The Principles on which a Landlord should Farm,
Both for Himself and His Successors
In order to collect votes for his party a politician, it is, obvious, must be perpetually nibbling at something that he thinks will serve his ends. According to the Indian proverb the three great desires of man are, Hunna, Henoo, Munoo -- money, women and land, and no doubt the party politician is not far wrong in selecting land as a convenient engine for creating party votes, and one of his chief reasons for doing so, of course, is that he can appeal to the plundering instincts which we have inherited from our remote ancestors, and which are but thinly varnished with a moderate amount of Christian doctrines, so thinly indeed that, under the pretence of doing justice to the masses the politician at once gathers votes for himself and advantages free of cost to his constituents, and blinds both himself and them to the nature of his actions, when the rights of property are to be diverted, in a greater or less degree, for the benefit of others. There is always at least a chance of this being effected because unfortunately we have not, as the Americans have, the safeguard of a written constitution. This, in their case, provides such checks on any invasion of proprietary rights that it is certain that any Act at all resembling the Irish Land Act could not have been passed in America without an alteration of its written constitution, and the difficulties of obtaining this are so great that it may be regarded as practically unattainable. (To alter the constitution it is necessary to have a two-thirds majority of both houses and a reference to the constituents besides unmingled with any other matter than that for which an alteration in the constitution is proposed to be carried out.)
For it has been laid down with great clearness by the wise framers of that constitution that every man is to be secured in his property unless it is required for a public purpose, when he is to have full compensation for it. Here, indeed, we are supposed to have a safeguard in the Crown and the House of Lords, but they do not feel themselves powerful enough to act as a restraining principle such as is effectively provided by the American constitution, and hence we see that property has been invaded in England, and is now liable to compulsory acquisition for the benefit of others, though this has been carried out in such a way as to make it appear that it is not so, the original landlord being still held on nominally as such, just as he is in Ireland, though deprived of nearly all his original landlord's rights over the land. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, it is of evident importance to show how a landlord should farm with the least risk both to his own interests, and those of his successor, for it would seem that a landlord can only be reasonably certain of retaining full possession of his land by farming it himself. The second point is of great importance, generally speaking, but would become of serious importance in the event of the successor being a minor, as though his guardians would have no difficulty in continuing my system of farming, and be able to do so at small risk of loss, the more expensive system of farming usually adopted could not be carried on without great probability of considerable loss in the case of unfavourable seasons. In the latter case the guardians would probably, or I may say certainly, let the land farmed by the minor's predecessor, to be possibly run out, as so much of the land has been in this country. For his own sake, then, and for the sake of his successor, the landlord should, in my opinion, adopt whatever system of farming will yield, and with the least probable risk, a fair rent for the land, interest on his floating capital at 3 per cent, and a steady increase in the value of the fixed capital -- in other words, the fertility of the soil which, combined with its equipment in the shape of buildings, fences and drains, is the fixed capital of the landlord. It has been my object in farming to attain such a system, as I have successfully done on my Clifton-on-Bowmont farm, which now yields rent, interest on capital, and shows a steady increase in the fertility of the soil. It is to the last that the landlord should attach the greatest importance, for, under my system, while the fertility increases the expenditure declines, as the land is ultimately more easily worked, and the seed mixtures may be cheapened, as less seed is required in the case of soil in fine condition. Weeds may be almost entirely prevented, and the crops will not only improve, but what is of great importance, be more able to resist the effects of unfavourable seasons, and can be grown successfully at much higher elevations, as is proved by this year's (1907) barley at Clifton-on-Bowmont, which is of very superior quality although grown in an unfavourable season and at an elevation of 750 feet. (It is important to note that every time our soil is ploughed up at Clifton-on-Bowmont the land becomes darker from the increase of humus, and this means that the soil becomes warmer, and this again means that it becomes more fertile. In Fletcher's Soils the reader will find interesting facts in connection with the subject, and it is there stated that a dark coloured soil' is about eight degrees warmer near the surface than a light coloured soil. If the reader will compare what Mr. Fletcher has written in Soils on humus with my long practical experience at Clifton-on-Bowmont he will see that the conclusions I have arrived at exactly tally with those of the American Agricultural writers.)
