Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

11 articles on this Page




THE LAND COMMISSION. The Welsh Land Commission resumed its sitting at Llangefni, Anglesey, on Saturday, Lord Carrington presiding. Lord Penrhyn was then called. He said:—I am chairman of the North Wales Property Defence Association. It is suggested in the syllabus issued by the Commission, and also by questions which have been put by some of the commissioners, that there exists in Wales combinations of landowners for the purpose of accepting or rejecting tenanis of a parti- cular class. I say, firstly, that no such combination exists, so far as I am aware. To my knowledge there are only two organisations of landowners. The first io the North Wales Propetty Defence Association, of which I will speak later. The second is the Land- owners' Association of South Wales and Monmouth- shire. The sole object of the North Wales Property Defence Association is summed up in its title, and that object is explained in the rules of the association, waich I am ready to produce if called upon. lam not, however, at liberty to produce the list of mem- bers. In order to give additional emphasis to my statement of the objects of this association, I desire to put in evidence a circular issued by it early in 1887, and I desire to call particular attention to the last paragraph but one, which I submit, shows clearly that there Jever was any hostile attitude snown towards tenants. [Copy of Circular.] The serious attention of landowners is called to the objects of the above association, of which a copy is enclosed. The important question of property defence was fully discussed at a very influential meeting hold at Chester on the 11th December, 1886, largely attended by gentlemen interested in land in Wales. The meeting expressed the utmost sympathy aud good feeling towards the tenant-farmers, and it was agreed that landowners should meet their tenants fairly and liberally in the existing depression of their business, and an opinion prevailed that if allowed to arrange their own affairs no difficulties would arise. At the same time it was felt by all that the incessant interference of outside agitation, often totally unconnected with any interest in land, and the open encouragement given by a large portion of the Welsh Press to .sehemes praeticallyof confiscation, make imperative the estab- lishment of an organisation for mutual self-protection. It was therefore resolved (with only two dissentients) to estab- lish this association, which it must be clearly understood is formed in no hostile spirit, or as a combination against the tinaut farmers in any shape or form. Should ) on be de- sirous of becoming a member, you are invited to fill up the enclosed forms of application, and forward the same as directed as early as possible, W. D. GRIFFITH, D. P. PENI-TANT, Hon. Sees. to the Provisional Committee. Lord Penrhyn proceeded: Having explained the object of this association, I oesire to Fay, firstly. that an investigatioa into the so-called Welsh land ques- tion is welcome to the association, and that ou the 7t\.¡ April, 1892, the association resolved to approach the then Government with a suggestion that a Royal Commission should be appointed to examine into the conditions of tenancy in Wales. I next desire to lay before the Commission in the most earnest manner, and as being vital to the whole question, facts which, in my opinion, prove that the agitation upon the Weish land question was unreal in origin, and had not its source in any genuine cause of grievance on the part of the agricultural community. The said facts consist of articles and letters published in the vernacular Press. From the foundation of this asso- ciation and for some time prior to that date careful 1 watch has been kept on the publications of the ver- nacular Press, and translations of articles and letters affecting the interests of landowners have been made for the association. The siid translations have been submitted to Mr J. E. Vincent, who is present, and I now tander them to you, believing that they will prove that this agitation was deliberately formented by journalistic sensational writings with the object ot creating a feeling in the country which would tend tij the advantage of the proprietors of the vernacular Press, and to the detriment of the Church and land- owners in Wales. For this purpose I rely on extracts which I shall quote briefly. I shall, moreover, be ab!e to ehow from those extracts that the agitation on the land question for some time was a failure, and that for years past landowners have been abused pernistintly and without regard to truth in the ver- nacular Press; aud that, obsolete prej adic-A alrainet Ei.giand have been resuscitated, and that all manner of threats and contumely have been poured ou those tenants who might not be inclined to join in tho movement. Lord Penrhyn then proceeded to read extracts bearing upon the point from a. number of Welsh papers. The Chairman: You are not at liberty, you say, to give us a list of the members' names? Lord Penrhyn I should hardly like to do so with- out first asking their permission. » "J..1Ö1t1 VUJövLilUü sauuia isumu uts r—x uu xiul bollV, I have no objection to my own name being published, but I do not know ab.>ufc others, al;d i would not like to hand ia their names without consulting them. On the 27ch of April, 1892, I see that you con- sidered the time had arrived for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the relaticiis be- I tween the landlords and tenants in Wales. Was a pstition sent up to the Government of the day, ask- ing them for the appointment of a Royal Commis- sion ?—There was a request; I do not know that there was a formal petition. The reply of the Government was that they did not see sufficient reason for grant- ing that Commission.. The resolution stated that the Royal Commission was necessary in consequence of the grave charges brought forward against the landlords in the Press and in Parliament?—Yes. Was that your opinion in your capacity as chair- man of the N-jrth Wales Property De ence Associa- tion ?—That was my own, and the voice of the asso- ciation. Then may I take it there was no necessity for a change in the law as regards compensation to ten- ants on the occasion of their leaving tarms or in the event of farms being sold r-It could be made a mat- ter of adjustment between landlord and tenant. Then you are eatisfied with the present condition of things?—I am quite satisfied, and bold that thero is no necessity for any special legislation. Lord Kenyon What would be the effect of land courts and the fixing of renti ?