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Title: Ireland as It Is - And as It Would be Under Home Rule
Author: Buckley, Robert John
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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IRELAND AS IT IS
AND AS IT WOULD BE
UNDER HOME RULE.


SIXTY-TWO LETTERS
WRITTEN BY THE
SPECIAL COMMISSIONER
OF THE
BIRMINGHAM DAILY GAZETTE,
BETWEEN MARCH AND AUGUST, 1893.


_With Map of Ireland showing the places visited._


BIRMINGHAM:
BIRMINGHAM DAILY GAZETTE COMPANY, LIMITED, HIGH STREET.

LONDON:
47, FLEET STREET, E.C.



PRINTED BY
THE BIRMINGHAM GAZETTE CO., LTD.,
52 AND 53, HIGH STREET,
BIRMINGHAM.

[Illustration]



SPECIAL COMMISSIONER'S PREFACE.


Irish Loyalists will not soon forget the early part of 1893. Arriving
in Dublin in March, it at once became evident that the industrial
community regarded Home Rule, not with the academical indifference
attributed to the bulk of the English electorate, but with absolute
dismay; not as a possibility which might be pleasantly discussed
between friends, but as a wholly unnecessary measure, darkly
iniquitous, threatening the total destruction of all they held dear.
English lukewarmness was hotly resented, but the certainty that
England must herself receive a dangerous if not a mortal wound, was
scant comfort to men who felt themselves on the eve of a hopeless
struggle for political, nay, even for material existence. This was
before the vast demonstrations of Belfast and Dublin, before the
memorable function in the Albert Hall, London, before the hundreds of
speakers sent forth by the Irish Unionist Alliance had visited
England, spreading the light of accurate knowledge, returning to
Ireland with tidings of comfort and joy. The change in public feeling
was instant and remarkable. Although from day to day the passage of
the Bill through the Commons became more and more a certainty, the
Irish Unionists completely discarded their fears, resuming their
normal condition of trust and confidence. Mr. H.L. Barnardo, J.P., of
Dublin, aptly expressed the universal feeling when he said:--

"We have been to England, and we know three things,--that the Bill
will pass the Commons, that the Lords will throw it out, and that the
English people don't care if they do."

This accounted for the renewed serenity of the well-doing classes,
whose air and attitude were those of men thankful for having narrowly
escaped a great danger. The rebound was easily observable in cities
like Dublin and Belfast, where also was abundantly evident the placid
resignation of the Separatist forces, whose discontent with the actual
Bill and profound distrust of its framer, superadded to an
ever-increasing qualmishness inevitably arising from acquaintance with
the prospective statesmen of an Irish Legislature, caused them to look
forward to the action of the Lords with ill-disguised complacency. In
regions more remote the scattered Loyalists lacked the consolation
arising from numbers and propinquity to England, and accordingly their
tremors continued, and, in a smaller degree, continue still. To them
the Bill is a matter of life and death; and while their industry is
crippled, their mental peace is destroyed by the ever-present torture
of suspense.

As to the merits of the case for Home Rule, I would earnestly ask
fair-minded opponents to remember that during my wanderings I met with
numbers of intelligent and honourable men, both Scots and English, who
having come to Ireland as earnest, nay, even by their own confession,
as bigoted Gladstonians, had changed their opinions on personal
acquaintance with the facts, and strove with all the energy of
conscientious men who had unwittingly led others astray, to repair, so
far as in them lay, the results of their former political action. And
it should be especially noted that of all those I so met who had
arrived in Ireland as Home Rulers, not one retained his original
faith. A very slight process of inductive reasoning will develop the
suggestiveness of this incontestible fact.

Readers will hardly require to be reminded that the letters were
written, not in studious retirement with ample time at command, but
for a Daily Paper, at the rate of nearly eight newspaper columns a
week, in the intervals of travel and inquiry, often under grave
difficulties and with one eye on the inexorable clock. The precepts of
the Master were of necessity ignored:--

    _Sæpe stylum vertas, iterum quæ digna legi sint Scripturus;
    neque, te ut miretur turba labores Contentus paucis lectoribus._

But before committing them to paper, the facts were sifted with
scrupulous care, and where personal investigation was impracticable,
nothing was adduced except upon evidence of weight and authority
sufficient to prove anything. And as during a six months' hue and cry
of the Nationalist press of Ireland, aided and abetted by some English
prints, no single statement was in any degree shaken, the letters have
re-appeared precisely as at first.

                                         R.J.B.,
     Special Commissioner of the _Birmingham Daily Gazette_.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



EDITOR'S REVIEW.


The _Birmingham Daily Gazette_ of August 18, 1893, thus summed up the
labours of its Special Commissioner:--We publish to-day the last of
our Special Commissioner's letters on "Ireland As It Is." His task has
been an arduous one, and not without a strong element of personal
danger. That he has been kept under the close observation of the Irish
police; that they have frequently given him timely warning of personal
danger; that he has dared to go to places in County Clare when the
police warned him to refrain, and his native car-driver refused to
venture, are facts which he has modestly abstained from bringing into
the prominence they deserved. We must necessarily speak of the merits
of his labour with a certain measure of reserve, but the many letters
which lie before us are at least a gratifying proof that his work has
been appreciated, and that it has cast new lights upon the Irish
problem. To the simple direction, "State nothing that you cannot stand
by," he has been faithful even beyond our most sanguine hopes. A
stranger in a strange land seeking information wherever it can be
found, and compelled on many occasions to accept the statements made
to him, may easily be led into error. It is to the credit of our
Commissioner that he has withheld some of the most sensational stories
retailed to him, because he had not an opportunity of verifying them
in detail. The notorious Father Humphreys, of Tipperary, will not
soon forget his experience of giving the lie to the _Gazette_; neither
will those who organised an "indignation" meeting at Tuam be likely to
congratulate themselves upon having stung our Commissioner into
retaliation. It may be recalled as an illustration of the desperate
efforts made to discredit him that after he had attended a Nationalist
meeting at Dundalk he was denounced as a "liar" and a "pimp" because
he had stated that he was invited to address the score of persons who
had "met in their thousands" to shake the foundations of the British
Empire. His assailants fiercely declared that he was not invited to
speak; he was only informed that he might address the meeting if he
desired to do so!

Our Commissioner has travelled about four thousand miles since he
started last March. He has taken no lop-sided view of Ireland. The
prosperous North has been contrasted with the stagnant South, and the
causes of their difference have been explained. The splendid work of
industrial development inaugurated in the poverty-stricken West by
that greatest of all Irish Secretaries, Mr. Balfour, has been compared
with the mischievous encouragements of idleness, the lavish
professions of sentimental sympathy, and the dogged refusals of
substantial help since the present Government took office. Above all,
our Commissioner has provided conclusive evidence that Irish
Nationalism is a mere delusive sham--a paltry euphemism for the
predatory passion which a succession of professional agitators have
aroused in the hearts of the people. If the Land Question could be
settled, there would be an end of the clamour for independence and of
the insensate shrieking against British rule. With a definite stake in
the country the peasantry upon whom the Nationalist agitation mainly
relies would cease to place their faith in the impecunious and
blatant scoundrelism which fattens upon the discord and misery which
it provokes in the name of Patriotism. Our Commissioner believes that
the priests, who have an even stronger hold upon the people than the
politicians, would find their power weakened if it were possible to
greatly extend the system of peasant proprietary which it was the
purpose of the Land Purchase of 1891 to foster. Land hunger lies at
the root of Irish disaffection, and the Romish hierarchy have found in
the deep-rooted prejudices and the ignorant superstitions of the
people a foundation upon which they have reared an appalling
superstructure of social and spiritual tyranny. Politicians have
taught the peasantry to believe that they have been robbed of the land
which is their only means of subsistence in a country that is
destitute of mineral wealth, that lacks capital, and is overshadowed
by the enormous commercial energy of Great Britain. The priests have
adopted the theses of politicians, and have brought the terrors of
their sacred calling into play in order to make themselves the masters
of the people.

Home Rule would be the signal for a ghastly civil war, ruinous to
Ireland, and fatal to that spirit of religious toleration by which the
Roman Catholics and the Protestants have obtained equal rights of
citizenship under the rule of the Queen and the Imperial Parliament.
The cultured Roman Catholics of England and Ireland look with pain and
regret at the insensate bigotry and domineering intolerance which made
the exposures in County Meath possible. They see in these wild claims
of absolutism in the domain of temporal as well as spiritual affairs,
a grave danger to all pure religion. They perceive that the revival of
the old sectarian passions in Ireland cannot fail to react on Great
Britain, and even if the Keltic priesthood triumphed over the Ulster
Protestants their victory would be a fatal one to all who hold by the
Roman Catholic faith in England. Home Rule would bring misery and
disaster in its train, and even the Parnellite section of the Irish
people, who have shaken off clerical domination, tremble at the
prospect of it while nine-tenths of their co-religionists are
destitute of personal freedom. We must find the solution of Ireland's
disaffection in another way, and mainly by a bold handling of the
agrarian question, which lies at the root of all. The task before the
Unionist party is not a light one. They must crush the Nationalist
conspiracy, and uproot the fantastic hopes which unscrupulous men have
implanted in the minds of an ignorant and credulous people. They must
extend the noble system of practical aid to Ireland so successfully
inaugurated by Mr. Balfour in his light railway, fishery, and
agricultural development schemes. And they must mitigate the friction
between owners and occupiers of the soil by making it easy and
profitable for tenants and landlords alike to avail themselves of
British credit in terminating a relationship which has been fraught
with occasions of bitter hostility and mistrust. Under such a policy
we can see bright prospects of a happy future for the sister island,
but under the policy of Home Rule we see only the lowering clouds of
civil war and the dark shadows of reawakened religious animosity.

[Illustration]



CONTENTS.


                                                                  PAGE

No. 1.--The Spirit of the Capital             Dublin, March 28th     1

No. 2.--Panic and Disaster                    Dublin, March 30th     7

No. 3.--Ulster's Preparations for War         Belfast, April 1st    13

No. 4.--Mr. Balfour's Welcome                 Belfast, April 4th    20

No. 5.--Has Mr. Morley Lied?                Ballymena, April 6th    27

No. 6.--The Exodus of Industry                 Dublin, April 8th    34
        Mr. Balfour in Dublin                  Dublin, April 8th    40

No. 7.--Bad for England, Ruinous to
        Ireland                             Limerick, April 11th    43

No. 8.--Terrorism at Tipperary             Tipperary, April 12th    48

No. 9.--Tyranny and Terrorism  Oolagh, Co. Tipperary, April 15th    54

No. 10.--Defying the Land League                Cork, April 20th    61

No. 11.--The Cry for Peace and
         Quietness                 Tralee, Co. Kerry, April 20th    67

No. 12.--English Ignorance and Irish
         Perversity                         Limerick, April 22nd    75

No. 13.--The Curse Of County
         Clare               Rathkeale, Co. Limerick, April 24th    81

No. 14.--Lawlessness and
         Laziness                Killaloe, Co. Clare, April 27th    89

No. 15.--The Peril to English
         Trade                      Ennis, Co. Clare, April 29th    96

No. 16.--Civil War in County
         Clare                        Bodyke, Co. Clare, May 2nd   102

No. 17.--Rent at the Root of
         Nationalism                  Bodyke, Co. Clare, May 2nd   109

No. 18.--Hard Facts for English
         Readers                       Gort, Co. Galway, May 6th   116

No. 19.--Indolence and
         Improvidence               Athenry, Co. Galway, May 6th   123

No. 20.--Religion at the Bottom of
         the Irish Question            Tuam, Co. Galway, May 9th   128

No. 21.--Mr. Balfour's Fisheries           Galway Town, May 13th   135

No. 22.--The Land League's Reign at
         Loughrea                             Loughrea, May 16th   142

No. 23.--The Reign of Indolence               Salthill, May 18th   149

No. 24.--The Aran Islands                       Galway, May 20th   156

No. 25.--The Priests and
         Outrage                  Moycullen, Connemara, May 23rd   163

No. 26.--The Connemara Railway   Oughterard, Connemara, May 23rd   169

No. 27.--Cultivating Irish Industry            Athenry, May 27th   177

No. 28.--Could we Reconquer
         Ireland?                    Barna, Co. Galway, May 30th   184

No. 29.--What Rack-Rent
         Means                Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, June 1st   190

No. 30.--The "Union of Hearts"                 Athlone, June 3rd   197

No. 31.--The "Union of Hearts"                Westport, June 6th   203

No. 32.--Home Rule and Irish Immigration     Castlebar, June 8th   209

No. 33.--Tuam's Indignation Meeting           Ballina, June 10th   217

No. 34.--Why Ireland does not Prosper       Oughewall, June 10th   223

No. 35.--In a Congested District    Newport, Co. Mayo, June 15th   230

No. 36.--Irish Improvidence the
         Stumbling Block          Mulranney, Co. Mayo, June 17th   237

No. 37.--On Achil Island                  Achil Sound, June 20th   244

No. 38.--The Achil Islanders     Dugort, Achil Island, June 22nd   251

No. 39.--Irish Unfitness for
         Self-Government                  Castlereagh, June 24th   259

No. 40.--Object Lessons in Irish
         Self-Government                    Roscommon, June 27th   265

No. 41.--The Changed Spirit of the Capital     Dublin, June 29th   271

No. 42.--At a Nationalist Meeting              Dundalk, July 1st   279

No. 43.--In the Prosperous North                 Newry, July 4th   285

No. 44.--The Prosperous North                   Armagh, July 6th   291

No. 45.--A Picture of Romish "Toleration"     Monaghan, July 8th   298

No. 46.--A Bit of Foreign Opinion         Enniskillen, July 11th   304

No. 47.--The Loyalists and the Lawless         Clones, July 13th   310

No. 48.--A Search for "Orange Rowdyism"       Belfast, July 15th   317

No. 49.--The Constitution of the
         Orange Lodges                      Portadown, July 18th   324

No. 50.--The Hollowness of Home Rule      Warrenpoint, July 20th   331

No. 51.--The Irish Press on "Finality"       Strabane, July 22nd   337

No. 52.--How the Priests Control
         the People               Raphoe, Co. Donegal, July 25th   345

No. 53.--What they think in County
         Donegal              Stranorlar, Co. Donegal, July 27th   351

No. 54.--A Sample of Irish "Loyalty"      Killygordon, July 29th   358

No. 55.--A Truly Patriotic Priest            Donegal, August 1st   365

No. 56.--Do-Nothing Donegal                  Donegal, August 3rd   371

No. 57.--Barefooted and Dilatory        Ballyshannon, August 5th   378

No. 58.--The Truth about Bundoran              Sligo, August 8th   383

No. 59.--Irish Nationalism is not
         Patriotism                      Birmingham, August 11th   390

No. 60.--Land Hunger: its Cause,
         Effect, and Remedy              Birmingham, August 14th   396

No. 61.--Clerical Domination and its
         Consequences                    Birmingham, August 16th   403

No. 62.--Civil War a certainty of
         Home Rule                       Birmingham, August 18th   409

[For a General Index the reader is referred to the end of the
volume.]



IRELAND AS IT IS

AND AS IT WOULD BE

UNDER HOME RULE.



IRELAND AS IT IS

AND AS IT WOULD BE

UNDER HOME RULE



No. 1.--THE SPIRIT OF THE CAPITAL.


By the Spirit of the Capital I do not mean, as an Irishman would tell
you, Jameson's whiskey, nor yet the vivifying soul of Guinness's
double stout, but the mental posture of the dwellers in Dublin with
reference to Home Rule. There can be no doubt of the interest
prevailing in the Irish metropolis. The people are wrought into a
fever-heat of expectancy and intense nervous excitement. Home Rule is
the only topic of conversation. In hotels, on the steamers, in railway
carriages, on tramcars, in the market-place, on the steps of the
temples, at the corners of the streets, in the music halls, the
wondering stranger hears of Home Rule, Home Rule, Home Rule, first,
last, midst, and without end.

Obviously so much discussion shows difference of opinion, divergency
of conception, conflicting interests. It is borne in upon you that the
Irish people are far from agreed as to what Home Rule means, and that
every individual has his own pet notion, the various theories
differing as widely as the education and social position of their
proposers. But the most striking feature in the attitude of Dublin is
undoubtedly the intense, the deep-rooted, the perfervid hatred of the
bill shown by the better sort of people, the nervous anxiety of the
law-abiding classes, the undisguised alarm of everybody who has
anything to lose, whether commercial men, private traders,
manufacturers, or the representatives of learning and culture. The
mere shadow of Home Rule has already seriously affected stocks and
securities, has brought about withdrawal of capital, and is sending
both English and Irish commercial travellers home empty-handed. Sir
Howard Grubb, maker of the great telescope of the Lick Observatory,
America, an Irishman whose scientific and commercial successes are a
glory to his country, and whose titular honours have been won by sheer
force of merit, declares that the passing of the Home Rule Bill will
be the signal heralding his departure to England, with plant and
working staff, and that he has been preparing for this since 1886. One
of the largest booksellers in the city tells me that, acting in
conjunction with others of the trade, during the last six weeks no
orders have been given to English travellers, adding--and thoughtful
people should find this highly suggestive--"The Dublin Unionists are
the people who have the money and the education. The people who have
money to spend are becoming excessively careful. They know not what
may be in store, but they fear that if Home Rule becomes law they will
be ruined, and more than ninety-five per cent. of my customers are
Unionists."

Further inquiry confirmed the statement that the book-buying community
are practically Unionists to a man. The same figures hold good among
the Irish Quakers. Ninety-five per cent. is the proportion given to me
by an eminent Friend, no stranger to Birmingham, intimately known to
Alderman White and three generations of the Cadbury family. He said,
"Irish Quakers are Unionists, because they are on the spot, because
they understand the subject, because they know what will follow,
because they share the dangers of the threatened revolution. What may
be the proportion of Home Rulers among the English Friends I do not
know, but probably the Gladstonians have a majority, for precisely
opposite reasons to those I have stated, that is,--they are not on the
spot, do not understand the matter, are unable to see what will take
place, and regard themselves as safe, whatever happens." The Irish
Quakers have issued a manifesto which should weigh with their English
brethren and with the country at large. The Quakers know their way
about. Their piety has not blunted their perceptive faculties, has not
taken the edge off their keenness. Their reputation for shrewdness is
equal to their reputation for integrity, which is saying a good deal.
With them the innocence of the dove is happily combined with
considerable wisdom of the serpent. And at least ninety-five per cent.
of the Irish Quakers are earnest Unionists.

But although the deep concern of the respectable classes of the Irish
capital is calculated to fill the wandering Englishman with grave
uneasiness, it is not all tragedy. The Dubliners must have their fun,
and, like the Parisians, will sport with matters of heaviest import.
The poorer classes treat the universal subject lightly, as beseems men
who have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The prevailing trait
in their mental attitude is incredulousness. You cannot make them
believe that the bill will pass. "We'll get Home Rule when a pair o'
white wings sprouts out o' me shoulders an' I fly away like a
blackbird," said an old market woman with great emphasis; and a Dublin
jackeen, piloting an American over the city, said: "This, Sorr, is
College Green, an' that, Sorr, is Thrinity College, an' that
Sorr,"--here he pointed to the grand pile opposite the College--"that
Sorr, is the grate buildin' in which the Irish Parliament is _not_
going to meet!" At one of the music halls an old woman (Ireland) is
represented as buying a coffin for a deceased son named "Home Rule"
Bill, when the following conversation occurs:--

"Is it an oak or an elm coffin ye want?"

"Ah, thin, just a chape deal coffin, shure--wid a few archangels on
the lid."

"Will ye want any trimmings?"

"Arrah, what d'ye mane by trimmin's?"

"Trimmings for the coffin."

"Bad luck to yer trimmin's. What would I want wid them? Sure 'twas
'trimmin's' that kilt him!"

It is hoped that Saxon readers will see this subtle joke when I
explain that "delirium" should come before "trimmin's."

Underneath the incredulity of the lower classes--and be it observed
that their incredulity is obviously based on an instinctive feeling
that the claims and arguments of their own party are alike
preposterous--underneath this vein of unbelief is a vein of
extraordinary credulity. Poverty is to be at once and for ever
abolished. "The millions an' millions that John Bull dhrags out iv us,
to kape up his grandeur, an' to pay soldiers to grind us down, we'll
put into our own pockets, av you plaze," was the answer vouchsafed to
an inquiry as to what advantages were expected from the passing of the
Home Rule Bill. The speaker was a political barber. Another of the
craft said, in answer to the same query, "Well, Sorr, I think we have
a right to our indipindence. Sure, we'd be as sthrong as Switzerland
or Belgium." A small farmer from the outlying district thought that
rents would be lowered, that money would be advanced to struggling
tenants, that great public works would be instituted, and plainly
intimated that all these good things and many more had been roundly
promised by the Home Rule leaders, and that he, for one, fully
believed that all would duly come to pass, once the Bill were carried,
which happy event he never expected to see. Every man was to be a kind
of king in his own country, evictions were to be utterly unknown; the
peasantry were to live rent free, under a visionary scheme of which he
had all the absurd particulars; the old sporting maxim reminding
farmers that landlord shooting begins on January 1st and ends on
December 31st was to become obsolete by reason of a complete
extinction of the species--only an odd one being occasionally dug out
of the bogs along with trunks of bog-oak and skeletons of the great
Irish elk; while the family pig, which, having for ages occupied a
responsible position in the matter of "Rint," is understood to be an
inveterate landlord-hater, will be released from his delicate
situation, will be relieved from his harassing anxieties, will no
longer be sacrificed to the exigencies of the occasion; but, on the
contrary, will peacefully expire of old age, surrounded by every
tribute of respect. The dirtiest of the Dubliners hold opinions as to
the marvellous results of Home Rule more adapted to their own
positions and pursuits, but apparently on the same plane, no whit
higher in the scale of intelligence. They regard the English as their
natural enemies, and the lower you go the more truculent they become.
One and all they hold the belief, industriously instilled by
agitators, that the poverty of Ireland is due to the aggrandisement
of England, that the bulk of Irish taxation flows into English
coffers, and is used for English purposes to the exclusion of Ireland,
and this they have swallowed and insist upon, in defiance of common
reason and the evidence of their senses. The instinct of patriotism is
not _en évidence_. The dominant passion is cupidity, and nothing
higher; sheer greed of gain, lust of possession, and nothing nobler.
Selfishness and the hope of plunder are the actuating impulses at the
poll; crass ignorance and bitter prejudice the mental disposition of
the lower class of voters. Four hours' slumming convinced me of this,
and must convince anyone. "We'll bate the English into the say," said
a resident in the sweet region yclept Summer Hill. "Whin we get the
police in our hands an' an army of our own, we'd sweep them out o' the
counthry av we only held cabbage-shtalks. Ireland for the Irish, an'
to hell wid John Bull! Thim's my sintiments." And those are the
"sintiments" of his class. I have spent days among the Irish Home
Rulers without having once heard of the Union of Hearts. The phrase
serves well enough to tickle the simple souls of the long-eared but
short-headed fraternity of pseudo-philosophical-philanthropists across
the water, but it has no currency in Ireland.

Like the country folks the city slummers believe that unheard-of
advantages would follow the great Bill, and, unconsciously parodying
Sancho Panza, say in effect, "Now blessings light on him who first
invented Home Rule! it covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a
cloak; it is meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the
cold, and cold for the hot." The bare thought of the coming Paradise
illuminates their dirty visages. Like the lunatic, the lover, and the
poet, they are of imagination all compact, and, unlike the character
mentioned by the Bard, they "can hold a fire in their hands, By
thinking on the frosty Caucasus, And cloy the hungry edge of appetite
By bare imagination of a feast; And wallow naked in December snow By
thinking on fantastic summer's heat."

Meanwhile, they lounge about in idleness, hugging their misery,
discussing the "bating" of the Unionist party, or, as I saw them
yesterday evening, listening to the crooning of an ancient female
gutter-snipe, a dun-coloured heap of decrepit wretchedness, chanting
the great future of the Irish Parliament in a picturesque and
extraordinary doggerel anent the "larned reprisintatives of the Oirish
na-a-tion. Promiscu-o-ous they shtand in em-u-la-a-tion." The small
shopkeepers, once ardent Nationalists, seem to be changing their
minds. One of them confided to me the fact that he and his fellows,
brought actually face to face with the possibility that the end of
their aspirations and agitations would be attained, were beginning to
ask whether, after all, taxation would be remitted, whether indeed the
rates would not be heavier, and whether the moneyed people would
remain in the country at all. Hearing on all sides these and similar
confessions, accompanied by urgent admonitions of secrecy, you begin
to ask whether the past conduct of these enlightened voters had any
more substantial basis than a cantankerous and unreasonable
discontent, superadded to an Irishman's natural love of fighting. The
leaders of the Separatist party have made the most frantic efforts to
win over the police, but apparently without much success. The Dublin
constabulary, a body of 1,300 men, is totally separate and distinct
from the Royal Irish Constabulary, but I have reason to believe that
the feeling of both forces is averse to Home Rule. Said a sergeant
yesterday, "John Bull may have faults, but," and here he winked
expressively, "but--he pays!" Then he went on--"I am a Westmeath man,
a Roman Catholic, an' as good an Irishman as any of thim; an' I'd like
Home Rule if it was local self-government, what they call the gas an'
wather management, or the like of that. But although I've the highest
respect for my counthry, an' for my counthrymen, I'd like to feel that
my pay was in better hands, and--what is of more importance--my
pension, afther 30 years' service."

Here was a complete lack of confidence, but my friend had more to say.
He referred to the provisions of the bill, spoke of the six years'
arrangement, and on this point exhibited great native shrewdness. "How
do we know we'll be employed for six years, once the Irish leaders get
matters in their own hands? They may promise fairly enough, but they
would be subject to several influences which might prevint thim kaping
their promise. First of all, when they had the power, they would
naturally like to manage things their own way--an' not to be
altogether bound down so hard an' fast by their engagement with the
English Parliament. Then, although they profess such friendship, they
don't altogether like us. We may tell them we are Nationalists, an'
that we're runnin' over with patriotism; but they'll tell us that we
stood by at evictions, an' that we fired on the people at
Mitchelstown. But the greatest thing of all is this--all their
counthry friends, all the terrorisers, the men that mutilated the
cattle, the village ruffians that for years have been doin' their
work, an' actin' as their spies--all these will have to be provided
for. The same with our officers, but their case is still worse. They
have had to pass a regular military examination, which means an
expensive education. They will get the go-by an' the dirty kick-out,
in order that the friends of the ruling party, who have been so long
in the desert, may be furnished with posts. 'Tis human nature, Sorr."
Wherefore, the constabulary, it would seem, may be trusted to take
care of themselves, but the situation is suggestive of serious
complications, once the bill were passed. A full private this morning
told me that without the security of the British Exchequer the force
would not hold together for four-and-twenty hours, a statement which,
whatever be its value, is at least an indication of the amount of
trust which some of the Irish people, and those not the worst
informed, are disposed to place in the distinguished assembly which,
according to the authority hereinbefore-mentioned is _not_ to meet on
College Green.

A never-ending complaint which follows you everywhere is the
supineness of the English electorate. Men whose interests are
seriously threatened, such as the better class of shopkeepers, are
unable to understand the comparative calmness of the British public at
large. Passionately they ask why England leaves them to their fate,
and strongly they urge that prompt and decided action should be taken,
if not for the sake of Ireland, then in the interests of England
herself. Disruption, pure and simple, the breaking up of the Empire,
with panic and general ruin, are in their opinion the sure and certain
concomitants of the bill now before the House. They declare that
Englishmen as a whole, whether Gladstonians or Unionists, fail to
realise the gravity of the situation, and they lose no opportunity of
saying whenever they hear an English accent, "WE DON'T WANT IT, WE
DON'T WANT IT!" Not always do they trouble to say what is the thing
they so emphatically reject. "Pardon me, Sir, but are you English?"
Receiving an affirmative the rejoinder comes at once, and forcefully,
"We don't want it, we don't want it! Tell the English people that if
they knew all they would not entertain the idea for a moment." The
phrase meets you everywhere, is roared at you in chorus in commercial
rooms, haunts you in your sleep, and, if they would own it, must be
painfully suggestive to Gladstonian visitors. But there are none so
blind as those who will not see, none so deaf as those who will not
hear. It is impossible to withhold sympathy with the indignation and
mental anxiety of these industrious men, who have made Dublin what she
is, and whose only notion of happiness is the fulfilment of duty,
their sole means of acquiring wealth or middleclass comfort, hard and
honest work. That the backbone of the city should stand with their
fortunes subject to the will of a few unscrupulous agitators is
indeed, as they say, an inscrutable dispensation of Providence.

Help, however, is at hand. As Hercules hangs backward in their need
they have determined to help themselves. During the Easter recess both
Ireland and England will be made to ring with denunciations of Home
Rule, denunciations uttered for the most part by Irishmen. Orators
will go forth throughout the length and breadth of both islands, with
the object of laying the truth of the matter before the
people--demonstrating the dire results which the most intelligent
almost unanimously predict. There will be no lack of funds--Catholics
and Protestants are subscribing, among the former the grandson of
Daniel O'Connell, the great Liberator of Ireland. Money is literally
pouring into the offices of the Irish Unionist Alliance. Little Roman
Catholic Tralee, in the heart of Kerry, one of the most disturbed
districts, has sent several hundreds. In three weeks the subscriptions
have reached £20,000. That ought to be enough to enable Irish
Unionists not, as one said to me, "to enlighten the English people. We
do not presume to so much. But we will try to let some of the Darkness
out."

Dublin, March 28th.



No. 2.--PANIC AND DISASTER.


The situation is becoming hourly more serious. The over-excited
condition of men's minds is rapidly ripening into a panic. The
impending Second Reading is driving the respectable population of
Ireland into absolute despair. The capital is inundated by men from
all parts of the kingdom anxious to know the worst, running hither and
thither, asking whether, even at the eleventh hour, anything may be
done to avert the dreaded calamity. An eminent solicitor assures me
that during the last four-and-twenty hours a striking change of
opinion has taken place. Red-hot Home Rulers when confronted with the
looming actuality are on all sides abandoning their loudly proclaimed
political opinions. My friend's business--he is, or has been, an
ardent Home Ruler--is chiefly connected with land conveyancing, and he
declares that his office is besieged by people anxious to "withdraw
their charges" on land and house property, that is, to recall their
money advanced on mortgage, however profitable the investment, however
apparently solid the security. He instanced the case of an estate in
Cavan, bearing three mortgages of respectively £1,000, £3,000, and
£4,000, and leaving to the borrower a clear income of £1,700 a year
after all claims were paid. The three lenders are strenuously
endeavouring to realise, the thousand-pounder being prostrate with
affright, but although the investments under normal conditions would
fetch a good premium, not a penny can be raised in any direction. The
lenders are Home Rulers, and eighty per cent. of the population of
Cavan are Roman Catholic.

The same story is heard everywhere, with "damnable iteration." The
cause of charity is suffering severely. The building of additions to
the Rotunda Hospital and the Hospital for Consumptives, at a cost of
twenty thousand pounds, has been definitely abandoned, although
three-quarters of the money has been raised. The building trade is at
a complete standstill. On every hand contracts are thrown up, great
works are put aside. Mr. Kane, High Sheriff of Kildare, declines to
proceed with the building of his new mansion, which was to cost many
thousand pounds. Mr. John Jameson, the eminent distiller, who also
contemplated the construction of a palatial residence, which would
take years to build, has dropped the idea. The project for the
formation of a great Donegal Oyster-bed Company, which long bade fair
to prosper, and to confer a boon on the starving peasantry of the
coast, has been cast to the winds. Among the shoals of similar
occurrences which confront you at every turn, some contain an element
almost of humour. A Dublin architect tells a quaint story of this
kind. It may not be generally known in England that the Roman
Catholics of Ireland can borrow money from John Bull for the erection
of "glebe-houses," at 4 per cent., repayable in 49 years. In a certain
recent case the priest thought the builder's estimate too high, and,
without absolutely declining the contract, intimated that he would
"wait a while." Said the architect, "Better make up your mind before
June, or you may have the Irish Legislature to deal with." This
argument acted like magic. The good Father instantly saw its cogency,
and, like every other patriotic Nationalist whose personal interest is
involved, preferred to place himself in English hands rather than in
those of his own countrymen, and incontinently accepted the contract,
begging the architect to proceed with all haste.

A run on the Post Office Savings Bank threatens to clear out every
penny of Irish money, and why? Because it has dawned on the small
hoarders, the thrifty and industrious members of the lower classes,
that the Post Office is to be transferred to the Irish Legislature. A
friend tells me that yesterday his Catholic cook begged for an
interview. She had money in the Post Office Savings Bank, and
thereanent required advice, asking if it would be safe till to-morrow!
Following up this hint, pregnant with meaning, though delivered in
jest, I found that the feeling of insecurity is spreading like wild
fire, to the intense indignation of those patriots who have no
savings, and who are alive to the fact that under the provisions of
the proposed Act the four millions supposed to be lying in the Post
Office Savings Bank would constitute the entire working capital, as
distinguished from current income, of the College Green Legislature.
The master of a small sub-office told me that the withdrawals at his
little place amounted to £200 per week, rising latterly to £70 per
day, and that it was necessary to get money from London to meet the
demands. Concurrently with this I learn that the Dublin Savings Bank,
an institution managed by merchants of the city, for the encouragement
of thrift, is receiving the money so withdrawn, and this confidence is
explained by the well-known fact that the directors have publicly
declared that on the passing of the Home Rule Bill they will pay 20s.
in the pound and close the bank, in addition to which significant
ultimatum they have, in writing, declared to Mr. Gladstone, that this
course of action is due to the fact that they repudiate the security
of the proposed Irish Legislature. To put the thing in a nutshell it
may be said that not a single Irishman in or out of the country is
willing to trust the Irish Legislature with a single penny of his own
money.

A curious feature of the Nationalist character is the profound
contempt expressed for Nationalist M.P.'s. Englishmen are accustomed
to speak of their own members, representing their own opinions, with
respect. Not so in Dublin. A rabid Nationalist said to me, "I am an
Irishman to the backbone. I am a Home Ruler out-and-out. But do you
think I'd trust my property with either of the two Tims? Do you think
such men as Tim Harrington and Tim Healy are fit to be trusted with
the spending of 2-1/2 millions of money per annum? They have their
job, and they work well at their job, and the Irish people have backed
them up out of pure divilment. 'Tis mighty fine to take a rise out of
John Bull, to harass him, to worry him, to badger him out of his seven
sinses. The half of the voters never were serious, or voted as they
were told by men who expatiated on the wrongs which have been dinned
into them from infancy. But to trust these orators with their money!
Bedad, we're not all out such omadhauns (idiots) as that! Paddy is not
altogether such a fool as he looks."

Although public feeling has suddenly deepened in intensity, the change
has been for some time in progress. I am enabled to state on
irrefragable authority, that Lord Houghton's sudden departure from
Dublin on Sunday week was entirely due to his alarm at the shifting
aspect of affairs, which rendered instant conference with Mr.
Gladstone a matter of urgent necessity. And it should be especially
noted that this change is most apparent not in the Protestant North,
not among the irreconcilable black and heretic Ulsterites, but in
Nationalist Dublin, in the Roman Catholic south--not simply among the
moneyed classes and well-to-do shopkeepers of Dublin, but among the
industrious poor, and the small farmers of the region round about. The
opinions and feelings of the better classes have ever been dead
against the Bill, and the best portion of the poorer people are
assuredly moving in the same direction. That such is the simple fact
is undeniable. It is thrust upon you whether you will or no. You are
compelled to believe it, whatever your political creed. It manifests
itself in a variety of ways. Mr. Love, of Kildare, a landed
proprietor, now in Dublin, says that on Sunday last Dr. Gowing, parish
priest of Kill, denounced Home Rule from the altar, and advised the
people to have none of it.

The Dubliners are beginning to publicly ridicule their Nationalist
members. A bog-oak carving represents a typical Irishman driving a
"conthrairy pig," which is supposed to stand for Tim Harrington. The
interesting animal is deviating from the right way, gazing fixedly at a
milestone which bears the legend, "IX. miles to College Green." His
master gives him a cut of the whip and a jerk of the rope, and thus
addresses the wayward Tim, "Arrah, don't be wastin' yer larnin', radin'
milestones. Ye're not goin' to Dublin--ye're goin' to BRAY!" A Phoenix
Park orator who sang amusing songs finished his appeal for coppers
thus, "Sure, Home Rule is a splindid thing--an iligant thing intirely,
an' a blind man could see the goodness iv it wid his two eyes. Didn't
ye all know Tim Harrington whin he hadn't the price iv his breakfast?
Didn't ye know him whin he would dhrop on his two marrowbones and thank
God for the price of a shmell of calamity-wather" (whiskey). "An' now
look at him! D'ye mind the iligant property he has outside Dublin? An
ye'll all get the like o' that, every bosthoon among yez, av ye get
Home Rule. But yez must sind _me_ to Parlimint. Sure I have ivery
quollification. Wasn't I born among yez? Wasn't I rared among yez?
Don't I know what yez wants? An' didn't I go many a day widout a male?
Aye, that I did, an' could do it again! Sind _me_ to Parlimint, till I
get within whisperin' distance of Misther Gladstone--within whisperin'
distance, d'ye mind me? Ye'll all get lashins of dhrink, an' free
quarthers at the Castle. An' all ye have to do is to pay me, an' pay me
well." Here the speaker laid his finger along his nose and broke into a
comic song having reference to "the broad Atlantic," which he chanted
in a brogue almost as broad as the Atlantic itself.

The better class of vacillating Nationalists are ready to give a
plausible reason for the faith that is in them. You cannot catch an
Irish Home Ruler napping, nor will he admit that he was ever wrong. He
will talk to the average Englishman about Irish rights and Irish
wrongs, Irish virtues and Irish abstinence from crime with a reckless
disregard for truth that can only be born of a firm belief that Irish
newspapers are never read outside Ireland, and will then walk off and
plume himself on the assumption that because he met no point-blank
contradiction he has duped his victim into believing the most absurd
mass of wild misinformation that was ever crammed down the throats of
the most gullible of his rustic countrymen. It must be admitted that
they are shrewd critics of the Bill, of which every individual
citizen, whatever his conviction, has an annotated copy in his
tail-pocket. The Dublin change of front is ascribed to the "insulting
manner in which the Bill is drafted." The Nationalists, one and all,
roundly declare, in terms which admit of no qualification, that the
present bill means no less than separation, and while admitting that
this is their dearest aspiration, declare that England will only have
herself to thank. They complain that the word "Parliament" is never
used in the Bill when referring to the Irish Legislature, but console
themselves with the reflection that the supremacy of Parliament proper
is only mentioned in the preamble, which they rejoice to believe is
not part of the bill, and therefore is not binding in law. The
Treasury clauses they declare to have been drawn by a deadly enemy of
Ireland, but here again they find salvation in the alleged
inconsistency of the various provisions of the bill.

They accept with exceeding great joy the provision which will enable
them to deprive of their property, rights, and privileges all existing
Corporations whether incorporated under Royal Charter or otherwise,
pointing out that this means ownership and control of the Bank of
Ireland, Trinity College, and all the churches and cathedrals, which
hereafter are to be wrested from Protestant hands and devoted to the
propagandism of the Roman Catholic faith; and that the Bill confers
these powers is, they say, made clearly evident by the clause that
places these matters in the hands of an executive "directed by Irish
Act." By virtue of his position they have already nominated Archbishop
Walsh on this executive, with other ecclesiastics of like kidney. This
they admit is a good mouthful, but they scornfully assert that while
Mr. Gladstone has left them income-tax to pay, he has also loaded them
with the Post Office, a Greek gift, which under the best English
management is worked at a loss of fifty thousand pounds a year! The
two Home Rulers who in my hearing so ruthlessly dissected the Bill
made merry over the clause which excludes the Irish Government from
all control of the "foreign mails or submarine telegraphs or
through-lines in connection therewith," pouring on the unhappy
sentence whole cataracts of ridicule. "We have the thing in our hands,
and we are not to control its working," said they. "The cable between
England and America passes through Ireland, will be worked by our
servants, by people who will look to us as their paymasters, and we
are to have no control!" The preposterous absurdity of the notion
tickled the entire company. "But if England does not please us, can we
not cut the cable? Can we not order our own paid servants to cease
transmitting messages, or to transmit only such as have survived the
inspection of the accredited officials of the Irish people?" It was
thought that this was reasonable and a possible, nay a probable
conjuncture, and might be used as a weapon to damage English trade.
"Let them go round or lay another cable," said one patriot.

This sort of discussion, more or less reasonable, is everywhere heard,
and should be of some value in indicating the use Irishmen expect to
make of the Act. Not a single friendly syllable, not a word of
amicable fellowship with England, not a scintilla of gratitude for
favours past or to come, nothing but undisguised animosity, and a
fixed resolution to make every clause of the Act a battlefield. I
speak that I do know and testify that I have seen. My personal
relations with the Irish people have been and continue to be of the
most gratifying kind. In the homes of the highest, in the great
manufactories, even in the lowest slums I have seen much that is
attractive in the Irish character--much that excites warm interest,
and is calculated to attach you to the people. I have conversed with
scores of Home Rulers of all shades, and to the query as to whether
ultimate separation is hoped for, I have received an invariable
affirmative. True it is that the answer varied in terms from the blunt
"Yes" of the uncompromising man to the more or less veiled assent of
the more cautious, but the result was in substance ever the same. Talk
about the Union of Hearts, the pacification of Ireland, the brotherly
love that is to ensue, and the Unionists turn away with undissembled
impatience, the Home Rulers with a chuckle and a sneer. As well tell
reasonable Irishmen that the world is flat, or that a straight line
between two given points is the longest, or that the sun moves round
the moon, or any other inane absurdity contrary to the evidence of
science and their senses. The English Gladstonians who babble about
brotherly love and conciliation should move about Dublin in disguise.
Disguise would in their case be necessary to get at the truth, for
Paddy is a shrewd trickster, and delights in humbugging this species
of visitor, whom he calls "the slobbering Saxon." Then if they would
return and still vote for Home Rule they are no less than traitors to
their country and enemies to their fellow-country men.

The weather is very fine, and the fashionable resorts are fairly well
frequented, but trade daily grows worse. Wholesale houses, says a high
authority, are "not dull, but stone dead." The pious Irish fast and
pray during the week, and the great Roman Catholic Retreat at Milltown
is crowded to the limits of its accommodation. The ladies wear a kind
of half-mourning, a stylish sort of reminder of original sin.
Sackcloth and ashes in Catholic Dublin consist of fetching brown,
grey, or tan costumes, set off with huge bunches of fragrant violets,
tied with a bow the exact shade of the flower, or a dull shade of
purple, a sort of Lenten lugubriousness particularly becoming to
blonde penitents. The ladies are indefatigable in their efforts
against Home Rule, and one distinguished canvasser for signatures to
the Roman Catholic petition has been warned by the police, as she
values her life, to leave Dublin for a time. The ruffian class,
needless to say, has undergone no change, but still demands the bill,
and this delicate lady, for years foremost in every good and
charitable work, is driven from her home by threatening letters--that
accursed resort to anonymous intimidation which so discredits the
Irish claim to superior courage and chivalry. The Catholics of Dublin
are signing numerously, but the number of signatories by no means
represents the opponents of the Bill.

Englishmen cannot be brought to realise for one moment the system of
terrorism and intimidation which prevails even in the very heart of
the capital. Parnellite spies are everywhere and know everything, and
woe to the helpless man who dares to have a mind of his own. And not
only are the poor coerced and deprived of the liberty of the subject,
but the wealthiest manufacturers--men whose firms are of the greatest
magnitude--will caution you against using their names in connection
with anything that could give a clue to their real sentiments. This
difficulty arises everywhere and information can only be extracted
after a promise that its source shall never be disclosed. The priests
are credited with unheard-of influence among the poor. "At the present
moment the ruffians are held in leash. The order has gone forth that
pending the Home Rule debate they are to 'be good.' But if I sign that
petition, although here in Dublin, the thing would be known at Tralee,
200 miles away, before I reached home--and a hundred to one that the
first blackguard that passed would put a match in my thatch, would
burn my stacks, would hough or mutilate my cattle." The speaker was a
Roman Catholic farmer from Kerry. Mr. Morley, in stating that the
prosecution of the Rev. Robert Eager had ceased and determined, was
utterly wrong. The rector's cousin, Mr. W.J. Eager, also of Tralee,
told me that threatening letters with coffins and cross-bones were
still pouring in in profusion. Mr. Eager was calmly requested to give
up land which he had held for 15 years to a man who had previously
rented it, and as the good parson failed to see the force of this
argument he is threatened with a violent death. In England such a
thing could only happen in a pantomime, but some of the Irish think it
the quintessence of reasonable action. These are the class that
support the Bill; these are the men Mr. Gladstone and his
conglomeration of cranks and faddists hope to satisfy. A brilliant
kind of prospect for poor John Bull.

Mr. John Morley should accompany me in my peregrinations among the
intelligent voters who have placed him and his great chief in power,
along with the galaxy of minor stars which rise with the Grand Man's
rising and set at his setting. "The British Government won't allow us
to work the gold mines in the Wicklow mountains. Whin we get the Bill
every man can take a shpade, an' begorra! can dig what he wants." "The
Phaynix Park is all cramfull o' coal that the Castle folks won't allow
us to dig, bad scran to them. Whin we get the Bill wu'll sink thim
mines an' send the Castle to Blazes." But the quaintest, the funniest,
the most sweetly ingenuous of the lot was the reason given by a
gentleman of patriarchal age and powerful odour, whom I encountered in
Hamilton's Lane. He said, "Ye see, Sorr, this is the way iv it. 'Tis
the Americans we'll look to, by raison that they're mostly our own
folks. They're powerful big invintors, but bedad, they haven't the
wather power to work the invintions. Now _we_ have the wather power,
an' the invintions 'll be brought over here to be worked. An' that'll
give the poor folks imploymint."

The poor man's ignorance was doubtless dense, his credulity amusing,
his childlike simplicity interesting. But the darkness of his
ignorance was no blacker, the extent of his credulity no more amazing,
than the ignorance and credulity of English Gladstonian speakers, who,
with a Primitive Methodist accent and a Salvation Army voice,
proclaim, with a Bible twang, their conviction that Home Rule means
the friendship of Ireland.

Dublin, March 30th.



No. 3.--ULSTER'S PREPARATIONS FOR WAR.


Ulster will fight, and fight to the death. The people have taken a
resolution--deep, stern, and irrevocable. Outwardly they do not seem
so troubled as the Dubliners. They are quiet in their movements,
moderate in their speech. They show no kind of alarm, for they know
their own strength, and are fully prepared for the worst. They speak
and act like men whose minds are made up, who will use every
Constitutional means of maintaining their freedom, and, these failing,
will take the matter in their own strong hands. Meanwhile they
preserve external calm, and systematically make their arrangements. If
ever they went through a talking stage, that is now over. They have
passed the time of discussion, and are preparing for action. If ever
they showed heat, that period also is past. They have reached the cold
stage, in which men act on ascertained principles and not in the
frenzy of passion. There is nothing hysterical about the Belfast men.
They are by no means the kind of people who run hither and thither
wringing their hands. Neither are they men who will sit down under
oppression. And oppression is what they expect from a Dublin
Government. Mr. Gladstone and his tribe may pooh-pooh this notion, but
the feeling in Ulster is strong and immovable. The tens of thousands
of Protestants thickly scattered over other provinces feel more
strongly still; as well they may, for they have not the numbers, the
organisation, the unity which is strength, that characterise the
province of Ulster. They hold that Home Rule is at the bottom a
religious movement, that by circuitous methods, and subterranean
strategy, the religious re-conquest of the island is sought; that the
ignorant peasantry, composing the large majority of the electorate,
are entirely in the hands of the priests, and that these black swarms
of Papists have a congenital hatred of England, which must bring about
separation. These are the opinions of thousands of eminent men whose
ability is beyond argument, who have lived all their lives on the
spot, who from childhood have had innumerable facilities for knowing
the truth, whose interests are bound up with the prosperity of
Ireland, and who, on every ground, are admittedly the best judges.
Said Mr. Albert Quill, the Dublin barrister:--

"Mr. Gladstone, who in eighty-four years has spent a week in Ireland,
puts aside Sir Edward Harland, who has built a fleet of great ships in
an Irish port, and sneers at the opinion of the Belfast deputation who
have lived all their lives in Ireland." A Roman Catholic Unionist, an
eminent physician, said to me:--

"I fear that Catholicism would ultimately lose by the change, although
at first it would undoubtedly obtain a strong ascendant. The bulk of
the Irish Catholics have a deep animosity to the English people, whom
they regard as heretics, and the Protestants of Ireland would in
self-defence be compelled to band themselves together, for underneath
the specious surface of the Home Rule movement are the teeth and claws
of the tiger. Persecution would follow separation, which is inevitable
if the present bill be carried. A Dublin Parliament would make a
Protestant's life a burden. This would react in time, and Catholicism
would suffer in the long run. And for this reason, amongst others, I
am against Home Rule."

But what are the Belfast men doing? _Imprimis_ they are working in
what may be called the regular English methods. Unionist clubs are
springing up in all directions. The Earl of Ranfurly opened three in
one evening, and others spring up almost every day. The Ulster
Anti-Repeal and Loyalist Association will during the month of April
hold over three hundred meetings in England, all manned by competent
speakers. The Irish Unionist Association and the Conservative
Association are likewise doing excellent work, which is patent to
everybody. But other associations which do not need public offices are
flourishing like green bay trees, and their work is eminently
suggestive. By virtue of an all-powerful introduction, I yesterday
visited what may be called the Ulster war department, and there saw
regular preparation for an open campaign, the preliminaries for which
are under eminently able superintendence. The tables are covered with
documents connected with the sale and purchase of rifles and munitions
of war. One of them sets forth the particulars of a German offer of
245,000 Mauser rifles, the arm last discarded by the Prussian
Government, with 50,000,000 cartridges. As the first 150,000 Mausers
were manufactured by the National Arms and Ammunition Company,
Sparkbrook, Birmingham, it may be interesting to record that the
quoted price was 16s. each, the cartridges being thrown in for
nothing. Another offer referred to 149,000 stand of arms, with
30,000,000 cartridges. A third document, the aspect of which to a
native of Brum was like rivers of water in a thirsty land, was said to
have been summarily set aside by reason of the comparative antiquity
of the excellent weapon offered, notwithstanding the tempting lowness
of the quoted price.

A novel and unexpected accession of information was the revelation of
a deep and sincere sympathy among the working men of England, who,
with gentlemen of position and rifle volunteers by hundreds and
thousands, are offering their services in the field, should civil war
ensue. The letters were shown to me, all carefully filed, and
sufficient liberty was permitted to enable me to be satisfied as to
the tenour of their contents. Among the more important was a short
note from a distinguished personage, offering a contribution of £500,
with his guarantee of a force of two hundred men. This also was from
England, a fact which the scoffers at Ulster will do well to read,
mark, learn, and inwardly digest. The guarantee fund for the first
campaign now amounts to nearly a million and a half, which the best
financial authority of Belfast tells me is "as good as the Bank of
England." What the Dublin police-sergeant said of John Bull may also
be said of the Ulsterman--"He may have faults, but--he Pays!" Funds
for current purposes are readily forthcoming, £50,000 being already in
hand, while promises of a whole year's income seem thick as autumnal
leaves in Vallombrosa. No means is left untried, no stone is left
unturned to render abortive what the dry and caustic Northerners call
the Home Ruin Bill, or the Bill for the _Bitter_ Government of
Ireland.

Moving hourly among people accurately and minutely acquainted with the
local position, you cannot fail to be struck by the marvellous
unanimity with which all Irish Unionists predict the exact result of
such a bill as constitutes the present bone of contention, and their
precise agreement as to concerted action should the crisis arise. They
ridicule the English notion that they intend to take the field at
once. Nothing of the kind. They will await the imposition of taxes by
a Dublin Parliament, and will steadfastly refuse to pay. The money
must then be collected by force of arms, that is, by the Royal Irish
Constabulary, who will be met by men who under their very noses are
now becoming expert in battalion drill, having mastered company drill,
with manual and firing exercise; and whose numbers--I love to be
particular--amount to the respectable total of one hundred and
sixty-four thousand six hundred and fourteen, all duly enrolled and
pledged to act together anywhere and at any time, most of them already
well armed, and the remainder about to be furnished with splendid and
effective weapons, which before this appears in print will have been
landed from a specially chartered steamer, and instantly distributed
from a spot I am forbidden to indicate, by an organisation specially
created for the purpose.

All these particulars--and more--were furnished by gentlemen of high
position and unimpeachable integrity, whose statements, of themselves
sufficient, were abundantly confirmed by the exhibition under
restrictive pledges, of undeniable documentary proofs, with partial
but satisfactory glimpses of the work actually in hand. No vapouring
here, no breathless haste, not a suspicion of excitement. Nothing but
a cold, emotionless, methodical, business-like precision, a
well-considered series of commercial transactions, conducted by men
specially acquainted with the articles required and regularly trained
to office routine. English Home Rulers, unable to see a yard in front
of them, whose training and instincts are of the goody-goody, milk and
water type,--the lily-livered weaklings, who measure the courage of
others by their own,--may be excused their inability to conceive the
situation. They cannot understand the dour, unyielding spirit of the
Ulsterman in a matter which affects his property, his religion, his
freedom. A party backboneless as the Globerigina ooze, and, like that
sub-Atlantic production, only held together by its own sliminess, must
ever fail to realise the grit which means resistance, sacrifice,
endurance; cannot grasp the outlines of the Ulster character and
spirit, which resemble those which actuated the Scottish Covenanters,
the Puritan army of Cromwell, or even--and this illustration should be
especially grateful to Gladstonians--the Dutch Boers of the Transvaal.

But although the surface is placid the depths are turbulent. If Dublin
is simmering, Belfast is boiling. The breed is different. The
Northerner is not demonstrative, is slow to anger, but being moved is
not easily appeased. The typical Irishman, with his cutaway coat, his
pipe stuck in his conical caubeen, his "sprig of shillelagh," or
bludgeon the Donnybrook Fair hero who "shpinds half a-crown, Mates wid
a frind An' (for love) knocks him down" is totally unknown in these
regions. The men who by their ability and industry have lifted Ireland
out of the slough, given her prosperity and comparative affluence,
marched hand in hand with the English people, have only seen, with
wonder, the rollicking Kelt, devoid of care, forethought, and
responsibility, during their trips to the South and West--or wherever
Home Rulers most do congregate. Strange it is, but perfectly true,
that in most cases an Irishman's politics may be determined by outward
and visible signs, so plain that he who runs may read. In Dundalk,
which should be a thriving port, you see in and around the town long
rows of low thatch-covered cabins, with putrid dunghills
"convaynient," dirty, half-fed, barefooted children, and--magnificent
Catholic churches. Home Rule rules the roost. As you move northwards,
the symptoms of poverty gradually disappear. Scarva, the annual
meeting ground of 5,000 to 10,000 Orangemen, who on July 13, the day
after the anniversary of the battle of the Boyne, fight the battle
o'er again, with a King William and a King James, mounted respectively
on their regulation white and bay chargers--Scarva is neat, clean and
civilised. Bessbrook, the Quaker colony, is, as might be expected, a
model community. Lurgan is well built, smart, trim, and delightful, a
wealthy manufacturing place with the general aspect of Leamington. As
the train steamed into the station an American traveller took a
general survey of the district, and said to the general company--

"I reckon this is a Unionist place."

A fierce-looking man from Dundalk admitted the soft impeachment.

"Thought so. Can spot a Home Rule town far off as I can see it. Mud
huts, whitewashed cabins with no upstairs, muck-heaps, and bad fences.
Can spot a Home Ruler as far as I can see him. Darned if I couldn't
track him by scent, like a foxhound. That's the rank and file--very
rank, I should say, most of them. And old J. Bull concludes to let the
dunghill folks, powerful lazy beggars they seem, come top-sawyer over
the fellows that built a place like this, eh?"

The Newry man, taking off his hat, revealing a head of hair like a
disorderly halo, took from the lining a little paper which called upon
the Irish peasantry to remember their wrongs, referred to the time
when Englishmen could murder Irishmen with impunity, stated that the
thing had often been done, and called upon every male from fifteen to
fifty to enrol himself in the Irish Independent Army--referring to the
Protestants as "a cruel and bloody minority." The Yankee returned the
bill contemptuously.

"You think this a question of counting noses. Now, I'm a sympathiser
of Home Rule, but if I was J.B. it would be different. I'm hanged if I
would not stick to my clean, clever, faithful friends, though they
were outnumbered by twenty to one. An' I'm a Republican, mind ye that.
Ye might ask me to put the muck-heap men at the head of affairs--ye
might ask till doomsday, but ye'd never get it. An' any man's a fool
that would do it."

A placard announcing the formation of an Irish Army of Independence,
and calling on the people to enrol themselves, has been extensively
circulated, and it is said that the Roman Catholics, like the
Protestants, are industriously drilling, north, south, east and west.
I am careful to use the term Protestants, as the force available is
drawn from the general body of Nonconformists. Orangemen are members
of the Church of Ireland, and have always been regarded as
Conservative. On the contrary, Presbyterians and Methodists are
considered to be advanced Liberals, and herein lies a popular English
fallacy--Gladstonians often refer to the Orange agitation against the
disestablishment of the Irish Church, which they would fain compare
with the present opposition to Home Rule, forgetting or ignoring the
fact that the strength of Ulster resides in the Nonconformist bodies,
and that these were all in favour of disestablishment, leaving the
Orangemen in a hopeless minority. Now, however, the Nonconformists
have joined their forces with those of the Orange bodies, which
creates a very different aspect of affairs. The English Home Rulers
say the opposition will end in smoke. It is said that the most insane
are sometimes wiser than they dream, just as liars sometimes speak
truth by accident. The movement will end in smoke, but it will be the
smoke of battle. Every man who supports the Home Rule Bill incurs the
stigma of blood-guiltiness. The bill that succeeds Home Rule will be
the Butchers' Bill. No doubt Mr. Gladstone will explain away the
"painful occurrences which we all deplore," and will endeavour to
transfer the blame to other shoulders. His talent for explanation is
unapproachable, but unhappily he cannot explain the slain to life
again.

In a former letter I pointed out how cleverly the Nationalists dissect
the bill, how they point out that its proposals are insulting to
Ireland, how they prove that its provisions are inconsistent and
unworkable, how they propose to discount the trumpery restrictions and
the gimcrack "safeguards" of the proposed measure, how in short, they
tear the bill to rags, laugh its powers to scorn, and hold its authors
in high derision. The Belfast men do not discuss the bill, do not
examine it clause by clause, do not quibble over the purport of this
or the probable effect of that, do not ask how the customs are to be
collected, or who is to pay for this, that, or the other. They descend
to no details, enter into no particulars, point out no minor
fallacies, argue no questions of the ultimate effect of any one
section of the bill. They reject the measure as a whole. The principle
is bad, radically rotten, and cannot be amended. With the Home Rulers
they agree that the bill means Separation, and therefore they put it
away _en bloc_. They will have no part with the unclean thing, but
cast it to the winds, bundle it out neck and crop, kick it downstairs,
treat it with immeasurable contempt. They are well versed in the broad
principles of Constitutional law, as it at present exists; will tell
you that the Irish Constabulary is the only force that can be brought
against them for the collection of the taxes, which they will
absolutely refuse; declare that the military can only be used against
them for this purpose by Act of Parliament; cite the preamble of the
Army Bill, which shows that there is no standing army, but only a
force renewed in its functions from year to year; show that the
monarch has ceased to be generalissimo of the British troops since
such a year, refer to the sad case of Charles I., who would fain have
collected Ship-money from a certain John Hampden, and endeavoured to
use the English army for this laudable purpose, meeting a fate at once
horrible and instructive. Then comes the application. Similar causes,
say they, will bring about similar effects, and if the quality and
temper of the people be considered their arguments seem reasonable.

The Irish army of Independence is already a subject of mockery. "Ten
of our men would make a hundred of them run like hares. On the 27th
ult. a party of Orangemen were fired upon near Stewartstown, and
although unarmed they stormed the hill whence came the shots, while
the heroic riflemen who had fired 14 bullets, luckily without effect,
showed that if too cowardly to fight, they were not too lazy to run."
This occurrence, of which I had the description from authority, would
have excited some attention in England, but here it is lightly passed
over as nothing exceptional. "We are holding back our men. The other
party are egging us on to outbreak, in the hope that our cause will be
discredited, and that Lord Salisbury's visit in May might be
hindered." There is a mutual repugnance between the two peoples, but
the character of the repulsion is different. The Roman Catholics
manifest an unmistakable hatred--the term is no whit too strong--a
hatred of the social and intellectual superiority of their
fellow-countrymen, who in turn look upon the Catholics (as a whole)
with mistrust, mingled with contempt. As well ask Brother Jonathan to
submit to the rule of the negro, as well ask the London trader to put
his interests in the hands of a Seven Dials' syndicate, as well ask
Mr. Gladstone and his followers to listen to reason or to talk common
sense, as to expect the powerful and influential Protestants of
Belfast and Ulster generally to entrust their future to a Legislature
elected by the most illiterate electorate in the three kingdoms, and
under the thumb of the priests--who wield a despotic power which
people in England cannot be made to understand. A short time ago the
Dublin Freemasons held a bazaar in aid of a charity whose object was
the complete care of orphan children. The Catholic Archbishop
immediately fulminated a decree that whosoever patronised the show
would incur the terrors of the church, which means that they would
perish everlastingly. Some poor folks, servant girls and porters and
the like, who were sent by their mistresses or called by their honest
avocations, dared to enter the accursed precincts, and emerging alive,
rushed to confession, that the leprosy of Masonic charity might be
washed from their souls by absolution.

Absolution was refused. The wretched outcasts were referred to the
Bishop, who in this dire emergency had sole power to unlock the gates
of heaven. Do English people know what an Irish Catholic feels when
refused absolution? I trow not, and that therefore they cannot justly
estimate the power of the priests. Another illustration. A friend of
mine made some purchases and sent a man for them, one of five hundred
Catholics in his employ. The poor fellow halted two hundred yards from
the contaminating circle, and by the aid of a policeman, got the
parcel brought to him--without risking his immortal soul.

The bazaar realised twenty-two thousand pounds.

The Ireland of the harp and vesper bell, free from the dominion of
England, having the prestige of an independent Catholic State, the
Ireland of excommunication by bell, book, and candle, the Ireland of
the priest and Pope--that, and no other, according to Ulstermen, is
the ultimate end of Home Rule. They will have none of it, their
determination is announced, and they will stand by what they say. From
what I have seen and heard I am convinced that Ulster means business,
and also has the power to win. The Irish Unionists are worthy
co-partners in the great fight, and Englishmen should stand with them
shoulder to shoulder. But with or without English aid, Ulster may be
trusted to hold its own.

Belfast, April 1st.



No. 4.--MR. BALFOUR'S WELCOME.


Arriving in the northern capital from Dublin you are apt to experience
a kind of chill, akin to that felt by the boy of easy-going parents
who, visiting the house of a staid and sober uncle, said to his little
cousins, "At home we can fight with pillows, and let off crackers in
the kitchen, and ride on the poker and tongs across the dining-room
tables, and shy oranges at the chimney ornaments, and cut the sofas
and pull out the stuffing, but here we get no fun at all!" The
effervescence of the sunny south is conspicuous by its absence, and be
it observed that the political south and the geographical south of
Ireland are entirely different, the Ulstermen invariably using the
term to denote an imaginary line across the country just above
Dundalk. The mention of this town reminds me of a Cork commercial
traveller's description of the Dundalk festivities in connection with
the visit of our famous citizen, Mr. Egan, on the occasion of his
release--"There was a murtherin' big crowd o' the greatest ruffians ye
ever clapped your two eyes on. Some o' them had long sticks with a
lump o' tow on the end, steeped in petroleum or something equally
inflammable, an' whin they got the word to march--the hero was in a
brake--they lit up and walked away in procession without looking at
him at all, or taking any notice of him, which was moighty strange, I
thought. They went on an' on, a lot o' rapscallions ye wouldn't like
to meet in a lonely lane, and whin the brake stopped, for some reason
or other, the whole o' them were unconscious of it, an' marched on
without the grate man, leaving him an' his brake alone. I had the
curiosity to go to the meetin'. There were two factions in the town,
an' only one of them was riprisinted, the others stood aloof. They are
at daggers drawn, flyin' at each other's throat, although Catholics
and Home Rulers, an' this meetin' was the funniest thing at all! The
chairman was a common fellow that made money some way, an' ye may say
he liked to hear himself spake. An' be the powdhers o' war, he had the
convaniences for speech-makin', for he had a jaw like a bulldog, an' a
mouth on him ye couldn't span with your two hands." Further
description proceeded in the same strain, and even allowing for the
exuberancies of my friend's southern imagination, and his wide command
of figurative language, this account of the kind of people who
constitute ninety-nine hundredths of Mr. Gladstone's allies should
give Home Rulers pause.

There is no lack of enthusiasm here, but the people mind their work,
and do not bubble over every five minutes. They certainly showed
warmth on Monday morning, and never was popular ruler, victorious
general, or famous statesman welcomed with more spontaneous burst of
popular acclaim. York Street was literally full of all classes of
people, save and except the typical Irish poor. Of the tens of
thousands who filled Royal Avenue, Donegal Place, and the broad road
to the North Counties Railway, I saw none poorly clad. All were well
dressed, orderly, respectable, and wonderfully good-humoured, besides
being the tallest and best-grown people I have ever seen in a fairly
extensive European experience. I was admitted to the station with a
little knot, comprising the Marquess of Ormonde, Lord Londonderry, the
gigantic Dr. Kane, head of the Ulster Orangemen, and Colonel
Saunderson, full as ever of fun and fight. It was at first intended to
keep the people outside, and a strong detachment of police guarded the
great gates, but in vain. They were swept away by mere pressure, and
the people occupied the place to the number of many thousands, mostly
wearing primroses. As the train steamed in there was a tremendous rush
and cheering--genuine British cheering, such as that with which
Birmingham used on great occasions to greet John Bright--rendering
almost inaudible the numerous explosions of fog-signals which perhaps
by way of salute had been placed at the entrance to the station. There
was a mocking shout of "Dynamite," followed by a roar of laughter, and
despite the frantic efforts of the railway men, who humanely struggled
to avoid the seemingly impending sacrifices _à la_ Juggernaut, the
more active members of the crowd storming the train, instantly sprang
aloft and manned the tops of the carriages with a solid mass of
vociferating humanity. Soon Mr. Balfour's face appeared, and a moment
after he was standing amidst the throng, swayed hither and thither by
loyalists who shook his hands, patted him on the back, deafened him
with their cheers. Out came the horses, dashing through the people,
snorting and plunging like so many Gladstonians, but happily injuring
no one. In went the men, Mr. Balfour laughing merrily, and looking
uncommonly fit, lifting his soft brown hat in mute recognition of the
magnificent welcome accorded by men who are perhaps among the most
competent judges of his merit as a benefactor of Ireland. Away went
the carriage, amid tumultuous shouting of "No Home Rule," and "God
save the Queen." This went on for miles, from the Northern Counties'
Terminus to Victoria Street, when Lord Londonderry signalled to
quicken the pace, and after a short speech at the Albert Memorial, the
_cortége_ disappeared over the bridge, and I returned to meet the
English working men who arrived an hour later. Splendid it was to hear
the six hundred miners from Newcastle-on-Tyne shouting "Old Ireland
for ever!" while the generous Irishmen responded with "Rule Britannia"
and cheers for Old England. Cheers for Belfast and Newcastle
alternated with such stentorian vigour, each side shouting for the
other, that you might have been excused for imagining that the Union
of Hearts was an accomplished fact, and that brotherly love had begun
and must ever continue. Said a miner, "We're all surprised to see that
the people here are just like Englishmen. An' I'm blest if they aren't
more loyal than the English themselves."

From Monday morning the city has been resounding with beat of drum and
the shrill sounds of the fife. The houses are swathed in bunting, and
the public buildings were already covered with banners when I arrived
on Friday last. This, however is not characteristic Belfast form. The
Belfasters _can_ rejoice, and whatever they do, is thoroughly done,
but work is their vocation, as befits their grave and sober mood. They
are great at figures, and by them they try to show that they, and not
the Dubliners, should be first considered. They are practical, and
although not without sentiment, avoid all useless manifestation of
mere feeling. They are mainly utilitarian, and prefer mathematical
proof, on which they themselves propose to rely, in proving their
case. Here is an instance. A Belfast accountant, who is also a public
officer, has collected a number of comparative figures on which he
bases the claims of Belfast to prior consideration. The figures are
certainly exact, and are submitted as evidence of the superior
business management, and larger, keener capacity of Protestant Belfast
as compared with those of Catholic Dublin. Beginning with the
functions of the Dublin Lord Mayor, secretary, and so forth, which
cost £4,967 a year, it is shown that the same work in Belfast--which
is rather larger than Dublin--costs only £176. Let us tabulate a few
representative cases:--

                                                   Dublin.   Belfast.

Mayor, &c.                                           £4,967       £176
Town Clerk, secretaries of committees, law agents     5,659      2,752
Treasurer, accountants, stock registrar               3,402      2,168
Fire Brigade, salaries and lighting                   3,616      1,247
Coroners, sanitary officials                          3,530      1,310
Wages of sanitary staff                               2,233      1,130
Surveyors (borough & waterworks) and Secretaries      6,070      4,472
Clerks of Peace and Revision Officers                 2,451      1,552
                                                     ------     ------
                 Totals                             £31,928    £14,807


This discrepancy is everywhere observable. The Dublin Gas
Management costs £14,850 against £8,060 in Belfast, with the
result that the Ulster City Gasworks yielded in 1891 a profit of
£27,105, charging 2s. 9d., while the Dubliners charge 3s. 6d. and
make no profit at all. The Belfast markets yield a profit of about
£3,500, while on the Dublin markets and abattoir there was a
deficit of £3,012 to be made good by the ratepayers. Dublin, with
property amounting to £20,000 a year and old-established Royal
bounties, owes nearly twice as much as Belfast, which latter city
spends more on what may be called the advance of civilisation.
In 1892 Belfast spent £8,000 on a public park--Government
providing for this matter in Dublin--£5,686 on public libraries,
and £4,100 on baths and workhouses, against £1,217 and £1,627
for like purposes in Dublin. "Therefore," say the Belfast men,
"we will not have our affairs managed by these incompetent men,
who, besides their demonstrated incapacity to deal with finance, are
dependent for their position on the illiterates of the agricultural
districts, who are to a man under the thumb of the priests, and who,
moreover, have shown that their rapacity is equal to their lack of
integrity, and whose leading doctrine is the repudiation of lawful
contracts," a point on which commercial Ulster is excessively severe.
One thing is certain--Ulster will never pay taxes levied by an Irish
Legislature in which Ulster would be utterly swamped. All classes
are of this opinion, from the Earl of Ranfurly, who during a long
interview repeatedly expressed his conviction that the passing of
any Home Rule Bill would be fraught with most lamentable results,
to the humble trimmer of a suburban hedge who, having admitted
that he was from the county Roscommon, and (therefore) a Catholic
Home Ruler, claimed to know the Ulster temper in virtue of 28
years' residence in or near Belfast, and said--

"What they say they mane, an' the divil himself wouldn't tur-r-n thim.
Ah, but they're a har-r-d-timpered breed, ivery mother's son o' them.
Ye can comether (gammon) a Roscommon man, but a Bilfast man,
whillaloo!" He stopped in sheer despair of finding words to express
the futility of attempting to take in a Belfast man. "An' whin ye ax
thim for taxes, an' they say they won't pay--ye might jist as well
whistle jigs to a milestone! 'Tis thrue what I tell ye."

As for to-day, the magnificence of the pageant beggars description.
Whether regarded from a scenic point of view or with respect to
numbers and enthusiasm, never since Belfast was Belfast has the city
looked upon a sight approaching it. From early morning brass bands and
fife bands commenced to enter the city from every point of the
compass, and wherever you turned the air resounded with the inspiring
rattle of the drum. Monday's display of bunting was sufficiently
lavish to suggest the impossibility of exhibiting any more, but the
Belfasters accomplished the feat, and the bright sunshine on the
brilliant colours of the myriad banners was strongly reminiscent of
Paris _en fête_ under the Empire. The Belfast streets are long,
straight, and wide, and mostly intersect at right angles. Much of the
concourse was thus visible from any moderate coign of vantage, and
from the Grand Stand in Donegal Place the sight was truly wonderful.
The vast space, right, left, and front, was from 10 o'clock closely
packed with a mighty multitude that no man could number, and
locomotion became every moment so painful as to threaten total
stagnation. The crowd was eminently respectable and perfectly orderly,
and submitted to the passage of innumerable musical organisations with
charming good humour. Never have I seen or heard of such an assemblage
of bands, all uniformed, all preceded by gorgeous banners bearing all
kinds of loyal and party mottoes, all marching in splendid military
fashion, and of themselves numerous enough to furnish a very
considerable demonstration. Many of the tunes were of a decidedly
martial character, and strange to English ears, such as the "Boyne
Water," the "Orange Lily" and the "Protestant Boys," the last being a
version of the "Lillibulero" so often mentioned by Scott. All these
tunes, more or less distasteful to Nationalists, were interspersed
with others less debatable, such as "Rule Britannia," "The Old Folks
at Home," "The Last Rose of Summer," "God Save the Queen," and "See
the Conquering Hero comes," which last generally accompanied the
portrait of Orange William, the "Glorious, Pious, and Immortal,"
mounted on his famous white charger, which noble animal is depicted in
the attitude erroneously believed to be peculiar to that of Bonaparte
when crossing the Alps. The Earl of Beaconsfield was also to the fore
with primroses galore; indeed, the favourite flower was invariably
worn by the ladies, who were greatly in evidence. "Our God, our
Country, and our Empire" was the motto over Mr. Balfour, with a huge
"Welcome" in white on scarlet ground, the whole surrounded by immense
Union Jacks. The familiar red, white, and blue bore the brunt of the
decorative responsibilities, although here and there the green flag of
Ireland hung cheek by jowl with the English standard, emphasising the
friendliness of the present Union. As time went on the crowd became
more and more dense, and a breathless pressman, who reached his post
at twelve o'clock, stated that the seething myriads of Donegal Place
and the adjacent streets were "hardly a circumstance" to what he had
seen in the York Road, where the people awaited the hero of the hour.
Things were getting serious at 12.15, and then it was that the active
members of the crowd swarmed on the railings, balancing themselves in
most uncomfortable situations, and maintaining their spiky seats with
a tenacious martyrdom which spoke volumes for the determination of the
Ulster character.

On and ever on went the bands in seemingly endless procession,
although merely assembling for the great march past, and therefore
only a fraction of the impending multitude. Some enterprising men
climbed the trees bordering the square, driving away the little flocks
of sparrows which till then had conducted a noisy committee meeting
in the branches, heedless of the drumming and general uproar, but
which now dispersed without so much as a vote of thanks to the chair.
At 12.30 a foam of white faces broke over the roofs of the lofty
buildings around, protected by stone balustrades. At the same moment a
shout of "They are coming" was heard, followed fey a thunderous roar
of cheering. Mr. Balfour slowly emerged from York Road, amid immense
acclamation, his carriage, piloted by the Corporation, moving inch by
inch through the solid mass with inconceivable difficulty. Over and
over again the line of vehicles stopped dead, and it was clear that
the horses had much trouble to maintain their gravity. As the carriage
with Sir Daniel Dixon (the Lord Mayor of Belfast), Sir Samuel Black
(Town Clerk), and Lord Londonderry neared the Grand Stand, the
pressmen agreed that nothing equal to this demonstration had ever
before been held within the British Islands. Mr. Balfour having gained
the platform the procession proper commenced, headed by the banner of
the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, while the people broke into a
chorus, asserting that Britons never, never shall be slaves.

This at 12.35 precisely. Next came the Belfast Water Commissioners,
the Belfast Board of Guardians, the provincial Corporate bodies, and
the provincial Boards of Guardians. A tremendous tumult of voices
accompanied all these, but when the Trinity College graduates arrived
the din became overpowering. Their standard was halted opposite Mr.
Balfour, and the young fellows burst into wild and uncontrollable
enthusiasm. The medical students of Queen's College, Belfast, with the
_alumni_ of the Methodist and Presbyterian College succeeding, gave
"God Save the Queen" with great vigour, and came in a close second;
but nothing quite touched the Trinity College men. The Scottish
Unionist clubs, a fine body, two thousand strong, confirmed the
statement that Scots who understand the situation are against Home
Rule. Most of these men work in the shipbuilding yards of Belfast. The
Belfast Unionist Clubs and the Provincial Unionist Clubs were, of
course, heartily greeted, returning the applause with interest, and
the Independent Order of Rechabites showed that their alleged
exclusive partiality for cold water had not diminished their lung
power. The British Order of Ancient Free Gardeners, the Loyal Order of
Ancient Shepherds, and the Independent Order of Oddfellows reminded
the Brutal Saxon who might be present of his native shore, the men
being of the familiar sturdy type, marching in dense columns, all
gloriously arrayed. There was none of the artful spreading over the
ground which I observed in the great Birmingham demonstration which
was to "end or mend" the Lords; and another point of divergency
consists in the fact that the Belfast demonstration, which was
incomparably larger, was perfectly spontaneous, and not due to
organisation.

Baronets and other gentlemen of distinction headed the Unionist clubs,
walking through the streets in such manner as was never known before.
Magistrates and Presbyterian ministers tramped with the rank and file.
Sir William Ewart, Bart., Mr. Thomas Sinclair, J.P.--a great name in
the city--and the Rev. Dr. Lynd were especially prominent. Some of the
teetotallers wore white sashes, which were perhaps more conspicuous
than the gaudy colours affected by the Orangemen, and one body of
Unionists from the suburban clubs waved white handkerchiefs, a feature
which for obvious reasons can never occur in Nationalist processions.
The Shepherds have a pastoral dress, each man carrying a crook, and
the marshals of the lodges bore long halberds. The van of each column
was preceded by a stout fellow, who dexterously raising a long staff
in a twirling fashion peculiar to Ireland, shouted, "Faugh-a-Ballagh,"
which being interpreted signifies "Clear the way." The Oddfellows
marched to the tune known in England as "We won't go home till
morning," which is the same as "Marlborough goes to war," the
favourite air of the Great Napoleon. All this time Mr. Balfour is
standing at my elbow as I write, bareheaded, acknowledging the finest
reception ever accorded to any man in Ireland, not excepting Dan
O'Connell and Parnell. The funeral of the uncrowned king was a
comparatively small affair, while the respectability of the crowd was
of course immeasurably below that of the Belfast concourse. An old man
somehow got near the platform and presented Mr. Balfour with a bunch
of orange lilies, saying that was the flower the people would fight
under. The Young Men's Christian Association cheered lustily for the
Union to the tune of three thousand strong. The Central Presbyterian
Association marched past singing "God is our refuge and our strength,"
and the Church of Ireland Young Men's Society, headed by the clergy,
superintended by the Bishop of the diocese from the stand, made a
brave and gallant show. Hour after hour glides by, and still the
teeming multitude moves on, and still Mr. Balfour stands uncovered. No
joke to be a hero nowadays. The "Young Irelands" gave a grand cheer,
and passed in brave array, singing with the Y.M.C.A. "Hold the Fort"
and "God Save the Queen." Dr. Kane, the Bishop of Clogher, Captain
Somerset Maxwell, Colonel Saunderson, and the Earl of Erne, Grand
Master of the Orangemen of Ireland, received a stupendous reception as
they followed the Young Men Christians, mustered in overwhelming
force. The "Marseillaise" here broke out with considerable severity,
and Mr. Balfour broke out into a broad smile, which ran over into a
laugh, as the too familiar strains of "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay" made the
welkin ring. Then came "The March of the Men of Harlech," mixed with
"Home Sweet Home" and "The Boyne Water," till the senses reeled again.

At 3.35 the two miles of Orangemen seemed likely to go on for ever,
and Mr. Balfour said to me, "I think this demonstration undoubtedly
the greatest ever seen, and if you like you may convey that as my
message to the Unionists of Birmingham. They will know what the effect
of this will be. I need say no more." I asked Mr. Balfour if he
thought the bill would pass, and he replied, "Tell the Birmingham men
what I have said already. They will require no more." At 4.10 the
procession was in full swing, but Mr. Balfour seemed to have had about
enough and showed symptoms of making a move, and, as a preliminary,
put on his hat. This was the signal for cheering, which perhaps
surpassed anything that had gone before. The great ex-Irish-Secretary
effaced himself; and Colonel Saunderson, backed by Lord Salisbury's
son and several Irish peers, essayed to fill the gap. I ventured in my
timid way to tap the gallant Colonel on the shoulder with a view to
tapping his sentiments, which proved to be exultant. He told me of the
wire he had received from Lord Salisbury, and spoke of the meeting in
the Botanic Gardens which had taken place while I had watched the
procession. Then he said, "Tell the Birmingham people through the
_Gazette_ that as we have the last Prime Minister and the present
Chief of the Opposition with us, we cannot be called revolutionary. As
for this meeting, it will speak for itself. I think it the biggest
thing ever known." During the procession a copy of the Home Rule Bill
was burnt on the top of a pole in front of the Grand Stand.

