Page images
PDF
EPUB

that everybody knows, that writes the Scotch novels as they call um, and what would he be, let me ask you, without his broad Scotch ?" Tim Sheedy gave up the point, and so here I am, Paddy Pumps of Cork, writing for Blackwood's Magazine in Edinburgh. "But why," says Tim, " do they call it a Magazine? That's the place we have for keeping Gunpowder. I hope they don't blow up honest people."-"No," says I, "they never blows up honest people, and if they did atself, we are a little too far off to be singed."

"Tis long since I seed any pen about Cork in your Magazine-not since the time of Donelly the bruiser-poor fellow, the whisky beat him at last, as it did many a better man. But we had bad times since that, and a hungry belly is no joke. Our bankers first broke their neighbours, and then broke themselves a short life and a merry one. Short indeed was the merriment of that time-maybe now that things are mending, we'd do better. We can't much lengthen our lives to be sure, but it will be bad enough with us if we don't contrive to make our merriment a little more lasting.

sure, if reading would carry us there, the rev. fathers are very right; but then sure it would be better to forbid learning to read, than to read after having learned, which is just like saying to a child, My dear take a walk to get you an appetite, and when he comes back, to give him nothing to eat. Some think Dr Doyle was quizzing his examiners, but as that is a word I am not up to, I leave it to your better judgment-I believe it is something like what we common people call humbugging.

I told you times were mending with us, and trade growing brisk, and money growing plenty, but still we are not growing very rich, for want, as everybody says, of CAPITOL. This is the word now in all mouths. Wherever I went, and I goes to all the speech-making places, I could hear of nothing but CAPITOL. We have a great many people here whose trade seems to be making speeches, though as yet they are not much the richer for it. There are attornies without clients, merchants without money,shopkeepers without customers, and doctors without patients-'twould do your heart good to hear the fine speeches all of them are every day making about the good of the Nation and CAPITOL. Sometimes a richer man, Jerry Alchone, would slip in among um, not because he much likes such company, but because he likes to be making speeches-he is training for a parliment-man, they say. I hope it will thrive better with him than it did before- some credit he got, to be sure, but faith he paid dear enough for it. Well, Mr N., I was, as you may guess, mighty desirous to know what this same CAPITOL was ; but, says I, I wont show my ignorance by asking publicly. So I went to my cousin, Jerry Birch, the Schoolmaster, a learned man, you know"Jerry," says I carelessly, "you're the boy that knows everything about the CAPITOL."-"Faith and true for you," says Jerry, "for it has made a part of my study here in school these five-andtwenty years past-Oh it was a grand thing, the very bulwark of the great city of Rome in its best days-It was saved once by the cackling of geese." Humph, thought I, this will be but a wildgoose-chase to me, I'm afraid-so I looked knowing, and said nothing but wished him good morning, wonder

What do you think now, Mr North, of our Paddy-bishops, as I call um? You thought, I suppose, they were a set of old humdrum foggies, doing nothing but fasting, and praying, and giving absolution, seldom seen in the world, and living like owls in an old chimly. You read Bishop Doyle's answer to the Parliment questioners, and was not he a match for um? O he's a jewel of a bishop! But between ourselves, you are not to judge all of them from Bishop Doyle. He reads, as he says, every book, and, by my own soul, if he does, he goes through many a page not very dacent reading for a bishop's spectacles." I reads," says he, "every book, and I would be glad to see all my people, poor as well as rich, educated, and able to read all books like myself." Monam on Diaoul, but Kildaire and this country have very different bishops if that's the case, for here our children can hardly get a book for love or money, but some musty Catechisms and Saint's Aves, and the like, and when we borrows anything better-whack-the priest whips it away from um, for fear they would mount upon it like a witch's broom and ride post to the devil. To be

ing what the devil geese had to do with the city of Rome, and its CAPITOL, and whether the Pope had any hand in it. But I was not long of finding out the secret. I was carrying home a pair of shoes to a very good gentleman, a customer of mine, and, just as I got in, I heard him say to a gentleman that was going out, how very much richer England was than this country.

