purchase in Ireland. The present Land Act had been in operation for eight months, and they heard from the Chief Secretary that applications to the extent of £8,000,0OO had already been before the Estates Commissioners. It was perfectly impossible for land reformers in Ireland or out of it to ignore that fact, and in his opinion it gave promise of a great future for this question. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: What about the prices?] He did not think this was a debate on which Members ought to speak without forethought, and hopes should not be raised or dashed by their discussion. The issues were much too serious for that. They had not only had the facts he had mentioned from the Chief Secretary but they had had the other fact that negotiations were going on all over the country, and estates coming in to the Commissioners every day in large numbers, which also gave them a ground for hope.

Now he came to the question of the prices, and he was exceedingly glad to see the hon. Member for North Antrim in his place, for he had something to say in regard to that Gentleman's negotiations with his tenants. So far as second-term rents were concerned the average price paid under what was known as Wyndham's Act was twenty-three-and-a-half years purchase. That was the average price as shown by the returns which had come in, and he was prepared to tell any one to close with 20 per cent. reduction in addition to the reduction of 38 per cent, already effected, for he had consistently told his constituents in Ulster that such terms could not be deemed to be a bad bargain. The real difficulty was not here, but with respect to first-term rents and non-judicial tenancies. Landlords had made hay of the Act so far as those tenancies were concerned. The Land Conference had been assailed, but he believed no body of men ever did a better day's work for Ireland. The Conference proposed a certain reduction on second-term rents, with a fair equivalent for first-term rents and non-judicial tenancies. Instead of giving that, the landlords were doing nothing of the kind, first-term rents bringing much too high a price when compared with second-term rents, and as to non-judicial tenancies the terms were simply enormous. He was going to give an illustration of this from a letter written by the hon. and learned Member for North Antrim.


said that was a private letter to a friend and not to a tenant. Although he could not prevent his friend reading it in the House, if he thought that was fair and honourable, if the hon. Member did so he must take the consequences in his own constituency.


said he would take any consequents in his own constituency or anywhere else. He would not read the hon. and learned Member's letter, however, but he would read the tenant's letter to the hon. and learned Member, which was not private and which the tenant had forwarded to him.


The letter I got from this gentleman was marked "private" and the answer also was private. It should be treated as confidential, and there was no right to show it to any one. It the letter was read he would ask leave to make a personal explanation.


then read the letter, dated 1st December, 1903, in which the writer said, hiving seen a letter of the hon. Member for North Antrim in which it was stated that he considered twenty years purchase fair, "I cannot understand on what grounds you have increased your estimate so much as to ask almost twenty-eight years, exclusive of the bonus." The hon. and learned Gentleman was typical of landlords all over the country. That they should have been willing to accept twenty years purchase before the Act was passed and now asked twenty-eight years exclusive of the bonus, was a gross abuse of the Parliamentary grant. This was a matter which English Members would do well to consider. After all it was their money which was being dealt with in this way. Yet this was what was going on all over the country, and it was this that he strongly objected to. The landlords under the circumstances had no right to exact such terms.

There was another point. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford had indicated that before much time had elapsed the principle of compulsion must be brought into play and that, so far as certain districts were concerned, it would be impossible to get the untenanted lands into the operation of the Act without compulsory powers. With that he agreed and, indeed, he held that compulsory powers should have been introduced into the Bill itself. What was going on, especially in the province of Ulster? A considerable number of sales were at present going forward, and he was much more hopeful than before because he was happy to think that the tenants were not being led to give too high prices. Those on the largest estate in South Tyrone had absolutely refused to give the landlord what they thought to be an unfair price. There were in Ulster, for instance, a very considerable number of landlords who would not sell at any price. It might be asked why they should be compelled to do so. Because it was the evident intention of the Government in passing last year's Act to make it a measure of national appeasement based upon broad grounds of national policy and upon the assumption that it was desirable for the land of Ireland to pass from owner to occupier. This was a landlords' Bill in the sense that it would secure to the landlord what the Land Act of 1903 attempted to secure for him, but it was more than a landlords' Bill, because if it were not passed it would be impossible to sell the land, and he, therefore, hoped it would be passed. He still believed that if the Irish land question were settled the principal difficulty would be removed from the path of Irish progress. He did not doubt that in many cases too much would be paid for the land and tenants would be taken in by wily and crafty agents, but he looked upon the Land Act of last year as an instrument of a great appeasement of the Irish difficulty. It was not a question with him as to the actual market value of the land, but a question of getting a great settlement of this question and clearing the way for other things almost as important.


