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providing the means of bringing the fish when caugnt to a profitable market. How large a degree of success has attended this effort of the Board may best be measured by one or two facts. In the spring of 1898 the Midland Great Western Company carried 22,000 boxes of mackerel from the fishing-stations of Mayo and Galway; the earnings of twenty-eight boats engaged in the Donegal fishing amounted to over seven thousand pounds in one season; and in the spring mackerel fishing the fishermen employed earn as much as 231. per man in the space of three months.

No account of latter-day progress in Ireland could make any approach to completeness which should leave out of account the work which is primarily associated with the name of Mr. Horace Plunkett, of which the most conspicuous embodiment is the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society. This association was founded in 1894, but it had already existed in embryo for some years in the informal exertions of a small body of individuals, among whom Mr. Plunkett was the leading figure. Its objects, as forinally promulgated, are to improve the condition of the agricultural population of Ireland by teaching the principles and methods of co-operation as applicable to farming and the allied industries; to promote industrial organisation for any purposes which may appear to be beneficial; and generally to counsel and advise those engaged in agricultural pursuits. The first efforts of Mr. Plunkett and his friends were confined to the promotion of co-operative creameries, owned and managed by the farmers themselves. Of these societies thirty had been effectively established in 1893 with a total number of 1,509 shareholders, and a capital of 13,8451.; and the farmers estimated the increased profit on the return of their cows when supplying milk to these creameries at from 20 to 35 per cent. The next developement was the establishment in connexion with these creameries of a co-operative agency society to secure in the distribution of their produce the same benefits which had been found to accrue from the improved system of production. In three years the sales through these agencies had reached a gross value of 77,0001.; and the number of creameries, which, after the formal constitution of the Organisation Society, multiplied with great rapidity, is now 225.

The next business of the society was to apply the principle of co-operation to non-dairying districts and to form associations for the cheaper and improved production or distribution of such farming requirements as seeds, feedingstuffs, manures, implements, &c., in which it was found possible to effect large savings to the farmer; and there are now in existence upwards of a hundred of these societies distributed widely throughout every province and county of Ireland. Poultry societies for improving the egg and poultry trade have also been started, and kindred organisations for the developement of small industries have been found to thrive. But perhaps the most remarkable developement due to the initiative of the Agricultural Organisation Society has been the facilitating and cheapening of credit for the purposes of agricultural enterprise by means of the co-operative credit or Raffeisen banks, which, started only within the last three years, have already become so popular and successful as to bid fair to realise in Ireland results almost as noteworthy as those which they have achieved on the Continent, where their influence, particularly in the agricultural districts of Southern Germany, has been likened, with little exaggeration, as a stimulating factor in production, to the discovery of steam.

It would be claiming too much for Mr. Plunkett's organisation to assert that the societies promoted through its instrumentality have been in every instance successful, or that the business habits and system upon which alone they could hope to thrive have been uniformly exhibited in their management. Many difficulties, not a few disappointments, and some failures have had to be encountered and endured. But the broad result to any one who knows Ireland has been unmistakeably encouraging both from the material and the moral standpoint, and forms an ample justification of the exertions of the small but increasing body of Irishmen who, in the words of their leader, have for ten years past

endeavoured to infuse into the agricultural portion of the population a spirit of self-reliance, and to show them how, by combination and mutual help, they could give effect to ' that spirit in the way best calculated to benefit both the 'individual and the community. It is this which Mr. Plunkett and his friends hold to be the thing most needed for the developement of the material resources of Ireland, and the improvement of its social condition, and it is upon the maintenance of this principle that the future of the organisation which has done so much depends. It is devoutly to be hoped that those associated with Mr. Plunkett in this enterprise will not rest satisfied with the acknowledgement of the efficacy of their methods implied in the constitution of the new Board of Agriculture and Industries;

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but that on the contrary, recognising that the new department must rely in large measure on the same methods which the society has found so successful, they will take care to maintain in extended efficiency an organisation which is capable of lending the most efficient aid to the State in its efforts to foster agricultural enterprise.

We shall make no attempt here to estimate the degree of success likely to be attained by the new Board of Agriculture and Industries which is now being inaugurated under the appropriate direction of Mr. Plunkett, to whose ceaseless advocacy and untiring energy its foundation is almost exclusively due. It is enough to say on this point that, certain as must be the failure of every government department to realise all the expectations entertained in regard to its usefulness by those it is designed to benefit, this endeavour of the State to foster Irish resources by means of State supervision and assistance will have thoroughly justified the somewhat empirical statesmanship which conceived it, if it shall be found to have achieved at the end of the first decade of the twentieth century a solid result proportionate to what has been accomplished in the last decade of the nineteenth by the private activities which have been called into being under Mr. Plunkett's inspiration and by the public exertions of the Congested Districts Board in the restricted area of its energies. In Ireland whatever is directly connected with Government is generally unpopular, and in clothing himself with the mantle of office Mr. Plunkett has elected to run a very considerable personal risk. But ten years of sustained labour have established his reputation for disinterested and practical patriotism too firmly to be easily shaken, and the results of the elections to the Consultative Council, which is to form part of the administrative machinery of the new Board, and which is manned by representatives of the Irish county councils, joined with persons nominated by the department, sufficiently prove that Mr. Plunkett as minister is as well able as he has shown himself in his private capacity to enlist the support of representative men of all classes in his effort to promote the developement of Ireland on its material side.

