§ As amended (by the Standing Committee), considered.
MR. WALTER LONGmoved the following Clause (Dublin, S.)
"Nothing contained in this Act or done in pursuance thereof shall prejudice, affect, or interfere with the sole exercise by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries of all powers and duties under the provisions and for the purposes of the Diseases of Animals Acts." He said that as the Bill stood, powers were taken to alter the administration of the various Acts which had been passed from time to time by Parliament for the purpose of checking and stamping out diseases among animals. He did not know whether hon. Members interested in agricultural pursuits realised the magnitude of the question to the community as a whole. He remembered that it fell to his lot during the administration of the late Government to amend the Acts dealing with certain diseases. So strong was the view taken at the time of his methods by hon. Members opposite that they went so far as to predict if he (Mr. Long) were successful in carrying his amendments, there would be a large interference with the food supply of the people and prices would rise to famine rates. His amendments had been long ago carried and their objects successfully fulfilled. The protection of the health of the cattle in this country was of vital importance to the stock owning Community. Such protection involved not only the difference between the health and unsoundness of our cattle but that of cattle of other countries, who at present came to us to buy animals for stock raising purposes because they knew they ran the minimum risk of disease. The Opposition had been frequently challenged that they were only enforcing restrictions with regard to Canadian cattle upon protective grounds. One of the main arguments, however, which had guided the Board of Agriculture, and which guided them 1851 at the present time, in the views they held upon this question was that, whatever might be the condition of the health of Canadian cattle, the position of that country, owing to her artificial boundary, rendered her liable to the invasion of disease from the United States and therefore made it necessary that restrictions should be enforced. In this country we had been singularly successful in repressing cattle disease The country was at one time full of disease, and the loss it caused in capital to the stockowners was simply enormous, whilst the interference with ordinary agricultural operations was of a most serious character. It was impossible to conceive a more effective check to the progress of agriculture than that caused by disease rampant among cattle. This state of things, however, had been altered by the application of rules and regulations which had enabled the Government to draw a ring round the islands, thereby making invasion by disease impossible. With regard to that terrible disease hydrophobia, not only would he have been unable, but he would not have attempted, to have stamped it out had he not been able to enforce the same regulations throughout Scotland and England. The Irish authorities, however, refused to come into line and agree to carry out these regulations, with the result that they had to be treated as a foreign country and the importation of all dogs from Ireland was prohibited. It would, however, be absolutely impossible to carry out such a policy if there were a different administration in Edinburgh, because the boundary between Scotland and England was only an artificial one and could be crossed at any moment by dog owners and their dogs. As the Bill stood, this proposed change in the administration of the law was to be dependant upon the discretion of the Secretary for Scotland.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said the Treasury was only to be responsible for the finance; the provision was only inserted in order to see that no undue expenditure was incurred, therefore it had no bearing upon his arguments. As he had said, the change in the administration was solely dependant upon the discretion of the Secretary 1852 for Scotland and he did not think that was wise. At present the powers were vested in the Board of Agriculture. He would like to know what view was taken by the Minister for Agriculture in regard to this treatment of his Department and the enforced transfer of powers—whether that Gentleman thought such change to be in the interests of good government and the successful administration of the Diseases of Animals Acts? He would like to know also whether this action had been taken with the concurrence of the Board of Agriculture? He believed rather than that, that it had been done in spite of the Board of Agriculture. The change proposed by the Bill was perfectly unnecessary. By setting up a new Department in Scotland they were proposing to do a most foolish thing in the interests of agriculture. It was far better that one man should represent the agricultural interests of Great Britain as a whole in that House and in the Cabinet Again, the change had really nothing to do with the objects of the Bill. The Bill proposed to set up small holdings and to apply the Crofters Acts throughout Scotland. It also proposed to establish Agricultural Commissioners for that country who should deal with the question of security of tenure, agricultural matters, the general policy in regard to agriculture, and experimental work. There was no earthly reason why in addition to this, the Government, under the Bill, should seek to interfere with the present administration of the Diseases of Animals Acts. They would probably be told that there was no prospect of the Scottish Department differing from the views of the English Department in its administration of the Acts. He greatly doubted this. He remembered with regard to the introduction of cattle from abroad how the view taken by the Scottish Members differed from that of the majority of the House and how those Members tried to bring pressure to bear upon the Government in the interests of a particular class of cattle owners. Such pressure might be brought again, and ho thought he was perfectly justified in saying that the policy of the Department in Scotland would probably differ from that of the English Department. It was quite impossible to exaggerate the importance of such a 1853 change as that which had been dragged by the heels into the Bill. If the Government would accept his new clause, it would not affect the Bill in any material degree, nor would it affect the Status of the Commissioners. Instead they would be acting as the Government ought to act in the administration of these laws. By carrying out such a change they were running the risk of inflicting a grievous injury upon stock-owners and agriculturists. The two countries should be treated as an island, and there should be no artificial boundary which might be crossed at any minute. He appealed to the Government not to deal lightly with the matter; unless they could put forward some very solid reason for making such a change they ought to accept his new clause.
New clause proposed—
Nothing continued in this Act or done in pursuance thereof shall prejudice, affect, or interfere with the sole exercise by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries of all powers, and duties under the provisions and for the purposes of the Diseases of Animals Acts."— (Mr. Walter Long.)
§ Brought up, and read the first time. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chaise be read a second time."
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (MR. SINCLAIR, Forfarshire)
said that this question was discussed on the Committee. [OPPOSITION cries of "No."] The subject dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman had been an integral part of the proposals of the Government ever since the Bill was first drafted and they looked upon it as essential. The case for this new clause had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman as well as it possibly could be, because he had an intimate knowledge of the Departments over which he presided for so many years. What were the proposals in the Bill? They were that the new Agricultural Commissioners for Scotland might be endowed with powers at the instance of the Secretary for Scotland to carry out the duties now exercised by the Board of Agriculture. Every precaution was taken in the Bill, and no transfer of those powers was likely to take place except upon the responsibility of the Government. Two 1854 Departments would be concerned in any such transfer, which would have to be the subject of a Cabinet decision. The powers exercised by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries were miscellaneous and included powers under the Tithes Acts, the Enclosure Acts and others, but none of those powers were of more importance than those which the right hon. Gentleman now proposed to exempt. The function of the Board of Agriculture was administrative and executive, and consisted in the discharge of statutory powers which to the farmers and owners of flocks and herds in Scotland were a most important part of the work of the Board. It was essentially work requiring local knowledge and prompt local executive action. He did not over look the work of the Agricultural Board in regard to other parts of its administration, but the least successful part of its work was the administration of its duties under the Diseases of Animals Acts, and frequently there had been friction. He only needed to mention in this connection the sheep dipping order. Last year under the Agricultural Holdings Act power was given in Clause 1 to the Board of Agriculture to substitute a single arbiter in place of the old system, and it was a significant thing that in spite of the rally of the farmers to the Board of Agriculture against the proposals of this Bill they had not complete confidence in that Board in regard to the selection of a single arbiter. The records of the last few years showed instance after instance where the Board of Agriculture, not from any want of zeal or knowledge, but from the difficulty of acquainting themselves with local knowledge and adapting themselves to local conditions, had failed fully to appreciate what was required by this or that particular branch of farming in Scotland. To give to the new Commissioners the powers in regard to improvements in flocks and herd; and in the conditions of farming and to withdraw from them the right to defend the health of those flocks and herds would be a most illogical proceeding. They took every precaution to defend health and sanitation in regard to individuals and why should they neglect health and sanitation in regard to the flocks and 1855 herds of the country? The right hon. Gentleman said that the proposals of the Bill could not be carried out with safety, but it was impossible to maintain that position in argument or to show that the two Departments concerned would not be able to work in perfect harmony one with the other. The right hon. Gentleman had said that unity of control had been a great thing and that many reforms which he had in his mind could not have been carried out unless he had been master of the situation throughout the length and breadth of these islands. In carrying out some of those reforms it occurred to him that sufficient weight had not been paid to Scottish public opinion. If it was admitted, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite had admitted, that it was possible for the two Departments concerned to work in harmony and co-operate in carrying out the same legislative policy, a strong case was at once made out for a separate Department in Scotland to give full expression to the needs and wishes of Scotland in this matter. Scottish administration in all its Departments was in no way behind similar Departments in English administration. They had a Scottish Education Department and a Scottish Local Government Department, and their administration was not in any way behind the English Departments.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
said they would see whether that was so or not when the next Report was issued. He saw nothing but advantage to Scotland in the establishment of a Scottish Department of this kind. Fears had been expressed that this proposal might prove detrimental to flocks and herds, but he assured the House that that would not be the effect, and they would still cross the border. Scottish mutton would still come to the English market, because Englishmen wished to purchase it and Scotsmen would take care that nothing should take its place in the English market. The proposal made by the Government would help them to improve their place in the English markets and improve their 1856 flocks as well, and consequently it would be beneficial to both countries and to all parties concerned. In his opinion, to divide the powers of the Board of Agriculture as suggested would simply be to divide the responsibility and cause friction, which would lead to a weakening of the administration. At present they had only a subordinate Department in Scotland. The proposal of the Bill had been carefully considered and would be carefully carried out, and everything, would be done to protect Scottish and English interests. It was no part of his-case to criticise adversely the administration of the Board of Agriculture, and he had simply related the facts. That Board had been zealous and energetic, and they were grateful for its administration, but with its centre in London it was inevitable that its policy would be dominated to a much larger degree by English interests, and this proposal enabled Scotsmen to look after Scottish interests. The right hon. Gentleman was evidently influenced, and quite naturally, by the consideration of the usefulness of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries and its status. He made no complaint of that, but he claimed, that it was their duty to protect Scottish interests, and he had not been at all impressed by the Scottish opinion which had been quoted in favour of the view held by the right hon. Gentleman, which largely centred round the Chamber of Agriculture in Scotland. They were told that the opinion of the public bodies in Scotland deserved to be respected. His first impulse was to ask which opinion. A conference of the Chamber of Agriculture was held in October last year, three months after the Bill was introduced last session, and not a word was then said adverse to the proposals to which some of its members were now opposed. Some of the speakers who were now the loudest in condemnation of the Government proposals, for the past ten years had frequently given expression to opinions in favour of a separate Board of Agriculture. This agitation was one which had arisen on second thoughts. He asked the House to face the larger issues in the Bill before them. The Government were endeavouring to deal with evils which on all hands were admitted and were as great in 1857 Scotland as in any other part of the United Kingdom. In order to stop the decay of rural life and physical deterioration they ought to make greater efforts to stay the progress of these evils, and to achieve this they required every opportunity which the Government could place in the hands of the people. They wanted the Board of Agriculture to help small holdings. He had argued that this was the main work of the Board of Agriculture, and therefore to take away this work from the, Board would be to paralyse the organisation which the Government wished to set up in Scotland. The work of the Agricultural Commissioners would not be confined to the creation of small holdings; they were charged with the general duty of supervising agriculture in Scotland, and it was essential that they should have the powers which the right hon. Gentleman proposed should be withdrawn from them.
§ MR. LANE-FOX (Yorkshire, W.R., Barkston Ash)
said the right hon. Gentleman had stated that he and his Scottish colleagues desired to protect the interests of Scotland. He (Mr. Lane-Fox) and his friends were there to protect the interests of England. He was an Englishman from the North of England and these matters affected agriculturists in that quarter considerably. There were strong reasons why they should wish to see the Board of Agriculture maintained as it was at present and that the change contemplated by the Bill should not be made. The Amendment only referred to the administration of the Diseases of Animals Acts. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken as if it affected the whole foundations of the question of small holdings in Scotland. Did he really think that the prosperity of the people who were going to become small holders depended entirely on the administration of the Diseases of Animals Acts? It seemed to Englishmen near the border that it was absolutely essential for the broad and proper administration of the Acts that the whole island should be included. It was obvious that there might be considerable danger to the herds in the North of England if some serious form of cattle plague were to break out in Scotland, where for reasons affecting the interests and convenience of Scotland 1858 the Board of Agriculture in that country, considering only themselves and disregarding the effect which their policy had in relation to English stock, pursued less stringent methods in the administration of the Diseases of Animals Acts. The interests of one part of the United Kingdom should not, for obvious reasons, he considered apart from the interests of the whole. There were a great many cases in which sheep and dogs came from Scotland to England. Regulations which might suit Scotland might be prejudicial to the interests of England. It would be said that the English Board of Agriculture could take steps to protect England, but still he thought it was desirable that the administration of the Acts should be effected by one body acting for the whole of the United Kingdom. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken in a derogatory manner of the action of the Board of Agriculture in relation to Scotland. He had referred to the friction which had resulted from the administration of the sheep dipping orders and other matters. He would point out that what the right hon. Gentleman had said applied not merely to Scotland, but to parts of England. There had been considerable friction in Yorkshire over the sheep dipping orders. It was absurd to suppose that every part of the United Kingdom was satisfied when the Board of Agriculture put regulations into force. There must be a burden on those to whom the restrictions were applied. If Scotland had a serious grievance against the Board of Agriculture it was obviously the duty of the Scottish Members to bring it before this House and to see that it was fairly dealt with. But to cut up the Board in the way proposed and to cripple its power would be, he was certain, a retrograde step. He believed if the right hon. Gentleman considered the effect of the proposal he would be ready to accept the new clause.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
said that the question under discussion affected English agriculture, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider the position which he had taken up. The Board of Agriculture 1859 had been doing enormous good throughout the United Kingdom, and he was afraid the proposal now made by the Government would weaken it. The cattle brought from Scotland and sold in the markets of Carlisle and Berwick-on-Tweed would be under the regulations of the Scottish Board of Agriculture. If those regulations were to be different from those of the English Board there would be great trouble not only to Scottish farmers but to English salesmen. He did not think the right hon. Gentleman had stated any good reason for taking the power in this matter out of the hands of the Board of Agriculture. He had stated that it might be unpopular in Scotland, but the enforcement of these regulations was sure to be followed by unpopularity anywhere. In the case of swine fever, for instance, there were certain districts where the regulations in regard to that disease were very unpopular, but they were carried out in spite of their unpopularity. The Sheep Dipping Order was unpopular in Scotland, but if it had not been carried out by a body ruling over a large area there would have been a deadlock, and the enormous good which had resulted to sheep breeders would have been lost. The regulations as to diseases of cattle were always unpopular in certain areas, and therefore the larger the area under the control of the central body the better would be the administration of the Acts. A central body was not so likely to be moved from its purpose in the general interest by attacks from this or that part of the country. He hoped the powers under the Diseases of Animals half of the clause which gave these Acts would be retained by the central body.
§ VISCOUNT HELMSLEY (Yorkshire, N. R., Thirsk)
said the Secretary for Scotland had stated that this subject had been freely discussed in the Standing Committee. His recollection was that that was not so. When exceptional powers to the Commissioners had been discussed, the rest of the clause was closured without any discussion at all. There was a conflict of opinion on this particular point, and to say that there had been adequate discussion was beside the mark. The attitude adopted by the right hon. Gentleman on this matter was 1860 thoroughly unsatisfactory. There would be serious danger if the existing restrictions on the importation of cattle were removed. The re-introduction of cattle plague would be a disastrous thing to British agriculturists. That being so, could there be any object in weakening the position of the Board of Agriculture If there were separate boards representing England and Scotland, the Minister representing one might urge the Cabinet to adopt one course, while the Minister representing the other might advocate another course. They all knew that there was a considerable body of Scottish opinion in favour of removing the restrictions which at present existed in regard to Canadian cattle coming into this country. The Prime Minister had stated that he was in favour of these restrictions being removed. A good many feeders in Scotland were in favour of the restrictions being done away with. If the Board of Agriculture in Scotland removed the-restrictions, it was obvious that the results might be most disastrous to English agriculturists. If the restrictions were removed in Scotland and not in England a gigantic system of supervision, by inspectors along the border would be needed. Was it to be supposed that the agriculturists in the north of England were going to allow cattle to come from Scotland involving risk of contamination of the herds in England by cattle imported from Canada or elsewhere? Would rabies have been stamped out if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin had paid attention to the complaints which were written to him against the muzzling order by all the old women in the country who owned pet dogs? The more restrictions were enforced the more likely they were to stamp out the diseases against which they were aimed. The right hon. Gentleman had argued as if,the Board of Agriculture in Scotland would in some way be insulted if this particular part of its duty were taken away from it, and left in the hands of the English Agricultural Department. The Scottish Board would have plenty of other things to do—the whole supervision of small holdings, and the granting of advice and assistance to small holders; but it would not have the power to prevent the flocks and herds of this country from being contaminated by imported disease in 1861 the absence of the strict regulations now enforced by the English Agricultural Board. The right hon. Gentleman had also said that it was absurd that the people of Scotland could be entrusted to look after the health of individuals and not after the health of flocks and herds. Could any one imagine a less complete analogy? It was preposterous that the same regulations or the same system of administration could in any way be applied to the health of individuals and the health of flocks and herds. He could not imagine, after all the pressure that had been put on the Government both outside and inside the House that they would be so short-sighted as not to accept the clause moved by the right hon. Gentleman, which was necessary if a Board of Agriculture was to be set up in Scotland without doing great injury to the English Agricultural Board.
§ *MR. EVERETT (Suffolk, Woodbridge)
said that as an agricultural Member, a supporter of the Government, and of the general objects which they had in view in introducing this Rill, he hoped that the Government would see their way to accept the Amendment. The United Kingdom had the advantage of being an island in which Scotland was included, and it was obvious that they would be in a far butter petition to deal with disease coming from abroad if the island was treated as a whole and effectual regulations were made to combat with any possible invasion of disease. The objects for which the new Agricultural Commissioners were to be appointed for Scotland would not be hindered if the matter of coping with cattle diseases were left out of the Bill. He hoped that the new clause proposed with so much force and supported by so many strong reasons would be accepted by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill.
