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an essential degree to support the Protestant cause and confirm the Revolution. It may be considered as a prelude to the battle of the Boyne and that of Aughrim; by which latter, and the flight of king James into France, the fate of Ireland was ultimately decided. As this digression arises out of the circumstances of the narration, I hope it will be pardoned, the more especially as it points to what I conceive to be the spirit of the charter granted to the Society, and a matter of great national importance, namely, the duty and necessity of compleatly planting the Protestant Religion in the North of Ireland. 1 · I shall now return to Londonderry by observing that the cathedral; when I first saw it, appeared to be in a very ruinous state ; the weight of the steeple, which is a great ornament to the surrounding country, having cracked the tower and walls which support it almost to the foundation.' Mr. Hill, the mayor, 'informed me that relying on the 200 voted by the Society, the corporation had given directions for taking down and rebuilding the spire, and that he had paid money in advance out of his private purse. The expence, which had been estimated at £2600 was to be paid by a subscription of the inhabitants of Londonderry and its environs; and on my return to that city a second time, after having visited Coleraine, I found the scaffolding for taking down the steeple completely erected, which must have occasioned an expence of several hundred pounds. ·
The linen-market of Londonderry forms an object of great curiosity; it is held twice in every week, and lasts for two hours only, within which short period of time I was assured linens were purchased in single webs of the manufacturers, to the amount of 25000 and upwards in ready money. These manufacturers do not reside in the city, but are dispersed in cabins round its neighbourhood, where they have each of them a few acres of land for the sake of keeping a cow and raising some potatoes and flax, and for which, by means of their looms, they are enabled to pay a heavy rent: it is this circumstance of the linen manufactory that makes the Society's land so valuable. Each man brings his web or piece of cloth, and is eager to lay it before the factor; the bargain is made or rejected in a few seconds, almost in a whisper,and the linens thus purchased are conveyed to the bleaching grounds, which stamp great additional value on the land. ! There is but one inn of any note in Londonderry, and as this city is situated almost at the extremity of the island, so as to be a passage to no other place, it is often very difficult to get a con veyance from it. . ..
The grounds described « perches” in the leases, were origi, nally of the nature of gardens attached to the houses, but are now mostly built upon. The “ Quarterlands” are all situated, save one, on the left bank of the river Foyle, towards its source, and are now let on determinable leases for lives and years ; captain Lecky, one of the tenants, has built a handsome house and made some ornamental plantations on the land he holds, within about two miles of Londonderry; and Mr. Scott, another tenant, has made a plantation on the part he holds, with a view to build ing when he gets a new lease. Most of the rest of this determinable property is let off by the immediate tenants of the Society, in small parcels, at improved rents; and as each under-tenant acquires or claims a right to cut turf for fuel on the adjacent bog, it occasions frequent disputes and misunderstandings among them, as well as a great waste of the bog-ground, which is des stroyed by being improperly cut; and if some speedy remedy is not applied, the article of fuel will shortly become very scarce. This might be prevented if the Society would authorize their gen peral agent to apportion the bog among the different tenants ac- · cording to the land they hold, and appoint a bog-keeper, at a trifling salary: a precaution which would secure fuel for a great many years to come, and be the means in process of time of regaining the soil for cultivation.
These bogs furnish an unquestionable proof that there was a time (probably many ages since) when this part of Ireland was covered with forests, as in cutting the turf, large fir-trees are constantly met with from ten to fifteen feet under the surface, and some feet lower large oak trees are often found. This bog-wood constitutes very valuable fuel, especially the fir, as it affords a strong heat, and so bright a blaze as to answer the purpose of candle.
