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nant, to defray all the public burthens tained that we now press upon the leto which the whole estate is rated, gislature the importance of obviating while the mortgagee and other credi- one evil to which, in Ireland at least, tors escape free. This is a crying in- it is subject
that, namely, of barring justice to the landlord, and it com- any outlay for improvement of estates. pletes the impossibility of his doing And we would extend this power of anything for the improvement of his the tenant-for-life not merely against property. The pressure of this evil remainder-men, but against creditors. called forth the following remonstrance The very great proportion of estates from the Galway grand jury for the in Ireland are of that class in which, present summer assizes, in an address although the landlord has a clear beadopted by them to the House of neficial interest, they are yet subCommons:
ject to a certain amount of encum
brances, as well as limited in strict “That we humbly entreat of your settlement. We believe that the duty honourable house to consider the hard- which the landlord owes to his estate, ship and injustice of laying the whole or rather, which the estate owes to burden of relieving the country's desti
the whole country, is a prior duty to tution on the landlords alone, who are
that which the owner of the estate themselves suffering so deeply from the national calamity; while other parties,
can contract with any individual crederiving large incomes from land, with
ditor. We believe that no man to out trouble or loss, contribute nothing whom the state has entrusted a certo its support."
tain portion of the soil of the country,
“ from which all must derive their We earnestly hope that the prayer support,” has the power to assign that of this remonstrance, founded as it is sacred trust to a number of mortgagees on the plainest justice to the peti. and other creditors, who have no intetioners, and most obvious policy to the rest in its improvement, or control country at large, may command the over its management, and to leave himattention which it merits in the impe- self without the means or the power rial parliament.
of developing its utmost resources. As regards properties which are not “ I think,” says Dr. Longfield, in his thus encumbered by debts, but which evidence before the Land Commisare limited in strict settlement, we sion, “that, in conscience, a man is would earnestly recommend that power not able to give a greater security for should be given to the tenant-for-life the payment of a debt than that sum to make such permanent improvements which remains to him after dischargin the construction of buildings, fences, ing the obligations incident to the prodrainage, and such-like, as would be perty: and the creditor cannot comof lasting benefit to the country, and plain if the state deprives the debtor that he should be entitled to charge of the entire of the property, and apthe outlay which such improvements plies to the payment of the debt that would amount to on the inheritance. portion of the property which the An alteration in the law in this respect debtor, but for the debt, might have is greatly needed; it is the more ne- applied to his own uses; and applies the cessary now, because that the want of remainder to the discharge of those some such power in persons having li- imperfect obligations, which cannot be mited estates has drawn down the trusted any longer to the discretion of animadversions of very many well-in- a man who refuses to pay his debts. tentioned men on the existing system Then your principle is, that the duty of entail in these countries.
to the state is antecedent to the duty to amined this subject in the paper in our the creditor ? Yes." And such we last number, to which we have already believe would be the principle of every referred, and there expressed our clear constitutional lawyer who would be conviction, that the system of entail, asked his opinion on the subject. And limited and restricted as it is in this some measures acknowledging and country and in England, is eminently adopting this principle, in the case of conducive to the well-being of fami- Irish estates, we earnestly press upon the lies, and of the very essence of the attention of parliament. The subject English constitution. And it is be- is thus mentioned in the Report of cause we would see this system main- the Commissioners:
"It frequently happens that large es- hope which is here expressed. Both tates in Ireland are held by the proprie. the measure which is here proposed, tors in strict limitation; and the pecu- and that which we have ventured to niary circumstances of the landed pro
suggest, for the compulsory sale of esprietors generally, arising in some cases
tates which are so heavily encumbered out of family charges, and resulting, in others, from improvidence or careless
as to leave the proprietor no substanness, possibly, of former proprietors,
tial interest, would require much caredisable many, even of the best disposed ful and anxious deliberation. landlords, from improving their property,
know how the imperial legislature is, or encouraging improvement among night after night, engaged with the their tenantry in the manner which affairs of Ireland ; and we know that would conduce at once to their own the demagogues who have arrogated interest and the public advantage. Many the title and brought reproach upon of the evils incident to the occupation of land in Ireland may be attributed to this
the name of patriots, have never sub
mitted to that house a single proposal “ The removal of impediments, as far
adapted to the real interests of the as it is possible to remove them, has country, however much they have enformed the subject of inquiry and re- grossed its time in the consideration mark by the Committee in 1835, on pub- of means for suppressing the crime lic works, and various suggestions upon and outrage which their selfish agitait have been offered to us in the course tion has called forth. Such men, and of our inquiry.
