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Commons put the question, that the I Union Bill should pass, there were some! in the House, and those of considerable legal learning, who gave their opinion that the measure might be resisted by force. He at that time had the command of a military body; and he then stated, that as the measure had been passed by a majority of the House, and would, no doubt, be adoped by the whole Parliament, he would submit to it, and would defend it with all his power, as he would have defended a measure of which he should have fully approved. He stated this, in order to show that there was no inconsistency on his part in now decidedly opposing a repeal of the Union.
The Earl of Winchihea was desirous of explaining, as this point seemed misunderstood, that his Bill applied only to those parishes where there were able-bodied, unemployed labourers, and not to any others. He was persuaded, that the yeomanry neither of Kent nor Sussex to whom allusion had been made, had done anything improper.
The Duke of Wellington assured the noble Lords who pressed this matter upon the attention of Government, that the Government had not been inattentive to the subject. The real truth was, that the administration of the Poor-laws was so various in different places, that it was impossible to find out where the evil lay, or to prepare any one measure which would apply to all, for what would answer in one place would not answer in another. A noble Duke had said, that the Ministers knew nothing about the administration of the Poor-laws; and it was true that they could not well know how they were administered in every parish, when the modes of administration were so exceedingly various. But the variety of these modes proved how very difficult it must be to find out a general remedy. He agreed in what had been stated respecting the consequences of the resort of the superabundant unemployed Irish to this Country; but there again it was extremely difficult to find a remedy. The noble Lord opposite (Suffiekl) had himself suggested two remedies, or plans, which he thought would be attended with advantage in Norfolk; but it did not follow that what would be a beneficial plan in Norfolk would answer in Kent and Sussex. The Government, however, felt every disposition to do all that lay in its power to
remedy the evils which had been the subject of so much complaint.
The Duke of Richmond was glad to find it now admitted on all sides, that his motion of last year was not a factious one.
The Marquis of Salisbury felt himself bound to say, that he had heard from a person of considerable influence in the Government, that if the noble Duke's Motion had been confined to an inquiry into the state of the Poor-laws, he would not have opposed it.
The Duke of Richmond: Then the Government ought to have moved as an amendment, that the latter part should be left out.
The Bill read a first time, to be printed, and read a second time, on Tuesday week.
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
Minutes.] Returns ordered. On the Motion of Mr. Bernal, of the Claims of British subjects on France in 1793. which have been satisfied, and Accounts connected therewith:—On the Motion of Mr. Alderman Waitbman, of the daily Employ and Service of the several Ships or Vessels undermentioned, belonging to, or employed by his Majesty's Ordnance, from the 20th day of July, 1830, to the 10th day of August, 1830, inclusive; viz. the Ebenezer of Woolwich, Chatham of Purfleet, Fanny of Woolwich, Harmony of Chatham, Wellington of Upnor, and Ligonier of same. Also, an Address for Copy of the Record of Conviction of William Edwards, at the Rochester Sessions, 18S4, who was found guilty of Smuggling, and sentenced to five years service on board the Prince Regent! also, a Report of whether he served such timet and if not, when, and under what circumstances he left; and whether he has since served out the said time, or received, and from whom, and when, a remission of the remainder, or any part of his sentence.
On the Motion of Mr. Slaney, a Bill for the better rating Tenements under a certain annual value, ordered to be brought in by Mr. Slaney, Lord Viscount Althorp, and Sir Thomas Freemantle, and was brought in accordingly.
On the Motion of Mr. Bribcob, the Settlement of the Poor Bill was read a second time.
