§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. WINFREY (Norfolk, S.W.)
in moving the Second Reading, said that this Bill was promoted by the Commons and Footpaths Preservation Society, and that it had been read a second time and passed through Committee last session. Owing to lack of time it did not get its Third Reading, but on this occasion he hoped to be more fortunate and to be able not only to obtain from the House the Second Reading
§ cotting, partial boycotting, and minor boycotting.
§ (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The figures are as follows:—
§ of the Bill, but to have the pleasure of piloting it through all its stages. Its object was to remove an uncertainty in the law affecting an important point in connection with public rights. In order to establish the claim to a public right of way an undisputed user for a period of twenty years had to be proved before the Court. The Judge assumed that some one previous to that time had dedicated this right of way. Unfortunately, however, in the cases where land was held by tenants for life, by lunatics, or was owned by infants or mortgagees in possession, there were certain Judges who had held that, although the user to the right of way might have been proved up to twenty years or more, the fact that there was no one really owning the land who had a right of dedication prevented the assumption from being made that a dedication to the public had been granted. The result of this had been that several important rights of way had been closed, not because the user had not been proved, but because the persons before that time had no right of dedication. About fifteen years ago he was himself personally interested in a case of this kind in his own parish. Owing to a quarrel between the farmers one farmer closed a right of way used by labouring men to go to and return from their work, thereby saving a journey of two or three miles. The right of way having been closed by the farmer, the labouring men tried to assert their rights by removing 1407 the barriers. The magistrates declined to adjudicate on the case, and it was brought before the High Court. He raised a subscription to bring up some of the older men to prove that they had had during thirty or more years the undisputed right to use the footpath. The Judge was sympathetically disposed to hold that some one had dedicated the footpath to public use, but then it was shown to him that at this particular time there was a mortgagee in possession of the land. It was held that there was thus no power to dedicate the land to such a purpose, and the Judge declined assent to the claim. The right of way was, therefore, lost to the public. The object of the promoters of the Bill was to prevent these difficulties from occurring in the future. He had been told that several important footpaths had been closed owing to this legal quibble. It was not a party question, and the Bill had received the support of all the local authorities throughout the country. Its passing would certainly prevent a good deal of litigation in the future. He begged to move that the Bill be read a second time.
§ MR. HIGHAM (Yorkshire, W.R., Sowerby)
said the Bill was a very small one, and one which he did not think would give any right where no previous right existed. Everybody who had any experience of testing a right of way found the proceeding a very costly one to fight. The witnesses who had to be brought up, who were usually the oldest inhabitants of the district, were not the men who were likely to impress a jury, independently of which they were apt to be frightened by cross-examination, and very easily contradicted themselves. The Local Government Act was really the only charter of freedom we had with regard to the matter, and it did stop much of the litigation that had been going on for some time. By Clause 14 of that Act parish councils and district councils had power to refuse consent to any proposal to stop a right of way, and another clause of the Act made it the duty of these bodies to protect rights of way. But the Local Government Act left the matter exactly where it was before from this point of view. It was very easy to give away a right of way, but very difficult to prove that the right existed if the landowner contested it. 1408 The law as it at present stood made proof very costly for any man, and it must be borne in mind that it was the individual who always had to fight these cases, A Bill of this description would simplify the procedure to enable people to obtain those rights which they ought to have, rights which extended in every direction, paths across fields, paths to historic sights, and paths over mountains. With regard to the question of paths across fields, they had had in his constituency innumerable questions from county councils affecting diagonal paths across ploughed fields, which were ploughed up every year and then trampled down again, and such questions were always very difficult to settle. For all these reasons, and with the hope that the Bill would receive a favourable reception at the hands of hon. Members that day, he begged to second the Motion for the Second Reading.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed,. "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Winfrey.)
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
said that this Bill perpetuated a vicious habit which was growing in the House of Commons. If any person was defeated in the law Courts he came to this House and said the law was wrong, and asked them to alter it in his favour. That sort of thing had occurred over and over again, the greatest instance of it being the Trade Disputes Act. It seemed to be becoming a common practice for any person or association who was beaten in the law Courts to come to this House and say that the decision was opposed to what the House intended when it passed that law, and to ask that it be altered. If the decision in the case referred to by the hon. Member opposite had been in favour of the right of way, the hon. Member's Bill would never have been heard of. The statement of the case by the hon. Member opposite gave away the whole reason for the Bill. A person who had bought land and paid money for it had a right to be consulted as to these alleged rights of way when it was borne in mind that the public never paid anything for them Supposing a landowner was a lunatic or had borrowed money on the land and the land was not therefore in his possession at the moment, he surely ought to be prevented from giving a right of way 1409 to the public for which they paid not a farthing. Where the right was obtained by encroachment he did not see why the person who had purchased the property in question should be injured because people, in many cases out of malice, had a desire to walk across his fields. So far as his experience went no landowner in the country desired to close a right of way so long as it was used and exercised in a proper manner. There might be isolated instances of men closing a right of way but the number was small. He contended that Parliament must not legislate for a portion of the community, but for the whole. They must not take a few landowners and say that because they did not behave properly the whole landlord class must suffer. A few Fridays ago the question before the House was the Access to Mountains Bill, and the argument in favour of that Bill was that it was necessary for the health of the people, and in order to make them good citizens and improve their minds, that they should be able to stroll over the mountains. That argument had not been adduced on this occasion, and could not be, because in the country districts of England nobody, except in hay time or harvest, was prevented if he were well behaved from walking across the fields. Because a few footpaths for the moment were shut up that could not be said to prevent