Gladstone's Mission to Pacify Ireland

The Irish Church Act, 1869

  • Disestablished the Anglican Church in Ireland
  • No longer linked to the State by law 
  • No longer the official religion of Ireland
  • No obligation on the Irish Catholics to pay the tax
  • Become a voluntary organisation on the same level as other religious denominations in Ireland
  • Financial protection for life for its existing clergymen and officials
  • 1/4 of its property and wealth was removed 
  • Revenues redirected to help the poor by improving schools, hospitals and workhouses
  • Number of effects:
    • First officially sanctioned dent in the union between Britain and Ireland
    • Created unity among a previously divided and largely Nonconformist Liberal Party
    • Won Gladstone the support of the Roman Catholic Leaders
    • Welcomed by the Irish Catholics - addressed a major injustice of religious discrimination
    • Raised expectations among the Irish that the Liberals would address other issues
    • Encouraged the hope among many moderate Irish people that Ireland could achieve political independence 
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Gladstone's Mission to Pacify Ireland

The Irish Land Act (1870):

  • Introduced the principle of fair rent
  • Provided for compensation for tenants at the end of their lease if they had made improvements
  • Secured fixity of tenure as long as tenants paid their rent
  • Made provision for tenants to sell their leases
  • Arranged for loans to be made avaliable for tenants to purchase land 
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Gladstone's Mission to Pacify Ireland

Reactions to the Irish Land Act:


  • Fair rent clause was of limited value 
  • Clear rent was never defined and mny unjust evictions still took place as a result
  • Landlords still had the power to raise rent as they pleased and then evict for non-payment
  • No compensation payments for eviction if the tenants were in arrears with their rent
  • Land Act could not help the evicted
  • Cost of buying land was too high even with a loan scheme
  • Ulster Custom was too vague to implement with any regularity


  • No incentive for landlords to sell land and allow tenants to become landowners
  • Resisted attempts by tenants to purchase land
  • Land-owning Whigs saw it as an attack on their property rights 
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