The Irish loyal papers, which no English Home Ruler ever sees—facts being so inimical to sentiment—these Irish papers are full of details respecting these sales. On one estate thirty-seven farmers buy their holdings at prices varying from L18 to L520, the average being L80. On another, six farms bring L5,603, one fetching L2,250. In the west, small farmers are buying where they can. In Sligo the MacDermott, Q.C., has sold farms to forty-two of his tenants for L3,096, the prices varying from L32 to L70 and L130; and the O’Connor Don has sold farms in the same county to fifteen tenants for L1,934. The number of acres purchased under this Act for the three years ending August, 1888, are a trifle over 293,556.
The Government valuation is L171,774,000. The net rent is L190,181 12s. 9d. The purchase-money is L3,350,933. The average number of years’ purchase is 17.6.
Perhaps the most important of all these sales are those on the Egmont estate in the very heart of one of the gravely-disturbed districts. The rent-roll of this estate was L16,000 a year; and it was estimated that successive landlords had laid out about L250,000 in improvements—which was just the sum expected to be realized by the sales. All this land has passed into the hands of farmers who, from agitators and No Renters have now become proprietors on their own account, with a direct interest in maintaining law and order, and in opposing violence and disorder all round. Other important sales have been effected. A hundred and fifty tenants on the Drapers’ estate in county Derry have bought their farms from the London Company at a total of L57,980. These, with others (197 in all), reached a sum total of purchase-money of L63,305, as set forth in the Dublin Gazette, of November 5th, 1889.
Lord Spencer, whose political volte face is one of the wonders of the hour, does not hesitate to say that this Act has not been a success. Can he give counter figures to those quoted above? And Mr. Michael Davitt does not approve of the sales in general and of those on the Egmont estates in especial, “He hates the Ashbourne Act worse than he hates the idea of an endowed Roman Catholic University, which is saying a great deal. He hates it because it renders impossible his visionary scheme of land nationalization, but more because it wrests from his hands the weapons