§ (1) The Estates Commissioners in any ease where they propose to acquire compulsorily an estate or untenanted land—
- (a) in respect of which a final offer has been sent by them and has not been accepted in manner provided by this Act; or
- (b) in respect of which they have received a requisition under this Act from the Congested Districts Board shall publish in the "Dublin Gazette" a notice containing particulars of the final offer of the Land Commission or the Congested Districts Board as the case may be and stating that the Estates Commissioners intend to purchase the estate or untenanted land described in the final offer at the price named in such offer, unless within the prescribed time an application is made under this Part of this Act to the Judicial Commissioner by any person interested in the estate or untenanted land.
§ (2) A copy of the final offer and of the aforesaid notice shall as soon as possible be served in the prescribed manner by the Estates Commissioners upon all persons known or believed by them to be interested in the estate or untenanted land.
§ (3) Any person interested in the estate or untenanted land who is dissatisfied with the price named in the final offer may within the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner apply by way of objection to the Judicial Commissioner to fix the price to be paid for the estate or untenanted land.
§ (4) The Judicial Commissioner shall, with the assistance of two specially qualified lay assessors, hear in the prescribed manner and determine all applications coming before him under this Part of this Act, and for that purpose shall have and may exercise the powers conferred on the Land Commission by Sub-section (1) and Sub-section (3) of Section forty-eight of the Act of 1381, and his decision on any question other than one of law shall be final.
§ (5) An appeal shall lie to the Court of Appeal from any decision of the Judicial Commissioner under this Part of this Act on any question of law and the decision of the Court of Appeal on such question shall be final.
§ (6) Subject to any application to the Judicial Commissioner under this Part of this Act and the final determination of all questions arising thereon, the price named in the final offer or fixed under this Part of this Act as the case may be shall be deemed to be the purchase money of the estate or untenanted land, and shall within the prescribed time be paid into the Bank of Ireland, and the purchase shall be completed and the purchase money distributed in like manner and all the like consequences shall ensue as if the estate or untenanted land had been purchased 203 by the Land Commission or the Congested Districts Board, as the case may be, by agreement entered into under the Act of 1903 as amended by this Act upon the date of the payment of the purchase-money into the Bank.
§ (7) The costs and expenses of and incidental to any application to the Judicial Commissioner under this Section shall be at the discretion of that Commissioner, who may if he thinks fit order the same to be paid by the Land Commission or the Congested Districts Board.
§ (8) In fixing the price to be paid for an estate or untenanted land under this Section, no additional allowance shall be made on account of the purchase being compulsory.
§ Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (1) paragraph (b) Leave out the words "Judicial Commissioner" ["Part of this Act to the Judicial Commissioner"] and insert instead thereof the word "Court."
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Cherry)
This is the first of a number of Amendments of a very important description which have been moved to our Clauses for compulsory purchase. I use the term "compulsory purchase" advisedly. The phrase is popularly used, and it is the phrase used in the Bill. If in order it would be, I think, for the convenience of the House if I stated very briefly the general attitude of the Government towards these Amendments, and the difference between the scheme as it was and is, and will be if the Amendments which we propose are carried. According to our original scheme, we had, as the House is aware, general power of compulsory purchase all over Ireland, applied to classes of land whether outside or inside the congested districts: According to our proposals, the question of the necessity or expediency of putting into operation these compulsory powers rested entirely with the Departments who are entrusted with the Administration of the Act—the Congested Districts Board in the congested districts and the Estates Commissioners outside. The Congested Districts Board having for its functions primarily the relief of congestion, it was assumed that the Board would acquire land for the relief of congestion, and for that purpose only. We did not, in the Bill as it left this House, restrict it in so many words; we left it an open question whether or not it should apply, in the interest of carrying out the powers vested in them by statute, whether it should put 204 in force compulsory powers. We excepted a certain class of lands from these compulsory powers—demesne lands, gardens, pleasure grounds, and home farms. These are all phrases well known in Ireland, and have all received judicial interpretation in connection with matters arising under the Irish Land Acts. Every person familiar with the working of the Irish Land Act is familiar with these terms, and knows exactly how to interpret them in case it was necessary to determine whether lands came within their meaning or not. We did not except any other class of land for compulsory powers.
It became necessary under our original scheme that some tribunal of a judicial nature should be set up for three purposes:—Firstly, to determine whether or not the land proposed to be taken came within this description of lands which were exempted from the compulsory powers contained in the Bill; secondly, for another and a very important reason. The House will remember that in the course of the Committee Stage the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Mr. J. H. Campbell) raised the question that the Estates Commissioners might pick and choose bits of land from an owner's property, leaving the worst and taking the best, or taking a portion of land which would greatly injure the adjoining land. When the question was raised, and our attention called to the matter, we admitted the possibility, though not the probability, and we then provided that in any such case the tribunal established should determine what particular area of land should be purchased; so that if a portion of a man's estate was taken compulsorily by the Commissioners he should be able to claim that the whole of his property, or some such portion of it, as be thought desirable, should be acquired, and that the Estates Commissioners should not be allowed to pick and choose, and, perhaps, leave the owner encumbered. For that purpose some judicial tribunal was necessary. And the third and most important point of all to be determined wag the question of price.
We proposed under our original scheme, and we still adhere to it, the Judicial Commissioner of the Irish Land Commission as the authority for all those classes of duties. We thought that was the best tribunal, and I will give the House the reasons why. In the first place we thought it desirable that there should be one tribunal for all questions of that kind that arise. If you have a multiplicity of tribu- 205 nals, it means a great increase in cost and trouble and delay. Each tribunal would be confined to its own particular business, and you would have questions that arose directly before one tribunal bound up with questions that arose before another. The questions of price and value, for instance, work into one another; one of the matters in determining whether land is of a certain character and value is very often its site. Land is purchased at a high price, and sometimes it is assumed it is so purchased not for its agricultural value but for its amenities, so that the question of price and the question what land should be excluded, although apparently different, are very often the same. Everyone appearing in the courts in connection with these matters knows that the question of law and price are bound up together. So we think it desirable that not only should there be one tribunal to determine all these questions, but we think it should be the same tribunal in both cases, and we think it desirable also, in the first instance, it should be one man in all three cases and not three, and for these reasons: The taking of evidence before a tribunal of three persons is always a cumbersome, difficult, and tedious task. In nearly all systems of jurisprudence, certainly under our law, and under the law of Scotland, and I think it is also the Continental system, the practice is that one judge should be the tribunal in the first instance. One judge hears the case and makes up his mind, no matter how important the issues may be, and the issues in an ordinary Common Law action or in a Chancery Action may be quite as important and more important even than in questions of compulsory purchase. We think it advisable that there should be but one judge, and we think it reasonable that there should bean appeal from him on questions of law at all events, and we are quite content and anxious that the power of appeal should be extended and should be extended to all questions except the question of price, which is one that the Court of Appeal have admitted they could not enter upon, and have refused to enter upon where they had the authority. For these reasons we have selected the Judicial Commissioner, and I think I can give three good reasons for that selection.
