Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

man who, in this sense is a “Liberal” and a against which the stars seemed to be fighting “ financier,” was solemnly made over by Lord in their course. They all, with one accord, Hartington to Lord Salisbury. It is remarkable began to make excuse. that the Liberal Press seem overburdened with The result is a Cabinet of all the incapables. joy at having got rid of him, while the Conserva Never has so extraordinary a scratch lot been tive Press has not as yet expressed overwhelm- got together. Most of them are foolish peers ing gratitude at his self-devotion to their cause. and the foolish relations of these. The leader The effect, however, on Lord Salisbury was of the House of Commons is Mr. Smith, a man remarkable, and Mr. Goschen must have been whom his party has been seeking vainly to astounded at his own surpassing value. Lord banish to the Lords. As to the others, the Salisbury passed at once from the depths of pot-house politicians are almost at their wits' humility and despair to the extremity of confi- end to find out who is Mr. This or Lord That. dence and arrogance. He did something The Cabinet contains only two men of ability. which would almost make us doubt his sanity, Of these the most distrusted man in Britain were we not to remember that insanity and would be Lord Salisbury were it not for Mr. overbearing arrogance are often similar in Goschen-or Mr Goschen, if it were not for their effects. Sending for a list of his Cabinet, Lord Salisbury. this eccentric Prime Minister struck his pen And what will come of it? We consider the through the names of Lord Cross and the late conjunction of Lord Salisbury and Mr. Goschen Lord Iddesleigh. It was his pleasure that they as of baleful omen. Lord Salisbury is not the should go. A Liberal lord or two of Mr. man to trust with a candle in the powder Goschen's type of Liberalism must be brought magazine of Europe, and Mr. Goschen is just in to keep that bashful statesman-as we all the man, as national storekeeper, to give him know him to be-in countenance. In the case as many candles as he wants. Strangely enough, of Lord Cross this mattered little; he ran our consolation is in Lord Randolph Churchill. screaming to the Queen as a child who has lost | He is sure to fly in Mr. Goschen's face. Next his toy runs screaming to his mamma. And the session daggers and dynamite will be spoken Queen would not let her poor Crossie be in the House of Commons. And probably injured. No, indeed! With the case of Lord before Lord Salisbury has had time to do his Iddesleigh it was, alas ! how different.

usual amount of injury to the country, we will And here we wish to proceed most guardedly.

have a general election that will sweep him and We wish not to grieve even the memory of his to their natural place as a snarling Oppothat gentle nobleman by uttering fierce recrimi-sition. nations, and saying what his own sweet spirit i

From all this has the Democracy learned would have borne in silence. Two months ago anything ? Yea; it has learned much. In we paid in THE DEMOCRAT the highest compli- these pitiful politics it has constantly witnessed ment we coulil to his honour and worth. IIis the incapacity, feebleness, and folly of an death will be avenged by all the noblest senti- aristocratic Government. The workshops of ment of Britain. When we remember that Britain are talking of nothing else. By-andwhile his corpse lay cold the Conservatives of | by they will talk of the remedy. Plymouth, in the very midst of his own loved

_ :0:Devonshire valleys, danced and jested, while

Neither Pay Nor Go.-British Prime Minister, one of the leaders of the Conservative party

Salisbury, has furnished the workers of the Irish

Plan of Campaign against landlordism with uttered fecble and foolish jocularities, we

toonsh jocularities, we material for an excellent motto. Speaking recently understand how little the party was worthy of l on the land question, his lordship summed up his the man. He who had the very finest feelings policy by declaring that the Irish farmers “must of them all was treated as if he were a callous either pay or go." John Dillon has transformed scrambler for office. He who was the soul of this insolent ultimatum into capital shape for honour was hustled aside because they knew

adoption as a Campaign war-cry. In a speech that he was too noble for revenge. He whose

some days ago at a meeting of the National League

in Dublin Mr. Dillon, noticing the Salisbury dictum, only thought was kind and gentle was dis said : “His ultimatum is, You must either pay or missed from office as a feeling man would not you must go. On behalf of the Irish tenants I will dismiss a drunken groom. It broke his heart, say that I am convinced that the tenant farmers and that was all. He himself, with saintly in Ireland intend this time neither to pay nor to generosity, forgave Lord Salisbury. May God go." It is the right answer to the insolence of the forgive him.

