HC Deb 07 March 1905 vol 142 cc656-95
*MR. KENDAL O'BRIEN (Tipperary, Mid.)

said in moving the Resolution standing in his name he would confine himself almost exclusively to the genesis of that Resolution. He himself had the honour on two occasions to be evicted from his holding, and on that account he sympathised with the present Government, whose eviction from office was impending The writ of ejectment was out, and whether they waited until the end of the septennial period or went to the country in the near future, they would have to surrender their holding, but he hoped for certain reasons that the evicting forces would not be pro-portionably as great as they were in, at least, one of his evictions. On that occasion it was thought necessary to send a company of soldiers and 150 Constabulary men to protect the sheriff in the execution of his duty, though there, was only himself and his two farm servants on the other side. He had almost forgotten to mention that there was an ambulance wagon to take away the wounded had the expected battle taken place. The rent of the farm from which he was evicted had since been reduced by legislation of this House by no less than 60 or 70 per cent., Which he contended fully justified him in the position he took up in refusing to pay his landlord more than could be produced out of the land. The second time he was evicted was in 1895, and by that eviction his landlord confiscated all the improvements he had made, which were more than three times the value of the farm. He had never been an insolvent tenant and could always pay his rent, but not out of what the soil produced, and therefore he had thought it right for the sake of the other tenants in Ireland to take the stand he had taken.

The relations of landlord and tenant in Ireland were not the same as, he had been given to understand, they were in this country. The relationship there was that of master and slave; of a despotic ruler and his subjects. If a man failed to pay his rent he was regarded as a man might be who was guilty of high treason; no compromise was possible; no concessions could be made because, of the failure of crop; or mortality in cattle or other good reason. Writs we e issued, the eviction proceeded with, and the man and his family thrown out on the roadside. Then the landlord, after he had got rid of a tenant whose family had perhaps for generations paid a certain rent, would hand over that farm to a stranger for 30 or 40 or 50 per cent. less. One tenant of whom he could speak paid a rent of £56 a year; he was at one time unable to pay; there was no reduction made to him; he was evicted and the farm was at once handed over to another man at a rental of £35. His point was why did not the original tenant get the first chance of the reduction, or of some reduction? It was the practice of one landlord in his own immediate neighbourhood to drop into his tenants' houses at dinner time and lift the lid of the pot on the fire, and if he saw as much as a piece of bacon in the pot he increased the rent immediately, and if he found a new overcoat on any of his tenants he did the same thing. The tenants of that landlord were perhaps the most industrious and hard working men in the whole county of Tipperary. They were evicted in 1882, and twelve years after were in negotiation with their old landlord to purchase their holdings, which they succeeded in doing. Any one looking at those farms now would think that a benevolent fairy had by a touch of her wand transformed a desolate waste into a veritable Garden of Eden. Stone houses and buildings had replaced the original hovels in which these people lived, and twice the value could be obtained from the land than could be obtained under the old system. Surely that was a benefit not only to Ireland but the whole world. One or two more examples and he would have done. The landlord of the Glenbane Estate, near Lattin in the county of Tipperary took it into his head to raise the rents of his tenants by 10s. an acre every half gale. This went on till the rent reached the figure of £6 10s. At this point two tenants broke down and were evicted. But at this point also the landlord, who resided in this country, found refuge in a lunatic asylum and had not since been heard of. His (the speaker's) point was that under English land laws in Ireland even A lunatic could create evicted tenants. He would mention one other kind of landlord. Tom Dowling of Tipperary was an auctioneer. He went into the Encumbered Estates Court and purchased the Cappawhite Estate in his (Mr. O'Brien's) constituency without a penny in his pocket. He paid for it by a mortgage on the estate itself, and his intention was to set up as a country gentleman on the margin between the difference payable as interest on the mortgage, and the amount he could screw out of the tenants by raising the rent. But unfortunately for him the Land League stepped in at the time, and poor Tom was bowled over. He might mention that all the examples he had given were from within a circle of twelve miles diameter, and he assumed it was much the same throughout Ireland. He had not much hope that immediate benefit to the evicted tenants would follow this discussion, because the great English Parties had much larger fish to fry, but whether the Svengali of Birmingham continued to hypnotise the Government Trilby, or the Unionist hairs at the tip of the tail continued to wag the Tory dog, or whether the indefinite incoherent homogeneity on the Government side was replaced by the definite coherent heterogeneity on the Opposition side, including some Tories in Liberal overcoats, the House might rest assured that the Irish people would not forget the sacrifice of the evicted tenants, and the voice of Ireland would be heard, in season and out of season, until the last evicted tenant was reinstated.

*MR. ROCHE (Galway, E.)

said he rose for the purpose of seconding the Motion of his hon. friend; and he hoped to show the House that, on this question, the Government had broken faith, not only with the evicted tenants, but also with the Irish Party. At the time the Land Bill was being introduced, and long before it, the Irish Members, yes, and the Irish people, were led to believe that the conciliatory and friendly spirit displayed at the Land Conference would be loyally observed by the landlords; and that the Bill would be the means of establishing permanent peace in Ireland. Everyone who knew anything about Ireland would admit that it would be impossible to establish that peace without a settlement of the evicted tenants' question: and it was on the strength of such representations that the Government were allowed to pass the Bill in its present form. In support of that contention he desired to give to the House a few quotations from speeches delivered on this question by the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary and other not less influential members of the Government. Speaking on the introduction of the Bill, the late Chief Secretary stated that he believed that the Irish landlords and tenants would continue to act in the charitable and reasonable spirit of the Land Conference Report and he concluded that speech in the following words— All interests landlord and tenant, Nationalist and Unionist, British and Irish, can hope for no tolerable issue to any view constitutional, political, or economic, which they severally may cherish until by settling the Irish land question we achieve social reconciliation in Ireland. On a later occasion, in discussing Clause 11 of the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman stated— That the words of the clause were strong enough to cover all the powers at present possessed by the Congested Districts Board, including the power to buy out the interest of an existing tenant in order to put another tenant on the holding. The power is ample for all the purposes that the hon. Member has in mind, and recognising as I do the great desirability of making a final settlement which shall leave no bitter memories behind I fully intend that these powers shall be used. Had that settlement been carried out, or had those powers been used? He would ask the House to consider what the Land Conference recommended in connection with the evicted tenants' question. In his judgment it was little when compared with the sacrifices made by those men. "The Report declared that any project for the solution of the Irish land question should be accompanied by a settlement of the evicted tenants' question on an equitable basis." Mild as that recommendation undoubtedly was, the Government practically ignored it. Lord Lansdowne, speaking in the House of Lords, stated— That the one recommendation in the Bill which commended itself to him was that he saw in it the restoration of lasting peace and good-will between landlord and tenants in Ireland. "Lord Barrymore" he added "expressed his regret that the question of the evicted tenants had been brought into the Bill; but, surely, if the noble Lord had followed, as no doubt he did, the discussions which took place elsewhere, he must know that this provision, which contemplated the possibility of the restoration of the evicted tenants to their holdings, was an essential element in the compromise, and if that element had been excluded, it was possible that the Bill would not at that I moment be before their Lordships' House. The Prime Minister, speaking on the Second Reading of the Bill, said that— It was intended to take away one of those sores which festered and aggravated every political movement which might otherwise be innocuous. He submitted that there was no sore in Ireland to-day that festered or corroded more than that of the evicted tenants; and therefore the Government stood convicted of having obtained the Land Act under false pretences.