Petitions presented. By Mr. H. Davis, from a Parish in Bristol, for a Repeal of the House and Window Tax. By Mr. Wrightson, from Kingston-upon-Hull, for a Repeal of the Coast Duty on Coals. By Sir R. Bateson, from certain Cotton Weavers in the County of Down, for means to Emigrate to the Colonies. For the abolition of Colonial Slavery, from Durham, by Mr. A. Tatlor :— By Mr. Littleton, seventy from Staffordshire i—By Sir H. Bdnbubt, twelve from .Suffolk:—By Mr. Evans, sixty-four from Leicester:—By Sir C« Lbmon, two from Penryn:—By Mr. Stewart, from Derby:—By Sir W. Inoilby, 150 from the County of Lincoln*—By Mr. Russell, sixteen from the County of Di***^ *Bbll, four from Northumberland:' from Melbourn, in Derbyshire:—B* Southampton, and one from Jersey Lett, forty-three from Durham l forty from Norwich:—By Sir T. I Devon:—By Lord Norrevb, frf shire:—By Sir C. Ttrell, tw Mr. D. Stkes, from Hull and Mr. O'connkll, from Huncote Calvert, three from Parishes Rickfohd, from a Parish in B
Members of your honourable Hoase, also a reduction of the taxes. That your petitioners are impressed with a lively sen« of the sacrifice which bis most graciou; Majesty has recently made to the wants atd distresses of his people—an example which your petitioners consider well worthy o! imitation. That your petitioners beg to assure your honourable House of thee loyalty to his Majesty and his most gracious Consort."
This was the prayer of a Corporate that he had known for upwards of fortv years to have been distinguished by almost invariable professions and principles of attachment to what were called Ministers principles. He was convinced, that avert few years ago this petition would not hit; received one of the numerous signafc which were now attached to it. Hi remembered that town when it was Ok I the most flourishing and wealthy k * whole county, and at present it was cd in the deepest distress. He stas. s.plain fact which, he trusted, woe; credited on his assertion. At the £121: this petition was the signature of apis whose loyalty had never been eis-s^. even by that of any hon. Membe? nr' r_ House; but he, in common with al neighbours, was so strongly Bilxus? with the necessity of a reform, ami -. something being done to alleviate tat r%tress. that he had willingly petition. He believed, indeed, distress complained of in the isted everywhere. The district on the mind of the landbxubwa that having heavy poor-rates t£> 7art. £3. heavy taxes of one sort or aiiccbe-. • could not pay his workmen as be lensr^ would. That was the sjlofenon n: people about the place from wbenns petition came. He had lived in ~ some time, and he knew thai "tin
ation took place, some relief was afforded, comfort and tranquillity could never be restored; and agriculture could never return to its former state. He would not ask the right hon. Secretary of State whether he really believed in the existence of the distress, and in its gradual increase; he was perfectly sure that every man of common understanding was aware of that fact. For fifteen years he would venture to say, the country had been gradually getting into a worse condition, and it was now reduced to such a state, that unless measures of the most prompt and j effectual description were resorted to, it
and shall certainly exercise my judgment upon the merits of it, when the statements to which the reverend gentleman refers shall be brought forward.
Subletting Act.] Mr. O'Connell rose, pursuant to notice, to move for leave to bring in a Bill to repeal the Statute 7 George 4th, cap. 29, commonly called the Subletting Act. He pursued this course because he was convinced that, if there were anything objectionable in the Act—and it was admitted on all hands that there was— it would be better to bring in a new
would be utterly impossible to foretell the j Statute at once, than to attempt to patch consequences. If a very great retrenchment were not made, and very shortly, the tranquillity of England would be put to, hazard. Under these circumstances, he looked forward with the utmost anxiety to the plan of Ministers, for he was quite certain that the prosperity of the country would be compromised for manyyears if large retrenchment and large reform were not conceded to the people. Ordered to lie on the Table.