the public from being healthy and improving their minds. If this Bill passed into law it might do considerable damage to property. He knew it was unpopular at this time to speak in defence of property, but so long as he lived he hoped he would never fail to have the courage to defend those rights which persons, through hard work either on their own part or on the part of their fathers, had obtained. Let the House take the position of a lunatic in possession of a beautiful property in the country. Lunatics were notoriously long lived. A lunatic might not be sufficiently mad to be confined in an asylum but he might be absolutely incapable of managing his affairs. He might think he was conferring a benefit on mankind by allowing the people to walk past his front door. Let them suppose that that went on for twenty years; that the property was entailed; and that at the end of that time it fell into the possession of the heir at law. That gentleman owing to the death duties was not able to afford to live on the property and he endeavoured to sell 1410 it. Immediately there was a great depreciation in the property owing to this right of way set up by the lunatic predecessor whose action no one was able to control. That was one instance where damage might arise from the residential point of view. But there were other reasons why damage might be done. Land did not grow, but population did. The population was increasing, towns were increasing, and it might be that upon property close to a town a right of way might be allowed to spring up. Then the property was required for building purposes: immediately a question of the right of way arose, and again there was a depreciation of the value of the property to the owner. He could not for himself see that any argument could be brought to bear in favour of the Bill, except the sentimental argument that people who had been in the habit of walking across a field ought not to be stopped. A great number of people would receive benefit by the land being built upon, and the value of the property would be increased, and the more money we had in the country the better he thought it would be for the country. The question would also affect land in the towns. The Bill said that—Where any way upon or over any land or water has been actually engaged by the public without interruption, etc.and it went on to say—Unless there was no person in possession of such land or water capable of dedicating such at any time during such period of twenty years.He maintained that those words were very vague and that they would lead to considerable uncertainty. The hon. Member who brought in the Bill talked about the uncertainty of the law, and said he was desirous of remedying it. He believed the law was always uncertain, and that no Act of Parliament would ever make it otherwise; the very object of the lawyers as far as he knew, was to make it uncertain, for if it was always certain there would never be any litigation. But it seemed to him that the words he had quoted would make the law still more uncertain and would cause a very grave injustice to certain people. They all knew that town property was let on various terms of lease. It might be possible that the owner of certain houses in a street, or of certain stables in a mews, 1411 might have let houses or stables for, say, seven years. The lease might have terminated then, and the owner might have been in possession for a fortnight or so; the lease might be renewed to the other people, and so the period of twenty years might be covered. The people to whom the house or stable were let might have, without the knowledge of the owner, allowed a right of way to spring up either in the mews or in the street, and the result of this Bill, he thought, would be that it would be held that that particular owner, being in possession for a fortnight between the two lettings, would be held to have complied with the provisions of the Act, i.e., he was capable of dedicating it "at any time" during those twenty years. Those words "at any time" would cover the fortnight, and serious injury might be done to town property by preventing alterations and building extensions, because the owner, without knowledge that his tenants were doing something that they ought not to have done, happened to have been in possession for a fortnight. He thought that was a very serious thing, and he did not see how it was to be got over. The name of his noble and learned friend the Member for Marylebone was on this Bill, if he was not very much mistaken, last year, but it had now mysteriously disappeared. He had a great regard for his noble and learned friend and for his legal opinion, and he was in hopes that, having seen the error of his ways last year, he had now quietly removed his name from the back of the Bill, because he was much affected last year when he saw his noble friend's name to a Bill of that character. He thought the second case he had given was a strong reason for not allowing the Bill to pass. The wording of the Bill was extremely vague. It said in Clause 2—Where any way, etc., shall be deemed to have been dedicated as a public highway.But there was no definition of a public highway. What did it mean? Supposing there was a footpath across a field, was that to become a public highway? Under the Bill he was quite certain that any number of learned gentlemen in that House would not be averse from arguing in any Court of law that a public highway under the Bill meant a highway over which one could walk, 1412 drive, motor, or ride, and he believed that they could show precedents for it. He wanted to know whether, supposing there was a footpath, that footpath could be turned into a bridle path, or a carriage track, or a motor track. It seemed to him that the Bill was extremely vague and uncertain, and that it defeated the purpose of the hon. Member who introduced it, who had not foreseen how far his action would take him. He had been actuated no doubt by the spirit which actuated most Englishmen; when they had been beaten they did not like it. Having been beaten in a Court of law, the hon. Member was now trying to come out on top, but he would point out to him that the Bill did very little good to the public. There was plenty of opportunities for them to enjoy rights of way. In many cases the owners of parks very kindly placed them at the disposal of the public, whether there was a right of way or not, so long as they behaved themselves. The advantage of having the right of interdiction was evident, because unfortunately there was a certain number of trippers and people who misbehaved themselves. A friend of his who always had his park open told him that he planted a young plantation, and after it had been growing for four years the trippers pulled up the young trees for walking sticks. If they passed a Bill of this kind and gave the public rights for which they had paid nothing, they took away the power from the owner of seeing that the privilege which he gave was used in a proper manner. Then, again, many people who availed themselves of those privileges did not like to see everything destroyed with paper and glass bottles left all over the place, and those people were protected by the fact that at present the owner had some right to say how people should use his property. He thought he had shown strong reasons why this Bill, which on the face of it was rather an innocent one, should be rejected. His experience was that the smaller and more innocent a Bill was, the more dangerous it would be to pass it. These little innocent Bills introduced on Friday afternoons were recommended on the ground of good-fellowship and all that kind of thing, but were generally extremely dangerous. Therefore, he had much pleasure in moving that this Bill 1413 should be read a second time upon that day six months.
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG (Down, E.)
