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while there was nothing more efficient to substitute in their place. Mr. Peel said, the question put was, whether, in untried anticipations of exaggerated success, the House would put aside existing institutions, which, though imperfect, were admitted to be doing good, and certainly more good than could be accomplished if they were put down before other and better ones were matured. The formation of a local board for the superintendence of an object like that in question, was attended, in the case of Ireland, with greater difficulties than was imagined. He himself, when officially connected with Ireland, had prepared a bill for the purpose of selecting six or seven persons to superintend education in that country; and not until after various deliberations, not only with persons of his own party, but with those who were politically opposed to him, had he relinquished his intention of bringing that measure forward. They all dreaded the consequence of establishing a public government board; they thought the people would take alarm when they found that government had constituted such a board, and that it would be regarded as intended to effect other purposes than were avowed. Being thus compelled to give up that measure, he looked around for other means of carrying into effect the object which he had in view; and he found a private society already in existence, consisting of all sects, Protestants, Presbyterians, and Catholics. To that society the management of the funds granted by parliament had then been intrusted. He protested therefore, against the hasty extinction of a society, which, if it effected no
other good, at all events disseminated throughout Ireland a great number of valuable books; publications, too, which, except in one instance, were never objected to by those who were most opposed to them in religious feeling. The abolition of an institution which afforded instruction to fifty thousand children, twenty-five thousand of whom were of the Catholic persuasion, must be regarded as a positive and serious loss to the country. It appeared from returns then on the table of the House, that, of approved books, there were distributed by the Kildare Association, in 1818, fifty thousand; in 1820, one hundred and twenty-three thousand; in 1821, one hundred and fifty-three thousand; in 1822, one hundred and eighty-five thousand; in 1823, one hundred and six thousand; in 1824, one hundred and twentyone thousand; and, during the last year, one hundred and seventy-two thousand eight hundred and sixteen. Another strong proof of the utility of the institution was, that the commissioners, on examining the "Model School," found in it four hundred boys, of whom one hundred and fifty were of the established religion, two hundred and twenty-five Catholics, and the rest Dissenters; while of girls there were, seventynine Protestants, and no fewer than two hundred and nine Catholics. This simple fact showed clearly that the institution was not acting on principles of exclusion. It should moreover be remembered that these children were to be the future teachers throughout all the schools of the society. The effect of passing the resolutions would be, to cast a stigma on the Kildare-street society; and, therefore, if they were pressed to a division, he must negative them, a step which he should most unwillingly take; because, in the general principle on which they were founded, he perfectly concurred. With respect to the expediency of making religious instruction a part of public education, he hoped that we should never see a system of public education, either in Ireland or elsewhere, that was not founded on the Christian religion, or a race of young philosophers who had derived their knowledge of moral •duties from any other source.
Mr. Rice withdrew his motion; but a division was pressed on the motion for granting lQ,500l. for the Protestant chartered schools. Mr. Hume resisted the motion, because it was an expenditure of a certain quantity of pounds, shillings, and pence,forapurpose which he would not allow to be either useful or charitable; and by other members, on the ground of the abuses and oppressions in the management of these schools detailed in the report of the preceding year. They opposed any vote of money, until steps should have been taken to prevent the recurrence of such abuses, and to punish the masters against whom such charges of misconduct had been brought. At all events, they argued, as those who had the superintendance of the schools, and into the handsof whom this money was to come, had shown themselves, by allowingthose abuses to grow up, and those oppressions to be practised, either utterly unable, or utterly unwilling, to perform their duly, it would be unjustifiable to put the money again under their control. Sir John Newport accordingly moved an amendment, which went to place
the money at the disposal of the lord lieutenant. It was opposed by Mr. Goulbourn, because it was unjust to make the managers of a concern responsible for evils which they could not detect, or to condemn unheard the committee of fifteen, who had used every possible diligence; and it was negatived by a majority of 42 to 19-
