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IN reading the following papers I must ask attention 
to the dates at which they were written, else it may 
be thought there are differences between them at 
some points. The subject-matter of all being the 
same, the same facts are now and then mentioned in 
different papers in a somewhat different point of view, 
suggested by the circumstances. Such repetitions 
could of course have been omitted, but the small 
differences seemed to give a reality to the whole, and 
besides, the points repeated are generally the turning- 
points of the subject. 

In order to form a sound judgment, there are 
several matters that must be borne clearly in mind. 

FICTION 1. That all Ireland is alike and in the 
same hopeless and distressful state. The real diffi- 
culty to be met is only in part of Connaught and 
some other remote and mountainous places, perhaps 
one-fourth of Ireland. In the rest there is no real 


difficulty, though the agitation has of course been 
carried everywhere to try what can be got from it. 

FICTION 2. That no landlord has done anything 
to improve the land or the people, or spent any 
money for that end. 

Many landlords, like myself, have spent very 
large sums for that end, and with thoroughly satis- 
factory results in all ways. More expenditure is no 
doubt wanted. 

FICTION 3. That evictions are cruel and equivalent 
to signing the death-warrant of tenants, who have 
no choice but the workhouse, there to remain till 
they die. 

Broken tenants are to be met with in every sort 
of occupation. I have had some who have done 
thoroughly well, much better than they could have 
done as farmers. Others are labourers, well off as 
such. Their children grow up as good as any others. 
There is not one word of truth in this complaint. 

FICTION 4. That tenants in Ireland are too poor 
to contract freely. 

They are the keenest and best bargainers in 
Europe, and more often get the best of the bargain 
than the other side does. Jews cannot live in Ireland. 
They have no chance. Not to hold contracts binding 
at once opens the door to a flood of mischief. Forty 


years ago this practice was common in regard to all 
public contracts. Any one who wished to get a 
contract took it at any price, and then trusted by the 
help of. his friends to fight through it to advantage 
by scamping the conditions, or getting increased pay- 
ment. Till we conquered and routed this system, 
many of us (all who were honest) lived in a state of 
declared war with a large part of our neighbours. 
Since we won the battle, nobody thinks of taking a 
contract who does not mean to fulfil it. 

Lastly, I venture to remind all that there are 
three such evils in the world as lying, drink, and 
debt. Unhappily not only have these vices pene- 
trated to the Holy Isle of Ireland, but there is sad 
reason to believe they took up their permanent abode 
there and have thriven ever since. 

Any tenants who are subject to such bad habits 
are on the sure road to ruin. Are they to be pro- 
tected from the effects of their own faults ? or, like 
the rest of mankind suffering from the same vices, 
left to the ordinary consequences of these ? 


DECEMBER 1, 1880. 

viii PREFACE. 

THAT which has happened in the few days since 
the above was written throws so much light on the 
whole question, that I think it is right to tell it. 
My rent-day, as usual, was December 7. This was 
well known to all. It was thought, if I could be 
driven to accept Griffiths' valuation instead of the 
rent due, it would be a great triumph, as all knew 
how well off my tenants are, and the punctuality 
and ease with which they pay their rent, especially 
in a thoroughly good season like this. . 

If I had to give way, others might be more easily 

So a systematic attempt was made. For a week 
or two before reports were common that my tenants 
would only pay Griffiths' valuation, and meant to 
come in a body on the rent-day, to say so. 

But as it was known so many were very friendly 
with me and my family that they were sure to pay, 
the first step taken by the Land League was to send 
a notice to the tenants by post, ordering them not to 
pay more than Griffiths' valuation. On the morning 
of Friday, December 3, market-day, a threatening 
notice was found stuck on my hall door, and a hole 


dug in the grass near, fully three inches deep, as an 
emblematical grave, in which, the notice said, I and 
my son were to be buried. Threatening notices were 
also stuck up about the town of Clonakilty, denounc- 
ing all sorts of injuries to any of my tenants who 
paid more than Griffiths' valuation. 

On Saturday morning the Cork Examiner and 
Herald had reports of a speech made at Clonakilty 
the day before at the Land League by the Eev. 
Father O'Leary, a young priest of the parish ; most 
part of it was mere coarse abuse of me, the sweepings 
of all the vulgar dislikes for twenty years past in a small 
town, arising from everything besides land e.g. that 
as a magistrate I fined a publican, for selling porter 
on Sunday, more than some approved of, which, as 
there are more than forty public-houses in the town, 
is very likely. He luckily condescended to particu- 
lars in what he said was oppression of a few tenants, 
which I will answer farther on. Some one was so 
ashamed of this speech as wholly discreditable to the 
Eoman Catholic Clergy and Church, that in both 
papers the speaker was called Mr. O'Leary, instead 
of Father O'Leary. 

Those who take any active part in the Land 
League in Clonakilty are, in addition to the Priest, 
only inferior townspeople, or a chance farmer or 


two, none of whom enjoy any respect from the 
inhabitants of the neighbourhood. 

These threatening notices, I am told, are all 
written by a shoemaker. 

Monday, 6th, there was a Fair, and our tenants at 
it were again threatened worse than ever, especially 
those friendly to us. One very old man, who is very 
rich though paying near three times Griffiths' valua- 
tion, and who has long been an actual friend of me 
and my children, was stopped in the dusk and had 
some water thrown in his face to make believe it 
was vitriol, and was urgently threatened. 

The *7th was my rent-day. Some men posted 
themselves in the ruins of an old house, a mile off 
(not on my land), and, as any tenant came near, ran 
out and thrust before his eyes a threatening notice. 

The tenants assented at the gate. A few, from one 
reason or other, paid about 100 : about 1300 should 
have been paid. 

In time about six came into my room and offered 
Griffiths' valuation. The rent of four of them was 
100 a year each, or more. Two of them had 
leases freely taken from me. The other two were 
yearly tenants, who had held at the same rents for 
thirty or forty years. The two leaseholders grumbled 
about high rent. Their rent is 1 per acre for 


really good land. The other two had nothing to say. 
They knew, and I knew, they had done capitally out 
of their land, and that it was worth more than they 
pay for it. 

They begged earnestly I would not think the 
worse of them for not paying. It was all fear they 
said. To the whole of them I said, they could go 
their own way, and I would go mine. They were all 
civil beyond description, all inquiring affectionately 
for one of my sons who was ill. 

When these went out no more would come in to 
me. The great object of the rest was to keep out of 
sight of the window of the room where I was, for fear 
I should see them. They were dodging out of sight 
round corners, and, in fact, I did not see half of them. 
I heard afterwards that before they separated 
one or two schemers proposed all should lodge 
Griffiths' valuation in the Bank in the names of two 
or three. But they were much too cunning for that. 
It would have suited the two or three too well. 
Anything so sheepish as the whole affair I never 
imagined. It was beyond laughable, except for the 
miserable moral state it showed. I had many mess- 
ages before the rent-day telling me to have no fear 
of the rent ; it would be paid directly the law was 
again in force. I still get such messages, and I hear 


of tenants paying money into the Bank to keep for 
paying it. It was quite clear our tenants were all, 
or nearly all, more than ready to pay their rent as 
usual ; and as there is not at this moment one shilling 
of arrears due in the rent-book, there can be no doubt, 
in such a year as this, that there were very few or 
none unable to do so. From first to last the whole 
thing was intimidation practised by the Land League, 
and fear on the part of the tenants. Of course, besides 
the emblematical grave, I have constant threats of 
being shot. It is only in Ireland that in the nine- 
teenth century any one can really enter into the 
meaning of Job's comforters. From a certain vein 
of the Old Woman, that is very common here, every- 
body comes with a kindness it is impossible not to 
value, to condole with one in one's troubles, and 
everybody repeats all the rumours that are afloat 
with different exaggerations and circumstances, real 
or imagined ; so that, if one did not know the coun- 
try, one's life would be a bad one. 

But, further, I am threatened that I shall be Boy- 
cotted. As I have a large number of sheep and 
cattle fattening, it is known it would bother me much 
if they could frighten away my labourers. My 
bailiff sent three carts of oats to be sold in Bandon 
market in ordinary course. The carts were followed 

PREFACE. xiii 

about by a mob howling that no one dared to buy the 
oats. I beg those Englishmen who are so tender over 
constitutional rights in Ireland to consider what these 
facts mean. On the morning of the llth the Land 
League sent threatening notices by post to all my men 
to try to frighten them away, which they will probably 
succeed in doing. The Government of England 
surely never in civilised times so abandoned its 
peaceable subjects to lawlessness and misrule. It is 
a scandal and wrong such as was never known among 
us in the worst times. I told the tenants on the 
rent -day that I meant to shut up my house and 
place, put all the land into grass, and give no more 
employment. The land will pay much better at 
present in grass, and the saving in wages and outlay 
will leave me much more money to spend than I have 
ever had. The loss of wages to the labourers would 
be very great, as they sensibly feel, and they begin to 
ask, Who will pay us our wages ? The good wages 
that I pay are of course a help, and I have let them 
know that if they will stand by me they need have 
no fear that I shall not stand by them. What will 
be the result of course I cannot tell. I have got 
some police brought near to encourage them, but I 
fear the reign of terror is too strong for them. 

Father O'Leary said in his speech, which I have 


mentioned, that I oppressed my tenants with rent, 
and he named two cases, besides some tenants of 
land near the town of Clonakilty. 

One of the cases was a Mrs. "Welsh, who died last 
September. Her farm was hired from my grandfather, 
her father-in-law, more than fifty years ago, and has 
been held since at the same rent. Forty years ago I 
arranged with her husband he should have it for his 
life at the same rent. He died ten years after, when, 
as the rent was very low, 14s. 3d. per acre, and prices 
had risen much, I was at full liberty to increase the 
rent. As Mrs. Welsh was a widow with children, I 
let her go on on the same terms till her death last 
September, more than thirty years. She married her 
eldest daughter to a wealthy match, and gave her 
140 fortune. To her second daughter she gave 130 
on marriage. The same to her third daughter. The 
fourth daughter is still unmarried, and she bought a 
farm for her and stocked it last autumn, that must 
have cost as much. She took a farm of 200 acres for 
her eldest son, getting it by a recommendation to the 
landlord that I gave her, which must have cost her 
200 to stock, and she left 90 in cash and my farm 
fully stocked at her death. I asked her son 1 per 
acre for the farm for thirty -one years, most of it 
being good land. I clear nearly 2 per acre off 


adjoining land, which I farm myself, and which is 
less good. This is what the Tenant League calls 
rack-renting. The second case is still stronger. A 
tenant named Lucey held 118 acres of a farm I 
bought, at 84 rent. Much of the farm is the very 
best land in the parish, really first-rate land. I 
offered him the farm at 1 per acre. He refused it 
again and again, sowed flax in the most of it, and 
did all the injury he could. The excellence of the 
land made me hold it myself with a dairy. The 
first year I cleared 151 net as rent. Five years 
after, 1870, the farm cleared 223. In 1875 it 
cleared 283. In 1880 it cleared 288. This 
is clear of all deductions except the interest on the 
value of the cows, perhaps 30, and about 10 
interest on money laid out in draining, etc. I 
asked the tenant 120 rent for the farm, which 
Father O'Leary and the Land League declare was 
a rack-rent. All the others complained of are on 
some land I have, that is very near the town. 
Fields near the town let at 3 per acre. Three 
acres feed a cow. The milk sells for IJd. to 2d. per 
quart in the town, and the cows thus pay 14 to 
18 each, from which 9 deducted for rent of three 
acres leaves a good profit. 

As the land is farther off from the town it lets for 


2 per acre. It is very good land, with town 
manure near, and letting freely to townspeople for 
4 per acre up to 6 per acre. It runs towards the 
sea, where a bank of calcareous sand is very advan- 
tageous for manure. 

Hayes, who is mentioned as oppressed, was a 
butter-dealer on a large scale. His mother was so 
before him, and made money by it. She built a large 
store for butter, and for working it, and raised the 
old clay -mortar walls of the dwelling-house, and 
slated it. Hayes did the same for a cow-house. The 
old walls built with clay -mortar can still be seen. 
Hayes's brother also dealt in butter, and had a farm 
from me on the same land. He died of smallpox, 
leaving his widow 3000, made wholly whilst my 
tenant from the business. Hayes's land would let for 
much more rent than he pays to persons in Clonakilty 
as accommodation land. 

White, who is also complained of, has very good 
land with southern aspect, adjoining Hayes's. It, too, 
has much advantage from seaweed and calcareous 
sand as manure. The farm next White's, which does 
not belong to me, let last year to a well-off shopkeeper 
at 45s. 6d. per acre. It is not as good land as White's. 
I believe White's land is well worth the rent of 2 
per acre, and assert that land near a town has a fair 

PREFACE. xvii 

accommodation value which it returns to the occupier 
quite different from land in the country. 

Father O'Leary knew these facts and others, and 
by suppressing them he made that appear true which 
he knew was false. I think his conduct will not be 
approved by his Church. 

I have never raised any man's rent except at 
long intervals of thirty-one years or his life. I fix the 
rent carefully on my own judgment, taking fully into 
account the tenant's backwardness and want of skill. 
If after two or three years I think him still over- 
weighted, I do some improvement on a barn or cow- 
house that adds to the value of his farm. There is, 
of course, endless talk ; but I have never known an 
industrious man to fail on my valuation. 

W. B. J. 

DECEMBER 12, 1880. 




1865 . . . ,/ . . 1 


IRISH RENTS January 16, 1868 . . . 22 


IRELAND AS IT WAS AND AS IT is January 22, 1868 27 


THE IRISH LAND QUESTION February 1868 , 36 


LEASES September 1869 . . .47 



THE LAND QUESTION September 1869 . 53 




IRISH DISAFFECTION September 1871 . . 60 




EFFECT OF LAND ACT December 1873 . . 78 


IRELAND, 1840-1880 April 1880 . . .85 


IRELAND : ITS SOCIAL STATE July 1880 . . 125 


ULSTER TENANT-RIGHT December 1, 1880 . .163 











June 1872 275 




SOCIETY OF ENGLAND, 1879 . . .299 





JANUARY 1, 1865. 

IT may perhaps be useful to give some account of 
twenty -five years' work in the management and 
improvement of an estate in Ireland. 

Five years ago much was heard of the greatly 
improved state of all classes in that country, and 
their general prosperity. During the past two or 
three years, however, statements very much the 
reverse have been common. The gloomiest pictures 
have been drawn by some, and it has been doubted 
whether any substantial improvement in the condi- 
tion of the people, especially the tenants, has taken 
place. It has been said the land is not paying even 
for outlay on drainage, that the settlers from England 
and Scotland are not thriving, and in short that hope- 
lessness is as much the fate of Ireland as ever. 

A plain narrative of what has actually been 
done on one estate may throw some light on these 
opposing accounts, and enable a judgment to be 



formed, What degree of truth there is in either or 
both of them ? 

The estate is in the South of Ireland. It origin- 
ally consisted of about 2000 acres, but has gradu- 
ally been increased by purchase to near 4000. It 
had been left wholly to agents, and thoroughly 
neglected. One hasty visit in two generations of 
owners was all the personal care known to have 
been given to it. It need hardly be said no money 
had been laid out on it. From accidental causes 
the farms were less subdivided than on many 
estates. They averaged about 25 acres. Some 
contained 50 acres or more, and many were from 
10 to 15 acres. 

It is on the Carboniferous slate formation. The 
surface is undulating, with somewhat rounded hills, 
300 or 400 feet high. The soil on 'the hills is 
generally rather thin, i.e. the rock not far from the 
surface and often breaking out, but in quality a fair 
turnip loam. The bottoms, and sometimes sides of 
the hills were wet with springs, and peaty, often cut- 
out peat-bog, but occasionally deep good land. On 
the whole it is land of fair quality, but Very little 
could be called thoroughly good land. The climate 
is one of the wettest in Europe, cool in summer 
and mild in winter. 

The course of treatment (farming it can hardly 
be called) pursued formerly was paring and burning 
for potatoes, with such manure as there was applied 


to the same crop. This manure was chiefly earth 
drawn the previous autumn to the yard, and mixed 
with the small quantity of dung a starved horse 
or two, and the few cattle kept, made, and some- 
times with calcareous sea-sand besides. The potatoes 
were followed by wheat, and if the land would bear 
it, this again by oats once or twice, and then left to 
rest, as it was called, three or four years, i.e. to grow 
weeds (no grass seeds or clover whatever being 
usually sown) till some sort of skin was formed, 
enough to burn again. It may easily be judged 
what was the result of such a course. Very little 
stock could be kept; 20 bushels of wheat per acre 
were thought a capital crop 12 bushels were more 
frequent ; green crops were almost unknown ; drain- 
ing hardly thought of. Eents were very irregularly 
paid, and tenants were little better than paupers. 
A reduction of rents on the estate had been tried, 
but arrears still accumulated. There never was any 
certainty what money would be received, and it was 
a source of constant vexation and difficulty to the 
landlord, whilst the tenants were most of them 
always in trouble. All this was before the potato 
failure was thought of. 

It was at last resolved to try a system of 
improvement that had succeeded elsewhere. 

An agent was altogether dispensed with. All 
former arrears of rent, with trifling exceptions, were 
wiped off, and it was announced that all future 


rent would be rigorously insisted on about three 
months .after it fell due, on regular half-yearly days, 
fixed conveniently to suit local fairs. Two or three 
of the worst tenants, believed to be incorrigible, 
were ejected in terrorem, and their farms divided 
among the better sort. The growth of small quan- 
tities of clover and turnips was made compulsory, 
and a Scotchman set to work to teach how to do it. 
Prizes of improved ploughs were offered for the best 
crops, and a small model farm was started. 

It was uphill work for some time, and only 
carried out by personal influence and superintend- 
ence ; but at the end of five years the stock on the 
estate had doubled, and the rent was regularly paid 
on a single day in each half-year without trouble, 
whilst not more than six or eight tenants, including 
the first victims, had been turned out. It need 
hardly be added that the rest were better off than 
they had ever been before. 

All this had been done by two or three visits in 
the year from England, but at this time circum- 
stances led me to reside on the estate. Things went 
on thus improving for two or three more years, then 
the potato failure and famine came, with the com- 
plete upset of the social state previously existing. 
By that time we had got into such a condition that 
the first failure of 1845 seemed hardly to affect 
the tenants. Even in the great failure of 1846 
there was nothing like distress among them. The 


larger dependence upon stock, and the larger experi- 
ence in the growth and use of clover and turnips, 
enabled them to face the troubles of the times much 
better than their neighbours ; but when the summer 
of 1847 came, with the great emigration, and pro- 
spect of still further failure, it became clear that the 
system that had formerly answered could no longer 
do so. 

I think the direct effect of the break-down of 
the social system in Ireland, depending on the 
potato crop, has never been sufficiently observed 
in England. It was not merely a famine, where, as 
soon as it was over, people had only to go on again 
in the old ruts, but a great social upset, where, after 
it was over, quite new ways had to be entered on, 
which very few knew anything about, and in which 
no one could feel any confidence whether he would 
succeed or fail. The difficulties to be got over were 
really immense. 

In the district of which I am writing, a complete 
truck system prevailed. The tenant provided the 
labourer with cabin, potato land (the labourer man- 
uring it himself), grass for two or three sheep, the 
wool of which was spun into frieze for coats, etc., 
by the labourer's wife, a small patch of flax, spun in 
the same way for linen, and he drew home the turf 
which the labourer and his family had dried them- 
selves. All this was paid for by work at so much 
per day, the man himself being fed on potatoes by 


the farmer whilst at work besides. The farmer thus 
got his labour and a manured field for corn the 
following year without money out of pocket, whilst 
the labourer got all the chief necessaries of his life 
in exchange for his labour, also without money. 

It is easy to see the effect of the potato failure 
upon such a system. Money wages at once became 
indispensable. This was just what the farmer had 
not to give, whilst the labourer could not otherwise 
live. He therefore could not stay where he was, 
and so the farmer lost his labour and his manured 
field, whilst the cabin became roofless. And hence 
an entirely different social state was forced in; 
farming became more of a business, requiring outlay 
of money at least to some extent, and so dairy and 
stock farming have increased, because needing less 
of such outlay than tillage. This again has caused 
less employment for the labourer, whilst from the 
day his labour was paid for in money, the attraction 
of the higher money price of such labour in America 
operated with double force, and hence increased 
emigration. To the smaller and poorer farmers, 
who had little or no stock, the change was doubly 
severe. In addition to other troubles, they were 
forced to buy meal on credit for themselves and 
their families for many months of the year. Doubt- 
ful if any new plans would succeed, and without 
means to carry such out, they were indeed between 
the upper and nether millstones. 


But to return from this digression. In the 
summer of 1847 several of the worst -off tenants 
on the estate proposed to give up their farms and 
emigrate, although a reduction of rent had been 
made, to continue whilst the bad times lasted. 
They were given some help to enable them to 
emigrate, and many of them went off. 

But a general discouragement and unsettlement 
throughout the country now set in. No one, either 
landlord or tenant, felt any confidence in the future, 
or in fact could see what was the best course to 
follow. Throughout the country numbers of tenants 
were giving up their farms and going away. Often 
all the tenants of a plough-land would run off by 
night to a distance with stock and crops, leaving 
the landlord to recover the possession of the land as 
he could by ejectment, perhaps twelve months after- 
wards, and with a heavy arrear of rates upon it. It 
was a common saying among the tenants that " the 
landlords and labourers would soon have the land all 
to themselves." It was a terribly anxious time. No 
one could tell from half-year to half-year what course 
things would take, and that he might not have every 
acre he owned thrown on his hands. To lay out 
capital at such a time on improvements and doubtful 
farming was felt to be nothing less than spending 
what might be wanted before long for actual sub- 
sistence. Few who went through that time of 
wretchedness will ever forget it. 


Of course, under these circumstances, it was 
impossible to relet any land thus given up at the 
former rent. Yet if relet for less, it would have 
caused still more trouble among the remaining 
tenants, who would have resorted to all means in 
order to get a like reduction on their own farms. It 
was therefore resolved to keep in hand any land that 
could not be relet at the former rent. Four to five 
hundred acres were thus taken up. This was done 
simply to avoid worse evils. The land, in spite of 
the improved condition of the tenants, was still 
miserably poor, and of course it was the worst who 
failed. All the objections to "gentlemen's farming" 
were strongly felt, and no instance was known in 
the district of such farming having paid. The 
opinion of those best able to judge was, that tenants 
could make such land pay best, and there were 
many instances of gentlemen taking up considerable 
farms, and after spending largely on them for a few 
years, being glad to get out of them again. Of 
course, there was the general consideration the other 
way: that improved farming, with reasonable skill 
and judgment and capital, ought to pay better than 
the wretched system prevailing. But no one was 
known to have done it, and the almost universal 
opinion of the country found loud expression in the 
saying, "He will soon be tired of that." No one 
who has not tried it can tell what is required to face 
the discouragement of having to work out a plan 


against the universal opinion of everybody about 
him, Still it had to be done. It was partly 
smoothed over by the idea that at the worst it would 
answer to improve somewhat the very poorest of the 
land, and perhaps in a year or two times would 
mend, and it might be relet at the former rent. 
During the famine years a good deal of draining 
and reclamation of waste land had been carried on, 
for the sake of giving employment. It was intended 
that the tenants should pay the interest on this, but 
they were generally unable or unwilling to do so. 
So a good deal of this sort of land had also to be 

.Thus another new system was started. The 
buildings of the former model farm of 5 acres were 
enlarged, and partially adapted for 500 acres now in 
hand ; and it was resolved to try sheep largely, as 
not requiring outlay for buildings. The land was 
greatly scattered, just as it happened to be given up 
by the tenants. Some of it was three miles from 
the buildings, but it was well placed for roads. It 
has since been constantly changing to some extent, 
parts being let to adjoining tenants when it could be 
done to advantage, and other farms of tenants who 
failed added instead. One advantage there was. 
Much tillage was clearly unsuitable both to the soil 
and climate. The rainfall and constantly mild 
moist atmosphere, so unsuited to corn, were the very 
conditions needed for grass. There was no trouble 


in getting a close sole of grass in three years, such 
as an English farmer might easily suppose was old 
pasture; and most good farmers agreed that dairy 
and stock farming paid better than anything else in 
this district, even before the famine. 

The course of farming followed was to break up 
the land for oats, where it would give a crop ; then 
turnips manured, half of them fed on the land by 
sheep with hay, and the rest given to cows and 
young stock in the yard, only a few head being 
fattened. The turnips were followed by oats again 
and grass-seeds, and the land was then left in grass 
for four or five years, or till it was convenient again 
to go over it. The poorest fields were first attacked, 
because it was thought if the land was let again in a 
few years, an improved face on these parts would 
help to let it, and ensure a better rent. But in truth 
they looked such utter starve-alls, that for the sake 
of one's own feelings it was needful to improve them. 
The effect of the turnips fed off with sheep was little 
short of magical. Even on the worst land it never 
failed at 'once to give a good crop of oats and seeds 
after, and to put the land thenceforth in a state to 
pay something. 

On parts of the land that were suitable, and 
where the old buildings answered, small dairies were 
started ; the cows being let to some of the best of the 
labourers, whose wives understood butter -making. 
Any tenants who were turned out and did not 


emigrate, were, if they liked, employed with their 
families, but treated merely as other labourers. 
Some of these have proved our very best men, and 
are still with us. It has for years been their pride 
to go to mass better dressed than the small farmers 

Yet the results of the first three or four years, as 
shown in the balance-sheets, were far from encourag- 
ing : 7s. or 8s. per acre for rent and interest was the 
best that could be made, after charging all that 
could be fairly charged to capital as permanent 
improvements. And for this a large outlay was 
needful. The land that had been gone over, no 
doubt had a very improved appearance, but the 
whole required the same process. The lea oats 
seldom returned the seed and labour, and 50 or 60 
acres manured in a year made slow progress over 

But in spite of discouragement it was resolved 
to go on. The former rent of the land thus taken 
up varied from 9s. 6 d. to 20s. per acre. It averaged 
on the whole about 17s. At length in 1851 the 
return for rent and interest rose to 12s. per acre; 
1852 was no better; but in 1853, a year of high 
prices for everything, the balance suddenly started 
to 27s. The next year, however, it went back to 
22s. In 1855 it was 23s. 6d., and in 1856 it fell 
off again to 21s. 6d. In 1857, however, another 
great step was gained, and 31s. was reached, though 


in 1858, from accidental causes, it again went back 
to 22s. 6 d. 1859 was somewhat better, but only 
25s. At last in 1860 and 1861 it again exceeded 
30s. ; then came 1862, the first of our series of wet 
years, only producing 20s.; and 1863, still worse, 
18s. These deficiencies were, however, partly caused 
by 80 acres of poor land having been thrown in, 
and by a change of bailiff, and throughout it must 
be remembered that additions of poor land and other 
accidental causes partly account for the fluctua- 

May 1864, again, however, brought the profit up 
to 28s. 6d. It is believed we have not yet nearly 
reached the highest profit to be made. It is certain 
all the land is capable of far higher condition. 
These results have been lona fide balances, after 
charging bailiff's salary and all expenses ; not land- 
lord's improvements, as buildings, drains, and fences. 
They have been made up always to May 1, because 
corn and stock had then been mostly sold, and so 
little was left for valuation, except permanent stock 
'which has been kept at a nearly uniform and rather 
low price. A good deal of guano and bones is 
used yearly, and all charged to the year, but not 
much cake or corn was used for feeding, though 
we are now beginning to do so largely. It need 
not be said the crops have improved, especially 
where the land has come a second time under 
manuring. Nor that the land itself is in a different 


condition. Its whole appearance is changed. It 
would be hard for any one who had not seen the 
process to believe it is the same land. 

Now as to the effect on the rest of the estate, 
After the famine years were over, the same course 
as before was pursued with the tenants. Whatever 
rents they had promised were punctually enforced, 
unless for very definite causes, and any tenant that 
could not pay was considered unfit to remain on the 
land. On the other hand, they were allowed to 
understand, that no one paying his rent would have 
it raised or be dispossessed during his life, unless 
for gross misconduct. The objections to so long a 
tenure were not overlooked, but on the whole it 
was considered an advisable concession to the feel- 
ings and prejudices prevailing in the country. Of 
course where a tenant died or gave up, his successor 
had to make a new bargain, and in this way a 
steady rise in the rental has gone on. No sale of 
his interest (as it is called) by a tenant to a suc- 
cessor was ever allowed, directly or indirectly. The 
tenants saw before I did that the farm was paying. 
And the first result was to put an end to all schem- 
ing. The talk " He will soon be tired of that," 
gave place to, " No wonder he can make it pay, 
with capital and no rent to pay." It was useless 
to pretend poverty and neglect their farms in hope 
of getting a reduction of rent, or throw them up in 
order to spite the landlord. They saw that the 


more land was surrendered, the better profit would 
be made. 

The rent being strictly enforced, and yet never 
raised during a tenant's life, there was one clear 
way of success left open, and only one, viz. indus- 
try and manuring the land. All saw that if they 
did not take this way they would lose their farms, 
from which a better profit would be made, whilst if 
they did succeed, they were safe to reap the fruits 
themselves for a reasonable time. In bad years 'the 
utmost exertion and economy were no doubt neces- 
sary in order to pay the rent, but then, when good 
years came, nothing was hanging over them, and 
all the profit was their own. Anything like habitual 
neglect or extravagance thus very soon felt the 
pinch. It made constant steady exertion and self- 
reliance almost compulsory, and thus tended to cor- 
rect a weakness of national character. It is a 
remarkable fact, that from beginning to end there 
has not been a single instance of a really industrious 
tenant ever failing. However bad the times, every 
honest hard-working man has got through. Some- 
thing also was due to the tenants seeing a de- 
termination that somehow the estate should be 
thoroughly improved. Building, draining, fencing, 
reclamation of waste, were all steadily carried on. 
The opinion of the labourers, who found themselves 
better off than their neighbours, with constant work 
for themselves and their families, was also not 
without influence. 


As soon as it was found practically that tenants 
could make money under such a strict system (as it 
was thought), a considerable moral effect was pro- 
duced. One must live in Ireland fully to appreciate 
the difference between " a warm" or even " snug " 
Irish farmer, and the same man out at elbows. It 
is hard to believe they are of the same race. 
Nothing has been done for many years to urge or 
encourage particular crops, even turnips. The one 
only exhortation has been " Manure your land 
better." It was very early seen that more manure 
is all that is wanted to make the land pay, and 
that nothing else will do it. Whatever the causes, 
however, it is certain the tenants have thriven 
wonderfully, and are thriving more and more every 
year. They have every appearance of prosperity 
about them. The arrears on the estate at the 
present time amount to 3. The rent day, instead 
of a day of long faces and complaints on one side, 
and sharp words on the other, is got over by three 
or four hours' work with pleasant greetings and 
cheerful words. I do not think it is possible there 
should be a better feeling between landlord and 
tenant than exists. No driver (or under-agent as 
such men now call themselves, the vilest class in 
the country) has been kept at all for many years. 
I believe there are very few on the estate who do 
not feel that though the management is strict, yet 
it is considerate, and that they are regarded with 


sincere goodwill and personal liking. I know that 
they show similar goodwill in return. Many of 
them have actually come to understand that it is 
better for them their landlord should know they are 
well off, than they should keep up the time-honoured 
practice of protesting their poverty on all occasions. 
I have said that in the past ten years near 2000 
acres have been added to the estate by purchase. 
This has been done by separate purchases of 3 or 
400 acres each. The same plan has been followed 
with these, except in one important point, which 
perhaps, more than anything else, proves how 
thorough the success has been. Any really idle or 
bad tenants have been at once got rid of (there 
were, however, very few of these). With the rest, 
whenever there were no leases, the rents were con* 
siderably raised. I was under no engagement, 
express or implied, with these tenants, and there- 
fore felt at liberty to make my own terms with 
them. I accordingly let them the land at the 
highest rent in my opinion it was worth to them. 
This was often a very considerable advance on the 
former rent, but was still less than in my judgment 
the land was intrinsically worth, and than I believed 
I could make of it by farming it myself. It could 
not have been carried through, unless the men had 
known I should take up the land myself if my offer 
was not accepted ; but nevertheless there was ter- 
rible grumbling in every case, and vehement predic- 


tions of certain ruin under such a rent. Three or 
four years in every case have, however, altered the 
story. Every single man has thriven. They had 
no choice but industry and manuring the land, and 
these soon made a much greater difference to them 
than the higher rent, and both the tenants and 
farms are now in quite other condition than they 
were in when the purchases were made. I need 
not add the purchases pay a good deal better interest 
than that at which they were bought. Two unfor- 
tunates were so unwise as to refuse the offers made 
to them ; many and bitter have been their lament- 
ations since. 

So plain has the whole thing become, that hav- 
ing lately taken an old tenant, in whose judgment 
I had confidence, to help me in valuing land I 
wished to buy, I had to discuss with him how much 
the rents might be raised. In giving his opinion 
that a much higher rent might be charged, he added, 
" Of course they will grumble, and maybe at first 
have hard work to pay, but in five years they will 
be as well off as the rest of us." I was met not 
long ago with the following speech : " I cannot 
understand how it is. Your property is let one- 
third higher than many others in the neighbour- 
hood, and yet your tenants are twice as independent 
and well to do as those who are paying so much 
lower rents." 

The answer, I believe, is in the facts stated above, 


And this is the result of twenty -five years' work. 
I need not point out what a rise of five shillings 
per acre in the rent means to the landlord, if at the 
same time his land is in as good or better condition. 
I believe, besides this, that if raising the condition 
of the tenants and labourers had been the one object 
aimed at (and in truth it was in great part the 
original object, as a matter' of duty), it could not 
have been more successfully reached in the time. 

To conclude. I believe deliberately, that there 
is a mine of wealth for both landlords and tenants 
in the land of Ireland. Both classes are nearly 
equally to blame for not working it. The capital 
required is sufficiently within the reach of both. 
The proportion of the rent that the repairs of an 
English estate cost, would do the landlord's part 
quite as fast as is desirable ; while on every estate 
there are tenants enough with sufficient capital to 
farm the whole of it well, if the idle drones were 
gradually got rid of. Many landlords are greatly 
to blame for ignorant neglect of their estates. All 
that is wanting on their parts is that they should 
make 1 the most of their land, with fair dealing 
towards the tenants, as men do elsewhere, and with 
the clear recognition of the fact that the interests 
of landlord and tenant are really inseparable. On 
the other hand, the tenants are to be blamed for 
very unreasonable expectations. They look on a 
farm literally as a possession of an inheritance, not 


as a business, subject to similar risks and conditions 
as any other business, and from which if a man can 
make a living whilst in it, and when he leaves it 
can carry away something more than he began with, 
he may be well satisfied. They think that any 
improvement in their farms gives them a claim to 
indefinite consideration. It may have repaid them 
ten times over, but that goes for nothing, and they 
lose far greater profits to themselves, for fear their 
landlords might gain by a higher rent even years 
after. Nothing can better show their feeling than 
the fact that a twenty -one years' lease is thought 
hardly worth having. The instances of landlords 
unduly taking advantage of a tenant's improvements 
are at least as rare as in England or Scotland, and 
there is nothing but these silly expectations and 
the suggestions of tenant-right agitators to hinder 
any prudent tenant from farming well. 

Good tenants are just as valuable to Irish as to 
English or Scotch landlords, and their value is at 
least equally felt. Such tenants have no difficulty 
in making fair agreements both as to rents and im- 
provements. Among the bad tenants there are 
some as thorough rogues and schemers as can be 
found in the three kingdoms; yet when one of these 
is got rid of, just the same outcry is raised by 
tenant-right advocates as if Virtue herself was 

In judging of the state of Ireland, I think very 


few realise how utterly low the condition of the 
country was in the year 1800, or any time in the 
previous century that may be taken as a starting 
point. It was a state of excessive backwardness, 
not to call it by the harsher name of barbarism ; 
and if this is lost sight of, no one can judge fairly 
of the progress that has been made. I believe for- 
getfulness of this fact is the key to half the con- 
tradictory views of the condition of Ireland ; that, 
in truth, great progress has been made, though the 
state of things is still far short of what is to be 
wished for. In some districts the progress has been 
much greater than in others. In the district I have 
been writing of, I am certain it has been immense. 
We are in a wholly different state in all respects 
from that we were in twenty-five years ago. Men's 
ideas are quite changed. I can remember when the 
improvement of an estate and its tenantry was 
always spoken of as an impossibility, the dream of 
an inexperienced enthusiast. It is very different 
now. Twenty -five years ago, except on the farms 
of gentlemen and townspeople holding land, a plough 
was not to be seen. I do not think there was one 
on my estate. There were things called ploughs 
that would scratch the surface, but all the art of 
man could never turn a furrow with them i.e. with 
a log of wood sharpened and shod with iron, and 
the other parts of a form like the pictures of the 
implements used by the ancient Eomans. Ten or 


fifteen years before that time, the carts had solid 
discs of wood by way of wheels. A clergyman, 
still living, told me that when he got a large parish 
in the neighbourhood there were three carts in it 
that had spoke wheels. When one of these went 
along the road people used to run down from their 
work two or three fields off to look at the wonder. 
I doubt whether in the same time greater progress 
was ever made in any country; but bad years of 
course check progress, and we are apt to forget how 
long it takes to remove the recollection of past evils 
and abuses, and to break clear of their effects. 
There are many men still alive who can tell all the 
incidents of the rebellion of 1798 in their own 
neighbourhood from what they saw as boys. It is 
only a few years since men were alive who could 
tell what they had themselves suffered from the 
penal laws. Numberless other facts could be men- 
tioned, showing the utter backwardness of the 
country fifty years ago. 

Finally, it must always be remembered there is 
still plenty to do, and will be for many a long year, 
and those who only look at what is wanting will 
have no trouble in making a strong case. 



JANUARY 16, 1868. 

IT is often said in England that rents in Ireland are 
unduly high from over-competition for land. 

I farm between 600 and TOO acres. The rent 
when I took it in hand averaged 17s. per acre, and 
I only began to farm it because no one, in spite of 
competition, would give me that rent for it. 

The clear net profit for rent and interest over 
all expenses, bailiff and everything for the past 
fifteen years i.e. since 1852 to May 1867 has 
steadily increased from 21s. 6d. to 35s. 6d. The 
past two years have cleared 35s. 6d., and the 
land is steadily getting into higher condition, and 
will pay still more. 

This farm has been well farmed in all ways. 
Besides, I have had in hand two outlying farms of 
80 and 120 acres, not large enough to support a 
separate farming staff of horses, etc., and too far off 
to be well worked with the large farm. 

These have been worked much as a common 


Irish farmer of fair means would have farmed them, 
the land, as it was, put in grass without any 
special efforts to improve it, and then stocked. They 
have made a still larger profit after the first year or 
two very seldom under 40s. per acre. This has 
arisen from less outlay in working them, but, of 
course, they are not improving like the large farm. 

The accounts have been kept simply as a matter 
of business for my own guidance, and everything I 
know of charged against each year, sometimes even 
in excess, lest I should be deceiving myself ; because, 
strange as it may seem after the talk that often 
goes on about Irish landlords, most of them are 
quite aware that land cannot pay more in their 
own hands or a tenant's than it can be made to 
produce that you cannot have more from a cat 
than its skin. 

I have tried once or twice to let farms, with 
proper house, buildings, etc., and in good condition, 
at a fair proportion below the rent I was making. 
It was still a good deal above the former rent. So 
no good tenant with means and character would 
give me the rent, and I go on farming them myself. 
My object was, having proved I could do the thing 
myself, to show a working tenant doing it also 
nearly as well. But in this, so far, I have not suc- 
ceeded. The land is a rather light turnip loam, 
useful, but very far from high quality land, with a 
very damp climate that makes oats the only corn 


that will succeed, but perfect for roots and grass. 
The acres are English acres. 

Now, as to tenants. I have about 3000 acres 
let to tenants. The rent for the past twenty years 
has been paid on two fixed days in the year, with- 
out agent or under agent. I begin at 10 A.M., and 
before 3 the half-year's rent has been paid and 
lodged in the bank, three miles off. Of the whole 
number of tenants, there are only five or six who 
are not thriving according to my wish, though I 
charge as smart* rents as I think the land can pay 

Two years ago the sister of one tenant married 
with a fortune of 500, and the tenant got nearly 
as much with his wife in return. Fortunes of 100 
and over are common, and less than 50 would be 
thought very low. I mention these, because at no 
time is the true wealth or poverty of tenants in 
Ireland so surely shown as in their marriages. 

One part of the estate runs up to a small town, 
and the land is held by shopkeepers and others who 
are well off. Having other means of living, they 
have no motive for giving more rent than will leave 
them a fair profit, yet nowhere else is there anything 
like such competition for the land nor such improve- 
ment on it. The rents are rising accordingly. But 
the reason is plain. New milk that used to sell for 
Id. per quart in the town has for some years sold 
for 1-Jd., butter having risen in the same propor- 


tion. Land for potatoes lets to artisans in the 
town, and labourers earning much higher wages, at 
4 to 5 per acre, instead of 2 or 3. Curiously, 
too, carpenters, masons, shoemakers, etc., though 
earning much higher wages themselves, especially 
grudge paying the higher wages of labourers for 
cultivating their potato gardens, so they put the 
same manure on half the former quantity of land 
to save labour and raise a better crop. Of course, 
the land gains by this. In fact, these town tenants 
cram the land with manure. The farming is still 
very bad, but they have learnt the one lesson of 
manure, and thus are making a better profit at high 
rents than they used to make at low. 

Is this undue competition or exorbitant rents ? 
Or the fair profit of good management and judgment 
paying both landlord and tenant ? As to ill-will 
on the estate, there is none of it. Of the few 
tenants who are not thriving, two are good sort 
of fellows, but careless and lazy, of the "raal ould 
sort ;" two are old men past work, without families 
(one has a son, a scamp now in gaol, who, when 
loose, will not work, but spend all he can wring 
out) ; three are being eaten up alive by relatives 
they have got as helpers and labourers on the farms ; 
one is a pet of a neighbouring gentleman, and loses 
pounds in picking up half-crowns ; and the last is a 
small shopkeeper whose business has failed. In 
twenty- five years that I have lived in Ireland, and 


all through the famine, I have never had a single 
instance among my own tenants, or among my 
neighbours', of an industrious, honest tenant who 
has failed or lost his land. I have seen honest, 
idle fellows fail, and one or two industrious scamps 
from their own scheming. Wonderful as it may 
seem, a good tenant is as valuable to a middling or 
bad Irish landlord as to another, and he knows it. 
And there are very many Irish landlords who are 
neither bad nor middling. 

I have omitted to say that all sheep and cattle 
produce, including dairy, has been for years from 
50 to 100 per cent higher than it was fifteen years 
ago in Ireland, partly from improved markets, partly 
from improved communications, partly from im- 
proved quality. 

My books and land are open to any one who 
thinks well to look into the above statements. 



JANUARY 22, 1868. 

IN judging of the state of Ireland there is one main 
point that time is yearly making more obscure. No 
one in England, and very few in Ireland, realise what 
was the state of that country fifty or seventy years 
ago. Everything was low and excessively backward, 
socially and physically, to an extent that is now very 
hard to conceive. If I call it by the harsh name of 
utter barbarism, it will be only the truth. It is plain 
that without a clear view of the state of things at the 
starting-point from which improvement began, it is 
impossible to judge what has been the degree of pro- 
gress. My opinion is clear that, however much is 
wanting, the improvement has been immense, but is 
overlooked because the starting-point is not properly 

Read any accounts of the rebellion of 1*798. 
Consider the horrible savagery on both sides. It 
suits each party now to talk of the misdeeds of its 
opponents. The truth is that no savages ever per- 


petrated more cruel outrages on humanity than both 
sides committed. One was on the side of the rebel- 
lion, the other on the side of Government that was 
the only difference. I allude to 1798, because many 
memoirs and journals of that time enable an opinion 
to be formed by those who do not know Ireland. 

Does any one think that the character of those 
who thus acted on both sides ceased to be the same 
when the rebellion was over ; or that the same temper 
and vices did not go on in them and their children ? 

There are men still alive who can tell every in- 
cident of the rebellion in their own neighbourhood 
from what their own eyes saw as boys. I have had 
such details related to me by an eye-witness, with 

his notes on the persons engaged, as Jack 's or 

Pat 's (men whom I knew) father, or uncle, or 

other relative. Everybody can tell the story, from 
hearsay, of numerous and fearful murders, often of 
unoffending persons, and even women and children, 
and no less cruel retaliation on rebels i.e. any one 
suspected as rebels. So clear are these traditions, 
that half the fears of Fenian outrages the two last 
winters were from the recollection of that time. And, 
on the other side, I had many instances myself of 
farmers and labourers among my neighbours in down- 
right fear of " the army " (as they called even a com- 
pany of soldiers) from the opposite recollections of 
that time, and begging me for protection. 

Now, compare the Fenian outrages in the outbreak 


last March with 1798. One policeman in Kerry 
dangerously wounded ; one in Cork killed. I forget 
if there was a third. Then outrages on private per- 
sons. One bank manager at Kilmallock, of inquisi- 
tive disposition, standing outside his door to see the 
fun while the police barrack was besieged, got a bullet 
in his jaw ; and that was all with armed bands going 
about for days. 

It may give some idea of the physical state of the 
country if I give some facts about the district I know 
best i.e. the large district extending seventy or 
eighty miles to the west of Cork. Seventy years ago 
the post went into it once a fortnight, but then only 
as far as Bandon twenty miles. There was no post 
any farther, and the district fifty or sixty miles off 
did without. The roads, little better than rocky 
paths, went up and down hills as steep as it was pos- 
sible for a horse to travel. A gentleman living thirty- 
five miles from Cork told me it used to take him in 
summer from early in the morning till dark to get 
home, with four horses. If he did not start till 
breakfast time, it was a good journey to be home by 
midnight. He usually walked himself, beating his 
carriage by hours. His next neighbour, twelve miles 
farther, had to make two days of it. When he got 
near home there was a part of the road that it was 
impossible for horses to drag a carriage up a sort of 
stairs of rock so word was sent before that the 
master was coming, and tenants and labourers turned 


out to meet him, and dragged the carriage up this rock 
by main force, while the horses had enough to do to 
get up themselves. 

This place was called " The Leap." The king's 
writ was considered useless beyond that place, and to 
this day a saying remains in the country, " Beyond 
the Leap beyond the law." Great tracts were in- 
accessible to wheels, and all horse-work was done by 
panniers on the horses' backs. Illicit stills nourished 
everywhere, because kegs of whisky were carried so 
much easier than corn in bulk. A friend who under- 
took the improvement of an estate of 11.000 acres, in 
1822, told me no wheeled vehicle had then ever 
entered it ; and once, at first, having lost himself on 
the estate snipe-shooting, they had to send two miles 
for the man who could speak English to tell him the 
way home. 

In a previous chapter I have spoken of the carts 
with discs of wood instead of wheels, and the wret- 
ched apologies for ploughs that alone were used in 
the country. In 1788 Arthur Young saw horses 
drawing such ploughs by their tails. At that time 
turnips or clover were nearly unknown in the dis- 
trict. Turnips were never grown except by gentlemen, 
and clover or grass seeds of any kind were only sown 
in small patches. Corn crops were taken year after 
year, as long as the land would grow any, and then it 
was left to rest, as it was called i.e. to grow weeds 
and nothing else, till a skin formed that could be 


pared and burnt for potatoes and corn again. All 
this is now wholly changed. 

When I first knew the country, thirty or thirty- 
five years ago, any idea of improving an estate or its 
tenants was scouted by every one as an impossibility, 
the dream of an enthusiast. It did seem a very hope- 
less task, with the country overrun with population, in 
this district not tenants but labourers. Very seldom 
the old potatoes held out till the new crop was fit to 
dig, and begging and starvation for a month or two, 
and sometimes longer, were the consequence. Fever 
was regular every summer more or less. The first 
charity I took part in was getting a fever hospital 
built, and direly was it wanted. Now it is never 
used unless for cholera. 

If I said overnight I wanted 50 men for a job 
of work, there would be 100 waiting next morning 
begging for employment ; and the wages 6d. per day. 
I paid 8d., and was thought a model of liberality. It 
was a great mass of poverty that you seemed to 
make no impression on, do what you would to relieve 
it. It appeared just to close in upon you again on 
all sides as if nothing had been done. 

It was the most hopeless, dispiriting work con- 
ceivable, and, looking back on it, I do not know how 
one faced it, and can wonder at no one who gave it 
up in despair. And this went on until the famine 
twenty years ago. 

I cannot stop without one more illustration. More 


than twenty years ago, walking with a friend who had 
been at work in the country for many years, he drew 
my attention to a very fine old man we met, above 
the class of farmers. " There is an instance of the 
change in this country," said my friend. " I remem- 
ber old B. the greatest faction-fighter and leader of a 
faction in the country." Faction fights went on then 
at every large fair, unless magistrates and troops were 
there to stop them (it was before the new police), and 
often they were not stopped without bloodshed. " At 

that time on Colonel 's estate they could get no 

rent whatever paid, and the agent gave up. One 
morning old B. walked in to the Colonel and said, " If 
I get a year's rent paid in a week, will you make me 
your agent?' c If you get me half-a-y ear's rent,' was 
the answer, ' you shall be agent and welcome.' So 
B. gathered his faction and went down with a strong 
band to the estate, and announced his intention of 
living with his band at free quarters on the tenants 
till the year's rent was paid, and on the day week 
after the first interview the Colonel found the year's 
rent on his breakfast table." 

At and after this time, to keep up his prestige, at 
the principal fair in the district, B., arrayed in a 
cocked hat, and with a broadsword at his side, used 
to march the fair i.e. walk round it when thickest 
with his greatcoat held by one sleeve over his shoulder 
behind him as a challenge to all the world to dare 
to tread on it. Just think of the state of society in 


which such things were possible. " Yet," added my 
friend, " a week or two ago old B. caught a boy in his 
garden, probably after his gooseberries, and gave him 
two or three cuts with his switch, and the next day, 
when the boy threatened to summon him for the 
assault, paid a pound rather than be taken before the 

In truth, the change to the present time is very 
great. Land, houses, everything, have another face, 
however much is still wanting. Compare any small 
town with what it was. I remember, a few years 
ago, a middle-aged man at a public dinner saying, 
in reference to this improvement, "When I was a 
boy, for a bet I undertook to throw a heavy sledge 
hammer over the highest house in the town. Now, 
no man could throw it half the height of many houses. 
We had bogs then close to the town on all sides where 
now are fine pastures." 

In appearance and dress neither men nor women 
are the same people they were before the famine. 
Wages are double and steadily rising. If a bad time 
comes, fair exertion can grapple with and substantially 
relieve it. The very complaint that the tenant class 
have millions in the banks they would like to invest 
in improvements (though only very partially true) is 
proof how the farmers have thriven. The cattle and 
sheep compared with their forefathers, would form 
very fit illustrations for a new edition of Mr. Darwin's 
book. Good roads everywhere. On the main lines 



of communication great roads, that I can remember 
being called military roads, and such they really were, 
made after 1798, open the country. 

Eead any engineer's report within the last seven 
years of any bridges or river drainage or waterworks. 
There is sure to be a statement that special provision 
is necessary because the floods come down now so 
much quicker in consequence of the improved land- 
drainage on the upper streams and feeders. Some 
one must have done this drainage. If the landlords, 
it proves that they are at work for good. If the 
tenants, it proves there must be many tenants who, 
somehow or other, are not afraid of their improve- 
ments being taken advantage of by landlords. 

Consider, also, what is proved by the character 
and conduct of the police. All Irishmen, mostly 
Roman Catholics, but by the union of firm discipline 
and fair dealing perfectly efficient and trustworthy. 

