The Project Gutenberg eBook of Ireland Under Coercion: The Diary of an American (2 of 2)

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Ireland Under Coercion: The Diary of an American (2 of 2)

Author: William Henry Hurlbert

Release date: December 29, 2004 [eBook #14511]
Most recently updated: December 19, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Robert Ledger and the PG Online
Distributed Proofreading Team








“Upon the future of Ireland hangs the future of the British Empire.”












EPILOGUE, p. 333-349




ROSSBEHY,1 Feb. 21.We are here on the eve of battle! An “eviction” is to be made to-morrow on the Glenbehy 1 estate of Mr. Winn, an uncle of Lord Headley, so upon the invitation of Colonel Turner, who has come to see that all is done decently and in order, I left Ennis with him at 7.40 A.M. for Limerick; the “city of the Liberator” for “the city of the Broken Treaty.” There we breakfasted at the Artillery Barracks.

The officers showed us there the new twelve-pounder gun with its elaborately scientific machinery, its Scotch sight, and its four-mile range. I compared notes about the Trafalgar Square riots of February 1886 with an Irish officer who happened to have [pg 2] been on the opposite side of Pall Mall from me at the moment when the mob, getting out of the hand of my socialistic friend Mr. Hyndman, and advancing towards St. James’ Street and Piccadilly was broken by a skilful and very spirited charge of the police. He gave a most humorous account of his own sensations when he first came into contact with the multitude after emerging from St. Paul’s, where, as he put it, he had left the people “all singing away like devils.” But I found he quite agreed with me in thinking that there was a visible nucleus of something like military organisation in the mob of that day, which was overborne and, as it were, smothered by the mere mob element before it came to trying conclusions with the police.

On our way to Limerick, Colonel Turner caught sight, at a station, of Father Little, the parish priest of Six Mile Bridge, in County Clare, and jumping out of the carriage invited him to get in and pursue his journey with us, which he very politely did. Father Little is a tall fine-looking man of a Saxon rather than a Celtic type, and I daresay comes of the Cromwellian stock. He is a staunch and outspoken Nationalist, and has been made rather prominent of late by his championship of certain of his [pg 3] parishioners in their contest with their landlord, Mr. H.V. D’Esterre, who lives chiefly at Bournemouth in England, but owns 2833 acres in County Clare at Rosmanagher, valued at £1625 a year. More than a year ago one of Father Little’s parishioners, Mr. Frost, successfully resisted a large force of the constabulary bent on executing a process of ejectment against him obtained by Mr. D’Esterre.

Frost’s holding was of 33 Irish, or, in round numbers, about 50 English, acres, at a rental of £117, 10s., on which he had asked but had not obtained an abatement. The Poor-Law valuation of the holding was £78, and Frost estimated the value of his and his father’s improvements, including the homestead and the offices, or in other words his tenant-right, at £400. The authorities sent a stronger body of constables and ejected Frost. But as soon as they had left the place Frost came back with his family, on the 28th Jan. 1887, and reoccupied it. Of course proceedings were taken against him immediately, and a small war was waged over the Frost farm until the 5th of September last, when an expedition was sent against it, and it was finally captured, and Frost evicted with [pg 4] his family. Upon this last occasion Father Little (who gave me a very temperate but vigorous account of the whole affair) distinguished himself by a most ingenious and original attempt to “hold the fort.” He chained himself to the main doorway, and stretching the chains right and left secured them to two other doors. It was of this refreshing touch of humour that I heard the other day at Abbeyleix as happening not in Clare but in Kerry.

Since his eviction Frost has been living, Father Little tells me, in a wooden hut put up for him on the lands of a kinsman of the same name, who is also a tenant of Mr. D’Esterre, and who has since been served by his landlord with a notice of ejectment for arrears, although he had paid up six months’ dues two months only before the service. Father Little charged the landlord in this case with prevarication and other evasive proceedings in the course of his negotiations with the tenants; and Colonel Turner did not contest the statements made by him in support of his contention that the Rosmanagher difficulty might have been avoided had the tenants been more fairly and more considerately dealt with. It is strong presumptive evidence against the landlord that a kinsman, Mr. Robert [pg 5] D’Esterre, is one of the subscribers to a fund raised by Father Little in aid of the evicted man Frost. On the other hand, as illustrating the condition of the tenants, it is noteworthy that the Post-Office Savings Bank’s deposits at Six-Mile Bridge rose from £382, 17s. 10d. in 1880 to £934, 13s. 4d. in 1887. After breakfast we took a car and drove rapidly about the city for an hour. With its noble river flowing through the very heart of the place, and broadening soon into an estuary of the Atlantic, Limerick ought long ago to have taken its place in the front rank of British ports dealing with the New World. In the seventeenth century it was the fourth city of Ireland, Boate putting it then next after Dublin, Galway, and Waterford. Belfast at that time, he describes as a place hardly comparable “to a small market-town in England.” To-day Limerick has a population of some forty thousand, and Belfast a population of more than two hundred thousand souls. This change cannot be attributed solely, if at all, to the “Protestant ascendency,” nor yet to the alleged superiority of the Northern over the Southern Irish in energy and thrift, For in the seventeenth century Limerick [pg 6] was more important than Cork, whereas it had so far fallen behind its Southern competitor in the eighteenth century that it contained in 1781 but 3859 houses, while Cork contained 5295. To-day its population is about half as large as that of Cork. It is a very well built city, its main thoroughfare, George Street, being at least a mile in length, and a picturesque city also, thanks to the island site of its most ancient quarter, the English Town, and to the hills of Clare and Killaloe, which close the prospect of the surrounding country. But the streets, though many of them are handsome, have a neglected look, as have also the quays and bridges. One of my companions, to whom I spoke of this, replied, “if they look neglected, it’s because they are neglected. Politics are the death of the place, and the life of its publics.”2

As we approached the shores of the Atlantic from Limerick, the scenery became very grand and [pg 7] beautiful. On the right of the railway the country rolled and undulated away towards the Stacks, amid the spurs and slopes of which, in the wood of Clonlish, Sanders, the Nuncio sent over to organise Catholic Ireland against Elizabeth, miserably perished of want and disease six years before the advent of the great Armada. To the south-west rose the grand outlines of the Macgillicuddy’s Reeks, the highest points, I believe, in the South of Ireland. We established ourselves at the County Kerry Club on our arrival in Tralee, which I found to be a brisk prosperous-looking town, and quite well built. A Nationalist member once gave me a gloomy notion of Tralee, by telling me, when I asked him whether he looked forward with longing to a seat in the Parliament of Ireland, that “when he was in Dublin now he always thought of London, just as when he used to be in Tralee he always thought of Dublin.” But he did less than justice to the town upon the Lee. We left it at half-past [pg 8] four in the train for Killorglin. The little station there was full of policemen and soldiers, and knots of country people stood about the platform discussing the morrow. There had been some notion that the car-drivers at Killorglin might “boycott” the authorities. But they were only anxious to turn an honest penny by bringing us on to this lonely but extremely neat and comfortable hostelry in the hills.

We left the Sheriff and the escort to find their way as best they could after us.

Mrs. Shee, the landlady here, ushered us into a very pretty room hung with little landscapes of the country, and made cheery by a roaring fire. Two or three officers of the soldiers sent on here to prevent any serious uproar to-morrow dined with us.

The constabulary are in force, but in great good humour. They have no belief that there will be any trouble, though all sorts of wild tales were flying about Tralee before we left, of English members of Parliament coming down to denounce the “Coercion” law, and of risings in the hills, and I know not what besides. The agent of the Winn property, or of Mr. Head of Reigate in Surrey, the mortgagee of the estate, who holds a power of attorney from Mr. Winn, is here, a quiet, intelligent [pg 9] young man, who has given me the case in a nut-shell.

The tenant to be evicted, James Griffin, is the son and heir of one Mrs. Griffin, who on the 5th of April 1854 took a lease of the lands known as West Lettur from the then Lord Headley and the Hon. R. Winn, at the annual rent of £32, 10s. This rent has since been reduced by a judicial process to £26. In 1883 James Griffin, who was then, as he is now, an active member of the local branch of the National League, and who was imprisoned under Mr. Gladstone’s Act of 1881 as a “suspect,” was evicted, being then several years in arrears. He re-entered unlawfully immediately afterwards, and has remained in West Lettur unlawfully ever since, actively deterring and discouraging other tenants from paying their rents. He took a great part in promoting the refusal to pay which led to the famous evictions of last year. As to these, it seems the tenants had agreed, in 1886, to accept a proposition from Mr. Head, remitting four-fifths of all their arrears upon payment of one year’s rent and costs. Mr. Sheehan, M.P., a hotel-keeper in Killarney, intervened, advising the tenants that the Dublin Parliament would soon be established, and would abolish “landlordism,” whereupon they [pg 10]refused to keep their agreement.3 Sir Redvers Buller, who then filled the post now held by Sir West Ridgway, seeing this alarming deadlock, urged Mr. Head to go further, and offer to take a half-year’s rent and costs. If the tenants refused this Sir Redvers advised Mr. Head to destroy all houses occupied by mere trespassers, such as Griffin, who, if they could hold a place for twelve years, would acquire a title under the Statute of Limitations. A negotiation conducted by Sir Redvers and Father Quilter, P.P., followed, and Father Quilter, for the tenants, finally, in writing, accepted Mr. Head’s offer, under which, by the payment of £865, they would be rid of a legal liability for £6177. The League again intervened with bribes and threats, and Father Quilter found himself obliged to write to Colonel Turner a letter in which he said, “Only seventeen of the seventy tenants have sent on their rents to Mr. Roe (the agent). Though promising that they would accept the terms, they have withdrawn at the last moment from fulfilment.... I shall never again during my time in Glenbehy [pg 11] interfere between a landlord and his tenants. I have poor slaves who will not keep their word. Now let Mr. Roe or any other agent in future deal with Glenbeighans as he likes.” The farms lie at a distance even from this inn, and very far therefore from Killorglin, and the agent, knowing that the tenants would be encouraged by Griffin and by Mr. Harrington, M.P., and others, to come back into their holdings as soon as the officers withdrew, ordered the woodwork of several cottages to be burned in order to prevent this. This burning of the cottages, which were the lawful property of the mortgagee, made a great figure in the newspaper reports, and “scandalised the civilised world.” The present agent thinks it was impolitic on that account, but he has no doubt it was a good thing financially for the evicted tenants. “You will see the shells of the cottages to-morrow,” he said, “and you will judge for yourself what they were worth.” But the sympathy excited by the illustrations of the cruel conflagration and the heartrending descriptions of the reporters, resulted in a very handsome subscription for the benefit of the tenants of Glenbehy. General Sir William Butler, whose name came so prominently before the public in connection with [pg 12] his failure to appear and give evidence in a recent cause célèbre, and whose brother is a Resident Magistrate in Kerry, was one of the subscribers. The fund thus raised has been since administered by two trustees, Father Quilter, P.P., and Mr. Shee, a son of our brisk little landlady here, who maintain out of it very comfortably the evicted tenants. Not long ago a man in Tralee tried to bribe the agent into having him evicted, that he might make a claim on this fund! At Killorglin the Post-Office Savings Bank deposits, which stood at £282, 15s. 9d. in 1880, rose in 1887 to £1299, 2s. 6d. James Griffin, despite, or because, of the two evictions through which he has passed, is very well off. He owns a very good horse and cart, and seven or eight head of cattle. His arrears now amount to about £240, and on being urged yesterday to make a proposition which might avoid an eviction, he gravely offered to pay £8 of the current half-year’s rent in cash, and the remaining £5 in June, the landlord taking on himself all the costs and giving him a clean receipt! This liberal proposition was declined. The zeal of her son in behalf of the evicted tenants does not seem to affect the amiable anxiety of our trim and energetic hostess to make things agreeable here to the minions of the alien [pg 13] despotism. The officers both of the police and of the military appear to be on the best of terms with the whole household, and everything is going as merrily as marriage bells on this eve of an eviction.

TRALEE, Wednesday evening, Feb. 22.We rose early at Mrs. Shee’s, made a good breakfast, and set out for the scene of the day’s work. It was a glorious morning for Washington’s birthday, and I could not help imagining the amazement with which that stern old Virginian landlord would have regarded the elaborate preparations thought necessary here in Ireland in the year of our Lord 1888, to eject a tenant who owes two hundred and forty pounds of arrears on a holding at twenty-six pounds a year, and offers to settle the little unpleasantness by paying thirteen pounds in two instalments!

We had a five miles’ march of it through a singularly wild and picturesque region, the hills which lead up to the Macgillicuddy’s Reeks on our left, and on the right the lower hills trending to the salt water of Dingle Bay. Our start had been delayed by the non-appearance of the Sheriff, in aid of whom all this parade of power was made; but it turned out afterwards that he had gone on without stopping to let Colonel Turner know it.

[pg 14] The air was so bracing and the scenery so fine that we walked most of the way. Two or three cars drove past us, the police and the troops making way for them very civilly, though some of the officers thought they were taking some Nationalist leaders and some English “sympathisers” to Glenbehy. One of the officers, when I commented upon this, told me they never had much trouble with the Irish members. “Some of them,” he said, “talk more than is necessary, and flourish about; but they have sense enough to let us go about our work without foolishly trying to bother us. The English are not always like that.” And he then told me a story of a scene in which an English M.P., we will call Mr. Gargoyle, was a conspicuous actor. Mr. Gargoyle being present either at an eviction or a prohibited meeting, I didn’t note which, with two or three Irish members, all of them were politely requested to step on one side and let the police march past. The Irish members touched their hats in return to the salute of the officer, and drew to one side of the road. But Mr. Gargoyle defiantly planted himself in the middle of the road. The police, marching four abreast, hesitated for a moment, and then suddenly dividing into two columns [pg 15] marched on. The right-hand man of the first double file, as he went by, just touched the M.P. with his shoulder, and thereby sent him up against the left-hand man of the corresponding double file, who promptly returned the attention. And in this manner the distinguished visitor went gyrating through the whole length of the column, to emerge at the end of it breathless, hatless, and bewildered, to the intense and ill-suppressed delight of his Irish colleagues.

Our hostess’s son, the trustee of the Eviction Fund, was on one of the cars which passed us, with two or three companions, who proved to be “gentlemen of the Press.” We passed a number of cottages and some larger houses on the way, the inmates of which seemed to be minding their own business and taking but a slight interest in the great event of the day. We made a little detour at one of the finest points on the road to visit “Winn’s Folly,” a modern mediæval castle of considerable size, upon a most enchanting site, with noble views on every side, quite impossible to be seen through its narrow loopholed and latticed windows. The castle is extremely well built, of a fine stone from the neighbourhood, and with a very small expenditure might [pg 16] be made immediately habitable. But no one has ever lived in it. It has only been occupied as a temporary barrack by the police when sent here, and the largest rooms are now littered with straw for the use of the force. At the beginning of the century, and for many years afterwards, Lord and Lady Headley lived on the estate, and kept a liberal house. Their residence was on a fine point running out into the bay, but, I am told, the sea has now invaded it, and eaten it away. In 1809 the acreage of this Glenbehy property was 8915 Irish acres or 14,442 English acres, set down under Bath’s valuation at £2299, 17s. 6d. Between 1830 and 1860 the rental averaged £5000 a year, and between these years £17,898, 14s. 5d. were expended by the landlord in improvements upon the property. This castle, which we visited, must have involved since then an outlay of at least £10,000 in the place.

The present Lord Headley, only a year or two ago, went through the Bankruptcy Court, and the Hon. Rowland Winn, his uncle, the titular owner of Glenbehy, is set down among the Irish landlords as owning 13,932 Irish acres at a rental of £1382.

After we passed the castle we began to hear the blowing of rude horns from time to time on the [pg 17] distant hills. These were signals to the people of our approach, and gave quite the air of an invasion to our expedition. We passed the burned cottages of last year just before reaching Mr. Griffin’s house at West Lettur. They were certainly not large cottages, and I saw but three of them. We found the Sheriff at West Lettur. The police and the soldiers drew a cordon around the place, within which no admittance was to be had except on business; and the myrmidons of the law going into the house with the agent held a final conference with the tenant, of which nothing came but a renewal of his previous offer. Then the work of eviction began. There was no attempt at a resistance, and but for the martial aspect of the forces, and an occasional blast of a horn from the hills, or the curious noises made from time to time by a small concourse of people, chiefly women, assembled on the slope of an adjoining tenancy, the proceedings were as dull as a parish meeting. What most struck me about the affair was the patience and good-nature of the officers. In the two hours and a half which we spent at West Lettur a New York Sheriff’s deputies would have put fifty tenants with all their bags and baggage out of as many houses [pg 18] into the street. In fact it is very likely that at least that number of New York tenants were actually so ousted from their houses during this very time.

The evicted Mr. Griffin was a stout, stalwart man of middle age, comfortably dressed, with the air rather of a citizen than of a farmer, who took the whole thing most coolly, as did also his women-kind. All of them were well dressed, and they superintended the removal and piling up of their household goods as composedly as if they were simply moving out of one house into another. The house itself was a large comfortable house of the country, and it was amply furnished.

I commented on Griffin’s indifference to the bailiff, a quiet, good-natured man.

“Oh, he’s quite familiar,” was the reply; “it’s the third time he’s been evicted! I believe’s going to America.”

“Oh! he will do very well,” said a gentleman who had joined the expedition like myself to see the scene. “He is a shrewd chap, and not troubled by bashfulness. He sat on a Board of Guardians with a man I knew four years ago, and one day he read out his own name, ‘James Griffin,’ among a list of applicants for relief at Cahirciveen. The [pg 19] chairman looked up, and said, ‘Surely that is not your name you are reading, is it?’ ‘It is, indeed,’ replied Griffin, ‘and I am as much in need of relief as any one!’ Perhaps you’ll be surprised to hear he didn’t get it. This is a good holding he had, and he used to do pretty well with it—not in his mother’s time only of the flush prices, but in his own. It was the going to Kilmainham that spoiled him.”

“How did that spoil him?”

“Oh, it made a great man of him, being locked up. He was too well treated there. He got a liking for sherry and bitters, and he’s never been able to make his dinner since without a nip of them. Mrs. Shee knows that well.”

To make an eviction complete and legal here, everything belonging to the tenant, and every live creature must be taken out of the house. A cat may save a house as a cat may save a derelict ship. Then the Sheriff must “walk” over the whole holding. All this takes time. There was an unobtrusive search for arms too going on all the time. Three ramrods were found hidden in a straw-bed—two of which showed signs of recent use. But the guns had vanished. An officer told me that not long ago two revolvers were found in a corner of the [pg 20] thatch of a house; but the cartridges for them were only some time afterwards discovered neatly packed away in the top of a bedroom wall. It is not the ownership of these arms, it is the careful concealment of them which indicates sinister intent. One of the constables brought out three “Moonlighters’ swords” found hidden away in the house. One of these Colonel Turner showed me. It was a reversal of the Scriptural injunction, being a ploughshare beaten into a weapon, and a very nasty weapon of offence, one end of it sharpened for an ugly thrust, the other fashioned into quite a fair grip. While I was examining this trophy there was a stir, and presently two of the gentlemen who had passed us on Mr. Shee’s car came rather suddenly out of the house in company with two or three constables.

They were representatives, they said, of the Press, and as such desired to be allowed to remain. Colonel Turner replied that this could not be, and, in fact, no one had been suffered to enter the house except the law-officers, the agent, and the constables. So the representatives of the Press were obliged to pass outside of the lines, one of the constables declaring that they had got into the house through a hole in the back wall!

[pg 21] Shortly after this incident there arose a considerable noise of groaning and shouting from the hill-side beyond the highway, and presently a number of people, women and children predominating, appeared coming down towards the precincts of the house. They were following a person in a clerical dress, who proved to be Father Quilter, the parish priest, who had denounced his people to Colonel Turner as “poor slaves” of the League! A colloquy followed between Father Quilter and the policemen of the cordon. This was brought to a close by Mr. Roche, the resident magistrate, who went forward, and finding that Father Quilter wished to pass the cordon, politely but firmly informed him that this could not be done. “Not if I am the bearer of a telegram for the lawyer?” asked Father Quilter, in a loud and not entirely amiable tone. “Not on any terms whatever,” responded the magistrate. Father Quilter still maintaining his ground, the women crowded in around and behind him, the men bringing up the rear at a respectable distance, and the small boys shouting loudly. For a moment faint hopes arose within me that I was about to witness one of the .exciting scenes of which I have more than once [pg 22] read. But only for a moment. The magistrate ordered the police to advance. As they drew near the wall with an evident intention of going over it into the highway, Father Quilter and the women fell back, the boys and men retreated up the opposite hill, and the brief battle of Glenbehy was over.

A small messenger bearing a telegram then emerged from the crowd, and showing his telegram, was permitted to pass. Father Quilter, in a loud voice, commented upon this, crying out, “See now your consistency! You said no one should pass, and you let the messenger come in!” To this sally no reply was returned. After a little the priest, followed by most of the people, went up the hill to the holding of another tenant, and there, as the police came in and reported, held a meeting. From time to time cries were heard in the distance, and ever and anon the blast of a horn came from some outlying hill.

But no notice was taken of these things by the police, and when the tedious formalities of the law had all been gone through with, a squad of men were put in charge of the house and the holding, the rest of the army re-formed for the march back, our cars came up, and we left West Lettur. [pg 23] Seeing a number of men come down the hill, as the column prepared to move, Mr. Roche, making his voice tremendous, after the fashion of a Greek chorus, commanded the police to arrest and handcuff any riotous person making provocative noises. This had the desired effect, and the march back began in silence. When the column was fairly in the road, “boos” and groans went up from knots of men higher up the hill, but no heed was taken of these, and no further incident occurred. I shall be curious to see whether the story of this affair can possibly be worked up into a thrilling narrative.

We lunched at Mrs. Shee’s, where no sort of curiosity was manifested about the proceedings at West Lettur, and I came back here with Colonel Turner by another road, which led us past one of the loveliest lakes I have ever seen—Lough Caragh. Less known to fame than the much larger Lake of Killarney, it is in its way quite worthy of comparison with any of the lesser lakes of Europe. It is not indeed set in a coronal of mountains like Orta, but its shores are well wooded, picturesque, and enlivened by charming seats—now, for the most part, alas!--abandoned by their owners. We had a pleasant club dinner here this evening, after which [pg 24] came in to see me Mr. Hussey, to whom I had sent a letter from Mr. Froude. Few men, I imagine, know this whole region better than Mr. Hussey. Some gentlemen of the country joined in the conversation, and curious stories were told of the difficulty of getting evidence in criminal cases. What Froude says of the effect of the prohibitive and protection policy in Ireland upon the morals of the people as to smuggling must be said, I fear, of the effect of the Penal Laws against Catholics upon their morals as to perjury. It is not surprising that the peasants should have been educated into the state of mind of the Irishman in the old American story, who, being solicited to promise his vote when he landed in New York, asked whether the party which sought it was for the Government or against it. Against it, he was told, “Then begorra you shall have my vote, for I’m agin the Government whatever it is.” One shocking case was told of a notorious and terrible murder here in Kerry. An old man and his son, so poor that they lay naked in their beds, were taken out and shot by a party of Moonlighters for breaking a boycott. They were left for dead, and their bodies thrown upon a dunghill. The boy, however, was [pg 25] still alive when they were found, and it was thought he might recover. The magistrates questioned him as to his knowledge of the murderers. The boy’s mother stood behind the magistrate, and when the question was put, held up her finger in a warning manner at the poor lad. She didn’t wish him to “peach,” as, if he lived, the friends of the murderers would make it impossible for them to keep their holding and live on it. The lad lied, and died with the lie on his lips. Who shall sit in judgment on that wretched mother and her son? But what rule can possibly be too stern to crush out the terrorism which makes such things possible?

And what right have Englishmen to expect their dominion to stand in Ireland when their party leaders for party ends shake hands with men who wink at and use this terrorism? It has so wrought upon the population here, that in another case, in which the truth needed by justice and the fears of a poor family trembling for their substance and their lives came thus into collision, an Irish Judge did not hesitate to warn the jury against allowing themselves to be influenced by “the usual family lie”!

A magistrate told us a curious story, which [pg 26] recalls a case noted by Sir Walter Scott, about the detection of a murderer, who lay long in wait for a certain police sergeant, obnoxious to the “Moonlighters,” and finally shot him dead in the public street of Loughrea, after dark on a rainy night, as he was returning from the Post-Office on one side of the street to the Police Barracks on the other. The town and the neighbouring country were all agog about the matter, but no trace could be got until the Dublin detectives came down three days after the murder. It had rained more or less every one of these days, and the pools of water were still standing in the street, as on the night of the murder. One of the Dublin officers closely examining the highway saw a heavy footprint in the coarse mud at the bottom of one of these pools. He had the water drawn off, and made out clearly, from the print in the mud, that the brogan worn by the foot which made it had a broken sole-piece turned over under the foot. By this the murderer was eventually traced, captured, tried, and found guilty.

Mr. Morphy, I find, is coming down from Dublin to conduct the prosecution in the case of the Crown against the murderers of Fitzmaurice, the old man, [pg 27] so brutally slain the other day near Lixnaw, in the presence of his daughter, for taking and farming a farm given up by his thriftless brother. “He will find,” said one of the company, “the mischief done in this instance also by prematurely pressing for evidence. The girl Honora, who saw her father murdered, never ought to have been subjected to any inquiry at first by any one, least of all by the local priest. Her first thought inevitably was that if she intimated who the men were, they would be screened, and she would suffer. Now she is recovering her self-possession and coming round, and she will tell the truth.”

“Meanwhile,” said a magistrate, “the girl and her family are all ‘boycotted,’ and that, mark you, by the priest, as well as by the people. The girl’s life would be in peril were not these scoundrels cowards as well as bullies. Two staunch policemen—Irishmen and Catholics both of them—are in constant attendance, with orders to prevent any one from trying to intimidate or to tamper with her. A police hut is putting up close to the Fitzmaurice house. The Nationalist papers haven’t a word to say for this poor girl or her murdered father. But they are always putting in some sly word in behalf [pg 28] of Moriarty and Hayes, the men accused of the murder.”

“Furthermore,” said another guest, “these two men are regularly supplied while in prison with special meals by Mrs. Tangney. Who foots the bills? That is what she won’t tell, nor has the Head-Constable so far been able accurately to ascertain. All we know is that the friends of the prisoners haven’t the money to do it.”

Late in the evening came in a tall fine-looking Kerry squire, who told us, à propos of the Fitzmaurice murder, that only a day or two ago a very decent tenant of his, who had taken over a holding from a disreputable kinsman, intending to manage it for the benefit of this kinsman’s family, came to him and said he must give it up, as the Moonlighters had threatened him if he continued to hold it.

A man of substance in Tralee gave me some startling facts as to the local administration here. In Tralee Union, he said, there were in 1879 eighty-seven persons receiving outdoor relief, at a cost to the Union of £30, 17s. 11d., being an average per head of 7s. 1d., and 1879 was a very bad year, the worst since the great famine year, 1847. A Nationalist Board was elected in 1880, [pg 29] and a Nationalist chairman in 1884. 1884 was a very good year, but in that year no fewer than 3434 persons received outdoor relief, at a cost of £2534, 13s. 10d., making an average per head of 14s. 9d.! And at the present time £5000 nominal worth of dishonoured cheques of the authorities were flying all over the county!

“On whom,” I asked, “does the burden fall of these levies and extravagances?”

“On the landlords, not on the tenants,” he promptly replied. “The landlord pays the whole of the rates on all holdings of less than £4 a year, and on all land which is either really or technically in his own possession. He also pays one-half of the rates on all the rest of his property.”

“Then, in a case like that of Griffin’s, evicted at Glenbehy, with arrears going back to 1883, who would pay the rates?”

“The landlord of course!”4


CORK, Thursday, Feb. 23d.We left Tralee this morning. It was difficult to recognise the events yesterday witnessed by us at Glenbehy in the accounts which we read of them to-day when we got the newspapers.

As these accounts are obviously intended to be read, not in Ireland, where nobody seems to take the least interest in Irish affairs beyond his own bailiwick, but in England and America, it is only natural, I suppose, that they should be coloured to suit the taste of the market for which they are destined. It is astonishing how little interest the people generally show in the newspapers. The Irish make good journalists as they make good soldiers; but most of the journalists who now represent Irish constituencies at Westminster find their chief field of activity, I am told, not in Irish but in British or in American journals. Mr. Roche, R.M., who travelled with us as far as Castle Island, where we [pg 31] left him, was much less moved by the grotesque accounts given in the local journals of his conduct yesterday than by Mr. Gladstone’s “retractation” of the extraordinary attack which he made the other day upon Mr. Roche himself, and four other magistrates by name.

“The retractation aggravates the attack,” he said.

When one sees what a magistrate now represents in Ireland, it certainly is not easy to reconcile an inconsiderate attack upon the character and conduct of such an officer with the most elementary ideas of good citizenship.

After Mr. Roche left us, a gentleman in the carriage, who is interested in some Castle Island property, told us that nothing could be worse than the state of that region. Open defiance of the moral authority of the clergy is as rife there, he says, as open defiance of the civil authorities. The church was not long ago broken into, and the sacred vestments were defiled; and, but the other day, a young girl of the place came to a magistrate and asked him to give her a summons against the parish priest “for assaulting her.” The magistrate, a Protestant, but a personal friend of the priest, esteeming him for his fidelity to his duties, asked the girl what [pg 32] on earth she meant. She proceeded with perfect coolness to say that the priest had impertinently interfered with her, “assaulted her,” and told her to “go home,” when he found her sitting in a lonely part of the road with her young man, rather late at night! For this, the girl, professing to be a Catholic, actually wanted the Protestant magistrate to have her parish priest brought into his court! He told the girl plainly what he thought of her conduct, whereupon she went away, very angry, and vowing vengeance both against the priest and against him.

This same gentleman said that at the Bodyke evictions, of which so much has been heard, the girls and women swarmed about the police using language so revoltingly obscene that the policemen blushed—such language, he said, as was never heard from decent Irishwomen in the days of his youth.

Of this business of evictions, he said, the greatest imaginable misrepresentations are made in the press and by public speakers. “You have just seen one eviction yourself,” he said, “and you can judge for yourself whether that can be truly described in Mr. Gladstone’s language as a ‘sentence of death.’ The people that were put out of these burned houses [pg 33] you saw, houses that never would have needed to be burned, had Harrington and the other Leaguers allowed the people to keep their pledges given Sir Redvers Buller, those very people are better off now than they were before they were evicted, in so far as this, that they get their food and drink and shelter without working for it, and I’m sorry to say that the Government and the League, between them, have been soliciting half of Ireland for the last six or eight years to think that sort of thing a heaven upon earth. An eviction in Ireland in these days generally means just this, that the fight between a landlord and the League has come to a head. If the tenant wants to be rid of his holding, or if he is more afraid of the League than of the law, why, out he goes, and then he is a victim of heartless oppression; but if he is well-to-do, and if he thinks he will be protected, he takes the eviction proceedings just for a notice to stop palavering and make a settlement, and a settlement is made. The ordinary Irish tenant don’t think anything more of an eviction than Irish gentlemen used to think of a duel; but you can never get English people to understand the one any more than the other!”

[pg 34] The fine broad streets which Cork owes to the filling up and bridging over of the canals which in the last century made her a kind of Irish Venice, give the city a comely and even stately aspect. But they are not much better kept and looked after than the streets of New York. And they are certainly less busy and animated than when I last was here, five years ago. All the canals, however, are not filled up or bridged over. From my windows, in a neat comfortable little private hotel on Morrison’s Quay, I look down upon the deck of a small barque, moored well up among the houses. The hospitable and dignified County Club is within two minutes’ walk of my hostelry, and the equally hospitable and more bustling City Club, but a little farther off, at the end of the South Mall. At luncheon to-day a gentleman who was at Kilkenny with Mr. Gladstone on the occasion of his visit to that city told me a story too good to be lost. The party were eight in number, and on their return to Abbeyleix they naturally looked out for an empty railway carriage. The train was rather full, but in one compartment my informant descried a dignitary, whom he knew, of the Protestant Church of Ireland, its only occupant. [pg 35] He went up and saluted the Dean, and, pointing to his companions, asked if he would object to changing his place in the train, which would give them a compartment to themselves. The Dean courteously, and indeed briskly, assented, when he saw that Mr. Gladstone was one of the party.

After the train moved off, Mr. Gladstone said, “Was not that gentleman who so kindly vacated his place for us a clergyman?”

“Yes.” “I hope he won’t think I have disestablished him again!”

At the next station, my informant getting out for a moment to thank the Dean again for his civility, and chat with him, repeated Mr. Gladstone’s remark.

“Oh!” said the Dean; “you may tell him I don’t mind his disestablishing me again; for he didn’t disendow me; he didn’t confiscate my ticket!”

With this gentleman was another from Kerry, who tells me there is a distinct change for the better already visible in that county, which he attributes to the steady action of the Dublin authorities in enforcing the law.

“The League Courts,” he said, “are ceasing to be the terror they used to be.”

I asked what he meant by the “League Courts,” [pg 36] when he expressed his astonishment at my not knowing that it was the practice of the League to hold regular Courts, before which the tenants are summoned, as if by a process of the law, to explain their conduct, when they are charged with paying their rents without the permission of the Local League. In his part of Kerry, he tells me, these Courts used not very long ago to sit regularly every Sunday. The idea, he says, is as old as the time of the United Irishmen, who used to terrorise the country just in the same way. A man whom he named, a blacksmith, acted as a kind of “Law Lord,” and to him the chairmen of the different local “Courts” used to refer cases heard before them!5

All this was testified to openly two years ago, before Lord Cowper’s Commission, but no decisive action has ever been taken by the Government to put a stop to the scandal, and relieve the tenants from this open tyranny. These Courts enforced, and still enforce, their decrees by various forms of outrage, [pg 37] ranging “from the boycott,” in its simplest forms up to direct outrages upon property and the person.

“This dual Government business,” he said, “can only end in a duel between the two Governments, and it must be a duel to the death of one or the other.”

To-night at dinner I had a most interesting conversation with Mr. Colomb, Assistant Inspector-General of the Constabulary, who is here engaged with Mr. Cameron of Belfast, and Colonel Turner, in investigating the affair at Mitchelstown. Mr. Colomb was at Killarney at the time of the Fenian rising under “General O’Connor” in 1867—a rising which was undoubtedly an indirect consequence of our own Civil War in America. Warning came to two magistrates, of impending trouble from Cahirciveen. Upon this Mr. Colomb immediately ordered the arrest of all passengers to arrive that day at Killarney by the “stage-car” from that place. When the car came in at night, it brought only one person—“an awful-looking ruffian he was,” said Mr. Colomb, “whom, by his square-toed shoes, we knew to be just arrived from your side of the water.”

He was examined, and said he was a commercial traveller, and that he had only one letter about him, a business letter, addressed to “J. D. Sheehan.”

[pg 38] “Have you any objection to show us that letter?”

“Certainly not,” he replied very coolly, and, taking it out of his pocket, he walked toward a table on which stood a candle, as if to read it. A gentleman who was closely watching him, caught him by the wrist, just as he was putting the letter to the flame, and saved it. It was addressed to J. D. Sheehan, Esq., Killarney [Present], and ran as follows:

“MY DEAR SHEEHAN,—I have the honour to introduce to you Captain Mortimer Moriarty. He will be of great assistance to you, and I have told him all that is to be done until I get to your place. The Private Spys are very active this morning. Unless they smell a rat all will be done without any trouble.

“Success to you. Hoping to meet soon,—Yours as ever.

“(Signed) JOHN J. O’CONNOR.”6

[pg 39] Despatches were at once sent off to the authorities at different points. They were all transmitted, except to Cahirciveen, the wires to which place were found to have been cut. Mr. Colomb—who had a force of but seventeen men in the town of Killarney—saw the uselessness of trying to communicate with the officer at Cahirciveen, but was so strongly urged by the magistrates that he unwillingly consented to endeavour to do so, and a mounted orderly was sent. Just after this unfortunate officer had passed Glenbehy (the scene of the eviction I have just witnessed) he was shot by some of O’Connor’s party, whom he tried to pass in the dark, and who were marching on Killarney, and fell from his horse, which galloped off. He managed to crawl to a neighbouring cottage, where he was not long after found by ”General O’Connor“ and some of his followers. The wounded man was kindly treated by O’Connor, who had him examined for despatches, but prevented one of his men from shooting him dead, as he lay on the ground, and had his wounds as well attended to as was possible. There was no response in the country to the Kerry rising, such as it was, because the intended seizure of Chester Castle by the Fenians failed, but O’Connor [pg 40] was not captured, though great efforts were made to seize him. How he escaped is not known to this day.

At that time, as always in emergencies, Mr. Colomh says the Constabulary behaved with exemplary coolness, courage, and fidelity. His position gives him a very thorough knowledge of the force, which is almost entirely recruited from the body of the Irish people. Of late years not a few men of family, reduced in fortune, have taken service in it. Among these has been mentioned to me a young Irishman of title, and of an ancient race, who is a sergeant in the force, and who recently declined to accept a commission, as his increased expenses would make it harder for him to support his two sisters. Another constable in the ranks represents a family illustrious in the annals of England four centuries ago.

As to the morale of the force, he cites one eloquent fact. Out of a total of more than 13,000 men, the cases of drunkenness, proved or admitted, average no more than fourteen a week! On many days absolutely no such cases occur. This is really amazing when one thinks how many of the men are isolated on lonely posts all over the island, exposed to all sorts of weather, and cut off from the ordinary resources and amusements of social life.

CORK, Friday, Feb. 24th.This morning after breakfast I met in the South Mall a charming ecclesiastic, whose acquaintance I made in Rome while I was attending the great celebration there in 1867 of St. Peter’s Day. Father Burke introduced me to him after the Pontifical Mass at San Paolo fuori le Mure; and we had a delightful symposium that afternoon. I walked with him to his lodgings, talking over those ”days long vanished,“ and the friend whose genius made them, like the suppers of Plato, ”a joy for ever.“ He is sorely troubled now by the attitude of a portion of the clergy in his part of Ireland, which is one almost of open hostility, he says, to the moral authority of the Church, and indicates the development of a class of priests moving in the direction of the ”conventional priests,“ by whom the Church was disgraced during the darkest days of the French Revolution of 1793.

Almost more mischievous than these men, he thinks, who must eventually go the way of their kind in times past, are the timid priests, for the most part parish priests, who go in fear of their violent curates, and of the politicians who tyrannise their [pg 41] flocks. He showed me a letter written to him last week by one of these, whose parish is just now in a tempest over the Plan of Campaign. Certainly a most remarkable letter. In it the writer frankly says, ”There is no justification for the Plan of Campaign on this property.

“I assented to putting it in force here,” he goes on, “because I did not at the time know the facts of the case, and took them on trust from persons who, I find, have practised upon my confidence. What am I to do? I am made to appear as a consenting party now, and, indeed, an assisting agent in action, which I certainly was led to believe right and necessary, but which upon the facts I now see involves much injustice to —— (naming the landlord), and I fear positive ruin to worthy men and families of my people. I shall be grateful and glad of your counsel in these most distressing circumstances.”

“What can any one do to help such a man?” said my friend. “The rebellious and unruly in the Church, be they priests or laymen, can only in the end damage themselves. Tu es Petrus; and revolt, like schism, is a devil which only carries away those of whom it gets possession out of the Church and [pg 42] into the sea. But a weak sentinel on the wall or at the gate who drops his musket to wipe his eyes, that is a thing for tears!”

He asked me to come and see him if possible in his own county, and he has promised to send me letters to-day for priests who will he glad to tell me what they know only too well of the pressure put upon the better sort of the people by the organised idlers and mischief-makers in Clare and Kerry.

To-day at the City Club, I made the acquaintance of the Town-Clerk of Cork, Mr. Alexander M‘Carthy, a staunch Nationalist and Home Ruler, who holds his office almost by a sort of hereditary tenure, having been appointed to it in 1859 in succession to his father. He gave me many interesting particulars as to the municipal history and administration of Cork, and showed me some of the responses he is receiving to a kind of circular letter sent by the municipality to the town governments of England, touching the recent proceedings against the Mayor. So far these responses have not been very sympathetic. He invited me to lunch here with him to-morrow, and visit some of the most interesting points in and around the city. Here, too, I met Colonel Spaight, Inspector [pg 43] of the Local Government Board, who gives me a startling account of the increase of the public burdens. Twenty years ago there were no persons whatever seeking outdoor relief in Cork. This year, out of a total population of 145,216, there are 3775 persons here receiving indoor relief, and 4337 receiving outdoor relief, making in all 8112, or nearly 6 per cent. of the inhabitants. This proportion is swelled by the influx of people from other regions seeking occupation here, which they do not find, or simply coming here because they are sure of relief. This state of things illustrates not so much the decay of industry in Cork as the development of a spirit of mendicancy throughout Ireland. In the opinion of many thoughtful people, this began with the Duchess of Marlborough’s Fund, and with the Mansion House Fund. Colonel Spaight remembers that in Strokestown Union, Roscommon, when the guardians there received a supply of one hundred tons of seed potatoes, they distributed eighty tons, and were then completely at a loss what to do with the remaining twenty tons. Mr. Parnell and Mr. O’Kelly, however, came to Roscommon, and the latter made a speech out of the hotel window to the people, advising them to apply for more, and [pg 44] take all they could get. “With a stroke of a pen,” he said, “we’ll wipe out the seed rate!” Whereupon the applications for seed rose to six hundred tons!

The Labourers Act, passed by the British Parliament for the benefit of the Irish labourers, who get but scant recognition of their wants and wishes from the tenant farmers, is not producing the good results expected from it, mainly because it is perverted [pg 45] to all sorts of jobbery. Only last week Colonel Spaight had to hand in to the Local Government Board a report on certain schemes of expenditure under this Act, prepared by the Board of Guardians of Tralee. These schemes contemplated the erection of 196 cottages in 135 electoral divisions of the Union. This meant, of course, so much money of the ratepayers to be turned over to local contractors. Colonel Spaight on inspection found that of the 196 proposed cottages, the erection of 61 had been forbidden by the sanitary authorities, the notices for the erection of 23 had been wrongly served, 20 were proposed to be erected on sites not adjoining a public road, and no necessity had been shown for erecting 40 of the others. He accordingly recommended that only 32 be allowed to be erected! For a small town like Tralee this proposition to put [pg 46] up 196 buildings at the public expense where only 32 were needed is not bad. It has the right old Tammany Ring smack, and would have commanded, I am sure, the patronising approval of the late Mr. Tweed.

I mentioned it to-night at the County Club, when a gentleman said that this morning at Macroom a serious “row” had occurred between the local Board of Guardians there and a great crowd of labourers. The labourers thronged the Board-room, demanding the half-acre plots of land which had been promised them. The Guardians put them off, promising to attend to them when the regular business of the meeting was over. So the poor fellows were kept waiting for three mortal hours, at the end of which time they espied the elected Nationalist members of the Board subtly filing out of the place. This angered them. They stopped the fugitives, blockaded the Board-room, and forced the Guardians to appoint a committee to act upon their demands.

It is certainly a curious fact that, so far, in Ireland I have seen no decent cottages for labourers, excepting those put up at their own expense on their own property by landlords.

[pg 47] I dined to-night at the County Club with Captain Plunkett, a most energetic, spirited, and well-informed resident magistrate, a brother of the late Lord Louth,—still remembered, I dare say, at the New York Hotel as the only Briton who ever really mastered the mystery of concocting a “cocktail,”—and an uncle of the present peer. We had a very cheery dinner, and a very clever lawyer, Mr. Shannon, gave us an irresistible reproduction of a charge delivered by an Irish judge famous for shooting over the heads of juries, who sent twelve worthy citizens of Galway out of their minds by bidding them remember, in a case of larceny, that they could not find the prisoner guilty unless they were quite sure “as to the animus furandi and the asportavit.”

Saturday, Feb. 25.I had an interesting talk this morning at the County Club with a gentleman from Limerick on the subject of “boycotting.” I told him what I had seen at Edenvale of the practice as applied to a forlorn and helpless old woman, for the crime of standing by her “boycotted” son. “You think this an extreme case,” he said, “but you are quite mistaken. It is a typical case certainly, but it gives you only an inadequate idea of [pg 48] the scope given to this infernal machinery. The ‘boycott’ is now used in Ireland as the Inquisition was used in Spain,—to stifle freedom of thought and action. It is to-day the chief reliance of the National League for keeping up its membership, and squeezing subscriptions out of the people. If you want proof of this,” he added, “ask any Nationalist you know whether members of the League in the country allow farmers who are not members to associate with them in any way. I can cite you a case at Ballingarry, in my county, where last summer a resolution of the League was published and put on the Chapel door, that members of the National League were thenceforth to have no dealings or communication with any person not a member. This I saw with my own eyes, and it was matter of public notoriety.”

I lunched at the City Club with Mr. M‘Carthy. Sir Daniel O’Sullivan, formerly Mayor of Cork, whose views of Home Rule seem to differ widely from those of his successor, now incarcerated here, was one of the company. In the course of an animated but perfectly good-natured discussion of the Land Law question between two other gentlemen present, one of them, a strong Nationalist, [pg 49] smote his Unionist opponent very neatly under the fifth rib. The latter contending that it was monstrous to interfere by law with the principle of freedom of contract, the Nationalist responded, “That cannot be; it must be right and legitimate to do it, for the Imperial Parliament has done it four times within seventeen years!”

I walked with Mr. M‘Carthy to his apartments, where he showed me many curious papers and volumes bearing on municipal law and municipal history in Ireland. Among these, two most elaborate and interesting volumes, being the Council Books of Cork, Youghal, and Kinsale, from 1610 to 1659, 1666 to 1687, and 1690 to 1800. The records for the years not enumerated have perished, that is, for the first five or six years after the Restoration, and for the years just preceding and just following the fall of James II. These volumes take one back to the condition of Southern Ireland immediately after English greed and intrigue had sapped the foundations of the peace which followed the submission of the great Earl of Tyrone, and brought about the flight to the Continent of that chieftain, and of his friend and ally, the Earl of Tyrconnell.

They give us no picture, unfortunately, of the [pg 50] closing years of Elizabeth’s long struggle to establish the English power, or of the occupation of Kinsale by the Spanish in the name of the Pope. But there is abundant evidence in them of the theological hatred which so embittered the conflict of races in Ireland during the seventeenth century.

It was a relief to turn from these to a solemn controversy waged in our own times between Cork and Limerick over a question of municipal precedence, in which Mr. M‘Carthy did battle for the City of the Galley and the Towers7 against the City of the Gateway and Cathedral dome. The truth seems to be that King John gave charters to both cities, but to Cork twelve years earlier than to Limerick. Speaking of this contest, by the way, with a loyalist of Cork to-night, I observed that it was almost as odd to find such a question hotly disputed between two Nationalist cities as to see the champions of Irish independence marching under the banner of the harp, which was invented for Ireland by Henry VIII.

“I don’t know why you call Cork a Nationalist [pg 51] city,” he replied, “for Parnell and Maurice Healy were returned for it by a clear minority of the voters. If all the voters had gone to the polls, they would both have been beaten.”

A curious statement certainly, and worth looking into. Mr. M‘Carthy gave me also much information as to the working of the municipal system here, and a copy of the rules which govern the debates of the Town Council. One of these might be adopted with advantage in other assemblies, to wit, “that no member be permitted to occupy the time of the Council for more than ten minutes.”

There is an important difference between the parliamentary and the municipal constituencies of Cork. The former constituency comprises all residents within the borough boundaries occupying premises of the rateable value of £10 a year. The municipal constituency consists of no more than 1800 voters, divided among the seven wards which make up the city under the “3d and 4th Victoria,” and which contain about 13,000 of the 15,116 Parliamentary voters of the borough. The same thing is true in the main of nine out of the eleven municipal boroughs of Ireland including Dublin. The 3d and 4th Victoria was amended for Dublin in [pg 52] 1849, so as to give that city the municipal franchise then existing in England, but no move in that direction was made for Cork, Waterford, Limerick, or any other municipal borough. The Nationalists have taken no interest in the question. Perhaps they have good reason for this, as in Belfast, where the municipal franchise has been widely extended since the present Government came into power, the democratic electorate has put the whole municipal government into the hands of the Unionists. The day being cool, though fine, Mr. M‘Carthy got an “inside car,” and we went off for a drive about the city. The environs of Cork are very attractive. We visited the new cemetery grounds which are very neatly and tastefully laid out. There was a conflict over them, the owners of family vaults staunchly standing out against the “levelling” tendency of a harmonious city of the dead. But all is well that ends well, and now two handsome stone chapels, one Catholic and one Protestant, keep watch and ward over the silent sleepers, standing face to face near the grand entrance, and exactly alike in their architecture. A very pretty drive took us to the water-works, which are extensive, well planned, and exceedingly well [pg 53] kept. They are awaiting now the arrival from America of some great turbine wheels, but the engines are of English make. In the city we visited the new Protestant cathedral of St. Finbar, a very fine church, which advantageously replaces a “spacious structure of the Doric order,” built here in the reign of George II., with the proceeds of a parliamentary tax on coals. Despite his name, I imagine that admirable prelate, Dr. England, the first Catholic bishop of my native city in America, must have been a Corkonian, for he it was, I believe, who put the cathedral of Charleston under the invocation of St. Finbar, the first bishop of Cork. The church stands charmingly amid fine trees on a southern branch of the river Lea. We visited also two fine Catholic churches, one of St. Vincent de Paul, and the other the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, a grandly proportioned and imposing edifice.