He desired to refer to two estates in the county of Galway, with which he was intimately acquainted—namely, the Clanricarde Estate and the Lewis Estate. They were typical of many other estate in Ireland on which evicted tenants were to be found. He asked the late Chief Secretary a week ago how many applications the Commissioners had received from evicted tenants on those estates, and also now many tenants had been reinstated. The reply was that 122 applications had been received from the Clanricarde Estate, but that only two tenants had been provided with farms elsewhere. Twenty applications were received from the Lewis Estate, but not one tenant had been reinstated or otherwise provided for. There they had 140 families on those two estates practically in the same position to-day as if the Bill had never been passed. He did not complain so much of the administration of the Act as of its defects; for he was aware that, no matter how sympathetically it might be administered, it would not have the slightest effect on such estates as he had mentioned. Last August Mr. Stewart, an inspector under the Estates Commissioners, called on a son of Mrs. Lewis, who managed the estate, with reference to the evicted tenants. Immediately afterwards a letter appeared in the Dublin Daily Express from that gentleman complaining that Mr. Stewart had used intimidatory language towards him in connection with the matter. Mr. Stewart denied it. The result of that correspondence had been to put a stop to further advances on the part of the Estates Commissioners. I believe Lord Clanricarde's agent was also approached and that certain inducements were held out to him if he would co-operate in bringing about a settlement upon the estate. There were at the present moment in the parish in which he lived, viz., Wood-ford, five tenants under notice to quit, not for non-payment of rent, no they had paid up to the day, they did not owe one penny, but for daring to exercise their legal right in refusing to allow a cattle dealer, named Rathcliffe, from Meath to shoot over their land, because he had grabbed the farm of an evicted tenant. The only remedy for dealing with such men as Lord Clanricarde was compulsion, and he believed that if the Government would adopt that course they would find many supporters on their own side. To support that assertion he would just for a moment refer to the action of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol, who was then Chief Secretary for Ireland, immediately after the evictions on the Clanricarde Estate in 1886, he sent for the then agent, Mr. Joyce, who by the way, subsequently took an action for libel against Lord Clanricarde, as did also the wife of a former agent, Mr. Blake, who was shot in his service. The right hon. Gentleman suggested to Mr. Joyce that he should advise Lord Clanricarde to act towards his tenants in the same spirit as other and poorer landlords hid done, and he might add, that there were eight landlords that had property in the Woodford district, all of whom, with the exception of Lord Clanricarde and Mrs. Lewis, gave reductions from 25 to 30 per cent, with the result that friendly relations between tenants and landlords were maintained.

Mr. Joyce did act on the suggestion made to him with the result that Lord Clanricarde wrote the following letter to the right hon. Gentleman—

"The Albany, C. 5. Piccadilly, W.C.,

"October 20th, 1886.

"Sir.—Mr. Francis Joyce, my agent, informs me that you sent for him and desired him to inform me that the Government would not carry out another eviction on my property until I gave back to the tenants an allowance on payment of their rent.

Of course I at first concluded my agent must have invented so incredible a message, and was playing into the hands of the Land League, and I need hardly point out to you that the message is far too grave a one to Impossible that I can accept it as authentic conveyed thus as merely a verbal message of second hand, and I must therefore ask you to be good enough to let me know (1) if my agent's statement in question is correct; and (2) As I have every wish to facilitate as far as I can reasonably the Government's (I fear feeble) attempts to govern Ireland, while on the other hand I cannot give further reductions to more tenants whose rents have been already reduced under the Land Court. Can I count on the Government's support in carrying out even evictions (should they be necessary) if I give back 20 per cent, on the rents due 1st November to those tenants who pay their rents due up to that date, and who had not had their rents reduced in the Land Court?

"I think your intimation should have been conveyed to myself directly, and at a considerably earlier date, so as to have enabled me to act before the Land League acted, as they now, of course, will claim all the thanks for any reduction I may make, and to have crushed the law and Government.

"I am, etc.,


"The Right Honourable Sir

Michael Hicks-Beach."

In reply to which the right hon. Gentleman wrote—

"Viceregal Lodge,

"October 25th, 1886.

"My Lord.—I think my best reply to your letter will be to give a more complete account of the interview between Mr. Joyce and myself than you appear to have as yet received.

"Being anxious to obtain full information on the condition of that part of Ireland in which your Lordship's property is situated, I requested Mr. Joyce (amongst others) to call upon me.

"After some conversation on matters not directly affecting the subject of your letter, I referred to the great cost and trouble which had been incurred in carrying out the evictions on your Lordship's estate at Woodford. I pointed out that this was a proof of the determination of the Government to enforce the law, and they were entitled to expect in return reasonable action on the part of the landlords. I stated to Mr. Joyce, as I have to many others, my strong objection to anything like wholesale evictions, and my opinion that where it became necessary to proceed to eviction in order to obtain the rights of property, the proper way was to select a few leading cases in which the tenants were able, but declined to pay, some person being, of course, present at the eviction with full authority from the landlord to accept a settlement at the last moment, if such should be proposed.

"I pressed this rather more with regard to the possible future than on account of anything that had already occurred at Woodford, and I understood Mr. Joyce to undertake that this course should, if necessary, be pursued. I then questioned him as to the ability of your Lordship's tenants to pay their rents. He replied (that he thought some could do so, but on pressure from me he admitted that he had advised you to make considerable reductions to others (he specified the Portumna district), though so far without success. I requested him to inform your Lordship that if you adhered to that decision against the advice of your own agent, and, contrary to the general action of the Irish landlords, the responsibility would be solely yours; that you might find such procedure costly and ineffective, and that in the event of application to the Government, for the services of constabulary and military on such occasions, compliance with the request would certainly be retarded by the pressure of other claims and duties, and would most probably be postponed to the utmost extent permitted by law.

"You ask whether in my opinion a reduction of 20 per cent, on rents due in November from tenants not holding under judicial rents would be sufficient.

"No one but a person intimately acquainted with the condition of your tenants could measure what would be a just and fair reduction, or decide as to the classes of tenants who should to a greater or less extent be given the benefit of it.

"I do not myself know enough of the circumstances to be able to judge; but I have heard that where your tenants have applied to the Land Courts, the old rents were, in many cases, reduced by a larger percentage than you name, and Mr. Joyce will doubtless inform you how far any causes, such as the sessions, or the price of produce, or the recent floods in the Shannon valley, have injuriously affected your property since that time.

"You complain that I did not communicate directly with yourself, and at a considerable earlier date. If your Lordship resided in Ireland, I should certainly have sought an interview with you, but I admit that I thought your agent would be better acquainted than your Lordship with the condition of a property which you have not even visited for years, and that I supposed that in such circumstances you would have acted on his advice in making any necessary reductions to your tenants.

"In your opinion, 'the law and the Government' will be crushed if you now do this. In my opinion you will only be following, though late, an example sat to you not only by other great and wealthy Irish landlords, but by very many men who, though struggling and in difficulties, have felt bound by their position, no matter how great the inconvenience to themselves and their families, to proceed with generosity and furtherance in the exaction of their legal rights,

"I remain, etc.,


"The Marquess of Clanricarde."

Moreover, he was confident that in the settlement of this question the Government would have the sympathy and support of many exalted and influential persons. For instance, the position of the Archbishop of Tuam might be illustrated by a letter which his Lordship sent to The Times. The Archbishop in his endeavours to arrange a settlement of the question had several interviews with the agent, to whom he put the following questions:—How much rent would be required all round in view of a settlement; would a certain sum assessed on the tenants according to the value of their holdings be accepted in regard to costs; did he propose to remit or not to enforce the payment of arrears; and, lastly, would he admit all the tenants in the parish and immediate neighbourhood who had asked for the intervention of the Archbishop. The replies were that all tenants restored would be liable to all costs and arrears, even those which had accrued while they were not in possession of the farms; that payment of three years rent and costs would be demanded; that no guarantee would be given that the balance should not be demanded at any time; that the tenants would not be restored generally, but that each case would be considered on its merits; and that all tenants except those against whom legal proceedings were pending could have the same terms. On receipt of those replies the Archbishop of Tuam wrote to The Times, asking that the questions and the answers thereto might be published as they showed Lord Clanricarde in his true light as a landlord, and stating that he had made many attempts to effect a settlement of agrarian disputes in the district, and that these replies showed the spirit in which his efforts had been seconded. I will now read for the House the Archbishop's letter—

"Sir.— A short time ago a large number of Lord Clanriearde' s tenants signed a document in which they requested me to mediate for them with a view of procuring their restoration to their homes and farms on the best term I could secure from the agent. I therefore submitted four written questions to the agent, Mr. Tener, and afterwards I had an interview with him at the bank of Portumna. I request you will be good enough to publish my questions and the answers given by Mr. Tener. They were taken down to-day verbatim by the bank manager in the presence of the county Inspector. Mr. O'Brien and myself. After the document was written and copied, Mr. Tener added that in some cases he would take two instead of three years rents as one of the conditions of retaining or returning to the farms.

