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could be attained. But, although we consider the conduct of our countrymen to have been unwise and inconsiderate, yet we do not intend to impute to them wicked or vicious designs. We know that misgovernment has oppressed them; we are quite willing to admit, that they have been sometimes misunderstood, and frequently misrepresented. English statesmen and Irish pseudo patriots have made them their tools or their dupes, and for seven hundred years, the Irish nation has been cajoled or bullied by its sons and its masters. It is true, that in this present age, faction in Ireland may not be so rampant, or bigotry so blatant, as in the past; the condition of our people is no doubt in some respects ameliorated, but we are sorry to be obliged to confess, that the events of the past eight or ten months prove, that certain classes of Irishmen are as open to the arts of the demagogue, as easy dupes in the hands of the trading politician, as at any period of our history. When we consider the men and the measures by whom and by which the Irish people have been, from time to time, instigated to political agitation, or humbugged into rebellion-when we look back upon the used up, blasé topics which have been sufficient to mislead them-when we recollect the results of the agitations, and the melancholy issues of the rebellions, and find in all but the same woful demonstration of weakness and of folly, we feel that the grave philosophical history of Ireland must be found, if it ever shall be found, in the future: the past and the present are but melodrama or farce-in one page horrible, in the next grotesque.

We have been led into this train of thought by reading the proceedings, and considering the expressed intentions and deliberate designs, of a certain political body calling itself, "The Irish Tenant League;" and although many and various as the schemes have been by which adventurous patriots have attempted to regenerate the country, this appears to us the most absurd, because the most impracticable, ever contemplated. But whilst we thus openly and boldly state our opinion of this body, let us not be understood as for one moment assuming that the tenant has no rights, or that the law of landlord and tenant in Ireland seems either satisfactory or equitable, to any man who applies an unbiassed and unprejudiced mind to the subject. We know the law requires full and perfect revision; the necessity for that revision has

been patent to every thinking man for years, more especially for the past four years; and the duties of the landlord, and the claims of the tenant, have been a worthy subject for the deep consideration of good men, and have, on many occasions, furnished a stock-in-trade for the virtuous and indignant political slangwhanger. In a great and free nation, in which each man is at liberty to use his property in any manner he himself may please, so long as he use it not to the injury of his neighbour, it is no doubt a difficult and most invidious task to meddle in the private affairs of the subject. Ministers have been ever averse to undertake the labour, and unless the case be very pressing, one cannot much blame them. But there are cases in which delay becomes culpable, and in which the neglect to introduce amendments in the law may operate as an oppression and an injustice upon certain classes of the community. We think it is the duty of every man who holds the good of this country at heart, to see, that as far as in him lies, the errors which now mark the law of landlord and tenant shall not long continue, and that while the minister shall be pressed onward, to improve and ameliorate, the demagogue and the knave shall be silenced, or, if necessary, CRUSHED. We feel deeply and warmly upon the subject of landlord and tenant law in this country. We know that until it shall have been revised, there can be no just or reasonable hope of steady and progressive improvement. Emigration may carry off some of the population; railways may give a temporary employment to others; public works may afford the means of life to a few; the Incumbered Estates Court, in doing justice upon the present proprietor of land, for the extravagances of his fathers, may people the country with a monied or a working race of landholders; but all these things will be as nothing, unless the law of landlord and tenant be amended.

And let us be understood, the improvement we contend for is not a valuation of land beyond which no rent can be at law recovered. We do not hold that the owner of land is only in the position of a sleeping partner in a mercantile establishment. We do not wish to see society thrown back to its original elements, that all men might scramble for possession. Our tenant-right is not so sweeping, or so bold, as that of the tenant league; but it is one founded in common sense, and strengthened by all the dictates of

