Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“
[blocks in formation]

The supporters of this case hold out a warning, that if the attempt be made to enforce repayment, confusion will widely and generally ensue disputes, litigations without end, violence, and, perhaps, bloodshed without limit; and that whether the attempt be or be not successful, it will have disastrous consequences to the revenue, inasmuch as the contributions of Ireland will be ruinously lessened.

A large irrevocable expenditure is inevitable under any circumstances. To look after the bad debts will require all the disposable force, and heavily strain the resources of the empire. To recover but one-sixth of the arrears of Irish Church monies, some years ago, required a money-expenditure, on military and police, of more than double the amount obtained; and blood was plentifully spilled in the attempt. And even if success crown the effort, the drain will be so great upon the exhausted resources of the Irish community, that their ability to consume taxed articles must be seriously affected, and, consequently, the revenue produced by those articles must inevitably decline and fall away.

it is farther urged upon the consideration of those who are to decide the important question of "payment" or "non-payment," that the monies which have been and shall be advanced on account of the present calamity, are in no way and by no means an addition to the capital of Ireland, but a replacement of what has been destroyed, viz., the capital invested in the potato crop, which maintained the people and paid their rents. If, then, the attempt be made to recall these monies beginning with an instalment next year -it requires to be shown how Ireland has so increased her capital, as not only to supply the maintenance of her people in future, and the discharge of her rent-obligations, but in addition, to furnish a sum representing a certain proportion of the capital necessary for those purposes in the present year.

How, it is asked, has she increased her capital? What measures for this purpose have been adopted, or are in contemplation? Should not their full development (if such measures there be) precede demand; which—that development can alone, by any possibility, enable Ireland to meet and satisfy?

Reason, policy, and justice, it is therefore urged, combine to warn England from playing the clamorous creditor, and throwing away an opportunity to show her disposition of kind and friendly dealing with the distressed and distracted sister-country.

We now return to the question of the great remedial measures for Ireland;

Poor Laws, and reclamation of waste lands, we have before commented on, as comprisi ng

nearly all the general propositions of anything approaching to a definite nature that have as yet been much brought under public discussion. Upon the subject of extending the Poor Law system in Ireland, as much has been already said as we have at present room for, with the exception of this short remark that it is desirable to bear in mind, viz., that the moment the extended Poor Law shall come into operation in Ireland, not less than five mil lions of people will have to be supported: mainly, of course, by what is known as out-door relief; and this in a country which has been acknowledged in parliament by Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Chancellor Goulburn, to be too poor to bear the burthen of the Income and Assessed Taxes!

With reference to the other measure-viz., State reclamation of waste lands-we repeat that it is a plan which, in any or all of the thousand shapes under which it has been advocated, is scarcely to be considered as other than a forced, partial, and temporary remedy, likely to be speedily outstripped by population, and at best giving but a short breathing time to look about us for something better.

All changes upon these two measures, and modifications or combinations of them-such as giving permanency in any way to the Labour Rate system now in activity-state-management of private properties will be found open, in various degrees, to the objections already urged, and to several others peculiarly incident to themselves.

What, then, is to be done?

First. Secure to yourselves the time for doing anything. Get this by temporary measures. Let the men of war land their useless guns, and go, | on merchants' account, or on the Government account, to what food-markets are yet open to us, and bring back what may keep the people alive during the awful months before us. Make what improvements experience may suggest in the working of the temporary Labour Rate system. Interfere, for the benefit of both, and for the peace of the country, between landlord and tenant. Experimentalise, to any extent you choose, upon waste lands; and then avail yourselves of the time you may have thus gained, to cast about for the means of laying the foundations, deep and solid, of your permanent remedy.

Money-money-money-the sinews of war, but equally the sinews of prosperity in peace—is what is wanting. Not Treasury grants doled out, or shovelled out, at emergencies, to be inevitably much wasted-no dram-drinking by habit; but a fair and regular action of the natural stimulants of the body-politic.

The money-capital of Ireland is in part drained away from her; in part hoarded up, or otherwise unhealthily stagnant. Absentees take five millions annually out of the country. The absence of rich consumers re-acts upon industrial enterprise, making it decline and fade away. Manufactures thus gone, the classes who would have found labour upon them, and, consequently, a

comfortable subsistence by wages, are necessarily compelled to swell the crowd pressing for a bare subsistence upon land.

