§ Order for Committee read.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he hoped that the Attorney Gentral would not embark at this hour of the night on a Bill of such difficulty, but that he would postpone it to a more convenient season. Persons in Ireland, with a Parliamentary title, ought to be allowed to renew the title every five years if they thought right, and this would enable any one in five minutes to know whether there were charges on the estate. He suggested that this Bill should be referred to the Committee, which was sitting, to consider registration of judgments. There were two kinds of registry in Ireland, and the Attorney General wished to add a third. It would be better to have one system of registration which would be conducted in one office. He believed the existing system was infinitely more simple, cheap, and safe than the system it was proposed to substitute for it. The Bill, instead of simplifying, would increase the number of complications. It was because he believed so that he asked the Attorney General, as there was a general register, kindly to allow this subject to be handed over to the Commission now sitting to decide what was the mode of register most suitable for Ireland.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he hoped the Attorney General would not accede to the proposition, which aimed at the postponement of this Bill by referring it to a Commission for the purpose of throwing it over the present Session. This Bill was a struggle between the attorneys and the landed gentry of Ireland. [Mr. WHITE-SIDE: I deny that.] It is the fact. Be they right or be they wrong there never was a Bill in which there was such a strong feeling on the part of the landed proprietors of Ireland as the present. The real question at issue was whether the obtaining of unquestionable title was to be effected at a cheap or at a dear rate. The measure having been so long asked for by the Gentlemen of Ireland, he really could not see why they should not be allowed to have it, especially as it was, after all, a permissive Bill.
§ MR. SCULLY
said, he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) would withdraw his opposition, and allow the Bill, with all its defects, to be passed this Session. So far as it gave a record of title he was entirely with it; but, so far as 1182 it was a registration of deeds, he was against it. Still, if they did not accept the Bill, it might be a long time before they had such an offer again made them by the Lords. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) would allow the measure to become law, and content himself with remedying its defects when he was himself Attorney General.
THE O'CONOR DON
said, he joined with his right hon. Friend the Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell) in the hope that the Government would press forward this Bill.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he thought that when the Bill had reached its present stage, and when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin "University (Mr. Whiteside) had not divided against it on the second reading, it was ripe for the fullest consideration. He believed that the general feeling among the people of Ireland was that the Bill would be favourable to their interests. He was told also that several solicitors in Dublin had declared themselves in favour of the Bill.
said, he thought that if registration were to be introduced, it might be worth while to consider whether a separate department in the Office of Deeds might not be rendered available. He disapproved of the Bill as perpetuating the defects of the "Landed Estates Court" titles.
§ MR. HASSARD
said, he did not apprehend that this Bill would be of much value, and, as it now stood, some portions of it were decidedly objectionable. It appeared to him that everything professed by this Bill could be done already under the existing law, in connection with the Land Transfer Court and the Registry Office. Every deed placed on the record under this Bill would necessarily involve a re-investigation of title.
§ SIR HUGH CAIRNS
said, that the objections urged against this Bill were really questions of detail which could be better discussed when the Bill was in Committee than in its present stage. The most charming feature of this Bill was the system of close certificates which would confer advantage on the vendor and purchaser, but would not be accessible to everybody, and would save a considerable amount of expenditure which parties were liable to under the present law.
§ MR. GEORGE
said, he objected to the Bill upon various grounds. It would im- 1183 pose upon the Judge of the Probate Court in Dublin a duty he was not inclined to undertake. He was surprised to hear the unworthy terms in which the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell) had alluded to that respectable profession, the attorneys of Ireland. The Act, if passed, would be found to be attended with insuperable difficulties in carrying it out. Of course, at this stage of the Bill he ought not to go into details, but he could not forbear mentioning that Clauses 34 and 35 were based upon principles which had long been condemned as unsound. The Bill had been hastily drawn up, and it had had little consideration in either House at present; and under the circumstances he trusted the Government would, at that late hour, not go into Committee.
§ MR. MALINS
said, this Bill would be delusive. The Bill would deprive the landowner of an advantage which he now possessed, and for which the measure contained no compensation. If a man wanted an advance of money he could go to a broker's and obtain it upon the simple deposit of his title deeds. No one need know anything about it, and whenever he repaid the money he resumed possession of his title deeds and there was no publicity. That was a perfectly safe transaction to the lender, as a man could not deposit his title deeds twice. But under this Bill the landowner would lose this privilege, so far as absence of publicity was concerned. There were other points equally disadvantageous to the landowners, but as they seemed to desire this measure so much he strongly advised his right hon. Friend (Mr. Whiteside) not to oppose going into Committee upon it.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again on Thursday next.