After exactly four hours of watching, I accepted the proffered aid of
an Irish friend who agreed to lead me by roundabout ways to the
telegraph office. After many narrow passages and devious turns, we
struck the Royal Avenue, a long, long way from our starting place.
Here we took the still advancing procession in flank. It was now 4.45,
and my friend said, "By jabers, there's forty million more of them. I
believe the procession reaches all round the world, and moves in a
continuous band." And, sure enough, they were coming on as fresh as
ever, but I felt that four hours and a quarter of bands and drums was
enough at once, so I made a dash for the wires before they should be
absolutely blocked. My account is not, perhaps, quite perfect, but it
was pencilled under extraordinary circumstances--ten people talking to
me at once, a lady's umbrella in my side, a thousand people leaning on
my right elbow, and five hundred bands sounding in my ear. Surely it
may be said to have been written under fire.

Belfast, April 4th.



No. 5.--HAS MR. MORLEY LIED?


Before leaving Belfast I obtained incontrovertible evidence anent the
growing fears of Mr. Gladstone's Government. Mr. Morley has denied the
existence of any such nervousness, and has repudiated the assertion
that precautions have been taken. But what is the truth of the matter?
Let us see whether his statement is borne out by facts.

In February certain military officers received a confidential
communication having reference to the defence of the Belfast barracks.
They were requested to examine and report upon the possibility of
these buildings being tenable against a _coup de main_, were ordered
to examine the loop-holes for musketry, to prepare plans of the same,
and to duly submit them to the proper authorities, giving their
opinion as to the practicability and sufficiency of existing
arrangements in the event of the buildings being assaulted by
organised bodies of armed civilians, during the absence of soldiers
who might be about the city, taking their walks abroad, after the
regulation manner permitted to Mr. Thomas Atkins under ordinary
circumstances. The order was executed, the plans were duly furnished,
and if Mr. Morley is still unaware of the fact, I have much pleasure
in imparting the information which I have on the best authority
attainable in an imperfect world. He may rely on this statement as
being absolutely undeniable, and to descend to particulars, I will add
that plans were made of the Tram Stables Barracks, the Willow Bank
Barracks, and the Victoria Barracks. As I have said, the instructions
were marked Confidential, and the Irish Secretary may have relied on
this magic word in formulating his denials. The alternative hypothesis
is, of course, obvious enough. The work may have been ordered and
executed without Mr. Morley's knowledge, but it has been done, and,
after proper inquiry, he will not venture to deny it. The circumstance
is a curious commentary on the Gladstonian affectation of perfect
security, and the scornful references of Home Rulers to the alleged
determination of Ulstermen, in the last resource, to push matters to
extremity. I could tell him more than this. It would be easy to adduce
other instances of Governmental nervousness, but prudential and
confidential considerations intervene.

However, while in the vein, let me submit for serious contemplation
the fact that up to the morning postal delivery of Wednesday, April 5,
1893, written offers of personal assistance in the matter of armed
resistance to the exact number of ten thousand and five have reached a
certain Ulster organisation from England and Scotland, the roll
including five generals, with a percentage of Victoria Cross men. This
statement is made on the authority of the Earl of Ranfurly, who told
me that the matter was within his personal knowledge, and that the
whole of these communications were entirely spontaneous and altogether
unsolicited, and that nobody in Ireland was in any way responsible for
their existence. Lord Ranfurly also said that while the hearty
friendship and co-operation of these gentlemen were warmly appreciated
by Irish Loyalists, he was quite certain that their generous aid would
never be required, for that Home Rule was now defunct, dead, and
buried, and beyond the possibility of resurrection. It may be
remarked, in passing, that this is the feeling of the best-informed
Irish Home Rulers, and that many in my hearing have offered to back
their opinion by laying odds. The rejection of the Bill so far from
exasperating the Nationalist party, would positively come as a relief.
To say that they are lukewarm is only to fairly indicate a state of
feeling which is rapidly degenerating into frigidity. They declare
that the Bill is unworkable, and while maintaining their abstract
right to demand whatever they choose, believe that, taking one
consideration with another, the lot of autonomic Ireland would not be
a happy one.

Mr. Richard Patterson, J.P., the great ironmonger of Belfast, observes
that "according to Mr. Gladstone the only people who really understand
Ulster are those who have never been in it." My interview with him was
both instructive and interesting. He is one of the Harbour
Commissioners, and a gentleman of considerable scientific attainments,
as well as a great public and commercial man. He belongs to the Reform
Club and, with his fellow-members, was up to 1886 a devoted follower
of Mr. Gladstone. The name of his firm, established in 1786 on the
very ground it now occupies, is a household word in Ireland, and Mr.
Patterson himself has the respect and esteem of his bitterest
political opponents. He pointed out the unfairness and injustice of
Mr. Gladstone's reference to religion, when turning a deaf ear to the
Belfast deputation. "The report of the Chamber of Commerce," he said,
"was a purely business statement, and had no element of party feeling.
The fact that the Protestant members of the Chamber outnumber the
Catholics is in no respect due to religious intolerance, which in this
body is totally unknown. Anybody who pays a guinea a year may be
elected a member, whatever his religion, whatever his circumstances,
providing he is a decent member of society, which is the only
qualification required. Members are certainly elected by ballot, but
during the many years I have belonged to the Chamber not a single
person has been black-balled. If the Protestants are more numerous,
the fact simply demonstrates their superior prosperity, arising only
from their more steady application to hard work. We live on terms of
perfect friendship with our Catholic countrymen, and we assiduously
cultivate the sentiment. It is only when a weak and ignorant pandering
to disloyalty excites opposition that enmity begins. Only let us
alone, that is all we ask. We were going on beautifully until Mr.
Gladstone and his accomplices upset everything." Speaking of the
difference between the Ulster men and the Irish Kelts, Mr. Patterson
said, "Prosperity or the reverse is indicative of the breed. The
Southern Irish had more advantages than the Ulstermen. They had better
land, better harbours, a far more productive country, and yet they
always seethe in discontent. Put 20,000 Northerners in Cork, and in
twenty years the Southern port could knock Liverpool out of time."
Addressing himself to the Home Rule Bill, he declared that the
practical, keen-witted merchants of Belfast dismissed the whole
concoction as unworthy of sober consideration, and declared that an
awful responsibility rested on Mr. Gladstone. Said this experienced
J.P.:

"The Belfast riots of 1886 were terrible. Forty people were killed in
the streets, and what I saw in my capacity of magistrate was dreadful
in the extreme. The injuries from gun-shot wounds were almost
innumerable, and many a local doctor gained experience in this line
which is unknown to many an army surgeon. The riots began with the
ruffian class, from which this great city is not entirely free, and
gradually rose upwards to the shipbuilding yards. All this disturbance
and awful loss of life were entirely due to the production of Mr.
Gladstone's first bill. And now they tell us that a worse bill--for it
is a worse bill--might become law without any inconvenience. I submit
to any reasonable man that if the mere menace of a bill cost forty
lives in Belfast alone, the loss of life all over Ireland, once the
bill were passed, would be enormous. And all this will be attributable
to the action of Mr. Gladstone, who has never been in Ulster."

Walking down Royal Avenue I met Colonel Saunderson, radiant after the
great demonstration of two days ago, wearing a big bunch of violets in
place of Tuesday's bouquet of primroses. He stopped to express good
wishes to the _Gazette_, and said that the Belfasters were proud of
Birmingham, which city he regarded as being the most advanced and
enlightened in the world. While he so spake, up came the mighty Dr.
Kane, idol of the Ulsterites, towering over the gallant Colonel's
paltry six feet one, and looking down smilingly from his altitude in
infinite space on my own discreditable five feet ten. He agreed with
the Colonel as to the merits of Birmingham, and added that every
Unionist in Belfast cherished a deep sentiment of gratitude to the
hardware city, requesting me to explode the misleading statements of
the Separatist press, which asserts that Tuesday's procession
consisted of Orangemen. "The first two hours," said the Reverend
Doctor, "consisted of bodies who do not processionise, and who never
perform in public, in or out of Belfast, Methodists, Presbyterians,
and the like, while the 25,000 or 30,000 Orangemen who came in at the
tail of the show were a mere fraction of the whole. Colonel
Saunderson, the Earl of Erne, and myself stood up in our carriage and
cheered the Radical Reform Club, a thing we certainly have never done
before." Here the Colonel laughed, and said--

"The union of hearts, Doctor."

"Yes, the union of hearts and no mistake, as the Grand Old Man will
find--to his cost. All classes are united against the common enemy"
(Mr. Gladstone). "But tell me something--How is it that the English
people are deceived by that arch-professor of cant? Tell me that!"

I requested the good doctor to ask me something easier, and he
doubtless would have done so, but at this moment up came the famous
Dr. Traill, the Admirable Crichton of Ireland, and with my usual
thirst for knowledge, I ventured to suggest that the mathematical
intellect of the Trinity College Examiner might possibly grapple with
the problem.

The learned professor smiled, gripped my unworthy fin, shook out some
words of greeting, wagged his head hopelessly, and--bolted like a
rocket.

Dr. Traill is said to be equally versed in Law, Physic, and Divinity,
to sport with trigonometry, and to amuse his lighter moments with the
differential calculus. But "this knowledge was too wonderful for him,
he could not attain unto it," and to avoid confession of defeat, he
fled with lightning speed. This erudite doctor is well known in
England, especially among riflemen. Colonel Saunderson describes him
as a wonderful shot at a thousand yards, and thinks he was once one of
the Irish Eight at Wimbledon. I met him on the stand on Tuesday, when
he amusingly described his adventures on the Continent. "The poor
Poles," he said, "wished to take me to their collective bosom, and to
fall on my individual neck, the moment they found I was an Irishman.
They said we were brothers in misfortune!" Whereat this learned pundit
laughed good-humouredly. It may be that Dr. Traill is the long-range
rifleman of whom a Land League man remarked, on hearing that the
marksman had made a long series of bull's eyes--

"The saints betune us an' harm--but wouldn't he make an iligant
tenant!"

Dr. Kane was not surprised to see the professor run away. He said, "I
cannot understand it all. I must and will cross the Channel
immediately to investigate this strange phenomenon. I have always
considered the English a people of superior mental force, men who
could not be easily deceived. That they should pin their faith to a
man who has proved to demonstration that Home Rule is impossible, who
more than any other has branded the Nationalist party with ignominy, I
cannot understand." The Doctor perhaps momentarily forgot that the
English do not pin their faith to Mr. Gladstone, that the adverse
majority are dead against him, and that this majority is daily
increasing by leaps and bounds. Gallant Captain Leslie, whom I saw
earlier in the day, more accurately hit the situation. This splendid
old soldier said, "The English people are not to be blamed. Living
under social conditions of perfect freedom and friendship they do not
understand the conditions prevailing in Ireland; they cannot be
expected to understand a state of things differing so widely from
anything within the circle of their own experience. But all the same,
if they grant Home Rule, if they listen to the disloyal party rather
than to their loyal friends, if they truckle to treason rather than
support their own supporters, the consequences will be disastrous to
England, and where the disasters will stop is a piece of knowledge
which 'passes the wit of man.'"

Running up to Ballymena, I encountered several interesting
personalities, each of whom had his own view of the all-absorbing
subject, and looked at the matter from his own standpoint. An
Irish-American of high culture, a man of science, looked up from what
he regarded as "the most interesting book in existence," which turned
out to be Thompson's "Evolution of Sex," and said that once Home Rule
were in force the blackguard American-Irish would return in shoals,
and that the Fenians of America might be expected to "boss the show."
"How is it," he asked, "that the English people listen to what appears
the chief argument of Separatist orators--that agitation will come to
an end, that the Irish will be content to rest and be thankful?
Clearly while money and power can be had by agitation, so long will
agitation continue. That seems so obvious to me, that I wonder at the
patience of the North of England men--I was among them during the
general election--in listening quietly to this argument, if it be one
at all. And with all their experience of the past to enlighten them
into the bargain. Was not the disestablishment of the Church to remove
all cause of discontent? Then it was the land. You gave several Land
Acts, most favourable laws, very one-sided, all in favour of the
tenant, far beyond what English, Scotch, or Welsh farmers hope to get.
Have you satisfied Irishmen yet? No, and you never will. The more you
give, the more they ask. They never will be content. ''Tis not their
nature to.' England now suffers for her own weak good nature. The true
curse of Ireland is laziness. I left Belfast at twenty, but I am well
acquainted with Ireland. In the North they work and prosper. In the
South they do nothing but nurse their grievances. Twenty years' firm
government, as Lord Salisbury said, would enrich the country. Do the
right thing by them--put them level with England and Scotland, and
then put down your foot. Let them know that howling will do no good,
and they'll stop it like a shot. Paddy is mighty 'cute, and knows when
he has a _man_ to deal with. Put a noodle over him and that noodle's
life will be a burden. And serve him right. Fools must expect fools'
reward."

A Catholic priest I met elsewhere was very chary of his opinions, and
confined himself to the "hope that England would see her way to
compensate the Church and the country for centuries of extortion and
oppression." This he thought was a matter of "common honesty." He did
not exactly suggest a perpetual church-rate for the benefit of the
Catholics of Ireland, but the thing is on the cards, and may be
proposed by Mr. Gladstone later on. Something ought to be done,
something substantial, for the gentlemen educated under the Maynooth
Grant. Mr. Bull has admitted the principle, and his sense of fair play
will doubtless lead him to do the right thing, always, of course,
under compulsion, which is now usually regarded as the mainspring of
that estimable gentleman's supposed virtuous actions.

Ballymena is a smart looking place, trig and trim, thriving and
well-liking, a place to look upon and live. The people are all
well-clad, and prosperous, well-fed and well-grown. The men are mostly
big, the women mostly beautiful; the houses are of stone, handsome and
well-built. On the bleaching grounds you see long miles of
linen--Irish miles, of course--and all the surroundings are pleasant.
After this, no need to say the place is one of the blackest, most
Unionist, Protestant, and loyal in the whole country. A number of buff
placards issued by Nationalists attract respectful attention. The same
bill is stuck all over Belfast--in the High Street, on the hoardings
facing the heretic meeting houses, everywhere. It purports to present
the sentiments of the great Duke of Wellington _re_ the Roman
Catholics of Ireland, and is to the effect that in moments of danger
and difficulty the Roman Catholics had caused the British Empire to
float buoyant when other Empires were wrecked; that the Roman
Catholics of Ireland, and they only, had saved our freedom, our
Constitution, our institutions, and in short that it is to the Irish
Roman Catholics that we owe everything worth having. Alone they did
it. The priest, in short, has made Mr. Bull the man he is.

Can anybody in England "go one better" than this?

These extracts are plainly taken from some speech on the Roman
Catholic Emancipation Bill, and refer to the valour of the Irish
soldiery, whose bravery in fighting for a Protestant cause was
doubtless invaluable to the cause of liberty. There is an apocryphal
story concerning Alfred de Musset, who on his death-bed is reported to
have conveyed to a friend with his last breath his last, his only
wish, to wit:--

"Don't permit me to be annotated." The Iron Duke might have said the
same if he had thought of it. He could not know that, shorn of his
context, divorced from his drift, he would be placarded in his native
land as an agent in the cause of sedition and disloyalty. This truly
Grand Old Man, who, in his determination to uphold the dignity and
unity of the Empire "stood four-square to all the winds that blew,"
would scarcely have sided with the modern G.O.M. and his satellites,
Horsewhipped Healy and Breeches O'Brien.

One word as to the alleged "intolerance of the fanatic Orangemen of
Belfast."

The placards above-mentioned were up on Tuesday last. They are large
and boldly printed, and attracted crowds of readers--but not a hand
was raised to deface them, to damage them, to do them any injury
whatever. I watched them for four-and-twenty hours, and not a finger
was lifted against any one in the High Street or elsewhere, so far as
I could ascertain.

There are twenty thousand Orangemen in the city, and the Protestants
outnumber the Papists by three to one. Yet the placard was treated
with absolute respect, and although I entered several groups of
readers I heard no words of criticism--no comment, unfavourable or
otherwise, no gesture of dissent. The people seemed to be interested
in the bill, and desirous of giving it respectful consideration. I
have seen Liberal Birmingham, when in the days of old it assembled
round Tory posters--but the subject becomes delicate; better change
our ground. It is, however, only fair to say that the Gladstonians of
Birmingham, who, as everybody knows, formed the extreme and inferior
wing of the old Radical party, can hardly teach the Belfast men
tolerance.

Ballymena, April 6th.



No. 6.--THE EXODUS OF INDUSTRY.


Derry is a charming town, unique, indescribable. Take equal parts of
Amsterdam and Antwerp, add the Rhine at Cologne, and Waterloo Bridge,
mix with the wall of Chester and the old guns of Peel Castle, throw in
a strong infusion of Wales, with about twenty Nottingham lace
factories, stir up well and allow to settle, and you will get the
general effect. The bit of history resulting in the raising of the
siege still influences Derry conduct and opinions. The 'Prentice Boys
of Derry, eight hundred strong, are ardent loyalists, and having once
beaten an army twenty-five thousand strong, believe that for the good
of the country, like the orator who had often "gone widout a male,"
they too could "do it again." They do not expect to be confronted with
the necessity, but both the Boys and the Orangemen of Derry, with all
their co-religionists, are deeply pledged to resist a Dublin
Parliament. "We would not take the initiative, but would merely stand
on our own defence, and offer a dogged resistance. We have a tolerable
store of arms, although this place was long a proclaimed district, and
we have fifteen modern cannon, two of which are six-pounders, the rest
mostly four-pounders, and one or two two-pounders, which are snugly
stored away, for fear of accident." Thus spake one who certainly
knows, and his words were amply confirmed from another quarter.

Derry makes shirts. The industrious Derryans make much money, and in
many ways. They catch big salmon in the middle of the town, and
outside it they have what Mr. Gladstone would call a "plethora" of
rivers. They ship unnumbered emigrants to the Far West, and carry the
produce of the surrounding agriculturists to Glasgow and Liverpool.
They also make collars and cuffs, but this is mere sport. Their real
vocation is the making of shirts, which they turn out by the million,
mostly of high quality. Numbers of great London houses have their
works at Derry. Welch, Margeston and Co. among others. The Derry
partner, Mr. Robert Greer, an Englishman forty years resident in the
town, favoured me with his views _re_ Home Rule, thus:--

"The bill would be ruinous to Ireland, but not to the same extent as
to England. Being an Englishman, I may be regarded as free from the
sectarian animosity which actuates the opposing parties, but I cannot
close my eyes to the results of the bill, results of which no sane
person, in a position to give an opinion, can have any doubt. We are
so convinced that the bill would render our business difficult, not to
say impracticable, that our London partners say they will remove the
works, plant, machinery, and all, to the West of Scotland or
elsewhere.

"About 1,200 girls are employed in the mill, and 3,000 to 4,000 women
at their own homes all over the surrounding country.

"Mr. Gladstone may think he knows best, but here the unanimous opinion
is that trade will be fatally injured. Ireland is no mean market for
English goods, and the market will be closed because Ireland will have
no money to spend. Go outside the manufacturing towns and what do you
see? Chronic poverty. Manufacturers will remove to the Continent, to
America--anywhere else--leaving the peasantry only. The prospective
taxes are alarming. We know what would be one of the very first acts
of a Dublin Parliament. They would curry favour with the poor, the
lazy districts, by an equalisation of the poor rate. In Derry, where
everybody works for his bread, the rate is about sixpence in the
pound. There are districts where it runs to ten shillings in the
pound. The wealthy traders, the capitalists, the manufacturers of the
North will have to pay for the loafers of the South. The big men would
gather up their goods and chattels and clear out. There are other
reasons for this course."

Here Mr. Greer made the inevitable statement that Englishmen out of
Ireland did not understand the question; and another large
manufacturer chipped in with:--

"Leave us alone, and we get on admirably. There is no intolerance;
everybody lives comfortably with his neighbour. But pass the bill and
what happens? The Catholic employés would become unmanageable, would
begin to kick over the traces, would want to dictate terms, would
attempt to dominate the Protestant section, which would rebel, and
trouble would ensue. They would not work together. It is impracticable
to say: Employ one faith only and Home Rule means that Catholicism is
to hold the sway. The Nationalist leaders foster this spirit,
otherwise there would be no Home Rule. The workpeople would act as
directed by the priest, even in matters connected with employment. You
have no idea what that means to us. It means ruin. The people do not
know their own mind, and their ignorance is amazing. My porter says
that when the bill becomes law, which will take place in one month
from date, he will have a situation in Dublin at a thousand a year,
and both he and others sincerely believe in such a changed state of
things for Catholics alone."

I went over Welch, Margetson's works, a wonderful place, where were
hundreds of women, clean and well-dressed, working at the various
departments of shirt-making. The highest class of mill hands I ever
saw, working in large and well-ventilated rooms, many getting a pound
a week. Another firm over the way employs one thousand five hundred
more. And according to the best authority, that of the owners, all
this is to leave the country when Ireland gets Home Rule.

A very intelligent Catholic farmer living a few miles out of Donegal
said, "Farmers look at the bill in the light of the land question.
We're not such fools as to believe in Gladstone or his bill for
anythin' else. Shure, Gladstone never invints anythin' at all, but
only waits till pressure is put on him. Shure, iverythin' has to be
dhragged out iv him, an' if he settles the land question, divil thank
him, 'tis because he knows he's bate out an' out, an' _has_ to do it,
whether he will or no. An' now he comes bowin' an' scrapin' an'
condiscindin' to relave us--whin we kicked it out o' his skin. Ah! the
divil sweep him an' his condiscinshun."

Ingratitude, thy name is Irish Tenant!

Misther O'Doherty proceeded to say that landlords were all right now,
under compulsion. But the tenantry demanded that they should be
released entirely from the landlords' yoke. He said that the
agriculturists were not in touch with the whole question of Home Rule,
nor would they consider any subject but that of the land. The
Nationalists had preached prairie value, and the people were tickled
by the idea of driving out landowners and Protestants. All the evicted
tenants, all the men who have no land, all the ne'er-do-weels would
expect to be satisfied. Ulster is tillage--the South is mostly
grazing. Ulster had been profitably cultivated by black Protestants,
and their land was coveted by the priests for their own people. My
friend admitted that, although born a Catholic, his religious opinions
were liberal. I asked him if the Protestant minority would be
comfortable under a Dublin Parliament. He shook his head
negatively--"Under equal laws they are friendly enough, but they do
not associate, they do not intermarry, they have little or nothing to
do with each other. They are like oil and wather in the same bottle,
ye can put them together but they won't mix. And the Protestant
minority has always been the best off, simply because they are hard
workers. A full-blooded Irishman is no worker. He likes to live from
hand to mouth, and that satisfies him. When he has enough to last him
a day through he drops work at once. The Protestants have Scotch
blood, and they go on working with the notion that they'll be better
off than their father, who was better off than their grandfather. And
that's the whole of it."

Mr. J. Gilbert Kennedy, of Donegal, holds similar views of Irish
indolence. He told me that although living in a congested district he
could not obtain men to dig in his gardens, except when thereto driven
by sheer necessity, and that having received a day's pay they would
not return to work so long as their money lasted. "They will put up
with semi-starvation, cold, and nakedness most patiently. Their
endurance is most commendable. They will bear anything, only--don't
ask them to work." Mrs. Kennedy said that with crowds of poor girls
around her, she was compelled to obtain kitchen maids and so forth
from Belfast. "They will not be servants, and when they afford casual
help, they do it as a great favour."

A Scotsman who employs five hundred men in the mechanical work said:
"I have been in Ireland fifteen years, and have gone on fairly
smoothly, but with a world of management. For the sake of peace I have
not five Protestants in the place; and I would have none if I could
help it. It is, however, necessary to have Protestant foremen.
Irishmen are not born mechanics. In Scotland and England men take to
the vice and the lathe like mother's milk, but here it is labour and
pain. Irishmen are not capable of steady, unremitting work. They want
a day on and a day off. They wish to be traders, cattle-drovers,
pig-jobbers, that they may wander from fair to fair. My men have
little to do beyond minding machines; otherwise I must have Scots or
English. Discharge a man and the most singular things occur. In a late
instance I had seven written requests from all sorts of quarters to
take the man back, although before discharge he had been duly warned.
The entire neighbourhood called on me--the man's father, wife, mother,
the priest, a Protestant lady, three whiskey-sellers, two
Presbyterians, the Church of Ireland parson, God knows who. This
lasted a fortnight, and then threatening letters set in; coffins,
skulls, and marrow-bones were chalked all over the place, with my
initials. Indeed you may say they are a wonderful people."

Mr. E.T. Herdman, J.P., of Sion Mills, Co. Tyrone, should know
something of the Irish people. The model village above-named belongs
to him. Travellers to Londonderry viâ the Great Northern will remember
how the great Herdman flax-spinning mills, with their clean,
prosperous, almost palatial appearance, relieve the melancholy aspect
of the peaty landscape about the Rivers Mourne and Derg. Mr. Herdman
pays in wages some £30,000 a year, a sum of which the magnitude
assumes colossal proportions in view of the surrounding landscape. The
people of the district speak highly of the Herdman family, who are
their greatest benefactors, but they failed to return Mr. E.T.
Herdman, who contested East Donegal in 1892. The people were willing
enough, but the priests stepped in and sent a Nationalist. Said Mr.
Herdman, "Home Rule would be fatal to England. The Irish people have
more affinity with the Americans or the French than with the English,
and the moment international difficulties arise Ireland would have to
be reconquered by force of arms. And complications would arise, and in
my estimation would arise very early." A landowner I met at Beragh,
County Tyrone, held somewhat original opinions. He said, "I refused to
identify myself with any Unionist movement. If we're going to be
robbed, let us be robbed; if our land is going to be confiscated, let
it be confiscated. The British Government is going to give us
something, if not much, by way of compensation; and my opinion is,
that if the Grand Old Man lives five years longer he'll propose to
give the Irish tenants the fee-simple of the lands without a penny to
pay. That's my view, begad. I'm a sportsman, not a politician, and my
wife says I'm a fool, and very likely she knows best. But, begad, I
say let us have prairie value to-day, for to-morrow the G.O.M. will
give us nothing at all."

The most extraordinary curiosity of Derry, the _lusus naturæ_ of which
the citizens justly boast, is _the_ Protestant Home Ruler of brains
and integrity who, under the familiar appellation of John Cook, lives
in Waterloo Place. Reliable judges said, "Mr. Cook is a man of high
honour, and the most sincere patriot imaginable, besides being a
highly-cultured gentleman." So excited was I, so eager to see an Irish
Home Ruler combining these qualities with his political faith, that I
set off instanter in search of him, and having sought diligently till
I found him, intimated a desire to sit at his patriotic feet. He
consented to unburden his Nationalist bosom, and assuredly seemed to
merit the high character he everywhere bears. Having heard his opinion
on the general question, I submitted that Mr. Bull's difficulty was
lack of confidence, and that he might grant a Home Rule Bill, if the
Irish leaders were men of different stamp. He said they were "clever
men not overburdened with money," and admitted that a superior class
would have been more trustworthy, but relied on the people. "If the
first administrators of the law were dishonest, the people would
replace them by others. The keystone of my political faith is trust in
the people. The Irish are keen politicians, and may be trusted to keep
things square."

I submitted that the patriots were in the pay of the Irish-Americans,
who were no friends of England--

"The present Nationalist members are not purists, but to take money
for their services, to accept £300 a year is no more disgraceful than
the action of the Lord Chancellor who takes £10,000. The
American-Irish cherish a just resentment. They went away because they
were driven out of the country by the land system of that day. And the
Irish people must be allowed to regenerate themselves. It cannot be
done by England. Better let them go to hell in their own way than
attempt to spoon-feed them. But the injustice of former days does not
justify the injustice to the landlords proposed by the present bill.
It is a bad bill, an unjust bill, and would do more harm than good.
England should have a voice in fixing the price, for if the matter be
left to the Irish Parliament gross injustice will be done. The tenants
were buying their land, aided by the English loans, for they found
that their four per cent. interest came lower than their rent. But
they have quite ceased to buy, and for the stipulated three years will
pay their rent as usual, and why? Because they expect the Irish
legislature to give them even better terms--or even to get the land
for nothing. Retributive justice is satisfied. For the last twenty
years the landlords have suffered fearfully. The present bill is
radically unsound, and I trust it will never become law."

And this was all that the one specimen of a Protestant Home Ruler I
have found in Ireland could say in favour of his views! His
intelligence and probity compelled him to denounce Mr. Gladstone's
Bill as "unjust" and radically unsound, and his patriotism caused him
to pray that it might never become law! I left him more Unionist than
ever.

The great Orange leader of Derry, Mr. John Guy Ferguson, once Grand
Ruler, and of world-wide fame, deprecated appeal to arms, except under
direst necessity. "I should recommend resistance to all except the
Queen's troops. Before all things a sincere loyalist, I should never
consent to fire a shot on them. Others think differently, and in case
of pressure and excitement the most regrettable things might happen.
The people of Derry are full of their great victory of 1688, and
believe that their one hundred and five days' resistance saved England
from Catholic tyranny. The Bishop of Derry, as you know, had ordered
that the troops of King James should be admitted when the thirteen
Prentice Boys closed the gate on the very nose of his army." I saw the
two white standards taken from the Catholic troops flanking the high
altar of the Cathedral; which also contains the grandly-carved case of
an organ taken from a wreck of the Spanish Armada in 1588, just a
century before the siege. The people have ever before them these
warlike spoils, which may account for their martial spirit. An old
Prentice Boy told me of the great doings of 1870, how a Catholic
publican, one O'Donnell, endeavoured to prevent the annual marching of
the Boys, who on the anniversary of the raising of the siege, parade
the walls, fire guns, and burn traitor Lundy in effigy; how 5,000 men
in sleeve-waistcoats entered the town to stop the procession, how the
military intervened, and forbade both marching and burning; how the
Boys seized the Town Hall, and in face of 1,700 soldiers and police
burnt an effigy hanging from a high window, which the authorities
could not reach; how Colonel Hillier broke down the doors and stormed
the hall at the bayonet's point, to search both sexes for arms.
Gleefully he produced an alphabetical rhyme, which he thought rather
appropriate to the present time, and which ended as follows:--"X is
the excellent way they (the authorities) were beaten, and exceeding
amount of dirt they have eaten. Y is the yielding to blackguards
unshorn, which cannot and will not much longer be borne. Z is the zeal
with which England put down the Protestant boys who stood up for the
crown." In 1883 Lord Mayor Dawson of Dublin wished to lecture at
Derry, but the Boys took the Hall and held it, declining to permit the
"colleague of Carey" (on the Dublin Town Council) to speak in the
city. There you have the present spirit of Derry.

Two miles outside the town I came on a fine Home Ruler, who had
somewhere failed to sell a pig. "Sorra one o' me 'll do any good till
we get Home Rule." He paid £5 a year for two acres of land with a
house. "'Tis the one-half too much, Av I paid fifty shillings, I'd be
aisy," he said. Truly a small sum to stand between him and affluence.
I failed to sympathise with this worthy man, but my spirits fell as I
walked through a collar factory, and thought of Mr. Gladstone. The
dislocation of the shirt trade is less serious. Few Irish patriots
have any personal interest in this particular branch of industry.

Dublin, April 8th.



MR. BALFOUR IN DUBLIN.


Mr. Balfour is the most popular man in Ireland, and his Dublin visit
will be for ever memorable. The Leinster Hall, which holds several
thousands, was packed by half-past five; ninety minutes before
starting time, and the multitude outside was of enormous proportions.
The people were respectable, quiet, good-humoured, as are Unionist
crowds in general, though it was plain that the Dubliners are more
demonstrative than the Belfast men. The line of police in Hawkins
Street had much difficulty in regulating the surging throng which
pressed tumultuously on the great entrance without the smallest hope
of ever getting in. The turmoil of cheering and singing was incessant,
and everyone seemed under the influence of pleasurable excitement. As
you caught the eye of any member of the crowd he would smile with a
"What-a-day-we're-having" kind of expression. The college students
were in great form, cheering with an inexhaustible vigour, every man
smoking and carrying a "thrifle iv a switch." Portraits of Mr. Balfour
found a ready sale, and Tussaud's great exhibition of waxworks next
door to the hall was quite unable to compete with the living hero.
Messrs. Burke and Hare, Parnell and Informer Carey, Tim Healy and
Breeches O'Brien, Mr. Gladstone and Palmer the poisoner, with other
benefactors and philanthropists, were at a discount. The outsiders
were waiting to see Mr. Balfour, but they were disappointed. Lord
Iveagh's carriage suddenly appeared in Poolbeg Street at the
pressmen's entrance, and the hero slipped into the hall almost
unobserved. Inside, the enthusiasm was tremendous. The building is
planned like the Birmingham Town Hall, and the leading features of the
auditorium are similar. The orchestra was crowded to the ceiling, the
great gallery was closely packed, the windows were occupied, and every
inch of floor was covered. A band played "God Save the Queen," "Rule
Britannia," and the "Boyne Water." The word "Union," followed by the
names of Balfour, Abercorn, Iveagh, Hartington, Chamberlain, and
Goschen, was conspicuous on the side galleries, and over Mr. Balfour's
head was a great banner bearing the rose, thistle, and shamrock, with
the Union Jack and the English crown over all. Boldly-printed mottoes
in scarlet and white, such as "Quis Separabit?" "Union is strength,"
"We Won't submit to Home Rule," and "God Bless Balfour," abounded, and
in the galleries and on the floor men waved the British flag. The
people listened to the band, or amused themselves with patriotic songs
and Kentish fire, till Mr. Balfour arrived, when their cheering, loud
and long, was taken up outside, and reverberated through the city.

The preliminaries being over, the principal speaker rose amid
redoubled applause, which gradually subsided to the silence of intense
expectation. Mr. Balfour's first words fell like drops of water in a
thirsty land, and never had a speaker a more eager, attentive,
respectful audience. Now and then stentorian shouts of assent
encouraged him, but the listeners were mostly too much in earnest for
noise. It was plain that they meant business, and that the
demonstration was no mere empty tomfoolery. Parnellites were there--a
drop in the ocean--but their small efforts at interruption were
smilingly received. True, there was once a shout of "Throw him out,"
but a trumpet-like voice screamed "Give him a wash, 'tis what he
mostly needs, the crathur," upon which a roar of laughter proclaimed
that the offender was forgiven. The outsiders continued their singing
and cheering, and when Mr. Balfour concluded sent up a shout the like
of which Dublin has seldom heard, if ever. Succeeding speakers were
well received, the audience holding their ground. Mr. J. Hall, of
Cork, evoked great cheering by the affirmation that Protestants
desired no advantage, no privilege, unshared by their Catholic
brethren. Similar points made by other speakers met with an instant
and hearty confirmation that was unmistakable. Lord Sligo pointed out
that firmness and integrity were nowhere better understood than in
Ireland, and said that while William O'Brien, the great Nationalist,
visited Cork under a powerful escort of police, who with the utmost
difficulty prevented the populace from tearing him to pieces; on the
other hand, Mr. Balfour had passed through the length and breadth of
the land, visiting the poverty-stricken and disturbed districts of the
West, with no other protection beyond that afforded by "his
tender-hearted sister." Mr. Balfour rose to make a second speech, and
the enthusiasm reached its climax. The great ex-Secretary seemed
touched, and although speaking slowly showed more than his usual
emotion. When he concluded the people sent up a shout such as England
never hears--an original shout, long drawn out on a high musical note,
something like the unisonous tone of forty factory bulls.

The students went outside, and with their friends formed in military
columns--the outside files well armed with knobby sticks as a
deterrent to possible Parnellite enterprise. An extemporised arch of
Union Jacks canopied Mr. Balfour in his carriage, which was drawn by
hundreds of willing hands linked in long line. The column, properly
marshalled, moved away, keeping step amid loud shouts of "Right, left,
right, left," until perfect uniformity was attained, and the
disciplined force marched steadily on to College Green, following the
triumphal chariot with alternate verses of "God Save the Queen" and
"Rule Britannia," each verse interpolated with great bursts of
applause. At Trinity College the glare of torches appeared, and
simultaneously an organised attempt at groaning boomed in under the
cheering. Heedless of the rabble the column marched merrily on, not
with the broken rush of an English mob, but with the irresistible
force of unity in a concrete mass, with the multitudinous tramp of an
army division. The yelling slummers hovered on each flank, frantic
with impotent rage; willing to wound and yet afraid to strike, knowing
that to themselves open conflict meant annihilation. A savage,
unsavoury horde of rat-like ruffians, these same allies of Mr.
Gladstone and Mr. Morley, a peculiarly repulsive residuum these Dublin
off-scourings. They screamed "To hell with Balfour," "To hell with the
English," "To hell with your Unionists," "To hell with Queen
Victoria." Some of them sang a doggerel, beginning:--

    Let the English remember,
    We'll make them surrender,
    And chase them to their boats,
    And cut their ---- throats,
    And make a big flood
    Of their bad black blood--

not precisely a poem to herald the famous "Union of hearts" so
confidently expected. The Unionists tramped on cheering triumphantly,
rejoicing in their strength, ignoring the taunting and jeering of the
Parnellite scum as beneath contempt. An old Home Ruler expressed
disapprobation of his party. "What's the use of showing your teeth
when you can't bite?" he said. "Wait till we get the bill and then we
will show them and the English what we can do."

On through Grafton Street, Nassau Street, and into Dawson Street,
always with great shouting and singing of "God Save the Queen," and
"Rule Britannia," the torches still glaring in front. At Morrisson's
Hotel, where Parnell was arrested, a man shouted "Three cheers for
Gladstone," but nobody responded. The rabble may use him, but they
refused a single shout. On the other hand groans were given with
leonine force both for Morley and his master. Arrived at St. Stephen's
Green, the procession halted at Lord Iveagh's residence, and Mr.
Balfour came on the balcony, receiving a welcome right royal. He made
another speech amid cheering and groaning of tremendous energy, making
himself tolerably well heard under abnormal conditions. When he said
"This day shall never fade from my recollection," the lamp beside him
was removed and all was over. Back tramped the column, with its clouds
of camp-followers, on the way cheering and sending to hell the member
for South Tyrone, with other prominent politicians who live on the
line of march. The students held their sticks aloft, striking them
together in time to their singing. A shindy had been predicted on the
return to College Green, and little groups of Scots Greys and Gordon
Highlanders, the latter in their white uniforms, lounged about smoking
their pipes in happy expectation, but beyond cheering at the statue of
Orange William in Dame Street, nothing whatever occurred, and
presently the crowd began to disperse. Seeing this, the police, who
until now had been massed in strong force broke up into units, and
moving leisurely about said, "Good night, boys; you have had enough
fun for one day. Get to bed, all of you." Then the young men who had
composed the great loyalist column left the square in little bands,
each singing "God save the Queen," and every man feeling that he had
deserved well of his country. The bill may be stone dead, but there is
a satisfaction in the act of shovelling earth on the corpse.

Dublin, April 8th.



No. 7.--BAD FOR ENGLAND, RUINOUS TO IRELAND.


Home Rule for Ireland means damage and loss to English working men.
During the late general election the working men candidates of
Birmingham, and of England generally, argued that once Ireland were
granted Home Rule the distressful land would immediately become a
Garden of Eden, a sort of Hibernian El-Dorado; that the poverty which
drove Irishmen from their native shores would at once and for ever
cease and determine, and that thenceforth--and here was the
bribe--Irishmen would cease to compete with the overcrowded artisans
and labourers of England. That these statements are diametrically
opposed to the truth is well known to all persons of moderate
intelligence, and the personal statement of several great capitalists
with reference to their course of action in the event of Home Rule
becoming law tends to show that multitudes of the industrious classes
of Irish manufacturing towns will at once be thrown out of employment,
and must of necessity flock to England, increasing the congestion of
its great cities, competing with English labour, and inevitably
lowering the rate of wages. Hear what comfortable words Mr. Robert
Worthington can speak.

Mr. Worthington is no politician; never has interfered with party
questions; has always confined his attention to his business affairs.
It was because of this that Mr. Balfour sent for him to confer anent
the light railways, which have proved such a blessing to the country.
It was Mr. Worthington who carried out most of these beneficent works.
Besides this, Mr. Worthington has built railways to the amount of
three-quarters of a million in Ireland alone. He has employed 5,300
men at one time, and his regular average exceeds 1,500 all the year
round. He may therefore be said to know what he is talking about. I
called on him at 30, Dame Street, before I left Dublin, and he said,
"The bill would be bad for England in every way, and would ruin
Ireland. The question is certainly one for the English working man. If
he wishes to avoid the competition of armies of Irish labourers and
artisans he must throw out the bill. And this is how it will work--

"All the railways I have constructed in Ireland have been built on
county guarantees assisted by special grants from the Imperial
Treasury. Without these special grants the work could never have been
undertaken at all. If Home Rule becomes law those special grants from
the Imperial Treasury will be no longer available; and what will be
the result? Clearly that the work will not be undertaken; that the
building of railways will come to an end, and that the Irish peasants
who have devoted themselves to railway work will go to England and try
to find employment there. Once a railway navvy, always a railway
navvy, is a well-known and very true saying.

"For my own part I shall be compelled to compete in England, having
nothing to do in Ireland, and I shall of course transport my staff and
labourers across the Channel.

"The railways of Ireland, fostered by English capital, resting on
England's security, have given vast employment to my countrymen. But
they would do so no longer. Let us give an example to prove my point.

"Before the introduction of the Home Rule Bill the railway stock to
which I have referred stood at a premium of 27 per cent. Since the
bill became public and has been the subject of popular discussion, I
brought out the Ballinrobe and Claremorris Railway--with what result?
Not one-seventh of the sum required has been subscribed, although in
the absence of the bill the amount would certainly have been
subscribed four times over, at a premium of 20 per cent. What does
this prove?

"Simply this--that the farmers and small shopkeepers who invest in
this class of security will not trust their savings in the hands of
the proposed Irish Legislature. The bill, therefore, stops progress,
retards enterprise, drives away capital, and the workers must follow
the money. That seems clear enough. Everybody here concedes so much.
More than this. I can say from my own experience, and from the reports
of my agents and engineers in the South and West of Ireland, that the
Nationalists do not want this bill. I do not speak of Home Rule, but
of this bill only. All condemn its provisions, and universally concur
in the opinion that once it were passed it would be succeeded by a
more violent agitation than anything we have yet seen--an agitation
having for its object the radical amendment of the measure.

"There is a complete cessation of railway work. Already the men are
thinking of moving. But this is not all. I am now at a standstill,
pulled up short by the bill. What is the effect on England? Under
ordinary circumstances I buy largely all kinds of railway
material--steel rails, sleepers, fasteners, engines, and carriages.
Every year I send thousands and thousands of pounds to England for
these things, and surely most of the money goes indirectly into the
pockets of English working men, who are now suffering the loss of all
this by reason of their apathy in this matter. I speak only as a man
of business, anxious for the prosperity of my country. I do not
discuss Home Rule; never did discuss it and never will. But I end
where I began, and I repeat the bill will ruin Ireland, will be bad
for England, and I will add that the British Government will soon be
compelled to intervene to stave off Irish bankruptcy. Home Rulers are
now becoming afraid of the bill; artisans, farmers, and labourers
think it a good joke. They relished the hunt, but they don't want the
game.

"Returning to my own affairs, I say without hesitation that though the
mere threat of the bill has paralysed my business, and that the
passing of the bill would drive my men to England, yet--throw out the
bill, deliver us from the impending dread, and during the next two
years I shall myself expend £150,000 in railway material manufactured
by British artisans. Emphatically I repeat that Home Rule to the
British working man means increased competition and direct pecuniary
loss."

Mr. S. McGregor, of 30, Anglesea Street, Dublin, has been located in
the city for 34 years, and seems to have been a politician from the
first. Coming from the Land o' Cakes, he landed an advanced Radical,
and a devoted admirer of the Grand Auld Mon. Once on the spot a change
came o'er the spirit of his dream. His shop has the very unusual
feature of indicating his political views. Her Gracious Majesty, Lord
Beaconsfield, and Mr. Balfour look down upon you from neat frames. I
am disposed to regard Mr. McGregor as the pluckiest man in Ireland. A
quiet, peaceful citizen he is, one who remembers the Sawbath, and on
weekdays concentrates his faculties on his occupation as a tailor and
clothier. I did not seek the interview, which arose from a business
call not altogether unconnected with a missing button, but his
opinions and his information are well worth recording. Mr. McGregor
said, "I thrust my opinions on none, but I have a right to my
opinions, and I do not affect concealment. The great defect of the
Irish Unionists is want of courage. They dare not for their lives come
forward and boldly state their convictions. If Lord Emly or some other
Irish Roman Catholic nobleman had come forward earlier, it might have
induced weak-kneed members of the party to do likewise. The Unionists
do not exercise the great influence they undoubtedly possess. They
allow themselves to be terrorised into silence. Let them have the
courage of their opinions and they have nothing to fear. The masses of
the industrial population are not in favour of Home Rule. The
corner-men, who want to spend what they never earned, and the farmers,
who hope to get the land for nothing, are the only hearty Home Rulers
in Ireland. I employ ten people, all Roman Catholics, some of them
with me for twenty-five years. None of these are Home Rulers. I became
a convert to Conservatism by my intimate knowledge and personal
acquaintance with many of the leaders of the Fenian movement. I saw
through the hollowness of the whole thing, and declined any connection
therewith. Poor Henry Rowles, who was to be told off by signal to
shoot Mr. Foster, was one of my workmen. He died in prison, some said
from sheer fright, but two or three of his friends were hanged. He was
mixed up by marriage with the Fenian party, and was drawn on and on
like many another. I would rather not name the Fenian leaders I knew,
and the reason is this. I knew them too well. Speaking of the Unionist
lack of courage, you must not be too much surprised. During the last
fourteen years Unionists have had to maintain a guerilla warfare for
existence. But the strangest feature of the present position is
this--the Home Rulers are kicking at the bill! A great Home Ruler of
my acquaintance (Mr. McGregor referred me to him) is getting quite
afraid. He is a farmer holding 300 acres under Lord Besborough, and
says that he trusts things will remain as they are. He has a good
landlord, borrows money by the subvention, and has a perfect horror
of the class of men who will obtain the upper hand in Ireland. A
Nationalist over the way was about to extend the buildings you see
there. Plans were drafted, and offices were to be built. Out comes the
bill and in goes the project. He has no confidence in the Irish
Nationalist leaders; but, strange to say he believes in Mr. Gladstone.
He admits that the Irish M.P.'s are not quite up to his ideal, but
believes that the Grand Old Man's genius for accommodation and
ingenious dovetailing of Imperial interests will pull the country
through. Meanwhile he lays out no penny of money.

"I am a Presbyterian, and what is more a United Presbyterian,
belonging to the Presbyter of Scotland. All Scotch Presbyterians are
advanced Radicals. We have four hundred members here. They came here
worshippers of Gladstone and Home Rulers to the tune of 97 per cent.
The congregation is now 99 per cent. Unionist or Conservative out and
out. Of the four hundred we have only three Home Rulers. What will the
English people say to that? Tell them that our minister, who came here
a Home Ruler, is now on a Unionist mission in Scotland--the Rev. Mr.
Procter, brother of Procter, the cartoonist of _Moonshine_ and the
_Sketch_, to wit. My workpeople, all steady, industrious people, ask
but one thing--it is to be let alone."

Here Mr. G.M. Roche, the great Irish wool-factor and famous amateur
photographer, said--

"Ah! we must have the bill. 'Tis all we want to finish us up. We're
never happy unless we're miserable; the bill will make us so and we'll
never be properly discontented till we get it!"

Passing through the Counties of Louth, Dublin, Londonderry, Monaghan,
Tyrone, Donegal, and Fermanagh, I met with many farmers whose
statements amply confirmed the words of the descendant of the great
Sir Boyle Roche. These unhappy men had been divested of their last
grievance, stripped of their burning wrongs, heartlessly robbed of
their long-cherished injuries. It was bad enough before, when Irishmen
had nothing except grievances, but at least they had these, handed
down from father to son, from generation to generation, along with the
family physiognomy, two precious, priceless heirlooms, remarkable as
being the only hereditary possessions upon which the brutal Saxon
failed to cast his blood-shot, covetous eye. And now the grievances
are taken away, the _Lares_ and _Penates_ of the farmer's cabin are
ruthlessly removed, and the melancholy peasant looks around for the
immaterial antiquities bequeathed by his long-lost forefathers. "Ah;
don't the days seem lank and long, When all goes right and nothing
goes wrong, And isn't our life extremely flat, When we've nothing
whatever to grumble at." The Irish farmer is with the poet, who hits
his harrowing anguish to a hair. He folds his hands and looks about,
uncertain what to do next. His rent has been lowered by 35 per cent.,
he has compensation for improvements, fixity of tenure, and may borrow
money to buy the land outright at a percentage, which will amount to
less than his immortal Rint. What is the unhappy man to do? His
grievances have been his sole theme from boyhood's happy days, the
basis of his conversation, his actuating motive, the very backbone of
his personal entity. Now they are gone, the fine gold has become dim,
and the weapons of war have perished. Once he could walk abroad with
the proud consciousness that he was a wronged man, a martyr, a brave
patriot struggling nobly against the adverse fates, a broth of a boy,
whose melancholy position was noted by the gods, and whose manly
bearing under proffered slavery established a complete claim to high
consideration in Olympus. But now, with heart bowed down with grief
and woe, he walks heavily, and even as a man who mourneth for his
mother, over the enfranchised unfamiliar turf. He peeps into the
bog-hole, and does not recognise himself. He could pay the rent twice
over, but he hates conventionalities, and would rather keep the money.
He is constructed to run on grievances, and in no other grooves, and
the strangeness of his present position is embarrassing. The tenants
of Lord Leitrim, Lord Lifford, and the Duke of Abercorn make no
complaint of their landlords. On the contrary, they distinctly state
that all are individually kind and reasonable men, and while
attributing their own improved position to the various Land Acts given
to Ireland, which leave the actual possessor of the land small option
in the matter, they freely admit that these gentlemen willingly do
more than is ordained by any act of Parliament, and that over and
above the provisions of the law, all three are fair-minded men,
desirous of doing the right thing by their people and the country at
large. Other landlords there were on whose devoted heads were breathed
curses both loud and deep.

The late Lord Leitrim was exalted to the skies, but his murdered
father was visited with blackest malediction. At Clones, in the County
Monaghan, I met a sort of roadside specimen of the _Agricola
Hibernicus_, who explained his position thus:--"Ye see, we wor
rayduced 35 per cent., an' 'tis thrue what ye say; but then produce is
rayduced 50 per cent., so we're 15 per cent. worse off than iver we
wor before. We want another Land Act that'll go to the root. An' that
we'll get from an Oirish Parliament an' only from that. 'Tis not the
tinints that's always the worst off. Many's the time I seen thim that
had a farrum of their own go to the dogs, while thim that had rint to
pay sthruggled and sthrived an' made money an' bought the freeholders
out. For whin they had nothin' to pay they did no work, an' then,
bedad ivery mortial thing wint to the divil. An' that's how it'll be
wid the lazy ones once we get Home Rule, which means the land for
nothin' or next to nothin'. Barney will kick up his heels and roar
whirroo, but call again in a year an' ye'll see he hasn't enough money
to jingle on a tombstone."

My next from the New Tipperary, whither I journey viâ Kildare,
Kilkenny, and Limerick, _en route_ for Cork and the Blood-taxed Kerry,
where Kerry cows are cut and carved. Now meditation on marauding
moonlighters makes melancholy musing mine.

Limerick, April 11th.



No. 8.--TERRORISM AT TIPPERARY.


Tipperary is Irish, and no mistake. Walking into town from Limerick
the first dwellings you reach are of the most primitive description,
whether regarded as to sanitary arrangements or otherwise. The ground
to the right slopes downwards, and the cabins are built with sloping
floors. The architects of these aboriginal erections stuck up four
brick walls, a hole in, a hole out, and a hole in the top, without
troubling to level the ground. Entering, you take a downward step, and
if you walk to the opposite exit, you will need to hold on to the
furniture, if any. If you slip on the front step you will fall head
first into the back yard, and though your landing might be soft
enough, it would have a nameless horror, far more killing than a stony
fall. The women stand about frowsy and unkempt, with wild Irish eyes,
all wearing the shawl as a hood, many in picturesque tatters, like the
cast-off rags of a scarecrow, rags and flesh alike unwashed and of
evil odour. The children look healthy and strong, though some of them
are almost _in puris naturalibus_. Their faces are washed once a week;
one of them said so, but the statement lacks confirmation, and is
opposed to the evidence of the senses. Scenes like these greet the
visitor to Old Tipperary, that is, Tipperary proper, if he enter from
Limerick. The town is said to be old, and in good sooth the dunghills
seem to possess a considerable antiquity. In this matter the Tipperary
men are sentimental enough--conservative enough for anything. At
Tipperary, of all places, the brutal Saxon will learn how much has
been bequeathed to Irishmen by their mighty forefathers.

The eastern side is better. A grand new Roman Catholic church has just
been built at a cost of £25,000, and in front of the gilded
railings--for they are gilt like the railings of Paris--were dreadful
old women, like Macbethian witches, holding out their skinny hands for
alms. Smartly dressed young ladies, daughters of publicans and
shopkeepers, passed in jauntily, took a splash in the holy water,
crossed themselves all over, knocked off a few prayers, and tripped
merrily away. The better parts of the town belong to Mr. Smith-Barry,
the knock-me-down cabins to Mr. Stafford O'Brien, whose system is
different. As the leases fall in the former has modern houses built,
while the latter is in the hands of the middlemen, who sub-let the
houses, and leave things to slide. The _laissez-aller_ policy is very
suitable to the genius of the genuine Irish, who may be said to rule
the roost in Tipperary.

I interviewed all sorts and conditions of men, but every individual
bound me down to closest secrecy. And although nobody said anything
approaching high treason, their alarm on finding they had ventured to
express to a stranger anything like their real opinion was very
significant. The conversations took place last evening, and this
morning before breakfast a young man called on me at the Station
Hotel, Limerick Junction, three miles from Tipperary, "on urgent
business." "Me father thinks he said too much, an' that ye moight put
what he said in print, wid his name to it. Ye promised ye wouldn't,
an' me father has confidence, but he wishes to remoind ye that there's
plinty in Tipperary would curse him for spakin' wid an Englishman, an'
that dozens of thim would murther him or you for the price of a pot of
porter." Another messenger shortly arrived, bearing a letter in which
the writer said that any mention of his name would simply ruin him,
and that he might leave the country at once. And yet these men had
only said what Englishmen would account as nothing.

New Tipperary adjoins the old, to which it is on the whole superior.
All the descriptions I have seen of the Land League buildings are
untrue and unfair. Most of them were written by men who never saw the
place, and who paraphrased and perpetuated the original error. It was
described as a "mile or two from Tipperary," and the buildings were
called "tumble-down shanties of wood, warped and decaying, already
falling to pieces." The place adjoins and interlocks with the old
town; it is not separated by more than the breadth of a street, is
largely built of stone, and comprises a stone arcade, which alone cost
many thousands. Some of the cottages are of wood, but they look well,
are slated, and seem in good condition. The butter mart, a post and
rail affair, with barbed wire decorations, is desolate enough, and
nearly all the shops are shuttered. Enamel plates with Dillon Street
and Emmett Street still attest the glory that has departed, but the
plate bearing Parnell Street escaped my research. The William O'Brien
Arcade is scattered to the winds, save and except the sturdy stone
walls, which (_à la_ Macaulay's New-Zealander) I surveyed with
satisfaction, sketching the ruins of the structure from a broken bench
in Dillon Street.

A full and true history of the New Tipperary venture has never been
written. As in the present juncture the story is suggestive and
instructive, I will try to submit the whole in a form at once concise
and accurate. The particulars have been culled with great pains from
many quarters and carefully collated on the spot, and may be relied on
as minutely exact and undeniable. Everyone admits Mr. Smith-Barry's
claim to the title of a good landlord, an excellent landlord, one of a
thousand. Before the _casus belli_ was found by William O'Brien all
was prosperity, harmony, and peace. Mr. Smith-Barry owns about 5,000
acres of land situate in the fat and fertile plain of Tipperary, known
as the Golden Vale, with the best part of the county town itself.
Tipperary is a great butter centre. The people are ever driving to the
butter factory, which seemed to be worked in the Brittany way.
Donkey-carts driven by women, and bearing barrels of milk, abound on
the Limerick Road. The land is so rich, grand meadows, and heavy
dairy-ground, that the place prospered abundantly, and was by
commercial men reckoned an excellent place for business. But they have
changed all that. The Tipperary folks were once thought as good as
the Bank of England. Now they dislike to pay anything or anybody.
Their delicate sense of _meum_ and _tuum_ is blunted. They take all
they can get, and pay as little as they can. They affect dunghills and
dirt, and have a natural affinity for battle, murder, and sudden
death. How did all this come about?

First, as to Mr. Smith-Barry's character. The most advanced
Nationalists, the Fenian papers, the Catholic clergy, all concurred in
blessing him. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Cloyne, Canon Hegarty,
P.P., and Tim Healy spoke of him in the character of a landlord in
highest terms. Sir Charles Russell, Tim Harrington, Mr. O'Leary
(Chairman of the Clonakilty Town Commissioners, a violent
Nationalist), and Canon Keller (R.C.) unanimously agreed that Mr.
Smith-Barry must be exempted from the general condemnation of Irish
landlords. They said he was the "kindest of landlords," and that his
tenants were "comfortable, respectable, and happy." They proclaimed
his "generous and noble deeds," declaring that "there have been no
cases of oppression or hardship, and the best and most kindly
relations have existed." All these sayings are gathered from
Nationalist papers, which would supply thousands of similar character,
and up to the time of O'Brien's interference, none of an opposite
sort. But, as Serjeant Buzfuz would have said, the serpent was on the
trail, the viper was on the hearthstone, the sapper and miner was at
work. Thanks to the patriot's influence, the Paradise was soon to
become an Inferno.

A Mr. Ponsonby wanted his rents, or part of them. His tenants had
lived rent-free for so long--some of them were seven years
behind--that they naturally resented the proposed innovation. Mr.
Smith-Barry and others came to Mr. Ponsonby's assistance, and,
endeavouring to settle the thing by arbitration, proposed that the
landlord should knock off £22,000 of arrears, should make reductions
of 24 to 34 per cent. in the rents, and make the tenants absolute
owners in 49 years. This was not good enough. Judge Gibson thought it
"extravagantly generous," but the Tipperary folks resented Mr.
Smith-Barry's connection with such a disgracefully tyrannical piece of
business, and, at the instance of William O'Brien, determined to make
him rue the day he imagined it. They sent a deputation to remonstrate,
and Mr. Smith-Barry, while adhering to his opinion as to the
liberality of the proposition, explained that he was only one of many,
and that whatever he said or did would not change the course of
events. The Tipperary folks required him to repudiate the arrangement,
to turn his back on his friend and himself, and--here is the cream of
the whole thing, this is deliciously Irish--they soberly, seriously,
and officially proposed to Mr. Smith-Barry that in addition to the 15
per cent. abatement they had just received on their rent he should
make a further remittance of 10 per cent. to enable them to assist the
Ponsonby tenants in carrying on the war against their landlord, on
whose side Mr. Smith-Barry was fighting. They said in effect, "You
have given us 3s. in the pound, to which we had no claim; now we want
2s. more, to enable us to smash the landlord combination, of which you
are the leader." This occurred in the proceedings of a business
deputation, and not in a comic opera.

Mr. Smith-Barry failed to see the sweet reasonableness of this
delightful proposition, and then the fun began.

O'Brien to the rescue, whirroo!

He rushed from Dublin, and told the Tipperary men to pay Smith-Barry
no rent. If they paid a penny they were traitors, slaves, murderers,
felons, brigands, and bosthoons. If they refused to pay they were
patriots, heroes, angels, cherubim and seraphim, the whole country
would worship them, they would powerfully assist the Ponsonby folks in
the next county, they would be saviours of Ireland.

And besides all this they would keep the money in their pockets. But
this was a mere detail.

The people took O'Brien's advice, withholding Mr. Smith-Barry's rent,
keeping in their purses what was due to him, in order that somebody's
tenants in the next county might get better terms. Still Mr.
Smith-Barry held out, and the Land League determined to make of him a
terrible example. He owned most of the town. Happy thought! let the
shopkeepers leave his hated tenements. Let their habitations be
desolate and no man to dwell in their tents. The Land League can build
another Tipperary over the way, the tenants can hop across, and Mr.
Smith-Barry will be left in the lurch! The end, it was thought, would
justify the means, and some sacrifice was expected. Things would not
work smoothly at first. The homes of their fathers were void; new
dunghills, comparatively flavourless, had to be made, the old
accretions, endeared by ancestral associations, had to be abandoned,
and the old effluvium weakened by distance was all that was left to
them. The new town was off the main line of trade and traffic, but it
was thought that these, with the old Tipperary odour, would come in
time. Streets and marts were built by the Land League at a cost of
£20,000 or more. The people moved away, but they soon moved back
again. The shopkeepers could do no business, so with bated breath and
whispering humbleness they returned to Mr. Smith-Barry. The mart was
declared illegal, and the old one was re-opened. But while the
agitation continued, the town was possessed by devils. Terrorism and
outrage abounded on every side. The local papers published the names
of men who dared to avow esteem for Mr. Smith-Barry, or who were
supposed to favour his cause. The Tipperary boys threw bombshells into
their houses, pigeon-holed their windows with stones, threw blasts of
gun-powder with burning fuses into their homes. They were pitilessly
boycotted, and a regular system of spies watched their goings out and
their comings in. If they were shopkeepers everything was done to
injure them, and people who patronised them were not only placed on
the Black List but were assaulted on leaving the shops, and their
purchases taken by violence and destroyed. Broken windows and threats
of instant death were so common as to be unworthy of mention, and the
hundred extra armed policemen who were marched into the town were
utterly powerless against the prevailing rowdyism of the Nationalist
party. Honest men were coerced into acting as though dishonest, and
one unfortunate man, who had in a moment of weakness paid
half-a-year's rent, pitifully besought Mr. Smith-Barry's agent to sue
him along with the rest, and declared he would rather pay it over
again than have it known that the money had been paid. "Ye can pay a
year's gale for six months, but ye can't rise again from the dead,"
said this pious victim to circumstances.

At last the leaders were prosecuted, but before this the Boys had
great divarshun. These good Gladstonians, these ardent Home Rulers,
these patriotic purists, these famous members of the sans-shirt
Separatist section, set no limits to their sacrifices in the Good
Cause, stuck at nothing that would exemplify their determination to
bring about the Union of Hearts, were resolved to take their light
from under a bushel and set it in a candlestick. They wrecked many
houses and sorely beat the inmates. They burnt barns, and stacks, and
homesteads, and in one case a poor man's donkey-cart with its load of
oats. They exploded in people's homes metal boxes, leaden pipes, and
glass bottles containing gun-powder, in such numbers as to be beyond
reckoning. They burnt the doors and window sashes of the empty houses,
knocked people down at dark corners with heavy bludgeons, and fired
shots into windows by way of adding zest to the family hearth. Poor
John Quinlan escaped five shots, all fired into his house. Mr. Bell,
of Pegsboro, beat this record with six. He was _believed_ to
sympathise with Mr. Smith-Barry! Men with white masks pervaded the
vicinity from the gentle gloaming till the witching morn, and woe to
the weak among their opponents, or even among the neutrals, whom they
might meet on their march!

The tenants were great losers. A commercial man from Dublin assured me
that the agitation cost him £2,000 in bad debts. The people were
inconvenienced, unsettled, permanently demoralised, their peaceful
relations rudely interrupted, themselves and their commercial
connections more or less discredited and injured, and the whole
prosperous community impoverished, by the machinations of O'Brien and
Bishop Croke of Thurles, a few miles away. The inferior clergy were of
course in their element. Father Humphreys and others were notorious
for the violence of their language. Gladstonians who think Home Rule
heralds the millennium, and who babble of brotherly love, should note
the neat speech of good Father Haynes, who said, "We would, if we
could, pelt them not only with dynamite, but with the lightnings of
heaven and the fires of hell, till every British bulldog, whelp, and
cur would be pulverised and made top-dressing for the soil." This is
the feeling of the priests, and the people are under the priestly
thumb. That this is so is proved by recent events in Dublin. None but
the Parnellites could make head against the Catholic Party. In the
recent conflict the Parnellites were squelched. Tim Healy kicked and
bit, but Bishop Walsh got him on the ropes, and Tim "went down to
avoid punishment." The priest holds Tim in the hollow of his hand. Tim
and his tribe must be docile, must answer to the whistle, must keep to
heel, or they will feel the lash. Should they rebel, their
constituencies, acting on priestly orders, will cast them out as
unclean, and their occupation, the means by which they live, will be
gone. Tim and his congeries hate the clerics, but they fear the
flagellum. They loathe their chains, but they must grin and bear them.
They have no choice between that and political extinction.

The opinion of Tipperary men on the question of religious toleration
is practically unanimous. Pass Home Rule and the Protestants must
perforce clear out. As it is, they are entirely excluded from any
elective position, their dead are hooted in the streets, their funeral
services are mocked and derided by a jeering crowd. The other day a
man was fined for insulting the venerable Protestant pastor of
Cappawhite, near Tipperary, while the old man was peacefully
conducting the burial service of a member of his congregation. Foul
oaths and execrations being meekly accepted without protest, a more
enterprising Papist struck the pastor with a sod of turf, for which he
was punished. But, returning to our muttons, let me conclude with
three important points:

(1) Mr. Smith-Barry built the Town Hall of Tipperary at a cost of
£3,000, and gave the use thereof to the Town Commissioners for
nothing. He spent £1,000 on a butter weigh-house, £500 on a market
yard, and tidied up the green at a cost of £300. He gave thirty acres
of land for a park, and the ground for the Catholic Cathedral. He
offered the land for a Temperance Hall (I think he promised to build
it), on condition that it was not used as a political meeting-house.
The Catholic Bishop declined to accede to this, and the project was
abandoned.

(2) Several dupes of the Land League, for various outrages, were
sentenced to punishment varying from one year's hard labour to seven
years' penal servitude.

(3) O'Brien, M.P., and Dillon, M.P., who had brought about the
trouble, were with others convicted of conspiracy, and were sentenced
to six months' imprisonment. But this was in their absence, for soon
after the trial commenced, being released on bail, they ran away,
putting the salt sea between themselves and their deservings. Heroes
and martyrs of Ireland, of whom the brutal Briton hears so much,
receive these patriots into your glorious company!

The spirit of Tipperary is ever the same. No open hostility now, but
the fires of fanaticism are only smouldering, and only a breath is
needed to revive the flame. Every Protestant I saw, and all the
intelligent and enlightened Catholics, concur that this is so, and
that Home Rule would supply the needful impulse. These men also submit
that they understand the matter better than Mr. Gladstone and his
patch-work party.

Tipperary April 12th.



No. 9.--TYRANNY AND TERRORISM.


The peasantry and small shopkeepers of this district can only be
captured by stratagem, and this for two reasons. Their native
politeness makes them all things to all men, and their fear of
consequences is ever before them. Their caution is not the Scotsman's
ingrained discretion, but rather the result of an ever-present fear.
English working men of directly opposite politics chum together in
good fellowship, harbouring no animosity, agreeing to differ in a
friendly way. It is not so in Ireland. The Irish labourer is
differently situated. He dare not think for himself, and to boldly
speak his mind would mean unknown misfortunes, affecting the liberty
and perhaps the lives of himself and those nearest and dearest to him.
That is, of course, assuming that his opinions were not approved by
the village ruffians who watch his every movement, of whom he stands
in deadly terror, and whom he dreads as almost divining his most
secret thoughts. A direct query as to present politics would fail in
every case. As well try to catch Thames trout with a bent pin, or
shoot snipe with a bow and arrow. My plan has been to lounge about
brandishing a big red guide-book, a broad-brimmed hat, and an American
accent; speaking of antiquities, shortest roads to famous spots,
occasionally shmoking my clay dhudeen with the foinest pisantry in the
wurruld and listening to their comments on the "moighty foine weather
we're havin', Glory be to God." They generally veer round to the
universal subject, seeking up-to-date information. Discovering my
ignorance of the question, they explain the whole matter, incidentally
disclosing their own opinions. The field workers of this district are
fairly intelligent. Most have been in England, working as harvesters,
and some of the better-informed believe that in future they will be
compelled to live in England altogether.

A fine old man, living by the roadside near Oolagh, said:--"I wint to
England for thirty-four years runnin', and to the same place, in North
Staffordshire, first wid father, thin wid son. Whin I got too ould an'
stiff I sent me own son. First it was old Micky, thin it was young
Micky. He's away four months, and brings back enough to help us thro'
the winter, thanks be to God. The other time he mostly works at the
big farrum beyant there. Whin they cut up the big farrums into little
ones, nayther meself nor Micky will get anything, by raison we're
dacent, harmless people. 'Tis the murtherin' moonlighters will get the
land, an' me son wouldn't demane himself by stoppin' in the counthry
to work for them. First 'twas the landlords dhrove us away, next
'twill be the tenants. We're bound to be slaughtered some way,
although 'twas said that when we 'bolished the landlords we'd end our
troubles. But begorra, there's more ways o' killin' a dog than by
chokin' him wid butther." There is a growing feeling among the farmers
that the land will be heavily taxed to raise revenue, and that this
means expatriation to the labouring classes, who will swarm to England
in greater numbers than ever.

Another grand old man, named Mulqueen, spoke English imperfectly, and
it was only by dint of frequent repetition that his meaning could be
mastered. Well clothed and well groomed, he stood at his cottage door,
the picture of well-earned repose. Thirty-two years of constabulary
service and twenty-one years in a private capacity had brought him to
seventy-five, when he returned to end his days on his native spot,
among Irish-speaking people, and under the noble shadow of the Galtee
Mountains. Divested of the accent which flavoured his rusty English,
Mr. Mulqueen's opinions were as follows:--

"I am a Home Ruler and I voted for a Nationalist. But I am now
doubtful as to the wisdom of that course. I see that Irishmen quarrel
at every turn, that they are splitting up already, that the country
under their management would be torn to pieces, that the people would
suffer severely, and that England would have to interfere to keep our
leaders from each other's throats. It was Irish disputes that brought
the English here at first. In the event of an Irish Legislature Irish
disagreements would bring them here again. We'll never be able to
govern ourselves until the people are more enlightened." I left this
sensible and truly patriotic Irishman with the wish that there were
more like him. He was a pious Catholic, and regretted to learn that I
was otherwise, admitting in extenuation that this was rather a
misfortune than a fault, and, with a parting hand-shake, expressing an
earnest hope that "the golden gates of glory might open to receive my
sowl, and that we might again convarse in the company of the blessed
saints in the peaceful courts of heaven." This old-fashioned pious
kindliness is hardly now the mode, and isolated instances can rarely
be met with even in remote country districts.

Running down to Limerick, I witnessed a warm contention between a
Unionist from Belfast and a commercial traveller from Mullingar, a hot
Home Ruler, the latter basing his arguments on alleged iniquitous
treatment of his father, a West Meath farmer, and defending boycotting
as "a bloodless weapon," which phrase he evidently considered
unanswerable. The Land League he contended was a fair combination to
protect the interests of the tenants, and avowed that all evictions
were unwarrantable acts of tyranny. The Belfast man showed that these
arguments were equally applicable to the other side, and asked the
patriot if eviction were not likewise "a bloodless weapon," to which
inquiry the Mullingar man failed to find the proper answer, and, not
coming up to time, was by his backers held to have thrown up the
sponge. This incident is only valuable as showing the poor line of
country hunted by the more brainy Nationalists. A County Clare man
boasted of his collection of Irish curiosities. "I have the pistol
O'Connell shot So-and-So with, I have the pistol Grattan used when he
met Somebody else, I have the sword of Wolfe Tone, the pike that Miles
O'Flanagan--" Here the Ulsterman broke in with--

"Excuse me, Sir. There's one thing I'd like to see if ye have it. Like
you, I am a pathriotic Irishman, and take deloight in relics
appertaining to the histhory of me counthry. Tell me now, have ye the
horsewhip, the thunderin' big horsewhip, that young McDermot, of
Thrinity College, used when he administhered condign punishment to Tim
Healy? Have ye that, now?"

The County Clare man was completely knocked out. He discontinued the
recital of his catalogue, and surveyed the scenery in dignified
silence. His own friends chuckled. This was the most unkindest cut of
all. Irishmen love to see a splendid knockdown blow. They are full of
fight, and their spirit must have vent. They fight for fun, for love,
for anything, for nothing, with words, with blows, with tongues, with
blackthorns, anywhere, anyhow, only let them fight. Remove Mr. Bull,
they will fight each other. Heaven help the right when nobody stands
by to see fair play!

A Mr. Magrath, of Killmallock, was inclined to take a jocose view of
the situation. "Faix, the English could never govern Ireland, an'
small blame to thim for that same. Did ye see the Divil's Bit
Mountains as ye came down from Dublin? Ye did? Av coorse, ye couldn't
help but see them. Did ye see the big bite he tuk out o' the range--ye
can see the marks o' the divil's own teeth, an' the very shape of his
gums, divil sweep him! Shure, I seen it meself whin I wint to the
Curragh races wid Barney Maloney; an' by the same token, 'twas Barney
axplained it to me. Didn't the divil take his bite, an' then didn't he
dhrop it on the plain out there forninst ye, the big lump they call
the rock iv Cashel? Av coorse he did. An' if the divil himself found
Ireland too hard a nut to crack, how can the English expect to manage
us? Anyway, 'tis too big a mouthful for Misther Bull." One gentleman
stood at his shop door, and having looked carefully around, said, "Ye
niver know who ye're spakin' wid, an' ye niver know who's spyin' ye.
Ah, this is a terrible counthry since we all got upset wid this Home
Rule question. Did ye hear of Sadleir, of Tipperary? Ye didn't? He was
a savin', sthrivin' man, an' he married a woman wid money. He had a
foine shop, wid ploughs, an' sickles, an' spades for the whole
counthry round. 'Twas a grand business he had, an' he made a powerful
dale o' money. He was a quiet man, an' niver wint to the whiskey
shops, where the boys they would be quarrellin' an' knockin' hell out
iv each other. He introduced a timprance lecturer that towld the boys
the poteen was pizenin' thim, an' 'twas wather they must dhrink. Ha!
Ha! Will I tell ye what owld Sheela Maguire said to the timprance
man?"

I admitted a delirious delight in discursive digression.

"The timprance man had a wondherful glass that made iverything a
thousand million times as big. What's this he called it? Ye're right,
'twas a my-cross-scrope; ye hit it to a pop; bedad 'tis yerself has
the larnin.' An' the people looked through it at the wather he put in
a glass, an' they seen the wather all swimmin' wid snakes an'
scorpions; 'twas enough to terrify the mortal sowl out o' ye. An' so
Sheela looked in an' saw them. An' the man put in the wather a good
dhrop o' whiskey, an' he says, says he, 'Now ye'll see the effect on
animal life,' says he. An' Sheela looked in again, an' she seen the
snakes all doubled up, an' kilt, an' murthered an' says Sheela, says
she:--

"'May the divil fly away wid me,' says she, 'if I ever touch wather
again till I first put in whiskey to kill them fellows!'

"'Twas poor Sadleir, of Tipperary town, brought the man down. Sadleir
must howld land; nothin' less would sarve him, an' he tuk from
Smith-Barry a big houldin', an' paid the out-going tenant five
thousand pounds for his interest. Whin the throubles began he refused
to join the Land League, by raison that he'd put all his money in the
land. They sent him terrible letthers wid skulls an' guns, an'
coffins, an' they said Will ye join? An' he said No, once. They
smashed ivery pane o' glass in his house, an' they said Will ye join?
An' he said No, twice. They bate his servants next, an' said Will ye
join? An' he said No, three times. They threw explosives into the
house, an' said Will ye join? An' he broke down. He was afeard for his
life. He wint in wid the rest, an' refused to pay rint', an' iv coorse
he got evicted, an' lost his five thousand pounds he put into the
farm, an' then he lost his business, an' before long he died with a
broken heart. An' where did he die? Just in the workhouse. 'Twas all
thro' William O'Brien, the great frind iv Oireland, that this
happened. An' if O'Brien an' his frinds got into power, why wouldn't
it happen again? But we're afeard to breathe almost in this
unfortunate counthry, God help us!"

Amid the varying opinions of the Irish people there is one point on
which they are unanimous. They have no confidence in their present
leaders, whom they freely accuse of blackguardism, lying, and flagrant
dishonesty. Business men, although Home Rulers, agree that the
destinies of the country should not be trusted to either or any of the
jarring factions, which like unclean birds of evil omen hover darkling
around, already disputing with horrid dissonance possession of the
carcase on which they hope to batten. At the Station Hotel, Limerick
Junction, a warm Nationalist said to me, "The country will be ruined
with those blackguards. We have a right to Home Rule, an abstract
right to manage our own affairs, and I believe in the principle. But I
want such men as Andrew Jameson, or Jonathan Hogg, or that other
Quaker, Pym, the big draper. There we have honourable gentlemen, whom
we or the English alike might trust, either as to ability or
integrity. We might place ourselves in the hands of such men and close
our eyes with perfect confidence. Our misfortune is that our men, as a
whole, are a long way below par. They inspire no confidence, they
carry no weight, and nobody has any respect for them." Here my friend
mentioned names, and spoke of an Irish M.P.'s conduct at Sligo. I give
his story exactly as I heard it, premising that my informant's _tout
ensemble_ was satisfactory, and that he assured me I might rely on his
words:--"At the Imperial Hotel a discussion arose--a merely political
discussion--and blows were exchanged, the 'honourable gentleman' and
others rolling about the floor like so many savage bull dogs in a
regular rough-and-tumble fight. The poor 'boots' got his face badly
bruised, and for some days went about in mourning. I see that this
same member is bringing in a Bill in the House of Commons, and I read
it through with great interest, because I remembered the row, which
was hushed up, and never appeared in the papers. Imagine any Irishman,
with any respect either for himself or his country, trusting either to
a parcel of fellows like that."

My friend spoke more moderately of the objectionable Irish M.P.'s than
they do of each other, but his opinions were obviously strong enough
for anything. The attitude of the _Freeman's Journal_ moved him to
contempt, and its abject subjection to the priesthood excited his
disgust. He said, waving the despised sheet with indignity--"We have
no paper now. We lost all when we lost Parnell. He was a Protestant,
and could carry the English people, and with all his faults he had the
training of a gentleman. Look at the low-bred animals that represent
us now. Look at Blank-Blanky and his whole boiling. I swear I am
ashamed to look an Englishman in the face. The very thought of the
Irish members makes me puke."

The mention of Mr. Jonathan Hogg reminds me that this eminent Dubliner
submitted to me a point which I do not remember to have seen in print.
Said Mr. Hogg: "When the Irish Legislature has become an accomplished
fact, which is extremely improbable, the land will be divided and
sub-divided until the separate holdings will yield incomes below the
amount required for the payment of income-tax. The effect of this will
be that a large number of incomes now paying tax will disappear, each
leaving a number of small incomes paying no tax, so that a larger tax
must be levied on the remaining incomes to meet the deficiency. Then
the large manufacturers who can move away will certainly do so, and
the country will suffer severely. Employment will be scarce or
altogether lacking, and the people will go to England, by their
competition lowering the rate of wage." The mention of Mr. Andrew
Jameson reminds me of his opinion _re_ Customs. He said to me "The
bill nominally deprecates Separation, and yet proposes to establish a
Custom House between the two countries, making Ireland a foreign
country at once." Mr. John Jameson, who was present along with Mr.
Arundel, the business manager of the great J.J. concern, then
expressed his fears anent the practicability of Customs' collections
on the Irish coast. He said, "We have 1,300 coastguards at present,
and this force is ample when backed by the Royal Irish Constabulary,
marching and patrolling in the interior. But when the constabulary are
no longer engaged in the direct protection of British interests the
little force of thirteen hundred coastguards must prove quite
insufficient, and I doubt if even thirteen thousand would prove an
adequate force. The Irish people will have no interest in protecting
the British Government. Their interest will be exactly the other way.
Grave difficulties attend the proposition having regard to the Customs
duties between the two countries." Another eminent authority then
present referred to the encouragement which the Act would give to the
enterprising smuggler, and thought that a small fleet of American
steamers, smart built, fast little boats, would instantly spring into
existence to carry on a splendidly paying trade--a trade, too, having
untold fascination for the Yankees, while the average Irishman, as
everybody knows, is a smuggler by nature, disposition, heredity, and
divine right. It was also pointed out that, whereas huge quantities of
spirits now pass to Ireland through the ports of Bristol and London,
under the new dispensation Irish merchants would order direct, which
would inflict loss on England. The details of this loss were fully
explained, but I omit them for the reason that experts will
understand, while lay readers may safely accept a statement uttered in
the presence of the two Jamesons and receiving their assent.

