§ As amended (by the Standing Committee), further considered.
§ *MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
The clause I have to move is to provide for compensation to a tenant who is compelled to vacate his holding under circumstances that cannot be described as his-own fault. My object is that we should take an important step in what should be the direction of this type of legislation— namely, to give more encouragement and a greater degree of security to farmers who have improved their land and discharged their duties to the landowners, and to discourage farmers who have not carried out that policy and who have deteriorated the land. The clause which I have placed on the Paper has been before the House on previous occasions. It was considered very fully by the Welsh 1139 Land Commission, and I should like to remind hon. Members who have read the Reports of that Commission that both the Majority and Minority Reports express their assent in explicit terms to the precise wording of this clause. I wish to draw attention to that fact because I desire to give as much authority as I can to the form of the proposal. The object of the clause is to deal with certain cases which can be easily enumerated. In the first place we have capricious evictions by landowners. The most familiar cases arise with regard to the use by the tenant of the legislative rights which have been given him under the Ground Game Act. I have a number of cases where farmers have received notice to quit because they have exercised these rights, and the object of the clause is to provide that where a tenant farmer is capriciously evicted the same principle of compensation shall be applied as is applied where a person is deprived of a valuable interest in any other form of real estate. What the clause asserts is that where a tenant is dispossessed of his holding without sufficient reason he shall have an allowance which would cover the loss of his trade connection, goodwill, and other losses of that kind. In addition to those cases of capricious eviction the House will remember that the Welsh Land Commission especially drew attention to the hardship inflicted on tenants on estates where the ownership passed by sale, inheritance, or bankruptcy. Very great hardship occurs under the existing law, because the tenants have to decide practically at once whether they will accept a higher scale of rents and retain their holding, or whether they will submit to a very considerable loss. I should like to quote the evidence of one very able witness before the Agricultural Commission, who, I believe, is a strong supporter of the Government in Northumberland. I refer to Mr. Wilkinson. He said that the tenant has insufficient security and was often compelled to accept an unjust and unreasonable rent rather than leave the farm and suffer loss. He states—I think the tenant should be protected from an arbitrary notice to quit by being allowed compensation for disturbance. We want to be able to deal with our landlords on equal terms, and not for them to be able to say Sign that agreement or quit the farm.' We are tired of that sort of thing in the North, and we say that we are entitled to compensation for loss sustained in that way.1140 The whole clause turns on the fact that the man who puts most into the land is the man who is least protected under the existing law, and the greater a tenant's stake is in the improvements he has carried out the weaker is his position with regard to the whole question of bargaining as to rent. I will not in the least disguise that the main object of the clause is to put the tenant farmer into a position of greater strength in order that he may be able to bargain, with a reasonable chance of success, for a fair rent. This, of course, may be met with the familiar retort that the tenant farmers have been masters of the situation, and have dictated the rents of all the farms in England during the last ten or fifteen years. I absolutely traverse that contention. It is true only of derelict, broken-down, and worthless farms, which go begging in the market, and for which a tenant farmer or anybody else can make any terms they please. But in regard to highly cultivated farms to which men had devoted their capital and energy for years, making the land the bank in which they invested the savings of their lives, the tenants are in a position of great weakness, and they have not been able to transfer the economic loss of the depression from themselves to the landlord. One of the sub-commissioners of the Royal Commission, Mr. Wilson Fox, who cannot be accused of a lack of friendliness to landlords, and was also a man of great ability and fairness of mind, gave us figures of large farms of various types, most of them of high quality, in the county of Lincoln. Those figures showed that the rents of eleven of these farms during the period of depression were between forty and fifty times the net profit obtained by the farmers. I allude to that in order to show that during the period of depression farmers, so far from being able to obtain a reasonable reduction of rent, which would put them in the position of having, as the Income Tax assessment assumes, a profit of half or even a third of the rent, had their profit reduced to a fifth, a seventh, and even a thirtieth or a fiftieth part of the rent. I therefore say that there is no force in the contention that the farmers have been able to dictate their own terms. On the ground of strengthening their position and of enabling them to deal fairly with rent I beg to move this clause, which goes to this effect, that where the farmer is dispossessed, not 1141 through his own fault—I do not wish to protect any farmer who behaves wrongly either as regards rent or covenants— we should have applied the same principle as to allowance, or compensation, which is observed in dispossessing every other class of persons in the land, or in our social arrangements. He is to be compensated for loss of trade interest, business connection, and all the rest of the loss caused by removal.
Where a tenant is compelled to quit his holding by the act of his landlord for any cause other than the following (that is to say):—
§ —brought up and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. LONG, Liverpool,) West Derby
I hope the House will not read this clause a second time. The hon. Member has told the House that the principle of compensation for disturbance was recommended by the Welsh Land Commission, but he has not told the House that this question was most carefully inquired into by the Royal Commission on which he himself sat, and in the Report issued by that Royal Commission it was stated that while some witnesses had argued in favour of that proposition the whole question had been carefully investigated, and that the Royal Commission were distinctly opposed to the principles of the proposal. Apart from the finding of that Commission, I may say that if ever there was a time when a proposal of that kind could be 1142 justified, that time no longer exists. It is possible that in the days of very great agricultural prosperity, and when, no doubt, the opportunities of the tenant for guarding his own interests or for selecting his own position were not so good as now, there wore cases of hardship. But I believe that there have been fewer cases of injustice and hardship to a farmer who expends his capital in improvements, than in the history of any other negotiation in the country. It is said that the tenant farmer is capriciously evicted. No doubt there have boon such cases and they may arise again; but everybody knows that at the present day the great object of the owner of land is to encourage the tenant farmer to remain in occupation of his holding, and to farm it on the best terms. I do not believe, therefore, that there is any justification for a proposal of this kind. In the first place, as the Bill stands a principle is laid down which can easily be acted upon both by the landlord and the tenant, and which gives to the tenant a right to secure payment for that which he leaves on the land, the benefit of which will be reaped by somebody else. The Bill provides the machinery for that. But if you open up the question of compensation suggested by the hon. Gentleman you will render the task of the arbitrators one of immense difficulty, and present a certain vista of litigation between the landlord and the tenant. It would introduce a principle which would be vexatious to the landlord, of no good to the tenant, and it is one which would deter landlords from entering into arrangements with their tenants which might be beneficial to both. On all grounds, therefore, I hope the House will not accept a proposal of this kind. I quite understand the motive of the hon. Gentleman. He believes that legislation ought to interfere more than at present with the position of landlord and tenant. Some people believe that the relations between landlord and tenant will never be satisfactory until the whole question of rent is decided by some public tribunal, and not, as now, by private arrangement between owner and occupier. The Government, who are responsible for this Bill, have no sympathy with views of that kind. They believe, on the contrary, that the adoption of such views would be prejudicial to the interests of tenants, and result in the absolute ruin of the agricultural interest 1143 as a whole. We are told that poor tenant farmers cannot make bargains which would protect their own interests. I have lived among tenant farmers all my life, and have come in contact with them in all parts of the United Kingdom, and I am inclined to believe that the statement of the incapacity of the farmer to look after his own interests would not be made so readily at an agricultural gathering. The farmers themselves would be the first to show that they were well able to manage their own affairs, and to resent the imputation that they are either very weak or very foolish. I believe that farmers are not likely to be capriciously evicted unless they adopt the principles of the Irish Land Acts about fixity of tenure, free sale, and compensation for disturbance, with all their mischievousness. The only safe policy for the House to adopt is to adhere to the; principles embodied in the Bill.
MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthenshire, W.)
When I saw this new clause on the Order Paper I did not entertain any very sanguine hopes that the right hon. Gentleman would accept it; but I cannot help expressing my regret that he has not been able to do so. He has told the House that this clause was not recommended by the Royal Commission on Agriculture. In that the right hon. Gentleman is quite correct; but I think that he is incorrect when he goes on to say that the farming class do not desire to have the proposal contained in this clause. When this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, there is nothing, I am sure, which will give the tenant farmers of the country more widespread disappointment than the absence of a clause of this kind. I quite appreciate that in several instances agricultural associations in different parts of the country have passed resolutions expressing satisfaction with the proposals of the Government as embodied in this Bill. But I repeat that when the great body of farmers get face to face with the actual accomplishment of the Government, I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that they will be very much disappointed. The expectations held out to them during the course of the last general election were of a very different kind from those embodied in this Bill. I do not think any hon. Gentleman will venture to dispute that. My hon. friend in moving the new clause told the House 1144 that a proposal of this kind was very much required in Wales. The recommendations of the Welsh Land Commission, which did not seem to me to be received by the right hon. the President of the Board of Agriculture with the respect which they deserve, contained a proposal that tenants should receive compensation for capricious eviction from their holdings. That was a recommendation not of a mere majority of the members of the Commission, but was arrived at unanimously. Mr. Sebohm, Lord Kenyon, and the hon. Baronet the Member for Swansea, were all agreed that, on the evidence put before the Commission, an unanswerable case had been made out for compensation for capricious eviction. On behalf of my constituents, therefore, I think this clause should be adopted. The President of the Board of Agriculture has told us that this proposal is not required by the farmers of England at all. It may be that that is true. I do not pretend to have a complete knowledge of the farmers of England, but I am entitled to speak with some knowledge of the farmers in my own part of the country, among whom I have lived all my life, and I maintain that nothing is more urgently required by them than that they should have compensation for capricious eviction. There is no suggestion in this clause that a farmer who left his holding on his own account would have any compensation except that which is given by the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1883. All that is proposed is that if the farmer is compulsory evicted he shall be compensated. It is only fair and right that when a man is turned out of his holding at the mere caprice of his landlord, not because he is a bad farmer, not because he is letting his land deteriorate, not because he has allowed his buildings to become dilapidated, but because he has had some i petty quarrel with his landlord about the county council election or something that has taken place in the parish, he should receive compensation. The right hon. Gentleman says that such a state of things as that does not arise in England. That may or may not be, although I do not agree with him, because it does arise in Wales—I do not think these cases arise so frequently as they used, but they undoubtedly do arise—and when a man is turned out of his holding in that way he should have some compensation for the trouble and expense to which he is 1145 put, for which this Bill gives no compensation. This is a small Bill, which does not introduce any new feature into the agricultural law, and deals rather with the machinery of the law than with anything else. But if this clause, and it is not a revolutionary clause by any means, be accepted, it will to some extent give the tenant farmer some security of tenure. He would occupy a position of greater stability if his landlord knew that if he gave him notice in a fit of caprice he would have to pay for it. It is not the better class of landlord who gives his tenant notice in a fit of caprice. If this amendment is accepted it will operate to some extent in favour of security of tenure, because if the landlord knew that, if he gave his tenant notice to quit for an insufficient reason, a tenant who had formed well and carried out all the terms of his agreement, but who had displeased his landlord—if the landlord knew that if he gave that man notice to quit for an insufficient reason he would have to pay, over and above that which the law allows, some compensation for disturbance, it would prevent him from taking such a stop. I daresay in some parts of England such legislation is quite unnecessary; but I am speaking for a class of people for whom it is necessary, and the Welsh Land Commission has reported in favour of such legislation. Under these circumstances, if my hon. friend goes to a division, I shall be happy to support him.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
said, so long as the hon. Member for West Carmarthenshire confined his remarks to the Welsh aspect of this question, it was beyond his light to criticise them. He had not looked at the Celtic side of the matter. From the position taken up by the hon. Gentleman one would imagine that a person had a right to hire another person's land, and that then, in defiance of the owner, he could claim compensation on receiving notice to quit. That was a principle which, so far as he was aware, had never been laid down by any Commission which had ever sat. The representative agricultural bodies of the country had wisely declined to lend themselves to any such revolutionary doctrine. There might be here and there a farmers' club which advocated it, but the great representative agricultural bodies of the country did not. The 1146 House would do well to reject the Amendment, and support the proposition that a man has a right to let his farm to anyone he thinks fit, in accordance with the law, and to terminate the tenancy when he thinks fit, in accordance also with the law.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
I will not detain the House more than a few moments, but I should like to point out that the Bill, so far as Wales is concerned, does not go to the root of the evil, and on another occasion it will be the duty of the Welsh Members to lay their views before the House in a different form. With regard to the Bill now before us, I should not like the discussion on this clause to terminate without cordially supporting the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire. With regard to the remarks of the right hon. Member for Thanet, who admitted that he had never dived into the Celtic fringe in this matter, if that be so, we cordially forgive him for the remarks he has made. This sub-clause is the result of recommendations made, after exhaustive inquiries, by the Welsh Land Commission, and the feeling of the country is very strong upon it. I live in a country where the land question looms large, and I have no hesitation in saying that if this clause were passed it would meet with a very large force of public approval, and be the means of amending this Bill, so far as Wales is concerned, in a very substantial manner.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS (Glasgow, Camlachie)
said he was scarcely prepared to give the clause his support if it went to a division, but as a Scotch Member he felt that there were circumstances under which a clause of this description would be to the interest of the tenants. He quite agreed that cases of the kind mentioned by the hon. Member opposite were not so common now as formerly, though there could be no doubt that they did arise even now. The right hon. Member for Thanet seemed to claim a right for the landlords to let land at their pleasure, and then to evict tenants as they pleased, and that this was a Bill to interfere with that which the landlords have a right to do. This clause did not interfere on behalf of the tenant farmer, but in the interests of the nation at large. The Bill provided compensation for improvements; 1147 but the Committee ought to go further if agriculture was to be a prosperous occupation They ought to give to the tenant security of tenure, and if the farmer invested his money on other people's land he ought to know that he was secure from the curious freaks of temper of the landlord, and therefore some equitable arrangement of this kind ought to be made. he supported the broad principle, but was afraid he could not support the Amendment to the extent of voting for it on a division.
§ *MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
I support the new clause proposed by the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire. If the clause is passed it will be regarded by Welsh farmers as an extremely valuable addition to the Bill. Formerly, when a rich man purchased an estate, he bought not only the land and the buildings upon the land, but in addition to that he bought the consciences—the political consciences, at all events—of the tenants of the soil. We have in the past seen a great deal too much oppression both in religious and political life in consequence of the enormous powers which the landlord possessed, and which, directly or indirectly, he could exercise. That power has seldom been exercised directly, but for every single eviction that has taken place hundreds of people have been terrorised. I am glad to bear my testimony that that state of things has very largely improved in England and Wales in recent years. I should be sorry to say that anything of the kind I have described has been of a general character. What we ask is that the tenants should be placed beyond the reach of fear in this respect, and that a man's politics and religion should have absolutely nothing to do with the tenure or cultivation of the land. If this clause were passed I believe the effect would be that the tenant would feel himself to be what I am sure every hon. Member in this House (except, perhaps, the hon. Member for Thanet) would wish him to be—a really independent man, owning no allegiance to the owner of the soil in regard to religion or politics because of the relationship between them as landlord and tenant. Have I not laid down a fair proposition? Is there any Member of the House who would venture to dispute that? What my hon. friend proposes 1148 to do by the clause is to assure to the tenant a position that would put him outside the reach of fear. I hope the Government may see their way to accept this clause, believing that, in Wales at all events, it would be accepted by the tenants as giving them protection to which they are entitled.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
said he had to express his pleasure that the Government had been unable to accept the clause, which involved a principle going far beyond the limits of the Bill, and illustrated very well the point at which it was necessary to draw the line. The Amendment introduced the principle of divided ownership. No such principle was recognised in the Bill, at all events he hoped it was not recognised. The principle of the Bill, as he understood it, was that whore a tenant added to the value of the landlord's property he should be compensated for that, but the principle of the Amendment was that the tenant should acquire a right in the property, and that he was to come into possession of the landlord's right. It was clear that if they once admitted that principle they would adopt the whole Irish land system. The moment the tenant got in as a partner in the ownership of a farm, then he had a right to sell that farm. The Government would have to come down and settle the relationship between them as regards fair rents, and every detail in the management which was characteristic of the Irish land system. [An HON. MEMBER: Why not?] he would give an illustration. It had been said that the landlord might use his power vexatiously. Almost all rights of property of any kind whatever might be used vexatiously. The hon. Member for the Flint Boroughs had spoken of intimidation in religious matters, but the same thing might occur in other avocations. A banker or solicitor who had lent money to various small shopkeepers might exercise an improper influence over his debtors. They could not prevent people who had not a free choice from being subject to the influence of others. The essence of freedom was to have a free choice. It should be recognised that this Amendment proceeded wholly on a different principle from that embodied in the Bill. He hoped that they would be careful to maintain on this occasion the great im- 1149 propriety of divided ownership. The true remedy for the grievance was a healthy public opinion. In England intimidation would never be tolerated. They would resent it vigorously, and if English landlords endeavoured to coerce their tenantry, they would speedily find that to be so.
§ SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbrightshire)
said he could not conceive how anybody who understood the agricultural position of the country could have drafted such a clause as this. It was altogether on the wrong lines, as any man of common sense would see. He thought it would be unfair to interfere too much between landlord and tenant. What would be the end of it? The tenant would, no doubt, put before the arbitrator every single point in a long term of tenancy, and all that would lead to lawyers' bills; and if there was one thing that a farmer disliked extremely it was to pay such bills. The tenant would have enormous bills to pay if this clause was carried out, and he would be continually arbitrating with the
§ landlord. He knew very few landlords who would care to put out a tenant who had met his obligations justly and reasonably. If a landlord got his fair share, or what he had invested in the land, they might depend upon it that he would take a lenient view of the whole case, and be willing to judge what should be done with regard to compensation. If this clause was carried they would have no end of litigation and no peace. They would have the Irish land question in Eng-land and Scotland. He hoped the House would by a very large majority defeat the Amendment.
§ MR. JASPER MORE (Shropshire Ludlow)
said it was all very well to speak of cases of capricious eviction, but he believed such eases hardly ever occurred.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 111; Noes, 207. (Division List No. 200.)1151
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Horniman, Frederick John||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Baker, Sir John||Kitson, Sir James||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Labouchere, Henry||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Billson, Alfred||Langley, Batty||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Bramsdon, Thomas Arthur||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Leng, Sir John||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Lewis, John Herbert||Spicer, Albert|
|Caldwell, James||Lloyd-George, David||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Lough, Thomas||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Macaleese, Daniel||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H.||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Queen's, C.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Crilly, Daniel||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Crombie, John William||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||M'Crae, George||Wallace, Robert|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Ewan, William||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Davies, M Vaughan- (Cardigan)||M'Ghee, Richard||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Wason, Eugene|
|Dillon, John||M'Leod, John||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Maddison, Fred.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Doogan, P. C.||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Emmott, Alfred||Morgan, W. P. (Merthyr)||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Moulton, John Fletcher||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (Southampton)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, Fredk. W. (Norfolk)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Oldroyd, Mark||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Malley, William||Woods, Samuel|
|Gold, Charles||Palmer, George W. (Reading)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H.||Pickard, Benjamin||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Mr. Channing and Mr. Lloyd Morgan.|
|Holland, William Henry||Price, Robert John|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Flower, Ernest||Mount, William George|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Arrol, Sir William||Fry, Lewis||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Galloway, William Johnson||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Garfit, William||Myers, William Henry|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Gedge, Sydney||Newdigate Francis Alexander|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (Cy of Lond.)||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds)||Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gilliat, John Saunders||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Godson, Sir Augustus Fred.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Percy, Earl|
|Bethell, Commander||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Pilkington, R. (Lancs., Newton)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gull, Sir Cameron||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Biddulph, Michael||Gunter, Colonel||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Bill, Charles||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bond, Edward||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edw.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Pym, C. Guy|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Hardy, Laurence||Rankin, Sir James|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (Kings Lynn)||Hoare, Edw Brodie (Hampstead)||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Brassey, Albert||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hobhouse, Henry||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Glasgow)||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Round, James|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Russell, Gen. F.S.(Cheltenham)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire)||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Sandon, Viscount|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Kimber, Henry||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Knowles, Lees||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.)|
|Coddington, Sir William||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Leighton, Stanley||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cox, Irwin E. Bainbridge||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool)||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lowe, Francis William||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Curzon, Viscount||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Davies, Sir. Hon. D. (Chatnam)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Denny, Colonel||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Macdona, John Cumming||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Maclure, Sir John William||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Welby, Lt-Col. A. C. E. (Taunt'n)|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||M'Killop, James||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Malcolm, Ian||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Marks, Henry Hananel||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Faber, George Denison||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Milward, Colonel Victor||Wilson, J. W.(Worcestersh. N.)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Monckton, Edward Philip||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r)||Monk, Charles James||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Finch, George H.||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Wyndham, George|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Morgan, Hn. Fred.(Monm'thsh.)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Morrell, George Herbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Morrison, Walter||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
§ *MR. GORDON (Elgin and Nairn)
In moving the now clause which stands 1152 under my name I desire very shortly to explain to the House the purposes this 1153 clause has in view. Among the agricultural tenants of Scotland by far the largest proportion are men whose buildings have been erected by the capitalists who own the property, the tenants themselves having no interest in and making no claim for the buildings. There are a second class, well known to this House, namely, crofters, in the Highland districts of Scotland, whose interests in their holdings have been regulated by the Crofters Acts. What I want to bring to the attention of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill and of the House is that there is a third class, not a very numerous class in Scotland as a whole, though somewhat numerous in my own constituency. This class stand in a different relation, and under this Bill I cannot see that they will receive any protection whatever. The Government, no doubt desire to cover every agriculturalist, whether he is large or small in his occupation; whether protected by legal documents or trusting to the feudal estates and the customs of those estates, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to look with favour upon such a clause as this. I would not seek his approval of the words if I could secure his approval of the principle, so that this class of men who are crofters, but not in the crofting districts, should, in case of removal, have the power of coming into the benefits of this measure, and at least have the opportunity of proving before the tribunal created under this Bill whether or not the improvements on their farms are of their own creation; so that, as I believe they have in morals, they may also have in law, a protection for their property in these matters. In my own constituency cases arise rather under estate management. Many of the estates erect buildings from A to Z, but there are other estates where the buildings are left to the creation of the crofter himself, and very often they have been erected by previous generations. Whilst I would pay every tribute of regard to the management of these large estates and the sanctity of contract maintained between proprietor and crofter, in nearly every case the danger becomes almost alarming when those old estates pass into the hands of new men, or under the management of lawyers, who take a sharper, harsher, and more strictly legal point of view. All I ask is that this Bill shall not pass through the House without allowing these men, 1154 who are undoubtedly the creators of their own improvements, and whose position is now respected on the estates where they live, should not suffer the danger in strange hands of being unprotected by the law while the law is in process of amendment. No claim is made by the man on whose behalf I am now speaking for any compensation for anything created by the capital of the proprietor. All he asks is that property of his own creation, whether it is in the reclamation of land or in the building of houses, should become matter for investigation before the tribunal created by this Bill. It is easy to see that in an old-fashioned arrangement, such as the one I have described, there might be claims put forward by the landlord which would to some extent nullify the claims of the tenant for his improvements. I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name.
New clause—That in the case of crofters or cottars in Scotland, as defined in the Crofters (Scotland) Holdings Acts, 1886, 1887, and 1888 (whose holdings are situated in parishes or counties to which these Acts do not apply), such improvements as are set forth in Part 1 of the First Schedule of the Act, which may have been executed or paid for by the crofter or his predecessor in the same family whilst under no written obligation to the landlord to make them, and prior to the passing of this Act, and which will add to the letting value of the holding, shall be compensated for on his leaving the holding, under the procedure provided in this Act, but for such improvements executed after the passing of this Act consent of the landlord will be required."—(Mr. Gordon.)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."
§ *MR. LONG
I hope my hon. friend will not press this clause, because it seems to be moved under a misapprehension. The object he seeks is to include within the benefits of this Bill those crofters or cottars in Scotland who do not come under the Crofters Act, which is limited to particular counties, to which benefits have been given on account of particular circumstances. My hon. friend suggests in the case of these crofters that they shall be treated as if they had obtained consent, and that only in future shall they require to obtain consent. I am not in the position to speak of tenants in a similar position to crofters, though they 1155 are not under the Crofters Act. It may be true that there are individual cases of hardship, but it would be impossible to apply this measure to a limited portion of the kingdom. Not only this, but it would be extremely unfair to attempt to do anything of the kind. I submit that the proper course for my hon. friend to take is not to seek to graft on to this Bill a proposal dealing with these people, but endeavour to bring the crofters for whom he pleads under the Crofters' Holdings Acts.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
The right hon. Gentleman has, I am sorry to say, given but small encouragement to my hon. friend in regard to the clause he has laid before the House. The two main arguments of the right hon. Gentleman have been (1) that my hon. friend's clause merely dealt with a few individual cases in Scotland— with regard to which argument I shall have a word or two to say in a moment; and (2) he contended that the Government could not be expected to deal with cases of special hardship. If any Government come before this House and lay on the Table a Bill which is to alter the condition of agricultural tenancies, they ought to endeavour to meet all special cases of hardship as well as all general cases. This Bill, as it stands, endeavours to meet a hardship analogous to that of the crofters in the case of the market gardeners, who are provided for in the schedule.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
All I contend is that the special case of market gardeners is recognised, and I make a similar claim on behalf of these small tenants. I was somewhat astonished at the last-statement of the right hon. Gentleman when he told the hon. Member opposite to try and get these tenants included in the Crofters Act. Does he mean that statement to be taken literally?
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The right hon. Gentleman suggested that we should try and get the Crofters Act extended to these particular tenants. The President of the Board of Agriculture should not hold out that as an inducement to the hon. Member not to press forward his Amendment, unless he is prepared to assist him in obtaining the remedy he seeks. But is this really a small grievance to which my hon. friend has called attention? Why does the right hon. Gentleman bring forward a Bill which includes Scotland, where the conditions are different to those prevailing in England, when he himself admits that he is unaware of the condition of the tenants in Scotland? What is the condition of affairs in the north-east of Scotland? Here is a Return which is ten years old, which shows that in Morayshire there were 1,762 farms, and of these 1,107 were under £30 annual value, £35 being the limit allowed by the Crofters Act. Under this Act these tenants would have a substantial grievance to all intents and purposes. They have made all the improvements in those farms, but they will receive no compensation under this Bill. In another county, out of 3,000 farms, no less than 2,114 are under £35 annual value. In Aberdeenshire the proportion is not quite so large, but out of 11,300 holdings no less than 6,053 are crofts under £30 annual value, and upon the vast majority of these crofts the tenants have made all the improvements. They have brought the land into cultivation, erected fences, and built dwellings upon them without obtaining the written consent of the landlord to construct them. What is the condition of things under the Bill? The measure provides that no tenant shall obtain compensation for building substantial improvements unless he has obtained the consent of his landlord to the making those improvements. That proviso absolutely shuts out two-thirds of the tenants in the north-east of Scotland from any possible benefit under the Bill. I think that is a very glaring omission in a Bill which purports to provide a remedy for the tenants of Scotland as well as for the tenants of England. I say that this particular class of tenant has a prerogative claim upon the attention of Her Majesty's Government in dealing with this subject. Five years ago, in the year 1157 1895, when a Liberal Government was in office, they brought forward a Bill in which it was proposed, amongst other things, to extend the benefits of the Crofters Act to crofters in the northeastern counties of Scotland. That measure was opposed by the present First Lord of the Treasury from the Front Opposition Bench, and when we urged that what was particularly wanted was an easy and cheap method of giving tenants compensation for improvements, what was the answer given by the then Leader of the Opposition? In reply to our argument as to why the Crofters Act should be extended, the present First Lord of the Treasury said on the 11th of June, 1895—*In my opinion small tenants have an absolute right to be protected, but they have no greater right than the big tenants, and therefore the right ought not to be confined to one or two counties in the north-east of Scotland. I should like to see that protection extended in a safe and fair form to all counties, in all eases in which expenditure by the tenant has taken the form of a legitimate improvement of the holding of which he is the occupier.That was a substantial promise that when the Government of which he was a Member came to legislate upon this subject he would endeavour to deal when legislating with all the three countries and with all the cases in them. In excluding these tenants from the possibility of claiming compensation for the substantial improvements they have effected on their farms, the Government are failing to carry out the policy which they held out to the people of Scotland, and they have presented to this House a very imperfect and inadequate measure.
§ GENERAL RUSSELL (Cheltenham)
said it did not follow that because a tenant was paying under £30 a year that he was a crofter. Most of the tenants in the north-east of Scotland, to whom the hon. Member had referred, were not crofters, but small farmers, and most of the buildings on their land were built not by the tenants, but by the landlords. Upon farms of £30 rental the walls were built by the landlord and the drainage was generally carried out by the landlord. Therefore he could not imagine anything more detrimental to small farmers in Aberdeenshire and Morayshire than to* See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. xxxiv., p. 912.1158 bring them under the Crofters Act when they were not crofters at all. Such a proposal would prevent any farm servant from taking a small farm on his own account. The great ambition of farm servants was to save up sufficient money to take a small farm and be independent. If the suggestion made by the Member for East Aberdeenshire was adopted, not only would everything which the landlord had erected on these farms be confiscated and handed over to the tenant, but it would prevent any industrious farm servant from the possibility of getting a small farm. Not only this, but it would act as an inducement to the landlord not to carry out any improvements upon these small farms. It would also be ruinous to the farmers themselves. It was true that there were a large number of tenants who had improved their farms and had erected the whole of their farm buildings, but in such a case when the farmer gave up his farm the incoming tenant had to pay for all those buildings.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
thought that the speech of the President of the Board of Agriculture was undoubtedly the best defence they could have of the action they took upon the Second Reading of this measure, in regard to having separate Bills for England and Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman had told them, with a simplicity that was remarkable, that he had had no experience in regard to the tenants of Scotland, but still, he might have consulted the Lord Advocate. He hoped that his hon. friend would press his Amendment to a division. The right hon. Gentleman had told him that he must not graft this legislation on the Bill before the House, but that he must take some future opportunity of bringing in special legislation on this question. Therefore the right hon. Gentleman had given them encouragement to bring forward a Bill in the future for extending the Crofters Act, and perhaps he would throw in his influence to get the Government to back up the First Lord of the Treasury in those strenuous endeavours which he had several times promised to make on behalf of this meritorious class of people. He was bound to say that he thought his hon. friend had made out a strong case on behalf of a certain class of people. There were cases in Aberdeenshire where tenants had carried out their own im- 1159 provements largely under the protection, so called, of improving leases. That was a very doubtful and shadowy protection, which might be terminated or destroyed by the conditions which had been so well described by his hon. friend. Perhaps when the Minister for Agriculture had had time to consult the Lord Advocate he would agree that this was a very reasonable concession to make, this slight alteration in the Bill. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would assure them that if they brought in legislation to meet this crying evil he would give them his assistance in getting the Crofters Act extended.
