Imatges de pÓgina

upon tenants in occupation by giving them (the Marquess of Clanricarde) was the a property in that which at present by law next that delivered his sentiments, and is the property of the landlord. The te- certainly his opinion was not in favour of nantry will naturally inquire, as I think the clause. Language could not have been the landlords have a right to demand, the used stronger than that in which he exreason of this arbitrary transfer of one pressed his reprobation of it. His opinion man's rights to another; and the very fact was echoed by my noble Friend the late that no reason has been, or can be given Under Secretary for the Colonial Departfor it, will necessarily awaken suspicion in ment (the Earl of Desart), by the noble the minds of the tenantry, that the Bill Baron opposite (Lord Beaumont), and by must elsewhere contain provisions adverse the noble Marquess on this side of the to their interests to compensate for the in- House (the Marquess of Bath), who moved, justice done to the landlord. Besides, the but afterwards withdrew, his Motion for clause has been termed " a compromise," expunging the clause. Then, my Lords, which would seem clearly to imply that the sentiments of the two noble and learnthere was a kind of bargain of mutual con- ed Lords, who served upon the Committee, cession. But if the other clauses of the and in whose wisdom, learning, and discreBill be examined, I think it will be ad- tion the House so much confided, for admitted that they have no partial action; vising upon this landlord and tenant code, certainly none in any degree adverse to the were given to your Lordships. The noble tenant's interests, but that the common and learned Lord Chief Justice not only advantage has alone been consulted. Why expressed his entire disapprobation of the then damage the character of this Act by principle of the clause, but declared his a wanton violation of vested rights! Has conviction that it would be unproductive of the Select Committee, in submitting this any good, and would rather produce diviBill for your consideration, pointed out any sion and strife between parties who are necessity for this objectionable clause? In now drawing well together, and yet, with the absence of any special Report in favour strange inconsistency, he declared that of a principle of legislation so much at he should not oppose its adoption. The variance with the principles which usually other learned Lord, the late Lord Changovern the councils of this House, your cellor, expressed his disapproval of the Lordships should, if you do not at once clause in language not less forcible, and expunge the clause, at least inquire what of peculiar weight as coming from one are the opinions of individual Members of of such high authority, but with like inthe Select Committee upon it. I do not consistency recommended your Lordships think that you will find in their opinions, to adopt it as "a compromise." as far as we can judge of them, anything a proposition, coming from such a quarto warrant its retention in the Bill. The ter, I certainly heard with no little surnoble Duke who brought up the Report, prise, and with the greater regret as it while he explained the general character appeared to have influenced the noble Earl of the measure, and adverted in particular opposite, the late Colonial Secretary (Earl to this clause, appeared to me to guard him- Grey), whose disapproval of the principle self against becoming in any degree the of the clause was otherwise quite as deadvocate of the principle it involved. He cidedly expressed as that of any Member explained how, during the period of the of the Committee. The noble Lord on late famine in Ireland, when so many had the back bench opposite (Lord Dufferin), to give up their lands, they lost the benefit who, on the first introduction of these of the fixtures they had created upon Bills to the notice of your Lordships, so them; he showed the propriety of the ably explained the nature and evils of the change that was made in the relations of tenant right system of the north, and who landlord and tenant in 1851, with regard was, moreover, the proposer of one of to fixtures, but made out no case to call the tenant compensation Bills which the for retrospective legislation upon the sub- Committee felt it necessary to reject, acject. The general tenor of his observa- quiesced in, but did not approve of, the tions was altogether opposed to inter- clause in its details. And the noble Earl ference with existing rights; he would, below him (the Earl of Wicklow), although yield nothing to agitation, and would rest equally dissatisfied with its details, gave the mutual engagements of landlord and the clause his support, as a concession tenant upon the principle of contract. My to popular demand, regretting only that noble Friend the late Fostmaster General the Bills last year sent up from the other VOL. CXXXIII. [THIRD SERIES.] 2 K