It was at vespers that we entered it, and found it filled with the kneeling people. This noble church is rather ignobly hidden away behind crowded houses and shops, and the contrast was very striking when we emerged from its dim religious space and silence into the thronged and rather noisy streets. There is a statue here of Father Mathew; but what [pg 54] I have seen to-night makes me doubt whether the present generation of Corkonians would have erected it.

At dinner a gentleman gave us a most interesting account of the picturesque home which a man of taste, and a lover of natural history, has made for himself at the remote seaside village of Belmullet, in Mayo, the seat of the Mayo quarries, in which Mr. Davitt takes so much interest. The sea brings in there all sorts of wreckage, and the house is beautifully finished with mahogany and other rare woods, just as I remember finding in a noble mansion in South Wales, near a dangerous head-land, some magnificent doors and wainscotings made of that most beautiful of the Central American woods, nogarote, which I never saw in the United States, excepting in a superb specimen of it sent home by myself from Corinto. This colonist of Mayo employs all the people he can get in the fisheries there, which are very rich; and the ducks and wild geese are so numerous that he sometimes sends as far as to Wicklow for men to capture and sell them for him. He was once fortunate enough to trap a pair of the snow geese of the Arctic region, but Belmullet, in other respects a [pg 55] primeval paradise, is cursed with the small boy of civilisation; and one of these pests of society slew the goose with a stone. The widowed gander consoled himself by contracting family ties with the common domestic goose of the parish, and all his progeny, in other particulars indistinguishable from that familiar bird, bear the black marks distinctive of the Arctic tribe.

Belmullet, this gentleman tells me, boasts a very good little inn, kept by a Mrs. Deehan, which was honoured by a visit from Lord Carnarvon with his wife and daughters during the Earl’s Viceroyalty. This was in the course of a private and personal, not official tour, during which, Lord Carnarvon says, he was everywhere received with the greatest courtesy by all sorts and conditions of the people. It is an interesting illustration of the temper in which certain priests in Ireland deal with matters of State, that when Lord Carnarvon politely invited the parish priest of Belmullet to come to see him, that functionary declined to do so. Upon this the placable Viceroy sent to know whether the priest would receive the visit he refused to pay. The priest replied that he never declined to receive any gentleman who wished to see him; and the Vice [pg 56] roy accordingly called upon him, to the edification of the people, who afterwards listened very respectfully to a little speech which His Excellency made to them from a car. It is rather surprising that these incidents have never been adduced in proof of Lord Carnarvon’s determination to take the Home Rule wind out of the sails of the Liberals!

CORK, Sunday, Feb. 26.I went out to-day with Mr. Cameron to see Blarney Castle and St. Anne’s Hill. Nothing can be lovelier than the country around Cork and the valley of the Lea. A “light railway,” of the sort authorised by the Act of 1883, takes you out quickly enough to Blarney, and the train was well filled. The construction of these railways is found fault with as aggravating instead of relieving those defects in the organisation and management of the Irish railways, which are so thoroughly and intelligently exposed in the Public Works Report of Sir James Allport and his fellow-commissioners. A morning paper to-day points this out sharply.

In the days of King William III. Blarney Castle must have been a magnificent stronghold. It stands very finely on a well-wooded height, and [pg 57] dominates the land for miles around. But it held out against the victor of the Boyne so long that, when he captured it, he thought it best, in the expressive phrase of the Commonwealth, to “slight” it, little now remaining of it but the gigantic keep, the walls of which are some six yards thick, and a range of ruined outworks stretching along and above a line of caverns, probably the work of the quarrymen who got out the stone for the Castle ages ago. The legend of the Blarney Stone does not seem to be a hundred years old, but the stone itself is one of the front battlements of the grand old tower, which has more than once fallen to the ground from the giddy height at which it was originally set. It is now made fast there by iron clamps, in such a position that to kiss it one should be a Japanese acrobat, or a volunteer rifleman shooting for the championship of the world. There are many and very fine trees in the grounds about the Castle, and there is a charming garden, now closed against the casual tourist, as it has been leased with the modern house to a tenant who lives here. In the leafy summer the place must be a dream of beauty. An avenue of stately trees quite overarching the highway leads from Blarney to St. Anne’s Hill, the [pg 58] site of which, at least, is that of an ideal sanatorium. We walked thither over hill and dale. The panorama commanded by the buildings of the sanatorium is one of the widest and finest imaginable, worthy to be compared with the prospect from the Star and Garter at Richmond, or with that from the terrace at St. Germain.

Several handsome lodges or cottages have been built about the extensive grounds. These are comfortably furnished and leased to people who prefer to bring their households here rather than take up their abode in the hotel, which, however, seems to be a very well kept and comfortable sort of place, with billiard and music rooms, a small theatre, and all kinds of contrivances for making the country almost as tedious as the town. The establishment is directed now by a German resident physician, but belongs to an Irish gentleman, Mr. Barter, who lives here himself, and here manages what I am told is one of the finest dairy farms and dairies in Ireland. Our return trip to Cork on the “light railway,” with a warm red sunset lighting up the river Lea, and throwing its glamour over the varied and picturesque scenery through which we ran, was not the least delightful part of a very delightful excursion.

[pg 59] After we got back I spent half-an-hour with a gentleman who knows the country about Youghal, which I propose to visit to-morrow, and who saw something of the recent troubles there arising out of the Plan of Campaign, as put into effect on the Ponsonby property.

He is of the opinion that the Nationalists were misled into this contest by bad information as to Mr. Ponsonby’s resources and relations. They expected to drive him to the wall, but they will fail to do this, and failing to do this they will be left in the vocative. He showed me a curious souvenir of the day of the evictions, in the shape of a quatrain, written by the young wife of an evicted tenant. This young woman, Mrs. Mahoney, was observed by one of the officers, as the eviction went on, to go apart to a window, where she stood for a while apparently writing something on a wooden panel of the shutter. After the eviction was over the officer remembered this, and going up to the window found these lines pencilled upon the panel:—

“We are evicted from this house,
Me and my loving man;
We’re homeless now upon the world!
May the divil take ‘the Plan’!”

[pg 60] CORK, Monday, Feb. 27.A most interesting day. I left alone and early by the train for Youghal, having sent before me a letter of introduction to Canon Keller, the parish priest, who has recently become a conspicuous person through his refusal to give evidence about matters, his knowledge of which he conceives to be “privileged,” as acquired in his capacity as a priest.

I had many fine views of the shore and the sea as we ran along, and the site of Youghal itself is very fine. It is an old seaport town, and once was a place of considerable trade, especially in wool.

Oliver dwelt here for a while, and from Youghal he embarked on his victorious return to England. He seems to have done his work while he was here “not negligently,” like Harrison at Naseby Field, for when he departed he left Youghal a citadel of Protestant intolerance. Even under Charles II they maintained an ordinance forbidding “any Papist to buy or barter anything in the public markets,” which may be taken as a piece of cold-blooded and statutory “boycotting.” Then there was no parish priest in Youghal; now it may almost be said there is nobody in Youghal but the [pg 61] parish priest! So does “the whirligig of time bring in his revenges”!

At Youghal station a very civil young man came up, calling me by name, and said Father Keller had sent him with a car to meet me. We drove up past some beautiful grounds into the main street. A picturesque waterside town, little lanes and narrow streets leading out of the main artery down to the bay, and a savour of the sea in the place, grateful doubtless to the souls of Raleigh and the west country folk he brought over here when he became lord of the land, just three hundred years ago. Edmund Spenser came here in those days to see him, and talk over the events of that senseless rising of the Desmonds, which gave the poet of the “Faerie Queen” his awful pictures of the desolation of Ireland, and made the planter of Virginia master of more than forty thousand acres of Irish land.

We turned suddenly into a little narrow wynd, and pulled up, the driver saying, “There is the Father, yer honour!” In a moment up came a tall, very fine-looking ecclesiastic, quite the best dressed and most distinguished-looking priest I have yet seen in Ireland, with features of a fine Teutonic [pg 62] type, and the erect bearing of a soldier. I jumped down to greet him, and he proposed that we should walk together to his house near by. An extremely good house I found it to be, well placed in the most interesting quarter of the town. Having it in my mind to drive on from Youghal to Lismore, there to make an early dinner, see the castle of the Duke of Devonshire, and return to Cork by an evening train, I had to decline Father Keller’s cordial hospitalities, but he gave me a most interesting hour with him in his comfortable study. Father Keller stands firmly by the position which earned for him a sentence of imprisonment last year, when he refused to testify before a court of justice in a bankruptcy case, on the ground that it might “drift him into answers which would disclose secrets he was bound in honour not to disclose.” He does not accept the view taken of his conduct, however, by Lord Selborne, that, in the circumstances, his refusal is to be regarded as the act of his ecclesiastical superiors rather than his own. He maintains it as his own view of the sworn duty of a priest, and not unnaturally therefore he looks upon his sentence as a blow levelled at the clergy; nor, as I understood him, has he abandoned his original contention, that the Court had no right to [pg 63] summon him as a witness. It was impossible to listen to him on this subject, and doubt his entire good faith, nor do I see that he ought to be held responsible for the interpretation put by Mr. Lane, M.P., and others upon his attitude as a priest, in a sense going to make him merely a “martyr” of Home Rule. I did not gather from what he said that, in his mind, the question of his relations with the Nationalists or the Plan of Campaign entered into that affair at all, but simply that he believed the right and the duty of a priest to protect, no matter at what cost to himself, secrets confided to him as a priest, was really involved in his consent or refusal to answer, when he was asked whether he was or was not on a certain day at the “Mall House” in Youghal. Of course from the connection of this refusal in this particular case with the Nationalist movement, Nationalists would easily glide into the idea that he refused to testify in order to serve their cause.

As to the troubles on the Ponsonby estate, Father Keller spoke very freely. He divided the responsibility for them between the untractableness of the agent, and the absenteeism of the owner. It was only since the troubles began, he said, that he [pg 64] had ever seen Mr. Ponsonby, who lived in Hampshire, and was therefore out of touch with the condition and the feelings of the people here. In a personal interview with him he had found Mr. Ponsonby a kindly disposed Englishman, but the estate is heavily encumbered, and the agent who has had complete control of it forced the tenants, by his hard and fast refusal of a reasonable reduction more than two years ago, into an initial combination to defend themselves by “clubbing” their rents. That was before Mr. Dillon announced the Plan of Campaign at all.

“It was not till the autumn of 1886,” said Father Keller, “that any question arose of the Plan of Campaign here,8 and it was by the tenants themselves that the determination was taken to adopt it. My part has been that of a peace-maker throughout, and we should have had peace if Mr. Ponsonby would have listened to me; we should have had peace, and he would have received a reasonable rental for his property. Instead of this, look at the law costs arising out of bankruptcy proceedings and sheriff’s sales and writs and [pg 65] processes, and the whole district thrown into disorder and confusion, and the industrious people now put out of their holdings, and forced into idleness.”

As to the recent evictions which had taken place, Father Keller said they had taken him as well as the people by surprise, and had thus led to greater agitation and excitement. “But the unfortunate incident of the loss of Hanlon’s life,” he said, “would never have occurred had I been duly apprised of what was going on in the town. I had come home into my house, having quieted the people, and left all in order, as I thought, when that charge of the police, for which there was no occasion, and which led to the killing of Hanlon, was ordered. I made my way rapidly to the people, and when I appeared they were brought to patience and to good order with astonishing ease, despite all that had occurred.”

As to the present outlook, it was his opinion that Mr. Ponsonby, even with the Cork Defence Union behind him, could not hold out. “The Land Corporation were taking over some parts of the estate, and putting Emergency men on them—a set of desperate men, a kind of enfants perdus,” he said, “to work and manage the land;” but he did not believe the operation could be successfully [pg 66] carried out. Meanwhile he confidently counted upon seeing “the present Tory Government give way, and go out, when it would become necessary for the landlords to do justice to the rack-rented people. Pray understand,” said Father Keller, “that I do not say all landlords stand at all where Mr. Ponsonby has been put by his agent, for that is not the case; but the action of many landlords in the county Cork in sustaining Mr. Ponsonby, whose estate is and has been as badly rack-rented an estate as can be found, is, in my judgment, most unwise, and threatening to the peace and happiness of Ireland.”9

I asked whether, in his opinion, it would be possible for the Ponsonby tenants to live and prosper here on this estate, could they become peasant proprietors of it under Lord Ashbourne’s Act, provided they increased in numbers, as in that event might be expected. This he thought very doubtful so far as a few of the tenants are concerned.

“Would you seek a remedy, then,” I asked, “in emigration?”

[pg 67] “No, not in emigration,” he replied, “but in migration.”

I begged him to explain the difference.

“What I mean,” he said, “is, that the people should migrate, not out of Ireland, but from those parts of Ireland which cannot support them into parts of Ireland which can support them. There is room in Meath, for example, for the people of many congested districts.”

“You would, then, turn the great cattle farms of Meath,” I said, “into peasant holdings?”


“But would not that involve the expropriation of many people now established in Meath, and the disturbance or destruction of a great cattle industry for which Ireland has especial advantages?”

To this Father Keller replied that he did not wish to see Ireland exporting her cattle, any more than to see Ireland exporting her sons and daughters. “I mean,” he said, quite earnestly, “when they are forced to export them to pay exorbitant rents, and thus deprive themselves of their capital or of a fair share of the comforts of life. I should be glad to see the Irish people sufficient to themselves by the domestic exchange of their own industries and [pg 68] products.” At the same time he begged me to understand that he had no wish to see this development attended by any estrangement or hostile feeling between Ireland and Great Britain. “On the contrary,” he said, “I have seen with the greatest satisfaction the growth of such good feeling towards England as I never expected to witness, as the result of the visits here of English public men, sympathising with the Irish tenants. I believe their visits are opening the way to a real union of the Democracies of the two countries, and to an alliance between them against the aristocratic classes which depress both peoples.” This alliance Father Keller believed would be a sufficient guarantee against any religious contest between the Catholics of Ireland and the Protestants of Great Britain.

“I was much astounded,” he said, “the other day, to hear from an English gentleman that he had met a Protestant clergyman who told him he really believed that a persecution of the Protestants would follow the establishment of Home Rule in Ireland. I begged him to consider that Mr. Parnell was a Protestant, and I assured him Protestants would have absolutely nothing to fear from Home Rule.”

Reverting to his idea of re-distributing the Irish [pg 69] population through Ireland, under changed conditions, social and economical, I asked him how in Meath, for example, he would meet the difficulty of stocking with cattle the peasant holdings of a new set of proprietors not owning stock. He thought it would be easily met by advances of money from the Treasury to the peasant proprietors, these advances to be repaid, with interest, as in the case of Lady Burdett Coutts, and the advances made by her to the fishermen now under the direction of Father Davis at Baltimore.

I was struck by the resemblance of these views to the Irish policy sketched for me by my Nationalist fellow-traveller of the other night from London. “The evil that men do lives after them”—and when one remembers how only a hundred years ago, and just after the establishment of American Independence ought to have taught England a lesson, the Irish House of Commons had to deal with the persistent determination of the English manufacturers to fight the bogey of Irish competition by protective duties in England against imports from Ireland, it is not surprising that Irishmen who allow sentiment to get the upper hand of sense should now think of playing a return game. England [pg 70] went in fear then not only of Irish beasts and Irish butter, but of Irish woollens, Irish cottons, Irish leather, Irish glass. Nay, absurd as it may now seem, English ironmasters no longer ago than in 1785 testified before a Parliamentary Committee that unless a duty was clapped on Irish manufactures of iron, the Irish ironmasters had such advantages through cheaper labour and through the discrimination in their favour under the then existing relations with the new Republic of the United States that they would “ruin the ironmasters of England.”

In Ireland, as in America, the benign spirit of Free Trade is thwarted and intercepted at every turn by the abominable ghost of British Protection. What a blessing it would have been if the meddlesome palaverers of the Cobden Club, American as well as English, could ever have been made to understand the essentially insular character of Protection and the essentially continental character of Free Trade!

It should never be forgotten, and it is almost never remembered, that when the Treaty of Versailles was making in 1783 the American Commissioners offered complete free trade between the United States and all parts of the British Dominions [pg 71] save the territories of the East India Company. The British Commissioner, David Hartley, saw the value of this proposition, and submitted it at London. But King George III. would not entertain it.

When I rose to leave him Father Keller courteously insisted on showing me the “lions” of Youghal. A most accomplished cicerone he proved to be. As we left his house we met in the street two or three of the “evicted” tenants, whom he introduced to me. One of these, Mr. Loughlin, was the holder of farms representing a rental of £94. A stalwart, hearty, rotund, and rubicund farmer he was, and in reply to my query how long the holdings he had lost had been in his family, he answered, “not far from two hundred years.” Certainly some one must have blundered as badly as at Balaklava to make it necessary for a tenant with such a past behind him to go out of his holdings on arrears of a twelvemonth. Father Keller gave me, as we left Mr. Loughlin and his friend, a leaflet in which he has printed the story of “the struggle for life on the Ponsonby estate,” as he understands it.

A minute’s walk brought us to Sir Walter Raleigh’s house, now the property of Sir John Pope Hennessey. [pg 72] It was probably built by Sir Walter while he lived here in 1588-89, during the time of the great Armada; for it is a typical Elizabethan house, quaintly gabled, with charming Tudor windows, and delightfully wainscoted with richly carved black oak. A chimney-piece in the library where Sir John’s aged mother received us most kindly and hospitably is a marvel of Elizabethan woodwork. The shelves are filled with a quaint and miscellaneous collection of old and rare books. I opened at random one fine old quarto, and found it to contain, among other curious tracts, models of typography, a Latin critical disquisition by Raphael Regini on the first edition of Plutarch’s Life of Cicero, “nuper inventâ diu desideraiâ ”—a disquisition quite aglow with the cinquecento delight in discovery and adventure. In the grounds of this charming house stand four very fine Irish yews forming a little hollow square, within which, according to a local legend, Sir Walter sat enjoying the first pipe of tobacco ever lighted in Ireland, when his terrified serving-maid espying the smoke that curled about her master’s head hastily ran up and emptied a pail of water over him. In the garden here, too, we are told, was first planted the esculent which better deserves to be called the [pg 73] Curse of Ireland than does the Nine of Diamonds to be known as the Curse of Scotland. The Irish yew must have been indigenous here, for the name of Youghal, Father Keller tells me, in Irish signifies “the wood of yew-trees.” A subterranean passage is said to lead from Sir Walter’s dining-room into the church, but we preferred the light of day.

The precincts of the church adjoin the grounds and garden, and with these make up a most fascinating poem in architecture. The churches of St. Mary of Youghal and St. Nicholas of Galway have always been cited to me as the two most interesting churches in Ireland. Certainly this church of St. Mary, as now restored, is worth a journey to see. Its massive tower, with walls eight feet thick, its battlemented chancel, the pointed arches of its nave and aisles, a curious and, so far as I know, unique arch in the north transept, drawn at an obtuse angle and demarcating a quaint little side-chapel, and the interesting monuments it contains, all were pointed out to me with as much zest and intelligent delight by Father Keller as if the edifice were still dedicated to the faith which originally called it into existence. It contains a fine Jacobean tomb of Richard, the “great Earl of Cork,” who died here in [pg 74] September 1643. On this monument, which is in admirable condition, the effigy of the earl appears between those of his two wives, while below them kneel his five sons and seven daughters, their names and those of their partners in marriage inscribed upon the marble. It was of this earl that Oliver said: “Had there been an Earl of Cork in every province, there had been no rebellion in Ireland.” Several Earls of Desmond are also buried here, including the founder of the church, and under a monumental effigy in one of the transepts lies the wonderful old Countess of Desmond, who having danced in her youth with Richard III. lived through the Tudor dynasty “to the age of a hundred and ten,” and, as the old distich tells us, “died by a fall from a cherry-tree then.”

In the churchyard is a hillock, bare of grass, about a tomb. There lies buried, according to tradition, a public functionary who attested a statement by exclaiming, “If I speak falsely, may grass never grow on my grave.” One of his descendants is doubtless now an M.P. Mr. Cameron had kindly written from Cork to the officer in charge of the constabulary here asking him to get me a good car for Lismore. So Father Keller very kindly walked with [pg 75] me through the town to the “Devonshire Arms,” a very neat and considerable hotel, in quest of him. On the way he pointed out to me what remains of a house which is supposed to have served as the headquarters of Cromwell while he was here, and a small chapel also in which the Protector worshipped after his sort. Off the main street is a lane called Windmill Lane, where probably stood the windmill from which in 1580 a Franciscan friar, Father David O’Neilan, was hung by the feet and shot to death by the soldiers of Elizabeth because he refused to acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the Queen. He had been dragged through the main street at the tail of a horse to the place of execution. His name is one of many names of confessors of that time about to be submitted at Rome for canonisation. We could not find the officer I sought at the hotel, but Father Keller took me to a livery-man in the main street, who very promptly got out a car with “his best horse,” and a jarvey who would “surely take me over to Lismore inside of two hours and a half.” He was as good as his master’s word, and a delightful drive it was, following the course of Spenser’s river, the Awniduffe, “which by the Englishman is called Blackwater.” [pg 76] Nobody now calls it anything else. The view of Youghal Harbour, as we made a great circuit by the bridge on leaving the town, was exceedingly fine. Lying as it does within easy reach of Cork, this might be made a very pleasant summer halting-place for Americans landing at Queenstown, who now go further and probably fare worse. One Western wanderer, with his family, Father Keller told me, did last year establish himself here, a Catholic from Boston, to whom a son was born, and who begged the Father to give the lad a local name in baptism, “the oldest he could think of.”

I should have thought St. Declan would have been “old” enough, or St. Nessan of “Ireland’s Eye,” or Saint Cartagh, who made Lismore a holy city, “into the half of which no woman durst enter,” sufficiently “local,” but Father Keller found in the Calendar a more satisfactory saint still in St. Goran or “Curran,” known also as St. Mochicaroen de Nona, from a change he made in the recitation of that part of the Holy Office.

The drive from Youghal to Lismore along the Blackwater, begins, continues, and ends in beauty. In the summer a steamer makes the trip by the river, and it must be as charming in its way [pg 77] as the ascent of the Dart from Dartmouth to Totness, or of the Eance from Dinard to St. Suliac. My jarvey was rather a taciturn fellow, but by no means insensible to the charms of his native region. About the Ponsonby estate and its troubles he said very little, but that little was not entirely in keeping with what I had heard at Youghal. “It was an old place, and there was no grand house on it. But the landlord was a kind-man.” “Father Keller was a good man too. It was a great pity the people couldn’t be on their farms; and there was land that was taken on the hills. It was a great pity. The people came from all parts to see the Blackwater and Lismore; and there was money going.” “Yes, he would be glad to see it all quiet again. Ah yes! that was a most beautiful place there just running out into the Blackwater. It was a gentleman owned it; he lived there a good deal, and he fished. Ah! there’s no such river in the whole world for salmon as the Blackwater; indeed, there is not! Everything was better when he was a lad. There was more money going, and less talking. Father Keller was a very good man; but he was a new man, and came to Youghal from Queenstown.”

[pg 78] We passed on our way the ruins of Dromaneen Castle, the birthplace of the lively old Countess of Desmond, who lies buried at Youghal. Here, too, according to a local tradition, she met her death, having climbed too high into a famous cherry-tree at Affane, near Dromaneen, planted there by Sir Walter Raleigh, who first introduced this fruit, as well as the tobacco plant and the potato, into Ireland. At Cappoquin, which stands beautifully on the river, I should have been glad to halt for the night, in order to visit the Trappist Monastery there, an offshoot of La Meilleraye, planted, I think, by some monks from Santa Susanna, of Lulworth, after Charles X. took refuge in the secluded and beautiful home of the Welds. The schools of this monastery have been a benediction to all this part of Ireland for more than half a century.

Lismore has nothing now to show of its ancient importance save its castle and its cathedral, both of them absolutely modern! A hundred years ago the castle was simply a ruin overhanging the river. It then belonged to the fifth Duke of Devonshire, who had inherited it from his mother, the only child and heiress of the friend of Pope, Richard, fourth Earl of Cork, and third Earl of Burlington. [pg 79] It had come into the hands of the Boyles by purchase from Sir Walter Ealeigh, to whom Elizabeth had granted it, with all its appendages and appurtenances. The fifth Duke of Devonshire, who was the husband of Coleridge’s “lady nursed in pomp and pleasure,” did little or nothing, I believe, to restore the vanished glories of Lismore; and the castle, as it now exists, is the creation of his son, the artistic bachelor Duke, to whom England owes the Crystal Palace and all the other outcomes of Sir Joseph Paxton’s industry and enterprise. His kinsman and successor, the present Duke, used to visit Lismore regularly down to the time of the atrocious murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish, and many of the beautiful walks and groves which make the place lovely are due, I believe, to his taste and his appreciation of the natural charms of Lismore. I dismissed my car at the “Devonshire Arms,” an admirable little hotel near the river, and having ordered my dinner there, walked down to the castle, almost within the grounds of which the hotel stands. It is impossible to imagine a more picturesque site for a great inland mansion. The views up and down the Blackwater from the drawing-room windows are simply the perfection of [pg 80] river landscape. The grounds are beautifully laid out, one secluded garden-walk, in particular, taking you back to the inimitable Italian garden-walks of the seventeenth century. In the vestibule is the sword of state of the Corporation of Youghal, a carved wooden cradle for which still stands in the church at that place, and over the great gateway are the arms of the great Earl of Cork, but these are almost the only outward and visible signs of the historic past about the castle. Seen from the graceful stone bridge which spans the river, its grey towers and turrets quite excuse the youthful enthusiasm with which the Duke of Connaught, who made a visit here when he was Prince Arthur, is said to have written to his mother, that Lismore was “a beautiful place, very like Windsor Castle, only much finer.”

Lismore Cathedral was almost entirely rebuilt by the second Earl of Cork three or four years after the Restoration, and has a handsome marble spire, but there is little in it to recall the Catholic times in which Lismore was a city of churches and a centre of Irish devotion.

The hostess of the “Devonshire Arms” gave me some excellent salmon, fresh from the river, and a [pg 81] very good dinner. She bewailed the evil days on which she has fallen, and the loss to Lismore of all that the Castle used to mean to the people. Lady Edward Cavendish had spent a short time here some little time ago, she said, and the people were delighted to have her come there. “It would be a great thing for the country if all the uproar and quarrelling could be put an end to. It did nobody any good, least of all the poor people.”

From Lismore I came back by the railway through Fermoy.

[pg 82] CHAPTER IX.

PORTUMNA, GALWAY, Feb. 28.I left Cork by an early train to-day, and passing through the counties of Cork, Limerick, Tipperary, Queen’s, and King’s, reached this place after dark on a car from Parsonstown. The day was delightfully cool and bright. I had the carriage to myself almost all the way, and gave up all the time I could snatch from the constantly varying and often very beautiful scenery to reading a curious pamphlet which I picked up in Dublin entitled Pour I’Irlande. It purports to have been written by a “Canadian priest” living at Lurgan in Ireland, and to be a reply to M. de Mandat Grancey’s volume, Chez Paddy. It is adorned with a frontispiece representing a monster of the Cerberus type on a monument, with three heads and three collars labelled respectively “Flattery,” “Famine,” and “Coercion.” On the pedestal is the inscription—“1800 to 1887. Erected by the grateful Irish to the English [pg 83] Government.” The text is in keeping with the frontispiece. In a passage devoted to the “atrocious evictions” of Glenbehy in 1887, the agent of the property is represented as “setting fire with petroleum” to the houses of two helpless men, and turning out “eighteen human beings into the highway in the depth of winter.” Not a word is said of the agent’s flat denial of these charges, nor a word of the advice given to the agent by Sir Redvers Buller that the mortgagee ought to level the cottages occupied by trespassers, nor a word about Father Quilter’s letter to Colonel Turner, branding his flock as “poor slaves” of the League, and turning them over to “Mr. Roe or any other agent” to do as he liked with them, since they could not, or would not, keep their plighted faith given through their own priest.

This sort of ostrich fury is common enough among the regular drumbeaters of the Irish agitation. But it is not creditable to a “Canadian priest.” Still less creditable is his direct arraignment of M. de Mandat Grancey’s good faith and veracity upon the strength of what he describes as M. de Mandat Grancey’s amplification and distortion of a story told by himself. This was a tale of a [pg 84] priest called out to confess one of his parishioners. The penitent accused himself of killing one man, and trying to kill several others. The priest, as the dreadful tale went on, made a tally on his sleeve, with chalk, of the crimes recited. “Good heavens! my son,” he cried at last, “what had all these men done to you that you tried to send them all into eternity? Who were they?”

“Oh, Father, they were all bailiffs or tax-collectors!”

“You idiot!” exclaimed the confessor, angrily rubbing at his sleeve, “why didn’t ye tell me that before instead of letting me spoil my best cassock?”

As I happened to have the book of M. de Mandat Grancey in my despatch-box, I compared it with the attack made upon it. The results were edifying. In the first place, M. de Mandat Grancey does not indicate the Canadian priest as his authority. He says that he heard the story, apparently at a dinner-table in France, from a curé Irlandais, who was endeavouring to impress upon his hearers “the sympathy of the clergy with the Land League.” The “Canadian priest” now comes forward and makes it a count in his indictment against M. de Mandat Grancey that he is described as an “Irish [pg 85] curate,” when he is in fact neither an Irishman nor a curate. What was more natural than that an ecclesiastic, claiming to live in Ireland, and telling stories in France about the sympathy of the Irish clergy with the Land League, should be taken by one of his auditors to be an Irish curé, particularly as the French curé is, I believe, the equivalent of the Irish “parish priest”?

In the next place, the “Canadian priest” declares that the story “is as old as the Round Towers of Ireland,” and that M. de Mandat Grancey represents him as making himself the hero of the tale. As a matter of fact, M. de Mandat Grancey does nothing of the kind. On the contrary, he expressly says that the curé Irlandais, who told the story, gave it to his hearers as having occurred not to himself at all, but “to one of his colleagues.” Furthermore he is at the pains to add (Chez Paddy, p. 43) that the story, which was not to the taste of some of the French ecclesiastics who heard it, was related “as a simple pleasantry.” “But,” he adds, and this I suspect is the sting which has so exasperated the “Canadian priest,” “he gave us to understand at the same time that this pleasantry struck the keynote of the state of mind of many Irish priests, and, he [pg 86] said, that he was himself the President of the League in his district.”

In connection with Colonel Turner’s statements as to the conduct of Father White at Milltown Malbay, and with the accounts given me of the conduct of Father Sheehan at Lixnaw, this side-light upon the relations of a certain class of the Irish clergy with the most violent henchmen of the League, is certainly noteworthy. I happen to have had some correspondence with friends of mine in Paris, who are friends also of M. de Mandat Grarncey, about his visit to Ireland before he made it, and I am quite certain that he went there, to put the case mildly, with no prejudices in favour of the English Government or against the Nationalists. Perhaps the extreme bitterness shown in the pamphlet of the “Canadian priest” may have been born of his disgust at finding that the sympathy of French Catholics with Catholic Ireland draws the line at priests who regard the assassination of “bailiffs and tax-collectors” as a pardonable, if not positively amusing, excess of patriotic zeal.

It was late when I reached Parsonstown, known of old in Irish story as Birr, from St. Brendan’s Abbey of Biorra, and now a clean prosperous place, [pg 87] carefully looked after by the chief landlord of the region, the Earl of Rosse, who, while he inherits the astronomical tastes and the mathematical ability of his father, is not so absorbed in star-gazing as to be indifferent to his terrestrial duties and obligations. I have heard nothing but good of him, and of his management of his estates, from men of the most diverse political views. But I think it more important to get a look at the Clanricarde property, about which I have heard little but evil from anybody. The strongest point I have heard made in favour of the owner is, that he is habitually described by that dumb organ of a down-trodden people, United Ireland, as “the most vile Clanricarde.”

I found a good car at the railway station, and set off at once for Portumna. Parsonstown was called by Sir William Petty, in his Survey of Ireland, the umbilicus Hiberniæ. It is the centre of Ireland, as a point near Newnham Paddox is of England, and the famous or infamous “Bog of Allan” stretches hence to Athlone. Our way fortunately took us westward. A light railway was laid down some years ago from Parsonstown to Portumna, but it did not pay, and it has now been abandoned.

“What has become of the road?” I asked my jarvey.

[pg 88] “Oh! they just take up the rails when they like, the people do.”

“And what do they do with them?”

“Is it what they do with them? Oh; they make fences of them for the beasts.”

He was a dry, shrewd old fellow, not very amiably disposed, I was sorry to find, towards my own country.

“Ah! it’s America, sorr, that’s been the ruin of us entirely.”

“Pray, how is that?”

“It’s the storms they send; and then the grain; and now they tell me it’s the American beasts that’s spoiling the market altogether for Ireland.”

“Is that what your member tells you?”

“The member, sorr? which member?”

“The member of Parliament for your district, I mean. What is his name?”

“His name? Well, I’m not sure; and I don’t know that I know the man at all. But I believe his name is Mulloy.”

“Does he live in Portumna?”

“Oh no, not at all. I don’t know at all where he lives, but I believe it’s in Tullamore. But what would he know about America? Sure, any one can [pg 89] see it’s the storms and the grain that is the death of us in Ireland.”

“But I thought it was the landlords and the rents?”

“Oh, that’s in Woodford and Loughrea; not here at all. There’ll be no good till we get a war.”

“Get a war? with whom? What do you want a war for?”

“Ah! it was the good time when we had the Crimean war—with the wheat all about Portumna. I’ll show you the great store there was built. It’s no use now. But we’ll have a war. My son, he’s a soldier now. He went out to America. But he didn’t like it.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Oh, he didn’t like it. He could get no work, but to be a porter, and it was too hard. So he came back in three months’ time, and then he ’listed for a soldier. He’s over in England now. He likes it very well. He’s getting very good pay. They pay the soldiers well. There’s a troop of Hussars here now. They bring a power of money to the place.”

“What do they do with the wheat lands now?”

“Oh, they’re for sheep; they do very well. Were you ever in Australia, sorr?” pointing to a [pg 90] place we were passing. “There was a man came here from Australia with a pot of money, and he bought that place; but he thought he was a bigger man than he was, and now he’s found himself out. I think he would have done as well to stay in Australia where he was.”

In quite a different vein he spoke of the landlord of another large seat, and of the way in which the people, some of them, had misbehaved—breaking open the graves of the family on the place, “and tossing the coffins and the bones about, and all for what?”

The view as we crossed the long and very fine bridge over the Shannon after dusk was very striking. It was not too dark to make out the course of the broad gleaming river, and the lights of the town made it seem larger, I daresay, than it really is. As we drove up the main street I told my jarvey to take me to the Castle.

“To the Castle, is it?” he replied, looking around at me with an astonished air.

“Yes,” I said, “I am going to see Mr. Tener, the agent, who lives there, doesn’t he?”

“Oh, the new agent? Oh yes; I believe he’s a very good man.”

[pg 91] You don’t expect to be ‘boycotted’ for going to the Castle, do you?”

“And why should I be? But I haven’t been inside of the Castle gates for twenty years. And—here they are!” he cried out suddenly, pulling up his horse just in time to avoid driving him up against a pair of iron gates inhospitably closed. It was by this time pitch dark. Not a light could we see within the enclosure. But presently a couple of shadowy forms appeared behind the iron gates; the iron gates creaked on their hinges, a masculine voice bade us drive in, and a policeman with a lantern advanced from a thicket of trees. All this had a fine martial and adventurous aspect, and my jarvey seemed to enjoy it as much as I.

We got directions from the friendly policeman as to the roads and the landmarks, and after once nearly running into a clump of trees found ourselves at last in an open courtyard, where men appeared and took charge of the car, the horse, and my luggage. We were in a quadrangle of the out-buildings attached to the old residence of the Clanricardes, which had escaped the fire of 1826. The late Marquis for a long time hesitated whether to reconstruct the castle on the old site (the walls are [pg 92] still standing), or to build an entirely new house on another site. He finally chose the latter alternative, chiefly, I am told, under the advice of his oldest son, the late Lord Dunkellin, one of the most charming and deservedly popular men of his time. He was a great friend and admirer of Father Burke, whom he used to claim as a Galway cousin, and with whom I met him in Rome not long before his death in the summer of 1867. His brother, the present Marquis, I have never met, but Mr. Tener, his present agent here, who passed some time in America several years ago, learning from him that I wished to see this place, very courteously wrote to me asking me to make his house my headquarters. I found my way through queer passages to a cheery little hall where my host met me, and taking me into a pleasant little parlour, enlivened by flowers, and a merrily blazing fire, presented me to Mrs. Tener.

Mr. Tener is an Ulster man from the County Cavan. He went with his wife on their bridal trip to America, and what he there saw of the peremptory fashion in which the authorities deal with conspiracies to resist the law seems not unnaturally to have made him a little impatient of the dilatory, not to say dawdling, processes of the law in his [pg 93] own country. He gave me a very interesting account after dinner this evening of the situation in which he found affairs on this property, an account very different from those which I have seen in print. He is himself the owner of a small landed property in Cavan, and he has had a good deal of experience as an agent for other properties. “I have a very simple rule,” he said to me, “in dealing with Irish tenants, and that is neither to do an injustice nor to submit to one.” It was only, he said, after convincing himself that the Clanricarde tenants had no legitimate ground of complaint against the management of the estate, not removable upon a fair and candid discussion of all the issues involved between them and himself, that he consented to take charge of the property. That to do this was to run a certain personal risk, in the present state of the country, he was quite aware.

But he takes this part of the contract very coolly, telling me that the only real danger, he thinks, is incurred when he makes a journey of which he has to send a notice by telegraph—a remark which recalled to me the curious advice given me in Dublin to seal my letters, as a protection against “the Nationalist clerks in the post-offices.” The park of Portumua Castle, which is very extensive, is patrolled [pg 94] by armed policemen, and whenever Mr. Tener drives out he is followed by a police car carrying two armed men.

“Against whom are all these precautions necessary?” I asked. “Against the evicted tenants, or against the local agents of the League?”

“Not at all against the tenants,” he replied, “as you can satisfy yourself by talking with them. The trouble comes not from the tenants at all, nor from the people here at Portumna, but from mischievous and dangerous persons at Loughrea and Woodford. Woodford, mind you, not being Lord Clanricarde’s place at all, though all the country has been roused about the cruel Clanricarde and his wicked Woodford evictions. Woodford was simply the headquarters of the agitation against Lord Clanricarde and my predecessor, Mr. Joyce, and it has got the name of the ‘cockpit of Ireland,’ because it was there that Mr. Dillon, in October 1886, opened the ‘war against the landlords’ with the ‘Plan of Campaign.’ It is an odd circumstance, by the way, worth noting, that when these apostles of Irish agitation went to Lord Clanricarde’s property nearer the city of Gralway, and tried to stir the people up, they failed dismally, because the people there could understand no English, and the Irish agitators could [pg 95] speak no Irish! Nobody has ever had the face to pretend that the Clanricarde estates were ‘rack-rented.’ There have been many personal attacks made upon Mr. Joyce and upon Lord Clanricarde, and Mr. Joyce has brought that well-known action against the Marquis for libel, and all this answers with the general public as an argument to show that the tenants on the Clanricarde property must have had great grievances, and must have been cruelly ground down and unable to pay their way. I will introduce you, if you will allow me, to the Catholic Bishop here, and to the resident Protestant clergyman, and to the manager of the bank, and they can help you to form your own judgment as to the state of the tenants. You will find that whatever quarrels they may have had with their landlord or his agent, they are now, and always have been, quite able to pay their rents, and I need not tell you that it is no longer in the power of a landlord or an agent to say what these rents shall be.”10

“Mr. Dillon in that speech of his at Woodford [pg 96] (I have it here as published in United Ireland), you will see, openly advised, or rather ordered, the tenants here to club their rents, or, in plain English, the money due to their landlord, with the deliberate intent to confiscate to their own use, or, in their own jargon, ‘grab,’ the money of any one of their number who, after going into this dishonest combination, might find it working badly and wish to get out of it. Here is his own language:”—

I took the speech as reported in the United Ireland of October 23rd, 1886, and therein found Mr. Dillon, M.P., using these words:—“If you mean to fight really, you must put the money aside for two reasons—first of all because you want the means to support the men who are hit first; and, secondly, because you want to prohibit traitors going behind your back. There is no way to deal with a traitor except to get his money under lock and key, and if you find that he pays his rent, and betrays the organisation, what will you do with him? I will tell you what to do with him. Close upon his money, and use it for the organisation. I have always opposed outrages. This is a legal plan, and it is ten times more effective.”

Not a word here as to the morality of the proceeding thus recommended; but almost in the [pg 97] same breath in which he bade his ignorant hearers regard his plan as “legal,” Mr. Dillon said to them, “this must be done privately, and you must not inform the public where the money is placed!”

Why not, if the plan was “legal”? Mr. Dillon, I believe, is not a lawyer, but he can hardly have deluded himself into thinking his plan of campaign “legal” in the face of the particular pains taken by his leader, Mr. Parnell, to disclaim all participation in any such plans. A year before Mr. Dillon made this curious speech, Mr. Parnell, I remember, on the 11th of October 1885, speaking at Kildare, declared that he had “in no case during the last few years advised any combination among tenants against even rack-rents,” and insisted that any combination of the sort which might exist should be regarded as an “isolated” combination, “confined to the tenants of individual estates, who, of their own accord, without any incitement from us, on the contrary, kept back by us, without any urging on our part, without any advice on our part, but stung by necessity, and the terrible realities of their position, may have formed such a combination among themselves to secure such a reduction of rent as will enable them to live in their own homes.” From this language of Mr. Parnell in October 1885 to [pg 98] Mr. Dillon’s speech in October 1886, urging and advising the tenants to organise, exact contributions from every member of the organisation, and put these contributions under the control of third parties determined to confiscate the money subscribed by any member who might not find the organisation working to his advantage, is a rather long step! It covers all the distance between a cunning defensive evasion of the law, and an open aggressive violation of the law—not of the land only, but of common honesty. One of two things is clear: either these combinations are voluntary and “isolated,” and intended, as Mr. Parnell asserts, to secure such a reduction of rents as will enable the tenants, and each of them, to live peacefully and comfortably at home, and in that case any member of the combination who finds that he can attain his object better by leaving it has an absolute right to do this, and to demand the return of his money; or they are part of a system imposed upon the tenants by a moral coercion inconsistent with the most elementary ideas of private right and personal freedom. This makes the importance of Mr. Dillon’s speech, that by his denunciation of any member who wishes to withdraw from this “voluntary” combination as a “traitor,” and by his order to “close upon the [pg 99] money” of any such member, “and use it for the organisation,” he brands the “organisation” as a subterranean despotism of a very cheap and nasty kind. The Government which tolerates the creation of such a Houndsditch tyranny as this within its dominions richly deserves to be overthrown. As for the people who submit themselves to it, I do not wonder that in his more lucid moments a Catholic priest like Father Quilter feels himself moved to denounce them as “poor slaves.” Of course with a benevolent neutral like myself, the question always recurs, Who trained them to submit to this sort of thing? But I really am at a loss to see why a parcel of conspirators should be encouraged in the nineteenth century to bully Irish farmers out of their manhood and their money, because in the seventeenth century it pleased the stupid rulers of England, as the great Duke of Ormond indignantly said, to “put so general a discountenance upon the improvement of Ireland, as if it were resolved that to keep it low is to keep it safe.”

On going back to the little drawing-room after dinner we found Mrs. Tener among her flowers, busy with some literary work. It is not a gay life here, she admits, her nearest visiting acquaintance living [pg 100] some seven or eight miles away—but she takes long walks with a couple of stalwart dogs in her company, and has little fear of being molested. “The tenants are in more danger,” she thinks, “than the landlords or the agents”—nor do I see any reason to doubt this, remembering the Connells whom I saw at Edenvale, and the story of the “boycotted” Fitzmaurice brutally murdered in the presence of his daughter at Lixnaw on the 31st of January, as if by way of welcome to Lord Ripon and Mr. Morley on their arrival at Dublin.

PORTUMNA, Feb. 29th.Early this morning two of the “evicted” tenants, and an ex-bailiff of the property here, came by appointment to discuss the situation with Mr. Tener. He asked me to attend the conference, and upon learning that I was an American, they expressed their perfect willingness that I should do so. The tenants were quiet, sturdy, intelligent-looking men. I asked one of them if he objected to telling me whether he thought the rent he had refused to pay excessive, or whether he was simply unable to pay it.

“I had the money, sir, to pay the rent,” he [pg 101] replied, “and I wanted to pay the rent—only I wouldn’t be let.”

“Who wouldn’t let you?” I asked.

“The people that were in with the League.”

“Was your holding worth anything to you?” I asked.

“It was indeed. Two or three years ago I could have sold my right for a matter of three hundred pounds.”

“Yes!” interrupted the other tenant, “and a bit before that for six hundred pounds.”

“Is it not worth three hundred pounds to you now?”

“No,” said Mr. Tener, “for he has lost it by refusing the settlement I offered to make, and driving us into proceedings against him, and allowing his six months’ equity of redemption to lapse.”

“And sure, if we had it, no one would be let to buy it now, sir,” said the tenant. “But it’s we that hope Mr. Tener here will let us come back on the holdings—that is, if we’d be protected coming back.”

“Now, do you see,” said Mr. Tener, “what it is you ask me to do? You ask me to make you a present outright of the property you chose foolishly to throw away, and to do this after you have put [pg 102] the estate to endless trouble and expense; don’t you think that is asking me to do a good deal?”

The tenants looked at one another, at Mr. Tener, and at me, and the ex-bailiff smiled.

“You must see this,” said Mr. Tener, “but I am perfectly willing now to say to you, in the presence of this gentleman, that in spite of all, I am quite willing to do what you ask, and to let you come back into the titles you have forfeited, for I would rather have you back on the property than strangers—”

“And, indeed, we’re sure you would.”

“But understand, you must pay down a year’s rent and the costs you have put us to.”

“Ah! sure you wouldn’t have us to pay the costs?”

“But indeed I will,” responded Mr. Tener; “you mustn’t for a moment suppose I will have any question about that. You brought all this trouble on yourselves, and on us; and while I am ready and willing to deal more than fairly, to deal liberally with you about the arrears—and to give you time—the costs you must pay.”

“And what would they be, the costs?” queried one of the tenants anxiously.

“Oh, that I can’t tell you, for I don’t know,” said [pg 103] Mr. Tener, “but they shall not be anything beyond the strict necessary costs.”

“And if we come back would we be protected?”

“Of course you will have protection. But why do you want protection? Here you are, a couple of strong grown men, with men-folk of your families. See here! why don’t you go to such an one, and such an one,” naming other tenants; “you know them well. Go to them quietly and sound them to see if they will come back on the same terms with you; form a combination to be honest and to stand by your rights, and defy and break up the other dishonest combination you go in fear of! Is it not a shame for men like you to lie down and let those fellows walk over you, and drive you out of your livelihood and your homes?”

The tenants looked at each other, and at the rest of us. “I think,” said one of them at last, “I think —— and ——,” naming two men, “would come with us. Of course,” turning to Mr. Tener, “you wouldn’t discover on us, sir.”

“Discover on you! Certainly not,” said Mr. Tener. “But why don’t you make up your minds to be men, and ‘discover’ on yourselves, and defy these fellows?”

[pg 104] “And the cattle, sir? would we get protection for the cattle? They’d be murdered else entirely.”

“Of course,” said Mr. Tener, “the police would endeavour to protect the cattle.”

Then, turning to me, he said, “That is a very reasonable question. These scoundrels, when they are afraid to tackle the men put under their ban, go about at night, and mutilate and torture and kill the poor beasts. I remember a case,” he went on, “in Roscommon, where several head of cattle mysteriously disappeared. They could be found nowhere. No trace of them could be got. But long weeks after they vanished, some lads in a field several miles away saw numbers of crows hovering over a particular point. They went there, and there at the bottom of an abandoned coal-shaft lay the shattered remains of these lost cattle. The poor beasts had been driven blindfold over the fields and down into this pit, where, with broken limbs, and maimed, they all miserably died of hunger.”

“Yes,” said one of the tenants, “and our cattle’d be driven into the Shannon, and drownded, and washed away.”

“You must understand,” interposed Mr. Tener [pg 105] “that when cattle are thus maliciously destroyed the owners can recover nothing unless the remains of the poor beasts are found and identified within three days.”

The disgust which I felt and expressed at these revelations seemed to encourage the tenants. One of them said that before the evictions came off certain of the National Leaguers visited him, and told him he must resist the officers. “I consulted my sister,” he said, “and she said, ‘Don’t you be such a fool as to be doing that; we’ll all be ruined entirely by those rascals and rogues of the League.’ And I didn’t resist. But only the other day I went to a priest in the trouble we are in, and what do you think he said to me? He said, ‘Why didn’t you do as you were bid? then you would be helped,’ and he would do nothing for us! Would you think that right, sir, in your country?”

“I should think in my country,” I replied, “that a priest who behaved in that way ought to be unfrocked.”

“Did you pay over all your rent into the hands of the trustees of the League?” I asked of one of these tenants.

“I paid over money to them, sir,” he replied.

[pg 106] “Yes,” I said, “but did you pay over all the amount of the rent, or how much of it?”

“Oh! I paid as much as I thought they would think I ought to pay!” he responded, with that sly twinkle of the peasant’s eye one sees so often in rural France.

