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perties of moderate extent, and a large number of small freeholders corresponding with the peasant-proprietors of other countries. The great number of copyhold estates must also be taken into consideration. The popular cause, in the contest between Charles I. and the Parliament, derived its chief support, not from the inhabitants of the large towns, but from the lesser gentry, in fact, the middle classes in the country; and the result of the contest proves their number and intelligence. The increase in the value of land, which took place during the late war, tempted many of these small proprietors to a more expensive style of living; and when land fell again after the peace, many of them were forced to sell their estates, which were frequently purchased by some of their neighbours. From these and other causes, the number of landed proprietors has diminished ; and there is reason to believe that this diminution is still going on. Thus the middle classes are reduced in number ; except in towns, where they are maintained by commercial and manufacturing industry, and by the large amount of capital already accumulated. Still the number of landed proprietors in England is much greater than in Ireland; and, in some districts, there are even yet remaining many small proprietors, or yeomanfarmers, who cultivate their own estates.
The political and social circumstances of Ireland have naturally had a greater tendency to induce an extravagant mode of living than those of England; whilst the same causes have made entails more generally prevalent, in the hope of preserving the estate in the family, notwithstanding the improvidence of the life-owner. Hence it results, that estates in Ireland are more generally encumbered, and that a much smaller proportion of the land is unentailed than in England. In almost every part of England, land can be purchased in small portions, a circumstance so rare in Ireland, that it may be said it never occurs.”
There can be no doubt that the wealth of England has increased and is increasing ; but it is questionable whether the prosperity of the great mass of the people keeps pace with this advance. There are many reasons to think that the reverse is the case ; that the rich are increasing in wealth, whilst the difficulties of the lower and working classes are increasing also ; that property is being accumulated in a few hands, whilst the many are impoverished; that the power of entailing lands is gradually producing those enormous properties, which the Thelluson Act was passed to prevent. The result may not be the less certain, because being slowly effected, its growth is unperceived. If these fears be warranted by facts, if the separation between rich and poor be daily becoming wider and more strongly marked, and the difficulty in passing it on the part of the latter increasing, the position of England itself may become one of great danger. Unless this tendency be checked in time, the consequences must be detrimental to the prosperity, if not to the internal peace and the social institutions of the country, which depend for their maintenance on the intelligence and public spirit of the middle classes of society. It has been frequently urged that entails are essential to the existence of an aristocracy, and therefore, that, however economically injurious, it is necessary to maintain them, in order to preserve the balance of the constitution. The argument is important, if the deduction be correct. The aristocratic element in the constitution is certainly of great moment, in giving stability to the institutions of the country. To be deprived of it would be a serious loss. But this result by no means follows, as a necessary consequence of freedom in the sale of land. Many old families in England have retained estates for generations without their being entailed. The system of settlement has, no doubt, often the effect of preventing the alienation of an estate by a spendthrift ; but there are countervailing disadvantages. In many cases, encumbrances are created with the consent of the heir, which surely, though perhaps more slowly, bring about the eventual sale of the property. Still more frequently, while he retains the nominal ownership of his ancestral estate, the proprietor is far from possessing the means of supporting the former station of the family; in the attempt to do so, he probably lives beyond his income, and thus loses all hope of retrieving his position. If deprived of this artificial support, the necessity of good management would produce its natural fruits. Proprietors of land would trust to prudence and economy, to enable them to retain possession of their property, instead of relying on legal disabilities, which control their freedom of action, for good as well as for evil. The aristocracy would no longer be disgraced by the disreputable conduct of proprietors of entailed estates, in contracting debts which they cannot discharge; and in so doing, bringing their rank into contempt, and lessening their influence more than if, having no such protection, they were obliged to sell their ancestral inheritance.
* See Appendices AA. and BB. for extracts from M’Culloch's Geog. Dict. on the distribution of landed property in England and Ireland.
In conclusion, to recapitulate a portion of the foregoing remarks, we may enumerate some of the wants of Ireland, as follows:
1st. Certainty and security of title for both landlord and tenant.
2nd. The inducements to improvement, which may be expected to result from the greater certainty of ownership.
3rd. Capital for effecting these improvements, and for the proper cultivation of the soil.
4th. Freedom of sale, by which capital may be attracted to land and its culture.
5th. Facilities for sale and transfer, and for the examination of titles.
6th. A greatly increased number of landed proprietors, possessing estates of various sizes, and
he creation of a class of small proprietors, or
In offering the following suggestions towards meeting these wants, and others referred to in the foregoing remarks, the writer intends them merely as an outline for consideration, not as a thoroughly digested plan. The evils resulting from the complicated systems of tenure in Ireland, and from uncertainty of title, are so many, and so destructive to the interests of the country, that some effort must be made for their removal. If any of these suggestions should induce some one, who is better qualified, to give his attention to the sub