in seconding the rejection of the Bill, asked for some further explanation as to whether it would not defeat the object for which it was intended. It appeared to him that whilst the Bill aimed at bringing into regular form paths that had been defined as rights of way, it might have the effect of making landowners all over the country draw in their horns with regard to little privileges they might have allowed. This question of rights of way was much better left to the natural growth of little privileges and the elastic conditions which land owners might from time to time allow with regard to their property, and it appealed, to him very strongly that if they brought all the landowners in the country face to face with the problem whether they were to allow small privileges, such as cutting across the corner of a plantation or removing a stone wall, in order to accommodate the neighbours, a very natural privilege would be taken away by the Bill, because the owner of the property would say that that gracious and natural privilege would be turned into a public highway. If the highway was to include all the hon. Baronet below him had stated, it would be a very great damage to the property. If this question were left in the way proposed by the Bill, he took it that every landowner in the country, to whatever party he belonged, would be always in dread of any of the little privileges he had allowed, such as the use of a stile at the corner of a plantation as a short way from point to point, being turned into public highways, and he would be compelled for the protection of his property to withdraw those privileges, which would be a great loss to the whole country. Hon. Members acquainted with the rural places of England, and especially Scotland, would know that there were rights of way granted exactly in the manner he had described, and it would be a cruel thing, because of this Bill, to make it obligatory to close them up to prevent their being converted into public highways. He took it that the real meaning of the Bill was that its promoters were desirous of closing up all those roads which were 1414 not statutory rights of way. He thought the House should pause before it permitted the Bill to have a Second Reading. If the measure conferred privileges upon the public instead of taking them away, then there might be something to be said in favour of its Second Reading. But as it was, if the landowners, who had the final word, saw that this Bill passed the Second Reading, though it never got any further, a certain unrest would undoubtedly creep in among them, the natural outcome of which would be that, instead of allowing people to cross a stubble field in winter, or an old plantation, or something of that sort, they would take special precautions that would probably mean the railing off of places hitherto used, and the putting up of walls in other parts. They would say: "At all events we must not allow people to cross our land as they have been doing for the last nineteen years, because if they do it one year more the hon. Member with his Bill will come in and turn our property into a highway for all classes of vehicles." If they looked at Clause 2 of the Bill they would see that it used the words—Enjoyed by the public without interruption for a period of twenty years.He hoped some hon. Member learned in the law would explain exactly what the meaning of "public" was. Did it mean one's own workmen? A workman might have been allowed by his employer for nineteen years to use a particular way to and from his work. That workman might at the end of that period become the employee of a neighbour, and if he had a spite against his former employer, he might seek to use the old way to and from his work for another year in order to get it converted into a macadamised road. He was glad to see the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General present, besides other hon. and learned Members, for he would like to know how this Bill would affect rights of way in Ireland. Rights of way by water and by road in that country were somewhat different from what they were in other parts of the Kingdom. Indeed, as he was reminded by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, this difference as to rights of way in different parts of the country was another point against the Bill, which would bring all those rights 1415 to the same level. He would like to have it made clear what the Bill really meant in this respect, because Clause 2 undoubtedly made it difficult to see what the effect of the measure would be. A great difference would be made in respect of some of the waterway rights in Ireland, which differed from those in England and Scotland. In Ireland there were stepping stones over private streams, and rustic bridges put up by the landowner for the use of the people, and these were to be found in the beautiful glens of both the North and South of Ireland. The stepping stones, or the punt which could be shoved from side to side of the river or stream, would have to be taken away, and the inhabitants compelled to go four or five miles to get across by a bridge. The rustic bridges would disappear, and these beautiful glens, so attractive to tourists, would probably have an unsightly barge to be used as a ferry, or some unpicturesque structure, in place of the rustic bridge, to form the public highway. Clearly the promoters of the Bill had forgotten the effect their proposals would have upon the beautiful scenery in the glens of Ireland, most of which were private property, and the attractions of which brought great numbers of tourists and large sums of money into these districts. The tourists who stayed in these beautiful neighbourhoods bought their eggs, butter, and bacon of the cottagers, and in that way money was brought into the country. He dared say that the promoters of the Bill had never been in Ireland, and did not know what its effect would be. Under this Bill the famous bridge of Carrick-a-Rede, situate in one of the most lovely parts of Ireland, would immediately become a public highway, and would in that case, no doubt, have to be taken down. It was much resorted to by tourists, and, like many other beautiful parts of Ireland, its attractions were of great material advantage to the people in the district. The Bill would take away many ancient privileges, substitute for them a hard and fast rule, set the local inhabitants against the landed proprietors, and afford them no privileges to compensate for the loss of those they had enjoyed. It remained for the promoters of the 1416 measure to show what benefits it would confer.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Sir F. Banbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
MR. HERBERT (Buckinghamshire, Wycombe)
said the hon. Member who had moved the rejection of the Bill had a very exaggerated notion as to what it was going to effect. It was a very small but a very useful Bill. It was not intended to alter rights at all, but simply to alter procedure, and to give legislative sanction to, and define, what had been the practice, according to the best judicial opinion, with regard to the effect to be given to evidence in cases of this kind. It would be of great advantage to the public, both those who wished to maintain rights of way, and those who wished to stop them, because it would define the issue which had to be tried very much more clearly, and in that way it would greatly reduce the difficulty and the cost of fighting actions of this kind. Anyone who had had any experience in right of way cases knew that they were almost always very long and very expensive cases, because of the extreme difficulty and uncertainty of the points to which the evidence had to be directed. The effect of this would be to define in a way which would enable parties to a case of this sort to know precisely the points to which they might direct their evidence, and in that way it would very largely decrease the cost of fighting cases of this kind. There was, however, a great deal in what had been said by both hon. Members who had opposed the Bill as to the fear that it would make landowners necessarily more careful about allowing the public to go on their property. But he wished to suggest to landowners a way in which that could be avoided, and which would enable them to continue to give the public access to their property without losing control of it. There was a very sensible notice put up by Lord Carrington, who was a large landowner in Buckinghamshire, that there was no right of way, but the public were invited to use the 1417 paths until further notice. In that way, without losing any of his own rights, he gave the public perfect freedom to wander in places where he was willing that they should do it, without acquiring any right which would interfere with his subsequent sale or dealing with the property. If landowners put up similar notices they would prevent any evidence of dedication arising, and it would not be necessary to curtail the rights of the public. There was one respect in which the Bill did not appear to agree with the Memorandum which had been issued in respect of it. The Memorandum said the object of the Bill was to provide that—Where the way had been used without interruption for twenty years, and the owner of the land during that time had been under no disability, the right of the public shall be deemed to be established, but where during that time the owner is under disability the period will be forty years.What they understood from that was that, supposing there had been a user for twenty years, during any of that time, not the whole of it, there had been someone in possession of the land who was under disability and not capable of making a dedication, then the twenty years would not count and they would have to have a forty years user, which would clearly enable someone not under disability to have a long time in possession of the property and prevent the public user maturing into a right. But probably, by a misapprehension, the Bill said exactly the opposite. The Bill said—Unless there was no person in possession of such land or water capable of dedicating such way at any time during such period of twenty years.Therefore if at any time during the twenty years there was any person in possession not under disability the right would be acquired. If the words were transposed so as to read "unless at any time during such period of twenty years there was no person in possession of such land," it would carry out what he held to be the intention of the promoters. But as it stood, supposing there had been a user, it would only exclude the acquisition of a right by the public where an infant came into possession of the land before he was one year of age. If he came into possession at the age of two, or three, the public right would be obtained. He had no doubt 1418 the promoters would be prepared to make an alteration in that sense. Hon. Members had been very much frightened by the use of the word "highway" and had pictured a quiet little path across a field after twenty years user suddenly becoming turned into a road on which motor and traction engines would be allowed to go. But the right which would be gained was only such a right as the user justified, for if the path had been used as a footpath it would only be a highway as a footpath, if used for riding it would be a bridle path, and if it had been used for driving it would be a highway for driving only. But the mere fact of its user as a footpath would not make it into a motor path, and the instances given by Members opposite really did not arise under the Bill.
