§ (1) Where any land purchased by means of an advance under the Land Purchase Acts is settled land within the meaning of the Settled Land Acts, 1882 to 1890, the trustees of the settlement may, on the request of the tenant for life, notwithstanding anything in the settlement to the contrary, invest the purchase money, or any part thereof, in the following manner, that is to say:—
- (a) With the sanction of the Public Trustee—
- (i) in any of the public stocks or funds or Government securities of any foreign Government or State, or
- (ii) in the mortgages, bonds, debentures, or debenture stock of any railway in the United States of America, Mexico, the Argentine Republic, or Canada, which has, during each of the five years last past before the date of investment, paid a dividend on its preference stock (if any) or its ordinary stock;
- (b) and without such sanction—
- (i) in the mortgages, bonds, debentures, or debenture stock of any railway company in the United Kingdom incorporated by special Act of Parliament which has, during each of the five years last past before the date of investment, paid a dividend on its preference stock (if any) or its ordinary stock, or in the preference stock of any such railway company which has, during a like period, paid a dividend on its ordinary stock;
- (ii) in the stocks or shares of any tramway or light railway, dividends upon which are guaranteed under the Tramways (Ireland) Acts, 1860 to 1900; or
- (iii) in the stock, mortgages, bonds, debentures, or debenture stock issued or to be issued by the council of any county or urban district in the United Kingdom under the authority of any Act or Provisional Order;
§ (2) The Public Trustee, in any case in which his sanction is required for an investment under this Section, shall, before sanctioning the investment, satisfy himself that there is a reasonable probability 2330 that the investment will, if realised on the death of the tenant for life or the termination of the trust, produce an amount not less than the sum invested; and the Public Trustee shall not incur any liability on account of any sanction given or withheld by him in good faith.
§ (3) The powers of investment conferred upon trustees by this Section shall be in addition to any powers of investment conferred on trustees by Act of Parliament, and such last-mentioned powers may be exercised notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the settlement.
§ (4) A trustee shall not incur any liability by reason of any investment made by him in exercise of the powers conferred by this Section.
§ (5) Sub-sections (1), (2), and (3) of Section fifty-one of the Act of 1903 shall cease to have effect.—[Mr. Birrell.]
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I beg to move the second reading of this Clause. It raises an important matter, upon which I had a friendly discussion with all parts of the House. The Clause relates to the powers of investment to be given to the trustees of the moneys which are paid to the vendors of settled land under the provisions of this Bill for the sale of their land. No more important question could well engage the attention of the House of Commons from a practical point of view. I think there was general agreement that it was most desirable in the interest of landlords and in the interest of the proper working out of the Land Acts that the moneys realised by the sale of their lands should be invested with every precaution for safety, but at the same time in a more modern spirit than that which characterised our old investment clauses in wills and deeds of settlement, or than that which in these matters has animated the Legislature up to the present time. We want to secure that those landlords should be able, for the benefit of themselves and those who come after them, to have a wider range of investments. We all agreed as business Gentlemen — one or two hon. Members sitting opposite gave every assistance in this matter, including the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury)— that the range of investments should be widened. Those of us who have had, as I have had, considerable experience in the drawing up of wills and settlements, know how much harm has been done to the interests of families by the old-fashioned and 2331 restricted Investment Clause. It was generally agreed that I should do my best, with such assistance as was open to me, to draft an Investment Clause. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London was good enough to offer to place at my disposal the Clause he has inserted in his own testamentary disposition. He fulfilled his promise, and supplied me with a copy of that Clause, and a very good and shrewd Clause it is I was not able to adopt it entirely, because the hon. Baronet in his own study was more able, being a private person, to draw comparisons between the credit of different foreign countries than could be done by the draftsman of a Clause to be inserted in a public Statute. It would be hardly desirable to indicate confidence in one public State rather than another. I pointed that out to the hon. Baronet, and he fully acquiesced in that criticism. Of course, I agree that we must distinctly understand that if this wide range of investments is given, landlords should themselves know that, though they are entitled to benefit by it in so far as we increase the area of choice beyond that which has hitherto been given, it can only be done with the sanction of the Public Trustee. When I say the Public Trustee, I mean the Public Trustee in Ireland, appointed under the Act of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover (Mr. Wyndham). He is a gentleman of great intelligence, and I think by this time of considerable knowledge of investments.
There are one or two things which I want to make perfectly plain in connection with this Clause. One is that Parliament expects the Public Trustee, and I am quite sure he will fulfil the expectation, to exercise his judgment in these matters, of course, in accordance with known principles, and the information which he derives from his advisers on the Stock Exchange. He is to exercise his discretion, but he is absolutely protected by the terms as well of this Bill as of the existing law. He is absolutely protected from any personal liability, provided, of course, that he acts in the exercise of good faith and without any improper motive. If he does that, all goes well, so far as he is concerned. Therefore, the question the House has to consider is whether, having regard to the first class of investments which are in the new Clause, namely, those which enable the moneys, notwithstanding the terms of the trust deed itself for the settlement of the land 2332 to be with the sanction of the Public Trustee invested "in any of the public stocks or funds or Government securities of any Foreign Government or State." Of course that is a wide power, and if for one moment it was supposed that that would authorise or lead to the investment of trust moneys in some public stocks or in the funds of some foreign Governments, of course it would be out of all question, and nobody could make such a suggestion to the House of Commons. I think we may rely upon the statutory obligation as to the sanction of the Public Trustee, and I need scarcely say that some of the public stocks and funds of foreign Governments and States axe among the most desirable investments that anybody can possibly make. They are as safe as anything in human circumstances can be. I do not deny that they require a certain amount of watching. A certain amount of intelligence is required if you have any investments, and it is impossible to name any investments which any man can make once and for all, and leave the matter as one which is finally settled, and about which he need have no concern. But you could not allow people to invest money on mortgage of real estate without any word said or anything done in public. Anybody who knows anything about mortgage securities knows that there are no securities which occasion more anxiety to the mortgagee than investments on real estate, owing to the great and increasing changes which take place, particularly nowadays, in the value of land on account of circumstances beyond the control.
Motor cars have materially destroyed the value of many admirable properties which thirty years ago would have been called desirable investments for trustees, but which are now greatly reduced in value. Although I agree that prudent mortgagees only advance at most two-thirds of the value, leaving a margin, that margin diminishes with so much rapidity that anybody who knows anything about these matters knows that mortgage securities are anxious securities, and require just as much watching and care, as much detailed knowledge, and perpetual and renewed examination as can possibly be required in the case of any public stocks and funds. It is, therefore, eminently desirable to allow these moneys to be invested in the manner proposed. The second point is that the trustees of the settlement may, with the sanction of the Public Trustee, invest the purchase money "in the mortgages, bonds, deben- 2333 tures, or debenture stock of any railway in the United States of America, Mexico, the Argentine Republic, or Canada, which has, during each of the five years last past before the date of investment, paid a dividend on its preference stock (if any) or its ordinary stock."
The only criticism I have met with in the City on that point is—and it is one deserving of consideration —that we should either, here or elsewhere, define what is meant by "debenture," because, in the United States of America I am informed that debenture is often applied to what in England we would call an I O U. It is not in that country a mortgage which will hypothecate to meet its charges the whole undertaking of the company, and it might be necessary to define here "debenture" in the English sense of the word as meaning a mortgage. Subject to that, I propose to make this alteration here, giving people who are fortunate enough to have money to invest a wider range. There are no better, safer and more profitable investments within limits than railways in the countries to which I have referred, notably in Canada, and also in the United States of America. Everybody believes that the railways of those two great countries are among the very best almost that can be got in the world in the shape of an investment, and it would be a great pity if we were deliberately to exclude the possibility of investment with the sanction of the Public Trustee in such undertakings as those. It really would be to rule out the capacity of Irish landlords to go into the market and make the very best investment which the most prudent stockbrokers and the most prudent advisers would recommend them to make. Those are the two investments which require the sanction of the Public Trustee.
As regards those which do not require such sanction. I do not think there is much need to trouble about them, because they are practically the securities which are allowed by law as investments for trustees, or by my old friend, the Court of Chancery, in its dealings with the property under its power belonging to the trust estates of infants and the like. The words have been very carefully considered, and I have had the advantage of the hon. Baronet's advice on the matter. I think they are words which the House might safely pass. They are, "in the mortgages, bonds, debentures, or debenture stock of any railway company in the United Kingdom incorporated by special Act of Parlia- 2334 ment which has, during each of the five years last past before the date of investment, paid a dividend on its preference stock (if any) or its ordinary stock, or in the preference stock of any such railway company which has, during a like period paid a dividend on its ordinary stock."
The preference stock is no doubt the kind of stock which trustees alone, with or without the sanction, should be allowed to invest in. I do not think trustees should be allowed to invest in the ordinary stock of any railway whatever. Circumstances are so peculiar and conditions vary so much that I think we are doing no injustice to the ordinary stock of any railway if we rule it out for the purposes of this Clause. Then we have "the stocks and shares of any tramway or light railway, dividends upon which are guaranteed under Tramways (Ireland) Acts, 1860 to 1900"; and finally we have:
"The stock, mortgages, bonds, debentures, or debenture stock issued or to be issued by the council of any county or urban district in the United Kingdom under the authority of any Act or Provisional Order; and may from time to time, subject to the like conditions, vary any such investment."
I think that is the best I can do with such assistance as I could get, and I honestly believe, assuming that you can rely not only on the present occupier of the office of Public Trustee, but upon all people who succeed him, we can no doubt get a wise class of investment, in this wide limit, with a wise control. The other matters are, first:
"The Public Trustee, in any case in which his sanction is required for an investment under this Section, shall, before sanctioning the investment, satisfy himself that there is a reasonable probability that the investment will, if realised on the death of the tenant for life or the termination of the trust, produce an amount not less than the sum invested; and the Public Trustee shall not incur any liability on account of any sanction given or withheld by him in good faith."
We might argue until doomsday as to what is the precise effect to be given to "reasonable probability" in this case. I need not go into that. We must have something of the kind. We must direct the Public Trustee's mind to something, and that assumes that there must be a reasonable probability that the investment he is now making or sanctioning is one which after the lapse of several years, or at the falling in of the life estate, is likely 2335 to be found realisable at the value which he puts on it. Of course, fluctuations may occur. They may go up or down. What he has got to exercise his mind upon is that there is a reasonable probability. And after all, that is a problem which is dealt with every day by stockbrokers or others investing the money of their clients. But it is also made perfectly plain, assuming his opinions to be what they are, that he himself does not incur any liability, even though that reasonable probability is not justified and some loss is incurred. The next provisos are:
"The powers of investment conferred upon trustees by this Section shall be in addition to any powers of investment conferred on trustees by Act of Parliament, and such last-mentioned powers may be exercised notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the settlement. A trustee shall not incur any liability by reason of any investment made by him in exercise of the powers conferred by this Section. Sub-sections (1), (2), and (3) of Section fifty-one of the Act of 1903 shall cease to have effect."
The hon. Baronet made a criticism which was shrewd and sensible enough. He thought that the distinction between those investments which might be made with the sanction of the Public Trustee and those which do not require that sanction would lead the Public Trustee to take an altogether quiescent attitude in the matter, and that he would say, "Do not come bothering me to exercise my mind upon the question of the safety or reasonable probability of investment in Danish or Russian securities. You have got the whole range of ordinary trustee investments. Why not be content with those? Go away in peace, and leave me in receipt of my salary." There is sense in that. At the same time I do not think that is the way in which a Public Trustee who has these duties imposed upon him by Parliament would be likely to work. It may make him a little cautious. Well, he ought to be cautious, because the wide powers conferred upon him by the first part of the Clause require him to be cautious, and we do not want him to be otherwise. But I do not think he would say "nolo episcopari," or whatever is the equivalent phrase. I think he would, having nothing else to do, accept and discharge the duties imposed on him in respect of the investments, although, I admit, there is some force in the view of the 2336 hon. Baronet. But just consider what the result of adopting that other view would be. It would be that no investment of any sort could be made without the sanction. That would add enormously to the burden of his work, because I do not doubt that there is a great number of quiet, peaceful people who are well content—and I do not blame them—with the ordinary range of trust security, and will not trouble the Public Trustee at all. Yet, for every investment of the most ordinary workaday description, you would have to go then for his sanction. So I think, on the whole, the reasons are against the suggestion, in itself an admirable one, made by the hon. Baronet. I think, therefore, this Clause is one which I can honestly recommend to the House as one which is not only safe and prudent, but one which, if passed, after consideration, may well deserve the thanks bestowed on us by landlords and others who very often find themselves in reduced circumstances owing to the sale of their estate, and who naturally desire, having turned their mud into money, to enjoy the advantages of the fluid securities which are open to people who have money to invest. I, therefore, feeling that in this respect I have no party feeling in the matter at all, invite the House to the consideration of this Clause. But I think subject possibly to further advice upon the definition of debentures in the United States of America, which can be done either here or elsewhere, the House will not do wrong if it gives the Clause a second reading.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
The right hon. Gentleman has said that he does not see his way to accept my suggestion that the sanction of the Public Trustee should apply to both descriptions of stock. I did attach considerable importance to that for the reasons which the right hon. Gentleman has given. I thought it might be possible—in fact, very likely—that the Public Trustee, or some of them—because we do not know who he is going to be: he may be a very excellent man now, but we do not know who he will be later on—might say, "You have got powers to invest in certain things. I do not see why I should be troubled to take any responsibility. Why do you not invest your money in the way you can without coming to me?" The right hon. Gentleman says that if his sanction were required for every investment the result would be to inflict a great deal of work upon him, which work would 2337 be unnecessary. Provided the right hon. Gentleman thinks my fear is unfounded, and that the Public Trustee will not take that view, I shall be inclined to accept the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman. But I still have some doubt as to whether or not it is possible you might have a Public Trustee who would take that view to save himself trouble, and would say, "I really do not know why I should go into this when you have these other classes of investment which would impose no liability upon me." One hon. Gentleman has said that in paragraph (ii) of Subsection (a), the words "debenture or debenture stock" might be meant to mean I O U in the case of a railway company in America, Mexico, or other places. That is quite true as regards Mexico or America, and if the investment were limited to those countries then I think that "debentures or debenture stock" should not be used, and the words should be "mortgages or mortgage bonds" of any railway, because what the right hon. Gentleman says is absolutely correct. In America and Mexico what corresponds to our debenture are really mortgages on the property, and if the interest is not forthcoming the holder can step in and seize the property, which cannot be done in England. But the reason I do not object to those words being put in is on account of the Argentine Republic and Canada, especially Canada, because in Canada, and also in the Argentine Republic, there are debentures in the same way as they exist in England. I do not think it necessary to give instances, but there are instances where that occurs. I would suggest that the right hon. Gentleman might consent to an Amendment something in this form: "In the mortgages or mortgage bonds of any railway in the United States of America or Mexico, and in the mortgage bonds, debentures or debenture stocks of any railway in the Argentine Republic or Canada." I think that would meet the point. It might be that that would have to be revised later on, and that could be done in another place. But I believe that if the words are altered as I suggest it would meet the point of excluding debentures, which I quite agree ought to be excluded in the United States and in Mexico, because it might be held that they might be simply an I O U. I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is quite wise not to put in any limit of population. Paragraph (iii.) says: "In the stock, mortgages, bonds, debentures, or debenture stock issued, or to be 2338 issued, by the council of any county or urban district in the United Kingdom under the authority of any Act or Provisional Order." Under the Trustee Act, at it at present exists, there is a limit of population. That is to say, you cannot invest in the funds of any county council or urban district council provided the population does not consist of 50,000 or over. That is the limitation which is put into the Trustee Act. I do not quite know whether the object of the right hon. Gentleman is to give more elasticity, and to include certain county councils, urban district councils, and municipalities which are not included in the Trustee Act, or whether it is to take away all restriction. I do not think all restriction ought to be taken away, because in the case of some small district councils or county councils or urban councils, it might be that they would borrow a small sum of money, and it would really hardly be advisable to invest in such securities. I do not know whether this or a similar limit ought to be imposed, but I would suggest that the right hon. Gentleman might put in the words "where the population exceeds 30,000," or something of that sort. Although there ought to be some limit, I do not propose to move an Amendment, and I merely make the suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The reason why I did not put a limit of population was that I did not want more than I could help to strike any distinction between the securities which are mentioned in the Act of 1903. In the Act of 1903 a population limit was not included. In the Act of 1903 Parliament did not follow the Trustee Act of 1893, which imposed the limitation of a population of 50,000. I, therefore, thought it advisable, and still think it advisable, not to strike any distinction between the provisions already made under the Act of 1903 and subsequently. With regard to Irish investments, no doubt it does affect them very much owing to the fact that the number of large towns in Ireland is very small. I think, however, the kind of securities which the Irish landlords and their friends would be most alive to would be securities within their own jurisdiction, and I do not think there would be any likelihood of investments or mortgages secured by the rates of Irish towns or Irish local authorities, even although the limit of population imposed by the Trustee Act had not been reached. Therefore, I followed the provisions of the Act of 1903. and I think I was right in doing so. I have 2339 the list of chief investments made by the Public Trustee, and I am perfectly certain that nobody can find any fault with it either in respect of safety, prudence, or the wisdom exercised in the choice of securities. I go a step further in this Clause, and extend the area of choice, feeling confident that the same prudence and wisdom will be exercised as before.
§ Mr. GEORGE WYNDHAM
I echo the regret expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for the City (Sir F. Banbury), that the Chief Secretary has maintained a distinction between the stock in which the trustee may invest and the stock in which they may only invest with the consent of the Public Trustee. I think I am stating the fact accurately when I say that at the end of our discussion in Committee the general opinion, in which I think the Secretary at that time concurred, was that there should be no distinction, that we should have as much latitude of investment as possible, and that in each case the sanction of the Public Trustee should be given when it possibly could be given. I am afraid if you draw that distinction it will be likely to create a misapprehension as to the character of particular stocks. It is very hard to know what impression an Act of Parliament will create. People on the whole are rather nervous and conservative in matters of investment, and if in an Act of Parliament it is provided that no investment can take place unless you get the consent of the Public Trustee, then it may be that a certain amount of discredit will be thrown on some investments. No doubt the Chief Secretary has thought the matter over, and it is one which can be put right. We are making experiments in legislation of this kind, and I think that the Chef Secretary may be emboldened by the great confidence which is felt in the Public Trustee in England. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman will consider whether the Public Trustee under the Land Act in Ireland might not act generally as Public Trustee in Ireland. I throw that out as a suggestion germane to this Clause, and I think it is of vast importance. It would bring him into contact with a larger number of persons, and would tend to ensure profit both to the landlord and tenant, because investments could be so made that those who sell would not suffer any diminution of income. Larger profits to the seller would mean larger profits to the buyer, because the amount the tenant has to pay 2340 is determined more by what the income of the landlord is from investment after selling, and if the landlord can get a better income for a certain sum the tenant's profit will be at least as much as the vendor's. One question I should like to ask, and that is whether the Government has any particular intention in omitting Sub-section (2) of Clause 51 of the Act of 1903? That provision deals with investments authorised by the rule-making authority under Section 61 of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Ireland) Act, 1877. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman has repealed that of set purpose, or whether it is of no great value. But Subjection (2) says: "That authority shall cause to be published from time to time in the 'Dublin Gazette' a list of such investments as may for the time being be authorised by them, for the investment of purchase money under this Section." If there is no value in those words by all means let us have them out, but I only wish at this stage to know why the Government have omitted them. I am glad that the Government have brought in the Clause, and I hope that all words that can be interpreted in the courts of law adversely to the general intention of the House will be kept out. I did my best to make my meaning clear in the Act of 1903, and the Chief Secretary has no doubt done his best, and I hope he will be more fortunate than I was.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
This proposed extension of the classes of investment under the Act of 1903 I must say gives one curiously to think. I remember when Lord Castletown of Upper Ossory moved the Clause, now in the Act of 1903, extending the powers of investment, another Noble Lord, a very prudent and conservative statesman, at once got the Clause negatived in the House of Lords. Then there were some other arrangements which took place beyond these walls, with the result that an amended Clause was, with great hesitation, swallowed by the Lords and the Conservative party. The right hon. Gentleman has now found it necessary to go a great deal further, find give the landlord powers of investment which he never enjoyed before. Of course the reason is plain. He wants to give the landlords a looser rein in the hope of their getting better interest on their purchase money. For my own part, as the money is not mine, I have no objection to the landlords going to Buenos Ayres or the North Pole to invest, except so far as it affects Ireland. It is very curious to see the way in which the 2341 Public Trustee acts. The Trinity College Commission sat, and after the lapse of two years there was £10,000 to play with. Not a cent of it was invested in Ireland; but whatever you may say of them, the authorities of Trinity College are Irishmen living in their own country, and here is how they invested their own money. I quote from page 56 of the Report:—The college authorities, whatever their technical position may be, consider themselves as trustees in the ordinary sense, and bound by the same responsibilities, and liable to perform their important duties in the same manner. With the exception of the investment of £800 in Dublin and Kingstown Railway stock, made under special circumstances, they have never gone outside ordinary trust investments. They have no stock outside the United Kingdom except some Indian stock bequeathed to them in that form for a special purpose. Their securities are chiefly bank stocks, Great Western debentures, Great Southern debentures or Great Northern debentures, all Irish. The Rev. Thos. Grey said 'if the members of the Board mentioned a security that was not solid gold it would not be listened to.' When asked whether they might not consider whether they could not get a good security in the Colonies and a better return, he answered, 'They are very far away, and we do not know anything about them until they break.'That is the opinion formed by a number of gentleman, who are at all events native Irishmen, dealing with the matter from the point of view of securities. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, except so far as it bears on Irish securities, proposes to give power to invest in any public stocks or funds, or Government securities of any foreign Government or States, and you will have what used to be headed, in times long ago, "English Charities Abroad," because nearly all of them defaulted. Now for the first time the proposal is to allow all these investments to be made in these foreign lands, and of money coming out of Ireland, so that just as most of the landlords were absentees in the past, so their moneys will be absentees in the future. I must say it is not for me to criticise the action of one Government, because, as I say, one money is not mine, but I cannot help feeling that it is a pity that the very wide Clauses that were in the Act of 1903 are being extended. Yesterday a great deal of attention was devoted to the question of the salary of two gentlemen connected with the poorest districts in Ireland. I would like to ask what is the salary of the Public Trustee who will have in the future to deal with investments amounting to £150,000,000 of money? His salary is £600 per year, and hp bas no pension. He will have to survey the globe from China to Peru. He will have to take in Cook and Peary, and now the South Pole is also to be placed at his disposal, and he does all that without a 2342 pension, for £600 a year. I may be wrong in the amount, but, at any rate, it is not within the region of £2,000. It appears to me that this Clause will throw a very large additional burden upon him. I do not know him, except that he was examined at the Trinity College Commission. For my part I think it is for those interested in Irish investments to say a word in some slight deprecation of the very large extended powers which this Section gives. Of course, we know the reason. The reason simply is this, that the State will not give as good terms to the landlords or to the tenants as they got under the Act of 1903, and, accordingly, the landlords are told to go to Jericho with their investments.