-I think that in many instances it would be unpopular with the tenauts they would not be on the same footing as before with their landlords, and so far as my own property is concerned I should be sorry to see our relations dis- turbed. They could not in times of distress look to the Land Court for the same sort of consideration as they could to the landlord. The Court would create a new feeling between the landlord and his teants. A more hard and fast line would be introduced ?—11 should be afraid of it. Mr J. M. Griffiths Ar& you prepared to say that there are no cases of hardship to tenants through want of compensation?—I am not prepared to say that, but I know of no case of hardship myself. Do you consider that in every case tenants have had compensations for all improvements they have made r-I consider that the tenants should be com- pensated) for improvements. You don't deny that in many cases they have not I had it I—I cannot say in what oases the tenants have failed to receive compensation. In reply to Mr Richard Jones, Lord Penrhyn said that the land agitation had taken a strongly-developed form since the appearance of the articles he had rea;i, and he thought that the distress among agricultural classes had not caused it, although he admitted that the period of distress was coincident with the com- mencement of the agitation. Questioned as to the amount of influence exercised by Dr Pan Jones, witness said be was a preacher at a large chapel and conducted Y Celt. Dr Pan Jones had gone round with a van lecturing for the Lmd Nationalisation Society, bat he could not say what, was the measure of the success he had had (laughter). Has the Property Defence Association not for- mulated a manifesto to its members to m ike rent :abatements ?-It certainly has not done so; but you will see that the association was intended to meet the tenants' difficulties in every way. Witness added that the Conservative Land Pur- chase Act for Ireland did not abolish landlords, it only changed them. The extracts he had read were taken from leading articles and correspondence. The Welsh papers stated that the editors were not respon- sible for what appeared in their correspondence, but they were not exempt from libel. Asked if he had ever subsidised the Tory Press in Wales, witnese said, Certainly, I have assisted the Welsh Conservative Press." Asked as to his preference for Churchmen or Non- conformists as tenants, Lord Penrhyn said it was immaterial to him whether a Churchman ora Noncon- formist, a Tory or a Liberal, took his land. What be preferrel was a good honest farmer. By Mr Griffith.-I believe the agricultural wages are very fair now high enough to live comfortably on, if the labourers had more comfortable places provided for them. Do you think the present rates can be maintained ? —In good seasons they can be maintained. Do you think it would be fair to the tenant and labourer to have a land court to settle differences that might arise between them ?-I do not thiuk a land court would do any good. I think the ques- tions might be settled between the tenant and the labourers. Mr Beaver Roberts, of Bangor, offered rebutting evidence with respect to the statement made by Mr T. E. Ellis as to the conditions under which the Caerhun and Llanbedr enclosures were made. Wil- ness acted as solicitor to the landlords of the parishes referred to. The late Lord Penrhyn was not at that time a landowner in either parish, and had nothing whatever to do with the application for the enclo- sures. Before the completion of the proceedings Lord Pomhyn became possessed of land iu the parish of Caerhun. The award required the allottees to fence their allotments within a given time, but the fences were pulled down as fast as they were put up, the work of the day being destroyed in the night. The local magistrates did their best to find out the perpetrators of the outrages but were unable to do so, the local police being too few in numbe* to be of any service. Under the circumstances, the subject wa3 brought before the magistrates at quarter ses- ainng hv thA ehmirmsln- LOl"rf NAushnrmio-h anct thA Chief Constable having explained that the local force was not sufficient, it was resolved to form the two parishes and five other adjoiuing parisbes into a separate police district. Previons to this the Home Secretary had been applied to for assistance and advice, but nothing resulted beyond an induction to the effect that the Government grant in aid of the police rate would be withheld until effective steps had been taken to uphold the law. At the following sessions the outlying parishes appeared by their solicitors lo protest against being included in the proposed separate district, and one of the solicitors stated that Mr Hugh Davies Griffith, who was on the bench, was the chief obstacle to a peace- able settlement, as he had refused to agree to a voluntary rate to meet the expenses of an extra police force, and had induced other owners to refuse also. Mr Griffith, who was a considerable landowner in the district, did not attempt to deny what had been stited, and justified his action upon the ground that the enclosures were illegal, an i that the com- moners were justified in pulling down the fenoes. The Chairman then said that, as they now knew with whom they had to deal, he would suggest that the parishes of Caerhun and Llanbedr alone should be formed into a separate police district, and a resolu. tion to that effect was moved and carried unanimous- ly. The infamous assertion The Chairman: Could you not leave out that word ? We do not want strong language like that in this inquiry. Witness I cannot; it is infamous. The Chairman: Very well; it is for you to say. Continuing, witness said that the assertion that the late Lord Penrhyn, as Lord-Lieutenant of the county, drafted a posse, of police into the district to intimidate the people who resisted the enclosure, carried its refutation on the face of it. A Lord- Lieutenant had no more power over the police of the county than any other individual magistrate. The extent of Loid Penrhyu's property in the parish of Caerhun was inconsiderable, and, urobably less than the amount spent in fencing it. Tha assertion that many enclosure Acts had been smuggled through both houses of Parliament without the knowledge of the district was not a fact. It was absolutely im- possible to puss an enclosure Act without the know. ledge of all ooncerned. Witness, after giving his evidence, and leaving the 5 caair, returned, and said he wished to withdraw the word infamous." The Chairman said it could not be done after the witness had left the chair. The Commision then closed its session for the present in North Wales. The court was crowded throughout the day by farmers and others from all parts.






[No title]


[No title]