Citation
Revolution by legislation

Material Information

Title:
Revolution by legislation Irish land ownership 1848-1903
Creator:
Kehl, Marcia Ann
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
v, 146 leaves : ; 29 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
1800 - 1899 ( fast )
Land tenure -- Law and legislation -- Ireland -- 19th century ( lcsh )
Land tenure -- Law and legislation ( fast )
Ireland ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, History.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Marcia Ann Kehl.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
29195186 ( OCLC )
ocm29195186
Classification:
LD1190.L57 1993m .K44 ( lcc )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
REVOLUTION BY LEGISLATION:
IRISH LAND OWNERSHIP 1848 1903
by
Marcia Ann Kehl
B.A., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 1990
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
History
1993


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Marcia Ann Kehl
has been approved for the
Department of
History
V- AW 'TVS
Date


Kehl, Marcia Ann (M.A., History)
Revolution by Legislation: Irish Land Ownership 1848 -
1903
Thesis directed by Professor James B. Wolf
ABSTRACT
Between 1849 and 1903 the landlords of Ireland lost
most of their power which had its basis in land
ownership. They entered the period with almost absolute
power over their land and the tenants residing thereon.
By 1903 they were requesting, and receiving, State aid
to allow them to sell their land to the tenants without
bankrupting themselves by accepting a price which the
tenants could afford to pay.
That most of the landlords avoided ruin in the
fifty-five years of land agitation is testimony to their
ability to adjust to changing circumstance and their use
of the British Parliament to direct the course of land
reform. They were able to direct opinion by assiduous
use of the popular journals, easing the passage of
legislation affecting Irish land.
They began the foray into legislative action still
trying to protect absolute property rights. The first
legislation was an attempt to replace indebted landlords
with more affluent capitalists. At the same time, many


landlords recognized the inequities in the Irish system
of landholding and were willing to make concessions,
especially those based on the custom prevalent in
Ulster.
The landlords survived a land war in the late
1870s, but the legislation they accepted in order to
regain both peace and the payment of rents, ceded to the
tenants a vested right in the soil. As the consequences
of such legislation were realized, they gradually
changed their tactics and advocated the sale of holdings
to the tenants. However, the deflated value of Irish
land precluded many landlords from selling because a
sale would deprive them of both income and capital.
The issue was resolved by the landlords and tenants
agreeing on sale as the solution to Irish land problems.
It remained for the English Treasury to advance a bonus
to the landlords to enable them to escape gracefully.
The landlords used legislation to protect their position
and, finally, to ensure their continued solvency.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the
candidate's thesis. I rec
Signed


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. Introduction .................................. 1
Notes...........................................10
2. Old Animosities and New Solutions...............11
Notes.......................................... 31
3. Political Economy Attempted . ..................35
Notes.......................................... 50
4. Mr. Gladstone Looks at Ireland..................52
Notes.......................................... 71
5. The Land War....................................75
Notes.......................................... 95
6. Landlord Relief.................................99
Notes......................................... 117
7. Conclusion.....................................121
Notes......................................... 129
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Official Documents ........................... 130
Contemporary Writings ........................ 130
Other Sources................................. 143
v


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
In the years between 1848 and 1903 a revolution
took place in Ireland, not just in the way land was
owned, but in the way land was viewed. The revolution
while not entirely bloodless was accomplished
primarily by legislative action rather than by force
of arms. The reason for the relatively non-violent
resolution was that the process was initiated because
the Irish landlords were in trouble. That class
looked to Parliament to assist them in their dilemma.
The legislation of the period has been criticized
by many modern authors, as well as some contemporary
writers, as being too little, too late. That criti-
cism misses the main point of the legislative excur-
sion. The legislators, no less than the landlords and
tenants of Ireland, were searching for a formula to
insure the payment of tents to the landlords while
granting the tenants sufficient security to induce
them to invest in the improvement of their farms. The


diversity within both the landlord and the tenant
classes complicated this process.
There were many different types of landlords,
some wealthy nobles living in England or the Conti-
nent, others simple squires living on their properties
from which they attempted to eke out a living. In
general, the owners of the land were descendants of
the adventurers settled on the land by the Tudors, by
Cromwell and by William III in an attempt to establish
a loyal and protestant social base in Ireland. Most
were protestant, and, as such belonged to families who
had enjoyed the almost absolute power of the pre-Union
Protestant Ascendancy. Their background, their posi-
tion and their wealth made them the leaders of Irish
society as ruled from Dublin Castle. Even with the
repeal of the penal laws and Catholic Emancipation, on
the eve of the famine the position of the Irish land-
lords as magistrates and local leaders was secure.
It has been estimated that in 1870, after more
than twenty years of land adjustments, half the land
in Ireland, or some ten million acres, was owned by
less then 800 landlords.* The majority of the Irish
2


were tenants of these owners of the soil, either
directly or through middlemen. Some had leases, but
most were tenants-at-wi11 who could be evicted upon
notice by the landlord. In 1841 Ireland had a popu-
lation of approximately eight million, of which two-
thirds were dependent on agriculture for their living.
Only seven per cent of Irish farms held by tenant
farmers were over thirty acres, which would place the
holder in the position of being a reasonably substan-
tial farmer. On the other hand 45% of the agricultur-
al holdings were of under five acres, which would
barely support a peasant family in good years.^
Much has been written about the Irish famine in
the late 1840s. When the potato Crop failed, millions
either perished in their homeland or were forced to
emigrate. The picture has been drawn of an uncaring
Anglo-Irish aristocracy which insisted that food be
shipped to England to pay the rents, allowing their
tenants to starve. There were many incidents where
food could be purchased in the towns, but since the
people had no money, they died within sight of suste-
nance. Above all, the famine left images of poor
3


tenants driven from their homes for failure to pay
rent, living in ditches, without hope.
The famine hit the poor the hardest but all farm-
ers were affected. The famine is often cited as a
turning point in agrarian unrest in Ireland because
the tenant farmers realized that only by acquiring
certain rights in the land could they survive. The
last half of the nineteenth century encompassed their
struggle to secure those rights, especially security
of tenure, fair rent, compensation for their improve-
ments, and the ability to sell or otherwise pass on
their tenure rights.
Less has been written about the Irish landlords.
The famine was also a turning point in their history.
They had lived in a world of privilege, and a world
which still believed in the principles of the enlight-
enment, that the world was governed by certain natural
laws. The current gospel was "free-trade" and the
sanctity of contract. With as little governmental
interference as possible, men conducting affairs in
their own best interests would profit society. Much
was written about property rights, the absolute right
4


of the owner of the land to use it as he saw fit. The
concept that the rent owed by the tenant should be
abrogated and Irish produce be used to feed the people
was totally alien to the thought of the day. When
famine hit Ireland, the popular philosophy in England
and Ascendancy Ireland held that if there was not
enough food for the people, there were probably too
many people and a reduction of the number by death and
emigration was beneficial. When public outrage at
the tales of privation made some assistance necessary,
the government applied economic doctrines to that
also. Relief was supplied in the form of loans to
improve the roads and to make other capital improve-
ments, thereby providing jobs for the impoverished by
which they could earn enough to buy food. Only after
the famine reached critical stages was an attempt made
to actually feed the people directly.
Everything that was done to relieve the famine
sufferers, except that provided by private charity,
was organized by the local poor-law Guardians in their
individual jurisdictions, called "unions." They ran
the workhouses and directed the capital improvement
5


projects. The funds for these endeavors was raised
through the poor-rate, which was a charge against the
land. Even after the London government allowed gov-
ernment funds to be used in relief, the loans and
obligations incurred previously remained with the
local Union. Many Irish landlords found that the poor-
rate, on top of other obligations associated with
their ownership of the land, placed them in a position
of extreme insolvency. That local insolvency, com-
bined with the doctrines of London, contributed sub-
stantially to the bad reputation which cursed the
majority of Irish landlords for the rest of the centu-
ry. Many of the wealthiest Irish landlords were well
known for their benevolence and relief efforts, but
they were generally persons with additional sources of
income outside Ireland.
The magnitude of the disaster in Ireland caused
some to question the viability of the entire system of
land ownership. During the course of the famine,
certain thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and John
Bright had advanced ideas for the reformation of the
complete system. They especially espoused the idea of
6


a peasant proprietary, unburdened by rents. They were
commonly dismissed as too radical to be considered.
As Ireland emerged from the worst famine years, it was
generally agreed, however, that some legislation was
necessary to deal with the problems of Irish land.
There was legislation introduced in almost every
Parliament between 1848 and 1903 dealing with some
aspect of the Irish land situation. Some were de-
nounced as capitulating to the demands of the tenant-
right groups; others were as vehemently attacked as
being "landlord relief bills." The definition of
property rights and ownership were endlessly debated.
The Bills of 1870 and 1881 were each touted as a final
settlement of the Irish land problems. Yet the con-
flict continued between the occupiers of the soil, to
whom equitable tenure represented the difference be-
tween a minimal survival and starvation, and the land-
lords, to whom the land was a symbol of their politi-
cal and social power, as well as a source of income.
The legislation fell into three phases. First
there was an attempt to apply economic principles to
Ireland by eliminating impoverished landowners and
7


replacing them with capitalists who would improve the
land. Next the legislature had to attempt to deliver
the tenants from the unforseen and unjust results of
their initial acts. Finally, the landlords and the
tenants had to find a way out of the intolerable
situation of tangled rights created by earlier legis-
lation.
It is questionable whether the plethora of land
legislation would have occurred if the Irish landlords
had emerged from the famine with their financial and
social power intact. That they did not set in motion
a series of legislative acts which radically redefined
the rights of property in Ireland. However much the
peasants might have wanted the land, and however much
support they might have received from the radical
thinkers of the day, it is unlikely that the British
Parliament, that bulwark of landed interests, would
have been persuaded to tamper with property rights
except in defence of their own class. The road from
absolute property rights vested in the owner of the
soil to the sale of those property rights in order to
create a peasant proprietary was long and complicated.
8


Along the way public as well as political opinions had
to change. Countless pamphlets and journal articles
were published as the issues were discussed from all
angles. The landlords and tenant-right advocates used
the popular journals to argue their case and nudge
public opinion. What happened to Irish land was part
of the political process, which was itself a complex
maturation of public and private opinion, pushed
forward by the tenant-right groups and held in check
by the rear guard campaign of the landlords. However,
once begun, the readjustment of Irish property rights
followed a somewhat logical path toward peasant pro-
prietary.
9


Notes
1R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland 1600-1972. (Londons
The Penguin Press, 1988), p. 375.
2T. W. Moody and F. X. Martin, eds., The Course of
Irish History, (Cork, Ireland: The Mercier Press,
1989), p. 267.


10


CHAPTER 2
OLD ANIMOSITIES AND NEW SOLUTIONS
The problems with Irish land did not begin with
the famine. Ireland had been conquered by Henry II
and his Norman adventurers in the twelfth century;
however, the conquest was never completed. Large
parts of Ireland were not brought under direct English
administration until the sixteenth century, when the
Tudors determined to complete the conquest of Ireland
and draw that island into their new religion. The
Irish natives and the descendants of the original
Norman invaders were generally content with the Catho-
lic religion. The religious differences merely exac-
erbated relations with the incoming administrators.
James I in the early 1600s was very successful in
settling protestants, many of them Scottish Presbyte-
rians, on the land of Ulster which had been vacated by
rebellious Irish chieftains. Ireland was relatively
quiet until the English Civil War of the mid-century,
when the Irish remained loyal to the king, Charles I.
The price of their loyalty was that Cromwell invaded


Ireland, confiscated more land and settled it with his
former soldiers and followers. The restoration of
Charles II did not include restoration of Irish land
to its original owners, but the administrations of
Charles and later his brother, James II, were lightly
felt by the Catholic Irish. When James became a
Catholic, produced an heir, and was driven from Eng-
land by William III, the Irish rallied to his cause.
The result was the Battle of the Boyne, where James
and the Irish were defeated. The land was once again
confiscated and given to William's loyal supporters,
and a century of oppression of the Irish people began.
The victorious Anglo-Irish were determined to
consolidate their gains and remove the danger of
future rebellions. They enacted a series of laws to
strictly regulate Catholics within their society.
Limits were put on terms for which Catholics could
lease land. Land ownership and inheritance were
drastically curtailed. Even profit margins for farm-
ers were regulated.1 While these penal laws had all
disappeared from the statute books by 1848, the mental
scars and economic damage caused by them remained.
12


The gulf between the owners of the land and the occu-
piers widened immeasurably, both socially and economi-
cally.
In England land had been owned by a feudal aris-
tocracy who controlled all the land, and the farms and
villages were occupied at the sufferance of the owner
and in return for service. Over the years that idea
of service had been superseded by a payment of rental,
but the land title remained with the owner and that
owner generally provided the tenant with a house and
such outbuildings as were required for the functioning
of the property. In Ireland, the land had been owned
by the tribe, with each tribesman farming a portion on
which he made all the improvements. Each member of
the tribe considered himself to have rights in the
soil he cultivated.^ when Ireland was conquered by
England and even during the subsequent confiscations,
the title to the land changed, but often the day to
day existence of the occupier was little altered. The
new owners still needed the natives to work the land,
and so in many cases, the relations between the two
were ill-defined and the peasants retained their
13


belief that they had rights in the land they worked.
The exception to this state of tenure was in Ulster,
where the new owners brought in new occupiers and
where charters guaranteed them certain rights.
This history of land ownership in Ireland had
created a complicated situation. Many of the owners
of Irish land also owned estates in England and were
absent from their Irish estates for part, if not all,
of the year. In 1836 it was estimated that payments
to absentees drained £5 million in revenues from
Ireland."* Those landowners, together with many who
lived in Ireland, either in Dublin or on their es-
tates, wielded incredible political power. Before the
Union of 1801 between Ireland and England, they had
ruled from the Irish Parliament in College Green;
afterwards, they had ruled through their represen-
tation in the London Parliament. The land was both
the symbol of their power and its base.
Ireland was not unique in the power wielded by
the landlords. As the vote was given to more men,
many landlords were able to deliver their tenants'
vote in a block to whichever party they supported. In
14


England, no lesser figure than Gladstone had been
rebuked for soliciting the votes of Lord Westminster's
tenants.^ That was in 1841. The publicity about ten-
ants being evicted for voting "against" their land-
lords began to change that abuse. By 1856 Earl Stan-
hope, on visiting his Irish estates, addressed his
tenants on the relationship of landlord and tenant and
was heard to say that he would never interfere with
the "political or religious opinions of his tenant-
ry."^ The relations between landlord and tenant were
so interwoven into the fabric of Irish society that
any adjustment in that relationship affected all.
When the English began to legislate about Irish
land, they were only vaguely aware of the muddled maze
of property rights that existed. The English govern-
ing class felt that the rights of property and the
rights of capital were the pillars of civilization.
To them ownership was absolute. That philosophy led
to their imposing "a land system on Ireland that has
prevented the Irish from ever becoming reconciled to
English law and government."^ They enacted laws based
either on the situation which existed in England, or
15


tried to fit Ireland uncomfortably into theoretical
molds of agricultural efficiency.
On the eve of the famine the land situation in
Ireland was recognized as critical. The known abuses
included absenteeism, rack-renting, and arbitrary
evictions on the one side and bad husbandry, excessive
subdivision of holdings and agrarian outrage on the
other. In 1843 the Devon Commission was established
to look into the state of agriculture in Ireland and
to propose solutions for any inequities found. Its
report in 1845 deplored the state of the relations
between landlord and tenant and recommended remedial
legislation. Before anything was done the potato crop
had failed, and Irish legislation for the next few
years was mainly concerned with relief and reconstruc-
tion of the country.
The famine did little to mitigate the ill will
between the classes, despite many instances of works
instigated by the wealthy to relieve the hunger.
Michael Davitt, a leader of the Land League agitation
later in the century, summed up the feeling of the
poorer tenant in that it was a time of shame, of
16


a million people lying down to die in
a land out of which forty-five millions'
worth of food was being exported, in one
year alone for rent the product of their
own toil and making no effort, combined
or otherwise, to assert even the animal's
right of existence the right to live by
the necessities of its nature.
The magnitude of the crisis led to a reexamination of
the way property was held in Ireland. As early as
1846 John Stuart Mills was remarking that the Irish
landlords' title to the land came from seizure from
the Irish and that it was hard to expect the Irish to
see anything sacred about such a title.He claimed
that when one hundred families had cultivated lands
for many centuries and when during the same period one
family had done nothing but consume the produce of
that land, when it came time that one or the other
must leave, the one family should be the one to quit.
He equated this with the theory of "fixity of ten-
ure. If most of Ireland's ills resulted from the
land situation, the most obvious remedy was to change
the way land was owned. If the relationship between
landlord and tenant was unsatisfactory, perhaps a
redefinition of those relationships was in order.
17


Mill advocated the creation of a peasant propri-
etary. Another writer to agree with him, after long
study of land tenure throughout Europe and the Colo-
nies, was William Thornton. He looked at the tenants
and thought that they were indolent because they had
no incentive to be otherwises if they improved their
farms, the rents were raised; they were permitted to
keep no more than would keep them alive at a bare
subsistence level.^ He traced the history of small
proprietors in order to show that under the right
conditions, small holdings are quite economical. His
conclusion was that the best way to deal with the
Irish problem was to have the State buy up the waste-
lands of Ireland and settle people thereon to reclaim
them. Once reclaimed, the occupiers should be given
perpetual leases and told that government assistance
would only last until the first harvest, after which
they would be responsible for their own support.
A peasant proprietary would be a stabilizing influence
in the society as "none are so likely to pay such
respect [to the rights of property] as those who have
property of their own they wish to see respected."**
18


On the other side of the subject were the advo-
cates of consolidating the small parcels into acreages
large enough to be economical. Despite the horror of
the famine, many in Britain saw it as an opportunity
for reconstructing Irish land holdings.15 It was
believed that if the land was cleared and relet in
parcels large enough to guarantee a proper return on
investment, Ireland would soon resemble England with
neat farms, on which the landowner had erected farm-
houses and barns, and on which prosperous tenants,
loyal England, would reside.
Reinforcing that view was the fact that several
of the large, wealthy landowners had bought out their
tenants and resubdivided their land according to this
plan. These estates were conceded to be well-run and
prosperous. The Times even cited an estate in the
poorer west, in Donegal, where not only was the agri-
cultural product superior, but a cottage industry in
woolen goods existed and was encouraged and supported
by the proprietor. They describe the estate as illus-
trative of "What an Irish Landlord May Do."16 The
next question seemed to be that if actions taken by
19


some landlords met with success, why did not others
follow suit?
The answer lay in the condition of a large number
of the landlords of Ireland. Many of the estates of
Ireland were heavily encumbered: some due to relief
efforts during the famine, some due to the extrava-
gance of the ancestors of the current owners. Land
was still subject to entail, and most estates were
charged with various pensions and other obligations.
The Irish landowner was described in 1848 as being
subject to
a jointure to the widow of his predecessor,
and a provision for younger sons and daugh-
ters. He is compelled to keep up a certain
appearance in society, and borrows money
from an insurance office. Thus, loaded with
direct and collateral burdens he starves
this estate to maintain a nominal respect-
ability and agriculture is sacrificed to the
enrichment of moneymongers. 7
While many remedies were proposed, such as a tax on
absentees, or prohibiting the shipment of food from
Ireland until the people were fed,* the solution
most favored by legislators was removing limitations
on the transfer of properties to allow the sale of at
least part of an estate to satisfy its creditors.
20


The first attempt to remove the barriers and to
allow the sale of Irish property was the Incumbered
Estates Bill of 1848. The Bill was introduced in the
House of Lords, indicating the degree of aristocratic
interest. Presenting the Bill, the Lord Chancellor
indicated that some estates in Ireland were so encum-
bered that "the ostensible owner in some cases could
hardly be said to have any estate in the land at
all."*9 With no income after all encumbrances were
satisfied, the landlord had no means of improving his
property or consolidating his holdings. The purpose
of the Bill presented, according to the Lord Chancel-
lor, was to replace these nominal owners of the soil
with capitalists. "Such persons would not think of
purchasing land without possessing capital sufficient
for its improvement .'20 The neW/ capitalis-
tic, proprietors would improve both the land and
relations between themselves and the community.
To the anticipated claim that the Bill was an
interference with the rights of property, the Lord
Chancellor replied by asking "why should the interests
of the community at large, as well as the interests of
21


individuals, be disregarded for the sake of maintain-
ing mere abstract rights?"^ The maintenance of
those rights had been shown to cause injustice in
Ireland. Precedents for interfering in property
rights for the good of the community existed in the
taking of real property for the building of railroads.
The Bill was supported by other peers who indi-
cated a hope that peace and prosperity would follow in
the wake of a "class of purchasers able to
perform the duties of properties.Lord Stanley
remarked that due to the inability of some of the
encumbered proprietors to perform their duties, "very
erroneous ideas had been formed on their disposition
to do it.The Bill was passed by the Lords with-
out debate on the third reading.
In the House of Commons the debate was more
heated. Sir Lucius O'Brien, while granting that the
Government probably did not intend to oppress land-
lords, accused them of putting forward a Bill that
"would shake the foundation of property," and expose
Irish landlords to all kinds of annoyance.^ One of
the main objections to the Bill was that not just
22


landowners could petition to have their property sold.
Mortgagees and certain other creditors could also
petition for sale. OBrien contended that, right or
wrong, entail was the law of the land, which enabled
the landed gentry to "keep up their station, and upon
them the monarchy itself rested."25 To other mem-
bers the idea that judgment creditors could force a
sale of property seemed a dangerous interference with
property rights and ruinous to the landed interest in
Ireland.26
Other instances of unfortunate legislation were
pointed out. It was the poor-law, which had been
forced on Ireland contrary to all advice from Commis-
sions appointed to investigate Ireland, which had
rendered so many of the landed gentry insolvent. That
poor-law "acted almost as a confiscation of proper-
ty."2^ Now it appeared that Parliament was trying
to oust from their estates the owners they had ruined.
The Bill passed the Commons, but with a change.
Whereas the Lords had insisted that all property must
be sold for sufficient sums to pay off all encumbranc-
es, the Commons had lifted that provision, knowing
23


that the value of many estates was less than the total
encumbrances.
When that change was returned to the House of
Lords for approval, another round of acrimonious
debate ensued. The Earl of Glengall led the fight,
calling the Bill robbery, but one of his main objec-
tions to it was that it would force estates into the
market at the same time, thereby driving prices
down.He first sounded the cry that was to sound
throughout the battle over Irish land: confiscation.
He accused the Lords of accomplishing what Daniel
O'Connell had been unable to do: repeal the Union and
"confiscate the property of the Protestant landlords
of Ireland." He even, in a prescient remark, predict-
ed that the Protestant Church would not long outlive
such actions.
The Act passed, but the provision that estates
had to be sold for sufficient sums to pay all credi-
tors was reinstated. Still, relations in Ireland did
not appreciably improve. The Times of late 1848 is
full of instances where tenants stole the crop by
threshing it at night, and by the morning when the
24


landlord's agents arrived to collect the rent nothing
was left.3^ The tenants, meanwhile, complained that
landlords often preferred to leave their lands waste
rather than lower the rents to an amount the tenants
could afford. In County Clare, in western Ireland,
the proposal was put forward that the Board of Guard-
ians should take over any land left waste and use the
inmates of the workhouse to reclaim it and plant a
crop. Not meaning to defraud the landlord, it was
contemplated that after the crop was sold the money
left over after replenishing seed and manure supplies
and paying a fee for the labor should be presented to
the landlord.3^
In the meanwhile, few estates were sold under the
1848 Act. Most people conceded that the law was not
working as well as had been hoped, and in April, 1849,
a new Incumbered Estates Bill was introduced in the
House of Commons to eliminate some of the problems of
the 1848 Act. The worst of the problems was that it
could take up to five years for a purchaser to actual-
ly get possession of the property he bought. The new
Bill proposed to give to the purchasers a guaranteed
25


title which would eliminate this long waiting period
caused by title verifications. A Commission was to be
set up to cut through a lot of the red tape. Final-
ly, the requirement that an estate could only be sold
for a full value, enough to pay all creditors, was to
be dropped.3^
Sir Lucius O'Brien was, once again, an outspoken
opponent of the Bill. He pointed out that the Govern-
ment had been offering loans to Irish landlords to
effect improvements, and had been critical that more
landlords had not taken advantage of the offer.
O'Brien saw these loans as a trap, for after the
Government contributed to, even encouraged, the in-
debtedness of the Irish Landlords, it passed a Bill by
which these unfortunate persons could be sold out
against their will.33 Whether the Bill adequately
protected tenants was also questioned, it being pre-
sented as unfair that tenants who had a bona fide
arrangement with the current owner could be dispos-
sessed or forced into new terms by a new owner. It
was asserted that there was adequate protection in the
Bill for such tenants.3^
26


At the third reading, opponents tried to defeat
the Bill. Colonel Dunne called it a measure of con-
fiscation and predicted that it would further alienate
Ireland from England.35 Mr. Napier said the Bill
invaded the rights of property and "struck at the very
roots of society." Likewise, he predicted it would
only further separate Ireland from England.35 But
the Bill was passed and sent on to the House of Lords,
which body had been responsible for introducing the
concept of buying out the distressed landlords in
their Bill of the previous year.
In the Lords the same arguments were advanced as
had been put forward by the opponents in the House of
Commons. The Earl of Glengall was again in the fore-
front, wondering that "any man should have had the
hardihood to propose so downright a confiscation of
property for their adoption."3^ He accused the Gov-
ernment of proposing the Bill simply so that they
would not have to come up with the money from the
treasury to support Ireland's starving population.
The landlords were to be destroyed to save the trea-
sury the inconvenience of paying for centuries of bad
27


The Bill was amended,
legislation for Ireland.
but not significantly, and passed.
The debate over the Bill did not end with its
passage. There were still problems between landlords
and tenants: tenants carrying off the crop to avoid
paying the rent, and landlords forced to reduce rent
below the level at which it would support his obliga-
tions.^ One culprit, which was not the fault of
legislation, was the doctrine of free trade, which
placed Irish produce in competition with the over-
whelming resources of the United States.^ Despite
this, the Incumbered Estates Act did change Ireland,
for better or for worse depending on one's point of
view. William O'Connor Morris, an Irish landlord and
judge, felt it changed the whole order of things. He
particularly criticized the ability of small creditors
to force a sale, and felt that by giving indefeasible
title to the purchasers, it excused them from all
existing claims.^ He also maintained that the price
paid for many of the estates was far too low.^
One Irish parliamentarian, Tim Healy, described
the problem in the simplest terms: after the famine
28


the problem in the simplest terms: after the famine
the tenants could not pay rent, so the landlords could
not pay their mortgages. The landlords, therefore,
lost their estates. He told of a very inventive ruse
used by the landlords of County Clare to avoid sales.
They hired "mobs to beat the 'mapsmen' sent down by
the Dublin Courts to mark out the bounds of their
properties."43 Without these maps, the properties
could not be properly advertised and sold. In other
areas of the country landlords submitted to the Act,
and it has been estimated that by 1857 one-third of
the land of Ireland had changed hands.44
The Act had other, unforseen, effects. When the
Government was questioned about the rights of tenants
being protected, the Government answered that they
were. The problem was in the definition of tenant.
The only protected class of tenant was those with
written leases which could be produced and entered as
an encumbrance on the property. For the great major-
ity of Irish tenants there was no protection. These
tenants-at-wi11 had always relied on the honor of
their landlords to secure to them the benefits of
29


of tenure.4i* Now they were faced with increased
rent and eviction.
On the other hand, the new purchaser considered
the land his to do with as he wished. He had pur-
chased the land as advertised, and almost all adver-
tisements failed to disclose the fact that there were
claims in equity by tenants which would affect his
ability to raise rents and evict tenants.46 So the
Act which had been seen as a way to help Ireland
resulted in injustice to many: to the landlords, who
were sold out at a low price because of encumbrances
incurred aiding their tenants to weather the famine,
and the tenants, who were either evicted or had their
rents raised with no consideration of their long
tenure on the soil or the improvements they had con-
tributed thereto. The attempts to adjust the situa-
tion to more fairly deal with all preoccupied Parlia-
ment for the next twenty years. William O'Connor
Morris saw this as a "warning to British statesmen not
to meddle inconsiderately with the Irish land ques-
tion, a subject few of them really understand."47
30


