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the programme of the Dublin Tenant League of 1850, providing for the extension of the Ulster custom to the other provinces, and for the fixing of fair rents on the basis of a revaluation revisable every twenty-one years. But moderate as were these concessions, the Bill was denounced in the House of Commons by Sir Michael HicksBeach, then Secretary for Ireland, as 'ignoring the principles of right and justice,' by Mr. Plunkett as a bill to rob the landlord of his property,' by Mr. Gibson, the Irish Attorney-General, as monstrous,' and by Mr. Kavanagh as "a programme of spoliation. In short, the Government and their supporters declared tenant right to be landlord wrong,' and this attempt to grant some real protection to the Irish tenant was defeated by a vote of 290 against 56. Again, last year, Mr. Shaw renewed the effort, but with no better success; Mr. Lowther, the Irish Secretary, opposing the reintroduced Bill as

pure, undiluted, unmitigated communism,' and of course negativing it with an official and landlord backing of 263 against 91. In the same month (May) Mr. Shaw-Lefevre, perceiving the hopelessness of any initiative on the part of the Government, moved the following resolution : "That in view of the importance of any considerable addition to the owners of land in Ireland among the class of persons cultivating the soil, it is expedient that legislation should be adopted without further delay for increasing the facilities proposed for this object by the Land Act of 1870, and for securing to the tenants of the land offered for sale opportunities for purchasing consistently with the interest of the owner thereof.' At the request of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who assured the House that the matter was engaging the attention of the Government, the motion was withdrawn, but no further word was heard on the subject till the Session closed ; and, barring the comparatively trifling changes made by the Act of 1870, the Irish land code remains as that less than halfmeasure found it.

The agricultural depression on both sides of the Channel occurred opportunely for renewed agitation against this weigbtiest and least defensible of Irish grievances, and the Home Rule leaders have shown wisdom in concentrating their energies upon it. Most other planks of their platform divide even Irish public opinion, and in England are resisted by both Whig and Tory with equally uncompromising opposition. But on this subject of the land laws there is in Ireland -outside the landlords, and not a few even of them admit the justice of the tenants' cry for reform-a consensus of popular feeling as to the necessity for radical changes; while in England the great mass of Liberal opinion similarly recognises the policy and justice of further legislation in this direction. Nor is this all: a Committee of the House of Commons, after hearing exhaustive evidence pro and con, bas, as I have said, condemned the existing system and pointed out the lines on which, with full fair play to all interests, it may be reconstructed. Seldom, in fact, has any party

proved intrinsic merit in its subject. It would not be practicable, within the limits of the few pages available for the remainder of this paper, to state in detail all the varieties of reform which were suggested to the Committee, or have been independently urged by influential members of the Irish party, but they may be grouped with approximate completeness into four-fair rents, fixity of tenure, free sale (tenant right), and the creation of a tenant proprietary. The first three of these formed the programme of the Dublin Tenant League, on the lines of which, as has been said, Messrs. Butts and Shaw's subsequent Bills were mainly framed, and for the whole, facts in superfluous abundance make out, in my judgment, an unanswerable case.

As regards the first of these, it is notorious that nearly all the land purchased under the Encumbered Estates Act, and much also of that which has escaped the operation of that measure, is now rackrented. Almost every change of ownership has been attended by a revaluation and increased rental of the estate, till over by far the greater part of the three southern provinces this has been carried to a point at which, in bad seasons like the present and the last three, either the cultivator must starve or the rent cannot be paid in full. Although no fewer than three systems of valuations are in force for imperial and other local purposes, none of these is in any way binding as between landlord and tenant, and, as a rule, the former therefore exacts just as much rent as the latter sees even a possibility of paying. He has merely to serve notice of eviction, and the helpless occupier has no choice but to submit to any terms he may impose. It is plain, therefore, that any scheme of reform worth the name must include an equitable revaluation, and a resettlement of the present scale of rents in accordance with it. Mr. Butt’s Bill found a ready machinery for such a settlement in the existing county courts, with the aid of arbitrators, or a jury of tenant farmers.

