HL Deb 18 May 1854 vol 133 cc533-4

House in Committee (according to order).


regretted that no noble Lord, learned in the law, had considered this Bill in the Select Committee; and he had thought it so absurd for persons unacquainted with the law to deal with such a measure, that he had ceased to attend the Committee when the Bill was discussed. Their Lordships, however, had had the advantage of hearing the opinion of a noble and learned Lord (Lord St. Leonards), who stated that he objected to nine-tenths of the Bill. For his own part he rejected all responsibility as to the measure. By certain of the clauses a most serious invasion was made on the important law of entail, which was entirely interwoven with our aristocratical and territorial institutions; and this measure, if passed, would no doubt be quoted hereafter as a precedent for altering the laws of entail in this country.


said, it might be true that the noble and learned Lord referred to had expressed strong apprehensions of this Bill; but if the noble Earl had heard the grounds of objection of the noble and learned Lord, he would not have said that the Bill was an invasion of the law of entail. How it could be deemed an infringement of the law of entail passed his comprehension. By that law a tenant in tail in England could now grant leases for twenty-one years, and this Bill said he might grant them for thirty-one years. The tying up of land would become an intolerable nuisance if it were not mitigated by the clauses introduced into settlements. He did not yield to the noble Earl in his desire to support the landed interest, the great importance of which he readily admitted; but which he believed could not and would not be sustained unless deeds of entail were coupled with clauses and enactments to make the maintenance of these entails consistent with the growing wants of mankind.

After a few words from the Marquess of CLANRICARDE,


said, although it had been stated that the noble and learned Lord (Lord St. Leonards) and some other law Lords considered the measure to be founded on unjust and illegal principles, yet there were Judges in Ireland of equal ability who highly approved of it. He should support the clause.

Amendments made: The Report thereof to be received on Monday next.

House adjourned till To-morrow.