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A PRACTICAL TREATISE ON THE
RELATION OF LANDLORD AND TENANT,
Suggestions for Legislative Measures,
AND THE MANAGEMENT OF LANDED PROPERTY,
THE RESULT OF ABOVE THIRTY YEARS' EXPERIENCE
AND STUDY OF THE SUBJECT.
JOHN WIGGINS, ESQ. F.G.S.
ENGLISH AGENT TO ESTATES IN THE SOUTH AND NORTH OF IRELAND.
"Property has its duties as well as its rights.”
Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.
This Essay is the matured result of my annual visits to Ireland, on Land Agency business, during a period of above thirty years. These visits have afforded me much insight into the character of the people of that country, and thus I have acquired a high, if not enthusiastic, degree of admiration for many points of that character, appearing through the physical privations and the moral “clouds and darkness" which "settle round their heads." On a journey of two months, during the last autumn, to both the North and South of Ireland, I perceived a crisis approaching of the utmost importance to that portion of the Irish community amongst whom has chiefly been my intercourse, viz. the landlords and tenants,- both very important classes, and both alike engaging my solicitude, because I believe the prosperity of the one
to depend on that of the other. Thus feeling, and having succeeded in attracting attention and approbation to former efforts of my pen on this subject, and my evidence before the Committee of 1830 being often quoted, I was irresistibly prompted, by a sort of amor patriæ, to employ every leisure hour, whilst in Ireland, in sketching “A Treatise on the relation of Landlord and Tenant.” This sketch has unconsciously swelled into a volume, in venturing to print which, I am aware of the disfavour that attends proposals of amendment for the future, since it implies anything but commendation of the present. Still I felt that such a crisis as this had not before occurred. It appeared to me that now "something must be done” on the question of landlord and tenant, and that this was a moment to“ be just, and fear not.” The appointment of a Commission has not altered my determination to offer my sentiments to the public, since I have no reason to conclude that their inquiries will take the course which I have followed, and if they should fall into any similar course, I shall be too proud in such a cause to act the part of “ the lion's provider.”
I am sensible of the temerity of any one in private life suggesting legislative measures of any kind; but it seemed to me, that all the present
inquiries into the subject of landlord and tenant having such measures in view, the exercise of such temerity might be useful in affording hints, which, if acted on, might do good, and if neglected could not be mischievous.
But as to the matters of business, relating to the management of estates, herein brought forward, they are advanced with the confidence of experience, and urged with the zeal of earnest good wishes towards both landlord and tenant.
All the books hitherto written on Ireland have been general, embracing many topics, and leaving little room for the special subject of the following pages. To this subject particular attention is now imperatively called, and I know not that it has before been specifically treated.
Believing, therefore, my remarks to be original, and by experience knowing them to be practical, I have toiled through my task with pleasure and ardent zeal, but not, I hope, without “due discretion.” I have endeavoured to convey truths without asperity, to point out errors without inflicting pain, and to mention facts without giving offence.
If any selfish motive in putting forth these pages has intruded, it is a natural desire to sustain, as well as a philanthropic wish to recommend, modes of proceeding which I believe myself