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England, in all probability, within the last hundred years, notwithstanding the great superiority in the population of the latter. “They emigrated for want of work:” a certain proof of a want of industry, of ingenuity, or of enterprize of the industrious sort. The people were there somehow or other. They could breed, it seeins, though they could not live. A very prety country this for England to take an era aple fron,' Nay, such influence have the Scotch lood, and so foolish has been the government, that, upon a report made to parliament, that there was der. or of a whole district of Scotland being depopulated for want of work, money, large sums of money, were, and still are, annually granted to set them to work in making canals and bridges and draining lakes in their own country; that is to say, to i.e in idleness upon, or, at the very best: to improve Scotland by, the fruit of English labour, the fruit of the labour of those, whom the cadet statesmen and their silly patrons, have the insolence to accuse of laziness and vice, and to whom they hold up the Scotch as an erample. We are a people that delight in quacks and pretenders of all sorts, otherwise it would have been impossible, that the parliament, however constituted, supposing a majority to be English, should, for a monient, have tolerated the false and insulting preamble, upon which I have been remarking; that they should have tolerated, in any shope, such an outrage upon the orderly and honest and laborious and ingenions and persevering and patient people of England. Where did any man, however far he may have travelled, see such cleanliness, such neatness, such attention to ornament as well as convenience, such care of their animals, such affection and tenderness for their parents and children, amongst the labouring part of the community, as are visible in the dress in the houses in the gardens and in the domestic life and manners of English labourers ? There are more objects of this description in the county of Hampshire alone, though Lord Grenville lately told us that it ought to be no more dear to is than Hanover, for which we will Remember him; there are more of these delightful objects in this one county, than there *re, perhaps, in all the world besides, England excepted. And can I, when I daily see these objects, when I see and admire the dispositions of men, who, though pressed down with poverty, can, at their return from
their daily labour, spend the twilight in
works of neatness round their cottages; can
I when I see this, refrain from feeling indig
nation at a set of upstart politicians, who know nothing of England but what they have
f 8 seen from the deck of a smack or through the pune of a stage coach window, and who have the audacity to bid these English labourers look for an exami; le to the gardenless and fioor-less and chimney-less cabbins of Scotland, where the master of the mansion nestles in at night in company with his pig or his cow 2 This subject has led me so much farther. than I expected, that I must defer the other two till my next. Botley, 27 Aug. 1807.
I RELAND’s INTERNAL SITUATION.
SIR, I am well aware that your time is precious, and therefore I should be sorry to take up much of it without your deriving any advantage from what I might communicate; but, I am most anxious, now I find you have got rid of the Learned Languages, and probably of Sir H. Mildmay, to urge you to attend closely to the affairs of Ireland, to make yourself a perfect master of the real. situation of that country, and not to fail repeatedly to lay the causes of its wretched state before the public. The grievances which the Irish complain of are numerous; amongst the rest, Tithes and the oppressive manner of collecting them; the heavy rents exacted from them by lar d'ords and middlemen; and the Roman Catholics say, they ought to be allowed all the privileges in common, with the Proiestants of the established church. With respect to the first of these points, it would be, indeed, well if any
other toethod could be adopted, by which
the clergy might be paid, than by tithes, as that mode must continue to create discontent, so long as the lands are held by people of such small capital, as the farmers of Ireland now are, and who at the same time, profess a different religion, from those for whom the tithes are exacted. As to the second point, there are many who assert (and I myself was once of the same opinion) that the misery the lower Irish endure is occasioned altogether by landlords and middlemen, and they go still faither, and say that the landlords have it completely in their power to relieve their tenantry. I most sincerely wish, Mr. Cob':ett, that this was really the case; but you will find upon inquiry, that by no exertions of the landlords could the relief wanted be effoctually given to the lower classes in irela:... I beg now. Sir, to state some particulars, from which I think you will perceive that my assertion is founded in fact. In the first place, the traffic in
lands (or what is called land lobbing) has
been a practice in Ireland for centuries, in
somu; a that the landlord is frequently four
