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Being recently in the neighbourhood of his property, a deputation of these tenants waited upon him, and, after a few preliminary and friendly salutations they said they had come to ask for “an abatement of rent.” “Go along, you blackguards,” replied the Judge, “is it an abatement you're asking for, when you have paid me nothing for four years, and I am some £80 out of pocket besides in paying your rates.” A reasonable demand was put forward on behalf of such landlords, either that they should pay no rates where they received no rents, or that the full rate should be levied off the tenant in the first instance, as in other cases, and that he should be only empowered to recoup himself in that same amount on the payment of his lawful rent. The next question of importance which occupied the attention of the Convention was that of Land Purchase Bills. It was agreed upon all hands that it would be a crowning act of injustice to introduce any scheme of compulsory purchase. To reduce the value of a man's property by legislative enactment, or by default of legislative and executive protection, in the first instance, and then to force him to sell at a reduced number of years purchase, would be simple robbery. Abundant evidence exists, however, to show that the resources of many landlords are rapidly running out, and that if relief be not soon afforded, large numbers of them will go to the wall, and be forced to submit to any terms of sale, and most of these are men who least deserve such disaster. It has become almost a craze with some persons to insist that “dual ownership” must be abolished. This demand comes with least grace from those who have helped to create that dual ownership. But dual ownership never can be put an end to; if all the landlords were bought out to-morrow, and the nation made one of peasant proprietors, dual ownership would soon recur again. Not to talk of sub-letting, are not peasant proprietors all over the world generally mortgaged, and is not the mortgagee as much an owner as the mortgagor 2 If the present race of landlords is ever replaced by another, the state of the new tenants will be infinitely worse than that of any in the past. It is, however, essential that as large a variety of tenures as possible shall exist in the country, and while it is of the utmost importance that many resident landlords shall still remain, it is of equal importance that a substantial yeomanry shall be created, and that an occupying proprietary shall take the place of absentee landlords, corporations and London companies, that congested districts shall be relieved and small holdings enlarged where possible. No one plan of purchase can be devised which shall act as a universal panacea, or which will meet the varying circumstances of north and south, of small and large holdings, simultaneously. The conclusions arrived at by the Convention were based upon the realisation of this fact; an extension of Lord Ashbourne's Act on its present lines will meet a certain class of cases, chiefly those of absentee landlords, or of those who wish to leave the country and realise what they can before doing so. But there are a large number of cases where neither landlords nor tenants will avail themselves of Lord Ashbourne's Act. In the north of Ireland, in those counties where differences of race and religion have not rendered their mutual relations acute, landlords and tenants do not want to part company; the former want only some finality on the question of rent, and the latter want that finality accompanied by some further substantial reduction. The same is true in many counties in other parts of Ireland, and particularly on estates where the holdings are of a reasonable size. The Convention was unanimous in recommending a scheme of State advances for the creation of perpetuities, as the best mode of meeting these cases; I shall, therefore, explain this scheme more fully. The great difficulty which would beset any statesman at present in bringing forward any large scheme of complete purchase, after the withdrawal of Mr. Gladstone's Land Bill with the rejection of his Home Rule Bill, is that a great proportion of each of the three parties which at present exist in the House of Commons, is pledged against allowing the British taxpayer to be brought face to face with Irish tenants without any margin of security for large State advances. It seems to be the chief difficulty in the mind of Mr. Chamberlain, and a feeling of revenge seems to actuate Mr. Gladstone in now refusing what he then said the honour of England required. But the State might very readily consent to advance money as far as the value of one-half the holdings, especially if it is to receive priority of charge; ten millions, at any rate, might be advanced on these lines as an experiment. Many landlords were at first opposed to the idea of this scheme, not wishing to part with a portion of their estates, while still, perhaps, liable to all their present difficulties and anxieties with regard to the remainder. But to many no other door is open whereby to get rid of their creditors; rather than run the risk of a forced sale of the whole estate, a sale of one-half to the State for the benefit of the tenants would be a welcome alternative. The difficulty still remains, that some tenants might refuse to avail themselves of the scheme, and so an estate might not become marketable from the obstruction of a few. But it is obvious that the consent of the tenant is not required for such a scheme a bit more than that consent has ever been heretofore required. When a landlord sold to a purchaser, such change of landlord in the past had often a serious and dangerous effect upon the fortunes of the tenantry, where too much arbitrary power lay in single hands; but no such fear can exist in the future, when the tenant is absolutely protected by the three F's, so long as he discharges fairly his pecuniary liabilities. A simple example will show how such a scheme would work. Take a tenant who pays £100 a year. The State advances say twenty years' purchase of the half-rent—i.e. £1,000—at 4 per cent. for forty-nine years, to pay off interest and principal, as under Lord Ashbourne's Act. The tenant continues to pay the landlord £50 a year as a perpetuity rent, and £40 to the State for forty-nine years. He also pays a slight increase in taxation, as he pays three-fourths of the poor-rate instead of one-half. This would appear to give the tenant, therefore, only an apparent further reduction of about 7 per cent., but it is in reality a reduction of 16 per cent., because the £40 payable to the State is composed of two parts—interest at 3% per cent., and 4 per cent. to pay off the principal in forty-nine years. Suppose, then, that the tenant refuses to accept this liberal reduction on his judicial rents, the State can still advance the money to the landlord at the same terms, on condition that within some reasonable period the offer of the perpetuity shall remain open to the tenant from the