But my friend's conversation reminded me of something more, and I
remembered a little story I heard in Dublin respecting a daily
disseminator of priest-ordered politics. It owed some rent for the
premises it occupies on the thymy banks of the odorous Liffey. It
owed, I say, for owing, not paying, is the strong suit of the party it
represents. It was pressed to pay, coaxed to plank down, soothered to
shell out. A registered letter with premonitory twist of the screw
"fetched" the patriot laggards. They or "It" paid up, but failed to
look pleasant. In his hurry the glad recipient of the cash gave a
receipt up to date instead of up to the time the rent was due. The
immaculate organ of highly-rectified morality wished to hold the
writer of the receipt to his pen-slip, to nobble the rent; and being
reproached backed out with:--

"We thought you wanted to give it as a present." The landlord is a
strong Unionist. The rottenness of repudiation is spreading
everywhere. Lying and theft, under other names, would be, the dominant
influences under the new _régime_. But it may be objected--If Irishmen
have no respect for their members, why did they elect them? If they
object to Home Rule, why did they vote for it? And so on, and so on.
These queries at first blush seem unanswerable, but they are not
really so. Attentive readers of later letters will discover the reason
why. Further, it may be remarked, in passing, that questions are more
easily asked than answered. Here is an instance. The facts are
undeniable, staring us in the face:--

The base and bloody Balfour, unaccompanied by men who have been called
his black and brutal bloodhounds, moves about in Ireland unmolested,
with no other protection than that of his sister.

The bright and brilliant O'Brien, the purist-patriot, visiting the
constituency of which he is the senior member, is with difficulty
protected by a powerful force of the police he has so often affected
to despise.

Other Nationalist members dare not appear in Nationalist quarters. How
is this?

To return to the objections given above. Since the appearance of the
bill, Irishmen have been changing their minds. Day by day they dread
it more and more. They still believe that under certain conditions
Home Rule would be a good thing for Ireland. But they begin to see
that the required conditions do not exist. They begin to see that they
have been used by such men as O'Brien and Healy, they see the
incompetency which has reduced the party paper to so low an ebb, they
see the misery and degradation which the Land League inflicted on the
once thriving districts of Tipperary; they saw their neighbours, poor,
unlettered men, dupes of unscrupulous lying eloquence, men whom it was
murder to deceive--they saw these men sentenced to long terms of penal
servitude, while the instigators of the crimes for which they had
suffered, availing themselves of the liberal English law, broke their
bail, and, travelling first-class to Paris, lived in the best hotels
of that gay city on the plunder they had wiled from ignorant servant
girls, being clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously
every day, while their friends the felons trod the tireless wheel and
the housemaids went on with their scrubbing.

The Irish people have seen these things and many more, and, as the
French say, they have reflected. A very considerable proportion of the
lower classes have already changed their minds, but--they dare not own
it. So the process of education is comparatively slow. A small farmer
said to me, "Not an hour's walk from here, a small tinant like meself
was suspicted to be a thraitor to the cause. He was a sthrivin' man,
an' he had really no politics, an' only wanted to get lave to work his
land, an' earn his bit an' sup.

"He had two sthrappin' daughters, as nice, dacent young girls as ye'd
see in a summer's day. They were seen spakin' to a pliceman--that was
all they done--an' four men came that night, four ruffians wid white
masks, an' havin' secured the father, they dhragged the young girls
out of bed at the dead hour, an' stripped them to the skin. Thin they
cut off their hair close wid a knife, the way ye'd cut corn, an'
scarified their bodies wid knives. Would ye wondher we're careful?"

I asked him whether a Protestant could in his district hope to be
elected to any public position, the Board of Guardians for instance
(he was a good Catholic). His answer was an unqualified No. Then he
took time, and shortly proposed the following statement of the
position, which I present on account of its gem-like finish:--

"I wouldn't say but they'd put on a Protestant av he paid for it by
settlin' wid the priest that for certain considerations he would be
contint wid a seat on the boord. An' thin he must renounce his
political ideas, or promise never to mintion thim in public. But,
begorra, he'd have to sell his birthright for a mess of pottage by
makin' a decoy duck of himself!"

In adding this great specimen to the immortal list of memorable mixed
metaphors, I feel that my visit to Ireland has not been quite in vain.

Oolagh, (Co. Tipperary), April 15th.



No. 10.--DEFYING THE LAND LEAGUE.


"Burn everything English except English coals." That was the first
sentiment I heard in "rebel Cork," and it certainly expresses the
dominant feeling of the local Nationalist party, who do not seem to
have heard of the proposed Union of Hearts, or, if they have heard,
they certainly have not heeded. Nor will anyone who knows for one
moment assert that the Corkers entertain the idea. My hotel is a
hotbed of sedition. It is the southern head-quarters of the Parnellite
party. The spacious entrance hall is a favourite resort of the leading
Cork Nationalists, who air their views in public with much excited
gesture, having its basis in whiskey-nourished hatred of English rule.
They walk to the bar, suck in the liquid bliss, and return to the spot
whence they may look upon the beauteous promenaders of Patrick Street.
They prefer the kaleidoscopic change of the streets to the stationary
beauty of the bar, and while admitting the unfleeting quality of the
fixed stars they worship the procession of the equinoxes. On Saturday
last, the day O'Brien died, the Mayor of Cork, with Mayoral chain and
hosts of satellites, might have been seen under the familiar portal,
discussing the proposed public funeral of the lamented friend, once
Mayor of the City, and described as "a gentleman who had, by his
courageous and outspoken utterances, obtained the distinguished honour
of imprisonment by the British Government." Particulars were not
given, as the first two incarcerations occurred under Forster and
Trevelyan. The third, under Balfour, was a term of fourteen days for
assaulting a policeman. The Corporation discussed the patriot's merits
without descending to detail. Outside, the newspaper boys were yelling
"Arrest of Misther Balfour-r-r," but the Corporation were no buyers.
The populace might be taken in, but official Cork know it was the
"wrong 'un," and clave to its hard-earned pence.

Public opinion here is much the same as in Dublin, only hotter.
Respectable people who have anything to lose are, if possible, more
seriously alarmed. The lower classes are, if possible, more bitter,
more implacable in their animosity to everything English.
Nevertheless, the feeling against Home Rule is assuredly gaining
ground, even among the most ardent Nationalists. The great meeting of
last Wednesday showed what the Unionists could do, how they could
crowd a great platform with the intelligence of the country, and fill
a great hall with the Unionist rank and file. The Loyalists have
astonished themselves. They knew not their own strength. Now they are
taking fresh heart, determined to hold out to extremity. The
Separatists--for the Corkers are Separatists _au naturel_--are
somewhat disconcerted, and try to minimise the effect of the meeting
by sneering and contumely; but it will not do. They affect hilarity,
but their laughter is not real. Perhaps nothing shows the shallowness
of men more than the tricks they think sufficient to deceive. And then
the leaders are accustomed to a credulous public. The place is
eminently religious. Cork is the Isle of Saints--with a port and a
garrison to enhance its sanctity. At certain seasons a big trade is
done in candles, on which names are written, which being blessed and
burnt have powerful influence in the heavenly courts. It costs a
trifle to hallow the tallow, but no matter. A friend has seen a muddy
little well, which is fine for sore eyes. Offerings of old bottles and
little headless images were planted around, but the favourite gift was
a pin, stuck in the ground by way of fee. Jolly Mr. Whicker, of
Dublin, who represents three Birmingham houses, saw Father McFadden,
of Gweedore, waving his hat when in custody. A policeman insisted that
this should cease, when a man in the crowd said to Mr. Whicker:--

"Arrah, now, look at the holy man. He puts on his hat widout a wurrud,
whin he could strike the man dead wid jist sayin' a curse. 'Tis a good
saint he is, to go wid the police, whin if he sthretched out his hand
he could wither thim up, an' bur-rn thim like sthraws in the blazin'
turf!"

These people have votes, and to a man support the Nationalist party.
It is proposed to place Ireland under a Government governed by these
good folks, who are in turn governed by their sacred medicine-men.

A member of the firm of Cooke Brothers, a native of Cork, in business
in this city fifty years, said:--

"There can be no doubt that the bill means ruin for Ireland, and
therefore damage to England. The poor folks here believe the most
extravagant things, and follow the agitators like a flock of sheep.
They are undoubtedly wanting in energy. We have the richest land in
Ireland, wonderful pastures that turn out the most splendid cattle in
the world, big salmon rivers, a most fruitful country, a land flowing
with milk and honey. As the rents are judicially fixed there can be no
ground for complaint, but the people will not help themselves. Whether
it is in the climate I cannot say, but I must reluctantly admit--and
no one will gainsay my statement--that the people of the South, to put
it mildly, are not a striving sort.

"They want somebody else to do something for them. They get on a stick
and wait till it turns to a horse before they ride. No Act of
Parliament will help them, for they will not help themselves.

"Look at the magnificent country you saw from Dublin to this city.
Compare it with the black and desolate bogs of Ulster, and then ask
yourself this question--How is it that the Ulster people, with far
worse land, worse harbours, worse position, and having the same laws,
are prosperous and content to have no change? If the Northerns and
Southerns would swop countries, Ireland must develop into one of the
most prosperous countries in the world. The Ulster men are
tremendously handicapped as against the Munster folks, but--they are
workers. Some say that if they were here the climate would enervate
them, but I do not find that my experience countenances this
supposition. Fifty years ago all the leading merchants and tradesmen
of Cork were Catholics. It is not so now. What does that prove? I
withhold my own opinion.

"The Southerners are better fixed than the Ulstermen, but they are
idle, and--this is very important--extremely sentimental."

An avowed Nationalist, one Sullivan, completely bore out this last
statement. "We want to manage our own business, and be ruled by
Irishmen. You say in England that we shall be poor, and so we may, but
that is no argument at all. It might influence a nation of
shopkeepers, but it has no weight with Irishmen, who have a proper and
creditable wish to make their country one of the nations of the world.
The very servant girls feel this, and the poorest peasant woman now
having what she calls a 'tay brakefast' is willing to go back to
porridge if the country was once rid of the English. Never you mind
what will happen to us. Cut us adrift, and that will be all we ask. If
we need help we can affiliate with America or even France. The first
is half our own people, the second understands the Irish nation, which
fought for centuries in the French armies, and, under Marshal Saxe, an
Irishman, routed the English at Fontenoy." This gentleman was civil
and moderate in tone, but he did not promise to walk down the ages
arm-in-arm with England, attesting eternal amity by exchanging smokes
and drinks. "We'll be very glad to see the English as tourists," he
said. "And they will have to behave themselves, too," he added,
reflectively.

A large trader of Patrick Street has most serious misgivings as to the
effect of the bill. He said:--

"I had just been over to England to make purchases. Arriving here, I
found the bill just out. I read it, and at once cancelled half my
orders. We are reducing stock. What Home Rule would do for us I cannot
contemplate. The mere threat amounts to partial paralysis. What the
Cork people want with Home Rule is beyond me. They have everything in
their own hands. The city elections of all kinds are governed by the
rural voters of five miles round. Wealth and commercial capital are
completely swamped by these obedient servants of the priests. Mr.
Gladstone talks of an Upper House, with a £20 qualification. Why, the
qualification for the Grand Jury is £40. Many of the twenty-pounders
round here cannot read or write, and yet they will be qualified for
the Irish House of Lords.

A customer came up and said:--"Gladstone wants to hand the capital and
commerce of this country to men like Tim Healy, who expects to be
Prime Minister, and who will succeed, if the bill passes and he can
eat priestly dirt enough. I knew where he was reared in Waterford, in
a little tripe and drischeen shop."

I rose to a point of order. Would the honourable member now addressing
the House kindly explain the technical term "drischeen shop?"
"Certainly. The drischeen is a sort of pudding, made of hog's blood
and entrails, with a mixture of tansy and other things. Tim would know
them well for he was reared on them, which accounts for his
characteristic career. Do you know that the Queenstown Town
Commissioners call each other liars, and invite each other to come out
and settle it on the landing? Get the _Cork Constitution_, look over
the file, and you'll drop on gems that will be the soul of your next
letter. Don't miss it. And that's the sort of folks Mr. Gladstone
would trust with the fate of England as well as Ireland, for their
fates would be the same. You cannot separate them. The people of
England do not seem to see through that. They will have an awful
awakening. And serve them right. They make a pact with traitors; they
offer their throats to the murderer, and they say, 'Anything to oblige
you. I know you won't hurt us much.'

"The Southern Irish are the most lovable people in the world, with all
their faults, if they were not led astray by hireling agitators, who
ruin the country by playing on the people's ignorance, exciting the
Catholic hope of religious domination, and trusting to damage England
as a great spreader of Protestantism. A lie is no lie if told to a
Protestant. To keep a Protestant out of heaven would be a meritorious
action. And they would readily damage themselves if by doing so they
could also damage England. Englishmen hardly believe this, but every
commercial traveller from an English house knows it is true."

I tested a number of English commercials on this point. All confirmed
the statement above given. Many had been Gladstonians, but now all
were Unionists. None of them knew an English or Scotch commercial who,
having travelled in Ireland, remained a Home Ruler. Such a person,
they thought, did not exist. Admitted that for business purposes the
apparent _rara avis_ might possibly, though not probably, be found,
all agreed that no Englishman in his senses, with personal knowledge
of the subject, could over support Home Rule. Two Gladstonians went
from Chester to Tipperary to investigate the troubles: both returned
converted. Six men from a shop-fitting establishment in Birmingham
worked some weeks in Dublin: all returned Unionist to the core. This
from Mr. Sibley, of Grafton street, Dublin, in whose splendid shop I
met the Duchess of Leinster, handsomest woman in Ireland, and
therefore (say Irishmen) handsomest in the world. She was buying books
for Mr. Balfour, who, she said, was a great reader of everything
connected with Ireland or Irish affairs. Mr. Sibley is a partner of
Mr. Combridge, of New street, Birmingham, and is a leading Irish
Unionist. Returning to the cancelling of orders, I will add that Mr.
Richard Patterson, J.P., of Belfast, the largest buyer of hardware in
Ireland, has cancelled very largely, together with two other large
firms, whose names he gave me. You will remember Mr. John Cook, the
Protestant Home Ruler, of Derry. His manager, Mr. Smith, has written
the Birmingham factor of the house, to omit his usual visit, as the
firm will have no orders for him. A strange comment on Mr. Cook's
theories of confidence. Mr. Cook is an excellent, a high-minded man.
He asked me how I would class him among his party. I called him a
Visionary in Excelsis.

Every self-respecting Saxon visitor to Cork visits the famous castle
of Blarney, seven miles away, to see the scenery and kiss the Blarney
Stone, the apparent source of Home Rule inspiration.

    There is a stone there
    That whoever kisses
    Och! he never misses
        To grow eloquent.
    'Tis he may clamber
    To a lady's chamber,
    Or become a member
        Of Parliament.

    A clever spouter
    He'll sure turn out, or
    An out-an'-outer
        To be let alone!
    Don't hope to hindher him
    Or to bewildher him--
    Sure, he's a pilgrim
        From the Blarney stone!

The walk is delightful, not unlike that from Colwyn Bay to Conway, but
more beautiful still, as instead of the London and North Western
Railway a lovely river runs along the valley on your right. The Cork
and Muskerry Light Railway occupies the roadside for the first four
miles, relic of the beneficent Balfour--winding by the river side for
the rest of the journey, through fat meadows dotted with thriving
kine, and having a background of richly-wooded hills. At Carrickrohane
your left is bounded by a huge precipitous rock, covered from base to
summit with ivy and other greenery, a great grey building on the very
brink of the abyss, flanked by Scotch firs, peering over the
precipice. A fine stone bridge, garrisoned by salmon-fishers, leads to
the Anglers' Rest, and here I found a splendid character, one Dennis
Mulcahy, who boasted of his successful resistance to the Land League.
Having told me of his adventures in America, and how his oyster-bar
experiences in the Far West had opened his eyes to the fact that the
Irish people were being humbugged, he narrated his return to his
native land, on his succession to a small farm left him by "an ould
aunt he had." His language was so forcible and picturesque that I
despair of conveying its effect, more especially as no pen can
describe the rich brogue, which, notwithstanding his two years'
residence in the States, was still thick enough to be cut with a
knife. Apart from its amusing side, his story has a moral, and may be
instructively applied.

"'Twas at Ballina I was, the toime o' the Land Lague. 'Twas there
Captain Moonlight started from, an' the whole disthrict was shiverin'
in their shoes. I refused to subscribe to the Land Lague, an' they
started to compil me, but, be the powers, they tackled the wrong
tom-cat whin they wint to coarce Dennis Mulcahy. Threatenin' letthers,
wid pictures o' death's-heads, an' guns, an' pikes, an' coffins, was
but a thrifle to the way they wint on. But they knew I had a thrifle
of a sivin-shooter, an' bad luck to the one o' thim that dared mislist
me at all. At last it got abroad that I was to get a batin' wid
blackthorn sticks, for they wor tired the life out o' them, raisonin'
wid me. Well, says I, I'm here, says I, an' the first man that raises
a hand to me, I'll invite him to his own inquist, says I, for, bedad,
I'll perforate him like a riddle, says I. Well, it wint on an' on,
till one day I was stayin' at a bit of a shebeen outside the place,
when a slip o' a girleen kem to me--I was sittin' on a bench in the
back garden, the way I'd enjoy my pipe in the fresh air, an', says
she, 'Get out o' this, for there's a whole crew o' thim inside going
to bate you.' That was six or seven o' a fine summer's night, an' I
walked into the house an' took a look at thim--a thievin' heap o'
blayguards as iver ye seen wid your two eyes."

"I wint out again an' sat in the haggard, where I could kape my eye on
the dure. Prisintly out comes one o' thim, to commince the row, I
suppose.

"He spoke o' the Land Lague, an' I towld him I didn't agree wid it at
all, and 'twas a thievin' invintion o' a set o' roguish schamers.

"'Ye'd betther mind yer manners,' says he, 'onless ye have yer
revalver,' says he, lookin' at me maningly.

"Faix, 'tis here, says I, pullin' out the tool.

"'But can ye handle it?' says he.

"Begorra, says I, I'd shoot a fly off yer nose; an' wid that I looked
round for a mark, an' I seen in a three foreninst me a lump o' a crow
sittin' annoyin' me. 'Will ye quit yer dhrimandhru?' says I, to the
botherin' ould rook.

"'Caw, caw, caw,' says he, vexin' me intirely.

"Bang! says I, an the dirty blackburd comes fluttherin' down, an'
dhropped in the haggard like a log o' limestone.

"Ye should have seen that fellow! The landlord wid the whole rout o'
thim runs out. 'What's the matter?' says he, starin' round like a sick
cod-fish.

"'I'm afther charmin' a burd out iv a three; 'tis a way I have,' says
I, shovin' in a fresh cartridge from my waistcoat pocket, fair an'
aisy, an' kapin' me back to the haystack.

"'Was it you kilt the jackdaw?' says he.

"''Twas meself,' says I, 'that did it,' says I.

"'An' ye carry a murdherin' thing like that in a paceful counthry,'
says he. ''Tis yer American thrainin' says he, sneerin'.

"I tuk off me hat an' giv' him a bow an' a scrape. 'Is it yerself
would insinse me into the rudiments o' polite larnin'?' says I. Thin I
looked him straight into the white iv his eye, an' give him the length
o' my tongue. Me blood was up whin I seen this spalpeen wid his dirty
set o' vagabones waitin' to murther me if they ketched me unbeknownst.
'Michael Hegarty,' says I, 'where did ye scour up yer thievin' set o'
rag-heaps?' says I. 'Ye'd bate me wid blackthorns, would ye? Come on,
you and your dirty thribe, till I put sivin shots into yez. Shure I
could pick the eye out o' yez shure I could shoot a louse off yer
ear,' says I. 'Anger me,' says I, 'an' I'll murther the whole parish;
raise a stick to me, an' I'll shlaughter the whole counthry side.' An'
wid that I cocked me little shootin'-iron.

"Ye should have seen that shebeen-keeper; ye should have seen the
whole o' them whin I raised me voice an' lifted me little Colt!

"They tumbled away through the dure, crossin' each other like threes
ye'd cut down, lavin' the landlord, struck all iv a heap, the mug on
him white as a new twelve-pinny, staggerin' on his two shin-bones, an'
thrimblin' an' shiverin' wid fright, till ye'd think he'd shake the
teeth out iv his head.

"The murdherin' vilyans want shtandin' up to, an' they'll rispict ye.
I had no further trouble. That was the last o' thim. 'Tis the wake an'
difinceless people they bate an' murther. I heerd there was talk o'
shootin' me from the back iv a ditch; an' that one said, 'But av ye
missed?' says he. 'What thin?' says he.

"Ye should sind ould Gladstone an' Morley an' the other ould women to
Carrignaheela till I give them a noggin' o' right poteen an' insinse
thim into the way iv it. The only way o' managin' me counthrymin is to
be the masther all out, an' 'tis thrue what I spake, an' sorra one o'
me cares who hears me opinion. I'm the only man in the counthry that
dares open his teeth, an' yet they all thrate me well now, an' the
priest invites me to his house. An' all because I spake me mind, an'
don't care three thraneens for the whole o' thim. 'Twas in America I
larned the secret."

Cork, April 20th.



No. 11.--THE CRY FOR PEACE AND QUIETNESS.


"What's the next place to this?" I asked, as the Southern and Western
Railway deposited me at Tralee. I was uncertain as to whether the
place was a terminus, but the gintleman who dhrove the cyar I hailed
marvelled greatly at my ignorance. He surveyed me from top to toe with
a compassionate expression. No doubt he had heard much of the
ignorance of the uncivilised English, but this beat the record. Not
to know that Tralee was on the sea, not to know that the little port
frowned o'er the wild Atlantic main, as Mr. Micawber would have said.
He struggled for a moment with his emotion and then said,

"Musha, the next parish is Amerikay!"

I apologised for my imperfect geographical knowledge, but the cyar-man
was immovable. No pardoning look stole over his big red face, which
was of the size and complexion of a newly cut ham. Nor would he enter
into conversation with the inquiring stranger. He cursed his horse
with a copiousness which showed his power of imagination, and with a
minute attention to detail which demonstrated a superior business
capacity. Put him in the House amongst the Nationalist members, and he
is bound to come to the front. The qualifications above-mentioned
cannot fail to ensure success. We have the examples before us, no need
to mention names. A hard cheek, a bitter tongue, and a good digestion
are the three great steps in the Irish Parliamentary _gradus ad
Parnassum_, the cheek to enable its happy possessor to "snub up" to
gentlemen of birth and breeding, the tongue to drip gall and venom on
all and sundry, the digestion to eat dirt _ad libitum_ and to endure
hebdomadal horsewhippings. Such a man, I am sure, was the dhriver of
my cyar, who may readily be identified. His physiognomy is very like
the railway map of Ireland, coloured red, with the rivers and mountain
ranges in dark-blue or plum-colour. As a means of ready reference he
would be invaluable in the House of Commons. How interesting to see
Mr. Gladstone poring over his cheek (Connaught and Leinster), his jaw
(Munster, with a pimple for Parnellite Cork), and his forehead
(Ulster, with the eyes for Derry and Belfast). The G.O.M. would find
the Kerry member invaluable. Like the rest he would probably be devoid
of shame, untroubled by scruples, and a straight voter for his side,
so long as he was not allowed to go "widout a male." Who knows but
that, like the Prime Minister's chief Irish adviser, he may even have
been reared on the savoury tripe and the succulent "drischeen"?

All the Tralee folks are shy of political talk. They eye you for a
long time before they commit themselves, but when once started they
can hardly stop, so warm are they, so intensely interested in the
great question. Running down the line, a Cork merchant said "The Kerry
folks are decent, quiet folks by nature. Do not believe that these
simple villagers are the determined murderers they would seem to be.
No brighter intellects in Ireland, no better hearts, no more
hospitable hosts in the Emerald Isle. They are very superstitious.
There you have it all. 'Tis their beautiful ingenuousness that makes
them so easily led astray. What do these simple country folks, living
on their farms, without books, without newspapers, without
communication with large centres--what do they know about intricate
State affairs? What can they do but listen to the priest, regarded as
the great scholar of the district, reverenced as almost--nay, quite
infallible, and credited with the power to give or withhold eternal
life? For while in England the people only respect a parson according
to the esteem he deserves as a man, in Ireland the priestly office
invests the man with a character entirely different from his own, and
covers everything. These poor folks felt the pinch of hard times, and
the agitators, backed by their Church, saw their opportunity and
commenced to use it. Hence the Kerry moonlighters, poor fellows,
fighting in their rude and uncouth way for what they believed to be
patriotism and freedom. They should be pitied rather than blamed, for
they were assuredly acting up to their light, and upon the advice of
men they had from childhood been taught to regard as wise, sincere,
and disinterested counsellors.

"Ah me, what terrible times we had in Cork! Belfast may boast, but
Belfast is not in it. We were in the centre of the fire. The
shopkeepers of Patrick Street deserve the fullest recognition from the
British nation. They had to furnish juries to well and truly try the
moonlighters of Kerry, Clare, and several other counties. They sat for
eight months, had to adjourn over Christmas, and those men returned
true bills at the peril of their lives. The venue was changed to Cork
for all these counties, and every man jack of the jury knew full well
that any day some fanatic friend of the convicted men might shoot or
stab him in the street. The loyalty of Belfast is all the talk, but it
has never undergone so severe a test. There the Loyalists have it all
their own way. Here the Loyalists, instead of being three to one, are
only one to three. The Ulstermen are the entrenched army; the Cork
Unionists are the advanced picket. More judges got promotion from Cork
than elsewhere. We changed the barristers' silk to ermine, too. All
this shows what we went through. Everything is quiet now; Balfour
terrified the life out of them, and Captain Moonlight at the mention
of that name would skip like spring-heeled Jack."

The Kerry folks turned out bright as their reputation. It was hard to
believe that these simple, kindly peasants had ever stained their
beautiful pastoral country with the bloodiest, cruellest deeds of
recent times. They have a polite, deferential manner without
servility, and a pious way of interpolating prayer and thanksgiving
with their ordinary conversation.

"Good morning, Sir."

"Good mornin', an' God save ye, Sorr."

"Fine weather."

"'Tis indeed foine weather, glory be to God."

"Nice country."

"Troth, it is a splindid country. The Lord keep us in it."

A prosperous-looking shop with a portly personage at the door looked
so uncommonly Unionistic that I ventured to make a few inquiries _re_
the antiquities of the district. The inevitable topic soon turned up,
and to my surprise my friend avowed himself a Home Ruler and a
Protectionist. His opinions and illustrations struck me as
remarkable, and with his permission I record them here.

"Yes, I am a Home Ruler--in theory. I think Home Rule would be best
for both. Best for you and best for me, as the song says; but mark me
well--NOT YET.

"You are surprised that I should say Not Yet so emphatically, but the
fact is I love my country, and, besides, all my interests and those of
my children are bound up with the prosperity of the country. This
ought to sharpen a man's wits, if anything could do it, and I have for
many years been engaged in thinking out the matter, and my mind is now
made up.

"Home Rule from Gladstone will ruin us altogether. We must have Home
Rule from Balfour. We _must_ have Home Rule, but we must have it from
a Conservative Government. You smile. Is that new to you? It is? Just
because Home Rulers in this country cannot afford to express their
views at this moment. But the hope is entertained by all, I will say
all, the most advanced Irish Home Rulers. By advanced I mean educated,
enlightened. Let me give you an illustration which I heard from a
friend in Cork.

"Here is Ireland, a delicate plant requiring untold watching and
careful training. Around it on the ground are a number of slugs and
snails. Or call them hireling agitators if you like. I sprinkle salt
around the roots to kill off the brutes and save my darling plant.
That salt is Conservatism. It is furnished by people of property, by
men who have interests to guard. Salt is a grand thing, let me tell
you! Balfour is the man to sprinkle salt. Home Rule from him would be
safe. He is the greatest man that ever governed Ireland, but that must
be stale to you. You must have heard that everywhere. He put his foot
on rebellion and crushed it out of existence. On the other hand the
poor folks of the West coast would lie down and let him walk over
them. They hold him in such esteem that they would regard it a favour
if he would honour them by wiping his feet on them. He might walk
unarmed and unattended through Ireland from end to end with perfect
safety. But which of the Nationalist members could do that? Not one.
The city scum, the criminal, irreclaimable class, shout 'Hell to
Balfour,' but these poor readers of the _Freeman's Journal_ and
such-like prints, prepared for their special use and written down to
their level, must not be classed with the people of Ireland at all.
Every country has its ruffian element, every country has its poisonous
press. Ireland is no worse than other countries in these respects."

My Irish Conservative Home Ruler would have gone on indefinitely,
furnishing excellent matter, for he improved as he warmed up, but
unhappily a priest called on him to make some purchase, and he had to
leave me without much notice. "Over the way," he said. "Trip across to
the opposite shop, and you'll find another Tory Home Ruler."

As I "tripped" across I thought of the Pills and Ointment man who
amassed a colossal fortune by fifty years' advertising of the fact
that wonders never will cease. Mr. Overtheway was not quite so Tory as
might be supposed, after all. He said:--

"I have no objection to Home Rule, but, although a Catholic, I have
the greatest objection to Rome Rule, which is precisely what it means.
I object to this great Empire being ruled from Rome. The greatest
Empire that the world ever saw to be bossed by a party of priests! Do
the English know what they are now submitting to?

"Let me put the thing logically, and controvert me if you can.

"If Mr. Gladstone wished to go to war to-morrow, is he not at the
mercy of the Irish Nationalist party? Could he get votes of supply
without their aid? In the event of any sudden, or grave emergency, any
serious and critical contingency, would they not hold the key of the
position, would they not have the power to make or mar the Empire?
Surely they would. And are not these men in the hands of the priests?
Surely they are. That is a matter of common knowledge, as sure as that
water will drown and fire will burn. A pretty position for a sensible
man like John Bull to be placed in by a blethering idiot, who can
argue with equal volubility on either side, but with more conviction
when in the wrong. Bull must have been drunk, and drunk on stupid
beer, when he placed his heart strings between the finger and thumb of
a quack like that, who, whatever the result, whether we get Home Rule
or not, has ruined the country for five-and-twenty years.

"Yes, I am a Home Ruler. But for heaven's sake don't thrust
self-government on an unfortunate country that is not ready for it.
That country cries for it, you say. The snuffling old air-pump across
the Channel says the same thing. Says he: 'Beloved brethren, I greet
you. I fall on your neck and kiss your two ears, and give you all you
ask. For why, beloved brethren? Why do I this thing. Let us in a
spirit of love enquire. Because it is the wish of the country; because
it is the aspiration of the people; because I feel a deep-seated,
internal affection for your beautiful land, in whose affairs, during
my eighty-four years' pilgrimage in this vale of tears, I have, as you
know, always shown the strongest, the warmest, the most passionate
interest, and on whose lovely shores I have during my seven dozen
years spent (altogether) nearly a week. It has been said that I have
never been in Ulster, and that, therefore, I am unable to appreciate
the situation. An atrocious falsehood. I have spent two hours (nearly)
in the northern province, having landed from Sir Somebody's yacht to
see the Giant's Causeway. I have studied the Irish question by means
of mineral specimens gathered from the four provinces, and I am,
therefore, competent to settle the Irish question for ever. Do you
know a greater man than myself? I confess I don't. Bless you, my
children. You ask for Home Rule. Enough. The fact that you ask proves
a Divine right to have what you ask for. You are a people rightly
struggling to be free,' says owld Gladstone. 'Hell to my sowl,' says
he, 'but that's what ye are,' says he.

"And he starts to murder us by giving what the most ignorant,
unthinking, unpatriotic, self-seeking people in the country have asked
for, and swears that because they ask they must have.

"As well give a razor to a baby that cried for it.

"Ireland must be treated as an infant.

"An Irish Legislature would lead to untold miseries. We might arrive
there some day, but not at a jump. The change is too sudden. We want a
little training. We want to grow, and growth is a thing that cannot be
forced. It takes time. Give us time for heaven's sake. Give us Home
Rule, but also give us time. Give us milk, then fish, then perhaps a
chop, and then, as we grow strong, beefsteak and onions. A word in
your ear. This is certain truth, you can go Nap on it. Tell the
English people that the people are getting sick of agitation, that
they want peace and quietness, that they are losing faith in
agitators, having before them a considerable stretch of history,
which, notwithstanding the scattered population, is filtering down
into the minds of the people, with its morals all in big print. The
Irish folks are naturally quick-witted. They are simple and confiding,
many of them very ignorant, if you will, but they find out their
friends in the long run. Look at Balfour. Not a man in the whole world
for whom the people have so much affection. Which do you think would
get the best welcome to-morrow--Balfour or Morley? Balfour a hundred
thousand times. Ah, now; my countrymen know the real article when they
see it. Home Rule we want for convenience and for cheapness. We don't
want to be compelled to rush to London before we can build a bridge.
But rather a million times submit to expense and inconvenience than
hand the country over to a set of thieves who'd sell us to-morrow.
We're not such fools as ye take us for. Don't we know these heroes?
And when we see them and Gladstone and Morley and Humbug Harcourt with
his seventeen chins, all rowling together in Abraham's bosom (as ye
may say)--Harcourt licking Harrington's boots, when only yesterday Tim
was spittin' in his eye--we say to ourselves 'Wait yet awhile, my
Boys, wait yet awhile.' But when ye've finished yer slavering and
splathering, and when Tim Healy can find time to take his heel off
Morley's neck, then, and not before, we'll have something to say to
you.

"But you should call on my friend on the right. He is also a Home
Ruler--like myself."

Number three had powerfully-developed opinions. He said--"Home Rule on
Conservative lines is my ticket. We'll get it on no other. I console
myself with that idea. Otherwise it would be a frightful business, and
what would become of us, I cannot tell. But I do not believe that even
Gladstone would be so insane as to give it us. I cannot believe that
the middle class voters of England would stand by and see the
corresponding class in this country exterminated. Home Rule as much as
you like, if we had the right men. The very poorest peasants are
becoming alive to the fact that under present circumstances the thing
would never do for them. They want the right men, that is, men of
money and character, to come forward. And I declare most solemnly,
that I am convinced that the Irish people would fall into line, and
see the bill thrown out with perfect quietude. Now the push has come,
they really do not want Home Rule, and, what is more, they absolutely
dread it, and I firmly believe that a general election at the present
moment would send a majority of Unionists to power. The priests are
working for life and death. They see that this is their best chance,
perhaps their very last opportunity. I am a Catholic; but then I am a
Parnellite, a Tory Parnellite. And I have no intention of bartering
away my political freedom to my Church, which, in my opinion, should
keep clear of politics. The clergy have now advised payment of rent,
so that the Government may not be embarrassed at a very critical
juncture. And the tenants are paying their rent, although the present
period is one of great agricultural depression. Look at this: The
Ulster farmers are terribly hard up, are complaining that they cannot
pay. This is the Protestant province, where the priests have little
scope. But in Leinster, Munster, and Connaught, the people are paying
the landlord. The word has gone round--pay the landlord, whomever else
you don't pay! The oilcake man, the implement man, the shopkeeper, are
not getting their dues, but notwithstanding the pinch of the present
moment, the landlord (who knows all about it) is paid. And the priests
in some cases are actually remitting the clerical dues to enable the
small men to pay the rint. Pay the rint, say they, if you pledge your
very boots, if you have to go to the gombeen man (money-lender), if
you have almost to rob the Church. They want to get possession, they
want to get power, they want to get Home Rule; and then they know
that, as Scripture says, 'All these things shall be added unto them.'
Let them once get the upper hand, and they can very soon recoup
themselves.

"The priests are showing England their power, with a view to future
good bargains. 'You see what we can do,' say they. Arrange the matter
with us. We are the boys. The Reverend Father O'Codling is the man.
Have no dealings, except such as are authorised by us, with the
red-headed Tim Healy Short. The Clergy have only one idea; that is, of
course, the predominance of their Church. Very natural, and, from
their point of view, very proper. I find no fault with them, but I say
their object hardly commends itself to my undivided admiration, and,
being still friendly, we on this subject part company. I wish to let
the priests down easy. They are mostly very good men, apart from
politics. They are good customers to me, and they pay very promptly.
They spend their money in the country, and I'd have no fault to find
if they'd lave politics alone. Mind that owld Gladstone doesn't become
a Papist all out. 'Twould be better for him, no doubt, and as the
whole jing-bang that turned round with him before would no doubt
still follow at his heels, we'd get a considerable quantity of
converts, if we could say little about the quality. D'ye hear what
that owld woman's singing?"

I listened with interest. The minstrelsy of Ireland seems to have
drifted into the hands of the most unpoetical people in the green
isle. The poor old creature walked very, very slowly along the gutter,
ever and anon giving herself a suggestive twitch, which plainly
indicated some cutaneous titillation--the South is a grazing country.
This was all I heard--

    Owld Oireland was Owld Oireland
      Whin England was a pup.
    Oireland will be Owld Oireland
      Whin England's bur-r-sted up!

If my friends are right as to the change of feeling _re_ Home Rule,
the dear old lady was hardly up to date. But the great author of
"Dirty Little England"--I judge of the author by the internal evidence
of sentiment, style, and literary merit--certainly composed the above
beautiful stanza in the sure and certain hope that the present bill
would become law.

Number Three qualified his remarks on rent, when speaking of the
County Clare. "There they embarrass the Government by refusing to pay,
and by shooting people in the good old way, just at the most ticklish
time." He said, "Clare has always been an exceptional county. Clare
returned Daniel O'Connell, by him secured Catholic Emancipation, and
from that time has called itself the premier county of Ireland. They
are queer, unmanageable divils, are the Clare folks, and we are only
divided from them by the Shannon. So the Kerry folks go mad sometimes
by contagion. I should advise you to keep away from Clare. You might
get a shot-hole put into you. Every visitor is noticed in those lonely
regions, and the little country towns only serve to disseminate the
arrival of a stranger to the rural districts. Suppose you walk five
miles out of Ennis the day after you arrive there, I would wager a
pound the first woman that sees you pass her cottage will say, 'That's
the Englishman that Maureen O'Hagan said was staying at the Queen's
Hotel.' The servants are regular spies, every one of them. I couldn't
speak politics in my house because I've a Catholic nurse. Good bye, I
hope ye won't get shot."

I thanked him for the interest expressed, but failed to share his
nervousness. After having mingled with the Nationalist crowd that
followed the Balfour column in the Dublin torchlight procession, after
having escaped unhurt from the blazing Nationalists who swarm in the
Royal Victoria Hotel, Cork, having walked down the Limerick entrance
to the balmy Tipperary, a little shooting, more or less, is unworthy a
moment's consideration. Besides which, my perpetual journeying and
interviewing and scribbling have made me so thin that Captain
Moonlight himself would be bound to miss. However, it is well to be
prepared for the worst, so--_Pax vobiscum_, and away to County Clare.

Tralee (Co. Kerry), April 20th.



No. 12.--ENGLISH IGNORANCE AND IRISH PERVERSITY.


A most enchanting place when you have time to look at it. My flying
visit of ten days ago gave the city no chance. Let me redeem this
error, so far as possible. There are two, if not three Limericks in
one, a shamrock tripartition, a trinity in unity,--English-town,
Irish-town, and New Town Perry. New Limerick is a well-built city,
which will compare favourably with anything reasonable anywhere. Much
of it resembles the architecture of Bedford Square, London. The streets
are broad and rectangular, the shops handsome and well furnished. But
it is the natural features of the vicinity which "knock" the
susceptible Saxon. The Shannon, the classic Shannon, sweeps grandly
through the town, winding romantically under the five great bridges,
washing the walls of the stupendous Castle erected by King John, the
only British sovereign who ever visited Limerick--serpentining through
meadows backed by mountains robed in purple haze, reflecting in its
broad mirror many a romantic and historic ruin, its banks dotted with
salmon-fishers pulling out great fish and knocking them on the head,
its promenades abounding with the handsomest women in the world. For
the Limerick ladies are said to be the most beautiful in Ireland, and
competent English judges--I know nothing of such matters--assure me
that the boast is justified. Get to Cruise's Royal Hotel, which for a
hundred years has looked over the Shannon, take root in its airy, roomy
precincts, pleasant, clean, and sweet, with white-haired servitors like
noble earls in disguise to bring your ham and eggs, Limerick ham, mind
you, which at this moment fetches 114s. per cwt. in London; and with
the awful cliffs of Kilkee within easy distance, where the angry
Atlantic Ocean, dashing with gigantic force against the rock-bound
coast, sends spray two or three miles inland, the falls of Castleconnel
with the salmon-fisheries under your very nose, and the four hours
river-steamer to Kilrush, with more Cathedrals, statues, antiquities,
curiosities, novelties, quaintnesses than could be described in a
three-volume novel--do all those things, and, while on your back in the
smoke room, after a hard day's pleasure, you will probably be heard to
murmur that in the general Fall some of us dropped easily enough, and
that, all things considered, Adam's unhappy collapse was decidedly
excusable.

The Limerick folks are said to be the most Catholic people in Ireland.
They are more loyal than the Corkers. Why is this? The more Catholic,
the more disloyal, is the general experience. Nobody whose opinion is
worth anything will deny this, and however much you may wish to
dissociate religion from politics, you cannot blink this fact. In
dealing with important matters, it is useless to march a
hair's-breadth beside the truth. Better go for it baldheaded, calling
things by their right names, taking your gruel, and standing by to
receive the lash. You are bound to win in the long run. I say the
Catholic priests are disloyal to the Queen. Men of the old school, the
few who remain, are loyal, ardently loyal. The old-timers were
gentlemen. They were sent to Douai or some other Continental
theological school, where they rubbed against gentlemen of broad
culture, of extensive view, of perfect civilisation. They returned to
Ireland with a personal weight, a cultivation, a refinement, which
made them the salt of Irish earth. These men are still loyal. The
Maynooth men, sons of small farmers, back-street shopkeepers,
pawnbrokers, and gombeen men, aided by British gold, these half-bred,
half-educated absorbers of eleemosynary ecclesiasticism, are deadly
enemies to the Empire. This is Mr. Bull's guerdon for the Maynooth
grant. My authority is undeniable. The statement is made on the
assurance of eminent Catholics. Two Catholic J.P.'s yesterday
concurred in this, and no intelligent Irish Catholic will think
otherwise. Surely this consideration should be a factor in arguments
against Home Rule.

Then why are the Limerick Catholics loyal? Because the Limerick Bishop
is loyal. Bishop O'Dwyer is opposed to Home Rule. Said Mr. James
Frost, J.P., of George's Street: "When the Bishop first came here he
invited some four hundred Catholics to a banquet at the palace. After
dinner he proposed the health of the Queen, and all the company save
two or three rose and received the toast with enthusiasm, waving their
handkerchiefs and showing an amount of warmth that was most gratifying
to me. I need not tell you that an average Home Rule audience would
not have accepted the toast at all. This shows you the feeling of the
most intelligent Catholics. The people of education and property are
loyal. It shows also that they are opposed to Home Rule."

"But if the best Catholics are opposed to Home Rule, why don't they
say so publicly?"

"A fair question, which shall have a precise answer. But first, we
must go back to Mr. Balfour's great Land Act, and the lowering of the
franchise, and observe the effect of these two enactments.

"The people were at one time terribly ill-used. That is all over now,
but the memory still rankles. The Irish are great people for
tradition. The landlords have for ages been the traditional embodiment
of tyranny and religious ascendency. The Irish people have long
memories, very long memories. Englishmen would say: 'No matter what
happened to my great-grandfather; I am treated well, and that is
enough for me.' Irishmen still go harping on the landlord, although he
no longer has any power. The terrible history of the former
relationship between landlord and tenant is still kept up and
remembered, and will be remembered for ages, if not for ever.
Presently you will see the bearing of all this on your question--Why
do not the best Catholics come forward and speak against Home Rule?

"When the franchise was lowered the rebound from repression was
tremendous, like a powerful spring that has been held down, or like an
explosive which is the more destructive in proportion as it is more
confined. People newly made free go to the opposite extreme.
Emancipate a serf and he becomes insolent, he does not know how to use
his freedom, and becomes violent. The great majority of the people are
smarting from the old land laws, which have left a bitter animosity
against English rule, which is popularly denounced as being
responsible for them.

"To speak against Home Rule is to associate yourself with the worst
aspects of the land question. The bulk of the people are incapable of
making a distinction. And while they entertain some respect for a
Protestant opponent, they are irreconcilable with Unionist Catholics,
just as the English Gladstonians have a far more virulent dislike for
the Liberal Unionists than for the rankest Tories. They say to the
Protestants, 'We know why you uphold Unionism'--that is, as they
believe, landlordism--'for the landlords are English and Protestant;
your position is understandable.' But to the Catholic they say, 'You
are not only an enemy, but a renegade, a traitor, and a deserter.' And
whatever that man's position may be, the people can make things
uncomfortable for him."

Another Catholic living near, said: "'How would Home Rule work?' you
ask. Most destructively, most ruinously. Under the most favourable
circumstances, whether Home Rule passes or not, the country will not
recover the shock of the present agitation for many a year; not, I
think, in my lifetime. I was over in the North of England last year,
and I found that the people there knew nothing of the question,
literally nothing. Clever men, intelligent men, men who had the ear of
the people, displayed a profundity of ignorance on Irish questions,
conjoined with a confidence in discussing them, surpassing belief.
They changed their minds on hearing my statements, and on obtaining
exact information. I must give them credit for that. I believe the
English Gladstonians are only suffering from ignorance. Their leader
is certainly not less ignorant than the bleating flock at his heels.
They smugly argue from the known to the unknown on entirely false
premises. They know that when Englishmen act in this or that way, such
and such things will happen. They know what they themselves would do
in certain conjunctures, and when they are told by Irishmen that
Irishmen under similar conditions would act quite differently, they
snort and say 'nonsense.' They are too dense to appreciate the radical
difference between the two races. The breeds don't mix and don't
understand each other. It was miserable to hear these men--I am sure
they were good men--prattling like bib-and-tucker babies about Irish
affairs, and speaking of Gladstone as possessing a quality which we
Catholics only ascribe to the Pope. Ha! ha! They think that vain old
cataract of verbiage to be infallible. He knows nothing of the matter,
does not understand the tools he is working with, any one of whom
could buy and sell him and simple, clever Morley twenty times over.
Both Gladstone and Morley _are_ clever in books, in words, in
theories, adepts in debating, smart and adroit in talk. But they know
no more of Paddy than the babe unborn. I say nothing of Harcourt and
the other understrappers. They'll say anything that suits, whatever it
may be. We reckoned them up long since. Cannot the English people see
through these nimble twisters and time-servers, this crowd of lay
Vicars of Bray?"

Catholic Home Ruler Number Three said, "I agree with all who say that
the priests would do their best to secure a dominating influence in
political affairs. And although I think we ought to have an Irish
Legislature, although I believe it would be good for us, yet if the
priestly influence were to become supreme for one moment of time--if
you tell me that the Catholic Church is to hold the reins for one
second, then I say, away with Home Rule, away with it for ever! Better
stay as we are."

This gentleman seems to have about as much logical foresight as some
of those he criticises. He dreads priestly domination above
everything, and yet would approve of giving the priests a chance of
being masters. He continued:--

"The present Irish leaders are the curse of the movement, which,
should it succeed, would in their hands bring untold sorrows on the
country. As a Catholic Home Ruler, I put up my hands in supplication,
and I beg, I implore of the English people to withhold their assent.
For God's sake don't give it us at present. We must have it sooner or
later, but wait till we have leaders we can trust. Have you met a
decent Home Ruler who trusts the present men? No. I knew you would say
so. Such a man cannot be found in Ireland. Then why send them to
Parliament, say you? That is just what you Englishmen do not
understand. That is one of the points old Gladstone is wrecking the
country on. You think it unanswerable. Listen to me.

"When the franchise was lowered, then the mistake was made. You let in
an immense electorate utterly incapable of discussing any question of
State; and, rushing from the extreme of abject servility to a sort of
tyrannical mastery, they elected as their representatives, not the
most able men, not the most orderly men, not the men of some training
and education, not the men who had some stake in the country, but the
most violent men, the glibbest men, the most factious, the most
contumacious, the most pragmatical men were the men they elected. Look
at the Poor-Law Boards. See the set sent there. Those are the men who
will be sent to the Dublin Parliament. Are they men to be trusted with
the affairs of State? Look up your Burke, and observe the
qualifications he thinks necessary to a statesman. Then look at the
blacksmith who represents the county Tipperary, the mason who
represents Meath, the drapers' assistants and bacon factors' clerks
who represent other places. You don't quite see this in England. These
men perhaps tell you that they are kings in their own country.
Ireland is a long way off, and far-away hills are green.

"Reverse the situation. Let Dublin be the seat of Empire and London
wanting Home Rule. You really want it, and think it would be best for
both--a convenience for yourself and a saving of time for all. Would
you not draw back at the last moment if under the circumstances I have
named, your country was to be handed over to fellows whose sole income
was derived from their political work, artisans, clerks, and
shopkeepers' assistants? What would these men do with their power?
Make haste to be rich--nothing more. Patriots are they? Rubbish; they
are mere mercenaries. Parnell knew that. He said to me:--

"'Under the circumstances I must use these men, whom I would not
otherwise touch with a forty-foot pole. Adversity makes us acquainted
with strange bedfellows. Any port is good in a storm. These men will
fight well--for their pay, and will work the thing up. But when we get
the bill, when we come into power, their work is done. They will be
dropped at once, or furnished with places where they may get an honest
living.'"

Catholic Home Ruler Number Four said: "The Meath election shows the
feeling of the priests, and what they would do if they could. They
loathed Parnell, but he was too strong for them. And weren't they glad
to give him the slip on the ground of morality. Home Rule was
comparatively a safe thing while Parnell lived. Now I would not advise
it for some years. We must have better men to the fore. We in Limerick
are loyal, although Catholics and Home Rulers. Don't laugh at that. It
is a fact, though I admit it is hard to believe. Put it down, if you
like, to the influence of the Bishop. The young priests I say nothing
about. Their loyalty is a negligeable quantity. They do not object to
Protestants _qua_ Protestants, but they object to them as
representatives of English rule."

This reminded me of Dr. Kane, of Belfast, who said to me, "They hate
us, not because we are Protestants, not because we are Orangemen, not
because we are strangers in the land, but because we are the hated
English garrison."

Here I am bound to interpolate a word of qualification. The Mardyke
promenade of Cork, a mile-long avenue of elms, has many comfortable
seats, whereon perpetually do sit the "millingtary" of the
sacrilegious Saxon, holding sweet converse with the Milesian
counterparts of the Saxon Sarah Ann. The road is full of them, Tommy's
yellow-striped legs marching with the neat kirtle of Nora, Sheela, or
Maureen. As it was in the Isle of Saints, so it was in Ulster, is now
in Limerick, and shall be in Hibernia _in sæcula sæculorum_. A
Limerick constable said, "A regiment will come into the city at four
o'clock, and at eight they'll every man walk out a girl. The
infatuation of the servant-girl class for the military is surprisin'.
Only let them walk out with a soldier, and they 'chuck' everything,
even Home Rule." The hated garrison are not among the people who
never will be missed. Wherever Tommy goes he seems to be able to
sample the female population. The soldiers always have a rare good
time.

A carman who drove me to Castleconnel proved the most interesting
politician since Dennis Mulcahy, of Carrignaheela. He knew all about
the average English voter, and resented his superior influence in
Irish affairs. "Shure, we're all undher the thumb o' a set o' black
men that lives undher the bowils o' the airth. Yer honner must know
all about thim miners in the Black Counthry, an' in Wales, an' the
Narth o' England? Ye didn't? Ah, now, ye're jokin' me, ye take me for
an omadhaun all out. Ye know all about it; ye know that these poor men
goes down, an' down, an' down, till ye'd think they'd niver shtop, an'
that they stay there a whole week afore they come up agin. An' then
they shtand in tubs while their wives an' sweethearts washes an'
scrubs thim, an' makes white men out o' the black men that comes up,
an' thin walks thim off home. Now, shtandin' in a tub at the mouth o'
the pit to be washed by yer wimmenfolks is what we wouldn't do in this
counthry--'tisn't black naygurs we are--an' these men that lives in
the dark and have no time to think, an' nothin' to think wid, these
are the men ye put to rule this counthry, men that they print sich
rubbish as _Tit-Bits_ for, because they couldn't understand sinse. An'
the man that first found out that they couldn't understand sinse, an'
gave thim somethin' that wanted no brains, they say has made a
fortune. Is that thrue, now?

"As for owld Gladstone, I wouldn't trust him out o' me sight. We'll
get no Home Rule, the owld thrickster doesn't mane it. 'Tis like a man
I knew that was axed to lind a friend £100. He didn't like to lind,
an' he was afeared to say No, an' he was in a quondairy intirely. So,
says he 'I'll lind ye the money,' says he, 'if ye'll bring the
securities down to the bank,' says he, 'an' get the cash off me
banker.' Thin he went saycretly to the banker, an' says he, 'This
thievin' blayguard,' says he, 'wants the money, and he'll never repay
me; I wouldn't thrust him,' says he. 'Now, will ye help me, for I
couldn't say No, by raison he's a relative, an' an owld acquaintance,'
says he.

"'An' how'll I do that?' says the banker.

"'Ye can tur-rn up yer nose at the securities.'

"'Ha, Ha,' says the banker, 'is it there ye are? Ye're a deep one;
begorra ye are. Nabocklish,' says he, 'I'll do it for ye,' says he.

"So whin the borrower wint for the money, the banker sent out word
that the securities wor not good enough, an' that he wouldn't advance
a farden.

"Then the borrower goes to his frind an' complains, an' thin the frind
acts all out the way Gladstone'll act when the bill's refused at the
Lords, or may be at the Commons. 'Hell to him,' he roars, 'the
blayguard thief iv a thievin' banker. I'll tache him to refuse a
frind, says he. 'Sarve him right,' says he, 'av I bate his head into
a turnip-mash an' poolverise him into Lundy Foot snuff. May be I
won't, whin I meet him, thrash him till the blood pours down his
heels,' says he. That'll be the way iv it. That's what Gladstone will
say whin the bill's lost, which he manes it to be, the conthrivin'
owld son o' a schamer.

"A gintleman axed me which o' them I like best o' the two Home Rule
Bills, an' I towld him that whin I lived at Ennis, an' drove a car at
the station there, the visithors, Americans an' English, would be
axin' me whin they lepped on the car which was the best hotel in
Ennis. Now, whiniver I gave them my advice they would be cur-rsin' an'
sinkin' at me whin they met me aftherwards in the sthreet, be raison
that there was only two hotels in the place, an' nayther o' thim was
at all aiqual to what they wor used to in their own counthries. So I
got to know this, an' iver afther, whin they would be sayin' to me,

"'Which is the best hotel in Ennis?' says they, an' I would answer,

"'Faix, there's only two o' thim, an' to whichiver one ye go ye will
be sorrowin' that ye didn't go to the other,' says I.

"An' that's my reply as to which of the two Home Rule Bills I like
best."

In the city of Limerick itself all is quiet and orderly. Outside,
things are different. Disturbed parts of the County Clare are
dangerous to strangers, and, what is more to the point, somewhat
difficult of access. The country is not criss-crossed with railways as
in England, and vehicles for long journeys are rather hard to get.
However, I have chartered a car for a three-day trip into what may be
called the interior, have fired several hundred cartridges from a
Winchester repeating rifle, and written letters to my dearest friends.
I start to-morrow, and if I do not succeed in bottoming the recent
outrages--which are hushed up as much as possible, and of which the
local newspaper-men, both Nationalist and Conservative, together with
Head-Constable MacBrinn, declare they cannot get at the precise
particulars--if I cannot get to the root of the matter, I shall in my
next letter have the honour of stating the reason why.

Limerick, April 22nd.



No. 13.--THE CURSE OF COUNTY CLARE.


Once again the difference between Ireland and England is forcibly
exemplified. It was certain that several moonlighting expeditions had
recently been perpetrated in the neighbourhood of Limerick, which is
only divided by the Shannon from the County Clare. You walk over a
bridge in the centre of the city and you change your county, but
nobody in Limerick seems to know anything about the matter. The local
papers hush up the outrages when they hear of them, which is seldom or
never. The people who know anything will not, dare not tell, and even
the police have the utmost difficulty in establishing the bare facts
of any given case. English publicity is entirely unknown. Local
correspondents do not always exist in country towns, and the distances
are so great, in comparison with the facilities for travel, that
newspaper-men seldom or never visit the scene of the occurrence. And
besides the awkward and remote position of the country hamlets and
mountain farms, there are other excellent reasons for journalistic
reticence. The people do not wish to read such news, the editors do
not wish to print these discreditable records, and the police,
although eminently and invariably civil and obliging, are debarred by
their official position from disclosing what they know. The very
victims themselves are often silent, refusing to give details, and
almost always declining to give evidence. That the sufferers usually
know and could easily identify the cowardly ruffians who so cruelly
maltreat them is a well-ascertained fact. That they usually declare
they have no clue to the offenders is equally well known. The
difficulty of arresting suspected men is enhanced by the fact that the
moonlighters have a complete system of scouts who in this bare and
thinly populated district, descry the police when miles away, giving
timely warning to the marauders; these, besides, are readily concealed
by their neighbours and friends, who in this display an ingenuity and
enthusiasm worthy a better cause. Suppose the villains are caught
red-handed; even then the difficulties are by no means over. In
Ireland a felon once in the hands of the police, by that one
circumstance at once and for ever becomes a hero, a martyr, a man to
be excused, to be prayed for, to be worshipped. No matter how black
his offence, the touch of the constabulary washes him whiter than
snow, purifies him from every earthly taint, surrounds him with a halo
of sanctity. Those whom he has injured will not bear witness against
him, because their temerity might cost them their lives, the loss of
their property, the esteem of their fellow-men. What this means we
shall shortly see. The cases I have examined will speak for
themselves. And let it be remembered that close proximity to the
scenes described produces an incomparably stronger effect than any
description, however minute, however painstaking. The utter
lawlessness of the districts I have visited since penning Monday's
letter has produced a profound, an indelible impression. I pass over
the means employed to get over the ground, merely stating that
horseflesh has borne the brunt of the business. That and pedestrianism
are the only means available, with untold patience and perseverance to
worm out the true story. People will not show the way, or will direct
you wrongly. Their ignorance, that is, their assumed ignorance, is
wonderful, incredible. They are all sthrangers in those parts. They
never knew a family of that name, never heard of any moonlighting,
swear that the amusement is unknown thereabouts, assert that the
whole thing is a fabrication of the police. All the people round are
decent, honest, hard-working folks, without a fault; pious, virtuous,
immaculate. You push on, and your friend runs after you. Stay a
moment, something has struck him. Just at the last distressing hour,
his brain displayed amazing power. Now he comes to think of it,
something was said to have happened over there, at Ballygammon, ten
miles in the opposite direction. A stack was fired, and they said it
was the Boys. It was the police who burnt the hay, but they deny it
"av coorse." He is suspiciously anxious to afford all the information
he can. Ballygammon is the spot, and Tim Mugphiller your man. Mention
Mike Delany and you will get every information, and--have ye a screw
of tobacky these hard times. You pursue your way certain that at last
you are on the right track, and Mike's jaw drops to his knees. Too
late he sees that his only chance of altering your course was to point
out the right one.

Dropping for once scenery and surroundings, let us at once plunge, as
Horace advises, _in medias res_. The district in Mr. Balfour's time
was pleasant and peaceable. Curiously enough its troubles commenced
with the change of Government. From March 18 to April 18 the police of
Newcastlewest received tidings of fifteen outrages. How many have been
perpetrated no man living can tell, for people often think it wisest
to hold their peace. Ireland is often said to be almost free from
crime, except of the agrarian kind, and moonlighting is partly
condoned by reason of its alleged cause. How must we class the
following case?

On February 19, 1893, four armed men with blackened faces and dressed
as women, attacked the dwelling of T. Donoghue, of Boola, not far from
Newcastle. They burst open the door and entered, not to revenge any
real or fancied wrong, but purely and simply to obtain possession of a
sum of £150, which Donoghue's daughter had brought from America. They
believed they would have an easy prey, but they were mistaken; there
were two or three men in the house, and the heroes decamped instanter,
followed, unknown to themselves, by one of Donoghue's family. Having
duly run them to earth, he informed the police, who caught them neatly
enough, their shoes covered with fresh mud, and with every
circumstance of guilt. The Donoghue folks identified them. The case
was perfectly clear--that is the expressed opinion of everybody I have
met, official and otherwise. It was tried at the Limerick Spring
Assizes, and the jury returned a verdict of "Not guilty!" These
patriotic jurors had doubtless much respect for their oaths, more for
the interests of justice, more still for their own skins. This case is
public property, and is only cited to prove that when the difficulty
of arrest and the greater difficulty of obtaining evidence are with
infinite pains overcome, the jury will not convict, no matter what the
crime. Before he commences his career of crime, the moonlight marauder
knows the chances of being caught are immensely in his favour, that
should luck in this matter be against him, his very victim will
decline to identify him, nay, will affirm that he is not the man, and
that when the worst comes to the worst, no jury in the counties of
Kerry, Clare, or Limerick will convict.

Here are some results of my researches. The particulars of these cases
now first appear in print.

A man named James Dore, who keeps a public-house in Bridge Street,
Newcastlewest--I can vouch for his beer--also held a small farm of
forty-nine acres from the Earl of Devon, for which he paid the modest
rent of £11 10s. per annum--the land maintaining sixteen cows and
calves, which, on the usual local computation of £10 profit on each
cow, would leave a gain of £148 10s.--not a bad investment, as Irish
farming goes. So it was considered, and when the tenant-right was
announced as for sale by auction, two cousins of Dore, who held farms
contiguous, agreed to jointly bid for the tenant-right, and having
secured the land, to arrange its partition between themselves. They
went to £400, but this was not regarded as enough, and the
tenant-right was for a specified time held over for purchase by
private agreement. A farmer named William Quirke offered £590, which
was accepted, and the money paid. After this, the two cousins came
forward and said they would purchase the tenant-right, offering £40
more than Quirke had paid. They were told that they were too late, and
the Earl's agent (Mr. Curling) said nothing could now be done. This
was on the 13th of the present month of April. On the 14th, Mr. James
Cooke, Lord Devon's bailiff, was seen showing the purchaser Quirke
over the newly-acquired holding. Poor Quirke little knew what was at
that moment hanging over him. He had not long to wait. The dastard
demon of moonlight ruffianism was on his track.

Quirke had a son aged fourteen years, but looking two years younger, a
simple peasant lad, who cannot have injured his country very much. He
was tending a cow, which required watching, his father and mother
taking their rest while the child sat out the lonely hours in the
cowhouse. He heard something, and listened with all his ears. Not
voices, but a subdued whispering. It was the dead hour of night, two
or half-past two, and the boy was frightened. The place is lonely,
seven miles or more from Newcastlewest, and up towards the mountains.
He listened and listened, and again heard the mysterious sounds. He
says he "thought it was the fairies." He stole from the byre and went
to the house. A horrible dread had crept over him, and father and
mother were there. As he opened the door a terrible blow from behind
struck him down. He was not stunned, though felled by the butt-end of
a gun. They beat and kicked him as he lay. He gave an anguished cry.
The mother heard and recognised her boy's voice, and, waking the
father, said "Go down, they're killing my lad." The old man, for he is
an old man, went down the stairs naked and unarmed. The foul marauders
met him half-way up, and served him as they had served the boy,
throwing him down, kicking him, and beating him with butt-ends of
guns; with one terrible blow breaking three of his ribs; and saying,
"Give it up, give it up." He said he would "give it up"; promised by
all he held sacred, begged hard for his life, and implored them at
least to spare the young lad. Their reply to this was to fire a charge
of shot into the boy's legs, a portion of the charge entering the
limbs of an old woman--his grandmother, I think--who was feebly trying
to shield the lad. This was such excellent sport that more was thought
expedient. A charge of shot was fired into the father's legs, and as
one knee-joint is injured, the elder Quirke's condition is precarious
even without his broken ribs and other injuries. The cowardly hounds
then left, in their horrid disguise adding a new terror to the lonely
night. The evening's entertainment was not yet over. They crossed a
couple of fields to a house where dwelt Quirke's married son. They
burst open the door of his cottage and dragged the young fellow--he is
about twenty-five--from his bed, beating him sorely, and in the
presence of his wife firing a charge of shot into his legs. Then they
went home, each man to his virtuous couch, to dream fair dreams of the
coming Paradise, when they and their kind may work their own sweet
will, free from the fear of a hireling constabulary, and under the
ægis of a truly national senate, given to a grateful country by a
Grand Old Man.

The Quirkes know their assailants, but they will not tell. "What good
would it do me to have men imprisoned?" says William Quirke, senior.
"My lad's life might pay for it, and perhaps my own." The most
influential people of the district have remonstrated with him, argued,
persuaded, all in vain. William Quirke has a wish to remain in this
sublunary sphere. His spirit is not anxious to take unto itself the
wings of a dove, that it may fly away and be at rest. Like the dying
Methodist, whose preacher reminded him of the beauties of Paradise, he
likes "about here pretty well." Mr. Heard, Divisional Commissioner in
charge of the constabulary organisation of the Counties of Cork,
Limerick, and Kerry can get nothing out of William Quirke.
County-inspector Moriarty can stir nothing, nor Major Rolleston,
Resident Magistrate, nor Inspectors Wright, Pattison, and Huddy, all
of whom have done their level best. These gentlemen assert that
obviously Quirke knows the moonlighters, and for my own part, I am
certain of it. The married son is equally dumb. "They were disguised,"
he says. "But you would recognise their voices." Then comes the
strangest assertion, "They never spoke a word." In other words, he
affirms that a number of men, not less than seven or eight, burst open
his door, dragged him from bed, maltreated and shot him, to the
accompaniment of his wife's terrified screaming and his own
protestations, without uttering a single syllable! The bold
Gladstonians whose influence removed Mr. Balfour from office and
delivered the country into ruffian hands, will say: And serve the
people right! If they will not bear witness let the victims suffer.
You cannot help people who will not help themselves. The police are
there, the magistrates are there, the prisons are there, the hangman,
if need be, is there. If they will not avail themselves of the
protection provided, let them suffer. Let them go at it. All their own
fault. Nobody but themselves to blame.

All very plausible and reasonable--in theory. Let us look a little
closer into this matter. What does William Quirke say:--"Nobody can
help an Irish farmer in a lonely part of Ireland. There are too many
ways of getting at him. Suppose I gave such evidence as would satisfy
anybody--I do not say I could--I don't know anything; but suppose I
knew and told, would a Limerick jury convict? Certainly not. Everybody
knows that. The police, the magistrates, will tell you that, every one
of them. Nobody will say anything else. Then, why rouse more enmity? I
shall give up the land even if I lose the money, the savings of a
life-time, added to a loan, which I can repay in time. That is
settled. What good would the land do me, once I were dead? I value my
life more than my money, and more especially do I think of those
belonging to me. Suppose I held on, and kept the land. Every time the
lad went out I'd expect him to be brought in shot to his mother and
me. And when I saw the lad's dead face, what would I think? And what
would I say when his mother turned round and said, 'Ye have the land,
haven't ye, William?' Our lives would not be worth twopence if I held
on. Do you remember Carey, the informer? The British Empire couldn't
protect him, though it shipped him across the world. How would I be
among the mountains here? I could be shot going to or coming from
market, my cattle houghed or mutilated, nobody would buy from me,
nobody would sell to me, nobody would work on my farm. My stacks would
be burnt. Look at the hay burnt in the last few weeks! You say I'd get
a presentment against the county--and if I did I'd have to wait till
next March for the money. Where's the capital to carry on? Suppose I
wanted thirty tons of hay between this and that. That would cost £90.
Where would I get the money? But that's not it. Life is dear, and life
might at any moment be taken. If my stacks were burnt in July I'd have
to wait a year for my money. I'd be cut off from all communication
with the people, and shunned as if I'd the plague. If I went to market
the people would leave the road to me, would cross over to the other
side when they saw me coming. You never saw boycotting; you don't know
what it means."

In a lonely stretch of gorse-bordered road, steep and rough, I came
upon two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary, with rifles,
sword-bayonets, and bâtons. We had a chat, and I examined their short
Sniders while they admired the humble Winchester I carried for
company, and which on one occasion had acted like a charm. They
carried buckshot cartridges and ball, and had no objection to express
their views. "Balfour was the man to keep the country quiet. Two
resident magistrates could convict, and the blackguards knew that, if
caught, it was all up with them. They are the most cowardly vermin on
the face of the earth, for although if any of our men (who never go
singly, but always in twos or threes) were to appear unarmed, they'd
be murdered at sight. Yet although they often fire on us, they mostly
do it from such distances that their bullets have no effect, so that
they can run away the moment they pull the trigger. Lately things have
been looking rather blue over there." One pointed to the hills
dividing the county from Kerry. "The Kerry men are getting rifles. I
know the 'ping' of the brutes only too well. Let them get a few men
who know their weapons, and we'll be potted at five hundred yards
easily enough. Yes, they have rifles now, and what for? To shoot
sparrows? No. You can't guess? Give it up? Ye do? Then I'll tell you.
To carry out the Home Rule Bill. Yes, I do think so. Will you tell me
this? Who will in future collect rates and taxes? The tenants do not
think they will have any more rent to pay. Lots of them will tell you
that. These very men have the members of the Irish Parliament in their
hands. That is; they can return whomsoever they choose. The
representation of the country is in their hands. And the priests agree
with them. No difference there, their object is one and the same, and
when the priests and the farmers unite, who can compel them to pay up?
Is the Irish Legislature which will be returned by these men--is it a
likely body to compel payment of tribute to the hated Saxon at the
point of the bayonet? When the British Government, with all the
resources of Gladstonian civilisation, failed to put down boycotting,
how do you suppose a sympathetic Government, returned by the farmers,
consisting of farmers' sons, with a sprinkling of clever attorneys,
more smart than honest, will proceed with compulsory action? Why they
could do nothing if they wished, but then they will have no desire to
compel. The English people are only commencing their troubles. They
don't know they're born yet. Gladstone will have some explaining to
do, but he can do it, he can do it. He'd explain the shot out of the
Quirke family's legs. Ah! but he's a terrible curse to this country."

The other officer said:--"Our duty is very discouraging. We are
hindered and baffled on every side by the people, whose sympathies are
always against the law. Now in England your sympathies are with the
law, and the people have the sense to support it, knowing that it will
support them, so long as they do the right thing. It was bad enough to
have the people against us, but now things are a hundred times worse.
When Balfour was in power, we felt that our labour was not in vain. We
felt that there was some chance of getting a conviction--not much,
perhaps, but still a chance. Now, if we catch the criminals redhanded,
we know no jury will convict. We try to do our duty, but of course we
can't put the same heart into it as we could if we thought our work
would do any good. And another thing--we knew Balfour, so long as we
were acting with integrity, would back us up. Now we never know what
we're going to get--whether we shall be praised or kicked behind. This
Government is not only weak but also slippery. Outrages are
increasing. News of three more reached the Newcastlewest Barracks this
very day. We had a man on horseback scouring the mountains for
information. The outraged people sometimes keep it close. What's the
good, they say. We hear of the affair from other people, and the
principals, so to speak, ask us to make no fuss about it, as they
don't want to be murdered. The country is getting worse every day.
We'll have such a bloody winter as Ireland never saw."

Another small moonlighting incident, now appearing for the first time
on this or any other stage. Some tenants years ago were evicted on the
Langford estates. Negotiations were proceeding for their proximate
restoration, but nothing could be settled. A few days ago a small
farmer named Benjamin Brosna, aged 55, agreed with the proper
authorities to graze some cattle on the land in question pending the
arrangement of the matter. A meeting at Haye's Cross was immediately
convened by two holy men of the district, to wit, Father Keefe, P.P.,
and Father Brew, C.C., both of Meelin, and under the guidance of these
good easy men, it was resolved that any man grazing cattle on the
Langford land was as bad as the landlord, and must be treated
accordingly. On the same day, April 18, or rather in the night
succeeding the day of the meeting, eleven masked and armed men entered
Brosna's house, and one of them, presenting a gun, said, "We have you
now, you grass-grabber." Brosna seized the gun, and being hale and
active, despite his 55 years, showed such vigorous fight that he fell
through the doorway into the yard along with two others, where he was
brutally beaten, and must have been killed--it was their clear
intention--but for the pitchy darkness of the yard and the number of
his assailants, who in their fury fell over each other, enabling
Brosna, who being on his own ground knew the ropes better than they,
in the darkness to glide under a cart and escape over an adjacent
wall, where he hid himself. They lost him, and returned to the house,
firing shots at whatever they could damage, and smashing everything
breakable, from the windows upwards. Brosna will lose the sight of one
eye, which is practically beaten out. His servants, named Larkin, have
been compelled to leave by means of threatening letters. Their father
has also been threatened with death unless he instantly removes them
from Brosna's house.

I could continue indefinitely, continuing my remarks to the
occurrences of one month or so; and if I abruptly conclude it is
because time presses, my return to civilisation having been effected
at 3.30 this morning, after a ten miles' mountain walk, followed by
three hours' ride in the blissful bowels of an empty cattle-truck.
But for the good Samaritan of a luggage train I must last night have
camped beneath the canopy of heaven. No scarcity of fun in
Ireland--which beats the world for sparkling incident.

Rathkeale (Co. Limerick), April 24th.



No. 14.--LAWLESSNESS AND LAZINESS.


The fruits of Gladstonian rule are ripening fast. Mr. Morley's visit
to Cork _en route_ for Dublin corresponds with Inspector Moriarty's
visit to the Irish capital. Mr. Moriarty is the county inspector in
whose district most of the recent outrages have been perpetrated, and
is therefore able to give the Irish Secretary plenty of news. His
report will doubtless remain secret, as it is sensational. Mr. Morley
has too much regard for the sensibilities of Mr. and Mrs. Bull, and
when the Limerick inspector, entering the State confessional of Dublin
Castle, advances and says, "I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, Make thy two eyes,
like stars, start from their spheres, Thy knotted and combined locks
to part, And each particular hair to stand on end, Like quills upon
the fretful porcupine,"--when Mr. Moriarty utters the familiar and
appropriate words the Irish Secretary will say with deprecatory
gesture, "Enough, enough. 'Twas ever thus. This is the effect of
kindness. What ho, my henchmen bold! A flagon, a mighty flagon of most
ancient sack. I feel that I am about to be prostrated. Such is the
fate of greatness. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. It is a
great and glorious thing, To be an Irish Sec. But give to me my hollow
tree, A crust of bread and liberty. The word is porpentine, not
porcupine, Mr. Inspector. A common corruption. Verify your quotations.
Have them (in future) attested by two resident magistrates. And now to
work. All in strict confidence. Let not the world hear of these
things. Let not the people know that violence and rapine walk
hand-in-hand with my administration. Nameless in dark oblivion let it
dwell. Let it be _sub rosâ, sub sigillâ confessionis, sub-auditer,
sub_ everything. Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in Askalon, for
behold, if the people heard, they would marvel, and fear greatly;
and--be afraid."

The officer would then produce his budget, with its horrors, its
indecencies, its record of trickery, treachery, cowardly revenge, and
midnight terrorism. The local press correspondents of the rural
districts are nearly all Nationalists, and they either furnish garbled
reports, or none at all. The reporters of Conservative papers,
comparatively Conservative, I mean, are also Nationalists. The Irish
themselves know not what is taking place ten miles away. How is
England to learn the precise state of things? I have fished up a few
recent samples of minor occurrences which will form part of Mr.
Moriarty's news. These smaller outrages invariably lead up to murder
if the victim resist. They are so many turns of the screw, just to let
the recalcitrant feel what can be done. In the large majority of cases
he gives way at the first hint. Let us relate some neighbouring
experiences.

David Geary, of Castlemahon, late in the evening heard an explosion at
the door of his cottage. He ran out, and found a fuse burning, lying
where it had been cast, while a volley of large stones whizzed past
his head. There had been some litigation between a man named Callaghan
and a road contractor, and Geary had allowed the road contractor's men
to take their food in wet weather under his roof.

On April 15, at two in the morning, a party of masked moonlighters
visited the cottage of Mrs. Breens, of Raheenish, and having fired two
shots through the parlour window, shattering the woodwork by way of
letting the widow know they were there, fired a third through her
bed-room window to expedite the lady's movements. Almost paralysed
with fear, she parleyed with the besieging force, which, by its
spokesman, demanded her late husband's gun, threatening to put
"daylight through her" unless it were instantly given up. It was in
her son's possession, and she hurried to his room. The young dog came
on the scene, and instead of handing out the gun, fired two shots from
a revolver into the darkness. Whereupon the band of Irish
hero-patriots outside fled with electric speed, and returned no more.
At Ardagh the police found a haystack burning. They saved about ten
tons, but Patrick Cremmin claims £88 from the county. He had offended
somebody, but he declares he knows not the motive. In other words, he
wants to let the thing drop--bar the £88. Another stack of hay, partly
saved by the police, was burnt because evictions had taken place:
damage £20, which the county must pay. R. Plummer, a labourer with
Brosna, whose case was given in my last, has received a letter
threatening him with death unless he left Brosna's employ. Some say
the name is Brosnan or Bresnahan. Beware of the quibbling of Irish
malcontents, who on the strength of a misprint or a wrongly-spelt
name, boldly state that no such person ever existed, and that
therefore the case is a pure invention. Here is a specimen of the
toleration Loyalists and Protestants may expect:--A special train
having been run from Newcastle to Limerick to enable people to attend
a Unionist meeting in the latter city, the Nationalists took steps to
mark their sense of the railway company's indiscretion, and a train
soon afterwards leaving Newcastle for Tralee, they hurled a great
stone from the Garryduff Bridge, smashing the window of the guard's
van and doing other injury. At Gurtnaclochy, to deter a witness in a
legal case, a threatening letter was sent, sixty yards of a sod fence
thrown down, and a coffin and gun neatly cut on the field. On the
Roman Catholic Chapel wall at Ashford a notice was posted threatening
with death anyone who bought hay or turnips from a boycotted man, and
the same day a man named Herlihy received a threatening letter. On
April 15 a party of armed, disguised men with blackened faces, called
on a poor man at Inniskeen, and having smashed the windows, tried to
force the door, but stopped to parley. They called on "Young Patrick"
to hand out the father's gun, and the young man complied. Being
twitted with this he said, "I want to live. If I had refused the gun
my life would not be worth twopence. I would be 'covered' from a bush
or a fence when I walked out, or shot dead in the door as I looked
down the lane, as was done in another case. I know the parties well,
but I would not give evidence. Neither will I give the police any more
information. It would not hurt the criminals, but it would hurt me.
For while the jury would not convict, the secret tribunal that sat on
me would not be so merciful, and many a man would like the distinction
of being singled out to execute the secret decrees of the Moonlight
fraternity." Another person standing by said, "What happened at
Galbally, near Tipperary? A priest denounced a Protestant named Allen
from the altar, and a week after the man was shot dead in his tracks.
Everybody knew perfectly well who did the deed. All knew the man who
wanted Allen's land, and it was thought that there was evidence enough
to hang him twenty times. He is alive and well, and if you go any
Saturday to the Tipperary market Father Humphreys will introduce you
to him. He was discharged without a stain on his character, and brass
bands met him on his return, also a torchlight procession."

In Ireland, even more than in England, brass bands are necessary to
the expression of the popular emotion. Brass bands met Egan, the
liberated, everywhere. Brass bands accompanied the march of O'Brien's
mourners at the Cork funeral last week. Not a murderer in Ireland
whose release would not be celebrated with blare of brass bands, and
glare of burning grease. Mr. Morley could not land in Cork, however
privately, for he did not wish to speak, without a brass band being
loosed on his heels. The great philosophical Radical, the encyclopædia
of political wisdom, the benefactor, the saviour, the regenerator of
Ireland, left Cork to the strains of the Butter Exchange Band--_con
amore_, _affetuoso_, and doubtless _con spirito_. Yet some will say
that the Irish are not grateful! Mr. Morley stayed at the hotel I had
just left, the Royal Victoria, which I justly described as a hot-bed
of sedition. It was here, in room No. 72, that Dalton so terribly
punched the long-suffering head of Tim Healy. At the Four Courts,
Dublin, I saw a waiter who witnessed the famous horsewhipping in that
city. I asked him if it were a severe affair, or whether, as the
Nationalist papers affirmed, only a formality, a sort of
Consider-yourself-flogged. How that waiter expanded and enjoyed the
Pleasures of Memory! "It was a most thrimindious affair, Sorr.
McDermott was a fine, powerful sthrip of a boy, an' handled the
horsewhip iligant. Ye could hear the whack, whack, whack in the
refreshment room wid the doors closed, twenty yards away. It was for
all the world a fine, big, healthy kind of batin' that Tim got. An'
the way he wriggled was the curiousest thing at all. 'Twas enough to
make yer jump out of yer skin wid just burstin' with laffin'."

