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of fact, not a whit more prosperous than Leinster or Munster, as plainly appears from the following table:
1,282,881 £13,272,202 £10 6 9 Munster..
1,323,910 7,980,076 6 07 Ulster..
1,739,542 9,952,289 5 14 5 Connaught.
813,506 2,995,438 3 13 7
Valuation of Valuation
1,282,881 £4,711,193 £3 13 5
1,323,910 3,365,182 2 10 10 Ulster.
1,739,542 4,348,713 2 9 11 Connaught.
813,506 1,431,019 1 15 2 So that from these very “material" points of comparison, Ulster ranks only above Connaught. True there is a larger population in Ulster than in any other province, and the assessments to the income tax are higher there than either in Connaught or Munster ; but it will be seen that, per head of the population, Ulster still ranks but third in this particular.
Another set of figures gives a similar result. The decrease of population in Ireland between 1871 and 1881 was as follows: Ulster...
5.38 per cent. Munster
3.59 Ulster also contains more than a third of the worst class of houses in the entire country. The comparison is necessarily in. stituted on the basis of the last census (1881), but no relative change of any magnitude has since taken place.
Facts like these cannot be gainsaid. They certainly do not bear out the contention that because Ulster has a large Protestant element the province is therefore more prosperous than any other. The truth is, there is no bigger bubble blown by antihome-rulers than this about "prosperous Protestant Ulster."
But outside of Protestant Ulster we have. according to Mr. Sturgis, the real Ireland, and it is to this real Ireland that he goes for his typical Irish tenant-farmer. He certainly is a peculiar compound-if we accept Mr. Sturgis's estimate of him. He is at once “shrewd and quick-witted ; " "an excellent husband and father, full of kindness and affection;" his children have "clever, inquiring faces,” with “not a brutal face among them;" and, finally, he himself is “by nature amiable to all the world.” But, while I must confess that the above description of the average Irish tenant-farmer is rather flattering than otherwise, I should like to ask Mr. Sturgis why a man with so many excellent qualities should be so indifferent as Mr. Sturgis makes him out to be to the proper cultivation of his land, and so great a dolt as to imagine that he will ever get his land for nothing.
The Irish tenant-farmer is not the shrewd, clever, quickwitted man, the affectionate husband and father, and, at the same time, the idle and indifferent farmer, which he is alleged to be. Naturally he is as industrious and as thrifty as any other farmer, but he has learned by long and bitter experience that all his industry and thrift do not make him a bit better off. What but industry and thrift could have enabled the Irish tenantfarmer to pay the exorbitant rent which, it is now proved to demonstration, he has been compelled to pay in the past, but which it is no longer possible for him to pay, any more than it was possible for the Israelites of old to make bricks without straw? Take a few of the most recent examples. A number of Lord Castletown's tenants having applied to have fair rents fixed, obtained the following reductions from the land courts : *
Rent fixed by Rent fixed
Old Rent. Sub-commission. on Appeal. Tenant.
£ $. d. £ $. d. £ 8. d. Martin Quinn...
10 00 5 0 0 6 10 0 Reps. of A. and E. Campion..
30 3 10 22 0 0 24 0 0 Leighlin Campion...
36 16 8 24 0 0 24 0 0 Rody Campion..
21 0 8 14 0 0 14 0 0
33 8 8 1900 19 0 0 William Davin..
15 11 0 10 10 0 10 10 0
18 15 8 12 0 0 13 0 0 Joseph Delany..
41 18 0 29 0 0 29 0 0 Christopher Fogarty.
17 0 0 10 0 0 11 10 0 Michael Hennessy.
36 0 0 24 10 0 24 10 0 Anthony Toole.
20 6 2 13 10 0 13 10 0 Dennis Keeffe....
74 0 0 47 0 0 65 0 0 John Hanrahan, jun.
28 0 0 17 0 0 21 0 0 Totals....
£382 17 0 £247 10 0 £275 100 * Sitting of Appeal Court at Kilkenny on the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th January, 1888.