Notes
*James Godkin, The Land War in Ireland: A History
for the Times (London: Macmillan &Co., 1870; reprint,
Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970), p.
237. (Page references are to reprint edition.) Godkin
states that if a Papist produced a profit greater than
one-third the amount of the rent, his title could cease
and pass to the first Protestant to discover the rate of
profit.
^Joyce Marlow, Captain Boycott and the Irish, (New
York: Saturday Review Press, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1973),
p. 23.
^[Michael Staunton], "Irish Absenteeism," The
Dub1in Review, 2 (December 1836) 199.
^Philip Magnus, Gladstone (London: John Murray,
1954), p.171.
^Times (London), 22 September, 1856, p. 7.
J. L. Hammond, Gladstone and the Irish Nation
(London: Longmans Green & Co., Ltd., 1938; reprint,
Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, Shoe String Press,
1964), p. 9. (Page referenes are to reprint edition.)
^T. W. Moody, Davitt and Irish Revolution 1846-82
(Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1981), p. 517.
Rack-renting is defined as the process whereby a
landowner takes bids for the tenancy, letting to the
highest bidder. When the time came to pay the amount
bid, the tenant was often unable to meet his commitment.
^Michael Davitt, The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland
or the Story of the Land League Revolution (London:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1904), p. 47.
31


^John Stuart Mill, On Ireland, with an introducto-
ry essay by Richard Ned Lebow (Philadelphia: Institute
for the study of Human Issues, 1979), p. 7.
11Ibid., p. 13.
^William T. Thornton, A Plea for Peasant Propri-
etors with the Outlines for a Plan for Their Establish-
ment in Ireland (London: John Murray, 1848, reprint,
New York: Augustus M. Kelley Publishers, 1969), p. 187.
(Page references are to reprint edition.)
13Ibid., p. 219.
^Ibid. , p. 167.
15e. d. Steele, Irish Land and British Politics:
Tenant-Ricrht and Nationality 1865-1870 (London:
Cambridge University Press, 1974), pp. 13-14.
*6Times (London), 30 November, 1848, p. 4(F).
^ [Jonathan Duncan], "Tenure of Land in Ireland,"
Dublin Review. 24 (June 1848) 349.
18Ibid.
1^Hansard Parliamentary Debates. 3rd ser., vol. 96
(1848), col. 1249.
28Ibid., col. 1250
2*Ibid., col 1250.
22Ibid., col. 1251
23Ibid., col 1252.
^Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., vol.
100, (1848), col. 100.
28Ibid., col. 91.
32


26Mr. Napier (University of Dublin), Ibid., col.
104.
27Ibid., col. 396.
28Ibid., col. 1028.
29Ibid., cols. 1029-1030.
30Times November 1848 (London), 4 November p. 5 C; 19 December 1848, p. 1848, p. 5 F; 29 8 F.
31Times (London), 20 December 1848, p. 3 D.
32Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., vol.
104, (1849), cols. 893-895.
33Hansard Parliamentary Debates. 3rd. ser. vol.
105, (1849), col. 768.
34Ibid., col. 773.
35Ibid., col. 1095.
36Ibid., col. 1096.
37Ibid., col. 1351.
38Ibid., col. 1353.
39Times (London), 3 October 1849, p. 8 A.
40Times October 1849, (London), 6 October p. 5 E. 1849, p. 5 C.; 30
4 ^-William O'Connor Morris, Ireland 1798-1898
(London: A. D. Innes & Company, Ltd., 1898), p. 171.
4 2Wi11i am O Connor Morr i s, Memories and Thoughts of
a Life (London: George Allen, 1895), p. 122.
43T. M. Healy, Letters and Leaders of My Day, vol.
1 (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1929), p. 27.
33


44Hammond, p. 19.
4^Godkin, p. 326.
4Samuel Clark, Social Origins of the Irish Land
War (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press,
1979), p. 173.
47Morris,
Memories, p
124.
34


CHAPTER 3
POLITICAL ECONOMY ATTEMPTED
The Parliamentarians did not think that they were
meddling "inconsiderately" with Irish land, but they
were rapidly informed that they did not understand the
intricacies of Irish tenure. The major complaint of
the Irish tenants and their supporters was that by
giving a guaranteed title to purchasers under the
Incumbered Estates Acts, those purchasers were allowed
to evict the tenants not having written leases with no
regard for the tenants' customary rights. Particular-
ly unjust in the tenants' eyes was that by raising
rents with the threat of eviction ever present, the
new proprietors were, in effect, confiscating the
improvements made by the tenant, since often it was
the tenant's improvements which caused the value of
the land to increase.
The lines of argument were drawn primarily be-
tween those who saw land as simply another commodity,
subject to the same economic principles which governed
manufactures, and those who believed that longstanding


custom had a modifying effect on absolute rules, espe-
cially dealing with something so essential to the
well-being of the people as land. The two sides
presented their cases in articles and newspapers, and
introduced very different legislation in the years
following the passing of the 1849 Act.
Those who wanted land governed by the rules of
political economy advocated easing the controls on
evictions, to enable landlords who wished to improve
their land to evict tenants who were living on uneco-
nomical ly small tracts and consolidate their farms
into large, English-style agricultural units. Opposed
to these thinkers were many who felt the reality of
the situation in Ireland had to be accepted. The fact
was that Irish tenants evicted from their farms often
had nowhere to go. Ireland had few industries to
employ those displaced from the land, and without some
financial benefit derived from leaving the land, most
did not have the means to emigrate. Even among the
landlords there were those who felt Ireland had to be
dealt with as it was, not as economic theorists would
like it to be. One landlord recalled that during the
36


1850s he had "struck off all outstanding arrears,
accepted surrender of existing leases, and reduced my
rental 25 per cent."1 He did not feel virtuous, just
practical, since conditions had changed drastically
since his leases were first granted. In hindsight
this landlord realized that
the occupiers of the soil had acquired equi-
table rights in it concurrent with the
rights of the landlord; they had eaten into
his freehold and taken a share of it, and
their possession was, in their eyes, sacred,
while he had become mainly a mere receiver
of rent.
Those sentiments were very alien to a British
public indoctrinated with the virtues of free trade
and property rights. It was widely thought that by
removing the barriers to tree trade in land the prob-
lems in Ireland should have been solved. The Times
tried early in 1850 to paint a bright picture of how
well the Encumbered Estates^ Commission was doing its
job, both in the increased number of applications for
sale, but also in the expeditious handling the appli-
cations received at the hands of the commissioners.4
But by mid-year the reports were not so sanguine.
There was new tenant-right agitation and meetings.
37


Especially prominent in these discussions was the
right of a tenant to the improvements he had contrib-
uted to the soil.6 In Ulster, a recognized custom
generally conceded to the tenant the value of his
improvements, but this was not sanctioned by law nor
was it usual outside Ulster.
In 1850, an attempt was made to give the tenant
legal sanction to his improvements. In supporting the
Bill the Earl of Devon said he would be sorry to hear
that any of the Lords opposed giving to the tenant the
value of the improvements he had made. He agreed that
it would be desirable if such matters could be settled
between the landlord and tenant by a contract. Yet,
since mutual contracts were rare given the unequal
standing of the parties and not "sufficient for the
purpose, he, for one, would not object to any proposi-
tion for securing to the tenant full compensation by
law for improvements made by him."6 Such sentiments
were in the minority in Parliament and no compensation
for improvement Bill was passed.
While Parliament was not able to agree as to what
should be done for the tenants, many Irish landlords
38


were taking the practical step of lowering their rents
enough to allow their tenants to remain solvent.^
What to do to secure a permanent rapprochement between
the landlords and tenants remained the subject of
heated debate. The Tenant League even attempted to
apply the landlords arguments to their cause. If the
rights of property were sacred, then the right of the
tenant to the property created by his work and dili-
gence should also be protected. Yet there were
still many Irish landlords, and their English counter-
parts, who denied that the work of the tenant did
create property.
The problem of the definition of improvements was
central. It was, perhaps, the most difficult dilemma.
The tenant might have erected a mud cabin of one room
where he lived with his family, and often with his
livestock. All accounts of Ireland in the 1800s
mention the wretched living conditions of the poor.
If improvements were to be paid for by the landlord at
the end of a tenancy, would it be fair to make the
landlord pay for a mud cabin which was of no use to
him and which would have to be destroyed in order to
39


actually improve the land? Usually the most unsavory
conditions existed on those estates where excessive
subdividing had taken place. The very purpose of
evicting the tenants was to consolidate holdings to
make them more economical. The landlords saw it as a
great imposition to have to pay for the privilege of
creating a situation whereby their land could, in
fact, be improved.
The conservative Dublin University Magazine
argued that the letting of land was a contractual
matter, and the propositions for treating it otherwise
were absurd. All the agitation for tenant-right did
was distract the "peasants' thoughts from profitable
industry to fruitless agitation, .The defini-
tion of tenant-right most current was the granting to
the tenant of a secure tenure at a fixed rate, compen-
sation for any improvements he made to the soil, and
the ability to sell his interest in the land upon the
expiration of the tenure. The unfairness of evicting
a tenant without compensation for the improvements he
had made to the land was increasingly recognized, even
if what constituted improvements was not, but beyond
40


that granting tenant-right would result in the land-
lord and the tenant being "in a position for which his
previous habits had not fitted him", much to the
detriment of the country.* The next rounds in
Parliament were fought primarily on the subject of
compensation for improvements. It was pointed out that
a tenant often lived on a farm which had been in his
family tor generations. The family had erected farm
buildings, drained the property, built fences, and
generally used the land as theirs, always subject to a
rent. Then when the land was sold by the Encumbered
Estates Court, a new owner often demanded that the
tenant give up the farm, taking possession of all the
improvements made by the tenant with no compensa-
tion.** The fact that justice to the tenant
seemed to many Parliamentarians to be injustice to the
landlord was a difficult hurdle to overcome. John
Bright, taking the tenant's side of the matter, point-
ed out that there were many Irish landlords in both
the Parliament and the Cabinet. He accused them of
fearing that granting any tenant right would "inter-
fere with the powers and privileges that a Parliament
41


of landowners for generations past had been conferring
upon the proprietors of the soil." He questioned
whether the cat was able to "judiciously legislate for
the mice."
The key was to come up with some relief for the
tenant that did not abrogate the landowners property
rights. Those rights were in jeopardy from a combina-
tion of tenant-right groups and solitary vigilantes.
Few landlords could enforce their rights due to tenant
combination and social pressure. That social pressure
sometimes took the form of assassination was not
mentioned but known to all. Even in the halls of
Parliament, landowners were reminded that their title
was derived from confiscation.13 It appeared in the
best interests of all that some resolution be made.
While the controversy was debated in the press
and journals and countless bills presented and re-
jected in Parliament, the Irish Government was study-
ing the situation with an eye to legislation that
would be accepted and would succeed in calming the
storm. A report was prepared which described the
history of Irish land problem and made recommendations
42


as to its remedy. Its author, W. Neilson Hancock, was
a professor of political economy. He looked closely
at the question of improvements and the inequities
which had been engendered by the sales under the
Encumbered Estates Court. While he felt most of the
purchasers were honorable men and without intent to
defraud the tenant, some were deliberately harsh.
A purchaser who proposes to himself to con-
fiscate the tenants' interests, and clear
the land without allowing compensation, can
afford to give a higher price for an estate
than a gentleman of character and position
who would scorn to take advantage of a poor
tenant.14
Dr. Hancock's recommendations were that landlords
be allowed to make contracts to secure to the tenants
any improvements made by the tenants with the land-
lord's approval. Improvements made by the tenant even
with only the tacit approval of the landlord should
be secured to the tenant, and courts should be allowed
to grant relief to the tenants for their improvements.
He based his recommendations on the simple logic that
"he who sows shall reap."^
In 1860 two separate Bills were debated by Par-
liament. One attempted to deal with improvements, the
43


other to establish contracts as the basis of the
landlord and tenant relationship in Ireland. The Act
to establish tenancies on the basis of contracts
passed relatively quickly. That was a Bill which
could be easily understood in the light of current
thought. The landlords applauded the Bill as a pro-
gressive step toward placing Irish land on the same
footing as other commodities. It was a victory for
the disciples of political economy who deplored that
their rights to manage their estates in the most
economical manner could be subverted by nebulous
claims based on custom and medieval memories.
With all the controversy about compensation for
improvements, however, the landlords were forced to
address that question. A Bill was introduced, but
allowed the landlord to object to proposed improve-
ments "if he does not think they will benefit his
estate."^ In such an instance the landlord could
give the tenant a notice to quit. The Irish members
were quick to point out the drawbacks of such a
scheme. If improvements were proposed the landlord
could object
44


from any motive of folly, or viciousness,
or a grudging dispositionthe unfortunate
man, whose spirit of industry and enterprise
had induced him to make the offer was to be
victimized in consequence of his having pos-
sessed the very virtues which the right hon.
Gentleman was anxious to instil in to his
mind . 7
Nothing was more likely to deter a tenant from pro-
posing improvements than the likelihood that it would
lead to his eviction.*8
One member claimed that Parliament should leave
well enough alone. The Bill would irritate those who
disliked legislative interference between landlord and
tenant, yet would not satisfy the tenant-right advo-
cates. It would merely give them "a stronger ground
for carrying out those ultimate objects which were so
subversive of the real prosperity of Ireland."* An
Irish member countered that if the landlords would not
improve themselves, nor allow their tenants to im-
prove, there would be no progress or prosperity in the
country.20
The measure passed in the House of Commons and
was met in the Lords with indignant outcry by the
landowners. It would prevent the landowners from
45


exercising control over their property; it was
"fraught with injustice."21 One point which had
been hardly argued in Commons caused much alarm in the
Lords: that disputes between landlord and tenant over
improvements should be registered. It was indignantly
argued that it would give "publicity to the private
affairs of the landlord."22 It was below the digni-
ty of the landed aristocracy to have their actions and
their motives examined in public. It would undermine
the entire system. The Marquess of Westmeath ques-
tioned the whole notion of legislation: "Were not
landed proprietors and tenants in Ireland gifted with
common sense enough to conduct their own affairs
without this kind of legislation?"23 The point was
that what one party saw as common sense the other saw
as folly.
The Act sanctioning contract as the only legal
basis of landlord and tenant relations, called the
Deasy Act, was the concern of statesmen and scholars.
However, the implications of the granting of even
limited compensation for improvements was of public
concern. The Times quoted an Ulster newspaper as
46


saying that the Act was as good as could be expected
under the present circumstances, but felt that the
legalization of the Ulster Custom was what would
finally settle the tenant-right issue "on a proper ba-
sis."24 The Act was, in fact, quite limited as it
made no provision for improvements made prior to its
enactment, and only protected those made after the act
which had the landlord's sanction.
Within two years discontent was again rife and
the papers were reporting outrages and murders. At a
meeting in County Cork a landlord claimed that under
the current laws the landlords had no security.
Without a law to give to the tenants secure tenure and
compensation tor improvements the murders were bound
to continue.25 One Tipperary landlord attempted to
protect himself by making a will in which he provided
that if he were assassinated all his tenants were to
be evicted and their buildings razed.26 Measures
were introduced in Parliament, but nothing passed.
Trying to get to the heart of the matter, the
House of Commons appointed a select committee to look
into the workings of the 1860 Act on compensation.
47


Robert Lowe stated the objection of many British
conservatives to compensation legislation when he said
that even though compensation was a moral obligation
of the landlord, he did not think enforcing that
obligation by legislation was proper as it would
"exceed the legitimate limits of legislation, would
impair the security ot property, and sow discord
between landlord and tenant ."27 His fenow
committee members rejected his proposal; however, they
did resolve that the principle be maintained that only
landlord approved improvements should be subject to
compensation.28
Such a principle ruled out, of course, all of the
improvements made by the predecessors of the current
tenant as well as existing work done by him. The
people reit that this doctrine was created by the
landlords to deprive them of their property, which had
been created through their industry.29 In July of
1866 The Westminster Review published an article on
the tenant-right issue in Ireland. At the heart of
the problem, in their estimation, was the fact that
"the widest discrepancy does exist among English
48


statesmen as to the ultimate aim to which all legisla-
tion is to be steadily directed."30 Some were still
trying to maintain the supremacy of the landlord while
others were determined to eliminate landlords and
create a peasant proprietary. The result was a series
of legislative efforts which fueled contradictory
expectations: the landlords expected all aspects of
land tenure to be governed by contract and the tenants
expected compensation for improvements to be expanded
to cover all improvements made in past eras.
While reasoned treatises were being published on
the subject of Irish land, certain Irishmen were
determined to take matters into their own hands. The
Fenians, with their violent assault on the entire
British position in Ireland, assured that Irish issues
would not only remain at the forefront of English
legislative efforts, but would gain a new urgency.
The late 1860s also brought to the leadership of the
British government a man determined to solve, once and
for all, the problem of Ireland. William Gladstone
stamped the imprint of his own character over the next
chapters of the Irish land struggle.
49


Notes
^Morris, Memories, p. 198.
2Ibid., p. 226-227.
3The Acts passed by Parliament were entitled Incum-
bered Estates Acts (with and "I"), the Courts were
spelled with the more popular "E." Many authors also
use "E" when discussing the Acts themselves.
^Times (London), 5 February 1950, p. 8 B.
5Times (London), 1 June 1850, p. 6 F; 6 June 1850,
p. 5 D; 14 June 1850, p. 6 B.
6Hansard Parliamentary Debates. 3rd. ser., vol.
109, (1850), col. 228.
^Times (London), 8 November 1850, p. 5 A; 11
November 1850, p. 5 A; 2 December 1850, p. 5 B.
Times (London), 24 February 1851, p. 5 A.
9"Tenant-Right and the Tenant League," Dublin
University Magazine, 37 (February 1851) 159.
10Ibid.
^Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., vol. 119
(1852), col. 354.
*2Ibid., col. 367.
13Hansard Parliamentary Debates. 3rd. ser., vol.
121 (1852), col. 282.
Neilson Hancock, Two Reports for The Irish
Government of the History of the Landlord and Tenant
Question in Ireland, with Suggestions for Legislation:
First Report made in 1859; Second, in 1866 (Dublin:
50


Alexander Thom for Her Majesty's Stationery Office,
1869), p. 40.
15Ibid., p. 41.
^Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol.
157 (1860), col. 1564.
17Ibid., col. 1569.
18Ibid., col. 1572.
^Hansard Parliamentary Debates. 3rd. ser., vol.
158 (1860), col. 1332.
20Ibid., col. 1340.
2Hansard Parliamentary Debates. 3rd. ser., vol.
160 (1860), col. 178.
22Ibid., col. 470
23Ibid., col. 471
24Times (London) 20 September, 1860, P- 12
25Times (London), 20 August 1862, p. 10 C.
26Times (London), 21 August 1862, p. 10 E.
27Reported in the Times (London) 7 September 1865,
p. 4 D.
28Ibid.
29Letter to the Times (London) 9 March, 1866, p. 9
F.
30[Sheldon Amos], "Tenant-Right in Ireland," The
Westminster Review. 86 (July 1866) 1.
51


CHAPTER 4
MR. GLADSTONE LOOKS AT IRELAND
Gladstone began his first government with the
goal of pacifying some said placating Ireland.
The fact that Ireland demanded and received so much
attention from the English Government at this time
was, in a large part, due to the activities of the
Fenians. A movement encompassing both Irish citizens
and their American supporters, the Fenians had moved
from ineffective revolution1 to challenging England
on her home ground. During the year 1867 there was a
daring rescue of Fenian prisoners in Manchester which
resulted in the death of a constable. The subsequent
sensational trial and the hanging of four men accused
of the crime added martyrs to the Fenian cause. This
was followed shortly by an attempt to free another
Fenian by blowing up the wall of Clerkenwell prison.
The blast was worthless for an escape attempt, but it
caused nearby tenements to collapse, killing many
innocent people.


It was these actions which prompted Gladstone to
decide the time had come to deal with the Irish ques-
tion. In April, 1869, he admitted the role of the
Fenians in his decision:
Undoubtedly I admit with Granville that the
Fenian outrages, and especially their over-
flow into England, have had a very important
influence on the question of the time for
moving upon great questions of policy for
Ireland: for (in my opinion) they wholly
altered that attitude of the general mind
both in England and in Scotland 2
John Stuart Mill agreed with Gladstone, writing in
1868 that Fenianism had burst upon England like a
thunderclap. "Repressed by force in Ireland itself,
the rebellion visits us in our own homes, scattering
death among those who have given no provocation but
that of being English-born.1,3 Mill had long advocat-
ed Irish land reform. It appeared that what would not
be granted freely as a result of reasoned study might
well be granted as an attempt to stem the tide of
violence.
The franchise had been extended in 1867, adding
many new voters to the rolls and altering the com-
plexion of the House of Commons to a more populist
53


hue. When Gladstone became Prime Minister, his first
target was the Irish Church. As a wealthy, State-
Established Church serving only a small fraction of
the population, the Protestants, while collecting
tithes from a multitude of Catholics, the Irish Church
was vulnerable and Parliament was well aware of it. In
the debates over Emancipation of Catholics in the
1820s the danger to the Irish Church had been cited.
The Earl of Glengall had prophesied its fall in the
Encumbered Estates debates.^
Disestablishment of the Irish Church was accom-
plished in 1869. Irish land was the next focus. The
fate of the Irish Church portended ill for the Irish
landlords. A land bill was coming; it had been prom-
ised. The hope of the land owners was that they could
influence the Bill in favor of moderation. The land-
lords mounted a campaign of letters and pamphlets in
an attempt to present their side of the argument to a
public inundated with tenant-right propaganda.
One of the first volleys in the battle was fired
by Lord Dufferin. He was an advocate of emigration as
the only real way to relieve the situation in Ireland,
54


which was caused to a great extent by overcrowding.
He saw little hope, without emigration of the excess
population, of ending the disastrous practice of
subdividing the land into smaller and smaller plots.^
He got little support for his views. "Improving a
country by disinheriting and banishing its inhabit-
ants" was an idea not likely to please tenant support
ers.6 The Irish Parliamentarian, Isaac Butt, coun-
tered that Lord Dufferin unwittingly showed the true
"odious nature" of the landlord power by advocating a
process of "weeding" the tenants and getting rid of
the undesirable.^
At the other end of the scale were those who
advocated the creation of a peasant proprietary in
Ireland. John Bright was one of the foremost propo-
nents of such a scheme. As early as 1866 in a speech
in Dublin he proposed buying out the estates of absen
tees and selling them to the Irish peasants. Bright
did not advocate any kind of forced sale, and was
quick to point out he did not intend any confisca-
tion. The landlords questioned the value of buying
out the absentees as in many cases their estates were
55


the best run in Ireland. Often they had the resources
to maintain their estates at a high level. The ones
to get rid of were the "small, encumbered, niggardly,
Irish resident landlords whose harsh treatment of
their tenantry had been the principal cause of the
present demand for change in the law."*
The English called the plan unprecedented; never
had a government undertaken such a task.** A writer
in the Dublin University Magazine was harsher in his
criticism of the scheme, and he did point out some
flaws. He asked how the government would manage the
properties it owned as the "universal landlord," and
predicted that the responsibilities now "spread over
the many landlords of the country, would crush the
State if it took them upon its own shoulders."*^
Those same objections were voiced by Gladstone in a
letter to John Bright.*^
Bright had his supporters. After an extended
tour of Ireland, a Scottish Member of Parliament wrote
a pamphlet in which he exposed many of the failings of
the Irish and urged the consideration of Mr. Bright's
plan as a much more satisfactory remedy than "fixity
56


of tenure."14 The Westminster Review answered the
critics of the cost of the project by reminding them
that they had found £500 million to fight the Napole-
onic Wars and £8 million to fight the lowly Abyssini-
ans. The editorial writers felt that expending even
£200 million to pacify Ireland would be money well
spent.15 A very limited, and scarcely implemented,
provision was added to the 1870 Land Bill, under which
tenants were allowed to purchase their farms with
government assistance on specific terms.
The subject of compensation for improvement was
more generally accepted due to the fact that several
Bills had been introduced in Parliament to allow
compensation to the tenants, but none had passed. By
the time that the arguments for the new Land Bill were
underway there were very few who still agreed with
Lord Dufferin that interference with landlords rights
was intolerable to benefit a tenant who "imprudently
risked on the prospective chance of his landlord's
liberality. "1 Most would have agreed with the
writer in Fraser's Magazine who claimed that the Irish
were probably the only people in the world who would
57


continue to improve their land under a system which
protects the hereditary rights of the idle
and luxurious consumer of the fruits of the
earth, and exposes to a system of chronic
confiscation the industrious, thrifty men,
whose hard, incessant labour produces these
fruits.17
Just how to secure the value of those improve-
ments to the tenants was a great issue in the late
1860s. Several persons made extensive tours of Ireland
to assess the situation. The M.P. MacLagan decided
that with all that the Irish tenant supplied to the
land and his responsibility for the marketing of his
produce, the Irish tenant should pay about 10 shil-
lings per acre less than a Scottish tenant.18 Wil-
liam O'Connor Morris made a tour of the country and
reported his findings in letters to the Times, which
were later published as a pamphlet. He concluded that
it was the peasants who had transformed the face of
Ireland from uncultivated waste, and that even the
hovels of the poorest would have to be considered
improvements in certain circumstances, since those
living accommodations allowed the reclamation of
otherwise worthless land. The peasants had done much
58


good to Ireland in bringing unused and waste land into
production.
Sir George Campbell visited Ireland and his pub-
lished findings were closely studied by Gladstone. He
agreed with Morris that the crux of the matter was
whether compensation was to be for what the tenant
lost or only for what the landlord gained. His analo-
gy was a horse that was bred for a cart horse was of
no use in the Lord's carriage, but still had value as
a cart horse.20 While he claimed that a "moderate
measure of confiscation would eventually be beneficial
to all parties,"21 he saw recognizing the tenant's
right to the property he created was "not confiscation
but confirmation of property."22 Sir George pointed
out that to truly secure the benefit of improvements
to the tenant, legislation would have to protect him
from rent increases which would "absorb his improve-
ments,"22 his share being the difference between
rent and the full value of the property.
Such a suggestion was far in advance of the
thinking of Gladstone, who claimed he was "a good deal
staggered at the idea of any interference with present
59


rents."24 The same lagging of ministerial thought
behind the tenor of the public and press was evident
in the issues of fixity of tenure and tenant-right in
general. Gladstone was a stickler for a balanced
budget and everyone in his proper place. As late as
November 1869 Gladstone was writing that he saw "no
disposition to adopt what is commonly understood as
fixity of tenure, or any of the plans which strike
vitally at the relation of Landlord & tenant."25
Yet he was interested in the concept known as "Ulster
Custom" and wrote an Irish M.P. to see if there was a
way it could be legalized.25 To legalize a custom
was merely to recognize common practice and would not
interfere unduly with existing relationships.
The Ulster Custom was comprised of what came to
be known as the "Three F's": fixity of tenure at a
fair rent with freedom of sale. What the three F's
meant to most Irishmen was that they would be allowed
to continue in occupation of their farm as long as
they paid their rent, and that if they decided to
leave, or were unable to pay the rent, which necessi-
tated their leaving, they were free to sell their
60


tenancy. Campbell described the Ulster Custom as
recognizing the right of the landlord to the rent. If
the landlord went further and tried to take possession
of the land he was met with "a law stronger than the
law.He cited the fact that many landlords had
come forward to recommend the Ulster tenant-right,
while he was aware of no one who had put forward a
different system which had been shown to promote both
landlord and tenant interests.2 MacLagan also con-
cluded that one of the reasons for the prosperity of
Ulster and its superior farming was the feeling of
security conferred on the tenants by the Ulster Cus-
tom. 29
One of the landlords who wrote in favor of Ulster
Custom was John Hamilton of Donegal. From his tales
of his experiences in Ireland collected in over fifty
years of residence, it is apparent that he was a good
landlord who cared for his tenants and was, in turn,
respected and honored by them.3 In an article on
the land question, he pointed out the advantages of
the free sale portion of the Ulster Custom, which was
its least understood element. It was to the tenant's
61


benefit because it allowed him to sell that which he
or his predecessors had either created or purchased in
their turn. It was to the landlord's benefit because
the purchase money was first used to pay any arrears
in rent. 1
The other side of the argument was stated in a
letter to the Times by Irish landlord who claimed that
the amount the incoming tenant paid to the departing
holder lessened the amount of capital he had to use to
improve his farm.32 Yet the Ulster Custom was the
only concrete plan which could be pointed to as work-
ing. Gladstone accepted this when he framed his Bill,
saying that he was "well neigh convinced that there
would be very great practical advantage in taking our
stand upon the custom of the country."33 He intend-
ed that custom be the basis of legislation only where
it existed. Campbell argued that some form of tenant-
right custom existed all over Ireland, differing from
Ulster only "as the sapling differs from the full-
grown oak," being of the same species.3^
As the time approached when the Bill would be
presented the factions generally agreed that a new
62


