There is another misstatement that had better be frankly met. The objectors to the Land Courts say that the applicants are so many and the process is so slow, it is almost useless and worse than heartbreaking to apply for relief. One thing, however, must be remembered—during the interim of application and hearing, a tenant cannot be disturbed in his holding, and if he refuses to pay his rent the landlord cannot evict him. The following correspondence is instructive:—
“Braintree, Nov. 14.
“Sir,—Will you be good enough to inform me whether the statement I give below is correct? It was made by an Irish lecturer (going about with magic-lantern views) for the purpose of showing how unjustly the Irish tenants are treated. The lecturer was Mr. J. O’Brady, and he was delivering the lecture at Braintree on Saturday, November 9:—’There are now 90,000 cases awaiting the decision of the Land Courts to fix a “fair rent” on their holdings, and as only 15,000 cases can be heard in one year, do you wonder at the tenants refusing to pay their present rent?’
“Your faithful servant,
“G. THORPE BARTRAM.”
“The Right Hon. A.J. Balfour, M.P.”
“Irish Office, Great Queen Street, Nov. 22.
“Dear Sir,—I have made special inquiry into the subject of your letter of the 14th inst., and find that on the 31st of the last month the number of outstanding applications to have fair rents fixed was 44,295, and that the number of cases disposed of in the months of July and August (the latest month for which the figures are made up) was 5,380. You will see, therefore, that the arrear is less than one-half of the amount stated by the Separatist lecturer to whom you refer, and the rate of progression in disposing of it is considerably higher than that alleged by him. It may reasonably be hoped also (though the statistics are not yet available) that this rate has since been increased, as several additional Sub-Commissioners have been appointed to hear the cases. I would observe also that under the provisions of the Land Act, passed by the present Government in 1887, the tenant gets the benefit of the judicial rent from the date of his application, an advantage which he did not possess under Mr. Gladstone’s Act. Such