Read CHAPTER I of About Ireland, free online book, by E. Lynn Linton, on ReadCentral.com.

Nothing dies so hard as prejudice, unless it be sentiment. Indeed, prejudice and sentiment are but different manifestations of the same principle by which men pronounce on things according to individual feeling, independent of facts and free from the restraint of positive knowledge. And on nothing in modern times has so much sentiment been lavished as on the Irish question; nowhere has so much passionately generous, but at the same time so much absolutely ignorant, partisanship been displayed as by English sympathisers with the Irish peasant. This is scarcely to be wondered at. The picture of a gallant nation ground under the heel of an iron despotism of an industrious and virtuous peasantry rackrented, despoiled, brutalised, and scarce able to live by their labour that they may supply the vicious wants of oppressive landlords of unarmed men, together with women and little children, ruthlessly bludgeoned by a brutal police, or shot by a bloodthirsty soldiery for no greater offence than verbal protests against illegal evictions of a handful of ardent patriots ready to undergo imprisonment and contumely in their struggle against one of the strongest nations in the world for only so much political freedom as is granted to-day by despots themselves such a picture as this is calculated to excite the sympathies of all generous souls. And it has done so in England, where “Home Rule” and “Justice to Ireland” have become the rallying cries of one section of the Liberal party, to the disruption and political suicide of the whole body; and where the less knowledge imported into the question the more fervid the advocacy and the louder the demand.

It is worth while to state quite quietly and quite plainly how things stand at this present moment. There is no need for hysterics on the one side or the other; and to amend one’s views by the testimony of facts is not a dishonest turning of one’s coat if confession of that amendment is a little like the white sheet and lighted taper of a penitent. Things are, or they are not. If they are, as will be set down, the inference is plain to anyone not hopelessly blinded by preconceived prejudice. If they are not, let them be authoritatively contradicted on the basis of fact, not sentiment demonstration, not assertion. In any case it is a gain to obtain material for a truer judgment than heretofore, and thus to be rid of certain mental films by which colours are blurred and perspective is distorted.

No one wishes to palliate the crimes of which England has been guilty in Ireland. Her hand has been heavy, her whip one of braided scorpions, her rule emphatically of blood and iron. But all this is of the past, and the pendulum, not only of public feeling but of legal enactment, threatens to swing too far on the other side. What has been done cannot be undone, but it will not be repeated. We shall never send over another Cromwell nor yet another Castlereagh; and there is as little good to be got from chafing over past wrongs as there is in lamenting past glories. Malachi and his collar of gold the ancient kings who led forth the Red Branch Knights State persecution of the Catholics rack-rents and unjust evictions, are all alike swept away into the limbo of things dead and done with. What Ireland has to deal with now are the enactments and facts of the day, and to shake off the incubus of retrospection, as a strong man awaking would get rid of a nightmare.

