§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. MCKILLOP (Armagh, S.)
said he regretted that the fortunes of the Ballot were so unkind to this Bill that he was about to submit to the judgment of the House as to place it in his hands, It was a measure of so much importance to the people of Ireland, to the progress of the cities and towns of Ireland, that it deserved the favour of being in charge of some of his colleagues who had taken such a very deep interest in the Bill for many years, and whose knowledge of the question would enable them to speak with far greater authority than he could. Accordingly, in moving the Second Reading, he would not trespass for any length of time upon the patience of the House, but would content himself by stating, in the briefest possible way, the general scope of the Bill, leaving to his hon. friends behind him the task of justifying the principle. The first object of the Bill was to bring to an end a system of tenure in the towns and cities of Ireland which now enabled one class to confiscate the property of another class. It was designed to encourage industry, and to ensure that the fruits of such industry would be made secure to the producer. It was meant to encourage the improvement of our towns and cities by guaranteeing to the improver that the improvements would not at the close of a short lease be grabbed by those who did nothing to produce them, and who had no moral right to them without paying compensation. Hitherto it had been the habit of the landlord to step in at regular intervals and sweep into his possession all improvements made by the tenant. That was still the law, and while it prevailed we could hardly be surprised that our cities and towns were fast falling into decay. Who would spend his means and substance in making improvements which were to become the property of another, unless he could count on being adequately compensated for them in the case of his tenancy being brought to an end? At present whatever might be the value of improvements, they were entirely swept into possession of the landlord at the expiration of his tenant's lease, and the tenant might be turned out of his premises without a penny, however much he might have expended on them, or he might be given the 783 alternative of paying an increased rent based upon the value of the very improvements he had made. This was, as the House knew, the practice in the case of agricultural holdings in Ireland before Mr. Gladstone dealt with the Land Laws of that country. It was one of the greatest causes of agricultural decay and one of the strongest points in the great land war of the early eighties. They must remember that the unfettered ownership of land gave to the owner a power over the property of others that did not attach to any other kind of property. It was altogether different from the power which could be exercised by the owners of any other kind of wealth. Every person in business, whether as manufacturer, merchant or shopkeeper, must have the use of the land to carry on his business. He must accept the terms of the landowner before he could get land to commence business on. If he was about to start, say, a spinning mill or weaving factory or engineering work he must first settle with some landlord as to a site. If the landlord declined to grant him a long lease he must accept a short one, and when he built his factory it was only to be his, under the present law, until his lease expired. Then it was to be taken over by the gentleman who was good enough to give him permission to build it. Under such circumstances was it any wonder that they heard of jerry-building. But not only was he compelled to hand over his property in this fashion to his landlord, but, under a covenant, he usually had to hand it over in good condition. First, he built his premises which gave employment to men and women, then he had to maintain it in good repair and had to hand it over to his landlord at the expiration of his lease in good condition. That was surely a very one-sided kind of justice and must have a tendency to injure trade and prosperity in any country. But a feature to be observed in this form of confiscation was that when the landlord took over his tenant's property in this fashion it was not for the purpose of continuing the business himself, but only for the purpose of enabling him to demand a higher rent for the use of his land, either from the person who had created the property, or from some other person who was willing to pay a higher rent. The man who had created the property was treated on a par with the person who 784 had not done so. The property was put into the market for letting, quite regardless of the interest of the tenant who created it. Thus on a second term the premises were let on terms which included a rent not only on the increased value of the land, but also on the improvements which the late lessee had made. If they heard any talk about confiscation in this debate, he would respectfully ask what term properly applied to the new rent charge made upon the land owned by the landlord, and also on the improvements made by the tenant. This Bill made provision to secure to the tenant all his improvements and, in the event of his landlord ending the tenancy at the close of his lease, he would be entitled to adequate compensation for any improvements he might have made which had been sanctioned by the court or by the landlord himself. Thus if the landlord took over his land at the termination of the lease he would be compelled to make full compensation for all improvements which the outgoing tenant had made. Was there anything claimed here for the tenant more than the barest justice? And, further, if the tenant was voluntarily leaving the premises he would be at liberty freely to sell his improvements to any person willing to purchase them. He was very strongly of the opinion that if ever they were to see trade and commerce flourish in Ireland it would not be by any application of the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, for a protective tariff, but by a further instalment of free trade in the direction of free production as well as free exchange of goods. This Bill would be a step in freeing the merchant and shopkeeper from the protective tariff collected from their labour and capital by the sleeping partner in their concern. In the very interest of the landlords themselves it would be wise to pass this Bill into law. There was a very great demand for it in Ireland, and more especially for the principle of compensation for tenants' improvements. The confiscation of these improvements which was now going on could not last much longer, and; the sooner the question was allowed to be settled the better for the landlords. It was a question which, if kept too long in the arena of public discussion, might lead to the general questioning of the bases of landlord property as by law established. 785 And when the time came for opening the entire question of the right to land it would be difficult for the friends of landlordism to find substantial grounds for justification of the institution at all. Therefore, he would respectfully advise them, when in such cases as that of Ireland making her moderate demand for bare justice in such a Bill as this, they should not offer any strong resistance to it, but rather be ready to sacrifice a little of that which the law now allowed them to confiscate of their neighbour's property.
The second part of the Bill provided that a moderate amount of compensation should be paid for disturbance to the tenant on quitting his holding where such disturbance was caused by the landlord. It would hardly be denied that this was a reasonable and just provision. It was a proposal which had long been operative in favour of the landlord in cases where any portion of his property had been taken for public purposes. In such a case he received the full market value of the land taken and, in addition, he received 10 per cent. for disturbance. What was just in the case of the landlord could not be unjust in the case of the tenant. The amount of compensation proposed in the Bill was drawn on a very moderate scale. It was based upon the rent which was paid by the tenant. Compensation for disturbance was in operation in regard to agricultural holdings and had been found to work well. Formerly one of the chief causes of strife in Ireland between landlord and tenant was reckless readiness with which landlords turned their tenants out of their holdings without a penny of compensation for disturbance. It was found necessary to restrain the hand of the evictor, and the first step was to impose a penalty upon him in the shape of compensation for disturbance. It was this provision as much as any other contained in the Irish Land Acts which calmed down the war spirit of the Irish tenantry. It was a long step in the direction of fixity of tenure, and fixity of tenure meant national prosperity. It was of the utmost importance to the steady pursuit of trade and commerce that merchants and manufacturers should be left undisturbed in the possession of their holdings and not driven to seek for new premises to carry on their industry every few years. In this Bill they did not propose fixity of tenure to the extent to which it now 786 applied to agricultural holdings, but they proposed that where a landlord at the termination of a contract chose to dispossess the tenant and so compel him to seek new premises, that he should be made to compensate to some small extent the tenant for the loss arising from his compulsory removal. Eviction bore much more heavily upon the merchant or manufacturer in the town than upon even the farmer in the agricultural district. And it was even worse in its consequences to the community. The town tenant might be doing a thriving business and giving employment to largo numbers of workers in a particular city or town, and if he was driven out of the place by the act of his landlord his business might be, and usually was, ruined. The amount of compensation proposed in this Bill for such eviction would be merely a drop in the bucket as compared to the loss sustained, but still it would be so far a penalty falling upon the landlord which would deter him from expelling his tenant without reasonable cause. He was sure the self-evident justice of this portion of the Bill would commend it to the House without further words from him.
Ho now came to the third portion of the Bill which enabled a tenant to acquire the reversion of his holding in cases where his lease having expired he was called upon by the landlord to pay a higher rent or quit his holding. This provision was one which enabled the tenant, if he wished, to refuse to pay a higher rent or to quit his holding on the demand of his landlord. He might instead apply to the County Court to fix the amount of the landlord's interest in the holding and might, by paying that sum to the landlord, become the owner of his holding. He could not under this part make such application to the Court except in cases where the landlord had made a demand for an increase of rent or ordered the tenant to quit his holding. He confessed that he never could under stand why a landlord should at the expiry of a lease have the right to demand an increase of rent from his tenant. It was to be presumed that he let the land at the market value at the time and, as he was the only member of the community who made no contribution to the industry and progress of the country which gave an increased value to land, why should he, of all men, have the right to demand, under 787 pain of eviction, an increase of rent upon the increased value? Why should he be the only member of the community who was permitted to gather where he had not scattered, and reap where others had sown? The increased value ought to be the property of the producer. The proposal in this part of the Bill did not prevent the landlord from making a demand for an increase of rent and noticing the tenant to quit his holding unless he paid the increase, but it did enable the tenant to apply to the County Court to fix the capital value of the landlord's interest and, on paying such capital sum, to become the owner of his holding. In the event of the tenant not being prepared to buy out his holding he must then either pay the increased rent or quit the holding. On the other hand, a landlord who wished to retain his holding would be slow to call for an increase of rent under threat of eviction when he knew that his tenant could meet his demand by a proposal to buy out the landlord's interest. The remaining provisions of the Bill dealt with matters which were more suitable for discussion in Committee, and he should not take up the time of the House by discussing them now on the Second Reading. In conclusion, he might be permitted to say, for the information of those who were not Members of Parliament a year ago, that a Bill drawn upon similar lines to this was then presented to the House with a Tory Government in power, and they succeeded in carrying the Second Reading by a substantial majority. This was a measure which was demanded by all parties in Ireland, and he was quite safe in saying that the Irish representatives stood almost united upon the principle of this Bill. [Cries of "No," from the OPPOSITION Benches.] Then hon. Members had changed their minds. Upon the last occasion when a similar Bill to this was discussed, they were within a measurable distance of the General Election, and that had a wonderful effect upon some hon. Members from Ulster. The Bill was demanded by the province of Ulster as strongly as by any other province in Ireland, and when the opportunity arrived he had no doubt the electors of Ulster would take note of the action of their representatives to-day. He begged to move.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin County, N.)
seconded the Motion. He confessed he was one of those who would like to do without legislation of this kind. He had hoped, personally, for many years that something might be done to avoid legislation of this character, but his hopes had been entirely disappointed. The landlords who owned town property in Ireland seemed to be no wiser than the notorious owners of land in Ireland in regard to whom legislation had been passed for a quarter of a century. A considerable proportion of the landlords of whom he was now speaking had been acting all over Ireland in a manner which, in his opinion, constituted an outrage upon property, and deprived them of all right of coming to Parliament to resist such absolutely necessary measures as this. One would imagine that the landlords of house property would do their utmost to encourage enterprise and building operations, but instead of that what they had done was to hinder building development, to crush out enterprise, and to prevent prosperity. When a lease fell out, the landlords of whom he was speaking, instead of giving a new lease for a long term at a moderate rent which might be justifiable, took advantage of the tenant's situation and forced on him a shorter term lease at a terribly increased rent, and very often that rent was assessed upon the improvements which they had compelled the tenant to make. He had proofs of what he said, but he would not quote more than one instance. Mr. John McCulloch, one of the leading business men of Kingstown—a gentleman who differed from him both in religion and politics, and who was a member of the local urban council—became about thirty years ago the owner and lessee of certain premises in Kingstown which, along with probably eighty or ninety other houses, had been orginally built on a plot of ground for which a rent of £27 10s. was paid as ground rent. His proportion of the ground rent would probably be only a few shillings. What happened in his case when the lease fell out? He was encouraged in the first place to build, and in the second place to expend a large sum of money in building two big business houses. Then, the ground rent, instead of being a few shillings, or a few pounds, was raised to £90 per annum. That was 789 entirely confiscatory of his property. Mr. McCulloch thought that unjust. Did this House think it unjust? What moral right had any representative of the soil at Kingstown to come to this House or the other House and try, in the name of justice, to prevent such a Bill as this from passing after having committed such an outrage? The landlords went further still, for they sometimes evicted men, not for the nonpayment of rent, not for refusing to pay a higher rent, but simply because they did not like the tenant, or because of his action in public matters. He would read the following letter addressed by the agent of the Marquess of Clanricarde to a tenant in Loughrae—
§ " Estate Office, Loughrea,
§ " 29th April, 1905.
§ " Dear Sir,—I have been glad to see, from time to time, signs of your doing a good trade, and I have often mentioned you as a capable and energetic man of business. It would be well, I think, for the country if it had more traders like you with push and determination to succeed, and as a tenant you have given me satisfaction. Holding these good opinions of you, it is with regret that I feel it my duty to send you a notice to quit, the effect of which will oblige you to remove from the premises you hold. I have been agent for many years, and have always, so far as possible, tried to prevent tenants being ill-treated by their fellow tenants. I do not believe you personally desire to cause pain, annoyance, or injury to anyone, but as secretary of the Loughrea branch of the United Irish League you have done so, and I feel bound to use the argumentum ad hominem in the shape of the notice now served upon you. Faithfully Yours,
§ "E. SHARP TYNAN."