There is also another important consideration, and that is that the landlord must be on his guard against legislation inimical to his interests, and remember that the land he is cultivating may be acquired forcibly for small holdings, and that the more he spends on enriching his land through the agency of the present expensive system of farming, the greater will be his risk of loss in the event of the land being taken from him. And I may remark in passing that the same cautions apply to tenants holding above fifty acres of land who are now liable to be driven from their homes to make room for smallholders.
It is of great importance that the landlord should farm the most inferior portions of his property in order, by his example, to show what can be done under the worst conditions, because it is obviously of the utmost importance to improve the inferior portions of the property, and lastly because this inferior land could only be profitably farmed on my system, and such land, even after being improved on my system, would not be at all suitable for small holdings. If he wishes, practically, to observe what can be done with poor run-out lands he has only to visit my Clifton-on-Bowmont farm, and contrast it with some of the farms adjacent to it which are being farmed on the old system. The improved system carried out on my farm may be briefly described by saying that it is one which:
- acquires all the manure possible from the air,
- grows manure in the shape of deeply rooted turf,
- deeply stirs and pulverizes the sod by the agency of roots,
- adds small quantities of artificial manures to stimulate growth, and so overcome the defects of an uncongenial climate,
- adds small quantities of mineral manures when required,
- obliterates all weeds, and
- finally, employs such a combination of plants for growing turf as will at once improve the health and supply the greatest possible amount of food for stock, the largest amount of humus for the soil, and the deepest possible cultivation, and drainage of the land.
To elucidate my recommendations to landlords and others who, in my opinion, should farm in a way that will expose them to the smallest possible risk of loss combined with a steady improvement of the soil, I may make the following references to my Clifton-on-Bowmont farm. This consisted, when I took it over, of about 1,250 acres -- about 450 arable, and the rest hill pasture, with hardly any heather on it. It carried throughout a half-bred sheep stock -- a breed resulting from Cheviot ewes crossed by Leicester rams. This breed is, comparatively speaking, costly to buy and feed, and I therefore substituted for it Cheviot ewes crossed with Leicester rams, thus selling half-bred lambs as before, but what is known as the first cross, and saving a considerable expenditure of capital -- the difference in value between a Cheviot ewe and a half-bred one being about £1. This change enabled me to reduce the expensive and precarious turnip crop, as the half-bred ewes require a considerable supply of turnips -- lessen the corn crop, and lower the labour bill. (It is important to remember that, though the demand for labour would be lessened on some farms by the adoption of my system of farming, it would be increased over the large areas of land now left in worthless pasture, but which could be restored to arable were my system adopted. It is also clear that much land might be taken from pasture lands, and turned into arable were my system adopted, though they could not be profitably worked in arable on any other system, and thus large additions may be made to the rural population.)
The farm was previously worked on the five-course shift or rotation, i.e. oats, turnips, barley, and two years in grass. This I changed to an eight-course rotation -- turnips, oats, turnips, barley or oats with grass seeds, and four years in grass -- a change which enables the farmer to put down an improved grass mixture at about the same annual cost as was incurred in the case of the five-course rotation, but yielding vastly superior results in grazing, and in the subsequent crops when the land is again brought under the plough. This eight-course system combined with filling up every space on the land with strong-growing grasses and plants, raised from pure seeds true to their kind -- which are stronger than most weeds -- literally obliterates weeds, and prevents others from growing -- thereby, of course, saving the waste caused by growing weeds and the cost of removing them. On Clifton-on-Bowmont none have been removed for the last sixteen years, and it would be difficult to find a cleaner farm. This system of cultivation also enables much more nitrogen to be taken from the atmosphere, for in our experience, after ploughing in the second turf, the red clover increases by about 25 per cent. It is hardly necessary to remind the reader that of all the nitrogen collectors red clover is certainly one of the best.