""

Pray, sir," says I, "will you let me ask you why this country is so much poorer than England?"" There are many reasons," says he: "One is, that she wants CAPITOL."—" I wonder at that, sir," says I," for I am sure she does not want geese."- -"Geese!" says he, laughing, "what have they to do with it, Paddy?"-" Why, was it not they that saved the CAPITOL of Rome?"" The Roman geese," says the gentleman, " did indeed good service, but we have some cacklers more likely to hurt than serve our Capitol." -"Why then, pray, sir," says I, "what is this CAPITOL they talk so much about?"-" In plain English, honest Paddy," says the good gentleman, "it is neither more nor less than plenty of money. A country that has quiet, honest, sober, well-educated, and industrious inhabitants, in time becomes rich, and has money to spare: this is called her capital. A country, whose inhabitants are ignorant, turbulent, and idle, must necessarily be poor; and, until her character changes, will continue so." I wished his honour a good morning, and went home, very proud of being made a wiser

man.

Well, sir, this set me upon thinking, for the more knowing a body grows, the more he sets his wit to work; and that's one reason why learning is so useful: So then, says I, capital is money, and they that have money may do great things, if they know how to inake a proper use of it. Devil a doubt about that part of the story. But how to come about all this here in Ireland-ay, that's the rub; for if we wait till the people are all booklearned, and sober, and industrious, and saving like the Sasinohs, by my soul, I believe, we'll be obliged to wait a long time. I don't see the best among us, lords, and squires, and merchants, and all, much given to saving-most of um spends money as fast, ay, and faster than it comes. I'm sure I wore out a pair of shoes going to one of

um, only for a little bill of fifteen shillings. Now then, thought I, I begins to understand what those great friends to Ireland, above mentioned, would be at, and 'cute fellows they are. There's two ways of getting a capital; one is, the slow and sure method of making it themselves, as the Sasinobs made it-that would never answer the present purpose; the other is, by persuading those that have money to spare, to lend to those that have none, and then the business is done at once. This is what my neighbour, the French master, calls doing things by a cow de mang; and a good milch cow she is, devil a doubt of it, if one could catch her. Well, some little time agone, there was a knowing bit of an English spalpeen, Cropear, I think they called him, a famous hand at managing other people's capitals; so he and the others put their wise noddles together, promising as how they'd raise a million or two of money for the good of old Ireland, without any trouble at all at all. Then they called public meetings, and there they made fine speeches, and they coaxed many of the country squires, who know more of fishing for trouts than fishing for capitals, to join um; for they said, Support us in getting the cash, and sure the profit will be your own ; 'twill go among your tenants, and raise your rents, and every river that runs through your lands will be full of cotton-mills. We'll buy ships, and open a trade with the East Indies, and you'll all be as rich as nabobs, whoever they are. Ah! but says somebody, what will the East India Company say to this? "Oh! damn the East India Company," says Crop

ear.

"Damn the East India Company," says Merchant Pennyless. "Damn the East India Company," says Dr Slop of Cork. "Damn the East India Company," says Dr Belmore from Clonakilty. So the East India Company was damned, to all intents and purposes, to the great delight of the whole meeting, and all went on as smooth as you please. This Dr Belmore is rather a new comer, you must know-not a Paddy, but a great friend to the cause, being as how he keeps a great many jennies spinning, and is so fond of um, they call him Dr Jenny in Clonakilty. He was, it seems, a surgeon in Portugal, and is said to be a dead hand at cut

[blocks in formation]

Then, who was to head the IMPUTATION?" I'm your man for that," says Dr Belmore." I'm an Englishman, and understands the lingo; besides, Lord Liverpool must have heard of me when I was physicking the troops in Portugal, and keeping so many jennies spinning in Clonakilty; and if that won't do, I don't know what will." So what would you have of it? To London they went, and from London they came back; but, however, it happened, they left the money behind. I'm afraid, Mr N., this is not, after all, the best way of raising a capital for Ireland. I'd be glad to have your opinion of it. Jack Boyle, he's one of our Cork wags, says, "There's no catching old birds with chaff." I rests your obedient servant, PADDY PUMPS.

ENGLISH AND IRISH LAND-LETTING.

