The Irish Land Acts

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Irish Land Acts: a short sketch of their history and development (1917)
by William Frederick Bailey
3702313The Irish Land Acts: a short sketch of their history and development1917William Frederick Bailey


A Short Sketch




The Right Hon. W. F. Bailey, C.B.,

Estates Commissioner.


To be purchased through any Bookseller or directly from
E. PONSONBY, Ltd., 116, Grafton Street, Dublin;
or from H.M. STATIONERY OFFICE at the following addresses:
Imperial House, Kingsway, London, W.C. 2, and 28 Abingdon Street,
London, S.W. 1; 37 Peter Street, Manchester; 1, St. Andrew's
Crescent, Cardiff; 23, Forth Street, Edinburgh;
or from the Agencies in the British Colonies and Dependencies,
the United States of America and other Foreign Countries of
T. FISHER UNWIN, Ltd., London, W.C 2.


Price One Shilling Net.


This pamphlet was prepared in its original form for the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into and report upon the operations of the Acts dealing with Congestion in Ireland, the working of the Congested Districts Board, and the Land Commission under these Acts, and the relation of the Board with the Land Commission and the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. It has since been revised and in part re-written; additional information explanatory of its subject has been incorporated in it, and the latest available figures have been substituted for those in the first issue. Thus amended, it will be found, I trust, a serviceable and handy outline of the operation and rationale of the Irish Land Acts.

Section 1.—Topography.
   Agricultural methods conditioned by geographical character 5—6
Section 2.—Economic Ireland before the Land Acts.
The Famine the turning-point in Irish Economic History—Its sequel: national misery—The search for a remedy 6—7
Section 3.—Movement of Population during the last half of the 19th Century.
The change from tillage to pasture and consequent emigration—A blessing or a curse?—Maximum population not the greatest good for a country—Healthy social life the criterion of national prosperity 7—10
Section 4.—Tendency of Irish Agriculture.
Disproportionate increase in the quantity of pasture—Necessity of resting the national industry on a broader basis—"Too many eggs in one basket" 10—11
Section 5.—Relation of Landlord and Tenant up to 1860.
Based on Tenure—Tenants under Common Law had certain advantages which were removed by the "Ejectment Code"—Facilities for eviction granted by legislature 12—14
Section 6.—Deasy's Act (1860) and its Effects.
Relationship of landlord and tenant deemed to be founded on contract—Owing to the anomalous position of the Irish tenant with respect to improvements, his condition reaches its nadir 14—16
Section 7.—The Act of 1870.
Its justification—Tenant had no legal property in his own improvements and was liable to capricious eviction and arbitrary increases of rent—The struggle for a settlement—What the Act did, and why it failed 17—18
Section 8.—The Fair Rent Acts.
Their justification—Act of 1881—Establishment of the Land Commission—Amending Acts—Summary of progress made under the Fair Rent Acts 18—20
Section 9.—Agriculture Situation consequent on the Fair Bent Acts.
Difference between the English and Irish systems the justification of the Fair Rent Acts—Adjustment of rents in Ireland tends to their diminution—Landlords anxious to sell their interest; hence Land Purchase 20—22
Section 10.—Land Purchase Acts up to 1896.
Principal purchase provisions of the Irish Church Act, 1869, the "Bright Clauses" of the Act of 1870, the "Gladstone Act" of 1881, the "Ashbourne Act" of 1885, and the "Balfour Acts" of 1891 and 1896 22—25
Section 11.—Fifteen Years of Land Purchase.
Inquiry into the condition of tenants who had purchased their holdings under the Land Acts, 1881 to 1896— General prosperity with occasional failure—Causes and remedies 25—28
Section 12.—Irish Land Act, 1903.
Establishment of the Estates Commissioners—Purchase of "Estates" instead of separate holdings— The "Zones"— Bonus to Vendors on purchase money—Longer term -with reduced rate of annuity to tenants— Sale of untenanted lands—Powers of the Estates Commissioners with regard to improvements 28—30
Section 13.—Evicted Tenants Act, 1907.
Compulsory purchase for re-instatement of evicted tenants 30
Section 14.—Irish Land Act, 1909.
Causes—Development Grant broken down—Bonus percentage—New bonus rates an inducement to Vendors to sell at a low price—Finance in stock in lieu of cash—Option to Vendors to take Stock in cases still pending under the 1903 Act 31—32
Section 15.—Progress under the Land Purchase Acts.
Summary of proceedings under the various Land Purchase Acts 32—36
Section 16.—Congestion.
Economic and Uneconomic Holdings—Establishment and powers of the Congested Districts Board— Acts of 1893, 1894, 1896, 1901, 1903 36—41
Section 17.—The Labourers Acts.
Definition of agricultural labourer—Loans for cottages and allotments—Provisions of the Acts, 1883-1906 42—44
Section 18.—Miscellaneous.
Preservation of ancient monuments—Timber, turbary, mining and mineral rights—Sporting rights—Mortgages on purchased holdings—Sub-division and sub-letting—Compulsory Registration 44—48

The Right Hon. W. F. Bailey, c.b., the Author of this Pamphlet, died on the 16th April, 1917, while it was in the hands of the printers.

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse