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that his rent was only £10: 109., instead of £11; and having said all this, Sullivan returned homewards, with a walk of some seven or eight miles before him, quite satisfied that he had done his duty in proving himself a misrepresenter of facts.'” -(p. 542.)
Here again the Commissioner wonders at the effect, but does not perceive the cause of the evil. In his letter on the Town of Sligo, he shews the frauds in the butter trade, which are exposed by Lord Devon’s ? Commission. On this subject he writes :
" Thus it is that the natural mind of the people of the west of Ireland mistakes cunning for wisdom. By this piece of roguery they of course lose their trade. I was informed there that the country-people near Sligo prefer carrying their butter to the Enniskillen market, because they are more fairly dealt with there. It was by practices like these that the Irish nearly ruined their export trade in flax. They twisted up pebbles in the knots of flax, which, being sold by weight, the purchaser bought pebbles at the rate of £40 or £50 a ton. As soon as he found it out, he would either not buy Irish flax at any price; or, if he did buy it, he bought it at a price below its value, calculating so much loss by roguery in pebbles. The cunning of the Irish mind delights in over-reaching a neighbour ; but is not wise enough to foresee that the neighbour, though over-reached once, may not be a fool,-may find out the deception, and afterwards refuse to have dealings with dishonesty. The same system of unfair dealing is carried out in other things; they cheat one another, and mutual want of confidence and want of enterprize are the result.”—(p. 163.)
The oats 2 are usually brought to market by a carrier, the carrier is bribed by the merchant, and makes what return he pleases to the farmer. The people think there is some design against them, and are unwilling to weigh their corn at the public crane, though no charge is made; when they do so, the buyer has a man on the watch, who gives notice at the store that a sack with his master's mark has been weighed, and they know how to treat it. If it be not weighed at the public crane, and the seller stands by to see it weighed in the scales of the merchant, he is often cheated even while he is looking on; this is done either by means of a lever, which hooks up the scale containing the weights, or if the farmer be very sharp and this is not attempted, the weigher calls out the true weight, and the clerk enters a less weight in his book. It is the same with pork and everything else :
" These," says the Commissioner, “ are pitiable examples of littleness, chicane, and low cunning. Minds capable of such tricks as these are incapable of enterprize, or of wisely striving to realize a great trade by fair dealing. They are not wise enough to see the value of a good name; and they lose the wealth and greatness which honest industry would realize, by peddling tricks and trying to cheat in halfpence."
Again, as the Commissioner is opposed to agitation, the Repeal newspapers were most anxious to find fault with him, and he shows most clearly that they did so without the least regard for truth :Appendix, Part ii. p. 219.
" When in Galway, I had a conversation with two gentlemen,-one, the rector of the town, the Rev.John D'Arcy, a most straight-forward and useful man, and a gentleman who is allowed by all parties to have been of vast service in improving the town,—the other, a landed proprietor in the neighbourhood. The conversation was upon loan-funds, and on the utter ignorance of the people of the commercial value of money. Mr. D'Arcy mentioned as an instance of this, the fact that the poor pawned money (paying of course pawnbrokers' interest, or fifty per cent, for a portion of their own money) to the extent of hundreds every year in the town of Galway. I laughed at this as an incredible story: Seeing him serious, I told him I did not doubt his word, but would like to be convinced of the fact by seeing some such pledges myself, otherwise no one would believe me if I mentioned it. He was about politely to show me the town, and we all three walked into the first pawnbroker's shop we met with, which happened to be Mr. Murray's. Mr. Murray was not in, but his shopman was, and Mr. D'Arcy at once explained the object of our call, and told him I doubted that money was ever pawned. The shopman said he would soon convince me of the fact, and pulled out a small drawer containing several bank-notes with duplicate tickets pinned to them, and also a guinea with a duplicate ticket round it. I unpinned some of these myself, and took the description of the notes down; the other gentleman who was with me did the same, and read the description of the notes. I thought this so strange a fact of utter and absurd ignorance of the commercial use of money, that I stated it to you in a former lettter. In going out we met Mr. Murray, the shopkeeper, who seemed anxious to account for the pawning by various surmises such as the £10 note being a daughter's fortune, that the poor people did not like to break into, and the guinea being an heir-loom, or pocket-piece. In answer to my question, Was a guinea ever left unredeemed and sold as a forfeited pledge? he replied that this had frequently occurred. A Tralee paper, however, has discovered—that I am not the man for Galway, where I have been served in a manner most laughable, and well worthy of an Irish wag.' It then says, “Mr. Murray persuaded me' of what both myself and the gentleman with me had seen and felt with our own eyes and hands,-and that I had 'jotted down' his information as a veritable fact. How clever this is, to be sure. What' waggery' there is in telling a lie, even supposing Mr. Murray to have done so, which he did not. I notice this foolish attempted contradiction only to stop it, for I see that great authority, Mr. Dillon Browne, has plumed himself much upon this assumed 'waggery' of the poor ignorant money-pledgers in imposing upon me.”
