How far did Gladstone achieve his stated aim of pacifying Ireland

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How far did Gladstone achieve his stated aims of pacifying Ireland?

William Ewart Gladstone became British prime minister in 1868. "My mission is to pacify Ireland", he immediately affirmed. Among his first measures was the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, recognition that it was inappropriate to have a formal link between the state and a denomination supported only by a small minority of the Irish people. His Land Act of 1870 gave greater security to some tenants, and those who left their holdings could claim compensation for improvements they had made. However, the act proved unsatisfactory in practice, and agitation for land reform steadily increased. Equally important was the demand for home rule. Gladstone’s mission to pacify Ireland was essentially attempt to achieve a just relationship between landlord and tenant and grant Ireland certain independence. He attempted to succeed in his conquest with the introduction of several Land Acts (1870-1881) and the disestablishment of the Protestant Church (1869).The first Land Act was passed in 1870, following the Fenian uprising of 1867.This act legalised the Ulster Custom of fair rent, free sale and fixity of tenure in areas where it operated. Tenants leaving farms were to be compensated for improvements made and for disturbance. This act was also accompanied by a "Bright clause" which lent one third of the purchase price of the land to those who wished to but it. Concurrently, the act only had symbolic significance. It had little practical effect. Landlords could easily escape payments to tenants as the Ulster Custom was difficult to define in law. Landlords also had the ability to raise rents, thus forcing tenants into arrears, making them ineligible to benefit from the act. Loans were insufficient and many tenants lacked the capital to raise the deposit. Less than 1,000 tenants availed of this act.

One way in which Gladstone attempted to pacify Ireland was through reforming the Church. He strived to do this through the Irish Church Act of 1869, this was key in his attempts to pacify Ireland as although the Church of Ireland had been the Established Church, it represented only a tiny minority of the population. The Irish Church Act 1869 proposed the disestablishment and partial disendowment of the Church of Ireland, involving the reduction of Church property to £10 million. The Bill met with great opposition in the House of Lords, which was overcome partly by the initiative of Queen Victoria in a speech in which she said,”The rejection of the Bill ... would only serve to bring the two Houses into collision, and to prolong a dangerous agitation on the subject”. The Bill easily passed through the Commons and whilst it might have been blocked by the Conservatives majority in the Lords, the Lords were not prepared to spark a constitutional crisis so soon after the 1867 Reform Act. The Irish Church Act was undoubtedly one of Gladstone’s real achievements in his aims to pacify Ireland, since it removed the major religious grievances of the Irish Catholics. However, rather like the passage of the Catholic Emancipation in 1829, it did little to actually improving conditions on the ground in Ireland.

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Another way in which Gladstone attempted to pacify Ireland was through the First Irish Land Act of 1870, this helped to pacify Ireland as the force of law was given to tenant right. No tenant could be evicted provided he paid his rent on time

when a tenant gave up his farm at the end of a lease the landlord had to pay the tenant for whatever improvements the tenant might have made on the farm (e.g. by adding buildings, drainage, roads). This did not apply if the tenant was evicted for non-payment of rent the "Bright Clauses" attempted to help tenants ...

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