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Surrey, Wimbledon)
said that he was filled with apprehension at the proposal of the Secretary for Scotland, and all the more so that from beginning to end of his observations he had never once touched or approached the argument of his right hon. friend the Member for South Dublin. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman had 1862 never tried to meet the case presented for the Amendment. Wait was the proposal? It was that —Nothing contained in this Act or done in. pursuance thereof shall prejudice, affect, or interfere with the sole exercise by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries of all powers and duties under the, provisions and for the purposes of the Diseases of Animals Acts.His right hon. friend had pointed our that the administration of the Disease; of Animals Acts under dual control might lead to serious consequences. The Secretary for Scotland thought he had met that argument by challenging his right hon. friend to say that it was not possible for the two boards to work-in perfect harmony. He maintained that it was possible that they would not work in perfect harmony. And supposing that they did not, it might be possible for the Secretary for Scotland to admit animals from abroad contrary to the regulations that existed at the present time.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
said that the admission of Canadian cattle to Scotland had been already alluded to; but there would be no change in that regard until Parliament had so determined.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
Yes, but if the agricultural authority in Scotland on the one hand and the head of the English Agricultural Department on the other were in dispute, and if that dispute were submitted to a Cabinet presided over by the present Prime Minister, who before the last election strongly argued for the readmission of Canadian cattle into this country, what would be the position? A Bill would be introduced to carry out the Premier's views. That was what he was afraid of; and it would be done under a total misapprehension of the circumstances of the case. His right hon. friend had pointed out the great danger there was of the introduction of pleuro-pneumonia into this country by Canadian cattle. He did not refer to cattle plague; he knew that there was no cattle plague in Canada. But he defied anyone to show that Canada, with its enormous extent of territory, its long frontier and its vast number of cattle, was free from pleuro-pneumonia at the present time. No inspection 1863 could guard against its readmission into this country. There was only one safeguard: the slaughter of the cattle at the port of entry. And for this reason; that pleuro-pneumonia was a disease that could not be detected in the living animal. It might lie dormant for months and years. These facts were known, and supposing that Canadian cattle were readmitted, nothing was more certain than that two or three years afterwards they would be confronted with an outbreak of pleuro-pneumonia and the whole work of extirpation would have to be undertaken again. But granting that Canada was at present free from the disease, it was known to exist in the United States; and how was it possible, with a frontier of 6,000 miles, to prove that cattle suffering from pleuro-pneumonia did not cross the frontier from the United States into Canada? He could not think of anything more disastrous than that the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman should become law. He believed that there was a small section of farmers in some parts of Scotland and a few farmers in one or two counties in England who desired the introduction of Canadian cattle, but these men were simply feeders of stock, whereas the people that should be encouraged and receive exceptional treatment were the breeders. Having in view the manifest dangers from the introduction of disease into this country raid the enormous amount of time, labour, and money which had been spent a few years ago in getting rid of all disease amongst our flocks and herds, he trusted that the House would induce the Government to accept the Amendment of his right hon. friend. It would not interfere with the Board of Agriculture in Scotland in promoting the extension of small holdings or other matters but it would prevent the alteration of the laws and regulations as to cattle disease, which were of vital concern to the agricultural interest as a whole.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)
said that there was no question that the farmers of Scotland were practically unanimous in support of the new clause moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin. And the 1864 opinion of the farmers of Scotland upon this matter ought to be considered, because the great bulk of their capital was locked up in stock. It was only through their stock that they could hope to pursue their calling with success. There was no money in grain. He believed that with different regulations for Scotland and England, and two separate Boards of Agriculture, there would be a certain amount of trouble at the border, particularly at Dumfries, Carlisle, and Berwick-on-Tweed. The real reason that impelled the Scottish farmers to desire the continuance of the administration of the British Board of Agriculture in respect of cattle disease was to have security for the health of their flocks and herds, and there was no such security under the Bill. The new Scottish Board of Agriculture would cost between £25,000 and £30,000 a year. What was wanted in Scotland was a Board which would be subordinate to the British Board, but charged especially with the supervision of certain interests in Scotland. He did not think that any Scottish agriculturist would be prepared to accept a new Scottish Board up a two-pair back in Edinburgh in place of the Board in Whitehall.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
said that as a Scottish Member he would like to join in the support which had been given to this clause. He could not quite understand the sequence of the right hon. Gentleman's logic which would place power in the hands of two Boards instead of one, and increase the burdens on the small agriculturists. The right hon. Gentleman had said that this was a question of administration on which Scotland had a right to have an opinion, and Scotland, no doubt, had a right to have her interests consulted. They were not afraid that Scottish Members would fail to see that the interests of their country were protected in that House without a Scottish Board in Scotland. The analogy set before them was that of education, but the right hon. Gentleman seemed to forget that the laws as to education in Scotland were 300 years older than the education laws in England. Again, hon. Gentlemen seemed to forget 1865 that there was more or less distinction between the transit of individual citizens from one part of the country to another and the transit of oxen and pigs. The duties of the Board of Agriculture were to prevent the dissemination of the diseases of animials from one part of the country to another, and this was an important point to safeguard. He did not see how these Commissioners were to take over these duties from the Board of Agriculture. The Commissioners, it appeared, were to be in effect independent of the Secretary for Scotland.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
said that in the discharge of their duties the Agricultural Commissioners would comply with such instructions as might be issued by the Secretary for Scotland.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
inquired if the right hon. Gentleman thought he was going to lay down rules under which he would keep these Commissioners in leading strings. He would find that they were susceptible of pressure from other Members of Parliament and from without, and that neither he nor his successors would be able to hold them in check. He thought they were entitled to some expression of opinion from the representative of the Board of Agriculture as to the views of his Department. There had been a correspondence with the Board of Agriculture, and the vast majority of the correspondents expressed their opinion that the Board of Agriculture was in touch with Scottish farmers. An immense majority, something like five-sixths, were in favour of the continuance of the authority of the Board of Agriculture in Scotland, and he hoped the hon. Baronet would not allow his Department to be stripped of the important authority which had worked well both for England and Scotland. This transfer of authorities was an excrescence, and without it he was sure the Bill might be carried through with advantage to Scotland.
§ *SIR J. DEWAR (Inverness)
said that if the idea was to make the administration of Scotland more efficient he could not believe that the establishment of two Boards, one working partially and 1866 the other wholly in Scotland, would tend to efficiency. If the power to regulate the working of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts was in the hands of a Scottish Agricultural Department, the work, so far as the local arrangements were concerned, was bound to be more efficient. He thought it would he better to leave this matter in the hands of the Scottish Board of Agriculture than to have it managed from London. It would be a misfortune if the two Departments did not work amicably together, but being managed by sensible men having the same objects in view he saw no reason to believe that the most amicable relations would not exist.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
said the Secretary for Scotland was mistaken in thinking any discourtesy had been intended by interruptions from that bench. Their desire was simply that he should deal with the Amendment, which he had refrained from doing. Not one syllable which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman touched the substance and nerve of the argument advanced by the mover of the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman had asked why Scotland could not deal with cattle diseases, seeing that she had the responsibility of dealing with human diseases. They might properly leave to one part of the kingdom the regulation of public health—questions of sewers and sanitary regulations—because the interests of another partner in the United Kingdom were not involved. But responsibility in this matter could not be shared with the British Board of Agriculture without affecting profoundly the interests of English as well as Scottish agriculturists. There could not be a. greater exposure of the fallacy that this was a Scottish and not an English Bill than the fact that they had had Members from both sides of the House debating it from the English point of view, seeing that England was profoundly interested in the cattle regulations. Moreover, if there was a difference of opinion, and disease was allowed to come into Scotland which England tried to keep out, Scotland would be isolated by regulations which would be ruinous to and destructive of Scottish agriculture. It had been suggested that two Ministers of common sense would not be likely to disagree in the matter. 1867 As a matter of fact, common-sense men very often did disagree. In regard to rabies, they had seen the Irish Government establishing one set of regulations and the British Government another. The British Administration accordingly interposed a Customs barrier, as it were, to keep out Irish dogs, and Irish sportsmen who desired to bring over their dogs for sporting purposes were very bitter indeed. If the question were one not of sporting dogs, but of agricultural trade, the injury to agriculture on both sides of the border would be incalculable. Perhaps it would be said that the injury England could do Scotland by setting up this barrier was so great that in case of a difference of opinion the English Minister could coerce his Scottish brother into subservience. Would not that be a deplorable state of things? Scotland would possess independence in name. She would have it in reality, so far as friction and embarrassment mere concerned. But the one real advantage which was sought—that Scotland should be wholly independent of England in this matter—would not be attained. He appealed to the House on the broadest and plainest grounds of public policy. There was no case he knew of in which a common interest was administered by two different departments, and the exclusion of disease from these islands was a common interest. Let Scotland manage the many things which were purely local. The transmission of disease from the north to the south of the Tweed was not a Scottish question. It was common to England and Scotland. Microbes knew nothing of these national distinctions. They were profoundly indifferent to the artificial line which divided Great, Britain into two parts. The question was one which the action of nature had made common to the whole of the island, and if was mere folly not to deal with it through one Minister. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken as if the Agricultural Commissioners could not carry out their work efficiently in connection with small holdings unless they performed this additional task. For his own part he could not see the connection between the two subjects.
§ *MR. MOLTENO (Dumfriesshire)
hoped the Government would adhere to their pro- 1868 posal. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that disease was a common danger coming from outside, and that a common interest ought to be dealt with by a common authority. But judging of the present state of things by that argument, what did they find? They found that England had a Local Government Board and that Scotland had a Local. Government Board, who had as a matter of fact been perfectly able to deal separately with cholera and plague that had threatened our doors for years past. It seemed to him that the right hon. Gentleman had very much exaggerated this question of disease. In fact there seemed to lurk in the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite the idea that Scotland was a very backward country, and that they would not be able to guard against this danger of disease. But Scotland had as varied an agriculture as England; she had a large number of breeders of cattle, and her interest in keeping free from disease was as great as that of England, indeed it was greater because she exported cattle. It was a very interesting fact that while in Great Britain we had been unable to stamp out swine fever, in Denmark, where they had a very active Government which took a great interest in agriculture, they had been able to stamp it out entirely. He trusted they would be as successful in Scotland. He hoped that hon. Members on his side of the House would not be led away with the idea that in Scotland in a matter of this kind they were unable to look after their own affairs. It they got the powers proposed they would be as capable of discharging the duties thrown upon them as were the authorities in England.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
said the hon. Member had pointed out that they had got rid of swine fever in Denmark. To what was that due? It was due to the fact that Denmark was under one comprehensive authority. The hon. Gentleman had also said that they bred as valuable-cattle in Scotland us in England. Would the hon. Member refer him to a single breeder in Scotland who would support him in opposing this Amendment? Out of every 100 breeders of 1869 cattle in Scotland, seventy-five were opposed to the Government's proposal. He went further, and said that out of every £1,000 worth of capital invested in Scotland in stock the owners of £750 of it would vote for this Amendment, and against the Government. He thanked the hon. Member for the arguments he had adduced. This question was extremely interesting to those who sat on the Scottish Grand Committee, and the Prime Minister would now recognise, after nearly two hours discussion, that the points which arose under the Bill touched vitally the interests of England, and the right hon. Gentleman would not be quite so surprised as he had been that the measure should have taken such a considerable time to discuss in Committee upstairs. He believed agriculturists in England and Scotland agreed with him in deprecating and regretting the tendency to establish separate authorities for agriculture in the two countries. The agricultural interests of this island were neither English nor Scottish; they were absolutely British; they were absolutely identical, and the endeavour to split the governing power into two was hostile to the interests of both, and, in certain circumstances, absolutely fatal. The hon. Baronet who sat opposite to him, and with whom he had broken a lance or two in Committee, had asked why should they not leave Scotland to take its own precautions against disease. The hon. Baronet must remember that all Scotsmen did not live in Inverness-shire, and that some Scotsmen lived towards the south of that country, some with agricultural interests conducted pretty close on the Border. If there came an outbreak of swine fever, under the existing method of dealing with that disease they must draw a cordon, and in all probability it would have to be drawn on this side of the Border. How would the hon. Member's idea act then? Before they could act they would have to get the consent of the new authority in Scotland, and also the consent of the authority in England, in order that simultaneous measures might be taken to protect both countries. Every one concerned with this industry knew, as he was sorry to say he knew, that rapidity of action in dealing with the disease was essential. If they had the delay of getting the consent of the 1870 two authorities the disease would in the meantime be allowed to go rampant, and infinite harm and mischief would be done. He thought the whole of the arguments of those who opposed the Government, as well as of those who professed to support it, ran in one direction, namely, that in this instance the Government was making a blunder, and that it would be well advised in listening, to the great bulk of the agricultural opinion both in Scotland and in England. Of those who had spoken three supporters of the Government who were conversant, with agricultural matters were in favour of the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill knew well that if he left this question to a ballot, those concerned with agriculture in Scotland would not give him one vote out of 100. The right hon. Gentleman shook his head. Well, he would say that he would not get more than two out of 100, and the Secretary for Scotland knew quite well that two out of 100 would be the maximum he would obtain; he would be beaten to pieces by the votes of the vast majority of agriculturists in Scotland. By this Bill the right hon. Gentleman would to a certain extent be injuring the confidence of Scottish agriculturists in the safety of their well-bred stock. There was one other point which became subject matter of this Bill. They were trying to set up small holdings, and to encourage the smallholders to breed stock in proportion to their acreage. But once any disease was admitted into that country the smallholder would be ruined, even if it did not ruin the big breeders. The small holder could not afford to risk losing one of his cattle, nor being cut off from the markets, as he would have to be if there were disease. Therefore, by this measure they would endanger at the outset the interests of the smallholders they were attempting to create. The Leader of the Opposition had pointed on how absurd the situation would be when if disease were admitted, a cordon had immediately to be established on the frontier. Hon. Gentlemen found fault with their talking of Scotland as if all the stupidity was on one side and none on the other. But he would put it the other way, that all the stupidity was on the side of England and none on the side 1871 of Scotland. How would that add to the security of Scotland from disease? They were going to force upon the agriculturists of Scotland a system which they did not want, and nothing would be more welcome to them than to know that the Government had listened to the arguments urged
§ from both sides of the House and had accepted this new clause.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 120; Noes, 176. (Division ListNo. 377.)1873
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Forster. Henry William||O'Grady, J.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||O'Kellv,James(Roscommon,N.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gardner. Ernest (Berks. East)||O'Malley, William|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Glover, Thomas||Parker,James (Halifax)|
|Balfour,RtHn.A.J. (CityLond.)||Gordon, J.||Partington, Oswald|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Barnes. G. N.||Helmsley, Viscount||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Barrie. H. T. (Londonderry, N.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Rawlinson,John FrederickPeel|
|Beach, Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Richards, T.F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hodge, John||Roberts,S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hudson, Walter||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher. Samuel Henry||Hunt, Rowland||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Jenkins, J.||Shackleton. David James|
|Cave, George||Jowett, F.W.||Sheffield,Sir Berkeley GeorgeD.|
|Cavendish,Rt. Hn. Victor C.W.||Kennaway,Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kenyon-Slaney,Rt.Hn. Col. W.||Smith,Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lambton. Hon. Frederick Wm.||Snowden. P.|
|Cecil,Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Lane-Fox, G. R,||Starkey, John R.|
|Chamberlain,RtHn. J. A.(Wore.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Staveley-Hill. Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Chaplin. Rt. Hon. Henry||Long, RtHnWalter (Dublin, S.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Tennant, Sir Edward(Salisbury|
|Coehrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Corbett. A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Thorne, William|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Macpherson. J. T.||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Mac Veagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Walker, Col.W.H. (Lancashire)|
|Craik. Sir Henry||MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal, E.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Crooks, William||Marks,G.Croydon(Launceston)||Wardle, George J.|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Mason. James F. (Windsor)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Dickson-Poynder. Sir John P.||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Middlemore,JohnThrogmorton||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Duncan, C (Barrow-in-Furness||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Mooney, J. J.||Wolff. Gustav Wilhelm|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Moore, William||Wyndham. Rt. Hon. George|
|Faber. George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount||Younger, George|
|Fell, Arthur||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir|
|Fetherstonhaugh. Godfrey||Nield, Herbert||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nolan, Joseph||Viscount Valentia.|
|Fletcher. J. S.||O'Brien,Kendal (TipperaryMid|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bethell, Sir J.H.(Essex, Romf'rd||Churchill. Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Alden, Percy||Black, Arthur W.||Clough, William|
|Allen,A.Acland (Christchurch)||Brace, William||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Bramsdon T. A.||Collins, SirW.J.(St.Pancras,W.|
|Asquith,Rt.Hn. Herbert Henry||Branch James||Cooper, G. J.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Brigg, John||Corbett,CH (Sussex,E.Grinst'd|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Bright, J. A.||Cory, Clifford John|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Buchanan Thomas Ryburn||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Cox,, Harold|
|Barlow. Percy (Redford||Byles, William Pollard||Cremer, Sir William Randal|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone,N.)||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Dalziel. James Henry|
|Beale, W. P.||Carr-Gomm. H. W.||Davies. Ellis William (Eition)|
|Bellairs. Carylon||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Benn, W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.||Cheetham, John Frederick||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Bertram, Julius||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Dewar, Sir J. A.'(Inverness-sh|
|Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Runciman, Walter|
|Duckworth, James||Lough. Thomas||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Dunne,Major E.Martin(Walsall||Lupton, Arnold||Sears, J. B.|
|Elibank, Master of||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Seely, Major J. B.|
|Erskine, David C.||Macdonald, J.M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Ferens. T. R.||Macrkarness, Frederic C.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Findlay, Alexander||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||M'Callum, John M.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||M'Crae, George||Sinclair. Rt. Hon. John|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||M'Kenna,Rt. Hon. Reginald||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Fullerton, Hugh||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Spicer. Sir Albert|
|Gladstone,RtHn. Herbert John||Maddison, Frederick||Stanger, H Y.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mallet, Charles E.||Stanley,Hn. A.Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Gulland, John W.||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Gurdon,RtHn. Sir W.Brampton||Marnham, E. J.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Massie, J.||Thornas SirA.(Glamorgan,E.)|
|Harmsworth, R. L.(Caithn'ss-sh||Masterman, C. F. G.||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Money. L. G. Chiozza||Ure. Alexander|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Montagu. E. S.||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Henry, Charles S.||Morrell, Philip||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Morton. Alpheus Cleophas||Watt, Henry A.|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Myer. Horatio||Wedgwood. Josiah C.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Napier, T. B.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Nicholls, George||White, George, (Norfolk)|
|Idris, T. H. W.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Pearce, Robert (Staff's. Leek)||White. Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Pearson, W.H.M. (Suffolk, Eye||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh,Central)||Williams. J. (Glamorgan)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pullar, Sir Robert||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthn)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Wilson, John (Durham. Mid.)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Wilson, J.W.(Worcestersh. N.)|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Rea, Walter Russell (Scrboro'||Wilson. P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Rees, J. D.||Winfrey, R.|
|Lambert, George||Rickett, J. Compton||Wood, T. M'Kinnon.|
|Lamont, Norman||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras,E||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Leese,SirJoseph F. (Accrington||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee)||Pease.|
|Lever,A.Levy (Essex,Harwich)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Rowlands, J.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. COCHRANE, (Ayrshire, N.)
