Order for the consideration of the Lords Amendments read.
said that although at that hour of the morning and that period of the session any man who said a single unnecessary word was in his judgment an enemy of the human race, he was sure that he could only save the time he was anxious to save if permission was given to him then to state shortly the general course the Government intended to ask the House to take with regard to the Lords Amendments. Some of the Amendments they saw their way to ask the House to accept, either as made or subject to slight alteration. They were willing that the duration of the Act, so far as it conferred powers for the acquisition of land and for the determination of tenancies, should be restricted to four years. The Lords suggested a period of three years. That was a substantial agreement with one of the Lords Amendments, and there were others which they could agree with. But there were other Amendments which were wholly incompatible with the main object of the Bill. Unless they could by legislation accelerate the process of reinstating the evicted tenants, the Bill was worse than worthless, because it excited hopes which were incapable of realisation. As an example of that kind of Amendment, he asked the House to consider the Lords Amendment to leave out the Government's subsection of Clause 1, and to insert words of their own. The Bill as it left this House proposed to allow the Estates Commissioners, if they thought it expedient, to acquire land for the purposes of the Act if they offered the owner a fair market price. They had therefore only to consider what was expedient, whether they needed the land or not, and then they were to offer a fair market price. But the Lords had inserted as a substitution for their words, words which were of a somewhat extraordinary character, for they provided that the Estates Commissioners were only to have the power compulsorily if they were unable to acquire by agreement and on reasonable terms suitable land for the purposes of that Act. Under that Amendment, whenever the Estates Commissioners wanted to take a piece of land, it would be open to the landlord to contest the point in a Court of Law, and to allege that they might have acquired suitable land if only they had offered a suitable price for it. There was not an acre of land in Ireland that was not sellable tomorrow at what some people appeared to think was a suitable price. The Amendment of the Lords, followed as it was by subsequent Amendments, rendered an appeal not only possible, but probable, and almost certainly in every case counsel for the landlord would go and say they could get suitable land at a suitable price. That opened up a vista of litigation which would shock even an attorney's clerk. The cost of this litigation must be borne either by the Treasury or by the unfortunate man who ultimately found himself restored. He was to be restored as a purchaser, to pay a purchase annuity extending over sixty-eight and a half years, and a great portion of the costs were to be heaped on the price of the land. The Lords had also gone on to say that the price was to be compensation, and by compensation they meant compensation as defined by the Lands Clauses Act of 1845. The Lords were not content even with that. Not only had the man to pay compensation under that Act—the full market value, plus 10 per cent. for compulsory sale, and the bonus under the Purchase Act of 1903—but also arrears of rent. perhaps owing for twenty-five years. The last lot of the evicted tenant restored on these terms would be worse than his first. The lot of an evicted tenant restored on those terms would be so bad that it would be better for him to be a beggar by the wayside than to be a purchase owner burdened with such annuity as had to be charged on the land if these things were to be thrown upon it. Sooner than allow such an Amendment to be passed, the Government would abandon the Bill, because it would not be of any use. If honesty demanded these terms, it would have been far better for the Lords to say at once that they would reject the Bill on its Second Reading, instead of encumbering it with terms of this impossible nature. The whole object of the Bill was to enable the Estates Commissioners to have compulsory powers. They could go on restoring slowly but surely the evicted tenants under the operation of the Act of 1903, but in the interest of law and order and justice some speedy process should be discovered. The Bill was conceived and introduced and was not very hardly opposed because it was recognised that some speedier process was necessary. That was one of the Amendments which it was impossible for the Government to accept. There were other Amendments of an important kind which they could not accept but they were able to suggest some improvements of their own. Those Amendments were of an important character. They related chiefly to whether or not there was to be an appeal. The appeal might be on several subjects. The first question was that of appeal as to the value of the land; as to whether the Estates Commissioners could afford full market value for the land. He would not go back upon the opinion he had held all along, but in a case of this sort he contended that an appeal to a Judge was not necessarily involved in the justice of the case. They were considering the value of the land. An appeal from the Estates Commissioners and their valuers to the Judge was very much as if they were to appeal as to the value of a racehorse from the Jockey Club to Convocation. They were men who knew more about the subject and had better means of informing themselves than the Judges could possibly have. It was impossible for the Government to agree with Lord Atkinson's Amendment. It was perfectly impossible having regard to the prevailing reasons in their minds for them to agree with the Amendment. But, notwithstanding, the Government were perfectly willing by way of coming to terms with their adversary quickly in this matter that there should be an appeal on value, and they suggested an appeal from the Estates Commissioners to a Judge of the High Court who was a Judicial Commissioner at the present moment—Mr. Justice Wylie. He hoped they would not, in fact he knew they would not, have any imputation whatever upon the high character, learning, and impartiality of the learned Judge. He was in no sense of the word a tenants' man, he did not know that he was in any sense a landlords' man, but he believed Mr. Justice Wylie was as honourable and impartial a Judge as could be found in the three Kingdoms. Therefore, the Government were willing—although he did not think this one of those matters on which an appeal was of the essence of justice—there should be an appeal to him on the question of value. Under the Government Amendment there would be power of really rehearing the case and of directing any testimony thought necessary to be called in for information on the facts of the case. Then there was another kind of appeal. There were questions in Clause 6 of appeal. Clause 6 put restrictions upon the acquisition of land and said to the Estates Commissioners that they shall not acquire land compulsorily if it foamed demesne land. The House of Lords had added the words "town parks." The Government did not object to that addition, or if it was a garden and a number of other restrictions. On mixed questions of fact and law the Government proposed there should be an appeal to the same learned Judge. Therefore, there would be in these respects a sufficient Court of Appeal. The only other question was that with regard to the new tenant or "planter" as he had been called. The Government could not, of course, agree with the Amendment of Lord Robertson, who practically provided that any planter should not under any circumstances ever be asked to quit, because the noble Lord said nobody shall be asked to quit who is abona-fide tenant. Everybody was abona-fide tenant if he was a tenant at all. Everybody in Ireland using or cultivating the land was an ordinary farmer. They could hardly imagine a person in the occupation of land as a tenant who was not, at all events in the opinion of most people, an ordinary farmer tilling the land in a husbandlike manner. The word "husbandlike" in that connection had no particular sense, and therefore he could not agree with the Amendment. In his opinion the justice of the case did not in any sense require the Amendment. Having regard to the language of the Government's own clause, which enabled the Estates Commissioners to take into consideration all the circumstances of the holding, of the district, and of the cost involved, any fear of any person being improperly asked to go was a purely imaginary one, but the Government were willing to associate with the Estates Commissioners in regard to the question whether or not the planter was to go, the Judicial Commissioner himself. Therefore, if in the opinion of the Judicial Commissioner the planter ought not to be asked to go he could not be asked to go. He (Mr. Birrell) thought the Government had in all these respects, the questions of value, in questions of fact, in mixed questions of fact and law, and in the question of the planter, given an appeal which ought to satisfy the House.
Do I understand that what you propose requires the planter to come up before the Judicial Commissioner, and that the veto is to rest with him?
said that without the consent of the Judicial Commissioner the planter would not be obliged to go. There would be the same right of appeal as there was regarding fair rents under the Act of 1881. That was the nature of the appeal they proposed to give with regard to mixed questions of fact and law. If the parties desired Mr. Justice Wylie to state a case, or to allow an appeal from them on questions of mixed facts and law, that might be done. There always was in the Bill an appeal on questions of law, first to the Judicial Commissioner and afterwards to the Court of Appeal, and he thought in those cases they had met the demand. He did not know that he would be justified in detaining the House any further at that stage. They must go through the various Amendments, but he did not think any of them would be found to give rise to any considerable amount of debate, or disturbance of mind on the part of anybody, except those relating to the appeals which the Government proposed to allow.
said he was grateful to the Chief Secretary for the remark he made at the commencement of his speech. As it was now four o'clock, every body would realise that it was very difficult to deal with the Amendments in a complete and adequate manner, because until that moment they had no knowledge of what course the Government proposed to take with regard to them. He had even been unable to obtain a copy of the Bill in its latest form, and therefore there was great difficulty in following the statement which the Chief Secretary had made. That difficulty could be very well appreciated by those who had been called upon to examine the effect of suggestions made by Ministers. He thought the position in which they found themselves showed a singular want of power on the part of the Government to manage the business of the House, and he considered it was odd that the Government had not found it possible in the days yet remaining before the session came to a close to allow time for the discussion of these Amendments at an ordinary period of the day when hon. Members would have had more energy than they had now to devote to their consideration. With regard to the statement made by the Chief Secretary, it seemed to him that through the whole of it there ran a prevailing notion that the whole aim and object of this Bill was urgency. The Chief Secretary appeared to think that rapidity were essential, in order to meet this so-called demand, and, in order to secure this rapidity, anything and everything was to be sacrificed, any risk of injustice was to be run, and any risk was to be taken of inflicting on innocent persons an injury which they ought not to be called upon to bear. The Chief Secretary seemed to think that the people who might have to suffer the injustice—the landlords whose land might be taken away in order to provide farms for these evicted tenants—were men who in some way or other were to blame for the position in which they found themselves. He ignored the fact that the men who in a large number of cases would have to suffer under this Bill if the Amendments to which he (the Chief Secretary) had referred were rejected were men in no way responsible for the evicted tenants. Therefore, when the Chief Secretary made a comparison, as he did in reference to the general scheme of Amendments, between the existing law as regards purchase and this Bill he (Mr. Long) submitted that he made a comparison which was in itself altogether fallacious. This Bill had no precedent in Irish land legislation or in any of the other land legislation of the United Kingdom. He was not saying anything of the remarkable collection of Bills which they had had under consideration this session; but it was certain that there was absolutely nothing on the Statute-book to compare with the present Bill. It proposed to deal with a difficulty which they were told was very urgent. From declarations made by the Government themselves, the House knew that the number of tenants desiring reinstatement had grown with startling rapidity since the present Government came into office. The Chief Secretary was prepared to accept a limitation of four years in the operation of the Bill, but they on the Opposition side profoundly regretted that he did not make up his mind not to make two bites at a cherry and accept the limitation in the Bill as it left the House of Lords. If the statements from the Front Bench opposite and from the very few people on the other side of the House who had supported the Bill during the discussions were based on well-ascertained information, three years would be ample time in which to deal with the number of tenants whom it was proposed to reinstate under the Bill. The Chief Secretary had not told them whether he proposed to accept the Amendment which the House of Lords had placed in the Bill limiting the number of the tenants who were to be dealt with. The right hon. Gentleman had been very severe about the alteration in phraseology made in Clause 1, and had poured a great deal of contempt on the suggestion that the Commissioners ought to be called upon to satisfy themselves that they could not get the land without having recourse to compulsory power. Then he said that land could be got to any extent in Ireland at a price which in the opinion of some people was a reasonable price. If there was any doubt as to the genesis of that view of the right hon. Gentleman and that part of the Bill that doubt would be removed by the cheers which greeted that statement from below the gangway. Let them consider what was the true meaning of the Bill, the true object the Government had in rejecting these Amendments. It was in order that the price in future should be fixed by those whose views had been expressed so often that they were known to everybody. It was in order that the price should be based not on what was considered to be a fair basis between the willing seller and the willing buyer, but on the modern conception of what price should be arrived at after they had done everything they could to depreciate the value of the property. The right of appeal as inserted in another place was an appeal in regard to law, in regard to fact arising under Clause 6, and also in regard to the necessity for the original action of the Commissioners. That was to be rejected on the ground of delay and expense, but he very much doubted whether the Chief Secretary was well founded in his criticism on that score. He (Mr. Long) was not sure that if they had these restrictive powers in the Bill it would not facilitate its working, because it would give a sense of security to those who owned the land which they would not otherwise have. With regard to the general appeal, he was glad the Chief Secretary recognised at last, after all the debates they had had on the subject, the necessity for removing the absolute right of action from the Estates Commissioners. He was, however, amazed at the suggestion which the Chief Secretary made, and desired to enter a protest against his thinking it necessary to say that he felt sure there would be no language used hostile to the learned gentleman who was a Judicial Commissioner. That was the very last thing which was likely to happen on that side of the House. He was sure that there would be no criticism from that side on Mr. Justice Wylie's personal character or his attainments, or his position in Ireland. This matter had nothing to do either with his independence or his fairness or his knowledge. That was not the question. The view which had been urged in the House of Commons through all their debates and which had led to the adoption of the Amendments in the House of Lords was that the Estates Commissioners, not as individuals, but by reason of the fact that they were acting as a body, were so mixed up in the question of land purchase and the general administration of the Land Acts that Parliament ought to give from them an appeal to somebody who was a perfectly independent person bringing an absolutely fresh mind to bear on the subject. To suggest to them that they would meet all the difficulties of the Bill if they gave an appeal which would lie to the Judicial Commissioner, who would be called on, if he thought right, to condemn his own colleagues, was to put forward a wholly impracticable proposal. He could not help hoping that the Government would till see fit to let the appeal be to a Judge of the High Court which would be the only really satisfactory appeal possible under the Bill. He was glad the Government proposed to give an appeal in regard to the necessity of which he had already expressed his view. He passed to another point—the statement made by the Chief Secretary with reference to the planters. The right hon. Gentleman had found great fault with the language inserted in another place. That language was an almost slavish copy of the language used by the Minister in charge in the House of Lords on behalf of the Government. When he was challenged upon this question of planters he was not only emphatic as to the intention of the Government, but he repudiated, in language almost of indignation, the idea that there was any intention to interfere with the planters so far as they were what he described asbona fide farmers. It was thought desirable to keep as closely as possible to the langauge which came from a source which it was thought the Government would consider to be one of the highest, and he was sorry to find that the Government thought so little of the language of their own colleagues when it was put into the Bill as to be obliged to criticise it as the Chief Secretary had done. What they felt in regard to these planters was that there were, as they knew perfectly well from speeches made time out of number in the earlier debates in that House, two different dangers to which they were exposed. The first was the inevitable danger of their lands being taken and handed back to the representative of the tenant who was evicted. The second was that, as they frequently heard, these planters were regarded by those in power in Ireland as being to a large extent centres of disturbances—men who ought to be removed, not because they were bad tenants, not because they were not making a good business of their holdings, but because to remove them it was thought would simplify administration in the districts in which they were living. He felt it was impossible to exaggerate the importance of making clear and distinct limitation in regard to these planters and he could not for the life of him understand the objection to words which only proposed to prevent men from being removed who werebona fide tenants carrying on their business in a legitimate and proper manner. If the words "ordinary farmer" and "husbandlike manner" did not commend themselves to Ministers they might have improved upon the language of their colleague and at the same time maintained the principle to which the Opposition attached the greatest possible importance. In the effort to do justice to the evicted tenants the Government should not be guilty of great injustice to those against whom there was not one word to be said except that they had succeeded where others had failed. They would have to go through these Amendments seriatim and it would be their duty to express their opinions more precisely in that process. He was glad the Government were, in regard to this matter, evidently in a somewhat more chastened mood than when the Bill was last being debated in this House. He could have wished they had been a little more generous in their treatment of the Amendments which they now found in the Bill, but he hoped that even now, at the eleventh hour, the Government might see their way so to deal with those Amendments as to secure the passing of the Bill in a more just form than would have otherwise been possible.
