HL Deb 18 March 1852 vol 119 cc1223-4

Several noble Lords presented Petitions praying for the enfranchisement of Copyhold Property on equitable principles.


presented a petition from Solicitors practising in England and Wales to the same effect. He considered that the emancipation of copyholds, tending as it must to simplify the laws of property, would be of great advantage; but such a measure would require great consideration. They should take care, on the one hand, not to inflict any injury on the lord or on the tenant; and, on the other, they should be careful how they interfered with the property of a tenant who did not desire to alter the tenure by which he held, and who probably might not have money to spare to purchase the enfranchisement of his tenure and to improve the property. They would find it necessary to be very careful not to impose burdens upon such persons.


entirely joined in the opinion which had been expressed by his noble Friend.


thought that in the consideration of this question there were two points which must be regarded. They had in the first instance to regard the interest of the community, and in the next place the interest of the copyholder. The present system might be considered as having in many respects an injurious effect on the interests of the country, so far as it affected timber, mines, and a variety of other things; but it should also be recollected that by altering that system they would deprive small copyholders holding an acre or two of land, or a rood or two of land, of the great benefits they now enjoyed.


admitted the advantages which were conferred under the present system by a local registry, which was open to none of the inconveniences, dangers, or troubles that attend a general registry. He should be sorry to see it abolished, but in general measures of improvement it frequently became necessary to submit to particular sacrifices.


reminded their Lordships of what had taken place under the Bill for voluntary enfranchisement. He thought that many persons who would act under that measure, refrained from doing so, because they thought they would be able to drive a better bargain when a compulsory Bill was passed. All small copyholders were interested in keeping up the copyhold tenure, because they enjoyed under it a cheap system of registration in the court of the lord; and nothing could be more unjust than to compel the lord of a manor to keep up the court after the enfranchisement of copyholds, merely for the purpose of having such a registry.

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