Not only is the increase of capital thus checked, but the manufacturing products yet required by the Irish community have to be bought from another country, and paid for in hard money. This swells, by some millions more, the drain; and then come a thousand minor issues, in the payments of interest on mortgaged estates, pensions on the Irish establishment, quit and crown rents, and other gleanings from the Irish revenue in ordinary times, after the reduced government expenditure in Ireland is provided for. In short, eight or nine millions are but a moderate estimate of the combined amount of all these items of drain; and this, be it remembered, from a country which, on taxes equally imposed on both countries, is able to yield no higher a sum than four millions; whereas the British receipts are nearly forty millions!

The Irish money-capital not drained away is in small private hoards, or in the Savings' Banks, with the humbler classes ;--and in building speculations (small fourth and fifth-rate houses), and the public funds,-with the classes above them. The decay and nearly total destruction of manufactures in Ireland precludes or renders unsafe any more profitable investment.

Under these circumstances it is idle to expect that there can be vigour and healthful action in the body-politic. A change must be effected in these circumstances—an entire and total change: otherwise no change in the results, save that from bad to worse, is rationally, or possibly, to be expected.

Why should they "draw over the profits" of the land away from her, and refund her nothing, in this her distress, save some such bounteous gift as the three pounds which an absentee landlord recently remitted towards the distress in the district where his extensive property lay.

Where that lusus naturæ, a well managed estate of an absentee, is really to be found, it assuredly will not be the worse managed by reason of his personal residence there. And large as may be the subscriptions which a few, we fear a very, very few indeed, may have sent over to Ireland, their personal expenditure is due in addition at the present crisis.

By getting the absentees back, the heaviest item of direct drain of money from Ireland will at once be checked; and the beneficial results to industry in every branch, from the largely increased expenditure in that country, will speedily manifest themselves.

Meantime Government have something in their power. In ordinary years there is a sum averaging £600,000 or more, remitted from Ireland to the British Exchequer, after providing pay and maintenance of the large military force, defraying the cost of the Ordnance Establishment, the Judicial Establishment, Vice-Regal Court, and Secretaries' departments, &c. This sum is part of Ireland's contribution to the general expenditure of the empire. Increase the items of that general expenditure in Ireland, and the Irish money will be spent on the same objects as now, with no loss to the empire, but with a gain to impoverished Ireland. Dockyards, and a division of the fleet in Irish harbours, would come under one obvious item of the transferred expenditure,

How, then, is capital to be retained, made to and others are so equally obvious that we need circulate, and increased in Ireland?

Check the drains first of all. Dr. Johnson's illustration of the word absentee, by reference to Ireland, should never be forgotten.

[ocr errors]

"Absentee:-One who is absent from his station, or employment, or country.' "A great part of the estates in Ireland are owned by absentees, and such as draw over the profits raised out of Ireland, refunding nothing.”

Why should the absentees be "absent from their station" at this frightful period, when the energies of every citizen of every class are needed, and ought to be given, to bring their country safe through her perils? Why should they be "absent from their employment "their rightful employment: taking care of the people by the sweat of whose brows their luxuries have been supplied?

not here delay with their enumeration.

The question which may naturally be asked here is, How are the absentees to be induced to return? Coaxing and beseeching them to do so will scarcely effect this object. Are they, then, to be taxed; and if taxed, to what extent ?

The Repeal party in Ireland are very ready to answer this, and say, that without abjuring for the future Irish Parliament the right and power to use even the harsh and forced measure of a personal tax to compel residence, their cherished project of "Repeal" contains within itself the means of dispensing with compulsory means.

We defer the examination of this assertion to the next number of this Magazine, in which we propose fully to state the case, which, as Irish Repealers, we make in favour of this object.*

BALLADS FROM SCOTTISH HISTORY.-No. I.

THE DEATH OF JAMES III.

It was a low and lonely house, hard by old Milton Moss,
Where Scotia's conquering standard floats o'er Bruce's battle cross;
And Bannockburn, its classic ground spreads to the wandering eye,
'Mid circling hills, mute witnesses of blood and victory.

A KING, upon a frantic steed rushed on from Torwood green,

His pallid hue and headlong speed were desperate, I ween;

Across the stream, with sudden bound, the clattering hoofs have sped—
Down drops that corse-like thing, and in that lowly house is laid.

* We need scarcely say that we oppose the repeal of the Legislative Union.-Ed. T. M.

Can this be he! the son of him who wore THE FIERY FACE,
Who died at Roxb'ro's thundering siege-a lion of his race-
The while his bold undaunted Queen avenged her husband's fall,
Batter'd, and took, and to the earth razed down that castle tall!
That steed a monarch might bestride, where fleetness slays or saves-
But not a timid King like this-the dupe of fools and knaves-
Of stalwart breed, of matchless speed, well worthy of its sires-
The gift of Scotland's bravest knight-Lord LINDSAY of the BYRES !
Scarce from a rising ground had JAMES seen border battle spread→→
First in the van his youthful son, and lion-ensign red-
When doom prophetic smote his heart, and conscious guilt his soul--
Dashing his spurs to rowel-head, he fled without controul!