in moving an Amendment to secure purchase by agreement, explained that he did so to clear up the point as to whether a small holding was always to remain a small holding, or whether there was any power to renounce the small holding in a similar manner as could be done at the present time. A crofter could now renounce his holding under Section 7 of the Crofters Act, and it then ceased to be a smallholding under Section 34, because the words were "any piece of land held by a crofter." If it was not held by a crofter, it ceased to be a croft. He understood that Section 34 had been repealed. He wished to know whether the landlord who wished to sell his land to the landholder could do so under this 1874 Bill. The landlord might let under certain conditions, but there was nothing said about the power to purchase or sell the small holding. In any case it was desirable in the interests of both the landlord and the landholder that the latter should be able to become the possessor of the land by purchase. If words were not put in to enable the landholder to purchase, the landlord, although willing to sell, might not be able to give a proper and clear title to the landholder. It was unnecessary to argue this point at any length. He believed there was a great desire in Scotland to own land, and many of them would not be satisfied with merely paying rent. That desire existed and he wanted it made clear that it could be met.
1875 New clause—When the landlord of a holding has agreed to sell such holding to the landholder in occupation thereof, it shall be lawful for the landlord or the landholder to apply to the Land Court to register the sale of such holding, and the Land Court shall thereafter determine and by order declare such holding to have ceased to be a holding within the meaning of this Act."—(Mr. Cochrane)Brought up, and read a first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."
§ MR. SINCLAIR
said that when the hon. Member raised this question in Committee he made a promise that it should be considered. There was not the slightest desire to stand in the way of a sale to the landholder, and he agreed that facilities should be given and no obstacles should be placed in the way of such a sale. It was evident in the Committee that a fear existed that this was not provided for. He had considered the point with such assistance as his learned friend had been able to give him, and they had concluded that there was no obstacle in the Bill against the sale to a landholder of his holding. If the hon. Member would refer to page 50 of the Amendment Paper he would see that the Government had put down an Amendment to Clause 16 as follows—In line 14. at end, to insert the words ' but nothing in this proviso contained shall apply to the case of a holding ceasing to be held by a landholder by reason of resumption by the landlord or by reason of the sale of the holding to the landholder.'He was advised that it was not necessary to put in anything more to affirm the point raised by the hon. Member.
§ MR. COCHRANE
said that no doubt the right hon. Gentleman had been well advised, and if he was satisfied that the point he had raised was covered he begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. YOUNGER, (Ayr Burghs)
in moving a new clause referring to forfeiture of tenancy on failure of bequest or non-acceptance by legatee, said he did not propose to make a speech. He 1876 simply wished to know what the right hon. Gentleman's view was in regard to accepting it. He begged to move.
Where, owing to the failure of the landholder to bequeath his tenancy or of the legatee to accept the bequest, the right of the tenancy devolves upon the heir-at-law of the landholder, the landlord may give notice in writing to such heir requiring him to state whether or not he elects to accept the tenancy, and in case such heir shall not, within six weeks after the receipt of such notice, declare, that he elects to accept the tenancy the tenancy shall be forfeited provided that if such heir be furth of the United Kingdom the Land Court may grant such extension of the period hereinbefore specified as may seem to them to be reasonable."—(Mr. Younger.)
§ Brought up, and read a first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."
§ MR. SINCLAIR
said this clause stood in the same category as the one which was discussed in Committee and which the Government promised to consider. There was some reason to think that this clause would be a bad one for the landlord The words in line 7, were "the tenancy shall be forfeited." The Government could not accept those words and the proposal would have to be modified in some way. Apart from that consideration, it seemed to him that this was rather a bad clause for the landlord. It rather tied his hands. He thought a little more, consideration should be given to the clause by the hon. Member before he pressed it. It was open to serious objection, because it suggested more rigid procedure than was necessary. As at present advised he was unable to accept the clause on behalf of the Government.
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
said the general opinion when this clause was discussed in Committee was that it was necessary. If the heir-at-law was unknown a certain period might elapse before he could be discovered. When discovered it might be found that" he was a tradesman who did not want to take the farm, but if he thought there was some profit to be made out of it he might refuse to 1877 say what he was going to do. In the meantime the land would be going to ruin. There was no provision in the Bill for the cultivation of the holding while the heir-at-law was being found. The new clause provided that the landlord might find out who the heir-at-law was, ask him to say at once whether he was going to take the holding or not, and, in the event of his refusing, come in and take possession of the holding. He failed to see how the new clause would hinder the creation of small holders. He thought his hon. friend should press this matter to a division unless the Solicitor-General for Scotland could show that the case he had put to the House was not likely to occur.
§ MR. YOUNGER
expressed regret that the right hon. Gentleman could not see his way to accept the clause. The clause had been carefully drafted and had received the greatest consideration from a very competent authority. It was purely permissive, and he did not think it would tie the landlords' hands in the way the right him. Gentleman had suggested. If the right hon. Gentleman thought the penalty of forfeiture was too severe, other words might be introduced.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
suggested that in substitution for the words "the tenancy shall be. forfeited" the wards "his rights in the tenancy shall pass to the next heir, and the same procedure shall apply."
§ MR. YOUNGER
said that that was better than nothing, but there were so many possible heirs in a Scottish glen that it might be difficult to find the next heir.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
said he was not at all anxious to accept the clause in that form. He only made the suggestion for the purpose of facilitating business.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said the suggestion of the Secretary for Scotland was better than nothing, and he would advise his hon. friend to accept it., It would be quite, just to cast upon the next heir the obligation of coming forward and claiming his property within 1878 a reasonable time. Six weeks had been suggested, but it might be desirable to extend that period. If there were a. variety of possible heirs in the Scottish glens this Bill might afford the possibility of settling the difficulty as in days gone by. The policy of the Government might serve to revive some of those interesting scenes which they thought were ended for ever.
Amendment proposed to the proposed new clause—
In Hue 7 to leave out the words 'the tenancy shall be forfeited' and insert the words ' his rights in the tenancy shall pass to the next heir, and the same procedure shall apply.' "—(Mr. Sinclair.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.
If a landholder either renounces or is removed from his holding while owing any arrears of rent to the, landlord, the landlord shall been titled to set off such arrears of rent, and also the rent of the outgoing; crop, against any sum found to be due to the landholder or to the Agricultural Commissioners for improvements made on the holding."—(Sir Henry Craik.)
§ Brought up, and read a first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed,
§ "That the clause be read a second time."
§ THE SOLICITOR - GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (MR. URE, Linlithgowshire)
said the Government would accept the clause.
§ Clause added to the Bill.
§ Clause 1:—
§ MR. WALTER LONG
moved to leave out the words "and shall have effect throughout Scotland." He said the clause sought to apply the Crofters Acts generally throughout Scotland. In dealing with the question of small holdings, the Government in their wisdom had decided to take the Crofters Acts as their foundation. The question of applying 1879 these Acts generally was dismissed at great length in the Standing Committee. The Secretary for Scotland told the Committee that the Acts had been an unqualified success, and that their success was the reason why the Government had adopted this procedure. On the other hand it had been argued that their success had been only partial, and that they were not in themselves suitable for application throughout Scot-and. There was one great objection to the application of the Crofters Acts outside a special area. The Crofters Acts had had the effect of giving the crofting tenants certain advantages in regard to tenure which were no doubt justified in their case. But none the less it was obvious that the policy which the Government had adopted would unquestionably extend the principle of dual ownership in those districts where there was not the same foundation for it as in the, crofting areas, and where the operation of that system would be impossible. Experience had shown that they were compelled ultimately to buy out the landlord, and so get rid of that party whose interest had become the smallest in the property. It was admitted that the crofters were unwilling to become owners of their crofts, but that was because the alterations in the local charges fell upon the crofting owner. Under the Crofters Act they had to provide machinery suitable to the needs of the crofters and recognising their just demands; there fore the crofters did not want to be turned from occupiers to owners. But that could not be said of the districts to which they were going to apply this Bill. Legislation which had been successful in a particular district under certain conditions could not be successful in an area where the conditions were totally different. It was impossible to avoid a passing reference to the fact that it was proposed by the Government to deal with the same subject in totally different ways in two different parts of the same country. There was no difference, between the conditions of tenancy of small holdings in Scotland and in England. They found the same class of men, carrying on their industry in the same way and under conditions exactly similar. The conditions of the English small holder were entirely ignored 1880 by the Government who sought to-apply a hard and fast rule to a new class of tenants in Scotland, which he and those who agreed with him believed would break down. It had been said that as. the Crofters Act had been so successful in the Highlands it would be equally successful in other parts of the country. That was the argument of the master of Dotheboys Hall in administering physic-As one kind of physic had been found to be useful in the case of one boy it was administered all round whether it was suitable to their little stomachs or not. What the Government were doing was to apply to the whole of Scotland principles and practice which had been a success in districts where very different conditions prevailed. It was in order to raise this question at the earliest possible moment that he had put down this Amendment. He admitted that if the Amendment were accepted it would be necessary to provide machinery to work it. He trusted that they would hear from the Government a rather fuller justification for Clause 1 than they had heard upstairs, and that after time and reflection had been given them they had come to the conclusion to accept the Amendment.
In page 1, lines 8 and 9, to leave out the words ' and shall have effect throughout Scotland.' "—(Mr. Long.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the-Bill."
§ MR. URE
said that the right hon. Gentleman could scarcely expect the Government to accept this Amendment, because it struck at the very root of the measure. The proposal of the-Bill was that the principle of the Crofters Act should be applied to existing holdings in all the counties of Scotland. What was the essence of the Crofters Act? It was to confer security of tenure-on the crofters. A fair rent court was absolutely essential if they were to have security of tenure. They all knew what would happen without security of tenure and the fixing of a fair rent. If a landlord desired to get rid of a tenant who-had become obnoxious to him, he had only to raise the rent of that undesirable 1881 tenant to an amount which it was impossible for the tenant to pay. The Bill did nothing more for existing holdings than give the small holder security of tenure. It thus destroyed the landlord's power of arbitrary eviction. That was the whole length to which the Bill went. The right hon. Gentleman had insisted that the Government should give a full explanation as to the extent of the benefit which would be conferred on small holders in the south of Scotland if the Crofters Acts were extended to them. But it would be in the recollection of the right hon. Gentleman that this matter was discussed for the best part of three days in Committee upstairs, and it constituted the gist of his speech on the Second Reading. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Leith moved in Committee did not touch the question of new holdings, and it was an Amendment on which the two sides of the House had joined issue. The right hon. Gentleman had said that a land system adapted for the Highlands would not be suitable to all parts of Scotland. He had never heard a single argument from any hon. Member opposite in support of the view that if security of tenure was desirable in the Highlands it would be a misfortune in the Lowlands. The right hon. Gentleman had said that in one particular only had the Crofters Act been successful and that that had been the result of the willingness on the part of the crofters to continue as tenants and not as owners. He agreed. And why? It was because of the question of rates. The right hon. Gentleman knew well that when a crofter became the owner of his croft he was rated at once not only on the value of his land but on the value of the buildings on the land. But as long as he remained a tenant, both he and the landlord were only rated on the value of the land. Nobody had said why security of tenure was not desirable to the man who had not made his own improvements. If he had not erected the buildings he paid a rent to the landlord who had. The Government believed that security of tenure would be for the benefit of agriculture whether in the Highlands or the Lowlands, and that was their justification for this Bill and their reason for resisting the Amendment.
§ MR. MUNRO-FERGUSON
said they had heard some arguments in support of this clause, but he would be the last to say that those arguments could not be answered, and as reasons were originally given for the Crofters Act and for restricting it to the crofter area some reasons should now be given for the reversal of that policy and for the extension of the crofter provisions to the whole of Scotland. He thought that some of the reasons which had been given afforded an excellent ground for confining the operation of the Act to the crofting districts. The distinction which the Solicitor-General for Scotland could not see between the property invested in land and the property invested in equipment was, he thought, extremely obvious. Let them take a case in which a landlord appropriated the amount which the tenant invested in equipment: it amounted to misappropriation, because the only right the owner had was to the land and the use of it by means of his capital, but the only ultimate security an owner had for the investment of capital in the holding was in the right to select the man who had the use of that capital. Of that security he was absolutely deprived by the Bill. The Solicitor-General for Scotland has shown a marvellous verbal dexterity in dealing with this measure, but he had not convinced anyone who had anything to do with practical agriculture. Divided ownership was not an inducement to invest capital in the equipment of holdings, and the deterioration of agricultural equipment was assured under the Bill. It had been said that it would be all right if the occupier found the equipment; but he did not do so, and what he thought was that the existing sitting tenant occupiers would look to the Government to find money to equip their holdings in exactly the same way as the new holders were to have their holdings equipped by advances from the State. This would land the State into the equipment of land which was at present farmed without any cost to the State. There was nothing in this clause to provide for the increased prosperity of the small farmers of Scotland, and if they reduced the necessity for agricultural equipment by the landlords they would reduce the number of 1883 small farmers. They were told by the Secretary for Scotland that the mind of the country was behind this Bill. He would like to know on what that opinion was based, because it appeared to be founded on absolutely no inquiry and was in the teeth of the Reports of the Housing Committee, of the Small Holdings Committee, and of agricultural experts. The agricultural agents in Scotland were practically unanimous against the Bill and against the extension proposed by this clause, and he believed the extension of the Crofters Act to the whole of Scot land would be disastrous to the agricultural interests of Scotland. At all events they must not take it that this extension of the Crofters Act was in any way supported by a majority in Scotland. One of the disadvantages of the system was that there was no clear line of demarcation between the men who made their own improvements and set up their own fixtures and who had a claim for reduction of rent in consequence and those who did not. That was in his opinion a. clear dividing line which ought to be adopted. Under this Bill, however, they might have a holding of 500 or even up to 2,000 acres in the district, but they could not make a distinction between a 52 acre dairy farm on the one side and those farms on the other. In that way they would block the path of progress in the future and the division of land into small farms for intensive cultivation. The Solicitor-General for Scotland had dealt with this question from a wholly wrong point of view. If they extended the Act to Scotland generally the injustice created would be rendered much more acute than by anything that had occurred up to the present time. They had not heard any reason why the Crofters Act should be extended to the whole of Scotland. They thought it would be disastrous to the agricultural interests of Scotland and therefore he cordially sup ported the proposal that it should not be so extended.
§ MR. A. DEWAR (Edinburgh, S.)
said the hon. Member for the Leith Burghs had described the Crofters Act as a colossal failure.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON
said the hon. Member for South Edinburgh was in 1884 the habit of putting very strong expressions into his mouth. In the Committee the hon. Gentleman had put into his mouth the word "criminal" and now he put into his mouth the word "colossal," a word which he had not used. What he said was that it had been a qualified success.
