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rich. As the law at present stood the tenant would have in many cases a notice of forty-three days, but in all he must have thirty-one before he went out He had applied to the right hon. Gentleman for his assistance upon the committee, which had been refused; he therefore thought it was most unjust and improper for him to indulge in such harsh language with respect to the labours of the committee. The Bill was intended to bring home justice to the poor man. The cottages of the poor landlord were as much entitled to protection as the mansions of the rich, lie was anxious to protect the poor, and would consent to any amendment for that purpose in the Committee— but he would not consent to protect the dishonest man at the expense of one probably not much richer than himself from whom he detained his property. Injustice to himself he must say, that since he intended to bring in the bill he had taken the opportunity of sending the bill to every place throughout the country—not to landlords alone but to every mechanics news-room of which he had the slightest knowledge, and the only complaint he had heard against the bill was, that it did not go far enough for the protection of the small landlords. He trusted the House would allow the bill to be committed.
The Solicitor General said, he was quite prepared cheerfully to submit to any unpopularity that might be supposed to attach itself to this bill, which lie did not hesitate to siy was a great improvement. It was, indeed, a bill quite as much calculated for the benefit of the poor as for that of the rich; as respected the former it must tend to encourage the building of convenient tenements for the occupation of the labouring and poorer classes. As the law stood with respect to the rich man, or landlord, it was absurd; the only chance a landlord now had of getting possession of a cottage forcibly withheld from him, after the termination of the demise or letting, was to bring his action of ejectment against a person who, if defeated, had no property sufficient, in 99 cases out of 100, to pay the costs, much less the damages that might be awarded. The bill, in effect, intended to do justice cheaply for the poor man and expeditiously for the landlord, and would mediate between them when they became litigants for the possession of the tenement in question.
The House divided on the original motion :—Ayes 112; Noes 7: Majority against the amendment 105.
List of the Ayes.
Acland, T. D. Jermyn, Earl of
Bagge, W. Kinuatrd, A. F.
Baillie, Colonel Langdale, hon. C.
Baines, E. Lascelles, VV. S.
Barnard, E. G. Lefevre, C. S.
Barrington, Viscount Lemon, Sir C.
Blackstone, W. S. Mackenzie, T.
Blennerhassett, A. Maule, hon. F.
Bramston, T. W. Murray, J. A.
Brodie, W. B. Muskeit, O. A.
Brotherton, J. Pakington, J. S.
Aglionby, 11. A.
from the rich. He was satisfied that the hill would be as much an advantage to the tenant as to the landlord.
Sir E. B. Sugden said that, according to his own argument, the hon. Member for Southwark ought to vote with him. The hon. Member for Southwark contended that no difference should be made between the rich and the poor, and it was because this bill would establish such a difference that he (Sir E. Sugden) objected to it. The rights of the poor would be committed under this measure to the decision of an inferior tribunal, and as this was an arrangement to which the rich would not submit, he felt it to be his duty to oppose it.
Mr. Pryme contended, that the whole course of English Legislation for centuries had been to establish cheap tribunals, where the amount in dispute was small; but where the sums were larger, they were submitted to a more expensive and august tribunal. This had been the course of legislation from the days of Alfred down to the present time. So much for ancient law and ancient customs, of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Sugden) was at all times the powerful advocate. Did the right hon. and learned Gentleman mean to say, whether the amount in dispute was 5s or 50s, or 91. 19s., as by this bill, that|the subject in dispute should be determined by the same jurisdiction as if 1,000/. were concerned? In modern times they had had the Trespass Bill, under which Magistrates had the power to adjudicate on cases under 51. and therefore the principle adopted by the bill was in accordance with both ancient and modern legislation. If this bill worked well, it might be hereafter extended ; but it was no argument against the measure to say, that it could not remedy every grievance.
