28 AUGUST 1880, Page 2

The Hares and Rabbits Bill, whose name has now been

changed to the "Ground Game Bill," passed through Com- mittee on Wednesday, and may have been read a third time in the House of Commons, and sent up to the Lords, before this journal is published. It has been decided not to give the Bill retrospective effect over leases and contracts completed before the passing of the Bill, partly because Sir William Harcourt admitted that he could not in principle defend so strong an interference with mutual insurances freely entered into between landlord and tenant, without giving fair compensation to the party whose interests were injured by such an interference, and partly because he foresaw that to pass so strong a clause would endanger the Bill in another place. We think Sir William Harcourt's judgment sound ; nor was he in the least open to Earl Percy's sneer that he had accepted an equally unjust interference with existing contracts in assenting to the introduction of the Irish Compensation for Disturbance Bill. The object of that Bill was to protect the poor tenant, as a Court of Equity constantly protects Englishmen, from any application of the letter of the Land Act which is an obvious breach of the spirit of the Land Act ; and no one could say that of an interference with contracts concerning game clearly understood by those who had agreed to them. Earl Percy's sneer would strike at the very essence of the Court of Chancery.