their measures and their adherents, “ In accordance with the recommendation of that Committee, we are of opi- good men. Avaricious cupidity, mor
should be utterly renounced by all nion that, for the permanent improvement of an estate, confining that ex
bid vanity, frenzied ambition, and a pression to such operations as may
frantic hatred of England, are the properly be considered of an agricultu- springs of their motives; and from ral character, tenants for life and other these no good to the country can ever persons under legal disability, should arise: every measure coming from be empowered, subject to proper and . such a source must be adapted to the efficient restrictions, to charge the in- passions and to the apprehensions of the heritance to an amount not exceeding populace of the mere mob—“to split three years' income, for such improve
the ears of the groundlings." Weentreat ments, being bound to repay the princi. pal by instalments and to keep down the
of the English and Scotch members, interest.
we implore of our Irish members who “ In England and Ireland powers are
are opposed to the cause of anarchy frequently given by parliament to trus- "and revolution, utterly to disregard tees and others to grant long leases, and these Irish agitators and their proeven to compel sales of land for pur- posals; to assume that independence in poses considered to be of public interest, their legislative capacity which diswhen the instruments under which the
tinguishes their private characters; and estate is held has given no such power. regardless of applause, and contemning It must never be forgotten that an improved cultivation, with the consequent
censure, to look to the only motive
which can weigh with Christian genincrease of produce from the soil, and of comfort to the occupier, are not matters
tlemen—their duty; and in the perof private or individual interest only, but manent welfare of their country, to are intimately connected with the pre- provide a lasting monument that they servation of public tranquillity and the have vigorously and efficiently disgeneral prosperity of the whole empire. It charged it. may also be observed that in the statute 1
Now, among other topics which the and 2 Wm. IV.c. 33, commonly called the
revolutionists have latterly been forcPublic Works Act, and also in a still more recent statute, 1 and 2 Vict. c. 55,
ing upon the Irish people, is a demand the principle of enabling those persons
for what is termed tenant-right. The having partial interests to make charges tenant-right of Ulster is a term with for purposes beneficial to the estate, has which many of our readers are fami. been recognised. We hope, therefore, liar, although, strange to say, there that an effective measure, founded upon appears
to be, even among its warmest the principles to which we have now re- advocates, no little discrepancy as to ferred, may soon become the law of the
its signification. It is sometimes de
scribed as being a compensation paid Most earnestly do we concur in the to the outgoing tenant, by his succes
sor, for unexhausted improvements, not in any way interfere with the rent and sometimes as being compensation of the land, for it is open to the land. paid for the mere right of occupancy. lord at any time to lay on such rent as It has, however, no legal existence- he may deem reasonable. “ The new it is a mere custom which prevails over tenant,” says Mr. Handcock, Lord the whole of Ulster ; and although dis- Lurgan's agent, and one of the most approved of by very many landlords, it strenuous supporters of this custom, is yet tolerated by all, and sanctioned by “ has no actual security that the rent some: debts are secured on it, and family will not be raised; but in practice he charges are laid on it. It was thus ex. ascertains from the agent, before he plained, on a recent occasion, by Lord purchases, what the rent is likely to Londonderry, in the House of Lords- be, and the purchase is made subject “ According to the tenant-right of Ul. to that rent.” ster, if a tenant wished to sell his hold. Notwithstanding that the imme. ing, whether there was a lease or no lease, diate pecuniary interests of the landprovided he brought a competent suc- lord are thus unaffected, and that he cessor for the approbation of the land- is in one respect a gainer, inasmuch lord or agent, the sale took place. No as the usage is always to pay any arinquiry was made as to the bargain rears of rent which are due by the outbetween man and man. If the party going tenant, out of the sum which is purchasing was not, in the landlord's coming to him for his good will of the mind, eligible, he gave his veto, and farm, we yet cannot but feel that this another candidate might be produced. practice of obtaining a perpetuity by If no purchaser was brought forward, possession is an injurious one. The only and the tenant desired to quit, or if conceivable advantage that flows from no rent was paid, or misconduct oc- it is this, that it secures to the tenant curred, the landlord, at a valuation full remuneration for that to which he open to the opinion of all upon the is most justly entitled, namely, his unestate, gave full compensation for exhausted improvements; but it does so outlay, and got another tenant." in a most clumsy and artificial man