§ SIR. WILLIAM WEDDERBURN (Banffshire)
said the Amendment appeared to be a very small and moderate concession. It was simply a request that the small holders should be relieved of the penalty for not having obtained the consent of the landlords in carrying out the small improvements which they had made. The hon. and gallant Member for Cheltenham appeared to think that the rights of the landlords would be invaded: by this proposal, and that they would be called upon to pay for their own improvements. As a matter of fact, in the case of the small holders which had been so clearly set forth by the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire it was almost impossible that any of the improvements which they carried out would have obtained the consent of the landlords. None of those permanent improvements carried out by the small holders who formed so very large a portion of the cultivators of the soil in Scotland would receive any benefit from the Act. Indeed, so difficult is their position and so impossible is it for them to get the previous consent of the landlord for their small improvements, that the hon. Member who moved this Amendment had provided at the end of the clause that the consent of the landlord would be necessary as regarded future improvements.
§ *MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
expressed his surprise at the ignorance admitted by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill in regard to Scotch tenants. He had told them that he knew nothing about these cases in Scotland. He contended that he ought to know about them, and that he should 1160 have made it his business to inquire before he brought in legislation for Scotland. The Lord Advocate knew all about his own constituency in Bute and Arran, that dark island where there was no security for the tenant, and where the tenants from year to year were liable to be turned out at very short notice without any compensation. The Lord Advocate would not be able to deny that.
§ *THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. A. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
But I do deny it. I may inform the hon. Member that there are scarcely any tenants there who have not got leases to protect them.
§ *MR. WEIR
replied that there had evidently been an alteration since he was there. From the manner in which the hon. and gallant Member for Cheltenham had spoken one would suppose that he owned the whole of Cheltenham. Probably the hon. and gallant Member was a good landlord, but there were a number of very bad landlords in the north of Scotland, and their existence necessitated the passing of the Crofters Act. The hon. Gentleman who moved this clause only asked for the crofters of the north-east of Scotland similar treatment to those in the west. The holder on the east coast of Scotland had cultivated the land from its wild state; they had built their own houses, erected fences, and brought the land into cultivation, and yet they were liable to be turned out at the shortest notice without any compensation. That was the state of matters existing in the east of Scotland, and the First Lord of the Treasury had practically promised to bring forward some legislation upon this question. The Lord Advocate stated that the Government had not been asked to extend the Crofters Acts to other parts of Scotland where the people were living in precisely the same condition.
§ GENERAL RUSSELL
The conditions are entirely different. I have property in these districts, and know the condition of the people.
§ *MR. WEIR
said he did not dispute the fact that the hon. and gallant Gentleman had property in Scotland, but he maintained that there were thousands of crofters living under entirely similar con- 1161 ditions to those in the crofter districts, and that it was the duty of the Government to extend the Crofters Acts to them. It was not decent for the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill to show so much ignorance in the matter, and he hoped that his hon. friend would divide the House. They would then be able to see who were for and who were against the people.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS
May I make an appeal to the President of the Board of Agriculture? I had not the advantage of hearing the speech of my right hon. friend, but if he is correctly represented as stating that small holders in one part of Scotland live under materially different conditions from small holders in another part, I can only state that I am of a different opinion. The conditions are very much the same, and there is in the minds of those persons who are not within the scope of the Crofters Acts a feeling that they have been unfairly excluded because of a geographical distinction. I do not know whether this
§ would be a suitable occasion to remedy this grievance, but I put it to my right hon. friend that this is a reasonable proposition. What is proposed is that if a crofter executes improvements which add to the letting value of his holding he should receive compensation even though the landlord has not given his consent. All the arguments we have heard with regard to this Bill are to the effect that it is intended to put right and redress the wrongs of agriculturists, and on such an. occasion we should not pass by any section, however small, of the community. Is it fair that the claim of these small holders, whose improvements have added to the value of their holdings, should not receive our attention? If it be just and right my right hon. friend ought to face it, and I must hear some stronger argument as to why this clause should not be accepted before I will vote against it.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 123: Noes, 196. (Division List No. 201.)1163
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. Henry||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H.||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||O'Malley, William|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hogan, James Francis||Palmer, George Wm.(Reading)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Holland, William Henry||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Billson, Alfred||Horniman, Frederick John||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.|
|Birrell, Augustine||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Bramsdon, Thomas Arthur||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Kearley, Hudson E.||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Kitson, Sir James||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Caldwell, James||Langley, Batty||Price, Robert John|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Leng, Sir John||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs).|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lewis, John Herbert||Runciman, Walter|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lloyd-George, David||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H.||Lough, Thomas||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Shaw, Chas. Edw. (Stafford)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Macaleese, Daniel||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarshire)|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn.'s Co.)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Spicer, Albert|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||M'Crae, George||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Denny, Colonel||M'Dermott, Patrick||Strachey, Edward|
|Dilke. Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Ewan, William||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Dillon, John||M'Ghee, Richard||Tennant, Harold John|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Leod, John||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dunn, Sir William||Maddison, Fred.||Wallace, Robert|
|Emmott, Alfred||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Wason, Eugene|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Morgan, W. P. (Merthyr)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Moulton, John Fletcher||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hudd'rsfld)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)||Woods, Samuel||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)||Wylie, Alexander||Mr. Gordon and Mr. Buchanan.|
|Wilson, John (Govan)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Finch, George H.||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Aird, John||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Morrison, Walter|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fisher, William Hayes||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Mount, William George|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Foster, Colonel (Lancaaster)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Fry, Lewis||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G.W. (Leeds)||Galloway, William Johnson||Percy, Earl|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Garfit, William||Pilkington, R. (Lancs, Newton)|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Gedge, Sydney||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond.)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. W. W. B. (Hants.)||Gilliat, John Saunders||Purvis, Robert|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bethell, Commander||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Biddulph, Michael||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Bill, Charles||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Bond, Edward||Gull, Sir Cameron||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Gunter, Colonel||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Round, James|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord Geo.||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Brassey, Albert||Hardy, Laurence||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Sandon, Viscount|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Henderson, Alexander||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Butcher, John George||Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampste'd)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow)||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hozier, Hon. J. Henry Cecil||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh'e)||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm.)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Keswick, William||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
|Chelsea, Viscount||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Knowles, Lees||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Coddington, Sir William||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(C'rn.)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Llewelyn, Sir Dilhwyn-(Swans.)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Curzon, Viscount||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Welby, Lt-Col A. C. E. (Tauntn)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lowe, Francis William||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lowles, John||Whiteley, H.(Ashton-under-L.)|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm)|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. D.||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Maclure, Sir John William||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk)|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||M'Killop, James||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Malcolm, Ian||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.).|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Wyndham, George|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Milward, Colonel Victor||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Faber, George Denison||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Monk, Charles James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh.)|
§ MR. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)
The clause which I am now about to move touches neither the substance nor the principle of this Bill. It applies solely to Scotland, but though its scope is limited yet I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see fit to accept it, as it will confer at least some benefit on agriculturists in Scotland. I think I can explain very shortly what the new clause proposes. Under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1883, the manner in which notice of the termination of a tenancy is to be given is prescribed by the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act, 1853, and the form and mode of procedure under this old Act are by no means inexpensive or easy. But there is a subsequent Scotch Act passed 1886, the Removal Terms (Scotland) Act, under which notice may be given by a registered letter, and the whole effect of this Clause is to substitute notice by registered letter for the old and cumbrous method of giving notice under the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act. I venture to hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept this Amendment, inasmuch as it proceeds on the lines of the main object of the Government in proposing this Bill —namely, to institute an inexpensive mode of procedure.
§ MR. LONG
The Government are prepared to accept the new clause, for the reasons stated by the hon. Member.
New clause—From and after the passing of this Act notice of termination of tenancy under Section 28 of The Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act, 18S3, may be given in the same manner as a notice of removal under Section 6 of The Removal Terms (Scotland) Act, 1886" —(Mr. Hedderwick.)—brought up and read the first and second time, and added.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The Amendment which stands in my name, if carried, would remove the schedules from this Bill, and would make it, I think, a more substantial Bill than it is at present, because it then would lay down in general terms the compensation which a tenant could claim for improvements executed on his farm which added to its value. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that he desires to make a substantial improvement in the Agricultural Holdings Act, and when he introduced the Bill he stated that its 1166 expressed object was to settle once and for all the differences between owner's and occupiers of land. Looked at from that point of view the Bill, when it comes to be considered in detail, is a very small measure indeed. It amends, and to a certain extent improves, the Agricultural Holdings Act, but as for making anything like a settlement of various outstanding questions, or making that radical alteration which is certainly desired by many who have considered this subject, at any rate in Scotland, it is a very small Bill indeed. Of course what may be suitable for England may not be suitable for Scotland, and one of the fundamental difficulties that has arisen is that many of the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman are such as we would not put into a Bill drawn with a view to meeting Scotch opinion. I will only quote two opinions in favour of the Amendment. One is that of the gentleman who represented Scotch farmers on the Committee of Agriculture. In his report he said that in his opinion schedules were unnecessary and should be swept away. The other Gentleman—Mr. Hope —is also a great authority on agriculture. He was a Deputy Commissioner to take evidence in various parts of the country, and made reports with reference to such diverse counties as Oxford, Berkshire, and Aberdeen. In summing up the evidence which he had taken, his first conclusion invariably was that schedules should be abolished, and that all improvements executed by the tenant which enhanced the value of the holding should be paid for by the landlord at the termination of the tenancy. The object of my Amendment is to give effect to what is undoubtedly a general desire on the part of leading agriculturists in Scotland. There can be no objection to this so long as we have complete confidence in the tribunal we are establishing. If we have complete confidence in that tribunal then we may lay down in general terms that the tenant should have the right to obtain compensation for any improvement that adds to the value of the farm.
Amendment proposed to the Bill—
In page 1, line 6, to leave out the words 'comprised in the First Schedule to this Act.'"—(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."1167
§ *MR. LONG
I do not think it is necessary for me to go into the questions which have been raised by the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman has often told us, speaking as he does apparently for Scotland, the particular views he holds, but at all events he stands somewhat alone in regard to this particular question. So far as the assurances which have reached me from various parts of Scotland go, it is quite evident that there is a general desire on the part of agriculturists in Scotland that this Bill should pass very much in its present form, and I believe that it will confer substantial benefits on Scottish agriculture. The hon. Gentleman in moving this Amendment quoted the opinions of two Scotch agriculturists. Everyone who has had the privilege of knowing these two gentlemen will admit that they speak with the greatest possible authority, and that whether in their agricultural or private capacity they enjoy the respect and confidence of all who have had the good fortune to make their acquaintance, and everyone who knows them would give very great weight to the opinions they express on this or any other agricultural subject; but when they expressed the opinions quoted by the hon. Member they did not appreciate the ineffective character of the method they proposed. It is very difficult to understand from the hon. Gentleman's speech what object he has in view. I understand his object to be that as little limitation as possible should be placed on the right of the tenant to claim compensation. That is undoubtedly a very important feature. But it is by scheduling certain agricultural operations and calling them improvements that we give the tenant a statutory right to claim compensation for an agricultural operation as an improvement which might otherwise be open to doubt. The hon. Gentleman proposes to do away with the schedules altogether, but if the Amendment were carried the Bill would be unworkable, because the words he proposes to leave out are required in the present construction of the Bill. The improvements scheduled are divided into three classes. The first class must be carried out with the consent of the landlord. The second requires notice to the landlord, and the third requires neither consent nor notice. The hon. Gentleman proposes to merge all three, but he does not suggest the machinery by which that 1168 can be carried out. While I admit that his desire is to free the tenant, I am bound to say that the adoption of his proposal would leave the tenant in a much worse position than under this Bill. The schedules cover the greater part, if not all, the ground which ought to be covered in regard to improvements carried out by the tenant; and I submit that if the hon. Gentleman is able to show the House that there are agricultural operations which involve improvement to the soil, and which are not included in these schedules, instead of upsetting the whole Bill, he ought to add them in the schedules. If the words were loft out, the whole Bill would be upset, and it would not have the effect the hon. Gentleman desires.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
I do not think that hon. Members on this side of the House who are interested in agriculture would break their hearts if the Bill were upset. My hon. friend's proposal is that the tenant should get full compensation for any operation on the farm which would have the effect of improving the letting value of the land. If there is full faith in the valuator, he would decide that where the tenant has done anything unnecessary or had deteriorated the value of the land, the tenant should not get any compensation at all. And quite right, too. My right hon. friend the President of the Board of Agriculture has not, I think, given full credit to Scotch agricultural opinion. I do not know whether my right hon. friend remembers attending a conference of Scottish agriculturalists, when some home truths were presented to him. These Scottish agriculturists told him that they did not believe his Bill would do much good in Scotland. I reiterate my protest against Scotland being lumped together with England on this question. There should have been a separate Bill for Scotland, where the conditions of agriculture are so different from those of England.
§ *MR. CHANNING
I support the Amendment on several grounds, but chiefly on the grounds of principle and precedent. The Market Gardeners' Compensation Act of 1895 practically gives assent to the principle involved in the Amendment of my hon. friend. What he has moved is simply to abolish the schedules, and that means that in every 1169 contract of tenancy there should be implied the complete right of the tenant to execute any improvement which will increase the value of the holding for the purposes for which it was let, and to obtain compensation for doing so under the arbitrator's award. My right hon. friend has urged that it would be better to have the schedules and that they increase the power of the tenant to obtain compensation; because the tenant would have a list of the improvements that might be made, and if his improvements were in that list he would be able to set up a case. I wonder if the right hon. Gentleman has heard of the discussions in the Central Chamber of Agriculture, which ended in a recommendation that there should be several additions to the list of items in respect of which payment might be made, and—Finally, any other improvements increasing the letting value of an agricultural holding, not specifically mentioned in the schedules, and for which a tenant is not otherwise compensated.That recommendation, though shown by practical opinion to be necessary, is obviously a reductio ad absurdum of the whole theory of schedules. My hon. friend the Member for East Aberdeen-shire quoted the opinion of Mr. Clay and Mr. James Hope. He might have quoted many others who came before the Commission, and desired that the most absolute freedom should be given to the tenant to make improvements. I may say that this is not a merely Scotch contention. On the contrary, the principle was first embodied in the English Market Gardeners Compensation Act in 1895. That Act was the outcome of a custom which had grown up among the fruit-growers of the Vale of Evesham of recognising the absolute right of the tenants to carry out improvements in their own way. I might also quote Mr. Drew, the Secretary of the Farmers' Club, who repeatedly expressed the opinion that the schedules should be done away with, and that a general presumption should be established of the right of the tenants to make improvements with a right to compensation, unless where waste or damage had been done to the holding. That principle had the support of many practical farmers, including former chairmen of the Central Chamber of Agriculture, and also the strong support of the fruit growers of Kent. It seems to me that a very sub- 1170 stantial case has been made out for the Amendment. I have myself taken the intermediate course of suggesting that some items of the schedule should be transferred from Part 1 to Part 2, and others from Part 1 to Part 3, as a compromise. At the same time, as a matter of principle, I think that ultimately we shall arrive at the system proposed in the Amendment, of recognising all improvements which are reasonable and suitable for the purposes for which a holding is let, and we should thus get rid of a great deal of needless friction. The landlord would, of course, remain able at common law to prevent improper experiments by the tenant on the holding he has on lease. In any case, my hon. friend is well advised in raising this question by his Amendment. The principle is one upon which legislation will ultimately proceed, and I certainly will give him my support.
§ MR. JEFFREYS (Hampshire, N.)
I should not like it to go forth that the Central Chamber of Agriculture favours the abolition of the schedule. I may remind the House that the first schedule is divided into three parts. The first sets forth the things which may be done on a farm, after getting the consent of the landlord; the second, the improvements in respect of which notice to the landlord is required; and the third, the improvements in respect of which the consent of or notice to the landlord is not required. The Central Chamber of Agriculture did not favour the abolition of this schedule.
§ *Mr. CHANNING
I only mentioned that several leading farmers advocated, in the Chambers, the abolition of the schedules, and that two former presidents of the Central Chamber of Agriculture had expressed the same opinion.
§ MR. JEFFREYS
The Central Chamber of Agriculture supported the three parts of the schedule very strongly, and only wished to add to them. I hope the House will reject the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman, for it would really cut away the whole benefits of the Bill.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 170; Noes, 91. (Division List No. 202.)1173
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Garfit, William||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry).|
|Aird, John||Gedge, Sydney||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Arrol, Sir William||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lon.)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)|
|Baird, John G. Alexander||Gilliat, John Saunders||Peel, Hon. Wm. Robert W.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch'r.)||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Percy, Earl|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Pilkington, R. (Lancs Newton)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. H. (Brstl)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Gull, Sir Cameron||Purvis, Robert|
|Bethell, Commander||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bill, Charles||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Hardy, Laurence||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew, W.|
|Bond, Edward||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Henderson, Alexander||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (Kink's Lynn)||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)||Round, James|
|Brassey, Albert||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Chelt'hm)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Houston, R. P.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hutchinson. Capt. G. W. Grice-||Sandon, Viscount|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derby)||Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Sidebottom, T. Harrop (Stalybr)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm.)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Sidebottom, William (Derbys.)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Keswick, William||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Knowles, Lees||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lawrence. Sir E. Durning-(Corn)||Stanley, Edward Jas (Somerset).|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Stanley, Sir Henry M. (Lambeth)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. E. H.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Cox, Irvin E. Bainbridge||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cross, Herbert S. (Bolton)||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Curzon, Viscount||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lowles, John||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham)||Lyttleton, Hon. Alfred||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Welby, Lt.-Cl. A. C. E. (Taunt'n)|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield||M'Killop, James||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Malcolm, Ian||Whiteley, H. (Asht'n-under-L.)|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Milward, Colonel Victor||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Monckton, Edward Philip||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Faber, George Denison||Monk, Charles James||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Wyndham, George|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Morrell, George Herbert||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Mount, William George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Muntz, Philip A.||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Channing, Francis Allston||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. H. J.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H.||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Crilly, Daniel||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||Gurdon, Sir William Brampton|
|Billson, Alfred||Dalziel, James Henry||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Birrell, Augustine||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H.|
|Bramsdon, Thomas Arthur||Dillon, John||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Donelan, Captain A.||Hogan, James Francis|
|Caldwell, James||Doogan, P. C.||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Flynn, James Christopher||Kearley, Hudson, E.|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Leng, Sir John||Philipps, John Wynford||Wason, Eugene|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pickard, Benjamin||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Lloyd-George, David||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Weir, James Galloway|
|Lough, Thomas||Power, Patrick Joseph||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Macaleese, Daniel||Price, Robert John||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Reckitt, Harold James||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk)|
|M'Crae, George||Robson, William Snowdon||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)|
|M'Ghee, Richard||Runciman, Walter||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|M'Leod, John||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Maddison, Fred||Sinclair, Capt. Jno. (Forfars.)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Molloy, Bernard Charles||Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddrsfi'ld)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Spicer, Albert||Woods, Samuel|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Tennant, Harold John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Oldroyd, Mark||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Mr. Buchanan and Dr. Farquharson.|
|Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Wallace, Robert|
§ MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
Hon. Members will see that the Amendment I now move refers to suburban allotments, which are of a very peculiar nature, and held under a very peculiar tenure. The Allotment Gardens Compensation Act of 1887 does not meet their case, and my Amendment, I venture to say, will do substantial justice to a class of people worthy of the greatest consideration, and will meet a special want in regard to the tenure of land in this country. The land given up to these allotments in the neighbourhood of great towns is land that is ripening for building purposes. It is land outside a ring fence, that cannot be properly attached to a farm, and is often bounded by railways or canals, and consists of loose patches waiting for the builder. In the meantime it is let out in half or three-quarters of a rood to artisans from our great towns, who go out there to obtain some touch with nature and some change from the monotony of factory life. They bring their wives and children with them, and on a Sunday, outside church hours, you will find them in hundreds and thousands enjoying there the best imitation they can obtain of the beauties of nature. In order the better to enjoy this suburban rurality it has grown to be a custom, I may almost say an essential thing, to build a small summer-house, sometimes with a little kitchen range and a chimney, and to furnish it with a table and a few chairs. Frequently the midday meal on a Sunday is partaken in these small summer-houses. A small greenhouse is often 1174 found attached; and occasionally, where the gardens are sufficiently removed from the city, there would be a fowl-house or a pig-sty. These buildings, no doubt, are put up without the leave of the landlord. I venture to speak on behalf of the Federation of Allotment Garden Holders Associations, who have carefully considered this matter, and who believe they have a claim for compensation for these buildings when they are compelled to move. Having regard to the moral influence of these suburban allotment gardens, I see no reason why the House should not make it possible for these people to enjoy this semi-rural life on Bank Holidays and Sundays in safety as to the future. I do not complain on their behalf of the high rents they pay, often as much as at the rate of 20 guineas per acre, which is very high compared with agricultural rent in this country. I do not complain of the high rent of twenty guineas per acre. I do not complain of the cottage gardener or the allotment gardener, the class to which I refer, receiving no compensation if against his wish he has to leave his plot because he has to go and live in another town. I do not complain of that at all, but what I do complain of is, that having established these allotment gardens and cultivated them and put up their little buildings upon them on the faith of long custom and long habit, they cannot when that land is sold for building purposes claim any compensation at all. The land is only sold when it is absolutely ripe for building, and it is sold then at a very high profit, and the small amount of compensation that I have suggested in my Amendment the Committee will agree is not too much. The compensation is 1175 strictly limited in amount. I shall be told that they have a right to take away the fruit bushes and fruit trees not firmly planted in the land, so to speak. But I would point out to the Committee that one cannot take away from the land with any profit fruit trees and fruit bushes; and the buildings which have been put up are not saleable at all at the price of the cost which they represent. What I wish to do is to obtain for those tenants the right to take away their fruit trees and fruit bushes, and I think on the determination of the tenancy by the action of the landlord and not of the tenant—as in cases where the land has become ripe for immediate building purposes, and the tenant is turned out at six months notice—where there is no compensation at all by the operation of the compensation clause of the existing Act, the tenant ought to have the right to compensation to the extent of one-third of the gross value of his improvements or £10, whichever is the greater sum. I venture to hope that I have shown to the Committee a good case for their favourable consideration. This is a very deserving class, the artisans of the great towns; and from the point of view of public behaviour and public morals, of detachment from less worthy pursuits, of health given to wife and children who are enabled to spend many hours in the spring and summer months amongst the green leaves and away from the shut-in atmosphere of the cities—from the point of view of public interest and national interest generally, and of improving the physique of the people, and detaching them from public-houses and from betting and other forms of amusement far too prevalent in our towns, I ask that the tenant shall be put in a better position than he stands at present. My Amendment is one that is looked upon with great favour by the populations of the large manufacturing towns of this country, and I believe it is the only proposal of this particular kind now before the House. I beg to move.
In page 1, line 12, after the word 'tenant,' to insert the words, 'And the tenant of a holding, being an allotment or cottage garden, shall be entitled to obtain from the landlord compensation in money for fruit trees, fruit bushes, drains, and for any outbuildings, pigsties, fowl-houses, or other structural improvements made by the tenant upon his hold-
ing to the extent of one-third of their gross value; provided always that this compensation; shall not exceed ten pounds, and that the-tenant shall have the right to remove such fruit trees, fruit bushes, outbuildings, pigsties, and fowl-houses in addition to the right to the aforesaid compensation, and that if the tenancy be determined after notice given by the tenant no right to compensation in money shall exist.' "—(Mr. Yoxall.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. LONG
The hon. Gentleman has honestly endeavoured to deal with what he no doubt considers a very difficult, question, but I very much doubt if the difficulty be as great as he imagines it is, or whether there is any difficulty at all,, and I do not know whether the allotment holders, after all, will approve of this Amendment when they find how it works out in their own individual cases. How does the question of compensation stand? The Allotments Act of 1887 provides that the tenants shall receive full compensation for the erection of buildings and other improvements, provided they obtain the assent of the landlords to those improvements in the first instance. Then they can do what they like. The hon.. Gentleman proposes by his Amendment that that assent shall be done away with,, and that the tenant shall be entitled to compensation to the extent of one-third of the gross value of his property, and then, in order to do justice to the landlord, he proposes that the compensation shall be limited to £10. I cannot conceive how a proposal of this kind could work out equitably throughout the country generally. Everybody agrees-with what the hon. Gentleman said as to the desirability of people in the towns having gardens of this character, and everybody who has observed the condition of large towns must be aware of the wonderful increase in the provision of allotments and gardens all over the country. The hon. Gentleman by his proposal not only suggests that the tenant shall be entitled to claim compensation from the landlord with respect to the expenditure and disturbance entailed upon him, but that when the landlord has paid the compensation the tenant shall be entitled to remove the fruit trees and other things which he has sold to the landlord. It is a most remarkable way to 1177 arrive at a just compensation, and I cannot believe it will confer the advantage upon the allotment-holders which the hon. Gentleman desires. I am bound to say also that it involves a principle to which I could not assent, that these men are to be allowed to make alterations in the character of their holdings without the consent of the landlord. Therefore, I must resist the Amendment.
§ MR. PRICE (Norfolk, E.)
I am very sorry the right hon. Gentleman did not see his way to accept this Amendment, or some portion of it. There is no real difficulty in this matter; that is shown by the fact that all this large number of associations have asked my hon. friend to move in the matter. It is true that compen-
§ sation can be claimed if the assent of the landlord in writing has been first obtained,, but in the vast majority of the cases the assent of the landlord cannot be obtained, the result being that large amounts of improvements have been confiscated. Of course it is very difficult to say what are improvements on land that is to be used for building and what are not, but at the same time I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman, whilst agreeing to the desirability of doing something, has not seen his way to accept the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 76; Noes, 134. (Division List No. 203.)1179
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hogan, James Francis||Price, Robert John|
|Billson, Alfred||Horniman, Frederick John||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bramsdon, Thomas Arthur||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'lnd)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Burns, John||Lewis, John Herbert||Spicer, Albert|
|Burt, Thomas||Lloyd-George, David||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Caldwell, James||Lough, Thomas||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Crilly, Daniel||Macaleese, Daniel||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan E.)|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||M'Dermott, Patrick||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Ghee, Richard||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dilke, Rt. Hn. Sir Charles||M'Kenna, Reginald||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Dillon, John||M'Leod, John||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Maddison, Fred.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Moulton, John Fletcher||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddersf'd)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Woods, Samuel|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Mr. Yoxall and Mr. Steadman.|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Bullard, Sir Harry||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbys)||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Curzon, Viscount|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)|
|Bethell, Commander||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worcr)||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Donkin, Richard Sim|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Charrington, Spencer||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Llewellyn, Sir Dillwyn (S'nsea)||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Round, James|
|Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Lowles, John||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Garfit, William||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Sidebotham, T. Harrop (Stalybr.)|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Macdona, John Cumming||Sidebottom, William (Derbys.)|
|Gilliat, John Saunders||M'Killop, James||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Malcolm, Ian||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Monckton, Edward Philip||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Sturt, Hon. Humphrey Napier|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Gurdon, Sir William Brampton||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monmouthsh.)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. M.|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Morrell, George Herbert||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Hardy, Laurence||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Mount, William George||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts)|
|Henderson, Alexander||Muntz, Philip A.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Hoare, Edw. B. (Hampstead)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Houston, R. P.||Nicholson, William Graham||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Parkes, Ebenezer||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Peel, Hon. Wm. Robert W.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Percy, Earl||Wyndham, George|
|Keswick, William||Pilkington, R. (Lancs., Newt'n)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Knowles, Lees||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn.)||Pretyman, Ernest George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Purvis, Robert||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther|
|Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.||Pym, C. Guy|
§ *SIR CHARLES WELBY (Nottinghamshire, Newark)
The words of the Amendment which I now beg to move are taken bodily from the existing Act, and therefore it seems to me it falls upon the Government to justify their omission rather than on me to justify their retention. When this question was referred to upstairs, it was pointed out that the proviso was not in the Act of 1883, as it was originally drafted, but was inserted in the Committee stage. But what was the history of its insertion? It was inserted in the Bill of 1883 upon the motion of the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it was moved after a more drastic Amendment, which limited the compensation of the tenant to his actual outlay, had been proposed and carried by the present First Lord of the Treasury. The Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman was, with some slight modifications, accepted by the Government and inserted in the Bill, and it was then recognised upon all sides of the House to be a reasonable precaution against possible misunderstanding. This Amendment which I now move will have the same effect in this Bill. I admit that the words are vague and unsatisfactory, 1180 but the object of the proviso is, so far as improvements are concerned, to separate as far as possible the interest of the tenant from that of the landlord. I am as anxious as anyone to secure for the tenant full compensation for his outlay, initiative, and energy, but it is perfectly obvious that there must be a point at which one interest ends and the other begins. Take an extreme case which I admit is unlikely to arise, but which shows the principle. A man may, by the mere fact of turning the course of a river, turn 200 acres of worthless swamp into valuable fertile land. But no one contends that in such a case as that he should be entitled to the capital value of all that reclaimed acreage of land. But I confess I can see in this Bill no sort of safeguard against such an extreme interpretation as that being placed upon it. The right hon. Gentleman, as I understood when this question was raised upstairs, objected to the proviso, mainly on the ground that it was of no practical effect. I am not prepared to accept that entirely, but even granting it, I submit that it does not necessarily follow that, because words are in an Act of Parliament and have no effect, the deliberate omission 1181 of those words will have no effect. We apprehend, rightly or wrongly, that these words having been in an Act of Parliament, their omission may be construed as an instruction to arbitrators to make some change in their practice, and to ascribe to an outgoing tenant something that has hitherto been recognised by all as inherent with the ownership of the soil. The right hon. Gentleman made the important statement, upstairs, that the Government did not by omitting these words intend any change in the law or in the practice. I would respectfully submit to him that, as the Government do not intend to make any change in the law or in the practice, and as, so far as I am aware, there is no demand for any change; and as, on the other hand, there are apprehensions in many quarters as to what the effect of the omission may be, it would be well to let well alone, and to reinsert these words as part of the law. I beg to move.
In page 1, line 12, after the word 'tenant,' to insert the words,' Provided always that, in estimating the value of any improvement in Schedule I., there shall not be taken into account, as part of the improvement made by the tenant, what is justly due to the inherent capabilities of the soil.' "—(Sir Charles Welby.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. LONG
My hon. friend may be quite certain that apart altogether from the distinguished origin of the Amendment, the subject is one which coming from himself would receive my consideration. I confess that when I was anticipating the points of difficulty that might arise in the discussion of this Bill, it never entered my head that this would be one of them. The reason for leaving out the words was accurately described by my hon. friend. he told us something of the history of the way the words got into the Act of 1883. It is quite true that they were words suggested by my right hon. friend, but I am not quite sure that they were suggested by him because he believed they were of very great importance, or far reaching. Now he entirely concurs 1182 that they are of no value as they stand. My hon. friend suggests that, although they may be of no value, the fact that they are in the Act of Parliament, and that Parliament is asked to leave them out of this Bill, may have a bearing on future action in this matter. I confess that I have never been able to understand how a landlord is going to consider agricultural operations in connection with the soil without considering in the valuation what is due to the soil itself—how much the soil has paid for the production of the article for which compensation is to be given. My hon. friend thinks the omission of the words may lead to difficulty. The Royal Commission considered these words with the greatest possible care, and made some moderate and sensible recommendations. Mr. Lipscombe spoke in the strongest terms of these words, and other valuers have described them as having a mischievous effect. Recommendations have been made from all quarters that the words should be omitted. They have led to the suggestion, as my hon. friend is aware, that the landlord seeks to deprive the tenant of that which is the result of the tenant's work. This has led to some reflection being cast on the Act of Parliament itself. I have discussed this matter with some of the most experienced valuers I have lately come-across, and so far as I know there is no suggestion that the omission of these words would have the far-reaching and serious effect my hon. friend fears. I confess I do not share my hon. friend's fears in any way whatever. I hope the House will accept the suggestion the Government have made and will not assent to the reinsertion of the words.