Though sheep are more profitable to the farmer than ordinary cattle (pedigree cattle breeding I am aware may be profitable), it is impossible effectively to graze, or, in other words, regulate the grass in pastures, with sheep alone, and this of course is especially evident when, as in my mixtures, the large grasses are almost entirely used, and therefore form such an extensive proportion of the pasture. The necessity for having a herd of cattle at hand is especially evident in the case of a warm and growing spring, which requires the grasses to be promptly kept down. If they are thus suppressed by being at once grazed with cattle, the whole pasture can be kept fine and even, and to the total exclusion of those unprofitable patches of long coarse grass which are too commonly to be seen in badly managed pastures, and which cause other parts of the pasture to be over closely grazed. The question to be considered now is as to what cattle the landlord should keep, and this, again, must be regulated by the guiding principle which, in my opinion, should regulate the policy of the landlord -- economy of production. How this may be best effected must be left to the circumstances of each district, but as an illustration which may be of use to those farming land similar to Clifton-on-Bowmont, I may mention our practice there, where we have a herd of pedigree Galloways, to be crossed with shorthorns for the production of what are known as the 'blue-greys'. These having two coats are better able to stand exposure to weather, and are preferred by butchers to cattle of large size. Besides the Galloways we keep a small herd of pedigree shorthorns, partly for sale and partly for the supply of bulls to cross with the Galloways. On such a farm as Clifton-on-Bowmont, which is permeated by small streams and shallow burns, ducks and geese may be economically kept, as they find much food for themselves. Turkeys are also kept, as when there is much grass they can find a considerable supply of food from the grass seeds. So far as I have been able to observe, the poultry yard does not receive the amount of attention that may profitably be bestowed on it. I need hardly say that I offer these remarks, not for the benefit of professional farmers who have been brought up to the business from their youth, but for those who wish to take to farming as an agreeable and interesting occupation, and who prefer a healthy country life to occupations of other kinds, and more especially for landlords who are, willingly or unwillingly, farming portions of their property. Neither of the last-named classes, I may repeat, should, in my opinion, farm on the same lines as professional farmers. One of these, an agriculturist of great practical experience, for instance, when he went over my farm before the change to Cheviot ewes, said that he would, had he had the farm, spend £500 a year on oilcake, and that he was certain it would pay to do so. Then, as regards the system on which the land should be farmed, I find a great difference of opinion, which shows how unsettled men's minds are as to what should best be done to contend most successfully with these varying times, when our agriculture is liable to be influenced by such a number of distant countries, which send us now much agricultural produce, and threaten to send us even increasing quantities. The reader will find in Appendix 6 the details of the system pursued as regards the stocking of the Clifton-on-Bowmont farm.