common justice. That right which we would give the occupier is more in keeping with the tenant-right of the North, than in accordance with the Utopian views of the gentlemen who swear by the principles of the Lucas and Duffy corps of impracticables. We believe that the tenant who has held under a lease, say for thirty-one years, who has expended his capital and labour upon the land, who has honestly paid his rent, and done all that in him lay to increase the value of his holding, who has trusted to the honour of his landlord for a renewal of his lease at the old rent, by which renewal he could hope to reimburse himself for his expended capital; we believe that such a tenant as this, is, in common justice entitled, either to the renewal of his lease at the former rent, or to the full and fair value of all his permanent and unexhausted improvements. We care not whether those improvements may consist of buildings, of drainage, or of expensive manures. We hold that all improvements made by an out-going tenant, are such as entitle him to full compensation. This is the tenant-right to which we give our earnest support. This is the tenant-right which has placed the northern farmer in his present position. This is such a tenant-right as has been tried and found good in England. This is the "invaluable understanding of tenantright," of which the Marquis of Londonderry has written, "that to it the extraordinary prosperity of his Irish estates is owing."Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount Castlereagh, Vol. I. p. 71. We have no doubt whatever that the sketch we have given, of the principles upon which tenant-right should be framed, is such as would ill suit the taste of some of the leaguers. They say, that the landlord has no right to set his land at the best rent he can get for it. They hold, that in procuring a tenant, he has no moral right to please himself, as to the price at which he will dispose of his property; but in doing so, must take for assistants some neighbouring farmers, or the parish priest, or Presbyterian minister. The reader may ask, why the landlord, the owner of the soil, is to be prohibited from letting that property at any rent, be it high or low, which shall seem to him desirable. Our answer is, that there can in justice be no such prohibition; but the answer of the tenant league is, that the land being valued by the appointed valuators, the landlord has no right to demand a higher rent, because the sum set upon the land

by the valuator is a fair one. And those leaguers say further, that the landlord who demands a higher rent is a dishonest man, a man who must be put down, for he is one who denies to the poor man the means of obtaining a living industriously, honestly, and manfully. We never read this last argument of the league without thinking of the great truth of Sydney Smith's remark, that "All men are naturally charitable; for A. never sees B. in want, but he is at once most anxious that C. should relieve him." And so it is with those gentlemen of the league. The country, they say, is going to ruin; emigration is getting every day more alarmingly extensive; depopulation is still going on; and, in a word, we, the tenant leaguers, must set ourselves seriously to work, and, at the expense of the landlords, save the country from destruction. We have said, and we repeat it, we are not the apologists of the landlords, or the defenders of the present law of landlord and tenant; but we are, and we must be, the opponents of foolish schemes or dishonest speculations. We know that many good men have joined the tenant league; we are fully aware, that large masses of the people have attended the meetings of the body; but for these things we care little, as we believe truth and reason to be higher and holier, than all the noisy railing of the platform politician, or the speculating patriot. We have read the reports of speeches made at the meetings of the league, which have given pain to every man who holds the real good of the tenantfarmer at heart. In those speeches, history has been falsified; truth grossly violated; certain classes of society slandered; and every man who refuses to join the league, and support its principles, has been declared an enemy to society, and a friend to the oppressor of the poor. Before we consider these charges, let us for a moment reflect the condition and antecedents of the men by whom the charges are made. We find that the tenant league is composed of some scores of Catholic priests, some dozen or so of Presbyterian ministers, and a large number of tenant-farmers. To these may be added some persons whose whereabouts nobody knows, but who appear to have so little employment that they are always ready to accept invitations to meetings and dinners, at which they can make speeches by the hour, if necessary. Thus formed, and thus constituted, the tenant league cannot be considered either very dangerous or very


formidable; but there is attached to the body a very mischievous ally, namely, a turbulent and corrupt portion of what is called the popular press. This, though impotent, utterly and entirely impotent for serious evil, is capable of creating much trouble, and great annoyance, to every man who wishes well to the prosperity of the country. The principles of the tenant league are, in many respects, perilous and absurd; but we consider that the danger to the well-being of Ireland is increased ten-fold by the adhesion of certain persons, the whole course of whose public lives has been a continued scene of dangerous and destructive follies. Men who have been rash in security, and timorous in danger-who have been often the deceivers, and, as far as in their power, the debauchers of the public mind of the country. These are the persons who have once driven, and who may again attempt to drive, the ignorant and credulous masses into rebellion; and then, unrestrained by any sense of public shame, may lie themselves into an escape from the vengeance of the outraged law, leaving their dupes to suffer all the penalties of absurd credulity. These persons having joined the tenant league, and being supported by their own faction-prostituted press, have been able to push forward their very peculiar views, and have endeavoured to make the movement a war of class against class, of interest against interest, rather than a struggle for the fair rights and just claims of a section of the community. The tenant-right of the North, and its extension to the rest of Ireland, were the demands with which this league originally set out. This, in our mind, was a reasonable demand; at least, it was one to which any government might listen. It was neither revolutionary in its tone, nor did it contain the germs of a socialistic project.

But time passed on-the stagnation of political agitation was great high sounding protestations of all that was to be done were insufficient to draw money from the pockets of the poor, and in a lucky hour the tenant-right league was pounced upon, and the hungry patriots started the absurd theory of a general valuation of all the land of the country, beyond which valuation no rent should be at law recoverable. And at once a meeting of the "friends of the tenant-farmers" was called, and its sittings were held at the Corporation Assembly Rooms, in William-street. Then was Dublin

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