§ *EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)
said he regretted extremely that the right hon. Gentleman had not been able to accept the small and reasonable Amendment of his hon. friend. They had really heard no reason whatever, either in the Committee upstairs or in that House, in favour of striking out the words, except the evidence given before the Royal Commission. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to that and it would be worth while to see how absolutely conflicting and contradictory it was. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to the evidence given by Mr. Lipscombe 1183 who was in favour of striking out the I words, because they were entirely unnecessary and inoperative at the present moment. Sir J. Bennet Lawes, while in favour of the exclusion of the words, was of opinion that they contained a principle which the arbitrators would be bound to take into account in giving an award, whether the words were in the Bill or not. Did Mr. Lipscombe mean that the arbitrators had acted in open defiance of the principles laid down by the law? He should say that was a good reason for appointing a commission of enquiry similar to the Fry Commission, which reported on the working of the Irish Land Acts. If Sir J. Bennet Lawes was correct, what on earth could be the reason for striking the words out of the Bill? A more extraordinary way of enlisting the confidence of either tenant or landlord in the impartiality of this tribunal, to which for the first time they were giving unlimited discretion, while withdrawing the right of appeal which had hitherto existed to the county court, could hardly be imagined. The right hon. Gentleman had stated in reference to the history of the matter, that although it was true these words were inserted in the Bill in 1883, on the motion of the right hon. Gentleman who was now Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was not at all sure that the Chancellor of the Exchequer at that time attached any importance to them. All he knew was that his right hon. friend the First Lord of the Treasury moved an Amendment in 1883 on the Bill of the then Government—a far more stringent one— providing that compensation to tenants in case of improvements executed without the consent of the landlord should be limited to the amount of the capital expenditure by the tenant. He carried that Amendment against the Government, and the Government was so annoyed that they proceeded to suggest that the Amendment by the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be accepted in place of the Amendment by his right hon. friend. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer, in moving the Amendment, used words quite incompatible with the assertion of the right hon. Gentleman, that he attached no importance to it. He said—He was bound to say he thought there would be something required in the Bill in the nature of a limit to the discretion of the valuer beyond the words 'inherent capabilities of the soil.'1184 Later on the right hon. Gentleman said—What he was anxious to do was to enable this Bill to work if it could; and what he was convinced of was this—that it would be difficult enough for the first part of the Schedule to work under any circumstances, for he did not believe the tenantry of England were likely, so long as the English land system endured, to desire to make these permanent improvements. But if the Committee wished to deter landlords from giving their assent to the making of these permanent improvements by the tenants, they could not do better than leave it open to the valuer to give to the tenant compensation for that which really belonged to the landlord. Therefore, he was anxious to limit the action of the valuers in this matter, as the Government themselves desired, and to show in the four corners of the Bill that the valuers were not to take that course. The landlord, if he gave his consent to the permanent improvements being made, would not then be under any fear that he would be deprived of any property which belonged to him; and with that view he had proposed this Amendment.It appeared, therefore, that he did attach importance to it at the time. A protest ought to be made against this kind of slipshod legislation to which they were becoming accustomed in connection with all questions relating to agriculture. The Government pretended that these words were unnecessary, or at any rate that they might raise conflict and misunderstanding, and instead of taking the trouble to devise some phrase to express their meaning better, they asked the House to strike the words out of the Bill. Surely the English language was capable of giving such a definition. They might find words which would not be open to the objections urged against this proviso in Ricardo's "Original and Indestructible Properties of the Soil," or in the definitions of any treatise on political economy. Instead of trying to devise an alternative they trusted absolutely to the impartiality of gentleman who, it had been stated, paid no attention to the principles of the statute under which they act. It was said in evidence before the Royal Commission that these words might deter tenants from coming forward with claims of a certain character. If there was one difficulty in this legislation it was that it encouraged a tenant to believe that by a dexterous manipulation of his claim he might extract from the arbitrator something to which he had no right and which the law never intended to give him. The result was that the landlord had to make an equally exaggerated claim, and the 1185 arbitrators, in order to save themselves the trouble of going into the matter, took the easy way of splitting the difference. In some form or other words should be introduced which would limit and restrict the discretion of the arbitrator.
§ LORD WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
confessed he was somewhat disappointed at the reply of the President of the Board of Agriculture, because he thought the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give a better reason for his opposition to the Amendment than he had done. When he came to the House that night he did not think this was a point they should press on the Government.; but, considering the small excuse the Government so far had given for leaving out the words which appeared in every other Agricultural Act dealing with holdings, he should feel himself bound to support his hon. friend unless they got some better explanation. The two hon. Members who had just spoken had fully gone into the history of the words and the reason for the Amendment. He would give one example to the House of a thing which might occur, and which might bring this question very much to the front. Suppose that some year there was a considerable rise in the price of wheat and barley. Hon. Members were perfectly well aware that there was a large amount of land at the present moment which no longer could be worked at a profit in growing corn. On the other hand, it produced an indifferent and inferior article, and would let at from 2s. 6d. to 5s. an acre. That land, if ploughed and cultivated, would certainly produce a rent of 15s. to £1 an acre. He wished to ask the House whether it was fair that the whole of that increase should go to the tenant. Undoubtedly the "inherent capabilities of the soil" were what would grow the wheat. It would not be wheat of five quarters to the acre, which would pay cultivation at present prices. It would only produce three-quarters to the acre. He saw no reason why such words should not be placed in. the Bill, so that valuers should at all times know how to act.
§ MR. SEALE HAYNE (Devonshire, Ashburton)
said he only wished to bring before the House his view of "the in- 1186 herent capabilities of the soil." What did a tenant pay for when he paid rent? He paid for the inherent capabilities of the soil. If those capabilities were good he paid a high rent, and if they were bad he paid a low rent. There was no such thing as the inherent capabilities of the soil, because the soil without labour and without manure would produce nothing that was marketable. [Cries of "Oh !"] Certainly not. If they put by an acre of land and did not work it, that acre of land would produce nothing of any marketable value. The soil had no inherent capabilities unless worked by tenants. If these words were worth anything, and if they resulted in anything being got out of the tenant, it would really be robbing him.
MR. PHILIPPS (Pembrokeshire)
I do not pretend to be quite certain what effect the omission of these words will have, but the right hon. Gentlemen in charge of the Bill, as far as I understood him, assured the House that whether or not the words are in the Bill will make no difference in the minds of the valuers, and he proposes to leave them out only as being more or less immaterial. It is possible that may be so, but for my own part I have some hope that if these words are omitted valuers will be inclined, from the very fact of their omission from this Bill, while they were inserted in a previous Bill, to give to the outgoing tenant a larger sum as compensation than they would have been inclined to give. I therefore hope the Government will stick to their guns and insist that these words should not be added to the clause. I desire to take this opportunity of putting in a protest against some of the arguments by which this Amendment has been justified. The hon. Baronet the mover gave us what he evidently considered was a most shocking example. He said that unless the Bill was safeguarded by these words a case might happen in which a man took a farm with even as much as one hundred acres of swamp upon it—swamp that was absolutely useless— and by altering the course of a river turned that swamp into most valuable land. That is the way the hon. Baronet looked at it, but it seems to me, looking at it from the Liberal point of view—and I fancy most agricultural constituencies, whether they return Liberals or Conser- 1187 vatives to this House, will have much the same opinion—that if a man takes a farm which has an acre of swamp, worth practically nothing to anybody, and by turning the course of a river or stream makes that swamp into good meadow land, the man is fairly entitled to every penny the land is worth.
Suppose a man improves one acre of land, he is entitled to compensation. "Why is he less entitled if he improves a thousand acres? It has been laid down that a man benefited his country if he made two blades of grass to grow where one Wade grew before. But the man who drains a swamp makes many hundreds of blades to grow where only one grew before, and if the man who makes two to grow is a benefactor to his country, the man who makes a hundred to grow is much more a benefactor. This may shock the hon. Baronet; he appears to think it may be reasonable that a man who reclaims one acre of bog should get compensation, but he speaks of the possibility of a man getting compensation for reclaiming a thousand acres as a very terrible thing. If it is a good thing to reclaim an acre surely it is a better thing to reclaim two acres, and a far better thing to reclaim a thousand, and the man who docs such a deed certainly deserves every penny of the advantage his labour or skill has given to the land. After all, it is not generally such an easy thing to drain land, and if a man has the skill to drain a thousand acres of bog land on a remunerative basis—that is, so that the land is worth more than the amount he spends in draining it—he certainly is entitled to all the credit and advantage. That is my view of the principles on which the House ought to legislate, and if the omission of these words will lead to the man who drains land getting the benefit I earnestly hope the House will condemn the Amendment. I dissent altogether from the arguments of the noble Lords sitting opposite. I say that a tenant ought to get the benefit of any improvement to the value of the holding when he leaves it, which is due to inherent capabilities of the soil. My 1188 right hon. friend the Member for the Ashburton Division put the matter very clearly. What is it that a man pays for when he takes land? Some men rent, land at 5s. an acre, and some rent land at £2 an acre—grass-land in a, similar county, one part being poor and the other rich grass-land. What does a man pay for if he pay £2 rather than 5s. an acre? Surely he pays for "the inherent capabilities of the soil"? I say that he is entitled to the benefit of those capabilities, and it would be most unjust if, by such an Amendment as the hon. Baronet proposes, the tenant was shut out from these advantages. As regards some of the matters in the first schedule of this Bill, unless a man is benefited by the improvement of the soil I cannot understand how a valuer can give compensation. The tenant can only get compensation if the land is benefited and gives increased crops. I hope the Government will stand to their guns and refuse to accept this Amendment. If the Amendment is accepted the heart of the Bill will be struck out, and it will be nothing more than a mockery and a sham.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE (Sussex, Horsham)
thought the ingenuity and eloquence of the hon. Member for Pembroke had been somewhat misapplied The practical question they had to decide was not whether these words were wisely introduced in the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1883, but whether their extrusion from the existing law at the present time might not have an injurious and unfair effect upon the rights of the owners of the soil. If these words were retained from the Act of 1883, it would enable the, arbitrator to give something to the tenant which he was not entitled to give him at present. He laid very little stress himself upon these words, and he was quite prepared to admit that it was a very difficult thing to translate them into pounds, shillings, and pence. If they had never been in the Act of 1883, he did not think that he should have voted for leaving them in this Act. But there they were, and so far they had worked no injustice, and if there had been ambiguity it had not been followed by any serious consequences. The question was whether the words should be taken, out. or not. He thought some further reason should. be 1189 given for taking them out. Let the House look at the matter in a plain and simple way. They were not dealing for the moment with existing tenants. The tenant paid for the inherent capacities of the soil in the shape of rent. He took his farm upon certain terms—it might be from year to year, or for a longer period— but as long as he had the farm he had the use of the inherent capacities of the soil to treat as he liked, with the assistance of his skill, his capital, and his labour. Therefore, the tenant got what he bargained for. Then they came to the position of things between the parties when the contract was at an end. It was right that the tenant should be compensated for what was due to his own exertions and industry and his capital, and the present Bill gave compensation for those matters. But when it came to putting into his own pocket money which, by the very wording of this clause, was due not to what he had done, but to the inherent capacities of something which belonged to another man, and the use of which he had had for a certain period of time, and for which he had paid, then he thought that was not the tenant's property, but the property of the landlord. For what those words were worth, he thought it was a pity to throw them away in the present Bill. He somewhat regretted that those words were ever introduced in the Bill of 1883, but being there, the question the House was called upon to decide was, whether it was right and wise to abandon them, and thus open a loophole which would enable an arbitrator to give a tenant compensation not for what he had done, but for what was really and truly the property of the landlord.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
I do not gather from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has charge of this Bill that in maintaining the omission of these words he was animated by any particular abstract principle. On the contrary, I gather that there was no principle of any sort at the back of his opposition, and if any justification is wanted of the practical sagacity of the hon. Gentleman in trying to get rid of those words it is to be found in the debate which has taken place. I cannot help thinking that the House has discussed this question in a somewhat innocent fashion. Hon. Members have spoken as if this was some virgin soil 1190 which they could till, and there has been in addition the argument about "inherent capabilities." They leave out of account the fact that what they are contemplating is ground which has already been discussed. This very question gave rise to the famous case of "Adams v. Dunseath," and I for one contemplate with abhorrence the notion that the controversy which that case let loose in Ireland should now be let loose on this side of St. George's Channel. As that controversy was entirely the outcome of these words, I think the only practical expedient for us to adopt now is to omit them. It is a great delusion to suppose that the practical man who comes to value the improvements of the tenants takes into account the inherent capabilities of the soil. On the contrary, what he does is, not to think of the inherent capacities of the soil, but to apportion the value of the improvements between the labour of the tenant and something which is the subject-matter on which he has been operating. The valuer is generally some practical farmer with a great knowledge of agriculture and valuations, and he asks himself, what has the tenant substantially contributed to the improvement of the farm? So far from drawing a distinction between the inherent capacities of the soil and the labour of the tenant, he does nothing of the sort. He makes no such distinction, because it is a purely metaphysical one, and it has no practical value. In considering what the tenant does to add value to the soil, some account of course must be taken of what is due to the inherent qualities of the soil. The tenant would not have occupied the soil unless he believed it had some inherent qualities of which he could take advantage. On the other hand, to imagine that there is some hard-and-fast line to be drawn between what is due to the inherent capacities of the soil and what is due to the labour of the tenant is really raising a figment of the imagination of philosophers and lawyers. I object to introducing a figment of philosophers and lawyers into this controversy between landlord and tenant. The practical man is quite capable of dealing with this question, and of distinguishing between what is due to the inherent qualities of the soil and what is due to the tenant; he will take a broad view, and consider whether a particular tenant 1191 has, by his labour and his money, made an improvement of that kind which the Act of Parliament lays down. The Act of Parliament is not one which am bodies any abstract principle, and I never knew any Act which did embody an abstract principle which anybody could understand; and least of all does the Agricultural Holdings Act provide any logical basis which would enable the unfortunate valuer to consider the subtleties which were raised by the noble Lord the Member for South Kensington. The valuer has to look at these things from a business point of view, and if he were instructed otherwise I should protest against him being made arbitrator in the controversies under this Act, because he would not be fit for the duties imposed upon him. Heaven forbid that we should place any such burden upon the back of the unfortunate arbitrator as was raised in "Adams v. Dunseath." There is not very much chance of the arbitrator making a mistake, and if he does no court of law would endeavour to correct him, and because these words seem to introduce ambiguity into what is otherwise quite clear I think the Government have acted wisely in omitting those words.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)
