Great Britain. Commissioners of inquiry into the w.

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

. (page 289 of 295)
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 289 of 295)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

allowed to occupy his farm as long as he paid the
rent, and not turned out at all, and had liberty to sell .
his interest, and that what was a fair rent were to be
fixed by arbitration, if he and his landlord could not
agree on the subject — would that be a fair arrange-
ment ? — The people in my country are peaceably
disposed people, and only want what is fair.

23786. Would they like that? — They would like
that; but they have no confidence in the landlord
being allowed supreme control in the fixing of the
rent, as has been the case up to the present.

23786. Mr. Shaw. — That is a grievance ? — It is a
grievance. I urged on several large landlords in my
district — not only in my own case, but in several cases
for the past year — that they had a right to bear a por-
tion of the terrible results of the present depression.
They did not, but insisted on their full rents up to
last November — this time twelve months — and hence
the unpleasantness.

23787. There were two or three bad years before
that, and they did not consider them ? — I explained
to my landlords that no rent had been made for three
seasons before that, and they were well aware of it.

23788. The Chaieman. — We have had from a
witness having the management of land, that where
the tenant represented that the rent was too high, he
was willing to discuss the matter with him, and if
they differed, to allow a resort to arbitration : has
that been the case in your country ? — ^No, it has not.
The people would have confidence in the Government
valuation ; but the landlords in my part of the country
insist on the right of fixing the rents, and will give no
voice to the tenants. I will give you another case on
another portion of the Marquis of Thomond's property,
A holding was let to four tenants by a middleman
under the Marquis of Thomond, the rent being £46 to
the Marquis, £20 to the middleman, and a fat pig each
year. At the expiration in 1829 of the lease under
which that arrangement was carried out, the fat pig
was disposed of, but Lord Thomond kept the £66 on
the four tenants until the property was sold in 1858.
It was then bought by a very large proprietor, who
fixed the rent at £136.

23789. Mr. Shaw.— From £66 ?— Yes, from £66
to £136.

23790. The Chaieman. — Is he the owner at pre-
sent ? — He is.

23791. Will you give the name ? — I will — Captain

23792. Ml-. Shaw. — Has that rent been continued
ever since ? — Ever since ; and they were forced to
take a lease for 21 years, which is now expired. The
ordnance valuation is £53. The tenants are thoroughly
broken-hearted, and begged of the board to have their
case brought forward.

23793. How many acres are in the holding? —
There are four tenants on it, and I have reason to
know that they reclaimed the land themselves. Some
of it is wild land, and they are paying 32s. an acre
for it.

23794. Have you any other cases to mention ? —
I give only a few. Most of the tenants in the Corofin
Union pay extraordinary rents. There is no part of
the country where the rents are so extreme ; and the
landlords, with a few exceptions, have not come to
the assistance of the tenants.

23795. The O'Conoe Don. — Have there been any
evictions in your neighbourhood ? — No ; because the
tenants cling to their holdings.

23796. Mr. Shaw. — And try to pay the rents as
well as they can? — There is a great desire on the
part of the people to pay the rents. Mr. Stafford
O'Brien's estate and several other properties are let
at the ordnance valuation.

23797. And the people are contented? — Well,
rather. They feel the pinch of the times as well as
others. The Guardians of the Corofin Union desire
me to state that they consider that the present Govern-



ment valuation would be just between landlord and

23798. The Chaiemak. — Would it be just as re-
gards all tenants, because we are told that it varies ?
— In the Corofin Union I venture to say that the
tenants as a general rule would accept the Govern-
ment valuation as a satisfactory settlement of the
lund question. But any settlement without valued
rents — without having the rents readjusted — would
not be received as satisfactory.

23799. Mr. Shaw. — Isn't the valuation rather low
on some of the rich fattening land — you have not
much of it ? — Not much in my union ; but any
fattening land in Clare is valued at 40s. and ios. the
Irish acre, according to the Government valuation.

23800. It is not so high in Limerick ? — We have
only a small share of what I should call very good
land in Corofin Union.

23801. The O'Conor Don. — Where does the
fattening land lie? — Near Lisdoonvarna, and near
Kilfenora, and Ennis, and some by the Shannon.