"This document speaks for itself and shows Clanricarde in his true light as a landlord. Observe for instance that Mr. Tener would require payment of rent even for the time that the evicted tenants were not in possession of lands or houses at all, when in many cases Mr. Tenor's emergency men had carried off the crops of the tenants and had grazed the landlord's cattle on those evicted farms. It is well known that I have always disapproved of the plan of campaign and that I have always counselled my flock here in Portumna and elsewhere to respect the law and abstain from every kind of outrage. I have made several attempts to effect a settlement of the agrarian, dispute in this district. This document of Mr. Teller's shows the spirit in which my efforts have been seconded. I think before God and man I am justified in declining to open my lips on this subject in future and let those who are responsible for this state of things bear the consequences,

"Yours, etc.,


"Coadjutor Bishop of Clonfert,

Palmerstown House Portumna,

"County Galway."

"January 28th, 1891.

There was also considerable correspondence between the Archbishop and Sir West Ridgeway, the then Under-Secretary, from which it was evident that the Under-Secretary was sympathetic on this question. He submitted that the Act had failed entirely to deal with such cases as that of Lord Clanricarde, and that the only remedy was compulsory powers. He felt the sufferings and the plight of these evicted tenants so keenly that he would adopt any method or weapon the use of which might suggest itself to him as a means calculated to bring about their restoration to their old homes. The Act could not succeed in its great object of establishing permanent peace in Ireland while it left this question in its present unsettled condition. That being so, how could the British Government expect the Irish people to be loyal, and how could those who had been identified with the land struggle for the last thirty years and had been, closely connected with the evicted tenants, be satisfied with an Act from the operation of which the men who had risked and lost everything were practically excluded? There would never be peace or contentment in Ireland until justice was done to the evicted tenants. He begged to second the Motion.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House learns with the deepest concern that the expectations held out by Ministers during the debates on the Land Act of 1903 in reference to the reinstatement of Evicted Tenants in Ireland have been disappointed; and is of opinion that the powers given to the Estates Commissioners by the Act of 1903 should be without further delay put into active operation so as to determine whether further legislation is required to achieve an object admitted by the Irish Government to be of vital importance for the peace and contentment of Ireland."—(Mr. Kendal O'Brien.)


said he desired to express the view of the landlords with reference to the general question dealt with in this Resolution. In the two speeches just delivered, though there had not been any general attack on the landlords, or any general statement of their position, it might be inferred that the landlords had done something to prevent the Act operating as favourably to the evicted tenants as it might have done. He ventured to say that that was not the case. At the present time the landlords had no animosity what so ever towards the evicted tenants. Years ago, when the land war was being carried on, there undoubtedly was animosity; to claim that there was not would be to claim for the landlords an almost angelic disposition, and he did not know that he was bound to make any such claim for them. There was admittedly a war going on between landlords and tenants, and neither party looked with any great favour on the other. The landlords regarded the evicted tenants as the main champions of a cause to which they objected, and which if successful was likely to lead to their ruin, and naturally they had an animosity against them. But the years which had passed had obliterated that feeling from the minds of the landlords. ["Clanricarde."] Everyone would admit that the Clanricarde was a special case; he was speaking of the landlords as a body. They had one interest which, doubtless, hon. Members opposite would in their hearts approve. Hon. Members sometimes expressed their determination to support their soldiers who had been wounded in the struggle. The landlords, too, had their wounded soldiers—those who were placed in occupation of the vacant farms, and they intended to see that no injustice was done to them. If the landlords deserted their "wounded soldiers" at the present time they would be blamed by nobody I more than by hon. Members opposite. That was really the interest of the landlords in this question, and they had no animosity against the evicted tenants. Nevertheless, they had the firmest intention of standing by those tenants who came forward to their assistance in their struggle. It was admitted that when the Land Bill was before the House that these tenants could not be dispossessed, because that would only be creating another cause of strife in Ireland. The landlords held that view very strongly, and in so doing, they were holding a view which would be approved of by hon. Gentlemen opposite.

The hon. Member for East Galway had dealt with the case of Lord Clanricarde, but he did not intend going into that case. [NATIONALIST cries of "Hear, hear!"] He had never defended the action of Lord Clanricarde, but nobody would contend that every landlord in Ireland was a good landlord; and, on the other hand, hon. Gentlemen opposite would not hold that every tenant in Ireland was a good tenant. When the Land Bill was before the House a proposal was made to insert clauses in the Bill, because they wanted this question of the evicted tenants settled. They admitted the great difficulty of dealing with this question, and that difficulty was to find the land upon which to place the evicted tenants, because they could not oust those who were actually in possession of the land from which the other tenants had been evicted. He had not yet heard any suggestion as to how the Act could be amended to meet this difficulty. To his mind the Land Act had not yet been long enough in operation to enable them to judge. They did not know how it would operate after it had been in force some considerable time, and to hurry it on too much would be detrimental to the cause which hon. Gentlemen opposite had at heart. If there happened to be too much favouritism they might stop the sales on the part of landlords, and he was sure that even Nationalist Members did not want that. He had only risen for the purpose of stating the real position of the landlords towards the evicted tenants. He assured the House that the landlords had no animosity towards them, but they were determined that those tenants who came forward to assist them in time of need should not be injured by any action on their part.

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

said he rose for the purpose of putting to the Attorney-General certain practical considerations and certain questions. He would not dwell upon the importance and urgency of the question. It was a matter of common agreement amongst all sections of the House when the Bill was passed that there could be no settlement of the Irish land question, no ending of the Irish land war, which did not provide for the reinstatement of the evicted tenants in Ireland. Even in the House of Lords, when Lord Barrymore took some exception to the evicted tenants' clauses, he was answered by Lord Lans-downe, on behalf of the Government, who said that the provisions dealing with evicted tenants were an essential portion of the scheme, and that without that it would be impossible to hope for any great settlement of the Irish land question, Had the Act been successful so far in its working? The hon. Member opposite said the Act had not been long enough in operation, but with great respect, he submitted that that was nonsense. It had been in operation for a year and a half, and they must judge of the success of the Act by what had happened. The difficulty the Nationalists were in was that they had no information on the question. He made, in the first place, a serious complaint of the fact that information was being deliberately with-held from them and from the House as to how the Act was working. When the Bill was under discussion they were promised that there should be periodical Reports by the Estates Commissioners. They had had no Report whatever. Last May an Interim Report was issued, but it gave them no practical information as to what was being done with reference to the evicted tenants. When they had asked for information they were told that n Report would be issued shortly giving information up to December 31st; but at the present moment they were without any information whatever as to how the Act was working, and they were denied the information when they asked for it across the floor of the House.