WE once more return to the affairs of Ireland, although we shrewdly suspect that our readers are heartily weary of them. We shall, however, confine ourselves chiefly to one topic that of Land-letting. We take up this, at the hazard of encountering the nausea of the public, because of its vast importance, because many very erroneous opinions are promulgated respecting it, and because we do not hear that any effectual remedy is preparing for its evils.

A great deal has been said by many -and by ourselves as well as othersagainst the absentee landlords of Ireland. Although we have shown these landlords but little mercy, we certainly agree in very little that is said against them by their other assailants. Others think that they impoverish Ireland by spending their incomes out of it; we think that they impoverish it in a totally different manner. Others think that if they dwelt on their estates they would consume the produce of their poor neighbours; we think they would do nothing of the kind. Others call upon them to expend nearly the whole of their money and time in their native country; we call upon them to do things perfectly different; we ask them to spend only a very inconsiderable portion of both on their estates, provided always that they spend the remainder in England. These dif

ferences of opinion lead us to imagine that we shall do some service to various newspaper-editors and reviewers, and to the "reading public" of towns and cities, by giving some information touching the landlords of England.

The mass of these landlords are absentees from their estates the greater part of the year; very many have estates in various parts which they perhaps do not visit once in two years; they consume literally none of the produce of the peasantry; they spend only the most contemptible portion of their incomes in the country. The great majority of English villages never have a resident landlord, many have not even a resident clergyman, and the most exalted inhabitant is only a respectable farmer.

An English landlord, one of those whose tenantry, great and small, are in the first condition in regard to prosperity, order, and happiness, is detained in London by parliamentary duties, or pleasure, perhaps, seven months in the year. A portion of the remaining five he perhaps spends at a watering-place, or devotes to the visiting of friends. He spends two, three, or four months in the year on his estate. While there he grows his own corn and vegetables, keeps his own cows, rears his own poultry, and does not perhaps expend a penny in buying the produce of the peasantry. He of

ten kills his own beef and mutton, and by this rather injures than benefits the trade of the village butcher. The best of his groceries, &c. he perhaps gets from London, and the remainder from some neighbouring market-town; the village grocer cannot meet his demands in point of quality, therefore he cannot have him for a customer. His clothes are got chiefly from London, or some large town; therefore the village tailor and shoemaker touch but little of his money. The females of his family can find nothing in the shop of the village draper and mercer to suit them, therefore they will not enter it. His very domestics have too much taste in dress, to think of looking for garments among the village vulgar. He brews his own beer, and gets his wine, &c., chiefly from the metropolis.

The money that this landlord expends in the village amounts chiefly to this. He regularly employs a number of labourers on his grounds; in seasons when work is scarce, he gives temporary employment to such of the other village labourers as cannot procure it elsewhere; he pays the schoolmaster for the tuition of a certain number of poor children; he makes a plentiful distribution of broken victuals to the poorer families; he gives every winter a certain portion of beef, coals, and warm clothing to the poor; in times of scarcity he supplies the food that the labourers' families could not otherwise obtain. The whole of this is covered by a comparatively trifling sum, and the bulk of his income goes to the metropolis to be expended.

The benefits of this expenditure are confined to the village in which the landlord resides; to one village that has such a landlord, there are five or six in which no landlord ever dwells.

It will of course be seen, that to place the Irish village on a level with the English one, it is not necessary for the Irish landlord to spend more than a small portion of his time, and a very contemptible portion of his income, on his estate. Now, while we would compel him, if we were able, to do everything whatever that the English landlord does, we do not ask him to do a single thing beyond it.

The benefits of this comparatively short residence and trifling expenditure are exceedingly great. In the village, industry never lacks employ

ment, and want is not known. The landlord's servants mix with the villagers, dilate to them on what they see and hear in London, show off the manners and habits of the great, and do much for good manners and civilization. His labourers are necessarily men of extremely good conduct, and they do much towards producing good conduct in the other labourers, by example and friendship. Nearly every householder, labourer as well as farmer, is his tenant; there is no middle-man ; the steward is not paid by a per-centage; he has a yearly salary, and has no more interest in high rents than low ones; he is but a servant, and the landlord when he appears is the man of influence. Every cottage, as well as farm, would perhaps bear a heavy advance of rent; would let for far more if let by competition. The influence of the landlord is of course boundless; he has only to speak to be obeyed. Character cannot be hid in small places, as in large ones. The conduct of a villager is constantly under the eye of his neighbours, and if it be bad, the landlord is speedily made acquainted with it. The offender is admonished, and if he will not reform, he is discharged, and in effect expelled the village.