§ Was not that a monstrous case? According to the testimony of the evictor this tenant had shown considerable enterprise, push, and determination to succeed. Was he under these circumstances to lose the business which he had built up, all his goodwill, and the property by means of which he lived, simply because in public matters he chose to take his own course? It might be asked—Why did tenants in Ireland acquiesce in, and submit to, treatment like this? He imagined that anybody who asked that question had never studied the matter at all. The answer must immediately occur to any candid and open minded man that no tenant would acquiesce in, or submit to, such terms if he could possibly avoid doing so. The truth was that, owing to the fact that land was locked up and kept from being divided, town tenants were just as much without any real free- 790 dom of contract as the agricultural tenants ever were. The town of Kingstown was all owned by two big landlords, and the tenants there had no alternative but to accept the terms offered to them or quit the place altogether. The small town of Skerries in his own constituency was owned by one landlord. It was occupied by people who lived partly by sea, and partly by employment which they received from neighbouring farmers. They had lived there for generations, and they had hitherto had long leases at low rents. When their leases terminated they wore asked by the landlord to consent to comparatively short leases, to spend hundreds of pounds on new buildings, and to pay a moderately increased rent on the ground value, but to pay on buildings which they themselves had erected. If they refused to do this, they had no alternative except to go to America or Australia. That was the reason why the tenants submitted. If that was so, some remedy must be applied. Plunder was going on, and it ought to be stopped. He was told that this Bill would stop enterprise in building. In Galway, and indeed in almost all other parts of Ireland, roofless houses might be seen. What lesson would anyone derive from such scenes as to enterprise on the part of landlords? All over Ireland enterprise was checked by landlords, and the only enterprise was that shown by tenants who were robbed in the fashion he had described. Several proposals to remedy this state of things were made in this Bill. A man who had made improvements ought not to be deprived of them without compensation. The first part of the Bill which dealt with that matter passed through the House of Commons last year. In the House then there was a Unionist majority, and the Members from Ulster did not dare to oppose the Bill on the Second Reading. It passed through the Grand Committee on Law, and the changes in that part of the Bill of last year were made to restore it to the shape in which it originally stood, instead of allowing to remain in it the limiting, restricting and destructive provisions, of the Land Act of 1870. He came now to the somewhat contentious proposal which, of course, would be opposed by the hon. Members for Dublin University and for Ulster. He would, however, just like to remark that there was not a leading provision in 791 this Bill from beginning to end that had not a precedent either in actual legislation or in projected legislation favoured by both parties in this House. The clauses providing for compensation for disturbance were taken almost literally from the Land Act of 1870. What did the Bill say? It was proposed that where a tenant was evicted for any cause but nonpayment of rent he should get compensation for whatever loss he might, in the opinion of the court—and the courts were not very feeling in the matter—have sustained, and in case of non-payment that he should also get compensation for eviction with disturbance, if the court thought that the rent he had failed to pay was exorbitant. This was a provision taken almost without alteration from the Land Act of 1870, and he maintained that in it there was no unjust force whatever. He would take the two cases most likely to arise. First, a person was ejected, say, for non-payment of a rent which was exorbitant. That person had created a business worth a good deal. He lost that business—the product of years of work. Was it not monstrous that he should have to give it up—the means by which he and his family lived—without being paid something for it, merely because he failed to pay a rent which would be confiscatory of that business? Even if he had no goodwill and could not get another house to live in, did he not still suffer loss—loss in the shape of removal, loss in not being near the scene of his work or his employment? And was it tolerable even in this case that another man's extortionate proclivities should be indulged in with impunity? And then if the rent was fair, there was no compensation. Let them take the second case —that of capricious eviction. An owner evicted a man at the end of a lease— not for non-payment of rent, but because he wanted to turn the house to other uses, or because he disliked the tenant. Did not the very same considerations arise in this case also? Was it not worse in this case that a man should be deprived of his business or his home without compensation? But one concrete case in illustration of their position in this matter was worth any amount of argument. Let them take Ward's case already referred to. Who would say that this unfortunate man Ward did not 792 deserve some compensation, or that the landlord who could treat his tenant as this tenant was treated by Lord Clanricarde ought not to be penalised for such conduct and so be prevented from giving rein to his evil instincts? He would remind those who thought that they were going too far in giving the benefit of this clause to persons who, in being evicted for other causes than non-payment suffered no loss of goods, that this very session a measure had passed through its Second Reading in this-House and through one of the Grand Committees—he meant the English Land Tenure Bill—which provided the very same remedy for English agricultural tenants in precisely similar circumstances. It might be said that cases might arise in which no loss would be sustained by a capricious eviction. If so, the Court would have power under this clause to award practically no compensation, for it was only the maximum of compensation which was in any case prescribed. No loss, no compensation. It might be said again that this clause would really mean or would lead to the fixing of rents. It clearly did not enact the fixing of rents; and, if they might judge from Irish experience, it would not entail fixing of rents unless the county made this clause nugatory by their administration, for he was one of those who thought that if the County Court Judges of Ireland had administered the similar provision in the Land Act of 1870 in a proper spirit instead of giving it little or no effect, it might have prevented the fixing of rents to which this Parliament had eventually to resort. One word he would like to add on this point. This clause, he thought, as it was drawn, might admit to its benefits a person who had taken a furnished house for six months. Of course, it was not intended to apply to such a case, and any amendment which would exclude such would be readily accepted. He came now to the last part of the Bill; and he hardly imagined that this would be refused acceptance by either Party in the House. He had been very much interested in studying what was called leasehold enfranchisement in England. He had been very much astonished to find that the Liberal Party were the first to take up this question; but they appeared to drop it and the Tory Party then took it up. He could not recollect all the names of the Liberal 793 Members who, twenty years ago, advocated leasehold enfranchisement, but they included Colonel Lawrie and Sir George Pardon, who was Member for Paddington. And what did they propose? That there should be attached to the end of every lease a provision granting a right to the compulsory buying out of the landlords' interest. If the Irish Members who supported this Bill went so far as that, he had no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University would make eloquent speeches in denunciation of such a proposal. But he and his friends who promoted this Bill did not go as far as that, They only asked to give power in two cases, viz., when a landlord demanded an increased rent which the tenant thought exorbitant; and when he proceeded to eject a tenant. Of course he could not imagine that any hon. Gentleman opposite who had any sense of justice or logic and who had been in favour of the larger proposal, would object to the minor proposal in this Bill. He fully expected that some comment would be made on the fact that this Bill proposed to go a little further than that. But in view of the case of Mr. Collough—which was only a typical one—they proposed that in the case of iniquitous bargains which had been forced on the tenants in the past, if the Court was satisfied that any existing lease would, before the passing of the Act, contain terms unjust to the tenants, that lease should be voided. That might be regarded as an extreme proposal. But here again the promoters of this Bill had founded themselves upon precedents. The clause in the Bill, as it stood, was word for word with the last part of Section 1 of the Laud Act of 1881 which passed the House of Commons. It seemed to him to be absolutely necessary, if they were not going to set up two tests side by side-one suffering injustice all the days of his life during the currency of his lease, and the other suffering no such injustice because of the passing of this Act. He expected that the old cries would be raised about confiscation and plunder. But he was glad to say that those cries were becoming less passionate than they used to be. He was glad to say that in this Parliament they were not so great as in former Parliaments in which he had sat. They had heard such cries before and had discounted them; and the Irish Nationalist Members 794 would discount them again. It would be said that this Bill would stop progress; but he would like to know where the progress was going to be stopped. Let any one go to the smaller Irish towns and he would see that the only progress made had been made by the tenants themselves in spite of the unjust state of the law. As long as men were able to make 6 or 7 per cent. by building operations progress would not be checked. They had endeavoured to lay before the House the means of preventing any check upon progress, and it was for those who said that those means were unjust, to prove their assertion, or to provide better means. It certainly did not lie in the mouths of two or three members of the Government to object to this Bill. It would not be consistent on their part to object to a Bill fixing fair rents, because in the year 1903 a Bill was brought in dealing with houses with town tenancies in England. The name of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Camberwell was on the back of that Bill, and amongst others who also backed it were the present President of the Local Government Board and one of the Whips, and he thought several other members of the then Liberal Party. The Bill actually contained a provision that rents should be fixed upon town houses, and that not more than 5 per cent, on the capital should ever be allowed in the way of rent. Moreover, that measure proposed the establishment of a tribunal for fixing rent, one-third of which should consist of a man nominated by the Local Trades Council. It went far in advance of anything Nationalist Members had thought of yet, but of course if this Bill were rejected then other ideas might occur to them, and in alter years they might come forward with a Bill following the precedent set by the measure to which he had alluded. Another ground for recommending this Bill was that all parties in Ireland were in favour of it. He had, on behalf of the Party with whom he acted, taken counsel in regard to the preparation of this Bill, and upon a Committee sitting with very pronounced Nationalists, was one of the leaders of the independent Orange Party in Ireland. The Bill was, it was true, promoted by the Irish Nationalist Party, still he dared to say, notwithstanding the presence of two or three Orangemen from the north of Ireland, that the 795 Nationalist Party represented the over-whelming majority of all Parties and all creeds in this matter. On all these grounds—that there was an urgent grievance which required to be redressed; that this remedy did not violate any rule of equity or any code of morality; and that all Parties supported it—he commended with the greatest confidence to the present House of Commons this Bill for Second Reading.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG (Antrim, S.)