said he desired to make a personal explanation. He had only just heard in the lobby that the hon. Member for South Tyrone was going to raise a personal matter concerning himself. Had he known earlier he would have provided himself with the correspondence. The letter which the hon. Member had referred to was not addressed to a tenant of his (Mr. Moore) though it was true that the gentleman addressed was the minister of one tenant. It was a private letter. It contained an offer, which was never accepted, good or bad. He heard a year afterwards that the letter had been shown and he wrote protesting. He considered the whole transaction closed and had forgotten the letter was written, while the tenant had attended a meeting at which an offer was made of twenty-two years purchase. He had seen a letter fro n the minister since, and he then recognised an attempt by this gentleman to force him into giving him better terms than his neighbours. Nine-tenths of his tenants had accepted his terms as fair. He was determined, whatever it cost him, not to be driven. This gentleman would get the same terms as the others and no better.


said he was responsible for the introduction of the Bill, which only purported to give effect to the intentions of the Legislature last year. It was true that if the Bill were not passed the Land Purchase Act would be hung up and blame would be placed upon the House of Commons. He believed the Act was working well, but he was perfectly certain it could not continue to act unless this Bill were passed. The Act of last year did not embody all the resolutions of the Land Conference, but the interests of the two parties interested had been fairly well preserved. Both were shorn of some of their advantages, but the arrangements under the Act were in the main those arrived at by the Land Conference. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford had protested against the form of the Bill because, in his opinion, it precluded him at later stages from raising the question of compulsory purchase. If the Bill had been drafted in any other form, looking at the state of Parliamentary business, it would not be possible to pass it this session. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford had misconstrued an observation he had made the previous day with regard to the Congested Districts Board. He (Mr. Wyndham) said that the Congested Districts Board had been able to buy untenanted land, although the Estates Commissioners had not, but he did not say they had been able to buy as much untenanted land as they might otherwise have bought. Their income was limited, and they had gone as far as it was safe to go in the direction of purchasing land without the assistance of the bonus in respect of untenanted land. In that respect alone the Act of last year had made a great difference. From the year 1888 to 1903, fifteen years, the total amount of money expended by the Congested Districts Board in the purchase of land was only £441,000, whereas in the nine months since the passing of the Act they had almost concluded purchases amounting to £545,000.

The difficulty was not that landlords in the West of Ireland were unwilling to sell untenanted land. He did not think they would get land cheaper or quicker if they acquired it by compulsory means. It would be most inexpedient to intro- duce compulsory powers of purchase in congested districts. When they were dealing with people who were willing to sell it would not assist the matter to threaten to take the land by force. Apart from that, it would take longer to put compulsory powers in force. What was often described as a refusal on the part of the landlord to sell really meant that the transaction was a complicated one, and it was found an uncommonly difficult thing to bring back the evicted tenants. In such cases, he thought it was the better course for the whole estate to be sold to the Estates Commissioners, and for them to take the responsibility of dividing the untenanted land. It had been suggested that Lord Lansdowne opposed the provisions of the Act for the reinstatement of the evicted tenants; but Lord Lansdowne did more perhaps in the House of Lords than anyone to get these provisions carried as an element in the compromise. There was another element of the compromise, and that was that no pressure, direct or indirect, was to be brought to bear upon any person occupying a farm from which others had been evicted. He knew of no case of a landlord having proceeded for a hanging gale, but such a case would, in his opinion, involve a departure from the spirit of the Land Conference. On the other hand, he had heard that in some cases tenants had suddenly ceased to pay rent, or required a large reduction, coupled with other terms. Either of those departures from the spirit of the Land Conference was to be deplored, deprecated, and reprobated by those who trusted to the Act of last year was a solution of the land question. He had been asked whether the Estates Commissioners had power to buy the interest of farmers occupying holdings from which tenants had been evicted. He thought they had.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say what initiative the Estates Commissioners take?