They had asked for information upon two most essential and vital questions. One was with reference to the regulations, instructions, and orders which had been issued by the Government to the Estates Commissioners as to the working of the evicted tenants clauses of the Land Act. Enormous powers were placed in the Estates Commissioner's hands to deal with evicted tenants under the Land Act, and those powers ought to have enabled them to have advanced the evicted tenants' question very near to a settlement. The other day the hon. Member for East Mayo asked for information as to the number of evicted tenants, the names of the estates from which they had been evicted, whether the tenants had been reinstated on the farms from which they had been evicted, or provided with new farms, etc. What was the answer he got, on the eve of the debate, on this question, when no Report had been put in the hands of the House? The, Attorney-General said a Report would be issued shortly of the proceedings of the Commission up to December 31st last, but that pending the publication of the Report the Government was not prepared to impose on the Commissioners the preparation of a supplementary Return. Was this refusal to impose these labours on the Commissioners due to any representation from the Commissioners protesting against these labours being put upon them? If they had not refused, he hoped the Attorney-General would let the House know, in justice to them, that the refusal to give the information was not due to any protest on their part. When the Attorney-General refused to give the information he (Mr. Redmond) pressed the matter. The right hon. and learned Gentleman then telegraphed and got some of the information. Would the House allow him to read the extraordinary figures with which he had been supplied. The Act had been in operation a year and a half. The Commissioners had enormous powers. Everybody knew that their most urgent and pressing duty was to endeavour to grapple with the evicted tenants' question. And what did they find (The number of applications received by the Estates Commissioners from persons claiming to be reinstated was 4,550. The total number of evicted tenants reinstated by the Commissioners was forty-six. The total number of evicted tenants reinstated by landlords was ninety-one. That was about 130 evicted tenants had been restored under the Act of 1891, either by the Commissioners or landlords themselves, out of a total of 4,550. He asserted, therefore, that the Act had been in this respect a complete failure. Why was it? Was it the fault of the Commissioners? He did not know; he asked for information.

A question was asked the other day as to whether any regulations, orders, or instructions had been issued by the Executive Government to the Commissioners with reference to the exercise of their power to restore evicted tenants, and the Attorney-General replied that nothing that could be properly called regulations had been issued, but that there had been correspondence upon the subject which was confidential. He asked further whether that correspondence contained orders or instructions, and the right hon. Gentleman did not deny it. He claimed they were entitled to information as to these orders and instructions. They could not criticise the action of the Commissioners unless they knew what they were. It was possible that these gentlemen had been behaving in a negligent and improper manner. On the other hand, they might be most anxious to carry out their duties and have been hampered and prevented by instructions from the Government. He believed the Act could be accelerated if the Commissioners were to inquire into the circumstances of the evicted tenants, and see if the landlords were willing to sell. If they were not willing, then it should be the duty of the Commissioners to find farms for the tenants elsewhere. Had this initiative been set in motion, or were the Commissioners declining to consider any case of evicted tenants except when the estate on which they were was being sold, and, if they were declining, was it due to their own desire or was it prompted by the Government? In consequence of the delay which had marked the working of inquiry into the case of the evicted tenants in the past the United Irish League felt itself bound to take very vigorous action. They sent inspectors to every district of Ireland to make inquiries, and they had obtained information from North-East Cork, North and South Louth, North Tipperary, Limerick, and Clare, which they had sent to the Estates Commissioners. In reply they had received a letter stating that local inquiries would be made as soon as possible into the circumstances of each case by inspectors who would report. That was a most satisfactory letter, because it showed that the Commissioners were willing to investigate any cases sent to them. Was that practice still going on? Were the inspectors going through the country and making investigation? He was informed that they were not. He wished to know why. What had happened? Had any orders been given to the Commissioners to change their practice? He noticed that some of the Unionist Members raised an outcry because the secretary of the Estates Commissioners wrote a similar letter to the United Irish League. That was, of course, an unpardonable crime in the eyes of some people, and he was not sure that the unfortunate secretary who sent it would not be called upon to resign. He did not denounce the Act as incapable of settling the evicted tenants' question, but all he wished for now was information.


confessed that the complaint of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford at not having information was to a great degree well founded. It was much to be regretted that the Report of the Estates Commissioners was not published at an earlier date so as to be available for this debate. Though the hon. Member's information was scanty it was almost as full as his own. He would give the House all the information in his power to enable hon. Members to form a conclusion upon the Motion that had been made. He would endeavour to point out what was the problem they had to deal with. Looking to the state of the evicted tenant question in Ireland at present, he did not at all think they could assume that the 4,550 applications from all over the country were all genuine. He thought it was most unfair to contrast the number of applications that came from the whole of Ireland with the sales which had taken place in the small portion of the country where the Land Act had come into operation, and to say that because these applications had not been dealt with the Act was therefore a failure. They were dealing in the one case with all the evicted tenants who were sending in applications from the whole of Ireland, and they were dealing in the other case with a small portion of the land. This was, so far as he could ascertain, how matters stood. The evicted tenants to be dealt with were those connected with the seventeen estates known as the "Plan of Campaign" estates, on which combinations against the payment of rent had been entered into. The total number of evicted holdings on these estates in February, 1893, when the Matthew Commission inquired into the subject, was 1,350. The old tenants were reinstated in 414 cases, and new tenants were settled with the old tenants in fifteen cases, making together 429. There were in the hands of "planters" as purchasers twenty, in all 235 holdings held by 102 new tenants. There were also in the hands of landlords, land corporations, and similar bodies 482 holdings, and there were lying derelict 204. In May, 1903, the information given under the above heads was brought down to date, and the following state of things was disclosed. The number of evicted tenants on the seventeen estates had increased from 1,350 to 1,451; the number of holdings reoccupied by the old tenants and by new tenants with the approval of the old tenants had increased from 429 to 1,082; the number of holdings occupied by new tenants had increased from 235 to 288; and the number of derelict farms had decreased from 204 to sixteen. That showed, he thought, very satisfactory progress in the economical arrangement of things on these estates.

In reference to evicted farms in Ireland generally, matters stood thus. Unfortunately, there were no statistics which went further back than January 1st, 1889, but on that date the total number of such farms throughout Ireland which were unlet was 2,750. Of these 1,405 were lying derelict, and the remainder, 1,345, were either cultivated by the landlords or the land corporations. Between 1889 and 1894 there was an increase in these figures, the total number of unlet evicted farms having risen to 3,582, of which 2,067 were in the hands of landlords and land corporations, while 1,515 were derelict. But since 1894 there had been a continuous and progressive decrease, both in respect of the total number of un-let evicted farms and of the number lying derelict. On January 1st, 1905, the number of evicted farms unlet had dropped to 1,616, a reduction of 54 per cent. as compared with 1894. The derelict farms had fallen in the same period from 1,515 to 625. The area of the latter was 22,365 acres, which bore to the entire cultivable area of Ireland the proportion of 1 to 681 acres. He thought it was a happy thing that Parties on all sides could congratulate themselves that steady progress was being made in arranging these matters in a way to meet the wants and wishes of the persons concerned. It was interesting to see what had been done during the years 1901 to 1904 in respect to evictions and reinstatements. In 1901 there were 314 evictions and 211 reinstatements, so that really the balance that remained outstanding was very small. In 1902 the number of evictions was 288, and the number of reinstatements 280; in 1903 the number of evictions was 319, and the number of reinstatements was 242; and in 1904 the number of evictions was 226, and the number of reinstatements was 203. [An HON. MEMBER: How many farms were let on the eleven months system?] He could not tell at present, but probably he would be able to give the information later on. It was quite true, as the Member for Waterford had said, that the number of applications made to the Estates Commissioners since the Act came into operation in November, 1903, was 4,550. Of those 106 were outside the Act altogether, inasmuch as the eviction took place more than twenty-five years ago. Of 130 others, eighty-six of the applicants were in America, five in Australia, one in Africa, and forty-one in Great Britain. Of those evicted farms 3,156 were in the occupation of tenants commonly called planters; of 1,394 which were in the hands of landlords many of them were let for grazing. In 210 cases where lands were let to graziers the Estates Commissioners solicited landlords to sell those holdings separately from their estates for the purpose of facilitating reinstatement. The landlords objected to do that. They were quite willing to put no difficulty in the way of reinstating tenants where lands from which those tenants had been evicted were in the landlords' hands or in the hands of grazing tenants. But they had refused—and, in his opinion, rightly and justly refused—to evict the planters who did not desire to go.


