14 FEBRUARY 1880, Page 13



[TO THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR:1 Sra,—I have read, in the Waterford Citizen, of the 6th inst., an article from your paper commenting on Mr. Bright's speech

on the Irish land question ; and, as an Irish small farmer, I beg to differ with you on some things you say in that article.

You in England have no idea how often you insult the people of this country by imputing to them dis- honesty. You do it quite coolly. I believe many Eng- lishmen do it without intending any offence, and I am sure the Spectator would be the last to do so wilfully. Now, allow me to assure you that the farmers of Ireland do not want to rob anybody, even the landlords. The poorest man in Ireland has been taught from his infancy that he is bound to give every one his own ; and not one of them but knows, as well as Sir George Bowyer himself, that not to do so would break the Seventh Commandment, and incur the awful guilt of mortal sin. I have seen with sorrow that when we cry out against the insecurity of our tenure, and against the power of the landlord to put on any rent be likes, the landlords all cry out that we want to rob them. And such is the power of wealth, that they get many English, aye, and some Irish papers, to say so also. I do not deny but words have been said at the land meetings and elsewhere which would not square with honesty ; but the farmers should not be judged by those words, but by their own acts. Is it reasonable to think that men who have met their landlords fairly and honourably up to this, would all at once become dishonest ? What I want to say is, that the agitation is not to rob any one, but a protest against a tyrannical and unjust system. Do you or any just Englishman believe that the law which gives power to a man to break up the home of his fellow-man and its associations, whenever he likes, has the sanction of Almighty God ? If you do, we in this country do not, and we shall never rest until that power is taken away.

You fear that if Mr. Bright's plan were carried out, the Government might find the same difficulty in collecting rents that the landlords do now. Well, I am only one tenant, but at fairs, markets, and other places, I meet persons of my own class from four counties, and I can truly say that if the land were lot at a fair rent, one man could collect all the rents of the country for the Government. My reason and their reason for saying so is this,—That with perfect security, the tenants would make every acre of land produce much more than it does now, so that besides paying what they contracted to pay as honest men, they would have plenty to eat, and famines would be no more. If there be force opposed to the law at present, it is because no man in Ireland dare stand up and say the law is just. Let this be changed ; give the occupier fair-play, and then if, through want of industry, drunkenness, or ignorance of his business, any one fails, he will not have public sympathy with him in resisting the law when ejected.—I am, Sir, &c.,