§ Mr. JOHN DILLON
This is an extraordinarily valuable Clause, which will be equally acceptable to representatives of landlords and representatives of tenants, and which undoubtedly does a very great deal to facilitate land purchase in Ireland. Of course, anybody who has had any practical acquaintance with these transactions knows that the rate of interest which the landlords can get on their investments is the dominating consideration in fixing the price. This fact is well known to everybody. In the discussions which have taken place in Ireland and in this House during recent years on sales of land there has been an enormous amount of controversy as to the possible rate of interest which the landlords could hope to invest their money for under the present law controlling trustees. The general contention on the part of the landlords was that they could only get from 3¼ to 3½ per cent. On that basis they sought to recover, as they urged they were entitled to do, their full net income by investment of the trustee. It is manifest if you want to recover your full net income by investment by the trustee at 3¼ or 3½ per cent. you will have to get a very high price. I am satisfied under the Clause now proposed by the Chief Secretary, and for which I most heartily thank him, it will be quite possible for the landlords of Ireland to invest their money at from £3 17s. per cent. to £4 per cent., or £4 1s. or £4 2s. per cent. Anyone can satisfy themselves of that by looking at the price, for instance, of First Canadians, American bonds, and railways in the Argentine. Those are securities which, although there is nothing absolutely secure in this world, are infinitely better than Irish land. Therefore common sense 2343 shows that there is no injury to the remainder man by transferring the price received from Irish land into those securities.
I need not enlarge on the point as to the enormous facilities which will be given to the conduct of future sales if the landlord can satisfy himself, or his trustees can satisfy themselves, that he is able with perfect safety — I mean perfect safety without risk to the trustees — to obtain anywhere from £3 17s. to over £4 per cent. in some cases. It will enable many landlords to accept a lower price for their estates. I say, therefore, that this Clause, so far from being what we have just heard it described to be, is a Clause of enormous value, and, as I said, with the peculiar unique value that it is equally of value, as the right hon. Gentleman has just said, to the seller and to the buyer. We heard a high authority quoted just now as to the proprietary value of such an investment—Dr. Gray, of Trinity College, an ancient professor, who I do not think is a very valuable authority on investments. All I can say is that if we are to judge the value of his opinion on investments from the quotation read by the hon. and learned Member for North Louth, in which he spoke of Colonial investments and of their rotten character, and explained that he knew nothing whatever about Colonial investments until he heard of their bankruptcy, I would not trust any money of mine to him. They are quite as good a security as English Consols. This Clause opens up an enormous field of investment to the Irish landlords, which, in my deliberate judgment, will enable them to get 4 per cent. on their purchase money in the future. And, therefore, I say, speaking on behalf of the tenants and purchasers, I most heartily congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on having introduced this Clause.
§ Mr. JOHN GORDON
I quite agree with the last speaker that this is a very valuable Clause, and although I am one of those who think that the Chief Secretary has done a good deal in this Bill to discourage land purchase, yet I think that this will probably help in the way that the hon. Member has said in assisting the carrying out of land purchase. I do not think it is at all unreasonable. I cannot agree with the hon. and learned Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) in thinking that it would in any way assist the problem in Ireland to restrict the investment of money to Irish securities. In 2344 the first place, it is not done at present, and no one has suggested that it should be. In the next place, this proposed Clause will give the same class of security in Ireland just the same chance as it will have in other places. Therefore my position is that I am very glad that the Chief Secretary has found himself able to provide a wider and more extensive, and certainly an investment, Clause which is more in accordance with modern ideas. I wish to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to two or three matters which he might perhaps deem of some importance. In the first place, I cannot agree with the idea that you are going to do any mischief by defining the Clause of security, namely, one class without the sanction of the Public Trustee and the other to require his sanction. If the Public Trustee wanted to neglect his duty he could at the present moment say, "I am not going to interfere; I think you ought to invest in the investments into which you have power to put your money under the general law of the land." I do not think that he will take, or that he has taken, that view of his duty. Therefore it makes very little difference to reserve certain classes of security. When you come to examine them you find that a good many of them are of the class of securities which in wills and settlements are provided as good investment classes, and which are also recognised by the Court of Chancery. There was another objection made to the provision by my right hon. Friend the Member for Dover. I cannot quite accept that either, because I do not think that this division will lead to the supposition that one class of these securities is very highly speculative and the other not. In point of fact, amongst the securities on which the Trustee has to give his opinion are included securities of a very highly speculative character, and it is for that very reason that the opinion of the Public Trustee is necessary, so that he may be able without invidious distinctions to advise as to certain classes of security. We all know that there are plenty of foreign securities which are perfectly good, and that there are others in which no Member of this House who had any money to invest would like to invest that money. Therefore, without setting it forth on the Act of Parliament, this will leave the Public Trustee, who will know the class of foreign securities, to advise in which to invest.
Then, as to the part dealing with mortgage bonds and debenture stock. May I suggest, and I do so with great deference, 2345 because the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) is so high an authority on these matters that a suggestion coming from him deserves the greatest possible consideration, but I would suggest that after the word "Canada" the Chief Secretary should insert the words "which are charged upon the property and undertaking of such railway." It could not do any harm to insert those words, and, I think, if they were inserted it would make the Clause perfectly safe and perfectly secure. Now, as to Part III., I am quite in favour. Of course, the law of the land has shown us that these securities within certain limits are right and proper under any circumstances. What you want is to have a reasonable certainty that when the money is wanted, and when the fund has to be raised for its ultimate distribution, that you will have something like the same amount of money. It is well known to those who keep in touch with these matters that there are securities of this kind which are perfectly good, which yield an income which is perfectly safe, but if you were to put any considerable number of them upon the market you will find they cannot be sold, or only sold at a very much less price than what they are really worth. In this matter you are dealing with very large sums which may be put on the market at once.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider the suggestion that he should take that class of securities and put it into the class as to which the Public Trustee is to be consulted? Then, in the same way as he would deal with foreign bonds, he would be able to pick out what, having regard to the size of the district, the population, the amount of the loan, and his knowledge of the ordinary transactions of the Stock Exchange, might be a proper and suitable investment, and one which, when it was necessary to realise, would have the prospect of a reasonably ready market. Such a change would not in any way unduly fetter investments, but it would be a considerable advantage to trustees.
§ Mr. MOORE
I had some suspicions about this Clause, and they were largely confirmed by the warm approval bestowed upon it by the hon. Member for East Mayo. I invariably find that when he blesses a Clause in any Land Bill it is because the Clause will afford another means either of blocking land purchase or of oppressing the hon. Member's political opponents. I 2346 think the hon. Member let the cat out of the bag when he said that the great advantage of this Clause was—to put it into his own words, but which mean the same thing —that landlords could be forced to take lower prices. He used the paraphrase that landlords will be able to take lower prices, but we know exactly what that; means. It means that tenants will be told, with the approval of the hon. Member for East Mayo, "Oh, going to the Public Trustee is only a formality, and as the landlords can invest their money in 5 per cent. bonds of the Turkish Government, do not you agree to anything under which they will get a higher price than will enable them to get the income desired at that rate." If the Clause is intended as another means whereby landlords are to be forced to take a lower price than tenants are willing to give under existing conditions by voluntary agreement, I can quite understand why it is welcomed by the hon. Member for East Mayo, and also why any thinking landlord will object to it.
§ Mr. MOORE
I agree very much with what fell from the hon. Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy), though I think he was in one respect under a misapprehension. I should be entirely with him if this was the only investing code that we were to have, because undoubtedly in the first division of securities Ireland is altogether excluded. But this is only in addition to the existing powers, under which the whole of the money can be invested in Ireland. I am altogether against this exportation of capital abroad, which the Government apparently do everything to encourage. I think that capital should be invested at home as far as possible, especially when it is capital derived from the sale of land at home, which the Chief Secretary so contemptuously refers to as "mud." It has been pointed out by the hon. Member for East Mayo that the object of this Clause is to give a worse security because it carries a higher price, and therefore there is to be a smaller amount paid for the estate and a smaller amount by the Treasury.
§ Mr. DILLON
I never said anything of the sort. I consider that the bonds of the Union Pacific are a far better security than many of the trustee securities in Ireland.
§ Mr. MOORE
I do not suppose the hon. Member will deny that, as a rule, the higher the rate of interest the less good 2347 is the security, and this Clause is to bring about a higher rate of interest. The Chief Secretary admitted that when he said that the whole object of landlords who suffered a reduction on sale was to secure for themselves a higher income, and that this Clause was to enable them to get it. If you get a higher income by putting your capital into a lower security, because that is what it comes to—
§ Mr. MOORE
That is common sense. This Clause is in the nature of another bribe to induce the tenant for life, who is only desirous of getting an income, to be careless of the interests of the remainder-man. If the remainder-man is of age, there is no question of the Public Trustee, because the tenant for life and the remainder-man, if they are at all on friendly terms, can disentail; they need not go to the Public Trustee at all; they can invest the money themselves. The Clause really affects the case of the minor who cannot disentail. You are putting a tremendous temptation in the way of the tenant for life with a child who cannot be consulted coming after him, to sacrifice the child's interest in the security of the capital in order to derive for himself a higher annual income. That is contravening the rules of public policy. You are superseding the trustees. I know the trustees are mentioned in the Clause; but, suppose the tenant for life requests the trustees to make an investment. They will have to stand out now; but if the Public Trustee is brought in they will say, "We will not go against the wishes of the tenant for life, and we have no responsibility if the Public Trustee will sanction it." Therefore, the trustees of the settlement, who had the confidence of all parties when they were put into the settlement, are by this Clause practically superseded. It is not good policy that trustees should be left out of their duties under settlements. They are there to protect the interests of infants or minors, who perhaps will not be coming of age for 18 or 20 years. The only limitation on the Public Trustee is to be sure that when the reversionary interest falls into possession there shall be no loss to the infants or minors. How can a trustee say what is going to be the state of public affairs 20 years hence? Who can say what 2348 the map of Europe will then be? The proposal is either meaningless, or else it means a very grave risk. It is no safeguard at all if money is to be invested in any of the public stocks or funds of any foreign Government or State. If the proposal can be carried out at all it is only with the gravest risk to those whom this House ought to protect. It is not right that these people's interest should be exposed to such risk, and I object to the whole policy of the Clause.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Sir EDWARD CARSON
I so seldom agree with the Chief Secretary that I am glad to have an opportunity of expressing my entire concurrence in the Clause which he has put forward. Personally, I do not think it makes much difference in what class of security you put your money. My own experience is that you invariably lose it, or the greater part of it, and that you have just as good a chance, if not a better one, of securing your money in foreign and Colonial investments as you have in investments in this country. I remember a brother barrister in large practice saying that he had never invested on the Stock Exchange in his life, but that he had put every penny of his savings in Consols. He was buying Consols at 113 or 114, and he was supposed to be doing the safest thing in the world. He has now the benefit of seeing his Consols, which he bought at 114, standing at 83. I am not at all sure that even Irish land is not as good as Consols. The truth of the matter is that all these trust clauses which are put by conveyancers into settlements, especially in Ireland, are quite out of date. They were framed when nothing in the whole world was supposed to be safe except Government securities, or the security of land, which was not then liable to be taxed for increment value. By the limitation of the security you run up the price to an extent that is absolutely ridiculous as a business transaction. With reference to the fears of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. W. Moore) that the Public Trustee might forget the remainder-man, in a matter of this kind where the person you are disturbing is the tenant for life, I have far more consideration for the tenant for life than for the remainder-man —far more. He is the person in many cases who gets the immediate reduction of income. He is the person who generally has to educate and bring up the remainder-man and the rest of the family. I do not think anybody can conceive what an addi- 2349 tion it is, or may be, to a person getting a few thousand pounds from land in Ireland to be able to invest at 4 per cent. instead of 2¾ per cent. or 3 per cent. in the matter of bringing up his family, and to enable them to go into the world and do the best they can for themselves. I desire to ask just one question. We have been discussing this more as if it were compulsory upon the parties interested to invest in these specified securities; but, as I understand the Clause, they are in addition, and anybody who wishes to be old-fashioned enough, being trustees of a settlement, can invest strictly in accordance with the terms of the settlement if they so desire. The only reason there is a doubt of that is that in the first place it says: "Notwithstanding anything in the settlement to the contrary, invest the purchase money, or any part thereof." It does not say "in addition." Then again, in Sub-section (3): "The powers of investment conferred upon trustees by this Section shall be in addition to any powers of investment conferred on trustees by Act of Parliament, and such last-mentioned powers may be exercised notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the settlement." It does not say "by the terms of their settlement."
§ Sir E. CARSON
That is what I want to make perfectly clear, so that people who wish to adhere to the settlement may do it. I strongly advise them not to if they can invest under the terms of this Clause.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I hope now that we have had an interesting discussion that the Clause may be allowed to go through. One or two weak points have been pointed out, and they can be altered even now if the House thinks fit. I think the last point of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite who proposes the alteration in Subsection (3) is one that can be made. I will move that the words he proposes, "by the terms of their settlement or" shall follow the word "trustees" ["shall be in addition to any powers of investment conferred on trustees by Act of Parliament"]. Then there was the other point raised by both the hon. Baronet opposite and the Member for South Derry (Mr. J. Gordon). I think it is undesirable at this moment to make that Amendment, but I will see that one is made, the effect of which will be to secure that the word "debenture" is inserted 2350 wherever any investment is made, so that it shall read that the debenture shall be a security which charges the undertaking, and not merely an I O U. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite will perhaps be shocked when I reply to what he said as to not caring very much about the remainder-man compared with the tenant for life. My opinions are equally divided between the two. I should be very sorry if I thought, of course, that any investment could be sanctioned under this Clause that seriously interfered with the remainder-man, or even imposed any extra risk. But what I wish to point out is that the remainder-man runs a risk in any kind of securities. The right hon. Gentleman himself would run a terrible risk at this moment, having regard to the shocking state of investments—
§ Mr. BIRRELL
However that may be, I wish to point out that the remainder-man always has risks to run at any time or under any circumstances. Investments made with the sanction of the Public Trustee have their risks. This wall not remove those risks, but it wall not add to them. I will consider the matter of debentures, so as to make it perfectly plain. I do not want to introduce the word at present. I may not get the right words. But I will see that the words are introduced in another place, and I move the Clause with the addition I mentioned to make it plain that the trustees of a settlement can, if they like, with the concurrence of the life tenant, make the investment according to the rule imposed by their trust. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover asked why we have left out paragraph (g), which related to stocks, mortgages, bonds, and debentures. It is because under the Trustee Act of 1893 the same words are there inserted, and therefore they are not really necessary here.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
May I point out some of the defects in the Clause as it stands at present. I say that all monies realised by the sale of an estate should be exactly on the same footing. As the Clause stands at present, it only deals with the purchase money which comes to the immediate vendor. But in a great many estates the amount of purchase money which comes to the vendor is only a fraction of the whole. What I should like to know is whether the Clause is limited to the purchase money which goes 2351 to the vendor, or whether it also applies to each one of the superior interests? There is a stronger case for permitting the owners of the superior interest a wide range of investment than there is for the vendor, because in the case of the vendor the purchase is voluntary, but in the case of the superior interest the purchase is compulsory. The superior interests are compulsorily redeemed, and consequently any argument which goes in favour of permitting a wider range of investment in the case of the purchase money which goes to the immediate vendor applies with tenfold force when you come to the case of the purchase money, which goes to the superior interest. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should agree that the Clause should apply to the whole of the proceeds of the sale of the estate.
§ Mr. CHARLES CRAIG
I so sincerely disagree with the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson) that I take the earliest opportunity of expressing that disagreement. I object to this Clause, not so much on the ground of the relief that it may give to some individual trustees or remainder-men, but because of the effect which it is bound to have on the prices which will be obtained by landlords generally for the land in Ireland. It is true that this Clause only relates to moneys which are to be held in trust, and which are eventually to come to the remainder-man, but anybody—probably my right hon. Friend as well, or better than most— knows that a permissive Clause such as this, which can be used to the detriment of the Irish landlord, will sooner or later be so used by hon. Members below the Gangway. Take parallel cases. The House knows that in former Acts of Parliament tentative and purely permissive terms were inserted, for instance for the reinstatement of evicted tenants. Some of my colleagues and myself pointed out that it was only putting in the thin end of the wedge, and in a short time a very much more drastic Act of Parliament would be demanded by hon. Members from Ireland below the Gangway. That came true. The same came true with regard to grass lands. It was enacted that under certain circumstances, under purely voluntary conditions, grass lands should be acquired and divided up amongst a variety of persons. We on these benches again protested against that, saying that that would 2352 in a few years be enlarged into a general demand for the acquisition of grass lands in the West of Ireland for congested tenants and landless men. Once more that has been done. Once more we proved ourselves to be true prophets. In exactly the same way I prophesy that this Clause, which it is proposed to put into this Bill, will be used as a lever for determining exactly the price which is to be paid to landlords for their property. Everybody knows or remembers the basis of the Land Conference, and the Act of 1903 was that the landlord was to receive such a sum of money which, if he reinvested it at 3 or 3½ per cent., would give him a similar income to the one he had had. Now we are to have it stated in specific words, in an Act of Parliament, that money, the money received by the landlord for his estate, can be in the case of a trustee—who, I may remind the House, is always supposed to invest in a more careful and less remunerative security than the ordinary individual—we have it laid down if this Clause be passed that the trustee will be permitted toy law actually to invest that money in securities which may bring in, not 3 or 3½ per cent., and not even 4 per cent., but as high as 5 per cent. If that is so, I maintain it will be no time—and here again I, without any hesitation, pose as a prophet—before the country will see an agitation by hon. Members below the Gangway to restrict the price which is to be paid to any landlord for the purchase of his estate to such a sum as that reinvested, not at 3 or 3½ per cent., but at 5 per cent. will represent the income he received previously,
I say that is an entire reversal of the policy which the whole House agreed to in 1903 when it passed the Bill of that year. I fully admit, in some cases, it may be a relief to the tenant for life, and even for the remainder-man, yet at the same time, looked at from the point of view of the cumulative effect which it will have upon the prices which are hereinafter to be given to the landlords for their property, I say it is a most dangerous Clause to insert in the Bill, and on those grounds, while I recognise it has some usefulness, I shall certainly vote against it.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Cherry)
I rise for the purpose of saying a few words in reply to the remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork City. He suggested that the operation of this Clause should be extended so as to include not only trust 2353 moneys arising from the sale of the property of the immediate landlord, but also to head rents, superior interests, and, I suppose, even of mortgages.
§ Mr. CHERRY
I think I can point out that there is a very special reason for having a marked distinction in these two cases. When you are considering what are the various sources of investment for trust money you must consider what is the security of the original property from the sale of which the money is to be invested. When transferring a certain security you only wish to have it secured in the same way as it was formerly, and in dealing with a matter that is not so well secured you can transfer it to a security about equal to what you are transferring. The immediate landlord's interest, I venture to say, is an interest that has been very much depreciated in value in recent years, first by the reduction of rent, and, second, by the difficulty of collecting rent, and by other matters. The head rent is an entirely different position. Head rents are well-secured things. There are head rents of £100 a year which are secured upon 10,000 acres of land, and to hold out the opportunity of having all head rents, even if voluntarily sold, so invested in any of the securities set out in this Clause would be to substitute a very inferior security for a good security. For that reason it is not desirable that the Clause should be
§ extended beyond the limit to which it is extended, namely, to the immediate interests of the selling landlord, the man who is ordinarily called the landlord in Ireland.