said that hon. Members who sat below the gangway on the opposite side of the House had always been in the habit of calling him and his colleagues representatives of the landlord class in Ireland, a name which they had always protested against; because they had always represented not only the landlords but every section of the community in the North of Ireland. On this occasion, however, he had no hesitation in saying that he did represent the owners of property whom this Bill sought to despoil. He had very little to say in regard to the speech of the hon. Member who introduced the Bill—a moderate speech taken all round— except that the hon. Member remarked that this Bill was practically the same as that introduced last year. If hon. Members would examine the two Bills however, they would see that there was but a faint resemblance between them. It was true that the present Bill was like the Bill of last year, in so far as the first four clauses were concerned, with this important reservation, that these four clauses corresponded with last year's Bill as it was introduced into the House and not as it came from the Grand Committee on Law. That Committee removed two of their most serious objections to the Bill. The hon. Member who seconded said that he (Mr. Craig) and his friends did not dare last year to vote against the Second Reading of the Bill, but that now, after the election, they had the audacity to propose to do so. Upon the Second Reading of the Bill last year however, they had made their position perfectly plain, as they all, with the exception of one hon. Member from the Unionist part of Ireland, objected at the time to the retrospective clause, and he and the other hon. Members from the North of Ireland objected strongly, and still 796 objected to the Bill being made applicable to large towns such as Belfast and Dublin. They also considered that the Bill should be applicable only to business premises. On the Second Reading, they said that they would in Committee do their best to get these provisions amended. Apart from the first four clauses, the Bill passed last year was a very different one from the measure now proposed. It proposed that the tenant on quitting his holding should be compensated for improvements made by him in his house and buildings, all his colleagues and himself had always held that that was perfectly fair, provided it was confined to the improvements made after the passing of any Act and to cases of towns where these hardships were likely to have existed; that was to say, in towns all over Ireland with a population of 6,000 to 8,000 inhabitants. The demand for compensation for improvements arose in this way. The first and the chief cause was that the town tenants a good many years ago thought that they should be treated on similar lines to tenants of agricultural holdings. He did not hold with that at all. The two classes of property were utterly different and the same principles could not be applied to both. The second reason, and he thought the true reason, for the origin of the demand was that in some towns in Ireland the whole of the property was in the hands of one landlord. Where that was the case there had undoubtedly been some hardships. He questioned very much if those hardships were anything like so numerous or so great as hon. Members would have them believe. It was curious that hon. Members who introduced the Bill had only given two instances of grievance and in neither case had they given the House full details.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
said hon. Members could not expect the House of Commons to legislate on two isolated examples. An instance was given of a case in Kingstown. On the facts stated he could quite conceive that the owner had not in any way suffered a hardship. It was possible on the other hand that he had suffered hardships, but if he had the same thing happened in very town. Hon. Members on the other 797 side, representing London or large provincial towns, knew that it was as common as possible. Did they consider that hardship was suffered? He was perfectly certain that the gentleman referred to by the hon. Member when he took his place in Kingstown had counted the cost before he made the bargain. The other case mentioned was that of Lord Clanricarde's agent, and he thought they ought to know a little more of the details of that case. The gentleman there was a member of the League, and they were not told what boycotting operations he had been engaged in and therefore could not say whether there was any hardship there. The hon. Member referred to Galway as an instance of the terrible state Irish towns were in, but if the hon. Member would take a walk in the part Ireland which he (Mr. Craig) represented he would not see anything like that which he had depicted. He could mention a number of towns where precisely the same state of things existed as in Galway, and instead of their having a forlorn aspect they were towns with every appearance of prosperity, and they were, in fact, prosperous. He did not doubt that there wore in those towns a large number of inhabitants who called for the Bill, but his point was that it was not fair to say that because Galway was in a stricken condition, therefore the present system bore hardly on the towns of Ireland. The cause of Galway's want of prosperity was a totally different one. When he left the first four clauses of the Bill, which he admitted were the same as last year, then the Bill became a totally different one, and while they found themselves perfectly able to vote for the principle of the Bill last year, he was glad to say that there was not a single member of the official Ulster Party who could see his way to vote for the remainder of the Bill, and that part would receive their most strenuous opposition. As regarded the provision of compensation for disturbance, that was carrying the Bill of last year to a much greater distance than there was any justification for. Not one argument had been put forward in favour of that clause. The promoters had shown cases of hardship in the case of improvements, but he maintained that no argument or hardship had been shown by them in dealing with those clauses respecting compensation for disturbance. He proposed to leave the discussion of 798 that clause to those who followed him. Clause 6 was very important, because it dealt with the enfranchisement of tenants. He must say that it took his breath away when he read the extraordinary and extravagant proposals contained in Section 6. That anybody should make such proposals as were contained in that section certainly never entered into his head. It was a section of a most revolutionary nature. It did not propose, as often had been done, that tenants who had a considerable term of their lease to run should be allowed to enfranchise themselves, but that even a tenant from year to year should be able, by merely serving a notice on the landlord, to force the landlord to sell him all his property. Was there any reason in the world why a man should be able to go to his landlord and say, "You must sell me your house and land?" He thought it was a proposal which the House of Commons would think very seriously about before passing it into law. It was more far-reaching and extravagant than any proposal on the subject of land and town property which had ever been introduced into the House. He begged Members to read the section very carefully, and try and understand where such proposals would take them. They should bear in mind that the conditions existing in town tenancies in Ireland were precisely the same as those in England. In the case of agricultural land the system of tenure had always been so different from what existed in England and so difficult that it was impossible for the ordinary Englishman to understand legislation on the subject unless he had made a special study of it, but this was not so in the case of tenants in towns. He remembered that the hon. Member, who moved the Second Reading of the Bill of last session, confined himself to a short speech, as he said it was right that as many Members from Ireland as possible should address the House on the subject. He intended to reciprocate that idea, because he thought they should hear the opinions of as many Members from Ireland as possible, and he hoped of some from England, and for that reason he did not propose to examine the Bill very closely. There were one or two more points, however, he wished to notice. There was a clause which gave power to a Court to declare a lease void, and another which went a long way 799 towards setting up what he thought all of them, certainly among Conservative Members, looked upon as an abomination to be avoided if possible, Fair Kent Courts in towns. There were provisions giving power to Courts to say whether a rent was exorbitant, and to set aside a lease. If power was given to a Court to hold that a rent was exorbitant, they would be going very close to the point of giving a Court power to declare what should be the rent. He thought there were many Members who would view with alarm anything that would tend towards setting up Kent Courts for town holdings. Some of them might go so far as to say that Fair Rent Courts had been necessary in the case of agricultural holdings, but they all felt it was a disagreeable necessity. He would say further that they would rather submit to a certain amount of injustice and hardship before setting up Courts which could never give entire satisfaction, and were always a source of conflict between tenant and landlord. On these grounds he proposed to vote against the Bill, and for the benefit of hon. Members from Ireland he might say that the effect of the general election had not influenced him in the slightest degree in this decision. The hon. Member who introduced the Bill last year said he had gone out of his way to produce a measure of a particularly moderate character, to which nobody could object. He (Mr. Craig) and his friends agreed with the principle of that Bill; and had one or two objectionable proposals been removed that Bill might have become law. He wanted to know why they had departed from what was done last year, and produced a Bill which was very much worse. It could not be supposed that a Bill with such drastic proposals could pass, and surely the proper course for the promoters would have been to introduce a Bill certainly no stronger than that of last year, which would have a reasonable chance of success. They had produced a Bill which compelled hon. Members at least from the North of Ireland to vote against it. He remembered on last year's Bill it was held up as a matter for congratulation that all sections of Irishmen wore able to join together in trying to get it through. If last year's Bill had been re-introduced, striking out the retrospective clause, it might have had little difficulty in passing.
§ MR. MEEHAN (Queen's County, Leix)
said he rose to support the Bill which had been introduced, and the provisions which had been so ably explained by his hon. colleagues. He asked the indulgence of the House briefly to-state a few of the most grievous wrongs under which town tenants suffered. These were divided under three heads: first, want of security; secondly, systematic taxing of their industry and enterprise; and thirdly, confiscation of their property. He readily admitted that the question required the greatest and most careful consideration in order that, while they attempted, and he hoped successfully, to provide a remedy for a great evil, they did not create another. They had to guard against unreasonable interference with the just rights of owners and against hampering or raising any obstacles to-enterprise in the investment of capital in buildings, taking every precaution, that, while they provided protection for the tenants' rights, for the property created by their toil and industry, protection should be provided in a like manner for the landlord against dilapidation and injury to his property by wasteful tenants outside fair wear and tear. He-submitted that the provisions of this Bill not only steered clear of that difficulty, but, while it gave an instalment of justice to the tenant, it provided every just and reasonable safeguard for present owners and those who in the future invested their capital in buildings. This Bill could not be regarded as a Party measure. All town tenants in Ireland, irrespective of creed, approved of its-principles and appealed to Parliament for some measure of justice and protection for the property created by their labour and industry. It had no opponents, except the landlords who unjustly profited by the present iniquitous system. Under the present system there was no security or encouragement for a tenant. As a general rule houses were held under a yearly tenancy and the tenant was subject to eviction at the mere caprice or cupidity of the landlord. Even under these conditions, with very limited exceptions, all improvements were made by tenants. They created a business interest in the house, and immediately the rent was raised again and again until very often the tenant was made bankrupt owing to the cupidity of the landlord. Meanwhile the landlord never spent one penny on 801 the premises. The tenant's property was confiscated by the landlord who appropriated the improvements. In the ease of a yearly tenant, if by depression in business or some unexpected loss he was unable to pay the rackrent, he was evicted, the landlord appropriating his property. In the case of leaseholdsrs the case was more grievous. In that case the tenant or his predecessor generally built the premises and founded a home. Leases were generally for a short period, say thirty-one years, sometimes ninety-nine years, but the conditions were so stringent and of such a nature as to render them valueless as a commercial security, and good only as a holding title against the landlord so long as the rent was paid punctually. On the expiration of the lease the tenant had to clear out, the landlord getting a fine from an incoming tenant and double the former rent for property created by years of toil and self-sacrifice by another person whom, through an unjust law, he was enabled to rob. In the town of Maryborough, a town of 3,000 population, nearly every house was originally built by tenants on short leases on the expiration of which they were taken over by the ground landlord. He admitted that the tenants were often left in possession, but only at double and sometimes treble the rent paid for the old plot. He remembered the case of a house built by a man at a cost of £1,500 on a plot of ground the rent of which was £16. When that lease expired the landlord, who had never expended a shilling on the property, increased the rent £30. In another case within his own knowledge a man spent £500 in improving his premises and on the expiration of his lease his rent was raised from £22 to £35. Then he remembered the case of a mechanic who paid 2s. 6d. a week for his house of two apartments. In that case some of the man's children went to America, and, as many children of Irish labourers and artisans did, sent money home to their father to assist him. With that money he rebuilt the house in which he lived, adding considerably to its size and putting on a substantial and slated roof. His rent was raised to 5s., although the landlord had not spent a penny on those improvements. Then there was a case in Queen's County. Thirty-two years ago a house was erected in a certain 802 town in Queen's County at an expenditure of between £800 and £900 on a thirty-one years lease. The house let at a rent of £25 a year; the person who built the house left the property to his grandchild; a few months ago the lease expired; the landlord took up the property and the £25 a year rent, and the heir of the man who created the property did not get a shilling compensation, and, deprived of his moans of living, had to enter a public charitable institution. He said the act of the landlord in taking over that property, though the lease had expired, was nothing less than an act of spoliation. He recalled another case in which a tenant within seven years expended £4,000 upon his property. The tenant was in occupation at an annual rental of £24. By industry and hard work he created a largo business in connection with that property and out of his own resources spent this £4,000 in building magnificent business promises. He had a lease which was good as a holding lease against the landlord so long as he paid his rent, but the conditions of the lease were such that if he took it to his bankers and offered it as security for an overdraft the bankers would not look at it. The rent had been raised to £40 and when the lease expired the landlord under the present law could come in, take over the premises, and convert them to his own use. Another case to which he might refer was that of a tenant in Maryborough. In that case the rent was £16 a year up to about twelve years ago, when the lease expired. The rent was raised immediately to £50 a year. Within three years it was increased to £65. The roof of those premises was so bad that it was blown away. The landlord put on a new roof at a cost of about £90 and added another £20 to the rent, bringing it up to £85. This the tenant was unable to pay, and therefore had to leave about six years ago and sacrifice a valuable business interest connected with the premises without any compensation. What they asked under the Bill, what they demanded in the name of their people, was that the security of the law should be extended to the town tenants; that unjust rack-renting should be prevented and the systematic confiscation of tenants' property should cease. So long as this House insisted on governing their country against their will, they would demand that the Government should 803 fulfil its obligations. Mere sympathy would not satisfy them. Sympathy must take some tangible shape, some earnest action, and the action they expected was that this Bill should receive Government support to carry it to a successful issue. He made every allowance for the difficulties of the position, and the enormous task before the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. They believed he would give their country those rights which in her name her representatives demanded, but he might tell the right hon. Gentleman that, unless he took in his own hands with a grip of steel the management of Irish business, the officials of Dublin Castle would defeat him, make his administration a failure, and break his heart, as they had broken the hearts of other well-intentioned men before him. He appealed to this democratic House to pass this measure of protection and justice for the democrats of Ireland. It was boasted that wherever the British flag floated injustice disappeared, and there was protection and security for the humblest of the King's subjects, irrespective of colour or country, even for the Chinese coolie on the Rand. Days were spent debating how best to protect his liberty and secure him against wrong. Within a day's journey of this House there were wrongs to remedy, injustice to remove. There were here the representives of a nation as old, as rich in noble and historic memories as the British, whose children had helped to build up the Empire, demanding this measure of justice, and they asked that this House should fulfil its obligations, and give this measure of justice and protection which, in the name of the Irish people, they claimed.
§ MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)
said he should like to engage the attention of the House for a few minutes as an Ulster representative. His reasons for supporting this Bill were three. In his opinion it contained the same principle as last year's Bill, it was demanded by all classes in Ireland, and most important of all, the Union was quite safe. The last reason was an all important one in any legislation which applied to Ireland. He could not find a clause or sub-section in the Bill that endangered the union. The hon. Member for South Antrim had said he was 804 going to vote against the Bill because it was different from that which was introduced last year.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
said he had explained that the provisions were reactionary, unjust, and revolutionary.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
The hon. Member is quite wrong in thinking anything of the sort. Had the Bill of last year been introduced I should have voted for the Second Reading with the reservations I made last year.
§ MR. SLOAN
said the hon. Gentleman had justified his (Mr. Sloan's) first statement. It was not necessary to pursue the argument any further in that respect. But he would like to say that so far as the hon. Gentleman had a knowledge of northern politics he would readily admit that this was not a Party measure, and that the Orange and Protestant democracy would benefit by the passing of this Act as much as the Roman Catholic in Galway, Limerick, or Connaught, He was giving his own opinion because he was his own leader in matters which affected the welfare of his fellow countrymen, whether they were from the north, or from the south, and he had had a passage at arms with those who claimed the right to dictate to them freedom, liberty, and conscientious conviction, which he thought many members of this House would do well to cultivate, and none more than the hon. Member for South Antrim. The principle of compensation for improvements made by a town tenant was the real foundation of this Bill, and that principle had been admitted by the hon. Member for South Antrim, who voted in its favour last year, with the reservation that when the Bill reached Committee he would make Amendments which would go far to kill it. But the hon. Gentleman could justify his vote in favour of the principle of the Bill to-day and then when the Bill came into Committee he could protest against those portions of the Bill which he did not care to support. On the whole he rather 805 liked the frank straightforward manner in which the hon. Gentleman had announced his intention of voting against the Bill, because it was much better than abstention. The men who abstained, as some Members from the north of Ireland did, were neither fish, flesh, fowl nor good red herring. When the hon. Member for South Antrim said that if the Bill last year had been reintroduced this year with reasonable Amendments it would have been placed on the Statute-book, he would point out to the hon. Gentleman the folly of refusing moderate legislation and he was quite prepared to go with the hon. Gentleman to the north of Ireland, to any constituency, and stand with him before the democracy on the principles of this Bill. If they took the Land Act of 1903, every Ulster Member was pledged to compulsion, and yet the hon. Member for South Antrim abhorred the idea of a landlord being compelled to sell to a tenant the holding he was occupying. There was, he was glad to say, a change of front in the north of Ireland—there was an opening of the blind eye. He would say this, that the justification for the Union was that they should not stand in the way of any reasonable, legitimate, and essential reform for the good of Ireland, even though they were Unionists. The fact that they came to the House as Unionists did not justify them in opposing every scheme for the good of Ireland. He would say that he wished as strongly, as keenly, and as earnestly for the welfare and prosperity of his country as a whole as any man sitting on the Nationalist Benches. And while they differed in politics and in religion there was a broad platform on which they could all stand which could be utilised for the benefit and the good of every section of the community of which they were all proud of being a part. The principle of the Bill had his whole-hearted support. He should always enter his protest against the perpetual representation of landlords by a small section of men who did not represent the large body of their constituents in that House.