In the first place he has had enormous experience in the determination of the very questions which arise. In his position as a Judge of the Land Commission, these questions are before him every day 206 —whether land is demesne land or not, what is the true value of the lands, what is the relation of the head rent, what is the value of the tithe rent charges and such matters as may be charged upon them. He is dealing with all these questions every day. I may say in regard to Mr. Justice Wylie—and the whole House will agree with me—there is no judge upon the bench who so satisfactorily discharges his duties; he has been a long time there, and, so far as I am aware, he has never been attacked by any individual or by anyone in the country. He discharges very difficult and important duties with great credit to himself and to his office. Of course, I could not ask the House to assent to the tribunal merely because of the high character of the judge. I think the position of Judicial Commissioner, apart from the individual, qualifies the holder of the office specially for this particular work.
Then, again, it is a fallacy to suppose that this system of compulsory purchase is novel. We have had ever since 1889, under the Land Purchase Acts, a system of compulsory redemption of head rents. A head rent, as every lawyer knows, is generally a fee simple estate in the land; it is not merely a rent charge; it is very often a case of long lease, very often a fee simple estate, and when a fee simple estate is determined by a judge of the Land Commission he has determined the price of a fee simple interest in the land. The Judicial Commission has done that every day for the last 20 years, and that is compulsory purchase, so that not only does his position and functions admirably suit him for the duties we propose he should discharge, but he has actually been doing every day since the Judicial Commissioner has been appointed the very thing she is expected to do under this Bill, including the fixing of the price of land. The question of the exclusion of demesne lands, parks, and pleasure gardens are matters which come before him every day. As to the question of price, to say that the Judicial Commissioner or any Commissioner that may be appointed is the best person to determine the price, is a question I need not argue, because on this-point I have the advantage of the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. J.H. Campbell) who on this very question approved most distinctly of the proposal of the Government that the Judicial Commissioner should be the tribunal to fix the price. I will read to 207 the House the right hon. Gentleman's words. He said:—I have given the question of the determination of the price every possible consideration, and I am bound to say that I have come to the same conclusion as the chief Secretary. I do not think we can altogether put aside the suggestion that a member of the purchasing body should not be the judge, not that I think it will in any way, in the case of Mr. Justice Wylie, operate unfairly. I do not think it will. I have had the honour of his acquaintance for a great many years, and I think both landlords and tenants will be safe in his hands to do what is right; but it is contrary to our ideas of natural justice that the head of this same Department, which is made under this Bill the purchasing authority, should, under the Act, be the man who will fix the price. At the same time, I cannot see any different solution, and I think it will work all right, and I do not wish for one moment to oppose it. As regards arbitration, the account which the right hon. Gentleman gave of it in this country made my mouth water, because I did not recognise that it was applicable to Ireland; but it has so many objections to it that I could not think of putting it before the right hon. Gentleman.He goes on to say:—But I ask the hon. and learned Member not to persist in the Amendment, because I think, on the whole, the Chief Secretary has adopted, under very difficult conditions, perhaps the best possible tribunal available to him, and certainly I myself cannot think of anything better or suggest any substitute.After the right hon. Gentleman had discussed the question of the objections he came to the conclusion that the Judicial Commissioner is the best possible tribunal available, and said, "I cannot think of anything better or suggest any substitute." After these remarkable words from a right hon. Gentleman who has had so much practical experience of the work of the Judicial Commissioner ever since he was appointed 30 years ago, I think the Government would not be justified in withdrawing the original proposal they made, more especially when it has secured such enthusiastic commendation. Just a few words in regard to the Amendment. By their Amendment, the House of Lords has restricted compulsion in the case of congestion expressly outside the congested area. This is a most important restriction and alteration in the Bill, and I think when we ask the House to agree to this restriction as we are doing we are making a very great concession indeed to the other House. Then they have enlarged the grounds upon which lands may be excluded. They had proposed a very general clause to the effect that if it appears to the tribunal they desire to set up that other land equally suitable can be acquired at a reasonable price voluntarily the Estates Commissioners and the Congested Districts Board are to be forbidden putting into force compulsory powers. This may be all right in theory, but in practice it 208 will lead to great difficulties. If they propose to purchase compulsorily the owner will be able to bring forward hundreds of cases perhaps of persons willing to sell land, and this will cause very great delay, because the circumstances of each of those estates will have to be inquired into by the judicial tribunal. This will take days and weeks, because the circumstances of each property must be investigated by both parties, and it will entail enormous trouble and expense and a considerable inconvenience. For these reasons we are prepared to ask the House to disagree with that Amendment. We think the Estates Commissioners and the Congested Districts Board may very well be trusted not to put compulsory powers into force unless they are absolutely necessary. No Government Departments are desirous of going to the trouble of compulsory purchase if they can get the land they require voluntarily.
