§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
THE EARL OF LIMERICK
, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, briefly explained its object, which was to remedy the severe hardship caused to tenants in certain cases through forfeitures arising under breaches of covenant, however trivial might be their character. The measure left it entirely to the Court to say whether or not in its discretion the relief should be granted in any particular case. It had the sanction of some eminent Judges, and he believed that if sanctioned it would confer a great benefit on tenants without doing injury or wrong to their landlords. Beyond that there was a large consensus of opinion in favour of the principle of the Bill, which would effect an important improvement in the law; it had received the unanimous approval of the other House, and he hoped their Lordships would agree to the second reading, which he now moved.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Earl of Limerick.)
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he had examined the Bill as carefully as he could during the short time it had been before the House, and if he had to answer the question as to what he thought of it now, he should certainly say he thought it was a good Bill, and that it would not be productive of any injury to lessors in the cases to which it referred. He believed it had, as the noble Lord the Mover of the second reading had said, met with the approval of a great many eminent Judges, and it also seemed to have been drawn with care and with considerable professional skill. But he could not disguise from himself that it was a Bill which affected in a way that was very import- 964 ant a great mass of private property—in fact, hundreds of thousands of leases which might be most valuable. It might affect them without doing any injury to the lessor, but that was a matter on which the lessor ought to have an opportunity of judging for himself. He did not think at the end of the Session it would be right to pass a measure which affected private property so largely, and therefore the noble Lord would exercise a wise discretion if he would postpone asking for a decision on this question until next Session.
§ Motion, by leave of the House, withdrawn, and Order for 2a discharged.