§ MR. MCARTHUR (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
said he had listened very attentively to the remarks of Members in support of the Bill, and he was unable to see that any case had been made out for an alteration in the law as it existed. The result of the Bill if passed would be to restrict rather than enlarge the rights of the public. He desired to refer to the effect of the Bill with respect to cities rather than rural districts, and held that to enact that after the use of a pathway for twenty years it should become a public highway would be extremely dangerous and destructive of what he took to be the doctrine of limited user. He understood that where a pathway had been used for private or for special purposes any rights acquired by the public were subservient to the private rights or special use which had previously existed. To apply that to the case of a seaport—let them take the case of a sea wall or pier under the control of Commissioners for certain specific purposes. Supposing that for a great number of years the public had been allowed the use of that sea wall or pier, was that to be constituted a right, and was it to be taken from the control of those to whom it belonged? There was the landing stage at Liverpool, which was used as a public promenade, but was there for the purposes of navigation. Was the fact that it had been used as a public promenade for thirty or forty years to detract from the right of 1419 the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board? Then again this applied to water as well as land, and conveyed rights of navigation. Supposing the use of a dock had been allowed for twenty years or more. Were the public to have an absolute right, even though the Docks and Harbour Board conceived it desirable for the purposes of navigation that they should be excluded? There was also the case of railway stations. He knew of a case where the general public were now in the habit of going right through a station, not for the purpose of taking trains, but simply because it was a short cut to their places of business. Was the railway company to be compelled to allow the public the use of that station possibly to the detriment of the use for which the station was intended? These cases showed how very impossible the Bill was in its present form. There might be grievances. The mover of the Bill had referred to one, but he could not see how it was met by the Bill. The case he had cited was that of a pathway across a field which had been used by working people for more than twenty years, and then the owner of the property closed it. The case was tried to establish the right of the public, but it failed because at the time when the use began there was nobody who could have dedicated it to the use of the public. But this Bill excepted that very case—Unless there was no person in possession of such land or water capable of dedicating such way at any time during such period of twenty-years.
§ MR. MCARTHUR
said he thought the case cited was where it had been used for twenty years. His point was that the particular grievance would not be remedied. He admitted that there might be cases of grievance where a path which had been enjoyed by the public was closed by the caprice of the owner, and in those cases the right of the public should be vindicated against the owners; but this Bill went very much further than that and would, if it were passed, cause so much inconvenience and danger, and so detract from the rights of the pub- 1420 lic rather than enlarge them, that he should find himself compelled to vote against the Second Reading.
§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
said he did not profess to be a lawyer, and, therefore, should give no opinion as to the legal technicalities of the Bill; but as regarded the general principles underlying it he was strongly in favour of it and only wished it went further. He was a little surprised to find anybody on the opposite side—he hoped there would be none on the Ministerial side—championing deliberate attempts on the part of certain owners of land to appropriate public property. To him public property was just as sacred as private property, neither more nor less, and the whole difficulty arose because a good many people who were strongly impressed with the sanctity of private property, especially their own, had too little regard for the sanctity of other people's property, especially when that property was enjoyed by an indefinite number of persons. In Kent a deliberate system of annexing roadside strips to private property had been going on for a number of years. This practice had been carried on by quite respectable persons, Members of both Houses.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said the Bill gave additional means of stopping the practice, inasmuch as it facilitated legal proceedings. The method adopted was gradually to trim up the brushwood at the roadside till the result was a fairly substantial hedge, behind which the landowner then put a fence, thus annexing what was a valuable amenity to the public, especially in these days when offensive smelling motor-cars made walking along the actual roadway so disagreeable to the pedestrian. Parliament ought to prevent this public injury being done. Recounting efforts of his own to protect the public interest in a case of this kind, he said that after addressing himself to the parish council and the rural district council without satisfactory result he wrote to a Minister, who suggested that he should give 5s. to a traction driver accidentally to charge into the hedge. That suggestion was made as 1421 some other Ministerial suggestions were made, without sufficient knowledge of the local circumstances. He afterwards wrote a courteous letter to the owner, who replied in an insolent letter recommending him to study a certain text in Timothy, which bade him mind his own business. He responded by referring the owner to another Biblical text: "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmarks." There the correspondence ended. That was a case of deliberate robbery by a private person who was stealing public property, and the House ought to devise some means of stopping it. He suggested that this power should be put into the hands of the Board of Agriculture, because there were many disadvantages in leaving it in the hands of the local authority. Local authorities, consisting as they often did of tradesmen who wished to avoid quarrelling with the local landowner, could not be relied upon to protect the public interest in these matters. There were a great many landowners who would often extend facilities to the public were it not that so many members of the public had no conception how to behave in dealing with country things, and at present the landowner had no remedy except by prosecution for damage, and that was not sufficient. Besides, that put a great financial burden upon the landlord for protecting the amenities of the public which he ought not to be called upon to bear. He suggested that it should be made a criminal offence to do damage to plant life, and that the cost of prosecution should be met from public sources. If that were done they would find landlords less reluctant to extend privileges to the public, and he hoped they would find also less desire on the part of the landlords to appropriate public property.