Look, on the other hand, at the drawbacks there 
have been to the progress of the country. Agitation 
for emancipation till 1829. Then tithe war till 1835. 
Then O'Connell's rent and repeal agitation till 1844. 
Then Smith O'Brien's foolery till 1848; and, lastly, 
the still greater foolery of Fenianism in the past 
three years. 

The fifteen years from 1850 till 1865 was the only 
period of moderate quiet Ireland has had since 1798, 
and that was just the period of greatest improvement 
of all classes. Men forget that it takes generations, 



and not years, to improve all classes in a country, 
and it is emphatically all classes in Ireland that need 

The greatest difficulty in bringing about improve- 
ment in Ireland is that all classes, in nearly equal 
degree, though perhaps in different ways, require to 
be raised. Time and patience are essential for that. 




I HAVE stated in previous chapters the common-sense 
views of a resident on rents in Ireland, and the 
great improvement in that country since the begin- 
ning of the century. I wish to do so once more on 
what is called " the land question." It should never 
be lost sight of that the farmers are only half the 
agricultural population. The labourers are the other 
half. 1 The interest of the labourers is not at all 
identical with that of the farmers. Their treatment 
by the farmers is of the very closest and hardest 
kind. Such cases come before any one living in 
Ireland continually. I cannot tell how often in the 
year the words of Solomon in the Proverbs rise in 
my mind about " the poor man that oppresseth the 
poor," etc. If the farmers were treated by the land- 
lords with one -half the hardness they show the 
labourers, there would be plenty heard about it. One 

1 The number of labourers has greatly lessened since this 
was written. 


or two landowners in a district giving employment 
in draining or farming largely affect all the labourers 
in it for good. Not only do wages rise, but more 
than one member of a family being often employed, 
ideas of comfort and prosperity in their condition of 
life are spread that are very valuable. Several of 
my labourers' families draw 20s. to 25s. per week 
wages. I need not add with what effect ! 

May heaven forgive those who represent the Irish 
tenant as an innocent, simple being, unable to take 
care of his own interests or make a bargain for him- 
self. A more barefaced fiction was never put for- 
ward. If any one in England has a doubt on the 
subject, let him try a dealing with the first Irishman 
he can catch (who is sure to be a cousin, at least, of 
some tenant at home), and he will soon find out if he 
has not met his match. 

Of course, as in every class everywhere, some are 
sharper and some softer ; but as a body Irish tenants 
are as -sharp and shrewd and as well able to hold 
their own as any class in the country. Like others 
of the lower orders, they have a strong Iov6 of law, 
and are much better up to it than English tenants. 
They resort to it with entire freedom, and are re- 
strained by no scruples from taking advantage of 
every quirk, honest or dishonest, that the very inge- 
nious body of attorneys who now abound in every 
corner of the land can suggest for the moderate fee 
of 5s. 


They are neither worse nor better than any other 
class. They have all the faults of the country and 
the good qualities. There are the same good and bad 
qualities among them in the very same proportions 
and degrees as in the Irish M.P.'s, for example, whom 
every one knows and can judge of. Personally, I 
have much more good than bad to say of those I have 
to deal with or am acquainted with. I know them 
to be improving much in all respects, especially in 
knowledge, though they have still much to learn. 
In every district there are a number of thriving, 
well-to-do, strong farmers (as they are called here), 
whose numbers are steadily increasing. There are 
many good fellows among them, and many also back- 
ward and lazy, and some as thorough schemers as can 
be found in the three kingdoms. 

One chief reason why few leases are now granted 
is the impossibility of enforcing covenants against 
tenants who have small means of payment. One 
party is, therefore, bound by the lease, while the 
other is not bound. As to covenants for good farming, 
they would be just laughed at ; and what is the use 
of other covenants when damages for their breach 
cannot be realised ? To the more substantial tenants 
who are growing up very few would refuse a lease 
for twenty-one years. I have no leases, but every 
good tenant (all mine, but a few) knows he may 
have a lease for twenty-one years for asking. Tenants 
would prefer thirty-one years very naturally; but 


considering the chances of change in prices and the 
value of gold, is there anything unreasonable in 
thinking twenty-one long enough ? 

When it is said that a tenant on leaving a farm 
should be paid the unexhausted value of any per- 
manent improvement he has made in it, I do not 
believe there is one landlord in a hundred that 
objects to such a proposition. The only conditions 
desired are that the improvements shall be bond fide 
improvements, properly done and recorded, so as to 
avoid after disputes and the setting up of indefinite 
and fraudulent claims. 

The want of such provisions was the great defect 
in Mr. Fortescue's Bill of 1866. There was nothing 
to secure that the improvement was bond fide made 
at all or was properly done. It was not even 
registered. All was left to be ascertained years after, 
when, perhaps, most of those were dead who knew 
the facts, and litigation and numerous frauds would 
have been the sure result. 

Much has been made of the question whether the 
landlord's assent to the improvement shall first be 
required. Except as a question of principle, I have 
always thought this was of little practical import- 
ance to either party, provided only the improve- 
ments are bond fide made and well done and recorded. 
The number of landlords who are such idiots as to 
refuse their assent to real improvements that would 
better secure their rent, and at some after time add 


to it, is so small as to make no practical difference 
to the country ; and, on the other hand, so long as the 
improvements are real and well done and recorded, 
to pay the fair unexhausted value can be no loss to 
any landlord, whether he assented beforehand or not. 
It is a mere delusion that farmers in Ireland are 
burning to carry out useful improvements, and are 
kept back by the landlords. It is earnestly to be 
wished the fact was so, for the remedy would then be 
easy. There is one test of the anxiety of the farmers 
to improve that always seems to me conclusive. 
How do they carry out those parts of their work that 
will repay them in a single year, such as cleaning the 
land of weeds, and sowing and gathering the crops in 
proper time? Cleaning of weeds pays on the one 
crop. The sowing and reaping in proper time costs 
no more than when done too late, and often less. 
Every one with the most superficial knowledge 
of Ireland knows that the cleaning of the land is 
simply execrable, and that one-fourth to one-half the 
crop is often lost by its being sown too late or 
gathered too late. Not an autumn passes that hay 
nearly black may not be seen in cocks for months ; 
and I have often observed that fine weather early in 
harvest is sure to do fatal harm, because so many 
presume on it, and leave the crops for bad weather. 
Every year I see crops manured well enough to give 
a full return reduced to one-half by being sown late 
and half-cleaned. What is the use of talking about 


a desire to spend money or labour in permanent im- 
provements by men of this sort ? Very few farmers 
have the knowledge, or skill, or energy needful for 
carrying out the draining of half- a - dozen acres. They 
do not rightly know how to go about it, even with 
the money in their pockets. The money or trouble 
it will cost is the one thing thought of ; the effect of 
the work and result are overlooked. One of my 
labourers does far more work than a farmer's labourer. 
When tenants do attempt a job, nine times out of ten, 
unless it is a shopkeeper from a town or person above 
the farmer class, the drains are made two feet deep, 
or a little over. They do not half dry the land, and 
choke in a few years. It is much the same with 
buildings. Unless the landlord helps and insists on 
their being well done, they are scamped to save a few 
shillings, so as to lessen their value by half. 

It is the fear of having to pay for such half-done 
improvements, and of claims with even less founda- 
tion, that has caused dislike of Tenants' Compensation 
Bills ? It is for the true interests of the tenants 
themselves that such improvements as they make 
should be done effectively and well. It is only their 
ignorance that makes them content with inferior or 
bad work. Litigation or fraud can never do good to 
either tenant or landlord. 

Lord Mayo's Bill of last Session was the greatest 
boon that was ever offered to the tenant-farmer of 
any country. It gave as full compensation for lond 


fide works as the Bill of 1866, and by registration 
prevented after-fraud and litigation. Its system of 
loans was of great value to the tenant. It was, of 
course, received with a howl in the House of 
Commons by the extreme Irish party; but the 
people at home were wiser than their M.P.'s, and 
have seen how great the gain would be. Everybody 
now wishes for it as a pis oiler at least. 

But it is said fixity of tenure and peasant pro- 
prietors are the true remedy. Besides other objec- 
tions to fixity of tenure, it would just stereotype the 
evils of all estates now badly managed. There are 
many estates still divided into farms too small to 
support a family, or with farms carved out by the 
tenants themselves on the principle of a good field 
and a bad one to each, so that a man's share is 
situated in half a dozen different spots. (I had lately 
such a case, a purchase, with one thriving tenant on 
it out of many at very low rent, and he had nineteen 
acres in seven separate bits.) Neglect, and not bad 
intention, is the main fault of Irish landlords, and on 
110 estates are the tenants so ill off as on those where 
they have been left to arrange for themselves, and 
allowed to get in arrear from indulgence. Fixity of 
tenure would cruelly injure those who have spent 
life and money in improving the condition of their 
estates and tenants, in the expectation that they or 
their children would profit by it ; while it would do 
little hurt to the neglectful landowner, who cares only 


for his rent. Those who had screwed their rents up 
to the utmost would be least hurt, while whoever let 
lowest would lose most. It would also at once 
deprive all the more intelligent and improving 
owners of every motive for improving their estates. 
It is these men who have been and are now the 
pioneers and leaders in all agricultural improvements, 
the very improvements the country most needs. 
To throw them overboard can produce but one 

But fixity of tenure has been tried. There are 
many long leases everywhere. There are three such 
cases in this neighbourhood. One adjoins my land. 
The owner, living at a distance, thought he would 
secure his rent and be satisfied, so he offered leases 
for 1000 years. The tenants said it was not long 
enough, and, thinking it did not make much odds to 
him, he made it 2000. The tenants are of the average 
sort ; they have much improvable land. In the 
famine they very nearly failed. One small field of 
one and a quarter acre reclaimed is the whole im- 
provement done in the twenty-five years that I have 
known the land. My tenants are richer men. In 
the other cases the leases are for 200 and 100 years. 
The tenants are neither worse nor better off than the 
average. One lately sold out to go to America. 
On being asked why, he said his landlord was good 
and fair (as is the case a Eoman Catholic and a 
Liberal) ; but the farm was not large enough to 


support him and his family in comfort, and so he 
thought it best to go. 

If it is thought Mr. Bright's plan of small 
proprietors would answer, it can be tried with no 
risk or loss. Very simple machinery the same, 
indeed, that now makes loans for draining, etc. 
would make loans to two -thirds of the value to 
occupiers buying the fee of their farms in the Estates 
Court. Both interest and principal would be secure, 
so that the cost would be nothing to the country, and 
the plan could be extended if it succeeded. 

I do not believe it would go far, glad as I 
should be if it did so. There has for many years 
been a company at Manchester, called "The Irish 
Land Company," for this very purpose buying land 
in the Estates Court and selling it again to the tenants. 
It has bought a great deal of land, but has sold very 
little, if any, and very naturally complains much of 
the apathy of the occupiers. 

It is said by some that " political economy " will 
not do for Ireland. I believe, on the contrary, the 
direct opposite is the truth. The one thing to be 
avoided is doing anything that cannot be justified by 
sound principle. Ignorance and neglect and general 
backwardness are the main causes of the troubles of 
both landlords and tenants. So far as my knowledge 
goes, whenever an estate is managed on strict business 
principles, as an enlightened man alive to his own 
interest, and looking closely to it, but acting fairly 


and uprightly, as he would in any other sort of 
business, the tenants as a body are prospering and 
contented. The great fault of the landlords has been 
and is that they do not spend money in developing 
their estates as they ought to do, and might do, to the 
advantage of themselves and all classes in the country. 
But there are some who do it, and example in success 
is contagious. The younger ones are doing it more 
than the older, and much the larger part of the 
draining done is done by the owners. It is surely 
self-evident that in a purely agricultural country the 
development of the resources of the land is the one 
source of increased prosperity to all classes. Any 
honest and sound mode of forcing on that develop- 
ment is justifiable, but quackery and partisanship can 
do no good. Belying on a class more backward and 
ignorant, and at this moment doing less than that 
whose defects it is wanted to supply, is only leaning 
on a broken reed. Improved public opinion is prob- 
ably the greatest remedy. 

Ireland is the very land of enormous exaggerations 
and want of common sense. The art of making 
capital out of a little by-talk both tall and soft is 
here understood to perfection, while the scheming, 
both personal and political, is wholly without bounds 
or conscience, the reverse of all that is independent 
and manly. Only those living in it can realise the 
extent of these evils. Yet all the time the great 
majority of the people, of all ranks, both Koman 


Catholic and Protestant, go on quietly their own way, 
and are very little and but indirectly influenced by 
the talk around them, desiring quiet above all 
things. If I may sum up in one sentence the experi- 
ence of twenty-five years in the country, it would be 
that resolutely doing what is right, with fair con- 
sideration towards others and complete disregard of 
talk, is the surest way of improving Ireland. 




I THINK Lord Portsmouth is wrong in attributing 
the fact of leases not often being given in Ireland to 
political motives. 

Any one who considers that nearly all the M.P.'s 
in Koinan Catholic parts of Ireland are of one party, 
and nearly all in Protestant parts of the other party, 
will see that tenants' votes really are not of sufficient 
value to make any one sacrifice his pecuniary interests 
for their sake. It does not pay. The end is not at- 
tained. On both sides the game is too hollow to make 
it worth while. Here and there a grandee with politi- 
cal ends to gain may, perhaps, act on such motives. 
But a very great majority of landlords care far too 
much for their pecuniary interests. In spite of tall 
talk, not one-tenth of the sacrifices are made for politics 
in Ireland that are made in England or Scotland. 

I have watched the matter for thirty years, and 
am convinced this idea of political motives being an 
obstacle to leases is mainly a tradition for the state 


of things a generation or two back, when political 
influence meant very substantial gains. A few 
modern instances have been taken hold of, and ex- 
aggerated for opposite political ends, and , thus the 
idea has become current. 

I believe the true reason more leases have not 
been granted in Ireland is a commonplace one. 
Practically, it is not possible to enforce against the 
tenant any covenant in a lease, except that of paying 
the rent, and this can be just as well enforced when 
there is no lease. 

The effect of a lease is, therefore, altogether one- 
sided. Practically, the landlord is bound by it, while 
the tenant is not. This is especially the case when 
the tenant, from any cause, fails to dwell on his 
farm. I suppose no one doubts that idleness, drink, 
family quarrels, folly and ignorance of all sorts, do 
break tenants in Ireland as often as elsewhere. My 
experience is, that these faults are more common 
here than elsewhere. When a tenant with a lease 
begins to fail, the land is cropped and scourged with- 
out either manure or mercy. The stock is gradually 
sold, unavoidably causing more cropping, buildings 
are neglected, and often wrecked, ruinous bargains in 
advance for even two or three years made, selling the 
right of cropping the fields for a little ready money, 
and thus payment of the rent is kept up sufficiently to 
prevent an ejectment till the land is reduced to a state 
that is inconceivable by any one who has not seen it. 


I am describing real instances that have hap- 
pened to myself under a lease. I have had the land 
reduced till it would not even grow weeds. 

When there is no lease, this process is very 
much shortened. A couple of years of waste is the 
most that can occur. 

It is forgotten that Irish tenants not usually 
having substantial means, when the landlord comes 
to look for his covenants, be they ever so reasonable, 
he finds it a case of suing a beggar and catching a 

, and when the tenant has means, as tenants are 

naturally and rightly put on juries, it must be an 
extraordinarily clear case indeed in which a landlord 
can get a verdict for breach of covenant. 

All those covenants that are universal on well- 
managed estates in England and Scotland for treat- 
ment of the land, especially in the last years of the 
term, against repeated corn crops, the sale of hay and 
straw off the farm, ploughing up valuable grass lands, 
upholding buildings even when built by the land- 
lord, wholly or in part, or allowed for (which is far 
more common than the advocates of one side repre- 
sent), are of no use at all in Ireland. A lease is 
literally on the part of the tenant, "Heads I win, 
tails you lose." Can anybody wonder with such a 
state of things that leases are not common. Surely, 
these common motives of self-interest are enough to 
account for the facts ? 

The one motive in favour of giving leases is, that 


the security may induce the tenant to farm better, 
and a higher rent be the result at the end of his term. 

And, as if to cut away this one motive, a higher 
rent at the end of the term is the very thing tenant- 
right agitators most object to. 

The truth, however, is, that the improvement of 
an estate, so far as it depends on the tenant, is not 
the result of a lease or no lease ; but of the character 
of the landlord, and those who represent him. 

I can show an estate with very few leases, I will 
venture to say> though I do not know Lord Ports- 
mouth's estate, just as highly improved as it, and 
with the great majority of the tenants flourishing in 
all ways ; and, which is the surest test, yearly pro- 
ducing sums of money for the marriage of their sons 
and daughters that astonish me, well as I know their 

After more than twenty years' work, I shall in 
two or three years more have finished the drainage of 
the whole, which I and not the tenants have done. 
There is hardly a good building I have not helped 
to build; and as soon as the outlay for draining 
is over, I mean to take the buildings in hand, and 
do all of them wholly myself, instead of leaving them 
to the tenants to do partly. It is the simple matter 
of fact that, every year that passes, the treatment of 
the land in Ireland is improving, and the tenants as 
a class are making more money. Many of those who 
talk loudest about tenant-right are men in the neigh- 


bourhood of large towns, with good capital, and in the 
same position as tenants in England or Scotland 
hiring farms ; and instances can be given of some 
among them who have hired farms for short terms at 
very favourable rents for themselves, and very natu- 
rally desire fixity of tenure at the same rate. 

Nowhere in the world do questions so much re- 
quire to be looked at from both sides as in Ireland ; 
if for nothing else, because of the wretched want of 
truth that is the prevailing sin of the country. The 
Church has been overturned in order to conciliate 
the Eoman Catholics, and at once demands are put 
forward by them on education, that all other parties 
agree cannot be conceded ; but which will give ten 
times more active trouble than the Church question 
ever gave. Both sides ought to have been looked to 
from the first. 

It is the same with the land. There are, no doubt, 
bad landlords to be found in Ireland, and there 
are also good landlords, to whose example and exer- 
tions a very large part of the present improved state 
of things is due. There are also good tenants deserv- 
ing every fair encouragement, and there are a large 
number of tenants as hopelessly and incorrigibly bad 
as can be, some from faults of character, some from 
ignorance, some from circumstances; such as hold- 
ing a small plot of land that no human skill in such 
a climate could enable to support with comfort the 
mouths upon it, or having such a holding scattered 


about in six or eight different patches of an acre or 
two each. (Not seven years ago I bought 400 acres, 
the farms of which were all thus in hotch-pot. They 
did not remain so many months. In another case, 
on a friend's estate, one such patch was three miles 
apart from another.) 

Nothing is easier than to look only at the bad 
landlords and the good tenants, and to shut your 
eyes to the existence of good landlords and bad 
tenants, and a result will then be arrived at that 
landlords ought to be eliminated, and the present 
tenants stereotyped. 

Common sense, in looking at both sides of the 
question, is all that is needed to form a sound judg- 
ment. If any one doubts, let him seek out the Irish 
who are in his neighbourhood. He will find very 
few who are not the brothers and relatives of tenants 
here. He will find a fair proportion of good ones, 
and the rest will give him some idea of the diffi- 
culties to be faced. 






IRISH landlords have a clear injustice at the present 
time of which to complain the extent to which mere 
hearsay is being used as evidence against them. 

A number of men, M.P.'s, newspaper correspond- 
ents, and others, have been travelling about Ireland 
this autumn. They hear much and they see whatever 
a short time allows, but the value of what they hear 
or see mainly depends upon whose hands they chance 
to fall into. Not to insist on the fact that the moral 
habits of the country are thoroughly untruthful, and 
that the inquirers, being total strangers, have no 
means of judging in what degree their informants can 
be relied on, and who out of all question are undeserv- 
ing of credit, it is plain that the truth as to every 
story of landlord's misdoings depends upon all the 
facts being known. If the question, " When it 
happened?" is asked, it may turn out to have been 
thirty years ago, under a state of things that has 


wholly or nearly passed away. If "where?" be 
asked, it may turn out to have been in a district very 
unlike most of the country. If " how often ?" it may 
turn out to have happened very seldom, or even that 
such a thing was never heard of before ; as in the 
case of Mr. Scully's monstrous proceedings, which 
caused the Ballycohey outrage. If it is asked 
" whether all the facts are told ?" it may prove to be 
like the Times' correspondent's blunder about Clon- 
mel. He was told of land on a mountain that had 
been wholly reclaimed by poor men, who were settled 
on it by the late Sir "W. Osborne, and he wrote very 
strongly and properly on the hardship of turning out 
such men without compensation for what they had 
done and the equitable rights such improvements 
give. Of course, he was not told that the men who 
reclaimed this mountain had so multiplied and got 
into such misery, that when the famine occurred, the 
owner had to buy them out and help them to emi- 
grate, and that their land was relet to the present 
occupiers, who had nothing to do with its reclama- 
tion. In truth, every reason that makes hearsay 
evidence inadmissible in a court of justice is still 
stronger against its being believed on such a subject 
as this. Many informants from whom the hearsay 
is got have the strongest motives for misrepresenting 
the facts, and, as their names are not given, know 
well they can do so with impunity. It is a fact that 
some of those the Times' correspondent (e.g.) allows 


it to appear were his informants are notoriously 
among the very worst landlords in the country ; and 
some of his aggrieved tenants are not peasants at all, 
but half-sir holders of large farms ; men in all respects 
perfectly able to take care of themselves, and much 
more likely to wrong a landlord than any landlord is 
likely to wrong them the very class who used to be 
middlemen, the hardest and sharpest in the country. 

In truth, the grossest sinner in this matter of hear- 
say is the Times' special correspondent. Time and 
place and name are in most cases withheld, and 
often the case is told so vaguely that it is impossible to 
identify it, and it cannot be contradicted because no 
one is sure what is referred to. Over and over again 
grave charges begin with " I have been told," " I 
have heard," " It is said." Sometimes he cannot 
help seeing that the statement, as made to him, is 
either untrue or exaggerated. But instead of there- 
fore rejecting it, because he is not sure as to what is 
true and what is false a mild qualification in part 
is added, and a belief in the substance expressed, so 
as to give a colour to the story more unjust and in- 
jurious towards those charged than if it had been 
asserted to be true. In that case the statement would 
perhaps have been seen to carry its own confutation 
on its face. 

Of no county from which he has yet written has 
the Times' correspondent given so black a character 
as of the county of Cork. Now I have lived there as 


an Englishman for twenty-six years, and I knew it 
for some years before. During that time there have 
been hardly any serious agrarian crimes of any sort. 
Landlords and their families have gone in and out by 
day and by night with the most absolute fearless- 
ness, and without precautions of any kind. Eoman 
Catholic judges, consistent Liberals, who, besides long 
experience of all Ireland as judges, having been pre- 
viously law officers of the Crown, have had specially 
to attend to such subjects, have repeatedly compli- 
mented the county on its state, and attributed it to 
the way the resident proprietors discharge theii 
duties. Since the famine the whole state of the rural 
population, both farmers and labourers, has com- 
pletely changed. They are so improved, they are not 
like the same people. There are few estates on which 
there are not now ten well-to-do farmers for one 
there was before the famine. The fortunes these 
peasant farmers give their daughters are increasing 
year by year. 100, 150, 200 are common. I 
actually saw a settlement on a marriage two years 
ago, where 300 was paid; and such fortunes are 
given when there are three or four children to be 
provided for on the same scale. I do not know of 
there having been even a suspicion of a proposed 
clearance in the county for twenty years past. The 
main products of the county (those its soil best 
suits), butter, pigs, stock of all sorts, fat and store, 
cattle and sheep, have doubled in price and greatly 


improved in quality in the past fifteen years ; yet it 
is very rare to find rents raised more than 20 or 
25 per cent, and on a majority of farms they have 
not been raised at all. Finally, the complaint most 
often heard from farmers is that there are no farms to 
let ; a pretty sure proof that, somehow, tenants are 
seldom turned out. It is admitted that in this county 
the practice of tenants selling the goodwill of their 
farms does not exist. This means that County Cork 
landlords have not been in the habit of making in- 
coming tenants pay up the arrears of those who 
failed. They have had the sense to see that to clean 
out an incoming tenant of his capital is the worst 
thing possible both for him and themselves, because 
it necessarily cripples him in stocking and manuring 
and doing well in his farm, and often ties a log of 
debt about his neck that is his ruin. It is believed 
that this is one cause of the peaceableness of the 
county. It is hard for an honest man who hires a 
farm from the owner, paying only the rent he agreed 
for, to fancy it is in any sense his own. And if a 
rogue hires it, he knows at bottom, as well as the 
other, that he has no right in it but what he agreed 
for. Thus indefinite ideas of right have been pre- 
vented. I think these facts, for they are facts, show 
that the Times' correspondent has not given the whole 
case, even when he is not otherwise incorrect. 

But in truth he is often far from correct. He is 
wholly wanting in that which is the best part of a 


lawyer's training, the instinct of getting at the real 
facts. Take his account of a wrong he says he found 
out himself a tenant who had built a house costing 
100, ejected for non-payment of a year's rent 28. 
A few questions by any one who knows the country 
would show that this story cannot be accurate. 
What was the actual cost of the house or near it ? 
It is plain 100 is only a round guess. Over three 
and a half years' rent spent on a dwelling-house 
would be an unusual outlay by a wealthy landlord in 
England. It is quite beyond the habits and ideas of 
an Irish tenant. It is a safe rule in Ireland to divide 
all figures by 2, but even 50 would be much more 
than the usual cost of a house for such a farm. 
Then, when was the house built ? Did the landlord 
pay for the timber (as is most common), or for timber 
and slates ? If the house was built fifteen years ago, 
before the great rise in the cost of building, it is 
certain the cost was very moderate. If the landlord 
did not help, it is equally certain everything was 
done (naturally) in the most inferior and cheap way. 
Clay for mortar (stone abounds everywhere), the worst 
sort of timber, excessively slight, a flat roof with 
common small slates (the county abounds in inferior 
slate), earth floors, small windows, not meant to 
open ; no one who has not seen it could believe the 
cheapness with which inferior buildings were and are 
put up. If the facts were investigated, I believe it 
would be found the cost was not nearly half the sum 


stated. Then as to the rent due. Whether holding 
by lease or by the year, a year's rent must have been 
due before an ejectment for non-payment of rent could 
be begun, and it is very unlikely a decree could be 
got till a large part of another half-year had passed. 
Then if the year fell due at Michaelmas, it is certain 
the tenant got his crops. They would be threshed 
and gone long before a decree was executed, and be- 
sides it is almost the universal custom to give a leav- 
ing tenant his crops and stock, besides forgiving him 
the arrears and any law costs. If the year's rent fell 
due at Lady Day, by the time a decree was executed 
it would be too late in the spring for the landlord to 
sow any crops in the land that year. It is clear, 
therefore, that more than a year's rent was owing, or 
spoilt as they say here, and the story is not all told 
at that end either. 




I AM convinced that a great majority of the Irish 
people desire quiet and order before all things. 

It is the fact, that never before was there such 
prosperity of all classes in Ireland. Farmers are 
especially thriving. Shopkeepers in every small 
town are carrying on a trade such as was undreamt 
of twenty years ago. The goods shown to-day in 
their shop windows include numbers of articles of 
comfort and even luxury, such as then it would have 
been thought silly to ask for. Artisans and labourers 
are getting wages unknown before. 

No doubt it is a natural consequence that when 
Jeshurun waxes fat, he should kick, yet such 
kicking partakes more of the nature of capering than 
of vice. Any way, it is quite different from the 
kicking caused by want and dire misery. 

Further, there was never a time in the memory 
of any one living when disaffection and discontent 
did not prevail among large classes in Ireland. The 


farther you go back in the present century, the 
greater and more widespread was such disaffection. 
Even thirty years ago, in O'Connell's Kepeal agita- 
tion, the movement was out of all measure greater 
than it is now. Less than twenty years before that, 
there was positive insurrection in many parts. In 
truth, peaceful progress has been steadily advancing 
and bearing its sure fruit, only men cannot learn 
that generations, not years, are needed for a people to 
emerge from the state of abject barbarism in which 
Ireland was sunk in the eighteenth century. 

Lately we have had Fenianism. It was really a 
reflex product of American social and political ideas. 
It did not deserve anything like the importance that 
was given to it. It never touched the true industrial 
classes in Ireland, except town artisans and some of 
the labourers. But no sooner had it exploded than 
it was worked for their own ends by Irish politicians. 

It should never be overlooked that Irish poli- 
ticians live by using every sort of disaffection and 
discontent that may exist in the country for their 
own purposes, even though they may not have sym- 
pathised and may not still sympathise with the 
particular disaffection itself. Home Kule has now 
been started. It is nothing but Kepeal under another 
name. If it did not mean that, nobody would care 
for it. If it was not Kepeal, it would be only a 
bigger Grand Jury with more power of jobbing for a 
few. But being what it is, Kepeal, it absorbs 


Fenianism and all Fenian sympathies on the one side 
and the politicians who have capital to make out of 
agitation on the other. 

The stronghold of Fenianism was in the large 
towns. It had no strength at all anywhere else, 
except in one or two of the very worst districts of 
the country. The town of Limerick and much of 
the county (the Kilmallock fight will not have been 
forgotten), with Dublin and Cork towns, were the 
most infected places. 

No one can have watched the late Limerick 
election without seeing that sympathy with Fenian- 
ism, and 'nothing else, was its true characteristic. 
The Attorney -General had prosecuted the Fenians, 
Mr. Butt had defended them : the release of the 
Fenian soldiers still undergoing their sentences was 
a constant and main topic. Mr. Smyth, the Home 
Rule M.P. for Westmeath, had just played the same 
card in the Phoenix Park. The Limerick Eoman 
Catholic priests were not allowed to take any part in 
the election. Many of Mr. Butt's chief committee 
men declared they would not act if any Eoman 
Catholic priests were on the committee. This has 
from the first been a leading principle of Fenianism, 
not to suffer the Roman Catholic clergy to interfere. 
It is quite well known to be the true feeling of those 
who call themselves the leaders. It is thoroughly 
American, and is destined, directly or indirectly, to 
have a larger result than anything else about 


Fenianism. It is no doubt true that if there had 
been a contest, the savage violence of the Fenian 
partisans was such that bloodshed would surely have 
occurred. Every threat of violence, every word of 
Eepeal, was loudly applauded. All else was ignored. 

I think it is therefore quite jclear what is the 
issue now before the country. It is simply Fenianism 
and Eepeal. I shall surely be, asked, What are its 
prospects and what is the danger from it? I ain 
convinced there is no danger, provided the law be 
firmly enforced. Without that, all other remedies 
will be useless, or worse than useless. 

I have already said the great majority of the 
people desire above all things peace and quiet. 
Every day there is less doubt what view the Irish 
Protestants take of Home Eule. They have no 
sympathy with Fenianism or Eepeal. The Census 
has made clear how great is the strength of the 
Protestants. It is certain that by next year, 1872, 
their numbers will be one to two and a half, and the 
two and a half steadily diminishing each year by 
emigration. 1 Such a minority, independently of its 
greater education, intelligence, wealth, and habits of 
energy, is conclusive of such a question as this. The 
majority, even if of one mind, cannot put down such 
a minority and dare not try. It is not half big 
enough for the purpose. 

But the majority is not all of one mind, nor any- 

i The Census proved to be very slightly above this proportion. 


thing like it. I am not one of those who think ill of 
Koman Catholics as such ; a large proportion of them 
are fully to be relied upon. They know well enough 
what awaits them at the hands of such as Mr. Butt 
and his friends in a Fenian or Eepeal Government. 
Nothing is more astonishing to us here than the way 
in which Mr. Butt's character and conduct seem to 
have been forgotten in England. Some Eoman 
Catholics may no doubt be influenced in voting at an 
election and may flirt with Home Eule for personal 
ends, just as a few Protestants may do, but a very 
large proportion of them will not help it. 

It is the fashion to say the Eoman Catholic 
priests will have to follow their people into disaffec- 
tion. I believe the priests have never before had so 
hard a game to play. The interests, or supposed 
interests, of the Eoman Catholic Church have hitherto 
been bound up with their own personal power. This 
power has been very great, and is prized by them 
above everything. On the other hand, it is certain 
that the Fenians positively hate priestly interference 
of any sort. Their leaders love power as much as 
the priests do, and they are eaten up by an insatiable 
vanity of self that never will submit to the rule of 
the priests or any one else. If they ever had the 
upper hand, there would be an end of the power of 
the priests, and the priests know it. 

Ifor a time, and in some places, especially large 
towns, where hitherto the power of the priests has 


not been so unlimited as elsewhere, there will be 
attempts at compromise, just as there were at 
Limerick the open management in the hands of the 
Fenian Eepealers and secret conditions with the 
priests. But this will not do generally. It would 
soon issue in the loss of most of their personal power 
by the priests. They will not give up this power. 

What the result will be no one can foretell ; but 
it is clear this Fenian principle of non-submission to 
the priests will bring about a state of parties in 
Ireland such as has never before existed. The priests 
cannot follow into Fenian Kepeal such of their 
people as join it, except by giving up most of their 
power. They have never been placed in such a 
dilemma before. 





FENIANISM was the greatest imposture of modern 
times. It was an exhibition of the worst side of 
Irish character. Its origin was in the United States, 
and it depended, for such life as it had, on the sub- 
scriptions of the Irish of the States, raised systema- 
tically by persons who were paid a percentage on the 
sums they collected, and who probably stole as much 
more as they liked, any real audit being plainly 
impossible. A desire somehow to help the old home, 
and that anxious fear of each other, which is so 
marked a feature in Irish character, and is such a 
contrast to English independence, were the motives 
for giving. Without doubt the credulity of the 
givers was frightfully imposed upon. 

In Ireland the movement had a certain hold in 
the large cities of Dublin, Cork, and Limerick, and in 
one or two of the most turbulent country districts, 
notably in parts of Tipperary and Limerick. In the 
smaller towns there were a few members of the 


brotherhood, but very few; a dozen or twenty in 
most towns was a full allowance, scarcely more than 
the number of the police stationed in the same place. 
Every man among them was known to the police, 
and they were carefully watched. In the cities they 
were the merest rabble of shop-boys, and such like. 
In the smaller towns some were rather above this 
class, the sons of traders, and persons in better 
circumstances, but still none had any force of charac- 
ter or influence. Of course the foremost were exalted 
into A's and B's and the other mysterious ranks of the 
society, thus tickling the small vanity that is such 
a misfortune in Ireland. Some of these men used to 
go out on Sundays and holidays to the out-of-the-way 
parishes in their neighbourhood, and with their own 
money, or money supplied from America, give unlimited 
drink to any young fellows they could collect, which, 
with such an inducement, it was not hard to do, and 
then they would go through the farce of measuring 
with a tape to see if the youths were tall enough for 
the Fenian army, and similar rubbish. 

The movement, such as it was, drew into itself all 
the disaffection and half-disaffection that existed in 
the country, all the remnants of O'ConnelTs Eepealers, 
Smith O'Brien's cabbage garden rebels, the personal 
jealousy towards England and Englishmen, that tem- 
r and discontent which go to form extreme opinions 
other countries, even in England and Scotland. 

The thoroughly understood tactics in Ireland are, 


that even though you may not be disloyal or wish 
for separation from England, yet if you have any 
cause for discontent, or think you have, or desire any 
change political or religious, you should join and further 
any agitation that is on foot for the chance of what 
may be got. In this way Fenianism had a sort of 
shadow of strength, though really without substance. 
Throughout nearly all the country districts it was 
without even this small pretence to strength; but 
then another Irish device came into play the en- 
deavour to cause fear. When an Irishman gets into 
a dispute or quarrel, his first remedy is always to 
boast and to threaten, and, strange to say, these boast- 
ings and threatenings have an effect on the enemy, 
though he knows how empty they are. 

Every kind of report was circulated to add to the 
importance of the Fenians, their drillings and inten- 
tions. Drilling was the favourite tale, with time 
and place particularised. No doubt near Dublin and 
Cork there was some drilling, though not much, 
hut in the country neither the drillers could be found 
nor any one who saw the drilling, or even any one who 
could say he heard it from a man who saw it. When 
any one came to me to tell of drilling, I always asked 
" Did you see them drilling ? " " No." " How do you 

know they were drilling?" Jack told me!" "Did 

Jackseethem?" "No, but Pat told him." Icould 

never get nearer than that. Magistrates and police 
were all alive for information, but none could be had. 


Alarmists took this dearth of evidence as another 
cause for fear, arguing that the organisation was so 
perfect that no one could find out what was doing. 
Tn truth there was no real organisation in the country 
parts, and therefore nothing to find out. But every 
chance advantage was taken to cause fear, and the 
timidity of the peaceable part of the community, and 
their credulity, made them swallow anything, how- 
ever absurd. Each small town believed that the 
next town, fifteen and twenty miles off, was " a hot- 
bed of Fenianism" (that was the favourite expression), 
though its own local knowledge obliged it to confess 
that it was not bad itself. Amongst the over- 
whelming majority of loyal and innocent, there was 
thus great terror, and every ridiculous story was at 
once believed and exaggerated. Cool-headed men, to 
whom abundant opportunities of knowledge both 
private and public were open, and who had the 
strongest personal motives for forming a sound judg- 
ment, since wives, children, and all that they had were 
at stake, said from first to last that the movement 
was unmixed imposture, and acted accordingly. 

It is a matter of history that an outbreak was 
attempted near Dublin and in Tipperary, and that 
an effort was made from Cork to join the "Tipperary 
boys." The story of Fenianism at Cork and its 
neighbourhood, is a good illustration of what the 
movement really was. It had considerable hold 
there, Cork being a city of 80,000 souls and a sink 


of all that was worst in Munster, whilst as the place 
for embarkation for America it had conveniences of 
its own for such a purpose. 

When the outbreak occurred, 2000 or 3000 of the 
lowest rabble of Cork started for Tipperary to assist. 
They were physically worse than inferior. A stipen- 
diary magistrate, a man of much police experience, 
who saw them returning, and also many of them in 
gaol, described them as not even sturdy roughs, but 
the most wretched assemblage of shop -boys and 
butchers' and bakers' boys he had ever met with a 
thoroughly useless class, without one quality to fit 
them for their enterprise. About fifteen miles from 
Cork this mob came to a country police barrack in 
a lonely place, with its five policemen. This they 
resolved to attack. The house was a bad one for 
defence, and the police had to withdraw to the upper 
storey as the best way of defending themselves. The 
Fenians got in below, and fearing, though so many, 
to storm the five men above, they set fire to the 
house. But as the fire grew serious they became 
frightened lest the policemen should be burnt, so 
they entreated them to come out, declaring that 
their victims would be committing suicide if they 
stayed there, and they brought a ladder and put 
it to a window to help them to come down, which 
accordingly they did, as soon as the fire made it 
necessary. All this had taken time, and it was 
known that there were troops at Mallow, six or 


seven miles off, between them and Tipperary, so 
somehow the report arose that these troops were 
coming to attack them. Whereupon a panic ensued, 
and they dispersed in every direction across the 
country, leaving the five policemen they had captured 
to go where they pleased, every man of the mob only 
thinking how to get safe back to Cork by some 
roundabout or bye -way. Most succeeded in this, 
but the weather was unusually severe, and, not daring 
to go by the direct roads, many had to lie out for a 
night or two with little or no food, and arrived back 
in Cork the most pitiable objects imaginable. Many 
were taken, but were so absurdly harmless that they 
were not thought worth prosecuting. A magistrate, 
whose country place is a few miles from Cork in an 
unfrequented direction, walking about his grounds, 
captured three or four lying hid in his shrubbery. 
When he had got them he did not know what to do 
with them, for all the police of the next station were 
away on special service elsewhere, so finally he re- 
solved to let them go, as in no way dangerous to any 
one, and so he did. They went down on their knees 
and blessed him as their greatest benefactor. 

When the shock of the failure of the outbreak 
had passed off, it was thought needful to do some- 
thing for the revival of the Fenian spirits in Cork. 

There was an old Martello tower on Cork Harbour, 
under the care of two superannuated artillerymen, 
with their wives and families. On an evening when 


it was known that one of the defenders was absent 
in Cork, and whilst the other was at tea with the 
two wives, the Fenians invaded the tower, and cap- 
tured it without resistance. They retired in due 
course, carrying off a very few old muskets. 

It was known that the Cork police had a sort of 
parade every morning at half-past nine, at their chief 
barrack, when all the men were present before going 
on duty for the day. So one morning, as a gunmaker 
was opening his shop and arranging his window, very 
few people being in the street at that hour, some men 
walked in, fastened the door, put a pistol to the shop- 
man's head, threatening to kill him if he resisted; 
swept into bags such arms, revolvers, etc., as suited 
their purpose ; walked off, and dived into low back 
streets in the neighbourhood, where all traces of them 
were lost. 

The Corporation had a little store in a lonely 
place outside the town, where the shopkeepers kept 
their gunpowder, for fear of explosions, bringing it 
into the town in small quantities for sale. This was 
broken into at night, and some powder stolen. 

A gentleman who had been in the army, and 
lived a mile or two from Cork, was known to be 
paralysed, and to keep arms, so it was thought both 
safe and glorious to attack him. He was in his 
sitting-room, unable to move from his chair, but 
hearing the noise, and being suspicious, he told his 
wife to give him his pistols, and on the men coming 


in, he fired at one, and hit him in the groin. Upon 
this they all ran away. Having only women in the 
house besides himself, it was some hours before they 
ventured out for help. The unlucky man shot was 
found not far from the door, near a wall, dying of his 
wound. He was an underkeeper from a private 
lunatic asylum a mile off. His comrades were so 
frightened that they dared not stay to help him in 
any way, or attempt to carry him off with them. 

Another gentleman's house was attacked when 
he was alone in it with his servants. He managed 
to get upstairs where he had arms, and began to 
shout out his intention of shooting them all from a 
window commanding the door by which they had got 
in, enforcing his threats with a shot or two. Not 
knowing the house well, they soon got frightened, 
and ended by entreating the housekeeper to beg the 
master not to shoot them, and they would go away 
peaceably. So a treaty was made on these terms 
between a single man on one side and a large party 
on the other, and they left the house without doing 
any damage. 

Another night, a militia regiment being quartered 
at Mallow, and the arms deposited in a store join- 
ing the outer wall of the barrack, a hole was broken 
through from the outside by a party from Cork, and 
a few of the arms were stolen. 

It will be observed that in all these cases, there 
is not the least sign of resolution, but an attempt to 


cause fear and keep up excitement, sometimes quite 
melodramatic. This was the object intended, and 
nothing else. 

If any one wishes to see what the movement was 
worth, let him read the narrative in Fraser's Maga- 
zine for July 18*72, of the man calling himself 
General Cluseret. He had been mixed up in the 
American war, and in divers revolutionary out- 
breaks in Europe, and was supposed to have some 
military skill. The Fenians had proposed to him to 
take the command in Ireland, and he came to Lon- 
don for that purpose. But first, he asked to be 
satisfied that 10,000 men were armed and in some 
degree organised. Afterwards he reduced his demand 
to 5000 men. There were neither one nor the other, 
nor any number of men, either armed or ready to 
take arms. His contempt ex-pressed for the whole 
affair is the best comment on it. 

The true cause of the weakness of Fenianism and 
all such movements in Ireland, and indeed of many 
other mischiefs of very different kinds, is the want 
of truth in the Irish character. Of course, there are 
exceptions, but speaking generally there is no truth 
amongst them, hardly more in one class than in 
another. It is a main cause of the troubles of the 
country, but it also draws the teeth of seditious 
movements. The very quickness and cleverness of 
the Irish, which is most striking and admirable, adds 
to the effect of this want of truth. Every one at 


bottom understands his neighbour's motives and his 
game. No one places undue weight on his words, or 
thinks the worse of him for acting differently from 
the way he had said he would act, or ought to act, 
should interest lead in that direction. Every one 
would do the same himself if he had the chance. 
For example, when a swindler, .whom every one 
knows to be a swindler, and would not trust with 
five shillings, is a leader of a movement like Home 
Eule, that is no objection at all even in the eyes of 
men of fair character. They will join the movement 
all the same, and think they can use it for their 
own ends. The whole machinery of agitation, the 
newspapers, meetings, speeches, lies, are so thoroughly 
understood and worked, that any one might be de- 
ceived by it. 

It is because men living in the country have the 
same battle with untruth to fight every day of their 
lives, that they often take so much less serious a 
view of Irish agitation than those who know Ireland 
less well. The great fact that no one really trusts 
another, and the weakness this causes in any 
seditious movement, is simply fatal to it. It is an 
old moral that some truth is needed even for success- 
ful wickedness. 

One of the most remarkable results of Fenianism 
was how, directly it was over, everybody sprang 
upon it to make political capital out of it. The 
murder of the police officer at Manchester and the 


Clerkenwell outrage, though both plainly the work 
of a few, caused an undue excitement in England. 
This added to the value of the opportunity, and it 
was worked accordingly. 

But the worst mischief of all was the way Mr. 
Gladstone and some of his supporters, though none 
to the same extent as Mr. Gladstone himself, used 
Fenianism to justify the Irish measures of his Govern- 
ment. No opinion either for or against those measures 
is needed here, whether as affecting the Church or the 
Land. Any one who likes may take for granted that 
they were right and fit. But the way in which 
Fenianism was used as a justification for them was 
unmixedly mischievous and bad. It made the acts 
appear like concessions to violence and rebellion, and 
lessened any chance of their doing good. The demands 
from the disaffected party in Ireland have grown 
more and more unreasonable ever since. They feel 
that it is impossible to say now what may not be 
granted by Parliament, and that fear is the most 
effectual of motives for reaching their ends. 

No doubt thorough justice should be the principle 
of dealing with Ireland, but besides this, and before 
all things else, it is needful that the law, whatever it 
may be, shall be enforced on all. 

It is a great mistake to think that blarney will 
succeed with those who are the most perfect masters 
of blarney in the whole world, and sentimental 


blarneying talk in high places has of late been a 
curse to Ireland. 

P.S. Much of the above account of Fenianism 
applies, mutatis mutandis, to the agitation of the Land 
League. The Land Leaguers have taken a social 
end to aim at, which would profit every man of one 
class if it could succeed to ever so small an extent. It 
is natural and innocent that every tenant should prefer 
to pay less rent than more. The desire to do this, and 
so to benefit himself at the cost of his landlord, is the 
whole strength of the agitation. Add to this the 
belief that Messrs. Glads tone and Bright and a majority 
of the present Government are hostile to the landlords 
and glad of a reason for injuring them, and still more, 
and before all else, that though life and property are 
unsafe in a large part of Ireland, no effective step is 
taken to enforce law and order. It is this last fact 
that gives its strength to the agitation and causes 
it to differ from all other agitations that have gone 
before it. November 1880. 




I DO not want to express any opinion for or against 
the Land Act. There it is, as a fact, and landlords 
and tenants alike have to make the best of it. 

Here is one bad effect of it, however, that was not 
intended or foreseen the exaggerated and unscru- 
pulous opinion of their own claims that the Act has 
raised in the minds of many of the tenant party and 
their advocates, and of which the bitter tone that many 
newspaper correspondents write in is a symptom. 

The Courts are really as favourable to the tenants 
as it is possible for any courts to be. Such leaning 
as they have is in favour of the tenants and against 
the landlords; and whenever there is a fair doubt 
the tenant gets the benefit of it. Yet these men will 
speak of the Courts as some have done, because the 
Courts have felt themselves obliged by justice to 
give decisions against the claims of tenants. The 
truth is that many of the claims of tenants have 
been grossly extortionate. What is to be thought of 


a tenant who, having bought the fag end of a lease 
from a previous tenant, and failing in agreeing with 
the landlord for a new one, at its expiration thinks 
himself justified in putting in a claim for the cost of 
all the labour and horse-work used in the ordinary 
cultivation of the farm during all the years he held 
the old lease, as an unexhausted improvement ? Can 
there be any wonder that one of the judges, Mr. 
Justice Fitzgerald, in hearing an appeal at the pre- 
sent summer assizes, 1873, on one of these exagge- 
rated claims by a tenant, remonstrated strongly 
against the practice, and said it had become one 
main duty of the Courts to protect landlords against 
such exorbitant claims ? 

The very name of contract is hateful to many, 
because these exaggerated claims rest on undefined 
ideas of rights, which break down before definite facts. 
It is absolutely certain that the principle of the Land 
Act was to take the actual usages of each district or 
estate as constituting an implied contract on both 
sides. "Where there was an express contract or lease, 
that held good. Where there was no express contract, 
the implied contract from usage was made binding, 
as the custom of the country is in England. No 
doubt this rule caused hardship in individual cases 
both to some landlords and some tenants, but in the 
great majority of cases it was fair enough. No rule 
could possibly have met with fairness all the numer- 
ous diversities of individual circumstances. The 


Land Act never professed to lay down a new abstract 
system of the rights of landlords and tenants. On 
the contrary, it took the rights as it found them in 
fact, from usage, and as they were acted on by good 
landlords. But as to permanent improvements, it 
shifted the presumption from being in favour of the 
landlord to being in favour of the tenant. The com- 
monest justice required that the present tenants 
should only have the benefit of what they had done 
themselves, or some one belonging to them had done. 
What other tenants, strangers to them, had done, did 
not concern them, whoever else it concerned. Again, 
many improvements, as draining, pay thoroughly for 
themselves in a certain number of years. A tenant 
was not to be paid twice over for such improvements ; 
hence the limitations of the Act in these respects. 
The decision that tenant-right in Ulster, though sale- 
able when the tenant is dispossessed by the act of the 
landlord, cannot be sold at the mere will of the 
tenant without the consent of the landlord, which so 
much excites the anger of some, only means that 
such was the usage before the Act, and therefore 
the Court so held. It will be found that what I 
have said explains any apparent anomalies. There 
may have been individual cases of the exercise of 
the coveted rights, but no such general usage. 

Consider how great was the gain to Irish tenants 
from the Land Act all existing usages of the Ulster 
tenant-right legalised elsewhere, four, five, seven 


years' compensation for capricious eviction, or else 
the security of a thirty-one years' lease ; compensa- 
tion for all permanent improvements, and for unex- 
hausted manures. The truth is, the facts are proving, 
what many asserted before the Land Act, that the 
faults of the Irish tenants themselves, and not the 
circumstances in which they are placed, are the cause 
of their being what they are. There are some good 
tenants, no doubt, but they are comparatively few, 
and the number of those who have made considerable 
permanent improvements is very few indeed. The 
reason the Courts cannot give, in many cases, larger 
compensation is, that when it comes to the proof, the 
permanent improvements are not there. These ex- 
aggerated claims are put in in the hope of raising a 
prejudice on behalf of the tenant, on the principle 
that where there is so much cry there must be some 
wool After the Land Act passed I went to every 
tenant on an estate of 4000 acres, and took down in 
writing his statement of what permanent improve- 
ments he had made, and their cost. I wrote down 
strictly his own statement, even when I knew it was 
untrue, in that case adding my own comment sepa- 
rately. It is a greatly improved estate, much before 
its neighbours, and the tenants are nearly all well-to- 
do, and do not owe a shilling of arrears. Yet there 
were only two or three cases in which the cost of the 
improvements, as stated by the tenant himself, ex- 
ceeded one year's rent, and these two or three were 



little over it. No one ever gets rid of a tenant for 
the most justifiable cause without losing far more 
than a year's rent. I believe my experience will 
hold good in most other parts of Ireland with ex- 
ceptions, no doubt, but exceptions are not the rule to 
be acted upon. The statement that the improvements 
of tenants have made half the value of the land, has 
not a shadow of proof to support it. It is very signi- 
ficant that on this subject an advocate of the tenants 
expressly excludes the decisions of the Courts, which 
hear both sides of the question, and confines himself 
to the evidence on his own side. Valeat quantum. 
It is easy to make out a case in that way. 