The Lords Amendment exempts some other classes of land, but they are not very material. The main change made is to establish instead of the tribunal which we sought to set up a composite court composed of two King's Bench judges with the Judicial Commissioner, and they propose the option of arbitration. We think that arbitration is a most objectionable system. We have had experience of it in the working of the head rents, and the result was that this House unanimously abolished the possibility of arbitration for the purpose of fixing the price of the head rent, because the system was found to work so badly and dilatory, and was expensive. Now the House of Lords proposes to establish that system again, and we certainly object to it. We are anxious that the thing should be done as expeditiously as possible. To my mind there are even graved objections to the scheme which the House of Lords propose. They suggest, in the first place, a jury of three judges. Questions raised before such a court are much more difficult to determine, because frequently the judges take different views, and considerable delay is caused, for the reason that one judge can attend only on one day, because he is wanted in another court, and these eases have to be adjourned from day to day. But there are still graver objections to this proposal. I should be very sorry to make the slightest reflection upon the impartiality with which the judges in the King's Bench Division do their business, but their business is not that of fixing the price of land 209 and determining questions which arise in this case. They have other very much more important questions to determine with which they are more familiar, and they this proposal you are taking them away from their ordinary duties to discharge a duty which is foreign to their purpose and their present jurisdiction. As regards the question of delay, the primary duty of the King's Bench judges is to act as criminal judges, and during the months of March and July it would be absolutely impossible to get this tribunal together. In the month of December it would be equally impossible, for there are three circuits in Ireland—the spring circuit in March, the summer circuit in July, and the winter circuit in December. There are only four judges for the winter assizes, and if they have to carry out those duties as their ordinary work they would certainly not be available for the purposes of this new court, and it would paralyse the work of the courts. The scheme in every way is ill-judged and inconvenient. It would result in this, that practically for only six months in the year should we get a court. For three months the judges would be on circuit, and would not be available, and there is the three months' vacation. Then King's Bench judges have to discharge duties at Green-street, and if one of these judges happened to be the judge appointed to go to Green-street, these cases would have to be postponed. There would in every way be delay, increased expense, and unsatisfactory treatment of the whole matter. Just let me say one word as to the reasons why the Lords have dissented from our scheme and the arguments which they advance against the position in which we desire to place the Judicial Commissioner. They say he is a member of the Land Commission, and therefore prejudiced, and it is contrary to natural justice that a member of that body should be the person to fix the price. There is a sufficient answer to that, although he is a member of that body, his functions are quite independent of the Commissioners. He is doing chamber and departmental work, and he sits in a different place, and is never brought in contact with the Commissioners except in the case of appeals and when questions are referred to him. The same objections which apply to him under this Bill would apply under the Act of 1903, where he is made the Referee. It seems to me that in substance and fact the objection has no solid foundation what- 210 soever. There is another amply sufficient answer. We give an appeal from every decision of his, and we are willing to even extend the right of appeal, so that there will be in every case the right of appeal to the Court of Appeal in Ireland in every question except the one of price, which the courts have declared themselves incompetent to determine. We have, then, a judge in every way suitable, and one who fills a position which in every way suits the duties he will have to discharge. We are asked to accept in lieu thereof a cumbersome, awkward tribunal which it would be difficult to get together, and which has less special knowledge for the determination of the questions involved than the tribunal we set up. For these reasons I move, "That the House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
I hope to deal with the matter we have got to discuss as briefly as possible, because I want to keep faith with the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Birrell) in the undertaking we gave last night, in consideration of which we adjourned; but the matter is one of great importance. I believe myself, having regard to what I consider to be the inherent justice of the Amendments inserted in another place, that the refusal of the Government to accept these reasonable Amendments puts this Bill in the gravest possible danger. I can hardly understand why, when the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his colleagues found it possible upon matters of vital importance and of principle to come to an arrangement with the Noble Lords in another place, they should have been so obstinate in reference to a matter which I think I will satisfy the House has been dealt with by the House of Lords on precisely the same principles of ordinary justice and fair play on which the question of compulsion has always been dealt with in any Act of Parliament for any part of His Majesty's dominions up to the present day. The right hon. Gentleman has said they have given way in so far as they propose to leave as the subject-matter of review the decision of the Estates Commissioners as to the suitability or necessity of compulsion. He said that, so far as he was concerned, he would have been quite prepared to have left this matter in the discretion of the Estates Commissioners, and to have trusted entirely to them. I am not going to say anything at all against the Estates Commissioners beyond this, that they themselves have made no secret of the fact that they are exposed to pressure 211 from all sides. They are not a judicial body that you cannot approach except under pains and penalties for contempt of court. They are an administrative body, and anybody who knows anything about their working of the last few years knows that there has been overwhelming pressure from all sides, both of a legitimate and illegitimate kind. I would remind the House of what was said by the hon. Member for Kildare in the course of the discussion of the action of the Estates Commissioners in the distribution of untenanted land when he informed the House that the distribution had been most unsatisfactory, because the land was distributed in favour of persons who had the biggest crowd to shout for them and who could bring the greatest pressure to bear upon the Estates Commissioners. That is a state of facts which we all know there is at least a danger of existing, and I am myself inclined to think the Estates Commissioners would welcome the determination of the Government to accept the proposal of the House of Lords in that particular matter. So far as I can understand from the skeleton outline of the proposed Amendments given by the right hon. Gentleman—and it is very awkward to follow them unless they are given in detail—the Government do not intend to quarrel with the exceptions from compulsory powers so far as they are contained in the Amendments from another place. I assume that applies to any land which is at present the subject-matter of purchase annuity.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
That is a substantial concession, and one required in the interests of justice. It would have been an intolerable thing to have started a campaign of eviction against men who on the faith of an Act of Parliament are on the way to become proprietors of their own holdings. That is a substantial and at the same time, I think, a reasonable concession. There remains, practically, as the only question in dispute, the court that is to determine the price. I confess I was very much surprised that for the first time in my experience some observations of mine should have found favour in the eyes of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and I rather suspected what was in store for me. I would only say this with regard to the criticism he has made. I hardly think it is quite correct to describe as enthusiastic approval of the Government scheme a paragraph in which 212 I denounced it as vicious in principle and contrary to natural justice But that is what the right hon. Gentleman calls enthusiastic approbation of his original scheme. Let us understand exactly what was before the House at that time. There was no alternative scheme before it. At the time I spoke the only Amendment before the House was one to leave out these provisions about the fixing of prices. There was no scheme produced in conflict with it, and all I stated, while I condemned and still condemn the principle of the entrusting the determination of the price of the land to be purchased by his colleagues to the head of the tribunal purchasing it, was that I would, in the absence of any better proposal, support it. But then I went on to say that I believed it was vicious in principle, and contrary to natural justice, that the determination of the price involving such very large interests should be left in the hands of any one gentleman, even one of the ability and admitted impartiality of Mr. Justice Wylie, because it would put him in a false position and compel him often to come into conflict with those with whom he has to sit as colleagues in other departments of his work. The right hon. Gentleman stated certain reasons which, he said, influenced the Government in deciding that they would not accept the tribunal proposed in the Amendments inserted in another place. The first of those reasons surprised me very much. It was that in the Court of First Instance the tribunal would be limited to one. But what about the fixing of fair rents under the Act of 1882? What about the constitution of the Court of First Instance in those cases? Surely what was right for the tenant there could not be unjust or unfair for the landlords now? In 1882, in every case where fair rents were fixed, there was one lawyer and one assessor constituting the court. I thought that one and one made. two. I think so still. Originally, and with the approval of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway from Ireland, when the rent fixing tribunals in the Court of First Instance were set up in Ireland, they did not consist of one person, but of three. There were never less than two constituting the court. Thus we find hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway saying when it was a case of the tenants' interests, the determination should not be left to the decision of one person, but that the court should consist of at least two or three. That seems to me to be a very striking illustration of the want of any 213 foundation for the suggestion that either in principle or in practice the determination of the price should be left, in the first instance, to a single individual.
The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that there was a special advantage in this particular case in leaving this matter to be determined by the Judicial Commissioner, owing to his vast experience in questions involving the value of land. That may be sound in theory, but it is wrong in fact. The present Judicial Commissioner has only held his office 12 months, and he has neither more nor less experience in the practice of fixing the value of land than any of his colleagues in the King's Bench. We all know that they all, before they obtained the positions they now hold, practised for many years in the Land Court, and were engaged as counsel in questions affecting the value of land and in determining the principle on which that value ought to be fixed. Let me give another illustration, to be found under the Act of 1870. To whom did the appeals go in the cases of claims by tenants for compensation for unreasonable or capricious eviction? That went to a judge who had no assessor, and who had to determine all these questions for himself, and they were questions which involved just as intricate estimates of value and of the measure of the price of land as are now contemplated to be dealt with under the provisions of this Amendment. [Nationalist cheers.]