“Oh! I understand,” I said, laughing. “But if you come to terms now with Mr. Tener here, will you get that money back again?”

“Divil a penny of it!” he replied, with much emphasis.

Finally they got up together to take their leave, after a long whispered conversation together.

“And if we made it half the costs?”

“No!” said Mr. Tener good-naturedly but firmly; “not a penny off the costs.”

“Well, we’ll see the men, sir, just quietly, and we’ll let you know what can be done”; and with that they wished us, most civilly, good-morning, and went their way.

We walked in the park for some time, and a wild, beautiful park it is, not the less beautiful for being given up, as it is, very much to the Dryads to deal with it as they list. It is as unlike a trim English park as possible; but it contains many [pg 107] very fine trees, and grand open sweeps of landscape. In a tangled copse are the ruins of an ancient Franciscan abbey, in one corner of which lie buried together, under a monumental mound of brickwork, the late Marquis of Clanricarde and his wife. The walls of the Castle, burned in 1826, are still standing, and so perfect that the building might easily enough have been restored. A keen-eyed, wiry old household servant, still here, told us the house was burned in the afternoon of January 6, 1826. There were three women-servants in the house—“Anna and Mary Meehan, and Mrs. Underwood, the housekeeper”; and they were getting the Castle ready for his Lordship’s arrival, so little of an “absentee” was the late Lord Clanricarde, then only one year married to the daughter of George Canning. The fires were laid on in the upper rooms, and Mrs. Underwood went off upon an errand. When she came back all was in flames.

The deer-park is full of deer, now become quite wild. We heard them crashing through the undergrowth on all sides. There must be capital fishing, too, in the lake, and in the river of which it is an expansion.

While they were getting the cars ready for a [pg 108] drive, came up another son of the soil. This man I found had only a small interest in the battle on the Clanricarde estates, holding his homestead of another landlord. But he admitted he had gone in a manner into the “combination,” in that he had paid a certain, not very large, sum, which he named, to the trustees, “just for peace and quiet.” He considered it gone, past recovery; and he named another man with a small holding, but doing a considerable business in other ways, who had “paid £10 or more just not to be bothered.” Upon this Mr. Tener told me of a shopkeeper at Loughrea in a large way of business, a man with seven or eight thousand pounds, who, finding his goods about to be seized after the agent had turned a sharp strategic corner on him, and unexpectedly got into his shop, was about to own up to his defeat, and make a fair settlement, when the secretary of the League appeared, and requested a private talk with him. In a quarter of an hour the tradesman reappeared looking rather sullen and crestfallen. He said he couldn’t pay, and must let the goods be taken. So taken they were, and duly put up under the process and sold. He bought them in himself, paying all the costs.

[pg 109] Presently two cars appeared. We got upon one, Mr. Tener driving a spirited nag, and taking on the seat with him a loaded carbine-rifle. Two armed policeman followed us upon the other, keeping at such a distance as would enable them easily to cover any one approaching from either side of the roadway. It quite took me back to the delightful days of 1866 in Mexico, when we used to ride out to picnics at the Rincon at Orizaba armed to the teeth, and ready at a moment’s notice to throw the four-in-hand mule-wagons into a hollow square, and prepare to receive cavalry. As it seems to be perfectly well understood that the regular price paid for shooting a designated person (they call it “knocking” him in these parts) is the ridiculously small sum of four pounds, and that two persons who divide this sum are always detailed by the organisers of outrage to “knock” an objectionable individual, it is obvious that too much care can hardly be taken by prudent people in coming and going through such a country. Fortunately for the people most directly concerned to avoid these unpleasantnesses a systematic leakage seems to exist in the machinery of mischief. The places where the oaths of this local “Mafia” are admin [pg 110] istered, for instance, are well known. A roadside near a chapel is frequently selected—and this for two or three obvious reasons. The sanctity of the spot may be supposed to impress the neophyte; and if the police or any other undesirable people should suddenly come upon the officiating adepts and the expectant acolyte, a group on the roadside is not necessarily a criminal gathering—though I do not see why, in such times, our old American college definition of a “group” as a gathering of “three or more persons” should not be adopted by the authorities, and held to make such a gathering liable to dispersion by the police, as our “groups” used to be subject to proctorial punishment. Mills are another favourite resort of the law-breakers. Mr. Tener tells me that a large mill between this place and Loughrea is a great centre of trouble, not wholly to the disadvantage of the astute miller, who finds it not only brings grist to his mill, but takes away grist from another mill belonging to a couple of worthy ladies, and once quite prosperous. It is no uncommon thing, it appears, for the same person to be put through the ceremony of swearing fidelity more than once, and at more than one place, with the not unnatural result, however, of [pg 111] diminishing the pressure of the oath upon his conscience or his fears, and also of alienating his affections, as he is expected to pay down two shillings on each occasion. Once a member, he contributes a penny a week to the general fund. It seems also to be an open secret who the disbursing treasurers are of this fund, from whom the members, detailed to do the dark bidding of the “organisation,” receive their wage. “A stout gentleman with sandy hair and wearing glasses” was the description given to me of one such functionary. When so much is known of the methods and the men, why is it that so many crimes are committed with virtual impunity? For two sufficient reasons. Witnesses cannot be got to testify, or trusted, if they do testify, to speak the truth; and it is idle to expect juries of the vicinage in nine cases out of ten will do their duty. Political cowardice having made it impossible to transfer the venue in cases of Irish crime, as to which all the authorities were agreed about these points, from Ireland into Great Britain, it is found that even to transfer the trial of “Moonlighters” from Clare or Kerry into Wicklow, for example, has a most instructive effect, opening the eyes of the people of Wicklow to a state of things [pg 112] in their own island, of which happily for themselves they were previously as ignorant as the people of Surrey or of Middlesex. This explains the indignant wish expressed to me some time ago in a letter from a priest in another part of Ireland, that “martial law” might be proclaimed in Clare and Kerry to “stamp out the Moonlighters, those pests of society.” That in Clare and Kerry priests should be found not only disposed to wink at and condone the proceedings of these “pests of society,” but openly to co-operate with them under the pretext of a “national” movement, is surely a thing equally intolerable by the Church and dangerous to the cause of Irish autonomy. This I am glad to say is strongly felt, and has been on more than one occasion very vigorously stated by one of the most eminent and estimable of Irish ecclesiastics, the Bishop-Coadjutor of Clonfert, upon whom I called this morning. Dr. Healy, who is a senator of the Royal University of Ireland, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy, presides over that part of the diocese of Clonfort which includes Portumna and Woodford. He lives in a handsome and commodious, but simple and unpretentious house, set in ample grounds well-planted, and commanding a wide view [pg 113] of a most agreeable country. We were ushered into a well-furnished study, and the bishop came in at once to greet us with the most cordial courtesy. He is a frank, dignified, unaffected man, and in his becoming episcopal purple, with the gold chain and cross, looked every inch a bishop. I was particularly anxious to see Dr. Healy, as a type of the high-minded and courageous ecclesiastics who, in Ireland, have resolutely refused to subordinate their duties and their authority as ecclesiastics to the convenience and the policy of an organisation absolutely controlled by Mr. Parnell, who not only is not a Catholic, but who is an open ally and associate of the bitterest enemies of the Catholic Church in France and in England. Protestant historians affirm that Pope Innocent was one of the financial backers of William of Orange when he set sail from Holland to crush the Catholic faith in Great Britain and Ireland, and drive the Catholic house of Stuart into exile. But it was reserved for the nineteenth century to witness the strange spectacle of men, calling themselves Irishmen and Catholics, deliberately slandering and assailing in concord with a non-Catholic political leader the consecrated pastors and masters of the Church in Ireland. When in [pg 114] order to explain what they themselves concede to be “the absence from the popular ranks of the best of the priesthood,” Nationalist writers find it necessary to denounce Cardinal Cullen and Cardinal M‘Cabe as “anti-Irish ”; and to sneer at men like Dr. Healy as “Castle Bishops,” it is impossible not to be reminded of the three “patriotic” tailors of Tooley Street.

Bishop Healy looks upon the systematic development of a substantial peasant proprietary throughout Ireland as the economic hope of the country, and he regards therefore the actual “campaigning” of the self-styled “Nationalists” as essentially anti-national, inasmuch as its methods are demoralising the people of Ireland, and destroying that respect for law and for private rights which lies at the foundation of civil order and of property. In his opinion, “Home Rule,” to the people in general, means simply ownership of the land which they are to live on, and to live by. How that ownership shall be brought about peaceably, fairly, and without wrong or outrage to any man or class of men is a problem of politics to be worked out by politicians, and by public men. That men, calling themselves Catholics, should be led on to attempt [pg 115] to bring this or any other object about by immoral and criminal means is quite another matter, and a matter falling within the domain, not of the State primarily, but of the Church.

As to this, Bishop Healy, who was in Rome not very long ago, and who, while in Rome, had more than one audience of His Holiness by command, has no doubt whatever that the Vatican will insist upon the abandonment and repudiation by Catholics of boycotting, and “plans of campaign,” and all such devices of evil. Nor has the Bishop any doubt that whenever the Holy Father speaks the priests and the people of Ireland will obey.

To say this, of course, is only to say that the Bishop believes the priests of Ireland to be honest priests, and the people of Ireland to be good Catholics.

If he is mistaken in this it will be a doleful thing, not for the Church, but for the Irish priests, and for the Irish people. No Irishman who witnessed the magnificent display made at Rome this year, of the scope and power of the Catholic Church, can labour under any delusions on that point.

From the Bishop’s residence we went to call upon the Protestant rector of Portumna, Mr. Crawford. [pg 116] The handsome Anglican church stands within an angle of the park, and the parsonage is a very substantial mansion. Mr. Crawford, the present rector, who is a man of substance, holds a fine farm of the Clanricarde estate, at a peppercorn rent, and he is tenant also of another holding at £118 a year, as to which he has brought the agent into Court, with the object, as he avers, of setting an example to the other tenants, and inducing them, like himself, to fight under the law instead of against it. He is not, however, in arrears, and in that respect sets a better example, I am sorry to say, than the Catholic priest, Father Coen, who made himself so conspicuous here on the occasion of the much bewritten Woodford evictions. The case of Father Coen is most instructive, and most unpleasant. He occupies an excellent house on a holding of twenty-three acres of good laud, with a garden—in short, a handsome country residence, which was provided by the late Lord Clanricarde, expressly for the accommodation of whoever might be the Catholic priest in that part of his estate. For all this the rent is fixed at the absurd and nominal sum of two guineas a year! Yet Father Coen, who now enjoys the mansion, and has a substantial income from the parish, is actually two [pg 117] years and a half in arrears with this rent! This fact Mr. Tener mentioned to the Bishop, whose countenance naturally darkened. “What am I to do in such a case, my lord?” asked Mr. Tener. “Do?” said the Bishop, “do your plain duty, and proceed against him according to law.” But suppose he were proceeded against and evicted, as in America he certainly would be, who can doubt that he would instantly be paraded, before the world, on both sides of the Atlantic as a “martyr,” suffering for the holy cause of an oppressed and down-trodden people, at the hands of a “most vile” Marquis, and of a remorse-less and blood-thirsty agent?11 Mr. Crawford, a tall, fine-looking man, talked very fully and freely about the situation here. He came to Portumna about eight years ago; one of his reasons for accepting the position here offered him being that he wished to take over a piece of property near Woodford from his brother-in-law, who found he could not manage it. As a practical farmer, and a straightforward capable man of business, he has gradually acquired the general confidence of the tenants here. That [pg 118] they are, as a rule, quite able to pay the rents which they have been “coerced” into refusing to pay, he fully believes. He told me of cases in which Catholic tenants of Lord Clanricarde came to him when the agitation began about the Plan of Campaign, and begged him privately to take the money for their rents, and hold it for them till the time should come for a settlement.

The reason for this was that they did not wish to be obliged to give over the money into the “Trust” created by the Campaigners, and wanted it to be safely put beyond the reach of these obliging “friends.” One very shrewd tenant came to him and begged him to buy some beasts, in order that he might pay his rent out of the proceeds. The man owed £15 to the Clanricarde property. Mr. Crawford did not particularly want to buy his beasts, but eventually agreed to do so, and gave him £50 for them. The man went off with the money, but he never paid the rent! Mr. Crawford discovering this called him to account, and refused to grant him some further favour which he asked. The result is that the “distressed tenant” now cuts Mr. Crawford when he meets him, and is the prosperous owner of quite a small herd of cattle.

[pg 119] Mr. Crawford’s opinion of the mischief done by the methods and spirit of the National League in this place is quite in accord with the opinions of the Bishop-Coadjutor. Power without responsibility, which made the Cæesars madmen, easily turns the heads of village tyrants, and there is something positively grotesque in the excesses of this subterranean “Home Rule.” Mr. Crawford told me of a case here, in which a tenant farmer, whom he named, came to him in great wrath, not unmingled with terror, to say that the League had ordered him, on pain of being boycotted, to give up his holding to the heirs of a woman from whom, twenty years ago, he had bought, for £100 in cash, the tenant-right of her deceased husband! There was no question of refunding the £100. He was merely to consider himself a “land-grabber,” and evict himself for the benefit of those heirs who had never done a stroke of work on the property for twenty years, and who had no shadow of a legal or moral claim on it, except that the oldest of them was an active member of the local League!

Nor was this unique.

In another case, the children of a tenant, who died forty years ago, came forward and called upon the [pg 120] League to boycott an old man who had been in possession of the holding during nearly half a century. In a third case, a tenant-farmer, some ten years ago, had in his employ as herd a man who fell ill and died. He put into the vacant place an honest, capable young fellow, who still holds it, and has faithfully and efficiently served him. Only the other day this tenant-farmer was warned by the League to expect trouble, unless he dismissed this herd, and put into his place the son, now grown to man’s estate, of the herd who died ten years ago!

It is amusing, if not instructive, to find the hereditary principle, just now threatened in its application to the British Senate, cropping out afresh as an element in the regeneration of Irish agriculture and the land tenure of Ireland!

On our way back to the Castle we called on Mr. Place, the manager of the Portumna Branch of the Hibernian Bank, who lives in the town. He was amusing himself, after the labour of the day in the bank, with some amateur work as a carpenter, but received us very cordially. He said there was no doubt that the deposits in the bank had increased considerably since the adoption of the Plan of Campaign on the Clanricarde property. [pg 121] Money was paid into the bank continually by persons who wished the fact of their payments kept secret; and he knew of more than one case in which tenants, whose stock had been seized by the agent for the rents, were much delighted at the seizure, since it had paid off their rents, and so enabled them to retain their holdings and keep out of the grasp of the League, even though to do this they had undergone a forced sale and been muleted in costs.

It was his opinion that the tenants on the Clanricarde property, who are not in arrears, would gladly accept a twenty-five per cent. reduction, and do very well by accepting it. But they are constrained into a hostile attitude by the tenants who are in arrears, some of them for several years (as, for example, Father Coen), although I find, to my astonishment, that in Ireland the landlord has no power to distrain for more than a twelvemonth’s rent, no matter how far back the arrears may run.

Mr. Place seems to think it would be well to put all the creditors of the tenants on one footing with the landlords. The shopkeepers and other creditors, he thinks, in that event would see many things in quite a new light.

[pg 122] What is called the new Castle of Portumna is a large and handsome building of the Mansard type, standing on an eminence in the park, at some distance from the original seat. The building was finished not long before the death of his father, the late Marquis. It has never been occupied, save by a large force of police quartered in it not very long ago by Mr. Tener in readiness for an expedition against the Castle of Cloondadauv, to the scene of which he promises to drive me to-morrow on my way back to Dublin. It is thoroughly well built, and might easily be made a most delightful residence. The views which it commands of the Shannon are magnificent, and there are many fine trees about it.

The old man who has charge of it is a typical Galway retainer of the old school. The “boys,” he says, once tried to “boycott” him because he was the pound-master; but he showed fight, and they let him alone. He pointed out to me from the top of the house, in the distance, the residences of Colonel Hickie, and of the young Lord Avonmore, who lately succeeded on the death of his brother in the recent Egyptian expedition. The place is now shut up, and the owners live in France.

[pg 123] We visited too the Portumna Union before driving home. The buildings of this Union are extensive for the place, and well built, and it seems to be well-ordered and neatly kept—thanks, in no small degree, I suspect, to the influence of the Sisters who have charge of the hospital, but whose benign spirit shows itself not only in the flower-garden which they have called into being, but in many details of the administration beyond their special control.

The contrast was very striking between the atmosphere of this unpretending refuge of the helpless and that of certain of the “laicised” hospitals of France, which I not long ago visited, from which the devoted nuns have been expelled to make way for hired nurses. I made a remark to this effect to the clerk of the Union, Mr. Lavan, whom we found in his office.

“Oh, yes,” he said, “I have no doubt of that. We owe more than I can say to the Sisters, but I don’t know how long we should have them here if the local guardians could have their way.”

In explanation of this, he went on to tell me that these local guardians, who are elected, are hostile to the whole administration, because of its [pg 124] relations with the Local Government Board at Dublin, which controls their generous tendency to expend the money of the ratepayers. By way of expressing their feelings, therefore, they have been trying to cut down, not only the salary of the clerk, but that of the Catholic chaplain of the Union; and as there is a good deal of irreligious feeling among the agitators here, it is his impression that they would make things disagreeable for the Sisters also were they in any way to get the management into their own hands. That there cannot be much real distress in this neighbourhood appears from two facts. There are now but 130 inmates of this Union, out of a population of 12,900, and the outlay for out-of-door relief averages between eight and ten pounds a week.

In the quiet, neat chapel two or three of the inmates were kneeling at prayers; and others whom we saw in the kitchen and about the offices had nothing of the “workhouse” look which is so painful in the ordinary inmates of an English or American almshouse.

“The trouble with the place,” said Mr. Lavan, “is that they like it too well. It takes an eviction almost to get them out of it.”

[pg 125] We sat down with Mr. Lavan in his office, and had an interesting talk with him.

He is the agent of Mr. Mathews, who lives between Woodford and Portumna. Mr. Mathews is a resident landlord, he says, who has constantly employed and has lived on friendly terms with his tenants, numbering twenty, who hold now under judicial rents. On these judicial rents two years ago they were allowed a further reduction of 15 per cent. Last year they were allowed 20 per cent. This year he offered them a reduction of 25 per cent., which they rejected, demanding 35 per cent.

This demand Mr. Lavan considers to be unreasonable in the extreme, and he attributes it to the influence of the National Leaguers here, whose representatives among the local guardians constantly vote away the money of the ratepayers in “relief to evicted tenants who have ample means and can in no respect be called destitute.” In his opinion the effect of the Nationalist agitation here has been to upset all ideas of right and wrong in the minds of the people where any question arises between tenants and landlords. He told a story, confirmed by Mr. Tener, of a bailiff, whom he named, on the [pg 126] Clanricarde property here, who was compelled two years ago to resign his place in order to prevent the “boycotting” of his mother who keeps a shop on the farm. He was familiar, too, with the details of a story told me by one of the Clanricarde tenants, a farmer near Loughrea who holds a farm at £90 a year. This man was forced to subscribe to the Plan of Campaign. The agent proceeded against him for the rent due, and he incurred costs of £10. His sheep and crop were then seized.

He begged the local leaders to “permit” him to pay his rent, as he was able to do it without drawing out the funds in their hands! They refused, and so compelled him to allow his property to be publicly sold, and to incur further costs of £10. “His farm lies so near the town that he did not dare to risk the vengeance of the local ruffians.”

Mr. Lavan gave me the name also of another man who is now actually under a “boycott,” because he has ventured to resist the modest demand made by the son of a man whose tenant-right he bought, paying him £100 for it, twenty years ago, that he shall give up his farm without being reimbursed for his outlay made to purchase it! In other words, after twenty years’ peaceable [pg 127] possession of a piece of property, bought and paid for, this tenant-farmer is treated as a “land-grabber” by the self-installed “Nationalist” government of Ireland, because he will not submit to be robbed both of the money which he paid for his tenant-right, and of his tenant-right!

Obviously in such a case as this the “war against landlordism” is simply a war against property and against private rights. Priests of the Catholic Church who not only countenance but aid and abet such proceedings certainly go even beyond Dr. M‘Glynn. Dr. M‘Glynn, so far as I know, stops at the confiscation of all private property in rent by the State for the State. But here is simply a confiscation of the property of A for the benefit of B, such as might happen if B, being armed and meeting A unarmed in a forest, should confiscate the watch and chain of A, bought by A of B’s lamented but unthrifty father twenty years before!

After dinner to-night Mr. Tener gave me some interesting and edifying accounts of his experience in other parts of Ireland.

Some time ago, before the Plan of Campaign was adopted, one of his tenants in Cavan came to him with a doleful story of the bad times and the low [pg 128] prices, and wound up by saying he could pay no more than half a year’s rent.

“Now his rent had been reduced under the Land Act,” said Mr, Tener, “and I had voluntarily thrown off a lot of arrears, so I looked at him quietly and said, ‘Mickey, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You have been very well treated, and you can perfectly well pay your rent. Your wife would be ashamed of you if she knew you were trying to get out of it.’”

“Ah no, your honour!” he briskly replied; “indade she would approve it. If you won’t discover on me, I’ll tell you the truth. It was the wife herself, she’s a great schollard, and reads the papers, that tould me not to pay you more than half the rent—for she says there’s a new Act coming to wipe it all out. Will you take the half-year?”

“No, I will not. Don’t be afraid of your wife, but pay what you owe, like a man. You’ve got the money there in your pocket.”

This was a good shot. Mickey couldn’t resist it, and his countenance broke into a broad smile.

“Ah no! I’ve got it in two pockets. Begorra, it was the wife herself made up the money in two [pg 129] parcels, and she put one into each pocket, to be sure—and I wasn’t to give your honour but one, if you would take it. But there’s the money, and I daresay it’s all for the best.”

On another occasion, when he was collecting the rents of a property in the county of Longford, one tenant came forward as the spokesman of the rest, admitted that the rents had been accepted fairly after a reduction under the Land Act, expressed the general wish of the tenants to meet their obligations, and wound up by asking a further abatement, “the times were so bad, and the money couldn’t be got, it couldn’t indeed!”

Mr. Tener listened patiently—to listen patiently is the most essential quality of an agent in Ireland—and finally said:—

“Very well, if you haven’t got the money to pay in full, pay three-quarters of it, and I’ll give you time for the rest.”

“Thank your honour!” said Pat, “and that’ll be thirty pounds—and here it is in one pound notes, and hard enough to get they are, these times!”

So Mr. Tener took the money, counted the notes twice over, and then, writing out a receipt, handed it to the tenant.

[pg 130] “All right, Pat, there’s your receipt for thirty-nine pounds, and I’m glad to see ten-pound notes going about the country in these hard times!”

By mistake the “distressful” orator had put one ten-pound note into his parcel! He took his receipt, and went off without a word. But the combination to get an “abatement” broke down then and there, and the other tenants came forward and put down their money.

These incidents occurred to Mr. Tener himself. Not less amusing and instructive was a similar mistake on a larger scale made by an over-crafty tenant in dealing with one of Mr. Tener’s friends a few years ago in the county of Leitrim. This tenant, whom we will call Denis, was the fugleman also of a combination. He was a cattle dealer as well as a farmer, and having spent a couple of hours in idly eloquent attempts to bring about a general abatement of the rents, he lost his patience.

“Ah, well, your honour!” he said, “I can’t stay here all day talking like these men, I must go to the fair at Boyle. Will you take a deposit-receipt of the bank for ten pounds and give me the pound change? that’ll just be the nine pounds for the half-year’s rent. But all the same, yer honour, [pg 131] those men are all farmers, and it’s not out of the farm at all I made the ten pounds, it’s out of the dealing!”

“But you couldn’t deal without a farm, Denis, for the stock,” said the agent, as he glanced at the receipt. He hastily turned it over, and went on, “Just indorse the receipt, and I’ll consider your proposition.”

The receipt was indorsed, and at once taken off by the agent’s clerk to the bank to bring back pound-notes for it, while the agent quietly proceeded to fill out the regular form of receipt for a full year’s rent, eighteen pounds. Denis noted what he supposed of course to be the agent’s blunder, but like an astute person held his peace. The clerk came back with the notes. Denis took up his receipt, and the agent quietly began handing him note after note across the table.

“But, your honour!” exclaimed Denis, “what on earth are ye giving me all this money for?”

“It’s your change,” said the agent, quite imperturbably. “You gave me a bank receipt for one hundred pounds. I have given you a receipt for your full year’s rent, and here are eighty-two pounds in notes, and with it eighteen shillings in [pg 132] silver—that’s five per cent. reduction. I would have made it ten per cent., only you were so very sharp, first about not having the money, and then about the full receipt!”

In an instant all eyes were fastened upon Denis. Ichabod! the glory had departed. The chorus went up from his disenchanted followers:—

“Ah, glory be to God, you were not bright enough for the agent, Denis!”

And so that day the agent made a very full and handsome collection—and there was a slight reduction in the deposit-accounts of the local bank!

In the evening Mr. Tener gave me the details of some cases of direct intimidation with the names of the tenants concerned. One man, whose farm he visited, told him he had paid his rent not long before to the previous agent. “Well,” said Mr. Tener, “show me your receipt!” On this the tenant said that he dare not keep the receipt about him, nor even in the house, lest it should be demanded by the emissaries of the League, who went round to keep the tenants up to the “Plan of Campaign,” and that it was hidden in his stable. And he went out to the stable and brought it in.

This, he had reason to believe, was not an uncom [pg 133] mon case.12 The same man, wishing to take a grass farm which the people hoped the agent would consent to have “cut up” was asked to give two names on a promissory-note to pay the rent. He demurred to this, and after a parley said, “Would a certificate do?” upon which he pulled out an old tobacco-box, and carefully unfolded from it a bank certificate of deposit for a hundred pounds sterling! This tenant held eleven Irish, or more than seventeen English, acres, and his yearly rent was £11, 16s. 6d.

The people before this agitation began were generally quiet, thrifty, and industrious. They were great sheep-raisers. An old law of the Irish Parliament had exempted sheep, but not cattle or [pg 134] crops, from distraint, with an eye to encouraging the woollen interest in Ireland.

As to the sale of tenant-right in Ireland, he told me a curious story. One woman, a widow, whom he named, owed two year’ rent on a holding in Ulster at £4 a year. She was abundantly able to pay, but for her own reasons preferred to be evicted, and, finally, by an understanding with him, offered her tenant-right for sale. A man who had made money in iron-mines in the County of Durham was a bidder, and finally offered £240 for the holding. It was knocked down to him. He then saw the agent, who told him he had paid too much. The woman was then appealed to, and she admitted that the agent was right. But it was shown that others had offered £200, and the woman finally agreed to take, and received, that amount in gold, being fifty years’ purchase!

[pg 135] CHAPTER X.

DUBLIN, Thursday, March 1.This has been a crowded day. I left Portumna very early on a car with Mr. Tener, intending to visit the scene of his latest collision with the “National” government of Ireland, on my way to Loughrea. It was a bright spring morning, more like April in Italy than like March in America, and the country is full of natural beauty. We made our first halt at the derelict house of Martin Kenny, one of the “victims” of the famous “Woodford evictions,” so called, as I have said, because Woodford is the nearest town.13 The eviction here took place October 21st, 1887. The house has been dismantled by the neighbours since that time, each man carrying off a door, or a shutter, [pg 136] or whatever best suited him. One of the constables who followed us as Mr. Tener’s body-guard had been present at the eviction. He came into the house with us, and very graphically described the performance. The house was still full of heavy stones taken into it, partly to block the entrances, and partly as ammunition; and trunks of trees used as chevaux defrise still protruded through the door and the window. These trees had been cut down by the garrison in the woodlands here and there all over the property. I asked if the law in Ireland punished depredations of this sort, and was informed that trees planted by tenants, if registered by them within a certain time, are the property of the tenants. This would astonish our landlords in America, where the tenant who sticks so much as a sunflower into his garden-patch makes a present of it to his landlord.14

I asked if the place made a long defence. Mr. Tener and the constable both laughed, and the [pg 137] former told me that when the storming party arrived shortly after daybreak, they found the house garrisoned only by some small boys, who had been left there to keep watch. The men were fast asleep at some other place. The small boys ran away as fast as possible to give the alarm, but the police went in, and in a jiffey pulled to pieces the elaborate defences prepared to repel them. Father Coen, the constable said, got to Kenny’s house an hour after it was all over, with a mob of people howling and groaning. But the work had been done, and other work also at the Castle of Cloondadauv, to which we next drove.

This place takes its truly awe-inspiring name from a ruined Norman tower standing on a picturesque promontory of no great height, which juts out into the lovely lake here made by the Shannon. At no great expense this tower might be so restored as to make an ideal fishing-box. It now simply adorns the holding formerly occupied by Mr. John Stanislaus Burke, a former tenant of Lord Clanricarde. The story of its capture on the 17th of September is worth telling.

Some days before the evictions were to come off, a meeting was held at Woodford or Loughrea, at [pg 138] which one of the speakers, the patriotic Dr. Tully, rather incautiously and exultingly told his hearers that the defence in 1886 of the tenant’s house known as “Fort Saunders” had been a grand and gallant affair indeed, but that next time “the exterminators would have to storm a castle”!

This put Mr. Tener at once on the alert, and as Mr. Burke of Cloondadauv was set down for eviction, it didn’t require much cogitation to fix upon the fortress destined to be “stormed.” So he set about the campaign. The County Inspector of the constabulary, who had made a secret reconnaissance, reported that he found the place too strong to be taken if defended, except “by artillery.” So it was determined to take it by surprise.

When the previous evictions were made, the agent and the public forces had marched from Portumna by the highway to Woodford, so that, of course, their advent was announced by the scouts and sentinels of the League from hill to hill long before they reached the scene of action, and abundant time was given to the agitators for organising a “reception.” Mr. Tener profited by the experience of his predecessors. He contrived to get his force of constabulary through the town of Portumna [pg 139] without attracting any popular attention. And as early rising is not a popular virtue here, he resolved to steal a march on the defenders of Cloondadauv.

He had brought up certain large boats to Portumna, and put them on the lake. Rousing his men before dawn, he soon had them all embarked, and on their way swiftly and silently by the river and the lake to Cloondadauv. They reached the promontory by daybreak, and as soon as the hour of legal action had arrived they were landed, and surrounded the “castle.” The ancient portal was found to be blocked with heavy stones and trunks of trees, nor did any adit appear to be available, till a young gentleman who had accompanied the party as a volunteer, discovered in one wall of the tower, at some little height from the ground, the vent of one of those conduits not infrequently found running down through the walls of old castles, which were used sometimes as waste-ways for rubbish from above, and sometimes to receive water-pipes from below. Looking up into this vent, he saw a rope hanging free within it. Upon this he hauled resolutely, and finding it firmly attached above, came to the [pg 140] conclusion that it must have been fixed there by the garrison as a means of access to the interior.

Like an adventurous young tar, he bade his comrades stand by, and nimbly “swarmed” up the rope, without thought or care of what might await him at the top. In a few moments his shouts from above proclaimed the capture of the stronghold. It was absolutely deserted; the garrison, confident that no attack would that day be made, had gone off to the nearest village. The interior of the castle was found filled with munitions of war, in the shape of huge beams and piles of stones laboriously carried up the winding stairs, and heaped on all the landing-places in readiness for use. On the flat roof of the castle was established a sort of furnace for heating water or oil, to be poured down upon the besiegers; and crowbars lay there in readiness to loosen out and dislodge the battlements, and topple them over upon the assailants.

The officers soon made their way all over the building, and thence proceeded to the residence of Mr. Burke near by, a large and very commodious house. All the formalities were gone through with, a detachment of policemen was put in charge, and the rest of the forces set out on their return to [pg 141] Portumna, before the organised “defenders” of Cloondadauv, hastily called out of their comfortable beds or from their breakfast-tables had realised the situation, and got the populace into motion. A mass meeting was held in the neighbourhood, and many speeches were made. But the castle and the farm-house and the holding all remain in the hands of a cool, quiet, determined-looking young Ulsterman, who tells me that he is getting on very well, and feels quite able with his police-guard to protect himself. “Once in a while,” he said, “they come here from Loughrea with English Parliament-men, and stand outside of the gate, and call me ‘Clanricarde’s dog,’ and make like speeches at me; but I don’t mind them, and they see it, and go away again.”

Of Mr. Burke, the evicted tenant here, Mr. Crawford, the Protestant clergyman at Portumna, told me that he was abundantly able to pay his rent. The whole debt for which Burke was evicted was £115; and Mr. Crawford said he had himself offered Burke £300 for the holding. Burke would have gladly taken this, but “the League wouldn’t let him.” When his right was put up for sale at Galway for £5, he did not dare to buy it in, [pg 142] and he is now living with his wife and children on the League funds. Lord Clanricarde’s agent offered to take him back and restore his right if he would pay what he owed; but he dared not accept. This farm comprises over one hundred and ten English acres, which Burke held at a rent—fixed by the Land Court—of £77, the valuation for taxes being £83.

To call the eviction of such a tenant in such circumstances from such a holding a “sentence of death,” is making ducks and drakes of the English language. Mr. Crawford’s opinion, founded upon a thorough personal knowledge of the region, is that there is no exceptional distress in this part of Ireland, and that over-renting has nothing to do with such distress as does exist here. The case of a man named Egan, one of the “victims” of the Woodford evictions of 1886, certainly bears out this view of the matter. Egan, who was a tenant, not at all of Lord Clanricarde, but of a certain Mrs. Lewis, had occupied for twenty years a holding of about sixteen Irish acres, or more than twenty English acres. This he held at a yearly rental of £8, 15s., being 9d. over the valuation.

In August 1886 he was evicted for refusing to [pg 143] pay one year’s rent then due. At that time the crops standing on the land were valued by him at £60, 13s. He also owned six beasts. In other words, this man, when he was called upon to pay a debt of £8, 15s. had in his own possession, beside the valuable tenant-right of his holding, more than a hundred pounds sterling of merchantable assets. He refused to pay, and he was evicted.

This was in August 1886. But such are the ideas now current in Ireland as to the relations of landlord and tenant, that immediately after his eviction Egan sent his daughter to gather some cabbages off the farm as if nothing had happened. The Emergency men in charge actually objected, and sent the damsel away. Thereupon Egan, on the 6th of September, served a legal notice on Mrs. Lewis, his landlady, requiring her either to let him take all the crops on the farm, or to pay him their value, estimated by him, as I have said, at £60, 13s. Two days after this, on the 8th of September, more than a hundred men came to the place by night and removed the greater portion of the crops. Not wishing a return of these visitors, Mrs. Lewis, on the 16th of September, sent word to Egan to come and take away what was left of the crops; one of [pg 144] the horses employed in the nocturnal harvest of September 8th having been seized by the police and identified as belonging to Egan. Egan did not respond; but in July 1887 he brought an action against his landlady to recover £100 sterling for her “detention of his goods,” and her “conversion of the same to her own use ”!

The case was heard by the Recorder at Kilmainham, and the facts which I have briefly recited were established by the evidence. The daughter of this extraordinary “victim” Egan appeared as a witness, so “fashionably dressed” as to attract a remark on the subject from the defendant’s counsel. To this she replied that “her brothers in America sent her money.”

“If your brothers in America sent you money for such purposes,” not unnaturally observed the Recorder, “why did they allow your father to sacrifice crops worth £60 for the non-payment of [pg 145] £8, 15s.?”

“They were tired of that,” said the young lady airily; “the land wasn’t worth the rent!”

That is to say, a farm which yielded a crop of £60, and pastured several head of cattle, was not worth £8, 15s. a year. Certainly it was not worth £8, 15s. a year if the tenant under the operation of the existing or the impending laws of Great Britain in Ireland could get, or hope to get it for the half of that rent, or for no rent at all.

But this being thus, on what grounds are the rest of mankind invited to regard this excellent man as a “victim” worthy of sympathy and of material aid? How had he come to be in arrears of a year in August 1886? The proceedings at Kilmainham tell us this.

In November 1885 he had demanded, with other tenants of Mrs. Lewis, a reduction of 50 per cent. This would have given him his holding at a rental of £4, 7s. 6d. Mrs. Lewis refused the concession, and a month afterwards an attempt was made to blow up her son’s house with dynamite. Between that time and August 1886, all the efforts of her son, who was also her agent, to collect her dues by seizing beasts, were defeated by the driving away of the cattle, so that no remedy but an eviction was left to her. I take it for granted that Mrs. Lewis had a family to maintain, and debts of one sort and another to pay, as well as Mr. Egan—but I observe this material difference between her position and his during the whole of this period of “strained [pg 146] relations” between herself and her tenant, that whereas she lay completely out of the enjoyment of the rent due her, being the interest on her capital, represented in her title to the land, Mr. Egan remained in the complete enjoyment and use of the land. Clearly the tenant was in a better position than the landlord, and as we are dealing not with the history of Ireland in the past, but with the condition of Ireland at present, it appears to me to be quite beside the purpose to ask my sympathies for Mr. Egan on the ground that a century or half a century ago the ancestors of Mr. Egan may have been at the mercy of the ancestors of Mrs. Lewis. However that may have been, Mr. Egan seems to me now to have had legally much the advantage of Mrs. Lewis. Not only this. Both legally and materially Mr. Egan, the tenant-farmer at Woodford, seems to me to have had much the advantage of thousands of his countrymen living and earning their livelihood by their daily labour in such a typical American commonwealth, for example, as Massachusetts. I have here with me the Seventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Statistics of Massachusetts. From this I learn that in 1876 the average yearly wages earned by workmen in Massachusetts were [pg 147] $482.72, or in round numbers something over £96. Out of this amount the Massachusetts workman had to feed, clothe, and house himself, and those dependent on him.

His outlay for rent alone was on the average $109.07, or in round numbers rather less than £22, making 22-1/2 per cent, of his earnings.

How was it with Mr. Egan? Out of his labour on his holding he got merchantable crops worth £60 sterling, or in round numbers $300, besides producing in the shape of vegetables and dairy stuff, pigs and poultry, certainly a very large proportion of the food necessary for his household, and raising and fattening beasts, worth at a low estimate £20 or $100 more. And while thus engaged, his outlay for rent, which included not only the house in which he lived, but the land out of which he got the returns of his labour expended upon it, was £8, 15s., or considerably less than one-half the outlay of the Massachusetts workman upon the rent of nothing more than a roof to shelter himself and his family. Furthermore, the money thus paid out by the Massachusetts workman for rent was simply a tribute paid for accommodation had and enjoyed, while out of every pound sterling paid as rent by [pg 148] the Irish tenant there reverted to his credit, so long as he continued to fulfil his legal obligations, a certain proportion, calculable, valuable, and saleable, in the form of his tenant-right.

I am not surprised to learn that the Recorder dismissed the suit brought by Mr. Egan, and gave costs against him. But the mere fact that in such circumstances it was possible for Egan to bring such a suit, and get a hearing for it, makes it quite clear that Americans of a sympathetic turn of mind can very easily find much more meritorious objects of sympathy than the Irish tenant-farmers of Galway without crossing the Atlantic in quest of them.

From Cloondadauv to Loughrea we had a long but very interesting drive, passing on the way, and at no great distance from each other, Father Coen’s neat, prosperous-looking presbytery of Ballinakill, and the shop and house of a local boat-builder named Tully, who is pleasantly known in the neighbourhood as “Dr. Tully,” by reason of his recommendation of a very particular sort of “pills for landlords.” The presbytery is now occupied by Father Coen, who finds it becoming his position as the moral teacher and guide of his people to be in arrears of two and a half years with the rent of his holding, and who is said to [pg 149] have entertained Mr. Blunt and other sympathising statesmen very handsomely on their visit to Loughrea and Woodford,15 “Dr.” Tully being one of the guests invited to meet them.16 Not far from this presbytery, Mr. Tener showed me the scene of one of the most cowardly murders which have disgraced this region. Of Loughrea, the objective of our drive this morning, Sir George Trevelyan, I am told, during his brief rule in Ireland, found it necessary to say that murder had there become an institution. Woodford, previously a dull and law-abiding spot, was illuminated by a lurid light of modern progress about three years ago, upon the transfer thither in the summer of 1885 of a priest from Loughrea, familiarly known as “the firebrand priest.”

In November of that year, as I have already related, Mr. Egan and other tenants of Mrs. Lewis of [pg 150] Woodford made their demand for a 50 per cent. reduction of their rents, upon the refusal of which an attempt was made with dynamite on the 18th December to blow up the house of Mrs. Lewis’s son and agent. All the bailiffs in the region round about were warned to give up serving processes, and many of them were cowed into doing so. One man, however, was not cowed. This was a gallant Irish soldier, discharged with honour after the Crimean war, and known in the country as “Balaklava,” because he was one of the “noble six hundred,” who there rode “into the jaws of death, into the valley of hell.” His name was Finlay, and he was a Catholic. At a meeting in Woodford, Father Coen (the priest now in arrears), it is said, looked significantly at Finlay, and said, “no process-server will be got to serve processes for Sir Henry Burke of Marble Hill.” The words and the look were thrown away on the veteran who had faced the roar and the crash of the Russian guns, and later on, in December 1885, Finlay did his duty, and served the processes given to him. From that moment he and his wife were “boycotted.” His own kinsfolk dared not speak to him. His house was attacked by night. He was a doomed man. On the 3d March 1886, about 2 o’clock P.M., [pg 151] he left his house—which Mr. Tener pointed out to me—to cut fuel in a wood belonging to Sir Henry Burke, at no great distance. Twice he made the journey between his house and the wood. The third time he went and returned no more. His wife growing uneasy at his prolonged absence went out to look for him. She found his body riddled with bullets lying lifeless in the highway. The police who went into Woodford with the tale report the people as laughing and jeering at the agony of the widowed woman. She was with them, and, maddened by the savage conduct of these wretched creatures, she knelt down over-against the house of Father Egan, and called down the curse of God upon him.

On the next day things were worse. No one could be found to supply a coffin for the murdered man.17 When the police called upon the priests to exert their influence and enforce some semblance at least of Christian and Catholic decency upon the people confided to their charge, the priests not only refused to do their duty, but floutingly referred the police to Lady Mary Burke. “He did her work,” they said, “let her send a hearse now to bury him.” [pg 152] The lady thus insolently spoken of is one of the best of the Catholic women of Ireland. At her summons Father Burke, a few years only before his death, I remember, made a long winter journey, though in very bad health, from Dublin to Marble Hill to soothe the last hours and attend the death-bed of her husband.

No one who knew and loved him can wish him to have lived to hear from her lips such a tale of the degradation of Catholic priests in his own land of Galway.

Mr. Tener pointed out to me, at another place on the road, near Ballinagar, the deserted burying-ground in which, after much trouble, a grave was found for the brave old soldier who had escaped the Russian cannon-balls to be so foully done to death by felons of his own race. There the last rites were performed by Father Callaghy, a priest who was himself “boycotted” for resigning the presidency of the League in his parish, and for the still graver offence of paying his rent. For weeks it was necessary to guard the grave!18

[pg 153] From that day to this no one has been brought to justice for this crime, committed in broad daylight, and within sight of the highway. Mr. Place, whom I saw at Portumna, told me that he believed the police had no moral doubt as to the murderer of Finlay, but that it was useless to think of getting legal evidence to convict him.

Mr. Tener tells me that when Mr. Wilfrid Blunt came to Woodford he went with Father Egan, and accompanied by the police, to see the widow of this murdered man, heard from her own lips the sickening story, and took notes of it. But when Mr. Rowlands, M.P., an English “friend of Home Rule,” was examined the other day during the trial of Mr. Blunt, he was obliged to confess that though he had visited Woodford more than once, and conversed [pg 154] freely with Mr. Blunt about it, he had “never heard of the murder of Finlay.”

Such an incident is apparently of little interest to politicians at Westminster. Fortunately for Ireland, it is of a nature to command more attention at the Vatican.

Nature has sketched the scenery of this part of Ireland with a free, bold hand. It is not so grand or so wild as the scenery of Western Donegal, but it has both a wildness and a grandeur of its own. Sir Henry Burke’s seat of Marble Hill, as seen in the distance from the road, stands superbly, high up on a lofty range of wooded hills, from which it commands the country for miles. And no town I have seen in Ireland is more picturesquely placed than Loughrea. It has an almost Italian aspect as you approach it from Woodford. But no lake in Lombardy or Piedmont is so peculiarly and exquisitely tinted as the lough on which it stands. The delicate grey-green of the sparkling waters reminded me of the singular and well-defined belts and stretches of chrysoprase upon which you sometimes come in sailing through the dark azure of the Southern Seas. I have never before seen precisely such a hue in any body of fresh water. The lake [pg 155] is incorrectly described, Mr. Tener tells me, in the guide-books, as being one of the many curious developments of the Lower Shannon. It is fed by springs, but if, like the river-lakes, it was formed by a solution of the limestone, this fact may have some chemical relation with its very peculiar colour. It contains three picturesque islands. No stream flows into it, but two streams issue from it. The town of Loughrea is an ancient holding of the De Burghs, and the estate-office of Lord Clanricarde is here in one wing of a great barrack, standing, as I understood Mr. Tener to say, on the site of a former fortress of the family. Lord Clanricarde’s property here is put down by Mr. Hussey de Burgh at 49,025 acres in County Galway, valued at £19,634, and at 3576 acres in the county of the City of Galway, valued at £1202. These, I believe, are statute acres, and in estimating the relation of Irish rentals to Irish land this fact must be always ascertained. Of the so-called “Woodford” property the present rental is no more than £1900, payable by 260 tenants. The Poor-Law valuation for taxes is £2400. There was a revision of the whole Galway property made by the father of the present Marquis. Of the 260 Woodford holdings [pg 156] only twelve were increased, in no case more than 6-1/4 per cent, over the valuation. In 1882 six of these twelve tenants applied to the Land Court. The rents were in no case restored to the figures before 1872, but about 7 per cent. was taken off the increased rental. The assertion repeatedly made that in 1882 rents were reduced by the Land Court 50 per cent. on the Clanricarde estates, Mr. Tener tells me, is absolutely false. In the first year of the Court no reduction went beyond 10 per cent., and in later years, even under the panic of low prices, the average has not exceeded 20 per cent.

After making arrangements for a car to take me on to Woodlawn, where I was to catch the Dublin train, I went out with Mr. Tener to look at the town.

My drive from Loughrea to Woodlawn was delightful. It took me over a long stretch of the best hunting country of Galway, and my jarvey was a Galwegian of the type dear to the heart of Lever. He was a “Nationalist” after his fashion, but he did not hesitate to come rattling up through the town to the Estate Office to take me up; and after we got fairly off upon the highway, he spoke with more freedom than respect of all sorts and conditions of men in and about Loughrea.

[pg 157] “He’s a sharp little man, that Mr. Tener,” he said, “and he gave the boys a most beautiful beating at Burke’s place.”

This was said with genuine gusto, and not at all in the querulous spirit of the delightful member of Parliament who complained at Westminster with unconscious humour that the agent and the police in that case had “dishonourably” stolen a march on the defenders of Cloondadauv!

“But we’ve beaten them entirely,” he said, with equal zest, “at Marble Hill. Sir Henry has agreed to pay all the costs, and the living expenses too, of the poor men that were put out.19 I didn’t ever think we’d get that; but ye see the truth is,” he added confidentially, “he must have the money, Sir Henry—he’s lying out of a deal, and then there’s heavy charges on the property. A fine property it is indeed!”

“In fact,” I said, “you put Sir Henry to the wall. Is that it?”

“Well, it’s like that. But we shan’t get that out [pg 158] of Clanricarde, I’m thinking. He’s got a power o’ money they tell me; and he’s that of the ould Burke blood, he won’t mind fighting just as long as you like!”

As we drove along, he pointed out to me several fine stretches of hunting country, and, to my surprise, informed me that only the other day “there was as fine a meet as ever you saw, more than a hundred ladies and gentlemen—a grand sight it was.”

I asked if the hunting had not been “put down by the League.”

“Oh, now then, sir, who’d be wanting to put down the hunting here in Galway?—and Ballinasloe? Were you ever at Ballinasloe? just the grandest horse fair there is in the whole wide world!”

I insisted that I had always heard a great deal about the opposition of the League to hunting.

“Oh, that’ll be some little lawyer fellow,” he replied, “like that Healy, that can’t sit on a horse! It’s the grandest country in all the world for riding over. What for wouldn’t they ride over it?”

“Were there many went out to America from about Loughrea?”

“Oh, yes; they were always coming and going. But as many came back.”

[pg 159] “Why?”

“Oh, they didn’t like the country. It wasn’t as good a country, was it, as old Ireland? And they had to work too hard; and then some of them got money, and they’d like to spend it in the old place.”

The country about Woodlawn is very picturesque and well wooded, and for a long distance we followed the neatly-kept stone walls of the large and handsome park of Lord Ashtown.

“The most beautiful and biggest trees in all Ireland, sorr,” said the jarvey, “and it’s a great pity, it is, ye can’t stay to let me drive you all over it, for the finest part of the park is just what you can’t see from this road. Oh, her ladyship would never object to any gentleman driving about to see the beauties of the place. She is a very good woman, is her ladyship. She gave work the last Christmas to thirty-two men, and there wasn’t another house in the country there that had work for more than ten or twelve. A very good woman she is, indeed.”

“Yes, that is a very handsome church, it is indeed. It is the Protestant Church. Lord Ashtown built it; he was a very good man too, and did a power of good—building and making roads, and giving work to the people. He was buried there in [pg 160] that Castle, over the station—Trench’s Castle, they called it.”