§ The securities mentioned in this Clause are none of them as bad as Irish land for the last 20 years if you were to take the market value secured by sale for if any ordinary Irish landlord had put up his property for sale by auction in the open market he would not have got more than 15 years' purchase, and he would have got a very small sum for it; so that if he invests his money in various countries, such as the Argentine Republic and so on, he would find that all these are better securities than. Irish land. The same argument does not apply to superior interests—to head rents, tithe rent charges, and so on—which constantly in the open market are measured by 30 years' purchase, and when redeemed in the Land Commission Count secure very high rates, never less than 25 years purchase and very often as high as 38 years' purchase. If these securities are to be redeemed at these very high rates it is only proper that the reinvestment of the money should be left as it is.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read. a second time."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 211; Noes, 41.2355
|Division No. 671.]||AYES.||[5.20 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Fullerton, Hugh|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Alden, Percy||Clancy, John Joseph||Gilhooly, James|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Clough, William||Gill, A. H.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Clynes, J. R.||Ginnell, L.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Gladstone, Rt. Hon Herbert John|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Glover, Thomas|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Gulland, John W.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Cullinan, J.||Hancock, J. G.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Curran, Peter Francis||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Delany, William||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-sh.).|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Harrington, Timothy|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Dillon, John||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Duffy, William J.||Harwood, George|
|Boland, John||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Evans, Sir S. T.||Healy, Timothy Michael|
|Bramsdon, Sir T. A.||Everett, R. Lacey||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Branch, James||Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Bright, J. A.||Falconer, J.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes., Leigh)||Farrell, James Patrick||Hogan, Michael|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Ffrench, Peter||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Field, William||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Hutton, Alfred Eddison|
|Burnyeat, W, J. D.||Flynn, James Christopher||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Mooney, J. J.||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Muldoon, John||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||Murnaghan, George||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Joyce, Michael||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Scarisbrick, Sir T. T. L.|
|Kavanagh, Walter M.||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Keating, M.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Nicholls, George||Seely, Colonel|
|Kelley, George D.||Nolan, Joseph||Shackleton, David James|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Kilbride, Denis||Nussey, Sir Willans||Sheehy, David|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Nuttall, Harry||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Laidlaw, Robert||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Lambert, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Lamont, Norman||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Snowden, P.|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||O'Doherty, Philip||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Strauss, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Lundon, T.||O'Dowd, John||Summerbell, T.|
|Lupton, Arnold||O'Grady, J.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||O'Shee, James John||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Partington, Oswald||Verney, F. W.|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Wardle, George J.|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Pointer, J.||Waring, Walter|
|MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|M'Kean, John||Power, Patrick Joseph||Watt, Henry A.|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Reddy, M.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Marnham, F. J.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Redmond, William Clare||Young, Samuel|
|Meagher, Michael||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Faber, George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fletcher, J. S.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Forster, Henry William||Renton, Leslie|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Gardner, Ernest||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hamilton, Marquess of||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Lanark)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Hill, Sir Clement||Valentia, Viscount|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Clark, George Smith||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||M'Arthur, Charles||Moore and Mr. C Craig.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
Question, "That the Clause, as amended, be added to the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
moved, after the word "Acts" ["where any land purchased by means of an advance under the Land Purchase Acts is settled land which in the meaning of the Settled Land Acts, 1882 to 1890"], to insert the words "or any superior interests."
The Attorney-General desired that the price of the superior interests of Irish land should be kept as high in the future as in the past. My object is the exact contrary. I think the price of superior interests have been absurdly inflated in the land courts, and the action of the Land Commission judge in fixing 28 years' purchase as the value of a head rent secured 2356 on Irish land was a proceeding which I confess I never could understand. By enabling the owners of the superior interest to have the same wide range of investment as the ordinary vendor you would enable that interest to be redeemed at a price somewhat similar to that of the immediate landlord, and, therefore, you would be facilitating land purchase. One of the great hindrances to land purchase was the high price at which the immediate landlord had to redeem the head rent, and I confess I understand why an Irish landlord should hesitate to sell when he knows that the judge of the Land Commission will stop out of his purchase money so high 2357 an amount as 27½ or 28 years' purchase. If the superior landlord gets an opportunity, which this Clause would give him if my Amendment is accepted, of having the same wide range of investment as is given in the case of the immediate landlord, that would enable him without the smallest loss to have his interests redeemed at a rate that would facilitate land purchase. My only interest in this matter is the general interest of land purchase. I move this Amendment not because I have any interests in the immediate landlord or the superior interest, but because I believe the interest of the tenants will be served by cheapening the price. I do not advocate this in any way that would be unjust to the landlord, but I say if these securities are good enough for the immediate landlord they ought to be good enough for the superior landlord, whose interests are compulsorily expropriated. The property of the superior landlord is being taken from him compulsorily without his being consulted in any way. It does appear to me that all the money realised on the sale of an estate under the Land Purchase Acts should be subject to the same considerations and the same law should affect them. It is the general feeling of the legal profession in Ireland that this extended right of investment should apply to the superior interest as well as to the immediate landlord, and the general impression is that when the case went to the courts it was only by a slip that the case of the superior interest was not included.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I beg to second this Amendment. These stocks have been so boomed, especially by the hon. Member for Mayo, that I think everybody ought to get the benefit of them, and they ought to go round. In the very famous case where the estate realised £50,000 the landlord only got £1,000. The other £49,000 had to be put into first-class stock at home. What is the ground of this extraordinary difficulty? The learned Attorney-General for Ireland says it is because these foreign stocks are inferior, but that is not the language held on this side of the House, and it is not the view held by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College, who says that Japan; you lose it anyhow, and it does not matter whether the investments are in Turkey, Argentina, China, or Japan; you lose it anyhow, and it does not make any difference. In view of that class of argument, and when you have absolute security in Canada, why 2358 should we withhold from the remainder-man the privilege which this Clause extends to the tenant for life? It would be most unjust if any restrictions were placed upon this matter by this Clause. This is the logical Clause, and let all the money be subject to the same consideration. You have declared that the money accruing to the tenant for life is absolutely secure. The old family settlement is to be torn up, and why? Because the money has to be put into Grand Trunks of Canada. Let us have no more pity for one man than another, and now that we know that in these splendid securities all over the globe the money is absolutely safe, by all means let us have Free Trade, not only in land but in securities, and let the remainder-man have the same privilege as by this Clause you are giving to the tenant for life.
§ Mr. CHERRY
I have already expressed my view recently upon this point, and I can only repeat what I have said. We have no desire that the price should be reduced. My only desire is that justice should be done to the owner, and I am sure justice will be done, and they will get as much as they desire and no more and no less. All the conditions which have been laid down by the court will be taken into consideration in fixing the price, and they will be applied justly and fairly. Anything I desire, or anything which hon. Members may desire, will not alter it in the least degree. The hon. Member is under a complete misapprehension in thinking that any extension of the powers of investment of trustees of these head rents would lower the redemption price. In fixing the redemption price the judge does not take into account what the powers of reinvestment of the money are. If he did, he would have to draw a marked distinction between settled and unsettled property. A great many of these are owned by absolute owners and they may put their money in Reef Mines.
§ Mr. CHERRY
At any rate, that is the only one that occurs to me. No distinction is drawn in fixing the price of the head rents. No distinction is drawn whatsoever between the prices given for the head rents, whether there is a settlement or not. The value of the head rent is fixed on entirely different lines and will continue to be so fixed. There is a broad distinction between the two cases, and to add to the power of investment would be really interfering with the general powers 2359 of all trust moneys. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] This is not the proper occasion to do it, because we are dealing here with the vendor and the purchaser.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
In these cases the tribunal deciding what the price shall be would not take into account the particular investment into which all purchase money would be placed. That is perfectly right. It would be equally right in respect of the compulsory sale of any other description as well as the description contemplated under this Bill. My advocacy of this Clause is based largely upon the view which I hold and which I expressed in the year 1903 that many of the trusts and marriage settlements in Ireland are of an old-fashioned type, and great limitations are placed upon that class which are not placed upon other classes of the community. Quite apart from land purchase, it is in the interests of the land-owning classes and the tenants as well as in the true interests of the community that there should be a greater choice of investments than was contemplated 30 years ago by conveyancers and family solicitors. The only argument I have heard against this is that by increasing the area of legitimate trust investments you lower our national securities, such as Consols and so forth. I have heard it stated that we have already gone too far, and that the increased latitude given under earlier Acts of Parliament is one of the reasons which has led to the depreciation of Consols. I put a consideration against that view, and it is that had the old Acts been retained unamended you would have driven a number of people not to make trust settlements at all. The old Acts were so narrowly drawn that a great many people would have risked it, and would have given their sons or daughters portions not under settlement at all. Even from the point of view of the public welfare, I think something may be urged for this policy, and I shall certainly support the Amendment moved by the hon. and learned Member. I believe it is well that those who have the superior interest in Ireland should enjoy this latitude of investment, and I should like to see a similar latitude enjoyed by the land-owning class in England as well as in Ireland.
§ Mr. DILLON
The hon. Member for North Louth appears now to be in favour of exporting a vast quantity more capital. At first the hon. Member regarded this Clause as entirely vicious, and he wanted to confine investments to Ireland. Now 2360 he proposes an Amendment, to greatly extend the application of this vicious Clause and to open up facilities to owners to export their capital by investment in these foreign securities. I do not share the view of the hon. Member for North Louth as to the badness of these foreign securities. I have never advocated that Irish landlords should be driven to invest their money in bad securities. The view I hold, following the opinion expressed by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), is that these securities are better, although they do not bring in better interest. The hon. Member for North Armagh is perfectly wrong in his contention. Here is the plain state of affairs. If I believed that the view taken by the junior Member for the City of Cork was well founded and that this extension would have any effect upon the price fixed by the court for the superior interest, I would strenuously support the Amendment. I do not believe it would have the smallest atom of effect on land purchase, because the answer of the Attorney-General is absolutely correct, that the land judge at present does not inquire how the money will be invested when he fixes the price of the superior interest. The land judge, I am convinced, considers the security. I know a case where the superior interest consists of £24 with an admitted inferior interest beneath it of about £5,000 a year. You cannot have a better security than that. It is the highest form of security the country has to offer. The land judge asks what is the nature of the security of the superior interest. That is the principle on which he fixes the price, and I do not think this Amendment would have the slightest effect. It would undoubtedly be an advantage to the owner of a superior interest, and, from that point of view, I have no objection to the Amendment at all, but as regards its operation on land purchase I do not believe it will have a feather's-weight of influence in either one direction or the other.
§ Mr. MOORE
I hope my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson) has noted the reason which the Mover gave for bringing the Amendment before the House. He wants to extend to superior interests the same range of investments as the House has given to ordinary ventures, because he says that what the House has just passed would appreciate the price, and the owners of superior interests are equally entitled to have the price appreciated when they come to redeem. It is precisely on that ground 2361 that I and my colleagues voted against that Amendment, and we shall vote against this, even if we are under the unpleasant alternative of supporting the Government. I think the learned Attorney-General and the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) are perfectly right. The question is one of security, and not of amount. I cordially agree with the hon. Member for East Mayo that one of these small perpetual charges upon a rent 100 times its value ought not to be redeemed on the same scale. I shall oppose the Amendment if the hon. Member goes to a Division, because of the very reason he gave for moving it.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I should not have intervened, but my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Moore) asks whether I noticed the reason given by the Mover for applying this Clause to the case of the superior interest. I did not notice the reason given, and I think it was absolutely bad. I think it was answered absolutely by the statement of the Attorney-General, and I think what the Attorney-General says has just as much application to the case of fixing the price under the ordinary Purchase Acts. There you have settled and unsettled estates, and I know of nothing in any of those Acts of Parliament which says the rate of interest or the income the landlord will get out of the money given to him is to be taken into account by any tribunal which has anything to say on the matter whatsoever. I cannot assume that the Act of Parliament will be so disregarded, and that the whole administration will be so corrupt in regard to fixing this price, that matters not stated in the Act of Parliament will be taken into consideration by the tribunal.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.
§ Mr. CHERRY
moved, in Sub-section (3), after the word "trustees" ["in addition to any powers of investment conferred on the trustees"], to insert the words "by the term of their settlement or."
§ (Untenanted Land.)
§ "Land in the occupation of a person holding under a fee farm grant or a lease 2362 for lives renewable for ever, or a lease for a term of years of which not less than sixty are unexpired, shall, for the purposes of the Act of 1903, The Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Act, 1907, and this Act, be deemed to be untenanted land."
§ I would like to say a word with regard to some of the remarks made earlier in the afternoon as regards what are called the pledges given by the Government as to introducing a definition of the words "estate" and "untenanted land." No pledges of any kind were given by any Members of the Government. My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary and myself were most careful to avoid giving any pledge. All we said was that we would consider the suggestion as to defining both "estate" and "untenanted land," and we came to the conclusion, not only on our own consideration but on the best expert advice obtainable, that it would be exceedingly dangerous to introduce any definition of "estate" other than that included in the Act of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover (Mr. Wyndham), which, if I may say so, was a wise way of dealing with the matter. That Act left it as wide and as vague as possible. If you try to narrow it down in any way you involve yourself in difficulties of all kinds. It was pointed out in the case of compulsory sales that there might be an injustice by allowing the Estates Commissioners arbitrarily to fix the limits of the land to be taken. We met that suggestion by introducing a Clause which the House has already passed, and which I think will meet any reasonable objection which can be raised in the absence of any other definition of "estate."
§ Now we come to deal with untenanted land, and exactly the same difficulty arises. "Untenanted land" is a subject-matter of which it would be almost impossible to give a satisfactory definition. From one point of view there is no such thing as untenanted land at all. All land is supposed to be held under the Crown, and even an owner in fee simple is a tenant in capite of the King. A great many owners hold their land not in fee simple but under fee farm grants at very small rents. They are practically absolute owners. Others hold their land under long leases, 999 years or terms of that kind, which are practically perpetuities, and are always regarded as such. You have a series of owners of interests inland, from the owner in fee simple down to the tenant at will of different values, and, if you are dealing with untenanted land and trying to find out where you are 2363 to stop and where you are not to stop, you will find yourself involved in very great difficulties. It is necessary that the matter should be dealt with in some way, not by definition but by section, because only quite recently the question arose in the High Court of Dublin with regard to land held under a fee farm grant. I pointed out to the House, and Irish Members are well aware of it, that a very large portion of the area of Ireland is held under fee farm grants, and the ordinary landlords of the country thus hold the land and pay superior rents, sometimes to people living in England and sometimes to the Crown. These men are landlords in the ordinary sense of the term. They have often J.S much as 2,000 acres, a portion of which is let to tenants, and a portion of which is in their own occupation.
§ Mr. Justice Wylie has been constrained to decide that land held under a fee farm grant is not untenanted land. I need not say that I do not quarrel with that decision. If I may say so without offence, I agree with it. I think he was perfectly correct in law in so deciding, because since the passing of the Act, 1860, the relation of landlord and tenant exists between the fee farm grant or the person entitled to receive the rent charge, and the grantee, I do not think it is all desirable that land should be excluded from the category of "untenanted land" which may be required for the purpose of relieving congestion if it is merely held under a fee farm grant, so we have introduced this Clause which does not define, but which merely provides that land in the possession or occupation of a person holding under a fee farm grant, or a lease for lives renewable for ever, or a lease for a term of years of which not less than 60 are unexpired, is to be deemed to be untenanted land. That is all I have to say, except to explain why we include, not only land under a fee farm grant, or a lease for lives renewable for ever, but also land held on a lease for a term of years of which not less than 60 are unexpired.
§ Mr. CHERRY
I think so. That is what we intend. That is exactly the same description of tenure which entitles a man if he is a landlord to sell under the Land Purchase Acts. By adopting this description we repeat the existing law. If a man is in possession of a tract of land it does not matter whether it is small or large, 2364 under any of these tenures, and, if a portion of it is in his own occupation, and a portion of it let or sublet to tenants, he can, under the Land Purchase Acts, sell the tenants' portion to the tenants directly, or he may sell it to the Estates Commissioners, and we provide in that case that the land in his own occupation is to be deemed to be untenanted land for the purpose of the compulsory powers conferred by this Act.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. CHERRY
If the land is of the tenure described in this Clause, it will be untenanted land. The real point is this: The land must be either land which can be sold under the Land Purchase Act to the tenant or land which may be acquired by the Estates Commissioners. Under the Act no land escapes both of these categories. It must be one or the other. The hon. and learned Member for Louth raised another point. He asked whether the land was to be deemed to be untenanted land. There has also been suggested a distinction between small and large holdings, but I would like to ask where can you draw the line? We do not desire to make an arbitrary distinction, and the Government have advisedly adopted the present proposal. Of course we are quite prepared to consider suggestions from hon. Gentlemen opposite, but we deem it desirable that where a distinction by way of tenure is to be drawn, so far as land which is untenanted is concerned, we should leave it to the discretion of the Commissioners whether or not they will exercise compulsory powers. I do not think it reasonable to think that the Estates Commissioners would acquire land when there was only a small quantity in the occupation of the person farming it. The hon. and learned Member always seems to assume that the Estates Commissioners will do everything that is unreasonable; that they will do all that is wrong and bad. We do not take that view. Our opinion is that they act reasonably in dealing with Irish land. We find that both landlords and tenants in Ireland are satisfied with what they have done. No attack is made upon them except by lawyers in this House. The matter with regard to the acquisition of land must be left to the discretion of the Estates Commissioners. Take the case of a landowner possessing 2,000 acres. There may be 500 acres in his demesne, 500 acres may be untenanted, and 1,000 acres may be sublet. We think it 2365 reasonable that if he sells the 1,000 acres to the tenants, the 500 acres which are not comprised in his demesne should be acquired, if necessary, for the purposes of the Act. The landlord is left his demesne under this Act; he cannot have it taken from him.
§ Mr. CHERRY
I should think that the Estates Commissioners in dealing with these methods would naturally treat these small holdings in the same way as the landlord's demesne. If it is a small holding occupied by a man who lives on it and works it it would be just as unreasonable to take it from him as it would foe to take the demesne from the landlord.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Then why not protect it in the same way as you protect the demesne of the landlord?
§ Mr. CHERRY
If it were possible in any way to distinguish between these cases we would do so. All we can do is to provide that any land taken must be land which is not used as an ordinary farm, and I think that covers the point. If you leave the matter to the discretion of the Estates Commissioners I am persuaded that justice will be done in every case. The landlord's demesne is preserved by Act of Parliament. I do not think it is necessary to specially protect the owner of a small portion of land, but I believe that the Clause, as framed, will secure what hon. Members desire.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
I quite agree with most of the observations of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and I also am of opinion that the proper way to proceed is by way of prohibition against any opportunity of injustice. I am also disposed to concur with him in the view he has expressed that the owner of the fee farm grant may be in the vast majority of cases considered to have the status of a landlord. It is quite true that a very large area of the land of Ireland is held in fee farm grants. In the past it has been held that any person who holds under a fee farm grant cannot be treated as a landlord under the Land Purchase Act. If that were persisted in I quite agree that a very large number of desirable land purchase transactions would be rendered impossible. I somewhat dissent from the approval which the right hon. Gentleman has expressed of Mr. Justice Wylie's decision. It 2366 appears to me that that decision somewhat strained the existing law and carried it to an extent of technicality which I for one am not disposed to agree with. I hold that the owner of a fee farm grant should be considered in the same way as a landlord, but that does not at all dispose of the question raised in this matter. That question is, Are the Estates Commissioners, without check and without limitation of any kind, to be allowed to expropriate the ordinary working farmer? That is the main point at issue. The right hon. Gentleman says you may leave all this to the Estates Commissioners. They are reasonable men, and they will do nothing but what is fair. Yes, but is that what this Bill does in dealing with the landlords? No, in their case you have an express prohibition that the Estates Commissioners when dealing with the landlords shall not acquire any land in the occupation of the owner which forms part of the demesne, garden, pleasure grounds or home farm. If the Estates Commissioners are reasonable persons, if they are such reasonable persons as has been suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, why is this Clause inserted? I suppose it is in order to satisfy the landlords. Then why should not a similar Clause be inserted in order to satisfy the tenants? What I want to ask is this: The right hon. Gentleman has stated our case; he says most fairly that where an ordinary working tenant is in the occupation of a piece of land, whether he be owner in fee or owner of free farm grant, he ought not to be disturbed, and it would be monstrous if he were disturbed. The landlord's demesne is protected; so are his pleasure grounds, his garden and his home farm. Why should not this tenant foe protected in the same way? Why is it supposed that there is a possibility that the Estates Commissioners may oppress the landlords, but that they are incapable of acting unreasonably towards, the tenants?