§ MR. A. DEWAR
said he did not accuse the hon. Member of using the word "colossal," he used the word himself. The hon. Member now said the Crofters Act was a qualified success. He would start from that point, and his first observation was that he had read with great care the debate which took place in this House in 1886, and the predictions then made by the front Opposition bench were that the Act would prove a dismal failure. Hon. and right hon. Members opposite were now prepared to admit that it had been a qualified success. Those who knew the condition of Scotland in 1885 and who travelled through it and saw the condition now would see how great a change had taken place. The Highlands of Scotland in 1885 were in a state of incipient rebellion, and the Government were obliged to do something to mitigate the evils then existing, and they introduced the Crofters Act. That Act gave, in the first place, fixity of tenure so that the homes of these people might be for ever their own; it gave, in the second place, fair rent. That was all the Act did and the incipient rebellion faded out. The Highlands of Scotland were now the most peaceful part of the country. The people there were not now in a state of starvation, they were prosperous through agriculture. They had not now the miserable buildings they had in 1885. Some, it was true, might be there yet, because everything could not be done at once, but everyone who knew the country would admit that the face of the Highlands had altogether changed in this respect. There had not been a copper of the money of the landlords spent upon those buildings. The hon. Member for Leith Burghs spoke of the deterioration of the buildings, but admitted that the buildings in the Highlands had been improved. They had been improved out of the pockets of the people themselves. The Crofters Act had done an immense amount of good even as a 1885 comparative success, why could it not do the same in the Lowlands? Were fixity of tenure, a good home, and a fair rent more valuable in the north than in the south? Were they to have one law for the hills and another for the plains? [An HON. MEMBER: And England?] England was not so far advanced in this matter as Scotland and demanded a different measure. If England would not come abreast of Scotland, Scotland was not compelled to bring her. Scotland had been testing the thing for twenty-six years and knew exactly where she was. He had made a very diligent search throughHansard for the year 1886 and found some very interesting information. The general opinion of the Opposition then was that the Crofters Bill might do well in the Lowlands, where the soil was good, but that it would never do in the Highlands owing to the poverty of the soil and the inclement weather. The mover of the Opposition Resolution on that occasion said the right hon. Gentleman had shrunk from introducing a measure of this nature for the whole of Scotland; that if it was a good measure there was a strong reason for applying it to the whole of Scotland, and that he could not see on what ground it could be refused. He had numbers of extracts, but perhaps the best was that from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who now represented Wimbledon, who said that if such systems were to be tried let them in God's name be tried where they had some prospect of success and not in parts of the country where miserable and starving people already existed, where the soil was sterile and the climate inhospitable. That was the argument of those who now were against the extension of these provisions to the Lowlands. It was then said that the crofters had to live there and contend with inclement skies and a hungry soil. But they were living there now under far better conditions than ever before, and he attributed it to the Crofters Act. [A Voice: To spade labour.] To spade labour in parts and to some extent to fishing. The right hon. Gentleman on that occasion went on to say that while these people had not capital for their present holdings how much less would they have for the holdings it was proposed to 1886 confer upon them. They had round the capital and their buildings were in a far better condition than before. The right hon. Gentleman went on to state that whatever else the Bill would do it would dry up every source of prosperity, from that time forward the money would no longer be forthcoming and the stream from which it came would be dried up. That was the prophecy of twenty-one years ago. It looked particularly foolish at this date. Surely they might trust absolutely a Liberal Government, which was able to see so much farther and so much more clearly than hon. Gentlemen opposite, to know what Scotland felt in this matter. What was the difference between men north of the Grampians and men south of the Grampians? He had listened very carefully to try and discover that, but had not succeeded. He asked English Members who were not familiar with the Crofters Act to take it from him that that Act had been a success and that the crofters were looking and longing for this measure. The crofters were sore afraid that the landlords would throw out the Bill, but Scotland wanted it. If anyone asked for evidence of that it was to be found in the Scottish Members who supported the Government. The hon. Member for Leith Burghs stood alone among Scottish Liberal Members in opposing the Bill. He agreed that chambers of agriculture and the large farmers were likely to be against the Bill, but everybody else in Scotland, the small holders and the labourers, were not only in its favour, but were anxiously and earnestly awaiting it. He hoped they were not going to be disappointed, as it would be a serious blow to Scotland if they were. Eighty or 100 years ago land tenure was changed in Denmark, and the change was followed by prosperity. [Cries of "Purchase."] His point was that in the Highlands of Scotland they were getting security without the necessity for purchase, and they were getting that security with fairness to the landlords, because the landlords in the Highlands of Scotland were satisfied. He apologised for the digression, and thanked the House for the patience with which they had listened to him. He hoped English Members would support the Government.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he had listened to the hon. Gentleman, who had made a serious attempt to defend the position of the Bill, and in so doing he greatly differed from the only member of the Government who had as yet spoken on the Amendment. In the first place, he appeared to have forgotten, and in this he faithfully followed the Front Bench, all the principles that had animated the Government which originally brought in the Crofters Aft. He appeared to have forgotten all the principles on which Mr. Gladstone founded his land legislation of 1882, or on which the Crofters Act of 1886 was based. It seemed to him that the Solicitor-General for Scotland thought it obvious that, if by this system of land tenure under the Crofters Act prosperity was given to the Highlands, they were justified by the mere fact of its success in the area where it prevailed in extending it, and that no further argument was required. That kind of statement must have been made in absolute ignorance or oblivion of the whole basis on which Mr. Gladstone had proceeded in dealing with Irish and with Highland land. Their ground was that in those countries they could hardly avoid inequity, or only avoid it, at all events, with the good will of the landlord, unless they established dual ownership, because in fact moral dual ownership existed already. They had said, not once but over and over again, that if the occupier of the soil was a man who had not merely put into it manure, not merely the things for which the occupier in England or the Lowlands paid, but had erected the permanent buildings, and made the permanent improvements, he at all events had an interest in the soil as great and as permanent as, perhaps greater, and in a sense almost more permanent than, had the owner of the soil himself. That was the argument with which they had to deal—they had to make the law a reflection of the facts, and they endeavoured to do so by establishing in the Highlands of Scotland and in Ireland a system of dual ownership, the evils of which were universally recognised until the present Government came into office eighteen months ago. The evils of dual ownership were recognised, but the evils of single ownership in the landlord were the basis of difficulty in the High- 1888 lands. Mr. Gladstone tried to cure that by saying— "If there is dual ownership in fact, let us give it in law." The result of dual ownership in Ireland, irrespective of party, was that everyone wanted single ownership in the place of dual ownership, but it was to be the single ownership, not of the landlord, but of the tenant, the man who had made the permanent improvements of the soil; and it was to that ideal that all men were now struggling in the sister island. Deaf to experience, blind to the plainest experiments going on before their eyes, oblivious of what was taking place on the Continent, hon. Gentlemen opposite desired to extend the system of dual ownership from parts where there was an equitable basis to parts of the country I where there was no equitable basis. Instead of trying to create a body of small holders such as existed in Denmark and France, they wished to multipy these hybrid crofters, who were neither landlords nor tenants, who were carrying on a system which had neither all the advantages of the landlord system, because capital was not supplied by the landlord, nor all the advantages of the tenant system, because under the tenant system a man could deal with his holding with a far smaller capital than he could with a farm of which he had the advantage of ownership. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that the system in the Highlands had all the advantages of ownership, because it conveyed security of tenure, which was the essence of ownership. He thought the hon. and learned Gentleman was wrong. He did not at all deny that security of tenure was one of the great elements of ownership, at all events until the Government began to interfere with certain forms of ownership in the high-handed manner with which they were becoming familiar. But it was really not the case that human beings were so constituted that they regarded land of which they were only the tenants precisely in the same light as they would look upon that same land were they the absolute owners. That was not the way human nature was constituted, and if it weretrue—as it was true—that in the Highlands of Scotland there was not the same desire to purchase the holding as existed in Ireland, it was because they had got 1889 in those parts of the Highlands a system of rating so preposterous and absurd that it would be very difficult to explain it to English Members in a speech made on an occasion such as the present. But the result was that in the Highlands they threw the whole of the new burden on the purchasers, which the purchasers were not willing to undertake. They would deprive them of any wish for ownership, and, wherever that was done, they lost one of the greatest motives, one of the strongest springs of action which could animate the human mind to make great sacrifices in improving that plot of land which was one's own. It was from that feeling, and from the existing system which they wished to destroy, that they extracted from the landowners of Scotland about £2,000,000 a year, or whatever the sum might be, which the landowners in Scotland, like the small landlords in Denmark, felt a pride in expending, were the holding five acres, 5,000 acres or 50,000 acres. They felt a pride in the estates which they possessed, and they were prepared to invest money, they were prepared to make sacrifices, in order that the properties for which they were responsible should be properties of which the most was made. It was as everybody knew, this motive which animated not merely whole communities, but all men who owned agricultural land, whether the quantity owned was small or big. By the system the Government were proposing they were going to deprive these people of that which was one of the greatest and most effective motives which could induce people, in these days of keen and increasing foreign competition, still to go on investing vast sums of money in preventing the rural districts from falling out of cultivation. He thought it was a most unwise and suicidal course. They were told that the Crofters Acts had been a success in the Highlands. Let him remind the House of what he took to be the real meaning of that part of the problem. Undoubtedly, in so far as they had given security of tenure to these small holders who had made their own improvements, they had done a certain amount of good, and, in some parts of the country, he thought a great deal of good; but when they were told, as they had been told 1890 by the Solicitor-General, that, in all the regions where the Crofters Act was in force, there they found flourishing buildings, a flourishing peasantry, rapidly growing prosperity, and absolute obedience to the law, that was not the account he got from Lewis and the Western Highlands. He believed there were parts of the country where they could not enforce the law, and he believed there were parts of the country where the crofters had seized land to which they had not the smallest right.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. THOMAS SHAW, Hawick Burghs)
I ask the right hon. Gentleman to specify those parts of the country.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman has not the slightest right to interrupt me in that sort of way.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The right hon. Gentleman is not entitled to interrupt except to make some explanation. If the Leader of the Opposition gives way, the right hon. Gentleman is then entitled to intervene in the debate, but the right hon. Gentleman who is in possession of the House is not obliged to give way except on a point of order being raised.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I meant no discourtesy. I was slightly embarrassed for the moment by the fact that the Minister for whom my observations were intended was absent, and that I was interrupted in the course of my speech by the right hon. Gentleman to whom I was not addressing my observations. If the right hon. Gentleman has an answer to what I state, however, I gladly give way.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. He will understand the very responsible-position I occupy. It rests with me to maintain order in Scotland, and when the right hon. Gentleman makes a serious statement of that kind in regard to my country, that there is non-obedience to the law, I respectfully submit 1891 to him that he should furnish me with some information.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he did not object to do that, but he was not a Minister of the Crown, furnished with information; he could only speak from hearsay. Were there no difficulties in Barra?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I think it would be better to follow the usual course and allow the right hon. Gentleman to complete his observations.
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
said he was informed that the crofters or inhabitants had occupied lands to which they were not entitled, that it was practically impossible for the owner of the land to resume possession, and that there was no legal machinery available for carrying out that object. If the right hon. Gentleman was able to give full and satisfactory information on that point he supposed he would do so. The Solicitor-General had quoted from a speech of his delivered in 1886, in which he pointed out that, if these people were really in the wretched position which was represented, they could not in a climate like the Highland West of Scotland become prosperous merely by giving them security of tenure. The right hon. and learned Gentleman thought that that prophecy had been disproved by the fact that houses had been built. Whether the houses in the extreme West of Scotland were good or not he did not know. But this was quite certain, that if these people really had built out of their resources since 1886 new farm buildings and new houses, and re-equipped the whole place, the system of tenure under which they lived before 1886 was one which permitted them to accumulate money. That was an unanswerable proposition. The mere waving of a legislative wand would not create capital where it did not exist before. Where the Crofters Act had been a success it had called out on the part of the tenant, with or without external assistance, a 1892 vast expenditure in the shape of permanent improvements which would not otherwise have been made. The landlord was not in the habit of making them, and the tenants could not make them if they were too poor, and would not make them if they had capital in the absence of fixity of tenure. We gave them fixity of tenure, and the capital was expended. The only result of extending the system from the Highlands to the Lowlands would be to dry up a great source of the expenditure which now went on. Was it not to the advantage of Scotland that the landowning interest outside the Highlands regarded it as a duty to equip the farms on their estates? By that means the sum of between £1,000,000 and £2,000,000 was annually invested in the land in Scotland, where it was well known that the equipment of farms was far in advance of what was to be found in England. This practice the Government were going to stop, at all events so far as small holdings were concerned. Why should Parliament put on the shoulders of the taxpayers a duty which the landlords were prepared to carry? How could they avoid that? By a subsequent clause in the Bill they were going to provide a very inadequate sum for equipping the new small holdings. Did they think that the tenants on the old small holdings were going to see the duty of equipping them placed upon their shoulders while the new holders were to be equipped at the cost of the State? The Bill was merely a transition measure by which they would transfer a large part of the burden of equipping the small holders in the non-Highland parts of Scotland from the shoulders of the owners who were at present ready to bear it to the shoulders of the general taxpayer. That was perfect folly. He quite sympathised with those who desired to substitute for the big landowners of this country a large number of small holders. That he could understand; but when they found a system which extracted from the landowners large sums of money for the equipment of their holdings he could not understand why they should deliberately throw away those advantages and transfer those burdens directly or indirectly to the shoulders of the general taxpayer. 1893 He thought that was very stupid, and he questioned whether it was not also immoral. Mr. Gladstone, in dealing with Ireland, was so convinced of the inequity of applying the system of dual ownership, fixity of tenure, and fair rents to land where the owner provided all the capital that he drew a distinction between ordinary Irish tenancies and English managed estates. He believed that was the theory which underlay the rather confused utterances by which the Crofters Act was defended. In introducing the Crofters Act, Sir George Trevelyan said—The crofters' holdings in Scotland were not like those in England; they were not equipped by the landlord with all that made them lit for cultivation. The improvements in their holdings had been made by the crofters themselves and there was nothing but a sense of duty to prevent the landlords getting rid of his tenants and appropriating his improvements.That was one of the great justifications of the Crofters Act. It was now proposed to extend that Act from the part of the country where it was justified by special circumstances to other parts of the country where not a single condition was identical. The Solicitor-General had asked whether security for a house was less valuable in the Lowlands than in the Highland. Was security for a house less valuable in England than in Scotland? England, it had been said, was not prepared for this Bill, and Scotland was. Was that the view of the Government? Was it the view of the right hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the English Bill? From whatever point of view one looked at the extension of the Crofters Act to the Lowlands of Scotland, it was indefensible. He supported the Amendment with a wholehearted agreement. He believed that the subsection was fundamentally bad. and he awaited with interest something in the nature of a serious attempt to make a defence of the proposition now being contested.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said there had teen events in Scotland over which he would gladly have had the veil of comparative secrecy still rest, but that veil had unfortunately been drawn back by the right hon. Gentleman who had attacked the administration of the office which he himself had the honour to 1894 hold. He thought, therefore, it was due to the House that he should state exactly the position of matters. In the whole of the jurisdiction over which his rule as Lord Advocate extended there had been absolute peace except in one small portion of the Highlands, the Island of Barra, owned by one proprietor who was unfortunate in his relations with the tenantry. What the tenants of Barra longed for was land with security of tenure, and more land where their plots were too small. In fact they wanted new holdings carved out, and the small holdings a little enlarged. These poor tenants of Barra stepped across to the Island of Water say and on the shore they planted a few potatoes, hoping to return in the spring to reap what little crop there was. To the best of his recollection that was the terrible offence which was committed. They were interfering with no human soul; they were treating that land as practically barren waste. He was appealed to and asked to treat this conduct on the part of the people of Barra as an offence against the criminal law of Scotland, and thereby to repeat the sad history of the events which preceded the Crofters Act of 1886. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition would, he was sure, not minimise the gravity of what he was now saying. If he had acceded to that demand, and if in a question of disputed civic possession—for these people claimed that they had rights on this barren shore— he had sent military, or made a request to the Admiralty for the service of gun-boats, in the part of the Highlands, he would have been doing a thing which would have been the very best leverage to assist in the passing of a drastic measure, but which from the national point of view would have been nothing less than a public disaster. He thought that having held the scales of justice fairly between the proprietors and the tenants in the state of the law, and having asked both of them to find their remedy in the civil courts, and the public peace having been kept, and, in so far as it was infringed, the infringement having been on the most slender scale—having preserved the public peace at a time when any ill-advised action of his might have produced a public calamity, 1895 he did say that it was too bad that any man should bring that up as an accusation against him as the holder of his high office. The accusation came in this way. It had been said by his hon. friend who supported the extension of the Crofters Acts all over Scotland that these Acts were preceded by a time of great public trouble. No doubt it was so, and the public trouble had since been allayed, and all through the Highlands, the Hebrides, and the mainland there was now peace and tranquillity which before 1886 was not known. He thought it was a poor retort that because the Crofters Act was defective in one respect, the portion of the statute which affected the acquisition by the new holders of land which in many cases was waste, and that it still continued to produce fragmentary irritation, the defect should be used as an argument against extending the benefits of the main measure of 1886. That was the position in which he stood, and having explained the circumstances he asked the judgment of the House on what he had done. Having stated to the satisfaction of both sides of the House the peaceful course which he counselled and which he had himself pursued, he would say with regard to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition that he thought it was almost unfitting, after the very able speeches of his hon. friends the Solicitor-General and the Member for East Edinburgh, that he should pursue this argument further. He found that the right hon. Gentleman always introduced some change of venue. The right hon. Gentleman had been confronted with the enormous success of this legislation in the crofter districts; and thereupon he took the case of Ireland and denounced the Irish system of fixing fair rents and establishing dual ownership as a colossal failure. It was nothing of the kind. It had been stated by the highest authority with regard to Ireland, Mr. Bailey, that it would have been impossible to reach the stage of purchase in Ireland unless first there had been fair rents and fixity of tenure.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Has Mr. Bailey the permission of his official chief to send letters on this subject to be quoted in the House of Commons?
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said he cared not; and besides, letters from other people to Mr. Bailey had been quoted in the House. Mr. Bailey's testimony, being that of a civil servant, would have great weight. Mr. Bailey said—The power that the Fair Rent Acts gave the Irish tenants of getting a fair rent fixed by a Government tribunal, and the knowledge that they could not be disturbed in the occupation of their holdings as long as they paid their rents, resulted in the people getting courage and self respect. They got into the habit of paying their rents regularly, and steadily and gradually took an interest in the improvement of their holdings.Why civil servants should not write historical facts of that kind to anybody in the world he did not know.