“All that lumber there by the station?”

“That came out of the Ashtown woods. They were always cutting down the trees; there was so many of them you might be cutting for years—you would never get to the end of them.”

Woodlawn Station is one of the neatest and prettiest railway stations I have seen in Ireland—more like a picturesque stone cottage, green and gay with flowers, than like a station. The station-master’s family of cheery well-dressed lads and lasses went and came about the bright fire in the waiting-room in a friendly unobtrusive fashion, chatting with the policeman and the porter and the passengers. It was hard to believe one’s-self within an easy drive of the “cockpit of Ireland.”

[pg 161] CHAPTER XI.

BORRIS, Friday, March 2d.This is the land of the Kavanaghs, and a lovely, picturesque, richly-wooded land it is. I left Dublin with Mr. Gyles by an afternoon train; the weather almost like June. We ran from the County of Dublin into Kildare, and from Kildare into Carlow, through hills; rural scenery quite unlike anything I have hitherto seen in Ireland. At Bagnalstown, a very pretty place, with a spire which takes the eye, our host joined us, and came on with us to this still more attractive spot. Borris has been the seat of his family for many centuries. The MacMorroghs of Leinster, whom the Kavanaghs lineally represent, dwelt here long before Dermot MacMorrogh, finding his elective throne in Leinster too hot to hold him, went off into Aquitaine, to get that famous “letter of marque” from Henry II. of England, with the help of which this king without a kingdom induced Richard de Clare, an earl without an earldom, to lend him a [pg 162] hand and bring the Normans into Ireland. Many of this race lie buried in the ruins of St. Mullen’s Abbey, on the Barrow, in this county. But none of them, I opine, ever did such credit to the name as its present representative, Arthur MacMorrogh Kavanagh.

I had some correspondence with Mr. Kavanagh several years ago, when he sent me, through my correspondent for publication in New York, a very striking statement of his views on the then condition of Irish affairs—views since abundantly vindicated; and like most people who have paid any attention to the recent history of Ireland, I knew how wonderful an illustration his whole career has been of what philosophers call the superiority of man to his accidents, and plain people the power of the will. But I knew this only imperfectly. His servant brought him up to the carriage and placed him in it. This it was impossible not to see. But I had not talked with him for five minutes before it quite passed out of my mind. Never was there such a justification of the paradoxical title which Wilkinson gave to his once famous book, The Human Body, and its Connexion with Man,—never such a living refutation of the theory that it is the [pg 163] thumb which differentiates man from the lower animals. Twenty times this evening I have been reminded of the retort I heard made the other day at Cork by a lawyer, who knows Mr. Kavanagh well, to a priest of “Nationalist” proclivities, who knows him not at all. Some allusion having been made to Borris, the lawyer said to me, “You will see at Borris the best and ablest Irishman alive.” On this the priest testily and tartly broke in, “Do you mean the man without hands or feet?”

“I mean,” replied the lawyer, very quietly, “the man in whom all that has gone in you or me to arms and legs has gone to heart and head!”

Borris House stands high in the heart of an extensive and nobly wooded park, and commands one of the finest landscapes I have seen in Ireland. As we stood and gazed upon it from the hall door, the distant hills were touched with a soft purple light such as transfigures the Apennines at sunset.

“You should see this view in June,” said Mrs, Kavanagh, “we are all brown and bare now.”

Brown and bare, like most other terms, are relative. To the eye of an American this whole region now seems a sea of verdure, less clear and fresh, I can easily suppose, than it may be in the early [pg 164] summer, but verdure still. And one must get into the Adirondacks, or up among the mountains of Western Virginia, to find on our Atlantic slope such trees as I have this evening seen. One grand ilex near the house could hardly be matched in the Villa d’Este.

The house is stately and commodious, and more ancient than it appears to be,—so many additions have been made to it at different times. It has passed through more than one siege, and in the ’98 Mr. Kavanagh tells me the townspeople of Borris came up here and sought refuge. There are vast caverns under the house and grounds, doubtless made by taking out from the hill the stone used in building this house, and the fortresses which stood here before it. In these all sorts of stores were kept, and many of the people found shelter.

I need not say that there is a banshee at Borris—though no living witness, I believe, has heard its warning wail. But as we sat in the beautiful library, and watched the dying light of day, a lady present told us a tale more gruesome than many of those in which the “psychical” inquirers delight. She was sitting, she said, in an upper room of an ancient mansion here in Carlow, in which she [pg 165] lives, when, from the lawn below, there came up to her a low, sad, shrill cry—the croon of a woman, such as one hears from the mourners sitting among the turbaned tombstones of the hill of Eyoub at Constantinople. It startled her, and she held her breath and listened. She was alone, as she knew, in that part of the house, and the hall door below was unlocked, as is the fashion still in Ireland, despite all the troubles and turmoils. Again the sound came, and this time nearer to the house. Could it be the banshee? Again and again it rose and died away, each time nearer and nearer. Then, as she listened, all her nerves strung to the keenest sensibility, it came again, and now, beyond a doubt, within the hall below.

With an effort she rose from her chair, opened a door leading into a corridor running aside from the main stairway, and fled at full speed towards the wing in which she knew that she would find some of the maids. As she sped along she heard the cry again and again far behind her, as from a creature slowly and steadily mounting the grand stairway towards the room which she had just quitted.

She found the maids, who fell into a terrible fright when she told her story and dared not budge. [pg 166] So the bells were violently rung till the butler and footman appeared. To the first she said simply, “There is a mad woman in this house—go and find her!”

“The man looked at me,” she said, “as I spoke with a curious expression in his face as of one who thought, ‘yes, there is a mad woman in the house, and she is not far to seek!’”

But the lady insisted, and the men finally went off on their quest. In the course of half an hour it was rewarded. The mad woman—a dangerous creature—who had wandered away from an asylum in the neighbourhood, was found curled up and fast asleep in the lady’s own bed!

Fancy a delicate woman going alone into her bedroom at midnight to be suddenly confronted by an apparition of that sort!

BORRIS, March 3d.After a stroll on the lawn this morning, the wide and glorious prospect bathed in the light of a really soft spring day, I had a conversation with Mr. Kavanagh about the Land Corporation, of which he is the guiding spirit. This is a defensive organisation of the Irish landlords against the Land League. When a landlord has been driven into [pg 167] evicting his tenants, the next step, in the “war against landlordism,” is to prevent other tenants from taking the vacated lands and cultivating them. This is accomplished by “boycotting” any man who does this as a “land-grabber.”

The ultimate sanction of the “boycott” being “murder,” derelict farms increased under this system very rapidly; and the Eleventh Commandment of the League, “Thou shalt not pay the rent which thy neighbour hath refused to pay,” was in a fair way to dethrone the Ten Commandments of Sinai throughout Ireland, even before the formal adoption in 1886 of the “Plan of Campaign.”

Mr. Gladstone would perhaps have hit the facts more accurately, if, instead of calling an eviction in Ireland a “sentence of death,” he had called the taking of a tenancy a sentence of death. Mr. Hussey at Lixnaw had two tenants, Edmond and James Fitzmaurice. Edmond Fitzmaurice was “evicted” in May 1887; but he was taken into the house of a neighbour, made very comfortable, and still lives. James Fitzmaurice took, for the sake of the family, the land from which Edmond was evicted, and for this he was denounced as a “land-grabber,” boycotted, and finally shot dead in the presence of his daughter.

[pg 168] At a meeting in Dublin in the autumn of 1885, a parish priest, the Rev. Mr. Cantwell, described it as a “cardinal virtue” that “no one should take a farm from which another had been evicted,” and called upon the people who heard him to “pass any such man by unnoticed, and treat him as an enemy in their midst.” Public opinion and the law, if not the authorities of his church would make short work of any priest who talked in this fashion in New York. But in Ireland, and under the British Government, it seems they order things differently. So it occurred one day to the landlords thus assailed, as it did to the sea-lions of the Cape of Good Hope when the French sailors attacked them, that they might defend themselves.

To this end the Land Corporation was instituted, with a considerable capital at its back, and Mr. Kavanagh at its head. The “plan of campaign” of this Corporation is to take over from the landlords derelict lands and cultivate them, stocking them where that is necessary.

It is in this way that the derelict lands on the Ponsonby property at Youghal are now worked. But Mr. Kavanagh tells me that the men employed by the Corporation, of whom Father Keller spoke [pg 169] as a set of desperadoes or “enfants perdus,” are really a body of resolute and capable working men farmers. Many, but by no means all of them, are Protestants and Ulstermen; and that they are up to their work would seem to be shown by the fact stated to me, that in no case so far have any of them been deterred and driven off from the holdings confided to them. A great part of the Luggacurren property of Lord Lansdowne is now worked by the Corporation; and Mr. Kavanagh was kind enough to let me see the accounts, which indicate a good business result for the current year on that property. This is all very interesting. But what a picture it presents of social demoralisation! And what is to be the end of it all? Can a country be called civilised in which a farmer with a family to maintain, having the capital and the experience necessary to manage successfully a small farm, is absolutely forbidden, on pain of social ostracism, and eventually on pain of death, by a conspiracy of his neighbours, to take that farm of its lawful owner at what he considers to be a fair rent? And how long can any civilisation of our complex modern type endure in a country in which such a state of things tolerated by the alleged Government of that country [pg 170] has to be met, and more or less partially mitigated, by deviating to the cultivation of farms rendered in this way derelict large amounts of capital which might be, and ought to be, far more profitably employed in other ways?

Mr. Kavanagh, after serving the office of High Sheriff thirty years ago, first for Kilkenny, and then for Carlow, sat in Parliament for fourteen years, from 1866 to 1880, as an Irish county member. He has a very large property here in Carlow, and property also in Wexford, and in Kilkenny, and was sworn into the Privy Council two years ago. If the personal interests and the family traditions of any man alive can be said to be rooted in the Irish soil, this is certainly true of his interests and his traditions. How can the peace and prosperity of Ireland be served by a state of things which condemns an Irishman of such ties and such training to expend his energies and his ability in defending the elementary right of Paddy O’Rourke to take stock and work a ten-acre farm on terms that suit himself and his landlord?

In the afternoon we took a delightful walk through the woods, Mr. Kavanagh going with us on horseback. Every hill and clump of trees on this [pg 171] large domain he knows, and he led us like a master of woodcraft through all manner of leafy byways to the finest points of view. The Barrow flows past Borris, making pictures at every turn, and the banks on both sides are densely and beautifully wooded. We came in one place upon a sawmill at work in the forest, and Mr. Kavanagh showed us with pride the piles of excellent timber which he turns out here. But he took a greater pride in a group, sacred from the axe, of really magnificent Scotch firs, such as I had certainly not expected to find in Ireland. Nearer the mansion are some remarkable Irish yews. The gardens are of all sorts and very extensive, but we found the head-gardener bitterly lamenting the destruction by a fire in one of the conservatories of more than six thousand plants just prepared for setting out.

There are many curious old books and papers here, and a student of early Irish history might find matter to keep him well employed for a long time in this region. It was from this region and the race which ruled it, of which race Mr. Kavanagh is the actual representative, that the initiative came of the first Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. Strongbow made what, from the Anglo-Norman point of view, [pg 172] was a perfectly legitimate bargain, with a dispossessed prince to help him to the recovery of his rights on the understanding that these rights, when recovered, should pass in succession to himself through the only daughter of the prince, whom he proposed to marry. It does not appear that Strongbow knew, or that Dermot MacMorrogh cared to tell him, how utterly unlike the rights of an Anglo-Norman prince were those of the elective life-tenant of an Irish principality. FitzStephen, the son by her second marriage of Nesta, the Welsh royal mistress of Henry Beauclerk, and his cousin, Maurice Fitzgerald, the leaders into Ireland of the Geraldines, were no more clear in their minds about this than Strongbow, and it is to the original muddle thus created that Professor Richey doubtless rightly refers the worst and most troublesome complications of the land question in Ireland. The distinction between the King’s lieges and the “mere Irish,” for example, is unquestionably a legal distinction, though it is continually and most mischievously used as if it were a proof of the race-hatred borne by the Normans and Saxons in Ireland from the first against the Celts. The O’Briens, the O’Neills, the O’Mullaghlins, the O’Connors, and the M‘Morroghs, [pg 173] “the five bloods,” as they are called, were certainly Celts, but whether in virtue of their being, or claiming to be, the royal races respectively of Minister, of Ulster, of Meath, of Connaught, and of Leinster, or from whatever other reason, these races were “within the king’s law,” and were never “mere Irish” from the first planting of the Anglo-Norman power in Ireland. The case of a priest, Shan O’Kerry, “an Irish enemy of the king,” presented “contrary to the form of statute” to the vicarage of Lusk, in the reign of Edward IV. (1465), illustrates this. An Act of Parliament was passed to declare the aforesaid “Shan O’Kerry,” or “John of Kevernon,” to be “English born, and of English nation,” and that he might “hold and enjoy the said benefice.”

There is a genealogy here of the M‘Morroghs and Kavanaghs, most gorgeously and elaborately gotten up many years ago for Mr. Kavanagh’s grandfather, which shows how soon the Norman and the native strains of blood become commingled. When one remembers how much Norman blood must have gone even into far-off Connaught when King John, in the early part of the thirteenth century, coolly gave away that realm of the O’Connors to the [pg 174] De Burgos, and how continually the English of the Pale fled from the exactions inflicted upon them by their own people, and sought refuge “among the savage and mere Irish,” one cannot help thinking that the“ Race Question” has been “worked for at least all it is worth” by philosophers bent on unravelling the ‘snarl’ of Irish affairs. If this genealogy may be trusted, there was little to choose between the ages which immediately preceded and the ages which followed the Anglo-Norman invasion in the matter of respect for human life. Celtic chiefs and Norman knights “died in their boots” as regularly as frontiersmen in Texas. One personage is designated in the genealogy as “the murderer,” for the truly Hibernian reason, so far as appears, that he was himself murdered while quite a youth, and before he had had a chance to murder more than three or four of his immediate relatives. It was as if the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet and the Lady Constance should be branded in history as “Arthur, the Assassin.”

BORRIS, March 4th.This is a staunch Protestant house, and Mr. Kavanagh himself reads a Protestant service every morning. But there is little or [pg 175] nothing apparently in this part of Ireland of the bitter feeling about and against the Catholics which exists in the North. A very lively and pleasant Catholic gentleman came in to-day informally and joined the house party at luncheon. We all walked out over the property afterwards, visiting quite a different region from that which we saw yesterday—different but equally beautiful and striking, and this Catholic gentleman cited several cases which had fallen within his own knowledge of priests who begin to feel their moral control of the people slipping away from them through the operation of the “Plan of Campaign.” I told him what I had heard in regard to one such priest from my ecclesiastical friend in Cork. “It does not surprise me at all,” he said, “and, indeed, I not very long ago read precisely such another letter from a priest in a somewhat similar position. I read it with pain and shame as a Catholic,” he continued, “for it was simply a complete admission that the priest, although entirely convinced that his parishioners were making most unfair demands upon their landlord to whom the letter was addressed, felt himself entirely powerless to bring them to a sense of their misconduct.” “Had this priest given in his ad [pg 176] hesion to the Plan of Campaign?” I asked. “Yes,” was the reply, “and it was this fact which had broken his hold on the people when he tried to bring them to abandon their attitude under the Plan. His letter was really nothing more nor less than an appeal to the landlord, and that landlord a Protestant, to help him to get out of the hole into which he had put himself.”

Of the tenants and their relation to the village despots who administer the Plan of Campaign, this gentleman had many stories also to tell of the same tenor with all that I have hitherto heard on this subject. Everywhere it is the same thing. The well-to-do and well-disposed tenants are coerced by the thriftless and shiftless. “I have the agencies of several properties,” he said, “and in some of the best parts of Ireland. I have had little or no trouble on any of them, for I have one uniform method. I treat every tenant as if he were the only man I had to deal with, study his personal ways and character, humour him, and get him on my side against himself. You can always do this with an Irishman if you will take the trouble to do it. Within the past years I have had tenants come and tell me they were in fear the Plan of Campaign [pg 177] would be brought upon them, just as if it were a kind of potato disease, and beg me to agree to take the rent from them in that case, and just not discover on them that they had paid it before it was due!”

This gentleman is a pessimist as to the future. “I am a youngish man still,” he said, “and a single man, and I am glad of it. I don’t believe the English will ever learn how to govern this country, and I am sure it can never govern itself. Would your people make a State of it?”

To this I replied that with Cuba and Canada and Mexico, all still to be digested and assimilated, I thought the deglutition of Ireland by the great Republic must be remitted to a future much too remote to interest either of us.

“I suppose so,” he said in a humorously despondent tone; “and so I see nothing for people who think as I do, but Australia or New Zealand!”

Mr. Kavanagh sees the future, I think, in colouring not quite so dark. As a public man, familiar for years with the method and ways of British Parliaments, he seems to regard the possible future legislation of Westminster with more anxiety and alarm than the past or present agitations in Ireland. [pg 178] The business of banishing political economy to Jupiter and Saturn, however delightful it may be to the people who make laws, is a dangerous one to the people for whom the laws are made. While he has very positive opinions as to the wisdom of the concession made in the successive Land Acts for Ireland, which have been passed since 1870, he is much less disquieted, I think, by those concessions, than by the spirit by which the legislation granting them has been guided. He thinks great good has been already done by Mr. Balfour, and that much more good will be done by him if the Irish people are made to feel that clamorous resistance to the law will no longer be regarded at Westminster as a sufficient reason for changing the law. That is as much as to say that party spirit in Great Britain is the chief peril of Ireland to-day. And how can any Irishman, no matter what his state in his own country may be, or his knowledge of Irish affairs, or his patriotic earnestness and desire for Irish prosperity, hope to control the tides of party spirit in England or Scotland?

Of the influence upon the people in Ireland of the spirit of recent legislation for Ireland, the story of the troubles on the O’Grady estate, as Mr. [pg 179] Kavanagh tells it to me, is a most striking illustration. “The O’Grady of Kilballyowen,” as his title shows, is the direct representative, not of any Norman invader, but of an ancient Irish race. The O’Gradys were the heads of a sept of the “mere Irish”; and if there be such a thing—past, present, or future—as an “Irish nation,” the place of the O’Gradys in that nation ought to be assumed. Mr. Thomas De Courcy O’Grady, who now wears the historic designation, owns and lives on an estate of a little more than 1000 acres, in the Golden Vein of Ireland, at Killmallock, in the county of Limerick. The land is excellent, and for the last half-century certainly it has been let to the tenants at rents which must be considered fair, since they have never been raised. In 1845, two years before the great famine, the rental was £2142. This rental was paid throughout the famine years without difficulty; and in 1881 the rental stood at £2108.

There has never been an eviction on the estate until last year, when six tenants were evicted. All of these lived in good comfortable houses, and were prosperous dairy-farmers. Why were they evicted?

[pg 180] In October 1886, during the candidacy at New York of the Land Reformer, Mr. George, Mr. Dillon, M.P., propounded the “Plan of Campaign” at Portumna in Galway. The March rents being then due on the estate of The O’Grady in Limerick, his agent, Mr. Shine, was directed to continue the abatements of 15 per cent, on the judicial rents, and of 25 per cent, on all other rents, which had been cheerfully accepted in 1885. But there was a priest at Kilballyowen, Father Ryan, who wrought upon the tenants until they demanded a general abatement of 40 per cent. This being refused, they asked for 30 per cent. on the judicial rents, and 40 per cent. on the others. This also being refused, Father Ryan had his way, and the “Plan of Campaign” was adopted. The O’Grady’s writs issued against several of the tenants were met by a “Plan of Campaign” auction of cattle at Herbertstown in December 1886, the returns of which were paid into “the Fund.” For this, one of the tenants, Thomas Moroney, who held, besides a a farm of 37 Irish acres, a “public,” and five small houses, at Herbertstown, and the right to the tolls on cattle at the Herbertstown farm, valued at from £50 to £60 a year, and who held all these at a [pg 181] yearly rent of £85, was proceeded against. Judge Boyd pronounced him a bankrupt.

In the spring of 1887, after The O’Grady had been put to great costs and trouble, the tenants made a move. They offered to accept a general abatement of 17-1/2 per cent., “The O’Grady to pay all the costs.”

Here is the same story again of the small solicitors behind the “Plan of Campaign” promoting the strife, and counting on the landlords to defray the charges of battle!

The O’Grady responded with the following circular:—

To my Tenants on Kilballyowen and Herbertstown Estate, Co. Limerick.

MY FRIENDS,—Pending the evictions by the Sheriff on my estate, caused by your refusal to pay judicial rents on offers of liberal abatements, I desire to remind you of the following facts:—

I am a resident landlord; my ancestors have dwelt amongst you for over 400 years; every tenant is personally known to me, and the most friendly relations have always existed between us.

I am not aware of there ever having been an eviction by the Sheriff on my estate.

Farming myself over 400 acres, and my late agent (Mr. Shine), a tenant farmer living within four miles [pg 182] of my property, I have every opportunity of realising and knowing your wants.

On the passing of the Land Act of 1881, I desired you to have any benefit it could afford you, and as you nearly all held under lease—which precluded you from going into court—I intimated to you my wish, and offered you to allow your lands to be valued at my expense, or to let you go into court and get your rents fixed by the sub-commissioners.

You elected to have a valuation made, and Mr. Edmond Moroney was agreed on as a land-valuer, possessing the confidence of tenants and landlord.

I may mention, up to then I had not known Mr. Moroney personally.

In 1883 Mr. Moroney valued your holdings, and, as a result, his valuation was accepted (except in three or four cases), and judicial agreements signed by you, at rents ascertained by Mr. Moroney’s valuation.

The late Patrick Hogan objected to Mr. Moroney’s valuation of his farm, and went into court, and had his rent fixed by the County Court Judge.

Thomas Moroney would not allow Mr. Edmond Moroney to value his holding, nor would he go into court, his reason no doubt being he should disclose the receipts of the amount of the tolls of the fairs.

The rents were subsequently paid on Mr. Moroney’s valuation with punctuality.

In 1885, recognising the fall in prices of stock and produce, and at the request of my late agent, Mr. Shine, I directed him to allow you 15 per cent. on all judicial rents, or rents abated on Mr. Moroney’s valuation, and 25 per cent. on all other rents, when you paid punctually and with thanks.

In October last, when calling in the March 1886 rents, at the instance of Mr. Shine, I agreed to con [pg 183] tinue the abatement of 15 per cent, and 25 per cent., which, when intimated to you, were refused, and a meeting held, demanding an all-round abatement of 40 per cent.

This I considered unreasonable and unjust, and I refused to give it.

The Plan of Campaign was then most unjustly adopted on the estate, and you refused to pay your rents.

Thomas Moroney was elected as a test case to try the legality of the sale and removal of your property to avoid payment of your rent. His tenancy was a mixed holding of house property in the village of Herbertstown, the tolls of the fairs, and 37 acres of land, at a rent of £85, and a Poor-Law valuation of £73, 5s., made as follows:—

Land valuedat £42 5 0
Tolls of fair at 17 0 0
Public house and yard at 11 0 0
Five small houses and forge at 3 0 0
£73 5 0

I always was led to believe the tolls of the fair averaged from £50 to £60 a year, there being four fairs in the year; and I believe his reason for refusing to allow Mr. E. Moroney to value his holding, or to go into court, was that he should disclose the amount of the tolls, and in consequence I never considered he was entitled to any abatement; but still I gave it to him, and was prepared to do so. The result of his case was that his conduct in making away with his property was unjustifiable, and his farm and holding was sold out for the benefit of his creditors, and he is no longer a tenant on the estate.

[pg 184] I subsequently took proceedings against six other tenants, who refused payment of rent, and removed their cattle off the land to avoid payment, and having got judgment against them, the Sheriff sold out four of their farms, and writs of possession on the title were taken out against them, and are now lodged with the Sheriff for execution. I have also got judgments for possession against two other tenants for non-payment of rent, also lodged with the Sheriff. One the widow of Patrick Hogan, who got his rent fixed in the County Court, and the other Mrs. Denis Ryan, whose farm on her marriage I assented to be put in settlement for her protection, Mr. Shine, my agent, consenting to act as one of her trustees, whose name, with his co-trustee, Mr. Thomas FitzGerald, appear as defendants, they having signed her judicial agreement.

The following are the names of the above tenants, the extent of their holdings, the rent, the Poor-Law valuation, and the average rent per Irish acre:—

TENANT. Acreage in Irish Measure. Judicial Rent Less 20 per cent Rent per acre [A] Poor Law Valuation
A. R. P. £ s. d. £ s. d.
John Carroll 87 3 38 132 4 0 30/- 127 10 0
Honora Crimmins 35 0 27 64 5 6 36/6 52 15 0
James Baggott 18 0 0 37 16 10 42/- 22 5 0
Margaret Moloney 23 2 9 46 2 8 39/2 44 15 0
Mrs. Denis Ryan 66 2 3 93 2 5 28/- 96 0 0
Maryanne Hogan 53 2 33 112 0 0 41/8 117 15 0
294 3 30 485 11 5 ... 461 0 0

[A] Rent per Irish acre after abatement of 20 per cent.

This represents an average of 34s. the Irish acre, for some of the best land in Ireland, and shows a difference of only £24, 11s. 5d. between the rent, less 20 per cent. now offered, and Poor-Law valuation.

[pg 185] After putting me to the cost of these proceedings, and giving me every opposition and annoyance, amongst such, compelling my agent (by threats of boycotting) to resign, boycotting myself and household, preventing my servants from attending chapel, and driving my labourers away, negotiations for a settlement were opened, and you offered to accept an all-round abatement of 17-1/2 per cent. and to pay up one year’s rent, provided I paid all costs, including the costs in Moroney’s case; this of course I refused, but with a desire to aid you in coming to a settlement, and to prevent the loss to the tenants of the farms under eviction on the Title, I offered to allow the 17-1/2 per cent. all round on payment of one year’s rent and costs, and to give time for payment of the costs as stated in my Solicitor’s letter of the 2d June 1887 to Canon Scully.

This offer was refused, and the writs for possession have been lodged with the Sheriff.

I never commenced these proceedings in a vindictive spirit, or with any desire to punish any of you for your ungracious conduct, but simply to protect my property from unjust and unreasonable demands.

You will owe two years’ rent next month (September), and I now write you this circular letter to point out to each, individually, the position of the tenants under eviction, and even at this late hour to give them an opportunity of saving their holdings, to enable them to do so, and with a view to settlement, I am now prepared to allow 20 per cent. all round, on payment of a year’s rent and costs.

Under no circumstance will I forego payment of costs, as they must be paid in full.

If this money be paid forthwith, I will arrange with my brother, the purchaser, to restore the four holdings purchased by him at sheriff’s sale to the late tenants.

[pg 186] After this offer I disclaim any responsibility for the result of the evictions, and the loss attendant thereon, as it now remains with you to avert same.

All the evictions have since been carried out, and the Land Corporation men are at work upon the estate! Whom has all this advantaged? The tenants?—Certainly not. The O’Grady?—Certainly not. The peace and order of Ireland?—Certainly not. But it has given the National League another appeal to the intelligent “sympathies” of England and America. It has strengthened the revolutionary element in Irish society. It has “driven another nail into the coffin” of Irish landlordism and of the private ownership of land throughout Great Britain.

Such at least is the opinion of Mr. Kavanagh. If I were an Englishman or a Scotchman, I should be strongly inclined to take very serious account of this opinion in forecasting the future of landed property in England or Scotland.

[pg 187] CHAPTER XII.

GREENANE HOUSE, THOMASTOWN, March 5th.The breakfast-room at Borris this morning was gay with pink coats. A meet was to come off at a place between Borris and Thomastown, and bidding fare-well to my cordial host and hostess, I set out at 11 o’clock for a flying visit to this quaint and charming house of Mr. Seigne, one of the best known and most highly esteemed agents in this part of Ireland.

My jarvey from Borris had an unusually neat and well-balanced car. When I praised it he told me it was “built by an American,” not an Irish American, I understood him to say, but a genuine Yankee, who, for some mysterious reason, has established himself in this region, where he has prospered as a cart and car builder ever since. “Just the best cars in all Ireland he builds, your honour!” Why don’t he naturalise them in America?

All the way was charming, the day very bright, and even warm, and the hill scenery picturesque at every turn. We looked out sharply for the hunt, [pg 188] but in vain. My jarvey, who knew the whole country, said they must have broken cover somewhere on the upper road, and we should miss them entirely. And so we did.

The silting up of the river Nore has reduced Thomastown or Ballymacanton, which was its Irish name, from its former importance as an emporium for the country about Kilkenny. The river now is not navigable above Inistiogue. But two martial square towers, one at either end of a fine bridge which spans the stream here, speak of the good old times when the masters of Thomastown took toll and tribute of traders and travellers. The lands about the place then belonged to the great monastery of Jerpoint, the ruins of which are still the most interesting of their kind in this part of Ireland. They have long made a part of the estate of the Butlers. We rattled rapidly through the quiet little town, and whisking out of a small public square into a sort of wynd between two houses, suddenly found ourselves in the precincts of Grenane House. The house takes its name from the old castle of Grenane, an Irish fortress established here by some native despot long before Thomas Fitz-Anthony the Norman came into the [pg 189] land. The ruins of this castle still stand some half a mile away. “We call the place Candahar,” said Mr. Seigne, as he came up with two ladies from the meadows below the house, “because you come into it so suddenly, just as you do into that Oriental town.” But what a charming occidental place it is! It stands well above the river, the slope adorned with many fine old trees, some of which grow, and grow prosperously, in the queerest and most improbable forms, bent double, twisted, but still most green and vigorous. They have no business under any known theory of arboriculture to be beautiful, but beautiful they are. The views of the bridge, of the towers, and of the river, from this slope would make the fortune of the place in a land of peace and order.

A most original and delightful lady of the country lunched with us,—such a character as Miss Edgeworth or Miss Austen might have drawn. Shrewd, humorous, sensible, fearless, and ready with impartial hand to box the ears alike of Trojan and of Tyrian. She not only sees both sides of the question in Ireland as between the landlords and the tenants, but takes both sides of the question. She holds lands by inheritance, which make her keenly [pg 190] alive to the wrongs of the landlords, and she holds farms as a tenant, which make her implacably critical as to their claims. She mercilessly demolished in one capacity whatever she advanced in the other, and all with the most perfect nonchalance and good faith. This curiously dual attitude reminded me of the confederate General, Braxton Bragg, of whom his comrades in the old army of the United States used to say that he once had a very sharp official correspondence with himself. He happened to hold a staff appointment, being also a line officer. So in his quality of a staff officer, he found fault with himself in his capacity as a line officer, reprimanded himself sharply, replied defiantly to the reprimand, and eventually reported himself to himself for discipline at head-quarters. She told an excellent story of a near kinsman of hers who, holding a very good living in the Protestant Irish Church, came rather unexpectedly by inheritance into a baronetcy, upon which his women-folk insisted that it would be derogatory to a baronet to be a parson. “Would you believe it, the poor man was silly enough to listen to their cackle, and resign seven hundred a year!”

“That didn’t clear him,” I said, “of the cloth, did it?”

[pg 191] Not a bit, of course, poor foolish man. He was just as much a parson as ever, only without a parsonage. Men are fools enough of themselves, don’t you think, without needing to listen to women?”

Mr. Seigne comes of a French Protestant stock long ago planted in Ireland, and his Gallic blood doubtless helps him to handle the practical problems daily submitted in these days to an Irish land-agent—problems very different, as he thinks, from those with which an Irish agent had to deal in the days before 1870. The Irish tenant has a vantage-ground now in his relations with his landlord which he never had in the olden time, and this makes it more important than it ever was that the agent should have what may be called a diplomatic taste for treating with individuals, finding out the bent of mind of this man and of that, and negotiating over particulars, instead of insisting, in the English fashion, on general rules, without regard to special cases. I have met no one who has seemed to me so cool and precise as Mr. Seigne in his study of the phenomena of the present situation. I asked him whether he could now say, as Mr. Senior did a quarter of century ago, that the Irish tenants were [pg 192] less improvident, and more averse from running into debt than the English.

“I think not,” he replied; “on the contrary, in some parts of Ireland now the shopkeepers are kept on the verge of bankruptcy by the recklessness with which the tenants incurred debts immediately after the passing of the Land Act of 1870—a time when shopkeepers, and bankers also, almost forced credit upon the farmers, and made thereby ‘bad debts’ innumerable. Farmers rarely keep anything like an account of their receipts and expenses. I know only one tenant-farmer in this neighbourhood who keeps what can be called an account, showing what he takes from his labour and spends on his living.”20 “They save a great deal of money often,” he says, “but almost never in any systematic way. They spend much less on clothes and furniture, and the outward show of things, than English people of the same condition do, and they do not stint themselves in meat and drink as the French peasants do. In fact, under the operation of existing circumstances, they are getting into the way of improving [pg 193] their condition, not so much by sacrifices and savings, as by an insistence on rent being fixed low enough to leave full margin for improved living.”

“I had a very frank statement on this point,” said Mr. Seigne, “not long ago from a Tipperary man. When I tried to show him that his father had paid a good many years ago the very same rent which he declares himself unable to pay now, he admitted this at once. But it was a confession and avoidance. ‘My father could pay the rent, and did pay the rent,’ he said, ‘because he was content to live so that he could pay it. He sat on a boss of straw, and ate out of a bowl. He lived in a way in which I don’t intend to live, and so he could pay the rent. Now, I must have, and I mean to have, out of the land, before I pay the rent, the means of living as I wish to live; and if I can’t have it, I’ll sell out and go away; but I’ll be—if I don’t fight before I do that same!’”

“What could you reply to that?” I asked.

“Oh,” I said, “‘that’s square and straightforward. Only just let me know the point at which you mean to fight, and then we’ll see if we can agree about something.’”

“The truth is,” said Mr. Seigne, “that there is a [pg 194] pressure upward now from below. The labourers don’t want to live any longer as the farmers have always made them live; and so the farmers, having to consider the growing demands of the labourers, and meaning to live better themselves, push up against the landlord, and insist that the means of the improvement shall come out of him.”

He then told me an instructive story of his calling upon a tenant-farmer, at whose place he found the labourers sitting about their meal of pork and green vegetables. The farmer asked him into another room, where he saw the farmer’s family making their meal of stirabout and milk and potatoes.

“I asked you in here,” said the farmer, “because we keep in here to ourselves. I don’t want those fellows to see that we can’t afford to give ourselves what we have to give them,”—this with strong language indicating that he must himself be given a way to advance equally with the progressive labourer, or he would know the reason why!

This afternoon Mr. Seigne drove me over through a beautiful country to Woodstock, near Inistiogue, the seat of the late Colonel Tighe, the head of the family of which the authoress of “Psyche” was an ornament.

[pg 195] It is the finest place in this part of Ireland, and one of the finest I have seen in the three kingdoms, a much more picturesque and more nobly planted place indeed than its namesake in England. The mansion has no architectural pretensions, being simply a very large and, I should think, extremely comfortable house of the beginning of this century. The library is very rich, and there are some good pictures, as well as certain statues in the vestibule, which would have no interest for the Weissnichtwo professor of Sartor Resartus, but are regarded with some awe by the good people of Inistiogue.

The park would do no discredit to a palace, and if the vague project of establishing a royal residence in Ireland for one of the British Princes should ever take shape, it would not be easy, I should say, to find a demesne more befitting the home of a prince than this of the Tighes. At present it serves the State at least as usefully, being the “pleasaunce” of the people for miles around, who come here freely to walk and drive.

It stretches for miles along the Nore, and is crowned by a gloriously wooded hill nearly a thousand feet in height. The late Colonel Tighe, a most accomplished man, and a passionate lover of trees, [pg 196] made it a kind of private Kew Gardens. He planted long avenues of the rarest and finest trees, araucarias, Scotch firs, oaks, beeches, cedars of Lebanon; laid out miles of the most varied and delightful drives, and built the most extensive conservatories in Ireland.

The turfed and terraced walks among those conservatories are indescribably lovely, and the whole place to-day was vocal with innumerable birds. Picturesque little cottages and arbours are to be found in unexpected nooks all through the woodlands, each commanding some green vista of forest aisles, or some wide view of hill and champaign, enlivened by the winding river. From one of those to-day we looked out over a landscape to which Turner alone or Claude could have done justice, the river, spanned by a fine bridge, in the middle distance, and all the region wooded as in the days of which Edmund Spenser sings, when Ireland

“Flourished in fame,
Of wealth and goodnesse far above the rest
Of all that bears the British Islands’ name.”

Over the whole place broods an indefinable charm. You feel that this was the home at once and the work of a refined and thoughtful spirit. And so [pg 197] indeed it was. Here for the greater part of the current century the owner lived, making the development of the estate and of this demesne his constant care and chief pleasure. And here still lives his widow, with whom we took tea in a stately quiet drawing-room. Lady Louisa Tighe was in Brussels with her mother, the Duchess of Richmond, on the eve of Waterloo. She was a child then of ten years old, and her mother bade them bring her down into the historic ball-room before the Duke of Wellington left it. The duke took up his sword. “Let Louisa buckle it for you,” said her mother, and when the little girl had girded it on, the great captain stooped, took her up in his arms, and kissed her. “One never knows what may happen, child,” he said good-naturedly; and taking his small gold watch out of his fob, he bade her keep it for him.

She keeps it still. For more than sixty years it has measured out in this beautiful Irish home the hours of a life given to good works and gracious usefulness. To-day, with all the vivacity of interest in the people and the place which one might look for in a woman of twenty, this charming old lady of eighty-three, showing barely threescore years in her carriage, her countenance, and her voice, entertained [pg 198] us with minute and most interesting accounts of the local industries which flourish here mainly through her sympathetic and intelligent supervision. We seemed to be in another world from the Ireland of Chicago or Westminster!

Mr. Seigne drove me back here by a most picturesque road leading along the banks of the Nore, quite overhung with trees, which in places dip their branches almost into the swift deep stream. “This is the favourite drive of all the lovers hereabouts,” he said, “and there is a spice of danger in it which makes it more romantic. Once, not very long ago, a couple of young people, too absorbed in their love-making to watch their horse, drove off the bank. Luckily for them they fell into the branches of one of these overhanging trees, while the horse and car went plunging into the water. There they swung, holding each other hand in hand, making a pretty and pathetic tableau, till their cries brought some anglers in a boat on the river to the rescue.”

We spoke of Lady Louisa, and of the watch of Waterloo. “That watch had a wonderful escape a few years ago,” said Mr. Seigne.

Lady Louisa, it seems, had a confidential butler [pg 199] whom she most implicitly trusted. One day it was found that a burglary had apparently been committed at Woodstock, and that with a quantity of jewelry the priceless watch had vanished. The butler was very active about the matter, and as no trace could be found leading out of the house, he intimated a suspicion that the affair might possibly have some connection with a guest not long before at the house. This angered Lady Louisa, who thereupon consulted the agent, who employed a capable detective from Dublin. The detective came down to Inistiogue as a commercial traveller, wandered about, made the acquaintance of Lady Louisa’s maid, of the butler, and of other people about the house, and formed his own conclusions. Two or three days after his arrival he walked into the shop of a small jeweller in a neighbouring town, and affecting a confidential manner, told the jeweller he wanted to buy “some of those things from Woodstock.” The man was taken by surprise, and going into a backshop produced one very fine diamond, and a number of pieces of silver plate, of the disappearance of which the butler had said nothing to his mistress. This led to the arrest of the butler, and to the discovery that for a long time [pg 200] he had been purloining property from the house and selling it. Many cases of excellent claret had found their way in this fashion to a public-house which had acquired quite a reputation for its Bordeaux with the officers quartered in its neighbourhood. The wine-bins at Woodstock were found full of bottles of water. Much of the capital port left by Colonel Tighe had gone—but the hock was untouched. “Probably the butler didn’t care for hock,” said Mr. Seigne. The Waterloo watch was recovered from a very decent fellow, a travelling dealer, to whom it had been sold: and many pieces of jewelry were traced up to London. But Lady Louisa could not be induced to go up to London to identify them or testify.

DUBLIN, Tuesday, March 6.It is a curious fact, which I learned to-day from the Registrar-General, that the deposits in the Post-office Savings Banks have never diminished in Ireland since these banks were established.21 These deposits are chiefly made, I understand, by the small tenants, who are less represented by the deposits in the General Savings Banks than are the shopkeepers [pg 201] and the cattle-drovers. In the General Savings Banks the deposit line fluctuates more; though on the whole there has been a steady increase in these deposits also throughout Ireland.

Of the details of the dealings of the private banks it is very hard to get an accurate account. One gentleman, the manager of a branch of one important bank, tells me that a great deal of money is made by usurers out of the tenants, by backing their small bills. This practice goes back to the first establishment of banks in Ireland. Formerly it was not an uncommon thing for a landlord to offer his tenants a reduction, say, of twenty per cent., on condition of their paying the rent when it fell due. Such were the relations then between landlord and tenants, and so little was punctuality expected in such payments that this might be regarded as a sort of discount arrangement. The tenant who wished to avail himself of such an offer would go to some friendly local usurer and ask for a loan that he might avail himself of it. “One of these usurers, whom I knew very well,” said the manager, “told me long ago that he found these operations very profitable. His method of procedure was to agree to advance the rent to the tenant at ten per [pg 202] cent., payable at a near and certain date. This would reduce the landlord’s reduction at once, of course, for the tenant, to ten per cent., but that was not to be disdained; and so the bargain would be struck. If the money was repaid at the fixed date, it was not a bad thing for the usurer. But it was almost never so repaid; and with repeated renewals the usurer, by his own showing, used to receive eventually twenty, fifty, and, in some cases, nearly a hundred per cent, for his loan.”

It is the opinion of this gentleman that, under the “Plan of Campaign,” a good deal of money-making is done in a quiet way by some of the “trustees,” who turn over at good interest, with the help of friendly financiers, the funds lodged with them, being held to account to the tenants only for the principal. “Of course,” he said, “all this is doubtless at least as legitimate as any other part of the ‘Plan,’ and I daresay it all goes for ‘the good of the cause.’ But neither the tenants nor the landlords get much by it!”

[pg 203] CHAPTER XIII.

DUBLIN, Thursday, March 8.At eight o’clock this morning I left the Harcourt Street station for Inch, to take a look at the scene of the Coolgreany evictions of last summer. These evictions came of the adoption of the Plan of Campaign, under the direction of Mr. Dillon, M.P., on the Wexford property of Mr. George Brooke of Dublin. The agent of Mr. Brooke’s estate, Captain Hamilton, is the honorary director of the Property Defence Association, so that we have here obviously a grapple between the National League doing the work, consciously or unconsciously, of the agrarian revolutionists, and a combination of landed proprietors fighting for the rights of property as they understand them.

We ran through a beautiful country for the greater part of the way. At Bray, which is a favourite Irish watering-place, the sea broke upon us bright and full of life; and the station itself was more like a considerable English station than any [pg 204] I have seen. Thence we passed into a richly-wooded region, with neat, well-kept hedges, as far as Rathdrum and the “Sweet Vale of Avoca.” The hills about Shillelagh are particularly well forested, though, as the name suggests, they must have been cut for cudgels pretty extensively for now a great many years. We came again on the sea at the fishing port of Arklow, where the stone walls about the station were populous with small ragamuffins, and at the station of Inch I found a car waiting for me with Mr. Holmes, a young English Catholic officer, who had most obligingly offered to show me the place and the people. We had hardly got into the roadway when we overtook a most intelligent-looking, energetic young priest, walking briskly on in the direction of our course. This was Dr. Dillon, the curate of Arklow. We pulled up at once, and Mr. Holmes, introducing me to him, we begged him to take a seat with us. He excused himself as having to join another priest with whom he was going to a function at Inch; but he was good enough to walk a little way with us, and gave me an appointment for 2 P.M. at his own town of Arklow, where I could catch the train back to Dublin. We drove on rapidly and called on [pg 205] Father O’Neill, the parish priest. We found him in full canonicals, as he was to officiate at the function this morning, and with him were Father Dunphy, the parish priest of Arklow, and two or three more robed priests.

Father O’Neill, whose face and manner are those of the higher order of the continental clergy, briefly set forth to me his view of the transactions at Coolgreany. He said that before the Plan of Campaign was adopted by the tenants, Mr. William O’Brien, M.P., had written to him explaining what the effect of the Plan would be, and urging him to take whatever steps he could to obviate the necessity of adopting it, as it might eventually result to the disadvantage of the tenants. “To that end,” said Father O’Neill, “I called upon Captain Hamilton, the agent, with Dr. Dillon of Arklow, but he positively refused to listen to us, and in fact ordered us, not very civilly, to leave his office.”

It was after this he said that he felt bound to let the tenants take their own way. Eighty of them joined in the “Plan of Campaign” and paid the amount of the rent due, less a reduction of 30 per cent., which they demanded of the agent, into the hands of Sir Thomas Esmonde, M.P., Sir Thomas [pg 206] being a resident in the country, and Mr. Mayne, M.P. Writs of ejectment were obtained against them afterwards, and in July last sixty-seven of them were evicted, who are now living in “Laud League huts,” put up on the holdings of three small tenants who were exempted from the Plan of Campaign, and allowed to pay their rents subject to a smaller reduction made by the agent, in order that they might retain their land as a refuge for the rest.

All this Father O’Neill told us very quietly, in a gentle, undemonstrative way, but he was much interested when I told him I had recently come from Rome, where these proceedings, I was sure, were exciting a good deal of serious attention. “Yes,” he said, “and Father Dunphy who is here in the other room, has just got back from Rome, where he had two audiences of the Holy Father.”

“Doubtless, then,” I said, “he will have given his Holiness full particulars of all that took place here.”

“No doubt,” responded Father O’Neill, “and he tells me the Holy Father listened with great attention to all he had to say—though of course, he expressed no opinion about it to Father Dunphy.”

[pg 207] As the time fixed for the function was at hand, we were obliged to leave without seeing Father Dunphy.

From the Presbytery we drove to the scene of the evictions. These evictions were in July. Mr. Holmes witnessed them, and gave me a lively account of the affair. The “battle” was not a very tough one. Mr. Davitt, who was present, stood under a tree very quietly watching it all. “He looked very picturesque,” said Mr. Holmes, “in a light grey suit, with a broad white beaver shading his dark Spanish face; and smoked his cigar very composedly.” After it was over, Dr. Dillon brought up one of the tenants, and presented him to Mr. Davitt as “the man who had resisted this unjust eviction.” Mr. Davitt took his cigar from his lips, and in the hearing of all who stood about sarcastically said, “Well, if he couldn’t make a better resistance than that he ought to go up for six months!” The first house we came upon was derelict—all battered and despoiled, the people in the neighbourhood here, as elsewhere, regarding such houses as free spoil, and carrying off from time to time whatever they happen to fancy. Near this house we met an emergency man, named [pg 208] Bolton, an alert, energetic-looking native of Wicklow. He has four brothers; and is now at work on one of the “evicted” holdings.

I asked if he was “boycotted,” and what his relations were with the people.

He laughed in a shrewd, good-natured way. “Oh, I’m boycotted, of course,” he said; “but I don’t care a button for any of these people, and I’d rather they wouldn’t speak to me. They know I can take care of myself, and they give me a good wide berth. All I have to object to is that they set fire to an outhouse of mine, and cut the ears of one of my heifers, and for that I want damages. Otherwise I’m getting on very well; and I think this will be a good year, if the law is enforced, and these fellows are made to behave themselves.”

Near Bolton’s farm we passed the holding of a tenant named Kavanagh, one of the three who were “allowed” to pay their rents. Several Land League huts are on his place, and the evicted people who occupy them put their cattle with his. He is a quiet, cautious man, and very reticent. But it seemed to me that he was not entirely satisfied with the “squatters” who have been quartered upon him. And it appears that he has taken another holding [pg 209] in Carlow. From his place we drove to Ballyfad, where a large house, at the end of a good avenue of trees, once the mansion of a squire, but now much dilapidated, is occupied as headquarters by the police. Here we found Mr. George Freeman, the bailiff of the Coolgreany property, a strong, sturdy man, much disgusted at finding it necessary to go about protected by two policemen. That this was necessary, however, he admitted, pointing out to us the place where one Kinsella was killed not very long ago. The son of this man Kinsella was formerly one of Mr. Brooke’s gamekeepers, and is now, Mr. Freeman thinks, in concert with another man named Ryan, the chief stay of the League in keeping up its dominion over the evicted tenants.

Many of these tenants, he believes, would gladly pay their rents now, and come back if they dared.

“Every man, sir,” he said, “that has anything to lose, would be glad to come back next Monday if he thought his life would be safe. But all the lazy and thriftless ones are better off now than they ever were; they get from £4 to £6 a month, with nothing to do, and so they’re in clover, and they naturally don’t like to have the industrious, well- [pg 210] to-do tenants spoil their fun by making a general settlement.”

“Besides that,” he added, “that man Kinsella and his comrade Ryan are the terror of the whole of them. Kinsella always was a curious, silent, moody fellow. He knows every inch of the country, going over it all the time by night and day as a gamekeeper, and I am quite sure the Parnellite men and the Land Leaguers are just as much afraid of him and Ryan as the tenants are. He don’t care a bit for them; and they’ve no control of him at all.”

Mr. Freeman said he remembered very well the occasion referred to by Father O’Neill, when Captain Hamilton refused to confer with Dr. Dillon and himself.

