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If the farmers, large and small, possessed capital in proportion to the extent of their ground, and had such security as might encourage them to expend it in the necessary improvements, much more good would be effected, than by the consolidation of small farms into large. Many allusions have been made, in the course of this essay, to the want of security, which prevents the tenant from embarking his capital in the improvement of his holding; and reference has been made to the system of Tenant-right existing in Ulster, which has been of such evident value in the districts where it prevails. Many persons have proposed to remedy the evils existing in the south of Ireland, by the compulsory extension of the Ulster system of Tenant-right to that part of the country; believing that its adoption would afford such security to the tenant-farmer, as would encourage the investment of his capital in the improvement of the land. To use the words of an able advocate of this system, it may be said that “The want of tenure, “ and want of security for the application of agri“cultural capital, has produced in Ireland the “effects which economists would predict. As the “ permanent improvements are left to be made “by the tenant without security, they are almost “entirely neglected, except on leasehold tenements, N

“ and in the Ulster tenant-right districts. The “want of security has given rise to those agrarian “crimes, which have had such an injurious effect “on the condition of the farmers. Such crimes “are scarcely known in the parts of Ulster, where “the adoption of tenant-right has afforded the “ partial security of a custom not established by {{ law.”* If such be the value of tenant-right, the question naturally arises; why not extend this custom to the rest of Ireland, and thus confer on it the advantages which Ulster enjoys 2 The answer is, that it cannot be extended in its present form, because a custom cannot be established, except by usage continued throughout a series of years. Even if the present landlords were desirous of establishing such a custom, they could not bind their successors. Probably there is no way in which it could be extended, as a mere custom, unsupported by law, except by means of the present Lynch-law operating on the fears of the landlords. This would be ruinous to the rights of property. Such a victory over the law would only show what might be gained by persisting in the same course of outrage. It would probably be followed by a refusal to pay rent, and a claim to the absolute ownership of the soil on the part of the occupying tenant. Before considering whether it be practicable to extend the system of tenant-right by legislation, it is right to inquire in what tenant-right consists. Professor Hancock states it to be “a recogni“tion, by long-established custom, of the right “of the tenant to the fair profit of the capital “vested by him, by purchase or expenditure, in “the permanent improvements of the land, or to “ the inherited profit arising from such improve“ments, when made by some of his ancestors.” And in a petition to parliament from parties claiming tenant-right, it is described as “entitling “tenants to enjoy their improvements, without in“crease of rent on THAT account ; and to compen“sation when their interest ceases, as a return for “all labour and capital expended on buildings and “other useful improvements.” And the petitioners ground their claims on the assertion, that “while “the soil belongs to the landlords, the dwelling“houses, farm-offices, fences, gates, and drains, not “being erected by the landlord, belong to the ten“ants.” The tenants have certainly a strong equitable claim, to be remunerated for improvements which they have themselves effected, unless through some previous contract, they have already received compensation in some other way. The peculiar circumstances of Ireland have been such, as, in many cases, force them to this expenditure, in order to make the ground useful, or worth the rent paid for it. The landlord, if conscientious, would respect their claims, and would not deprive them of their farms without giving them full compensation, or allowing them to receive it from others. Where this equitable claim is sanctioned and upheld by long-established custom, as in Ulster, it becomes a prescriptive right, which being better understood, is more readily acted upon by all parties. If we are to consider this custom as giving the tenant a right to retain possession of his farm, so long as the rent be duly paid; and to bequeath it to his heir, or to sell his interest to another, subject to the approbation of the landlord, but not being liable to any advance on the present rent ; then there is no difficulty in establishing it throughout Ireland by act of parliament. Its effects would be to convert every tenant-at-will into a copy-holder; to confer on him a title in perpetuity, so long as he paid his rent; to enable him to assign his interest to another; to make him, in fact, a joint proprietor with the landlord. Much improvement would cer. tainly result from this security of possession, and from the inducement thus afforded to the tenant, to expend his capital and labour on his farm. But would such a law be just towards the landlord 7 would it not, in fact, be a law transferring to the tenant a portion of the landlord's property? If so, we may be sure that it would have injurious effects. A law, which lessens the security of property, shakes the foundation on which improvement must rest. But the advocates of tenant-right only claim for the tenant, a right to the increased value given to the land by the buildings erected, and the other improvements effected by the tenant himself. They “admit that the soil belongs to the landlord,” and therefore admit his claim to an increase of rent, whenever the value of land rises from any cause affecting the district generally. This appears to create a difficulty, which may not be much felt while tenant-right depends on custom, instead of statute law ; but which would probably be very serious, if an attempt were made to extend it to the whole country by act of parliament. Disputes would constantly arise between landlord and tenant, involving litigation, and lessening that security which tenant-right is especially intended to give. That something is wanted to promote the expenditure of capital, in the permanent improvement of the land, is admitted by all. The greater pro

* Professor Hancock's Lectures, page 32.

* The Tenant-right of Ulster, &c. by Professor Hancock, page 34.

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