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
I was expecting that cheer. The hon. Member evidently did not observe the point of the cheers with which his colleagues greeted my last statement, for he speaks of the practice there referred to as a complete and disastrous failure. I will, however, accept his description of it. I will agree with him that it was a failure, and I will point out that you are now going to repeat that failure. You are going to again do what the hon. and learned Gentleman deems to have been in the past a disastrous and complete failure, and you are going to apply the same procedure to the enormous interests which are to be dealt with under the provisions of this Bill. I want to know—in the case of a great measure of this kind—on what conceivable principle the Government has strained at this gnat? What has induced them to strain at this gnat? They have swallowed a good deal. Having regard to the principles which we understood on the first and second read- 214 ing of this Bill the Government were prepared to die for before they would accept anything in the shape of surrender, and having regard to the surrenders they have made I cannot for the life of me understand what influence has been at work to prevent them accepting what I consider to be the most reasonable proposals contained in this Amendment. After all, what does it come to? The right hon. Gentleman says that one of the main objections is that a court of three cannot proceed as expeditiously as a court of one. I can understand that as a reason why in the case of every Court of Appeal you should confine its constitution to one. The tribunal proposed to be set up here is, however, to be practically a Court of Appeal from the Estates Commissioners. It is not a Court of First Instance, because the Estates Commissioners, under this Bill, will be the Court of First Instance, and we are not limited in this case to having a court of one. Under the Government Bill the Court of First Instance in this case will consist of at least two of the Estates Commissioners, and therefore I suggest that that in no way influenced the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, because under his scheme they have left the first determination of the matter to a body consisting of at least two persons. You are dealing not with a Court of First Instance at all, but with a Court of Appeal as to the question of price. The Court of Appeal is to be the final court except as regards questions of law. Now, the real matter involved in the determination of price is not a question of law. It is one of amount, and the court with which we are here dealing, and which the right hon. Gentleman call's the Court of First Instance, is, in fact, to be the final court as regards the main questions, mainly that of price. I cannot for the life of me understand the suggestion. I know of no analogy for it; I know of no court in England or under any Act of Parliament where you give an appeal on a question of price and that is left to the determination of a single individual. The right hon. Gentleman has-not ventured to assert anything against the integrity, impartiality, or ability of the gentlemen whom it is proposed should decide these matters, and it would not lie very well in his mouth to do so, because one-third of them are the nominees and appointees of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. The suggestion made here is this, and I wonder how far it will be acquiesced 215 in by hon. Members below the Gangway, that the Irish judges are so overwhelmed by their judicial duties that you cannot afford even for a few months to take some of them away for a special work of this kind. The picture that the right hon. Gentleman drew of the length of time that would be occupied in hearing these appeals is not vary reconciliable with the assertion we have had in these Debates that the Government intended to resort to compulsion in a very few and exceptional cases, and I should have thought that the few and far between instances in which the Estates Commissioners would be compelled to resort to compulsion—I should have thought that the Court of Appeal to be appointed would have easily disposed of them. That, however, does not appear to be the view of the right hon. Gentleman. He seems to think they will be at work from week to week, and that they will be deluged with appeals.
That throws a very strong light on what is going to be the actuality in regard to these appeals. It establishes what we have maintained all along, that once you let in the principle as applicable to a particular case, the pressure which is brought to bear on the Assistant Commissioner will be so great that the exception will become the rule. I am glad that to that extent the anticipations of the right hon. Gentleman as to the amount and kind of work which will be thrown upon this tribunal under the proposals of this Bill have been proved to be erroneous. What is, after all now between the right hon. Gentleman and his Government and those in another place who inserted this Amendment? He has quoted, and they have teen quoted ad nauseam, the remarks which I made when this matter was up in the House of Commons. But I have never had, and never pretended to have, in this House any title of any sort or kind to speak on behalf of the land-owners of Ireland. I do not represent them. I do not suppose 5 per cent, of my Constituents belong to that class, and I have never claimed or asserted any right to speak on their behalf. They know their own interests best, and just as the tenantry in Ireland in 1881 refused through their representatives to allow their rents to be fixed by the county court judge, and succeeded in getting a new tribunal set up, as least I should have thought that the persons who are primarily affected in this business, namely, the owners of land, should have a voice in saying what is to 216 be the nature and constitution of the court to which their interests are to be referred. I always listen attentively to the hon. Member for Waterford and read what he says, because he is the last Member in this House I should like to misquote, and he is scrupulously fair himself in quoting from an opponent. I have not his actual speech, but I do recall a speech he made a month ago in Ireland, in which he said that he, for one, would nave no objection to giving the land-owners in this matter the strongest judicial tribunal they could get. That was the substance, of his words, but I do not pledge myself to the literal accuracy of the quotation.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I will not contradict the right hon. Gentleman, but I have no recollection of that at all. I do not recollect making the speech.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
The hon. Member may take it from me that he did undoubtedly on a public platform pledge himself to this, that he had no objection to the landlords getting the strongest possible judicial tribunal for the purpose of determining the price of their land. The persons who constitute the tribunal cannot be impeached, and the right hon. Gentleman himself said that it is impossible to impeach them, and we have now come to this position in regard to this appeal, that after all that has been done in connection with it, and the efforts which have been made to bring about a settlement of this matter and let these appeals be brought, we are now to be told that there is to be a fight to the finish on this question of the tribunal. All I can say is I hope that this Amendment will be adhered to. I believe if there is one thing beyond anything else, that the land-owners are entitled to have, it is a thing which they have always yielded to the tenants—a strong and impartial tribunal to determine as between them and their landlords; and in adopting a tribunal which consists of the Judicial Commissioner himself, who is to be associated with two of his colleagues of the King's Bench, I think the land-owners have only insisted upon what is reasonable and just, and I again say that I trust that they will adhere, to their Amendment which they have proposed.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
The right hon. Gentleman was inconsistent, I think, in his statements and his arguments. At the commencement of his speech he said he could not understand why the Government were standing firm on this question at all. 217 He said they were straining at a gnat, but almost in the same sentence he spoke of it as a matter of such importance that the fate of the Bill would be put in the utmost danger or jeopardy if the Amendment were carried.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
