Page images
PDF
EPUB

by an excellent farmer, two of whose sons were holding larger farms than their father, who had himself begun life as a parish apprentice.

THE CHAIRMAN reminded the hon. Member that the Amendment before the Committee had reference to the bankruptcy of tenants.

MR. NEWDEGATE would merely add that the amalgamation of small estates with large holdings was a great evil, for not only did the medium-sized and small holdings prevent the undue depopulation of the agricultural districtsthe undue and unsafe diminution of the agricultural population; but he had observed when the feud between the farmers and the labourers arose that it had been far more aggravated in the counties where the large tenancies prevailed than in the counties where there were a greater number of small holdings. He trusted, therefore, that the Committee would consider the question of notice to quit as it affected the disposition of landlords to give credit to their tenants; credit upon which the continuance of small holdings in great measure depended.

MR. DODDS failed to find in the Amendment anything to justify the apprehension of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire; but even if there was it would only form an additional reason for his supporting it, because, in his view, the time must come when the law of distress would be abolished. As the words were not in the Bill when it was introduced into the other House, he trusted the Government would consent to their omission.

MR. MELDON could not avoid feeling that the words to which he took exception were introduced into the clause in a misconception of the law of bankruptcy, and hoped that the hon. and learned Attorney General would re-consider the matter before he supported the rejection

of the Amendment.

MR. DODSON approved of the clause, as it could be of no advantage to any person in the country that land should be out of cultivation for two years.

Amendment negatived.

SIR GEORGE JENKINSON said, he had an Amendment to propose to which he trusted the Government would assent. The Committee had last night practically decided on giving a tenant a year's notice, and under the Lady Day tenancy Mr. Newdegate

that notice would practically be a year. The clause provided that "nothing in the section shall extend to a case where the tenant is adjudged bankrupt;" and he proposed the addition of the words "or where he fails to pay the rent when due and demanded."

MR. HUNT said, the subject had been well considered, but it was not thought right to adopt this Amendment. It appeared a rather difficult question. It might be true that a tenant was not able to pay his rent when due or demanded; but the custom was to allow him some considerable time, and if this Amendment were adopted the landlord might take advantage by demanding the rent on the very day, and then and there give notice.

MR. WILBRAHAM EGERTON said, he had placed an Amendment on the Paper which he thought was preferable. He thought that in cases where a tenant had not sufficient capital to carry on his farm, it was desirable, both for him and the landlord, that the tenancy should determine, and he proposed to add, after the word "bankrupt," the following words:

:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

lating thereto shall continue in force for that | case of a year's notice as it had been period subject to the provisions of this Act."

when six months' notice was sufficient; and he put it to the Government that it was inexpedient when they were giving this boon to the tenant, that they should clog it with conditions which would so much diminish its value.

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL said, he fully admitted that the subject was one, which, at a convenient time, should be taken into consideration; but he thought it could not be dealt with in the present Bill.

SIR THOMAS ACLAND said, that if there was one thing that farmers wanted, it was this-that they should not be subjected to arrangements to which they were not parties. They might suddenly receive notice to quit, or find something more demanded than they expected, and if they did not pay it, they might be worried out of their lives.

[blocks in formation]

SIR GEORGE JENKINSON made a suggestion to amend the Amendment by substituting the word "five" for "six."

MR. KNATCHBULL - HUGESSEN hoped the Government would not accept those words. As to the second part of the Amendment, it had been urged that it might be a great hardship upon a widow to be unable to leave a farm for a long period after her husband's death. He thought such cases were little likely to occur, and that it would be a much greater hardship upon a widow to have to leave a farm at a time when it might be greatly to her advantage and interest to stay longer. As to the first part, the landlord had his ordinary security for his rent, which would be equally safe under a six or a 12 months' notice. The giving of the latter in the Bill was a boon to the tenant; but now the moment hon. Gentlemen opposite had given this boon, they began to fence it round and clog it with restrictions and limitations. The law should remain the same in the

MR. BEACH believed, if some such words were not accepted, a landlord would only have power to get rid of a tenant in arrear by pressing him so far as to make him a bankrupt.

MR. MUNTZ supported the Amendment. If a tenant farmer could not pay his rent in six months he was not in a position to become a successful agriculturist.

MR. HENLEY said, that he had been a landowner for 58 years, and had always let his land on 12 months' notice. He had never found any inconvenience of the kind suggested. He was a hearty supporter of the 12 months' notice, and did not think these Amendments and exceptions were at all needed.

MR. GREGORY said, that all leases contained a provision for re-entry in case of non-payment of rent, and he did not think that the clause altered the relation between landlord and tenant in case of non-payment of rent. An Amendment like that proposed might throw some doubt on the powers of the landlord.

MR. GOLDSMID would support the Amendment in the interest of the tenant, as it would enable him, if he desired, to leave on an earlier day.

MR. MELDON was also of opinion that the Amendment would benefit the tenant and by no means injure the landlord; but it was calculated to create an unpleasant feeling, and he should oppose it.