In conclusion, I have only to protest against the 
whine (so often a last resort in this subject) that 
Irish tenants were not free agents in hiring land. 
So long as the world lasts, if one man wishes to hire 
what another man is not obliged to let, but can make 
money of by holding himself, the latter will have the 
best of the bargain that is all. It is just the same 
in all buying and selling. The Irish tenant class are 
the shrewdest, the keenest, and most cunning bar- 
gainers in Europe. Even the lazy and useless, who 
would let any amount of money slip through their 
fingers for want of a little self -exertion, are un- 
matched in a bargain. If there is only one soft or 
weak spot in a landlord's position or character, it is 
absolutely certain to be taken advantage of, and is 
taken advantage of to the utmost. If a landlord is 


at any time so unwise as to insist on a higher rent 
for his land than it is worth, it may be taken, but it 
is taken by men of no means, trusting to the chapter 
of accidents to running in arrear, getting remissions, 
etc. There is no fear that such men ever make per- 
manent improvements. Any one who has had to do 
with land management in Ireland knows that when 
times are good and prices of produce high there is a 
much better demand for land, and higher rents are 
freely offered by solvent tenants for any land to let. 
When times are bad and prices low, much lower 
rents have to be accepted. I have seen this variation 
many times in my experience, both before and since 
the famine. There cannot be a more healthy sign of 
the market. But then in Ireland, when bad times 
come, those who hired land in good times at a higher 
rent suitable to the times, set to work to howl in 
hope of getting a reduction of rent. Tenants in 
Ireland, like tenants elsewhere, have hired land for 
their own profit, and (putting aside exceptional times, 
like the famine, which no prudence could meet) a 
large majority of tenants have made a profit by 
the land they have hired, in spite of want of capital, 
ignorance and idleness, that would have ensured 
failure in any other business on earth but farming. 
That some have failed is no wonder. The wonder 
is that with such habits so many succeeded. In 
tliirty-five years' experience I have never known 
one honest industrious tenant to fail. 


I haye no personal interest in Ulster tenant-right 
one way or other, but having watched it closely all 
my life, I am convinced the gain of it is only to 
the tenant who first gets it, having got his land 
without having had to pay for it, or who is able to 
stretch it, and so get a higher price than he paid for 
the same value. In all other respects it is a loss to 
both the tenant and landlord. There is the same 
objection to it that there is to letting land with a fine, 
with the further evil that the fine is fixed by a keen 
competition. The principle of tenant-right never was 
compensation for permanent improvements made by 
tenants, but sale of the right of occupation. This is 
proved by the right having been as strongly claimed 
and allowed where no improvements whatever had 
been made by the tenant on the farm, or very small 
improvements, as when there were considerable im- 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 85 


IRELAND, 1840-1880. 
APRIL 1880 (Macmillan's Magazine). 

HAVING been at work for over forty years improving 
an estate in Ireland, on the old-fashioned, downright 
way common sense suggests, it has been urged upon 
me that it might do good at the present time to give 
an account of what has been done. I have had no 
new plans of improvement, but began simply with a 
very neglected estate in the extreme South, having one 
advantage only, that the subdivision of farms had not 
yet gone so far as elsewhere (most being still twenty 
or thirty acres in extent). I have nothing to boast 
of, except that the work has succeeded. The plan 
pursued has been gradually, with some reasonable 
consideration, to get rid of the bad tenants, and give 
their land to the good ones who remained, thus 
enabling them to do better still. It was nothing 
else but a process of Natural Selection, in which the 
tenant's own qualities, good or bad, were made the 
cause of the Survival of the Fittest. 

It was clearly seen from the first that the Irish 


difficulty was a moral difficulty and nothing else 
in the true sense of the word mores as I think no 
one could doubt who saw the typical Irish tenant as 
I saw him forty years ago, dirty and ragged, his 
breeches without a button at the knees, and his 
worsted stockings about- his heels, hopelessly unim- 
provable for any useful end involving continued hard 
work or steady purpose. I had no thought either for 
or against clearing the estate, as it is called. I wanted 
it in the hands of good tenants. 

The hindrances to any man's prosperity in Ireland, 
of whatever class, are simply his own faults. A few 
may have met with hardships and drawbacks, as some 
will do in every country under the sun, I suppose, so 
long as this world is not Heaven. But every honest 
industrious man in any walk of life in Ireland has 
chances of prospering better than he would have else- 
where, so far as my knowledge extends. And the 
best proof is that honest, industrious men invariably 
prosper. I am constantly asked by men of different 
classes, What they shall do with their sons ? I have 
the same answer for all. If honest and true, their 
chances in Ireland are far better than any others I 
know of anywhere. 

There has been no difficulty in the way of any 
man in Ireland that ordinary industry and energy 
could not get over. The true hindrances have been 
his own faults. Drink, indolence, debt, and schem- 
ing, with ignorance and want of self-reliance as 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 87 

consequences. 1. Drink is much the most common 
and ruinous fault, not alone drunkenness, but taking 
a drop whenever he has a chance. The enormous 
multitude of public-houses lately mentioned in the 
House of Lords, and of which I could give grievous 
proofs, shows clearly the drinking habits of the people. 
I know of nothing that might do so much good as 
lessening the number of public-houses by one-half, 
by permitting only one renewal for every two vacan- 
cies that happen. 2. Idleness. Let any one look at the 
armies of docks and thistles enough to seed a parish in 
every field he passes even in the beloved potato gar- 
dens and the matting of couch besides, which farmer 
and wife and children look at with idle hands because 
such weeds are supposed to keep the crop warm. 
Milk unskimmed till a green fungus shows on it, and 
all chance of good butter is gone, though so small an 
improvement in the quality of the butter as would 
make it worth 2d. per Ib. extra, would put a million 
a year into Irish pockets. Haycocks left in the 
field and the rain until near winter, and their value 
so reduced by half. I name these things because 
their profit or loss is all in the same year, and to do 
them rightly would pay many fold, even if the farm 
were given up at the year's end. 3. Debt I need not 
speak of. It is universal. Nor 4, Scheming, which 
has been the very life-blood of agitation (since the 
time of O'Connell downward), and of almost every- 
thing else that is done in Ireland, being, as it is, the 


natural outcome of the universal want of truth. 5. 
Ignorance. Not the want of the three K's, but of 
common-sense principles and facts, the knowledge of 
which seems like an inheritance of light when one 
has lived long in Ireland. The ignorance is equally 
great whether it relates to farming or any other kind 
of work or duty, either Magistrates', or Poor Law 
business, or any other, for the right performance of 
which a knowledge of sound social principles is 

There are a few points I had perhaps better begin 
by disposing of. 

The Land Act made little difference to me. My 
work was done long before it was dreamed of. I had 
very few bad tenants left. Most of the land was in 
the hands of the good tenants, with farms of sufficient 
size to employ a pair of horses thoroughly, the mini- 
mum size with which it is possible for any one to 
farm economically. The chief effect of the Land Act 
on me has been, that when a tenant from any cause 
has gone to the bad I am obliged to wait for some 
years longer until he hangs himself completely, before 
I can get rid of him. It is mainly a matter of time, 
and that he is thus able to reduce his farm more than 
it otherwise would have been reduced. Once a tenant 
has reduced his farm, he is sure to fail sooner or later, 
whatever help he may get, or lucky seasons may hap- 
pen to him. It is never a single fault that, in my 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 89 

experience, sinks a tenant. Even drink takes a long 
time by itself. But the man who drinks is generally 
indolent too, and often quarrelsome with his family and 
neighbours. And as he finds himself doing badly, he 
gets in debt to banks and usurers, and so his end 
is hastened. 

All through the bad famine times, and the many 
years I have been in Ireland, I never knew a single 
case of an honest, industrious tenant, either my own 
or my neighbours', having failed. At the rate land is 
usually let, if the farm has not been run out, and no 
big leak like drink exists, it is sure to pull its 
occupier through till better times come. Again and 
again I have seen tenants under great drawbacks, as 
widows with young children, do better than their 
neighbours who had far more chances, only because 
they worked on quietly and steadily even on a bad 
system. Once a tenant's faults have brought him 
low, I never knew an instance of his recovery. His 
impoverished land was the stone round his neck that 
drowned him. 

It would be much better for all concerned, land- 
lord and tenant and labourer, as well as for the 
country, that when a tenant has run out his farm he 
should give it up quickly, instead of struggling on for 
years in deepening debt, under the operation of the 
Land Act. He would have more left if he gave up 
quickly, because he would be less in debt, and his 
land, because less reduced, would yield more produce 


afterwards. In this way the Land Act is a real 
hindrance to improvement, a grievous one to those 
who had not got their estates in order before it 
passed. Instead of its being possible to improve a 
neglected estate in ten or twelve years (as it was when 
my work was done), a much longer time and greater 
loss of money are unavoidable. Fewer landlords, 
therefore, are willing or able to undertake its im- 
provement. In this respect the Act is wholly hurt- 
ful, with no gain to set against the loss, except that 
of enabling bad tenants to hang on some years longer, 
whilst more thoroughly ruining themselves. The 
Act was a makeshift resting on no sound principle. 
It has stopped a small evil at the cost of hindering 
all improving landlords from doing good, and retard- 
ing the improvement of the country. 

But the most curious evil the Act has caused has 
been by the greater facilities for debt it has given the 
tenants. As by the Act a tenant cannot now be 
turned out of his farm without large compensation, 
except for non-payment of rent, he is by so much a 
safer debtor to banks and usurers and shopkeepers. 
One of the most discouraging features of Irish 
character is indifference to debt. It is almost as bad 
in one class as in another. So long as money can be 
borrowed anyhow to go on with, everybody seems to 
think all is right. Whatever the cause, it is certain 
that the extent to which people of all sorts, from the 
labourer upwards, go in debt, is ruinous. . Debt of 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 91 

course at last produces its certain fruit. And whilst 
being ruined, the debtor and his family are kept in 
chronic misery. Some of us, for many years past, 
have protested that this almost universal state of 
debt is one great evil to the country. The banks are 
greatly to blame for lending to men they know to be 
insolvent, provided they can get security. The pinch 
of the past year has revealed what neither friends 
nor opponents of the Land Act foresaw numbers of 
tenants have borrowed on the strength of the better 
security the Act gave them, and as in a tight year 
banks and all lenders have to draw in for their own 
safety, these men are in trouble in consequence. 
The money has been spent unproductively. I need 
not say what is the result. 

By the Land Act Parliament tried to give pro- 
tection to tenants against the landlords, and it has 
produced ill effects in another direction worse than 
those it was meant to cure. To prevent a very few 
capricious evictions it has 1 greatly increased the faci- 
lities for debt, and will surely ruin great numbers for 
one it saves from capricious eviction. Debt slips on, 
little felt in better years except by the renewal of 
bills, a tight year like the present comes, and the 
man is ruined. Some of our wise M.P.'s have talked 
of a bill to hinder ejectments for non-payment of rent 
. for twelve months. But what good is it possible for 
a ruined man to do in a farm ? I ejected one tenant 
last winter ; and between the time I got the decree 


and its execution a fortnight afterwards, no less than 
five or six decrees for debts were executed upon the 
stock he had, and it is known there are more still to 
come. The occupation of a farm by a ruined tenant 
is a loss to all, especially to himself and the public. 
Stopping ejectments could cure nothing. It would 
leave the evil and its cause untouched. When will 
men learn that a pauper is a pauper and nothing else, 
whether he is a tenant or not ? and so long as he is 
a pauper, he can only act as such. It would make a 
change above words in Ireland, if men could only 
learn to know a fact when they see it before their 

The Home Eule party have come to think it the 
most hopeful plan that tenants, with the help of loans 
from the Government, should buy the fee-simple of 
their own farms whenever the estate is for sale, and 
so become peasant proprietors. 

If moderation and judgment are used in the num- 
ber and quality of such peasant purchasers, no objec- 
tion can be made to this plan. A good tenant will 
make a good peasant proprietor, and a bad tenant the 
reverse. The plan must be carried out gradually, and 
the purchaser find lond fide a substantial part of the 
purchase-money. Some such plan, by the help of 
Land banks, would probably do good in England and 
Scotland too, as it is believed to do in Prussia. The 
change of tenure will not make a bad tenant, who is 
in debt, into a good solvent peasant proprietor. The 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 93 

worst misery in Ireland has been on a few small 
estates, one of them belonging to the Crown, on which 
the tenants were in fact proprietors, and allowed to 
do just as they liked. There are plenty of long leases, 
long enough to make the tenants substantially owners. 
As I have already said, adjoining my property there 
are a number of tenants with leases of 2000 years. 
None of them show any improvement tending to 
prove that small proprietors would do better than the 
present tenants, but rather the other way. My ten- 
ants are far better off than these men. 

No doubt the number of owners of land in Ireland 
is too small. It will be no remedy for this to do hurt 
in another direction. It is by great industry, skill, and 
thrift alone that peasant proprietors thrive in other 
countries. The class of small landowners in Belgium 
and elsewhere work harder and live harder than any 
other class in Europe ; and not only the men, but all 
the rest of their families too, including women. They 
have often, too, a skill in farming inherited from many 
previous generations. The same lesson comes from 
America. The owners of small farms there, which 
they farm themselves, are many of them giving up the 
business. The work is too hard, and other businesses 
pay more money. It is not too much to say that the 
Irish peasant is wanting in every quality needful for 
success as a small landowner. It is seldom that he has 
either skill or industry. He is clever enough, but he 
has no backbone. When he succeeds as a tenant, it 


is mostly because the rent is so light. He lives too 
in a climate the worst possible for small farming, 
where corn never grows well, not even oats, whilst 
grass and turnips thrive by nature with little trouble. 

A word on fixity of tenure, or making the Ulster 
tenant-right compulsory all over. Ireland, so that all 
tenants shall be at liberty to sell their farms to the 
highest bidder, with little reference to the landlord. 

Tenant-right was made legally binding in Ulster 
because the Ulster landowners had, almost without 
exception, freely consented to it and acted upon it. 
The points in the custom favourable to the land- 
owners (mainly the security for present rent at a time 
when rents were very ill paid) were the consideration 
for this consent. A large proportion of the Ulster 
tenants have bought their farms from the former 
occupiers with the consent of the landlords, who got 
their arrears of rent out of the purchase -money. 
There was therefore a clear equity in the matter. 
And by the Land Act, wherever else in Ireland the 
customs "substantially" exist they are as legally 
binding as in Ulster. And even when a limited sum 
has been paid by the incoming to the outgoing tenant 
with the landlord's knowledge, that sum is a charge 
on the farm against the owner if the tenant leaves it. 

It is plain that to make the Ulster customs com- 
pulsory where they have not existed, and where a 
tenant has paid nothing on getting possession of his 
farm, would be simply to rob the owner of part of 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 


his reversion, and give a bonus gratis to whoever 
chanced to be tenant. There is just the same objec- 
tion to the three F's, so much talked of. They are 
the same as Tenant-right, and more thoroughly unjust 
to owners. It is quite different from the case of 
the tenant having himself paid a predecessor for 
the right of occupation. That a tenant is to get 
ten to twenty years' purchase for that which cost 
him nothing, and which the landowner never thought 
of giving him when he let the farm, will not bear 

No doubt it would give great satisfaction to ten- 
ants who never paid a shilling for it, that on leaving 
their farms (even for non-payment of rent) they should 
get a large sum from the owner or succeeding tenant. 
But besides the question of wrong, the custom of an 
incoming tenant paying a large sum to his predecessor 
must be hurtful to all, except the man who pockets 
the money. It clears out of capital every man who 
takes a farm, except the very richest, and shortens 
the available capital even of these. The competition 
is far keener than under the most rack-renting land- 
lord. The payment occurs at the very time when a 
tenant most wants all his capital in order to stock 
and manure his new farm. In Ulster not only all 
the capital the new tenant has is thus paid away, but 
all he can borrow besides, for the sake of getting more 
land. The practice is very opposite to that of the 
landlords and agents of well-managed estates in Eng- 


land and Scotland, who never accept a new tenant till 
lie has shown that he has sufficient capital to farm the 
land thoroughly well. By the Ulster tenant-right it 
is secured that a new tenant shall have insufficient 
capital, or none at all. What happens in Ulster 
proves that the assertion that tenants mostly save 
money to buy more land, is quite untrue ; very few 
do so. 

Such a custom is really more injurious to the 
tenant than to the landowner. All landowners in 
other parts, with any knowledge of their business, 
guard especially against it. I can say that I clearly 
saw the evil forty years ago, and have taken the 
utmost care since that no tenant of mine should 
ever pay a shilling to a predecessor, though I 
have very few tenants to whom I either have 
not let his farm or let him such an addition to 
it as to make it in substance a new letting. I 
always took precautions to keep it, to the last 
moment, so uncertain to whom I should give the 
land, that all were afraid to pay anything to the 
outgoing tenant, knowing that a suspicion of their 
having paid anything, would secure their not getting 
the farm. 

No tenant in Ireland that I ever knew had 
capital enough to farm his land well/and I think 
it suicidal for him, and a sure loss to me, that any 
part of his capital should be paid to his predecessor 
instead of being available to farm his land well. 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 97 

Whenever good farming becomes general, the 
customs will be found to be ruinous in Ulster 
too. So long as the linen trade, and especially 
hand-loom weaving, prevailed in country parts, the 
injury of tenant-right was not felt. The weaving 
supplied capital to buy small lots of land, and farm 
them afterwards. That the Ulster tenant-right is no 
security against starvation or distress is clear from 
the state of parts of Donegal. The Ulster tenant- 
right prevails to the utmost height in Donegal, and 
the distress in Donegal now is quite as bad as in the 
worst parts of Connaught, if not worse. 

I now come to my own doings for the improve- 
ment of an estate of nearly 4000 acres. I have said 
the estate had been thoroughly neglected. My 
grandfather never saw it in his life. My father 
never saw it but once, when he drove along the 
mail-coach road that skirts it in a carriage, stopped 
for half -an -hour to talk to the tenants who met him, 
and then drove back again. The agent was bad, 
and about 1838 turned out dishonest and took a 
large sum of rent for his own use. It was needful 
that some one should look after the estate. I had 
been brought up at Harrow and Balliol, and was 
a lawyer about London on the Home Circuit. 
Having been born and lived much in Suffolk, on 
the very edge of Norfolk, where some knowledge 
of farming, like Dogberry's reading and writing, 


comes by nature, I undertook to look after the 
estate. In fact I knew all about the theory of 
good farming, but very little of the practical 
working details. 

I soon made up my mind to do without any 
agent and manage the estate wholly myself, going 
over two or three times a year to receive the rent 
and do what was needful. There was not a house 
upon it where I could put up for a night. 

At that time Mr. W. Blacker, of Armagh, was 
considered the most successful agent in Ireland. He 
had done wonders on some ill-managed estates, and 
as I was well known to some of his principals, he 
kindly received me for a fortnight, showed me 
all his doings, and took me to stay with some other 
owners in the neighbouring counties, where the same 
system was at work. 

Of course there were bad and good among our 
tenants ; many were in arrears, some largely. The 
first step was to get rid of the arrears. A few, who 
were well off, were asked to pay them off gradually. 
The same form was gone through with all. But, in 
fact, much the greater number were forgiven wholly, 
and were only asked to pay future rents regularly. 

There were a good many old leases, of farms of 
100 acres, made before the year 1800/ These had 
been subdivided into four farms, the old lease still 
existing ; and of course the four tenants were legally 
answerable for each other. Though it involved some 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 99 

legal risk, each was allowed to pay his own rent, 
and the mutual liability abolished, so as to give 1 a 
better chance for exertion to the good ones. 

All tenants were allowed to understand that, 
lease or no lease, they should hold their farms at 
the same rent for their lives, and the rent should 
only be raised to those who came after them. The 
only exception was in case of gross misconduct of 
any kind ; but it was duly impressed on all that 
whatever rent any one had contracted to pay, must 
be paid regularly on fixed days. The principle acted 
on was that every man should fulfil whatever con- 
tract he had made, or give up the land to me as 

The most convenient times for paying rents were 
early in July for spring rents, and early in December 
for harvest rents. A month before the day fixed, 
a printed note was sent to each tenant to say I 
should be in Ireland that day, and requested pay- 
ment then. No turnips and very little clover were 
grown by any tenants ; potatoes followed by wheat, 
and then oats, oats, oats, whilst the land would grow 
any ; paring and burning often for potatoes. No grass 
seeds were sown when the land was left to " rest," 
as it was called ; i.e. to grow weeds till another skin 
had formed, that could be pared and burnt again. 

This was the blessed system by which it is now 
said that the tenant of former days brought the land 
into cultivation, and is supposed to have conferred 


a benefit on the owners, for which the present 
successor of the tenant ought to be compensated; 
but by which, in truth, the soul was worked out 
of the land by exhaustive cropping and little 

A Scotch grieve was brought over to teach the 
tenants to grow turnips and clover. It was necessary 
to go myself to every tenant and urge him to grow 
half an acre or an acre of turnips. Seed was dis- 
tributed. The clover [seed (of which he knew the 
value, and which was got good and cheaply from 
London) was sold on credit till after harvest. The 
Scotchman's business was to watch the plots for 
turnips, help in the sowing and thinning, and 
advise in all ways. Prizes of Scotch ploughs were 
offered for the best turnips. Before, there had not 
been a good plough on the estate; wooden things 
only, that would only scratch the surface, and with 
which no man could turn a furrow. That grass 
seeds should be sown in all corn crops was insisted 
on. The land never having grown clover before, 
it grew like a dwarf wall. Such crops I never saw 
before or since ; they were a pleasure to look at. 

These steps told very quickly ; the additional 
food grown for cattle, made all stock rapidly 
thrive and increase. It was easy to rear a few 
extra calves ; better-fed stock gave more and better 
manure, and thus crops of all sorts improved too. 
The improved payments of rent were a surprise. 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 101 

Except those who were too far gone for recovery, 
all rents were paid on the days fixed; and, till the 
famine came, all trouble seemed to be over. I have 
often begun at eleven, and by three had a full half- 
year's rent in bank, without one defaulter, or one 
angry word. 

The first tenant who did not pay a lazy schemer 
as ever lived, and a Protestant was turned out, and 
his thirty-one acres (divided into twenty-nine fields) 
started as a model farm under the Scotchman. 

At that time many of the tenants had farms 
which were very much scattered, fields in four or five 
separate parts, often far off, the waste and incon- 
venience of which were a great loss to them. The 
first improvement aimed at was to get each man's 
land about his house and yard, joining the rest that 
he had. The regular payment of rent on fixed days, 
so that there were no overhanging arrears, was very 
beneficial to the tenants themselves. Every one felt 
that when his rent was paid the surplus was his 
own; and many began to prepare for the next 
payment from the time the previous rent was 
paid. This lightened the difficulty much. It soon 
appeared that some were too far gone to recover, and 
they gradually failed. They were offered forgiveness 
of whatever they owed, allowed to take away freely 
all they had, and given a small sum usually 10, 
if they left without causing expense for law. Hardly 
any refused the offer. There were scarcely any 


ejectments. At that time there was no doubt we 
were greatly over -populated. Emigration was the 
great resource, and most went to America. 

As I did my own business, and kept my own 
counsel, no one could guess, when a broken tenant 
gave up, to whom I should let his land. I used it 
in consolidating the farms of others. I offered A 
(the next neighbour perhaps) ten acres of it, pro- 
vided he gave up five outlying acres he had in a 
distant part. Then I offered the five acres which A 
gave up, to B who was near to them, provided he gave 
up two acres, another separate bit of his, to C, and so 
on. Every good tenant soon found out that a broken 
tenant being put out might mean a substantial gain 
to himself, one very dear to his heart; he got the 
field close to his own. house that he had coveted all 
his life, his very Naboth's vineyard, which had been 
the cause of endless strife from the mutual trespass 
of his own and his neighbour's cattle. I gave up all 
thought for the time of getting more rent for land 
thus added to farms. The old rents were charged. 

Thus public opinion on the estate, when any 
tenant was put out, became wholly on my side. 
They knew better than I did that he was quite 
broken, and that not paying his rent was only the 
last symptom. And as all hoped to gain by his 
misfortune, he met with no sympathy. Anything 
so different from the difficulties and heart-rending 
scenes supposed to happen when a tenant in Ireland 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 103 

is dispossessed I suppose was never seen. The men 
put out knew that they got better terms than they 
could get by going to law, and so were satisfied ; 
and everybody else was glad. Improvements made 
by the tenant there were none, and of course he had 
the rent forgiven to cover any supposed value he had 
added to the farm. 

In this way in a few years every tenant's land 
was put near his house and yard, where he could 
farm it with most advantage, and at least cost of 
labour ; and as he paid no more per acre than under 
the former system, the gain to him was great. Be- 
sides, some farms were much enlarged which had 
been small before, and so were enabled to employ 
a pair of horses fully. 

The next step was to arrange roads for each farm, 
so that every part of it might be accessible to carts 
for drawing manure on the fields, and drawing home 
the crops. Before, though the country is not moun- 
tainous, but only somewhat hilly, many farms had 
large parts that no cart could approach. Whenever 
manure was carried out, it was in panniers on the 
backs of horses ; and, of course, very little was thus 

To utilise the existing roads and lanes, widening 
them, and adding bits of new road where necessary, 
was not a very heavy job, and a couple of years' 
work did all that was wanted in this way, and made 
every farm practicable for an industrious tenant. 


These things were hardly completed when the 
famine of 1845-6 fell on us. In 1843 I went to live 
in Ireland. It is not too much to say that the famine 
knocked the whole previously existing social state 
into chaos. Our tenants stood the crash much better 
than their neighbours. There was no starvation, or 
even want, among them. With good stock, and food 
for stock, they easily got through 1846. Farmers 
then had many labourers living on their farms, for 
all of whom I provided work in draining. I do not 
remember a single application for work from a tenant 
whilst he held on as such. 

But the spring and summer of 1847, especi- 
ally when it appeared that the potatoes were again 
diseased, altogether upset most of the less well-off 
tenants. America was the only bourne. No one 
who has lived in Ireland can doubt that farmers with 
their habits could not get on there without potatoes. 
Potatoes were twisted into every thought and idea 
they had, and they were utterly ignorant of all else, 
except the modicum of knowledge of turnips and 
better farming which my Scotchman had put into 
them. The gain of even this trifle was evident in those 
who remained, and helped them much, as it did also 
neighbours who were near enough to copy them in 
part. Especially it lessened the hopeless feeling 
amongst them that it was impossible to live and 
farm without potatoes. Still it was the common 
saying amongst the farmers, " The landlords and the 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 105 

labourers will soon have all the land to themselves." 
That was the universal feeling. Many hundred acres, 
the land of those who gave up, were thrown on my 
hands. I tried to let at the old rents to those who 
remained, but such was the state of prostration among 
all that no one was willing to close. The rents were 
low before, and I was unwilling to make a greater 
sacrifice, so I had to undertake it myself. At first I 
meant to hold it only till I could let it fairly. In 
Norfolk, where most of my knowledge of farming was 
gained, landlords' farming was thought never to pay. 
And I knew no instance in Ireland of such farming 
and land improvement having paid. Sheep, how- 
ever, did not require buildings, and lambs were luckily 
very cheap. Useful lambs, fit for any farmer, were 
bought for five shillings each in July. Four hundred 
lambs for 100 was not a serious pull on capital ; 
they were equal to such as would now cost twenty- 
five shillings each. Weaned calves in autumn cost 
twenty-five shillings to thirty shillings each. 

Draining and improvements went on, for though 
many tenants were gone, many labourers remained 
and needed work. There was much wet land on the 
farms given up. Any tenant who failed was offered 
work on the improvements. Often they were allowed 
to stay in their former houses as labourers till I could 
build better ones. Some of the most trustworthy 
labourers I have had were these broken tenants. I 
have them still, after thirty-five years, and sons of 


such. Their pride has been to go to mass better 
dressed than the small farmers around. No one can 
doubt that they have lived more comfortable lives. 
As to ill-will between us, there never was a bit, but 
thorough friendship. 

For many years it was very up-hill work. The 
land was so utterly worn out that it seemed as if no 
manuring would recover it. At length folding sheep 
on turnips, for which at first I thought the climate 
too wet, began to tell. But from not fully under- 
standing it, we killed the sheep horribly. I have 
seen five or six sheep hung up by their heels on 
the hurdles in one morning. So the balance for rent 
and interest at the year's end was for a long time 
small. Then it improved, and made a jump. We 
gradually learnt how to meet the difficulties, till the 
hope arose that we could make the land pay more in our 
own hands than if let to tenants. In time the profits 
took to making a jump every third or fourth year, 
and passed the old rent, and so went on till there 
was a clear net balance of profit for rent and interest 
of over forty shillings per acre, the old rent having 
averaged a good deal under twenty shillings per acre. 
And as the quantity of land in hand had now in- 
creased to near 1000 acres, I need not point out that 
such a profit as 1000 a year above the former rent 
was comfortable. The balance-sheets since 1845 can 
all be produced. At least it is certain from them 
that I have not cheated myself. The accounts are 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 107 

made up each year to May 1, because crop and fat 
stock are then all sold, and the least is left to valua- 
tion. May 1, 1878, the profit was only thirty-four 
shillings per acre ; May 1, 1879, only twenty-seven 
shillings and sixpence. We are sure from prices 
that May 1, 1880, will be much higher again, and 
have no fears for the future. This guess came true ; 
the net return was 38s. per acre. Gradually the land 
has been farmed much more highly, bought manures 
and feeding stuffs being largely used. The outlay 
for these on May 1, 1879, exceeded twenty shillings 
per acre of the farm, all charged in full to the year ; 
and the quantity used increases every year steadily. 
Without good feeding with cake and corn we could 
do nothing, though our best fields of swedes are 
often 35 tons per acre, grown by 12 cwt. per acre of 
bought manure, besides what is made on the farm. 
The gross produce yielded by the land now is fully 
four times what it was in the hands of small occupiers. 
The course of farming followed has been mere 
commonplace simply manuring the land well and 
feeding the stock well. There has been no fancy 
stock kept. A good bull or two, and rams, and a 
stallion, have been kept, of which the tenants have 
had the benefit too. The worst fields have each year 
been ploughed for the sake of manuring them. There 
has been no plunging in any way. Gradually, as it 
was seen to pay, more bought manures (especially 
bones, as we have a bone mill) were used, and more 


corn and cake for feeding stock. All improvements, 
including manures and cake, have been paid for out 
of income ; of course out of the profit returned by 
the manures and improvement itself. I have thus 
gradually felt my way into success ; because of the 
uncertainty of what would pay in Ireland it was 
more prudent thus to act. The outlay on manure 
and cake now exceeds 1000 in the year. Very few 
new machines are used. There is nothing done that 
any common farmer of fair means who is industrious 
cannot carry out on the scale that fits his own farm. 
From the way we have taken up the land, that 
which I hold has been the poorest by nature and the 
most exhausted by the worst tenants. In fact, speak- 
ing generally, I hold all the worst land, and the ten- 
ants all the better land, on the property. Anything 
more miserable than its state cannot be conceived. I 
have often laughed at tenant-right advocates who urge 
that they have a claim to compensation for having 
reclaimed the land from a state of nature. The truth 
is the bad tenants took every good thing out of the 
land that nature at first put in it, and left it as near 
a caput mortuum as possible. By paring and burn- 
ing and over-cropping they had brought it so down 
that it would not even grow couch. A few docks 
and thistles, and a tuft of hard grass here and there, 
with the bare red soil between, was not uncommon. 
I have seen turnip drills, made ten years before, from 
which the few small bulbs had been pulled, and the 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 109 

tenant had not thought it worth while to plough the 
field for corn. Three or four good manurings with 
intervals of grass have not brought such land up to a 
fair average state. I had to pay for the neglect and 
faults of those who went before me, bad tenants 
having been the doers of the mischief. I do not say 
this to complain, but to show why the land was so 
many years before it paid, and what had to be faced. 
All was terribly run down; some worse than the 
rest. The true trouble in Ireland is, What to do with 
bad tenants ? 

No tenant was ever turned out because I wished 
for his land on account of its goodness, or to round 
off other land in hand. I just took up what the 
tenants could not live on, and made the best of it. I 
heard myself described lately as a man who had a 
passion for taking up bad land and making good land 
of it. 

Whilst this has gone on the rest of the tenants 
have gradually come to thrive thoroughly. Of some, 
on the deaths of their fathers, or when large addi- 
tions have been made to their farms, the rents have 
been raised. This has been done on my own prac- 
tical judgment, as farming like land myself, but 
making allowance for the tenants being ignorant 
and bad farmers still. As a body they are far 
better off than an equal number on any neighbour- 
ing estate. Except from his own personal faults, 
chiefly from drink, that a tenant should fail is un- 


known. But we have had some cases of the fathers 
having been worthy, industrious men, who did well, 
and their sons having turned out worthless. The 
bad times and prices of the last three years made 
five tenants last winter unable to pay their rents. 
Every one of the five was an habitual drinker, who had 
been going down for the last ten years, but struggled 
on by the help of friends and chances, till the pre- 
sent bad times brought the crisis. Two are already 
gone. Two more, one of whom holds near fifty acres, 
have not a four-footed beast, beyond a cat, on their 
land, and are sure soon to follow, and the fifth like- 
wise, unless unusual luck should cause a respite. 
There is the very best of goodwill between the 
tenants and me and my family. 

* To act strictly in any way is so unusual in Ire- 
land that it is impossible for the course I have 
always taken to be popular, and indeed the rules I 
act on are often not liked. But the tenants thrive 
and are richer than others, and it is hard to get over 
that. I am sure there is not one of them who does 
not know that I wish to see him thrive, and will do 
whatever is reasonable to help him. They consult 
me on all sorts of subjects (outside their position as 
tenants), and act on my opinion. I have had one 
who deals in guano send me 500 of his own to 
London to buy guano for him. 

A firm, resolute hand which gives scheming no 
chance, and will not listen to a whine, but which acts 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. Ill 

fairly and on proper occasion kindly, because it is 
right to do so, and not from that favouritism towards 
the individual, which is one of the curses of the 
country is a positive help to tenants, because it 
encourages self-reliance. Above all else it is needful 
that whatever one has once said should be strictly 
kept to - r that no one should have the least doubt 
that, whatever advantage he has been allowed to 
look for he is quite certain to get, is a most powerful 
lever for influence, and gives tenfold force to any 
threats it may be needful to use. 

I have stated fully what I have done with my 
own farm because I think it tends to prove my point 
that the evils of Ireland are moral. There is nothing 
to hinder any one else from doing what I have done. 
It has not been done by large wealth. The estate at 
first was only half its present size. Happily the 
famine forced me when still young to live well within 
the income, and in the then doubt whether farming 
or improvements in Ireland could be made to pay, 
it was necessary, if one was not to go into it as a 
speculation, to meet all outlay, even that for farm- 
ing stock, out of surplus income. It was of course 
hard work; as one who did the same in another 
county said to me, " We had to live on bread and 
cheese for many years," but it has repaid itself since 
in money and in self-satisfaction twenty times over. 
The estate begins to be a pleasure to look at. If 


men will not live within their incomes they can do 
nothing good, and are only a sort of showy paupers. 

As to the tenants, though they farm better than 
their neighbours, and have quite given up the worst 
bad practices such as two corn crops running ; and 
though many have sufficient capital to farm well the 
quantity of land they hold ; they are still very far 
from being good farmers, or making the most profit 
from their land. It is quite certain, however, that 
they are far before any small proprietors in Ireland. 
The profit they are able to make in good years, and 
are known to make, is very large. If Parliament 
gave them a large part of the interest in the estate 
that now belongs to me, there is no doubt they would 
prefer it. But there could be no advantage to any 
one from such a change of property. The land was 
all bought by me and those from whom I have 
inherited. The tenants agreed freely to hire it, and 
have all had the benefit of their bargains. The 
majority have made, and are making, good profit, 
and those who have failed have done so from their 
personal faults. If the same system is persevered in, 
there is no doubt, that as the tenants' knowledge, 
skill, and capital increase, they will be able fairly to 
pay higher rents for the land and make a larger profit 
for themselves besides. 

All the draining on the estate has been done by 
me ; and none, except one bog, on which turf is still 
cut, remains to be done. Sometimes I have drained 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 113 

for the tenants and charged them an increased rent 
of 5 per cent on the outlay. When, however, more 
than a few acres of a farm needed draining, the 
tenant usually begged me to take it off his hands, 
and allow him a reduction of the acreable rent for 
the number of wet acres taken. This was a gain, of 
course, to him, but I agreed to it, his real reason for 
asking it being that he had not horses strong enough 
to plough rough land, nor skill or courage to turn it 
to profit. After a time it paid me far better than 
worn-out upland that did not need draining. 

At the present time buildings and all kinds of 
other improvements are going on. In fact for over 
thirty years there has been a steady outlay for im- 
provements of 700 to 800 per annum. This for 
more than thirty years amounts to upwards of 
25,000 laid out on permanent improvements. Of 
course the early improvements now yield, directly or 
indirectly, the money required for the annual outlay 
on more improvements. And so the work goes on. 
When I began I can remember having thought, that 
if I had the estate for ten years, with liberty to spend 
as much of the income as I liked upon it, it would 
be in good order. I have now been at work for the 
best part of my life, and I see it will be necessary 
that my son should work at it, as I have done, for 
his life too, before the estate will be in the condition 
it ought to be in. 

It is only by spending capital upon it that land 


can be put into good condition and supplied with 
the buildings necessary for its full productiveness, 
whether it be in Ireland or anywhere else. The land 
of Ireland needs all the available capital of all its 
landlords and tenants together, for two or three 
generations, to put it in a proper state. And yet 
wiseacres tell us that if only the landlords (who own 
much more capital, and have much larger credit than 
the tenants) are thrown overboard, the tenants will 
be able to do it all by themselves, both their own 
proper part and the landowners' part too. Any one 
who likes to believe this, I advise to make himself 
acquainted personally with what the average Irish 
tenants really are, and with the improvements which 
they make, where circumstances of tenure are favour- 

It will be found that much the larger part of such 
improvements as have been made has been done by 
Vtndlords. I have often asserted that I have drained 
more land than all the tenants together for twenty 
miles round on every side. If I said I have drained 
twice as much, I believe I should be still far within 
the truth. I have said that my tenants are much 
before most of those on neighbouring properties in 
wealth and good farming. In a previous chapter 
I have shown how small an outlay the tenants had 
made on improvements. It can be judged therefore 
how far the claim for improvement by tenants really 
goes. Add to this that tenants now employ very 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 115 

little labour at miserable wages. They cultivate only 
as much land as their own sons can work. The rest 
lies in grass. An old and infirm man is alone paid. 

A friend who has seen what I have done asked 
me lately, " Would the plan you have followed answer 
in Connaught on estates subdivided into from seven 
to twenty acres?" I answered, I do not know 
Connaught, but I think there is no other practical 
plan that it is possible to follow, and in time it would 

Let any one soberly consider what it is possible 
to do with a bad tenant of seven to twenty acres of 
land (whether he is bad from drink, or idleness, or 
poverty, or any other fault or misfortune) except to 
take his land away, and give it to his neighbour, who 
is doing better, and to whom it will be a means of 
doing better still ? 

What is it possible for a half -ruined tenant 
(which these men in debt really are) to do on a patch 
of inferior bog, and rock, and mountain, without 
potatoes ? Even in good years he can only just keep 
his head above water. And in bad years he either 
gets more in debt, or has to get relief somewhere to 
keep him alive. Even in our better district nearly 
all the small tenants were half-ruined by the famine 
of 1847, and got thoroughly in debk I have watched 
them ever since. They have never recovered their 
position in the days of potatoes. When a few good 
years came they did fairly, and were better off; but 


every bad year upset some wholly, and crippled 
others, however low their rents were. That rents 
are low does not set a poor tenant on his legs, as can 
be proved in thousands of cases. His habits are his true 
enemies what I have called his morals. And then 
comes the question, which patriots and agitators always 
ignore. What is to become of the pauper-tenant's 
children ? But if he loses his land, and turns labourer, 
or takes up some other occupation, or emigrates, his 
children grow up in his new occupation as useful as 
any others. I know myself many children of broken 
tenants thoroughly useful men and women, whom I 
have gladly employed. They often claim an acquaint- 
ance with me on this ground : " My father was so- 
and-so, who you turned out." If they had continued 
to clem over their bit of ground they could only have 
been as useless as their fathers and mothers were. 

In my judgment this difficulty, What will become 
of the children ? is by far the most weighty objection 
to small occupiers of any tenure. 

For the last thirty years there has been no 
difficulty whatever in young men and women getting 
employment in Ireland at fair wages. Thousands 
and tens of thousands have risen and thriven in this 
way, and are now far above any small occupiers in 
every respect. 

It is not half realised how backward and barbar- 
ous the state of Ireland was half a century ago. My 
memory goes back beyond fifty years, and I can tell 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 


the impression which visits to Ireland then made on 
a public school boy. One felt the difference from 
the tone in England all over. It was a totally 
different state of society, and principle, and thought. 
The very stories one heard about what was going on 
were like those of another state of existence. Any 
suggestion for improving an estate was laughed to 
scorn by every one, as the dream of an enthusiast, 
and no one then believed it possible to improve either 
the Irish land or tenant. 

The communication with England then was very 
different from what it is now. I can remember 
crossing in a sailing packet from Cork to Bristol, and 
having what was thought an excellent passage of 
only three days. The passage often lasted for weeks. 
I have heard of six weeks. I believe that nothing 
has done so much good for Ireland, in all ways, as 
the improved facilities of communication with Eng- 
land. The effect has been incalculable in a hundred 
unobserved ways. 

The best symptom in the present distress is the 
number both of landlords and tenants who are 
borrowing money for draining. It makes one hope 
that knowledge is at length penetrating to the dark 
places of the land, and that permanent good results 
may appear hereafter. The previous apathy of land- 
lords in neglecting to drain and improve their land 
was incomprehensible and sadly wrong. 

To these difficulties let it be added that the 


country has been made into a political hotbed. 
We live under that most liberal constitutional prin- 
ciple that one man is as good as another, if not much 
better; though those who claim such rights have not 
one quality to fit them for properly using them, and 
are wholly the tools of others. How can any one 
wonder that such results as we see are daily produced? 
Home Kule M.P.'s have done great good in proving 
to men elsewhere the true nature of Irish doings. 
They are the crime de la cr&me of the large part of 
the people they represent. The changed tone of 
opinion in England is their work ; and they should 
be thanked for it. 

I have lived for a great many years in the country, 
and every year that passes I find more kindliness and 
good-will, and like those better with whom I am 
brought in contact. No one can be more alive to the 
good qualities of the people than I am. To me, too, 
life in Ireland has been very gainful, as it is to all 
honest men who take pains and have any sense. 
Moreover, I see that in many things the country has 
much advanced since I first knew it, and I thoroughly 
recognise what is so often overlooked, that improve- 
ment in the habits of a people is the work of gener- 
ations rather than of years. But I am sure that the 
sentimental view of Irish questions which was acted 
on of late, and accepted as right and true, is of the 
very opposite character, and actually hinders im- 
provement. Truth and facts are before all things in 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 119 

Ireland. Sentiment they ascribe wholly to fear of 
them and to their merits. And the return they make 
for it is only to demand more of their own way, as 
all can now see. 

The faults and neglects of landlords justly caused 
a prejudice against them, and the blame for the state 
of the country was laid at their door. The mistake 
was in the further inference that the tenants were all 
that could be wished. In truth there is not one point 
in which they were better than the landlords, and 
they had their own faults besides. If they had been 
angels of light, they could hardly have been more 
bolstered up than they were. As these measures 
applied to good and bad alike, it is easy to judge 
what has been the effect on the bad. It has been all 
that could do harm and check improvement. The 
thing wanted was to discourage the bad and to 
encourage the good, just as the natural course of the 
world would do. Men's own faults, the same as I 
have described in Irish tenants, make some unpros- 
perous; the opposite good qualities make others 
prosper. And so the good take the place of the bad. 
In no other way short of a miracle can improvement 
come about. My estate is better off than others, 
simply because there are more good tenants on it, 
and fewer bad ones. If the bad as well as the good 
had been kept, it would be simply where other 
unimproved estates are. 

To keep this bad and inferior class of tenants, is 


the end aimed at, for their own purposes, by one 
party in Ireland. Every day may be seen statements 
in the papers, as if it was the duty of landlords to 
preserve the occupiers of these seven to ten acre 
plots of bad land, supply them both with seeds and 
potatoes to plant their land, and afterwards forego 
the rent, and much else. It is nothing to save their 
lives from hunger : the aim is to preserve them as 
tenants. The truth is, landlords are greatly to blame 
for ever having permitted such miserable holdings to 
exist ; and the only possible course of amendment is 
to treat the land as neglected estates would be treated 
in England or Scotland to remove gradually the 
worst tenants and let their land to the best. If any 
one reckons the value of their plots, he will find that 
if they had them rent free it would not support them. 
I do not know Connaught, but I know Munster 
well, and the talk that the Irish people dislike emi- 
gration is not true. My part is poor, the extreme 
south of County Cork, and it is believed there is not 
a poor family in that part of the country that has not 
near relatives in America ; my own tenants, labourers, 
and servants all have, as we often hear from their 
letters. There is no reluctance to emigrate, hardly 
so much as natural feeling would be expected to 
cause anywhere. They have gone to all parts of the 
world. One thoroughly thriving tenant has two 
daughters in Queensland, both married, one to a 
shopkeeper so well off that when the son of the 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 121 

squire of the parish at home went to Queensland 
with wife and children and good capital, and failed 
in one of their bad times, even falling into want, she 
and her husband helped them all to return home 
again. The other daughter is married to a " Chinee," 
and seems to like it, which is odd. She writes that 
"Chinees" are considered to make good husbands 
out there. There is no doubt she is well off in 
money. A housemaid, a good servant, who had saved 
money after four years with us, went lately to New 
Zealand because she thought her chances of marriage 
at home were grown rather stale (to use the Irish 
expression). She writes in great prosperity. It is 
quite certain in our part we consider ourselves to be 
Citizens of the world, and are ready to take advan- 
tage of any opening in any part of the globe that 
promises success and gain. It may be different in 
Connaught. But is it realised what a patch of bog 
and rock in Connaught really is, to which such patri- 
otic attachment is supposed, and which therefore 
will be clung to, in preference to the magnificent 
land of Manitoba and North- West America, where 
splendid crops of corn grow in succession without 
manure ? 

One thing at least is certain, that the spread of 
education and intelligence that has made the Munster 
peasant glad to emigrate anywhere, and even marry 
a Chinese, will produce the same effect in Connaught, 
so soon as it reaches the same point there. The con- 


trast of the patch of Connaught bog versus the corn- 
fields of Manitoba, is beyond what human nature 
could bear. A benevolent person could not do a 
greater kindness than to print large handbills with 
descriptions of North American corn-lands, and direc- 
tions how to reach them, to be posted in all parts of 
Connaught and distributed to every national school 
child on its way home from school. 

In my district there was no distress last winter 
beyond others. Not so much as before winter. 
There is nothing that the poor-law was not more 
than able to cope with. February 1, there were 
three more paupers in the union than in 18*79 ; 
March 1, there were ten more. But nothing is more 
certain than that where the carcase is, there the 
eagles will be gathered together. Any amount of 
relief will be gladly accepted. The feeling is simply 
universal, " Why should we not get our share of 
what is going?" I contend, therefore, that the 
natural way of meeting the Irish difficulty is the 
true and only sure way that bad tenants should 
lose their land by the effect of their own faults, and 
good ones should get it instead of them, and that 
the artificial course of trying to bolster up bad 
tenants should be abandoned. A bad tenant may 
be useful as a labourer, or in some other occupation. 
If he is not, his children will probably become so. 
As an emigrant he surely betters his own condition, 
and gives his children a far better life than at home. 

IRELAND, 1840-1880. 123 

All the capital of landlord and tenant united, and 
much more, is wanted to put the land in the con- 
dition it ought to be in. If permanent improve- 
ments will pay 5 per cent on the cost, the landlord is 
well paid. Whereas manuring his farm will almost 
always pay the tenant 20 per cent, and often much 
more. The natural and right thing is for the land- 
lord to do the permanent improvements, charging an 
extra rent for the outlay, and tenants the manuring. 

It will not have escaped notice that some of the 
Home Kule M.P.'s objected to loans to landlords for 
draining, because it would enable them to charge higher 
rents for such drained land. A better proof could 
not be given of the narrow ignorance of such men. 
As if draining does not benefit all round landlord, 
tenant, and labourer and can't be hindered from 
doing so ! 

Outlay of capital on the land is the sine qud non 
of the improvement of Ireland. Whatever else is 
done or not done, that must be done, if the country 
is to be improved. It adds to the wealth of all, and 
is the surest evidence that a country is emerging from 
backwardness and poverty. 

There is one strong recommendation of the course 
I have urged : every step taken in it is so much 
secured for good. Whereas it is always the danger 
of heroic remedies that they may make the last state 
worse than the first, like that of the man in the 
rospels. It will, of course, be said I write as a 


landlord. No doubt I do ; and if I had not known 
the real value of sentimental talk, I should have had 
no business to live in Ireland, and could not have 
succeeded there. But I write as one who knew from 
the first that his own prosperity was involved in the 
prosperity of his tenants, and who, after forty years' 
experience, has found his course to succeed. Above 
all, I write in the certainty that the owning and 
improving of land is a business, as much as cotton- 
spinning, and nothing else ; that it can only prosper 
when managed on business principles, whether it 
be in England, Ireland, or Scotland, and that the 
tall talk of politicians in Ireland is only an empty 
wind-bag, full only of scheming, and sure to collapse 
when met by a resolute will. 



JULY 1880. (From Macmillan's Magazine.) 

I AM told that it will be useful to give some expla- 
nations touching my paper on " Ireland from 1840 to 
1880 " in April last, and to add what I can on the 
Social state of Ireland, a question which underlies 
all particular questions like that of land. I fear it 
will be impossible to write about the social state of 
Ireland without saying things that will give offence. 
I shall be sorry if this proves to be so. It is far from 
my wish, but in Ireland men fear to speak the truth 
when unpleasant. It is right and necessary the 
truth should be told. These then are the motives 
with which I write. 

The Freeman's Journal spoke of my paper in a 
friendly tone on the whole, but objects that, as my 
grandfather never saw the estate, and my father never 
saw it but once cursorily, their neglect was the true 
cause of the state in which I found it. 

The fuller facts, I think, show whether this is 


1. My grandfather, in the busy practice of a pro- 
fession, bought the estate when past mid-life as an 
investment. His only son, after eighteen years in the 
Dragoons, married and settled in England. It was 
more than twenty years afterwards, when he was on 
the wrong side of fifty, that the estate became his. 
Less than ten years after that time I took it in hand. 
My grandfather's and father's view of management was 
to let the land at moderate rents, and allow the tenants 
to do as they liked in most things. As to using any 
harshness, even when the tenants neglected the prim- 
ary duty of paying their moderate rents, such a thought 
never crossed their minds. Their fault was, that they" 
were not before their time, and were too easy. No 
doubt the tenants would have prospered more if the 
estate had been managed with business-like strictness. 
Still there was nothing, except their own faults, to 
hinder them from prospering ; and the burthen of their 
being in the condition in which I found them lies on 
themselves and on no one else. It was just a case of 
land bought for ordinary fair motives, in confidence 
on the law of the country, and treated in the ordinary 
fair way of that time. I believe this was the case 
with nearly all purchases within the last hundred 
years, in which time a large part of the country has 
been bought. 

There seems to be a notion that owners of land 
in Ireland acquired it in some other way than it was 
acquired in England. Except perhaps a few great 


estates that were forfeited in old times, such was not 
in any way the case. I have seen much land change 
hands in forty years, and never knew a case in which 
it was bought for other than honest reasons, such as 
prevail elsewhere. 