Have the Estates Commissioners discontinued the practice of asking landlords to sell separately?


said he would come to that in due order. In dealing with applications inspectors were directed to go down to each estate. They were supplied with a list of all the tenants who had been evicted from the estate inspected, and they were directed to supply to the Estates Commissioners all the information they could in reference to those evicted tenants, their condition of life, and the possibility of reinstatement. If the estate contained untenanted land, they also got further a list of tenants evicted from estates other than those sold with instructions to inquire into the condition of those tenants and recommend such of them as might be desirable to plant upon the untenanted land that had been so acquired. In the sales of estates direct from landlord to tenant the Commissioners endeavoured, with the consent of the owner, to arrange for reinstatement, and in each such case to make grants of money to enable the reinstated tenant to build and stock his farm. In sales to the Commissioners direct they reinstated the evicted tenants on their previous holdings where possible, and endeavoured, if they could not reinstate them on their previous holdings, to put them in positions on some other land, whether on that estate or on untenanted land which they might had purchased in different parts. Now they had reinstated forty-six tenants, and they had got grants of money which they would never have to repay, and which did not add to the price of the farms, amounting to £3,311. Where possible they reinstated on the farm from which a man had been evicted, and when that was not possible, if they had any untenanted land which they had obtained by separate purchase they put the evicted tenant on that portion, giving preference, of course, to those who came from the immediate locality.

MR. JOHN MORLE Y (Moutrose Burghs)

Is this the practice of the Commission or the orders of the Castle.


This is the practice of the Commission.

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

Is the practice founded on a rule or a regulation?


I will deal with that when I come to it.


Is it their own account or their practice


said it was their practice. The principle on which they dealt with the matter was this. On the sale of any estate they reinstated the tenants evicted from that estate. On a "Plan of Campaign" estate, and such others where the question was in a more acute stage, the landlords were approached confidentially by the Commissioners to endeavour to arrive at some arrangement for the reinstatement of the evicted tenants. As a general rule, where ordinary estates were sold they did not approach the tenants previously to the negotiation for the sale of the estate. They also endeavoured to obtain untenanted land wherever possible, and the first purpose to which they devoted it was enlarging uneconomic holdings; the second, the reinstatement of evicted tenants, the preference being given to the tenants in the neighbourhood. Those were the principles on which they acted.


Has that been the practice all through? Was it not the practice to initiate proceedings on other than the "campaign" estates?


said that, so far as his information went, that was so. The Commissioners endeavoured to obtain untenanted land wherever it could be got, first, to increase the size of the uneconomic holdings, and secondly, to reinstate the evicted tenants. If the hon. Gentleman would refer to the sections of the Act he would see that it was only upon a sale that their power of reinstating began. They could not reinstate until there was a sale of an estate.


Does not that apply to the "Campaign" estates also?


said that no doubt it would, but the only way they could get land was by buying untenanted land or waiting until the sale of an estate was effected. It was quite possible to take the initiative if so desired, and they did take the initiative in the congested districts where the matter was more acute, and where it was more desirable to put an end to the unpleasant feelings that existed in the locality. [An HON. MEMBER: Have they done it on Lord Lansdowne's estate?] He could not answer as to whether they had done it on any particular estate. It appeared that the number of actual reinstatements which had taken place was ninety-one by the landlords and forty-six by the Land Commission. There were, he was happy to say, sixty-seven others who, it was hoped, would be reinstated in a very short time, but the arrangements were not yet complete. The figures he was about to give would show how really unfair it was to test the working of the Act by what had occurred in the very short period since it came into operation in November, 1903. The Commissioners had acquired by purchase 6,076 acres of untenanted land; they had offers made to purchase 7,663 acres and negotiations were pending in respect of a very large tract indeed—28,063 acres. So that if those negotiations were successfully carried through they would have 41,802 acres of untenanted land to operate upon. And it was but reasonable to suppose that the process of reinstatement would go on at a much more rapid rate in the future than it had proceeded at up to the present time. That was shortly the condition of the problem, the statistics showing how matters stood, the practice adopted by the Commissioners in dealing with it, and the principles upon which they acted. The Motion stated that there had been disappointment caused by the representations of those in charge of the Bill not having been carried out. He did not think that really there was any foundation for that statement, because it never was represented that the Estates Commissioners could secure the reinstatement of tenants unless the estates were sold, or unless untenanted land was procured, and that had been the rule up to this. He would recall to the hon. Gentleman's recollection an answer given by his right hon. friend the Chief Secretary. The question put to him was: "Can the Estates Commissioners make any advance for the purpose of compensating a tenant for leaving his holding." He replied— That raises several issues which in reality are distinct. In the case of a holding forming part of an estate which is not purchased or proposed to be purchased, no advance can be made Such a case is outside the scope of the 12th Section of the Act. In the case of a holding forming part of an estate purchased or proposed to be purchased compensation may be paid under Sections 12 and 13 for the benefit or improvement of that estate or generally for the purposes of this Act one of which is the restoration of the evicted tenants. So that when there was no sale of an estate there could be no reinstatement, unless there was untenanted land to be offered for the purpose. The only other question which the hon. Gentleman put to him was, "What regulations have been made for the Estates Commissioners?"


said he asked what instructions had been given.


said he was not laying stress on particular words. Those hon. Members who pressed this question too strongly seemed to forget what had occurred when the Act was passed through the House. The 23rd Section, Sub-section 8, of the Act provided that the Commissioners in carrying out the foregoing provisions of the Act should be under the general control of the Lord-Lieutenant, and should act in accordance with such regulations as might be made by him from time to time. It had been suggested in Committee that these regulations should be printed and laid on the Table of the House. That suggestion was immediately objected to, and accordingly it was not pressed, and the Act passed without any provision stating that the regulations guiding the Commissioners should be laid on the Table of the House?


They were promised to us, in answer to a question put by myself.


Promised to be laid on the Table of the House?




I am surprised, for my recollection does not agree with the hon. Member's.


My recollection agrees with that of the hon. Member for South Tyrone. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman quote from Hansard the passage showing whether the claim was made by us and objected to by the Government?


I remember now the suggestion being made on the Report stage, and that I saw no objection. But an objection was raised, and the provision was purposely omitted from the Bill.


said he remembered the circumstances perfectly well. The discussion took the shape that he and his hon. friends pressed for the regulations to be laid on the Table. The Government declined to put them in the Bill, but they absolutely promised that the regulations should be open to Members and laid on the Table.


said that this was not his recollection, and he was very much surprised that if hon. Members desired the regulations to be laid on the Table they should have been willing to rest content with an assurance instead of insisting that it should be put in the Bill. The Estates Commissioners were in the same position as other executive officers of the Government. It was insisted again and again during the progress of the Bill that they should not be put in an independent position without the control of the Government and taking their own view as to the course they ought to pursue, but that they should be under the control of the Government, to obey the orders of the Government. If that was so he was unable to see why communications that passed between the Government and them should be disclosed when they were not disclosed in other cases.