Before bringing this chapter to a close, I think that it is desirable to observe that there never was a time in our history when the landed interests in our country should be more carefully guarded, and every incentive provided for full justice being done to the land by the landowners, for the conditions throughout the world are such that, taking into consideration the immense foreign competition, and the heavy burdens imposed on land, it is certain that no tenant will embark on those landed improvements which are so necessary for the welfare of the country. And even if the capitalist tenants were inclined to lay out money in landed improvements, the possibility of having their farms wholly or partially seized for the creation of small holdings, would be a sufficient check to any tendency they might otherwise have to lay out money on the land. I have said that there never was a time when more attention was required to be bestowed on what is still the biggest industry in the kingdom, and if we look forward to the progress of manufactures and mining in Asia, we shall find that the development of our agricultural resources is a subject which must be one of ever-increasing importance to our national welfare. People generally, and Englishmen in especial, have seldom any inclination to look ahead (as, Cobden did when he said, 'I have often thought what ugly ruins our mills will make'), more especially when doing so is at all likely to disclose a rather disagreeable prospect, but if it is desired to attract attention to the necessity for following American lines as regards State aid to agriculture, we should take into careful consideration our manufacturing and mining prospects. To look forward here with accuracy, it is both advisable and interesting to look back to the beginning of our manufacturing progress -- to the time when machinery was introduced, and when, with the aid of protection (which levied import duties so high that we find the weavers of Bengal petitioning the English Government to be allowed to compete on equal terms with English manufacturers) the skill and capital of the West overcame the cheap hand labour of the East. Having established our manufactures with the aid of Protection we then called out loudly for free trade all round. But the skill and capital of the West have now gone out to ally themselves with the cheap labour of the East, and the numerous mills in India testify to the initial steps of the vast changes that are slowly but steadily advancing. But this is far from being all. The Japanese, the Chinese, and the native capitalists of India are rapidly learning all that Europe can teach, and, ultimately, will carry manufacturing and mining industries to the utmost limit attainable. Then will be seen the greatest labour struggle the world has ever beheld -- the competition between the cheap dark and the dear white workman. When that period arrives, and it cannot be far distant, calico may once more come to us from Calicut (a town on the west coast of India), which gave its name to the cotton productions we once imported from the East, and if we wish to manufacture even for our own people it is plain that we should only be able to do so with the at present despised agency of Protection. That resource alone will be left to us as far as cloth manufactures are co ncerned. The same remark will also apply to every other product which we now export. For the rest we must rely upon the development of our biggest industry -- agriculture. What is agriculture? As the Indian proverb goes, 'the ploughers are the linchpin of the world'. Pull it out and the whole machinery of life tumbles to pieces. Amidst the din of hammers, the whirl of machinery, and the tall smoking chimneys, we seem to have quite forgotten this fact. We shall once more have occasion to remember it, and perhaps sooner than we anticipate. It is of obvious importance then to set our house in order betimes, and prepare to furbish up our agricultural armour to the utmost. We have tried to do so by calling in the aid of costly artificial manures, and costly mechanism in the shape of subsoil ploughs, and other earth-stirring implements; we must now call in the appliances of nature in the shape of deep-rooting plants, which will at once till, manure, aerate and drain our soils with the utmost degree of efficiency and economy. When an eminent agriculturist was one day looking at a field on my property laid down with the mixture of grasses used in my system of farming, and carrying a large stock of sheep at least double what can be kept on the old system under ryegrass and a little clover -- he said 'we have no idea of the stock this country could carry were this subject attended to', and if that is so, and in my opinion it undoubtedly is so, then the possible increase of the fertility of our soils through the agency of the vastly increased stock that may be maintained, far exceeds anything that could be conceived as possible under our present system of agriculture. What is its greatest defect? That it has no true rotation of crops and no self-acting manurial, drainage, and tillage system. What is a true rotation of crops, or, to put it in another way, what. is that principle which ought to guide the farmer when he grows a rotation of crops? It is important to remember that crops of various kinds may be found on a farm, and that you may have a different crop every year for a series of years and yet be far removed from carrying out a scientific rotation of crops, i.e. a system which will yield the best results to the farmer at the smallest cost, and the only effective