§ MR. MACVEAGH (Down, S.)
asked whether it was not the ease that the late Government appealed to Mr. Bailey to write a report on the subject and that the late Government published it as a Parliamentary Paper.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said that he remembered something of the kind taking place. But why had there been any defect in the administration of the Irish Act? The defect in the Irish Act had pandered to what he called the national passion for litigation. The expenses of litigation in fixing fair rents in Ireland were positively stupendous. A small holder had a fair rent fixed, then there was an appeal, and there was a still further appeal before he got any alteration in the rent originally fixed. A sum of £105 had to be expended for every £1 of alteration on a fair rent. That was only an illustration of how the Irish Act was administered. In Scotland, on the other hand, there was immediate inspection, a final determination, and the fixing of a fair rent at a cost of not more than Is. 6d. for a period of seven years. Therefore, the system of fixity of tenure had had a fair chance in Scotland which it had never had before. The Government in providing the machinery for the 1897 working of this Bill took the example nearest home. The system set up by the Crofters Act had had a fair chance, and they proposed to extend it. It had been said, that there were confused utterances in 1886. There must indeed have been confused utterances then. In 1886 the right hon. Gentleman opposite declared that the distinction between the Highlands and Lowlands was shadowy and indefensible. His predecessor, the present Lord Justice Clerk, said—What is the exceptional position of the crofter in the Highlands as regards the arable part of his croft, either historically or on present fact, that will make his case different from that of any other person to whom a landlord has given a piece of land in any other part of the United Kingdom?That was testimony which could not be put under the category of "confused utterances." He himself thought that it would have been well that the Crofters Act had begun in the whole of Scotland, but having begun in certain districts of the Highlands and having produced those magnificent results they desired that it should be extended. The right hon. Gentleman said that he was not aware of those numerous improvements which had taken place in the Highlands of Scotland. He would make no mistake this time, and would not cite a letter from Sir David Grant, but the Report of the Royal Commission on the Highlands and Islands presented in the year 1892. In that Report the Commissioners unanimously gave this testimony —Our opinion is that, speaking generally, the Act has had a beneficial effect, and particularly in the following directions. In the first place the fixing of a fair rent has to a large extent removed from the minds of crofters the sense of hardship arising from the belief that they were made to pay rent on their own improvements, or otherwise made to pay at an excessive rate for soil of a poor quality. In the second place, combination of a fair rent with statutory security of tenure has not only taken away or allayed causes of discontent, but has imparted a new spirit to crofters, and imbued them with fresh energy.And then followed this remarkable passage—The abiding sense produced that the permanent improvements which a crofter makes upon his holding will, if he complies with certain reasonable statutory conditions, accrue either to himself or to his family successor, will not be taxable by the landlord in the form of increased rent, and, moreover, will have a money value under a claim for compensation on renunciation 1898 of tenancy or removal from his holding, has led to vigorous efforts towards improvement by crofters in many quarters. For instance, we found that more attention is being paid to cultivation, to rotation of crops, to reclamation of outruns, to fencing, and to the formation or I repair of township roads; but most conspicuous of all effects perceptible is that upon buildings including both dwelling-houses and steadings. In a considerable number of localities we found new and improved houses and steadings erected by the crofters themselves since the passing of the Act. In the third place, while the enlargement sections of the Act have not proved so effectively operative as was intended or anticipated, we did not fail to observe, in the various cases of enlargement of holdings which came under our eye, that the enlargements granted had been, as far as they went, of great benefit to the holdings enlarged. And, in the fourth place, the percentage of arrears cancelled has terminated liabilities which could never have been met.In 1886 right hon. Gentleman opposite declared that the distinction between the Highlands and the Lowlands was shadowy and indefensible. All that the present Bill did was to extend the principle which had been made applicable to the Highlands with so much success to other parts of Scotland where the small holders and agricultural labourers were more responsive than those in the Highlands to the inducements for making a good livelihood. Therefore it was that the Government viewed with great hope the extension of the Act to the rest of Scotland. He must say that one of the satisfactory features of all the agitation was that there had been no selfish desire on the part of the Highlanders to confine the benefits of the Act to their own districts, and that there had been exhibited an admirable solidarity of feeling between the people in the Highlands and the Lowlands in Scotland.
§ MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)
said that the three speeches which they had just listened to had dealt with the Crofters Act and the land tenure of Ireland. That of the right hon. and learned Gentlemen the Lord Advocate was an example of the argument used before the Committee upstairs. Not a single reference had been made to the question of the land tenure in the Lowlands, and not a single argument had been advanced to justify the extension of the provisions of the Crofters Act to the Lowlands. The hon. and learned 1899 Member for South Edinburgh had told them that the Crofters Act had been a great success, and that therefore it should be extended to the Lowlands. Further the hon. and learned Member stated that in 1886 the Highlands were in a state of incipient rebellion. He would like to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman if he thought that the Lowlands were at this time in a state of incipient rebellion? The Solicitor-General for Scotland, who had exhibited considerable reticence in speaking in Committee upstairs, had told them that security of tenure was all that was given under this Bill and that fair rents should be fixed in order to ensure that the tenant should not be rented on his own improvements. Of course, where a tenant had effected his own improvements, he had a right to security of tenure, but that system did not exist in the Lowlands; there was hardly any instance in which that custom held good. When the Solicitor-General asked why they should object to give security of tenure, he answered in the first place that the landlord spent vast sums of money on his land and he objected to having a tenant foisted upon him with security of tenure by which half the landlord's profit was taken away. He would like to ask the Lord Advocate why it was that the small holders within burgh boundaries and tenants of Crown lands were excluded from the benefits of the Bill? They had as good a right to those benefits as other tenants. He believed that the reason was based on the system of rating which obtained in the Highlands; the crofters would not purchase their land because their rates would be largely increased. Then in Committee they had been told that some of the buildings which had been erected by the crofters had cost £30. He asked whether any agricultural labourer in the Lowlands of Scotland would be content to live in such a house. A cottage for an agricultural labourer in the Lowlands cost at least £250, and that was erected at the expense of the landlord. The conditions which existed in the congested districts and in other parts of the Highlands were absolutely inapplicable to the Lowlands, where all the improvements and the equipments of the farm were made by the landlord. 1900 He maintained that under this Bill a large part of the property of the landlord would be confiscated. What was the reason for extending the system to Roxburghshire and Berwickshire and not extending it to Northumberland? They were going to consider the English Land Bill next week, and the conditions in that measure were absolutely different from those contained in this Bill. All that they asked for was that the Prime Minister should extend to the Lowlands of Scotland the provisions contained in the English Bill. What was good enough for Northumberland should be good enough for Roxburghshire and Berwickshire. There might be no objection to extend the crofting system to districts in Scotland where the conditions were similar to those in the Highlands. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill would give some answer to the arguments used by the Leader of the Opposition.
§ *SIR SAMUEL SCOTT (Marylebone, W.)
said that they had heard in Committee times without number that the success of the Crofters Act in the Highlands was a justification for applying the system to the rest of Scotland. It was almost remarkable to think the exact knowledge which some hon. Members representing the Lowlands had of the crofting areas. The hon. and learned Member for South Edinburgh had gone back to the year 1885, before the Crofters Act was passed, and compared the condition of the Highlands then with their condition at the present time. The hon. Member had attributed the prosperous state of the Highlands to the working of the Crofters Act, but he thought that if the hon. Member visited the crofting districts in the Western Highlands of Scotland he would not dare to say that the crofters were prospering solely by agriculture. In those parts it was quite impossible for a man to live entirely by agriculture, and he subsisted by doth making and fishing, without which he would not be able to secure a livelihood. Every man who at the present time paid a rent of £2 or £3 a year would come under this Bill compulsorily. He wished to point out that a large number of crofters did not want to come under the Bill; many of 1901 them contracted out of the Crofters Act by taking leases, because they objected to doing their own improvements. Taking the case of four crofters, three contracted out, with the result in the case of the three, that the landlord came down and made improvements while the fourth man, who declined to contract out, had to make his own improvements and had in consequence to live in a small hut. That was just the sort of thing which one might expect to happen. The hon. Member had said that not a copper was spent by the landlord on improvements in these districts. That was absolutely untrue, and on very many estates it would be found that the landlords had built the cottages and other structures largely at their own expense. The crofter did not depend on agriculture for his livelihood and just grew enough for his own consumption. Men were very often employed as gillies on an estate, made cloth or fished when they lived on the coast—an entirely different condition from that existing in the Lowlands where they did not depend upon subsidiary industries. There was another point. It was said that the people had built their houses owing to the operation of the Crofters Act, but that was not so. On his own estate there were places which ten years ago were in an exceedingly bad condition, but if the hon. Baronet would go there now he would see a very remarkable improvement. The improvement in these houses was not due to the efforts of the landlords, but was largely the result of the money sent over by people who had emigrated to Canada and elsewhere. He therefore, asked hon. Members not to be led away by the speeches of the hon. and learned Member for South Edinburgh and other hon. Members opposite who showed a profound ignorance of the actual facts of the case. If hon. Members would visit the Highlands and Islands they would, he thought, know a little more about the facts of the case.
§ MR. ABEL SMITH (Hertfordshire, Hertford)
said that however partial or limited the result of the Crofters Act might be in the Highlands of Scotland, he ventured to assert that its operation had very little to do with the Bill now 1902 under consideration. This Bill had been introduced by His Majesty's Government, and under it the Crofters Act was to be extended to the whole of Scotland. The argument of the Solicitor-General for Scotland in its favour, however, was a most remarkable one, and more remarkable for what it omitted than for what it stated. The Solicitor-General said that the Crofters Act had been applied to a part of Scotland and had overcome economic difficulties; why not therefore apply it to the whole of Scotland? He thought, however, that even by hon. Members on the Liberal side it would be admitted that this legislation was of a very exceptional kind and that only exceptional circumstances would justify Parliament in passing measures of this sort which interfered with the ordinary relations of landlord and tenant and did away with their freedom to contract with each other. The question they had to consider was whether these exceptional circumstances which, undoubtedly, did prevail in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and which did exist in Ireland when Mr. Gladstone introduced his legislation in regard to that country, now existed in the Lowlands of Scotland. For his own part, he ventured to say that nothing had been stated and no facts had been brought forward which justified the extension of these exceptional provisions to the Lowlands of Scotland. One hon. Member had said, "Why not have the same advantages which were enjoyed by the Highlands of Scotland extended to the plains." But what they on that side of the House said was that the same circumstances did not prevail. Anyone who would look at the debates upon the Bill passed in the year 1886 would see that the whole basis of that Bill was that the situation in the Highlands and the Lowlands was totally different. The Government had never proved that the provisions of the Crofters Act were applicable to that part of Scotland to which at present it did not apply. Taking the Highlands of Scotland as a whole, the condition of land tenure there was entirely different from that which prevailed in the Lowlands, which was essentially the same as in England. All through these debates, both in this House and in the Committee, he had noticed that the Lord 1903 Advocate and the other supporters of the Bill had taken the whole of their arguments from the crofting country. They had dilated on the improvements in the condition of the people there, but they had never undertaken to show that the proposals of this Bill were in any way applicable to the Lowlands, and had given no real reasons for extending these provisions. If there was a demand for small holdings in the Lowlands that demand ought to be met by other methods than those in this clause, which made so sweeping a change in the system of land tenure of holdings up to £50 in value. The clause extended at one fell swoop the whole of the provisions of the Crofters Act, and he contended that the Government would have been far wiser if they had followed the report of Lord Onslow's Committee and proceeded on entirely different lines. The question was not whether they were benefitting the occupiers of small farms in the Lowlands, or whether they were likely to confer a benefit on the community as a whole by increasing the number of these holdings. The real question was whether the Government was justified in imposing these exceptional provisions. The only question was where to draw the line, and his contention was that the Government had drawn it in the wrong place. They ought to draw the line between the Highlands of Scotland, where it had been to a large extent the custom of the occupiers to reclaim the land they occupied and to put up the buildings, and the Lowlands, where the occupiers occupied the land, the buildings on which had been erected at great expense by the landowner or his predecessors. He could not help thinking that if the Government had adopted the same policy for Scotland as they had adopted for England they would have done a great deal more to promote the increase of small holdings than they would do by trying to force such a revolutionary measure as this through both Houses of Parliament.
§ *SIR J. DEWAR
said there had been some confusion in comparing the arguments in support of this Bill and those in favour of the Act of 1886. The objects were entirely different. The Crofters Act of 1886 was necessary in order to give the crofters fixity of tenure and a fair rent, 1904 but this was a Bill to encourage the creation of small agricultural holdings, and the question they had to consider was whether the proposals of the Government were likely to encourage the formation of small holdings. He thought they were. He believed that the application of the principles of fixity of tenure and fair rent would immediately result in many small economic holdings being created in the South of Scotland, and he warmly supported the Bill. The Crofters Act had been an absolute success where land was available for the extension of these holdings, and it had been unsuccessful where land had been withheld by the proprietors or where there was no land to be had. He had heard no reason why the proposals of the. Bill should not be excluded to the South of Scotland. It had been said it would have the effect of drying up the sources from which the improvements were made. The landlords at present carried out the improvements because they found it paid them to do so. They usually got a fair percentage for the expenditure they made upon the holdings and if they had done so in the past why should they not do so in the future? If the source was dried up another source would be opened which might prove more fruitful. The alternatives to the proposals of the Government were purchase and the creation of small holdings through the county councils. He did not think the latter was possible in Scotland. In four parishes in Inverness-shire there were 1,200 applications for small holdings and the county council had not succeeded in securing a single holding for one of these 1,200 applicants. The other alternative was purchase; but he much preferred the proposals of the Bill because in his opinion they would work with less disturbance to the present social order. Were they to be told that the crofting landlords were only rent chargers so far as the crofts were concerned, but so far as the large farms were concerned they were landlords in every respect? The landlords in the crofting country took just as lively an interest in the small as they did in the large holdings.
