, Research Paper
Gladstones mission to pacify Ireland was essentaillyan attempt to achieve a just relationship between landlord and tenantand grant Ireland certain independence.He attemtped to succeed in his conquest with the introduction of several Land Acts(1870-1881) and the disestablishment of the Protestant Church(1869).The first Land AAct was passed in 1870, following the Fenian uprising of 1867.This act legalised the Ulster Custom of fair rent, free sale and fixity of tenure in areas where it operated. Tenants leaving farms were to be compensated for improvements made and for disturbance.This act was also accompanied by a “Bright clause” which lent one third of the purchase price of the land to those who wished to but it.Concurrently, the act only had symbolic significance.It had little practical effect.Landlords could easily escape payments to tenats as the Ulster Custom was difficult to define in law. Landlords also had the ability to raise rents, thus forcing tenants into arrears,making them ineligible to benefit from the act.Loans were insufficient and many tenants lacked the capital to raise the deposit.Less than 1,000 tenants availed of this act.
A second Land Act was introduced in 1881. A major policy which haunted Gladstone throughout his career,he sought to improve upon the first act, by meeting the demands of tenants.Agitation by The Land League and Home Rule MP’s impressed on Gladstone the necessity of improving land conditions in Ireland.Through this act, a Land Court ws established to fix judicial rents for fifteen years, three quarters of the money required by tenant to purchase land was provided,the 3F’s became law and the principle of co ownership was established.This act proved satisfactory to tenanats living in moderate conditions, however its exclusion of leaseholders and those in arrears, combined with its weak land purchase element,antagonised the more “extreme” tenants.
The flaws evident in the 1881 Lnad Act were resolved through the unoffical “Kilmainham Treaty”,Between Gladstone and Parnell.It required that leaseholders and those in arrears be included in the 1881 Land Act. This Amending Act of 1882 provided funds to eliminate rent arrears and permitted leaseholdes to have their rents fixed by the Land Court.In conjunction with the 1881 Land Act,this Amending Act,satisfied the immediate aims of the Land League, which were the 3F’s and provided a temporary cesation in agitation in Ireland.Yet while the Liberals had made the highest concessions to tenant farmers and effectively made them joint owners of their farms, they refused to finance any scheme which would lead to owner occupancy.The Liberals became divided about the situation in Ireland.A radical group,fronted by Chamberlin, sought partial self government.This was rejected by Parnell.In June 1885, Gladstones Liberal Government was defeated.The Conservatives under Salsbury came into power and formed a minority government, while elections under the 1884 Reform Act were being organised. As the 1885 elections loomed,Gladstone was aware that Parnell had lost the balance of power. He could vote the Liberals into government,but not the Conservatives.
It was at this time,that Gladstones son announced his fathers conversion to Home Rule. This became known as the “Hawarden Kite”.The Home Rule Party,thus assisted int the election of Gladstone to Prime Minister.Gladstone introduced the fisrt Home Rule Bill, which proposed that Ireland should have a parliamentto maintain internal affairs.Unionist opposistion was fierce,they feared it ws onlt the first step to full Irish Independence,it would weaken the British Empireand it would lead to the discrimination against landlords and Protestants in Ireland.The Irish Unionists also opposed the bill.This lead to bitter speeches by Randolph Churchill,who threatened “Ulster will fight!”. It also lead to a split in the Liberal party and to its eventual defeat.The bill was also quashed.
During the period 1868-1903, Gladstones Irish policies and mission to pacify Ireland had only negative effects on himself and his party.Despite many bebfits introduced by Gladstone such as the Land Acts,allowing Irish peasants more rights over their land and the disestablishment of the Protestant Churhc,appeasing Irelands overwhelming Catholic majority,Gladstone and his party suffered.The party became divided and support for the party decreased.The main general reasons for this was Gladstones policies were good willed moral and helpful to the Irish poor.They upset and angered the Irish rich,those with land and wealth and ultimately those with political influence.