House had not been adopted in their in-garded as its most strenuous advocate; and tegrity. These two noble Lords, but these if I could believe, with him, that it was to only, of the Members of the Committee I be defended upon the ground of justice, I have noticed, must undoubtedly be re- should not object to it; that would be reagarded as the advocates of the retro- son enough for its enactment. But where spective legislation now proposed. Of the is the justice of it? Is there a wrong to other Members of the Committee, as none be remedied? If so, your remedy is worse addressed the House since the Report was than the wrong, for, besides violating a brought up, we have not the advantage of principle, you inflict a wrong upon the knowing what exactly are their opinions landlord, and, in reality, confer no benefit on this clause; but of one we may with whatever upon the tenant. What is the some certainty believe that he is opposed wrong for which this clause is proposed to it-I speak of my noble Friend on the as a remedy? A tenant who has made cross-bench, formerly Chancellor of the improvements upon the land, without the Exchequer (Lord Monteagle), as he in the consent of his landlord, has no legal right strongest manner denounced it, on the ori- to recover his outlay if dispossessed. Well, ginal introduction of the Bills; and if he he knew that before he made them. He, had changed his mind, he would not have therefore, probably improved his farm, in failed of explaining his altered views. full confidence in the equity and liberality, Thus, my Lords, as far as the individual or in the good sense of his landlord, that opinions of Members of the Committee he would not dispossess an improving tecan be inferred, from what they have ad- nant, or that, if he did so, he would comdressed to the House, they are as nine to pensate him for his outlay. If the landtwo against the principle of retrospective lord had not been confided in, the imlegislation; and yet the proposition is provements probably would not have been submitted to your Lordships' acceptanee. made without the security of a lease, or The Committee, no doubt, thought that in the consideration of some abatement of discarding six out of the eight Bills re- rent, or other advantage. What wrong, ferred to them, including the Bills under then, is there done to any one by leaving the specious titles of Tenant Compensa- the fulfilment of that covenant to take tion Bills, they had done much, and de- place as heretofore? Your interference is sired that the House should take its share a wrong done to the landlord, and would of responsibility by dealing with the 37th not better the position of the tenant. It clause of this Bill. It may be in your can only promise the harmony and mutual Lordships' recollection that I objected to confidence, and good-will that subsisted the original constitution of the Select Com- between the parties; and the dispossessed mittee, as including an undue proportion tenant, instead of being freely compenof English Peers, to the exclusion of the sated by the landlord for whatever imrepresentative Peers of Ireland. I was provement he may have made, will, by answered that, although the Bills were ex- preferring his legal claim under this enclusively Irish, the great object of main- actment, be left to his legal remedy, taining the principles of private property namely, of carrying away the stone, morin harmony in all parts of the United tar, and timber, of which his house or Kingdom, rendered it important that the other fixtures may have been constructed. Committee should be composed, in large Is not this a most unsubstantial boon to proportion, of English Peers. Now, I confer upon the tenant class; and will it would ask, are we to take it as the recom- not be regarded as a mere delusion by mendation of this Committee or not, that those whom you hope to satisfy with it? we should interfere with vested rights? But, my Lords, there is a class of very If such is the Committee's recommenda- humble occupiers by whom the operation tion, I think, although unhappily we do of this clause will be severely felt I allude not number any law Lords among the to the very small farmers, the occupants Irish Peers, that an exclusively Irish Com- of from four to sixteen acre farms, to be mittee might have dealt with the subject found for the most part in great poverty quite as successfully. But I find that, in upon the encumbered and generally misnoticing the opinions of the individual managed estates that are being daily disMembers of the Committee, I have omitted posed of to English and Scotch specuthat expressed by my noble Friend near me lators in land. With these new purchasers (the Earl of Donoughmore). He certainly it is a very common practice to get up the stood up for the clause, and must be re- possession of the lands, for the purpose of The Earl of Clancarty