§ MR. SLOAN
said he did not think it had much to do with the Bill before the House. But he was asked a question; and he did not want to be disrespectful. If he had refused to answer it would have been said that he could not. This Bill certainly vindicated the right of a man to get compensation for his improvements when he had spent his time and money in improving his property and building up a business. The fact that the Bill needed amendment was a justification for its passing. No Bill had ever been brought before the House which had not been admitted to re quire Amendment even by its supporters' When a Bill was read a second time, its principle was accepted, and not necessarily its details. It was with that qualification that he gave his wholehearted support to the measure. He trusted that the Bill would not be sent to a Committee upstairs, but that the Government would see its way to find out how the pulse of Ireland beat on this question. He would be quite satisfied if they did that. Such steps as they would be prepared to take would lead to this Bill being placed on the Statute-book. He could not abstain from testifying as to his general knowledge and feeling with regard to this bill, and he was prepared to state that if the House would realise a little more the difficulty of getting a living in Ireland, and could understand exactly what it was to live in a small hut not fit for human habitation, the struggle necessary to eke out a mere existence, and the sacrifices the people of Ireland had to make in trying to build up a small business of their own and then be subject to confiscation by the landlords, they would give a whole-hearted sympathy to the Bill. There was nothing for Ireland's good, for her prosperity, there was no Bill ever introduced that would meet the requirements and needs of all, irrespective of class and creed, upon which the north of Ireland was not quite prepared to join hands with the South and West for the building up of the 807 country and the making of life more pleasant and happy than it was. He had much pleasure in supporting the Bill.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said the hon. Member for South Antrim had asked why the Bill had been changed. He took no part in the change himself but he could give two substantial reasons. In the first place, when they recollected now the moderate Bill of last year was treated—how hon. Gentlemen talked in favour of the principle in the House and when they got into Grand Committee deliberately talked the Bill to death, moderate as it was, that was not much encouragement for moderate people. But he had another reason why the Bill should be a stronger Bill. The Bill of last year was introduced into a Tory Parliament. They had, of course, to take into account Tory susceptibilities. This was not a Tory Parliament, and why should not they go one better now? Why should not they go for justice now, and why should justice halt with a Liberal Party in a majority such as the Government had? Having profited nothing by their moderation in the last Parliament—for hon. Gentlemen from Ulster dared not oppose the Second Reading when there was a Press Gallery to record their views which found their way to Ulster, but who could manage to oppose it upstairs—having had no encouragement, they had gone for a Bill which was just in the fullest sense of the word. The hon. Member for South Antrim had also dealt with the remarkable case from Loughrea, and he heard Lord Clanricarde's name mentioned, which was like a resurrection from the dead. But the hon. Member was most unfair and unjust towards his opponents. If he had known anything about the case from Loughrea he would have known this. The notice to quit was a sentence of death to Mr. Ward. He was using Mr. Gladstone's famous phrase because Lord Clanriearde owned the whole town of Loughrea and to put Mr. Ward out of that house was not only to destroy the man's business but to destroy the man himself. But what did the hon. Member say? He desired to know what Mr. Ward had been guilty of—had he done any boycotting? Now the hon. Member knew nothing about Mr. Ward, 808 and he came to the House of Commons and levelled what practically amounted to a charge of boycotting in order to justify Lord Clanricarde's action. There was not a scintilla of truth in that innuendo, and if Mr. Ward had to leave his premises—
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
was going to say that if he had to leave, it was adding insult to injury to have a man's business destroyed, and then to have the representatives of Lord Clanricarde coming to the House to suggest that he was a boycotter. He was nothing of the kind, and no man had a right to use his position in the House of Commons to throw about such innuendoes, especially when they were entirely baseless. But they did not need to go to the west of Ireland. He would go to the hon. Gentleman's own county— to North Antrim, where a famous opponent of that Bill paid the price of his opposition. He would give two cases in Portrush. What had built up that famous watering place?
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Undoubtedly. No doubt the town had been built up by those famous golf links. The rent of those links paid to Lord Antrim a few years ago was £65. They had become famous throughout the United Kingdom. Hotels had been built, the town had been improved, and all was due to golf. Lord Antrim had not done a single tiling for the town except to put difficulties in the way of building. Now the lease of the Links had run out and Lord Antrim had demanded a rent of £500 and half the gross profits of the golf links. Those people did not arouse much sympathy in their case. They would not require to pass a Town Tenants Bill if it was merely for a case like that. But it showed what the landlord was everywhere. He had done nothing for the town. He had opposed and hindered building in any way he could, and when he got the chance he put in a demand for a rent like that. [" Shame."] Let them take the hotel. The Northern Counties Hotel, 809 which was now the Midland Hotel, was let at a rent of £43. Now they had put it up to £500. His point in all this was that the men who were getting that rent had done nothing to earn it, and it was the community who ought to get the benefit and not the individual landlord. Let them take the town of Ballymoney. This question occupied a considerable place in the North Antrim election. What were the facts in Ballymoney? It was the fact that owing to the conduct of some landlord part of the town of Ballymoney was absolutely derelict, and people wishing to improve their premises and get places of business on reasonable terms had to go to another part of the town. And this was what hon. Members for Ulster—the defenders of the Union—had nailed their colours to. This was that for which they put their backs to the wall and were going to fight upon. Well, all he could say to those Gentlemen was that he honoured them for at least having the courage of their convictions and coming out in the open. The question was dodged in the last Parliament. It could not be dodged in this. The Member for South Antrim talked about a friend of his in Kingstown, a merchant there a magistrate for the county—not a Roman Catholic, which would really account for a good deal with some people, but a Wesleyan Methodist and a citizen deserving of every respect. The hon. Member for South Antrim said there was no hardship in that case—that it was an isolated case. Did ever anything show the ignorance of this question revealed by that statement? Every body knew that the Kingstown case was not the case of one man. It was the case of scores of men. What was the Kingstown case? The two landlords of that town were Lord de Vesci and Lord Longford. Owing to the conduct of the landlords nearly the whole of the publicans of Kingstown had to go to get new licences, and sitting on the bench as a licensing magistrate he learned the facts. What happened? Those shops in Kingstown were in a business thoroughfare, the ground landlords being the two noblemen he had alluded to, and the leases fell in a couple of years ago. What took place? The agents of the landlords served 810 notices upon all those shopkeepers that they would be required to build new premises according to office plans. The tenants had nowhere else to go and with them it was either consent to; the landlord's terms or blank rain. Consequently they built new premises, palatial structures in most cases, and besides this they were called upon to pay a rise in rent in some cases of 500 per cent. This was what the Ulster Members were going to stand by. This was the flag they were going to wave in Ballymoney, Coleraine, Lisburn and all those northern towns. It was not a case of a man here and there, as the hon. Member for South Antrim seemed to imply —it was tile case of the whole country. It was the case of every man whose lease fell in. He was told that this was a changed Bill. So it was. What were the changes? The Bill provided that if a tenant was treated in this way by his landlord and if he was obliged to go elsewhere in consequence he should have reasonable compensation for disturbance. He had had some experience upstairs considering the English Land Tenure Bill in Committee, in which they had to deal with this question of compensation for disturbance, and although not generally regarded as a moderate man he had been counselling prudence in this matter to English members. He tried in his innocence to get this compensation for disturbance limited by a scale in the English Land Tenure Bill, and was defeated. And now what did they find? That the Ulster Members wore loudly declaiming against that very principle. An English farmer went into his farm fully equipped as a going concern, and he did nothing to it in the sense that an Irishman did. If he was dispossessed unreasonably and without just cause, what did the English Bill say? That he was to get compensation, not upon a scale limited as it was under the Act of 1870 or as it was limited by this Bill, but he would get compensation at the mere whim of the arbitrator to any amount and to any extent, and there was no appeal. He confessed that gave even him a shiver, but it was carried, and consequently it was not for English Members who had passed that to shy at compensation for Mr. John Ward, who was put out of his house and home by Lord 811 Clanricarde, and had his whole business destroyed.
§ MR. CLANCY
The hon. Member has implied that under the English law, compensation would be paid only in case of eviction. I may point out that it is not necessary under the English Land Tenure Bill that the man should be evicted at all.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said if he used the word eviction it was a mistake. But why should they haggle over compensation? They were living in the twentieth century, and it did not follow that because a law had been in force for 150 years that it should always remain, or that what the last House of Commons did the present Parliament should not undo. The fact that a law had existed for centuries was no argument why it should exist any longer, and anything that could not give a good account of itself would have to go. Then there was another objection taken by these heroic gentlemen from Ulster, for while Toryism was isolated in England and Scotland; the remnant of it survived in Ulster, —the last ditch of privilege. The last part of this Bill was practically leasehold enfranchisement, and had they never heard of that in this House before? What great hardship was there in that? Let them take a man with a lease for thirty-one years, which was a common thing in Ireland. He knew that there were short leases in Ireland. A ground landlord had only a life interest in his estate in most cases and they could not grant leases beyond their own life. He had been a victim of that himself, and he knew that his constituents also had suffered in the same way. Let them take a lease of ninety-nine years, or whatever lease they liked, and supposing a man built up a great business under that lease. Time went on and the lease ran out. He agreed that it was not unfair to consider afresh the whole position at the end of that term and nobody would contend that what existed ninety-nine years ago should necessarily obtain to-day. They were not proposing such a thing. It would be permissible under this Bill to consider the whole position afresh at the close of the lease, taking everything fairly into account. But supposing there was a 812 disagreement. Was it unfair or unreasonable to say that compensation should be paid, bearing in mind that the landlord had done nothing in the matter. The landlords were generally represented by a solicitor, and it was therefore impossible to get at them. They were often represented by some solicitor in Dublin who had no actual power to do anything. Was it unreasonable in such a case where an agreement was impossible and the tenant was about to be ruined to say by statute that the tenant should have the right to purchase right out the interest that would not agree, which was a foreign interest, whilst the tenant's interest was at home? Under those conditions why should the tenant not have the right to buy the owner out at a fair price to be fixed by a Court or by arbitration; such a proposal was not unfair and it was a reasonable settlement. He had voted for this Bill before and he should have the greatest pleasure in voting for it to-day. These were the main features of the Bill. He took the position of Ireland and he wanted to speak plainly—and hoped he would not be misunderstood anywhere. The principle of the Town Tenants Bill was fought out in every Ulster election. It might be that the Member for Belfast did not discuss the question, but in almost every contested election in Ulster the Bill was before the people. They gave their verdict upon it and elicited pledges upon this Bill as well as upon others. This was a serious matter to have the country divided upon. The Town Tenants question did not affect Connaught, Munster, and Leinster any more than it affected Ulster. In fact he was not sure that, looking at Ulster and its position in business and commerce, the interest of Ulster in this question was not greater than that of any other province. The whole of the south and west of Ireland was solid for the Bill. What was the lesson that the hon. Member for South Antrim, putting his back to the wall three months after the election, taught the north? Was he going to tell these people in Ulster that the only way they could be redeemed, the only way they could get protection, the only way they could get security for their property, was to trust to the hon. Members below the gangway? That 813 was what the hon. Member for South Antrim was doing to-day. He was glad the hon. Member for South Belfast had had the courage to throw him over. He drew a distinction between the hon. Member for Dublin University and the rest of them, because he did not speak for the same class of constituents that they spoke for, and that enabled him to speak with perfect impartiality. At all events the Ulster Members gave pledges in every election in favour of the principle of tae Bill. They contended to-day that the Bill was not the same as that which emerged from the Committee, and on which they gave those pledges. If they were going to skate upon such thin ice as that he told hon. Members plainly that the people of Ulster would not understand it. Every shopkeeper in Ulster who was dispossessed ought to be compensated. He congratulated his hon. friends from Ulster on coming out into the open. He congratulated the Member for South Antrim especially. He represented a town community and, to a large extent, he owed his election to those very men he was now going to flout by voting against this Bill. The hon. Member had closed his speech without making any Motion for the rejection of the Bill. It was quite equal to what was done by the House of Lords last night, but it was a bad example to copy. Lot them have the courage of their convictions, and let them move that the Bill be read on that day six months. Let them have a fair and square fight. He challenged any of them to do it. Let them not take the example of the House of Lords and simply say that they would vote against the Bill. Let them reject it and kill it, and then let them go to Ulster with the corpse.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)
said he regretted to hear the words which were used by his hon. friend the Member for South Belfast with reference to the hon. Member for South Antrim, when he said that the hon. Member did not come here by the votes of South Antrim.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
declared that the hon. Member did come from South Antrim to represent that constituency, because the hon. Member for South Tyrone was afraid to put up a puppet to oppose him as he did in other places. He was quite sure that the hon. Member for South Tyrone was learning wisdom in the position he now occupied from recent experience, because he himself was returned by a majority of over 2,000 votes. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: What has this to do with the Bill?] Now the hon. Member for South Tyrone was being sued for the expenses of one of the candidates at the last election.
§ MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. EMMOTT, Oldham)
The hon. Member must confine himself to the subject of the Bill.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
It is not true. There is not one syllable of truth in it. [NATIONALIST cries of "Withdraw! "]
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
I repeat it, and nobody knows it is true more than the hon. Member. [NATIONALIST cries of "Withdraw! "]
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
Mr. Deputy-Speaker, may I ask whether, when a statement is made affecting a personal matter with reference to an hon. Member, and that hon. Member stands up and says there is not one word of truth in the statement, it is not only in accordance with Parliamentary courtesy, but with the rules of the House and debate that an absolute withdrawal be made?
§ MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I think it is usual for an hon. Member who has made a statement about another Member, which is denied by him, to withdraw that statement. I have told 815 him that the whole question is out of order and requested him to speak to the Bill.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
I shall now, following your direction, Sir, confine myself entirely—[Interruption and renewed cries of "Withdraw !"]
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
This is a matter affecting the courtesy of debate. I must appeal to you, Sir, with the very greatest possible respect and, I hope, with all due firmness, having regard to the rules and orders of debate—and I think the Clerk at the Table will agree with me in this matter—whether, when a personal imputation has been made and it has been repudiated by the Member affected, the hon. Member who has made that imputation is not bound by the courtesies of debate and faith in the other's words to withdraw it. I must ask you, Sir, in the exercise of your high office to call upon the hon. Member to withdraw it.
§ MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I must point out that this is not a personal imputation. A statement was made by one hon. Member about another which that hon. Member denies. I have no power to order, and I am not going to order the hon. Member who made that statement to withdraw. At the same time I have told the hon. Member that it is usual in the circumstances to withdraw, and of course he must understand that it is only natural that there should be a feeling of irritation about the statement which he has made.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
I will at once follow your direction, but I cannot withdraw a matter of fact. [Renewed cries of "Withdraw! "]
§ MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Member is not dealing with the question. I said it is a matter of ordinary Parlia- 816 mentary courtesy in the circumstances to withdraw.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Probably I can end this. The hon. Member says that this candidate is suing me for expenses. There is a quarrel between his agent and himself, but I have nothing earthly to do with it and never had. Now will the hon. Member withdraw after that?
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
I shall now proceed to deal with the Bill. [Cries of "Oh!" and "Withdraw!"] If I am directed—
§ MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Member asks for my direction. I have not given any direction, but I have indicated the course which is usually followed.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
If the Deputy-Speaker has given any indication as to the course I should pursue, I will bow to that direction. If he has directed me to withdraw any expression I have used, I will follow that direction. I will always bow to the authority of the Chair.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. THOMAS SHAW, Hawick Burghs)
May I appeal to the House to allow this incident to pass?. It has had a definite observation from you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, with regard to the practice of the House. It has had a most specific observation from you with regard to courtesies of debate, and I think it would be unworthy of the dignity of the House to accept now any subjunctive or conditional apology from the hon. Member.
§ MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman has agreed to follow my advice, and if so the incident is closed.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
I do not understand legal phraseology enough to know what is meant by a "subjunctive or conditional apology. "I follow absolutely the ruling of the Chair.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
I absolutely follow the ruling of the Chair in every particular, but I am not going to be browbeaten or intimidated by observations from hon. Members in whatever part of the House they may sit. The hon. Member then invited the House to proceed with the consideration of the Bill in a calm and impartial spirit. He had always had the very greatest sympathy with many of the grievances of the town tenants. He voted for the Bill which was introduced on this subject last year, not only in this House but in Committee. The hon. Member for South Tyrone had said that many of them tried to do the Bill to death in Committee, but that was a charge which could not be brought against him fairly by anyone who was a Member of the Committee last session. He voted on most of the vital issues of the Bill last session. His reason for supporting the promoters of that Bill in Committee was that he thought it was a hard case that a man who had built up a business through a long series of years and by industrious toil, and where, to meet the needs of an expanding business due to his energies and business capacity, he had to add to the premises at his own expense, should receive no compensation for the outlay upon these premises but had to pay an added rent. In many cases where there were good landlords the rents went on unchanged from generation to generation, even though the value of property in towns had gone up. Still, a sense of insecurity and of injustice very often prevailed. That tended to cripple and paralyse industry and enterprise, and to hinder development both of the individual and of the community as a whole. He thought himself that the Scottish system of perpetual leases—what was called in Scotland feu duty, which was an annual amount, paid by the tenant—was the best system on the whole. It was practically a perpetual lease. Anyhow, all were agreed that some change was needed, and especially in the case of small towns. In; large towns the grievance did not exist, 818 at all events, in the same acute form as in the smaller towns. In the larger towns, the competition of builders very largely, at all events, met the case and supplied the want. But they must be careful not to kill the competition of builders by too drastic proposals, and he feared that this Bill would have that effect, If all the drastic proposals of the Bill were carried out no one would care to own house property, and the result would be that it would stop building, throw thousands out of work, raise rates, and make the condition of town tenants worse than they were before. He believed that a fair and moderate Bill like that which he supported in Committee last session would do real good to town tenants, but he was afraid that this wild and reckless Bill—he could call it nothing else—was not really aimed at solving this difficult problem. It was meant simply to further discord and to do no real and lasting good to town tenants. Therefore, though he supported the Bill introduced in the last Parliament, and though he was strongly in favour of protecting the interests of town tenants, compensating them where they were fairly entitled to compensation, and protecting businesses which had been built up by the tenants' enterprise, he felt that this Bill would do more harm than good. He would be for these reasons reluctantly compelled to vote against it.
§ MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
said the House as a whole had not realised the importance of this Bill. Recent legislation had given to the agricultural tenant security which enabled him to live on his farm at a judicial rent, and to get the value of his improvements. If that principle had been allowed in regard to agricultural tenants, why should not a similar principle be applied to town tenants? Its main features were simply a modified reproduction of compensation for improvements already admitted in various Land Acts, with security against arbitrary evictions or rent raising. The State granted a loan of many millions to enable farmers to buy their holdings, and urban residents were guarantors for punctual repayment. Why should objections be raised against I town tenants purchasing their premises 819 with their own money, especially as the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act recognised the principle of purchase? But they were told the landlords objected. He happened to be what is called a landlord himself. He did not care for the term landlord which had been used so often in this debate. He did not believe anyone was lord of the land except God Almighty. He looked upon the appelations "lords of the soil" as a kind of political blasphemy. No man was lord of the soil. God Almighty created the land for the whole people of the earth, and the man who held it, whether a noble lord or a humble individual like himself, was merely the ground-holder for such time as the Lord permitted him to live. Why a man should be called lord of the soil he never could understand. It was like some other phrases which were merely accepted by usage, like the exploded Divine right of kings. Let the House look at this question from a broad statesmanlike point of view. What were the facts? The City of London was the chief sinner in this respect. The ground-holders of London had plundered the business people of millions of money. The ground-holder not only charged what he liked for the ground, but actually dictated to the tenant the manner in which he should build his dwellings or business premises. The tenant must have windows of a certain pattern, the bricks must be made in a certain place, and the building must be so many storeys high. He knew a tenant who wanted a certain part of his roof flat, and the ground-holder refused on that account to give him a lease. Further, the terminable leasehold system constituted one of the main obstacles to the proper housing of the workers. There was no other nation, except England, that had permitted the system of terminable leaseholds to obtain. He knew that the hon. and learned Member for Trinity College had come here prepared with a critical oration, but he really represented in this House only a select scattered coterie of non-tenants. He belonged to what might be called a species of intellectual obstructionists, representing the Trinity College and the silent sister. The hon. and learned Gentleman was not silent when the 820 rights of the people were being discussed; he was always on the side of privilege, pension, or pay. He himself was president of the Town Tenants' Association of Ireland, and had been working at this question for the last twenty-five years. He was pleased to say that public opinion had been educated on the subject, and at last it had come to the front as a most pressing matter that must be dealt with. During the last Parliament even the Tory Government recognised that the town tenants had some rights. Surely, therefore, as the hon. Member for South Tyrone had stated, they could go one better this time. The hon. Member for North Down said that if this measure was passed it would stop building, put thousands out of employment, and raise rates. If the hon. Member went through the provincial towns in Ireland, be would see that even in the smallest village progress was prevented by the existing terminable leasehold system, which created slums and paralysed improvement, because there was little security for outlay. There was no other country in the world which would tolerate the leasehold system of tenure, and permit the grantor of the lease to confiscate a man's property, to destroy his business and his means of livelihood, to evict him, and to take the benefit of municipal buildings erected at the expense of the rates paid for by the tenants. He did not wish to dwell too long upon this point, but he would take a concrete case, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman who represented Trinity College would reply to his argument—that is, if he could. Some ninety years ago there was an agricultural holding rented at from £3 to £4 per acre. It happened that the Government wanted a harbour, and selected Dunleary, which was thereafter called Kingstown, and it became what was called the premier seaport township of Ireland. The leases in Kingstown terminated in 1903–4, and the ground-holders came along and appropriated the whole of the town, including the drainage, lighting, roads, municipal improvements, etc., to which they had not contributed, but which had been paid for by the resident ratepayers, whilst the ground-holders were absentees. 821 Many years ago the late Lord Randolph Churchill obtained a Return which disclosed that even Turkey or Russia would not sanction such a system as prevailed in Ireland. The opposition to the existing law was as strong in the north of Ireland as it was in any other part of the country, and some of the very best fighting tenant right associations were in Ulster. As a matter of fact, the other day a Presbyterian Protestant was to be evicted from his occupancy. A few of his neighbours gathered around him with pitchforks to prevent it. That was a most extraordinary event in the loyal north! But he was not evicted; and the man was in his tenancy still! That incident showed that the town tenants of Ireland were determined to resort even to such courses in order to protect themselves from spoliation; and it was to prevent violent disturbances that this Bill had been introduced, and the promoters desired it to be clearly understood they did not seek to take anyone's property, but simply to secure property to those who created it. Therefore this agitation was extending to England. The chairman of the London Town Tenants' Association was in the House listening to this instructive debate. He was at the recent annual meeting of the Association of the Trade Protection Societies of the United Kingdom held in London. The association was composed of 105 affiliated societies with a membership of 50,000 merchants, manufacturers and traders in the United Kingdom. This meeting unanimously pissed, on his motion, a Resolution "calling upon the Government to introduce a measure which will abolish the terminable leasehold system and so prevent the confiscation from tenants in cities, towns, and villages of their improvements and the dislocation of their business arising through the terminable system of tenure, which is unknown elsewhere." he commended that Resolution to the earnest consideration of the right hon. Gentleman the Solicitor-General for Ireland, who was a Member for one of the divisions of Liverpool City, which sent several delegates, some of them perhaps his constituents, to this great commercial meeting. The Chief Secretary was always assuring them of his sympathy respecting Irish grievances. He 822 wanted more than barren sympathy, he demanded Government help to pass this moderate measure; and he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that unless something was done in relief of the town tenants of Ireland there would be more than mere passive resistance to the iniquitous and unjust law which injuriously affected business, resident workers and artisans. Something had been said about Ballymoney. In Tyrone the town tenants mainly returned the county Members. The late hon. Member for North Antrim, Mr. Moore, had voted for the Town Tenants Bill last year, but helped to wreck it in Committee; but he himself was shipwrecked at the general election, while Lord Atkinson left Londonderry, N., and went to the House of Lords and so escaped facing the town tenants in that division. But the Ulster Members who now opposed this reform in the House would soon be reminded of their opposition, for all creeds and classes and politicians were united in asking for remedial legislation liven the right hon. Gentleman who now represented South Dublin admitted that exceptional treatment was required. Quite recently the energetic hon. Secretary, Councillor Briscoe, a strong Nationalist, and Mr. Lyndesay Crauford, the Grandmaster of the Independent Orangemen, went on a tour round the northern towns and villages to advocate this measure, and they were received everywhere with acclamation! In conclusion, he wished to express the hope that the Government would take up this measure. Everyone knew perfectly well that it was almost impossible for a private Member's Bill to get passed into law without getting facilities from the Government. He held that no more important measure had been brought before the House than this Bill, and it was supported by the vast majority of the people of Ireland.
