said, there was no subject on which the profession of the law and the country generally were more completely agreed, than that something must be done to facilitate the transfer of real property. Some years ago a Committee sat on this subject, under the presidency of his noble and lamented Friend the late Lord Beaumont, and it came to the conclusion that the most grievous burden upon land was the costliness of its transfer. The labours of that Committee had not been without result, as several of its recommendations had been adopted, which he (Lord Brougham) was anxious to see still further extended. He had himself introduced a Bill founded in some degree on its recommendations; and the Law Amendment Society had been assured by the agent of a noble Duke on the cross bench (the Duke of Cleveland) that that measure had effected a saving in one year of between £6,000 and £7,000 in the management of the Duke's estate. This was stated by the agent in the Duke's presence. Last year he (Lord Brougham) presented a petition from a gentleman who had been for many years the steward of a manor, in which five hundred copyhold tenements could be passed by the plan of describing each by means of a number in the books. During the last thirty years every one of those properties had been sold, mortgaged, or exchanged, and the average length of the conveyances employed was one hundred and ninety words, and no more than a few shillings was the cost of the conveyance; nor had a single dispute ever arisen out of the transfer of these estates in the manlier he had described. He (Lord Brougham) wished to see a similar plan take the place of laws which appeared to have been devised for the express purpose of making land as little a merchantable commodity as was possible. In Ireland, the Incumbered Estates Court had had 265 no fewer than 2,400 petitions presented to it in the four years ending with 1855. It had effected 1,448 sales, and the money received had been no less than £14,155,000. So great was the anxiety both of buyers and sellers to obtain the intervention of the Court—of sellers, because they obtained a better price for their land, and of buyers, because they received the inestimable advantage of a Parliamentary title—so great was the anxiety to obtain the intervention of the Court; that all kinds of contrivances were resorted to with that view. Fictitious debts were actually created in order to give the parties a right to petition the Court. The Bill which he had been about to ask their Lordships to read a second time applied to that subject, but, considering the period of the Session and that a measure of that kind must necessarily be referred to a Select Committee, he suspected it would be better to allow the Bill to stand over until next Session, when he hoped some legislation would take place.
approved of the course proposed to be adopted by his noble and learned Friend; but he adhered to the opinion which he had long entertained, that the only mode of improving the law of real property was to establish a general registration for all deeds affecting real property, and enacting that no deeds which were not registered should in the slightest degree vitiate or prejudice the claim of a purchaser.
§ LORD CRANWORTH
said, the object of his noble and learned Friend's Bill was a good one; but considering the late period of the Session, he thought it had better be withdrawn, and the matter left to be considered by the Lord Chancellor in the recess.
§ Order of the day for the Second Reading, read and discharged; and Bill, (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.
§ House adjourned at half-past Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.