landlord claim, and we hope it will be backed up

by the right sort of action. The policy of “neither There is no more dreadful thought than that

pay nor go" vigorously put into operation in a crime has been done in vain. This crime was | Ireland would quickly bring the plunderers to their worse than vain. No one woull join a Cabinct' knees in real carnest. Irish World.

LAND PURCHASE.

Even “ practical politicians” are now begin- been well and truly said that “the man who ning to question whether it is desirable for the buys land pays someone who has done nothing Stite to incur enormous responsibilities in for the power to charge someone who is order to get rid of one sit of land!ords and going to do something." When men concencreate another class of owners. So far as the trate on a given spot, their industry gives an State is concerned, land purchase is a case of enormous value to land. This will perhaps be “heads you win, tails I lose." If, after the best illustrated by a specific case. Thirty purchase is completel, land values fall, the years ago land at Enfield was worth £50 to Štate, which has guaranteed the landlords, must £100 per acre. The Government decided to lose. If land rises in value, many of the erect there a small-arms manufactory, which tenants will realise their unearned increment, has raised the value to something like £2,000 and retire into idle life. Whether it rises or per acre, or thirtyfold. falls in value, land will soon and largely The landlord is allowed to take all this come into the hands of capitalistic owners, increased value without contributing a farthing and all experience has shown that no landlords to the heavy rates occasioned by the necessary are so exacting and oppressive as those who expenditure for drainage, lighting, road-making, purchase the power to impose a charge upon and poor-rate. All these costs are imposed other people's industry...

upon the industrious builder and occupier. It might be worth while to make some The landlord goes scot free, and either takes sacrifice, or to incur some risk, in order to away his two thousand pounds at once for an obtain the control of the situation, and to place acre of land, or gets a hundred a year in perthe land question on a permanent and satisfac- petuity, upon which he pays no taxation whattory footing, but this will not result from ever except the income tax. In a similar buying of landlords and selling to tenants. In manner all land values have been created, and such a transaction there is no protection whether the landlord gets 10s. per acre for against a repetition of the evils from which we agrioultural land, or £100 per acre for now suffer. The relief would be but temporary, suburban land, or thirty or forty thousand and it would be undertaken at enormous risk pounds per acre per annum for City land, to the State.

the value arose in the same manner, and is When such an operation is once commenced it alike exempted from rates, the expenditure would be impossible to limitits scope. Mr.Glad- of which increases the value of the property. stone nominally reduced the first amount to be. If the case stood solely on its merits it is provided under the Irish Land Purchase Act from not reasonable to suppose that we should much 120 millions to 50 millions, but the principle of longer exempt this class of income from taxathe measure was that land must be bought tion, and to buy up the income of landlords at from all landlords who wish to sell, as all must so many years' purchase before proper taxation be treated alike. Of course, on the terms pro- is imposed upon it would be manifestly absurd. posed all, or nearly all, would wish to sell, and But we have before is the report of a Royal not less than 200 millions would provide for Commission, presided over by the Prince of the purchase as proposed. Moreover, what Wales, which recommends taxation on building may be given to Irish landlords cannot easily i land to a degree which would absorb a fourth part be withheld from Scotch and English land- of the income for Statc purposes. If such a Comowners, and thus the people in the coming land mission as that which sat on the Dwellings of the war would be hampered with a burden and a Poor, composed almost wholly of landlords, precedent which would weigh them down in the makes such a recommendation, what may we conflict.

