§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading road.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE moved the Second Reading of this Bill, which, he said, was brought in with the entire approbation of his noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor, and which, he believed, would be found calculated to give increased effect to the measures recently adopted by Parliament to facilitate the Act for the sale of incumbered estates in Ireland. He was induced to ask their Lordships to give their assent to the second reading of this Bill, and also to a subsequent measure, the Estates Leasing (Ireland) Bill, because they were founded upon the principle of reforming certain proceedings which now took place in the Court of Chancery in Ireland; or rather to bring back the law of that country to its original principle and habit—an object, he was persuaded, the House would deem of paramount importance. The practice of judgments in Ireland had been diverted from their original intention, which was to facilitate the recovery of debts, by being converted into a species of security being substituted in fact for mortgages. This practice had been attended with a vast amount of inconvenience. Any person, when he borrowed money, submited to a judgment; the consequence was, that doubt was created as to the value and validity of an immense number of titles. It was also attended with the effect that where property was sold liable to any of these judgments, the searches might be prolonged ad infinitum. Under the provisions of this Bill 7 it was proposed that all existing judgments upon property might be convertible into mortgages, after which they would not take effect except by registry. The effect would be greatly to increase the number of mortgageable titles in Ireland, and in proportion as they were increased would the proprietors be relieved. Such being the nature of the measure, he asked the House to consent to the second reading of the Bill, seeing that it was intended to apply a remedy to cases where there existed a great and crying grievance, which at this particular moment was pressing heavily upon a large class of proprietors.
The EARL of GLBNGALL
apologised for the prominent part he took in opposing these Irish measures of the Government, on the ground that there was no Peer on that side of the House of sufficient legal authority to undertake their discussion. The noble Marquess had called it a sort of supplement to the Encumbered Estates Bill. If he thought so, he would divide against it clause by clause. That Bill was an act of confiscation, under which Irish property was daily sold at rates varying from one and a half to thirteen years' purchase, which, under other circumstances, would have realised thirty or forty years' purchase. Although he was sorry to admit that the Irish people had not hitherto opposed this nefarious measure as it deserved, he firmly believed the time would come when they would assemble in College-green, and burn these Parliamentary titles by the hands of the common hangman. It was, in fact, such a confiscation as Cromwell had never attempted. With respect to the present Bill, he had no objection to the right given to judgment creditors to become mortgagees, but he thought that the right of appointing receivers should be done away with. He thought that the best course would be to refer it to a Select Committee. He defied any man to contradict the statements which he had made. If they gave him a Select Committee to inquire into the matter, he would prove the truth of all he advanced in the course of two hours. He wished to know was there anything more monstrous than that a judgment creditor for 500l. should have better security for his money than the first mortgagee on an estate? He proposed to abolish the power of appointing receivers on present judgments, and that the existing receivers should, on payment of the interest due, close their accounts. The noble Earl begged to submit certain Amendments 8 which he had prepared against the Bill; and if their Lordships would do him the honour to give them a fair consideration, he hoped to be able to convince Her Majesty's Government of their necessity.
The EARL of WICKLOW
said, that it would be quite time enough to consider those Amendments in Committee. He was anxious to learn from the noble Marquess whether the priority in the ease of judgments under the existing law would be maintained, or whether the priority would be according to the date of the re-registry.
The DUKE of LEINSTER
said, that it was for the purpose of saving expense, and would render it unnecessary to search back for an indefinite number of years. Under this Bill it would be only necessary to search back for five years.
§ On Question, Resolved in the Affirmative.
§ Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the whole House on Monday, May 27.