It has been suggested that if these cases are excluded it may be possible to exclude the untenanted lands in Ireland, but by no stretch of imagination would it be possible to exclude land held under the 11 months' system. I think that is land which is most appropriate for these operations. If you think it necessary, under this Act, to pro-protect the landlords against the expropriation of his demesne, gardens, pleasure grounds, and home farm, the least you can do is to protect in a similar manner the ordinary working tenant. I was glad to hear the strong declaration of the hon. 2367 Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) that he, personally, was strongly against the expropriation of the ordinary working tenant. In that he expresses exactly my own views. But let me put another consideration. Take the case of an ordinary tenant who has bought the land. I am quite aware there is a school of thought— I do not wish to criticise it—which is in favour of giving the Estates Commissioners power to expropriate these holders. I am strongly against it. I believe that nothing of the kind should be attempted, but that when a tenant has become a proprietor he should be permitted to remain proprietor and to retain the privileges of owner under like circumstances. There is nothing in this Act so far as I can see which will prevent the expropriation of the ordinary tenant purchaser. The two clauses in the Bill are quite wide enough to cover their case. I am aware it is said that they are protected by a section in the Act of 1891, which is said to prevent any such action taking place. I am not going to dogmatise upon the subject, but it would appear to me that the Section in the Act of 1891 does not protect them. The provision relied upon is contained in Sub-section 4 of Section 9 of the Act of 1891, and it does not in my view protect the ordinary tenant purchaser from having his land expropriated under this Act, because it appears to me that that section is merely concerned with the advance to the purchasing tenant. It says, "An advance shall not be made under the Land Purchase Act as amended by this Act for the purchase of any holding for which advances have been made under the Land Purchase Acts." But that Subsection is dealing with advances to purchasing tenants, and it deals with nothing else, and to say that that is a limitation in view of the wide scope of the Clause of this Act, which gives the Estates Commissioners a general power of compulsory purchase, is to strain that particular subsection. While, therefore, I do not wish to set up my own opinion against the opinion of the Attorney-General, I suggest at any rate, that it is doubtful whether that sub-section confers any protection whatever on the ordinary tenant purchaser against being expropriated under this Act. Whatever other people may think, I hope we are all free to express our opinion, and, for my part, I am opposed in the strongest manner to any legislation which will permit the ordinary farmer whether he is a tenant purchaser or not, or holds under 2368 a fee farm grant, to have his land taken away from him in order that it may be given to another tenant.
It may be a very good thing to give land to the landless. I will not say a word against that; and I say the general scope of the Bill, so far as it carries out an object of that kind, has my agreement, but I do say that the line is to be drawn when you come to take away land from the ordinary working tenant. The right hon. Gentleman admitted our case. He has admitted that if the Estates Commissioners take it into their heads under this Act to acquire the land of an ordinary working farmer, who holds under any tenancy, greater than a lease of 60 years, it is perfectly competent for them to do so. If, however, the Estates Commissioners take the demesne of the landlord, the landlord can come to court and prohibit them, and that is the case wherever the landlord is hit, and I ask why should not the ordinary working farmer be protected in a similar way? Until, therefore, this particular Section is limited in the way I have indicated, while I quite favour the general scheme of the Clause and of the Act, so far as it enables land to be acquired for the purposes in question, when it is proposed to take untenanted land, not in the ordinary sense, but to expropriate the ordinary working farmer for the purpose of giving his land to anyone else, whatever other people may think, I am strongly opposed to it.
§ Mr. J. GORDON
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman can really have considered the position of affairs in Ireland which reference to land, because I happen to know something of parts of the country where there are ordinary working farmers holding their land under fee farm grants, or leases for life, or under purchase from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In the latter case they have leases for 21 years, usually with covenants for renewal, but when the Church Act was passed they were unable to become owners in fee. They are, however, just as much ordinary working farmers as is the ordinary farmer who purchases under the Land Purchase Act. You say you are going to protect, or that some Act of Parliament is going to protect, the ordinary farmer who has purchased land under the Land Purchase Acts, but what right has he to be protected when the provision is not extended to others who farm their land and who have held under a title which the purchaser under the Land Purchase Act will 2369 have created when all the instalments are paid. I cannot understand the policy of the right hon. Gentleman or the Chief Secretary in proposing to the House a new Clause like this without making proper restriction to prevent a gross injustice. I do not know very much how the land is held in the West or South of Ireland, but I am very familiar with how it is held in the North of Ireland, and whole tracts of country are held in the way I have spoken of. Do you mean to say that for the purpose of satisfying some land hunger on the part of some landless men, or for the purpose of satisfying some people whom we can only keep from committing crime by giving them land which belongs to somebody else, you are going to turn out these farmers simply because they hold under a fee farm grant or under a lease of over 60 years?
§ Mr. GORDON
I do not understand that kind of legislation. I do not understand the policy of the Government which will leave a matter like that at the mercy of the officials, however good they are. I have never made charges against the officials simply because they were such, but only if they have done something which I knew was wrong. I do not say they will interpret the Act wrongly, but it ought to be provided for by legislation. When the attention of the Legislature is called to the point, then it should not be in the power of any man to act wrongly towards people who have no protection and ought to be protected in a matter of this kind. Therefore it is idle for the Attorney-General for Ireland to say it is never contemplated. That is not the way in which legislation ought to pass through the House, especially when a blot has been pointed out. The Government say, "Oh, no harm will be done, nothing will happen, nobody is going to act wrongly," and then leave these people at the mercy of these officials, so that they should be able to treat them badly. We do not expect they will, but why is not this protection put into the Bill? Why should a farmer in Ireland, whether he is landlord or tenant, if he is bonâ fide farming his land, have it taken away from him, in order to give it to someody else. I do not care whether it is a landlord or a tenant—it is not of the smallest consequence—if he is bonâ fide farming his land, why should it be taken from him? I think if the ordinary 2370 man in the street understood that that was the policy of the Government and underlying this Bill, namely, that men who are farming their own land should, because they own that land, have it taken away from them to give to somebody else who has no interest in it, he would object to the justice of such a course.
Up to the present time we have been dealing with this land question in Ireland upon a definite, well-ascertained basis, and here you are introducing this new principle of dealing with landlords and tenants by depriving tenants, or, if you will, landlords, of their land, which they have and which they are using to the best advantage in order that you may get the land, not to meet the problem of congestion, but to give it to the people who have made an outcry and committed crime in the country in order that they might dispossess somebody else. The only problem which ever was dealt with here, and which ought to be dealt with, is congestion, and there is ample land in the West of Ireland which is untenanted or which is let on the grazing system for 11 months, and therefore may reasonably be called untenanted land, and you should take those lands if you want to deal with the real problem and the only problem. You do not, however, protect the man who is farming his own land, but you protect the man who has a home farm. The right hon. Gentleman knows very well how that phrase "home farm" has been limited and restricted, and we know now that it would not apply to the man who has his own land and is farming it, and if a Clause of this kind is passed it ought only to pass with such a provision in it as is down in the name of the hon. Member for Cork or one which I have down, which is practically the same. We ought to put in this Clause some words such as "except where such land is bonâ fide used as a farm by the person in bonâ fide occupation." That does not seem to me to be an unreasonable provision, and it will certainly meet the case of the ordinary farmer, and I do not, for my part, see why it should be objected to. Some of the landlord class in Ireland are no different from the class who in this country are called "gentlemen farmers," and if a landlord has a home farm, and in order to make a living for himself, occupy his time, and provide himself with an income, keeps that and another portion of his land and actually uses it as a bonâ fide farm, I cannot see what sound policy would sug- 2371 gest that the land should be taken from him and given to somebody else. He probably farms it better and more for the benefit of the community than the people to whom it would be given, and therefore the Amendment which I have suggested would do no harm, but would protect the class of people whom the hon. Member for Cork and I and my colleagues in this part of the House wish to protect, namely, the ordinary landlord who is using a portion of his land bonâ fide as a farmer. I do hope when the time comes, and before the Clause passes, the right hon. Gentleman will get up in his place and accept one of these Amendments.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General for Ireland seems to have forgotten Question Time yesterday. I have a vivid recollection of the protests of the hon. Member for Mayo and the hon. Member for Kildare asking questions as to the conduct of the Estates Commissioners. To-day the Estates Commissioners can do no wrong, but yesterday what were they said to be engaged in? I take my information from the Question Paper yesterday and the replies of the Attorney-General. According to the case yesterday, land has been compulsorily taken for the benefit, according to the hon. Gentleman, of the most worthless and most undesirable section of the community, and public money to the extent of £2,000 has been taken out of the taxpayers' pocket, and the public have been put to the trouble and possible loss of having to indemnify the State in the interest of a gentleman named Robinson, and you have taken the land of honest men to give it, according to the hon. Gentleman, to the most worthless and most undesirable class, who have no title to it whatever. If land had been taken already under existing powers, which are not half as drastic as these powers, and given to these worthless persons, and bonuses of public money had been provided in their interest, how does any man know that his farm is not going to be the next to be invaded? The right hon. Gentleman says the Amendment down to this Clause is too wide. Are we paid to draw Amendments? You are paid to draw the Bill. It is not our business whenever a botched Clause is brought before the House of Commons to sit down and put our heads together and look into law books. It is your business, and if this Clause is so drawn—and I assert without fear of contradiction that it is—that you 2372 can take a labourer's cottage and a plot compulsorily from a board of guardians, although that plot has already been compulsorily taken from the landlord and the tenant, the Clause is a discredit to whoever drafted it.
It is said the Estates Commissioners are going to act moderately. We do not trust kings. When William III. was brought over to this country the House passed the Bill of Rights. What a splendid thing it would have been if the monk of the day had said, "Trust the Dutch; they will behave admirably." Is that what the House of Commons did? No; they provided a constitution for the Dutch men. In every Bill that is drawn, whatever the authority that is given power, this House takes care in the most scrupulous manner to see that proper limitations are put in. You do not play the confidence trick, but you ask us to accept the confidence trick. It is now confessed and admitted that every farm in Ireland, whether bought under Land Purchase Acts or not, provided it comes within this Clause, can be taken compulsorily. Let us consider what the Clause does. The hon. Gentleman, of course, can take fee farms. He can take the fee. Of course, this Clause is an extension of existing powers, and the result of it, plus the other Clauses of the measure, is to the effect I have stated. Will any man who fought for the leaseholders in 1887, whose long leases prevented them from getting a fair rent fixed, believe that now, if their leases are over 60 years, they are liable to have their land taken from them, and that if they are for 59 years they are safe? A man may only have five acres of land, but if his lease is 60 years in duration he is no longer safe in his farm. Was there ever such a thing heard of? What did the revolutionary report of Lord Dudley do? It was not only confined to congested districts, but it provided for the case of £100 valuations, and yet, comparatively moderate as that report was, did it meet with approval? Show me the endorsement of any resolution of approval from the Irish party. I challenge its production. Nothing of the kind took place, and the Irish party carefully guarded itself from anything in favour of the expropriation of any man of over £100 valuation. It cannot be quoted, whether in the congested districts or out of the congested districts. Now I want to know why, as the Irish party never asked for this Clause, and carefully guarded themselves from giving their approval to this strong proposal of Lord 2373 Dudley—although confined to congested districts, there was a good deal to be said for it—if I had the misfortune to have a 99 years' lease of my farm, I am to be bundled out for the benefit of my next-door neighbour? Hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway will say "your attacks on landlordism have come home to roost." I do not think so. This is an attack not on landlordism but on tenantism. How, it will be asked, can you justify the expropriation of landlords, and not justify the expropriation of tenants. I will tell you. Because the landlord represents a system which is the result of confiscation, the result of spoliation, which was never acknowledged by any Irish authority nor any Irishman. The landlord represents the breach of the Treaty of Limerick, which has never been condoned, and he represents a system which has sent millions of our people to death, starvation, and emigration. Now you are going to protect the landlord, and say he may remain safe in his demesne, in his pleasure ground, and in his garden, which are not to be touched. His home farm even is to be safe. A man with 20 acres of land is to have the benefit of this Clause, and to be turned out, and he is told that he can bring a law suit of some sort. That is a glorious privilege. He can appeal to the Judicial Commissioners. I want to know why, instead of leaving them secure, is the dread of a law suit to be held over them? Who asked for it? Let us understand who are the parents of this Clause. Why is the ordinary working tenant farmer, who has cultivated a little plot, to be left without ordinary protection? The right hon. Gentleman says, "We do not mean it." Then why not say so? If we are ad idem, why not bring in the words?
Let me point out another consideration which is most undesirable to start, and already it has been started. The charge brought against us at the time of the Home Rule Bill was that we were raffling for the farms of the farmers of the North of Ireland, to give them to people from the South. What will be said by the people of the North if a Clause like this is passed, with the sanction of this Government and the approval of a very considerable body of the statesmen I see around me? The Attorney-General laughs. He will pass away but we will be here, and we will have the Irish case to fight when he is on the bench. His position is assured, but we have been here for the last 30 years, and we will probably, as long as we are spared, and as long as our constituents spare us, 2374 be here for some time to come. We have to take these political considerations into our account. I will be a party to no Clause which is calculated to stir up these anxieties, whether it is in the North of Ireland or in the South, the East or the West. It is said that this is for the benefit of landless men. My watch no doubt would be for the benefit of landless men, but it happens to be mine, and the tenants of Ireland have not fought their battle for the last 30 year for nothing. They have endured hunger and prison and everything else in this struggle, and now an Act of Parliament forsooth is to be passed, and the whole of the land of Ireland is to be placed at the mercy of the Estates Commissioners. That is to say, that the men who have tilled the ground are to be sacrificed for the advantage of an imaginary body outside who have never held a plough in their hands, and who hardly know one animal in the field from another. But the tiller of the land who knows every ditch and every sod, and even the crooked turns in his boreen, is to be sacrificed for the advantage of some imaginary person—what Mr. Lumley would call the hypothetical tenant. That is a very fancy picture to draw, but I gather from some of the symptoms around me that we are not all in disagreement. I am not saying for a moment that there are not individual cases, perhaps one in a hundred thousand, which might not be benefited by this kind of legislation. But that is not the way that legislation proceeds. You do not propose to benefit one man to the injury of one hundred thousand. You do not propose to make one man content and to put one hundred thousand men in a state of anxiety. But that is what this Clause does, and, so far as I am concerned, if it is proposed by 50 Governments, or recommended by 50 parties, as long as I have the voice and the strength I will vote against it.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I really think the Attorney-General must now see that this Clause in its present shape cannot possibly be allowed to pass as a portion of an Act of Parliament. As I understand the argument of the Attorney-General, he admits that this Clause, according to its terms, goes a great deal further than is required for the purpose of carrying out the Land Purchase Act. I think he admitted that.
§ Sir E. CARSON
He does not admit it. If that is so, the case is altered. There is 2375 no limitation whatever here as to the class of persons to whom this is to apply. I understood that the object of the whole of the Land Purchase Acts was to turn into freeholders the occupiers of the land, but this Clause enables you to turn out of occupation a man who happens to be a freeholder. Is not that really absurd? Because he has not paid under the Purchase Acts, but is in the same position as if he had done so, he is to be turned out. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that? I took it from his speech that he does not mean to take land in the case of a person who is occupying and cultivating a farm in the same way as a person who bought under the Land Purchase Acts might do. I am perfectly aware that a very large number of farmers in Ireland hold land under fee farm rent.
§ Sir E. CARSON
The Attorney-General says there are very few. I should give him credit for looking thoroughly into this question. Will he tell me how many there are holding under a valuation of £100? Of course, he cannot. The question has never been considered. Then you come to those under leases of 60 years unexpired. How many of those are there? You are really asking the House to upset the whole object of the Land Purchase Acts in giving power to turn out those people. If we pass this Clause, we may as well upset the whole theory of land purchase in Ireland as it has hitherto been understood by those who are cognisant of the matter. The Attorney-General admitted that there were certain cases which ought not to be disturbed. Does he admit that now? If not, how does he limit them? He says, "I refuse to put anything into the Act of Parliament. I leave it entirely to the discretion of the. Estates Commissioners." I wish to put a simple question to the Attorney-General, from which he will see it is impossible to carry out the matter in this way. In what cases does he suggest that the Commissioners are to allow a man to remain, and in what cases are they to turn a man out? If a man is farming 100 acres or has £100 valuation, can he be turned out? If he is farming 50 acres or has a valuation of £50, can he be turned out? Where are you to draw the limit? It seems to me that you are giving the Estates Commissioners the power of legislators. They are to say how much land a man may hold and still be allowed to remain, and this House is to lay down no 2376 definition to guide the Commissioners. I hope the Attorney-General will tell us how, if he were a Commissioner and went down to adjudicate, he would act. Will he tell us whether he would take land as untenanted land which is on 60 years' lease? How would he come to a conclusion as to whether he should turn a man out, and on what limitation would he act? It is absolutely impossible. You must really give some directions to the Commissioners.
Will anybody imagine for a moment that there is no danger of a new agitation springing up in Ireland for the purpose of turning tenant farmers out of parts of their holdings? I listened during the Committee stage of this Bill to a speech by an hon. Member below the Gangway in which he said that the time had come when you ought, in the case of farmers who bought under the Land Purchase Acts, to limit the right to the land they have bought to a certain acreage or a certain valuation. I myself said at the time that I always held the view that one of the great dangers before us in relation to the transfer of land from one class to another in Ireland has been that when you have transferred to that class another class would grow up and say, "If the State has given the benefit of transfer from one class to another, and has given the credit of the State to effect that operation, why on earth should it not go on and transfer from that class down to the men who are actually labouring and working on these farms?" I have never been able to see any answer to that, and when I heard hon. Members below the Gangway putting forward that as a matter which ought to be considered even in this Bill, I thought that the Chief Secretary, probably when he gets the new lease of life which we are told he is to get in the office he holds after the General Election, might prepare for an agitation the like of which we have never yet seen even in the annals of Ireland. I think it is a real danger. Hon. Members opposite may laugh, but these things grow very fast in Ireland, and what an impetus you would give to an agitation by this Clause. If you say in regard to a man who is holding under fee simple rent that you have the right to take away the whole or part of his land and that he has to go out and make room for another, what logical argument have you why a man who has bought under the Land Purchase Acts should not also be treated in that way? I think it is our duty, so far as this Clause is concerned, to oppose it in every 2377 way we can, and to try to prevent it from becoming law. If the second reading of the Clause is passed I shall do my best by moving Amendments to draw attention to what I look upon as a most dangerous Clause in the whole of the complicated land legislation of Ireland, unless the Attorney-General will agree to have the Clause properly drawn and properly limited.
§ Mr. DILLON
We have listened to two powerful speeches against the Clause. The speech of the hon. and learned Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) was a powerful speech against compulsory land purchase in any shape or form. "My watch is my own," said the hon. and learned Member amid the cheers of hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway. Is that not exactly what the landlords are saying? The whole of his extremely powerful speech was just what we might expect to come from a Member sitting above the Gangway in opposition to the main proposals of this Bill. The hon. and learned Member spoke of the case of Mr. Robinson, and he alluded to me as having complained of the giving of a farm on the Kingston estate to that gentleman. He spoke of the taking of the land in this particular case from an honest man to give it to a dishonest man. Who was the honest man Presumably the hon. and learned Member meant the Earl of Kingston. I think—in fact I am sure—that the land was not taken compulsorily at all. It was part of a voluntary sale. There was no question of taking the land under compulsion. It was a most proper and voluntary transaction, and the only complaint was as to the disposition of the land which ought to be given to the evicted tenants. Was there any practical effect in the speech of the hon. and learned Member for North Louth? He said that under this Clause you could take, a labourer's cottage, or land held under fee farm rent, or land under a long lease. Does anybody in his senses really believe that is a practical objection to the Clause, and that the Estates Commissioners are going to become insane and proceed to take up labourers' cottages under the compulsory Clause? After listening to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for North Louth it is very desirable to remind Members of the House what has really happened, and what gave rise to the insertion of the Clause. Two years ago an Act was passed through this House giving the Commissioners compulsory powers to take 2378 untenanted land for the reinstatement of the evicted tenants. For nearly two years these powers have been in the hands of the Commissioners, and in the opinion of every human being they covered all the cases which will be covered by this Clause. That was the accepted law of the land, and in many cases the Commissioners took land as denned in this Clause. One would imagine from the speech of the hon. and learned Member for North Louth that the Government were going to do something unheard-of by this Clause. It will do nothing unheard-of. It will simply restore the definition of untenanted land to what it was supposed to be before a decision which was given by the Courts.
§ Mr. DILLON
The hon. Member for Cork is a greater authority in law than I am, and I speak subject to correction. I am certain that under the law as accepted in Ireland the Commissioners have power under the Evicted Tenants Act to expropriate land in the possession of the fee farm grantee, and they did expropriate land. Until the decision was given in the case of David Young that was the accepted law of the land. I am glad the hon. Member accepts that as a true statement. Therefore the hon. and learned Member's extraordinary description of ruin and confiscation which will be inflicted on Ireland by this Clause is most grotesque.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
There is limitation in the Evicted Tenants Act which does not exist in this Bill at all.
§ Mr. DILLON
The hon. Member is obliged to admit that in the Evicted Tenants Act the Estates Commissioners held that they had power to expropriate a fee farm grant or land in the hands of a grantee.
§ Mr. DILLON
What was it gave rise to this? Was it a case such as one would imagine from the speeches in which the poor working farmer was attacked by the Commissioners, and an attempt was made to give his land to somebody else? Was it that which led to this judgment which has paralysed the Evicted Tenants Act? No; the first case, as has been pointed out, was the case of David Young, a landlord in the county Galway, who had 1,000 acres of 2379 grass land in his possession, from whom the Commissioners sought to take 450 acres for the restoration of evicted tenants. It was a perfectly proper and most suitable case. David Young described himself as a working farmer—a working farmer may have 500, 1,000, or 4,000 acres—and he put up the plea that although he was a landlord for the purpose of selling his land, he was a tenant when somebody else came to take his land; and such is the ingenuity of the Irish court—which nobody understands better than the hon. Member for Cork, particularly when they are endeavouring to defeat legislation in favour of Irish tenants, and still more if it is in favour of Irish evicted tenants—that they actually held that David Young, who was a large landlord for the purpose of selling his land and getting money for his estate, was a tenant for the purpose of preventing any land being given to evicted tenants. That was the first case that started this trouble. Another case was that of a large landlord in the county of Waterford, who had in his possession actual farms from which he had evicted tenants, and when the Estates Commissioners, acting under the compulsory powers given by this House, went to acquire these very farms, and to give them back to their rightful owners in accordance with the wish of this House, they were met with the plea, "This is tenanted land, because, though I am a landlord for one purpose, a court of law will hold that I am a fee farm grantee, and I am now a tenant in possession of the land, and I will not give it to you."