“Did Father O’Neill tell you, sir,” he said, “that Captain Hamilton was quite willing to talk with him and Father O’Donel, the parish priests, and with the Coolgreany people, but he would have nothing to say to any one who was not their priest, and had no business to be meddling with the matter at all?”

“No; he did not tell me that.”

“Ah! well, sir, that made all the difference. Father Dunphy, who was there, is a high-tempered [pg 211] man, and he said he had just as much right to represent the tenants as Captain Hamilton to represent the landlord, and that Captain Hamilton wouldn’t allow. It was the outside people made all the trouble. In June of last year there was a conference at my house, and all that time there was a Committee sitting at Coolgreany, and the tenants would not be allowed to do anything without the Committee.”

“And who made the Committee?”

“Oh, they made themselves, I suppose, sir. There was Sir Thomas Esmonde—he was a convert, you know, of Father O’Neill—and Mr. Mayne and Mr. John Dillon. And Dr. Dillon of Arklow, he was as busy as he could be till the evictions were made in July. And then he was in retreat. And I believe, sir, it is quite true that he wanted the Bishop to let him come out of the retreat just to have a hand in the business.”

The police sergeant, a very cool, sensible man, quite agreed with the bailiff as to the influence upon the present situation of the ex-gamekeeper Kinsella, and his friend Eyan. “If they were two Invincibles, sir,” he said, “these member fellows of the League couldn’t be in greater fear of them than they are. [pg 212] They say nothing, and do just as they please. That Kinsella, when Mr. John Dillon was down here, just told him before a lot of people that he ‘wanted no words and no advice from him,’ and he’s just in that surly way with all the people about.”

As to the Brooke estate, I am told here it was bought more than twenty years ago with a Landed Estates Court title from Colonel Forde, by the grandfather of Mr. Brooke. He paid about £75,000 sterling for it. His son died young, and the present owner came into it as a child, Mr. Vesey being then the agent, who, during the minority, spent a great deal on improving the property. Captain Hamilton came in as agent only a few years ago. While the Act of 1881 was impending, an abatement was granted of more than twenty per cent. In 1882 the tenants all paid except eleven, who went into Court and got their rents cut down by the Sub-Commissioners. There were appeals; and in 1885, after Court valuations, the rents cut down by the Sub-Commissioners were restored in several cases. There never was any rack-renting on the estate at all. There are upon it in all more than a hundred tenants, twelve of whom are Protestants, holding a little less in all than one-fourth of the property.

[pg 213] There are fifteen judicial tenants, twenty-one lease-holders, and seventy-seven hold from year to year.

The gross rental is a little over £2000 a year of which one-half goes to Mr. Brooke’s mother. Mr. Brooke himself is a wealthy man, at the head of the most important firm of wine-merchants in Ireland, and he has repeatedly spent on the property more than he took out of it.

The house of Sir Thomas Esmonde, M.P., was pointed out to me from the road. “Sir Thomas is to marry an heiress, sir, isn’t he, in America?” asked an ingenuous inquirer. I avowed my ignorance on this point. “Oh, well, they say so, for anyway the old house is being put in order for now the first time in forty years.”

We reached Arklow in time for luncheon, and drove to the large police barracks there. These were formerly the quarters of the troops. Arklow was one of the earliest settlements of the Anglo-Normans in Ireland under Henry II., and once rejoiced in a castle and a monastery both now obliterated; though a bit of an old tower here is said to have been erected in his time. The town lives by fishing, and by shipping copper and lead ore to [pg 214] South Wales. The houses are rather neat and well kept; but the street was full of little ragged, merry mendicants.

We went into a small branch of the Bank of Ireland, and asked where we should find the hotel. We were very civilly directed to “The Register’s Office over the way.” This seemed odd enough. But reaching it we were further puzzled to see the sign over the doorway of a “coach-builder”! However, we rang the bell, and presently a maid-servant appeared, who assured us that this was really the hotel, and that we could have “whatever we liked” for luncheon. We liked what we found we could get—chops, potatoes, and parsnips; and without too much delay these were neatly served to us in a most remarkable room, ablaze with mural ornaments and decorations, upon which every imaginable pigment of the modern palette seemed to have been lavished, from a Nile-water-green dado to a scarlet and silver frieze. There were five times as many potatoes served to us as two men could possibly eat, and not one of them was half-boiled. But otherwise the meal was well enough, and the service excellent. Beer could be got for us, but the house had no licence, Lord Carysfort, the owner of the [pg 215] property, thinking, so our hostess said, that “there were too many licences in the town already.” Lord Carysfort is probably right; but it is not every owner of a house, or even of a lease in Ireland, I fear, who would take such a view and act on it to the detriment of his own property.

Dr. Dillon lives in the main square of Arklow in a very neat house. He was absent at a funeral in the handsome Catholic church near by when we called, but we were shown into his study, and he presently came in.

His study was that of a man of letters and of politics. Blue-books and statistical works lay about in all directions, and on the table were the March numbers of the Nineteenth Century, and the Contemporary Review.

“You are abreast of the times, I see,” I said to him, pointing to these periodicals.

“Yes,” he replied, “they have just come in; and there is a capital paper by Mr. John Morley in this Nineteenth Century.”

Nothing could be livelier than Dr. Dillon’s interest in all that is going on on both sides of the Atlantic, more positive than his opinions, or more terse and clear than his way of putting them. He [pg 216] agreed entirely with Father O’Neill as to the pressure put upon the Coolgreany tenants, not so much by Mr. Brooke as by the agent, Captain Hamilton; but he thought Mr. Brooke also to blame for his treatment of them.

“Two of the most respectable of them,” said Dr. Dillon, “went to see Mr. Brooke in Dublin, and he wouldn’t listen to them. On the contrary, he absolutely put them out of his office without hearing a word they had to say.”22

I found Dr. Dillon a strong disciple of Mr. Henry George, and a firm believer in the doctrine of the “nationalisation of the land.” “It is certain to come,” he said, “as certain to come in Great Britain as in Ireland, and the sooner the better. The movement about the sewerage rates in London,” he added, “is the first symptom of the land war in London. It is the thin edge of the wedge to break down landlordism in the British metropolis.”

He is watching American politics, too, very closely, and inclines to sympathise with President Cleveland. Archbishop Ryan of Philadelphia, he tells me, in his passage through Ireland the other day, did not hesitate to express his conviction that President Cleveland would be re-elected.

[pg 217] Dr. Dillon was so earnest and so interesting that the time slipped by very fast, until a casual glance at my watch showed me that we must make great haste to catch the Dublin train.

We left therefore rather hurriedly, but before reaching the station we saw the Dublin train go careering by, its white pennon of smoke and vapour curling away along the valley.

I made the best of it, however, and letting Mr. Holmes depart by a train which took him home, I found a smart jarvey with a car, and drove out to Glenart Castle, the beautiful house of the Earl of Carysfort. This is a very handsome modern house, built in a castellated style of a very good whitish grey marble, with extensive and extremely well-kept terraced gardens and conservatories.

It stands very well on one high bank of the river, a residence of the Earl of Wicklow occupying the other bank. My jarvey called my attention to the excellence of the roads, on which he said Lord Carysfort has spent “a deal of money,” as well as upon the gardens of the new Castle. The head-gardener, an Englishman, told me he found the native labourers very intelligent and willing both to learn and to work. Evidently here is another centre of useful [pg 218] and civilising influences, not managed by an “absentee.”23

[pg 219] CHAPTER XIV.

DUBLIN, Friday, March 9th.At 7.40 this morning I took the train for Athy to visit the Luggacurren estates of Lord Lansdowne. Mr. Lynch, a resident magistrate here, some time ago kindly offered to show me over the place, but I thought it as well to take my chance with the people of Athy who are reported to have been very hot over the whole matter here, and so wrote to Mr. Lynch that I would find him at the Lodge, which is the headquarters of the property.

Athy is a neat, well-built little town, famous of old as a frontier fortress of Kildare. An embattled tower, flanked by small square turrets, guards a picturesque old bridge here over the Barrow, the bridge being known in the country as “Crom-a-boo,” from the old war-cry of the Fitz-Geralds. It is a busy place now; and there was quite a bustle at the very pretty little station. I asked a friendly old porter which was the best hotel in the town. “The [pg 220] best? Ah! there’s only one, and it’s not the best—but there are worse—and it’s Kavanagh’s.” I found it easily enough, and was ushered by a civil man, who emerged from the shop which occupies part of it, into a sort of reading-room with a green table. A rather slatternly but very active girl soon converted this into a neat breakfast-table, and gave me an excellent breakfast. The landlord found me a good car, and off I set for the residence of Father Maher, the curate of whom I had heard as one of the most fiery and intractable of the National League priests in this part of Ireland.

My jarvey was rather taciturn at first, but turned out to be something of a politician. He wanted Home Rule, one of his reasons being that then they “wouldn’t let the Americans come and ruin them altogether, driving out the grain from the markets.” About this he was very clear and positive. “Oh, it doesn’t matter now whether the land is good or bad, America has just ruined the farmers entirely.”

I told him I had always heard this achievement attributed to England. “Oh! that was quite a mistake! What the English did was to punish the men that stood up for Ireland. There was Mr. O’Brien. But for him there wasn’t a man of Lord Lansdowne’s [pg 221] people would have had the heart to stand up. He did it all; and now, what were they doing to him? They were putting him on a cold plank-bed on a stone floor in a damp cell!”

“But the English put all their prisoners in those cells, don’t they?” I asked.

“And what of it, sir?” he retorted. “They’re good enough for most of them, but not for a gentleman like Mr. O’Brien, that would spill the last drop of his heart’s blood for Ireland!”

“But,” I said, “they’re doing just the same thing with Mr. Gilhooly, I hear.”

“And who is Mr. Gilhooly, now? And it’s not for the likes of him to complain and be putting on airs as if he was Mr. O’Brien!”

“Yes, it is a fine country for hunting!”

“Was it ever put down here, the hunting?”

“No, indeed! Sure, the people wouldn’t let it be!”

“Not if Mr. O’Brien told them they must?” I queried.

“Mr. O’Brien; ah, he wouldn’t think of such a thing! It brings money all the time to Athy, and sells the horses.”

As to the troubles at Luggacurren, he was not very clear. “It was a beautiful place, Mr. Dunne’s; we’d [pg 222] see it presently. And Mr. Dunne, he was a good one for sport. It was that, your honour, that got him into the trouble”—

“And Mr. Kilbride?”

“Oh, Mr. Kilbride’s place was a very good place too, but not like Mr. Dunne’s. And he was doing very well, Mr. Kilbride. He was getting a good living from the League, and he was a Member of Parliament. Oh, yes, he wasn’t the only one of the tenants that was doing good to himself. There was more of them that was getting more than ever they made out of the land.”24

“Was the land so bad, then?” I asked.

[pg 223] “No, there was as good land at Luggacurren as any there was in all Ireland; but,” and here he pointed off to the crests of the hills in the distance, “there was a deal of land there of the estate on the hills, and it was very poor land, but the tenants had to pay as much for that as for the good property of Dunne and Kilbride.”

“Do you know Mr. Lynch, the magistrate?” I asked. “If you do, look out for him, as he has promised to join me and show me the place.”

“Oh no, sorr!” the jarvey exclaimed at once; “don’t mind about him. Hell have his own car, and your honour won’t want to take him on ours.”

“Why not?” I persisted, “there’s plenty of room.”

“Oh! but indeed, sir, if it wasn’t that you were going to the priest’s, Father Maher, you wouldn’t get a car at Athy—no, not under ten pounds!”

“Not under ten pounds,” I replied. “Would I get one then for ten pounds?”

“It’s a deal of money, ten pounds, sorr, and you wouldn’t have a poor man throw away ten pounds?”

“Certainly not, nor ten shillings either. Is it a question of principle, or a question of price?”

The man looked around at me with a droll [pg 224] glimmer in his eye: “Ah, to be sure, your honour’s a great lawyer; but he’ll come pounding along with his big horse in his own car, Mr. Lynch; and sure it’ll be quicker for your honour just driving to Father Maher’s.”

There was no resisting this, so I laughed and bade him drive on.

“Whose house is that?” I asked, as we passed a house surrounded with trees.

“Oh! that’s the priest, Father Keogh—a very good man, but not so much for the people as Father Maher, who has everything to look after about them.”

We came presently within sight of a handsome residence, Lansdowne Lodge, the headquarters of the estate. Many fine cattle were grazing in the fields about it.

“They are Lord Lansdowne’s beasts,” said my jarvey; “and it’s the emergency men are looking after them.”

Nearly opposite were the Land League huts erected on the holding of an unevicted tenant—a small village of neat wooden “shanties.” On the roadway in front of these half-a-dozen men were lounging about. They watched us with much curiosity as we drove up, and whispered eagerly together.

[pg 225] “They’re some of the evicted men, your honour,” said my jarvey, with a twinkle in his eye; and then under his breath, “They’ll be thinking your honour’s came down to arrange it all. They think everybody that comes is come about an arrangement.”

“Oh, then, they all want it arranged!”

“No; not all, but many of them do. Some of them like it well enough going about like gentlemen with nothing to do, only their hands in their pockets.”

We turned out of the highway here and passed some very pretty cottages.

“No, they’re not for labourers, your honour,” said my jarvey; “the estate built them for mechanics. It’s the tenants look after the labourers, and little it is they do for them.”

Then, pointing to a ridge of hills beyond us, he said: “It was Kilbride’s father, sir, evicted seventeen tenants on these hills—poor labouring men, with their families, many years ago,—and now he’s evicted himself, and a Member of Parliament!”

Father Maher’s house stands well off from the highway. He was not at home, being “away at a service in the hills,” but would be back before two o’clock. I left my name for him, with a memo [pg 226] randum of my purpose in calling, and we drove on to see the bailiff of the estate, Mr. Hind. On the way we met Father Norris, a curate of the parish, in a smart trap with a good horse, and had a brief colloquy with him. Mr. Hind we found busy afield; a quiet, staunch sort of man. He spoke of the situation very coolly and dispassionately. “The tenants in the main were a good set of men—as they had reason to be, Lord Lansdowne having been not only a fair landlord, but a liberal and enterprising promoter of local improvements.” I had been told in Dublin that Lord Lansdowne had offered a subscription of £200 towards establishing creameries, and providing high-class bulls for this estate. Similar offers had been cordially met by Lord Lansdowne’s tenants in Kerry, and with excellent results. But here they were rejected almost scornfully, though accompanied by offers of abatement on the rents, which, in the case of Mr. Kilbride, for example, amounted to 20 per cent.

“How did this happen, the tenants being good men as you say?” I asked of Mr. Hind.

“Because they were unable to resist the pressure put on them by the two chief tenants, Kilbride and Dunne, with the help of the League. Kilbride and [pg 227] Dunne both lived very well.” My information at Dublin was that Mr. Kilbride had a fine house built by Lord Lansdowne, and a farm of seven hundred acres, at a rent of £760, 10s. Mr. Dunne, who co-operated with him, held four town lands comprising 1304 acres, at a yearly rent of £1348, 15s. Upon this property Lord Lansdowne had expended in drainage and works £1993, 11s. 9d., and in buildings £631, 15s. 4d., or in all very nearly two years’ rental. On Mr. Kilbride’s holdings Lord Lansdowne had expended in drainage works £1931, 6s. 3d., and in buildings £1247, 19s. 5d., or in all more than four years’ rental. Mr. Kilbride held his lands on life leases. Mr. Dunne held his smallest holding of 84 acres on a yearly tenure; his two largest holdings, one on a lease for 31 years from 1874, and the other on a life lease, and his fourth holding of 172 acres on a life lease.

Where does the hardship appear in all this to Mr. Dunne or Mr. Kilbride?

On Mr. Kilbride’s holdings, for instance, Lord Lansdowne expended over £3000, for which he added to the rent £130 a year, or about 4 per cent., while he himself stood to pay 6-1/2 per cent, on the loans he made from the Board of Works [pg 228] for the expenditure. In the same way it was with Mr. Dunne’s farms. They were mostly in grass, and Lord Lansdowne laid out more than £2500 on them, borrowed at the same rate from the Board, for which he added to the rent only £66 a year, or about 2-1/2 per cent. Mr. Kilbride was a Poor-Law Guardian, and Mr. Dunne a Justice of the Peace. The leases in both of these cases, and in those of other large tenants, seem to have been made at the instance of the tenants themselves, and afforded security against any advance in the rental during a time of high agricultural prices. And it would appear that for the last quarter of a century there has been no important advance in the rental. In 1887 the rental was only £300 higher than in 1862, though during the interval the landlord had laid out £20,000 on improvements in the shape of drainage, roads, labourers’ cottages, and other permanent works. Moreover, in fifteen years only one tenant has been evicted for non-payment of rent.

“Was there any ill-feeling towards the Marquis among the tenants?” I asked of Mr. Hind.

“Certainly not, and no reason for any. They were a good set of men, and they would never have gone into this fight, only for a few who were in [pg 229] trouble, and I’m sure that to-day most of them would be thankful if they could settle and get back. The best of them had money enough, and didn’t like the fight at all.”

All the trouble here seems to have originated with the adoption of the Plan of Campaign.

Lord Lansdowne, besides this estate in Queen’s County, owns property in a wild, mountainous part of the county of Kerry. On this property the tenants occupy, for the most part, small holdings, the average rental being about £10, and many of the rentals much lower. They are not capitalist farmers at all, and few of them are able to average the profits of their industry, setting the gains of a good, against the losses of a bad, season. In October 1886, while Mr. Dillon was organising his Plan of Campaign, Lord Lansdowne visited his Kerry property to look into the condition of the people. The local Bank had just failed, and the shopkeepers and money-lenders were refusing credit and calling in loans. The pressure they put upon these small farmers, together with the fall in the price of dairy produce and of young stock at that time, caused real distress, and Lord Lansdowne, after looking into the situation, offered, of his own motion, abatements [pg 230] varying from 25 to 35 per cent, to all of them whose rents had not been judicially fixed under the Act of 1881, for a term of fifteen years.

As to these, Lord Lansdowne wrote a letter on the 21st of October 1886 (four days after the promulgation of the Plan of Campaign at Portumna on the Clanricarde property), to his agent, Mr. Townsend Trench. This letter was published. I have a copy of it given to me in Dublin, and it states the case as between the landlords and the tenants under judicial rents most clearly and temperately.

“It might, I think,” says the Marquis, “be very fairly argued, that the State having imposed the terms of a contract on landlord and tenant, that contract should not be interfered with except by the State.

The punctual payment of the ‘judicial rent’ was the one advantage to which the landlords were desired to look when, in 1881, they were deprived of many of the most valuable attributes of ownership.

“It was distinctly stipulated that the enormous privileges which were suddenly and unexpectedly conferred upon the tenants were to be enjoyed by them conditionally upon the fulfilment on their part of the statutory obligations specified in the Act. [pg 231] Of those, by far the most important was the punctual payment of the rent fixed by the Court for the judicial term.

“This obligation being unfulfilled, the landlord might reasonably claim that he should be free to exercise his own discretion in determining whether any given tenancy should or should not be perpetuated.

“In many cases [such cases are probably not so numerous on my estate as upon many others] the resumption of the holding, and the consolidation of adjoining farms, would be clearly advantageous to the whole community. In the congested districts the consolidation of farms is the only solution that I have seen suggested for meeting a chronic difficulty.

“I have no reason to believe that the Judicial Rents in force on my estate are such that, upon an average of the yield and prices of agricultural produce, my tenants would find it difficult to pay them.”

In spite of all these considerations Lord Lansdowne instructed Mr. Trench to grant to these tenants under judicial leases an abatement of 20 per cent. on the November gale of 1886. This abatement, freely offered, was gladly accepted. There [pg 232] had been no outrages or disturbances on the Kerry properties, and the relations of the landlord with his tenants, before and after this visit of Lord Lansdowne to Kerry, and these reductions which followed it, had been, and continued to be, excellent.

But the tale of Kerry reached Luggacurren; and certain of the tenants on the latter estate were moved by it to demand for the Queen’s County property identical treatment with that accorded to the very differently situated property in Kerry.

The leaders of the Luggacurren movement, I gather from Mr. Hind, never pretended inability to pay their rents. They simply demanded abatements of 35 per cent. on non-judicial, and 25 per cent. on judicial, rents as their due, on the ground that they should be treated like the tenants in Kerry: and the Plan of Campaign being by this time in full operation in more than one part of Ireland, they threatened to resort to it if their demand was refused. Lord Lansdowne at once declared that he would not repeat at Luggacurren his concession made in Kerry as to the rents judicially fixed; but he offered on a fair consideration of the non-judicial rents to make abatements on them ranging from 15 to 25 per cent.

[pg 233] The offer was refused, and the war began. On the 23d of March 1887 Mr. Kilbride was evicted. One week afterwards, on the 29th of March, he got up in the rooms of the National League in Dublin, and openly declared that “the Luggacurren evictions differed from most other evictions in this, that they were able to pay the rent. It was a fight,” he exultingly exclaimed, “of intelligence against intelligence; it was diamond cut diamond!” In other words, it was a struggle, not for justice, but for victory.

On all these points, and others furnished to me at Dublin touching this estate, much light was thrown by the bailiff, who had not been concerned in the evictions. He told me what he knew, and then very obligingly offered to conduct me to the lodge, where we should find Mr. Hutchins, who has charge now of the properties taken up by Mr. Kavanagh’s Land Corporation. My patriotic jarvey from Athy made no objection to my giving the bailiff a lift, and we drove off to the lodge. On the way the jarvey good-naturedly exclaimed, “Ah! there comes Mr. Lynch,” and even offered to pull up that the magistrate might overtake us.

We found Mr. Hutchins at home, a cool, quiet, [pg 234] energetic, northern man, who seems to be handling the difficult situation here with great firmness and prudence. Mrs. Hutchins, who has lived here now for nearly a year—a life not unlike that of the wife of an American officer on the Far Western frontier—very amicably asked me to lunch, and Mr. Hutchins offered to show me the holdings of Mr. Dunne and Mr. Kilbride. Mr. Lynch proposed that we should all go on my car, but I remembered the protest of the jarvey, and sending him to await me at Father Maher’s, I drove off with Mr. Hutchins. As we drove along, he confirmed the jarvey’s hint as to the difference between the views and conduct of the parish priest and the views and conduct of his more fiery curate. This is a very common state of affairs, I find, all over Ireland.

The house of Mr. Dunne is that of a large gentleman farmer. It is very well fitted up, but it was plain that the tenants had done little or nothing to make or keep it a “house beautiful.” The walls had never been papered, and the wood-work showed no recent traces of the brush. “He spent more money on horse-racing than on housekeeping,” said a shrewd old man who was in the house. In fact, Mr. Dunne, I am told, entered a horse for the [pg 235] races at the Curragh after he had undergone what Mr. Gladstone calls “the sentence of death” of an eviction!

Some of the doors bore marks of the crowbar but no great mischief had been done to them or to the large fine windows. The only serious damage done during the eviction was the cutting of a hole through the roof. An upper room had been provisioned to stand a siege, and so scientifically barricaded with logs and trunks of trees that after several vain attempts to break through the door the assailants climbed to the roof, and in twenty minutes cut their way in from without. The dining and drawing rooms were those of a gentleman’s residence, and one of the party remembered attending here a social festivity got up with much display.

A large cattle-yard has been established on this place, with an original, and, as I was assured, most successful weighing-machine by the Land Corporation. We found it full of very fine-looking cattle, and Mr. Hutchins seems to think the operation of managing the estate as a kind of “ranch” decidedly promising. “I am not a bit sorry for Mr. Dunne,” he said, “but I am very sorry for other quiet, good tenants who have been deluded or driven into giving [pg 236] up valuable holdings to keep him and Mr. Kilbride company, and give colour to the vapourings of Mr. William O’Brien.”

The cases of some of these tenants were instructive. One poor man, Knowles, had gone out to America, and regularly sent home money to his family to pay the rent. They found other uses for it, and when the storm came he was two years and a half in arrears. In another instance, two brothers held contiguous holdings, and were in a manner partners. One was fonder of Athy than of agriculture; the other a steady husbandman. Four years’ arrears had grown up against the one; only a half-year’s gale against the other. Clearly this difference originated outside of the fall of prices! In a third case, a tenant wrote to Mr. Trench begging to have something done, as he had the money to pay, and wanted to pay, but “didn’t dare.”

From Mr. Dunne’s we drove to Mr. Kilbride’s, another ample, very comfortable house—not so thoroughly well fitted up with bathroom and other modern appurtenances as Mr. Dunne’s perhaps—but still a very good house. It stands on a large green knoll, rather bare of trees, and commands a fine sweep of landscape.

[pg 237] Mr. Hutchins drove me to the little road which leads up past the “Land League village” to the house of Father Maher, and there set me down.

I walked up and found the curate at home—a tall, slender, well-made young priest, with a keen, intelligent face. He received me very politely, and, when I showed him the card of an eminent dignitary of the Church, with cordiality.

I found him full of sympathy with the people of his parish, but neither vehement nor unfair. He did not deny that there were tenants on Lord Lansdowne’s estate who were amply able to pay their rents; but he did most emphatically assert that there were not a few of them who really could not pay their rents.

“I assure you,” he said, “there are some of them who cannot even pay their dues to their priest, and when I say that, you will know how pinched and driven they must indeed be.” It was in view of these tenants that he seemed to justify the course of Mr. Dunne and Mr. Kilbride. “They must all stand or fall together.” He had nothing to say to the discredit of Lord Lansdowne; but he spoke with some bitterness of the agent, Mr. Townsend Trench, as having protested against Lord Lansdowne’s mak [pg 238] ing reductions here while he had himself made the same reductions on the neighbouring estate of Mrs. Adair.

“In truth,” he said, “Mr. Trench has made all this trouble worse all along. He is too much of a Napoleon”—and with a humorous twinkle in his eye as he spoke—“too much of a Napoleon the Third.

“I was just reading his father’s book when you came in. Here it is,” and he handed me a copy of Trench’s Realities of Irish Life.

“Did you ever read it? This Mr. Trench, the father, was a kind of Napoleon among agents in his own time, and the son, you see, thinks it ought to be understood that he is quite as great a man as his father. Did you never hear how he found a lot of his father’s manuscripts once, and threw them all in the fire, calling out as he did so, ‘There goes some more of my father’s vanity?’”

About his people, and with his people, Father Maher said he “felt most strongly.” How could he help it? He was himself the son of an evicted father.

“Of course, Father Maher,” I said, “you will understand that I wish to get at both sides of this [pg 239] question and of all questions here. Pray tell me then, where I shall find the story of the Luggacurren property most fully and fairly set forth in print?”

Without a moment’s hesitation he replied, “By far the best and fairest account of the whole matter you will get in the Irish correspondence of the London Times.”

How the conflict would end he could not say. But he was at a loss to see how it could pay Lord Lansdowne to maintain it.

He very civilly pressed me to stay and lunch with him, but when I told him I had already accepted an invitation from Mr. Hutchins, he very kindly bestirred himself to find my jarvey.

I hastened back to the lodge, where I found a very pleasant little company. They were all rather astonished, I thought, by the few words I had to say of Father Maher, and especially by his frank and sensible recommendation of the reports in the London Times as the best account I could find of the Luggacurren difficulty. To this they could not demur, but things have got, or are getting, in Ireland, I fear, to a point at which candour, on one side or the other of the burning questions here [pg 240] debated, is regarded with at least as much suspicion as the most deliberate misrepresentation. As to Mr. Town send Trench, what Father Maher failed to tell me, I was here told: That down to the time of the actual evictions he offered to take six months’ rent from the tenants, give them a clean book, and pay all the costs. To refuse this certainly looks like a “war measure.”

But for the loneliness of her life here, Mrs. Hutchins tells me she would find it delightful. The country is exceedingly lovely in the summer and autumn months.

When my car came out to take me back to Athy, I found my jarvey in excellent spirits, and quite friendly even with Mr. Hutchins himself. He kept up a running fire of lively commentaries upon the residents whose estates we passed.

“Would you think now, your honour,” he said, pointing with his whip to one large mansion standing well among good trees, “that that’s the snuggest man there is about Athy? But he is; and it’s no wonder! Would you believe it, he never buys a newspaper, but he walks all the way into Athy, and goes about from the bank to the shops till he finds one, and picks it up and reads it. He’s [pg 241] mighty fond of the news, but he’s fonder, you see, of a penny!

“There now, your honour, just look at that house! It’s a magistrate he is that lives there; and why? Why, just to be called ‘your honour,’ and have the people tip their hats to him. Oh! he delights in that, he does. Why, you might knock a man, or put him in the water, you might, indeed, but if you came before Mr.——, and you just called him ‘your honour’ often enough, and made up to him, you’d be all right! You’ve just to go up to him with your hat in your hand, looking up at him, and to say, ‘Ah! now, your honour’“ (imitating the wheedling tone to perfection), ”and indeed you’d get anything out of him—barring a sixpence, that is, or a penny!

“Ah! he’s a snug one, too!” And with that he launched a sharp thwack of the whip at the grey mare, and we went rattling on apace.

At the very pretty station of Athy we parted the best of friends. “Wish you safe home, your honour.” The kindly railway porter, also, who had recommended Kavanagh’s Hotel, was anxious to know how I found it, and so busied himself to get me a good carriage when the train came in, that I feel bound to exempt Athy from the judgment [pg 242] passed by Sir James Allport’s committee against the “amenities of railway travelling in Ireland.”

DUBLIN, Saturday, March 10.I called by appointment to-day upon Mr. Brooke, the owner of the Coolgreany estate, at his counting-house in Gardiner’s Row. It is one of the spacious old last-century houses of Dublin; the counting-room is installed with dark, old-fashioned mahogany fittings, in what once was, and might easily again be made, a drawing-room. Pictures hang on the walls, and the atmosphere of the whole place is one of courtesy and culture rather than of mere modern commerce. One of the portraits here is that of Mr. Brooke’s granduncle—a handsome, full-blooded, rather testy-looking old warrior, in the close-fitting scarlet uniform of the Prince Regent’s time.

“He ought to have been called Lord Baltimore,” said Mr. Brooke good-naturedly; “for he fought against your people for that city at Bladensburg with Ross.”

“That was the battle,” I said, “in which, according to a popular tradition in my country, the Americans took so little interest that they left the field almost as soon as it began.”

Another portrait is of a kinsman who was mur [pg 243] dered in the highway here in Ireland many years ago, under peculiarly atrocious circumstances, and with no sort of provocation or excuse.

Mr. Brooke confirmed Dr. Dillon’s statement that he had ordered out of his counting-house two tenants who came into it with a peculiarly brazen proposition, of which I must presume Dr. Dillon was ignorant when he cited the fact as a count against the landlord of Coolgreany. I give the story as Mr Brooke tells it. “The Rent Audit,” he says, “at which my tenants were idiots enough to join the Plan of Campaign occurred about the 12th December 1886, when, as you know, I refused to accept the terms which they proposed to me. I heard nothing more from them till about the middle of February 1887, when coming to my office one day I found two tenants waiting for me. One was Stephen Maher, a mountain man, and the other Patrick Kehoe. ‘What do you want?’ I asked. Whereupon they both arose, and Pat Kehoe pointed to Maher. Maher fumbled at his clothes, and rubbed himself softly for a bit, and then produced a scrap of paper. ‘It’s a bit of paper from the tenants, sir,’ he said. A queer bit of paper it was to look at—ruled paper, with a composition written [pg 244] upon it which might have been the work of a village schoolmaster. It was neither signed nor addressed! The pith of it was in these words,—‘in consequence of the manner in which we have been harassed, our cattle driven throughout the country, and our crops not sown, we shall be unable to pay the half-year’s rent due in March, in addition to the reduction already claimed!’ I own I rather lost my temper at this! Remember I had already plainly refused to give ‘the reduction already claimed,’ and had told them not once, but twenty times, that I would never surrender to the ‘Plan of Campaign’! I am afraid my language was Pagan rather than Parliamentary—but I told them plainly, at least, that if they did not break from the Plan of Campaign, and pay their debts, they might be sure I would turn the whole of them out! I gave them back their precious bit of paper and sent them packing.

“One of them, I have told you, was a mountain man, Stephen Maher. He is commonly known among the people as ‘the old fox of the mountain,’ and he is very proud of it!

“This old Stephen Maher,” said Mr. Brooke, “is renowned in connection with a trial for murder, at [pg 245] which he was summoned as a witness. When he was cross-examined by Mr. Molloy, Q.C., he fenced and dodged about with that distinguished counsellor for a long time, until getting vexed by the lawyer’s persistency, he exclaimed, ‘Now thin, Mr. Molloy, I’d have ye to know that I had a cliverer man nor iver you was, Mr. Molloy, at me, and I had to shtan’ up to him for three hours before the Crowner, an’ he was onable to git the throoth out of me, so he was! so he was!’”

Neither did Dr. Dillon mention the fact that one of the demands made of Captain Hamilton, Mr. Brooke’s agent, in December 1886, was that a Protestant tenant named Webster should be evicted by Mr. Brooke from a farm for which he had paid his rent, to make room for the return thither of a Roman Catholic tenant named Lenahan, previously evicted for non-payment of his rent.

When Mr. Brooke’s grandfather bought the Coolgreany property in 1864, he adopted a system of betterments, which has been ever since kept up on the estate. Nearly every tenant’s house on the property has been slated, and otherwise repaired by the landlord, nor has one penny ever been added on that account to the rents.

[pg 246] In the village of Coolgreany all the houses on one side of the main street were built in this way by the landlord, and the same thing was done in the village of Croghan, where twenty tenants have a grazing right of three sheep for every acre held on the Croghan Mountain, pronounced by the valuers of the Land Court to be one of the best grazing mountains in Ireland.

Captain Hamilton became the agent of the property in 1879, on the death of Mr. Vesey. One of his earliest acts was to advise Mr. Brooke to grant an abatement of 25 per cent. in June 1881, while the Land Act was passing. At the same time, he cautioned the tenants that this was only a temporary reduction, and advised them to get judicial rents fixed.

The League advised them not to do this, but to demand 25 per cent. reduction again in December 1881. This demand was rejected, and forty writs were issued. The tenants thereupon in January 1882 came in and paid the full rent, with the costs.

Eleven tenants after this went into Court, and in 1883 the Sub-Commissioners cut down their rents. In five cases Mr. Brooke appealed. What was the result before the Chief Commissioner? The rent [pg 247] of Mary Green, which had been £43, and had been cut down by the Sub-Commissioners to £39, was restored to £43; the rent of Mr. Kavanagh, cut down from £57 to £52, was restored to £55; the rent of Pat Kehoe (one of the two tenants “ejected” from Mr. Brooke’s office as already stated), cut down from £81 to £70, was restored to £81; the rent of Graham, cut down from £38 to £32, 10s., was restored to £38. Other reductions were maintained.

This appears to be the record of “rack-renting” on the Coolgreany property.

There are 114 tenants, of whom 15 hold under judicial rents; 22 are leaseholders, and 77 are non-judicial yearly tenants. There are 12 Protestants holding in all a little more than 1200 acres. All the rest are Catholics, 14 of these being cottier tenants. The estate consists of 5165 acres. The average is about £24, and the average rental about £26, 10s. The gross rental is £2614, of which £1000 go to the jointure of Mr. Brooke’s mother, and £800 are absorbed by the tithe charges, half poor-rates and other taxes. During the year 1886, in which this war was declared against him, Mr. Brooke spent £714 in improvements upon the property: so in [pg 248] that year his income from Coolgreany was practically nil.

What in these circumstances would have been the position of this landlord had he not possessed ample means not invested in this particular estate? And what has been the result to the tenants of this conflict into which it seems clear that they were led, less to protect any direct interest of their own than to jeopardise their homes and their livelihood for the promotion of a general agrarian agitation? It is not clear that they are absolutely so far out of pocket, for I find that the Post-Office Savings Bank deposits at Inch and Gorey rose from £3699, 5s. 4d. in 1880 to £5308, 13s. in 1887, showing an increase of £1609, 7s. 8d. But they are out of house and home and work, entered pupils in that school of idleness and iniquity which has been kept by one Preceptor from the beginning of time.

[pg 249] CHAPTER XV.25

* * * *—Mrs. Kavanagh was quite right when she told me at Borris in March that this country should be seen in June! The drive to this lovely place this morning was one long enchantment of verdure and hawthorn blossoms and fragrance.

I came over from London to bring to a head some inquiries which have too long delayed the publication of this diary. My intention had been to go directly to Thurles, but a telegram which I received from the Archbishop of Cashel just before [pg 250] I left telling me that he could not be at home for the last three days of the week, I came directly here. Nothing can be more utterly unlike the popular notions of Ireland and of Irish life than the aspect of this most smiling and beautiful region: nothing more thoroughly Irish than its people.

* * * who is one of the most active and energetic of Irish landlords, lives part of the year abroad, but keeps up his Irish property with care, at the expense, I suspect, of his estates elsewhere.

From a noble avenue of trees, making the highway like the main road of a private park, we turned into a literal paradise of gardens. The air was balmy with their wealth of odours. “Oh! yes, sir,” said the coachman, with an air of sympathetic pride, “our lady is just the greatest lady in all this land for flowers!”

And for ivy, he might have added. We drove between green walls of ivy up to a house which seemed itself to be built of ivy, like that wonderful old mansion of Castle Leod in Scotland. Here, plainly, is another centre of “sweetness and light,” the abolition of which must make, not this region alone, but Ireland poorer in that precise form of wealth, which, as Laboulaye has shown in one of the best of his lectures, is absolutely identical with [pg 251] civilisation. It is such places as this, which, in the interest of the people, justify the exemption from redistribution and resettlement, made in one of a series of remarkable articles on Ireland recently published in the Birmingham Post, of lands, the “breaking up of which would interfere with the amenity of a residence.”

* * * relations with all classes of the people here are so cordial and straightforward that he has been easily able to give me to-day, what I have sought in vain elsewhere in Ireland, an opportunity of conversing frankly and freely with several labouring men. For obvious reasons these men, as a rule, shrink from any expression of their real feelings. Their position is apparently one of absolute dependence either upon the farmers or the landlords, there being no other local market for their labour, which is their only stock-in-trade. As one of them said to me to-day, “The farmers will work a man just as long as they can’t help it, and then they throw him away.”

I asked if there were no regular farm-labourers hired at fixed rates by the year?

“Oh! very few—less now than ever; and there’ll be fewer before there’ll be more. The farmers don’t want to pay the labourers or to pay the landlords; [pg 252] they want the land and the work for nothing, sir,—they do indeed!”

“What does a farm-hand get,” I asked, “if he is hired for a long time?”

“Well, permanent men, they’ll get 6s. a week with breakfast and dinner, or 7s. maybe, with one meal; and a servant-boy, sir, he’ll get 2s. a week or may be 3s. with his board; but it’s seldom he gets it.”

“And what has he for his board?”

“Oh, stirabout; and then twice a week coorse Russian or American meat, what they call the ‘kitchen,’ and they like it better than good meat, sir, because it feeds the pot more.”

By this I found he meant that the “coorse meat” gave out more “unctuosity” in the boiling—the meat being always served up boiled in a pot with vegetables, like the “bacon and greens” of the “crackers” in the South.

“And nothing else?”

“Yes; buttermilk and potatoes.”

“And these wages are the highest?”

“Oh, I know a boy got 5s., but by living in his father’s house, and working out it was he got it. And then they go over to England to work.”

“What wages do they get there?”

[pg 253] “Oh, it differs, but they do well; 9s. a week, I think, and their board, and straw to sleep on in the stables.”

“But doesn’t it cost them a good deal to go and come?”

“Oh no; they get cheap rates. They send them from Galway to Dublin like cattle, at £2, 5s. a car, and that makes about 1s. 6d. a head; and then they are taken over on the steamers very cheap. Often the graziers that do large business with the companies, will have a right to send over a number of men free; and they stowaway too; and then on the railways in England they get passes free often from cattle-dealers, specially when they are coming back, and the dealers don’t want their passes. They do very well. They’ll bring back £7 and £10. I was on a boat once, and there was a man; he was drunk; he was from Galway somewhere, and they took away and kept for him £18, all in good golden sovereigns; that was the most I ever saw. And he was drunk, or who’d ever have known he had it?”

“Do the farmers build houses for the labourers?”

“Build houses, is it! Glory be to God! who ever heard of such a thing? The farmers are a poor proud lot. They’d let a labourer die in the ditch!”

[pg 254] All that this poor man said was corroborated by another man of a higher class, very familiar with the conditions of life and labour here, and indeed one of the most interesting men I have met in Ireland. Born the son of a labouring man, he was educated by a priest and educated himself, till he fitted himself for the charge of a small school, which he kept to such good purpose that in eighteen years he saved £1100, with which capital he resolved to begin life as a small farmer and shopkeeper. He had studied all the agricultural works he could get, and before he went fairly into the business, he travelled on the Continent, looking carefully into the methods of culture and manner of life of the people, especially in Italy and in Belgium. The Belgian farming gave him new ideas of what might be done in Ireland, and those ideas he has put into practice, with the best results.

“On the same land with my neighbours,” he said, “I double their production. Where they get two tons of hay I get four or four and a half, where they get forty-five barrels of potatoes I get a hundred. Only the other day I got £20 for a bullock I had taken pains with to fatten him up scientifically. Of course I had a small capital to start with: but where did I get that? Not from [pg 255] the Government. I earned and saved it myself; and then I wasn’t above learning how best to use it.”

He thinks the people here—though by no means what they might be with more thrift and knowledge—much better off than the same class in many other parts of Ireland. There are no “Gombeen men” here, he says, and no usurious shopkeepers. “The people back each other in a friendly way when they need help.” Many of the labourers, he says, are in debt to him, but he never presses them, and they are very patient with each other. They would do much better if any pains were taken to teach them. It is his belief that agricultural schools and model farms would do more than almost any measure that could be devised for bringing up the standard of comfort and prosperity here, and making the country quiet.

It is the opinion of this man that the people of this place have been led to regard the Papal Decree as a kind of attack on their liberties, and that they are quite as likely to resist as to obey it. For his own part, he thinks Ireland ought to have her own parliament, and make her own laws. He is not satisfied with the laws actually made, though he admits they are better than the older laws were. “The tenants get their own improvements now,” he said, “and in [pg 256] old times the more a man improved the worse it was for him, the agent all the while putting up the rents.”

But he does not want Irish independence. “The people that talk that way,” he said, “have never travelled. They don’t see how idle it is for Ireland to talk about supporting herself. She just can’t do it.”

Not less interesting was my talk to-day with quite a different person. This was a keen-eyed, hawk-billed, wiry veteran of the ’48. As a youth he had been out with “Meagher of the Sword,” and his eyes glowed when he found that I had known that champion of Erin. “I was out at Ballinagar,” he said; “there were five hundred men with guns, and five hundred pikemen.” It struck me he would like to be going “out” again in the same fashion, but he had little respect for the “Nationalists.”

“There’s too many lawyers among them,” he said, “too many lawyers and too many dealers. The lawyers are doing well, thanks to the League. Oh yes!” with a knowing chuckle, and a light of mischief in his eye; “the lawyers are doing very well! There’s one little bit of a solicitor not far from here was of no good at all four years ago, and now they tell me he’s made four thousand pounds in three years’ time, [pg 257] good money, and got it all in hand! And there’s another, I hear, has made six thousand. The lawyers that call themselves Nationalists, they just keep mischief agoing to further themselves. What do they care for the labourers? Why, no more than the farmers do—and what would become of the poor men! * * * * here, he is making * * * * * * * and he keeps more poor men going than all the lawyers and all the farmers in the place a good part of the year.”

“Are the labourers,” I asked, “Nationalists?”

“They don’t know what they are,” he answered. “They hate the farmers, but they love Ireland, and they all stand together for the counthry!”

“How is it with the Plan of Campaign and the Boycotting?”

“Now what use have the labourers got for the Plan of Campaign? No more than for the moon! And for the Boycotting, I never liked it—but I was never afraid of it—and there’s not been much of it here.”

“Will the Papal Decree put a stop to what there is of it?”

“I wouldn’t mind the Pope’s Decree no more than that door!” he exclaimed indignantly. “Hasn’t [pg 258] he enough, sure, to mind in Rome? Why didn’t he defend his own country, not bothering about Ireland!”

“Are you not a Catholic, then?” I asked.

“Oh yes, I’m a Catholic, but I wouldn’t mind the Decree. Only remember,” he added, after a pause, “just this: it don’t trouble me, for I’ve nothing to do with the Plan of Campaign—only I don’t want the Pope to be meddlin’ in matters that don’t concern him.”

“It’s out of respect, then, for the Pope that you wouldn’t mind the Decree?”

“Just that, intirely! It was some of them Englishmen wheedled it out of him, you may be sure, sir.”

“I am told you went out to America once.”

“Yes, I went there in ’48, and I came back in ’51.”

“What made you go?” I asked.

“Is it what made me go?” he replied, with a sudden fierceness in his voice. “It was the evictions made me go; that we was put out of the good holding my father had, and his father before him; and I can never forgive it, never! But I came back; and it was * * * father that was [pg 259] the good man to me and to mine, else where would I be?”

I afterwards learned from * * * * that the evictions of which the old man spoke with so much bitterness were made in carrying out important improvements, and that it was quite true that his father had greatly befriended the emigrant when he got enough of the New World and came home.

It was curious to see the old grudge fresh and fierce in the old man’s heart, but side by side with it the lion lying down with the lamb—a warm and genuine recognition of the kindness and help bestowed on himself. His resentment against the landlord’s action in one generation did not in the least interfere with his recognition of the landlord’s usefulness and liberality in the next generation.

“You didn’t like America?” I said. “Where did you live there?”

“I lived at North Brookfield in Massachusetts, a year or two,” he replied, “with Governor Amasa Walker. Did you know him? He was a good man; he was fond of the people, but he thought too much of the nagurs.”

“Yes,” I answered; “I know all about him, and he was, as you say, a very good man, even if he was [pg 260] an abolitionist. But why didn’t you stay in North Brookfield?”

“Oh, it was a poor country indeed! A blast of wind would blow all the ground away there was! It does no good to the people, going to America,” he said; “they come back worse than they went!”

He is at work now in some quarries here.

“The quarrymen get six shillings a week,” he said, “with bread and tea and butter and meat three times a week. With nine shillings a week and board, a man’ll make himself bigger than * * *!”

“Was the country quiet now?”

“This country here? Oh! it’s very quiet; with potatoes at 3s. 6d. a barrel, it’s a good year for the people. They’re a very quiet people,”—in corroboration apparently of which statement he told me a story of a coroner’s jury called to sit on the body of a man found on the highway shot through the head, which returned an unanimous verdict of “Died by the visitation of God.”

This country is dominated by the Rocky Hills climbing up to Cullenagh, which divides the Barrow valley from the Nore. We drove this afternoon to * a most lovely place. The mansion there is now shut [pg 261] up and dismantled, but the park and the grounds are very beautiful, with a beauty rather enhanced than diminished by the somewhat unkempt luxuriance of the vegetation. We passed a now well-grown tree planted by the Prince of Wales * * * * * * and drove over many miles of excellent road made by * * * * * * * * employs * * * * * * * * regularly, * * * men as labourers, cartmen and masons, to whom he pays out annually the sum of * * Mr. * * who, by the way, rather resented my asking him if he came of one of the Cromwellian English families so numerous here, and informed me that his people came over with Strongbow—assures me that but for these works of * * * * these men under him would be literally without occupation. In addition to these there are about a dozen more men employed * * as gamekeepers and plantation-men. At the * * places belonging to * * * * * * * * * * above eighty men find constant employment, and receive regular wages amounting to over £4000. Were * * * * dispossessed or driven out of Ireland, all [pg 262] this outlay would come to an end, and with what result to these working-men? As things now are, while * * * working-men receive a regular wage of five shillings, the same men, as farmers’ labourers, would receive, now and then, five shillings a week, and that without food! I saw enough in the course of our afternoon’s drive to satisfy me that my informant of the morning had probably not overstated matters when he told me that for at least seventy per cent. of the work done by the labourers here, from November to May, they have to look to the landlords. On the property of * * as well as on the neighbouring properties * * * * * * * the houses have been generally put up by the landlords. We called in the course of the afternoon upon a labouring man who lives with his wife in a very neat, cozy, and quite new house, built recently for him by * *. These good people have been living on this property for now nearly half a century. Their new house having been built for them, * * has had an agreement prepared, under which it may be secured to them. The terms have all been discussed and found satisfactory, but the old labourer now hesitates [pg 263] about signing the agreement. He gives, and can be got to give, no reason for this; but when we drove up he came out to greet us in the most friendly manner. We went in and found his wife, a shrewd, sharp-eyed, little old dame, with whom * * * * fell into a confabulation, while I went into the next room with the labourer himself. The house was neatly furnished—with little ornaments and photographs on the mantel-shelf, and nothing of the happy-go-lucky look so common about the houses of the working people in Ireland, as well as about the houses of the lesser squires.

I paid him a compliment on the appearance of his house and grounds. “Yes, sir!” he answered: “it’s a very good place it is, and * * * * has built it just to please us.”

“But I am told you want to leave it?”

“Ah, no, that is not so, sir, indeed at all! We’ve three children you see, sir, in America—two girls and a boy we have.”

“And where are they?”

“Ah, the girls they’re not in any factory at all. They’re like leddies, living out in a place they call * * in Massachusetts; and the lad, he was on a farm there. But we don’t know where he is nor [pg 264] his sisters any more just now. And the wife, she thinks she would like to go out to America and see the children.”