Our whole contention was that these gentlemen should not be judicial officers, that their proceedings should be open for the discussion and control of the House. We never thought of the Government.


said he did not contend that their proceedings should not be under the control of the House in the same way as the action of any Executive Government should be controlled. He meant in the sense that their action could be discussed here, and the member of the Government here be made responsible. But he contended that being officers of the Government, and the House having deliberately said that the regulations should not be laid on the Table, the House was no more entitled to have communications passing between them and the Government laid before it than in the case of communications between the Government and the Inspector-General of Police. No formal regulations had been made; but he was informed that communications had passed between his right hon. friend the Member for Dover and the Commissioners, not of a formal character, but such communications as would pass between the Government and executive officers. It would be quite unreasonable to require that these officers should be judged by what they did when they were responsible to the Government, and therefore the Government was responsible to Parliament. If they were in a judicial position the Government would not have that responsibility. It was just because they were in a dependent position, bound to act upon orders they received, that the Government was responsible and should be censured when they did wrong. That was the position. It would be unreasonable to require that confidential communications passing between the Government and executive officers should be laid on the Table of the House.


asked what was the use of the right hon. and learned Gentleman telling the House that these Estates Commissioners were under the control of the Executive, and under the control indirectly of the House of Commons, when the House was not in possession of the Report of the proceedings of these Estates Commissioners on the part of the transactions in which the House took the greatest interest? The right hon. and learned Gentleman had, he would not say wrangled, but had had a dispute with the hon. Members for South Tyrone and Waterford as to whether it was understood that these regulations, directions, or instructions were or were not to be within the cognisance of Parliament, and he said hon. Members had forgotten the proceedings during the passage of the Act; but the right hon. and learned Gentleman might be reminded of the language used by Lord Lansdowne in another place when an Amendment was moved by a Conservative Peer who was an opponent of the Bill. In rebutting the proposal of the noble Lord, Lord Lansdowne said, upon the point whether planters would be intimidated or not, that there need be no fear of intimidation or oppression, because all the proceedings would first of all be under the control of the Land Commissioners, and, secondly, the Estates Commissioners would be under the control and supervision of the Irish Government, who would certainly have something to say, and if the Irish Government did not put a check on such proceedings, no doubt attention would be drawn to the matter in Parliament. But what was the use of drawing attention to the matter in Parliament if Members were met by the Irish Government, or what remained of the wreck of the Irish Government, with the statement that the regulations or instructions were in the nature of private or informal communications? What were they about, these communications which were withdrawn from the cognisance of Parliament? They had never been presented, and they were now discussing these three sections of the Act of 1903 without knowing the facts, which were vital. This was a regular illustration of the way in which the Government of Ireland was carried on. In the House, both sides, with the best intentions towards Ireland, united in passing an Act for the benefit of Ireland, and, as had been said a hundred times of such Acts, when it crossed the Channel and went to the Castle or the Courts the whole intention of Parliament was balked and frustrated. How could they get over that?

He had listened with the keenest interest to the right hon. Gentleman's figures, more especially for the reason that he himself was responsible ten or eleven years ago for an elaborate attempt to settle this enormous mischief in Ireland. But what was the use of reading out to the House figures which they could not check, and which they could barely follow? Why were not those figures given to them at a time and in a shape in which they would really be of use to the House in forming a judgment on these proceedings? [An HON. MEMBER on the IRISH Benches: "They do not want that."] The hon. and learned Member for Hackney talked about the andlords being as well justified as hon. Gentlemen below the gangway in defending their soldiers, the planters. He for one had never denied that. The measure for which he was responsible safeguarded the interests of the planters as much as any measure that could be brought in by hon. Gentlemen opposite. The hon. and learned Gentleman read a passage from a speech of his which showed that he was under obligation to the Irish Members, but that he and his Government were not at all afraid of saying that they would be no parties to any injustice to the planters. Had the right hon. and learned Gentleman presented to the House in any way any case as it stood? The Government had admitted that this was a case of the utmost importance for the social well-being of Ireland; but the right hon. Gentleman had not given them any material whatever for forming a judgment as to how far the intention of Parliament in the Act of 1903 had been carried out. Moreover, the right hon. and learned Gentleman had evaded another point raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford. Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman deny that the clauses for the reinstatement of evicted tenants were one of the great objects of the Act of 1903?


I admit it.


said it was on that very account very expressly stated; and although it was admitted by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, as well as by Lord Lansdowne, that that was the central object of that legislation, yet they now found Gentlemen from Ireland drawing the attention of Parliament to the fact that that central object was practically a failure. He thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not deny from these wretched, starved, meagre figures he had produced, that that part of the policy of the Act had been practically a failure.

What was the explanation? The explanation given in Ireland was that instructions were given from Dublin Castle to the Estates Commissioners which curtailed their freedom of action. He had listened with the greatest care to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but he had not the least idea whether that was a true charge or not. If it was a sound charge, if there was a basis for it, if it was in consequence of any instruction from the Executive Government to the Estates Commissioners that that important part of the Act of 1903 was practically a failure, then the Government had added one more to the long list of Executive failures in Ireland—a most serious failure, a failure which would bring plenty of trouble to those who, at some future date, would become responsible for peace and order in Ireland. He had listened with satisfaction to the right hon. Gentleman's figures as to the reduction in the number of derelict farms, and to all those other statistics with which those who had been responsible for Irish government were only too familiar. But so long as the evicted tenants were not reinstated, or transferred to other farms, so long would there remain an open sore, and it would be impossible for any Irish Government to think that they had solved one of the central difficulties in the Irish situation. It was idle to test the operation of the Act by figures given to them across the Table, and, therefore, he should, with great confidence, support the Motion. He believed that the hon. Gentleman had discovered a great mischief in Irish administration. Was this the ordinary case where the intention of Parliament had been baffled by the operation of the law-room in Dublin Castle? If not, he presumed the lawyers were consulted. If they were not consulted, then the Chief Secretary, the Irish Government, acted on the construction of the sections of an Act of Parliament without taking legal opinion upon them. The whole thing exposed once more the imposture of this Parliament passing an Act for the benefit of Ireland and then, once passed, its administration, its operation, passing entirely out of any effective supervision of that House.

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

said that this, though a very quiet debate in regard to Ireland, had been very instructive. He did not think any speech made that evening had been more instructive than that of the Attorney-General for Ireland. He wished, however, to make this preliminary observation, that every single Irish Member who had spoken from those benches had declared that if they had had their choice between accepting the Land Bill and abandoning the evicted tenants they would rather have rejected the Land Bill than have deserted the evicted tenants. Indeed, that was practically the point of view of every section in the House. The hon. Gentleman who spoke on behalf of the landlords of Ireland—he hoped the hon. Member did not include Lord Clanricarde among his clients—said that the landlords of Ireland had no objection whatever to the reinstatement of the evicted tenants; and, far beyond that was the reiterated assertion of every supporter of the Government. The statement had been made over and over again that the restoration of the evicted tenants was an essential, vital, and supreme part of the Land Act, and, as a matter of fact, the Bill would never have received the cordial and active support it had done from all parts of the House, if the House had not been convinced that they were dealing with a measure which would finally settle this great and vexed question. Here was the situation. They had the Ministry, the Opposition and the Irish Members; they had the House of Commons and the House of Lords all agreed in the desire and hope and certainty that the evicted tenants were going to be restored, and then they had Dublin Castle defeating the whole intention of Parliament. That was the case in a nutshell. The House could understand how Sir Antony MacDonnell found that state of things a little unsatisfactory, and why the late Chief Secretary should have called in the aid of a strong man like Sir Antony MacDonnell to deal with Dublin Castle. The Attorney-General for Ireland had read out a list of the applications made for reinstatement. Some of them came from people in America, and some from people in Great Britain. Did the hon. and learned Gentleman make a point of that?