or five removes from the actual cultivator, cach of the intermediate persons deriving a profit, and perhaps, one or two of these dou(se what the landlord himself obtains. The farm, instead of being held as at first taken, is almost invariably plotted out into portions much too small, had the farmers capital, to enable them to do justice to the country, or to themselves; but in few instances, have these people sufficient to accomplish any thing but with extreme difficulty, cven upon these small spots; with extreme difficility therefore, they accomplish the payment of their rents, nor could they pay one half of them, in most cases, were they to allow themselves and their families better food than potatoes. These farmers are altogether unable to pay for labour in money, they therefore procure the assistance they require during the year, by letting at very high rents a certain number of portions (measuring about an acre and a half English) according to the extent of their farms, to labourers who build their own mud cabbins, and cultivate potatoes for the sole subsistence of themselves and their families. The rents of their gardens as they are called, are scored off by day labour at a particular sum at first agreed upon.—Now, Sir, I beg here to observe, that as the Irish (unfortunately I think) have for a long period cultivated potatoes for the food of man, and as the farmers have continued all this time, to let out ground to be cropped with potatoes, instead of paying for labour, as in England in money, the labouring class have rapidly encreased, and still continue to increase, whilst the middle class remain nearly stationary. As the labouring class are, without doubt, infinitely the most numerous, I shall proceed to inform you first of their situation: it is indeed most melancholy, and likely to produce discontent in any country. In the first place, they rent land as yearly tenants, upon which they depend intirely for their subsist. ence, from people (the farmers, not the landlords, pray observe) who are not in any degree more humanized than themselves. Next, the farmers their landlords, raise their rents from time to time, so as to make the rent and the year's labour agree as near as possible together; they have, therefore, scarcely any of them, any thing to receive when they settle accounts; and, consequently, nothing to procure money to purchase foel and cloaths, except those who happen to possess a pig, which (though it would be scarcely credited in England) is fed in the same finanmer, and housed in the same cabbin with their wives and children and themsc, es. Their potatoes are tithed, and they
have a tax called heartli money to pay. Now, Sir, fuel being extremely scarce in most parts of Ireland, and in consequence of the lower classes being fed upon potatoes, and being obliged on that account to light fires every day in the year to cook them, is much more a necessary of life than it is in this country: not having scarce ever money to purchase it, they are obliged to commit theft to procure that article, and accordingly they cut down and burn every thing they can lay their hands upon. To add to all this, should the labourer die, his wife and children have neither parish nor other place . to apply to for assistance, and not being able in all likelihood to work out the rent of a potatoe ground, are obliged to betake themselves to begging or stealing. I shall now proceed to speak of the Farmers. I think I can with justice say, that they are frequently the oppressors of their tenants the labourers, and I may fairly call them middlemen, for they certainly hold both the situation of tenants and of landlords; and they are besides landlords to the most numerous class in Ireland. In addition to the great objection the farmers make to the payment of Tithes, they generally complain that they hold their lands at such high rents that they are always in distress, and they assert also, that many of them are perpetually in difficulties from being liable to the rents and profit rents of
other persons, besides their immediate land
lords, insomuch that it is not uncommon, but perpetually the case, for them to be dis-trained after the whole rent due from the land by them is paid up. This last is a most intolerable grievance—that a man should have his stock and goods taken by force and sold for the payment of the delt of another. However, the head landlord cannot afford the tenant any relief; if the middle man should have received his rent first, and withheld the profit, there is no other method for the superior landlords to pursue, but to distrain or bring ejectments. In order to apply a remedy for the sufferings of the Irish farmers on this account, it would be necessary for the head landlords to purchase out the intermediate tenants down to the cultivators. This however it would be impossible for them to accomplish to any extent, from the profit rents being frequently of more value than the head rents. But, suppose the landlords could purchase out what are now called the middlemen, still they would have to deal with middlemen, as the farmers themselves are in every instance such, as standing between the landlords and the labourers, having a numerous, wretched, ragged tenantry over whom the head landlords or middle men have no sort of controul, and over whom the farmers frequently exercise great tyranny. From what I have said, Sir, I presume you will think that the landlords are not so much to blame as has been continually asserted I presume also it is your opinion, that giving the Roman Catholics the privileges lately proposed, would not make the Irish richer or more happy. A regulation with respect to tithes is certainly much wanted ; but regulate this matter as you will, it will certainiy not wholly remove the discontents of the Irish. The landlords and middlemen would undoubtedly wish to have tithes completely abolished, as in all new lettings they would get so much the more for their land. The present mode of collecting tithes is particu
larly obnoxious to the people of Ireland. I think a better mode might be a pted. Suppose, for instance, a jury of “s is of respectability was to be appointed to value the tithe of every farm separately in each osh, once in seven years, and that the amount of the value of the tithe was to be paid to the head landlord together with his rent, who should be answerable for it to the clergyman, this would obviate the necessity of employing tithe proctors, a set of people more detested by the lower orders in Ireland than any other, and in many instances deservediy 50. After what I have said, it would be natural to ask, what then are the causes of the wretched state of Ireland 2 To which with submission I answer, that the chief cause of the distressed state of that country arises first, from the former checks given to its trade in general, but more particularly with England whose markets are still completely shut against the Irish for the sale of almost every article of manufacture; this last impolitic measure has prevented Ireland from deriving any benefit from foreign trade; at the time, and since a free trade to foreign countries was granted to the Irish, they have found themselves, and still do, too much in want of capital to be able to establish manufactures, and to give long credit abroad ; they required to be permitted to send whatever articles they could manufacture to this country, where only they could procure prompt payment for them; by which means by degrees they would have accumulated sufficient to have enabled them to sell to foreigners upon the same terms as their fellow subjects the English. From the imprudence of the English in withholding this necessary assistance from them, a check has been given, to the collection of people in towns for the purpose of employing themselves in manufacture and trade, and the increase of the population among the middle classes, the
prop of all well regulated states, has been thereby blasted.——Now, Sir, the mischief
has been completed by a practice which the want of capital has tended to encourage; namely, the cultivation of potatoes as a food for man. So that in spite of poverty the country has been by this means swarmed with a miserable half naked, half savage population, who from their condition must be ever discontented, and easily induced to disturb the peace of society. Let then England apply a remedy for evils which have arisen possibly from a mistaken policy, let Ireland have the benefit of a perfect union, let all restrictions upon trade be taken off, all unnecessary port charges and delays; make it the in erest of the Irish to defend their country by permitting them to obtain somehing vorth defending. Let government extend a liberal sum in raising coal, of which there is plenty to be found in Ireland, but from the poverty of the people of no benefit to them. Scarce any manufactures can be carried on to profit without this article, and the want of fuel in Ireland prevents many improvements in farming of the most common kind. Trees or fences cannot be planted, without the almost absolute certainty of their being stoleil to burn. With the exertions of government directed to the encouragement of manufacture in reland, that country would soon assume a different aspect, people would collect in towns, and the population increase in the middle class, instead of (as at present) only in the class of potatoe diggers; and land jobbers finding encodragement to employ their means in trade and tranufacture, would desist from their present traffic, which is almost the only trade encouraged or worth following in Ireland. I shall now only intrude so far as just to describe the trade of a land jobber. He commences by bidding for a farm, and if his offer is accepted and he has nade a good bargain, he probably does not hesitate to sell his interest immediately, or otherwise he divides the firm and puts a number of miserable wretches upon it, whe frequently pay him whatever the produce of the land will sell for, except the potatoes necessary for their subsistence; in this way he takes, farm after farm, till from possessing scarce any thing in the outset, he often in the end has profit rents amounting to thousands a year. I hope, Sir, the information I have endeavoured to communicate will be of ser- . vice I am, &c.—M. H. August 20, 1807. P. S. Since I finished my letter I took up a paper in which was Mr. Sheridan's speech. He applies inore to the gentlemen of Ireland