Land Bill would be to the benefit of all. Campbell
noted that the issue was not what the tenants wanted,
but what the landlords would grant.35 John Bright
said that the current discord in Ireland could not be
allowed to continue and proposed a "new conquest of
Ireland without confiscation and without blood only
with the holy weapon of a frank and generous justice.
. .1,35 Morris, a landlord himself, in one of his
letters to the Times summed up the position in which
the Irish landlords found themselves:
Above all, it is the interest of the land-
lords of Ireland, who must be aware of the
peril to their order of the continuance of
the present state of things; who, even now,
have one chance afforded them of regaining
some portion at least of their lost influ-
ence if they will take part honourably in a
work of justice.3'
He cautioned that no one could stop inevitable change
and the future of the landlords depended on their
acceptance of coming change as a measure of peace, and
working within the new system.
The opening of Parliament was watched with antic-
ipation by all parties. The Queen's speech told of a
coming Land Bill. The Lord Chancellor clarified that
63


the present state of unrest in Ireland could not
continue.88 Disraeli, as leader of the opposition,
decried bowing to pressure from agitators in Ireland
who wanted "virtually to transfer the property of one
class to another ."39 He said much of the un-
rest was due to the Government leading the Irish to
believe massive changes in land tenure would follow
Disestablishment.
After all the buildup, the Bill introduced by
Gladstone on February 15, 1870, was a very mild mea-
sure. It sought to legalize Ulster Custom, but only
applicable to Ulster. In the rest of Ireland local
customs would be honored if they could be proved.
Compensation for improvements made by the tenant were
allowed in the event of eviction, as was an amount
deemed a "compensation for disturbance" when the
tenant had been evicted merely at the caprice of the
landlord. This compensation was a graduated scale,
giving most to the holders of the smallest parcels.
Rents could be appealed by either the landlord or the
tenant to a Land Court, which had authority to fix
rents for a period of fifteen years.
64


There was a provision for state-aided purchase of
holdings, with Gladstone making sure to point out that
assistance would only be given "to occupiers who are
willing to buy where the landlord is willing to
sell."^ The assistance was also limited to three-
fourths of the purchase price, and required that one-
fourth be deposited as security. The English Exche-
quer could not be liable for possible losses occa-
sioned by Irish tenants defaulting on their purchase.
The limitations precluded most Irish tenants from
taking advantage of the purchase clauses.
All in all, the tone of the Bill was summed up by
Gladstone's comment at its introduction that "Our
desire is to interfere with freedom of contract as
little as possible.Whenever and wherever the
landlord and tenant could agree, the Bill sanctioned
their actions. By granting a lease of thirty-one
years, the landlord could avoid the compensation
clauses altogether since most improvements would be
exhausted in that time. The Bill's initial reception
was such that the next day Gladstone wrote to the Duke
of Argyll that the Irish were
65


disposed (at present) to accept its our
immediate friends decidedly approve: None I
believe are better pleased than the Conser-
vatives, their pleasure partaking largely of
the character of relief. Granville writes
to me that we must really get some Landlords
to object violently. 2
Gladstone need not have worried. There were
still people on both sides to dispute the clauses of
the Bill. Paralleling the debates in Parliament, the
debates in the Times and the popular journals contin-
ued. In January, 1870, The Edinburgh Review had con-
cluded that the time "when voluntary action on the
part of Irish landlords could have settled the ques-
tion is gone by," and it was time for Parliament to
act.43 Yet there was complaint in Parliament that
part of Gladstone's speech introducing the Bill was
"one great indictment against the landlords of Ire-
land."44 The same gentleman claimed that in his
part of the country "advantage was never taken of the
tenants, and the tenants preferred to live under the
good old custom of their forefathers. ."45 jf
all of Ireland's farmers were content to live under
the old customs, it was hard to explain the agrarian
agitation and Fenian bloodshed. It was perfectly true
66


that almost every district had well managed proper-
ties, but the insecurities of the occupiers of the
land about their rights had to be alleviated before
unrest would cease.
In fact the situation was far from idyllic for
any of the parties involved. The tenants' plight was
the most publicized, but so, as one M.P. complained,
was the "woes of the Landlords" who were unable to use
their Irish property as security as a result of the
uncertainty, nor was any sympathy offered to the
widows and children who were adversely affected by
both the loss of their income by sale through the
Encumbered Estates Court or by agrarian unrest which
inhibited the payment of rents.An article in the
Fortnightly Review reflected on how difficult it was
to legislate for the benefit of all the competing
classes and yet respect the rights of property.
It was a case of giving property rights to the ten-
ants, however necessary, took away certain rights from
the landlords.
Through all the rhetoric there were few serious
challenges to the Bill. A few Parliamentarians railed
67



against confiscation, and undue interference with
property rights. The Times regretted that the Bill
would be harsher on the good landlords who had treated
their tenants with kindness than on those who had
ruthlessly cleared their land of peasants.48 An ar-
ticle in The Fortnightly Review made the point that
what really mattered was whether the Irish landlords
would accept the spirit of the Bill or stand on its
letter, as everyone knew that the Irish tenants wanted
"undisturbed possession at a fair rent. with
security for honest industry."4^ The Bill attempted
to grant some rights with strict limits, but fell
short of granting the Three F's.
Once passed by the House of Commons, the Bill met
more resistance in the House of Lords, but still less
than might have been expected. One Irish landlord
called the compensation clauses a confiscation,80
and there was unhappiness about granting compensation
for improvements which had not been approved by the
landlord,51 but many of the Lords recognized that
public opinion had advanced and that "principles which
20 years ago would have been thought revolutionary are
68


52
Some measure
now accepted as a matter of course,
of reform was necessary, and most recognized that the
limited nature of the Bill would cause little real
changes in the way Irish landlords treated tenants.
All would have to behave as only good landlords had
behaved toward their tenants in the past.
The compensation for disturbance clauses drew the
most ire from the Marquess of Salisbury who said that
"a robbery is a robbery, whether it is certain to
occur daily or only on certain conditions55 The
Earl of Clancarty was most concerned that the granting
of the Bill would teach the people of Ireland that
"disaffection, provided it manifests itself in acts of
assassination and outrage spreading terror over the
land, is sure to obtain its reward."54 All objec-
tions aside, in the end the Lords passed the Bill.
In all the debate the one point that would come
back to haunt the lawmakers was not even considered.
None of the remedies outlined either under Ulster
Custom or the compensation clauses came into effect if
a tenant was evicted for non-payment of rent. All the
mechanisms for adjustment of the rents assumed that
69


the tenant was current with his payments and that the
tenant was able to continue to pay at an adjusted
rate. To the truly impoverished Irish tenant, living
from hand to mouth, with no reserves and chronically
late with his rent, the Bill offered nothing. It is
remarkable that such a limited Bill gained acceptance
in Ireland at all, but that it did was largely due to
prosperous years. It was not until bad seasons and
agricultural depression hit Ireland again at the end
of the decade that the inadequacies of the Bill star-
tled the Irish tenant into a new and far more powerful
assault upon the land system.
70


Notes
*An uprising in the Spring of 1867 was poorly
supported and easily suppressed.
^William E. Gladstone, The Gladstone Diaries: With
Cabinet Minutes and Prime Ministerial Correspondence,
vol. 7, ed. H. C. G. Matthew (Oxford, England: Clarendon
Press, 1982), pp. 61-62.
2Mill, On Ireland, p. 6.
^See above, p. 24.
8Lord Dufferin, Irish Emigration and the Tenure of
Land in Ireland (London: Willis, Sotheran & Co. 1867),
p. 20.
^Godkin, p. 417.
^Isaac Butt, The Irish People and the Irish Land:
A Letter to Lord Lifford; with Comments on the Publica-
tions of Lord Dufferin and Lord Rosse (Dublin: John
Falconer, 1867), p. 213.
8George Barnett Smith, The Life and Speeches of the
Right Honourable John Bright, M.P. (New York: A. C.
Armstrong & Son, 1881), p. 170.
^Ibid, p. 173.
*The letter of "An Irish Landlord," Times (Lon-
don), 16 December 1867, p. 10 F.
^Letter of "A Hertfordshire Incumbent," Times
(London), 8 February 1868, p. 12 B.
12[J. S. LeFanu,], "Irish Land 'Pacification,'"
Dublin University Magazine, 71 (June 1868) 713.
71


^Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 7, p. 72-73.
l^Peter MacLagan, Land Culture and Land Tenure in
Ireland: The Results of Observations During a Recent
Tour of Ireland (Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons,
1869) , p. 66.
15"ihe Irish Land Question," The Westminster
Review, 115 (January 1881) 49.
*8Dufferin, p. 231.
^"How the Irish Land System Breeds Disaffection,"
Fraser's Magazine, 77 (February 1868) 259.
lMacLagan, p. 6.
^William O'Connor Morris, Letters on the Land
Question of Ireland (London: Longmans, Green & Co.,
1870) , p. 117.
20George Campbell, The Irish Land (London: Triibner
& Co., 1869), pp. 172-173.
2*Ibid., p. 5.
22Ibid, p. 165.
23Ibid, p. 180.
2^Letter from Gladstone to C.S.P. Fortescue, Irish
Secretary, 5 December 1869 in Gladstone, Diaries, vol.
7, p. 190.
25Ibid, p. 162.
28Letter to J.F. Maguire, M.P., 20 September 1869,
Gladstone, Diaries. vol. 7, p. 133.
2^Campbell, Irish Land, p. 7.
28Ibid., p. 127.
72


3^MacLagan, p. 7.
3John Hamilton, "Pleasant Recollections of Fifty
Years' Residence in Ireland," Macmillan's Magazine.
Parts I,II: 24(June 1871) 144; Parts III, IV: 24 (July
1871) 225; Parts V, VI: 25 (November 1871) 66; Parts
VII, VIII: 25 (February 1872) 339.
3*John Hamilton, "An Ulster Man on the Irish Land
Question," Macmillan's Magazine, 21 (December 1869)
170.
33Times (London), 17 January 1868, p. 10 A.
^Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 7, p. 196.
34Campbell, Irish Land, p.~125.
35Ibid., p. 109.
36Smith, pp. 202-203.
3^Morris, Letters, p. 347.
33Hansard Parliamentary Debates. 3rd. ser., vol.
199 (1870), col. 8.
39Ibid., col. 82.
4^Ibid., col. 361.
41Ibid, col. 370.
43Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 7, p. 238.
43[James A. Dease], "The Irish Land Question," The
Edinburgh Review, 131 (January 1870) 256.
44Hansard, vol. 199, col. 1385.
45Ibid., col. 1390.
46Ibid., col. 1402.
73


^William O'Connor Morris, "The Irish Land Bill,"
The Fortnightly Review, 13 New Series (April 1870) 487.
^Times (London), 8 April 1870, p. 5 A.
49Henry Dix Hutton, "The Irish Land Bill of 1870,"
The Fortnightly Review. 13 New Series (April 1870) 377.
5The Marquess of Clanricarde, Hansard Parliamen-
tary Debates. 3rd. ser., vol. 202 (1870), col 967.
^Ibid. col. 92.
5^Ibid., col. 230.
^Ibid. col. 80.
54Ibid., col. 1696.
74


CHAPTER 5
THE LAND WAR
Those Irish landlords who looked to the 1870 Land
Act to remove the peril to their order must have been
very concerned with its reception by the administra-
tion of Ireland. As early as 1871 Lord Grenville made
a report to the House of Lords on the Land Act in
which he recounted a grave situation. He reported
that the Landed Estates Court had decided that they
were not "bound to advertise the claims of tenants
under Compensation for Improvements" when submitting
notices of estates available for sale.* Worse, on
appeal, such action by the Landed Estates Court was
affirmed because the Lord Justice "did not consider
that the tenants possessed any right whatever under
the Act of 1870.
The information conveyed to the English public
through the press was more optimistic, if somewhat
contradictory. An article in Fraser's Magazine in
March, 1872, claimed that the Land Act had met with
"less factious opposition" and had a "fairer chance of


having its real merits and defects tested by its
practical working."3 Hidden within the columns of
praise for Gladstone and the Act which Fraser1s
thought would inspire an independent character in the
tenant farmers was the statement that the Act had
been drawn up in the landlord's interest and "has
hitherto been uniformly administered so as to give the
landlord the benefit of any ambiguity on its enact-
ments, or doubt as to their practical application."^
Doubts cast on the working of the Act were not
well received by Gladstone, who scolded his Irish
Chancellor for making some adverse comments, and in-
sisted that the Act "neither requires nor admits of
great amendment. .The mere mention at a meet-
ing in Ireland that the Bill might be amended had the
locals writing to the Times that they had supported
the Bill as a final settlement, and it had been ac-
cepted by the tenants of Ireland as such. Suggestions
that the Bill might be amended would merely bring out
the agitators.
The Conservatives were not happy about the Act,
feeling that the Act favoured the tenant class only
76


because it was "organized, unscrupulous, and politi-
cally strong." In an article written in October,
1873, Lord Salisbury claimed that the same groups were
now "clamouring for a further reform which they call
Fixity of Tenure. They propose to reduce the land-
lords further from the condition of wards to the
condition of mortgagees."^ Yet, despite the rheto-
ric, the middle years of the 1870s was a period of
comparative calm in Ireland.
The issue of Irish land never completely disap-
peared from the press. An article in Fraser's Maga-
zine in May, 1874, cited the amount of land held by
English companies and absentees and said that an Act
of Parliament requiring those parties to sell their
land within twenty years "would appear defensible."
The same month the Dublin University Magazine claimed
that the "total abolition of the landed proprietors as
a class" was the final goal of the agitation.^ A
writer in Macmillan's Magazine would have agreed, but
would have approved of the outcome. He argued that if
landlords would take up pleasures more civilized than
the hunt,
77


landlords will probably be glad to sell
their land to occupiers. Land will then be
worth more to an occupier than it can be to
a landlord, and the transfer of the owner-
ship will be for the advantage of both clas-
ses .10
So the decade continued, with the subject never
completely absent from popular forums, inching toward
the idea of transfer of ownership in the land, but
feeling that the system needed adjustment, not revo-
lution.
A series of bad harvests in the late 1870s,
coupled with a new leadership of the Irish Home Rule
Party, caused all the prior remedies to appear inade-
quate. It was the former Fenian, Michael Davitt, who
realized that land was an issue which would unite the
Irish as no other concept could. His tactic was to
organize the tenants to resist evictions, beginning in
his native Mayo with the Mayo Land League. This was
soon expanded to a national Land League, founded in
October, 1879. With its inception, the land war in
Ireland commenced. Davitt's principal coup was en-
listing Charles Stewart Parnell, newly emerged leader
of the Irish Parliamentary Party, as President of the
78


new Land League. Rural disturbances were endemic in
Ireland, but for the first time a powerful organiza-
tion was directing and consolidating the aims. The
difference, one writer explained, was that "Now it was
politicized from the top."11
Part of that process was publicizing the tenant
claims. Davitt claimed that Dublin Castle was always
the "subservient agent" of landlordism in Ireland.12
Every effort was made to make the establishment look
foolish and repressive. When the Government fought
back and arrested Davitt and other agitators, Davitt
claimed that they had actually aided the Land League,
as otherwise their speeches would not have been heard
"outside the circulating radius of the local press. .
. had the Castle possessed commonsense [sic] enough to
ignore them."1^
As for the landlords, the movement's leaders were
determined that they would not be able to ignore the
League. On the principle that never again would
farmers starve while rents were paid, the tenants were
induced to withhold the rent, and by combination,
avoid eviction. The League used intimidation to
79


enforce their tactics. Even if a tenant had the money
to pay rent, he dare not or he would feel the wrath of
his neighbors. No one was allowed to rent a farm from
which a tenant had been evicted. Anyone brave enough
to try would be ostracized and possibly burned out.
The League invented the boycott, named after the first
victim of the League's systematic censure.
One landlord in County Cork defied the League's
boycott and wrote about his experiences in The Con-
temporary Review. He told of the League meeting to
inform his tenants that they were not to pay the rent.
Then all laborers were scared off, leaving Bence
Jones' son and daughter to manage the property. He
told of his daughter milking cows with a constable
standing over her for protection. They lived all
winter with constabulary protection. No goods were
allowed to reach them by ordinary channels and had to
be smuggled in. When the owner tried to decrease the
workload by selling some cattle, the animals were
refused shipment from Cork. Eventually, they were
transported to England, but even there had to be sold
to supporters and at a reduced price.^ Mr. Bence
80


Jones lived through the boycott and was able to write
an indignant article about it. Some of the other
landlords who aroused the hatred of the League and
their supporters were not so lucky. Jones was also
apparently affluent enough that he could survive a
year without receiving his rents. Many Irish land-
lords were not.
The coalition of agricultural and political inter-
ests had a profound effect on Irish life. Members of
the League were elected to the ranks of the poor-law
guardians, formerly a bastion of landlord inter-
ests.1^ The 1880 general election drastically
changed the makeup of the Irish representation in the
British Parliament. Without extensive monetary sup-
port, the Land League managed to defeat many of the
"old and respected Liberal Members," who had repre-
sented the landlord interest.1 In fact, the number
of landlords representing Ireland in Parliament had
decreased from 42 in 1874 to 21 in 1880.^
In England, the Liberal party was returned to
power under Gladstone. He sent Lord Cowper to Ireland
as Lord Lieutenant with William Forster as Chief
81


Secretary. Forster had been to Ireland with his
Quaker father during the famine, and it was believed
that he not only understood, but sympathized with the
Irish. Both Forster and Cowper were reluctant to "use
the full legal and military" power of Dublin Castle to
help the landlords evict tenants unable to pay rents.
They felt "keenly the importance of using the powers
of the law only in those cases where the law does not
in the eyes of the people run contrary to jus-
tice."1 The problem was that what appeared as jus-
tice to a portion of the population appeared as the
opposite to another group.
One of Forster's first acts was to poll the local
magistrates, asking that they report on the state of
the law in their districts. Galway reported that there
was a "decided determination, if not combination,
against process serving. ," and felt that the
rents would be withheld as long as possible. County
Leitrim reported that a landlord had been shot at and
wounded, since which time he had police protection.
One magistrate in County Mayo noted that few landlords
would demand that rents be paid until the crops were
82


gathered. In the same area, another magistrate re-
ported on the case of a farmer who had taken a farm
given up by another tenant. He was taken from bed in
the middle of the night, tortured and then "the party,
having warned him to give up his land, fired shots and
left." Another magistrate summed up the situation by
saying that he could never remember lawlessness of
such proportions in his district.*9 In light of
these reports, the inhibitions of the administration
were overwhelmed, and by 1881 Forster was calling for
a new coercion bill.
While it was widely recognized that the situation
in Ireland was critical, the calmer spirits were still
counselling moderation. Lord Eversley cautioned
Forster that "by applying coercion before a great
remedial measure the effect of the latter was serious-
ly impaired." He felt that if a remedial measure like
a new land bill was applied at once, coercion might be
dispensed with altogether.2 John Bright also
weighed in on the side of moderation. In a speech in
Birmingham in November, 1880, he called "impossible"
schemes for getting rid of the landlords wholesale by
83


purchase or expropriation of their land, and he advo-
cated a
broad and generous system established by
Government by which landowners who were
willing to sell and there must always be
many such and tenants who are willing to
buy, should be able to come to terms, and
thus gradually, year by year, add to the
number of proprietary farmers in Ireland.21
In accordance with the view that a curb on evic-
tions during hard times was the most important issue,
the House of Commons passed a law to give tenants
compensation for "disturbance" when evicted, even for
failure to pay rent. The ensuing debate in House of
Lords was probably the last successful attempt to
maintain the status quo. Lord Cairns noted that the
Government commiserated with the poor Irish tenants,
but "they expect the landlords to furnish all the
funds."22 The Duke of Sommerset said they had
heard much of the rights and duties of property, but
he felt that Parliament was "imposing all the duties
on the landlord while they gave all the rights to the
tenant."22 And the venerable Earl of Beaconsfield
claimed to not understand how the best way to allevi-
ate the agricultural distress in Ireland was "by

84


plundering the landlords."^ The Lords defeated the
Bill and left Ireland mired in strife, which increased
when no action was taken in London on tenant grievanc-
es .
While the land war continued and Parliament
maneuvered, a new note was creeping into the litera-
ture on the subject of Irish land. As early as Novem-
ber, 1879, the Times was reporting that the new call
from the landlords was for compensation for their
losses when rights were given to the tenants. This
was countered by the Land League orators who claimed
that the tenants had purchased the land many times
over by paying rent on it for hundreds of years.
Public opinion was moving in the direction of purchase
also. Sir George Campbell wrote that Parnell agreed
that "it is better to have the land bought than to
fight for it," and while he opposed "wholesale buying
out of the landlords at a high price," he would be
willing to "make a moderate contribution.The
Farmers* Club of Limerick and Clare approved the
principle of a peasant proprietary, but did not advo-
cate the extreme ideas which would be "immediate
85


compulsory expropriation of the landlords," such as
insisting the Government buy out all the land. They
felt secure in their stance because they claimed there
was not the "remotest possibility of an English Gov-
ernment giving countenance to such a scheme."27
Even the statesmen charged with remedying the
situation were not in agreement. John Bright noted
that at a cabinet meeting in early 1880 there was
"great difference of opinion; extremes apparent."2
Numerous memoranda on the subject were studied by the
cabinet, which was also deluged with a constant flow
of information on the unhappy state of Ireland. One
treatise was prepared by William OConnor Morris in
his position as a magistrate in Ireland. He had
advanced to the point that he advocated allowing
tenants to acquire their holdings by making "transfer
of landed property cheap, rapid and easy. 29
As usual, Gladstone was more conservative than
many of his colleagues. In December, 1880, he admit-
ted that "it was not without difficulty that I brought
myself to entertain the idea of the purchase of Es-
tates for public account by a Commission. ."30
86


He also expressed dismay that the Bessborough Commis-
sion, appointed to make recommendations on Irish land,
seemed to be advocating that "the State i.e. the
people of the country are to compensate the Irish
landowners for certain rights, i.e. for a portion of
their property, now to be taken away from them."^
The Bessborough Commission, though not unanimous,
recommended the Three F's as the basis for settlement,
with more liberal purchases clauses than the Bright
Clauses of the 1870 Act. Fixity of tenure at a fair
rent, with free right of sale were essential if Ire-
land was to accept the coming legislation.
Gladstone introduced the new Bill in April. It
set off a new flurry of writing in the journals and
papers. There was the sadness of a purchaser at the
Landed Estates Court who asked if it was "honourable
for the English Government to alter or repudiate a
title which they had given, and on the faith of which
a landlord has spent almost all his capital, without
compensating him?""^ His lament was echoed in a let-
ter which acknowledged that there had been a time when
the terms of the new Bill would have exceeded Irish
87


expectations, but conditions were such that the Three
F's might not be enough. Again, compensation to the
landlords for what they were losing was the only
worthy way for England to deal with the landlords.33
To do otherwise was "public plunder."3*
In another change of emphasis, the writers recog-
nized the right of the State to take property when it
was for the public good, but the property must be
O C
bought out on fair terms. 3 Generosity might even be
considered. One mentioned that there was much talk of
buying out the absentees; he contended that often the
resident landlords would be much more damaged by the
new Act and should be bought out as well.3 The
tone of the letters had changed from condemning tam-
pering with property as a confiscation to demanding
compensation for the actual confiscation which had
become inevitable.3^
The number of persons appalled by the scope of
the proposed Bill included the Duke of Argyll, who
resigned from the cabinet, and stated his reasons in
an article in The Nineteenth Century, as it would not
have been proper to voice them in Parliament. He
88


argued that he had come to believe that extending the
ownership of Irish land was the only permanent solu-
tion to the problem. He maintained, however, that the
Bill, by giving the tenant a fixed tenure and a rent
fixed by a Commission, would inhibit rather than
encourage such purchase. They would have all the
rights of ownership without the responsibilities.
When they had the benefit of ownership without the
encumbrance, why would the Irish tenant be willing to
obligate himself to a mortgage in order to purchase
his holding.38
Parliamentarian, G. Shaw Lefevre, answered in a
subsequent issue that the transformation of tenant
farmers to owners must be a gradual process or else
real expropriation is likely to occur. He pointed out
that even the Land League was in favor of a gradual
movement toward ownership. In the interim, it was
important that the tenant have his rent determined to
be fair and his holding secure.39 Gladstone, on hear-
ing of the proposed article, wrote to Lefevre that he
was sure he would not in any way "dally with the
proposition that the State is to buy the estates in
89


Ireland of all Landlords desiring to sell."^ He
did not want the Government even slightly connected
with any such proposal.
In the House of Commons the landlords position
was ably stated by the Dubliner, Mr. Gibson. He
acknowledged that there had been numerous confisca-
tions in Ireland's past,
but never before has there been in that
country a confiscation directly levelled at
the loyal, against those who support law and
order and who are the firmest friends of
that country's connection with England. *
Others pointed out that the slave owners had been
compensated when slavery was abolished; could Parlia-
ment do less with the landlords?^ Buying out the
landlords would at least allow them to utilize their
capital elsewhere and not force them to remain in a
position rendered intolerable by State action.
Lord Randolph Churchill, always at his best when
criticizing the government, said that the Bill was not
for rent adjustment or security of tenure. It was
"simply that agitation, be it audacious and unscrupu-
lous enough, constant, and pertinacious, would suffice
for the destruction of almost any of the institutions
90


of this country." 44 Many Parliamentarians were
loath to begin again the cycle of placating the Irish
only to have the demands increased before the benefits
of the remedial action could be seen. So many Irish
Bills had been passed only to fail in pacifying Ire-
land. After a long and wearing debate, however, the
Land Bill of 1881 was passed by the House of Commons
and sent to the Lords. Unlike the Bill of the previ-
ous year, the 1881 Bill was met in the Lords with a
general feeling that something must be passed. The
Marquess of Salisbury expressed sorrow that the pur-
chase clauses were not more fully developed, but noted
that the landlords of Ireland were looking to Parlia-
ment "to find some solution which may bring about a
respite, if only temporarily, to the sufferings and
anarchy they are enduring."4 There were, of course,
the Peers who pointed out that important rights were
being conceded in propitiation of terror.4 One Lord
reminded his fellows that once the landlords were gone
they would be faced with an Ireland composed of peas-
ants who had for generations hated the English con-
nection and "whose power and whose purpose they have
91