§ Mr. DILLON
I am informed by my hon. Friend, who will give the particulars afterwards; but whether I am stating the case correctly or not nobody will deny that such a case is perfectly possible in law, and might occur in any part of the country. This fee farm grant system of holding land covers a great surface of Ireland, and if something is not done to meet these judgments the purpose in view will be defeated. It is not a question of working farmers. It is a question of great landowners, who will turn themselves into working farmers for the purpose of holding up these great grass ranches, and will say, "We decline absolutely to sell." It is not the working farmers we are looking to. It is Lord Clanricarde and men of that kind. While 2380 the hon. Member for North Louth is defending in impassioned language an imaginary farmer, the real practical effect of this speech is to defend the most troublesome and dangerous landlords in Ireland, the only people against whom it has been necessary or desirable to impose compulsory Clauses at all. The hon. Member for North Louth, in language entirely unnecessary, challenged any Member who dared to say that the Irish party had approved of expropriating any Irish working man.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I did not say that. I challenged them to say that they approved of Lord Dudley's Report that a man of over £100 valuation should be expropriated.
§ Mr. DILLON
The hon. Member for North Louth was present at the party meeting, and he knows that I was the very first man to stand up and object to it. I differed totally from that principle. I have been subjected to some hostile criticism by colleagues of my own and by people in Ireland because I do object to it. So strongly do I hold the view, though I differ from many of my colleagues on this point, that I have been all along one of the chief champions in the Irish party against any legislation which would have for its purpose or effect to break this land settlement which we are effecting at great expense and trouble in Ireland, and to keep the land of Ireland in the melting-pot. And I object to subjecting the Irish farmers to the uncertainty from which we have rescued them by the whole of this movement. It is, therefore, absurd for the hon. Member for North Louth violently to challenge me on this question. I have always been opposed strongly to any legislation which would enable the Commissioners to expropriate real working farmers in Ireland, and I go thus far— though now I am speaking entirely for myself, because, in this respect, I differ from some of my colleagues—that I would not be content to accept in this matter the discretion of the Commissioners. But I think the language we have listened to is perfectly grotesque as to the danger which exists under this Clause. I do not believe that the Commissioners would ever dream of interfering with any working farmer; but I go so far as to say that in the struggles which we have waged for the Irish farmer the back-bone of our movement has been to obtain for him absolute security, and that we would not place him at the mercy or even the discretion of any Government Department. And I would be 2381 very sorry to have it to say to any Irish working tenant that he could rely on the good sense of the Commissioners. I would not approve of such a proposition at all; but the Amendment put down by the hon. Member for Cork is not an Amendment to protect the working farmers, but it will protect all these landlords about whom I have been speaking.
Every landlord who is in possession of these vast ranches to acquire possession of which for the people has been one of the great objects of the whole of this legislation would be able to walk into court under the proviso of the hon. Member for Cork and say: "I am a practical farmer. I farm my 1,000 or my 1,500 acres and I am a poor Irish working tenant." Everybody in this House would admit that would be an intolerable state of things; yet that would be the condition of things that would be repeated and perpetuated by the proviso of the hon. Member, the effect of which I hold is to confirm the very judgments of the Irish courts against which we protest. Therefore, while fully admitting that this case is a most difficult one, and while I hope and trust that some words may be hammered out in the course of this discussion which will give the small farmers in Ireland the protection and security which I at least have always demanded and insisted upon, I say that the effect of this Amendment would be to give to the landlords this most ruinous device, and would be, in my opinion, to a large extent to defeat the whole purpose of this Act, and west of the Shannon turn this Act into a perfect farce, because some of the great landlords west of the Shannon would turn themselves under this proviso into small poor working farmers with only 1,000 or 1,500 acres of land, and set the law at defiance and hold on to the ranches. None of us desire to interfere with the security of the working farmer, but, on the other hand, so far as we are concerned, and I think I am speaking for the majority of my colleagues on this matter, we are not content to allow this Clause to be defeated. And with the objects which the Government have in view we most heartily sympathise. It is a most necessary Clause, and it would be most serious business if it were defeated and if the recent judgment of the courts in Ireland, which have had such a paralysing effect, were allowed to stand. In one passage of his speech the hon. Member for Cork drew a terrible picture of the insecurity under this Act of the tenants who had already bought out their holdings. I listened with amazement to 2382 that part of the speech. What on earth has it to do with this particular Clause? Will the hon. Member for Cork stand up and affirm that this Clause, whether passed or not, affects in the smallest iota the position of the tenant who has bought out his land? It has absolutely no effect on it.
§ Mr. DILLON
It has no relevancy to this Clause. Whether this Clause parses or does not pass, the position of the purchasing tenant is exactly the same. We are now at a most delicate and difficult matter which has to be adjusted in some way, but we are in sympathy with the objects of the Government, and whatever qualification is put in we shall have to watch this very closely to see that it does not defeat the purpose of this Clause. But what we complain of is that irrelevant matter should be brought in and made the subject of violent oratory when it has no connection with the Clause, and cannot possibly have any connection with it. With regard to the fears of the hon. Member for Cork as to the possibility of the Commissioners turning themselves into a kind of perpetual motion wheel, and, having bought in all the land of Ireland, then commencing to buy it out again—
§ Mr. M. HEALY
I said exactly what the hon. Gentleman said himself. I am not prepared to trust the safety of the Irish farmer to the unfettered control of the Estates Commissioners.
§ Mr. DILLON
That is no answer to dragging the farmer who has bought into a Clause which has no reference to the matter. If it be true that there is any doubt as to whether the Commissioners could proceed to buy land in Ireland all over again and disturb those who have already purchased, then by one Clause that could be easily remedied, and nobody in any part of the House desires to see that insane proceeding carried out. The proposition they have now to face is this: to devise such words as can be done. I know that the hon. Member for Cork, who has no master in drafting Amendments in. this House, and has not the bond of discipline of the Irish party upon him, did not succeed in drafting one to meet the case. 2383 We do not want to knock the bottom out of the Clause. We approve of this Clause, but we consider it necessary—and we are most anxious to do it if possible—to provide words that would protect the genuine working farmer from any sense of insecurity or the possibility of his land being taken from him.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
The speech to which we have just listened must have convinced all who heard it that this Clause will not do in its present shape. It must also have convinced all who heard it that we are dealing with a matter of great importance upon which opinion is very widely divided. The hon. Member for East Mayo disclaimed the idea that under this Clause a great number of persons in Ireland would be disturbed. I need not go through the category, but to small farmers the wording of this Clause offers no protection. The hon. Member said he agreed with the object of the Government, and that he did not want to knock the bottom out of the Clause. What is the object of the Government? The hon. Member for East Mayo would disturb a great many people in Ireland, but not the small farmers; he would not disturb those who have already purchased under the earlier Acts, whether they are large or small farmers. But some hon. Members who sit near him would have disturbed those who purchased under the earlier Acts. With all that division of opinion below the Gangway, the hon. Member agrees with the object of the Government. But I do not know what the object of the Government is. The Government have disclaimed the object of disturbing Irish farmers on a large scale in order to find land for landless men. They said that that is going to be a very small affair. Those who do not want to knock the bottom out of this Clause think it ought to be a very large affair. This matter is not only of profound importance on the question of land purchase, but it is also of very great financial importance. It is perfectly clear that under this Clause you are giving the Government of the day the power to buy the whole of the land of Ireland, even where there are no occupying tenants, in order that they may sell it to any person, even if that person has never been a tenant. This Clause, as it stands, does not commend itself to hon. Members. The only answer the Government has given is that the Estates Commissioners will not act unreasonably. I am convinced of that. But 2384 the Estates Commissioners would not be acting unreasonably if they carried out the Act which this House chooses to pass, and if the House pass this Clause in its present shape—a Clause which, as the Attorney-General for Ireland says, is for the purpose of compulsory purchase—the Estates Commissioners, or any other body of men who had to carry it out, would have to apply all the provisions of compulsory purchase, and read this Clause with all those compulsory provisions. If you turn to Clause 40 you will find it is in their power to buy any estate, or any untenanted land, not for the purposes contemplated under the Act of 1903, but in order to sell the land to any person. The direction of this Bill causes the widest area of disturbance in order to sell land to the largest category of possible purchasers. That is what the Bill means. If this Clause becomes law, and it is read as it now stands with Clause 40, then I, if I were a Commissioner, should feel bound to put these compulsory powers into operation in order to buy land which I thought could profitably be sold to any person. It is to that we fundamentally object. It is compulsory purchase upon a scale which must kill voluntary purchase. It must be clear to the Government that they must make one more trial. When we were discussing this matter in Committee I asked the Chief Secretary to bear in mind that the earlier Act gives great priority to the congest and to men unhappily circumstanced in Ireland. But no attempt has been made to deal with that, and words are brought up without any limit to them whatever. The words, the hon. Member for East Mayo himself admits, would enable the occupier of a small farm to be turned out of the farm on which he is working. It is impossible that this House could do that. If the Government think they are going to succeed in their policy—a policy which I believe to be incompatible with voluntary purchase —in defining the limit of the operation of compulsory purchase in Ireland, they will need much more accurate words. As it is, they are giving a plain direction to the Estates Commissioners to buy any land to sell to any person, irrespective of any rights of any person, even the large farmer or the small farmer.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Redmond Barry)
The right hon. Gentleman has suggested, and not for the first time, that the present proposals of the Government extend all the 2385 provisions of his own Act of 1903 with regard to the sale of land. It is our intention that the proposals of this Bill, both within and without the congested counties, shall not involve any real extension of the principle which the right hon. Gentleman himself adopted in the Act of 1903. I would like again to recall the circumstances under which the Clause moved by my right hon. Friend has been put on the Table. I think any person acquainted with the discussion that took place in this House with reference to the Evicted Tenants Act of 1907, will agree with what was said by the hon. Member for East Mayo, that the view entertained in all parts of the House at that time was that the power to take untenanted land for the purposes of the Act did involve a power to take land that was held by fee farm grantees. While the Attorney-General may be quite right in giving his assent to the judicial decision of Justice Wylie, who held that lands held under fee farm grants did not come within the scope of the Act, for myself, while thoroughly agreeing with my right hon. Friend as to the technical accuracy of the decision, I think the House will certainly agree that the decision was one which certainly caused some surprise. All that this Clause attempts to do, or is meant to do, is to restore the law, or rather establish the law upon the footing on which it was supposed to rest when the Act of 1907 was passed. What does the Clause propose? It simply proposes — and power is already given by Clause 40—that the Estates Commissioners can purchase untenanted land. All the Clause does is to declare that untenanted land is to include land held by the fee farm grantees, or by lessees whose leases at the time of the agreement has yet 60 years to run. The House realises that every one of these persons are possible vendors under the Land Purchase Act. They are landlords in the ordinary acceptation of the word; they are landlords as understood in this House, as understood under the Land Purchase Acts, and as understood in Ireland. Every fee farm grantee, every lessee in Ireland whose lease has yet 60 years to run, are persons who, if they are not tenants of the land, would be possible vendors of the land; so I say that, both in contemplation of the law and the proper acceptation of the word landlord, they are nothing but landlords.
All this Clause proposes to do is to get rid of the effect of the technical decision 2386 of Mr. Justice Wylie, and to restore what was certainly the common acceptation of the term, that all such land shall come under the description of untenanted land. But then the hon. and learned Member for Louth raised a note of great alarm when he suggested that the proposal contained in this Clause in some way strikes at the security of the tenant farmers in Ireland. I quite agree that if this Clause had any such effect it would certainly be open to grave impeachment. I absolutely deny that it has any such effect, and I deny absolutely that it is intended to have any such effect. I pass to the question as to what is the effect of the Clause. I want to make it plain at once that it certainly in no degree touches, nor can it touch, any person who has bought his land. Take the case of the vast number of tenant farmers who have already purchased land under the Land Purchase Acts in Ireland. It must be distinctly understood, so far as that class is concerned, that not one single one of them will be in the least degree affected in the security of his holding. Take the case of those who have already fixed a fair rent, and still hold on as tenants to their farms. Not one of those will be affected.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
I take the case of the tenant farmer who has fixed a fair rent but has not yet purchased—I say his case is in no degree at all affected by the Clause now before the House. His land is not untenanted land; on the contrary, by very hypothesis, it is tenanted land held by a tenant who pays a judicial rent. He is not affected. Therefore that second class is excluded. All the tenant farmers who hold as yearly tenants are excluded. Indeed every tenant farmer in Ireland, or anyone who by any stretch of language could be regarded as a tenant farmer, is excluded from this Clause, unless indeed he be a tenant farmer who holds under a fee farm grant or a lease with a term of 60 years to run. The right hon. Member for Dublin University asked my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General how many of such farms there are in Ireland.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
I am speaking of tenant farmers holding under fee farm grants or leases with 60 years to run. I say certainly hundreds.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
For this reason, that under the Act of 1901 the Redemption of Kent Act, a special privilege was given to men of that class either to redeem their rents or to put themselves in the position of judicial tenants, and in hundreds and hundreds of cases that privilege of the Act of 1901 was availed of by these people, and when it was availed of they at once came outside the scope of this Clause.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
I appeal to my hon. and learned Friend to display some patience in the matter, because I feel quite confident I am correct about it. Once those people put themselves in the position of judicial tenants and have rents fixed as against their landlords that moment they ceased to be fee farm grantees.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
The learned Solicitor-General does not deny that these are a large and important class of men.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
Yes. It was that circumstance that was stated to be a large class that led to the passing of the Act of 1901, in order that they should be put in the position of either redeeming their rents or else having the privilege of going into court and having a fair rent fixed.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
These persons, if they have not already purchased out, are judicial tenants with fair rents fixed. In neither of those cases, I make bold to say with absolute certainty, does a single one of those persons come within the scope of this.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
The moment they have redeemed their rents or become judicial tenants they cease to be fee farm grantees, and in that case they do not come within this Clause.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
What residue is there? What is the extent of it? Of the tenant farmers in Ireland—ordinary tenant farmers at the present time who are working their farms, who are fee farm grantees or lessees with leases of 60 years un-expired.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
If the class exists at all it is of the most limited character, and in face of the fact I do think the hon. and learned Member for North Louth took on himself too great a responsibility in the suggestion that this Clause was in any way at all a blow at the security of the tenant farmer.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
I do think the hon. and learned Member for North Louth is taking a great responsibility on himself in suggesting that this Clause was in any way dealing a blow at the security of the tenant farmer. There is no such thing, and it has no such object, and could have no such effect. Does the hon. and learned Member oppose this Clause?
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
Does he suggest that Mr. Justice Wylie's decision is to stand unchallenged, and that a Clause of this sort is in no sense whatever necessary?
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman say that a fee farm grantee who has, let us say, 1,000 or 1,200 acres of untenanted land in his possession, and which he is working himself, does he say that, no matter what the situation, no matter what the state of congestion in the neighbourhood, that all such land is to be placed outside the purview of this Bill? If he does then there is all the difference in the world between his view and ours. My right hon. Friend the Attorney-General was asked by the hon. and learned Member to lay down words that would exclude the possibility of land say of 50 acres or 100 acres, or 150 acres being taken supposing it was fee simple held by an ordinary farmer. I think the answer which my right hon. Friend gave was a perfectly reasonable one. He pointed out the immense difficulty there is in laying down any rigid words of that sort. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. M. Healy), who has as much skill in these matters as any Member of this House, has made an attempt to introduce a limitation of that sort.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
In the Amendment on the Paper. I think there is no one in this House now, not even the hon. Gentleman himself, who does not suppose that such words as that would completely nullify the intention of the Bill. We have given the best consideration we could to it, and it passes the wit of man to propose words that would have the effect suggested by my hon. and learned Friend, but at this stage, in dealing with this very restricted class, I think we are not making too great a demand to ask the House in this matter to trust the good faith and discretion of the Estates Commissioners in administering the Act. They are not to be expected for the sake of putting one farmer in to turn another farmer out of his holding. They may be expected to administer the Act with a sense of propriety and of good sense, with common sense and wisdom, and that none of these apprehensions which have been thrown out by the hon. and learned Gentleman have any foundation, and that no real tenant farmer need have any apprehension as to his security as the result of this Clause now before the House.
§ Mr. MOORE
With regard to the question which the Solicitor-General raised that this was never tested or considered, 2390 this question of the fee farm grant was decided in the Eccles estate. I am sure I am in agreement with them when I say it was never discussed or argued in the House during the discussion on the Evicted Tenants Bill. I will go further, and I will say to the hon. and learned Member for North Louth that if during that Debate on the Evicted Tenants Bill he had made a speech with half the eloquence of that which he made to-day the Government would have put in a special restriction, they were so anxious to get it through. It was said in another place it was not to be a precedent, and they went out of their way to get it through without any restrictions. The position is entirely different to-day. We have in this Bill a general compulsory power to be exercised all over Ireland on every inch and every acre of untenanted land wherever it may be. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent the Commissioners going and taking a slice out of Merrion-square. That is what we object to. In this Bill, as distinguished from the Evicted Tenants Bill, the onus is shifted on to the man from whom the land is being taken. I quite share, if I may say so, the sentiments of the hon. and learned Member for North Louth in saying how grossly unfair it is to put a man whose land has been taken from him under the burden of law costs. Under the Evicted Tenants Act the man in such cases, whether successful or not, had his costs paid; but in this Bill there is no provision whatsoever for the payment of costs, successful or otherwise, and the man is not indemnified in any way, although he may have to go to the Judicial Commissioner to defend his own interest.
That being the condition of the Government proposals, was it not reasonable that in Committee we should press to get some restrictions, which were lavish enough in the Evicted Tenants Act, speaking generally, and that we should have a definition of untenanted land in this Bill. The Chief Secretary on that occasion did say that if he possibly could he thought it would be a desirable thing to get a definition of untenanted land and also of estates, and that he would do so if he possibly could between that and Report stage. He went on to say he would propose it himself. What is the position on the Notice Paper. Not only is there no definition and no restriction, but, having asked for bread, we get a stone, because, so far from there being a restric- 2391 tion, there is an actual extension. Thus the Chief Secretary was unable to keep, I do not say a moral pledge, but the technical pledge, but he actually goes further, and instead of putting a single restriction, the effect is to remove the existing restriction. Then there is the argument as to what class of people are affected by this. I was reading the Debates on the passing of the Act of 1903, and it was pressed again and again on the House by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, by the hon. Member for Louth, and by the hon. Member for Cork, and practically by every hon. Member who was in a position of authority; they pointed to the glorious settlement which was going to happen under this Act by which the landlord was to live in his own demesne and farm the adjacent land as he had been in the habit of doing. I only regret now that is not carried out because the new idea is this— there is not land enough to go round in Ireland, as we have been told again and again.
§ Mr. MOORE
It is new since those high sentiments were enunciated. Having discovered there is not land enough to go round, this Clause is put in giving a roving commission to the Estates Commissioners, who are to take whatever untenanted land they please. The first thing they do is to take all the adjacent land round the demesne. There is a process of paring going on. Under the compulsory powers of this Bill the Estates Commissioners can get the Judicial Commissioner to say, "This particular part, although the landlord has always used it, is not technically demesne, and you can take it." That is the policy of the Government. It is no harm to take land from a landlord. Once that is proposed, there are loud cheers below the Gangway. The landlords are always represented by the Chief Secretary, the Attorney-General, and the Solicitor-General as being persons who have either ranches or not less than 1,000 or 2,000 acres. It is hardly a fair way, but it is the typical way in which the attack on landlords is led from the Government Benches. This Clause, however, does not relate to landlords only; it relates to all owners of the fee Although the Solicitor-General sits for an Ulster constituency, I do not think he has much knowledge of the people when he ignores the fact that all over the Ulster 2392 constituencies there are small farmers who are freehold owners. They are very proud of it; they are looked upon with envy by their neighbours who are under a landlord. I am not talking of fee farm grantees, but owners of the absolute freehold.
§ Mr. MOORE
They are affected by the general Clause, of which this is an Amendment. But you are leaving them liable to be attacked by the Estates Commissioners, because they are owners of untenanted land. There are a very large class of fee farm grantees who could not go in under the Redemption of Rent Act. If you take the freehold owners and the fee farm grantees, you will find a very large and respectable class throughout the North of Ireland who would be hit by the Government proposal, and this proposed Clause haves those men unprotected. In their desire to hit the landlords the Government have omitted to put in any protection whatever for this class. I am against these compulsory measures altogether. While in a congested area it may be necessary to acquire untenanted land, I absolutely deny that it is necessary in any shape or form to do so in any other part of the country. If farmers want land there they have to go into the market, and they are glad to get the chance of paying £300 or £400 for a farm. But now the Chief Secretary will come down and take a piece of untenanted land, and a man, because he has been a cattle-driver or been in gaol, is to be brought down, planted in the county as a migrant, and made a present on State credit of a farm for which other people would have to pay their own hard-earned money. I cannot believe that hon. Members behind the Front Bench opposite understand what the Government are at when they claim to put in force compulsory powers. Is it understood that it means a further expenditure of £80,000,000 of public money? If the Government would abandon the compulsory powers in reference to untenanted land, and turn their attention to fulfilling the State obligation of finding money for the agreements which people have entered into in order to carry out legitimate land purchase, they would be doing a great deal more for the peace and prosperity of the country. I shall avail myself of every chance I can get of opposing the compulsory powers for these-foolish ends.
