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never had a day's labour of drainage. Nor is this forfeited even by non-payment of rent ; for, although he may be evicted for such default, he has still the right of selling the succession to his farm-subject only to the landlord's approval of the new tenant-- and for this not seldom receives the full fee-simple value of the soil. So monstrous a difference between this and the absolute non-right of tenants in Leinster, Munster, and Connaught to any interest at all in their holdings needs only statement to stand condemned, and yet nearly the whole landlord power of the House of Commons has been twice successfully exerted to maintain the anomaly; so that, while a defaulting tenant in Cavan may sell his right for perhaps hundreds of pounds, the neighbour who joins marches with him across the imaginary line that divides Cavan from Meath is in like case turned adrift without sixpence of compensation for even the improvements he may have made. The comparative fixity of tenure which this Ulster custom involves goes far, it need hardly be said, to explain the greater material prosperity of that province; for only bigots in both politics and religion will now pretend that Protestantism or Catholicism has much, if anything, to do with the results.

If the land monopolists had wisely conceded more or less of this triad of reforms, they might for another generation, perhaps, have escaped the larger sacrifice involved in the demand provoked by their refusal in favour of a tenant proprietary. The principle of this completest remedy of all for the evils of the Irish land system has already been recognised in both the Church and Land Acts, and much may be said in favour of its wider application. The experience of nearly every country in Europe, of our own colonies, and of the United States, is conclusive as to its excellent social results, and the testimony of the best witnesses examined by Mr. Lefevre's Committee is equally concurrent as to its special adaptation to Ireland. In France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Prussia, Austria, and even Russia the replacement of the old bastard feudalism by a peasant proprietary has everywhere been attended by an immense increase in the national prosperity, and a corresponding improvement in the condition of the enfranchised population. In the United States, Canada, South Africa, and Australasia tenant ownership is, as we know, the rule—and with what economical results need not be told; while close at home with us, in the Channel Islands, the advantages of the same system of tenure are, if possible, still more strikingly shown. In fact, wherever it has been worked out its effect has been to stimulate industry and encourage thriftthe two main conditions of all national strength. In Ireland itself, where the experiment has been tried on the smaller scale of the purchases made under the Acts of 1869 and 1870, the general result, as certified by Mr. Shaw-Lefevre's report, has been strongly in

• It may be urged that there are many special conditions which have helped the posperous development of the system in the Channel Islands, but it is not the less

favour of its extension. The tenant-owned lands are almost everywhere better tilled, and their proprietors more industrious and frugal, and consequently more prosperous, than the corresponding class who pay rents and hold by the landlords' sufferance from year to year. Unable to dispute these facts, the apologists of the existing monopoly affirm the impracticability of further extending the reform on any large scale, and maintain that it could, at any rate, only be done by confiscating the rights of the present proprietors. But here, again, both experience and authority refute these objections. The agrarian revolution so peacefully and prosperously effected in Prussia by Stein and Hardenberg (whose names have been so often mentioned within recent months) supplies at once a precedent and a model for a similar reform in Ireland, where there is no reason of sound economy why the State should not there also do for cultivators what the State has done with splendid success for the same class in Brandenburg, Pomerania, Silesia, and along the Lower Rhine. In these and the other provinces of Prussia wholesale expropriation of the landlords has been followed by the very best economical and social results, and as the agricultural condition of Ireland now differs but little from that of Prussia at the beginning of the present century-it is absurd to deny that similar results might not be reasonably expected from a similar reform. But if such a measure as that of the Prussian statesmen be thought too drastic, or as casting too much responsibility on the State, the Commission proposed by Mr. Vernon, and recommended by Mr. Lefevre's Committee, offers a less extreme alternative of nearly equal efficiency, with full assurance of justice to every interest concerned. Through the agency of this body-acting for the great mass of tenant farmers as the Temporalities Commissioners have done for the holders of the Church lands —the problem of combining ownership with occupancy might be gradually solved, by the operation of increased facilities to tenant purchasers and with the fairest recognition of existing landlord rights.

No argument need be wasted to prove that reforms so demonstrably necessary to the prosperity of the country have the strongest claims on the attention of Parliament, and are as little communistic' and confiscatory' as any changes affecting property could be. It may indeed be affirmed that they would benefit landlords themselves quite as much as tenants, for if the present conflict of interest continues, both the rental and market value of estates must further suffer.

Besides these four essential reforms, there are two other only less necessary conditions of full justice to Irish agriculture, and a third which is needed to remedy a gross economical abuse-I mean the assimilation of the Poor Law to that of England, the reclamation of waste lands, and a tax upon absentees. As regards the first of these, it may

be said that the Irish Poor Law offers a direct premium to inadequately relieves the large class of agricultural labourers, on whom the effects of depression most immediately fall; the second involves the easy addition of 3,000,000 to the 20,000,000 odd acres which now form the cultivable area of the island ; while the third would deal with a scandal legislatively recognised two centuries and a half

ago, and as great now as it was then, when the ioth of Charles I. --of course long since repealed—imposed a tax of 48. in the pound on Irish landlords six months absent from their estates. But these are collateral incidents, rather than elements, of the main question, and in the space now available can only be mentioned.