said that the Government seemed to be giving a double appeal, first an appeal to Mr. Justice Wylie and next to the Irish Court of Appeal. He pointed out that if there were to be 2,000 cases and only four years to try them, first, that Mr. Justice Wylie had a great deal to do, and secondly, that great pressure would be put on him by the landlords to discharge his ordinary duties connected with the purchase of land. Suppose the landlords made a block in these cases, suppose they appealed in all cases to Mr. Justice Wylie and took all the cases to the Court of Appeal. That was an admirable tribunal, but it had a great deal to do, and four years would not be enough if there was a general attempt by the landlords to cause undue pressure. He would suggest the Government should introduce some such words as "unless in the case where an appeal has been taken under this Act."
said that before they came to the detailed examination of the Lords Amendments he would like to say two or three general words on what has been transpiring. He did not intend to enter at all into such questions as those raised by the Member for South Dublin as to the urgency of the measure. It must be plain to everybody who knew anything about the subject that the restoration of the evicted tenants was an urgent matter. In 1903 it was recognised as an essential part of the proposed Land Act, and the Act of 1903 would not have been assented to by the Irish Members except on the understanding that the evicted tenants would be immediately restored to their homes. There had been four years since then, and it was unnecessary to labour the question of urgency. He desired to say a few words on the question of appeal. When they came to the detailed examination of the Amendments they would be able more clearly to understand what the Government proposed. He understood that the intention was that on the question of value a decision should be given by the Judicial Commissioner in the same way as there was given to-day an appeal from the Estates Commissioners as to the price paid for the redemption of superior and inferior interests. At the present moment these superior interests were compulsorily acquired at a price fixed by the Commissioners, and there was an appeal from them to Mr. Justice Wylie. He understood there was no intention that there should be a general right of appeal from the Judicial Commissioner to the Court of Appeal. On the question of appeal generally he must say at once that he did not think any appeal from the Estates Commissioners was required at all. He believed that the Estates Commissioners were quite competent to give an impartial decision on this matter, and he regretted that the Government had given way even to the extent they had done. Of course if there was to be an appeal they must take care it was limited and given to the Judicial Commissioner and not to any other tribunal. It was absurd to say, as the Member for South Dublin had done, that it was an unfair thing for this appeal to be from the Estates Commissioners to their own colleague. These were all appeals on the question of value when it was decided by the Estates Commissioners and it was necessary that the appeal must be limited and must be to the tribunal suggested. Other questions mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman were questions of price and compensation. He was very glad to hear the Chief Secretary declare that the Bill as it came down from the House of Lords was worse than useless. Most undoubtedly, so far as he had any influence in the matter, he would be against the passage of the Bill at all as it had come from the Upper House, and he rejoiced to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that that was his view. The Member for South Dublin talked of getting a fair price, and that was all the landlords wanted. The Bill as it left this House provided for a fair market-price; the House of Lords struck out fair market-price wherever it appeared, and substituted "compensation," and they put other Amendments into the Bill providing that compensation was to consist, as had been pointed out, not only of a fair market-price but of all sorts of other conditions. One other matter, and perhaps it was the more important—the question of the planters. He confessed he did not understand what the Chief Secretary proposed. What he thought at first he meant was that, in the decision whether a planter was to be turned out or not, the Judicial Commissioner was to be associated with the Estates Commissioners. As he went on it seemed as though his intention was that the Judicial Commissioner should have a right of veto.
What I intended to say was that on the question whether a planter was to go or not the Estates Commissioners or any two of them and the Judicial Commissioner must be of the same mind.
That is to say the Judicial Commissioner is to have the veto.
No planter is to be put out without his consent?
That is so.
said he regretted very much that that was so. The concession was far too much to make. If they left it to the Estates Commissioners acting with the Judicial Commissioner ample protection would be given to the planter. Those who were acquainted with these gentlemen knew perfectly well that no case of hardship would arise. They were not going to raise a flame in Ireland by turning out of their holdings men who ought to be left in possession in peace and quiet to carry on their avocation. There were many other questions on which he hoped the Government would stand firm. The House of Lords, for example, crossed out of the Bill altogether the clause which enabled resales to be made at a loss. He hoped the Chief Secretary was going to stand by that clause.
said that it was important. The House of Lords had also struck out a clause giving secure tenure of office to the Estates Commissioners. He hoped the Chief Secretary was going to stand by that.
said there were three Estates Commissioners, all appointed by the late Government. Of these three, one had secure tenure of office. The other two held office by much less secure tenure. They asked that those who held office by insecure tenure should be put in the same position as the one who held office on a secure tenure. As it happened one of these two holding insecure positions had been denounced by Gentlemen above the gangway in the most scandalous manner, but it so happened that the one who had a secure tenure was the friend of hon. Gentlemen above the gangway. He was declared by the hon. Member for North Armagh in that famous letter to be his intimate friend whom the hon. Member was anxious to defend. All they asked was that the same tenure should be given to all these three gentlemen, and he sincerely trusted the right hon. Gentleman would stand firm upon that matter. He would not go into the other questions, which would arise as they were reached. He would content himself with saying that he listened with considerable regret to the question about veto on the question of planters. He listened, however, with great pleasure to the statement that the Bill, taking it as a whole, as it had come down from the House of Lords, was worse than useless. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would stand firm, and that hon. Members above the gangway and their friends in the House of Lords would take a serious view of this matter; that they would see it was in their interest and in the interest of the peace of the country and of the speedy settlement of the land question that they should meet the Government at least half-way on the question and enable a Bill to be passed that would speedily restore the evicted tenants to their homes. Lords Amendment considered. Lords Amendment—
"In page 1, lines 5 to 13, to leave out subsection (1) of Clause 1, and insert—'(1) If the Estates Commissioners are unable to acquire by agreement and on reasonable terms suitable land for the purposes of this Act, and if they have offered to the person appearing to them to be the owner of any land which they desire to acquire compulsorily for such purposes compensation for the loss which would be sustained by the owner by being deprived thereof, and he has not within the prescribed time accepted the offer, they may, subject to the provisions of sub section eight of Section two of this Act, acquire that land compulsorily for those purposes in accordance with the provisions of this Act, and shall declare any land so acquired to be an estate'"— the first Amendment read a second time.
said he moved that this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment. He did not think that it was necessary for him to repeat what he had already said. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—(Mr. Birrell.)
said he did not propose to occupy the time of the House at any length in regard to the suggestions that had been made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite in regard to the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had sketched his idea of what he proposed to do, but there were many important Amendments on which he had given them no information as to the views of the Government. Dealing with the first Amendment, which the right hon. Gentleman had said he would like the House to reject, he wished to tell the House in a very few words what really was proposed. The Bill, as it stood when it left this House, enabled the Estates Commissioners to put the compulsory provisions of the Bill in force in any case where it might be unnecessary, but where they thought it expedient. It was quite consistent with the Bill as it then stood that though the owner of the land was perfectly willing voluntarily to sell his land on terms which any reasonable tribunal might decide to be a fair price, nevertheless the Estates Commissioners were to be at liberty to come down and say: "We will not bargain with you at all, but we will proceed compulsorily to buy you out." That was a wholly unnecessary and quite gratuitous interference. The most remarkable thing, an unprecedented thing in his experience, was that Gentlemen below the gangway were indulging in a conspiracy of praise in reference to the Estates Commissioners. During the years he had been in that House he had heard many denunciations of the Land Commission, the Land Commissioners, the Sub-Commissioners, and the Judicial Commissioners. He had heard them repeatedly denounced, but in this case, for the first time, there was a conspiracy of praise on the part of the hon. Gentleman from Ireland below the gangway in regard to at least two of the Commissioners.