expect when working-men and men of industry There are some important considerations come to have their fair share in Parliamentary respecting land purchase which do not seem to legislation ? For the nation to purchase land have been regarded by its advocates. There is under present conditions would be as unwise as no denying the fact that landowners receive i for a man to give a price equal to freehold for payment for which they do nothing in return. a leasehold house on which there is only a few The value for which they receive rent is years, or, perhaps, a few months, to run. created, not by their own industry, but by the What has happened with regard to tithe rent industry of others, as industry is the only charge should be a warning to us in the matter means by which value can be created. It has of buying land. A few years ago tithe rent charge realised twenty-seven years' purchase, but since guarantee of payment by the Government the discussion of the subject and the commence. must have the determined opposition of that ment of the tithe war it is difficult to obtain large and increasing number of active politieighteen years' purchase for tithe rent charge. cians who deny the right of private property

The adoption of the “Plan of Campaign” in land, whereas they would willingly assist in has taken off a large percentage frcm the value advancing any arrangement which made the of land, both in town and country, throughout cultivators permanent tenants subject to the kingdom, If the Plan be illegal it is so periodical and frequent valuation. only because the right of combination which it This method would under all considerations has been found right and necessary to give to be the best. The object of legislation should working men is denied to tenants, but this be to make land as accessible as possible to denial cannot long continue. Whether it is workers, and especially to workers who are granted or denied men will avail themselves of poor. Cultivators should not be required to the Plan of Campaign to resent unjust demands come under heavy pecuniary obligations before on the part of landlords, and thus the power, they can have the use of land. Land is almost prestige, and profits of landlords will be largely always rising or falling in value. If it falls the diminished.

owner of mortgaged land is ruined ; if it rises There is a peculiar incongruity in the conten | he gets payments, without effort of his own. tion that Irish landlords must be bought out In both cases he probably ceases to be a useful before the question of Irish government can member of society. These fluctuations in value be settled. The most enthusiastic admirers should fall upon the community by which they of Irish landlords will hardly contend that are usually created. The lanıl system we Ireland is under obligations to them for having want now is one which will give occupiers fixed carried off from that poverty-stricken country holdings and fair rents. Whether these rents four hundred millions sterling during the last should be paid to the private owner or to the fifty years. It is not necessary for my pre- State is a question to be determined in futurc; sent purpose to refer in detail to the history of but no course should be taken now which would Irish landlordism. I will inquire now what make it impossibe to settle that question in have landlords done for Ireland to entitle them future. to such special consideration ? No advocate for | Instead of facilitating either the Irish or the Irish landlords would ask the court of public British land question a proposal for land opinion to look for a moment on a true state- purchase would retard its settlement. The ment of accounts, debtor and creditor, between future value of land is eminently uncertain, the Irish landlord and the Irish people. No and under all circumstances Mr. Jesse Collings honest man can say that the amount, justly will find it difficult to get local authorities to stated, leaves any balance to their credit. Why, incur liabilities for the purchase of land. The then, are we asked to incur such tremen- settlement which he desires and which is so dous obligations on their behalf ? Why is their eminently essential to our property can be far case regarded as exceptional ? If it be assumed better attained and will be far easier of attainthat the Irish local authority will act unjustly, ment, under a proposal to give to local why should it be supposed that they will act authorities, properly constituted, full power to unjustly towards landlords in particular ? Why consider the wants of the people and to demand should not butchers and bakers be protected by of landlords reasonable attention to those a British guarantee as well as landlords ? wants upon terms which are just and fair. Does not this special appeal on behalf of land- Whether for cultivation, or for building purlords indicate some doubt as to the soundness poses, it is essential that industry should have of their claims? No one demands any unusual free scope for its exercise without the interprotection for other classes of the community. position of private powers of obstruction, which Why should landlords ask for such a guarantee? are now practically used for levying black

