Because a good landlord, who knows the tenants and cares for them, may be succeeded by a son who is a ‘fast young man,’ addicted to the turf and overwhelmed in debt, while the estate gets into the hands of usurers.
Because in such a case the law affords no protection to the property of the tenant, which his family may have been accumulating on the land since the first of them came over from England or Scotland, and settled around their commander, after helping by their swords to conquer the country, and preserve it to the crown of England.
Because it is not in human nature to avoid encroaching on the rights and property of others, if it can be done at will—done legally, and done under the pretext that it is necessary for ‘improvement,’ and will be a benefit even to those who are despoiled.
Because the custom is no protection to a man’s political rights as a British subject. No tenant farmer can vote against his landlord in obedience to his conscience without the risk of ruining his family. The greater his interest in the land, the larger his investments, the heavier his stake; the greater his accumulations in his bank—the farm—the greater will be his dependence, the more complete his political bondage. He has the more to lose. Therefore, if a Conservative, he must vote for a Radical or a Catholic, who would pull down the Church Establishment; or if a Catholic, he must vote for a ‘No-popery’ candidate, who ignores tenant-right, and against a Liberal statesman, whose life has been devoted to the interests of the country.
It appears to me that the difficulty of settling this question is much aggravated by the importation of opinions from the United States hostile to the aristocracy; and as this source of discontent and distrust is likely to increase every year, the sooner the settlement is effected the better. What is the use of scolding and reviling the tenant’s advocates? Will that weaken one iota the tremendous force of social discontent—the bitter sense of legal injustice, with which the legislature must deal? And will the legislature deal with it more effectually by shutting its eyes to facts?
FARNEY—MR. TRENCH’S ‘REALITIES.’
When the six Ulster counties were confiscated, and the natives were all deprived of their rights in the soil, the people of the county Cavan resolved to appeal for justice to the English courts in Dublin. The Crown was defended by Sir John Davis. He argued that the Irish could have no legal rights, no property in the land, because they did not enclose it with fences, or plant orchards. True, they had boundary marks for their tillage ground; but they followed the Eastern custom in not building ditches or walls around their farms. They did not plant orchards, because they had too many trees already that grew without planting. The woods were common property, and the apples, if they had any, would be common property too, like the nuts and the acorns.