2. The Freeman thinks that I speak too favour- 
ably of emigration as a remedy for Irish ills. I doubt 
if any right-minded man who knew the country parts 
of Ireland from 1835 to 1845 could have any doubt 
that emigration was then an unmixed blessing to the 
poor people. They were simply eating one another 
up alive. I distinctly remember feeling that to give 
work was the greatest of all charities, and that whilst 
that state of things existed, it was a pressing duty to 
spend every shilling one could in that way. Though 
no effect seemed to be produced on the mass of poverty, 
still the payment of the small wages then current made 
all the difference in life to those who were lucky 
enough to be employed. 

Can any one doubt therefore that the departure of 
half these poor people to where work at good wages 
abounded, was a blessing to themselves, and a bless- 
ing too to the other half who stayed behind because 
they got more work at better pay ? This is the very- 
cause of the rise of wages from 3s. and 4s. per week 
in 1840, to 9s. and 12s. in 1880. 

And when emigration is looked at by the light of 
the knowledge we have of how Irish emigrants have 
prospered in America and elsewhere, any objection to 



it must be scouted as cruelty. In my part it is get 
ting common for emigrants to come back, sometime 
with money, meaning to stay permanently; othei 
only for the winter, or a time, or because they have 
been ill. There is but one tale with all of the good 
wages and prosperity they found in America. Then 
all our people have near relations there, many whom 
we employed, or knew as children, before they left. 
They are a frequent topic for talk what and how 
they are doing; whether they are married, and to 
whom, etc. They usually marry some one from the 
same neighbourhood at home, and we sometimes hear 
of visits between the old people here, who before knew 
nothing of each other, on account of the marriage in 
America. Letters are often given us to read. Some- 
times there are inquiries about every member of our 
family by name, and messages of good- will. In these 
ways the evidence is conclusive that emigration has 
been a mere blessing and source of prosperity directly 
and indirectly. 

Once more, every one, man and woman alike, who 
gets into any " trouble " at home, whether it be by 
breach of the criminal law or social or moral law, or 
by misfortune, is sure quickly to emigrate, partly for 
the sake of a new start, partly because their means of 
living at home having been shaken, if not destroyed, 
they can more easily make a living in a new country. 
I believe this to be the whole explanation of th< 
favourable nature of Irish criminal statistics. The 


criminal a go away, and so offend no more. Again 
and again the police have come to me, as a magistrate, 
asking for a warrant to arrest some offender, and 
adding, " If he is not taken at once, he will surely be 
off to America." Whenever the offence was such as 
at all to justify it, my answer has been, " That is the 
very reason I will not issue a warrant. You could do 
nothing to him if you caught him that would be half 
so good for the country as his running away to 
America ; so let him go." For these reasons I value 

3. In an agricultural paper there is an explosion 
against me by a tenant-righter from Lurgan. This 
writer knows nothing whatever of me or my doings, 
except what he read in the newspapers ; yet every- 
thing I said I had done, every motive I showed, is 
misrepresented and sneered at. I only notice him 
because he affords a convenient peg on which to hang 
some things I wish to say. He has, like the rest of 
his set, but one idea, and that is what is best described 
as a belief in the Divine right of tenants. The Divine 
right of kings was absolute wisdom compared with 
this. It had at least a noble theory to rest on that 
a king embodied all virtues ; and it relied on prin- 
ciples that raised men above selfishness and their own 
personal gain. But this supposed right of tenants 
has no theory or principle at all to rest on. It is a 
mere scheming for private gain, by which the most 
indolent and worthless tenants will gain most, often 



at the cost of honest men. That because a man hires 
a farm, large or small, yearly or for a fixed number of 
years, on quite definite terms, the agreement being 
often in writing, he thereby becomes entitled to large 
rights of property that formerly belonged without 
doubt to the owner from whom he hired it, and which 
that owner never had a thought of giving him, could 
never be conceived anywhere out of Ireland. An 
abstract name is put to the thing the tenant wishes 
for. We hear of " fixity of tenure," simply meaning, 
that instead of holding the land for the term agreed 
for and promised, the tenant is to have it for ever and 
ever. Then, it being seen that, if the previous owner 
could raise the rent as he thought proper, fixity of 
tenure might not be of much value, it is claimed that 
there shall be a valuation for rents by the Govern- 
ment. The valuation for poor-rates and other local 
taxes was made by Sir E. Griffiths for the Government 
many years ago. It was meant only as a relative valu- 
ation for taxation. The prices of different sorts of 
produce were laid down by the Act of 15 and 16 Vic. 
c. 63, according to which the valuation was to be made. 
These prices were wheat, 7s. 6d. per cwt. ; oats, 4s. 
lOd. ; barley, 5s. 6d. ; flax, 49s. ; butter, 65s. 4d. ; beef, 
35s. 6d. ; mutton, 41s. ; pork, 42s. all about half the 
prices at which such produce usually sells for now. 

Yet, because this valuation is so low, it is now 
spoken of as the highest standard by which rents 
ought to be fixed ; and above all things there is to be 


no competition as to the rent to be paid to the land- 
lord, though the keenest competition is wished for as 
to the money to be paid to the outgoing tenant for 
his goodwill. 

But the right to hold farms for ever and ever, and 
at rents fixed without any honest competition, is 
not enough. Idleness or drink might still ruin a 
good many. So the further claim is put in that if, 
from any cause, whether non-payment of rent, or 
having quite exhausted the farm, the tenant has to 
leave it, he should still be allowed to sell his right of 
occupancy to the highest bidder, and so, if times are 
good, put a large sum in his pocket ; and whoever 
buys such occupancy is to have a similar right of 
selling it whenever he sees fit, without regard to the 

Any one can see that this simply deprives the 
landowner of part of his reversion and gives it to the 
tenant. The owner may have spent a large sum on 
improving the reversion, as I have done (700 to 800 
a year, for between thirty and forty years equal to 
25,000). Again, on the faith of the law of the coun- 
try, that honest right should prevail, he may have 
trusted, as I did, that those who were to succeed him 
should reap the profit of his outlay. It is to be taken 
from him, and given to the present tenants, good and 
bad alike, without repayment even of the money that 
can be proved to have been spent upon it. If the 
State has sufficient grounds for taking away the re- 


version from its owners, let it do so honestly by pay- 
ing for it, as has been done in other cases. Even 
the Ulster tenants paid for their tenant-right. The 
landowner may be able to show that he let the farm 
to the tenant himself without any such rights; in 
many cases by lease. In my own case about three- 
fifths of my tenants hold by lease, and the rest only 
have not leases, because having been promised their 
farms for their lives at the old rent, and my word 
always kept to them, they prefer the benefit of the 
promise to a new bargain and lease. A great number 
of landlords have spent largely some more, some 
less upon their land, and so have the same rights 
that I have. Why are landlords to be deprived of 
what is theirs honestly ? All this applies to every 
plan of free sale no less than to Ulster tenant-right. 

Others propose to confiscate the land itself, paying 
for it twenty years' purchase of the Government 
valuation already mentioned (which is about half the 
present true letting-value), and sinking the value of 
the reversion. Their plan is, by refusing rents, and 
making it hard for owners to get them paid, further 
to beat down the value. The Government is to have 
the privilege of paying the purchase -money and 
getting back from the tenant what it can of it by 

Let it be added further, to show the small weight 
of the tenant party, that the whole population of 
Ireland is less than five millions and a half. In 1871 


it was five millions three hundred thousand ; next 
year it will probably be less ; of whom one million 
and a half are Protestants a very different state of 
tilings from what I can remember, when in many parts, 
like my own, the proportion was twelve to one. Men 
forget that the fact of a majority does not lessen the 
strength of a resolute minority. Of the remaining 
four millions, it is believed that the small tenants, 
who would gain anything by such measures, are less 
than half a million, besides their wives and children. 
This is not a great number, nor such as to give any 
sufficient justification for setting aside sound principles 
of dealing with the land, even as a question of policy. 

4. The simple fact is, that, with very few excep- 
tions, tenants have not improved their farms ; they 
have not been industrious, or skilful, or sober; a 
large proportion are indolent and scheming; the 
rents have been less than the value ; nor has there 
been any general oppression or hardship put on them 
to hinder their prosperity. 

Though the evidence given before the Duke of 
Richmond's Commission on agricultural distress has 
not yet been made public, yet the nature of that evi- 
dence is known. Professor Baldwin of Glasnevin, 
who is one of the Assistant Commissioners for 

t[reland, has sent in a report, and has been partly 
jxamined besides. He is, at least, a disinterested, 
md not a landlord's, witness ; yet I believe it is not 
jossible that anything could be stronger than the 


opinion he has given on the faults of Irish tenants 
and their worthlessness as farmers. 

5. I suppose there was never a question the facts 
and statistics of which were so little taken into 
account. Everything has been taken for granted on 
sentiment. The only important question to the great 
majority of the people is, in what way the general 
prosperity of the country will be best promoted ? in 
what way the most capital will be laid out ? how the 
best wages will be paid, and who will pay them ? so 
that the comfort of the whole people may be most 
advanced in better houses, clothes, and all else. 

There is no doubt Ireland is a poor country com- 
pared with England, and all the capital of all classes, 
including the landlords, is not enough to lay out in 
developing its resources. The capital of the occupy- 
ing tenants is not enough for farming their land 
moderately well in their own backward style. For 
anything like good farming, with better stock and 
enough bought manures and cattle foods, it is wholly 
insufficient. It is only a chance tenant who has any 
money to spare that he could lay out on draining or 
permanent buildings. The Land Act is said to have 
failed ; the true reason is because tenants cannot get 
compensation for improvements which they have 
not made. The tenants' friends in Parliament are 
now asking that the owners' power of ejecting for 
non-payment of rent may be taken away for one year 
and a half and treated as a capricious eviction. 


What chance is there that men who ask this will be 
able to lay out hundreds of pounds in permanent im- 
provements and improved farming? The truth is, 
that to look to the tenants for such an outlay is a 
mere pretence. They cannot do it, and have not the 
qualities to enable them to make it succeed, even if 
they had the money to pay for it. I have had well- 
to-do tenants ask me to let my men do some special 
job for them that was properly their own, and offer 
to repay me the cost. They said I should do it so 
much cheaper than they could get it done, that it 
would be a considerable gain to them. Nearly all 
the improvements now existing have been made by 
the owners of the land, except a certain number of 
dwelling-houses, about which a not unhealthy vanity 
has grown up ; and even of these in most cases the 
landlord has paid a large part of the cost usually 
half. The statements made of tenants having made 
improvements are very rarely true, unless thatched 
cabins and a multitude of useless fences are im- 
provements. The tenants are unable to carry out 
any heavy job of reclamation, as much for want of 
knowledge as of means. 

Further, the improvements in farming during the 
last twenty years have been almost wholly the effect 
of the example of the landowners' Scotch bailiffs 
"stewards" as they are called in Ireland. Some 
landowners, not satisfied with their own know- 
ledge of farming, have sent their sons to Scotland 


to learn the very best system and ways of treating 

In the past winter most pf the loans for giving 
employment to the poor were taken by landowners. 
In a Barony in the remotest part of County Cork, 
where there was really some distress, two landowners 
undertook to employ every poor man in it. Who are 
able to do the draining and reclamation if the land- 
owners give such works up ? Some landowners have 
built good labourers' houses for their people, with 
gardens, etc., attached. The wages they pay, 9s. to 12s. 
per week, and sometimes more, are without exception 
far above those paid by farmers. My rule has always 
been to pay a little over the usual (not the farmers') 
rate of the district. When a family is industrious, often 
two or more members of it are employed as labourers. 
I had a family for the last few years new-comers 
to the parish of whom I employed the father and 
two sons at 9s. per week each, and the mother and 
daughter at 6s. each 39s. in all, besides house, etc., 
free. At the end of three years they were no better 
off than when they came, and I had the satisfaction 
of finding that my good wages had gone to get their 
house blessed, to drive out the fairies, who were sus- 
pected of haunting it ! 

The farmers in my part now employ scarcely any 
labourers. They only till so much of their land as 
they can manage with their own help, as they call it. 
They will not pay the wages. A few employ a 


servant boy who lives in the house, and sometimes an 
old or very inferior man who is miserably paid, and 
whom they also feed because he could not work at 
all on his home-feeding. It is still a kind of conacre 
system ; house and potato land, grass for a sheep or 
two, at a price agreed on, to be paid by the man's 
labour reckoned at 6d. per day. During a part of 
the year, when potatoes are over, a certain number 
of sacks of Indian meal are got from a dealer at 
usurious interest till the next harvest; the farmer 
giving security. This and the interest are paid for in 
the same way by the labourer. It is a sorely oppres- 
sive system. Bad work, badly paid for, with schem- 
ing and trickery, and law at all corners. If the 
labourers depended on the work given them by far- 
mers, their position would be quite hopeless, except 
by their leaving the country. From first to last the 
landlords who give employment are the only persons 
who have done anything for labourers. The hard- 
ness with which the farmers treat their labourers is 
grievous ; very few show them a trace of the con- 
sideration they so loudly cry for to their own land- 
lords. If the landlords treated the tenants with 
half the hardness the tenants show to the labourers, 
they might very justly complain. 

6. Nor does the matter end here. The produce 
of the land when well farmed is far greater than 
when farmed by ordinary tenants. I had occasion a 
few months ago to talk over with my Scotch bailiff 


what was the increase of produce from the land in 
my own hands compared with the produce of the 
same land when let to tenants. I cannot prove how 
much the land yielded when let to tenants ; so that no 
certainty could be attained on that point; but we were 
both clearly of opinion that the produce was more 
than four times as great now. Several things lead 
me to think that it is much more than four times. 
The net profit after paying Scotchman and all else 
is near four times the Government (Griffith's) 
valuation of the land. 

7. It is easy to judge what is the effect of good wages 
on labourers, and on the many other persons of all 
sorts who depend on the expenditure of money 
wages, or on dealing that is paid for at last out of 
wages. In my village of a dozen houses, a baker has 
set up. I built him a large oven that is in work 
every day, where since the time of Adam a loaf was 
never baked before, and where until the last few 
years scarcely any bread was used. He has opened 
a general shop too, where almost everything may be 
bought. What has happened on the small scale of 
my village is going on everywhere else on a much 
larger scale. The former tenants of my farm spent 
nothing on bought manures, or on bought foods for 
stock. Now, we spend over 1 per acre yearly all 
round on such things, and could not make the farm 
pay without them. 

Such gains as I have described are just what 


absenteeism deprives the country of. That some 
one should spend money on such improvements is the 
necessary root of any prosperity in Ireland ; but, as 
the toes of the Divine right of tenants are thereby 
trodden on, the evils of absenteeism are overlooked, 
and the shouts are directed against the wicked im- 
proving owners, who lay out money, and look for a 
return in better rents. The whole argument is, that 
outlay of capital on the land and better farming 
cause the prosperity of the country and of all classes 
in it. Those who have lived there as long as I have, 
see the change unmistakably, and in those parts of 
the country where the largest outlay has gone on, the 
comfort of the people is much the greatest. 

It may reasonably be asked, If this is so, what 
is to be done to make things go on in Ireland, as they 
do in England and Scotland ? 

To answer this question we must realise what is 
the general state of Ireland, what are its shortcomings 
and their causes ? 

1. It may be doubted whether the intermixture 
of races between England, Scotland, and Ireland is 
not much greater than has been often supposed, 
though there are differences of race. The great differ- 
ence does not probably lie in that. 

In very early times the state of Ireland was one 
of constant conflict between tribes. Like the Ish- 
maelites, a man's hand was against every man, and 
every man's hand against him. The country was very 


thinly peopled, especially inland. In the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth we know that the troops had to cut 
their way through the woods in the West Biding of 
Cork to reach the rebels in remote parts after the 
great Tyrone rising. It was a state of constant war. 

2. In such circumstances tribal virtues and vices 
would be strongly developed. Fidelity to one's own 
tribe, and utter treachery and deceit towards its 
enemies (i.e. all others), with constant violence, 
would be the normal state. This in substance is very 
much what we find now. Men are singularly faith- 
ful in many relations of life and to comrades even in 
ill-doing. They readily combine for all sorts of ends, 
especially for their own personal interests. I have 
long believed that the force of Trades Unions both 
in England and in America owes much to the Irish 
element. It is easy to see how such tribal feelings 
would adapt themselves to differences in religion and 
to class differences, and would be kept alive by the 
disturbed and half conquered state of the country 
from the time of Henry II. to the present century. 

The most striking illustration of the readiness to 
form parties and " Factions " (which differ little from 
tribes) that I know of, was that of the Two Year 
Olds and Three Year Olds in Tipperary, of which so 
much was heard a few years ago. The whole original 
cause of dispute was that there existed a bull on the 
borders of two parishes, which the people of one 
parish said was two years old at a certain time, 


whilst the people of the other parish said he was 
three years old. So, as neither faction would admit 
it was wrong, they fought, and battered, and killed 
each other at fairs and markets, and Sundays and 
holidays after mass, according to the approved system 
of faction -fights of fifty years ago. The Two Year 
Olds and Three Year Olds spread wider and wider 
over a considerable district of Tipperary and Limerick. 
They were again and again cursed by archbishops, and 
bishops, and priests. After seeming to die out they 
revived several times, and subsided only after many 

No Irishman ever breaks the law without having 
one eye watching over his shoulder, to be sure his 
way of escape is open. I remember when I first 
went over, a characteristic story was current. A 
man was under sentence of death for some bad crime. 
A gentleman, near whom he had lived, chanced to 
know that the man had meant to shoot him. He 
went to the jail the day before the man was to be 
hanged, and said to him, " You might as well tell me, 
Pat, since it can now make no difference to you, why 
you did not shoot me; for I know you meant to 
do it." The gentleman was a capital shot, always 
carried arms, and was known to be very resolute. 
The answer was, " Well, your honour, it's true it will 
make no odds .to me now; so I'll tell ye. I had 
ye covered twice from behind a ditch, and as I was 
going to pull the trigger the thought went through 


my head, ' By , if I miss him, it's all up with 


Whenever the law is enforced, it is vastly power- 
ful for good, all appearances to the contrary notwith- 
standing. The common saying among themselves 
when quarrelling and before it comes to blows, " I'll 
forgive you the law, if you'll strike me," is conclusive 
proof how strong a deterrent the law is, and how 
every man keeps it before his eyes. The influence in 
Ms neighbourhood of an active magistrate, who is just 
and determined, is another strong proof. The un- 
mixed and unvarying hatred shown in Parliament by 
all Irish patriots, to the law, and police, and to all 
that helps to make these efficient, shows that they 
know who are their real enemies. The curious readi- 
ness to go security for neighbours who borrow money, 
or in any way want security, comes from this same 
clan feeling. It is nothing short of folly, and ends in 
the ruin of numbers. 

It is sadly certain, too, that untruth towards all the 
rest of the world grievously prevails. It is the most 
painful part of living in Ireland. It meets one at 
every turn, and among all sorts and classes. One is 
forced to become as hard as the nether millstone, and 
simply believe nothing at all, if one would not be the 
prey of every schemer. No doubt there are indi- 
viduals who speak the truth. God forbid there should 
not be. And there are degrees of truth (or untruth) 
that one learns to recognise. There is a common 


expression, which I can never hear without laughing. 
When any one wishes to convince you that another 
may be believed about something in which his in- 
terest is not concerned, he will say, " You know, sir, 
Jack is a man who would not tell ye a lie for no- 
thing." There is, no doubt, a distinction in this, 
though the moral attainment of Jack may not be of 
very high value. One has to judge mainly by proba- 
bilities. Happily everybody in his heart is alive to 
the untruth. The man himself feels it, and does not 
expect to be believed, though he may hope it. Then 
there is the enemy with his story on the other side ; 
so that practically it is easier to make up your mind, 
if you thoroughly know the people and their interests, 
than could beforehand be thought possible. 

The first thing needful for any one who has to 
deal with Irish questions, but who does not know the 
people, is clearly to recognise this universal untruth. 
If he takes that fairly and fully into account, he has 
no great difficulty in forming a sound judgment. 
Otherwise he is the prey of whoever can get his ear. 

It is not only the deliberate falsehoods, but the 
unreliableness throughout, that has to be met. There 
is an atmosphere of untruth and half-truth surround- 
ing everything, so that those who are true themselves, 
but have been brought up in this atmosphere, seem 
unconscious of it, and treat want of truth with a for- 
bearance it does not deserve. Nobody seems to 
expect that truth and right shall prevail. When, as 


a magistrate, one has decided against a man, there is 
no wonder he should think you have decided contrary 
to truth and right ; but .when one has decided in a 
man's favour, it is a hard case when he meets you 
and says, "God bless your honour; it was only 
through you I got the better of that blackguard." 
The man does not believe in the truth and right of 
his own case, and thinks he won by favour. 

Untruth is at the bottom of the universal schem- 
ing and jobbing that prevails. Without that such 
scheming would be impossible, and the plausible 
assurance and confidence with which it is all done 
the assertion of the very highest motives only often 
puts one in doubt whether to laugh or cry. 

The most painful proof of the depth to which un- 
truth prevails amongst us is the way in which some 
of the Bishops and most of the clergy of the Church 
of Ireland have acted under the Disestablishment Act. 
The jobbing and money-getting that has gone on, espe- 
. cially under the power given of Compounding, was such 
as no one could have believed possible. The Act gave 
the power to compound, i.e. of selling out his annuity 
for a lump sum, free from the claim the Church Act 
gave, that the clergyman should continue to do duty 
in the Church. It required the consent of the Eepre- 
sentative Body, plainly in order that Compounding 
might only be done under such arrangements as would 
not be a loss to the Church. Compounding in some 
cases, and to a moderate and fair extent, was a gain, 


but if carried far was a great loss to the Church. 
The Eepresentative Body was very soon induced to 
give the full right of compounding at their own 
pleasure to all clergymen. We were assured they were 
so conscientious, that the right might be granted safely. 

It has come to pass that almost all men promoted 
to better livings, compound for their former incum- 
bencies before they finally accept the better ones, 
and so, besides the income of the better livings, put 
large sums in their pockets for ever, that otherwise 
would and should have remained to the Church ! I 
could quote cases within my own knowledge, in which 
a Bishop appointed to a see, with a thoroughly 
secured income of over 1500 a year, compounded 
for a living he had held before, and put more than 
5000 besides into his pocket for ever, that otherwise 
would have gone to the Disestablished Church. I 
could tell of a Dean having a small living, and being 
promoted to a much better living, and compounding 
for the smaller living, and pocketing 2000 out of it, 
besides the larger income of his new parish. 

I am thankful to add that we have a few cases of 
clergymen who refused to take a shilling of such 
gains, because they said the money belonged to God's 
service, and not to themselves. All honour be to 

3. There is no such thing as a healthy public 
opinion in Ireland among any class. There is no- 
thing and no one to put anybody to shame, what- 



ever his conduct may be. Men often do acts, after 
which, if done in England, they would never again 
venture to look an honest man in the face. In Ire- 
land they walk about as confident as ever, as if 
they had done nothing to be ashamed of. Nobody 
treats them as worse than others, or seems to think 
them so. 

4. There is no royal road to better the condition 
of Ireland or to improve its land. A country in 
such a backward and undeveloped state is simply in 
a state of childhood. For this reason the strictest 
application of sound rules of right and wrong, and of 
those economical principles of free and open com- 
petition that have so helped the prosperity of Eng- 
land, are of supreme importance. 

5. That the law should be always enforced is one 
of the greatest needs of the country. "When there is 
any difficulty in enforcing it, it is a sure proof that 
the law needs to be strengthened, so that it may be 
enforced. No one should be left the least hope that 
he can evade the law. It is not severity that is 
wanted it is the certainty of punishment for wrong- 

I believe that a sure punishment of one month 
on the treadmill, if it might be inflicted summarily, 
on the same principles as are held to justify arrest 
when the Habeas Corpus Act is suspended, would 
keep the most disturbed district quiet. I acted on 
this view during the Fenian troubles, only of course 


I was bound by the rules of evidence. Whenever I 
could, I sent all who broke the law to the treadmill 
for a month. The result was capital. The punish- 
ment seemed so light that their very friends laughed 
at them. But their own remark, after the month 
was over, was, " Whisha, 'twould kill Samson." It did 
come sharp on men of a sort not much used to hard 
work. Afterwards I got a message from some of them 
that I was so impartial that they would not object 
to be tried for their lives by me. So it is clear I did 
not sin in over-severity. 

If indicted, they would have had the chance of a 
" friend on the jury," who would not find a verdict. 
Under Lord O'Hagan's last unfortunate Jury Act, 
there are very few counties in which a conviction for 
many sorts of crimes can be got. In Ireland, this 
" friend on the jury " is one of the institutions of the 
country, and one of its curses. Magistrates in Ireland 
have often to serve on juries, and I have often done 
so. Whenever a prejudice of religion, or any other, 
could be brought into a case anyhow, though it was a 
purely civil case, the end was certain. It was utterly 
disgusting work, and added to one's conviction of 
the grievous untruthfulness of the country. Any 
one who had been a lawyer could see the counsel on 
one side fighting to make a case for influencing a 
juror to stand out, and so no verdict. There is a 
public butter market in Cork, where business is done 
to an immense value, but which is a wholly close 


market, and has no legal rights whatever. In my 
memory there have been five actions tried against 
it with a view to open the market. In every one the 
Judge summed up strongly against it ; but a friend 
on the jury (the market is very influential) refused 
to agree to a verdict, and so the market went on 
again as before, and does so still. 

It can be judged of from this, what are the chances 
of a verdict in criminal cases in which religion or class 
interests are concerned. The effect of the new Jury 
Act is, that whilst in form promoting impartiality in 
the selection of a jury, it really enables the criminal 
to escape scatheless, whether he is guilty or not, be- 
cause the jury is not impartial. 

As proofs of the effect of enforcing the law, I 
would recall O'Connell's trial after his agitation for 
Repeal. A conviction was got, he was put in prison, 
but not long after escaped by a writ of error in the 
House of Lords upon a technical fault in the proceed- 
ings. Yet such was the effect of its being seen and 
felt that the Government would put the law in foi 
and no longer allow itself to be trifled with, that 
agitation collapsed, and he never again could recovt 
his influence. So in the Fenian scare, the same nigl 
that it was announced in the House of Commons th* 
the Habeas Corpus would be suspended in Irelam 
the steamers to England were full of Fenians gettii 
out of reach of the expected Act ; they thought the 
Standing Orders would be suspended, and the Act 


passed at once. When lately the Westmeath Act 
passed, which in substance gave power to suspend 
the Habeas Corpus in proclaimed districts, they knew 
there was not so much hurry, so waited for the third 
reading in the House of Lords. There was a com- 
plete reign of terror in Westmeath, kept up by only 
about twelve or twenty ruffians, all known to the 
police. They murdered the stationmaster at Mullin- 
gar, because he was strict to the porters, and others. 
A labourer could not be discharged without danger. 
As soon as the third reading of the Act passed, the 
whole set went together to America from Queenstown, 
and the country was quiet. 

I never took a serious view of the Fenian affair. 
I thought it one of those Irish follies only needing 
to have a firm foot placed on it to be put down. 

In the small town near me a set of silly boys and 
others " began the war " as they called it. Beginning 
the war consisted in trying to rescue any drunken 
men the police arrested and were taking to Bridewell. 
They did not succeed in rescuing anybody, but in a 
few days two or three attempts were made, and the 
police were hustled and struck. Summonses for the 
next Petty Sessions were issued, and threats were 
used by the Fenians, that, if any one was punished, 
it would be the worse for the magistrates, etc. etc. 
I did not hear of the matter till the day before the 
Petty Sessions, and having then asked what precau- 
tions had been taken to prevent a rescue and protect 


the magistrates, was told that a good many extra 
police had been ordered in. I at once said that was 
quite enough to make a successful fight, but not 
enough to prevent a row from taking place (the only 
right principle to act on in Ireland), and as there 
were dragoons thirteen miles off, I signed a requisi- 
tion for a small party of them to come over next 
morning. At ten o'clock there they were, drawn up 
outside the town, and waiting for a magistrate to 
billet them. 

The result was the most amiable quiet. The 
officers sat with us for their amusement all day. I 
went to Court resolved, if possible, that some one 
should go to the treadmill for a month for his 
country's good. Too much fuss had been made about 
the first cases, and it was necessary to send them to 
Quarter Sessions for trial, which had the effect of 
letting the offenders out on bail. At length three 
unhappy fellows had cases proved against them, and 
I persuaded the other J.P/s to sentence them to one 
month on the treadmill. In ordinary course they 
would have been forwarded to Cork gaol next day. 
And I knew that there would be an ovation of 
Fenians, and perhaps a row, when they started. 

It was a frosty evening, and I asked the officer of 
the dragoons how fast he should go home if we let 
him go. " About six miles an hour," was the answer. 
I replied, " The door of the gaol at B. is just opposite 
your barrack gate. Will you take charge of these 


men in a car and lodge them in it ?" My friend was 
only too happy to go home on such conditions. In a 
quarter of an hour the soldiers were at the back door 
of our Bridewell, mounted. The prisoners were in a 
car with two policemen, and all trotted off, whilst 
their friends knew nothing of what was happening, 
and there was not a soul to cheer them. A note to the 
county jailor requested him to give them as much of 
the treadmill as the law permitted. And a grim answer 
came back, that he would take care they should re- 
turn with a salutary dread of that establishment. 

So there was no more war or trouble with Fen- 
ianism in that place. Some time after the men had 
done their month, happening to meet the head con- 
stable, I asked how his friends were going on. The 
answer was, " Oh, sir, you might send them for a 
message down the pump, if you wished. When they 
meet me in the street, if they are the same side, they 
cross over to the other, for fear I should say they 
jostled me." 

6. Home Eule is even a more pitiful sham than 
Fenianism. In O'ConnelTs agitation the leaders were 
at least men of intellect and power of mind. Every- 
body knows what the Leaders and the Led are now. 
The one good they have done is to make this known 
to all. A firm grasp by the Government would put an 
end to them. 

It is this artificial character of Irish agitations, and 
that they are not caused by real present grievances, 


that makes much of the difficulty. Agitations are in 
substance got up by the agitators, upon the remains 
of the ill-will of former days, and are purposely 
contrived to give all the trouble possible in every 
way. Every one in them means to go as far as he 
can, without getting himself personally into trouble. 
The more bad motives and ill-will he can infuse, and 
the more alarm and excitement he can cause, the 
more his end is attained. 

Yet all this time the real danger to the peace of 
the country is very small, as all sensible men, and 
even the agitators too, know well. Of course, the 
classes which would gain by the agitation, if it could 
succeed, back it up as well as they can. Why should 
they not do so ? If agitators in England proposed to 
give a great dole to some poor class out of the 
pockets of another class, would they too not shout 
for it? What does the fear of Socialism on the 
Continent, especially in Germany, mean ? Its root 
is the same as that of Irish agitation. 

But in Ireland the class that hopes to gain by it 
has no idea of committing itself. If the agitation 
succeeds, it will gain something. If it fails, it loses 
nothing that it had before. It is just making-believe, 
like all the rest. I firmly believe the mass of the 
people are quiet and willing to obey the law, only they 
cannot resist trying what can be had at the cost of 
others by scheming, when the hope is held out to them. 

7. Another great need of the country is more 


industry. They are not an industrious people. Hard 
work, however gainful, is disliked. They will work 
hard by fits and starts ; but the steady backbone is 
not there. There is nothing to hinder any man from 
reaping the fruit of his industry. Many do so. 
Things are not now as they were before the famine, 
when, if a tenant lost his bit of land, there was little 
for him to fall back on. Labour is now well paid, 
whilst there is every facility for earning still higher 
wages in England and America. The man who clings 
to a wretched bit of land in Ireland, that is unable to 
support him and his, is just a pauper, and must be so 
for ever if he stays. 

What Mr. Eobert Chambers, with Scotch canni- 
ness, calls the "peasant proprietor craze" needs 
qualities that are very rare in Ireland great industry, 
skill, and self-exertion. 

Instead of being a sort which the State should 
strive to root in the soil, the State (if it is to do 
anything) should put paupers like these somewhere 
where they can earn a better living, and the children 
can grow up in comfort and decency, different from 
the state of their parents. Such paupers are useful 
to agitators, and to no one else. They form, in fact, 
the agitator's stock-in-trade, and the agitators accord- 
ingly do their best to preserve them. The more that 
is done for them by the State, or any one else, the 
worse they will be. They are in the position of a 
protected interest under the very worst circum- 


stances, because they never had any industry or 
exertion in them. To treat them as some seem to 
wish is pure protectionism. And as with other pro- 
tected interests, Free Competition, in the same way 
as it has been brought to bear on all the other pro- 
tected interests of the kingdom, is the only way to 
cure the evils that arise from it. 

Those who propose heroic cures are, without 
exception, men who have no personal knowledge of 
land or of farming. All the powers on earth cannot 
improve land, except by the expenditure of capital of 
some sort, or of labour which is capital. These men 
have no sort of capital, they hinder those who have it 
from expending it, and will not work hard themselves. 

The principle of the Land Act was economically 
unsound. It was really a measure of protectionism 
for one kind of business small farming in the hands 
of the least industrious class in the three kingdoms. 
The business of small farming needs the stimulus of 
free competition more than almost any other busi- 
ness; and protection to small farmers was sure to 
produce, and has produced, the same effects on them 
that it has produced everywhere else. 

8. One thing that makes the progress of Ireland 
slow is that it is only within the last ten years that 
the personal recollections of the Eebellion of 1*798 
have passed away. Ten years ago there were many 
alive who could tell of the crimes and horrors they 
had actually seen or heard. And there is a reality in 


the accounts of such things by old people who have 
been eye-witnesses, that makes them very different 
from hearsay second-hand stories. 

It is not many years since, taking shelter in a 
cabin from a shower, an old woman told me all that 
happened during the rebellion of 1798 in my own 
neighbourhood. Chancing to repeat what she had 
told me to a friend, a General Officer of Artillery 
from another district, he answered, " Kemember it ? 
why, I was out, and helping to put the rebellion 
down." It appeared that his father, having fought 
manfully as a Eoyalist in South Carolina during 
the American Eevolution, and lost in it wife and 
child and all that he had there, when the rebellion 
of '98 broke out, was put in command of a camp 
of volunteers, etc., twelve miles from his home in 
Ireland. My friend was twelve years old, and when 
his father started for his command, his mother hid 
the boy's shoes, to prevent his following. When his 
father got up next morning, there was the boy with- 
out shoes in the corner of the tent. So he was 
allowed to stay and go through it. 

Soon after, talking over the subject with an old 
poor-law guardian, he said, "Oh, I remember all about 
it. I was a boy and lay behind the ditch, to see it 
all, when there was the fighting at the cross above." 

This fighting is known in history as the Battle of 
Ballinascarthy, which I well recollect to have heard 
of often in childhood, because our best tenant had 


been killed at it with a year's rent in his pocket, 
which was never seen after. 

Part of a regiment of militia from the north of 
Ireland had been quartered at the small town near, 
to keep the district quiet. It was known that some 
of the men had been tampered with by the rebels. 
So the militia were ordered to march one morning for 
Cork, whilst some regulars were sent from Cork to 
take their place. 

My friend the guardian described it : " They 
went along the old road as far as the Big Cross 
(marked on the Ordnance map still as Croppy's 
Cross). There the rebels were waiting for them in 
the fields. The captain was on horseback, and he 
stood upon the bit of grass in the middle, where the 

roads meet, and the sergeant by his side. Jack 

he put up his gun to shoot the officer, and before he 

could do it, the sergeant shot him. Then Jim he 

shot the sergeant; and they were just going at it 
hammer and tongs (no doubt in hopes to master and 
kill the officers and loyal men) when, sure enough, 
the army from Cork was seen coming over the hill 
along the road, not a quarter of a mile off. Then 
they ran away down the fields as hard as they could 

go, and the soldiers after them. And then Peter , 

and Mick , and Pat , and Denis , with a 

dozen others whose names he mentioned as fathers, 
or uncles, or related to people one knew about were 
all killed." 


Can it be wondered at that, when living accounts 
of fights like this, and of many others worse and far 
more barbarous, could be heard from eye-witnesses, 
breaking the law should be thought little of ? I can 
remember how the horror of the stories I heard 
fastened itself on my imagination in early youth : 
such as the burning of the Shea family in the county 
Tipperary, the murder of another family at Wild 
Goose Lodge, and many others. 

Whilst such things as these are present in men's 
minds, not as matters of history, but as realities, a 
country cannot be peaceable ; everything in the way 
of outrage seems possible and easy. 

Then wherever men have the idea of outrage in 
their minds, intimidation is sure to present itself as 
advantageous. In fact, in Ireland, in any difficulty, the 
first resource of many is intimidation. The frequent 
threatening letters we read of in the papers are a 
proof of this, though ninety-nine out of a hundred 
are rubbish only attempts to frighten. The threats 
are by no means always threats of outrage, but of all 
kinds of indefinite wrath, loss of favour and of help, 
which the unhappy offender will or shall encounter. 
Many will threaten, and try to intimidate, who never 
really intend to commit an outrage. Then the people 
are curiously afraid of each other. Again and again, 
when I have suggested to a man that he should do 
something that was likely to be unpopular with some 
of his neighbours, I have had the answer, " How 


could I tell, but may be when I was not expecting it 
I'd get a blow of a stone on my head, from behind 
a ditch, that might kill me ? " 

9. The idea that a man is independently to act 
on his own judgment about public questions does not 
seem to exist. I remember many years ago, during 
the reign of Lord Palmerston, his Attorney-General 
was member of Parliament for County Cork. He 
had to seek re-election on his appointment, and 
though a thoroughly respectable Eoman Catholic, the 
Koman Catholic priests opposed him, to punish Lord 
Palmerston for something he had done. The Attor- 
ney-General was a native of the small town near me, 
where he had many relatives, and was very popular. 
So the people and Roman Catholic clergy of it were 
all with him, but not so in other parishes. I went to 
vote for him, and when I got near the polling-place, 
I saw a mob, which, as soon as they saw me, started 
off towards me. I soon found they were townspeople, 
who had caught a very respectable and thriving 
tenant of mine from a neighbouring parish, going to 
vote against their popular Attorney-General. They 
had had him some time, arguing that I was going 
to vote for their man, so he had no right to vote 
the other way, and when I came, I should make him 
vote as they wished. He declared he was sure I 
should not ask him. So all eagerly rushed at me, 
entreating me to make him vote right. The coolness 
of the man, who was only gratifying his priest, and 


the excitement of the crowd, were most amusing to 
see. I told him, of course, to do as he liked, to the 
sore disappointment of my neighbours. It was most 
characteristic. Nowhere are the mischiefs of govern- 
ment by party so evident as in a country in the con- 
dition of Ireland. The questions that divide parties 
in England and Scotland are only on the surface, 
compared with those that are at stake in Ireland. 
It is not alone differences of religion, but all the 
rights of property, as hitherto understood, that are in 
the balance. 

10. The system of competitive examination for 
all the minor Government appointments, as Excise, 
Customs, etc., has done great good if only by lessen- 
ing the party patronage to be given away. The 
number of successful candidates has been much be- 
yond the proportion of the numbers of the people. 
A good schoolmaster, able to grind up youths for 
the examination, does great good and gets well paid. 
The successive masters of a national school in the 
small town near, of which I am the manager, have 
more than once passed three or four candidates, 
out of a total of eighty to one hundred vacancies for 
the three kingdoms. The school is only attended by 
Protestant children, of whom we have many. But 
for grinding youths for Government examinations, 
Roman Catholics come to our masters as freely as 
Protestants. Religious differences don't count when 
there is something to be got, and Roman Catholics 


succeed as well as Protestants when they have an 
equally good teacher. 

11. Whatever appointments, high or low, are 
made for party reasons are often grievously jobbed ; 
and there is no difference in that respect in my ex- 
perience between the two parties ; one is as bad as 
the other. Thus, the appointments to the magistracy 
are often very bad. Men are not seldom appointed 
who are wholly unfit, without education, knowledge, 
character, or even property. Eeligion or politics are 
the only motive. The queer thing is that some of 
the worst appointments are those of men of a differ- 
ent religion from that supposed to be allied with the 
party by whom the appointment is made. "We have 
men nominated of whom it is doubtful if they can 
read and write, and others who, unless direly maligned, 
have themselves been guilty of all sorts of offences. 
No one can believe the harm such appointments 
do. The Stipendiary magistrates, too, are appointed 
for party reasons, and many of them are very in- 
ferior, and of no value ; in no way men of the high 
character that well-paid Government officials ought 
to be. Of course, some are fit men, but others are 
such as a magistrate who knows his business would 
prefer not to have with him, if there was any diffi- 

The same evil is visible, though in a less degree, 
in the Chairmen of Quarter Sessious. Having at- 
tended Quarter Sessions for nearly forty years in 


Ireland, I have of course seen a great variety, and 
many whom I knew are dead or have left. Whilst 
some were men to be respected, I have seen things 
permitted by others, and done by them, and a want 
of uprightness, that, as a lawyer, made one's blood 
boil. Going to Ireland fresh from years of Circuit 
and Sessions, and having also acted for years as a 
magistrate for Suffolk, with a colleague on the Bench 
who had been himself a lawyer, and was quite the 
best magistrate I ever knew, I grieved from the first 
over these great defects in the administration of 
justice in Ireland, and have never ceased to lament 

Appointing the best man to be found, and mak- 
ing the administration of justice the first object, is 
not cared for as it ought to be ; and though the out- 
ward forms may be carefully kept up, yet on many 
questions there is an evident bias, which is very 
hurtful. Let what I have said of the absence of a 
healthy public opinion be always remembered, as 
well as the backward state of tilings fifty or a 
hundred years ago. The improvement since that 
time will then be seen to be great, and in spite of all 
drawbacks, it is still going on. 

The object to aim at is to raise into a higher 
state poor and backward people, who by help of potato 
cultivation had grown up in numbers that potatoes 
alone could barely support, and who have neither 
industry, self-reliance, nor knowledge of anything fit- 


ting them for such higher state, now when potatoes 
can no longer be relied on. And the question is, 
whether this can best be done by acting on plans which 
are partly speculative theories about peasant proprie- 
torship, partly the scheming of those who have their 
own ends to serve, and partly the sentimental views 
of politicians, all seeking to employ means hitherto 
unknown among us, and which would be unjust and 
dishonest to the class of owners ; or by following the 
plain common-sense ways of practical men, who un- 
derstand land, and which have succeeded in their 
hands, and whether they wholly succeed or not, must 
do good so far as they go. 



DECEMBER 1, 1880. (Partly from Macmillan's Magazine.) 

IN discussing the proposed remedies -for Irish diffi- 
culties it is needful to bear clearly in mind the facts 
that have been established in former papers, before all 
things, the thorough Scheming and falsehood that run 
through everything said and done in Ireland. It has 
been suggested to me that out of Ireland it will not 
be understood what is meant by scheming. It is the 
working to make personal gain out of everything, 
small or great, without respect to truth or honesty, 
e.g. saying that tenants have brought the land out of 
a valueless state by nature into productiveness ; that 
they have made valuable permanent improvements, 
that they are charged unduly high rents, and their 
improvements taken advantage of by the landlords ; 
that they are treated with hardness and capriciously 
evicted these are statements almost wholly untrue, 
and if in a few cases true, are only so in part. They 
are put forward as the ground for every sort of unjus- 
tifiable claim, in hope of getting some personal gain. 


The real state of the country is one of great back- 
wardness in civilisation. Education, habits, and ideas, 
are those of a semi-barbarous people. They have both 
the virtues and vices of that state. Eead the daily 
account in the papers of outrages committed. To 
say nothing of shocking murders, consider what such 
facts as these mean. Not long ago the house of a 
poor man in County Limerick, who had given offence, 
was beset. They tied him down in bed and cut off 
his ears. Of course this is better than burning him 
and his wife and children alive in their house, as 
was done in the same district within the memory of 
many. Only to cut off the man's ears shows progress. 
But what a progress ! It is still grievous barbarism, 
if less horrible than formerly. Since then other poor 
men's ears have been cut off. Cutting off ears or 
slitting them is fast becoming an institution in Ire- 
land. It has become a positive cause of fear to harm- 
less people. Yet there are a large number of Irish 
M.P.'s who feel no shame in stirring up an agitation, 
of which these acts are the sure fruit, and when such 
cruelties have been done, palliate and excuse them, 
and deny that they are answerable for such wicked- 
ness, and think it is enough to assert it is the fault 
of the Government or landlords, and face it out with 
vehement assertion. 

The country being in this state of semi-barbarism, 
with parts on the eastern side more advanced, 
parts on the western side more backward, the first 


fact to be observed is, that the average Irish peasant 
has no desire for progress and civilisation. His view 
is that he ought to be left all the rough advantages 
of his uncivilised condition, and that besides con- 
cessions ought to be made to him (at whose cost he 
cares not), to make up to him, and more, for all the 
disadvantages of that condition. The strongest ground 
on which he asks for such concessions is his poverty, 
and he and his M.P.'s urge the extreme poverty of 
the poorest part of Connaught as a sufficient reason 
why concessions should be extended over the three- 
fourths of Ireland that are much farther advanced. 
He has no thought that concession, not founded on 
strict right, must be ruinous to the country, and in 
the end even to himself. The present moment and 
his personal gain are all he can think of, and by this 
importunity of poverty, like the clamour of the sturdy 
beggar, he does influence those who act on sentiment 
rather than on facts. It is these very men who use 
threats and commit outrages to keep up, as far as 
possible, a Eeign of Terror. Nearly all the fine senti- 
ments of patriotism and the rest, that are put forward, 
are the merest shams, invented for the occasion, 
having no foundation in fact. The strongest feeling 
of patriotism is jealousy of England. The legislation 
of 1870 proceeded on the view that most Irish tenants 
are good and worthy men, and most Irish landlords 
the reverse ; the truth being, that the proportion of 
bad tenants in Ireland, indolent, drinking, and use- 


less, is grievously large, and though some landlords 
neglect their duties by not laying out money on their 
land, the proportion of those who treat their tenants 
with any harshness is very small. 

The Devon Commission in 1844 visited every 
corner of Ireland and investigated every case of hard- 
ship that could be heard of. The result was so trifling 
that for a generation complaints of hardship ceased. 
Lately such complaints have again begun, it is believed 
with less foundation even than in 1844. Whenever 
definite complaints have been made, they have been 
shown to be untrue. One good of the new Com- 
mission is, that it will test all such complaints. This 
is the reason why it is objected to by the Land 

We who live in the country know the men and 
the details of the cases in our own districts that are 
brought forward. I know the facts about two such 
cases that have been the pretence for neighbouring 
land meetings, and assert that, from first to last, they 
rest on mere untruth. It is upon men in this social 
and moral state that the franchise has been conferred. 
They are placed in what is to them a constitutional 
hotbed, with the same rights as sober, intelligent, 
and educated men in England and Scotland enjoy. 
A better illustration cannot be found than in the 
Borough Franchise. In England in boroughs every 
householder has a vote. In Ireland a 4 valuation 
is required for a vote. If a household franchise was 


given, the occupier of every thatched hovel would 
have a vote, and the whole political power in such 
boroughs (not including large towns) would be put 
into the hands of the occupiers of these hovels. A 
hovel is a house, and a house may be a hovel. There- 
fore the immense difference between the occupiers of 
hovels in Irish boroughs and houses in England is 
put aside. 

What wonder can there be that dwellers in such 
wretched hovels as can be seen in the purlieus of 
every Irish town think that the only use of a vote is 
to try and get some personal gain for themselves, and 
are ready to follow the foolishness of agitators, who 
are really only the worst of their own sort, much 
worse than most of the poor people, having all their 
faults and none of their good qualities ? The one 
argument in favour of the extension of the franchise 
in Ireland is, that the members returned now are 
such a thoroughly bad set, that it is impossible worse 
can be found, whatever the franchise may be. It is 
hard to answer this. 

The extension of the Ulster tenant-right custom 
to the rest of Ireland is often spoken of as a remedy 
for all the evils of the country. Such an exten- 
sion would be contrary to all principles of honest 
dealing towards the owners of land. By the Ulster 
tenant-right, whenever the tenant leaves his farm 
from any cause, he is usually entitled to sell (what is 
called) his interest in it to the highest bidder, pro- 



vided he is not a bad character. The transaction 
is wholly between the outgoing and incoming tenants, 
the landlord having nothing to do with it, except that 
any arrears of rent due are paid out of the purchase- 
money. The landlord may object to the purchaser if 
he is of bad character. But the faults that would 
justify such an objection are not of the kind that are 
common among those who have money enough to 
buy a farm. So that this right in the landlord is 
of little consequence. In theory, too, the landlord is 
at liberty to raise the rent. But the practical 
difficulties in his way, unless the rise be very trifling 
or the rent unduly low, are so great, that it is very 
seldom he can accomplish it. The rate of purchase 
is sometimes as high as twenty years of the rent and 
over. Ten years' purchase is thought an ordinary 
and moderate rate. The price depends upon the 
acreable rent, and all the other incidents that affect 
the letting value of land, especially the demand for 
farms at the moment. Whether the times are good 
or bad makes a great difference in the price of tenant- 
right. It has been asserted that tenant-right existed 
in Ulster more than 200 years ago. The proof of 
this, however, is very indifferent. Whether it ex- 
isted or not, it is certain its great extension occurred 
at the latter part of the last century, when the great 
improvement of the linen trade took place. Hand- 
spinning of linen thread and handloom-weaving were 
then universal in many parts of Ireland. They went 


on in every farmer's and labourer's house. The land 
in Ulster had already been very much subdivided. 
When the linen trade flourished, it enabled industrious 
families to make money and pay great sums for the 
tenant-right of the small lots of their neighbours, 
willing to sell from any cause. 

The spinning-wheel and the loom afterwards 
earned the means of stocking and manuring the land 
bought. Tenant-right can only live when the rent is 
under the true value of the land. If the land is let 
at the full value, the tenant has nothing to sell. 
Very little thought will show it is impossible men 
should go on, from generation to generation, paying 
the full value of the land in rent, and a great sum 
of money besides on entry. In those days, and long 
after, rents were very ill paid in Ireland ; the land- 
lords lost in this way very largely. As under tenant- 
right all arrears of rent due were paid out of the 
purchase-money, most Ulster landlords acquiesced in 
the system, and sanctioned it. The purchaser paid 
his money into the landlord's office ; the arrears were 
taken out of it, and the balance handed to the out- 
going tenant. It was well known that often incoming 
tenants thus paid away not only all their own money, 
but also all they were able to borrow from their 
friends besides, in order to buy Tenant-right. 

When thus stripped of capital it was impossible 
a tenant should farm the land well. If a few bad 
years chanced to come he was ruined, and had to sell 



his interest again for whatever it would fetch, sub- 
mitting to the loss. Any arrears of rent that he might 
have accumulated in his turn were stopped out of 
the money that was payable to Mm, and thus he 
often became a pauper, or near it. The immense 
effect of bad or good years upon Tenant-right has never 
been duly observed. It is much greater than upon 
tenants holding in the common way. Further, Tenant- 
right is a chattel. It may be sold by a creditor for 
debt, and it may be left by will or settled independ- 
ently of the farm itself. Sales by creditors are 
common, they are just the same as ejectments in 
effect. Tenant-right, too, is left often to wife and 
younger children as a provision, and so has to be paid 
over again by the son who gets the farm, thus pump- 
ing the farm dry of capital every generation, at the 
very time when a young, energetic man enters on it, 
who could do much good if he had the capital. 
Tenant-right rested wholly upon custom ; the cus- 
tom is said to vary in nearly every county in Ulster. 
It had no legal authority, but the customs were so un- 
doubted that hardly any one thought of disregarding 
them, or indeed would have ventured to do so. The 
Land Act gave the customs legal right. Having 
been acted on by landlord and tenant alike, there was a 
clear equity in favour of the customs, and it was right 
that any legal doubt about them should be removed. 
There have been disputes under the Land Act, 
but they have been about small accessories of the 


customs. These have been decided on appeal by 
the judges of the superior courts named for that pur- 
pose. It has been established that a limitation of 
the customs on estates to four years' purchase is good. 
This was settled as to Lord Erne's estate in Ulster, 
where the tenants are very flourishing. Four years 
was insisted on, because by paying more the new ten- 
ant stripped himself so bare of capital as to have none 
for farming the land. There have been other like minor 
points. The decisions, it should be observed, wholly 
turn on the question, What was the custom of the 
estate ? The tenants had bought their several rights 
in their farms expressly under the custom of the estate, 
well known to them and the landlord. What they had 
bought and paid for, the same, and no other, they 
had a just claim to sell. The tenants' efforts of 
course have been to claim and get the utmost custom 
that prevails anywhere. Whenever a decision was 
made contrary to their interest, of course a howl and 
clamour rose up about it. Several small attempts 
have been made in Parliament to get an Act passed 
reversing the judges' decisions. All have failed. 
The custom is the universal rule of right everywhere. 
About 1840 I went to Ulster to inform myself on 
the management of land there. Previous to that 
time the difficulties in the management of land in 
Ulster were as great as in other provinces. Tenants 
were usually as badly off and unsatisfactory as else- 
where. The linen trade had led to great subdivision 


of farms. The arrears of rent on many estates were 
grievous. The intermixing of fields of different 
occupiers caused a great loss to the tenants. How is 
it possible to farm to advantage when the farmer has 
several fields, an acre or two each in different parts 
of the estate, that he must go a quarter or half a mile 
round to get into ! 