§ Mr. FLYNN
We have witnessed the edifying spectacle of the interests of the ordinary working farmer being defended by the professed champions of and apologists for the landlord system in Ireland, and, simultaneously, the House is asked to believe that Members on these benches who, for over a quarter of a century, in times of storm and stress, have championed the cause of the tenant farmers, are lending themselves to a nefarious conspiracy in order that these honest working farmers, who are tenant purchasers or under judicial tenancies, may be evicted from their land to make room for a nameless horde of landless people. Will any man of commonsense put any credence in the exaggerated and bombastic rhetoric of the hon. Member for North Louth (Mr. T. Healy) or in the assertions of the apologists for the landlord system above the Gangway? The whole situation is preposterous. The House is asked, further, to believe that Estates Commissioners appointed ad hoc by a Tory Government, men of high and honourable positions, are to lend themselves to a conspiracy of this kind. The whole thing would be unspeakably droll if it were not for the serious interests involved. These Estates Commissioners are to go on the prowl for land and not be take it from men who hold on the 11 months' system or from people under fee farm grants holding thousands of acres which they do not farm, but turn out neck and crop ordinary working farmers, bringing up their families on the land, to make room for these nameless nomads. A modern Baron Munchausen could not invent a more extraordinary situation than has been evolved by the fertile imaginations of hon. Members above the Gangway.
"Robbing hen-roosts," of which we have heard a good deal in the Budget discussions, is a mere fleabite compared with the expeditions to be undertaken by the Estates Commissioners. The Commissioners are to rob hundreds of thousands of farms, and to evict from them hardworking and industrious farmers. The whole thing is an absolute travesty of the situation. We have painful knowledge of the fact that the decision of Mr. Justice Wylie has practically put a bar to the acquirement by the Estates Commissioners at a fair price of un-tenanted land held by men who do not farm it, and what was a difficulty in the matter of replacing evicted tenants has 2394 now become an impossibility. Scores of cases could be given in which the intentions of the Acts of 1903 and 1907 have been frustrated by that decision. Let me give one case from my own Constituency. There a widow lady holds under fee farm grants. I do not wish to rake up old bitternesses, but her late husband was a very notorious man. He was unquestionably a landlord's right, hand man, who did the share of many men in the work of eviction and extermination, and who at his decease held land all over the county of Cork. His widow succeeded to the property of some thousands of acres, the greater portion of which is untenanted, consisting of rough grazing lands, of which the people all round are anxious to get a share, but cannot. A tenant in the immediate neighbourhood, whose father had been evicted, applied to the Commissioners for reinstatement. After sending inspectors to the holding, they acknowledged that the case was a fair one, and that the man ought to be reinstated if possible. In due course under the Act of 1907 they made an application, sent an inspector, and offered a price. What were they met with? With this very question of a fee farm grant. The Commissioners were put out of court on that very question. This Clause would remedy that state of things, and under it that evicted tenant would be able to resume his father's holding at the fair price offered by the Estates Commissioners. That is the state of things we seek to remedy. God knows we have no personal desire or wish except to redress the wrongs of our people and to replace those who have been taken from the land from the soil of their forefathers, on it again. We naturally expect opposition from hon. Members above the Gangway. It is their nature. It is their calling. It is, I suppose, their principal profession of faith; but, Sir, that it should come from our own ranks, from men who have been identified with the tenants' struggle for so long a time, is indeed painful. I say it more in sorrow than in anger. I speak as one of those who feel after 25 years of land agitation, that it should be set at rest in our generation if it is possible so to do. I can only say, as a comment on the case that I have brought before the House, and that I have illustrated in my own unprofessional way, how necessary it is that the new Clause which the right hon. Gentleman has brought in should be adopted. The Government, in pressing this Clause upon this House, are following the best traditions of the Act of 1903 and the Evicted Tenants Act of 1907.
§ Question put, "That this Clause be read a second time."2396
§ The House divided: Ayes, 198; Noes, 37.2397
|Division No. 672.]||AYES.||[8.5 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Gulland, John W.||Nicholls, George|
|Agnew, George William||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Nolan, Joseph|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Hancock, J. G.||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Armitage, R.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithnessshire)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Harrington, Timothy||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Harwood, George||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hazleton, Richard||O'Dofterty, Philip|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Higham, John Sharp||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Hogan, Michael||O'Dowd, John|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hooper, A. G.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Horniman, Emslie John||O'Malley, William|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hudson, Walter||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Boland, John||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||O'Shee, James John|
|Branch, James||Idris, T. H. W.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Pointer, J.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Jordan, Jeremiah||Radford, G. H.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Joyce, Michael||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Reddy, M.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Keating, M.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Kekewich, Sir George||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kelley, George D.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Clough, William||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Kilbride, Denis||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Laidlaw, Robert||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lambert, George||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lamont, Norman||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cox, Harold||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lehmann, R. C.||Schwann. Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Lewis, John Herbert||Shackleton, David James|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Lundon, T.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Sheehy, David|
|Delany, William||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Dickinson. W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Snowden, P.|
|Dillon, John||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Duffy, William J.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Macpherson, J. T.||Summerbell, T.|
|Elibank, Master of||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Erskine, David C.||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||M'Kean, John||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Ffrench, Peter||Maddison, Frederick||Wardle, George J.|
|Field, William||Mallet, Charles E.||Waring, Walter|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Marnham, F. J.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Meagher, Michael||Watt, Henry A.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Gilhooly, James||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wiles, Thomas|
|Gill, A. H.||Mooney, J. J.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Ginnell, L.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Glendinning. R. G.||Muldoon, John||Young, Samuel|
|Glover, Thomas||Murnaghan, George|
|Gooch. George Peabody (Bath)||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Grayson, Albert Victor||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Castlereagh, Viscount||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Clark, George Smith||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Bull, Sir William James||Clive, Percy Archer||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Fletcher, J. S.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Forster, Henry William|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Gordon, J.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hill, Sir Cmlement||Moore, William||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Powell. Sir Francis Sharp|
|Kerry, Earl of||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.||A. Acland-Hood and the Marquess of Hamilton.|
|Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
§ Mr. MOORE
moved, after the word "land" ["land in the; occupation of a person holding under a fee farm grant"], to insert the words "other than land subject to the repayment of an advance under the Land Purchase Acts." I am sorry that I have, more or less, to repeat to the House the arguments used on a previous occasion, but I have no option but to do so. My Amendment is to make it perfectly sure—which I think is the wish of a great many Members opposite and below the Gangway—that where land has been bought out under the Land Purchase Acts by the tenants of the estate that it shall not be compulsorily acquired for any purpose or under any powers in this Land Bill. The reason that I am anxious that these words should be specially inserted is that in every case where we have had compulsory powers given in Ireland, say under the Evicted Tenants Act of 1907, those powers have been absolutely on "all fours" with the compulsory powers proposed to be given by this Bill. In the Evicted Tenants Act there was an express subsection in which it was provided, in words of this sort, that for the purpose of compulsory powers under that Act land bought out should be exempted. And if there is any argument, speaking as a matter of drafting, why these words should not appear here I can only say that it would equally have applied when the express language was inserted in the Evicted Tenants Act of 1907. Let me say one thing more on the question of this inclusion. The last time the point was raised the Attorney-General said that in the section of the Land Purchase Act of 1901 it was impossible for the Land Commission to make an advance in respect of any holding for which an advance had previously been made. Well, that was dealt with to-day by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork City (Mr. Maurice Healy). As to the question of policy, hon. Members below the Gangway and other hon. Members are somewhat divided as to how far it is advisable to take his holding from a man who has bought it out on State credit. It seems to me to be reversal of any finality. On that I was glad the other day to hear the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. John Dillon) say that there must be some finality 2398 at some stage; and that he, for one, would be averse to undoing a settlement by which a man could become a freeholder. It would be contradictory to policy to advance a man money to make a farmer a tenant of land he occupies, and a year or two after that to allow another man to expropriate him for the purpose of putting someone else on the land The Dudley Commission went into that, and one thing that the Commission found was that in the West of Ireland there was not enough land to go round. They cast their eyes around them and saw labourers' vineyards on every side of them. Nearly all the untenanted land there, if added together, if you leave out of consideration the holdings which have been bought out, would not be enough to provide every cattle driver with a home and every evicted tenant with a bigger farm than he occupied before. They were driven to consider whether or not untenanted land should include land on which those people were living as owners having bought out under the Land Purchase Acts. Evidence was given before then, and the finding of some of the members of the Dudley Commission was that ail holdings, I forget whether it was of over £100 in valuation, or of 100 acres in size, should be liable to be acquired for the purposes that the Commissioners recommended. I think it would be a very unsettling thing, and a very unfair thing, if when a man had bought out his holding and become the owner of it he should be expropriated as the owner of untenanted land. There is no doubt people in possession as owner are in possession of untenanted land, and the Attorney-General assents to that proposition. There is no restriction in this Bill to prevent that untenanted land being acquired compulsorily.
Power is given under Clause 40 to take land compulsorily subject to no restriction, and I think it would be a very hard thing and a very undesirable thing that a man who is the owner of untenanted land should have that land taken from him. It is to protect such men that I have moved my Amendment in the very words which will be found in the Evicted Tenants Act of a few years ago. The Chief Secretary for Ireland said that the class of people 2399 in whose interest I am putting forward this argument are protected by the provisions of the Act of 1891, because he said when the Estates Commissioners find an annuity charged upon a holding they cannot advance more money upon it.
I should like to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to an Amendment put on the Paper this afternoon by the hon. Member for Kildare (Mr. Kilbride), by which it is sought to provide that when the Estates Commissioners take possession of land which they can do as untenanted land, that they should pay off the annuity, which shows that he represents a school of thought that would allow the Commissioners to come in anywhere and to take up such land. The Government said that they were not in favour of a policy of acquiring this land compulsorily. If they are not in favour of it why should they object to legislation which would be merely in conformity with their opinion? The Chief Secretary is not in favour of it, and he need be under no misapprehension as to the action of the hon. Member for East Mayo if he accepts this Amendment, because the hon. Member for East Mayo has said that he has no objection to it. Why not legislate, therefore, in that way? On the question of policy there is no difficulty, and surely it is not a question of drafting? If there was no difficulty with the Evicted Tenants Act, what is the difficulty here; and if it was necessary to put this provision into the Evicted Tenants Act, why should it not be necessary here? The Evicted Tenants Act has a very large number of restrictions upon compulsory powers. The Government of that day were only too glad to get their Bill by putting in any number of restrictions. They are in a different position now apparently, because the restrictions here are limited in every way. There are no solid safeguards in this Bill, and the compulsory powers can be exercised more freely and unreasonably. Compulsory powers cause great irritation, and I think we should do our very best to minimise them. Neither in substance nor on the merits, nor on the ground of drafting, nor from the point of view of ordinary fairness, can this Amendment be refused. I see no reason whatever why the Government should not accept this Amendment, which affects such a large number of people in Ireland.
§ Mr. C. CRAIG
I desire to second the Amendment, and it seems to me to be an 2400 absolutely obvious thing for the Government to accept it. Surely it cannot ever have been the idea of the Government or even of Irish Members below the Gangway that we should set up an elaborate system of land purchase, at considerable expense to the State, for the purpose of turning-farmers into owners of their holdings, and that, after having done that, that the power should still remain with the Estates Commissioners to come along and say, "In spite of the fact that we have enabled you to purchase your holding and to become the owner of your land, yet we want that land now for some other purposes, and although you have been in possession for one or two, or three, or it may be 10 years, paying your annuities to the State, we say now you must give up that land, as we want it for some other purpose." As the hon. Member for East Mayo said the other day, if you do that sort of thing there will be no finality in land purchase in Ireland. If this is to take place where are you going to stop? Instead, as everybody hopes, we are about to approach the end of the land question, if you allow such an iniquitous proceeding as this, you will find yourself no nearer the completion of land purchase than in the days when you were in the beginning of that operation. It seems to me so unreasonable that such a thing as that adumbrated by my hon. and learned Friend should be allowed to happen, that it as very hard to adduce arguments showing why it should not be done. The whole thing seems so subversive of the idea which everyone interested in the settlement of the land question entertains, that it seems to upset all the hopes ever expressed for the final solution of this question in a reasonable time. If the Government let it go forth to the world that land bought under State sanction by men who were given a title to their land and who are becoming the owners of the land could be taken compulsorily, it will be most unjust and most disastrous. We have what is known as the landless man, who is often the person who has no more connection with the land than a 'bus conductor in London. He is a person who has seen other people getting land simply by asking for it, and an obliging Parliament has provided that he shall also have land. I have never understood what peculiar claim the son of a tenant farmer has to ask for a farm elsewhere. Again an obliging Parliament has stipulated that the son of a tenant farmer shall have a farm, and he gets it. If you allow the Clause to stand as it is you are opening 2401 the door for everybody to come to the Estates Commissioners and say, "I want land, I do not care where it is. So-and-so has had land, and why should not I have land also." It is not very often in my Parliamentary career that I have been able to rely upon any remarks of the hon. Member for East Mayo to back up an argument of mine, but the hon. Member has said that unless you put in some such words as those suggested by my hon. and learned Friend into this Clause you would have no finality in this matter, and this unfortunate land war will continue. It is admitted that this conflict is a bad thing for the country, and has already done an enormous amount of damage. If you are going to permit an unrestricted class such as this to be put into the Bill you are encouraging the land war and agitation, and you are opening new avenues and doors to a renewed agitation, and heaven only knows when we shall see the end of this unfortunate conflict. I hope the Attorney-General will see his way to comply with the wishes, not only of my hon. Friend, but of a large number of hon. Members who sit below the Gangway. I beg leave to second this Amendment.
§ Mr. CHERRY
I do not like to use strong language in the House as a rule, but I cannot help saying that the Amendment as it is proposed is nonsense, and it makes utter nonsense of the Clause. The hon. Member appears to be under the impression that we are dealing with a class and excluding a certain class of land from the Act. We are not doing anything of the kind; we are dealing with a Clause which provides a sort of definition. It takes land which is on the border line of tenanted and untenanted land, and it makes clear that a class of land which was a little uncertain in its character is in future to be deemed untenanted land. It is land which undoubtedly must be untenanted, and it cannot be anything else. The hon. Member is aware that the land purchased under the Land Purchase Act is vested in the tenant purchaser in fee simple, and he is debarred from sub-letting it. I will read the Clause, as amended, by the words suggested by the hon. Member It will read:—
"Land other than land subject to the repayment of an advance under the Land Purchase Acts in the occupation of a person holding under a fee farm grant or a lease for lives renewable for ever, or a lease for a term of years of which not less than sixty are unexpired, shall, for the 2402 purposes of the Act of 1903, The Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Act, 1907, and this Act, be deemed to be untenanted land."
It is obvious that the thing cannot be done. I cannot understand why this Clause has been moved except it is for the purpose of wasting time. I cannot see any other object in it.
§ Mr. CHERRY
Under the previous Act it was supposed to take not only untenanted but tenanted land, and the idea was that tenanted land was not to be excluded. The land was in the occupation of men called planters, and it was proposed to take it back again for the old tenants. The object of the provision then made was to protect those planters who had purchased their holdings under the Land Purchase Acts. A provision was inserted in another place with the idea of making it certain that they would not be touched, because if they had purchased under the Land Purchase Acts they could not be touched. It has never been suggested that tenanted land acquired compulsorily should be acquired for any other purpose except for the evicted tenants. The only land which it is desirable to use for the purpose of congests is the untenanted land. Under these circumstances we really cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Sir E. CARSON
The right hon. Gentleman, in his opening remarks, prided himself on the moderation of his language.
§ Mr. CHERRY
I never prided myself upon my moderation. I said I did not like to use strong language in this House.
§ Sir E. CARSON
And then he proceeded to describe the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Moore) as "nonsense." I suppose that is a Parliamentary phrase, at all events when it comes from a law officer; but describing an Amendment as nonsense does not in the least get rid of it. The Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend may be nonsense in the contemplation of the right hon. Gentleman, but he ought to recollect that we are dealing with the most comical Amendment proposed by the Government ever put upon the Paper. I cannot see why it is any greater nonsense to suggest that purchasers of the freehold under the Land Purchase Acts might be made liable as a person holding untenanted land than a person holding under a fee farm grant or a lease for a term of years of which not less than 60 are unexpired. I 2403 cannot see anything more nonsensical in the one than in the other, and I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman, if he again comes to deal with this Clause, that he might also frankly admit that the Clause, as put upon the Paper, is equal nonsense. Why, if a person holding under a fee farm grant or a lease for a term of years of which not less than 60 are unexpired, is to be held to hold land as untenanted land, is it nonsense to say a freeholder created under the Land Purchase Acts is put in the same position? In each case you are making the occupier of the land a freeholder, and the only difference I can see is that one has enough to buy or get possession without the aid of the State, and the other has to invoke the aid of the State. The right hon. Gentleman says it is nonsense to say that the man who invokes the aid of the State could be deprived of his holding.
§ Sir E. CARSON
We are not on the grammar. We know now the real defence of the right hon. Gentleman. He does not care about the tenants, about untenanted land, or about the Treasury; he is a professor of grammar. It seems to me, when we are discussing an important matter, going rather far for a professor of grammar to describe an Amendment as nonsense. What we want to know is whether these tenants are to be included as persons who may be ousted out of their holdings or not, and we have had no answer whatsoever. When we find that a man because he happens to hold under a fee farm grant or a lease for a term of yeans of which not less than 60 are unexpired, comes within the expropriation Clause of the Government, I think we have a right to have it clearly defined whether purchasers under the Purchase Acts are included.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
As the guillotine falls in leas than two hours, and there is no chance of this Clause being analysed, I beg leave to point out that for the first time a Clause of this magnitude and importance was not moved by the Government in Committee, so that Members would have an opportunity of replying to any erroneous statements by which it might be defended, our rights on Report stage being limited, as everybody knows. Strange to say, and contrary to every Rule of this House which I have ever known, the Clause was not moved by the Minister 2404 in whose name it appears on the Paper. The Clause stands in the name of the Chief Secretary. I have always understood that a new Clause differing from a Clause in Committee should be moved by the Gentle man in whose name it was put down. Contrary to the Rules and the long-standing practice of this House, the Chief Secretary did not move the Clause. It was left to the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General to move it. His statements in reference to the Clause were not at all as courageous as the statements of my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General. The Attorney-General, as everybody knows, has written a most valuable book, and perhaps there is no one more indebted to him for knowledge than I am. Every body must recognise that the book is a mine of knowledge and information. I hope the Attorney-General will find no fault with me if I answer him out of this magic volume to which I have referred. This Clause in the recent portions of the Debate—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Caldwell)
I would call the hon. Member's attention to the fact that we are dealing with an Amendment, and not with the Clause itself.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I know, and I am coming to it. I have not at all forgotten the subject-matter of the Amendment, and I am coming to the Amendment, as you will presently see. The Clause to which the Amendment has been addressed has been moved, as not requiring any Amendment whatever. It would pass the with of man, said the learned Solicitor-General, to amend it. Thus for the first time the Law Officers of Ireland have produced an iron-clad, unamendable proposition! No wonder my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo will no longer look for the protection of the tenants to men like myself. They prefer to look to the new champions of the Irish people; not to men who have spent their life and given their blood and gone to gaol on behalf of the tenant, but rather to R. R. Cherry and Redmond Barry. In their presence I hide my diminished head. I come to consider what is the position with regard to this Bill. It has been stated, with great confidence, there is no need for this Amendment. In fact, if a choir of angels came down and visited this House—I am sure they would keep far away from it if they only knew—a choir of celestial angels would be unable to find a chink into which to thrust a sword through the armour. The Clause is so small it does 2405 not need Amendment. That is another beauty which atttaches to it, because instead of applying, as the Solicitor-General said, to every man who has bought his farm in Ireland and to every tenant who comes within the Clause to which this Section refers, the learned Law Officers of the Crown now assert that no man who has bought his farm can ever be touched, and that he may, therefore, sleep in peace. What does the right hon. Gentleman— R. R. Cherry—say in this volume? The Solicitor-General has not, unfortunately, spent as many nights over the book as I have. I will take the case first of the long leaseholder. The Solicitor-General said the moment he signs this lease he is protected. What says the Attorney-General?