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL said, the simple effect of the clause was to provide that wherever, according to the present law, half-a-year's notice was given, for the future a year's notice was to be given, all other circumstances remaining the same, except only in certain cases. By the Amendment now under consideration, it was proposed to except from the operation of the clause tenants who were six months in arrear with their rents. But he thought a case of that sort would be fully met by the existing law.

SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT hoped the Government would adhere to the clause. He did not understand hon,

Members voting for a year's notice and | end thereof the words "the same having then trying to nibble it down. been duly demanded."-(Mr. Attorney General.)

MR. ASSHETON said, there was usually a clause in an agreement giving a landlord a right of entry in case of arrears, and this Amendment would be only equivalent to that arrangement.

SIR GEORGE JENKINSON said, the Amendment would give a power, but would not compel the landlord to exercise it.

MR. DODSON contended that the Amendment was totally different from the case of a bankrupt. It was not in MR. HERSCHELL said, there must any way in favour of the tenant, and also be a period allowed after the dewas not at all necessary for the protec-mand in which to pay the rent before the notice could be given.

tion of the landlord.

MR. HUNT said, if the landlord could not get rid of a tenant in arrears except by giving a year's notice, he might be compelled to drive the tenant into bankruptcy; but, if he could give six months' notice, he might not have to resort to so harsh a proceeding. He did not think the Amendment was entirely in favour of the landlord; under some circumstances, in might be in favour of the tenant. The Government were anxious to hear what could be said on both sides; and, having done so, they were prepared to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid-Cheshire.

MR. PELL held that the period should be less than six months, inasmuch as if the rent were not paid at 12 o'clock on the day upon which it was due, a notice to quit at the end of the six months following could not be served upon the tenant, who would in that case remain in possession for 12 months.

LORD HENRY SCOTT thought there was great force in the consideration, and for that reason he would move to substitute the word "five" for "six."

Amendment amended, by leaving out the word "six," and inserting the word "five."-(Lord Henry Scott.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'or is for five months in arrear of his rent' be added at the end of the Clause."

SIR GEORGE JENKINSON pointed out that there ought to be a demand of the rent before the notice could be given.

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL proposed to add to the Amendment "the same having been duly demanded."

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, as amended, to add at the Sir William Harcourt

be there added."
Question proposed, "That those words

Amendment to the proposed Amendment, as amended, withdrawn.

Amendment, as amended, amended, by adding at the end thereof the words "the same having been lawfully demanded."-(Mr. Attorney General.)

MR. DODDS suggested the addition after the words "or is for five months in arrear of his rent," of the words, "the same having been lawfully demanded in writing, and not paid within 14 days after such demand."

MR. DISRAELI accepted the Amendment.

Amendment, as amended, further amended, by adding at the end thereof the words "in writing and not pai within fourteen days after such demand."-(Mr. Dodds.)

Question put,

"That the words or is for five months in arrear of his rent, the same having been lawfully teen days of such demand,' be added at the end demanded in writing and not paid within fourof the Clause."

Noes 79: Majority 59.
The Committee divided:-Ayes 138;

On Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill ?"

MR. G. MONCKTON said, that having been always most strongly opposed to the clause, he wished, before it passed, to enter his protest against it, and hoped, as he should not delay the Committee any further, that the Government would kindly answer his inquiries on two landlord and tenant agreed to adopt the The first was, whether if points. provisions of this Bill, they could do so in all its clauses, with the exception of Clause 43, inasmuch as the words "necessary and sufficient" had led some persons to imagine that this clause was compulsory. He also trusted that the hon. and learned Attorney General would before the Report study the words of the clause as it now read with the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid-Cheshire

(Mr. W. Egerton), which the Committee had just carried; and take care that by that Amendment the landlord had not in any way forfeited any rights he had under the law of distress and ejectment. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL said,

MR. ROEBUCK said, they were giving

it was quite competent for any landlord | landlords a power under the Bill in reand tenant to adopt generally the pro-ference to the taking possession of the visions of the Bill, and, at the same time, land when they might require it; but, contract themselves out of the clause in his opinion, they should take care under consideration; that, in fact, it that the rights of the tenants were prowas not more compulsory than any of tected. the other clauses of the Bill. With regard to the other inquiry he would look into the matter, and take care that the landlord's position with regard to the law of distress and ejectment was not damaged by the clause.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resumption for Improvements. Clause 44 (Resumption of possession for cottages, &c.)

MR. TENNANT moved an Amend ment, in page 12, lines 19 and 20, to alter the words "farm labourers' cottages" to "cottages or other houses," so that land might be taken for cottages required by foresters, gardeners, &c.

MR. GOLDSMID objected to the Amendment, on the ground that landlords might, at any time, take the land required by the labourers for building speculations.

MR. DODDS said, if land was to be allotted in this way, it was difficult to say what purpose it might be applied to. He suggested that the word "gardens"

be struck out.

MR. HUNT suggested the words "or for other purposes, "in reference to the requirements of labourers.

MR. GOLDSMID said, this was very irregular, and it was entirely done in the interests of the landlords. ["No, no!"] He said yes, and he thought it

most unfair.