Mr. Halves was prepared to support the bill as it stood. At the same time he should like to know whether the House would go with him in raising the amount to 20/. He knew the inhabitants of large towns and of their vicinities were desirous that such should be the case ; and if the bill were limited to 10/., it would be almost wholly confined to rural districts.
Sir Robert Peel had not suggested that the sum should be 20/. out of any hostility to the bill, but was prepared to propose, that amendment if he could feel sure, that he should not, by doing so, endanger the He did so on principle, and he should be
equally ready to vote for property of 1,000/. being subjected to a summary jurisdiction. He thought he had therefore better at once move an amendment, and would therefore propose the introduction of the words " property rated at a sum not exceeding 20/."
Mr. Estcourt as a Member of the Committee, had been in favour of the reduction from 20/. to 10/., in order to get rid of the supposition, that there was any political object in view. He had, however, no objection to the amount being fixed at 20/. and should therefore vote, if necessary, for the proposition of his right hon. Friend.
Mr. Darby wished to know from the Attorney-general whether or not, under the clauses, a magistrate might not be called upon to decide a question of title. He also thought great oppression and injustice might be inflicted under this bill, on those who might be ejected from cottages which had garden ground attached.
The Attorney General said, in answer to the question of the hon. Member, no doubt a case of this sort might arise, A landlord might die, and the tenant might question the son's right as to his legitimacy, but in 999 cases out of every 1,000, the question would be merely one of common tenancy. He certainly was not wedded to fixing the amount at 10/. and would therefore withdraw his opposition to extending the sum to 20/.; at the same time he must deny the observation, that had been made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that this was a law for the rich and not for the poor. By the existing law a sum under 40*. was recoverable in the county courts, and under 51. in the courts of conscience, and no one would pretend to say, that therefore, it was intended by this bill, to make one law for the rich and one for the poor. On the same ground, that those inferior jurisdictions had been formed, it was intended, that cases of ejectment from tenements or property held under 20/. should be referred to the decison of the magistrates, because the expense of ejectment under the existing law was so great.
Amendment of Sir R. Peel agreed to.
The bill went through the Committee.
The House resumed, the Report to be receiyed.
Parochial Assessments Jbill.] On the motion for going into Committee on the Parochial Assessments Bill,
Mr. Goulburn said, that the title of this Bill had so little reference to its clauses, that it would not be competent for any Member to introduce it into Committee. He thought it would, therefore, be better, that the bill should be allowed to drop.
Mr. Shaw I.efevre said, that as doubts had arisen as to the purpose of the bill, he would move as an amendment, the insertion of the words " declare and enact" in each clause.
Mr. Goulburn said, that bringing in a bill in the manner in which that bill had been introduced, was a total perversion of the constitutional practice of the House. He felt it was a point on which the House ought to be jealous, and he hoped, that some remedy would be found by the hon. Gentleman opposite.
The Speaker said, it was certainly the general rule, that a declaratory bill should not also be an enacting one; but he thought, that if any doubt existed on the subject, the mistake could be remedied by an instruction to the Committee.
The Attorney General said, that he did not feel the weight of the right hon. Gentleman's objection, as the mistake to which he alluded was merely technical, and could be easily remedied.