All of them.
said not all of them. He would remind the hon. Member for Waterford of the criticisms which he himself passed on one of them in 1903. The unprecedented and rather striking fact to which he had referred was a matter which suggested at least some caution to the minds of those who were inclined to take their views of the merits of a tribunal from the reception the Bill received from hon. Gentlemen below the gangway. By the Amendment which had been inserted in another place they were to give a fair market price to the owner of the land. He thought that that was a most objectionable phrase; there was no market in the ordinary sense of the word, for to-day there was no market in many parts of the country for land, for the simple reason that the only possible buyers were the tenants. The only possible purchaser was the occupying tenant or the Estates Commissioners, and therefore, to speak of the market price for land in many parts of Ireland was to speak of a thing which did not exist. The right hon. Gentleman said he objected to the principle of compensation. Why? It was the first time that where they took away land compulsorily they did not give compensation.
asked what the right hon. Gentleman meant by compensation?
said he would think that the right hon. Gentleman's legal training would have told him that.
said he knew what the right hon. Gentleman meant.
asked what then was the reason for the interruption? He would have taken it to mean what it had always been held to mean in the last sixteen years, not only in Ireland, but in this country under any system by which the land was taken away from the landowner against his will. It was the first principle of justice and fair play that they should give compensation. Were they going to compensate a man in one way in England and in another way in Ireland? Were they going to take out of that Bill the theory which was the practice in England and Scotland? Under the Lands Clauses Act of 1845 compensation was provided for, and if they denied that right to the Irish landowner the right hon. Gentleman must see that they were committing an act of injustice. He was at a loss to conceive, of course no one conceived, how under that Bill the landlord was to get bonuses. The right hon. Gentleman had also gone on to say that the landlord also got arrears of rent. He did nothing of the kind. The Bill provided that the Court might give him that portion of the arrears which was thought just. The right hon. Gentleman had said that that meant all arrears of rent, but he did not think that that was a fair representation of the Amendment. In his criticism of that part of the Amendment the right hon. Gentleman had forgotten that his own predecessor had recommended that in a case where land was bought for the reinstatement of an evicted tenant the landlord was to get such a portion of the arrears of rent as the Court thought just. The Amendment simply gave effect to that. He could not understand why the right hon. Gentleman should have said that the Amendment proposed to give all the arrears of rent when all the Amendment said was that they should get such a portion as the Court should think fair. The two things which the Amendment provided for in the shape of alteration to the Bill were first that it prevented the Estates Commissioners from putting into force the compulsory powers in any case where they could get the land by agreement on reasonable terms—the right hon. Gentleman had said that meant reasonable terms for the landlord, but it meant nothing of the kind, it meant reasonable terms in the opinion of the Estates Commissioners or in the opinion of the Court which the right hon. Gentleman meant to set up or which he understood the right hon. Gentleman meant to set up.
Not on this point.
asked why not? It was absurd and showed an absence of logic in the course that was being taken that that point should not be included. An appeal was to be given on the question of compensation, but the right hon. Gentleman refused to give an appeal from the Estates Commissioners' decision as to the necessity for putting the Act into operation. The right hon. Gentleman had not been frank in what he had chosen to do. It would have been far better for him to have said, "We will not give an appeal at all." He asked the House to adhere to the Amendment because it provided that the Estates Commissioners were not to put in force compulsory powers in regard to anything which they could do without those powers on reasonable terms, and because it provided that the landlord should get what other landlords in England and Scotland got, not the market price, but compensation, which meant adequate remuneration. He hoped that under these circumstances the right hon. Gentleman would at any rate see his way, if he objected to giving an appeal from the decision of the Estates Commissioners upon this point, to adopt the course he (Mr. Campbell) suggested. Perhaps he would not raise any great objection to that. He pressed the right hon. Gentleman to accept his suggestion that the operations of the clause should provide for compensation as distinct from the fair market price. The Estates Commissioners themselves had had to say that they could not tell what was the fair market price of land in the West of Ireland, because there was no market there for land. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 154; Noes, 22. (Division List No. 449.)
|Abraham, William (Cork,N.E.)||Fenwick, Charles||Maddison, Frederick|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Ffrench, Peter||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Field, William||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Patrick A.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Menzies, Walter|
|Barnes, G. N.||Gill, A. H.||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Ginnell, L.||Mooney, J. J.|
|Barry, Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Muldoon, John|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Gulland, John W.||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Benn, W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Halpin, J.||Nicholls, George|
|Boland, John||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Brace, William||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, Kendal(TipperaryMid.|
|Branch, James||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Hazleton, Richard||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Brunner, J.F.L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Byles, William Pollard||Henderson, J.M.(Aberdeen,W.)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Henry, Charles S.||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Higham, John Sharp||O'Grady, J.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||O'Malley, William|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hogan, Michael||O'Shee, James John|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Illingworth, Percy H.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Clough, William||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Jowett, F. W.||Pearson, W.H.M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Joyce, Michael||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Kekewich, Sir George||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Corbett,C.H(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Kilbride, Denis||Radford, G. H.|
|Crossley, William J.||Lamont, Norman||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Cullinan, J.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Reddy, M.|
|Delany, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lough, Thomas||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lundon, W.||Richards,Thomas(W.Monm'th)|
|Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Richards T.F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Macpherson, J. T.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Duffy, William J.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness)||MacVeigh, Charles(Donegal, E.)||Robertson, SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||M`Callum, John M.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||M'Crae, George||Robinson, S.|
|Elibank, Master of||M`Hugh, Patrick A.||Rowlands, J.|
|Essex, R. W.||M`Kean, John||Russell, T. W.|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Killop, W.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Toulmin, George||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Sheehy, David||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Silcock, Thomas Ball||Vivian, Henry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Soan, Thomas Henry||Walsh, Stephen|
|Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Ward, W.Dudley(Southampton||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)||Waring, Walter||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph(Chesh.)||Waterlow, D. S.||Pease.|
|Summerbell, T.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Barrie, H.T. (Londonderry, N.)||Courthope, G. Loyd||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Beach, Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Craig, CharlesCurtis(Antrim,S.)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Forster, Henry William||Younger, George|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Gretton, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C.W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Pike Pease and Marquess of|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey||Hunt, Rowland||Hamilton.|
"In page 2, line 4, after the word 'Acts' to insert the words 'not exceeding two thousand in all.'"
The next Amendment read a second time.
moved that the House disagree with this Amendment. He had never been able to make hon. Gentlemen opposite understand his objections to the enumeration of the precise number of tenants who were to be reinstated. The insertion of these words in this place was most undesirable and misleading. The Bill simply sought to reinstate tenants on lands that were compulsorily acquired. There was no question of reinstating them on lands acquired voluntarily under the Act of 1903. Nobody contemplated that there would be 2,000 evicted tenants reinstated on land acquired compulsorily. While the Act was in operation they would still be going on reinstating tenants on land acquired voluntarily, and it was out of the question to suppose that there would be 2,000 tenants who would be reinstated under this Act, and put on land acquired for the purposes of this Act. He therefore thought that the effect of introducing the figures 2,000 would be to create an impression which he was most anxious not to do, that there would be 2,000 persons reinstated on land acquired under this Act. As he did not wish that any false impression on the subject should be conveyed he had to move that the House disagree with the Amendment. Motion made, and Question proposed "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—(Mr. Birrell.)
said that the Chief Secretary did not do himself justice. They had always clearly understood on the Opposition side the right hon. Gentleman's reasons for not putting an Amendment in the Bill on this subject. On the other hand, he (Mr. Long) had never understood the arguments by which the right hon. Gentleman supported his reasons, because they had always pointed to his accepting this Amendment when it came down from another place, whereas now the House found that it was his intention to refuse it. The Chief Secretary had told them that he did not wish to insert a particular number in the Bill because it would convey the impression that exactly that number of tenants were to be restored under the measure. He (Mr. Long) submitted, with great respect, that that argument was perfectly ridiculous. This was not a question for the Government. The whole of the Bill would be carried out by the Estates Commissioners, and by their policy the Government were abandoning some of the control which they had over the Estates Commissioners at the present time. Really the Chief Secretary did not realise why it was that the Opposition were anxious about this question of numbers. It was not because they thought that he or the Estates Commissioners would yield to pressure, but it was because under the present Administration, which had not been two years in office, the figures had grown from 800, which was the maximum given by one of the Members for Mayo, to 3,000, which was the number of selected men out of 7,000 or 8,000. He pointed out also that the number of 700 to 800 had grown in the first instance from 400 or 500. He repeated that it was not because they thought the Chief Secretary would bow to undue pressure but because they thought that what the Government had kept on telling them they meant to do ought to be put in their Act of Parliament that they so strongly pressed the Chief Secretary to retain this Amendment in the Bill. If they were going to have a maximum number, why in the name of fortune did not the Government put the 2,000 in the Bill and say that that was the maximum beyond which the Commissioners should not go, in the interests of the Estates Commissioners themselves quite as much as in that of the community?
said he believed that in connection with the Act of 1903 the limit of 800 tenants was suggested to be inserted in that Bill. One of the two leaders of the Irish Party during the discussion of 1903 repeatedly assured the House that the number of tenants who could possibly claim to be re-instated under that Act could never exceed 500 or 600 persons. They had also been informed that the Land Act had failed. Twice the number stated by the Member for Waterford as the total of evicted tenants had since that Act been reinstated. Yet in spite of these facts he told them now that the evicted tenants clauses of the Act had been a dead letter. He was glad the House of Lords had introduced this Amendment—an Amendment which the House would remember they endeavoured to have inserted in the House of Commons. If some limitation of that sort were not to be introduced he was perfectly certain the 2,000 would increase to 4,000 or 5,000. The Chief Secretary had informed them it would not make any difference whether they put the number in or not. He would like to see the number put in so that the Estates Commissioners would be prohibited from dealing with others even voluntarily. The Estates Commissioners had made investigations and had said that 2,000 ought to be re-instated. What objection then could there be to putting that in the Bill and having the question settled? It was well known to everybody that pressure would be exercised on the Estates Commissioners.
A la Moore.
said the hon. Member and his colleagues probably knew a little more about these things than he did. One of them said he had been doing his best since 1903 to put the planters out and evicted tenants in their places. In face of such statements no one could doubt what would happen. Whether they were to be reinstated compulsorily or voluntarily did not make the slightest bit of difference. He said they would be using money much better in hastening on what was the principal object of the Act of 1903—the conversion of the ordinary tenant farmer into the owner of his own farm. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 144; Noes, 21. (Division List No. 450.)
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Branch, James||Crossley, William J.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brodie, H. C.||Cullinan, J.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Brunner,J.F.L.(Lancs., Leigh)||Delany, William|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Burke, E. Haviland-||Devlin, Joseph|
|Barnard, E. B.||Byles, William Pollard||Dickinson,W.H.(St.Pancras,N.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Cheetham, John Frederick||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Duffy, William J.|
|Barry, Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Clancy, John Joseph||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Benn,W.(TowerHamlets,S.Geo||Clough, William||Elibank, Master of|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Clynes, J. R.||Essex, R. W.|
|Boland, John||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Cooper, G. J.||Fenwick, Charles|
|Brace, William||Corbett,CH(Sussex,E.Grinst'd)||Ffrench, Peter|
|Field, William||M`Kean, John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Killop, W.||Robertson,SirGScott (Bradf'rd|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Maddison, Frederick||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Ginnell, L.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Robinson, S.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Markham, Arthur Basil||Rowlands, J.|
|Gulland, John W.||Meehan, Patrick A.||Russell, T. W.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Menzies, Walter||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Halpin, J.||Montgomery, H. G.||Scott,A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Mooney, J. J.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Muldoon, John||Sheehy, David|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Hazleton, Richard||Nicholls, George||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Nolan, Joseph||Staniey, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Henry, Charles S.||O'Brien,Kendal(Tipperary,Mid||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Summerbell, T.|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Toulmin, George|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Doherty, Philip||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Vivian, Henry|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Grady, J.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Kekewich, Sir George||O'Malley, William||Ward, W. Dudley (Southamp'n)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Shee, James John||Waring, Walter|
|Kilbride, Denis||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Lamont, Norman||Pearson, W.H.M.(Suffolk,Eye)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Power, Patrick Joseph||White, Patrick (Meath. North)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh,Central)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Lough, Thomas||Radford, G. H.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Lundon, W.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Reddy, M.|
|MacVeagh,Jeremiah (Down, S.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal,E.)||Redmond, William (Clare)||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|M`Callum, John.M.||Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th||Pease.|
|M`Hugh, Patrick A.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry,N.||Courthope, G. Loyd||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)|
|Beach,Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Craig,Charles Curtis (Antrim,S.||Thomson, W.Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Younger, George|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gretton, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Forster and Marquess of|
|Cavendish Rt. Hn.Victor C. W.||Hunt, Rowland||Hamilton.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Long, Rt. Hn.Walter (Dublin,S.|
|Chamberlain,RtHnJ.A.(Worc.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darling'n)|
"In page 2, line 15, after the word 'land' to insert the words 'provided always that no lands shall be acquired compulsorily which have been purchased or agreed to be purchased under the Land Purchase Acts prior to the first day of May, one thousand nine hundred and seven, nor any tenanted land which is in the possession or occupation of abona-fide tenant using or cultivating the same as an ordinary farmer in a husbandlike manner.'"