§ House counted; and forty Members being found present —1905
§ *SIR J. DEWAR
submitted that under the proposal of the Government the landlords were secured against financial loss, while a large number of good new tenants would be obtained, a result which would be of benefit not only to the community but also of advantage to the landlords as well as the tenants.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
said during the discussions in Committee he had moved an Amendment which was slightly different from that now before the House, to confine the operation of the Crofters Act to localities which were in the nature of crofting districts, and which were under crofting conditions. The Amendment moved by the hon. Gentleman below him was practically to the same effect. What defence had they heard of the proposal to create small holdings by the extension of the Crofters Act? The hon. Member who had just sat down had given them some arguments in favour of the Crofters Act, but he confessed that his laudation of that measure was something like damning with faint praise. Another hon. Member had made an elaborate panegyric of the Act, but he must say that as he listened to it he failed to see any good ground for the laudation. He had told them that from 1886 to the present time immense improvement had been made in the Highlands. That was very true, but had there not been many other causes operating besides the Crofters Act? The Crofters Commission was the result of the attention that had been drawn to several great economic evils in the Highlands, which other people besides legislators were attempting to cure and remove. An immense amount of benevolent and charitable effort was spent about that time in the Highlands, and there was no doubt that a great deal of good was done. Besides which, the operation of the Act of 1872 was penetrating by that time into the Highlands, and in the districts where the Crofters Act was operative it was especially beneficial, not from an educational point of view only, but from a financial point of view. After all, they might have run rather too hard in their praise of the Crofters Act. He quite admitted the circumstances of the population with which they had to deal, and the very 1906 peculiar position of the Highlanders of Scotland, who were under very remarkable conditions to which the Crofters Act was to some extent suitable, and did some good. But he for one, whatever his fellow Members might say, felt bound to state that he did not intend to advance the view that the position created by the Crofters Act for many of his fellow countrymen was an ideal position, or one which he wished to continue. He wished that the right hon. Gentleman knew, as he did, some of the places where the crofters were fixed now, among the east bays of Harris and the east seaboard of Lewis, and he would then see whether theirs was an ideal position which he would wish for his fellow countrymen. The Crofters Act had been beneficial and had done much to secure to the people places they loved so much, but he was not sorry to think that many of the children of these crofters had shown that energy of their fathers which had done so much good to Scotland, and were helping to colonise different parts of the Empire, instead of staying at home. The career of the crofter was not one in which any great ambition could be satisfied. They had passed the Crofters Act for a peculiar population, and had done so in obedience to a very long and very romantic history. The feeling inborn in the Highlanders came from their land system, and it existed to this day. They had a land hunger which did not exist in many other parts of Scotland. They wished to cling not only to the land but to the bit of land which had been held by their fathers; they were attached to it, and preferred to cling to it rather than seek better economic conditions elsewhere. They had satisfied that hunger by an abundant charity which was wholly justified, and which he was not going to deny, or wished to withdraw. But he must remind hon. and right hon. Gentlemen that they could not create an economic state of things, nor would a large society ever flourish very long, on what were essentially uneconomic conditions. They met for a time the traditions of these Highlanders, with their separate language, their separate racial peculiarities and their interesting and romantic attachment to the soil of their fathers, but they did not establish anything like conditions which could be 1907 defended by any proposition of political economy. What were they going to do now? They were going to extend a system which no doubt had worked fairly well in the peculiar circumstances which justified its application to a small proportion of the Scottish population —a portion who, from their traditions and instincts, had no great desire to work under the pressure and strain of modern economic conditions. He was perfectly certain that whoever studied the conditions of Scotland would agree with him in thinking that to be the case. They were now going to establish these strange and unusual conditions for a population which, above all things, had a keen commercial instinct, which had never exhibited any special kind of attachment for a particular spot, but which moved about with peculiar readiness from one part of the country to another, as prompted by commercial prospects. They carried on their business just as would any Scotsmen in cities, in the sense that they were not likely to be very much overpowered by romantic notions in regard to the land which they cultivated, but worked in the same way and just as hard as any commercial firm. They were attempting to impose these conditions upon a section of agriculturists who, out of all the agriculturists in the country, were perhaps the most keenly commercial, and the most determined to advance by successive steps to prosperity, and who had by that means perhaps the most advanced system of agriculture in the whole country —he spoke of Midlothian and East Lothian, which were well-known specimens of advanced agriculture. The Solicitor-General had said that there was another very strong reason, not for merely extending small holdings to the Lowlands of Scotland, but for extending them on precisely the system of the Crofters Act. What was that reason? It was, the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that the crofters were exempt from rating upon their buildings and improvements; extend the Crofters Act, and then there would be a very much stronger motive for ten ants remaining as they were at present because they would pay a much lower rent than they would otherwise do. But die the hon. and learned Gentleman think that if the rates were not paid by one man 1908 they were to drop like manna from the heavens? If the whole of those small holders who were to be created by the Bill were to be exempted from rates, precisely as under the Crofters Act, would their neighbours not be unjustly rated? Let them take a concrete case. This Bill was restricted to tenancies of 50 acres or £50. Where market gardens were cultivated with success a new landholder might be established on an estate holding about 50 acres, and probably paying a rental of £250 because such land was often worth about £5 an acre. This landholder would not be charged rates upon his buildings or improvements although he might have admirable and expensive equipment, whereas his fellow landholder ten or fifteen miles away at the foot of the Lammermoor Hills would have to pay high rates. Was that fair or reasonable? When they were dealing with the Crofters Act Parliament was legislating in a charitable spirit with men who were not being dealt with according to the full rigour of the law. The crofters were exempted from rates, and he wondered whether hon. Members opposite were aware of the effect of that. The result of exempting them at the time was that almost all the parishes in the West Highlands and in some of the mainland crofting districts became bankrupt within two years of the passing of the Crofters Act, That was a fact which did not appear to he present to the minds of many hon. Members who were supporting this Bill. He was specially concerned in the matter because in 1888 they had laid before them deliverances from every school board in that wide district to the effect that they had given notice to the teachers to close their schools on the ground that unless the Education Department gave them assistance they could not raise the amount required by any rate even at 20s. in the £, because so many of the inhabitant escaped rates under the Act. Lord Goschen, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave them ample means, they took the local management into their own hands, and tided the school boards through the period when they were almost bankrupt. They did all this at the cost of the Imperial Exchequer and the situation was saved. 1909 The amount was £7,000 or £8,000 to begin with, and it rapidly diminished, but that would not have been the sum required if the system had spread all over Scotland. There would be a vast number of new landholders under this Bill, and they would be exempted from rates altogether. That would inevitably be the result, and he was sure the right hon. Gentleman could not deny that. Did the right hon. Gentleman forget that he had only a limited sum at his disposal? This Bill was not going to be worked like the English measure through the rates of the county councils but through the Imperial Exchequer. The more they extended the Crofters Act to the Lowlands of Scotland, and the more charitable generosity they showed to those districts which had no need of their generosity, the more they would deprive the needy population of the crofting districts of their proper share of help from the Imperial Exchequer. If the Government persisted in this vicious process the more would they deprive the poorer districts of that special gift Parliament meant for them, and the more would they, spread that gift over the prosperous commercial Lowland farming districts where the fanners were perfectly well able to take care of themselves. For those reasons he cordially supported this Amendment, and he earnestly trusted that the Government would see their way to modify the determination they had shown to proceed in this way.
§ MR. J. F. MASON (Windsor)
said he wished to draw attention to the compulsory powers 'under the Bill, because they obliged every small farmer who came within the scope of the Bill to become nolens volens a crofter. The Solicitor-General had stated that he had never heard before that it could be considered a misfortune to have fixity of tenure, but he ventured to say that even that proposition was open to some criticism. In England they found that farmers preferred yearly tenancies rather than a more definite form of tenure. There were small farmers in Scotland who had shown a distinct fear of coming within the four corners of this Bill. There was the definite case of a small farmer in Inverness-shire who was 1910 paying under the £50 limit, and he asked his landlord to raise his rent to £50 in order that he night escape coming under the Crofters Act. Why did some of the tenants object to become crofters? Simply because they knew that so long as they remained small farmers they were in the position in which the. landlord did the repairs and provided the equipment. The moment a man became a crofter that condition of things would necessarily cease. The Solicitor-General said he saw no reason why, after security of tenure had been given, the landlord should not continue to do the repairs as before. He also stated that the essence of this Bill was security of tenure, and that a fair rent was necessary, because otherwise the landlord had it in his power by raising the rent to get rid of an undesirable tenant. When the landlord's money was used for repairs and equipment what other weapon did the landlord need? Surely by refusing to do the repairs and not doing anything for the tenant he could use that weapon with as much readiness as raising the rent. He thought it was quite unnecessary to make it compulsory that all small farmers of less than 50 acres or paying under £50 should become crofters, and they ought to be allowed to refuse to become crofters if they chose.
§ MR. J. F. MASON
said that in that case he had misunderstood the Bill. It was quite true that ownership was not desired by the crofters, but that was on account of the rating which would necessarily follow. Dual ownership might be successful in crofting districts, but that system would not afford a final settlement of the question which would in the end be satisfactory to the whole of Scotland. If they were to have dual ownership the only satisfactory system was that which was known as the Evesham custom under which the tenant had to find a successor if he wished to get rid of his holding, and under which the landlord could not disturb him without compensation.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said there were only five Radical Members present in the House and he would put forward some arguments in the hope that some of 1911 them might be converted. The hon. Member for Invernesshire said he was against the Amendment because the Crofters Act had been a success in the crofting districts of Scotland. That was not a sufficient argument for the extension of the Act unless they went further and said that the same conditions which applied in the crofting areas applied also in the other areas of Scotland. The only argument adduced by the hon. Baronet to show that the Crofters Act had been a success was that in a place which he knew there were formerly only three slated houses —the laird's house, the manse, and a kennel, and that, soon after the Crofters Act became law, there were many slated cottages. As had been pointed out, the wave of a legislative wand did not produce money, so that the money required to erect the cottages must have been earned under the conditions which existed before the passing of the Act. The conditions in the Lowlands were entirely different from those in the Highlands. The question of rating had been referred to by the Leader of the Opposition. It seemed to him that that was a very simple question. He was rather glad that it existed, for he was certain of one thing, namely, that nothing was more likely to give a damaging blow to the Radical Party. He would not be sorry if such a thing should take place. It was evident that if the proposed system of rating was applied to the rich districts of Scotland, say in districts where market gardening was carried on, it would produce dissatisfaction. The last thing which a Scotsman wanted to do was to pay what his neighbour ought to pay. He thought the rating clause alone would give the Scottish ratepayers cause to curse the day they voted for the great Radical Party. He could not congratulate the Solicitor-General on the arguments which he had brought forward in answer to his right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition His chief argument was that it was impossible to distinguish between a man who had made improvements on his farm and a man who had not, and that it was equally important to both tenants that there should be security of tenure. The hon. and learned Gentleman said he had never heard any argument advanced 1912 which would induce him to alter his opinion. Might he point out that during the whole history of the Liberal and Radical Party the arguments advanced I in connection with land legislation had been in favour of a distinction being made? The land legislation for Ireland proposed by Mr. Gladstone in 1870 was founded on the difference between the man who had made improvements and the man who had not. Mr. Gladstone found the justification of the Land Act of that year in the fact that the landlord did not find the capital necessary for the improvement of the soil, whereas I he did in Scotland. Therefore he claimed that the greatest apostle of the Liberal and Radical Party during the past forty I years had put forward the argument which the learned Solicitor-General said he could not understand. It was the only argument on which legislation of this sort ought to be based. This question had been discussed over and over again in Committee, and now that there had been a discussion in the House the public would understand the reasons why the Opposition objected so much to this clause. If the Radical Members would look into the Amendment they would see that its acceptance would not interfere with the creation of small holdings. The Solicitor-General would admit that the crofting Members on the Committee upstairs had continuously and vociferously declared that the great mistake of the Bill was the attempt to foist the crofting system on parts of the country where the conditions were entirely different. He recollected speeches made by the hon. Members for Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty, and Orkney complaining that a Radical Government was engrafting on this Bill crofting legislation. He was sure that nothing would please them more than the acceptation of the Amendment of his right hon. friend. He was surprised at the absence from the House of those hon. Members, but no doubt influences were at work to make it undesirable that they should be present. He hoped that the Amendment would be adopted.
§ MR. C. E. PRICE (Edinburgh, Central)
said it had been stated that no one in the Lowlands was keenly interested in this measure. He could say that at a meeting 1913 held in his own division in Edinburgh to consider the matter the chairman and other speakers were men who had been brought up on the land. The result of the meeting was that a resolution was passed that the crofting legislation should be extended to the whole of Scotland.
§ MR. C. E. PRICE
said that it was a meeting of the Executive of the Liberal Association in the division. [Ironical OPPOSITION cheers.] Seeing that he had been returned by a very large majority at the general election, he did not see why he did not represent the views of his constituents. The remarkable thing about the resolution passed at that meeting was that it expressly approved the fact that under this Bill the smallholders would get. security of tenure and fair rents without the necessity of purchase. He knew the whole of Scotland as well as any Member in the House, and he could say in behalf of many of the farming districts that the Bill was demanded by the people. It was quite true that the landlords and a great many of the large fanners were opposed to the Bill. No class was more anxious to keep smallholders out of their district, because if these were introduced there would be a scarcity of agricultural labourers. They did not want competition for those agricultural labourers. The Bill would be the best means of enabling the labouring class in the agricultural districts to acquire; small holdings until they had gained experience which would entitle them to take larger farms. In regard to the Highlands, he had visited every district where the crofters had been evicted in the old time, and had repeatedly visited them since the Crofters Act was passed, and he could testify from what he had seen to the enormous improvement which had been made in those parts. He thought that the money which had been spent by the crofters since they had acquired security of tenure and fixed rents compared very favourably with what the landlords had done. He contended that it was important that the tenants should spend their money on their holdings, for that was a security that they would remain on the land. 1914 The landlords seemed to be very much afraid of the Crofters Commission, but it had been admitted that the Crofters Act had been of immense advantage to both the tenants and the landlords. There was now a happy and truly friendly relationship between landlords and tenants which did not exist before. No charge could be made against the Crofters Commission of dealing unfairly with the landlords and what right had anyone to assume that the new Commission would deal otherwise with them. He knew of a case where a landlord had divided two large farms into small holdings, but did not spend a single copper on the thirty-two small holdings so created. Seven years afterwards the tenants applied to the Crofters Commission to get fair rents fixed, and in thirty-one out of the thirty-two small holdings created the Crofters Commission fixed exactly the same rent as had been agreed upon between the landlord and the tenant. He altogether denied that there was no demand for this Bill in the Lowlands. It was all very well to say that it was necessary to bring in land purchase in Ireland because of the failure of dual ownership; but the great trouble in Ireland was that under the Act of 1881 the rents were fixed for a period of fifteen years, and everybody knew that during that period the price of farm produce had fallen very considerably. To his mind there would be no justification in refusing to extend by this Bill to the Lowlands of Scotland the crofter legislation which had been of inestimable advantage to the development and improvement of the Highland district.
§ VISCOUNT HELMSLEY
said that when the hon. Member asked the House to believe that there was a great feeling in favour of this Bill in the Lowlands of Scotland he only supported that by a reference to a small party meeting in Edinburgh. He had been told in Committee that there had been an enthusiastic meeting somewhere at which nearly all the agricultural labourers had expressed themselves as most cordially in support of the Bill, but it was found afterwards that those who were present at that meeting had come away more full of cake than of conviction as to the merits of the measure. He did not think it meant anything at all that there were urban 1915 populations in favour of the Bill. He wondered whether those people took their opinions from the Bill itself or from the laudatory views expressed to them by their Members who wished to put the Bill in an agreeable light from the party point of view. There was not the least difference of opinion that there had been an exodus from the country districts to the urban districts which led to overcrowding, and that the attempts to arrest the decrease of the rural population had been a failure; but because one held those views it was not necessary to ride off at a tangent and say that this Bill would accomplish all that they had in view. He could not quite see the relevance of some of the remarks of the hon. Member for Central Edinburgh as to the application of the Crofters Act to the whole of Scotland. He had never yet heard any valid reason advanced why the Crofters Act should be extended to the Lowlands, and there was also no valid reason why the benefits of the measure should be extended to tenants with £50 annual value. If there was any reason for this why should it not be extended to all tenants in Scotland and to tenants in the United Kingdom generally? An hon. Gentleman had told them that afternoon that opinion was more advanced in Scotland than in England, and that England was not prepared for such a measure. He would prefer to put it the other way about, and say that the people of England were more aware of the crux of the situation, while they might be prepared to make an experiment in corpore vile on the unfortunate agriculturists of Scotland. Of course, he had no doubt that if one went to the majority of tenants and asked if they wanted security of tenure they would say "Yes," but that was a sort of claptrap which was likely to carry people away. What they were giving to one man they were taking away from someone else. Were they justified in taking capital out of one man's pocket and putting it into the pocket of another? He was surprised that the Lord Advocate should say that it was a misfortune to listen to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, because he agreed with what the right hon. Gentleman had pointed out, that 1916 whereas in Ireland dual ownership already existed, in Scotland it did not. In this case they were giving away something which did not belong to the State and which it had no right to give away and which did not belong to the tenant to whom they were giving it. He quite agreed that they should give the tenant security for the capital which he had invested in the land, and that they ought to prevent the landlord raising the rent on his improvements. But those objects were secured by the Agricultural Holdings Acts which had been passed from time to time to regulate the customs of the country in some cases, and in others to introduce new customs. In some cases the custom of the country had been more in favour of the tenant than the Agricultural Holdings Acts, and the tenants capital was protected either by custom or legislation. But then hon. Members came along and said the tenant wanted more, and in order to protect the tenant he must have fixity of tenure. Surely there was only one corollary to that, and that was to adopt a system of purchase. He held, however, that it would be better that the tenant should not have security of tenure but have the benefit of the landlord's capital. He thought that the middle course, to leave him as tenant and give him some rights of ownership, was a fraudulent one, although, of course, it was easy to gain support for it from the farmers. If, I moreover, fixity of tenure was given, why should not the right of free sale of that tenure be given? The right of free sale had been most disastrous wherever it had been tried. If they gave a man a right which he had never had before why should they not give him the power to dispose of it to the best advantage? On a former occasion the Lord Advocate told them that if there was any defect in Irish Land Acts it was clue to the right of free sale, but now they were told it was due to the passion for litigation. Now, however, the time had come when a Radical Government would put forward a programme of fixity of tenure, fair rent, and free sale. Free sale seemed to him to be the inevitable accompaniment of fixity of tenure unless purchase was resorted to. As to dual ownership 1917 there was a good deal of difference of opinion between the Solicitor-General for Scotland and the Lord Advocate which had never been cleared up. He would like to ask any member of the Government if he could point to anything outside the Crofters Act where dual ownership had been a success. He alluded to the Crofters Act because the crofters had been in a peculiar position. They were not inclined to move from one croft to another, but the rights of the parties would become quite different if this Bill became law. He had a great fear that the Bill would draw capital from the land. Whatever might be the experience of the Crofters Act, and however good-natured landlords might have been in the crofting districts, he did not see how the tenants or the. Government could count upon such good nature in future in regard to a large measure such as this. He feared that the result of the Bill would be that buildings would fall into disrepair, and pointed to the fact that in the crofting districts the custom had always been for the crofters to look after the repair of the house, which they or their predecessors had built. It might be said they were conferring a benefit on the landlord by taking away from him the duty of keeping the buildings in repair, but then the Land Court would come along and fix the rent, and he supposed would take that into consideration, and would say that under the circumstances the landlord was not entitled to the same rent as he had been getting, and the rent would be reduced. But the amount by which it was reduced would be the amount of the robbery committed against the landlord by this Bill. If it was necessary in the opinion of the Government that security of tenure should be introduced into agriculture, and if they were quite persuaded that agriculture was not prosperous in this country for that reason alone, there was only one honest course for them to pursue, viz., to bring in a Land Purchase Bill which would give the tenant absolute security of tenure. He was of opinion that the existing state of affairs should remain, believing that if the provisions of this Bill were extended to the whole of Scotland it could only end in disaster.
§ *MR. MOLTENO
said the hon. Member who had just sat down was the only speaker who had not admitted that the condition of the rural districts was unsatisfactory and that it was desirable that some remedy should be found for the existing state of things. Hon. Members opposite did not apparently appreciate the condition to which the rural districts had been reduced. He regretted the strong language used by the Leader of the Opposition, and was glad the Member for South Dublin who knew the Bill had never used such language. The Leader of the Opposition had spoken of the immorality of taking a man's capital and handing it over to someone else, in perpetuity, the suggestion being that the capital was handed over without any compensation.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he did not mean that there was crude spoliation. What he said was that to take away a man's capital and give it to somebody else whom he did not himself choose to manage it, and give him the interest they thought proper, was preposterous.
§ *MR. MOLTENO
was obliged for the explanation. The right hon. Gentleman's previous condemnations seemed to him to be unqualified. The Bill did not take away property without compensation. The property was used in the same way as the landlord used it. He received a fair rent for it. Therefore, he thought the right hon. Gentleman's language was hardly correct.