I said so far as the Government was concerned it was a gnat, and so far as the owners, of property were concerned it was a vital matter.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I say as far as my view is concerned this is a matter of vital importance. We have been engaged all day yesterday in considering, and I am sorry to say in adopting, a series of Amendments by the Lords with regard to this Bill. Each one of those Amendments was injurious to the Bill, not only in the opinion of hon. Members sitting on these Benches but in the opinion of the Government and of the overwhelming majority of this House. Each one of those Amendments was bad, and the cumulative effect of them was most highly injurious to the value of this Bill, but I take such a serious view of this question that if none of those other Amendments had been carried, and if the Government accepted the new tribunal proposed by the House of Lords in this new Clause, I should say that it destroyed the value of their Bill. The right hon. Gentleman quoted from a speech which he said I delivered a month ago in Ireland, in which I said I was willing and anxious that the landlords should have the strongest possible tribunal to settle the value of their property. I have no recollection of making that speech, but I have no hesitation in repeating that today, and I regard the tribunal proposed by the Government as the strongest possible judicial tribunal which could be set up. Is it not ridiculous for the right hon. Gentleman—especially after his speech was quoted by the Attorney-General for Ireland—is it not ridiculous for him to contend that the Judicial Commissioner, Mr. Justice Wylie, a Judge of the Supreme Court, who commands the confidence of the right hon. Gentleman, does not constitute a strong judicial tribunal? What is the point? The right hon. Gentleman says, "You are going to compulsorily fix the value of a man's property, and therefore I am not satisfied that Mr. Justice Wylie, a Judge of the Supreme Court, is a fair or impartial or proper tribunal." But does the House realise that ever since the year 1881 the value of men's estates in Ireland have been from year to year compulsorily fixed, and compulsorily fixed by 218 what tribunal? Not by a Court of Appeal, not by Judges of the Supreme Court, sitting, as is suggested by the-House of Lords in this case, but by what may be called common or garden Sub-commissioners. There were three of them, but the last Government struck off one, so now there are only two. One is the Legal Commissioner and the other is only an assessor, and the decision in each of these cases is actually given by one man, and every decision as to the fair rents on an estate is a decision as to the value of the estate and a compulsory decision as to the value of the estate. The right hon. Gentleman seems to think that extraordinary pressure will be brought to bear upon the tribunal by the Government.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
No, the hon. Member is referring to a different matter altogether. I was referring to the discretion of the Estates Commissioners in determining what estates they would deal with.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
There is no point in that contention, because the right hon. Gentleman has already conceded, and he admits as to that, that there is an appeal provided by the Government proposal on all these points to the Court of Appeal, so that the observation of the right hon. Gentleman is of no value if there is no suspicion that the tribunal set up by the Government is open to pressure. What is to be said as to the position of this one Sub-commissioner? Is he not open to pressure at this moment, and when this Sub-commissioner is sitting in the country towns, and is deciding the value of fair rents, what appeal is there from that? Is there an appeal to the Court of Appeal on the question of value? Is there an appeal to the two Judges of the Supreme Court? Nothing of the kind. There is an appeal to one man at the head of the Land Commission in Dublin, and his decision on the question of value is final. In these circumstances, and in view, of the existing law on the question of fixing fair rents it does seem to me ridiculous for the right hon. Gentleman to say that the tribunal proposed in this Bill, namely, the Judicial Commissioner, Mr. Justice Wylie, who has the rank of a Judge of the Supreme Court, and whose ability and impartiality everyone admits—it is ridiculous to say that that is not a fair tribunal. Take the tribunal proposed by the House of Lords. Two Judges of the King's Bench Division, with an appeal on this question 219 of value to the Court of Appeal. That does not exist with regard to any other case in Ireland.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I understand, but what he has advocated is an appeal to the Court of Appeal on the question of Value.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
Then, so far, the right hon. Gentleman is not at variance with the Government, and he does not suggest that there should be an appeal on questions of price to these two Judges in the King's Bench Division, who had no sort of experience in fixing questions of value at all, whereas the Judicial Commissioner proposed by the Government is engaged from day to day in doing this very work. We believe that the tribunal proposed by the House of Lords would make the working of this Bill absolutely impossible. Just consider the position in which we stand with regard to compulsion under this Bill. First of all the Bill provided a general power of compulsion. Then that general power was struck out at the instance of the House of Lords, and the compulsion was limited to compulsion for the treatment of congestion, and although we felt very bitterly the striking out of that general power we felt that the granting of compulsion all through Ireland in regard to this question of congestion would be a very valuable thing. Now the House of Lords comes along, and, having made that so-called concession on the question of compulsion in relation to-congestion, they propose a tribunal which everyone connected with Ireland knows perfectly well could not, and would not work, and they have taken away with the one hand what they professed to do with the other. Under no circumstances could we take any responsibility for a tribunal of this kind, and I am glad the Government has stood firm upon this matter. In my judgment it would be better for the right hon. Gentleman to lose his Bill than to accept this tribunal. Of course, that is a matter for himself, I cannot compel him to drop his Bill. I am powerless in this matter. He can do as he likes. He can pass his Bill in spite of what we say if he likes, but we have the duty thrown upon us of saying that, in our opinion, it would 220 be better to lose the Bill than to accept this tribunal. The hon. Member (Mr. Moore) just now said we were dying to get this Bill passed. I admit I was dying to get the Bill passed in the form in which this House passed it, because it was in that form a great Bill, and would have gone very far indeed to settle the Irish Land Question. If it is carried in its present form, even though this Amendment of the House of Lords be defeated, it will not settle the Irish Question. In its present form I am not dying for the Bill to pass. The people who are dying for the Bill to pass are those landlords who want to get the benefit of the £22,000,000 additional money which the Bill is providing for their benefit, both in flotation losses and in addition to the bonus. If it rested with us we would vote against the passage of this Bill with this Amendment in it.
§ Mr. MOORE
I do not know that anyone really was carried away by the eloquence of the hon. Member. Those who have studied the actions of hon. Members and have listened to their protests can hardly mistake them for reality. We know what these protests are worth. I was surprised to hear the hon. and learned Member say this was a great Bill when it passed the Commons.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
No; on the third reading of the Bill I said it was in my judgment a great and far-reaching method of reform.
§ Mr. MOORE
I was talking of the attitude which the hon and learned Member took up when the Government rejected his own Amendment, which every Irish Unionist voted for, in protesting against the increase of the tenants' annuity. He then used different language, and said the annuity had taken half the benefit out of the Bill. With regard to the present Amendment, it has come down to this, that these compulsory powers are to be exercised for the purpose of congestion, and when you are dealing with a tribunal which has to do with the exercise of compulsory powers it is more in 221 relation to congested areas than to any other. What is really, as the Bill stands, the real Court of First Instance in regard to compulsory purchase in congested areas? It is a Board of nine members, who are to initiate the whole proceeding, and even the Chief Secretary cannot tell us now a single name of these nine. It will be safe to assume that 75 per cent. of them will be members or ex-members of the staff of the "Freeman's Journal," and that the remainder will be' nominated by the hon. Member (Mr. Dillon) and his Friends. We shall have Mr. John Fitzgibbon, probably Mr. Denis Johnstone, and a few gentlemen who have shown what real patriots they are by undergoing the penalty of imprisonment. If a Board constituted in this way is to be the Court of First Instance to decide what powers are to be put in force for compulsion, is it any wonder that the men whose lands are to be taken compulsorily on the initiative of that Board should ask that at least the Court of Appeal, which by judicial process is to decide these matters, should be one in which the owners of the land to be taken have confidence? This is their proposal.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The hon. Member said the Congested Districts Board would be the initiative in this matter. They would not be the initiative in the question of price; they would be the initiative in the question of what estate was to be purchased, and on the question whether that estate ought or ought not to be purchased there is an appeal under this proposal to the full Court of Appeal.