I think it comes rather strangely from the hon. and learned Member for Haddington that he should charge hon. Members on this side with being philosophers and lawyers. But, to return to the more serious part of his speech, he very properly pointed out that this was anything but virgin ground, and that these questions had all been gone through in 1883. It must have amused the older hon. Members of this House to hear the way in which this subject was dealt with by my noble friend behind me. There is one remarkable difference between the state of things which existed in 1883 and now, and it is that whereas everyone of the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury bench voted "aye" in 1883, they propose to vote "no" now. I do not suppose that I can raise a blush on the cheek of an official, but I think this fact fully justifies us in asking for some further explanation for the complete change of front which has taken place. These words which we desire to retain were introduced by the 1192 Chancellor of the Exchequer, and were strongly supported by the First Lord of the Treasury, and now the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill says they are unimportant, and he also says that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has come to the same conclusion. I observe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not present to face the music, and he has not come forward to explain why he pressed the House to carry in 1883 words which he now considers unimportant and mischievous. But why are these words mischievous? We asked the right hon. Gentleman to explain, and all be could tell us was that some eminent valuer had said they were mischievous. A man might be capable of estimating what was fair between landlord and tenant, and yet not be a safe guide for us in a matter of legislation, and I really think we ought to have some explanation from a member of the Government as to what is the mischief and what is the harm which the words proposed by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer have done. What was the great mischief he did to the country by his proposal? I should like to have that question answered. What does the right hon. Gentleman say? He says that every valuer will act exactly as if these words were there, and that it is the only honest course to take. The hon. Member opposite proceeded to say that there was no inherent value in land. That proposition is a most ridiculous one. It would be just as reasonable to say that any farmer could grow just as good a wheat crop on the floor of this House as upon any piece of land of the same size in the country. The proposition is so ludicrous that I am surprised to hear the hon. Member defend it. If the words which existed in this Bill were carried out by the valuers it would be a robbery. The right hon. Gentleman proposes to leave out those words because he says that robbery will continue whether the words are there or not. I cannot help saying that the right hon. Gentleman is playing into the hands of people who differ from him absolutely upon this question. The right hon. Gentleman showed something less than his usual prescience when he expressed official astonishment that there should be any objection to the omission of these words. It never occurred to the right hon. Gentleman that the words introduced by a leading member of this Government and 1193 supported by the Leader of the House, and which were produced as a protection and safeguard to the landlords against robbery, would be defended by anybody in this House, and he did not think we should take the trouble to protest against such a motion.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
I am induced to make a very few observations and to interpose in this interesting debate by the reference which has been made by my hon. and learned friend the Member for Haddington to the celebrated historic case of Adams v. Dunseath. I am very glad to see my hon. friend on the front Ministerial Bench, who is very familiar with that case. He will probably follow me, and if I say anything which does not commend itself to his logical mind perhaps he will be good enough to correct me. I confess that I am rather inclined to favour the insertion of those words, but on grounds altogether different from those which commended themselves to the noble Lord who so ably and eloquently defended this Amendment, and on grounds different from those put forward by the hon. Members who have supported him. Those words do not occur at all in the Irish Land Act, for there are no cognate words referring to the capabilities of the soil in that statute. The difference arose to some extent from those words not occurring. On the one hand the landlord contended that all the tenant was entitled to was the actual capital expended on his improvements, with interest say at 5 per cent. from the time the capital was expended. That was one pole of the question. On the other hand, what was contended for by the tenant was that the landlord was only entitled to what was termed and became a historic phrase—that is, the prairie value of the land. That is there was the prairie value on one hand and the capital value and interest on the other. I confess that in Ireland the question of the prairie value would be very different to what it would be in England. If we went back to what was done by the tenants in Ireland it would be found that the land was actually reclaimed from its wild and prairie state by the exertions, the labour, and the in- 1194 dustry of the tenants from generation to generation. That is not so in England, because the tenants do not go back in that way. There have been leases in England, and it can easily be ascertained what was the state of the soil when the tenancy commenced. My idea is, that if you leave in these words they will at once challenge inquiry as to what the precise measure of compensation that the tenants should get is, and it will prevent the arbitrator from applying that very valuable standard of common sense which is so popular with everyone when they can clearly understand the meaning of it. But there is nothing more dangerous, in my opinion, than common sense. It is very frequently a convertible term with the particular opinions of the person who applies it, which are often chimerical, and which lead to obvious errors. My idea of the effect of this Amendment is this: Dean Swift said that the man who made two blades of grass grow where only one grew before was a benefactor to his country. That is the principle on which I go. If a man makes two blades of wheat grow where only one grew before, what would justice and equity say? Why, that he should have one blade for himself, and the landlord should have the other blade for allowing him the use of the soil. I defy the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Derby, with whose logical and metaphysical powers the House is so familiar, to meet that argument. Supposing a tenant makes two blades of wheat grow where no wheat at all would have grown but for the exertions of the tenant. Is the tenant to get the two blades, and is nothing to remain for the landlord but the value of the virgin soil upon which the two blades grew? This is what creates the difficulty. If the land was not there, you might as well attempt to grow wheat on the floor of this House. The only true solution is, I think, that the tenant ought to receive compensation for every improvement he has applied to the soil, and all the landlord should get is the value of the uncultured and uncultivated soil at the time the letting was made. I will not trouble the House any further, and I should not have spoken at all but for the fact that the case of Adams v. Dunseath was mentioned, and I may say that the case is still sub judice, and is as far from a solution as ever it was.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
We have been told in this debate that common sense is the most injurious quality a man can possess, and that no soil possesses any inherent capabilities. I rise mainly because I am anxious to defend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his regrettable absence, against the attack of the hon. Member for St. Albans, who has complained that the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed a clause in the original Act, and is not here to prevent its extrusion by the Government of which he is a member. Does the hon. Member forget the difference between being in opposition and being in power? I think the hon. Member for St. Albans should remember that when a distinguished Member of this House is in Opposition he acts in accordance with his conscience and knowledge, and votes against nefarious schemes like the Finance Act of 1884, but when he comes into office his conscience is changed and "as bees on flowers alighting cease to hum," so on going into office Chancellors of the Exchequer are dumb. That is the explanation. The right hon. and learned Serjeant opposite spoke of this Amendment as if it proposed to insert something in the Bill. That, I assert, is a wrong way of putting it. The proposal of the Government is to leave something out. Let us remember that this Bill and the existing Act are one, and must be read one with the other, and everything that is done is subject to the provisions of both. If you repealed the existing law, and were starting anew, I think it would be arguable whether these words should be inserted, but the proposal apparently now is that we should leave out these words, while at the same time we keep them in, because we keep them in for reference but leave them out for legislative effect. Now, what is the result? The President of the Board of Trade told us that every arbitrator must have in mind the principle embodied in this Amendment—namely, that whatever is derived from the inherent capabilities of the soil should not be subject to compensation. He said that that principle must necessarily be in the mind of the arbitrator, whether we put in these words or not, but when an arbitrator comes to these two Acts, and the other nine Acts to which I will not now refer, he will 1196 have to consider them together. He will find in the first Act that he is directed not to take into account such part of the improvement made by the tenant as is-justly due to the inherent capabilities of the soil, but he will also find that in the latest Act the Government, of malice prepense, have advisedly struck out these words, and he will take that as an overt direction to himself that he is no longer to proceed on the old Act but on the new. If you repealed the first Act it would be the cleaner way of doing it. Why not repeal all the nine Acts, and then set forth what you mean in a new Act? But, for reasons which we all know, the Government will not undertake that. Instead, the Government are legislating by allusion. They are superimposing the present Bill on the old Act, and are saying to the arbitrator, "We told you in 1883 that when you came to your arbitration you must not take into account in awarding, compensation such part of the improvement made by the tenant as was justly due to the inherent capabilities of the soil. Now, in the Act of 1900 we leaver out in the most marked manner the clause giving that particular direction." Would not any arbitrator, any man of common sense, even any lawyer, say at once, "Oh, I understand what is meant. In 1883 I was told to take into account the inherent, capabilities of the soil, but in 1900 I have not got to do anything of the kind." It is as plain as a pikestaff. One other-point. In the list of improvements in the schedule there are very few indeed to which this clause would apply. It would not apply to the putting up or taking; down of fences or the erection or enlargement of buildings, and I do not think it would apply to "warping or weiring of land," a cryptogram which I hope in due course will be explained. If hon. Gentle- men will go through the list, they will find very few improvements in which the-inherent capabilities of the soil are involved at all. That being so, the principle is not a very large one. It is undoubtedly a just one, and was recognised as such by that great and most eminent, professor of justice the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in 1883, though I am perfectly certain that, if by the merest accident, the right hon. Gentleman were not away at the present moment, although he was here most of the afternoon, he would not now defend it. I do not know why he has changed his opinion. It is true that 1197 he has sold his land, though that may not have altered his principles. At any rate, he is not here to defend the abandonment of a principle he maintained in 1883, and which with great difficulty he embodied in the Act of that year. When such a course is proposed, it demands adequate justification, and no such justification has been yet given. We have been told that the arbitrator will bear the principle in mind, but I have endeavoured to show that he will take the omission of these words as a direction that he is not to have the regard for them which he was required to have by the Act of 1883. Consequently, in my opinion no case whatever has been made out for the omission.
§ CAPTAIN PRETYMAN (Suffolk, Woodbridge)
I only desire to say a few words in order to bring the discussion back to a practical issue. After all, the question we have to decide is whether it is really necessary, for the protection of landlords against unjust claims, that these words should remain as they were in the Act of 1883. I have listened very carefully to this debate, and the one consideration which inclined me to support this Amendment was the line taken by hon. Members opposite, who seemed to hope that the omission of these words would enable an entire change to take place. One hon. Member even stated that the whole value of the Bill would be destroyed if the words were inserted, and evidently a great deal of importance is attached to them. However, we have the assurance of my right hon. friend in charge of the Bill that he has no such intention as is evidently entertained by hon. Members opposite, but I do not think that we can attach very much importance to that, because after all it is not intentions, but words and the interpretation of words, we have to consider. When we come to the particular point as to what the landlords risk by leaving out these words, it will be seen that the risk is limited to the first schedule of the Bill. In the case mentioned by my hon. friend of ploughing up a field to convert it into wheat land, there would be no claim for compensation under this Bill in respect to that particular matter, and as regards the other case 1198 of the diverting of a river, that is not in the schedule at all, or, if it is in the schedule, it would come under "watercourses," where the consent of the landlord would be required, and he would therefore be able to protect himself. The possibility of injury to the landlord is confined to the third part of the first schedule, but I think where a tenant cultivates land as a mere matter of cultivation he is entitled to any improvement which he may hand on to the landlord. After all, that is the foundation of the Bill. If the cultivator improves the landlord's property he is 13 be entitled to the value of that improvement, which the landlord is able to charge the next tenant for. Therefore I do not think that taking out these words is likely to injure the landlords. Then is there any advantage in taking them out? I think there is. I do not think that their being in really affects the matter of compensation one way or the other, but, as was so ably pointed out by the hon. and learned Member for Haddingtonshire, they would really confuse the mind of the valuer. I cannot imagine anything more difficult than two valuers, one taking into account these words and the other not considering them, endeavouring to arrive at the value of a farm. One may argue that all the improvements are due to the inherent capabilities of the soil, and the other may argue, not I think very forcibly, that they are all due to the farmer. Therefore you get great confusion in practice; and, after all, the advantage of keeping these words in is not great. Speaking from a practical standpoint, I think on the whole that it is desirable that they should be omitted.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
I congratulate my hon. friend on having brought back the discussion to a more serious vein. We have heard a lesson in political economy from the hon. and learned Member for Haddingtonshire in his character as a man of common sense, and we also listened to the right hon. and learned Gentleman describing the celebrated case of Adams v. Dunseath, and though we might unbend in the gravity of our discussions a little, I think it is important that we should make it clear that this Amendment has a serious side, and that 1199 it was not moved for the purpose of pointing out any supposed inconsistency on the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer or of dwelling on those other more humorous sides developed in the course of the debate. It appears to us to contain a principle of importance, and I confess that it is my opinion that the Amendment is one which ought to be included in the Bill. It cannot be shown that any harm will result from it, and it could not confuse the mind of an arbitrator who was capable of understanding the words of the Amendment, which have a very plain meaning to a man of common sense. The President of the Board of Agriculture brought forward a long catalogue of cases which this clause would affect, but he did not produce one solitary atom of evidence that it had ever produced the smallest evil in the past. When you come to the other side of the question, it is remarkable that its omission has been accepted by hon. Members opposite as making a great change. One hon. Member went so far as to say that the Amendment would knock the heart out of the Bill if it were accepted, and several hon. Members have been at pains to argue that it ought not to be accepted, but I cannot understand why these words should not be put into the Bill to carry out the intention which the Government admit they have. I cannot believe it is safe to leave words out now which have been in the Act up to the present. Would any arbitrator understand that the deliberate omission of these words meant nothing whatever? What kind of an arbitrator would he have to be? According to the Government he would have to be a person not able to understand very plain words, or not even able to attach any importance to the deliberate omission of important words. In fact, the Government are relying on the natural incapacity of the arbitrator. The safest course is to accept the Amendment. It cannot do any harm, and may be very important. If the Government have some verbal criticisms, which prevent them from approving this particular form of words, let the words be put in now, and they can be amended in another place. It is most unsafe to leave out words which have been in an Act of Parliament for several years, and which every arbitrator is familiar with, in order to start arbitrators on a new course of procedure. Let us retain the words, 1200 and we may rely on it that the arbitrators will understand them in the future as they have understood them in. the past.