than to the government of this country, and says the point is to begin at the cottages, (cabbins or mud hovels he should have said, for as to what an Englishman would call a cottage there is not one in Ireland). I lowever, Ibeg leave to differ with him in beginning with the cabbins; and though I should repeat the plan set forth in my letter, I shall say, begin with putting his Majesty's suljects in Ireland, whether they profess the Roman Catholic religion, are of the established church or dissenters, as far as regards the encouragement given to manufactures and trade, exactly upon a footing with his Majesty's IWelsh suljects of the same religious persuasions Let government then advance money for the purpose, or otherwise let a company be formed to work the coal mines in Ireland. Regulate the manner of receiving tithes or totally abolish them. Build churches and parson, ge houses in every p.1rish where wanted; oblige the clergy to reside or pay one half of their profits to resident curates. After doing which, I think with a little assistance from the country gentlemen, every thing will take a right course. People as I said before will collect in towns, there will then be a greater demand (than at present) for butchers meat, wool, hides, tal. low. Farmers will therefore apply their root crops whether turnips or potatoes to the wi, er feeding of cattle and sheep as is general done in England; they will become ri h and pay for labour in money instead of in land. The potatoe diggers now inhabiting cabbins, will doubtless have cottages built for them ; as all ranks lecome richer the labourers will have no necessity to thieve for fuel; the connections which will be formed between the English and Irish from trade, will hosd the Irish as steady to England in all future wars as the Welsh now are, though the well known word Sasenagh or Saxenick (Saxon) as a term of reproach, may continue to be used in both countries.
ELECTIVE FRANCH IS E.
SIR, In the Courier newspaper of the 10th inst. I find some very large estates, and other valuable things belonging to some great man, advertised for sale. Amongst Sther property, the following to be sold without reserve.—“ The Manor, or Lordship, “ of Lampeter, with all its politicA., and “ other rights ' ' ' - Lampeter is a contribu“ tory borough for returning a member to “ parliament, for the town of Cardigan, and “ all persons admitted at the Lord's Court, “ are intitied to vote for the return of such meinker. More upon this head appears “ unnecessary in this place.”—in the ad
| vertisements of sales of this kind, I have ne
over before seen anything quite so plain; it is compleat, or if it wants any thing it is the safe of the inhabitants themselves; though I do not see how that would render their condition worse. This fact should be seen by every man in the country, it needs only to be seen to produce the best possible effect.— I beg you will insert it. If you canno', lay it carefully by, for the day is fast approaching when such facts as these will render the people essential service. In this conviction, I remain, &c. &c.—A. H.--London, Augu i 17, 1807.
ROMAN CATHOLIC PETITION. A pamphlet has been published at Dublin containing the Petition intended to have been presented to the last Parliament by the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and strictures upon its object. The following is the introduction to the pamphlet: “The following is a correct copy of the petition to Parliament, prepared on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland, which was read and adopted at different public meetings of that body, and actually subscribed by several hundred thousand persons; many, highly respectable in rank, and all, independent in mind, and substantial in property. No document can more strongly evince, or more exactly testify, the state of public feeling on this important subject; it discloses the views and objects of a great portion of the British Empire, who are justly dissatisfied with their condition, but who pursue the remedy with moderation and with temper; calmly pointing to the evil, the restriction and diminution of civil liberty, and defining exactly the mode and extent of relief, the full and impartial establishment of the English constitution.”—The Petition is as follows: To the Right Hon. and Hon. the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled—The humble petition of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, whose rames are hereunto subscribed,
his M. jesty's subjects professing the Roman Catholic religion, Sheweth, that your petitioners, as is set forth in their humble petition presented to this Honourable House, on the 25th of March, 1805, are, by divers statutes, still of force within this realm, rendered liable to many incapacities and restrictions, not imposed upon any other description of his Majesty's subjects.--That your petitioners with confidence assert, that they are sup