Leaving outrages and violence to Messrs. Morley and Moriarty, let me
narrate the effect of the impending Home Rule Bill on some of the
commercial community. A well-known tradesman says: "A man in
Newcastlewest owed me £24 for goods delivered. He had a flourishing
shop and also an excellent farm. He was so slow in paying, and
apparently so certain that in a little while he would escape
altogether, that I sued him for the amount. It was a common action for
a common debt, between one Irish tradesman and another. But I am a
Unionist, and therefore fair game. I got judgment, but no instalments
were paid. I remonstrated over and over again, and was from time to
time met with solemn promises, the debtor gaining time by every delay.
At last I lost patience, and determined to distrain. Everybody laughed
at me. 'Where will you get an auctioneer, and who will bid? they
asked. I determined to carry through this one case, if it cost a
hundred pounds. I got a good revolver, and succeeded in bringing an
auctioneer from a distance. The debtor said he would brain me with a
bill-hook if I put my foot on his ground, and another man promised to
shoot me from a bed-room window. It was necessary, to carry out the
sale at all, to have police protection. I went to the barracks and
submitted the case. Had I a sheriff's order, &c., &c., &c.? All
difficulties overcome I went to the 'sale.' We seized a cow, a watch,
and some of my own goods, and commenced the auction. Nobody bid but
myself, and when I had covered the amount due the sale ceased, the
aspect of the people being very menacing. Remember, this was not
agrarian at all. The debt was for goods delivered to be sold in the
way of trade. Most of them were there before my face. The debtor came
and said, 'You can't take the things away. But we like your pluck, and
if you will settle the matter for £5 I will give you the money.' I
declined to take £5 for £24 and costs, although the police looked on
the offer as unexpectedly liberal, and the bystanders shed tears of
emotion and said that Gallagher was 'iver an' always the dacent boy.'
When I wished to remove the things the troubles began. I had my
revolver, the police their rifles, but things looked very blue. I
drove the cow to the station and got her away, but the other things
could not walk aboard, and how to get them there was hard to know. I
asked people I knew to lend me their carts--people who were under some
obligation to me, men I had known and done business with for years.
They all refused; they feared the evil eye of the vigilance committee
of a Fenian organisation still in full swing among us, and keeping
regular books for settlement when they have the power. I was
determined not to be beat, so I went to Limerick, nearly thirty miles
away, to get a float or wagon. The news was there before me, not a
wheel to be had in the city. At last, by means of powerful influence,
I got a cart, on condition that the owner's name should be taken off,
and my name painted on. Then I returned to Newcastle and bore away the
goods in triumph. Alas! my troubles were only beginning! I had been
told that the goods were not the debtor's, but belonged to someone
else. The cow, they said, was a neighbour's, who had 'lent' it to my
debtor. The watch, they said, was the property of a friend, who had
handed it to my debtor that he might take it somewhere to be repaired.
The landlord of the house claimed that he had previously seized
everything, but had allowed things to remain out of kindness. I was
cited in four actions for illegal distraint, all of which were so
evidently trumped-up that they were quashed. But the time they took!
And the annoyance they caused. The expense also was considerable, and
the idea of getting expenses out of these people--but I need add
nothing on that score.

"There were six witnesses in one case, and they could never be found,
so long as the judge could have patience to wait. Every lie, trick,
subterfuge you can imagine, was practised on poor me. At last all was
over, but at what a cost! The big chap who had threatened me with the
bill-hook came humbly forward and said: "Plase yer honner's worship,
I'm very deaf, an' I'm short sighted, and I'm very wake intirely, an'
ye must give me toime to insinse meself into the way of it." And that
rascal had everything repeated several times, until I was on fifty
occasions on the point of chucking up the whole thing.

"Before the Home Rule Bill had implanted dishonest ideas in his head,
before the promises of unscrupulous agitators had unsettled and
demoralised the people, that man was a straightforward, good, paying
fellow. Only he thought that by waiting till the bill was passed he
would have nothing to pay. The ignorant among us harbour that idea,
and the disloyalty of the lower classes is so intense that you could
not understand it unless you lived here at least two years."

English friends who praise the affection of the Irish people, and who
speak of the Union of Hearts, may note the lectures of the popular
Miss Gonne, who is being enthusiastically welcomed in Nationalist
Ireland. No doubt the local papers expurgated the text; at the present
moment the word has gone round:--"Let us get the bill, let us get the
bill, and then!" But enough remains to show the general tone.
Addressing the Irish National Literary Society, of Loughrea, Miss
Gonne said that she must "contradict Lord Wolseley in his statement
that England was never insulted by invasion since the days of William
the Conqueror. It would be deeply interesting to the men and women of
Connaught to hear once again how a gallant body of French troops,
fighting in the name of Liberty and Ireland, had conquered nearly the
whole of that province at a time when England had in her service in
Ireland no less than one hundred and fifty thousand trained troops.
She would remind them that France was the one great military nation of
Europe that had been the friend of Ireland"--a remark which was
received with loud and prolonged applause. "And it would be a matter
of some pride to us to reflect that in these military relations the
record of the Irish brigades in the service of France compared not
without advantage with the military services which France had been
able to render to Ireland." This passage clearly refers to the aid the
two countries have afforded each other as against England, and the
whole lecture seems to have aimed at the heaping of ignominy on the
British name. The stronger the denunciation of England, the more
popular the speaker. The Union of Hearts gets "no show" at all. The
phrase is unknown to Irish Nationalists. However deceitful they may
be, it cannot yet be said that they have sunk thus low.

Looking over Wednesday's _Cork Examiner_, I observe that amid other
things the Reverend John O'Mahony attributes the fact that "The
teeming treasures of the deep were almost left untouched," that is,
off the Irish coast, and that this is "a disgrace and a dishonour to
the people through whose misrule and misgovernment the unhappy result
was brought about." Father O'Mahony is a Corker, and should know that
he is talking nonsense. Let me explain.

In Cork I met a gentleman for twenty-five years engaged in supplying
fishermen with all their needs. He said, "The Irish fishermen are the
laziest, most provoking beggars under the sun." He showed me two sizes
of net-mesh and said, "This is the size of a shilling, this is the
size of a halfpenny. The Scotsmen and Shetlanders use the shilling
size. The difference seems small, but it is very important. The
Irishmen use the halfpenny size, and will use no other. They say that
what was good enough for their fathers is good enough for them. When
the fish are netted they make a rush, and many of them escape the
larger mesh, which they can get through, unless of the largest size.
The small mesh catches them by the gills and hangs them. This,
however, is a small matter. The most important thing is the depth of
fishing. The Scotsmen and Shetlanders come up to the Irish coast,
which is remarkably rich in fish, and when they meet a school of fish
they fish very deep and bring them up by tons, while the Irishmen are
skimming the tops of the shoals, and drawing up trumpery dozens,
because their fathers did so. Years ago I used to argue the point, but
I know better now. When the water is troubled, when the wind is
blowing, and things are a trifle rough, then is the time to fish. The
herrings cannot see the net when the water is agitated. The Scotsmen
are on the job, full of spirits and go, but Paddy gets up and takes a
look and goes to bed again. He waits for fine weather, so as to give
the fish a chance. The poor Shetlanders come over long leagues of sea,
catch ling a yard long, under Paddy's nose, take it to Shetland, cure
it, and bring it back to him, that he may buy it at twopence a pound.
At the mouth of the Blackwater are the finest soles in the world, but
the Irish are too lazy to catch them;--great thick beggars of fish
four inches thick, you never saw such soles, the Dover soles are lice
to them, they'd fetch a pound apiece in London if they were known.
Change the subject. Every time I come round here I get into a rage.
The British Government finds these men boats. The Shetlanders
sometimes land, and when they contrast the fat pastures and teeming
south coast of Ireland with their own cold seas and stony hills they
say with the Ulstermen, 'Would that you would change countries!'"

I asked him how he accounted for this extraordinary state of things.
He said:--

"As an Irishman I am bound to answer one question by asking another.
Was there ever a free and prosperous country where the Roman Catholic
religion was predominant?"

I could not answer him at the moment, but perhaps Father O'Mahony, who
knows so much, may satisfy him on the point. Or in the absence of this
eloquent kisser of the Blarney Stone some other black-coated Corker
may respond. Goodness knows, they are numerous enough. All are well
clothed and well fed, while the flock that feed the pastor are mostly
in squalid poverty, actually bending the knee to their greasy
task-masters, poor ignorant victims of circumstances.

Among the many nostrums offered to Ireland, nobody offers soap. The
greatest inventions are often the simplest, and with all humility I
make the suggestion. Ireland is badly off for soap, and cleanliness is
next to godliness. Father Humphreys, of Tipperary, boasts of his
influence with the poor--delights to prove how in the matter of rent
they took his advice, and so on. Suppose he asks them to wash
themselves! The suggestion may at first sight appear startling. All
novelties are alarming at first; but the mortality, except among old
people, would probably prove less than Father Humphreys might expect.
He would have some difficulty in recognising his flock, but the
resources of civilisation would probably be sufficient to conquer this
drawback. Persons over forty might be exempted, as nothing less than
skinning would meet their case, but the young might possibly be
trained, against tradition and heredity, to the regular use of water.
But I fear the good Father will hardly strain his authority so far. An
edict to wash would mean blue ructions in Tipperary, open rebellion
would ensue, and the mighty Catholic Church would totter to its fall.
The threat to wash would be an untold terrorism, the use of soap an
outrage which could only be atoned by blood. And Father Humphreys (if
he knew the words) might truly say _Cui bono_? Why wash? Is not soap
an enemy to the faith? Do not the people suit our purpose much better
as they are? _Thigum thu_, brutal and heretic Saxon?

Killaloe (Co. Clare), April 27th.



No. 15.--THE PERIL TO ENGLISH TRADE.


As the great object of public interest in the city of Limerick is the
Treaty Stone, a huge block of granite, raised on a pedestal on the
Clare side of Thomond Bridge, to commemorate the Violated Treaty so
graphically described by Macaulay, and to keep in remembrance of the
people the alleged ancient atrocities of the brutal Saxon--so the
key-note of Ennis is the memorial to the Manchester Martyrs, erected
outside the town to commemorate the people who erected it. That is how
it strikes the average observer. For while the patriotic murderers of
the Manchester policemen, to wit, O'Brien, Allen, and Larkin, have
only one tablet to the three heroes, the members of the committee who
were responsible for this Nationalist or rather Fenian monument have
immortalised themselves on three tablets. But although party feeling
runs high, and the town as a whole appears to be eminently disloyal
and inimical to England, there are not wanting reasonable people who
look on the proposed change with grave suspicion, even though they
nominally profess to support the abstract doctrine of Home Rule.
Naturally, their main opinions are very like those I have previously
recorded as being prevalent in the neighbouring counties of Limerick,
Cork, and Kerry. They believe the present time unseasonable, and they
have no confidence in the present representatives of the Nationalist
party. They believe that the Irish people are not yet sufficiently
educated to be at all capable of self-government, and they fail to see
what substantial advantages would accrue from any Home Rule Bill. More
especially do they distrust Mr. Gladstone; and although in England the
Nationalist leaders speak gratefully of the Grand Old Man, it is
probable that such references would in Ireland be received in silence,
if not with outspoken derision. A well-known Nationalist thus
expressed himself on this point:--

"Gladstone's recent attack on Parnell was one of the meanest acts of a
naturally mean and cowardly man, whose whole biography is a continuous
story of surrender, abject and unconditional. Parnell was his master.
With all his faults, Parnell was much the better man. He was too cool
a swordsman for Gladstone, and, spite of the Grand Man's tricky
dodging and shifting, Parnell beat him at every point, until he was
thoroughly cowed and had to give in. What surprises me is that the
English people are led away by a mere talker. They claim to be the
most straightforward and practical people in the world. Answer me
this:--Did you, did anybody, ever know Gladstone to give a
straightforward answer to any one question? Straight dealing is not in
him. He is slippery as an eel--with all his 'honesty,' his piety, his
benevolence. But as he reads the Bible in Hawarden Church, the English
believe in him. They have no other reason that I can see. Have you
heard any Irishman speak well of Gladstone? No, and you never will.
How long in the country? Five weeks only? You may stay five years, and
you will not hear a word expressing sincere esteem. About separation?
Well, most of the unthinking people, that is, the great majority,
would vote in favour of it to-morrow. All sentiment, the very romance
of sentimentality. I have been in England, I have been in America, and
you could hardly believe the difference in the people's views. The
Irish are not practical enough. 'Ireland a nation' is bound to be the
next cry, if Home Rule become law under the present leaders of the
Nationalist party."

"But how about the pledges, the solemn and reiterated pledges, of
Michael Davitt and the rest?"

"I suppose you ask me seriously? You do? An Irishman would regard the
question as a joke. The pledges are not worth a straw. Their object is
to deceive, and so to carry the point at issue. Would John Bull come
with an injured air and say, with tears in his voice, 'You said you'd
be good. You promised to be loyal. You really did. Did you not, now?'
Don't you think John would cut a pretty figure? Davitt knows where to
have him. He knows that a quiet, moderate, reasonable tone fetches
him. Parnell, too, knew that the method with John was a steady, quiet
persistence without excitement. John listens to Davitt, and says to
himself, 'Now this is a calm, steady fellow. Nothing fly-away about
_him_. No shouting and screaming there. This is the kind of man who
_must_ boss the show. Give him what he wants.'

"Look how Morley was taken in. And so, no doubt, was many another.

"If England trusts the assurances of these men, and if the bill under
present conditions becomes law, we shall have two generations of
experiment, of corruption, of turmoil, of jobbery such as the British
Empire has never seen.

"Yes, I am a Home Ruler--at the proper time. But Home Rule in our
present circumstances would mean revolution, and, a hundred to one,
the reconquest of Ireland. And in the event of any foreign
complication you would have all your work cut out to effect your
purpose."

A gentleman from Mallow said, "The Gaelic clubs all over the country
are in a high state of organisation, and a perfect state of drill. The
splendid force of constabulary which are now for you would be against
you. The Irish Legislature, from the first, would have the power to
raise a force of Volunteers, and the Irish are such a military nation
that in six months they could muster a very formidable force. I am a
Unionist, a Protestant too, but I find that my Catholic and Home Rule
friends, that is, the superior sort, the best-read, the most thinking
men, agree with me perfectly. But while I can understand Irish Home
Rulers, even the most extreme sort, I cannot understand any sensible
Englishman entertaining such an insane idea. As manager of one of the
largest concerns in Cork I have made many visits to England, and I
found the supporters of Mr. Gladstone so utterly misinformed, so
credulous, so blankly ignorant of the matter, that I forbore to debate
the thing at all. And their assumption was on a level with their
ignorance, which is saying a good deal."

Mr. Thomas Manley, the great horse dealer, a famous character
throughout the three kingdoms, said to me, "The Limerick horse fair of
Thursday last was the worst I ever attended in forty years. There is
no money in the country. The little that changed hands was for horses
of a common sort, and every one, I do believe, was bought for England
and Scotland, tramcar-horses and such like. Home Rule is killing the
country already. I farmed a thousand acres of land in Ireland for many
a long year, and since I went more fully into the horse-dealing
business I kept two hundred and fifty acres going. I have horsed the
six crack cavalry regiments of the British army, and I know every nook
and corner of Ireland; know, perhaps, every farmer who can breed and
rear a horse, and I also know their opinions. Give me the power and I
would do four things. Here they are:--

"I would first settle the land question, then reform the poor-laws,
then rearrange the Grand Jury laws, then commence to reclaim the land,
which would pay ten per cent.

"The Tories should undertake these measures. They would then knock the
bottom out of the Home Rule agitation. The people are downright sick
of the whole business. They expected to be well off before this. They
find themselves going down the nick."

Mr. Abraham P. Keeley said: "There is much fault found with the
landlords, but they are by no means so much to blame as is supposed.
Put the saddle on the right horse. And the right horse is the steam
horse. The rapid transit of grain and general farm produce has lowered
the value of land more rapidly than the landlords could lower the
rent. Every year the prairie lands of America are further opened up by
railways; India and Egypt and Australia are now in the swim, and
Ireland, as a purely agricultural country, must suffer. A curious
illustration of the purely rural condition of the country was
mentioned the other day. Nearly all the great towns drink the water of
the rivers upon which they stand. Cork drinks the Lee; Limerick drinks
the Shannon; you can catch trout from the busiest quay in Limerick.
Now, the towns of England don't drink their own rivers. You don't
drink the Rea at Birmingham, I think?"

I was obliged to admit that the pellucid waters of the crystal Rea
were not the favourite table beverage of the citizens of Brum, but
submitted that Mr. Joseph Malins, the Grand Worthy Chief Templar, and
his great and influential following might possibly use this innocent
means of dissipation.

Mr. Thomas Manley continued: "The tenant farmer has cried himself up,
and the Nationalists have cried him up as the finest, most
industrious, most honest, most frugal, most self-sacrificing fellow
in the world. But he isn't. Not a bit of it. The landlords and their
agents have over and over again been shot for rack-renting when the
rents had been forced up by secret competitions among neighbours and
even relations.

"Ask any living Irish farmer if I am right, and he will say, Yes, ten
times yes.

"The Irishman has a land-hunger such as is unknown over the water. And
why? Because the land is his sole means of living. We have no
enterprise, no manufactures to speak of. The Celtic nature is to
hoard. The Englishman invests what the Irishman would bury in his back
garden, or hang up the chimney in an old stocking. So we have no big
works all over the country to employ the people. And as we are very
prolific, the only remedy is emigration. Down at Queenstown the other
day I saw 250 Irish emigrants leaving the country. A Nationalist
friend said, 'If they'd only wait a bit till we get Home Rule, they
needn't go, the crathurs.' What's to hinder it? How will they be
better off? Will the land sustain more with Home Rule than without it?
And when capital is driven away, as it must and will be the moment we
pass the bill, instead of more factories we'll have less, and England
and Scotland will be over-run with thousands of starving Irish folks
whose means of living is taken away.

"As an Irish farmer, and an Irish farmer's son, living on Irish farms
for more than sixty years, having an intimate acquaintance with the
whole of Ireland, and almost every acre of England, I deliberately say
that the Irish farmer is much better off than the English, Scotch, or
Welsh farmer, not only in the matter of law, but in the matter of
soil.

"In many parts of England the soil must be manured after every crop.
Every time you take out you must put in. Not so in Ireland. Nature has
been so bountiful to us that we can take three, and even six, crops
off the land after a single dose of manure. Of course the farmer
grumbles, and no wonder. The price of stock and general produce is so
depressed that Irish farmers are pinched. But so they are in England.
And yet you have no moonlighting. You don't shoot your landlords. If
the land will not pay you give it up and take to something else. An
Irishman goes on holding, simply refusing to pay rent. His neighbours,
who are in the same fix, support him. When the landlord wishes to
distrain, after waiting seven years or so, he has to get a decree. The
tenants know of it as soon as he, and they set sentinels. When the
police are signalled the cattle are driven away and mixed with those
of other farmers--every difficulty that Irish cleverness can invent is
placed in the way. Then the landlord, whether or not successful in
distraining, is boycotted, and the people reckon it a virtue to shoot
him down on sight. Conviction is almost, if not quite, impossible, for
even if you found a willing witness--a very unlikely thing I can tell
you--even then the witness knows himself marked for the same fate. If
he went to America or Australia he would be traced, and someone would
be found to settle him. Such things have happened over and over again,
and people know the risk is great. But about rack-rents.

"I have told you of Irish avariciousness in the matter of land, and
have explained the reason of it. Rents have been forced up by people
going behind each other's backs and offering more and more, in their
eagerness to acquire the holding outbidding each other. Landlords are
human; agents, if possible, still more human. They handed over the
land to the highest bidder. What more natural? The farmers are not
business men. They offered more than the land could pay. You know the
results. But why curse and blaspheme the landlords for what was in
many cases their own deliberate act?"

On Friday last I had a small object-lesson in Irish affairs. Colonel
O'Callaghan, of Bodyke, went to Limerick to buy cattle for grazing on
his estate. The cattle were duly bought, but the gallant Colonel had
to drive them through the city with his own right hand. I saw his
martial form looming in the rear of a skittish column of cows, and
even as the vulture scenteth the carcase afar off, even so, scenting
interesting matter, did I swoop down on the unhappy Colonel, startling
him severely with my sudden dash. He said, "I'm driving cows now,"
and, truth to tell, there was no denying it. Even as he spoke, a
perverse beast of Nationalist tendencies effected a diversion to the
right, plainly intending a charge down Denmark Street, _en route_ for
Irish Town, and the gallant Colonel waiving ceremony and a formidable
shillelagh, hastened by a flank movement to cut off this retreat, and
to guide the erring creature in the right way to fresh woods and
pastures new. I fired a Parthian arrow after the parting pair.
"Appointment?" I shouted, but the Colonel shook his head. It was no
time for gentle assignations. The cursed crew in front of him absorbed
his faculties, and then he half expected to be shot from any street
abutting on his path. Perhaps I may nail him yet. He has been
attempting to distrain. If the Colonel refuses to speak I will
interview his tenants. I have said I will pursue, I will overtake, I
will divide the spoil--with the readers of the _Gazette_. _Dixi._ I have
spoken! There is much shooting on the Bodyke estates, and in Ennis
they say that sixty policemen are stationed there to pick up the game.
Nobody has been bagged as yet, but the Clare folks are still hoping.
To-morrow a trusty steed will bear me to the spot. Relying on a
carefully-considered, carefully-studied Nationalist appearance, an
anti-landlord look, and a decided No-Rent expression in my left eye, I
feel that I could ride through the most dangerous districts with
perfect impunity. "Base is the slave that pays," says Ancient Pistol.
That is my present motto. One touch of No Rent makes the Irish kin.

The English people should be told that nearly all Irishmen, whether
Unionist or otherwise, are strong Protectionists. The moment Home Rule
becomes law a tremendous attempt will be made to shut out English
goods. "The very first thing we do," said to me an influential
Dubliner I met here, "is to double the harbour dues; you can't prevent
that, I suppose? The first good result will be the choking-off of all
the Scotch and Manx fishermen who infest our seas. At present they
bring their fish into Dublin, whence it is sent all over Ireland,
competing against Irish fishermen. Then we'll tax all manufactured
goods. We will admit the raw material duty-free, but we must be
permitted to know what suits us best, and we must, and will, tax
flour, but not wheat. We in Ireland, forsooth, must submit to having
all our flour mills closed to suit the swarming populations of
Manchester and Birmingham. They must have a cheap loaf. Dear me! and
so flour comes here untaxed, having given employment to people in
America, while our folks are walking about idle. Go down the river
Boyne, from Trim to Drogheda. What do you see? Twelve mills, with
machinery worth £100,000 or more, lying idle. One of those mills once
employed fifty or sixty men. Now it employs none. Tax flour, I say,
and so says everybody. We must have Protection, and very stringent
Protection. Irish manufacturers must be sustained against English
competition. Twenty years ago Dublin was a great place for cabinet
work. Now nothing is done there, or next to nothing. Everything must
come from London. At the same period we did a great trade in leather.
The leather trade is gone to the devil. We did a big turnover in boots
and shoes. Now every pair worn in the city comes from Northampton.
Ireland and Irish goods for the Irish, and burn everything English but
English coals. Give us Home Rule, and all these trades will be
restored to us."

Thus spoke the great Home Ruler, who declined to permit his name to
appear, as he said it might affect his business. His sentiments are
universal, and, as I have said, his opinions are shared by the great
majority of Irishmen, even though professedly Unionist.

A word of comment on the patriotic sentiments of my friend. I went to
Delany, of George Street, Limerick, for a suit of Blarney tweed. He
had not a yard in the place. He was indicated as the leading clothier
and outfitter of the city, but the Mahony Mills were not represented
amongst his patterns. He had Scotch tweeds, Yorkshire tweeds, West of
England tweeds, but although the Blarney tweeds are said to be the
best in the world as well as the handsomest, I had to seek them
elsewhere. An English friend says, "The Irish politicians are rather
inconsistent. They came into this hotel one evening, six of them,
red-hot from a Nationalist meeting, cursing England up hill and down
dale, till I really felt quite nervous. I hadn't got a Winchester like
that. (I hope it won't go off.) They agreed that to boycott English
goods was the correct thing, and of course they were for burning all
but English coals, when the leader of the gang said, 'Now, boys, what
will you drink,' and hang me! if they didn't every one take a bottle
of Bass's bitter beer! Did you ever know such inconsistency?"

The quirks and quips of the Irish character would puzzle a
Philadelphia lawyer. Spinning along the lane to Killaloe, with Mr.
Beesley, of Leeds, and Mr. Abraham Keeley, of Mallow, balanced on
opposite sides of a jaunting car, we came on a semi-savage specimen of
the genuine Irish sort. Semi-savage! he was seven-eighths savage, and
semi-lunatic, just clever enough to mind the cows and goats which,
with a donkey or two, grazed by the way-side. He might be
five-and-twenty, and looked strong and lusty. His naked feet were
black with the dirt of his childhood, and not only black, but shining
and gleaming in the sun. His tattered trousers were completely worn
away to the knee, showing his muscular legs to perfection. The rags
that clothed his body were confusing and indefinite. You could not
tell where one garment ended and another began, or whether there were
more than one at all. Cover a pump with boiling glue, shake over it a
sack of rags, and you will get an approximate effect of his costume.
His tawny, matted hair and beard had never known brush, comb, or
steel. It was a virgin forest. He scratched his head with the air of
the old woman who said "Forty years long have this generation troubled
me;" and ran after the car with outstretched hand. I threw him a
penny, upon which he threw himself at full length, his tongue hanging
out, a greedy sparkle in his eye. My Irish friend instantly stopped
the car.

"Now I'll show you something. This man is more than half an idiot, but
watch him." Then he cried:

"Come here, now, I'll toss you for the penny."

The man came quickly forward.

"Now then, put down your penny, and call. What is it? Head or harp,
speak while it spins!"

"Head," shouted the savage, and head it was.

He picked up the second penny with glee, and said with a burst of wild
laughter. "Toss more, more, more; toss ever an' always; toss agin,
agin, agin."

The car-driver was disgusted. "Bad luck to ye for a madman. Ye have
the gamblin' blood in ye. Bedad, ye'd break Monty Carly, ye would."

Then looking at the gambler's black and polished feet, he said:--

"Tell me, now, honey, is it Day an' Martin's ye use?"

Ennis (Co. Clare), April 29th.



No. 16.--CIVIL WAR IN COUNTY CLARE.


The name of Bodyke is famous throughout all lands, but few people know
anything about the place or the particulars of the great dispute. The
whole district is at present in a state of complete lawlessness. The
condition of matters is almost incredible, and is such as might
possibly be expected in the heart of Africa, but hardly in a civilised
country, especially when that country is under the benignant British
rule. The law-breakers seem to have the upper hand, and to be almost,
if not quite, masters of the situation. The whole estate is divided
into three properties, Fort Ann, Milltown, and Bodyke, about five
thousand acres in all, of which the first two comprise about one
thousand five hundred acres, isolated from the Bodyke lands, which
latter may amount to some three thousand five hundred acres. Either by
reason of their superior honesty, or, as is sometimes suggested, on
account of their inferior strategic position, the tenants of the Fort
Ann and Milltown lands pay their rent. The men of Bodyke are in a
state of open rebellion, and resist every process of law both by
evasion and open force. The hill-tops are manned by sentries armed
with rifles. Bivouac fires blaze nightly on every commanding eminence.
Colonel O'Callaghan's agent is a cock-shot from every convenient
mound. His rides are made musical by the 'ping' of rifle balls, and
nothing but the dread of his repeating rifle, with which he is known
to be handy, prevents the marksmen from coming to close quarters. Mr.
Stannard MacAdam seems to bear a charmed life. He is a fine athletic
young man, calm and collected, modest and unassuming, and, as he
declares, no talker. He has been described as a man of deeds, not
words. He said, "I am not a literary man. I have not the skill to
describe incident, or to give a clear and detailed account of what has
taken place. I have refused to give information to the local
journalists. My business is to manage the estate, and that takes me
all my time. You must get particulars elsewhere. I would rather not
speak of my own affairs or those of Colonel O'Callaghan."

There was nothing for it but to turn my unwilling back on this
veritable gold mine. But although Mr. MacAdam could not or would not
speak, others were not so reticent, and once in the neighbourhood the
state of things was made plainly evident. The road from Ennis to
Bodyke is dull and dreary, and abounds with painful memories.
Half-an-hour out you reach the house, or what remains of it, of
Francis Hynes, who was hanged for shooting a man. A little further and
you reach the place where Mr. Perry was shot. A wooded spot,
"convaynient" for ambush, once screened some would-be murderers who
missed their mark. Then comes the house of the Misses Brown, in which
on Christmas Eve shots were fired, by way of celebrating the festive
season. From a clump of trees some four hundred yards from the road
the police on a car were fired upon, the horse being shot dead in his
tracks. The tenantry of this sweet district are keeping up their rifle
practice, and competent judges say that the Bodyke men possess not
less than fifty rifles, none of which can be found by the police. Said
one of the constabulary, "They lack nerve to fire from shorter
distances, as they think MacAdam is the better shot, and to miss him
would be risky, as he is known to shoot rabbits with ball cartridge.
At the same time, I remember Burke of Loughrea, who was shot, had
also a fine reputation as a rifleman, but they settled him neatly
enough. I saw him in the Railway Inn, Athenry, just before he was
killed, with a repeating rifle slung on his back and a revolver on his
hip. I saw him ride away, his servant driving while Burke kept the
cocked rifle ready, the butt under his armpit, the trigger in his
hand. He sat with his back to the horse, keeping a good look-out, and
yet they shot both him and his servant as they galloped along. The
horse and car came in without them. To carry arms is therefore not a
complete security, though no doubt it is, to some extent, a deterrent.
But my opinion is that when a man is ordered to be shot he will be
shot. Clare swarms with secret societies, and you never know from one
moment to another what resolutions they will pass. I don't know what
the end of it will be, but I should think that Home Rule, by giving
the murderers a fancied security, would in this district lead to
wholesale bloodshed. The whole country would rise, as they do now, to
meet the landlord or his agent, but they would then do murder without
the smallest hesitation."

His companion said--the police here are never alone--"The first thing
Morley did was to rescind the Crimes Act. When we heard of that we
said 'Now it's coming.' And we've got it. Every man with a head on
him, and not a turnip, knew very well what would happen. The police
are shot at till they take no notice of it. Sometimes we charge up the
hills to the spot where the firing started, but among the rocks and
ravines and hills and holes they run like rabbits, or they hand their
arms to some fleet-footed chap to hide, while they stay--aye, they do,
they actually stand their ground till we come, and there they are
working at a hedge or digging the ground, and looking as innocent and
stupid as possible. They never saw anybody, and never heard any
firing--or they thought it was the Colonel shooting a hare. We hardly
know what to do in doubtful cases, as we know the tenants have the
support of the Government, and it is as much as our places are worth
to make any mistake under present circumstances. The tenants know that
too, so between them and Morley we feel between two fires."

The trouble has been alive for fifteen years or so, but it was not
until 1887 that Bodyke became a regularly historic place. The tenants
had paid no rent for years, and wholesale evictions were tried, but
without effect. The people walked in again the next day, and as the
gallant Colonel had not an army division at his back he was obliged to
confess himself beaten at every point. He went in for arbitration, but
before giving details let us first take a bird's eye view of his
position. I will endeavour to state the case as fairly as possible,
premising that nothing will be given beyond what is freely admitted by
both parties to the dispute.

The Colonel, who is a powerfully-built, bronzed, and active man,
seemingly over sixty years old, left the service just forty years ago.
Four years before that his father had died, heavily in debt, leaving
the estate encumbered by a mortgage, a jointure to the relict, Mrs.
O'Callaghan, now deceased (the said jointure being at that time
several years in arrear), a head rent of a hundred guineas a year to
Colonel Patterson, with taxes, tithe rent-charges, and heaven knows
what besides. In 1846 and 1847 his father had made considerable
reductions in the rents of the Bodyke holdings, but the tenants had
contrived to fall into arrears to the respectable tune of £6,000, or
thereabouts. Such was the state of things when the heir came into his
happy possessions.

A Protestant clergyman said to me--"Land in Ireland is like
self-righteousness. The more you have, the worse off you are." Thus
was it at Bodyke.

Something had to be done. To ask the tenants for the £6,000 was mere
waste of breath. The young soldier had no agent. He was determined to
be the people's friend. Although a Black Protestant, he was ambitious
of Catholic good-will. He wanted to have the tenants blessing him. He
coveted the good name which is better than rubies. He wished to make
things comfortable, to be a general benefactor of his species; if a
Protestant landlord and a Roman Catholic tenantry can be said to be of
the same species at all, a point which, according to the Nationalist
press, is at least doubtful. He called the tenants together, and
agreed to accept three hundred pounds for the six thousand pounds
legally due, so as to make a fresh start and encourage the people to
walk in the paths of righteousness. When times began to mend, the
Colonel himself a farmer, commenced to raise the rents until they
reached the amount paid during his father's reign. The people stood it
quietly enough until 1879, when the Colonel appointed agents. This
year was one of agricultural depression. A Mr. Willis succeeded the
two first agents, but during the troubles he resigned his charge. The
popular opinion leans to the supposition that his administration was
ineffective, that is, that he was comparatively unused to field
strategy, that he lacked dash and military resource, and that he
entertained a constitutional objection to being shot. The rents came
under the judicial arrangement, and reductions were made. Still things
would not work smoothly, and it was agreed that bad years should be
further considered on rent days. This agreement led to reductions on
the judicial rent of 25 to 30 per cent., besides which the Colonel, in
the arbitration of 1887, had accepted £1,000 in lieu of several
thousand pounds of arrears then due. After November, 1891, the tenants
ceased to pay rent at all, and that is practically their present
position. The Colonel, who being himself an experienced farmer is a
competent judge of agricultural affairs, thinks the tenants are able
to pay, and even believes that they are willing, were it not for the
intimidation of half-a-score village ruffians whose threatened
moonlighting exploits, when considered in conjunction with the bloody
deeds which have characterised the district up to recent times, are
sufficient to paralyse the whole force of the British Empire, when
that force is directed by the feeble fumblers now in office.

That they can pay if they will, is clearly proved by recent
occurrences. Let us abandon ancient history and bring our story down
to date. The number of incidents is so great, and the complications
arising from local customs and prejudices are so bewildering that only
after much inquiry have I been able to sort from the tangled web a few
clear and understandable instances, which, however, may be taken as a
fair sample of the whole.

New brooms sweep clean. The new agent, Mr. MacAdam, began to
negotiate. Pow-wows and palavers all ended in smoke, and as meanwhile
the charges on the estate were going on merrily, and no money was
coming in to meet them, writs were issued against six of the best-off
farmers; writs, not decrees, the writ being a more effective
instrument. One Malone was evicted. He was a married man, without
encumbrances, owed several years' arrears, had mismanaged his farm, a
really good bit of land, had been forgiven a lot of rent, and still he
was not happy. A relative had lent him nearly £200 to carry on, but
Malone was a bottomless pit. What he required was a gold mine and a
man to shovel up the ore, but unhappily no such thing existed on the
farm. The relative offered to take the land, believing that he could
soon recoup himself the loan, but Malone held on with iron grip,
refusing to listen to the voice of the charmer, charmed he never so
wisely. The relative wished to take the place at the judicial rent,
and offered to give Malone the house, grass for a cow, and the use of
three acres of land. Malone declined to make any change, and as a last
resort it was decided to evict him. On the auspicious day MacAdam
arrived from Limerick, accompanied by two men from Dublin, whom he
proposed to instal as caretakers in Malone's house. The Sheriff's
party were late, and MacAdam, waiting at some distance, was discovered
and the alarm given. Horns were blown, the chapel bell was rung, the
whole country turned out in force. Anticipating seizure, the people
drove away their cattle, and shortly no hoof nor horn was visible in
the district. A crowd collected and, observing the caretakers, at once
divined their mission, and perceived that not seizure, but eviction,
was the order of the day. They rushed to Malone's house, and, with his
consent and assistance, tore off the roof, smashed the windows, and
demolished the doors. The place was thus rendered uninhabitable.

This having been happily effected, the Sheriff's party arrived an hour
or so late, in the Irish fashion. Possession was formally given to the
agent, who was now free to revel in the four bare walls, and to enjoy
the highly-ventilated condition of the building. The crowd became more
and more threatening, and if they could have mustered pluck to run in
on the loaded rifles, Sheriff, agent, and escort must have been
murdered without mercy. The shouting and threatening were heard two
miles away. But the tenants had taken other measures. A firing party
was posted on a neighbouring hill, and as the Sheriff left the shelter
of the walls a volley was poured in from a clump of trees four
hundred yards away, one bullet narrowly missing a man who ducked at
the flash. The riflemen were visible among the trees, and the Sheriff
returned the fire. Several policemen also fired into the clump, but
without effect, and their fire was briskly returned from the hill,
this time just missing the head of a policeman covered by a bush, a
bullet cutting off a branch close to his ear. The police then prepared
to charge up the hill, when the firing party decamped. No arrests were
made, although the marksmen must have been dwellers in the
neighbourhood. A policeman said, "We know who they are; you can't
conceal these things in a country place; but we have no legal
evidence, and although we saw them at four hundred yards, who will
accept our identification at such a distance? And of course no jury
would convict. We have no remedy in this unfortunate country. So long
as Gladstone and such folks are bidding for the people's votes so long
we shall have lawlessness. But for the change of Government all would
long have been settled amicably. But I heard a young priest say to the
people, 'Hold on a bit till the new Government goes in.'"

To return to the Malone affair, Mr. MacAdam applied to the police for
resident protection not for himself, but for the caretakers, whom he
now proposed to instal in a farmhouse in the occupation of one of the
Colonel's servants, and from which no one had been evicted. The
authorities refused protection on the very remarkable plea that the
situation of the aforesaid premises was so dangerous! so that had the
place been quite safe, they would have consented to protect it.
MacAdam determined to carry out his plan, with or without protection.
He left Limerick at midnight with an ammunition and provision train of
seven cars, with two caretakers and four workmen, with materials to
fortify the place. He had previously given the authorities notice that
he meant to occupy Knockclare, the house in question, and before he
started they sent a police-sergeant from Tulla, a twenty miles drive,
to formally warn him off, for that his life would assuredly be taken,
and the officer also demanded that he should be permitted to
personally warn the caretakers of the risk they ran. This was granted,
but the men stuck to their guns. At the eviction a man had funked,
frightened out of his seven senses. The police declined all
responsibility, but offered to guard the farm for a shilling per man
per day. MacAdam thought this proposal without precedent, and left the
police to their own devices, driving along the twenty miles of hilly
road, with sorry steeds that refused the last hill, so that the loads
had to be pushed and carried up by the men. This was at eight or nine
in the morning, after many hours' toilsome march. The fun was not over
yet. Like the penny show, it was "just a-goin' to begin."

The crowd turned out and with awful threats of instant death menaced
the lives of the party, who, with levelled rifles, at last gained the
building. The people brought boards, and showed the caretakers their
coffins in the rough. They spoke of shooting, and swore they would
roast them alive that night by burning the house in which they were
sheltered. A shot was fired at MacAdam. A sergeant with one man
arrived from Tulla police-barracks and urged the party to leave before
they were murdered. MacAdam would hold his post at all risks. Later
eight armed policemen arrived, and then two carmen started to go home.
A wall of stones blocked the road. They somehow got over that, and
found a second wall a little further on. Here was a menacing crowd,
and the police who followed the car drew their revolvers, and with
great determination advanced on the mob, saving the carmen's lives,
for which they were publicly praised from the Bench. But the jarveys
returned, and by a circuitous route reached Limerick viâ Killaloe,
thanking Heaven for their whole skins, and vowing never to so risk
them again. The County Inspector who refused the party police
protection explained that he did so "out of regard for the safety of
his men." He said, "I had more than Mr. MacAdam and his party to
consider. I must preserve the lives of the men in my charge."

At present the two caretakers hold the citadel, which is also
garrisoned by a force of sixteen policemen regularly relieved by day
and by night, every man armed to the teeth. Now and then the foinest
pisintry in the wuruld turn out to the neighbouring hills and blaze
away with rifles at the doors and windows of the little barn-like
structure. The marksmen want a competent instructor. Anyone who knows
anything of shooting knows the high art and scientific knowledge
required for long-range rifle practice. These men are willing, but
they lack science. Knowledge to their eyes her ample page, Rich with
the spoils of time, has ne'er unrolled. Mr. Gladstone might bring over
from the Transvaal a number of the Boers whose shooting impressed him
so much to coach these humble Kelts in the mysteries of rifle
shooting. Such a measure would perceptibly accelerate the passage of
the Home Rule Bill.

Such is the state of things in Bodyke at this moment. Colonel
O'Callaghan has had no penny of rent for years--that is, nothing for
himself. What has been paid by the tenants of Fort Ann and Milltown
has been barely sufficient to meet the charges on the estate. The
Colonel thinks that the more he concedes the more his people want. He
has had many narrow escapes from shooting, and rather expects to be
bagged at last. He seems to be constitutionally unconscious of fear,
but the police, against his wish, watch over him. In the few instances
in which Mr. MacAdam, his agent, has effected seizures, the people
have immediately paid up--have simply walked into their houses,
brought out the money, and planked down the rent with all expenses,
the latter amounting to some 20 or 25 per cent. They _can_ pay. The
Colonel, who lives by farming, having no other source of income, knows
their respective positions exactly, and declines to be humbugged. The
tenants believe that they will shortly have the land for nothing, and
they are content to remain in a state of siege, themselves
beleaguering the investing force, lodged in the centre of the
position. The fields are desolate, tillage is suspended, and the whole
of the cattle are driven out of sight. Armed men watch each other by
night and by day, and bloodshed may take place at any moment. The
farming operations of the whole region are disorganised and out of
joint. Six men have been arrested for threats and violence, but all
were discharged--the jury would not convict, although the judge said
the evidence for the defence was of itself sufficient to convict the
gang. A ruffian sprang on MacAdam with an open knife, swearing he
would disembowel him. After a terrible struggle the man was disarmed
and secured, brought up before the beak, and the offence proved to the
hilt. This gentleman was dismissed without a stain on his character.
MacAdam asked that he should at least be bound over to keep the peace.
This small boon was refused. Comment is needless. How long are the
English people going to stand this Morley-Gladstone management?

I have not yet been able to interview Colonel O'Callaghan himself, but
my information, backed by my own observation, may be relied on as
accurate. The carman who drove me hither said "The Bodyke boys are
dacent fellows, but they must have their sport. Tis their nature to be
shootin' folks, an' ye can't find fault with a snipe for havin' a long
bill. An' they murther ye in sich a tinder-hearted way that no
raisonable landlord could have any objection to it."

I have the honour of again remarking that Ireland is a wonderful
country.

Bodyke (Co. Clare), May 2nd.



No. 17.--RENT AT THE ROOT OF NATIONALISM.


The tenants of the Bodyke property stigmatise Colonel O'Callaghan as
the worst landlord in the world, and declare themselves totally unable
to pay the rent demanded, and even in some cases say that they cannot
pay any rent at all, a statement which is effectually contradicted by
the fact that most of them pay up when fairly out-generalled by the
dashing strategy of Mr. Stannard MacAdam, whose experience as a racing
bicyclist seems to have stood him in good stead. The country about
Bodyke has an unfertile look, a stony, boggy, barren appearance. Here
and there are patches of tolerable land, but the district cannot
fairly be called a garden of Eden. Being desirous of hearing both
sides of the question, I have conversed with several of the
complaining farmers, most of whom have very small holdings, if their
size be reckoned by the rent demanded. The farmers' homes are not
luxurious, but the rural standard of luxury is in Ireland everywhere
far below that of the English cottar, who would hold up his hands in
dismay if required to accommodate himself to such surroundings.
Briefly stated, the case of the tenants is based on an alleged
agreement on the part of Colonel O'Callaghan to make a reduction of
twenty-five per cent. on judicial rents and thirty-seven and a half
per cent. on non-judicial rents, whenever the farming season proved
unfavourable. This was duly carried out until 1891, when the question
arose as to whether that was or was not a bad year. The tenants say
that 1891 was abnormally bad for them, but that on attending to pay
their rent, believing that the reductions which had formerly been
made, and which they had come to regard as invariable, would again
take place, they were told that the customary rebate would now cease
and determine, and that therefore they were expected to pay their
rents in full. This they profess to regard as a flagrant breach of
faith, and they at once decided to pay no rent at all. The position
became a deadlock, and such it still remains. They affect to believe
that the last agent, Mr. Willis, resigned his post out of sheer
sympathy, and not because he feared sudden translation to a brighter
sphere. They complain that the Colonel's stables are too handsome, and
that they themselves live in cabins less luxurious than the lodgings
of the landlord's horses. There is no epithet too strong to express
their indignation against the devoted Colonel, who was described by
one imaginative peasant, who had worked himself up to a sort of
descriptive convulsion, as a "Rawhacious Vagabone," a fine instance of
extemporaneous word-coining of the ideo-phonetic school, which will
doubtless be greedily accepted by Nationalist Parliamentarians who,
long ago, exhausted their vocabulary of expletives in dealing with Mr.
Gladstone and each other.

The Bodykers have one leading idea, to "wait yet awhile." Home Rule
will banish the landlords, and give the people the land for nothing at
all. The peasantry are mostly fine-grown men, well-built and
well-nourished, bearing no external trace of the hardships they claim
to have endured. They are civil and obliging, and thoroughly inured to
the interviewer. They have a peculiar accent, of a sing-song
character, which now and then threatens to break down the stranger's
gravity. That the present state of things is intolerable, and cannot
last much longer, they freely admit, but they claim to have the tacit
sympathy of the present Government, and gleefully relate with what
unwillingness police protection was granted to the agent and his men.
They disclaim any intention of shooting or otherwise murdering the
landlord or his officers, and assert that the fact that they still
live is sufficient evidence in this direction. Said one white-headed
man of gentle, deferential manner:--

"The days o' landlord shootin' is gone by. If the Boys wanted to shoot
the Colonel what's to hinder them? Would his double-barrel protect
him, or the four dogs he has about him, that he sends sniffin' an'
growlin' about the threes an' ditches. If the word wint out he
wouldn't live a day, nor his agint nayther. An' his durty emergency
men, that's posted like spies at the house beyant, could be potted any
time they showed their noses. An' couldn't we starve thim out?
Couldn't we cut off their provisions? Why would we commit murther whin
we have only to wait till things turn round, which wid the help of God
will be afore long. We're harassed an' throubled, always pullin' the
divil by the tail, but that won't last for ever. We'll have our own
men, that ondershtands Oireland, to put us right, an' then O'Callaghan
an' all his durty thribe'll be fired out of the counthry before ye can
say black's the white o' my eye; an' black curses go wid thim."

The caretakers are not accessible. Stringent orders forbid the giving
of information to any person whatever. This is unfortunate, as a look
at their diaries would prove amusing. They must feel like rabbits
living in a burrow bored in a sporting district, or the man in the
iron mask, or the late respected Damocles, or the gentleman who saw
the handwriting on the wall. Their sleep must be troubled. They must
have ugly dreams of treasons, stratagems, and spoils, and when they
wake, swearing a prayer or two, they doubtless see through the gloom,
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN (I quote from memory), in lurid letters on
the ceiling of their stronghold. Their waking visions and their daily
talk must be of guns and pikes, of graves and coffins, shrouds and
skeletons. Perhaps they, like Mr. MacAdam and some others, have
received missives sprinkled with blood, and ornamented with skulls and
cross-bones, those famous national emblems which the Irish tenant
sketches with a rude, untutored art; bold, freehand drawings, done in
gore by hereditary instinct. It may be that they see the newspapers,
that they learn how the other day the house of a caretaker at
Tipperary was, by incendiaries, burned to the ground, the poor fellow
at the time suffering from lockjaw, taking his food with difficulty,
owing to his having some time previously been shot through the face.
Or they may read of the shooting case at Castleisland, and how Mr.
Magilicuddy suggests that such cases be made public, that the people
may know something of the present lawlessness of the country, or of
the narrow squeak of Mr. Walshe, a schoolmaster, living just outside
Ennis, who barely escaped with his life from two bullets, fired at
him, because his wife had been appointed mistress of the girls; or the
sad affair of Mr. Blood of the same district, who being an admittedly
kind and amiable man, is compelled to be always under the escort of
four armed policemen for that he did discharge a herdman without first
asking permission from the local patriots. Or they may meditate on the
fate of the old man near Clonmel, who was so beaten that he has since
died, his daughter, who might have aided him, having first been
fastened in her room. These and a hundred similar instances of outrage
and attempted murder have crept into print during the last few days.
Red ruin and the breaking-up of laws herald the Home Rule Bill. And
if the premonitory symptoms be thus severe, how shall we doctor the
disease itself?

The other day I stumbled on Mr. Lynn, of Dublin, whom I first met at
the Queen's Hotel, Portadown, County Armagh. He said, "We ought to
know what the Home Rule Bill will do. We know the materials of which
the dish is composed, we have seen their preparation and mixing, we
now have the process of cooking before us, and when we get it it will
give us indigestion."

The Bodykers have a new grievance, one of most recent date. They had
found a delightful means of evasion, which for a time worked well, but
the bottom has been knocked out of it, and their legal knowledge has
proved of no avail. To pay rent whenever a seizure was effected was
voted a bore, a calamitous abandonment of principle, and a loss of
money which might be better applied. So that when MacAdam made his
latest seizures, say on the land of Brown and Jones, these
out-manoeuvred tenants brought forward friends named Smith and
Robinson who deeply swore and filed affidavits to the effect that the
cattle so seized belonged to them, Smith and Robinson to wit, and not
to the afore-mentioned Brown and Jones, on whose land they were found.
Here was a pretty kettle of fish. Colonel O'Callaghan, or his agent,
were processed for illegal distraint, and the evidence being dead
against the landlord, that fell tyrant had on several occasions to
disgorge his prey, whereat there was great rejoicing in Bodyke. The
new agent, however, is a tough customer, and in his quality of Clerk
of Petty Sessions dabbles in legal lore. He found an Act which
provides that, after due formalities, distraint may be made on any
cattle found on the land in respect of which rent is due, no matter to
whom the said cattle may belong. The tenants are said to have been
arranging an amicable interchange of grazing land, the cows of Smith
feeding on the land of Brown, and _vice versâ_, so that the affidavit
agreement might have some colour of decency. The ancient Act
discovered by the ardent MacAdam has rendered null and void this
proposed fraternal reciprocity, and the order to conceal every hoof
and horn pending discovery of the right answer to this last atrocity
has been punctually obeyed, the local papers slanging landlord and
agent, but seemingly unable to find the proper countermine. No end of
details and of incident might be given, but no substantial increase
could be made to the information, given in this and my preceding
letter. The tenants say that the landlord perversely refuses the
reductions allowed in better times, and the landlord says that as a
practical farmer he believes that those upon whom he has distrained or
attempted to distrain are able to pay in full. He declares that he has
not proceeded against those who from any cause are unable to meet
their obligations, but only against the well-to-do men, who, having
the money in hand, are deliberately withholding his just and
reasonable due, taking advantage of the disturbed state of the country
and the weakness of the Government to benefit themselves, regardless
of the suffering their selfishness entails on innocent people.

In striking contrast to the turbulence of the Bodyke men is the
peaceful calm of the Castleconnel people. I have had several pleasant
interviews with Lady de Burgho, whose territory embraces some sixty
thousand acres, and who, during a widowed life of twenty-two years,
has borne the stress and strain of Irish estate administration, with
its eternal and wearisome chopping and changing of law, its
labyrinthine complications, its killing responsibilities. Lady de
Burgho is, after all, very far from dead, exhibiting in fact a
marvellous vitality, and discoursing of the ins and outs of the
various harassing Land Acts, and the astute diplomacy needful to save
something from the wreck, with a light, airy vivacity, and a rich
native humour irresistibly charming. The recital of her troubles,
losses, and burdens, the dodgery and trickery of legal luminaries, and
the total extinction of rent profits is delivered with an easy grace,
and with the colour and effervescence of sparkling Burgundy. To be
deprived of nine-tenths of your income seems remarkably good fun; to
be ruined, an enviable kind of thing. Lady de Burgho commenced her
reign with one fixed principle, from which nothing has ever induced
her to deviate. Under no conceivable circumstances would she allow
eviction. No agent could induce her to sign a writ. "I could not sleep
if I had turned out an Irish family," says Lady de Burgho, adding,
with great sagacity, "and besides eviction never does any good." So
that this amiable lady has the affections of her people, if she
handles not their cash. And who shall estimate the heart's pure
feelings? Saith not the wisest of men that a good report maketh the
bones fat? Is not the goodwill of the foinest pisintry in the wuruld
more to be desired than much fine gold? Is it not sweeter also than
honey or the honeycomb?

Certain mortgagees who wished to appropriate certain lands offered
liberal terms to Lady de Burgho on condition that she would for three
years absent herself from Ireland, holding no communication with her
tenants during that period. Lady de Burgho objected. She said, "If I
accepted your terms my people on my return would believe, and they
would be justified in believing, that I had been for three years
incarcerated in a lunatic asylum." Tableau! Three American gentlemen
visiting Castleconnel told Lady de Burgho that the success of the
present agitation in favour of Home Rule would be the first step
towards making Ireland an American dependency, a pronouncement which
is not without substantial foundation. The feeling of the masses is
towards America, and away from England. To the New World, where are
more Irish than in Ireland (so they say) the poorer classes look with
steadfast eye. To them America is the chief end of man, the earthly
Paradise, the promised land, the El Dorado, a heaven upon earth. Every
able-bodied man is saving up to pay his passage, every good-looking
girl is anxious to give herself a better chance in the States. Nearly
all have relatives to give them a start, and glowing letters from
fortunate emigrants are the theme of every village. The effect of
these epistles is obvious enough. Home Rule, say the Nationalists,
will stop emigration. That this is with them a matter of hope, or
pious belief, is made clear by their conversation. They give no good
reason for their faith. They are cornered with consummate ease. The
plausibilities gorged by Gladstonian gulls do not go down in Ireland.
They are not offered to Irishmen. "Made in Ireland for English gabies"
should be branded upon them. The most convincing arguments against the
bill are those adduced by Home Rulers in its favour. Here is a
faithful statement of reasons for Home Rule, as given by Alderman
Downing, of Limerick, and another gentleman then present whose name I
know not:--

"When you allow the Irish Legislature to frame its own laws, disorder
and outrage will be put down with an iron hand. We have no law at
present. Put an Irish Parliament in Dublin, and we would arrange to
hang up moonlighters to the nearest tree. Everybody would support the
law if imposed from Dublin. They resent it as imposed by Englishmen in
London."

"I am not in favour of handing over the government of Ireland to the
present leaders of the Irish party. I believe that, once granted Home
Rule, they would disappear into private life, and that we should
replace them by better men. What reason for believing this? Oh, I
think the people would begin to feel their responsibility. Do I think
the idea of 'responsibility' is their leading idea? Perhaps not at
this moment, but they will improve. You think that the people may be
fairly expected to return the same class of men? Perhaps so. I hope
not. I should think they would see the necessity of sending men of
position and property. Why don't they send them now? Simply because
they won't come forward; that class of men do not believe in Home
Rule."

I humbly submitted that this would prevent their coming forward in
future, and that if Home Rule were admittedly bad under the present
leaders, there was really no case to go to a jury, as there was no
evidence before the court to show that the leaders would be dropped.
On the contrary, there was every probability that the victorious
promoters of the bill would be returned by acclamation. Further, that
if Home Rule be gladly accepted as a pearl of great price, to drop the
gainers thereof, to dismiss the men who had borne the burden and heat
of the day, would be an act of shabbiness unworthy the proverbial
gratitude and generosity of the Irish people.

Alderman Downing would only exclude them from Parliamentary place, and
would not exclude all even then. The bulk of them might be found some
sort of situation where decent salaries would atone for the dropping.
Would that be jobbery? "Ah, you ask too many questions."

Let it be noted that although the greater part of the Irish
Nationalist members are everywhere rejected beforehand by superior
Home Rulers, as unfit for an Irish Parliament, they are apparently for
that very reason sent to the House of Commons as the best sort to
tease the brutal Saxon. The bulldog is not the noblest, nor the
handsomest, nor the swiftest, nor the most faithful, nor the most
sagacious, nor the most pleasant companion of the canine world, but he
is a good 'un to hang on the nose of the bull.

The Great Unknown said:

"You must admit that English Rule has not been a success. Home Rule is
admittedly an experiment--well, yes, I will accept the word risk--Home
Rule is admittedly, to some extent, a risk, but let us try it. And if
the worst comes to the worst we can go back again to the old
arrangement."

The speaker was a kindly gentleman of sixty or sixty-five years, and,
like Alderman Downing, spoke in a reasonable, moderate tone. Doubtless
both are excellent citizens, men of considerable position and
influence, certainly very pleasant companions, and, to all appearance,
well-read, well-informed men. And yet, in the presence of Unionist
Irishmen, the above-mentioned arguments were all they ventured to
offer. Arguments, quotha? Is the hope that the ignorant peasantry of
Ireland will return "the better class of men," who "do not believe in
Home Rule" an argument? Is the as-you-were assertion an argument? What
would the Irish say if Mr. Bull suggested this movement of
retrogression? We should have Father Hayes, the friend of Father
Humphreys, again calling for "dynamite, for the lightnings of heaven
and the fires of hell, to pulverise every British cur into
top-dressing for the soil." We should have Father Humphreys himself
writing ill-spelt letters to the press, and denouncing all liars as
poachers on his own preserves. We should have Dillon and O'Brien and
their crew again leading their ignorant countrymen to the treadmill,
while the true culprits stalked the streets wearing lemon-coloured kid
gloves purchased with the hard-earned and slowly-accumulated cents of
Irish-American slaveys. The Protestants would be denounced as the
blackest, cruellest, most callous slave-drivers on God's earth. And
this reminds me of something.

Doctor O'Shaughnessy, of Limerick, is the most wonderful man in
Ireland. His diploma was duly secured in 1826, and Daniel O'Connell
was his most intimate friend, and also his patient. The Doctor lived
long in London, and was a regular attendant at the House of Commons up
to 1832. Twice he fought Limerick for his son, and twice he won
easily. The city is now represented by Mr. O'Keefe, and Mr.
O'Shaughnessy is a Commissioner of the Board of Works in Dublin. The
Doctor has conferred with Earl Spencer on grave and weighty matters,
and doubtless his opinion on Irish questions is of greatest value. His
pupil and his fellow-student, Dr. Kidd and Dr. Quain (I forget which
is which), met at the bedside of Lord Beaconsfield, and medical men
admit the doctor's professional eminence. His eighty-four years sit
lightly upon him. He looks no more than fifty at most, is straight as
a reed, active as a hare, runs upstairs like a boy of fourteen, has
the clear blue eye and fresh rosy skin of a young man. He would give
the Grand Old Man fifty in a hundred and beat him out of his boots. He
might be Mr. Gladstone's son, if he were only fond of jam. The Doctor
said several hundred good things which I would like to print, but as
our many conferences were unofficial this would be hardly fair.
However, I feel sure Doctor O'Shaughnessy will forgive my repeating
one statement of his--premising that the Doctor is a devout Catholic,
and that he knows all about land.

"The Protestants are not the worst landlords. The hardest men, the
most unyielding men the tenants have to meet are the Roman Catholic
landlords, the new men."

Here is some food for thought. These few words, properly considered,
cover much ground. The Doctor is a Home Ruler, an ardent lover of his
country, one of the best of the many high-minded men I have met in
Ireland. Were such as he in the forefront of the battle, John Bull
might hand the Irish a blank cheque. The consciousness of trust is of
all things most binding on men of integrity. But for Mr. Gladstone to
hand the honour of England to Horsewhipped Healy and Breeches O'Brien,
showing his confidence in them by permitting it to be taken round the
corner--that is a different thing. I forgot to mention a remarkable
feature in the history of Limerick City, a parallel of which is found
in the apocryphal castle in England for which the unique distinction
is claimed that Queen Elizabeth never slept there. And so far as I can
learn, Tim Healy has not yet been horsewhipped in Limerick.

Bodyke (Co. Clare), May 2nd.



No. 18.--HARD FACTS FOR ENGLISH READERS.


Cort is a quiet wayside country town about forty miles from Limerick,
a little oasis of trees and flowers, with a clear winding trout-stream
running all about it. The streets are wide, the houses well-built, the
pavements kerbed and in good condition. Trees are bigger and more
numerous than usual, and the place has a generally bowery appearance
such as is uncommon in Ireland, which is not famous for its timber.
Trees are in many parts the grand desideratum, the one thing needful
to perfect the beauty of the scenery, but Ireland as compared with
England, France, Holland, Belgium, or Germany may almost be called a
treeless country. Strange to say, the Home Rule Bill, which affects
everything, threatens to deprive the country of its few remaining
trees. A Scotsman resident thirteen years in Ireland said to me:--

"The timber you see lying there is not American, but Irish. The people
who have timber are in many cases cutting it down, because they
foresee a state of general insecurity and depression, and they need
all the cash they can command. But there is another reason for the
deforesting of the country, which is--that if Home Rule becomes law,
the landowners are disposed to believe that no allowance will be made
for the timber which may be on the land when the land is sold to the
tenant under some unknown Act to be passed at some future day." This
fits into the point raised by a tenant farmer living just outside the
town, an extraordinary character said to rise at seven o'clock in the
morning. He said:--

"They say the farmer is to get the land--but what then? Somebody must
own the land, and whoever has it will be reckoned a bloody tyrant.
Won't the owner be a landlord? No, say they, no more landlords at all,
at all. But isn't that nonsense, says I? If ye split up the land into
patches as big as yer hand and give every man a patch, wouldn't some
men have twenty or a hundred, or maybe a thousand patches in five
years? An' thin, thim that was lazy an' wasteful an' got out o' their
land would be for shootin' the savin', sthrivin' man that worked his
way up by buying out the drones. For wouldn't he be a landlord the
moment he stopped workin' all the land himself. An' that would be sure
to happen at wanst. Lord Gough is landlord here, an' ye'll not better
him in Ireland. Look at the town there--all built of stone an' paved,
wid a fine public well in the square, an' a weigh-house, an' the
groves of lilac an' laburnums all out in flower an' dippin' in the
wather; where ye may catch mighty fine trout out iv yer bedroom
window, bedad ye may, or out of yer kitchin, an' draw them out iv the
wather an' dhrop thim in' the fryin' pan off the hook with the bait in
their mouths, an' their tails waggin', finishing their brakefasts
thimselves while they get yours ready! Throth ye can. None iv us that
has any sinse belaves in Home Rule. 'Tis only the ignorant that'll
belave anything. No, we're quiet hereabouts, never shot anybody, an'
not likely to. Yes, the Protestant Church is iligant enough, but
there's very few Protestants hereabouts. It's the gentry an' most
respectable folks that's Protestants. Protestants gets on because they
kape their shops cleaner, an' has more taste, an' we'd sooner belave
thim an' thrust thim that they'd kape their word an' not chate ye,
than our own people. Yes, 'tis indeed quare, but it's thrue. The very
priests won't deny it. An' another thing they wouldn't deny. The
murtherin', sweatin' landlords that'll grind the very soul out of
ye--who are they? Tell me now. Just the small men that have got up out
of the muck. 'Tisn't the gintry at all. The gintry will wait a year,
three years, five years, seven years for rint. The man that bought his
farm or two wid borrowed money won't wait a day. 'Out ye go, an'
bloody end to ye,' says he. Ye don't hear of thim evictions. The man
that sint it to the paper would get bate--or worse.

"An' some of the little houldhers says, 'Pat,' says they, 'what'll we
do wid the money whin we've no taxes to pay?' 'Tis what they're tould,
the crathurs. God help them, but they're mighty ignorant."

Those who ridicule the assertions of Protestants and Catholic
Unionists with reference to the lack of liberty may explain away what
was told me by Mr. J.B. Barrington, brother of Sir Charles Barrington,
a name of might in Mid-Ireland. He said, "Someone in our neighbourhood
went about getting signatures to a petition against the Home Rule
Bill. Among others who signed it was Captain Croker's carpenter, who
since then has been waylaid and severely beaten. Another case
occurring in the same district was even harder. A poor fellow has
undergone a very severe thrashing with sticks for having signed the
bill when, as a matter of fact, he had refused to sign it! Wasn't that
hard lines? Both these men know their assailants, but they will not
tell. They think it better to bear those ills they have than fly to
others that they know not of. They are quite right, for, as it is,
they know the end of the matter. Punish the beaters, and the relations
of the convicted men would take up the cause, and if they could not
come on the principal, if he had removed, or was awkward to get at,
they would pass it on to his relations. So that a man's rebelling
against the village ruffians may involve his dearest friends in
trouble, may subject them to ill-usage or boycotting. A man might
fight it out if he only had himself to consider; but you see where the
shoe pinches."

A decent man in Ennis thus expressed himself anent the Bodyke affair.
(My friend is a Catholic Nationalist.) "The Bodyke men are not all out
so badly off as they seem. But their acts are bad, for they can pay,
and they will not. No, I do not call the Colonel a bad landlord. We
know all about it in Ennis; everybody agrees, too. The farmers meet in
this town and elsewhere. Two or three of the best talkers lead the
meeting, and everything is done _their_ way. The more decent, sensible
men are not always the best talkers. Look at Gladstone, have ye
anybody to come up to him? An' look at his character--one way to-day
an' another way to-morrow, an' the divil himself wouldn't say what the
day afther that. But often the most decent, sensible men among these
farmers can't express themselves, an they get put down. An' all are
bound by the resolutions passed. None must pay rent till they get
leave from all. What would happen a man who would pay rent on the
Bodyke estate? He might order his coffin an' the crape for his
berryin, an' dig his own grave to save his widow the expense. Perhaps
ye have Gladstonian life-assurance offices in England? What praymium
would they want for the life of a Bodyke man that paid his rint to the
Colonel?"

The "praymium" would doubtless be "steep." Boycotting is hard to bear,
as testified by Mr. Dawson, a certain Clerk of Petty Sessions. He
said:--"The Darcy family took a small farm from which a man had been
evicted after having paid no rent for seven years. The land lay waste
for five years, absolutely derelict, before the Darcys took it in
hand. They were boycotted. Their own relations dare not speak to them
lest they, too, should be included in the curse. A member of the Darcy
family died.

"Then came severe inconveniences. Friends had secretly conveyed
provisions to the Darcys, and, at considerable risk to themselves, had
afforded some slight countenance and assistance. But a dead body, that
was a terrible affair. No coffin could be had in the whole district,
and someone went thirty miles and got one at the county town by means
of artful stratagem. Then came the funeral. It was to take place at
twelve one day, but we found there would be a demonstration, and
nobody knew what might happen. The corpse, that of a woman, might have
been dragged from the coffin and thrown naked on the street. In the
dead of night a young fellow went round the friends, and we buried the
poor lady at four in the morning."

The laziness of the Irish people was here exploited with advantage. A
great French chief of police, who had made elaborate dispositions to
meet a popular uprising, once said, "Send the police home and the
military to their barracks. There will be no Revolution this evening
on account of the rain." A very slight shower keeps an Irishman from
work, and you need not rise very early to get over him. A police
officer at Gort said to me, "The people are quiet hereabouts, but I
couldn't make you understand their ignorance. They do just what the
priest tells them in every mortal thing. They believe that unless they
obey they will go to Hell and endure endless torture for ever. They
believe that unless they vote as they are told they will be damned to
all eternity. But oh! if you could see their laziness. They lie abed
half the day, and spend most of the rest in minding other people's
business. Before you had been in the town half-an-hour every soul in
the place was discussing you. They thought you had a very suspicious
appearance, like an agent or a detective or something. Laziness and
ignorance, laziness and ignorance, that's what's the matter with
Ireland."

The farmers of this truly rural district distinctly state that they do
not want Home Rule. They only want the land, and nearly all are
furnished with Tim Healy's statement that "The farmer who bought his
own land to-day would, when a Home Rule Parliament was won, be very
sorry that he was in such a hurry." Just as the men of Bodyke are
getting the rifles for which Mr. Davitt wished in order to chastise
the Royal Irish Constabulary, by way of showing these "ruffians, the
armed mercenaries of England, that the people of Ireland had not lost
the spirit of their ancestors." Well may a timid Protestant of Gort
say, "These men are deceiving England. They only want to get power,
and then they will come out in their true colours. All is quiet here
now, but the strength of the undercurrent is something tremendous. The
English Home Rulers may pooh-pooh our fears, but they know nothing
about it. And, besides, _they_ are quite safe. That makes all the
difference. The change will not drive them from all they hold dear. I
do not agree with the nonsense about cutting our throats in our beds.
That speech is an English invention to cast ridicule on us. But we
shall have to clear out of this. Life will be unendurable with an
Irish Parliament returned by priests. For it _will_ be returned by
priests. Surely the Gladstonian English admit that? To speak of
loyalty to England in connection with an Irish Parliament is too
absurd. Did not the Clan-na-Gael circular say that while its objects
lay far beyond anything that might openly be named, the National
Parliament must be first attained by whatever means? Then it went on
to say that Ireland would be able to command the working plant of an
armed revolution. Do you not know that the Irish Army of Independence
is already being organised? What do you suppose the men who join it
think it means? Did not Arthur O'Connor say that when England was
involved in war, that would be the time? Did he not say that 100,000
men were already prepared, and that at three days' notice Ireland
could possess double that number, all willing to fight England for
love, and without any pay? If the English Home Rulers lived in Galway
they would remember these things as I do. _You think the Bill can
never become law. If you could assure me of that, I would be a happy
man this night._ I would go to my pillow more contented than I have
been for years. _I and my family would go on our knees and thank God
from our hearts._"

Mr. Wakely, of Mount Shannon Daly, said:--"I live in one of the
wildest parts of Galway, but all went on well with us until this Home
Rule Bill upset the country. Now I am completely unsettled. Whether to
plant the land or let it lie waste, I cannot tell. I might not be able
to reap the harvest. Whether to buy stock to raise and fatten, or
whether to keep what cash we have with a view to a sudden pack-up and
exit, we do not know. And I think we are not the only timid folks, for
the other day I took a horse twenty-four miles to a fair where I made
sure of selling him easily. I had to take him back the twenty-four
miles, having wasted my trouble and best part of two days. The
franchise is too low, that is what ruined the country."

Another desponding Galwegian found fault with the Liberal party of
1884. He said, "They were actuated by so much philanthropy. Their
motto was "Trust the people." We know what was their object well
enough, They let in the flood of Irish democracy. The Radicals got
forty, but the Nationalists gained sixty, and then part of the
Radicals--the steady, sensible party among them--ran out a breakwater
to prevent both countries being swamped. A break-water is a good
thing, but there was no necessity for the flood. They cannot
altogether repair the damage they have done. Look at the Irish members
of twenty years ago, and look at them now. Formerly they were
gentlemen. What are they to-day? A pack of blackguards. Their own
supporters shrink from entrusting them with the smallest shred of
power. Mr. Gladstone must be as mad as a March hare. The idea of a
Dublin Parliament engineered by men whom their own supporters look
upon as rowdies would be amusing but for the seriousness of the
consequences. Have you been in Ennis? Did you see the great memorial
to the Manchester murderers--'Martyrs' they call them? Their lives
were taken away for love of their country, and their last breath was
God save Ireland! That's the inscription, and what does it mean?
Loyalty to England? Would such a thing be permitted on the Continent?
Why, any sensible Government would stamp out such an innuendo as open
rebellion. It teaches the children hatred of England, and they are fed
with lies from their very cradle. Every misfortune--the dirt, the
rags, the poverty of the country, are all to be attributed to English
rule. Take away that and the people believe they will live in laziness
combined with luxury."

The lying of the Home Rulers is indeed unscrupulous. An Irish
newspaper of to-day's date, speaking of the opening of the Chicago
Exposition, says that "it is fitting to remember that our countrymen
have in the United States found an asylum and an opportunity which
they have never found at home, that there they have been allowed
untrammelled to worship God as they thought right," clearly implying
that in Ireland or in England they have no such liberty. A car driver
of Limerick, one Hynes, a total abstainer, and a person of some
intelligence, firmly believed that England prevented Ireland from
mining for coal, which disability, with the resulting poverty, would
disappear with the granting of Home Rule. Everywhere this patent
obliqueness and absurd unreason. A fiery Nationalist in white heat of
debate shook his fist at an Ulsterman, and said, "When we get the
bill, you'll not be allowed to have all the manufactories to
yourselves," an extraordinary outburst which requires no comment. This
burning patriot looked around and said, with the air of a man who is
posing his adversary, "Why should they have all the big works in one
corner of the island?" In opposition to the melancholy carman was the
dictum of Mr. Gallagher, the great high-priest of Kennedy's tobaccos.
He said--

"The poverty of Ireland is due to the fact that she has no coal.
Geologists say that tens of thousands of years ago a great ice-drift
carried away all the coal-depositing strata."

"Another injustice to Ireland," interrupted a sacrilegious Unionist.

"And doubtless due to the baleful machinations of the Base and Bloody
Balfour," said another.

It is easy to bear other people's troubles. He jests at scars who
never felt a wound. That the Irish nation has untold wrongs to bear is
evidenced by a Southern Irish paper, which excitedly narrates the
injuries heaped on the holy head of Hibernia by the scoffing Yankee,
the wrongful possessor of the American soil. A meeting of
distinguished Irish emigrants, who have from time to time favoured
the States with their notice, was recently convened in New York, not
on this exceptional occasion to metaphorically devour the succulent
Saxon, nor to send his enemies a dollar for bread, and ten dollars for
lead, nor yet to urge the Gotham nurses and scullerymaids to further
contributions in favour of patriot Parliamentarians, but to protest
with all the fervour of the conveners' souls, with all the eloquence
of their powerful intellects, with all the solemnity of a sacred deed,
against the irreverent naming of the animals in the Central Park
Zoological Gardens after Irish ladies, Irish gentlemen, Irish saints.
Misther Daniel O'Shea, of County Kerry, stated that the great
hippotamus had actually been named Miss Murphy! A hijeous baste from a
dissolute counthry inhabited wid black nagurs, to be named after an
Oirish gyurl! Mr. O'Shea uncorked the vials of his wrath, and poured
out his anger with a bubble, the meeting palpitating with hair-raising
horror. Some other animal was called Miss Bridget. And Bridget was the
name iv an Oirish saint! This must be shtopped. Mr. O'Shea declared he
would rather die than allow it to continue. No further particulars are
given, but it is understood that the viper had been christened "Tim
Healy," the rattlesnake "O'Brien," the laughing hyæna John Dillon, and
so on. The Chairman wanted to know why the Yankees did not call the
ugly brutes after Lord Salisbury and Colonel Saunderson? Nobody seemed
to know, so eight remonstrants were appointed a committee of inquiry.

Mr. O'Shea also denounced the American people as unlawfully holding a
country which properly belonged to the Irish, an Irish saint, St.
Brengan, having discovered the New World in the _sixteenth_ century!

Enough of Ireland's wrongs; there is no end to them. As one of her
poets sings, "The cup of her bitterness long has overflowed, And still
it is not full."

The great bulk of the intelligent people of Ireland regard Home Rule
with dread, and this feeling grows ever deeper and stronger. The
country is at present exploited by adventurers, paid by the enemies of
England, themselves animated by racial and religious prejudices,
willing to serve their paymasters and deserve their pay rather by
damaging England than by benefiting Ireland, for whose interests they
care not one straw. Ignorance manipulated by charlatanism and bigotry
is, in these latter days, the determining factor in the destinies of
the British Empire. Intelligence is dominated by terrorism, by threats
of death, of ill-usage, of boycotting--the latter I am told an outcome
of an old engine of the Roman Catholic Church, improved and brought up
to date. Humphreys, of Tipperary, may know if this is true. It was
from one of the "Father's" feculent family, in the heart of his own
putrescent parish, that I heard of the local chemist who dare not
supply medicine urgently needed by a boycotted person, who was
suspected of entertaining what the learned Humphreys would spell as
"Brittish" sympathies.

Gort (Co. Galway), May 6th.



No. 19.--INDOLENCE AND IMPROVIDENCE.


Mr. James Dunne, of Athenry, is an acute observer and a shrewd
political controversialist. He said: "The people about here, the poor
folks such as the small farmers and labourers, have really no opinion
at all. They know nothing of Home Rule, one way or the other. If they
say anything, it is to the effect that they will obtain some advantage
in connection with the land. Beyond that they care nothing for the
matter. Not one has any sentiment to be gratified. They only want to
live, if possible, a bit more easily. If they can get the land for
nothing or even more cheaply, then Home Rule is good. They can see no
further than their noses, and they cannot be expected to follow a long
chain of argument. They believe just what they are told. Yes, they go
to the priest for advice under all circumstances. They ask him to name
the man for whom they are to vote, or rather they would ask him if he
waited long enough. They vote as they are told; and as the Catholic
priest believes that the Catholic religion is the most important thing
in the world, which from his point of view is quite proper and right,
he naturally influences his people in the direction which is most
likely to propagate the true faith, and give to it the predominance
which he believes to be its rightful due.

"The people round here are harmless, and will continue so, unless the
agitators get hold of them. They are ignorant, and easily led, and an
influential speaker who knew their simplicity could make them do
anything, no matter what. No, I couldn't say that they are
industrious. They do not work hard. They just go along, go along,
like. They have no enterprise at all, and you couldn't get them out of
the ways of their fathers. They'd think it a positive sin.

"Look at the present fine weather. This is a very early season. No
living man has seen such a spring-time in Ireland. Two months of fine
warm weather, the ground in fine working condition, everything six
weeks before last year. Not a man that started to dig a day earlier.
No, the old time will be adhered to just as if it was cold and wet and
freezing. You could not stir them with an electric battery. They moon,
moon, moon along, in the old, old, old way, waiting for somebody to
come and do something for them.

"If they had the land for nothing they would be no better off. They
would just do that much less work. They live from hand to mouth. They
have no ambition. The same thing that did for their fathers will do
for them, the same dirtiness, the same inconvenience. If their father
went three miles round a stone wall to get in at a gate they'll do it
too. Never would they think of making another gate. They turn round
angrily and say, 'Wasn't it good enough for my father, an' wasn't he a
betther man than ayther me or you?' If you lived here, you would at
first begin to show them things, but when you saw how much better
they like their own way you'd stop it. You'd very soon get your heart
broke. You couldn't stir them an inch in a thousand years. What will
Home Rule do for them? Nobody knows but Gladstone and the Divil."

A bystander said: "Down at Galway there was a man wid a donkey goin'
about sellin' fish, which was carried in two panniers. Whin he had
only enough to fill one pannier, he put a load o' stones into the
other pannier to balance the fish an' make the panniers stick on, an'
ride aisier.

"Well, one day an Englishman that had been watchin' Barney for some
time comes up to him an' he says, says he--

"'Whin ye have only fish for one pannier why do ye fill up the other
wid stones off the beach?' says he.

"'Sure, 'tis to balance it,' says Barney, mighty surprised an' laffin
widin himself at the Englishman's ignorance. 'Sure,' says Barney, 'ye
wouldn't have a cock-eyed load on the baste, all swingin' on one side,
like a pig wid one ear, would ye?' says he.

"But this Englishman was one of thim stiff sort that doesn't know whin
he's bate, an' he went on arguin'. Says he--

"'But couldn't you put the half of the fish in one pannier, and the
other half in the other pannier, instead of putting all the fish in
one, and filling up the other with stones?' says he. 'Wouldn't that
balance the load?' says he. 'And wouldn't that be only half the load
for the poor baste?' says he. An' Barney sthruggled a bit till he got
a fair grip iv it, d'ye see, but by the sivin pipers that played
before Moses, he couldn't see the way to answer this big word of the
Englishman; so he says, says he, 'Musha, 'twas me father's way, rest
his sowl,' says he. 'An' would I be settin' meself up to be bettherin'
his larnin'?' says he. 'Not one o' me would show him sich impidence
and disrespect,' says he. 'An' I'll carry the rocks till I die, glory
be to God,' says he.

"Now what could ye do with the like iv _him_?"

