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fore producing the constant effect of insecurity, and depressing the industry of the country.* The first partial relaxation of these impolitic laws took place in 1782, and they were still further relaxed in 1793, in which year Roman Catholics were placed on a par with Protestants as regards the elective franchise, though not allowed to become members of either house of Parliament. A lease for lives of a house or land, in which the lessee had an interest worth forty shillings a year, called “a forty-shilling freehold,” entitled the holder to a vote. This low franchise induced the landed proprietors to divide their estates into many small holdings, for the purpose of increasing their influence at elections. A numerous tenantry, having the right to vote, and practically obliged to exercise that right at the dictation of their landlords, was highly prized. This had a most injurious effect in many parts of Ireland, cutting up the land into those small farms which are now justly complained of, and producing a great increase of population, without a corresponding increase of the means of support. When the emancipation act was passed in 1829, the forty-shilling freeholders were disfranchised, and being no longer
* See Appendix T. for remarks made by the Commissioners of Inquiry into the state of the Law and Practice in respect to the Occupation of Land in Ireland, on the subjects discussed in the last few pages.
of use to their landlords, every means has since been employed to get rid of them. The industrial and social character of Ulster and Leinster differs greatly from that of the other two provinces. Omitting Donegal, the most western county of Ulster, which in many respects resembles Connaught, we find the general character of Ulster and Leinster, as respects civilization and industry, very similar to that of England and Scotland. The English language is almost universal, with the exception of the mountain districts of Down, Tyrone, and Londonderry. There is a large amount of manufacturing industry, especially in Ulster. The ground is fairly tilled. There are many resident gentry and thriving shopkeepers. The labourers work for daily wages, and purchase their food in the market, and their clothing from the country shopkeeper. But the circumstances of the greater part of Munster and Connaught, especially the more western counties, are widely different. The Irish language is spoken by most of the peasantry, and in many of the more remote or wilder districts, English is but little understood. Almost the whole population is dependant on agriculture. The soil is less carefully tilled, and there is much land lying waste which is capable of cultivation. The resident gentry are few and widely scattered; their estates are of great extent, and many of the proprietors are non-resident. The labourers, in many parts, are not paid in wages, but give a certain number of days' labour annually, in payment for their cabin and a plot of potato ground. A considerable domestic manufacture exists, of flannel, frieze, linen, and stockings, which are sold in the fairs and markets, and form the chief part of the clothing of the people. They are evidently a dif. ferent people, far behind the eastern counties in civilization and industrial advancement. Some statistical details which are given in the Appendix B. to G. will illustrate this position.* In these tables, the four provinces are compared with each other, as respects the quantity of waste and of arable land, the density of population, the number and size of farms, the value of stock, the valuation for poor-rate, the occupation and means of support of the people, the quality of house accommodation, the extent of education, &c. The civic and rural districts are separately examined, and another table gives the aggregate of both taken together. The same enquiry is again entered into for the counties of Wexford and Down, as these are in many respects the most improved portions of Leinster and Ulster, and also for the counties of Kerry and Mayo, which are certainly the most backward of Munster and Connaught. The result shows differences in the state of society greater than could well be imagined, in a country subjected for so long a time to the same authority, and governed by the same laws. It would be very satisfactory to compare the condition of Ireland with that of England and Scotland in these respects; but the census was not conducted in exactly the same manner in Great Britain as in Ireland, so that it is not practicable fully to compare them. For some statistical information respecting Great Britain, see Appendix N and O. On examining these tables, we find that Connaught has the largest proportion of waste land, and Leinster much the smallest; that the population of Munster and Connaught is more thinly scattered over the whole area than that of the other provinces, but much more dense than that of Leinster, though less so than that of Ulster, when compared with the amount of arable land.* The comparison has the same result, if calculated on the supposition that the waste or uncultivated lands are made so far available to human existence in the feeding of cattle, that seven acres of waste may be estimated as equivalent to one acre of arable. We are struck with the large proportion of small farms in Connaught ; nearly twothirds of the whole number of farms being under five acres in extent. When we look to the value of live stock,” whether averaged on the area of valuable land or on the population, no very important difference is observable. But in comparing the annual value of fixed property as assessed for the poor-rate,f the difference is very great ; Connaught having only £103 annual value for every 100 inhabitants, whilst Munster, Ulster, and Leinster have £157, £139, and £234 respectively. The proportion of violent deaths on which inquests were held during the ten years ending June, 1841, appear to have been: Ulster, 12; Connaught, 21; Leinster, 32; and Munster, 49. But the most striking discrepancy exists in the occupation and means of support, the house accommodation, and the extent of education. Munster and Connaught
* The tables in the appendix are compiled from the Reports of the Commissioners for taking the Census in 1841, and the Report of the Commissioners on the Occupation of Land in Ireland. The appendix also contains copious extracts from the very valuable report last mentioned, to which the reader's attention is requested. They illustrate many of the views taken in this essay.
* The population of the whole of Ireland is only 39 persons per 100 statute acres; while that of England and Wales is 43.
* When taking the census in 1841, the number of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and poultry was also taken, and the value being estimated at an average rate, constitutes the “value of stock,” stated in the Reports of the Commissioners.
t The annual value assessed to the poor-rate averaged over the whole of Ireland is £161 for 100 inhabitants, while in England and Wales it amounts to £393. In Cornwall, the poorest English county, it is £267; and in Glamorgan, the poorest county in Wales, it is £217; but in Mayo it amounts only to £76.