LORD J. RUSSELL
, in moving the Order of the Day for going into Committee on the Encumbered Estates (Ireland) Bill, stated that he proposed to go into Committee pro formâ on that Bill, with the view of having it reprinted.
§ MR. BANKES
observed, that the Encumbered Estates (Ireland) Bill had excited great anxiety in Ireland. He held in his hand a letter from an Irish proprietor, who stated that the provisions had been much discussed among professional men, who thought the measure would produce great difficulties in reference to encumbered estates. The insurance offices had declined to enter into further arrangement till the present Bill was disposed of. Great alarm had been produced. He, therefore, bogged to suggest the expediency of fixing an early day for the discussion; and if the Govern- 810 ment were doubtful as to proceeding with the measure, it was their duty to announce their intentions as soon as possible.
§ MR. SHARMAN CRAWFORD
could support what had just been stated by the hon. Member for Dorsetshire. A case had been put into his hands that morning, which had been submitted to an eminent lawyer on the part of an insurance company, and they were advised to refuse any money until they saw what was to he done with this Bill.
LORD J. RUSSELL
said, that the object of the Encumbered Estates Bill was a very important one; but it was at the same time a very difficult one to attain with justice to all parties. It would be remembered that when he announced the intention of Government, at the commencement of the Session, it was very much pressed upon the Government to bring in a Bill without loss of time, without, as he thought, sufficient consideration of the great difficulties which lay in the way of attaining the object in view. A Bill was afterwards brought in, and had been very much considered by the Lord Chancellor. It had now come down from the Lords, and did not require such immediate considerations as if it had to go to the Lords. The Government proposed that the Bill should that day go through Committee pro formâ; and he hoped the amendments which would be made, would obviate the objections which had been stated to it. He was very sensible of the alarm which was felt by some proprietors, and likewise of what had been stated respecting the insurance companies. Still he could wish that the Bill should be considered as soon as possible, and he would fix an early day for that purpose. For his own part, he thought that there could be no more desirable object for the proprietors in Ireland than that of setting free their estates, which were, in many cases, so encumbered that the interests of the proprietors and the labourers on the estates were altogether swept away by the interests of the mortgagees.
§ MR. F. FRENCH
hoped the Government would not feel it to be imperative on them to press this Bill during the present Session. He had an objection to make to it which was as strong an objection as could be urged on the part of the proprietors in Ireland—namely, that the effect of the Bill, at least in the province with which he was connected (Connaught), would be to turn out every proprietor in it; and in many cases, from the present deteriorated 811 value of property in that country, the encumbrances on the property could not be paid. In the province of Connaught, the annual value of property rated to the poor was 1,500,000l.; the extent of the population was nearly a million and a half also, two-thirds of whom were receiving relief; and according to a calculation he had made, the administration of relief in that province would require 1,500,000l. more than the entire rental.
§ Bill passed through Committee pro formâ, and ordered to be recommitted.