§ MR. HEALY
I beg to give Notice that on Monday I will ask the Prime Minister, Whether, as the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland has charged the Irish Members with keeping up agitation on the Land Question in Ireland, his attention has been called to the speeches of his own Solicitor General on the same subject when he was a candidate for county Londonderry; and, whether the then Mr. Walker spoke on behalf of the Government when uttering the following words:—There is another feature of the Land Act. It is a question whether there are not defects which still require to be remedied. When I speak of the defects of the Land Act I speak the sentiments of my own mind. I am not 675 ashamed to express those sentiments, formed, as they have been, from my experience of the working of the Act? I would ask, was it reasonable that leaseholders should not have been included in that Act. I never could see it. What have been the leases since 1870? What benefit did they confer upon the leaseholder? I say the only benefit they conferred on him was a shadow of security of tenure, with, in almost every case, an increase of rent, because of the lease being given to the tenant with a trifle of compensation for disturbance at the end of the lease and saddled with the most onerous and burdensome conditions. The day when the Land Act of 1881 became law the leaseholder passed into a far worse position than his brother farmer who was a tenant from year to year. When the lease falls out the difficulty must be met by legislation.I will also ask, whether Mr. Walker used this expression with regard to the Improvement Clause—I believe that clause will he rightly amended by not allowing the landlord any participation in the tenant's improvements, and that the right course would be that the tenant should enjoy untouched his own industry and the result of his own unaided capital expended on the land, and that the landlord should have no share in that which he did not create.Also, whether Mr. Walker used these words—Another matter occurring to my mind is this. Is there really in all cases under the Land Act free sale? I believe there is not. Whether in Ulster you sell under local custom or out of Ulster you sell under the clauses of the Land Act the sale is restricted in a manner it ought not to be. I cannot see why the sale should not be in the open market.I shall ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the charges which have been made against us by the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, any rebuke has been conveyed to the Solicitor General for Ireland; and, if not, whether the Government approve of the sentiments which he expressed at Coleraine on the 22nd of December, and which are reported in The Freeman's Journal of the 24th of December, 1883?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
I may, perhaps, be permitted to say that I enter my protest against the use of the word "charge" in the Question of which the hon. Member has given Notice. I stated what had passed, and what was passing, in Ireland; and I referred to Members on both sides of the House; but I do not think I used a single word in my speech of yesterday reflecting upon any hon. Member.
§ MR. MACIVER
I should like to ask whether such language as that quoted, 676 if now used by any Parliamentary candidate, would not be an offence under the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act?
§ [No reply.]