In a note added afterwards the Commissioner says :" The Tralee paper afterwards disowned the authorship of this discovery, which it appeared had been invented by the Galway Vindicator, or some such creditable authority, which, with the means of ascertaining the truth close to its own printing-office, unblushingly ventured a falsehood in order to cast a slur on an undeniable truth. Such, to a great extent, is Irish journalism, and such are very many of the sources from which information respecting Ireland is derived."-(p. 392.)
We account for all this system of deceit by the simple fact, that the religion of the Irish admits and encourages falsehood, and when thus the only true restraint is removed, we may well exclaim, “If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness."
We have thus examined a part of the theory of the Commissioner ; we have shown where he has seen the truth without dis
covering the whole truth. Let us now briefly consider some of the remedies he suggests for the evils which he has seen and described. His first remedy is remunerative employment. This requires investment of money, and co-operation between landlord and tenant. He shows how valuable an investment the improvement of land affords, and enters into an elaborate calculation as to the cost of thorough draining. He shows that the tenant even without the landlord would find his advantage in cultivating more land. He would raise the setting value from five shillings to thirty shillings an acre, and even if the landlord should exact the full value, which is very unlikely, there would still be a surplus in favour of the tenant of £2:15s. an acre. He shewed his calculation to several of the farmers, saying, You now pay five shillings and gain nothing, would it not be better even to pay the whole thirty shillings and have a profit for yourselves ? The farmers and the schoolmaster made this very calculation, but with their own result before them, they were unconvinced, and kept crying out; Yes, but the landlord would raise the rent, and who should we improve for ? He adds
“ The only surprizing thing is, that the priests as men of education, should not see this, and point it out to the tenants, if they are too stupid to see it themselves. What matters it to the tenants whether the landlord benefits or not by their exertions, so long as they themselves make a profit by it ?”
Does the Commissioner seriously suppose that the priesthood, whose education has been such as to teach them a hatred of the Saxon, would persuade the people to any thing that would unite them to the landed interest, or lead them to rest satisfied to increase the rental, even for their own good. If he thinks so, we do not agree with him. The Commissioner gives us the real state of the case in the same letter, where he describes the improvements made by Mr. David John Wilson of Belvoir, in the County Clare. This gentleman spends £400 or £500 a year in draining, subsoiling, and building better cottages. Yet though the tenants are paid for improving their own farms, every step taken by the landlord is viewed with suspicion. Mr. Wilson's plan is to add one half of the increased value to the original rent as interest for the money he expends, the other half going to the benefit of his tenants. In consequence, however, of compelling his tenants to follow an improved system of cultivation, this gentleman received several notices that he would be shot; the Commissioner drove with him in the evening, and he was obliged to carry pistols for his defence, and since then he has gone to reside in Paris.' Thus agitation
| Page 322.
brings its own punishment, and yet priests and agitators complain of absentees. Another great difficulty in giving employment arises from the indolence of the people; in remote districts they have never been in the habit of working, and consider labour as a hardship. The Commissioner questioned a man as to his reasons for keeping his pig in the house with himself, (a very common practice in Ireland) and the man told him, that as he was not sure of his house for another year, there was no use in going to the trouble ; now as the man had not constant employment, one day's trouble would have increased his comfort for the year; but the uncertainty of tenure gave him an excuse for indolence, and he was glad to avail himself of it.
