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Connaught only-may be divided into those lightly rented and those rented up to or approaching the full commercial level.
1. Let us look first at the lightly rented estates. The advocates of the Land Bill contend that on these the margin between the existing rent and the full competition rent amounts simply to the recognition by the landlord of the tenant-right now to be legalised. I cannot enter here into the discussion of the fair rent' clause, of which Mr. Gladstone has admitted the Government have no reason to be proud, and which has been materially altered. I am content to assume, for argument's sake, that Mr. Forster and the AttorneyGeneral are right when they assert that on such estates the fair rent will not at any rate fall below the existing level. But the landlord's right hitherto to raise those low rents being indisputable, it is clear that his liberality involves something more than recognition of the tenant's interest. It has secured for him a reserve of influence and power, political popularity, social amenities, control over the culture of the estate and over the character of the tenants. Sometimes the maintenance of a low rent is, in fact, only the landlord's way of contributing to improvements, and this spread over many years may amount to a large sum. But under the system of free sale the tenant will be enabled, unless some special means of prevention are adopted—and all suggestions of this nature have been repelled—to sell off the whole capitalised value of the margin and destroy the landlord's existing legal right to all that it represents. The Prime Minister himself appears to have felt that something more than a bare legal right has in such cases to be considered. In his speech on the introduction of the Bill he said :
If the landlord does not wish to break the tradition of his property, but keeps the rent below the fair rent, it is only right that he should not in that case have his property eaten up by the tenant-right.
But the Bill contains no provision for protecting the landlord except his penalised power of raising the rent, which is the very thing he would, in the case stated, be most unwilling to do. As Mr. William Fowler has justly observed :
The result of these proposals will probably be the disturbance of the relations of landlord and tenant on the very estates where those relations are now the most satisfactory. This cannot have been intended. No one, however suspicious of landlords, would wish that the kindest of their class should receive the worst treatment, and we must expect them to do what they can to avoid a heavy loss which is not of their own making, and for which no compensation has been proposed.
2. Turning, finally, to the case of properties on which the rent approaches the full competition level, it appears to be avowed by the Government-it is advanced, indeed, as a matter of boasting—that the 7th clause will greatly reduce the rent by giving due consideration to the tenant's good-will. Rack-renting landlords neither find nor deserve much popular sympathy, but their claims to be compensated for the loss of what they have hitherto enjoyed by law cannot be made dependent on their moral or social excellence. They have an undoubted legal right to raise their rents ; and if Parliament interferes to reduce those rents for the benefit of the tenants, they have precisely the same right to be compensated that any other owner of property would have if his rights were impaired by legislation. Whether the title of the tenants to the newly discovered tenant-right be sound or notand it is vain to discuss a point which will be settled conclusively by Act of Parliament—the claim of the landlord to compensation is not affected. The majority of the landlords, however, on whose property rents are high, can plead not only the legal recognition of their right, but the complicity of Parliament and the Executive Government in the alleged abuse of them. Mr. Gladstone himself has emphatically stated that the purchasers in the Landed Estates Court were “encouraged' by law, and, it may be added, were even expressly invited by the Court, to raise rents without consideration for the tenant's inte
Capitalists were urged to invest in Irish land on the faith of a Parliamentary title, and not only had they no warning that tenantright was to be recognised, but they had in view its' explicit refusal in the Acts of 1860 and 1870. Even in the most extreme cases, therefore, the owners of highly rented estates, in demanding compensation, can call upon Parliament to show why the express and implied guarantees of former law and practice should now be set aside to their disadvantage.
In the foregoing cases I have referred only to the direct abrogation of existing legal rights under the Bill. It is unnecessary to go into the question of consequential damage, or to discuss at any length the indirect compensation which the Bill, it is alleged, will give the landlords. "Compensation’ of this sort the landlords who look with despair on their future position in Ireland may well reject, as insult added to injury. It would be as fair to offer Lord Lansdowne or Lord Dufferin an inscription upon the ó Grand Livre' of Honduras or Costa Rica, as to tell them that the change in their position will afford them greater security for their rents and an improved market for their land if they desire to sell it. Even if rents are to be lowered, it is said, they will be more readily recoverable under free sale. But, as Sir William Gregory has pertinently asked, where is the proof of this? At present the tenant refuses to pay, and, if evicted, takes the life of his suc
Will he be more patient under the provisions of this Bill? Will he submit to be sold out, to have arrears deducted from the payments made by the incomer, and to hand over his farm to a stranger? The leaders of the Land League have already answered this question clearly and explicitly.
The expectation that the price of land will increase, as it did to a small extent after the Act of 1870, is equally idle. Judge Flanagan, of the Landed Estates Court, explained in his evidence before the Select Committee of 1878, that, taking into account the rise in agricultural prices, the increase in the value of land was retarded, not quickened, from 1870 onwards. Moreover, it is certain that
the pledges of finality then given encouraged capital to investment. No such confidence can be evoked again. Once bitten, twice shy, is the motto of the investor, and in point of fact it is understood by all concerned that the only market for land in Ireland henceforward will be that in which the buyers will be the tenants, and the sellers the landlords. To theorists like Mr. Shaw Lefevre this prospect appears to be one which ought to attract and delight the landlords, and to satisfy them that the Bill is intended for their good. Unfortunately it is manifest that the Land Commission can purchase on behalf of the tenants only when the latter have agreed to buy and to give a certain price. They will have profited little by the teachings of the Land League if they are in haste to purchase on reasonable terms. In the present confusion, with mortgagees foreclosing and creditors of all sorts pressing upon impoverished landlords, the tenants may well afford to wait, and if the Bill remains unaltered, the time cannot be far off when the estates must come into the market for anything they will fetch. These are the benefits which, it is urged, ought to be thankfully accepted by the landlords. Even if they were not evidently illusory, it would be ridiculous to put them seriously forward in satisfaction of the claims to compensation for interference with legal rights. The familiar tale of Cyrus, the big boy, the little boy, and the two coats, is not undeserving of the attention of Ministers who seem to think that justice can be done by taking away rights here, and giving advantages there, in the peremptory fashion of a Haroun Al-Raschid.