I merely stated the fact.


said he would make a point of it, and it was this. He went up and down amongst his countrymen in Great Britain, and many and many a time he had been grieved to find a man wandering in search of work in Liverpool or Glasgow, glad to take the worst and the lowest paid job he could get—employment in gasworks or in chemical works. Such a man, he learned, had an evicted farm in Ireland, and was hoping year after year that he might be restored to it. Was there a single man with a particle of the sense of humanity in him who ought not to rejoice that an Act of Parliament had been passed which was meant to bring such people back from their exile to their native homes. If such could be accomplished, would not every country benefit—Ireland by regaining her lost population, and England by changing enmity into friendship. Therefore, the case was strengthened in favour of the rapid, prompt, and courageous work of the restoration of the evicted tenants. What had been the result? Only 131 evicted tenants had been restored to their holdings. The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General was entitled to say that of the 4,550 applications some of them were absurd, some of them out of date, and some of them bogus; but it was a miserable result that only 131 had been restored, out of 4,550 applications. They all knew the cause. The Attorney-General might disclaim responsibility on the part of the Law Officers. He knew nothing about it; but it might be that the right hon. Gentleman had joined his powerful voice to the voice of reaction, which had resulted in the resignation of the late Chief Secretary. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was about to join the reactionaries in connection with the evicted tenants also. Certainly the question would have advanced more rapidly were it not for Dublin Castle. What was the answer of the Attorney-General? He said that the Estates Commissioners were merely executive officers, and must, therefore, act under the control of the Government generally, the Government being responsible to this House. He accepted that; but what was the right hon. Gentleman's next position? It was that the Government, who were responsible to this House, were not bound to give the House material for forming a judgment; and the right hon. Gentleman was daring enough to say that the House of Commons had no right to get information as to the action and instructions of the Government in this matter.


said he regretted very much that the Report was not in the hands of Members. The House, however, was not entitled to get confidential communications which the Government might have issued.


said the position, then, was that the House was not entitled to get the instructions which were issued under the sections of the Act in order that the will of Parliament might be carried out. Was ever a more monstrous proposition laid down? The right hon. Gentleman had evaded the point. He did not complain that the Estates Commissioners had not sent in their Report. His complaint was that the House of Commons was not supplied, and that the Attorney-General dared to tell the House it would not be supplied, with the instructions given to the Estates Commissioners by the Government. He never heard such an extraordinary doctrine laid down in the House of Commons. [An HON. MEMBER laughed.] He did not know why he excited the hilarity of the Scotch Gentleman opposite, who so eloquently but silently represented his constituency. He dared say that the feeling he showed in this matter did not commend itself to the hon. Gentleman, but he should be obliged if instead of inarticulate interruption the hon. Gentleman got up and answered him. Here were the Estates Commissioners entrusted with the restoration of the evicted tenants; and he had not the smallest doubt but that they were anxious to carry out their work. But they were impeded in their work; and when he asked what instructions were given to them the answer of the Attorney-General was that they were confidential communications. It was another glimpse into the manner in which Ireland was governed. As his right hon. friend had said the House might pass any Act it liked, every section of the House might desire to do justice to and confer benefits on Ireland, they might want to close up a running sore in Irish life, but Dublin Castle stood there to defeat them, and the right hon. Gentleman was prepared by means of an unconstitutional and absurd doctrine to prevent the House of Commons from seeing the inner springs of action by which the best intentions of Parliament had been frustrated.


said he wished to put a plain, categorical question to the Attorney-General. Here was an Act of Parliament, one of the greatest measures passed by this House, but one of the most complicated and difficult to administer. Did the right hon. Gentleman tell the House of Commons that the Estates Commissioners could administer that Act without a set of rules, regulations, and instructions. Did he mean to convey that the Chief Secretary or the Lord-Lieutenant were to address private letters to public officials, giving them direction as to the manner in which the Act was to be administered, for the purpose of burking the control of Parliament? He asked the right hon. Gentleman deliberately if a set of rules had not been sanctioned by the Lord-Lieutenant.


said as far as he was aware no such instructions had been issued.


said he would put the question again; and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to get the information. He sympathised with the right hon. Gentleman because he had very little information on any subject. He further wanted to know were the Estates Commissioners to blame for the Report not having been ready for presentation to the House? Was it not a fact known to everyone that the general work of the Commission, the purchase and sale of ordinary estates, had been slowed down for lack of money? That was well known. It was also well known that another important duty of the Estates Commissioners, namely the sale and purchase of towns, was also slowed down. Had the machinery also been stopped in regard to the evicted tenants? Would the right hon. Gentleman tell the House now if the inspectors were at work in Ireland on the question of the evicted tenants?


said he understood so.


said the reply of the right hon. Gentleman did not imply that he had any information he could give to the House. Supposing he himself said that he understood they were not.


said he should contradict that.


said he was not very sure that he would not be able to contradict the right hon. Gentleman. Were the inspectors at work, and, if so, how many? There was plenty of money and plenty of inspectors, yet only the magnificent total of forty-six tenants had been restored to their holdings. Parliament was in earnest or it was not when it passed the Bill. If they made a mistake at all it was in trusting too much to the speeches of the late Chief Secretary and in not thinking a great deal more of the Bill. Everyone knew, the right hon. Gentleman knew, that this burning question must be dealt with and this running sore healed and stopped; yet only forty-six tenants were restored to their holdings after eighteen month work, although the funds were sufficient to have dealt with nearly all the evictee tenants. No one had made any charge against the landlords of being unwilling to restore the evicted tenants. That was not the case now. He knew a case in his own constituency where a man was evicted not for the non-payment of rent, but because in the struggle for the representation of Tyrone he voted against one of the Hamiltons. The widow of that man was still living, and had kept an eye on the farm. She claimed to be restored. Did the landlord object? Not a bit of it. He did his level best to get her back, but the hitch was in Dublin Castle, and in the instructions of the Government. It was not the landlords who were blocking the way. He took no account of the Clanricardes or the Lewises. No one would expect them to facilitate affairs in Ireland. They would only act when they were compelled. The majority of the landlords, however were now only concerned in getting as much money as they could. It was Dublin Castle that was standing in the way of the evicted tenants; and it was a great pity that the Attorney-General was in the position he was and not able to give the House any information. He hoped that the Report, when it was issued, would not be a mere column of figures. He hoped it would be a Report dealing with the working of the Act, and giving a picture of what was going on during the last eighteen months. Why such hesitation in presenting the Report? He entirely agreed with his right hon. friend the Member for Montrose Burghs that one lived and learned in Ireland. One thing was borne in upon him. He had never doubted the intention or capacity of this House, though he might be wrong. He had seen great Acts of Parliament passed and sent across to Dublin only to be mauled almost out of existence. All this came from a band of hostile men encamped in Ireland as the real governors of the country; and until that system was taken by the throat and overthrown the best intentions of the House would be brought to nothing by that band of officials, who were not only mercenaries, but overpaid mercenaries as well.

MR. DUFFY (Galway, S.)

said he desired to intervene in the debate because he represented a constituency that contained more evicted tenants than any other constituency in Ireland. The question of the evicted tenants was one of primary importance; and the neglect of it tended not only to impede the progress of the Land Act, but to prolong that state of turmoil and strife which unfortunately existed. When the Land Bill was being passed through the House of Commons it was made abundantly clear that the rights of the evicted tenants would be safeguarded, and that the Estates Commissioners would be clothed with great powers, which would enable them to deal with the question of the evicted tenants in a satisfactory manner. A number of hon. Members on his side, although they held certain views in regard to the Bill, acquiesced in its passing for that very reason. Indeed, the late Chief Secretary expressed the wish that as far as the evicted tenants were concerned landlords and tenants should draw a sponge over the bitter and evil memories of the past. Although the evicted tenants in Ireland were numerically small, still the question was a very large one indeed; and unless an effort were made by the Irish Government to restore these tenants to their holdings, or to give them an equivalent amount of land elsewhere, the Government need not expect anything except turmoil, disturbance, and confusion. Hon. Gentlemen from time to time might have read of disturbances in the Loughrea district; but they were due entirely to the fact that Lord Clanricarde and Mrs. Lewis had absolutely declined to allow the Act to be put into operation. One hundred and twenty-two tenants had filed applications from the Clanricarde Estate with the Estates Commissioners; and twenty-two tenants from the Lewis Estate. There were no complications, as the lands were still derelict. He wished to ask the Government now what they intended to do with reference to the Loughrea district? Were they going to take the matter lying down, were they going to prosecute war against the evicted tenants, or would they try and induce Lord Clanricarde, Mrs.

