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Resolutions Adopted at the Tenant-Right Conference

Resolutions Adopted at the Tenant-Right Conference

6–9 August 1850

The clearances associated with the Great Famine, combined with a sharp downturn in agricultural prices beginning in 1849, dramatically heightened the anxieties of tenants all over the country. The formation of local tenant-protection societies soon escalated into the emergence of a national tenant-right movement, signaled by the holding of a tenant-right conference in Dublin in August 1850. This conference, which concluded with the establishment of the Irish Tenant League, embraced what became known as the "three Fs": fair rents, fixity of tenure, and free sale of the tenant's interest in his holding.

SEE ALSO Land Questions

SECTION I

  1. That a fair valuation of rent between landlord and tenant in Ireland is indispensible.
  2. That the tenant shall not be disturbed in his possession so long as he pays the rent fixed by the proposed law.
  3. That the tenant shall have a right to sell his interest, with all its incidents, at the highest market value.
  4. That where the rent has been fixed by valuation, no rent beyond the valued rent shall be recoverable by any process of law.
  5. That cases of minors and other exceptional cases be considered hereafter in any measure to be introduced into parliament.
  6. That it be an instruction to the [Irish Tenant] League [founded at this conference] to take into consideration, at the earliest possible period, the condition of farm labourers, and suggest some measure for their permanent protection and improvement in connection with the arrangement of the question between landlord and tenant.

SECTION II

  1. That an equitable valuation of land for rent should divide between the landlord and the tenant the net profits of cultivation, in the same way as the profits would be divided between the partners in any other business where one of them is a dormant partner and the other the working capitalist who takes upon him the whole risk.
  2. That nothing shall be included in the valuation or paid under the valuation to the landlord on account of improvements made by the tenant in possession or those under whom he claims, unless these have been paid for by the landlord in reduced rent or in some other way.
  3. That if the landlord shall at any time have made improvements, either when the land is in his own occupation or with the consent of the tenant in occupation, or if the landlord shall have bought the tenant's improvements, the landlord shall have the right, on letting the same to a new tenant or on giving notice to the tenant in possession, to have such improvements valued for the purpose of adding to the rent.
  4. That wherever in Ulster or elsewhere tenant-right custom has prevailed, the value of such right according to the local custom shall be considered in all respects as an improvement made by the tenant, and allowed for accordingly in valuing the rent.
  5. That where land is held under lease, the lease shall not be disturbed unless at the request of the lessee or his assigns in possession; and if on such requests the rent be altered by the valuators, the tenant shall hold in future at the altered rent.
  6. That the valuation, when once made, shall be permanent.
  7. That every seven years there may and shall be a re-adjustment of the rent payable under the valuation, according to the rise or fall of the prices of agricultural produce, when the rise in prices be manifestly occasioned by the deficiency of the corps.

SECTION III

  1. That the valuation shall be made by tribunals which shall unite as far as possible the advantages of impartiality between landlord and tenant, cheapness, accessibility, and nomination by the parties interested.
  2. That these advantages may be secured to a reasonable degree—first, by local tribunals consisting of two valuators, one appointed by the landed proprietors and the other by the tenant farmers of the poor law union; secondly, by having valuators bound to value according to instructions embodied in the law; and thirdly, by having attached to each local tribunal a registrar or secretary whose duty it shall be to register all the proceedings of the valuators and keep them informed and reminded of the requirements of the instructions under which they act.

RULES OF THE [IRISH TENANT] LEAGUE

  1. That an association to be called the Irish Tenant League be formed on the principles and subject to the rules hereafter expressed; and that such League be hereby established accordingly.
  2. That the sole objects of the Tenant League are to protect the tenant and to procure a good landlord-and-tenant law by the legal co-operation of persons of all classes and of all opinions on other subjects. . . .

Freeman's Journal, 7–9 August 1850.

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