way of carrying out the most profitable form of rotation lies in the cultivation of crops which take nitrogen -- equal in the end to ammonia -- from the air with those which can only derive it from the soil. In Scotland at least there is no such rotation excepting in those occasional cases where a crop of beans is grown. The only nitrogen collecting crop grown, or rather attempted to be grown, consists of the clover sown along with the grass seeds, and this clover is not only insignificant in amount, but is commonly a partial and often a complete failure. From a nitrogen collecting point of view then there is practically no rotation of crops at all, and never will be till, as is the case under my system, large crops of red clover and other nitrogen collecting plants are grown. When such crops can be generally grown, and as I have proved under my system, can be grown with certainty, then, and not till then, will our agriculture be placed on a sound footing, and it will be on a sound footing because the greatest possible amount of manure will be derived free of cost from the atmosphere. With the aid of these agencies will be kept the greatest possible amount of stock on the land. This, of course, will enrich it with manure cheaply supplied, and evenly distributed free of all cost for placing it in the soil. With this agency, also, will be grown the greatest amount of vegetable matter in the turf, which will be ploughed down when the grass period of my eight course rotation comes to a close-turf enriched with four years' manure from the stock kept on the land. When this ample plant food, and what is of even more importance, these ample physical conditions are supplied, the four succeeding crops of the rotation may be grown without any artificial manure excepting the small supply necessary to stimulate the growth of the turnips, and so to remedy the too often defective growing power of our climate. By this system we have an extreme economy of production, and it is only by this economy that our agriculture can be profitably continued in the face of the enormous competition coming on in ever-increasing severity from almost all quarters of the globe. But turn where one may, a universal agreement will be found as regards the essential point of all others in any soundly economical agriculture which will maintain and augment the fertility of the soil, and, for one instance, I may quote the very decided opinion expressed in America, which tells us that: 'In general agriculture in Illinois, whether it is grain farming or ordinary live stock farming, the growing of legumes is absolutely essential in any economic system which shall maintain the fertility of the soil.' (University of Illinois Agricultural Experimental Station. Bulletin No. 94, November 1905.)
When this principle is recognized and acted on there can be no more running out of land, chemically and physically, as there is at present, and fertility will continuously increase to the benefit of both landlord and tenant, and I need hardly add, to the general augmentation of the national welfare, and especially the increase of employment in the rural districts, for it is perfectly obvious to all experienced observers, that while we cannot look for any increase of the rural population from turning the present labourers out of their cottages, and getting rid of the farmers who employ them, in order to supply their place with small cultivators, we can look forward with certainty to an increased employment from my system of farming owing to land at present left in worthless pasture being again brought under the plough. We can, also, look forward to a considerable increase in employment when the afforestation of the country is taken seriously in hand. By its consequent effect on the climate and the general water supply, a great improvement will take place in those agricultural requirements which are so largely affected by climate; for what agricultural requirements are of more importance than tempered winds, and evenly distributed rainfall? Though, well knowing from a wide experience both here and in India of the great climatic effect of woods, I confess I have been repeatedly surprised in the case of our windswept Cheviot Hills at the marvellous climatic effect of a single strip of wood only about 100 yards wide. In this connection I may mention that even the effect of the shelter, described in Appendix 5, has proved of great value. This has turned out to be most successful in the case of a small plantation where it was tried, and though it would be difficult to find even on the Cheviots a spot more liable to be swept by the fiercest gusts, the plants, now three years old, have, we think, grown better than any of the numerous plantations which have been formed on the estate during the last twenty years. From my experience of the value of this shelter, I am sure it would pay a farmer to have a similar one, to be lifted and put down wherever required in the grass fields of his farm. The lower part, up to the height of a wire fence, might be blocked up with any material most easily obtainable, as, for instance, furze, old sacking, or any substance that would check the wind. Now that such an improvement can be made in our temporary pastures in the way indicated in this book, stock can of course be kept far longer on the pastures than was possible formerly, when the old-time 'windle-strae' farmers knew of nothing but ryegrass and clover. And if stock is to be kept out both later and earlier in the season, it is evident that the provision of sheltering plantations is a matter of great importance.