Mr. Goulburn said, he had felt it his duty to make the objection, not with the view of throwing an obstacle in the way of a bill of which he disapproved on other grounds, but because he thought it of importance that the House should adhere to those rules which had so long governed their forms of proceeding. He would now say a few words as to the general principle of the measure, which he considered as one of great injustice. It was a bill which, if passed in its present form, would alter the mode of rating property in parishes. The principle of the law of rating had always been, that it was to press equally on property, but this bill would depart from that principle, for in some eases it would make the rating on the whole profit derived from the produce of the land, while in others it would be made only on a portion of such profits. This was most unjust in principle, and in its application to many individuals, to the clergy, and to the owners of capital invested in railroads, canals, and many other species of property which were
totally distinct from the profits of the lessor. In an act which had passed the Legislature for encouraging the commutation of tithes, the clergy were invited to take a rent-charge on land instead, which rent-charge would be subject to the same rating as when the property was tithe in the hands of the incumbent. But the effect of this bill would be to increase the amount of the rate on the rent-charge far beyond what it ever had been on the tithe. This he considered an act of gross injustice. One clergyman who had been rated on the one-fourth of his tithes, would now be rated on two-thirds of the rent-charge, which had been given in lieu of them, though he had been assured, that his rating on the rent-charge would not exceed that on the amount previously received as tithe. The difference between the present and the former rating would be 431. beyond the former amount. In another case, in Shropshire, a clergyman, whose whole income from his living did not exceed 160/., and from which he had to pay a curate, would, if this bi/1 were to pass, have an increase on his rating of 20/. a-year. The remark of the Gentleman from whom he had this statement was, that should this bill of Mr. Shaw Lefevre pass, he doubted whether that Gentleman's servant would be satisfied with the income which would then remain to this clergyman. He thought it would be highly indiscreet in the House, without inquiry, without information or discussion on the subject, to pass this measure at the present advanced period of the Session, and he begged to conclude by moving, "That further proceedings on the bill be postponed to that day three months."
Mr. C. Wood contended that it would be great injustice to delay the passing of a measure so imperatively called for, and so much affecting the interests of all parties.
Sir R. Inglis supported the amendment, because he thought it was a measure that would put into the pockets of the landholders a large sum of money that belonged properly to the tithe owners.
Mr. Darby was convinced that the principle of the bill was a right one, and did not think that the land-owners should first pay for the rent which they received, and afterwards for the profits of their tenants. If the land-owner and titheowner were charged on the rent which they received, justice would be done.
Mr. Lefevre explained, that where tithe-owners had been more indulgently rated hitherto, this bill would not produce any result of which they need be afraid.
Mr. Bruges said, that the House, in legislating on this subject, ought to consider the rent-charge as so much tithe, and then the question would be, supposing the tithe to be let, what sum was it likely to obtain? Upon that sum it was, that the assessment ought to be made, and it would not be fair to place the tithe-owner in a worse situation with regard to assessment than the landlord. As it was impossible to allow the law to remain in its present state, and as the bill, if properly worded, might prove beneficial, he should vote for the Committee.
The House divided on the original motion :—Ayes 59; Noes 31: Majority 28.
List of the Ayes.
Aglionby, H, A.
Langdale, lion. C.
House in Committee.
Mr. Goulburn said, that great injustice would be done were this clause carried into operation. There were many cases in which tithe had been commuted under the recent Act, and unless a clause was nserted in the bill applicable to those cases, a much higher rate would be imposed on the rent-charge than what had been formerly charged upon the tithe. Such a proceeding was highly improper and unjust, and he wished to know from the hon. Gentleman who had framed the bill, whether he would consent to the introduction of a clause protecting the interests of those who had commuted their tithes by an equitable adjustment into a rent-charge?
The Attorney General said, that it was absolutely necessary that a measure of this kind should pass before the Tithe Commutation Act came into compulsory operation, but if the right hon. Gentleman would frame a clause protecting the individual cases to which he had alluded, he (the Attorney General) would support it.
Sir R. Peel said, that it was not the duty of his right hon. Friend, but the duty of those who framed the bill to propose a clause to prevent the injustice of which his right hon. Friend had complained. He thought that they were proceeding to legislate on this subject with great precipitation, and he contended, that time ought to be afforded for more mature deliberation. The interests of the titheowner had not been sufficiently attended to, and if the time were allowed, an equitable arrangement might be effected in regard to the owners of tithe. He would not say, that a measure of this kind was not necessary, but rather than proceed without mature deliberation to legislate on a subject so important as the present, it would be better to suspend for a time the compulsory operation of the Tithe Commutation Act. Of the two evils, that, he thought, would be the least, for at present they were totally