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Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners of Inquiry into the Working of the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act, 1870, and the acts amending the same online

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wish to speak ? — Yes. The complaint I have against
him is : It was an old brickyard when I came to the
town. I took it in 1851, and the agent and his sub-
agent could only value it at £3 1 Os. I told them it was
notworth anything until it was improved, and I got leave
to hold it until it would recoup me. I commenced to
drain, and cleared a large ditch away and fiUed up a
brick hole, and it remained at that rent. He changed
the agent then ; and he raised it, that was when he
came in, the new agent, to £4: 10s. 6d.

14830. Mr. Shaw. — What year was that ?—
1859.

14831. Chair.man. — That was after the new valua-



tion ? — Yes ; it was the same agent did it. Very well,
then, from 1859 to May 1869, they let it remain the
one year at £4 10s., and brought it up then to £5 lis.
That was the second rise it got. 'Then from May,
1869 to 1880, they put it to £6 18s. 6d, that is three
rises, that is the .present rent I am paying. Lord
Arran wanted but 20 per cent, put on, and he wrote to
Jackson, his local manager ; but when Mr. Crean, the
rent receiver came, he said we will put on 25 per cent.,
because Lord Arran will have to pay half the county
cess ; and they put on 25 per cent., and he does not
pay one penny of county cess now.

14832. Mr. Shaw You have made the improve-
ments ? — Yes.

14833. And made it good land ? — Well, it is pass-
able now.

14834. What side of the town is it ?— Kellybegs.

14835. Is it near the town? — Yes.

14836. Is your own freehold land near the town ]



l)a\"i



486



IRISH LAND ACT COMMISSION, 1880.



Oct. 16, 1880.

Mr. James
Davis.



—No ; it is near Ballysliannon. I hold ninety acres
at Cavangarden (J)

14837. Do you farm it yourself? — VVell, i do, it
you call stocking it.

14838. Would you be allowed to sell this of Lord
ArraiVs 1 — No ; since the Land Act passed in 1870,
he has drawn the receipt of that as a townpark.

14839. So you could not sell it '!— No, I could not
sell it according to his receipt, but I dispute that, and
call it a holding. A neighbouring tenant, similarly
treated, recovered the price of his tenant-right in the
Land Court.

14840. Has it cost you much money, wha,t you have
done on it 1 — I have laid out, perhaps, £40, say
£30, at least. And another grievance I have
to state on the Murray estate, my grandfather
and father and myself were tenants on the Murray
estate, but I recollect when Mr. Murray became heir,
I was a boy, and we held at £28 14s. Irish, that
would be about £23. There was not ten acres of the
forty acres you could turn a plough on. My father
had to keep labourers ou it, and he stubbed a great
deal of bi-iars and slr.e trees and hazels, and drained it,
and they have raised it now to £45 10s., and what
I complain most of is Murray's agent sent a man to
me to say he would build me a house. I said " I
am very much obliged to Mr. Murray for that, but
it would cost him a great deal to build^ a house
according to the size of the farm, if he built it as he
did on the small farms, and I don't want to put him
to any expense, and I probably would not go to live
in it, as I am living in to^vn, and I might be tempted
to set it, and we would have a quarrel about it ;
but if he expended one-fourth of that in drainage,
what it would cost to build the house, it would be
very much better for the landlord and tenant." The
agent went out with me and said he would not get
leave to do it. I asked him to look at a battery he
built at the end of my land which flooded two acres
of it. He said " I will expend £100 on your farm,
and charge you five per cent." I said "I cannot pay
that, Mr. Wilson, but there are a great deal of labour-
ers unemployed in Donegal." I said, " spend you £50
on account of the labour, and I will bind myself to
spend £50 in drainage." " Agreed," he said. I com-
menced and spent £30 in the winter. I asked him
out to look at it, and he commenced mimicking me,
and said it was not Worth looking at. " Well," I
said, " they did not cost the landlord anything, and
do you build better." He said, " I will give you a



lease," I said, " I don't think we will be anxious to
get leases the way you are treating us." Then he
increased the rent £5 10s., and served me with notice
I asked what was that for, he said there was a 'great
deal of capital spent on the estate, and this was the
interest they were putting on it. I said, " My dear
sir, do you show me anything you have expended
on the townland. You have canded on improvements
in Kellybegs that were useless, and spent the landlord's
property, and will you charge me with it. " He said " it
is the rule on every estate, and you must submit to it."