As I have said before, I happened to know Mr. 
W. Blacker, of Armagh. He had started the plan 
of getting over a Scotch grieve and fixing him on 
an estate, whose whole business it should be to 
go amongst the tenants to teach them better farm- 
ing, and especially how to grow clover and turnips, 
before quite unknown. This answered well. The 
increased food for stock soon produced more and 
better manure ; this gave better crops, and a wonder- 
ful change was effected. I stayed some time with 
Mr. Blacker, and remember going over an estate with 
him which he had bought for a friend. It was 
bought with a large arrear of rent upon it, every 
shilling of which by this plan was paid up in a few 
years, and the purchase-money thus largely reduced, 
whilst the tenants prospered much. 

Nothing could be more interesting or instructive 
than the results Mr. Blacker showed. His example 
had been followed by many other landlords, some- 
times by getting Scotch grieves, sometimes by trans- 
planting one of Mr. Blacker's good tenants into one 
of their farms as an example. Having gone with him 


for a tour in the counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh, 
to see what was going on there among his pupils, I 
remember at one place we went to visit one of Mr. 
Blacker's transplanted tenants, and found he had 
given up all the good ways in which he had been 
instructed, and had relapsed into barbarous native 

Whilst Blacker was reproving his erring sheep, 
an old neighbouring tenant, who had joined himself 
to us in our walk, as the way is in Ireland, came up 
to his landlord and me, and said, "Whisha, your 
honour, ye brought that fellow to be a parable to us, 
and sure he is as bad as any of us." It was too true. 

It will thus be seen that though the looms were 
then in almost every house in a large part of Ulster, 
Tenant-right did not save the country from the com- 
mon troubles of Irish bad farming and subdividing 
land, nor raise the condition of the people. It never 
could do so. Still less can it do so in the other pro- 
vinces, where very few are able to pay large sums to 
get possession of farms but shopkeepers who have 
made money in business. What is the gain from 
such men as farmers ? A great trade in Ulster for 
many generations has enriched many of the people, 
and Scotch blood and habits have helped to make 
Ulster more prosperous. That is all. After the 
Land Act passed in 1870 we had several very pros- 
perous years for farmers. The prices paid for Ten- 
ant-right rose higher and higher; and the years 


being good, and, as usual, Hope telling a flattering 
tale, all were sure that prosperity would be eter- 
nal, only greater prosperity still. Sellers and buyers 
both could not praise Tenant-right enough. Though 
those of us who remembered that after the famine 
in 1846 the price of Tenant-right fell to almost 
nothing, and knew its unsoundness in principle, 
always predicted what would happen in the changes 
and chances of time. The last three years the tall 
talk in Ulster itself in favour of Tenant-right has 
greatly come down. Of course there are many who 
still praise it, and the interests of all who now occupy 
land are involved in it to the extent of hoping to be 
able to sell out of their farms well. The present 
discontent in Ulster is wholly caused by a heavy fall 
in the price of Tenant-right. Let the account of 
Donegal in Mr. Tuke's pamphlet on Irish Distress 
and its Remedies, p. 8 et seq., be read. These letters 
give the most instructive view of Tenant-right that I 
have ever seen. They prove that it in no way meets 
the farmer's troubles and difficulties. 

It will be seen then that Tenant-right is no security 
even against starvation. Tenant-right is as strong 
in Donegal as in any other part of Ulster; yet, as 
Mr. Tuke tells us, whole parishes were starving last 
winter, though every man had this valuable Tenant- 
right, as it is supposed to be, which he could have 
sold not long before for ten to twenty years' purchase. 
A few with better or larger lots, that could still find 


purchasers, sold out at a low price to go to America. 
(Page 11.) The rest were fed by charity. Large 
parts all over Ulster, in spite of Tenant-right, are no 
better than the rest of Ireland. And this is put forth 
as a system to cure all the evils of the country ! The 
sure result of a bad system is, it breaks down when 
the pinch comes. For forty years past it has been 
my clear opinion, as a practical farmer, that the time 
would come when Ulster would be the poorest part 
of Ireland, because Tenant-right sucked away from 
the land the capital that ought to enrich it. Nor are 
the difficulties at all confined to Donegal. Wherever 
the effect of the linen trade is not felt, the tenants are 
in the same state as in Donegal. 

In the English Agricultural Gazette of August 
30, there are two letters from an Ulster farmer who 
is plainly a man of some education, and, we are told 
by Mr. Morton, the editor, has often sent him valu- 
able practical notes on farming subjects. The letters 
are nothing else but a prolonged scream against rents 
and landlords, with really piteous and pitiable appeals 
to landlords and to Parliament to lower rents out of 
charity, and every other motive he can think of. Of 
course he does not say that he or his predecessor 
bought the Tenant-right of his farm from the previous 
tenant for a large sum, knowing perfectly the rent it 
was subject to, and without any thought of the land- 
lord, thus proving the farm to be worth more than 
the rent he pays. He calls himself one of an 


oppressed and down-trodden class ; talks of landlords 
rolling in wealth, and tries to excite every prejudice 
and ill-feeling that the Land League habitually relies 
on, because, having made a bad bargain in buying 
Tenant-right, his landlord does not save him from 
the consequent loss. 

Well may Mr. A. M. Sullivan, the Home Eule 
M.P., suggest, as he does, that the price of Tenant- 
right shall be fixed by arbitration as well as the rent. 
I wonder how the tenants who have Tenant-right to 
sell will like that proposal. It is a blessed foretaste 
of the wise principles on which Ireland will be 
governed under Home Eule. Why should not every- 
thing be decided by arbitration ? prices of corn and 
meat, e.g. As one wrote lately, why should tenants 
get a great boon in price, and buyers of bread and 
meat pay as long a price as ever ? 

To any one who can read between the lines, 
both Mr. Sullivan's letter and Mr. Tuke's pam- 
phlet are more than instructive. The Land Act 
makes Tenant-right legally binding in all parts of 
Ireland as much as in Ulster, wherever like customs 
exist. There are many estates in other parts, of 
which Lord Portsmouth in Wexford is a leading 
example, on which the custom of Tenant-right has 
been allowed to grow up. Whenever this has 
happened with the consent of landlord and tenant, 
no one has a right to say anything against it. If it 
is unsound in principle, it must be left to cure itself 


in time, and meanwhile it does not hinder others 
from acting on sounder principles, or stop, except to 
a small extent, the general progress of the country, 
which depends on sound principle and on nothing 
else. Tenant-right is liked by agents, because it 
greatly lessens their trouble in collecting rents and 
getting rid of bad tenants, who must be turned out. 
The rent is always safe, and a broken tenant goes 
out with much less trouble when he is to receive a 
lot of money on doing so ; though to oblige the 
landlord to pay a fat, idle, drinking tenant because 
he ruins himself would be absurd. Naturally when a 
tenant paid nothing at all for his farm at hiring, he 
finds it pleasant and profitable if he leaves it to 
receive a great sum also for nothing. 

Forty years ago, I remember, it was much dis- 
cussed in the South, among landowners and agents, 
whether the introduction of the Ulster Tenant-right 
on their estates would be advantageous. 

Having thoroughly seen its working in Ulster, I 
have never had any doubt that the common way of 
fair contract between landlord and tenant was much 
better for both ; that the tenants would gain far 
more by using their money in better stocking and 
manuring their farms, and that they need every 
shilling for those purposes ; that paying away their 
capital to outgoing tenants who had to leave land 
they had utterly exhausted, and which could only 
be restored by more capital, could only be ruinous. 



Besides, in those days very few of my men had any 
money. What could they have done under Tenant- 
right, and with their farms often intermixed in four 
or five separate parts of the estate ? Unless hy going 
in debt, not one of them under the Ulster custom 
could have got an acre more than he had, or a better 
situated field. 


The payment of the arrears of rent out of the 
purchase money of Tenant-right differs nothing from 
the payment of a fine to the landlord, which in Eng- 
land everybody understands is ruinous to any estate, 
and so has been almost wholly abandoned there. 
Nothing but the great ignorance in Ireland of sound 
principles relating to land prevents such a system 
being scouted as the utter folly it really is. Whether 
the incoming tenant pays his money to the outgoing 
tenant for Tenant-right, or to a landlord as a fine, 
equally drains him of capital. It is in substance a 
fine far beyond the amount ever heard of anywhere 
else, or that the hardest landlord ever exacted. Such 
fines as seven, or ten, or twenty years' value were 
never dreamed of in business ; the usual copyhold fines 
never approached such a sum. It is certain that if 
Tenant-right was made compulsory throughout Ire- 
land, all understanding landlords would be forced only 
to let on heavy fines to secure themselves. 

This ignorance extends to men of ability and 
character. A man so much respected as Judge 
Longfield, whom I wish to speak of only with the 


regard I feel for him, is as ignorant in this way as 
others. Judge Longfield's article in the Fortnightly 
for August shows throughout that he knows nothing 
of practical farming and management of land. Yet 
it is on such knowledge of land that the question 
turns, and no legal knowledge will make up for the 
want of it. Judge Longfield does not say a word on 
the undoubted evil of stripping a tenant bare of the 
capital wanted for better farming his land, but pro- 
poses that somehow the tenant should pay seven years' 
rent to the landlord for Tenant-right. Seven years of 
50 a year rent of a farm is 350. Where are many 
tenants to be found with capital enough to pay this, 
make all permanent improvements, and farm the land 
besides ? My tenants are richer than most, yet only 
one or two would be able to do this, except by going 
in debt. Judge Longfield's whole scheme is a milder 
Ulster Tenant-right, honestly recognising in part the 
rights of owners to their land. Why have they not 
the same right to the whole as to part ? It is open 
to the same difficulties and objections still, as a breach 
of the rights of owners, unless he means it to be left 
as voluntary. He suggests the rent may vary every 
ten years, upon principles as complicated as a Chinese 
puzzle, just as if nobody had ever heard of the work- 
ing of leases for nineteen or twenty -one years in 
Scotland, and their benefit, and that the best farming 
authorities in the kingdom believe such twenty -one 



year leases are the greatest gain to landlords and 
tenants alike ; and that under the modern system of 
high feeding and manuring, which alone pays, it is 
impossible in less than nineteen years to recompense 
the tenant for honest outlay in good farming. 




THE sentiment of some politicians in England has 
caused the Tenant-right system to be spoken of 
with tolerance. It will not, however, bear discus- 
sion on principle. That on which legal Tenant-right 
wholly rests is custom. In Parliament it was put on 
the same ground as copyhold custom in England. 

In forty years no tenant of mine has ever paid or 
received a shilling for Tenant-right. If the custom 
is to be acted on in my case (and thousands of others), 
Tenant-right is simply impossible. I have given 
nearly all my tenants larger, many much larger, 
farms than they had. Every field is near the home- 
stead, and none of them are scattered about. Most are 
paying smart rents, but there are no arrears. Many 
tenants have become wealthy. The two rent-days are 
fixed at times most convenient to them for paying. 
No excuse except positive misfortune is taken. 

I shall be happy to show them against the tenants 
of any equal number of acres on Lord Portsmouth's 
estate, or any other, where Tenant-right is allowed, in 


wealth, condition of their farms, and good farming. If 
any one thinks Lord Portsmouth's example is of weight 
in the question, I ask him to come and see my land. 

The simple fact is that money laid out by the 
farmer in manuring exhausted land will pay him 
many times better than any other way he can spend 
it. Ten, twenty, fifty per cent is a common return. 
Often all the money comes back in the first crop, and 
pays well for years after. What money my men had 
they thus laid out, instead of stripping themselves 
bare to buy Tenant-right. In consequence, the con- 
dition of their farms is much better, and when times 
were good they were fast making money. Many are 
now wealthy men. There are few who are not com- 
fortable, or whom I should wish to change. 

Thus the fatal objection to the Ulster Tenant- 
right is that it absorbs, in buying it, all or a great 
part of whatever capital an incoming tenant has, and 
leaves him often without the means of farming well, 
and always crippled in means. There can be no 
doubt that in Ireland the farming class is far less 
wealthy than the same class in England and Scotland. 
Yet whilst there every care is taken to let only men 
with sufficient capital into farms ; it is said here it will 
be for the advantage of all future Irish farmers to pay 
away a great part of the small capital they have to 
the outgoing tenants, who nine times out of ten 
failed because they were indolent or drank, and that a 
heavy fine in the shape of arrears of rent should be 


paid to the landlords. The money he gets will be 
probably spent by the broken tenant in idling and 
drinking, instead of his being forced to work and earn 
an honest living as a laboTirer, which any one in most 
parts of Ireland, out of Connaught, who likes, can do 
now as easily as he could in England or Scotland. 

An actual case will enable the best judgment to 
be formed. Last January I ejected a tenant for non- 
payment of rent who was a drunken rake. His farm 
was fifty-two acres, at 52 a year. It was good land, 
but for many years he had done nothing to it in 
manuring or anything else. Twice I have seen his 
corn left in the field till winter, being not worth 
paying labourers to cut it, and he too lazy to do it 
himself, though idling about all day at the public - 
houses, that were unluckily near him. But he kept 
his eight cows, which he let to a dairyman, his own 
wife, a strong young woman, being too idle to manage 
them. The cows paid his rent, and more, till last 
year, when I was glad to get rid of him as an eyesore 
and discredit to the estate. I relet the farm at once 
for 64 per annum to a Scotchman. I engaged to 
put up good buildings that will cost 200. There 
were a good house and barn before, a large part of 
the cost of which I paid more than thirty-five years 
ago for the tenant's father, an honest thriving fellow, 
who lived comfortably and prospered. All other 
buildings were wholly ruinous, the land dirty and 
exhausted. ' If there had been Ulster Tenant-right 


at ten years' purchase, at least 520, should have been 
paid to this worthless man for nothing. The land 
was all dry by nature : there were no other improve- 
ments on it. The Scotchman would have had to 
pay the 520 Tenant-right, though without any con- 
sideration for doing so. And he would of course have 
had to put up buildings for himself costing 200 
720 capital spent for a farm of fifty -two acres. 
Where was the capital then to come from for stock- 
ing, manuring, and farming it ? 10 an acre, 500 
was wanted for this purpose. Nowhere are men to 
be found with 1200 capital to lay out in occupying 
a farm of fifty-two acres. The interest on the money 
alone at 10 per cent would be 120 a year, 47s. 6d. 
per acre, leaving the rent of 24s. per acre, a trifle by 
comparison. In England or Scotland a farmer with 
1200 would hire 150 acres of land. With that 
quantity he could do something, and earn his 10 
per cent well. No one with that capital would hire 
fifty-two acres, nor would any one who knew his 
business do so in Ireland. Having added largely to 
nearly all my tenants' farms, without the increase of 
land having cost them one shilling of capital in any 
way, I am able to give any number of similar cases. 

Here is another illustration. Soon after I came 
home from London last July I met in the street a 
prosperous old fellow who has a large farm from a 
neighbour, and with whom I had very long been 
friendly. After mutual inquiry after each other's 


health, which in Ireland often takes a sort of Oriental 
character, I said, " Well, Andy, how . are you getting 
on these times ? " " I've got a new farm of forty- 
seven acres," was the answer. "At what rent?" 
"Oh, the rent's cheap enough, 10s. per acre. Sure 
you know the land, it's bounding you and me. 'Tis 

that 's farm, and under my own landlord too." 

" I hope you didn't pay much money for it, Andy ? " 
" 'Deed I did a dale too much. I had to pay 300." 
" What could make you such a fool as that, Andy ? 
I thought you were a knowing man." "Sure that 

, who bounds it the other side, offered 300 for it. 

I knew well it was too much, but my family made me 
give it, though I knew it was not worth it." " What's 
the interest of your 300, Andy ? " " Sure it's 15 a 
year." " And what term of the farm have you ? You 
know you ought to get back the 300 by the time 
the term is out." " I've no term at all. There is no 
lease of it, but I have great confidence in my land- 
lord." " You are an old man. Suppose you die, and 
your landlord dies, and the estate has to be managed 
by trustees for his children, how long can they leave 
your son land at 10s. an acre that is worth 20s. ? " 
And so I went on to show my friend his folly, and 
that it would have been much better for him to have 
kept his 300 in his pocket, and hired a farm at 20s. 
per acre, with thirty -one years' lease. His 300 
spent in manuring would have come back quickly, 
and made a rich man of him. In his case I have no 


doubt the stocking of his new farm was got by skimp- 
ing his old farm, and so cost double its true value. 
No doubt in law he got Tenant-right for his 300, but 
he paid thirteen years' purchase of the rent for it, 
much beyond its worth. 

So much do I feel the importance to myself of a 
new tenant having his whole capital available, that I 
do not make him pay any of the expense of his lease, 
or even the stamps upon it. What would be thought 
of a landlord who took 300 yearly for a farm of 
forty-seven acres ? Yet Parliament is asked to make 
such a system compulsory as a boon to tenants. 

Another objection to Tenant-right is the great 
competition when land subject to it is so hired, far 
more severe than the pressure the most screwing 
landlord ever puts on his tenants. The usual rent of 
the country is much below the value of the land. 
Even those who look for higher rent, take care that 
it is not more than the tenant is able to pay, else the 
rent is only promised, and cannot be paid. But with 
Tenant-right, the competition is wholly unchecked; 
it is extreme, and often ruinous. The outgoing tenant 
of course wants the last penny. He cares nothing at 
all for the future of the farm. With the jealous 
habits of our people towards each other, they often 
bid quite without sense from boastfulness. It is here 
the influence of a landlord with judgment can use- 
fully come in. If he had any real power, he would 
not accept a tenant who got the farm by such com- 


petition, nor allow a son who succeeds to the farm to 
be stripped bare of the capital needful to farm the 
land for the gain of the rest of the family. 

Once Tenant-right is made compulsory by law, 
there is an end of the landlord's power for good, though 
men in Parliament often talk as if after landlords 
have been fleeced at pleasure they are still to co- 
operate, as it is called, in carrying out the measures 
for their own injury. Some complain that landlords 
do not thus co-operate in working the Land Act. It 
would be just as reasonable to expect that a sheep 
should co-operate with the shearer who clips it, or with 
the butcher who cuts its throat. What is the use of 
expecting that landlords will exert themselves, and 
take trouble, and incur odium in regulating well an 
estate, when they will gain nothing by its good 
management, nor lose if it is badly managed ? Let it 
be observed, too, that if the Tenant-right system was 
made compulsory in the rest of Ireland, it is only the 
present tenants who would gain anything. Their 
successors would have to pay the utmost farthing of 
the value of the land. It would put a great gift into 
the pockets of existing tenants out of the landlord's 
reversion, with great injury to the incoming tenant. 

It is overlooked, too, that even now there are 
estates in the south on which though nominally the 
tenants are allowed to sell their interest, a large fine 
to the landlord, in spite of the Settlement, is besides 
required to be paid. The Tenant-right dodges the 


part of the Settlement that forbids fines. The money 
nominally is paid to the outgoing tenant, who hands 
it to the landlord. I know a large estate on which 
this is the custom. One hundred pounds is the least 
sum to be paid to the landlord on any sale. This 
cannot be stopped. It can be done, secretly, if forbid- 
den openly. And it is not worse in any way than 
Tenant-right, though ruinous to both parties. 

Another bad effect of Tenant-right is, that it 
deprives the owner of the power of selecting the best 
tenants for vacant farms, nor can he re-arrange farms, 
the fields of which are scattered and intermixed. 
Whoever will give most money to the broken tenant 
must get the farm just as it stands. On neglected 
estates these intermixed farms are very common. It 
is impossible the tenants can improve till they are 
re-arranged. It would have paid me best to hold 
myself this farm of fifty-two acres I mentioned just 
now. I let it to the Scotchman, because I thought his 
good farming, as a man who had to make it pay, 
would be a capital example, and do good. In parts 
of England and Scotland, it is not uncommon for a 
clever, industrious labourer, who has saved some 
money, to hire a small farm, perhaps with the help of 
friends, and if tunes favour him, to work himself up 
gradually into the position of a considerable farmer. 
These are often the best farmers in the country, and 
their rise is thoroughly wholesome and useful to all. 
But under Tenant-right such choice of good tenants 


would have no place. The first step, where Tenant- 
right exists, is that to hire even fifty acres of land a 
man must have large capital to pay for the Tenant- 
right, besides enough to make all permanent improve- 
ments himself, and of course farm the land afterwards. 

This brings me to another objection. It is never 
worth while for a landlord to lay out money in im- 
provements where there is Tenant-right. Practically 
he could not raise the rent enough to pay the interest 
on any large outlay for improvements, and if he made 
such, he would be adding to the value of what the 
tenant would have to sell at leaving. There can thus 
be no sufficient profit to the landlord to lead him to 
lay out money in improvements. 

Thus all money laid out in improvements in every 
case would have to be found by the tenant alone. 
Those of us who now do all improvements ourselves 
would cease to do so. The greater number who now 
pay part of the cost of improvements or draining, 
since the Land Act law don't, would also stop doing 
so. Loans for draining, of which so many have 
been taken by landlords, would cease to be taken; 
though all the available capital of landlords and 
tenants together for generations is wanted to make 
the necessary permanent improvements on land in 
Ireland. Those who wish the landlords to leave the 
country, could not do better than promote the exten- 
sion of Tenant-right. Whoever knows how much the 
good working of every part of Local government is 


the work by the much-abused landlords, had better 
well consider the question. It may be relied on, 
there is no need to add to the inducement for any 
man of education not to live in Ireland, and but for 
the pleasure and profit of seeing an estate improve, 
very few would undergo it. To few can it prove 
more profitable than it has done to me. Besides the 
gain from an improved estate, the rent of which 
hitherto has been paid with very little trouble and no 
ill-will from the tenants, and from very successful 
farming, I bought much land after the famine, which 
has paid me well. 

Yet, in spite of such gain, and the pleasure of 
seeing one's people thriving, and being on such terms 
with them, it is a sorely heavy drag to live here. 
And though I have seen as lovely a place grow up 
tinder my hands as can be found in the South of 
Ireland, if the Government likes to pay the honest 
value of it all, I shall gladly leave it, and think my 
son a gainer by the change. This by the way. 

These are some of the practical objections to 
making the Ulster Tenant-right compulsory, and to 
that modification which some have described as " The 
Three F's Fixity of tenure, Fair rents, valued by 
County Court judges, and Free liberty to the tenant to 
sell his interest. All these plans have the same evils 
as Ulster Tenant right. 

There are other objections on principle in every 
way. A number of witnesses in favour of Tenant- 


right were called before the Duke of Kichmond's 
Commission on agricultural distress. This question 
was put to each of them : " A man hires land for the 
purpose of farming it. He lays out a considerable 
sum in improvements, which repay him, both prin- 
cipal and interest. Where, or on what principle of 
right, does he get a just claim to be paid a large sum 
besides if he leave the farm?" Of course no one 
could answer the question, and the chief witness, who 
was sent over to expound Judge Longfield's plan, 
lost his temper wholly over it. 

The claim of tenants who have not, with the 
assent of the landlord, paid their predecessors for 
Tenant-right,, to receive a large sum on leaving the 
farm, is, as lawyers would say, wholly without con- 
sideration. The tenant has paid or done nothing to 
give him a just right to be thus paid. At best, it is 
a case of nudum pactum, and therefore, void for want 
of consideration, even though there had been an express 
contract. And, besides, the payment is really taken 
out of the reversion, which belongs to the landlord, 
and the value of which it reduces. If an incoming 
tenant is to pay 500 for a farm of fifty acres, the 
interest on that sum at 5 per cent is 25 a -year, 
supposing he gets his money back on leaving. This 
is 10s. per acre on the farm, and if he had not to pay 
his 500, but had to pay 5s. an acre extra rent 
instead, he would be a gainer of 12 : 10s. a-year. If 
he had to pay 10s. per acre extra rent, he would still 


be better off, because he would have his 500 capital 
to lay out in manure which would help to make the 
rent. The 10s. per acre, therefore, is a clear reduction 
out of the landlord's reversion. 

However it may be concealed, the future rent of 
the farm is lessened, and in the long run must be 
lessened accordingly, by these payments for Tenant- 
right. The landowner loses whatever the tenant 

According to all principles of right, the State 
cannot justly thus take away this reversion or 
any part of it. If there is good cause for the 
State taking away a man's property, it is bound 
to pay the honest value for it. There is no escaping 
this result, if right and justice are still to prevail 
among us. I know of no way in which this duty 
can be escaped. There is talk sometimes in Ireland 
that by tenant-right the tenant gains, but the land- 
lord does not lose. This is mere ignorance, the 
ignorance of men who do not understand the business 
of dealing with land. If the landowner knows how 
to make his land pay by farming it himself (as at 
least some of us do), the payment of tenant-right to 
a broken tenant at once appears in its true light. I 
have already shown that it is only the lowness of the 
rent that enables ten or twenty years' purchase to be 
given for tenant-right. 

We have further positive evidence now, such as 
we never had before, of the value of land in Ireland. 


M. de Molinari is a Belgian, and a political economist, 
familiar with the subject, and a man of influence and 
weight in France, a thoroughly sound authority on 
such a question, and plainly disinterested. After 
carefully seeing the land here, he states without hesi- 
tation that it is let at -half the rent similar land would 
let for in Belgium. This quite agrees with my own 
experience. As I said in a former paper, for many 
years I have made double the rent that used to be 
paid by tenants on 1000 acres in my own hands. 

If the drawbacks and greater expenses there must 
always be in a gentleman's farming are fairly taken 
into account, it is certain this 1000 acres is honestly 
worth double the rent the tenants used to pay for it, 
thus corroborating M. de Molinari's opinion. Again 
and again, when an exhausted farm has been given 
up, I have put as many cows on it as the broken 
tenant had. It has paid me a net profit of double the 
former rent. This was before I had time to manure 
and improve the land. In all the years I have lived 
here I never once had a farm in fair condition given 
up to me. 

At a Land meeting near me lately, though the 
object was to attack others, I received the larger 
share of the abuse. As they had not a word to say 
of any tenant being ill-used, they said, as they came 
they saw on both sides of my property many gables 
of ruined houses, but on my land they could not see 
one. They were sure I had turned out many tenants 



to get possession of the 1000 acres I farm myself. 
I must have pulled down the gables on purpose. No 
doubt 16 or 17 tenants held the land I now farm. 
Though their rents were very low, and less than half 
the net amount I now make out of the same land, 
and they had never been raised, all lived in great 
poverty, and many gave up their land freely. There 
are now 22 good labourers' cottages on the same 
land, besides three or four of the old tenants' houses, 
which, repaired, do duty at present for labourers. 

Some one told me the other day my labourers 
are " claner, nater dressed, and fatter looking," than 
any body of men in the country ; they, their wives 
and children, came to the house last summer (as 
they do every year) for some small festivity, A 
more hearty, healthy lot could not be found in the 
three kingdoms. This is not wonderful, as I pay 
fully 25 per week in wages. I can prove they 
have now as many blankets to their beds as they 
want. Forty years ago I am assured there was 
not one blanket in the whole land. At our Cloth- 
ing Club, which has now existed for so many years 
that there is no doubt in the minds of most but that 
the Queen sends the money for it in some way, our 
own people have for some years begun to take sheets 
instead of blankets a pitch of luxury which is con- 
sidered to be rather a scandal. 

One tenant who had an old lease of thirty acres, 
was a widow without children; she brought in a 


stout nephew, with wife and children, to work for 
her, who hoped to succeed her in the farm. They 
held on at the rent fixed in 1796, till they had 
not one four-footed beast left neither horse, cow, 
sheep, nor pig. They used to let the grass to 
neighbours who had stock, and cultivate without 
manuring any fields that gave the chance of a crop. 
My Scotchman passing their house one day in spring 
during an ordinary year found the whole family 
actually starving. The wife just confined, and 
without a morsel for herself or baby, and all the 
picture of hunger ; so that he gave them money out 
of his own pocket for present relief. 

They then gave up the land. The man was 
taken as a labourer ; he is an honest worker, and 
they were allowed to live in a tenant's house near 
their former farm, till it tumbled down, when a good 
cottage was built for them. Through the rest of the 
summer we could see the man, his wife and children, 
all visibly swelling out in face they were naturally 
ruddy hearty folk till their fatness became a joke 
among us. They are with us still, twelve years after, 
except that the old widow is dead. We take no 
excuse for labourers not working. A more prosperous 
set, leading more comfortable lives, does not exist. 

My next offence, stated at the land-meeting, was 
that my garden wall bristled with broken glass, which 
I suppose was taken as showing an unworthy dis- 
trust of the Irish people. The main public road 


goes by the wall, and the carmen who cany loads 
along it at night, found out that, by drawing them 
close to the wall, they could step from the top of 
the load to the top of the wall, and the fruit-trees 
inside were a regular ladder by which to climb down 
and up again. They did not take much, as last year 
having been so wet, the peaches ripened badly. It 
amused us to see the stones and half-eaten sour fruit 
of those they had tried. 

My third offence was that, in an account I 
printed of the International Dairies at the Kilburn 
Agricultural Show, near London, 1879, for the infor- 
mation of the farmers of our county, I contrasted 
the bright, clean German dairymaid, wearing blue 
ribbons and a smart cap, with the dirty drudges so 
many dairymaids are in Ireland. A man who could 
so speak of Irishwomen was declared unfit to live in 
the country. What is to be thought of those who 
could put forward such a mixture of rubbish as 
serious blame to anybody ? 

There is still a further difficulty in the way 
of compulsory Tenant-right, that much land is let 
on lease. Leases are definite contracts between land- 
lord and tenant. What is to be done about them ? 
I have still an old middle-man's lease of four lives 
with one left, aged nearly seventy. There are 340 
acres for 105 a year, worth 340 a year to let, and 
double if I farm them myself. The occupiers are a 
gentleman and two ordinary farmers. What should 
be done with such a case ? 


On one of the lands I bought, a tenant, having 
another large farm adjoining, has a thirty-one years' 
lease of 124 acres of splendid land, at a low rent. The 
farm, when let to him, had been in the occupation of 
the owner, and there was a clause that by paying at 
any time 100 (probably a fine the tenant had given) 
possession might be resumed. They bound me not to 
take advantage of this clause. The lease will be out 
five years hence. I can easily make five times the 
rent out of this farm. I have elsewhere 150 acres, 
let for 5s. 9d. per acre, on thirty -one -year leases, 
worth three times the rent, or 15s. per acre. This, 
too, was bought with the leases running and the 
value taken into account in the purchase-money. 

It will probably be answered at once, Definite 
contracts cannot be touched. Even the Land Act 
excepted leases from most of its provisions from 
all important ones, and made future leases for thirty- 
one years the alternative for such provisions. Ac- 
cordingly since the Land Act great numbers of leases 
have been given. Three-fifths of my estate is let on 

Since the establishment of the Landed Estates 
Court, it has sold all the land that has passed through 
it, with most careful statements in a schedule to each 
conveyance of the precise rights of every tenant by 
lease or otherwise. This schedule is absolutely 
binding between landlord and tenant as if a con- 
tract. How can Parliament vary it, except by con- 


sent? Besides, on many estates there have been 
contracts or promises as definite as any leases, and 
that have been acted on in favour of the tenants, 
without one exception, for near half a century. These 
have been more favourable to tenants than if they 
had leases under the Land Act. 

Forty years ago I let my tenants know that, with 
the single exception of gross misconduct, each should 
hold his land for his life without increase of rent. 
The rent should only be raised to his successor. 
This was, of course, equivalent to a lease for thirty 
years. Practically it has been more. Out of kind- 
ness one had to make a concession to the widow and 
children, if a man died young. There were a few 
old leases, and an old verbal promise of thirty-one 
years to the tenants of one ploughland. The holders 
of these had to be given the same advantage of my 
promise as the yearly tenants. 

Nearly two-fifths of my people still hold under 
this arrangement. These are now all old, and a few 
years will place their successors under leases. I 
have given these details, because they show plainly 
the arrangement under which great numbers of 
tenants, in all parts, hold under respectable landlords. 
The State would have to recognise such contracts 
and promises, whether legal or honourable, because 
tenants have profited by them for long courses of 
years. A compulsory Tenant-right in such cases 
would be an outrage on right. If ever the question 


is gone into as one of right, many such cases will be 
proved in which thorough consideration and indul- 
gence have been shown to the tenants. Knowing 
England better than I know Ireland, I assert that 
Irish tenants, as a body, are treated with a consider- 
ation and indulgence, especially in the rent charged for 
the land, such as English tenants never asked for nor 
expected. The statement of the Land Leaguers to 
the contrary are bare lies. If they had any facts of 
this kind to prove, why should they hesitate to prove 
them before the new Commission ? 

In Mr. Courtney's speech lately at Liverpool, 
advocating fixity of tenure and fair rents, he said 
there must be a revaluation of rents throughout 
Ireland, undoubtedly, else easy -dealing landlords 
would suffer where hard ones gained. It is certain 
that such a revaluation would be necessary, if any 
approach to honest dealing was desired. 

What the process of such a revaluation will be I 
cannot imagine. To me it seems that Mr. Courtney 
must be in a condition of primaeval innocence in his 
knowledge of land, and what belongs to it. The 
valuation of land by the best valuers, though quite 
honest men, is very uncertain. To settle the value 
of land by evidence, and such evidence as can be 
had in Ireland, before such men as County Court 
Judges, would be simply robbery of the owners ; 
and, unless such robbery was perpetrated, the howl- 
ing of those who howl now would be louder still. 


Then what is a fair rent ? Is it what an honest, in- 
dustrious tenant of reasonable means can make of 
the land ? or what an indolent, ignorant man, per- 
haps a drunkard and a pauper, can make ? The most 
easy and liberal rule on this point, strictly and 
honestly applied, would cause ten evictions for one 
that is now made by landlords. The strictest land- 
lords among us do not evict one quarter of those who 
ought to be evicted, if the good of the country was duly 
considered. It is industry that makes the whole dif- 
ference. In no business can any one get rich in any 
way, except by self-exertion. Half the time spent in 
work that is now spent in trying to get something 
out of landlords by scheming, would make rich men of 
numbers of tenants. No part of M. de Molinari's letter 
to the Journal des D&ats was more striking than 
that in which he described the sadly low social and 
moral state of many Irish tenants, and divided them 
into two classes one with fair-sized farms at mode- 
rate rents, who were industrious, paying their rents 
and living comfortably ; the other with small farms 
at equally easy rents, but idle, in debt, and steeped 
in whisky, who could not support themselves if 
they held the land rent-free. Professor Baldwin's 
evidence before the Duke of Eichmond's Commis- 
sion on Agricultural Distress is also very remarkable 
as to the entire badness and worthlessness in all re- 
spects of the large class of bad Irish tenants. Even 
if the County Court Judge had to decide what is a 


fair rent, what good would be done by his decision to 
bad tenants ? They are sure to fail sooner or later. 
But, to decide what is a fair rent, it must first be 
decided what is the fair price of corn, and mutton, 
and beef, and pork, and butter, and all other agri- 
cultural products which vary every year ; and after 
a fair price for these has been fixed, no progress has 
been made till it has been decided what will be the 
demand and supply of these things for the next 
thirty-one years. And there are half a dozen other 
questions, equally hard to answer, that must be 
settled before an honest decision can be given. 

The truth is, there is no fair value of land ; the 
value varies in England, in Scotland, everywhere, 
with the skill, the industry of the farmer, with the 
climate, with the prices of particular sorts of pro- 
duce, and the cost of production, just like the price 
of other kinds of goods. The true point is, what 
profit can the farmer make by the land ? That is 
all that matters. Acts of Parliament cannot regu- 
late prices nor values ; neither can arbitrations, 
which are at best only lawsuits. Shades of departed 
free-traders and an ti- corn -law leaguers! what are 
your former colleagues and successors coming to ? 
They think they can direct by Act of Parliament how 
the businesses of landowning and farming shall be 
carried on, and by the same means regulate the 
price of the chief raw material of those businesses, 
viz. land. To a man who began life nearly seventy 


years ago as a Tory, and was made a free-trader by 
facts which common sense would not let him ignore, 
one view alone is possible, of the reason why so 
many Liberals, in dealing with Ireland, set at naught 
every sound principle of free-trade and the universal 
gain of free -dealing, with which they thrashed us 
formerly into good sense. The curse of party politics 
is upon them. Partly for party ends, and partly from 
sentimentalism, they have for years flattered the im- 
agination of the farming classes in Ireland with hopes 
of what is really Communism, and what cannot be 
realised till England has ceased to be England. Talk 
about the upas-tree, and rooting natives in the soil 
that an eviction is the same as the death-warrant of 
a tenant ; it is these words of Mr. Gladstone that 
have done most of the evil. We are reaping what 
he then sowed. No declarations, like Mr. Forster's 
excellent one, that the law shall be enforced, weigh 
in the least. The flattery is believed, the threats are 
disbelieved, as is ' natural. We, who see and know 
what becomes of broken tenants, are sure such words 
have no shade of truth in them ; but the hopes they 
raise are unbounded. Playing with fire in a straw- 
yard is nothing compared to such talk, and this too 
from the Prime Minister. It is not for me to draw 
the moral. 

Hitherto the immense magnitude and difficulty of 
such a task as the Government settling rents has been 
felt by all independent men of any intelligence and 


It is a task such as no Government in the world 
ever attempted. 

If Government is to protect tenants in their own 
bargains as to rents, there is an end of free-trade in 
anything, and Protectionists have been right all the 

Such things rest on no principle if free -trade 
means anything. The object is to do away with 
competition among tenants. Nowhere is competi- 
tion so much wanted to enforce better farming on 

Fixity of tenure leaves the tenant to go on as 
badly as before ; and, besides, it does this by confis- 
cating part of the landowners' reversion. 




EVERYBODY who is interested in such subjects is 
inclined favourably towards any plan for promoting 
Peasant Proprietorship in Ireland. At first sight it 
seems that with tenants used to small farms, for which 
they have to pay rent, a plan that shall make them 
owners of their farms, and after some years free them 
from having to pay rent, must much promote their 

It is certain too, that both in England, Scotland, 
and Ireland, the land is in too few hands, and any 
honest plan by which more men would become 
owners of land would be a gain to the country. 

But when the whole case is looked at in its details, 
it is by no means certain that any such plan can be 
made to work, except to a very limited extent, in 
Ireland. There is very much to be said for the view 
that, whilst realising to the full the good of Peasant 
Proprietorship, yet it is one of the goods of an earlier 
and simpler stage of civilisation than that which we 
have reached in the end of the nineteenth century, 


that small landholders belong to a time when men 
were content with a harder and humbler way of 
living than even labourers are now satisfied with ; 
and that we cannot now produce artificially by 
any efforts of our own a large system of peasant 
proprietors, because the necessary conditions are 
absent. Now and then, and here and there, in- 
dividuals may chance to have the qualities that will 
enable them to succeed as peasant proprietors ; but 
on any large scale it is impossible. There is no 
people in all Northern Europe in whom the necessary 
conditions are so wanting as the Irish. 

The conditions needed for success as peasant 
proprietors are great industry and skill in farming. 
In every country of Europe where small farms and 
peasant proprietors have flourished, these conditions of 
industry and skill have existed in an unusual degree. 
The skill is often hereditary, coming down from 
several generations. It is enough to mention Belgium, 
parts of France, and the Channel Islands, the latter 
having a further advantage in the immense quantity 
of sea- weed thrown on shore, affording an unlimited 
supply of manure gratis, and no part of any 
island being more than three miles from the shore. 
Let any one read the report on the farming of 
Belgium by Dr. Vb'elcker and Mr. H. M. Jenkins in 
volume vi., Second Series, of the Journal of the Eoyal 
Agricultural Society of England, and he will find the 
facts reported at length by two of the most competent 


authorities we have. He will find Belgium contrasted 
with Ireland in this respect, and the result estab- 
lished that small owners of land work harder and live 
harder than any other class in Europe. Again, in M. de 
Molinari's first letter to the Ddbats, September 22, is 
this statement: "Examples in support of this system 
are not wanting. Men please themselves by citing 
especially that of the peasant proprietor of Erance 
and Belgium, only they forget to add that the small 
proprietorship of Erance and Belgium was created by 
the work of ages, and that the peasants began by 
acquiring the qualities of order and economy that are 
indispensable for the good carrying on of proprietor- 
ship before they became proprietors. They worked 
and saved penny by penny the capital which they 
have employed in the acquisition, and later in 
the increase, of their small domains. Nothing of the 
sort is required of the Irish tenants ; it is proposed 
to suppress the apprenticeship of landowning in their 
favour, and the worst result will be to consolidate 
in Ireland agrarian pauperism." 

He goes on in a very striking passage, too long 
for quotation, to show the similarity between the 
small Irish farmer and hand -spinners and hand- 
loom-weavers in England and elsewhere, and adds 
that such farmers will be at last only more miser- 
ably overwhelmed in the ruin of the false system to 
which their unwise friends are trying to attach them. 
All these letters, as giving the opinion of a wholly 


disinterested witness, and one used to the consider- 
ation of such questions, and an authority upon them, 
deserve the most earnest attention. 

My own feeling is very favourable to peasant 
proprietors, whenever men can be found who have 
the qualities that will enable them to succeed in 
such a position. As a practical farmer, I know that 
unless a man has the habits that M. de Molinari 
speaks of industry and skill he can never do well 
in a farm, either as a tenant or proprietor. In the 
County Cork there are a great number of tenants 
with long leases, that put them substantially in the 
position of proprietors. On one side, joining me, 
there is a property let to all the tenants for 2000 
years. It is very improvable, wet and stony, only 
wanting labour to make it good useful land. On the 
other side a tenant has a lease for 100 years, and a 
splendid tract of wet land, with a capital slope down 
to the river. He has never made one drain in it, 
though to drain it would pay him twentyfold, and 
he could have borrowed money at 1 per cent last 
winter from the Government to do it. He and the 
tenants for 2000 years, who also did nothing but 
work under 1 per cent loans, are not half as well 
off as my tenants, nor their farms as productive. 

These are some of the difficulties in the way of 
Peasant Proprietorship. 

I think it is certain that it is only by carefully 
selecting fit buyers, that selling land to tenants will 


answer any good purpose, a bad tenant is sure to 
make a bad proprietor. That is the key of the 
question and of all the plans of fixity of tenure. 
All cut off or limit the common chances of improve- 
ment. All end in small gains to present occupiers, 
confiscated from the owners, and leave the occupiers 
just where they were, not raising them a single peg, 
but more firmly convinced than before that scheming 
is much better than industry. Instead of having the 
good habits needful for thriving as proprietors, in- 
ferior and bad Irish tenants have bad habits, which 
ensure their failure, whatever position they may 
hold in whatever walk of life. Trying the experi- 
ment on the scale that the Church Act and Bright's 
clauses in the Land Act sanction can do no harm. 
Bright's clauses might be made more effective, if the 
Government was empowered to bid for land that 
is offered for sale. Having bought it, Government 
might sell the farms to any tenants likely to do well 
as proprietors, and who would honestly pay one-third 
of the purchase-money. Much has been urged by 
Mr. Shaw Lefevre and others, who believe in Peasant 
Proprietorship, in favour of tenants being required 
.to pay only one -fourth of the purchase -money, 
instead of one -third. I believe such a difference 
is insignificant. It is the difference between 13s. 4d. 
and 15s.; whoever could pay the one would have no 
serious difficulty with the other. I prefer one-third 
because it is rather a more substantial part. 


I would only sell to those who were fit to buy. 
It would be a positive benefit in Ireland to have the 
distinction between good and bad farmers drawn 
thus definitely. To those who could not buy, or 
were not fit to do so, let thirty-one years' leases at 
the true value be given, which nine times, out of ten 
would be more than their former rent. And if 
within three or five years they still did not come in 
and buy, I would sell the land, subject to these 
leases, to the best bidder. In this way there would 
be no loss to the Government, because the higher 
rents would make the fee even of residues of this 
kind sell better. There would be no injustice nor 
even hardship to any one, landlord or tenant, whilst 
those who were fit would become proprietors. 

Let any one read in Mr. Tuke's pamphlet his 
account of the peasant proprietors he saw, who had 
bought under the Church Act. It is clear that of 
those he saw, whoever were thriving tenants throve 
as proprietors, whilst bad tenants went to the wall 
as proprietors, thus proving my statement. Pro- 
fessor Baldwin gave an account to the Duke of 
Kichmond's Commission of what he saw on another 
estate, bought under the Church Act by the tenants. 
Before the Act passed they had been a very fairly 
thriving body of tenants. Ten years after, he found 
them nearly all pauper proprietors. Common sense 
suggests, as I have said, that the habits of Irish 
peasants are not changed by their ceasing to be 



tenants and becoming proprietors. And I believe 
there is conclusive direct evidence to the same effect 
to any extent. If it is not clearly recognised that 
the great number of bad tenants who lose their farms 
from any cause, nineteen times out of twenty are 
just useless poor creatures who in no circumstances 
can do good with land, it is impossible to remedy 
the troubles of the country. 

This, then, is the working of the other panacea 
peasant proprietorship. It is no panacea at all. 
Carefully worked, it may be made to do some good ; 
as it might too, I think in England and Scotland. 
I have long believed that by a system of Land 
Banks, more or less on the model of the Prussian 
Land Banks, advances might be made without risk 
to help any one in the three kingdoms who wishes 
to buy a limited portion of land, and thus the number 
of landed proprietors be fairly increased, and those 
appeased who suffer in any degree under land- 
hunger. Such advances, if made gradually, and 
with a firm resolution to enforce repayment, would 
be quite safe. 

In Ireland the curious readiness to place money 
on deposit in banks, and the great sums so deposited, 
enable a Land Bank to be set up with great ad- 
vantage. Depositors now only receive usually 1 
per cent for their money ; the offer of 2 per cent 
would procure a great sum. By arrangement with 
the Bank of Ireland, which now has many branches 


in country places, the Government, by offering 2 
per cent, could probably get any sum wanted for 
advances to enable occupiers to buy their farm. I 
would suggest that only a definite sum yearly should 
be advanced, say 100,000, so that by the time a 
really large sum total was reached, a substantial part 
of the first advances would have been repaid. With 
firmness there need be no loss, as there has not been 
a shilling of loss on the millions advanced to land- 
owners for drainage, who ex hypothesi are so bad, 
whilst tenants are so good. The only risk of loss is if 
we have a Government that for its own political pur- 
poses does not care to resist the beggar's whine. Any 
doubt in Ireland whether money need be paid or not, 
is sure to settle itself the wrong way, against paying. 

Of course advances by the Government for such a 
purpose cannot be justified on the highest economical 
principles. But the object of increasing the number 
of owners of land is a good and important one. And 
if it can be brought about without cost to the tax- 
payers and with no serious risk, it is worth trying. 
But the same advantage should be given to persons 
in England and Scotland who wish to buy land to a 
moderate extent. With like limitation as to the 
amount to be advanced, and with proper selection of 
borrowers, so as to avoid speculators, there would be 
less risk than in Ireland, and no less advantage. 

To do away with the invidious feeling that land 
is a monopoly in few hands is no small object. A 


few men have a genius for the cultivation of land. 
It is to these men that land-hunger is a real hardship. 
The excessive wealth of the country does raise the 
price of land to an artificial and perhaps undue value, 
which loans on easy terms to small buyers would in 
some degree remedy. 

It will be said a bank like this, to enable tenants 
and others to buy land for themselves, is the proper 
work of private persons, especially of the patriotic 
and benevolent class, who in Ireland profess such 
anxiety to help the tenants. No doubt this is true. 
O'Connell founded a large bank, which has thriven for 
over forty years, and holds many millions on deposit 
at 1 per cent. Another patriotic Home Kule M.P. 
has also founded a successful bank, which also holds 
a great sum on deposit at 1 per cent, and which pays 
a dividend usually of 10 per cent. It is clear these 
banks could lend to farmers the money they hold at 
1 per cent, at a moderate rate for making purchases 
of their farms, and at no risk. No more useful or 
good national object could be imagined. 

But, alas, these patriotic banks can also lend the 
money, for which they pay 1 per cent, on small bills 
to the same farming class at the satisfactory interest 
of 8 per cent, and the temptation to do this is irre- 
sistible. So these virtuous M.P.'s pocket their 10 
per cent dividends, and join in the cry to rob the 
landowners, to enable their farming customers to go 
deeper in debt, and give better security. 


It is the undue facilities for borrowing, given by 
those very banks to farmers, that cause the grievous 
indebtedness of the class I have heretofore spoken of. 

It is gravely suggested that such troubles as these 
can be set right by robbing the landlords, and above 
all by driving away or crippling every landlord who 
improves his property. I again suggest that it will 
be wise to look to the end. 

M. de Molinari here too leaves no doubt of the 
right direction. 

He asserts that no people in Europe at present 
are so wanting in all the qualities needful for success- 
ful peasant proprietors. No one can doubt that he 
is right, and the practical question at once arises 
Can those needful qualities be acquired ? And how ? 
No remedy is worth anything that does not lead to 
this end. If the proposed remedy will not do this, 
no choice is left but to look deeper and in another 

That which lies at the bottom of the trouble 
is the thorough untruth that prevails in Ireland, 
especially among politicians. The whole agitation 
is got up, in hope of gaining something by it. It 
is only money -grasping, without one high idea. 
The extreme party urges confiscation, and the more 
moderate party Ulster tenant-right. Present private 
gain is the only end of both. For any man to 
succeed in dealing with such people it is necessary 
he should see and understand their faults. The 


exact temper wanted for dealing with them success- 
fully is downright intelligent honesty that will not 
be humbugged. The present agitation deliberately 
aims at causing such a state of disturbance as may 
be unbearable, and so force unjust concessions on 
the ground that something must be done. 

In one word, all in Ireland is more or less mixed 
up with scheming ; nothing is simply true. It is 
quite as easy to advocate Mr. ParnelTs views as 
Tenant-right views. Untruth is as necessary to one 
as to the other, only slightly different untruth. The 
real mischief of the sentimental flattery addressed to 
these poor people is that it encourages this schem- 
ing. If any of us who live here, and has to manage 
his own concerns, and take his part in the local 
business of the country (justice business, etc.), acted 
or talked in this sentimental way, he would be simply 
drowned in the flood of lies that would pour in on him. 
Our mode of proceeding is the very opposite. We 
believe nothing at all until it has been proved to be 
true, and even then we know it is sure to be hugely 
exaggerated ; or facts, more or less true, perhaps, 
applied to circumstances in a relation that makes 
them untrue. We are careful to raise no expecta- 
tions, but simply to do what is just and right. 

