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hitherto any protection whatever from any custom, either such as that of Ulster or such as may he found in other parts of Ireland. In the fourth place, we have thought it right to keep in view that class of estates the landlords of which, already sensitive of the mischief that prevails, have sought to apply a remedy by the voluntary introduction of a system of leases, and of leases in two forms— either, in the first place, leases after the Scotch and English fashion, under which a farm is delivered over with all its appliances, generally speaking, into the hands of the tenant for the purpose of effective cultivation, those appliances having been furnished by the landlord; and secondly, leases of the Irish character, somewhat longer generally in duration, but not usually attended with the same conditions on the part of the landlord in respect either of finding or assisting to find the buildings and other improvements necessary for the proper cultivation of the farm. First then, the question is how we are to deal with those holdings in Ireland which are under the Ulster custom. The Bill will be limited in the strictest manner to agricultural holdings, it will not touch any person except those who are pursuing agriculture as an industry and a trade. . . . How, then, are we to deal with the Ulster cusfom? and what is the essential character of that custom? The view we take of it is that it includes two elements—it includes compensation for improvements and it includes the price of good-will. . . .Viewing it as a covenant, we propose to take it such as it is, to convert it into a law, and allow it to be examined into as a simple question of fact in all cases where dispute arises by the Courts that will be constituted under this Bill. . . . . We do not attempt to modify the custom; we do not inquire into its varieties (it is well known to vary within certain limits); we do not attempt to improve it or to qualify it; we leave it to be examined asa matter of fact, and when it shall have been so ascertained, the judge will have nothing to do but to enforce it. . . . The Ulster custom, as I have said, does not absolutely overspread the whole of Ulster; but it is confined to Ulster, iu no case passing beyond its limits. When we come to the case of other customs that prevail outside Ulster these form a subject-matter more difficult to deal with. Undoubtedly our conclusion is that there is a very large amount of Irish usage by which payment is made from an incoming to an outgoing tenant; in some cases it is made with the consent of the landlord directly, in some others indirectly; but it is nowhere to our knowledge established as the fixed and authoritative tradition of a district. I may perhaps say that in many cases it is winked at by the landlord, in many other cases it is opposed, and in some it is repressed by the landlords, who view it with a greater or less degree of aversion. . . . With regard to these customs out of Ulster, we propose to limit their binding and absolute operation to cases where the tenant is disturbed by the act of the landlord. We propose that the tenant shall not be allowed to take the benefit of these customs if he is evicted for non-payment of rent. Thirdly, we propose that he shall not have the benefit of the custom if he sublets or subdivides his holding, after the passing1 of the Act, without the consent of the landlord, except it be for a purpose strictly defined in the Bill with regard to cottages and gardens held by the labourers required for the cultivation of the farm—an exception the necessity of which will be obvious. The fourth condition which we attach to the application of these customs is that not only arrears of rent but damages done by the tenant to the farm may be pleaded by the landlord as a set-off. And the fifth condition is one which I will explain more fully by-and-by. It is this—that the landlord may, if he thinks proper, bar the pleading of any such custom if he chooses to give his tenant a lease for not less than thirty-one years, attended with terms and conditions which I shall have occasion presently to describe. We have, therefore, got thus far. The Ulster custom is absolutely recognized in Ulster. Outside the limits of Ulster these less binding customs are recognized, but subject to the five conditions I have just enumerated." It was proposed (he added), to deal with cases not within any of these customs, where the tenant was not protected by any lease, by establishing a scale of damages for eviction, with liberty for persons having a farm not rented, but valued in the public valuation at 100/. and upwards, if they"thought fit, to contract themselves out of this section of the act. "The scale (he said), will include in part compensation for improvements, and will include compensation for the minor and more ordinary improvements, for manure and tillages, for fencing, and