on behalf of themselves, and of others, ported by the testimony of many of the ablest senators and wisest states:nen which the empire could ever boast, that there is nothing in their conduct as subjects, or tenets as Christians, which ought to disqualify them from enjoying equal privileges with his Majesty's other subjects; and they beg leave
to state, that they do not yield to any class
of persons, in affectionate attachment to his sacred person and family, in due obedience to the laws, and in jast predilection for the British constitution.—That at the present period. which requires all the energies of the state, and the exertions of an united people, your petitioners conceive that they cannot offer a stronger proof of their loyalty, than by humbly representing to this Honourable iíouse, their earnest wish, to be 'together conmitted with their country, and reinstated in a full and complete enjoyment of the English government and laws —For your petitioners beg leave respectfully to submit to this Hon. Isoase, that the constitution of Eugland is the great charter of this land, and the inheritance ef the dutiful and faithful subjects of his Majesty : the conditions which the ancestors of some of us accepted, when they submitted to the Crown, and on the faith of which, the ancestors of others passed over and effected their settlement in Ireland—was, that they should participate in the laws and liberties of England ; many eoncessions of his M. jesty's royal progenitors, and repeated acts of Parliament, confirmed the invaluable blessing ; it has had the sanction of an establishment of six hundred years; whilst the privations, of which we complain, are but the innovation of a century; from that innovation we appeal in this enlighted age, to the wisdom and justice of those august bodies, in whose hands are the fate and fortunes of the emPire; we appeal against acts, repugnant to the sense and habits of Englishmen, and to the genius of the English constitution; against precedents, not entitled, from the eircumstances in which they were formed, to be iminortal. We were excluded from our franchises, when the tumult of civil wars had scarcely been appeased; whilst the animosities they produced were recent; and at the close of the convulsion incidental to a widely extended revolution of property, we were excluded at a moment, when the setterment was precarious and new, upon which time and habit, the extinction of all other claims, common principles of obedience, and common interests, have now conferred all the solidity of unquestioned and immit. able establishment. Your petitioners furto-er beg leave to recal to the attention of
this Honourable House, that we do not pay
the penalty, neither is the blame imputed to us, of no innovating or capricious temper. We have not revolted from any institutions which challenged our obedience. We have adhered to the tradition of our fathers, the immemorial usage of the land We profess a religion compatible with the form of government under which we are placed; accommodated to the spirit, and dear to the feelings of the great and growing majority of our country; a religion which the existing incapacities do not seem calculated, and are probably not expected to suppress; for it has been deemed, in a considerable degree, to me; it public encouragement and protection.—Your petitioners do then most humbly state, that they are excluded from many of the most important offices of trust, power, and emolument in their country; whereby they are degraded below the condition of their fellow-subjects, even of the meanest class, and stigmatised as aliens and strangers in their native land. —That in the immediate effect of this exclusion, not less than four-fifths of the inhabitants of Ireland are involved, formed into a distinct people, and depressed in all their classes and gradations of rank, of opulence, and industry; in every situation of life does this degrading inferiority exist, and its influence reaching to every profession, to even the peaceable pursuits of industry and commerce.—That the remote, but not less sensible consequences, extend to the remaining population of the lood, distracting his Majesty's people with disquietude and jealousy; and substituting an insidious system of monopoly on the one hand, and privation on the other, for the tried and established orders of society, and for the salutary practice and sound principles of the English constitution. And your petitioners further humbly submit, that from the prejudice generated and fostered by this discriminating system, the spirit of the laws outstripping the letter, no degree of rank, virtue, or merit, can exempt an Irish Catholic from being considered an object of suspicion; and several of the most estimable privileges and advantages of a free government, to which they ought to consider themselves entitled, are rendered, with respect to them, inoperative.—In calling your attention to their situation, your petitioners beg leave to assure this Honourable House, that they are actuated more as Irishmen than as Catholics; and less influenced by a partial interest, as a religious description, than by an interest truly public and national, intimately connected with the welfare of this country, and the prosperity of the 'whole