The question of initiative is a question of fact and expediency. As I said before, it is not my intention to make a long speech upon this occasion. This Bill is only intended to confirm the decision at which Parliament arrived last year, and, if it is not passed, the whole of the operations of the Act of last year will, I fear, be largely impeded in the future, almost arrested, more particularly in respect of remedying congestion and of restoring evicted tenants to their holdings.


said he had listened to the debate with much sympathy, but with some sadness. The Irish land question since the Act of 1881 had pursued a sort of normal course. They had endeavoured to improve Mr. Gladstone's legislation, and side by side with that they had endeavoured to improve the position of the tenant. That debate, however, seemed to him to have entirely ignored in many respects the basis on which the legislation of last year proceeded, and, to a certain extent, to give the go-by to Mr. Gladstone's legislation. The Amendment was put before the House as having the warranty of a National Convention. Let them contrast the terms in which it was proposed, however moderate, and some of the speeches which had been made in support of it, with the manner in which the Land Act was received by the responsible Members of the Irish Party in their organisation in September last year. He had just been out and got the resolution which hailed the passing of the Act which was now being criticised, and which was passed at a meeting presided over by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford and attended by twenty-one of his colleagues, some of whom had spoken in the House to-day. He was not finding fault with the speeches; he thought that there was great ground for the disappointment that had been expressed. But he would remind them of the resolution passed on 8th September, 1903, at a meeting of the National Convention, presided over by the hon. Member for Waterford, which was as follows— That we welcome in the new Land Act the most substantial victory gained for centuries by the Irish race for the reconquest of the soil of Ireland by the people, and the disbanding of the alien garrison which has been hitherto employed by England for the maintenance of a pernicious and irresponsible class ascendency, and we look to the successful working of the new measure for the creation of a new state of things in which all Irishmen, irrespective of class or creed, will have a hand in labouring unitedly for the national rights and happiness of our country. Here was another resolution— That, while the Act, as placed on the Statute-book, falls short in various important particulars of the recommendations of the Land Conference and the requirements of the national demand for the extinction of landlordism within a reasonable time, we cordially recognise that the Amendments demanded by the National Convention have been conceded in Committee to an extent to which no Government measure in relation to Ireland has ever before been modified in deference to the demands of Irish Nationalist opinion. That was a recognition of the action of the House of Commons such as he had never known before on the part of any Irish Nationalist organisation. We think it a duty to make a free acknowledgment that, next to the exertions of the United Irish Party, under the leadership of Mr. Redmond and Mr. T. W. Russell, the happiest result is to he traced to the wisdom and active good will displayed by that section of the landlord leaders which made the Land Conference possible, to the loyalty with which Mr. Wyndham, and his associates in the Government of Ireland, endeavoured to make good his pledges to give legislative effect to the wishes of the Conference, as well as to the high public spirit with which the Liberal Party resisted the temptation to extract any Party advantage from the situation. That was butter all round. That was the orthodoxy of September last, but what was the orthodoxy of July? Let them contrast the orthodoxy of September last with the orthodoxy of July, as voiced in this Amendment. What had brought about the change? When an Irish National Convention was given as the warranty for this Amendment, he could not forget that he had the honour to stand alone in that House in consequence of the mandate of a National Convention which expelled him from the Irish Party. In consequence of what had happened, he sincerely thanked that Convention. In his judgment, if he had been present in the Irish Party for the last three or four years, he should have saved the Irish farmers £20,000,000. [NATIONALIST cries of "No, no!"]