for some other matters. But there are some improvements of so special a character that we have felt that the tenant ought to be entitled to claim his compensation for them—assuming him to be entitled to ask for such a compensation—irrespective of the claim for damages by eviction; and these are improvements falling under the two heads, firstly, of permanent buildings, and, secondly, of the reclamation of land. . . . Further, we propose, over and above the legislation I have already detailed, to legislate on the subject of improvements. But what is an improvement? That, Sir, is a question which has cost us some trouble. We have, however, I think, determined upon a very fair definition of what ought to be held as constituting an'improvement.' In the first place, it must add to the letting value of the land; in the second place, it must be suitable to the nature of the holding. If the tenant, unfortunately for himself, chooses to lay out money on improvements which do not improve, and do not add to the letting value of the holding, that is his affair, and not the landlord's. If, on the other hand, he chooses to lay out his money in making additions to his holding, which do add to the letting value, but which are not suitable for the purposes of agriculture, the landlord is not to be bound to pay for such an improvement, because it does not come within the proper scope of the tenancy. . . . Thus understanding the word 'improvement,' what we do propose is exactly to reverse the presumption of the present law. The law, as it stands, absolutely gives the improvements to the landlord and presumes them to be his work. We propose to presume them to be the work of the tenant, and to leave to the landlord the business of showing, if he can, that such is not the case. If they are the work of the tenant, they will, according to our Bill, be his property, and it will be for the landlord to show that they are not the work of the tenant, if he disputes his claim to compensation. . . . We do not limit the operation of the new law to future improvements. It is absolutely necessary that it should extend to those already made. Had we though fit, or had we happily been enabled a quarter of a century ago, in 1845, to deal with this question of improvements, it might have been satisfactory from some point of view, and sufficient for public purposes, to provide for the cases of future improvements alone. But having unfortunately adjourned for so long a time the day of settlement of the question, and that day having now arrived, it is quite plain that any legislation as to improvements must in principle embrace retrospective improvements." He then stated the special limitations which were to be placed on these retrospective claims. The claim for improvements was, under certain circumstances, explained at length, to be varied by allowing the landlord by leases to bar it on the part of the tenant and to substitute for it the conditions and incidents of leasehold tenure. "To have the effect of barring good-will or customary payment, a lease must be not only one for a term of thirty-one years, and one reserving certain rights to the tenant at the end of that term, but it must also be in terms subject to the approval of the Court. So much for the leasing power at the present moment. But we have also the future to consider. And the idea we have is this—We wish to grant to the landlord the permanent power, if he think fit, of keeping the general claim for good-will off his estate. This cannot, of course, be done by one lease. It can be done by one lease as far as the particular term and the particular person is concerned, and that lease would be for thirty-one years independently of any landlord's improvements, or might alternatively be for twentyone years if the improvements are to be made by the landlord and if the farm be of a certain value. But the situation of the parties at the end of that term will be altered. If the landlord, after the land has been held on one of these statutory leases, does not think fit to continue the system of leases, good-will will immediately grow up as a plant grows from the ground. If he gets a yearly tenant, or allows his lessee to become a yearly tenant, or a teuant at a short term of years, the new tenant, or his lessee, as the case may be, will be invested with a title to good-will; but the landlord may, if he think fit, follow up the thirty-one years' lease with a second lease ; and if he chooses to keep up a series of these leases he may hold his land under lease perfectly free both from the intervention of any claim for good-will and from any further intervention of the Court." As regards the difficult question of interference with existing rents, "we provide by the Bill that, as a general rule, eviction for nonpayment of rent shall be held to be an absolute bar to any claim upon the landlord except for improvement; but with regard to those cases

