HL Deb 01 June 1886 vol 306 cc659-61

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a."—(The Earl of Dalhousie.)


said, that he could not allow that Motion to be put without a protest. At that late hour he did not feel justified in occupying too much of their Lordships' time in discussing this question; but as he had been taught in "another place" that it was better to express an opinion distinctly and consistently, he had ventured to put down the Notice standing in his name for the rejection of the Bill. He had no hope that he should be supported in carrying his Motion to a successful issue; but it was the most emphatic way he had of giving expression to the strong feelings he held in regard to legislation of this sort. Both in their Lordships' House and in "another place," when legislation of this kind had been proposed, he had always resisted it to the best of his power. In 1870 he resisted the Land Bill, and from that date on- wards he had resisted all such legislation, and the Agricultural Holdings Act, and he resisted them because he considered it was a wrong and a vicious principle to introduce into Acts of Parliament, and would fail in the object they had in view. Their Lordships had had a discussion that evening on the state of Ireland, and Her Majesty's Government had been reproached for allowing a state of things to grow up which necessitated remedial measures, and had been challenged to say what steps they intended to take in order to secure life and property in that country. But here was a Bill—the Scottish Crofters Bill—which was neither more nor less than a piece of Irish Land Bill legislation in another form, and, he ventured to think, in the worst form. It left out one of the three F's, because he supposed the crofters had not enough money wherewith to buy their holdings. The Bill, he considered, was a more mischievous Bill than the Irish Act at present on the Statute Book, and was a rapid and considerable advance on the Irish legislation, because it contained two new clauses in regard to land legislation. One of these was the principle of compulsory leasing, and the other had reference to arrears of rent, the clause providing that the Land Court should decide what was to be paid by a tenant and the time when they were to be paid, and there was nothing of the kind in the Irish Act.


There is the Arrears Act, though.


said, that was another question; but here was a concentrated measure by which the Government established a Land Court, which was to have the power of deciding what a debtor should pay. He protested against any such proposal, and therefore felt bound to raise his voice against it; but, as he said before, at that late hour he would not do more than enter his protest against this sort of legislation, which he considered impolitic and mischievous, and in order that his protest might be recorded he would move the rejection of the Bill.

Amendment moved, to leave out ("now,") and add at the end of the Motion ("this day six months.")—(The Earl of Wemyss.)

On Question, That ("now") stand part of the Motion?

Resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read 3a accordingly.

On Question, That the Bill do pass?


begged to move an Amendment to the effect that the rent fixed by the Land Court should be collected by a Revenue officer. He thought that as the Government had taken his property out of the landlord's possession they ought to collect the rent.

Amendment moved, At end of Clause 6 add—"(6.) The rent fixed by the Land Commission shall be collected and paid over to the landlord by the officers of the Inland Revenue free of all charge for such collection."—(The Earl of Wemyss.)

Amendment negatived.

Bill passed, and sent to the Commons; and to be printed as amended. (No. 139.)