Such are the chief conditions of this Irish land problem. From even the rapid survey of them now given, it will be seen that the system they collectively constitute differs widely from that under which land is owned and cultivated in England. The two have, indeed, little in common, except the exaggerated prestige that attaches to ownership of land in both islands, and ministers to the superstition that property in acres has a sacredness all peculiar to itself. It is no argument, therefore, against the demand for these Irish reforms to say that they would be impracticable, or even unjust, as between the English landlord and tenant. With that the Irish reformer has nothing to do; enough if he make out a case for further legislation for his own constituents, without reference to what may be expedient in Lancashire or Kent. Imperfectly as the facts and considerations now submitted have been stated, I venture to believe that they go far to build up such a plea. They disclose, at any rate, a system so fruitful in grievous wrong to three fourths of the Irish people, and so repugnant to natural justice, that even a partial exposure of them cannot be made altogether in vain to the enlightened conscience of English readers.

J. C. McCoan.

favour of its extension. The tenant-owned lands are almost everywhere better tilled, and their proprietors more industrious and frugal, and consequently more prosperous, than the corresponding class who pay rents and hold by the landlords' sufferance from year to year. Unable to dispute these facts, the apologists of the existing monopoly affirm the impracticability of further extending the reform on any large scale, and maintain that it could, at any rate, only be done by confiscating the rights of the present proprietors. But here, again, both experience and authority refute these objections. The agrarian revolution so peacefully and prosperously effected in Prussia by Stein and Hardenberg (whose names have been so often mentioned within recent months) supplies at once a precedent and a model for a similar reform in Ireland, where there is no reason of sound economy why the State should not there also do for cultivators what the State has done with splendid success for the same class in Brandenburg, Pomerania, Silesia, and along the Lower Rhine. In these and the other provinces of Prussia wholesale expropriation of the landlords has been followed by the very best economical and social results, and as the agricultural condition of Ireland now differs but little from that of Prussia at the beginning of the present century-it is absurd to deny that similar results might not be reasonably expected from a similar reform. But if such a measure as that of the Prussian statesmen be thought too drastic, or as casting too much responsibility on the State, the Commission proposed by Mr. Vernon, and recommended by Mr. Lefevre's Committee, offers a less extreme alternative of nearly equal efficiency, with full assurance of justice to every interest concerned. Through the agency of this body-acting for the great mass of tenant farmers as the Temporalities Commissioners have done for the holders of the Church lands -the problem of combining ownership with occupancy might be gradually solved, by the operation of increased facilities to tenant purchasers and with the fairest recognition of existing landlord rights.

No argument need be wasted to prove that reforms so demonstrably necessary to the prosperity of the country have the strongest claims on the attention of Parliament, and are as little communistic' and confiscatory' as any changes affecting property could be. It may indeed be affirmed that they would benefit landlords themselves quite as much as tenants, for if the present conflict of interest continues, both the rental and market value of estates must further suffer.

Besides these four essential reforms, there are two other only less necessary conditions of full justice to Irish agriculture, and a third which is needed to remedy a gross economical abuse-I mean the assimilation of the Poor Law to that of England, the reclamation of waste lands, and a tax upon absentees. As regards the first of these, it may be said that the Irish Poor Law offers a direct premium to inadequately relieves the large class of agricultural labourers, on whom the effects of depression most immediately fall; the second involves the easy addition of 3,000,000 to the 20,000,000 odd acres which now form the cultivable area of the island; while the third would deal with a scandal legislatively recognised two centuries and a half ago, and as great now as it was then, when the roth of Charles I. -of course long since repealed—imposed a tax of 48. in the pound on Irish landlords six months absent from their estates. But these are collateral incidents, rather than elements, of the main question, and in the space now available can only be mentioned.

Such are the chief conditions of this Irish land problem. From even the rapid survey of them now given, it will be seen that the system they collectively constitute differs widely from that under which land is owned and cultivated in England. The two have, indeed, little in common, except the exaggerated prestige that attaches to ownership of land in both islands, and ministers to the superstition that property in acres has a sacredness all peculiar to itself. It is no argument, therefore, against the demand for these Irish reforms to say that they would be impracticable, or even unjust, as between the English landlord and tenant. With that the Irish reformer has nothing to do; enough if he make out a case for further legislation for his own constituents, without reference to what may be expedient in Lancashire or Kent. Imperfectly as the facts and considerations now submitted have been stated, I venture to believe that they go far to build up such a plea. They disclose, at any rate, a system so fruitful in grievous wrong to three fourths of the Irish people, and so repugnant to natural justice, that even a partial exposure of them cannot be made altogether in vain to the enlightened conscience of English readers.

J. C. McCoan.

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