In these discussions, which had all some reference to religion, government evidently manifested no desire to conceal or perpetuate abuses, or any disinclination to cautious and practicable amendment; and it carried the same spirit into other departments more strictly connected with the civil administration of Ireland. A committee on the state of that country had presented a report in 1825, recommending the adoption of various measures. Several of these recommendations were, during this session, carried into effect, while others, such as the improvement of the system of grand juries, and the abolition of votes created fictitiously upon forty-shilling freeholds, presented difficulties which could be overcome, and opposing interests which could be reconciled, only by proceeding with much deliberation. An act was passed consolidating the laws for the regulation and management of prisons, placing them under inspectors rewarded by salaries, which seemed sufficient to insure officers of character and responsibility, and introducing an uniform system of prison discipline. Better regulations were laid down for the administration of justice in towns corporate, and other local jurisdictions; and provision was made to remedy the inequalities of local assessments, by introducingan uniform valuation of baronies, parishes, and other divisions of counties. Another act made provision for a more convenient and abundant distribution of lunatic asylums throughout the island; but the most important measure of the session affecting Ireland was, the "act to amend the law of Ireland respecting the assignment and subletting of lands and tenements,"* by which some check was put to that infinite division, not of property, but of the use of property, which has tended so strongly to impoverish and degrade the rural population of Ireland. The intention of the statute was, to prevent the sub-letting of property by a lessee, whether the original lease contained a covenant against sub-letting, or was silent on the point, and, in both cases, to render the express consent of the landlord indispensable to the validity of the lease. It enacts, that in cases where the original lease contains covenants prohibiting, controlling, or regulating, the assignment or sub-letting of the lands, nothing whatever which may be done by the lessor shall be held, or construed to be, on his part, a waiver of any of the benefits of these covenants. To render the assignment or sub-lease effectual to the sub-tenant, the consent of the proprietor and his dispensing with the covenants in his favour, must not only be express, but must be expressed in a particular form. If the sub-lease be by a written instrument, his consent must be expressed by his signing and sealing that instrument, along with the principal parties to it; if it be verbal, his consent must be expressed by a writing under his own hand. The forms not
• .• . • 7 Geo. 4. c. 29.
being complied with, not only may the proprietor re-enter into possession, but the lessee has no action to recover either rent or possession from his sub-tenant, whatever may be the covenants of the sub-lease. The same general provisions are applied, even when the original lease contains no covenant " prohibiting, controlling, or regulating," the assigning or subletting of the lands. Unless the lease contain an express clause authorizing the tenant to assign, or sub-let, the sub-lease, to be valid, must be signed or indorsed by the proprietor, or, if it be verbal, must be confirmed by his written authority: all constructive or parole waivers are excluded. If the sub-lease be granted according to the provisions of the act, the receipt of the lessee for the rent is declared good against the proprietor, and all deriving right from him by any title posterior to his consent to the sublease; and if the lessee fall in arrear for two s of the rent, the receipt of the proprietor is, against him, a good discharge to the sub-lessee.
Another provision of this act secured farms against discretionary sub-division at the will of a tenant upon his death. If the lease bears date prior to 1st June, 1826, and contains no prohibition against assigning or sub-letting, or if it bears date subsequent to 1st June, 1826, and contains an express authority to sub-let, in either of these two cases the tenant may devise the lands, under his lease, to what number of persons he may choose. But, with these exceptions, he is deprived of the power of so devising the lands by his last will and testament, as to sub-divide them among several persons. The distribution of property which the law makes in case of intestacy remains unaltered; and the landlord, at least in new leases, by giving no express authority in the lease to sub-let, can thus always secure himself against a testamentary distribution of his lands among a number of sons, or other relations, who, each following the same plan in regard to his own family, so long as the term of years is to run, or renewals can be obtained, at last cover the estate with a race of paupers.