§ *MR. MOLTENO
said there was no analogy between a steamer and the land. Every year this House was legislating with regard to the land of this country.
§ *MR. MOLTENO
said that laud in this country had been taken compulsorily for the purposes of public health, locomotion, defence, and other public purposes. Land had never been dealt with on the same footing as other property; and when the right hon. Gentleman spoke 1919 of its being in perpetuity he lost sight of the powers of resumption in the Bill, and the mineral, timber, and sporting rights which were reserved. Therefore, the whole and absolute right was not taken from the landlord in any sense. All this Bill said was that while the land was agricultural land it should be so used as to maintain a larger number of people on it. They had been asked for evidence of the desire of the Lowlands for this extension. The evidence was that the Lowlands sent Members to the House to ask for it. The Lowlands were suffering from enormous depopulation and the Government believed that that was due wholly and solely to the land laws of the country. The Leader of the Opposition said it was due to free trade, but he would point out that the introduction of free trade had not reduced prices. Until the year 1879 prices rose. Rents of land in this country rose from 1846 to 1875 by 21 per cent. Rural depopulation began in 1861; between 1861–1901 the prices were highest and the rural population in Scotland declined by 38 per cent. The bulk of the rural depopulation took place in Scotland between 1861 and 1879, therefore it could not be contended that free trade had anything to do with it. If the towns had largely increased in size there was all the more reason why agriculture should have improved, because the large towns were the greatest, purchasers of produce in the world and were the greatest supporters of agriculture. Yet while our towns had increased in size our agriculture had declined. Other countries which had been wise enough to revise their land laws had been doing exceedingly well since 1879. Our land laws had led to an enormous decrease of all those who were connected with the land. It was notorious that Scotland was held by a small number of owners in a way in which no other civilised country was held. Tenant farmers were I decreasing. The whole of Scotland could only produce 53,000 tenant farmers as, against the 6,000,000 who cultivated land in France, and 5,000,000 in Germany. There was no country in the whole of Europe where so little land was cultivated by the owners. It was all cultivated by tenants and landless labourers.
§ *MR. MOLTENO
said lie believed that it would alter it. But in addition to this our land laws were sending down the value of land.
§ *MR. MOLTENO
said that since. 1881, 2,000,000 acres had gone out of cultivation. While Denmark had added 1,250,000 acres and Germany had added 750,000 acres to its cultivated land, we had declined to the extent above mentioned. The great trouble was that a man interested in agriculture looked forward for promotion to having his own land which he could cultivate. [OPPOSITION cheers.] He knew what that cheer meant; it meant a system of purchase. If it was suggested they should go from the present system to a system of purchase, that could not be done. It was a counsel of perfection, to offer land for purchase to the land-le s labourers of Great Britain. It could not be done. It had been tried in Ireland, and had broken down enormous losses had been incurred, and the whole arrangement must be changed. If they ever attempted to do the same thing in Great Britain they knew that it would absolutely break down If they offered a man security of tenure they offered him something which he could accept; he could use his money to stock the holding, and did not need to sink his capital in purchase. A man without accumulated capital could not possibly do that sort of thing. The Bill proposed to increase the number of holdings. In the first place it took the holdings which existed and gave them the protection of the law; it gave security of tenure at a fair rent, and it gave security for improvements. The small holdings which did exist were stereotyped and protected, and the tenants felt secure in investing their labour and their little capital in those holdings. And then the Bill provided additional machinery. Where there was a demand for holdings and where it was quite clear that the demand ought to be met, they had Commissioners who were ready to facilitate the demands and in that way they 1921 opposed the destruction of small holdings, which, unless they were protected by legislation, gradually became absorbed in the larger holdings. Therefore, they had the means of increasing those holdings, and they Relieved in this way they were going to offer a career to a largo number who would be trained to cultivate the soil. They wanted to reform the land laws. Every country had done it except ourselves. We had done it to some extent in Ireland, no doubt, but it was high time that we did it here. What was happening to the people of this country? They might say that they were only poor people, and not worth considering. [An HON. MEMBER: Who says that?] He said it might be stated. They saw what was happening. They were being driven from their homes by hundreds and thousands. In his own county 1,200 men had been driven out in the last twenty years. [An HON. MEMBER: Why driven out?] In one parish alone in his constituency they had pulled down 167 houses —so many homes destroyed in the last forty years. There could be no more serious matter for which the legislature was responsible, because it was by law this was caused, and it was for Parliament to alter that state of things, to stop the process that was going on, and if possible to restore some people to the land while preventing others from being driven away.
§ MR. COCHRANE (Ayrshire, N.)
said in Committee it had been always a matter of great interest to hear the hon. Member for Dumfriesshire, and they had the same satisfaction in listening to him in the House. He would not follow the hon. Gentleman into his excursions into tariff reform, though he agreed with a great many of the remarks which he had made. He had said very truly that free trade when introduced raised prices. He asked hon. Gentlemen who sat on the same benches as the hon. Member to take note of that remark. [Cries of "He did not say so."] He had certainly said so, and further the hon. Member had concluded his remarks by saying that he did not wish to see men driven from their homes.
§ *MR. MOLTENO
said he had stated that prices rose after the introduction 1922 of free trade, but he had not said that free trade was the cause of the rise in prices.
§ MR. COCHRANE
said the hon. Member had stated the fact and it was for others to draw their own inference. Towards the end of his speech the hon. Member had deplored the fact that hundreds and thousands had been driven from their homes and obliged to seek their subsistence in foreign countries where they had a fiscal system which did not exist in this country. The hon. Member had talked about the depopulation of the Highlands and had tried to make out that that was in no sense due to free trade. He would refer him to the Report of the Commission which sat about the year 1845, when a deplorable state of things had been brought about in the kelp industry by our system of free trade. The kelp trade, since the duty was taken off glass, had failed utterly. The unfortunate people engaged in it were no longer able to make a living, and efforts were successfully made to enable them to emigrate. Many of the Colonies which they formed were still in existence in Canada and elsewhere. That was the only reference which he would make to the hon. Member's observations, but it would be seen that the greatest instance of depopulation in the Highlands was due to the failure of the kelp trade. The hon. Member talked about the land laws, but were they not similar then, when the acres of this country bore a teeming population, to what they were now? Was it due to the land laws that depopulation had taken place? He ventured to say that it had far more to do with economic causes and had nothing at all to do with legislation. Legislation had been all in our favour.
§ MR. COCHRANE
asked what were the powers previously held? There was a quantity of waste land in the country to which no owner claimed the right or title, and power was taken to enclose this land and to bring it into cultivation for the benefit of the agricultural population.
§ MR. COCHRANE
said he really did not know to what Acts the hon. Member was referring, but he would not be led into a discussion one very Act that had been passed; the hon. Member would see that no discourtesy was intended, but he was not prepared to follow him into the fields which he had entered. What did this Bill propose to do? His right hon. friend who had moved an Amendment desired to restrict the Bill to those parts of Scotland in which he said that similar legislation had been a success. The objects of this Bill were fixity of tenure and the establishment of a Land Court for the Lowlands of Scotland. What benefit to any human being would result? Fixity of tenure in the Lowlands, where there was a system of leasehold, he ventured to say was not wanted. Throughout the Lowlands the practically universal system was a lease of nineteen years. Nobody in the House would say that a nineteen years lease did not give as much fixity of tenure as any tenant in the Lowlands desired to have. What was to be the operation of the Land Court? The small holdings which I they proposed to set up were from an acre up to 50 acres, and in place of the negotiations between landlord and tenant, they were going to put into operation an expensive method of acquiring holdings. A Land Court was to be set up to perform between landlord and tenant what was now done by a simple procedure between them without trouble. They were going to put in operation the expensive machinery of the Land Court and to take away that system of bargaining between landlord and tenant in which he ventured to say that the tenant was often the better and more skilled bargainer. What demand was there for the Bill in the Lowlands? His hon. friend the Member for Durham had alluded to the speech made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Aberdeenshire in the Grand Committee. The hon. Member said that in his constituency at any rate there was one class that demanded this Bill —the labourers. The hon. Member opposite stated that there 1924 had been a meeting in his constituency at which a resolution was unanimously passed in favour of the Bill. He understood that at the end of the meeting those who attended were entertained to a sumptuous repast of Scottish broth and roast beef. When the hon. Member claimed that those people were unanimously in favour of the Bill he thought he was quite justified in drawing a perfectly different inference. He had information which showed a different state of things and there was no Scottish broth or roast beef in the case. A petition which he would present to-morrow had been signed by the following persons in Aberdeenshire, Kincardine, and Banff-shire against this Bill: Farmers, 2,573; crofters, 853; farm servants, 1,095; merchants and tradesmen, 569; miscellaneous, 1,104; making a total of 6,194 persons in those counties who desired the House not to pass the Bill into law. What would be the result of the measure upon the labourers? Let them look at the question from the point of view of the labourers. In the first place, if in the Lowlands of Scotland they wanted to get suitable land they would have to carve it out from the larger farms which were now fully equipped with a staff of farm labourers. By placing small holders on those large farms they would displace the farm labourers, who were the right persons to till the soil, and they would put in their places shopkeepers and others who laboured under the hallucination that any man was good enough to make a farmer. Consequently the labourers would be cut out. Throughout Scotland at the present time there were some 60,000 smallholders who would come under this Bill. One of the provisions was that the tenure of those holdings not only should be fixed to the individual who was in possession at the present time, but that it should descend to his heirs and successors. As for placing agricultural labourers on the soil, every one of those small holdings would be absolutely closed to the labourer and thirled to the occupiers. With the £65,000 which had been mentioned they were to carry out a number of other things to assist agriculture. They were going to set up a Board of Agriculture of their own, assist forestry and 1925 sylviculture and he did not know how many other things. He felt sure that when the labourers really understood their true position under the Bill they would prefer to be labourers on a farm earning good wages to the uncertainty of being turned out of their present employment on the off-chance of getting a small holding. His right hon. friend had proposed that the scheme should be confined to the crofting parishes. All Scottish Members must have noticed as being very significant the absence of the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty from their debates on this question. Why was that? Nobody had taken more interest in the question than the hon. Member, and he knew perfectly well that the conditions of the crofting parishes were diametrically opposite to the conditions in the Lowlands. The hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty was not silent in the Committee, because there he strongly expressed the view that the Bill should have been confined absolutely to the crofting parishes, and in that contention he had the support of those thoughtful persons who had considered this question. In 1895 Sir George Trevelyan pointed out how the claims of the crofters for legislation were on an entirely different footing from the claims of any other class in Scotland. He said —The crofter had no security of tenure. In the house he had built and the farm he had improved he had no property whatever recognised by law.What was now proposed was to take cot the property, not the house which the crofter or the small landholder had built, but the farm buildings and equipments provided by the landlord and hand them over to the crofter. The Leader of the Opposition had described that as immoral. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh had said that sanctity of contracts was now an exploded theory.
§ MR. McCRAE (Edinburgh. E.)
said if the hon. Member wished to quote him lie hoped he would do so accurately.
§ MR. COCHRANE
said that if he had misquoted the hon. Member he would apologise and withdraw, but he was assured that the hon. Member not only said that but repeated it, and when 1926 he was challenged on the spot he did not deny it. If the hon. Member said he was not quoting him correctly he would withdraw and apologise.
§ MR. McCRAE
replied that what he said was that the contract was dependent upon whether the parties to the contract were free agents.
§ MR. COCHRANE
said he frankly withdrew if the hon. Member said he had not been quoted correctly. He remembered that at the time he twitted the hon. Member in regard to his theory, and asked him if he would extend it in other directions. If he was going to set up up small farmers at the cost of the landlords, why should he not set up small shopkeepers at the cost of the larger ones? Hon. Members opposite attacked landowners, and because they possessed one form of property they were to be liable to spoliation, but the owners of other forms of property were to be free from attack. He had not heard from any hon. Gentleman opposite any argument for the proposal on the ground of justice or necessity. He bid heard appeals to sentiment on the ground of arresting depopulation. What the Bill suggested would not cure that evil. Out of 28,000 crofters in Scotland, only 15,000 had had their rents fixed by the Court, and many of these had subsequently renounced their tenancies. That was not an argument why the remedy of the Crofters Acts should be extended further.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW,
by way of personal explanation, stated that since he had spoken he had obtained further information to the effect that, in addition to the operations he described in his speech, there was the importation of a few cattle and the erection of some huts or small houses.
§ MR. MITCHELL-THOMSON (Lanark, N.W.)
said he would like to point out to the hon. Member for Dumfriesshire, who lamented rural depopulation, that 1927 this was not the only country where rural depopulation was going on. The same thing was happening in France. Hon. Members on that side of the House regretted rural depopulation as much as the hon. Member for Dumfriesshire, but they differed from him as to the efficacy of the remedy he had suggested. The hon. Member had also said that spoliation was the wrong word to use in connection with this Bill, and he instanced previous Acts in which compulsory powers had been granted by the State. Quite so. but the hon. Member. forgot that this was not compulsory purchase. This was compulsory borrowing, which was a very different thing. The Lord Advocate had devoted half of his speech to pointing out that, after twenty-one years of the Crofters Act, the condition of some of the outlying islands was in a deplorable state, while the other half was a defence of the Irish Land Act of 1881. The right hon. and learned Gentleman made one statement which ho was sure he would not repeat in his calmer moments. He said that the cost of the operations under the Irish Land Act had been so great that for every £1 of rent reduced there was a cost of £105 in legal expense?
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
said the statement he made had reference to the cost of appeals in connection with the alteration of rents. He said that £105 was the mount incurred for legal expenses in connection with appeals in respect of every £1 altered. It was only fair that that should be made clear.
§ MR. MITCHELL-THOMSON
said it was only fair to the House to say that that statement as amended by the right hon. and learned Gentleman appeared to be received by the House with a certain amount of incredulity. The right hon. Gentleman had also read a letter from Mr. Bailey. He was not going into the right hon. Gentleman's correspondence, but he had made a speech at Inverness last autumn in which he quoted Mr. Bailey's letter. By the way, Mr. Bailey's letter referred, not to this Bill, but to the Bill which was the forerunner of the present. The reason why Mr. Bailey approved of that Bill was because it contained dual ownership as it had existed in Ireland. 1928 The Lord Advocate defended the Bill on the ground that it contained dual ownership, and the Solicitor-General said that he did not. The Lord Advocate had also referred with unqualified praise to the working of the Act of 1886.
§ MR. MITCHELL-THOMSON
said that that did not touch the question as to whether the Act had arrested the depopulation of the Highlands. A Return presented to another place a few weeks ago stated that in 1881 the population of the crofting parishes was 342,000, and in 1901 324,000, or a decrease of 18,000. It might be said that these figures did not apply to the parishes where the Congested Districts Act was in operation. The, Chamberlain of the Duke of Argyll had made an interesting return as to the population of the parishes under the Congested Districts Board. In 1871 the population was 158,000, in 1881 it was 155,000, in 1891 148,000, and in 1901 142,000. Hon. Members would see that whatever the Crofters Act had done, it had failed to check rural depopulation. The right hon. Gentleman had founded his arguments on an opinion expressed by Sheriff Brand, Chairman of the Crofters Commission, given in 1892. Sometimes the right hon. Gentleman went rather far back for his authority. In the Report of a Departmental Committee which sat last year, the Secretary of the Crofters Commission was examined. He was asked: "You cannot say that the crofting system has altogether stopped migration from the country into the town?" The answer was: "No, it has not." The same witness afterwards said that statistics showed that the depopulation of the Highlands had been quite as large since the passing of the Crofters Act as before it. But successful or not he altogether denied that the conditions under which the Crofters Act operated in the Highlands existed in other parts of Scotland. The view held by those who framed the Crofters Act, and the Lord Advocate of the day, was that this special legislation had been passed under special circumstances, and for a special purpose. The hon. and. 1929 learned Member for South Edinburgh had contended that the Crofters Act was necessary in districts where not a copper was spent by the landlords on improvements; but it was no reason why it should be extended to parts of the country where the landlord did spend money on improvements. The Report of the Departmental Committee stated that experience had proved that the system of dual ownership could not be maintained under economic conditions, that it was fatal and harmful to the relations between landlord and tenant; and that the experiment might be suitable where crofting conditions prevailed, but not suitable where the ordinary conditions between landlord and tenant existed. It was said that there was a strong demand for the Bill in the Lowlands. He had seen none of it. It was opposed by the Highland and Agricultural Society and other public bodies. A meeting —what was
§ called a great demonstration —was held at Perth on the 1st of July. It was carefully got together by a very select party who wished to get a resolution passed in favour of the provisions of this Bill. But at that meeting there was one gentleman who gave vent to an expression of his own opinion. He said that the Government had "raised against the Bill an almost solid mass of expert agricultural opinion in Scotland." If that was the foundation on which this Bill had been raised, then their labours were in vain.
§ And, it being half-past: Ten of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 5th August, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.