Nowhere in Europe, nor yet in the United States, are tenant-farmers so well protected by law as in Ireland; nor is it the fault of England if the Acts passed for their benefit have been rendered ineffectual by the agitators who have preferred fighting to orderly development. So long ago as 1860 a Bill was passed providing that no tenant should be evicted for non-payment of rent unless one year’s rent in arrear. (Landlord and Tenant Act, 1860, sec 52.) Even then, when evicted, he could recover possession within six months by payment of the amount due; when the landlord had to pay him the amount of any profit he had made out of the lands in the interim. The landlord had to pay half the poor rate of the Government Valuation if a holding was L4 or upward, and all the poor rate if it was under L4. By the Act of 1870 “a yearly tenant disturbed in his holding by the act of the landlord, for causes other than non-payment of rent, and the Government Valuation of whose holding does not exceed L100 per annum, must be paid by his landlord not only full compensation for all improvements made by himself or his predecessors, such as unexhausted manures, permanent buildings, and reclamation of waste lands, but also as compensation for disturbance, a sum of money which may amount to seven years’ rent.” (Land Act of 1870, secs 1, 2, and 3.) Under the Act of 1881 the landlord’s power of disturbance was practically abolished but I think I have read somewhere that even of late years, and with the ballot, certain landlords in England have threatened their tenants with “disturbance” without compensation if their votes were not given to the right colour while in Ireland, even when evicted for non-payment of rent, a yearly tenant must be paid by his landlord “compensation for all improvements, such as unexhausted manures, permanent buildings, and reclamation of waste land.” (sec 4.) And when his rent does not exceed L15 he must be paid in addition “a sum of money which may amount to seven years’ rent if the court decides that the rent is exorbitant.” (secs 3 and 9.) (a) Until the contrary is proved, the improvements are presumed to have been made by the tenants. (sec 5.) (b) The tenant can make his claim for compensation immediately on notice to quit being served, and cannot be evicted until the compensation is paid. (secs 16 and 21.) A yearly tenant when voluntarily surrendering his farm must either be paid by the landlord (a) compensation for all his improvements, or (b) be permitted to sell his improvements to an incoming tenant. (sec 4.) In all new tenancies the landlord must pay half the county or Grand Jury Cess if the valuation is L4 or upward and the whole of the same Cess if the value does not exceed L4. (secs 65 and 66.) Thus we have under the Land Act of 1870 (i) Full payment for all improvements; (2) Compensation for disturbance.

The famous Land Act of 1881 gave three additional privileges, (1) Fixity of tenure, by which the tenant remains in possession of the land for ever, subject to periodic revision of the rent. (Land Act, 1881, sec 8.) If the tenant has not had a fair rent fixed, and his landlord proceeds to evict him for non-payment of rent, he can apply to the court to fix the fair rent, and meantime the eviction proceedings will be restrained by the court. (sec 13.) (2) Fair rent, by which any yearly tenant may apply to the Land Commission Court (the judges of which were appointed under Mr. Gladstone’s Administration) to fix the fair rent of his holding. The application is referred to three persons, one of whom is a lawyer, and the other two inspect and value the farm. This rent can never again be raised by the landlord. (sec 8.) (3) Free sale, by which every yearly tenant may, whether he has had a fair rent fixed or not, sell his tenancy to the highest bidder whenever he desires to leave. (sec 1.) (a) There is no practical limit to the price he may sell for, and twenty times the amount of the annual rent has frequently been obtained in every province of Ireland. (b) Even if a tenant be evicted, he has the right either to redeem at any time within three months, or to sell his tenancy within the same period to a purchaser who can likewise redeem and thus acquire all the privileges of a tenant. (sec 13.)

Even more important than this is the Land Purchase Act of 1885, commonly called Lord Ashbourne’s Act, by which the whole land in Ireland is potentially put into the hands of the farmers, and of the working of which much will have to be said before these papers end. This Act, in its sections 2, 3, and 4, sets forth this position, briefly stated: If a tenant wishes to buy his holding, and arranges with his landlord as to terms, he can change his position from that of a perpetual rent-payer into that of the payer of an annuity, terminable at the end of forty-nine years the Government supplying him with the entire purchase-money, to be repaid during those forty-nine years at 4 per cent. This annual payment of L4 for every L100 borrowed covers both principal and interest. Thus, if a tenant, already paying a statutory rent of L50, agrees to buy from his landlord at twenty years’ purchase (or L1,000) the Government will lend him the money, his rent will at once cease, and he will not pay L50, but L40, yearly for forty-nine years, and then become the owner of his holding, free of rent. It is hardly necessary to point out that, as these forty-nine years of payment roll by, the interest of the tenant in his holding increases rapidly in value. (Land Purchase Act, 1885, secs 2, 3, and 4.)