Fixity of tenure is an equally obvious condition of justice to the farmer. Without this he is still at the mercy of the landlord's caprice, and has no motive for either industry or thrift beyond what may be absolutely necessary to enable him to pay rent and live. To improve his holding is to invite increased rent or eviction; and it is therefore in a sense his interest to keep it at the lowest point of productiveness compatible with these two conditions. Perpetuity leases on fines proportioned to the rent-as was strongly advocated

These are (1) the Townland Valuation, made in 1826, under y Geo IV.chap. 62, to provide for the more equal levying of the Grand Jury Cess and other county charges; (2) the Poor Land Valuation, made under the Act of 1836 by Sir Richard Griffiths, on the principle of the observed letting, without attempting to guide value, and which is annually revised after its English model; and (3) that of 1852, according to which the value is fixed with reference to the average prices of certain articles set out in the Act, amongst which, however, potatoes, the chief crop of the country, do not figure, while wages, another principal element in the calculation, are also not considered. This last valuation, too, includes all farm buildings, and most of the tenant's improvements, so that the more capital in money or labour he expends on his holding the higher are the rates assessed on it under the Act.

by Mr. O'Hagan, Q.C., and other witnesses before Mr. Shaw-Lefevre's Committee-or, at the option of the tenant, long-term leases without fine, would seem to be the fairest method of compromise on this point. Either class of lease would preserve the rent to the landlord, and give assurance to the tenant that he would reap the benefit of his own improvements, without fear of disturbance, except through his own default. The Scotch feuar already enjoys this protection, and there is no reason, in justice or policy, why the Irish tenant should not have it too. The evidence in favour of such perpetuity or fee-farm grants was so preponderant that the Committee agreed in recommending that in the case of sales in the Landed Estates Court the judges should have power to sanction such grants, and that for the purchase of the interest to be so acquired the Board of Works should make advances as under the “Bright' clauses of the Land Act. A special advantage of these perpetuity grants would be --that the rent payable under them might, by agreement, be converted into a terminal payment, and the tenant's interest be thus turned into actual ownership in fee: in other words, they would form an easy half-way stage to peasant proprietorship, the only adequate solution of the Irish land problem. But short of these • for ever' leases, as they are commonly called in Ireland, grants without fine for, say, thirty-one years would do much to abate the grievances resulting from the present year-to-year system; and a large annual instalınent of reform to this extent might at once be made by charging every sale of an estate with the condition that the purchaser take it subject to such leases at the existing rent. While this would gradually give the tenant a fair measure of protection pending more complete legislation, it would deprive the landlord of no single right he now possesses save that of eviction, which has been so long and so monstrously abused. But reform to this extent only would fall far short of the full wants of the situation ; and accordingly we find the great weight of the non-landlord evidence given before the Committee recorded in favour of the higher tenure.

The right of free sale completed the three F's' advocated by the Dublin League. But although the aim of this body was warmly supported at the time by Mr. Bright, it was not till twenty years after that legislation followed—to the poor extent already stated. In the Act of 1870 Mr. Gladstone would have extended tenant right to the whole island, but the landlord opposition whittled down the concession to the illusory right to contingent compensation with which the measure finally passed, and practically, therefore, the right is still non-existent in the southern provinces. Indeed it may be said to be absolutely so, for the compensation there recoverable under the Land Act for eviction (except for non-payment of rent) has strict relation to unexhausted improvements made by the tenant, and in no way, as in Ulster, to any right of occupancy independently of these. The northern farmer, on the contrary, has a saleable posses

never had a day's labour of drainage. Nor is this forfeited even by non-payment of rent; for, although he may be evicted for such default, he has still the right of selling the succession to his farm—subject only to the landlord's approval of the new tenant-- and for this not seldom receives the full fee-simple value of the soil. So monstrous a difference between this and the absolute non-right of tenants in Leinster, Munster, and Connaught to any interest at all in their holdings needs only statement to stand condemned, and yet nearly the whole landlord power of the House of Commons has been twice successfully exerted to maintain the anomaly; so that, while a defaulting tenant in Cavan may sell his right for perhaps hundreds of pounds, the neighbour who joins marches with him across the imaginary line that divides Cavan from Meath is in like case turned adrift without sixpence of compensation for even the improvements he may have made. The comparative fixity of tenure which this Ulster custom involves goes far, it need hardly be said, to explain the greater material prosperity of that province ; for only bigots in both politics and religion will now pretend that Protestantism or Catholicism has much, if anything, to do with the results.