Mr. Armour, who lived five years near Sligo, said:--"The Connaught
folks have no idea of preparing for to-morrow. They are almost
entirely destitute of self-reliance. So long as they can carry on from
one day to another they are quite content. The bit of ground they live
on is not half cultivated. In the summer time you may see two or even
three crops growing up together. If they had potatoes on last, they
got them up in the most slovenly way, leaving half the crop in the
ground. They just hoak out with a stick or a bit of board what they
require for that day's food, picking the large ones and leaving the
small ones in the ground. Oats or something else will be seen
half-choked with weeds and the growth from the potatoes so left. The
slovenliness of these people is most exasperating. Of course they are
all Home Rulers in effect, though not in theory. By that I mean that
they have no politics, except to produce politicians by their votes.
They know no more of Home Rule than they know of Heidsieck's
champagne, or Christmas strawberries, or soap and water, or any other
unknown commodity. They are precisely where their ancestors were,
except for the crop of potatoes, which enables them to exist in
greater luxury and with less trouble. Their way is to plant the
potatoes, dig them as required, and live on them either with the aid
of a cow or with the butter-milk of a neighbour who has a cow. No
provision for the future is attempted, because the relatives are sure
to provide for the worn-out and sickly. That shows their
goodheartedness, but it does away with self-dependence. There are some
things so deeply ingrained in the Irish character that nothing and
nobody can touch them. The very priests themselves cannot move them.
Although these people believe that the priests could set them on fire
from head to heel, or strike them paralytic, or refuse them entrance
into heaven, yet the force of habit is so great, and the dread of
public opinion is so powerful, that the people, so long as they remain
in Ireland, will never depart a hair's-breadth from the old ways."

A woman who washed and tidied her children would be a mark for every
bitter tongue in the parish. A striking case came under my own
observation. A woman of the place was speaking most bitterly of
another, and she finished up with,--

"She's the lady all out, niver fear. Shure, she washes and dhresses
the childer ivery mornin', and turns out the girls wid hats on their
heads an' shoes on their feet. Divil a less would sarve her turn! She
has a brick flure to her house, an' she washes it--divil a lie I tell
ye--she washes it--wid wather--an' wid soap an' wather, ivery
Sattherday in the week! The saints betune us an' harm, but all she
wants now is to turn Protestant altogether!"

Four miles away is the village of Carnaun, and there I met Philip
Fahy, with his son Michael, and another young fellow, all three
returning from field work, wearily toiling along the rocky road which
runs through the estate of Major Lobdell. The party stopped and sat
down to smoke with me. The senior took the lead, not with a brogue but
with an accent, translating from the Irish vernacular as he went on.
"Long ye may live! We're glad we met ye, thanks be to God. Yer
honner's glory is the foinest, splindidist man I seen this twinty
year. May God protect ye! 'Tis weary work we does. That foine, big boy
ye see foreninst ye, has eighteenpence a day, nine shillin' a week.
'Tis not enough to support him properly. I have a son in England, the
cliverist lad ye seen this many a day. Sich a scholar, 'twould be no
discredit to have the Queen for his aunt, no it wouldn't. No, he's
only just gone, an' I didn't hear from him yet. I didn't tell ye where
he'd be, for I wouldn't know meself. But me other boys is goin', for
they tell me things will be afther getting worse. God help us, an'
stand betune us an harm! Did ye hear of the Home Rule Bill? What does
it mane at all, at all? Not one of us knows, more than that lump of
stone ye sit on. Will it give us the land for nothin'? for that's all
we hear. We'd be obliged av ye could axplain it a thrifle, for sorra
a one but's bad off, an' Father O'Baithershin says, Howld yer whist,
says he, till ye see what'll happen, says he. Will we get the bit o'
ground without rint, yer honner's glory?"

Philip was dressed for agricultural work in the following style, which
is clearly considered the correct thing in Galway. One tall "top-hat,"
with a long fur like that of a mangy rabbit, waving to the jocund
zephyrs of Carnaun; one cut-away coat of very thick homespun cloth,
having five brass buttons on each breast; breeches and leggings and
stout boots completed the outfit, which fitted like a sentry-box, and
bore a curiously caricatured resemblance to the Court suit of a
Cabinet Minister in full war-paint. The spades with which the
labourers till the ground are strange to the English eye, and seem
calculated to get through the smallest amount of work with the
greatest amount of labour. That they were spades at all was more than
I could make out. "What are those implements?" I asked, to which the
answer came, "Have ye no shpades in England thin!"

The business end is about two feet long and not more than three inches
broad, with a sort of shoulder for the foot. The handles are about six
feet long and end like a mop-stick, without any crossbar. A slight
alteration would turn these tools into pikes, a much more likely
operation than the beating of swords into plough-shares and spears
into pruning-hooks. Meanwhile the length of the handle keeps the
worker from too dangerous proximity to his work. There is a broader
pattern of blade, but the handle is always of the same sanitary
length. The children of the soil turn it over at a wholesome distance.
They keep six feet of pole between the earth and their nobility. Small
blame to them for that same! Shure the wuruld will be afther thim.
Shure there's no sinse at all, at all, in workin' life out to kape
life in.

"Ah, no," said Misther Fahy. "That tobacky has no strinth in it. We
get no satisfaction out iv it. We shmoked a pipe iv it to make frinds,
but we'd not shmoke another. 'Tis like chopped hay or tay-leaves, it
is. Will we walk back wid yer honner's glory? 'Tis only four miles, it
is. No, we bur-rn no powdher here. But on the other side, above
Athenry, 'tis there ye'll see the foin shootin'. Thims the boys for
powdher an' shot! 'Tis more than nine they shot, aye, and more than
tin it was. An' sarve thim right, if they must turn the people out,
an' have their own way. May the Lord protect ye! May angels make yer
bed this night! Long may ye live, an' yer sowl to glory!"

I had written so far, when glancing through the window, I saw a
familiar form, a rosy, healthy, florid gentleman parading on the lawn
which fronts the Railway Hotel, puffing a cigarette, briskly turning
and returning with something of the motion of a captive lion. I knew
that pinky cheek, I knew that bright blue eye; yet here, in the wilds
of Galway who could it be? He plays with two sportive spaniels, and
cries "Down, Sir, down." Thy voice bewrayeth thee, member for North
Galway! The Parnellitic Colonel Nolan, thou, _in propriâ personâ_.
What makes he here? When the great Bill impends, why flee the festive
scene? I'll speak a little with this learned Theban. I board him, as
the French say. For a moment he regards me with suspicion--with a kind
of vade-in-retro-Satanas air--but presently he goes ahead. A fair at
Tuam, which he never misses. Has paired with somebody, Pierpoint he
thinks is the name. His vote will therefore not be lost to his side.
"Nothing will now be done before Whitsuntide. Both parties will be on
their best behaviour. The Conservatives and obstruction, the Liberals
and closure. Strategy to obtain some show of advantage at the recess
is now the little game. Knows not what will happen _re_ Home Rule. The
English Liberals not now so confident as they were. The Government may
be ruined by liquor. 'Tis the fate of Liberal Governments to be ruined
by drink. The Government of 1874 and the next Liberal Cabinet went to
the dogs on liquor. And if the English people are called upon to give
a verdict on a local option bill, the result is rather uncertain.
Chances perhaps against Mr. Gladstone. The Home Rule question is now
quite worked up. The English people are now satisfied to have Home
Rule, but some intervening question might delay its final settlement.
No, the agitation of the past four or five months had not changed the
position one bit. No amount of agitation would now make any difference
at all."

From the probable wrecking of the Gladstonian Cabinet on "liquor" to
the question of Customs, or, as Colonel Nolan preferred to call it, of
Excise, was but an easy step. By a simple _adagio_ movement I
modulated into the Customs question, mentioning the opinion given to
me by Mr. John Jameson himself. The Colonel did not deny, nor admit,
that the Irish people were excellent smugglers, but thought the fears
of the Unionists exaggerated. He was well aware that smuggling might
be carried on--say, on the coast of Connemara and elsewhere, where
were roads and bays and natural harbours galore, with a wild and
lonely shore far from the centres of Government. Probably at first
some money might be lost that way; some little chinks would doubtless
be found; there would be some little leakage. But suppose an initial
loss of £100,000 or £200,000, it was not likely that such a state of
things would be allowed to continue. As to the argument that the rural
police would not then assist the 1,300 coastguards, who with the
police have been sufficient, there was little or no solidity in this
assumption. The Irish Parliament would order the police to assist, and
if they did not execute their orders, or if they allowed themselves to
be bribed, and the Irish Parliament did not prosecute them for
accepting bribes, then the English Government would step in and put
matters right. This is just a typical Home Rule argument, the
confidence trick all over. The Colonel thought that after a certain
amount of shaking down, everything would work sweetly enough. He said
nothing about the Union of Hearts, nor have I yet heard the phrase
from an Irishman.

A keen observer resident at the Athenry Hotel says:--"Of those who
come here the proportion against Home Rule is not less than twenty to
one. Now mark my figures, because they are based on careful notes
extending over the last six months. When you have all the money in the
country, and all the best brains in the country, against the bill,
what good could the bill do if it became law? And while I can see, and
all these people can see, no end of risk, disturbance, upset, loss,
ruin, and everything that is bad, we cannot see anything at all to
compensate for the risk. Nobody can put his finger on anything and
say, 'There, that's the advantage we'll get from the bill.' 'Tis all
fancy, pure fancy. Ireland a nation, and a Roman Catholic nation, is
the cry. We may get that, but we'll be bankrupt next day. 'Tis like
putting a poor man in a grand house without food, furniture, or money,
and without credit to raise anything on the building. There now, ye
might say, ye have a splendid place that's all your own. But wouldn't
the poor man have to leave it, or die of starvation? Of course I wish
to respect my clergy, but I think they should not interfere with
politics."

Colonel Nolan said to me: "The priests wield an immense, an
incalculable power. All are on the same path, all hammer away at the
one point. It is the persistency, the organisation, that tells. In
some cases they have been known to preach for a year and a half at a
stretch on political subjects. What is going to stand against that?"

With these golden words I close my letter. The priest holds the
sceptre of the British Empire. Circumstances have placed in his hands
an astonishing opportunity. Nearly every priest in Ireland is using
his supernatural credit with one solitary aim. We know their
disloyalty, we know they are no friends of England--we know their
influence, their organisation, their perseverance, their
unscrupulousness, their absolute supremacy in Ireland--and it is high
time that England asked herself, in the words of Colonel Nolan--

    "What is going to stand against that?"

Athenry (Co. Galway), May 6th.



No. 20.--RELIGION AT THE BOTTOM OF THE IRISH QUESTION.


Tuam has two cathedrals but no barber. You may be shriven but you
cannot be shaved. You may be whitewashed but you cannot be lathered.
"One shaves another; we're neighbourly here," said a railway porter.
They cut each other's hair by the light of nature, in the open street,
with a chorus of bystanders. The Tuamites live in a country of
antiquities, but they have no photographer. Nor could I find a
photograph for sale. The people are sweetly unsophisticated. A
bare-footed old lady sat on the step of the Victoria Hotel, sucking a
black dhudeen, sending out smoke like a factory chimney, the picture
of innocent enjoyment. The streets were full of pigs from the rural
parts, and great was the bargaining and chaffering in Irish, a
language which seemed to be composed of rolling r's and booming
gutturals. A sustained conversation sounds like the jolting of a
country cart over a rocky road, a sudden exclamation like the whirr of
a covey of partridges, an oath like the downfall of a truck-load of
bricks. I arrived in time for the great pig fair, and Tuam was very
busy. It is a poor town, of which the staple trade is religion. The
country around is green and beautiful, with brilliant patches of gorse
in full bloom, every bush a solid mass of brightest yellow, dazzling
you in the sunshine. Many of the streets are wretchedly built, and the
Galway Road shows how easily the Catholic poor are satisfied. Not only
are the cabins in this district aboriginal in build, but they are also
indescribably filthy, and the condition of the inmates, like that of
the people inhabiting the poorer parts of Limerick, is no whit higher
than that obtaining in the wigwams of the native Americans. The hooded
women, black-haired and bare-footed, bronzed and tanned by constant
exposure, are wonderfully like the squaws brought from the Far West by
Buffalo Bill. The men look more civilised, and the pig-jobbers, with
their tall hats, dress coats, and knotty shillelaghs, were the pink of
propriety. Now and then a burst of wild excitement would attract the
stranger, who would hurry up to see the coming homicide, but there was
no manslaughter that I could see. A scene of frantic gesticulation
near the Town Hall promised well, but contrary to expectation, there
was no murder done. Two wild-eyed men, apparently breathing slaughter,
suddenly desisted, reining in their fury and walking off amicably
together. An Irish-speaking policeman explained that one having sold
the other a pig the buyer was asking for twopence off, and that they
now departed to drink the amount between them. People who had done
their business went away in queer carts made to carry turf--little
things with sides like garden palings four or five feet high. Three or
four men would squat on one, closely packed, looking through the bars
like fowls in a hen-coop. The donkeys who drew these chariots had all
their work cut out, and most of their backs cut up. The drivers laid
on with stout ash-plants, sparing no exertion to create the donkey's
enthusiasm. Prices ruled low. "'Tis not afther sellin' thim I am,"
said a peasant who had got rid of his pigs, "'tis bestowin' thim I
was, the craythurs. The counthry is ruinated intirely, an' so it is.
By the holy poker of Methesulum, the prices we got this day for
lowness bangs Banagher, an' Banagher bangs the divil."

The Tuamites spare a little time for politics and boycotting. The
public spirit and contempt for British law are all that could be
desired by Irish patriotism. Mr. Strachan has recently bought some
land. The previous owner, Mr. Dominick Leonard, brother of Dr. Leonard
of Athenry, and of Judge Leonard of London, had raised money on the
property, and failed to pay interest or principal. An English
insurance company determined to realize, and the affair went into the
Land Court, Mr. Strachan buying part of the estate for £2,765. It was
easy enough to buy, and even to pay, but to get possession was quite
another thing. Precise information is difficult to get, for while some
decline to say a word, others are mutually contradictory, and a State
Commission would hardly sift truth from the confusing mass of details,
denials, assertions, and counter-assertions. This much is clear
enough. A tenant named Ruane was required to leave a house, with
ground, which he had held on the estate bought by Mr. Strachan. He had
paid no rent for a long time. Of course he refused to leave, and, a
decree having been obtained, he was duly evicted. But, as Lady de
Burgho said, evictions do no good. When the officers of the law went
home to tea, Mr. Ruane went home also, breaking the locks, forcing the
doors, reinstating himself and his furniture, planting his Lares and
Penates in their old situations, hanging up his caubeen on the
ancestral nail, and crossing his patriotic shin-bones on the familiar
hearth. Pulled up for trespass, he declared that if sent to prison
fifty times he would still return to the darling spot, and defied the
British army and navy--horse, foot, and artillery--ironclads, marines,
and 100-ton guns, to keep him out. For three acts of trespass he got
three weeks imprisonment. The moment he was released Mr. Ruane walked
back home, and took possession once again. There he is now, laughing
at the Empire on which the sun never sets. When a certain bishop read
"Paradise Lost" to a sporting lord, the impatient auditor's attention
was arrested by some bold speech of Satan, whereupon he exclaimed
"Dang me, if I don't back that chap. I like his pluck, and I hope
he'll win." Something like this might be said of Ruane.

And Ruane will stick to his land. A public meeting held on Sunday week
determined to support him, and to show forth its mind by planting the
ground for him. Mr. Strachan seems to have seen the futility of
looking to the law, on the security of which he invested his money.
Too late he finds that his savings are not safe, and he endeavours to
make friends with the mammon of unrighteousness. He has offered Ruane
five acres of land and a house, and Ruane would have accepted with
thanks had he been allowed. But he went to a meeting in some outlying
village, and received his orders from the Land League. For, be it
observed, that the people of these parts speak of the Land League as
existing in full force. Ruane declined the handsome offer of the
kind-hearted Strachan. Ruane will hold the house and land from which
he has been evicted, _because_ he had been evicted, and that the
people may see that they have the mastery. Ruane would prefer the
proffered land, but private interests must give way to the public
weal. England must be smashed, treated with contumely; her laws, her
officers, her edicts treated with contempt, laughed at by every naked
gutter-snipe, rendered null and void. That this can be done with
perfect impunity is the teaching of priests, Fenians, Nationalists,
Federationists--call them what you will--all alike flagrantly disloyal
to the English Crown. Not worth while to differentiate them. As the
sailor said of crocodiles and alligators, "There's no difference at
all. They're all tarnation varmint together."

Mr. Strachan is boycotted, and goes about with a guard of three
policemen. What will happen from one day to another nobody can tell.
Since I last mentioned Mr. Blood, of Ennis, that most estimable
gentleman has been again fired on, this time at a range of 400 yards,
and when guarded by the four policemen who accompany him everywhere.
Three shots were fired, and the police found an empty rifle cartridge
at the firing point. A Protestant in Tuam said to me:--

"Home Rule would mean that every Protestant would have to fly the
country. Why should there not be a return to the persecutions of years
ago? When first I came to the place the Protestants were hooted as
they went to church, and I can remember seeing this very Strachan
going to worship on Sunday morning, his black go-to-meeting coat so
covered with the spittle of the mob that you would not know him. His
wife would come down with a Bible, and the children would run along
shouting 'Here comes mother Strachan, with the devil in her fist.'
Why, the young men got cows' horns and fixed them up with strings, so
that they could tie them on their foreheads. Then with these horns on
they would walk before and behind the Protestants as they went to
church or left it, to show that the devil was accompanying them. They
always figure the devil as being horned. One of the little barefooted
boys who ran after these Protestants is now a holy priest in Tuam. And
what the people were then, so they will be now, once they get the
upper hand. The educated Catholics are excellent people, none better
anywhere, none more tolerant. Nothing to fear from them. But how many
are there? Look at the masses of ignorant people around us. The
density of their ignorance is something that the people of England
cannot understand. They have no examples of it. The most stupid and
uninformed English you can find have some ray of enlightenment. These
people are steeped in ignorance and superstition. Their religion is
nothing but fetichism. Their politics? well, they are blind tools of
the priests: what else can be said? And the priests have but one
object. In all times, in all countries, the Roman Catholic Church has
aimed at absolute dominion. The religious question is at the bottom of
it all."

No matter where an educated Irishman begins, that is where he always
ends. Catholics and Protestants alike come round to the same point at
last, though with evident reluctance. The Protestant Unionists
especially avoid all mention of religion as long as possible. They
know the credal argument excites suspicion. They attack Home Rule from
every other point of view, and sometimes you think you have
encountered a person of different opinion. Wait till he knows you a
little better, has more confidence in your fairness, stands in less
fear of a possible snub. Sooner or later, sure as the night follows
the day, he is bound to say--

"The religious question is at the bottom of it all."

The people of Ireland do not want an Irish Parliament, and the failure
of the bill would not trouble them in the least. They do not care a
brass farthing for the bill one way or the other. The great heart of
the people is untouched. The masses know nothing of it, and will not
feel its loss. They are in the hands of priests and agitators, these
poor unlettered peasants, and their blind voting, their inarticulate
voice, translated into menace and mock patriotism. Everybody admits
that the people would be happy and content if only left alone.
Half-a-dozen ruffians with rifles can boss a whole country side, and
the people must do as they are told. They do not believe in the
secrecy of the ballot. They believe that the priests by their
supernatural powers are able to know how everybody voted, and I am
assured on highly respectable authority that the secrecy of the ballot
in Ireland is, in some parts, a questionable point. At the same time,
there is everywhere a strong opinion that another election will give
very different results in Ireland. And everywhere there is a growing
feeling that the Bill will not become law. This explains the slight
rise in the value of Irish securities.

Just outside Tuam I came upon a neatly built, deep-thatched villa,
with a flower garden in front, a carefully cultivated kitchen garden
running along the road, trim hedges, smart white palings, an orchard
of fine young trees, a general air of neatness, industry, prosperity,
which, under the circumstances, was positively staggering. I had
passed along a mile of cabins in every stage of ruin, from the
solitary chimney still standing to the more recent ruin with two
gables, from the inhabited pig-sty to the hut whereon grew crops of
long grass. I had noted the old lady clad in sackcloth and ashes, who,
having invested the combined riches of the neighbourhood in six
oranges and a bottle of pop, was sitting on the ground, alternately
contemplating the three-legged stool which held the locked-up capital
and her own sooty toes, immersed in melancholy reflections anent the
present depression in commercial circles. The Paradisaic cottage was
startling after this. I stopped a bare-legged boy, and found that the
place belonged to a Black Protestant, and, what was worse, a
Presbyterian, and, what was superlatively bad, a Scots Presbyterian.
Presently I met a tweed-clad form, red-faced and huge of shoulder,
full of strange accents and bearded like the pard. Berwickshire gave
him birth, but he has "done time" in Ireland.

"I'm transported this forty-three years. I thought I'd end my days
here, but if this bill passes we'll go back to Scotland. We'll have
Catholic governors, and they'll do what they like with us. Ye'll have
a tangled web to weave, over the Channel there. Ye'll have the whole
island in rebellion in five-and-twenty minutes after ye give them
power. Anybody that thinks otherwise is either very ignorant of the
state of things or else he's a born fule. No, I wouldn't say the folks
are all out that lazy, not in this part of Galway. They will work weel
enough for a Scots steward, or for an Englishman. But no Irish steward
can manage them. Anybody will tell you that. No-one in any part of the
country will say any different. Now, that's a queer thing. An Irish
steward has no control over them. They don't care for him. And he runs
more risk of shooting than an English or Scots steward.

"There was an Irish bailiff where I was steward, and he saw how I
managed the men, and thought he'd do it the same way. So once when he
and a lot of diggers went in for the praties and buttermilk, the
praties were not ready, and he gives the fellow who was responsible a
bit of a kick behind with the side of his foot, like.

"The very next night he got six slugs in his head and face and one of
his front teeth knocked out. That taught him to leave kicking to
foreigners. Once two men were speaking of me. I overheard one say,
'Ah, now, Micky, an' isn't it a pity that Palmer's a Black Protestant,
an' that his sowl will blaze in hell for ever, like a tur-rf soddock
ye'd pick up in the bog?'"

"Settle the land question and you settle Home Rule. The bad times made
Parnell's success. He was backed by the low prices of produce, and the
general depression of agricultural interests. The rent has been
reduced, but not enough to compensate the drop in the prices of
produce. Why, cattle have been fetching one-half what they fetched a
short time ago. Potatoes are twopence-halfpenny a stone! Did you ever
hear of such a thing? Yes, it enables the people to live very cheaply,
but how about the growers? If every man grew his own potatoes and
lived on them, well and good, but he must have no rent to pay. That
price would not pay for labour and manure. Oats are worth sixpence to
ninepence a stone,--a ridiculous price; and we have not yet touched
the bottom.

"The land question should be settled. No, it is not satisfactory.
People have to wait seven years for a settlement, and meanwhile they
could be kicked out of their holdings at one day's notice. The people
who bought under Ashbourne's Act are happy, prosperous, and contented.
The people who are beside them are the contrary. Home Rulers, bosh!
Farmers know as much about Home Rule as a pig knows about the Sabbath
Day. The land, the land, the land! Let the Tories take this up and
dish the Liberals. Easiest thing alive. How? Compulsory sale,
compulsory purchase. Leave nothing to either party. Then you'll hear
no more of Home Rule. Let the Unionists hold their ground a bit, till
it dies out, or until the rival factious destroy each other. Loyalty?
Why those Nationalist members have themselves told you over and over
again that they are rebels. Don't you believe them? Some few may be
inspired with the idea that the thing is impracticable, but they will
all preach separation when the right time comes. 'Pay no taxes to
England,' they'll cry. The people can follow that. Tell them that any
course of action means non-payment of anything, and they're on it like
a shot. Why, the Paying of Tribute to England is already discussed in
every whiskey shop in Galway, and every man is prepared to line the
ditches with guns and pikes rather than pay one copper. When you can't
give Strachan the farm for which he paid last February, when you can't
keep a small farmer who won't pay rent from occupying his farm and
getting his crops as usual, for he _will_ do so, how are you going to
raise the famous Tribute Money?"

Near the Town Hall was a great crowd of people listening to a couple
of minstrels who chanted alternate lines of a modernised version of
the _Shan van vocht_. "Let me make the songs of a people, and I care
not who makes its laws." Mr. Gladstone is appreciated now. The heart
of the Connaughtman throbs responsive to his pet appellation. This is
part of the song--

    Oi'm goin' across the say, says the Grand Old Man,
    Oi'll be back some other day, says the Grand Old Man;
              When Oireland gets fair play
              We'll make Balfour rue the day,--
    Remimber what I say, says the Grand Old Man.
    Whin will ye come back? says the Grand Old Man,
    Whin will ye come back? says the Grand Old Man,
              Whin Balfour gets the sack
              Wid Salisbury on his back,
    Or unto hell does pack, says the Grand Old Man.
    Will ye deny the Lague? says the Grand Old Man,
    No, we'll continue to the Lague, says the Grand Old Man.
              John Dillon says at every station,
              'Twill be his conversation
    Till Oireland is a nation, says the Grand Old Man.

There are three more verses of this immortal strain. The _Shan van
vocht_ was the great song of the '98 rebellion, and possibly the
G.O.M.'s happy adaptability to the music may put the finishing touch
to his world-wide renown. Other songs referred to the arrest of Father
Keller, of Youghal. "They gathered in their thousands their grief for
to revale, An' mourn for their holy praste all in Kilmainham Jail."
These ballads are anonymous, but the talented author of "Dirty little
England" stands revealed by internal evidence. The voices which
chanted these melodies were discordant, but the people around listened
with reverential awe, from time to time making excited comments in
Irish. Altogether Tuam is a depressing kind of place, and but for the
enterprise of a few Protestants, the place would be a phantasmagoria
of pigs, priests, peasants, poverty, and "peelers." Perhaps Galway
would have more civilization, if less piety. You cannot move about an
Irish country town after nightfall without barking your shins on a
Roman Catholic Cathedral. This in time becomes somewhat monotonous.

Tuam (Co. Galway), May 9th.



No. 21.--MR. BALFOUR'S FISHERIES.


A clean, well-built town, with a big river, the Corrib, running
through the middle of it, splashing romantically down from the salmon
weir, not far from the Protestant Church of Saint Nicholas, a
magnificent cathedral-like structure over six hundred years old. There
is a big square with trees and handsome buildings, several good
hotels, a tramway, and, _mirabile dictu!_ a veritable barber's shop.
The Connaught folks, as a whole, seem to have fully realised the old
saying that shaving by a barber is a barbarous custom, but there is no
rule without an exception, and accordingly Mr. McCoy, of Eyre Square,
razors and scissors her Majesty's lieges, whether gentle or simple,
rebel or loyal, Unionist or Separatist, Catholic or Protestant. The
good Figaro himself is an out-and-out Separatist. He swallows complete
Independence, and makes no bones about it. He believes in Ireland a
Nation, insists on perfect autonomy, and, unlike the bulk of his
fellow Nationalists, has the courage of his opinions. His objection to
English interference with Irish affairs is openly expressed, and with
an emphasis which leaves no doubt of his sincerity. According to Mr.
McCoy, the woes of Ireland are each and all directly attributable to
English rule. The depopulation of the country, the lack of enterprise,
of industry, of the common necessaries of life, of everything to be
desired by the sons of men--all these disagreeables are due to the
selfishness, the greed, the brutality of Englishmen, who are not only
devoid of the higher virtues, but also entirely destitute of common
fairness, common honesty, common humanity. Mr. McCoy holds that
England exploits Ireland for her own purposes, is a merciless sucker
of Hibernia's life-blood, a sweater, a slave-driver, a more than
Egyptian taskmaster. Remove the hated English garrison, abolish
English influence, let Ireland guide her own destinies, and all will
at once be well--trade will revive, poverty will disappear, emigration
will be checked, a teeming population will inhabit the land, and the
Emerald Isle will once more become great, glorious, and free, Furst
flower o' the airth, Furst gem o' the say. No longer will the gallant
men of Connaught bow their meek heads to American shears, no longer
present their well-developed jaws to Yankee razors; but, instead of
this, flocking in their thousands on saints' days and market days to
their respective county towns, and especially to Galway, will form _en
queue_ at the door of Mr. McCoy, to save the country by fostering
native industries. No longer will it avail the Chinaman of whom he
told me to sail from New York to Ireland, because the latter is the
only country wherein Irishmen do not monopolise all the good things,
do not boss the show--have, in fact, no voice at all in its
management. "But," said my friend, "we'll get no Home Rule, we'll get
no Parlimint, we'll get nothin' at all at all till Irishmen rise up
in every part o' the wuruld an thrash it out o' ye. What business have
the English here at all domineering over us? Didn't one o' their great
spakers get up in Parlimint an' say we must be kept paupers? Didn't he
say that 'the small loaf was the finest recruiting sergeant in the
wuruld?' There ye have the spirit o' the English. We want the counthry
to ourselves, an' to manage it our way, not yours. An' that thievin'
owld Gladstone's the biggest scut o' thim all. No, I'm not grateful to
Gladstone, not a bit iv it. Divil a ha'porth we have to thank him for.
Sure, he was rakin Parnell out iv his grave, the mane-spirited scut,
that cringed and grinned whin Parnell was alive. Sure, 'twas Gladstone
broke up the party wid his morality. 'Ah,' says he, 'I couldn't
associate wid such a person, alanna!' An' he wouldn't let it be a
Parlimint at all--it must be a leg-is-la-ture, by the hokey, it must,
no less. Let him go choke wid his leg-is-la-ture, the durty,
mane-spirited owld scut."

Mr. McCoy declines to regard Mr. Gladstone as a benefactor of Ireland,
but in this he is not alone. His sentiments are shared by every
Irishman I have met, no matter what his politics. The Unionist party
are the more merciful, sparing expletives, calling no ill names. They
admire his ability, his wonderful vitality, versatility, ingenuity of
trickery. They sincerely believe that he is only crazy, and think it a
great pity. They speak of the wreck of his rich intellect, and say in
effect _corruptio optimi pessima est_. There is another monkish
proverb which may strike them as they watch him in debate,
particularly when he seems to be cornered; it runs, _Non habet
anguillam, Per caudam qui tenet illam_, which may be extemporaneously
rendered, He has not surely caught the eel, Who only holds him by the
tail.

Every Nationalist I have met entertains similar opinions, but few
express them so unguardedly. Mr. McCoy must be honoured for his
candour and superior honesty. If his brethren were all as frankly
outspoken as he England would be saved much trouble, much waste of
precious time. The secret aspirations of the Irish Nationalist
leaders, if openly avowed, would dispose of the Home Rule agitation at
once and for ever. No risk of loss, no possible disadvantage, daunted
Mr. McCoy. He accepted the statement of a rabid Separatist, quoted in
a previous letter, that the Irish would prefer to go to hell their own
way. That was his feeling exactly. Not that there was any danger.
Great was his confidence, implicit, sublime, ineffably Irish. His was
the faith that removes mountains. Not like a grain of mustard seed,
but like the rock of Cashel. _Floreat_ McCoy!

Mr. Athy, of Kinvarra, has very little to say. He thinks the bill
would make Ireland a hell upon earth for all Protestants living in
Catholic communities, and that a settlement of the land question would
settle the hash of the agitators. Mr. Kendal, of Tallyho, an
Englishman twenty-five years resident in Ireland, agrees in the latter
opinion. I forgot to question him _re_ toleration. He thinks the Home
Rule Bill simply insane, absurd, not worth serious discussion by
sensible men. "No intelligent man who knows the country would dream of
such madness. The simplicity of the English people must be incredible.
Pity they cannot come over and examine for themselves."

Mr. Beddoes, traffic manager of the Limerick and Waterford Railway,
came to Ireland an enthusiastic Gladstonian. He had worked with might
and main to send Mr. Price to Parliament, and was largely instrumental
in returning him. He is now a staunch Unionist, admits the error of
his ways, and rejoices that a personal acquaintance with the subject
at once led him into the true fold. I had this confession of faith
from Mr. Beddoes himself, a keen, successful man of eminently
Conservative appearance, a scholar, a traveller, and a great favourite
with his men.

"How long were you in Ireland before you changed your mind?" I asked.

"Well," said Mr. Beddoes, "to tell the truth, I began to have my
doubts during the first week."

A prosperous Presbyterian of Galway said:--"To say that the Irish
people, the masses, want an Irish Parliament is the height of
absurdity; and to argue that their aspirations are expressed by their
votes is a gross perversion of the truth. The ignorance of the people
explains everything. They voted as the priests told them to vote,
without the smallest conception of what they were voting for, without
the smallest idea of what Home Rule really means. They are quite
incapable of understanding a complicated measure of any kind, and they
naturally accept the guidance of their spiritual advisers, whom they
are accustomed to regard as men of immense erudition, besides being
gifted with power to bind and loose, and having the keys of heaven at
command. You know how they canvass their penitents in the
confessional, and how from the altar they have taught the people to
lie, telling them to vote for one man and to shout down the streets
for another. The Irish priests are wonderfully moral men in other
respects, and cases of immorality in its ordinary sense are so rare as
to be practically unknown. I could forgive their politics, and even
their confessional influence, if they were not such awful liars. Their
want of truthfulness reacts on the people, and if you send a man to do
a job, he will return and get his money when he has only half done it.
'Oh, yes,' he'll say, as natural as possible, 'I've done it well, very
well.' And they are not ashamed when they are proved to be liars. They
think nothing of it. And the way they cheat each other! A few days ago
I met a man who pulled out a bundle of one-pound notes, and said, 'I'm
afther selling thirteen cows, an' I'm afther buying thirteen more. I
sowld me cows to Barney So-and-So, afther givin' him six noggins of
poteen, an' I got out of him twenty per cint. more than the price that
was goin', thanks be to God!' They are so pious--in words."

"What they want is emancipation from the priests and from the
superstitions of the dark ages. They believe in the fairies still, and
attribute all kinds of powers to them. Look at the _Tuam News_ of
yesterday evening. Perhaps the English people would hesitate before
conferring self-government on the poor folks who read that paper, if
they could only see the rag for a week or two."

I secured the _Tuam News_ for Friday, May 12, 1893, and found the
sheet instructive, suggestive, original. There is a big advertisement
in Irish, an ancient Irish poem with translation, and a letter from
Mr. Henry Smyth, of Harborne, Birmingham, addressed to the National
Literary Society of Loughrea, under whose auspices Miss Gonne the
other day delivered the rebel lecture quoted in the Killaloe letter.
Our fellow-citizen speaks of "the spirit of revival that is abroad
amongst you, of your new society rising phoenix-like from the ashes of
the old, not uninspired, we may suppose, by the project of your being
in the near future masters in your own house, the arbiters of your own
destiny, for you will be governed by the men of your own choice." Side
by side with this heart-felt utterance let us print another letter
appearing in the same issue of the same hebdomadal illuminator:--

                  TO THE EDITOR OF THE TUAM NEWS.

    Sir,--Permit me a little space in the next issue of the _Tuam
    News_, relative to my father being killed by the fairies which
    appeared in the _Tuam News_ of the 8th of April last. I beg to
    say that he was not killed by the fairies, but I say he was
    killed by some person or persons unknown as yet. Hoping very
    soon that the perpetrators of this dastardly outrage will be
    soon brought to light, I am, Mr. Editor, yours obediently,

                                                 DAVID REDINGTON.
Kilcreevanty, May 8th, '93.

What would be thought of an English constituency which required such a
contradiction? The people who believe in the fairies form the bulk of
the Irish electorate. Their votes have sent the Nationalist members to
Parliament; their voice it is which directs the action of Gladstone,
Morley, and Tail; their influence ordains the course of legislation;
in their hands are the destinies of England and Englishmen. The people
themselves are innocent enough. If they hate England it is because
they have been so taught by priests and agitators for their own ends.
The only remedy is enlightenment, but the process must be slow. The
accursed influences are ever at work, on the platform, in the press,
at the altar, and I see no countervailing agency. The people are 'cute
enough, and would be clever, if once their bonds were broken. They are
not fettered by English rule. They are bound down by Ignorance, rank
Ignorance, in an Egyptian darkness that may be felt. They are poor in
this world's goods, although seemingly healthier and stronger than the
English average. Much of their poverty is their own fault. Much more
is due to the teachings of agitators. The Land League has mined whole
communities. Poverty and Ignorance made the Irish masses an easy prey.
Their ancient prejudices are kept alive, their ancient grievances
industriously disinterred, their imagination pleased with an
illimitable vista of prosperity artfully unrolled before their
untutored gaze. We have the result before us. The Gladstonian party in
England are responding to the dictates of a handful of hirelings and
sacerdotalists, and not to the aspirations of a people. Credulity is
the offspring of Ignorance, and accordingly we see that the Irish
people believe in Tim Healy and the priests, the Grand Old Man and the
fairies. They must be saved from themselves.

The harbour of Galway is very picturesque. A massive ivy-covered arch
marks the boundary line of the ancient walls, some of which are still
extant. The raggedness and filthiness of the fisher-wives and children
must be seen to be understood. A few sturdy fishermen sat gloomily
beside two great piles of fish, thrown out of the boats in heaps.
Large fish, like cod, and yet not cod; bigger than hake, but not
unlike the Cornish fish. To ask a question at a country station or in
the street is in Connaught rather embarrassing, as all the people
within earshot immediately crowd around to hear what is going on. Not
impudent, but sweetly unsophisticated are the Galway folks, openly
regarding the stranger with inquiring eye, not unfriendly, but merely
curious. Having no business of their own, they take the deepest
interest in that of other people. And they make a fuss. They are too
polite. They load you with attentions. No trouble is too great. Give
them the smallest chance and they put themselves about until you wish
you had not spoken. However, I wanted to know about the fish, so I
strolled up to two men who were lying at full length on the quay, and
said--

"What do you call those fish?"

Both men sprang hastily to their feet, and said--

"Black pollock, Sorr."

"Where do you catch them?"

At this juncture two or three dozen urchins galloped up, most of them,
save for a thick skin of dirt, clad in what artists call the nude.
They surrounded us, and listened with avidity.

"Outside the Aran Islands."

Here several women joined the group, and more were seen hastening to
the scene of excitement from every point of the compass.

"How far away is that?"

"Thirty miles, Sorr."

"What are they worth?"

"A shilling a dozen."

"That is, a penny a pound?"

"No, but a shilling for a dozen fish, and there's thirteen to the
dozen."

"And how heavy is the average fish?"

He picked up one by the jaws, and weighing him on his hand, said--

"That chap would be nigh-hand fourteen pounds. Some's more, some's
less."

It was even so. The agent of the Congested Districts Board, Mr.
Michael Walsh, of Dock Street, confirmed this startling statement.
Thirteen huge codlike fish for a shilling! More than a hundredweight
and a half of fish for twelve pence sterling! And, as Father Mahony
remarks, still the Irish peasant mourns, still groans beneath the
cruel English yoke, still turns his back on the teeming treasures of
the deep. The brutal Balfour supplied twenty-five boats to the poor
peasants of the western seaboard, and these, all working in
conjunction under direction, have proved both a boon and a blessing.
"Yesterday I sent sixty boxes of mackerel to Messrs. Smith, of
Birmingham, and to-day I think I shall send them a hundred," said Mr.
Walsh. "These Balfour boats have been a wonderful success. You'll hear
the very ignorant still cursing him, but not the better-informed, nor
the people he has benefited. I think him a great man, a very great
man, indeed. I am no politician. I only look at the effect he produced
and the blessing he was to the people. On Wednesday last the Duras
steamer brought in 400 boxes of fish, which had been caught in one
day. We thought that pretty good, but Thursday's consignment was
simply astonishing, 1,100 boxes coming in. We sent them all to
England. Mackerel have fetched grand prices this year. Early in the
season we sold them to Birmingham at tenpence apiece wholesale, with
carriage and other expenses on the top of that. Better price than the
pollock? Well, that fish is not very good just now. Sometimes it
fetches six shillings a dozen fish, nearly sixpence each. No, not much
for twelve or fourteen pounds of good fish. Half-a-crown a dozen is
more usual. There's no demand. Yes, they're cheap to-day. A dozen
pounds of fish for a penny would be reckoned 'a cheap loaf' in
Birmingham."

A shopkeeper near the harbour complained of the unbusiness-like ways
of the Galway townsmen:--"They have no notion of business management.
Take the Galway Board of Guardians. They resolved that any contractor
furnishing milk below a certain standard should have his contract
broken if he were caught swindling the authorities three times in six
months. What would they think of such a resolution in England? Well,
one fellow was caught three times or more. His milk was found to
contain forty-four per cent. of water. Instead of kicking him out at
once there was a great debate on the subject. It was not denied that
the facts were as I have stated them. His friends simply said, 'Ah,
now, let the Boy go on wid the conthract; shure, isn't he the dacent
Boy altogether? An' what for would ye break the conthract whin he put
in a dhrop of clane wather, that wouldn't hurt anybody. Shure, 'tis
very wholesome it is intirely.' As Curran said, 'we are ruined with
to-day saying we'll do some thing, and then turning round and saying
to-morrow that we won't do it.' Another Guardian named Connor stuck up
for the right thing, and another named Davoren gave the contractor's
friends a good tongue-thrashing. The milkman was sacked by fifteen
votes to nine. The right thing was done, but my point is that a lot
of time was wasted in trying to bolster up such a case, and nine men
actually voted for the defaulter, whose action was so grossly
fraudulent, and who had been caught at least three times in six
months.

"The bag factory has just been closed. The Home Rule Bill is at the
bottom of this mischief. It was the only factory we had in Galway, and
what the people here are to do now God only knows. It gave employment
to the working classes of the town, who will now have to go further
afield. Some are off to America, some to England, some to Scotland.
Curious thing I've noticed. A Scotsman lands here with twopence, next
day has fourpence, in five years a house and farm of his own, in
twenty-five years an estate, in thirty years is being shot at as a
landowner, in forty years has an agent to be deputy cock-shot for him.
But Irishmen who go to Scotland nearly always return next year
swearing that the country is poor as the Divil. Now, how is that?

"The bag works was just short of money and management. Irishmen are
not financiers. They are always getting into holes, and waiting for
somebody to get them out. They have no self-reliance. You may hold
them up by the scruff of the neck for years and years, and the moment
you drop them they hate you like poison. Many shooting cases would
show this if impartially looked into. Pity the English do not come
over here more than they do. The people get along famously with
individual Englishmen, and sometimes they wonder where all the
murdering villains are of whom they hear from their spiritual and
political advisers. A priest said in my hearing, 'Only the best men
come over here. They are picked out to impose on you.' And the poor
folks believed him. We want to know each other better. The English are
just as ignorant as the Irish, in a way. They know no more of the
Irish than the Irish know of them. The poor folks of Connaught firmly
believe that they would be well off and able to save money but for the
English that ruin the country. And here this Jute Bag Company is
bursted up because it had not capital to carry on with. Belfast men or
Englishmen would have made it a big success. It stopped because it
could not raise enough money to buy a ship-load of jute, and was
obliged to buy from hand to mouth from retailers.

"Take the wool trade. Everywhere over Ireland you will see Wool, Wool
in big letters on placards for the farmers--notices of one sort or
another. We are the centre of a wool district. Not a single wool
factory, although the town is in every way fitted for excelling in the
woollen trade. We have a grand river, and the people understand wool.
They card and spin, and make home-made shawls and coat-pieces at their
own homes, just for themselves, and there they stop. They are waiting
for Home Rule, they say. Pass the bill, and factories will jump out of
the ground like mushrooms. Instead of taking advantage of the means at
their disposal, they are looking forward to a speculative something
which they cannot define. The English are the cause of any trouble
they may have, and an Irish Parliament will totally change the aspect
of things. Everybody is going to be well off, and with little or no
work. The farmers are going to get the land for nothing, or next to
nothing, and all heretics will be sent out of the country, or kept
down and in their proper place."

Thus spake a well-to-do Protestant, born in Galway some sixty years
ago, a half-breed Irish and Scotchman. I have now heard so many
exasperating variations of this same tune, that I should be disposed,
had I the power, to take a deep and desperate revenge by granting the
grumblers Home Rule on the spot. It would doubtless serve them right,
but England has also herself to consider.

Galway Town, May 13th.



No. 22.--THE LAND LEAGUE'S REIGN AT LOUGHREA.


This is the most depressing town I have seen as yet. Except on market
and fair days, literally nothing is done. The streets are nearly
deserted, the houses are tumbling down, gable-ends without side-walls
or roofs are seen everywhere, nettles are growing in the old chimney
corners, and the splendid ruins of the ancient abbey are the most
cheerful feature of the place. A few melancholy men stand about, the
picture of despondent wretchedness, a few sad-eyed girls wander about
with the everlasting hood, hiding their heads and faces, a few
miserable old women beg from all and sundry, and the usual swarm of
barefooted children are, of course, to the fore. The shopkeepers
display their wares, waiting wearily for market day, and dismally
hoping against hope for better times. Everybody is in the doleful
dumps, everybody says the place is going down, everybody says that
things grow worse, that the trade of the place grows smaller by
degrees and gradually less, that enterprise is totally extinguished,
that there is no employment for the people, and no prospect of any.
Those whose heads are just above water are puzzled to know how those
worse off than themselves contrive to exist at all, and look towards
the future with gloomiest foreboding. Like the man who quoted
Christmas strawberries at twelve dollars a pound, they ask how the
poor are going to live. The young men of the place seem to have quite
lost heart, and no longer muster spirit enough to murder anybody.
Loughrea is disloyal as the sea is salt. The man in the street is full
of grievances. His poverty and ignorance make him the mark of lying
agitators, who arouse in his simple soul implacable resentment for
imaginary wrongs. A decent civil working-man named Hanan thus
expressed himself:--

"The town was a fine business place until a few years ago, whin the
Land League ruined it. Ah, thim was terrible times. We had murthers in
the town an' all round the town. Perhaps the people that got shot
desarved it, they say here that they did; but, all the same, the
place was ruined by the goin's on. It's no joke to kill nine or ten
people in and about a quiet little place like this. An' ever since
thin the place is goin' down, down, down, an' no one knows what will
be the ind iv it. 'Tis all the fault of the English Governmint. The
counthry is full of gowld mines, an' silver mines, an' copper mines,
an' we're not allowed to work thim. Divil a lie I spake. The
Government wouldn't allow us to bore for coal. Sure, we're towld by
thim that knows all about it, men that's grate scholars an' can spake
out iligant. Why wouldn't we be allowed to sink a coal mine in our own
counthry? Why wouldn't we be allowed to get the gowld that's all
through the mountains? 'Tis the English that wants iverything for
thimsilves, an' makes us all starvin' paupers intirely."

This serves to indicate the kind of falsehoods palmed off upon these
poor people in order to make them agitators or criminals. Hanan went
on--

"Look at the Galway Bag Factory. I'm towld that's shutting up now.
What'll the people do at all, at all, that was employed in it? An' the
English Parlimint ordhers it to be closed because it turns out bags
chaper than they can make thim in England, an' betther, and the
English maker couldn't compate. Ye know betther? I wouldn't
conthradict yer honour's glory, ye mane well; but I have it from them
that knows. Look at the Galway marble quarries. There's two sorts o'
marble in one quarry, an' tis grand stone it is, an' the quarries
would give no ind iv imploymint to the poor men that's willin' to
work. God help thim, but they're not allowed to cut a lump of stone in
their own counthry. What stops them? Sure 'tis the English Government,
an' what would it be else? A gintleman isn't allowed to cut a stone on
his own land. All must come from England. Ye make us buy it off ye,
an' us wid millions of pounds' worth of stone. Ah, now, don't tell me
'tis all rubbish. Sure, I have it sthraight from mimbers of Parlimint.
Didn't the English Governmint send out soldiers an' policemen, wid
guns an' swords, an' stop the men that wint to cut the stone in the
marble quarries I was afther mintionin' to yer honour? Yes, 'twas the
Land League that ruined this place, but 'twas the Governmint that made
the Land League by dhriving the people into it. No, I wouldn't trust
Gladstone or any other Englishman. They'll take care of thimselves,
the English. We'll get no more than they can help. What we got out o'
Gladstone we bate out o' him. We get nothing but what we conquered.
Small thanks we owe, an' small thanks we'll give."

A small farmer said, "The rints isn't low enough. The judicial rints
is twice too much, an' the price of stock what it is. We must have a
sliding scale, an' pay rint according to the price of produce. We must
have the land for half what we pay now. I wouldn't say anythin' agin'
the English. I have two brothers there an' they come over here
sometimes, an' from what they tell me I believe the English manes
well. An' the English law isn't bad at all. 'Tis the administhration
of the law that's bad. We have the law, but 'tis no use to us because
the landlords administhers it. Divil a bit o' compinsation can we get.
An' if we want a pump, or a fence, or a bit o' repairs, we may wait
for seven years, till our hearts break wid worryin' afther it. Thin
we've our business to mind, an' we've not the time nor the money to go
to law, even whin the law is with us an we have a clear case. The
landlord has his agint, that has nothin' else to do but to circumvint
us, so that the land laws don't do us the good that ye think over in
England. Ye have grand laws, says you, an' 'tis thrue for you; but who
works the laws? says I. That's where the trouble comes in. Who works
the laws? says I.

"Thin ye say, ye can buy your farms all out, says you. But the
landlords won't sell, says I. Look at the Monivea disthrict. French is
a good landlord enough, but he won't sell. The tinants want to buy,
but if ye go to Monivea Castle ye'll have your labour for your pains.
The agint is the landlord's brother, an' a dacent, good man he is. I
have a relative over there, an' sorra a word agin aither o' thim will
he spake. But when he wint to buy his farm, not an inch would he get."

This statement was so diametrically opposed to that of Mr. John Cook,
of Londonderry, who said that the farmers had ceased to buy, owing to
their belief that the land would shortly become their own on much
better terms than they could at present obtain, that I tramped to
Monivea, a distance of six miles from Athenry, for the purpose of
ascertaining, if possible, how far my Loughrea friend's assertion was
borne out by facts. Monivea is a charming village, built round a great
green patch of turf, whereon the children play in regiments. Imagine
an oblong field three hundred yards long by one hundred wide, bounded
at one end by high trees, at the other by a great manor house in
ruins, the sides closed in by neat white cottages and a pretty
Protestant Church, and you have Monivea, the sweetest village I have
seen in Ireland. Here I interviewed four men, one of whom had just
returned by the Campania from America, to visit his friends after an
absence of many years. This gentleman was a strong Unionist, and
ridiculed the idea of Home Rule as the most absurd and useless measure
ever brought forward with the object of benefiting his countrymen.
"What will ye do wid it when ye've got it?" he said; "sure it can
never do ye any good at all. How will it put a penny in yer pockets,
an' what would ye get by it that ye can't get widout it?" Two farmers
thought they would get the land for a much lower rent. They said that
although the landowner, Mr. French, was an excellent, kind, and
liberal man, and that no fault at all could be found with his brother,
the agent, yet still the land was far too dear, and that a large
portion of it was worth nothing at all. "I pay eight and sixpence an
acre for land that grows nothing but furze, that a few sheep can
nibble round, an', begorra, 'tis not worth half-a-crown. Most iv it is
worth just nothin' at all, an' yet I have to scrape together eight
and sixpence an acre," said he. "'Tis not possible to get a livin' out
iv it."

"Thin why don't ye lave it?" said the man from Missouri.

"Why thin, how could I lave the bit o' ground me father had? Av ye
offered me a hundhred acres o' land for nothin' elsewhere, I vow to
God I would rather stay on the bit o' rock that grows heath and gorse,
if I could only get a crust out iv it, far sooner," said the grumbler.

"An' d'ye think Home Rule will enable ye to do betther? Ye'll believe
anythin' in Monivea. Ye are the same as iver ye wor. It's no use
raisonin' wid yez at all. Sure, the counthry won't be able to do
widout loans, an' who'll lind ye money wid an Irish Parlimint?"

"Why would we want money whin there's gowld to be had for the diggin',
av we got lave to dig it?" said the man of Monivea.

The villagers believe that England prevents their mining for coal,
gold, silver, copper; that the British Government tyrannically puts
down all enterprise; that Home Rule will open mines, build railways,
factories, institute great public works; that their friends will flock
back from America; that all the money now spent out of the country
will be disbursed in Ireland for Irish manufactures; that the land
must and will become their own for nothing, or next to nothing; and in
short, that simultaneously with the first sitting of an Irish
Parliament an era of unprecedented prosperity will immediately set in.
The two farmers confirmed what I have been told of the reluctance of
the landlords to part with an acre of the land, and said that men had
returned from America with money to buy farms, and after having
wandered in vain over Ireland were fain to go back to the States,
being unable to purchase even at a fancy price. They have been told
this by persons in whom they had implicit trust, and I am sure they
believed it. A fairly educated man, who had travelled, and from whom I
expected better things, has since assured me that the stories about
compulsory closing of mines and quarries had been dinned into him from
infancy, and that he was of opinion that these assertions were well
founded, and that they could not be successfully contradicted.
Everywhere the same story of English selfishness and oppression. He
cited a case in point. "Twenty years ago there was a silver mine in
Kinvarra. It gave a lot of employment to the people of those parts,
and was a grand thing for the country at large. The Government stepped
in and closed it. I'm towld by them I can believe that 'twas done to
keep us poor, so that they could manage us, because we'd not be able
to resist oppression and tyranny, we'd be that pauperised. England
does everything to keep us down. They have the police and the soldiers
everywhere to watch us that we'd get no money at all. So when they see
us starting a factory, or a fishery, or opening a mine or a quarry,
the word comes down to stop it, and if we'd say No, this is our own
country, and we'll do what we like in it, they'd shoot us down, and we
couldn't help ourselves. I'm not sayin' that I want Home Rule or
anything fanciful just for mere sentiment. We only want our own, and
Home Rule will give us our own."

The Home Rule party, the Nationalist patriots who know full well the
falsity of these and such-like beliefs, are responsible for this
invincible ignorance. Hatred and distrust of England are the staple of
their teachings, which the credulous peasantry imbibe like mother's
milk. The peripatetic patriots who invade the rural communities seem
to be easy, extemporaneous liars, having a natural gift for
tergiversation, an undeniable gift for mendacity, an inexhaustible
fertility of invention. Such liars, like poets, are born, not made,
though doubtless their natural gifts have been improved and developed
by constant practice. Like Parolles, they "lie with such volubility
that you would think Truth were a fool." The seed has been
industriously sown, and John Bull is reaping the harvest. Is there no
means of enlightenment available? Is there no antidote to this poison?
I am disposed to believe that if the country were stumped by men of
known position and integrity much good would be done. Leaflets bearing
good names would have considerable effect. The result might not be
seen at once, but the thing would work, and the people have less and
less confidence in their leaders. The most unlettered peasant is a
keen judge of character, and, given time, would modify his views. The
truth about the mines, given in clear and simple language, would have
a great effect. Education is fighting for the Union. Time is all the
Loyalists require. The National Schools must, in the long run, be
fatal to political priestcraft and traitorous agitation.

To return to Loughrea. I walked a short distance out of the town to
see the place where Mr. Blake, Lord Clanricarde's agent, was so foully
murdered. A little way past the great Carmelite Convent I encountered
an old man, who showed me the fatal spot. A pleasant country road with
fair green meadows on each side, a house or two not far away, the
fields all fenced with the stone walls characteristic of the County
Galway. "'Twas here, Sorr, that the guns came over the wall. Misther
Blake was dhrivin' to church, at about eleven o'clock o' a foin
summer's mornin'. His wife was wid him, an' Timothy Ruane was runnin'
the horse--a dacent boy was Tim, would do a hand's turn for anybody.
The childer all swore by Tim, be raison he was the boy to give them
half-pince for sweets and the like o' that. So they dhrove along, and
whin they came tin yards from this, says Tim, sittin' in front wid the
reins, says he, 'Misther Blake, I see some men at the back iv the
ditch,' says he. 'Drive on, Tim,' says Misther Blake, 'sure that's
nothin' to do with aither you or me.' An' the next instant both of
thim wor in Eternity! Blake and poor Tim wor kilt outright on the
spot, an' nayther of them spoke a word nor made a move, but jist
dhropped stone dead, God rest their sowls. An' the wife, that's
Misthress Blake, a good, kind-hearted lady she was, was shot in the
hip, an' crippled, but she wasn't kilt, d'ye see. Blake was a hard
man, they said, an' must have the rint. An' poor Tim was kilt the way
he wouldn't tell o' the boys that did it. 'Twas slugs they used, an'
not bullets, but they fired at two or three yards, an' so close that
the shot hasn't time to spread, an' 'tis as good as a cannon ball. Who
were they? All boys belongin' to the place. Mrs. Blake dhropped, an'
they thought she was dead, I believe. Some thinks she was shot by
accident, an' that they did not mane to kill a wake woman at all. But
whin they shot Tim, to kape his mouth shut, why wouldn't they shoot
the woman?"

Seven men were arrested, and everybody in the place was believed to
know the murderers. The police had no doubt at all that they had the
right men. All were acquitted. No evidence was offered. No witness
cared to meet the fate of Blake. Silence, in this case, was golden,
and no mistake about it.

Walking from the railway station along the main street, in the very
heart of the town, you see on your left the modest steeple of the
Protestant church, some fifty yards down Church Street. The town is
built on two parallel streets, and Church Street is the principal
connecting artery, about a hundred yards long. Exactly opposite the
church the houses on the right recede some five or six feet from the
rank; and here poor Sergeant Linton met his death. He was an Antrim
man, a Black Presbyterian, and a total abstainer. His integrity was so
well known that he was exempted from attendance at the police
roll-call. He was death on secret societies, and was thought to know
too much. In the soft twilight of a summer's eve he left the main
street and sauntered down Church Street. When he reached the
indentation above-mentioned a man shot him with a revolver, and fled
into the main street. The unfortunate officer gave chase, pursuing the
assassin along the principal thoroughfare, his life-blood ebbing fast,
until, on reaching the front of Nevin's Hotel, he fell dead. Arrests
were made, and, as before, the criminal was undoubtedly secured. Again
no evidence. The murderer was liberated, but he wisely left the
country, and will hardly return. A policeman said: "There was no doubt
about the case. The criminal was there. Everybody spotted the man,
even those who did not see him shoot. But nobody spoke, and if they
had spoken he would have got off just the same. The people of this
happy country have brought the art of defeating the law to its highest
perfection. The most ignorant peasants know all its weak spots, and
they work them well, very well indeed, from their own point of view.
Suppose ten of Linton's comrades had seen the shot fired, and that
they had immediately caught the assassin, with the revolver in his
hands. The jury would not have convicted him. Yes, I know that the
judge in certain cases can set aside the verdict of the jury. If you
did that in Ireland it would cost some lives. Wouldn't there be a
shindy! And then there's strong judges and weak judges. Judges don't
like being shot more than other people. And Irish judges are made of
flesh and blood. Look at O'Halloran's case. I was in the Court when it
was tried. A moonlighting case. The police caught a man on the spot,
with a rifle having a double load. The thing was clear as the sun at
noonday. Acquitted. The jury said, 'Not guilty'; and the man went
quietly home. The administration of justice with a weak judge, or with
a strong judge who feels a weak Government behind him, is a farce in
Ireland.

"What will happen if we do not get the Bill? I think there will be
some disturbance--the ruffians are always with us--although the people
do not want Home Rule. I mean, they don't care about it. The bulk of
the people would not give sixpence for Home Rule. They have been told
it will pay them well, and they go in for that. Not one of them would
have Home Rule if it cost him a penny, unless he believed he'd get
twopence for his outlay. It's the land, and nothing else. The party
that puts the land question on a comfortable footing will rule Ireland
for ever. That's the opinion of every man in the force, in Loughrea or
elsewhere. We have a curiosity here--a priest who goes against Home
Rule. A very great man he was, head of a college or something, not one
of the common ruck, and he's dead against it, and says so openly. The
_Tuam News_ used to pitch into him, but he didn't care, so they got
tired of it. No good rowing people up when they laugh at you."

An old woman of the type too common in Ireland came up as the officer
left me, and said:--

"Musha, now, but 'tis the foin, handsome man ye are, an' ye've a
gintleman's face on ye, bedad ye have, an,'" here she showed a
halfpenny in her withered claw, "this is all I got since I kem out,
and me that's twistin' wid the rummatacks like the divil on a hot
griddle; the holy Mother o' God knows its thrue, an' me ould man,
that's seventy or eighty or more--the divil a one o' him knows his own
age--he's that sick an' bad, an' that wake intirely, that he couldn't
lift a herrin' wid a pair o' hot tongs; 'tis an ulster he has, that
does be ruinin' him, the docthor says; bad luck to it for an ulster
wid a powltice, an' he's growlin' that he has no tobacky, God help
him. (Here I gave her something.) Almighty God open ye the gates in
heaven, the Holy Mother o' God pour blessin's upon ye. 'Tis Englishmen
I like, bedad it is; the grandest, foinest, greatest counthry in the
wuruld, begorra it is--an' why not?"

This outburst somehow reminded me of a certain gentleman I met at the
Railway Hotel, Athenry. He said, "I'm a Home Ruler out and out. The
counthry's widin a stone's throw o' Hell, an' we may as well be in it
althegither."

"Now, Mr. Kelly," said the charming Miss O'Reilly, "you are most
inconsistent; you sometimes say you are a Conservative----"

"Aye, aye," assented Mr. Kelly, "but that's only when I'm sober!"

The Loughreans are quiet now, but the secret societies which dealt so
lightly with human life are still at work, and the best-informed
people believe that the murderous emissaries of the Land League, whose
terrorism ruined the town, are only kept down by a powerful and
vigilant police. I have only described three of the murders which took
place in the town and neighbourhood during a comparatively short
period. Add Mr. Burke and driver Wallace; both shot dead near
Craughwell. J. Connor, of Carrickeele, who had accepted a situation as
bog-ranger, _vice_ Keogh, discharged. Shot. Three men arrested. No
evidence. Patrick Dempsey, who had taken a small farm from which
Martin Birmingham had been evicted. Shot dead in the presence of his
two small children, with whom he was walking to church. No evidence.
No convictions, but many more crimes, both great and small. So many
murders that outrages do not count for much.

It is to the men who are directly responsible for all these horrors
that Mr. Gladstone proposes to entrust the government of Ireland.

Loughrea, May 16th.



No. 23.--THE REIGN OF INDOLENCE.


I have just returned from Innishmore, the largest of the Aran islands,
the population of which have been lifted from a condition of chronic
starvation and enabled to earn their own livelihood by the splendid
organisation of Mr. Balfour for the relief of the congested districts.
Postal and other exigences having compelled a hasty return to the
mainland, I defer a full account of this most interesting visit until
my next letter, when I shall also be in possession of fuller and more
accurate information than is attainable on the island itself.

Meanwhile, let us examine the state of Irish feeling by the sad sea
waves of Galway Bay. Salthill is a plucky little bathing place; that
is, plucky for Ireland. It is easily accessible from Galway town, and
looks over the bay, but it is more like a long natural harbour without
ships. There is a mile or so of promenade with stone seats at
intervals, a shingle dotted with big rocks, a modicum of
slate-coloured sand, like that of Schevening, in Holland, and blue
hills opposite, like those of Carlingford Lough. The promenade is
kerbed by a massive sea wall of limestone, and here and there flights
of stone steps lead to the water's edge. Facing the sea are handsome
villas, with flower gardens, tidy gravelled walks, shrubberies, snowy
window blinds and other appurtenances of a desperately Protestant
appearance. No large hotels, no villas with "Apartments" on a card in
the fanlight, no boatmen plying for hire, no boats even, either ashore
or afloat; no bathing-machines no anything the brutal Saxon mostly
needs, except fresh air and blazing sunshine. The Galway end of this
fashionable resort has a few shady houses, aggressively Anglicised
with names like Wave View House and Elm Tree View, the first looking
at a whitewashed wall, the second at a telegraph post. But although
some of these houses announce "Furnished Lodgings," no English
tourists would "take them on." If you want to bathe you walk into the
sea as you stand, or hand your toga virilis to the bystanders, if any.
The Connaught folks have no false modesty.

A white-haired gentleman descends from a wagonette and promenades for
a while. Then he sits down beside me. The conversation turns on Home
Rule. My friend is impatient, has been spending a few days in Belfast.
The ignorance of the poor people is astonishing. A Roman Catholic of
the Northern city told him that the first act of the Irish Parliament
would be to level Cave Hill, and on the site thereof to build cottages
for the poor. The hill was full of diamonds, which Queen Victoria
would not allow the poor Irish folks to get. The country would be full
of money. Didn't Mr. Gladstone say we'd have too much?--a clear
allusion to the "chronic plethora." The people would have the upper
hand, as they ought to have, and the first thing would be to evict the
evictors. The only question was, would they clear out peaceably, or
would it be necessary to call in the aid of the Irish Army of
Independence?

"This poor man evidently believed that every respectable person,
everybody possessing means and property, was an enemy to the
commonwealth. An ardent Home Ruler asked me if the majority had a
right to rule. He thought that was a triumphant, an unanswerable
question. I replied that during a long and busy life I had always
observed how, in successful enterprises, the majority did not rule.
The intelligent minority, the persons who had shown their wisdom,
their industry, their sagacity, their integrity, that they were
competent and reliable, those, I said, were the people who were
entrusted with the management of great affairs, and not the
many-headed mob. The management of Irish affairs promises to be a task
of tremendous difficulty, and those to whom you propose to entrust
this huge and complicated machinery stand convicted of inability to
manage with even tolerable success such comparatively simple affairs
as the party journal, or the rent collection of new Tipperary. Both
these enterprises turned out dead failures owing to the total
incapacity of the Irish Parliamentary party. And we are asked to
entrust the future of the country to these men, whose only
qualifications are a faculty for glib talk and an unreasonable hatred
of everything English.

"Mr. Gladstone has shown to demonstration that statesmen are no longer
to direct the course of legislation; are no longer to lead the people
onward in the paths of progressive improvement. The unthinking,
uneducated masses are in future to signify their will, and statesmen
are to be the automata to carry out their behests, whatever they may
be. The unwashed, unshorn incapables who have nothing, because they
lack the brains and industry to acquire property, are nowadays told
that they, and they alone, shall decide the fate of empires, shall
decide the ownership of property, shall manipulate the fortunes of
those who have raised themselves from the dirt by ability,
self-denial, and unremitting hard work. Look at the comparative
returns of the illiterate electorate. In Scotland 1 in 160, in England
1 in 170, in Ireland 1 in 5. In one quarter of Donegal, a Catholic
one, more illiterates than in all Scotland. Not that there is so much
difference as these figures would seem to show. But if men who can
write declare themselves illiterate, so that the priests and village
ruffians may be satisfied as to how they individually voted, is not
this still more deplorable? The conduct of the English Gladstonians
passes my comprehension. They do not examine for themselves. They say
Mr. Gladstone says so-and-so, and for them this is sufficient. Do they
say their prayers to the Grand Old Man?"

Another Salthill malcontent said:--"An English visitor sneeringly
asked me how it was that the Irish could not trust one another. I
said, 'We cannot trust these men, and we can give you what ought to be
a satisfactory reason for our distrust. They have been condemned as
criminals by a competent tribunal, presided over by three English
judges, one of them a Roman Catholic. They have been found guilty of
criminal conspiracy, of sympathy with crime, and of having furnished
the means for its committal, and that after the fairest trial ever
held in the world. By a law passed in 1787 by Grattan's Parliament
they would have suffered the punishment of death for this same
criminal conspiracy. And, apart from Home Rule, leaving the present
agitation altogether out of the question, the respectable classes of
Ireland entirely object to be represented by such men, either at
Westminster or College Green. Their conduct has done more to ruin
Ireland than any other calamity which the country has endured for long
ages. They have displayed an ingenuity of torture, and a refinement of
cruelty, worthy of the Inquisition. Look at the case of
District-inspector Murphy, of Woodford, in this county. Not by any
means the worst of the tens of thousands of cases all over the
country, but impressive to me because it came under my own
observation. At the trial of Wilfrid Blunt, Mr. Murphy deposed upon
oath that so severely was he boycotted for the mere performance of his
duty, that his children were crying for bread, and that he was unable
to give them any. Policemen had to bring milk from miles away. In
other cases the pupils of these patriots, the preachers of the Land
League, poured human filth into the water supply of their victims, who
were in many cases ladies of gentle birth and children of tender
years. Go up to Cong, and walk out to the place where Lord Mountmorres
was murdered, near Clonbur. His whole income was £150 or £200, a poor
allowance for a peer, one of the noble house of De Montmorency. He was
shot in broad daylight, a dozen houses within call, and an open
uncovered country, save for low stone walls, all around. The people
danced in derision on the spot where he fell, and threw soil stained
with his life blood in the air. He wanted his due, and, goodness
knows, he was poor enough to satisfy oven an Irish agitator. His name
was down for the next vacancy among the resident magistrates. The
people who were guilty of inciting to those outrages are the most
prominent of the Nationalist party. Is this the class of men you wish
to set over us as governors?"

An artist named Hamilton, a Guernsey man, said, "The English people do
not understand what stonethrowing means in Ireland. They read of rows,
and so long as no shooting is done, they do not think it serious. The
men of Connaught are wonderful shots with big stones, and you would be
surprised at the force and precision with which they hurl great lumps
of rock weighing three or four pounds. Poor Corbett, a man in Lord
Ardilaun's employ, was killed outright by one of these missiles, and
only the other day I was reading of the Connaught Rangers in Egypt,
the old 88th, how they were short of ammunition at the battle of
Aboukir, and how they tore down a wall and actually stopped the
French, who were advancing with the bayonet."

A Galway merchant said:--"Balfour is the man for Ireland. A
Nationalist member told me he was the cleverest man in the House. He
said, 'Chamberlain goes in for hard hitting, and he is very effective,
but nobody ever answered the Irish members so readily and smartly as
Balfour. We thought twice before we framed our questions, and although
we of course disapprove of him, we are bound to admire him immensely.'
And as a business man I think Balfour was fully up to the mark. He it
was who subsidised the Midland and Western Railway to build the light
line now being made between Galway and Clifden. No company would have
undertaken such a concern. As a mere business transaction it could not
pay. But look at the good that is being done. The people were starving
for want of employment, and no unskilled labour is imported to the
district, so that the Connemara folks get the benefit of the work, and
also a permanent advantage by the opening up of the Galway fisheries,
which are practically inexhaustible. We have the Atlantic to go at.
And the fish out of the deep, strong, running water are twice as big
as those just off the coast, on herring-banks and shoals. The
fishermen know this, and they call these places the mackerel hospitals
and infirmaries. These fishermen always knew it, but they had no boats
to go out to the deep seas, no nets, no tackle. They have them now,
and they got them from Balfour. They get nothing but Home Rule from
Morley and Gladstone, and they find it keeps them free from
indigestion, although it puts their livers out of order. Amusing
chaps, these fishermen. I was in a little country place on the coast,
where the judicial and magisterial proceedings are of a very primitive
character, and where most of the people speak Irish as their
vernacular. One old chap declined to give evidence in English, and
asked for an interpreter. The magistrate, who knew the old wag, said,
'Michael Cahill, you speak English very well,' to which the old man
replied, ''Tis not for the likes o' me to conthradict yer honner, but
divil resave the word iv it I ondhersthand at all, at all.' There was
a great roar from the Court, and the interpreter was trotted forward.
Another witness was said to have been drunk, but he claimed to be a
temperance man. 'What do you drink,' said the magistrate. 'Wather, yer
honner,' said the total abstainer. 'Jist pure wather from the spring
there beyant,' and then he looked round the Court, and slyly added,
'Wid jist as much whiskey as will take off the earthy taste, yer
honner.' He was like the temperance lecturer who preached round
Galway, and was afterwards seen crushing sugar in a stiff glass of the
crathur at Oughterard. When he was caught redhanded, as it were, he
said, 'To be sure I'm a timprance man, but, bedad, ye can't say that
I'm a bigoted one'!

"We want Morley to give us a light railway from Clifden to Westport,
and then we'd have the whole coast supplied. But he's a tight-fisted
one as regards practical work. We've no chance with him, except in
matters of sentiment. He wants to give Home Rule, but we can't eat
that. And my impression is that we are fast drifting into the position
of the man who has nothing, and from whom shall be taken the little
that he hath. As to arguments against Home Rule, I do not think it a
case for argument. That the thing is bad is self-evident; and
self-evident propositions, whether in Euclid or elsewhere, are always
the most difficult to prove. Ask me to prove that two added to two
make four, ask me how many beans make five, and I gracefully retire.
Ask me to show that Home Rule will be bad for Ireland, and I will make
but a slight departure from this formula. I say, on the supporters of
Home Rule rests the _onus probandi_; they are the people who should
show cause, let them prove their case in its favour. Here I am, quite
satisfied with the laws as they now are. Show me, say I, how I shall
benefit by the proposed change. That knocks them speechless. In
England they may make a pretence of proving their case, but in this
country they are dumb in the presence of Unionists. They cannot argue
with enlightened people. They have not a leg to stand upon, and they
know it.

"Consider the fulminations of Archbishop Walsh with regard to that
Dublin Freemason Bazaar in aid of orphan children. As you must have
heard, the Sacraments were refused to any Catholic attending this
purely charitable movement. The Church said in effect--Any one who
aids the orphans of freemasons by going to this bazaar, or by
patronising the function, whether directly or indirectly, will be
damned everlastingly. And the Catholics kept away, frightened by this
threat. What would you expect of a people who believe such rubbish? Do
you think that a people powerfully influenced, supremely influenced,
by the word of a priest are fit to govern themselves? Can you depend
on the loyalty of the Catholic priesthood? You surely know better than
that. Suppose you gave Ireland Home Rule, and the Church turned rusty?
With matters in the hands of an Irish Parliament, who would have the
pull in weight of influence, John Bull or the priests? You are
walking into a snare with your eyes open. Soon you will be punching
your own head and calling yourself a fool. And you will be quite
right. England is giving herself away at the bidding of a crowd of
fellows who in Ireland are not received into decent society, and few
of whom could get 'tick' for a week's board or a week's washing. Not
that the latter would be much hardship. Clean linen is a novelty to
the bulk of them. And seventy-one out of eighty of these upstarts must
do the bidding of the priests.

"Poor old Bull! The fine fellow he was. Respected by everybody. Strong
but good-humoured, never hurting a soul. Slapping his breeches pocket
now and then, and looking round the world with an eye that seemed to
say, 'I could buy and sell the lot of ye; look what a fine fellow I
am!' And he was. And he knew it, too. His only fault. Ready to lend a
deserving friend a trifle, and apt to poke his nose into what didn't
concern him, especially when a small country was being put upon. Then
John would come up and say, 'Let him alone, will yer.' A
laughing-stock in his old age. But yesterday he might have stood
before the world: now none so poor to do him reverence,--Shakespeare!
That's what's coming. Poor old Bull! In his dotage making a rod to
whip himself. Well, well."

There are Presbyterians at Salthill. Wherever they are they always
wear good coats, have good houses, well-clad children. To be
comfortably off seems part of their creed. One of them said, "There
never was a more faithful worshipper of the Grand Old Man than
myself,--up to a certain time, I mean. I dropped him before he went
over to Parnell. I gave him up on account of his inconsistency. What
staggered me was a trick he tried to play the Queen's College
arrangements in Ireland. It was a supplemental charter really changing
the whole constitution of the thing, and he tried to carry his point
by a dodge. I did not care much about the matter one way or the other,
but I thought his underhanded trickery unworthy a statesman, or any
other man. I tried not to believe it; that is, I would rather not have
believed it. I had a sort of feeling that it couldn't be. But it was
so. Then his pamphlet about Vaticanism, in which he said no Roman
Catholic could be loyal, after which he appointed the Marquess of
Ripon, a Catholic convert, or pervert, to the Governor-Generalship of
India, the most important office in the gift of the Crown. Again, I
had no objection to the action in itself, but I considered it from Mr.
Gladstone's point of view, and then it dawned on me that he would say
anything. You never know what he'll do next. What he says is no guide
at all nowadays to what he'll do. He was my hero, but a change has
come over him, and now he cannot be trusted. He ought to be looked
after in some public institution where the keepers wouldn't contradict
him. He was a great man before his mind gave way."

A bustling Belfaster of fatiguing vitality told me this little story
which my friends the Catholic clergy may disprove if they can. He
said:--"Mr. McMaster, of the firm of Dunbar, McMaster and Co., of
Gilford, County Down, conceived the idea of aiding his fellow-countrymen
and women who were starving in the congested districts. This was some
time ago, but it is a good illustration of the difficulty you have in
helping people who will not help themselves. He drew up a scheme, well
thought-out and workable, such as a thorough business man might be
expected to concoct, and sent down his agent to the districts of
Gweedore in Donegal and Maam in Galway, with instructions to engage as
many families as possible to work in the mills of the firm, noted all
over the world for thread, yarn, and linen-weaving. An enormous affair,
employing a whole township. The agent was provided with a document
emanating from the priest of the district into which they were invited
to migrate, setting forth that no proselytism was intended, and that
the migrants would be under the care of Catholic clergy. As they had
neither money nor furniture worth moving, it was agreed to pay the cost
of transit, and to provide clean, sweet cottages, ready furnished, and
with every reasonable convenience. The furniture was to be paid for by
instalments, but the cost of removal was to be a gift from Mr.
McMaster, who was desirous of aiding the people without pauperising
them. They were to work the ordinary factory hours, as enacted by
statute, and to be paid the ordinary wages. But they were required to
work regularly. No saints' days, no lounging about on the "pattherns"
(patron saints' days), no in-and-out running, but steady, regular
attendance. People who knew the Keltic Irish laughed at Mr. McMaster,
but he had seen their poverty, their filth, their mud cabins, their
semi-starvation, and he thought he knew. He offered them work, and
everything they seemed to want, out of pure humanity.

"How many people moved to Gilford out of the two counties?"

"Peradventure there might be a hundred found, peradventure there might
be fifty, thirty, twenty, ten."

"Guess again. Give it up? Not a single solitary soul accepted Mr.
McMaster's offer. These are the people who are waiting for Home Rule.
Much good may it do them."

A little Galway man became irate. "'Tis our birthright to hate
England. That's why we want Home Rule that we may tache thim their
place. I'd fight England, an' I'd do more." Here he looked sternly at
the Ulsterman. "I'd do more, I say, I'd fight thim that'd shtand up
for her. D'ye see me now?"

The Belfast man proved an awkward customer. He said, "You're too busy
to fight anybody just now, you Nationalists. Wait till you've settled
your differences, wait till you've cut each other's throats, wait till
you've fought over the plunder, like the Kilkenny cats, till there's
nothing left of you but the tail. Then we'll send down an army of owld
women with besoms to sweep ye into the Atlantic. 'Twill be the first
bath your Army of Independence ever got. 'Twill cool their courage and
clean their hides at the same time."

The small Separatist was about to make an angry reply, when I
interposed with an inquiry as to his estimate of Mr. Gladstone.

"Ah," said the little man, with a pucker of his little nose, and a
grand gesture of contempt, "sure he's not worth as much powdher as
would blow him to hell."

His sentiment lacks novelty, but I quote him for the picturesqueness
of his style.

Salthill, May 18th.



No. 24.--THE ARAN ISLANDS.


The Aran Islanders seem to have passed most of their time in a state
of chronic starvation. The land seems to grow little but rock, and the
burning of seaweed, the kelp trade, does not seem to have helped them
much. True, the Atlantic was all before them, where to choose, but
what Father Mahony would call the teeming treasures of the deep were
practically left untouched. If we accept the plain meaning of the good
priest's speech, we must believe that the Aran Islanders and Irish
fishermen generally preferred to starve rather than to catch fish,
unless an Irish Parliament were fixed on College Green. They had no
objection to accept charitable aid, no matter from what quarter it
came, and the Araners required assistance every other year. They were
not unwilling to catch fish, but they had nothing to catch them with;
and, strange as it may seem, these islanders, who could scarcely move
five yards in any direction without falling into the sea, these
amphibious Irishmen, did not know the art of catching fish! They
tinkered and slopped around the shoals in the vicinity of the island,
but they were never able to catch enough fish to keep themselves from
starvation, much less to supply the Dublin and London markets. Their
boats were the most primitive affairs imaginable, and showed the Irish
spirit of conservatism to perfection. These coraghs are practically
the same boat as the Welsh coracle, but much larger. Those I examined
were from ten to fifteen feet long and three feet wide. Oak ribs, over
which are nailed laths of white deal, two inches wide and half an inch
thick. Cover this slight skeleton with tarred canvas, and the ship is
nearly complete. It only needs two pairs of wooden thole-pins, and two
pairs of oars, long, light, and thin, coming nearly to a point at the
water-end, having a perforated block which works on the thole-pins
before-mentioned. You want no keel, no helm, no mast. Stay! You need a
board or two for seats for the oarsmen. With these frail cockleshells
the Araners adventure themselves twelve miles on the Atlantic, and
mostly come home again. These makeshift canoes are almost useless for
catching fish. Having no helm, it is hard to keep them straight;
having no keel, it is needful to sit still, or at any rate to maintain
a perfect balance, or over you go. A gust of wind spins the canoe
round like a top. These primeval boats are made on the island, thrown
together out of fifteen-pennyworth of wood, a few yards of canvas, and
a pitch-pot. They have some virtues. They are cheap, and they will not
sink. The coraghs always come back, even if bottom up. And when they
reach the shore the two occupants (if any) invert the ship, stick a
head in the stem and another in the stern, and carry her home to tea.
This process is apt to puzzle the uninformed visitor, who sees a
strange and fearful animal, like a huge black-beetle, crawling up the
cliffs. He begins to think of "antres huge and deserts vast, and
anthropophagi, and men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders."
He hesitates about landing, but if he be on the Duras, Captain Neal
Delargy, who equally scoffs at big beetles and Home Rule, will
explain, and will accompany him to the tavern on the cliff side, where
they charge ordinary prices for beer and give you bread-and-cheese for
nothing. And yet the Araners profess to be civilised.