“Do you hear from them regularly?”

“Well, it’s only a few pounds they send, but they’re doing very well. Domestics they are, quite like leddies; there’s their pictures on the shelf.”

“But what would you do there?”

“Ah! we’d have lodgings, the wife says, sir. But I like the ould place myself.”

“I think you are quite right there,” I replied. “And do you get work here from the farmers as the labourers do in my country?”

“Work from the farmers, sir?” he answered, rather sharply. “What they can’t help we get, but no more! If the farmers in America is like them, it’s not I would be going there! The farmers! For the farmers, a labourer, sir, is not of the race of Adam! They think any place good enough for a labourer—any place and any food! Is the farmers that way in America?”

“Well, I don’t know that they are so very much more liberal than your farmers are,” I replied; “but I think they’d have to treat you as being of the race of Adam! But are not the farmers here, or [pg 265] the Guardians, obliged to build houses for the labourers? I thought there was an Act of Parliament about that?”

“And so there is but what’s the good of it? It’s just to get the labourers’ votes, and then they fool the labourers, just making them quarrel about where the cottages shall be, what they call the ‘sites’; and then there’s no cottages built at all, at all. It’s the lawyers, you see, sir, gets in with the farmers—the strongest farmers—and then they just make fools of the labourers as if there was no Act of Parliament at all.”

“But if the labourers want to go away, to emigrate,” I said, “as you want to do, to America, don’t the farmers, or the Government, or the landlords, help them to get away and make a start?”

“Not a bit of it, sir,” he replied; “not a bit of it. I believe, though,” he added after a moment; “I believe they do get some help to go to Australia. But they’re mostly no good that goes that way. The best is them that go for themselves, or their friends help them. But there’s not so many going this year.”

When we drove away I asked * * if he had made any progress towards a signature of the agreement with the labourer’s wife.

[pg 266] “No; she couldn’t be got to say yes or no. I asked her,” said * * “what reason they had for imagining that after all these years I would try to do them an injury? She protested they never thought of such a thing; but she couldn’t be brought to say she wished her husband to sign the paper. It’s very odd, indeed.”

I couldn’t help suspecting that the materfamilias was at the bottom of it all, and that she was bent upon going out to America to participate in the prosperity of her two daughters, who were living “like leddies” at * * in Massachusetts.

The incident recalled to me something which happened years ago when I was returning with the Storys from Rome to Boston. Our Cunarder, in the middle of the night, off the Irish coast, ran down and instantly sank a small schooner.

In a wonderfully short time we had come-to, and a boat’s crew had succeeded in picking up and bringing all the poor people on board. Among them was a wizened old woman, upon whom all sorts of kind attentions were naturally lavished by the ship’s company. She could not be persuaded to go into a cabin after she had recovered from the shock and the fright of the accident, but, comforted [pg 267] and clothed with new and dry garments, she took refuge under one of the companion-ways, and there, sitting huddled up, with her arms about her knees, she crooned and moaned to herself, “I was near being in a wetter and a warmer place; I was near being in a wetter and a warmer place!” by the half hour together. We found that the poor old soul had been to Liverpool to see her son off on a sailing ship as an emigrant to America. So a subscription was soon made up to send her on our arrival to New York there to await her son. We had some trouble in making her understand what was to be done with her, but when she finally got it fairly into her head, gleams of mingled surprise and delight came over her withered face, and she finally broke out, “Oh, then, glory be to God! it’s a mercy that I was drownded! glory be to God! and it’s the proud boy Terence will be when he gets out to America to find his poor ould mother waiting for him there that he left behind him in Liverpool, and quite the leddy with all this good gold money in her hand, glory be to God!”

On our way back to * * we passed through * * a very neat prosperous-looking town, which * * tells me is growing up on [pg 268] the heels of * *. * * * was one of the few places at which the “no rent” manifesto, issued by Mr. Parnell and his colleagues from their prison in Kilmainham, during the confinement of Mr. Davitt at Portland, and without concert with him, was taken up by a village curate and commended to the people. He was arrested for it by Mr. Gladstone’s Government, and locked up for six weeks.

DUBLIN, Saturday, June 23d.I left * * * yesterday morning early on an “outside car,” with one of my fellow-guests in that “bower of beauty,” who was bent on killing a salmon somewhere in the Nore * * We drove through a most varied and picturesque country, viewing on the way the seats of Mr. Hamilton Stubber and Mr. Robert Staples, both finely situated in well-wooded parks. Mr. Stubber was formerly master of the Queen’s County hounds, a famous pack, which, as our jarvey put it, “brought a power of money into the county, and made it aisy for a poor man.” But the local agitations wore out his patience, and he put the pack down some years ago. Not far from his house is an astonishing modern “tumulus,” or mound of hewn [pg 269] and squared stones. These it seems were quarried and brought here by him, with the intention of building a new and handsome residence. This intention he abandoned under the same annoyance.

“They call it Mr. Stubber’s Cairn,” said the jarvey; “and a sorrowful sight it is, to think of the work it would have given the people, building the big house that’ll never be built now, I’m thinking.” If Mr. Stubber should become an “absentee,” he can hardly, I think, be blamed for it.

His property marches with that of Mr. Robert Staples, who comes of a Gloucestershire family planted in Ireland under Charles I.

“Mr. Staples is farming his own lands,” said our jarvey, when I commented on the fine appearance of some fields as we drove by; “and he’ll be doing very well this year. Ah! he comes and goes, but he’s here a great deal, and he looks after everything himself; that’s the reason the fields is good.”

This is a property of some 1500 statute acres. Only last March the landlord took over from one tenant, who was in arrears of two years and a half and owed him some £300, a farm of 90 acres, giving the man fifty pounds to boot, and bidding him go in peace. I wonder whether this proceeding would [pg 270] make the landlord a “land-grabber,” and expose him to the pains and penalties of “boycotting”?

On this place, too, it seems that Mr. Staples’s grandfather put up many houses for the tenants; a thing worth noting, as one of not a few instances I have come upon to show that it will not do to accept without examination the sweeping statements so familiar to us in America, that improvements have never been made by the landlord upon Irish estates.

My companion had meant to put me down at the railway station of Attanagh, there to catch a good train to Kilkenny.

But we had a capital nag, and reached Attanagh so early that we determined to drive on to Ballyragget.

From Attanagh to Ballyragget the road ran along a plateau which commanded the most beautiful views of the valley of the Nore and of the finely wooded country beyond. Ballyragget itself is a brisk little market town, the American influence showing itself here, as in so many other places, in such trifles as the signs on the shops which describe them as “stores.” My salmon-fishing companion put me down at the station and went off to the [pg 271] river, which flows through the town, and is here a swift and not inconsiderable stream.

An hour in the train took me to Kilkenny, where I met by appointment several persons whom I had been unable to see during my previous visit in March.

These gentlemen, experienced agents, gave me a good deal of information as to the effect of the present state of things upon the “moral” of the tenantry in different parts of Ireland. On one estate, for example, in the county of Longford, a tenant has been doing battle for the cause of Ireland in the following extraordinary fashion.

He held certain lands at a rental of £23, 4s. Being, to use the picturesque language of the agent, a “little good for tenant,” he fell into arrears, and on the 1st of May 1885 owed nearly three years’ rent, or £63, 12s., in addition to a sum of £150 which he had borrowed of his amiable landlord three or four years before to enable him to work his farm. Of this total sum of £213, 12s. he positively refused to pay one penny. Proceedings were accordingly taken against him, and he was evicted. By this eviction his title to the tenancy was broken. The landlord nevertheless, for the sake of peace and quiet, offered [pg 272] to allow him to sell, to a man who wished to take the place, any interest he might have had in the holding, and to forgive both the arrears of the rent and the £150 which had been borrowed by him. The ex-tenant flatly refused to accept this offer, became a weekly pensioner upon the National League, and declared war. The landlord was forced to get a caretaker for the place from the Property Defence Association at a cost of £1 per week, to provide a house for a police protection party, and to defray the expenses of that party upon fuel and lights. Nor was this all. The landlord found himself further obliged to employ men from the same Property Defence Association to cut and save the hay-crop on the land, and when this had been done no one could be found to buy the crop. The crop and the lands were “boycotted.” It was only in May last that a purchaser could be found for the hay cut and saved two years ago—this purchaser being himself a “boycotted” man on an adjoining property. He bought the hay, paying for it a price which did not quite cover one-half the cost of sowing it!

“No one denies for a moment,” said the agent, “that the tenant in all this business has been more than fairly, even generously, treated by the estate; [pg 273] yet no one seems to think it anything but natural and reasonable that he should demand, as he now demands, to be put back into the possession of his forfeited tenancy at a certain rent fixed by himself,” which he will obligingly agree to pay, “provided that the hay cut and saved on the property two years ago is accounted for to him by the estate!”

In another case an agent, Mr. Ivough, had to deal with a body of five hundred tenants on a considerable estate. Of these tenants, two hundred settled their rents with the landlord before the passing of the Land Act of 1881, and valuations made by the landlord’s valuer, with their full assent. There was no business for the lawyers, so far as they were concerned, and no compulsion of any sort was put on them. Among them was a man who had married the daughter of an old tenant on the estate, and so came into a holding of 12 Irish, or more than 20 statute, acres, at a rental of £18 a year. The valuer reduced this to £14, 10s., which satisfied the tenant, and as the agent agreed to make this reduced valuation retroactive, all went as smoothly as possible for two years, when the tenant began to fall into arrears. When the Sub-Commissioners, between 1885 and 1887, took to [pg 274] making sweeping reductions, the tenants who had settled freely under the recent valuation grumbled bitterly. As one of them tersely put it to the agent, “We were a parcel of bloody fools, and you ought to have told us these Sub-Commissioners were coming!” Mr. Sweeney, the tenant by marriage already mentioned, was not content to express his particular dissatisfaction in idle words, but kept on going into arrears. In May 1888 things came to a crisis. The agent refused to accept a settlement which included the payment by him of the costs of the proceedings forced upon him by his tenant. “You have had a good holding,” said the agent, “with plenty of water and good land. In this current year two acres of your wheat will pay the whole rent. You have broken up and sold bit by bit a mill that was on the place; and above all, when Mr. Gladstone made us accept the judicial rents, he told us we might be sure, if we did this, of punctual payment. That was the one consideration held out to us. And we are entitled to that!”

The tenant being out of his holding, the agent wishes to put another tenant into it. But the holding is “boycotted.” Several tenants are anxious [pg 275] for it, and would gladly take it, but they dare not The great evicted will neither sell any tenant-right he may have, nor pay his arrears and costs, nor give up the place to another tenant. To put Property Defence men on the holding would cost the landlord £2, 10s. a week, and do him no great good, as the evicted man “holds the fort,” being established in a house which he occupies on an adjoining property, and for which presumably he pays his rent. It seems as if Mr. Sweeney were inspired by the example of another tenant, named Barry, who, before the passing of the Land Act of 1881, gave up freely a holding of 20 acres, on a property managed by Mr. Kough; but as he was on such good terms with the agent that he could borrow money of him, he begged the agent to let him retain at a low rent a piece of this surrendered land directly adjoining his house. He asked this in the name of his eight or nine children, and it was granted him. The agent afterwards found that the piece of land in question was by far the best of the surrendered holding. But that is a mere detail. This ingenious tenant Barry, living now on another estate just outside the grasp of the agent, has systematically “boycotted” for the last nine years [pg 276] the land which he gave up, feeding his own cattle upon it freely meanwhile, and keeping all would-be tenants at a distance! “He is now,” said the agent, “quite a wealthy man in his way, jobbing cattle at all the great markets!”

“When the eviction of Sweeney took place,” said the agent, “I was present in person, as I thought I ought to be, and the result is that I have been held up to the execration of mankind as a monster for putting out a child in a cradle into a storm. As a matter of fact,” he said, “there was a cradle in the way, which the sheriff-Officer gently took up, and by direction of the tenant’s wife removed. I made no remark about it at all, but a local paper published a lying story, which the publisher had to retract, that I had said ‘Throw out the child!’”

“Two priests,” he said, “came quite uninvited and certainly without provocation, to see me, and one of them shouted out, ‘Ah! we know you’ll be making another Coolgreany,’ which was as much as to say there ‘would be bloodshed.’ This was the more intolerable,” he added, “that, as I afterwards found, I had already done for the sake of the tenants precisely what these ecclesiastics professed that they had come to ask me to do!

[pg 277] “For thirty years,” said this gentleman, “I have lived in the midst of these people—and in all that time I have never had so much as a threatening letter. But after this story was published of my throwing out a cradle with a child in it, I was insulted in the street by a woman whom I had never seen before. Two girls, too, called out at the eviction, ‘You’ve bad pluck; why didn’t you tell us you were coming down the day?’ and another woman made me laugh by crying after me, ‘You’ve two good-looking daughters, but you’re a bad man yourself.’”

Quite as instructive is the story given me on this occasion of the Tyaquin estate in the county of Galway. This estate is managed by an agent, Mr. Eichardson of Castle Coiner, in this county of Kilkenny.

The rents on this Galway estate, as Mr. Richardson assures me, have been unaltered for between thirty and forty years, and some of them for even a longer period. For the last twenty-five years certainty, during which Mr. Richardson has been the agent of the estate, and probably, he thinks, for many years previous, there has never been a case of the non-payment of rent, except in recent years [pg 278] when rents were withheld for a time for political reasons.

Large sums of money have been laid out in various useful improvements. Constant occupation was given to those requiring it, until the agrarian agitation became fully developed. On the demesne and the home farms the best systems of reclaiming waste lands and the best systems of agriculture were practically exhibited, so that the estate was an agricultural free school for all who cared to learn.

When the Land Act of 1881 was passed, almost all the tenants applied, and had judicial rents fixed, many of them by consent of the agent.

In 1887 the tenants were called on as usual to pay these judicial rents. A large minority refused to do so except on certain terms, which were refused. The dispute continued for many months, but as the charges on the estate had to be met, the agent was obliged to give way, and allow an abatement of four shillings in the pound on these judicial rents. Some of these charges, to meet which the agent gave way, were for money borrowed from the Commissioners of Public Works to improve the holdings of the tenants. For these improvements thus thrown entirely upon the funds of the estate no increase of [pg 279] rent or charge of any kind had been laid upon the tenants.

When a settlement was agreed on, those of the tenants who had adopted the Plan came in a body to pay their rents on 3d January 1888. They stated that they were unable to pay more than the rent due up to November 1886, and that they would never have adopted the Plan had they not been driven into it by sheer distress. After which they handed Mr. Richardson a cheque drawn by John T. Dillon, Esq., M.P., for the amount banked with the National League.

An article appeared shortly afterwards in a League newspaper, loudly boasting of the great victory won by Mr. Dillon, M.P., for the starving and poverty-stricken tenants. Two of these tenants (brothers) were under a yearly rent of £7, 10s. They declared they could only pay £3, 15s., or a [pg 280] half-year’s rent, and this only if they got an abatement of 15s. Yet these same tenants were then paying Mr. Richardson £50 a year for a grass farm, and about £12 for meadows, as well as £30 a year more for a grass farm to an adjoining landlord.

Another tenant who held a farm at £13, 5s. a year declared he could only pay £6, 12s. 6d., or a half-year’s rent, if he got an abatement of £1, 6s. 6d. A very short time before, this tenant had taken a grass farm from an adjoining landlord, and he was so anxious to get it that he showed the landlord a bundle of large notes, amounting to rather more than £300 sterling, in order to prove his solvency! The same tenant has since written a letter to Mr. Richardson offering £50 a year for a grass farm!

All these campaigners, Mr. Richardson says, “with one noble exception, the wife of a tenant who was ill, declined to pay a penny of rent beyond November 1st, 1886,” stating that they were “absolutely unable” to do more. So they all left the May 1887 rent unpaid, and the hanging gale to November 1887, which, however, they were not even asked to pay.

The morning after the settlement many of the tenants who, when they were all present in a body on the previous evening, had declared their “inability” to pay the half-year’s rent due down to May 1887, individually came to Mr. Richardson unasked, and paid it, some saying they had “borrowed the money that night,” but others frankly declaring that they dared not break the rule publicly, having been ordered by the League only [pg 281] to pay to November 1886, for fear of the consequences. These would have been injury to their cattle, or the burning of their hay, or possibly murder.

Of the country about Kilkenny, I am told, as of the country about Carlow, that nearly or quite seventy per cent, of the labourers are dependent upon the landlords from November to May for such employment as they get.

The shopkeepers, too, are in a bad way, being in many cases reduced to the condition of mere agents of the great wholesale houses elsewhere, and kept going by these houses mainly in the hope of recovering old debts. There is a severe pressure of usury, too, upon the farmers. “If a farmer,” said one resident to me, “wants to borrow a small sum of the Loan Fund Bank, he must have two securities—one of them a substantial man good for the debt. These two indorsers must be ‘treated’ by the borrower whom they back; and he must pay them a weekly sum for the countenance they have given him, which not seldom amounts, before he gets through with the matter, to a hundred per cent, on the original loan.”

I am assured too that the consumption of spirits [pg 282] all through this region has greatly increased of late years. “The official reports will show you,” said one gentleman, “that the annual outlay upon whisky in Ireland equals the sum saved to the tenants by the reductions in rent.” This is a proposition so remarkable that I simply record it for future verification, as having been made by a very quiet, cool, and methodical person, whose information on other points I have found to be correct. He tells me too, as of his own knowledge, that in going over some financial matters with a small farmer in his neighbourhood, he ascertained, beyond a peradventure, that this farmer annually spent in whisky, for the use of his family, consisting of himself, his wife and three adult children, nearly, or quite, seventy pounds a year! “You won’t believe this,” he said to me; “and if you print the statement nobody else will believe it; but for all that it is the simple unexaggerated truth.”

Falstaff’s reckoning at Dame Quickly’s becomes a moderate score in comparison with this!

I spent half an hour again in the muniment-room at Kilkenny Castle, where, in the Expense-Book of the second Duke of Ormond, I found a supper menu worthy of record, as illustrating what people meant [pg 283] by “keeping open house” in the great families of the time of Queen Anne.[Note L.]

Taking a train early in the afternoon, I came on here in time to dine last night with Mr. Rolleston of Delgany, an uncompromising Protestant “Home Ruler”—as Protestant and as uncompromising as John Mitchel—whose recent pamphlet on “Boycotting” has deservedly attracted so much attention on both sides of the Irish Sea.

I was first led into a correspondence with Mr. Rolleston by a remarkable article of his published in the Dublin University Review for February 1886, on “The Archbishop in Politics.” In that article, Mr. Rolleston, while avowing himself to be robust enough to digest without much difficulty the ex officio franchise conferred upon the Catholic clergy by Mr. Parnell to secure the acceptance of his candidates at Parliamentary conventions, made a very firm and fearless protest against the attempt of the Archbishops of Dublin and Cashel to “boycott” Catholic criticism of the National League and its methods, by declaring such criticism to be “a public insult” offered, not to the Archbishops of Cashel and Dublin personally, or as political sup [pg 284] porters of the National League, but to the Archbishops as dignitaries of the Catholic Church, and to their Archiepiscopal office. The “boycotting,” by clerical machinery, of independent lay opinion in civil matters, is to the body politic of a Catholic country what the germ of cancer is to the physical body. And though Mr. Rolleston, in this article, avowed himself to be a hearty supporter of the “political programme of the National League,” and went so far even as to maintain that the social boycotting, “which makes the League technically an illegal conspiracy against law and individual liberty,” might be “in many cases justified by the magnitude of the legalised crime against which it was directed,” it was obvious to me that he could not long remain blind to the true drift of things in an organisation condemned, by the conditions it has created for itself, to deal with the thinkers of Ireland as it deals with the tenants of Ireland. His recent pamphlet on “Boycotting” proves that I was right. What he said to me the other day in a letter about the pamphlet may be said as truly of the article. It was “a shaft sunk into the obscure depths of Irish opinion, to bring to light and turn to service whatever there may be in those depths of [pg 285] sound and healthy;” and one of my special objects in this present visit to Ireland was to get a personal touch of the intellectual movement which is throwing such thinkers as Mr. Rolleston to the front.

We were five at table, Mr. Rolleston’s other guests being Mr. John O’Leary, whose name is held in honour for his courage and honesty by all who know anything of the story of Ireland in our times, and who was sent a quarter of a century ago as a Fenian patriot—not into seclusion with sherry and bitters, at Kilmainham, like Mr. Gladstone’s “suspects” of 1881—but like Michael Davitt, into the stern reality of penal servitude; Dr. Sigerson, Dean of the Faculty of Science of the Boyal University, and an authority upon the complicated question of Irish Land Tenures; and Mr. John F. Taylor, a leading barrister of Dublin, an ally on the Land Question of Mr. Davitt, and an outspoken Repealer of the Union of 1800.

I have long wished to meet Mr. O’Leary, who sent me, through a correspondent of mine, two years ago, one of the most thoughtful and well-considered papers I have ever read on the possibilities and impossibilities of Home Rule for Ireland; and it was a great pleasure to find in the man the eleva [pg 286] tion of tone, the breadth of view, and the refined philosophic perception of the strong and weak points in the Irish case, which had charmed me in. the paper. Now that “Conservative” Englishmen have come to treat the main points of Chartism almost as commonplaces in politics, it is surely time for them to recognise the honesty and integrity of the spirit which revolted in the Ireland of 1848 against the then seemingly hopeless condition of that country. Of that spirit Mr. O’Leary is a living, earnest, and most interesting incarnation. He strikes one at once as a much younger man in all that makes the youth of the intellect and the emotions than any Nationalist M.P. of half his years whom I have ever met. No Irishman living has dealt stronger or more open blows than he against the English dominion in Ireland. Born in Tipperary, where he inherited a small property in houses, he was sent to Trinity College in Dublin, and while a student there was drawn into the “Young Ireland” party mainly by the poems of Thomas Davis. Late in the electrical year of the “battle summer,” 1848, he was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in a plot to rescue Smith O’Brien and other state prisoners. The suspicion was well founded, but could not be estab [pg 287] lished, and after a day or two he was liberated. From Trinity, after this, he went to the Queen’s College in Cork, where he took his degree, and studied medicine. When the Fenian movement became serious, after the close of our American Civil War, O’Leary threw himself into it with Stephens, Luby, and Charles Kickham. Stephens appointed him one of the chief organisers of the I.E.B. with Luby and Kickham, and he took charge of the Irish People—the organ of the Fenians of 1865. It was as a subordinate contributor to this journal that Sir William Harcourt’s familiar Irish bogy, O’Donovan Rossa26, was arrested together with his chief, Mr. O’Leary, and with Kickham in 1865, and found guilty, [pg 288] with them, after a trial before Mr. Justice Keogh, of treason-felony. The speech then delivered by Mr. O’Leary in the dock made a profound impression upon the public mind in America. It was the speech, not of a conspirator, but of a patriot. The indignation with which he repelled for himself and for his associate Luby the charges levelled at them both, without a particle of supporting evidence, by the prosecuting counsel, of aiming at massacre and plunder, was its most salient feature. The terrible sentence passed upon him, of penal servitude for twenty years, Mr. O’Leary accepted with a calm dignity, which I am glad, for the sake of Irish manhood, to find that his friends here now recall with pride, when their ears are vexed by the shrill and clamorous complaints of more recent “patriots,” under the comparatively trivial punishments which they invite.

In 1870, Mr. O’Leary and his companions were released and pardoned on condition of remaining beyond the British dominions until the expiration of their sentences. Mr. O’Leary fixed his residence for a time in Paris, and thence went to America, where he and Kickham were regarded as the leaders of the American branch of the I. R. B. He returned to [pg 289] Ireland in 1885, his term of sentence having then expired, and it was shortly after his return that he gave to my correspondent the letter upon Irish affairs to which I have already referred. He had been chosen President of the “Young Ireland Society” of Dublin before he returned, and in that capacity delivered at the Rotunda, in the Irish capital, before a vast crowd assembled to welcome him back, an address which showed how thoughtfully and calmly he had devoted himself during his long years of imprisonment and exile to the cause of Ireland. Mr. William O’Brien, M.P., and Mr. Redmond, M.P., took part in this reception, but their subsequent course shows that they can hardly have relished Mr. O’Leary’s fearless and outspoken protests against the intolerance and injustice of the agrarian organisation which controls their action. In England, as well as well as in Ireland, Mr. O’Leary spoke to great multitudes of his countrymen, and always in the same sense. Mr. Rolleston tells me that Mr. O’Leary’s denunciations of “the dynamite section of the Irish people,” to use the euphemism of an American journal, “are the only ones ever uttered by an Irish leader, lay or clerical.” The day must come, if it be not already close at hand, when the Irish leader of [pg 290] whom this can be truly said, must be felt by his own people to be the one man worthy of their trust. The thing that has been shall be, and there is nothing new under the sun. The Marats and the Robespierres, the Barères and the Collots, are the pallbearers, not the standard-bearers of liberty.

Towards the National League, as at present administered on the lines of the agrarian agitation, Mr. O’Leary has so far preserved an attitude of neutrality, though he has never for a moment hesitated either in public or in private most vehemently to condemn such sworn Fenians as have accepted seats in the British Parliament, speaking his mind freely and firmly of them as “double-oathed men” playing a constitutional part with one hand, and a treasonable part with the other.

Yet he is not at one with the extreme and fanatical Fenians who oppose constitutional agitation simply because it is constitutional. His objection to the existing Nationalism was exactly put, Mr. Rolleston tells me, by a clever writer in the Dublin Mail, who said that O’Connell having tried “moral force” and failed, and the Fenians having tried “physical force” and failed, the Leaguers were now trying to succeed by the use of “immoral force.”

[pg 291] Dr. Sigerson, who, as a man of science, must necessarily revolt from the coarse and clumsy methods of the blunderers who have done so much since 1885 to discredit the cause of Ireland, evidently clings to the hope that something may still be saved from the visible wreck of what has come, even in Ireland, to be called “Parnellism,” and he good-naturedly persisted in speaking of our host last night and of his friends as “mugwumps.” For the “mugwumps” of my own country I have no particular admiration, being rather inclined, with my friend Senator Conkling (now gone to his rest from the racket of American politics), to regard them as “Madonnas who wish it to be distinctly understood that they might have been Magdalens.” But these Irish “mugwumps” seem to me to earn their title by simply refusing to believe that two and two, which make four in France or China, can be bullied into making five in Ireland. “What certain ‘Parnellites’ object to,” said one of the company, “is that we can’t be made to go out gathering grapes of thorns or figs of thistles. Some of them expect to found an Irish republic on robbery, and to administer it by falsehood. We don’t.”27 This is precisely the [pg 292] spirit in which Mr. Rolleston wrote to me not long before I left England this week. “I have been slowly forced,” he wrote, “to the conclusion that the National League is a body which deserves nothing but reprobation from all who wish well to Ireland. It has plunged this country into a state of moral degradation, from which it will take us at least a generation to recover. It is teaching the people that no law of justice, of candour, of honour, or of humanity can be allowed to interfere with the political ends of the moment. It is, in fact, absolutely divorcing morality from politics. The mendacity of some of its leaders is shameless and sickening, and still more sickening is the complete indifference with which this mendacity is regarded in Ireland.”

It is the spirit, too, of a letter which I received not long ago from the west of Ireland, in which my correspondent quoted the bearer of one of the most distinguished of Irish names, and a strong “Home Ruler,” as saying to him, “These Nationalists are stripping Irishmen as bare of moral sense as the Bushmen of South Africa.”

This very day I find in one of the leading Nationalist journals here letters from Mr. Davitt, Mr. O’Leary, and Mr. Taylor himself, which convict [pg 293] that journal of making last week a statement about Mr. Taylor absolutely untrue, and, so far as appears, absolutely without the shadow of a foundation. These letters throw such a curious light on passing events here at this moment that I shall preserve them.28 The statement to which they refer was thus put in the journal which made it: “We have absolute reason to know that when the last Coercion Act was in full swing this pure-souled and disinterested patriot (Mr. John F. Taylor) begged for, received, and accepted a very petty Crown Prosecutorship under a Coercion Government. As was wittily said at the time, He sold his principles, not for a mess of pottage, but for the stick that stirred the mess.” This is no assertion “upon hearsay”—no publication of a rumour or report. It is an assertion made, not upon belief even, but upon a claim of “absolute knowledge.”

Yet to-day, in the same journal, I find Mr. Taylor declaring this statement, made upon a claim of “absolute knowledge,” to be “absolutely untrue,” and appealing in support of this declaration to Mr. Walker, the host of Lord Riand Mr. Morley, and to The M‘Dermot, Q.C., a conspicuous Home Ruler; to which Mr. Davitt adds: “Mr. Taylor, on my [pg 294] advice, declined the Crown Prosecutorship for King’s County, a post afterwards applied for by, and granted to, a near relative of one of the most prominent members of the Irish Party,”—meaning Mr. Luke Dillon, a cousin of Mr. John Dillon, M.P.!

We had much interesting conversation last night about the relations of the Irish leaders here with public and party questions in America, as to which I find Mr. O’Leary unusually well and accurately informed.

I am sorry that I must get off to-morrow into Mayo to see Lord Lucan’s country there, for I should have been particularly pleased to look more closely with Mr. Rolleston into the intellectual revolt against “Parnellism” and its methods, of which his attitude and that of his friends here is an unmistakable symptom. As he tersely puts it, he sees “no hope in Irish politics, except a reformation of the League, a return to the principles of Thomas Davis.”

The lines for a reformation or transformation of the League, as it now exists, appear to have been laid down in the original constitution of the body. Under that constitution, it seems, the League was meant to be controlled by a representative committee chosen annually, open to public criticism, [pg 295] and liable to removal by a new election. As things now are, the officers of this alleged democratic organisation are absolutely self-elected, and wield the wide and indefinite power they possess over the people of Ireland in a perfectly unauthorised, irresponsible way. It is a curious illustration of the autocratic or bureaucratic system under which the Irish movement is now conducted, that Mr. Davitt, who does not pretend to be a Parliamentarian, and owes indeed much of his authority to his refusal to enter Parliament and take oaths of allegiance, does not hesitate for a moment to discipline any Irish member of Parliament who incurs his disapprobation. Sir Thomas Esmonde, for example, was severely taken to task by him the other day in the public prints for venturing to put a question, in his place at Westminster, to the Government about a man-of-war stationed in Kingstown harbour. Mr. Davitt very peremptorily ordered Sir Thomas to remember that he is not sent to Westminster to recognise the British Government, or concern himself about British regiments or ships, and Sir Thomas accepts the rebuke in silence. Whom does such a member of Parliament represent—the constituents who nominally elect him, or the leader who cracks the whip over him so sharply?

[pg 296] I have to-day been looking through a small and beautifully-printed volume of poems just issued here by Gill and Son, Nationalist publishers, I take it, who have the courage of their convictions, since their books bear the imprint of “O’Connell,” and not of Sackville Street. This little book of the Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland is a symptom too. It is dedicated in a few brief but vigorous stanzas to John O’Leary, as one who

“Hated all things base,
And held his country’s honour high.”

And the spirit of all the poems it contains is the spirit of ’48, or of that earlier Ireland of Robert Emmet, celebrated in some charming verses by “Rose Kavanagh” on “St. Michan’s Churchyard,” where the

“sunbeam went and came
Above the stone which waits the name
His land must write with freedom‘s flame.”

It interests an American to find among these poems and ballads a striking threnody called “The Exile’s Return,” signed with the name of “Patrick Henry”; and it is noteworthy, for more reasons than one, that the volume winds up with a “Marching Song of the Gaelic Athletes,” signed “An Chraoibhin Aoibbinn.” These Athletes are [pg 297] numbered now, I am assured, not by thousands, but by myriads, and their organisation covers all parts of Ireland. If the spirit of ’48 and of ’98 is really moving among them, I should say they are likely to be at least as troublesome in the end to the “uncrowned king” as to the crowned Queen of Ireland.

As for the literary merit of these Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland, it strikes one key with their political quality. One exquisite ballad of “The Stolen Child,” by W. B. Yeats, might have been sung in the moonlight on a sylvan lake by the spirit of Heinrich Heine.

I spent an hour or two this morning most agreeably in the libraries of the Law Courts and of Trinity College: the latter one of the stateliest most academic “halls of peace” I have ever seen; and this afternoon I called upon Dr. Sigerson, a most patriotic Irishman, of obviously Danish blood, who has his own ideas as to Clontarf and Brian Boru; and who gave me very kindly a copy of his valuable report on that Irish Crisis of 1879-80, out of which Michael Davitt so skilfully developed the agrarian movement whereof “Parnellism” down to this time has been the not very well adjusted instrument. The report was drawn up after a thorough inspection by Dr. Siger [pg 298] son and his associate, Dr. Kenny, visiting physicians to the North Dublin Union, of some of the most distressed districts of Mayo, Sligo, and Galway; and a more interesting, intelligent, and impressive picture of the worst phases of the social conditions of Ireland ten years ago is not to be found. I have just been reading it over carefully in conjunction with my memoranda made from the Emigration and Seed Potato Fund Reports, which Mr. Tuke gave me some time ago, and it strongly reinforces the evidence imbedded in those reports, which goes to show that agitation for political objects in Ireland has perhaps done as much as all other causes put together to depress the condition of the poor in Ireland, by driving and keeping capital out of the country. The worst districts visited in 1879 by Dr. Sigerson and Dr. Kenny do not appear to have been so completely cut off from civilisation as was the region about Gweedore before the purchase of his property there by Lord George Hill, and the remedies suggested by Dr. Sigerson for the suffering in these districts are all in the direction of the remedies applied by Lord George Hill to the condition in which he found Gweedore. After giving full value to the stock explanations of Irish distress in the congested districts, such as excessive rents, [pg 299] penal laws, born of religious or “racial” animosity, and a defective system of land tenure, it seems to be clear that the main difficulties have arisen from the isolation of these districts, and from the lack of varied industries. Political agitation has checked any flow of capital into these districts, and a flow of capital into them would surely have given them better communications and more varied industries. Dr. Sigerson states that some of the worst of these regions in the west of Ireland are as well adapted to flax-culture as Ulster, and Napoleon III. showed what could be done for such wastes as La Sologne and the desert of the Landes by the intelligent study of a country and the judicious development of such values as are inherent in it. The loss of population in Ireland is not unprecedented. The State of New Hampshire, in America, one of the original thirteen colonies which established the American Union, has twice shown an actual loss in population during the past century. The population of the State declined during the decade between 1810 and 1820, and again during the decade between 1860 and 1870. This phenomenon, unique in American history, is to be explained only by three causes, all active in the case of congested Ireland,—a decaying agriculture, lack of communications, and the absence of varied [pg 300] industries. During the decade from 1860 to 1870 the great Civil War was fought out. Yet, despite the terrible waste of life and capital in that war, especially at the South, the Northern State of New Hampshire, peopled by the energetic English adventurers who founded New England, was actually the only State which came out of the contest with a positive decline in population. Virginia (including West Virginia, which seceded from that Commonwealth in 1861) rose from 1,596,318 inhabitants in 1860 to 1,667,177 in 1870. South Carolina, which was ravaged by the war more severely than any State except Virginia, and upon which the Republican majority at Washington pressed with such revengeful hostility after the downfall of the Confederacy, showed in 1870 a positive increase in population, as compared with 1860, from 703,708 to 705,606. But New Hampshire, lying hundreds of miles beyond the area of the conflict, showed a positive decrease from 326,073 to 318,300. During my college days at Cambridge the mountain regions of New Hampshire were favourite “stamping grounds” in the vacations, and I exaggerate nothing when I say that in the secluded nooks and corners of the State, the people cut off from communication with the rest of New England, and scratching out [pg 301] of a rocky land an inadequate subsistence, were not much, if at all, in advance of the least prosperous dwellers in the most remote parts of Ireland which I have visited. They furnished their full contingent to that strange American exodus, which, about a quarter of a century ago, was led out of New England by one Adams to the Holy Land, in anticipation of the Second Advent, a real modern crusade of superstitious land speculators, there to perish, for the most part, miserably about Jaffa—leaving houses and allotments to pass into the control of a more practical colony of Teutons, which I found establishing itself there in 1869.

Since 1870 a change has come over New Hampshire. The population has risen to 346,984. In places waste and fallen twenty years ago brisk and smiling villages have sprung up along lines of communication established to carry on the business of thriving factories.

What reason can there be in the nature of things to prevent the development of analogous results, through the application of analogous forces, in the case of “congested” Ireland? A Nationalist friend, to whom I put this question this afternoon, answers it by alleging that so long as fiscal laws for Ireland are made at Westminster, British capital invested [pg 302] in Great Britain will prevent the application of these analogous forces to “congested” Ireland. His notion is that were Ireland as independent of Great Britain, for example, in fiscal matters as is Canada, Ireland might seek and secure a fiscal union with the United States, such as was partially secured to Canada under the Reciprocity Treaty denounced by Mr. Seward.

“Give us this,” he said, “and take us into your system of American free-trade as between the different States of your American Union, and no end of capital will soon be coming into Ireland, not only from your enormously rich and growing Republic, but from Great Britain too. Give us the American market, putting Great Britain on a less-favoured footing, just as Mr. Blake and his party wish to do in the case of Canada, and between India doing her own manufacturing on the one side, and Ireland becoming a manufacturing centre on the other, and a mart in Europe for American goods, we’ll get our revenge on Elizabeth and Cromwell in a fashion John Bull has never dreamt of in these times, though he used to be in a mortal funk of it a hundred years ago, when there wasn’t nearly as much danger of it!”

DUBLIN, Sunday, June 24.“Put not your faith in [pg 303] porters!” I had expected to pass this day at Castlebar, on the estate of Lord Lucan, and I exchanged telegrams to that effect yesterday with Mr. Harding, the Earl’s grandson, who, in the absence of his wonderfully energetic grandsire, is administering there what Lord Lucan, with pardonable pride, declares to be the finest and most successful dairy-farm in all Ireland. I asked the porter to find the earliest morning train; and after a careful search he assured me that by leaving Dublin just after 7 A.M. I could reach Castlebar a little after noon.

Upon this I determined to dine with Mr. Colomb, and spend the night in Dublin. But when I reached the station a couple of hours ago, it was to discover that my excellent porter had confounded 7 A.M. with 7 P.M.

There is no morning train to Castlebar! So here I am with no recourse, my time being short, but to give up the glimpse I had promised myself of Mayo, and go on this afternoon to Belfast on my way back to London.

At dinner last night Mr. Colomb gave me further and very interesting light upon the events of 1867, of which he had already spoken with me at Cork, as well as upon the critical period of Mr. Gladstone’s experiments of 1881-82 at “Coercion” in Ireland.

[pg 304] Mr. Colomb lives in a remarkably bright and pleasant suburb of Dublin, which not only is called a “park,” as suburbs are apt to be, but really is a park, as suburbs are less apt to be. His house is set near some very fine old trees, shading a beautiful expanse of turf. He is an amateur artist of much more than ordinary skill. His walls are gay, and his portfolios filled, with charming water-colours, sketches, and studies made from Nature all over the United Kingdom. The grand coast-scenery of Cornwall and of Western Ireland, the lovely lake landscapes of Killarney, sylvan homes and storied towers, all have been laid under contribution by an eye quick to seize and a hand prompt to reproduce these most subtle and transient atmospheric effects of light and colour which are the legitimate domain of the true water-colourist. With all these pictures about us—and with Mr. Colomb’s workshop fitted up with Armstrong lathes and all manner of tools wherein he varies the routine of official life by making all manner of instruments, and wreaking his ingenuity upon all kinds of inventions—and with the pleasant company of Mr. Davies, the agreeable and accomplished official secretary of Sir West Ridgway, the evening wore quickly away. In the course of conversation the question of the average income of the [pg 305] Irish priests arose, and I mentioned the fact that Lord Lucan, whose knowledge of the smallest details of Irish life is amazingly thorough, puts it down at about ten shillings a year per house in the average Irish parish.

He rated Father M‘Fadden and his curate of Gweedore, for example, without a moment’s hesitation, at a thousand pounds a year in the whole, or very nearly the amount stated to me by Sergeant Mahony at Baron’s Court. This brought from Mr. Davies a curious account of the proceedings in a recent case of a contested will before Judge Warren here in Dublin. The will in question was made by the late Father M‘Garvey of Milford, a little village near Mulroy Bay in Donegal, notable chiefly as the scene of the murder of the late Earl of Leitrim. Father M‘Garvey, who died in March last, left by this will to religious and charitable uses the whole of his property, save £800 bequeathed in it to his niece, Mrs. O’Connor. It was found that he died possessed not only of a farm at Ardara, but of cash on deposit in the Northern Bank to the very respectable amount of £23,711. Mrs. O’Connor contested the will. The Archbishop of Armagh, and Father Sheridan, C.C. of Letterkenny, instituted an action against her to establish the will. Father M‘Fadden of Gweedore, [pg 306] lying in Londonderry jail as a first-class misdemeanant, was brought from Londonderry as a witness for the niece. But on the trial of the case it appeared that there was actually no evidence to sustain the plea of the niece that “undue influence” had been exerted upon her uncle by the Archbishop, who at the time of the making of the will was Bishop of Raphoe, or by anybody else; so the judge instructed the jury to find on all the issues for the plaintiffs, which was done. The judge declared the conduct of the defendant in advancing a charge of “undue influence” in such circumstances against ecclesiastics to be most reprehensible; but the Archbishop very graciously intimated through his lawyer his intention of paying the costs of the niece who had given him all this trouble, because she was a poor woman who had been led into her course by disappointment at receiving so small a part of so large an inheritance. Had the priest’s property come to him in any other way than through his office as a priest her claim might have been more worthy of consideration, but Mr. M‘Dermot, Q.C., who represented the Archbishop, took pains to make it clear that as an ecclesiastic his client, who had nothing to do with the making of the will, was bound to regard it “as proper and in accordance [pg 307] with the fitness of things that what had been received from the poor should be given back to the poor.”

I see no adequate answer to this contention of the Archbishop. But it certainly goes to confirm the estimates given me by Sergeant Mahony of Father M‘Fadden’s receipts at Gweedore, and the opinion expressed to me by Lord Lucan as to the average returns of an average Catholic parish, that the priest of Milford, a place hardly so considerable as Gweedore, should have acquired so handsome a property in the exercise there of his parochial functions.

One form in which the priests in many parts of Ireland collect dues is certainly unknown to the practice of the Church elsewhere, I believe, and it must tend to swell the incomes of the priests at the expense, perhaps, of their legitimate influence. This is the custom of personal collections by the priests. In many parishes the priest stands by the church-door, or walks about the church—not with a bag in his hand, as is sometimes done in France on great occasions when a quéle is made by the curé for some special object,—but with an open plate in which the people put their offerings. I have heard of parishes in which the priest sits by a table near the church-door, takes the offerings [pg 308] from the parishioners as they pass, and comments freely upon the ratio of the gift to the known or presumed financial ability of the giver.

We had some curious stories, too, from a gentleman present of the relation of the priests in wild, out-of-the-way corners of Ireland to the people, stories which take one back to days long before Lever. One, for example, of a delightful and stalwart old parish priest of eighty, upon whom an airy young patriot called to propose that he should accept the presidency of a local Land League. The veteran, whose only idea of the Land League was that it had used bad language about Cardinal Cullen, no sooner caught the drift of the youth than he snatched up a huge blackthorn, fell upon him, and “boycotted” him head-foremost out of a window. Luckily it was on the ground floor.

Another strenuous spiritual shepherd came down during the distribution of potato-seed to the little port in which it was going on, and took up his station on board of the distributing ship. One of his parishioners, having received his due quota, made his way back again unobserved on board of the ship. As he came up to receive a second dole, the good father spied him, and staying not “to parley or dissemble,” [pg 309] simply fetched him a whack over the sconce with a stick, which tumbled him out of the ship, head-foremost, into the hooker riding beside her! Quite of another drift was a much more astonishing tale of certain proceedings had here in February last before the Lord Chief-Justice. These took place in connection with a motion to quash the verdict of a coroner’s jury, held in August 1887, on the body of a child named Ellen Gaffney, at Philipstown, in King’s County, which preserves the memory of the Spanish sovereign of England, as Maryborough in Queen’s preserves the memory of his Tudor consort. Cervantes never imagined an Alcalde of the quality of the “Crowner”’ who figures in this story. Were it not that his antics cost a poor woman her liberty from August 1887 till December of that year, when the happy chance of a winter assizes set her free, and might have cost her her life, the story of this ideal magistrate would be extremely diverting.

A child was born to Mrs. Gaffney at Philipstown on the 23d of July, and died there on the 25th of August 1887, Mrs. Gaffney being the wife of a “boycotted” man.

A local doctor named Clarke came to the police and asked the Sergeant to inspect the body of the [pg 310] child, and call for an inquest. The sergeant inspected the body, and saw no reason to doubt that the child had died a natural death. This did not please the doctor, so the Coroner was sent for. He came to Philipstown the next day, conferred there with the doctor, and with a priest, Father Bergin, and proceeded to hold an inquest on the child in a public-house, “a most appropriate place,” said Sir Michael Morris from the bench, “for the transactions which subsequently occurred.” Strong depositions were afterwards made by the woman Mrs. Gaffney, by her husband, and by the police authorities, as to the conduct of this “inquest.” She and her husband were arrested on a verbal order of the Coroner on the day when the inquest was held, August 27th, and the woman was kept in prison from that time till the assizes in December. The “inquest” was not completed on the 27th of August, and after the Coroner adjourned it, two priests drove away on a car from the “public-house” in which it had been held. That night, or the next day, a man came to a magistrate with a bundle of papers which he had found in the road near Philipstown. The magistrate examined them, and finding them to be the depositions taken before the Coroner in the case of Ellen Gaffney, handed them [pg 311] to the police. How did they come to be in the road? On the 1st of September the Coroner resumed his inquest, this time in the Court-House at Philipstown, and one of the police, with the depositions in his pocket, went to hear the proceedings. Great was his amazement to see certain papers produced, and calmly read, as being the very original depositions which at that moment were in his own custody! He held his peace, and let the inquest go on. A letter was read from the Coroner, to the effect that he saw no ground for detaining the husband, Gaffney—but the woman was taken before a justice of the peace, and committed to prison on this finding by the Coroner’s jury: “That Mary Anne Gaffney came by her death; and that the mother of the child, Ellen Gaffney, is guilty of wilful neglect by not supplying the necessary food and care to sustain the life of this child ”!

It is scarcely credible, but it is true, that upon this extraordinary finding the Coroner issued a warrant for “murder” against this poor woman, on which she was actually locked up for more than three months! The jury which made this unique finding consisted of nineteen persons, and it was in evidence that their foreman reported thirteen of the jury to be for finding one way and six for finding [pg 312] another, whereupon a certain Mr. Whyte, who came into the case as the representative of Father Bergin, President of the local branch of the National League—nobody can quite see on what colourable pretext—was allowed by the Coroner to write down the finding I have quoted, and hand it to the Coroner. The Coroner read it over. He and Mr. Whyte then put six of the jury in one place, and thirteen in another; the Coroner read the finding aloud to the thirteen, and said to them, “Is that what you agree to?” and so the inquest was closed, and the warrant issued—for murder—and the woman, this poor peasant mother sent off to jail with the brand upon her of infanticide.29

Where would that poor woman be now were there no “Coercion” in Ireland to protect her against “Crowner’s quest law” thus administered? And what is to be thought of educated and responsible public men in England who, as recent events have shown, are not ashamed to go to “Crowner’s quest Courts” of this sort for weapons of attack, not upon the administration only of their own Government, but upon the character and the motives of their political opponents?

[pg 313] CHAPTER XVI.

BELFAST, Monday, June 25.I left Dublin yesterday at 4 P.M., in a train which went off at high pressure as an “express,” but came into Belfast panting and dilatory as an “excursion.” The day was fine, and the line passes through what is reputed to be the most prosperous part of Ireland. In this part of Ireland, too, the fate of the island has been more than once settled by the arbitrament of arms; and if Parliamentary England throws up the sponge in the wrestle with the League, it is probable enough that the old story will come to be told over again here.

At Dundalk the Irish monarchy of the Braces was made and unmade. The plantation of Ulster under James I. clinched the grasp not so much of England as of Scotland upon Ireland, and determined the course of events here through the Great Rebellion. The landing of the Duke of Schomberg at Carrickfergus opened the way for the subjugation of Jacobite [pg 314] Ireland by William of Orange. The successful descent of the French upon the same place in February 1760, after the close of “the Great Year,” in which Walpole tells us he came to expect a new victory every morning with the rolls for breakfast, and after Hawke had broken the strength of the great French Armada off Belleisle, and done for England the service which Nelson did for her again off Trafalgar in 1805, shows what might have happened had Thurot commanded the fleet of Conflans. In this same region, too, the rout of Munro by Nugent at Ballinahinch practically ended the insurrection of 1798.

There are good reasons in the physical geography of the British Islands for this controlling influence of Ulster over the affairs of Ireland, which it seems to me a serious mistake to overlook.

The author of a brief but very hard-headed and practical letter on the pacification of Ireland, which appeared in the Times newspaper in 1886, while the air was thrilling with rumours of Mr. Gladstone’s impending appearance as the champion of “Home Rule,” carried, I remember, to the account of St. George’s Channel “nine-tenths of the troubles, religious, political, and social, under which Ireland has [pg 315] laboured for seven centuries.” I cannot help thinking he hit the nail on the head; and St. George’s Channel does not divide Ulster from Scotland. From Donaghadee, which has an excellent harbour, the houses on the Scottish coast can easily be made out in clear weather. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and it is as hard to see how, even with the consent of Ulster, the independence of Ireland could be maintained against the interests and the will of Scotland, as it is easy to see why Leinster, Munster, and Connaught have been so difficult of control and assimilation by England. To dream of establishing the independence of Ireland against the will of Ulster appears to me to be little short of madness.