23802. The Chairman. — Have there been any
cases in which the tenants purchased property ? —
Yes ; there was an instance of it on the Marquis of
Conyngham's property. We have not had a long
trial of it yet, but the tenants who purchased are very
thrifty and improving.

23803. How long ago is that ? — Twelve or eighteen
months ago. They borrowed money from their
friends, and through the Board of Works.

23804. Mr. Shaw. — There is another portion of it
in the market now ? — Yes ; and the tenants on it are
trying to do likewise.

23805. The O'Conor Don.— Did they pay a high
rate of purchase ? — I heard about 2 1 years on the rental.

23806. Was the rental low or high? — We have
not many such good landlords in the district as the
Marquis of Conyngham. It was low in comparison
with other properties.

23807. Baron Dowse. — Is he selling all his Clare
property ? — So I heard, and the tenants are trying to
purchase if possible.

23808. The Chairman. — Could you suggest any
improvement in the mode of carrying out the sales ?
— I think the Bright clauses should be extended, and
that the Government should advance the whole pur-
chase-money on the security of the land.

23809. The whole purchase-money ? — Yes.

23810. Mr. Shaw. — Where the tenant requires
it ? — Where the tenant requires it ; for I have reason
to know that people injure themselves by paying a
portion of the purchase-money, and thereby neglect
the stocking of their farms.

23811. They could not borrow money then, owing
to the regulations of the Board of Works ?— Yes-
only two-thirds.

23812. The Chairman. — Do you think there could
be any improvement in the way of lessening the ex-
pense of the sales ?— I do. They are very expensive.

23813. Have there been any purchases under the
Church Commissioners ?— None in Corofin Union.

23814. Baron Dowse. — What is your principal
town in the union ? — Corofin.

23815. Mr. Shaw.— Is it a small town ?— It has
about 1000 inhabitants.

23816. The Chairman.— What has been done by
tenants in the union, in the way of reclamation ?— The
tenants have done a great deal on the property ot
Captain Blackburne— an immensity. They have won
bad, boggy mountain land inte fair middhnglana.

23817 Are they well paid for their expenditure ?—
I think the landlord enjoys all the advantage of it.

23818 By the increase of rent?— Well, they pay
32s. an acre for this land, and they were obliged to
take those leases -that is, generally speaking. 1
don't allude to Captain Blackburne's estate, situated
outside the Corofin CJnion. 3 . u -,„ t\.^

23819 How were the tenants induced to begm the
recl!mation-!^id they get f-eV-No; they
all pay rent for it. In many instances after the im-
provements, the rents were raised; but I must say that

that has not been the case on Captain Blackburne's
estate. It was raised to the present rent after purchase.

23820. I suppose during the last few years, since
the times became bad, they have not been much
incUned to do so? — ^Not much.

23831. Baron Dowse. — How are the labourers
getting on — are they well off? — Well, they were in a
dreadful state until the landlords got the money from

23822. We have been told here that unless some-
thing is done this winter also, they will be in a very
bad way again? — Well, in our part of the country
works will be carried on again. Lord Inchiquin has
got £6000, and he has not expended it all yet. The
tenants feel it a grievance that nothing has been done
by the Government to advance them money on the
security of their holdings.

23823. Where the landlord does not co-operate?
— Where the landlord does not co-operate.

23824. Mr. Shaw.— They would be willing to
borrow and impro've ? — Yes, to borrow and improve.

23825. And to pay off the money themselves? —
Yes. I tried, in respect of a farm I have, to borrow
the money, and applied for it ; but my lease is too
short, and I could not get it. I think it would return
me 20 per cent.

23826. The Chairman. — You say in your reply to
the written queries, that no adjustment of rents that
could take place, except that of adopting the Govern-
ment valuation, would be satisfactory ? — Yes ; the
present rents cannot continue to be paid.

23827. But you think that a new Government
valuation would be satisfactory ? — Well, I think that
the tenants in the district that I represent would have
confidence in a Government valuation. It could not
be higher than the last, if tenants' improvements be
considered, the increased cost of production, and in-
creased cost of support of the farmer and his family.

