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renewed exertion and honest emula. tion. In another respect, too, the small proprietor confers inestimable benefits upon the locality in which he resides. A natural prejudice always exists in the minds of the people against adopting the improvements suggested by a wealthy proprietor. Such persons have generally their “ hobbies ;” and perhaps the most innocuous, or even the most useful hobby ever cherished, is a praiseworthy desire to advance the state of agriculture in their district. But the people know very well that such hobbies are adopted less as a source of profit than of amusement. They know that the percentage produced by the money sunk in the undertaking is only a secondary consideration, and that the actual amount expended is seldom accurately known : they are, therefore, unwilling to risk their hardearned savings upon such a venture. The case, however, is
different when the improvements are made by a farmer in the neighbourhood. They then know that every shilling expended is an object of attention to him. They know that the profits he makes are his only means of support; and, judging from the experience of his former success, they feel the highest degree of confidence in his ability and good sense.
In such a case, too, they have a greater power of becoming acquainted with, and testing the merits of any innovations upon the established
usages of the district, by examination and conversations with the small proprietor, which their deference for a more wealthy person, however affable and kind, might, perhaps, make less agreeable to them. Their knowledge also of the character of a person placed more nearly on a level with themselves must be much greater, as well as the opportunities of conversing with him, and of consulting him in their private affairs and difficulties.
These things are sufficiently evident; but the real facts of the case, and their practical tendencies, are much stronger. An embarrassed proprietor possessed of an extensive estate, surrounded by debts and difficulties—hopeless and despondentunable to manage his own crippled affairs, and, of course, less able to advise or assist others, is deprived by the operation of the Incumbered Estates Act of a portion of his unwieldy property. The part he retains, should he be so fortunate as to retain any portion, engrosses all his care and attention; and, freed from debt, he is able for the first time to undertake its management with that amount of capital, without which land can never be worked with profit. So that in a few years' time it will probably bear a very different aspect from the estate which had been handed down in his family from heir to heir, in the same unimproved condition. The residue passes to perhaps fifteen or twenty
* It must not be presumed from the above that we approve of the very low rate at which estates have been lately sold by the Commissioners. The following is an extract from their Report lately presented to the Lord Lieutenant :
“ 'The total amount of incumbrances on estates sold to March, 31, 1851, as taken from the schedule lodged with the petitions, is £4,086, 192 13s. 4d., but several of these incumbrances are returned in duplicate.
“ The total amount of purchase-money for estates sold to March 31, 1851, is £1,350,616 Os. 4d. Of this amount £94,404 13s. 4d., or about one-fifteenth part, has been allowed in payment of incumbrancers, who became purchasers.
“ The Commissioners have paid out to creditors and claimants up to this date, 3rd day of May inclusive, the sum of £838,356 Os. ld.
“ The 253 estates sold to March 31, 1851, have been disposed of to 587 purchasors, nearly one-half of whom are purchasers of lots that sold respectively for sums not exceeding £1,000.”
From this it would appear that on the estates already sold the creditors suffered a total loss of £2,735,576 13s., leaving, of course, no residue for the owners. And after making every allowance for the “ * duplicate incumbrances," the loss to the creditors will still appear almost incredible. This loss falls upon the middle classes in this country. The wealthy capitalist rejects all but the best security, and is contented to receive even a moderate rate of interest paid with the greatest punctuality. Such creditors, generally English capitalists, have almost invariably the first charges, and must of course be paid. It is upon the puisne incumbrancer that the heavy blow falls; men who, availing themselves of the fatal facilities af..
new purchasers. Some of these pro. of laws in both countries, the very dif.. bably the persons who once tilled the ferences that existed (to the prejudice lands they now call their own. In. of Ireland) were made still greater stead of one unimproving landlord, in and more injurious by blind legislation. most cases an absentee, the district For instance, it was well known that, will possess fifteen or twenty enterpri in consequence of the frequent confissing and energetic proprietors ; the cations, and grants of forfeited property friends of industry, the supporters of to English adventurers, absenteeism the laws, the advocates of order, the existed in this country to a deplorable instructors of the poor.