Under the Land Act of 1887, the tenants received the following still greater and always one-sided privileges, (i) By this Act leases are allowed to be broken by the tenant, but not by the landlord. All leaseholders whose leases would expire within ninety-nine years after the passing of the Act have the option of going into court and getting their contracts broken and a judicial rent fixed. No equivalent power is given to the landlords. (Land Act of 1887, secs, 1 and 2.) (2) The Act varies rent already judicially fixed for fifteen years by the Land Courts in the years 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, and 1885. (sec 29.) (3) It stays evictions, and allows rent to be paid by instalments. In the case of tenants whose valuation does not exceed L50, the court before which proceedings are being taken for the recovery of any debt due by the tenant is empowered to stay his eviction, and may give him liberty to pay his creditors by instalments, and can extend the time for such payment as it thinks proper. (Land Act of 1887, sec 30.)

By these extracts, which do not exhaust the whole of the privileges granted to the Irish tenant, it may be seen how exceptionally he has been favoured. Nowhere else has such wholesale interference with the obligations of contract, such lavish protection of the tenant, such practical persecution of the landlord been as yet demanded by the one-half of the nation; nor, if demanded, would such partiality have been conceded by the other half. Yet, in the face of these various Acts, and all they embody, provide for, and deny, our hysterical journal par excellence is not ashamed to publish a wild letter from one of those ramping political women who screech like peacocks before rain, setting forth how Ireland could be redeemed by the manufacture of blackberry jam, were it not for the infamous landlords who would at once raise the rent on those tenants who, by industry, had improved their condition. And a Dublin paper asserts that anything will be fiction which demonstrates that “Ireland is not the home of rackrenters, brutal batonmen, and heartless evictors”; while political agitation is still being carried on by any means that come handiest, and the eviction of tenants who owe five or six years’ rent, and will not pay even one to clear off old scores, is treated as an act of brutality for which no quarter should be given. If we were to transfer the whole method of procedure to our own lands and houses in England, perhaps the thing would wear a different aspect from that which it wears now, when surrounded by a halo of false sentiment and convenient forgetfulness.

The total want of honesty, of desire for the right thing in this no-rent agitation, is exemplified by the following fact: When Colonel Vandeleur’s tenants owing several years’ rent, refused to pay anything, and joined the Plan of Campaign, arbitration was suggested, and Sir Charles Russell was accepted by the landlord as arbitrator. As every one knows, Sir Charles is an Irishman, a Catholic, and the “tenants’ friend.” His award was, as might have been expected, most liberal towards them. Here is the result: “We learn that the non-fulfilment by a number of the tenants of the terms of the award made by Sir C. Russell is likely to lead to serious difficulties. They refuse to carry out the undertaking which was given on their behalf, having so much bettered the instruction given to them that they insist upon holding a grip of the rent, and not yielding to even the advice of their friends. About thirty of them have not paid the year’s rent, which all the Plan of Campaign tenants were to have paid when the award was made known to them. This is the most conspicuous instance in which arbitration has been tried, and the result is not encouraging, although landlords have been denounced for not at once accepting it instead of seeking to enforce their legal rights by the tribunal appointed by the Legislature.”

