26 APRIL 1890, Page 1


THE debate on the Land-Purchase Bill on Monday began with a great surprise. Mr. Parnell opposed the second reading, as he had promised, but on unexpected grounds. He thought the measure unsatisfactory because it was not wide enough, one-fourth only of the tenantry of Ireland being affected by its provisions, which it would be impos- sible to expand sufficiently, as the total amount required would be £166,000,000. The nnbenefited three-fourths would commence an agitation, and what would you do with that? The sum would be too much for the British taxpayer. Although the presence of the landlords settled by the English "bad been the source of untold misery, calamity, and suffering to Ireland," he did not wish to get rid of resident landlords ; rather, with their power to oppress abolished—and "we have persecuted and successfully abolished the system "—he wished to retain them. Again, Mr. Balfour took away all the local credit of Irish districts to guarantee payments for the benefit of one- fourth of the tenants. Consequently, Mr. Parnell desired, as an alternative project, that the Treasmy should advance twenty- seven millions to all the landlords, to be employed by them in paying off their heaviest encumbrances, on condition that they should reduce rents to tenants holding farms under 250 by 30 per cent. He concluded by declaring that the more an Irish tenant was independent, the better Nationalist he would be, and by moving "the second reading of this Bill,"—a curious blunder, which be explained by saying he was thinking of his own Bill. We have dealt with his ingenious proposal else- where, and need only add here that it greatly irritated the Radical section of his English adherents.