extent; and that, in consequence of The wilful misgovernment for party the obscurity of Irish titles (partly purposes, to which we have already from these causes), and of the difficulty alluded, has enveloped Ireland, and of selling, Irish estates were irretrievaeverything connected with her affairs bly embarrassed. The remedy for and condition, in a kind of cloud of these evils was sufficiently plain—to mystery which it is no easy task to pene facilitate the transfer of property. trate. Peculiar properties and quali Such would have been the remedy ties have been attributed to the Celtic adopted in England; but in the case atmosphere, which have been consider of Ireland Pigot's Judgment Act was ed amply sufficient to account for every passed, facilitating the embarrassment, anomalous phase in her social con but practically restricting the transfer dition. This was long adopted as an of land. The result that might have axiom by every English statesman. been predicted soon followed. The The broad principle that mankind, landlord became inextricably embar. placed under the intluence of the same rassed, the tenant oppressed and discauses, will always act in the same man contented, the district disturbed, the ner, though forming the leading propo capitalist alarmed and driven to a more sition of every work upon political peaceful land. The evidence taken economy, was never supposed to ex. upon this subject by the Devon Comtend to Ireland. It was found easier mission is declared to be “at once to mystify facts than to justify bad conclusive, painfully interesting, and government ; and instead of compar most portentous in its character." A ing. England and Ireland together with measure giving to the Irish Courts of a view to assimilate the existing state Equity a fifth part of the powers since
forded by the Judgment Acts, advanced all the savings of their lives, amounting to sums of £50, and upwards, to the neighbouring proprietors.
The average rate of purchase for estates is from thirteen to fourteen years for all Ireland, head rents, &c.; and (exclusive of fee-farm or head-rents and rentcharges) from eight to ten years for properties in Munster and Connaught, in many cases, according to the valuation taken under the direction of the Commissioners. Since the Report of the Commissioners, however, a manifest improvement has taken place in the selling price of land.
The severity of compelling every landlord to discharge all his liabilities at a period of unexampled depression, under the constraint of a most arbitrary law, is sufficiently evident, and its policy very questionable. Suppose the same policy had been adopted during the commercial panic of 1847, what would have been the result? If every merchant had been compelled to discharge all his liabilities, and if the credit system had been totally abolished, it is probable that the commercial and manufacturing interests of England would have received an amount of damago which, perhaps, scores of years would have been unable to repair, But a contrary course was adopted, and the operation of an Act of Parliament was suspended on the responsibility of a minister, so great was the urgency of the case, and so evident the necessity of supporting cominercial credit at a period of unwonted depression. And again, in the commercial panic of 1811, the committee of the House of Commons made their report (May 7th), stating “it to be their decided opinion that the commercial distress was of such a nature as to render Parliamentary relief highly expedient and necessary," and recommending "that Exchequer bills to the amount of sir millions should be issued for that purpose,” which was accordingly done. The landlords assert that they, too, should have been given time to put their houses in order.
All these things, however, operate as so many additional inducements to the future purchaser; for, in proportion as the present proprietor suffers, he will benefit. VOL. XXXVIII.-NO. CCXXIII.
given to the Incumbered Estates Com- portion of wealthy merchants in Lime missioners, would have gradually effect- rick are English or Scotch. In Gal. ed what has now called for such vio
way, Cork, and most of the other lent remedies; and by removing the towns in the south and west, they form cause of agrarian outrages, have taken no inconsiderable proportion of the away the only obstacle that has hitherto monied interest; and we cannot call prevented the investment of capital in to mind a single case in which their the improvement of a country that foreign or English origin has prejudiced offers so many aud such great induce- their claims to the highest positions, or ments.