MR. LUNDON (Limerick, E.)

What about the Morley prroperty?


said the Resolution proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford declared— That no measure dealing with the Amendment of the Irish Land Act of 1903 can be accepted as satisfactory which deals only with facilitating Irish landlords in obtaining the bonus, and which provides no remedy for the grave defects of that Act affecting Irish tenants, particularly the creation of a system of zones leading to the unjust inflation of prices. The system of zones, of which they now heard in the Amendment, was never heard of until the Land Conference made its report—never mentioned in Irish politics; yet it was on account of that system of zones, invented by the signatories of the Conference, that he was asked to vote against this Bill. He declined to do so; he intended to vote for this Bill, and he would tell the House why. He disliked the system of bonus, and believed it was working, so far as the Land Judge's Court was concerned, to the enormous enhancement of their property. He intended, therefore, when this Bill reached Committee, to endeavour to provide that no landlord selling his estate in Judge Ross's Court should get any bonus whatever. He thought that was the true solution of the enormous inflation of prices which had taken place. Hon. Members came forward there who were themselves taking their property out of Judge Ross's Court, where it would have been sold, under the 40th section, for eighteen years purchase—[NATIONALIST cries of "Order"]—instead of twenty-four-and-a-half. [Interruption.] He would like to know why the hon. Member for Kildare was not interrupted when he talked about headlines. Those Gentlemen who interrupted him evidently did not like that mention of twenty-four-and-a-half years purchase, yet these (pointing to his colleagues) were the Gentlemen who moved and supported the Amendment. ["Order."] It was the hon. Member for Waterford who had set a headline to the landlords of Ireland in asking twenty-four-and-a-half years purchase. ["Order."] He hoped Irish tenants would take note. [Loud cries of "Order."]


Order, order! I did not interrupt the hon. Member, because he has said nothing out of order. Anything short of that hon. Members should allow him to say.


who was greeted with renewed Nationalist cries of "Order, order!" said that in spite of the efforts of his colleagues to prevent him, he should say what he liked.


You will not say what you like here.


proceeding, said he attributed and ascribed to these Gentlemen in the House of Commons—


Who sold the Morley property for twenty-seven years purchase? [NATIONALIST interruptions and cries of "Answer that."]


suggested that a Select Committee should be appointed to inquire into this matter of how the Morley property was sold and how the Redmond property was sold. He should be quite prepared to defend his action before such a Committee, and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford could do the same. He had no fear as to the result, as far as he was concerned. Having dealt with this betrayal of the Irish Party—[Cries of "Order" and "Withdraw 'Betrayal.'"]

MR. O'DOHERTY (Donegal, N.)

On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, there is an organised attempt to prevent the hon. Member from being heard. [Interruption.]


I have called upon hon. Members to listen to the observations made by the hon. Member with courtesy, however heartily they may disagree with them. It is the duty of Members of this House to do so—a duty which hon. Members on the Irish Benches themselves always try to exact from hon. Members sitting opposite.


