THE EVICTION COMPANY AND RACK RENTS.
Tub New Tork World one of the most influential of American papers, has recently had in Ireland as its correspondent Mr. Alfred Balch, a very able member of the New York Press. Mr. Balch has forwarded to his journal a document of some interest, a letter of Mr. Arthur Kavanagh, formerly M.P. for Carlow, and the report of an inter? iew between the correspondent and Mr. Kavanagh. The main matter to which the letter and the conversation of Mr. Kavanagh pointed was the celebrated scheme of which he is the parent — the scheme of " The Land Corporation of Ireland," well known as the " Eviction Company." Mr. Kav&nagh's apologia for the foolish and wicked association with which his name is connected is an elaborate attempt to paint it as a purely defensive scheme, and to explain away its real character. Incidentally he makes some statements which deserve notice. It is in the first place worth pointing out that Mr. Kavanagh does not hesitate to charge against the Land League the full responsibility for all the crimes which have recently disgraced the country. "It has," he says in one place, " remained for the Land League to organise the murder of defenceless women and helpless children." Again, he says that " the Land League sentence to death by the secret assassin those who do not obey their commands and sweep away every right." It would be impossible to imagine anything more direct and downright than charges such as these, and before indulging in such terrible denunciations it would have been well had Mr. Eavanagh told his interviewer how he explains the undoubted historic fact that it was only when Mr. Forster had arrested the leaders of the Land League that the great outbreak of crime came. The allusion to " the murder of defenceless women and innocent children " wonld seem to mean that the Land League organised the massacre at Maamtrasna — a charge wild and baseless beyond any ever made by man. We are astounded that a man of Mr. Kavanagh 's station 'and character should indulge in charges so reckless, and we turn with pleasure from them to his opinions on matters which he discusses with more common sense and calm. Speaking of the Arrears Act, Mr. Kavanagh described it as" curiously inoperative," and continued, " it was designed to assist the poorer tenants, but, as it requires that one year's rent be paid before the benefits of the Act can be taken, the poorest of the poor, those to whom help should be extended if given at all, are just those who can get nothing, as they are unable to pay the one year's rent." Mr. Kavanagh understates the case. To obtain the benefit of the Arrears Act the tenant must pay the rent of 1881. Bat the rent of 1882 is now everywhere due, and the tenant who is three or four years in arrear must pay the rent of 1881 before he can get the benefit of the Arrears Act, while he may the next day be sued tor the rent of 1882. The truth is that the Arrears Act is only a benefit to the landlords, and it will prove a great benefit to the landlords in poor districts where rents are three, four, and five years in arrear if they have the wisdom to give the tenants receipts in full for the '81 rent and thus obtain the Government grant for the back rent. We find in Mr. Kavanagh's conversation with his interviewer one statement lull of truth and justice. It was, in effect, he admits, rack-renting which brought about the great crash. " The," he said, " shortsightedness of rackrenting was pointed out by me several years ago. I at that time would have been willing that a law should have been passed making it a criminal offence, because I considered rack-renting, in the sense in which we are now using the word, to be a crime. I realised the hideous injustice and cruelty of it. and I would have been glad if it could have been put a stop to." This is frank and full, and we must not be surprised that Mr. Kavanagh follows up this statement with the declaration that rack-renting is uncommon. By rack-renting, we presume, is meant exacting something more than a just rent ; and if we are to believe the evidence of the landlord witnesses all over the country, the exaction of unjust rents was the rule, not the exception.— Dublin Freeman.
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