§ D. DIXON (Belfast, N.)
hat in the case of a place like Belfast such a Bill was not necessary, for the habit was to grant long leases.
DILLON (Mayo, E.)
Why not give the same fair play to the south?
§ SIR D. DIXON
said the example of Belfast had been imitated by the other towns in the north of Ireland such as Lisburn, Lurgan and others. He would oppose the Bill on the ground that it was not needed.
§ MR. MOONEY (Newry)
said that an hon. Gentleman opposite had declared that no Member from Ulster would vote for such a Bill, but he had overlooked the fact that the hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill was an Ulster Member. The hon. Member for South Antrim had in 1904, as could be shown by a reference to The Parliamentary Debates, supported a Town Tenants' Bill which differed in no respect from that now before the House. The reason for the change of attitude of the Ulster Unionist Members in regard to this question was, of course, that the general election had since taken place. One argument had been used against the Bill. It was said that it would stop building; but, at Kingstown the Chamberlain of the ground landlord told a tenant who wished to rebuild his premises that he might rebuild, but only in the position which he, the Chamberlain, selected. So that for many months the building was derelict owing to the action of the landlord. The same thing was happening all over the country—in the south as far as Cork, in the west as far as Galway, and in the northern province of Ulster. All that was asked for in this Bill was that when a tenant was evicted he should have compensation for the improvements he had made on the property; that he should be protected from capricious eviction; and that a fair rent should be fixed by an independent; arbitrator. One of the advantages of this Bill would be to give work to a very overpaid and underworked body of men in Ireland, namely, the County Court Judges. They would have to administer the Bill, and he did not think that they could be accused of being too lenient towards the tenants' interest. He hoped that the: House would give the Bill a Second Reading by a large majority and that the Government would give them facilities to carry it into law. He hoped that they might avoid the kind of opposition which they experienced last year, when a number of Ulster Members came down to the 824 House, and when the public Press was there to report them, supported the Bill, and then, when they got upstairs into Committee, proceeded to try to kill it with Amendments.
§ MR. FETHERSTONHAUGH (Fermanagh N.)
said that as a town tenant and holding no landed property, he had every disposition to protect the just right of town tenants. There were no doubt many directions in which the law might be amended in favour of the occupying tenants without inflicting hardship on the owners of property, who he would point out were, in many instances, very small people. Investment in house property had always been a form of investment favoured by people who had saved small sums of money, and who did not at all belong to the class that they generally contemplated when they spoke of landlords. No doubt in some towns property was held by large landlords, but he should say that in the vast majority of cases the owners of property in towns who received the rents of town tenants were very small people. They were not capitalists, and they were not a class of people that this House would be disposed to place heavy burdens upon. As to the system of long leases, it was obvious that Belfast had enjoyed unexampled prosperity owing to the granting of them. Nobody would object to the granting of long leases, but that was not the question which the Bill dealt with. He would point out that the law as regards leases as it now stood was more favourable to tenants in Ireland than it was in England. Under the Settled Land Act in England, a person could get a building lease for 99 years and an ordinary occupying lease for 21 years. In Ireland, however, he could get an ordinary occupying lease for 35 years, and a building lease for 99 years, so that the suggestion of the hon. Member for South Tyrone that there was some inability imposed upon limited owners in Ireland in regard to the granting of leases, was due to his not being aware of the legal conditions attaching to the matter. If, however, any further facilities in that direction were required he would be entirely in favour of granting them. On reading this Bill he was greatly struck with another aspect of it and one which interested him very much, and that 825 was the prospects of brisk business which it held out to both branches of the legal profession. The Land Act in Ireland had given many opportunities for business to both branches of his profession for the last twenty-five years. Indeed it had been their main source of income. That business showed signs of ebbing away and they would not have so much business as they had had before. As a lawyer he regretted it, but as an Irishman he rejoiced that the Land Purchase Act was wiping out the business of rent fixing. When a tenant farmer became a freeholder he had no longer to come into the Law Courts to have his rent fixed, the most troublesome process which they had had to deal with in Ireland for the last quarter of a century. Therefore in Ireland it must be remembered that they had all over the country to contemplate the business of the Land Court coming to an end, but this Bill came to the lawyer's rescue, as it proposed to apply to all the town tenancies in the country, the principles of the Land Act. Whether that was good or bad he did not discuss for the moment, but virtually that was the effect of the Bill. It did not directly, or in terms, provide for the fixing of rents, but that was the logical outcome. He did not see how if the present Bill were to pass they could refuse a Bill fixing fair rents. If the House approved of the present Bill it would be bound to approve of a Bill fixing fair rents, because the principle of fair Tents cropped up in every section. The result of such an extension of the principle of the Land Act must again plunge Ireland into that sea of litigation from which land purchase seemed in a fair way to extricate the country. From that point of view the Bill should be attractive to lawyers, but he thought they were bound to take a wider view in the interests of the country, and see whether the Bill was really for the public good. From that point of view he was afraid he could not approve of a good deal of the Bill; though there were parts of it he did approve of. He approved of compensation for improvements under proper limitations and restrictions, for he thought it perfectly fair there should be compensation for improvements which added to the letting value. He did not think, however, that this principle should 826 be applied retrospectively to leases which might be for terms of 100 or 200 years. As regarded business and trade premises he thought something might be done. Lot them take, however, the case of a lease of 100 years, just expiring. The land when the lease was granted might have been agricultural land, and let at a particularly low rent. The lessee and his successors would have had the advantage of this for a long period of years, and yet at the termination of the lease the lessor's successor, who might be a poor man, would be bound to buy the houses on the land. Those houses might have been sold over and over again in the course of the 100 years, and the present possessor might have bought them only in the last five years, and on the assumption that the lease would terminate at the end of five years. Yet under the first section of the Bill this speculative person, who paid a trifling sum for the houses, would get full value for them, entering in fact into the enjoyment of the fruit where he had not sown the seed. He pointed this out, not through disapproval of the principle of compensation, but to show how difficult it was to draft a section, which would work out justly and fairly, for the benefit of parsons really entitled to benefit. If the law of compensation for improvements applied only to future leases, then people would regulate their bargains accordingly. They would buy and sell knowing this liability, and the price would be adjusted to the conditions. He was aware that there were certain equitable provisions in the clause, but he did not think they would be of any practical utility. The Bill would deal with leases for 1,000 years if there were any in existence. Certainly there were many leases for 250 years in Ireland, and what evidence could be brought before the Court as to the values of the land during that period? The section said that the Court must take into account the advantages the tenant had had, and it must therefore investigate what at all periods was the fair rent. How was this to be assessed? Those who had had any experience of the working of the Land Acts knew how unreliable evidence was when they went back to periods beyond the time of the witnesses who could be called. The second section purported 827 to limit the tenant's right, but this seemed to him rather a dangerous section, tending to bring in the principle of fair rent. Who was to determine whether the landlord had made a reasonable offer to the tenant to enable him to sell his lease to an incoming tenant, except the Court, and how was the Court to determine it without fixing a fair rent at which the incoming tenant was to come in? For, if the landlord was entitled to get what rent he could for a house in its improved state, the tenant would have no improvement to sell. It was necessary the Court should assess what was the rental value of the place or the section would not work at all, He approved of the principle of Clause 3, which seemed to him drawn in a spirit of justice and fair play, which should go far to settle the question of compensation for improvements. He knew that hon. Members were pressed by constituents to make the Bill retrospective, but it was a serious matter to break up existing contracts. As regarded Clause 4, the shifting of the liability from one of the successive holders of property to another was, he thought, objectionable to everyone, except lawyers. It seemed to him to involve a succession of law suits of the most profitable character to the lawyers, for in the majority of cases in town tenancies there were several interests between the tenant and the ultimate freeholder. As regarded the section which purported to give compensation for disturbance he quite admitted that it was often a great hardship for a tenant to be disturbed, but it was very difficult to say where the hardship came in in cases where, a man had taken or bought a lease or an interest in a lease, when he knew exactly the kind of contract into which he was entering. It was not too much to ask a reasonable human being, when he took or bought a lease for twenty-one, twenty-nine, or thirty years, to know from the very start the nature of the bargain he had made. A man knew very well at the time what his rights were. As to the people who held under more fragile tenancies they had his sympathy, and they also had the sympathy of the law which always tried to protect them. If hon. Members desired to give an increased 828 number of years of tenancy to those who held under fragile tenancies, let them do so, so long as they provided for a certain term, and not that at the end of the tenancy the man was to come into Court and have a litigation as to what he ought to be paid for disturbance. The prospect again was attractive to a lawyer, but who was to pay the costs of the litigation, and under the Bill the matter could not be settled in any other way than by going into Court? The landlord offered a ten or twenty years lease and the tenant said he would give £200 or £2,000 for it knowing the terms of the bargain. If hon. Members wanted to provide for longer leases let them do that, but it seemed to him an unfortunate way of working it out to say that in every case the moment a lease had come to an end the tenant was entitled to go back on the bargain which he or his predecessor made. The provision to make the Bill retrospective seemed to him to break up the bargains which people deliberately made. He was so much in favour of tenants owning the houses they lived in that he did not want to oppose the clause dealing with that matter at all; in fact he should not be opposing the Bill if the clauses were better drawn. The purchase provisions of the Bill, however, seemed to him to be unworkable, and would lead to litigation between the occupying tenant and the owner. Except in the case of large tenancies the costs would absorb the whole or nearly the whole of the money, and by the time it got to the owner there would be very little left for him unless it was contemplated by the Bill that the tenant should pay all the costs, which of course would be an absurdity. Another portion of the Bill which he would have been favourably disposed towards was that which dealt with leasehold enfranchisement. With Clause 10 dealing with restriction of contracts he could not agree. The clause affected contracts past and future. He objected to its being said that in future people should not have the power to make a contract. That seemed to him to take away a right which had always been exercised by people, and he could not see why a tenant who was not coerced or fraudulently induced to enter into a contract should not be allowed to do 829 so. The Bill would, it seemed to him, almost impose on subjects of the realm a condition of slavery which he could not approve of. Was it to be said that two sane men in full possession of their faculties should not, if this Bill passed, be able to agree together on the letting of a house. As hon. Members saw, the promoters of this Bill had taken the opportunity of going farther than they did on the previous occasion. He regretted it because if they went too far they were bound to lose the support of many who would otherwise have supported the Bill. He himself regretted that he was not able to support it, because there was a great deal in it that he would have liked to support. When he came down to the House he was inclined to vote for the Second Reading, in the hope that the promoters would moderate some of its provisions, but so far from there being any disposition to moderate the provisions, the Bill itself seemed, on the statements of its supporters, to be only the first instalment in a career of what could only be described as wild legislation. Those who were desirous of supporting the Bill were not met with any suggestion that it would be made more moderate. It was only a first step, and he agreed that if it passed it could only be a first step. It was impossible to work it in any way which he knew unless they applied the whole of the rent fixing jurisdiction now applied to agricultural holdings to town properties, and even then it could not be worked with justice. He quite recognised that there were many cases in which the tenants had been badly treated by their landlords, and that it was these cases that roused the ire and anger of hon. Members when they heard of them, but was it only in the case of a landlord and tenant that things of this kind occurred? Was it not a fact that in every relation of life people were to be found, who, when they had power, used it to squeeze their fellows? He did not think it was a very hard thing for a landlord to be able as a condition of granting a new lease, to compel a man to pull down an old house and build a new one on a stipulated uniform plan when leases fell in. But the fact that hard cases had arisen did not justify the House in passing a Bill that might 830 throw a very heavy burden upon many people who were not able to meet it. The subject required very careful consideration, and it needed to be dealt with cautiously and carefully, and not in the hurried manner proposed. The law of England and Ireland in this matter of landlord and tenant in towns was the same. Why was Ireland to be experimented upon in the way the Bill suggested apart from other parts of the United Kingdom? He, and many other Members, considered that the Bill would be fatal to the prosperity of the towns of Ireland by making landlords unwilling to expend capital on buildings. The Bill went too far and he could not support it, though he would have been glad to support a reasonable Bill.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR IRELAND (MR. CHERRY, Liverpool, Exchange)
said he thought that everybody who had listened to the debate would agree that this Bill was of a very important and comprehensive character. It vitally affected almost everybody who lived in Ireland, for everybody lived in a house and a great number of people owned house property, so that whether they looked at the question from the point of view of landlord or of tenant it was a highly important Bill. It had three main subjects, but it really dealt with four. First, there were provisions with reference to compensation for improvements; secondly, provisions with respect to compensation for disturbance; thirdly, provisions as regards enfranchisement of tenancies, which were practically compulsory powers of purchase of a very wide description; and fourthly, a clause giving power to set aside leases. This last was a distinct and separate matter of very great importance. He thought it was very much to be regretted that there had been so much put into this one Bill. Last year a Bill was introduced dealing with the subject of compensation for improvements. It was a matter of great importance and the whole House he believed was unanimously, in favour of the principle of compensation for improvements being extended to occupiers of business premises and town holdings in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary voted for that Bill, and if the present measure had 831 been confined to the first four clauses and to the supplementary clause he did not think that the Government would have found any difficulty whatever in accepting the Bill and giving time to facilitate its passage through the House. The principle of compensation for improvements had been in operation in Ireland as regarded agricultural holdings since 1870, and he did not think there was a single person in Ireland who would get up on any public platform and deny that it was just that tenants of agricultural holdings should get compensation for improvements either by money payment or by remission of rent. The principle had worked well and had inflicted, so far as he knew, no injustice whatever, and there was no reason why it should be confined to agricultural holdings. It had always appeared to him that a man in a town who had put up valuable buildings at his own expense and improved the property he occupied, had just as good a claim to be compensated for the increased value which the landlord thereby succeeded to as any occupier of a farm. It was not as if the custom of making improvements by the tenants was confined to agricultural holdings. In small country towns in Ireland it was quite a usual thing for the actual house to have been built by the tenant himself and very often on a very short lease. Some such tenants held only from year to year, and having built valuable buildings on plots of ground continued to pay for them for a great number of years merely a nominal ground rent. It was not a desirable state of the law that tenants who had done that could be put out of possession without getting any compensation, for what they had done. It was only fair to say that, although many landlords did act harshly, there were a great many who had been most generous, and there were many tenants who trusted entirely to their landlords and put up buildings on plots of land held on very short leases and even from year to year, and whose landlords did not think of disturbing them. That, however, was no reason why the law should be in such a condition as to allow a landlord to act in this manner, and he personally on that ground should vote for this Bill. But the Government was bound to consider not only the first four 832 clauses of the Bill before coming to a conclusion, but also the remaining clauses. If the Government supported the Bill it must be because they approved of it as a whole.