§ MR. RAWLINSON (Cambridge University)
said he found himself in accord with the hon. Member for Preston upon this question, but from very different reasons. In regard to the case the hon. Member had mentioned his only regret was that the matter ended there and that no litigation had arisen out of it. He supported the Second Reading of this Bill and he might state that he did not share the fears of the hon. Member 1422 as to the amount of litigation it might introduce. The law applying to highways was rather anomalous, and it was different from that under which they acquired private rights of way over their neighbour's property. As far as public highways were concerned public rights could only be acquired by the dedication of that highway to the public by the owner, and that was purely a question of evidence. The simplest way would be to put up a notice: "This is a public highway." The evidence of a user of the highway for a year or two years in some cases might be sufficient to justify a tribunal in deciding that the owner intended to dedicate the highway to the public. When they came to consider the legal periods necessary to justify a right of way there was an old diction of the law that if they found the public had used the highway for a considerable period of time the law presumed that the owner must have intended to dedicate that highway to the public or else he would never have allowed the public to use it in that way for so long a time. He wished to add this caveat, that the owner could always prevent that right being established by stopping up the highway for any one day in the year. In the case of all the colleges at Cambridge and in the Temple in London and other places, they found that on a certain day in the year the gates were shut, and no one was allowed to go through unless they asked permission. That practice would not be altered by this Bill. If there had been no owner in existence for a considerable period with power to dedicate—in cases of land in settlement, for instance—difficulty arose, and he agreed with the part of the Bill dealing with this matter. Some points in the measure, however, would require amendment in Committee. One was in regard to its application to Scotland and Ireland. He had a great admiration for Scottish law, but he would leave that question as it was affected by this Bill to his hon. friends representing Scotland. With regard to its application to Ireland he approached that with greater terror, and he would be glad to hear what the state of the law was in that country. As far as England was concerned he presumed the promoter of this measure did not intend it to apply 1423 to a case where a landlord had let land upon a building lease for sixty years, as occurred in so many cases in London, and where the tenant might be tempted to grant a right of way to the public. There would be the ground landlord, and everybody knew that at present under such circumstances a right of way could not be acquired. If the landlord and tenant fell out the tenant in this respect would have a tremendous power against the landlord. Supposing the public had been allowed to use that land for thirty or forty years the landlord would have no power to stop the user and the tenant being hostile to the landlord might let the public in. That power would be given to the tenant in possession of the land, and he did not think the Bill intended to confer that power upon the tenant. The Bill was intended to apply to all questions relating to the assertion of rights of way. If they made it easier for the public to obtain rights of way, they would be very likely to make landlords more active in looking after their own rights. Reference had been made to the practice of railway companies allowing the public to use short cuts, but while that was so, he thought it would be found that the companies were careful to take some means to preserve the rights they possessed in connection with loads and pathways. He did not know the facts in regard to the Liverpool landing stage, but he had not the slightest doubt that the boards which had control of such places were carefully advised as to the means which they should take to protect their rights. The Bill would not affect the Liverpool landing stage in any shape or form. The measure would introduce a very great and useful change in the law, but it would be necessary in Committee to make some modifications in the provisions in order that the intentions of the promoters might be carried out without infringing rights of which landowners should not be deprived.
MR. DUNDAS WHITE (Dumbartonshire)
said it seemed to him that the Bill would constitute an important step in securing public rights of way. They should do all they could to maintain those public rights. The rights were increasing in value every day, because under modern conditions people wanted more and more 1424 access to country districts, fresh air, and fields. He might be allowed to say that in the application of the Bill to Scotland there would have to be very considerable alterations made, and probably a new clause would be required. The principal difficulties which had arisen in England in relation to rights of way were due to the peculiar state of the law in this country. There was in England behind a right of way the presumption of dedication, and consequently any claim to a right of way might be challenged on the ground that there could have been no dedication at some particular time. He was glad to say that in Scotland they were quite free from that. The late Lord Watson, one of the highest authorities on Scots law, in Mann's case in 1885 said—According to the law of Scotland, the constitution of a public road does not depend upon any legal fiction, but upon the fact of use by the public as matter of right, continuously and without interruption for the full period of long prescription. I am aware that there are dicta to be found in which the prescriptive acquisition of a right of way by the public is attributed to implied grant, acquiescence of the owner, and so forth, but these appear to me to be mere speculations as to the origin of the rule.Taking that to be the law in Scotland, the effect of the Bill as regards Scotland would seem to be to shorten the period of prescription to twenty years. He knew that various difficulties might arise from the phraseology of the Bill, and that showed the necessity for making special provision with regard to Scotland. A right of way in Scotland did not depend on conveyance or dedication, but simply on the answer to the question: "Have the public or have they not exercised uninterrupted user as of right of the right of way for a certain period?" It would be a very great improvement if the Bill could be extended in some way so as to apply to England that general principle, so as to get free from the difficulties as to dedication which so often made the attempt to assert public rights nugatory. The uninterrupted use as of right of a right of way for a certain time should be considered as establishing a right to be enjoyed by the public for ever afterwards.
§ MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)
called attention to the fact that neither the 1425 Lord-Advocate nor the Solicitor-General for Scotland was present, though the Bill under discussion contemplated the making of serious alterations in the law of both England and Scotland. The hon. Member for Dumbartonshire had pointed out that the law of Scotland was entirely different from that of England in regard to rights of way. He hoped the Law Officers of the Crown would state whether his hon. friend was correct in his explanation of the measure. If he was correct he would not oppose it. The hon. Member for Preston had made some extraordinary remarks in regard to what had been done in Kent. If landlords were allowed to take away highways from the public in that county, he could state that he had never heard of its being done in the north of England. What had been said by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London in regard to disabilities placed in the way of the public deserved some consideration. There were a great many landowners who did not impose restrictions to prevent people walking from one place to another, but if a public right of way were to be set up by twenty years use of the way, landowners might be led to consider whether they should continue their present practice. If the hon. Member in charge of the Bill would in Committee formulate or accept Amendments providing the necessary safeguards, he would not oppose the measure.