One invaluable benefit of the residence is this. It brings the landlord into the midst of his tenants; if they be distressed, barbarous, and immoral, he sees it with his own eyes; the connexion between them and himself forces itself on his attention; he is made acquainted with his power and obligations; he cannot escape the conviction that he is the great cause of the distress, barbarism, and immorality. He feels that he has the bread of those who surround him in his hands, and that their distress and bad morals are infamy to himself. He learns to sympathize with them, and to regard them as men in whose welfare he has a deep interest. The pride which in London teaches him to embellish his residence, now teaches him to embellish his lands. Splendour he must have, and he can have no splendour here befitting his rank, without highly cultivated farms, a respectable yeomanry, and moral, orderly, wellfed labourers. The reverse is to him disgrace and degradation. The landlord who constantly lives at a great

distance from his tenants, who never sees their condition, who cannot hear their complaints, whose means of communication with, and influence over, them, are cut off by a third party, and whose personal importance and better feelings and prejudices are not connected with their welfare, can scarcely be expected to take any interest in their circumstances and character; but he who spends a part of every year among them, cannot avoid taking a very deep interest in both.

The landlord, in frequently communicating with the better part of his tenants, guides their opinions and feelings; he imparts to them much valuable information on public and social topics, which they in turn impart to the inferior ones. He stands at the head of the smaller gentry of the neighbourhood, whose incomes perhaps confine them constantly to it; he corrects their prejudices, and gives them conduct. He is to a very great extent the guide of society.

Although the benefits of his expenditure are confined to the village in which he resides, the benefits of his residence in other respects flow to the villages which have no resident landlord. The morals and intelligence, the good regulations and conduct, that emanate from him, spread through the country. He is a magistrate, and his influence with his less rich associatemagistrates, who are confined to the country throughout the year, is of great importance in keeping their principles and feelings in the proper place.

We should be grievously afflicted to see the great English landholder dwell constantly on his estate, even though he might expend his whole income around him. We wish to see him in Parliament, acquiring in that great school a knowledge of the interests of his country. We wish to see his high feelings, and principles, and deep stake in the public weal, opposed in the legislature to the fanaticism and cupidity of party-adventurers. We wish to see him mix with the body of which he is a member, to imbibe the noble sentiments that govern it. We wish to see the individual who takes so distinguished a part in the guidance of country society, spend a consider

able part of the year in the metropolis, in order that he may enter much into the best company, have access to the best sources of intelligence, and become well acquainted with the world.

We should be still more afflicted to see the Irish landholder dwell constantly on his estate. We wish to see the people of Britain and Ireland made one, and statutes alone will never make them so. We wish to see British principles, feelings, and habits, established in Ireland; we wish to see the Irishman's heart changed into a British one; we wish to see the Irish agriculturists placed under that system which prevails in Britain. We therefore wish to see the Irish landlords spend a considerable part of the year in London, in order that they may mingle largely with, and catch the spirit and habits of, the British ones, that they may become Englishmen in everything but birth, and that they may obtain the qualifications for establishing that in Ireland which we wish to see there, and which must be chiefly established by themselves. If they spend such a portion of the year in London, they must of necessity spend in it the bulk of their incomes.

It is, however, of the first importance, of the first national importance, that the landlords of both countries should dwell a part of the year amidst their tenants.

We will now speak of the different systems of Land-letting, which prevail in the two countries, and of the differences in the construction and condition of village society which these

create.

In some of the best-regulated counties of England, a village contains from six to ten farms, which comprehend from 200 to 400 acres each.There may be, perhaps, one that contains 600 or 1000 acres, but the generality comprise about 300 acres. If the land be rich, the farms are smallerif it be poor, they are larger. In this village, there are perhaps two individuals who occupy only one hundred acres each, and two more who occupy only fifty. There are, perhaps, from three to six persons who own and occupy small freeholds of from three to

We speak here of villages, the land of which is chiefly under the plough; gra zing farms are smaller.

« PreviousContinue »