14841. Chaieman. — You say this was Mr. Wilson!
—Yes.

14842. Mr. Shaw. — When was thaf!— 186U.

14843. Is there a Mr. Brooke agent nowt—Yes,
I have nothing to say about Mr. Brooke ; he got the
books and keeps them on.

14844. And they put your rent to £45 10s.!-
Yes, and interest on capital that he squandered. He
kept a staff about him, some of them from £50 to
£100 a year, and kept smiths and. carpenters, ami
spent the money of the estate during the minority oi
the present proprietors.

14845. But none of it was spent on your farm!—
Not one shilling, nor there never was a shilling on
the whole townland. My father held one part, and
Crummer another; and when Mr. Murray Stewart
cameinto this room, and the tenants wanted abatement,
he said to some of them, ' ' You are no tenants of mine,"
and then when he came to Crummer and Davies he
said, " Come forward, these are my tenants, these
have their rents paid." Mr. Rabington had added
5 per cent, on our farm, and he said, "Babington
sweep that out, it is not those men you ought to bp
rising." I am paying £5 10s. for the improvements
done for other people, and he has raised a battery on
\o.j farm to get water into a mill, and he has raised
the rent nearly £40 on the mill in consequence of the
water power he gave it, and it has destroyed me and
the other man alongside. I thought the generosity
of any other landlord or agent would be such that he
would not take advantage of a tenant, and I never took
proceedings to prevent him, tliinking he would make a
fair deduction in the rent, and that is the way I am
treated.

14846. And you haVe no lease? — No lease, and I
have been served with notice to quit. I thought it
hard to leave my improvements, and ■ I am lahouring
under it since, and it is not worth it.

The witness withdrew.



]Mr. .Joshua
,1.11'kson.



Mr. Joshua Jackson,

14847. Chaib5IAS. — You are sub-agent on Lord
Arran's property 1 — Superintendent on the estate, he is
his own agent. He has an agent, Mr. Crean, Ballina, Co.
Mayo. He comes down here once or twice a year —
in July, to get the rents of the town, and at Christmas
to get the rents of the tenantry, and whatever is not
paid then I receive and forward to him. But all
other transactions are transacted bv himself.

14848. In connection with you? — In connection
with me about the tenantry.

14849. Mr. Shaw. — Does he come here himself? —
Not these last two years.

1485U. Chairman. — He has been unwell, I think?
— He was very unwell last Christmas, but- he used to
come every year.

14851. How long have yovi been engaged under
him ? — Nearly 23 years.

14852. Did )'0u live here before that time ? — No,
I li\'ed in the Co. Kildare ; held a farm of nearly 200
acres, paid £150 a year rent. My father and grand-
father lived in Kildare.

14853. Do you know how many acres there are on
Lord Arran's property ? — I think there are about 6,645
in the whole.

14854. That is including mountain grazing farms ?
— There are about 3,925 acres held by tenants, not
including townparks — Drumcliffe, Donegal town and



Donegal, examined,
part of Mullen's what we call townparks, but there
are 235 tenants upon these 3,925 acres, not mention-
ing the tenants of the towns or townparks.

14355. And is the rest of it mountain grazing!—
We have 70 acres on our own hands, and the rest is
mountain. I suppose there are about 2,700 acres.

14856. Are many of those tenants, small tenants!
— We have about 98 tenants, at £5 rent and under;
we have about 89 at from £5 to £10 ; we have about
29 from £10 to £20, and we have about 19 fromi20
up, and two of them pay £52 and another £84, not
including townparks or town tenancies.

14857. Are the grass farms generally let at a liigt
rate 1 — Indeed they are.

14858. Good farms? — What is on hands we get
£3 an acre for the grazing.

14859. Letting the grazing of the land ?— Grazing
for six months ; and we get, I suppose, for meadow
£4 10s. or £4 15s. per Irish acre.

14860. We heard that the property was valued by
Brassington and Gale in 1857 or about that time?—
Yes, it was.

14861. And about two years after that the rents
were raised generally to Gale's valuation ? — Yes, my
lord ; I did not come here mitil the last week of 185/,
and I was here at the old rise. Before 1 came here
Lord Arran had Mr. Gale and had it valued, he com-



MINUTES OF EVIDENCE.