municipal offices, which they would It has often been said of the Irish, otherwise have been entitled to fill. that as long as they remain in their It is impossible to pay too much own country it is idle to expect refor- attention to the great change that has mation in their habits; but when re- been effected in the social condition of leased from the fetters that bind them
the Irish people by the occurrences of in their native land, they seem to the last two or three years. As long breathe a free air, and to develope as the potato continued to prosper, the physical and moral virtues that they possession of a small plot of ground vas scarce seemed before to possess. This all the peasant required. It was his is partly true and partly false. It is only means of support, and the only true so far as it admits that under diffe- barrier that stood between him and rent circumstances the Irishman will inevitable starvation. Now land has develope more moral virtues; but it is become comparatively useless to the false so far as it appears to insinuate cottier. These circumstances bave prothat the same change will not take duced a great revolution in the chaplace at home under similar circum- racter and feelings of the peasantry. stances. Seventy years ago Arthur Whilst all their hopes were centred in Young said of the Irish, “they were a few perches of ground, they looked grateful to me for speaking civilly with unmitigated aversion upon any to them.” And it requires but a one who appeared, even in the remotvery superficial acquaintance with the
est degree, likely to disturb their pos. country to know that there are no session. Hence arose their extreme people in the world more easily won jealousy of strangers, and all the crimes by kindness, or more willing to place and outrages connected with land. But the fullest confidence in him who these circumstances have completely al. relies
tered. The cottier now feels that land is no longer of any value to him, and looks to labour as his only chance of
support. The arrival of any person And if the Irish labourer abroad be possessed of the means of employing industrious, faithful, and honest, we the population is hailed as a public may rest assured that, if treated at benefit, and the peasantry contend with home with equal kindness and justice, one another in their efforts to make the be will be found equally assiduous in locality agreeable to the new-comer. his offices, and equally attached to his The
landholder feels that he is employer. This trait in the national in the position of a person who has character is fully proved by the evi- obtained possession of a bale of raw dence of Mr. Charles Bianconi, him- cotton, but who has neither the maself a foreigner, but at the same time chinery nor the capital requisite to one of our most deservedly popular bring it to a state fit for the market. men. At a meeting of the British He must either sell it to a manufacAssociation he said, “I never yet turer from whom he will probably obattempted to do an act of gene- tain employment, or else starve. This rosity, publicly or privately, that I is precisely the case of the cottiers in was not met by manifold reciprocity." the south and west of Ireland, and they And this statement will be corrobo- know it. They are now willing to give rated by the numbers of foreign and up those tenements for a few pounds of English merchants and traders, who, meal, or a few shillings, to which they having overcome the absurd prejudices would have clung five years ago with that exist against Ireland, are now re- the tenacity of despair, and defended ceiving the meet reward of their enter- at the price of bloodshed and murder, prise. At present the greater pro- In the foregoing observations, wo
“On Erin's honour and Erin's pride."
have endeavoured to review, in the once removed, men would surely pause spirit of candour, the great and mani. before they crossed the broad Atlantio fold changes effected by the events of in search of a new field for the employthe last few years in the social state of ment of capital, or the profitable exerthis country. Ireland is awaking, as cise of their intelligence and industry.” it were, from a long dream, and is now, In one respect, Ireland appears to for the first time, casting off the preju.
be the most unfortunate country in dices and follies under which it has lain the world. Misrepresented, not underoppressed for so many dreary centuries, stood, with our faults exaggerated, our and is putting on new strength, like a defects magnified, and our national chagiant ready to run his course. All the racter a constant theme of ridicule dormant materials of wealth, particu- abroad, we have failed to reap even larly land and labour, are in abund the minimum of advantage that gene. ance. Titles to Irish property are rally flows from that source. The dif. now clear and satisfactory, and may ficulties and dangers that exist in other be obtained at a trifling cost. Land lands appear only so many induceis, therefore, placed within the reach ments to the adventurous traveller to of every monied man, however small endeavour to triumph over such obstahis fortune. It is no longer circum
cles. Encounters with brigands, savented by legal technicalities, nor un vages, and wild beasts, have all their dermined by mystery and doubt; peculiar charms, but the idiosyncracies and the sum paid a few years since for and extravagances of the Irish, whether the “good-will" of a farm will now, real or imaginary, fail to awake even in most cases, purchase the fee.* Agra- curiosity, and appear only to deter rian outrages have ceased, and the visiters. Such, however, was not the unemployed labourers receive with a case with the “Saxon":bearty welcome, as their best friends and benefactors, those who may be “ I became interested (upon the subtempted hy the vast capabilities of Ire ject of Ireland) beyond my expectation. land to challenge the kindness and
Its whole history was one sad romance; hospitality of its people, and avail
the impatient struggles of a turbulent but themselves of its ample resources.
generous people with a series of ignorant In fact, there never was a period in
and oppressive governments. Its sta
tistics were suggestive of many deep our history when such inducements
thoughts and curious calculations. The were offered for the investment of
descriptions of its fertility, its pastoral money in land, and when an intelligent beauty and mountain grandeur, were person possessed of a moderate sum most attractive; and I deeply lamented might turn it to better account. These that such a country, so near our own opinions have received a great deal of shores, so connected with us by every confirmation from the perusal of a
tie, should be alien, if not hostile--a drag really excellent book just published,
upon our prosperity, a perplexity to all entitled “ The Saxon in Ireland,"+ governments, a help to none." and which we strongly recommend to the notice of our readers. The design Determined to investigate, for him. of the work is to direct the attention self, the causes of Irish misery, he of persons looking out for either invest came to Ireland; and after collecting ments or new settlements to the great a great deal of information relating advantages offered by Ireland, and to to the condition of the people, and care. induce such parties to visit the country fully examining a great portion of the and judge for themselves; and we fully country, principally in the counties of concur with the author in his opinion, Galway and Mayo, he finally made up that " were the unfortunate prejudices his mind to become a settler, and to that exist against Ireland, founded as make Erin his adopted land. This they are, for the most part, in ignorance, work is the more valuable as it shows
The Report of Lord Devon's Commission contains many examples of twenty, thirty, and even forty years' purchase value having been paid by the tenant for merely the "good-will,” or tenant-right of a farm, unsecured by a lease, or by any legal iitle. Considerably less than this will now give the same parties an indefeasible right and title to the fee-simple of the same lands for ever.