With a legal machinery of relief so comprehensive and so favourable to the tenant, it would seem that the Plan of Campaign, with its cruel and murderous accompaniments, was scarcely needed. If anyone was aggrieved, the courts were open to him; and we have only to read the list of reduced rents to see how those courts protected the tenant and bore heavily on the landlord. Also, it would seem to persons of ordinary morality that it would have been more manly and more honest to pay the rents due to the proprietor than to cast the money into the chest of the Plan of Campaign that boite a Pierrette which, like the sieve of the Danaides, can never be filled. The Home Rule agitators have known how to make it appear that they, and they alone, stand between the people and oppression. They have ignored all this orderly legal machinery; and their English sympathisers have not remembered it. Nor have those English sympathisers considered the significant fact that this agitation is literally the bread of life to those who have created and still maintain it. Many of the Home Rule Irish Members of Parliament have risen from the lowest ranks of society from the barefooted peasantry, where their nearest relations are still to be found into the outward condition of gentlemen living in comparative affluence. It is not being uncharitable, nor going behind motives, to ask, Cui bono? For whose advantage is a certain movement carried on? especially for whose advantage is this anti-rent movement in Ireland? For the good of the tenants who, under the pressure put on them by those whom they have agreed to follow, refuse to pay even a fraction of rent hitherto paid to the full, and who are, in consequence, evicted from their farms and deprived of their means of subsistence? or is it for the good of a handful of men who live by and on the agitation they created and still keep up? Do the leaders of any movement whatsoever give a thought to the individual lives sacrificed to the success of the cause? As little as the general regrets the individuals of the rank and file in the battalions he hurls against the enemy. The ruined homes and blighted lives of the thousands who have listened, believed, been coerced to their own despair, have been no more than the numbers of the rank and file to the general who hoped to gain the day by his battalions. The good in this no-rent movement is reaped by the agitators alone; and for them alone have the chestnuts been pulled out of the fire. Furthermore, whose hands among the prominent leaders are free from the reflected stain of blood-money? These leaders have counselled a course of action which has been marked all along the line by outrage and murder; and they have lived well and amassed wealth by the course they have counselled.

From proletariats in their own persons they have become men of substance and property. These assertions are facts to which names and amounts can be given; and that question, Cui bono? answers itself. The inference to be drawn is too grave to be set aside; and to plead “charitable judgment” is to plead imbecility.

The plain and simple truth is the protective legislation that was so sorely needed for the peasantry is fast degenerating into injustice and oppression against the landlords. Thousands of the smaller landowners have been absolutely beggared; the larger holders have been as ruthlessly ruined. For, while the rents were lowered, the charges on the land, made on the larger basis, were kept to their same value; and the fate of the landlord was sealed. Between the hammer and the anvil as he was and is placed, his times have not been pleasant. Families who have bought their estates on the faith of Government sales and Government contracts, and families who have owned theirs for centuries and lived on them, winter and summer who have been neither absentees nor rack-renters, but have been friendly, hospitable, open-handed after their kind, always ready to give comforts and medicine to the sick and a good-natured measure of relief to the hard pressed they have now been brought to the ground; and between our own fluid and unstable legislation and the reckless cruelty of the Plan of Campaign their destruction has been complete. Wherever one goes one finds great houses shut up or let for a few summer months to strangers who care nothing for the place and less than nothing for the people. One cannot call this a gain, look at it as one will. Nor do the tenantry themselves feel it to be a gain. Get their confidence and you will find that they all regret the loss of their own those jovial, frank, and kindly proprietors who did the best they knew, though perhaps, judged by present scientific knowledge that best was not very good, but who at least knew more than themselves. Carrying the thing home to England, we should scarcely say that our country places would be the better for the exodus of all the educated and refined and well-to-do families, with the peasantry and an unmarried clergyman left sole masters of the situation.

In the desire of Parliament to do justice to the Irish peasant, whose condition did once so loudly demand amelioration, justice to the landlord has gone by the board. For we cannot call it justice to make him alone suffer. His rents have been reduced from 25 to 30 per cent. and over, but all the rent charges, mortgages, debts and dues have been retained at their full value. The scheme of reduction does not pass beyond the tiller of the soil, and the landlord is the sole loser.

Beyond this he suffers from the want of finality in legislation. Nothing is left to prove itself, and the tinkering never ends. A fifteen years’ bargain under the first Land Act is broken up under the next as if Governmental pledges were lovers’ vows. When, on the faith of those pledges, a landlord borrowed money from the Board of Works for the improvement of his estate, for stone cottages for his tenantry, for fences, drainage, and the like, suddenly his income is still further reduced; but the interest he has to pay for the loan contracted on the broader basis remains the same. Which is a kind of thing on all fours with the plan of locking up a debtor so that he cannot work at his trade, while ordering him to pay so much weekly from earnings which the law itself prevents his making.