4S7



plained that there was irregularity, some tenants paid
more than others, and some paid very little, and a
few townlands were not divided. Mr. Gale's valua-
tion was put on and it was raised in three instalments.
1 thought it a had plan, and I represented to
Mr. Symes at the time, hut I was not minded. I
did not imderstand this country's customs, and Mr.
Symes, the agent, took it that it was better to
make three instalments of the rise. He put one
on in 1858, he put another on, I think, in 1859 ;
and, I think, the last of these was in 1860, making
three divisions of the ris.e. The tenants nearly all
were dispiating and saying it was too high every time,
and he did not tell therii what the rent would
finally be at the first rise. I suggested that it would
be better to tell the persons what the rent would be,
that they might know what they were doing, but still
he went on and did not tell them until the last gale.
When he put on the last rise he promised he would
not change that rent for 21 years, he called the
tenants together, and Lord Arran was here in this
very room and I was present when he promised he
would not rise the rent for 21 years. It so happened
that in 1872, 12 years after, a man wanted to sell his
holding in Carnbigli, and the buyer or seller wrote to
Lord Arran, would he allow him to be tenant. Lord
Arran wrote back to me saying he did not know the
person, and that he should pay 25 per cent, addition to
the rent, coming in as a new tenant on this holding.
When I got that letter 1 -wrote back to Lord Arran
suggesting that I was present when his lordship pro-
mised he would not rise rents for 21 years, and that
for the few that would change hands, I suggested to
his lordship not to disturb the rent but let it run out
for 2 1 years. His lordship did let that man pa°ss,
and another, and took my advice, until another man,
living in Mullinalamphry, got an auctioneer to sell,
and there was a man came home from America who
gave two prices for this bit of land, and the auctioneer
wrote to his loi'dship saying he sold the land for so
inuch cash, and would his lordship be kind enough
■ to make this man tenant. His lordship sent that
letter to me, asking the usual questions, and I in-
quired about him and I believed he would make
a good tenant. But his lordship said his estate
was let too low ; there was this enormous sum
given for the tenant-right, and he was only getting so
much rent, and let this be the last farm that was sold
without the 25 per cent, being put on. He told the
bailiff, Sharkey, to attend the sales, and proclaim it
throughout the whole estate to purchaser and seller.
When I got that order I never said a word more ; so
there were 18 farms sold since, and the 26 per cent,
was put on nearly all.

14862. Who is Sharkey t— The bailiff of the estate.

14863. He attended and told them «— Yes.

14864. Mr. Shaw. — Some that were offered since
were not sold 1 — They were sold, but one man would
not take it. There was a man named Hugh
M'Ginty, he sold a little farm ; he took two farms and
he was to keep them together as one ; a few years
went by and he found he should sell one, and Lord
Arran gave him permission. A man of the name of
Pearson bought that from him, and a few years after
he sold the other to a man named McCrudden.
McCrudden wrote to Lord Arran saying he wished to
be the tenant of M'Ginty's farm, and Lord Arran
sent the letter to me, and I answered the usual ques-
tions. But the man was not to become tenant on any
account unless he paid 25 per cent. The man would
not pay it unless M'Ginty gave him £10 off his pur-
xjhase. It lay there, and it is likely the money was
lodged, Sharkey, the bailiff, tells me, and the man
would not take it, and so there it lies, and Lord Arran
has not changed his mind. I understood he got £70
for his tenant-right, and there is £4 8s. a year rent ;
he got very nearly 15 years' purchase.

14865. Chairman. — I suppose that Lord Arran's
view was that his promise of twenty-one years was
to the actual tenants or their representatives; but



that on a sale, he considered he had a right to make
increases ? — His meaning was that on anynew tenancy,
he would rise it on the piirchaser of the farm.

14866. ]Mr. Shaw. — But that was not stated in
1859 1 — I never heard that stated then.

14867. Chairman. — You, being here, saw that that
would give great dissatisfaction ? — I did ; and, there-
fore I took the liberty of suggesting to his lordship
not to do it, and he took my advice on one or two
farms, and when this auctioneer told the extraordinary
price this American gave for it, he put on the in-
crease.

14868. Mr. Si-iAW. — Do you remember the price
and the size of the holding? — It was in Mullina-
lamphry, and it was valued 8s. 5d. an acre, and it
was not the best land, and I believe he gave £140.

14869. For how many acres? — I don't suppose
there are more than eight.

14870. Irish acres? — Irish acres ; the average rent
is' 8s. 5d. an English acre.

14871. Chairman.— This is M'Ginty that we had
here to-day ? — He is from Cambigh ; there is a rent of
15s. 6d. an acre on his townland, and his rent on this
farm is £4 8s., and he sold that to Pearson, and I
understand, Pearson gave him £96.

14872. But the sale fell through, at all events 1—
Not to Pearson ; he gave the twenty-five per cent.
It was only in M'Crudden's case it fell through.