§ MR. MITCHELL-THOMSON (Lanarkshire, N.W.)
said he did not share the apprehensions of some of his hon. friends on that side of the House. He thought great advantage would result from legislation which would have the effect of making landowners more active in asserting their rights. If a landlord who thought he had a certain right made it clear that he really possessed it, much friction would be done away with. What was proposed by this Bill would make the question of proof much easier. He agreed with the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire that the Bill as it stood could not be applied to Scotland. Under English law he understood that the right of the public to the use of a highway could only be acquired by dedication to the public by the owner of the highway. 1426 The first clause of the Bill would alter the conditions under which the dedication took place. In Scotland there was no such thing as dedication, and therefore Clause 1, the only operative clause in the Bill, was meaningless so far as the law of Scotland was concerned. In Scotland the conditions necessary to the acquisition of a public right of way were very simple. It had only to be proved that the way had been used without interruption by the public to go from one public place to another as a matter of right for the prescriptive period of forty years. If this Bill was to be proceeded with—and he hoped it would be—he would suggest to the hon. Member in charge of it that he should see that some Amendment or clause was introduced to make the position of Scotland in this matter clear and definite. If the prescriptive period in Scotland was to be reduced from forty to twenty years, well and good, but that was not in the Bill at present. He thought a very strong case could be made out for that. In the Conveyancing Act of 1874 it was laid down that a private right could not be acquired in a period under twenty years. If the hon. Gentleman were to take the opinion of the Law Officers for Scotland, he would find that the Bill as drawn was entirely inapplicable to Scotland.
§ MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)
said he had listened with interest to the exposition of the land laws given by the hon. Gentleman opposite, and was glad to know that that hon. Gentleman was in sympathy with the main object of the Bill. That explanation only showed how very few rights the public had in the land and how very difficult it was to acquire them. There was a story of a trespasser who was wandering over some place when the landlord met him and asked: "What are you doing here? Do you know that this is my land?" The reply was: "I must be on somebody's land, I have none of my own." That was the case with most of them. It had, he believed, been laid down by Sir Frederick Pollock that the public had no right to be anywhere except on land which was dedicated to the public, or on the public highway, and there the public had to move on, or on the seashore between high and low 1427 water mark. Therefore, he was entirely in sympathy with any effort of this kind to extend the rights of the public to go over the land in which they lived. An hon. Member had told them of a very interesting notice which Lord Carrington had put up somewhere on his estate telling the public that they had no right of way there, but that he was perfectly willing that they should go there. That reminded him of a famous Judge who put up a board bearing the legend: "Trespassers will not be prosecuted." If there were more landlords of that kind there would not be as much agitation as at present for the acquisition of public rights of way. At the same time existing rights of way should be watched and guarded and care taken to check the invasion of public rights by private individuals. Everyone knew that that was being done by associations such as the Commons Preservation Society. It was because he believed that this Bill would tend to increase public rights of way and prevent the infringement of these rights by private owners, that he supported it. He was once concerned in an affair which cost him a good deal, and taught him how few public rights of way there were. There was a long stretch of moorland covered with heather between Airedale and Wharfdale with paths all over it, and a local Commons Preservation Society, with which he was connected, believed that the public had rights over this common land. At any rate they thought they had a right to roam over it. There was a demonstration, and litigation ensued which he was sorry to say resulted in the loss to him of a sum which ran into three figures. He learned his lesson, and it was because he had learned his lesson that he was in favour of any legislation which would secure to the public a right to go over the land on which they were born. No doubt the Second Beading of the Bill would be carried by a large majority, but what he asked was: Is the public likely to acquire this new right demanded in the Bill? In fact would this Bill result in anything? They had discussed for a whole Friday the Access to Mountains Bill; but did anybody think they would have a right of access to mountains before this session ended? It was so with many other Bills of that 1428 kind. He was coming fast to the conclusion that a good deal of the work of this Parliament was futile. There was something wrong in the State of Denmark by which they could not get what they wanted. The King had called this Parliament together that they might legislate in the manner and in the direction which the people desired. The people desired this Bill, to judge from the support which it received. And judged by their votes the people desired many other things, but they could not get them. Yet the previous night they had spent hours marking time. He thought that the attention of the Government should be directed seriously to the procedure of the House, so that it might be possible that Bills which the House and the country desired and which had been voted for by large majorities should be really passed.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
May I point out that it was the Government which wasted the time of the House last night.
§ MR. BYLES
said he attached no blame to the hon. Baronet, and, therefore, he did not think that he had any cause to interrupt him. He hoped that some means would be found by which Bills which the people wanted and for which the representatives of the people voted by enormous majorities and which passed their Second Heading often without a division, should become Acts of Parliament. He supported the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ MR. YOUNGER (Ayr Burghs)
said he had had considerable experience in dealing with rights of way inquiries, and he had presided over two in his own county. This Bill proposed to make a greater change in the law of Scotland than some hon. Members imagined. He did not agree with the hon. Member opposite that the prescriptive period by which rights of way could be acquired in Scotland would be altered by the Bill. At the present time a path had to be used for a period of forty years before a right of way was created. But there was a very important provision—not perhaps of the common law—but as the result of a long string of legal 1429 decisions, that no right of way could possibly exist or be conferred unless the path started from one public place and ended in another public place. That was to say that there could be no right of way to a cul de sac, no matter how long the public had used that path. What he wanted to know was whether this Bill would get rid of or entirely revoke those legal decisions which had in some cases protected the rights of the public and in other cases had gone contrary to the interests of the public. He himself had presided over a very long and bitter inquiry, and as a result of the evidence then given witnesses had been cutting one another's acquaintance ever since. Undoubtedly, in that case the path had been commonly used by the public for over sixty years, but owing to the fact that it could not be proved that the path ended in a place of public resort, the claim to the right of way had to be refused. He imagined that this Bill went further than was supposed, and he thought that it was very inconvenient that they had not the Law Officers for Scotland present to advise the House on the point. These gentlemen were paid large salaries and they ought to attend to their duties and perform them. The only Law Officer in his place was the Solicitor-General for England. Did or did not that hon. and learned Gentleman know whether this Bill interfered with the legal decisions in Scotland to which he had referred?
§ THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir S. EVANS,) Glamorganshire, Mid.
No, I have no special knowledge of the law of Scotland.