As this custom is thus described by ner ; and unless its exercise be most Lord Londonderry, it would clearly vigilantly watched, it must interfere seem as if compensation for unexhanst. most prejudicially with the rights of ed improvements, and this alone, was landlords. Nothing would be more the object of tenant-right. It is impossi- natural than that the farmer, who would ble, however, we must confess, to re- be willing to pay the highest amount concile this view with the very high to the outgoing tenant for his interest prices which are paid for this right, in the farm, would be the very last pervery frequently amounting, as they do, son whom a prudent landlord would be to ten pounds, and twenty, and even willing to allow upon his estate ; and thirty pounds an acre. Lord George in no country except one in which the Hill says that he has known as much most cordial relation subsisted between as forty years' purchase given for this landlord and tenant, could the landright. Improvement, we fear, is not lord's right to rejection be exercised, carried on to such an extent as this ; and those conflicting interests be reand the evidence before the Land Com- conciled. It exhausts the capital of missioners went to shew, that the te- the tenant just at the time he requires nant-right was paid in many cases it most, when he is entering upon his where no improvement whatsoever had farm, or, perhaps, puts him upon borbeen made, and that, in point of fact, rowing at a high rate of interest from improving tenants very seldom sold. loan-funds, or otherwise, to meet this It would seem, then, that however this demand. It is, in this respect, more custom may have originated, or what- injurious to an estate than the custom ever may be the abstract principle on of taking fines, for the latter may be which it rests, that the practice is to expended on the property-the former give a sum much larger than sufficient is certain of being carried off it ; and to pay for any improvements which it diminishes that which it should be may ordinarily have been effected, and the great object to augment, namely, this extra sum can only be regarded as the capital of the tenant. Its advoso much paid for the occupancy of the cates allege that it is its existence farm. This payment, however, does which has shielded Ulster from the
agrarian outrages to which some coun- sold the possession of it to the highest ties of Ireland are subject ; but many bidder he can find; and if he can. counties in Ireland in which tenant- not find a bidder, the landlord shall right is unheard of, are entirely exempt not turn him out.” And again, the from agrarian outrage-every man's opposite section of popular leaders, own experience will convince him of the physical force men, by their orthis. We have referred to the table of gan, the Nation newspaper, tell us agrarian offences for the year 1844, as “In plain English, tenant-right is handed in to the Land Commissioners an absolute perpetuity, in a farm subby Col. Miller, late deputy inspector- ject to a fair rent, to have and to hold general of constabulary in Ireland, and to the tenant, his heirs, executors, ad. we find that the counties of Dublin, ministrators, and assigns for ever." Kerry, Kildare, Louth, Meath, Mayo, We need not say that none of the and Wicklow, will compare advan- bills before parliament went to the tageously with the same number of length here called for, that of making counties in the province of Ulster, as the Irish landlords mere rent-chargers regards exemption from this class of on their estates, divesting them of all offences. There is but one county in control over its management, interest Ireland which can compare with Kil- in its improvement, or selection of its dare in this respect, and that is, the tenantry, but certainly simplifying the county Londonderry—three agrarian various and complicated tenures of offences being the number returned in Ireland, by reducing them all down to each ; and any one of the counties a fee-farm grant. None of the bills which we have enumerated are infi- which were submitted to parliament nitely freer from such crimes than contained anything so ruinous and reeither Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, volutionary as this ; they merely proor Tyrone, which have, any one of fessed to be measures for doing that them, more offences of this nature than which is most just-namely, securing Wicklow, Mayo, Louth, and Kildare, to the outgoing tenant compensation put together; being, in this respect, for his unexhausted improvements. on a par with the Queen's County, But in the mere attempt to reduce to Galway, Kilkenny, Longford, Water- the precise and rigid rules of an act ford, Westmeath, and Wexford. So of parliament, a thing so subtle and that it is quite idle to claim for the te- changeful in its nature, they aimed nant-right of Ulster the merit of pro- at that which, in our judgment, is tecting that province from agrarian wholly beyond the compass or reach of outrages.