Case Of Dr. Phillpotts.] Lord Belgrave said :—1 have been requested by the Very Rev. Dean of Chester to make a communication of some importance to the House. In doing so, I think it right to state, that 1 have no intimate acquaintance with that reverend personage; but from what I know of his character, I have considered it due to him to accede to his request. The rev. gentleman says, in a letter which he has addressed to me, that he should esteem it a very great favour if 1 woujd state in the House of Commons this evening, that he earnestly requests hon. Members will suspend their judgments upon the question which is to be brought forward about him on the 18th, until they have heard those statements which he ventures to hope will be found satisfactory to the House. In the mean time, he trusts that those ex parte allegations which have appeared in the newspapers and elsewhere, and to which it must be evident that he cannot reply, will not be allowed to bias the judgments of those who have to pronounce upon the case. For my own part, I have no hesitation in calling upon the House to do this,— namely, to suspend their judgments. This is all I ask of the House, lor I am not acquainted with the facts of the case,
up the old one. This Statute was the law in Ireland, but it was not the law in England, and he thought he had a right to have a case made out why the law of landlord and tenant should be different in the two countries. This Act had two objects in view, and it might be, for convenience—nay, it ought to be, for convenience,—divided into two Statutes. The first part of the Act related to existing leases and contracts; the second, to leases and contracts to be hereafter made. The first part of the Act altered the nature of contracts then subsisting, by giving a literal meaning to the words of contracts; whereas a legal meaning, which was a different meaning, attached to those words before. This was an unjust, because an ex post facto law, and the object of it was to strike out of contracts a qualification which was advantageous to the tenants. He knew that some Gentlemen had said that they liked the principle of this Act, though they objected to the details of it. Could any one say, that he liked the principle of this part of the Act—the dishonest principle of an ex post facto law, which violated existingengagements? Thesecond part of the Statute, he admitted, was purely prospective, and that was a legitimate mode of legislating, which the other was not. This part of the Act prohibited the subletting of lands in Ireland, except in three cases. The excepted cases, were, first, lands held on leases for lives renewable for ever; secondly, lands held on a term of ninety-nine year?; thirdly, all lands belonging to the Church. With these three exceptions, the Act operated universally. Why, he should like to know, was the law to interfere between the landlord and the tenant? Why not allow the landlord and the tenant to make what contracts O
they pleased between themselves? This Act had taken away the freedom of the only trade they had in Ireland,—namely, the trade in land. He might be told, that the Act did not do this in words. He admitted this, but such was, in fact, the operation of the Act. It said, that the landlord should no longer distrain upon the under-tenant, and of course no landlord would consent to lose the remedy of distraining upon the occupied land. The question, after all, came to this—ought the law to interfere between landlord and tenant? He thought not. But it was said that this law was good, because it would enable land-owners to clear their estates. This was the argument of heartless and unfeeling men, who thought it better to support upon an estate a great many beasts, and very few human beings, than a large population. However, let it be understood, that in applying for the repeal of this Act, he did not propose to take away from the landlord the right of clearing his estate. That right would remain with the landlord still, who could exercise it, if he thought proper, in its fullest extent; only it was not, he contended, the part of a considerate and humane Government to make itself the auxiliary of the landlord, to compel him to clear his estate, and thus to take away from the landlord the reproach of inhumanity and hard-heartedness. He was free to confess, that he did not believe this Act to have been an act of the Government. He looked upon it as originating in some political left-handed intrigue of heartless men. From the period of the Union until the present, all the Statutes enacted by the Legislature had had for their object the oppression of the peasantry, and the giving advantages to the landlord. The Statutes which enabled the landlord to distrain growing crops, and which conferred upon him the power of ejecting a tenant at an extremely small expense, were of I his description, and had been among the main causes of the evils of the poor in Ireland, and consequently, of the disturbances which had unfortunately taken place in that country. The Statutes first enabled the landlord to ruin his tenant, and then to turn him out cheaply. He might be told, that this Act was made for the purpose of creating large farms, and then there might be repeated to him long dissertations upon the beneficial effects of large farms. If to cause universal mendicity among the pea
santry was to produce a beneficial effect, then, indeed, there would be some truth in these dissertations, and some sense in the pages of evidence which unfeeling: men had given in favour of cultivating sheep and cattle instead of human beings. While he was upon this subject, let him mention an act which it gave him the greatest satisfaction to record. So great had been the increase of beggars, that the Mendicity Association of Dublin must have closed its doors if the Duke of Northumberland had not presented it with a donation of 1,000/. He meant a donation not out of the public money, but out of his Grace's private purse. He could state further, that after that sum of 1,000/. was exhausted, the Association had been kept going by the private contributions of a member of his Grace's family—a female, whose name he would not, of course, mention. He knew these facts to be as he had stated them. But to return to this Statute, of which, he repeated, the effect had been, to increase mendicity to an alarming extent, it was a political economy measure, not a Government Act. Its professed object was, to create large farms, and this, the political economist said, was a great good. He would meet these Gentlemen upon the fact—the Act had not created large farms. It prevented labourers being employed, for if the landlord gave the labourer a holding, the labourer might keep it. Unless, therefore, in the neighbourhood of lands excepted from the operation of the Act, no large farms could exist, because the owners would not risk the employment of the number of labourers necessary to cultivate them. To the operation of this Act was to be traced the erroneous notion that there was a superabundance of labour in Ireland. There was no natural superabundance of labour in that country; the superabundance of labour was artificial, and caused by bad laws and bad government. If such a state of things were allowed to continue, he apprehended—however dangerous the admission might appear—a servile war in Ireland of the worst description. The hon. Member concluded by moving for leave to bring in his Bill.