§ MR. CHERRY
agreed, but said the principle and the details in this case were very hard to separate. With reference to the second part of the Bill dealing with compensation for disturbance he wished to point out that it was the principle of compensation for disturbance as applied to agricultural holdings that undoubtedly led to the fixing of fair rents, and directly they admitted the principle of compensation for disturbance in the case of town tenants it became necessary to consider the propriety of fixing fair rents, and he thought the House ought to pause and consider whether it was right to allow rents to be fixed on all shops and houses held for purposes of residence. The provisions of Clause 5 were also far wider than the provisions of the section of the Act of 1870 and practically gave the tenant of every house in Ireland a right to compensation for disturbance even though the tenancy might be only for six months.
§ MR. CLANCY
said that was never intended and they were prepared to accept an Amendment to exclude temporary lettings.
§ MR. CHERRY
asked on what principle would they exclude temporary tenants, because a man might take a house for twelve months or for two years, or ten years as a temporary tenant; would those tenants be excluded?
§ MR. CLANCY
said he would exclude any tenancy created for temporary convenience. If the hon. and learned Gentleman was capable of drawing up an Amendment to that effect, as he was sure he was, the promoters of the Bill would accept it.
§ MR. CHERRY
said that temporary convenience as defined by the Acts of 1870 and 1881 had no relation to any period of time but to the purpose for which the letting was made. From that point of view, every letting for residence was a letting for temporary convenience. It might be a Committee point, but really there were so many Committee points both in this section and the next that it appeared to him that, if the principle were once assented to, it would be very difficult to differentiate between the cases the hon. Member intended to exclude and those he did not. Let them take the case of labourers' cottages built under the Labourers Act.
§ MR. CLANCY
Exclude those by name, though if a labourer made improvements I do not see why he should not be compensated.
§ MR. CHERRY
said that was a different thing altogether. He was speaking of compensation for disturbance. There was not a single tenant in Ireland, who could not get compensation for disturbance under this Bill. The English Land Tenure Bill proposed to limit compensation for disturbance to cases—Where the landlord unreasonably and without sufficient cause terminates and declines to continue a tenancy.
§ MR. CHERRY
Of course you can put anything in in Committee; you might alter the whole Bill in Committee.
§ MR. CHERRY
If the hon. Gentleman will be content to accept Amendments from me he will make the Bill perhaps more moderate.
§ MR. CHERRY
said he saw nothing unreasonable in the words of the clause of the English Bill, but that was a matter to be considered. Clause 6 was an alternative to compensation for disturbance. He supposed it was not intended that a tenant should have both. Under the section the tenant would be entitled either to compensation for disturbance or a right to purchase. The intention, he assumed, was that if a tenant did not obtain compensation for disturbance he had a right to purchase his house. That was a very wide provision. It gave a right of purchase to town tenants which the holders of farms did not possess, and when they dealt with compulsory purchase in this way they opened up considerations of enormous importance. The Act was also to be retrospective and any persons who had been disturbed within ten years previous to the passing of the Bill would acquire this right. Supposing a man owned ten houses which were let to ten different tenants and that one of those tenants sub-let a stable to a cabman. Then supposing that owing to some dispute that tenant did not wish to have the cabman there any longer and evicted him, that cabman under this Bill had a right to purchase and then would come all the difficulties in respect to the redemption of head rents and investigation of title. The proceedings would be very long indeed. All that would have to be done whenever the smallest portion of any premises 835 happened to be sub-let, and the tenant was evicted by his landlord. Then he noticed that the administration of the Bill was to be vested in the County Court Judge. How could a County Court Judge go into all these matters? Who was to go down to investigate the titles, and who was to be responsible for the apportionment of the rents from the head rent down to that of the tenant? He approved of the principle, so far as it could be carried out, of giving a tenant a right to purchase his premises, but to apply, as this did, the County Court procedure to the purpose was impossible. For that reason he regretted that these two clauses had been incorporated in Bill. If the Bill had been confined merely to compensation for improvements and those clauses were in some way amended, no doubt the Government would have supported the Bill. The Government would be very glad indeed to see some system for purchasing town holdings established. It was very desirable that people who occupied houses for business purposes should own their houses if possible, and they should not be liable to be put out of them through any action they had taken. The man who owned the house in which he lived was in a much stronger position than the man who was dependent on his landlord from day to day, and might be turned out at the end of six months. But it was necessary before they adopted the principle to see how it could be carried out with justice to all parties, and without depriving anybody of his fair and legitimate rights. Then there was the power to declare leases void. That was contained in a sub-section of Clause 6 and that the hon. Member for North Dublin informed them was copied from the Land Act of 1881. But he would remind the hon. Member that the clause of that Act conferred power upon the Land Commission, presided over by a Judge of the High Court, and that there was an appeal. Here the jurisdiction was given to the County Court, 836 and surely a jurisdiction of that kind was not one that could be left to an inferior tribunal. It was a very important matter and one which could not conveniently; be included in this Bill. County Court Judges had a great deal of business to do, and they were not appointed to investigate the rights of property of a valuable nature. If the Bill were confined to what was its main object, namely, to give the tenants of Ireland holding non-agricultural holdings on which they had spent money on improvements, security for those improvements, and to prevent their landlords unjustly and improperly taking their improvements, all the House would have been in favour of it. The other provisions of the Bill as regarded the compensation for disturbance and right of purchase were on a different footing and he could not, on behalf of the Government, approve of the principles of compensation for disturbance or of compulsory purchase being applied at the present time to town holdings.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL (Dublin University)
expressed his amazement that after the speech which had been delivered by the right hon. Member for Exchange Division of Liverpool he had announced his intention of voting for the Bill. He understood from him that there was no matter of principle in the Bill of any kind that had his support or approval, except what was to be found in the first four sections of it.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
observed that when the right hon. and learned Gentleman got so far in the expression of his disapprobation he was pulled up by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. And he then wound up with some very interesting platitudes on the importance of 837 individuals being the owners of their own houses. He was proceeding with a very able criticism of the Bill and he; reached as far as the clause which made provision for the setting aside of leases. In 1889,after a deliberation extending over three years, a very influential Committee, which considered that entire question both with reference to England and Scotland as well as Ireland, presented a very voluminous and valuable report, in which they said that all that was required for the protection of leaseholders and lessees and other persons occupying the position of tenants in towns was that a Bill should be introduced which in the case of future lettings would confer upon any person occupying his house for business the right to obtain compensation for improvement, and that that should be extended to existing improvements, but only in the case of improvements made with the written consent of the landlord. In that recommendation there was not a particle of confiscation. There was no element whatever of violation of contract, but there was hardly a line in the present Bill which did not either involve a violation of existing contracts or contemplate the future confiscation of property. Let them take even those clauses which had met with a certain measure of support from the right hon. Gentleman—Clauses 1 to 4. This Bill was in every way superior to any of its predecessors because it was drafted in such a way that any ordinary person could understand it—and he thought that was largely due to the fact that a large share in the drafting was taken by the Member for North Dublin. What did those first four clauses contemplate? They provided that in the case of all existing leases—not future leases, as was recommended by the Committee of 1889— the lessee on quitting his holding was to be entitled to compensation for improvements made before the passing of the Act. This section of the Bill was to a large extent a direct interference with and 838 violation of existing contracts. Speaking for himself, he might say that had a Bill been introduced, following out recommendations of the Committee of 1889, he would most heartily have supported it, because it would have involved no violation of contract and no confiscation of property. He came to the fifth clause. That proposed that in the case of every and any tenant in any part of Ireland, whether in a town or outside, who had any sort of premises that he occupied, either as a residence or as business premises, or partly one and partly the other, even although he was only a weekly tenant, should be entitled, when he was put out, to compensation for disturbance. That compensation was vested on the most extraordinary scale it was possible to conceive, and from what suggestion it was derived he could not fathom. If a man held a house under the Bill at a rent of £50 a year, he would be entitled to get a maximum of £500, but if he held it at a rent of £51 a year, the maximum was cut down to £256, which was almost half. He did not understand that. He saw no sense in it. It was neither logic nor sense, and it was impossible to say why that arrangement was proposed. Clause 6 was such an extraordinary clause that he really thought there must be some curious omission in the drafting of it, because it provided that any man who had been evicted within six or ten years before the date of the passing of the Bill should be entitled to compel the landlord to sell his interest to him as well as to buy up all the intervening-interests.
§ MR. CLANCY
said the right hon. Gentleman had not read the Bill. If he looked at the definition of tenant he would find that it contemplated a person in actual occupation.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
said that, in that case, with all respect to his hon. 839 and learned friend, Clause 6 was nonsense. Under the clause, any person who within the last ten years had teen required to give up possession of his holding could, although he had been out of possession for nine years, buy up all the intervening estates and interests, including, he supposed, the estate of the lessee who had taken his place in the holding. The section was unintelligible and unworkable. Another extraordinary thing about the clause was that it compelled the landlord to sell to anyone of his tenants, but it gave no corresponding Tight to the landlord to compel the tenant to buy. Under the clause a man might have ten houses let to ten different tenants and one of those might compel the landlord to sell and thus spoil his property, but there was no provision enabling the landlord to compel his other nine tenants to buy. It was certainly the most extraordinary piece of one-sided legislation that he had ever known proposed. But the peculiarity of the clause did not stop there. The clause was supposed to be for the enfranchisement of lessees and the conversion of them into owners of fee simple. There was no provision, however, preventing lessees on the very day they became owners from letting to someone else, and themselves becoming much execrated landlords.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
said hon. Members complained of the hardship of a tenant being subject to rent and the caprice of the landlord, yet by this Bill the lessee who had been converted into an owner could sub-let and create as many interests as he liked. In Clause 6, Sub-section 7, there was another provision that would certainly bring in a prolific revenue to the members of the legal profession. That clause enabled any person who held under a lease within 840 twenty years before the passing of the Act to go into a county court and to ask to have the lease set aside. A more unjust and unwarrantable proposition was never brought before an assembly of fair-minded men. The climax of absurdity was reached in Clause 9. That provided that if a sanitary authority had any cause of complaint on behalf of the tenant against a house, and issued a notice to have the house put in order, the tenant's liability for rent would cease. He could well understand how gladly that clause would be welcomed in slum quarters of Dublin and elsewhere.
§ MR. CLANCY
Has the right hon. Gentleman read the clause, and does he think that a candid description?
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
said most certainly he had, and he would read it to the House.When an order is made on the owner under Section 110 of the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, no rent shall be recoverable by the owner from the tenant, nor shall the tenant be liable to ejectment, as from the date of the complaint on which the order is made unless and until compliance is made with such order.A tenant would then be at liberty to put the sanitary arrangements of his house deliberately out of order to avail himself of the advantages of this clause.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
agreed, but said he had known it done again and again, when the relations between landlord and tenant had been strained. The clause placed a premium on his conduct, because that tempted a weekly tenant in a very humble position to escape his liability. All he had to do was to make a complaint to a sanitary authority, and from that moment his rent was suspended 841 until the sanitary officer made an inspection of the premises.
§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that tenants in all towns of Ireland have to give six months' rent in advance?