§ MR. YOUNGER
said he had only asked the hon. and learned Gentleman the question for the purpose of making his point clear that there ought to be some one in the House to explain the law of Scotland. Unfortunately the hon. and learned Member for South Edinburgh who was capable of affording the information was also absent. He did not Object to the Bill at all, and would support the Second Reading. He did not take the extreme views expressed by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, but he thought that 1430 they ought to vote for the Bill only on distinct understanding that questions the such as he had referred to should he carefully dealt with in Committee.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH (Maidstone)
said it was a very curious thing that when an hon. Member representing a Scottish constituency rose to ask a point as to the law of Scotland, the legal advisers of the Crown in Scotland should have beat a hasty retreat. He did not think that there had been behind the Bill sufficient support in the House to justify them in giving it a Second Reading. Although many hon. Members had risen in their places to support the Bill most of them had guarded themselves with the qualification that they hoped it would be altered almost beyond reconition in the Committee stage. There was no doubt that this Bill was in the same category as the Access to Mountains Bill debated last Friday, the primary object of which was to give greater freedom to those who had not, under the present law, those facilities for moving about in country districts which the promoters of the Bill thought they should have. The primary object to the Bill was not to define the law. The Bill was brought forward for the benefit of isolated cases. It was a measure for penalising a great majority in order to make a small minority do that which everyone agreed they ought to do. A phrase was used by the hon. Member for the Wycombe Division of Bucks, which, in his opinion, always did a good deal of harm when used in this House. He said that the Billwas a small and very useful measure.The danger was that these Bills brought forward by hon. Members on the back benches were sometimes adopted by the Government and forced through by means of closure and the guillotine in a way that everyone deplored. He did not think that the remedy proposed by the hon. Gentleman, of putting up notice boards, was a desirable one, nor did he think it would meet the case. His own opposition to this Bill was founded upon the fact that it was a piece of entirely unnecessary legislation. The Bill seemed to be small and not very harmful, but there were many dangers 1431 which had been entirely lost sight of by its promoters. One was that those who were now willing to allow open footpaths for the purpose of benefiting large numbers of people in the country would have seriously to reconsider their position if the Bill became law. There were many men responsible for the management of properties who, unknown to their employers, had allowed people to make use of what was or might become under this Bill a right of way. Those persons would be very unwilling to prejudice their employers by allowing those rights to continue. It was admitted that the law at the present time with regard to rights of way was uncertain, but that was not an unmixed evil. He did not know if this Bill became an Act that it would make the law more certain than it was now. It was most important that the Bill should either meet with a direct negative or be withdrawn by its promoters, as it must be obvious that it had not the support behind it which would justify its being passed into law. For these reasons he would support the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London.
§ LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)
agreed that there was not a great deal of support behind the Bill; but this was because it was, genuinely, a small measure; and behind small measures of change a large amount of support was not always to be expected. So far from its being unnecessary, in his opinion it would be a desirable Bill to pass. It did not make much change in the law. All it did was to declare that one of the views taken by the Judges was the correct view. The opponents of the Bill were, however, entitled to say that many of the speeches delivered ostensibly in support of the Bill had nothing to do with it. It did not, for example, deal with the theft of strips of land by the wayside, though he agreed that there was a great deal to be said for making it as much a criminal offence to steal land as to steal goods. The Bill only dealt with prime rights of way, not with the general rights of the public to stray all over a common. That was because it left the law where it was as to what constituted a right of way. They would still have to prove that the right had been used 1432 for twenty years. In the same way the junior Member for the City of London had spoken of the danger which might occur owing to a lunatic being the owner of a property. If the lunatic was the full owner he could at this time dedicate a right of way across his land and destroy the whole value of the estate to his successors. If he was in full possession this Bill would not affect his position. If he was tenant for life then the proof of forty years use would be required, and it was exceedingly unlikely that a lunatic would be in possession for forty years. He thought a case had been made out by the hon. Member for the Kirk-dale division of Liverpool and the hon. Baronet with regard to towns, and the promoters should consider whether they should not except boroughs and cities from the operation of the Bill, which was really mainly intended to secure the use of country footpaths. He was doubtful whether the ultimate effect of the Bill would be to increase rights of way. He thought its effect would be to diminish them. It would define more accurately than had ever been defined the rights of the public and of the landowner, and it would call the attention of landowners to the danger of allowing a right of way unless they intended to dedicate it to the public. He would be quite frank with hon. Members opposite, though he was afraid it would not carry them with him when he said that he was a little doubtful of the benefit to the public of prosecuting; these rights of way. It must be remembered that rights of way were constantly getting seriously in the way of great public improvements and the beneficial development of land. Nobody who had had much to do with railway and waterworks companies would contradict him when he said that one of the difficulties with which they had to deal were footpaths which were little used but were technically highways, and could only be got rid of by an Act of Parliament. He was doubtful whether, on the whole, the multiplication of rights of way was a public benefit. On the contrary, he thought it was the reverse. His support of the Bill was based simply on the fact that it would define more accurately the rights of the contending parties, because it was desirable that there should 1433 be as little dispute on these matters as possible, and that when it came to litigation the dispute should be as simple as possible. For these reasons he thought it was a desirable Bill, and he hoped it would be passed into law. He had always felt that the great blot upon the procedure of this House was that there were not two channels for legislation, one reserved for contentious measures, the passage of which should be made as difficult as possible, and the other for non-contentious measures, which should be given a short and simple path to the Statute-book. He had always felt that, and would be glad to join with any hon. Member who would devise some means to bring it about. It was a matter which did not affect the front benches because such measures as would be benefited would not be much spoken about on the platforms of the country. If any Member felt inclined to enter with him upon such a crusade he would give him such help as he was able.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir W. ROBSON,) South Shields
