§ Order of the Day for the Third Beading, read.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a"—(The Earl of Haddington.)
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
quite concurred with what had been said on a former occasion as to the inconvenience of bringing forward such a measure as the present at so late a period of the Session, when it was impossible to discuss it. Conflicting statements had been made as to this Bill by Members of the Government, for the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack had said that this Bill had been so often before Parliament that everybody understood it; whilst the noble Duke the Lord President had said that the noble Earl the Chairman of Committees did not know or understand any part of the Bill. If, with his experience, the noble Earl the Chairman of Committees did not understand it, it could not be so simple a matter, and required more discussion.
§ THE EARL OF REDESDALE (CHAIRMAN of COMMITTEES)
stated that, after what had transpired, he would urge no further objections against the provisions of the measure. He had already expressed his opinion with regard to the inconvenience of bringing forward Bills 1198 in that House at a time when it was practically impossible to discuss them with any effect, and he thought this was a very glaring instance, and not at all consistent with the usual practice of Parliament. The original Bill might be said to have been reduced to a mere shadow. At all events, it had been cut clean in two. The last half had been thrown away, and a new provision had been substituted by way of Amendment by the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack, which Amendment, like the one of the noble Earl (the Earl of Haddington), on which it was founded, had never been bruited in the usual way. All this had been done within two days of its final stage, so that the people of Scotland had had no opportunity of considering the effect of the changes. Such legislation as that could not be worth very much; but whether that was so or not, he entertained the gravest objection to the practice he had alluded to, as, if persisted in with regard to other Bills, it must prove very detrimental to sound legislation.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
said, he should be glad if the noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack would, before the Bill was road a third time, give some explanation of the concluding words of Sub-section 3 in Clause 2. The sub-section had been quite altered from the form in which it originally stood, and their Lordships had no opportunity of consulting any local or other advisers on the matter.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, in answer to the question of the noble Marquess, he could only imagine that the noble Marquess was not in the House on the previous day, because, had he been present, he would have heard a full explanation of the Amendment which he had introduced into the Bill. Since then the Bill had been reprinted, in order that their Lordships might consider the Amendment in connection with the rest of the Bill. It was to be understood that the words were introduced as an Amendment on the Amendment of the noble Lord near him (Lord Blantyre). From what the noble Marquess had said he thought he could not have read the Bill, as he certainly did not appear to have the least idea as to the effect of the Amendment. However, before he proceeded to point out its effect, he wished to notice what had 1199 just been said by his noble Friend the Chairman of Committees. His noble Friend (the Earl of Redesdale) had said that one part of the Bill had been cut out; but that appeared to him to prove conclusively that his noble Friend had not read it, because it had not been mutilated in the smallest degree. The Amendment was a very simple one, easily understood, and the meaning of it was this. In the Bill, as it came up from the other House, there was a provision that when a tenant was ejected, as it was called, out of his farm in the middle of the half-year, all just allowances should be made to him, as if he were an out-going tenant who had completed his term. It was felt, however, that matters would be left in an unsatisfactory condition, unless it was stated what those just allowances should be. The only object of the Amendment, therefore, which he introduced, was to define exactly what were to be the rights of the outgoing tenant, in the place of leaving them to be adjudicated upon under a provision of a vague description. The purpose of the Amendment was simply to define for the landlord what would otherwise be left to the justices to define. Now, in the first place, if any crop had arrived at maturity, at the period at which the tenant was ejected, and he had not had time to separate and carry away the crop, it was only reasonable that he should be called upon to pay the rent of the land on which it grew. But if on any portion of the farm there were immature crops, which could not be cut or taken up, and carried away at the time of ejection, it was proposed by this clause to give the tenant all his rights in respect to such crops. "When, however, they were matured, he would not be allowed to separate them or carry them off the farm without paying the rent which was due upon the portion of the land on which they grew up to Martinmas, when the land was perfectly clear. That appeared to him to be a perfectly fair and just solution of the question. That really was all. As the Bill originally stood, it was not quite clear whether, under the working of the clause, the tenant would not be made liable to pay the rent of the whole of the farm, and not simply of that portion upon which the immediate crop stood, and also that he would only have to pay the 1200 rent up to the time of the severance; but, inasmuch as the ground would be useless to the incoming tenant until after the period he had named, it was obviously nothing but just and right that the out-going tenant should pay the rent up to Martinmas, or the end of the next term.
denied that the Amendment of the noble and learned Earl would meet the objection that by the Bill, after the tenant was ejected owing to being in arrears, he was to be allowed to add a further considerable sum to the previous unsecured debt to his landlord, as he was only required to pay rent for the land occupied, by the way-going crop for the period between his ejectment and removal of crop, say, three months; for the remaining three-quarters of the year's rent, due on the removal of the crop, the landlord would be a common creditor.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
re marked, that the particular provision applied only to that portion of the farm on which the crop was maturing, and could not possibly create a new debt to the landlord, seeing that the tenant would remove the crop at maturity, and the sale of it might reasonably be expected to enable him to pay his rent. At the same time, if the landlord wished to cover the other portion of the land, it was quite open to him to do so; and the tenant would not be liable to pay the rent for that portion of the ground which the landlord or the incoming tenant had covered.
THE EARL OF AIRLIE
observed, that he did not quite understand the last provision to which the noble and learned Earl had referred.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, it really meant that where a tenant had by law the right to remove crops he would do so; but that where immature crops were standing it was a provision to make the tenant pay the rent up to Martinmas on that portion of the land on which they were standing.
§ On the Motion of the Earl of AIBLIE, the following Amendment was made in Clause 2, Sub-section 3:—In page 2, line 26, after ("always") insert the words ("unless otherwise expressly stipulated"); and in line 34, after ("estimated") leave out ("unless otherwise expressly stipulated").1201
§ THE EARL OF REDESDALE (CHAIRMAN of COMMITTEES)
was of opinion that everything that had been done on the third reading ought to have been done in Committee. It was of the utmost importance that proper time should be given for the consideration of Bills; and what had happened in this instance was an abundant proof of the truth of his words that so important a question as the relation between landlord and tenant required proper time for consideration. But what had been done? A clause was introduced in the first instance; it was altered, and then re-printed. It had been brought before their Lordships, and the only two noble Lords from Scotland who had spoken admitted that they did not understand it. The Bill, in fact, had been almost recast; and the extent of the alterations which had been made showed that the measure required the fullest consideration.
pointed out that in case of a late harvest the tenant might not be able to clear the ground by Martinmas, and, therefore, ought to pay a proportionate rent beyond that time, to compensate the incoming tenant for the delay, preventing him from ploughing and preparing his land for a crop.
§ After a few words from Lord ORAN-MORE and BROWNE,
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read 3a accordingly; Bill passed,and sent to the Commons.
§ House adjourned at a quarter past Five o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ton o'clock.