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mit them to all the rest. Thus the fundamental principle of exclusion is practically admitted; and then what becomes of the reasonings on that side of the question ?-If a Catholic is excluded from wearing the crown, from intermarrying with the sovereign, from being chancellor, and from being lord lieutenant of Ireland; what are the grounds upon which it is proved, that it is unjust not to admit him to fill the situation of prime minister, president of the council, lord chief justice, lord president of the court of session, or to hold any other of the higher offices of state? Do the Catholics admit the propriety and justice of a limited exclusion, such as that contained in sir Francis Burdett's bill? Or do they and their friends deem it prudent not to carry as yet their principles to their full extent, but to soothe alarm and bribe opposition into quiescence by not laying claim

to perfect equality, so that they may now gain such a vantage ground, as may hereafter render resistance to the utmost of their demands altogether unavailing. If the apparent contradiction between the principles of the advocates of the Catholics and the measures which they propose proceeds from the latter cause, the country has some reason to complain. In questions of such vast importance, policy ought to give way to the most complete frankness and honesty; measures like this ought not to be brought forward partially or carried by piece-meal: the whole extent of the required concession should be avowed openly and at

once.

For the legislature must walk in blindness and error, if it deliberates on a bill as a complete and final measure and decides on it in that view, when in truth the bill is merely a portion of a wider scheme.

CHAP. IV.

Committee of the Lords appointed to inquire into the State of Ireland— Evidence given before the Committee-Subdivision of Farms-Extreme Poverty of the Peasantry-Their want of Employment-Their absolute Dependence on their Landlords-The Operation of the Tithe System in Ireland-Abuse of legal Proceedings-Distraining the growing Crops-Civil Bill Ejectment-Abuse of the Process of Custodiam and the Civil Bill Process-Miscellaneous Topics of Investigation before the Committee-Motion on the State of Ireland with respect to Religious Animosities-Misrepresentation of Lord Liverpool's Conduct-Mr. Hume's Motion against the Irish Church Establishment -State of the Irish Charter Schools.

N the former session, a commit-. sustaining animal existence by a

pointed to inquire into the state of those districts in Ireland, which were subject to the operation of the Insurrection act.

Early in the present session a committee was appointed, upon the motion of lord Liverpool, to inquire into the state of Ireland generally; and this committee was composed of the same members as that of the preceding year, with the exception of lord Aberdeen, who was abroad, and earl Fitzwilliam, who wished to withdraw from the labours of the investigation. The duke of Devonshire and lord Fitzgibbon were substituted for these two peers.

The result of the labours of the committee was a very brief and vague report; accompanied, however, by a most voluminous mass of evidence, which threw great light upon the condition of the general body of the Irish peasantry. It showed that they lived in the most degraded state-without property, without the possibility of acquiring property, barely

of the most wretched kind. In this state of misery they were the absolute slaves of their landlords; and their dependence, poverty, demoralization and degradation were increased still further by the mode in which tithes were collected, and by the defective administration of justice by the local tribunals. Such were the general features of the condition of the rural population of the greater part of Ireland, as delineated by the best-informed of the witnesses. But on a topic of so much importance, we cannot do better than allow some of those witnesses to speak for themselves.

The following is the language of Mr. Blackburn, an active and learned magistrate, who had merited the confidence and esteem of all parties by the firmness and prudence with which he had superintended the operation of the Insurrection act in the county of Limerick. "The population in Ireland has been, at least, in that part of Ireland to which my testi

mony refers, rapidly increasing; I believe the Irish peasant scarcely ever forms, at least, while he remains at home, an idea of bettering his condition; they are improvident, and either from that improvidence, or the high rents, are seldom able to realize personal property. When a farmer who has a few acres of land (I mention this as an instance) has his children to portion out in the world, and they are about to be married, he has nothing to give them but land. The farm is subdivided; the portions, which each member of that family gets, are in the next generation liable to be again subdivided; and then subdivision of land, and the multiplication of the species, go on pari passu. The increase of population, in a country where land forms the only means of subsistence, has produced, in Ireland, the effect of creating, in my judgment, a perfectly erroneous criterion of the value of land. The value of land in Ireland is regulated, not by what in other countries is considered the criterion of its value, but by the quantity and degree of competition for it; and the principle that a thing is worth what it will bring in the market, which is applicable to every other article, appears to me to be totally false as applied to land; for instance, a farm of fifty acres, let to one tenant at a certain rent, may be well worth that rent: subdivided into ten tenements, it has then to support a population of ten families; and it appears to me that that subdivision, though it has the actual effect of increasing the rental of the landlord, ought to have the effect of decreasing it; but it has had the effect of increasing the rental of landlords; and all states, head landlords, as we call

them, and intermediate ones, have been dealing upon that fallacious principle.

