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I had a distant view of the Drapers' proportion at Monymore, adjoining that of the Salters', but have no reason to believe it better wooded than the other proportions; the same may be said of that part of the Grocers' proportion at Muff, which I touched upon in my way from Londonderry to Walworth, and in my excursion to Dungiven, already mentioned ;--I have since learnt from Mr. Beresford, that there is a small plantation belonging to Mr. Connelly, at a place called “ the Glen of the Ness.”
The Goldsmiths' proportion is situated near Londonderry, and is lett, in perpetuity, to Mr. Ponsonby; there are small native freeholds* and bleaching-grounds near and upon it, with ornamental plantations belonging to them.
The Vintners' proportion at Ballaghy, is likewise lett in perpetuity to Mr. Connelly, but not having visited it, I am not competent to speak of its present state.
My original intention was to have returned to England again by the way of Port Patrick, but the temptation of exploring a little of the western part of the island and visiting its capital, which I had seen about twenty-four years ago, prevailed, and I took my route accordingly by Strabane, Newtown-Stewart, Omagh, M-Guire's Bridge, the borders of Lough Erne, Newtown-Butler, Cavan, Kels, Navan, and Dunshaughlin to Dublin.
I shall not trespass on the Society's patience by communi. cating any observations made in this tour, except remarking, that the face of the country is very bare of any thing like timbertrees, if you except Lord Mountjoy's woods at Omagh, the plantation near the banks of Lough Erne, and those of Lord Bective, near Kels; but I cannot close my observations without expressing the pleasure I felt in seeing the astonishing improvements made in the city of Dublin, which bids fair to become the handsomest city, of the second rate, in Europe. On enquiring, I learnt that one general act had been obtained for the improvement of the city, by making wide and convenient passages through the same, and for regulating the coal trade thereof; under which, and three others passed in explanation of it, these great and useful works have been effected : I have procured printed copies of these acts, and shall at all times be ready to communicate them to any member of the corporation, who will take upon himself to promote a general improvement in the first commercial city in the world; which is thought by many competent judges with whom I have conversed, a measure as practicable as it is desirable, both for the honor and interest of the corporation by which it is governed, and the nation at large.
ROBERT SLADE, Secretary. Doctors' Commons,
4th Feb. 1803.
* So called from their having been created at the time of the original for. mation of the settlement; with a view to bave proper persons to fill the office of grand jurors, &c. for the administration of public justice. .
Ꭱ E Ꮲ 0 Ꭱ Ꭲ
JOHN CLAUDIUS BERESFORD, Esa.
GENERAL AGENT TO THE SOCIETY,
ON THE FOREGOING NARRATIVE.
TO THE HONORABLE SOCIETY OF THE GOVERNOR AND ASSISTANTS OF LONDON, OF THE NEW PLANTA. TION IN ULSTER, WITHIN THE REALM OF IRELAND.
MR. SLADE'S report has been so full, and his description of those parts of the country he has passed through, so accurate and correct, that it would be vanity in me to attempt to add any thing to it, except where a local knowledge of the country enabled me to subjoin any reflections that might either strengthen his observations or guide the Society in such resolutions as they might be pleased to adopt, prior to their letting “the Quarter lands," or such other lands as are likely to fall out of lease. My · observations will therefore be confined to the fourth head, under which he has classed his, report; viz.-" The situation of the “ lands called the Quarterlands, which are now lett at €990 Os.6d. « and which are, (as he states,) capable of considerable improve66 ment.”
I lay it down as an incontestable point, that it is the great object of the Irish Society, both for the benefit of the colony established by them (the prosperity of which will at all times redound to their honor, and the decay of which will be equally disgraceful to them) and for the purpose of increasing their own rents in the most fair and equitable inanner, to procure by every means in their power, not only resident tenants, but resident tenants of wealth and respectability: for if the tenants are not resident, it is impossible the value of the land should increase in the proportion it ought to do; and if the land is lett to tenants who are not able to expend the money necessary to reclaim, drain, and improve it, the expiration of the lease will find the ground in the same situation it was at its commencement: this has been
strongly exemplified in the lands of “ Grandsagh,” as appears by your Secretary's report:- for notwithstanding the Society did give them half-a.year's rent, to enable them to commence their improvements, yet after nine years that they have been in possession of it, no improvement has been made, but the land remains in its original unimproved and barren state.