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Well, R. R. Cherry, E.G., assisted by John Walkley, K.C., and T. H. Maxwell, Barrister-at-Law.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Does £5,000 a year make any difference in your legal opinion? This is a book which we rely upon, and which we can refer to before the judges as an exact statement of the law. While I have challenged many statements of the right, hon. and learned Gentleman, I have never challenged any statement in his book, because he has written it with great care. But when a gentleman of eminence like the Solicitor-General gets up and makes a solemn assurance with all the momentum which is derived from being laagered behind the box there, one is entitled to put a question as to a phrase which appears in his right hon. and learned colleague's book. I find on page 502:—If a grantee tinder a fee farm grant has a fair rent fixed under this section, what is the exact nature of his tenure thenceforward? Does he continue to possess an estate in fee or does he become merely a yearly tenant? The decisions appear to be conflicting on this point.The Solicitor-General says he is quite satisfied that the matter is clear. What does the Attorney-General say?The most recent case is the Irish Land Commission v. Magonan (1901), when it was held by the Queen's Bench Division that he continues to be owner in fee and that consequently his liability to pay tithe rent charge is not affected.And yet the Solicitor-General gets up at that Table and says that the man who has a fair rent fixed has an absolute armour of protection. I will take the next case—the case of a man who is not a 2406 long leaseholder, but the ordinary leaseholder, and there are, I should think, something like 35,000 of these. They have fair rents fixed, and the decision of the courts has been that the lease, like Nessus' shirt, still hangs all round this one provision. Again I feel inclined to refer to the book written by the Attorney-General. The book was written before this Act was dreamt or thought of. I now come to the denial of the learned Attorney-General. I agree there is much more to be said for that than for the proposition advanced by the Solicitor-General in answer to this Amendment. I speak with some hesitation in the presence of the Attorney-General on any matter affecting land, because I know he is a, careful and anxious student, and does not record opinions with recklessness or carelessness. He has stated that a man who has bought his land is absolutely safe under this Amendment. I give to that, so far as my own opinion goes, an emphatic contradiction. It is said there is no necessity for any Amendment of this Clause, and that the present Amendment, which I confess I do not like in the form in which it is, will be ineffectual in carrying out what was aimed at. It is intended to meet the proposition of the Attorney-General that a man who has bought this land has a Bill of peace. I deny it.
§ Mr. CHERRY
I think the hon. and learned Gentleman has misunderstood what I said. I never said it was to be a Peace Bill.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I accept the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman; but, after all, it is an enormous admission for him to make. I think he has given way. My experience of the Law Officers is this, that they do not deliberately misstate a difficulty, and it is to the honour of the right hon. and learned Gentleman that he has always shown himself to be perfectly straightforward. I am dealing with this Amendment and with this Clause as something in terrorem over the heads of these people. I want to give them a Bill of Peace, and if your object is of the limited character which you allege why do not you give them a Bill of Peace? Let us take the proposal against which this Amendment is made. Will it be denied that there is a possibility that every man who has bought his land can have it taken away from him under this Bill? I say he can. I say this is not the kind of Bill which you should be engaged 2407 in passing, and it is no answer to me that you have a trinity of gentlemen in Dublin with the most exquisite good faith and good feeling. I will not dispute that. I am dealing with the kind of thing you ought to do; the evil you have to meet and the mischief you have to remedy is so small that it will be covered, I suppose, by the acquisition, taking Ireland all over, of something like 20,000 acres of land. I do not know in regard to the Clanricarde tenants; I believe they are a most unsettled body of men, and I would like to see them settled.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
If the hon. Gentleman opposite will repeat outside the House some of the statements which he has made in the House I will deal with them.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I will deal with you outside the House in the proper way, but I decline to make this grave and solemn matter a wrangle between myself and the hon. Gentleman. I was dealing with the proposition whether every tenant who has bought his land can possibly be disturbed under this Clause. I say he can, and the Attorney-General has denied it. What is his answer? His answer is that once the land has been taken it cannot be made the subject of a separate annuity. I quite grant that, but the point is easily answered. Once the land which has been the subject of annuity has been purchased under this Clause, the annuity is gone absolutely, because does it not follow as a matter of course. Supposing a man has 100 acres, subject to an annuity of £100, and he is expropriated under this Clause, what happens if £l,000 is the amount necessary to pay off the annuity? Is it not paid, and is it not the first thing to be done, in order that he may make a title to the Estates Commissioners? Has not the whole of that annuity to be redeemed and paid into the Treasury, and when once your annuity is redeemed where is the second annuity which the right hon. and learned Gentleman supposes to be in existence? I say it is gone, and I say there is no second annuity. I know very well the Clause which he thinks is an answer to the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman. It is Sub-section (4) of Section 9 of the Act of 2408 1891, which says, "An advance shall not be made under the Land Purchase Acts, as amended by this Act, for the purchase of any holding for the purchase of which advances have been made under the Land Purchase Acts, whether before or after the passing of this Act and whether under this Act or otherwise, until the entire annuity for the repayment of such advance has been paid or redeemed." Will anybody tell me under that provision that any man who has purchased under the Ashbourne Acts is protected? I say he is not protected, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman is too much of a lawyer to say so, and therefore, in order to meet a very small and contracted. evil, you are sowing distrust among a body of men numbering hundreds of thousands. I say there is no necessity for that, and I am as ready to meet the evil which the Government seek to remedy as any Gentleman who indulges in the lurid stuff which has been uttered to-night.
What I object to is going outside the necessities of the case. I ask why have you travelled outside the necessities of the case, if it be true that your view is that it is necessary to meet a decision under the Evicted Tenants Act? If it is necessary to meet that decision, meet it. That was a decision which was taken under a fee farm grant, but why do you include leaseholders and those who hold long tenancies? I think that for the Government, without any necessity, without any substance in the case, requiring to meet the case of a single estate, numbering a few thousand acres, to propose a Clause of this kind, is certainly a matter which I cannot and am unable to explain. I congratulate my hon. Friends around me on having had for the first time such an extraordinary champion of the evicted tenants as apparently comes from the Treasury Bench. The situation is a new one, or is it that this evicted tenants' business; is being put forward as a pretext, and is the reality, what we have heard from some hon. Gentlemen who have not yet spoken in this Debate, that it is proposed that no man shall hold a farm exceeding a certain size, and was it for that that we took off our coats 25 or 30 years ago? If that is the new doctrine, I say it is no doctrine of the Irish Party, and the Irish party have never put their names to it. I say that this is a very simple matter. If you do not intend to take land which has already been the subject of purchase, say so. If you do not intend to take the land of working farmers 2409 who have had fair rents fixed, say so. I want to know why you do not say so, and I want to know is there anything in the nature of a grievance connected with the evicted tenants, or the congested districts question, to which men like ourselves are not willing to give ear; but if your object is to turn the existing body of tenant farmers, who have paid so large a price and who have worked so hard to get their land, out of their land, then I am against the Clause and against the principle, and I will never be a party to upsetting a state of things which has cost the tenant farmers so much. I am assuaged on that point by the speech of the hon. Member for Mayo. The difference is this, that I want it put in the statute. I want to leave nothing to doubt. The Government are asked to leave nothing to doubt also. I will rest myself on this. I take the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Dillon), and if it is translated into the Statute I am satisfied with it. Is that a crime, to take the position occupied by the hon. Member? I say it is my position. His speech enshrines the principle upon which I stand But the difference is this, that the Government say that it would pass the wit of man to enshrine the principle of the hon. Member
§ into this Clause, and I say the contrary. Let any man, in the statement that I have made, find the conflict of principle between the two speeches. I say there is none. I say I will never consent, he said he would never consent, to upsetting the great land settlement to which 30 years of the present and the late generation have been devoted. These are my principles, and I only ask that the principles laid down by the hon. Member shall be embodied in this Cause; and I say, furthermore, it is neither the duty nor the business of men on this side of the House to find language to meet the case, which it is the business of the Government to put into legislative language. The Government have their draftsmen at their disposal. They have large staffs, they have all paid assistants, and I say a case has been made which has not been met, and until some effort is made to meet it I occupy the position of the hon. Member (Mr. Dillon), and I say this Clause, as it stands, is an inroad upon the existing settlement, and in its present shape I can only vote against it.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 34; Noes, 191.2411
|Division No. 673.]||AYES.||[9.10 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Forster, Henry William||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gordon, J.||Moore, William|
|Bull, Sir William James||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hamilton, Marquess of||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Lanark)|
|Clark, George Smith||Hill, Sir Clement||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Hugh Barrie and Mr. C. Craig.|
|Fletcher, J. S.||M'Arthur, Charles|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Byles, William Pollard||Duffy, William J.|
|Alden, Percy||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Clancy, John Joseph||Elibank, Master of|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Clough, William||Evans, Sir S. T.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Clynes, J. R.||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Armitage, R.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Ffrench, Peter|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Field, William|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Cowan, W. H.||Fullerton, Hugh|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Cox, Harold||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Crosfield, A. H.||Gilhooly, James|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cullinan, J.||Gill, A. H.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Ginnell, L.|
|Boland, John||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Branch, James||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Glover, Thomas|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Delany, William||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Gulland, John W.|
|Burke, E. Havlland||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Dillon, John||Hancock, J. G.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Macpherson, J. T.||Pointer, J.|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Harrington, Timothy||M'Kean, John||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Reddy, M.|
|Hazleton, Richard||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Maddlson, Frederick||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Mallet, Charles E.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.>|
|Hogan, Michael||Marnham, F. J.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Hooper, A. G.||Meagher, Michael||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Hudson, Walter||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Menzies, Sir Walter||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Mooney, J. J.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Muldoon, John||Shackleton, David James|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||Murnaghan, George||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Joyce, Michael||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Sheeny, David|
|Kavanagh, Walter M.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Keating, M.||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Nicholls, George||Snowden, p.|
|Kelley, George D.||Nolan Joseph||Summerbell, T. '|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Norman, Sir Henry||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Nuttall, Harry||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Laidlaw, Robert||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Lambert, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Verney, F. W.|
|Lamont, Norman||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Vivian, Henry|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||O'Doherty, Philip||Wardle, George J.|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||O'Donncll, John (Mayo, S.)||Waring, Walter|
|Lehmann, R. C.||O'Down, John||Watt, Henry A.|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Lundon, T.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lupton, Arnold||O'Malley, William||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||O'Shee, James John||Young, Samuel|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Partington, Oswald||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
I beg to move, after the word "Land" ["Land in the occupation of"], to insert the words "exceeding two hundred acres in extent."
In our attempts to amend the Clause we have not got any assistance from hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) expressed the hope that in the discussion of this Clause we would beat it into a form which would pass the House with general consent. I do not desire to knock the bottom out of it, but I do desire to beat it into some form which would put the legislation in a shape to meet the general view of the House. No one who has addressed the House has attempted to allege that the Clause as it stands is not excessive, and that it does not go too far. I have not in such observations as I have addressed to the House attempted to question that some alteration in the law was rendered necessary by Mr. Justice Wylie's decision. I agree with the hon. Member for East Mayo that the general opinion, until the decision in Young's case, was that the Estates Commissioners had power under the Evicted Tenants Act to take land held under fee farm rent, and 2412 I have already expressed the opinion that Mr. Justice Wylie's decision erred on the side of extreme technicality. It would be absurd, either for the purpose of the Evicted Tenants Act or for the purpose of the compulsory powers in this Bill, that land held on fee farm grant should be excluded from the compulsory powers. Let me say that if this Clause was restricted to the Evicted Tenants Act alone, I would not make one atom of objection, for the reason that I consider the interests I am seeking to protect are amply protected by that Act. Section 7 of that Act would plainly prevent the land of any working farmer from being acquired under that Act, and, so far as I know, there has been no attempt to acquire the land of any working farmer for that purpose. Accordingly, if this Clause was limited to the case of the Evicted Tenants Act, I would not dream of contesting it; but the Clause applies not merely to the Evicted Tenants Act but is also to be used for the compulsory clauses in this Bill itself, and these compulsory clauses do not contain any such protection for the ordinary working tenant as is contained in the Evicted Tenants Act. The clauses which are 2413 in this Bill do protect the landlord's interest. The greatest care is taken to see that the Estates Commissioners shall not be allowed to interfere with his nobility on any account. His demesne, pleasure grounds, home farm, and gardens, are protected. All I am seeking is that some protection of a similar nature shall be given to the ordinary working tenant. In the Amendment which has just been voted on one form of protection was offered limiting the Clause to tenants who have bought out their land. We have passed from that now. Some objection has been taken to the Amendment which I have put on the Paper with the view of introducing another limitation. I may say, however, that in putting these words on the Paper I claim no skill or originality. They have one merit, and that is that they are taken from an existing Act of Parliament, namely, the Act of 1887, which provides that certain holdings should not be considered untenanted. In the Clause in that Act the word "agricultural" is used. The Clause says that agricultural land shall not be considered untenanted if it is let and used as an ordinary farm. These words have received judicial interpretation, and for that reason I prefer them. The Solicitor-General for Ireland, however, has intimated that the Government could not see their way to accept the Amendment. I am sorry they have come to that conclusion without hearing what was to be said for the Amendment, for I think it is some defence of the words that they had already been used by the Legislature for the specific purpose, and that their meaning had been interpreted by the courts. Therefore, to say that a farm of 1,000 acres could be considered an ordinary farm was quite ridiculous. While the Irish courts have gone very far to protect the interests of landlords, they have never gone so far as that. Until I see them go so far I will not believe it. However, objection has been taken to the words I put on the Paper, and I now propose an alternative to meet the case suggested by the insertion of some limit of area.
For that proposal I have at any rate the authority of the Royal Commission appointed by the Government, the conclusions of which, I believe, are to some extent embodied in this Bill. The Dudley Commission proposed that these compulsory Clauses of expropriation should be limited to cases where a particular area was exceeded. I think the limitation there is perhaps a little small. I propose as an alternative that where a man has no more 2414 than 200 acres of land there should be no power on the part of the Estates Commissioners to interfere with it. That is the plain and intelligent proposal. Of course, I agree that it is open to the objection to which any hard and fast rule based on a figure is open. A figure is always somewhat arbitrary. If it is a little above it is inside the Act, and a little below it is outside it. I hope it will not be suggested if I propose to limit this Clause to land of more than 200 acres in extent that a farm of 200 acres is a ranch. The word "ranch" is sometimes used on these benches as if It was a word of incantation. I ask the Government, do or do they not desire, where an ordinary working farmer is in occupation under this tenure of a farm of 200 acres of land, that that should come within the powers which the Estates Commissioners are to exercise? This has got, nothing to do with the case of evicted farmers. In the Evicted Tenants Act there is ample protection for ordinary working farmers. If this Clause was limited to evicted tenants I would not interfere with it, but this Definition Clause is extended. We are discussing it at a disadvantage; we cannot discuss it apart from the Clauses of which it is a definition. I suggest that all parties have agreed that this Clause as it stands is excessive, and requires some limitation, and the hope has been expressed by the Member for Mayo that we may beat out some form of words on which we may all agree, and I hope that as the limitation which I originally put down was not accepted, at any rate that which I now propose will be considered in a spirit of reasonableness, and if the particular acreage which I propose is taken exception to that that at any rate shall not be made a ground for maintaining that no limitation of any kind is necessary.
§ Mr. DILLON
I propose to address myself to the consideration of this Amendment in exactly the same spirit as that in which the hon. Member for Cork City moved it. As I said before, I am in favour of words being put into the Clause which will protect any bonâ fide farmer working his farm from the fear of being expropriated under this Clause. But I must repeat my protest against the exaggerated account of the danger which exists. Nothing of the kind has ever been dreamt of, nor has it entered into the mind of any man, the Commissioners, or any human being in Ireland to think that such a thing 2415 would be done. I may again recall to the Members in the House this important fact, which has now been fully confirmed by the hon. Member for Cork, who is an authority on these matters, that though the effect of the first Act passed through this House was to give these precise powers to expropriate all favourable land, as we all imagined who passed the Act, no man raised his voice against it or referred to this terrible danger of expropriation of these working farmers in Ireland. Nor did such a thing occur to any human being. There is not a word in the Evicted Tenants Act preventing it.
§ Mr. DILLON
Such a thing never occurred, and the Member for Cork bears out what I say. All the legal profession imagined that this was the law precisely as it would be made by this Section until the judgment of which we all complain. The effect of that judgment is entirely intolerable. It would to a large extent defeat not only the Evicted Tenants Act, but also the beneficial objects of the compulsory clauses under this Bill. These clauses were put into this Bill not for the purpose of restoring evicted tenants, which is already provided for by the Evicted Tenants Act of 1907, but for dealing with this terrible problem of the West, and also with the congested districts in which occur the small practical cases of congestion, which are very acute and are scattered all over Ireland, and are to be found in Meath, Westmeath, King's County, Tyrone, and other places. These phenomena of congestion have occurred and are the direct result of clearances in the past, and that is a fact that cannot be forgotten in dealing with the problem. The compulsory clauses were put in to enable these populations not only in the West, but in other parts of Ireland who are in that condition, to earn their living, so that they may not be subject to periodic famine and forced to come to this House asking for some measures of relief. That is a great work which has been promised by this House over and over again in connection with previous Bills, but owing to the utter defiance of our views on the subject the attempt to deal with it under all previous Bills has been a total failure. Previous Bills have, however, gone far enough to show what can be done, though they have not done their work. Now the Govern- 2416 ment come forward and propose a great measure. I ask hon. Members to keep in mind the fact that this Government, after years of failure, have tackled this question in a serious spirit. They have proposed to set aside a quarter of a million a year to deal with this problem. The Chief Secretary said that this is a very large sum, if looked at from the point of view of the taxpayer, and I agree, but small when looked at from the point of view of the gravity and the size of the problem to be faced, and in that I entirely agree. You are asked to pass an Amendment which would paralyse this great work which the Government are undertaking, the devotion of a quarter of a million of money to safeguard the interests of those who are in the West of Ireland and in other parts of that country. I, for one, have never held that other congested districts, such as the county of Meath and those side by side with it, where the people have been driven into the bog in search of land, should not be dealt with. I never claimed that the West of Ireland should get any benefit which should not also be extended to other parts of the country where the people are similarly circumstanced. This is a great measure to settle the whole question, and are we for a single moment to tolerate endeavours which would paralyse the whole of the machinery set up by the Bill, the whole of this magnificent legislation, for the sake of a danger which is greatly exaggerated? The worst landlords in the country are the men who will not voluntarily sell. I quite agree that a great many landlords do sell, but there is a gang of desperadoes who have sought, with all the ingenuity and all the resources at their command, to defeat and block and obstruct the work of this House. These are the men with whom we have to deal, and these are the men who have made these compulsory clauses necessary. If the Irish landlords were reasonable men, as I admit a great many of them are, we would never have needed to come to the House of Commons and ask for compulsory legislation. Could there be anything more futile, more deplorable than that this House should set aside a quarter of a million of money, and that it should pass this stringent legislation, and then that the whole bottom should be knocked out of this scheme on a point of law raised in the Irish courts, under which the landlords can alternately masquerade under two guises—as tenants one day and land- 2417 lords the other? I quite admit that the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member is a bonâ fide attempt to protect the farmers to whom it is intended to apply, but I have not yet heard any suggestion, in fact, that they would sustain any injury. The hon. Member comes forward with a new Amendment to limit the amount of land. First of all, I object to it because I think it would be a highly injudicious thing to do. What would this Amendment do? It would convey to every fee farm grantee in Ireland, and every long leaseholder, that if he held more than 200 acres he might be immediately expropriated. I can conceive a man holding 210, 250, 300, or even 400 acres, and I would strongly object to his being expropriated under this Clause. I am not in favour of a common level all over Ireland, or that a hard-and-fast limit should be set, beyond which no man should be allowed to hold land. On the contrary, I have often said—and in this I have differed from some of my colleagues—that I would like to see in Ireland mixed farms, small farms and large farms, because I think that as we have been compelled to disendow and disestablish the whole of the landlord class in Ireland which, I am happy to say, I have taken considerable part in doing, and with unmixed blessing to the country—there is necessity for a certain proportion of substantial farms, whose occupiers would have capital and enterprise, and be able to show the pace to the small farmers around them.
I never was, and I never will be, an advocate of fastening down farmers in Ireland to a fixed limit. I am a great believer in liberty in that matter. The Member for Cork went on to say that he founded his new Amendment on the recommendation of the Dudley Commission. The great majority of the Irish party rejected that particular recommendation of the Dudley Commission, and for the very reason that they objected to a hard-and-fast limit in respect of the size of farms. One of my objections to the Amendment is that I am afraid it will operate as a sort of notice to every man who has a holding of 200 acres under fee farm grant, or a long lease, that he would be expropriated, whereas as a matter of fact there never has been a single instance in which there has been the whisper of an idea to touch them. The second objection—and I confess I am speaking somewhat in the dark owing to my lack of legal knowledge—is this: I want to know whether, if this Amendment were 2418 passed, it would not be possible for a man who has 3,000 or 4,000 acres of land, comprising different holdings, technically to say: "I do not hold a single holding of over 200 acres; I have no holding of more than 150 acres, and therefore I object to any interference"? Take the case of a person, not an unusual case, who has grabbed half a dozen farms, scattered over the country. These farms are of 150 acres each, and hon. Members know that it is precisely in these cases of land grabbers that a good deal of trouble and agitation, and boycotting has arisen. Suppose the Amendment were passed. What security is there when the Commissioners take an evicted farm from a man, of which he was in possession, that the man may not say, "This farm is not 200 acres; it is only 150 acres; I am in possession as a fee farm grantee, and I object to be evicted"? There are instances in which a man may have six farms in the western counties in addition, under this Amendment he could say he had no holding of over 200 acres, although he might hold 2,000 acres. Technically he would only have 100 or 200 acres.