47
But
already foiled, defeated, and humiliated."
the Lords merely amended the Bill and returned it to
the Commons.
The amendments were not all accepted, but as
August drew on, the two houses managed to finalize a
Bill that provided for a Commission responsible for
setting a judicial rent upon application by either the
landlord or the tenant, and giving the tenant essen-
tial fixity of tenure as long as that rent was paid.
The interest of the tenant could be sold "for the best
price that can be got for the same," subject to giving
notice to the landlord who could object only on the
grounds of the new tenant having insufficient means to
farm the land, being of bad character, or other cause
if allowed by the Court.48 The Bill also provided
that if the landlord and tenant could agree on a
price, the Commission could advance three-fourths of
the purchase price of a holding to allow the tenant to
become proprietor. The Commission was also empowered
to acquire wastelands for resale.
The Bill was a major departure in legislation for
Ireland. When it was passed the Marquess of Salisbury
92


noted that he sent the Bill out with "a hope, rather
than a trust, that it may do great benefit to the
Irish tenants, and not much harm to the Irish land-
lords."^ How the complex mechanisms established
would work was yet to be seen. Parnell and the Land
League held aloof from the Bill, suggesting merely
some test cases be pursued to see how the Commission-
ers would rule. Yet most felt that the passing of the
Bill was a great triumph for the League. When the
Irish Land Commission opened, the Registrar, in a
telling slip, pronounced that "The Court of the Irish
Land League is now open."^
Gladstone had his moment of triumph on Irish
land. His next focus on Ireland would be Home Rule.
The land issue was left for the Conservatives to
remedy. The tenants were secure for the moment.
There were still problems, such as arrears of rent
which had accumulated over the years, but establishing
a fixed interest in the soil was a monumental accom-
plishment. On the other hand, the Act of 1881 was the
beginning of the end for the landlord class. The
ability to deal with their property was strictly
93


curtailed, as was their income, both by rent reduc-
tions granted by the Commission and by the falling
agricultural prices caused by international competi-
tion and worldwide recession. No longer trying to
maintain their position of ascendancy, they maneuvered
to extricate themselves from the half ownership al-
lowed under the Act. Many did not want to sell out
and leave Ireland, but most did not believe that it
was possible to be an owner of property which one
could not manage. What position to take and what
legislation to pursue was the question that occupied
the next few years.
94


Notes
^Hansard Par 1 iamentarv Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 206
(1871), col. 1974.
2Ibid, col. 1975.
2L. "The New Irish Land Law," Fraser's Magazine,
5 ser. 2 (March 1872) 296.
^Ibid.
^Letter to Baron O'Hagan, 9 .December 1973, Glad
stone. Diaries, vol. 7, p. 423.
6Times (London), 18 December 1871, p. 5 D.
^Lord Salisbury (Robert A. T. G. Cecil), Lord
Salisbury on Politics: A Selection from his Articles in
the Quarterly Review, ed. Paul Smith (Cambridge,
England: University Press, 1972), p. 322-323.
F.N. "The Working of the Irish Land Act," Fraser' s
Magazine, 9 ser. 2 (May 1874) 537.
[Durham Dunlop) "The Irish Land Question," Dubl in
University Magazine, 83 (May 1874) 513.
10Hugh de F. Montgomery, "The Present Aspect of the
Irish Land Question," Macmillan's Magazine, 32 (May
1875) 33.
^Charles Townshend, Political Violence In Ireland:
Government and Resistance since 1848 (Oxford, England:
Clarendon Press, 1983), p. 118.
12Davitt, p. 177.
*2Ibid., p. 184 .
95


Full Text

PAGE 1

REVOLUTION BY LEGISLATION: IRISH LAND OWNERSHIP 1848 1903 by Marcia Ann Kehl B.A., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 1990 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts History 1993

PAGE 2

This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Marcia Ann Kehl has been approved for the Department of History by Fi&derick s. Allen if fr; .. ..( I' /'73 Date

PAGE 3

Kehl, Marcia Ann (M.A., History) Revolution by Legislation: Irish Land Ownership 1848 -1903 Thesis directed by Professor James B. Wolf ABSTRACT Between 1849 and 1903 the landlords ot Ireland lost most of their power which had its basis in land ownership. They entered the period with almost absolute power over their land and the tena'i1ts residing thereon. By 1903 they were requesting, and receiving, State aid to allow them to sell their land to the tenants without bankrupting themselves by accepting a price which the tenants could afford to pay. That most of the landlords avoided ruin in the fifty-five years of land agitation is testimony to their ability to adjust to changing circumstance and their use of the British Parliament to direct the course of land reform. They were able to direct opinion by assiduous use of the popular journals, easing the passage of legislation affecting Irish land. They began the foray into legislative action still trying to protect absolute property rights. The first legislation was an attempt to replace indebted landlords with more affluent capitalists. At the same time, many

PAGE 4

landlords recognized the inequities in the Irish system of landholding and were willing to make concessions, especially those based on the custom prevalent in Ulster. The landlords survived a land war in the late 1870s, but the legislation they accepted in order to regain both peace and the payment of rents, ceded to the tenants a vested right in the soil. As the consequences of such legislation were realized, they gradually changed their tactics and advocated the sale of holdings to the tenants. However, the deflated value of Irish land precluded many landlords from selling because a sale would deprive them of both income and capital. The issue was resolved by the landlords and tenants agreeing on sale as the solution to Irish land problems. It remairied for the English ireasury to advance a bonus to the landlords to enable them to escape gracefully. The landlords used legislation to protect their position and, finally, to ensure their continued solvency. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. its publication. Signed (Jarite s B C!'!? 1 f I lV

PAGE 5

CONTENTS CHAPTER 1. Introduction 1 10 11 31 2. 3. Notes . Old Animosities and New Solutions Notes . . . Political Economy Attempted Notes . . . 35 50 4. Mr. Gladstone L6oks at Ireland . . 52 Notes . . ........... 71 5. The Land War . . . . 75 Notes . 95 6. Landlord Relief 99 Notes . 117 7 Cone 1 us ion . . . . 121 Notes . . . . . 129 BIBLIOGRAPHY Official Documents .............. 130 Contemporary Writings 130 Other Sources . 143 v

PAGE 6

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In the years between 1848 and 1903 a revolution took place in Ireland, not just in the way land was owned, but in the way land was viewed. The revolution --while not entirely bloodless --was accomplished primarily by legislative action rather than by force of The reason for the re1a'tively non-violent resolution was that process was initiated because the Irish landlords were in trouble. That class looked to Parliament to assist them in their dilemma. The legislation of the period has been criticized by many modern authors, as well as some contemporary writers, as .being too little, too late. That criticism misses the main point of the legislative excursion. The legislators, no less than the landlords and tenants of Ireland, were searching for a formula to insure the payment of rents to the landlords while granting the teriants sufficient security to induce them to invest in the improvement of their farms. The

PAGE 7

diversity within both the landlord and the tenant classes complicated this process. There were many different types of landlords, some wealthy nobles living in England or the Continent, others simple squires living on their properties from which they attempted to eke out a living. In general, the owners of the land were descendants of the adventurers settled on the land by the Tudors, by Cromwell and by William III in an attempt to establish a loyal and protestant social base in Ireland. Most were protestant, and, as such belonged to families who had enjoyed the almost absolute power of the pre-Union Protestant Ascendancy. Their background, their posi tion and their wealth made them the leaders of Irish society as ruled from Dublin Castle. Even with the repeal of the penal laws and Catholic Emancipation, on the eve of the famine the position of the Irish landlords as magistrates and local leaders was secure. It has been estimated that in 1870, after more than twenty years of land adjustments, half the land in Ireland, or some ten million acres, was owned by less then 800 landlords.1 The majority of the Irish 2

PAGE 8

were tenants of these owners of the soil, either directly or through middlemen. Some had leases, but most were tenants-at-will who could be evicted upon notice by the landlord. In 1841 Ireland had a population of approximately eight million, of which twothirds were dependent on agriculture for their living. Only seven per cent of Irish farms held by tenant farmers were over thirty acres, which would place the holder in the position of being a reasonably substantial farmer. on the other hand 45% of the agricultural holdings were of under five acres, which would barely support a peasant family in good years.2 Much has been written about the Irish famine in the late 1840s. When the potato crop failed, millions either perished in their homeland or were forced to emigrate. The picture has been drawn of an uncaring Anglo-Irish aristocracy which insisted that food be shipped to England to pay the rents, allowing their tenants to starve. There were many incidents where food could be purchased in the towns, but since the people had no money, they died within sight of sustenance. Above all, the famine left images of poor 3

PAGE 9

tenants driven from their homes for failure to pay rent, living in ditches, without hope. The famine hit the poor the hardest but all farmers were affected. The famine is often cited as a turning point in agrarian unrest in Ireland because the tenant farmers realized that only by acquiring certain rights in the land could they survive. The last half of the nineteenth century encompassed their struggle to secure those rights, especially security of tenure, fair rent, compensation for their improvements, and the ability to sell or otherwise pass on their tenure rights. Less has been written about the Irish landlords. The famine was also a turning point in their history. They had lived in a world of privilege, an4 a world which still believed in the principles of the enlightenment, that the world was governed by certain natural laws. The current gospel was "free-trade" and the sanctity of contract. With as little governmental interference as possi-ble, men conducting affairs in their own best interests would profit society. Much was written about property rights, the absolute right 4

PAGE 10

of the owner of the land to use it as he saw fit. The concept that the rent owed by the tenant should be abrogated and Irish produce be used to feed the people was totally alien to the thought of the day. When famine hit Ireland, the popular philosophy in England and Ascendancy Ireland held that if there was not enough food for the people, there were pr6bably too many people and a reduction of the number by death and emigration was beneficial. When public outrage at the tales of privation made some assistance necessary, the government applied economic doctrines to that also. Relief was supplied in the form of loans to improve the roads and to make other capital improvements, thereby providing jobs for the impoverished by which they could earn enough to buy food. Only after the famine reached critical stages was an attempt made to actually feed the people directly. Everything that was done to relieve the famine sufferers, except that provided by private charity, was organized by the local poor-law Guardians in their individual jurisdictions, called "unions." They ran the workhouses and directed the capital improvement 5

PAGE 11

projects. The funds for these endeavors was raised through the poor-rate, which was a charge against the land. Even after the London government allowed government funds to be used in relief, the loans and obligations incurred previously remained with the local Union. Many Irish landlords found that the poorrate, on top of other obligations associated with their ownership of the land, placed them in a position of extreme insolvency. That local insolvency, combined with the doctrines of London, contributed substantially to the bad reputation which cursed the majority of Irish landlords for the rest of the century. Many of the wealthiest Irish landlords were well known for their benevolence and relief efforts, but they were generally persons with additional sources of income outside Ireland. The magnitude of the disaster in Ireland caused some to question the viability of the entire system of land ownership. During the course of the famine, certain thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and John Bright had advanced ideas for the reformation of the complete system. They especially espoused the idea of 6

PAGE 12

a peasant proprietary, unburdened by rents. They were commonly dismissed as too radical to be considered. As Ireland emerged from the worst famine years, it was generally agreed, however, that some legislation was necessary to deal with the problems of Irish land. There was legislation introduced in almost every Parliament between 1848 and 1903 dealing with some aspect of the Irish land situation. Some were denounced as capitulating to the demands of the tenant right groups; others were as vehemently attacked as being "landlord relief bills." The defiriition of property rights and ownership were endlessly debated. The Bills of 1870 and 1881 were each touted as a final settlement of .the Irish land problems. Yet the conflict continued between the occupiers of the soil, to whom equitable tenure represented the difference between a minimal survival and starvation, and the landlords, to whom the land was a symbol of their political and social power, as well as a source of income. The legislation fell into three phases. First there was an attempt to apply economic principles to Ireland by eliminating impoverished landowners and 7

PAGE 13

replacing them with capitalists who would improve the land. Next the legislature had to attempt to deliver the tenants from the unforseen and unjust results of their initial acts. Finally, the landlords and the tenants had to find a way out of the intolerable situation of tangled rights created by earlier legislation. It is questionable whether the plethora of land legislation would have occurred if the Irish landlords had emerged from the famine with their financial and social power intact. That they did not set in motion a series of legislative acts which radically redefined the rights of property in Ireland. However much the peasants might have wanted the land, and however much support they might have received from the radical thinkers of the day, it is unlikely that the British Parliament, that bulwark of landed interests, would have been persuaded to tamper with property rights except in defence of their own class. The road from absolute property rights vested in the owner of the soil to the sale of those property rights in order to create a peasant proprietary was long and complicated. 8

PAGE 14

Along the way public as well as political opinions had to change. Countless pamphlets and journal articles were published as the issues were discussed from all angles. The landlords and tenant-right advocates used the popular journals to argue their case and nudge public opinion. What happened to Irish land was part of the political process, which was itself a complex maturation of public and private opinion, pushed forward by the tenant-right groups and held in check by the rear guard campaign of the landlords. However, once begun, the readjustment of Irish property rights followed a somewhat logical path toward peasant proprietary. 9

PAGE 15

Notes 1 R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland 1600-1972, (London: The Penguin Press, 1988), p. 375. 2T. w. Moody and F. X. Martin, eds., The Course of Irish History, (Cork, Ireland: The Mercier Press, 1989), p. 267. 10

PAGE 16

CHAPTER 2 OLD ANIMOSITIES AND NEW SOLUTIONS The problems with Irish land did not begin with the famine. Ireland had been conquered by Henry II and his Norman adventurers in the twelfth century; however, the conquest was never completed. Large parts of Ireland.were not brought under direct English administration until the sixteenth century, when the Tudors determined to complete the conquest of Ireland and draw that island into their new religion. The Irish natives and the descendants of the original Norman invaders were generally content with the Catholic religion. The religious differences merely exacerbated relations with the incoming administrators. James I in the early 1600s was very successful in settling protestants, many of them Scottish Presbyterians, on the land of Ulster which had been vacated by rebellious Irish chieftains. Ireland was relatively quiet until the English Civil War of the mid-century, when the Irish remained loyal to the king, Charles I. The price of their loyalty was that Cromwell invaded

PAGE 17

Ireland, confiscated more land and settled it with his former soldiers and followers. The restoration of Charles II did not include restoration of Irish land to its original owners, but the administrations of Charles and later his brother, James II, were lightly felt by the Catholic Irish. When James became a Catholic, produced an heir, and was driven from England by William III, the Irish rallied to his cause. The result was the Battle of the Boyne, where James and the Irish were defeated. The land was once again confiscated and given to William's loyal supporters, and a century of oppression of the Irish people began. The victorious Anglo-Irish were determined to consolidate their gains and remove the danger of future rebellions. They enacted a series of laws to strictly regulate Catholics within their society. Limits were put on terms for which Catholics could lease land. Land ownership and inheritance were drastically curtailed. Even profit margins for farmers were regulated.l While these penal laws had all disappeared from the statute books by 1848, the mental scars and economic damage caused by them remained. 12

PAGE 18

The gulf between the owners of the land and the occupiers widened immeasurably, both socially and economically. In England land had been owned by a feudal aristocracy who controlled all the land, and the farms and villages were occupied at the sufferance of the owner and in return for service. Over the years that idea of service had been superseded by a payment of rental, but the land title remained with the owner and that owner generally provided the tenant with a house and such outbuildings as were required for the functioning of the property. In Ireland, the land had been owned by the tribe, with each tribesman farming a portion on which he made all the improvements. Each member of the tribe considered himself to have rights in the soil he cultivated.2 When Ireland was conquered by England and even during the subsequent confiscations, the title to the land changed, but often the day to day existence of the occupier was little altered. The new owners still needed the natives to work the land, and so in many cases, the relations between the two were ill-defined and the peasants retained their 13

PAGE 19

belief that they had rights in the land they worked. The exception to this state of tenure was in Ulster, where the new owners brought in new occupiers and where charters guaranteed them certain rights. This history of land ownership in Ireland had created a complicated situation. Many of the owners of Irish land also owned estates in England and were absent from their Irish estates.for part, if not all, of the year. In 1836 it was estimated that payments to absentees drained million in revenues from Ireland.3 Those landowners, together with many who lived in Ireland, either in Dublin or on their estates, wielded incredible political power. Before the Union of 1801 between and England, they had ruled from the Irish Parliament in College Green; afterwards, they had ruled through their representation in the London Parliament. The land was both the symbol of their power and its base. Ireland was not unique in the power wielded by the landlords. As the vote was given to more men, many landlords were able to deliver their tenapts' vote in a block to whichever party they supported. In 14

PAGE 20

England, no lesser figure than Gladstone had been rebuked for soliciting the votes of Lord Westminster's tenants.4 That was in 1841. The publicity about tenants being evicted for voting "against" their landlords began to change that abuse. By 1856. Earl Stan hope, on visiting his Irish estates, addressed his tenants on the relationship of landlord and tenant and was heard to say that he would never interfere with the "political or religious opinions of his tenantry."5 The relations between landlord and tenant were so interwoven into the fabric of Irish society that any adjustment in that relationship affected all. When the English began to legislate about Irish land, they were only vaguely aware of the muddled maze of property rights that existed. The English governing class felt that the rights of property and the rights of capital were the pillars of civilization.6 To them ownership was absolute. That philosophy led to their imposing "a land system on Ireland that has prevented the Irish from ever becoming reconciled to English law and government."7 They enacted laws based either on the situation which existed in England, or 15

PAGE 21

tried to fit Ireland uncomfortably into theoretical molds of agricultural efficiency. On the eve of the famine the land situation in Ireland was recognized as critical. The known abuses included absenteeism, rack-renting,8 and arbitrary evictions on the one side and bad husbandry, excessive subdivision of holdings and agrarian outrage on the other. In 1843 the Devon Commission was established to look into the state of agriculture in Ireland and to propose solutions for any inequities found. Its report in 1845 deplored the state of the relations between landlord and tenant and recommended remedial legislation. Before anything was done.the potato crop had failed, and Irish legislation for the next few years was mainly concerned with relief and reconstruction of the The famine did little to mitigate the ill will between the classes, despite many instances of works instigated by the wealthy to relieve the hunger. Michael Davitt, a leader of the Land League agitation later in the century, summed up the feeling of the poorer tenant in that it was a time of shame, of 16

PAGE 22

a million people ... lying down to die in a land out of which forty-five millions' worth of food was being exported, in one year alone for rent --the product of their own toil --and making no effort, combined or otherwise, to assert even the animal's right of existence --the righg to live by the necessities of its nature. The magnitude of the crisis led to a reexamination of the way property was held in Ireland. As early as 1846 John Stuart Mills was remarking that the Irish landlords' title to the land came from seizure from the Irish and that it was hard to expect the Irish to see anything sacred about such a title.10 He claimed that when one hundred families had cultivated lands for many centuries and when during the same period one family had done nothing but consume the produce of that land, when it carne time that one or the other must leave, the one family should be the one to quit. He equated this with the theory of "fixity of tenure."ll If most of Ireland's ills resulted from the land situation, the most obvious remedy was to change the way land was owned. If the relationship between landlord and tenant was unsatisfactory, perhaps a redefinition of those relationships was in order. 17

PAGE 23

Mill advocated the creation of a peasant proprietary. Another writer to agree with him, after long study of land tenure throughout Europe and the Colonies, was William Thornton. He looked at the tenants and thought that they were indolent because they had no incentive to be otherwise: if they improved their farms, the rents were raised; they were permitted to keep no more than would keep them alive at a bare subsistence leve1.12 He traced the history of small proprietors in order to show that under the right conditions, small holdings are quite economical. His conclusion was that the best way to deal with the Irish problem was to have the State buy up the wastelands ot Ireland and settle people thereon to reclaim them. once reclaimed, the occupiers should be given perpetual leases and told that government assistance would only last until the first harvest, after which they would be responsible for their own support.13 A peasant proprietary would be a stabilizing influence in the society as "none are so likely to pay such respect [to the rights of property] as those who have property of their own they wish to see respected."14 18

PAGE 24

On the other side of the subject were the advo-cates of consolidating the small parcels into acreages large enough to be economical. Despite the horror of the famine, many in Britain saw it as an opportunity for reconstructing Irish land holdings.1 5 It was believed that if the land was cleared and relet in parcels large enough to guarantee a proper return on investment, Ireland would soon resemble England with :r neat farms, on which the landowner had erected farm-houses and barns, and on which prosperous tenants, loyal England, would reside. Reinforcing that view was the fact that several of the large, wealthy landowners had bought out their tenants and resubdivided their land according to this plan. These estates were conceded to be well-run and prosperous. The Times even cited an estate in the poorer west, in Donegal, where not only was the agri-cultural product superior, but a cottage industry in woolen goods existed and was encouraged and supported by the proprietor. They describe the estate as illustrative of "What an Irish Landlord May Do."16 The next question seemed to be that if actions taken by 19

PAGE 25

some landlords met with success, why did not others follow suit? The answer lay in the condition of a large number of the landlords of Ireland. Many of the estates of Ireland were heavily encumbered: some due to relief efforts during the famine, some due to the extrava-gance of the ancestors of the current owners. Land was still subject to entail, and most estates were charged with various pensions and other obligations. The Irish landowner was described in 1848 as being subject to a jointure to the widow of his predecessor, and a provision for younger sons and daughters. He .is compelled to keep up a certain appearance in society, and borrows money from an insurance office. Thus, loaded with direct and collateral burderis he starves this estate to maintain a nominal respect and agriculture is !'crificed to the enrichment of moneymongers. While many remedies were proposed, such as a tax on absentees, or prohibiting the shipment of food from Ireland until the people were fed,18 the solution most favored by legislators was removing limitations on the transfer of properties to allow the sale of at least part of an estate to satisfy its creditors. 20

PAGE 26

The first attempt to remove the barriers and to allow the sale of Irish property was the Incumbered Estates Bill of 1848. The Bill was introduced in the House of Lords, indicating the degree of aristocratic interest. Presenting the Bill, the Lord Chancellor indicated that some estates in Ireland were so encumbered that "the ostensible owner in some cases could hardly be said to have any estate in the land at all."19 With no income after all encumbrances were satisfied, the landlord had no means of improving his property or consolidating his holdings. The purpose of the Bill presented, according to the Lord Chancellor, was to replace these nominal owners of the soil with capitalists. "Such persons would not think of purchasing land without possessing capital sufficient for its improvement .. .20 The new, capitalis-tic, proprietors would improve both the land and relations between themselves and the community. To the anticipated claim that the Bill was an interference with the rights of property, the Lord Chancellor repliedby asking "why should the interests of the community at large, as well as the interests of 21

PAGE 27

individuals, be disregarded for the sake of maintaining mere abstract rights?"21 The maintenance of those rights had been shown to cause injustice in Ireland. Precedents for interfering in property rights for the good of the community existed in the taking of real property for the building of railroads. The Bill was supported by other peers who indicated a hope that peace and prosperity follow in the wake of a "class of purchasers able to perform the duties of properties."22 Lord Stanley remarked that due to the inability of some of the encumbered proprietors to perform their duties, "very erroneous ideas had been formed on their disposition to do it ... 2 3 The Bill was passed by the Lords without debate on the third reading. In the House of Commons the debate was more heated. Sir Lucius O'Brien, while granting that the Government probably did not intend to oppress landlords, accused them of putting forward a Bill that "would shake the foundation of property," and expose Irish landlords to all kinds of annoyance.2 4 One of the main objections to the Bill was that not just 22

PAGE 28

landowners could petition to have their property sold. Mortgagees and certain other creditors could also petition for sale. O'Brien contended that, riqht or wrong, entail was the raw of the land, which enabled the landed gentry to "keep up their station, and upon them the monarchy itself rested."2 5 To other members the idea that judgment creditors could force a sale of property seemed a dangerous interference with property rights and ruinous to the landed interest in Ireland.26 Other instances of unfortunate legislation were pointed out. It was the poor-raw, which had been forced on Ireland contrary to all advice from Commissions appointed to investigate Ireland, which had rendered so many of the landed gentry insolvent. That poor-law "acted almost as a confiscation of property."27 Now it appeared that Parliament was trying to oust from their estates the owners they had ruined. The Bill passed the Commons, but with a change. Whereas the Lords had insisted that all property must be sold for sufficient sums to pay off all encumbrances, the Commons had lifted that provision, knowing 23

PAGE 29

that the value of many estates was less than the total encumbrances. When that change was returned to the House of Lords for approval, another round of acrimonious debate ensued. The Earl of Glengall led the fight, calling the Bill robbery, but one of his main objections to it was that it would force estates into the market at the same time, thereby driving prices down.28 He first sounded the cry that was to sound throughout the battle over Irish land: confiscation. He accused the Lords of accomplishing what Daniel O'Connell had been unable to do: repeal the Union and "confiscate the property of the Protestant landlords of Ireland;" He even, in a prescient remark, predicted that the Protestant Church would not long outlive such actions.29 The Act passed, but the provision that estates had to. be sold for sufficient sums to pay all creditors was reinstated. Still, relations in Ireland did not appreciably improve. The Times of late 1848 is full of instances where tenants stole the crop by threshing it at night, and by the morning when the 24

PAGE 30

landlord's agents arrived to collect the rent nothing was left.3 0 The tenants, meanwhile, complained that landlords often preferred to leave their lands waste rather than lower the rents to an amount the tenants could afford. In County Clare, in western Ireland, the proposal was put forward that the Board of Guard-ians should take over any land left waste and use the inmates of the workhouse to reclaim it and plant a crop. Not meaning to defraud the landlord, it was contemplated that after the crop was sold the money left over after replenishing seed and manure supplies and paying a fee for the labor should be presented to the landlord.31 In the meanwhile, few estates were sold under the 1848 Act. Most people conceded that the law was not working as well as had been hoped, and in April, 1849, a new Incumbered Estates Bill was introduced in the House of Commons to eliminate some of the problems of the 1848 Act. The worst of the problems was that it could take up to five years for a purchaser to actually get possession of the property he bought. The new Bill proposed to give to the purchasers a guaranteed 25

PAGE 31

title which would eliminate this long waiting period caused by title verifications. A Commission was to be set up to cut through a lot of the red tape. Final-ly, the requirement that an estate could only be sold for a full value, enough to pay all creditors, was to be dropped.32 sir Lucius O'Brien was, once again, an outspoken opponent of the Bill. He pointed out that the Government had been offering loans to Irish landlords to effect improvements, and had been critical that more landlords had not taken advantage of the offer. O'Brien saw these loans as a trap, for after the Government contributed to, even encouraged, the indebtedness of the Irish Landlords, it passed a Bill by which these unfortunate persons could be sold out against their wi11.33 Whether the Bill adequately protected tenants was also questioned, it being presented as unfair that tenants who had a bona fide arrangement with the current owner could be dispossessed or forced into new terms by a new owner. It was asserted that there was adequate protection in the Bill for such tenants.34 26

PAGE 32

At the third reading, opponerits tried to defeat the Bill. Colonel Dunne called it a measure of confiscation and predicted that it would further alienate Ireland from England.35 Mr. Napier said the Bill invaded the rights of property and "struck. at the very roots of society." Likewise, he predicted it would only further separate Ireland from England.36 But the Bill was passed and sent on to the House of Lords, which body had been responsible for introducing the concept of buying out the distressed landlords in their Bill of the previous year. In the Lords the same arguments were advanced as had been put forward by the opponents in the House of Commons. The Earl of Glengall was again in the forefront, wondering that "any man should have had the hardihood to propose so downright a confiscation of property for their adoption."3 7 He accused the Government of proposing the Bill simply so that they would not have to come up with the money from the treasury to support Ireland's starving population. The landlords were to be destroyed to save the treasury the inconvenience of paying for .centuries of bad 27

