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them worse and not better than land is of the highest importance their enemies. Lord Belmore to the interests of the country”; spoke truly when he said that but they now explain that this reeven the present Government were ferred to tenants of over £10 ascarcely free from the reproach of year—about one-third of the whole, being more anxious to conciliate the other two-thirds being rented their opponents than to serve their under £10 and under £4 respecfriends. Anybody who is ac- tively. They fear that the present quainted with the inner life of Bill will apply almost exclusively Ireland knows that the Loyalists to the two latter classes, and theresuffer in many ways, just because fore will tend to perpetuate the they are too honourable to resort evils of subdivisions and of small to Parnellite tactics. Even Gov- holdings, and to create pauper ernments follow the line of least proprietors; and they very proresistance, and this means in Ire- perly contend that to displace the land that the disloyal get what great landlords for the sake of they do not deserve, while the these petty proprietors would be loyal are deprived of what they a foolish and an insane policy. ought to have, simply because the Hence they would amend the Bill former are unscrupulous and brutal by confining it to holdings over and can give trouble, while the £10, which is an eminently reasonlatter are fair and courteous and able proposal, in the true interests are in no sense to be dreaded. of the whole community. This is an inverted order of things, The most serious objection of and it ought to be at once righted, the landlords, however, is that the but there is not much hope of this Bill practically fixes the number of being done. Lord Derby said not years' purchase at twenty-i.e., as long ago: "I am no believer in the maximum, although Mr Gladthe system of sacrificing friends in stone estimated the property of order to conciliate enemies." That the Irish landlords to be worth is a wise remark, which Mr Bal- twenty-seven years' purchase in four would do well just now to
1881. It is no uncommon thing take to heart. The alternative in Ireland for people to give policy, which he has shown some twenty years' purchase for the disposition to follow, is a suicidal mere tenant-right of a farm—the one; for when you have sacrificed good-will-or, in other words, to your friends you find that your give twenty years' purchase of the enemies are as implacable as ever, present rent for the privilege of and that you have placed yourself paying that rent. In view of this at their mercy.
fact, it is a cruel absurdity to fix Considered as a body, however, a limit of twenty years' purchase the Irish landowners are friendly for the fee-simple. It is nototo the Bill as a whole, though they rious that many landlords, chiefly demand that it should be compre- wealthy men, have sold under the hensively amended in the inter- Ashbourne Acts at only about ests both of landlord and tenant. half the real value. The bulk of They are not opposed to the prin- the landlords are not in a position ciple of State-aided purchase. At to do this. In its present form Mr their Convention last December, Balfour's Bill would undoubtedly they expressed their opinion that tend to stereotype the low prices "a large increase in the number which have prevailed of late, and of occupying owners of land in Ire- which, having been created by a
panic, do not correspond to the it boldly, and make it yield its true value of the land. An amend- uttermost result ! ment ought to be inserted providing The objections urged against the that where a tenant gives over Bill by the Opposition are unworthy twenty years' purchase, all the of serious notice-first, because they purchase-money shall be advanced, are prompted by purely partisan and the payments reduced and motives ; and secondly, because spread over a longer period; and they are so inherently and conalso that where a tenant gives less temptibly feeble. The Opposition than eighteen years' purchase, case has ignominiously collapsed. only three-fourths of the purchase- Impotent as the Opposition leaders money shall be advanced. If were known to be, nobody could twenty years, instead of eighteen, have believed that they would were fixed, in the latter case it have cut such a sorry figure. Mr would be all the better. Even Parnell's humiliating fiasco has not these terms would be favourable only disgusted his English allies enough, as they would represent a and irritated his servile Irish creareduction of twenty per cent under tures, but it has materially qualithe judicial rent ; while at eighteen fied the extravagant estimate which years' purchase the reduction would some of the Gladstonians had be twenty-eight per cent.
formed of that gentleman's ability. If these amendments were made Certain gentlemen at Edinburgh, in the Bill, and if, in addition, pur- who made themselves look very chasing tenants were permitted to foolish on an occasion which they pay larger annual instalments than have probably no wish to recall, those fixed in the Bill; if tenants talked of Mr Parnell as a great in congested districts were assisted statesman, and have been by Government to buy up each treated to similar ridiculous flatother's interest ; if all sand taxa- tery more than once since. And tion were to be transferred from lo! the first time this profound the landlord to the tenant, the statesman gets a chance to show judicial rent being reduced in what stuff he is really made of, his a corresponding degree; and if, failure is so abject that his adlastly, every owner of land were mirers hide their heads for very to be freed from the restrictions shame. Mr Gladstone's resources imposed by the Acts of 1870 and are so great, that, unlike Mr Par1881,-Mr Balfour's Bill would be nell, he was able to spread himself the most comprehensive, far-reach- and conceal the nakedness of the ing, and beneficial Land Act ever land; but the nakedness was there passed for Ireland, and would all the same. settle this troublesome question Mr Balfour's triumph is comas thoroughly as it can ever be plete. The stars in their courses settled by legislation. The Act, have fought for him. His greatest thus amended, would virtually opponents have proved his most repeal the land legislation of Mr effective allies. His tactics have Gladstone, restore the reign of thrown the already disorganised political economy and of contract, Opposition into utter confusion : and thus place us once more upon their tactics have been so malathe high-road to prosperity and droit, that many of Mr Balfour's peace. The government have own side who did not regard the a splendid opportunity.