The infinite variety of the cases which must arise if the Land Bill passes is, doubtless, a strong argument against any plan that a tribunal or body of arbitrators should assess compensation for the landlords’ losses. The simplest method of dealing with the landlords' claims is that suggested by Lord Lansdowne, which does not greatly differ from Mr. Mill's proposal thirteen years ago. The question requires further discussion, which, in spite of Mr. Chamberlain's petulant refusal to listen to it, it will receive probably in both Houses of Parliament, and certainly in one. But if the principle be frankly accepted, and it is not easy to see how it can be resisted to the last by responsible statesmen, the details will not be difficult to settle. It would be a national calamity if, in hot haste to patch up the Irish difficulty by concessions which the tenants and their Parliamentary spokesmen reject, the Legislature should abandon its hold upon the chief practical security in a democratic country against what Mr. Gladstone has himself called "schemes of public plunder.' It is not difficult to persuade the masses, when they have political power in their hands, that it is a good thing to take or meddle with other people's property. It is an excellent check upon reckless experiments of this kind that those who undertake them should know that they must pay for them.
EDWARD D. J. WILSON.
UNITY IN THE CHURCH OF CHRISTI
Love to God and love to man pervades the whole teaching of the Bible. It is pronounced by our Blessed Lord to be the fulfilling of the Law. It is the very light and life of the Gospel Covenant. It leads us back more than anything else to that likeness of God in which man was first created, for we are emphatically told that God is love.
Love and unity are praised as godlike, to be longed for, to be striven after ; while hatred, and quarrelling, and misjudging one another are to be prayed against and striven against by all; and all this is not confined to the teaching of one or two texts, but is so clearly visible on the face of the whole Book that he that runs may read it.
Nevertheless, there are many, both among Churchmen and Nonconformists, Catholic and Protestant, who refuse to do anything to put matters straight, and make their very zeal for their own special beliefs, as the Pharisees of old, a cloak for bitterness, and pride, and isolation ; while others actually glory in their divisions, and boast that it was never otherwise,' that it stimulates zeal,' that good has come of it.' And thus the work Christ has given us to do is left undone, or mightily hindered, because those bearing the name of Christ wilfully misinterpret one another, thinking evil rather than good of those who differ from them, and becoming in this respect essentially anti-Christian.
No one can pretend that the work of the Church since the division of East and West has in any way approached the promised reward of faithful and united service for Christ. Are there not millions of heathen hindered from embracing the faith by our divisions, and thousands in our own country estranged from Christianity by the same cause ? Example is better than precept; and yet we see the noble principles of Christianity, which, when faithfully carried out, would meet the inner yearnings of the hearts of men, presented to the world as a beautiful but impracticable theory, because the misdirected zeal of the would-be religious man denies them in his daily life. God has willed that by the laws of humility and love His kingdom should be propagated through the world. How can we expect to extend it successfully while working on directly contrary principles; allowing a self-complacent pride in our own particular standpoints to close our hearts against those who use not our Shibboleth ; or, in direct opposition to our Lord's declaration, · My kingdom is not of this world,' evoking worldly weapons to persecute and suppress all who differ from us, and thus showing forth a zeal for Christ by hatred to the brother for love of whom Christ died?
| Publications of the Home Reunion Society. 7 Whitehall.
Sermon, by Rev. J. G. Greenhough, Baptist minister, on One Faith, one Lord, one Baptism.' Leicester, 1880.
Church Congress Report, 1880. Deputation from Nonconformist ministers, pp. 644-649. Church and Dissent, pp. 278–303. Internal Unity, pp. 229–256.
St. Chrysostom, commenting on John xvi., beautifully witnesses against the same evil in his day. He maketh their characteristic love ; for this, saith He, is to be my disciple, when all men see you imitating my love. This, then, made them straightway beautiful and good, having one heart and soul ; but had they separated one from another all things would have been lost. Again, 'He spake this not to them only, but to all them that should believe on Him ; since even now there is nothing else that causeth the heathen to stumble except that there is no love.'
It is pleasing to believe that there are the foreshadowings of a spirit of unity at work among the different bodies of Christians both at home and abroad, as if it was God's will that those very differences, which doubtless our several shortcomings brought upon us as a punishment in times past, were gradually creating, out of the very intensity of their strife and bitternesses, a desire for unity and peace. The Church Congress at Leicester affords a recent proof of this among ourselves—(1) In the general tone of large-heartedness and forbearance shown in the Congress itself, especially in the Bishop of Durham's able paper on Internal Unity'—(2) In the action of the Nonconformists, as shown in a sermon preached by the Rev. J. G. Greenhough on the Sunday of the Congress week, to which we shall frequently refer, and the remarkable address of the thirty-four Nonconformist ministers, and (3) In the Bishop's reply, which, at least, professed the same large-hearted, manly, and independent spirit which was the notable characteristic of Mr. Greenhough's sermon. The keynote is struck in the following sentence from the sermon :- It is always the distinguishing feature of the shallow mind that it looks only on the surface, and therefore magnifies the differences which float upon the surface. It never goes deep enough to see the underlying principles of unity.'
This keynote enables the preacher to acknowledge purity of motive and an intensity of love to our common Lord among those whose erroneous teaching he denounces with a vigorous hand.
The clear-thinking and large-hearted theologian will find the same sentiments of reverent aspiration, faith, and love underlying the pageantry of the Romish