The Ashburton Guardian. MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1880. The State of Ireland.
The Ashburton Guardian. TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 5 p.m. ]
Almost every day a cablegram appears in the daily press referring to some new phase in the agitation now going on in Ireland. Now a big meeting has been held, at which the English Government has been denounced, anon the Land League takes some new departure, encourages the withholding of rent, or institutes some sort of arbitration court, with a constitution entirely apart from the control of constituted authority—while the intelligence of a fresh agrarian outrage diversifies the news at painfully short intervals. Altogether ample evidence is given in current news by cable that Ireland is in a bad state, and that sooner or later a change of some sort must happen either what the agitators want will be given to them, or it will not; but at any rate, the state of matters now existent in Ireland cannot much longer continue. The cry appears to be for the landlords’ land to be given to the people. We would be only too glad to know that the Irish peasantry had become the owners of the farms they occupy, and that the most discontented of all discontented countries had been transformed into a land flowing with milk and honey, and where every man was at peace with his neighbor, with no grievances to remedy and no heartburnings to allay. But this millenial time seems far off as yet, and bitter as the agitation appears to be, we do not fancy that it is likely to bring it any nearer, from the fact that the agitators ask too much. England is not the country to put forth its hand and take from the landlords the land that represents their capital, and give that land to Tom, Dick, and Harry who have only been in occupation of it. England will want some far stronger reason for such a course than the mere existence of a Land League with a motto—- “ The land for the people.” It is absurd to expect that while the relations between landlord and tenant that obtain in England and Scotland continue, the British Parliament will ever consent to the spoliation of Irish landlords that seems to be the aim of the land agitators, and even with a possible rebellion looming in the distance, the House of Commons will never consent to such a thing. If the Land Leaguers were to moderate their demands and ask for the Irish tenantry to be put upon the same terms as regards land tenure as those under which English and Scotch tenant farmers lease their holdings, and to be firm in their demands for this not very extravagant concession we have no doubt but they would gain their purpose. But beyond that concession we feel certain Parliament will never go. There are really only two possible means open to the Leaguers from obtaining redress of their grievances--these are an Act of Parliament and a civil war. The first
they may secure easify, .so long as by it no act of gross'-injustice is committed against the landlords, and if tlie Leaguers:themselves are only temperate enough in their agitation to avoid racing unnecessary hostility in the House. A rebellion would be the ruin of Ireland; Again, the Leaguers seem to overlook the fact that were landlordism annihilated in Ireland to-morrow, and the land confiscated and appropriated by Government, the other question would arise—who is to receive it ? Certainly not the farmers, nor anv one else, without some return to the state, and the payment of this return the agitators would feel as heavily as they now do . the payment of rent. If, however, the Land League is successful in bringing about a new system of land tenure in Ireland that will in some degree lessen the terrible frequency of agrarian outrages that make Ireland a hell upon earth, and will make a contented people of a hard working peasantry, it will have done some good ; but it need never hope to browbeat the English Parliament into an act of robbery just as greatly wrong as is the tumbling of a landlord by a cowardly bullet from behind a hedge.
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