In pursuance of his policy of helping the people to help themselves,
Mr. Balfour determined to educate the Araners, and to give them
sufficient help in the matter of boats and tackle to make their
education of some avail. It was useless to give them boats and nets,
for they knew not how to use them, and it is certain that any boat
club on the Birmingham Reservoir, or any tripper who has gone mackerel
fishing in Douglas Bay, could have given these fishermen much valuable
information and instruction. Having once determined to attempt on a
tolerably large scale the establishment of a fresh mackerel and fresh
herring trade with England, Mr. Balfour set about the gigantic and
discouraging task of endeavouring nothing less than the creation of
the local industry. But how were the people to be taught the
management of large boats, and the kind of nets that were used? After
much inquiry, it was decided to subsidise trained crews from other
parts of Ireland to show the local fishermen what earnings might be
theirs, and at the same time to impart needful instruction to the
Connemara and Aran people. It was also arranged to make loans for the
purchase of boats and tackle to such persons as might prove likely to
benefit by them. Accordingly arrangements were made with the crews of
seven Arklow boats to proceed to the Aran Islands, and in order to
indemnify them for the risk of working on an untried fishing ground,
each crew received a bounty of £40 from the Congested Districts Board.
But there was no use in catching fish unless it could be quickly put
on the market, and again the necessary plant proved a matter involving
considerable expenditure. A derelict Norwegian ship, which two or
three years ago had been discovered at sea and towed into Queenstown
Harbour, was purchased from the salvors, and anchored in Killeany Bay,
outside the harbour of Kilronane, the capital city of the biggest
Aran, as an ice-hulk. The Board then entered into an agreement with
Mr. W.W. Harvey, of Cork, to market the mackerel at a fixed rate of
commission, it being also arranged that he should pay the fishermen
the English market price less by a deduction of 7s. a box to cover
the cost of ice-packing, carriage, and English salesman's commission.
The ice-hulk and boxes were provided by the Board, but Mr. Harvey was
to purchase the ice and defray all the cost of labour except the
salary of a manager.

In addition to the seven Arklow crews two boats were fitted out by
Miss Mansfield for training crews from the parish of Carna, in
Connemara; and Miss Skerritt also placed two English-built boats at
the Board's disposal for the training of crews from the pretty
watering place of Clifden, also in Connemara. An Aran hooker,
belonging to Innishmore, joined the little fishing fleet, bringing up
the number to exactly a dozen boats. The Rev. W.S. Green, a Protestant
parson, who is said to have first discovered these fishing grounds,
and who threw himself into the work with wonderful enthusiasm,
superintended the experiment in the steamer Fingal, which was
specially chartered for the purpose. Mr. Green as a skilled Fisheries
Inspector, knew what he was about, and he was empowered to lend nets,
where advisable, to the Aran beginners. Away they went to sea, to
start with a fortnight's heart-breaking luck. The water in those
regions was cold, and the fish were amusing themselves elsewhere. The
ice-hulk with its two hundred tons of Norwegian ice was waiting, and
its staff of packers might cool their ardour in the hold. The mackerel
would not come to be packed, and the dozen boats, with their master
and apprentice crews, cruised up and down on the deep blue sea, with
the blue sky overhead, and hope, like Bob Acres' valour, gradually
oozing out of their finger-ends. The Arklow men began to talk of going
home again. Altogether it was a blue look-out.

At last the luck turned. On April 6th, 1892, six thousand mackerel
were despatched to the English market. The weather during much of the
season was stormy and unfavourable, but on May 18th, seventy-three
thousand three hundred and fifty mackerel were sent to Galway, thirty
miles away by sea, and were forwarded thence by two special trains.
The Midland and Western Railway, under the management of Mr. Joseph
Tatlow, has been prompt, plucky, and obliging, and runs the fish to
Dublin as fast as they arrive in Galway. During the season of ten
weeks the experienced Arklow crews made on an average £316 per boat,
and the greenhorns who were learning the business earned about £70 per
boat, although they could not fish at all at the beginning of the
season. The total number of mackerel packed on the ice-hulk amounted
to the respectable total of two hundred and ninety-nine thousand four
hundred and eighty. The "teeming treasures of the deep" were not left
untouched on this occasion, though, doubtless, "still the Irish
peasant mourns, still groans beneath the cruel English yoke."

Mr. Balfour's benefactions have not been confined to the Aran Islands.
Every available fishing place from top to bottom of the whole west
coast has been similarly aided, and the value of their produce has
increased from next to nothing to something like fifty thousand
pounds per month. This on the authority of Father P.J. McPhilpin,
parish priest of Kilronane, Innishmore, who said:--

"We never had a Chief Secretary who so quickly grasped the position,
who so rapidly saw what was the right thing to do, and who did it so
thoroughly and so promptly. Strange to say the Liberals are always the
most illiberal. When we get anything for Ireland it somehow always
seems to come from the Tories."

Having been carried from Galway to the ice-hulk in Killeany Bay, and
having been duly put ashore in a boat, one of the first persons I saw
was Father Thomas Flatley, coadjutor of Father McPhilpin, an earnest
Home Ruler, like his superior, and like him a great admirer of Mr.
Balfour. Father Flatley wore a yachting cap, or I might have sheered
off under all sail--the biretta inspires me with affright--but his
nautical rig reassured me, and yawing a little from my course, I put
up my helm and boarded him. Too late I saw the black flag--I mean the
white choker--but there was nothing of the pirate about Father Tom. He
was kindly, courteous, earnest, humorous, hospitable, and full of
Latin quotations. Before our acquaintance was two minutes old he
invited me to dinner. Then I ran aground on an Arklow boatman, James
Doyle by name, a smart tweed-suited sailor, bright and gay. The Post
Office was near, and the letters were being given out. Three
deliveries a week, weather permitting. The parish priest was there,
grave, refined, slightly ascetic, with the azure blue eyes so common
in Connaught, never seen in England, although frequently met with in
Norway and North Germany. The waiting-women were barefoot, but all the
men were shod. The Araners have a speciality in shoes--pampooties, to
wit. These are made of raw hide, hair outwards, the toe-piece drawn
in, and the whole tied on with string or sinew. The cottages are
better built than many on the mainland. Otherwise the winter gales
would blow them into the Atlantic main. The thatch is pegged down
firmly, and then tied on with a close network of ropes. The people are
clean, smart, and good-looking. Miss Margaret Flanagan, who escorted
me in my search after pampooties, would pass for a pretty girl
anywhere, and the Aran Irish flowed from her lips like a rivulet of
cream. She spoke English too. An accomplished young lady, Miss
Margaret Kilmartin, aged nineteen, said her father had been wrongfully
imprisoned for two and a half years for shooting a bailiff. The
national sports are therefore not altogether unknown in the Arans.
Miss Kilmartin was _en route_ for America, per Teutonic, first to New
York, and then a thousand miles by rail, alone, and without a bonnet.
She had never been off the island. This little run would be her first
flutter from the paternal nest.

The Araners know little of politics, save that the Balfour Government
lifted them out of the horrible pit and the miry clay, and set their
feet upon a rock and established their goings. The Balfour boats are
there, the Balfour nets are full of fish, the Balfour boys are
learning a useful occupation, and earning money meanwhile. If there is
anything in the Aran cupboards, the Araners know who enabled them to
put it there. If the young ladies have new shoes, new shawls, new
brooches; if the Aran belles make money by mending nets; if the men
sometimes see beef; if they compass the thick twist; if they manage
without the everlasting hat going round, they have Mr. Balfour to
thank, and they know it. They own it, not grudgingly or of necessity,
but cheerfully. One battered old wreck raised his hat at every mention
of the name. I saw no Morley boats. I saw no Gladstone nets. I saw no
Home Rule fish. The Araners do not care for the Grand Old Mendacium.
Perhaps they lack patriotism. It may be that they do not share what
Mr. Gladstone calls the Aspirations of a people. So far as I could
judge, their principal aspiration is to get something to eat. A
pampootied native who has often visited the main-land, and is
evidently looked upon as a mountain of sagacity and superior wisdom,
said to me--

"Not a bit they care but to look afther the wife and childher an' pray
to God for good takes o' fish. An' small blame to thim. Before Balfour
the people were starvin', an' ivery other year Father Davis that's
dead this six months would go round beggin' an' prayin' for a thrifle
to kape life in thim. The hardships and the misery the poor folks had,
God alone knows. An' would ye say to thim, 'tis Home Rule ye want?

"There was a young fellow fishin' here from Dublin. He went out in the
hookers an' injoyed himself all to pieces, a dacent sthrip of a boy,
but wid no more brains than a scalpeen (pickled mackerel). He got me
to be interpreter to an owld man that would spake wid him over on
Innishmair, an' the owld chap wos tellin' his throubles. So afther a
bit, the young fellow says, says he,

"''Tis Home Rule ye want,' says he.

"'No,' says the owld chap, shakin' his head, 'tis my dinner I want,'
says he.

"An' that young fellow was mad whin I thranslated it. But 'twas thrue,
ivery word iv it. 'Ah! the ignorance, the ignorance,' says he. But
then he was spakin' on a full stomach, an' 'tis ill arguin' betwixt a
full man and a fastin'.

"I wouldn't say but they'd take more notice afther a while. But
they're not used to bein' prosperous, an' they don't know themselves
at all. Ye can't cultivate politics on low feed. 'Tis the high livin'
that makes the Parliamint men that can talk for twenty-four hours at a
sthretch. An' these chaps is gettin' their backs up. In twelve months'
time they'll be gettin' consated. 'Tis Balfour that's feedin' thim
into condition. Vote against him? Av coorse they will, ivery man o'
thim. Sure they'll be towld to vote for a man, an' they'll do it. How
would they ondhersthand at all? Av 'twas Misther Balfour himself that
wanted their vote he'd get it fast enough. But 'tisn't. An' they'll
vote agin' him without knowin' what they're doin'."

Father McPhilpin said, "It is very hard to get them to move. The
Irish people are the most conservative in the world. They will not
stir for telling, and they will not stir when you take them by the
collar and haul them along. They are wedded to the customs of their
ancestors; and yet, when once they see the advantage to be obtained by
any given change, no people are so quick to follow it up. The
difficulty is to start them. The Araners had actually less knowledge
of the sea, of boats, nets, and fishing, than people coming here from
an inland place. Surprising, but quite true."

Speaking on the general question of Home Rule, I asked Father
McPhilpin if the people of Ireland would be loyal.

"Loyal to what?" said the Father, replying quickly.

"Loyal to England, to the Crown, to Queen Victoria."

"The Irish people have always been loyal--much more loyal than the
English people. You have only to look at English history. How far
shall I go back, Father Tom?" said my genial host to the coadjutor,
who just then entered the room. "Shall we go back to Henry II.? Where
shall we begin, Father Tom?"

"Well," said Father Tom, "I'd not be for going back quite so far. I
think if we began with Charles I.----"

"Very good. Now, were not the Irish loyal when the English people
disloyally favoured their Oliver Cromwell and their William the
Third?"

I proceeded with the imbibition of Father McPhilpin's excellent tea.
The answer was obvious, but Father Tom clearly believed that his
senior had me on the hip, and good-naturedly came in with a Latin
quotation or two. Both clerics were deeply interested in the condition
of the poor in their charge, and indeed all over Ireland, and their
profound belief that a Home Rule Bill would benefit the poorer
classes, by changing the conditions affecting the tenure or ownership
of land, was apparently their chief reason for advocating a College
Green Parliament. Father McPhilpin holds some honorary official
position in connection with the Aran fisheries, and from him I derived
most of my information. Another authority assured me that the Araners
were not grateful to England nor to Mr. Balfour, and spoke of the
viper that somebody warmed in his bosom with disagreeable results.
But, as Father Tom would say, _Omnis comparatio claudicat_, and all my
experience points to a proper appreciation of the great ex-Secretary's
desire to do the country good. The people know how thoroughly he
examined the subject; how he spent weeks in the Congested Districts;
how he saw the parish priests, the head men of the districts, the
cotters themselves. Every Irishman, whatever his politics, will
readily agree that Mr. Balfour knows more about Ireland than any
Englishman living, and most of them credit him with more knowledge of
the subject than any Irishman. My thorough-going friend, Mr. McCoy, of
Galway, hater of England, avowed Separatist, longing to wallow in the
brutal Saxon's gore, thinks Mr. Balfour the best friend that Ireland
ever had. "I'd agree with you there," said Mr. McCoy. "I don't agree
with charity, but I agree with putting people in a way to do things
for themselves, which is what Mr. Balfour has done."

Back on the ice-hulk by favour of Thomas Joyce, of Kilronane, skipper
and owner of a fishing smack. Mr. William Fitzgerald showed the
factory, the great hold with the ice, the windmill which pumps the
hulk, the mountains of boxes for fish, the mackerel in process of
packing, sixty in a box, most of them very large fish. An unhappy
halibut, which had come to an untimely end, stood on his tail in a
narrow basket, his mouth wide open, looking like a Home Rule orator
descanting on the woes of Ireland. He was slapped into a box and
instantly nailed down, which summary process suggested an obvious
wish.

Mr. Fitzgerald said: "The fisheries have been a great success, and
have done much good. The spring fishery paid well on account of the
great price we got for the mackerel. It is not customary to catch fish
so early, but when you can do it it pays splendidly. Just now the
price is not up to the mark, but we hope for better times. The Arklow
men are not subsidised this year. They didn't need it. The ground
proved productive, and they were glad to come on their own hook. If
they had required a second subsidy they would not have got it."

"Why not?"

"I'm no politician," said Mr. Fitzgerald. "The Araners are so strong
and hardy that they would surprise you. They will stand all day on the
ice, with nothing on but those pampooties, and you would think they'd
need iron soles, instead of a bit of skin. They work hard, and come
regularly and give no trouble. No, I could not find any fault with
them. They mostly speak Irish among themselves. It's Greek to me, but
I can make out that they think a great deal of Mr. Balfour."

A week on the hulk would be refreshing, for on one side there is no
land nearer than America. However, I have to go, for the Duras is
getting uneasy, so I leave the hulk, the mackerel, the big sea trout
which are caught with the mackerel, and steam back to Galway. A
splendid fellow in the cabin discloses his views. "We must have
complete independence. We shall start with 120,000 men for the Army of
Independence. That will be only a nucleus. We shall attract all the
brave, chivalrous, adventurous spirits of America. England has India
to draw from. Trot your niggers over, we'll make short work of them.
We draw from America, Australia, every part of the world. We draw from
24,000,000 of Irishmen all willing to fight for nothing, and even to
pay money to be allowed to fight against England. An Irish Republic,
under the protection of America. That's the idea. It's the natural
thing. Work the two countries together and England may slide. We'll
have an Independent Irish Republic in four years; perhaps in three
years. Rubbish about pledges of loyalty. The people must be loyal to
themselves, not to England. Our members will do what the people want,
or they will be replaced by men who will. We have the sentiments of
the people, backed by the influence of religion, all tending to
complete independence. Who's going to prevent it? We'll have a
Declaration of Independence on Saint Patrick's Day, 1897, at latest.
Who'll stop it? Mr. Gladstone? Why long before that time we'll convert
him, and ten to one he'll draw up the document. What'll you bet that
he doesn't come over to Dublin and read it in THE HOUSE?"

Galway, May 20th.



No. 25.--THE PRIESTS AND OUTRAGE. THEY NEVER CONDEMNED IT.


The people of Moycullen with whom I have spent a day are hardly
patriotic. So far as I can gather, they have always paid their rents
and worked hard for their living. They know nothing of Home Rule, and
they do not murder their friends and neighbours. They send forth a
strong contingent of men to work on Mr. Balfour's railway between
Galway and Clifden, and find the weekly wages there earned very
convenient. They vote as they are told, and do not trouble themselves
with matters which are too high for them. If a candidate proposes to
make the land much cheaper, or even to spare the necessity of paying
any rent at all, the Moyculleners give him their voice. Like every
Catholic villager in Ireland they look to Father Pat, Tom, Dick, or
Harry for advice, and the good priest gives them the right tip. He
points out that Micky O'Codlin promises to support such legislation as
shall place the land in the hands of the tillers of the soil, while
the Protestant Short declares that the thing is not honest, and cannot
be done. The result is precisely what might be expected. The
Nationalist members are returned, and Mr. Gladstone, with his most
grandiose manner, and with the abject magnanimity he always shows when
thoroughly beaten, comes forward and declares he can no longer resist
the aspirations of a people. The Separatist sheep tumble over each
other in their nervous anxiety to keep close on the heels of the
bell-wether, and the Empire is threatened with disintegration to suit
the convenience of a party of priests. An eminent Roman Catholic
lawyer of Dublin, a Home Ruler, said to me:--

"I vote for Home Rule because the sooner the thing is settled the
better, and it will never be settled until we get Home Rule in some
form or other. The country is weary of the agitation of the last
twenty years, and I am of opinion that Home Rule would do much to
restore the freedom of Ireland. For Ireland is in a state of
slavery--not to England, but to the priesthood. I believe in the
fundamental doctrines of the faith, but I don't believe everything the
priests choose to tell me. I am ready to admit that they have more
spiritual gifts and graces than anybody else, but I will not believe
that they know more about politics, and I will not submit to their
dictation. They control the course of affairs both sacred and secular.
At the present moment they are running the British Empire. You cannot
get away from the fact that they return the Irish majority, and you
will admit that the Irish majority is now the ruling power. Let me
illustrate my point.

"You in England think we have the franchise in Ireland. Nothing of the
kind. There may be a hundred thousand in the North who vote as they
think proper, but an overwhelming majority of the South are absolutely
in the hands of the clergy, who in many cases lead or drive them in
hundreds to the poll."

Here an English civil engineer said:--"When I was engaged on a line at
Mayo I actually saw the priest walking in front of some hundreds of
voters brought into the town from the rural districts. I was driving
along in a car, and my driver shouted 'Parnell for ever!' He was
struck on the head and face, his cheek cut open, and himself knocked
off the car. How the priestly party do hate the Parnellites! I wonder
what would happen if the Nationalists got into power."

"They would exterminate each other, if possible," said the Dublin man.
"We should have an awful ferment, a chaos, an immediate bankruptcy.
But let us have it. Let us make the experiment, and thus for ever
settle the question. To return to the priests. The people of Ireland
have not the franchise, which is monopolised by a few thousand priests
and bishops. The Nationalist members, the dauntless seventy-one, are
as much the nominees of the Catholic clergy as the old pocket-borough
members were nominees of the local landlords. And the same thing will
hold good in future. People tell you it will not be so, but that's all
humbug. It may be different in five-and-twenty years, when the people
are educated, when the National Schools have done their work, but half
that time is enough to ruin England. Thanks to agitators, Ireland
cannot be any worse off than she is."

Some time ago there was a Convention in Dublin, a Home Rule
Convention. There were five hundred delegates, sent up by the votes of
the people. Four hundred and nine were priests, who had returned
themselves. Can the English Gladstonians get away from the
suggestiveness of this fact? Is it sufficiently symptomatic? Can they
not diagnose the progress of the disease?

One of the Galway Town Commissioners, also a Roman Catholic, declared
that the Irish people, once the kindliest, most honest, most
conscientious amongst the nations of the earth, had for years been
taught a doctrine of malevolence. "They were naturally benevolent, but
their nature has been changed, and I regret to say that in a large
measure the priests are responsible for the change. Where once mutual
help and perfect honesty reigned, you now find selfishness and mutual
distrust. The priests have made the altar a hustings, and even worse
than electioneering has been done on that sacred spot. From the altar
have been denounced old friends and neighbours who had dared to have
an opinion of their own, had dared to show an independent spirit, and
to hold on what they thought the true course in spite of the
blackguard population of the district. Take the case of O'Mara, of
Parsonstown. He was the principal merchant of the place, a very kindly
man, of decided politics, a Catholic Conservative, like myself. He
sold provisions to what the local priest called the 'helmeted minions
of our Saxon taskmasters.' In other words, he sold bread to the
constabulary at a time when outrage and murder were being put down
with a strong hand. The priest threatened him with boycotting, his
friends urged him to give way, and let the police get their 'prog'
from a distance, but O'Mara, who was an easy-going man, and who had
never obtruded his politics on anyone, showed an unexpected obstinacy,
and said he would do as he chose, spite of all the priests on earth.
They denounced him from the altar, but, although they tried hard, they
failed to ruin him. In other cases, clerical influence has dragged men
from positions of competency and caused them to end their days in the
workhouse. Then, again, the priests never denounced outrage. They
might have stopped the fiendish deeds of the murderous blackguards
whose evil propensities were fostered and utilised by the Land League,
but they said no word of disapproval. On the contrary they tacitly
favoured, or seemed to favour, the most awful assassinations. When the
Phoenix Park murders took place, a Galway priest whom I will not
name said that he had been requested to ask for the prayers of the
faithful in favour of Mr. Burke, one of the murdered men, who belonged
to an old Galway family. And what was the remark made by that follower
of Jesus Christ? He said, 'I have mentioned the request. You can pray
for his soul--_if you like_.' What he meant was plain enough."

"Let me tell you of something even worse," said the Dublin lawyer. "In
a certain Catholic church which I regularly attend, and on a Sunday
when were present two or three eminent Judges, with a considerable
number of the Dublin aristocracy, a certain dignitary, whom I also
will not name before our Sassenach friend, actually coupled the names
of honest people who had died in their beds with the names of Curley
and the other assassins who were hanged for the Phoenix Park murders.
We were invited to pray for their souls _en bloc_! And this, mind you,
not at the time of the execution, but a year afterwards, on the
anniversary of the day, and when the thing might well have been
allowed to drop. Did you ever hear of anything more outrageous than
the conduct of this priest, who took upon himself to mention these
brutal murderers in the same breath with the blessed departed, whose
friends and relations were kneeling around? The fact that this cleric
could so act shows the immunity of the Irish priesthood, and their
confidence in their influence over the people. Don't forget that this
was in the capital of Ireland, and that the congregation was
aristocratic. How great must be priestly influence over the unlettered
peasantry. You see my point? What would the English say to such an
exhibition? What would the relatives of decent people in England do
if they had been submitted to such an insult by a Protestant parson?"

I disclaimed any right to speak for the brutal Saxon with any degree
of authority, but ventured to say that to the best of my knowledge and
belief the supposititious reverend gentleman, when next he took his
walks abroad, might possibly become acquainted with a novel but
vigorous method of propulsion, or even might undergo the process so
familiar to Tim Healy, not altogether unconnected with a horsewhip.

The Galway Town Commissioner said:--"We respectable Catholics are in a
very awkward position. We have to live among our countrymen who are of
a different way of thinking, and unhappily we cannot express our
honest opinions without embarassing consequences. In England, where
people of opposite politics meet on terms of most sincere friendship,
you do not understand our difficulties. We are denounced as
unpatriotic, as enemies to our native land, and as aiders and abettors
of the hated English rule. Now we know very well--my friend from
Dublin, who understands law, will bear me out--we know very well that
the English laws are good, excellent, liberal. We know that the
English people are anxious to do what is fair and right, and that they
have long been doing their best to make us comfortable. But we must
keep this knowledge to ourselves, for such of us who are in business
would run great risk of loss, besides social ostracism, if we ventured
to boldly express our views. Moreover, we do not care to put ourselves
in open conflict with the clergy, upon whom we have been taught to
look from earliest childhood with reverence and awe. It is almost, if
not quite, a matter of heredity. I declare that, in spite of what I
might call my intellectual convictions, I am to some extent overawed
by any illiterate farmer's son, who has been ordained a priest. I feel
it in my blood. I must have imbibed it with my mother's milk. No use
for Conservative Catholics to kick against it. We are too few, and we
are bound hand and foot."

So did the Galway man deliver himself. I was reminded of Mr. O'Ryan,
of Larne, a devoted Catholic, who said, "I protest from my innermost
heart against Home Rule. I protest not only for myself, but also on
behalf of my co-religionists that dare not speak, because if they did
speak their lives might not be worth an hour's purchase, not being
situated, as I am, in the midst of a loyal, and law-abiding
population. I believe that all that Ireland requires is a just
settlement of the land question, and a fair, reasonable measure of
local self-government. For several generations past England has been
doing all the good she could for Ireland, and none have more reason
than the Roman Catholics of Ireland to be thankful for that good. The
loyal Roman Catholics of Ireland are convinced that Home Rule would be
the ruin of Ireland in particular and of the British Empire in
general, which would find itself deprived in a few hours of a
Constitution the workmanship of centuries, and the admiration of the
whole nineteenth-century civilisation."

This is tolerably outspoken for an Irish Roman Catholic, but Mr.
O'Ryan lives in Ulster, where people do not shoot their neighbours for
difference of political opinion. He said more: "We loyal Catholics
could never submit to Mr. Gladstone's ticket-of-leave men placed in
power over us in this country, and rather than submit to them we are
prepared for the worst, and ready, if need be, to die with the words,
'No surrender,' on our lips."

Archbishop Walsh cursed the Dublin Bazaar for the Irish Masonic
Orphanage until he was black in the face, but neither he nor any other
Catholic Bishop denounced the perpetrators of outrage, of mutilation,
of foul assassinations. When Inspector Martin was butchered on the
steps of the presbytery at Gweedore; when Joseph Huddy and John Huddy
were murdered and their bodies put in sacks and thrown into Lough
Mask; when Mrs. Croughan, of Mullingar, was murdered because she had
been seen speaking to the police, four shots being fired into her
body; when Luke Dillon, a poor peasant, was shot dead as he walked
home from work; when Patrick Halloran, a poor herdsman, was shot dead
at his own fireside; when Michael Moloney was murdered for paying his
rent; when John Lennane, an old man who had accepted work from a
boycotted farmer, was shot dead in the midst of his family; when
Thomas Abram met precisely the same fate under similar circumstances;
when Constable Kavanagh was murdered; when John Dillon had his brains
beaten out and his ears torn away; when Patrick Freely was murdered
for paying his rent; when John Curtin was shot dead by moonlighters,
to whom he refused to give up his guns; when John Forhan, a feeble old
man of nearly seventy years, was murdered for having induced labourers
to work on a boycotted farm; when James Ruane, a labourer who worked
for a boycotted farmer, was murdered by three shots; when James Quinn
was wounded by a bullet, and while disabled, killed by having his
throat cut; when Peter McCarthy was murdered because it was thought he
meant to pay rent; when James Fitzmaurice, aged seventy, was shot dead
in the presence of his daughter Norah, because he had taken a farm
which his brother had left, the latter declining to pay rent, although
the landlord offered a reduction of 66 per cent.; when Margaret
Macmahon, widow, and her little children were three times fired at
because the poor woman had earned a few pence by supplying turf to the
police; when Patrick Quirke, aged seventy-five, was murdered for
taking a farm which somebody else wanted; when the wife of John
Collins was indecently assaulted while her husband was being brutally
beaten for caretaking; when John Curtin (another John Curtin), a
school-master, was shot, and his wife received forty-two slugs in her
face, neck, and breast for something they had not done, the school
also being fired into, and all children attending it boycotted; when
John Connor's wife was shot in the head by moonlighters who wished to
vex the husband; when Cornelius Murphy was shot dead while sitting at
his "ain fireside" chatting with his wife and children; when Daniel
O'Brien, aged seventy-five, talking with his wife, aged seventy, was
murdered by a shot; when Patrick Quigley had the roof of his skull
blown away for taking some grazing; when David Barry was shot in the
main street of Castleisland; when Patrick Taugney was murdered in the
presence of his wife and daughters; when Edmund Allen was shot dead
because of a right-of-way dispute--he was a Protestant; when young
Cashman, aged twenty, was beaten to death for speaking to a policeman;
when poor Spillane was murdered for acting as a caretaker; when
Patrick Curtin, John Rahen, and a farmer named Tonery were murdered;
when James Spence, aged sixty-five, was beaten to death; when Blake,
Ruane, Linton, Burke, Wallace, Dempsey, Timothy Sullivan, John Moylan,
James Sheridan, and Constable Cox were shot dead; when James Miller,
Michael Ball, Peter Greany, and Bridget McCullagh were murdered--the
last a poor widow, who was beaten to death with a spade; when Ryan
Foley was brutally murdered; when Michael Baylan was murdered; when
Viscount Mountmorres was murdered, and the dead body left on the road,
the neighbouring farmers being afraid to give the poor corpse the
shelter of a barn; when a car-driver named John Downey was killed by a
bullet intended for Mr. Hutchins, J.P.; when young Wheeler, of Oolagh,
whence I dated a letter, was shot dead, to punish his father, who was
an agent--when all these murders took place, every one of them, and as
many more, the work of the Land League, which also was responsible for
more outrages, filthy indecencies, and gross brutalities than the
entire _Gazette_ would hold, and which would in many cases be unfit
for publication--then were the clergy SILENT. No denunciations from
the altar; no influence exerted in the parish. In many cases a direct
encouragement to persevere in the good path. When John Curtin's
daughters attended church after their father's murder they were
attacked by a hostile crowd. The police were compelled to charge the
infuriated mob. Otherwise the pious Papists would in all probability
have consummated the good work by murdering the remainder of the
family, after having, in the presence of daughters who nobly fought
the murderers, assassinated the father.

What did the good priest, Father O'Connor, say to all this; how
express his deep sense of this abject cowardice, this atrocious
savagery, this unheard-of-sacrilege?

He "took no notice of the occurrence"--good, easy man. But I am
forgetting something. Mr. Curtin was killed by a gang of moonlighters,
who knocked him up, and, presenting loaded rifles at the children,
asked for the father's arms. Before the terrified boys and girls could
comply the father appeared and shot a moonlighter dead in his tracks.
The rest fled precipitately, but unhappily Curtin gave chase and was
killed. Good Father O'Connor attended the funeral of the moonlighter,
who did not belong to his parish, and refused to attend that of Mr.
Curtin, who did!

The Catholic Bishops of Ireland stood by and looked on all this
without a word of censure. Silence gives consent. Had they fulminated
against outrage and secret wholesale murder of poor working men, for
nearly all those I have cited were of this class; had they used their
immense influence to stem the murderous instincts of ruffians who in
many cases took advantage of the prevailing disregard for human life
to wreak their private revenge on their neighbours, satisfied that no
man dare testify, and that the clergy would aid them to frustrate the
law--had the Bishops done this, even the dull and sluggish brain of
the brutal Saxon could have understood their action. They uttered no
single word of condemnation. An eminent Catholic, a clever
professional man, who reveres the faith in which he was bred, but
holds its priesthood in lowest contempt, said to me:--"You cannot find
a word of condemnation uttered by any Bishop during the whole period
when brutal murders were of daily occurrence. I give you your best. I
would stake anything on my statement. I have challenged people over
and over again, but nobody has ever been able to produce a syllable of
censure, of warning, of reprobation. The Bishops were strangely
unanimous in their silence."

But when the Irish Masons try to provide for the orphans of their
brethren the Archbishop's back is up at once; for Masons have secrets
which they may not tell even to priests; and therefore Dr. Walsh
declares that whosoever gives sixpence to this cause of charity, or
associates with its promoters, shall be cast into hell, there to abide
in torture everlastingly--unless previously whitewashed by himself in
person. And as I have clearly shown, the influence of Archbishop Walsh
and his kind is at this moment supremely powerful in matters affecting
the prestige and integrity of England and her people. Wherefore I do
not wonder at the saying of an earnest Irishman of famous name, a
baronet of long descent, whom I saw yesterday--

"When I see how the thing is being worked, and when, as a Catholic, I
recognise the progress and character of the Church policy, and when I
see England walking so stupidly into the trap, I don't know what to
do--whether to swear, or to go out and be sick."

Moycullen (Connemara), May 23rd.



No. 26.--THE CONNEMARA RAILWAY.


Mr. Balfour's railway from Galway to Clifden will be exactly fifty
miles long, and will run through Crooniffe, Moycullen, Ross,
Oughterard, and the wildest and most desolate parts of Connemara. The
line has been in contemplation for thirty years at least, but the
strong suit of its Irish projectors was talking, not doing, and the
project might have remained under discussion until the crack of doom
but for Mr. Balfour's energy and administrative power. The Irish
patriots had no money, or they would not invest any. The Galway
authorities would not authorise a county rate. Anybody who chose might
make the line, but the local "powers that be" refused to spend a
single penny on an enterprise which would for years provide employment
for the starving people of Connemara, and would afterwards prove of
incalculable benefit to the whole West of Ireland by opening up an
attractive, an immense, an almost inaccessible tourist district,
besides affording facilities of transit for agricultural stock and
general market produce, and powerfully aiding the rapidly-developing
fish trade of the western sea-board. Not a bit of it. The Western
Irish are always standing about waiting for something. They talked
about the line for a generation or two, but they cut no sod of turf.
They harangued meetings convened to hear the prospective blessings of
the line, but they declined to put any money on their opinions. The
starving peasants of Connemara might have turned cannibals and eaten
each other before Irishmen had commenced the railway. The people of
the congested districts were unable to live on the sympathy of their
fellow-countrymen, and nothing else was offered to them. The
Connemarans have an occasional weakness for food. They like a square
feed now and again. Their instincts are somewhat material. They think
that Pity without Relief is like Mustard without Beef. They like
Sentiment--with something substantial at the back of it. Their
patriot-brethren, those warm-hearted, dashing, off-hand,
devil-may-care heroes of whom we read in Charles Lever, sometimes
visited the district, to rouse the people against the brutal Saxon,
but they did no more than this. Sometimes, I say, not often, did the
patriots patrol Connemara. There were two reasons for this. First, the
Irish patriots do not speak their native language; and the Connemarans
are not at home with English. Secondly, and principally, the
Connemarans had nothing to give away. They cannot pay for first-class
patriotism like that of Davitt, Dillon, O'Brien, and Tim Healy, who
latterly have never performed out of London.

And so the Galway folks went on with their railway discussions, and
the poor Connemarans went on with their starving. Suddenly Mr. Balfour
took the thing up, and the turf began to fly. The Midland and Western
Railway Company, in consideration of a grant of £264,000, agreed to
make the line, and to afterwards run it, whether it paid or not. The
contractors were not allowed to import unskilled labour. The
Connemarans were to make the line whether they knew the work or not.
They had never seen navvy labour. They knew nothing outside the
management of small farms. They had never done regular work. Their
usual form is to plant their bit of ground and then to sit down till
the crops come up, on which they live till next season. A failure of
crops means starvation. This was their normal condition. They enjoyed
what Mr. Gladstone would call a "chronic plethora" of hunger. The
liverish tourist who adventured himself into these barbarous regions
in hopeless quest of appetite for his breakfast, would see the
Connemarans in hopeless quest of breakfast for their appetites. The
region is healthy enough. As Justice Shallow would say, "Beggars all,
beggars all. Marry, good air."

The first thing you see is a twenty-thousand-pound bridge across the
Corrib, not very far from the salmon weir, where are more fish than
you can count splashing up the salmon stairs, which are arranged to
save the salmon the effort of a long jump. Then the line running along
the Corrib Valley on a high embankment, past the ruins of what was
first a convent, then a whiskey distillery, now a timekeeper's office.
An entire field is being dug up and carted away, the soil being
excavated to a depth of eight or ten feet, over an area of several
acres required for sidings and railway buildings. A strolling Galway
man of Home Rule tendencies imparts information. He is eminently
discontented, and thinks the way in which the work is conducted
another injustice to Ireland. "The people are working and getting
wages, but what wages! Thirteen and sixpence a week! Would English
navvies work for that? You are getting the labour at starvation
prices, and even then you bully the men. They work in gangs, each with
a ganger swearing at them in the most offensive and outrageous way.
See that gang over there. You can hear the ganger shouting and
swearing even at this distance. The poor men are treated like dogs,
and even then they can hardly keep body and soul together. They have
to come miles and miles to the work, and some live so far away that
they can only return home once a week. So they have to camp out in
hovels. You are going down the line? Then you will be shocked at the
slave-driving you'll see. It reminds me of Legree in 'Uncle Tom's
Cabin.' I am surprised that the men do not drop dead over the work.
Not a moment's rest or relaxation. Work, work, work from morning to
night, for next to nothing. It ought not to be allowed in a civilised
country. And on the top of all this slavery we are expected to be very
much obliged for the opportunity of working at all. You chuck us a
crust just as you would chuck a bone to a dog, and then you want us to
go down on our knees and pour blessings on Balfour's head. We're tired
of such stuff; but, thank God, we shall soon have things in our own
hands. All these men are small farmers, or small farmers' sons. They
can't get a living out of the land, and they are obliged to come to
this. Bullied and driven from week's end to week's end, they are the
very picture of starvation. A shame and disgrace to the English
Government."

I may as well say at once that all this proved to be untrue. No doubt
the Galway Home Rulers invent and circulate these falsehoods to
discount the effect of the good work of a Conservative Government, and
it is, therefore, well that the facts should be placed on record. I
pushed on to a cutting where fifty men were busily engaged in loading
earth into trucks, having first dug it from a great bank of gravelly
soil. An Irish ganger walked to and fro along the top, keeping his eye
on the men, and occasionally shouting in an excited tone. But he was
not swearing at, or otherwise abusing, the men, who were as fine a
company of peasants as you could see anywhere, well-built, well-grown,
and muscular. Not a trace of starvation, but, on the contrary, a
well-fed, well-nourished look. The ganger, Sullivan, seemed
good-tempered enough, only shouting to let off his superfluous
vitality. He used no bad language. "Cheer up, my lads," he cried. "In
wid the dirt. Look alive, look alive, look alive. Whirroo! Shove it
up, my lads, shove it up. Away ye go. Look out for that fall of earth.
There she goes. Whirroo!" English navvies would have preferred
silence, would have requested him to hold his condemned jaw, would
have spent some breath in applying an explosive mining term to his
eyes, but these Irish labourers seemed to understand their superior
officer, and to cheerfully accept the situation. Mr. Sullivan was
civil and good-humoured. "These are a picked lot. Splendid set of
fellows, and good workers. No, they do not walk for miles before they
reach their work. The engine runs along the line to pick them up in
the morning, and to drop them again in the evening. They have
half-an-hour for dinner, and half-an-hour for tea. They get about
fifteen shillings a week. Boys get less, but thirteen shillings and
sixpence is the very bottom. Rubbish about low wages. Nine bob a week
is the regular farmer's wage, and these men would have been glad to
work for six bob. All have some land, every man of them. They have
just come back from planting it. We have been very short of men. They
went away at the beginning of April, and they were away for a
fortnight or three weeks. Small blame to them. Half or three-quarters
of them went to look after their bits of ground. But, barrin' that,
they turn up very regularly. They get fifteen shillings a week, where
they got nothing. And every man knows the convenience the line will be
to him to get his bit of stuff to Galway market, and also that it will
bring money into a country where there was none. They are as contented
as can be, and we never hear a word of complaint. We have not heard a
grumble since the line was started a year or two ago. These Home
Rulers will say anything but their prayers, and them they whistle.
Since the work came from the Tories it must be bad. There must be a
curse on it. Now, my lads, shove it up, shove it up! (Excuse me, Sir.)
Whirroo, my boys. Look out! In wid it, thin! Whirroo!"

A big tank for engine water was being filled by an old man in shirt
and trousers, his naked chest shining a hundred yards away. Luke
Whelan was his name; a vigorous pumper, he. "'Tis hard work it is, ye
may say it. I have another tank or two to fill, an' keep filled, but I
have long rests, and time for a grain o' baccy, glory be to God!
Thirteen-an'-sixpence it is, but I lost my place at Palmer's flour
mills, the work gave out, an' but for this I'd have nothin' at all.
Was in the Fifth Fusiliers, but lost me sight (partly) in Injee. Was
in the army long enough to get a pension of ninepence a day. Me rint
is two pounds a year, and I've only the owld woman to kape. Ah, but
Balfour was a blessin' to us altogether! They talk about Home Rule,
but what good will that do us? Can we ate it, can we dhrink it, can we
shmoke it? The small farmers thinks they'll have the land for nothin',
but what about the labourers? Everything that's done is done for the
farmers, an' the workin' men gets nothin' at all. In England 'tis the
workin' men gets all the consideration; but in this counthry 'tis the
farmers, an' the workin' men that have no land may hang themselves.
When the big farms is all done away who'll employ the labourers? The
gintry that spint money an' made things a bit better is all driven out
of the counthry by the Land League. Ye see all around ye the chimneys
of places that once was bits of manufactories. All tumblin' down, all
tumblin' down. Nobody dares invest money for fear he'd be robbed of
his property, the same as the landlords was robbed, an' will be
robbed, till the end of the chapther. 'Tis nothin' but robbery ye hear
of, an' gettin' other people's property for nothin'. The Home Rule
Bill would dhrive all the workin' men out of the counthry to England
and America. They must have employment, an' they must go where it is
to be had. Engineers have been threatenin' this line for forty years,
first one route an' then another, but divil a spade was put in it.
England found us the money to build the line, an' the labourers get
work. Where will we get work whin nobody would lend us money to build
lines? An Irish Parlimint wouldn't build a line in a thousand years.
For nobody would thrust thim wid the cash. Yes, wid ninepence a day
and thirteen shillings and sixpence a week, I'm comfortable enough.
But begorra, the pump leaks, an' I have to pump a quarther more than I
should. Av the pump worked right 'tis little grumblin' ye'd hear from
Luke Whelan."

Mr. George William Wood, contractors' agent, said:--"The men work as
well as they can, but they do not get over the ground like English
navvies. They are very regular, very quiet, very sober, and never give
the least trouble. Of course, they had to be taught, and they did not
like the big navvy shovels. They were used to the six-foot spades with
no cross-bar. Yes, you might think it harder work with such tools, but
then the Irish labourer dislikes to bend his back. The long handle
lets him keep his back straight, there's the difference. However, we
insist on the big, short shovels, and they have taken to them all
right. These men are not so strong as they seem, and they are not
worth nearly so much as English navvies. They may be willing, but they
have not the same stamina. The English navvy eats about two pounds of
beef for his dinner and washes it down with about two quarts of ale.
These men never see meat from one year's end to another. They live on
potatoes, and bits of dry bread and water. At three in the afternoon
they are not worth much, clean pumped out--might almost as well go
home. No, they don't live in hovels. Those who go home but once a
week are housed in good wooden sheds, or corrugated iron buildings,
with good beds and bedclothes. There are about forty of them in a hut,
with a hut-keeper to look after them and to keep order. For this
excellent lodging they are charged sixpence a week, and all their prog
is supplied at wholesale prices. We buy largely in Dublin, bring it
down, of course, carriage free, and both the men and their wives and
families are supplied to any amount. They effect a saving of at least
twenty per cent., but probably much more, as village stores are
terribly dear. The whole district has found out this advantage, and
they flock to the hut-store from all parts. So Balfour is a boon to
the country at large."

Next day I went down sixteen miles of line to a spot about a mile from
Oughterard. It was pay-day, and I clung to the engine along with the
engineer, Mr. Wood, and a pay-clerk, armed with several yards of
pay-sheet, and a couple of black tin cash-boxes. A wild and stony
country, a range of high mountains on the left, wide, flat plains on
the right, through which the Corrib serpentined, with big rocks rising
from the channel brilliantly white. "They whitewash the rocks, so that
they can be seen by the boats and the Cong steamer. Englishmen would
blow them up and have done with them, but Irishmen prefer to whitewash
them and sail round them. More exciting I suppose, matter of taste."
This from the engineer, a Saxon of the usual type. On through bogs,
past nameless lakes, and a chaos of limestone rocks and huge granite
boulders, lakes, bogs, rocks, in endless succession, with the long
mountain reek beside us, and a still higher range in the purple
distance. Now and then a green patch sternly walled in, a few cows
grazing, a lonely donkey, a few long-tailed black sheep, or a couple
of goats. Here and there acres of white blossom, looking like a
snowfall. This was the bog bean, growing on a stem a foot high, a
silvery tuft of silky bloom hanging downward, two inches long and the
bigness of a finger. Sometimes we dashed past walled enclosures so
full of stone that they looked like abandoned graveyards, and the only
use of the fences, so far as I could see, was to keep thoughtless
cattle out. Very little tillage. Just a few ridges of potatoes, but
the people who had planted them seemed to have vanished for ever. At
long intervals a diminutive white cot, but nothing else to break the
succession of lake, rock, and bog. Moycullen, six miles from Galway,
is to have a station; another will be built at Ross, ten miles, a
third at Oughterard, sixteen and a half miles. Not a stone laid as
yet. At Ross a great excavation. The men had just laid bare a huge
boulder of granite, weighing some thirty tons, and Mr. Wood, observing
my interest in this relic of the ice-age, gave it to me on the spot.
"No granite _in situ_ hereabouts, the living rock is mountain
limestone, but no end of granite boulders, which are blasted to the
tune of half-a-ton of tonite per week." Ten miles from Galway a
cutting was being regularly quarried for building purposes, and most
of the sixteen or seventeen miles of line I saw was fenced with a
Galway wall of uncemented stone four feet six inches high and
eighteen inches thick. "The men build stone walls with great skill,"
said Mr. Wood, "but half the number of English navvies would do more
excavating."

The pay-clerk stopped the engine at every gang, and the men came
forward for their money. All had the same well-nourished sturdy look,
and all seemed well satisfied with their wages. They conversed in
Irish, but they mostly understood English, even if they could not
speak it themselves. Whole villages were there seemingly of the same
name, and strange were the distinctive appellations. There was John
Toole and John Toole Pat, John Pat Toole and Pat Toole John.
Permutation was the order of the day. There was Tom Joyce Pat and Pat
Tom Joyce, Tom Joyce Sally and Tom Joyce boy. Besides this change
ringing a little colour was thrown in, and we had Pat Tom Joyce Red
and Pat Tom Joyce Black, Red Pat Tom Joyce and Black Tom Joyce Pat.
This is called Joyce's country, before Balfour's time depopulating to
desolation, now thriving and filling up, re-Joyceing in fact. Nearly
seventeen hundred men are at work here and at the other end, and in
1894 the great civiliser will steam from Galway to Clifden,
inaugurating (let us hope) a new era of prosperity.

In Oughterard I met an American tourist who said, "I should think Home
Rule would about settle Old England. The Irish people show a most
unfriendly spirit, and I have come to the conclusion that there is no
such word as gratitude in the Irish language. There is some change in
this district, and the people seem willing to work, but wherever the
agitators have been everything is going to the bad. Nothing but
distrust and suspicion. No Irishman would invest in Irish securities.
They prefer South Americans! That startled me. I am told that Tim
Healy is worth £30,000, all got out of Home Rule, and my informant
says that Tim would not risk a penny in his own country. Tim is a
blackguardly kind of politician, but he is mighty cute, and shirks
Irish securities. Where are the business managers of the Irish nation
coming from? That's what I want to know."

I told him of the Galway Harbour Commissioners, who, having been
forgiven a Government debt of nearly £10,000, conceived the idea of
building a new, grand, splindid, iligant, deep dock, which should
increase the trade of the place by allowing ships of great draught to
unload in the harbour. Let me repeat the story for the readers of the
_Gazette_.

The Harbour Board consulted an eminent engineer, who said the right
thing would cost £80,000. They sent him to the right about, and called
in another man. "Now," said they, "we can only raise £30,000 by loans
from the Board of Works. Will not that suffice? We give you 5 per
cent. on the outlay, &c., &c., &c." The new man said £30,000 was
ample, took the job, and the work was commenced. Ultimately they
borrowed £40,000, which they spent, along with the £10,000 in hand.
Then it was found that big ships could not get to the dock at all! No
use in a deep dock unless you can swim up to it. To get the big
vessels in you required to hoist them out of the water, carry them a
few hundred yards, and drop them into the dock. As the Galway men
still groan beneath the cruel English yoke, this operation was found
impracticable. During some blasting operations a big rock was tumbled
out of the dock in process of manufacture, dropping in front of
another dock in full working order. The stone was just in the way of
the vessels, but as there was no Parliament in College Green, the
Harbour Board had not the heart to fish it up. So it crashed through
the bottom of a Henderson collier, the owner of which sued the Harbour
Board for damages, and was awarded a thousand pounds. The money never
was paid, and never will be. The fortunate winner of the suit will
sell his claim for £5 in English gold. He was thought to have done
well in winning, and my informant, a typical Irishman, admired the
complainant's successful attack on the Harbour Board. "But what good
come of it at last," I ventured to put in. "Nay, that I cannot tell,"
said he, "But 'twas a glorious victory."

The Galway Harbour Board spent £50,000 or so on a deep dock which they
have not got, and the harbour is in pawn to the Board of Works, which
collects the tolls, and otherwise endeavours to indemnify itself. The
Harbour Board meets as usual, but it has no powers, no money, no
credit, no anything. This is a fair specimen of the business
management which characterises the breed of Irishmen who favour Home
Rule. The party paper, once a fine property, has in their hands sunk
below zero, and they built New Tipperary on land to which they had no
title; so that the money was completely thrown away. Almost every
Board of Guardians in the country is insolvent, except in those cases
where the Government has kicked out the Poor Law Guardians elected by
the Parish, and restored solvency by sending down paid men to run the
concern for a couple of years. This has been done in several
instances, and in every case the paid men, drawing salaries of several
hundred a year, have in two years paid off debts, leaving all in good
working order, with a balance in the bank. The inference is obvious.
Would the Belfast folks have made such a fiasco of a dock? Would
Englishmen have exposed themselves to the ridicule of a story which is
curiously remindful of Robinson Crusoe and his big canoe? Would the
Galway folks ever have built the railway they wanted so badly; or sans
England and Mr. Balfour, would not the Connemara men have proceeded to
starve until the end of time? A keen old railway man who had
thravelled, and who had done railway work in California, said to me,
"Whin we get an Oirish Parlimint the labourers may jist put on their
hats and go over to England. Thank God, we'll know something besides
farm work now, the whole of us. We can get railroad work in England.
There'll be none in Oireland, for every mother's son that has money
will cut the country. I could take ye fourteen Oirish miles from
Galway, along a road that was spotted wid great jintlemen's houses,
an' ivery one of thim's in ruins. The owners that used to live in
them, and be a blessin' to the counthry, is all ruined by the land
agitation. All are gone, an' their foin, splindid houses tumblin'
down, an' the people worse off than iver. If the Bill becomes law the
young men will all be off to England and America. There'll be no work,
no money in the counthry. Did ye hear what the cyar-dhriver said to
Mr. Morley?"

I confessed that the incident escaped my recollection.

"Why the cyar-man was a dacent boy, an Mister Morley axed him how was
thrade, an' av he was busy."

"No," says the dhriver, "things is quite, very quite," says he.

"Ye'll be busy when ye get Home Rule," says Mister Morley.

"But that'll only last a week," says the cyar-man.

"An' why so?" says the Irish Secretary, bein' curious an' lookin'
round at the dhriver.

"Och," says Pat; "'twill only take a week to dhrive thim to the
boats."

"Who d'ye mane, wid yer dhrivin' to the boats?" says owld Morley.

"All the dacent folks that has any money to pay for dhrivin'," says
Pat, "for bedad they'll be lavin' the counthry."

"That was a thriminjus rap for owld Morley, but 'twas thrue, an' the
Divil himself couldn't deny it."

"An' can ye tell me why the farmers should have all the land an' not
the labourers? An' could ye say why them murdherin' Land Leaguers in
Parliament wasn't hung up, the rampagious ruffians?"

I could throw no light on these points. My friend had much to say
about the Land League M.P.'s, and a score of times asked me why they
had not been hanged.

A hard question to answer, when you come to think of it. Does anybody
know?

Oughterard (Connemara), May 23rd.



No. 27.--CULTIVATING IRISH INDUSTRY.


The city of kings. Pronounced Athen-rye, with a bang on the last
syllable. A squalid town, standing amid splendid ruins of a bygone
time. "Look what English rule has brought us to," said a village
politician, waving his hand from the ivy-covered gateway by which you
enter the town to the mean-looking houses around. "That's what we
could build when we were left to ourselves, an' this is what we can do
afther sivin hundhred years of the Saxon." The ruins in question are
the remains of fortifications erected after the Norman Conquest of
Ireland by the Normans, a great entrance gate, and a strong, oblong
keep. The ruins of the Dominican Friary, founded in 1241 by Meyler, of
Birmingham, have a thrilling interest of their own, which has its
pendant in the story of a Mayence verger, who holds British visitors
to the cathedral of that city in breathless rapture as he tells how it
is said that a Mayence bishop of eight hundred years ago was said to
be of English extraction, or like the Stratford mulberry tree, which
is said to be a cutting of a tree said to have grown on the spot where
a tree is said to have stood which is said to have been planted by
Shakespeare. Galway abounds in ruined fortalices, tumble-down abbeys,
ivied towers and castles, none of which were built by the Irish race.
The round towers which dot the country here and there, with a few
ruined churches, are all that the native Irish can claim in the way of
architecture.

The people here are full of interest. The fair at Athenry is something
to remember. A very good time it was, cattle selling higher than of
yore. The men were queerly, quaintly dressed, speaking Irish, getting
extremely drunk on vilest whiskey, leaving the town in twos and
threes, tumbling in groups by the roadside, reeking heaps of imbruted
humanity. The women were numerous, tall, decent, and modest. All wore
the shawl as a hood, the shawls of strange pattern unknown in England.
All tucked up the dress nearly to the waist, showing the invariable
red kirtle. All, or nearly all, were shod with serviceable shoes, such
as would astonish the Parisian makers of bottines. But these shoes
were only for show. The ladies walked painfully about in the
unaccustomed leather. They seemed to have innumerable corns, to
wrestle with bunions huge and dire, to suffer from unknown pedal
infirmities. Outside the town the ladies put on their shoes. Outside
the town, after the fair, they took them off again, sitting on the
roadside, stripping their shapely feet, bundling the obnoxious,
crippling abominations into Isabella-colour handkerchiefs, which they
tucked under their arms as they bounded away like deer. It was
pleasant to watch their joy, their freedom, their long springy step as
their feet once more struck their native heath. They do not spare
their shoes by reason of economy, but because they walk better without
them. Donned for propriety, doffed for convenience. The young lady who
is "on the market" is expected to wear leather on high days and
holidays, and she submits--another martyr to fashion. Yet even as the
hart panteth for the water-brooks, so longeth her sole after her
native turf.

It was at Athenry that I first obtained a precise legal definition of
the term Congested District, to the effect that wherever the land
valuation amounts to less than 30s. per head of the population the
district is held to be congested, and may receive assistance under the
Act of 1891. The chief item of the Board's income is the sum of
£41,250 a year, being interest at 2-3/4 per cent. per annum on the sum
of £1,500,000 referred to in the Act as the Church Surplus Grant. The
Board may, under certain conditions, use the principal, if needful.
Two other smaller sums are also available, and the unexpended balance
of the Irish Distress Fund has been applied to the completion of the
Bealdangan Causeway in Connemara. This was Mr. Balfour's suggestion.
There is a widespread idea that only the sea-board is touched, and
that only fishermen have reaped the benefit of the Act. This is
entirely erroneous. The Board works unceasingly at the development of
agriculture, the planting of trees, the breeding of live stock and
poultry, the sale of seed potatoes and seed oats, the amalgamation of
small holdings, migration, emigration, weaving and spinning, and any
other suitable industries, as well as in aid of fishing and fishermen.
Besides the innumerable direct and indirect methods by which
agriculture and industries are assisted in production, the Board has
laboured successfully in the establishment of such means of
communication, by railway, steamship, or otherwise, as will enable
goods to be imported and exported at rates sufficiently low to make
trade possible and profitable to producers and consumers in remote
congested districts. Another popular error arises from regarding the
work of the Board as merely a means of relief during periods of
exceptional distress. Mr. Balfour would be the first to deprecate this
notion. His scheme was constructed with a view to bringing about a
gradual and lasting improvement in the poor districts of Ireland, by
putting the people in a way to help themselves, and not by doling out
large sums in charity. The works, which are wrongly called "relief
works," are in every instance a well-considered effort to permanently
and materially improve the trade and resources of a given area in
connection with agriculture and miscellaneous industries. Such was the
invariable principle of every action of the Board while under Mr.
Balfour's administration. The people have been taught better methods,
and helped to carry out the instruction they had received. The Royal
Dublin Society has in some instances employed an instructor, whose
duty it has been to teach the people the best system of cultivating
portions or plots of their holdings, and to encourage them by gifts of
seed and by giving prizes to those who were most successful in
carrying out the instructions of their teacher. It is conceded that by
proper management, by the adoption of modern methods of farming such
as are well within the grasp of the smallest landowner, the produce of
Irish farms might be increased from one-third to one-half. Consider
the effect of this unassailable proposition on the eternal question of
rent. The question can hardly be over-estimated. Compare the solidity,
the practicability, the substantial usefulness of this kind of help,
with the weak pandering to sentiment displayed by the present
government. The Board admits that no matter how vigorously and
constantly agricultural improvements are inculcated, the tenants of
Ireland are tardy in their adoption. The small farmers dislike change,
and at the present moment they are rapidly slipping back into their
old grooves. They believe that the old system will pay when they have
no rent-days to meet. The Balfour Administration encouraged honesty,
industry, self-reliance. The Morley Government puts a premium on
idleness, unthrift, retrogression, and dishonesty. It is easier to
half-till the land, paying small rents or none at all, than to get the
utmost out of the land with the object of paying the landlord his
due.

The Board is carrying on the afforestation of Ireland, which in many
parts is almost without trees. When the potato crop failed in 1890 Mr.
Balfour commenced to plant trees on the western sea-board. In 1891 a
sum of £1,970 was spent in draining, fencing, and roadmaking, and in
planting 90 acres of 960 acquired by the Tory Government for the
purpose. In 1892 a further sum of £1,427 was spent in carrying on the
work. It is said that a previous Liberal Government had rejected the
scheme on the ground that trees would not grow in a situation exposed
to the salt gales of the Atlantic, but Mr. Balfour's trees have
thriven remarkably well. He tried all sorts, convinced that something
should be done, and that an ounce of experiment was worth a pound of
theory. Sycamore, ash, elm, beech, birch, poplar, alder, larch, Scotch
fir, spruce, silver fir, sea buckthorn, elder, and willow--he gave
them all a chance, some as main plantations, some as shelter belts.
All proved successful except the silver fir. Besides this, three
hundred and fifty holdings have been planted with shelter belts, and
about six hundred and fifty more were being planted when Mr. Balfour
loosed the reins.

An eminent Irishman, a great authority on this subject, assures me
that he could dictate similar facts for a week without stopping to
search his memory. Mr. Gladstone proposes to place the poor people of
Ireland under a Government utterly inexperienced in the administration
of great matters, utterly unreliable where the handling of money is
concerned, utterly ignorant of business methods and business routine.
The fate of the destitute poor and the fortunes of the well-to-do
classes are to be at the mercy of men whose business ventures have
been absurdly unsuccessful, who believe that to aid the poor you must
rob the rich, and that the No-rent Manifesto, the Plan of Campaign,
and the Land League, with its story of outrage and murder, were the
perfection of modern statesmanship. The Balfour system teaches men to
help themselves. The Morley system teaches men to help themselves to
their neighbour's goods.

My friend gave a few more instances of useful assistance rendered by
what the poor folks call the Blessed Board. Special arrangements have
been made to enable the farmers to improve the breed of horses. The
Queen presented an Arabian horse named Tirassan to the County Donegal.
Bulls of superior breed have been sold to decent, honest farmers at
one-third of their cost, and this small figure was payable in two
yearly instalments. About two hundred black-faced Scotch rams and
Cheviot rams have been located in Donegal and Galway free of charge,
and young boars of the pure Yorkshire breed are sold to certain
selected farmers at a nominal charge on certain conditions calculated
to prove useful to the neighbourhood. The breeding and rearing of
poultry has received a world of attention, and the poor folks who make
a little money by the sale of eggs have been supplied with the best
information and substantial assistance.

In a former letter I described the Aran sea-fisheries, and before that
I adverted to the fact that the Shetland fishermen came to the Irish
Coast, caught ling, and brought it back salted to sell to Irish
fishermen. The Board has engaged an experienced fish-curer from Norway
to show Irishmen how the thing is done, and English and Scotch
fish-curers have been sent to several stations to give instruction in
mackerel and herring-curing. Fifteen fish-curing stations are now in
full swing, and the poor Irish fishermen, instead of buying salt ling
at 2d. a pound, are now selling it at £18 to £20 per ton. A big
steamer has been chartered to carry the salt, the fish, and for other
useful purposes.

Contrast this work and these results with the work of the Irish
agitators and with that of Messrs. Gladstone, Morley, and Co.
Sentiment and starvation versus salt fish and satiety. A red-faced
Yorkshireman who knows all about fish-curing, said:--"When first I
came here I'm blest if the men wasn't transparent. You could see
through 'em like lookin' through the rungs of a ladder. Now the
beggars are growin' double chins. Now they're a-gettin' cheeky.
They're like a hoss as has had a feed of corn. They was meek an' mild
enough when I come over. Now they're a-gettin' perky, an' a-talkin'
politics. They usen't to see no agitators. They never had no meetin's;
why? there was no chance of a collection. Sometimes I gets down on 'em
proper. 'Tother day I says, 'You chaps, wi' yer Home Rule, I says,
reminds me of a character in the Bible, I says.' Bein' Catholics, they
don't read the Bible for theirselves. The priests read it for 'em. But
one of 'em cocks up his nose, an' he says, 'We're like a character in
the Bible, are we? Well,' he says, 'who was he?'

"'You're like the wild ass that sniffed up the wind instead of goin'
in for sommat more substantial,' I says. That's what I told 'em. They
did look down their noses, I tell you. An' they fell to talkin' i'
Irish. They couldn't answer me, do what they would."

Before leaving the Connemara district I paid a second visit to
Oughterard in order that I might see the progress made by Irishmen in
the art of railway making. A gang or two were engaged in the
comparatively skilled work of rail-laying, and the way they got over
the ground was truly surprising. Two trucks stood on the line already
laid, one bearing sleepers, the other loaded with steel rails. Four or
five couples of men shouldered sleepers and laid them on the track at
spots marked by a club-footed Irishman, who swore at everything with a
vigour which spoke well for his wind. Several men lifted a thirty feet
length of rail, weighing nearly six hundred-weight, and laid it on the
sleepers, when it was instantly bolted and secured. The same having
been done on the other side, the trucks were pushed along the
newly-laid ten yards, and the process was repeated, the Irish ganger
above-mentioned swearing till the surrounding bogs seemed to quake. An
unhappy Connemaran having dropped his end of the sleeper a few inches
from the right spot, was cursed through the entire dictionary, the
ganger winding up a solemn declaration that he had not seen anything
so Blankly and Double-Blankly and forty times Blankly idiotic since
"the owld goat died." An English ganger hard by never spoke at all,
but no doubt his men felt lonely. A labourer who had hurt his foot,
and was awaiting a friendly truck to take him home, said of the
swearer:--

"He manes no harm, an' the Boys doesn't care a rap for his swearin'.
These men want no elbowin' on, for they are paid by the piece, so that
the harder they work the more they get. All Irish gangers swear like
that. An' Irish farm bailiffs is jist the same. Onless they're cussin'
an' rippin' an' tearin' they don't think they're doin' the work for
which they're paid, an' they don't think their masthers would be
contint wid thim. Av an Irish landlord that kept a bailiff didn't hear
him swearin' three miles away, he'd discharge him for not workin'.
English gangers an' bailiffs says very little, an' ye wouldn't think
they wor doin' anythin'. 'Tis quare at first, but ye get used to it in
time."

Travelling in any country is always instructive, no matter how much
about that country you previously knew. My lame friend may have
unconsciously suggested an explanation of the speeches and conduct of
the Irish Nationalist Parliamentary contingent. Unless they kept up
the cursin' an' swearin', an' rippin' an' tearin', so that they can be
heard across the Atlantic, their American paymasters might not be
contint wid thim, and might withhold the sinews of war. Once it is
understood that the Irish patriots must revile all and sundry to earn
their pay, the situation is to some extent explained. Few of them are
likely to fail in this supreme requirement. Six pounds a week for
abusing the brutal Saxon is far better than the pound or thirty
shillings of their pre-political days. They have no inducement to earn
an honest living.

The story of the Galway Bag Factory may serve as a pendant to the
story of Mr. McMaster's effort to benefit the Catholic peasantry of
the counties of Galway and Donegal. The concern had stopped for lack
of funds, and Father Peter Dooley went round the town endeavouring to
induce people to take shares in the concern, in order that the poor
folks of the district might have employment. The mills were reopened,
and at first, just at first, the people attended work with tolerable
regularity. They then fell off, coming for half a day, coming not at
all. The management actually instituted prizes for regularity of
attendance. The people, who professed to be dying for employment, had
to be bribed to come to work. Even this was ineffectual, and as a
certain number of people were required to work a loom, the absence of
one or two made the loom and the other workpeople idle, and as, in
order to pay expenses, every loom required to be constantly worked,
this skulking was not only annoying, but also a ruinous loss. Mr.
Miller, the manager, was compelled to get people over from Scotland,
after having long placarded the walls of Galway with notices of
vacancies which no Galway girls attempted to fill up. Father Peter
remonstrated, and pointed out that as he had been instrumental in
reopening the factory, he thought Mr. Miller should oblige him by
engaging Galway girls. The manager showed him the placards, and said
that if Father Peter would bring the people he would find them
employment. Father Peter Dooley went into the highways and hedges, but
not a soul could he bring in, although Mr. Miller seems to have been
so desperately beset that he would have jumped at the blind, the
maimed, the halt, and the lame. The good Father was beaten, but then
he had a reason--an excellent reason. When things go wrong in Ireland,
it is always some other fellow's fault, just as when the French are
beaten in battle they always scream _Nous sommes trahis_! Bad
characters had been admitted to the looms. Manager was surprised. Let
Father Peter point them out, and away they go--if Father Peter did not
hesitate to cast them again on the streets of Galway. Two girls were
dismissed. Some of the old workpeople returned to work intermittently,
as before. Father Peter wanted the two girls reinstated. The manager
declined to see-saw in this way, and sacrilegious Scotsman as he was,
dared to say that nothing went well when bossed by priests! From that
moment that manager was blighted. His sight grew dim, his hearing
became dull, his liver got out of order, his corns grew more numerous
and more painful, and a bald spot was seen on his crown. The people
worked as before, by fits and starts, but more fitty and starty than
ever. The factory was closed, and the manager died. They buried him
about a week ago, a sort of human jackdaw of Rheims without the curse
taken off. Protestants say the Galway workpeople wore him down, broke
his spirit and broke his heart, but Catholics know better. The only
wonder was that instead of being instantly consumed by fire from
heaven, Miller was permitted to waste away by slow degrees. But that
was Father Dooley's good nature.

The Galwegians say that a Belfast firm has taken the mill, and that
therefore its future success is assured. The cutest citizens say that
this entirely depends on the manager's theory as to workpeople. If he
brings them with him, well and good. The work will be done although
the workpeople may be boycotted. And then the Irish will have another
grievance. They will be able to point to the fact that of a large
number of workpeople only a small proportion of Catholics are
employed. This is the trick of Nationalists when speaking of the
intolerance of Belfast. The officials of that city, and indeed, of
every city in Ireland, are mostly Protestants, not because of this,
but because they are better men. The Belfast merchants and the Belfast
Corporation have a keen eye to the main chance, as is abundantly
proved by their success, and in business matters they will have the
best men, whether Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Turks, or Infidels.
Whatever the cause, it is certain that Protestantism turns out a far
larger proportion of able men, and in Ulster, at any rate, you rarely
meet a Catholic who is worth his salt. The Catholics of Ulster lack,
not toleration, but brains, industry, and business capacity. Anyone
who compares the harbours of Cork and Galway with Belfast will at once
appreciate the situation. Wherefore let not the Keltic Irish waste
their time in clamouring for the redress of non-existent grievances,
but buckle to and make their own prosperity. The destinies of nations,
like those of individuals, are in their own hands. Honest work is
never wasted work. Selah.

Athenry, May 27th.



No. 28.--COULD WE RECONQUER IRELAND?


The country people call this place "the back of God-speed," "the back
of the world," and "the divil's own hunting ground," but why they do
it nobody seems to know. The village is on the road to nowhere, and I
dropped on it, as it were, accidentally, during a long drive to the
remotest end of Galway Bay. Yet even here I found civilised people who
regard the proposed College Green Parliament with undisguised
aversion. Not the inhabitants, but Irish tourists, bent on exploring
the wildest and remotest nooks of their native land, among them a
Dublin barrister, whose critical analysis of the powers proposed to be
entrusted to the unscrupulous and self-seeking promoters of the Land
League may prove useful and interesting to non-legal English readers.
A Galway gentleman having during the drive pointed out a large number
of desolate mansions rapidly falling into ruin, the conversation
turned on the universal subject, and my legal friend embarked on a
dissertation on the iniquity of the Gladstone land laws, which have
had the effect of ruining a large number of the country gentry of
Ireland, driving them from their native shores, impoverishing the
landlords without any perceptible benefit to the tenants, who appear
to be no better off than ever. What surprised him most was the arrant
nonsense talked by the English Gladstonians, and the blindness and
apathy of the English people generally, who in his opinion were being
gradually led to the brink of a frightful abyss, which threatened to
swallow up the prestige and prosperity of the British people. He
said:--

"Have Englishmen forgotten the previous history of the men she is now
on the point of entrusting with her future? Are Englishmen
unacquainted with the traditional hatred of the Irish malcontents? Do
they not know the aspirations of the Catholic clergy, and are they
ignorant of their immense influence with the masses? Surely they are,
or they would rise in their might and instantly trample out the
present agitation, which has for its aim and end, not the benefit of
Ireland, not the pacification of the people, who are perfectly
peaceful if left alone, not the convenience of Ireland in matters
which should be managed by local self-government, but the absolute
independence of the country, the creation of a national army, and the
affiliation of Ireland with some foreign Power hostile to England,
such as either America or France, as occasion might serve. America is
largely in the hands of the Irish electorate, and American politicians
would not be particularly scrupulous how they purchased Irish support.
No need to point out the embarrassing complications likely to result
from giving large powers to men who are essentially inimical to
England. You can do justice without putting your own head on the
block. It has been my business to analyse the bill, in conjunction
with other lawyers, Home Rule and otherwise in political colour, and
we are all agreed that the so-called safeguards amount to nothing, and
it would be incomparably safer for England to throw over the country
altogether. Because that is what it must ultimately come to, and we
think it would be better to avoid the inevitable agitation, the
terrible difficulties foreshadowed by the measure, difficulties which
would assuredly lead to the reconquest or the attempted reconquest of
the country.

"Gladstonians say this is an absurd idea, that Ireland could offer no
resistance worth mentioning, that the British arms would prove
instantly victorious over any show of resistance. But would you have
Ireland alone to reckon with? Once give her the prestige of a spurious
independence, once give to your enemies control over the resources of
the country, and you would find the task of reconquest much more
arduous than you think. The fact that England's distress would be
Ireland's opportunity has been so often insisted upon, both by
Unionists and the Nationalists themselves, that I need say nothing on
this point, which, besides, is so obvious as to be in itself a
sufficient answer to the Home Rule agitation under present
circumstances. But even supposing that you had no Eastern and European
difficulty--and we know not from one moment to another when war may
break out--supposing you only had Ireland to reconquer, do you think
this an agreeable prospect? Do you think that reconquest would settle
the Irish question? Do you believe that the shooting of a few hundred
patriots by the British Grenadiers would further what they call the
Union of Hearts?

"These followers of Mr. Gladstone who say, 'Let them have Home Rule to
quiet the country, to relieve the House from the endless discussion of
the Irish Question so that we can proceed with the disestablishment of
the Church, the Local Option Bill, and the thousand-and-one other fads
for which English Home Rulers have sold themselves'--the men who say
this, and who also say 'If they kick over the traces we can instantly
tighten the reins and reduce them to order,' surely these folks cannot
be aware that the Gladstone-Morley Government is unable to give
Strachan, of Tuam, the land which he has bought and paid for in the
Land Courts. The British Government cannot collect the rents of
Colonel O'Callaghan, of Bodyke; nor can it prevent the daily cases of
moonlighting and outrage which are so carefully hushed up, and which
hardly ever get into Irish newspapers. When the British Government
cannot make a few farmers either pay their rent or leave the land, the
said Government having control over the police and civil officers of
the law, how is it going to collect the purchase money of the farms,
in the form of rent, when it has not this control?

"The new police will be in the hands of a Parliament, elected by these
very farmers, who, so to speak, have tasted blood, have ceased to make
efforts to pay rent, have been encouraged in their refusal to pay by
the very men Mr. Gladstone proposes to entrust with the whole concern!
Will these farmers suddenly turn round and say, 'We declined to pay
when English rule would have forced payment, we shall be delighted to
pay when nothing could make us do so?' I have been connected with
Irish farmers and landowners for thirty years as a land specialist,
and I tell you that the thing will work exactly as I have said. Put
the Rebel party in power, and see what will happen to you. It is hard
to believe that Englishmen will act so stupidly in a matter so vitally
affecting their own interests. That is why educated people both in
Ireland and England do not believe the bill will ever become law. They
cannot conceive the final acceptance of anything so utterly
preposterous. But call on me to-morrow, and I will go into the legal
possibilities of the question."

So I gathered posies of bog-bean bloom and walked round the big
boulders with which this sterile region is thickly strewn. The natives
know nothing of Home or any other Rule, and you might as well speak to
them of the Darwinian theory, or the philosophy of Herbert Spencer, or
the Homeric studies of the Grand Old Man, or the origin of the
Sanskrit language. The only opinion I could glean was the leading idea
of simple Irish agriculturists everywhere. A young fellow who appeared
to be in a state of intellectual advancement so far beyond that of the
other Barnans as to be almost out of sight, said:--

"I'm towld that there's to be a Parlimint in Galway city that's to
find imploymint for the people, an' that ivery man is to have five
acres of good land for nothin', and that if it isn't good land he is
to have ten acres, and that there's to be an Oirish King in Dublin,
an' that all the sojers an' pleecemen is to be put out o' the
counthry, an' all Protestants is to go to England, an' that's all very
good, but the Protestants might be allowed to stay, for they're dacent
folks, but thin they say that nobody's to howld land but the
Catholics."

I met an old lady clad in the short skirt of the Connaught peasantry,
walking bare-headed, bare-footed, and almost bare-legged from chapel,
carrying a bottle of holy water, probably destined for some important
purpose within the sacred precincts of the domestic circle. Perhaps
the old man was rheumatic, or it may be that the fairies had spoilt
the butther, or that the cow was bewitched, or that the shadow of a
black Protestant had fallen across the threshold. She was a promising
subject for original conversation, but unhappily she could speak no
English. My Galway friend explained the bottle, and said "Here we have
true religion. If you want the genuine, unadulterated article you must
come to Galway, and especially to Barna. Look how she clings to it,
how she holds it to her breast, how reverentially she looks down on
it. Suppose she caught her foot on a stone, stumbled, and broke the
bottle! Horrid thought, involving (perhaps) eternal damnation, (unless
she were quickly absolved by the priest). There is piety for you! As a
good Catholic I am ashamed of myself when I think how little religion
(comparatively) there is in me. Education has been a curse. How happy
I should be if I had that old woman's simple, strong belief in the
virtues of holy water, especially when carried home in a well-washed
whiskey bottle. But, somehow, the more we Catholics know the less we
believe. We go regularly to mass, at any rate I do (my wife is very
devout), but I fear that Catholics have less and less faith in
proportion to their culture. But for the women Catholicism would not
hold its ground among the higher classes of Irishmen for so much as
five-and-twenty minutes."

It seems to me that the belief of uncultured Irishmen as to the
immense benefits to be derived from Home Rule is exactly on a par with
the belief of uncultured Irishwomen as to the immense benefits to be
derived from the sprinkling of holy water. No reasonable man, who has
carefully examined the subject, will for one moment assert that there
is a pin to choose between the two. The votes of these poor folks,
admitted by thousands to the electorate, have sent to Westminster the
hireling orators whose persistent clamour has turned a slippery
statesmen from the paths of patriotism and propriety, and whose
subterranean machinations--aided and abetted by men versed in
Jesuistic and Machiavellian strategy, and who believe that the end
justifies the means--threaten to undermine the British Empire, and to
involve the citizens of England in political and financial ruin. A
pretty pass for a respectable individual like John Bull. England to be
worked by the wire-pulling of a few under-bred, half-educated priests!
whose tincture of learning John himself has paid for--poor Bull, who
seems to pay for everything, and who would gladly have paid for
gentility, too, if the Maynooth professors could have injected the
commodity by means of a hypodermic syringe, or even by hydraulic
pressure. No use in attempting impossibilities. As well endeavour to
communicate good manners or gratitude to a Nationalist M.P.

My legal friend was full of matter, but many of his points were too
technical for the general reader. He said:--"Absurd to ask what an
Irish Parliament _will_ do, because we know the tendencies of the
present men. We must ask what it _can_ do, for it is certain that its
members will from time to time be replaced by men of more 'advanced'
opinions. Appetite grows by what it feeds on, and the Irish people
want to pose as an independent nation. Englishmen and Scotchmen say
Ireland would never be so foolish, and I am not surprised that they
should say this. But when did Irishmen act on the lines of Englishmen
or Scotchmen? They never did; they never will. The peoples are
actuated by entirely different motives. Englishmen look at what is
going to pay. They act on whatever basis promises the most
substantial return. Irishmen are swayed by sentiment."

Here I remembered a remark of Father McPhilpin, parish priest of
Kilronane, Aran Isles. He said:--"The Irish people act more for fancy
and less for money than any nation on earth. The poorest classes have
less sentiment than the middle classes. They are too closely engaged
in securing a livelihood. But the great difficulty of the English in
managing the Irish lies in the fact that the English people work on
strictly business principles, and that the Irish do not. The English
people do not at all understand the Irish; and the reason is perfectly
clear to me. They do not appreciate the extent to which mere sentiment
will move the Irish race, mere sentiment, as opposed to what you would
call business principles."

Returning to my barrister. He continued:--"The Dublin bar has
decided--has formally decided--that so far as the action of the
Executive is concerned the Irish Parliament will be a supreme and
irresponsible body. The action of its officers will not be in any way
subject to the review of the English Government. What does this mean?
Simply that the life, the liberty, the property of every citizen will
be entirely in the hands of the Irish Government. Do the English
people know this? I think not. For if they did know, surely they would
think twice before they committed decent people to the tender mercies
of the inventors and supporters of the Land League, with its ten
thousand stories of outrage and murder."

"Give instances of what they can do, say you? They can refuse police
protection to persons whose lives are in danger from the National
League. And, as you know, scores of persons are at this moment under
protection in Ireland. Mr. Blood, of Ennis, would be shot on sight;
Mr. Strachan, of Tuam, would be torn to pieces, if without the three,
or four policemen who watch over him day and night; the caretakers on
the Bodyke estate would get very short shrift, once the sixteen
policemen who guard the two men were removed. Blood discharged a
labourer, Strachan bought a farm. If, under the now _régime_, a farmer
paid rent against the orders of the National League; if a man
persisted in holding land from which someone had been evicted years
ago; if a man worked for a boycotted person or in any way supported
him, although it were his own father, he would be in danger of his
life. Would the new Government give police protection to such people?
To do so would be to stultify themselves.

"Then again the Irish Executive can refuse police protection to
Sheriffs' officers who desire to execute writs for non-payment of
rent. No, I do _not_ think they would refuse a police escort to
Sheriffs' officers proceeding to distrain on the Belfast
manufacturers. I think they would order a strong force to proceed,
fully armed, and I am of opinion that the police would require all the
weapons they could carry. Not a stiver would they get in Belfast,
until backed by the Queen's troops. Then the Ulstermen would pay--to
refuse next year. So the process will go on and on, with bloodshed
and slaughter every time, the British army enforcing the demands of
rebels, against loyalists who sing 'God save the Queen,' Quite in the
opera bouffe style of Gilbert and Sullivan, isn't it? Can't you get
Gilbert to do a Home Rule opera comique? The absurdities of the
situation are already there. No invention required. Immense hit. Wish
I knew Gilbert. Money in it. English people might see the thing in the
true light, if presented in comic songs, with a rattling chorus.
Friend of mine bringing out a Gladstone Suppression Company Unlimited,
forty million shares at twopence-halfpenny each. At a premium already.
Money subscribed ten times over."