Forth went a dame to Bannock-well, as thus the monarch sped,

But midway left her water-pail, and, fleet with terror, fled:

Shying, the grey steed leapt the stream-" Heard ye the armour ring?"

"Now who art thou, poor, shatter'd man ?”—“This morn I was your King!"

Ah! where be they, the flattering herd, that swayed the monarch's mind

'Mid dulcet strains so musical, with sciences refined,

And gorgeous plans for Gothic shrines, and feats of magic skill,
And daring eyes that, in the stars, read destiny at will?

And where may be his glittering hoard of golden treasures, wrung
From subjects murmuring sullenly, with scarce restrained tongue?
But hush! He stirs! The quivering lips are parted by a sigh;
And opens, with a frigid stare, his vacant, cold, grey eye!

Back to the scenes of boyhood's years his wandering thoughts have fled;
Grave KENNEDY's him tutoring, whilst gay Boros round him played :-
"My mother dear!" thus murmured JAMES. "What is it that thee ails?
Sin not! nor shame us more with that dark Hepburn of Hailes!

'And thou, my youngest brother MARRE! thy blood is on my head!
From thee it was I fled the field! Ah! would thou wert not dead!
And, ALBANY! I feared thee, too, thou gay and gallant lance,
Yet rather would I thou wert here, than slain in tilting France!
"Go, SCHEVAZ! scan the House of Death,' and tell what danger now
From breth'ren dead and perished, assails this kingly brow?

[ocr errors]

Let COCHRAN's bones, on Lauder Bridge, bleach in the twilight dew-
No fane he ever planned could shield him from yon rebel crew!
"Let ROGERS' silver cord be snapt! I need its strains no more;
Let ANDRO WOOD's tall A'mirals be tost, as wrecks, ashore;
They've ta'en my castles! one and all! Both gold and safety gone!
My nearest kin-my very son-conspires against my throne!
"E'en SHAW of SAUCHIE-he whose faith was yet my latest hope-
Holds mine own Stirling for the foes with whom I dare not cope!
Oh! burst my breaking heart to hear Edina's heavy news!
Both hold and gold surrender'd there! O! 'tis too much to lose!

"Thus hopes are 'whelmed, like sinking ships, with one last sudden lurch-
One consolation lingers yet-I ever loved THE CHURCH!"-

[ocr errors]

Nay!" cried a stern, harsh voice behind-"James! I'm-no matter whom-
I'll tell thee, then, with this death blow! I'm of the HOUSE of HOME!
"How likest thou a Border shrift?" "God! what a death to die!"
Gasped Scotland's JAMES, with sinking voice and ghastly, glazing eye:
And there, in that poor mill-house, was the King of Scotland sped,
Nor traced they e'er the secret spot wherein his bones were laid!

[blocks in formation]

As I view thy blue eye beaming
With ray of softest light,

As 'mid the skies 'tis dreaming,

'Mid the starry islets bright;

AN EVENING REVERIE.

While round thee Autumn's twilight flings
Its mellow tints, and the ring-dove sings
To the fast-closing shades of the night:

As I gaze, an entrancing feeling-
The soul's unbidden flight-
Comes o'er my senses stealing,

And wraps them in delight.

Far, far from earth I seem to roam,

To the realms of thought-to the moonlight's home,

With thee, a fair angel of light!

Far, far aloft we're straying,

O'er a sea of azure bright,

Where silvery beams are playing

'Mid the golden isles of light:

We gaze upon the mighty spheres,
And sounds seraphic meet our ears,
As we hurry along in our flight.
On in our flight still soaring,
Through heaven's own climes we fly,
Where myriads are adoring

The Power that reigns on high;
And sweetest odours fill the air,
And pain and grief are banished there,
And unheard of hopes blight the sigh.
Hark! Is't an angel speaking!
That voice so soft and sweet,
As if through heaven 'twere seeking
No ear but mine to meet?
It comes again, that silvery tone!
So like It is, it is thine own,-
None else were half so exquisite !

R. H. P.

THE ULSTER TENANT-RIGHT.