creating large farms. Hitherto it has been legislation where it is unnecessary, let it the practice, when so doing, to make the rest with them, and not with this House, to outgoing tenant very full compensation for propose it. Hitherto improvements have the value of the miserable dwelling that is been carried on by the mutual accord of to be taken down; but, under that clause landlord and tenant; it has, doubtless, not of your Bill, the landlord who is thus been a sufficient stimulus for improvement; desirous of clearing his lands will be en- but let not what has been done be inabled, if he pleases-and you should not terfered with, and let your legislation conafford him a legislative sanction for so fine itself to a better provision for the doing to tell the outgoing tenant that, future. I regret that it has not devolved by the tenant compensation clause of this upon some other noble Lord to advocate Bill he is entitled, and at perfect liberty, to what I have endeavoured to recommend to carry away the materials of his dwelling, your Lordships; but I trust your Lordships but that he has no further claim. My will, notwithstanding that they come from Lords, for the tenants as well as for the so uninfluential an individual, weigh the landlords I would say that this clause arguments I have taken the liberty of urgought to be omitted; and I would beg to ing, in support of my Motion for omitting remind my noble Friend that the clause the 37th clause from the Bill to which you he is defending is not part of his own have just given a third reading. Bill, which I considered in many respects, and especially with reference to the fixture clause, a much better one than this, but it is a clause exclusively retrospective in its action, and of no importance whatever to the working of the remainder of the Bill. I cannot but view it, my Lords, as a remnant of the worst fruits of the TenantLeague agitation-it is a compromise for popularity. But the popularity of this House can only be founded upon the respect with which your proceedings are regarded, upon your faithful guardianship of the great principles of our laws, and not upon any sacrifice of those principles. The House of Commons may be excused if, under the influence and pressure of popular constituencies, they propose concessions which sound judgment may not always justify; but you are not at liberty to do


Amendment moved, to leave out the 37th clause.

THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE said, the Bill undoubtedly had many provisions

those particularly in relation to distress which were highly favourable to the tenant; but neither could it be denied that it was a Bill also highly favourable to the landlords. He was not an advocate for compensation to the extent agitated by the Tenant-right League; but the tenant had by the existing law a right to protection; and, therefore, though in point of law the tenant had no relief, in point of fact he was protected in such a way that it was often worth the landlord's while to compensate him. The Bill placed the laws upon a fair basis in that respect. The present system inevitably led to great fraud; and it was only justice that someTrue, there were in the last Session thing should be done to protect the tenant. Bills sent up to you, and to which your If the clause were rejected, then the Bill assent was asked, involving concessions to would be regarded by the House of Compopular clamour that would have been in mons as purely a landlord's Bill; as such violation of private right, but that will not it would certainly be rejected; and by justify you in assenting to such conces that means the many valuable provisions sion. Popularity so earned is for you for which it contained would be lost for the bidden fruit. Adam was not excused when present Session. He admitted there might he said, "She gave me of the tree, and I be difference of opinion among the Memdid eat." Your Lordships should also re-bers of the Select Committee; but their member that this is not a Government but a House of Lords measure. The Bill is not from the Cabinet, but from a Select Committee of this House. Let it not, then, go down to the other House with any unsound matter in it calculated in any degree to abate the respect with which the conservative character of your proceedings is commonly regarded. Let the obnoxious clause be struck out, and if the House of Commons is enamoured of retrospective

Report was the foundation of the measure.