But all such improvements, like most other improvements, require an outlay of capital, and the whole tendency of our legislative interference is against this. The landlord is averse to spend money when he finds that all recent, and all threatened legislation, tends to his disadvantage, The tenant, in turn, is naturally averse to laying out money on another man's land, because his interests and improvements are in turn liable to be injured by the laws with which he is threatened in the interest of the small holders which the Government propose to create throughout the length and breadth of the land. The interests of the landlord, then, are to be sacrificed to those of the tenants, and the interests of the tenants and their labourers to the small holders. Amidst this jungle of state-created interests which are supposed to be favourable to agricultural progress in general and the increase of the rural population, but which are evidently hostile to both, how can any advance be effected? Progress will undoubtedly be postponed for an indefinite period ahead till the people of the country generally are sufficiently experienced to understand that the pace of agriculture cannot be forced by legislative interference, and that, on the contrary, it is sure to be retarded by it, as it is being retarded at this moment, and to the evident injury of the rural population. For is it not evident that the rural population can only be increased by the large areas of land now abandoned to worthless pasture being again brought under the plough, and worked on my system? And is it not equally evident that this can only be effected by capitalist farmers working on a comparatively large scale? There is here much room for an increase in our rural population. There evidently can be none by cutting off pieces from large farms for the creation of small holdings, as for every small holder put in you would have to drive out a labourer and his family.
So much has been said and written -- and written especially in a misleading way -- as to the nationalization of the land, that it may be well to devote to this subject the concluding pages of this chapter. It is remarkable, or perhaps it is not remarkable, that those who have advocated this system -- notably John Stuart Mill and Henry George -- absolutely ignore the fact that about two-thirds of the lands of British India are held from the State on thirty-year leases, at the termination of which the land is revalued. In making this valuation the unearned increment -- i.e. the rise in values from various causes such as facilities for communication, or a rise in prices -- is claimed by the State, while a rise in value owing to the exertions of the occupier -- in making wells, for instance, or other improvements -- is not made a ground for increasing the assessment, or, in other words, the rent. Alongside of this nationalized land, we have what are called the permanently settled districts -- in other words, where the owners of land have to pay a fixed rate of taxation which is not subject to any revision. Here, of course, the unearned increment goes to the landholder. At first sight, it would seem that the former system ought to answer nearly as well as the latter, with reference to the outlay of capital on the, land. As a matter of fact, it does not do so, and obviously because there is an element of uncertainty connected with the thirty-year leases, for though the improvements effected by the occupier may not be assessed, the rise of rent on general grounds may be too high, so high as to nullify the fruits of the improvements, and instances have occurred where the assessment has been subsequently reduced. The proceedings of the government of the North-West Provinces and Oude afford clear evidence on this point, and it is shown that in the permanently settled districts there has been an immense progress in irrigation carried out by private enterprise, evidently in consequence of the certainty of the conditions as to taxation, and to the unearned increment being left to the proprietor instead of being absorbed by the State. The results of this have been conclusively shown with reference to famines, and in the proceedings of the government of the North-West Provinces and Oude (now the United Provinces), where the condition of things in the permanently settled districts has been contrasted with that in the temporarily settled, or thirty-year leasehold districts -- in other words, land-nationalized districts. It is stated that: 'Throughout the whole tract (i.e. of the permanently settled districts) there have been occasional periods of agricultural distress, but it has always been in a mild form, and for a century famines such as have occurred in other parts of India have been unknown.' The nationalization of the land, then, has retarded private enterprise, and it will always do so however good the plans of the Government may be theoretically, and State meddling with land here, such as proposed by would-be land legislators, is sure to have similar evil effects. As one practical illustration is worth a score of general statements, I may quote the following letter written by me to my land agent, when the landlords of Ireland were deprived of their original rights by the Act of 1881.