§ Mr. MOORE
The position the Chief Secretary takes up is that if you have an ultimate Court of Appeal in Ireland, inasmuch as we all have confidence in the Court of Appeal, it does not matter what 222 happens in the intermediate stage, what tribunal you put up, or what costs you incur so long as you have a final Court of Appeal in the Court of Appeal. Why should you be driven to the Court of Appeal in every case? I thought the Government wanted to avoid litigation and cost. But there is another objection. I say nothing against Mr. Justice Wylie. I agree with every word that has been said about him. He has the confidence of the entire profession. What is Mr. Justice Wylie's real function in Ireland? I do not believe he has heard fair rent appeals on more than half a dozen occasions, because his most important function is that he represents the State judicially in sanctioning the paying out of every farthing of public money which goes to land purchase. You have at present £62,000,000 of public money which is to be paid out under agreements which have been lodged and which can only be paid out after judicial investigation for which Mr. Justice Wylie himself is judicially responsible. Not a penny of that will be paid out without his signature. He is the only judge who is qualified to do this. If you take him from his work of passing final schedules, superintending the work of the examiners who have gone into the title and paying out this money, it is another block on land purchase, because there is no one who can take his place.
§ Mr. MOORE
Is it desirable to take Mr. Justice Wylie away from this work? If it is not desirable, I do not think there is much in the interruption. If you remove Mr. Justice Wylie you are putting another block in the way of land purchase. I do not suppose that argument appeals to the Government because, as far as I can make out, their intention is to put every obstacle in the way of land purchase, because they say, with the hon. Member (Mr. Dillon), the Act has been working too smoothly. I think the Lords will be very ill-advised if they allow for a moment any alteration to be made in their proposal which would 223 lesson the value to them of the Court of Appeal which they have proposed to set up, a court against which no impartiality and no ulterior motive can be suggested but which gives confidence to those whose land is going to be taken and which in justice they ought to have, even at the risk of more protests from hon. Members below the Gangway.
§ Mr. CHERRY
I made a mistake just now. Mr. Justice Dodd could not be compelled to do this work; he is only appointed for the purpose of fixing fair rents.
§ Mr. MOORE
That is what I said. I do not think it very material. I trust those that moved this Amendment and carried it in the other House will adhere to it, because there is no earthly use in all these safeguards which are put into the Bill unless you have a tribunal which you can trust absolutely to carry them out, and, without saying anything against Mr. Justice Wylie, I think it would be a misfortune that he should be taken away from his legitimate work of distributing public money, provided the Government intend to apply any more money for land purchase.
§ Mr. CHARLES CRAIG
The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond) said he had no power to compel the Chief Secretary to drop this Bill. We all remember, only a couple of years ago, in the exercise of the power which we in Ireland know he possesses, that he made the Chief Secretary drop the Irish Councils Bill. In that case he only had to hold up his little finger and the Bill was dropped. I have not the slightest doubt that if it was his real wish that this Bill should be dropped he could exercise his powers in precisely the same way as he did then, but I think he has not the slightest intention of doing anything further than making the strong protest that he has made towards wrecking this Bill, and on that assumption I should certainly hope that Noble Lords in another place will stand to their guns firmly and will insist on having the tribunal which they have put in their Amendment as the tribunal which is to consider these questions, principally of the price of land to be acquired compulsorily. I am very glad indeed that the crucial question on which this Bill is either to stand or to fall, if we are to believe the Attorney-General and the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond), is being put clearly before the House of Commons. The hon. and learned Gentleman said we were occupied all 224 yesterday in adopting the modifications in the Bill which had been proposed by the House of Lords, and which went very far towards spoiling the usefulness of the measure. I would point out to hon. Members below the Gangway that if they have had to adopt modifications in the Bill, they must, always remember that in bargaining, whether in regard to an Act of Parliament, a pound of tea, or a horse, they always ask twice as much as they ever hope to get. Therefore. I can quite understand that they were not at all surprised when they found themselves in the position of having to accept considerable modifications when the Bill came back from the House of Lords. But they forget that, even if they made concessions yesterday, the House of Lords has made very great concessions in what they have allowed to remain in the Bill. The question of compulsory purchase, which is the most important part of the Bill, is absolutely antagonistic not only to the interests of the land-owners in Ireland but antagonistic to the interests of land-owners all over the kingdom. It is not a small concession which has been made in another place to admit the principle of compulsion to such an extent as has been done. It is not fair to assume that all the concessions have been on the part of hon. Members below the Gangway, for in reality they are getting everything, and the owners of land in Ireland stand to lose everything, unless, I admit, provision is made for their getting a fair price for what is taken from them. If that is done, they will not have very much to fear. If hon. Members on this side of the House were assured that under this Bill the landlords should get a fair price for their land, we should not raise any further objection. It is with that laudable desire we hope that the Amendment proposed by the House of Lords will be adhered to. With the exception of cases where land is compulsorily acquired for public works, railways, and so on, it has not hitherto been possible to compel landlords to sell their land, what is now proposed is a perfectly new principle in English law, and it is one which has been resisted on both sides of the House for many years. Now for the first time that principle is embodied in an Act of Parliament. In connection with everything relating to the purchase of land in Ireland there has been a great deal of dissatisfaction and disagreement as to whether the decisions of the existing tribunals were right or not. I was, therefore, surprised to hear the hon. and 225 learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) quoting this afternoon the case of the Sub-commissioners as the analogy on which we should act in appointing the tribunal to be set up under this Bill. My recollection of the action of the Nationalist party with relation to the fixing of fair rents is that they have invariably complained since 1881 that rents were unfairly fixed and that they were too high. [An Hon. Member: "Very properly."] An hon. Member says, "Very properly," but it is the tribunal which has fixed rents for the last 30 years. That is suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford as the analogy which he wishes to see followed in setting up this tribunal. The land-owners in Ireland are the persons who are to be compulsorily expropriated. After listening to the Debate this afternoon I venture to say that the argument used by the Attorney-General that the tribunal proposed by the House of Lords would not be able to cope with the work is of no value. The Chief Secretary himself, in putting his proposal before us, insisted time and again that it would be only in very few exceptional cases that this tribunal would be called upon to act, and that the cases would be rare where the landlords and the Congested Districts Board or the Estates Commissioners would not be able to agree between themselves on the price. If that is so, then I say the objection raised by the Attorney-General to the tribunal proposed by the House of Lords, namely, that it would be impossible to get the work done in that way, falls to the ground at once. Then the objection was taken that the Judges at the High Court know nothing of the value of land. It has been pointed that the present Judicial Commissioner, Mr. Wylie, until a year ago had no more acquaintance with the question of land than the Judges of the High Court. [An HON. MEMBER: "He was a Sub-commissioner."] That is a long time ago. [An HON. MEMBER: "He has more experience."] Unfortunately, Mr. Wylie may be called away at any time. We are asking on behalf of the persons in Ireland who are going to be expropriated, that there should be set up the strongest and fairest tribunal you can get, and I ask whether there is anything unreasonable in asking that it should consist of the Judicial Commissioner and two Judges of the High Court? That is perfectly fair and impartial, and if the Government refuse, and if hon. Members below the Gangway refuse to acquiesce in that proposal, it 226 must be because they have some ulterior motive. They think that the tribunal would fix the prices to be paid to the landlords at too high a figure. There can be no other assumption. Nobody would seriously contend that those gentlemen, after hearing expert witnesses, would have any difficulty in determining what the proper price was. Another objection to the Lords Amendment was that it would mean the taking away of two judges from the ordinary rota of the judges, and thereby dislocating the ordinary legal work in Ireland, but that is an objection which also falls to the ground like the others. Because the landlords ask a little bit more than hon. Members below the Gangway consider they are justly entitled to ask, they think that no good is to be obtained from the Bill and that it might as well be thrown away. If they take up that attitude, let them do so. I have always held that the Bill contains a great deal morn harm than good, but even with the depleted terms it contains I suppose there are some persons who are prepared to take the Bill. I believe the landlords who want the Bill are very few and far between, but if they want to get rid of their land at a price, I would be very sorry to stop them. With that exception and the provision which the Bill contains in the interests of the ratepayers, I do not think the measure contains anything which should make either landlords or tenants have the slightest hesitation in throwing it back on the Government at any time.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
