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portion of the country is let to tenants-at-will. Certainly, nothing can be expected from these ; liable as they are to be evicted, or to have their rents raised, immediately after having effected the most valuable improvements. Even where a lease exists, unless the unexpired term be of considerable length, there is not sufficient prospective advantage, to have much effect in inducing the outlay of capital. As a remedy for this state of things, it has been strongly urged by many, that a tenant should be legally entitled to claim from his landlord, on the termination of his tenantcy, a payment in money for the value of any permanent improvements effected by him. In the Digest of Evidence on the occupation of land in Ireland, it is stated to be the most general opinion, that “if a substantial security were offer“ed to the occupying tenant, for his judicious per“manent improvements, a rapid change for the “better would take place—a change calculated “to increase the strength of the empire, and “the tranquillity of this country; to improve “ the food, raiment, and house accommodation of “the population ; to remove that paralysis of in“dustry, which the sworn evidence of nearly every “tenant, and of numerous landlords, examined “on the subject, has proved to exist; to call into “operation the active exertions of every occupier “ of land upon his farm ; to add about five months “in each year to the reproductive occupation of “farmers and labourers, which are now passed in “idly consuming produce, accumulating debts, or, “for want of better employment, perhaps in “fomenting disturbance. It is difficult to appre“ciate, as it merits, the probable effects of a mea“sure that should stimulate the occupiers of land, “to turn the labour of the country to account “during the five idle months of the year, when “they are not employed in the ordinary operations “contingent upon tillage, as at present practised in “ Ireland.”* But how can such a security be offered ? what are to be considered as constituting permanent improvements 2 Who is to be judge 2 Is the tenant to be at liberty to make what alterations he pleases, and then call on the legal authority to value them 7 or is the consent of the landlord to be first obtained 2 If the latter, it will produce much difference and bad feeling, should the landlord refuse to sanction improvements, which the tenant may consider of great importance to him, and of great permanent value. By the former, a landlord may be compelled to pay for alterations, which, though made at considerable expense, may yet be unsuitable to the situation, and of little value to his property as a whole. Is there not great danger that any law on this subject, attempting to provide for such a variety of complicated circumstances, and to meet so many difficulties, may fail in giving satisfaction to either party, and may lead to serious perplexity and much litigation ? A bill was laid before parliament, founded on the report of the commissioners of inquiry into the occupation of land in Ireland; but it was afterwards dropped. Probably some difficulties, not before anticipated, presented themselves in the attempt to carry out the details. It had no retrospective effect; it gave no right to compensation for improvements already effected, or for any improvements unless registered. It would therefore have tended rather to increase than to allay the present irritation; inasmuch as, by inference, it admitted the justice of the claims for compensation, but refused the legal power to enforce them. Such security is imperatively called for, as will make it the interest of the tenant, whether holding under a lease or at will, to continue the proper cultivation of his farm as long as he holds it. In England, there are customs of tenantcy which have the force of law, and which have been sufficient for the old modes of husbandry; though, with the pre
* “Digest of Evidence on the law and practice respecting the occupation of land in Ireland,” vol. i. page 160.
sent extended rotation of crops, some additional security appears necessary, and is generally demanded by the tenants. Similar arrangements may no doubt be extended to Ireland with advantage. But it appears very doubtful whether it be practicable, by legal enactment, to enable the temporary occupant of a farm to effect its permanent improvement, without loss to himself, and without injustice to the landlord. To erect houses and farm buildings, to make good and substantial fences, to effect any improvement which increases the permanent value of the land, seems peculiarly the province of the proprietor, and can hardly be executed satisfactorily by any other. To put an end to Agrarian Outrage is of the utmost importance to the welfare of Ireland. Until this be done, nothing effectual is gained. The supremacy of law, and security for life and property, are essential to improvement. The most despotic government, which protects its subjects in the enjoyment of the rights of property, and enforces the observance of the laws, is greatly more conducive to the well-being of a country, than the semblance of freedom and popular institutions, without power to enforce law, or to repress or punish crime. For nearly one hundred years, agrarian dis. turbances have existed in some part of Ireland. Crimes of the deepest dye have been committed in the face of day, in the presence of many witnesses, and have remained unpunished. There was no one to prosecute or to give evidence. The people sympathized with the offenders, and endeavoured to protect them. If any one convicted of crime was exposed to punishment, he was looked upon by his comrades as a martyr to the cause, and held in honour as a soldier who had fallen in battle. The same character has marked these disturbances from the first. Arthur Young, in 1776, alluding to the Whiteboys, who had first appeared under that name in 1760, mentions the want of evidence to convict; “even those who suffered by them” not not having “the spirit to prosecute;” and assigns as a reason why they were not put down, the necessity “ of any person that gave evidence against them, “quitting his house and country, or remaining “exposed to their resentment.” The very same remarks apply equally to the present and to all the intervening time. Yet during this time the strongest measures have been taken to put them down ; coercion acts, insurrection acts, martial law, severities without number have been tried, and all without effect. If these outrages ceased for a time, under the pressure, they re-appeared as soon as