, who was indistinctly heard, was understood to say that he thought the noble Lord who had just sat down had been a little hard upon the front benches. But the Bill was, as the noble Lord had just said, a small one, very restricted in scope, and very modest in aim. It did not affect existing rights very substantially. In fact it did not affect them at all, but it simplified the proceedings and facilitated the enforcement and the proof of those rights. The landowner would have, under this Bill, the same power as he had had now for many centuries of interrupting the public user of a way, or of preventing any injurious inference of an act of dedication being drawn. The Bill simply stated that proof of user for certain periods should be sufficient to establish presumption of dedication, and that where the right of way had been enjoyed for a full period of forty years it should be deemed conclusively to have been dedicated as a public highway unless there was evidence negativing such dedication. It had been pointed out that the way in which public rights had been acquired in England was by either direct or presumed dedication. The law would presume that 1434 proof of user would be unnecessary, for instance, in a case of a building estate where the roads had been thrown open as part of the development of the estate and there had been no user beyond a few weeks or days. On the other hand, it might be necessary to prove a very long user to establish a right; the proof might go back for twenty years, and yet the circumstances be such as to rebut the presumption of actual dedication. In the case of land in the possession of a lunatic, proof of user had to go back thirty or forty years. In the Courts, some Judges had said that, if proof of user went to the limit of living memory—that was, that the oldest inhabitant had always known it to be open for use—under such circumstances they would infer that there had been a dedication, no matter how remote that dedication might have been. One case went back as far as the time of Queen Mary, and the learned Judge in that case expressed the opinion that where a user had been established for forty years he was entitled to presume there had been dedication not only as far back as the time of Queen Mary but the time of William the Conqueror. But other Judges had construed the fact of dedication much more strictly, and in regard to litigation of this kind it was, at the present time, impossible to say how the Courts would decide. All that this Bill proposed to do was to settle the law, and to simplify procedure. In substance it was proposed to confer upon the public, in respect of their rights, just the same procedure as existed in the case of private rights of way. In dealing with private rights, the Courts were assisted by Statute, and this Bill laid down a simple and cheap procedure. That was important to the landowner in every way, because by the Local Government Act public rights of way were placed now under the guardianship of public bodies, and they would be able to be fought and vindicated more frequently than before, and the landowner had therefore an interest in the law being as cheap as possible. This Bill did not alter the law as to the facts; it merely said that certain facts, generally regarded by Judges and juries as sufficient, should by law be sufficient to prove user. The House of Commons 1435 did not think twelve years possession an unreasonable time to establish a title to the freehold and enable a man to take possession of the actual land. Twelve years user of land, under conditions which showed that a man intended to assert his right to it, gave him the actual soil and a freehold of that land. Therefore, if Parliament thought fit, after such a short period as that, to confer a statutory title upon the man who was using the land, surely it did not seem unreasonable to say that in the case of public rights of way twenty years in the one case, and forty years in the other, should be considered to be sufficient. He hoped the House would pass the Bill.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS (Glasgow, Camlachie)
said the noble Lord behind him had indicated that in his view there was no large volume of public opinion behind the Bill, or at all events not sufficient to justify its passage into law, yet he went on to say that there was nothing about it more jealously guarded than any intrusion of the rights of the public. He (Mr. Cross) made a strong point of that. Private ownership of land tended to arrogate to itself more and more of the rights of possession. The old rights enjoyed by the public in the old times were very numerous, and he considered that in many cases railways, large buildings, and other erections, that took place on land, made the extinguishment of those rights a matter of impossibility to the landowner, but that made it all the more necessary that public rights should be conserved, and that the litigation which might arise should be less costly than in the past. Like his hon. friend who spoke from the front bench, he had himself borne a large share in the defence of public rights of way, and in one particular case it was taken in the Scottish Chambers of Justice and passed through other Courts and was only maintained by an appeal to the House of Lords, undertaken at great private expense. It was because he believed there was no public feeling in regard to access to land more clear in the general sentiments of the people of this country, particularly of Scotland,
§ than that they desired to preserve the ancient rights of way, that he had pleasure in supporting this Bill.
§ MR. MEYSEY THOMPSON (Staffordshire, Handsworth)
said he should like to have one or two points elucidated. He thought the Bill if passed, might have a serious effect in causing landowners to be chary about granting privileges. One of the supporters of the Bill had referred to the fact that if a path became a highway, what guarantee had they that next year the Government would not bring in a Bill to say that a public highway could be used for all purposes by the public? Let them take the case of a landowner who granted privileges to the villagers to use a path running by the end of his house down the carriage drive; supposing a Bill was brought in, that man's house might be made unfit to live in by motor cars being allowed to pass along the path. Another point he wished to be clear about was this: As soon as a path became a right of way, who paid for its maintenance? Was the maintenance still paid by the owner, or would it be maintained out of the rates?
§ MR. MEYSEY THOMPSON
said that if a path became a right of way and was to be used by the public, it was very hard that the owner should still have to pay for the increased wear and tear on the path. In the case of waterways, as soon as one became a right of way they might say that an ornamental bridge was no longer fitted for the traffic over it, and have an ugly erection put up in one's grounds to enable the traffic to go over it. That was what would happen if the road was to be maintained out of the rates. He thought it was a Bill that was very apt to cause exactly the opposite effect to that desired, viz., the effect of shutting up footpaths and waterways.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 160; Noes, 13. (Division List No. 109.)1437
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Beckett, Hon. Gervase|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barker, John||Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Barran, Rowland Hirst||Bennett, E. N.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Beale, W. P.||Berridge, T. H. D.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Rees, J. D.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Higham, John Sharp||Renton, Leslie|
|Brace, William||Hobart, Sir Robert||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th|
|Brigg, John||Hodge, John||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mp'n|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hudson, Walter||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Idris, T. H. W.||Rowlands, J.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Cameron, Robert||Jenkins, J.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Sears, J. E.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Seddon, J.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Jowett, F. W.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Joyce, Michael||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Cleland, J. W.||Kekewich, Sir George||Snowden, P.|
|Clough, William||Kettle, Thomas Michael||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Steadman, W. C.|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Lupton, Arnold||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Cox, Harold||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Crean, Eugene||MacVeigh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Crooks, William||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Cross, Alexander||M'Callum, John M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton|
|Devlin, Joseph||M'Crae, George||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dillon, John||Magnus, Sir Philip||Verney, F. W.|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Marnham, F. J.||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Masterman, C. F. G.||Wardle, George J.|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Mooney, J. J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Elibank, Master of||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Murray, Capt. Hn A. C. (Kincard.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Napier, T. B.||Whiteley, Rt. Hn. G. (York, W. R.|
|Findlay, Alexander||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Nicholls, George||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Grant, Corrie||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Williamson, A.|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Gulland, John W.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Halpin, J.||Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Younger, George|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Perks, Robert William|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Winfrey and Mr. Arthur Dewar.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Price C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Radford, G. H.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gordon, J.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Gretton, John||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Hunt, Rowland||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Captain Craig.|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||M'Arthur, Charles|
|Fell, Arthur||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
Bill read a second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.