Зображення сторінки

twenty-two of the most destitute unions in the west. If their assistance were afforded to some of the unions in the midland counties also, much benefit would probably result. In this case, one inspector might, perhaps, have two or more unions under his charge. Uniformity of management would thus be obtained; and as the law comes more fully into operation, and the guardians learn their business more thoroughly, the office may be eventually dispensed with. It is especially important that the guardians themselves should be really desirous of carrying out the law, of relieving the destitute, and of collecting the rates. If a board absolutely refuse to act, the commissioners can displace them, but the remedy for negligence is more difficult. Would it not be right that the non-payment of his rates by any individual guardian, should be a disqualification; say, that if his rates remained unpaid for six weeks after the rate was struck, his place should become vacant, and a new election take place 2 Having themselves paid, they would be much more anxious to collect from others; and it is certainly very galling to other rate-payers to be forced to pay, when it is well known that some of the guardians themselves are in arrear. It has been suggested, that instead of looking to the tenant for the whole rate, he should only be assessed for his own portion ; and that the landlord, “that is, the owner of the first estate of inheritance,” should also be assessed for his portion. This would, in some cases, facilitate the collection, and obtain payment of rates which, under the present system, are wholly lost, on account of the poverty of the tenant. Still it involves a hardship, to compel a landlord to pay the rate for a property from which he has not received rent; and should hardly be resorted to, unless the present law prove decidedly inefficient. If it appear necessary, more summary means of recovery might also be provided. By these or other arrangements, greater facilities might be given, so as to ensure a better collection, without resorting to the harsh and unusual measures which some have proposed. But the benefit of a poor-law is limited to shifting a portion of the burden, from the wholly destitute, to those who are better able to bear it. It has no direct effect in adding to the resources of the country. It may even diminish them, if badly administered. The payment of rates may consume the funds applicable to the employment of labour; and the income of the country, instead of contributing to its improvement, and thus becoming capital, may be spent in maintaining a useless population in idleness. Every thing depends on judicious legislation, and intelligent and active local management. For the first, we must look to parliament; for the second, to our own exertions. For the efficient management of the poor law, the assistance of an intelligent middle class is required; and this class has yet to be raised up in the greater part of Ireland. If the tenantry be encouraged to improve their holdings by some more efficient security than they now enjoy, we may anticipate that the respectability and the pecuniary means of the tenant-farmers being greatly increased, a middle class will thus be created. If freedom be given to the sale and transfer of land, we may hope that the infusion of a larger body of resident proprietors will raise the general character of society, will afford ample means for the proper administration of all local affairs, and will give security for life and property, and increased stability to all the institutions of the country.


Principles of free trade should be extended to land—Necessary to meet the various difficulties of Ireland–Injurious effects of insecurity—of settlements—of incumbrances—Neglect of his estate by a tenant for life, in the endeavour to save money for his younger children—Debts frequently created, which ultimately ruin the family, notwithstanding the settlement—Permanency of property in land a great social advantage—Are entails necessary for this object?—Power of settlement may be limited by law—Inability to grant long leases, or to sell land, very injurious to towns—Beneficial effects of a free sale in the case of Birkenhead—Land must pass into the hands of men of capital, in order to afford employment—Important results to be anticipated from increased facilities for sale and transfer of land—Something must be done —Encumbered estates' bill–Probable effects, if it had passed—Property under the courts—Tenure by lives renewable for ever—Intermediate interests—Leases in perpetuity—Heavy expenses on transfers of landed property—Difficulty of proving a clear title—National registry proposed—No small proprietors or yeomanry in Ireland–It is desirable to encourage the formation of such a class–Effects of large estates in Spain—in Sardinia–Effects of a better distribution of property in Norway—in Northern Italy—in Switzerland—in Holland—in Belgium— Industry of squatters on a mountain-common in Ireland—Opinion of Arthur Young as to the effects of property in land upon industry—Revolution in the tenure of landed property in Prussia—Beneficial results —Independent character of small proprietors—Compulsory subdivision of property in France injurious—Freedom of sale the best system —Honesty of the French people attributed to the general diffusion of property—Laws of landed property similar in England and Ireland— Property better distributed in England—Number of proprietors has diminished in England–Entails not essential to the maintenance of an aristocracy—Recapitulation–Suggestions—Conclusion.

The commercial legislation of the last few years has been marked by the reduction of imposts on

many important articles of consumption, by the
removal or lessening of discriminating or protec-
tive duties, and by various arrangements giving
greater facilities for the conducting of mercantile
affairs. The year 1846 saw the abrogation of
the protective duty on corn and other agricul-
tural produce, and last year witnessed the partial
relaxation of the navigation laws, which had
heretofore been esteemed the chief support of
the naval power of Great Britain. The change
of opinion on these subjects has been great
indeed, and the public are even prepared for
further progress in the same direction ; believing
that all attempts to force trade out of its natural
channels, are injurious to the well-being of the
community; and that to remove all restrictions on
buying and selling, to allow every one to buy in
the cheapest market and sell in the dearest, is the
surest way to promote our commercial prosperity.
Are we to have a free trade in the products of the
land, and not in the land itself 2 Are the utmost
facilities to be given to the sale and transfer of all
other articles, and is land alone to be considered as
requiring an exception in this respect 2
Let the principle of commercial freedom be fully
and fairly carried out. Let it apply to land as
well as to other property. Will not this principle
meet the various difficulties of Ireland, more


« НазадПродовжити »