HC Deb 23 November 1909 vol 13 cc37-43

(1) No advance exceeding the sum of three thousand pounds shall be sanctioned under the Land Purchase Acts to any tenant in pursuance of an agreement for the purchase of a holding entered into after the passing of this Act, unless—

  1. (a) the tenant resides on the holding, or such holding is ordinarily used with the holding on which the tenant resides; or
  2. (b) a substantial portion of the holding has been tilled in each of the five years next preceding the date of the agreement
and the Land Commission consider that an advance of a larger amount not exceeding five thousand pounds may properly be sanctioned.

Lords Amendment: Leave out "or (b) a substantial portion of the holding has been tilled in each of the five years next preceding the date of the agreement."

Mr. CHERRY moved "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is the Clause which provides a general limit to advances of £3,000, but by way of exception to that, there are two cases where a limit of £5,000 is granted. The first is where the tenant resides on the holding or the holding adjoins the house in which he resides. The second is where a substantial portion of the holding has been tilled in each of the five years previous to the agreement. The Lords rejected the second on the ground that it might unduly encourage tillage in lands which where only suitable for pasture. As a matter of fact, a tillage holding generally is one on which the tenant resides. It is worked by a man who lives on the holding or on an adjoining holding. So we considered that almost all the cases which will be covered by paragraph (b), which the Lords have struck out, will come within paragraph (a).


I am very much disappointed that the Government propose to agree with this Amendment. The defence made by the Attorney-General seems to me to be no defence at all. It is not an unimportant question. Anything which tends in favour of doing away with the big grazing ranches, which provide no employment for the people, and which tends to the increase of land under tillage is not only not an unimportant matter, but one of the very highest consequence. I was hoping that this Amendment would be resisted, especially as I could not understand on what ground the House of Lords insisted upon it. What good will it do them? Does the House of Lords wish to prevent the increase of tillage? Do they wish to prevent the increase of unemployment? And, anyhow, what is it to them, if they sell their lands, what becomes of the land afterwards? The fact of the matter is that this is just the sort of Amendment which displays the true inwardness of the House of Lords in dealing with this whole question. They have no regard whatever, no matter what they may say, to the real interests of Ireland. No one can deny that the increase of the extent of land under pasture has tended to unemployment. No one doubts that it has tended also to decrease the agricultural wealth of the country, and yet, knowing this, they propose an Amendment which would actuary continue that disastrous state of affairs. It is one of those Amendments which, in my opinion, stamp the House of Lords as the enemies of the people beyond question, and I am surprised to find a single Uster Member who, it is to be presumed, represents Orange farmers as well as Orange artisans, indulging in laughter, which means that they have no regard for the material interests of Ireland. I protest against the Amendment and I hope the party with which I act will oppose it in the Division Lobby.


I wish to say a word in, reply to the rather vehement remarks of the hon. Member, who appears always to profess to misunderstand the position of Ulster Members. Whether it is on the question of zones or of restrictions such as this, which are put in at the instance of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, the Ulster farmer is anxious that all land should pass under the operation of the Purchase Act, and he is anxious that all land should pass as quickly as possible, because his desire is not to get further reductions of rent by agitation, and not to blackmail the vendor by cattle-driving or any other little amusement to reduce the value of the land. He is willing to pay a fair price, but he wants to get the transaction through, and wants every acre of Ireland, whether pasture or tillage, sold as speedily as possible. For that reason I would regret any restriction which would keep the holding out of the purview of the Act or any policy which would delay the purchase going through once the agreement was signed. I regret to say that the policy of the Government has been in the direction of excluding certain holdings.


My hon. Friend (Mr. Clancy) refers to the Ulster Members because Ulster is largely a province of small holdings and of mixed farming, in which tillage largely predominates. That is the kind of thing that the Lords seek to depreciate and to prevent in other parts of Ireland. I well remember when the 1903 Act was going through the protests which were made by several Members of the Irish party with regard to the advance being raised from £3,000 to £5,000. There was such a desire to get the Bill through that the thing was rushed. We made a protest on that occasion, but our better judgment was overruled, and we allowed the thing to go through. We made a protest, which we repeat now, because it is a great discouragement to the employment of labour all over the country, and the increase of the large pasture holdings, instead of being an economic gain, is an economic disadvantage to Ireland. It is impossible to read the report of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, which we believe is doing its level best to increase employment and break up the grass lands, and to give more employment and put more land under tillage, without a certain amount of misgiving. And we find that on an occasion like this, on which the Government should have made some stand and done something on behalf of the agricultural interests of Ireland and the agricultural labourers, they have weakly given way. Anyhow the action of the other House has been a wanton piece of interference. When the landlord has sold his land, what is it to him so long as he gets his price? If Ireland is to be the fruitful mother of flocks and herds, but not the fruitful mother of an industrious population, it is legislation of this kind which tends to carry it out.