§ *MR. LOYD (Berkshire, Abingdon)
said it appeared to him that the hon. Member for King's Lynn, in the references which he had made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had forgotten that when the Act of 1883 was introduced,, the existing Act, that of 1875, provided a method of compensation by taking the outlay as a starting point, and then deducting so much for each year that had: elapsed since the outlay. Then the Act of 1883 introduced for the first time the principle of giving as compensation to the outgoing tenant what the improvement was fairly worth to the incoming tenant. On that change there was a good deal of apprehension lest more should be given than was justly due to the efforts of the tenant, and the present First Lord of the Treasury proposed to meet the danger by saying in no case should the compensation exceed the outlay. That was objected to, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to get over the difficulty by introducing, the words which were the subject of the present discussion. But since those words: were inserted in the Act of 1883 they had had a mass of evidence from valuers and agriculturists against their retention, and had also witnessed the subtle and expensive controversy in the case of: Adams v. Dunseath. They were not,, therefore, now in the same position as in 1883. For his own part, he saw nothing inconsistent in the right hon. Baronet proposing those words at that date and being quite willing to assent to the course now proposed by the Board of Agriculture on the advice of their skilled advisers and after the experience of the intervening years. The words in question were from the outset regarded with misgiving. They were dangerous because on the one hand they might mean nothing but what every arbitrator would see for himself if he applied his mind to decide what was the fair value to the incoming tenant, who, if the improvement had not been made, would have received the land with its-inherent capabilities; but, on the other, 1201 they might gravely embarrass a sensitive and cautious arbitrator who felt it difficult to consider anything as an improvement to which the inherent capabilities of the soil had not responded. He should support the Government in declining to accept the Amendment.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS
I hope that the President of the Board of Agriculture will adhere to the attitude he has taken up as regards this matter. Hon. Members who have spoken have forgotten that public opinion has developed enormously since the time compensation was first given for tenants' improvements. We are now familiar with the fact that these provisions have worked without any injury to the landlords' interests, and for the protection of the tenants' interests. Perhaps I may be permitted to say that the
§ aspect presented by the House of Commons in discussing a very grave and serious matter of this kind has not been such as. agriculturists will regard with favour. This Bill may be called the charter of the tenant farmers, and I can assure my noble friend that there is no proposal that will be looked upon with greater suspicion than the proposal to revive words which have been looked upon with the greatest aversion. The confusion which has attended the attempts of lawyers to explain these words is, in my opinion, a most convincing reason why this House should not have any more to do with them.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 24; Noes,. 186. (Division List No. 204.)1203
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Pilkington, R. (Lancs, Newton)|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Butcher, John George||Lecky, Rt. Hon. William E. H.||Sidebottom, T. Harrop (Stalybr.)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Lucas-Shadwell, William.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Malcolm, Ian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Finch, George H.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Sir Charles Welby and|
|Gedge, Sydney||Nicholson, William Graham||Earl Percy.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Charrington, Spencer||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Arrol, Sir William||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Garfit, William|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gilliat, John Saunders|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Colville, John||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Godson, Sir Augustus Fred|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds0||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Davies, Sir Hon. D. (Chatham.)||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Griffith, Ellis, J.|
|Billson, Alfred||Denny, Colonel||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Dillon, John||Gurdon, Sir William Brampton.|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Doogan, P. C.||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Bond, Edward||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Hanson, Sir Reginald|
|Brassey, Albert||Emmott, Alfred||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Fardell, Sir T. George||Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Henderson, Alexander|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Hermon-Hodge, R. Trotter|
|Burns, John||Fenwick, Charles||Hobhouse, Henry-|
|Hurt, Thomas||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Holland, William Henry|
|Caldwell, James||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Hornby, Sir William H.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Fisher, William Hayes||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derby.)||FitzGerald, Sir Rbt. Penrose-||Houston, R. P.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.)||Fitz Wygram, General Sir. F.||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph.||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Flower, Ernest||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Keswick, William||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Knowles, Lees||Muntz, Philip A.||Steadman, William Charles|
|Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Strauss, Arthur|
|Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Malley, William||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)||Parkes, Ebenezer||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Philipps, John Wynford||Thornton, Percy|
|Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Pickard, Benjamin||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Lowles, John||Pilkington, Sir Geo A. (Lancs S. W.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Macaleese, Daniel||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Price, Robert John||Weir, James Galloway|
|Maclure, Sir J. William||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Purvis, Robert||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts.)|
|M'Crae, George||Reckitt, Harold James||Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm)|
|M'Ghee, Richard||Rentoul, James Alexander||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|M'Killop, James||Round, James||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|M'Leod, John||Runciman, Walter||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Maddison, Fred.||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Milner, Sir Frederick George||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hudd'rs'd)|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Woods, Samuel|
|Molloy, Bernard Charles||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Wyndham, George|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd Carmarthen||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)||Younger, William|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Morrison, Walter||Smith, Abel H.(Christchurch)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Mount, William George||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
§ MR. HALDANE
said he moved the Amendment standing in his name with a strong sense that the Government, in inserting Sub-section 4, Clause 1, had made a really honest attempt to meet a difficulty. But it seemed to him that while it would meet the difficulty in some fashion, it ran counter to the principle of the Bill, which was the abolition of all penal clauses. The sub-section, as it left the Grand Committee, was as follows—In the ascertainment of the amount of the compensation payable to a tenant in respect of manures as defined by this Act, there shall be taken into account the value of the manure required by the contract of tenancy or by custom to be returned to the holding in respect of any crops sold off or removed from the holding within the last two years of the tenancy or other less time for which the tenancy has endured.Now, that left it open to the landlord who desired to prevent the sale of way going crops—a thing which the tenant had a perfect right to do—to defeat that right by putting in a stipulation that the tenant should not be entitled to sell his way-going crops except on condition of putting on the land, say, 1,000 tons of manure. Accordingly, the 1204 result would be that the tenant's claim for compensation in respect of unexhausted manures would be wiped out, contrary to the intention of the Bill. He quite admitted that the Government had a good motive in bringing in that sub-section. As the law stood under the old Act the tenant had to submit to a deduction, which was assessed on a principle which, however fair to the tenant, was purely hypothetical, and gave no guidance to the arbitrator. In substance the tenant was entitled to compensation for unexhausted manures, but subject to the deduction of an amount which the arbitrator might think would be equivalent to the consumption on the holding of the way-going crops in the ordinary course of good husbandry. The objection to the Act of 1883 was that it put on the arbitrator the burden of making his calculations on a hypothetical basis of fact. The Government, wishing to get rid of that difficulty, put in this clause to make it a matter of bargain; but the draftsman overlooked the fact that the effect of so doing was to penalise the tenant who sold his way-going crops. He confessed that, having meditated over this subject a good deal, he could not think the Government 1205 proposal was satisfactory. He recognised the difficulty of the old clause; but he also saw very clearly the difficulty of the new clause inserted in Grand Committee. The arbitrator was to ascertain the manurial value of the way-going crops. He objected to the introduction into the English language of such a phrase as "manurial value." It seemed to him that the calculation of manurial value involved a problem to the arbitrator as great as a calculation on a hypothetical basis of fact. Probably the least evil would be to go back to the policy of the old Act. If his Amendment were accepted, Sub-section 4 of Clause 1 would read as follows—In the ascertainment of the amount of the compensation payable to a tenant in respect of manures as denned by this Act there shall be taken into account the value of the manures that would have been produced by the consumption on the holding according to the rules of good husbandry of any crops sold off and removed from the holding within the last two years of the tenancy, or other less time for which the tenancy has endured, except in so far as a proper return of manure to the holding has been made in respect of such produce so sold off or removed.He hesitated to assert that that represented the "good common sense" desiderated by the noble Member for Greenwich; but it was common sense, and just what a good arbitrator would do. He was sure it was the best basis on which they could work, and he could not help thinking that if the Government were to consider the matter a little longer they would agree to it. He would, however, be perfectly content if the right hon. Gentleman would undertake, before the Bill came up in another place, to devise some words which would restore the sounder basis of the old state of the law, with such additions as would get rid of the puzzling calculations the arbitrator had at present to make.
In page 1, line 23, to leave out the words from the word 'manure' to the word 'endured,' inclusive, in line 27, and insert the words, 'that would have been produced by the consumption on the holding according to the rules of good husbandry of any crops sold off and removed from the holding within the last two years of the tenancy, or other less time for which the tenancy has endured, except in so far as a proper return of manure to the holding has been made in respect of such produce so sold oil' or removed.'"—(Mr. Haldane.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'required by' stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. LONG
The description which the hon. and learned Gentleman has given of the history of the Amendment is quite accurate. The difficulties which arose were practical difficulties. When the Act of 1883 was passed it was no doubt the general practice for tenants to enter into an agreement which precluded them altogether from selling off their way-going crops. There are now three different positions in regard to this matter. Under the first the tenant is absolutely prohibited from the sale of the way - growing crops. Second, he is allowed to sell, subject to the replacement of manures of equivalent value; and third, he is given a free hand. If the hon. and learned Gentleman's Amendment were adopted a fresh difficulty would arise; because if the tenant exercised his undoubted right to sell, yet the fact that he had sold would have to be considered in adjudicating his claim for compensation, and therefore he would be penalised by the adoption of these words as they stand. The words adopted by the Government in endeavouring to meet the three different cases are unquestionably open to the construction which the hon. and learned Gentleman has placed upon them. Undoubtedly the hon. and learned Gentleman is right in saying that one of the main objects which the Government had before them was to get rid of the penal clauses; and by Clause 6 of this Bill the penal clauses are practically got rid of, with, of course, certain limitations. It certainly is true that under Sub-section 4 of this clause, as it left the Grand Committee, something of the form of a penal clause would be introduced, that is whore the contract between landlord and tenant demands that where the tenant sells off his way-going crops he must put on manures in proportion to what he sells. It seems to me, as appears to the hon. and learned Gentleman, that it is extremely difficult to avoid one of the many difficulties that arise on this subsection. Our object in amending this sub-section was to give to the tenant the right to which he is justly entitled, in whatever category of contract he comes, and to give to the landlord his just right 1207 also, but at the same time not to make it possible for the landlord to make use of a system of penal clauses which by another part of the Bill is abolished. It must be remembered that this subsection applies only to the last two years of the tenancy, and during these years it has always been held that the landlord is entitled to have a tighter hold over the tenancy, as to the methods of cultivation, than is necessary during the preceding period. At the same time, it is not the desire of the Government that this should enable the re-enactment of the penal clauses. I gladly adopt the suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman that if I find it possible to devise words which, while without in any way diminishing the value of what we believe would be the result of this sub-section, would prevent a revival of the old penal clause system, I shall be very glad on the part of the Government to adopt them.
§ MR. MOULTON (Cornwall, Launceston)
No one who has heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman can fail to feel that there is a most genuine desire on his part to meet the difficulty so very skilfully pointed out by my hon. and learned friend. The object is to give to the landlord his just right of not having the condition of the land let down during the last two years of the tenancy by selling off the way-going crops, and yet to leave the maximum of liberty in the hands of the tenant. Might I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the evil is introduced by the words "contract of tenancy"? It is not intended that, by any language in the contract of tenancy, we should get rid of those relations between landlord and tenant which are good for good husbandry. Might it not meet the difficulty if these words "contract of tenancy" were left out, and the clause made to read something in this way: "Shall be taken into account the value of the manure required by custom, or the requirements of good husbandry, to be returned to the holding in respect of any crop "? This would prevent the amount of manure which had to be put in during the last two years from being altered by any unreasonable requirements inserted in the contract of tenancy. I am perfectly satisfied that the object of the Government would not depend upon the fact that 1208 a grasping landlord would put in an unfair clause. The desire in all these restrictions on the tenant should only be to treat the landlord fairly.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS
said he desired to accentuate the advice which had been so well expressed by his hon. friend on the opposite side of the House. The House would, no doubt, be aware; that very great interest in this subject existed in Scotland, and that the: Scottish Board of Agriculture had carefully considered the question, and considered that a change was desirable. The crux of the whole question was in the words "contract of tenancy." He made these remarks because he did not think that Scotch farming was quite understood in this country. The tenants did not exercise proper control over the terms of the lease, and it was because the tenants were not in the habit of exercising that control that a Bill of this kind was necessary. If the tenants were in a, position to exercise that control this Bill ought not to be brought in, because it was an interference between the landlord and tenant in freedom of contract; but it was because freedom of contract was not possessed by the tenant, and because his interests were such as ought to be conserved, not only from the tenant's point of view, but from the national point of view, that the Amendment should be considered and incorporated in the law of the land. Under the possibilities of the present system of "contracts of tenancy" there was serious reason to believe that the compensation given by this Bill might not find its way into the pockets of tenants. The President of the Board of Agriculture no doubt was desirous to give effect to that which this Bill professed to do in this matter, and therefore, on behalf of Scottish agriculture, he wished to support the Amendment.
§ MR. HALDANE
said, in consequence of the very satisfactory explanation given by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture, he should not trouble the House by going to a division, and therefore bogged leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.1209
§ *MR. CHANNING
said the words which he proposed to move by his first Amendment he understood were not acceptable to the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture, and therefore he did not propose to move that Amendment. He proposed to move the second Amendment, the words of which followed line 27. The words that he proposed to move would form a continuation or an addition to the clause as it stood, and they had the warm appreciation of the Central Chamber of Agriculture and other agricultural bodies. It appeared to him there was very good reason for these words being added, but as he had not had the advantage of being present when the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture had replied to the argument advanced by the hon. Member for Haddingtonshire, he was not quite sure whether any explanation had been made which would cover the special point raised by his Amendment. His Amendment sought to re-insert the words which now stood in the original Sub-clause 6 of the English Agricultural Act of 1883, which secured to the tenant the right to be compensated for any manure which had been returned to the holding during his tenancy. It seemed to him that that point should be covered in a Bill of this description, because unless it was covered the clause as it at present stood might operate very unjustly to tenants of agricultural holdings in the immediate neighbourhood of largo towns, where to all intents and purposes freedom of cultivation and sale of produce ought to be, as was in practice, given to the tenants of the holdings. The practice in many of these cases was to let out farms without any contracts at all. As the clause stood upon the Paper undoubtedly those contracts of agreement introduced in the lease of land in the. neighbourhood of towns might operate a great injustice to those producing vegetables from their lands and making, as they might easily be able to make, ample manurial returns to the land. The words that he proposed to move had been strongly desired by the Chamber of Agriculture to be re-inserted in the clause. He was bound to say, from the consideration that he had given during the last few weeks to the immense amount of letters that he had received upon this particular question, that the Bill was nearer a settlement of this 1210 great question than any that they had had before. All he desired to do was to strengthen the Bill which had been introduced.
In page 1, line 27, after the word 'endured,' to insert the words 'except so far as a proper return of manure to the holding has been made in respect of such produce so sold off or removed, or security has been offered or given by the tenant that such proper and adequate return of manure to the holding will be made at the proper season.' "—(Mr. Channing.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir ROBERT FINLAY,) Inverness Burghs
hoped that the hon. Gentleman would not press the Amendment. The ground which he was desirous of covering had been already dealt with by what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture; besides which, he was not at all sure that if the words which the hon. Gentleman proposed were inserted they would have the effect which was intended. Of course, all the manure which had been returned to the land would be deducted, and therefore he hoped that the Amendment would not be pressed.
§ *MR. CHANNING
His only object was to secure that that right should be given to the tenant. After the explanation which had been given by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, he begged leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *MR. CHANNING
said that the Amendment he now proposed to move raised a wholly different point. This was a subsection which he had hoped to move in somewhat different terms, upon the suggestion of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Wigtownshire, who had advised that the clause should be drawn in the form of the clause which was passed in the Scottish Act of 1877, the 1211 Damage by Game Act of Scotland. That Act gave the tenant the right to claim compensation for the amount of damage by game in excess of the amount agreed upon between the landlord and the tenant in the contract of tenure; or where there was no agreement it provided that a certain specified sum should be paid in respect to the holding, and all damage that was proved to be done to the crops of the tenant by all kinds of game in excess of such amount should be allowed to the tenant. What is suggested here is that the tenant should be allowed during the last year of his tenure to claim and have such claim as was equitable and justifiable in the eye of the law allowed for all damage done by game to his crops. It was clearly desirable that this, like any other analogous claim, should be brought within the scope of the arbitration, and dealt with frankly and fairly for what it was worth at the time the arbitration was going on. They wanted to arrive at the most fair and amicable settlement between the parties as quickly as possible, and if the tenant could claim that damage had been done to his crops by game, it was desirable that that subject should be brought within the arbitration. The damage caused by game of all kinds was very considerable, and any claim for such damage ought to be fairly and fully dealt with. Those who had followed the course of events knew that just so far as depression had lowered agricultural rents there had been a corresponding extension of sporting tenancies, and an enormous head of game was often kept, and the sporting tenants were in some cases men who showed too little consideration for the farmers. From this there had resulted friction and loss to the farmers, which ought to be taken into consideration. There had been a certain number of cases brought to the attention of public men from time to time. There was an interesting case in South Oxfordshire, where there was an estate where the tenants wished to exercise their rights, and where there was an over-preservation of game. When the tenants wished to have their rights under the Ground Games Act they received notice to quit from the landlord. Other very similar cases had been reported, and this very serious grievance had been urgently pressed by many witnesses upon the attention of the Agricultural Commission during their 1212 sittings. The suggestion which he made was on the same principle and upon the same lines as the Act which was passed in 1877 for Scotland. It was couched in the most reasonable form, and if a settlement was to be arrived at in matters of this kind it could not be arrived at by a better method than by bringing those matters promptly and simply before the arbitrator who was to settle mutual claims between landlord and tenant.