Taking it then for granted, that our object (I say our object, as I feel myself highly interested, both as an Irishman and as your agent, in the prosperity of the colony,)-conceiving then, I will say, that our object is to procure a wealthy and resident tenantry, whenever it can be done without injury to the industrious, I should follow Mr. Slade's plan as one of the best that could be adopted for that purpose ;-I mean that of giving the tenant a perpetuity in a part of the ground he holds, whereon he would cheerfully lay out his money, and a lease for one life and a certain number of years of a larger proportion. The consequence would be, that every shilling that was laid out on the part he got the perpetuity in, would tend to increase the value of the surrounding ground, and when the lease of the terminable part expired, it would become much more valuable; inasmuch as all lands adjoining to towns or inhabited places rise in proportion to the money expended in their neighbourhood. This scheme has been fully proved by Lord Northland, who has a considerable property in the county of Tyrone, and has tried the experiment, which has answered so well with him that many gentlemen are following the example. I would not, however, trust entirely to the liberality of my tenant in such cases; but on making the lease, I would bind him to lay out a sum of money in building, and to plant a certain number of trees : the sum to be laid out by the party, and the number of trees to be planted, must depend in a great degree on the nature of the farm granted, and how far it is fit for plantation or tillage, and it will not be possible for the Society or me to form any estimate of the proportion, till the survey of “ the Quarterlands” which is now making by your order is completely finished, and I hope to be able to lay some of the detached maps or farms before you prior to my leaving town. I must however observe in general, that the lands called “the Quarterlands," differ very much in value; some of them being nearly barren, whilst others of them are very good. Great care therefore should be taken when we are sub-dividing the farms into the parts that the Society should lett in perpetuity, and those they should lett in terminable leases ; that it should be so done, as to induce the tenant to improve the barren parts as well as the arable ones; otherwise, he might be inclined to con. fine his expenditure to the better part of the land, leaving the other part in its former situation. On this subject I shall be able to explain more fully when the map is finished; as likewise, on the management of the bogs, the system of managing which is very bad at present, as none of the tenants pay that attention to it that they would if it was their interest, from their having a property of any kind in those bogs.
-- At the time of establishing the colony, it is probable, the bogs were kept for the use of the inhabitants of the town of London." derry, and for the purpose of supplying them with fuel, for which reason the Society very judiciously reserved them in their own hands; but now, what with incroachments on the bogs which have been made by the tenants, (some of them so long since that it is impossible to trace their date, nor owing to the want of a map of “the Quarterlands,” can we trace their extent,) and what with the bog being cut and wasted by the undertenants, there is no turf for the supply of Londonderry, which is all supplied by boats that come from a distance, and the tenants on “the Quarterlands” only considering the supply of the moment, cut the bog in the most wasteful manner, without any regard to those that come after them. I would therefore advise the Society, in the new leases they make, by all means to set a proportion of the bog to the tenant with each farm. He will then find some interest, not only in cutting with care and advantage, but in improving the surface, and rendering productive that which is now a complete caput mortuum, equally barren and unsightly.
The interest the tenants have now in their leases, is, for the most part, very small, as their tenures are only for a few years, and generally one or two existing lives ; and as they do not think it prudent on such short terms, to lay out money either in building or improving on a liberal scale, the more wealthy part of them would very willingly surrender their present leases and commence immediately on an increased rent,—and I am very certain, they would give as much for a lease at this moment, as at the expiration of the term which they hold ; for such a lease would give them an immediate and full enjoyment of their farms, and enable them to lay out their money on the same with advantage,- few of them for want of such expenditure getting the value out of their ground; and it would evidently be the interest of the Society, for the following reasons: In the first place, it would expedite the improvement of that part of their property, which is now, from its barrenness and unimproved state, a disgrace to the city of Londonderry and a discredit to the Society :-In the next place, it is much to be feared lest the people of Londonderry, who are increasing daily in wealth, and seek the re. laxation of a country retirement from the fatigues of business, should be induced to establish themselves and build their villas on the other side of the water, (which since the building of the bridge, has an easy communication with Londonderry,) and which being all of it freehold property, belonging to individuals, they could easily obtain long tenures of; and such establishment, if once formed, would be an almost perpetual bar to the improvement of that part of the Society's property. I cannot help here adverting to two or three gentlemen, whose reliance on the So. ciety's generosity has induced them to lay out large sums of money on their holdings; I mean Mr. Alexander Lecky, Mr. Harvey, and Mr. Scott. The two former gentlemen have built
very handsome dwelling-houses on their farms, and greatly im. proved the places; and Mr. Scott has planted, drained and improved at a considerable expense a farm, which from a waste hill he has made a beautiful spot of, and on which he intends im. mediately, if he gets a renewal, to build a handsome house. These gentlemen undoubtedly have a strong claim on the Society, having with very short tenures expended their money, in a full reliance that the object of the Society was, to encourage the colony, and those who expended their money in the improvement of it.
The erecting of a public fountain, such as your Secretary re. commends, would be an excellent idea; and though the subject he proposes to perpetuate be one not generally relished by Irishmen, yet would be very appropriate to a colony established by the city of London, and would do them very high honor: if such a thing should be resolved on, it might not be amiss to put some of the expense on the tenants who procure such renewals... 14
I hope these few general observations will be satisfactory to the Society, and when the map is finished, I shall be enabled to make such further remarks on the particular farms, as will more fully guide them in their future proceedings concerning these grounds. I must however say, that the Society would understand the nature of their estates better by sending to Ireland a deputation from their own body to visit them, than by explanations from any person whatever; and if they should come to such a laudable resolution, I shall feel it a duty I owe the Society to attend them, and point out any thing to them worthy of notice on their estates.
I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,
J. C. BERESFORD.