The next Amendment read a second time.
moved, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment." Although he formally moved disagreement he intended to propose consequential Amendments in the Bill as it left the House, which would really have the effect of giving a good deaf of what the Amendment provided, and would, he thought, meet hon. Members as regarded purchase. The House would see that the Amendment dealt with three different points. It provided that no land should be acquired compulsorily which was subject to an annuity. They did not think that was necessary, but it was put in because it was thought that there was some doubt as to whether land subject to an annuity could be purchased. The second matter was as to lands agreed to be purchased prior to the 1st May, 1907, which was also excluded. The difference in the date was the substitution of May for December. It was an important matter, for it dealt with the people who wished to enter into agreements with a view to the coming into operation of the Act, and if the Amendment were carried he would later move the substitution of the word May for December. The third and most important point was what was known as Lord Robertson's Amendment dealing with the case of the planters. His right hon. friend had already explained to the House that they thought that the acceptance of the Amendment would entirely nullify the clause. Every tenant would say he was a cultivator in a husbandlike way and would claim to be abona-fide tenant, and therefore secure under the Act as a new tenant. If that were adopted the result would be that the carrying out of the Act would be seriously interfered with. They proposed to take the absolute discretion of disturbing the new tenants from the Estates Commissioners and to provide that the Judicial Commissioner must be a consenting party. They proposed to make Amendments to Clause 3 later on. They would provide that if the Estates Commissioners differed, two on one side and one on the other, the Judicial Commissioner should be called in. If he agreed with the two the tenant could be disturbed; if he agreed with the one and not with the two the tenant could not be disturbed. If the three Estates Commissioners were in favour of putting a tenant out the Judicial Commissioner was not to interfere. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—(Mr. Cherry.)
said the right hon. Gentleman had given a clear explanation of the intentions of the Government as regarded the first part and there could not be much to say to that, for the alterations the Government proposed were not, in his opinion, so material as to take up the time of the House at that time of the morning. He must, however, call the attention of the House to one thing. It was quite plain that neither the Attorney-General nor the Chief Secretary quite understood what was the proposal they were making The Chief Secretary left him, and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford also, he thought, under the distinct impression that a Judge or Judicial Commissioner was to have the power of veto as to the removal of a planter. The Chief Secretary had said it was proposed that the Judicial Commissioner was to come in in every case, and that no planter was to be removed except with he right of the Judicial Commissioner to veto it. He had put the case where the lace Estates Commissioners were agreed and asked was there to be the power of veto. Apparently the Chief Secretary and himself were both wrong. There was to be no interference by the Judicial Commissioner where the three Estates Commissioners had decided to put a man out. There was, therefore, no appeal from the Estates Commissioners where the Estates Commissioners were agreed on the necessity for putting a man out. What advantage had that proposal over the Amendment in another place? He would like to remind the House, in regard to the origin of the clause, that the Chief Secretary had said that he did not know what abona-fide farmer was. Every Member from Ireland knew what was meant, and he would have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would have known the interpretation put on those words in Acts of Parliament. Speaking in 1903 in the debate on the Land Purchase Act, the hon. and learned Member for Waterford said he would never vote for the compulsory removal ofbona-fide planters. The expressionbona-fide which had so puzzled the Chief Secretary was the very expression used by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, who knew as much about farming in Ireland as the Chief Secretary. He thought the right hon. Gentleman was going a little too far when he asked a moment or two ago what was abona-fide farmer.
said he had saidbona-fide tenant.
said he would test the sincerity of the right hon. Gentleman's interruption. He was quite satisfied. If the point was that the right hon. Gentleman did not know what was meant by the phrase "bona-fide tenant," he was content to make a change and insert the words "bona-fide farmer." Words of that nature were already in Irish land legislation and had to be considered and decided on by their Courts in Ireland over and over again. If the right hon. Gentleman had any difficulty, the words "in abona-fide possession and occupation" were to be found in the Land Acts of 1881, and 1887. They had formed from time to time, as he thought the right hon. Gentleman knew, and as they all knew, the subject matter for discussion. The expression was thoroughly understood by every person in Ireland, and he believed by every person out of Ireland who wanted to understand them, including the Chief Secretary.
said he had never understood it.
said there were some things the right hon. Gentleman did not want to understand.
said he had heard many Judges say that they could not understand whatbona fide meant.
said many other Judges had defined whatbona fide meant. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that there would be no difficulty in Ireland, either with the Estates Commissioners, the Judicial Commissioner, or any other Judge. There would not be the slightest difficulty in determining what was meant bybona-fide tenant orbona-fide farmer. If the right hon. Gentleman was still in serious difficulty as to what was meant by the expressionbona-fide farmer, he could refer him to the source from which it was taken. Lord Crewe, in the House of Lords, said that so far as his Government were concerned neither they nor he would be a party to putting out anybona-fide farmer. If the right hon. Gentleman was still in any difficulty to know what those words meant, he would refer him to his own colleague, who had charge of the Bill in another place. What was the right hon. Gentleman's objection, if he was sincere in his desire to protect any of those men who werebona-fide farmers, to adopting a definition which came from the lips of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, a lawyer who knew what he was speaking of, in 1903? If the right hon. Gentleman should object to having that expression in his Bill after it had been used by his colleague in the House of Lords he could not understand the right hon. Gentleman's position. He could have understood the difficulty of the right hon. Gentleman if he had said that the words that followed, "husbandlike manner," created some difficulty in his mind, but that did not appear to be his difficulty.
MR. BIRRELL : I mentioned that.
thought the burden on the right hon. Gentleman's mind, the great strain on his intellect, was the question of thebona-fide farmer.
The learned Gentleman has thoroughly thrashed out thebona-fide farmer.
said he was glad to have an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that the matter was thoroughly thrashed out. That being so, he hoped there would be no difficulty in the right hon. Gentleman's saying that he would adhere to the Amendment. He would tell the right hon. Gentleman, speaking in all seriousness, that this was one of the most important points that they had to discuss. He believed that the Chief Secretary would be seriously imperilling the fate and future of his Bill if he deprived the new tenants of the protection provided for them under the measure as it now stood—a protection to which they were eminently entitled. Speaking in 1894, the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture said that he for one would go out into the wilderness rather than be a party to any piece of legislation that turned out these men to put in the evicted tenants. The curious irony of the thing was that the hon. Gentleman now sat on the Front Bench opposite and supported a Government which was doing the very thing against which he formerly protested. The Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture ought to assist the Opposition in seeing that this Bill was not made an engine of oppression against these men. A number of these men werebona-fide farmers, and it was for their protection that this Amendment was put in. All he had to say in conclusion was that he believed if this Amendment was rejected it would create a very grave prejudice against the Bill, and a great difficulty would be placed in the way of the measure's ultimately becoming law. As regarded the alternative suggestion by the learned Attorney-General, the House was led to believe that the protection the new tenant was to get was that in every case the Judicial Commissioner was to have a veto.
said there was a little ambiguity in the words as he read them out. He suggested a slight alteration so as to provide that no tenant could be disturbed "unless any two of the Estates Commissioners and the Judicial Commissioner, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, consider it expedient." That made it necessary that the Judicial Commissioner should concur.
said it appeared that he was perfectly right in calling attention to the invidious position in which this matter was left. He quite recognised the spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman had given way, but he believed that the Government were imposing an extra duty on a Judge who had already as much work to get through as he could do. He was not for one moment going to attack either the impartiality or the fairness of Mr. Justice Wylie. He had every respect for his ability and impartiality. He would remind the Chief Secretary, however, that already his Government had proceeded to make an additional appointment to the judicial bench in Ireland on the express ground that the Judicial Commissioner had so much to do with ordinary land purchase matters that he could not attend to the fair rent appeals. Yet under this Bill they were not only going to make him judge all appeals from the Estates Commissioners, but they were also going to make him inquire into every case in which a planter was removed. That meant that they were going to increase the duties of the Judicial Commissioner enormously, and he joined in the appeal which had been made to the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider the position as affecting the Judicial Commissioner. There was another objection to associating Mr. Justice Wylie at all with the case of these new tenants. Supposing that two of the Estates Commissioners, or the three of them, were in favour of turning out a new tenant, it would be exceedingly awkward if their own colleague, who, like themselves, had thestatus of a Land Commissioner, had to sit in judgment on them, and perhaps had to reverse the decision of his own colleagues. There was no suggestion of any kind against the ability, impartiality, and intelligence of Mr. Justice Wylie, but, on other grounds entirely, it was an unfortunate selection. The Judicial Commissioner should, in his opinion, be kept free to do the work which he already had to do, and which was as much as any one man could do. The main objection he had to the proposal was that it might bring Mr. Justice Wylie into direct conflict with his own colleagues and increase to a considerable extent that friction which all those who were behind the scenes knew already existed among the Estates Commissioners.
said it was rather difficult to meet hon. Gentlemen opposite. The Government had always thought, and he still thought, that their Bill as originally drafted gave ample protection to thosebona fide farmers, if he might use the expression, whom nobody desired to see removed. That was to say, the Estates Commissioners could not turn out any of these persons without having regard to all the circumstances of the case. Having considered all the circumstances of the case they had to come to the conclusion that it was expedient that the evicted tenant should be reinstated and that the planter should go. Everyone would see that it was a serious step. Of course, if they assumed that the Estates Commissioners had no consideration for a person who for many years had admirably performed the duties of abona fide farmer cultivating his land in the manner described, then he quite agreed that the planter had not got full justice done to him. It was only because it had been impressed on them so much by hon. Gentlemen opposite and by persons in another place that the Government had decided it would be a proper thing to associate with the Estates Commissioners a judicial person. It had never been contended that anyone else except a Judge could be invoked in this matter. Lord Atkinson proposed that it should be a Judge of the High Court, and the Government invoked a Judge of the High Court. Therefore, when they associated the Judicial Commissioner with the Estates Commissioners in this matter he (Mr. Birrell) thought the Government had gone a long way to meet the demand, which he did not regard as being very powerful, that some other person than the Estates Commissioners should be called in. What more could they do? The right hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench said that it would be a matter of very great delicacy for the Judicial Commissioner to have to differ from his colleagues. He (Mr. Birrell) did not pretend to know everything about Judges, but he certainly had never known any English Judges show any extraordinary feeling of delicacy about differing from their colleagues on any question. Besides Mr. Justice Wylie had long been in the habit of sitting in appeal from the Estates Commissioners and there would be nothing unfamiliar in his finding himself in that position again. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that there would be such a large number of these appeals that Mr. Justice Wylie's time would be largely occupied. He (Mr. Birrell) did not think there was any justification for the belief that there would be such a large number of these persons appealing as to make serious inroads on the time of Mr. Justice Wylie. The Government thought that they were going a long way to meet hon. Gentlemen opposite when they associated a Judge of the High Court with the Estates Commissioners in order to give a man the most complete security any lawyer could suggest. He was not quite unreasonable. He had just told them he believed that only a small number of these so-called planters would be dispossessed. What was the Bill going to do? Everybody who had the smallest knowledge of the evicted tenants question knew that what the evicted tenant wanted was to get back into his own holding or the holding of his father. The planters were in occupation of these. How then could they get the evicted tenants back except in one way? The Opposition said that whatever the evicted tenants' claim might be, when they were dealing with abona fide tenant farmer they ought not to displace him. They were urged to look at the experience of the Estates Commissioners in regard to the man's administration of land, but they were told by the Attorney-General that the reason of the Bill was not only the restoration of the evicted tenant who longed to be back in his home, but also greater difficulties of general administration. He did not regard the Amendment as satisfactory.
said that as regarded the Irish Benches it was only with a mournful and reluctant acquiescence they had heard the statement of the Government. He made every allowance. Of course, the Government were not yielding to argument. There were only twenty of them opposing the measure, and it would be absurd to think they had prevailed. The Government were giving way to the intimidation and coercion of another place, and that was why he had not entered a more vigorous protest against what he recognised to be the almost unnecessary concessions made by the Government. The Government were in an almost impossible condition in dealing with Ireland. There they were at six o'clock in the morning hardly begun that debate—
Whose fault is that?
said it was the fault of the Act of Union. Why was this attack on Mr. Justice Wylie?
