§ MR. DONALDSON-HUDSON
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he can inform the 1817 House as to the present condition of those farmers in Ireland who have bought the freehold of their farms, either from the Church Commissioners or under the Bright Clauses of "The Land Act, 1870," and whether they are contented and loyal subjects; and, in default of such information, if he will cause inquiries to be made, and submit the result for the consideration of Parliament?
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
Sir, I have communicated with the Secretary to the Church Commissioners and also with the Board of Public Works in reference to this Question. From the same body I learn that there is reason to believe that the condition of the farmers who purchased their holdings from the Church Commissioners is, on the whole, considering recent bad harvests, fairly prosperous. A small proportion of them are badly off, and they complain that they are no better off as owners than they were as tenants. The number of these persons is trifling, as compared with that of those who are satisfied and prosperous. The hon. Member asks me if they are contented and loyal subjects. In reply to the Question, I may say that I have reason to believe that they are so, and I base this statement on trustworthy private reports, and also on the tone of our correspondence with the Church Commission officers. The Board of Works is unable to give me information as to the condition of the farmers who purchased under the Act of 1870. To give such information would involve great expense, and a personal visit of inquiry to each of the farms so purchased.