JSi. 34] THE LAND QUESTION 227
determined. A " fair rent " to one man would be mucli more than another could pay, and less than a third man could without imprudence agree to give.'l
Lord Hartington also showed some interest in the land question, though, like Mr. Bright, he did not see his way to action. On January 22 he wrote: ' I think that the failure of the Land Act  is not established by the figures which you give. The difference between rentals and the Government valuation in some cases, as well as the increase in the number of notices of ejectment, may be, and I think probably are, capable of some explanation, and so far as I am aware all the cases of cruel evictions on a large scale which are related by you took place before the passing of the Act. I am not opposed to any reasonable or practical proposals for improving the working of the Bright clauses [the purchase clauses] of the Act, but I am of opinion that the difficulties of inducing Parliament to legislate in this direction have been greatly increased by the recent anti-rent agitation. The advice which has been given, and which has to some extent been acted upon, to disregard the contract now existing between landlord and tenant, is not calculated to give Parliament any confident expectation that greater respect will be shown to the contract which it is proposed to create between the State and the tenant purchaser/ 2
I think it but just to Mr. Bright and Lord Hartington to set out the views which they privately expressed in January 1880. Nevertheless, in April the Liberal Government as a whole thought not of Ireland. * The Government/ said Lord Cowper, 'were not thinking of the land question when I came to Ireland.1 ' The
1 Ibid. - Ibid.