The Lord Chancellor
said, that the Limitation of Actions (Ireland) Bill was precisely similar to the one that had passed that House last Session, and he should therefore merely move, that the House now go into committee on the bill.
The Marquess of Clanricarde
must protest against so indecent a proceeding. Here was a bill that would immediately affect some twenty or thirty actions in Ireland, and would disturb a large amount of valuable property, and such a bill should be accompanied, at least, by some statement from a Minister. The bill had not passed Parliament last Session; for it. had not passed the other House of Parliament, and their Lordships required to have some explanation of this. An attempt. to smuggle the bill through the 743 House was degrading to the dignity of Parliament.
The Lord Chancellor
said, he had not the slightest objection to state the nature of the bill. It was a Whig bill, and arose out of the report of a commission appointed to inquire into the state of the law regarding real property. Upon that report certain alterations were proposed by his noble and learned Friend who then held the great seal, and a bill was brought in and passed without opposition, and was now never mentioned without approbation. The object of the bill was to enact, that after a certain number of years possession the holder of the property should not be disturbed in his possession. Advowsons were a description of real property that required particular clauses. Instead of limiting the right in this case to forty years, the bill prescribed this rule:—that if the adverse possession amounted to sixty years, or if there had been three presentations, then the person enjoying the property should not be disturbed in his enjoyment. That was the object of the bill that had passed through that House nine or ten years ago, as the result of his noble Friend's commission—not a Tory but a Whig bill. But it so happened, that a great authority on Irish law in that House, Lord Plunkett, stated, that he saw no reason why the bill should not be extended to Ireland, and in consequence of that suggestion, a bill was introduced into their Lordships' House last Session, and passed the House without a division, and almost without a remark, and the only reason why the bill did not pass through the other House was, that it was sent down at too late a period of the Session. There was a peculiarity in Irish law, for which provision would be made by this bill. By the statute of Charles and by that of Queen Anne, in the Irish Parliament, provision was made that when an advowson happened to be in the hands of a Roman Catholic—Papist was the term used in the Irish acts of Parliament—the right of presentation should be exercised by the Crown, until the individual holding the advowson conformed to the Established Church, when the right of presentation immediately returned to him. Now, it was reasonable and proper that the adverse possession of the Crown should not bar the latent rights of the legitimate holder, and for this peculiarity a provision had been made in the bill. It 744 had been said, indeed, that in such a case the Crown acted, merely as a trustee, but the Crown never could be a trustee; and even if it were possible that the Crown could at any time assume the character of a trustee, it could not assume that character in this case, the words of the statute being, that the right of presentation should vest in the Crown. He trusted he should be able to give a satisfactory reply to any objections that might be raised in the progress of the measure through that House.
§ The House divided on the question that the House resolve itself into committee. Contents 30; Not-Contents 4; — Majority 26.
§ House went into committee.
§ Bill passed through committee with amendments.
§ House resumed—Bill reported.
§ House adjourned at nine o'clock.