PAGE 33

legislation for Ireland.3 8 The Bill was amended, but not significantly, and passed. The debate over the Bill did not end with its passage. There were still problems between landlords and tenants: tenants carrying off the crop to avoid paying the rent, and landlords forced to reduce rent below the level at which it would support his obligations.39 One culprit, which was not the fault of legislation, was the doctrine of free trade, which placed Irish produce in competition with the overwhelming resources of the United States.4 0 Despite this, the Incumbered Estates Act did change Ireland, for better or for worse depending on one's point of view. William O'Connor Morris, an Irish landlord and judge, felt it changed the whole order of things. He particularly criticized the ability of small creditors to force a sale, and felt that by giving indefeasible title to the purchasers, it excused them from all existing claims.4 1 He also maintained that the price paid for many of the estates was far too low.42 One Irish parliamentarian, Tim Healy, described the problem in the simplest terms: after the famine 28

PAGE 34

the problem in the simplest terms: after the famine the tenants could not pay rent, so the landlords could not pay their mortgages. The landlords, therefore, lost their estates. He told of a very inventive ruse used by the landlords of County Clare to avoid sales. They hired "mobs to beat the 'mapsmen' sent down by the Dublin Courts to mark out the bounds of their properties."43 Without these maps, the properties could not be properly advertised and sold. In other areas of the country landlords submitted to the Act, and it has been estimated that by 1857 one-third of the land of Ireland had changed hands.44 The Act had other, unforseen, effects. When the Government was questioned about the rights of tenants being protected, the Government answered that they were. The problem was in the definition of tenant. The only protected class of tenant was those with written leases which could be produced and entered as an encumbrance on the property. For the great majority of Irish tenants there was no protection. These tenants-at-will had always relied on the honor of their landlords to secure to them the benefits of 29

PAGE 35

of tenure.45 Now they were faced with increased rent and eviction. On the other hand, the new purchaser considered the land his to do with as he wished. He had purchased the land as advertised, and almost all advertisements failed to disclose the fact that there were claims in equity by tenants which would affect his ability to raise rents and evict tenants.46 So the Act which had been seen as a way to help Ireland resulted in injustice to many: to the landlords, who were sold out at a low price because of encumbrances incurred aiding their tenants to weather the famine, and the tenants, who were either evicted or had their rents raised with no consideration of their long tenure on the soil or the improvements they had contributed thereto. The attempts to adjust the situation to more fairly deal with all preoccupied Parliament for the next twenty years. William O'Connor Morris saw this as a "warning to British statesmen not to meddle inconsiderately with the Irish land question, a subject few of them really understand."47 30

PAGE 36

Notes 1James Godkin, The Land War in Ireland: A History for the Times (London: Macmillan & Co., 1870: reprint, Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970), p. 237. (Page references are to reprint edition.) Godkin that if a Papist produced a profit greater than the amount of the rent, his title could cease and pass to the first Protestant to discover the rate of profit. 2Joyce Marlow, Captain Boycott and the Irish, (New York: Saturday Review Press, E._P.Dutton & co., 1973), p. 23. 3[Michael Staunton], "Irish Absenteeism," The Dub 1 in Review, 2 (December 18 3 6) 1 9 9 4Philip Magnus, Gladstone (London: John Murray, 1954), p.171. 5 Times (London), 22 September, 1856, p. 7. 6J. L. Hammond, Gladstone and the Irish Nation (London: Longmans Green & Co., Ltd., 1938i reprint, Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, Shoe String Press, 1964), p. 9. (Page referenes are to reprint edition.) 7 T. W. Moody, Davitt and Irish Revolution 1846-82 (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1981), p. 517. 8Rack-renting is defined as the process whereby a landowner takes bids for the tenancy, letting to the highest bidder. When the time came to pay the amount bid, the tenant was often unable to meet his commitment. 9Michael Davitt, The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland or the Story of the Land League Revolution (London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1904), p. 47. 31

PAGE 37

10John Stuart Mi 11, On Ireland, with an introductory essay by Richard Ned Lebow (Philadelphia: Institute for the study of Human Issues, 1979), p. 7. 11Ibid., p. 13. 1 2william T. Thornton, A Plea for Peasant Proprietors with the Outlines for a Plan for Their Establishment in Ireland (London: John Murray, 1848, reprint, New York: Augustus M. Kelley Publishers, 1969), p. 187. (Page references are to reprint edition.) 13Ibid., p. 219. 14Ibid., p. 167. 15 E. D. Steele, Irish Land and-British Politics: Tenant-Right and Nationality 1865-1870 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1974), pp. 13-14. 16Times (London), 30 November, 1848, p. 4(F). 17[Jonathan Duncan], "Tenure of Land in Ireland," Dublin Review, 24 (June 1848) 349. 18Ibid. 19Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., vol. 96 ( 18 4 8 ) co 1 12 4 9 20Ibid., col. 1250. 21Ibid., col 1250. 22Ibid., col. 1251. 23Ibid., col 1252. 24Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., vol. 100, ( 1848), col. 100. 25Ibid., col. 91. 32

PAGE 38

104. 2 6 Mr. Napier (University of bublin), Ibid., col. 27Ibid., col. 396. 28Ibid., col. 1028. 29Ibid., cols. 1029-1030. 30Times (London), 4 November 1848, p. 5 F; 29 November 1848, p. 5 C; 19 December 1848, p. 8 F. 3 1 Times (London), 20 December 1848, p. 3D. 3 2Hansard Debates, 3rd ser., vol. 104, (1849), cols. 893-895. 33Hansard Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 105, (1849), col. 768. 34Ibid., col. 773. 35Ibid., col. 1095. 36Ibid., col. 1096. 3 7Ibid., col. 1351. 38Ibid. I col. 1353. 39Times (London), 3 October 1849, p. 8 A. 4Times (London), 6 October 1849, p. 5 c.; 30 October 1849, p. 5 E. 4 1william O'Connor Morris, Ireland 1798-1898 (London: A. D. Innes & Company, Ltd., 1898), p. 171. 42wi 11 iam 0' Connor Morris, Memories and Thoughts of a Life (London: George Allen, 1895), p. 122. 43T.-M. Healy, Letters and Leaders of vol. 1 (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1929), p. 27. 33

PAGE 39

44 d Hanunon p. 19. 45 Godkin, p. 326. 4 6samuel Clark, Social Origins of the Irish Land War (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1979), p. 173. 4 7Morris, Memories, p. 124. 34

PAGE 40

CHAPTER 3 POLITICAL ECONOMY ATTEMPTED The Parliamentarians did not think that they were meddling "inconsiderately" with Irish land, but they .were rapidly informed that they did not understand the intricacies of Irish tenure. The major complaint of the Irish tenants and their supporters was that by giving a guaranteed title to purchasers under the Incumbered Estates Acts, those purchasers were allowed to evict the tenants not having written leases with no regard for the tenants' customary rights. Particularly unjust in the tenants' eyes was that by raising rents with the threat of eviction ever present, the new proprietors were, in effect, confiscating the improvements made by the tenant, since often it was the tenants improvements which caused the value of the land to increase. The lines of argument were drawn primarily between those who saw land as simply another commodity, subject to the same economic principles which governed manufactures, and those who believed that longstanding

PAGE 41

custom had a modifying effect on absolute rules, especially dealing with something so essential to the well-being of the people as land. The two sides presented their cases in articles and newspapers, and introduced very different legislation in the years following the passing of the 1849 Act. Those who wanted land governed by the rules of political economy advocated easing the controls on evictions, to enable landlords who wished to improve their land to evict tenants who were living on uneconomically small tracts and consolidate their farms into large, Engli-sh-style agricultural units. Opposed to these thinkers were many who felt the reality of the situation in Ireland had to be accepted. The fact was that Irish tenants from their farms often had nowhere to go. Ireland had few industries to employ those displaced from the land, and without some financial benefit derived from leaving the land, most did not have the means to emigrate. Even among the landlords there were those who felt Ireland had to be dealt with as it was, not as economic theorists would like it to be. One landlord recalled that during the 36

PAGE 42

1850s he had "struck off all outstanding arrears, accepted surrender of existing leases, and reduced my rental 25 per cent."1 He did not feel virtuous, just practical, since conditions had changed drastically since his leases were first granted. In hindsight this landlord realized that the occupiers of the soil had acquired equitable rights in it concurrent with the rights of the landlord; they had eaten into his freehold and taken a of it, and their possession was, in their eyes, sacred, while he2had become mainly a mere receiver of rent. Those sentiments were very alien to a British public indoctrinated with the virtues of free trade and property rights. It was widely thought that by removing the barriers to tree trade in land the prob-lems in Ireland should have been solved. The Times tried early in 1850 to paint a bright picture of how well the Encumbered Estates3 Commission was doing its job, both in the increased number of applications for sale, but also in the expeditious handling the applications received at the hands of the commissioners.4 But by mid-year the reports were not so sanguine. There was new tenant-right agitation and meetings. 37

PAGE 43

Especially prominent in these discussions was the right of a tenant to the improvements he had contributed to the soil.5 In Ulster, a recognized custom generally conceded to the tenant the value of his improvements, but this was not sanctioned by law nor was it usual outside Ulster. In 1850, an attempt was made to give the tenant legal sanction to his improvements. In supporting the Bill the Earl of Devon said he would be sorry to hear that any of the Lords opposed giving to the tenant the value of the improvements he had made. He agreed that it would be desirable if such matters could be settled between the landlord and tenant by a contract. Yet, since mutual contracts were rare given the unequal standing of the parties and not "sufficient for the purpose, he, for one, would not object to any proposition for securing to the tenant full compensation by law for improvements made by him."6 Such sentiments were in the minority in Parliament and no compensation for improvement Bill was passed. While Parliament was not able to agree as to what should be done for the tenants, many Irish landlords 38

PAGE 44

were taking the practical step of lowering their rents enough to allow their tenants to remain solvent.7 What to do to secure a permanent rapprochement between the landlords and tenants remained the subject of heated debate. The Tenant League even attempted to apply the landlords' arguments to their cause. If the rights of property were sacred, then the right of the tenant to the property created by his work and diligence should also be protected.8 Yet there were still many Irish landlords, and their English counterparts, who denied that the work of the tenant did create property. The problem of the definition of improvements was central. It was, perhaps, the most difficult dilemma. The tenant might have erected a mud cabin of one room where he lived with his family, and often with his livestock. All accounts of Ireland in the 1800s mention the wretched living conditions of the poor. If improvements were to be paid for by the landlord at the end of a tenancy, would it be fair to make the landlord pay for a mud cabin which was of no use to him and which would have to be destroyed in order to 39

PAGE 45

actually improve the land? Usually the most unsavory conditions existed on those estates where excessive subdividing had taken place. The very purpose of evicting the tenants was to consolidate holdings to make them more economical. The landlords saw it as a great imposition to have to pay for the privilege of creating a situation whereby their land could, in fact, be improved. The conservative Dublin University Magazine argued that the letting of land was a contractual matter, and the propositions for treating it otherwise were absurd. All the agitation for tenant-right did was distract the "peasants' thoughts from profitable industry to fruitless agitation, ... 9 The definition of tenant-right most current was the granting to the tenant of a secure tenure at a fixed rate, compensation for any improvements he made to the soil, and the ability to sell his interest in the land upon the expiration of the tenure. The unfairness of evicting a tenant without compensation for the improvements he had made to the land was increasingly recognized, even if what constituted improvements was not, but beyond 40

PAGE 46

that granting tenant-right would result in the landlord and the tenant being "in a position for which his previous habits had not fitted him", much to the detriment of the country.lO The next rounds in Parliament were fought primarily on the subject of compensation for improvements. It was pointed out that a tenant often lived on a farm which had been in his family tor generations. The family had erected farm buildings, drained the property, built fences, and generally used the land as theirs, always subject to a rent. Then when the land was sold by the Encumbered Estates Court, a new owner often demanded that the tenant give up the farm, taking possession of all the improvements made by the tenant with no compensation.11 The fact that justice to the tenant seemed to many Parliamentarians to be injustice to the landlord was a difficult hurdle to overcome. John Bright, taking the tenant's side of the matter, pointed out that there were many Irish landlords in both the Par 1 lament and the Cabinet. He accused them of fearing that granting any tenant right would "inter fere with the powers and privileges that a Parliament 41

PAGE 47

of landowners for generations past had been conferring upon the proprietors of the soil." He questioned whether the cat was able to "judiciously legislate for the mice."12 The key was to come up with some relief for the tenant that did not abrogate the landowners property rights. Those rights were in jeopardy from a combination of tenant-right groups and solitary vigilantes. Few landlords could enforce their rights due to tenant combination and social pressure. That social pressure sometimes took the form of assassination was not mentioned but known to all. Even in the halls of Parliament, landowners were reminded that their title was derived from confiscation.13 It appeared in the best interests ot all that some resolution be made. While the controversy was debated in the press and journals and countless bills presented and rejected in Parliament, the Irish Government was studying the situation with an eye to legislation that would be accepted and would succeed in calming the storm. A report was prepared which described the history of Irish land problem and made recommendations 42

PAGE 48

as to its remedy. Its author, w. Neilson Hancock, was a professor of political economy. He looked closely at the question of improvements and the inequities which had been engendered by the sales under the Encumbered Estates Court. While he felt most of the purchasers were honorable men and without intent to defraud the tenant, some were deliberately harsh. A purchaser who proposes to himself to confiscate the tenants' inter.ests, and clear the land without allowing compensation, can afford to give a higher price for an estate than a gentleman of character and position who wouli scorn to take advantage of a poor tenant. Dr. Hancock's recommendations were that landlords be allowed to make contracts to secure to the tenants any improvements made by the tenants with the landlord's approval. Improvements made by the tenant even with only the tacit approval of the landlord should be secured to the tenant, and courts should be allowed to grant relief to the tenants for their improvements. He based his recommendations on the simple logic that "he who sows shall reap."lS In 1860 two separate Bills were debated by Par-liament. one attempted to deal with improvements, the 43

PAGE 49

other to establish contracts as the basis of the landlord and tenant relationship in Ireland. The Act to establish tenancies on the basis of contracts passed relatively quickly. That was a Bill which could be easily understood in the light of current thought. The landlords applauded the Bill as a progressive step toward placing Irish land on the same footing as other commodities. It was a victory for the disciples of political economy who deplored that their rights to manage their estates in the most economical manner could be subverted by nebulous claims based on custom and medieval memories. With all the controversy about compensation for improvements, however, the landlords were forced to address that question. A Bill was intr6duced, but allowed the landlord to object to proposed improvements "if he does not think they will benefit his estate."l6 In such an instance the landlord could give the tenant a notice to quit. The Irish members were quick to point out the drawbacks of such a scheme. If improvements were proposed the landlord could object 44

PAGE 50

from any motive --of folly, or viciousness, or a grudging disposition--the unfortunate man, whose spirit of industry and enterprise had induced him to make the offer was to be victimized in consequence of his having possessed the very virtues which the right hon. Gentleman wa! 7anxious to instil in to his mind . Nothing was more likely to deter a tenant from pro-posing improvements than the likelihood that it would lead to his eviction.lB One member claimed that Parliament should leave well enough alone. The Bill would irritate those who disliked legislative interference between landlord and tenant, yet would not satisty the tenant-right advo-cates. It would merely give them "a stronger ground for carrying out those ultimate objects which were so subversive of the real prosperity of Ireland."19 An Irish member countered that if the landlords would not improve themselves, nor allow their tenants to im-prove, there would be no progress or prosperity in the country.20 The measure passed in the House of Commons and was met in the Lords with indignant outcry by the landowners. It would prevent the landowners from 45

PAGE 51

exercising control over their property; it was "fraught with injustice."21 One point which had been hardly argued in Commons caused much alarm in the Lords: that disputes between landlord and tenant over improvements should be registered. It was indignantly argued that it would give "publicity to the private affairs of the landlord."2 2 It was below the dignity of the landed aristocracy to have their actions and their motives examined in public. It would undermine the entire system. The Marquess of Westmeath questioned the whole notion of "Were not landed proprietors and tenants in Ireland gifted with common sense enough to conduct their own affairs without this kind of legislation?"23 The point was that what one party saw as common sense the other saw as folly. The Act sanctioning contract as the only legal basis ot landlord and .tenant relations, called the Deasy Act, was the concern of statesmen and scholars. However, the implications ot the granting of even limited compensation for improvements was of public concern. The Times quoted an Ulster newspaper as 46

PAGE 52

saying that the Act was as good as could be expected under the present circumstances, but felt that the legalization of the Ulster Custom was what would finally settle the tenant-right issue "on a proper basis."24 The Act was, in fact, quite limited as it made no provision for improvements made prior to its enactment, and only protected those made after the act which had the landlord's sanction. Within two years discontent was again rife and the papers were reporting outrages and murders. At a meeting in County Cork a landlord claimed that under the current laws the landlords had no security. Without a law to give to the tenants secure tenure and compensation tor improvements the murders were bound to continue.25 One Tipperary landlord attempted to protect himself by making a will in which he provided that if he were assassinated all his tenants were to be evicted and their buildings razed.26 Measures were introduced in Parliament, but nothing passed. Trying to get to the heart of the matter, the House of Commons appointed a select committee to look into the workings of the 1860 Act on compensation. 47

PAGE 53

Robert Lowe stated the objection of many British conservatives to compensation legislation when he said that even though compensation was a moral obligation of the landlord, he did not think enforcing that obligation by legislation was proper as it would "exceed the legitimate limits of legislation, would impair the security ot property, and sow discord between landlord and tenant .... "27 His fellow committee members rejected his proposal; however, they did resolve that the principle be maintained that only landlord approved improvements should be subject to compensation.28 Such a principle ruled out, of course, all of the improvements made by the predecessors of the current tenant as well as existing work done by him. The people Ielt that this doctrine was created by the landlords to deprive them of their property, which had been created through their industry.29 In July of 1866 The Westminster Review published an article on the tenant-right issue in Ireland. At the heart of the problem, in their estimation, was the fact that "the widest discrepancy does exist among English 48

PAGE 54

statesmen as to the ultimate aim to which all legislation is to be steadily directed."30 Some were still trying to maintain the supremacy of the landlord while others were determined to eliminate landlords and create a peasant proprietary. The result was a series of legislative efforts which fueled contradictory expectations: the landlords expected all aspects of land tenure to be governed by contract and the tenants expected compensation for improvements to be expanded to cover all improvements made in past eras. While reasoned treatises were being published on the subject of Irish land, certain Irishmen were determined to take matters into their own hands. The Fenians, with their violent assault on the entire British position in Ireland, assured that Irish issues would not only remain at the forefront of English legislative efforts, but would gain a new urgency. The late 1860s also brought to the leadership of the British government a man determined to solve, once and for all, the problem of Ireland. William Gladstone stamped the imprint of his own character over the next chapters of the Irish land struggle. 49

PAGE 55

Notes 1Morrls, Memories, p. 198. 2Ibid., p. 226-227. 3 The Acts passed by Par 1 lament were entitled Incumbered Estates Acts (with and "I"), the Courts were spelled with the more popular "E." Many authors also use "E" when discussing the Acts themselves. 4 Times (London), 5 February 1950, p. 8 B. 5 Times (London), 1 June 1850, p. 6 F i 6 June 1850, p. 5 Di 14 June 1850, p. 6 B. 6Hansard Parliamentar::t: Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 109, (1850), col. 228. 7 Times (London), 8 November 1850, p. 5 Ai 11 November 1850, p. 5 Ai 2 December 1850, p. 5 B. 8Times (London), 24 February 1851, p. 5 A. 9"Tenant-Right and the Tenant League," Dublin University Magazine, 37 (February 1851) 159. 10Ibid. 11Hansard Par 1 iamentary Debates, 3rd ser. vol. 119 ( 18 52 ) 1 CO 1 3 54 12 Ibid I co 1 3 6 7 13Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 121 (1852), col. 282. 14w. Neilson Hancock, Two Reports for The Irish Government of the History of the Landlord and Tenant Question in Ireland, with Suggestions for Legislation: First Report made in 1859; --Second, in 1866 (Dublin: 50

PAGE 56

Alexander Thorn for Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1869)' p. 40. 15 d Ibi ., p. 41. 1 6Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 157 ( 1860), col. 1564. 17Ibid., col. 1569. 18Ibid., col. 1572. 19Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 158 (1860), col. 1332. 20 d I b i co 1 13 4 0 21Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 160 (1860), col. 178. 22Ibid., col. 470. 23Ibid., col. 471. 24Times (London) 20 September, 1860, p. 12 E. 25 Times (London), 20 August 1862, p. 10 c. 26 Times (London), 21 August 1862, p. 10 E. 27Reported in the Times (London) 7 September 1865, p. 4 D. 28Ibid. 2 9Letter to the Times (London) 9 March, 1866, p. 9 F. 30 [Sheldon Amos], "Tenant-Right in Ireland," The Westminster Review, 86 (July 1866) 1. 51

PAGE 57

CHAPTER 4 MR. GLADSTONE LOOKS AT IRELAND Gladstone began his first government with the goal of pacifying --some said placating --Ireland. The fact that Ireland demanded and received so much attention from the English Government at this time was, in a large part, due to the activities of the Fenians. A movement encompassing both Irish citizens and their American supporters, the Fenians had moved from ineffective revolution1 to challenging England on her home ground. During the year 1867 there was a daring rescue of Fenian prisoners in Manchester which resulted in the death of a constable. The subsequent sensational trial and the hanging of four men accused of the crime added martyrs to the Fenian cause. This was followed shortly by an attempt to free another Fenian by blowing up the wall of Clerkenwell prison. The blast was worthless for an escape attempt, but it caused nearby tenements to collapse, killing many innocent people.

PAGE 58

It was these actions which prompted Gladstone to decide the time had come to deal with the Irish ques-tion. In April, 1869, he admitted the role of the Fenians in his decision: Undoubtedly I admit with Granville that the Fenian outrages, and especially their overflow into England, have had a very important influence on the question of the time for moving upon great questions of policy for Ireland: for (in my opinion) they wholly altered that attitude of the gen2ral mind both in England and in Scotland Johri Stuart Mill agreed with Gladstone, writing in 1868 that Fenianism had burst upon England like a thunderclap. "Repressed by force in Ireland itself, the rebellion visits us in our own homes, scattering death among those who have given no provocation but that of being Mill had long advocat-ed Irish land reform. It appeared that what would not be granted freely as a result of reasoned study might well be granted as an attempt to stem the tide of violence. The franchise had been extended in 1867, adding many new voters to the rolls and altering the com-plexion of the House of Commons to a more populist 53

PAGE 59

hue. When Gladstone became Prime Minister, his first target was the Irish Church. As a wealthy, StateEstablished Church serving only a small fraction of the population, the Protestants, while collecting tithes from a multitude of Catholics, the Irish Church was vulnerable and Parliament was well aware of it. In the debates over Emancipation of Catholics in the 1820s the danger to the Irish Church had been cited. The Earl of Glengall had prophesied its fall in the Encumbered Estates debates.4 Disestablishment of the Irish Church was accomplished in 1869. Irish land was the next focus. The fate of the Irish Church portended ill for the Irish landlords. A land bill was coming; it had been promised. The hope of the land owners was that they could influence the Bill in favor of moderation. The landlords mounted a campaign of letters and pamphlets in an attempt to present their side of the argument to a public inundated with tenant-right propaganda. One of the first volleys in the battle was fired by Lord Dufferin. He was an advocate of emigration as the only real way to relieve the situation in Ireland, 54

PAGE 60

which was caused to a great extent by overcrowding. He saw little hope, without emigration of the excess population, of ending the disastrous practice of subdividing the land into smaller and smaller plots.5 He got little support for his views. "Improving a country by disinheriting and banishing its inhabitants" was an idea not likely to please tenant supporters.6 The Irish Parliamentarian, Isaac Butt, countered that Lord Dufferin unwittlngly showed the true "odious nature" of the landlord power by advocating a process of "weeding" the tenants and getting rid of the undesirable.7 At the other end of the scale were those who advocated the creation of a peasant proprietary in Ireland. John Bright was one of the foremost proponents of such a scheme. As early as 1866 in a speech in Dublin he proposed buying out the estates of absentees and selling them to the Irish peasants.a Bright did not advocate any kind of forced sale, and was quick to point out he did not intend any confiscation.9 The landlords questioned the value of buying out the absentees as in many cases their estates were 55

PAGE 61

the best run in Ireland. Often they had the resources to maintain their estates at a high level. The Qnes to get rid of were the "small, encumbered, niggardly, Irish resident landlords whose harsh treatment of their tenantry had been the principal cause of the present demand for change in the law."lO The English called the plan unprecedented; never had a government undertaken such a task.11 A writer in the Dublin University Magazine was harsher in his criticism of the scheme, and he did point out some flaws. He asked how the government would manage the properties it owned as the "universal landlord," and predicted that the responsibilities now "spread over the many landlords of the country, would crush the State if it took them upon its own shoulders."12 Those same objections were voiced by Gladstone in a letter to John Bright.13 Bright had his supporters. After an extended tour of Ireland, a Scottish Member of Parliament wrote a pamphlet in which he exposed many of the failings of the Irish and urged the consideration of Mr. Bright's plan as a much more satisfactory remedy than "fixity 56

PAGE 62

of tenure."1 4 The Westminster answered the critics of the cost of the project by reminding them that they had found million to fight the Napoleonic Wars and million to fight the lowly Abyssinians. The editorial writers felt that expending even million to pacify Ireland would be money well spent.15 A very limited, and scarcely implemented, provision was added to the 1870 Land Bill, under which tenants were allowed to purchase their farms with government assistance on specific terms. The subject of compensation for improvement was more generally accepted due to the fact that several Bills had been introduced in Parliament to allow compensation to the tenants, but none had passed. By the time that the arguments for the new Land Bill were underway there were very few who still agreed with Lord Dufferin that interference with landlords rights was intolerable to benefit a tenant who "imprudently risked on the prospective chance of his landlord's liberality ... "1 6 Most would have agreed with the writer in Fraser's Magazine who claimed that the Irish were probably the only people in the world who would 57

PAGE 63

continue to improve their land under a system which protects the hereditary rights of the idle and luxurious consumer of the fruits of the earth, and exposes to a system of chronic confiscation the industrious, thrifty men, whose hi7d, incessant labour produces these fruits. Just how to secure the value of those improve-ments to the tenants was a great issue in the late 1860s. Several persons made extensive tours of Ireland to assess the situation. The M.P. MacLagan decided that with all that the Irish tenant supplied to the land and his responsibility for the marketing of his produce, the Irish tenant should pay about 10 shillings per acre less than a Scottish tenant.18 Wil liam O'Connor Morris made a tour of the country and reported his findings in letters to the Times, which were later published as a pamphlet. He concluded that it was the peasants who had transformed the face of Ireland from uncultivated waste, and that even the hovels of the poorest would have to be considered improvements in certain circumstances, since those living accommodations allowed the reclamation of otherwise worthless land. The peasants had done much 58

PAGE 64

good to Ireland in bringing unused and waste land into production.19 Sir George Campbell visited Ireland and his published findings were closely studied by Gladstone. He agreed with Morris that the crux of the matter was whether compensation was to be for what the tenant lost or only for what the landlord gained. His analogy was a horse that was bred for a cart horse was of no use in the Lord's carriage, but still had value as a cart horse.20 While he claimed that a "moderate measure of confiscation would eventually be beneficial to all parties,"21 he saw recognizing the tenant's right to the property he created was "not confiscation but confirmation of property."22 Sir George pointed out that to truly secure the benefit of improvements to the tenant, legislation would have to protect him from rent increases which would "absorb his improvements,"23 his share being the difference between rent and the full value of the property. Such a suggestion was far in advance of the thinking of Gladstone, who claimed he was "a good deal staggered at the idea of any interference with present 59