Dear Mr. Morison,
I have received your letter of October 4th, forwarding five letters from the occupiers of my King's County Estate, requesting a reduction of rent, and, had the present Land Act not been passed, these letters would have received my careful attention, with the view of granting a reduction in those cases in which I, as a landlord, might, from motives of good nature (it is not pretended that there are any cases of distress on the property), be expected to make some concessions. But I should be glad if you would point out to the occupiers that, since the Act was passed, I have ceased to be the landlord of the Estate. The occupiers are now, in fact, no longer tenants, but part possessors of the soil, and the landlord is the Government, which has taken to itself all the powers formerly exercised by me. In other words, I am merely a rent-charger, or the holder of a mortgage on the property, and as all the rights of a landlord have been taken away, all the duties I formerly had have disappeared with them. Though an actual landlord for but a short time (viz. before the passing of the Act), I had, as you know, begun practically to acknowledge a landlord's duties, exactly as I do on my property in Scotland. I made, on your recommendation, a bog road at a cost of £125, for the convenience of the tenants and to employ labour in bad times, and I also ordered the construction of two cottages, from which I was to have no return whatever, and I had intended, year by year, to do what I could to improve the condition of the people on the property. But those who were formerly my tenants cannot be so unreasonable as to expect me, after having been deprived of all control over my property, to continue to act as I would have done had my rights been left undisturbed. We were formerly partners as landlord and tenant, but the Government, by taking to itself the position of landlord, and granting large possessory rights to the tenants, has broken up the partnership, and the occupiers of the estate are now simply people who owe me money, and I have no more to do with them than with any other persons who may happen to be in debt to me. The Land Act has formally declared that the occupiers must pay their rents, and if they have any reason to complain of the rents being too high they must go to their new landlord, or, in other words, the Land Court, which can raise or reduce the rent, without my being in any way consulted.
It is very disagreeable to me to have to write thus; but, if an end has been put to all the former relations of landlord and tenant, the occupiers of the property have to thank the Government for the result -- that result simply being that you cannot take away a landlord's rights, and expect him to continue to act as if those rights had been left undisturbed.
In conclusion, I should like to take this opportunity of informing the occupiers that I was much pleased with my visit to the property, with all the improvements they had carried out, and very agreeably impressed with those I saw and talked to; and that I only hope they may thrive as well under the rule of their new landlord (viz. the Government) as they appear to have done under the former lords of the soil.
I remain, yours very truly,
ROBERT H. ELLIOT.
Clifton Park, Kelso,
10th October 1881.
This letter was noticed in The Times through its correspondent in Dublin, my agent was applied to for copies for the guidance of proprietors, and their agents in Ireland, and the letter was published in full by the Scotsman as a warning to would-be land-legislators, but as their folly is founded on invincible ignorance it appears to be beyond the reach of any remonstrance, or any practical illustration of the harm that is sure to ensue from their melancholy line of action. But the English have always been celebrated for their want of foresight, and their extraordinary power of shutting their eyes to the most obvious facts, as any one may perceive who reflects on the history of the Indian Mutiny, the Boer War, and that faulty Indian Educational system which is the real foundation of the present discontent among certain classes in our vast dependency. By the aid of our inherent strength, and a great waste of public money, we have indeed pulled ourselves out of immense national difficulties, but no expenditure of public money will ever be able to repair the material, social, and political evils which must arise if our would-be land-legislators should be successful in the warfare they are directing against the landed proprietors of Great Britain, and the best interests of the kingdom. You cannot eat your cake and have it, unless perhaps, it should happen to be oil cake, and, strange as the statement may appear to a land-legislator with his eyes fast shut to the baneful side of his efforts, you cannot eat a landlord and have a landlord. In other words you cannot drive capital from these improvements -- such as the planting of shelter belts for one instance -- which the landed capitalists will alone effect, without most permanently fatal results. This elementary fact will, I fear, only be perceived by land-legislators when it is too late -- too late, because all experience has shown that capital when once driven away from a business or a country (Ireland for instance) can hardly ever be induced to return.
The publication of this letter may seem premature, and I therefore quote from Mr. Ure (the. Solicitor General for Scotland) the following passage from a letter of his to a correspondent, published in the Scotsman of 22nd November 1907. He says: 'I personally would not deny to large farmers a fair rent court, and I have no doubt that when large farmers are agreed upon that topic, as small farmers now are, their wishes will be given effect to by the legislature.'
Here we have a direct promise of the worst feature of Irish land legislation, the natural results of which are shown in the above given letter -- i.e. the cessation of landlord's improvements, and a complete severance of the old relations between landlord and tenant.
Next: Appendix 1
Paper Contributed by Mr. James Hunter, Agricultural Seed Merchant, Chester
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