The fault of Mr. Forster's Disturbance Bill 
was this. There was distress last winter in the 
western and mountainous parts of Ireland, but very 
little in other parts, even of scheduled Unions. When 


it was known that money could be had for relief, 
wonderful exaggerations sprang up in all directions, 
according to the universal principle here, "Why 
should we not have our share of what is going, as 
well as another ?" The poor can hardly be blamed 
for this ; the ordinary poverty of every winter is 
enough to make them glad of whatever they can get. 
In Ireland there are very few men of any class who 
can resist such a movement. Love of popularity, or, 
more accurately, fear of unpopularity, makes nearly 
all, Governments as well as others, as easy as pos- 
sible about giving relief; and Mr. Forster's feelings 
being moved by the distress in some parts, he ceased 
to realise the difference between scheming and truth, 
and took untruth to be true. So he proposed a 
measure in the teeth of every sound principle of 
estate -management, and which must have ruined 
more tenants than it helped, and besides been a 
grievous wrong to many landlords who know their 
duty and have done it. To keep the tenants clear of 
arrears, is the first principle of good estate-manage- 
ment. The condition of any estate can be unfail- 
ingly judged of, when it is known, what is the amount 
of arrears upon it ? so, too, from the same facts, can 
be known, what is the comfort the tenants live in ? 

I should myself have suffered great loss had the 
Bill passed, though I have no arrears. I am in a 
scheduled Union, in which, on February 1, there were 
three more paupers than in 1879. I had my summer 


rent-day on July 10, when the Bill was still in doubt. 
About two-thirds of the half-year's rent was paid, 
where commonly nearly the whole would have been 
paid. A number of the largest and best-off tenants 
did not appear ; even some thoroughly wealthy shop- 
keepers, who held town fields. It was easy to guess 
who were readers of newspapers. The next day two 
of the best tenants came, in the main worthy indus- 
trious fellows ; the half-year's rent of whom was 
49 and 67 : 10s. They said they had no money. 
I answered I could not afford that they should not 
pay some rent. They might pay half in the next 
ten days, and the rest at Michaelmas. I got a short 
reply. They had no money and could not pay, but 
might pay something after harvest. I then said, as 
they took that tone, I would accept nothing less than 
a half-year's rent in full; and if this was not paid before 
Michaelmas, I would eject as soon as I could. I never 
again asked for the rent. About September 1st, the 
49 tenant came suddenly with the rent in full in 5 
notes ; the large notes being a sure sign it had been 
lying ready for some time. Two days after the 
67 : 10s. tenant came in such haste that he would 
not wait to change some Cork butter-buyer's cheques 
for his butter of this season, dated before July 12, 
the day when he told me he had no money. The 
cheques were for more than I had asked him to pay 
in July. If the Bill had passed, both would have 
gone into arrears, and probably have ruined them- 


selves in the end. I know one (and believe that 
both) had joined the Land League. 

Not to press for the payment of rent and to let 
arrears accumulate is just the common old way of 
dealing in this country, by which to go in debt is 
considered to be of no consequence, so long as you 
are not forced to pay it. It is hoped Providence may 
provide some good years, that may make it easy to 
pay the arrears or reduce them; and, if not, it is 
hoped they, may not be pressed for. In either case 
they are a dead log round the tenant's neck, which 
depresses all his energies, because in a good year the 
surplus is not his own, and does him no good, and in 
the bad years he is more likely to be ruined, and lose 

Here is another fact. Just before September 29, 
a neighbour brought a young Liberal English M.P. to 
see our doings. He had come over to inform himself 
on the Irish question. Inter alia, I asked if he would 
like to see a distressed tenant under ejectment for non- 
payment of rent. Nothing he would like so much. 
So I sent him to a widow, a poor woman, with beau- 
tiful land, and faults enough to ruin five tenants. 
She owed a year's rent, and was to be ejected in ten 
days. I did not go with him, that he might ask and 
see all he liked. His many questions had the effect 
of convincing the widow he must be the sheriff's 
officer, or some one who wished to take her land, or 
had to do with her ejectment. So when he went away, 


having made his investigation, she ran after him, and 
told him she had the year's rent all ready in her house, 
and meant to pay it ; and an hour after he had left 
us she ran over in hot haste to me with the rent in 
full. I sent a card after him to beg if he was in 
Ireland another year he would let me know, because, 
should I happen to have any more defaulting tenants 
I should be so glad to take advantage of his assist- 

The true remedy is to act on simple sound prin- 
ciple on that which is the true principle of free 
trade that the natural liberty Providence gives of 
buying and selling, and dealing with what belongs to 
any man, is best for all, and promotes the greatest 
happiness of the greatest number. The ingenious 
hair-splittings now so common to try and justify 
confiscating that which honestly now belongs to 
landowners, are instances of the opposite manner of 
dealing. Nothing else can do real permanent good, 
and raise the condition of the people. It is aston- 
ishing how any one who has ever grasped the prin- 
ciple of free dealing can lay it aside in regard to 
such a country as Ireland, and fancy that continual 
concession to indolent, ignorant men can promote 
their prosperity and raise their moral condition. 
The lazy, bad tenant is sure to be lazy and bad 
though he got Tenant-right or was made a peasant - 
proprietor, or put in any other employment. To talk 
of rooting such men in the soil, as Mr. Gladstone did 


in the debates on the Land Act of 1870, is proposing 
to do that which is worst for the country. The 
vanity of the ill-affected class in Ireland is pleased 
by flattery, as it is by every word of respect and 
every empty compliment they can pick up ; and so 
that self-important, fractious, untrue character is 
formed, without a grain of sense, even for attaining 
its own ends, which is now so common in the 
House of Commons and elsewhere, and which it is 
impossible to deal with reasonably. Sound principle 
and strong downright common sense can alone 
answer. Let the flattering way of dealing with in- 
dolent men be tried in any other industry, and the 
results will be the same as have been produced in 

The business of landowning or of farming can no 
more be regulated by Act of Parliament than any 
other business. Each is a true business, and can 
only thrive when conducted on business principles. 
No bolstering up, or favouring, or helping by Parlia- 
ment, or any other way, will make the business 
thrive. Industry and skill and capital can alone do 
this. All else is only an attempt at protection. Like 
other systems of protection, it is popular with those 
who think they shall gain by it. It may seem to 
succeed for a time. But the state, of Donegal, and 
other parts of Ulster where the linen trade does not 
exist proves clearly that one such mode of protec- 
tion, viz. Tenant-right, is unsound. Moreover, more 


than half Ulster at this moment is dissatisfied with 
the Tenant-right it has. Like all other protected 
trades, more protection is wanted that more should 
be taken from landowners and given to tenants with- 
out payment for it. 

I believe these facts cannot be met. Parliament 
has never yet taken away from one body of men that 
which it has recognised for centuries to belong to 
them, and given it to others, however strong the 
reasons of public policy may have been, except by 
paying the owners honestly for what is taken away. 
Nor could the principles of the Land Act, passed so 
lately as 1870, be thrown overboard without the for- 
feiture of. all self-respect. 

I have been forced to use hard words about lying 
and untruth much more often than I like. But there 
was no choice. The extent to which these faults 
prevail upon the subject cannot be realised out of 

The opinion expressed by M. de Molinari, that 
there is no royal road to prosperity in Ireland, is the 
very same that I have constantly expressed and acted 
on for forty years past. He says, increased produc- 
tion can alone make men to be better off. The pro- 
duction may be from land or manufactures, it matters 
not which, but more production there must be for 
more prosperity. Misery may be relieved by poor- 
laws or charity, and, rightly, from another motive. It 
is only from increased production in some way a 


country can be better off. The poor fellows who 
raised from the land I farm one-fourth of the pro- 
duce it now yields, not only lived like paupers them- 
selves, but sorely hindered the prosperity of the 
country too, because they added nothing to its trade. 
My labourers now, who work on the same fields, not 
only spend much of their 10s. or 12s. a week in ways 
that do good to trade, but the increased produce they 
raise, beyond what the poor tenant used to raise, adds 
greatly to the trade of the country. This truth lies at 
the bottom of the whole question. Men may shut their 
eyes to it, but they cannot escape it. Unless there is 
increased produce, things can never be better. All 
this is ignored by the Land League people. Their 
end is that every man in Ireland should live at ease 
under his own vine and fig tree, without rent or aught 
else to disturb him, and work and drink as much or as 
little as he likes. This might perhaps answer in a 
way, if it could only be shown where the money is to 
come from that will support him and his whilst he 
thus lives like a gentleman. The idea of living at ease 
like a gentleman has more to do with Irish troubles 
than most men see. 

But to take the subject in order. 

M. de Molinari asks, If any one told the ouvriers 
of Montmartre and Belville, Paris, that hence- 
forth, on account of their poverty, they should only 
pay half the present rent of their apparlements, 
or none at all, what effect would it produce upon 


them ? He adds, This is just what has been done in 

The agitation now going on is meant to produce 
its true work in England. The agitators believe that 
people in England are really afraid of them that the 
Government will yield more in proportion as they can 
increase this fear. The Land Act raised the expecta- 
tions and excited the imagination of ignorant men 
here, that Parliament could be induced to take from 
the landlords to give to the tenants ; and Mr. Glad- 
stone's unwise talk which I have quoted above, and 
which is cited at every land meeting, inflamed all 
such ideas. In parts of Ireland, no doubt, the agi- 
tation has produced a dreadful state of things, but 
still we have seen disturbances of the same kind, even 
greater, at intervals of a few years, again and again, 
since the beginning of the century. We know what 
such agitation is worth, or rather, what it is not worth, 
and how it ought to be met and put down ; and that 
it is sure to collapse at once, directly it is known that . 
the authorities are in earnest, and mean to put it down. 
During nearly a generation that Lord Chancellor 
Blackburne practically ruled Ireland, when the diffi- 
culty from over-population and far greater poverty 
was much worse, if outrages became numerous from 
agitation or any other cause, the law was simply 
put in force. A special commission was issued, 
a few convictions obtained, and, without blood- 
thirstiness or undue severity, all were convinced 


the law could not be set aside, and quiet quickly 
followed. When O'Connell had to be thus met, 
Blackburne met him and put him down: whether 
the Government was Conservative or Liberal, it was 
the same. Lately a milder course has been taken. 
By the Westmeath Act, ten years ago, the Lord 
Lieutenant, when a county was proclaimed, could 
order the arrest and detention in prison, at the 
pleasure of the Crown, of any dangerous person. As 
all those who had been doing wrong, and knew they 
were therefore in danger of arrest, forthwith ran away 
to America, where they were harmless, this plan 
answered every good purpose. Scarcely any persons 
were punished or even caught and shut up under the 
Act. It was the highest sort of moral rule. Men's own 
consciences judged them, and they bolted or not 
accordingly. Quiet and no more outrages were the 
result. I have already told how much Lord 
O'Hagan's Jury Act has added to the troubles. 

No one can doubt that law and order must be 
enforced. To leave this uncertain for a day does an 
injury to the poor people themselves, worse than the 
worst injuries their agitators complain of many times 
over, even if such were true, which they are not. 
There is no trouble or difficulty in thus producing 
quiet. Only Mr. Forster's plan cannot answer, of 
using strong words one week in behalf of law and 
order, and the next week watering them down by 
speaking against the landlords or the House of Lords, 


and so convincing the agitators that something may 
be got out of him, even if he does put the law in 

Mr. Froude's article in the Nineteenth Centiwy 
for September is as powerful a proof as could be that 
law and order must be enforced, unless grievous injury 
is to be done. It is no question of landlords or the 
House of Lords. The moral mischief that is being 
done by delay is immense. Let any man of decision 
be sent to Connaught with the commission of the 
peace for Galway, Mayo, and Sligo. Give him the 
command of the police and as many extra men as he 
needs. Let his directions be to enforce law and order. 
He will not have been there a month before Con- 
naught will be at peace. All that is necessary is 
that a man of will and brains should be in command, 
who will not let himself be trifled with. 

But it is impossible that any sudden change for 
the better can be made in districts that are now bad. 
The popular cry may be yielded to, no doubt, but 
this will be only laying up worse evils for the future. 
Concession is sure to whet the appetite for more ; it 
will not remove the evil. The object sought is per- 
sonal money gain alone. In 1873 I pointed out in 
the Times that the Land Act had thus only whetted 
the appetite of agitators. It had satisfied no one. 
More concession will only add to the same. The ill- 
habits of the people still in substance exist. It is 
only as better habits establish themselves that a 


better state of things can grow up. Whenever an 
estate has been well managed, the tenants made to 
know that whatever any one promises will be held 
binding on him the rents undertaken will be re- 
quired, and no humbug listened to, but honest, straight- 
forward dealing be the rule bad tenants be removed 
and their land given to good tenants, the condition 
and wealth of the people steadily improves. Good 
tenants invariably make money. When they can do 
this, what is there to fight about ? When the proper 
time comes for a rise in the rent, and such rise is 
made, they would be more than human, and much 
less than Irishmen, if they did not kick a little. 
But when the dealing is reasonable and resolute, 
this does small harm. A wise notion has been 
started that Irish tenants are so poor they cannot 
contract freely. Heaven forgive the man who acts 
on that view in Ireland ! That a man is not bound 
by his contract, is the dodge of every rogue we have. 
This is the constant struggle over workhouse and 
all other public contracts, that when the contractor 
loses by his contract, he should be let off or paid 
more. Once it is known that contracts cannot be 
got rid of, the attempts to get rid of them cease 

The outlay on improvements, both by landlords and 
tenants, lately has much increased. An honest census 
of what landlords have done for the last thirty years 
will show a total that is not anticipated ; such outlay 


by landlords cannot be disregarded. If order pre- 
vails it will go on steadily. A moderate part of men's' 
incomes applied to this purpose will be enough. Money 
so spent is not lost ; it will pay well in the end. 

In the past year tenants have awakened to the 
value of draining, and the loans at one per cent last 
winter from the Government did great good. Though 
in strictness of economic principles they might not 
be justifiable, yet practically I believe the One per 
cent loans were the most successful step that any 
Government ever took. The country had advanced 
sufficiently to profit by them. The gain to those 
of us who had been draining for many years had 
been observed, and fruit was now borne by our 
example. In my Union forty-four loans for draining 
were taken. I believe half of these were taken by 
tenants for small sums, 100 and such like. This is 
a larger total than was ever before spent by tenants 
on drains within the memory of any one living. The 
profit certain to be yielded, the drains having been well 
sunk, under the inspection of Government officers, and 
having outfalls (whilst many drains they heretofore 
made for themselves were very shallow and without 
any outfall), must do great good. 

The sense of success will be such, that it might 
be wise for the Government to offer once more loans 
for draining to tenants at a cheap rate. Loans at 
2 per cent, or even 2^, could be very small loss. 
More loans would be taken at 2^ per cent (making 


the total charge for principal and interest 5 per cent 
for thirty years), after last year's experience, than 
were taken at 1 per cent ; and an effect would thus 
be produced in many parts that would secure drain- 
ing in future going on of itself, to the immense advan- 
tage of the country. In a district like this, which is 
not mountainous, and where the wet land does not 
lie usually in great tracts, but every farm has more 
or less of its land wet, such as an industrious tenant 
can drain for himself, the general conviction that 
to leave land undrained is a dead loss, must work 
wonders in a few years. 

In much the larger part of Ireland, the only true 
remedy is the better management of estates; that 
bad tenants should be steadily weeded out, and their 
land given to good tenants, without payments that 
would reduce their capital. Three-fourths of Ireland 
is in this condition. 

There are in the country a sufficient number of 
good tenants, fairly industrious and steady men, with 
some knowledge of their business, who have too small 
farms. And there are a large number of thoroughly 
bad tenants, indolent, ignorant, and drinkers, who, as 
I have shown, in whatever way they hold land, can 
never do any good with it. Their faults are their ruin. 
This class hardly exists in England or Scotland, and 
accordingly its extent or even its existence in Ireland 
is not realised. All are looked upon as poor and 
honest men ; of course the agitators keep up that 


idea by vehement but untrue assertion : the eject- 
ment of one of these bad tenants is spoken of as 
cruelty and wrong. Let it be considered what it is 
to have in a farm a lazy, drinking, even if not 
drunken, man, ignorant, without capital or know- 
ledge of farming, and his land much exhausted. 
How is it possible a country can improve when 
much of the land is thus held ? There is no diffi- 
culty with any one else but these. No landlord who 
is not an idiot ever quarrels with a good tenant. 
These bad tenants are the men for whom Mr. Forster's 
Disturbance Bill was made, and who would have 
prayed for his soul if he had carried it. 

I have three bad tenants, all drunken; two of them 
have no four-footed animals on their farms, one holding 
forty-seven acres, at 5s. 9d.per acre : what is it possible 
to do with such men when they cease to pay rent ? 

When such men are turned out there is plenty 
of work for them, if they will do it, in spite of Mr. 
Gladstone's wholly untrue statement, that evictions 
are the same as death-warrants, and, under the obliga- 
tion to work, their children grow up into useful labour- 
ing people. In what part of the earth can men be at 
once idle and prosperous ? On what principle should 
the land, these men have failed in, not be given to 
good tenants, who will farm it better, and benefit the 
country and themselves by so farming it ? This is 
the common-sense course which has succeeded with 
me and with all others having improving estates. 


The principle professed in behalf of the Land Act 
was that capricious evictions might be stopped, but 
it was expressly added that no one wished to keep bad 
tenants on the land. The Act, however, has been 
put in force in a way that has tended directly to keep 
bad tenants in their farms. 

It has been held that the Act gave an absolute 
right to every tenant of four to seven years' rent as 
compensation for eviction. Non-payment of a year's 
rent alone deprived him of this right. The landlord 
no doubt might have a set-off against him. But the 
most justifiable cause for eviction has been still 
held a disturbance, and still left the burden of four 
to seven years' rent to be paid by the landlord. 

The only right course would have been that, if 
there was justifiable cause for eviction, the landlords 
should not incur the penalty. 

I have had but one land case myself. A poor 
old tenant had forty acres of capital land. Before I 
bought it, he had divided the farm with his eldest 
son, who was the most hopelessly lazy fellow I ever 
knew. He soon could not pay his part of the rent. 
So I had to turn him out, and take the loss of his 
rent on myself, giving his land back to the father, as 
he had another son ; this other son, when little more 
than a boy, was convicted of a bad attempt at rape, 
in one of my own fields, and got twelve months in 
Cork gaol for it. He used habitually to rob his 
father's potato pit, to supply money for his iniquities. 


So there was an end of his chance as a tenant. The 
old man had cows on his land, which he let to a 
dairyman, and so paid his rent ; after his wife died, 
he became so feeble he could not walk across the 
room to his own door. A daughter had married a rich 
farmer twenty miles off. She had to take her father 
home to her house in a cart to save his life, and there 
he lived for some years. The farm is part of the best 
land I have : by manuring, it has paid me capitally 
since. . I could not allow it to be thus left half waste, 
and therefore served a notice to quit, and ejected. The 
County Court judge agreed it was impossible I could 
help ejecting in such a case, but yet ordered me to 
pay four years' rent, over 150, for so doing. I think 
it was a wrong decision, and so did most others who 
heard it. Luckily I had a set-off for dilapidations, 
that saved me in part, and by appealing to the' Judge 
of Assize I forced on a compromise that still more 
relieved me. This is the effect of the Land Act as 
it is worked. 

No reasonable landlord objected to capricious 
evictions being stopped. The attempt to make out 
a bastard Tenant-right, as has been done, has caused 
great disgust, and turned many against the Act. It 
is strange, the effect of unfair dealing, by men in the 
position of judges towards those whom it is impos- 
sible to deprive of much power, except by confisca- 
tion, is not observed. 

Nor is the requirement of thirty-one years' leases 


to be complained of. I think this last requirement 
might be extended in such a way that all future 
lettings of land should be by lease for thirty-one 
years. A twenty-one years' lease is long enough 
in England and Scotland, and I am convinced is a 
great gain to both tenant and landlord, because it 
gives security for the tenant's expenditure. Though 
thirty-one years may be too long a term, in some re- 
spects, yet, with the ideas that prevail in Ireland (I do 
not mean the wild view of the present moment), I 
think the term need not be objected to. 

More drainage by tenants, if landlords do not 
themselves drain as they ought, and thirty-one-year 
leases in all cases, will give much increased produce 
from the land, and so satisfy M. de Molinari's principle. 
It might be a condition of the lease that the tenant 
should drain all wet land in the first fifteen years, if 
the landlord did not do it, and the tenant get a charge 
for the outlay in full. I have often thought a justifi- 
able pressure on both landlord and tenant could be 
had if the land was valued for rating, not as now at 
its present value (but when more than 5 per 
cent of the farm is wet and reclaimable), by valuing 
it at what it would be worth if drained and re- 
claimed. Those who now drain their land suffer an 
injustice if their neighbours do not also drain. The 
sums required for the Poor or the Eoads are applotted 
on a fixed area, and those who raise the value of their 
farms by draining pay a larger share of the sum so 


applotted, whilst the neighbour who neglects his 
duty is actually relieved of part of what he would 
have had to pay. By valuing all as if the land had 
been drained, this hardship may be set right, and a 
mild screw put on the neglectful occupiers and owners 
to do their duty. The gain to all from the general 
drainage of the country exceeds all other possible 
gains manifold. 

M. de Molinari's last letter in the Dtbats of 
September 22, deserves the most careful attention. 
It is directly on the point I am now discussing, 
What can be done ? He says plainly, Ireland is truly 
sick. It is sick of one of the worst forms of pauper- 
ism, agrarian pauperism. There are 200,000 to 
300,000 tenants, representing more than a million of 
souls, who cultivate an inferior refuse soil, so that in 
good years they are only just above starvation, and 
in bad years they are starving. It is these small 
refuse farms that are the cause of the trouble ; 
nothing else. They must be united to other farms, 
so as to increase the size, and make each farm large 
enough to support the farmer and his family, and 
such as he can prosper in. The process has gone 
on rapidly ever since the great famine. The Land 
Act retarded it. But still it went on, neverthe- 
less, and nothing but the union of farms, till they 
can support a family, can produce a better state of 

I believe there is no answer to this statement. 


In substance it agrees with what I have told as the 
experience of a life in Ireland, lived not without 
success. Take the case of one of these small tenants 
M. de Molinari speaks of, who pays 9 a year. 9 
a year is 180 shillings, less than 6d. per day ; so 6d. 
per day would be his total gain if he had his land rent- 
free. But much the larger number pay less than 5 
a year rent. Well, 4: 10s. a year is less than 3d. 
per day his gain if rent-free. Can such sums alter 
the tenant's position from poverty to comfort ? Will 
3d. or 6d. per day added to the means of living of a 
Connaught small tenant raise him to the wished-for 
condition ? Any one can tell the answer. Compare 
the state of these men with my labourers earning 12s. 
per week, with free houses, garden, and potato-land, 
and remember that, according to Mr. Gladstone, I 
signed the death-warrant of many of them when I 
evicted them long years ago. 

In County Cork the number of the ejectments in 
the last three years, that have been by creditors, mort- 
gagees to whom the tenants pledged their farms for 
money advanced, turns out to be near half the total 
These are the direct effect of the tenant's debts and 
his faults, with which the landlord had nothing to 
do. The justification of Mr. Forster's Disturbance 
Bill was the cruelty of landlords in ejecting tenants 
in these bad times. Here is the answer. 

Again, in this same letter, M. de Molinari de- 
scribes what will necessarily happen if these bad 


tenants are made peasant proprietors, or given a 
greater hold on the land by Tenant-right or the Three 
Fs : they will get deeper in debt in consequence, and 
be more surely sold up by the creditors the first time 
bad years come. I believe one cause that my tenants 
are less in debt than others is, that all money-lenders 
know that I feel no pity for them ; as my tenants 
and I are on very friendly terms on the whole, the 
money-lenders fear we may collogue (as it is called 
here), and leave them in the lurch. My principle in 
all such cases is, that though some of my tenants, I 
am sorry to say, are not so honest as they should be, 
yet money-lenders are so much worse rogues, that it 
is no part of my duty to think about them, and if 
a tenant likes to surrender his land, I decline to ask 
what money he has borrowed. 

I may be told that the course of gradual amend- 
ment I suggest is too slow. My answer is, its slow- 
ness is one of its chief recommendations. Amend- 
ment of a people's habits cannot be fast, as I have 
said before. Improvement will need generations to 
effect ; but every step is a gain. The proximate cause 
of the present agitation is the distress from failure of 
crops in Connaught and some other parts. Smith 
O'Brien's folly in 1848, just after the famine, pro- 
ceeded from the very same causes. It must be clearly 
understood that the state of Connaught and other 
western mountainous and sea-coast districts differs 
wholly from the rest of Ireland. Here and there an 


out-of-the-way spot in other parts approaches their bad 
state, but the quality of the land and condition of the 
people are far different. Before the famine of 1846 
the subdivision of farms caused us to approach to this 
bad state. Since then we have advanced to a quite 
different condition. In Sir Charles Trevelyan's 
articles in the Edinburgh Revieiv for 1848, and 
which he has lately reprinted, and from his letter to 
the Times, in July last, it will be seen what was then 
our condition and what we then went through. He 
says plainly, that was done then, which M. de Moli- 
nari advises to be the only possible thing that can be 
done now. The distress was fully relieved whilst it 
lasted. Afterwards the modest part was taken of 
helping the healing work of Nature, and acting on 
the sound principle of Laisser faire. 

This, M. de Molinari adds, does not satisfy modern 
doctors; but Ireland in time will learn that the 
doctors are worse than the disease. 

The Government of that time was Liberal, like the 
present. Sir C. Trevelyan is surely a Liberal. He 
had met the evil in Ireland, and grappled with it for 
near two years, being then Secretary to the Treasury. 
The words and acts of men like Sir C. Trevelyan and 
M. de Molinari cannot be passed over in favour of a 
brand-new revolution to turn everything upside 

I believe there is clear proof that poverty is the 
only evil, and self-exertion the only cure. The dis- 


trict in which I write is only twenty miles from 
Skibbereen, and part of the Union was cut out of the 
Skibbereen Union, and runs within ten miles of that 
town. Every one knows what Skibbereen was in the 
famine of 1846. This district was not so bad, because 
there was less congestion of poor people from the poorer 
districts beyond, yet the suffering and starvation in 
it were terrible. The whole winter 1846-7 was like 
a frightful nightmare to those who had to go through 
it. In the following years more than half our people 
emigrated. Where an estate had been only neglected 
and subdivided, with low rent and no pressure, 
tenants being suffered to do as they liked, they 
emigrated more than from other lands. They had 
made a harder pressure for themselves. These spots 
had become much the same as rabbit-warrens. I 
knew two such cases from which nearly all went to 
America, though the rent was a mere trifle, and no 
pressure or restraint put on them. A large part of 
our population were labourers. There had been 
much emigration before the famine, so that many 
had friends in America : this helped to cause 
emigration to be looked on with liking. Our land 
is mostly of a quality that will not yield still 
without good manuring. So it was not easy to do 
much here without money. We are now one of the 
most thriving parts of the South of Ireland, and im- 
prove yearly. The land has got into larger farms ; 
and though the farmers only half manure and give 


very little employment, only tilling as much as their 
own families can work, still, as prices of all grass pro- 
ducts are very good, and wages are higher than 
they were then, all are much better off, and there 
have been no rent troubles. 

There is a place of 400 acres near, called the 
Common Mountain, that belongs to no one. It was 
settled by squatters, who, in potato times, built cabins 
and reclaimed fields and bits. The fee was in the 
Crown, and the ownership by squatters was recognised. 
They are mostly no better than paupers. Last spring 
a large proportion had to get seed of champion 
potatoes on credit from the Union. It is quite the 
most turbulent part of the petty sessions district, and 
for a long time, as a magistrate, I thought it right to 
give double punishment to offenders from this part, 
for the sake of preserving order there. 

I believe, if the matter was fairly looked into, 
this district and the greater part of the County Cork 
would be found to give conclusive proof of the sound- 
ness of the principles acted on by Sir C. Trevelyan 
and the Government of 1847. If the evil is pauper- 
ism agrarian pauperism surely to fix the present 
paupers on the land, bad ones and all, by Ulster 
Tenant-right, or fixity of tenure, or making them 
peasant proprietors, can never cure the trouble. 

It is the strongest confirmation of this view that 
the whole effort of the present agitation is, to keep 
the worst and the most useless tenants still in their 


farms. They may be doing no good for themselves, 
and never have done any good even in the best 
times, and their bad habits and poverty may prove 
they never are likely to do any good ; but there they 
are to stay and vegetate, neither paying rent nor 
benefiting themselves or the country. 

It is strange men do not see that this means that 
all the bad habits of the lowest class in the country 
will be stereotyped among us, and all progress to a 
better state of things stopped. 

The main help in Connaught and that part of Ire- 
land which is the worst, must be emigration. Wherever 
there is a congestion of more on the soil than it can 
support in comfort without trusting to potatoes, emi- 
gration alone can relieve it. Of course no Government 
can undertake emigration, still less enforce it ; they 
would hinder it if they tried. But the Government can 
give every facility for the purpose, and so open the 
door for it as wide as possible. They can provide, as 
ought to have been done long ago, proper agents at 
the ports of embarkation, to advise and help all 
emigrants asking for such help, and show where to 
procure food and lodgings whilst waiting for the ship, 
and forwarding them in every fair way. It is strange 
this has not been done before. It is done for these 
same poor people on their arrival at New York by 
the American Government. There is reason to believe 
emigrants are often grievously wronged and cheated 
at our own ports before they embark. A reasonable 


care for them in this respect would be a great 
encouragement to emigration, and an act of charity 
too. Boards of Guardians have power now to help 
emigration from the rates. But larger powers might 
be given to help, and in poor Unions loans for the 
purpose granted, where the burden became too heavy. 
When the Prime Minister of Canada, Sir J. 
Macdonnell, was in London just before Parliament 
was prorogued, he offered grants of the splendid land 
in Manitoba, the wheat from which causes so much 
fright to English farmers, 160 acres each to able- 
bodied emigrants settling there; and he offered to 
get an Act passed by the Colonial Parliament to 
charge the cost of the emigration and support for 
some months of the emigrant upon the land, in case 
the cost had been advanced by any third party, as 
Boards of Guardians, etc., so that, whether the emi- 
grants stayed on the land or sold it, the money should 
be repaid. A proper officer of the Government was to 
see to the whole business, and procure repayment. The 
proposal was communicated to Lord Dunraven (who 
has travelled so much to the Far West, and has per- 
sonal knowledge of the country) and to Lord Monck ; 
they brought it before the House of Lords. Though 
the climate is no doubt severe, still it must be a 
very advantageous offer to poor emigrants. An 
advance of 50, with what means he may have, 
would be enough to pay for the emigration of most 
farmers with their families. This, or even more, 


charged on 160 acres of good land, must be quite safe. 
Arrangements could be made for large parties going 
out together. If the offer is made known, and 
facilities for embarking at this side are given, it is 
likely a large emigration will follow, provided all are 
convinced law and order will be enforced here, and 
that those who stay at home must earn their living 
by honest work. It has long appeared to me that, 
if advances for emigration were made personal debts 
from the emigrants in any Colony, duly recoverable 
in a safe and cheap way by Act of Colonial Parlia- 
ment, with proper officers there to enforce payment 
if not otherwise repaid, it would be a great advantage 
to many honest poor people who wish to emigrate. 
We are sure that most emigrants do well, and could 
repay an advance easily by instalments. Why should 
they not do so ? Some would be lost, perhaps, by 
the emigrants passing into the States : such loss 
might be borne ; the majority would repay. All the 
class of able healthy boys and girls in our workhouses, 
growing up and able to work, might thus be sent out, 
to their great gain and our relief. In our great town 
workhouses with thousands of paupers, some such 
resource is much wanted. The great workhouses in 
the large towns, as Cork, Dublin, etc., are a grievous 
evil, that never ought to have been allowed to grow up. 
They are a disgrace to the Local Government Board, 
and show how little sense prevails there. In Cork 
there are over 2500 paupers in the workhouse. In 


the two Dublin workhouses it is worse. They are born 
there, marry there, live and die there. The quantity 
of stimulants consumed in the houses is outrageous. 
Poor Law Inspectors almost live in them to keep things 
right, but still the evil goes on unchecked, a huge wen 
of pauperism. Nothing so bad has existed in the three 
kingdoms since the old Poor Laws of fifty years ago. 
I am sure the sentimental thought, that it is a 
hardship on a poor person to be forced by circum- 
stances to emigrate, is a delusion. Irish people, when 
removed from the influence of their own class, become 
better workers, and more quiet and more prosperous. 
They have many qualities that better fit them for 
success in a new country than the English have. 
The faults of home are their bane. The proportion 
of those who succeed in America is very great. 

To sum up : Agrarian pauperism is the true 
trouble of Ireland, and increased production of some 
sort the only possible cure, except in those parts 
where emigration is wanted. In one hundred years 
bad tenants will not produce more from the land 
than they produce now, but probably "much less, 
as their land becomes more exhausted. Let, there- 
fore, every opportunity for emigration be given to all 
unsuccessful and bad tenants and to all superfluous 
labourers, and let the land they occupied go into the 
hands of those who already hold land and are doing 
well with it. There is immense room for profitable 
employment for some generations in draining, with 



profit to all. The ordinary loans, at a rate of interest 
which causes no loss to Government, should be con- 
tinued to landowners, as they have been for many 
years past ; and for two or three years cheaper loans 
at 2 or 2J per cent might be continued to farmers. 
They will gain from draining thus done much more 
than they would gain by any reduction of rent. 

Until the check of distress that has been felt all 
over the kingdom from the bad crops of the two 
seasons came on, Ireland was fast improving, and 
had greatly advanced compared with the state it was 
in at the Union, or any time since. It will do so 
again from natural oauses, if only law and order 
are enforced. The doubt that foolish speeches and 
foolish acts of men in authority have raised, whether 
the law and rights of property will be upheld, has 
caused a hundred times more hardship to individuals, 
and to the tenants themselves, than all the hard acts 
of landlords in the same time, and has tended sorely 
to retard improvement in the country. 

Mr. Froude truly says, " These words have raised 
incendiarieS and assassins to the rank of patriots, 
and encouraged them to go on with their work by 
telling them that, if they were only violent and mis- 
chievous enough, they would have their desires. 
The one indispensable requirement in Ireland is 
authority armed with power to make the law obeyed." 
I cannot add a word to these weighty truths. 

Unjust measures, disregarding the rights of pro- 


perty, may gratify the covetousness of some and the 
ill-will of others, by injuring the class of landowners, 
but they will never improve the social state of the 
people by a hair's breadth. Ireland, like all other 
countries, contains good and bad of all classes. 
Those of us who understand farming have no wish 
to let our land at all, because, from the bad farming 
of nearly all tenants, we can make much more of it 
by holding it ourselves. I should be glad to farm 
every acre of the 3900 that belong to me, and could 
add much to my income by doing so. The labourers 
I should employ would as a body be better off in all 
ways than most of the tenants, and their number 
would be greater. But I have not the least wish to 
part with my old friends, and have no thought of 
doing so ; only I can see no sense in rooting bad 
tenants in the soil to be paupers, and the cause of 
evil for generations to come. 

No one who understands the question can doubt 
that the price of all farming products, except corn, 
has risen greatly in the last thirty years, and has 
a tendency still to rise. The mode of farming, too, 
has greatly improved. The use of bought manures, 
and of cake and corn in feeding stock, has much 
increased the profits of farming in ordinary tunes. 
These are the causes of the rise of rents that has 
taken place. Lately there has been a check, but 
prices may, and probably will, increase again when 
times improve. * 


Landlords have a just claim to a share of such 
increased prosperity according to what future prices 
may prove to be. Every man of business is ot 
course ready to adjust the rent accordingly with fair- 
ness and consideration. 

The same common sense and judgment that pro- 
duce a prosperous estate and contented tenantry 
in England and Scotland will do so in Ireland. 
Whether we are few or many who try to reach this 
good state, we are doing our duty, and the best 
hope of the permanent progress of the country rests 
on our success. Why, instead of being helped, are 
our hands to be tied and our efforts hindered by 
what is really an effort to give protection to all the 
bad habits and backward ideas that have made Ire- 
land a byword ? Surely England has not so far lost 
the qualities that made her what she is, as to be un- 
able to say law and order shall prevail, and upright 
honesty to all classes alike be maintained. Without 
these nothing else is worth having, nor can any 
people prosper. 

The difference between indolence and industry 
is much greater than any difference of rent that any 
landlord can propose. The difference between order 
and the rule of the Land League is greater than that 
between prosperity and ruin. 

At bottom the question is whether the dealings 
between landlord and tenant are to be governed by 
open free contract, as, since the principles of Free 


Trade were recognised, has been done in all other busi- 
ness dealings amongst us. Or whether, because some 
Irish tenants are poor and backward, and seek to get 
a money advantage for themselves whether rightly or 
wrongly, a fixed artificial system is to be set up for 
this end, depriving owners of their honest reversion- 
ary rights. It has never been thought that to give 
largess to a pauper will cure him of his beggary, 
still less of indolence and love of drink. Every- 
where else in the world industry and self-exertion 
are counted the only road to prosperity. 





CLIMATE has been well described as the ruling prin- 
ciple of agriculture. 

The Irish climate is proverbially wet. Mr. Scott, 
of the Meteorological Office, the highest authority in 
the kingdom on this subject, informs me that the 
rainfall of most part of Munster, all Connaught and 
Donegal, Cornwall, Wales, and the West of Scot- 
land, resemble each other, all are forty to fifty inches, 
whilst the rainfall in Essex and the East of England 
is about twenty inches, over forty inches is the aver- 
age of County Cork. The rainfall of the West of 
England, except Cornwall, and of the Eastern part 
of Ireland does not differ much thirty to thirty-five 
inches. The rain increases down to Penzance, where 
it is the same as in Munster. Meteorological ob- 
servations are kept at very few places in Ireland, 
and there is reason to believe that the local rainfall 
in many places is much greater than any that has 
been registered. It is certain that there is a damp- 


ness in the atmosphere, as shown in the effect on 
household goods, clothes, etc., and an absence of hot, 
dry weather in summer, especially in the South, 
much beyond anything usual in most parts of the 
West of England, even where the rainfall is the 
same. Arthur Young said, long ago, " The worst of 
the climate of Ireland is the constant moisture 
without rain." I am inclined to think it might be 
said more truly, The best of the climate is the 
constant moisture. But, either way, whether for 
good or bad, such is the climate. My experience has 
been chiefly in the West Hiding, County Cork, and 
there, beyond a few warm days in summer, some- 
times not more than half-a-dozen, we know very 
little of what hot weather means. In spite of this 
dampness of atmosphere, the soil being generally 
rather thin, and so drying very quickly, it is a 
charming climate, mild in winter and cool in summer, 
of a refreshing softness after the heat of English 
summer weather, that causes a sense of actual 
enjoyment from mere passing through the air, like 
the enjoyment of a drive in the cool evening of a 
roasting day. 

The one drawback is the force of the south-west 
winds, which are, however, the cause of our other 

Facts from the garden confirm this opinion. 
Pears against a wall seldom ripen to their right 
flavour. Peaches, except in especially warm and 


sheltered places, will not do well. Peach-trees 
continue growing throughout the autumn. I have 
often seen them as full of leaves at Christmas as at 
Midsummer. Of course the wood does not ripen, 
and any frost kills this green wood, and often reduces 
the tree in the following summer to bare branches, 
with a tuft of green leaves at the end of each. 
Apricots hardly ever bear fruit. 

Such a climate as this plainly must have a very 
great influence on farming ; a greater influence prob- 
ably than any other natural cause. 

Mr. Buchan, President of the Botanical Society 
of Edinburgh, in his address to the society, November 
9, 1871, thus speaks on the subject of the effects of 
climate on the distribution of plants : 

" Bousingault examined the distribution of wheat 
on the continent of Europe, and arrived at the con- 
clusion that it required 8248 Fahr., from the time 
it begins to grow in spring, for the proper ripening 
of the seed ; and, moreover, that this heat must be 
partitioned so as to secure a mean summer tempera- 
ture of 58 during the development and maturation 
of the seed. This minimum amount of heat 
required for the maturing of the seeds is a vital 
consideration. "We have proved in Scotland that a 
mean temperature of 56 during the critical period, 
with the average sunshine and rainfall of the. 
Scottish summer, is sufficient to ripen wheat pro- 
perly. Not only so, but it was found that the 


wheat crop of 1864 ripened well with only the 
average temperature of 54*4. In that year, how- 
ever, the sunshine was much above the average, and 
the mean of the daily maximum temperature was 
high, being as high as in August 1861, when the 
mean temperature was 57*4. 

" It is probable that the longer time the sun is 
above the horizon in Scotland, as compared with 
Germany and France, renders the ripening of this 
cereal possible with a lower mean temperature, and 
when this is combined with a clear dry atmosphere, 
and consequently a blazing, scorching sunshine, grain 
of excellent quality is ripened, though the mean 
temperature rise no higher than 54*4. From this 
it is clear that in regarding the influence of temper- 
ature on bringing plants to maturity, it is not mean 
temperature merely, but the way in which the vital 
element is distributed through the day and night, 
particularly at the critical periods of the plants' 
growth, which must be considered. A high mean 
temperature, with little variation, implies a compara- 
tively low day temperature ; and, on the other hand, 
a moderately low mean temperature, with a large 
daily range, implies a high day temperature ; so that 
a climate with a comparatively low mean temperature 
may yet afford the warmth required in carrying on the 
higher functions of the plant which another climate 
of a higher mean temperature could not supply. 

" Now, that which in the highest degree deter- 


mines the mode in which temperature is partitioned 
throughout the twenty-four hours of the day is the 
amount of cloud and the degree of moisture in the 
atmosphere ; for a knowledge of which we must look 
to the rainfall through the months of the year as 
furnishing the best available key. 

" The rainfall affects plants directly through the 
nourishment it conveys to them, and indirectly 
through the state of the sky which its amount or 
absence implies. Indeed, so great is the influence 
of rainfall on vegetation, that we cannot be far wrong 
in regarding it as co-ordinate with that of tempera- 
ture. Whatever the law may be which expresses 
the atmospheric conditions that determine the limits 
of the growth of species, it must include in its 
functions both the heat and moisture of the air. 

" Decandolle deduced the law for the distribution 
of species over a region whose climates are marked 
off from each other rather by variations of temper- 
ature than of moisture. He then endeavoured to 
extend it so as to account for the distribution of 
the florae of other regions, the climates of which 
may be characterised either as moist at all seasons 
or subject to marked variations of moisture at stated 
seasons. Perhaps not the least valuable of the re- 
sults arrived at by him is the negative one stated in 
these words : ' On the borders of the Mediterranean 
Sea, the limits appeared so often determined by the 
humidity, or by causes still unknown, that the 


operations of temperature always escaped my cal- 

" It may be predicted that when the limits of 
species have been drawn with some exactness for 
Central and Northern Europe, the regions from which 
Decandolle took his examples, they will be found to 
coincide with no mere temperature lines, however 
calculated and determined, inasmuch as there are 
much greater differences in the climates of this 
region than are generally supposed, as regards the 
rainfall, particularly in the manner of its distribution 
over the year." l 

The practical result of these views seems to be 
that the same summer temperature (I mean the 
average temperature of each twenty-four hours) may 
be arrived at in two ways : 

(1.) By cool days and warm nights ; or (2) by 
hot days and cold nights. Hot days are necessary 
for the growth of good corn crops, and if the days 
are hot and sunshiny, cold nights are of less import- 
ance. There is no doubt that the moisture and 
clouds in the atmosphere of Ireland cause cool days, 
with little sunshine ; and though the nights are 
mild, that does not, for the purpose of corn-growing, 
make up for the want of heat and sunshine by day. 

Dr. Lloyd, the Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, 
who is probably the best authority we have on the 

1 "Transactions and Proceedings of the Botanical Society of 
Edinburgh," vol. xi. Part II., 1873, pp. 262-264. 


subject of Irish climate, has been good enough also 
to suggest to me that another subsidiary action, 
connected with those of temperature and moisture, 
that plays a sensible part in the phenomena, is the 
frequent lowering of temperature which occurs in 
July in connection with the arrival of the mass of 
condensed vapour from the Atlantic, and which, 
unhappily for the cereals, occurs at the St. Swithin 
period, just at the time when it is most injurious to 
them, although advantageous to green crops. This 
shows itself very decidedly in the annual curves of 
temperature as well as of rainfall. 

Mr. Whitley, in an article in the Journal of the 
Eoyal Agricultural Society, gives the average summer 
temperature of Cork at 65, being, as he adds, the 
highest in the British Islands. There can be no 
doubt that this is founded on erroneous observations. 
There is no such average summer temperature as 5 
in Ireland. It is probable that the average summer 
temperature of the South of Ireland is about 60. 
But 60 is a sufficient average temperature for grow- 
ing wheat well. It is much more than a sufficient 
temperature for growing oats, which are believed 
only to require from 54 to 57. Yet good crops 
of wheat can seldom be grown in Ireland, especially 
in the South, and even oats, though so much hardier, 
do not grow so well as in England and Scotland, 
especially on land that is highly farmed. My ex- 
perience is that it is increasingly hard to get a 



^proportionately good crop on high-farmed land than 
on land in worse condition. This is the difficulty. 
The temperature is high enough, according to re- 
ceived views, to grow wheat or oats well. But they 
do not grow well. Mr. Buchan's explanation is 
probably the true one. 

There is no series of accurate observations for any 
long number of years extant. I have been favoured 
by Mr. R H. Scott, Director of the Meteorological 
Department, London, with the following Table : 





Mean of 5 

Mean of 5 

Mean of 11 

Mean of 13 






Obser. only. 


Obser. only. 



January . 




















May . 

























October . 















Mean for the year 





NOTE. The barometric values for Valencia are obtained from 
values kept in the Meteorological Office. All the other averages 
are comDuted by Mr. Buchan and published by him. 


An interesting illustration has been mentioned 
to me by Mr. Scott from the climate of the Scilly 
Islands, which may be taken as an exaggeration of 
the climate of Ireland. He says : 

" In Scilly the mean monthly temperature ranges 
only from 45 to 6 3, being a less variation than at any 
other place in these islands. The north of Donegal 
and Shetland most nearly approach it. The result 
of this very equable spring temperature is that vege- 
tation is always going on, and no crop or fruit will 
ripen thoroughly. A few bad apples are the only fruit 
besides gooseberries. The plants that flourish there 
are sub-tropical, such as aloes, yuccas, mesembryan- 
themums, and, of course, large geraniums and fuchsias. 
The produce of the islands is to a great extent vege- 
tables for the London market, especially new potatoes. 

" The climate is an exaggeration of your southern 
climate, such as Cape Clear, the mean temperature 
for the year being 1 higher. The reason of the 
very exceptional climate of Scilly is due in some 
measure to the set of the currents at the mouth of 
the English Channel." 

I think the suitableness of the Irish climate for 
growing potatoes was one cause that led to the great 
extent of potato cultivation there before the famine, 
which has hitherto been ascribed mainly to social 
and political causes. Till the blight, potatoes 
flourished in Ireland better than elsewhere, and 
therefore were more grown. 


In the South of Ireland corn ripens, but with 
difficulty, so that a good or bad crop of corn is 
more dependent on the character of the season 
than elsewhere, and the crop is more often inferior. 
Over thirty years ago, before the famine, when I 
began to farm in Ireland, the universal rotation in 
the county of Cork, except near the mountains, was 
potatoes on lea manured (and such lea as it was ! 
land left to rest, without grass seeds even, and one 
mass of weeds ; and then the manuring ! earth 
drawn from the field, with a little calcareous sand 
and the refuse of the dwelling-house mixed), fol- 
lowed by wheat. Oats only came in as a scourging 
crop when the land would no longer grow wheat. 
The wheat was a poor crop, five or six barrels of 
twenty stones, about equal to twenty-four bushels, 
being considered good. Half that produce was 
much more common. But as Corn-law prices then 
ruled, farmers were content, except in bad years, 
which in that climate were frequent. 

After I had been farming pretty well for some 
years, with only a moderate increase of crop, I 
remember thinking the cause must be in the pre- 
viously exhausted condition of the soil, and that I 
might get over it and grow good wheat by a rotation 
of (1) swedes, (2) rape, (3) wheat. The swedes and 
rape were well manured with bones, besides other 
manure, and half the swedes and all the rape were 
eaten with sheep. The wheat looked all that 


could be desired during the spring and summer 
till harvest, but it was no sooner in shock than it 
was enough to lift a sheaf to have a painful proof 
of the crop's lightness. In fact, it was worse than 
the crop of the small farmer in the next field, that 
had not been a quarter so welldone by. There was 
sunlight enough to ripen his thin, short-strawed 
crop tolerably. But the ears of my handsome crop 
were not half-filled, and much of the corn in them 
was only fit for chickens' food. The same result 
several years in succession at last taught its lesson. 
V I gave up trying to grow any corn except oats. 
The common farmers, too, have gradually ceased to 
grow wheat, except a small piece for their own 
consumption (as it is one of the curiosities of our 
stage of development that every farmer thinks it 
needful to grow the food of himself and his family 
on his own farm ; so, as potatoes will no longer 
grow well, he grows some wheat wherever he can 
for home consumption). They, too, have taken to 
oats as the chief crop. Wheat being usually lower 
in price than it was in Corn-law times, and oats 
much higher, no doubt tends to the same end. There 
is a general opinion, too, that the local climate has 
altered. The oats even are not the belter sorts of 
oats. Black Tartary oats, the coarsest sort known, 
succeed best by far. But even with oats, and 
thoroughly good farming, the produce in corn is not 
on the average of years what it should be ; nothing 


like what such farming would produce in England 
or Scotland. The upland soil in my district is a 
useful turnip loam, rather thin from the rock being 
near the surface, but growing great crops of swedes. 
(Manure as highly as we please, we cannot grow 
half a Norfolk crop of mangolds, for the same reason* 
I think, that we cannot grow good corn crops.) It 
steadily improves with good farming in the yield of 
grass, and in the quantity of stock it will feed, and 
not at all slowly. The bottom land is generally 
more or less peaty, with clay below, and when 
drained is very good for grass. For years I have 
used bought manures and cake largely ; last year to 
the value of 20s. per acre over the whole farm of 
seven hundred acres. Yet the corn hardly increases ; 
fifty bushels of oats per acre is still as much as we 
can grow in a good year, even after sheep folded on 
swedes, with hay and cake. I am not able to give 
measured quantities of any value, for the farm is 
managed in subordination to the needs of the estate, 
with sometimes a slice of good land let away in 
order to improve a tenant's farm, sometimes a slice 
of reclaimed land added to it, sometimes of land 
given up by a bad tenant, and worn out to a degree 
of exhaustion that will not grow either weeds or 
couch (it is something to have come to look on a 
good crop of couch as a hopeful sign of land), and 
which swallows up all the manure of a year or two 
as a starved beast swallows good feeding without 



showing it. Kotation and exact quantities at 
successive intervals thus are made almost impossible ; 
but my conviction is strong, from close observation, 
that the difficulty of growing larger crops of oats is 
due to the climate, which, though in ordinary years 
it will ripen a moderate crop, has too much moisture 
and too little sunshine to ripen a really heavy crop, 
except in chance seasons. 

On the other hand, the very same climate that 
is so unfavourable for corn is extraordinarily favour- 
able for grass, which continues to grow often through 
most part of the winter. 

And this is the true explanation of the inclina- 
tion to grass -farming that is almost universal in 
Ireland, not only among large farmers and land- 
owners farming on their own account, but equally 
among middling and small farmers. The small 
farmer formerly tilled more of his farm in proportion, 
because it took much of his land to provide the food 
for his family, but even before the famine the 
constant argument used by small farmers seeking 
more land was, "If I get more land I can leave 
more out in grass." When a farmer failed, it was 
always said, "He tilled too much of his land." 
There was never any doubt but that the land paid 
best in grass, when the farmer could afford to buy 
stock. The climate was and is the ruling principle, 
as Mr. Whitley said. Even when the grass farming 
is bad, as it often is, it still pays better than the 


equally bad tillage farming that the same farmer 
would practise on the same farm. The views in 
favour of breaking up inferior grass so often urged 
in drier climates have very little place in our wet 
climate. There is very little land so bad that if it 
is once in good condition will not grow grass well in 
this climate. When the land needs breaking 4ip it 
is almost always only as the best means of adding 
condition in order again to put it in grass. 

