A LANDLORD AND HIS TENANTRY. The Marquis of Aylesbury, at his rent audit, at the Aylesbury Arms Hotel, Marlborough, in returning thanks to the toast of bis health, which was druuk in a bumper, remarked that that was the first time he had had the honor of appearing before them as their landlord. He had come to a title at an advanced period of life, and his interest in that state, as they knew, was only a life interest, and he must, therefore, think of the interests of others. The present depression in agriculture he deeply deplored, and he had given proofs of his anxiety to relieve them in their •present distress by a 20 per cent, reduction in their rents. But in returning that 20 per cent, he did not think he was making any recompense which could compensate their losses ; he did not think he could do so. All of them, he knew, must be paying their rent out of capital. Heavy pressure, too, was brought to bear on them; burdens were pressing heavily on them, and he wished all to know how deeply he felt for them in the trying position in which they were placed, and sincerely hoped it would not be long before they returned to better and more prosperous times. They rhust all curtail their establishments and amusements. He was sorry farmers could not afford to enjoy fox-hunt-ing as they did. But as to game, he had always thought the great mistake made in this country was the keeping ot large battues until January, instead of shooting game as soon as possible. He did not call that amusement. ,He always considered game was given them as a source of amusement as well as advantage. He had men> tioned the subject years ago to Mr Bright, who would have done more good in turning his attention to this matter than in talking about “a bloated aristocracy,” which, by the by, since he was a Cabinet Minister and lived amongst them, he had left off doing. He, the noble lord, had always said the game laws were the cause of almost all the agrarian outrage in the country ; and only recently in their own immediate neighborhood four lives had been lost—two policemen had been shot, and two men hung for the crime. He had given up shooting in battues; but he still carried the gun, and no one enjoyed a good day’s shooting better than he uid. Battue shooting, however, must be given up; and he might remind them that he had given permission for ground game to be shot by the tenants of by members of the families, leaving the winged game for himself and friends. It bad struck him as a curious coincidence that when the tenant shot the game they did no harm, but when that privilege was reserved for the landlord the game committed dreadful havoc. Perhaps they could explain that better than he could. Protection had been talked of as a remedy for the present distress, but he urged them not to expect it. Protection was altogether out of the question ; no Ministry would dare to attempt it, for it could not he introduced without causing a revolution in the country, a tax on the food of the people was an impossibility. He had come into an estate which was most heavily mortgaged, and in addition to a large family he had three dowagers to provide for, who, it should be remembered, would not take 20 per cent, off their allowance because times were had, and he had reduced rents to that extent. As a consequence he of course had very little to live upon. It might be disagreeable to some persons to find out that two and two made four, and not six, but he could not help that. He did the best he could, and he only wished it was in his power to assist them more libenlly than he bad. He hoped they had turned the corner now, and that they would enjoy the land they lived in as they had done before. In their privations he wished to share, and he begged it to be distinctly so understood, and he relied on his steward (Mr Dunlop) to keep him well informed on matters affecting their interests. He left them in the hands of a gentleman of whom they had already seen enough to regard and esteem, who he was sure would do his duty by them, and he reminded them there was a Divine Providence watching over their interest which would undoubtedly furnish them with means to face difficulties which surrounded them. His lordship concluded by proposing the “ Land we live in,” and “Health and happiness to the tenantry of the United Kingdom in general, and of Savernake in particular ’ a ssntiment which was cordially responded to.
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Miscellaneous., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 105, 27 May 1880, Supplement
Miscellaneous. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 105, 27 May 1880, Supplement
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