"And won't the new Parliament have a high old time with the new Land
Commission. Messrs. Healy and Co. will have the appointment of the
Land Commissioners, whose function will be to fix rent. Wouldn't you
like to be a landlord under such conditions? Don't you think that the
rents will be reduced until the landlords are used up? Remember that
the total extinction of the landlords and their expulsion from the
country have been over and over again promised by the very men in
whose hands you, or rather Mr. Gladstone will place them. No; I
exculpate the English people from returning him to power, I know that
the brains of England as well as those of Ireland are against him. But
the English people stand by and see the thing pressed forward, hoping
for the best. They rely on their immense wealth and energy to get them
out of any hole they may get into. I am reminded of Captain Webb, who
said, 'I am bound to have a go at the Niagara rapids. I know it's
infernal risky and therefore infernally foolish, but I must have cash,
and I expect I shall pull through somehow.' And I once met a sailor
who said that his skipper had not his equal for getting the ship out
of a scrape, nor yet his equal for getting into one. Same with
England. Webb did not come up again. Might be the same with Bull.
England is risking all for peace, just as Webb risked all for money.

"The Irish Parliament may, after three years, break every contract
having regard to land, no matter when or how made. Think of the
ferment during that three years of waiting. Think of the situation of
farmers as well as that of landowners. Who will work the land and do
the best for the country without security? Then the College Green
folks will have power to establish an armed and disciplined force. The
Irish Army of Independence is already recruiting all over the country.
For what? Is it to assist England? Is it friendly to England? Why, the
very foundation of its sentiment is undying animosity to England. And
your English Home Rulers say, 'Quite right, too, the Irish have good
reason for their hatred!' Gladstonians come over here, mingle with
haters of their native land, and earn a little cheap popularity by
slanging John Bull. They get excellent receptions when they speak in
that vein, especially if they have any money to spend. But what do the
Irish think of them? The poor fools make me sick, splashing their cash
about and vilifying England for the cheers of Fenians and the
patronage of Maynooth priests. A lady from Wolverhampton, a good, kind
lady, was woefully imposed upon somewhere in Connemara. A priest told
me; a priest you have met." Here the name was given. "He laughed at
the simplicity of this well-meaning benefactor, who was shown nineteen
processes for rent, and who shelled out very liberally at the sight."

"Seventeen of them were old ones! The rent had already been paid. But
whenever an English _gobemouche_ called around out came the old writs
until they were clean worn out. They were a splendid source of income
while they lasted."

This reminded me of a Bodyker, who said:--"A man named Lancashire came
here from Manchester or Birmingham--I think it was Birmingham--and
said he was going into the next Parliament, and that he was a great
friend of Mr. Gladstone. He was very kind, and seemed made of money,
and said he'd make England ring with our wrongs. My son had his name
on a card, but a lawyer in Limerick said the name hadn't got in. I
forget it now. D'ye know anybody, Sorr, of the name of Lancashire
that's a great friend o' Misther Gladstone, an' that lives in
Birmingham, an' that didn't get in?"

These Irish peasants ask more questions than anybody can answer. They
have a keen scent for cash, especially when the coin is in the keeping
of English Gladstonians. They believe with the Claimant that "Sum
folks has branes, and sum folks has money, and them what has money is
made for them what has branes." The Bodyke farmers and the peasantry
of Connemara believe that English Home Rulers have money. Impossible
to escape the natural inference.

Barna (Co. Galway), May 30th.



No. 29.--WHAT RACK-RENT MEANS.


I am disposed to call this quiet inland place a fishing village. The
people not only sell fish and eat fish, but they talk fish, read fish,
think fish, dream fish. The fishing industry keeps the place going.
Anglers swarm hither from every part of the three kingdoms. Last year
there were five fishing Colonels at the Greville Arms all at once.
Brown-faced people who live in the open air, and who are deeply versed
in the mysteries of tackle, cunning in the ways of trout, pike, perch,
and salmon, walk the streets clad in tweed suits, with strong shoes
and knickerbockers. The Mullingar folks despise the dictum of the
American economist who said that every town without a river should buy
one, as they are handy things to have. They boast of three magnificent
lakes, and they look down on the Athlone people, thirty miles away,
with their trumpery Shannon, of which they are so proud, but which the
Mullingar folks will tell you is not worth the paper it is written
on. Lough Owel, five miles long by two or three wide; Lough
Derravarra, six miles by three or four; and Lough Belvidere, eight
miles by three, all of which are in the immediate vicinity, may be
considered a tolerable allowance of fishing water for one country
town. Lough Belvidere, formerly called Lough Ennell, with its
thousands of acres of water, would perhaps meet with the approval of
the Yankee who called the Mediterranean "a nice pond," not for its
size, but for its exceeding beauty. And the most remarkable feature
about the fisher-enthusiasts of Mullingar, is the fact, the undoubted,
well-attested fact, that they actually catch fish. English anglers,
who in response to the inquiries of new arrivals at any Anglican
fishing resort state that they have caught nothing yet, having only
been fishing for a fortnight, will hardly believe that at Mullingar
their countrymen catch fish every day, and big fish too. The lake
trout vary from five to twenty pounds in weight, but the latter are
not often seen. Nine-pounders are reckoned fairly good, but this
weight excites no remark. How big the pike may be I know not, but Mr.
Herring, of London, on Monday last, fishing in Lough Derravarra,
hauled out a specimen which looked more like a shark than a pike. He
weighed over thirty-six pounds, and measured four feet three inches
over all. _Hoc egomet oculis meis vidi._ Birmingham anglers who win
prizes with takes of four-and-a-half ounces would have recoiled in
affright from the monster, even as he lay dead in the entrance hall of
the Greville Arms. Old women stand at the street corners with silver
eels like boa-constrictors, for which they wish to smite the Saxon to
the tune of sixpence each. I vouch for the pike and eels, but confess
to some dubiety _re_ the story of a fat old English gentleman, who
said, "I don't care for fishing for the sake of catching fish. I go
out in a boat, hook a big pike, lash the line to the bow, and let the
beggar tow me about all day. Boating is my delight. Towards evening I
cut my charger loose, and we part with mutual regret. Inexpensive
amusement; more humane than ordinary fishing."

Mullingar is a thriving town situate in a fertile district. The land
is very rich, and the rents are reasonable. The farmers are well off,
and admit the soft impeachment. They are Home Rulers to a man, and
they boldly give their reasons. "Did ye ever know a man who was
contint wid a good bargain when he has a prospect of a better bargain
still?" said a prosperous agriculturist residing a mile outside the
town. The country around has a decidedly English appearance. Fat land,
good roads, high hedges, daisied meadows, and decent houses
everywhere. The main street is long, wide, clean, well-paved,
well-built. The shopkeepers who live in the surrounding district make
money, and when they "go before," cut up for surprising sums. Said Mr.
Gordon, "Everybody here has money. The people are downright well off.
Living in constant communication with Dublin, fifty miles away on the
main line of the Midland and Western Railway, they have adopted the
prevailing politics of the metropolis. They do not understand what
Home Rule means, and they blindly believe that they will do better
still under a Dublin Parliament. I am quite certain of the contrary.
Suppose we want £500 for some improvement, who will lend us the money?
I am satisfied that the prosperity of the place would immediately
decline. The priests influence the people to an extent Englishmen can
never understand. The Protestant clergy do not intervene in mundane
matters, but the Catholic clergy consider it their duty to guide the
people in politics as well as in religion. Given Home Rule,
Protestantism and Protestants would be nowhere. There is no doubt in
my mind on this point."

Mr. Mason said:--"The whole agitation would be knocked on the head by
the introduction of a severe land measure, which would have the effect
of further reducing the rents. No doubt all previous land legislation
has been very severe, and I do not say that a further measure would be
just and equitable. I merely say that the people do not want Home
Rule, but they want the advantages which they are told will accrue
from Home Rule. If the measure is not to benefit them in a pecuniary
sense, then they do not care two straws about it. Do the English
people grasp the present position of landowner and tenant
respectively? Let me state it in a very few words.--

"Formerly the landowner was regarded as the owner of the land. At the
present moment, and without a line of further legislation, the tenant
is the real owner, and not the nominal landlord at all. For owing to
reduction of rent, fixity of tenure, free sale, and the tenant-right,
the tenant is actually more than two-thirds owner. This is a matter of
cash and not of theory, for the tenants' rights are at this moment
worth more than double the fee-simple of the land itself. What will
the Gladstonian party who prate about Rack-rents say to this?"

This seems a suitable opportunity for calling attention to the term
Rack-rents, which in England is almost universally misunderstood.
Separatist speakers invariably use the term as denoting an excessive
rent, an impossible rent--a rent, which is, as it were, extorted by
means of the Rack. The term is purely legal, and denotes a rent paid
by ALL yearly tenants, whether their rent, as a whole, be high or low.
The lowest-rented yearly tenant in the country is paying Rack-rent.
The whole case for the farmers has been obscured and a false issue
raised by the constant use of this term, to which a new meaning has
been given. Another common term is found in the word Head-rent, of
which Gladstonians know no more than of Rack-rent. When Head-rent
comes to be discussed in England we shall have Home Rulers explaining
that the term refers to decapitation of tenants for non-payment of
Rack-rent. This explanation will not present any appreciable departure
from their usual vein. An English Home Ruler who supports Mr.
Gladstone "because his father did," and who first landed in Ireland
yesterday, said, "I do not approve of ascendency. Hang the rights of
property! Give me the rights of intellect. Let us have equality.
Treat the Irish fairly, even generously. They should have equal rights
with Englishmen. Why keep them down by force of bayonets? Live and let
live, that's what I say. Equal laws and equal rights for all."

That is the usual patter of the self-satisfied Separatist, who, having
delivered himself, looks around him with an air which seems to
say--"What a fine fellow I am, how generous, fair, disinterested. Have
I not a noble soul? Did you ever see such magnanimity? Can anybody say
anything against such sentiments? Thank heaven that I am not as other
men, nor even as this Unionist." He is plausible, but no more. The mob
which applauds the hero and hisses the villain of a melodrama pats him
on the back, while he looks upward with his hand on his heart and a
heaven-is-my-home expression in his eye. Put him under the
microscope--he needs it, and you will see him as he is. The platitudes
in which he lives, and moves, and has his being have no foundation in
fact. His talk is grand, but it lacks substance. It is magnificent,
but it is not sense. Listen to what a statesman has said:--

"I have looked in vain for the setting forth of any practical scheme
of policy which the Imperial Parliament is not equal to deal with, and
which it refuses to deal with, and which is to be brought about by
Home Rule."

"There is nothing Ireland has asked, and which this country and this
Parliament has refused. This Parliament has done for Ireland what it
would have scrupled to do for England or Scotland."

"What are the inequalities of England and Ireland? I declare that I
know none, except that there are certain taxes still remaining, which
are levied over Englishmen and Scotchmen, and which are not levied
over Irishmen; and, likewise, that there are certain purposes for
which public money is freely and largely given in Ireland, and for
which it is not given in England and Scotland."

I read this deliverance to my Gladstonian friend, who was staggered to
learn upon incontrovertible evidence, to wit, the printed report of
his speech, that these were the publicly expressed opinions of the
Grand Old Man, whose pandering to Irish opinion as expressed by
outrage dates from the time of the Clerkenwell explosion. That his
conversion to Home Rule is entirely attributable to the endless
murders and atrocities of the Land League, the Invincibles, and other
Fenian organisations, is universally admitted in Ireland by Unionists
and Nationalists alike. And once an Irish Parliament is granted, how
will he resist the demand for Irish independence, for the Irish
Republic affiliated with America? Query--if a given number of murders
were required to bring about Home Rule, how many murders will be
required to effect complete separation? A mere question in arithmetic.

Concurrently with the compulsory withdrawal of the Union Jack
displayed by my friend Mrs. Gibson, of Northern Hotel, Londonderry,
another occurrence, this time in the South, will serve to attest the
progress made by the inventor and patentee of the Union of Hearts.
During the progress of a cricket match on the Killarney Athletic
Grounds, between the clubs of Limerick and Kerry, on Whit-Monday, a
Union Jack was hoisted, not as a political banner, but as an ornament,
and the only banner available for the purpose. It was left flying when
the cricketers went home, but in the morning it lay prone and
dishonoured. The forty-foot spar had been sawn through, and in falling
had smashed the palings. Let a chorus of musical Gladstonians march
through Ireland bearing the Union Jack and singing "God save the
Queen," let them do it, with or without police protection, and I will
gladly watch their progress, record their prowess, and will have great
pleasure in writing their obituary notice. The people, as a whole, are
enemies to England. They are filled with a blind, unreasoning,
implacable resentment for injuries they have never received, their
dislike engendered and sustained by lying priests and selfish
agitators, who are hastening to achieve their ends, alarmed at the
prospect of popular enlightenment, which would for ever hurl them from
power. The opinions of Cardinal Logue have been quoted by Lord
Randolph Churchill. The _Freeman's Journal_ is still more absolute.
Does this sound like the Union of Hearts? Does this give earnest of
final settlement, of unbroken peace and contentment, of eternal
fraternity and friendship? The _Freeman_ says, "We contend that the
good government of Ireland by England is _impossible_, not so much by
reason of natural obstacles, but because of the radical, essential
difference in the public order of the two countries. This, considered
in the abstract, makes a gulf profound, impassible--_an obstacle no
human ingenuity can remove or overcome_."

This promises well for the success of the Home Rule Bill; but why is
the thing "impossible"? Why is the gulf not only profound but also
"impassible"? Why is the good government of Ireland by England
prevented by an obstacle beyond human ability to remove, and which, as
Mr. Gladstone would say, "passes the wit of man." The _Freeman_ has no
objection to tell us. The writer assumes a high moral standpoint,
addressing the eminently respectable and religious Mr. Bull more in
sorrow than in anger, but notwithstanding this, in a style to which
that highly moral and Twenty-shillings-in-the-pound-paying person is
not at all accustomed. The _Freeman_ goes on--

"We find ourselves bound by reason and logic to deny to English
civilisation the glorious title of Christian."

This is distinctly surprising. John always believed himself a
Christian. The natural pain he may be expected to undergo after this
disagreeable discovery is luckily to some extent mitigated by the
information that although England is not Christian, Ireland is
extremely so. The one people (the Irish) "has not only accepted but
retained with inviolable constancy the Christian civilisation;" the
other (the English) "has not only rejected it, but has been for three
centuries the leader of the great apostacy, and is at this day _the
principal obstacle to the conversion of the world_."

Do the English Separatists see daylight now? Will they any longer deny
what all intelligent Irishmen of whatever creed readily admit, namely,
that religion is at the bottom of the Home Rule question? And is not
Mr. Bull surprised to find that after all his missionary collections,
he is without the right balm of Gilead, that his civilisation is not
Christian, and that he is the principal obstacle to the salvation of
the world? Is he not surprised to find that Ireland, with its thousand
and ten thousand tales of horror, its brutal outrages on helpless
women, its chronic incendiarism, its myriads of indecent anonymous
letters addressed to young girls, such as I have seen filed by the
ream in Irish police-stations--Ireland with its moonlighting
atrocities, its barbarous boycotting of helpless children, its
poisoning of wells and water supply, its mutilation of cattle, its
unnumbered foul and cowardly murders, its habitual sheltering and
protection of unspeakable felons--Ireland, one of the few remaining
strongholds of the Catholic faith, has the true Christianity? Ireland
would convert the world, but England stops her. The No-rent manifesto,
the Plan of Campaign, and the Land League were sample productions of
the genuine faith, to say nothing of Horsewhipped Healy, Breeches
O'Brien, and T.D. Sullivan, who composed a eulogy on the murderers of
Police-sergeant Brett, of Manchester (Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien),

    High upon the gallows tree
    Swung the noble-hearted three.

That is all I can remember, but it may serve to show that Irish
Christianity is the real stingo, and no mistake.

A Mullingaringian who wishes to be nameless desires to know
particulars of the gorging capacity of the average Gladstonian
elector. The particular item that excites his wonder is the letter of
Mr. J.W. Logan, M.P., on Irish rents. Briefly stated, Mr. Logan's
point is this: That notwithstanding the complaints of Irish landlords
they are getting more rent than ever! And he proceeds to adduce
testimony thus: Income-tax valuation in Ireland, on land, in three
years selected by himself stands as follows:--

    1861            £8,990,830
    1877            £9,937,681
    1891            £9,941,368

Then, after showing the amount of increase, he says:--"Rents continue
to rise in Ireland as far as is indicated by the income-tax."

My friend says:--"Mr. Logan is both culpably ignorant and flagrantly
dishonest. He seems incapable of understanding the difference between
an assessment, a mere valuation, and the actual payment of income-tax.
He is dishonest, because he deliberately suppresses the explanation of
the difference between the first and second row of figures. When I saw
the curiously-selected years, I said, why 1861, 1877, and 1891? I knew
there was some thimble-rigging. I looked at the twenty-eighth annual
report of her Majesty's Commissioners, that for 1885, the latest I
have, and behold, the year 1877 had an asterisk! It was the only
starred number on the page. It referred to a foot-note, and that
foot-note read as follows:--

"'_The large difference as compared with prior years is due to the
value of farmhouses having been previously included under the head of
messuages._'

"The land up to '77 was called land, and the farm buildings were
called messuages. But in '77 they began to reckon the buildings as
land, shifting an amount from one column of figures to another. A mere
matter of book-keeping. Mr. Logan writes to the papers for an
explanation which is given in a footnote. He carries his point, for
hundreds of people will follow his figures. Give a lie twenty-four
hours' start and you can never overtake it. Thrice is he armed who
hath his quarrel just, But four times he who gets his blow in fust. I
suppose the Gladstonians claim that the Land Commission reduced rents
by 25 to 30 per cent. But here Mr. Logan is proving that the landlords
are drawing more money than ever! They wish they could believe it.
Valuation is a queer thing. It fluctuates in the most unaccountable
way. What an increase shows is the prosperity of the tenant who is
putting up buildings and making other improvements. Mr. Logan's third
figures show a further increase. Look at the figures in the authorised
Report, not for '77 and '91, but between the two. What do you see
there?"

I looked, and this is what I saw:--

    1880            £9,980,543
    1881            £9,980,650
    1882            £9,980,215
    1883            £9,981,156
    1884            £9,982,072
    1885            £9,982,031
    1886            £9,954,535

So that Mr. Logan might have shown from these figures that during the
No-Rent Campaign the landlords were enjoying an untold period of
prosperity, for his chosen year, 1891, shows a _decrease_ as compared
with any one of the seven years above-mentioned. The truth is that the
figures prove nothing in support of Mr. Logan's case, which is based
on fallacy and suppression of material facts. His comparison of 1861
with 1877, without reference to the explanatory footnote, is of itself
sufficient to shoulder him out of court, and stamps him as little more
scrupulous than Father Humphreys, of venerated memory. Mr. Logan's
belief that assessment and tax-paying are one and the same thing is
here regarded as ridiculous, and my friend thinks that if Mr.
Gladstone should impose a tax on Brains, the Grand Old Man's followers
will escape with an easy assessment.

Mullingar (Co. Westmeath), June 1st.



No. 30.--THE "UNION OF HEARTS."


It was strange to hear the tune of "Rule Britannia" in the streets of
Mullingar. The Irish madden at "God Save the Queen," and would make
short work of the performer. It was market day, and the singer was
selling printed sheets of poesy. The old tune was fairly correct, but
the words were strange and sad. "When Britain first at Hell's command
Prepared to cross the Irish main, Thus spake a prophet in our land,
'Mid traitors' scoff and fools' disdain, 'If Britannia cross the
waves, Irish ever shall be slaves.' In vain the warning patriot spoke,
In treach'rous guise Britannia came--Divided, bent us to her yoke,
Till Ireland rose, in Freedom's name, and Britannia boldly braves!
Irish are no longer slaves." The people were too busily engaged in
selling pigs to pay much attention to the minstrel who, however, was
plainly depending on disloyalty for custom. Westmeath was once the
home of Whiteboyism, Ribbonism, Fenianism, and all the other isms
which have successively ruined the country by banishing security; and
a spice of the old leaven still flavours the popular sentiment. "They
may swear as they often did our wretchedness to cure, But we'll never
trust John Bull again nor let his lies allure. No we won't Bull, we
won't Bull, for now nor ever more; For we've hopes on the ocean, we've
trust on the shore. Oh! remember the days when their reign we did
disturb, At Limerick and Thurles, Blackwater and Benburb. And ask this
proud Saxon if our blows he did enjoy When we met him on the
battlefield of France, at Fontenoy. Then we'll up for the green, boys,
and up for the green! Oh! 'tis still in the dust and a shame to be
seen! But we've hearts and we've hands, boys, full strong enough, I
ween, To rescue and to raise again our own unsullied green." A group
of farmers standing hard by paid some attention to this chant, and one
of them, in answer to my inquiry as to how the Union of Hearts was
getting on, chuckled vociferously and said, "Aye, aye, Union iv
Hearts, how are ye? How are ye, Union iv Hearts?" The group joined in
the laugh, and I saw that the joke was an old one.

The Invincibles had a few recruits in Mullingar and district, and the
Land Leaguers also made their mark. The stationmaster sued somebody
for travelling without a ticket. He was shot dead in the street
immediately afterwards. Miss Croughan did not meet popular opinion in
the matter of farm management. She was shot as she walked to church
one fine Sunday morning. Patrick Farrelly took land which somebody
else wanted. Shot as he walked home from work. Mr. Dolan, of a flour
mill in the neighbourhood, had some misunderstanding with his workmen.
Shot, on the chance that his successor would take warning, and
accommodate himself to the public sentiment. Miss Ann Murphy, who with
her two brothers lives at a small farm a mile or two away, supplied a
jug of milk, and said that things were quiet for the moment, but there
was no telling what might happen. The house was roofed with corrugated
iron. "Ah," said Miss Murphy, "we were nearly burned to death, myself
an' my two brothers. An' this was the way iv it. Tramps and ruffians
would call here at nightfall, an' would ask for a shelter an' a lie
down, an' I would lay a few bags or something on the flure over
beyant, an' they would sthretch themselves out till mornin', an' often
and often I would wash their cheeks an' heads where they had been
fightin', an' would be all cut an' hacked. One fellow was often here,
an' my brothers had reason to refuse him free lodgin's, an' so the
next mornin' we found the gate lifted off the hinges an' carried away
down the lane. My brothers spoke to the police-sergeant about this,
an' the very next thing was to try to burn us alive in our beds. Some
ruffian came in the night an' put a match in the thatch, an' I woke
almost suffocated. I ran out, an' there was the house on fire, and the
cow-house, with a beautiful, lovely cow, all a solid piece of blazin'
flames, till ye could see nothin' else. We saved the four walls an'
some of the furniture, an' we got £50 from the County. That's the sort
of people the Land League brought out all over the country."

A sturdy farmer living near said:--"An' that's what we'll have to
suffer again, once ye let Home Rulers have the upper hand. The only
way ye can manage these scamps is to make them feel the lash. No good
tomfooling with these murdherin' ruffians. With Home Rule they expect
to do as they like. If I go into a whiskey shop on a market day, what
do I hear? Ever an' always the same things. There is to be no
landlords, no policemen, no means of enforcing the law. There ye have
it, now. The respectable people who work and make money will be a mark
for every robber in the country. An' in Ireland ye can rob and murther
widout fear of consequences. See that hill there? Mrs. Smith had her
brains blown out as she drove by the foot of it. They meant the shot
for her husband, who was with her. They don't make many mistakes. They
bide their time, avoid hurry, and do the work both nately an'
complately. They track down their victims like sleuth hounds, an'
there's one thing they never go in for,--that's executions. Mrs.
Smith, Farrelly, Dolan, Miss Croughan, and the stationmaster, were all
comfortably shot without anyone incurring evil consequences. It's
devilish hard to catch an Irishman, an' when ye've caught him it's
harder still to convict him. They're improvin' in their plannin', but
they are not so sure o' their shootin' as they used to be. They fired
at Moloney from both sides of the road at once. That was a good idea.
But they failed to kill him, and seven of them are arrested. Of
course, we'll have no convictions, but it looks better to arrest them,
an' it ensures the man that's arrested a brass band an' a collection.
So everybody's pleased an' nobody hurt. An' what would ye ask for
more?"

On Thursday last, at eleven in the morning, Mr. Weldon C. Moloney,
solicitor, of Dublin, was driving near Milltown, on the Bodyke
property, when he was wounded from the ankle to the thigh by several
simultaneous shots from both sides of the road, and the horse so badly
injured that it must probably be destroyed. Mr. Moloney believes that
he will be able to identify his assailants, and the police are sure
they have the right men. Nothing, therefore, is now wanting to the
formalities accompanying the Morley administration of Justice but the
march to Court, the cheers of the crowd, the twelve good men and
true--who, having sworn to return a verdict in accordance with the
evidence, will assuredly say Not Guilty--and the brass band to
accompany the marksmen home. If the heroes of this adventure be
liberated in the evening a torchlight procession will make the thing
complete, and will be handy for burning the haystacks of anyone who
may not have joined the promenade.

Athlone is well built and beautifully situated. The Shannon winds
round the town, and also cuts it in two, so that one-half is in County
Westmeath, province of Leinster, the other in County Roscommon,
province of Connaught. The people are fairly well clad, but dirt and
squalor such as can hardly be conceived are plentiful enough. The
Shannon Saw Mills, which for twenty years have given employment to two
hundred men, will shortly be removed to Liverpool, and the Athloners
are sad at heart and refuse to be comforted. The concern belongs to
Wilson, of Todmorden, Lancashire; and the manager, Mr. Lewis Jones,
says that all the timber within reasonable distance is used up,
besides which the place is not well fixed for business purposes. The
workpeople are manageable enough, but somewhat uncertain in their
attendance. They require a half-hour extra at breakfast time every now
and then, perhaps twenty times a year or more, that they may attend
mass, on the saints' days and such like occasions.

This reminded me of my first entrance to Galway. All the bridges and
other lounging places were covered with men who looked as if they
ought to be at work. It was Ascension Day, and nobody struck a stroke.
My invasion of Athlone afforded a similar experience. There were
sixty-five able-bodied men lounging on the Shannon bridge at three in
the afternoon--all deeply anxious to know whence I came and whither I
was going, all with an intense desire to learn my particular business.
Other pauper factories were in full swing, and at the first blush it
seemed that the Athloners lived by looking at the river and discussing
the affairs of other people. It was Corpus Christi Day, and none but
heathen would work. The brutal Saxon with his ding-dong persistency
may be making money, but how about his future interests? When the last
trump shall sound and the dead shall be raised, where will be the
workers on saints' days? Among the goats. But the men who spend these
holy seasons in smoking thick twist, with the Shannon for a spittoon,
will reap the reward of their self-denial.

Mr. Lewis Jones has always taken a strong interest in politics, and
his present opinion is remarkable. "I came to Ireland a Gladstonian, a
Home Ruler, and, what is more, a bigoted Home Ruler. How the change to
my present opinion was brought about I hardly know. It was not
revolution, but rather evolution. No-one can remain a Home Ruler when
he understands the subject. The change in myself came about through
much travelling all over the country and mixing with the people. I do
not blame the English Home Rulers a bit. How can I do so, when I
myself was just as ignorant? Had I remained in Liverpool I should have
remained a Home Ruler. I am certain of that. Unless you actually live
in the country you cannot gauge its feeling, and the Irish people are
very difficult to understand. I have always got along with them
famously, and I shall take ninety per cent. of our workmen with me to
England. No, Home Rule has nothing to do with the removal of the
works.

"My cousin and I worked like horses to get in Mr. Neville for the
Exchange Division of Liverpool. We actually won, for by a piece of
adroit management we polled a number of votes which would certainly
have remained unpolled, and we polled them all for our man, who won by
a very small majority, eleven, I think. I would willingly go to
Liverpool to undo that work, as I now see how completely I was
mistaken in my views of the Irish question. I was always a great
Radical, and such I shall always remain; but as a Radical I am bound
to support what is best for the masses of the people, and I am
convinced that Home Rule would reduce the country to beggary.
Bankruptcy must and will ensue, and with the flight of the landowners
and the destruction of confidence, employment will be unobtainable.
Who will embark capital in Ireland under present circumstances?"

A financial authority told me that poor Ireland has thirty-six
millions of uninvested money lying idle in the banks. The Irish not
only lack enterprise, but they will not trust each other. Great
opportunities are lying thickly around, but they seem unable to avail
themselves of the finest openings. Mr. Smith, of Athlone, makes twelve
and a half miles of Irish tweed every week, and sells it rather faster
than he can make it. He commenced with two shillings a week wages, and
now he owns a factory and employs five hundred people. A Black
Protestant, of course. Mr. Samuel Heaton, of Bradford, is about to go
and do likewise. I went over his place an hour ago, and this is what
he said:--"This was a flour mill which cost £10,000 to build. The
machinery would cost £10,000 more, I should think. It did well for
many years, and then it was left to three brothers, who disputed about
it until the concern was ruined as a paying business, and the place
was allowed to lie derelict. The water power alone cost them £100 a
year, and goodness knows what these splendid buildings would be worth.
The Board of Works had got hold of it, and it was understood that
anybody might have it a bargain, but nobody came forward. I offered
them £30 a year for the whole of the buildings, the waterpower, and
the dwelling house hard by, also that other immense building yonder,
which might prove handy for a store-house; and my offer was accepted.
I took all at that rent for sixty years, with six months' free tenancy
to start with, and I was also to have a free gift of all machinery and
fittings in the place. Here we are going nicely, only in a small way,
but we shall do. We make blankets, tweeds for men's suits and ladies'
dresses. When the Athlone people saw us knocking about they were
surprised they had never thought of it before. There are hundreds of
derelict flour mills going to ruin all over the country, and the
owners would gladly let anyone have them and grand water power for
nothing for two or three years, just to get a chance of obtaining rent
at some future day. We work from morning till night, and neither I nor
my sons have ever tasted a spot of intoxicating liquor. Now there are
many small mills going in the country, the proprietors of which go on
the spree three days a week. If they can do, we can do. This is going
to be a big thing. The only difficulty I have is to turn out the
stuff. Irish tweeds have such a reputation that we simply cannot meet
the demand. Mills and water power may be had for next to nothing, but
the Irish have no enterprise, and the English are afraid to put any
money in the country under present circumstances."

The Lock Mills above mentioned are three or four stories high, with
perhaps a hundred yards of front elevation, a grandly built series of
stone buildings close to the Shannon, which is here about a hundred
and twenty yards wide, and carries tolerably large steamers and
lighters. Six months' occupancy for nothing, the old machinery a free
gift, water power and buildings for sixty years at £30 a year. I have
previously mentioned the twelve big mills abandoned on the Boyne.
Twelve openings for small capitalists--but Irishmen put their money in
stockings, under the flure, in the thatch. _They_ will not trust
Irishmen, although they have no objection to John Bull's doing so. A
bank manager of this district said:--

"Poor Connaught, as they call the province, is a great hoarder. And
when Irishmen invest they invest outside Ireland. Seventy-eight
thousand pounds in the Post Office savings bank in Mayo, the most
poverty-stricken district--as they will tell you. There is Connaught
money in Australia, in America, in England, and in all kinds of
foreign bonds. Irishmen want to keep their hoardings secret. They like
to walk about barefoot and have money in their stocking. An old woman
who puts on and takes off her shoes outside the town has three sons
high up in the Civil Service, and could lend you eight hundred pounds.
You would take her for a beggar and might offer her a penny, and she'd
take it. Have you noticed the appalling mendicancy of Ireland? Have
you reflected on the 'high spirit' of the Irish people? Have you
remembered their pride, their repugnance to the Saxon? And have you
noticed the everlastingly outstretched hands which meet you at every
corner? Beggary, lying, dirt, and laziness invariably accompany
priestly rule, and are never seen in Ireland in conjunction with
Protestantism? I wish somebody would explain this. The Irish masses
are the dirtiest and laziest in the world, but there are no dirty,
lazy Protestants. Nobody ever heard of such a thing. And yet because
there are more dirty, lazy Catholics than clean, industrious
Protestants Mr. Gladstone would give the Catholic party the mastery,
and England in future would be ruled from Rome.

"Mr. Gladstone is not responsible for his actions. The Civil Service
will not employ a man after sixty-five. The British Government forbids
a man to work in its service after that time. The consensus of
scientific opinion has fixed sixty-five as the limit at which the
control of an office or the execution of routine office work should
cease. Slips of memory occur, and the brain has lost its keen edge,
its firm grip, its rapid grasp of detail. At sixty-five you are not
good enough for the Civil Service, but at eighty-four, when you are
nineteen years older, you may govern a vast empire. It is an anomaly.
Even the Nationalists think Mr. Gladstone past his work."

This statement was fully borne out by a strong anti-Parnellite of
Athlone. He said:--"The bill is a hoax, but it is better than nothing.
We'll take what we can get, an' we'll get what we can take--afterwards.
Ye wouldn't be surprised that the people's bitter about the bill. Sure,
'tis no Home Rule it is at all, even if we got it as it first stood.
'Tis an insult to offer such a bill to the Irish nation. We want
complete independence. We have a sort of a yoke on us, an' we'll never
rest till we get it off. Ye say 'This'll happen ye, and That'll happen
ye,' an' ye care the divil an' all about it. We don't care what
happens, once we get rid of that yoke. A friend of mine said yesterday,
'I never see an Englishman but I think I'd like to have him under my
feet, an' meself stickin' somethin' into him.' There's murther in their
hearts, an' ye can't wonder at it. An' owld Gladstone's a madman, no
less. I'm towld he ordhers a dozen top hats at once, an' his wife gets
the shop-keeper to take thim back. An' I'm towld he stales the spoons
whin he goes out to dine wid his frinds, an' that his wife takes thim
back in a little basket nixt mornin'. And I thought that was all
nonsinse till I seen the bill. An' thin I felt I could believe it; for,
bedad, nobody but a madman could have drawn up sich a measure, to
offind everybody, an' plaze nobody. 'Tis what ye'd expect from a
lunatic asylum. But, thin, 'tis Home Rule. 'Tis the principle; an' as
the mimber for Roscommon says, ''Tis ourselves will apply it, an' 'tis
ourselves will explain it. That's where we'll rape the advantage,' says
he."

The Athlone market is "now on," and several hundred cows and calves
are lowing in front of the Royal, Mrs. Haire's excellent caravanserai.
Sheep are bleating, and excited farmers are yelling like pandemonium
or an Irish House of Commons. Athlone is a wonderful place for
donkeys, which swell the nine-fold harmony with incessant cacophonous
braying, so that the town might fairly claim the distinction of being
the chosen home, if not the _fons et origo_, of Nationalist oratory.

Athlone, June 3rd.



No. 31.--THE "UNION OF HEARTS."


Once again the Atlantic stops me. The eighty-three miles of country
between here and Athlone have brought about no great change in the
appearance of the people, who, on the whole, are better clad than the
Galway folks. The difference in customs, dress, language, manners, and
looks between one part of Ireland and another close by is sometimes
very considerable. There is a lack of homogeneity, a want of fusion,
an obvious need of some mixing process. The people do not travel, and
in the rural districts many of them live and die without journeying
five miles from home. The railways now projected or in process of
construction will shortly change all this, and the tourist, with more
convenience, will no longer be able to see the Ireland of centuries
ago. The language is rapidly dying out. Not a word of Irish did I hear
in Athlone, even on market day. The Westporters know nothing about it.
The tongue of the brutal Saxon is everywhere heard. The degenerate
Irish of these latter days cannot speak their own language. They
preach, teach, quarrel, pray, swear, mourn, sing, bargain, bless,
curse, make love in English. They are sufficiently familiar with the
British vernacular to lie with the easy grace of a person speaking his
mother-tongue. They are a gifted people, and a patriotic--at least
they tell us so, and the Irish, they say, is the queen of languages,
the softest, the sweetest, the most poetical, the most sonorous, the
most soul-satisfying. And yet the patriot members speak it not.
William O'Brien is said to know a little, but only as you know a
foreign language. He could not address the people on the woes of
Ireland, could not lash the brutal Saxon, could not express in his
native tongue the withering outpourings of his patriotic soul. He
always speaks in English, of which he thinks foul scorn. He is the
best Gaelic scholar of the rout, and yet he could not give you the
Irish for breeches.

Westport is splendidly situated in a lovely valley watered by a
nameless stream which empties itself into Clew Bay. A grand range of
mountains rises around, the pyramidal form of Croagh Patrick
dominating the quay. It was from the summit of this magnificent height
that Saint Patrick sent forth the command which banished from the
Green Isle the whole of the reptile tribe. "The Wicklow Hills are very
high, An' so's the hill of Howth, Sir; But there's a hill much higher
still, Aye, higher than them both, Sir! 'Twas from the top of this
high hill Saint Patrick preached the sarmint, That drove the frogs out
of the bogs An' bothered all the varmint. The toads went hop, the
frogs went flop, Slap-dash into the water, An' the snakes committed
suicide to save themselves from slaughter." Pity there is no modern
successor of Saint Patrick to extirpate the reptilia of the present
day, the moonlighters and their Parliamentary supporters, to wit.

The Westport people are very pious. As I have previously shown by
quotations from Irish authorities, Ireland has the true Christianity
which England so sadly needs. Unhindered by England, Ireland would
evangelise the world, and that in double-quick time. Every town I
visit is deeply engaged in religious exercises. In Limerick it was a
Triduum with some reference to Saint Monica. In Cork it was something
else, which required much expenditure in blessed candles. In Galway
the Confraternity of the Holy Girdle was making full time, and in
Westport three priests are laying on day and night in a mission. A few
days ago they carried the Corpus Christi round the place, six hundred
children strewing flowers under the sacerdotal feet, and the crowds of
worshippers who flocked into the town necessitated the use of a tent,
from which the money-box was stolen. On Sunday last the bridge
convaynient to the chapel was covered with country folks who could not
get into the building, and a big stall with sacred images in plaster
of Paris and highly-coloured pictures in cheap frames was doing a
roaring trade. Barefooted women were hurrying to chapel to get
pictures blessed, or walking leisurely home with the sanctified
treasure under their shawls. A brace of scoffers on the bridge
explained the surging crowd, and advised instant application, that
evening being the last. "Get inside, wid a candle in yer fist, an' ye
can pray till yer teeth dhrop out iv yer head." This irreverence is
probably one of the accursed fruits of contact with the sacrilegious
Saxon. "The people here are cowardly, knavish, and ignorant," said an
Irishman twenty years resident in Westport. "They believe anything the
priests tell them, and they will do anything the priests may order or
even hint at. They would consider it an honour if the priests told
them to lie down that they might walk over them. Politically they are
entirely in the hands of the Roman Catholic clergy. They are totally
unable to understand or to grasp the meaning of the change now
proposed, which would place the country entirely at the mercy of the
clerical party. We see the result of popular election in the return of
Poor Law Guardians, who spend most of their time in calling each other
beggars and liars. Patronage under the Home Rule Bill would mean the
instalment of the relatives of priests in all the best offices. Once
we have an Irish Parliament, a man of capacity may leave the country
unless he have a priest for his uncle.

"We want a liberal measure of Local Government, and a final settlement
of the land question. The poor people are becoming poorer and poorer
through this eternal agitation which drives away wealth and capital,
and undermines the value of all Irish securities. Poor as we were, we
were much better off before the agitation commenced. The poor
themselves are becoming alive to the fact that continuous agitation
means continuous poverty. We must now have some sort of Home Rule, but
we shall be ruined if we get it from a Liberal Government. If we get
it from a Tory Government, the English will run to lend us money, but
if from a Morley-Gladstone combination they won't advance us a stiver.
The present Irish Parliamentary representatives have the confidence
of no single Irish party. They were well enough for their immediate
purpose, and no better men would come forward. To entrust them with
large powers is the very acme of wild insanity. Admitting their
honesty, which is doubtful, they have had no experience in business
affairs, and their class is demonstratedly devoid of administrative
capacity. The Poor Law Guardians of Cork, Portumna, Ballinasloe,
Swinford, Ballyvaughan, and many other towns and cities, have by their
mismanagement brought their respective districts to insolvency. That
every case was a case of mismanagement is clearly proved by the fact
that the Government having superseded these Boards in each case by two
paid Guardians, a period of two years has sufficed to wipe off all
debts, to reduce expenses, and to leave a balance in hand. They then
begin to drift again into insolvency. And where the guardians have not
been superseded, where they have not yet become bankrupt, they still
have a bank balance against them. You will scarcely hear of a solvent
parish, even if you offer a reward. And that is the class of persons
Mr. Gladstone would entrust with the administration of Irish finance.
The result would be the country's bankruptcy, and England would have
to pay the damage. Serve England right for her stupidity."

What my friend said anent the class of men who compose the ranks of
the Irish Parliamentary party reminds me of something I heard in
Athlone. A great anti-Parnellite said:--"Poor Mat Harris was the
splindid spaker, in throth! Parnell it was that sent him to the House
of Commons. Many's the time I seen him on the roof of the Royal Hotel,
fixin the tiles, an' puttin things sthraight, that the rain wouldn't
run in. 'Tis a slater he was, an' an iligant slater, at that. An' when
he came down for a big dhrink, the way he'd stand at the bar and
discoorse about Ireland would brake yer heart. Many's the time I seen
the ould waiter listenin' to him till the wather would pour out iv his
two good-lookin' eyes. An, thin, 'twas Mat Harris had the gab, rest
his sowl! Ye haven't anybody could come up to him barrin' owld
Gladstone, divil a one." Another Athloner, speaking of an Irish
Nationalist M.P., who luckily still lives, said:--"Mr. Parnell took
him up because he was a wonderful fellow to talk, and so was popular
with the mob of these parts. I think he was a blacksmith by trade.
Parnell got him made M.P., and set him up with a blue pilot coat, but
forgot to give him a handkerchief. So he used the tail of his coat
alternately with his coat sleeve. He never had a pocket-handkerchief
in his life, but he was a born legislator, and the people believed he
could do much to restore the vaunted ancient prestige and prosperity
of Ireland. He came to Athlone, and went to the Royal, but the waiter,
who did not know he was speaking to a member of Parliament, and
moreover one of his own kidney, declined to take him in, and
recommended a place where he could get a bed for Thruppence! And the
M.P. actually had to take it. This was only inconsistent with his new
dignity, and not with his previous experiences. This is the kind of
person who is to direct Irish legislation more efficiently than the
educated class, who unanimously object to Home Rule as detrimental to
the interests of both countries, and as likely to further impoverish
poor Ireland. The men who now represent the 'patriotic' party will
feather their own nests. They care for nothing more."

The Westport folks may not deserve the strictures of their friend of
twenty years, but two things are plainly visible. They are dirty, and
they have no enterprise. The island-dotted Clew Bay and the sublime
panorama of mountain scenery, the sylvan demesne of the Earl of Sligo,
and the forest-bordered inlets of Westport Bay, form a scene of
surpassing loveliness and magnificence such as England and Wales
together cannot show. The town is well laid out, the streets are broad
and straight, and Lord Sligo's splendid range of lake and woodland,
free to all, adjoins the very centre. And yet the shops are small and
mean, the houses are dirty and uninviting, and dunghills front the
cottages first seen by the visitor. A breezy street leads upward to
the heights, and all along it are dustheaps, with cocks and hens
galore, scratching for buried treasure. At the top a stone railway
bridge, the interstices facing the sea full of parsley fern, wild
maidenhair, hart's-tongue, and a beautiful species unknown to me. The
bracing air of the Atlantic sweeps the town, which is sheltered withal
by miles of well-grown woods. The houses are dazzling white, and like
the Rhine villages look well from a distance. Beware the interiors, or
at least look before you leap. Then you will probably leap like the
stricken hart, and in the opposite direction. You will be surprised at
your own agility. Flee from the "Lodgings and Entertainment" announced
in the windows. Your "Entertainment" is likely to be livelier than you
expected, and you will wish that your Lodgings were on the cold, cold
ground. The Westporters are too pious to wash themselves or their
houses. "They wash the middle of their faces once a month," said a
Black Methodist. For there are Methodists here, likewise Presbyterians
and Plymouth Brethren--besides the Church of Ireland folks, who only
are called Protestants. All these must be exempted from the charge of
dirtiness. Cleanliness, neatness, prosperity, and Protestantism seem
to go together. Father Humphreys himself would not deny this dictum.

For the other clause of the indictment--lack of enterprise--the
Westporters are no worse and no better than their neighbours. The
Corkers make nothing of their harbour, spending most of their time in
talking politics and cursing England. Commercial men speak of the
difficulty of doing business at Cork, which does not keep its
appointments, is slippery, and requires much spirituous lubrication.
Cork ruins more young commercial men than any city in Britain, and
owing to the unreliability of its citizens, is more difficult to work.
Galway has scores of ruined warehouses and factories, and has been
discussing the advisability of building a Town Hall for forty years
at least. Limerick has a noble river, with an elaborate system of
quays, on which no business is done. The estuary of the Shannon, some
ten miles wide, lies just below, opening on the Atlantic; and a little
enterprise would make the city the Irish head-quarters for grain. The
quays are peopled by loafers, barefooted gossiping women, and dirty,
ragged children playing at marbles. Great buildings erected to hold
the stores that never come, or to manufacture Irish productions which
nobody makes, are falling into ruin. I saw the wild birds of the air
flying through them, while the people were emigrating or complaining,
and nothing seemed to flourish but religious services and
fowl-stealing. It was during my sojourn in Limerick that somebody
complained to the Town Council of poultry depredations, which
complaint drew from that august body a counter-complaint to the effect
that the same complainant had complained before, and that he always
did it during a Retreat, that is, when the town was full of people
engaged in special religious services--so that the heretic observer,
and especially the representative of the _Gazette_, referred to by
name, might couple the salvation of souls with the perdition of hens,
to the great discredit of the faith. But this is a digression.

Westport should brush itself up, cleanse its streets, tidy up its
shops, sanitate its surroundings, and offer decent accommodation to
tourists. The latter does exist, but is scarce and hard to find. The
people of Cork, Limerick, and Galway blame England and English rule
for the poverty which is their own fault alone. They hate the
Northerners as idle unsuccessful men hate successful industrious men.
Belfast is a standing reproach. The people of Leinster, Munster, and
Connaught have had the same government under which Ulster has
flourished, with incomparably greater advantages of soil and climate
than Ulster, with better harbours and a better trading position. But
instead of working they stand with folded hands complaining. Instead
of putting their own shoulders to the wheel they wait for somebody to
lift them out of the rut. Instead of modern methods of agriculture,
fishing, or what not, they cling to the ancient ways, and resent
advice. The women will not take service; the men will not dig, chop,
hammer. They are essentially bone-idle--laziness is in their blood.
They will not exert themselves. As Father McPhilpin says, "They will
not move. You cannot stir them if you take them by the shoulders and
haul at them." What will Home Rule do for such people? Will it serve
them instead of work? Will it content the grumblers? Will it silence
the agitators? Will it convert the people to industry? Will it imbue
them with enterprise? Will it make them dig, chop, fish, hammer? Will
it make the factory hands regular day by day? Will it cause the women
to wash themselves and cleanse their houses? Will it change their
ingrained sluttishness to tidiness and neatness and decency? Father
Mahony, of Cork, said that the Irish fisherman turned his back on the
teeming treasures of the deep, because he groaned beneath the cruel
English yoke. Since then I have seen him fishing, but I did not hear
him groan. He wanted boats, nets, and to be taught their use. Mr.
Balfour supplied him with plant and instructions. Father Mahony and
his tribe of wind-bags feed the people on empty air. The starving poor
ask for bread, and they get a speech. They are told to go on
grumbling, and things will come all right. Nobody ever tells them to
work. Murder and robbery, outrage and spoliation, landlord-shooting
and moonlighting, are easier ways of getting what they want. The Plan
of Campaign, the No Rent combination, the Land League brotherhood when
rightly considered, were just so many substitutes for honest work.
Ireland will be happy when Ireland is industrious, and not a moment
before.

No need to say that the Westporters are Home Rulers. The clean and
tidy folks, the Protestant minority, are heart and soul against the
bill, but the respectable voters are swamped all over Ireland, by
devotees of the priests. "We think the franchise much too low," said a
Presbyterian. "We think illiterate Ireland, with its abject servility
to the Catholic clergy, quite unfit to exercise the privilege of
sending men to Parliament. We think the intelligent minority should
rule, and that the principles which obtain in other matters might well
be applied to Parliamentary elections. These ignorant people are no
more fit to elect M.P.'s than to elect the President of the Royal
Society or the President of the Royal Academy. And yet if mere numbers
must decide, if the counting of heads is to make things right or
wrong, why not let the people decide these distinctions? The West of
Ireland folks know quite as much of art or science as of Home Rule, or
any other political question. They have returned, and will in future
return, the nominees of the priests."

One of the highest legal authorities in Ireland, himself a Roman
Catholic, said to me:--

"You saw the elections voided by reason of undue priestly influence.
That was because, in the cases so examined, money was available to pay
the costs of appeal. If there had been money enough to contest every
case where a Nationalist was returned, you would have seen every such
election proved equally illegal, and every one would have been
adjudicated void."

The Westport folks are looking for great things from the great
Parliament in College Green. A Sligo man who has lived in Dublin was
yesterday holding forth on these prospective benefits, his only
auditor being one Michael, an ancient waiter of the finest Irish
brand. Michael is both pious and excitable, and must have an abnormal
bump of wonder. He is a small man with a big head, and is very
demonstrative with his hands. He abounds with pious (and other)
ejaculations, and belongs to that popular class which is profuse in
expressions of surprise and admiration. The most commonplace
observation evokes a "D'ye see that, now?" a "D'ye tell me so, thin?"
or a "Whillaloo! but that bates all!" As will be seen, Michael
artistically suits his exclamations to the tone and matter of the
principal narrator, mixing up Christianity and Paganism in a quaintly
composite style, but always keeping in harmony with the subject. The
Sligo man said:--

"I seen the mails go on the boat at Kingstown, an' there was hundhreds
of bags, no less."

"Heavenly Fa-a-ther!" said Michael, throwing up eyes and hands.

"Divil a lie in it. 'Twas six hundhred, I believe."

"Holy Moses preserve us!"

"An' the rivinue is millions an' millions o' pounds."

"The saints in glory!"

"An' wid Home Rule we'd have all that for Oireland."

"Julius Saysar an' Nibuchadnizzar!"

"Forty millions o' goolden sovereigns, divil a less."

"Thunder an' ouns, but ye startle me!"

"An' we're losin' all that"--

"Save _an'_ deliver us!"

"Becase the English takes it"--

"Holy Virgin undefiled!"

"To pay peelers an' sojers"--

"Bloody end to thim!"

"To murther and evict us"--

"Lord help us!"

"An' collect taxes an' rint."

"Hell's blazes!"

Ten minutes after this conversation under my window Michael adroitly
introduced the subject of postal profits in Ireland. I told him there
was an ascertained loss of £50,000 a year, which the new Legislature
would have to make up somehow. Michael bore the change with fortitude.
The loss of forty millions plus fifty thousand would have upset many a
man, but Michael only threw up his eyes and said very softly--

"Heavenly Fa-a-ther!"

Westport, June 6th.



No. 32.--HOME RULE AND IRISH IMMIGRATION.


A bright country town with a big green square called The Mall,
bordered by rows of great elm trees and brilliantly whitewashed
houses. The town is about a mile from the station, and the way is
pleasant enough. Plenty of trees and pleasant pastures with thriving
cattle, mansions with umbrageous carriage-drives, and the immense mass
of Croagh Patrick fifteen miles away towering over all. The famous
mountain when seen from Castlebar, is as exactly triangular as an
Egyptian pyramid, or the famous mound of Waterloo. Few British heights
have the striking outline of Croagh Patrick, which may be called the
Matterhorn of Ireland. Castlebar is always dotted with soldiers, The
Buffs are now marching through the town, on their way to the exercise
ground, but the sight is so familiar that the street urchins hardly
turn their heads. The Protestant Church, square-towered, fills a
corner of The Mall, and there stands a statue of General O'Malley,
with a drawn sword of white marble. Lord Lucan, of the Balaklava
Charge, hailed from Castlebar. The town and its precincts belong to
the Lucans. There is a convent with a big statue of the Virgin Mary,
and the usual high wall. The shops are better than those of Westport,
and the streets are far above the Irish average in order and
cleanliness. The country around is rich in antiquities. Burrishoole
Abbey and Aughnagower Tower, with the splendid Round Tower of
Turlough, are within easy distance, the last a brisk hour's walk from
Castlebar. There in the graveyard I met a Catholic priest of more than
average breadth and culture, who discussed Home Rule with apparent
sincerity, and with a keener insight than is possessed by most of his
profession. He said:--

"When the last explosion took place at Dublin, the first to apprise me
of the affair was the Bishop of my diocese, whose comment was summed
up in the two words 'Castle job!' Now that riled me. I am tired of
that kind of criticism."

Here I may interpolate the critique of Colonel Nolan, who was the
first to apprise me of the occurrence.--"I do not say that the Irish
Government officials are responsible for the explosion. That would not
be fair, as there is no evidence against them. But I do say that if
they did arrange the blow-up they could not have selected a better
time, and if some mistaken Irish Nationalist be the guilty person he
could not have selected a worse time from a patriotic point of view."
Thus spake the Colonel, who has an excellent reputation in his own
district. The stoutest Conservatives of Tuam speak well of him. "All
the Nolans are good," said a staunch Unionist; and another said, "The
Nolans are a good breed. The Colonel is good, and Sebastian Nolan is
just as good. Nobody can find fault with the Nolans apart from
politics." The Colonel is one of the nine Parnellites accursed of the
priests. Perhaps he was present at the Parnellite meeting at Athenry,
regarding which Canon Canton, parish priest of Athenry, declared from
the altar that every person attending it would be guilty of mortal
sin. English readers will note that the Parnellites resent priestly
dictation.

Another interpolation anent "the Castle job." I thought to corner a
great Athlone politician by questions _re_ the recent moonlighting,
incendiarism, and attempted murders in Limerick and Clare. He said--

"All these things are concocted and paid for by the Tories of England.
The reason Balfour seemed to be so successful was simple enough when
you know the explanation. Balfour and his friends kept the
moonlighters and such like people going. They paid regular gangs of
marauders to disturb the country while the Liberals were in power.
When the Tories get in, these same gangs are paid to be quiet. Then
the Tories go about saying, 'Look at the order we can keep.' Every
shot fired in County Clare is paid for by the English Tories. Sure, I
have it from them that knows. Ye might talk for a month an' ye'd never
change my opinion. There's betther heads than mine to undershtand
these things, men that has the larnin', an' is the thrue frinds of
Ireland. When I hear them spake from the altar 'tis enough for me. I
lave it to them. Ye couldn't turn me in politics or religion, an' I
wouldn't listen to anybody but my insthructors since I was twelve
inches high." Well might Colonel Winter, who knows the speaker
above-mentioned, say to me, "He has read a good deal, but his reading
seems to have done him no good."

It is time I went back to Turlough's Tower and my phoenix priest who
was riled to hear his Bishop speak of the Dublin explosion as a
"Castle job." He claimed that "the clergy are unwilling instruments in
the hands of the Irish people, who are unconquerable even after seven
hundred years of English rule. The Irish priesthood is so powerful an
element of Irish life, not because it leads, but because it follows.
Powerful popular movements coerce the clergy, who are bound to join
the stream, or be for ever left behind. No doubt at all that, being
once in, they endeavour to direct the current of opinion in the course
most favourable to the Catholic religion. To do otherwise would be to
deny their profession, to be traitors to the Church. They did not
commence the agitation. The Church instinctively sticks to what is
established, and opposes violent revolutionary action. History will
bear me out. The clergy stamped out the Smith-O'Brien insurrection.
The Catholic clergy of the present day, mostly the sons of farmers,
are perhaps more ardently political than the clergy of a former day, a
little less broad in view, a little more hot-headed; yet in the main
are subject to the invariable law I laid down at first--that is, they
only follow and direct, they do not lead, or at any rate they only
place themselves in the front when the safety of the Church demands
it. The bulk of the clergy believe that the time to lead has now come.
My own opinion, in which I am supported by a very few,--but I am happy
to say a very distinguished few,--is this: The Roman Catholic Church
is making immense progress in England; a closer and closer connection
with England will ultimately do far more for the Church than can be
hoped from revolutionary and republican Ireland. We should by a Home
Rule Bill gain much ground at first, but we should as rapidly lose it,
while our hold on England would be altogether gone. Many of the
so-called Catholic Nationalists are atheists at heart, and the
tendency of modern education is decidedly materialistic. So that
instead of progressive conquest the Church would experience
progressive decline, which would be all the more striking after the
great but momentary accession of prestige conferred by the Home Rule
Bill. My theory is--Let well alone. The popular idea is to achieve
commanding and lasting success at a blow."

The Castlebar folks have diverse opinions, the decent minority, the
intelligence of the place, being Unionist, as in every other Irish
town. A steady, well-clad yeoman said:--"I've looked at the thing in a
hundred ways, and although I confess that I voted for Home Rule, yet
when we have time to consider it, and to watch the debate on every
point, we may be excused if we become doubtful as to the good it will
do. The people round here are so ignorant, that talking sense to them
is waste of time. They will put their trust in coal mines and the like
of that. Now, I have gone into the subject of Irish mines. I have read
the subject up from beginning to end. Wicklow gold would cost us a
pound for ten shillings' worth. The silver mines wouldn't pay, and the
lead mines are a fraud; while the copper mines would ruin anybody who
put their money into them. I know something about Irish coal. Lord
Ranfurly did his best for Irish coal at Dungannon. Mines were sunk and
coal was found, but it was worthless. Well, it fetched half a crown a
ton, and people on the spot went on paying a guinea a ton for
Newcastle coal because it was cheaper in the end. We may have iron,
but what's the good when we have no coal to smelt it? The Irish
forests which formerly were used for this purpose are all gone. Then
the people put their trust in wool and cotton manufactures. They may
do something with the wool, because England is waking up to the
superior quality of Irish woollen productions; but in the cotton
England is here, there and everywhere before us. 'Oh,' say some who
should know better, 'put a duty on English goods, and make the Irish
buy their own productions.' What rubbish! when England buys almost
every yard of Irish woollen stuff, and could choke us off in a moment
by counter-tariffs. Without English custom the Irish tweed mills would
not run a single day.

"As an Irishman, I should like to have a Parliament of my own. I
suppose that is a respectable ambition. At the same time, I cannot see
where it would do us any substantial good. No, I do not think the
present Nationalist members loyal to the English Crown. Nor are they
traitors. A priest explained that very well. There's a distinction. 'A
man may not be loyal and yet not be a traitor, for how can a man be a
traitor to a foreign government?' said he. That sounded like the
truth. I thought that a reasonable statement. For, after all, we _are_
under foreign rule, and we have a perfect right to revolt against it
and throw off the English yoke if we could do it, and if it suited us
to do it. How to do it has been the talk since my childhood, and many
a year before. It is the leading idea of all secret societies, and
hardly any young man in Kerry and Clare but belongs to one or other of
them. The idea is to get rid of the landlords who hold the country for
England. There it is, now. We'll never be a contented conquered
province like Scotland. We'd be all right if we could only make
ourselves content. But the Divil is in us. That's what ye'll say. The
Divil himself is in Irishmen."

The Mayo folks are great temporary migrants. From the County Mayo and
its neighbour Roscommon come the bands of Irish harvesters which
annually invade England. Latterly they are going more than ever, and
the women also are joining in large numbers. The unsettled state of
the country and the threat of a College Green Parliament have made
work scarcer and scarcer, and the prevailing belief among the better
classes that the bill is too absurd to become law, is not sufficient
to counteract the chronic want of confidence inspired by the presence
of Mr. Gladstone at the helm of state. Five hundred workers went from
Westport Quay to Glasgow the other evening. More than two-thirds were
women from Achil Island, sturdy and sun-burnt, quaintly dressed in
short red kirtle, brilliant striped shawl, and enormous lace-up boots,
of fearful crushing power. Though not forbidding, the women were very
plain, ethnologically of low type, with small turn-up noses, small
eyes, large jaws, and large flat cheekbones. The men were ugly as sin
and coarse as young bulls, of which their movements were remindful. A
piper struck up a jig and couples of men danced wildly about, the
women looking on. Five shillings only for forty hours' sea-sickness,
with permission to stand about the deck all the time. Berths were, of
course, out of the question, and the boat moved slowly into the
Atlantic with hundreds of bareheaded women leaning over the sides.
Another boat-load will land at Liverpool, to return in September and
October. The best-informed people of these parts think that under the
proposed change the young female population of Mayo would be compelled
to stay in England altogether, and that their competition in the
English labour market would materially lower the rate of factory wage.
"They live hard and work like slaves when away from Ireland," said an
experienced sergeant of the Royal Irish Constabulary. "And yet they
are lazy, for on their return they will live somehow on the money they
bring back until the time comes to go again, and during the interval
they will hardly wash themselves. They will not work in their own
districts, nor for their friends, the small farmers. Partly pride,
partly laziness; you cannot understand them. The man who attempts to
explain the inconsistencies of the Irish character will have all his
work before him. Make the country a peasant-proprietary to suit the
small farmers, and the labouring class will go to England and Scotland
to live. The abolition of the big farmers will cut the ground from
under their feet. You will have Ireland bossing your elections, as in
America, and cutting the legs from under your artisans. For let me
tell you that once Paddy learns mechanical work he is a heap smarter
than any Englishman."

If Home Rule should become law, and if England should be over-run by
the charming people of Connaught, the brutal Saxon will be interested
to observe some of the ancient customs to which they cling with a
touching tenacity. Marriage with the Connaught folks is entirely a
matter of pecuniary bargain. The young folks have no act or part in
the arrangements. The seniors meet and form a committee of ways and
means. How much money has your son? How much has your daughter? The
details once understood, the parties agree or disagree, or leave the
matter pending while they respectively look about for a better
bargain. And even if the bargain be ostensibly agreed to, either party
is at liberty to at once break the match, on hearing of something
better. The prospective bride and bridegroom have nothing to say in
the negotiations, and may never have seen each other in their lives.
Previous acquaintance is not considered necessary, and the high
contracting parties are frequently married without having met before
they meet at the altar. This was hard to believe, but careful inquiry
established the fact. Never was a case of rebellion recorded. The lady
takes the goods the gods provide her, and the gentleman believes that
the custom yields all prizes and no blanks. Marriage is indeed a
lottery in Connaught. The system works well, for unfaithfulness is
said to be unknown. The Connaught funerals are impressive. One of
these I have seen, and one contents me well. The coffin arrived on a
country cart, the wife and family of the deceased sitting on the body,
after the fashion attributed to English juries. To sit elsewhere than
on the coffin would in Connaught be considered a mark of disrespect.
The children sit on the head and feet, the wife jumps on the chest of
the dear departed, and away goes the donkey. The party dismount at the
churchyard gates, and as the coffin enters they raise the Irish cry, a
blood-curdling wail that makes your muscles creep, while a cold chill
runs down your spine, and you sternly make for home. You may as well
see it out, for you can hear the "Keen" two miles away against the
wind. The mourners clasp their hands and move them quickly up and
down, recounting the deceased's good deeds, and exclaiming, in Irish
and English, "Why did ye die? Ah, thin, why did ye die?" To which very
reasonable query no satisfactory answer is obtainable. The widow is
expected to tear her hair, if any, and to be perfectly inconsolable
until the churchyard wall is cleared on leaving. Then, and not before,
she may address herself to mundane things. Good "Keeners" are in much
request, and a really efficient howler is sure of regular employment.
The Connaught folks are somewhat rough-and-ready with their dead.
Colonel Winter, of the Buffs, told me that he came across a
donkey-cart in charge of two men, who were waiting at a cross-road. A
coffin had been removed from the cart, and stood on its end hard by.
"I thought it was an empty coffin," said the Colonel, "but it wasn't.
The men were waiting, by appointment, for the mourners, and meanwhile
the old lady in the coffin was standing on her head. Wonderful country
is Ireland.

"An old woman died in the workhouse of typhus fever, or some other
contagious disorder. The corpse was placed in a parish coffin, and
was about to be buried, when a relative came forward and offered to
take charge of the funeral, declining to accept the workhouse coffin.
The authorities consented, on condition that the proposed coffin
should be large enough to enclose the first one, explaining that the
body was dangerously contagious. The relative, a stout farmer, duly
arrived at the workhouse with the new coffin, which was found to be
too small to include the first one, and the authorities thereupon
refused to have the coffins changed. So the mourner knocked down two
men, and, making his way into the dead-room, burst open the receptacle
containing his revered grandmother, whipped her out of the parochial
box, planked her into the family coffin, and triumphantly walked her
off on his shoulder. There was filial piety for you! They arrested
that man, locked him up, and, for aught I know, left the old lady to
bury herself, which must have been a great hardship. What Englishman
would have done as much for his grandmother? And yet they say that
Connaught men have no enterprise!"

A Protestant of Castlebar said:--"If the English people fail to
correctly estimate the supreme importance of the present crisis it is
all over with us, and, I think, with England. If the Unionist party
persevere they must ultimately win. The facts are all with them.
Enlightenment is spreading, and if time to spread the truth can be
gained Home Rule will be as dead as a door-nail. If, on the other
hand, the English people fail to see the true meaning of Home Rule,
which is revolution and disintegration, England, from the moment an
Irish Parliament is established, must be classed with those countries
from which power has dwindled away; her glory will have commenced to
wane, her enemies will rejoice, and she will present to the world the
aspect of a nation in its decadence. The Irish leaders and the Irish
people alike, who support Home Rule, are ninety-nine hundredths
disloyal. Already the leaders are cursing England more deeply than
before, this time for deceiving them about the Home Rule Bill. Their
most respectable paper is already preparing the ground for further
agitation. The _Irish Independent_ says that the Irish people are
being marched from one prison to another, and told that is their
liberty. Such is the latest criticism of the Home Rule Bill, as
pronounced by the Nationalist party. The same paper ordered the Lord
Mayor of Dublin and the City Council to refuse an address of
congratulation on the marriage of the Duke of York and Princess May,
and they refused by more than four to one. They refused when it was
the Duke of Clarence. We could understand that, but why refuse now,
when Home Rule is adopted as the principal measure of the Government
whose only aim is the Union of Hearts? The English people must indeed
be fools if they cannot gauge the feeling that dictated a vote so mean
as this. Surely the English will at the eleventh hour draw back and
save us and our country, and themselves and their country from unknown
disaster. If they allow this ruinous measure to become law I shall
almost doubt the Bible where it says, 'Surely the net is set in vain
in the sight of any bird.'"

I met a very savage Separatist in Castlebar. They are numerous in Mayo
and Galway. The more uncivilised the district, the more ignorant the
people, the more decided the leaning to Home Rule. My friend was not
of the peasant class, but rather of the small commercial traveller
breed, such as, with the clerks and counterskippers of the country
stores, make up the membership of the Gaelic clubs by which the
expulsion of the Saxon is confidently expected. He said, "I am for
complete Independence, and I do not believe in what is called
constitutional agitation. Who would be free, themselves must strike
the blow. Every country that has its freedom has fought for it. I
would not waste a word with England, which has always deceived us and
is about to deceive us once again. England has always wronged us,
always robbed us. England has used her vast resources to ruin our
trade that her own might flourish. The weakest must go to the
wall--that is the doctrine of England--which thrives by our beggary
and lives by our death. You have heaps of speakers in England who
admit this. Gladstone knows it is true. The Irish people have let the
English eat their bread for generations. The Irish people have seen
the English spending their money for centuries. This must be stopped
as soon as possible, and Ireland grows stronger every day. Every
concession we have obtained has been the result of compulsion, and I
am for armed combination. Every Irishman should be armed, and know the
use of arms. The day will come when we shall dictate to England, and
when we may, if we choose, retaliate on her. We shall have an army and
navy of our own; all that will come with time. We must creep before we
walk, and walk before we run. The clubs already know their comrades;
each man knows his right and left shoulder man, and the man whose
orders he is to obey. Merely a question of athletic sports, at
present. But when we get Home Rule the enthusiasm of the people will
be whetted to such an extent that we shall soon enroll the whole of
the able-bodied population, and after then, when we get the WORD, you
will see what will happen. Where would be your isolated handfuls of
soldiery and police, with roads torn up, bridges destroyed, and an
entire population rising against them? Yes, you might put us down, but
we'd first have some fun. In a week we'd not leave a red coat in the
island."

The gratitude, the warm generosity of the Irish people is very
beautiful. The Union of Hearts, however, as a paying investment seems
to have fallen considerably below par.

Castlebar, June 8th.



No. 33.--TUAM'S INDIGNATION MEETING.


Here I am, after two hours' journey by the Midland and Great Western
Railway, which leads to most of the good things in Ireland, and is
uncommonly well managed, and with much enterprise. By the Midland and
Great Western Railway you may cover the best tourist districts in
quick time and with great comfort. By it you may tackle Connemara
either from Galway or Westport, and the company, subsidised by Mr.
Balfour, will shortly open fifty miles of line between Galway and
Clifden. Then we want a thirty-mile continuation from Clifden by
Letterfrack and Leenane to Westport, and the circle will be complete.
For that, Paddy must wait until the Tories are again in office. As he
will tell you, the Liberals spend their strength in sympathetic talk.
Mr. Hastings, of Westport, said:--"I care not who hears me say that
the Tories have instituted the public works which have so much
benefited the country. The Liberals have always been illiberal in this
respect. Mr. Balfour did Ireland more good than any Liberal Irish
Secretary." Mr. Hastings is as good a Catholic Home Ruler as Father
McPhilpin, who said substantially the same thing. Ballina is on the
Moy--every self-respecting town in Ireland has a salmon river--and the
Midland and Great Western Railway gives fishing tickets to tourists,
who anywhere on this line should find themselves in Paradise. From the
three lakes of Mullingar to the Shannon at Athlone, from the Moy at
Ballina to the Corrib at Galway, the waters swarm with fish. The
salmon weir at Galway is worth a long journey to see. The fish
literally jostle each other in the water. They positively elbow each
other about. Sometimes you may stand against the salmon ladder in the
middle of the town, and although the water is clear as crystal you
cannot see the bottom for fish--great, silvery salmon, upon whose
backs you think you might walk across the river. The Moy at Ballina is
perhaps fifty yards wide, and the town boasts two fine bridges, one of
which is flanked by a big Catholic church. The streets are not
handsome, nor yet mean. Whiskey shops abound, though they are not
quite so numerous as in some parts of Ennis, where, in Mill Street,
about three-fourths of the shops sell liquor. Castleisland in Kerry
would also beat Ballina. Mr. Reid, of Aldershot, said:--"The
population of Castleisland is only one thousand two hundred, but I
counted forty-eight whiskey-shops on one side of the street." Of a row
of eleven houses near the main bridge of Ballina I counted seven
whiskey-shops, and one of the remaining four was void. There were
several drink-shops opposite, so that the people are adequately
supplied with the means of festivity. The place has no striking
features, and seems to vegetate in the way common to Irish country
towns. It probably lives on the markets, waking up once a week, and
immediately going to sleep again. The Post Office counter had two
bottles of ink and no pen, and the young man in charge was whistling
"The Minstrel Boy." The shop-keepers were mostly standing at their
doors, congratulating each other on the fine weather. A long, long
street leading uphill promised a view of the surrounding country, but
the result was not worth the trouble. It led in the direction of
Ardnaree, which my Irish scholarship translates "King's Hill," but I
stopped short at the ruins of the old workhouse, and after a glance
over the domain of Captain Jones went back through the double row of
fairly good cottages, and the numerous clans of cocks and hens which
scratched for a precarious living on the King's highway. The people
turned out _en masse_ to look at me, and to discuss my country, race,
business, appearance, and probable income. The Connaught folks have so
little change, are so wedded to one dull round, that when I observe
the interest my passage evokes I feel like a public benefactor. A bell
rings at the Catholic church. Three strokes and a pause. Then three
more and another pause. A lounger on the bridge reverently raises his
hat, and seeing himself observed starts like a guilty wretch upon a
fearful summons. I ask him what the ringing means, and with a
deprecatory wag of his head he says:--

"Deed an' deed thin, I couldn't tell ye."

The Town Crier unconsciously launched me into business, and soon I was
floating on a high tide of political declamation. What the crier cried
I could not at all make out, for the accent of the Ballina folks is
exceedingly full-flavoured. When he stopped I turned to a well-dressed
young man near me and said, "He does not finish, as in England, with
God save the Queen."

"No," said my friend with a laugh, "he has too much regard for his
skin."

"What would happen if he expressed his loyalty?"

"He would be instantly rolled in the gutter. The people would be on
him in a moment. He'd be like a daisy in a bull's mouth. He might say
"God save Ireland," just to round the thing off, but "God save the
Queen"!

My friend was a Home Ruler, and yet unlike the rest. He said: "I am a
Home Ruler because I think Home Rule inevitable now the English people
have given way so far. Give Paddy an inch and you may trust him to
take an ell. We must have something like Home Rule to put an end to
the agitation which is destroying the country. It is now our only
chance, and in my opinion a very poor chance, but we are reduced so
low that we think the bottom is touched. The various political
agencies which have frightened away capital and entirely abolished
enterprise will continue their work until some measure of Home Rule is
given to the country, and then things will come to a head at once. It
is barely possible that good might ultimately result, but young men
would be gray-headed before things would work smoothly. The posture of
the poorer classes is simply absurd. They will have a dreadful
awakening, and that will also do good. They are doing nothing now
except waiting for the wonderful things they have been told will take
place when Irishmen get into power. You must have heard the
extraordinary things they say about the mines and factories that will
be everywhere opened. Some of their popular orators tell them of the
prosperity of Ireland before the Union. That is true enough, but the
conditions are totally changed. We did something in the way of
manufacturing, but we could not do it now. We had no Germany, no
America to compete against. Those who tell us to revive that period of
prosperity by the same means might just as well tell us to revive the
system of tribal lands or the chieftainship of Brian Boru.

"The people need some tremendous shock to bring them to their senses.
They used to work much better, to stand, as it were, on their own
feet. Now they make little or no exertion. They know they will never
be allowed to starve. They know that at the cry of their distress
England and America will rush to their succour. And they have tasted
the delights of not paying. First it was the rent, the impossible
rent. In this they had a world-wide sympathy, and a very large number
of undeserving persons well able to pay chummed in with the deserving
people who were really unable to meet their engagements. And at the
meetings of farmers to decide on united action, the men who could pay
but would not were always the most resolute in their opposition to the
landlord. This was natural enough, for they had most to gain by
withholding payment. The landlords always knew which was which, and
would issue ejectment processes against those able to pay, but what
could be done against a whole county of No-rent folks? And never have
these people been without aid and sympathy from English politicians.
We have had them in Ireland by the dozen, going round the farmers and
encouraging them to persevere.

"The great advantage of Home Rule in the eyes of the farmers is this
and this only--that an Irish House would settle the land question for
ever. The people would take a good bill from the House of Commons at
Westminster if they could get it, but they can't. They believe that
their only hope is with an Irish Parliament. The most intelligent are
now somewhat doubtful as to the substantial benefits to come. They
fear heavy taxation. They say that everything must come out of the
land, and they wonder whether the change would pay them after all. On
the whole, they will risk it, and under the advice of the clergy, who
have their own little ideas, they will continue to vote for Home Rule.
Throw out this bill, let Mr. Balfour settle the land question, and the
agitators will not have a leg left to stand on."

All this I steadfastly believe. No farmer wants Home Rule for anything
beyond his personal interests. Mr. Patrick Gibbons, of Carnalurgan, is
one of the smartest small farmers I have met, and he confirms the
statements of his fellows. "Give the farmers the land for a reasonable
rent," said he, "and they would not care two straws for Home Rule."
The small traders admit that they would like it, as a mere matter of
fancy, and because they have been from time to time assured that the
English Parliament is the sole cause of Ireland's decadence. They are
assured that an Irish Parliament by instituting immense public works
would prevent emigration, and that the people staying at home and
earning money would bring custom to their shops. Nearly everybody
insists on an exclusive system of protective tariffs. England, they
say, competes too strongly. Ireland cannot stand up to her. She must
be kept out at any cost.

According to a Ballina Nationalist this is where the "shock" will come
in. He said:--

"The bill is being whittled down to nothing. Gladstone is betraying
us. It is doubtful if he ever was in earnest. 'Twould be no Home Rule
Bill at all, if even it was passed. An' what d'ye mane by refusing us
the right to put on whatever harbour dues we choose? An' what d'ye
mane by sayin' we're not to impose protective tariffs to help Irish
industries? Ye wish to say, 'Here's yer Parlimint. Ye're responsible
for the government of the counthry, for the advancement of the
counthry, for the prosperity of the counthry; but ye mustn't do what
ye think best to bring about all this. When we have a Parlimint we'll
do as _we_ choose, an' not as _you_ choose, Ye have no right to
dictate what we shall do, nor what we shan't do. We'll do what we
think proper, an' England must make the best of it. England has always
considered herself: now we'll consider ourselves. If we're not to
govern the counthry in every way that _we_ think best, why on earth
would we want a Parlimint at all? Tell me that, now. If Ireland is to
be governed from England, if we are to have any interference, what
betther off will we be? An' Protection is the very first cry we shall
raise."

The good folks at Tuam have held an indignation meeting to protest
against the statements contained in my Tuam letter, which they
characterise as "vile slanders" which they wish to "hurl back in my
teeth" (if any). The meeting took place in the Town Hall on Sunday,
which day is usually selected by the Tuamites to protest against the
brutal Saxon, and to hold meetings of the National League, a
colourable successor to the Land League. All these meetings are
convened by priests, addressed by priests, governed by priests. The
Tuamites are among the most priest-ridden people in Ireland, and,
after having seen Galway and Limerick, this is saying a good deal. The
meeting was from beginning to end a screaming farce, wherein language
was used fit only for an Irish House of Commons. The vocabulary of
Irish Town Commissioners and Irish Poor Law Guardians was laid under
heavy contribution. The speakers hurled at the _Gazette_ the pet terms
they usually and properly reserve for each other. The too flattering
terms which in a moment of weakness I applied to Tuam and its people
are described as "lying, hellish, mendacious misrepresentations."
Misther MacCormack said the English people would know there was "not
a wurrud of thruth in these miserable lies." The report of the _Tuam
Herald_ reads like a faction fight in a whiskey-shop. You can hear the
trailing of coats, the crack of shillelaghs on thick Irish skulls, the
yells of hurroosh, whirroo, and O'Donnell aboo! Towards the end your
high-wrought imagination can almost smell the sticking plaister, so
vivid is the picture. "The bare-faced slanders of this hireling scribe
from the slums of Birmingham" were hotly denounced, but nobody said
what they were. The clergy and their serfs were equally silent on this
point. I steadfastly adhere to every syllable of my Tuam letter. I
challenge the clergy and laity combined to put their fingers on a
single assertion which is untrue, or even overstated. Let them point
out a single inaccuracy, if they can. To make sweeping statements, to
say that this "gutter-snipe," this "hireling calumniator," this
"blackguard Birmingham man" has made a series of "reckless calumnies,"
"devoid of one particle of truth," is not sufficiently precise. I
stand by every word I have uttered; I am prepared to hold my ground on
every single point. Most of my information was obtained from Catholics
who are heart-weary of priestly tyranny and priestly intimidation; who
are sufficiently enlightened to see that priestly power is based on
the ignorance of priestly dupes, that priestly influence is the real
slavery of Ireland, the abject condition of the poor is its
unmistakable result, and that where there are priests in Ireland there
are ignorance and dirt in exact proportion. They have compared the
clean cottages of the North with the filthy hovels of the South, and
they have drawn their own conclusions. But to descend to detail. What
do the Tuamites deny? "Not a particle of truth in the whole letter!"
Father Humphreys said my Tipperary letter was "a pure invention,"
without a syllable of truth. Since then Father Humphreys has been
compelled to admit, in writing, that all I said was true, and that he
"could not have believed it possible." That was his apology.

Turning to the Tuam letter, I find these words--

"The educated Catholics are excellent people--none better anywhere,
none more tolerant." This is construed into "a gross insult on our
holy priests, and particularly on our Archbishop," who, by the way,
was not mentioned or made the subject of any allusion, however remote.
Do the Tuamites deny that "many of the streets are wretchedly built,"
and "the Galway road shows how easily the Catholic poor are
satisfied?" Do they deny that the cabins in this district are
"aboriginal in build, and also indescribably filthy," and that "the
condition of the inmates is not one whit higher than that obtaining in
the wigwams of the native Americans?" Do they deny that "the hooded
women, barefooted, bronzed, and tanned by constant exposure, are
wonderfully like the squaws brought from the Far West by Buffalo
Bill?"