Certainly, attack. You praised Mr. Justice Wylie with faint damns. Mr. Justice Wylie was appointed something like six months ago in place of Mr. Justice Meredith—a highly honourable man and a strong Conservative. This Liberal appointee had given the landlords one year's purchase more for their superior interests than the appointee of the Conservative Government, and that was the gentleman about whom they grumbled. With regard to the statement about the planters he would tell them one case of an evicted tenant. He would not detain the House for a moment while he mentioned the case of the man in connection with whom he himself and others were imprisoned. This evicted tenant did not owe a shilling. His rent was £70. The landlord raised it to £103. Because he would not pay that rent he was put out of the holding. It was in 1880, before Mr. Gladstone's Land Act. A "grabber" was found—a tool of Lord Kenmare's (since dead), and was put in at the rent the other had always paid. The evicted tenant could find no shelter for himself and his wife and five children except under an upturned boat, where he died of fever. His family lived on public charity under this upturned boat for five years; then even out of the upturned boat Lord Kenmare turned them, and the unfortunate wife and children were hunted off the face of the land. The tenant's crops to the amount of £150 were seized and his improvements confiscated. Yet the agent of the late Lord Kenmare sat in Bantry court house, and for walking on his own land gave this man three months, his wife two months, and his sister-in-law two months imprisonment. When the got out, again and again and again they were sent to hard labour. To-day what was their position? Did hon. and right hon. Gentlemen think there would be any peace in that district as long as that widow and children smarted under injustice? He remembered the state in which the husband was buried, the corpse taken out of the boat, the rain pouring down as the priest said the last absolution, and that was a decent, substantial tenant before his cruel eviction. His children waited for relief and they were told of the honourable planter and not a word was said for those upon whom unjust laws which Mr. Gladstone altered had brought ruin.
pointed out that what the hon. Member had said had no sort of bearing on the question. He was sure the hon. Member had no desire to mislead the House. The tenants who were the object of this legislation were the products of a plan of campaign dating several years after the pathetic incident referred to. That must be impressed upon the British public. He was not surprised that that statement should not be welcomed on the Irish Benches, but they were dealing now with those who took the places of a large number of tenants in Ireland who were declared by the Member for North Mayo to have refused to pay rents, not because they were unable to pay them but because he and others had ordered them not to pay. It was these plan of campaign tenants they were trying to deal with and legislate for. The Amendment was of the most vital importance to those who were termed planters. He could only remind the House how different was the manner in which the Chief Secretary had referred to these persons that evening. The Government had reconsidered their opinion. They remembered the Attorney-General referred to the planters as obstinate men, as centres of disturbance.
I only said there might be exceptional cases where one obstinate man would cause disturbance in the district and where it would be desirable, in his own interest, to remove him.
said that no doubt the right hon. Member's words were on record, but his recollection was as he had stated to the House. He was glad that even at that late hour they had some better account given of these planters by the Chief Secretary. He regretted the Chief Secretary did not go a little further and accept the Amendment the Lords had made in the measure. He was anxious that the Bill should be placed on the Statute-book this year. He was anxious that that unpleasant sore should be finally closed, but he ventured to suggest to the Chief Secretary that if it was to be closed he should accept this Amendment. He was not going to refer in detail as to what had been said as to the suggested appeal. He had the pleasure of knowing the Judge to whom reference had been made, and he could not speak of him too highly. He came of a family honoured and respected all over Ireland, and the remarks of his (the hon. Member's) colleagues had no manner of reflection on his uprightness. But he cordially joined with them in the suggestion that the tribunal was not one that Mr. Justice Wylie would care to preside over, and he again urged on the Chief Secretary that he should accept the reasonable Amendment which the Lords had sent down.
said he would not have risen but for the speech of the Member for North Louth. He did not suppose there had been anything said or during the debates which had shown such absolute justification for the action the Opposition had taken in the matter of appeal. What did he tell them in that harrowing story? The thing happened twenty years ago, and he asked the House did any of them think there would be peace in that district till the descendants of that man were restored? That gave the case away. That was exactly the position of nine-tenths of the evicted tenants, and he knew perfectly well there would be no peace in Ireland so long as there was the slightest loophole left, until all the evicted tenants were reinstated. He dared say the hon. Member did not know he was letting the cat out of the bag. Another hon. Member had told them without any concealment that he had always used his best endeavours to have the planters turned out. In spite of these things the Chief Secretary held the Ulster Members up to ridicule and addressed them as if they were semi-lunatics, because, forsooth, they had done their best, as they would continue to do, to see to it that these planters had justice. Their power might not be very great in that House, but there was another House which would respond. These men held their farms on grounds as legal and as justifiable as those upon which any Member of that House owned his house, and they were as little entitled to be disturbed in the enjoyment of their farms. He knew objection had been taken not only by the Chief Secretary but by hon. Members below the gangway to every suggestion in the nature of an appeal or safeguard for these unfortunate men. They objected because they knew that if these men were safeguarded and an appeal provided, the task of turning them out and reinstating the evicted tenants would be all the harder. They would fight to the very end, they had indeed fought to the very end, to see that those men were properly treated. For any right thinking man to refuse to put into that Bill proper safeguards for those unfortunate men was, he thought, a most despicable action. It had been proved time after time what the treatment was that those men were liable to and what they had met with at the hands of the Nationalist Members of that House and Nationalists outside, and proper precautions should be taken to safeguard them. The House divided:—Ayes, 146; Noes, 21. (Division List No. 451.)
|Abraham,William (Cork,N.E.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Ainsworth. John Stirling||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Fenwick, Charles|
|Ambrose, Robert||Clancy, John Joseph||Ffrench, Peter|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Clough, William||Field, William|
|Barnard, E. B.||Clynes, J. R.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Barnes, G. N.||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Barry, F. (Cork, S.)||Cooper, G. J.||Gill, A. H.|
|Barry,Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.)||Corbett, CH(Sussex,E.Grinst'd)||Ginnell, L.|
|Beaumont. Hon. Hubert||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo.||Cullinan, J.||Gulland, John W.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Delany, William||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Boland, John||Devlin, Joseph||Halpin, J.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Dickinson,W. H.(St.Pancras,N.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)|
|Brace, William||Donelan, Captain A.||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Branch, James||Duffy, William J.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Brodie, H. C.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Hazel, Dr. A. E.|
|Brunner,J.F.L.(Lancs.,Leigh)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Hazleton, Richard|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Healy, Timothy Michael|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Elibank, Master of||Henderson,Arthur (Durham)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Essex, R. W.||Henry, Charles S.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Robinson, S.|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Rowlands, J.|
|Hogan. Michael||Nicholls, George||Russell, T. W.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Nolan, Joseph||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Scott,A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Brien,Kendal(TipperaryMid||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sheehy, David|
|Kekewich, Sir George||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Doherty, Philip||Smyth,ThomasF.(Leitrim, S.)|
|Lamont, Norman||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||O'Grady, J.||Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph(Chesh.)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Malley, William||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Lough, Thomas||O'Shee, James John||Summerbell, T.|
|Lundon, W.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Toulmin, George|
|MacVeagh,Jeremiah (Down,S.)||Pearson,W.H.M.(Suffolk,Eye)||Vivian, Henry|
|MacVeigh, Charles(Donegal, E.)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Walsh, Stephen|
|M'Callum, John M.||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh,Central)||Ward,W.Dudley(Southampton|
|M'Crae, George||Radford, G. H.||Waring, Walter|
|M`Hugh, Patrick A.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Waterlow, D. S.|
|M`Kean, John||Reddy, M.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|M`Killop, W.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Maddison, Frederick||Redmond, William (Clare)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Richards,Thomas(W.Monm'th)||Whitley,John Henry (Halifax)|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Richards,T.F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Meehan, Patrick A.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Mooney, J. J.||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Muldoon, John||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Pease.|
|Barrie,H.T.(Londonderry,N.)||Courthope, G. Loyd||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Younger, George|
|Bull, Sir William James||Forster, Henry William|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Gretton, John||Pike Pease and Marquess of|
|Cavendish,Rt.Hon.VictorC. W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Hamilton.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hunt, Rowland|
"In page 2, lines 16 to 21, to leave out Subsection 4 of Clause 1"—the next Amendment. disagreed to.
Amendments made to the Bill instead of the last two Lords' Amendments disagreed to—
"In page 2, line 12, by leaving out the words the Estates Commissioners' and inserting the words 'any two of the Estates Commissioners and the Judicial Commissioner,' instead thereof, and in page 2, line 19, by leaving out the word January' and inserting the word 'May,' instead thereof, and in page 2, line 21, at the end, by inserting as a new subsection, '(5) No and shall be acquired compulsorily which is subject to an annuity for the repayment of at advance under the Land Purchase Acts.'"—(Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland.)
said the next three Amendments were consequential arising out of the fact that the Lords substituted compensation for the word price. They were restoring the word Subsequent Lords Amendments to the Amendment in page 3, lines 22 to 27, leave out sub-section (6) of Clause 2, inclusive, disagreed to. Amendment made to the Bill, instead of the last Lords Amendment disagreed to—
Lords Amendment—"In page 2, line 23, by leaving out from the word 'withdrawn' to the word 'Commission' in line 6, and inserting the words 'the purchase money shall within the prescribed time be paid into the Bank of Ireland by the Land Commission and the Estates Commissioners shall,'"—(Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland)—instead thereof.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment.""In page 3, line 29, after the word 'withdrawn,' to insert the words 'the Estates Commissioners or any two of them shall hear and by order determine '"—the next Amendment, read a second time.
said there was one point there to which he must direct the right hon. Gentleman's attention. The Amendment provided for an order. He thought the Lords Amendment should be allowed as it stood in so far as it provided that any determination of the Estates Commissioners should take the form of an order. Before the Bill was amended that point was put in a very vague way. The Lords Amendment did not affect the question of principle, but it improved on the facilities of the Bill. It provided that the order of the Estates Commissioners should be a record of what they did.
said that the House had not heard the words of the clause which the Government proposed to insert, but they would see that they really did all that was necessary. The words ran—
That provided in simple language that the Estates Commissioners were to determine the price, and if a person from whom land was proposed to be taken was dissatisfied he could at once take an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner. If there was any question of law arising as regarded land which the Estates Commissioners were prohibited from taking under the sixth clause the Judicial Commissioner might allow a case to be taken to the Court of Appeal or might state a case for appeal exactly as was done under the Land Act of 1881. He had not only power to state a case, but he had power also to allow an appeal, to summon witnesses to be sworn, and to appoint a valuer. Question put, and agreed to. Lords Amendment—"Provided that any person aggrieved by any determination of the Estates Commissioners fixing the price of the land proposed to be acquired, or any determination of a question arising under the provisions of this Act imposing restrictions on the acquisition of land, may within the prescribed time, appeal to the Judicial Commissioner, who shall hear in the prescribed manner and determine the appeal. (8) The powers conferred upon the Land Commission by Section 48 of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881, may be exercised by the Judicial Commissioner in the case of all proceedings coming before him in pursuance of the last preceding subsection. (9) Subject to the determination of all questions arising on the petition, the purchase money shall, within the prescribed time, be paid into the Bank of Ireland, and the vesting order shall be made, unless the Estates Commissioners, within the prescribed time, serve a notice on the person appearing to them to be the owner of the land that they do not intend to make the order."