Would Bill with favour have been conthat they had the courage to grasp verted. Sensible men discern that
the opposition of the Parnellites clusion” that the Irish landlords is of itself sufficient to justify the should be expatriated, though he measure.
himself, as recently as 1886, proThe Irish landlords, too, are posed to drive them out of Ireland, almost as much entitled to con- bag and baggage. But although gratulate themselves as Mr Balfour he now wishes to keep the landis. Their value is beginning to be lords in Ireland, he declares that discovered. Mr Parnell, to the they have not “even the smallest infinite disgust of the Healys, and title to express the voice of Dillons, and O'Briens, actually Ireland." This, it seems, can only tells them that they constitute a be done by carpet-baggers and most valuable element in Irish adventurers, many of whom had society, that Ireland needs them, never set foot in their constitand that their withdrawal will uencies until they were elected be a calamity, &c. But they are by order of the League. The not likely to be deluded by a man landlords, who represent Protestwho has proved himself so utterly intism and culture, the commerfalse and treacherous to his own cial and the professional classes, principles. In his Westport speech, and the loyalists generally, have June 7, 1879, he said :
“not even the smallest title to ex"I am one of those who believe press the voice of Ireland!” Mr that the landlord institution is not a
Gladstone's speech against the Bill natural institution in any country.
was confined to mere details, and I believe that the maintenance of the was so flimsy as to be beneath conclass of landlords in a country is not tempt. He thinks the Bill should for the greatest benefit of the greatest be confined to present landlords. number."
Why did he not confine the act of In the same speech he said :- 1881 to present tenants ? That is "If we had the farmers of Ireland application of the restrictions which
to say, why did he not limit the the owners of the soil to-morrow, we should not be long without getting
were imposed upon the landlord an Irish Parliament. I don't
intend by that Act-in dealing with his to be demoralised myself by any tenantry - - to the tenants who concessions. While we are getting
were then upon that estate, inconcession
may show the Government a little consideration for stead of making them applicable
It is the the time being, and give them a quid to all future tenants ? pro quo, but after that the bargain absence of this limitation which ceases, and when we have returned has created much of the misthem a fitting return for what we chief in Ireland. Mr Gladstone have got we are quits again, and are free to use such measures as may be also thinks that it would be very necessary according to the times and wrong that people should buy according to the circumstances." under the Purchase Act to sell On March 17, 1885, Mr Parnell Yet he gave free sale to tenants,
again—i.e., to speculate in land. said at Westminster Town Hall :- which permits them to purchase
“Whenever they made a bargain tenant-right to sell again, or on with the Saxon, it should be of such the chance of getting large reduca character that it would be a great tions from the Land Court. deal worse for the Saxon than them
Mr Gladstone's more serious selves."
criticisms are five, and they are all Mr Gladstone has also discovered answered out of his own mouth. that it would be a
sorry con- 1. He thinks the Bill should not
be passed against the wishes of the else he repeats what they say. Parnellite M.P.'s. Yet his own Both of them, however, express Land Acts were opposed by the great solicitude on behalf of the very same men for the very same Irish taxpayer, who, according to
He ignored their wishes them, is treated very bardly by because they did not represent the this Bill. But who authorised real Ireland, just as Mr Balfour them to speak in the name of the is compelled to do now. Nay, he Irish taxpayer ? Where is their actually put them into prison to mandate? The people who pay prevent them nullifying the Act of most of the taxes in Ireland are 1881. They do not even repre. the loyalists, and they are on the sent the Irish tenants, who have side of the Bill. bought under the Ashbourne Acts It is clear from the course of in spite of them, and who have this debate that Mr Gladstone and refused to obey their no-rent mani- bis supporters are beginning to be festoes. 2. He thinks the existence alarmed at the results of their of coercion should invalidate the own work in Ireland. This is Purchase Bill. But coercive laws shown by the altered tone of the were in force when he passed the Parnellites and the Gladstonians Act of 1881, and when he indorsed with regard to Irish landlords ; in Sir G. Trevelyan's Purchase Bill such utterances as that quoted in 1884! 3. He condemns the use from Lord Spencer; and in Mr of British credit. Yet he is the Gladstone's complaint that the author of the Land Purchase Bill Bill confines its benefits to landof 1886, under which British credit lords and tenants, “nothing being was pledged indefinitely up to done for the labourers or the na£150,000,000, on the security of a tion at large." These men Parnellite Parliament and Execu- slowly realising that they have tive! 4. He is alarmed at the done irreparable mischief in Ireevils of State landlordism. Who land by despoiling the landlord, would suppose that he established without bestowing any compensatState landlordism in Ireland by ing advantage upon the tenant the Acts of 1870 and 1881 ? His or the community at large. Some quibble that what would be evil if of them oppose Mr Balfour's Bill done by the British State would be on the abstract ground that Land good if done by the Irish State, is Purchase is wrong in principle, unan insult to intelligent men. 5. less the whole benefit is given to He objects to the terms of pur- the community in general instead chase, because, forsooth, they place of to the tenants in possession, and the pour tenant at the mercy of complain that the whole machine the landlord. Apparently nothing of Imperial credit will be emwill satisfy kim but that the land- ployed to put money into the lord shall be compelled to sell on pockets of these tenants. Here is any terms the tenant chooses to one such criticism :offer.
