The Earl of Rosebery
said, he had, on a former occasion, observed that his introducing any measure to alter the law of entail in Scotland, must depend on those persons in that country who were individually interested in the subject. Since then he had been induced to frame a Bill, in consequence of very strong representations which had been made to him by individuals who were anxious for a relaxation of the existing law. That Bill he now took the liberty of offering to their Lordships. It would effect a very considerable alteration of the law as it now stood. It gave the power of granting leases for the ordinary duration of time to which leases usually extended, which could not now be done in many instances. Next, it contained a power for alienating land for the purpose of building. In the third place, it gave the power to any proprietor to exchange lands for others of an equal 204 value—the exchange to take place before the sheriff of the county. The last change would be to give landed proprietors power to sell for the payment of certain debts. All these several powers their Lordships were in the habit each session of granting, but he deemed it advisable to make them the subject of a general act, so that parties might be enabled to do that with ease which now they could not perform without encountering much vexation and expense.
§ The Bill read a first time.