23828. You think that it might be left between the
landlord and the tenant in the first instance ; that if
they could not agree, there might be a private arbitra-
tion between them ; and that if that did not succeed,
there should be power to call in a valuator appointed
by Government? — I must again mention to you that
the tenants will not have confidence that the landlords
will be disposed to alter their rents to the present cir-

23829. But even supposing they failed to agree in
some cases, do you not think that each might name a
person, and that they might endeavour to settle it be-
tween them ; and that if these could not agree on an
umpire, there should be a person appointed for that
purpose by some Government means ? — I must again
say, my lord, that the tenants have a greater desire
that Government should fix the rent between them
and their landlords. They would rather take chance
with a fair fixed rent.

23830. And come in and decide between them
without any application on the part of either ? — With-
out any application. That is the feeling.

23831. Baron Dowse. — Your idea is, that there
should be some general valuation ? — Some general

23832. But a general valuation would be a very
long and a very tedious affair. Supposing there was
not to be a general valuation for some time, what
objection would there be to having a Government
valuator in the meantime to fix the rent between
landlord and tenant, in the event of their not being
able to agree ? — One thing is certain, that if something
be not done — and it has been discussed in our district
— the tenants cannot possibly hold. I know that a
general valuation would be very long ; but until then,
what you suggest would be very good. I think I
stated to you that the landlords, as a rule, do not wish
to reduce their rental under any circumstances. They
are always disposed to raise it.

23833. Baron Dowse. — There is a great deal of
human nature in the landlords in that respect.

Witness. — I think those that give in first will come
out best.

Uct. 2», 1H80.




Oct. 28, 1880.


23835. Mr. Shaw.— Are those that gave in soonest
and made reductions getting their rents ? — Yes.

23836. Baron Dowse.— I understand you to say
that unless some arrangement of that description be
made, things will not get any better? — The tenant's
position is a desperate one. Their rents were fixed
at a period of prosperity. I remember when from
f 15 to £18 an acre could be made of wheat, where £5
or £6 could not be made the last few years.

23837. Mr. Shaw.— Wasn't this a good year for
wheat? — The price of corn is nothing. It won't

23838. Baron Dowse. — Isn't it a fact that m yoVir
union the tenants in the bad years were not able to
make their rents ? — I have reason to know from ex-
perience, and from all my neighbours, that no rent has
been made for the last two or three years before this ;
and the landlords know it. They told me they know
it. Cattle were sold at cost prices for three successive

23839. Are not the cattle doing better this year ? —
Quite so ; but the tenants have four years' rent to meet
this year, and hence it is that their position ia a
desperate one. To show you the anxiety that thei-e
is on the part of tenants to pay their rents, I may
mention that I have known them actually to pay
what they made in pigs last November to the agent.
They were depending during the winter on whatwe gave
them from the Duchess of Marlborough's, the Mansion
House, and the Land League funds, and in the mean-
time they gave all that they made in pigs to the land-

23840. Did the people that received relief in that
way pay the landlord's rent ? — They did.

23841. That amounts to this, that the people who
subscribed to the relief funds were subscribing to
pay the landlords their rents ? — Decidedly.

23842. Baron Dowse. — It is well to know that.
Witness. — We gave relief to parties who had 8 or

10 mikh cows last year, because but for it they would
have had to sell their stock and be thrown on the
world. Then we kept them in their holdings.

23843. Mr. Shaw. — Did yon give out-door relief
in your union ? — We gave it to a large extent ; but I
must say that we got a good deal from the Mansion
House and the Duchess's funds, and a fair .share from
the Land League.

23844. Baron Dowse. — But it was never intended
that those funds should pay the landlords' rents ? —
What could you do ? One man, who had a delicate
wife and six children, owed me some money, and I
endorsed a £5 bill for him. He had to give the land-
lord a part of that, reduce his bill, and also keep
something for his delicate wife and children. He
tendered the landlord a portion of the price of his
pigs, but he said he would evict him if he did not
receive the entire. The man was starving, and I
mentioned the case to Mr. Fletcher of the Duchess's
Committee. That man's wife and six children were
starving through the winter, and the rent was paid.

23845. Is there any foundation for the statement
that people would not get relief unless they paid their
rent ? — No, it did not exist in our part of the country.
The people in our part of the country are very peace-
ably disposed.