In these instances it will be seen that after two trials in each case-one before the Sub-commission, and another before the Chief Land Commission, sitting as an appeal court—these tenants have obtained a reduction amounting, in the aggregate, to £107. Is it by" idleness and indifferent farming" that the tenants have been able to pay these rack rents heretofore? The thing is ridiculous on the face of it. Take the case of Rody Campion on the preceding page. This tenant has had £14 fixed as a fair rent. He has, however, been paying for a long period £21; that is to say, fifty per cent more than he ought to have been paying. One wonders whether Mr. Sturgis, had he been compelled to pay fifty per cent. more than his just obligations for some years past, would have been able to do so by the aid of idleness or indifference to his business, or whether he would have quite so cleanly and comfortable a home as he presumably enjoys to-day. Here is another case, in which another "noble lord " is the landlord-Lord Ashbrook-and one Richard Gandon is the tenant. The case was decided on appeal at the same time as the cases given above. The old rent was £85, and the new rent has been fixed at £56. In this instance the tenant has been paying a little more than fifty per cent. too much, viz., £29. If Richard Gannon had been permitted to put that £29 per annum in his own pocket, or to expend it on his own farm, he might have made himself, his family, and his farm fit to be looked at by even Mr. Sturgis with unalloyed admiration
Take one more case, that in which Lord Langford is the landlord and John Liston the tenant. The old rent was £35, but the new rent is £21, showing that in this instance the tenant has been paying £14 per annum more than he ought to have been paying; that is to say, very considerably more than fifty per cent. But why multiply instances ? The reductions made by the Commissions, all officered by landlord partisans, are quite inadequate; but they certainly prove, as far as they go, that it is a simple calumny to describe the Irish tenantfarmer as an idle and indifferent farmer. The land commis. sioners are not orators of the type Mr. Sturgis bolds in such contempt, but their actions speak louder in condemnation of landlordism than any such orators' words.
However, let us pass to another class of testimony, again eschewing the unreliable Irish orator. Sir James Caird is a Scotsman, and a recognized authority on agriculture. In a letter to the London “Times," in March, 1886, Sir James wrote:
" The land in Ireland is held by two distinct classes of tenants : the small farmers, who pay rent from £1 to £20, and the comparatively large farmers, who pay rent from £20 upward. of the first class there are 538,000 holdings ; of the second class, 121,000. The rent payable by the first class is £3,572,000 yearly, and by the second class, £6,845,000. Five-sixths of the Irish tenants thus pay about one-third of the total rental, and one-sixth pay nearly twothirds. If the present price of agricultural produce continue, I should fear that from the land held by the large body of poor farmers in Ireland any economic rent has for the present disappeared.” Now, the prices to which Sir James Caird referred did not continue; they actually fell still lower. In face of facts like these, which, of course, have escaped Mr. Sturgis's survey, is it necessary to invent a “shrewd and clever," but still thriftless, farmer to account for the difficulty of paying rent in Ireland ?
Further, take the testimony of another Scotsman, and this time a Scotch landlord, Mr. S. Laing, late member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland. Mr. Laing owns a small property in Orkney, his native island, where, he says, “the conditions of small holdings are very similar to those which prevail in the poorer districts of Ireland.” “Having paid repeated visits to those districts during the last five or six years," Mr. Laing was led “ to make a great many inquiries as to the scale of rents and conditions of tenure,” as compared with those of his own country; and he took his own rents as a standard of comparison, because “ they represented a fair average of those on larger estates." “The rent proper for the land, without improvements," says Mr. Laing, " was certainly not more than six or seven shillings per acre," " and this for land very far superior to the average land of small Irish holdings.” Again, Mr. Laing says:
“ I believe you might search the west of Ireland through, from Donegal to Kerry, and hardly find a single small holding where the rent is as low as this for land of the same quality ; and you would find thousands where it is far higher for vastly worse land." As to “the state of things among the larger farmers in the more fertile counties of Ireland,” Mr. Laing affirms that
“The scale of rents was generally too high, and only paid by the tenants putting up with worse lodging, food, and clothing, and living generally at a lower and more penurious standard than that of farmers of a similar class in England or Scotland."
With regard to the small holdings, Mr. Laing was satisfied that the rents were excessive. In whole districts he says he found the rents averaged thirty or forty per cent. above Griffith's valuation, and“ on many estates they had been screwed up to double.” And it appears that, at the time of the coming into operation of the Land Act of 1881, Mr. Laing told Mr. Forster, who was then Chief Secretary for Ireland, that instead of the rents being reduced too much-as the Irish landlords complained they were—the abatements granted were too little; and that unless the following years were prosperous ones, “the Land Act would infallibly break down, because the judicial rents could not be paid." It has since become impossible to pay the judicial rents, and the Tory landlord government has had to admit the fact, while the Land Commission has been empowered to make reductions in such judicial rents. But these reductions are quite inadequate ; for whereas the prices of agricultural produce have declined some thirty per cent. since 1881, these reductions average but thirteen per cent upon the judicial rents fixed under the Land Act of that year.
I have quoted Mr. Laing at some length, first, because Mr. Sturgis objects to the testimony of Irish orators (and I strongly suspect Mr. Sturgis would place me in that category); but secondly, because I cannot conceive how any man of unbiased mind, upon weighing this testimony of a Scotch landlord, and taking it in connection with the proceedings of the Land Commissions, can come to any other conclusion than that Mr. Sturgis's presentation of the Irish tenant-farmer is a gross caricature, and based either upon an unpardonable ignorance of facts or an incapacity to see their bearings. The truth is, that the Irish farmer is not the idle, good-for-nothing character which his landlord and agent, and their set, with a view to justify their own conduct, pretend that he is. The Irish tenant-farmer lives in a hovel, and allows his children to run about half clad, and does all those things which entertain Mr. Sturgis so mightily, be