If the land monopolists had wisely conceded more or less of this triad of reforms, they might for another generation, perhaps, have escaped the larger sacrifice involved in the demand provoked by their refusal in favour of a tenant proprietary. The principle of this completest remedy of all for the evils of the Irish land system has already been recognised in both the Church and Land Acts, and much may be said in favour of its wider application. The experience of nearly every country in Europe, of our own colonies, and of the United States, is conclusive as to its excellent social results, and the testimony of the best witnesses examined by Mr. Lefevre's Committee is equally concurrent as to its special adaptation to Ireland. In France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Prussia, Austria, and even Russia the replacement of the old bastard feudalism by a peasant proprietary has everywhere been attended by an immense increase in the national prosperity, and a corresponding improvement in the condition of the enfranchised population. In the United States, Canada, South Africa, and Australasia tenant ownership is, as we know, the rule—and with what economical results need not be told; while close at home with us, in the Channel Islands, the advantages of the same system of tenure are, if possible, still more strikingly shown. In fact, wherever it has been worked out its effect has been to stimulate industry and encourage thriftthe two main conditions of all national strength. In Ireland itself, where the experiment has been tried on the smaller scale of the purchases made under the Acts of 1869 and 1870, the general result, as certified by Mr. Shaw-Lefevre's report, has been strongly in

• It may be urged that there are many special conditions which have helped the prosperous development of the system in the Channel Islands, but it is not the less

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by Mr. O'Hagan, Q.C., and other witnesses before Mr. Shaw-Lefevre's Committee-or, at the option of the tenant, long-term leases without fine, would seem to be the fairest method of compromise on this point. Either class of lease would preserve the rent to the landlord, and give assurance to the tenant that he would reap the benefit of his own improvements, without fear of disturbance, except through his own default. The Scotch feuar already enjoys this protection, and there is no reason, in justice or policy, why the Irish tenant should not have it too. The evidence in favour of such perpetuity or fee-farm grants was so preponderant that the Committee agreed in recommending that in the case of sales in the Landed Estates Court the judges should have power to sanction such grants, and that for the purchase of the interest to be so acquired the Board of Works should make advances as under the ‘Bright' clauses of the Land Act. A special advantage of these perpetuity grants would be --that the rent payable under them might, by agreement, be converted into a terminal payment, and the tenant's interest be thus turned into actual ownership in fee: in other words, they would form an easy half-way stage to peasant proprietorship, the only adequate solution of the Irish land problem. But short of these

for ever' leases, as they are commonly called in Ireland, grants without fine for, say, thirty-one years would do much to abate the grievances resulting from the present year-to-year system ; and a large annual instaliment of reform to this extent might at once be made by charging every sale of an estate with the condition that the purchaser take it subject to such leases at the existing rent. this would gradually give the tenant a fair measure of protection pending more complete legislation, it would deprive the landlord of no single right he now possesses save that of eviction, which has been so long and so monstrously abused. But reform to this extent only would fall far short of the full wants of the situation; and accordingly we find the great weight of the non-landlord evidence given before the Committee recorded in favour of the higher tenure.

The right of free sale completed the three F's' advocated by the Dublin League. But although the aim of this body was warmly supported at the time by Mr. Bright, it was not till twenty years after that legislation followed—to the poor extent already stated. In the Act of 1870 Mr. Gladstone would have extended tenant right to the whole island, but the landlord opposition whittled down the concession to the illusory right to contingent compensation with which the measure finally passed, and practically, therefore, the right is still non-existent in the southern provinces. Indeed it may be said to be absolutely so, for the compensation there recoverable under the Land Act for eviction (except for non-payment of rent) has strict relation to unexhausted improvements made by the tenant, and in no way, as in Ulster, to any right of occupancy independently of these. The northern farmer, on the contrary, has a saleable posses

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