14873. What is the average rate of agricultural
rent on the estate in comparison with the poor law
valuation? — All the townlands average about 13s. Qd.
Of the 3,900 acres the average is about 10s. 6d

14874. And do you know how that stands, as re-
gards the poor law valuation ? — The rent of that is
£2,051 9s. lid., and the poor law valuation, without
valuing the houses, is £1,476 15s. ; as near as I can
go, putting houses' valuation with the land, it is
£1,725. •

14875. Mr. Shaw. — The houses have all been built
by the tenants, I suppose ?— All built by the tenants.

14876. And all the improvements made by the
tenants, generally? — All the improvements since I
came here. Lord Arran did lay out something in
draining and subsoiling in 1847 and 1848 ; but the
tenants do all on their farms.

14877. Improving their farms in the best way they
can ? — Yes.

14878. Do you know what rate the mountain land
is valued at in the poor law valuation ? — I do ; the
townland of Carnbigh is valued at 3s. 2d. ; that is
the average of the whole of the townland; that is,
where the tenants alone hold. We have 2,000 moun-
tain acres, or more, not included in this valuation.

. What the tenants hold in Clogher is valued at £125,
the rent and the poor rate valuation is £98 18s., and
the value of houses is £1 3 1 6s. ; that makes the average
for the tenants 4s. M. per English acre.

14878a. Chairman.— Then, it is considerably above
the poor law valuation?— It is considerably above.

14679. Do you think that, through the country
generally, the land of the same sort is let as
high as that?— I am not acquainted very well with
other estates about here ; but I really believe it is
very little above our . neighbours.

14880. And do you think that excess above the
poor law valuation is a fair letting value ?— In some
instances, I believe ; there were two or three came
under my own. notice; there were three farms they
disputed about putting on the rent, and Lord Arran
is not a , man who wishes too high a rent, if he knew
it. The three tenants said they would leave the valua-
tion to me, and. his /lordship, when he heard it, de-
sired me to go up and value these three farms— one
was bought for £320, and another for £410. I went
out and reduced the rent he was askmg on one £10,
and I reduced the other £8 ; I reduced all three.
Lord Arran was satisfied. I considered tha,t if the
rents were put on as asked, it would be too high.

14881. Mr. Shaw.— If twenty-five per cent, were
put on, you think they would be too high?— I think



Oct. 16, 1860

Mr. Joshua
Jackson.



488



IRISH LAND ACT COMMISSION, 1880.



Oct. 16, 1880.

Mr. Joshua
Jackson.



they would ; but any one that was left to me, I would
make it as fair as I could. Valuators of land are very
much praised — very much — but, in my opinion, no va-
luator ought to call in a surveyor at all ; they ought to
look at the land. They should not take the poor law
valuation into account. But all those farms that
were let at the twenty-five per cent, increase, every-
one of them invariably sold at eleven years' purchase
at least.

14882. Do you know the case of James Davies? —
Ida

14883. He has four acres ?— Lord Arran expected
that to be a townpark.

14884. Has he not improved it very much 1 — He
had done a great deal on it before I came, I could see
by the hills and holes.

14885. And he commenced with a rent of £3 10s.
and it is now £6 18s. 1 — That is high to be sure, and
it looks a great increase, but, then, that was called a
townpark by Lord Arran. It was a field where they
used to burn bricks, and the landlord's plea is this,
that it was let cheap, intending that it should be im-
proved, and then it was raised by degrees.

14886. Yes; but the man who improved it has to
pay the high rent ? — Yes.

14887. Chairman. — You think he was put in at a
low rent to begin with with the view of his improving
it, and then, after a certain length of time, he was to
have a higher rent 1 — That is the belief.

14888. Mr. Shaw. — Was it ever worth more than
£3 10s. when he got it? — I cannot say, but I could
give a guess. I know the kind of land, but at present
I believe if Mr. Davies had to let it he would not let
it at less than £Q 18s.

14889. Chairman. — He says he laid out £30 on
it 1 — I have no doubt that less than £30 would not do
what I see he has done.

14890. What would you say it is worth now'? — If
he was to let it himself he would get £6 an acre, or
£6 10s., or £7, if he was to let it for grazing.

14891. Mr. Shaw. — Then his money is throwza
away to a great extent 1 — No ; I think he would get
£90 for the farm at the old rent, £3 10s.

14892. Do you know James Smullen's farm 1 — I do.

14893. He has done a great deal on his land? — He
has.

14894. He paid a' good price for it?— £320.

14895. The rent was £18 and it is now £30. That
is a smart increase on the farm? — Yes. I valued
that, and there was a great deal more put on it and I
reduced it, and he was quite satisfied ; landlord
and tenant were satisfied with the price.