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—(Mr. Birrell.)"In page 3, line 30, to leave out from the word 'thereon' to the end of the Subsection (7) and insert: '(8) (a) Any person aggrieved by any order of the Estates Commissioners made upon the hearing of any such petition as aforesaid may, within the time and in the manner prescribed by rules to be made as hereinafter provided, apply as he shall elect, either to the King's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland, or to the Judges of Assize for the county in which the lands sought to be acquired, or the greater part thereof, are situated, to hear and determine any question of law or fact arising out of any such petition or order, including any question ofl aw or fact under Section 1, Subsection 3, and Section 6. Every such application shall be heard and determined by one of the Judges of Assize for the said county, or by one of the Judges of the King's Bench Division, to be selected by the said Judges according to a rota to be framed by them at the commencement of each sitting of the said High Court. Upon the hearing of every such application the Judge shall have power and authority to hear and determine all questions of law and fact that may arise, including the adequacy of the compensation awarded by the said order, and in particular the question whether, upon the facts and circumstances proved in evidence before him, the compulsory acquisition of the lands in the said petition or order mentioned was just and reasonable, and he may give judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the said order of the Estates Commissioners, and may make such order as to the costs of and incidental to the said petition, and the hearing of the said application, as he may think fit; (b) Upon the hearing of every such application the said Judge shall have the jurisdiction, power, and authority possessed by a Judge of the High Court of Justice in Ireland when presiding at a trial at Nisi Prius, including the power to administer an oath, and compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents. He shall also have the power to direct that an independent valuer, to be nominated by him, should report to him his opinion upon any matter the Judge may think fit to refer to him, and he may make such order in reference to the costs of any such report as he may deem just; (c) In the determination of any question as to the adequacy of the compensation offered, the Judge shall have regard to the principles of the provisions of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, applicable to the compulsory purchase of land, and for the purposes of the said application before the said Judge, the Estates Commissioners shall be deemed to be the promoters of the undertaking within the meaning of the said Act; (d) The Estates Commissioners shall be competent, but not compellable witnesses upon the hearing of every such application, and they shall furnish to the Judge hearing the same all such particulars and documents as shall by him be required, including a schedule in the form prescribed by Section 7 of the Act of 1903, together with a statement of the superior interests, if any, to which the lands sought to be acquired, or the estate of which they form a part, may be subject; (e) The inspectors and other officers of the Land Commission, other than the Land Commissioners themselves, shall be competent and compellable witnesses upon the hearing of every such application; (f) The said King's Bench Division and the Judges of Assize, respectively, may order that all applications pending before them in respect of the same petition or order as aforesaid may be consolidated, and heard together, and for the more convenient, speedy, or proper hearing of any such applications, may order that the hearing of the same may be transferred from the said Division to the Judges of Assize, or from the Judges of Assize to that Division, as the case may be, and the said application, when so transferred, shall be heard and determined as if it had originally been made to the tribunal to which it has been transferred; (g) The Judge before whom any such application is heard may, where he deems it expedient, reserve any question or matter arising upon such application, by way of case stated, for the consideration of His Majesty's Court of Appeal in Ireland; (h) All cases stated for the Court of Appeal shall be prosecuted, heard, and determined by such Court in such manner and form, and subject to such rules and regulations as the Court may from time to time by rules direct. The said Court of Appeal shall give such judgment as ought to have been given in the Court below by the Judge thereof, and such judgment shall be of the like effect as if it had been the judgment of the said Judge, or the said Court of Appeal may remit the case with such directions as they think fit to the Court below; (i) In the interval between the lodging of any such application to the Judges of Assize and the opening of the Assizes for the county in which such application is to be heard, the King's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland shall, on the motion in the prescribed manner of the applicant, the Estates Commissioners, or any party interested, have jurisdiction, power, and authority to make any order of an interlocutory nature in the matter of the said application, as if the same were an action at law pending in the said division; (j) The provisions of Section 23 of the Act of 1903, shall apply to this Act so far as the same are not inconsistent with the provisions of the latter. Provided that a question of law which has been decided by a Judge of the High Court or of Assize, or by the Court of Appeal under the provisions of this Act shall not after the date of such decision, be referred for decision to the Judicial Commissioner nor while a question of law is awaiting decision in any application pending before such a Judge, shall the same question of law be referred for decision to the Judicial Commissioner, unless at the request of some person who is neither a party to nor interested in the matter of the said application; (k) The compensation to be paid to any owner of land in respect of the loss thereof shall for the purposes of the Land Purchase Acts be deemed to be the price to be paid for the purchase thereof; (l) Rules of Court regulating and prescribing the practice, procedure, and the costs of and incidental to the hearing of all proceedings under this section before the King's Bench Division, or any Judge thereof, or any Judge of Assize, may be made by the authority having power to make Rules of Court for the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland; (9) In addition to any compensation to be awarded to the owner under this section, the Estates Commissioners, or the Judges on Appeal, shall have power to award such sum as may appear reasonable in respect of any arrears of rent due by the tenant at the date of the eviction, or in respect of any money paid to the tenant in respect of his interest or goodwill in the lands; (10) If no petition has been presented within the prescribed period, or if every such petition has been withdrawn, or if all questions under all petitions have been determined in such a manner that the Estates Commissioners would be entitled under the order of the Judge of Assize, or of the King's Bench Division or of the Court of Appeal, as the case may be, to acquire the said lands, a binding agreement for the purchase of the lands shall be deemed to have been concluded between the Estates Commissioners and the owner thereof, and the Land Commission shall within six months pay the amount of the compensation into the Bank of Ireland, and the Estates Commissioners may make an order vesting the lands in the Land Commission '"—the next Amendment, read a second time.
said that this was a provision inserted in another place for the protection of the new tenants. The question of appeal was, he thought, the most important matter in connection with the Bill. The consideration of the present Amendment had already been anticipated by a discussion with reference to the protection of the new tenants, but he would offer a few observations with regard to the general appeal provided in another place. The clauses that were inserted in the House of Lords, though numerous, were all necessary for the purpose of carrying out the jurisdiction of the tribunal which was proposed to be set up. They were practically taken verbatim from the Land Act of 1870, though in that Act they were passed for the protection of the tenant and in this Act they were put in for the protection of the landlord. Though they appeared to be rather voluminous, he could assure the House that they were all necessary in order to give proper jurisdiction to the tribunal proposed to be set up. He could understand criticisms of the tribunal, but not criticism on the length of the Amendment, because the clauses were all consequent upon the establishment of the tribunal. The tribunal which the Chief Secretary had admitted was, he thought, very unfortunate, and he would much have preferred to see a Judge of the High Court of Justice in Ireland instead of a Judge of Assize. He thought that the possibilities of the passing of this Bill would have been greatly strengthened if the right hon. Gentleman had seen his way to accept the tribunal which was set up in these clauses. One would have imagined that when the people, whose rights were affected by this Bill, namely, the landowners and the new tenants, asked, through those who had knowledge of their wishes, for a particular tribunal, the Government, in giving them the right of appeal, would have given them the tribunal which they had asked for. The Chief Secretary said it would be too costly, but he would find that he was wrong in his expectations, and that the tribunal set up in another place would have been less costly and more expeditious than the proposal by the Government. If these appeals were not locally determined the expense would be very great, and they could be locally determined by the Judge of Assize at a very small cost indeed. If the number of sittings of the Judge of Assize, which was two a year, was not enough, there was the alternative of going to Judges of the King's Bench Division. The Chief Secretary had said that it would be necessary to appoint another Judge because Mr. Justice Wylie could not do any more work. Yet under this Bill he was not only going to make him a Judge of Appeal in regard to the cases of new tenants. but he was going to impose on him the appeals which could be brought by landowners in reference to questions of law and fact arising under Clause 6. He did not think it was fair of the hon. Member for North Louth to suggest that he had attacked Mr. Justice Wylie. The hon. Member knew perfectly well that the Judge in question had no greater friend in the House or out of it than himself, and he would be the last man that he would attack or say anything about. He took the trouble to say, and he thought he said it in the most specific way, that he had the utmost confidence in the ability, the intelligence, and the honour of Mr. Justice Wylie. But he also said that he thought it was a great pity for himself and for the successful administration of the legitimate work he had to do, that Mr. Justice Wylie should have this extra work thrown on him by the Government who admitted that he already had more work devolving on him than he could possibly do. The evicted tenant was not directly interested in the Court of Appeal, but only the new tenants and the landowners. He could not see therefore why the right hon. Gentleman had deliberately imperilled the safety of his Bill by setting up this alternative tribunal in spite of the protests of everybody really interested in its operation. The radical objection to the Appeal Court proposed to be set up by the alternative plan of the right hon. Gentleman was that it was an appeal to a Judicial Commissioner who was himself of equalstatus as regarded Land Commission work with the two or three gentlemen whose decisions he would be called upon to override.
Is there not a rule against constant repetition? The right hon. Gentleman has been saying the same thing over and over again.
I think the hon. Member will see that this question of the Court of Appeal is a very important matter and is not being unduly discussed. Besides, I think that the right hon. Gentleman was just about to conclude when he was interrupted.
said he thought the House was well advised in spending some little time in discussing this matter. He was also bound to say that he had never heard of this proposal or of this clause until it was read out about twenty minutes ago by the right hon. Gentleman. It certainly appeared to him to be a very strong thing to suggest that twenty minutes was too long a time to devote to discussing the question of an alternative appelate tribunal.
Is the hon. Member entitled to discuss this matter on an Amendment not yet moved?
Such discussion is sometimes taken, especially as, in this case, where the question is to disagree with the Lords Amendment with the view of inserting an alternative. It is usual to discuss both as practically one Amendment, the same as is done in the case of an Amendment to leave out certain words in order to insert other words.
said he could not understand the impatient interruption. It was very difficult at that hour of the morning to discuss even matters with which they were previously acquainted and for which they were prepared, and it was hardly fair or reasonable that Members should be subjected to a series of interruptions. The matter was very important and one which he was satisfied was, for good or for evil, destined to make or to mar the Bill. He only wished to mention his objection against a tribunal which, so far as he could see, would not be a shilling less costly than the tribunal proposed by the Lords, and in which business would not be a bit more expeditiously conducted, because no one could ask Mr. Justice Wylie to throw over all his other work. Moreover, he was surrounded and connected with the wholeentourage of the Land Commission, and the landlords thought they ought to have a man with a different environment bringing his mind to bear upon these questions—a man unconnected with the Estates Commissioners or the associations surrounding the Commission. They thought the time had come when such matters as these questions of the valuation of land should be submitted to the test of appeal to another Court—just as in the land legislation hitherto passed in Ireland the tenants invariably got a chance of sub mitting their cases to a Court other than that which originally fixed the price. He knew everything he had said would be thrown away on the right hon. Gentleman, who had made up his mind to stick to his own Court. He greatly regretted that, because he would disappoint the legitimate claims of the landowners and the new tenants who were the persons really hit by the Bill.