23846. The O'Conoe Don. — Did you give out-door
relief from the union to people who had numbers of
cows ? — We could have done so ; but we did not do
it, because we had what we were receiving from the
different funds at our disposal.

23847. Baron Dowse. — Do you mean to say that
you gave relief out of the Duchess's and the Mansion
House funds to people who had cows ? — We did. We
were directed by the Lord Mayor's Committee to do
it. In the month of March money was very scarce,
and if the people did not get money from us, they could
not have tided on until May.

23848. And they paid their rents in the meantime ?
■ — Some of them had paid their rents in the November
previous. The May rent is payable in November.

23849. Were people helped to pay their rents out
of the relief funds ? — I know that parties who had
their rents paid had nothing to live on during the
winter but what we were supplying them with from
the different funds.

23850. Mr. Shaw. — You kept (hem alive ; other-
wise they would have had to live on the rates ? — Yes,
or the workhouse would have been overcrowded.

23851. The Chairman. — They would have had to
part with their stock, and had no means of living? —
Before the Government came to our aid with the
money which was expended, the farmers were not
able to employ the people. They were so tightened
that they could not afford to give a shilling to a man
to do their business ; and but for the different funds,
and the money that was expended by the landlords,
the working people in my part of the country would
have been in a very bad state.

23852. The landlords who got their rents sub-
scribed, I suppose, to some of those funds themselves ?
■ — Yery little. Mr. Greer gave £5. I think Mr.
Fitzgerald gave us £10.

23853. Baron Dowse. — What you mean is, that
the people, having paid their rents, left themselves in
such a condition that they would have been starved
if you had not relieved them ? — Exactly.

23854. The Chairman. — Are the labourers usually
holding their cottages from the farmers ? — It is not so
much the practice in our part of the country as in
other districts.

23855. Do they usually hold from the head land-
lords? — No, they don't. They live in the towns.
Through the country there are labourers living on
patches of ground held from the tenants, but not so
much in our district as in other districts.

23856. Thus living in the towns, do they g«t any
land, like allotment-land, for growing vegetables? —
Up to the present they used to have con-acre, but they
were too poor to sow it for the last three or four years,

The witness retired.


Mr. Thomas Corbett, examined.

28857. The Chairmak. — Where do you live ? — At
Balla Quin.

23858. You are a tenant-farmer ? — I am. I farm
195 acres.

23859. Under one landlord? — No; under three

23860. Who are they ?— Mr. Creagh, Lord Inchi-
quin, and Lord Dunboyne. I may add that I am a
poor rate collector.

23861. One holding is of 45 acres ? — 45 Irish acres.

23862. Under which landlord is that ? — ^Mr. Creagh.

23863. Ton want to mention something special
with respect to that? — Yes. In the year 1866 I
succeeded my father in that farm of 45 acres. I built
a house on it two storeys high, and 45 feet long by.

20 feet wide. I held from a middleman at that time.
His interest died ; and the head landlord came in, the
following year, and re- valued it with the assistance of
his agent— or rather bis agent did it, not he, I am
sure — and raised the rent from £45 to £63. It was
held at £45 for forty-four or forty-five years before
that. I got a lease from the head landlord for three
lives, or thirty-one years.

23864. Mr. Shaw. — It was out in 1863? — The
head landlord's lease was given in 1863. I should
take the lease, for I had the house built. I built out-
ofiices, and made every necessary improvement that I
could. I planted about the house, and reclaimed some
bog land. In the year 1870 the landlord died, and
his brother succeeded him ; and he quarrelled with



my title, put me into the Law Courts, broke my lease,
and raised the rent to £73.

23865. The Chairman.— He said that his brother
had no power to make the lease ?— He said his brother
had no power to make the lease, because he was only
tenant for life. I had redoubled my exertions from
the time I got the lease firom his brother. I thought
I was secure, and tried to make things better every
day in order to secure a permanent place for myself;
and the consequence is, that it is as nice a little place
as there is in the barony.