whose remarks were almost inaudible owing to disorderly shouts from the Irish Benches, was understood to say that the policy adopted by the Irish Party would increase the rates and taxes in Ireland, and he was satisfied that it was only by a system of adequately taxing grass lands that this inflation of land values could be effectively prevented. The question of the grass lands in the West of Ireland was one which required immediate attention. He foresaw that whether it was done by this Government or some succeeding Government some attempt would have to be made to deal with the grass lands in Ireland. He strongly resented the action of hon. Members who, while condemning the exorbitant demands made on behalf of the owners of estates in Ireland in regard to the sale of their land, themselves approved and accepted high prices for their own land. [Renewed disorderly interruptions from the IRISH Benches and MINISTERIAL cries of "Order, order!"] One remedy for this difficulty could be found by the imposition of an adequate system of local taxation. [NATIONALIST cries of "Divide, divide."] In addition to that he held the opinion that an adequate stamp duty should be placed upon ejectments and notices to quit. He thought it was a monstrous thing that while a tenant had to pay from £2 to £3 on going into the Land Court a landlord should be able to obtain a notice to quit and only have to pay half-a-crown for the stamp duty. He was of opinion, therefore, that one of the most effective methods of dealing with the agrarian problem in the future would be by means of fiscal proposals in the Budget Bill. It was only by that means that they could ever hope to bring adequate pressure to bear on the landowners in Ireland. In the past the landlords had only been able to obtain from seventeen to eighteen years purchase and now the Nationalist Party were approving of twenty-four-and-a-half years purchase. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: You will get a job after this, and cries of "You will get a judgeship." and "Judge Healy."] By adopting this

course Nationalist Members had befooled their country and betrayed the Irish Party.


Why do not you go on the other side?


said he had used exactly the same language before his constituency, and he should not shrink from repeating it in the House of Commons.

MR. CULLINAN (Tipperary, S.)

Why do not you go to Ireland and say that?


again addressed the House, but from this point the remainder of the hon. Member's speech was rendered nearly inaudible by disorderly cries from the Nationalist Benches, such as "Traitor," "Dublin Castle," "Omagh," and "Coward."


in supporting the Bill, said the debate had ended in a manifestation which illustrated the justice of their objection to an Irish Home Rule Parliament.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 203; Noes, 90. (Division List No. 215.)

Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Faber, Edmund B. (Hants., W.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A (Worc. Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H. Chapman, Edward Finch, Rt Hon. George H.
Bailey, James (Walworth) Charrington, Spencer Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne
Bain, Colonel James Robert Churchill, Winston Spencer Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas
Baird, John George Alexander Clive, Captain Percy A. Fisher, William Hayes
Balcarres, Lord Coates, Edward Feetham Fison, Frederick William
Baldwin, Alfred Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E. FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Coddington, Sir William Flannery, Sir Fortescue
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds Cohen, Benjamin Louis Forster, Henry William
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Colomb, Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R. Gardner, Ernest
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Garfit, William
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Gordon, Hn. J E.(Elgin & Nairn)
Bignold, Arthur Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.) Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc)
Bigwood, James Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Graham, Henry Robert
Blundell, Colonel Henry Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Gray, Ernest (West Ham)
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Cust, Henry John C. Greene, Sir E. W (B'ry S Edm'nds
Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F(Middlesex Davenport, William Bromley Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury)
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Denny, Colonel Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs.)
Brassey, Albert Dickson, Charles Scott Gretton, John
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C. Greville, Hon. Ronald
Bull, William James Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill
Burdett-Coutts, W. Dixon-Hartland, Sir F Dixon Gunter, Sir Robert
Butcher, John George Dorington, Rt. Hn. Sir John E Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Glasgow Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Hare, Thomas Leigh
Carlile, William Walter Doxford, Sir William Theodore Haslett, Sir James Horner
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Duke, Henry Edward Hay, Hon. Claude George
Cautley, Henry Strother Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Healy, Timothy Michael
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Egertcon, Hon. A. de Tatton Heaton, John Henniker
Helder, Augustus Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Hope, J. F.(Sheffield, Brightside Muntz, Sir Philip A. Spear, John Ward
Hoult, Joseph Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham(Bute Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich.
Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk
Hudson, George Bickersteth Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Stanley Edward Jas.(Somerset)
Hunt, Rowland Newdegate, Francis A. N. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lanes.
Jameson, Major J. Eustace Nicholson, William Graham Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Stock, James Henry
Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred. Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Stone, Sir Benjamin
Kerr, John Parker, Sir Gilbert Stroyan, John
Kimber, Henry Parkes, Ebenezer Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
King, Sir Henry Seymour Pemberton, John S. G. Thompson, Dr. E. C (Monagh'n, N
Knowles, Sir Lees Percy, Earl Tollemache, Henry James
Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Pilkington, Colonel Richard Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Platt-Higgins, Frederick Tritton, Charles Ernest
Lawson, John Grant(Yorks. N. R Plummer, Walter R. Tuff, Charles
Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Tuke, Sir John Batty
Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Pretyman, Ernest George Valentia, Viscount
Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Walker,-Col. William Hall
Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.) Pym, C. Guy Wanklyn, James Leslie
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Rankin, Sir James Warde, Colonel C. E.
Lowe, Francis William Reid, James (Greenock) Webb, Colonel William George
Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale) Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Loyd, Archie Kirkman Renwick, George Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth) Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson Wills, Sir Frederick
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)
MacIver, David (Liverpool) Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Majendie, James A. H. Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye Wood, James
Martin, Richard Biddulph Round, Rt. Hon. James Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Royds, Clement Molyneux Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriesshire Russell, T. W. Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Melville, Beresford Valentine Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.
Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G. Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool) Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Moore, William Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
Morpeth, Viscount Sharpe, William Edward T. Alexander Acland-Hood
Morrell, George Herbert Shaw-Stewart, Sir H. (Renfrew) and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Helme, Norval Watson O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Ambrose, Robert Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Bell, Richard Horniman, Frederick John O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Black, Alexander William Jones, William (Carnarvonshire O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Blake, Edward Jordan, Jeremiah O'Doherty, William
Boland, John Joyce, Michael O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W.) O'Dowd, John
Brigg, John Kilbride, Denis O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N
Burke, E. Haviland Labouchere, Henry O'Malley, William
Burt, Thomas Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.) O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Caldwell, James Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall) Power, Patrick Joseph
Cameron, Robert Leamy, Edmund Reddy, M.
Channing, Francis Allston Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Clancy, John Joseph Leigh, Sir Joseph Roche, John
Cogan, Denis J. Lewis, John Herbert Roe, Sir Thomas
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lough, Thomas Samuel, Herbert L.(Cleveland)
Crean, Eugene Lundon, W. Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Cremer, William Randal MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Cullinan, J. MacVeagh, Jeremiah Sheehy, David
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Stanhope, Hon. Philip James
Delany, William M'Fadden, Edward Stevenson, Francis S.
Devlin, Charles Ramsay (Galway M'Hugh, Patrick A. Sullivan, Donal
Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) M'Kean, John Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Tomkinson, James
Doogan, P. C. M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Young, Samuel
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Mooney, John J.
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Murphy, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Field, William Nannetti, Joseph P. Thomas Esmonde and Cap-
Flavin, Michael Joseph Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) tain Donelan.
Flynn, James Christopher O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)
Hayden, John Patrick O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)

Main Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 199; Noes, 82. (Division List No. 216.)

Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Flannery, Sir Fortescue Palmer, Waiter (Salisbury)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Forster, Henry William Parker, Sir Gilbert
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Gardner, Ernest Parkes, Ebenezer
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Garfit, William Pemberton, John S. G.
Bailey, James (Walworth) Gordon, Hn. J. E.(Elgin & Nairn) Percy, Earl
Bain, Colonel James Robert Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.) Pilkington, Colonel Richard
Baird, John George Alexander Graham, Henry Robert Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Balcarres, Lord Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Plummer, Walter R.
Baldwin, Alfred Greene, Sir E. W (B'ry S Edm'nds Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J.(Manch'r Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Pretyman, Ernest George
Balfour, Rt Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs.) Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gretton, John Pym, C. Guy
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Greville, Hon. Ronald Rankin, Sir James
Bignold, Arthur Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Reid, James (Greenock)
Bigwood, James Gunter, Sir Robert Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Blundell, Colonel Henry Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Renwick George
Boseawen, Arthur Griffith Hare, Thomas Leigh Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Haslett, Sir James Horner Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Brassey, Albert Hay, Hon. Claude George Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Healy, Timothy Michael Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Bull, William James Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley Round, Rt. Hon. James
Burdett-Coutts, W. Heaton, John Henniker Royds, Clement Molyneux
Butcher, John George Helder, Augustus Russell, T. W.
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Glasgow Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Carlile, William Walter Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hoult, Joseph Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Cautley, Henry Strothor Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.
Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire Hudson, George Bickersteth Sharpe, William Edward T.
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Hunt, Rowland Shaw-Stewart, Sir H. (Renfrew)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred. Smith, Hon. W. E. D. (Strand)
Chainberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Worc Kerr, John Spear, John Ward
Chapman, Edward Kimber, Henry Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwioh)
Charrington, Spencer King, Sir Henry Seymour Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk
Churchill, Winston Spencer Knowles, Sir Lees Stanley, Edward Jas.(Somerset)
Clive, Captain Percy A. Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.)
Coates, Edward Feetham Lawrence, Win. F. (Liverpool) Stock, James Henry
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, N. R Stone, Sir Benjamin
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Lee, ArthurH. (Hants., Fareham Stroyan, John
Colomb, Rt. Hon. Sir John C. R. Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S) Thompson, Dr E. C (Monagh'n, N
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Tollcmache, Henry James
Craig, Charles Curtis(Antrim, S. Lowe, Francis William Tomlinson, Sir Win. Edw. M.
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Loyd, Archie Kirkman Tuff, Charles
Cust, Henry John C. Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth) Tuke, Sir John Batty
Denny, Colonel Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Valentia, Viscount
Dickson, Charles Scott MacIver, David (Liverpool) Walker, Col. William Hall
Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph C. Majendie, James A. H. Wanklyn, James Leslie
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Martin, Richard Biddulph Warde, Colonel C. E.
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Webb, Colonel William George
Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriesshire Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Melville, Beresford Valentine Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Doxford, Sir William Theodore Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Wills, Sir Frederick
Duke, Henry Edward Montagu, G (Huntingdon) Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H.(Yorks.)
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Moore, William Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart Morrell, George Herbert Wood, James
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.) Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r Muntz, Sir Philip A. Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Murray, Rt Hn. A. Graham (Bute Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas Newdegate, Francis A. N. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
Fisher, William Hayes Nicholson, William Graham Alexander Acland-Hood and
Fison, Frederick William O'Doherty, William Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Flynn, James Christopher O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Ambrose, Robert Hayden, John Patrick O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Black, Alexander William Helme, Nerval Watson O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)
Blake, Edward Jones, William (Carnarvonshire O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Boland, John Jordan, Jeremiah O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Joyce, Michael O'Dowd, John
Brigg, John Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W. 0'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.
Burke, E. Haviland Kilbride, Denis O'Malley, William
Burt, Thomas Labouchere, Henry Power, Patrick Joseph
Caldwell, James Law, Hugh, Alex. (Donegal, W.) Reddy, M.
Cameron, Robert Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall) Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Channing, Francis Allston Leamy, Edmund Roche, John
Clancy, John Joseph Leigh, Sir Joseph Roe, Sir Thomas
Cogan, Denis J. Lewis, John Herbert Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lundon, W. Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Crean, Eugene MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Cremer, William Randal MacVeagh, Jeremiah Sheehy, David
Cullinan, J. M'Fadden, Edward Stanhope, Hon. Philip James
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) M'Hugh, Patrick A. Stevenson, Francis S.
Delany, William M'Kean, John Sullivan, Donal
Devlin, Charles Ramsay(Galw'y M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Tomkinson, James
Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Young, Samuel
Doogan, P. C. Mooney, John J. Yoxall, James Henry
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Murphy, John
Evans. Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Nannetti, Joseph P. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Sir Thomas Esmonde and
Field, William O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Captain Donelan.
Flavin, Michael Joseph O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid

Bill read the third time, and passed.

Bill accordingly read a second time, and committed for Thursday next.