THE EARL OF DESART said, he certainly could not support the Amendment, though he was opposed to giving retrospective rights over any man's property without his consent. Having, however, witnessed the divisions, and listened to the deliberations of the Select Committee on the construction of the Bill, and having seen that the object of the Committee and the House was to arrive at a just and

equitable settlement of a question, which
was considered, though erroneously, he
believed, as agitating all Ireland, he was
of opinion that they had conscientiously
adopted the measure as being the best
suited for that object. At the same time,
however, the Committee had not neglected
its duty; and in considering the 37th
clause, which involved, most certainly, the
dangerous principle of the Bill, they had
fenced that principle round with safeguards
which he hoped would be sufficient to ob-
viate any evil results of a serious nature.
He could not, therefore, support the
Amendment, though he was bound to
state that less agitation on the subject
existed in Ireland than was supposed. In
the southern and western districts the
agitation on this question, notwithstanding
the vigour with which it had been pro-
moted and the auspices under which it had
been conducted, had fallen flat upon the
minds of the people, who felt that their
interests were safer in the hands of their
natural protectors than in those of agita-
tors, in whom they could not place the
same reliance. He hoped that if the safe-
guards with which the Committee of that
House had felt it their duty to fence the
clause should be diminished by the House
of Commons, any Amendments with such
an object would not receive the sanction
or support of Her Majesty's Government.
As regarded the north, he trusted that he
concessions now made would have the
effect of quieting the agitation in that
part of the country, and that they would
be received in the spirit of conciliation in
which they were offered-with gratitude.
Their Lordships divided:-Content 10;
Not Content 41: Majority 31.

Amendments made; Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.


landlord and tenant, the prosperity of both classes
will best be promoted by leaving them free to
enter into such covenants as shall be mutually
agreed to, securing, as far as is practicable, the
inviolability of these covenants when made, and
affording equal and effectual remedies for main-
taining and enforcing the rights of both parties.
"4. Because the experience of two centuries has
fully confirmed the judgment of Sir John Davies,
whose experience as a statesman and a lawyer led
him to the conviction that "the application of the
English law of tenure to Ireland was essential to
the well-being of the latter country."
"5. Because the section 37 of the present Bill,
in its ex post facto operation, is framed on a prin-
ciple opposed to the rights of property, making a
gratuitous transfer to one class of that which now
belongs to another, and, in order to mitigate this
act of injustice, introducing exceptions and limi-
tations which cannot fail to lead to confusion and
litigation, to be supported by doubtful and ques-
tionable evidence.

"6. Because this provision is utterly repugnant to the faith of Parliament as pledged to the purchasers of Irish landed property under the Encumbered Estates Act-parties to whom a Parlia mentary title declared good against all claims whatsoever being under this Bill made responsible for new obligations to which they have not consented, and to pecuniary burdens created by an ex post facto law.

7. Because we agree in the opinion of the statesman under whose authority the Devon Commission was issued, that "it is a grievous error on the part of the Legislature to interfere with the rights of property, the maintenance of which is the great characteristic of a state of social improvement, and any interference with which constitutes the greatest blow that can be given to industry and the accumulation of wealth."

"8. Because, while we desire that an improvement should be effected in the dwellings of the cottier class, we apprehend that the provisions of this Bill, and more especially the 106th section, will fail to produce this desirable result. The future recovery of rent of cottiers' holdings being made dependent upon the proof of two allegations of fact, each of which may be made matters of litigation and controversy, the consequence will be an indisposition to invest capital in property thus rendered uncertain and unproductive; the number of dwellings for small occupiers is therefore likely to be diminished, and a new pressure cast on the very class whom it is intended to benefit.

"9. Because we are indisposed to rely on inge

Against the Third Reading of the Irish nious contrivances attempted to be carried out

Landlord and Tenant Bill.

"DISSENTIENT,-1. Because we consider it to be of the highest importance that the law in England and in Ireland should rest on the same fundamental principles, and that any deviation from such rule should only be sanctioned by Parliament where a difference of circumstances between the two countries can be clearly proved to exist, and should then be limited strictly to such difference

of circumstances.

"2. Because in the present instant no such difference of circumstances has been established as can justify some of the enactments contained in this Bill.

