From The United Irishman, 12 February, 1848.
Our readers will find but a small space in this journal devoted to the general proceedings of the British Parliament. Whatsoever specially threatens Ireland indeed we shall duly chronicle, not with a view of promoting “good measures,” or deprecating bad ones – for their “measures” are all necessarily bad, and it is not by “deprecating” they are to be met, but quite otherwise – we shall attend to these machinations with the one sole object of putting the Irish people – all the people – each class and segment of the people, as they are successively in danger of robbery and outrage – on their guard against their unsleeping, unrelenting enemies, the ministers and legislators of Great Britain.
The proceedings of the past week, therefore, are without interest to us, save on one point alone – Yesterday the Irish Secretary was to have “moved for leave” to rob the tenant-farmers of the north, and to cheat the tenant-farmers of the south; – and he would get leave, of course.
On that one piece of work we shall keep a look out.
What is it to us that Lord JOHN RUSSELL is bringing his Jew masters into Parliament – the gold-mongering, bullionist, and Israelitish interest cannot be stronger in the councils of “our rulers” than it is already. The Jews of London are already masters of the two rival ministers and of the Times newspaper, which is stronger than either. In short, the “moneyed interest” rules England already, and what is worse, Ireland also, yet a little while.
Neither do we take much interest in the several returns that have been moved for – return of Boards of Guardians dissolved – return of moneys expended in building the great new Westminster Hell, wherein human lives are to be gambled for – return of arms given up to the police, under the Coercion Act in Ireland, (they would like better to get a return, if they could anyhow come by it, of the arms not given up, but safely built into walls, or buried in coffins – shrouded in well-oiled flannel – in hope of a happy resurrection.) To these, and such like returns, debates, and palavers, let who so pleases incline his ear.
We shall watch the plot against the farmers. Heaven knows the same farmers are growing fewer and poorer every day; thousands of them have paid their last poor-rate; – the next that is struck will be for their relief, in the new character of paupers. Tens of thousands have been brushed off the land by consolidating landlords and the quarter-acre clause. Even in the best parts of the north of Ireland, every tenth man has been smitten down, and in his stead walks a ghastly pauper. And those who are not yet paupers are looking for situations under Poor Laws, or Board of Works, or any board of jobbers that has wages to give. Let those who know the North say – is it not true that respectable farmers, whose checks would have burned with shame two years ago at the bare thought, have been applicants – craving, canvassing, shameless applicants – for temporary employment under some impertinent Cockney “inspector” or another. And their very Tenant-Right, that which was the pride and bulwark of the North, is going, going. Every ameliorating landlord philosophizes that it is “injurious to the tenant himself.” (See Lord DEVON’s Report.) Every trading agent is nibbling at it – gnawing into it: – “you must not sell your tenant-right, save to an approved tenant”; – then, “you must not sell it, save to a neighbouring tenant,” that so farms may be enlarged; then, “you must not sell it too high; for that exhausts the incoming tenant’s capital”; – then, you shall not sell it at all, save by gracious “permission” (the thing your father or grandfather created, or bought with hard money) – and to get that permission you must stand, hat in hand, three times at the landlord’s door, and nine times at the agents’, praying that they will not rob you of all!
Farmers of Ulster! Is this your Tenant-Right? This! Yes, and be thankful you have so much left; for if the Ministerial Bill pass, you shall not have it long.
We have not seen one word of the proposed Bill; but assume beforehand, as a matter of course, that it is a fraud, and intended robbery – the fourth attempt of that nature within four years. The moment we get a copy, we shall examine, and turn it inside out; and then we shall have something further to say to the Ulster farmers on the means by which they established this right at first, and the means by which they are to keep it now; – and the farmers of the other three provinces, we believe, will listen to the detail with some interest.