At Moira, which stands very prettily above the Ulster Canal, a small army of people returning from a day in the country to Belfast came upon us and trebled the length of our train. We picked up more at Lisburn, where stands the Cathedral Church of Jeremy Taylor, the “Shakespeare of divines.” Here my only companion in the compartment from Dublin left me, a most kindly, intelligent Ulster man, who had very positive views as to the political situation. He much commended the recent dis [pg 316] course in Scotland of a Presbyterian minister, who spoke of the Papal Decree as “pouring water on a drowned mouse,” a remark which led me to elicit the fact that he had never seen either Clare or Kerry; and he was very warm in his admiration of Mr. Chamberlain. He told me, what I had heard from many other men of Ulster, that the North had armed itself thoroughly when the Home Rule business began with Mr. Gladstone. “I am a Unionist,” he said, “but I think the Union is worth as much to England as it is to Ireland, and if England means to break it up it is not the part of Irishmen who think and feel as I do to let her choose her own time for doing it, and stand still while she robs us of our property and turns us out defenceless to be trampled under foot by the most worthless vagabonds in our own island.” He thinks the National League has had its death-blow. “What I fear now,” he said, “is that we are running straight into a social war, and that will never be a war against the landlords in Ireland; it’ll be a war against the Protestants and all the decent people there are among the Catholics.”

He was very cordial when he found I was an [pg 317] American, and with that offhand hospitality which seems to know no distinctions of race or religion in Ireland urged me to come and make him a visit at a place he has nearer the sea-coast. “I’ll show you Downpatrick,” he said, “where the tombs of St. Patrick and St. Bridget and St. Columb are, the saints sleeping quite at their ease, with a fine prosperous Presbyterian town all about them. And I’ll drive you to Tullymore, where you’ll see the most beautiful park, and the finest views from it all the way to the Isle of Man, that are to be seen in all Ireland.” He was very much interested in the curious story of the sequestration of the remains of Mr. Stewart of New York, who was born, he tells me, at Lisburn, where the wildest fabrications on the subject seem to have got currency. That this feat of body-snatching is supposed to have been performed by a little syndicate of Italians, afterwards broken up by the firmness of Lady Crawford in resisting the ghastly pressure to which the widow and the executors of Mr. Stewart are believed to have succumbed, was quite a new idea to him.

From Moira to Belfast the scenery along the line grows in beauty steadily. If Belfast were not the busiest and most thriving city in Ireland, it would [pg 318] still be well worth a visit for the picturesque charms of its situation and of the scenery which surrounds it. At some future day I hope to get a better notion both of its activity and of its attractions than it would be possible for me to attempt to get in this flying visit, made solely to take the touch of the atmosphere of the place at this season of the year; for we are on the very eve of the battle month of the Boyne.

Mr. Cameron, the Town Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary, met me at the station, in accordance with a promise which he kindly made when I saw him several weeks ago at Cork; and this morning he took me all over the city. It is very well laid out, in the new quarters especially, with broad avenues and spacious squares. In fact, as a local wag said to me to-day at the Ulster Club, “You can drive through Belfast without once going into a street”—most of the thoroughfares which are not called “avenues” or “places” being known as “roads.” It is, of course, an essentially modern city. When Boate made his survey of Ireland two centuries ago, Belfast was so small a place that he took small note of it, though it had been incorporated by James I. in 1613 in favour of the Chichester [pg 319] family, still represented here. In a very careful Tour in Ireland, published at Dublin in 1780, the author says of Belfast, “I could not help remarking the great number of Scots who reside in this place, and who carry on a good trade with Scotland.” It seems then to have had a population of less than 20,000 souls, as it only touched that number at the beginning of this century. It has since then advanced by “leaps and bounds,” after an almost American fashion, till it has now become the second, and bids fair at no distant day to become the first, city in Ireland. Few of the American cities which are its true contemporaries can be compared with Belfast in beauty. The quarter in which my host lives was reclaimed from the sea marshes not quite so long ago, I believe, as was the Commonwealth Avenue quarter of Boston, and though it does not show so many costly private houses perhaps as that quarter of the New England capital, its “roads” and “avenues” are on the whole better built, and there is no public building in Boston so imposing as the Queen’s College, with its Tudor front six hundred feet in length, and its graceful central tower. The Botanic Gardens near by are much prettier and much better equipped for the pleasure and instruction of the [pg 320] people than any public gardens in either Boston or New York. These American comparisons make themselves, all the conditions of Belfast being rather of the New World than of the Old. The oldest building pointed out to me to-day is the whilom mansion of the Marquis of Donegal, now used as offices, and still called the Castle.

This stands near Donegal Square, a fine site, disfigured by a quadrangle of commonplace brick buildings, occupied as a sort of Linen Exchange, concerning which a controversy rages, I am told. They are erected on land granted by Lord Donegal to encourage the linen trade, and the buildings used to be leased at a rental of £1 per window. The present holders receive £10 per window, and are naturally loath to part with so good a thing, though there is an earnest desire in the city to see these unsightly structures removed, and their place taken by stately municipal buildings more in key with the really remarkable and monumental private warehouses which already adorn this Square. Mr. Robinson, one of the partners of a firm which has just completed one of these warehouses, was good enough to show us over it. It is built of a warm grey stone, which lends itself easily to the chisel, [pg 321] and it is decorated with a wealth of carving and of architectural ornaments such as the great burghers of Flanders lavished on their public buildings. The interior arrangements are worthy of the external stateliness of the warehouse. Pneumatic tubes for the delivery of cash—a Scottish invention—electric lights, steam lifts, a kitchen at the top of the lofty edifice heated by steam from the great engine-room in the cellars, and furnishing meals to the employees, attest the energy and enterprise of the firm. The most delicate of the linen fabrics sold here are made, I was informed, all over the north country. The looms, three or four of which are kept going here in a great room to show the intricacy and perfection of the processes, are supplied by the firm to the hand-workers on a system which enables them, while earning good wages from week to week, to acquire the eventual ownership of the machines. The building is crowned by a sort of observatory, from which we enjoyed a noble prospect overlooking the whole city and miles of the beautiful country around. A haze on the horizon hid the coast of Scotland, which is quite visible under a clear sky. The Queen’s Bridge over the Lagan, built in 1842 between Antrim and Down, was a conspicuous [pg 322] feature in the panorama. Its five great arches of hewn granite span the distance formerly traversed by an older bridge of twenty-one arches 840 feet in length, which was begun in 1682, and finished just in time to welcome Schomberg and King William.

The not less imposing warehouse of Richardson and Co., built of a singularly beautiful brown stone, and decorated with equal taste and liberality, adjoins that of Robinson and Cleaver. The banks, the public offices, the clubs, the city library, the museum, the Presbyterian college, the principal churches, all of them modern, all alike bear witness to the public spirit and pride in their town of the good people of Belfast. With more time at my disposal I would have been very glad to visit some of the flax-mills called into being by the great impulse which the cotton famine resulting from our Civil War gave to the linen manufactures of Northern Ireland, and the famous shipyards of the Woolfs on Queen’s Island, As things are, it was more to my purpose to see some of the representative men of this great Protestant stronghold.

I passed a very interesting hour with the Rev. Dr. Hanna, who is reputed to be a sort of clerical [pg 323] “Lion of the North,” and whom I found to be in almost all respects a complete antitype of Father M‘Fadden of Gweedore.

Dr. Hanna is not unjustly proud of being at the head of the most extensive Sunday-school organisation in Ireland, if not in the world; and I find that the anniversary parade of his pupils, appointed for Saturday, June 30th, is looked forward to with some anxiety by the authorities here. He tells me that he expects to put two thousand children that day into motion for a grand excursion to Moira; but although he speaks very plainly as to the ill-will with which a certain class of the Catholics here regard both himself and his organisation, he does not anticipate any attack from them. With what seems to me very commendable prudence, he has resolved this year to put this procession into the streets without banners and bands, so that no charge of provocation may be even colourably advanced against it. This is no slight concession from a man so determined and so outspoken, not to say aggressive, in his Protestantism as Dr. Hanna; and the Nationalist Catholics will be very ill-advised, it strikes me, if they misinterpret it.

[pg 324] He spoke respectfully of the Papal decree against Boycotting and the Plan of Campaign; but he seems to think it will not command the respect of the masses of the Catholic population, nor be really enforced by the clergy. Like most of the Ulstermen I have met, he has a firm faith, not only in the power of the Protestant North to protect itself, but in its determination to protect itself against the consequences which the northern Protestants believe must inevitably follow any attempt to establish an Irish nationality. Dr. Hanna is neither an Orangeman nor a Tory. He says there are but three known Orangemen among the clerical members of the General Assembly of the Irish Presbyterian Church, which unanimously pronounced against Mr. Gladstone’s scheme of Home Rule, and not more than a dozen Tories. Of the 550 members of the Assembly, 538, he says, were followers of Mr. Gladstone before he adopted the politics of Mr. Parnell; and only three out of the whole number have given him their support. In the country at large, Dr. Hanna puts down the Unionists at two millions, of whom 1,200,000 are Protestants, and 800,000 Catholics; and he maintains that if the Parliamentary representatives were [pg 325] chosen by a general vote, the Parnellite 80 would be cut down to 62; while the Unionists would number 44. He regards the Parnellite policy as “an organised imposture,” and firmly believes that an Irish Parliament in Dublin would now mean civil war in Ireland. He had a visit here last week, he says, from an American Presbyterian minister, who came out to Ireland a month ago a “Home Ruler”; but, as the result of a trip through North-Western Ireland, is going back to denounce the Home Rule movement as a mischievous fraud.

When I asked him what remedy he would propose for the discontent stirred up by the agitation of Home Rule, this Presbyterian clergyman replied emphatically, “Balfour, Balfour, and more Balfour!”

This on the ground, as I understood, that Mr. Balfour’s administration of the law has been the firmest, least wavering, and most equitable known in Ireland for many a day.

Later in the day I had the pleasure of a conversation with the Rev. Dr. Kane, the Grand Master of the Orangemen at Belfast. Dr. Kane is a tall, fine-looking, frank, and resolute man, who obviously has the courage of his opinions. He thinks there will be no disturbances this year on the 12th of [pg 326] July, but that the Orange demonstrations will be on a greater scale and more imposing than ever. He derides the notion that “Parnellism” is making any progress in Ulster. On the contrary, the concurrence this year of the anniversary of the defeat of the Great Armada with the anniversary of the Revolution of 1688 has aroused the strongest feelings of enthusiasm among the Protestants of the North, and they were never so determined as they now are not to tolerate anything remotely looking to the constitution of a separate and separatist Government at Dublin.

BELFAST, Tuesday, June 26.Sir John Preston, the head of one of the great Belfast houses, and a former Mayor of the city, dined with us last night, and in the evening Sir James Haslett, the actual Mayor, came in.

I find that in Belfast the office of Mayor is served without a salary, and is consequently filled as a rule by citizens of “weight and instance.” In Dublin the Lord Mayor receives £3000 a year, with a contingent fund of £1500, and the office is becoming a distinctly political post. The face of Belfast is so firmly set against the tendency to [pg 327] subordinate municipal interests to general party exigencies, that the Corporation compelled Mr. Cobain, M.P., who sits at Westminster now for this constituency, to resign the post which he held as treasurer and cashier of the Corporation when he became a candidate for a seat in Parliament. I am not surprised, therefore, to learn that the city rates and taxes are much lower in the commercial than they are in the political capital of Ireland.

Both Sir John Preston and Sir James Haslett have visited America. Sir John went there to represent the linen industries of Ireland, and to urge upon Congress the propriety of reducing our import duties upon fabrics which the American climate makes it practically imposssible to manufacture on our side of the water. Senator Sherman, who twenty years ago had the candour to admit that the wit of man could not devise a tariff so adjusted as to raise the revenue necessary for the Government which should not afford adequate incidental protection to all legitimate American industries, gave Sir John reason to hope that something might be done in the direction of a more liberal treatment of the linen industries. But nothing practical came of it. Sir John ought to [pg 328] have known that our typical American Protectionist, the late Horace Greeley, really persuaded himself, and tried to persuade other people, that with duties enough clapped on the Asiatic production, excellent tea might be grown on the uplands of South Carolina!

In former years Sir John Preston used to visit Gweedore every year for sport and recreation. He knew Lord George Hill very well, “as true and noble a man as ever lived, who stinted himself to improve the state of his tenants.” He threw an odd light on the dreamy desire which had so much amused me of the “beauty of Gweedore” to become “a dressmaker at Derry,” by telling me that long ago the gossips there used to tell wonderful stories of a Gweedore girl who had made her fortune as a milliner in the “Maiden City.”

This morning Mr. Cameron, who as Town Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary will be responsible for public peace and order here during the next critical fortnight, held a review of his men on a common beyond the Theological College. About two hundred and fifty of the force were paraded, with about twenty mounted policemen, and for an hour and a half, under a tolerably warm [pg 329] sun, they were put through a regular military drill. A finer body of men cannot be seen, and in point of discipline and training they can hold their own, I should say, with the best of her Majesty’s regiments. Without such discipline and training it would not be easy for any such body of men to pass with composure through the ordeal of insults and abuse to which the testimony of trustworthy eye-witnesses compels me to believe they are habitually subjected in the more disturbed districts of Ireland. As to the immediate outlook here, Mr. Cameron seems quite at his ease. Even if ill-disposed persons should set about provoking a collision between “the victors and the vanquished of the Boyne” his arrangements are so made, he says, as to prevent the development of anything like the outbreaks of former years.

On the advice of Sir John Preston I shall take the Fleetwood route on my return to London to-night.

This secures one a comfortable night on board of a very good and well-equipped boat, from which you go ashore, he tells me, into an excellent station of the London and North-Western Railway at Fleetwood, on the mouth of the Wyre on the [pg 330] Lancashire coast. Twenty years ago this was a small bathing resort called into existence chiefly by the enterprise of a local baronet whose name it bears. Its present prosperity and prospective importance are another illustration of the vigour and vitality of the North of Ireland, which is connected through Fleetwood with the great manufacturing regions of middle and northern England, as it is through Larne with the heart of Scotland.

While it is as true now of the predominantly Catholic south of Ireland as it was when Sir Robert Peel made the remark forty years ago, that it stands “with its back to England and its face to the West,” this Protestant Ireland of the North faces both ways, drawing Canada and the United States to itself through Moville and Derry and Belfast, and holding fast at the same time upon the resources of Great Britain through Glasgow and Liverpool. One of the best informed bankers in London told me not long ago, that pretty nearly all the securities of the great company which has recently taken over the business of the Guinnesses have already found their way into the North of Ireland and are held here. With such resources in its wealth and industry, better educated, better [pg 331] equipped, and holding a practically impregnable position in the North of Ireland, with Scotland and the sea at its back, Ulster is very much stronger relatively to the rest of Ireland than La Vendée was relatively to the rest of the French Republic in the last century. In a struggle for independence against the rest of Ireland it would have nothing to fear from the United States, where any attempt to organise hostilities against it would put the Irish-American population in serious peril, not only from the American Government, but from popular feeling, and force home upon the attention of the quickest-witted people in the world the significant fact that while the chief contributions, so far, of America to Southern Ireland, have been alms and agitation, the chief contributions of Scotland to Northern Ireland have been skilled agriculture and successful activity. It is surely not without meaning that the only steamers of Irish build which now traverse the Atlantic come from the dockyards, not of Galway nor of Cork, the natural gateways of Ireland to the west, but of Belfast, the natural gateway of Ireland to the north [pg 332] .

[pg 333] EPILOGUE.

Not once, but a hundred times, during the visits to Ireland recorded in this book, I have been reminded of the state of feeling and opinion which existed in the Border States, as they were called, of the American Union, after the invasion of Virginia by a piratical band under John Brown, and before the long-pending issues between the South, insisting upon its constitutional rights, and the North, restive under its constitutional obligations, were brought to a head by the election of President Lincoln.

All analogies, I know, are deceptive, and I do not insist upon this analogy. But it has a certain value here. For to-day in Ireland, as then in America, we find a grave question of politics, in itself not unmanageable, perhaps, by a race trained to self-government, seriously complicated and aggravated, not only by considerations of moral right and moral wrong, but by a profound perturbation of the material interests of the community.

I well remember that after a careful study of the [pg 334] situation in America at the time of which I speak, Mr. Nassau Senior, a most careful and competent observer, frankly told me that he saw no possible way in which the problem could be worked out peacefully. The event justified this gloomy forecast.

It would be presumptuous in me to say as much of the actual situation in Ireland; but it would be uncandid not to say that the optimists of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee had greater apparent odds in their favour in 1861 than the optimists of Ireland seem to me to have in 1888.

Ireland stands to-day between Great Britain and the millions of the Irish race in America and Australia very much as the Border States of the American Union stood in 1861 between the North and the South. There was little either in the Tariff question or in the Slavery question to shake the foundations of law and order in the Border States, could they have been left to themselves; and the Border States enjoyed all the advantages and immunities of “Home Rule” to an extent and under guarantees never yet openly demanded for Ireland by any responsible legislator within the walls of the British Parliament. But so powerful was the leverage upon them of conflicting passions and interests beyond their own borders that these sovereign states, well organised, homogeneous, pros [pg 335] perous communities, much more populous and richer in the aggregate in 1861 than Ireland is to-day, practically lost the control of their own affairs, and were swept helplessly into a terrific conflict, which they had the greatest imaginable interest in avoiding, and no interest whatever in promoting.

I have seen and heard nothing in Ireland to warrant the very common impression that the country, as a whole, is either misgoverned or ungovernable; nothing to justify me in regarding the difficulties which there impede the maintenance of law and order as really indigenous and spontaneous. The “agitated” Ireland of 1888 appears to me to be almost as clearly and demonstrably the creation of forces not generated in, but acting upon, a country, as was the “bleeding Kansas” of 1856. But the “bleeding Kansas” of 1856 brought the great American Union to the verge of disruption, and the “agitated Ireland” of 1888 may do as much, or worse, for the British Empire. There is, no doubt, a great deal of distress in one or another part of Ireland, though it has not been my fortune to come upon any outward and visible signs of such grinding misery as forces itself upon you in certain of the richest provinces of that independent, busy, prosperous, Roman Catholic kingdom of Belgium, which on a territory little more than one-third as large as the territory of Ireland, maintains nearly a [pg 336] million more inhabitants, and adds to its population, on an average, in round numbers, as many people in four years as Ireland loses in five.

I have seen peasant proprietors in Flanders and Brabant who could give the ideal Irish agent of the Nationalist newspapers lessons in rack-renting, though I am not at all sure that they might not get a hint or two themselves from some of the small farmers who came in my way in Ireland.

Like all countries, mainly agricultural, too, Ireland has suffered a great deal of late years from the fall in prices following upon a period of intoxicating prosperity. Whether she has suffered more relatively than we should have suffered from the same cause in America, had we been foolish enough to imitate the monometallic policy of Germany in 1873, is however open to question; and I have an impression, which it will require evidence to remove, that the actual organisation known as the National Land League could never have been called into being had the British Government devoted to action upon the Currency Question, before 1879, the time and energy which it has expended before and since that date in unsettling the principles of free contract, and tinkering at the relations of landlord and tenant in Ireland.

But I am trenching upon inquiries here beyond the province of this book.

[pg 337] Fortunately it is not necessary to my object in printing these volumes that I should either form or formulate any positive opinions as to the origin of the existing crisis in Ireland. Nor need I volunteer any suggestions of my own as to the methods by which order may best be maintained and civil government carried on in Ireland. It suffices for me that I close this self-imposed survey of men and things in that country with a conviction, as positive as it is melancholy, that the work which Mr. Redmond, M.P., informed us at Chicago that he and his Nationalist colleagues had undertaken, of “making the government of Ireland by England impossible,” has been so far achieved, and by such methods as to make it extremely doubtful whether Ireland can be governed by anybody at all in accordance with any of the systems of government hitherto recognised in or adopted for that country. I certainly can see nothing in the organisation and conduct, down to this time, of the party known as the party of the Irish Nationalists, I will not say to encourage, but even to excuse, a belief that Ireland could be governed as a civilised country were it turned over to-morrow to their control. A great deal has been done by them to propagate throughout Christendom a general impression that England has dismally failed to govern Ireland in the past, and is unlikely hereafter to succeed in [pg 338] governing Ireland. But even granting this impression to be absolutely well founded, it by no means follows that Ireland is any more capable of governing herself than England is of governing her. The Russians have not made a brilliant success of their administration in Poland, but the Poles certainly administered Poland no better than the Russians have done. With an Irish representation in an Imperial British Parliament at Westminster, Ireland, under Mr. Gladstone’s “base and blackguard” Union of 1800, has at least succeeded in shaking off some of the weightiest of the burdens by which, in the days of Swift, of Grattan, and of O’Connell, she most loudly declared herself to be oppressed. Whether with a Parliament at Dublin she would have fared as well in this respect since 1800 must be a matter of conjecture merely—and it must be equally a matter of conjecture also whether she would fare any better in this respect with a Parliament at Dublin hereafter. I am in no position to pronounce upon this—but it is quite certain that nothing is more uncommon than to find an educated and intelligent man, not an active partisan, in Ireland to-day, who looks forward to the reestablishment, in existing circumstances, of a Parliament at Dublin with confidence or hope.

How the establishment of such a Parliament would affect the position of Great Britain as a power [pg 339] in Europe, and how it would affect the fiscal policy, and with the fiscal policy the well-being of the British people, are questions for British subjects to consider, not for me.

That the processes employed during the past decade, and now employed to bring about the establishment of such a Parliament, have been, and are in their nature, essentially revolutionary, subversive of all sound and healthy relations between man and man, inconsistent with social stability, and therefore with social progress and with social peace, what I have seen and heard in Ireland during the past six months compels me to feel. Of the “Coercion,” under which the Nationalist speakers and writers ask us in America to believe that the island groans and travails, I have seen literally nothing.

Nowhere in the world is the press more absolutely free than to-day in Ireland. Nowhere in the world are the actions of men in authority more bitterly and unsparingly criticised. If public men or private citizens are sent to prison in Ireland, they are sent there, not as they were in America during the civil war, or in Ireland under the “Coercion Act” of 1881, on suspicion of something they may have done, or may have intended to do, but after being tried for doing, and convicted of having done, certain things made offences against the law by a [pg 340] Parliament in which they are represented, and of which, in some cases, they are members.

To call this “Coercion” is, from the American point of view, simply ludicrous. What it may be from the British or the Irish point of view is another affair, and does not concern me. I may be permitted, however, I hope without incivility, to say that if this be “Coercion” from the British or the Irish point of view, I am well content to be an American citizen. Ours is essentially a government not of emotions, but of statutes, and most Americans, I think, will agree with me that the sage was right who declared it to be better to live where nothing is lawful than where all things are lawful.

The “Coercion” which I have found established in Ireland, and which I recognise in the title of this book, is the “Coercion,” not of a government, but of a combination to make a particular government impossible. It is a “Coercion” applied not to men who break a public law, or offend against any recognised code of morals, but to men who refuse to be bound in their personal relations and their business transactions by the will of other men, their equals only, clothed with no legal authority over them. It is a “Coercion” administered not by public and responsible functionaries, but by secret tribunals. Its sanctions are not the law and honest public opinion, but the base instinct of personal [pg 341] cowardice, and the instinct, not less base, of personal greed. Whether anything more than a steady, firm administration of the law is needed to abolish this “Coercion” is a matter as to which authorities differ. I should be glad to believe with Colonel Saunderson that “the Leaguers would not hold up the ‘land-grabber’ to execration, and denounce him as they do, unless they knew in fact that the moment the law is made supreme in Ireland the tenants would become just as amenable to it as any other subjects of the Queen.” But some recent events suggest a doubt whether these “other subjects of the Queen” are as amenable to the law as my own countrymen are.

That the Church to which the great majority of the Irish people have for so many ages, and through so many tribulations, borne steadfast allegiance, has been shaken in its hold upon the conscience of Ireland by the machinery of this odious and ignoble “Coercion,” appears to me to be unquestionable. That the head of that Church, being compelled by evidence to believe this, has found it necessary to intervene for the restoration of the just spiritual authority of the Church over the Irish people all the world now knows—nor can I think that his intervention has come a day or an hour too soon, to arrest the progress in Ireland of a social disease which threatens, not the political interests of the [pg 342] empire of which Ireland is a part alone, but the character of the Irish people themselves, and the very existence among them of the elementary conditions of a Christian civilisation.

It would be unjust to the Irish people to forget that this demoralising “Coercion” against which the Head of the Catholic Church has declared war, seems to me to have been seriously reinforced by the Land Legislation of the Imperial Parliament.

No one denies that great reforms and readjustments of the Land Tenure in Ireland needed to be made long before any serious attempt was made to make them.

But that such reforms and readjustments might have been made without cutting completely loose from the moorings of political economy, appears pretty clearly, not only from examples on the continent of Europe, and in my own country, but from the Rent and Tenancy Acts carried out in India under the viceroyalty of Lord Dufferin since 1885. The conditions of these measures were different, of course, in each of the cases of Oudh, Bengal, and the Punjab, and in none of these cases were they nearly identical with the conditions of any practicable land measure for Ireland. But two great characteristics seem to me to mark the Indian legislation, which are not conspicuous in the legislation for Ireland.

[pg 343] These are a spirit of equity as between the landlords and the tenants, and finality. I do not see how it can be questioned that the landlords of Ireland have been dealt with by recent British legislation as if they were offenders to be mulcted, and that the tenants in Ireland have been encouraged by recent British legislation to anticipate an eventual transfer to them, on steadily improving terms, of the land-ownership of the island. Mr. Davitt is perhaps the most popular Irishman living, and I believe him to be sincerely convinced that the ownership of the land of Ireland (and of all other countries) ought to be vested in the State. But if the independence of Ireland were acknowledged by Great Britain to-morrow, and all the actual landlords of Ireland were compelled to-morrow to part with their ownership, such as it is, of the land, I believe Mr. Davitt would be further from the recognition and triumph of his principle of State-ownership than he is to-day with a British Parliament hostile to “Home Rule,” but apparently not altogether unwilling to make the landlords of Ireland an acceptable burnt-offering upon the altar of imperial unity. Probably he sees this himself, and the existing state of things may not be wholly displeasing to him, as holding out a hope that the flame which he has been helped by British legislation to kindle in Ireland may already be taking hold upon the substructions [pg 344] and outworks of the edifice of property in Great Britain also.

One thing at least is clear.

The two antagonistic principles which confront each other in Ireland to-day are the principles of the Agrarian Revolution represented by Mr. Davitt, and the principle of Authority, represented in the domain of politics by the British Government, and in the domain of morals by the Vatican. With one or the other of these principles the victory must rest. If the Irish people of all classes who live in Ireland could be polled to-day, it is likely enough that a decisive majority of them would declare for the principle of Authority in the State and in the Church, could that over-riding issue be made perfectly plain and intelligible to them. But how is that possible? In what country of the world, and in what age of the world, has it ever been possible to get such an issue made perfectly plain and intelligible to any people?

In the domain of morals the principle of Authority, so far as concerns [pg 345] Catholic Ireland, rests with a power which is not likely to waver or give way. The Papal Decree has gone forth. Those who profess to accept it will be compelled to obey it. Those who reject it, whatever their place in the hierarchy of the Church may be, must sooner or later find themselves where Dr. M‘Glynn of New York now is. Catholic Ireland can only continue to be Catholic on the condition of obedience, not formal but real, not in matters indifferent, but in matters vital and important, to the Head of the Catholic Church.

In the domain of politics the principle of Authority rests with an Administration which is at the mercy of the intelligence or the ignorance, the constancy or the fickleness, the weakness or the strength, of constituencies in Great Britain, not necessarily familiar with the facts of the situation in Ireland, not necessarily enlightened as to the real interests either of Great Britain or of Ireland, nor even necessarily awake, with Cardinal Manning, to the truth that upon the future of Ireland hangs the future of the British Empire.

With two, three, four, or five years of a steady and cool administration of the laws in Ireland, by an executive officer such as Mr. Balfour seems to me to have shown himself to be—with a judicious abstinence of the British Legislature from feverish and fussy legislation about Ireland, with a prudent and persistent development of the material resources of Ireland, and with a genuine co-operation of the people who own land in Ireland with the people who wish to own land in Ireland, for the readjustment of land-ownership, the principle of Authority in the domain of politics may doubtless win in the conflict with the principle of the Agrarian revolution.

[pg 346] But how many contingencies are here involved! Meanwhile the influences which imperil in Ireland the principle of Authority, in the domains alike of politics and of morals, are at work incessantly, to undermine and deteriorate the character of the Irish people, to take the vigour and the manhood out of them, to unfit them day by day, not only for good citizenship in the British Empire or the United States, but for good citizenship in any possible Ireland under any possible form of government. To arrest these influences before they bring on in Ireland a social crash, the effects of which must be felt far beyond the boundaries of that country, is a matter of primary importance, doubtless, to the British people. It is a matter, too, of hardly less than primary importance to the people of my own country. Unfortunately it does not rest with us to devise or to apply an efficient check to these influences.

That rests with the people of Great Britain, so long as they insist that Ireland shall remain an integral portion of the British dominions. I do not see how they can acquit themselves of this responsibility, or escape the consequences of evading it, solely by devising the most ingenious machinery of local administration for Ireland, or the most liberal schemes for fostering the material interests of the Irish people. Such things, of course, must [pg 347] in due time be attended to. But the first duty of a government is to govern; and I believe that Earl Grey has summed up the situation in Ireland more concisely and more courageously than any other British statesman in his outspoken declaration, that “in order to avert the wreck of the nation, it is absolutely necessary that some means or other should be found for securing to Ireland during the present crisis a wiser and more stable administration of its affairs than can be looked for under its existing institutions.”

I have heard and read a good deal in the past of the “Three F’s” thought a panacea for Irish discontent. Three other F’s seem to me quite as important to the future of Irish content and public order. These are, Fair Dealing towards Landlords as well as Tenants; Finality of Agrarian Legislation at Westminster; and last and most essential of all, Fixity of Executive Tenure.

The words I have just quoted of Earl Grey, show it to be the conviction of the oldest living leader of English Liberalism that this last is the vital point, the key of the situation. Let me bracket with his words, and leave to the consideration of my readers, the following pregnant passage from a letter written to me by an Irish correspondent who is as devoted to Irish independence as is Earl Grey to imperial unity:—

[pg 348] If the present Nationalist movement succeeds, it will have the effect of putting the worst elements of the Irish nation in power, and keeping them there irremoveably. We are to have an Executive at the mercy of a House of Representatives, and the result will be a government, or series of governments, as weak and vicious as those of France, with this difference, that here all purifying changes such as seem imminent in France will be absolutely prevented by the irresistible power of England. The true model for us would be a constitution like yours in the United States, with an Executive responsible to the nation at large, and irremoveable for a term of years. But this we shall never get from England. Shall we make use of Home Rule to take it for ourselves?

“Many earnest and active Irish Unionists now say that if any bill resembling Mr. Gladstone’s passes, they will make separation, their definite policy. If Home Rule comes without the landlords having been bought out on reasonable terms, a class will be created in Ireland full of bitter and most just hatred of England—a class which may very likely one day play the part here which the persecuted Irish Presbyterians who fled from the tyranny of the English Church in Ireland played in your own Revolution beyond the Atlantic.”

[pg 349]

[pg 350] APPENDIX.

[pg 351] NOTE F.
(Vol. ii. p. 38.)

On Monday, the 1st of February 1886, the Irish Times published the following story from Tralee, near the scene of the “boycotting,” temporal and spiritual, of the unfortunate daughters of Mr. Jeremiah Curtin, murdered in his own house by “moonlighters”:—

“It was stated that the bishop had ordered Mass to be celebrated for them—the Curtins—but this did not take place. At the village of Firies a number of people had assembled. They stopped loitering about the place in the forenoon, waiting for a meeting of the National League, which was subsequently held. A threatening notice was discovered posted up on the door of a house formerly used as a forge. It ran as follows:—

“‘NOTICE.—If we are honoured by the presence of the bloodthirsty perjurers at Mass on any of the forthcoming Sundays, take good care you’ll stand up very politely and walk out. Don’t be under the impression that all the Moonlighters are dead, and that this notice is a child’s play, as Shawn Nelleen titled the last one. I’ll be sure to keep my word, as you will see before long, so have no welcome for the Curtins, and, above all, let no one work for them in any way. As you respect the Captain, and as you value your own life, abide by this notice.’—Signed,


“The above notice was written on tea paper in large legible style, and evidently by an intelligent person. Groups were perusing it during the day. A force of police marched through the village and back, but did not observe this document, as it is still posted on the door of the house.”

The “bloodthirsty perjurers” here mentioned were the daughters who had dared to demand and to pro [pg 352] mote the punishment of the assassins of their father! For this crime these daughters were to be excommunicated by the people of Firies, and denied the consolations of religion in their deep sorrow, even in defiance of the order of the Catholic bishop.

As the advent of Mr. Gladstone to power in alliance with Mr. Parnell was then imminent, Mr. Sheehan, M.P., wrote a letter to the parish priest of Firies, the Rev. Mr. O’Connor, begging him in substance to put the brakes—for a time—upon the wheels of the local rack, lest the outcries of the young women subjected to this moral torture should interfere with the success of the new alliance. This, in plain English, is the only possible meaning of the letter which I here reprint from a leaflet issued by an Irish society:—

“The Rev. Father O’Connor, P.P., has received the following letter from Mr. Sheehau, M.P., in reference to this matter, under date

“‘REV. DEAR SIR,—At this important juncture in our history, I am sorry to see reports of the Firies display. Nothing that has taken place yet in the South of Ireland has done so much harm to the National cause. If they persist they will ruin us. To-morrow evening will be most important in Parliamentary history. Our party expect the defeat of the Government and resumption of power by Mr. Gladstone. If we succeed in this, which we are confident of, the future of our country will be great, and, although an appeal to the constituencies must be made, the Irish party in those few days have made an impression in future that no Government can withstand. The Salisbury Government want to appeal to the country on the integrity of the empire, and, of course, for the last few days have tried all means to lead to this by raking up the Curtin case and all judicial cases, which must be avoided for a short time, as our stoppage to the Eviction Act will cover all this.—

Yours faithfully, J.D. SHEEHAN.’”

This letter was read, the leaflet informs us, by the Rev. Mr. O’Connor, at the National Schools and other places.

[pg 353] NOTE G.
(Vol. ii. pp. 59-66.)

The account which the Rev. Canon Keller gave me of “The Struggle for Life on the Ponsonby Estate,” in a tract bearing that title, and authorised by him to be published by the National League, is so circumstantial and elaborate that, after reading it carefully, I took unusual pains to obtain some reply to it from the representatives of the landlord implicated. These finally led to a visit from Mr. Ponsonby himself, who was so kind as to call upon me in London on the 15th of May, with papers and documents. I give in the following colloquy the results of this interview, putting together with the allegations of Canon Keller the answers of Mr. Ponsonby, and leave the matter in this form to the judgment of my readers.

Q. Canon Keller, I see, describes you, Mr. Ponsonby, as “a retired navy officer, and an absentee Irish landlord.” He says your estate is now “universally known as the famous Ponsonby Estate,” and that it is occupied “by from 300 to 400 tenants, holding farms varying in extent from an acre and a half to over two hundred acres.” Are these statements correct?

A. I am a retired navy officer certainly, and perhaps I may be called an “absentee Irish landlord.” I lived on my property for some time, and I have always attended to it. I succeeded to the estate in 1868, and almost my first act was to borrow £2000 of the Board of Works for drainage purposes—the tenants agreeing to pay half the interest. As a matter of fact some never paid at all, and I afterwards wiped out the claims against them. There are about 300 tenants on the property, and the average holdings are of about 36 [pg 354] acres, at an average rental of £30 a holding. There are, however, not a few large farms.

Q. Canon Keller says that “in the memory of living witnesses, and far beyond it, the Ponsonby tenants have been notoriously rack-rented and oppressed”; and that they have been committed to the “tender mercies of agents, seeing little or nothing of their landlord, and experiencing no practical sympathy from that quarter.” How is this?

A. I wish to believe Canon Keller truthful when he knows the truth. He certainly does not know the truth here. He is a newcomer at Youghal, having come there in November 1885, and hardly so much of an authority about “the memory of living witnesses and far beyond it” as the tenants on the estate, who, when I went there first with my wife, presented to me, May 25, 1868, an address of welcome, referring in very different terms to the history of the estate and of my family connection with it. Here is the original address, and a copy of it—the latter being quite at your service.

This original address is very handsomely engrossed, and is signed by fifty tenants. Among the names I observed those of Martin Loughlin, Peter McDonough, Michael Gould, William Forrest, and John Heaphey, all of whom are cited by Canon Keller in his tract as conspicuous victims of the oppression and rack-renting which he says have prevailed upon the Ponsonby estates time out of mind. It was rather surprising, therefore, to find them joining with more than forty other tenants to sign an address, of which I here print the text:—


Honoured Sir,—The Tenantry of your Estates near Youghal have heard with extreme pleasure of the arrival of yourself and lady in the neighbourhood, and have deputed us to address you on their behalf.

[pg 355] Through us they bid you and Mrs. Ponsonby welcome, and respectfully congratulate you on your accession to the Estates.

The name of Ponsonby is traditionally revered in this part of the country, being associated in the recollections and impressions of the people with all that is exalted, honourable, and generous. It has been matter of regret that the heads of the family have not (probably from uncontrollable causes) visited these Estates for many years, but the tenantry have never wavered in their sentiments of respect towards them.

We will not disguise from you the conviction generally entertained that the improvement of landed property, and the condition of its occupiers, is best promoted under the personal observation and supervision of the proprietor, and your tenantry on that account hail with satisfaction the promise your presence affords of future intercourse between you and them.

Again, on the part of your Tenants and all connected with your Estates, tendering you and your lady a most hearty welcome, and sincerely wishing you and her a long and happy career—We subscribe ourselves, Honoured Sir, Respectfully yours,

YOUGHAL, May 1868.

Q. Did Canon Keller ever see this address, may I ask, Mr. Ponsonby?

A. I believe not; and I may as well say at once that I suppose he has taken for gospel all the stories which any of the tenants under the terrorism which has been established on the place think it best to pour into his listening ear. As I have said, he is quite a new man at Youghal, and when he first came there he was a quiet and not at all revolutionary priest. You saw him, and saw how good his manners are, and that he is a well-educated man. But on Sunday, November 7, 1886, a great meeting was held at Youghal. It was a queer meeting for a Sunday, being openly a political meeting, with banners and bands, to hear speeches from Mr. Lane, M.P., Mr. Flynn, M.P., and others. The Rev. Mr. Keller presided, and a priest from America, Father Hayes of Georgetown, Iowa, in the United States, was present. It was ostensibly a [pg 356] Home Rule meeting, but the burden of the speeches was agrarian. Mr. Lane, M.P., made a bitter personal attack on another Nationalist member, Sir Joseph M‘Kenna of Killeagh, calling him a “heartless and inhuman landlord;” and my property was also attended to by Mr. Lane, who advised my tenants openly not to accept my offer of 20 per cent. reduction, but to demand 40 per cent. Father Hayes in his speech bade “every man stand to his guns,” and wound up by declaring that if England and the landlords behaved in America as they behaved in Ireland, the Americans “would pelt them not only with dynamite, but with the lightnings of Heaven and the fires of hell, till every British bull-dog, whelp, and cur would be pulverised and made top-dressing for the soil.” Canon Keller afterwards expressed disapproval of this speech of Hayes, and this coming to the knowledge of Hayes in America, Hayes denounced Keller for not daring to do this at the time in his presence. Since then Canon Keller has been much more violent in tone.

Q. I don’t want to carry you through a long examination, Mr. Ponsonby, but I see typical cases here, about which I should like to ask a question or two. Here, is Callaghan Flavin, for instance, described by Canon Keller as one of eight tenants who “had to retreat before the crowbar brigade,” and who “deserved a better fate.” Canon Keller says he is assured by a competent judge that Flavin’s improvements, “full value for £341, 10s.,” are now “the landlord’s property.” What are the facts about Mr. Flavin?

A. Mr. Flavin’s farm was held by his cousin, Ellen Flavin of Gilmore, who, on the 7th of February 1872, surrendered it to the landlord on receiving from me a sum of £172, 10s. 6d. I obtained a charging order under section 27 of the Land Act, entitling me to an annuity of £8, 12s. 6d. for thirty-five years from [pg 357] July 3, 1872. It was let to Callaghan Flavin in preference to other applicants, July 3, 1872; and in 1873, at his request, I obtained a loan from the Board of Works for the thorough draining of a portion of the farm. Thirteen acres were drained at a cost of £84, 6s. 3d., for which the tenant promised to pay 5 per cent. interest, which I eventually forgave him. There was no house on the farm. He took it without one, and I did not want one there. He built a house himself without consulting my agent, and then wanted me to make him an allowance for it. I told him he had thirty-one years to enjoy it in, and must be content with that. About the same time he took another farm of mine at a rent of £35. Since I came into my property in 1868 I have laid out upon it in drainage, buildings, and planting—here are the accounts, which you may look at—over £15,000, including about £8000 of loans from the Board of Works. In the drainage the tenants got work for which they were paid. I gave them slates for the buildings, with timber and stone from the estate, and they supplied the labour. There is no case in which the outlays for improvements came from the tenants—not a single one. I repeat it, Canon Keller’s tract is a tissue of fictions.

What nonsense it is to talk about the “traditional rack-renting” of a property held by the Ponsonbys for two hundred years, the tenants on which could welcome me when I came into it with the language of the address you have here seen!

I never evicted tenants for less than three years’ arrears, till what Canon Keller calls the “crowbar brigade,” by which he means the officers of the law, had to be put into action to meet the “Plan of Campaign” in May last. I did not proceed against the tenants because they could not pay. I selected the tenants who could pay, and who were led, or, I believe [pg 358] in most cases, “coerced,” into refusing to pay by agitators with Mr. Lane, M.P., to inspire them, and Canon Keller, P.P., to glorify them in a tract.

Q. What were your personal relations with the tenants when you were at Inchiquin?

A. Always most friendly; and even the other day when I was there, while none of them would speak to me when they were all together, those I met individually touched their hats, and were as civil as ever. I believe they would all be thankful to have things as they were, and I have never refused to meet and treat with them on fair individual terms.

In November 1885 my offer of an abatement of 15 per cent. being refused, a few tenants, I believe, clubbed their rents, and for the sake of peace I then offered 20 per cent., which they accepted and paid. In October 1886 I hoped to prevent trouble by making the same offer of 20 per cent. abatement on non-judicial and 10 per cent. on judicial rents. One man took the latter abatement and paid. Then another tenant demanded 40 per cent. My agent said he would give them time, and also take money on account, the effect of which would be to put me out of court, and prevent my getting an order of ejectment if I wanted to for the balance. I thought this fair, and approved it, but I refused to make a 40 per cent. all-round abatement, authorising my agent, however, to make what abatements he liked in special cases. My words were, “I don’t limit you on the amount of abatement you give, or as to the number of tenants you may choose so to treat.” If this was not a fair free hand, what would be? My agent afterwards told me he had no chance to make this known. The fact is they meant to force the Plan on the tenants and me, and to prevent any settlement but a “victory for the League!”

In my original notes of my conversation with Father [pg 359] Keller at Youghal, I found the name of one tenant whom he introduced to me, and who certainly told me that his holdings amounted to some £300 a year, and that they had been in his family for “two hundred years,” set down as Doyle—I so printed it with the statements made. But Father Keller, to whom I submitted my proofs, and who was so good as to revise them, struck out the name of Doyle, and inserted that of Loughlin, putting the rental down at £94 (vol. ii. p. 71). Of course I accept this correction. But on my mentioning the matter to Mr. Ponsonby by letter, he replies to me (July 27th) as follows:—

“Maurice Doyle is a son of Richard Doyle, who died in 1876, leaving his widow to carry on his farm of 74 acres 1 rood, in the townland of Ballykitty, which he held in 1858 at a rental of £50, 11s. In 1868 this was reduced to £48, 11s. In September 1871 he took in addition a farm of 159 acres 2 roods at £130, in Burgen and Ballykitty. He afterwards got a lease for thirty-one years of this larger farm, with a portion of his earlier holding, for £155. This left him to pay £21, 11s. for the residue of the earlier holding as in 1858. But at his request, in 1876, the year of his death, I reduced this to £17.

“In March 1879, by the death of Mr. Henry Hall, in whose family it had been for certainly a century, the Inchiquin farm of 213 acres, valued at £258, 10s., came on my hands. This farm was valued in 1873 by one valuer at £384, 10s., and by another at £390, 10s. In an old lease I find that this farm was let at £3 an acre. Mr. Henry Hall to the day of his death held it at £306, 7s. 6d., under a lease which I made a lease for life. For this farm Mrs. Richard Doyle applied, agreeing to take it on a 31 years’ lease, at £370 a year. I let it to her, and she became the lease-holder, putting in her son Maurice Doyle to take charge of it, though not as the tenant. He was an active Land Leaguer from the moment he got into the place, and in 1886 he was a leader in promoting the Plan of Campaign. Proceedings had to be taken against his mother in order to eject him, as she was the tenant, not he. I objected to this, for I always have had the greatest regard for her. Had she been let alone she would have paid her rent as she had always done. But Mr. Lane and his allies saw it would [pg 360] never do to let Maurice Doyle retain his place on his mother’s holding. All this will show you that Maurice Doyle did not inherit the Inchiquin farm. The only inherited holding of his mother is the farm of 74 acres 1 rood in the townland of Ballykitty, held by his father in 1858. I have no doubt you saw Doyle at Youghal, by the description you gave me, and you remembered his name at once. He was a thickset heavy-looking man, florid, with a military moustache, the last time I saw him. His mother is one of the ‘rack-rented’ tenants you hear of, having been able in ten years to increase her acreage from 74 acres to 376 acres, and her rental from £48, 11s. to £542!”

As to the general effect of all this business upon the tenants, and upon himself, Mr. Ponsonby spoke most feelingly. “The tenants are ruined where they might have been thriving. My means of being useful to them or to myself are taken away. My charges, though, all remain. I have to pay tithes for Protestant Church service, of which I can’t have the benefit, the churches being closed; and the other day I had a notice that any property I had in England would be held liable for quit-rents to the Crown on my property in Ireland, of which the Government denies me practically any control or use!”

(Vol. ii. p. 12.)

In the London Times of September 15 appears the following letter from the Land Agent whom I saw at Glenbehy, setting forth the effect of this “Glenbehy Eviction Fund” upon the morals of the tenants and the peace of the place:—

To the Editor of the Times.

“Sir,—Although nearly eighteen months have elapsed since the evictions on the Glenbehy estate, after which the above- [pg 361] named fund was started and largely subscribed to by the sympathetic British public, I think it only fair to throw a little light on the manner in which this fund has been expended, and the effects which are still felt in consequence of the money not yet being exhausted.

“It was generally supposed that the tenants then evicted were in such poor circumstances as to be unable to settle, whereas, as a matter of fact, they were, and are, with a few exceptions, the most well-to-do on the estate, having, for the most part, from five to fifteen head of cattle, in addition to sheep, pigs, etc.

“Among the tenants evicted at that time many had not paid rents since 1879, and had been in illegal occupation since 1884, from which latter date the landlord was responsible for taxes, provided it is proved that sufficient distress cannot be made of the lands. These tenants were offered a clear receipt to May 1, 1886, if they paid half a year’s rent, which would scarcely have paid the cost of proceedings, and the landlord would therefore have been put to actual loss. These people, though well able to settle, are given to understand that as soon as they do so their participation in the eviction fund will cease, and thus it will be seen that a direct premium is being paid to dishonesty.

“In one case a widow woman was summoned for being on the farm from which she was at that time evicted. Finding out that one of her children was ill, I applied to the magistrate at the hearing of the case only to impose a nominal fine. In consequence she was fined one penny, but sooner than pay this she went to gaol, though she had several head of cattle and, prior to her eviction, a very nice farm. The case of this woman fairly illustrates the combination which has existed to avoid the fulfilment of obligations.

“The amount of fines paid for similar offences comes, in several instances, to nearly what I require to effect a settlement. Some of the tenants actually wrote to the late agent on this estate begging him to evict them in order that they might come in for a share of the money raised for the relief of distress, and this clearly shows beyond dispute that the well-meaning subscribers to the fund will be more or less responsible for any further evictions to which it may be necessary to resort. I may mention that the parish priest is one of the trustees for the money which is thus being used for the purpose of preventing settlements and keeping the place in a continual state of turmoil.

“Judge Currane, at the January sessions held at Killarney [pg 362] this year, ruled in about fifty ejectment cases on this estate that tenants owing one and a half to nine years’ rent should pay half a year’s rent and costs within a week, a quarter of a year’s rent by June 1, and a quarter of a year’s rent by October 1; arrears to be cancelled. Some of these, owing to non-compliance with the Judge’s ruling, may have to be evicted, and their eviction will be what is termed the unrooting of peasants’ houses and the ejectment of overburdened tenants for not paying impossible rents.