where the Court upon its responsibility and in its discretion finds

special circumstances, -we allow it in the exercise of its discretion to

allow damages even though the eviction be for non-payment of rent.

And with regard to all prospective contracts it is absolutely necessary

that if the landlord evict for non-payment of rent that should not

be in the sense of the Bill a disturbance of the tenant by the

landlord, for the tenant will disturb himself by non-payment of

the rent. But as respects present holdings, we add the following

qualifications: 'Unless the Court decide on special grounds that

it ought to be deemed a disturbance in the case of a person

claiming compensation on such determination of a tenancy existing

at the time of the passing of this Act/" "I may now, perhaps (he

added), be asked what we have done for the Irish labourer. For

him we have done what the case will permit. We have allowed the

tenant to subdivide and sublet for cottages and gardens, to be let to

the labourers employed upon the holding; and, in offering from the

public funds facilities for the acquisition of land, we have been

careful not to exclude the acquisition of land in small quantities.

But the only great boon—and it is a great boon—which it is in the

power of the Legislature to give to the agricultural labourer in

Ireland is to increase the demand for his labour, and, by imparting

a stimulus to the agriculture of that country, to insure its requiring

more strong arms to carry it on, and thereby to bring more bidders

into the market for those arms, and raise the natural and legitimate

price of their labour. Unless we are mistaken, one of the specific

evils which, has arisen from the practice of exacting an increased

rent in proportion to an increased produce is, that many a small

occupier is, out of fear of having to pay more for his holding, led

to convert his tillage into pasture, or to keep land in pasture which

ought to he converted into tillage. By either course of proceeding

he lessens the demand for agricultural labour. But, if we can only

convince every man that from the time this Act passes he will be

able to prosecute his industry in security, and in the manner most

advantageous to himself, so that all the land that is fit for tillage

may be devoted to tillage, and that in a word the noble pursuit ot

agriculture shall be practically as well as theoretically free, we in so

doing, shall confer upon the agricultural labourer the greatest boon

which it is in our power to bestow." "The measure has reference,"

Mr. Gladstone said in conclusion, "to evils which have been long at

work, their roots strike far back into bygone centuries; and it is

against the ordinance of Providence, as it is against the interests of

man, that immediate reparation should in such cases be possible;

for one of the main restraints of misdoing would be removed if the

consequences of misdoing could in a moment receive a remedy. For

such reparation and such effects it is that we look from this Bill; and

we reckon on them not less surely and not less confidently because

we know they must be gradual and slow; and because we are

likewise aware that if it be poisoned by the malignant agency of

angry or bitter passions, it cannot do its proper work. In order that there may be a hope of its entire success it most be passed— not as a triumph of party over party, or class over class; not as the lifting up of an ensign to record the downfall of that which has once been great and powerful—but as a common work of common love and goodwill to the common good of our common country With such objects and in such a spirit as that, this House will address itself to the work, and sustain the feeble efforts of the Government. And my hope, at least, is high and ardent that we shall live to see our work prosper in our hand, and that in that Ireland which we desire to unite to England and Scotland by the only enduring ties, those of free will and free affection, peace, order, and a settled and cheerful industry, will diffuse their blessings from year to year, and from day to day, over a smiling, land."

The opening debate, which took place on the second reading of the Bill, did not produce the interest that had been anticipated from it. The most remarkable speech in opposition to the Bill was made by Dr. Ball, whose -argument was throughout based upon the assumption that "free contract" is the highest form of tenure which the intellect of man has yet been able to devise; and that in legislatingto restrict such freedom Britain was relegating Ireland to a lower civilization. He held that as regards Ulster tenant-right, the BiU perpetuated and lixed a custom which varied with every estate, which was in itself an evil, making, as it were, a distinct law for every separate holding; as regarded compensation, it was fixed too high, the maximum amounting to one-third the fee simple. He did not, however, object to the principle, but as regarded future tenancies he thought the Bill utterly bad. He held that the English were never content with less than the best arrangement, that they had fixed on free contract as the best, and that to keep the best to themselves and give Ireland an inferior one, was to repudiate the great idea of the Union, which was to permit all Irishmen to rise to the English level.

"My objection to your system," he said, "is that it is not the best, and, what is more, you know it is not the best. For here you are in England arrived at the highest pitch of civilization, you claim for yourselves that you are models to the world, you hold out your social relations to the admiration and envy of Europe, and you insist that the relations between landlord and tenant in your country shall be on the footing of contract. What have you been doing? You have been working ever since the day that Latimer denounced the landlords who drove out the tenants, telling them that the Divine vengeance would come upon them for it—you have been working, 1 say, to make landlord and tenant not ascertain their rights by litigation, but have them established on the solid basis of contract, so that every landlord in England knows for what he contracts, and every tenant in England knows for what he has to answer. ... I say you have got the best system, and I believe it to be the best, because I believe that Englishmen, having set their hearts on the best system, would be content with nothing less. What do I ask for my country? I ask the right to rise to the same

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