If the sum of misery remains constant in Ireland, its distribution has changed hands. The small deposits in the savings-banks have increased to an enormous extent, and in many places where the tenants have for some years refused to pay their rents, but have still kept the land, the women have learned to dress. But the owners of the land say that they are ladies with no man in the family have wanted bread, and have been kept from starvation only by surreptitious supplies delivered in the dead darkness of the night. These supplies have of necessity been rare and scanty, for the most honest tenant dared not face the vengeance of the League by openly paying his just due. Did not Mr. Dillon, on August 23rd, 1887, say, “If there is a man in Ireland base enough to back down, to turn his back on the fight now that Coercion has passed, I pledge myself in the face of this meeting, that I will denounce him from public platform by name, and I pledge myself to the Government that, let that man be whom he may, his life will not be a happy one, either in Ireland or across the seas.” With such a formidable organisation as this, what individual would have the courage to stand out for abstract justice to a landlord? It would have been, and it has been, standing out for his own destruction. Hence, for no fault, no rack-renting, have proprietors and especially ladies been treated as mortal enemies by those whom they had always befriended for no reason whatever but that it was an easy victory for the Campaigners to obtain. Women, with never a man to defend them, could be more easily manipulated than if they were so many stalwart young fellows, handy in their turn with guns and revolvers, and man for man a match even for Captain Moonlight. If these ladies dared to evict their non-paying tenants they would be either boycotted or “visited,” or perhaps both. Besides, who would venture to take the vacant land? And how could a couple of delicate ladies, say, till the ground with their own hands? The old fable of the dog in the manger holds good with these Campaigners. Those who will not pay prevent others who would; and the hated “landgrabber,” denounced from altar and platform alike, is simply an honest and industrious worker, who would make his own living and the landlord’s rent out of a bit of land which is lying idle and going to waste.

All through the disturbed districts we come upon facts like this upon the ruin and humiliation of kindly and delicately-nurtured ladies, of which the English public knows nothing; and while it hysterically pities the poor down-trodden peasant and goes in for Home Rule as the panacea, the wife of a tenant owing five years’ rent and refusing to pay one, dresses in costly attire and the lady proprietor knows penury and hunger; not to speak of the agonies of personal terror endured for months at a stretch. Let us, who live in a well-ordered country, realize for a moment the mental condition of those who dwell in the shadow of assassination women to whom every unusual noise is as the sentence of death, and whose days are days of trembling, and their nights of anguish for the fear of death that encompasses them. Is this according to the law of elemental justice? Are our sympathies to be confined wholly to one class, and are the sorrows and the wrongs done to another not to count? Surely it is time for some of the sentimental fog in which so many of us have been living to be dispelled in favour of the light of truth!

Here is an instructive little bit on which we would do well to ponder:

A certain authority gives the following anecdote: He says that he “has just had a long conversation with one of the leading Galway merchants. ‘A farmer of this county,’ said he, ’told me yesterday that he had let his meadowing at L8 an acre. I bought all his barley, and he confessed that on this crop too he had made L8 an acre. Now the judicial rent of this man’s holding is 10s. the acre. He said, “I have nothing to complain of."’ This man was a tenant of Lord Clanricarde; one of those people who decline to pay a farthing in the way of rent to the lawful owner of the soil. The case we have cited may be an extreme one, but it is generally admitted by those who are acquainted with the facts, and who speak the truth that the rents on the Clanricarde property, speaking generally, are low rents, and yet not only is it impossible to collect these rents, but the agent who represents Lord Clanricarde, and whose only fault is that he tries to do his duty to his employer without unnecessary harshness to the tenantry, dare not go outside his house without an escort of police, and every time he leaves his house, he risks his life. Referring to this agent, Mr. Tener, the correspondent says:

“No one would think from looking at him that he literally carries his life in his hand, and that if he were not guarded as closely as he is he would be shot in twenty-four hours. He never goes outside the walls of the Portumna demesne without an escort of seven policemen two mounted men in front, two behind, and three upon his car. He, too, as well as the driver, is armed, so the would-be assassins must reckon with nine armed men. In the opinion of those who know the neighbourhood his escort is barely strong enough. He was fired at a few weeks ago, and the horse which he was driving shot dead. The police who were with him on the car were rolled out upon the road, and before they could recover themselves and pursue the Moonlighters had escaped.’ And this is supposed to be a civilised country, and is a part of the United Kingdom!