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
said he was aware that in many towns in Ireland the bulk of the poorer tenants were weekly tenants. All that these people would have to do in order to stay in their houses for a couple of months free of rent would be to bring in the sanitary authority upon some real or imaginary complaint, and from the moment that the sanitary officer served his notice the rent was tied up.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
thought the House would see that it did not qualify in any way what he, had said. The clause read on as follows—Provided that, if such order is not complied with within the time limited thereby, the sanitary authority shall themselves forthwith execute such order and collect and continue to collect the rent from the tenant in the name of the owner until the cost of executing the order shall have been recouped.Anyone who read that clause would see that his criticism still remained. In the first place notice to abate the nuisance had to be given by the sanitary authority. If this notice was not complied with an application had to be made to the Court for a compulsory order to abate, and it was only upon failure to comply with this order that the sanitary authority stepped in, and throughout these preliminary stages extending over many weeks, payment of rent was to be suspended. Clause 11 was also a very peculiar one, because it confined all the work under this Act 842 to the county court judge, except where otherwise provided A large limited company, a bank, or an insurance company which might have a claim for or against them for £10,000, £15,000, or £20,000 for improvements executed upon their premises would have to go before the county court judge, and there was no right of appeal. Could anything be more unfair, absurd, or unreasonable? He came to the definition clause, which did: not follow the recommendation of the Committee which reported in 1889 in favour of confining the operation of the Bill to premises used for business purposes, but extended it to all premises used for residential purposes. What protection did members of his profession, doctors, and rich merchants require? Surely they were quite competent to make their own bargains. Not only that, but they were also prevented from entering into any arrangement with their landlords that would be inconsistent with this Bill. He could have understood the clause had it been confined to persons who paid a very small rent, or held their property under a very peculiar tenancy, but why were these rich merchants, professional men, and well to do persons generally in all the cities and towns of Ireland to be prevented from making any bargain they liked with their landlords? Under this extraordinary Bill they were absolutely prevented from entering into any contract for a house, even a residence, which would be inconsistent with the clauses of the Bill. Further, the definition clause extended the operation of the Bill not merely to premises in cities and towns which were not used for business purposes, but to premises in any part of Ireland, whether in towns or not, which some used for residential or business purposes. The wayside inn, the village blacksmith, the clergyman, the doctor, came within the provisions of the Bill. It was a splendid vista of litigation for his profession, he admitted, but what a ludicrous travesty of an 843 Act of Parliament to bring in a Bill for the purpose of enabling the local doctor, or the local solicitor, or the parish clergyman, to come into Court with a claim for disturbance, or a claim for compensation for improvements. If the Bill had been confined to carrying out the two legitimate purposes which met with the approval of the Committee in 1889, which involved no principle of violation of contracts or confiscation of property, he for one would have been heartily glad to support it, but he thought the action of his hon. friends from Ulster, which had been so severely criticised by some hon. Members below the gangway, had met with the fullest justification by the speech delivered by the Attorney-General for Ireland.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
said his colleagues and he were anxious that the division should be taken, and it was practically impossible for him to give an answer to the speeches they had just heard. The Member for Dublin University had made the speech which was expected of him. It was the speech he had made during the whole of his political career on this subject, and there was nothing to be surprised at in it except the statement that if the Bill had carried out with proper safeguards the principle of compensation to tenants he should not have objected to it.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
The hon. and learned Gentleman is unintentionally misrepresenting me. What I said was that if the Bill had been brought in to carry out the recommendations of the Committee of 1889, it would have had my support. The Bill of last year went beyond that.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said that the right hon. Gentleman had commented on the fact that the Bill of last year was more moderate, but he not only voted against that Bill in the House, but went up to the Committee and spent laborious days in obstructing it line by line.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
said that speaking from recollection, he believed not only did he not vote against the Bill of last year, but he actually was not in the House.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said the right hon. Gentleman should not make a statement of that kind on mere recollection. He had the division list and would send it down to the right hon. Gentleman. He did vote against the Bill, and, what was more important, he deliberately obstructed it with the aid of one or two of his colleagues, and killed it. He confessed he had heard with great regret the speech of the Attorney-General. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said he would vote in favour of the Bill, but went on to criticise almost every detail. The Bill as presented to the House was nothing new. It had been before the House again and again in its essential principles, and had always received the support of the Liberal Party.
§ MR. CHERRY
What I said was that I would vote in favour of the Bill because I was in favour of compensation for improvements, which I take to be the main principle of the Bill.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said the Bill was brought in in 1904 in a form in some respects more extreme than the Bill of this year. They were told that 845 the Bill of last year would have had the enthusiastic support of all the Members of the Government, but. they could not support the present Bill, because it was more extreme. The Bill of 1904 was more extreme than the present Bill, and the whole Liberal Party voted for it, including the Prime Minister, whose absence he now regretted. The speech of the Attorney-General was entirely confined to Committee points. The essential principles of the Bill were, first, the principles of compensation for improvements to town tenants. Was there a man on the Liberal Front Bench opposed to that? The second principle was that there should be a system, with proper provisions and safeguards, of leasehold enfranchisement. Was not that a principle which commended itself to all? Compensation for disturbance was only an alternative which came in if the lessee would not carry out these provisions. These were the principles of the Bill. He asked for the support of the Liberal Members of the House on these principles and not on small Committee points. If the Bill did not carry out the intentions of its promoters in detail it could be amended in Committee. On these two principles he commended the Bill to the House, and he confidently asked for an overwhelming majority in its favour.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. BRYCE, Aberdeen, S.)
said he was sorry he had only a few moments in which to explain to the House the view he took of this Bill, but the comment which had just fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Waterford made it necessary he should say those few words. This was one of those very difficult cases where a Bill contained 846 some provisions with which they heartily sympathised, and also some other provisions of which they disapproved. This was one of the most difficult cases with which a private Member had to deal; and it was exceptionally difficult when the Government had to consider it. One had to consider how much one was pledging one's self to. He had, however, come to the following conclusion. The first part of the Bill which dealt with compensation for improvements appeared to be in principle thoroughly right and sound. He voted for it before, and he hoped he should always vote for it. He would be glad to see it in England, and he hoped they would have a Bill of that kind for England before long. The second part of the Bill was Clause 5, which provided for compensation for disturbances, and this, he confessed, appeared to be entirely unworkable. He believed it was said by the Attorney-General that as proposed by the Bill, it would mean a system of fixing fair rents, and he thought the machinery would be very costly. He entirely dissociated himself from any approval on the part of the Government of the principle of fixing fair rents, or compensation for disturbance as proposed in the Bill. That principle as applied to agricultural holdings by the Act of 1881 was based on a different set of facts. The third part of the Bill dealt with leasehold enfranchisement. As far back as 1882 or 1883, the Liberal Party steadily supported the principle of leasehold enfranchisement. He supported it still, and in principle that part of the Bill had his hearty concurrence. He was bound to say, however, that the machinery provided was very ill chosen for the purpose. He thought it would also be to a large extent unworkable and that the Bill went a good deal beyond 847 what was necessary or desirable. Having reviewed these successive principles of the Bill, he considered what their vote should be, balancing the good parts of the Bill against the bad. He gathered that the two principles desired to be established were the principles of compensation for improvements and leasehold enfranchisement. He was with the promoters of the Bill in principle on these matters, and therefore, having dissociated himself entirely from those details of the Bill which he understood hon. Members from Ireland were perfectly willing to throw into the crucible of Committee, in the hope that they would come out in a better form, and having: dissociated himself from the principle of compensation for disturbance, he had come to the conclusion, seeing how often the question had been before the House, and that it had the hearty approval of the Government as regarded England and Scotland, that it would be a pity to lose a chance of passing a Bill dealing with an admitted grievance. He must make this observation with regard to the speech of the Member for Dublin University, that he treated the Bill as if it was altogether bad, and his criticisms were based just as much on the parts of the Bill the Government approved as those they disapproved. He therefore to a large extent dismissed the criticisms of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, though he agreed with the criticisms of detail passed by the Attorney-General for Ireland. He thought, therefore, that this was not a case in which
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Baker.Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Beauchamp, E.|
|Alden, Percy||Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Bellairs, Carlyon|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Barnard, E. B.||Benn, W. (T'w'rHamlets, S. Geo.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Barnes, G. N.||Berridge, T. H. D.|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Bethell, J. H. (Essex, Romford)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Beale, W. P.||Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)|
§ the Government ought to endeavour to put any pressure on their supporters, or even to tender advice to them, because those who had heard the debate could form a judgment for themselves on the merits of the Bill, and of any defects it might have. Still, when he considered the importance of that part of the Bill which appeared to him to be good, and also the willingness which had been so aptly expressed by the hon. Member who had brought forward the Bill, he had come to the conclusion that for his part he should be able to give his vote in favour of the Second Reading. He hoped the Bill, when it went to Committee, would be put into a form in which the objections taken by the Attorney-General would be completely removed, and that it would have the effect of remedying a long standing grievance, and setting an example which he hoped would not be without result for England and Scotland.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said his attention had been called to the fact that the hon. Member named Campbell who voted against the Bill of last year was not the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University. He therefore apoligised to the right hon. Gentleman for his mistake.
|Billson, Alfred||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Blake, Edward||Hazleton, Richard||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Boland, John||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Bolton, T.D. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Hedges, A. Paget||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Branch, James||Henry, Charles S.||O' Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Bright, J. A.||Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon., S.)||O' Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||O' Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Brunner.Sir John T. (Cheshire)||Higham, John Sharp||O' Dowd, John|
|Bryce, Rt. Hn. James (Aberdeen||Hobart, Sir Robert||O' Hare, Patrick|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||O' Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hodge, John||O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hogan, Michael||O' Malley, William|
|Byles, William Pollard||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O' Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Cairns, Thomas||Hudson, Walter||O' Shee, James John|
|Caldwell, James||Hyde, Clarendon||Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Causton, Rt. Hn Richard Knight||Jackson, R. S.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Jacoby, James Alfred||Priestley, W.E.B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Jardine, Sir J.||Radford, G. H.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Jenkins, J.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Joens, David Brynmor (Swansea||Reddy, M.|
|Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cleland, J. W.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Joyce, Michael||Rees, J. D.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kearley, Hudson, E.||Richards, T.F. (Wolverh'mpton|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kekewich, Sir George||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cooper, G. J.||Kelley, George D.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Corbett, CH. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Kilbride, Denis||Robaon, Sir William Snowdon|
|Crean, Eugene||Laidlaw, Robert||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Rose, Charles Day|
|Crombie, John William||Lamont, Norman||Rowlands, J.|
|Crooks, William||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Russell, T. W.|
|Crossley, William J.||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Cullinan, J.||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Lea, HughCecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Delany, William||Leese.Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Scot t, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Devlin Charles Ramsay (Gal way||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Seddon, J.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Dillon, John||Lundon, W.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Dolan, Charles Joseph||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Duckworth, James||Macdonald, J.M. (FalkirkB'ghs)||Sheehy, David|
|Duffy, William J.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Maepherson, J. T.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E)||Snowden, P.|
|Elibank, Master of||M' Hugh, Patrick A.||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Evans, Samuel T.||M' Kean, John||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||M' Killop, W.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Field, William||Meagher, Michael||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Patrick A.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Menzies, Walter||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Gilhooly, James||Mond, A.||Thompson, J. W. H (Somerset, E|
|Ginnell, L.||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Tomkinson, James|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Mooney, J. J.||Torrance, A. M.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Verney, F. W.|
|Gooch, George Peabody||Morrell, Philip||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Grant, Corrie||Morse, L. L.||Wallace, Robert|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Walsh, Stephen|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Murnaghan, George||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Gulland, John W.||Murphy, John||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton|
|Halpin, J.||Murray, James||Wardle, George J.|
|Hammond, John||Myer, Horatio||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Nicholls, George||Watt, H. Anderson|
|Harwood, George||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Nolan, Joseph||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES —Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan|
|Whittaker, Thomas Palmer||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Wiles, Thomas||Young, Samuel|
|Williamson, A. (ElginandNairn)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Acland-Hood,Rt. Hn. Sir AlexF.||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Craik, Sir Henry||Rawlinson, John Frederick P.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dalrymple, Viscount||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Arnold-Forster,Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Dixon, Sir Daniel||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dixon-Hartland, SirFred Dixon||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Haddock, George R.||Vincent, Col. Sir C.E. Howard|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hervey, F. W. F. (BuryS.Edm'ds||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hills, J. W.||Wolff, Gustav. Wilhelm|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. H. M.||Hunt, Rowland||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Cave, George||Keswick, William||Younger, George|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C. W.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Liddell, Henry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES —Mr. Charles Craig and Viscount Castlereagh.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Clarke, SirEdward (City London||Montgomery, H. H.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Nield, Herbert|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
§ MR. MCKILLOP moved that the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Law.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Law,"— (Mr. M'Killop.)
§ Debate arising.
§ And, it being after Five of the clock, and objection being taken to further proceeding, the debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.