14896. Chairman. — At the time? — At the time;
and 1 believe now that it is very little too dear, if it
be any.

14897. Mr. Shaw. — He has spent his money, his
outlay on it, and he thinks he ought to get some re-
turn ? — He has, but I think it has repaid him for all ;
but that is not one of the worst cases ; that is one of
the best cases.

U808. Chairman. — There is another case of
M'Gaharen?— That was M'Crudden's case. He was
in debt and was served with ejectments at dilfer-ent
times, and was very, very poor, and he turned about
and sold his land. He told me one day he sold it to
this M'Gaharen, but there was twenty-five per cent,
put on.

14899. Mr. Shaw.— The first reut was £5 15,s.,
then it was raised tp £8 l[)s., and on the sale it was
£10 lis. 9d. That was nearly doubling the rent? —
In olden times I believe they had this place for very
little, that is, lis. lOd. per acre — the average rent of
Birchhill. When I came here I was not acquainted
with this country as much as my own country — Kil-
dare, Queen's County, Carlow, and Wicklow — but I
considered myself, when I got acquainted with the
place and the tenantry and the kind of soil, that the
vents were too smart on many ; still if some of them
Had no rent to pay they would be poor.

14900. But it is a poorish land, not a kind land ?—



There is some of it very good, but there is none of it
there is not some little bad spot on.

14901. Chairman. — Do you think the tenants have
made much improvements of late years? — AH the
improvements are made by them. 'There are a good
many tenants I could point out who have improved
their land. I know a man of the name of Love of
Finnybawns. When I came here he had a piece of
bog and a piece of hill, the way it was left by the
Creator, and he has it now nearly all settled. He cer-
tainly does not pay a high rent at present, but if
they go to value him again , they will certainly put a
higher rent on, from his improvements thereon.

14902. Mr. Shaw— If he tries to sell he will have
to pay 25 per cent. ? — Yes, I suppose so.

14903. Although he has made it aU himself? — Yes
and round this country I understand the landlords are
all doing the same thing.

14904. Chairman — Do you think there is a dis-
continuance of improvements by the tenants since tie
Land Act ? — I cannot say there is.

14905. We have heard in some places that at first
they improved under the Land Act, but of late they
have ceased to do so from the feeling that it is in-
secvire ? — I know the feeling that is in the minds of
the tenantry is this — I believe improvements would
go on 40 or 50 per cent, more than they do if they
were sure the rent would not be raised for their
improvements. That is my opinion ; and I think
landlords and tenants would be helped if it was
settled, so that the landlord and tenant would know
what they were doing, and the tenant would not be
interfered with in improving by the raising of rent.

14906. Mr. Shaw— -It would be better for all
parties 1 — It would be better for all pai-ties if some-
thing could be done, for I am acquainted with tenants
in Kildare, Queen's County, Carlow, and Wicklow.
My brother holds upwards of 400 acres of land, and my
cousins from 200 or 300 acres down to 50. And I l)e-
lieve if something equivalent could be given, to the
landlord for his legal and customary right of raising
rent every 21 j-ears, it would be a gi-and job to have a,
settled and stationary rent. We will, say, give leases
for ever to all, and pay a half-year's rent every 31 years.

14907. As a fine or premium ? — Yes ; say an estate
was worth £3,000 a year. Every thirty years the
landlord would have £1,500, and the landlord would
know and the tenant would know, and he would build
his house and have no complaints. And if you look
on it and calculate it as I have done, I believe it would
leave the landlord 3 },- per cent, interest, and it will
give him as much addition to his rents as with the
way foreign countries are opened by steam communi-
cation he can expect, it would give him as much of a
rise as he gets now by constant increases.

. 14908. And it would satisfy the tenants ? — Yes.

14909. And improvements would goon? — I know
a tenant at present. He is able and willing to im-
prove, and that is the only thing that prevents him
building a slated house. In the County Kildare, on
Lord Aldborough's property, I had three cousins A
workuig tailor from Castledermot bought the pro-
perty, and put them out, and they had to go away and
not get one permy piece. There is a feeling among
farmers that they will not improve, and even if they
get leases — I have been one myself, and know the
feeling — they will say, even honest, industrious,
respectable farmers who wish to pay a good rent and



Online LibraryGreat Britain. Commissioners of inquiry into the wReport of Her Majesty's Commissioners of Inquiry into the Working of the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act, 1870, and the acts amending the same → online text (page 219 of 295)