“I confess I am at a loss to understand how Mr. Parnell’s Arrears Act would have improved matters or have averted what one of your contemporaries calls a “painful scandal.”—I am, Sirs, yours, &c.,

“D. TODD-THORNTON, J.P., Land Agent.

“Glenbehy, Killarney.”

(Vol. ii. p. 68.)

I fear that all the “Nationalist” clergy in Ireland are not as careful as Father Keller to avoid giving occasion for this impression that Irish autonomy would be followed by a persecution of the Protestants. But a little more than three years ago, for example, the following circular was issued by the Bishop of Ossory, and affixed to the door of the churches in his diocese. Who can wonder that it should have been regarded by Protestants in that diocese as a direct stirring up of bitter religious animosities against them? Or that, emanating directly as it did from a bishop of the Church, it should be represented as emanating indirectly from the Head of the Church himself at Rome?

Kilkenny, April 16th, 1885.

“REV. DEAR SIR,—May I ask you to read the following circular for the people at each of the Masses on Sunday, 19th April?

“The course to be adopted for the future by the Priest of the Parish to whom notice of a Mixed Marriage is given by the [pg 363] Minister, or the Registrar, is as follows:—he makes the following entry on the book of Parochial announcements, and reads it three consecutive Sundays from the Altar:—

“‘The Priests of the Parish have received the following notice of a marriage to be celebrated between a Catholic and a Protestant. [Here read Registrar’s notice in full.] We have now to inform you that the law of the Catholic Church regarding such marriages is: that the Catholic party contracting marriage before a Registrar or other unauthorised person is, by the very fact of so doing, Excommunicated; and the witnesses to such marriage are also Excommunicated.’

“I should be very much obliged if, as occasion may require, you would explain the effects of this Excommunication from the Altar.

“You will please take notice that the Registrar or Minister is bound legally to send the notice of marriage referred to above, and also, that in reading it out in the form, and with the accompanying remarks above, you incur no legal penalty.

“I feel sure that with your accustomed zeal you will do everything in your power to prevent abuses in regard to the Sacrament of Matrimony, which is great in Christ and the Church, and to induce the faithful to prepare for receiving it by Prayer, by works of Charity, and by approaching the Sacrament of Penance to purify their souls.—Yours faithfully in Christ,

[Image: Cross] A. BROWNRIGG.”

“MY DEAR BRETHREN,—We have been very much pained to learn, within the past month, that marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics have increased very much in this city of Kilkenny. Many evil-disposed persons, utterly unmindful of the prohibitions of the Church, and regardless of the dreadful consequences they bring on themselves, have not hesitated to enter into those unholy matrimonial alliances called “Mixed Marriages,” which the Catholic Church has always hated and detested. Those misguided Catholics, who do not deserve the name, have not blushed to go, in some instances, before the Protestant Minister, in other instances, before the Public Registrar, to ask them to assist at their marriage with a Protestant. By contracting marriage in this way, they run a great risk of bringing on themselves and on their children, should they have any, the maledictions of Heaven instead of the blessings of religion. In order to put a stop to this growing abuse, and to prevent it from spreading like a contagion to other parts of the Diocese, we beg to remind the faithful of certain regulations which, for the future, shall have force in the Diocese of [pg 364] Ossory in reference to the Catholics, who so far forget themselves as to contract such marriages.

“1. In the first place, any one who contracts a “Mixed Marriage” without a dispensation from the Holy See and before a Protestant Minister or a Registrar is, by the very fact, guilty of a most grievous mortal sin by violating a solemn law of the Church in a most grave matter.

“2. The Catholic who assists as witness at such marriage also commits a most grievous sin by co-operating in an unlawful act.

“3. Both the Catholic party contracting the marriage and the Catholic witnesses to it cannot be absolved by any priest in the Diocese of Ossory, unless by the Bishop or by those to whom he grants special faculties.

“4. In order more effectually to deter people from entering into those detestable marriages, the penalty of Excommunication is hereby attached to that sin both for the Catholic contracting party as also for the Catholic witnesses to such marriage.

“5. The notice which the Protestant Rector or the Registrar is legally bound in such cases to send to the Parish Priest of the Catholic party, will be read from the Altar for three consecutive Sundays, and thus the crime of the offending party brought out into open light before his or her fellow-parishioners.

“6. For the rest, we hope the sense of decency and religion of the Catholic people and their Pastors shall be no more hurt by any Catholic entering into those marriages, so full of, misery and evil of every kind for themselves, their children, and society at large.—Yours faithfully in Christ,

[Image: Cross] ABRAHAM, Bishop of Ossory.

(Vol. ii. p. 149.)

Since the first edition of this book was published certain “evictions” mentioned in it as impending on the Clanricarde estates have been carried out. I have [pg 365] no reason to suppose that there was more or less reason for carrying out these evictions than there usually is, not in Ireland only, but all over the civilised world, for a resort by the legal owners of property to legal means of recovering the possession of it from persons who fail to comply with the terms on which it was put into their keeping. Whether this failure results from dishonesty or from misfortune is a consideration not often allowed, I think, to affect the right of the legal owner of the property concerned to his legal remedy in any other country but Ireland, nor even in Ireland in the case of any property other than property in land. But as what I learned on the spot touching the general condition of the Clanricarde tenants, and touching the conduct and character of Lord Clanricarde’s agent, Mr. Tener, led me to take a special interest in these evictions, I asked him to send me some account of them. In reply he gave me a number of interesting details.

The only serious attempt at resisting the execution of the law was made by “Dr.” Tully, one of the leading local “agitators,” to the tendency of whose harangues judicial reference was made during the investigation into the case of Mr. Wilfrid Blunt. Tully had a holding of seventeen acres at a rent of £2, 10s., the Government valuation being £4. He earned a good livelihood as a boat-builder, and he had put up a slated house on his holding. But in November 1884 he chose to stop paying the very low rent at which he held his place, and he has paid no rent since that time. As is stated in a footnote on page 153, vol. ii. of this book, a decree was granted against Tully by Judge Henn for three years’ rent due in May 1887, and his equity of redemption having expired July 9, 1888, this recourse was had to the law against him.

As the leading spirit of the agitation, Tully had put [pg 366] a garrison into his house of twelve men and two women. He had dug a ditch around it, taken out the window-sashes, filled up the casements and the doorways with stones and trunks of trees. Portholes had been pierced under the roof, through which the defenders might thrust red-hot pikes, pitchforks, and other weapons, and empty pails of boiling water upon the assailants. A brief parley took place. Tully refused to make any offer of a settlement unless the agent would agree to reinstate all the evicted tenants, to which Mr. Tener replied that he would recognise no “combination,” but was ready to deal with every tenant fairly and individually. Finally the Sheriff ordered his men to take the place. Ladders were planted, and while some of the constables, under the protection of a shield covered with zinc, a sort of Roman testudo, worked at removing the earthern ramparts, others nimbly climbed to the roof and began to break in from above. In their excitement the garrison helped this forward by breaking holes through the roof themselves to get at the attacking party, and in about twenty minutes the fortress was captured, and the inmates were prisoners. Two constables were burned by the red-hot pikes, the gun of another was broken to pieces by a huge stone, and a fourth was slightly wounded by a fork. One of the defenders got a sword-cut; and Tully was brought forth as one too severely wounded to walk. Upon investigation, however, the surgeon refused to certify that he was unable to undergo the ordinary imprisonment in such cases made and provided.

The collapse of the resistance at this central point was followed by a general surrender.

After the capture of Tully’s house, Mr. Tener writes to me, “I found it being gutted by his family, who would have carried it away piecemeal. They had [pg 367] already taken away the flooring of one of the rooms.” Thereupon Mr. Tener had the house pulled down, with the result of seeing a statement made in a leading Nationalist paper that he was “evicting the tenants and pulling down their houses.”

“Yesterday,” Mr. Tener writes to me on the 9th of September, “I walked twenty-five miles, visiting thirty farms about Portumna. Except in two or three cases, the tenants have ample means, and part of the live stock alone on the farms, exclusive of the crops, would suffice to pay all the rents I had demanded. On the farms recently ‘evicted,’ I found treble the amount of the rent due in live stock alone.”

As to one case of these recent evictions, I found it stated in an Irish journal that a young man, who had been ill of consumption for two years, the son of a tenant, was removed from the house, the local physician refusing to certify that he was unfit for removal, and that he died a few days afterwards. The implication was obvious, and I asked Mr. Tener for the facts.

He replied, “This young man, John Fahey, was in consumption, but did not appear to be in any danger. Dr. Carte, an Army surgeon, examined him, and said there was no immediate danger. The day was fine and he walked about wrapped in a comfortable coat, and talked with me and others. His father, a respectable man, made no attempt to defend his house; and at his request, after the crowd had gone away, my man in charge permitted the invalid and the family to reoccupy the house temporarily because of his illness. There was no inquest, and no need of any, after his death. His father, Patrick Fahey, had means to pay, but told me he ‘could not,’ which meant he ‘dared not.’ I went to him personally twice, and sent him many messages. But the terror of the League was upon the poor man.

[pg 368] “An interesting case is that of Michael Fahey, of Dooras. In 1883 his rent was judicially reduced about 5 per cent., from £33 to £31, 5s. His house and all about it is substantial and comfortable. His father, about thirty years ago, fought for a whole night and bravely beat off a party of ‘Terry-Alts,’ the ‘Moonlighters’ of that day. For his courage the Government presented him with a gun, of which the son is very proud. Pity he did not inherit the pluck with the gun of his parent!

“I had been privately told that this tenant would pay; but that he would first produce a doctor’s certificate that his old mother could not be moved. He did give the Sheriff a carefully worded document to show this, but it was so vague that I objected to its being received by the Sheriff. Upon this (not before! mark the craft of even a well-disposed Irish tenant in those evil days), I was asked to go into the house. I went in and entered the parlour. There the tenant told me he would pay the year’s rent and the costs, amounting to £50. He had risen from his seat to fetch the money, when, lo! Father Egan (the priest upon whose head the widow of the murdered Finlay called down the curse of God in the open street of Woodford) appeared in the doorway. He had come in on a pretence of seeing the old mother of the tenant, who had (for that occasion) taken to her bed. The bedroom lay beyond the parlour, and was entered from it. The tenant actually shook with fear as Father Egan passed through, and I thought all hope of a settlement gone, when suddenly the officer of the police came in, passed into the bedroom, and told Father Egan he must withdraw. This Father Egan refused to do, whereupon the officer said very quietly, ‘I shall remove you forthwith if you do not go out quietly.’ Upon this Father Egan hastily left. The tenant then went into the bedroom and soon [pg 369] reappeared with the £50 in bank-notes, which he paid me. All this was dramatic enough. But the comedy was next performed in front of the house, where all could see it, of handing to the Sheriff the alleged doctor’s certificate, and of my saying aloud that ‘in the circumstances’ I had no objection to his receiving it! After this all the forces proceeded to take their luncheon on the green bank sloping down to the Shannon in front of the farm-house. There is a fine orchard on the place, and it recalled to me some of the farms I saw in Virginia.

“I had gone into the house again, and was standing near the fire in the kitchen, where some of my escort were taking their luncheon. It is a large kitchen, and perhaps a dozen people were in it, when in came Father Egan again and called to the tenant Fahey, ‘Put out those policemen, and do not suffer one of them to remain.’

“The sergeant instantly said, ‘We are here on duty, Father Egan, and if you dare to try to intimidate this tenant, I shall either put you out or arrest you.’

“‘Yes,’ I interposed, looking at the sergeant, ‘you are certainly here on duty, and in the name of the law, and it is sad to see a clergyman here in the interest of an illegal, criminal, and rebellious movement, and of the immoral Plan of Campaign.’

“‘Oh!’ exclaimed Father Egan, ‘the opinion of the agent of the Marquis of Clanricarde is valuable, truly!’

“‘I give you,’ I said, ‘not my opinion, but the opinion of Dr. Healy and Dr. O’Dwyer, bishops of your Church, and men worthy of all respect and reverence. And I am sorry to know that some ecclesiastics deserve no respect, but that at their doors lies the main responsibility for the misery and the crime which afflict our unhappy country. I feel sure a just God will punish them in due time.’

[pg 370] “Father Egan made no reply, but paused a moment, and then walked out of the house.

“At the next house, that of Dennis Fahey, we found a still better dwelling. Here we had another mock certificate, but we received the rent with the costs.”

(Vol. ii. p. 151.)

The following official account sent to me (July 24) of an affair in Donegal, the result of the gospel of “Boycotting” taught in that region, needs and will bear no comment.

Patrick Cavanagh came to reside at Clonmany, County Donegal, about two months ago, as caretaker on some evicted farms. He died on Wednesday evening, June 20th, having received the full rites of the Roman Catholic Church. The people had displayed no ill-will towards him during his brief residence at Clonmany, and on the evening of his death his body was washed and laid out by some women. On Thursday two townsmen dug his grave, where pointed out by Father Doherty, P.P.

The first symptom of change of feeling was that on Thursday every carpenter applied to had some excuse for not making a coffin for the body of deceased. On Friday morning the grave was found to be filled with stones, and a deputation waited on Father Doherty to protest against Cavanagh’s burial in the chapel graveyard. He told them to go home and mind their business. About 10.30 A.M. on Friday the chapel bell was rung—not tolled or rung as for service, but faster. The local sergeant of police went to the cemetery; when he [pg 371] arrived there the tolling ceased. He then went to Father Doherty, who told those present that their conduct was such as to render them unfit for residence anywhere but in a savage country. He told them to go to their homes, and advised them to allow the corpse to be buried in the grave he had marked out. After Father Doherty had left, the people condemned his interference, and said they would not allow any stranger to be buried in the graveyard. When Constable Brady put it to those present that their real objection did not lie in the fact that Cavanagh had been a stranger, he was not contradicted.

The body was ultimately buried at Carndonagh on Saturday, several people remaining in the graveyard at Clonmany all through the night (Friday) till the body was taken to Carndonagh for burial.

At Carndonagh Petty Sessions, on the 18th July 1888, Con. Doherty and Owen Doherty, with five others, were prosecuted for unlawful assembly on the occasion above referred to. The first two named, who were the ringleaders, were convicted, and sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment each with hard labour; the charges against the remainder were dismissed.

(Vol. i. p. 117; vol. ii. pp. 5, 12, 66, 95, 200, 248.)

As the Post-Office Savings Banks represent the smaller depositors, and command special confidence among them even in the disturbed districts, I print here an official statement showing the balances due to depositors in the undermentioned offices, situated in certain of the most disturbed regions I visited, on the [pg 372] 31st December of the years 1880 and 1887 respectively:—

OFFICE 1880 1887
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Bunbeg 1,270 6 7 1,206 18 2
Falcarragh 62 15 10 494 10 8
Gorey 3,690 14 4 5,099 5 7
Inch [A] 8 11 0 209 7 5
Killorglin 282 15 9 1,299 2 6
Loughrea 5,500 19 9 6,311 4 11
Mitchelstown 1,387 13 2 2,846 9 3
Portumna 2,539 10 11 3,376 5 4
Sixmilebridge 382 17 10 934 13 4
Stradbally 1,812 14 8 2,178 18 2
Woodford 259 14 6 1,350 17 11
Youghal 3,031 0 7 7,038 7 2

[A] This Office was not opened for Savings Bank business until the year 1881, the amount shown being balance due on the 31st December 1882.

It appears from this table that the deposits in these Savings Banks increased in the aggregate from £20,329, 15s. 11d. in 1880 to £32,347, 9s. 7d. in 1887, or almost 60 per cent, in seven years. They fell off in only one case, at Bunbeg, and there only to a nominal amount. At Youghal they much more than doubled, increasing about 133 per cent. Yet in all these places the Plan of Campaign has been invoked “because the people were penniless and could not pay their debts!”

(Vol. ii. p. 216.)

Captain Hamilton sends me the following graphic account of this affair at Coolgreany:—

[pg 373] In the Freeman’s Journal of the 16th December 1886, it is reported that a meeting of the Brooke tenantry, the Rev. P. O’Neill in the chair, was held at Coolgreany on the Sunday previous to the 15th December 1886, the date on which the “Plan of Campaign” was adopted on the estate, at which it was resolved that if I refused the terms offered they would join the “Plan.”

I had no conference at Freeman’s house or anywhere else at any time with two parish priests. On the 15th December 1886, when seated in Freeman’s house waiting to receive the rents, four priests, a reporter of the Freeman’s Journal, some local reporters, and four of the tenants rushed into the room; and the priests in the rudest possible manner (the Rev. P. Farrelly, one of them, calling me “Francy Hyne’s hangman,” and other terms of abuse) informed me that unless I re-instated a former Roman Catholic tenant in a farm which he had previously held, and which was then let to a Protestant, and gave an abatement of 30 per cent., no rent would be paid me that day. Dr. Dillon, C.C., was not present on this occasion, or, if so, I do not remember seeing him.

On my asking if I had no alternative but to concede to their demand, the Rev. Mr. Dunphy, parish priest, replied, “None other; do not think, sir, we have come here to-day to do honour to you.”

The Rev. P. O’Neill spoke as he always does, in a more gentlemanly and conciliatory manner, and I therefore, as the confusion in the room was great, offered to discuss the matter with him, the Rev. O’Donel, C.C., and the tenants, if the other priests, who were strangers to me, and the reporters would leave the room. This the Rev. Mr. Dunphy declared they would not do, and I accordingly refused further to discuss the matter.

After they left the house, one of the tenants, Mick [pg 374] Darcy, stepped forward and said, “Settle with us, Captain.” I replied, “Certainly, if you come back with me into the house.” The Rev. Mr. Dunphy took him by the collar of his coat and threw him against the wall of the house, then turning to me with his hand raised said, “You shall not do so; we, who claim the temporal as well as spiritual power over you as well as these poor creatures, will settle this matter with you.”

The tenants were then taken down to the League rooms, where two M.P.s, Sir Thomas Esmonde and Mr. Mayne, were waiting to receive the rents, which, one by one, they were ordered in to pay into the war-chest of the “Plan of Campaign.”

I have I fear written too much of this commencement of the war on the estate which has since led to over seventy of the tenants and their families being ejected, and has brought ruin on nearly all who joined it. I have considerable experience as a land agent, but I know of no estate where the tenants were more respectable, better housed, or, as a body, in better circumstances than on the Brooke estate. They had a kind, indulgent landlord, and they knew it; and nothing but the belief that, led by their clergy, they were foremost in a battle fighting for their country and religion, would have induced them to put up with the great hardships and loss they have undoubtedly had to suffer.

[pg 375] NOTE L.
(Vol. ii. p. 283.)

The following entry I take from the Expense-Book of the Duke of Ormond, under date of August 23, 1711:—

His Grace came to Kilkenny, half an hour after 10 at night.


Pottage.    Sautee Veal.
5 Pullets, Bacon and Collyflowers.
Pottage Meagre.
Pikes with White Sauce.
A Turbot with Lobster Sauce.
A Hare Hasht.
Buttered Chickens, G.
Hasht Veal and New Laid Eggs.
A Shoulder and Neck of Mutton.
Haunch of Venison.

Second Course.

Tarts, an Oval Dish.
Crabbs Buttered.
4 Pheasants, 4 Partridges, 4 Turkeys.
Ragoo Mushrooms.
Kidney Beans.    Ragoo Oysters.
Two Sallets.

(Vol. ii. p. 291.)

In the first edition of this book I credited Mr. O’Leary with making this pungent remark about figs and grapes, because I found it jotted down in my original memoranda as coming from him. In a private note he assures me that he does not think it was made by him, and though this does not agree with my own [pg 376] recollection, I defer, of course, to his impression. And this I do the more readily that it affords me an opportunity for printing the following very characteristic and interesting letter sent to me by him for publication should I think fit to use it.

As the most important support given by the Irish in America to the Nationalists is solicited by their agents on the express ground that they are really labouring to establish an Irish Republic, this outspoken declaration of Mr. O’Leary, that he does not believe they “expect or desire” the establishment of an Irish Republic, will be of interest on my side of the water:—

“My Dear Sir,—I am giving more bother about what you make me say in your book than the thing is probably worth, especially seeing that what you say about me and my present attitude towards men and things here is almost entirely correct.

“It is proverbially hard to prove a negative, and my main reason for believing I did not say the thing about figs and grapes is that I never could remember the whole of any proverb in conversation; but I am absolutely certain I never said that ‘some of them (the National Leaguers) expect to found an Irish republic on robbery, and to administer it by falsehood. We don’t.’ Most certainly I do not expect to found anything on robbery, or administer anything by falsehood, but I do not in the least believe that the National League either expects or desires to found an Irish republic at all! Neither do I believe that the Leaguers will long retain the administration of such small measure of Home Rule, as I now (since the late utterances of Mr. Parnell and Mr. Gladstone) believe we are going to get. My fault with the present people is not that they are looking, or mean to look, for too much, but that they may be induced, by pressure from their English Radical allies, to be content with too little. It is only a large and liberal measure of Home Rule which will ever satisfy the Irish people, and I fear that, if the smaller fry of Radical M.P.’s are allowed to have a strong voice in a matter of which they know next to nothing, the settlement of the Irish question will be indefinitely postponed.—I remain, faithfully yours,


[pg 377] NOTE N.
(Vol. ii. p. 293.)

This case of Mr. Taylor is worth preserving in extenso as an illustration of that spirit in the Irish journalism of the day, against which Mr. Rolleston and his friends protest as fatal to independence, manliness, and truth. I simply cite the original attack made upon Mr. Taylor, the replies made by himself and his friends, and the comments made upon those replies by the journal which assailed him. They all tell their own story.


Mr. John F. Taylor owes everything he has or is to the Irish National Party; nor is he slow to confess it where the acknowledgment will serve his personal interests. His sneers are all anonymous, and, like Mr. Fagg, the grateful and deferential valet in The Rivals, “it hurts his conscience to be found out.” There is no honesty or sincerity in the man. His covert gibes are the spiteful emanation of personal disappointment; his lofty morality is a cloak for unscrupulous self-seeking. He has always shown himself ready to say anything or do anything that may serve his own interests. In the general election of 1885 he made frantic efforts to get into Parliament as a member of the Irish Party. He ghosted every member of the party whose influence he thought might help him—notably the two men, Mr. Dillon and Mr. O’Brien, at whom he now sneers, as he fondly believes, in the safe seclusion of an anonymous letter of an English newspaper. During the period of probation his hand was incessant on Mr. Dillon’s door-knocker. The most earnest supplications were not spared. All in vain. Either his character or his ability failed to satisfy the Irish leader, and his claim was summarily rejected. Since then his wounded vanity has found vent in spiteful calumny of almost every member of the Irish Party—whenever he found malice a luxury that could be safely indulged in.

“His next step was a startling one. We have absolute [pg 378] reason to know, when the last Coercion Act was in full swing, this pure-souled and disinterested patriot begged for, received, and accepted a very petty Crown Prosecutorship under a Coercion Government. As was wittily said at the time, he sold his principles, not for a mess of pottage, but for the stick that stirred the mess. Strong pressure was brought to bear on him, and he was induced for his own sake, after many protests and with much reluctance, to publicly refuse the office he had already privately accepted. Mr. Taylor professes to model himself on Robert Emmet and Thomas Davis; it is hard to realise Thomas Davis or Robert Emmet as a Coercion Crown Prosecutor in the pay of Dublin Castle. Since then there has been no more persistent caviller at the Irish policy and the Irish Party in company where he believed such cavilling paid. When Home Rule was proposed by Mr. Gladstone, he had a thousand foolish sneers for the measure and its author. When the Bill was defeated, he elected Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Goschen, and Mr. T.W. Russell as the gods of his idolatry. Such a nature needs a patron, and Mr. Webb, Q.C., the Tory County Court Judge who doubled the sentence on Father M‘Fadden, was the patron to be selected. It is shrewdly suspected that he supplied most of the misguiding information for Dr. Webb’s coercion pamphlet, and it is probable that Dr. Webb gives him a lift with his weekly letter to the Manchester Guardian.



To the Editor of “United Ireland.”

Sir,—You would not, I am sure, allow intentional misstatements to appear in your columns, and I ask you to allow me space to correct three erroneous observations made about myself in your current issue—

1. The first statement is to the effect that I owe everything I have, or that I am, to the Irish National Party. I owe absolutely nothing to the Irish Party, except an attempt to boycott me on my circuit, which, fortunately for me, has failed.

2. The second is to the effect that I made “frantic efforts” (these are the words, I think) to enter Parliament, and besieged Mr. Dillon’s house during the time when candidates were being chosen. I saw Mr. Dillon exactly twice, both occasions at Mr. Davitt’s request. Mr. Davitt urged me to [pg 379] allow my name to go forward as a candidate, and it was at his wish and solicitation that I saw Mr. Dillon.

3. It is further said that I begged a Crown Prosecutorship. Fortunately, Mr. Walker and The M‘Dermot are living men, and they know this to be absolutely untrue. I was offered such an appointment, and, contrary to my own judgment, I allowed myself to be guided by Mr. Davitt, who thought the matter would be misunderstood in the state of things then existing. I believe I am the only person that ever declined such an offer.

As to general statements, these are of no importance, and I shall not trouble you about them.—Yours very truly,


P.S.—The introduction of Dr. Webb’s name was a gratuitous outrage, Dr. Webb and I never assisted each other in anything except in the defence of P.N. Fitzgerald. J.F.T.

To the Editor of “United Ireland.”

Dear Sir,—As my name has been introduced into the controversy between yourself and Mr. Taylor, I feel called upon to substantiate the two statements wherein my name occurs in Mr. Taylor’s letter of last week. It was at my request that he called upon Mr. John Dillon, M.P. I think I accompanied him on the occasion, and unless my memory is very much at fault, Mr. Dillon was not unfriendly to Mr. Taylor’s proposed candidature. This visit occurred some three months after Mr. Taylor had, on my advice, declined the Crown Prosecutorship for King’s County, a post afterwards applied for by and granted to a near relative of one of the most prominent members of the Irish Party. With Mr. Taylor’s general views on the present situation, or opinions upon parties or men, I have no concern. But, in so far as the circumstances related above are dealt with in your issue of last week, I think an unjust imputation has been made against him, and in the interests of truth and fair play I feel called upon to adduce the testimony of facts as they occurred.—Yours truly,


Ballybrack, Co. Dublin,
June 19, 1888.

To the Editor of “United Ireland.”

Sir,—As this is, I believe, the first time I have sought to intrude upon your columns, I hope you will allow me some [pg 380] slight space in the interests of fair-play and freedom of speech. Those interests seem to me to have been quite set at naught in the attack, or rather series of attacks, upon Mr. Taylor in your last issue. Mr. Taylor’s views upon many matters are not mine. He is far more democratic in his opinions than I see any sufficient reason for being, and he is very much more of what is called a land reformer than I am; but on an acquaintance of some years I have ever found him an honourable and high-minded gentleman, and as good a Nationalist, from my point of view, as most of the members of the Irish Parliamentary Party whom I either know or know of. Of some of the charges made against Mr. Taylor, such as the seeking for Crown Prosecutorships and the like, I am in no position to speak, save from my knowledge of his character, but I understand Mr. Davitt knows all about these things, and I suppose he will tell what he knows. But of the main matter, and I think the chief cause of your ire, I am quite in a position to speak. I have read at least a score of Mr. Taylor’s letters to the Manchester Guardian, and I have always found them very intelligently written, and invariably characterised by a spirit of fairness and moderation; indeed, the chief fault I found with them was that they took too favourable a view of the motives, if not the acts, of many of our public men, but notably of Messrs. Dillon and O’Brien. You may, of course, fairly say that I am not the best judge of either the acts or the motives of these gentlemen, and I freely grant you that I may not, for my way of looking upon the Irish question is quite other than theirs; but what I must be excused for holding is that both I and Mr. Taylor have quite as good a right to our opinions as either of these gentlemen, or as any other member of the Irish Parliamentary Party. But this is the very last right that people are inclined to grant to each other in Ireland just now. Personally I care very little for this, but for Ireland’s sake I care much. Some twenty years ago or so I was sent into penal servitude with the almost entire approval, expressed or implied, of the Irish Press. Some short time after the same Press found out that I and my friends had not sinned so grievously in striving to free Ireland. But men and times and things may change again, and, though I am growing old, I hope still to live long enough to be forgiven for my imperfect appreciation of the blessings of Boycotting, and the Plan of Campaign, and many similar blessings. It matters little indeed how or when I die, so that Ireland lives, but her life can only be a living death if Irishmen are not free to say [pg 381] what they believe, and to act as they deem right.—Your obedient servant,


June 18, 1888.

To the Editor of “United Ireland.”

Dear Sir,—I observe that in your last issue, amongst other things, you state that Mr. Taylor accepted a Crown Prosecutorship in 1885. I happen to know the precise facts. Mr. Taylor was offered the Crown Prosecutorship of the King’s County, and some of us strongly advised him to accept it. There were no political prosecutions impending at the time, and it seemed to me that a Nationalist who would do his work honestly in prosecuting offenders against the ordinary law might strike a blow against tyranny by refusing to accept a brief, if offered, against men accused of political offences or prosecuted under a Coercion Act. I know that a similar view was entertained by the late Very Rev. Dr. Kavanagh of Kildare, and many others. However, we failed to influence Mr. Taylor further than to make him say that he would do nothing in the matter until Mr. Davitt was consulted. I, for one, called on Mr. Davitt, and pressed my views upon him; but he was decided that no Nationalist could identify himself in the smallest way with Castle rule in Ireland. This settled the question, and Mr. Taylor declined the post, which was subsequently applied for by Mr. Luke Dillon, who now holds it.—Faithfully yours,


29 Harcourt Street.

“United Ireland,” June 23.

We devote a large portion of our space to-day to the apparently organised defence of Mr. J.F. Taylor and his friends, and we are quite content to rest upon their letters the justification for our comments. When a gentleman who avows himself a disappointed aspirant for Parliamentary honours, and who owns his regret that he did not become a petty Castle placeman, is discovered writing in an important English Liberal paper, venomous little innuendos at the expense of sorely attacked Irish leaders which excite the enthusiasm of the Liarish Times, it was high time to intimate to the Manchester Guardian the source from which its Irish information is derived. The case against Mr. Taylor as a criticaster is clinched by the fact that his cause is espoused by Mr. John [pg 382] O’Leary. The Irish public are a little weary of Mr. O’Leary’s querulous complaints as an homme incompris. So far as we are aware, the only ground he himself has for complaining of want of toleration is that he possibly considers the good-humoured toleration for years invariably extended to his opinions on men and things savours of neglect. His idea of toleration with respect to others seems to be toleration for everybody except the unhappy wretches who may happen to be for the moment doing any practicable service in the Irish cause.

(Vol. ii. p. 312.)

The following circumstantial account of this deplorable case of Ellen Gaffney preserved here, as I find it printed in the Irish Times of February 27, 1888.

“In the Court of Queen’s Bench, on Saturday, the Lord Chief-Justice (Sir Michael Morris, Bart.), Mr. Justice O’Brien, Mr. Justice Murphy, and Mr. Justice Gibson presiding, judgment was delivered in the case of Ellen Gaffney. The original motion was to quash the verdict of a coroner’s jury held at Philipstown on August 27th and September 1st last, on the body of a child named Mary Anne Gaffney.

“The Lord Chief-Justice said it appeared that Mary Anne Gaffney, the child on whose body the inquest was held, was born on the 23d July, and that she died on the 25th August, 1887. A Dr. Clarke, who had been very much referred to in the course of the proceedings, called upon the local sergeant of the police, and directed his attention to the body, but the sergeant having inspected the body, came to the conclusion that there was no need for an inquest. The doctor considered differently, and the sergeant communicated with the Coroner on the 26th August, and [pg 383] on the next day that gentleman arrived in Philipstown. He had a conference there with Dr. Clarke and with a reverend gentleman named Father Bergin, and subsequently proceeded to hold an inquest upon the child in a public-house—a most appropriate place apparently for the transactions which afterwards occurred there. The investigation, if it might be so called, was proceeded with upon that 27th of August. Very strong affidavits had been made on the part of Mrs. Gaffney—who applied to have the inquisition quashed—her husband, and some of the constabulary authorities as to the line of conduct pursued upon that occasion. Ellen Gaffney and her husband were taken into custody on the day the inquest opened by the verbal direction of the Coroner, who refused to complete the depositions given by the former on the ground that she was not sworn. That did not take him out of the difficulty, for if she was not sworn she had a right to be sworn, and the Coroner had no right to prevent her. The inquest was resumed on the 1st September in the court-house at Philipstown—the proper place—and a curious letter was read from the Coroner, the effect of which was that he did not consider that there was any ground for detaining the man Gaffney in custody, but the woman was brought before a justice of the peace and committed for trial. She was in prison from August 27th until the month of December, when the lucky accident of a winter assize occurred, else she might be there still. At the adjourned inquest the Coroner proceeded to read over the depositions taken on the former day, and it was sworn by four witnesses, whom he (the Lord Chief-Justice) entirely credited, that the Coroner read these depositions as if they were originals, whereas an unprecedented transaction had occurred. The Coroner had given the original depositions out of his own custody, and given them to a [pg 384] reverend gentleman who was rather careless of them, as was shown by the evidence of a witness named Greene, who deposed that he saw a car on the road upon which sat two clergymen, and he found on the road the original depositions which, presumably, one of the clergymen had dropped. The depositions were handed to a magistrate and afterwards returned to the police at Philipstown, who had possession of them on the resumption of the inquest. If the case stood alone there it was difficult to understand how a Coroner could come into court and appear by counsel to resist the quashing of an inquisition in regard to which at the very door such gross personal misconduct was demonstrated. No doubt, he said, he did not read them as originals but as copies, and it was strange, that being so, that he did not inform the jury of what had become of them, and he complained now of not being told by the police of their recovery—not told of his own misconduct. On the 1st September, Ellen Gaffney applied by a solicitor—Mr. Disdall, and as a set-off the Coroner permitted a gentleman named O’Kearney Whyte to appear—for whom? Was it for the constituted authorities or for the next-of-kin? No, but for the Rev. Father Bergin, who was described as president of the local branch of the National League, and the Coroner (Mr. Gowing) alleged as the reason why he allowed him to appear and cross-examine the witnesses and address the jury and give him the right of reply like Crown counsel was, that Ellen Gaffney stated that she had been so much annoyed by Father Bergin that she attributed the loss of her child to him—that it was he who had murdered the child. It was asserted that Father Bergin sat on the bench with the Coroner and interfered during the conduct of the inquest, and having to give some explanation of that Mr. Gowing’s version was certainly a most amusing one. He said it [pg 385] was the habit to invite to a seat on the bench people of a respectable position in life—which, of course, a clergyman should be in—and that he asked Father Bergin to sit beside him in that capacity. But see the dilemma the Coroner put himself in. According to his own statement he had previously allowed this reverend gentleman to interfere, and to be represented by a solicitor because he was incriminated, inculpated, or accused, and it certainly was not customary to invite any one so situated to occupy a seat on the bench. He (the Lord Chief Baron) did not believe that Father Bergin was incriminated in any way, but that was the Coroner’s allegation, and such was his peculiar action thereafter. The Coroner further stated that no matter whether he read the originals or the copies of the first day’s depositions, it was on the evidence of September 1st that the jury acted. If that was so he placed himself in a further dilemma, for there was no evidence before the jury at all on the second day upon which they could bring a verdict against Ellen Gaffney. In regard to the recording and announcing of the verdict it appeared that the jury were 19 in number, and after their deliberations the foreman declared that 13 were for finding a verdict one way and 6 for another; that Mr. Whyte dictated the verdict to the Coroner, and the Coroner asked the 13 men if that was what they agreed to. Mr. Whyte’s statement was that the jury, through the foreman, stated what their verdict was; that he wrote it down, and that the Coroner asked him for what he had written, and used it himself. But in addition to that, when the jury came in the Coroner and Mr. Whyte divided them—placed them apart while the verdict was being written—and then said to the 13 men, “Is that what you agree to?” Such apparent misconduct it was hardly possible to conceive in anybody [pg 386] occupying a judicial position as did the Coroner, and especially a Coroner who had an inquisition quashed before. What he had mentioned was sufficient to call forth the emphatic decision of the court quashing the proceedings, which, however, were also impeached on the grounds of its insufficiency and irregularity, and of the character of the finding itself. It was not until the Coroner had been threatened with the consequences of his contempt that he made a return to the visit of certiorari, and it was then found that out of ten so-called depositions only one contained any signature—that of Dr. Clarke’s, which was one of those lost by the clergyman, and not before the jury on the 1st September. He (the Lord Chief-Justice) had tried to read the documents, but in vain—they were of such a scrawling and scribbling character, but, as he had said, all were incomplete and utterly worthless except the one which was not properly before the jury. Then, what was the finding on this inquisition, which should have been substantially as perfect as an indictment? “That Mary Anne Gaffney came by her death, and that the mother of this child, Ellen Gaffney, is guilty of wilful neglect by not supplying the necessary food and care to sustain the life of this child.” Upon what charge could the woman have been implicated on that vague finding? He (his Lordship) could understand its being contended that that amounted argumentatively to a verdict of manslaughter; but the Coroner issued his warrant and sent this woman to prison as being guilty of murder, and she remained in custody, as he had already remarked, until discharged by the learned judge who went the Winter Assizes in December. Upon all of these grounds they were clearly of opinion that this inquisition should be quashed, and Mr. Coroner Gowing having had the self-possession to come there to show cause against the conditional order, [pg 387] under such circumstances, must bear the costs of that argument.

Mr. Fred. Moorhead, who, instructed by Mr. O’Kearney Whyte, appeared for the Coroner, asked whether the Court would require, as was usual when costs were awarded against a magistrate, an undertaking from the other side—

The Lord Chief-Justice.—That is not to bring an action against the Coroner, you mean?

Mr. Moorhead.—Yes, my Lord. I think it is a usual undertaking when costs are awarded in such a case. I think you ought—

The Lord Chief-Justice.—Well, I don’t know that we ought, but we most certainly will not. (Laughter.)

Mr. David Sherlock, who (instructed by Mr. Archibald W. Disdall) appeared for Ellen Gaffney.—Rest assured, we certainly will bring an action.



Footnote 1: (return)

I have the authority of Mr. Hennessey, “the best living Irish scholar, and a Kerryman to boot,” for this spelling. I am quite right, he says, in stating that the people there pronounce the names of Glenbeigh and Rossbeigh as Glenbéhy and Rossbéhy in three syllables. “Bethe,” pronounced “behy,” is the genitive of “beith,” the birch, of which there were formerly large woods in Ireland. Glenbehy and Rossbehy mean the “Glen,” and the “Ross” or “wooded point” of the birch.

Footnote 2: (return)

A letter received by me from a Protestant Irish gentleman, long an ardent Nationalist, seems to confirm this. He writes to me (June 15),

“There is a noble river here, with a convenient line of quays for unloading merchandise. But every sack that is landed must be carried out of the ship on men’s backs. The quay labourers won’t allow a steam crane to be set up. If it is tried there is a riot and a tumult, and no Limerick tradesman can purchase anything from a vessel that uses it, on pain of being boycotted. The result is that the labourers are masters of the situation, and when they catch a vessel with a cargo which it is imperative to land quickly, they wait till the work is half done, and then strike for 8s. a day! If other labourers are imported, they are boycotted for ‘grabbing work,’ and any one who sells provisions to them is boycotted.”
Footnote 3: (return)

An interesting account of this gentleman, and of his connection with the earlier developments of the Irish agitation, given to me by Mr. Colomb of the R.I.C., will be found at p.38, and in the Appendix, Note F.

Footnote 4: (return)

See Appendix, Note F.

Footnote 5: (return)

The name of this blacksmith’s son learned in the Law of the League is given in Lord Cowper’s Report (2. 18,370) as Michael Healy. While these pages are in the printer’s hands the London papers chronicle (May 25, 1888) the arrest of a person described to me as this magistrate’s brother, Jeremiah Healy, on a charge of robbing and setting fire to the Protestant church at Killarney!

Footnote 6: (return)

Mr. Colomb sends me, June 30, the following interesting note:—The letter of which I gave you a copy was produced in evidence at Kerry Summer Assizes, 1867. J. D. Sheehan, Esq., M.P., is the same man who was arrested on the 12th February 1867, and to whom the foregoing letter, ordering the rising in Killarney, is addressed. He was kept in custody for some time, and eventually released, it is believed, on the understanding that he was to keep out of Ireland. He came back in 1873 or 1874 and married the proprietress of a Hotel at Killarney. His connection with the Glenbehy evictions is referred to on page 10, and in Note F of the Appendix I give an interesting account, furnished me by Mr. Colomb, of his activity in connection with the case of the Misses Curtin at Firies.

Footnote 7: (return)

In the time of Henry VIII. these cities waged actual war with each other, like Florence and Pisa, by sea and land. Limerick was then called “Little London.”

Footnote 8: (return)

It was on the 17th October 1886 that Mr. Dillon first promulgated the Plan of Campaign at all at Portumna.

Footnote 9: (return)

Mr. Ponsonby’s account of this affair will be found in the Appendix, Note G. The Post-Office Savings Bank deposits at Youghal, which were £3031, 0s. 7d. in 1880, rose to £7038, 7s. 2d. in 1887.

Footnote 10: (return)

As to the ability of these tenants to pay their way, one fact which I have since ascertained sufficiently supports Mr. Tener’s contention. The deposits in the Postal Savings Banks of the three purely agricultural towns of Portumna, Woodford, and Loughrea, which in 1880, throwing off the shillings and pence, were respectively, £2539, £259, and £5500, rose in 1887 to £3376, £1350, and £6311, an increase of nearly £3000.

Footnote 11: (return)

Mr. Tener, to whom I sent proofs of these pages, writes to me (July 18): “I shall soon execute the decree of the County-Court Judge Henn against Father Coen for £5, 5s., being two and a half year’s rent.”

Footnote 12: (return)

At a hearing of cases before Judge Henn some time after I left Portumna, the Judge was reported in the papers as “severely” commenting upon the carelessness with which the estate-books were kept, tenants who were proceeded against for arrears producing “receipts” in court. I wrote to Mr. Tener on this subject. Under date of June 5th he replied to me: “Judge Henn did not use the severe language reported. There was no reporter present but a local man, and I have reason to believe the report in the Freeman’s Journal came from the lawyer of the tenants, who is on the staff of that journal. But the tenants are drilled not to show the receipts they hold, and to take advantage of every little error which they might at once get corrected by calling at the estate office. In no case, however, did any wrong occur to any tenant.”

Footnote 13: (return)

The town and estate proper of Woodford belong to Sir Henry Burke, Bart. The nearest point to Woodford of Lord Clamicarde’s property is distant one mile from the town. And on the so-called Woodford estate there are not “316 tenants,” as stated in publications I have seen, but 260.

Footnote 14: (return)

Martin Kenny, the “victim” of this eviction, is the tenant to whom the Rev. Mr. Crawford (vide page 118) gave £50 for certain cattle, in order that he (Kenny) might pay his rent But, although he got the £50, he nevertheless suffered himself to be evicted; no doubt fearing the vengeance of the League should he pay.

Footnote 15: (return)

The valuation for taxes of this holding is £7, 15s. for the land, and £5 for the presbytery house. The church is exempt.

Footnote 16: (return)

Of “Dr.” Tully Mr. Tener wrote to me (July 18): “Tully has the holding at £2, 10s. a year, being 50 per cent, under the valuation of the land for taxes, which is £3, 15s. As the total valuation with the house (built by him) is only £4, he pays no poor-rates. He was in arrears May 1, 1887, of three years for £7, 10s. Lord Clanricarde offered him, with others, 20 per cent, abatement, making for him 70 per cent, under the valuation—and he refused!” Since then (on Saturday Sept. 1), Tully has been evicted after a dramatic “resistance,” of which, with instructive incidents attending it, Mr. Tener sends me an account, to be found in the Appendix, Note H.

Footnote 17: (return)

Note H2.

Footnote 18: (return)

Mr. Tener writes to me (July 18): “At Allendarragh, near the scene of Finlay’s murder, Thomas Noonan, who lately was brave enough to accept the post of process-server vacated by that murder, was shot at on the 13th instant. It was on the highway. He heard a heavy stone fall from a wall on the road and turned to see what caused it. He distinctly saw two men behind the wall with guns, and saw them fire. One shot struck a stone in the road very near him—the other went wide. His idea is that one gun dislodged the stone on which it had been laid for an aim, and that its fall disturbed the aim and saved him. He fully identifies one of the men as Henry Bowles, a nephew of ‘Dr.’ Tully, who lives with Tully, and Bowles, after being arrested and examined at Woodford, has been remanded, bail being refused, to Galway Jail. Before this shooting Noonan had served a notice from me upon Tully, against whom I have Judge Henn’s decree for three years’ rent, and whose equity of redemption expired July 9th.”

Footnote 19: (return)

I have since learned that my jarvey was well informed. Sir Henry Burke actually paid Mr. Dillon £160 for the maintenance of his tenants while out of their farms. This, two other landlords, Lords Dunsandle and Westmeath, refused to do, but, like Sir Henry, they both paid all the costs, and accepted a “League” reduction of 5s. 6d. and 6s. in the pound (June 9, 1888).

Footnote 20: (return)

Down to the date at which I write this note (June 9), Mr. Seigne has kindly, but without results, endeavoured to get for me some authentic return made by a small tenant-farmer of his incomings and outgoings.

Footnote 21: (return)

Note I.

Footnote 22: (return)

Note K.

Footnote 23: (return)

While these pages are going through the press a Scottish friend sends me the following extract from a letter published in the Scotsman of July 25:— “In the same way I, in August last, when in Wicklow, ascertained as carefully as I could the facts as to the Bodyke evictions; and being desirous to learn now if that estate was still out of cultivation, as I had found it in August, I wrote the gentleman I have referred to above. His reply is as follows:—

“‘I can answer your question as far as the Brooke estate is concerned. None of the tenants are back in their farms, nor are they likely to be. The landlord has the land partly stocked with cattle; but I may say the land is nearly waste; the gates, fences, and farmsteads partly destroyed. I was at the fair of Coolgreany about three weeks ago, and the country looked quite changed; the weeds predominating in the land that the tenantry had under cultivation when they were evicted from their farms. The landlord has done nothing to lay the land down with grass seed, consequently the land is waste. The village of Coolgreany is on the property, and there was a good monthly fair held there, but it is very much gone down since the disagreement between the landlord and tenant. The tenants, speaking generally, in allowing themselves to be evicted and not redeeming before six months, are giving up all their improvements to the landlord, no matter what they may be worth. I have got quite tired of the vexed question, and may say I have given up reading about evictions, and pity the tenant who is foolish enough to allow any party to advise him so badly as to allow himself to be evicted.’

“Those who read this testimony of a candid witness, and remember the cordial footing on which Mr. Brooke stood with his tenantry in Bodyke before Mr. Billon appeared amongst them, may well ask what good his interference did to the now impoverished tenantry of Bodyke, or to the district now deserted or laid waste.—I am, etc.,


Footnote 24: (return)

In curious confirmation of this opinion expressed to me by a man of the country in March, I find in the Dublin Express of July 19th this official news from the Athy Vice-Guardians:

“At the meeting of the Vice-Guardians of the Athy Union yesterday, a letter was read from Mr. G. Finlay, Auditor, in which he stated that the two sureties of Collector Kealy, of the Luggacurren district, had been evicted from their holdings by Lord Lansdowne, and were not now in possession of any lands there. They were allowed outdoor relief to the extent of £1 a week each on the ground of destitution. The Auditor continued: ‘The Collector tells me that they both possess other lands, and have money in bank. The Collector is satisfied that they are as good, if not better, securities for the amount of his bond now than at the time they became sureties for him. The Clerk of the Union concurs in this opinion.’

“It was ordered to bring the matter under the notice of the Board.”

Footnote 25: (return)

Explanatory Note attached to First Edition.—After this chapter had actually gone to press, I received a letter from the friend who had put me into communication with the labourers referred to in it, begging me to strike out all direct indications of their whereabouts, on the ground that these might lead to grave annoyance and trouble for these poor men from the local tyrants.

I do not know that I ought to regret the annoyance thus caused to my publisher and to me, as no words of mine could emphasise so clearly the nature and the scope of the odious, illegal, or anti-legal “coercion” established in certain parts of Ireland as the asterisks which mark my compliance with my friend’s request. What can be said for the freedom of a country in which a man of character and position honestly believes it to be “dangerous” for poor men to say the things recorded in the text of this chapter about their own feelings, wishes, opinions, and interests?

Footnote 26: (return)

It may be well to say here that whatever prominence Mr. O’Donovan Rossa has had among the Irish in America has been largely, if not chiefly, due to the curious persistency of Sir William Harcourt, when a Minister, in making him the ideal Irish-American leader. In and out of Parliament, Sir William Harcourt continually spoke of Mr. Rossa as of a kind of Irish Jupiter Tonans, wielding all the terrors of dynamite from beyond the Atlantic. This was a source of equal amusement to the Irish-American organisers in America and satisfaction to Mr. Rossa himself. I remember that when a question arose of excluding Mr. Rossa from an important Irish-American convention at Philadelphia, as not being the delegate of any recognised Irish-American body, Mr. Sullivan told me that he should recommend the admission of Mr. Rossa to the floor without a right to deliberative action, expressly because his presence, when reported, would be a cause of terror to Sir William Harcourt.

Footnote 27: (return)

Note M.

Footnote 28: (return)

Note N.

Footnote 29: (return)

Note O.