an act of parliament. They contained, But, from the very nature of this no doubt, abundant provision for valuacustom, it is quite apparent that it can tions, arbitrations, registrations, umonly exist in a country where the very pires, and awards; but legal arbitrations best feeling exists between landlord and awards are at all times the most and tenant-where there is a complete unsatisfactory decisions to the parties, identification of interest between them and furnish in themselves the most -it is the creature of custom, and fruitful subject of litigation. And can never be enforced by law. And what must be the effect of arbitration yet, in obedience to the popular cla- on a subject so difficult to appreciate, mour, no less than four bills were as the relative value of agricultural brought before parliament on the sub- improvements to the landlord and the ject in the present session-one of them tenant, and the time in which the by Lord Devon, another by Lord Lin- tenant should be repaid his outlay in coln, a third by Mr. Sharman Craw- such expenditure, varying, as it must, ford, and a fourth by Sir William So- with the manner in which the improve. merville. Now what is the tenant-right ment had been effected, and the skill which the people have lately been and diligence with which the tenant goaded on to agitate for? It was thus had availed himself of it, and embracdefined by Mr. John O'Connell to the ing a knowledge of all the particular people of Cashel --" Tenant-right," circumstances of the farm and the said he, “is this, that a tenant, whe- tenant, and all the various branches of ther he be a tenant-at-will, or a tenant husbandry? And then, as if to illuswith an expired lease, shall not be trate the absurdity of the whole proobliged to leave the land until he has cedure, some of these bills give an
appeal from the decision of the arbi. universal practice of England and of trators to the assistant-barrister, Scotland be adopted, that the landlord whose qualifications, acquired by six shall put the tenant into occupation of years' legal standing, are thus pre- the farm with all the lasting and per. sumed to fit him to be a competent manent investments, as house, barns, judge of all the mysteries of sub- fences, gates, piers, &c., already efsoiling, green-cropping, thorough- fected; and, secondly, let him give draining, and such like.
the farmer a lease, certain in its tersatisfied that if anything were wanted mination, and of such reasonable durato perpetuate variances between land. tion that it shall abundantly repay lord and tenant-to keep alive bicker- all the outlay of the tenant before it ings, disputes, and irritation, and to expires. Thus the capital of the tenprovide against confidence ever ce- ant, his whole time and exertion, can menting this relation-it would be the be applied to developing the resources forcible extension of tenant-right to of the soil; and he will not be obliged Ireland, and its establishment by law. either to cripple his resources by such The custom itself, and the mode of outlay as he can never expect to reap administering it, has grown up with the full benefit of, or to resort to the people of Ulster. Injurious as we those wretched substitutes which have believe it to be, it may yet be tole- spread filth, indolence, and recklessness rated in that province; but we entirely over the land. The inability of many concur with the opinion pronounced of the Irish proprietors to incur such by the excellent member for our Uni- expenditure, has hitherto precluded versity, Mr. Napier, on a recent oc- the possibility of their following the casion, in the House of Commons, example of the English and Scotch that “it is the test of the peace of landlords, and thus all the evils and Ulster; it is the effect, not the cause, agitation which has followed on the of its prosperity.” And again, let us assertion of the tenant's claim for repeat, that all the legislation on this compensation, convinces subject is but a submission to the strongly of the urgent necessity for clamour of the demagogues of the such measures as we have proposed, day. Important as it is that the ten- for giving to the soil of Ireland a sol. ant should be protected in his improve- vent proprietary, and for rendering the ments, there is no such urgent need existing proprietary efficient. for legislative interference-first, be- We have said that every tenant cause, unfortunately, he rarely im- should have his lease, and this lease proves, and, secondly, because his in- should be certain in its termination. terest in such improvements is still Nothing can possibly be more ruinous more rarely violated. Captain Pitt than the prevailing tenancy in Ireland Kennedy, the compiler of the “Digest for lives, or for lives concurrent with of the Devon Commission," tells us— term of years: three lives or “ There have not been brought for. thirty-one years is, perhaps, the most ward many cases to show that it has general lease in Ireland. "If the lives been the practice of land proprietors survive the term of years, the durato take advantage of improving ten- tion of the lease becomes thenceforth ants, who had invested money, without uncertain ; it may expire at any time. a lease or other security.” And The tenant feels that all exertion or again—“On the other hand, it has expenditure on his part further than not been shown that tenants, possess- what is required to raise the next sucing long and beneficial leases of their
ceeding crop, is done at his peril. He lands, have in general brought them racks the land to the uttermost, in or. to a high state of improvement ; der to get the most that he can out of whilst, on the contrary, some of the it, to the destruction of the landlord's evidence brings forward the fact, that reversionary interest, and to the ruin lands let upon very long terms, and at of all good husbandry in the district; very low rents, are in a worse con- for nothing is more contagious than a dition, and their occupiers even more bad example. It is impossible for a embarrassed than others."
tenant to advance in agricultural skill There is but one way in which the or knowledge, who has such incentives difficulty can be met, and it is a simple to disregard them. As to what the and an obvious one. First, let the duration of the lease ought to be,