In page 1, line 27, after the word 'endured,' to insert as a new sub-section the words, '(5) There shall be taken into account in augmentation of the tenant's compensation any sum which may be found by arbitration under this Act to be due to the tenant in respect of damage to crops by winged or ground game or deer during the last year of the tenancy.'" —(Mr. Channing.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. LONG
said that the Amendment moved by the hon. Member proposed to give the tenants a claim for compensation for damage done by game which he could assert against the landlord and so far they were on solid ground, but the hon. Gentleman assumed that the landlord was the person responsible for any damage done by game, and upon his shoulders it was proposed to throw the liability for damage caused by game over which he had no sort of control whatever. It was extremely unfair to him. Take the case of a small landlord who had no game. His tenants were to have a claim for damage done by game belonging to some large landowner in the immediate neighbourhood which came over and damaged his crops. He admitted that there were these scandals with regard to game, and they were one of the difficulties which the House of Commons had to meet in dealing with this question. In certain cases there no doubt was an over-preservation of game, and in certain cases there was damage done by winged game, but the greatest damage which was done was done by the rabbits, and as a rule the tenant had no difficulty in getting compensation for the damage which the rabbits had done. With winged game it was a different thing 1213 altogether. There might be damage, but if there were he was of opinion that the liability for compensation should not rest upon the owner of the land, but the owner of the game.
§ *MR. WASON (Clackmannan and Kinross)
wished to enter a protest against the way in which this Amendment had been resisted. Any person who had lived in the south-west of Scotland, with which he was intimately acquainted, knew perfectly well that the way in which to keep grouse on the moorland was by improving the moorland and taking a crop of oats off it, which prevented the grouse leaving the moorland and committing depredations on the lowland agricultural farms. What the tenant farmer did complain of was not so much of grouse, still less of partridges, but the enormous over-preservation of pheasants, which damaged the crops to a large extent, and for which, in his opinion, the landlord or his shooting tenant ought to pay compensation. The shooting rents had gone up, whilst agricultural rents had gone down. When the 12th of August approached people went mad to see how many grouse they could shoot. He was as fond of sport as anyone, but he thought it was carried to excess; and wealthy South Africans or Americans did little good to the community by the over-preservation of game, and giving employment for a few months during the shooting season to a few men. The principle should be adopted of giving the tenant farmer the absolute right to all game found upon the land. It that were done there would be more sport, better sport, and more game in the country than at present. The sporting tenant and the tenant farmer used to be absolutely and entirely distinct, but he was glad to say he now knew of many tenant farmers who had the shooting on their farms for which they were willing to pay, and he ventured to think that better shooting and better sport was never found in the country than when the tenant farmer had the same right to the winged game as he had to the ground game at the present time.
§ MR. HEDDERWICK
ventured to suggest that his hon. friend the mover of 1214 the Amendment would be well advised if he withdrew it, and if the object which he had in view was desirable he should re-draft his Amendment. As he understood, the hon. Gentleman was desirous of placing upon the landlord the responsibility for the damage done to the crops by deer, winged and other game of various sorts, and that was upon the assumption that the game emanated from the ground of the landlord. But as the Amendment was drawn there was no security that the landlord's game would be held responsible for the damage done. A few years ago there was a suggestion made by an hon. Member of this House that all food coming from abroad should be labelled with the name of the place from which it had been produced. That proposal was not taken seriously in the House, because it was conceded that it would be a difficult thing to label every strawberry that came from France or the Netherlands. But if that was difficult to do, it was more difficult, in his opinion, to label every winged bird in the country, and he did not suppose that his hon. friend would obtain the object which he had in view by the Amendment, as it was impossible to put the responsibility upon the proper shoulders. This Amendment would make the landlord responsible for devastation done to crops, not by the game of the landlord at all, but by the game of an adjoining landowner who had over-preserved. He did not think those who proposed to support the Amendment seriously intended that the burden should be placed upon the wrong shoulders for the damage done by other people's game.
§ *CAPTAIN PRETYMAN
said that the tenant had under the Ground Game Act an inalienable right to the rabbits, and therefore the effect of the Amendment would be that the tenant would be compensated by his landlord for damage done to his crops by his own rabbits.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
hoped that his hon. friend would adhere to his Amendment as it stood, because looking at the matter in a broad light, the tenant who went before a Court for compensation for damage done to his crops had a right to claim for damage done by game of any sort. The Amendment limited the claim for damage 1215 done by game to the last year of the tenancy, which was a very considerable limitation. Everyone know that deer did a very great deal of damage to growing crops of the tenants of Scotland, and he ventured to think that this was an Amendment that ought to find a place in the Bill.
§ *MR. MOULTON
I seriously hope that this Amendment will not be persisted in, for a more ridiculous suggestion could not be made. Just consider. We all of us feel that it is a very hard thing for a tenant farmer that his crops should be destroyed because his neighbours will not keep their birds and rabbits and other game to themselves, and any attempt to remedy that injustice I shall certainly support. But consider what this proposition means. The proposition is that in the last year of the tenancy the tenant can make his landlord pay for damage done by his neighbour's game. The greater part of the damage is done by game which the tenant has a right to shoot down and ought to shoot down, and the remainder is done by game which is preserved by somebody, but the landlord may have nothing to do with it. I can under- stand some men feeling so indignant at the tenant farmer being compelled to suffer from damage done by game as to come to the conclusion that the landlord should compensate him, and seek his remedy against the neighbours who are guilty of preserving the game. But if you are going to introduce a system of that kind, why confine it to the last year of the tenancy? Why not make it perpetual? There is no reasonable ground for saying that in the last year of the tenancy the landlord shall compensate the tenant for damage he has no connection with. Do not let us try to get from the Government consideration for Amendments like this. They can have no other meaning than a protest against the game laws. This session to-night is a practical one. We are trying to make the best of the Bill, but do not let us press to a division an Amendment which we do not feel is worthy of being put upon the English Statute Book.
§ MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
supported the Amendment, and said that in the vicinity of the deer forests of Scotland the deer got into the crops of the tenant farmers and of the crofters and did an enormous amount of damage. If the crofters had the power to shoot the deer he could understand the principle of their not asking for compensation, but since they were debarred from the power of shooting the brutes, why should not the owner of the deer pay a fair compensation for the damage that the deer had done? He had heard it said that the tenants should put up fences in order to keep the game out, but in the case of deer they would require to put up fences of seven or eight feet high; and if that were done, why should not the landlord pay for the fences? He was sorry to have to refer again to the want of knowledge possessed by the right hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill. It was a great pity that he ventured to deal with subjects of which he had little or no knowledge. Why did not the hon. Gentleman make it his business to know that this Act applied to Scotland as well as England? The destruction caused by deer was simply enormous, and was it to be said that before a man could claim compensation he was to find out who was the owner of the deer? It was the business of the owner of the ground upon which the deer were found to find that out. He should be made responsible to the tenant, or else the tenant should be given the power to shoot these brutes who devastated their crops.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR (Forfarshire)
said a great deal of ridicule had been cast upon the Amendment, but no argument had been advanced and no objection had been raised to the principle involved. Anything more misleading than the remarks of the hon. Member for Launceston could hardly be imagined. The only objection which had been raised by every speaker against the Amendment was that the tenant would obtain compensation from his landlord for damage caused by the game of somebody else, from whom he could not claim compensation. In nineteen cases out of twenty the objection was an artificial one, and in the twentieth 1217 case the rights of the landlord were perfectly safeguarded by the court of arbitration which would have to adjust the claims made under this Bill. The drafting of the Amendment might not be so good as it should be, still it embodied the fair principle that those who had the sporting rights should pay for them. He supported the Amendment with great pleasure.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
thought that those who supported the Amendment had not carefully considered where it was likely to lead to. If the tenant was to be compensated for damage done by game during the last year of the tenancy, why should he not be compensated for the hounds crossing his land and tearing down the fences during the same period, and for damage done by rooks and pigeons and small birds which come out from the towns in the autumn? What was to be the compensation for the damage done by beasts of the field, fowls of the air, and reptiles, from wherever they might come, and other agencies? The landlord was to be responsible for damage which he could not control; why should not the tenant be compensated for the damage done by the ground game, which he could destroy if he liked?
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE
The tenant was to be compensated for damage done by game not belonging to his landlord and over which he had no control. There was no knowing what this Amendment would lead to, and he could not support it.
§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
asked whether the onus of erecting an eight-foot fence around his land to protect it from the devastation of deer was to be placed upon the tenant. He thought it was the duty of the landlord who owned the deer for his own pleasure to undertake such an expense as that. It was the duty of the landlord to enclose the farm or keep the deer within the bounds of the 1218 deer forest, and if he did not the tenant farmer had a right to shoot all that came on his land, even in the face of the law, to protect himself. These deer could wander from the park into the cornfields and cat all the corn or other produce, and it was a great injustice to say that the farmer should not kill them. He strongly supported the Amendment.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
pointed out that a case arose in the county of Cork a few weeks previously, in which a farmer alleged that great depredations had been committed on his land by rabbits, and that he was entitled to a very large reduction in his rent in consequence, but because he could not prove that the rabbits came from a particular warren, which he alleged that they had come from, he did not get the reduction which he was legitimately entitled to. The small farmer had great difficulty in protecting his land from ground game. One of the most trying things to a farmer living in the neighbourhood of a rabbit warren was to protect his crops at all, and the onus of protecting them should be thrown on the landlord, and if the tenant could prove that the depredations were caused by the neglect of the landlord, he should be entitled to compensation. A considerable number of Irish landlords made a large income from their rabbits which caused these serious depredations, and every reasonable precaution should be taken by the landlords to keep their game in their enclosures. The onus should not be thrown on the farmer. He cordially supported the Amendment.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork County, Mid)
said that when a question with regard to game came up for discussion every person in the House thought they were qualified to speak upon it. He strongly objected to the supposed prior right of the landlord to the game which came on the land of the tenant. Pheasants were bred like hens, and when they got fat, hon. Gentlemen went down from town and took a pleasure in shooting them and called it sport. The tenant farmer was prevented from having a "go" at the game, simply because he was a tenant farmer and not an aristocrat. They did these things 1219 somewhat better in Ireland, as there they took the law into their own hands, and long might they do so. As to rabbits, a personal friend of his had a large number, and they were getting into the country and committing depredations——
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order ! The hon. Member is not addressing himself to the Amendment before the House.
§ DR. TANNER
explained that he was only pointing out that the rabbits committed such depredations that his friend had to get trappers in to trap the rabbits.
§ DR. TANNER
contended that in such cases as those to which the Amendment referred, the tenant ought to get compensation, and where wrong was done on a poor man's land the poor man ought to have the right to shoot the game, no matter of what description it might be.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 63; Noes 174. (Division List No. 205.)1221
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'land)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Lough, Thomas||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Billson, Alfred||Macaleese, Daniel||Steadman, William Charles|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Strachey, Edward|
|Burns, John||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Burt, Thomas||M'Ghee, Richard||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Caldwell, James||M'Leod, John||Tennant, Harold John|
|Cawley, Frederick||Maddison, Fred.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Colville, John||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Crilly, Daniel||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wason, Eugene|
|Dalziel, James Henry||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Dillon, John||Palmer, Geo. Wm. (Reading)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Doogan, P. C.||Pease, Jos. A. (Northumb.)||Williams, John C. (Notts.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Philipps, John Wynford||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Pickard, Benjamin||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Price, Robert John||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddersf'd)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Reckitt, Harold James||Woods, Samuel|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hayne, Rt.-Hon. Charles Seale-||Robson, William Snowdon||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Horniman, Frederick John||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Mr. Channing and Mr. Buchanan.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvons.)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||FitzGerald Sir Robt. Penrose-|
|Arrol, Sir William||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Flower, Ernest|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Charrington, Spencer||Forster, Henry William|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Garfit, William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)||Collings, Rt, Hon. Jesse||Gedge, Sydney|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds)||Cook, Fred, Lucas (Lambeth)||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Gilliat, John Saunders|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Bethell, Commander||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Bill, Charles||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)|
|Brassey, Albert||Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham)||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bullard, Sir Henry||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Butcher, John George||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Gunter, Colonel|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire)||Finch, George H.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Hanson, Sir Reginald||Milbank, Sir Powlett Charles J.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Hardy, Laurence||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H.||Milward, Colonel Victor||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Henderson, Alexander||Monckton, Edward Philip||Sidebottom, T. Harrop (Stalybr)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Rbt. Trotter||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh)|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Hobhouse, Henry||Morgan, Hon. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Houston, R. P.||Morrell, George Herbert||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Mount, William George||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Muntz, Philip A.||Stephens, Henry Charles|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Keswick, William||Nicholson, William Graham||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Knowles, Lees||Parkes, Ebenezer||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Lawrence, Sir E. Durning- (Corn)||Pease, Herbert P.(Darlington)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox. Univ.)|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Peel, Hon. William Robert W.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Percy, Earl||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn (Sw'nsea)||Pilkington, R. (Lancs, Newton)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. Taunton|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Purvis, Robert||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Lowles, John||Pym, C. Guy||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Rentoul, James Alexander||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Richards, Henry Charles||Wylie, Alexander|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Wyndham, George|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Maclure, Sir John William||Runciman, Walter||Younger, William|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|M'Killop, James||Sandon, Viscount|
Resolutions agreed to.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL, in moving to omit Clause 2, stated that the Amendment was really put down to give the President of the Board of Agriculture an opportunity of explaining the bearing of the clause, and especially of the first subsection, about the meaning of which there had been a difference of opinion expressed. The words "agreement, custom, or otherwise" seemed to be rather wide, and there was also an uncertainty as to what would happen if the arbitration provisions in the agreement were ill made and not satisfactory. In such a case the proceedings would be in part under the Bill and in part under the agreement, and some confusion might arise. But the principal matter was as to the distinct bearing of the words "any improvement." There had been discussion on this point, and some Members appeared to think the words implied a procedure under which the landlord and tenant would endeavour to arrange their differences, and when they came to any particular improvement as to which they could not agree that 1222 particular question would be submitted to arbitration, and a separate award given. Another view, which he believed was the correct one, was that the more common proceeding would be to present the whole case to the arbitrator, who would make one award in a lump sum, and not review in detail all the points put before him. The point was one to be discussed on the schedule rather than on the clause, but it was desirable it should be made plain which was the correct view. It was worth noticing that the fourth sub-section contemplated a separate award in special cases, and that went to show that the ordinary procedure would be that of awarding a lump sum covering the whole case.
In page 2, line 5, to leave out Clause 2."— (Lord Hugh Cecil.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words of the clause to the first word 'and,' in line 8, stand part of the Bill."1223
§ *MR. LONG
explained that the object of putting in the words referred to was simply to secure to the tenant that where he had a claim to compensation arising under the present Bill or the principal Act, or under custom, and so on, that right should be reserved to him. As to the second point raised, as to the procedure in the event of the arbitration provisions in the agreement not being satisfactory, it was quite clear that in such a case recourse would be had to the arbitration procedure provided in the Bill, which became operative in the event of the parties not providing the necessary machinery. In reference to whether the award would be given as a whole or in regard to separate parts, as a rule it would probably be given as a whole. But supposing the landlord and tenant agreed upon several points and disagreed only upon one or two, the arbitrator's award would then be upon the one or two points upon which there was a difference of opinion.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said the next Amendment was put down for a similar reason to the last, namely, to get an interpretation of the meaning of the words referred to.
In page 2, line 8, to leave out the words from the word 'Act' to the word 'the,' in line 10."—(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said the words were not surplusage. Their object was to provide an opportunity for the parties to agree. If they agreed there was no necessity for arbitration; if they failed to agree on one or two points, those one or two points would be referred to arbitration. As to the 1224 assistance of valuers or others, that was a matter entirely for the parties concerned. If the words were omitted it would seem to indicate that arbitration should be resorted to at once without the parties attempting to come to terms. He therefore hoped the Amendment would not be pressed.
§ *MR. CHANNING
thought the Amendment was put down under an impression as to the nature of the existing Act which was not absolutely well founded. The point at which objection should be taken to the procedure of the clause was not at this point but later on. The words as they stood were unobjectionable, but they certainly ought to move to omit the words which immediately followed.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Bill, as amended (by the Standing Committee), to be further considered tomorrow.