PAGE 65

rents."24 The same lagging of ministerial thouqht behind the tenor of the public and press was evident in the issues of fixity of tenure and tenant-riqht in general. Gladstone was a stickler for a balanced budget and everyone in his proper place. As late as November 1869 Gladstone was writing that he saw "no disposition to adopt what is commonly understood as fixity of tenure, or any of the plans which strike vitally at the relation of Landlord & tenant."25 Yet he was in the concept known as "Ulster Custom" and wrote an Irish M.P. to see if there was a way it could be legalized.26 To legalize a custom was merely to recognize common practice and would not interfere unduly with existing relationships. The Ulster Custom was comprised of what came to be known as the "Three F's": fixity of tenure at a fair rent with freedom of sale. What the three F's meant to most Irishmen was that they would be allowed to continue in occupation of their farm as long as they paid their rent, and that if they decided to leave, or were unable to pay the rent, which necessitated their leaving, they were free to sell their 60

PAGE 66

tenancy. Campbell described the Ulster Custom as recognizing the right of the landlord to the rent. If the landlord went further and tried to take possession of the land he was met with "a law stronger than the law."27 He cited the fact that many landlords had come forward to recommend the Ulster tenant-right, while he was aware of no one who had put forward a different system which had been shown to promote both landlord and tenant MacLagan also concluded that one of the reasons for the prosperity of Ulster and its superior farming was the feeling of security conferred on the tenants by the Ulster Custom.29 One of the landlords who wrote in favor of Ulster Custom was John Hamilton of Donegal. From his tales of his experiences in Ireland collected in over fifty years of residence, it is apparent that he was a good landlord who cared for his tenants and was, in turn, respected and honored by them.30 In an article on the land question, he pointed out the advantages of the free sale portion of the Ulster Custom, which was its least understood element. It was to the tenant's 61

PAGE 67

benefit because it allowed him to sell that which he or his predecessors had either created or purchased in their turn. It was to the landlord's benefit because the purchase money was first used to pay any arrears in rent.31 The other side of the argument was stated in a letter to the Times by Irish landlord who claimed that the amount the incoming tenant paid to the departing holder lessened the amount of capital he had to use to improve his farm.3 2 Yet the Ulster Custom was the only concrete plan which could be pointed to as work-ing. Gladstone accepted this when he framed his Bill, saying that he was "well neigh convinced that there would be very great practical advantage in taking our stand upon the custom of the country."33 He intend-ed that custom be the basis of legislation only where it existed. Campbell argued that some form of tenant-right custom existed all over Ireland, differing from Ulster only "as the sapling differs from the fullgrown oak," being of the same species.34 As the time approached when the Bill would be presented the factions generally agreed that a new 62

PAGE 68

Land Bill would be to the benefit of all. Campbell noted that the issue was not what the tenants wanted, but what the landlords would grant.35 John Bright said that the current discord in Ireland could not be allowed to continue and proposed a "new conquest of Ireland without confisqation and without blood --only with the holy weapon of a frank and generous justice. u36 Morris, a landlord himself, in one of his letters to the Times summed up the position in which the Irish landlords found themselves: Above all, it is the interest of the landlords of Ireland, who must be aware of the peril to their order of the continuance of the present state of who, even now, have 6ne chance afforded them of regaining some portion at least of their lost influence if they part honourably in a work of justice. He cautioned that no one could stop inevitable change and the future of the landlords depended on their acceptance of coming change as a measure-of peace, and working within the new system. The opening of was watched with antic-ipation by all parties. The Queen's speech told of a coming Land Bill. The Lord Chancellor clarified that 63

PAGE 69

the present state of unrest in Ireland could not continue.38 Disraeli, as leader of the opposition, decried bowing to pressure from agitators in Ireland who wanted "virtually to transfer the property of one class to another .... "39 He said much of the unrest was due to the Government leading the Irish to believe massive changes in land tenure would follow Disestablishment. After all the buildup, the Bill introduced by Gladstone on February 15, 1870, was a very mild measure. It sought to legalize Ulster Custom, but only applicable to Ulster. In the rest of Ireland local customs would be honored if they could be proved. Compensation for improvements made by the tenant were allowed in the event of eviction, as was an amount deemed a "compensation for disturbance" when the tenant had been evicted merely at the caprice of the landlord. This compensation was a graduated scale, giving most to the holders of the smallest parcels. Rents could be appealed by either the landlord or the tenant to a Land Court, which had authority to fix rents for a period of fifteen years. 64

PAGE 70

There was a provision for state-aided purchase of holdings, with Gladstone making sure to point out that assistance would only be given "to occupiers who are willing to buy where the landlord is willing to sell."40 The assistance was also limited to threefourths of the purchase price, and required that onefourth be deposited as security. The English Exchequer could not be liable for possible losses occasioned by Irish tenants defaulting on their purchase. The limitations precluded most Irish tenants from taking advantage of the purchase clauses. All in all, the tone of the Bill was summed up by Gladstone's comment at its introduction that "Our desire is to interfere with freedom of contract as little as possible."41 Whenever and wherever the landlord and tenant could agree, the Bill sanctioned their actions. By granting a lease of thirty-one years, the landlord could avoid the compensation clauses altogether since most improvements would be exhausted in that time. The Bill's initial reception was such that the next day Gladstone wrote to the Duke of Argyll that the Irish were 65

PAGE 71

disposed (at present) to accept it: our immediate friends decidedly approve: None I believe are better pleased than the Conservatives, their pleasure partaking largely of the character of relief. Granville writes to me that we must get some Landlords to object violently. Gladstone need not have worried. There were still people on both sides to dispute the clauses of the Bill. Paralleling the debates in Parliament, the debates in the Times and the popular journals contin-ued. In January, 1870, The Edinburgh Review had con-eluded that the time "when voluntary action on the part of Irish landlords could have settled the ques-tion is gone by," and it was time for Parliament to act.43 Yet there was complaint in Parliament that part of Gladstone's speech introducing the Bill was "one great indictment against the _landlords of Ireland."44 The same gentleman claimed that in his part of the country "advantage was never taken of the tenants, and the tenants preferred to live under the good old custom of their forefathers. .. 45 If all of Ireland's farmers were content to live under the old customs, it was hard to explain the agrarian agitation and Fenian bloodshed. It was perfectly true 66

PAGE 72

that almost every district had well managed properties, but the insecurities of the occupiers of the land about their rights had to be alleviated before unrest would cease. In fact the situation was far from idyllic for any of the parties involved. The tenants' plight was the most publicized, but so, as one M.P. complained, was the "woes of the Landlords" who were unable to use their Irish property as securi n, as a result of the uncertainty, nor was any sympathy offered to the widows and children who were adversely affected by both the loss of their income by sale through the Encumbered Estates Court or by agrarian unrest which inhibited the payment of rents.46 An article in the Fortnightly Review reflected on how difficult it was to legislate for the benefit of all the competing classes and yet respect the rights of property.47 It was a case of giving property rights to the tenants, however necessary, took away certain rights from the landlords. Through all the rhetoric there were few serious challenges to the Bill. A few Parliamentarians railed 67

PAGE 73

against confiscation, and undue interference with property rights. The Times regretted that the Bill would be harsher on the good landlords who had treated their tenants with kindness than on those who had ruthlessly cleared their land of peasants.48 An article in The Fortriightly Review made the point that what really mattered was whether the Irish landlords would accept the spirit of the Bill or stand on its letter, as everyone knew that the Irish tenants wanted "undisturbed possession at a fair rent ... with security for honest industry."49 The Bill attempted to grant some rights with strict limits, but fell short of granting the Three F's. Once passed by the House of Commons, the Bill met more resistance in the House of Lords, but still less than might have been expected. One Irish landlord called the compensation clauses a confiscation,50 and there was unhappiness about granting compensation for improvements which had not been approved by the landlord,5 1 but many of the Lords recognized that public opinion had advanced and that "principles which. 20 years ago would have been thought revolutionary are 68

PAGE 74

now accepted as a matter of course."52 Some measure of reform was necessary, and most recognized that the limited nature of the Bill would cause little real changes in the way Irish landlords treated tenants. All wouldhave to behave as only good landlords had behaved toward their tenants in the past. The compensation for disturbance clauses drew the most ire from the Marquess of Salisbury who said that "a robbery is a robbery, whether it is certain to occur daily or only on certain conditions."S3 The Earl of Clancarty was most concerned that the granting of the Bill would teach the people of Ireland that "disaffection, provided it manifests itself in acts of assassination and outrage spreading terror over the land, is sure to obtain its reward."54 All objections in the end the Lords passed the Bill. In all the debate the one point that would come back to haunt the lawmakers was not even considered. None of the remedies outlined either under Ulster Custom or the compensation clauses carne into effect if a tenant was evicted for non-payment of rent. All the mechanisms for adjustment of the rents assumed that 69

PAGE 75

the tenant was current with his payments and that the tenant was able to continue to pay at an adjusted rate. To the truly impoverished Irish tenant, living from hand to mouth, with no reserves and chronically late with his rent, the Bill offered nothing. It is remarkable that such a limited Bill gained acceptance in Ireland at all, but that it did was largely due to prosperous years. It was not until bad seasons and agricultural depression hit Ireland again at the end of the decade that the inadequacies of the Bill startled the Irish tenant into a new and far more powerful assault upon the land system. 70

PAGE 76

Notes 1An uprising in the Spring of 1867 was poorly supported and easily suppressed. 2william E. Gladstone, The Gladstone Diaries: With Cabinet Minutes and Prime Ministerial Correspondence, vol. 7, ed. H. c. G. Matthew (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1982), pp. 61-62. 3Mill, On Ireland, p. 6. 4see above, p. 24. 5Lord Dufferin, Irish Emigration and the Tenure of Land in Ireland (London: Willis, Sotheran & Co., 1867), p. 20. 6Godkin, p. 417. 7Isaac Butt, The Irish People and the Irish Land: A Letter to Lord Lifford; with Comments on the Publications of Lord Dufferin and Lord Rosse (Dublin: John Falconer, 1867), p. 213. 8George Barnett Smith, The Life and Speeches of the Right Honourable John Bright, M.P. (New York: A. c. Armstrong & Son, 1881), p. 170. 9Ibid, p. 173. 10The letter of "An Irish Landlord," Times (London), 16 December 1867, p. 10 F. 11Letter of "A Hertfordshire Incumbent," Times (London), 8 February 1868, p. 12 B. 12[J. s. LeFanu,], "Irish Land 'Pacification,"' Dublin University Magazine, 71 (June 1868) 713. 71

PAGE 77

13Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 7, p. 72-73. 14Peter MacLagan, Land Culture and Land Tenure in Ireland: The Results of Observations During a Recent Tour of Ireland (Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons, 1869)' p. 66. 15"The Irish Land Question," The Westminster Review, 115 (January 1881) 49. 16Dufferin, p. 231. 17"How the Irish Land System Breeds Disaffection," Fraser's Magazine, 77 (February 1868) 259. 18MacLagan, p. 6. 1 9william O'Connor Morris, Letters on the Land Question of Ireland (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1870), p. 117. 2George Campbell, The Irish Land (London: Trtibner & Co 1 8 6 9 ) pp 1 7 2 -1 7 3 2 1Ibid., p. 5. 22Ibid, p. 165. 23Ibid, p. 180. 2 4Letter from Gladstone to C.S.P. Fortescue, Irish Secretary, 5 December .1869 in Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 7, p. 190. 25Ibid, p. 162. 26Letter to J.F. Maguire, M.P., 20 September 1869, Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 7, p. 133. 27campbell, Irish Land, p. 7. 28rbid., p. 121. 72

PAGE 78

29 MacLagan, p. 7. 30John Hamilton, "Pleasant Recollections of Fifty Years' Residence in Ireland," Macmillan's Magazine, Parts I,II: 24(June 1871) 144; Parts III, IV: 24 (July 1871) 225; Parts V, VI: 25 (November 1871) 66; Parts VII, VIII: 25 (February 1872) 339. 31John Hamilton, "An Ulster Man on the Irish Land Question," Macmillan's Magazine, 21 (December 1869) 170. 32 Times (London), 17 January 1868, p. 10 A. 3 3Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 7, p. 196. 34campbell, Irish Land, p.-1'25. 35Ibid., p. 109. 3 6smith, pp. 202-203. 37Morris, Letters, p. 347. 38Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 199 (1870), col. a. 39Ibid., col. 82. 40Ibid., col. 361. 41Ibid, col. 370. 42Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 7, p. 238. 43 [James A. Dease], "The Irish Land Question," The Edinburgh Review, 131 (January 1870) 256. 44Hansard, vol. 199, col. 1385. 45Ibid., col. 1390. 46Ibid., col. 1402. 73

PAGE 79

47William O'Connor Morris, "The Irish Land Bill," The Fortnightly Review, 13 New Series (April 1870) 487. 48rimes (London), 8 April 1870, p. 5 A. 49Henry Dix Hutton, "The Irish Land Bill of 1870," The Fortnightly Review, 13 New Series (April 1870) 377. SOThe Marquess of Clanricatde, Hansard tary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 202 (1870), col 967. 51 Ibid., col. 92. 52Ibid. I col. 230. 53Ibid. I col. 80. 54 Ibid. I col. 1696. 74

PAGE 80

CHAPTER 5 THE LAND WAR Those Irish landlords who looked to the 1870 Land Act to remove the peril to their order must have been very concerned with its reception by the administration of Ireland. As early as 1871 Lord Grenville made a report to the House of Lords on the Land Act in which he recounted a grave situation. He reported that the Landed Estates Court had decided that they were not "bound to advertise the claims of tenants under Compensation for Improvements" when submitting notices of estates available for sale.1 Worse, on appeal, such action by the Landed Estates Court was affirmed because the Lord Justice "did not consider that the tenants possessed any right whatever under the Act of 1870."2 The information conveyed to the English public through the press was more optimistic, if somewhat contradictory. An article in Fraser's Magazine in March, 1872, claimed that the Land Act had met with "less factious opposition" and had a "fairer chance of

PAGE 81

having its real merits and defects tested by its practical working."3 Hidden within the columns of praise for Gladstone and the Act --which Fraser's thought would inspire an independent character in the tenant farmers --was the statement that the Act had been drawn up in the landlord's interest and "has hitherto been uniformly administered so as to give the landlord the benefit of any ambiguity on its enactments, or doubt as to their practical application."4 Doubts cast on the working of the Act were not well received by Gladstone, who scolded his Irish Chancellor for making some adverse comments, and insisted that the Act "neither requires nor admits of great amendment ...... s The mere mention at a meeting in Ireland that the Bill might be amended had the locals writing to the Times that they had supported the Bill as a final settlement, and it had been accepted by the tenants of Ireland as such. Suggestions that the Bill might be amended would merely bring out the agitators.6 The Conservatives were not happy about the Act, feeling that the Act favoured the tenant class only 76

PAGE 82

because it was "organized, unscrupulous, and politically strong." In an article written in October, 1873, Lord Salisbury claimed that the same groups were now "clamouring for a further reform which they call Fixity of Tenure. They propose to reduce the landlords further from the condition of wards to the condition of mortgagees."7 Yet, despite the rhetoric, the middle years of the 1870s was a period of comparative calm in Ireland. The issue of Irish land never completely disappeared from the press. An article in Fraser's Magazine in May, 1874, cited the amount of land held by English companies and absentees and said that an Act of Parliament requiring those parties to sell their land within twenty years "would appear defensible."8 The same month the Dublin University Magazine claimed that the "total abolition of the landed proprietors as a class" was the final goal of the agitation.9 A writer in Macmillan's Magazine would have agreed, but would have approved of the outcome. He argued that if landlords would take up pleasures more civilized than the hunt, 77

PAGE 83

landlords will probably be glad to sell their land to occupiers. Land will then be worth more to an occupier than it can be to a landlord, and the transfer of the owner be for the advantage of both ses. So the decade continued, with the subject never completely absent from popular forums, inching toward the idea of transfer of ownership in the land, but feeling that the system needed adjustment, not revo-lution. A series of bad harvests in the late 1870s, coupled with a new leadership of the Irish Home Rule Party, caused all the prior remedies to appear inade-quate. It was the former Fenian, Michael Davitt, who realized that land was an issue which would unite the Irish as no other concept could. His tactic was to organize the tenants to resist evictions, beginning in his native Mayo with the Mayo Land League. This was soon expanded to a national Land League, founded in October, 1879. With its inception, .the land war in Ireland commenced. Davitt's principal coup was en-listing Charles Stewart Parnell, newly emerged leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, as President of the 78

PAGE 84

new Land League. Rural disturbances were endemic in Ireland, but for the first time a powerful organization was directing and consolidating the aims. The difference, one writer explained, was that "Now it was politicized from the top."ll Part of that process was publicizing the tenant claims. Davitt claimed that Dublin Castle was always the "subservient agent" of landlordism in Ireland.12 Every effort was made to make the establishment look foolish and repressive. When the Government fought back and arrested Davitt and other agitators, Davitt claimed that they had actually aided the Land League, as otherwise their speeches would not have been heard "outside the circulating radius of the local press .. had the Castle possessed commonsense [sic] enough to ignore them."13 As for the landlords, the movements leaders were determined that they would not be able to ignore the League. on the principle that never again would farmers starve while rents were paid, the tenants were induced to withhold the rent, and by combination, avoid eviction. The League used intimidation to 79

PAGE 85

enforce their tactics. Even if a tenant had the money to pay rent, he dare not or he would feel the wrath of his neighbors. No one was allowed to rent a farm from which a tenant had been evicted. Anyone brave enough to try would be ostracized and possibly burned out. The League invented the boycott, named after the first victim of the League's systematic censure. One landlord in County Cork defied the League's boycott and wrote about his experiences in The Contemporary Review. He told of the League meeting to inform his tenants that they were not to pay the rent. Then all laborers were scared off, leaving Bence Jones' son and daughter to manage the property. He told of his daughter milking cows with a constable standing over her for protection. They lived all winter with constabulary protection. No goods were allowed to reach them by ordinary channels and had to be smuggled in. When the owner tried to decrease the workload by selling some cattle, the animals were refused shipment from Cork. Eventually, they were transported to England, but even there had to be sold to supporters and at a reduced price.14 Mr. Bence 80

PAGE 86

Jones lived through the boycott arid was able to write an indignant article about it. Some of the other landlords who aroused the hatred of the League and their supporters were not so lucky. Jones was also apparently affluent enough that he could survive a year without receiving his rents. Many Irish lords were not. The coalition of agricultural and political interests had a profound effect on Irish life. Members of the League were elected to the ranks of the poor-law guardians, formerly a bastion of landlord interests.15 The 1880 general election drastically changed the makeup of the Irish representation in the British Parliament. Without extensive monetary support, the Land League managed to defeat many of the "old and respected Liberal Members," who had represented the landlord interest.16 In fact, the number of landlords representing Ireland in Parliament had decreased from 42 in 1874 to 21 in 1880.17 In England, the Liberal party was returned to power under Gladstone. He sent Lord Cowper to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant with William Forster as Chief 81

PAGE 87

Secretary. Forster had been to Ireland with his Quaker father during the famine, and it was believed that he not only understood, but sympathized with the Irish. Both Forster and Cowper were reluctant to "use the full legal and military" power of Dublin Castle to help the landlords evict tenants unable to pay rents. They felt "keenly the importance of using the powers of the law only in those cases where the law does not in the eyes of the people run contrary to justice."1B The problem was that what appeared as justice to a portion of the population appeared as the opposite to another group. One of Forster's first acts was to poll the local magistrates, asking that they report on the state of the law in their districts. Galway reported that there was a "decided determination, if not combination, against process serving .. ," and felt that the rents would be withheld as long as possible. County Leitrim reported that a landlord had been shot at and wounded, since which time he had police protection. One magistrate in County Mayo noted that few landlords would demand that rents be paid until the crops were 82

PAGE 88

gathered. In the same area, another magistrate reported on the case of a farmer who had taken a farm given up by another tenant. He was taken from bed in the middle of the night, tortured and then "the party, having warned him to qive up his land, fired shots and left." Another magistrate summed up the situation by saying that he could never remember lawlessness of such proportions in his district.19 In light of these reports, the inhibitions of the administration were overwhelmed, and by 1881 Forster was calling for a new coercion bill. While it was widely recognized that the situation in Ireland was critical, the calmer spirits were still counselling moderation. Lord Eversley cautioned Forster that "by applying coercion before a great remedial measure the effect of the latter was seriously impaired." He felt that if a remedial measure like a new land bill was applied at once, coercion might be dispensed with altogether.20 John Bright also weighed in on the side of moderation. In a speech in Birmingham in November, 1880, he called "impossible" schemes for getting rid of the landlords wholesale by 83

PAGE 89

purchase or expropriation of their land, and he advo-cated a broad and generous system established by Government by which landowners who. were willing to sell --and there must always be many such --and tenants who are willing to buy, should be able to come to and thus gradually, year by year, add to the number of proprietary farmers in Ireland.21 In accordance with the view that a curb on evic-tions during hard times was the most important issue, the House of Commons passed a law to give tenants compensation for "disturbance" when evicted, even for failure to pay rent. The ensuing debate in House of Lords was probably the last successful attempt to maintain the status quo. Lord Cairns noted that the Government commiserated with the poor Irish tenants, but "they expect the landlords to furnish all the funds."22 The Duke of Sommerset said they had heard much of the rights and duties of property, but he felt that Parliament was "imposing all the duties on the landlord while they gave all the rights to the tenant."23 And the venerable Earl of Beaconsfield claimed to not understand how the best way to allevi-ate the agricultural distress in Ireland was "by 84

PAGE 90

plundering the landlords."24 The Lords defeated the Bill and left Ireland mired in strife, which increased when no action was taken in London on tenant grievanc-es. While the land war continued and Parliament maneuvered, a new note was creeping into the literature on the subject of Irish land. As early as November, 1879, the Times was reporting that the new call from the landlords was for compensation for their losses when rights were given to the tenants. This was countered by the Land League orators who claimed that the tenants had purchased the land many times over by paying rent on it for hundreds of years.25 Public opinion was moving in the direction of purchase also. Sir George Campbell wrote that Parnell agreed that "it is better to have the land bought than to fight for it," and while he opposed "wholesale buying out of the landlords at a high price," he would be willing to "make a moderate The Farmers Club of Limerick and Clare approved the principle of a peasant proprietary, but did not advocate the extreme ideas which would be "immediate 85

PAGE 91

compulsory expropriation of the landlords," such as insisting the Government buy out all the land. They felt secure in their stance because they claimed there was not the "remotest possibility of an English Government giving countenance to such a scheme."27 Even the statesmen charged with remedying the situation were not in agreement. John Bright noted that at a cabinet meeting in early 1880 there was "great difference of opinion; apparent."28 Numerous memoranda on the subject were studied by the cabinet, which was also deluged with a constant flow of information on the unhappy state of Ireland. One treatise was prepared by William O'Connor Morris in his position as a magistrate in Ireland. He had advanced to the point that he advocated allowing tenants to acquire their holdings by making "transfer of landed property cheap, rapid and easy .. .. 29 As usual, Gladstone was more conservative than many of his colleagues. In December, 1880, he admitted that "it was not without difficulty that I brought myself to entertain the idea of the purchase of Estates for public account by a Commission .... "30 86

PAGE 92

He also expressed dismay that the Bessborough Commission, appointed to make recommendations on Irish land, seemed to be advocating that "the State i.e. the people of the country are to compensate the Irish landowners for certain rights, i.e. for a portion of their property, now to be taken away from them."31 The Bessborough Commission, though not unanimous, recommended the Three F's as the basis for settlement, with more liberal purchases clauses than the Bright Clauses of the 1870 Act. Fixity of tenure at a fair rent, with free right of sale were essential if Ireland was to accept the coming legislation. Gladstone introduced the new Bill in April. It set off a new flurry of writing in the journals and papers. There was the sadness of a purchaser at the Landed Estates Court who asked if it was ''honourable for the English Government to alter or repudiate a title which they had given, and on the faith of which a landlord has spent almost all his capital, without compensating him?"32 His lament was echoed in a letter which acknowledged that there had been a time when the terms of the new Bill would have exceeded Irish 87

PAGE 93

expectations, but conditions were such that the Three F's might not be enough. Again, compensation to the landlords for what they were losing was the only worthy way for England to deal with the landlords.33 To do otherwise was "public plurider."34 In another change of emphasis, the writers recognized the right of the State to take property when it was for the public good, but the property must be bought out on fair terms.35 Generosity might even be considered. One mentioned that there was much talk of buying out the absenteesi he contended that often the resident landlords would be much more damaged by the new Act and should be bought out as we11. 36 The tone of the letters had changed from condemning tampering with property as a confiscation to demanding compensation for the actual confiscation which had become inevltable.37 The number of persons appalled by the scope of the proposed Bill included the Duke of Argyll, who resigned from the cabinet, and stated his reasons in an article in The Nineteenth Century, as it would not have been proper to voice them in Parliament. 88

PAGE 94

argued that he had come to believe that extending the ownership of Irish land was the only permanent solution to the problem. He maintained, however, that the Bill, by giving the tenant a fixed tenure and a rent fixed by a Commission, would inhibit rather than encourage such purchase. They would have all the rights of ownership without the responsibilities. When they had the benefit of ownership without the encumbrance, why would the Irish tenant be willing to obligate himself to a mortgage in order to purchase his holqing.38 Parliamentarian, G. Shaw Lefevre, answered in a subsequent issue that the transformation of tenant farmers to owners must be a gradual process or else real expropriation is likely to occur. He pointed out that even the Land League was in favor of a gradual movement toward ownership. In the interim, it was important that the tenant have his rent determined to be fair and his holding secure.39 Gladstone, on hearing of the proposed article, wrote to Lefevre that he was sure he would not in any way "dally with the proposition that the State is to buy the estates in 89

PAGE 95

Ireland of all Landlords desiring to sell."40 He did not want the Government even slightly connected with any such proposal. In the House of Commons the landlords position was ably stated by the Dubliner; Mr. Gibson. He acknowledged that there had been numerous confisca-tions in Ireland's past, but never before has there been in that country a confiscation directly levelled at the loyal, against those who support law and order and who are the firmest friends of that country's connection with Others pointed out that the slave owners had been compensated when slavery was abolished; could Parliament do less with the landlords?42 Buying out the landlords would at least allow them to utilize their capital elsewhere and not force them to remain in a position rendered intolerable by State action.4 3 Lord Randolph Churchill, always at his best when criticizing the government, said that the Bill was not for rent adjustment or security of tenure. It was "simply that agitation, be it audacious and unscrupu-lous enough, constant, and pertinacious, would suffice for the destruction of almost any of the institutions 90

PAGE 96

of this country." 44 Many Parliamentarians were loath to begin again the cycle of placating the Irish only to have the demands increased before the benefits of the remedial action could be seen. So many Irish Bills had been passed only to fail in pacifying Ireland. After a long and wearing debate, however, the Land Bill of 1881 was passed by the House of Commons and sent to the Lords-. Unlike the Bill of the previ-ous year, the 1881 Bill was met in the Lords with a general feeling that something must be passed. The Marquess of Salisbury expressed sorrow that the purchase clauses were not more fully developed, but noted that the landlords of Ireland were looking to Parliament "to find some solution which may bring about a respite, if only temporarily, to the sufferings and anarchy they are enduring."45 There were, of course, the Peers who pointed out that important rights were being conceded in propitiation of terror.46 one Lord reminded his fellows that once the landlords were gone they would be faced with an Ireland composed of peasants who had for generations hated the English connection and "whose power and whose purpose they have 91