Of course what I have said in no way affects the 
correctness of Mr. Pringle's complaints of bad grass- 
farming. No doubt, too, there is some land that 
cannot profitably be kept in grass beyond a few 
years. I believe, also, there is a tract of country in 
the East and North -East of Ireland, from Wexford 
to Down inclusive, where the climate is more 
favourable to tillage than elsewhere. [{(When land is 
foul with weeds, and much worn out, cultivation 
with heavy manuring of green crops, is the most 
economical, if not the only way of getting it into 
condition ; and without some roots and straw for 
winter it is not easy on middling land to manage a 
heavy stock to the best advantage ; but I think the 
problem of profitable farming in these times in Ire- 
land is (or at least is fast becoming) with how little 
cultrwalion a farm in grass can be successfully man- 
aged. \J There is a great change since the time when 
Mr. Algernon Clarke, whom Mr. Pringle quotes as 
his authority, wrote of Irish farming. The price of 


stock, and of most grass products, has immensely 
increased. The cost of labour has greatly increased 
too ; not only are wages much higher, which is not 
to be complained of, but labourers in Ireland usually 
give less and worse labour for their hire. It was 
bad enough before with low wages, it is worse now 
with much higher wages, whatever it may ultimately 
come to. Emigration, too, is steadily lessening the 
supply of labour year by year. Several years ago, 
being pretty forward with draining and such improve- 
ments, I bethought me that it would be well to devote 
money to the improvement of labourers' houses over 
the estate. I had already built good houses for most 
of the men in my own regular employment. When I 
came practically to consider the subject I found that 
everything was in such a transition state that it was 
wiser to wait a while, and see what houses would 
be really wanted and where. It was well I did so, 
for now there are a number of labourers' houses on 
all parts of the estate standing empty, some of them 
fairly good slated houses, much superior to the 
common cabins of the country ; more are yearly 
being left empty. 

Extra jobs of draining, etc., can no longer be 
done in most years at a reasonable cost, or a fair 
increase on former prices. Men are not to be had, 
except a few at slack times of year, and they will 
not do wet, unpleasant work except for very high 
pay, and in their own lazy way. It is often said that 


one advantage of more and better cultivation would 
be additional employment for labourers. I have 
always thought this a fallacy. There is more pro- 
fitable work in draining, etc., wanting to be done in 
Ireland, exclusive of the reclamation of real waste 
land, than all the labourers could do in two genera- 
tions, even if they worked well. There is no 
good reason, therefore, for the sake of the labourers, 
to depart from the sound principle of political 
economy, that such mode of farming should be 
followed as will leave the largest net profit (true), 
whether it be grass or tillage farming. In truth, 
even such lightish land as I have described, when it 
is laid down in grass in good condition, produces 
excellently and for many years. The number of 
years that it will produce well in grass without 
showing signs of going back, wholly depends on the 
condition it is in when laid down, and on the treat- 
ment of the grass. In the neighbourhood of towns, 
where manure can be bought, top-dressing grass is a 
very favourite course, and is thought to answer 
especially well. Except in such places manuring 
grass is little understood or practised. How far 
artificial manures, as recommended by Mr. Thomp- 
son, of Kirby Hall, 1 will effect a permanent improve- 
ment in grass on such a soil as ours, which is not 
strong land, may perhaps be doubtful ; but it is 

1 Vide Journal Royal Agricultural Society, 2d series, vol. viii. 
Parti. No. xv. p. 374. 


certain that any phosphates of which the soil is 
deprived by milk or grazing can be thus restored at 
small cost ; and it is also certain that there are 
many intelligent men in Ireland, ready to try Mr. 
Thompson's prescription, and all other suggestions 
for keeping up the condition of .grass land. 

The conclusion I wish to draw from the facts 
and considerations I have stated is, that Ireland, 
notably the South and West, is from its climate 
a land of grass, and that for farming profitably in 
Ireland grass should be the first object, and tillage 
only so far as it helps the grass. I believe this is 
what all our best farmers are, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, working to. Mr. Pringle's strictures on the 
fault of much of our Irish grass-farming are gener- 
ally quite true, and the remedy he proposes is in a 
measure good, but only in a measure not as an 
end, but as a means to better grass. In truth our 
grass privileges (as an American might call them) 
are very great. Farmers, who know their business, 
are doing excellently. It is sometimes said that 
landowners farming their own land in Ireland lose 
by it. Never was there a greater delusion. The 
profit on grass-farming makes it all easy, whatever 
scale a landlord farms on ; much easier than in a 
country fit for tillage alone. Numbers of us are 
making more than double the rent we used to get 
for the land, when let to tenants, and three times 
the present valuation of the land. 


When land is well laid down, the first year's 
grass is very good. The second year is worse, 
because the artificial grasses are dying out and the 
natural grasses have not had time to take their 
place. The third year the natural grasses are 
established, and a close anoT excellent sward is the 
result, equal to good old grass in the West of 
England, and such as in Norfolk could not be got 
in thirty years, hardly in twice thirty. I have 
often said that such land as I have to deal with, in 
the Norfolk climate would not be worth half what 
it is in the Irish climate. Again, consider the 
immense rise in the price of grass products in 
Ireland. Twenty years ago, butter sold for 6d. to 
6d. per lb. Good beef was often at 3d. and pork 
at 2d. per lb. 2 to 3 was not thought a bad 
price for a yearling heifer. I have bought good 
fair stock lambs in July for 5s. each. Now prices 
are some twice, some four times, some six times 
these rates, all, be it observed, for grass products. 
This rise of price has not yet produced its effects 
on our farming, and on the value of land. Some of 
it is still recent, at least in part as the value of 
young stock and the argument is still used and 
felt, " Perhaps these high prices will not hold." 
But as soon as the prices of stock are felt to be 
permanent as the increasing demand for meat 
from increasing wages in England shows it is likely 
they will be permanent that cause alone will be 


sufficient to turn the balance in favour of grass 
farming, wherever grass will grow fairly. I can 
say that in the arrangements for my own farm 
these considerations weigh more day by day. Corn 
is not higher in price, the wages to be spent in 
growing it are higher ; but grass products, that cost 
little or no more wages, are many times higher in 
price. Can there be a doubt, from this cause alone, 
what the intelligent farmer will do in a climate 
specially suited to grass ? 

Grass farming in every form, and with every 
sort of help from bought manures or bought food 
for stock, cake, etc., is the true future before us. 1 

Water meadows, the especial advantage of which, 
in the mild climate of Ireland, was pointed out by 
Mr. Philip Pusey (in the Journal, vol. xi. p. 62) 
more than twenty years ago, are a most valuable 
resource to Irish grass farmers. Mowing upland 
grass on second-rate land for hay is very exhausting 
to the soil, and we do it as little as possible. We 
cut hay mostly from bottom lands. But water 
meadows in this climate are very productive, and 
we grow unusual crops of hay on them, yet system- 
atic watering is not nearly as common as it might 
be. Small farmers are constantly squabbling amongst 
themselves for the use of any rill of water near their 

1 The new plan of feeding stock with decorticated cattle cake 
or grass, promises to pay capitally. I have tried it in 1880 on a 
large scale. 


farms. When they have got it, they often let it 
run the whole winter over one spot, which is thus 
made into a morass, especially as the cattle are 
seldom kept out of the field. The opportunities of 
making regular water meadows are very frequent, 
and will be made use of more and more. I have 
found a dressing of five or ten cwt. of bones per 
acre on water meadows greatly to thicken the grass 
and improve the quality of the hay. They are applied 
as soon as the hay is off, so as to be well trodden 
in by the stock eating the after-grass, and avoid 
risk of the water washing them away when the 
meadow is flooded in autumn. I believe they pay 
well every few years, as often as the hay shows 
any signs of becoming inferior. My theory, I know 
not how correct, is that the water must contain the 
other food of grass in larger proportion than phos- 
phates. The bones thus make up all that is wanted. 
The course on my own farm, which has been 
arrived at simply from experience and the pressure 
of facts, will, I think, show what we are coming to. 
For nearly twenty years the course, instead of a 
regular rotation, has been to choose fifty or sixty 
acres of the worst grass on the farm each year for 
ploughing. Most of this is sown with lea oats ; but 
if the land is very poor, no oats are taken, and then 
it is ploughed with two ploughs following each 
other, one skimming the grass as lightly as possible, 
the other turning a good furrow of earth over it. 


It is then broken for turnips the next spring. But 
there is more trouble in getting such land prepared 
for turnips than after lea oats, and the plan can 
only be followed to a limited extent. 

The ewes are folded on the grass meant for lea 
oats, before it is ploughed. But still the oats are 
usually very bad. The older the grass, the worse 
are the oats. It is plain the sod does not rot in 
time to help the oats. In some districts they grow 
two crops of oats in succession, on breaking up the 
land; the first is bad, the second good enough, 
because the sod by that time is rotten. But this 
plan is exhausting, and leaves the land very foul. 
With fifty or sixty acres of turnips we have been in 
the habit of fattening 200 sheep and over 30 
beasts, besides keeping 200 ewes and 200 hoggets 
of the previous spring, 60 cows, and young stock, 
rising yearlings and two-year-olds, about 35 to 40 
head of each age enough to stock the farm in the 
following summer with little buying. 

We have the last two years reduced the number 
of acres broken each year to forty instead of fifty, 
and still fatten and keep the same stock as before, 
with the help of more cake. This of course lessens 
the work of men and horses ; and if, as is said, a 
ton of cake may be reckoned as roughly equal to an 
acre* of turnips (which I do not think it is, of such 
crops of turnips as we grow), there is no reason that 
such a course should not answer and keep up the 


condition of the grass. In two or three years I 
expect the extent ploughed may be reduced to 
thirty acres each year, and with still more cake the 
same winter stock be kept and fattened. Just now 
I have a tract of cut-out bog that has been drained, 
etc., coming in. This for its own sake needs 
cultivation and turnip cropping, and so delays the 
decrease of tillage. Oats with grass seeds follow 
the turnips, unless the land is poor, when it is laid 
down with rape and grass seeds, no corn crop being 
taken. Experience can alone show how far we can 
decrease cultivation, and keep up the condition of 
the grass land. It can clearly be done to the extent 
of one -half, i.e. twenty-five acres instead of fifty, 
being ploughed each year. The net profit on the 
farm is more than double the rent the tenants paid 
for it when they failed, after charging to each year 
all the cake and manure bought, bailiff's salary, and 
every expense. The changed appearance of the 
land is a pleasure to one's eyes. The stock are 
more than double the number, and individually 
double the weight of those the tenants kept. 

It may seem strange to say it, but religion and 
politics have been brought in Ireland even into the 
question of farming, and whether grass or tillage are 
best for the country is sought to be decided by what 
is most to the advantage of the Eoman Catholic or 
Protestant interests. The power of the Eoman 
Catholic clergy and their party depends on the 


number of Koman Catholics ; and tillage, as giving 
more employment than grass, has been favoured 
accordingly. Even the growth of flax has been 
urged on the same grounds. I have already shown 
the weakness of such reasoning, because there is 
plenty of work for every one for long years in 
draining and other improvements, far more profitable 
to all concerned than it can be to try to force one 
kind of farming instead of another that for any 
reason is more profitable. But there is no doubt it 
has been thought the increased employment from 
tillage would check the emigration. 

My own opinion is clear that the decrease of 
labourers is going on so fast that by the end of the 
next seven or ten years there will be no choice in 
the matter, and it is very fortunate for us that the 
increased price of grass products gives us so profit- 
able a means of escape from what would be otherwise 
a most serious difficulty. Those who have treated 
their land best will have least trouble. 

On one point alone Mr. Pringle, I think, is 
quite wrong when he argues against grass farming 
because small farmers, holding 7 millions of acres, 
keep on them stock to the value of 17^- millions of 
money ; whilst large farmers, holding 8|- millions of 
acres, keep on them stock valued only at 1 8 millions 
of money. But the cattle on both sizes of farm are 
valued at the same rate, 6 : 10s. per head. It is 
evident that the cattle of the small farmer much 


more nearly approach this value than the cattle of 
the large farmer. Large farmers, as a rule, have 
much larger and more improved cattle of all ages 
than small farmers ; and nearly all the fatting and 
fat cattle. Mr. Thompson's estimate of the weight 
of cattle killed in England is 600 Ibs. per head on 
an average, which at present prices would make 
their value a good deal over 20 each. The cattle 
of large farmers in Ireland probably do not weigh 
much less than the average of all English cattle 
killed, and after all due allowance for the value 
above 6 : 10s. of the cattle of small farmers, there 
must be a large excess in the value per head of the 
cattle of large farmers. If this excess is only fifty 
per cent, and it is probably much more, it will quite 
alter the inference Mr. Pringle draws. Considering 
how few turnips, etc., Irish small farmers grow, and 
how much they overstock their grass, and that they 
use no cake or bought food, it would be strange 
indeed if they thus grew more pounds of meat than 
are grown on better managed large grass farms. 

The last three years have been excellent seasons 
for grass in Ireland. With the same stock every farmer 
has had plenty of grass ; even those usually over- 
stocked have had enough, and their stock has profited 
accordingly. Many have thus been taught the les- 
son of the profit from the better feeding of stock ; the 
price a well-fed animal of any age has brought in the 
market has been so out of proportion to the price of an 


ill-fed one that the most backward has had the point 
driven into his head, and efforts at better feeding for 
the sake of the better profit have been numerous. 
I think the young cattle sold in the next few years 
will show the effect of this better feeding. 

Such a number of calves as have been reared this 
year in Ireland was never seen since the world 
began. It is caused by the great price of young 
stock in the past year. The country positively 
swarms with calves. Hitherto small farmers have 
usually reared only heifer calves and the bulls have 
gone to the butcher at once. This year bulls and 
heifers have been alike reared. This, too, if the 
demand continues, will in a few years help greatly 
to improve the quality of Irish stock. When the 
bull calves were sold for a trifle to the butcher at 
once, and many of the heifers kept as cows for him- 
self, the backward farmer felt little the gain of 
putting a good bull to his cows. Where now he has 
so many to sell, the difference in the price of a well- 
bred calf or yearling on such a number will soon 
work more care in the choice of a bull. But most 
of the calves must be sold before the winter, since it 
is certain farmers have not food for half of them. 

The same causes that have given us plenty of 
grass have made the potato crop a great failure. 
There has not been so much blight since the famine 
as last year and this, and the crop has been very bad. 
I think fewer potatoes will be grown in future, which 


again will lead to less cultivation and more and 
better grass. 

In spite of all the miseries of the famine, farmers 
and labourers alike have since, as far as they could, 
gone back to the old conacre potato system. This is 
the explanation why for years the statistical returns 
have shown a regular increase in the average of 
potatoes ; only as potatoes did not grow well enough 
to 'last the whole year, the system could not fully 
re-establish itself as of old. Some modification to 
supply food in spring and summer, when there were 
no potatoes, was unavoidable. A few sacks of 
Indian meal, bought on credit, was the means used. 

The terms for farmers' labourers in this district 
have been 3s. per week and the man's food at the 
farm-house ; the cabin, charged 6d. per week, and the 
conacre another sixpence per week, being stopped by 
the farmer out of the 3s. On the balance, with 
such potatoes as grew, wife and children existed. 
Of course there were some minor privileges pig, 
cocks and hens, etc. 

The strangest thing is that many labourers pre- 
ferred such terms from small farmers to 8s. or 9s. a 
week, with free house, potato-land, etc., from others. 
I believe the secret is, that there was real work in 
the one case, and no real work, but half-idle dawd- 
ling in the other. This year the potatoes have failed 
again in earnest, but the people are now so few the 
effect will not be the same as at the famine. The 


3s. per week, however, has broken down, as the 
labourers have no potatoes. Labourers can now be 
had in plenty for any job paying fair wages, and 
next spring will show a larger emigration to 
America than for years before. 

It may seem presumptuous in one mainly con- 
nected with Irish farming even to offer a hint to 
English farmers, but I cannot help saying that I 
think in many parts of England the difficulties as to 
labour, etc., are the same as our difficulties, and the 
remedies that suit us will also suit them. It seems 
a safe general conclusion that wherever grass will 
grow well, more grass will lessen labour. Where 
permanent grass is attainable with difficulty, the 
Scotch five -course rotation instead of the Norfolk 
four-course, i.e. two years' grass instead of one, must 
save near one-fifth of the labour on a farm. 

More grass, with higher manuring and more cake, 
seems to me the remedy, wherever possible, for dear 
labour, at a time of great demand for all grass 

It is a very old opinion that the successful farmer 
is he who, with skill and knowledge of general 
principles, most clearly recognises the particular 
facts and circumstances under which his farm is 
placed, and applies his skill and knowledge to them 
accordingly. That is all I contend for under the 
very exceptional climate of Ireland, at a time when 
labour is dear, and when the value of grass products 


is such as has never been known or heard of, and 
seems likely so to continue, certainly in a measure, 
and possibly to a still larger degree. 

No doubt many cases can be given where culti- 
vation to a considerable extent has been profitably 
carried on in Ireland, but if the circumstances and 
rotation of these farms are looked into, it will be 
found that not more than a tenth or a twelfth of 
their acreage is annually in green crop. This means 
that a good deal more than half the farm is in grass 
over one year old, and that the system is something 
quite different from that of an arable farm in Nor- 
folk or the Lothians. It will also, I think, be found 
that many such farms have been in bad condition, and 
their occupiers have been getting them into heart. 

I am far from saying that during this process and 
under this system their farms have not paid well ; my 
own farm has for many years been a proof to the con- 
trary. But the fact is, that once land is in condition, 
grass in the Irish climate will pay best with as little 
cultivation as may be, and that there is plenty of 
more profitable work for the displaced labour in 
draining, etc. Sound political economy teaches that 
the most profitable application of labour, whoever 
may gain by it, whether landlord, farmer, or work- 
man, is the greatest gain to the community ; and 
that all artificial attempts to force labour in a par- 
ticular direction for the sake of secondary (even) 
good objects are a mistake, and sure to end in dis- 



appointment. I think this mistake is made by some 
authorities on farming in Ireland ; and as political 
economy is little else than the correct statement of 
facts that are sure to produce the same results, 
whether correctly or incorrectly stated, only with 
serious loss in the meantime to those who are misled, 
good may be done by putting forward the above 

views. 1 

1 Journal of Royal Agricultural Society, vol. is., Second Series. 



JUNE 1872. 

IT is of the very first importance that the bearings 
and effects of the law of settlement should be clearly 
understood. The law on this subject now is undoubted. 
No settlement is valid beyond the life of a person or per- 
sons living when it is made and twenty-one years after- 
wards, i.e. till an unborn child attains its majority. But 
in much the larger number of cases men live till their 
children reach twenty-one years of age, and if settle- 
ments on unborn children were wholly forbidden 
leaving owners of land to do as they like about settle- 
ments for their own lives, or others living when the 
settlement is made a small minority of cases would 
alone be affected, viz. those of men who are so unfortu- 
nate as to die whilst their children are still minors. 
Practically, very few even of such cases would suffer, 
because, as the right of an owner whose children are 
minors to dispose of his property to his children by 
will could not well be interfered with, it is certain 
most of these men, when dying or failing in health, 


would settle their estates on their living children. 
Nothing would give a chance of attaining the end 
sought by the opponents of settlements but peremptory 
prohibition of all limited estates in land, i.e. forbidding 
all settlements whatever, whether on persons living or 
yet unborn, that the owner of land, on his marriage or 
otherwise, should be forbidden by law to settle his 
estate for his own life or that of himself and his wife. 
If settlements on unborn children were forbidden, but 
not the power of settling for the lives of persons living, 
it is clear that every motive which now makes men 
settle their estates to the extent the law permits, 
would operate just the same to make them settle 
their estates as far as the altered law permitted, and 
they would do so. A father, being absolute owner, 
whose son was about to marry, would settle the 
estate for the life of his son and his intended wife, 
just as those who acquire landed property after they 
have married now do. If the son was owner, he 
would do as he does now, and for the same reasons. 
It is the habits and ideas, I might almost say instincts, 
of the class who own land, which have been the growth 
of generations and even centuries, that are the true 
cause of men striving to keep in their families the 
land they own. Landowners, with very rare excep- 
tions, wish -their families and estates should continue 
after them. And then as settlements are mostly 
made on marriage, it is really the influence of the 
girl a man wants to marry and of her family, that 


more than anything else causes settlements to be made. 
Their wishes go even "beyond the law, and they would 
tie their estates up longer if they could. If settle- 
ments were forbidden by law, it is very doubtful if 
to a great extent the same habits and ideas, which 
cannot be rooted out, would not keep the land in 
families much as at present. A few spendthrifts 
might be sold up the mass of landowners of steadi- 
ness and character would act much as they do now. 

It has never yet been proved that owners in fee 
lay out more money in improving their land than 
limited owners so spend. It is a pity the new Dooms- 
day Book does not enter on that question. It is so 
probable, if settlements were forbidden, that owners of 
land would still in substance act as now, that in France, 
where they are more logical than we are in carrying out 
consequences, the law goes a step farther, and hinders 
men from making their own wills. The law makes a 
will for them to insure the partition of land. But even 
in France the landowners' instinct prevails, and this 
instinct is the same in the small French proprietor as 
in the great English landlord. I think the subject of 
settlements has not at all been thought out by many 
of those who have taken it up. It involves settle- 
ments of personal property really as much as of land. 
Different rules could not stand. Distinctions would 
be impossible between settlements of land and settle- 
ments of the money for which land would sell. 
Lawyers doubtless see the bearings of the subject and 


its difficulties. J\Jr. J. S. Mill's late acknowledgment 
in the Examiner newspaper of January 4, that a 
change in the law of settlement would make little 
difference in the number of owners of land, reduces 
the question mainly to one of sentiment, and in 
substance is throwing up the sponge. The distribu- 
tion of the land in small quantities among large 
numbers of the people has something to say for itself, 
if it can be shown to produce greater happiness to the 
majority. Hatred of an aristocracy and doctrinaire 
radicalism are not yet English principles of action. 
The true issue is, are English landowners to be 
deprived of the right of settling their estates, when 
they marry, on their intended wives and expected 
children ? 

The weak place in the argument of those who 
wish to upset the present law of settlement of land 
is in their facts, or more accurately their want of facts. 
The utmost they can carry their case to is, that in 
the opinion of Mr. So-and-So, of more or less authority 
as a poor-law inspector or otherwise, the settlement 
of land prevents a due outlay of capital upon it for 
landlords' improvements, notably the building of 
cottages. This is not proof, but opinion. Cases such 
as those cited of settled estates that are unimproved, 
plainly prove nothing at all; they have no more 
weight than cases (which could be cited by the score) 
of estates in strict settlement excellently managed, 
on which every proper landlord's outlay has been 


made. To make such evidence worth anything, the 
cases need to be carried much farther. There are too 
many other causes in operation besides the fact of the 
land being in settlement or not, that might have pro- 
duced the result many would say, that did produce 
the result. For instance, in this matter of building 
cottages, that so much stress is laid on, with the former 
system of pauper settlement still felt to operate 
practically, and the fact that cottages will not pay the 
interest on their cost, both telling as strongly on the 
owners of estates in fee as on settled estates, and both 
very influential, it is disingenuous to lay the blame 
on some other cause, and say nothing about these. 
Though the majority of estates may be in strict 
settlement, there are also a large number of estates 
held in fee. It is a question of easy inquiry, and 
quite capable of proof, whether the estates in settle- 
ment or those held in fee in the kingdom, or in given 
portions of the kingdom, are in the best condition as 
to landlords' improvements, cottages, etc. But there 
is a third class of estates, inquiry into which would 
be still more instructive, and which, I believe, are 
very numerous, those, namely, the bulk of which are 
in settlement, but of which appreciable portions (one- 
fourth or one-fifth, perhaps), from one cause or other, 
as purchase, etc., are held in fee by the tenant for 
life of the rest. My own property being thus circum- 
stanced, I am the better able to speak of this class. 
Such estates are very favourable examples : 1. The 


owner can sell part of the land held in fee to improve 
the rest. 2. Such parts can be used in providing for 
younger children. 3. He can improve the parts held 
in fee to the utmost, and charge the cost, or leave the 
whole value to younger children. 4. He can borrow 
money on the best terms for such objects. 5. All the 
time he has the income of the settled part of the 
estate to live on, meet jointures or charges, etc. So 
that if views adverse to settlements were true, the 
land thus held in fee ought to be a very model of 
improvement. Yet I will venture to say it is very 
seldom that such land will be found to be either 
better or worse managed than the parts of the estate 
in settlement. To make out proof on the subject, 
fair and full inquiry, such as I have here suggested, 
ought to be made. But whilst it is asserted that 
those who have got no land yet, have a passion for 
getting it, it is assumed that those who have got it as 
owners in fee will be ready to sell it for slight cause. 
There was never a greater mistake. I believe the 
case of an owner in fee being willing to sell part of 
his estate in order to improve the rest is excessively 
rare. The fund from which landlords' improvements 
ought to be made is the rent. A moderate percentage 
of the rental applied to this purpose is the proper 
course. It is the want of will, not the want of power 
to do this that is the true mischief. Men do not 
know of, do not feel, its necessity and importance. 
Often improvements, perhaps from want of manage- 


ment, will not make a fair return. It is a delusion 
that most tenants are willing to pay a fair interest on 
landlords' improvements. They are willing enough 
to ask for them, but many expect not to be charged 
for them, and on many estates they are done without 
charge, except perhaps for draining, which pays the 
tenant double. Sense, knowledge of business and of 
land, a skilful and trusty agent, the traditions and 
habits of families, duty, even taste, have a great deal 
to do with a landlord's making improvements, or not 
doing so. No doubt there are landlords so wealthy 
that large improvements are no burden, and others 
so poor that they are a heavy burden ; but so it would 
be if there were no settlements, and all the minor 
motives I have alluded to would be equally operative. 
There is no sort of doubt but that a very large number 
of settled estates are well managed with due outlay 
by the tenants for life. The true question is, whether 
there is any such difference in the condition of estates 
held in fee, compared with settled estates, as will 
show a real superiority of one over the other. Upon 
this, actual inquiry is the only evidence of value. 
For one, I am not afraid of the result. 

The foundation of the views against settlement of 
land is, that tenants for life are less able and less 
willing to spend money on improvements than owners 
in fee. Let us see how far this goes. I will first 
clear away a point that produces some confusion. 
What is the true basis of the relation of landlord and 


tenant ? Is it contract, express or implied ? or is it a 
half feudal relation a partial relic of lord and vassal, 
with undefined benefits on the one side, and as unde- 
fined returns on the other ? 

It is plain in these days, whenever the question 
is seriously asked, the answer must be, The relation 
is one of contract only. Yet the idea that the rela- 
tion is a half feudal one constantly appears in the 
minds both of landlords and tenants. It influences 
men's minds continually. In many districts (and in 
part in many more) it is the true nature of the rela- 
tion. Families hold their farms for generations. 
Kents are fixed, not at the true value of the farm, 
but with consideration of the person. All sorts of 
landlord's improvements are made on the same prin- 
ciple, and with little regard to the return they yield 
to the landlord. This is the true cause of undue 
expectations by the landlord of a return in the matter 
of game, and the tenant's vote at elections. 

But when such a question as whether tenants for 
life or owners in fee are the best landlords is to be 
considered, this semi-feudal idea must be wholly put 
aside. The relation of landlord and tenant must be 
treated as one of pure contract, and with all the in- 
cidents of a contract which obtains in the case of any 
other subject-matter. 

When, therefore, it is asked whether a tenant for 
life or owner in fee is more likely to spend money on 
improvements in the land, it must be understood to 


be improvement that will make a due return for the 
outlay, such as a reasonable tenant will be willing to 
pay interest upon during his term, and such as will 
pay both landlord and tenant. Less than o per cent 
cannot be considered as a fair return for the outlay 
on such improvements, which are often buildings 
more or less perishable. If they will not pay that, 
they are fancy improvements, which wealthy men 
with a taste for land improvement, and residing on 
the estate, may make, but which really proceed from 
motives nearly or wholly independent of the tenure. 
Such an improvement as cottage -building may not 
pay 5 per cent; though even that, by economy of 
cost, and by adding a larger garden than usual to the 
cottage, may be made to approach it. The indirect 
gain from good cottages, in securing better labourers, is, 
however, large. There is much more than Is. a week 
difference between a good labourer and a middling 
one ; a gain in this way of Is. a week, besides the 
usual rent, will make a cottage pay well. 

Is there any difficulty, therefore, in a tenant for 
life making improvements that will pay 5 per cent on 
the outlay ? I believe the difficulty is very small 
so small as to show that views of settlements hinder- 
ing outlay on improvements are unsound. The very 
hypothesis is, that the improvement to be made is a 
valuable one, paying 5 per cent on the outlay. It is, 
therefore, clearly right that the tenant who gets the 
benefit of the improvement should pay 5 per cent on 


its cost during his term. Good and intelligent tenants 
will usually be glad to do so. Draining generally 
pays much, more than 5 per cent. Buildings ought 
to pay that at least. It must be remembered, if a 
tenant has taken a farm with bad buildings, it is his 
own fault if he has not taken it at a lower rent than 
he would have had to pay for a farm with good build- 
ings. All therefore that the tenant for life will have 
to pay if the occupier pays 5 per cent on the cost of 
the improvement, is the difference above that rate 
needful to raise the money. Admit that he cannot 
afford to pay for the improvement out of the rent, 
and that he cannot borrow the money and mortgage 
the land for it, he must then resort to a Land Improve- 
ment Company for a loan at a rate to repay principal 
and interest on a course of several years. 

Now, one of the best of these companies, the 
General Land Drainage and Improvement Company, 
who have power by Act of Parliament to lend, with- 
out investigation of title, and in spite of incumbrances 
and settlements, will lend a sum of 2000 and up- 
wards for 6 : : 4 per cent for thirty-one years. The 
charge, therefore, to a tenant for life, if the occupier 
paid 5 per cent, would be about 20 a year for 2000, 
100 a year for 10,000. 

That such a charge as this will hinder any tenant 
for life from making an improvement that he would 
have made if he had been owner in fee, I do not think 
any one can contend. Very often the whole expense 


would be recouped in the course of the term, indirectly 
if not directly. No doubt there may be chance cases 
where even this small expense cannot be afforded. 
But they can be very few, not really influential on 
the country at large. 

When the question is thus brought to figures it 
is plain enough that, whether settlements are right or 
wrong, the objections urged against them are unsound. 
In truth the proof is so simple, one is half-inclined 
to doubt if it can be as cogent as it really is. 

I believe that ignorance on the part of both land- 
lords and tenants sometimes the one, sometimes the 
other the want of true skill and knowledge in deal- 
ing with the land, has far more to do with neglect of 
improvements than any question of the tenure on 
which the owner holds it. The relation of landlord 
and tenant is often not looked on as a matter of 
contract. Often there are unreasonable expectations. 
Neither landlord nor agent nor tenant thoroughly 
understand their business, or one of them does not, 
and past experience of improvements so managed 
has not shown a profit. No doubt sometimes men 
who have made money in business buy land and lay 
out largely in improvements, sometimes without re- 
gard to profit, sometimes with a keen business know- 
ledge of what they are doing. Such outlay is not 
caused by their being owners in fee. Again, residence 
on the estate has much to do with the making of 


I will end by repeating again that a thorough in- 
vestigation of circumstances and facts is what is most 
required in every part of this subject, not in priori 
arguments from what any one thinks likely. 

I have a few last words still to say on this subject. 
I wish to draw attention to Lord Salisbury's speech, 
on June 21, in the House of Lords, on the Bill for 
giving tenants for life further powers to charge 
against their successors the value of improvements 
made on the estate. Lord Salisbury asserts that, if 
settlements were abolished, an increase of mortgages, 
not of sales, would be the result that owners in fee 
would never sell part of their land to make improve- 
ments. If they wished to raise money for improve- 
ments, they would always do it by mortgage. And 
he asks the very pertinent question, whether land 
thus in debt would not be as badly or worse off than 
land in settlement ? 

Is there not good reason for saying that the idea 
that owners in fee will sell part of their land in order 
to improve the rest, is a pure fiction ? 

Again asking for facts, it may fairly be requested 
that some instances of owners in fee who have sold 
part of their land in order to improve the rest may 
be given. Can they give half a dozen such cases, 
where draining, for instance (which pays so well and 
surely), has been thus effected ? Can they give any 
one such case ? 

If the view adverse to settlements was sound, 


France ought to furnish plenty of such cases, since 
there owners in fee abound. The readiness with 
which owners in France mortgage their land in 
order to buy more, even at undue prices, is notorious, 
and so are the evil consequences of the debts thus 
incurred ; but we have never heard they were willing 
to sell part of their land to improve the rest, or even 
to mortgage it for that purpose. Thus everything 
points to the same conclusion that other causes, not 
the fact of the land being held by tenants for life 
instead of by owners in fee, produce a readiness or 
unreadiness to spend money on improvements. 

It has been said that borrowing money from Land 
Improvement Companies ends often in .a heavy 
burden without a corresponding return for the outlay. 
But this is no fault of the mode of raising the money, 
the fault is in the way in which it has been laid out. 
If the money had been raised by selling part of the 
land or by mortgage, and laid out in the same way, 
the loss would have been just the same. 

No doubt much money is badly laid out on what 
are called improvements in land. The business of 
landowning is well understood by few. It is very 
easy to be led into unprofitable or half-profitable im- 
provements, and if money is laid out on these it can- 
not pay, in whatever way it may have been raised. 

The half-feudal idea of the relation between land- 
lord and tenant tends to keep up such unprofitable 
outlay. Improvements are asked for and expected 


by tenants without reference to the question of 
whether they will pay or not. Let the relation be 
one of fair contract, in which each side shall do its 
part, and there will be much fewer cases of improve- 
ments that do not pay. 

But in truth recognising landowning as a busi- 
ness to be managed honestly and fairly like any 
other business, but still as a business and resting on 
business principles, will do more to promote all sound 
land improvements, and will also be a greater money 
gain to landlords and tenants alike, than most mea- 
sures that can be devised. 

As a class neither landlords nor tenants are 
usually good men of business, and the world has ad- 
vanced to that point when, whether they like it or 
not, and whatever kindly and pleasant connections 
may thereby be broken, the relations between land- 
lord and tenant must be more and more those of 
business. It will remove many difficulties. Take, 
for instance, the game question, in many places so 
fruitful of ill-will. Looked at as a question of busi- 
ness, who will let the produce of his estate be de- 
voured by such profitless vermin as a multitude of 
rabbits and hares ? 

So .with this question of improvements. It is 
quite right to give tenants for life every additional 
facility for charging the estate with the value of real 
improvements. There may be hindrance to a few 
for want of such power. If the improvement is duly 


profitable, the remainderman cannot lose by having 
to pay the charge for a limited number of years. 

But the great point is the clear recognition by 
landlord and steward and tenant that the whole 
transaction is one of business, and must be made 
profitable accordingly to all concerned. The larger 
the sum laid out in profitable improvements, the 
better for the landlord; the turning point is the 
profit. If an improvement will not pay the interest 
on its cost, it is a fancy improvement ; that may be 
very fit for a wealthy man, but is not of public concern. 
Labourers' cottages, as I have said, are, in one sense, 
an exception, and the rise of wages is helping to get 
over even that difficulty. Under a business system, 
of course, too, there will be much fewer cases of rents 
30 per cent below the true value of the land, and 
of bad farmers injuring the estate. There is no 
reason why it should be a harsh business system. 
Thoroughly fair and honest dealing to all, landlords 
no less than tenants, may well be its motto. 



(From Agricultural Gazette, 1880.) 

ONE of the many grievances urged against the social 
system of Ireland is the extent to which landlord absent- 
eeism is practised. In round numbers, the rental of 
the country may be set down at 13,000,000 sterling ; 
and of this sum it is estimated that 3,000,000 are 
annually drained out of the country by absentee land- 
lords. Without offering an opinion on this state of 
things, we may say that more real property and security 
exist amongst the tenantry of resident landlords than 
on the estates of absentee owners. The resident land- 
lord, as a rule, sets an example of sound farming on 
the land in his own hands, besides affording instruction 
and encouragement at all times. Nay, many Irish 
landlords set an example of frugality and thrift to their 
tenants, which at the present day it would be well to 
have universal. A remarkable instance of this has 
come recently under our notice. Mr. Bence Jones's pro- 
perty adjoins the public road from Clonakilty to Bandon, 
reaching within about half-a-dozen miles of the latter 


The Home Farm approaches 1000 acres in extent, 
including some outlying land let to dairymen. From 
200 to 220 acres are annually devoted to crops. Sixty 
acres of roots are grown, which, with the exception of 
6 or 7 acres of mangels and a little carrots for the 
farm horses, are all turnips. The climate is rather cold 
and the situation too exposed to bring the mangels 
to perfection. 100 acres of grain, all oats, are pro- 
duced ; 60 acres are annually sown with seeds, part 
of which is converted into hay in the first season, the 
ground being subsequently pastured for a number of 
years. There are besides 20 acres of old irrigated 
meadow, which, after being cut in the summer, are 
grazed in autumn. Finally there are about 700 or 
800 acres of permanent grass. 

It will thus be seen that the rotation is what is 
known in Ireland as the convertible husbandry system, 
by which the land, after being cultivated, manured, and 
cleaned for a few years, is relaid down with fresh and 
suitable " seeds." There is a judicious admixture of 
tillage and stock farming, or what is called "mixed" 
management, which of all others is the best adapted to 
the circumstances of this country. 

By drainage, trenching, subsoiling, clearing of stones, 
furze, coarse herbage, liming, manuring, and the pursuit 
of the course of cropping here indicated, Mr. Bence 
Jones has reclaimed upwards of 400 acres. A good 
deal of the farm did not, however, require drainage ; but 
the fields have been enlarged and squared fences built, 
and a vast quantity of planting effected. The land is 
generally rather light in texture, and some of it rests 
upon an open subsoil ; hence drainage in this case was 


Turnips are the crop usually taken after reclamation. 
In addition to a fair dressing of farmyard dung, 12 
cwt. of a mixture of crushed bones, superphosphate, and 
guano was applied per statute acre. The average acre- 
able yield of roots has been about 30 tons, but in the 
present season it will not be more than 25 or 26 tons. 
The high state of the fertility of the soil is attributable 
to the manner in which the turnips are consumed by 
sheep -folding. All the turnips are not left on the 
ground ; of every ten drills, six are removed and four 
allowed to remain alternately. The turnips are pulled, 
cut into finger bits and supplied in troughs on the field, 
the machine, troughs, and sheep, being transferred from 
place to place, according as the ground is vacated. The 
animals are likewise furnished with an abundance of 
hay in racks, and a certain quantity of crushed cake and 
corn. The land, as may be expected, yields a most 
luxuriant crop of grain in the succeeding season ; and 
is thus enriched for a number of years. 

Since the work of reclamation has been in great part 
accomplished, it has become necessary to break up a 
considerable amount of the worst grass-producing land 
with lea oats annually. A fair return is realised 
with an application of 1 cwt. nitrate of soda and 2 
cwt. superphosphate per acre. This year the oats, both 
of the tillage and lea, has been unusually productive ; 
while 14 cwt. grain has been the average of former 
years, the results of the cropping of 1879 have been 1 
ton of grain and 2| tons of straw. 

The yield of hay this season has been also satisfactory 
fully 2 tons per acre ; and, notwithstanding the 
variable character of the weather, it has been well saved, 
a good deal of energy having been brought to bear in 


the operation during a brief spell of sunshine. The 
" seeds " are fed by calves in autumn, and in spring by 
ewes and lambs, until the middle of April. This plan 
is found not to injure the young grasses in the least. 

The live stock at Lisselan consist of 100 milch cows, 
and twenty-five young springers, eighty weanling calves, 
about the same number of young cattle, two stud bulls 
(Shorthorn) ; 200 fatting sheep, in addition to cattle 
fatting in the stall, 200 breeding ewes, 200 lambs, etc., 
four rams, and eight to ten farm horses. 

The cows are half-bred Shorthorns excellent dairy 
cattle, far and away above the average stock of the dis- 
trict and a few Alderneys to colour the produce. The 
springers to replace the old and defective milkers are 
annually selected from the most promising of the calves 
produced on the place. The animals are pastured in 
summer. During the summer six months the yield of 
butter in other years averages about 6 Ib. weekly per 
head, but in the present season it has fallen to about 5 
Ib. per head per week Very little butter has hitherto 
been produced in winter ; the animals are fed on hay 
and straw with a small allowance of turnips just as 
much as maintains the system in a healthy state. 

Mr. Jones has commenced butter-making according 
to modern improved plans. He has recently erected a 
commodious dairy. The milk room is a large, well- 
ventilated apartment. The floor is made of concrete, 
the walls are constructed of thick, substantial stone 
masonry. The roof, which is high, is covered with 
slate ; but with a view to the cleanliness of the apart- 
ment, as well as to the equalisation of the temperature 
in summer and winter, there is a ceiling of timber 
immediately underneath the slate. The windows are 


furnished with fine wire -gauze screens. The pans 
employed are the galvanised and common earthenware. 
The churn is one of the barrel pattern. An American 
butter-washing and kneading machine, which dispenses 
with hand manipulation, has lately been added to the 
stock. Two skimmings have been practised for some 
time during the past season. The withdrawal of the 
milk from the churn while the butter is yet in " grains " 
is commencing to be regarded as of great importance by 
the more enlightened class of dairy farmers in Ireland. 

The first skimming is effected after an interval of 
twelve hours, and the second in twelve to twenty-four 
hours subsequently. The most delicious butter is made 
from the cream of the first skimming. Most of it has 
been sold in London during the past season, whither 
it has been sent to private consumers, individual mer- 
chants, and large co-operative stores, direct by the 
producer; and, notwithstanding the low price which 
for a considerable portion of the year prevailed in all 
markets, and for the produce of all countries, it fetched 
from Is. Id. to Is. 4d. per lb., when the market was at 
its lowest ebb. The butter is mild cured, made up in 
2 lb. rolls, and packed off in rectangular boxes con- 
structed after the continental fashion. Butter is now 
transferred from Bandon to London in twenty-four 
hours, at a charge of ^d. per lb. The reduction in the 
tariff was mainly, if not wholly, brought about through 
the exertions of Mr. Bence Jones. The butter of some 
of the neighbouring farmers is similarly packed off to 
London. The cream is churned thrice weekly. 

The calves are kept improving from birth. Milk is 
given for the first three or four months, besides cake, 
Indian meal, grass, and hay. As soon as the turnips 


come in in winter, they are at once accustomed to take 
a little. In the following summer there is an abundance 
of grass supplemented with artificial food ; and roots, 
hay, and artificials are supplied ad lib., in the second 
winter after which the animals begin to be sold out as 
heifer beef. Five cwt. is a common weight at the 
age of two years, and the price realised varies from 
14 : 10s. to 18. Although we did not get figures 
by which we could estimate the cost of production, we 
were assured that this is a most paying system of man- 
agement, and considering the age and selling prices, 
there can, we fancy, be no doubt about it. 

The sheep are all Shropshire Downs, with the excep- 
tion of about fifty lambs bought in annually to supple- 
ment the stock produced on the place, the 200 ewes 
producing the remainder of the lambs. A little cake 
is supplied in troughs on the grass to the ewes before 
yeaning, and some mangels are given from the com- 
mencement of January. The yeaning season runs from 
February to April 1. The fields are well sheltered 
with high fences made of stones and earth, and planted 
with furze ; there are also yeaning sheds constructed 
against the fences with hurdles, and covered on the top 
with a thick thatch of furze, etc. After dropping, the 
ewes get % Ib. cake per head daily. There is little or 
no mortality during the process. Sixty of the most 
forward of the progeny are sold fat as yearlings ; the 
usual price is 3 : 5s., but this year it has fallen to 
2 : 17s. per head. The remainder, save what is re- 
quired for breeding purposes, are sent out fat at two 
years old. Mr. Law has found that it is a peculiarity 
of a portion of the Shropshires, that they do not 
thrive rapidly until approaching two years of age, when 


they put on condition in a wonderfully short space of 
time. The sheep are fattened by folding, as already 
described. Plenty of hay is supplied in racks, together 
with \ Ib. cake each. No ewes are retained for breeding 
after they have reached the age of four or five years. 
Sixty draft ewes are fattened out in August and Sep- 
tember, and their place supplied by the same number 
of the most suitable hoggets for breeding. Four rams 
(Shropshire Downs) are kept that is one ram for every 
fifty ewes. 

The farm offices, though somewhat elaborate, are 
rather disconnected. But the land may be apportioned 
amongst tenants at some future time, and it would not, 
therefore, answer to have the buildings concentrated in 
one block There is a mill worked by a three-quarter 
shot water-wheel, which economises an enormous amount 
of labour in sawing timber, which grows on the estate, 
Mr. Jones being very fond of shedding of all kinds j 
there is also an apparatus for grinding corn, and another 
for crushing bones. The latter are bought up exten- 
sively for manuring at 5 per ton. 

A large number of labourers are constantly employed 
on the land, reclaiming, fencing, etc. The farm labour 
bill alone amounts to 400 per annum. Land which 
was bought in fee at 5s. or 6s. per acre (some, indeed, 
we were informed, was purchased long ago at Id. per 
acre) would now let freely at from 1 to 2 per acre 
per annum. The labourers are all furnished with com- 
fortable cottages, and, besides land for potatoes, they 
receive 9s. per week and upwards, many 12s. We ob- 
tained this information from the labourers themselves. 
The rate of remuneration is excellent for the district, 
but they are required to work industriously. In summer 


they must appear in the field, with breakfast taken, at 
6 o'clock, with only one stop, at midday, and in winter as 
soon as the light will permit. A number of mechanics 
are also constantly employed \ 36 tons of artificial man- 
ures, in addition to a large quantity of bones, are 
annually purchased, and 100 tons- of concentrated food for 
cattle and sheep, besides a large bill for farm seeds, etc. 
On the whole, if the yearly outlay on this tract of land 
were general throughout Ireland, we should be better 
able to withstand the depression which now prevails. 
Mr. Bence Jones's system cannot be said to be " high 
farming," nor yet " low," but probably midway between 
both, which would seem to be the most judicious, at 
least for the circumstances of this country. It is proved 
profitable ; it wears at a glance all the elements of suc- 
cess. It is practical and easy of imitation, but the great 
drawback to its extensive adoption is the want of capital 
amongst the tenant-farmer community. This, for years 
to come, must be the great drawback to our agricultural 
systems; and it is well to caution legislators in time 
against passing any measure which would detach land- 
lord capital from the improvement of the soil. C. B. 

I do not know even the name of the writer of this 
paper. I was never asked for any information on the 
subject of it, or knew anything of it till I saw it in the 
Agricultural Gazette. Some unimportant facts are not 
quite accurately stated, but I judged it best to leave it 
as it stands, except that I have changed a single word 
here and there when such a change more exactly ex- 
pressed the facts. W. B. J. 






ENGLAND, 1879. 

(Written for Distribution by Co. Cork Agricultural Society.) 

I HAVE been asked to write an account of what I saw 
of the International Dairy at the Kilburn Show. I 
went there to learn all I could for myself, and with no 
thought of writing a Report upon it, and so did not 
examine all parts with the thoroughness that would 
have been well, had my object been to report. I had 
seen the dairy of the Aylesbury Company at Netting 
Hill not long before, and so knew their system. The 
German and French Dairies I went into much more 
thoroughly. I spent two long mornings, of over three 
hours each, at the dairies, and learnt more than many 
years had before taught me. Dairies in actual work 
are a new feature at the Shows of the Royal Agricul- 
tural Society. French butter averages in the London 
market 3d. per Ib. over English butter. French and 
Danish salt butter compete in foreign markets, like Rio 
Janeiro (where Cork butter used to reign supreme), at 
prices of 2s. to 3s. per Ib., prices which are never heard 
of for Irish butter. It, therefore, could not but be use- 
ful to see such butter made by natives of those countries. 
The system of the North Germans, Danes, Swedes, and 
Norwegians is nearly the same, and all were represented 


by Mr. Ahlborn. Of cheese-making I know nothing ; 
I attended only to butter. 


The chief feature was the use of the Circular Butter- 
working Machines for squeezing out the buttermilk. It 
was impossible to see these machines at work without 
being convinced of their great usefulness. They save 
much labour, and squeeze out the buttermilk much more 
thoroughly, leaving the butter much firmer than the 
hand can do. It is easy with them to make up butter 
without ever touching it by hand from first to last. In 
North Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, their 
use is almost universal ; in America, too, they are com- 
mon. They are much too dear in price. But there is 
no trouble in contriving a simple straight form, instead 
of the circular form, at a very moderate cost within the 
reach of all, if our machine-makers will condescend to 
do so. I can say, from trial, that the small hand- 
machine which only costs a few shillings, answers per- 
fectly for a few cows, though too slow for a large dairy. 

The sooner we work our butter by machines in 
Ireland, instead of by hand, the better it will be for us. 

There were many forms of churn, more of the com- 
mon barrel churn (with small variations in the dashers), 
than of any other. The Aylesbury Company used 
barrel churns chiefly ; the French dairy had no other. 
There was an eccentric churn that turned round and 
up and down at the same time eccentrically; it cost 
double the price of barrel churns, and seemed to have 
no particular advantage. There was an American churn 
that is much praised in the Report of our Secretary of 
Legation at Washington for this year. In American 


dairies it is said to be a great improvement. It is 
simply a long box, without any dashers whatever in it, 
hung on rockers. The churning is done simply by the 
cream dashing against the ends of the box as it rocks 
to and fro. It was tried, and the butter came in forty 
minutes. It pleased me a good deal, but can be better 
judged of from practical trial. It must be very easy to 
keep clean, and ought to be made cheaply. It was said 
to answer especially for the plan mentioned hereafter of 
having the butter in the churn in fine grains, instead of 
in a lump. The German dairy used the upright Holstein 
churn, that carried all before it at the competition last 
year at Bristol. It did its work very well, and was 
very convenient for taking out the butter without using 
the hand, after the head and dashers had been lifted 
out. A small sieve dipped the butter out readily. The 
judges' report, when published, will enable us to know 
if last year's opinion in favour of this churn holds good 
or not. It seemed fitter to be worked by power than 
by hand. The previous impression on my mind, that 
there is little gain in one form of churn above another, 
was not much disturbed by what I saw. I have since 
ordered of Messrs. M'Kenzie of Cork a barrel churn, 
with a large opening into it, 1 5 inches by 8 ; and the 
spiggot hole opposite to the opening for ventilation, as 
on the whole the best. 


1. The English system was thoroughly good in sub- 
stance, not differing from that usual in good private 
dairies. The cream (as in all the dairies) was quite 


sweet, the butter little handled only, I believe, in 
taking it out of the churn ; it was washed as usual, put 
on the butter -working machine, and the buttermilk 
squeezed out, and lifted with wooden trowels in a lump 
on the table. The scales had a flat marble top, on which 
a boy with trowels rapidly weighed out half-pounds. 
These half-pounds he again, with the trowels, rolled on 
the table (which, I believe, had a marble slab for its 
top), till it formed a cone of 8 or 9 inches high. This 
was very dexterously and nicely done. The stamp, to 
make it a half-pound pat, was pressed down on the 
point of the cone till it became a round pat of equal 
thickness throughout. This, again, was turned on its 
side upon the slab, the stamp still holding on, and form- 
ing a guide for the size as well as a handle to it, so that 
it could be again rolled round and round on its side till 
the pat was smooth and looked well, the hand never 
touching the butter after it took it out of the chum. 
It was a very pretty sight to see it done. All the work 
of the dairy was done by men and boys. The Manag- 
ing Director, Mr. Allender, thinks women are of no use 
in a dairy, and that it is much harder to get them to 
keep, to rules. He advises any one who wants to have a 
first-rate dairy to employ young men and boys who have 
learnt the business. The butter-working machine used 
at this dairy was an American machine. The edges of 
the flutings of the roller that presses the butter are 
much sharper than those of Ahlborn's German machine. 
Ahlborn justifies the roundness of the edges of his 
machine by saying that a dairymaid's knuckles are round 
and not sharp. But the better opinion seems to be 
that the round edges of the roller a little " smear " the 
butter, and that the sharper edges are best. 