23866. When did this happen? — In the year 1870.

28867. That was the time he broke your lease ? —
That was the time he broke my lease.

28868. Mr. Shaw. — And put £10 a year on you 'i
— And put £10 a year on me. I must tell you that I
refused £1200 for my interest in the place at that time,
in consequence of all the improvements I had made.

23869. Did he offer you a lease? — Oh, he gave
me a lease, but it is of no use, because I have lost
.£300 by the place in the last three or four years,
and must give it up. It is light craggy land.

23870. Mr. Shaw. — "What is the length of his
lease ? — Oh, he said he would give me a lease until
doomsday; but I said I would be just as well with-
out it.

23871. Mr. Shaw. — But you have the lease? — Ihave.

23872. The CnAiraiAN. — Is that the case in which
you said you held under successive landlords? — Yes,
that one case.

23873. Mr. Creagh was the purchaser of it? — No;
I had it first from a middleman, and I thought the
middleman could give me a lease. I relied on that,
and did not know the circumstances. Then when I
was under the head landlord, I was sure I was safe ;
but in fi»ct all tenants are debarred from making
improvements, from the fear they have of their land-
lords. No man will make a place better than he
finds it, as long as things are in such a condition. I
would not have attempted to have done the things I
did, if I had thought that I was in the very insecure
state in which I was.

23874. Are you in the Corofin Union? — No, in
the TuUow Union.

23875. Mr. Shaw. — Do you find the people pretty
well off there ? are they able to pay their rents pretty
well ? — Well, a good deal in my district have it at the
Government valuation.

23876. Who are the landlords ? — Mr. Butler. The
rents are fair, and his tenants are satisfied to pay them,
and it has been so for the last thirty years.

23877. No rise ? — No change.

23878. And no evictions ? — No evictions whatever.
But there are other cases where the rents are exces-
sive. I know cases in which the ordnance valuation
is £76, and the rent £185.

23879. In the same union ?— In the same union.
28880. Are the tenants improving their lands in

the other cases?— They are. They are improving
their properties where they have them at the ordnance
valuation, and think they are secure.

23881. Have they made the improvements them-
selves ?— Oh, in every case. They make the improve-
ments, except on the property of Lord Leconfield, who
makes the improvements, but charges 4 or 5 per cent,
for them.

23882. But in the other case the tenants do every-
thing ? — Yes.

Thorn »»

23883. And they are satiisfied to do so when tliey Oct. 28, 1880.

feel themselves secure? — Quite satisfied. They are

always anxious to make things better if they possibly
can ; but indeed I must say that they experienced a
great deal of difiiculty last year in striving to pay
their rents.

23884. Still they managed to pay them? — They
are striving to pay. I don't think they will find
themselves much better this year. A great part of
them are small farmers — tillage farmers.,

23885. The potatoes are good ? — Oh, the crops and
potatoes are very good indeed. It is the principal
thing that they depend on. The few beasts that they
have to sell, they keep for the rent. They have very
little cattle to sell, being mostly all agricultural
farmers in my district.

23886. On your other holdings you have nothing to
complain of? — Well, I have not a great deal to com-
plain of, certainly. I know cases in my district where
they have been contracted out of the Land Act of

23887. The Chairman. — Was that in the case of
new tenancies? — Oh no, tenancies made immediately
after the passing of the Land Act. They were obliged
to enter into agreements to become eleven months'

23888. Mr. Shaw. — Under signed agreements? —
Under signed agreements.

23889. They contracted themselves out of the
Land Act? — Yes; and in every case they must pay
the county cess. Wherever new tenancies have
been created, an agreement was entered into that
they 'should pay the county cess. Invariably the
landlord chooses the rent, and the tenants have no
power of settling it.

23890. Have the rents been raised in cases of that
kind ? — Not recently.

23891. Not since the Land Act? — Oh, there have
been increases of rent in the case of the eleven months

23892. That is what I mean ? — Yes, the rents have
been increased, and I should say they are much too
high. During the last two or three years the farmers
lost the greater part of their little capitaL They
never had a great deal to spare ; on the contrary,
their capital has been dwindling away from them
year after year, and consequenely it will take some
time before they can recover themselves. They all
seem to think that the land at the ordnance valuation
would be fair, because the farmers are all small, and
they never could make much of them ; between the

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 289 of 295)