PAGE 97

already foiled, defeated, and humiliated."47 But the Lords merely amended the Bill and returned it to the Commons. The amendments were not all accepted, but as August drew on, the two houses managed to finalize a Bill that provided for a Commission responsible for setting a judicial rent upon application by either the landlord or the tenant, and giving the tenant essential fixity of tenure as long as that rent was paid. The interest of the tenant could be sold "for the best price that can be got for the same," subject to giving notice to the landlord who could object only on the grounds of the new tenant having insufficient means to farm the land, being of bad character, or other cause if allowed by the Court.48 The Bill also provided that if the landlord and tenant could agree on a price, the Commission could advance three-fourths of the purchase price of a holding to allow the tenant to become proprietor. The Commission was also empowered to acquire wastelands for resale. The Bill was a major departure in legislation for Ireland. When it was passed the Marquess of Salisbury 92

PAGE 98

noted that he sent the Bill out with "a hope, rather than a trust, that it may do great benefit to the Irish tenants, and not much harm to the Irish landlords."49 How the complex mechanisms established would work was yet to be seen. Parnell and the Land League held aloof from the Bill, suggesting merely some test cases be pursued to see how the Commissioners would rule. Yet most felt that the passing of the Bill was a great triumph for the League. When the Irish Land Commission opened, the Registrar, in a telling slip, pronounced that "The Court of the Irish Land League is now open."SO Gladstone had his moment of triumph on Irish land. His next focus on Ireland would be Home Rule. The land issue was left for the Conservatives to remedy. The tenants were secure for the moment. There were still problems, such as arrears of rent which had accumulated over the years, but establishing a fixed interest in the soil was a monumental accomplishment. On the other hand, the Act of 1881 was the beginning of the end for the landlord class. The ability to deal with their property was strictly 93

PAGE 99

curtailed, as was their income, both by rent reductions granted by the Commission and by the falling agricultural prices caused by international competition and worldwide recession. No longer trying to maintain their position of ascendancy, they maneuvered to extricate themselves from the half ownership allowed under the Act. Many did not want to sell out and leave Ireland, but did not believe that it was possible to be an owner of property which one could not manage. What position to take and what legislation to pursue was the question that occupied the next few years. 94

PAGE 100

Notes 1HansardParliamentarvDebates, 3rd. ser., vol. 206 (1871), col. 1974. 2Ibid, col. 1975. 31., "The New Irish Land Law," Fraser's Magazine, 5 ser. 2 (March 1872) 296. 4Ibid. 5Letter to Baron O'Hagan, 9 ,December 1973, Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 7, p. 6 Times (London), 18 December 1871, p. 5 D. 7Lord Salisbury (Robert A. T. G. Cecil), Lord Salisbury on Politics: A Selection from his Articles in the Quarterly Review. ed. Paul Smith (Cambridge, England: University Press, 1972), p. 322-323. SF. N. "The Working of the Irish Land Act," Fraser's Magazine, 9 ser. 2 (May 1874) 537. 9[Durham Dunlop], "The Irish Land Question," Dublin University Magazine, 83 (May 1874) 513. 10Hugh de F. Montgomery, "The Present Aspect of the Irish Land Question," Macmillan's Magazine, 32 (May 1875) 33. 1lcharles Townshend, Political Violence In Ireland: Government and Resistance since 1848 (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1983), p. 118. 12Davitt, p. 177. 13Ibid., p. 184. 95

PAGE 101

14w. Bence Jones, "Boycotted: Ireland During the Last Winter," Review, 39 (June 1881) 856. Some Experiences in The Contemporary 15william L. Feingold, "Land League Power: The Tralee Poor-Law Election of 1881," in Irish Peasants: Violence and Political Unrest 1780-1914, ed. Samuel Clark and James Donnelly, Jr., (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983), p. 289. 16Lord Eversley, Gladstone and Ireland: The Irish Policy of Parliament from 1850 1894 (London: Metheum & Co., Ltd, 1912, reprint, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1971), p. 109. 17clark, Social Oriains, pp. 330-331. 18Florence Arnold-Forster, Florence Arnold-For star's Irish Journal, ed. T. w. Moody, Richard Hawkins, with Margaret Moody (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1988)' p. 6. 19Home Office Papers, CAB, 37/2, 1880, No. 31. 20Eversley, p. 112. 2lsmith, p. 345-346. 22Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., vol. 255 (1880), col. 42. 23Ibid., col. 65. 24Ibid., col. 104. 25Times (London), 4 November 1879, p. 8 c. 26George Campbell, "The Land Legislation for Ireland," The Fortnightly Review, 35 (January 1881) 18. 27Times (London), 17 May 1880, p. 6 D. 96

PAGE 102

28John Bright, The Diaries of John Briaht, with a foreward by Philip Bright (London: Cassell & Company Ltd, 1930), p. 457. 29william O'Connor Morris, Memorandum of 21 July 1880, Home Office Papers, CAB, 73/2/1880, No. 3i. 3william E. Gladstone, The Gladstone Diaries: With Cabinet Minutes and Prime Ministerial Correspondence, vol 10, January 1881 -June 1883, ed. H. c. G. Matthew (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1990), p. 649. 31Ibid., p. 631. 32Times (London), 19 April 1881, p. 3 F. 33Times (London), 23 Apri 1 1881, p. 12 D. 34Letter of Robert Bourse, Ibid., p. 12 D. 35Times (London), 26 April 1881, p. 4 F. 36Times (London), 28 Apri 1 1881, p, 10 F. 37Times (London), 24 May 1881, p. 6 A. 38Argyll, (George D. Campbell), "The New Irish Land Bill," The Nineteenth Century, 9 (May 1881) 880. 39G. Shaw Lefevre, "The Duke of Argyll and the Irish Land Bill," The Nineteenth Century, 9 (June 1881) 1044. 40Gladstone, Diaries, vol. 10, p. 70. 41Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 2 6 0 ( 18 81 ) co 1 11 0 0 42Ibid, col. 1877. 43Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 261 ( 1881), col. 79. 97

PAGE 103

4 4Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 2 6 4 ( 18 8 1 ) co 1 2 6 4. 45Ibid., cols. 267-268. 4 6Ibid., col. 286. 47Ibid., col. 346. 4 8statutes, Land Law (Ireland) Act, (1881), 44 Viet. 135. 49Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 265 (1881), col. a. 50Recounted in Healy, p. 131. 98

PAGE 104

CHAPTER 6 LANDLORD RELIEF The land war had seriously sapped the resources of the landowning class in Ireland. They could not continue to maintain themselves while receiving no rents. By the time the Land Act of 1881 was passed, many of the landlords were resigned to its inevitability. One landlord admitted that he "knew it was coming."1 Mr. Forster's daughter was in London during the passage of the bill and recounts in her journal a visit from an advanced radical. All the rhetoric about reform and sympathy with the plight of the tenants was real; however, the woman also had to deal with the despair of her friends as they were ruined by loss of their rental income and often forced into exile by the "readjustment of relations between land-lord and tenant." Miss Arnold-Forster noted that the philosophy of revolution is "sorely tried by personal intercourse with its victims.".2 An Irish nationalist could claim that without England's help the landlords would have "long since

PAGE 105

been exterminated."3 The other side, expounded by William O'Connor Morris, felt that the landlord class to whom he belonged had been loyal and "knew how to rule," but had been changed by English legislation "into a weak body of men deprived of power, without the influence the ownership of the soil affords, cut off from the people they once governed, in fact, isolated."4 He along with many of his fellow landowners felt that the class which had always been loyal to England and the Union, and who, with unfortunate exceptions, had exercised a paternalistic governance of an illiterate and improvident peasantry deserved better of their Legislature. Even those who were supposed to be wealthy felt the pinch of years in which no rents were paid, either because of agitation or because of failed crops. Florence Arnold-Forster related the circumstances of a visit she made to the Parliamentarian, Lord Monteagle, and his wife. She tells that, like many Irish land-lords, they are "very poor at present," and were curtailing all expenditures. Their carriage horses had been sold, but plough horses were enlisted, along 100

PAGE 106

with a handyman from the stables to serve as coachman, whenever Lady Monteagle wanted to trave1.5 By early 1882 the effects of the Land Act were becoming evident. Mr. Forster was able to report that, in County Kerry, rents remained completely unpaid on only 75 of 381 estates. The largest number, 134, had rents partially paid after a reduction had been made. Of those 381 Kerry estates, on 218 some or all the tenants had "resorted" the Land Courts.6 Other Counties reported similar results. Obviously the Act was being accepted by the tenants, who were applying to the Courts to have their rents ju_diciall y fixed. In fact, the Courts were quite backlogged. In July, 1882, it was reported that of 83,717 cases lodged, only 17,762 had been disposed of by the end of June.7 A response of such magnitude could not pass unnoticed by the commentators in the journals. In January, 1882, a writer complained that the tenant was given a piece of the landlord's property for which he had not paid a "farthing," and while the rent could not be increased because of the tenant's improvements, 101

PAGE 107

the landlord was not protected against decreased rent due to the tenant's waste.8 Another writer claimed that within two years the Irish landlords would be bankrupt. He said that respectable ladies had already applied to the workhouse, that it was a false shame that kept their plight from being publicized, and he castigated the landlords as a class for not organizing to fight the Land League.9 The cry was for compensation, since in the past when the State had taken property "compensation had been given on a just and even liberal scale."10 The landlords could show that rents had been reduced by approximately 23% in the first year of the Act, which they saw as a loss of that value of their property.ll One went so far as to advocate providing the landlords with a means to force the Land Commission to purchase their estates. He said that it would be beneficial to all to have the gentry be able to sell, especially those portions of their estate which lay at a distance from their home, and reinvest in "some security which will give an income which shall be beyond the reach of periodical agitation."12 102

PAGE 108

The first relief came in the form of the Ash-bourne Land Purchase Bill of 1885. Brought in by the Conservatives, this Bill allowed the Land Commission to advance the entire amount of the tenant's agreed purchase price, provided that no advance should be made "to any one tenant of more than three thousand pounds."1 3 As security for the Government, one-fifth of the purchase price was withheld from the seller unt.i 1 a 1 ike amount had been paid by the tenant. The sum of ,000,000 was pledged to carry out the Act. Despite the fact that the Bill aided the tenant in acquiring his land, it was denounced by some as a "landlords' relief bill," but as one Member argued in the debate over its passage: Suppbse there were nothing to be said, but that it was a Landlords' Relief Bill, would not there be some arguments in justice and equity for some such proposition as this? Was not the nation bound in equity and hon our to fulfil tyi pledges on which the Land Act was passed? Gladstone seemed to agree. Although his next ministry was chiefly concerned with Home Rule, he recognized that he could not leave the Irish landlords to the mercies of an Irish legislature. The landlord 103

PAGE 109

had been the mainstay of the State. Gladstone's notes indicate that "since the State began to draw towards the people, his position has become more isolated, hostile, and weak."15 The journalistic tenor was also that the landlords had served their country well and it would be "shabby in the extreme" to throw all the onus of years of bad legislation by the English Parliament on the landlords.16 Gladstone had little time to implement any of his ideas on land, as his ministry foundered on the Home Rule issue and the Conservatives returned to power. They were confronted almost immediately by the agitation known as the "Plan of Campaign." This agitation for lower rents was not supported by a united Irish Party, but did have an effect in some districts. The idea behind the plan was that if the tenants approached a landlord for an abatement of rents and were turned down, they would place a sum of money, equal to the official valuation, in an escrow and pay nothing to the landlord. The escrow money could be then used to support the tenant resistance to the landlord's demands. 104

PAGE 110

This latest agitation reinforced the position of those who felt that the land would have to be trans-ferred from the landlords to the tenants. Some gov-ernment money would have to be spent to facilitate sales. It was argued that the landlords had acted in "strict conformity with the laws which the English people made for them." If they were now to be bought out, those same English people should bear some of the cost.17 Michael Davitt even agreed. He said that the landlords Have been doing England's work in Ireland. England is responsible as far as anybody is, for the way in which the work has been done; and, accordingly, England is fairly bound to pay any compensation thal8an impartial tribunal may consider just. That position was answered by the early advocate of peasant purchase, John Bright. He said that the "idea of buying up or buying out the proprietary class seems to me monstrous, unnecessary and unjust." He claimed that many Irish landowners had no wish to leave their ancestral homes.19 Many agreed that it was unjust to force the landlords to sell; however, the Irish tenants had acquired rights "superior to 105

PAGE 111

those enjoyed by tenants in any other part of the world."20 Many landlords could not exist, let alone prosper, in the conditions of the late 1880s. The old ways were gone forever, and the only reasonable solu-tion seemed to be to allow those landlords who wished to sell out to be able to do so without complete ruin. Remedies were also needed for those who wished to remain. In 1888 another ,000,000 was voted to continue the sales under the Ashbourne Act. In forty years ideas on Irish land had progressed from establishing a strong, solvent, landlord class as envisioned by the Incumbered Estates Act to debate over how much compulsion should be used in persuading the Irish landlords to sell out. Some felt that forced sales was the only way rapidly and completely to achieve the goal of peasant proprietorship. In June, 1889, Arthur Balfour, the Irish Secretary, ar-gued that compulsion would simplify the Irish situa-tion, yet was unlikely to obtain Parliamentary approv-al in the near future. He noted that landlords were no doubt a garrison, but like a garrison in a hostile country which they are unable to hold, which they cannot conquer themselves, 106

PAGE 112

nor help us to conquer, and who are constantly hampering our movements by the necessity we are of not abandoning them to their enemies. The Ulster Parliamentarian, T. w. Russell, was highly critical of the Government for not taking more action. He pointed out how successful the Ashbourne Act had been. All that was needed was more commit-ment. He accused the English of being willing to give Ireland anything but money. Ye_t,,_.he argued, the English had put the Irish landlord in the position he found himself and should be willing to assist him.2 2 The Spectator agreed that only by ownership of the soil would the Irishman become a "reasonable citizen," and there was no way without government assistance that the Irish tenant could acquire ownership.23 That the assistance was making a difference was evi-dent. Russell was able to brag that peace had fol-lowed in districts where land was purchased by the occupiers, and, further, that there had been almost no defaults in the repayment of the sums advanced.24 The Government was still unsure of how to cope with Ireland. In 1891 a Bill increased the provisions 107

PAGE 113

for land purchase as well as attempting to deal with the "congested districts," those areas where holdings were too small and uneconomic to constitute adequate security for the advance of purchase price. Overall improvement of Ireland was to be undertaken. The Queen was even persuaded to donate a stallion to improve the equine product of the country.25 If Ireland was prosperous it would be easier to deal with the problems of setting a price at which a holding could be bought. So the Irish situation crept along in Parliament, each year producing a new palliative. There were always those ready to go farther as soon as a new Bill was passed. One student of the Irish land situation suggested that while the land purchase acts helped the tenants borrow money to buy their holdings, there should be facilities given to the landlords to purchase the tenants' interest in cases where both agreed.26 Lord Mounteagle agreed, arguing that the security of the landlord's house and demesne was at least as good security to the state as the tenant's farm.27 The demand that the landlords be driven 108

PAGE 114

from the land was giving way to a more thoughtful approach, where the expertise and capital of the landlords was seen as an asset not to be squandered. The Irish condition continued to be debated in the popular journals. Russell, looking back over the prior fifteen years of land purchase, predicted that universal land purchase must come. The problem was that at the average price of seventeen time the annual rental many Irish landlords could not sell and retain anything on which to live. Russell's answer was that more than the actual value of the land must be offered to the landlords.28 Even those.who disagreed with Mr. Russell thought that the idea of a bonus to the landlords as an inducement to sell was a good one. One writer claimed that twenty-five years' rents would enable the Irish landlords to sell without ruining themselves. He further admonished that the "Government would do wisely to act in a liberal and generous spirit, recognising that the loss of large landed interests is itself worth a great deal," and that many landlords were loath to give up their homes and position in Irish society.29 109

PAGE 115

The change in attitude toward the Irish land problems was reflected in the Government. The new century brought a new Chief Secretary to Ireland in George Wyndham. Tim Healy said that "no soul more accordant with Ireland than Mr. Wyndham's came out of England."30 Early in his tenure, Wyndham toured the west of Ireland and came to the conclusion that compulsory purchase schemes would only perpetuate an "intolerable existence."31 He set about coming up with the scheme that would take into account the interests of all parties. His challenge was to get a firm indication from those parties as to what would be acceptable. In 1902 the Government introduced a Bill to further deal with the Irish land problem; The Bill was not pushed by the Government, as it was recognized as premature. Instead, there was the promise of a "final" Bill for 1903. Healy claimed that the best results of the introduction of the 1902 Bill was that it convinced the landlords, led by Lord Dunraven, to meet the tenants' representatives.32 Wyndham was also busy putting the finishing touches on his 110

PAGE 116

proposals, which included an increased State contribution to buy the landlords out, but also provided that in the congested districts the Land Commission would buy the estates, which would only be resold to the tenants when converted into economically viable parcels.33 For over half a century, governments had been proposing solutions, while the two protagonists had criticized: the landlords because the solutions were too revolutionary and the tenants because they were not revolutionary enough. Wyndham's greatest accomplishment was to create an atmosphere in Ireland where representatives of the two sides of the issue could meet and decide what was needed. The Land was held in December, 1902. Both landlords and tenants had four representatives. The tenants' representatives. included John Redmond, William O'Brien and T. w. Russell, and the landlords' included the Earl of Dunraven and the Earl of Mayo. Dunraven was the instigator and wrote later that his object was to arrive at a way to promote a proprietary of occupying farmers without expropriating the owners 111

PAGE 117

of the property. He felt that the "State might reasonably be asked to bridge the gap, if any, between the price that the owners could afford to take and the price that tenants could afford to give."3 4 The tenants' representatives, on their side, agreed that they would prefer to keep the landlords and their money in Ireland, and wanted to find terms which would induce them to stay.35 The report of the Conference was moderate enough that it received the approval of the Landowners' Convention, and Wyndham was able to write to Arthur Balfour, by that time Prime Minister, that "I believe we shall succeed."j6 The Bill which was introduced by Wyndham in 1903 contained many of the provisions advocated by the Conference. Purchase was not made compulsory; however, there was an incentive bonus provided by the State to induce the landlords to sell. The Bill also provided that the landlords could sell their horne farms and demesnes to the State and repurchase them with a State loan. As always, there was much comment in the journals about the Bill. Blackwoods pointed out that while the 112

PAGE 118

landlords would get, on an average, twenty-eight years purchase the poorer landlords would get more. They said that the "Bill, indeed, is a Bill for the poor, whether landlord or tenant."3 7 William O'Connor Morris, who opposed the Bill, wrote that it was "a cunning scheme to expropriate all Irish landlords by degrees, making them the authors of their own extinc-tion, but hiding the transaction by a system of bribes."38 Lord Mounteagle, who supported the Bill, felt that it could be a great factor in the larger political issues between England and Ireland if the financlal support for the provisions came with "a good grace."39 In introducing his Bill, Wyndham placed the prior land legislation in two categories: one to deal with the relations between landlord and tenant, which were generally unsuccessful; and one to enable the tenants to become owners of their holdings, which were uniformly successful.40 In the ensuing debate it was remarked that it was the first time that a Bill for Ireland was supported by both the Nationalists and the Unionists.41 The crux of the new understanding was 113

PAGE 119

stated by Colonel Saunderson when he stated that "We are Irishmen just as much as the tenants are, We love our native land as much as they do."42 The landlords appeared to accept the Bill, but there were Irish Nationalists who were determined that there should be no settlement which would endanger the push for Horne Rule. Michael Davitt said that the only reason for the Bill was that rents had been reduced at each application, fifteen years apart and another reduction would mean the "lopping off of sixty per cent of the income of the Tory landlord class of Ireland," and would lead to a crisis with English rnortgagees.43 Wyndham used all his powers of persuasion with the Irish factions, even meeting with the party leader, John Redmond, at the horne of Wyndham's cousin, Wilfrid Blunt. Redmond claimed John Dillon opposed the Bill because he wished to settle for nothing less than driving the landlords from Ireland. Redmond supported the Bill but had to propose amendments in order to satisfy his constituents.4 4 At the second reading William O'Brien supported the Bill, who said that it was the intent of the Land 114

PAGE 120

conference was that any extra compensation paid to the landlords should come from the State "in whose supposed interest landlordism was created, and in whose real interest it is now about to be abolished."4S Another Member called it a Bill for the "ransoming the Irish landlords."46 The Bill passed the second reading by 417 to 26. "I believe the biggest vote on record," wrote Wyndham's cousin.47 The Bill also passed by a large margin on the third reading. Colo nel Saundersonconunented that the Bill allowed the landlord to sell his estate yet remain in Ireland. "That is what I have always claimed for the class to which I belong."48 Even the opposition was not bitter, one member complimenting Wyndham as "a very charming highwayman. He has robbed us; but he has robbed us very nicely."49 Given the overwhelming weight of passage in Conunons, the Bill went to the Lords with the blessing of all factions. It received minor amendments in the Lords, some of which were accepted by the Conunons, and the law was passed. It was generally agreed that a Bill which produced such support must be accepted. 115

PAGE 121

Finally, a Bill had been passed which allowed the Irish tenant to purchase his holding with government assistance, while at the same time allowing the landlord not only a fair price but the ability to remain in Ireland by refinancing his manor house and home farm. As a journalist had stated earlier in the year, "As between landlord, tenant, and Government the solution of the Irish Land Questi6n is merely a tion of price."SO The English Exchequer had to advance some fundsi however, the real key to the solution was that finally, after all this time, the landlords and the tenants were able to communicate face to face and reach an agreement about their own fate. 116

PAGE 122

Notes 1Florence Arnold-Forster, p. 124. 2Ibid, p. 147. 3R. Barry O'Brien, Fifty Years of Concessions to Ireland 1831-1881 (London: Sampson Low, Marslon, Searle & Rivengton, 1883), p. 300. 4Morris, Memories, p. 321. 5Florence Arnold-Forster, p. 346. 6Home Office Papers, CAB, 37/7, 1882, No. 27. 7Home Office Papers, CAB, 37/8, 1882, No. 42. 8George c. Broderick, "The Irish Land Act of 1881: Its Origin and Its Consequences," Fraser's Magazine, 25, ser. 2 (January, 1881) 91. 9[J. P. Mahaffy], "The Irish Landlords," The Contemporary Review, 41 (February 1882) 160. 10 [H. Brogharn Leech], "Are Irish Landlords Entitled to Compensation?" The Contemporary Review, 41 (March 1882) 462. 11Ibid. 12Belmore [Richard Somerset], "Fair Play to Landlords," The Nineteenth Century, 12 (July 1882) 120. 13u.K. statutes, 48 & 49 Viet. c. 73. 14Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3rd. ser., vol. 300 ( 1885), col. 1096. 117

PAGE 123

15william E. Gladstone, The Gladstone Diaries: With Cabinet Minutes and Prime Ministerial Correspondence, vol. 11, July 1883-December, 1886., ed. H. c. G. Matthew (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1990) p. 516. 16s. Laing, "Mr. Giffen on Land Purchase and Home Rule," The Contemporary Review, 49 (April 1886) 489. 17H. o. Arnold-Forster, "How to Solve the Irish Land Question," The Nineteenth Century, 22 (November 1887) 725. 18Michael Davitt, "The Irish Landlords' Appeal for Compensation," The Contemporary Review, 53 (April 1888) 594. 1 9Letter, John Bright to Lord Kilmorey, 11 November 1887, John Bright, The Public Letters of the Right Hon. John Bright, ed. H. J. Leech (London: Sampson, Low Marston & Company Limited, 1895; reprint, New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1969), p. 120. (Page references are to reprint edition.) 20william E. Bear, "Irish Land and British Legislators," The Contemporary Review, 53 (February 1888) 262. 21Home Office Papers, CAB, 37/25, 1889, no. 31. 22T. w. Russell, "A Resume of the Irish Land Problem," The Nineteenth Century, 26 (October 1989) 608. 2 3 The Spectator, 27 September 1890, p. 396. 24T. w. Russell, "The Land Purchase Question," Fortnightly Review, 53 (February 1890) 177. 25sydney H. Zebel, Balfour: A Political Biography (London: Cambridge University Press, 1973), p. 71. 118

PAGE 124

26H. o. Arnold-Forster, "Sisyphus in Ireland: 25 Land Acts in 26 Years," The Nineteenth Century, 40 (September 1896) 345. 27Monteagle [Thomas Spring-Rice], "The Irish Land Question Today," The Nineteenth Century, 39 (May 1896) 756. 2 8 T. w. Russell, "Ireland and Irish Land Once More," Fortnightly Review, 75 new ser. (January 1901) 1. 29oudly s. A. Cosby, "The Compulsory Expropriation of the Irish Landlords: A Rejoinder to Mr. T. w. Russell," The Westminster Review, 155 (June 1901) 647. 30 4 Healy, vol. 2, p. 4 6. 31J, w. Mackall, and Guy Wyndham, Life and Letters of George Wyndham, vol. 2 (London: Hutchinson and Co., 1925) 1 P 409, 32Healy, vol. 2, p. 460. 33Home Office Papers, CAB. 37/62, 1902, No. 139. 34Earl of Dunraven, Past Times and Pastimes, vol. 2 (London: Hodder and Staughton Limited, 1923), p. 12. 35Ibid., p. 13. 36Mackail, vol. 2, p. 453. 37Amhas, "The Irish Land Bill," Edinburgh Magazine, 173 (May 1903) 606. Blackwood's 38william O'Connor Morris, "The Irish Land Bill: A Scheme of Pernicious Agrarian Quackery," The Nineteenth Century, 53 (May 1903) 721. 39Monteagle [Thomas Spring-Rice], "The Irish Land Bill: The Latest: Is It the Last?" The Nineteenth Century, 53 (May 1930) 738. 119

PAGE 125

40Parliarnentary Debates, 4th ser., vol. 120 (1903), col. 185. 41Ibid., col. 217. 42Ibid., col. 218. 43Davitt, Fall of Feudalism, p. 703. 44wilfrid Scawen Blunt, MY Diaries: Being a Personal Narrative of Events 1888-1914, vol. 2 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1922), p. 51. 45Parliarnentary Debates, 4th ser., vol. 121 (1903), col. 1379. 46Ibid., col. 1408. 47Blunt, p. 55. 48Parl iarnentary Debates, 4th ser., vol. 125 ( 1903), col. 1331. 49Ibid., col. 1361. 50M. McD. Bodkin, "The Irish Land Question: A Suggested Solution," Fortnightly Review, 79 (Apri 1 1903) 739. 120

PAGE 126

CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION It had taken fifty-five years of legislation, but with the passage of the 1903 Act the Irish land problem finally appeared to be approaching a solution. The tenant was secure in his holding, assured of reaping the benefit of his improvements, and provided with means to purchase his holding and become a proprietor. The landlords were given a graceful way out. They could sell their land to the tenants and receive a bonus from the State. They could, if they wished, retain their homes and home farms, and were allowed generous terms of liquidating existing burdens on the same. Most of all, the gulf between the aristocratic landlord and the illiterate peasant had been bridged in order to begin a dialogue. At the beginning of the land tenure battle, the landlords were in a position far above their tenants. Whether they were wealthy or merely keeping ahead of their creditors, they were the magistrates, the judges, and the administrators of the country. Their

