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surely and more quickly than any other remedy which has been proposed ? Are not all other remedies incomplete without this 2 Unless land be freely sold, how is English capital to be introduced for its culture ? How are we to obtain a resident proprietary, unless those who prefer living in other countries be enabled to sell their Irish property, thus permitting it to fall into the hands of those who can give it their personal attention ? Is not the local demand of a numerous gentry and middle class, necessary for the support of the fisheries of the western coast ; and how can such be created, unless the great landed proprietors be enabled to sell portions of their estates ? How can the large population heretofore dependent on con-acre be employed, unless capital for the payment of wages be supplied, by the introduction of new men to the ownership of the soil 7 How is outrage to be repressed ? How are the laws to be enforced ? How can the free institutions of the country be maintained, except through the agency of a numerous and educated middle class 2 On the intelligent and effective working of a middle class, depend the social and political institutions of a free state; without such support, the freedom of England would soon be changed into anarchy or despotic authority. Can that freedom ever exist in Ireland, until a numerous middle class be raised up throughout the country? And can a middle class be created in Ireland in any other way, than by the free sale of land, by the sub-division of estates, and the consequently increased number of resident proprietors ? Is there any system of tenant-right, or any plan of compensation for permanent improvements, which will give half the stimulus to exertion, that actual ownership gives to him who tills his own ground 2 In the earlier chapters, the writer endeavoured to point out some of the causes, which have so unfavorably influenced the industrial character of the people of Ireland. He has shown that the want of industry is not fairly attributable to their Celtic origin or their religious creed, but that it is the natural result of the want of that security for the possession of property, and for the enjoyment of the fruits of labour, which is essential as a motive to exertion. He has attempted to prove that the industrious character of the English people is the slow growth of centuries of peaceful freedom, the rights of property being held sacred, and the law being supreme. The success of Irish emigrants in America has been alluded to, as a proof that under favourable circumstances Irishmen would succeed at home. A comparison has been instituted between the different parts of Ireland, tending to show that the eastern counties differ less from England in the habits of the people, than they do from the counties in the extreme west. An endeavour has been made to delineate some of the principal features of the south and west. These are, briefly: estates of great territorial extent, in most cases strictly entailed, heavily mortgaged, and otherwise encumbered; the owner often non-resident, and unable to expend any thing for the improvement of his property; the land cut up into minute sub-divisions, held by a tenantry who have little inducement to improve a property of which they have no certain tenure; a large cottier population, heretofore living on potatoes, the produce of their own gardens, now without employment or any means of support. These difficulties, though most severely felt in the west, exist in a lesser degree throughout the whole country. Almost every where the land is held in large estates;* the proprietors are generally bound up by settlements, embarrassed by mortgages and other encumbrances; the ground, with some exceptions, is in want of draining, and ill-cultivated; the holdings are generally small, the tenants too often ignorant and lazy. Every where the disproportion exists between the demand for and the supply of labour. Can we doubt that the large estates held by embarrassed proprietors, who are unable to improve the property themselves, and are restricted by law from selling it to others, produce most of the other evils which afflict the country? And is not the natural remedy, to remove these restrictions, to allow the sale of these large estates, to apply the principles of free trade to land 2 The great difficulty of Ireland is the want of security, as respects the title to and possession of land. Hence arises the want of capital, as no one will expend labour or money in improving the soil, unless he be assured of reaping the fruits of his outlay. Until some change be produced in this respect, no improvement can be expected. This insecurity affects both the proprietor and the tenant. The first, in many cases, holds by a doubtful title, or one so difficult to prove, as seriously to interfere with the power of sale; and the estate being entailed, he has only a life interest, and is therefore disinclined to expend money on improvements which will not be immediately remunerative. The latter is merely a tenant-at-will, and always liable to be evicted; having no certainty of possession, he will not of course give any labour or expend any money, for which he does not expect an immediate return. In both cases, the most injurious consequences result. A large proportion of the land is strictly bound up by settlements. The present landlord has merely a life interest; he is in reality not the owner; he cannot deal with it as an owner; he is merely a trustee for others; he has no interest in its future though permanent improvement, except so far as he may wish to benefit his successors; he cannot reap the benefit himself; he cannot sell ; he cannot dispose of a part, even though the alienation of a part might greatly enhance the value of the remainder; he holds it during his life-time, as his predecessor held it, unaltered, unimproved, to transmit it to his heir clogged with the same restrictions, alike injurious to him and to his country. These are the results of the system under the most favorable circumstances, when the property is unencumbered and the landlord free from debt. But let us suppose, as is generally the case, that the heir has received the estate encumbered under a settlement, with a jointure to the widow of the late possessor, and provision for daughters and younger sons. Or let us take the extreme, but by no means uncommon case, in which he comes into possession, burdened with debts of his own, contracted on the faith of his inheritance, R
* M:Culloch estimates, on the authority of Dr. Beake, the proprietors of land in England and Wales as having been 200,000 in 1801. It is said that there are only about 8,000 persons in Ireland who hold land in fee.