HL Deb 26 May 1854 vol 133 cc999-1000

Against the Third Reading of the Irish Landlord and Tenant Bill.

"DISSENTIENT,—1. Because we consider it to be of the highest importance that the law in England and in Ireland should rest on the same fundamental principles, and that any deviation from such rule should only be sanctioned by Parliament where a difference of circumstances between the two countries can be clearly proved to exist, and should then be limited strictly to such difference of circumstances.

"2. Because in the present instant no such difference of circumstances has been established as can justify some of the enactments contained in this Bill.

"3. Because it is our opinion that in all cases of contract, but more especially in those between landlord and tenant, the prosperity of both classes will best be promoted by leaving them free to enter into such covenants as shall be mutually agreed to, securing, as far as is practicable, the inviolability of these covenants when made, and affording equal and effectual remedies for maintaining and enforcing the rights of both parties.

"4. Because the experience of two centuries has fully confirmed the judgment of Sir John Davies, whose experience as a statesman and a lawyer led him to the conviction that "the application of the English law of tenure to Ireland was essential to the well-being of the latter country."

"5. Because the section 37 of the present Bill, in its ex post facto operation, is framed on a principle opposed to the rights of property, making a gratuitous transfer to one class of that which now belongs to another, and, in order to mitigate this act of injustice, introducing exceptions and limitations which cannot fail to lead to confusion and litigation, to be supported by doubtful and questionable evidence.

"6. Because this provision is utterly repugnant to the faith of Parliament as pledged to the purchasers of Irish landed property under the Encumbered Estates Act—parties to whom a Parliamentary title declared good against all claims whatsoever being under this Bill made responsible for new obligations to which they have not consented, and to pecuniary burdens created by an ex post facto law.

"7. Because we agree in the opinion of the statesman under whose authority the Devon Commission was issued, that "it is a grievous error on the part of the Legislature to interfere with the rights of property, the maintenance of which is the great characteristic of a state of social improvement, and any interference with which constitutes the greatest blow that can be given to industry and the accumulation of wealth."

"8. Because, while we desire that an improvement should be effected in the dwellings of the cottier class, we apprehend that the provisions of this Bill, and more especially the 106th section, will fail to produce this desirable result. The future recovery of rent of cottiers' holdings being made dependent upon the proof of two allegations of fact, each of which may be made matters of litigation and controversy, the consequence will be an indisposition to invest capital in property thus rendered uncertain and unproductive; the number of dwellings for small occupiers is therefore likely to be diminished, and a new pressure cast on the very class whom it is intended to benefit.

"9. Because we are indisposed to rely on ingenious contrivances attempted to be carried out by compulsory enactment as the true source of national improvement, rejoicing to think that the force of sound public opinion, the just appreciation of duty, and even the motives of enlarged private interest, are leading on both the proprietors and occupiers of land in Ireland in a course of judicious progress, and we therefore prefer to place our reliance upon the development of natural causes rather than to risk counteracting those causes by an unwise, though well-meant, system of legislation.