said he had a difficulty in regard to the question of the appeal on value because he was strongly of opinion there need not have been any appeal on value at all. He quite agreed that the concession he was making was to opinions which certainly had not overborne his own mind on the subject. He still thought the Estates Commissioners a perfectly competent tribunal to determine the question of how much was to be paid for the 80,000 acres of Irish land they might require to take for the purpose of reinstating the evicted tenants, and he felt a little on weak ground in regard to that. However, they had acceded to the view that there should be an appeal, and they hoped there would not be many appeals on this question of value. He did not think the Irish landlords had any ground for alarm. They themselves would admit that up to the present under the arrangements they had been able to make they had done very well. He did not think it was honest or fair to rely upon certain evidence given by one or two of the Estates Commissioners. Whether they were wise or foolish to do so, he would not say, but he supposed that at some time or other everybody had theories of rent. Their evidence showed that the Commissioners were anxious that the landlord should receive a fair and generous price for any land taken from him compulsorily. He (the Chief Secretary) felt that when they gave this appeal to Mr. Justice Wylie they made a distinct concession. As he said, he did not agree with any deep sense of conviction, but because he wished to secure the passage of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said the new Judge would be an expensive luxury. He had said that he hoped on the question of value there would not be many appeals, and if there were he could not help thinking that Mr. Justice Wylie would take the opportunity of writing down particular rules and observations which the Estates Commissioners might bear in mind. With regard to other questions, appeals were not really likely to arise with great frequency. On such questions as demesne land or not demesne land, home farm or not home farm, townpark or not townpark, it was perhaps not unreasonable there should be an appeal. Though the Estates Commissioners were the last persons in the world to go and take demesne lands to reinstate evicted tenants, here and there differences might arise, and land might be taken which was within the exemptions—though the cases would never be many—and the Estates Commissioners would be alive to the fact that there was an appeal against them. The Government were convinced that the tribunal they had established was likely to be cheaper and quicker and better than the proposal of the Lords, and, reluctant as he was, he gave in to the best possible and the cheapest tribunal and one which ought to give satisfaction. This was really a comparatively small question as compared with the whole question of land purchase in Ireland. It was the acquisition of a very small number of acres, and he thought they had safeguarded the interests of the landlords so sufficiently that he really was quite hopeful that notwithstanding the forebodings and fears of hon. Gentlemen opposite, when the Bill found its way back to another place the landlords there—powerful as they were and considerably as their interests were involved—would recognise the fact that the Government had against its own judgment and better opinion conceded the right to an appeal on value.
said that in reference to what had fallen from the Chief Secretary about the Estates Commissioners he could assure the right hon. Gentleman, speaking for those who acted with him, that he was convinced there was no desire to express anything but the deepest respect for those gentlemen personally and from the point of view of their public character. But he did not think it was sufficiently recognised by the Government and by the House that they were placed by the law in a position of extraordinary difficulty, and that the pressure they had to resist was very frequently from the Government to carry out the work with which they were charged. To carry that work out efficiently and rapidly was a task of the utmost difficulty, and it was essential that they should be placed in a position in which they could attend fairly to the interests of both parties and at the same time assist in the development of the agriculture of Ireland which was necessary to turn uneconomic holdings into economic. When all these problems crowded upon them it was extremely difficult to approach the question of price with an absolutely open mind. The Opposition therefore thought that, actuated by no feeling of unfairness or injustice, the Commissioners might be overborne and might unintentionally be unfair towards owners on the question of price. He supported the Amendment. With regard to the evidence to which the Chief Secretary had referred, he thought personally that it was unfortunate that gentlemen occupying that particular position should be called upon to give evidence of that kind when it was known it would be the subject of controversy and criticism, which might be hard and even painful for those who were the subject of it. Looking at the whole problem of the value of land from the general point of view he was convinced that that evidence would not prejudice the Commissioner in the discharge of his duty. As he was associated with him when he was Chief Secretary for Ireland, he wished to say again what he had said before, that he had a very great respect for him.
hoped the Chief Secretary would take notice of what had just been said about the position of extreme difficulty of these Gentlemen. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes. 141; Noes, 19. (Division List No. 452.)
|Abraham,William(Cork, N.E.)||Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Bowerman, C. W.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barry,Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.)||Brace, William|
|Ambrose, Robert||Beaumont, Hon. Herbert||Branch, James|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Brodie, H. C.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Boland, John||Brunner,J.F.L.(Lancs., Leigh)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hogan, Michael||Price,C. E. (Edinburgh,Central|
|Byles, William Pollard||Illingworth, Percy H.||Radford, G. H.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Jowett, F. W.||Reddy, M.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kekewich, Sir George||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Clough, William||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kilbride, Denis||Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lamont, Norman||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Corbett,C.H(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Cullman, J||Lewis, John Herbert||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Delany, William||Lough, Thomas||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lundon, W.||Robinson, S.|
|Dickinson,W.H.(St.Paneras,N.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Rowlands, J.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.||Russell, T. W.|
|Duffy, William J.||MacVeigh,Charles(Donegal, E.)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness)||M`Callum, John M.||Scott,A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||M'Crae, George||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||M`Hugh, Patrick A.||Sheehy, David|
|Elibank, Master of||M`Kean, John||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Essex, R. W.||M`Killop, W.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Maddison, Frederick||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Markham, Arthur Basil||Stanley,Hn.A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Field, William||Meehan, Patrick A.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Findlay, Alexander||Montgomery, H. G.||Summerbell, T.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mooney, J. J.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Muldoon, John||Toulmin, George|
|Gill, A. H.||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Ginnell, L.||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Ward, W. Dudley(Southampton|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Nicholls, George||Waring, Walter|
|Gulland, John W.||Nolan, Joseph||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Haplin, J.||O'Brien,Kendal(Tipperary,Mid||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Whitley, John Henry(Halifax)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, W. T.(Westhoughton)|
|Hazel, Dr. A. L.||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Hazleton, Richard||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Malley, William||Mr. Whiteley and J. A.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Shee, James John||Pease.|
|Henry, Charles S.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Teck)|
|Barrie, H. T.(Londonderry,N.)||Courthope, G. Loyd||Pease,HerbertPike(Darlington)|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Craig,CharlesCurtis(Antrim,S.)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Thomson,W.Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Gretton, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Cavendish,Rt. Hon. VictorC.W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Forster and Marquess of|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hunt, Rowland||Hamilton.|
|Chamberlain,Rt HnJ.A.(Worc.||Long,Rt. HnWalter(Dublin,S.)|
"In page 3, lines 35 to 38, leave out Subsection (8) of Clause 2," the next Amendment, disagreed to.
Amendments made to the Bill instead of the last Lords Amendment disagreed to, in page 3, line 34, by leaving out from the word "shall," to the end of Clause 2, and inserting the words "subject to the provisions of this subsection, be final: Provided that any person aggrieved by any determination of the Estates Commissioners fixing the price of the land proposed to be acquired, or any determination of a question arising under the provisions of this Act imposing restric
tions on the acquisition of land, may, within the prescribed time, appeal to the Judicial Commissioner, who shall hear in the prescribed manner and determine the appeal. (8) The powers conferred upon the Land Commission by Section 48 of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881, may be exercised by the Judicial Commissioner in the case of all proceedings coming before him in pursuance of the last preceding subsection. (9) Subject to the determination of all questions arising on the petition, the purchase money shall, within the prescribed time, be paid into the Bank of Ireland, and the vesting order shall be made, unless the Estates
Commisssoners, within the prescribed time, serve a notice on the person appearing to them to be the owner of the land that they do not intend to make the order,"—( Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland,)—instead thereof.
Consequential Amendments made to the Bill—
"In page 5, line 6, by leaving out the word 'petitioner,' and inserting the word 'person,' instead thereof, and in page 5, line 8, by leaving out from the word 'petition,' to the word 'or,' in line 9, and inserting the words 'hearing or appeal under this Act,"—(Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland,)—instead there of.
Subsequent Lords Amendment to the Amendment in page 4, line 14, agreed to.
"In page 4, line 14, after the word 'holding,' to insert the words 'and shall at the same time offer to such new tenant such sum as may be reasonably necessary to cover any expense or loss incidental to the removal of himself and his family as well as of his crops, stock, and chattels to such parcel of land'"—the next Amendment, read a second time, and amended in line 5, by inserting after "and." the word "other," and agreed to.
"In page 4, line 19, after the word 'holding,' to insert the words 'and for any expense or loss incidental to the removal of himself and his family, as well as of his crops, stock, and chattels from the said holding,'" read a second time.
said he could not agree to that because he had no idea where the man might go to. He might remove his family and chattels to the Southern Cross. Lords Amendment disagreed to Lords Amendment—
"In page 4, line 22, after the word '1881,' to insert the words 'Provided that the Estate Commissioners may, if they think proper, and the new tenant so desires, award a sum as full compensation under this Subsection 3, without making an offer of a parcel of land under Subsection 2'"—read a second time.
said he accepted the substance of this Amendment, but would like to amend it. Where the new tenant applied within the prescribed time, the Estates Commissioners might think it proper to offer compensation without offering to put him into possession of a parcel of land. Lords Amendment disagreed to. Amendment made to the Bill, instead of the last Lords Amendment disagreed to—
Consequential Amendment made to the Bill—"In page 4, line 22, to insert the words. '(4) Where the new tenant applies within the prescribed time for compensation under the last preceding subsection, the Estates Commissioners may, if they think proper, award him such compensation without having offered to put him into possession of a parcel of land.'"—(Mr. Birrell.)
Lords Amendment—"In page 4, line 4, at the beginning to insert the words 'unless the new tenant has applied for compensation as hereinafter mentioned.'"—(Mr. Birrell.)
The next Amendment disagreed to. Lords Amendment—"In page 5, line 5, at the beginning, to insert the words 'except as hereinbefore provided,'
"In page 5, line 13, to leave out Clause 5,"—read a second time.
said he disagreed with this Amendment, and thought that Clause 5 should be restored. The real reason why he thought it was moved to leave out the clause in the other place was because it was felt that some limit ought to be placed upon the total paid out of the Land Purchase Aid Fund. The Government had decided that if the clause was withdrawn, they would add a proviso at the end of it, providing that the total amount paid out of the Land Purchase Aid Fund out of this section should not exceed £100,000. Lords Amendment disagreed to. Words so restored to the Bill amended by adding at the end thereof the words—
Lords' Amendment—"Provided that the total amount paid out of the Land Purchase Aid Fund under this section shall not exceed £100,000.'"—(Mr. Birrell.)
The next Amendment, read a second time, amended by inserting after the word "townpart," the words "within the meaning of the Land Law (Ireland) Acts," and agreed to.—(Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland.) Lords Amendment considered—"In page 5, line 25, after the word 'which,' to insert the words 'is or,' and after the word 'farm,' to insert the word 'townpart,' and to leave out the word 'or,'—
"In page 5, line 26, after the word 'ground,' to insert the words 'or ground suitable for building sites or which for any reason possesses an exceptional or accommodation value to the owner,'"—read a second time.
said he was bound to ask the House to disagree with these words. They were vague, and as inserted by the Lords they might very seriously hamper the operations of the Estates Commissioners. Ground suitable for building sites might be situated anywhere in the country, and "ground which for any reason possesses an exceptional or accommodation value" was very vague. In fact, it was almost impossible to determine what it was. If land was taken of this character, the landlord under the Bill was entitled to get a fair market value for it, and therefore he contended that the Amendment inserted by the Lords was quite unnecessary. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
said he did not think it necessary to put the House to the trouble of dividing on this Amendment, although he and his friends thought it was a very reasonable one. He could not for the life of him see how the right hon. Gentleman could have any difficulty in understanding what was accommodation land. They had had it discussed over and over again, and it was just as well known as was a desmene or townpart. The Estates Commissioners would have no difficulty at all in ascertaining what land bore an accommodation value. While the Opposition thought that the landowner who had this accommodation land had just as much right to be protected as a man who had a home farm or pleasure ground, they would not trouble to divide on the Amendment, but would content themselves with entering their protest. Question put, and agreed to.
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Fenwick, Charles|
|Ambrose, Robert||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Ffrench, Peter|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Clancy, John Joseph||Field, William|
|Barnard, E. B.||Clough, William||Findlay, Alexander|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.||Cooper, G. J.||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Corbett,CH (Sussex,E.Grinst'd)||Gill, A. H.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cullinan, J.||Ginnell, E.|
|Boland, John||Delany, William||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Devlin, Joseph||Gulland, John W.|
|Brace, William||Donelan, Captain A.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Branch, James||Duffy, William J.||Halpin, J.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r|
|Brunner,J.F.L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Elibank, Master of||Hazel, Dr. A. E.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Essex, R. W.||Hazleton, Richard|
"In page 5, line 33, to leave out the words immediately adjoining and'"—read a second time.
said he must ask the House to disagree with this Amendment, which very largely extended the exemption of lands that were necessarily exempt. Amendment disagreed to. Lords' Amendment—
"After Clause 6 to insert new Clause B, alternative site.'