I regret that the Chief Secretary has not said a word to us in this Debate, because, notwithstanding the impatience of some hon. Members below the Gangway, I would remind the Government that this is the most important question in the Bill. There has been some controversy as to what the exact proposals of the Government are and as to what would be the effect of the proposed tribunal upon the people whose land is to be taken. Whatever may be the case in regard to these controversies, there can be no dispute that you are asking Parliament to empower a body in Ireland which is not responsible to this House, and which is not represented by a Minister sitting in this House in the same sense that other spending departments are represented, to compulsorily acquire land for the relief of congestion, and you are taking credit to the Government for attempting to relieve congestion by this new measure. So far, so good, but you have no right to take that credit while refusing to those whose land 227 is to be taken the form of tribunal which is provided in every other case where land is compulsorily acquired, except in connection with allotments and small holdings. I had hoped that the Chief Secretary might have indicated to the House that there was room yet for some arrangement or compromise. We have heard the declaration of the Attorney-General that the Government cannot accept the proposal made in another place. It was said by the Attorney-General that we ought to be content with the fact that the Judicial Commissioner is to fix the price. There is no suggestion against the good faith and high minded action of the Judicial Commissioner. He is not impugned. At the same time it is perfectly true that the Judicial Commissioner is a member of the Estates Commission.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
He is a member of the Land Commission, and therefore he is to a large extent a party to these proceedings. I quite understand the interruption of the learned Attorney-General (Mr. Cherry), but even he will admit that in this controversy the distinction between the people who are concerned in the administration of the Land Acts in Ireland is a very narrow one, and everyone concerned in the administration of the various Land Acts, of which this is going to form one, have a common object in view, and are working practically on the same lines. To set up the Judicial Commissioner as an absolutely independent tribunal, to whom all the landlords can look whose land is to be taken away compulsorily for the relief of congestion in which they may have no concern themselves, is to make a proposal which is asking a great deal of those whose land is being taken away, and I regret extremely that there has been no suggestion so far of any possible compromise. Various suggestions have been made outside this House for a special tribunal, or a court such as was set up in the Land Act of 1871. There is, I believe, precedent m some of these earlier Acts of a special tribunal. I could name more than one public official in Ireland whose names will be received with universal approbation both by those above the Gangway and those below the Gangway. One of those who have been suggested is the Vice-President of the Local Government Board, a man of exceptional experience in connection with congestion, and in connection with the general government of Ire- 228 land, against whom there never has been the smallest suggestion by anybody, either Nationalist or unionist, and a man whose services to Ireland have been of the highest possible character. I say, as an instance, that Sir Henry Robinson is one of those officials who might be selected if it were decided to have a special tribunal.
Do not let there be any mistake about the position. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) made it perfectly clear that he and his friends do not want this Bill if there is to be the smallest change in the tribunal. I have no authority to speak for those in another House, who have put this Amendment in, but with all responsibility for my words, I say that unless an attempt is made to compromise over this question, the fate of this Bill will be gravely imperilled. When hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway say, as they said to-day, that this Bill will be taken by Irish landlords because they want money, I think they are doing a poor service to the cause they represent; because surely we know that the smooth working of the Land Acts in Ireland is at least as important to the tenant farmers in Ireland as to the landlords. The supply of money for the purpose of land purchase is as important to the general good government of Ireland and to the farmers as it is to the landlords themselves. Therefore to suggest that the landlords welcome this Bill simply because it provides money for themselves is to do a poor service to the cause which the Nationalist Members themselves represent. I do not believe, if the landlords of Ireland are not satisfied with the tribunal in all respects, that they will consider the proposals in this Bill so favourable as to justify them in accepting it. What their view may be I do not know, but I do know this, that every argument that has been addressed by my hon. Friends behind is one which rests on strong conviction, and is not addressed to the House simply because they desire to oppose this Bill. On the contrary, we should like to see this Bill passed, and should like to see an effort made by Parliament to strengthen the efforts made by the Irish Government to deal with congestion. But I cannot contemplate without dismay and without a grievous feeling of alarm any serious stoppage in the transfer of land from owner to occupier in Ireland. For these reasons I would be thankful to see the Bill passed; but I say to the Government in all seriousness, whatever may be their opinion in I regard to Mr. Justice Wylie, the present 229 Judicial Commissioner—and I share in that opinion—as to his competence to deal with these difficult and delicate questions, they are asked now to make a change which is not of a very grave kind, and will not, I believe, produce the result anticipated by the hon. and learned Gentleman. I believe, on the other hand, that if this tribunal which has been suggested is not one which meets with their approval, it will be possible to find one upon which all are agreed, and I regret extremely that there has been no suggestion of possible compromise. All that we have heard from the Government and from hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway is this: "There are our terms; take them or leave them. If you do not take them this Bill will drop. "If that is so, I say that the responsibility for that result will rest with the Government.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The observations of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Long) I think demand some sort of reply. I am not here to speculate as to what the fate of the Bill may be. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway say, I believe with perfect sincerity, that anxious as they are to have a Bill, they are not anxious to have any Bill, and hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway taunt them with the feeling that. "You would take any Bill." What Bill would the hon. and learned Gentleman take?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
However, I am not to speculate on that. I have my own responsibility as Minister in charge of this Bill. I listened to these accusations, which are rather of a bluffing character, from hon. Members with indifference. I am most anxious to save this Bill, because I am anxious to relieve the ratepayers of Ireland from an immediate obligation, and I am also anxious to preserve the framework, if only the framework, of land purchase in Ireland, which is imperilled, and has been almost destroyed owing to the complete financial breakdown of the whole machinery of the Act of 1902. I am anxious to go on doing what this Government has done with greater generosity than any previous Government, namely, supply five or six or eight or ten millions a year for the purpose of discharging these obligations. No other Government has ever done as much, and we have continued to do it at a rate which was never contemplated by the promoters of the Act of 1903, who took their stand 230 upon a certain speculation as to the price of Land Stock. They hoped that Land Stock, which they issued first at 88, would go up, and that if it had gone up they would increase the five millions a year. But instead of that it has gone down. I am most anxious for these reasons to preserve and maintain this Bill. But I stand here at this moment among the fragments of my own measure. Hon. Gentlemen opposite speak as if this was the one point as if nothing else in the nature of change had been suggested. They say, "How obstinate he is," and "it all comes down to the question of price, giving two Judges of the High Court and the Judicial Commissioner the right to determine the price and having to appeal to them for every acre of land required by the Congested Districts Board and by the Estates Commissioners for the relief of congestion, and the relief of congestion alone. Surely you will not wreck the Bill on that." But in answer to this I may point out that in this Bill I have given way already. I have been doing nothing yesterday, all day and all night, but giving way, and now that this particular point is reached they say that there is nothing at issue except the price. The price is made the principal point. But if that be so, then why, may I ask, did they insist in the House of Lords on an appeal on the ground of necessity?