Lewis, and others to enable the evicted tenants to be put back to their holdings.


said the House would excuse him, as the matter was of such importance, if he said that he had looked into this question about the promise of the publication of these regulations, and he found that on July 1st, 1903, a debate took place on the question, and the Chief Secretary used these words:—"He had not yet decided on the exact form of publication, but he agreed that the regulations should come before the House in some way." He would not comment on that, but thought that it should be read.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 182; Noes, 220. (Division List No. 29.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E. Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Hayden, John Patrick
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Delany, William Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway Helme, Norval Watson
Allen, Charles P. Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.
Ambrose, Robert Dobbie, Joseph Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Doogan, P. C. Higham, John Sharpe
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herb. Henry Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Holland, Sir William Henry
Atherley-Jones, L. Duffy, William J. Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)
Barran, Rowland Hirst Duncan, J. Hastings Horniman, Frederick John
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Edwards, Frank Johnson, John
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Ellis, John Edward (Notts.) Joicey, Sir James
Benn, John Williams Emmott, Alfred Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Black, Alexander William Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone Jones, William (Carnarvonshr.
Boland, John Farrell, James Patrick Joyce, Michael
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Fenwick, Charles Kearley, Hudson E.
Brigg, John Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W
Bright, Allan Heywood Ffrench, Peter Kilbride, Denis
Broadhurst, Henry Field, William Kitson, Sir James
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Findlay, Alex. (Lanark, N. E.) Labouchere, Henry
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Flynn, James Christopher Langley, Batty
Burke, E. Haviland Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co. Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.
Burns, John Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)
Caldwell, James Freeman-Thomas, Captain F. Layland-Barratt, Francis
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Fuller, J. M. F. Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington
Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Gilhooly, James Leigh, Sir Joseph
Causton, Richard Knight Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John Levy, Maurice
Channing, Francis Allston Goddard, Daniel Ford Lewis, John Herbert
Cheetham, John Frederick Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick) Lloyd-George, David
Condon, Thomas Joesph Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Lough, Thomas
Crean, Eugene Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Lundon, W.
Cremer, William Randal Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Lyell, Charles Henry
Crombie, John William Hammond, John Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Crooks, William Hardie, J. Keir (MerthyrTydvil MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Cullinan, J. Harwood, George MacVeagh, Jeremiah
M'Crae, George O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Soares, Ernest J.
M'Fadden, Edward Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Spencer, Rt Hn C.R. (Northants
M'Hugh, Patrick A. Pirie, Duncan V. Stevenson, Francis S.
M'Kean, John Power, Patrick Joseph Strachey, Sir Edward
M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Priestley, Arthur Sullivan, Donal
Markham, Arthur Basil Reddy, M. Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Mooney, John J. Redmond, John E. (Waterford Tennant, Harold John
Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Moulton, John Fletcher Richards, Thos. (W. Monm'th) Thomas, David A. (Merthyr.)
Murphy, John Rickett, J. Compton Tomkinson, James
Nannetti, Joseph P. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Toulmin, George
Newnes, Sir George Roberts, John H. (Denbighs) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N Robson, William Snowdon Waldron, Laurence Ambrose
Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Roche, John Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Norman, Henry Rose, Charles Day Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Runciman, Walter Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney
Nussey, Thomas Willans Russell, T. W. Weir, James Galloway
O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Samuel, Herb. L. (Cleveland) White, Luke (York, E. R.
O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid Schwann, Charles E. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
O'Brien, P. J. Tipperary, N.) Seely, Maj. J E B. (Isle of Wight) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. Shackleton, David James Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.) Wills, Arthur Walters (N. Dorset
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.) Sheehy, David Young, Samuel
O'Dowd, John Shipman, Dr. John G.
O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
O'Malley, William Slack, John Bamford Thomas Esmonde and Mr.
O'Mara, James Soames, Arthur Wellesley Patrick O'Brien.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Grenfell, William Henry
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Gretton, John
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Guthrie, Walter Murray
Allsopp, Hon. George Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Hall, Edward Marshall
Anson, Sir William Reynell Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S. Hambro, Charles Eric
Arkwright, John Stanhope Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn Hugh O Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th
Atkinson, Rt. Hn, John Cust, Henry John C. Haslam, Sir Alfred S.
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H Dalrymple, Sir Charles Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley
Bailey, James (Walworth) Davenport, William Bromley Heath, Sir J. (Staffords. N. W.)
Bain, Colonel James Robert Dickinson, Robert Edmond Helder, Augustus
Balcarres, Lord Dickson Charles Scott Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds) Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Hogg, Lindsay
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Dorington, Rt. Hn. Sir John E. Hope, J F. (Sheffield, Brightside
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Doughty, Sir George Hoult, Joseph
Banner, John S. Harmood- Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham)
Beach, Rt. Hn Sir Michael Hicks Doxford, Sir William Theodore Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Hunt, Rowland
Bigwood, James Egerton, Hn. A. de Tatton Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred.
Bill, Charles Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r.) Jessel, Captain Herb. Merton
Bingham, Lord Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Kerr, John
Bond, Edward Finlay Sir R. B. (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs Keswick, William
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Fisher, William Hayes Kimber, Sir Henry
Bowles, Lt.-Col H. F (Middlesex) Fison, Frederick William Knowles, Sir Lees
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose Laurie, Lieut.-General
Brotherton, Edward Allen Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)
Bull, William James Flannery, Sir Fortescue Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th
Burdett-Coutts, W. Forster, Henry William Lawson, Hn. H. L. W.(Mile End)
Butcher, John George Foster, Philip S.(Warwick, S.W. Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks. N.R.
Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H. Galloway, William Johnson Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Gardner, Ernest Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Godson, Sir Augustus Fredrk. Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A. (Worc.) Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn) Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S,
Chaplin, Rt. Hn. Henry Gordon J. (Londonderry, S.) Llewellyn, Evan Henry
Chapman, Edward Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.
Clive, Captain Percy A. Goulding, Edward Alfred Long, Rt Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.
Coates, Edward Feetham Graham, Henry Robert Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Cochrane, Hon. Thos, H. A. E. Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Green, Walford D. (Wednesbury Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Colomb, Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R. Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury) Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)
Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Stone, Sir Benjamin
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Pretyman, Ernest George Stroyan, John
Macdona, John Cumming Purvis Robert Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
MacIver, David (Liverpool) Pym, C. Guy Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Maconochie, A. W. Randles, John S. Talbot, Rt. Hn J G (Oxf'd Univ.)
M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Rankin, Sir James Thorburn, Sir Walter
M'Calmont, Colonel James Ratcliff, R. F. Thornton, Percy M.
Majendie, James A. H. Reid, James (Greenock) Tollemache, Henry James
Manners, Lord Cecil Remnant, James Farquharson Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Marks, Harry Hananel Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine Tritton, Charles Ernest
Martin, Richard Biddulph Renwick, George Tuff, Charles
Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriesshr. Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Valentia, Viscount
Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Milner, Rt Hn. Sir Frederick G. Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert Warde, Colonel C. E.
Milvain, Thomas Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walter Webb, Colonel William George
Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants. Round, Rt. Hon. James Welby, Lt.-Col A. C. E.(Taunton
Moore, William Royds, Clement Molyneux Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-
Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow) Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd
Morpeth, Viscount Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne
Morrell, George Herbert Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Morrison, James Archibald Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Wilson-Todd, Sir W.H.(Yorks.)
Mount, William Arthur Sharpe, William Edward T. Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E R(Bath)
Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry) Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Myers, William Henry Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Nicholson, William Graham Smith, H C(North'mb Tyneside) Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand Wylie, Alexander
Percy, Earl Spear, John Ward
Pierpoint, Robert Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Pilkington, Colonel Richard Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lancs.) Alexander Acland-Hood
Platt-Higgins, Frederick Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Plummer, Sir Walter R. Stock, James Henry