Rentals have been formed upon that principle, debts have been contracted upon it, annuities have been sold, and the whole system originating in that error has produced mischief and ruin at this moment in every department of Ireland. Then, again, the temptation to multiply freeholds has, but in a very minor degree, contributed to increase the quantum of the evil." "The state of the lower orders," said Mr. O'Connell, " is such, that it is astonishing to me how they preserve health, and above all, how they preserve cheerfulness, under the total privation of any thing like comfort, and the existence of a state of things that the inferior animals would scarcely endure, and which they do not endure in this country. The houses are not even called houses, and they ought not to be; they are called cabins ; they are built of mud, and covered with thatch partly, and partly with a surface which they call scraws, and any continuance of rain necessarily comes in. In these abodes, there is nothing that can be called furniture; it is a luxury to have a box to put any thing into; it is a luxury to have what they call a dresser for laying a plate upon, or any thing of that kind they may have; they generally have little beyond an iron cast metal-pot, a milk tub, which they call a keeler, over which they put a wickerbasket, in order to throw the potatoes, water, and all into the basket, that the water should run into this keeler. The entire family sleep in the same apartment; they call it a room; there is some division between it and the part where the fire is. They have

seldom any bedsteads, and as to covering for their beds, they have nothing but straw, and very few blankets in the mountain districts. In Limerick, and in a portion of Clare, and in parts of the county of Cork, they sleep in their clothes; I know that near Dublin they sleep in their clothes, and that upon recent investigation within eight or ten miles of Dublin, out of fourteen or fifteen families, there were only two found in which there was a blanket. Their diet is equally wretched. It consists, except on the sea-coast, of potatoes and water during the greater part of the year, and of potatoes and sour milk during another portion; they use some salt with their potatoes when they have nothing but water; on the sea-coast they get fish, the children repair to the shore, and the women and they get shell-fish of various kinds, and indeed various kinds of fish." Mr. O'Connell stated four-pence a-day to be the ordinary rate of wages; in 1822, the peasantry were glad to work at two-pence a-day with out victuals. Yet even at this low rate of wages, there is no possibility of obtaining constant employment for the population. The

consequence is, that "every man cultivates the food of his own family, potatoes; and land becomes absolutely necessary there for every Irish peasant; he cultivates that food, and he makes the rent, in general, by feeding the pig, as well as his own family, upon the same food, and if it be not wrong to call it so, at the same table, upon the same spot-by that pig he makes the rent, besides any chance that he gets of daily labour."

Mr. Nimmo, who, in the course of his employment as a civil engi

neer, had extensive opportunities of accurate observation, gave an equally unfavourable picture of the situation of the Irish peasantry.

"I conceive (said Mr. Nimmo) the peasantry of Ireland to be, in general, in almost the lowest state of existence; their cabins are in the most miserable condition, and their food is potatoes with water, very often without any thing else, frequently without even salt; and I have frequently had occasion to meet persons that begged of me on their knees, for the love of God, to give them some promise of employment, that, from the credit of it, they might get the means of supporting themselves for a few months, until I could employ them.

"The poor of Ireland are in general left to obtain their subsistence by mendicancy; and according to the best information I have been able to procure on that head, in various parts of the kingdom, the expenditure of every family on the begging poor cannot be averaged at less than a penny per day, or half a stone of potatoes, which, for one million of families, would be per annum at least 1,500,000l. Admit that we include in this sum the result of public charities, hospitals, &c.; but add to this the grand jury presentments, which are for purposes mostly avoided by the poorrates of England, 750,000l. dependent of an indefinite sum levied in Great Britain every season, by emigrant poor from Ireland, we have raised in the country and on residents alone 2,250,000l. This is more than half the public revenue, double the tithes, a fourth of the land rent, and at least a twentieth part of the entire consumption. The poor of England

In

are supported by a rate upon pro- ! "The tenantry of Ireland are al

perty, which, when at the highest noniinal amount, viz., 7,500,000l., was only one-eighth of the public revenue, one-seventh of the rent assessed to it, about one and a half times the tithe, and only one-fourth of the income or consumption. I conclude, therefore, that in the present mode of management, the support of the poor in Ireland, in proportion to other burthens, or to the general income, is double the rate in England.

"There is no means of employ ment for an Irish peasant, nor any certainty that he has an existence for another year, nor even for another day, but by getting possession of a portion of land on which he can plant potatoes; and, in consequence of the increase of population, which does not seem to be at all checked by the misery which they undergo, the competition for land has attained an appearance something like the competition for provisions in a besieged town, or in a ship that is out at sea; and as there is no check to the demand which may be made by those who may possess the land, the land appears to have risen to prices far beyond what it is possible for the poor peasants to extract from it in the way in which they cultivate it; and the landlord appears to have-by the word landlord, I mean the persons who have, either by leasehold or by freehold, the property or the right of disposing of the land to the actual occupier,-the landlord has, in the eyes of the peasant, the right, in a summary way, to take from the peasant any thing which he has, if he is unable to execute those covenants which he was obliged to enter into from his dread of starvation.

most universally from six months to twelve months and upwards in arrear. There is a distinction among them between what are called Irish tenants and English tenants. The former, the Irish tenant, is he who, according to the custom, is in arrear and in debt to the landlord; being in debt, it is, I believe, in the power of the landlord legally to drive his cattle, under the form of a distress, to the pound, by way of making him pay his rent; but this form of distress is applied not only to the raising of the rent, but to the doing any thing else which the landlord wants. For example, if I want a parcel of people to work for me at eight-pence a-day, and they insist on being paid tenpence, I complain to the landlord that the people are demanding exorbitant wages; that we cannot go on; we will not pay them those wages; the landlord, whose interest it is to have the work go on, in order that money may be paid to his tenantry for the purpose of paying his rent, again sends instant notice, that unless they go to the work on the road at eight-pence a-day, all their cattle will be driven to the pound. Now, I conceive, the object being not to pay rent, but to do the road, this is an illegal use of their power; and, supposing the landlord wished them not to work on the road for me, they would have a like notice for that. Notice has been sent to a man, that if he went to work on the road, his cattle should be driven the next morning to the pound; consequently, he may be made to do any thing the landlord pleases.

"I conceive there exists no check to the power of the landlord! It appears to me that under colour of

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