Among the recommendations of the select committee of 1825 was one to apply some remedy to the evils produced in Ireland by levying certain tolls and customs upon fairs and markets in Ireland, which had been granted to particular individuals and corporations; and, on February 16, Mr. Spring Rice moved an Address to his Majesty, praying him to order a commission to issue to inquire into "the tolls and customs collected in fairs, markets, and sea-ports, in Ireland." The motion was opposed both on the general merits of the measure, and on the inefficacy of the particular mode of inquiry proposed. Mr. Goulburn said, he had no doubt that abuses, such as it was the object of this motion to reform, did exist; and did not mean to deny that they ought to be speedily remedied, if a practicable remedy could be discovered. The levying of tolls in a fair or market, to any extent, was undoubtedly a restraint laid upon the trade which might there be carried on ; but the motion couldnot stand upon this principle; for that objection would be equally applicable to every part of the United Kingdom as to Ireland, there being scarcely an ancient fair in existence in which tolls of this kind were not payable; and the trades-people who frequented
Covent-garden market had as much right to come to parliament, as the old clothesmen who paid 2d. upon the sale of a wig, or 6d. upon the sale of a pair of breeches, at the fair of Skibbereen. So far, therefore, as these tolls had been legally imposed, and were legally exacted, there was no reason for viewing Ireland in a different light from any other part of the country. If, again, illegal extortions were practised by those having right to tolls, on the one hand, or if the collecting of legitimate tolls were illegally resisted by those who were bound to pay them, on the other, and if scenes of tumult and violence and bad humour were thus occasionally produced, all this furnished no reason for the interference of parliament, unless it could be shown that the existing law, duly resorted to, was insufficient to compel both parties to keep within the boundaries of their respective rights. The existing act of parliament on this subject provided the party complainant with a remedy, in the shape of an appeal to a sitting magistrate. To secure expedition in granting redress, and impartiality in deciding, this act, in the first place, imposed a heavy fine upon any magistrate declining summarily to interfere upon due cause shewn; and, in the next place, provided, that thecausemight be removed out of the jurisdiction of any corporate body interested in the levy of such tolls and customs. If the Irish gentlemen resident in such parts of Ireland as happened to be in the neighbourhood of any place where illegal extortions took place, would lend their assistance to those who were the victims of such extortion and to those whose legal rights were violently resisted, by pointing out, in either case, the
proper steps to be taken for obtaining legitimate redress, one or two examples would suffice to prove to all parties concerned, the illegality of the courses pursued by them; and the law, as it at present stood, being strong enough to punish any such illegal practices, would soon prevent the levy of tolls which were either illegal or improper. It was of importance that the people of Ireland should be encouraged in a disposition to act under the sanction of the law, rather than to resort to any extra'ordinary modes of obtaining redress; and nothing could be more easy than to prove to them that the legal tribunals were open to the consideration of even their slightest interests, and entirely disposed to afford them redress for every injury of which they justly complained. Again, as these tolls were perfectly legal rights, and recognized as such, they could not be taken away without compensation being made to the parties, who should, by compulsion, be deprived of them. Their yearly value might amount in Ireland to about 500,000/.; and it could not be expected that their proprietors would sell them under twenty years purchase: but to burthen the country with such an annuity for so unnecessary an object, would be most improvident in any state of the Exchequer.
In regard to the particular mode of inquiry proposed, it was asked, would the commission moved for produce any more information (it called for a statement of " the tolls and customs collected in fairs, markets, and sea-ports in Ireland") than the House already possessed in the returns and tables of these matters already made out in most of such to wnsand places in Ireland, and supported by the authority of the
clerk of the peace of the district. Besides, how could a commission adequately accomplish the objects of the motion? If any one commissioner were to live to the age of Nestor himself, he could scarcely inspect and report upon more than two thousand patents for levying tolls and customs that existed in Ireland, and extended to a great variety of articles, few of them to less than fifty or sixty articles, and many of them to still more. What commissioner would undertake the Herculean labour that the terms of this proposition would impose upon him? If the hon. mover, said Mr. Plunket, will point out the abuses, I shall take upon myself the labour of remedying them, for there are no cases which the law is not already sufficient to meet; but an inquiry like that proposed would never terminate. There were in Ireland two thousand and sixteen franchises, and each of these franchises had from fifteen to twenty different tolls; so that there would be about forty thousand rights of toll to investigate, besides the many minor points which sprang out of them. Sir John Newport, Mr. Fitzgerald, and Mr. Martin, in supporting the motion, rested chiefly upon the hardship and the hopelessness of the peasantry being driven to defend themselves by a lawsuit against a corporate body, or an opulent individual, and urged the necessity, if the commission should be refused, of furnishing to the poor man a more speedy, cheap, and effectual, remedy than the law at present afforded. The motion was withdrawn, on an understanding that the matter should be sent for inquiry to a committee, the private rights of parties re