PAGE 127

position was upheld by a Parliament in England in which the landed interests were paramount. They were able to use the press and the journals of the day to make their position on issues known to the English public. Even though many of the landlords did not abuse their power, it was very real, and the knowledge that the power was there, and that it could be used at will, hung over the tenant population of Ireland. During the half-century of land adjustments, the landlords' power was severely diminished. First, Parliamentary reform widened the franchise and lessened the landlord hold on Parliament. Another factor was increased competition from a world market which decreased England's dependence on the food raised in Ireland. Finally, there was the betterment of the tenants, especially through education, which allowed them to invade the press and popular journals with their cause. Neither the landlords nor the tenants were a completely harmonious block, presenting a united front to the public. Some of the landlords, like William O'Connor Morris, were liberal thinkers who early in 122

PAGE 128

the struggle supported certain rights for tenants. As legislation moved beyond, into the realm of redefining land ownership, Morris became increasingly critical of the actions of the legislature. Other landlords were as opposed to any reform in 1903 as they had been in 1848. On the other side there were the Irish Nationalists, men who were part of the Land League, who had fought to drive the landlords from Ireland. By 1903, a firebrand like William O'Brien was willing to see the landlords as a class worth keeping in Ireland. Even John Dillon, who had only reluctantly assented to the Wyndham Act, admitted that the 1903 Act had changed the Irish peasant. He is quoted as having told Wyndham's cousin that the Irish peasant had ceased to be the idle, improvident being of the past and had become "industrious and economical, even penurious."1 Both the landlords and the tenants had to change. Yet, it is always easier to change when change is an improvement in position. The landlords of Ireland were forced to change in a manner which relinquished a 123

PAGE 129

great deal of their former power. The turning point was the Land War. By showing that the tenants could organize and could disrupt the very fabric of Irish life, by withholding the rents and raising the specter of landlord bankruptcy, the Land League was able to force a measure of tenant right through Parliament which seriously eroded the position of the Irish landlords. After 1881 the landlord position was increasingly one of wishing to be able to divest their Irish holdings without financial ruin. The Irish activists, both Fenians and the Land League, had a profound effect on the struggle for land, but the process was still controlled by the landlords. The Fenians English statesmen, especially Gladstone, to look at the causes of Irish discontent. Yet as to the land, the ensuing legislation interfered with landlord property rights as little as possible, while addressing the most easily understood tenant complaint, compensation for improvements. The Bill of 1870 passed with relative ease, and had little practical effect on landlords who were determined to circumvent its provisions. 124

PAGE 130

The Land War of the late 1870s was more effective and led to more drastic legislation. First, it was a united effort to undermine the economic and social superiority of the landlord class. By withholding the rents and preventing the reletting of holdings from which a tenant had been evicted, they struck at the economic basis of landlord ascendancy. Once that economic status had been depleted, the political loss of power was far easier to accomplish. The Land War demoralized the landlord class. The Land Act of 1881, which gave the tenants the Three F's, was the turning point. Its most damaging aspect from the landlords' perspective was the introduction of a Commission with the ability to fix rents every fifteen years. That provision severely restricted the landlord's ability to manage his property as he wished and also had an adverse effect on the viability of land as a secure source of income for long-term planning. The 1881 Bill was granted as a direct response to a direct threat to the Irish landlords. The working of the Land Commission was more radical than had been foreseen by any but the most gloomy prognosticators. 125

PAGE 131

The rent reductions were almost universal, despite the predictions of the Government during the passage of the Bill that little real pecuniary losses would occur. The landlords found that they could not either control or outmaneuver the Commission as they had the Courts in the past. The years from 1881 to 1903 were years in which the landlords tried to reassert their control of the process. Most realized that a loss of much of their land was inevitable as -the tenants were allowed increasingly liberal terms. The problem for the landlords was to escape with as much value as possible. For the landlords who wished to remain in Ireland, and there were many so inclined, a formula was required which would allow them to keep enough property to escape bankruptcy. The key, which few English statesmen wished to admit, was the English Treasury. When the landlords and tenants finally met to present their demands they could agree on everything except the funding. The tenants' representatives agreed that the landlords needed more value than they could afford to pay. The 126

PAGE 132

landlords had no problem with the.tenants buying their holdings if those holding would bring to the landlords sufficient value to ensure their incomes. The English Treasury had spent untold millions on keeping an army in Ireland, financing such remedies as Land Commissions, and legislating endlessly on the subject of Ireland. The landlords appealed to the honor of England: they had been the garrison of England in Ireland and had upheld the Union and the English connection. The English were .honor bound to assist the landlords extricate themselves from an untenable situation. The result was the bonus voted in 1903 to bridge the gap between tenant and landlord in settling the price of Irish Land. One commentator acknowledged that it was "cheap to the Empire at the price."2 The readjustment of the ownership of Irish land took place against the backdrop of a world in which feudal privilege and aristocratic ascendancy was being replaced with democratic institutions. The famine, the Fenians and the Land League formed the focus of the struggle in Ireland. As important to the outcome was the ongoing process of analysis and debate which 127

PAGE 133

took place in the press and the popular journals. The opinion of the British and Irish public was influenced by the writings and arguments of respected thinkers on both sides of the issue. It was in this way that the landlords managed to direct what it could not control, and guide the legislation which was to determine their fate. Many landlords were opposed to tenant ownership of the land; many were ruined by the legislation. Many tenants were driven from Ireland or lost their holdings through evictions and consolidations. The classes, however, had survived and managed to accomplish a revolution in land holding without great loss of life. The ownership of land had been transferred from the owners to their tenants without the total ruin of the owners, and even with provisions for their continued residence in Ireland. It was a great accomplishment for the tenants, but also an impressive use by the landlords of the facilities of the British Parliament in reforming and reshaping Ireland. 128

PAGE 134

Notes 1 Blunt, vol. 2, p. 296. 2walter Sweetman, "The Irish Land Conference," The Westminster Review, 159 (May 1903) 504. 129

PAGE 135

BIBLIOGRAHY Official Documents Home Office Papers. Cabinet Papers. 1848-1903. U.K. Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3d ser. U.K. 1872. Report of Committee of the House of Lords. (Lord Lifford's Report). U.K. 1878. Report of Committee of the House of Commons on the working of the Purchase Clauses of the Land Act of 18 70. (Shaw-Lefevre's report) 18 78 ( 24 9) XV, 1-466. U.K. 1887. Law (Ireland) Act 1881 and the Purchase of Land ( Cowper Commi s s ion ) xxv i 1109. U.K. Parliamentary Debates, 4th ser. U.K. Statutes. Incumbered.Estates (Ireland) Act 1849. 12 & 13 Viet. c. 77, 28 July 1849. U.K. Statutes. The Irish Land Act 1903, 3 Ed. VII c. 37. c. ii. 259. 1903. U.K. Statutes. The Land Law (Ireland) Act 1881, 44 and 45 Viet. c. 49. 22 August 1881. U.K. Statutes. Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act 1870, 33 and 34 Viet. c. 46, 1 August 1870. U.K. Statutes. Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act 1885, 48 and 49 Viet. c 73. 14 August 1885. Contemporary Writings A Land Valuer. "The Land War in Ireland." The Nation. 44 (20 January 1887) 51. 130

PAGE 136

[All ardyce, Alexander l "The Land B i 11 Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine. 1881) 405. in the Lords." 130 (September Amhas. "A Policy for Ireland." Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine. 173 (February 1903) 257. "The Irish Land Bill." Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine. 173 (May 1903) 606. [Amos, Sheldon] "Tenant-Right in Ireland." The Westminster Review. 86 (July 1866) 1. "The Irish Land Question." The Westminster Review. 93 (January 1870) 42. ,_ An Irishman. "The Select Committee on the Irish Land Laws." The Nation. 58 (15 February 1894) 117. "The Irish Land Conference." The Nation. 76 (26 February 1903) 167. "The Irish Land Bill." The Nation. 76 (23 Apr i 1 1 9 0 3) 3 2 6 "Anti-Rent Agitation in Ireland." The Nation. 29 (27 November 1879) 358. Argyll [George D. Campbell] The Nineteenth Century. "The New Irish Land Bill." 9 (May 1881) 880. Arnold, Matthew. "The Incompatibles." The Nineteenth Century. 9 (April 1881) 709. "The Incompatibles: Concluded." The Nineteenth Century. 9 (June 1881) 1026. Arnold-Forster, Florence. Irish Journal. ed. T. with Margaret Moody. Press, 1988. Florence Arnold-Forster s w. Moody, Richard Hawkins, Oxford, England: Clarendon 131

PAGE 137

Arnold-Forster, H. o. "How to Solve the Irish Land Question." The Nineteenth Century. 22 (November 1887) 725. "Irish Land Purchase: A Reply to My Critics." The Nineteenth Century. 22 (December 1887) 891. "Sisyphus in Ireland: 25 Land Acts in 26 Years." The Nineteenth Century. 40 (September 1896) 345. Bear, William E. "Irish Land and British Legislators." The Contemporary Review. 53 (February 1888) 262. "The Muddle of Irish Land Tenure." The Fortnightly Review. 66 (July, 1896) 70. Belmore [Richard Somerset]. The Nineteenth Century. "Fair Play to Landlords." 12 (July 1882) 120. Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen. My Diaries: Being a Personal Narrative of Events, 1888-1914. 2 vol. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1922. Bodkin, M. McD. Solution." 1903) 739. "The Irish Land Question: A Suggested The Fortnightly Review. 79 (April [Brady, J. D. l "Ireland --The Landlord and Tenant Question." Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. 55 (May 1844) 638. Bright, John. The Public Letters of the Right Hon. John Bright. 2nd Edition. ed. H. J. Leech. London: Sameson Low, Marston & Company, Limited, 1895r reprint, New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1969. The Diaries of John Bright. With A foreward by Philip Bright. London: Cassell & Company Ltd, 1930. 132

PAGE 138

Brodrick, George c. "The Irish La.nd Act of 1881: Its Origin and Its Consequences." Fraser's Magazine. 25 ser. 2 (January 1882) 91. [Brooks, George] "Land Purchase in Ireland." Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. 147 (June 1890) 847. Butt, Isaac. The Irish People and the Irish Land: A Letter to Lord Lifford; with Comments on the Publications ot Lord Dufferin and Lord Rosse. Dublin: John Falconer, 1867. Campbell, George. The Irish Land. London: Trtibner & Co. 1869. "The Land Legislation for Ireland." The Fortnightly Review. 35 (January 1881) 18. "Impressions of the Irish Land Bill -II." The Fortnightly Review. 35 (May 1881) 552. Cavendish, Lucy Caroline. Diary of Lady Frederick Cavendish. ed. John Bailey. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1927. Cosby, Dudly s. A. "The Compulsory Expropriation of the Irish Landlords. A Rejoinder to Mr. T. W. Russell." The Westminster Review. 155 (June 1901) 647. Croskery, Thomas. "Irish Land Reform." British Quarterly Review. 72 (July & October 1880) 65. Davitt, Michael. "Mr. Giffen's Proposed Solution of the Irish Question." The Contemporary Review. 49 (April 1886) 501. "The Irish Landlords' Appeal for Compensation." The Contemporary Review. 53 (April 1888) 594. 133

PAGE 139

Davitt, Michael. "Retiring the Landlord Garrison." The Nineteenth Century. 27 (May 1890) 779. The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland or the Story of the Land League Revolution. London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1904. [Dease, James A.] "Tenant Compensation in Ireland." Edinburgh Review. 125 (January 1867) 187. "The Irish Land Question." Edinburah Review. 131 (January 1870) 256. Derby [E. H. Stanley]. "Ireland and the Land Act." The Nineteenth Century. 10 (October 1881) 473. Dufferin (Lord). Irish Emigration and. the Tenure of Land in Ireland. London: Willis, Sotheran & Co., 1867. [Duncan, Jonathan] "Tenure of Land in Ireland." Dublin Review. 24 (June 1848) 349. [Dunlop, Durham] "The Irish Land Question." Dublin University Magazine. 83 (May 1874) 513. Dunning, William A. "Irish Land Legislation Since 1845, Part I." Political Science Quarterly. 7 (March 1892) 57. "Irish Land Legislation Since 1845, Part II." Political Science Quarterly. 7 (September 1892) 500. Dunraven, Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin. The Crisis in Ireland: An Account of the Present Condition of Ireland and Suggestions towards Reform. London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1905. ____ Past Times and Pastimes. 2 vols. London: Hodder & Staughton Limited, 1923. 134

PAGE 140

Ebrington [Hugh Forestque]. "The Irish Land Commissioners." The Nineteenth Century. 12 (November 1882) 756. "The Ultimate Guarantee." The Nineteenth Century. 27 (May 1890) 799. Elliot, Arthur. "Landlords and Tenants in Ireland." Edinburgh Review. 154 (July 1881) 274. Eversley, Lord. Gladstone and Ireland: The Irish Pol icy of Parl lament from 1850 -1894. London: Methuen & Co, Ltd., 1912; reprint, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1971. Fitzgerald, Peter, (Knight of Kerry). "Mr. Froude and the Landlords of Ireland." The Nineteenth Century. 3 (June 1878) 1087. ____ "Irish Land Agitation." The Nineteenth Century. 7 (March 1880) 493. F.N. "The Working of the Irish Land Act." Fraser's Magazine. 9 ser. 2 (May 1874) 537. Gladstone, William E. The Gladstone Diaries: With Cabinet Minutes and Prime Ministerial Correspondence. Volumes 6-12. ed. H. c. G. Matthew. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1978-1990. Godkin, James. The Land War in Ireland: A History for the Times. London: Macmillan & Co., 1807; reprint, Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1970. Grey (H. G. Ear 1). "The Irish Land Purchase Bi 11." The Nineteenth Century. 28 (July 1890) 157. Hamilton, John. "An Ulster Man on the Irish Land Question." Macmillan's Magazine. 21 (December 1869) 170. 135

PAGE 141

Hami 1 ton, John. "Pleasant Recollect ions of Fifty Years' Residence in Ireland." Parts I and II. Macmillan's Magazine. 24 (June 1871) 144. "Pleasant Recollections of Fifty Years' Residence in Ireland." Parts III and IV. Macmillan's Magazine. 24 (July 1871) 225. "Pleasant Recollections of Fifty Years' Residence in Ireland." Parts V and VI. Macmillan's Magazine. 25 (November 1871) 66. "Pleasant Recollections of Fifty Years' Residence in Ireland." Parts VII and VIII. Macmillan's Magazine. 25 (February 1872) 339. [Hamley, William] "The Second State of the Land Bill." Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. 129 (June 1881) 803. Hancock, w. Neilson. Two Reports for the Irish Government on the History of the Landlord and Tenant Question in Ireland with Suggestions for Legislation; First Report made in 1859; --second, in 1866. Dublin: Alexander Thorn for Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1869. -Healy, T. M. Letters and Leaders of My Day. 2 vol. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1929. "How the Irish Land System Breeds Disaffection." Fraser's Magazine. 77 (February 1868) 259. Hutton, Henry Dix. "The Irish Land Bill of 1870." The Fortnightly Review. 13 New Series (Apri 1 1870) 377. "Irish Land and Irish Rents." The Westminster Review. 129 (February 1888) 174. "Irish Land, Landlords, and Tenants." Dublin University Magazine. 39 (January 1852) 133. 136

PAGE 142

"Irish Land Question." The Nation. 1968) 266. 9 (September 30 [Jennings, L. J. l "Mr. Gladstone and Ireland." The Quarterly Review. 163 (July 1886) 257. Jephson, Henry L. "Irish Absenteeism." The Nineteenth Century. 7 (May 1880) 871. "John Bright and the Irish Question." The Westminster Review. 128 (August 1887) 525. [Jones, w. Bence]. "The Irish Land Question." Fraser's Magazine. 14 ser. 2 (August 1876) 250. "Ireland, 1840-1880"_ Macmillan's Magazine. 41 (April 1880) 505. "Boycotted: During Last Winter." (June 1881) 856. Some Experiences in Ireland The Contemporary Review. 39 ____ "My Answer to Opponents. The Contemporary Review. 40 (August 1881) 246. L. "The New Irish Land Law." Fraser's Magazine. 5 ser. 2 (March 187i) 296. Laing, s. "Mr. Giffen on Land Purchase and Home Rule." The Contemporary Review. 49 (April 1886) 489. "The Plan of Campaign." The Contemporary Review. 51 (April 1887) 577. "Land Purchase." Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. 169 (February 1901) 271. [Leech, H. Brougham] "Are Irish Landlords Entitled to Compensation?" The Contemporary Review. 41 (March 1882) 462. 137

PAGE 143

[LeFanu, J, S.] "Lord Dufterin on Irish Land Tenure." Dublin University Magazine. 70 (July 1867) 112. .. Irish Land 'Pacification.'" University Magazine. 71 (June 1868) 713. Dublin Lefevre, G. Shaw. "The Duke of Argyll and the Irish Land Bill ... The Nineteenth Century. 9 (June 1881) 1044. Leslie, T. E. c. "The Irish Land Question." Fraser's Magazine. 22 Ser. 2 (December 1880) 828. London Times MacDonaqh, Michael "Are the Irish Landlords as Black as They Are Painted?" The Fortnightly Review. 79 (June 1903) 1030. Mackai 1, J. W and Guy Wyndham. Life and Letters of George Wyndham. 2 vol. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1925. MacLagan, Peter. Land Culture and Land Tenure in Ireland: The Results of Observations During a Recent Tour of Ireland. Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons, 1869. [Mahaffy, J. P.l "The Irish Landlords." The Contemporary Review. 41 (February 1882) 160. McCarthy, Justin H., M.P. 11The Land Purchase Bill." The Contemporary Review. 57 (May 1890) 760. Ireland Since the Union: Sketches of Irish History from 1798-1886. Chicago: Donohue, Henneberry & co., 1898. McCoan, J, c. "Irish Land Reform: From an Irish Point of View." Fraser's Magazine. 21 ser. 2 (March 1880) 378. 138

PAGE 144

Mi 11, John Stuart. On Ireland with an introductory essay by Richard Ned Lebow. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1979. Monteagle [Thomas Spring-Rice]. "The Latest Irish Land Bill: A Suggestion." The Nineteenth Century. 37 (April 1895) 629. "The Irish Land Question To-Day." The Nineteenth Century. 39 (May 1896) "The Irish Land Question." Edinburgh Review. 186 (October 1897) 401. "The Irish Land Bill: The Latest: Is It the Last?" The Nineteenth Century. 53 (May 1903) 738. Montgomery, Hugh de F. Land Question." 1875) 33. "The Present Aspect of the Irish Macmillan's Magazine. 32 (May Morris, William O'Connor. "The Irish Land Bill." The Fortnightly Review. 13 (April 1870) 487. Letters on the Land Question of Ireland. London: Longmans, Green. & co., 1870. "Thoughts on the Irish Land Act and Land System." The Contemporary Review. 45 (February 1884) 175. "Mr. Balfour's Administiation of Ireland." The Quarterly Review. 167 (October 1888) 478. "The Irish Land Purchase Bill." The Contemporary Review. 58 (November 1890) 743. Memories and Thoughts of a Life .. London: George Allen, 1895. "The Landed System of Ireland and Plans to Reform It." The Fortnightly Review. 65 (February 1896) 249. 139

PAGE 145

Morris, William O'Connor. Ireland, 1798-1898. London: A. D. Innes & Co., Ltd. 1898. "The Compulsory Purchase of Irish Land." The Contemporary Review. 79 (March 1901) 431. "The Pol icy of Compulsory Purchase of the Irish Land." The Fortnightly Review. 77 (January 1902) 61. "The Irish Land Bill of 1902." The Fortnightly Review. 79 (May 1902) 867. "The Land War in the West of Ireland." The Nineteenth Century. 51 (May 1902) 732. "The Irish Land Bill: A Scheme of Pernicious Agrarian Quackery." The Nineteenth Century. 53 (May 1903) 721. O'Brien, Charlotte G. "The Emigration and Waste-Land Clauses." The Fortnightly Review. 35 (June 1881) 757. 0' Brien, Murrough. "Irish Rents, Improvements, and Landlords." The Fortnightly Review. 34 (October 1880) 409. O'Brien, R. Barry. Fifty Years of Concessions to Ireland 1831-1881. London: Sampson, Low, Marslon, Searle & Rivengton, 1883. O'Connor, T. P. "The Land League and Its Work." The contemporary Review. 38 (December 1880) 981. O'Leary, John c.c. "Mr. Bence Jones' Experiences in Ireland." The Contemporary Review. 40 (June 1881) 147. Paul, Herbert, ed. Letters of Lord Acton to Mary New York: The Macmillan Company, 1904. 140

PAGE 146

Power, J. 0' Connor. "The Irish Land Agitation." The Nineteenth Century. 6 (December 1879) 953. Richey, Alex G. The Irish Land Laws. London: Macmillan and co., 1880. ____ "Impressions on the Irish Land Bill -I. The Fortnightly Review. 35 (May 1881) 543. Russell, T. w. "A Resume of the Irish Land Problem." The Nineteenth Century. 26 (October 1889) 608. "The Land Purchase Quest ion." The Fortnightly Review. 53 (February 1890) 177. "The Irish Land Bill." The Fortnightly Review. 53 (May 1890) 638. "Ireland and Irish Land Once More." The Fortnightly Review. 75 (January 1901) 1. Salisbury, Robert A. T. G. Cecil. Lord Salisbury on Politics: A Selection from His Articles in the Quarterly Review. ed. Paul Smith. Cambridge, England: University Press, 1972. Seebohn, F. "The Land Question Part I -English Tenure in Ireland." The Fortnightly Review. 12 (December 1869) 626. Smith, George Barnett The Life and Speeches of the Right Honourable John Bright, M.P. New York: A. c. Armstrong & Son, 1881. [Staunton, Michael] "Irish Absenteeism." Dublin Review. 2 (December 1836) 199. Strachey, Edward. "An English Landlord on the Irish Land Question." Macmillan's Magazine. 21 (January 1870) 279. Sweetman, Walter. "The Irish Land Conference." The Westminster Review. 159 (May 1903) 504. 141

PAGE 147

T.C. "The Irish Land Question." British Quarterly Review. 73 (April 1881) 212. "Tenant-Right." Dublin University Magazine. 53 (February 1859) 242. "Tenant-Right and the Tenant League." The Dublin University Magazine. 37 (February 1851) 159. "Tenant-Right in Ireland." Fraser's Magazine. 20 Ser. 2 (September 1879) 351. "The Church and Land Question in Ireland." Fraser's Magazine. 7-6 (August 1867) 221. "The Irish Land Bill." The Nation. 76 (2 April 1903) 263. "The Irish Land Question." The Nation. 9 (30 September 1869) 266. "The Irish Land Question." The Westminster Review. 115 (January 1881) 49. "The Irish Tenant-Right Question." Fraser's Magazine. 49 (February 1854) 234. The Spectator. Thornton, w. T. A Plea for Peasant Proprietors with the outlines of a Plan for Their Establishment in Ireland. London: John Murray, 184Bi reprint, New York: Augustus M. Kelley, Publishers, 1969. ---"The Bright Clauses of the Irish Land Act: A Supplementary Plea for PeasantProprietors." The Fortnightly Review. 31 (April 1879) 608. Trail!, Anthony. "A Conservative View of the Irish Land Bi 11." The Fortnightly Review. 35 (June 1881) 741. 142

PAGE 148

Walsh, William J. "Mr. George Wyndham's Treatment of Irish Statistics." The Contemporary Review. 55 (September 1888) 447. ____ "The Irish Land Question and its Statistics." The Contemporary Review. 54 (November 1888) 734. "Arbitration or the Battering-Ram?" The Contemporary Review. 55 (June 1889) 797. Wilson, Edward D. J. "Confiscation and Compensation." The Nineteenth Century. 10 (July 1881) 107. Withy, Arthur. "Home Rule and the Land Question: An Ideal Budget --No Rates, No Taxes, and a Lower Rent." The Westminster Review. 142 (July 1894) 58. Y. "The Quarrel of Lords and Commons over the Irish Land Act." The Nation. 34 (23 March 1882) 247. Other Sources Barker, Michael. Gladstone and Radicalism: The Reconstruct ion ot the Liberal Pol icy of Britain 1885-94. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, Inc., 1975. Bew, Paul. Land and the National Question in Ireland 1858-82. Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press, Inc., 1979. Conflict and Conciliation in Ireland 1890-1910: Parnellites and Radical Agrarians. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1987. Black, R. D. Collison. Economic Thought and the Irish Question 1817-1870. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1960. 143

PAGE 149

Broeker,. Galen. Rural Disorder and Police Reform in Ireland, 1812-36. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970. Carty, James, ed. Ireland from the Great Famine to the Treaty 1851-1921: A Documentary Record. 3rd Edition. Dublin: c. J. Fallon Limited, 1965. Clark, Samuel. Social Origins of the Irish Land War. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1979. Comerford, R. V. The Fenians in Context: Irish Politics and Society 1842-82. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1985. Curtis, L. P., Jr. Coercion and Conciliation in Ireland 1880-1892: A Study in Conservative Unionism. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1963. Dewey, Clive. "Celtic Agrarian Legislation and the Celtic Revival: Historicist Implications of Gladstone's Irish and Scottish Land Acts 18701886." Past & Present. 64 (August 1974) 30. Feingold, William L. "Land League Power: The Tralee Poor-Law Election of 1881." in Irish Peasants: Violence and Political Unrest 1780-1914. ed. Samuel Clark and James s. Donnelly. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983. Foster, R. F. Modern Ireland 1600-1972. London: The Penguin Press, 1988. Hammond, J. L. Gladstone and the Irish Nation. Longmans Green & Co., Ltd., 1938; reprint, Connecticut: Shoe String Press, Inc., Books, 1964. London: Hamden, Archon Lyons, F. s. L. John Dillon. London: Routlege & Kegan Paul, 1968. 144

PAGE 150

Lyons, F. s. L. Charles Stewart Parnell. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. ________ and R. A. J. Hawkins, ed. Ireland Under the Union: Varieties of Tension: Essays in Honour of T. w. Moody. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1980. Magnus, Philip. Gladstone. London: John Murray, 1954. Marlow, Joyce. Captain Boycott and the Irish. New York: Saturday Review Press, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1973. Mitchell, Arthur, and Padraig 6 Snodaigh, ed. Irish Political Documents 1869-1916. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1989. Moody, T. w. Davitt and Irish Revolution 1846 -82. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1981. and F. X. Martin, eds. The Course of Irish History. Cork, Ireland: The Mercier Press, 1989. 0 Donne 11 F Hugh Parliamentary Party. New York: Longmans Green & Co. 1910. O'Farrell, Patrick. Oxford, England: England and Ireland Since 1800. oxtord University Press, 1975. Palmer, Norman Dunbar. "Irish Absenteeism in the Eighteen-Seventies." Journal of Modern History. 12 (1940) 357. The Irish Land League Crisis. New York: Octagon Books, 1978. Pomfret, John E. The Struggle for Land in Ireland 18001923. New York: Russell & Russell, 1969. First published 1930. 145

PAGE 151

Quinlivan, Patrick, and Paul Rose. The Fenians in England 1865-1872: A Sense ot Insecurity. London: John Calder (Publishers), Ltd., 1982. Rose, Paul. The Manchester Martyrs: The Story of a Fenian Tragedy. London: Lawrence &Weshart, 1970. Solow, Barbara Lewis. The Land Question & the Irish Economy, 1870-1903. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1971. Steele, E. D. "Ireland and the Empire in the 1860s: Imperial Precedents for Gladstone's First Irish Land Act." The Historical Journal. 1 (1968) 64. Irish Land and British Politics: Right and NationalitY 1865-1870. Cambridge University Press, 1974. Townshend, Charles. Political Violence in Government and Resistance since 1848. England: Clarendon Press, 1983. Tenant London: Ireland: oxford, Whyte, J. H. "Landlord Influence at Elections in Ireland 1869-1885." English Historical Review. 80 (October 1965) 740. Zebel, Sydney H. Balfour: A Political Biography. London: Cambridge University Press; 1973. 146