† “ The Saxon in Ireland; or the Ramlles of an Englishman in Search of a Sota tlement in the West of Ireland." London: John Murray. 1851.
the process through which, little by Ireland, and the result is best told in little, his national prejudices against his own words :us were gradually undermined, and gave way, at last, to the conviction, “I do not hesitate to confess, that that both the people and the country
Ireland, in the fertility of its soil, the
kindness and hospitality of its people, possessed, in themselves, the germ of
and the beauty of its scenery, has far renovation. It appeared self-evident
surpassed my expectations. I am deto him, that we could not remain
cidedly of opinion, too, that fortune, restationary ; that a propinquity to the spectability, and happiness, may be found fervent activity of England could not even there.
Let a few English fail to animate Ireland with her families cluster together, purchase, or own leaven ; and that “that spirit of take on lease estates in the same neighenterprise, which had already con
bourhood, hold together, mutually asverted so many far distant deserts of sisting each other, keeping the unity the earth into smiling and prosperous
of the spirit in the bond of peace,' as the colonies, could and would not suffer
Apostle advises, acting kindly and justly
to the inhabitants, eschewing politics, one of the loveliest and most fertile
not meddling with the religion of others, islands of the world, only a few hours'
but quietly practising their own; I redistance from her own shores, to remain
peat, let emigrant families act thus, and a mere waste, inhabited as it was by a 1, for one, would prefer green Erin as a hardy, intelligent, but degraded popu. settlement to any country on the globe. lation.”. The peculiar circumstances, And why not? Are sensible men to too, under which this resolution was be scared with the interested exagge. formed will also add much weight to
rations of unpatriotic speakers and his statements. We can collect from writers, who would gladly drive indusa, passages scattered through the volume,
try and civilization from their native
shores in order to serve their own purthat after passing the meridian of life he found that his career must be com
poses ? Are the Irish worse than John
Heki, and other native chiefs ? or, are menced again ; that the happy, joyous
they more relentless than the Caffres, home of many years must be deserted.
or the Red Indians, or the Cannibals of Enactments hastily carried into effect, North Australia ? In nine cases out of and principles which, under Providence,
ten, their crimes, deep and fearful as had created England's power and pros- they are, have sprung from the sense of perity, hastily abandoned without suf- injury, and from the heartless system ficient grounds, and merely on the
under which they live, or rather, under chance of something better, had in
which they starve. These days of injusvolved him in the difficulties that have
tice and crime are passing, though slowly, overwhelmed the entire agricultural
away, and the time is approaching when
Ireland must and will be in the strictest classes. After bravely contending
union with her sister island; when the against inevitable results, he felt it
same laws, the same usages, the same was madness to continue hoping against language, the same feelings will prevail hope; but he did not despair. He de- in both.
As yet, the Englishtermined to emigrate, and to endure, man lingers, hesitates, hugs his old prewith fortitude, all the discomforts and judices ; but the bolder few are already privations of an emigrant's life. “Were at work. They are silently, and most stern realities,” he was reminded, “bet- advantageously, purchasing lands and ter known, many would pause and con
houses ; they see the horizon clearing sider well ere they thus expatriated
away after the long storm; and they themselves. Once embarked, once
and their descendants will, no doubt, arrived in the distant settlement, they
reap a plenteous harvest. Gradually have but one alternative, to make the
others will follow, till, I verily believe,
Ireland will be the fashion, as Scotland best of it. It is not easy to retrace a has lately been, and everybody rushing course of a thousand miles.” Fully that way will wonder why they delayed impressed with the force of this reason- so long." ing, he wisely determined not to make his selection till after the fullest conside- In connexion with this subject the ration of the subject. New Zealand, last Report of the Incumbered Estates' Australia, icy Canada, and the burning Commissioners is somewhat gratifying. Cape, all engrossed his attention ; each It appears by it that property to the in iurn appeared to oppose insuperable amount of £160,000 lias been already obstacles. At last, in a fortunate purchased in Henrietta-street by Enghour, he was recommended to examine fish and Scotch parties (about thirty