Several of the tenants of these lands intimated an intention of applying to the Society for new leases ; in which case I should recommend a survey to be taken, and encouragement given to such of them as have built or will undertake to build houses, by granting a sufficient term of years and three lives for that part which they will engage to enclose for building and planting, and a term of twenty-one years and one life for that part which is to be employed as a farm. This mode is practised, as I have been informed, by gentlemen of landed estate, and has been found to answer; the property invested in building always proving a security for payment of the rent, and operating as an inducement with the tenant to apply from time to time for a further lease of the farm lands, according to their improved value: this plan of proceeding would moreover lead to encourage men of property to reside upon the lands, and to take upon themselves the offices of magistrates and grand jurors, a description of persons much wanted, by which as well as by their general example, the people would become by degrees more civilized. . .
These lands, thus held on determinable leases, extend for many miles through a very wild part of the country, as far as the Sheriff's Mountain, which serves as a boundary to the Society's property. I was induced to visit this place at the instance of two brothers named Steel, who are under-tenants, and who mean hereafter to apply for a lease of some of the lands in their own names, in consequence of having an assignment from their landlord, the immediate tenant of the Society, and his having left the country. I must do them the justice to say that they appear to have brought into cultivation the skirts of a dreary
mountain, which offers no temptation to industry, and as they bear good characters and are manufacturers, with wives and families, the Society will, I make no doubt, feel disposed to give any proposal they may hereafter make a favourable hearing. ' · There being no map of these upper liberties or lands held on determinable leases, it appears to me that the Society would do well to give directions to their general agent to cause a correct map to be forthwith made ; and therein to lay down some roads of communication towards the bog and old road to Strabane on one side, and the lower liberties on the other: also to report whether by erecting a fountain, after the manner practised in Swisserland, and which might serve as a monument to perpetuate the Union, it would not greatly tend to draw the people into a state of society, and ultimately lead to some plan for supplying Londonderry with water, which is much wanted, and has been often in contemplation.
There are no turnpikes on the public roads in the north of Ireland, the roads being made in consequence of presentments at the sessions, which if they are proposed by the Society's agent, and supported by their respectable tenants, such as sir George Hill the member for Londonderry, sir Andrew Fergusson, captain Lecky, alderman Lecky, and others, cannot fail of being carried into effect ; whereby the Society's estate would become infinitely more valuable, their tenants more civilized, and the next gene. ration would probably see fences and inclosures take place in a tract which now appears like a barren' waste, hardly accessible even in the summer inonths, as I found a guide necessary to avoid the bogs when I visited it in September.
These suggestions may appear rather speculative, and so are most improvements in their outset, as every man must acknow. ledge when he looks back to what has taken place in and about the metropolis of the empire within these last fifty years; but if the measures recommended are likely to promote the original ob. ject of the charter, that of encouraging a Protestant Colony in the North of Ireland, the nation at largé has a right to demand, and the Protestant tenants à right to expect, from the Society's justice, that every endeavour will be exerted to improve their condition, and make them participate in the benefits of the Union which has recently taken place between the two countries. If such an impression as this could once be made on the minds of the Irish, it would put a stop to that emigration which a contrary conduct, particularly an excessive rise of rent, has frequently occasioned. This leads me to question the policy, I might say the justice, of the city companies in letting their lands on payment of heavy fines, without stipulating for the performance of the relative duties between landlord and tenant. In the instance of the company to which I myself belong, the Ironmongers', I have discovered, on enquiry since my return, that in the year 1767, they let their estate for sixty-one years and three lives, on payment of a fine of €21,000 to a gentleman who had acquired a large fortune in India ; but who, as far as I could learn, has
never seen any part of the company's estate. The Irishman who cultivates the soil might with justice observe that he derives no protection by such a line of conduct; and if he were informed that the sum subscribed by all the companies together, in the reign of King James, amounted only to £40,000 and the Ironmongers' and their associates' proportion of that sum only to £3,334, he could not be charged with ingratitude if he appeared to feel no obligation to his landlords, in subjecting him to a rent far beyond what can possibly be derived from the product of the soil, and which can only be paid out of the profits of his loom.
Having thus noticed the state of the upper liberties, or lands above the city held on determinable leases, I shall proceed to give an account of those below the city, which have all been granted in perpetuity. You approach them by means of a spacious causeway or carriage-road, extending about a mile on the left bank of the river Foyle, which has been made at a considerable expense by the corporation of the city. .