§ The House divided: —Ayes, 263; Noes, 82. (Division List No. 378)1933
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Clynes, J. R.||Glover, Thomas|
|Alden, Percy||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Allen, A. Acland(Christchurch)||Collins, Sir W. J.(S.Pancras,W.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Cooper, G. J.||Grey, Rt, Hon. Sir Edward|
|Asquith. Rt.Hon.HerbertHenry||Corbett, C.H(Suasex,E.Grinst'd||Gulland, John W.|
|Astbury. John -Meir||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Gurdon, RtHn.SirW.Brampton|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Halpin, J.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cremer, Sir William Randal||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Crooks, William||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Curran, Peter Francis||Harmsworth, R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dalziel, James Henry||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone,N.)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Harwood, George|
|Beale, W. P.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Hazleton, Richard|
|Bell, Richard||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets, S.Geo.||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Henderson,J.M.(Aberdeen, W.)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Henry, Charles S.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.(Esscx,Romf rd||Duckworth, James||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Black, Arthur W.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Hodge, John|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Holden, E. Hopkinson|
|Brace, William||Elibank, Master of||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Erskine. David C.||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Branch, James||Essex, R. W.||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Brigg, John||Esslemont, George Birnie||Hudson, Walter|
|Bright, J. A.||Everett, R. Lacey||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes.,Leigh)||Ferens, T. R,||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Findlay, Alexander||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Byles, William Pollard||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Jenkins, J.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Fullerton, Hugh||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R,||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Gill, A. H.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Clough. William||Gladstone. Rt Hn. Herbert John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Jowett, F.W.||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Stanger, H. V.|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Myer, Horatio||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Napier, T. B.||Streadman. W C.|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Nicholls, George||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Nolan. Joseph||Strachey. Sir Edward|
|Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Strauss. E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Lambert, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Taylor. John W. (Durham)|
|Lamont, Norman||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Taylor. Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Lea, Hugh Cecil(St.Pancras,E.)||O'Donnell, C. T. (Walworth)||Thomas, Sir A.(Glamorgan,E.)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington||Parker. James (Halifax)||Thorne. William|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Torrance. Sir A. M.|
|Lever, A.Levy(Essex,Harwich)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Trevelyan. Charles Philips|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester)||Ure, Alexander|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pearson. W.H.M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Verney. F. W.|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Philipps. Owen. C. (Pembroke)||Vivian. Henry|
|Lough, Thomas||Pickersgill. Edward Hare||Walker. H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Lupton, Arnold||Pollard, Dr.||Walsh. Stephen|
|Luttrell. Hugh Fownes||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh.Central)||Walters. John Tudor|
|Macdonald. J. R. (Leicester)||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford.E.)||Walton. SirJohn L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Macdonald. J.M.(FalkirkB'ghs.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Walton. Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Raphael. Herbert H.||Ward. John(Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Maclean, Donald||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Wardle. George J.|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rea. Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Waring, Walter|
|Macpherson J. T.||Richards,T.F.(Wolverhampton||Wason. John Cathcart(Orkney)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Rickett, J. Compton||Waterlow, D. S.|
|MacVeigh. Charles (Donegal. E.||Ridsdale, E. A.||Watt. Henry A.|
|M'Callum. John M.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wedgwood. Josiah C.|
|M'Crae. George||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Weir, James Galloway|
|M'Kenna. Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roberts, John H. (Denbigrhs)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||White. J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||White. Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Maddison, Frederick||Robinson, S.||White. Patrick (Meath. North)|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Whitley. John Henry (Halifax|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Whittaker. Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Markham. Arthur Basil||Rowlands, J.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Marks. G. Croydon (Launccston||Runciman, Walter||Williams, Llewelyn'Carmarth'n|
|Marnham, F. J.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Wilson, Hon. C.H.W.(Hull,W.)|
|Massie, J.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Wilson. Henry J. (York, W.)|
|Masterman. C. F. G.||Scott,A.H.(Ashton underLyne)||Wilson. John (Durham. Mid.)|
|Micklem. Nathaniel||Sears, J. E.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Molteno. Percy Alport||Seely, Major J. B.||Wilson. P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Shackleton. David James||Wilson. W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Montagu, E. S.||Shaw. Rt. Hon. T. (Hawiek B.)||Winfrey. R.|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Sherwell. Arthur James||Wodehouse. Lord|
|Mooney, J. J.||Shipman. Dr. John G.||Wood. T. M'Kinnon|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Silcock. Thomas Ball||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Morgan, J.Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Simon. John Allsebrook|
|Morley, Bt. Hon. John||Sinclair. Rt. Hon. John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Morrell. Philip||Smeaton. Donald Mackenzie||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Snowden, P.|
|Anson. Sir William Reynell||Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Anstruther-Grav, Major||Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Ashley. W. W.||Chamberlain,RtHnJ.A. (Wore.||Helmsley. Viscount|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.||Hill. Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)|
|Balfour. RtHn A.J.(CityLond.)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hunt. Rowland|
|Banbury. Sir Frederick George||Corbett. T. L. (Down, North)||Kennaway. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Barlow,Percy (Bedford)||Courthope, G. Loyd||Kenyon-Slaney.RtHn.Col.W.|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||C'raik, Sir Henry||Keswick. William|
|Beckett, Hon. Cervase||Doughty. Sir George||Lambton. Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Douglas, Rt. Hon. Akers-||Lane-Fox. G. R.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Du Cros, Harvey||Law. Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Faber. George Denison (York)||Lonsdale John Brownlee|
|Brotherton. Edward Allen||Fell. Arthur||Mason. James F. (Windsor)|
|Bull. Sir William James||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Meysey-Thompson, E.C.|
|Butcher. Samuel Henry||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Mildmay. Francis Bingham|
|Campbell. Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Fletcher, J. S.||Moore. William|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Forster, Henry William||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Cave. George||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Nicholson. Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Cavendish,RtHn.Victor C.W.||Gordon, J.||Nield. Herbert|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Starkey, John R.||Wilson,A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Stiff'sh.||Wolff. Gustav Wilhelm|
|Rawlinson, John FrederickPeel||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Roberts,S.(Sheffield Ecclesall)||Talbot, LordE. (Chichester)||Younger, George|
|Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||Tennant, Sir Edward(Salisbury|
|Salter, Arthur Clavell||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark||TELLEBS FOR THE NOES —.Sir|
|Scott. Sir S. (.Marylebone, W.)||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard||Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Sheffield,SirBerkeley George D.||Walker, Col. W.H.(Lancashire)|
|Smith,Abel H.(Hertford, East)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
§ Mr. SPEAKER
then proceeded successively to put forthwith the Question on any Amendments moved by the Government, of which notice had been given.
§ Amendments proposed —
§ "In page 1, line 14, to leave out the words the date of.' "—(Mr. Sinclair.)
§ "In page 1, line 19. to leave out the words the date of.' "—(Mr. Sinclair.)
§ Amendments agreed to.1934
§ Amendment proposed —
§ "In page 1, line 21, to leave out the word and, 'and insert the words 'or within two miles from the holding, and by himself or his family' "—(Mr. Sinclair) —instead thereof.
§ Question put, "That the Amendment be made."
§ The House divided: —Ayes, 268; Noes, 82. (Division List No. 379.)1937
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Cornwall. Sir Edwin A.||Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh|
|Alden, Percy||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Allen,A.Acland(Christchurch)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Harwood, George|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Cremer, Sir William Randal||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Asquith,Rt.Hon.HerbertHenry||Crooks, William||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Curran, Peter Francis||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Dalziel, James Henry||Henderson,Arthur (Durham)J|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Henderson, J.M.(Aberdeen, W.)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Barlow,Sir John E. (Somerset)||Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Barnard, E. B.||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||Hodge, John|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N.||Holden, E. Hopkinson|
|Barry, Redmond J.(Tyrone, N.)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Beale, W. P.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Beauchamp, E.||Duckworth, James||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Duncan,C.(Barrow-in-Furness)||Hudson, Walter|
|Bell, Richard||Dunn, A. Edward (Camhorne)||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Dunne,MajorE.Martin(Walsall||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.||Elibank, Master of||Illingworth, Percy H|
|Berridge. T. H. D.||Erskine, David C.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Bethell,Sir J. H. (Essex,Romf 'rd||Essex, R. W.||Jacoby, Sir James Altred|
|Bethell. T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Everett, R. Lacey||Jenkins, J.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Fenwick, Charles||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Brace, William||Ferens, T. R.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Branch, James||Findlay, Alexander||Jones, William(Carnarvonshire|
|Brigg, John||Foster Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Jowett, F. W.|
|Bright, J. A.||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Brunner,J.F. L.(Lanes.,Leigh)||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Fuller, John Michael F.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Fullerton, Hugh||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Gibb. James (Harrow)||Lamb,Edmund G.(Leominster)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Gill, A. H.||Lambert, George|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Gladstone, Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn||Lamont, Norman|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Glover, Thomas||Lea,HughCecil(St. Pancras.E.)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Goddard. Daniel Ford||Leese, Sir JosephF.(Accrington)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lever,A.Levy(Essex, Harwich)|
|Clough, William||Gulland, John W.||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Clynes, J. R.||Gurdon,RtHn.SirW.Brampton||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Collins, SirWm.J.(S.Paneras,W.||Hallpin, J.||Lough, Thomas|
|Cooper, G. J.||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Lupton, Arnold|
|Corbett,C.H(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Pearson, W.H.M.(Suffolk, Eye)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radeliffe)|
|Macdonald,J.M.(FalkirkB'ghs)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Thomas, Sir A.(Glamorgan, E.|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Thorne, William|
|Maclean, Donald||Pollard, Dr.||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Price,C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Priestley, W.E.B.(Bradford,E.)||Ure, Alexander|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down S.)||Rainy, A. Rolland||Verney, F. W.|
|MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal.E.)||Raphael, Herbert H.||Vivian, Henry|
|M'Callum, John M.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|M'Crae, George||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')||Walsh, Stephen|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Rees, J. D.||Walters, John Tudor|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Richards, T.F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Rickett, J. Compton||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Maddison, Frederick||Ridsdale, E. A.||Ward,John(Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wardle, George J.|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Waring, Walter|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Warner. Thomas Conrtenay T.|
|Marks,G.Croydon(Launceston)||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd||Wason,John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Marnham, F. J.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Waterlow. D S.|
|Massie, J.||Robinson, S.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wedgwood. Josiah C.|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Weir, James Galloway|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Rowlands, J.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Runciman, Walter||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||White, Luke (York. E.R.)|
|Mooney, J. J.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Scott,A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Sears, J. E.||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Morley, Rt. Hon. John||Seely, Major J. B.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Morrell, Philip||Shackleton, David James||Williams, Llewelyn(Carmarth'n|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T.(Hawick B.)||Wilson,Hon. C. H. W.(Hull,W.)|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Myer, Horatio||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Napier, T. B.||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Nicholls, George||Simon, John Allsebrook||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wilson. W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Winfrey. R.|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Snowden, P.||Wodehouse. Lord|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N)||Stanger, H. Y.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Stanley, Hn. A.Lyulph(Chesh.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Steadman. W. C.|
|Partington, Oswald||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES —Mr.|
|Pearce,Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Strachey, Sir Edward||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse||Strauss,E. A. (Abingdon)||Pease.|
|Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Acland-Hood,Rt,Hn.Sir Alex.F.||Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J.A.(Worc||Keswick, William|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Cochrane. Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Long,Rt. H n. Walter(Dublin.S.)|
|Balfour,Rt. Hn. A. J.(City Lond.||Courthope. G. Loyd||Lonsdale. John Brownlee|
|Banbury. Sir Frederick Georga||Craik, Sir Henry||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Beach, Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Doughty, Sir George||Meysey-Thompson. E. C.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Mildmay. Francis Bingham|
|Bowles. G. Stewart||Du Cros. Harvey||Moore. William|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Faber, George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Fell, Arthur||Nicholson,Wm. G. (Peterstield)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Nield. Herbert|
|Bull, Sir William James||Fletcher, J. S.||Powell. Sir Francis Sharp|
|Burdett-Couts, W.||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Gordon, J.||Rawlinson,JohnFrederick Peel|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. H. M.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Roberts,S.(Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rutherford. John (Lancashire)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Salter. Arthur Clavell|
|Cave, George||Helmsley, Viscount||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cavendish,Rt. Hon. Victor C.W||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunt, Rowland||Smith,Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Kennaway, Rt.Hn. Sir John H.||Starkey, John R.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W||Staveley-Hill. Henry (Staff'sh)|
|Stone, Sir Benjamin||Walker, Col. W. H.(Lancashire)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES —|
|Talbot. Lord E. (Chichester)||Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E. R.)||Viscount Valentia and Mr|
|Tennant,Sir Edward (Salisbury||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm||Forster.|
|Thomson, W. Mitchell (Lanark)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard||Younger, George|
§ Amendment proposed —
§ "In page 2, line 2, to leave out the words the date of.' "—(Mr. Sinclair.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendment proposed —
§ "In page 2, line 4, to leave out the word 'and,' and insert the words ' or within two miles from1938
§ the holding, and by himself or his family' "— (Mr. Sinclair) —instead thereof.
§ Question put, "That the Amendment be made."
§ The House divided: —Ayes, 268; Noes, 83. (Division List No. 380.)1939
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Alden, Percy||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Allen, A. Acland(Christchurch)||Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Hudson, Walter|
|Asquith,Rt.Hon. HerbertHenry||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Astbury, John Meir||Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N.||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Isaccs, Rufus Daniel|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Duckworth. James||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Barlow, Sir John K. (Somerset)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Jenkins, J.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Dunne. Major E.Martin(Walsall||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Eli bank, Master of||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Barry, Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.)||Erskine, David C.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Beale, W. P.||Essex. R. W.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Beauchamp. E.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jowett, F. W.|
|Beaumont. Hon. Hubert||Everett, R. Lacey||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Bell. Richard||Fenwick, Charles||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Bellairs, Carl von||Ferens, T. R.||King, Alfred John (Knutsforrl)|
|Benn,W.(T'W''rHamlets,S.Geo.)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Findlay, Alexander||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster|
|Bethell,Sir.J.H.(Essex,Romfrd||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Lambert, George|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lamont, Norman|
|Black, Arthur W.||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Lea, HughCecil (St. Pancras,E.)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Fuller. John Michael F.||Leese, Sir JosephF.(Accrington.|
|Brace, William||Fullerton, Hugh||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lever, A.Levy(Essex,Harwich)|
|Branch,.James||Gill, A. H.||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Brigs, John||Gladstone,RtHnHerbert John||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Bright, J. A.||Glover. Thomas||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Brunner, J. F. L.(Lanes., Leigh)||Goddard. Daniel Ford||Lough, Thomas|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Greenwood. G. (Peterborough)||Lupton, Arnold|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Grey. Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Gull mid. John W.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Gurdon, RtHn.SirW.Brampton||Macdonald, J.M.(FalkirkB'ghs)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Haldane. Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Halpin, J.||Maclean, Donald|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Cherry. Rt. Hon. R. R.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.)||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Harmsworth, R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, CS.|
|Clough, William||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal,E.)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Harwood, George||M'Callum, John M.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||M'Crae, George|
|Collins, Sir WmJ.(S.Pancras,W||Haworth, Arthur A.||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Cooper, G. J.||Hazleton, Richard||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Corbett, CH (Sussex.E.Grinst'd||Hedges, A. Paget||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Maddison, Frederick|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Mallet. Charles E.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Henry, Charles S.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Crooks, William||Higham, John Sharp||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Hodge, John||Marnham, F. J.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Holden, E. Hopkinson||Massie, J.|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Vivian, Henry|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||Walters, John Tudor|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Mooney, J. J.||Robinson, S.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wardle, George J.|
|Morley, Rt. Hon. John||Rowlands, J.||Waring, Walter|
|Morrell, Philip||Runciman, Walter||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Myer, Horatio||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne||Watt, Henry A.|
|Napier, T. B.||Sears, J. E.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Nicholls, George||Seely, Major J. B.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Nolan, Joseph||Shackleton; David James||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sherwell, Arthur James||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Shipman, Dr. John G.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Simon, John Allsebrook||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Partington, Oswald||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Williams, Llewelyn(Carmarth'n|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Snowden, P.||Wilson, Hon. C.H.W.(Hull,W.)|
|Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Stanger, H. Y.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Steadman, W. C.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Pollard, Dr.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Cent.)||Strachey, Sir Edward||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Priestley, W. E. B.(Badford, E.)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||Winfrey, R.|
|Rainy, A. Rolland||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wodehouse, Lord|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Wood, T. M Kinnon|
|Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Thomas, Sir A.(Glamorgan,E.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')||Thorne, William|
|Rees, J. D.||Torrance, Sir A. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES —Mr.|
|Richards, T.F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Ure, Alexander|
|Ridsdale, E. A.||Verney, F. W.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Craik, Sir Henry||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Doughty, Sir George||Nicholson. Wm. G.(Potersfield)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Nield, Herbert|
|Balcarres, Lord||Du Cros, Harvey||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balfour, RtHn. A. J. (City Lond.||Faber, George Denison (York)||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fell, Arthur||Rawlinson, John FrederickPeel|
|Beach, Hn.MichaelHughHicks||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Roberts, S.(Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Fletcher, J. S.||Rutherford. John (Lancashire)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Forster, Henry William||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gordon, J.||Sheffield, Sir BerkeleySGeorgeD.|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford,East)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Starkey, John R.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hay. Hon. Claude George||Staveley-Hill. Henry (Staff'sh.)|
|Butcher. Samuel Henry||Helmsley, Viscount||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Thomson,W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Cave, George||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn.Col.W.||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard|
|Cavendish, Rt Hn. Victor C. W.||Keswick, William||Walker, Col. W.H.(Lancashire)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York,E.R.)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Chamberlain, RtHnJ.A.(Worc.)||Long, Rt.Hn.Walter(Dublin,S.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Younger, George|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Moore, William|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Amendments proposed—
§ "In page 2, line 8, to leave out from the word 'leaseholder,' to end of line 14."
§ "In page 2, lines 22 and 23, to leave out the words 'their respective statutory successors,' and insert the words 'the successors of every such person in the holding, being his heirs or legatees.'"
§ "In page 3, line 18, to leave out the words 'immediately before,' and insert the word 'at.' "—(Mr. Sinclair.)
§ Amendments agreed to.
§ Bill, as amended (by the Standing Committee), to be further considered Tomorrow.