Those are the difficulties I see, yet, as I say, I remain in exactly the same position I was in all along when I spoke on the Clause. I should suggest to the Government to be extremely slow to accept words to-night to modify this Clause, and to take time and see whether some words might not be inserted hereafter which would meet all these objections. I am against the principle, and I do not like to limit the amount of land a man may own by the acre or valuation. I think it is a bad principle. I warn hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway if you introduce this principle into Ireland you will find a volume of opinion behind it which may create very serious complications. I had a letter myself the other day from an influential man in Galway, demanding that we, the Irish party, should insist that nobody would be allowed to hold more than 50 acres in a farm in the whole country. I wrote back to him I would do nothing of the sort. If you begin this process of limiting—and the hon. Member for Cork gives a limit of 200 acres—how are you going to stop? If 200, why not 100; why not 50; why not 201 It is for those reasons I dislike limiting, although I confess that the idea occurred to me earlier that it was a possible way out of the difficulty. I do not despair that words may be found which would convey absolute 2419 security to any bonâ fide farmer making his living out of the land, and who is not either a land grabber or evicter holding these great ranches from use by the people. If such words could be found I would most heartily support them. If they cannot be found, even at the risk of conveying some inconvenience to some individuals, which would very quickly pass away, I certainly do impress on the Government not to throw over this Clause, but, on the contrary, to be careful about modifying it, and to apply their ingenuity, taking time in the process, to find some words to meet the difficulty.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I think the speech to which we have listened shows the extreme difficulty under which we are discussing this most important measure. I do not propose, in the observations I have to make with regard to this Clause, to follow the hon. Member who has just spoken into the question as to whether he or anybody else belong to a gang of desperadoes in Ireland. I think that is entirely immaterial to the question we have to consider, and I do not think, with the time we have at our disposal, that it would be a profitable subject to pursue. I cannot understand why the Government do not tell us that they are prepared to limit this Clause. Everybody, upon both sides, who has spoken upon this point has admitted that the Clause is not to be worked as it is framed. Hon. Members below the Gangway have said that they do not mean it to work as it is framed, and now the temporary Leader of the Irish party has given the Government permission to say that in calm, considered moments they really might find words which would limit the working of the Clause in the sense we have agreed on from the commencement of this Debate. Now, really, the Chief Secretary may accept the invitation of the hon. Member below the Gangway, and anyhow, he will not accept it from anybody else.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I have some experience of the right hon. Gentleman saying he would consider the suggestions, but we never see any results from the considera- 2420 tion. But the right hon. Gentleman is now in a position at all events to tell us. Apparently, up to this, according to the Debate, nobody in this House has been able to find, or according to the theory, to put forward satisfactory words. Thank heaven, there is another House.
§ Sir E. CARSON
Then all we can do is to go on opposing this Clause, because certainly neither the Chief Secretary nor the Attorney-General has given us the slightest assistance to find some way that will bring out the Amendment we all desire. The Amendment can be stated in very ordinary language. Say where a man is the occupier of land holding as an ordinary farmer in the same way exactly that anybody going to purchase his land in the Land Purchase Courts, that such a man should not be disturbed so as to make room for another farmer to be put in exactly the same position. I cannot see myself any great difficulty in framing the words to meet that particular case, but why on earth the Government will not make any suggestion or will not consult their draftsmen, or will not give us any assistance whatsoever in the framing of the matter, which is really not nearly as difficult as we ordinarily have to contend with in these cases, I cannot understand. But I suppose they wish, under the methods they have taken to curtail further discussion of this Bill, that we should spend the whole time over this Clause, and that the short time—one day—which they have given us for Report we should spend over this Clause. Probably they think it is as convenient a Clause as any other.
As regards the particular Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork, I see objections to it. I do not say it is in the least perfect. The first thing that occurs to one is that a man holding 200 acres may have a much less valuable farm than a man holding 1001 acres. For myself, personally, I do not think that is a good way of limiting. I think it is open to another objection, if you put in 200 you may have a perfectly bonâ 2421 fide farmer who holds more. Therefore it would probably be an indication to the Commissioners that anybody holding over 200. acres ought to be brought within this Section. These are merely criticisms, and if the Government are agreed with us in principle and with hon. Members below the Gangway in principle upon these matters, surely it is for the Government to suggest how they mean to define the persons to whom, certainly for the last 12 or 15 years, land has been transferred from one class to the other in Ireland. I cannot myself see why we should debar a man bond fide occupying land as an agricultural tenant or an agricultural owner, and why we should not put in words to carry out the object which all parties in this House have agreed to. I think it is regrettable that we have been driven to fight this Clause the whole of the evening; we shall not be allowed to raise any other question on the Report stage at all, and this has happened when the only question is a question of words. I submit that the Chief Secretary is the person above all others who ought to make some suggestion to put an end to the discussion on this Clause.
§ Mr. CHERRY
If it is desirable, as some Members think it is, that we should introduce into the Bill a provision limiting the amount of land which may be taken as un-tenanted, in order to prevent the ordinary working farmer living on his holding, and, by the working of it, from having his land taken from him, it ought to be done by a separate Clause, and not by seeking to amend this one. When a Clause is introduced for one purpose, and a series of Amendments are moved with a different purpose, it must create confusion. This is not an excluding Clause, but a describing Clause.
§ Mr. GORDON
Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman think that he is including in this definition the very lands to which we have been referring, namely, the lands held by ordinary farmers under fee farm grants or leases for life, and so forth? All that the Amendments are seeking to do is to save these lands from the application of this Clause.
§ 10 P.M.
§ Mr. CHERRY
This is not a definition Clause, but a describing Clause, and the interruption of the hon. Member is not at all relevant. We seek to protect small holdings, whether they are held under a fee farm grant or not. Take the case of a man who 2422 owns 20 acres in fee simple who lives on the farm and works it as an agricultural farm. That holding ought to be excluded, if any, but you cannot do it by amending this Clause. This is a tenure Clause, and it is introduced in consequence of the decision of Mr. Justice Wylie, the effect of which was to exclude from the operation of the Act a very large area of land over all Ireland which everybody thought before that decision was included. You are trying to convert the Clause to a different object, and that is the cause of all our difficulties this evening. We are dealing here with a tenure Clause, and if you restrict the tenure in this Clause you will exclude the absolute freeholder who owns in fee simple, you will enable his holding to be purchased, and you will give a kind of indication to the Estates Commissioners-that they ought to purchase it. Why this question of limitation should be brought in here I do not know. The right hon. Gentleman asks why we have not introduced a Clause. We carefully considered whether or not such a Clause should be introduced, limiting the size of the lands to be taken apart from the tenure of the land. Several objections to such a course have been mentioned by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), and others occurred to us. In the result we thought we could not frame a Clause satisfactorily, and that it was very much better to leave that matter in the discretion of the Estates Commissioners. A great deal must be left to their discretion. It cannot be avoided. We give them compulsory powers to purchase land. Do we mean by that that they are to purchase compulsorily every estate in Ireland? We do not mean anything of the kind. We mean that in cases which seem to them proper, according to the particular circumstances, they are to put these compulsory powers in force. We give compulsory powers to purchase un-tenanted land, but we do not mean by that that every acre of untenanted land is to-be purchased, but that in proper cases they may exercise those powers. We seek by this Clause to prevent them from being hampered in taking what in common parlance is known as untenanted land, because it happens to be held under the particular tenure of a fee farm grant. Several Members have tried their hands at Amendments this evening, but they have all failed. The hon. Member for Cock (Mr. Maurice Healy), who is as astute a lawyer as any in Ireland, made a suggestion, and the right hon. Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson), who is in thorough 2423 sympathy with him, said, "It is all very well, but I could not have this Amendment; it would never do"—and he gave several cogent reasons why it would not do. But I ask the House to consider the particular Amendment before it. We cannot always be talking in the air. If hon. Members opposite thought a new Clause was wanted why have they not put it down? There are several new Clauses on the Paper, but there is no Clause to exclude small holdings. Does this Amendment mean 200 acres held under one grant, or 200 acres in the occupation of one man— because the two cases are very different. We all know cases in Ireland where landlords hold land under very different tenures. Land may appear to be all in one field, but you find that one portion is held in fee simple, another under fee farm grant, and another, perhaps, under a tenancy from year to year. I have seen that again and again, and I am sure my legal Friends opposite admit these cases. Supposing in the middle of one of these ranches in Ireland there is a small holding of 200 acres held under a fee farm grant. Is that to be cut out of the whole ranch? The whole scheme for the relief of congested holdings and congests might be blocked if eases like that were allowed to go forward. The hon. Member smiles. All these things were suggested. We refused to put them in in this House, but in another place they were inserted. What is the result? A complete block. And the same thing would happen on this Clause if the same procedure were followed. Then we are asked again and again, when we refer to this thing, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University asks: "Why not take as your model the Evicted Tenants Act, you will find beautiful things there, if you will only put them into this Act?" Speaking for myself, in the framing of this Bill, I have always regarded the Evicted Tenants Act not as a model to follow, but as one to be avoided. Then, again, supposing a man has a fee farm grant of, we will say, 2,000 acres—I am not taking an extravagant thing, because there are many fee farm grants in Ireland larger than that—and supposing he has in his occupation only 150 acres of that. All the rest is untenanted land. Is that to be excluded? Take another similar case of 5,000 acres, with 150 acres in the occupation of the grantee, and all the rest of the land sublet to judicial tenants. The owner refuses to sell and the matter comes to be one where 2424 compulsory powers have to be put into force, where the Estates Commissioners seek compulsorily to acquire the whole estate as untenanted land. They are met at once by the difficulty that this gentleman holds a fee farm grant of only 150 acres; that all the rest has been sublet, and that the 150 acres is tenanted land and cannot be acquired.
§ Mr. CHERRY
Because you could then acquire the whole estate. We are going to frame Amendments and Clauses to carry out the objects of our Bill, not to frame them for the object of defeating its purpose. We have framed them. We have done our work. This is the last of them, and 20 minutes from now I hope that the House will be dividing on them.
§ Mr. CHERRY
Certainly. We are going to stick to them whatever may happen to them in another place. I have no hesitation in saying that if satisfactory words are suggested which would have the effect of protecting the small working farmer occupying his land, whatever the tenure— whether in fee simple; whether he has purchased under the Land Purchase Acts; whether his holding is under a fee farm grant; or anything you like—we want to take the small man who is making a living by his farm and protect that man, although we do not think he really needs protection.
§ Mr. CHERRY
The hon. Member asks what size we suggest. That is the whole difficulty. If you fix any particular limit it is a kind of intimation that a man has more land than he needs, and that it may be taken from him.
§ Captain CRAIG
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, supposing I frame a Clause and put it down, will it receive the consideration of the Government?
§ Mr. CHERRY
Amendments put on the Paper would be fully considered, and have been fully considered by every Member of the Government concerned with this Bill. We have gone through the Order Paper day by day, and, taking the Amendments, considered them most carefully. And here I should like to say that it was an unworthy statement of the right hon. Gentleman the 2425 Member for Dublin University when he said that promises were made on the Committee stage and not kept. The Amendments were carefully collected by the officials of the Irish Office, and every one of them was carefully considered. Where we made promises to consider we fulfilled those promises. We did not always bring forward Clauses and Amendments put down, because we did not promise to bring them forward. But all the suggestions put forward were carefully considered, whether they came from across the floor of the House or by letter or in whatever way. We have been most willing to consider, and even now, if we consider any suggestions reasonable and good, we will seek in another place to have them put in. But I do not give any pledge whatever that any particular Clause put forward by any hon. Member will have any particular effect. If we think it does not hinder, but assists the operation of the Act, we will take every means in our power to have it inserted.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
A quarter of an hour ago the Attorney-General stated that we ought to deal with these matters in a businesslike spirit. His idea of conducting our affairs in that way was to invite us to confine our attention to the particular Amendment before the House, then to speak for ten minutes in criticism of that particular suggestion, and then, within 16 minutes of the guillotine falling, to invite my hon. and learned Friend to put forward some addition. That is his idea of addressing ourselves to these important subjects in a businesslike spirit. He does that in a sort of light-hearted manner because, as he also informed us, he, and no doubt the Chief Secretary, have fully considered this matter. The Chief Secretary assents. But it turns out to be the case that they have not fully or impartially considered this matter at all. What they have fully considered is how they can amend Mr. Justice Wylie's judgment upon another Act, namely, the Evicted Tenants Act. That is their third attempt to amend the Evicted Tenants Act. I must really protest, when we are dealing with an Amendment of the later Act of 1903, that the small time allotted to us under this Resolution should be stolen by the Government to make a third attempt to amend the Evicted Tenants Act. And that is all that you have fully considered: the decision of Mr. Justice Wyhe upon the meaning of un-tenanted land in respect of the Evicted Tenants Act. The distinction between the two is a very important one. The 2426 Evicted Tenants Act dealt with a limited number of cases, but this Bill and this Clause, which the Government are asking us to add to the Bill, have the effect of extending the operations of the Estates Commissioners with absolute power over the whole of Ireland. I do not believe that if the Chief Secretary and the learned Attorney-General between now and next year set themselves to limit this Clause they would succeed in effecting the object which we all desire. I do not think it could be done in that way.
One feature of this Debate is that nobody is satisfied with the Clause as it is. Everybody feels some limit must be introduced. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), no less than everyone else, feels that the words are too wide, and that they do throw a shadow of fear over many a man whom we all wish to be left in the undisturbed occupation of his holding. Some limit has got to be introduced. I doubt very much whether it is possible to amend this Clause by putting in any limit either of money value or of the superficial area of the holding. I doubt whether it could be done in that way. The Attorney-General said it is not a definition, it is only a description. Well, but what does it describe? It describes the land which can be taken under Clause 40 of this Bill. That is the whole point. It is not really as the Government seem to suppose, a little Clause to amend the Evicted Tenants Act. This Clause describes the meaning of the language they have put into Clause 40 of their Bill. What does Clause 40 of their Bill say? It says that untenanted land is to be taken not only as it was taken under the Act of 1903 for certain limited purposes of resale or distribution; it says that untenanted land is to be taken not only for the purposes of resale or redistribution on all the estates bought by the Estates Commissioners or of all the-estates to be purchased in the future, but Clause 40 says that untenanted land is to be taken for purposes wider than that— for other purposes, namely, "for the purpose of resale to any person." I defy this or any other Government to put in, any limitation of this Clause which will prevent hardship being done to some of the small and poorer tenants. The only way by which you could have a rational limitation would be to limit the occasions upon which, and the purposes for which, you are going to take land, and unless you proceed upon these lines of laying down a definition of the purposes for which you are going to take land, all the ingenuity 2427 of the Law Officers of the Crown and of hon. Members below the Gangway combined will not be able to introduce any limitation that will make the Clause satisfactory to anyone in this House.
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
This is the most extraordinary Debate I have ever listened to in this House. I think it is the first time I ever heard it seriously suggested by right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench and by learned lawyers who sit behind them that public officials appointed by the Unionists when they were in power, and in whom presumably they had full confidence when they appointed them, are going suddenly to take leave of their senses and show themselves worthy of being confined in a lunatic asylum. Nobody is to trust the Estates Commissioners, and they are to do something most unreasonable.
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
The last thing I should do would be to take as my model the conduct of the hon. and learned Member for North Armagh. We are now told that the Tory party have no confidence in the Estates Commissioners. If that is so then they have no confidence in the gentlemen appointed by themselves. They have no confidence in Mr. Wrench. According to hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway, Mr. Wrench has become a most dishonest person, or he has suddenly taken leave of his senses. You cannot carry on administration either in Ireland or in this country unless you have confidence in the public officials. What is the cause of all this trouble? It is largely due to the fact that we are now in the Long Vacation. The lawyers have not much to do in the courts, and so they come down here to keep their hand in. (An HON. MEMBER: "To refresh themselves."] Yes, but it is not what is usually known in the courts as getting a "refresher." The hon. and learned Member for North Armagh said there was no provision in this Bill for costs. I presume that if the Government would only put into this Bill a provision which would enable the legal gentlemen appearing in the courts on behalf of these oppressed individuals to get their costs the trouble would be at an end. I observe the extraordinary interest taken in this Clause by the junior Member for Cork. Everybody in Ireland is well acquainted with the extraordinary case in the courts known as the Hegarty 2428 case. The late Mr. Jeremiah Hegarty—I hope he is in heaven—was one of the few Irishmen who gave evidence against his own. country in "The Times" Commission case, An evicted tenant on the Hegarty estate made an application for reinstatement and was prevented from being reinstated on the ground that Mrs. Hegarty, the wife of Jeremiah Hegarty, was a fee farm grantee, and I was wondering whether the costs were paid in that case. I presume they were. The late Jeremiah Hegarty was a man who made a good deal of money and acquired a large area of land in the county of Cork, and I was wondering what peculiar and extraordinary interest the junior Member for Cork was taking in his case, when I remembered the fact that it was the junior Member for Cork himself who was the solicitor for Mr. Jeremiah Hegarty. I am not able to say who it was the junior Member for Cork instructed as counsel, but, after my observation of many years of the junior Member for Cork, I know that, either in legal or other matters, there is no one who possesses in a higher degree brotherly affection.
This Clause is absolutely necessary if the question of congestion in the West and the relief of congestion in my own county is to be dealt with effectively. My hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) said that at no time did he ever advocate that the relief of congestion should be confined to Cork. He never did. My hon. Friend has always said he is as much in favour of relieving the congestion of those who have been driven into the bogs of the Midlands as of those who have been driven in the West of Ireland. When I heard hon. Members for Armagh doing their utmost to prevent the relief of congestion in the West I did not know whether at is racial antipathy that animates them or not. The hon. Member for Armagh shakes his head, and I am glad to know it is not racial antipathy that animates him. Does he know that many of the congests in the western parts of Ireland are men belonging to the clans of the O'Neills who were driven out from Armagh, his constituency, in the dark and evil days to make room for planters under the plantation of James. They are the descendants of men of the old clans of Armagh who were driven into the mountains in the time of James. Some of them, as my hon. Friend reminds me, only a hundred years ago when the Peep o' Day boys and the White boys were so well known in that very constituency, were driven into the 2429 bogs of Connaught, when the Presbyterian population was driven across the Atlantic, and, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) reminds me, many of their descendants took part in the War of Independence. An ex-President of the United States of America was very proud of the fact that he. was a descendent of a Presbyterian peasant who was driven out from the North of Ireland.
And, it being half-past Ten of the clock, Mr. Speaker proceeded, in pursuance of the Order of the House of the 15th June, to put forthwith the Question on the
§ Amendment already proposed from the Chair, "That the words proposed be there inserted."
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
proceeded successively to put forthwith the Question upon the Clause moved by the Government, and upon any Amendments moved by the Government, of which notice had been given, to bring to a conclusion the Report stage of the Bill.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause be added to the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 231; Noes, 55.2431
|Division No. 674.]||AYES.||[10.30 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Evans, Sir S. T.||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Agnew George William||Everett, R. Lacey||Lundon, T.|
|Alden, Percy||Falconer, James||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Farrell, James Patrick||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Ffrench, Peter||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Field, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Armitage, R.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Maclean, Donald|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Flynn, James Christopher||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Fuller, John Michael F.||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Fullerton, Hugh||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Furness, Sir Christopher||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Gibb, James (Harrow)||M'Kean, John|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Gilhooly, James||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Gill, A. H.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Ginnell, L.||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Benn, sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Glendinning, R. G.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Glover, Thomas||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Marnham, F. J.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Grayson, Albert Victor||Meagher, Michael|
|Boland, John||Gulland, John W.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Branch, James||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Menzles, Sir Walter|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes., Leigh)||Hancock, J. G.||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Mooney, J. J.|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Morrell, Philip|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Harrington, Timothy||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Harwood, George||Muldoon, John|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Haworth, Arthur A.||Murnaghan, George|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hazleton, Richard||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Helme, Norval Watson||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Henry, Charles S.||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Higham, John Sharp||Nicholls, George|
|Clough, William||Hogan, Michael||Nolan, Joseph|
|Clynes, J. R.||Hooper, A. G.||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Horniman, Emslie John||Nugent Sir Walter Richard|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hudson, Walter||Nussey, Sir Willans|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Nuttall, Harry|
|Cooper, G. J.||Idris, T. H. W.||O'Brien. K. (Tipperary Mid.)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Cowan, W. H.||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Cullinan, J.||Joyce, Michael||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Kavanagh, Walter M.||O'Dowd, John|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Keating, M.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Kekewich, Sir George||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Kelley, George D.||O'Malley, William|
|Delany, William||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Kilbride, Denis||O'Shee, James John|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St Pancras, N.)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Dillon, John||Laidlaw, Robert||Partington, Oswald|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Lambert, George||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Duffy, William J.||Lamont, Norman||Philips, John (Longford, S)|
|Dunne, Major E, Martin (Walsall)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Painter, J.|
|Elibank, Master of||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Erskine, David C.||Lehmann, R. C.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Scarisbrick, Sir T. T. L.||Vivian, Henry|
|Radford, G. H.||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Rainy, A. Rolland||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Wardle, George J.|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Seely, Colonel||Waring, Walter|
|Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Shackleton, David James||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Reddy, M.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Sheeny, David||Watt, Henry A.|
|Redmond, William (Clare)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Whitbread, S. Howard|
|Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Snowden, P.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Scares, Ernest J.||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Strachey, Sir Edward||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Summerbell, T.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Roche, Augustine (Cork)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Young, Samuel|
|Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Thomasson, Franklin||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Scanlan. Thomas||Verney, F. W.||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fletcher, J. S.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Balcarres, Lord||Forster, Henry William||M'Arthur, Charles|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gordon, J.||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Moore, William|
|Barrle, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Gretton, John||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Haddock, George B.||Renton, Leslie|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hamilton, Marquess of||Roberts. S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Clark, George Smith||Kealy, Timothy Michael||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Ceates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Hill, Sir Clement||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Kerry, Earl of|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Keswick, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||A. Acland-Hood and Valentia Valentia.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|