That was not in our Bill, but we conceded that point to them, that the Estates Commissioners and the Congested Districts Board should not be trusted to do the work of their own Departments; that they should not be justified in saying, "We want this particular estate," but that the owner could say for any particular reason, "You could get land elsewhere, and you cannot have this unless you can show the necessity for it. "We have conceded the appeal as to necessity, and now we are content to leave to Mr. Justice Wylie that matter of necessity and all the other points of law which are closely involved in the question of necessity. With regard to the restrictions which we have accepted which are prohibitions as to kind of lands to be acquired, there is an appeal from Mr. Justice Wylie to three learned judges, constituting the Court of Appeal in Ireland. I cannot understand for the life of me how any human being can say that we have not given the fullest possible protection to the landlords. Except, they say, on the question of price there is no Court of Appeal. I do not see how any court, 231 the House of Lords, or anybody else, on the question of price can act as a Court of Appeal. All they can do is to delegate their powers. Eventually you come down to the opinion of one man when it is a question of price, just as you do under the Lands Clauses Consolidation Acts. Each side appoints an arbitrator. If they differ—as frequently they do—an umpire is appointed, and on that umpire alone millions of money have been fixed as the price of land, and you ultimately get to one man. You do not get these three learned lawyers sitting in Dublin. How can they determine precisely the value of land away down in a distant county which they do not visit and do not inspect, and which they have always declined to visit or to inspect? Judges time out of mind have said it is no business of theirs to do anything of the
§ sort. "If you like, we will appoint our inspector to go and inspect the property." So on the question of price you have to rely on one particular man. We are all agreed that Mr. Justice Wylie, who is an important and responsible person, is fitted, and therefore I only rose for the purpose of repudiating the suggestion that I am the obstinate person or that I am inspired with any other wish save to do what is needful in the matter. I have proved my earnest, passionate, desire to save this Bill, but I have conceded point after point against my own intelligent conviction, and it is therefore not right to say that I am the obstinate person who will make no concessions.
§ Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 246; Noes, 45.233
|Division No. 910.]||AYES.||[5.0 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Cullinan, J.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Curran, Peter Francis||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Hodge, John|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Delany, William||Hogan, Michael|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Ambrose, Robert||Dillon, John||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Dobson, Thomas W.||Hooper, A. G.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Donelan, Captain A.||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Duffy, William J.||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Baker, Joseph A.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Barker, Sir John||Erskine, David C.||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Jenkins, J.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Essex, R. W.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jones, Sir D, Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Evans, Sir S. T.||Jones, Leil (Appleby)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Everett, R. Lacey||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Falconer, J.||Jordan, Jeremiah|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Farrell, James Patrick||Joyce, Michael|
|Bertram, Julius||Fenwick, Charles||Kearley, Rt. Hon. Sir Hudson|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Ferens, T. R.||Keating, M.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Ffrench, Peter||Kelley, George D.|
|Boland, John||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Flynn, James Christopher||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Brigg, Sir John||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Laidlaw, Sir Robert|
|Bright, J. A.||Fullerton, Hugh||Lambert, George|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Furness, Sir Christopher||Lamont, Norman|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Ginnell, L.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Glover, Thomas||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)|
|Cameron, Robert||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Griffith, Ellis J.||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Gulland, John W.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Lundon, T.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Hancock, J. G.||Lynch, A. (Clare. W.)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Lynch, H. B.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Clough, William||Harrington, Timothy||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hart-Davies, T.||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Haworth, Arthur A.||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||M'Callum, John M.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A,||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||M'Kean, John|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Helme, Norval Watson||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Maddison, Frederick|
|Crean, Eugene||Henry, Charles S.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Cross, Alexander||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Marnham, F. J.|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Pointer, J.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Massie, J.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W H.||Stanley, Hut. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Stewart, Halley (Greerock)|
|Meagher, Michael||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Meehan, Francis E (Leitrim, N.)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Sunderland)|
|Middlebrook, William||Radford, G. H.||Summerbell, T.|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Rainy, A. Rolland||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Mooney, J. J.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Morse, L. L.||Reddy, M.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Muldoon, John||Redmond, William (Clare)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Murnaghan, George||Rees, J. D.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Myer, Horatio||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Toulmin, George|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Verney, F. W.|
|Nolan, Joseph||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Walsh. Stephen|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Roche, Augustine (Cork)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|O'Dowd, John||Roche John (Galway, East)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|O'Grady, J.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Pose, Sir Charles Day||Williamson, Sir A.|
|O'Malley, William||Rowlands J.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|O'Neill, Charles (Armagh, S.)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Scanlan, Thomas||Winfrey, R.|
|Paul, Herbert||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Sheehy, David||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Silcock, Thomas Ball||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Pirie, Duncan V.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Heaton, John Henniker||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hill, Sir Clement||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Joynson-Hicks, William||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Kerry, Earl of||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Clark, George Smith||Kimber, Sir Henry||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Younger, George|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Moore, William|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Morpeth, Viscount||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Valentia and Lord Balcarres.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned," put, and agreed to.
§ Lords Amendment: Leave out from end of Sub-section (2) to end of Clause.
§ Mr. CHERRY
I move "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment." This portion is proposed to be left out in order to substitute other Clauses for it.
§ Lords Amendment: After Clause 64, insert Clauses E, F, and G.