WHEN the British farmers' friends began to be | pensation Bill of 1845, Lord Stanley remarked converted, twelve months since, under the tuition that a similar custom resembling "tenant" right of Sir Robert Peel, it was remarked that the con-existed in some parts of England; and had been formists amongst the great landowners of Ulster enforced there at common law, but he proposed no were considerably over an average. Many of scheme for securing this property by statute. The these noblemen and gentlemen, like Lord Ashley Earl of Lincoln's bill was equally defective in and the Earl of Ellesmere, have been real con- this particular; although a leading member of verts of Manchester and Tamworth; but others the Cabinet asserted that no statute law existed were said to be actuated by remembering that the on this subject. Even Mr. Sharman Crawford's tenant-right stood between their rent-rolls and bill, while recognizing the tenants' claim to comforeign corn, The tenure of land, indisputably pensation for future improvements, would afford the great Irish question, next to food, has been no security for the property already acquired; discussed in each session of the present Parlia- in some cases by inheritance, but by the vast mament; but the Tenant-Right of Ulster, although jority of the holders through actual purchase. its most remarkable and interesting feature, has The Marquis of Londonderry, during the discusbeen almost entirely overlooked. Mr. Sharman sions of 1845, on the tenure of land in Ireland, exCrawford, in several successive sessions, has pressed his utmost satisfaction and delight with pressed the Tenants' Compensation Bill on Par- the working of the Tenant-right; which, he said, liament, with such success, that, in 1845, Lord converted the farmer's land into his saving bank; Stanley introduced a measure of his own, so bad and in one of his recent manifestos he claims a in quality that it was withdrawn; and, in last | large credit for respecting this Tenant-right; as session, the Earl of Lincoln brought in a better, if the noble Marquis had besought public confibut still imperfect measure, which fell aside, in dence by a certificate of honesty in his own handthe confusion of business, at the close of the ses- writing, and given under his own signature; sion. During these discussions, the Times and while his statement undoubtedly implies that other journals referred to the Tenant-Right of some people are less scrupulous regarding their Ulster in terms of the greatest disapprobation; neighbour's property than the owner of Castleas a scheme devised by the farmers of that pro- reagh; for a man never dreams of claiming vince to usurp the lawful property of helpless credit for a practice observed by all his peers. landowners. An association for the protection of The noble Marquis, however, very happily dedistressed landowners seemed as natural and scribed the working of the Tenant-right. It connecessary an institution as any of Mr. Bond Cab-verts the farmer's land into his saving bank. bell's plans of benevolence, or as the society for the relief of distressed needlewomen. It is, therefore, a bold step of the newspapers in the interest of the English tenant farmers, to describe, by the term "tenant-right," a leading idea in their articles, from the date of the last Corn Law; even although, on examination, their theory resolves itself into nothing more substantial than a harmless nineteen years' lease. This description of tenant-right has no affinity to the existing custom of Ulster. A tenant-farmer there is absolutely the joint-proprietor of his acres; and they are openly sold in the market at his demise, or by himself on his retirement from farming. Their sale is advertised in the newspapers, their value forms part, and in the majority of cases the most valuable part of the farmer's property; while in insolvencies the tenant-right is recognised, valued, and sold, for the benefit of creditors. The farmer is, in point of fact, part-proprietor with the original landowner-under this exception, that the tenant's portion of the private property is not secured by statute law, but upheld by the custom of the country. With the sale of leases all farmers are familiar, but this custom applies not only to leaseholders, but also to tenantsat-will. A man cannot enter on a farm in Ulster without purchasing and paying for the previous tenants' right; but he calculates on again effecting a sale when circumstances induce him to quit possession. In the discussion on the Tenants' Com

He pays a price on entry, and an annual rent ; while his leading object is not to draw all he can out of his land within a given time, but to raise it higher in the scale of improvement, with the purpose of increasing its selling price. And the recognition of the custom by statute is now only requisite to render the description of the noble Marquis accurate, and virtually convert the farm into a saving bank. At present, when a man has a few hundred pounds in a bank, he can check for it with the same facility whether he votes for or against his landlord; but many of the Ulster tenantry feel that if they voted against the agent's candidate, their "Tenantright" might be forfeited, and their bank become insolvent. They require express statute law to guard them from contingencies of this nature; and their claim is perfectly just and reasonable. The custom originated, probably, during the civil wars previous to the Revolution, when the owners of the greater part of Ulster held their lands in gift from the Sovereign, and kept them by their steel. The Eastern and North-Eastern counties were divided amongst a few noblemen and military adventurers, who were bound to settle, on their new estates, a certain number of families from Scotland and England. Internal dissensions had reduced a previously populous district to a wild and natural state. The colonists had to build new houses, reclaim their fields, keep watch and ward, and frequently do battle in the midst