"B.—The owner of any land proposed to be acquired under this Act may offer to sell any other land as an alternative, and the Estates. Commissioners shall consider any such offer,"—read a second time.
said he did not think this Amendment was at all necessary, but at the same time he would not disagree with it. Lords' Amendment agreed to. Lords' Amendment—
"New clause, 'Saving of sporting rights.'
"'C.—Where any land is compulsorily acquired under this Act all sporting rights theretofore vested in the owner of the land shall, if he so desires, be expressly reserved to him"—read a second time. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
said he hoped the House would take notice of the fact that the Lords were so satisfied that the evicted tenants were well behaved that Lord Clanricarde would be glad to have shooting parties on their estate on the 1st September next. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 136; Noes, 19. (Division List No. 453.)
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Mooney, J. J.||Robinson, S.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Muldoon, John||Rowlands, J.|
|Henry, Charles S.||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Russell, T. W.|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Scott,A.H.(Ashton under Lyne|
|Hogan, Michael||Nicholls, George||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Nolan, Joseph||Sheehy, Daniel|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Brien,Kendal(Tipperary,Md.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Stanley, Hn. A.Lyulph (Chesh.|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Doherty, Philip||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Lamont, Norman||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Summerbell, T.|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||O'Malley, William||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Shee, James John||Toulmin, George|
|Lough, Thomas||Parker, James (Halifax)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Lundon, W.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Ward, W.Dudley(Southampt'n|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Power, Patrick Joseph||Waring, Walter|
|MacVeagh,Jeremiah (Down,S.)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central||Waterlow, D. S.|
|MacVeigh,Charles(Donegal,E.)||Radford, G. H.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|M`Callum, John M.||Rainy, A. Rolland||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|M`Crae, George||Reddy, M.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|M`Hugh, Patrick A.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|M`Killop, W.||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Maddison, Frederick||Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Rickett, J. Compton||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Meehan, Patrick A.||Robertson,SirG.Scott (Bradf'rd||Pease.|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Beach, Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Pease, HerbertPike(Darlington|
|Bull, Sir William James||Forster, Henry William||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Gretton, John|
|Cavendish,Rt. Hn. Victor C.W.||Hamilton, Marquess of||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Hugh Barrie and Mr. Charles|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Long,Rt.Hn. Walter (Dublin,S.|
Subsequent Lords' Amendments to the Amendment in page 6, line 24, agreed to.
"In page 6, line 24, to leave out the word 'may' and insert the words 'after having been offered to the person from whom it was acquired may if the offer is not accepted by him within the prescribed time'"—read a second time.
said this was a provision to enable surplus lands in cases of resale to be resold to the person from whom they were bought in the first instance. If he did not wish to buy they could be sold elsewhere, but he had a right of pre-emption. Lords' Amendment agreed to. Lords' Amendment—
"In page 6, line 39, to leave out Clause 13"—read a second time.
moved, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment." He said that the Lords had acted unadvisedly in admitting the clause. The Government were still of the opinion that the position of the Estates Commissioners was peculiar. He did not himself greatly admire what was now becoming a necessity of some of their legislation, and that was a mixture of the executive and the judicial. It was much better that these things should be kept apart. The Commissioners were in this position.Quoad executive capacity they were necessarily under the control of the House. It was not suggested for a moment that the Commissioners should be removed from the criticism of the House. All the salaries of two of them would remain on the Votes. One of them was already an official at the time of the Act of 1903 and occupied a different position. In order to make him subject to criticism his salary was increased by £500. He did not offer any opposition, and he too was now subject to criticism. The Government did not propose to alter this position. It was a difficult matter for anybody in Ireland to hold such office. The Commissioners had to stand a good deal of criticism. That was all very well so long as it was merely criticism, but when it took the form of, he would not say a threat but of a suggestion that the person who acted in a particular way might find himself dismissed from his office when another party came into power, they had a very disagreeable situation. What was the present position of these gentlemen? Two were removable by the Lord-Lieutenant through an Order in Council which must lie on the Table of Parliament. An Address must then be presented to His Majesty. The initiative rested with the Lord-Lieutenant. The position of the third Commissioner he would not go into. It was somewhat doubtful exactly what it was, but there seemed to be a difference between it and that of the others. The Government desired to put all three on terms of equality. Their proposal was that they should hold office by the tenure of a County Court Judge. Their salaries would still be paid by this House, which would leave their action open to discussion, but, like County Court Judges, they would only be removable by an Address on account of misbehaviour. No doubt a recent letter was merely the expression of an angry man in a fit of temper, who had no serious intention of acting in any improper manner when his party became responsible, and there was a great difference between what a man might say when he was angry and his words when he was invested with office and felt it his bounden duty to behave as Christianity and religion dictated he should do. The Commissioners were entitled to be saved such things and to have the satisfaction of feeling that they were entrusted with important duties and that although as executive officers they were subject to some extent to Parliament and the Minister in charge, so far as judicial business was concerned they had the tenure of Judges. There must have been some misunderstanding or misapprehension when another place struck out that clause. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—(Mr. Birrell.)
said it had always been a puzzle why this particular clause found its way into a Bill dealing with evicted tenants. Now they had learned from the Chief Secretary the reason of this proposal to give the Commissioners a newstatus. The reason was a letter of which they had heard mention more than once—a letter written by the Member for North Armagh in which he made some indiscreet remarks on one of these Estates Commissioners. He was bound to say it was a new idea that because one indiscreet letter was written or one hasty word said, therefore they were suddenly to discover it was necessary to put the people to whom the letter or the language was addressed on quite a new footing. The Chief Secretary had told them that the position of the third Commissioner was one of some doubt, but that he held on a different tenure from that of the two others. He had never been able to the see why the Estates Commissioners should be on better terms of service than other civil servants. They already were on better terms, and now it was proposed to put them on the same terms as County Court Judges. At the time the change in the law was made Mr. Wrench was under a certain tenure and would not have changed his position if he were not given security of tenure, but the case of the other Commissioners was different. He could not understand the attitude of the Government. They seemed to want to make these officials absolutely independent of the Executive Government. The change was not justified by the facts. He would record his vote against a change which he believed to be undesirable.
said there was nothing inconsistent in his speeches, but hon. Gentlemen above the gangway were strangely inconsistent. When the Bill was in Committee their object was to secure protection for the Estates Commissioners against pressure being brought to bear on them. When it was proposed to protect them from pressure they objected to it. There were three Commissioners, two who were supposed to be friendly to the tenants, and one who was supposed to be friendly to the landlords. The one friendly to the landlords was secure in his tenure, the other two were not. They wanted to make those two secure.
said that when the Act of 1903 was before the House the hon. and learned Member for Waterford and his friends insisted on those two gentlemen being kept in the position they now held.
said that was not so. He insisted on their being kept in a position where they could be criticised.
said what the hon. and learned Gentleman said in 1903 was that these gentlemen were to he officials not judges.
said he only meant that in the sense that they ought to be at liberty to criticise them.
said he did not think the hon. and learned Gentleman had been as candid as he usually was in dealing with the position of Mr. Wrench. The reason Mr. Wrench's position was different was that, at the time he took office, Mr. Wrench was an Irish Land Commissioner with security of tenure. The other two gentlemen were not, and were quite satisfied with the tenure given to them. He was opposed to the proposition, because he was convinced that they would never have heard of that Evicted Tenants Bill if it had not been for that clause.
said if he believed that, he would believe anything.
said he quite expected the astonishment the right hon. Gentleman had expressed. Still that was his conviction. He was also opposed to the proposal, because it had been received with such extreme éclat by hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, who usually covered judicial persons in Ireland with abuse, contempt, and ridicule.
thought the House should understand what the late Chief Secretary and the late Attorney-General for Ireland objected to. A County Court Judge could not deal with cases of more than £50, the Estates Commissioners dealt with £110,000,000. The House of Lords, who received that money, objected to giving the Commissioners the same tenure as County Court Judges. They had to remember what had happened since 1903. The hon. Member for North Armagh had written a letter—he would never get out of it — the hon. Member who was continually attacking the Irish people in connection with threatening letters had himself attempted intimidation.
said they were nearing the end now, and he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would not go back unduly upon a matter which had already been sufficiently before the House.
said the question they were discussing was whether the same tenure was to be given to the two Estates Commissioners as to the other Commissioner. It was very necessary that it should be, when the hon. Member for North Armagh sent them threatening letters, an offence for which miserable peasants were sent to gaol. Question put. The House divided:—Ayes, 139; Noes, 19. (Division List No. 454.)
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Brunner,J.F.L.(Lancs., Leigh)||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Ainsworth. John Stirling||Burke, E. Haviland-||Duffy, William J.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness|
|Baring,Godfrey(Isle of Wight)||Byles, William Pollard||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Elibank, Master of|
|Barry,Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Essex, R, W.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Clancy, John Joseph||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Benn,W.(T'w'r Harnlets,S.Geo.||Clough, William||Fenwick, Charles|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Ffrench, Peter|
|Boland, John||Cooper, G. J.||Field, William|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Corbett,C.H(Sussex,E Grinst'd||Findlay, Alexander|
|Brace. William||Cullinan, J.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Branch, James||Delany, William||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Devlin, Joseph||Gill, A. H.|
|Ginnell, P.||M`Hugh, Patrick A.||Richards, T.F.(Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||M`Killop, W.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Gulland, John W.||Maddison, Frederick||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Halpin, J.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Robinson, S.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Meehan, Patrick A.||Rowlands, J.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Montgomery, H. G.||Russell, T. W.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Mooney, J. J.||Scott,A.H.(Ashton under Lyne|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Muldoon, John||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Hazleton, Richard||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Sheehy, David|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nicholls, George||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Henry, Charles S.||Nolan, Joseph||Smyth, Thomas F.(Leitrim,S.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||O'Brien,Kendal(Tipperary,Mid||Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Summerbell, T.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Doherty, Philip||Toulmin, George|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Kekewich, Sir George||O'Grady, J.||Ward,W.Dudley(Southampton|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Malley, William||Waring, Walter|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Shee, James John||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Lamont., Norman||Parker, James (Halifax)||White, J. D.(Dumbartonshire)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Power, Patrick Joseph||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Lough, Thomas||Price, C.E. (Edinburgh,Central||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Lundon, W.||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.||Reddy, M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|MacVeigh,Charles(Donegal, E.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|M`Callum, John M.||Redmond, William (Clare)||Pease.|
|M`Crae, George||Richards,Thomas(W. Monm'th|
|Barrie, H.T. (Londonderry, N.)||Courthope, G. Loyd||Pease,HerbertPike(Darlington|
|Beach,Hn. Michael HughHicks||Craig, Charles Curtis(Antrim,S.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Thomson, W Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Gretton, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Cavendish,Rt.Hon.VictorC.W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Forster and Marquess of|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hunt, Rowland||Hamilton.|
"After Clause 15 to inert new Clause D, 'Duration of Act.'"
"D.—The provisions of this Act conferring powers for the acquisition of land and for the determination of tenancies shall continue in force for three years after the passing of this Act."—read a second time.
said he moved to accept this clause, but he would substitute for the word "three" the word "four." He would also add words that would enable any matters coming before the Court of Appeal or the Judicial Commissioner which were still pending at the end of four years to be determined, but would not enable any new matters to be determined. It was quite possible, as the House would see, that there might be a good many matters which would occupy the attention of the Court of Appeal for a long time and in regard to which a final decision could not be given until after the four years had expired. He proposed at the end of the new Clause D to insert the words "and as regards any matters then pending before the Court of Appeal or the Judicial Commissioner until such matters are finally determined." Lords Amendment, amended as proposed, and agreed to. Remaining Lords Amendments agreed to. Committee appointed to draw up reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Amendments made by the Lords to the Bill. Committee nominated of—Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland, Mr. Birrell, Mr. Clancy, Mr. Muldoon, Mr. John Redmond, and Mr. Russell. Three to be the quorum. The Committee to withdraw immediately.—(Mr. Birrell.)