The thoughts contained in the following pages relate to one side of the life of a country which has been to me, as to many Irishmen, a second home. They are offered in friendly recognition of kindness I cannot hope to repay, received largely as a student of American social and economic problems, from public-spirited Americans who, I know, will appreciate most highly any slight service to their country.
d tenure reforms begun in 1881, having broken down under stress of foreign competition, and Purchase Acts on a smaller scale having been tentatively tried in the interval, in 1903 Parliament finally decreed that sufficient money should be provided to buy out all the remaining agricultural land. In a not remote future, some two hundred million pounds sterling--a billion dollars--will have been advanced by the British Government to enable the tenants to purchase their holdings, the money to be repaid in easy instalments during periods averaging over sixty years.
Twenty years ago this general course of events was foreseen, and a few Irishmen conceived and set to work upon what has come to be Ireland's Rural Life policy. The position taken up was simple. What Parliament was about to do would pull down the whole structure of Ireland's agricultural economy, and would clear away the chief hindrance to economic and social progress. But upon the ground thus cleared the edifice of a new rural social economy woul