No practical politician can wisely ignore the mail. fact that a large number of persons who now The question of land purchase is seen to be form an important element in political forces tremendous the moment we consider the vast deny the right of landlords to demand rent for amounts of the interests involved. With agriland which neither they nor their predecessors cultural rent, ground rent, mineral royalties, have made or improved. It is not necessary or confiscation of buildings, and fines for renewal possible to delay the settlement of the Irish of leases, landlords realise at present about question until this topic has been fully discussed 150 millions per annum. Part of this vast sum and settled ; but it is well to bear in mind that is unjust and indefensible from any point of any proposal for the purchase of land or view. The whole of it should be subject to tixation, the amount of which will be variously those whose interests it is the duty of Govern estimated at from 4s. to 20s. in the pound; butments to protect. In such transactions the taxation to some extent no practical statesman money of the people is taken from them in can venture to ignore or deny. Under all the order to cnhance against themselves the price circumstances the opponents of land purchase of that which is essential to their existence. have a strong case of which they are disposed Before Mr. Gladstone announced his scheme for to make effective use. Politicians, like torrents, buying land, some Irish landlords were willing should take the line of the least resistance, and to sell at from seven to eight years' purchase, the practical adjustment of the land question | but when they were offered twenty years' purcan be most easily and most advantageously chase, of course they would no longer accept settled, not by purchase, but by regulation. I | less. It seems to be almcst inconceivably cruel

The employment of State funds for the pur- to add to the burdens of the taxpayer in order chase of land inflicts a twofold injury upon to increase the charge upon the land occupier.

MR. GLADSTONE ON LORD TENNYSON. If ever Mr. Gladstone be at fault he seems single-handed with an unjust and oppressive to fix his eye with just consideration upon his landlord. It is evident that this limitation was not own defect. In his remarkable article on unintentional, and it furnishes an apt illustration Locksley Hall and the Jubilec, he writes :- of the fact that our landlord legislators watch “Each generation or age of men is under a the course of legislation with the utmost vigitwofold temptation ; the one to overrate its lance in order to make or turn a point in their own performances and prospects, the other to own favour. undervalue the time preceding or following its Mr. Gladstone claims "a verdict of acquittal cwn.” No man would be so readily pardoned upon the public performances of the halfas Mr. Gladstone for overrating the political century.” This is a large claim to make, and work of the generation in which he has taken the claimant would be the first to admit large such a transcendant part, and no man is more qualifications. He goes on to say: “The ques. willing to admit that legislation during that tion now touched upon is that condition of period has fallen far short of the practical England question on which Mr. Carlyle thunnecessities of the nation.

dered in our cars his not unwarrantable but So rapid is the march of events that a menacing admonitions. Some heed, it would striking illustration of the inadequate charac- appear, has been given to such pleading. ter of that legislation to which he refers, with Science and legislation have been pariners in pardonable pride, has become manifest since great work. There is no question now about the article was written.

the shares of their respective contributors. It Mr. Gladstone stated :-"Laws of combina- is enough for my purpose that the work has tion and contract, which prevented the working been done, and that the legislature has population from obtaining the best price for laboured hard in it. Mr. Giffon, in a treatise their labour, have been repealed.”

of great care and ability, has estimated the imThe limited action of this repeal is shown by provement in the condition of the working the judgment given by Mr. Justice O'Brien in population at 50 per cent." respect of the Plan of Campaign. He con- | We fully admit that “science and legislation demns the action of Mr. Dillon and his co- have been partners in a great work," and we defendants distinctly on the ground that the hold that in order to arrive at right conclusions legislature, when giving the right of combina- it is essential to consider their respective contion to workmen, did not extend the right to tributions. We must not give to Westminster tenants. The injustice still remains, and all the credit due to Jermyn-street, or claim for except working men may be held to have com- legislation those advantages which have mitted an illegal act if two or three persons come from the application of science, the imunite in doing what it would be perfectly legal proved organisation of labour, and the increasfor one alone to do. Thus, while the justice ing efforts of the industrious classes themselves, of the principle of combination is admitted, its Before our legislators can claim a verdict of application is limited to one particular class acquittal they have a good deal to account for. of persons, all others are excluded, and over- How is it that during the last fifty years so charged tenants are left by the law to contend large a number of persons in the United Kingdom have perished of starvation? The pro- the transition. This proposal was by cunning portion of sufferers to population is perhaps manipulators, suddenly changed into a gift of greater than that of any other country. Why twenty millions, and thus those who carried on is it that five millions of our people are con- and profited by the “continuous crime” of stantly suffering from want of the commonest slavery were not only allowed to escape necessaries oi life. This occurs where the punishment, but were paid enormous sums exdevelopment of wealth is the greatest ever tracted from the pockets of people who had known, and the productiveness of industry is practised honest industry. What made the without a parallel in the history of the world. | transaction still more disgraceful was the fact