Mr. Doherty, after claiming the indulgence of the House on account of indisposition, said, that he begged to remind hon. Members, that on the passing of this Act it was admitted on all hands that there was something in the condition of Ireland which required that the law of landlord and tenant in the two countries should be different. This he thought he could show by authorities of a very high character; but in saying this, let it not be supposed that he was insensible to the propriety of generally assimilating, as nearly as possible, the laws of the two countries. He thought it would have been better if this motion of the lion, and learned Member had been postponed. The noble Lord (the late Secretary for Ireland) had given notice of a measure for the Amendment of this Act in the last Session; and in the present Session his right hon. friend (the present Secretary for Ireland) had given notice of a similar motion. The House must see, therefore, that the Government intended that the Act should not remain as it was; and he thought that much time and discussion might have been saved, if the hon. and learned Member had waited till he had seen how the Act would stand when it should have received the contemplated amendments. However, the hon. and learned Member was opposed to the principle of the Act, and the present was, of course, as convenient a time as any other for discussing that principle. He did not think that, in dealing with the
Krinciple of this Act, the hon. and learned [ember need have arraigned the whole of the legislative enactments on the subject of landlord and tenant which had passed since the Union; and he must confess that it was with the greatest surprise that he had heard the hon. and learned Member, who had so often boasted himself to be a legal reformer, and an advocate for cheap law, find fault with those Acts which had made lawcheapin Ireland. That was the object of someof the Actswhich the hon. and learned Member had condemned, and he himself had, on a former occasion, admitted that by one of these Acts the expensesof anejectment had been diminished from 17/. to 1/. 2s. 6rf. Where the landlord had a clear right, it was thought that he might be allowed to seek his remedy in the County Courts, which, in Ireland, were above suspicion. This was a principle which the hon. and learned Member had himself advocated in speaking of legal reform; upon one of which occasions the hon. and learned Gentleman had insisted upon the hardship of making a man send up from a remote part of England to London for a piece of parch
ment, without which the man could not prosecute his just claims. Was it not quite as great a hardship to make a man send from Cork or from Waterford to Dublin for the like piece of parchment? Applying that principle to the law of ejectment, a worthy and hon. Baronet, whom, he believed, he saw in his place [Sir J. Newport bowed], introduced a bill, by which the County Courts had authority to determine cases of ejectment. That Act might be said to be a boon to the landlord, but it was a gain to the tenant. It was said, indeed, that nothing was to be got from the Irish tenant. Yes, something was to be got—his liberty; for his person might be seized for the costs, which, to gratify his own obstinacy, or in accordance with the artful suggestions of a knavish attorney, he had had the temerity to incur. As to the Act which allowed distress on growing crops in Ireland, that was an assimilation of the law in the two countries; such a law having existed in England since the reign of George 2nd; and as the hon. and learned Member had contended for assimilation, he did not see with what consistency or reason the hon. and learned Member had found fault with that Act. Now, as to the Subletting Act, the subject of the hon. and learned Member's motion, the history of that Act would perhaps furnish the best vindication of it. In 1824 and 1825 two Select Committees were appointed to inquire into the state of Ireland. All the hard-hearted and unfeeling persons, to whom the hon. and learned Member had referred—all the witnesses who had been examined before those committees, and many of them were men of talent and integrity— agreed that the poor of Ireland were sadly and unnaturally depressed: all of them applied their talents and experience to the discovery of the means by which the condition of the peasantry of Ireland might be improved. All of them, too, whatever other differences of opinion there might have been among them, agreed upon this one point; namely, that the chief cause of the evils of the poor of Ireland was the almost unlimited subdivision of property in that country. In that opinion he concurred, and was ready to contend that the infinite subdivision of land in Ireland had been one of the main causes of the evils under which that country laboured. All the witnesses agreed in describing the rooted obstinacy with which the great