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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 54

Defects of Mr. Gladstone's Bill

Defects of Mr. Gladstone's Bill.

Now Mr. Gladstone's Land Bill failed in this, that it did not grapple enough with the question of rights of land. Mr. Gladstone did alleviate the condition of the tenant. The tenant had been evicted without any sort of claim for compensation at all, and he gave him some right to claim compensation. He had been evicted under most unjust circumstances without any remedy. He gave him some right to claim a remedy. But Mr. Gladstone, with the example of Prussia before him, might have gone a step further. He might have introduced either the Stein law, or some modification of it, by which peasant proprietorship in Ireland might have been created, by a grant to him of the opportunity of owning land if he chose. That would have been far better than driving the poor away from the land to this country, where hatred is made by misery under which they left their own land. It would be far better than oppressing them. True, it would destroy the right of property, I admit; but they have destroyed it in Prussia; in Russia they have destroyed it, and given the serfs a cottage and enough of land to grow vegetables.