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and borrowed on terms of usurious interest, proportioned to the risk incurred. In what difficulties is he at once involved —this owner for life of a large tract of country, with a long rent-roll, but in fact a small property | He cannot maintain his position in society without spending more than his income ; debts accumulate ; he borrows on the credit of his life interest, and insures his life for the security of the lender. Of course he cannot afford to lay out any thing on im

provements; on the contrary, though perhaps

heretofore kind-hearted and just, his necessities force him to resort to every means of increasing his present rental. He looks for the utmost amount; he lets to the highest bidder, without regard to character or means of payment. His object is immediate income, not the future value of the property. If his tenants are without leases, he raises their rents. If leases fall in, he cannot afford to give the preference to the last occupier. Perhaps, with all his exertions, he is unable to pay the interest, or put off his creditors. Proceedings are commenced against him, and the estate passes, during his life-time, under the care of the worst possible landlord—a receiver under the court of chancery. If the evil were confined to the proprietors of estates, they might be left to the results of their own imprudence; but the country suffers. Even when the life owner is provident and economical, he cannot in many cases afford to improve. He will not expend money for the benefit of his eldest son, to the prejudice of the rest of his family. He must save out of his income for his younger children. Or perhaps he has daughters and no son, and the estate must pass to a distant heir-atlaw. He will not even expend what is necessary to maintain the property in good order. The following instance has been communicated by a party acquainted with the circumstance. It is that of an old gentleman of independent property, residing on an estate of about two hundred acres. The fences are almost levelled, and the house, except that the roof is staunch, is in wretched repair; no money has been laid out on it for years; his family is large, and he is eighty years of age. The jealousy thus kept up between father and son, and the necessity for the former to use means so injurious to the estate and to the country, in order to provide for his younger children, are amongst the worst effects of entails.”

* The following extract from the evidence of Peirce Mahony, Esq. given in 1835 before the Select Committee on Public Works, is strikingly descriptive of the injurious effects of entails:—

“In the case of a provident holder of an estate for life, the difficulties “he encounters are almost equal to those of the person who is encum“bered largely by previous debt. Such a person, under the usual terms

Is not the principle on which this old gentleman has managed his property, similar to that which is acted on by many others? May we not appeal to the landed gentry themselves? Even when the best feelings exist between father and son, are they not restrained by their duty towards their younger children, from the expenditure of money, which they know would permanently improve the family property 2 Or if the eldest son, being of age, unites with his father in charging the estate for the benefit of the younger children, is not the nucleus of a debt formed, which, increasing from generation to generation by a similar process, first embarrasses, and finally ruins the family? Have not many estates been thus forced to the hammer ? Have not the difficulties in which he was involved destroyed the happiness of the last possessor, and in many cases embittered the lives of two generations 2 Have not the social condition and

“of an Irish settlement, has power to charge but a small sum as a pro“vision for his younger children; as a prudent father, having more “ than one child, he naturally seeks to accumulate property in aid of “the provision to which he is restricted by his settlement—that, under “the present system, he does through the public securities, &c. He “cannot lay out his savings upon the improvement of his family estate, “for the effect would be, to enrich the elder son, and deprive himself of “means to provide for his younger children; the consequence is gene“rally, and in many cases even within my own professional experience, “that estates which otherwise would be improved are neglected, and “the savings accumulated by the tenants for life are laid out at interest “upon loans secured on neighbouring estates or in the public funds.”

character of the tenantry been ruined, by the mismanagement resulting from these difficulties 7 Probably the estate may have been for years under the court of chancery before its sale, or perhaps it has been mortgaged to some one, who advanced the money on condition of obtaining the agency, and who has made the most of his position, without regard to the welfare of the property or those living on it. How many of the outrages and murders, which have stained the character of the country, may be distinctly traced to the disorganization thus produced ? The purchaser endeavours to reduce the property to order ; the severity which he can scarcely avoid provokes retaliation, and he at length becomes the victim of a train of circumstances, clearly traceable to that settlement of the estate, which the original possessor fondly hoped would secure it to his posterity for ever. The permanency of property in land is undoubt

edly a great social advantage. It gives stability to the institutions of a country. A time-honoured family, who have held the same lands, transmitted from father to son for many generations, demands our respect. If their names are honourably known to history, or if they have fulfilled the no less important local duties attendant on property and station, we feel that it gives them a title to our confidence, whilst it imposes on them the obligation to uphold the high character which their ancestors enjoyed. But are entails necessary to effect this object 2 If each successive owner of the property be a man of prudence and economy, no settlement is necessary. If, on the other hand, he involve himself in debt, by unwarrantable expenditure, and so render himself unable to fulfil the duties of his station, he loses his local influence, and the respect which his predecessors had acquired; and the entail becomes alike injurious to himself and to his country. We cannot by legislation contravene the established laws of Providence, which render prosperity dependent on prudent management. The attempt to do so inevitably brings suffering upon all parties concerned. It interferes with the salutary exercise of parental control. The heir thinks himself released from the restraints of authority, and from the necessity of prudence; and his fancied security often betrays him into a course of improvident excess, which embitters the whole of his after life. If the estate were free from entail, he would be exposed to much less temptation. An education in those habits of prudence and economy, which would prevent him from spending beyond his income, would be much more likely to attain the object of the settlement, namely, the preservation

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