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THE DUKE OF ARGYLL ON THE…

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THE DUKE OF ARGYLL ON THE -LAND B!LI. The speech '(1{' the Duke cf Argyll in the Bouse of-Lords -on Frida y of last week is a very painful blow to the Govera:i-int ot which he vas tff: recently a member. The Bessbarough Commission was attacked with that vigour of language -which his enemies recognise and his friends deplore. But unfortunately the Duke lias for o»ce got the right sow by the ear. No one denies the'ingenuity wfth which'the late Lord Privy Seal can manipulate facts and figure. And 1JD this occasion, having the mis- fortune to differ from hie colleagues in office, he has had ther-rar? good'fortune of being able to prove his caao. Tite Corn iiii ssior, sfiid the ncble lord, was directed from beginning to cad with a view to the scheme which is known as the three l< The three F's were crammed down the throat of every witness. It was sug- gested to the witness even if he himself did not think ofit. T he general principle of the Com- mission's reporc is i hat frequent, and uncertain increments "in rent were a source of discontent to the tenawfc and a grave slur upon the character of ;the landlord. In this general principle we oen see nothing that is not re- spectable, and even dull it has the merit of safety; it might without great boldness be de- scribed as an ■ueprofiiobl-e truism. If rents are always going.t;p at unexpected inomentskand "by unwarranted increment;?. taen doubtless there is m lIcL to be said with regard to reform. But the whele question depends on the the first clause. The assertion can only have practicc.1 value, if it is really a fact tha-t -such development cf rent tpkes place in -such wanner as is asserted. For the proof of the as- sertion -we caivanly turn to the facts and figures the colioetion of which wa-s the sole-reason of the appointment of the Bessborough Com- mission. The Duke of Argyll judges the Government out of their own mouth and what do we fold ? "1 have hen! through the B!.ue JBook, an I do not find one singte case in which th ? data m.rs giver? on which we can judge wittthsr the increment has or has not been an unfair one upon the tenant's improve- reents." On the contrary, it is abundantl,y e'ear that in casos where the two requisite factors hasre combined, namely improvements by the tenant and increase of rent by the landlord, >i*» figures ha'C'e beet given to show .c. wherher :the tenant had any opportunity of recouping iiimselt' in the meantime." The fv-etem pur^xed seems to have been extremely ij S3 mpie. liiih e ,a datc at, sorne distance back, say tweuty-five years: coin pare the rent ot that1 date with tke rent of to-day. If to-day's rent is higher tfean the former rent, attribute the whole td tb« grasping disposition of the im- aginary Irish landlord. But, take no account of the rent during the intermediate period. Do .-jot Ei-sk wlie-fer the rent was raised last year, because the rent was too ludicrously small, or whether it has been steadily growing from year to 3'en rehiring' the whole period. Let the bare figures at each end of the period be set in bare opposite to cu<? anorher, and let everyonedraw from th-t* figures such conclusions as his unbiassed judgment (or preconceived de-j terimnatiaan) think most rational or most consistent ith the obj ets of his party. It is ueedless Iqs, dd that a Commission which acts on these principles has merely stultified itself. Vv o do not 4W;cuse itofpolitical indiscretion. On the contrary, "we merely hint in se"era! terms that it is igooriint or careless of the nature and .value of statistics. We adopt the words of the Marquis of SaJwbury, and say in all simplicity that "it h.HS been shown that this re- port and its evidence has been manipulated in in a manner -syhieh they were not used to from Commissions appointed by Her Majesty to re- port for the in/ociuutioi^ ot larliament We need only r'otion tae single instance of "cruei faarJsl.P** whtch Mr Shaw-Lefevre dilated upon speech at Liverpool and with regard to w'hicfe & £ candidly confessed that fe did not kn»w the author ot the sad histo/v. On refer 'et'W to the Blue Book it was found tliat Lord L, oodonderry was the sinner- and Lord Londoadt Trv'g hiine as a kindly land- lord is known tliroi lrelaod- and that the victim had twice applied to have his rent reduced to the Court -that the victim had by some curious aiiscarrh t&e of justice received a negative answer to his appiicQtíon-that by a further strange coincide ace he had been con- demned to pay the costs, and that the cruel landlord had for some un accountable reason paid these costs. The same victim had rented other moorland than that wiLTL regard to which he was "persecuted at a high e.r sum, but had, notwithstanding, contrived to mi'kea fair profit out or it; and with a simple humour which is the redeeming point in his character, explained that he had not laid these facts before the Com- mission from a strong desire not to "injure the cause." If this be tyranny on the one hand and dumb submission on the other, we begin to feel that the English language is not altogether what we had supposed it to be, and that a suppressed negative ought to be introduced be- fore every strong expression used by Liberals with regard to Irish facts.

TO CORRESPONDENTS.

ODDFELLOWSHIP.I

1LECTION OF GUARDIAN.

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