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scarlet wings, but the general effect was the
pink, as the feathers of the breast and back
those of the wings.

manner.

The hens sat on the nests, and some we
muddy lagoon. I watched them carefully fo
looked at every nest to see if the legs were ex
In no case did I see a leg. I saw the birds
sit down. I saw them get up, and step dow
every instance the legs were folded under t
In my opinion my observation settl
mode of sitting; for even if, as I had been assu
ways, it is improbable that among the hundreds
would have extended the legs. Remembering
the flamingo's legs, it is evident that on a new
eight inches high, the hen could not thus sit,
highest nest allow of the legs being extended
upon it.

After having watched the birds for the time
ourselves; but whether they had observed us
somewhat accustomed to our presence, or that w
more easy to approach than I thought, the only
hens left the nest, and, joining the male birds, p
alities, nor did they take wing until we had begu
rookery. While we were examining it, the birds
in forty yards, so that we could have shot them
we did not do so. To prevent the destruction
pigeons by their wholesale slaughter during the br
Bahamas Legislature passed in 1885 a Wild Bird
from which I hope for good results.

Having taken a few eggs as specimens, and lift
a board a nest destined for presentation to the 2
which was carried safely to the ship on the head
but unfortunately broken afterwards by a clumsy
for the yacht. On our way back across the lagoon
high clump of mangroves, in which the frigate-birds
There were some scores of them sitting among the
nests had yet been built; nor could we discover
the small rocky island near the landing-place the nes
crow,' which breeds there every year.

In due course we wended our way back thro
bracken and the silent woods. The morning glo
changed its blue coat for one of deep purple, and the
thirsting for their nightly draught of dew. We quen
with the warm juice of the pineapples cut fresh from
a plunge overboard into the clear cool water soon
trace of fatigue.

HENRY

IRISH LAND PURCHASE.

A REPLY TO MY CRITICS.

THE short period which has elapsed since the publication of my suggestions for dealing with the Irish land difficulty has sufficed to supply me with an expression of public opinion which is as gratifying as it was totally unexpected. My plan has been criticised, in some instances with severity; its author has received some hard knocks from which he will probably recover; but criticism and abuse have been alike overwhelmed in the flood of friendly and appreciative opinions which have reached me from every part of the kingdom, and which emanate in many cases from quarters where I had very little reason to expect support.

I am fairly amazed at the response which my proposal has called forth; and the very nature of the criticisms which it has met with is a source of great encouragement to me. The critics naturally divide themselves into three classes-the abusive, the misinformed, and the bona fide. The first-named is practically limited to two of the extreme Parnellite journals, the Cork Examiner and the Daily News. I dare say the rather oddly worded scoldings in which they indulge are well deserved, and I have no doubt I shall duly profit by them. But they are none the less to be regretted because they leave practically no space for rational criticism of the material parts of my plan.'

Among the misinformed critics I venture to include those who have been prevented from acquainting themselves with my proposals as they actually appeared in this Review, and who have been content to accept in their stead the very incomplete and misleading summaries which have appeared in some quarters.

I have endeavoured elsewhere to correct one or two of the errors which have naturally grown out of this incomplete acquaintance with the scheme as actually stated by me. To avoid further misapprehension, and to win, if possible, the support that has been denied me by those who have misunderstood my proposals, I will state in a few sentences that I am not responsible for any of the following pro

I am glad to say that this hostile attitude is by no means representative of the Home Rule press generally.

positions, which have all been attributed to me, and which have been controverted with much ingenuity by critics of my scheme.

I do not propose to tax the necessaries of life and to leave spirits untaxed. On the contrary, I propose that whisky should be the first and most important subject of taxation.

I do not propose to tax steam coal, and thus to ruin the manufactures of Ulster.' I do not propose to allow Tipperary and Cork to repudiate their debts at the cost of Ulster. I do not propose to impose taxes for a couple of months and then to remove them. I do not propose to relieve any individual from the payment of his just debts; on the contrary, I propose to improve the machinery whereby he may be compelled to pay. I do not, as one critic is kind enough to suggest, desire to see the administration of the civil law superseded by an organised system of moonlighting. I do not propose any protective duty whatever.

And, lastly, I do not propound my scheme as an ideal perfect, or even as being free from grave objections. All I claim for it is, that it is, as far as I know, the only practical method which has been proposed in the face of a great emergency, and that it does satisfy the two essential demands of the situation: it checkmates resistance to the law, and it relieves the English taxpayer. I have denied my responsibility for all the strange propositions mentioned above because in one quarter or another they have all been fathered upon me. I will now very briefly refer to what I have termed the bona fide objections to my plans, and will say what I can in reply to the case of the objectors. The criticisms divide themselves under seven distinct heads, which I propose to deal with seriatim.

ULSTER.