The first object that strikes the eye is a handsome house, built by sir Andrew Fergusson, bart. on a plot of ground surrounded by a plantation; the next is Boom Hall, built by the late Mr. Alexander, afterwards Lord Caledon, and so denominated from its contiguity to the spot where King James, when he besieged Londonderry, caused a boom to be thrown across the river to prevent its relief by King William's fleet. A little further is Brook Hall, the residence of sir George Hill, bart. member for the city, who has recently built a house, and converted the adjoining grounds from an unprofitable bog into pasture ; he is said to have expended upwards of £12,000. Beyond this is Mr. Hart's residence, who has likewise expended a considerable sum of money in buildings and improvements. These grounds all lie between Londonderry, and the Fort of Culmore, which is at present in a state of ruin, and may be considered as a mere sinecure to General Hale, the person enjoying the appointment of governor.
The cause which has led to these improvements is too obvious to require being pointed out; they have grown out of the certainty of the tenure as the possessors grew in prosperity; and in this, as in every other instance of the kind, a landlord must do something to excite the interest of his tenant, before he will embark any considerable part of his property in buildings and plantations. The lower order of the Society's tenantry are in general unable to cultivate their lands according to what is considered to be good husbandry, much less do they possess the means of expending any sum of consequence in planting and building.
The lands of Grandsagh, on the opposite side of the river, furnish an unequivocal proof of the truth of this assertion. They were publicly advertised in the year 1794, and in consequence let to the occupying tenants, with a view to try an experiment how far they were capable of improving and planting them; and if they had fulfilled the promises they made to the Society, this
farm, consisting of 178 plantation (or about 284 English) acres*, and advantageously situated on the right bank of the river, in sight of Londonderry, at the distance of about two miles + from it, and opposite to the lands of sir Andrew Fergusson, Boom Hall, and Brook Hall, would at this time have offered a pleasing object, and the Society would have felt gratified in receiving information of a contrary nature to that which I am about to communicate ; and having myself contributed, as far as was consistent with my situation, to encourage the attempt made in favour of the under-tenants, I should have felt a considerable degree of pleasure in seeing my individual expectations realized.,
On visiting these lands in August last, I found them divided into 13 small farms, the largest consisting of 44 acres, and the smallest of 73 acres. I saw most of the tenants, and took down in writing, from their own mouths, an account of their families, stock of cattle, and mode of husbandry. The number of persons amounts to 97 ; the cattle consisted of 38 cows, 22 horses, and 82 sheep. They all expressed themselves desirous of having, and willing to pay for separate leases; and on my calling upon them to point out the plantations, fences, &c. which they had promised to make, some of them took me into little enclosures behind their huts, containing a few stunted sycamores and willows. As to fences, or as they call them, meerings, there are none of any consequence; whence many bickerings and disputes arise, and so tenacious are they of rights which appear hardly worth preserving, that the horses, cows, sheep, and even their fowls, are seen tethered to prevent their trespassing. Their mode of cultivation is as follows: viz. 1st year (after well manuring)
. . . . . . . Oats,
Oats. after thus exhausting all the strength of the soil, by an incessant cultivation of five years together, it is suffered to lie lee, (as it is called) without ploughing or manure for three or four years, in order to recover itself. The tenants appear most of them to be in a state of poverty, some nearly naked, and their distress is greatly increased by a total want of turf, the great consolation of Irishmen.
These lands lie detached from every other part of the Society's property, are tithe free, and capable of great improvement, if they could be put into the hands of some resident gentleman of property and enterprise, who would undertake to improve them, and extend a fostering hand to the tenants. On mentioning this to sir George Hill, and recommending it to his consideration, as tending to convert a dreary prospect opposite his residence to
* Irish acre to English, as 5 to 8, arising from the rod consisting of 21 feet, which in England is only 16 feet.
| Irish mile to English, as 11 to 14.