MR. DODDS wished for a definition of the word "labourers." He hoped the hon. and learned Attorney General would give it.

and

MR. GOLDSMID objected to the words "or for other purposes,' " moved to leave those words out.

MR. MELDON also objected to the words "or for other purposes, ," and wished to know what they meant and where they would end.

MR. GOLDSMID thought they were going too far in the manner of dealing with the rights of the tenants.

Amendment agreed to.

MR. HUNT moved an Amendment, in MR. GOLDSMID objected to the page 12, line 21, by substituting for the Amendment, the effect of which would words "of gardens for labourers," the empower the landlord to take from the words "for labourers of land for gar-tenant what might be the best part of dens."

his holding.

MR. HUNT said, the difference was made as to the time of giving the notice. At present, if the landlord wished to obtain a small part of the farm in order to give a labourer, or any other person, a piece of ground for a garden, he must give the tenant notice to quit the whole of the holding. This clause would enable him to give notice only for the portion

he wished to resume.

Amendment (Mr. Goldsmid) negatived. Amendment (Mr. Hunt), as amended, agreed to.

MR. TENNANT moved an Amend

ment, in page 12, line 23, proposing to give power to the landlord to obtain possession of part of the land from the tenant, on notice, for the purpose of sinking for coal, ironstone, limestone, or other minerals.

MR. ROEBUCK said, the tenant ought, in common justice, to have power to throw up his holding when he was deprived of land for these purposes.

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL apprehended that the tenant could give a

counter-notice.

SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT said, he would propose words in line 33 to give effect to the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield. Amendment agreed to.

On the Motion of Mr. TENNANT, Clause further amended, by adding after "quarry;" the words "clay, sand, or gravel pit, or the construction of any works or buildings to be used in connection therewith.”

tions of the Bill; but he thought Government should bear this in mind, and give Notice in respect to its own Amendcon-ments, so as to explain to the Committee the changes which they might effect.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.

MR. TENNANT then proposed, at line 26, after "the making of roads" to add "tramroad, siding, canal or basin, or any wharf, pier, or other works nected therewith."

SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT remarked that the effect of these Amendments was to extend the clause to speculations which had nothing to do with agricultural operations.

MR. TENNANT replied that his proposals were intended as much for the protection of the tenant as the landlord, as they would prevent the former from being turned off his farm when only a portion of it was required by the land

lord.

MR. DODDS said, the Amendments gave landlords privileges which they did

not possess at present.

MR. ALGERNON EGERTON said, they would not alter the position of landlords in manufacturing districts; and unless these Amendments had been proposed, he should have been obliged to give notice to all the tenants on an estate in Lancashire of which he was trustee.

SIR HARCOURT JOHNSTONE stated that in many, if not most, existing agreements there were powers of reentry for purposes analogous to these.

Amendment agreed to.

On the Motion of Mr. TENNANT, consequential Amendments made.

MR. DODDS proposed to amend the clause by giving the tenant the power, within 28 days after receipt of a notice from the landlord of a resumption of a part of the holding, to serve him with notice to give up the holding of it.

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL said, it was not intended to deprive the tenant of the right to give notice to the landlord. He would promise to look to the matter, and hoped that on that assurance the hon. Gentleman would withdraw his Amendment. It was almost impossible at a moment's notice to ascertain how an Amendment of this kind might affect other parts of the measure, and therefore it was that he wished to have an opportunity of considering the point raised by the hon. Member.

MR. DODSON quite agreed with the hon. and learned Attorney General in respect to the difficulty of ascertaining how an Amendment, of which no Notice had been given, might affect other por

General Application of Act.

Clause 45 (No restriction on contract). MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN said, he had now to propose what he thought would be one of the most important Amendments which had been moved, and which would tend to make the Bill a reality and not a sham, as it had been irreverently called out-of-doors. The clause, as it stood, said that

"Nothing shall prevent a landlord and tenant, or intending landlord and tenant, from entering into and carrying into effect any such agreement as they think fit, or shall interfere with the operation thereof;

99

and what he now asked the Committee to do was to insert after the word

86

agreement "the words "securing to the tenant bond fide compensation for his unexhausted improvements." If adopted, the Amendment would make the Bill a real and substantial measure, as it would give to the tenant farmer as a matter of right-secured to him by law-compensation in respect of the capital he had expended upon the land. It raised, in short, the question whether the giving of proper compensation should not be a subject of compulsory, rather than of permissive legislation. They were all agreed that compensation for unexhausted improvements ought to be'; what, then, was the objection to saying that it must be awarded? He (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) had done his best throughout the discussions to make the Bill more acceptable to the tenant farmers of England. Nearly all his Amendments in this direction had been opposed by the Government, although some of them had found support in the votes-and still more in the speeches of Members on the Government side. He would forgive them all their opposition, if they would only give favourable consideration to this Amendment. Now, what had the House done? They had declared that the tenant farmers ought to have by right something which the law did not give themnamely, compensation for unexhausted improvements. They had, mor

« PreviousContinue »