§ Bill read 3a (according to order).
My Lords, before the Motion is put that this Bill do pass, I should like to say a few words upon it. I do so simply as a moral protest against this kind of legislation. This Bill probably follows necessarily on the Land Bill, which has occupied so much of the time of Parliament during the present Session. Those who have from the first, during the past 21 years, protested 742 against all this kind of legislation as one; evil leading to another, are bound, and, I think, justified, in saying, as I shall say, simply as a moral protest against its passing—Not-Content. Your Lordships must have observed from the beginning that no sooner has one measure of this kind passed than it has been followed by another. This is a corollary of the Land Bill. It is not only as regards Ireland that we have the evil of subsequent mischievous legislation, but the principles which have been adopted in Ireland find their way across the Channel to other countries. Take the Irish legislation and the Land Court. You find that the same principles have crossed the Channel and taken root in Scotland. You have the Crofters' Commission, you have the Courts fixing rents there, and you may possibly have a Turbary Bill made in reference to Scotland. Not only that, my Lords, but I think the principle goes a great deal further, for it appears to me—and I should be glad if my noble Friend can draw any distinction between the cases—that there is no more reason for legislation of this kind in Ireland and Scotland than there is in England and Wales, and, further than that, in the shops of London. Why should not the shopkeepers of London have money provided for them to buy 743 their shops on the estates of the Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Westminster? This is the only reason I can see for drawing a distinction, and I should like to know whether the noble Lord is able to draw any other than that, as yet, the farmers in the Lowlands of Scotland, and in England, and Wales, pay their rent, and do not take pot shots at their landlords; that one set of people are obedient, and law abiding, while the other is lawless and violent? and you have encouraged them by this utterly rotten kind of legislation. All I have to say is that in this kind of legislation there is a racy Irish flavour about it which makes it really comical. What has been the great complaint in Ireland? Why, landlordism. The one wish of the Irish tenant was to abolish landlordism, and here you have been engaged the whole of this Session in encouraging landlordism a hundredfold. We who hold other views have nothing for it but to say as a moral protest "Not-Content "to the passing of such a Bill as this.
§ Bill passed.