[Footnote 73: It appears that Mr. Dillon was under a misapprehension on this point. He thought he had obtained an amendment to the Bill which prevented the I.A.O.S. from getting a subsidy. This, however, was an entire mistake. See App. B. to the Report of the Committee on the Dept. of Agriculture. Cd. 3573 of 1907.]
[Footnote 74: The voluntary contributions to the I.A.O.S. for the work of organisation amounted to no less than L100,000.]
[Footnote 75: See his evidence before the House of Lords Committee on the Thrift and Credit Bank Bill (Paper 96 of 1910).]
THE COMPLETION OF LAND PURCHASE
BY THE RIGHT HON. GEORGE WYNDHAM, M.P.
The case for resisting all attempts at impairing the Union between Great Britain and Ireland can be made unimpeachable without reference to the Irish Land Question. It would be our duty to defend the Union as a bulwark of national safety, an instalment of Imperial consolidation, and a protection to the freedom of minorities in Ireland, even if it could be shown that agriculture, the chief industry of Ireland, had little to gain under the Union and nothing to lose under Home Rule. Fortunately, this cannot be alleged except by those who shut their eyes to the results of State-aided Land Purchase in Ireland, and refuse to consider the consequences of tampering with the mainspring of that beneficent operation: I mean the credit of a joint exchequer under one Parliament for both countries. “England’s Case against Home Rule” coincides with Ireland’s need for retaining the prosperity that has come to her, after long waiting, under, and because of, the Union. It is, therefore, fitting that a place should be found in this book for a brief account of what Irish agriculture may hope from the Union and must fear from Home Rule.
The history of Irish Agriculture until recent years differed from the history of English Agriculture at many points, and always to the marked disadvantage of Ireland. Dynastic and religious controversies which—if we except the suppression of monasteries and the exile of a few Jacobites—left English countrysides untouched, in Ireland carried with them the confiscation of vast territories and the desolating Influence of Penal Laws. Changes in economic theory contributed even more sharply to the decay of Irish enterprise. When England favoured Protection Irish industry was handicapped out of manufactures. When England adopted Free Trade Irish agriculture, on which the hopes of Ireland had perforce been fixed, suffered in a greater degree. The doctrine of laisser faire wrought little but wrong when applied by absentee buyers of bankrupt estates to tracts hardly susceptible of development by capital, amid a peasantry wedded to continuity of tenure, and justified in that tradition by the fact that they and their forbears had executed nearly all the improvements