of their labours. The original undertakers were acre. A late nobleman, who had the reputation therefore, rendered anxious, by necessity, to dis- of a good landlord, at one period intimated to his charge one part of their contract, in clustering, tenantry that he would confirm no sales made for round their towers and castles the stipulated more than ten pounds per acre. The price prenumber of men, to till their lands, and guard viously paid had been £15, £20, and £25; and them from the inroads of "the wild Irish," who the nobleman had probably fifteen thousand acres: struggled for possession of the country. Ulster so by this anouncement, he abstracted one hundred was, strictly, a military colony, and the farmer thousand pounds from the property of his tenantry, kept his tenure with his life. Many leases were and added it to his own private fortune. He thus then granted, on lives renewable for ever, by per- placed a limit on "the saving's bank," checked sons whose descendants would gladly cancel them agricultural improvement, and compelled prudent now, but the written letter remains. Undoubt-men to let down the character of their lands to edly, at the time, some implied arrangement was formed with those colonists who did not obtain leases, by which they were allowed a permanent interest in their land, and its improvements, on payment of a small annual rent. This interest gradually grew into a marketable commodity; and in a land where the farmer went forth, to plough or reap, with his life in his hand, the arrangement was perfectly equitable. In the lapse of years, by sales and other means, the tenantright spread, from the descendants of the original settlers, to all classes, Protestants and Roman Catholics; holding ground neither on lease nor from a middleman, but directly from the landlord, and even from year to year. Some learned antiquarians trace the right to ancient feudal law, and it may have commenced at the East, in the days of the kings of Sodom, so far as we know. The practical and present questions are not how and where it began, but where does it exist? what is it worth? can it be preserved? and, should it be maintained?

A practice that has existed for one hundred and fifty years, and is neither immoral nor impolitic, should carry prescription. Even if it were shown to be "impolitic;" the interested persons should be compensated on its abolition. Slavery is immoral and anti-christian; but we paid the West Indian planters for their slaves. The tenantright is perfectly moral, and we believe it to be highly politic; but if the farmers of Ulster are to lose it, they should receive its value. The Times attacked it as a means of occupying their capital, and thus preventing them from cultivating the soil properly; but even these evils, if they exist, are not to be rectified at the cost of two or three hundred thousand industrious men and their families. The national debt may be an inconvenience, but honest men never propose repudiation as the remedy.

There is no calculation of the property thus held in land by the farmers of Ulster; but we believe it is not under ten millions sterling. Several difficulties exist in making up an accurate calculation. The selling price from tenant to tenant varies with the state of the land, with its position, and with the character of the landlord. During the last two or three years, it has been so low as six pounds per acre; and we have known, in the same period, forty-three pounds per acre paid. At one period on the Downshire estates, farms sold as between tenants in some districts at twenty pounds; in others, at thirty; and in a few so high as forty pounds per

the standard of ten pounds. This sum has, since
that period, been taken for the average in Down-
shire; although the price often rises higher. Last
summer, we knew a farm of sixty acres, in the
neighbourhood of the Great Britain's last resting-
place, sold for £1200, although the annual rent
was at the rate of 34s. per acre; and the owner
intimated that on the expiry of the life by which
the lease hung, the rent would be increased to
42s. per acre. One half of the sum was supposed
to stand for buildings, and the other half for the
tenant's right or good-will; but the buildings
were not worth £600, while the land was worth
| more, although, by the mode of transfer, the real
value was given for the land; and the arbitrary
average of £10 was observed.

The Devon Commission in 1844 perambulated Ireland from the Cove of Cork to the Giant's Causeway, examining farmers, land-agents, and proprietors on the tenure of land; and printed their evidence in several blue books of more than a thousand folio pages each. These books, like most Parliamentary volumes, cannot be said to have been published in the ordinary acceptation of the term. They are for sale, but nobody buys them. They may be read, but few readers have sufficient daring to attempt the achievement. A man with a secret cannot place it in better keeping than by having it printed in some of these books, where the public will never find it out. The volumes of the Devon Commission contain, however, a vast amount of useful information, and prove conclusively the value of the tenant-right to Ulster.

It has raised the value of land, for it appears on evidence that the rent paid to the landowners is greater than in those parts of Ireland where no such participation of landed property exists. It secures the owner against arrears; for the value of the tenant right being always equivalent to five or six years' purchase of the rent, he has the most convenient guarantee for any debts that the tenant may accumulate. It prevents those agrarian outrages common in other districts, because the outgoing tenant is always a man of some property, and is very rarely the sufferer by ejectment. It provides for the owner a tenant of capital or credit; for the farmer must have considerable means before he can even enter on twenty acres. It allows to the industrious man an abiding interest in the soil which he cultivates; and encourages his exertions by the surest of all inducements. It gives the tenant " a savings' bank," which should have no limit, into

« AnkstesnisTęsti »