“Whereas it seems to us Lord Clanricarde is to blame is in not living, at any rate for some part of the year, upon his Irish property. This nobleman represents one of the most ancient families in Ireland. He is the representative of the Clanricarde Burkes, who have been settled upon this property for 700 years. He draws, or rather drew, a very large income from it, and there can be little question that his presence would encourage and sustain smaller proprietors who are fighting a losing battle in defence of their rights. These proprietors may fairly claim that the leading men of their order should stand by them in the time of trial. Unfortunately, this assistance has not been invariably, or even as a rule, rendered by the great Irish landowners. It is, indeed, largely because they have failed in their duty that the present troubles have come upon Irish landlords as a body. If only in the past the great landowners had lived in Ireland and spent at least a portion of the incomes they derived from Ireland upon their estates, the present agitation against landlordism would never have reached the point at which it has arrived. The absence of the landlords, and in many cases their refusal to recognise the legitimate claims of their districts upon them, has made it possible for the agitators who have now the ear of the people to bring about that severance of classes, and that embittered feeling of class against class, which is doing Ireland more injury at the present time than all the rack-renters put together.”

Those who plead for the landlords who have been so cruelly robbed and ruined are weak-voiced and reticent compared to the loudly crying advocates for the peasantry. English tourists run over for a fortnight to Ireland, talk to the jarvies, listen to the peasants themselves, forbear to go near any educated or responsible person with knowledge of the facts and a character to lose, and accept as gospel everything they hear. There is no check and no verification. Pat and Tim and Mike give their accounts of this and that, bedad! and tell their piteous tales of want and oppression. The English tourist swallows it all whole as it comes to him, and writes his account to the sympathetic Press, which publishes as gospel stories which have not one word of truth in them. In fact, the term “English tourist” has come to mean the same as gobemouche in France; and clever Pat knows well enough that there is not a fly in the whole region of fable which is too large for the brutal Saxon to swallow. Abject poverty without shoes to its feet, with only a few rags to cover its unwashed nakedness, and an unfurnished mud cabin shared with the pigs and poultry for its sole dwelling-place abject poverty begs a copper from “his honour” for the love of God and the glory of the Blessed Virgin, telling meantime a heartrending story of privation and oppression. Abject poverty points to all the outward signs and circumstances of its woe; but it forgets the good stone house in which live the son and the son’s wife the dozen or more of cattle grazing free on the mountain side that bit of fertile land where the very weeds grow into beauty by their luxuriance and those quiet hundreds hidden away for the sole pleasure of hoarding. And the English tourist takes it all in, and blazes out into wrath against the tyrannous landlord who has reduced an honest citizen to this fearful state of misery; knowing nothing of the craft which is known to all the residents round about, and not willing to believe it were he even told. For the dramatic instinct is strong in human nature, and in these later days there is an ebullient surplusage of sympathy which only desires to find an object. Across the Bristol Channel, the English tourist finds these objects ready-made to his hand; and the question is still further embroiled, and the light of truth still more obscured, that a few impulsive, credulous, and non-judicially-minded young people may find something whereon to excite their emotions, and give vent to them in letters to the newspapers when excited.

