§ MR. W. J. CORBET
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been 242 called to a Report, issued to Members on the 5th July, drawn up by the Assistant Commissioners on Agriculture, and dated 1st January 1880; whether he has noticed the following statement in the Report with reference to the condition of the people in many parts of Ireland:—A succession of bad harvests has prevented them from paying up their accounts regularly. In this way debts have accumulated until many of the small farmers have come to owe the shopkeepers and others four, five, six, and even ten times the amount of their annual rent;whether he has noticed, amongst others, the following statements:—It appears to us that no industrial system could flourish under such conditions as we have described. Our experience justifies us in saying that there are many thousands of small farmers in Ireland who are paying away as interest an amount equal to the rent to their land;and again,We have already visited hundreds of these farms, and found the occupants of them in so deplorable a condition that we feel unable to describe it in a way which would enable His Grace (the Lord Lieutenant) to realise it fully;whether, looking to the fact that the revelations contained in the Report would, if supplied in time, have afforded valuable information to Members in considering the Irish Land Bill, he can inform the House why it was kept back so long; and, whether any further Report has been made by the Assistant Commissioners; and, if so, when can it be laid upon the Table of the House?
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
, in reply, said, he thought the hon. Member had asked him this Question by mistake. It ought to have been asked of some Member of the Duke of Richmond's Commission. That Commission was not under the control of the Irish Government. He supposed the hon. Member was induced to ask him the Question because of the presence of the words "His Grace" in one of the extracts. The words "His Grace" referred to the Duke of Richmond, and not to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he had the Report in his hand, and it began by stating—In accordance with your instructions, we submit to the consideration of His Grace the President of the Royal Agricultural Commission, &c.