Loyal and honest Ulster will object to being taxed for the benefit of dishonest and disloyal Munster. As far as I know, this objection has been made for Ulster and not by Ulster. I have the best reasons for knowing that more than one important representative of Ulster opinion anticipates neither injury nor injustice from the plan I suggest. In support of such a view I would again venture to point out that, granted that any change whatever be laid upon Ireland in order to relieve her of her secular troubles, there is no method other than that which I propose by which money can be raised without taxing the wealth and property of Ulster. In the worst event, under my plan loyal Ulster will pay upon the one thing in which she is unhappily deficient, on her numbers. But what is the chance of even this small burden being imposed? It has been alleged that it will be within the power, as doubtless it would be within the will, of a southern county to compel wealthy Ulster to pay for the repudiation of Munster. Such a result is possible, but on one inexorable condition, that from every halfpenny contributed for

Ulster the remainder of Ireland must contribute twopence. I say that under these circumstances the idea of vindictive repudiation is altogether out of the question.

ENGLAND OUGHT TO PAY.

It is most remarkable that by far the larger number of objectors to my scheme condemn it on the ground that the British taxpayer should be compelled to contribute. To all those who take this line. I would simply reply that, in principle, I absolutely agree with them, and that theoretically I make a most complete surrender, both to their logic and to their sentiment. If only they will furnish me with any sort of reason for believing that the English taxpayer can in fact be induced to pay, I shall be truly indebted to them; meanwhile I confess I do not see the advantage of merely asserting an abstract proposition which will certainly not be allowed to influence. the ultimate solution of the question.

EXPENSE AND DIFFICULTY OF COLLECTION.

It is stated in a quarter which I am bound to respect that the cost of collecting customs duties must be so enormous that to rely upon these duties as a source of revenue is out of the question. I venture to differ from this conclusion for various reasons. In the first place, what is the standard of expense by which we are to make our comparison ?

I admit that were we living in the Golden Age, or legislating for the Islands of the Blesssed, the collection of revenue by specially imposed customs duties might seem a wasteful and costly process; but we are legislating as a matter of fact for Ireland, a country in which at the present time the collection of an ordinary civil debt has over and over again been enforced, with all the appliances of an army in the field and at a cost infinitely in excess of the amount to be recovered.

I need hardly add that the indirect loss arising from such proceedings is infinitely in excess of the actual expenditure by the authorities and the creditor. It would be hard, therefore, to imagine a system which would be more costly than that which we are at present compelled to adopt, and which under existing circumstances seems likely to receive an indefinite extension.

But what, after all, would be the cost of the collection of the extra duties? If, in the first place, any sums required were raised upon spirits, the addition to the staff of the excise would be practically nil. If, in the very improbable event of a large sum being required, it were found necessary to tax any of the other articles mentioned in my schedule, I admit of course that it would be necessary to increase

the customs staff; but a glance at the Irish shipping returns is sufficient to show how infinitesimal would be the hardship inflicted by naming some dozen ports as the sole ports of entry for the dutiable articles. As to smuggling, that is not a serious question in these days of steamships, especially when the articles concerned are imported in quantities of 23,376,000 lbs. or 2,826,856 cwt. It may seem a serious thing to impose a custom-house examination upon vessels arriving at Irish ports, but I would remind my readers that in so doing we should be merely assimilating the practice of the Irish to that of the English ports. Take a strip of the English coast-that, for instance, between the port of London and the Isle of Wight-and it will be found that every day some scores of vessels arrive in the various ports which it contains, of which ninetynine per cent. are examined by the customs as a matter of course. In Ireland the case is reversed, and, owing to the fact that the vast majority of the vessels entering Irish ports come from Great Britain, a customs examination is at present a rarity. Great Britain trades with the world, Ireland with Great Britain, the result of which has been hitherto an enormous balance of convenience in favour of Ireland with regard to the question of customs examination. To place arrivals in Dublin, Waterford, and Cork upon the same footing as arrivals in Portsmouth, Folkestone, and Dover, may be undesirable, but can in no way be represented as an intolerable hardship.

And here I would add a suggestion which has been made to me by a very high authority, and which I believe would be a most valuable addition to the proposals already made. It is certain that, from a variety of causes, small deficits must inevitably arise for which no serious blame can be attached to anybody. The congested districts in the west will no doubt have to be dealt with, and small portions of the rent charge are certain to fall into arrear separately under this or any other plan. It would be most undesirable, both on grounds of expediency and principle, to put in operation the full machinery of the Act for the recovery of small sums. To avoid doing so it would only be necessary to provide some small fund in the nature of caution money,' payment of which would commence from the time of the passing of the Bill. There are many ways in which this fund could be raised. Probably the most simple would be by the imposition of a small tax upon the transfer and registration of all estates. In case the fund were not drawn upon, it would be easy to return it by a reduction of taxation.

PROTECTION.

It has been suggested that the proposed tariff is protective. This is not so. It is purely a tariff for revenue such as has existed in the United Kingdom since the adoption of free trade.

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