What most encourages belief in the possibilities of the new undertaking is that it is founded, as all Mr. Plunkett s undertakings have been, upon the basis of self-help, rather than of State aid, and that, as in the case of the Congested Districts Board, the assistance given to industry by the department is mainly to consist in helping the Irish people


to help themselves. The doctrine of what Mr. Plunkett is fond of calling the economic salvation of Ireland rests upon a foundation of business capacity and practical energyqualities which, though not perhaps those for which the reputation of Irishmen stands highest, have been exhibited 80 conspicuously among the humblest and poorest classes in connexion with the agricultural co-operative movement as to give solid ground for confidence in an undertaking conducted on the like principle. Nothing could be better evidence of the spirit in which the assistance to be rendered by the State is being accepted by those conversant with the real needs of the country than the observations on the subject contained in the last report of the Agricultural Organisation Society :

* The great legislative event of the year (1899), as far as Ireland is concerned, has been the passing of the Act by which Irish agriculture is at last to be put on a par with the agricultural industry of its foreign competitors. The Act creates a department which is designed to foster in every way possible the spirit of self-help which this society has sought to engender in Irish farmers by its teachings. It does not propose to do for the Irish farmer what he ought to do for himself, but to lend him a helping hand by education and other means in developing his industry wherever he shows himself worthy of such help. The proposed department, if it is not to do more harm than good, must not relieve Irish farmers from any portion of the duty which they owe to themselves or to their country; it must merely second their efforts to develope their industry, and step in where they have by organised effort exhausted the resources of self-help. To do for farmers what they are capable of doing for themselves would be to misapply the resources of the government and to demoralise the people. The value of this department to Ireland will lie not so much in the work of its officials as in the use which is made of it by the people themselves.'

Agriculture, however, though by far the largest of Irish interests, is not to be the sole preoccupation of the new department. It is not the least among the drawbacks of Ireland as a social organisation that there exists so little diversity of occupation. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say of three-fourths of Ireland that its complexion is as exclusively agricultural as that of the Orange River Colony; and the disadvantages arising from this uniformity, through the absence of the salutary equilibrium which in most countries is sustained by the play of rival social forces, have long been the concern of every observer of the social structure in Ireland. The developement of such industries as from the physical conditions of the country and the aptitudes of the people appear to offer the most hopeful prospect, will be not less the care of the new department than the business of fitting Irish agriculture to compete with foreign rivals in the markets of the world. It is a happy augury of the success of the operations of the department that the ties of a common interest unite industrial and self-sustaining Ulster with the other provinces in the work about to be undertaken. The staple industry of the northern province has found its developement seriously hampered of late years by the decline in both the quality and the quantity of Irishgrown flax, as compared with the produce of foreign countries; and in its plans for the revival of Irish flax the department is receiving the cordial assistance of the keenest intelligences of industrial Ulster. The participation of the

. great commercial community of the north, which is likewise closely concerned in the improvement of technical instruction, in the operations of the new department, is a matter for the liveliest satisfaction, not only as tending to associate both north and south in a common enterprise for the general weal, but as giving breadth and strength to the department itself, and removing the danger, which might otherwise be serious, of its administration being dominated exclusively by one set of influences.

The foregoing survey of some of the conditions which differentiate the Ireland of to-day from the Ireland of the quite recent past makes no pretence at completeness, and is offered only as a sidelight upon aspects of the perennial Irish problem too apt to be left out of account in the loud contentions of opposite parties, or in the angry murmurings of the too militant warriors of the Isle of Saints We make no pretence of ignoring the supreme importance of those familiar factors, or of believing that a social millennium can be produced by the mere process of the developement of the industrial resources of the country. The only proposition that we are concerned to demonstrate is that the large changes of the last thirty or forty years have produced a social condition more favourable than any which has hitherto existed to the successful application of measures for the economic developement of Ireland; and that it is through the gradual union of classes, long severed by traditional prejudices, in the bonds of a common material interest, rather than by measures dictated by frankly political or religious considerations, that the lasting appeasement of long-standing animosities is most likely to be effected. That it is in the

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