“You and I and all the slumNext to Mr Gladstone, the most gullions of London are to pledge our important leaders of the Opposi- credit in order that the well-to-do tion are Earl Spencer and Mr Irish tenant-farmer may be converted John Morley, who acted as Vice- into a landlord with right to rackroy and Chief Secretary under
rent any poor wretch to whom he him. These gentlemen merely 20 per cent of a fair rent in his pocket
may sublet his holding; may keep repeat what their chief says, or for the first five years, and 44 per cent
of it for the next forty-four years, and any more than to full ownership? at the end of forty-nine years receive his land rent-free-a freehold possess the mischief. How is it that the
It was granting that half that did sion for ever. That will not do. It is not good enough for the Britisher. people who were so eager to go It is a long way too good for the half-way grow frantic witb rage Irish tenant. It is so easy to spoil and fear when they are asked to people. And when even Tories offer travel the whole distance ? Alas! this gigantic bribe, how can Liberals
it is refuse to do at least as much? But
so easy to spoil people," we think that it will be found that though it takes some persons who the British public, which is neither pride themselves upon their acuteLiberal nor Tory, will not see the ness a long while to discover this sense of lavishing this extraordinary fact. Can it be that the oppondonatiou upon the 600,000 individuals
ents of this Bill were quite willing who happen to be squatted on Irish farms. That it is a bribe, and a
to spoil the Irish tenantry to any tremendous bribe, no amount of de extent, so long as it could be done nunciation can disguise. . . Taking at the expense of the Irish land. it over the forty-nine years, the net lords, and that their real ground effect of the change is this : The of objection now is that it is to be 500,000 Irish tenants averaging £6 rental will, if the law is not changed,
done at their expense, or at their pay £147,000,000 to their landlords. risk? It certainly seems to be so. If the bill passes they will pay only We hear much about the in£64,800,000 to the State. To the justice inflicted by this Bill upon small tenants this Bill is therefore a gift in reduced rent of over £80,000,000
the British taxpayer-not, indeed, in forty-nine years ; and at the end of from that stolid individual himthat time, to console them for having self, but from the men who assume had so heavy a reduction of rent, the right to speak in his name. they get their land for nothing. This The practical question for the is too much. It is monstrous to
British taxpayer is, however, endow any set of men with such largess at the expense of the tax
whether it is best on the whole payer. We do not object to the use
that the risk should be incurred. of the State credit ; but if it is em- There are weighty reasons for beployed, the fee-simple which is bought lieving that it is. Besides, the from the landlords must be transferred, not to a new pack of still risk, although it exists, is of the more greedy proprietors, but to the
most shadowy and attenuated delocal community, so that the whole scription. people may share in the value of the Mr Gladstone, the author of land."
“the union of hearts," who indignantly denounces the doctrine that
the Irish have "a double dose of But these Gladstonian censors original sin,” calmly assumes that were quite willing that the tens and hundreds of thousands of "lucky tenants," or "land-grab- Irishmen will deliberately make bers," as they now term them, a contract with the British Exshould receive as an unmerited chequer, and then as deliberately free gift half the ownership of break it on the first opportunity, their farms, to which they were and on this assumption he builds in no sense entitled, and they helped his case against this Bill. After Mr Gladstone to pass an Act covering the Irish with flattery bestowing upon them that half for years, he shows us that in his ownership. Why, on grounds of heart he does not believe they are equity and common-sense, to be trusted. they entitled to half ownership It must be admitted, however,