landlord. Whether the money be thus advanced, for the creation of perpetuities, to the landlord or to the tenant, the security to the State is nearly double what it is at present under Lord Ashbourne's Act.” The Irish tenant is very quick in discovering what is really for his advantage, and if he once finds that he has little to gain by agitation, and that a substantial advantage is still open to him, even after some years, he will be glad to come in and claim the accumulated advantage of 16 per cent. reduction in rent, with compound interest added in the shape of a reduction in the principal of the purchase money. What deters many landlords and tenants from availing themselves at present of Lord Ashbourne's Act is this : tenants think prices will fall further, landlords hope they may rise again; the former fears that a purchase based on present prices may turn out to be a bad bargain, the latter thinks it foolish to part with his entire interest when things appear to be at their worst and his property is most depreciated. This perpetuity scheme appears to me to meet both difficulties at once. If the sale of one half the rental be effected as I have indicated, the tenant is sure of a present reduction at any rate, and the landlord gets a definite value for one half his property, no matter what happens with regard to the future; and all subsequent contingencies may be met by a future purchase scheme if necessary, in which the amount to be advanced shall depend, not on the annual value to be capitalized, but on the number of years purchase to be then agreed upon. Should prices further fall, the tenant may expect to buy out the balance of his rent on cheaper terms; and if prices should rise, the landlord may fairly expect that he should obtain an additional price for his fixed and then well-secured income which remains. An objection was made on the part of some landlords, that they should not be asked to give the State priority under such a Scheme, but the Convention decided that it was perfectly reasonable that they ‘should. If the landlord be encumbered, his mortgagees have priority over him at present ; and if the purchase money supplied by the State on taking up half the rental be used in paying off those mortgagees, the State has a perfect claim to priority. If, on the other hand, the estate be not encumbered, the landlord is justly bound to give the State priority in regard to one half the rental, when he has the capital value of the other half in his pocket. Moreover, the priority of the State differs from that of the mortgagee: the latter can sell the landlord out whether the tenant pays his rent or not ; under this proposed Scheme the State would exercise its priority against the tenant in the first instance, just as it must do in the case of advances under Lord Ashbourne's Act, and can only proceed against the landlord for the instalments when it gives him possession of the holding. An Irish tenant will always pay when he knows that he must pay; he has always done so in the past, when the burden was often a really onerous one; he will easily do so in the future, when he finds that he cannot escape it, and when he knows that he is, and has been for years, the spoilt child of British legislation, so far at least as the tenure of land is concerned. A petty exception has been taken to this scheme, that it is a plan for curing the evils of dual ownership by creating a system of triple ownership. This sounds well as an epigram, but it is a merely superficial remark. The present ownership is not dual, but triple, if there be a mortgagee. Two other subjects of great importance were discussed at the Convention, and resolutions passed thereon. The one dwelt with congested districts, and the other with the rescue of demesne lands from mortgagees. Congested districts cannot be dealt with under Lord Ashbourne's Act or under this scheme of perpetuities, with safety to the State, owing to the smallness of the holdings. The only remedy is to amalgamate the holdings by purchasing out a large number of these small tenants, and, if emigration does not suit the case, by transplanting them, as proposed by Mr. Parnell, to demesnes or very large farms which may be purchased for the purpose and broken up into reasonably-sized holdings. Landlords, also, who wish to remain in the country and live on their demesnes should be enabled to purchase out such of their adjoining tenants as may be willing to sell, and money should be advanced to them for that purpose on the terms of Lord Ashbourne's Act. They are as much entitled to these terms as their tenants are, if the objects aimed at are as beneficial to the State in the one case as in the other. I have mentioned above the subject of the danger of demesnes being foreclosed upon by mortgagees. One of the most cruel hardships which is being inflicted on the landlord class at present (and it is liable to a large increase in the immediate future unless a remedy be found) is this : mortgages and family charges have been created in the past on the security of a certain rental, but the demesnes have been included in the security, though they have not in any way contributed to the income which defrayed the annual charge. Now that rents have ceased to be paid in many places, the mortgagees are forcing sales not only of the rentals, for which they find no buyers, but of the demesnes themselves. If these were sold at their full value as beautiful residences, which most of them are, the landlord could scarcely complain; but no one will bid for them now, when life is insecure, hunting stopped, hounds poisoned, persons boycotted for imaginary grievances or private spites; and the consequence is, that these demesnes are liable to be knocked down any day to any bidders for ridiculous figures. One was recently brought to the hammer in Dublin and was only saved to its owner because no one would come forward and give £1,000 for it, though in better times it might have brought twenty timés that sum. It is surely not an unjust request to make of the English nation, that, if the humblest cottier is protected in his home, to such an extent that it is almost impossible to disturb him, even when he refuses to pay money which he owes and has in his pocket, an educated gentleman and his family might be protected in their home, when his default in the payment of his liability arises from the default of others, and from the powerlessness of the law to give him what is his due. A man may, if thus protected for a time at least, cut down all expenses, dismiss all the signs of wealth or even of comfort about his home, and, hiding his poverty, wait for better times, having still a roof over his head, and the free air of heaven around, without being forced to drag the partner of his life, and his loving but helpless children, to the cheap lodging-houses of a city. My reader may ask, How can this be effected 2 My answer is simple. The landlord is at present called

* The ratio of the securities in the two cases is accurately 8:5.

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