HL Deb 28 February 1882 vol 266 cc1828-30

Order of the day read for resuming the adjourned debate on the Lord VENTRY'S motion, That the Return of the judicial rents fixed by sub-commissions and civil bill courts, as notified by the Irish Land Commission up to and including the 28th January 1882, be supplemented by a column giving the present gross lotting value of each holding as ascertained by the Sub-Commissioners; and that it be an instruction that in all future Returns the above information be given.

Debate resumed accordingly.


said, that on Friday last the Lord Privy Seal stated that he doubted whether such, a column would be practicable, and also whether it would be useful if furnished, and he should be curious to hear the noble Lord's reasons why such a column could not be granted; and as to its utility, perhaps he (Lord Ventry) might be allowed to say that, as far as the landlords were concerned, and their opinions ought to go for something, they would find such a column of great advantage especially with a view to settlements with their tenants out of Court.


, in reply, said, that with respect to the noble Lord's Motion, "that it be an instruction that in all future Returns the above information be given," he wished to point out that this was a case of obtaining Returns from a Court of Law, and he apprehended that it would not be possible for the Government to issue instructions as to the mode in which that Court should keep its records. As to the substance of the matter, he learned from the Land Commisioners that they were most willing to furnish to either House of Parliament whatever information they could; but they said that the Return desired by the noble Lord could not be furnished without entailing upon the Sub-Commissioners an amount of work which would materially interfere with the discharge of their duties. That was the view taken by the Land Commissioners as to the Return asked for by the noble Lord. He had expressed on a former occasion his doubts of the utility of the Return in question, and he was still unable to see how, as the noble Lord had argued, such statistics would facilitate arrangements between landlord and tenant out of Court. In making those arrangements it was important to know the general practice and principle adopted by the Courts, and this practice would become more and more settled as cases wore re-heard by the Commission or decided by the High Court in Dublin; but it would be useless to have a statement, in a column of pounds, shillings, and pence, of the gross letting value—whatever that might mean—of every holding in Ireland. Landlords would be guided by the general practice of the Courts, but would derive no advantage from the publication of such figures as the noble Lord asked for. With respect to the Question that the noble Lord had placed on the Notice Paper—Whether, in future Returns of judicial rents fixed by the Sub-Commissioners, it would be possible to add a column stating the number of years during which the former rent had remained unaltered?—he had had no means of ascertaining the views of the Commission on that point; but he doubted whether they would be willing to make such a record. To say nothing of the additional labour that would be imposed on them, they might fairly demur to that one particular being picked out for the information of Parliament, while other equally important facts remained unpublished; and he did not, therefore, think it likely that they would undertake to supply such a Return for every holding in Ireland.


said, he was surprised to hear the noble Lord (Lord Carlingford) say the Land Commissioners would demur to giving figures as to the number of years during which rents had remained unaltered. These figures could be easily proved, and several authorities had laid it down that these figures were a principal element in deciding what was a fair rent. He added that the noble Lord had not, in his opinion, given any reason why their Lordships should not have the Return asked for.

On question, resolved in the negative.

House adjourned at a quarter past Six o'clock, to Thursday next, Two o'clock.