2. With one exception, the practical making of the 
butter at the German, Danish, and Swedish dairies, 
seemed to me quite perfect. 

The churning was done in the upright Holstein churn. 
Directly the butter came, when it was still in small 
grains like fine seed, slightly sticking together after the 
manner of frog spawn, the churning was stopped, so 
that the butter did not gather in lumps at all ; the top 
of the churn was taken off, and the dasher taken out, 
the buttermilk drawn off through a sieve to catch any 
grains of butter, and the sides and top of the churn 
washed with skim milk to collect the grains of butter 
sticking to them. The butter was lifted out in a sieve, 
still in fine grains (I put the point of my knife into the 
churn, and took out some of the grains ; they were a 
loose small heap of grains lightly touching each other 
by their outer edges), a few rollings and tossings in the 
sieve, and the butter was in a lump, the grains having 
run together. It was thrown out on the table, thence 
lifted with wooden trowels on the butter - working 
machine, and a few turns of the roller over it, with one 
or two more liftings by the trowels, and the work was 
done. There was no washing at all. The buttermilk 
was simply squeezed out by the machine. Some think 
washing lessens the sweet freshness of butter. I doubt 
it. In Ireland spring water is used. The reason 
for this practice, of keeping the butter in fine grains, 
so that the buttermilk can be got rid of with little 
working, is that the less butter is worked the better 


it is. Working, more or less, breaks up the texture. 
Thus a finer and fresher quality and appearance are got 
with little working, provided all the buttermilk is got 
rid of. 

Compared with the ordinary way of making up 
butter, getting it together in the churn in lumps, which, 
of course, enclose much buttermilk, and then working 
out the buttermilk with a wooden dish or the dairy- 
maid's knuckles the saving of labour was very great. 
From first to last the hand never touched the butter at 
all. The labour used was a minimum, much less than 
in the common way of butter-making. 

The exception I have mentioned as a defect of this 
system is, that the butter was not washed with water at 
all. All was trusted to the butter -working machine 
squeezing out the buttermilk. I think this is undesir- 
able. Spring water can do the butter no harm. The 
French system hereafter mentioned, by which Mr. 
Jenkins tells us in his article in the last number of the 
Journal, the splendid Normandy butter is made, that 
sells in Paris for 3s. per lb., and nearly as dear at Kio 
Janeiro salted or in tins, is much the same as that I 
have just described. By the French system, when the 
butter has just come in these fine grains, the buttermilk 
is drawn off by the vent-hole through a sieve, the dairy- 
maid holding the spiggot lightly in the vent, so as to 
let little butter escape. Spring water is then poured in 
and drawn off in the same way after a few turns of the 
churn. This is done six or eight times, till the water 
comes away quite clear, with no trace of buttermilk. 
It is thought in this way, the butter being in fine grains 
and no lumps to hold buttermilk in them, the butter- 
milk is quite washed out. The only object of using 


the butter-washing machine then is, to squeeze out any 
extra water in it, and so make the butter firmer. I 
have no doubt washing in this way is the best plan for 
us. If we are still to use barrel churns, as the French 
do, a small wooden dish or scoop, with holes in the 
bottom, could easily be contrived to lift the butter out 
of the churn without handling, or a larger hole to the 
churn will do it. There is an impression that washing 
with water hurts the flavour of butter, by washing out 
the volatile oils, etc., that are in it. I can only doubt 
if this is so. 

The Schwartz system of setting the milk in deep tin 
pails in iced water, so as to have the cream rise when 
quite sweet, was shown at this dairy. How to get the 
iced water is the only difficulty. The water must be 
below 40 degrees, whilst in Ireland, even in winter, 
spring water is not below 50 degrees. It answers well 
in countries where a great heap of snow, covered with 
earth like mangolds, will last through the summer. So 
it is common in such Northern countries. There are 
few places with us where the plan can be used economi- 
cally. Happily, it is Dr. Voelcker's opinion that skim- 
ming the milk, when still quite sweet, will make as good 
b.utter. This we can all do, and as sweet milk makes 
rather more butter than the same quantity of sour milk, 
it is mere folly not to skim the milk sweet. About 
Aylesbury they skim the milk after 12 hours for the 
very best butter, and skim it again after another 1 2 or 
24 hours for less good quality. Each, of course, is 
churned separately. With the habits of our people, this 
probably is the best plan for us, namely, to skim the 
milk sweet after 12 or 24 hours; let it still stand, and 
skim it again sour. Send the good butter from the first 



skimming to London at a good price, and sell the bad 
in Cork. 

There was a very pretty arrangement, something be- 
tween a table and a bowl, with a hole at the bottom to 
let water escape, shown at this dairy. It was like half 
a tree, of lime or some other white close-grained wood, 
four or five feet long, and hollowed out very gradually 
to the middle from near the sides, like a bowl ; it was 
four or five inches deep, with no joints or crevices to 
gather dirt, or be hard to keep clean. 


3. The French dairymaid used a large barrel churn, 
for which it was complained the driving gear was too 
slow. The churning in it, too, was stopped as soon as 
the butter came, whilst it was in grains. The butter- 
milk was washed away by repeated waters, as I have 
described it, and this washing was trusted to, to remove 
all buttermilk. The butter-working machine was not 
used ; the wooden trowels were used. The butter was 
lifted out of the churn by hand, and altogether the hand, 
though not much used, was still more used in making 
up the butter than was desirable. The whole churning 
was worked up into a large tall cone, with a good deal 
of plastering by trowel and hand. One plan the French 
dairymaid had, which approved itself to me as very 
good. As soon as the butter was washed, before she 
took it out of the churn, she half filjed the churn with 
cold water, and let it stand for half an hour to harden 
the butter. The temperature of cream always rises 
considerably (some 3 to 5 degrees) in churning. Letting 
the butter thus stand in cold water must remove this 


extra heat, and be good for it. It will be remembered 
by many that in Mr. Byrne's excellent Prize Essay on 
butter -making last autumn, he advised that in hot 
weather, when butter is apt to be soft after churning, 
the churn should be filled with cold water, and allowed 
to stand, which, he said, would make the butter firm, 
a recommendation that was new to many of us. The 
French dairymaid goes a step farther, and lets her butter 
always stand for half an hour in cold water on the same 
principle. As firmness is a point of excellence in butter, 
there can be little doubt this practice is right, and one 
we ought to follow. Sometimes, I believe, salt is mixed 
in the water enough to salt the butter without putting 
any more salt to it. It is said this is a good plan for 
fresh and light salted butter. 


An ingenious machine was exhibited, from Sweden 
I think, for separating the cream from the milk me- 
chanically, viz. by centrifugal action. It was not worked 
either day that I was at the Show. It was reported 
that the machine had an ugly trick, now and then, of 
not only separating the cream, but also of separating 
itself into a hundred pieces, which would have been 
awkward amongst the crowd of lookers-on ; besides, the 
life of the engineer in charge of that part of the Show 
was not insured. Prudently, it was not put to work. 
It was worked successfully on a later day, however. 
The plan is, that the milk trickles into the machine in 
a small stream, and cream and milk trickle out at sepa- 
rate spouts. The milk being heavier than cream, passes 
to the outer side of the revolving vessel, whence it 


escapes by its spout, whilst the cream, because lighter, 
draws into the middle to its own spout. The machine 
requires to be driven at very great, speed, so that there 
are not many dairies where it could be used practically. 
It is possible, however, in time it may be altered into a 
more available form for ordinary use. The size of the 
machine is small and convenient -looking enough. It 
has since been improved, and is constantly at work at 
Mr. Tisdale's Holland Park Dairy, Kensington, where 
it seems to answer his purpose well. 


The general impression left on my mind by the Show 
was, that (besides the cleanliness and neatness of every 
part of the dairies and of the dairy servants, whereof 
the German dairymaid was a capital example, with her 
smart cap and ribbons, a tidy working apron and bare 
arms, her sleeves being rolled up to the shoulders that 
she might work the harder, presenting a sore contrast 
to many of our dirty dairywomen) there were few new 
and unusual plans to be learnt by us from Kilburn. The 
main points that would improve the quality of our butter 
(1) The perfect sweetness of the cream used. (2) 
Perfectly getting rid of the buttermilk by keeping the 
butter in grains, so that the buttermilk could be 
washed out, instead of being worked out. (3) Avoiding 
all touching of the butter by the hand, especially by 
using the butter-working machines (so as to ensure 
against any remains of buttermilk, and to improve the 
firmness of the butter by making it drier). 



All butter-makers invariably declare their own butter 
is first-rate; but, to be plain, they do not speak the 
truth. Making first-rate butter depends on very small 
details ; it is surprising how small. Yet these details 
make a great difference. Butter may be fairly good, a 
long way from really bad butter, yet still be far from 
first-rate. And the difference in price between such 
butter and first-rate butter is very great. Butter is 
wanted for the wealthiest consumers in the world, who 
care much about quality, and very little about price. 

(1.) The first leading fact is, that the price to con- 
sumers in London is hardly ever less than from Is. 6d. 
to 2s. 6d. per Ib. ; butter bought under 2s. per Ib. from 
respectable shops is very seldom good. This is the 
principal fact to be borne in mind. It proves that a 
splendid market is there, of which we do not get the 

(2.) The other main fact is, that the supply of first- 
rate butter falls very far short of the demand. The 
difference is made up by secondary butter, washed and 
made up as well as they can by retailers. Only this 
Spring I found the family of a friend paying 2s. 4d. per 
Ib. for all their butter ; another family, living in one of 
the best parts of London, had given up eating butter, be- 
cause their patience was exhausted by getting bad butter 
at Is. lOd. per Ib., and they thought it extravagant to 
pay higher. It is believed country towns in a great 
part of England are even worse supplied. It is quite 
clear, therefore, there is a demand, at good prices, for 
all the first-rate butter that can be made. The evil is 


the same as with many other kinds of agricultural pro- 
duce the consumers pay too much, the producers 
receive too little ; while middlemen grow rich. 

I can bear witness that respectable retailers in London 
and many other places are glad to buy direct from pro- 
ducers at much higher prices than those of Irish markets. 

Thus, in Summer I can sell all my butter packed in 
French boxes, each holding 12 2-lb. rolls, at 14jd. to 
15d. per lb., a very different return from 8d., the price 
often of first quality in Cork. When the price is higher 
in Cork, I can get a better price also. The retailers 
sell it at 2d. per lb. profit. Their customers, who have 
once bought it, will take no other from them, and any 
delay in its arrival is sorely grumbled at. One retailer 
having ordered two boxes the first week, ordered four 
the next, and twelve the third. But the butter must 
be first-rate, and uniformly good always. 

The Irish Butter Markets Cork Market above all 
are a grievous loss to the country. They are managed 
wholly for the gain of the dealers, so that a large profit 
may be made off bad butter as well as off good. The 
competition in England falls hardest on inferior butter. 
In consequence of the great importation of American 
butter and of bosh (butterine), Irish farmers are fairly 
in a corner. They are competing against inferior pro- 
duce, that does not cost those who make it half what 
Irish produce costs. First-rate butter is subject to no 
such competition. There is not enough of it, probably 
never will be. Certainly not until the habits of our 
people have become the same as the habits of French 
and German and Danish dairymaids, which, I fear, is a 
far-off time. But our own markets hold out the least 
encouragement to good butter, though much encourage- 


ment to inferior butter. The whole system of dealing 
in Cork Market needs to be changed. As was said to 
me by a great butter-factor, " Cork Market keeps down 
the price even of good butter by its great mass of mid- 
dling and inferior butter hanging on the skirts of good 

Till the markets are altered, those who make good 
butter had better seek a market in England for them- 

When the promised Minister of Agriculture is ap- 
pointed, it is certain one of the first benefits he will 
confer on Irish farmers will be the opening and wholly 
altering Cork Market. 

As good butter as any in the world can be made in 
Ireland. That butter now does not pay us well is partly 
our own fault in not making first-rate butter, partly that 
of the middlemen we allow to get rich at our expense 
in markets like Cork. It is the French dealers who 
have made the value of French butter, by their influ- 
ence on producers, and excellent market arrangements. 


LISSELAN, July 20, 1879. 




MY FRIENDS I want you all to understand the plan 
of making up very light-salted butter in two-lb. rolls, 
and sending it to London, which I have carried on for 
over a year, and which has answered and paid me well. 

It is quite simple. There is no difficulty about it, 
except that it is different from the way you are used to. 

Either 12 or 18 two-lb. rolls should be packed in 
each box, which is lined with cheap linen. 

The butter must be salted less than light-salted for 
Cork. You can see the whole thing carried on at the 
New Dairy at Carrig any day you please, and as often 
as you please, and the boxes too. 

Two things only are necessary to be kept to by 
those who now make fairly good butter, different from 
what they now usually do. 

1. The milk must be skimmed, both in summer and 
winter, whilst it is quite sweet. It must not be the 
least sour. The cream too should be sweet. 

2. Every drop of buttermilk must be taken out of 
the butter. 

These are not hard rules to keep to. If they are 
not strictly kept to, it is useless to send butter to 
London. Inferior butter in rolls sells worse than 
inferior butter in firkins. 

1. As to skimming the milk sweet. In London they 


know the difference of taste between butter made from 
sweet milk and butter made from sour milk, just as 
well as you know the difference of taste between milk 
that is sweet and milk that is sour. You cannot 
deceive them about it. They will not give the price 
for butter from sour milk, and it does not travel or 
keep so well. After the milk has been skimmed 
sweet for butter to go to London, you may let it stand 
as much longer as you like, and skim it again and 
again for a second quality of butter to sell in Cork. 
Such second quality will be of a lighter colour, and will 
not keep so well as butter from sweet milk. It is less 

2. The best way to get out all the buttermilk is to 
stop churning the moment the butter comes, when it is 
still in fine grains, like small seeds, and so the butter- 
milk is not closed up within the lumps. Draw off the 
buttermilk through a sieve* to catch any bits of butter. 
Pour in spring water, and give 4 or 5 turns of the 
churn. Draw it off again, and pour in more water, and 
give a few more turns of the churn, and so on for 6 or 
7 times, till the water comes away quite clear and 
bright. Take out the butter, squeeze out the water, 
and make it up in rolls of 2 Ibs. The butter should 
not be touched by the hand at all, but with wooden 

This is the whole entire business and secret. It is 
positively less trouble than the common old-fashioned 
way. Some of you already partly wash your butter in 
the churn. But you do not do it thoroughly enough, 
or stop churning soon enough when it is still in fine 
grains, or you let the milk stand till it is a little sour. 
You will see you cannot lose by following these rules. 


In the second skimming you get all the butter the milk 
can possibly yield ; the difference is, the cream from sour 
milk does injure the first skimming, and the best butter. 

There are few who do not keep four cows, these can 
fill a box of 24 Ibs., 12 rolls of two Ibs. Those who 
cannot fill a 24-lb. box, should join with a neighbour, 
and get some rolls from him. Three or four neighbours 
had better join in sending their boxes at the same time. 
The charge for carriage is the same for one box as for 
two. So it does not answer to send less than two boxes. 
They should be sent in one name with private marks or 
numbers, to show to whom each belongs. The charge for 
carriage to London from Cork for two boxes is just a half- 
penny per Ib. They may go either by Dublin or Milford. 
Dublin is the best for two boxes, Milford the cheapest 
for larger lots. It will go by Dublin every evening at 8 
p.m., and be delivered in London early the next morn- 
ing but one ; butter that goes on Monday evening will 
be delivered on Wednesday morning. It must be sent 
for sale to a Butter Factor at the Central Market. I 
can tell you the names of honest factors who will send 
back the market price at once. Their charge for selling 
is another halfpenny per Ib. So that the cost of selling 
in London is one penny per Ib., all included. Three 
boxes hold as much as one firkin, and the boxes cost 
about the same to make they ought to cost less. It 
may be well to add that a thermometer, which can be 
bought for 2s., is very useful for judging if, in winter, 
the cream is warm enough to churn. 58 degrees is the 
right heat for butter to come in proper time. 

Any more information you want you can get from 
me or from Mr. Law, and also you can learn the price 
we get ourselves each week. 


There can be no doubt that in this way you will 
make a much better price than in Cork Market, if your 
butter is good. Only remember that it is of no use to 
send to London any butter not first-rate, and that 
butter which will go first quality in Cork is not good 
enough for London market. Even at Clonmell in 
Tipperary, there are three qualities above Cork seconds. 
Cork is probably the best market in the world for in- 
ferior butter. Any one who wishes to make superior 
butter, and who has not a good enough dairy, I shall 
be glad to help to build one. Twopence per Ib. above 
Cork price for butter would put over one million per 
annum into the pockets of Irish farmers, without one 
shilling of extra outlay. I get much more than two- 
pence per Ib. above Cork price for all my butter. It is 
wholly your own fault and backwardness if you do not 
get this price. 

The market is there ready, and it will cost you no 
more to sell in it than it does to sell in Cork. The use 
of brains and sense is all that is required ; and that by 
cleanliness of vessels which you all know about whether 
you practise it or not, and keeping to the easy rules 
I have given you, you should make superior butter. 







JUNE 1841. 

MY FRIENDS I want to say a few words to you about 
Green Crops. 

Some of you, I know, cannot understand why I am 
anxious that the tenants should grow green crops. One 
says, " It is for his honour's amusement : " another, 
" Because his honour's head is full of English farming, 
which is not at all suited to poor Irishmen;" while a 
third finds out, that it is because I want to ruin all the 
poor farmers, or, at any rate, he is sure they will be 
ruined if they follow my advice. Now, it is not for my 
amusement, nor because my head is full of English 
farming, nor in order that I may ruin poor farmers : it 
is not for any of these reasons that I wish you to grow 
clover and turnips ; but it is for a reason, which, when 
I tell it you, you will all allow is a very good reason, 
but which I think will surprise you a little. It is this. 
THAN THEY NOW HAVE. I have now told you the 
secret ; and can any man in Ireland stand up and say, 
that if this can be done, it will not be a benefit to every 
farmer, great or small, rich or poor ? 

Suppose that I had a great heap of manure in the 
town of Clonakilty, and that I offered to give 100 butts 
of it to any tenant who would draw that much home to 


his farm, would you not think any man a great fool 
who refused so good an offer < \ But suppose I not only 
gave him the manure for nothing, but offered myself to 
draw it home for him, and to pay him well for accepting 
it, would you not say that a farmer who refused such 
an offer must be the greatest fool that ever was born 1 
In short, you would not believe that any man in Ireland, 
let alone Carbery, could be found to refuse such an 

Now, I must tell you plainly, that in neglecting 
Green Crops, you are acting just as foolishly as the 
man who would refuse the manure, though delivered at 
his bahn, and paid for accepting it. And I will now 
prove this to you. 

Look at the quantity of dung which you are able to 
collect in any one year, by the old system, of laying 
part of your land out in grazing, feeding your cows and 
horses out on this, and giving them in the house only 
what little straw and potatoes you can spare. Even by 
drawing a great deal of sand to add to it, and gathering 
earth and scrapings from old ditches, you still have but 
a very small quantity of manure, and this is poor thin 
stuff, often more than half of it earth. Now, compare 
with this the quantity of good rich manure you would 
have, if you sowed with clover and turnips a moderate quan- 
tity of land. I say, compare the quantity of manure 
you could make this way with what you now make. 
First, you would be able to keep more cows. Secondly, 
being kept more in the house, and well fed, they would 
make much more manure than they now do ; and much 
richer, as good as that we just spoke of from Clonakilty. 
Thirdly, none of it would be lost, as it often now is. 
There it would be all ready in the bahn ; no trouble of 


drawing from Clonakilty. Is not this much the same 
as giving you the manure, and drawing it home for 
you 1 And would not the cows fed in this way, and 
kept warm in the house in winter, instead of being 
exposed in the fields to rain and cold, give very much 
more milk, and much richer milk 1 and would not this 
rich milk give more butter than you now get 1 You 
will, besides, be able to keep many cows well, with no 
more expense than you now keep a few ill ; and would 
not this be very like paying you for accepting the 
manure from Clonakilty 1 and do you really think that 
a potato garden, manured with this rich manure, would 
not pay you better than it does at present 1 and do you 
think you would get a worse wheat crop afterwards 1 
Now, put all these together, and tell me, if, in advising 
you, and showing you how to grow clover and turnips, 
and so to increase your manure, I am not doing you an 
equal kindness as if I gave you the manure in Clona- 
kilty? Remember, too, that there it is all ready in 
your own bahn, just as much as if I drew it home for 
you. And if you will in this way get much more 
butter, and better crops of potatoes and wheat, will not 
these as much put the money into your pockets, as if I 
paid you for accepting the manure 2 And now, if all 
this is so, is not what I said true, that you are acting 
as foolishly in neglecting it, as the man who would 
refuse the manure from Clonakilty, though paid to 
accept it ? I will leave you to answer the question. 

Depend upon it, my friends (for as such I wish to 
Those who are best off amongst you are not half as 
well off as they might be, if they had more manure ; 
and the poor man, whom I am obliged to put out of his 


farm, gets into that state which causes his ruin, only 
from the want of manure. It is not the loss of a horse, 
or a cow, or a pig, or of all together, which ruins him ; 
if his land were well manured, the very first crop would 
enable him to buy a new horse, or cow, or pig; but 
now his land is worn out for want of manure, and then 
the first misfortune that comes upon him is his ruin ; 
he has nothing that will enable him to recover it. 

The English farmers have a very true saying, that 
" DUNG IS THE MOTHER OF GOLD." Therefore, if only 
they can get the dung, they know the gold is sure, 
sooner or later, to find its way into their pockets, and 
like wise people, they take care of the mother, for the 
sake of the benefit, they know, her children will be to 
them ; they do not expect to have the children, with- 
out first having the mother, any more than a man can 
expect to have a litter of pigs, who has no sow. 

But I know many of you have been ready long since 
to say, " We know quite well the value of manure, and 
we only wish we had plenty of it ; but how are poor 
people to get it?" There is only one way, unless you 
have money to go into the towns and buy manure, and 
that way is, by feeding cattle on clover and turnips, or 
other green crops. The English farmers have another 
saying which clearly points out this way ? No FOOD 
CORN NO GOLD." You see it is like building a house ; 
before you can have sound walls and a safe roof, you 
must lay the foundations firmly ; the food for your cattle 
is the foundation, the dung, the corn, and the gold, 
like the walls and roof, all rest upon this. If you will 
not lay this foundation, you must not expect the corn 
or the gold to come steadily in, any more than a man 


can expect a safe roof or steady walls, who neglects to 
lay a good foundation. I do not think, as some of you 
suppose, that all English plans of farming are the best 
for Irish farmers, but I am quite sure that the English 
farmer is right in thinking, that in order to have his 
barn full of corn, and his pocket full of gold, he must 
have plenty of dung, and that he cannot have plenty 
of dung unless he has plenty of cattle, and that he can- 
not have plenty of cattle unless lie has food for them ; 
and I shall be delighted if any Irish farmer will show 
me how his brother farmer in England is wrong in this 
calculation. When, therefore, any of you say to me, 
" We know the value of manure ; but how are we poor 
farmers to get it 1" my answer at once is, " By growing 
food for cattle," that is, clover and turnips. And you 
will thus have what I told you at the beginning of this 
letter, it was my object you should have, MORE MANURE. 
Some people, I know, say, "These clover and 
turnips are the crops to ruin poor farmers." Now, 
when next you hear anybody say this, just ask him, if 
it will ruin a poor farmer to have more manure ; or if 
it will ruin him to have better crops of corn ; and then 
ask him to show you some better or cheaper way of 
getting manure, than by keeping cattle (except, of 
course, buying it, and, in that case, just ask him to give 
you the money to do so) ; and then ask him to show you 
how to keep cattle, without having food for them ; and 
if he cannot answer these questions, or show you how 
to do these things, why just set him down for an igno- 
rant meddling fellow, who talks about things of which 
he knows nothing ; and do not believe him when he 
tells you that clover and turnips will be the ruin of 
poor farmers. 


To state then once more, as plainly as I can, the 
plan I wish you to take up : it is this, THAT YOU 
GRAZING. I do not ask a large quantity, unless here- 
after you shall think it most profitable for you to do 
so. I say that you will get, at the very least, double 
the weight of food for your cows and horses, from this 
quantity of land if sown with clover and turnips, that 
you now get from it as grazing ; and therefore that you 
will be able to keep double the number of cows, and make 
twice the quantity of manure that you now make ; and 
that this manure will give you much better crops of 
potatoes and wheat and oats, than you now get ; and 
thus that you will be much better off. I believe, indeed, 
that you will get much more than double the weight of 
food from clover and turnips, that you now do from 
grazing, and so will have much more than double the 
quantity of manure ; but I am contented to take it 
that it will only double the weight of food and manure : 
of this I am quite sure; and surely if it only does this, 
it will be a great benefit to any farmer. 

But some of you will say, " We think clover very 
good sowing, but it is the turnips we do not like." I 
do not wonder at you liking clover ; it is indeed a 
most excellent crop, and admirably suited to your land 
and climate. I have never in England seen such fine 
clover as I have seen with some of you. The weight 
of it you can get from two cuttings, if compared with 
the weight of grass you could get from the same field 
sown with the best hay-seeds in the country, will be 
found very much greater. The clover-seed, besides, 
does not cost so much as hay-seed. Nine pounds of 



clover-seed will sow an acre, and this at lOd. a pound 
is 7s. 6d., and the rye-grass Is. 6d. more in all 9s. for 
an acre ; whilst to sow an acre with hay-seeds takes 
eighteen or twenty firkins, often costing Is. a firkin 
say 1 8s. an acre, just double the price of the clover and 
rye-grass. I know that by saving your own hay-seeds, 
you think you get them cheaper, but this is not so 
really. But another objection to hay -seeds is, that 
when they are saved from ordinary land, which is 
not very clean, there are always a great many seeds 
of weeds amongst them, and these being sown with 
the hay-seed, grow up and injure the next crop of 
wheat very much. But clover-seed, on the -contrary, 
has no seeds of weeds amongst it, and grows so thick 
on the land, that it stifles and kills the weeds which 
spring up ; and the roots of the clover, when ploughed 
into the land, serve as a great help of manure for it. 
It is besides well known, that to have land under good 
clover for one year, rests it and refreshes it as much as 
**f it was three years under poor grass ; so that I have 
fo doubt, but that by growing clover and rye-grass, 
instead of hay-seed, you will find your land will yield 
better crops of wheat than it now does. When all 
these benefits of clover are added together, I really 
wonder that any farmer will sow any more hay-seed. 
It is like throwing money (or what in a farmer's 
eyes should be still worse, manure) into the sea, to 
do so. 

But I must now go on to tell you why I think tur- 
nips a more valuable crop for farmers, even than clover, 
of which you begin to feel the benefit, and which I fully 
admit is a very valuable crop too. But I say turnips 
are more valuable. 


In the first place, turnips give the farmer food for 
his cows in winter, when lie has little else for them. In 
summer, there is always some grass for the cows, even 
with the worst farmers; and where a farmer grows 
clover, his cows are. well off during summer, but then 
what is there for them during winter 1 You all know 
what a wretched state cows are in at the end of winter ; 
they can scarcely get a mouthful in the fields ; and if it 
was not for the little dry straw, and potatoes, and 
chopped furze, they get in the house, they would gen- 
erally starve. Now dry straw by itself is miserable 
food for cows, but with turnips it is excellent. Cows 
fed badly with dry straw, and a little potatoes and 
chopped furze, give scarcely any milk, and make scarcely 
any manure, so that for half the year they are no profit 
to the farmer, which is what the farmer cannot afford. 
But give them turnips and they are profitable through 
the whole year. 

Again, if a farmer has clover enough to keep four 
cows through the summer and autumn, which he very 
easily may have, I will thank you to tell me how he is 
to keep those cows through the winter. He must either 
give them a great many of his potatoes, which would 
make him money in the spring, or sell at least two of 
his cows. If he sells two, he loses the manure of those 
two cows for near six months half the year. He is 
obliged to sell in November, when everybody knows 
cows sell very cheap and badly, instead of being able to 
keep them till May, when the same cows would fetch 
at least 3 a-head more. If he has no turnips, the two 
cows he keeps must be out in the fields at least all 
day ; and, cows, when badly fed, do not make half 
as much manure, nor half as rich, as when well fed ; 


and this way again the farmer loses both in the quantity 
and quality of his manure. The cold and wet in the 
fields, and bad feeding, soon make the cows dry, and 
thus the farmer again loses in milk and butter ; so that 
when a farmer has no turnips, instead of having the 
milk and butter and manure of four well-fed cows 
during the six winter months, he has scarcely any milk 
and butter, and the manure of only two cows ; and he 
only gets in his yard half their manure, that is to say, he 
only gets as much manure as one cow would make if 
always in the house, instead of getting the manure of 
four cows. He has, therefore, only one quarter of the 
manure for his potatoes the next spring, that he would have 
had if he had sown turnips. And in fact, he has not so 
much as one quarter, because, as I said before, there is 
the greatest difference between the quantity of manure 
that a well-fed cow and a badly -fed cow will make ; 
and, therefore, I think I am not wrong in saying that 
the farmer who grows the most turnips one year, will have 
the best crop of potatoes the next year, and of course his 
wheat crop afterwards will also be better. 

The plain fact is, that without turnips or mangel- 
wurzel, or some crop of that kind as food for cattle in 
winter, it is impossible to keep through the winter the same 
number of cows, that your clover will enable you to keep 
through the summer, or to make manure enough to keep your 
land' in good heart, and this is the chief reason why 
turnips are absolutely necessary for a farmer. 

I know it may be said, that he may as well grow 
potatoes, and give them to his cows, instead of turnips, 
but there are several reasons why turnips are better. 
In the first place, a farmer is always tempted to sell his 
potatoes, instead of giving them to his cows, and then 


of course he has not the manure for the next year. In 
the next place, you may grow THREE TIMES the weight 
of turnips on an acre, with the same manure, that you can of 

I think that any of you who saw my turnip fields 
last year, will bear witness, that I could not have got 
one-third part of the weight of potatoes off the same 
land. Remember it was the poorest and most worn-out 
part of the farm judge for yourselves if I could have 
kept the same number of cows through the winter, if I 
had planted the same land with potatoes, and even had 
a good crop of them. By sowing turnips, I have first a 
good profit from the cows (some of them made as much 
as 3 a-head profit). Then just see what a heap of 
manure I got, and all ready on the spot. Calculate for 
yourselves what it would have cost me to buy that quan- 
tity of manure, and then tell me if my turnips have 
paid me. 

Nor did it cost me so much to manure those turnips 
as some of you suppose. The manure cost me just 3 
an acre. But if I had sown the same fields with potatoes, 
I must have sown forty-eight weights to the acre the 
price of which at 5 Jd. a weight, which I suppose is about 
what they should be worth in April, would be 1 : 2s. 
Now the turnip -seed only cost about 2s. per acre, so 
that I saved 1 in the seed, which, taken from the 3 
for manure, leaves only 2 for the cost of my turnips 
per acre ; because I consider the expense of thinning 
and weeding them, about equal to the expense of earth- 
ing the potatoes. Recollect, that you often put 3 or 
4 worth or even more oar-weed on an acre of potatoes, 
and tell me, if even where a man has to buy manure 
for his turnips as I did, it is not a cheaper crop to him 


than his potatoes. The only difference is, he cannot 
sell them and make money of them, so soon, as he can 
of his potatoes ; but he makes the money just as surely 
by his cows, and by the quantity of manure he will get 
for his next year's potatoes and wheat, as I hope to do 

Besides this, turnips, if kept clean, do not reduce 
the land so much as potatoes. They leave more of the 
goodness of the manure in it ; and so you will get a 
better wheat crop after them than you will after 
potatoes, as James White of Ballinascarthy did last 

Nor are my turnips the only good ones in the coun- 
try. Mr. Shuldhan of Dunmanway weighed part of his 
turnips last year, and found that he had grown more 
than thirty-two tons weight to the acre that is above 
six hundred and forty hundred-weight, or above three 
thousand four hundred weights of twenty-one pounds, 
and these of the best kind of turnips Swedes, and 
many other people have grown as much or more. What 
do you think of this for food for cattle in winter 1 

There are two or three objections which I know will 
be made to what I have said. One man will say, " All 
this may be true, but how is a poor farmer to get cattle 
to eat all this clover and turnips]" I answer, in the 
first place, the cows and horses and pigs (for growing 
pigs will thrive on clover and turnips), that he now 
keeps, will eat a great deal more than they now get, if 
he will give it to them, and what is more, they will pay 
for it too. The cows will give him more milk and butter, 
the horses will be stronger and do more work, and the 
Digs will grow and thrive better ; and all will make him 
a great deal more manure, which is the grand thing of all. 


Next, if he cannot afford to buy another cow or two, he 
may manage to buy a poor yearling, which some one 
else has half-starved, or a calf or two, or rear his own 
calves, or some young pigs, and these, by their improve- 
ment when well fed, will soon enable him to buy a good 
cow. In short, let a man get any beast that will make 
him manure, and he will soon find the improvement in 
his crops will enable him to buy as many cows as he 
pleases. Just remember what I paid some of you last 
year for a little clover 1 fora quarter of an acre, and 
for only one cutting. Why, two cuttings of one acre of 
it, at this price, would, if sold, pay the price of a cow. 
Only let a man really exert himself, and I will answer 
for it that he will succeed. 

But some one else will say, that " they manure their 
land well with sand and oar-weed and earth, which is 
as good as having all this dung." This I wholly deny. 
When a man has manured his land well with dung, 
sand and oar-weed are excellent as additional manures, 
but by themselves they are not nearly so good as people 
think, and will not give good crops. As to putting on 
earth, it is only robbing one part of the field for the 
sake of another part : you gain nothing by it, unless 
where you throw down an old ditch, or something of 
that sort. 

The chief objection, however, is, " We cannot spare 
the dung for the turnips, we want it for the potatoes." 
Now, no doubt, the potatoes will be the better of all 
the dung you can give them ; and I allow that in giving 
part of it to the turnips, you will, for that year, lose in 
the potatoes ; but then the next year, YOU WILL GAIN 


The manure you will have, by feeding your cattle in the 


house on the turnips through the winter, will be many 
times more than what you lost in order to grow those 
turnips ; and of course when you give this to your next 
year's potato gardens, it will more than make up for 
what you lost. It is, in fact, as if you put some of your 
manure out at interest. You could not think a man had 
made a bad bargain, who lent l in May, to receive 
3 back that day year; yet this is really what you 
are doing by sparing some of your manure for turnips 
one year in order to have more manure the next ; the 
only difference is, that the manure will pay you back 
more than 3 for 1 ; and there is no fear of your 
debtor running away. There is an old saying, "Those 
that do not play cannot win." If you will not spare 
something one year, it is impossible that you should be 
better off the next. If you really know the value of 
manure, you will not grudge a little loss at first, in 
order so much to profit afterwards. 

But I think I can hear another man objecting against 
clover and turnips, " Sure but we get great trouble by 
them." Now, any man who says this, really does not 
deserve to have a farm at all. Can you grow any crop 
potatoes, wheat, or any other without trouble 1 Would 
it not be a pleasant thing if we had only to sit still, 
and every kind of crop was to grow of itself 1 You can 
get nothing in this world without trouble ; and no one 
but an idle lazy fellow, would make this objection. 
The real question is, not whether you will get trouble 
by them, but whether they will pay you for your trouble. 
I have no doubt but that they will do so, especially if 
your wives make the butter, and you employ your 
children in cutting the clover, and in hoeing and thin- 
ning and pulling the turnips and in feeding the cows. 


The children will then be a real benefit to you, instead 
of a burthen, as they too often now are. 

And so I have now come round to what I began this 
letter with speaking about, the great value of manure ; 
and my firm belief that it is because you have not 
enough manure, you are not better off. It is the case 
with tenants in most parts of Ireland. I have, as you 
know, made myself acquainted with the circumstances 
of all of you, and with the state of your different farms. 
It is my clear opinion, that more manure is what you 
all chiefly want. I have myself seen a gentleman's pro- 
perty in another part of Ireland, upon which the tenants 
were, a few years ago, much worse off than you are, and 
with farms much smaller than yours ; by following the 
plan I have advised you, namely, by sowing clover and 
turnips, they are now a great deal more comfortably off than 
you are ; many of them paying their rent (and it is a 
high rent) only by the butter which their clover and 
turnips enable them to make, and so having all their 
wheat and potatoes for themselves. Mind, this is Irish 
farming, not English. Now I wish you to be as com- 
fortable as that gentleman's tenants. I have done all 
that I can do to lead you to it : will you do your part, by 
taking the advice and assistance that is offered you for 
your good, or not ? It is not because you can manage 
now to pay your rent, that you will always be able to 
do so. Depend upon it, bad times will come : we have 
had them before, and you know how hard it was then 
to get on ; you may be sure they will come again. In- 
deed, by God's appointment, times are always changing : 
sometimes bad, sometimes good. If you will exert 
yourselves, you may now, while times are good, so pros- 
per, as far less to be injured by the bad times ; but it 


must be by honest industry, taking the means of im- 
provement which are offered you, and which others 
have found for their benefit. 

I cannot bring this letter to an end, without showing 
you the result of what I have advised, by the fortunes 
of two farmers in the county of . 

Timothy Hennessy and Patrick O'Brien were neigh- 
bours. Each had a farm of about twenty acres. 

A little before the time I am speaking of, Tim had 
taken his farm, having some cows and other stock of his 
own, and bearing the character of a decent man ; so that 
his landlord thought he would make a good tenant, and 
was glad to give him the farm. Tim, however, farmed 
on the old plan ; he set his potatoes and his wheat, and 
sowed a few firkins of hay-seeds with his wheat, and 
so kept a good part of his land always for grazing, as 
bawn-field, upon which, with the help of a quarter or 
half an acre of furze-brake, he just managed to keep 
two cows and his horse. In summer his cows did pretty 
well ; it is true he got very little manure from them, 
because they were obliged to be out in the field grazing, 
both by day and night. Nor did they give nearly as 
much milk or butter, as they would have done, if they 
had been better fed ; still there was some grass for them, 
and they gave some milk. But in winter, poor beasts ! 
they had a hard life of it. They were always out in 
the field all day, as they must be there to try and get 
a bellyful ; and often, for the same reason, they were 
out all night also ; and you might hear them stand 
lowing in the fields, from cold and hunger. Of course 
they gave scarce any milk at this time ; the cold and 
rain, and want of food, often quite dried them up. 
However, Tim did the best he could : he kept them in 


at night, when he had any straw or furze for them, and 
they got what praties he could spare ; though he always 
sorely grudged these last, as he knew praties would 
fetch a fine price in April But often, with his best 
management, he was obliged to sell one of the cows in 
the middle of winter, when cows bore a bad price not 
more than 4 or 5 instead of keeping her till the 
spring, when she would have calved, or been near calv- 
ing, and would have brought 8 at the least ; and even 
when he did succeed in keeping them both through the 
winter, they were always in the spring very weak and 
poor, looking more like ghosts of dead cows than real 
living ones. Their calves, besides, were weak and 
sickly; and the cows being so reduced, did not after 
calving give nearly so much milk as Tim had expected. 
But the worst of the business is yet to come ; for Tim 
was able to keep his stock so little in the house, and 
had so little to give them to eat, that though he 
gathered up all the dung dropped in fields, still he had 
but a small quantity of manure for his potatoes, and 
was always obliged to make shift with scrapings from 
his ditches, and mixing earth and sand. For the first 
few years of his being in the farm, Tim drew a good 
deal of sand ; and, by buying oar-weed, he managed to 
get a tolerable potato crop. To be sure, his wheat, after 
the potatoes, was very moderate, still he consoled him- 
self with thinking that there were few of the neighbours 
who were much better off ; and he often reasoned with 
himself, that his father and his grandfather had farmed 
in the same way as he did ; and as it happened, 
that the first few years he had the farm, times were 
good, and wheat and oats, and pigs and butter, fetched 
a good price, Tim, by tilling his old bawn- fields, and 


working the best of his ground, managed to pay his rent, 
and keep his head above water. Still, somehow, he 
could not conceal from himself that his crops every 
year got worse, and his land was more and more reduced. 
When he was obliged to sell his cow in the autumn or 
winter, in consequence of not having food for her, he 
found it more and more difficult to buy another in her 
place, till at last he was obliged to content himself with 
only one cow, and of course found himself the next season 
with still less manure for his garden ; and though by 
the help of ditch-scrapings and earth, he planted the 
same number of acres of potatoes, yet no one but him- 
self was surprised that part of them were hardly worth 
digging. Tim was not a man to give way to trifles, he 
still struggled manfully, sowed every bit of land he 
could with wheat, let several acres of bawn- field to 
cottagers and labourers for gardens, though part of it 
had only been in grazing one or two years; and, in 
short, did his very best to recover himself. 

That winter, however, he had the misfortune to lose 
a fine fat pig, to which he had trusted to pay a good 
part of his summer's rent. His landlord, however, as 
he had before been tolerably regular, gave him time for 
his rent, and Tim hoped by his wheat and the rent of 
his gardens to make it all up after harvest ; but alas ! 
the bad times had come wheat, which for several years 
before had been 30s. a barrel, and sometimes more, now 
fell to 18s. or 20s. per barrel; and oats fell as much. 
Butter and pigs, to be sure, did not fall so much, but 
Tim had been unfortunate with his pigs, and of course 
his one cow could not give him much butter, especially 
now that he had so much tillage, and of course so little 
and weak grazing for her. The summer, too, in Ireland 


turned out wet and cold, and the wheat did not fill 
well ; there was but a small produce from it, though 
before harvest it looked pretty well ; and this, with the 
great fall 6f price, quite prevented him from doing what 
he had expected. But another gale was now due, and 
Tim's heart began to misgive him, that he should be 
unable to recover himself ; he began to grow careless 
and indifferent ; and to give up struggling as he formerly 
had done. He must sell his cow. Even this way, he 
was only able to pay one half-year's rent, but he again 
got time for the rest, though every one plainly saw that 
he had no means of meeting the gale, which would be 
coming due the next summer. Tim and his family saw 
this too ; and though they still hoped something might 
be done for them, yet never in their lives had they 
passed such a miserable winter. They had no heart for 
anything, and to add to their troubles, their potatoes 
(I told you before some of them were not worth digging) 
ran short, and they were obliged to buy for the family, 
and so spent the little money they had been gathering 
against the rent. 

But let us turn from this painful picture to Tim's 
neighbour Pat. What has he been doing all this time 1 
Pat had been farming on quite a different plan. Just 
before Tirn took his farm, Pat's father had died, and his 
landlord had given Pat the farm. Pat's father had left 
him much in the same circumstances as Tim was in, 
but then he had left a good sum of money as fortunes 
to his two sisters. Pat knew he must one day pay this, 
and it weighed him down very much. Just upon his 
father's death, his landlord had been advising his tenants 
to sow clover and turnips, as a means of improving their 
condition, and had told them a good deal of the great 


profits tenants in other parts of Ireland had made in 
this way. He had, indeed, made it a condition, when 
he gave Pat the farm, that he should grow these crops ; 
and as Pat had no reason to think that hrs landlord 
would advise him for his hurt, he resolved to try this 
new plan, although, to say the truth, his old father had, 
before his death, spoken against it ; and besides it vexed 
him much to be laughed at by his neighbours for his 

He began with only a couple of acres of clover, and 
half an acre of turnips ; and though the first year the 
turnips were not very good, yet they were a great help 
to his two cows (for he, too, had like his neighbour 
Tim, at first, but two cows). The cows gave him more 
milk through the winter than they had ever done be- 
fore, and he made something by the butter. Besides, 
as he was very careful to follow the advice of keeping 
them as much as possible in the house, he certainly had 
much more manure than he had ever had before. In the 
spring, his clover came on ; but on cutting it, he soon 
found that even though he gave it to his horse as well 
as to his cows, there would be more of it than they 
could eat. He, therefore, made a cock of hay of part 
of the first cutting, and resolved to rear the calves his 
cows had given him, which would help to eat the second 
cutting, and still further increase his manure. This 
year, too, he prepared his land better for turnips, by 
breaking it early in the winter ; and the turnips of the 
former year having increased his stock of manure, he 
was able to allow a larger share of it to the turnips of 
this year. His crop was accordingly excellent far be- 
yond what he had expected ; and now the laugh began 
to be on his side, and instead of his neighbours laugh- 


ing at him, Pat began to laugh at them. He had, in 
the spring, sown a still larger quantity of clover, and 
knowing that this would, the next summer, require 
more cattle to eat it, he made up his mind in the autumn 
to buy another cow in calf, when they were very cheap, 
and accordingly he sold his cock of hay, and with the 
money and a little more he added to it, at the fair of 

, he bought a cow for 4 : 10s., which one of his 

neighbours was obliged to sell, having nothing to feed 
her with through the winter. Though Pat's turnips 
were good, still he was hard pressed to keep the three 
cows and two calves through the winter, but Vhat with 
straw, and furze, and turnips, and a few potatoes, he 
did manage it ; and in the spring he found himself with 
such a heap of manure, as had never been seen on the 
farm before, and this he did not fail to increase with all 
the sand and earth he could draw. I need hardly tell 
you the effect of this his potato crop was better than 
ever ; the wheat after it was also very good, the grain 
fine and full so that not only did it produce well, but 
he also got the best price. His cows being well fed, 
gave much more milk and butter than they ever had 
done before in short, all prospered with him. I will 
not stop to tell you how he got on during several years 
after ; it is enough to say,, that every year he made 
more and more manure, and his wheat and potatoes by 
means of this still improved. By rearing his calves, and 
buying another cow or two, when other people for want 
of food found themselves obliged to sell, he increased 
his stock so much, as to find that his butter alone went 
near to pay his rent. While other farmers' wives and 
children were doing nothing, and only putting their 
husbands and fathers to expense in supporting them, 


his wife was making him money by her butter, and even 
his young children of six or seven years old were gain- 
fully employed, cutting clover and attending to the 
cows, and thinning and weeding the turnips, in summer, 
and pulling his turnips and cutting and cleaning them, 
in winter. When the cows were out in the field, as 
they always were for two hours every day, the children 
watched them. A happier family could not be found 
in the county ; a pleasanter sight you could not see than 
those honest people with their industrious children. The 
children took the greatest delight in their employment, 
and instead of being ill-mannered, and idle, and dis- 
obedient to their parents, and a burthen to them, they 
were of great use and benefit to them. Well, things 
went on in this way during the good times ; and when 
the bad times, which we saw breaking poor Tim, came 
upon Pat, how did he get on ? Sure enough the bad 
times did come, and Pat's wheat and potatoes were not 
nearly so good as they had been, nor did he get the 
price for them he had done. Still, even in that wet 
summer, his land being in good heart, his wheat filled 
better than his neighbours' ; and what was bad for his 
wheat and potatoes, did no hurt to his clover and 
turnips. As I told you, even when wheat and oats 
were so low, butter and pigs bore a good price ; and 
now Pat found the advantage of being able to pay his 
rent with his butter. Of course he did not, during these 
bad times, put so much money into his pocket from his 
wheat and potatoes, but his butter and pigs always paid 
his rent and more, and so he was in no fear of losing 
his farm. Indeed, had he lost it, there was not a 
gentleman in the country but would have been glad to 
have given him the best farm on his estate. Pat, too, 


had his misfortunes. One year he lost a horse, and 
another year his finest cow got choked by a turnip and 
died ; but these things, which we have seen helped to 
ruin his neighbour Tim, though, of course, they vexed 
Pat much, and were a great loss to him, yet did not 
seriously injure him his land, as I have said, being 
in good heart, the very first crop set him all right 

Ten years after the time, when my story begins, the 
bad times had passed away, and all thanked God that 
the good times had come again. But what a difference 
it found in the situation of the two neighbours. It 
found poor Tim without a farm, living in the neigh- 
bouring town of , doubting whether he should go 

to America, or what he should do with himself his 
family nearly starving about him. It found Pat one of 
the most comfortable farmers in the country, having 
paid his sisters their fortunes not owing a sixpence 
to any man, and with money in his pocket ; just on 
the point of getting another farm, still larger than his 
old one. 

A gentleman who had been out of this country for 
some years, but who had known Pat formerly, one day 
asked him the question, "How it was his circum-. 
stances had so improved?" His answer was a very 


That you may all be in Pat's circumstances, this time 
ten years, is the object and hearty wish of 

Your sincere friend, 





I have added this letter to show the very primitive 
state farming was in the bypast of Ireland, when I began 
improving, and long before the famine. 

W. B. J. 

December 1880. 


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December -, 1879. 

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LOTTE M. YONGE, Author of "The Heir of Redclyffe." 
Cheaper Edition. Two Vols. Crown Svo. 12s. 

Now publishing, in crown 8vo, price 2s. 6d. each. 


Edited by JOHN MORLEY. 

A Series of Short Books to tell people what is best -worth knowing 
to the Life, Character, and Works of some of the 
great English Writers. 



" The new series opens well with Mr. Leslie Stephen's sketch of 
Dr. Johnson. It could hardly have been done better, and it will convey 
to the readers for whom it is intended a juster estimate of Johnson than 
either of the two essays of Lord Macaulay." Pall Mall Gazette 


" The tone of the volune is excelled: throughout." Athentzum. 
" We could not wish for a more suggeslive introduction to Scott and 
his poems and novels." Examiner. 



" As a clear, thoughtful, and attractive record of the life and works 
of the greatest among the world's historians, it deserves the highest 
praise. " Examiner. 



" The lovers of this great poet are to be congratulated on having at 
their command so fresh, clear, and intelligent a presentment of the 
subject, written by a man of adequate and wide culture." Athenaum. 


" It may fairly be said that no one now living could have expounded 
Hume with more sympathy or with equal perspicuity." Athenceum. 



"Mr. Black brings a fine sympathy and taste to bear in his criticism 
of Goldsmith's writings, as well as in his sketch of the incidents of his 
life. " Atkenczum. 


"Mr. Minto's book is careful and accurate in all that is stated, and 
faithful in all that it suggests. It will repay reading more than once." 


SHAIRP, Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford. 

" It is impossible to desire fairer criticism than Principal Shairp's 

on Burns' s poetry None of the series has given a truer estimate 

either of character or of genius than this little volume. . . . and all who 
read it will be thoroughly grateful to the author for this monument to 
the genius of Scotland's greatest poet." Spectator. 


Rev. the DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S. 

11 Dr. Church is master of his subject, and writes always with good 
taste. " Academy. 



" Mr. Trollope's sketch is exceedingly adapted to fbilfil the purpose 
of the series in which it appears. " Atheneettm. 



" Perhaps the best criticism yet published on the life and character 
of Burke is contained in Mr. Morley's compendious biography. His 
style is vigorous and polished, and both his political and personal 
judgment and his literary criticisms are just, generous, subtle, and in 
a high degree interesting." Saturday Revieiv. 

Just ready. 


In preparation. 

SOUTHEY. By Professor DOWDEN. 
CHAUCER. By Professor WARD. 
Others in preparation. 







HD Jones, William Bence 

625 The li fe ' s work in 

J6 Ireland of a landlord