Only the other day a young Irishman who has to do with the land question was mistaken for a brutal but credulous Saxon by the jarvey who had him in tow. Consequently, Pat plied his fancied victim with the wildest stories of this man’s wrongs and that lone widow’s sufferings. When he found out his mistake he laughed and said: “Begorra, I thought your honour was an English tourist!” And at a certain trial which took place in Cork, the judge put by some absurd statement by saying, half-indignant, half amused: “Do you take me for an English tourist?” Nevertheless the race will continue so long as there are excitable young persons of either sex whose capacity for swallowing flies is practically unlimited, and an hysterical Press to which they can betake themselves.

The following authoritative instance of this misplaced sympathy may suffice. The Westminster Review published a certain article on the Olphert estate, among other things. Those who have read it know its sensational character. At Cork the other day the priest concerned had to confess on oath that only three of the Olphert tenants had received relief.

In the famous Luggacurren evictions the poor dispossessed dupes lost their all at the bidding of the Campaigners, on the plea of inability to pay rents voluntarily offered by Lord Lansdowne to be reduced 20 per cent. After these evictions the lands were let to the “Land Corporation,” which had some short time ago four hundred head of cattle over and above the full rent paid honestly down; but the former holders are living on charity doled out to them by the Campaigners, and in huts built for them by the Campaigners on the edge of the rich and kindly land which once gave them home and sustenance. How bitterly they curse the evil counsels which led to their destruction only they and the few they dare trust know. Take, too, these two authoritative stories. They are of the things one blindly believes and rages against with what justice the denouement of the sorry farce, best shows:

“The correspondents of the Freeman’s Journal, in response to the circular some time ago addressed to them continue to supply fictitious and exaggerated statements of events alleged to have happened ’in the country,’ nearly every day some example is afforded. One of the latest is a pathetic tale of the ‘suicide of a tenant.’ It represents that Andrew Kelly, of Cloonlaugh, ’one of the three tenants against whom A.W. Sampey, J.P., landlord, obtained ejectments,’ became demented from the fear of eviction, and drowned himself in a bog hole in consequence. The account is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. Andrew Kelly was not a tenant of Mr. Sampey’s, nor had he been for the last five years. His son, it is true, is one of the tenants against whom a decree was obtained, but this did not apparently trouble the father much, as he had been living away from his son for a long time, although he had come to see him a few days before he was drowned. There was no suspicion either of foul play or suicide, and the coroner’s jury returned no such verdict as that given in the Freeman. The veracious correspondent of that journal stated that the jury found that ’Andrew Kelly came by his death through drowning on the 22nd October while suffering under temporary insanity brought about by fear of eviction.’ The following is the verdict which the coroner’s jury actually arrived at: ’We find that Andrew Kelly’s death was caused by suffocation; that he was found dead in the townland of Clooncriur, on the 24th day of October, 1889.’ This is the way in which sensational news is manufactured for the purpose of promoting an anti-landlord crusade and prejudicing the owners of property in the eyes of the country.”

“Speaking at Newmarch, near Barnsley, last month, Mr. Waddy drew a heartrending picture of the tyranny practised in Ireland, and illustrated his theme and moved his audience to the execration of Mr. Balfour by the artistic recital of a horrible tale. He declared that a little child had been barbarously sentenced by resident magistrates to a month’s imprisonment for throwing a stone at a policeman. Some hard-headed or hard-hearted Yorkshireman, however, would not believe Mr. Waddy offhand, and challenged him to declare names, place, and date. On the 15th of November, Mr. Waddy gave the following particulars in writing. He stated that the magistrates who had imposed the brutal punishment were Mr. Hill and Colonel Bowlby, that the case was tried at Keenagh on the 23rd of April, 1888, that the child’s name was Thomas Quin, aged nine, and that the charge was throwing stones at the police.

“The clue thus afforded has been followed up. It is grievous that cool and calculating investigation should spoil a pretty story, but here is the truth.

