‘For tenants’ interests under leases where the value is small, and where the interests have become complicated, the Landed Estates Court is too expensive, and so these interests remain often for years untransferred, in the hands of some one who has a very limited and often uncertain interest in them. Such a leaseholder is deterred from making improvements by the state of the law which deprives him of the entire value of his improvements if anyone should disturb him under a prior charge or claim, however obscure or unknown, affecting his interest. The remedy is to be found in an extension of the principle of the Record of Title Act to the local registry of small leasehold interests, and in the providing for the local sale of such interests in a cheap manner, with an absolute title.’
THE LAND SYSTEM AND THE WORKING CLASSES.
We have been told over and over again that the business of Ireland, and all its improvements, requiring education and integrity, are carried on ’by the Protestants, by whose intelligence, and labour, mental and bodily, its prosperity, such as it is, has been produced.’ This assertion has been made with great confidence, by many writers and speakers. It is a gross exaggeration, and absurd as it is gross. I say nothing of the unseemly egotism of a dominant caste, thus parading its own merits, flaunting its plumes, strutting and crowing over the common folk—of this pharisaic spirit of the ascendant Protestant, standing close to the altar, reciting to God and the world the number of his resplendent virtues, and scornfully contrasting his excellent moral condition with the degraded Catholic—the vile publican and sinner, overwhelmed with enormous guilt. These monopolising Pharisees, who laboured at such a rate to assert their natural superiority, as the favourites of Heaven, and members of the Sovereign’s church, over a race which England enabled them to subjugate and impoverish, have found no trumpeter so loud as Master Fitzgibbon, a chancery judge. In the same spirit the last census has been analysed by one of the ablest defenders of the Irish establishment, the Rev. Dr. Hume, of Liverpool, in order to prove that everything good in Ireland has been done by the Protestants, and everything bad by the Catholics. But he does not state fairly the conditions of the race. He does not state that one of the competitors had been master for centuries, well-fed, well-trained, possessed of all advantages which give strength, skill, courage, and confidence, while the other was ill-fed, untrained, enfeebled, and over-weighted, having to work out of himself the slavish spirit which oppression had produced, and to gain, by extra efforts, the skill which the law had forbidden him to acquire. Nevertheless the Catholics have acquired skill, and the extent to which the empire is dependent on their knowledge of the industrial arts is much greater than many people suppose. Of the farming class in Ireland, 76 per cent. are Roman Catholics. But we are indebted to the obnoxious race in other respects than as producers of food.