Again, the Commissioner argues in favour of leases : the great difficulty here is the elective franchise, the voters are in the hands of the priests, and the landlord knows that if he gives leases his tenantry will vote against him. We gave our opinion on this subject in March, 1845; the plain remedy which we then proposed is to make a law that a certain description of lease shall not have the elective franchise. A leaseholder does not necessarily improve : to an industrious tenant it is certainly an encouragement to lay out money ; but if he be indolent there is no compulsion. Some of the most improved districts in England are held by tenants at will, and we believe, the want of proper cultivation arises from many other causes besides the want of a certain tenure. There is little sympathy between the higher classes and their tenants, because though their interests are identical, their objects are different. It becomes disagreeable therefore, to a landlord to meet his tenantry; he is afraid they will not tell him the truth, and he naturally delegates an unpleasant duty to his agent.
A rent-day in Ireland is very different from our audit day in England. In the latter case the dinner and the proposal of the landlord's health, his thanks to the company and his return of good wishes, all tend to bind more closely the sympathies of those who have already entered into a mercantile agreement for mutual advantage. We wish Irish landlords would meet their tenants thus, but we fear it is unlikely, while the power of the priest and tbe deceitfulness of the Roman Catholic religion continue as they now exist. An Irish land-agent lately gave a forcible expression to these sentiments, when things were going well and the tenants appeared contented, “These people," said he, “ are always with me till I want them."
The third proposition of the Commissioner is, to develope the capabilities of Ireland : he is here as usual quite right as to the facts, as he shows that Ireland has vast industrial resources. The water-power of Sligo joined with the facilities of inland navigation, render it a far more cheap and convenient situation for the cotton-business than Lancashire. The cost of steam power is very great, and the Commissioner shows that in this one point £30,000 a year could be easily saved by building mills upon the streams in Sligo. Again, Lough Erne presents wonderful facilities for water carriage, if they were only made available by the construction of a short canal. Here again, the power of the Roman Catholic Church opposes a barrier to the natural influx of English capital; we are well acquainted with an English manufacturer, who speculated in Ireland and failed. He said, It is quite impossible for an English Protestant to succeed in Ireland, while the people remain in the hands of the priests. If I take the raw material, I give a bill at three months, because at the end of that time I expect to have the goods manufactured ; now if, in the mean time, I offend the priest in any way he can, by a single word withdraw all my hands from my mill, and leave me unable to meet my engagement. This shakes mercantile credit, and without credit in the present state of the world, there can be little mercantile speculation.
The Commissioner thus concludes the letter to which we have above alluded :
“But what will the Repealers say to this the gentlemen who‘talk nonsense' about repeal as the cure-all for every disease of Ireland ? Pray, in the name of common sense, say no more about it; but strive by every means in your power thus to cement closer and closer your union with the industry, and skill, and capital of England. Seek to amalgamate yourselves with her, to equal her, to rival her, to join with her, and to partake in the glories, whether of peace or war, of one unrivalled empire. But, talk nonsense about Repeal-excite the people-plant hatred in their breasts against the Saxons and against England-make it dangerous, or at any rate not pleasant, for Englishmen to reside among you—and what sane Englishman, with capital to go where he likes, will come here and spend his thousands, at the risk of being shot for his folly? I will simply put these facts before sensible Irishmen, and I feel satisfied that there is no sensible Irishman, who after calmly reflecting upon them, will not come to the conclusion, whatever may have been his previous opinions, that it is not wise, either for the welfare of Ireland or of Irishmen, to perpetuate agitation and disturbance, whether for Repeal or for any other object, and thus to drive away capital and skill, which alone can give employment to the people.”—(p. 198.)
The next two subjects for reform, are, to discourage middlemen; to endeavour to substitute small proprietors for them and mortgagees, and to improve the waste lands. On these subjects too much cannot be said. The Commissioner has treated them with sound good sense, and we heartily wish the Government would attend to his suggestions. The grievance of middlemen, who live out of the land without contributing to its increase, has been often