§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
§ Moved, "That the House do now resolve itself into Committee upon the said Bill."—(The Earl Cairns.)
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
asked what course the Government intended to pursue with reference to this measure. If it did not become law it would cause great disappointment to those who were connected with land, and he understood that this Bill was generally approved of by the Learned Profession. Either the Government would bring in a Bill substantially the same as this, which would be to take the credit which belonged to the noble and learned Earl who had taken such pains with this Bill, or else if they brought in a radical measure, what became of the statement of the noble and learned Lord upon the Woolsack that he would not recede from what he had stated in favour of this Bill?
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
repeated his statement that he did not in the least retract what he said in the last Parliament in favour of this and the other Land Bills of his noble and learned Friend (Earl Cairns); but the Government reserved to themselves the right to take in the other House of Parliament, either this Session or at any future time, such course with respect to those measures as they might think desirable. It appeared to the Government that the subjects of these Bills were closely connected with other matters respecting the law of real property, which the Government desired to maturely consider, with a view, if found necessary, to legislate upon them. During the Recess they intended to consider the whole subject.
§ EARL CAIRNS
hoped that Her Majesty's Government might yet see their way to give him further assistance with his Bills than his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack at present seemed to anticipate. From communications which he (Earl Cairns) had received from many quarters, he believed the Bills would be accepted as a great boon by owners of land in this country.
§ Motion agreed to; House in Committee accordingly.
§ LORD HOWARD OF GLOSSOP
observed that he feared the machinery of the Bill might render proceedings under it costly, and impede beneficial results in the management of property. He knew a case where there had been practically no resident landlord, no resident agent, and no resident agent's house. The person succeeding to the property determined to live there, to have a resident agent, and to build an agent's house. It was manifest that nothing could possibly have been done more beneficial to the estate. By the terms of the trust, the trustees could only advance money which they held in hand for improvements—their approbation having been first obtained. He doubted if, at the time the money was in hand, it was true that no approbation had been obtained. Some years after the time when, say, £3,000 had been spent on the agent's house, and a small addition to a small mansion, there was money in hand, and the party applied to be recouped, without asking interest upon the money laid out. On the part of the trust it was said there was difficulty; counsel's opinion must be had. Ultimately Chancery had to be appealed to; and in order to be reimbursed money spent for so excellent a purpose, to the amount of £3,000, not less than about £300 had to be spent. It was true that a minor had to be represented, which made it more costly.
THE MARQUESS OF BATH
said, he must again object to the Bill on the ground that, if it passed, there would be no practical control over the powers of sale which it conferred on the tenant for life. What security was there that the tenant for life would sell at the highest possible price?
§ EARL CAIRNS
, in reply to the noble Lord (Lord Howard of Glossop), said, that one of the objects of the Bill was to enable improvements to be effected by the landowner much cheaper than they could be under the 1588 Settled Estates Act. In answer to the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Bath), he begged to say that the tenant for life could have no object in not obtaining the best price. He could not read the provisions of the Bill as they were construed by the noble Marquess.
§ Amendments made; the Report thereof to be received on Tuesday next; and Bill to be printed as amended (No. 81.)