“On the 20th of April, before Colonel Stewart and Colonel Bowlby, resident magistrates, Thomas Quin, aged 19 years, was convicted of using intimidation towards William Nutley, in consequence of his having done an act which he had a legal right to do viz., to evict a labourer, Michael Fegan, of Clearis, who refused to work for him. Thomas Quin was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment.

“I am quite sure that Mr. Waddy will publicly acknowledge that he played upon the feelings of his hearers with a trumped-up tale of woe, but I wonder whether anything will teach the British political tourist that a great number of my countrymen unfortunately feel a genuine delight in hoaxing them.

“Your obedient servant,

“AN IRISH LIBERAL.”

As for the assertion of poverty and inability to pay, so invariably made to excuse defaulting tenants, I will give these two instances to the contrary.

“Writing on behalf of Mr. Balfour to Mr. E. Bannister, of Hyde, Cheshire, Mr. George Wyndham, M.P., recounts a somewhat remarkable circumstance in connection with the position and circumstances of a tenant on Lord Kenmare’s estate who declined to pay his rent on the plea of poverty: ’Irish Office, No, 1889. Dear Sir, In reply to your letter of the 22nd inst., I beg to inform you that I have made careful inquiries into the case of Molloy, a tenant on Lord Kenmare’s estate. I find that so far from exaggerating the scope of this incident, you somewhat understate the case. The full particulars were as follow: The estate bailiffs visited the house of Molloy, a tenant who owed L30 rent and arrears. They seized his cows, and then called at his home to ask him if he would redeem them by paying the debt. Molloy stated that he was willing to pay, but that he had only L7 altogether. He handed seven notes to the bailiff, who found that one of them was a L5 note, so that the amount was L11 instead of L7. On being pressed to pay the balance he admitted that he had a small deposit of L20 in the bank, and produced a document which he said was the deposit receipt for this sum. On the bailiff examining this receipt he found it was for L100 and not for L20. On being informed of his mistake, Molloy took back the L100 receipt and produced another, which turned out to be for L40. A further search on his part led to the production of the receipt for L20, with which and L10 in notes he paid the rent. You will observe that this tenant, refusing to pay L30, and obliging his landlord to take steps against him, possessed at the time L171, besides having stock on his land. Yours faithfully, GEORGE WYNDHAM.’”

And I have it on the word of honour of one whose word is his bond, that certain defaulting tenants lately confessed to him that they had in their pockets as much as the value of three years’ rent for the two they owed, but that they dared not, for their lives, pay it. They would if they dared, but they dared not. The plea of inability to pay the reduced scale of rent is for the most part simple moonshine; and the terrorism imported into this question comes from the Campaigners, not from the landlords, nor yet from the police. If these paid political agitators were silenced, and if the laws already passed were suffered to work by themselves according to their intent, things would speedily settle. But then the agitators would lose their means of subsistence, their social status, and their political importance. As things are these men are ruining the country they affect to defend; while the worst enemies of the peasant are those who call themselves his friends, and the blind-eyed sympathisers who bewail the wrongs he does not suffer and the misery he himself might prevent. All that Ireland wants now is rest from political agitation, the orderly development of its resources; and especially finality in legislation; so that the one side may know to what it has to trust, and the other may be freed from those illusive dreams and demoralising hopes which destroy the manlier efforts after self-help in the present for that universal amelioration to be found in the coming of the cocklicranes in the future.

There is, however, a good work quietly going on which will touch the evil root of things in time, but not in the sense of the Home Rulers and Campaigners. This good work will render it unnecessary to follow the advice of that rough and ready politician who saw no way out of the wood save to “send to Hell for Oliver Cromwell”; also that of the facetious Dove who winked as he offered his olive branch: “Shure the best way to pacify Oireland is for the Queen to marry Parnell.” A more practicable method than either is silently making headway against the elements of disorder; and in spite of the upsetters and their opposition the rough things will be made smooth, and, the troubled waters will run clear, if only the Government of order may be allowed time to do its beneficent work of repression and re-establishment thoroughly and to the roots.