HL Deb 02 July 1861 vol 164 cc186-7

, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said, the object of the measure was to enable landlords who had already improved their land and farm buildings, to borrow money for the further purpose of erecting suitable dwellings for labourers. The Bill had met with no opposition in the other House of Parliament, and he did not anticipate any opposition to it from their Lord ships.


said, the principle of the Land Improvement Act was to enable landlords to obtain loans for effecting improvements, such as thorough draining, the making of roads, and the like, which increased the actual letting value of the property. That was a perfectly fair principle as between the tenant for life and the person who was to succeed him, and it was only just the money borrowed should be charged on the estate. The erection of labourers' cottages was not a description of improvements which increased the letting value of the land; but, owing to the peculiar circumstances of Ireland, and the great want of decent dwellings for the peasantry there, he would not object to the extension of the Land Improvement Act to that country, in the direction intended by this Bill. At the same time, if their Lordships adopted the measure they ought to guard against this departure from a sound principle being drawn into a precedent, or extended to a class of improvements for which there might not be the same urgency.


addressed a few words to the House which were not heard.


thought the Government ought to take up the whole question. Act after Act had been passed until the whole law relating to land in Ireland had become one mass of confusion.


said that there were no means provided for ensuring that the dwellings should be kept in repair after the land had been saddled with a debt for their construction. He should not oppose the Bill, but he had great doubts of its beneficial operation.


admitted that the powers of the Bill, if injudiciously and improvidently applied, might be productive of many evils; but in the present state of Ireland great improvements were necessary and nothing could be done without enlarging the provisions of the Land Improvement Atcs as was proposed by this Bill. He had inspected some of the improved dwellings in Ireland, and their state showed that the labourers appreciated the privilege of being clean and comfortable.


said, he would rejoice to see such a Bill passed into a law if it would be appreciated by the lower classes in Ireland; but he very much feared they were indifferent to improved dwellings, and these would never be kept in the necessary repair unless wholly at the expense of the landlords.

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Friday next.