"3. Because it is our opinion that in all cases of contract, but more especially in those between The Earl of Donoughmore

by compulsory enactment as the true source of
national improvement, rejoicing to think that the
force of sound public opinion, the just apprecia-
tion of duty, and even the motives of enlarged
private interest, are leading on both the proprie-
tors and occupiers of land in Ireland in a course
of judicious progress, and we therefore prefer to
place our reliance upon the development of natu-
ral causes rather than to risk counteracting those
causes by an unwise, though well-meant, system
of legislation.






POWERS OF LEASING (IRELAND) BILL. | that, therefore, nothing should be done to Bill read 3a, according to order.

THE DUKE OF ARGYLL said, that the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) having called attention to the construction of the fourth section of the third clause of this Bill, and objected that it would have the effect of enabling persons having merely a life interest in an estate to grant leases extending long beyond their own terms, and calculated injuriously to affect the interest of the landlord, he had therefore consulted with those who had charge of the Bill in the other House, and the result was that he would now move the insertion of certain words to limit the operation of the clause so as to obviate the noble Earl's objection. The noble Duke then proposed a formal Amendment accordingly, to insert the words "not being subject to rent for the occupation of the land."

THE EARL OF DERBY said, that his object in drawing attention to that part of the Bill on a former night was to prevent a mere lessee for lives or a term of years from being entitled to dispose of the property of the head landlord for a consider abie term after the lease had expired. He understood that the Amendment proposed had been made to meet that objection; but he thought that it went too far, as it might comprehend the case of tenants for leases of lives renewable for ever, on account of their paying a chief rent. What he desired was to exclude from the operation of the Bill tenants for leases of lives or for a term of years, and not tenants for leases of lives renewable for ever.

THE DUKE OF ARGYLL explained. The Amendments applied to persons paying rent for the land. The Amendment was prepared by Mr. Fergusson, the draughtsman of the Bill.

discourage it, but on the contrary.

THE DUKE OF ARGYLL said, unless the provisions of the Bill were adopted, a serious bar would be placed to the improvement of Ireland. There was nothing in Scotland to prevent letting for nineteen and twenty-one years. As regarded the building powers, he could assure the House that the Irish Act was far more liberal than the Bill. By the 10 Geo. I., a power was given to lease for three lives, or forty-one years, the only restriction being that the land should have been previously in cultivation; and by the 11 & 12 Geo. III. c. 21, tenants for life were seised with the power to make leases for sixtyone years of the whole estate, if they thought fit. The powers in the Bill were a great restriction on the old Irish Act. One of its advantages would be to enable landlords to grant leases, though the estate might be mortgaged. Surely their Lordships would not refuse to extend to Irish landlords such reasonable powers as were already enjoyed by landlords in Englaud and Scotland.

LORD MONTEAGLE said, he would undertake to say, without fear of contradiction, that the manner in which the supporters of this Bill were reasoning was wholly at variance with the results of the experience which every noble Lord present connected with Ireland could adduce. The ground on which they seemed to proceed was the supposition that it was owing to the shortness of leases that the little improvement of land in Ireland was to be attributed; whereas the very reverse was the fact. He saw in the House many noble Lords who were connected with Ireland, and he would put it to them whether it was not the fact that the worst-improved estates in their respective vicinities were LORD REDESDALE said, he thought not those, the leases granted upon which the Bill gave too great power to tenants were of the longest duration? The worst for life of an estate with regard to build- cases were those in which an almost pering leases. They might shut out the en-petual interest had been created by the joyment of the mansion by granting leases improvidence of former owners. In all for building over a beautiful prospect for the more ancient settlements the general ninety-nine years; and they might lease leasing power was for thirty-one years and the right of shooting over the estate up to three lives, or thirty-one years or three the hall door. He thought this power lives, and he had seen numerous settleought to be restricted; and he was of opinion that granting building leases in the immediate vicinity of the mansion should not be permitted. He thought that residence was the thing most desirable for the improvement of Ireland, and

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ments of that kind; but what did they find was the increasing practice in all parts? Why, that with a view to promote the interests of both landlord and tenants the thirty-one years' power had been abandoned, and a twenty one years' power

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