Let me, as representing tin agricultural county, where, according to recent returns, the number of acres under tillage has increased by thousands, enter my most emphatic protest against the action of the Government in accepting this Amendment of the Lords. Under the Act of 1903 you made advances of large sums to the large graziers of the country who gave no employment what-

ever on these holdings, and you now want to try and prevent the farmers in Ireland, who are really conferring immense benefits on the community by giving considerable employment, from getting any special treatment. I think this gives us an indication of the spirit which animates the Lords, especially those who pretend that they are great philanthropists, whose only trouble, night and day, is the welfare of the industrial classes in Ireland. This is simply putting a barrier in the way of employment. I enter my emphatic protest against it, and I am surprised to see that the Government seems to be completely playing into the hands of Noble Lords, who want to keep the open sore there, and are doing all in their power to defeat the Government.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 183; Noes, 88.

Division No. 897.] AYES. [4.45 p.m.
Acland, Francis Dyke Cotton. Sir H. J. S. Horniman, Emslie John
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Courthope, G. Loyd Idris, T. H. W.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Illingworth, Percy H.
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Craik, Sir Henry Jardine, Sir J.
Astbury, John Meir Dalziel, Sir James Henry Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)
Atherley-Jones, L. Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Baker, Joseph A. Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Balcarres, Lord Dobson, Thomas W. Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Doughty, Sir George Kerry, Earl of
Banbury, Sir Fredarick George Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers. Kimber, Sir Henry
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Dumphreys, John Lambert, George
Barker, Sir John Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan) Lamont, Norman
Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset) Elibank, Master of Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Erskine, David C. Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)
Barnard, E. B. Essex, R. W. Levy, Sir Maurice
Barran, Sir John Nicholson Esslemont, George Birnie Lewis, John Herbert
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Evans, Sir S. T. Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Bertram, Julius Falconer, J. Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Lyell, Charles Henry
Bignold, Sir Arthur Fletcher, J. S. MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh
Birrell, Rt Hon. Augustine Forster, Henry William Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Boulton, A. C. F. Fuller, John Michael F. Mackarness, Frederic C.
Branch, James Furness, Sir Christopher M'Arthur, Charles
Bright, J. A. Gardner, Ernest M'Micking, Major G.
Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh) Gibb, James (Harrow) Maddison, Frederick
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John Marnham, F. J.
Butcher, Samuel Henry Gooch, George Peabody (Bath) Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)
Buxton. Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles Griffith, Ellis J. Masterman, C. F. G.
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Gulland, John W. Menzies, Sir Walter
Carlile, E. Hildred Hancock, J. G. Molteno, Percy Alport
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Moore, William
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Harris, Frederick Leverton Morgan. G. Hay (Cornwall)
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Morpeth, Viscount
Cawley, Sir Frederick Hart-Davies, T, Morrell, Philip
Cheetham, John Frederick Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Morse, L. L.
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Haworth, Arthur A. Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Hazel, Dr. A. E. W. Paul, Herbert
Cleland, J. W. Henry, Charles S. Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Clough, William Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.) Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E. Higham, John Sharp Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Hill, Sir Clement Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Hobart, Sir Robert Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Pirle, Duncan V.
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Holland, Sir William Henry Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Corbett. T. L. (Down, North) Holt, Richard Durning Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hooper, A. G. Radford, G. H.
Rainy, A. Rolland Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Straus, B. S. (Mile End) White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester) Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon) Whitehead, Rowland
Rendall, Atheistan Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Sunderland) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Ridsdale, E. A. Sutherland, J. E. Wiles, Thomas
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Rogers, F. E. Newman Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Ronaldshay, Earl of Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Rowlands, J. Thornton, Percy M. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Sears, J. E. Toulmin, George Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Seaverns, J. H. Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander Younger, George
Sherwell, Arthur James Walters, John Tudor
Shlpman, Dr. John G. Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton,
Soames, Arthur Wellesley Watt, Henry A.
Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Hudson, Walter O'Neill, Charles
Ambrose, Robert Jordan, Jeremiah Parker, James (Halifax)
Barnes, G. N. Joyce, Michael Philips, John (Longford, S.)
Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford) Kavanagh, Walter M. Pointer, J.
Boland, John Keating, M. Power, Patrick Joseph
Bowerman, C. W. Kekewich, Sir George Reddy, M.
Burke, E. Haviland. Kennedy, Vincent Paul Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Byles, William Pollard Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster) Redmond, William (Clare)
Cameron, Robert Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Richardson, A.
Clancy, John Joseph Lundon, T. Roche, Augustine (Cork)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lynch, A. (Clare, W.) Roche, John (Galway, East)
Crean, Eugene MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Scanlan, Thomas
Cullinan, J. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Delany, William MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Dillon, John M'Kean, John Sheehy, David
Duffy, William J. Meagher, Michael Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Steadman, W. C.
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Stewart, Hailey (Greenock)
Farrell, James Patrick Mooney, J. J. Summerbell, T.
Ffrench, Peter Muldoon, John Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Murnaghan, George Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)
Flynn, James Christopher Nannetti, Joseph P. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Fullerton, Hugh Nicholls, George Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Gilhooly, James Nolan, Joseph Wardle, George J.
Ginnell, L. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Glover, Thomas O'Doherty, Philip Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius O'Donnell, John (Mayo. S.)
Harrington, Timothy O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Healy, Maurice (Cork) O'Dowd, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Patrick O'Brien and Capt. Donelan.
Hodge, John O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Hogan, Michael O'Malley, William