Mr. Giffen claims an improvement of 50 per that the men who imposed this charge on the .cent, in the condition of the working popula- British public were almost wholly exempted tion. But during the same period the produc. | from taxation ; they did not at that time tiveness of labour has increased fivefold.* even pay income tax. The money was ex

Is it fair that the working man, the effective-tracted from the people whose interests it was ness of whose labour has increased 500 per cent. the duty of our legislators to protect, and unshould benefit only to the extent of 50 per blushingly awarded to themselves and to their cent?

friends who had grown wealthy in carrying The difficulty in awarding a verdict of on this “continuous crime." acquittal on the public performances of the Precisely the same thing occurs in more last half-century arises from the slowness with recent legislation. Our new Chancellor of the which proved abuses are considered and re-Exchequer, as Chairman of the Telegraphis movel, and from the unjust manner in which Committee, was the chief instrument in awardnew abuses are created. There were days of ing to capitalists the many millions which were ignorance when politicians might have been wasted in the purchase of the telegraphs. The excused ior leaving, without remedy, evils amount paid was more than double the original which were scarcely within their knowledge. estimate of cost, and the extravagance of the During the last fifty years a very different state methods adopted are seen from the fact that of things has prevailed; knowledge has in-one company received for a cable, which it was creased and ignorance can no longer be quite unnecessary to purchase at all, more than pleaded as an excuse for inaction. But interest ten times the cost of its constrụction. We is a greater foe to improvement than ignorance. feel sure that nothing of this kind would have Powerful combinations, interested in profiting occurred in connection with Mr. Goschen's by abuses, have steadfastly resisted with personal pecuniary transactions, yet it happens skilful, and often silent, obstruction those inn- when he is acting for the public; and he is still, provements which were necessary for the wel lauded as an able financier who can be relied fare of the people, and where changes have upon to administer the national finances. become inevitable and could no longer be re- | Again, how are we to obtain a verdict of sisted, they have been accompanied with con- acquittal for the monstrous folly, to use no ditions which limited their effect and placed harsher term, connected with the recent still heavier burdens on the industrious classes. I arrangements for the Parcels Post, under which

In his retrospect of the last fifty years Mr. | the Post Office do four-fifths of the work and Gladstone refers with satisfaction to the fact get 45 per cent of the receipts, while the railthat “the beginning of the period had the soli- way companies get 55 per cent. for doing onetary glory of ending one long series of con- fifth of the work. In order to save some of the tinuous crirae by the abolition of the slave money thus unjustly lavished on railway comtrade." Unfortunately the abolition of slavery panies, hard working postmen have additional was marked by one of those acts of robbery duties imposed without any adequate increase throngh which the industrious classes of this of pay, and, in some cases, without any incountry have been so often oppressed, and which crease whatever. The absurdity of the existi; seems to be the special object of modern ing arrangement will be obvious when we state legislators to introduce in connection with that if the railway companies do all the work popular movements. During the agitation for of collecting, transmitting and delivering the abolition of slavery it was proposed that a 14 lbs. on their own account, say, from London loan of fifteen millions should be made to to the North of England, they are glad to replanters in order to enable them to tide overceive 10d., but if they transmit only, and the

Post Office do all the costly and troublesome

work of collecting and delivering, then the effectiveness of labour ; in some cases it has been more than fivefold. In the rise of shipping it bas been found by investigations made at Hall, that one man now obtains the same result as was obtained fifty years since by five and a half men.

Post Office

* It is not casy to measure the exact degree of increase in the

« НазадПродовжити »