All this I reiterate and firmly maintain, with the addition of the
statement that the squaws were in a condition of compulsory
cleanliness the like of which seems never to be attained by the ladies
of the Galway Road, Tuam. The meeting is called a "monster" meeting.
How many people does the Tuam Town Hall hold? The fact is that the
Town Hall of Tuam, with the entire population of Tuam thrown in, could
be put into the Town Hall of Birmingham. Do the Tuamites deny that Mr.
Strachan, one of their most worthy citizens, is unable to walk the
streets of the town wherein live the people he has benefited, without
a guard of policemen to protect him from the cut-throat emissaries of
the Land League? So it was when I visited Tuam, Mr. Strachan's crimes
being the purchase of a farm in the Land Court and his Protestant
creed. Do they deny the scenes of persecution I described as having
taken place in former days? All this I had from a source more reliable
than the whole Papist hierarchy. The Tuamites can deny nothing of what
I have written. The tumbledown town is there, the filthy cabins and
degraded squaws of the Galway Road are still festering in their own
putridity, and probably the police are still preserving Strachan from
the fate of the poor fellow so brutally murdered near Tuam a few weeks
ago. The priests called a town meeting to protest against insult to
the Church. Great is Diana of the Ephesians! When the tenants refused
to pay their lawful dues the priests called no meeting. When the
country from end to end echoed with the lamentations of widows and the
wailing of helpless children whose natural protectors had been
murdered by the Land League, the Tuamites suppressed their
indignation, the Tuam priests made no protest. When scores of men were
butchered at their own firesides, shot in their beds, battered to
pieces at their own thresholds, these virtuous sacerdotalists never
said a word, called no town's meeting, used no bad language, spoke not
of "hirelings," "calumniators," "blackguards," and "liars." Two of the
speakers threatened personal injury should I again visit the town.
That is their usual form,--kicking, bludgeoning, outraging, or
shooting from behind a wall. When they do not shoot they come on in
herds, like wild buffaloes, to trample on and mutilate their victim.
From the strong or armed they run like hares. Their fleetness of foot
is astonishing. The _Tuam News_, owned and edited by the brother of a
priest, exhibits the intellectual status of the Tuam people. Let us
quote it once again:--

               TO THE EDITOR OF THE "TUAM NEWS."

  Sir--Permit me a little space in the next issue of the _Tuam
  News_, relative to my father being killed by the fairies which
  appeared in the _Tuam News_ of the 8th of April last. I beg to say
  that he was not killed by the fairies, but I say he was killed by
  some person or persons unknown as yet. Hoping very soon that the
  perpetrators of this dastardly outrage will be soon brought to
  light, I am, Mr. Editor, yours obediently,

                                            DAVID REDINGTON.
  Kilcreevanty, May 8th, '93.

After this I need add nothing to what I have said except a
pronouncement of Father Curran, who said that "Tuam could boast as
fine schools as Birmingham, and that he would then and there throw
out a challenge that they boast more intelligence in Tuam than
Birmingham could afford." Poor Father Curran! Poor Tuam! Poor Tuamites
with their rags, pigs, filth, priests, fairies, and Intelligence! I
shall visit them once more. A few photographs from the Galway Road
would settle the dispute, and render null and void all future Town's
meetings. They have sworn to slay me, but in visiting their town I
fear nothing but vermin and typhoid fever. Their threats affect me
not. As one of their own townsmen remarked,--

"You cannot believe a word they say. They never speak the truth except
when they call each other liars. And when they are in fear, although
too lazy to work, they are never too lazy to run. They have no
independence of thought or action. Their religion crushes all manhood
out of them. They are the obedient servants of the priests, and no man
dare say his soul's his own. Any one who did not attend that meeting
would be a marked man, but if it had been limited to people who know
the use of soap it would necessarily have been small, even for the
Tuam Town Hall."

Everywhere in Connaught I hear the people saying, "When you want to
roast an Irishman you can always find another Irishman to turn the
spit."

Thrue for ye, ma bouchal!

Ballina, June 10th.



No. 34.--WHY IRELAND DOES NOT PROSPER.


A community of small farmers with a sprinkling of resident gentry. All
sorts of land within a small compass, rock, bog, tillage, and
excellent grazing. The churchyard is a striking feature. A ruined
oratory covered with ivy is surrounded by tombstones and other
mortuary memorials strange to the Saxon eye. The graves are dug east
and west on a rugged mound hardly deserving to be called a hill,
although here and there steep enough. Huge masses of sterile mountain
form the background, and from the ruin the Atlantic is seen, gleaming
in the sun. Patches of bog with diggers of turf, are close by the
untouched portions covered with white bog-bean blooms, which at a
short distance look like a snowfall. On a neighbouring hill is a fine
old Danish earthwork, a fort, called by the natives "The Rath," fifty
yards in diameter, the grassy walls, some ten feet high and four yards
thick, reared in a perfect circle, on which grow gorse and brambles.
The graveyard is sadly neglected. Costly Irish crosses with elaborate
carving stand in a wilderness of nettles and long grass. Not a
semblance of a path anywhere. To walk about is positively dangerous.
Ruined tombstones, and broken slabs which appear to cover family
vaults, trip you up at every step. Every yard of progress is made with
difficulty, and you move nervously among the tall rank nettles in
momentary fear of dislocating your ankle, or of being suddenly
precipitated into the reeking charnel house of some defunct Mayo
family. The Connaught dead seem to be very exclusive. Most of the
ground is enclosed in small squares, each having a low stone wall,
half-a-yard thick, with what looks like the gable-end of a stone
cottage at the west end. Seen from a distance the churchyard looks
like a ruined village. At first sight you think the place a relic of
some former age, tenanted by the long-forgotten dead, but a closer
inspection proves interments almost up to date. Weird memorials of the
olden time stand cheek by jowl with modern monuments of marble; and
two of suspiciously Black Country physiognomy are of cast-iron, with
I.H.S. and a crucifix all correctly moulded, the outlines painted
vermilion, with an invitation to pray for the souls of the dead in the
same effective colour. The graveyard shows no end of prayer, but
absolutely no work. No tidiness, order, reverence, decency, or
convenience. Nothing but ruin, neglect, disorder, untidiness,
irreverence, and inconvenience. _Ora et labora_ is an excellent
proverb which the Irish people have not yet mastered in its entirety.
To pray _and_ work is as yet a little too much for them. They stop at
the first word, look round, and think they have done all. This
graveyard displays the national character. Heaps of piety, but no
exertion. Any amount of talk, but no work. More than any people, the
Irish affect respect for their dead. You leave the graveyard of
Oughewall smarting with nettle stings, and thankful that you have not
broken your neck. The place will doubtless be tidied, the nettles
mowed down and pathways made, when the people get Home Rule. They are
clearly waiting for something. They wish to be freed from the cruel
English yoke. When this operation is happily effected, they will clean
their houses, move the dunghills from their doors, wash themselves,
and go to work in earnest. The Spanish Queen vowed she would never
wash herself till Gibraltar was retaken from the English. Seven
hundred years ago the Irish nation must have made a similar vow--and
kept it.

A passing shower drove me to the shelter of a neighbouring farmhouse,
where lived a farmer, his wife, and their son and daughter. The place
was poor but tolerable, the wife being far above the Irish average. The
living room, about ten feet square, was paved with irregularly-shaped
stones of all sizes, not particularly flat, but in places decidedly
humpy; the interstices were of earth, the whole swept fairly clean, but
certainly not scrubbed. The rafters, of rough wood, were painted black,
and a rough ladder-like stair, open at the sides, led to the upper
regions. To have an upstairs is to be an aristocrat. The standard of
luxury is much lower than in England, for almost any English
agricultural labourer would have better furniture than that possessed
by this well-to-do but discontented farmer. An oak cupboard like a
wardrobe, a round deal table, and four rough rush-bottomed chairs of
unstained wood comprised the paraphernalia. The kitchen dresser, that
indispensable requisite of English farm kitchens, with its rows of
plates and dishes, was nowhere to be seen. The turf fire on the hearth
needed no stove nor grate, nor was there any in the house. A second
room on the ground floor, used as a bed room, had a boarded floor, and
although to English notions bare and bald, having no carpet, pictures,
dressing table, or washstand, it was clean and inoffensive. The
churning and dairy operations are carried on in the room first
described, where also the ducks and hens do feed. The farmer holds
fifty acres of good land, for which he pays fifty pounds a year. His
father, who died thirty years ago, paid twenty-four pounds, which he
thinks a fair rent to-day. Has not made application to the Court,
although he _might_ benefit by twenty-five to thirty-five per cent. Is
aware that the Judicial Rent is sometimes fixed at a sum above what the
tenant had been paying, and admits that this might happen to him. "Yes,
the land round the house is very good, very good indeed, but what can
be seen from here is by far the best of it. That is always the way in
this world, the best at the front."

From this and other remarks of like tendency I gather that the noble
landlord is in the habit of placing all the best land of his estate
along the high read, concealing the boggy, rocky portions in the
remote interior, fraudulently imposing on the public, and alienating
sympathy from the tenant, thereby inflicting another injustice on
Ireland.

"The English laws are right enough, as far as they go," said the
farmer, "but the English will not do the right thing about the land.
Now we know that an Irish Parliament will settle the matter
forth-with. That's why we support Home Rule. We know the opinions of
the men who now represent us, and we can trust them in this matter if
in no other. The land is the whole of it. If that were once put on an
unchangeable bottom I would rather be without Home Rule. Some say that
even if our rents are reduced by one-half, the increased taxes we must
pay would make us nearly as poor as ever, and that all this bother and
disturbance would not really save us a penny piece. And I think this
might be true. So that if something could be done by the English
Parliament I should prefer it to come that way. And so would we all, a
hundred times. For with the English Parliament we know where we are,
and what we're doing. I'm not one to believe that the land will be
handed over to us without payment. Plenty of them are ignorant enough
to believe even that. My view is just this: If the English Parliament
would settle the land question, I would prefer to do without an Irish
Parliament. That's what all the best farmers say, and nothing else.
No, I wouldn't invest money in Ireland. No, I wouldn't trust the bulk
of the present members for Ireland. Yes, I would prefer a more
respectable class of men who had a stake in the country. But we had to
take what we could catch, for people who have a stake in the country
are all against Home Rule. What could we do? We had no choice. We sent
Home Rulers because an Irish Parliament is pledged to meet our views
about the land. We know they will fulfil their pledges, not because
they have promised, nor because they wish to benefit us, but because
they wish to abolish landlordism and landlords from the country. The
landlord interest is English interest, and that they want to get rid
of. Their reasons for settling the land question are not the farmers'
reasons, but so long as it _is_ settled the farmer will reap the
benefit, and will not care _why_ it was settled. Give us compulsory
sale and compulsory purchase, at a fair price, and you will find the
farmers nearly all voting against Home Rule. No, the priests would not
be able to stir us once we were comfortably settled. Why, we'd all
become Conservatives at once. Sure anybody with half-an-eye could see
that in a pitch-dark night in a bog-hole."

My friend assured me that secret societies are unknown in Mayo, or at
any rate, in the Westport district. The young men of Clare, he
thought, were Fenians to a man. "They are queer, blood-thirsty folks,
enemies to Ireland. Why, they object to other Irishmen. They will not
allow a poor fellow from another county to work among them as a
harvest-man. They would warn him off, and if he would not go, they'd
beat him with sticks, and when once they begin, you never know where
they'll stop. They should be put down with a strong hand."

But where is the strong hand? Mr. Morley, recently replying to Mr.
Arnold Forster, said that "it was admitted that the police were
working as faithfully and as energetically under the present as under
the late Government, and added that the authorities concerned were
taking all the steps which experience and responsibility suggested."
Mr. Morley is right in attributing faithfulness to the police, and
their energy is doubtless all that can be reasonably expected under
very discouraging auspices. Mr. Morley speaks more highly of the
police than the police speak of Mr. Morley. From Donegal to Bantry
Bay, from Dublin to Galway and Westport, north, south, east, west,
right, left, and centre, the police of Ireland condemn Mr. Morley's
administration as feeble, vacillating, and as likely to encourage
crime. They speak of their duties in despondent tones. I have from
time to time given their sentiments, which are unvarying. They know
not what to do, and complain that while they continue to be held
responsible they dare not follow up their duties with the requisite
energy. Only yesterday an experienced officer said:--"The men are
disheartened because they do not know how their action will be taken,
and because they feel that anything in the nature of enterprise is
very likely to injure themselves individually. They feel that in the
matter of arrests it is better to be on the safe side, and then they
know how unavailing all their efforts must be in the disturbed
districts of Kerry, Clare, and Limerick, where the arm of the law has
been paralysed by Mr. Morley's rescision of the salutary provisions so
necessary in those counties. Outrages and shooting are every-day
occurrences, for many cases are never reported to the police at all.
If the police caught the criminals in the act there would be no
result, for the juries of those three counties would not convict, and
the venue cannot now be changed to Cork.

"Some of the Nationalist members were the other day asking in the
House whether the Cork magistrates had not been presented with white
gloves, and so on, to bring out the fact that there was no crime to
punish on a recent occasion; but what does this prove? Merely that Mr.
Balfour's action in changing the venue of three counties to the city
of Cork, where moonlighters are tried by a jury of independent traders
of Patrick Street was wise and sagacious. The white gloves of Cork
were a tribute to Tory administration. The Cork juries convicted their
men, and stood by the consequences. They have escaped so far, as all
bold men escape. If the Limerick moonlighters must have been tried in
Cork there would have been no moonlighting. The police can always
catch them, when there is any use in catching them. In country
districts the movements of people are pretty well known, and these
fellows are always ready to betray each other. Mr. Morley may talk
fine, and may mean well, but the people who have been riddled with
shot have Mr. Morley to thank. Of course he is under compulsion. He
has to please the Irish Separatists. Old women and children are
outraged and shot in the legs because of Mr. Morley's political
necessities."

I think my friend was right as to the effect of boldness in action.
There is too much truckling to the ruffian element, not only by Mr.
Morley, but by most Unionists resident in Ireland. Opinions on this
point vary with varying circumstances. Several shopkeepers in a Mayo
town were utterly ruined for expressing their political opinions, or
for being suspected of harbouring opinions contrary to the feeling of
the majority. They were boycotted, and had to shut up shop. Others,
older-established, or in possession of a monopoly, weathered the
storm, but their opinions cost them something. These are the milder
cases. Yet shooting or bludgeoning are likely enough to follow overt
political action, such as refusing to join a procession or to
illuminate.

It was hard to find a Protestant farmer in this district, but I
succeeded at last. His notions were strange, very strange indeed. He
thought his rent fair enough, and was of opinion that the tenant must
be prepared to take the good years with the bad years. "These
countrymen of mine, like somebody I've read of, never learn anything
and never forget anything. They do not half farm the land. They don't
understand any but the most elementary methods. They do not put the
land to its best use. When they had prosperous years, and many a one
they had, they put nothing by for a rainy day. They are very
improvident. I have been in both England and Scotland, and I know the
difference in the people. They have more self-reliance, and they are
keen after improvements. They are not satisfied to have just enough,
to live from hand to mouth. They must have comfort, and they like to
be independent. Now, Paddy is content to just scrape along. If he can
barely exist he's quite satisfied. He's always on the edge of the
nest, but he feels sure that when the worst comes to the worst,
somebody or something will step in and save him from starvation.

"Nearly every man in this county has been in England, many of them
twenty times or more, working for months and months in the best farmed
districts. Have they got any wrinkles? Divil a one. They have not
planted a gooseberry or currant tree, they have no pot-herbs, no
carrots or parsnips--nothing at all but potatoes and turnips. The
farmers have no system of winter feeding, and they won't learn one.
There is a great and growing demand in England for Irish butter,
which, properly put up in a tasty way, would fetch fine figures, but
the lack of system in winter feeding and winter calving prevents the
supply from being kept up. The farmers will make no change in their
habits, and they don't work as if they meant it. They lounge about all
day, waiting for the crops to grow and the cattle to get fat, and then
they wonder they are so poor. The only hope of the Irish people is
their absorption in America. They work well enough when surrounded by
new influences. Once get them away from the priests, and away they go;
you can't stop them. They have great natural abilities, but somehow
they won't bloom in Ireland. If they put forth the same energy in
Ireland as in America they would do well. But they never will. Their
religion keeps them down, and they can't get out of their old habits."

I observed that the Earl of Sligo had obtained eighty-two decrees of
possession against tenants for non-payment of rent, and that the _Mayo
News_, while censuring his action, admitted that most of the tenants
owed two years' rent at least. My Black Protestant friend might tell
me whether the heading "Another Batch of Death Sentences" was a fair
description of this legal action, and whether the tenants were, in his
opinion, totally unable to pay the rent.

"To call them sentences of death is absurd, The people are not evicted
and left homeless, but merely deprived of their rights as tenants. In
England, if a man does not pay his rent, he is thrown out, and nobody
says Nay. In Ireland a man may pay no rent for seven years, and yet,
when he is evicted, the people cry Shame on the landlord, who, in most
cases, has been patient to the limit of human endurance. The landlord
has watched the tenant neglecting the land, and living more
expensively on the money he ought to have paid as rent. Now, let me
submit a point which never seems to strike the English Unionist
speakers. And yet it is plain enough. The Separatists say evictions
are cruel and tyrannical because the people cannot pay the awful,
exorbitant rents. Now notice my point!

"A rent may be too high, but the land must be worth _something_. Now
these people have paid _nothing at all for two years or more_.

"Talk to these defaulters, and they will usually say 'The land is
worth just one-half.'

"Why don't they pay that half?

"Then they would be only one year behind, instead of two, and they
would get no notice to quit.

"But instead of paying the one-half which they themselves say the land
is worth, they pay nothing at all. Does that look honest? Does it look
genuine? Don't you think anybody could see that they are taking
advantage of the unsettled state of things to avoid any payment
whatever? They await Home Rule, which is to give them the land, and
they are anticipating its advantages.

"They all know Hennessy's brandy, and can tell you the difference
between the one-star and the three-star brands.

"In England everybody is at work. In Ireland most are at play. A man
who has been taught to work in England feels inclined to follow them
up here with a whip, they look so idle even when at work. They move
about as if half-dead. They are as lazy as Lambert's dog, that leaned
his head against the wall to bark. The young women won't work either.
My sister in Athlone is obliged to give her servants three nights a
week off from five to ten, or she could have nobody. Then they are
always going to mass or keeping some festival of the Church. Speak a
word of reproof and away they go. They are as proud as Lambert's other
dog, that took the wall of a muck-cart and got squelched for his
pains.

"Home Rule would never do Ireland any good. Quite the contrary. What
can do a man good who tries to get his dinner by standing about and
saying how hungry he is?

"As to the agitators, they will always agitate. When one source is
dried up they'll invent another. They have their living to get, and
agitation is their trade. And a paying trade it is. Are they disloyal
to England? I believe them Fenians at heart--that is, Fenians in the
matter of loyalty. They would use any power they might get to damage
England, and if England gives them power she'll bitterly rue the day.
Paddy may be lazy, but put your finger in his mouth and he'll bite.
The English Separatists don't see this, but when I see the fox in the
hen-roost I can guess what brought him there. If I put the cat in the
dairy I should expect her to taste the cream. Trust the Irish
Nationalist members! I'd as soon trust a pack of wolves with my
lambs."

My friend is a scientific gardener, and descanted on the wonderful
climate of Ireland, where plants that will not grow in England nourish
luxuriously. I told him I had seen bamboo growing in the open air at
Dundalk, and asked him if the Bonds of Brotherhood (_Humbugis
Morleyensis_) or the Union of Hearts (_Gladstonia gammonica
gigantica_) would come to perfection in Hibernia. He thought the soil
and climate unsuitable, and was sure they would never take root. The
_gammonica_ had been tried, but it withered and died. It could not be
"budded" for want of an Irish "stock."

A scrap-book, fifty years old, revealed a condition of things so
strangely like that of the present day that I obtained permission to
copy the following skit, which, but for the mention of the old convict
colony, might have been written last week. It is headed "Extract from
the forthcoming history of the Irish Parliament." The Home Rule
project is therefore ancient enough:--

    One blow and Ireland sprang from the head of her Saxon
    enslaver like a new Minerva!

    Proudly and solemnly she then sat down to frame a Republic
    worthy of Plato and Pat. Her first

    President had been a workhouse porter, who was also a night
    watchman. He was, therefore, eminently fitted for both civil
    and military administration. The speech of President Pat on
    opening Congress developes his policy and his well-digested
    plans of legislative reform. Here are a few quotations:--

    The Key-stone of Government is the Blarney-stone.

    Political progress may always be accelerated by a bludgeon.

    Our institutions must be consolidated by soft-soap and whacks.

    The People's will is made known by manifesto, and by many
    fists too.

    Every man shall be qualified to sit in Congress that is a
    ten-pound pig-holder, provided that the pig and the member
    sleep under the same roof.

    Members of Congress will be paid for their services. Gentlemen
    wearing gloves only to have the privilege of shaking the
    President's hand. The unwashed members to be paid at the door.

    Pipes will not be allowed on the Opposition benches, nor may
    any member take whiskey until challenged by the President.

    Under no circumstances will a member be suffered to sit with
    his blunderbuss at full cock, nor pointed at the President's
    ear.

    Our Ambassadors will be chosen from our most meritorious
    postmen, so that they may have no difficulty in reading their
    letters.

    The Foreign Office will be presided over by a patriotic editor
    who has travelled in New South Wales and is thoroughly
    conversant with the language.

    Instead of bulwarks, the island will be fortified with Irish
    Bulls, our engineers being of opinion that no other horn-works
    are so efficient.

    To prevent heartburnings between Landlord and Tenant, a
    Government collector of rents shall be appointed, and
    Tenant-right shall include a power to shoot over the land and
    at anyone on it.

    And this was written half-a-century ago. It reads like
    yesterday!

Oughewall, June 10th.



No. 35.--IN A CONGESTED DISTRICT.


This is the first station on the Balfour line which is to run from
Westport to Achil Sound--now in process of construction by Mr. Robert
Worthington, the great Dublin contractor, who has built about a
million pounds' worth of Irish railway, and who is of opinion that
Home Rule means the bankruptcy of Ireland, and that the labouring
population of the country would by it be compelled to emigrate to
England, bringing their newly-acquired skill as railway workers into
competition with the navvies and general working population. The seven
miles of line between here and Westport are not yet packed and
ballasted, and the ride hither on an engine kindly placed at the
disposal of the _Gazette_, was not lacking in pleasurable excitement.
The bogey engine kicked and winced and bucked and cavorted in a
fashion unique in my experience. She seemed to be exhilarated by the
pure mountain air, charged with ozone from the Atlantic main. Watching
her little eccentricities, it was hard to believe her not endued with
animal vitality. She walked the railway like a thing of life. She
ducked and dived and plunged and snorted and reared and jibbed like a
veritable cocktailed nag of the true old Irish breed. Sometimes she
seemed to go from under you as she suddenly dipped into a slight
depression. Sometimes she rolled like a ship at sea, and you began to
wonder if sea-sickness were possible on land. The scenery is not
striking, and the surrounding country, though poor and desolate, is by
no means sterile. No tracts of black bog, no impassable morasses, no
miles of rocks and boulders, but a fairly good grazing country, with
here and there, at long intervals, a white cottage. The engine slows
at one point, where the rails are twisted into serpentine convolutions
by yesterday's tropical heat. Both sides are considerably displaced,
but they still bear the right relation to each other, and the faithful
machine, sniffing and picking her way carefully, glides safely over
the contorted path. A short tunnel, with sides of solid masonry and
roof-arch of brick, again demands extra care, and it is well that the
pace is slowed, for half-way through, a man becomes dimly visible
running a trolley off the line. Mountains arise on the left and in
front, and my old friend Croagh Patrick puts in his Nationalist
appearance. Then Newport heaves in sight, a cemetery on high ground
opposite the site of the station, and overhanging the line, kept in
its place by an immense retaining wall, without which the "rude
forefathers of the hamlet" would fall from their narrow cells and
block the progress of the civilising train. A handsome viaduct ends
the run, _finis coronat opus_, and I walk a hundred yards to see the
awkward spot which at first seemed to have no bottom, but which energy
and industry have conquered, as they conquer everything. The line was
going on happily until this point was reached, when a soft bog was
broached, which threatened to swallow everything, opening its
cavernous jaws with appetite which long seemed insatiable. The
engineer choked it off with a hundred thousand cubic yards of earth, a
quantity which to the untechnical ear sounds like a little kingdom, or
at least like a decent farm, and the bog cried, Hold! enough. The
total length of the line will be twenty-six-and-a-half miles, the
cost, exclusive of the permanent way, which is an extra of some £1,800
a mile, being £110,000, most of which is dispensed among the labourers
of the district, who thank the Balfour Administration for a great work
which would never have been undertaken as a merely commercial
speculation. The congested areas here, as elsewhere, have been
powerfully assisted and benefited by the sagacity which at once
afforded relief, improved the country, and opened the way to great
markets. Temporary assistance is succeeded by a solid and permanent
benefaction.

And still the people are not happy. Most of them are rather below the
Irish average. Their isolated position in the extreme west, and their
want of means of communication, may partly account for this. Few ever
see a newspaper, and when they do they only read stuff concocted for
them by unscrupulous people who write down to their level, and
deliberately endeavour to keep them in total darkness. The men
employed on the line work well, and Mr. William Ross, civil engineer,
tells me they are even better workers than the Galway men, to whom I
gave due credit for industry. The townsfolk are great politicians.
That is, they echo the absurdities they hear, and are ready to believe
anything, provided it is unlikely enough. The country papers of
Ireland are poor and illiterate beyond belief, but their assumption of
knowledge and superior information is amazing. One of the Galway rags
recently treated its readers to a confidential communication having
reference to the real sentiments of Lord Salisbury and Mr. Balfour as
opposed to those ostensibly affected by those statesmen and to those
with which they are popularly credited. Lord Salisbury is really dying
for Home Rule, and Mr. Balfour would depart in peace if he could once
behold a Dublin Parliament bossed by Tim Healy and William O'Brien.
Lord Salisbury is not so bad as he seems, nor is Balfour altogether
beyond hope of salvation. Both are under a kind of Tory terrorism
which makes them say the thing that is not, compels them against their
wishes to fight, forces them reluctantly to make a show of opposition.
But both of them wink the other eye and have doubtless unbosomed
themselves--in strict confidence--to the editor of the Galway paper.
The poor folks of Ireland swallow this stuff, and will quote it
gravely in argument. The _Irish Catholic_ has a large circulation, and
a glance over its columns, particularly its advertising columns, is
highly suggestive at the present juncture. People offer to swop
prayers, just as in _Exchange and Mart_ people wish to barter a pet
hedgehog for a lop-eared rabbit, or a cracked china cup for a gold
watch and chain. Gentleman wishes someone to say fifteen Hail Marys
every morning at eight o'clock for a week, while he, in return, will
knock off a similar number of some other good things. The trade in
masses is surprising. For a certain sum you get one mass a week for a
year, for a higher figure you get two masses a week _and_ an
oleograph, for a trifle more you get mentioned in special prayers for
benefactors, with a rosary that has touched the relics of
Thomas-a-Becket or has been laid on the shrine of Blessed Thomas More.
One advertisement sets forth the proviso that unless the payment is
regular the supplications will be stopped. No pay, no prayer. _Point
d'argent, point de prêtre._ Prayers and advice, political or
otherwise, at lowest terms for cash. No discount allowed. A reduction
on taking a quantity.

A very knowing Newport man explained the present political position.
"'Tis as simple as Ah, Bay, Say. Parnell wint over to France an'
Amerikay, an' explained to thim how the English was oppressin' and
ruinin' the poor Irish people; an' whin the Saxon seen he was found
out, an' whin the Americans sent thousands an' thousands of pounds to
pay the cliverist men in Ireland to fight the English in Parlimint,
thin the English begun to give us back part of what they robbed us of.
Every bite ye get in England manes that much less in an Irish mouth,
an' the counthry is all starvin' becase England is fattenin'. All the
young folks is gone out of the counthry; an' why did they go? Becase
England makes the laws, an' becase she makes the laws to suit herself,
an' to ruin us. Sure nine-tenths of the land is owned by Englishmen,
who make us pay twice, aye, an' four times the rint the land is worth;
an' that's what England thinks us good for, an' nothin' else. We're
just slaves to the Saxon, as many's the time I heard the priest sayin'
it. An' it was thrue for him. Sure, the counthry is full of coal, an'
if we wor allowed to get it we'd be as rich as England in five years.
Sure, Lord Sligo's estate is made of coal, an' although he's a
Conservative, an' a Unionist, an' a Protestant, the English Parlimint
wouldn't allow him to get it because it was in Ireland, an' they wor
afraid the Irish would get betther off. An' sure they want to keep us
paupers, so that we'll be compelled to 'list for sojers, an' fight for
England against Rooshia and Prooshia, an' Injy, an' foreign parts,
that the English is afraid to do for themselves."

His opinions are not below the intellectual average of those held by
the majority of the Irish electorate. The ignorance of the rank and
file of the Irish voters is exasperating to Englishmen, who are quite
unable to understand their credulity, to combat their bitter
prejudices, or to make headway against their preconceived notions.
English Gladstonians who believe that Home Rule ought to be a good
thing will stagger with dismay when confronted with the people who
will rule the roost. For the intelligent are nowhere in point of
numbers. The thick-witted believers in charms, in fairies, in the
curative and preservative virtues of holy water, will have the country
in their hands. The poor benighted peasants, who firmly believe that
Mr. Balfour has the moonlighters in his pay, and that the murders of
the Land League were ordered by Lord Salisbury to cast discredit on
the national cause--these are the people who, voting as they are told
by the priests, would govern the action of the Irish Parliament. They
believe that Home Rule by some magic process will supply the place of
industry and enterprise, will open up innumerable sources of boundless
wealth, and will bring about Mr. Gladstone's "chronic plethora" of
money. But, above all, the people are to be for ever delivered from
the "English yoke." What the phrase means they know not. They only
repeat what they have heard. The dogs around Newport are muzzled. It
would be well for the people if their advisers were muzzled too.

Public feeling is well organised in Ireland. Although the people are
not readers of daily news, the kind of sentiment ordered at
head-quarters is immediately entertained. How it spreads nobody knows,
unless it is spread from the altar. A change has come over the public
sentiment. Among the more intelligent farmers there is a revolt
against Home Rule. At a Unionist meeting held the other day at
Athenry, all the speakers agreed on this point. One said that the
change might be inoperative, because the farmers dare not avow their
true opinions, because they have little or no faith in the secrecy of
the ballot, and because they dread the unknown consequences of ruffian
vengeance. The ignorant masses have also experienced a change. They
have been undergoing a process of preparation for the next agitation.
The poor folks at first believed that when they got Home Rule all
would be well. That consummation devoutly to be wished, was to enrich
them all. The agitators have to guard against the resentment of the
disappointed people. They are hedging industriously. If Home Rule
should come it will do no good, because it is not the right brand.
John Bull has spoilt it all, as he spoils everything. Home Rule would
have done all they promised, but this is not the Home Rule they meant!
They took it at first as a small instalment of what they would
afterwards kick out of the Saxon, but those outrageous Unionists have
shaved it down to almost nothing. It is not worth having, and the only
thing to do, say some Newport politicians, is for the Irish
Nationalist party to rise in a body an' lave the House, an' not put a
fut back into it till they get what they want. I wish my Newport
friends could make their counsel prevail.

The latest phase of feeling, then, is an affected indignation at this
supreme treachery of the English people. Over and over again I have
quoted the opinions of people who said Mr. Gladstone meant to hoax
Ireland again. This was when all seemed to be going quite smoothly.
The Government concessions and the moderate use of the closure have
convinced the doubters that they were right, and they breathe battle
and slaughter. Irishmen like fighting debates, decided measures,
tremendously hard hitting. As a people they do not believe in
constitutional agitation. They would prefer sudden revolutions,
cannons roaring, blood and thunder. They openly avow their preference,
and say that this would have been their method, but that England has
elaborately disarmed the country, which declaration clashes with the
popular opinion, often exultantly expressed, that Ireland is full of
arms. The truth is with the revolutionaries, who would certainly
prefer battle but for its well-known danger. If Ireland could be freed
by moonlighters firing at long ranges from behind stone walls, with an
inaccessible retreat within easy reach, the English yoke would have
but a short shrift.

A frantic Newporter said:--"We never got anything by love, but always
by fear, and compulsion should be our motto. I've no patience wid thim
that'll stand hat in hand, or be going down on their knees to England
for every bit an' sup. John Mitchel an' James Stephens was the only
men of modern times who properly understood how to manage the English.
Of coorse, Parnell did something to advance the cause, an' 'tis thrue
that he had no revolution nor insurrection of the old sort. But the
Land League was arranged to include all the secret associations and to
make use of thim all. Ye had Whiteboys, an' Fenians an' Ribbonmen agin
ye, an' ye can't say but what the secret societies did the business,
an' not what they call the constitutional agitation. Ye might have
talked to the English Parlimint till doomsday an' ye'd not make it
move a hair's-breadth for Ireland. But follow up yer talk wid a bit of
shootin' an' then ye'll see what ye will see. 'Twas very bad, an' no
man could agree wid it; but it did what no talkin' would ever have
done. Compulsion is the right idea. An' what about dynamite? If ye
look properly at the thing, why wouldn't we use dynamite? Haven't we a
right to do as _we_ choose in Ireland? Ought not the Irish people to
be masters of Ireland? We say clear out--lave us to ourselves, take
away yer landlords, yer sojers, yer police, an' _thin_ we'll not have
recoorse to dynamite. We have a right to free ourselves by any means
that comes handy. All's fair in love an' war. No, I'm not sayin' that
I'd do it meself personally. But whin ye come to look into it, why
wouldn't we be justified in usin' dynamite? Ye pitched shells into
Alexandria whin it suited ye. Why wouldn't we blow up London wid
dynamite, if it suited us?"

The Newport people have not heard of the Union of Hearts. A decent old
man who was trying to sell home-spun tweed of his own making,
said:--"The English has been hittin' us for many a year, but whin we
git Home Rule we'll be able to hit thim back. God spare me to see that
day!" And he raised his hat, just as the people mentioned by Mr. A.M.
Sullivan, M.P., "raised their hats reverentially" when they heard that
a landlord or agent was shot. Whenever I hear a friendly sentiment, a
friendly wish, a friendly aspiration in connection with England from
the lips of any Nationalist I will gladly record it, if possible, in
letters of gold. I do not expect this to happen. Speakers who attack
England are most popular. The more unscrupulous and violent they are,
the better their reception. Nationalist M.P.'s who in England have
spoken well of Mr. Gladstone or of the English people are sharply
hauled over the coals. The fighting men are the patriot's glory. The
Irish people believe that the introduction of a Home Rule Bill is due
to the action of their bullies, rather than to the persuasive argument
of their civilised men. A very small minority desire to give John Bull
some credit for fair play, an opinion hotly resented by the mob.

"Ah, now, listen to me, thin."

"Sure, I'm lookin' at ye."

"Don't I know we bate the Bill out of Bull."

"An' how would ye know, at all, at all?"

"How would I know, is it? D'ye take me for a fool?"

"Arrah, thin, sure I would not judge ye by yer looks!"

That is a model bar spar, the combatants drinking dog's-nose,
sometimes called "powdher an' ball"--a drink of neat whiskey washed
down by a pot of porter. The Connaught folk drink whiskey neat, but
usually follow the spirit with water. They take up both glasses at
once, and after a loving sniff at the poteen they pour it slowly down,
the shebeen stuff tasting like a torchlight procession. Then they
hastily toss off the water, making a wry face, and mostly addressing
to the despised fluid the remark--

"Ye'll find IT gone on before!"

The desperate appeal of the Parnellite party for funds has evoked much
merriment among Irish Unionists, and much burning scorn from
anti-Parnellites--who themselves have much need of the money. A young
friend has sent me the following parody, adapted from an old and
well-known, melody:--

    The patriot came down like a wolf on the fold,
    And all that he asked was their silver and gold;
    And he pocketed all that he got, as his fee,
    From the shores of the Liffey to rocky Tralee.
    Tho' Pat looked as naked and bleak as his soil,
    Yet there stood the patriot to sack up the spoil.
    And from parish to parish the box went its rounds--
    If we give you our speeches you must give us your pounds.

The coming golden time is neatly hinted at. Home Rule will pay for
all:--

    When it comes, you no longer shall lie in a ditch,
    Every beggar among you at once shall be rich;
    The hedger and ditcher shall have an estate,
    And drive his four horses, and dine off his plate.
    What! you won't? And your champion in want of a meal,
    With his coat out at elbows, his shoes down at heel;
    With his heart all as black as his speeches in print!
    Boys, I know what you'll do: you'll just keep back the Rint.
    Now down with your cash, never think of the jail,
    For Erin's true patriots the Virgin is bail;
    She'll rain down bank notes till the bailiff is blind--
    Still you're slack! Then I'll tell you a piece of my mind.

The priest is invoked to compel unwilling subscribers:--

    Would you like to be sent, in the shape of a ghost,
    To be pokered by demons and browned like a toast?
    Or be hung in a blaze with a hook in your backs,
    Till you all melt away like a cake of bees'-wax?
    Would you like to be pitchforked down headlong to Limbo,
    With the Pope standing by with his two arms akimbo?
    No matter who starves, plank down on the spot,
    Pounds, shillings, and pence; we'll take all that you've got.

The poem breathes the true spirit of Separatism-cum-Sacerdotalism.

Newport (Co. Mayo), June 15th.



No. 36.--IRISH IMPROVIDENCE THE STUMBLING BLOCK.


The further journey from Newport to Mulranney on the _Gazette_ special
engine was yesterday delayed for a few hours by the announcement that
during the night part of the line had sunk into a bog--a circumstance
which might have seemed unusual and ominous to English engineers, but
which Mr. Lionel Vaughan Bennett regarded as a mere matter of daily
routine, hardly worth more than a passing mention. There was nothing
for it but to take another walk round Newport, and after further
admiring the great wall holding up the embankment opposite the
station--a colossal work executed under great difficulties--to look at
the surrounding landscape. Those who are interested in engineering may
like to know the dimensions of this wall, which is two hundred feet
long, thirty-five feet high, and ten feet thick at the base, tapering
off to a thickness of five feet at the top, and is built of a fine
limestone quarried from the railway cutting a little further out. The
view from either of the ridges between which the town is built, is
magnificent, mountain, valley, sea, and river contributing to the
effect. From one ridge you see Clew Bay and the Croagh Patrick range,
with an immense tract of country of varied appearance. From the other,
immediately above the station, an enormous valley stretches away to
the Bogagh mountain in front and the peaked summit of Lettermoughra on
the left. At the latter point of view are some wooden cabins which the
Saxon might mistake for pigsties or small cowsheds until he discovered
they were inhabited by patriots, keen on Home Rule and charitable
coppers. Beware of civility in these parts. From casual passers-by it
nearly always means an appeal for alms, and after a few days'
experience you are apt to fall into misanthropy. Some of these beggars
have a fine dramatic way of opening the conversation. A hale and
seemingly able-bodied man of fifty or thereabouts came up carrying a
wheel, which he dropped when about ten yards away with the fervently
uttered exclamation--

"God help the poor--owld--man!"

This adjuration falling short of its aim, he came up and asked for "a
few coppers," at the same time invoking about sixpennyworth of
blessings in advance, a sort of sprat to catch a mackerel.

"Got no coppers," I said, rather impatiently.

"May ye never have one till the day of yer death," said the good old
man, this time with an unmistakable accent of sincerity. He hobbled
off with the wheel, muttering something which may have been blessings,
and a fine healthy young fellow came up. "Good mornin', an' 'tis a
foin bit of scenery, but we can't ate it, an' we'd die afore we'd go
into the poorhouse, an' a thrifle of money for a dhraw at the pipe
would be as welkim as the flowers of May, an' 'tis England is the
grate counthry, and thim that was in it says that Englishmen is tin
per cint. betther than Irishmen, aye, twinty per cint."--and so
forth, and so forth. There were six more applications in a hundred
yards, one of them from a well-dressed boy of fourteen or fifteen, who
gracefully reclined on a bank with his legs crossed, his arms under
his head. Begging to the Irish race is as natural as breathing. They
have an innate affinity for blessing and begging, and they beg without
need. Anything to avoid work. They are for the most part entirely
destitute of a spirit of independence. They will not dig, and to beg
they are not ashamed. According to a Newport authority they are
growing worse than ever. While I awaited the fishing up of the line he
said:--

"The conduct of the poorer classes is becoming more and more a
disgrace to the country. There is poverty, of course, but not so much,
nor in so great a proportion, as in England. This line has been in
progress for two years and a half, and the people of this district
have received many thousands of pounds without any perceptible
improvement of position, either as to solvency or personal appearance.
They are as ragged as ever, as dirty as ever, and decidedly more
dishonest than ever. They are more extravagant in their eating and
drinking, and the women spend more in ridiculous finery; but in spite
of the wages they have earned, they have not paid their way one bit
better than before. They usually sow the land and live on the crops,
selling the surplus to pay the rent, which is usually very moderate,
and well within what the land will pay. For thirty months many
hundreds of them, thanks to Mr. Balfour, have enjoyed an additional
income of fifteen shillings a week, but they have not paid their rents
any better than before. They have so many people agitating for them,
both here and in England, that whatever they do or fail to do, they
know they are sure of substantial support. While Irishmen only were
working for them, they felt less secure, but now Mr. Gladstone and his
following have taken their cause in hand, they feel more sure of their
ground, and accordingly they have lapsed into confirmed laziness and
dishonesty. They have found out the strength of combination, and the
possibility of withholding payment of rent, and year by year they are
falling lower and lower. Their morality is sapped at the root. They
have the utmost confidence in their clergy, and their conduct being
supported, and even advised from the altar, they spend all their money
quite comfortably, sure that in case of eviction the country will be
up in arms for their assistance, and that weak but well-meaning
English tourists, seeing their apparent condition, will help them
liberally. The English tourist has much to answer for. He couples dirt
and nakedness with misfortune and poverty, and nine times out of ten
he is altogether wrong. People with five hundred pounds in the bank
will go about barefoot, unwashed, and in rags. No Englishman can
possibly know his way about until he has lived for some time in the
country, remaining in one spot long enough to find out the real state
of things. He runs about hurriedly from place to place, observing
certain symptoms which in England mean undeserved poverty and
suffering. His diagnosis would be right for England, but for Ireland
it is hopelessly wrong. What he sees is not so often symptomatic of
undeserved misfortune, as of laziness, improvidence, and rank
dishonesty. The Irish are a complaining people. Self-help is
practically unknown among them, at any rate, among the Catholic
population. They have reduced complaining to a system, or, if you
will, they have elevated it to the level of a fine art. The recent
agitations have demolished any rudimentary backbone they ever had, and
the No-rent Campaign, with its pleas of poverty and financial
inability, has done more to pauperise the people than all the famines
Ireland ever saw.

"You can do nothing for them. One great argument for Home Rule is the
fact that the people are leaving the country. Best thing they can do.
Let them get to some country where they must work or starve. Then they
will do well enough. They work like horses in America, and their
native cuteness conies out in trade with surprising results. The Irish
race make a splendid mixture, but you must not take them neat. I am
looked upon as a monster when I say, Let them go. I think it would be
best. Let them clear out of the country, and leave it to people who
can make it pay. Let Ireland be populated by Englishmen or Scotsmen,
or both, and in twenty years the country would be one of the most
prosperous in the world. Those are my opinions, and few Irishmen will
gainsay them. They think them cruel, but their truth is generally
admitted. Mr. Balfour has helped the people, and in a way which was
best calculated to put them permanently on their feet. All to no
purpose. You can't go on making lines that will not pay. You can't go
on doling out charity for ever. Take the boats, nets, and so on, given
to the congested districts. When those are gone you may give them
more. The people will be exactly where they were. A few have been
taught fishing, you say. But it will not spread. Those who have
learned the art have been taught almost by compulsion, and at the
first opportunity they will fall back into their own ways. The farmers
will not change their methods. If one among them did so he would be a
mark for derision. No Irish villager has the pluck to say, I will do
this or that because it is the best thing to do. He must do as the
others do, even to planting his farm, selling the produce, and also in
disposing of the proceeds. Nowhere is public opinion so powerful, so
tyrannical, or so injuriously conservative as in Ireland. I challenge
contradiction. Any intelligent Irishman who has lived in an
agricultural and Roman Catholic neighbourhood will admit every
statement I have made."

Later in the day I laid these observations before three Irish
gentlemen dining at the Mulranney Hotel. All three readily and fully
concurred, and there can be no doubt that these sentiments will be
unanimously confirmed by any competent tribunal in or out of Ireland,
Such being the case, the absurdity of the Home Rule agitation becomes
evident at once.

At last the sportive young engine whose playfulness and prankishness
were mentioned in my last, came whinnying up, harnessed to an empty
truck in which was a bench with a green cloth, emblematic of Ireland.
This was better than convulsively clinging to the engine while she
madly careered along narrow and dizzy precipices, every kick
threatening to be your last, and emerging from the fiery ordeal,
begrimed and swarthy, your knees half cooked by the engine fire. All
this happened on my journey from Westport to Newport, but now the
truck promised Sybaritic luxury, and if the rail should again give
way, if the bog-hole, "still gaping to devour me, opened wide," I
should at least disappear with dignity, should take my _holium cum
dignitatis_ in a truck, on a green-covered seat, and with the
consciousness that I was doing something to fill up the gap, to solace
the aching void in Ireland's bosom. Away we went, thundering along
between the quivering bogs, as through a land of brown-black
calves'-foot jelly. The line itself is sound, well-made and firm. I
had this from Mr. Hare, engineer of the Board of Works, who said that
Mr. Worthington's railways have an excellent name for solidity and
thorough, conscientious work. Mr. Hare was formally taking over the
last bit of line, that between Mulranney and Achil Sound, with which
the Midland and Great Western Company will at present have nought to
do. The company will work from Westport to Mulranney, although some
portions of the line have a gradient of one in sixty, and the
directors are shy of anything steeper than one in a hundred by reason
of the wear and tear involved to rolling stock and permanent way by
gradients requiring so much brake power. But the last seven miles they
decline to touch on the terms offered by the Government at present. No
doubt the line will be worked, and by the company aforesaid, but the
contracting parties are for the moment at a deadlock. No line between
Mulranney and the Sound could possibly pay. England is building Irish
railways to give the people a chance, as the splendid quays of
Newport, Limerick, and Galway were built.

Nothing, or next to nothing, is done on these quays. The Channel, as
it is called at Newport, is a fine expanse of water about one hundred
and twenty yards wide, leading through Newport Bay directly into the
Atlantic. Only one boat, I was told, comes into the port. I saw it
there, unloading a hundred and eighty tons of Indian corn--a Glasgow
vessel, the Harmony, a sailer, which had taken three weeks to the
voyage, which a steamer easily runs in thirty six to forty hours.
Galway was busier, but not by Irish enterprise, and Limerick was
mostly fast asleep. The people cry aloud and shout for quays,
harbours, piers, and railways; and when they are built they ask for
something else. They are without the faculty of industrial enterprise.
They are always waiting for weather, wind, and tide. They lack
resourcefulness, energy, invention. When the flour mills ceased to pay
they had no notion of using the buildings and water-power for some
other purpose. When the Coventry ribbon trade went to the dogs the
people found salvation in bicycles. If Coventry had been in Ireland
the people would have starved and murmured to the end of time.

Two miles out we came to Deradda, where eighty men were at work. Next
came Shellogah and the squeamish bit of bog. A number of men were busy
on the line, and right in front of us was a gap in the rails, the
platelayers laying the steel for dear life while the engine came up.
We slackened speed, but made no stop, and the last rail was finally
bolted as we ran upon it. Carefully and gingerly we pushed along, my
triumphal chariot in front of the engine, over the shivering
embankment, on each side of which were deep-cut channels which seemed
to have been hewn through acres of Day and Martin's blacking, so jetty
and oily seemed this Irish bog. The subsidence of yesterday had forced
the boundary walls of the line into wide semicircles, and it seemed
likely to be touch-and-go with the engine, truck, and your humble
commissioner. I took a last look at the landscape, and made a final
note, but, while inly wondering whether I should be ultimately
consumed in the form of peat or dug up and exhibited to future ages as
a bog-preserved brutal Saxon, with a concluding squash we passed the
rotten spot, and it was permissible to breathe again. "We prefer it to
sink at once," said Mr. Bennett. "Then we know the 'hard' is not far
off, and we can fill up till the line becomes solid as a rock. When it
goes down by degrees, sinking a foot to-day and a foot to-morrow, we
find our work more difficult. We never leave a bad bit till we are
assured, by careful examination and severe and repeated tests, that
all is solid and secure." He told me how much earth had been dumped on
this spot, which, like the soft place mentioned in my last, has given
Mr. Balfour's _protégés_ a world of employment. I forget the quantity,
but it sounded like an island or a small range of mountains. Soon on
the left we saw the great expanse of Clew Bay, with its three hundred
and sixty-five considerable islands, nearly all with cottages, cattle,
and pasture, but without a tree. The Yankee breezes blew refreshingly,
and the scenery around became of wildest grandeur. High mountains
hemmed us in on every side, rising one over another, huge masses of
rock impending over untrodden passes, unknown to any guide-book, and
leading no man knows whither. Some mountain sheep on the line scaled
the embankment and leaped the five-foot wall like squirrels. Then a
group of obstinate black cattle, one of which narrowly escaped sudden
transformation into beef. Then the station of Mulranney, or rather its
site, for the foundations are not yet dug out. Some neat wooden
cottages attested the contractor's care for his workmen, and the
beautiful bay with its extensive sands and lovely surroundings came
into view far below. A steep descent brought us to the hotel, an
unlicensed house kept by a Northern Protestant. A quaint and charming
place, known and prized by a select few. The Board of Works gave
Mulrannoy a pier, but the whole bay boasted only a single boat. The
people make no use of their pier. It stretches into the sea in a
lonely, melancholy way, and, so far as I could see, without a boat
near it, without a soul upon it or within half-a-mile. The Mulranians
cannot do anything with the pier until they get Home Rule. In Limerick
one day I saw a dead cat before a cottage door, in a crowded part of
Irishtown. A week later pussy was diffusing an aromatic fragrance from
the self-same spot. The denizens of this locality are waiting for Home
Rule. They cannot move their dead cats while smarting 'neath the cruel
English yoke.

The Home Rulers of Mulranney are not original. They say the same
things over and over again, merely echoing what they have been told by
others. They believe that their country has unlimited good coal, and
that the English Parliament prevents the mines being sunk for fear of
losing Irish custom. "We wish it were trap," said Mr. Bennett. "We are
always looking for it, but although we have made a million's worth of
railway, we have never seen a vestige of coal. It is safe to say that
there is no coal in Ireland, except in one or two well-known spots,
where it exists, and is mined, in small quantities." Another
enlightened Irishman, of wide experience in many lands, expressed the
conviction of the majority of his countrymen that the proposed
Parliamentary change will never take place.

"The thing is too ridiculous to be possible. The respectable portion
of the community were alarmed at first, as well they might be, knowing
as they do precisely what it means. But as time went on that alarm has
to a great extent subsided, not, as some will say, because the people
are in any degree reconciled to the idea, but purely and simply
because they see that the bill must perish when exposed to the light
of criticism. The people as a whole do not want the bill. The poorer
classes do not know in the least what it means, nor what all the
bother is about. They are told that they will be hugely benefited, but
nobody can tell them how. Of course they vote for Home Rule, because
in these parts the priest stands at the door of the polling booth and
tells them as they go in how they are to vote. He also questions them
as they come out, and they know beforehand that he will do so, and act
accordingly. They dare not tell him a lie, for fear of spiritual
trouble. They believe that the priest has their eternal future in his
hands, and this belief is encouraged by the well-known argument used
by the Roman Catholic clergy, a very familiar phrase in Ireland, "You
must do as I tell you, for _I_ am responsible. God will require your
soul of _me_ at the day of judgement!" What can the poor folks do?
Even the higher classes are not exempt from this superstitious fear.
They may be more or less freethinkers--freethinking is common among
educated Catholics who are yet compelled by custom to conform to the
outward observances of their faith--but yet, when the pinch comes,
they are influenced by the prepossessions of their childhood and
environments, and they mostly vote as they are told. They dread to
offend the priest, though not to the same extent as the poor
peasantry, who believe that confession of a wrong vote would entail
the refusal of extreme unction, and that this would mean untold and
endless torture in the world to come. And the priests preach politics
every Sunday. The people like it better than the old style of
Instruction. They call their sermons Instructions, you know, and they
instruct the people to some tune. No doubt they have a right to
persuade their flocks to follow a certain course. The temptation to
preach something which at once catches the people's attention and
furthers their own views is very great, and perhaps excusable. But is
their teaching designed or calculated to suit England? The English may
not understand the Irish question, but they may be sure that whatever
suits the Papal power does not suit them. The modern Irish priest is a
sworn foe to England. It cannot be otherwise. He springs from the
small farmer class, which has sworn to extirpate landlordism, which,
to their minds, is synonymous with British rule. The English
Parliament, hoping to win over the farmers, who are the strength of
Ireland, has made one concession after another, with what result?
Absolutely none. The property of the landlord has been sacrificed bit
by bit, in fruitless endeavour to please these people, who are more
discontented than ever. And so they will continue to be as long as
discontent pays. In Ireland the landlord is nothing, the tenant is
everything. The policy of England with regard to Irish landlords
reminds me of the man who, having to dock a dog's tail, cut off
half-an-inch every day to gradually accustom him to the loss, and to
minimise the 'suffering of the baste.'"

You can go nowhere in Ireland without meeting an Ulsterman. There was
one at Mulranney. You may know them by their accent, by their size, by
a general effect of weight, decision, and determination. They are
mostly big men, large-boned and large-limbed, of ruthless energy, of
inexhaustible vitality. They are demons in argument, tenacious and
crushing. They bowl straight over-hand and dead on the middle stump.
The lithe and sinuous Celt is no match for them. No matter how he
twists and turns they grab him up, and, will he, nill he, fix him in
front of the argument. They are adepts in cornering an opponent by
keeping him to the point. You cannot catch them napping, and you
cannot turn their flank. They are contented enough, except that they
sigh for more worlds to conquer. They delight in difficulties, and
demolish Home Rulers with a kind of contempt as if the work were only
fit for children. They seem to be fighting with one hand, with great
reserve of power, and, after doubling up an opponent, they chuck him
over the ropes, and look around, as if, like Oliver, asking for
"more." My Mulranney friend said:--

"Bull confessedly does not know what to do, and he calls in two sets
of Irish experts (we'll say) and asks for their opinions. One set of
Irishmen never quarrel with anybody and always pay their debts. The
other set quarrel with everybody and don't pay what they owe. One set
are successful in everything, the other set are successful in nothing.
One set have always been friendly and helpful to Bull, the other set
have always been unfriendly and obstructive to him. He proposes to
reject the advice of the successful, amicable, helpful men, who have
always stuck up for him, and to follow the advice of the quarrelsome,
unsuccessful, unfriendly men, who have always spoken ill of him and
have spent their energies in trying to damage him. Bull must be a
fool--or rather he would be if he meant to act in this foolish way. He
will not do so; that can never be. But why waste so much time?"

I submitted that this waste was due to Mr. Gladstone, and not to
England at all. He said--

"There is no England now. There's nothing left but Gladstone."

Of course he was wrong, but the mistake is one that under present
circumstances any loyal Irishman might easily make.

Mulranney (Co. Mayo), June 17th.



No. 37.--ON ACHIL ISLAND.


The final spurt from Mulranney to Achil Sound was pleasant, but devoid
of striking incident. This part of the line is packed and ballasted,
and the _Gazette_ engine sobered down to the merely commonplace,
dropping her prancing and curveting, with other deplorable excesses of
the first two runs, and pushing my comfortable truck with the
steadiness of a well-broken steed. No holding on was required, as we
ran between the two ranges of mountains which guard the Sound, and
along the edge of a salt-water creek, which seemed to be pushing its
investigations inland. Barring the scenery the ride became
uninteresting by its very safety. The line for the most part is based
upon the living rock, and there were no exciting skims over
treacherous bogs, no reasonable chance of running off the line, no ups
and downs such as on our first flight were remindful of the switchback
railway, no hopping, jumping, or skipping. Anybody could have ridden
from Mulranney to Achil. There was no merit in the achievement. All
you had to do was to sit still and look about. You could no longer
witch the world with noble truckmanship. We ran over a bridge built to
replace one washed away by a mountain torrent. The engineer who
constructed the first had failed to realise that the tinkling rivulet
of summer became in winter a fiercely surging cataract. The Achil
Mountains loomed in full view, Croaghaun to the left, Sliebhmor
(pronounced Slievemore) the Great Mountain, in front, with many others
stranger still of name. Then the Sound came in sight, with the iron
viaduct-bridge which has turned the island into a peninsula. Then the
final dismount, and a scramble among rusty rails, embankments,
sleepers, and big boulders strewn about in hopeless chaos. Then the
little inn, with a stuffed fox and a swan in the porch. A glance at
the day-before-yesterday's paper, which has just arrived, and is
considered to serve up news red-hot; and then invasion of the island.
A few hookers are anchored near the swivel-bridge of the viaduct, in
readiness for their cargoes of harvesters for England and Scotland,
and now and then big trout and salmon throw themselves in air to see
what is going on in the world around them. A group of men who are
busily engaged in doing nothing, with a grace and ease which tells of
long experience, manifest great interest in the stranger, whom they
greet civilly and with much politeness. Men, women, and children are
digging turf in a bog beside the road. All suspend operations and look
earnestly in my direction. This is one of the amenities of Irish life.
Driving along a country road you see men at work in a field. They stop
at the first rumble of the car, and leaning on their spades they watch
you out of sight. Then they resume in leisurely style, for work they
will tell you is scarce, and, to their credit be it observed, they
show no disposition to make it scarcer still. They husband it, hoard
it up, are not too greedy, leave some for another day. They dig
easily, with a straight back, and take a long time to turn round. The
savage energy of the Saxon is to them unknown. Why wear themselves
out? "Sweet bad luck to the man that would bur-rst himself as if the
wuruld wouldn't be afther him. Divil sweep the omadhaun that would
make his two elbows into a windmill that niver shtops, but is always
going. Fair an' aisy goes far in a day. Walkin' is betther than
runnin', an' standin' is betther than walkin', an' sittin' is betther
than standin', an' lyin' is betther than any o' thim. Twas me owld
father said it, an' a thrue wurud he shpoke, rest his sowl in glory."

The Achil folks are ardent politicians. They have been visited by
Michael Davitt, Dr. Tanner, and others, and most of the population,
all the Catholics in fact, became members of the Land League. The area
of the island is about forty thousand acres, a vast moorland, with
miles of bog, and hills and mountains in every direction. There are
also several large lakes, which abound with white trout. The
cultivated portions of the land only seem to dot the great waste,
which nevertheless supports a population of some five thousand
persons. The houses are mostly filthy, the people having cattle which
live with the family. I approached a house to make inquiries, and was
driven from the open door by the smell issuing from the interior. The
next was sweeter, having perhaps been more recently cleaned out. Only
one room, with a big turf fire, creating an intolerable atmosphere. A
bed filled one-third of the floor, most of the remainder being
occupied by two cows. A rough deal table near the bed comprised the
furniture, and visitors, therefore, must sit on the sleeping
arrangement. A civilised Irishman said:--"Two cows, two clean cows
only, and you're surprised at that! Where have you been? Where have
you been brought up? Let me tell you something, and when you get to
Dugort ask the doctor there whether I am correct. A family not far
away were stricken down with typhus fever. The people are mostly
healthy and strong, although living under circumstances which would
soon kill people not used to them, or not enjoying the same splendidly
pure air. Well, the poor folks, eight of them, were all down at once,
and no wonder, for when I visited them I never saw such a sight in my
life. There were three in one bed in one corner, three in one bed in
another corner, and two in shake-down beds on the floor. In the same
room were a mare and foal, three cows, one pig under a bed, and a
henroost above, on the ceiling. What would the sanitary authorities of
Birmingham say to that menagerie in a sick room? Somebody wrote to the
Local Government Board, and the Board referred the matter to the Poor
Law Guardians. But the Guardians themselves kept cattle in their
houses. It is the prevailing custom. Wherever you go in Achil, you
will find cattle in the houses, along with the family, sharing the
same room. The people cannot be moved from this custom. A large
landowner built some good cottages for them, and offered them rent
free, on condition that they would not live with the cattle. The
people would not accept, so they got the houses at last on their own
terms, and took the cows with them as before. They say that the cows
enjoy the warmth and give better milk. They also say that the big turf
fire stands them in lieu of feed to some extent. The Achil folks are
hopeless in the direction of improvements. They have had the
Protestant Colony at Dugort before them for more than sixty years--a
well-housed, well-clad community, living clearly and respectably,
paying their way, and keeping at peace with all men, but they have not
moved an inch in the same direction. They bury their dead in the old
savage way, without any funeral rites, except such as the relatives
may have in their minds. The priest says no prayer, reads no service,
does not attend in his official character, unless specially engaged
and paid. Usually he does not attend funerals at all, although he may
sometimes join the procession as a mark of respect. And the weddings
are arranged in a way you might think barbarous. A young man fancies a
girl he sees at mass, or at a funeral. He gets a bottle of whiskey and
goes to see the father, who nearly always wishes to get the daughter
off his hands, without any regard whatever for the poor girl's
feelings. I was present at one of these negotiations. 'What will you
give with her?' said the young fellow, a boy of eighteen or so. 'Three
cows and a calf,' said the father. 'So-and-so got three cows and a
calf and a sheep.' said the suitor. The father pondered a bit, but
eventually, not to be behind, conceded the sheep. The lover tried a
bit further. Somebody else had three cows and a calf and a sheep and a
lamb, but the old man stood firm, and the bargain was struck, with
mutual esteem, after several hours' haggling and a second bottle of
whiskey. I called in the evening to learn the girl's fate. She had
been two years in service and had got unorthodox notions. She
screamed with affright when the father brought the fellow forward and
told her what was arranged. She had seen him before, but had never
spoken to him, and the sight of him had always been most repugnant to
her. She ran away into the bogs, but the country was up, and she was
soon found. Then after a sound beating she was handed over to the
ardent swain along with the cows, and so forth, nominated in the bond.

"They marry early or go to America. The boy is usually seventeen or
eighteen, the girl fifteen or sixteen. I have known girls marry at
thirteen. Not long ago a boy I knew well, a mere weakling, unable to
do even a boy's work, got married. He was seventeen, or nearly
seventeen, but he didn't look it. They believe that their poverty,
such as it is, is due to the predominance of England. Their hatred of
the English is very pronounced, but a casual visitor will not see it.
He has money to spend, and they flock round him in a friendly way. But
let him live among them! They tried to boycott the Protestant
settlement, and if their priests had ruled on that occasion they would
have starved us out or would have made things so unpleasant that we
must have left the field. That was during the Land League agitation.
The Protestants declined to join and vengeance was declared, but
Bonaventure, head of the monastery, forbade it. He is a splendid
fellow, not like the ordinary priests at all. So they were saved. But
let this change come about, once let that bill become law, and all
Protestants must leave the island, must give up the land they have
tilled and tended until it is like a garden, and seek their fortunes
elsewhere. That is a certainty. Ask everyone you meet, and you will
find that each will say just the same thing."

A smart car driver, named Matthew Henay, was dubious as to the
benefits accruing from Home Rule. His driving was a study, and his
conversations with Maggie, his little mare, were both varied and
vigorous. "Now me little daughter, away ye go. That's the girl now. Me
little duck, ye go sweetly. There's the beauty, now. Maggie me love,
me darlint, me pride; ye know ivery word I spake. Yes, she does, Sorr.
She ondhershtands both English an' Irish. I can dhrive her in both,
but I have an owld woman o' me own that can only dhrive her in Irish.
Home Rule will do no good at all. Twinty years I wint to England to
harvest, an' eighteen iv it to the same masther an' on the same farm.
An' ye don't get me to belave all I hear widout thinkin' a bit. An' I
say, get out o' that wid yer talk o' mines an' factories, an' rubbish.
Where's the money to come from? says I. That's what nobody knows.
Sure, we'd be nothin' widout England. A thousand goes from this part
every year, an' even the girls brings back ten to fifteen pounds each.
That's all the circulation of money we have. An' as all we get's from
England, I say, let us stick to England, but nobody agrees wid me.
There's the girl, now. Away ye go, me little duck, me daughter, me
beauty, me--bad luck to ye, _will_ ye go? What are ye standin' there
for? Will ye get out o' that, ye lazy brute? Take that, an' that, an'
_that_, ye idle, good-for-nothin', desavin', durty daughter of a pig.
_Now_ d'ye ondhershtand who's masther, ye idle, skulkin', schamin',
disrespictable baste?"

Misther Henay was favourably disposed towards the Protestant settlers
of Dugort, but another Sounder was very bitter indeed. "A set of
Soupers an' Jumpers an' Double-Jumpers. What's the manin' iv it ye
ask? Soupers is Catholics that's turned Protestants for the sake of
small pickin's sich as soup. That's what they are at Dugort. An'
Jumpers is worse than Soupers. For Soupers only changed once, but
Jumpers is thim that turned once an' then turned back again, jumpin'
about from one religion to another. Ye can have Jumpers in anythin'.
Ye can have thim in politics. Owld Gladstone is a Jumper and a
Double-Jumper an' a Double-Thribble Jumper. An' if we get a Parlimint
for ourselves, 'tis because he daren't for the life of him say No--an'
divil thank him. Yes, we'll take the bill; what else will we do? We
can amend it whin once we get it. But afther so much jumpin', owld
Gladstone's a man I wouldn't thrust. A man that would make so many
changes isn't to be thrusted. I wouldn't be surprised if he wouldn't
bring in a coercion bill at any minute. Ah, the thricks an' the dodges
iv him! An' the silver tongue he has in his head! Begorra, I wouldn't
lave him out o' me sight. 'Tis himself would stale the cross off a
donkey's back."

The Achil ditches are full of ferns, and a hundred yards from the sea
are clumps of _Osmunda regalis_--otherwise known as the Royal
fern--spreading out palm-like fronds four feet long. Other ferns,
usually regarded as rare, abound in every direction, and potatoes and
cabbages grow at the very water's edge. The vast plains are treeless
save for the plantations round the house of Major Pike, who has shown
what can be done to reclaim the land, but his excellent example has
attracted no imitators. Except in the Major's grounds there is not a
tree on the island, unless we count the hedges of fuchsias, twelve to
fifteen feet high, which fence in some of the gardens. The Post
Office, engineered by Mr. Robins, of Devonshire, an old
coastguardsman, is surrounded by fuchsia bloom, and every evidence of
careful culture. Here I met some Achil folks who did not understand
English, and a mainland man who does not believe in the future of the
race. He said:--

"I think their civilisation has stood still for at least five
centuries. They are so wedded to their ancient customs that nothing
can be done for them. They are not so poor as they look, and the
starvation of which you hear in England is totally unknown. As an
object of charity Achil is a gigantic swindle. When the seed potatoes
were brought here in Her Majesty's gunboats the people were too lazy
to fetch them ashore. I was there and heard an Irish bluejacket
cursing them as a disgrace to his country. They do just what the
priests tell them from week to week. Every Sunday they get their
instructions. They keep up the cry of distress when there is no
distress, for fear of breaking through the custom. They have been
helped on all sides, but they will not utilise their advantages. The
sea is before them, swarming with fish, which they will not catch.
They said, we have no pier, no quay. They were set up with these and
everything they needed. What did they do with them? Nothing at all.
The work is falling to pieces and they let it go. They sometimes go
out in coraghs, and catch enough fish for the day's food, but that is
all. They don't pay their rents, and their rents would amuse you.
Twenty-five shillings a year for a decent house and a good piece of
land is reckoned a heavy responsibility. One man I know named McGreal
has twenty acres of good land and a house for seventeen shillings and
sixpence a year. They will not sell you butter, they will not sell you
milk. They say they want it for themselves. None of them has ever paid
a cent for fuel. All have turf for the digging, and much of the Achil
turf is equal to coal. The sea is in front of them, and all round
them, and the lakes are full of fish. And yet the hat is sent round
every other year.

"They used to pay their debts. Now they will pay nothing, and their
audacity is something wonderful. A gentleman over there has bought
some land, and the people turn their cattle on it to graze. He
remonstrates, and they say, 'What business have you here? Keep in your
own country.' He sued them for damages. They had nothing but the
cattle aforesaid, and, as he could not find heart to seize, he had no
remedy. They keep their cattle on his land, although he has, since
then, processed them for trespass. They have already divided the
spoils of the Protestants; that is, in theory. They are anticipating
the Home Rule Bill in their disposal of the land. They have marked out
the patches they will severally claim, and are already disputing the
future possession of certain desirable fields.

"English Gladstonians ridicule the fears of Irish Protestants, who
declare unanimously their conviction that Home Rule means oppression.
This ridicule is absurd in face of the fact that every Protestant
sect, without exception, has publicly and formally announced its
adherence to this opinion. The Church of Ireland believes in Catholic
intolerance; the Methodists believe it; the Baptists believe it; the
Plymouth Brethren believe it; the Presbyterians believe it; the
Unitarians, the most radical of all the sects, believe it; the
Quakers, who never before made a public deliverance of opinion in any
political matter, believe it; and all these have issued printed
declarations of their belief. The Roman Catholic laity, the best of
them, believe it; but the Catholic Bishops say No, they will not admit
the soft impeachment. And Englishmen who are Gladstonians believe
these Bishops in preference to all the sects I have enumerated. Could
anything be more unreasonable? But it is of a piece with the whole
conception of the bill, which seems to contain every possible
absurdity, and is based on extravagant assumptions of amity on the
part of Irish Catholics, of which there is not one particle of
evidence in existence. All the evidence points the other way, and
Irish Protestants know that under Home Rule their fate is sealed.
There would be no open persecution, but we should be gently elbowed
out of the country. All who could leave Ireland would do so at once,
and England would lose her most powerful allies in the enemy's camp.
For it is the enemy's camp, and this fact should be borne in mind. Mr.
Gladstone and his followers would be horrified to hear such a
statement, which they would regard as rank blasphemy. But every
Irishman knows it, and every Englishman knows it who lives here long
enough to know anything. Irish Nationalists have two leading ideas--to
get as much out of England as possible, and to damage her as much as
possible by way of repayment. Mr. Gladstone wants to put England's
head on the block, to hand an axe to her sworn enemy, and to say, 'I'm
sure you won't chop.' People who have common sense stand amazed,
dumbfounded at so much stupidity."

A pious Catholic bore out the statements of my first Achil friend with
reference to the comparative comfort of the Islanders. He said:--"We
live mostly on bread and tea. Of course we have plenty of butter and
eggs, and now and then we go out and get some fish. I had a go at a
five-pound white trout to-day, with plenty of butter and potatoes. At
Dugort people who live in cabins have money in the bank, aye, some of
them have several hundred pounds. And yet they took the seed potatoes
sent by England. Well, they wanted a change of seed, and they must do
the same as their neighbours. It would not do to pretend to be any
better off than the rest. They are compelled to do as the majority do
in everything, or they would be boycotted at once. They cease work
when a death occurs in the parish. If an infant three days old should
give up the ghost, every man shoulders his spade and leaves the field.
And he does not return till after the funeral. If another death
occurred on the funeral day, he would leave off again, and so on. No
matter how urgent the state of the crop, he must leave it to its fate,
or leave the country, for no one would know a person who would work
while a corpse lay in the parish. They would look upon him as an
infidel, and, if possible, worse than a Protestant. Luckily we don't
often die hereabouts, or we'd never get the praties set or the turf
cut. Sometimes they won't go to work because someone is expected to
die, and they say it isn't worth while to begin. I have known a
lingering case to throw the crops back a fortnight or more. Oh, they
don't grumble; any excuse for laziness is warmly welcomed. They
complain when people die at inconvenient times, and will say the act
might have been delayed till a more convenient season, or might have
been done a little earlier. The whole population turn out for the
funeral, but they don't dig the grave until the procession reaches the
graveyard. Then the mourners sit around smoking, both men and women,
while a couple of young chaps make a shallow hole, and cover the
coffin with four to six inches of earth. No, it is not severely
sanitary, but we are not too particular in Achil."

These unsophisticated islanders are decidedly interesting. Their
customs, politics, manners, morals, odours seem to be strongly
marked--to have character, originality, individuality. I fear they are
mostly Home Rulers, for in Ireland Home Rule and strong smells nearly
always go together.

Achil Sound, June 20th.



No. 38.--THE ACHIL ISLANDERS.


Dugort, the capital city of Achil, is twelve miles from the Sound, a
terrible drive in winter, when the Atlantic storms blow with such
violence as to stop a horse and cart, and to render pedestrianism
well-nigh impossible; but pleasant enough in fine weather,
notwithstanding the seemingly interminable wastes of bog and rocky
mountain, dotted at infrequent intervals with white cottages, single
or in small clusters of three or four. After Major Pike's plantations,
near the Sound, not a tree is visible all the way to Dugort, although
at some points you can see for ten miles or more. Here and there where
the turf has been cut away for fuel, great gnarled roots of oak and
fir trees are visible, bleached by exposure to a ghastly white,
showing against the jetty soil like the bones of extinct giants, which
indeed they are. The inhabitants say that the island was once covered
by a great forest, which perished by fire, and Misther Patrick Toolis,
with that love of fine words which marks the Irish peasant, said that
the charred interior of the scattered remains proves that the trees
were "desthroyed intirely by a grate confiscation." The heather, of
two kinds, is brilliantly purple, and the Royal fern grows everywhere
in profusion, its terra-cotta bloom often towering six feet high. The
mountains are effectively arranged, and imposing by their massiveness,
height, and rugged grandeur. Some of the roads are tolerable, those
made by Mr. Balfour being by far the best. Others are execrable and
dangerous in the extreme, and in winter must be almost impassable.
Sometimes they run along a narrow ridge which in its normal condition
was of barely sufficient width to carry the car, and it often happens
that part of this has fallen away, so that the gap must be passed by
leading the horse while the car scrapes along with one wheel on the
top and one clinging to the side of the abyss. The natives make light
of such small inconveniences, and for the most part ride on horseback
with saddles and crupper-bands of plaited rye-straw. Every householder
has a horse or an ass, mostly a horse, and young girls career adown
the mountain sides in what seems the maddest, most reckless way,
guiding their half-broken, mustard-coloured steeds with a single rein
of plaited straw, adjusted in an artful way which is beyond me to
describe. Very quaint they look, on their yellow horses, which remind
you of D'Artagnan's orange-coloured charger, immortalised by Dumas in
the "Three Musketeers;" their red robes floating in the breeze, their
bare feet hanging over the horse's right flank. When they fall off
they simply get on again. They seldom or never are hurt. They are hard
as nails and lissom as cats. Dr. Croly, of Dugort, saw a girl thrown
heels over head, turning a complete somersault from the horse's back.
She alighted on her feet, grabbed the rein, bounded up again, and
gaily galloped away. During my hundred miles riding and walking over
the island I saw many riderless horses, fully accoutred in the Achil
style, plodding patiently along the moorland roads, climbing the steep
mountain paths. At first I thought an accident had occurred, and spent
some time in looking for the corpse. There was no occasion for fear.
The Achil harvesters going to England and Scotland ride over to the
Sound, where lie the fishing smacks which bear them to Westport, and
then turn their horses loose. The faithful beasts go home, however
long or devious the road, sometimes alone, sometimes in company, only
staying a moment at the parting of the ways to bid each other
good-bye, then going forward at a brisker pace to make up for lost
time.

The hamlet of Cashel, not to be confused with Cashel of the Rock, is
the first sign of life after leaving the Sound. A ravine, with white
cabins, green crops, and huge boulders, on one of which seven small
children were sitting in a row, unwashed, unkempt, with little calico
and no leather. Bunnacurragh has a post-office run by a pensioner who
grows roses, and keeps his place like a picture, the straw ropes which
secure the thatch against the western gales taut and trig, each loose
end terminated by a loop holding a large stone. The stones are used in
place of pegs, and very queer they look dangling all round over the
eaves. Not far from here is an immense basin-like depression of dry
bog. Then a monastery, in the precincts of which the ground is
reclaimed and admirably tilled, the drainage being carried over
ingenious turf conduits, the soil lacking firmness to hold stone or
brick. The vast bulk of Slievemore soon looms full in front, and after
a long stretch of smooth Balfour road and a sharp turn on the edge of
a deep ravine on the right with a high ridge beyond it, the Great
mountain on the left, Dugort, with Blacksod Bay, heaves in sight. A
final spurt up the hilly road and the weary, jolted traveller, or what
is left of him, may (metaphorically) fall into the arms of Mr. Robert
Sheridan, of the Sea View Hotel, or of Mrs. Sheridan, if he likes it
better.

There are two Dugorts, or one Dugort divided against itself. The line
of demarcation is sharp and decided. The two sections stand but a
short distance apart, each on an opposite horn of the little bay, but
the moral distance is great enough for forty thousand leagues. The
Dugort under Slievemore is Protestant, the Dugort of the opposite
cliff is intensely Roman Catholic. The one is the perfection of
neatness, sweetness, cleanliness, prettiness, and order. The other is
dirty, frowsy, disorderly, and of evil odour. The Papists deny the
right of the Protestants to be in the island at all, speak of them
with acerbity, call them the Colonists, the perverts, the Soupers, the
Jumpers, the heretics; and look forward to the time when a Dublin
Parliament will banish law and order, so that these interlopers may be
for ever swept away, and their fields and houses become the property
of the Faithful. They complain that the Protestants have all the best
land, and that the Papist population were wrongfully driven from the
ground now occupied by the colony. Like other Catholic poor all over
Ireland they will tell you that they have been ground down, harried,
oppressed, grievously ill-used, habitually ill-treated by the English
Government, which has never given them a chance. They explain the
prosperity of their Protestant neighbours by knowing winks and nods,
and by plain intimations that all Irish Protestants are secretly
subsidised by England, that they have privileges, that they are
favoured, petted, kept in pocket money. To affect to doubt this is to
prove yourself a dissembler, an impostor, a black-hearted enemy of the
people. Your Achil friend will drop the conversation in disgust, and
by round-about ways will call you a liar. He is sure of his facts, as
sure as he is that a sprinkling of holy water will cure rheumatism,
will keep away the fairies from the cow, will put a fine edge on his
razor, will keep the donkey from being bewitched. He knows who has had
money and how much, having reasoned out the matter by inference. He
could sell himself to-morrow, but is incorruptible, and will remain a
strong rock to the faith, will still buttress up the true hierarchy of
heaven. He cannot be bought, and this is strange, for he never looks
worth twopence.

It was during a famine that one Mr. Nangle, a Protestant parson from
the North, went to Achil and found the people in deepest distress.
They were dying of starvation, and their priests had all fled. Mr.
Nangle had no money, but he was prompt in action. He sent a thousand
pounds' worth of meal to the island on his own responsibility, and
weighed down by a sense of the debt he had incurred, went to London to
beg the money. He was successful, and afterwards founded the Achil
mission at Dugort, now called the Colony. Needless to say that all the
land belonging to the mission was duly bought and paid for, and that
the Protestants have been the benefactors of Achil. The stories of
wrong-doing, robbery, and spoliation, which the peasantry repeat, are
of course totally untrue. The example of a decently-housed community
has produced no perceptible effect on the habits of the Achilese. The
villages of Cabawn, Avon (also known by its Anglicised name of River),
Ballyknock, Slievemore, and Ducanella are dirty beyond description.
Some of the houses I saw in a drive which included the coastguard
station of Bull's Mouth were mere heaps of stones, with turf sods for
tiles, whereon was growing long grass which looked like a small
instalment of the three acres and a cow. Some had no windows and no
chimney, the turf reek filling the hovel, but partly escaping by a
hole in the roof. The people who live in this look as it painted in
umber by old Dutch masters. These huts are small, but there is always
room for a pig or two, which stalk about or stretch themselves before
the fire like privileged members of the family. This was very well for
the Gintleman that paid the Rint. But he merits the title no longer.
His occupation's gone.

A sturdy Protestant said:--"Suppose Home Rule became law, then we must
go away. We are only here on sufferance, and every person in the
Colony knows it and feels it only too well. Our lives would not be
endangered: those times are over, but we could not possibly stay in
the island. Remove the direct support of England, and we should be
subject to insult and wrong, for which we should have no earthly
remedy. What could they do? Why, to begin with, they could pasture
their cattle on our fields. If we turned them out they could be turned
in again; if we sue them we have a day's journey to take to get the
cause heard, and if we get the verdict we can recover nothing. Shoot a
cow or two! Then we should ourselves be shot, or our children. No,
there has been no landlord-shooting on the island. This kind of large
game has always been very scarce on Achil. Just over the Sound we had
a little sport--a really merry little turn it was--but the wrong man
was shot.

"A Mr. Smith came down to collect rents. The Land League was ruling
the country, and its desperadoes were everywhere. It was decided to
shoot Mr. Smith, after duly warning him to keep away. Smith was not to
be deterred from what he thought his duty (he was a Black Protestant),
and away he went, with his son, a neat strip of a lad about seventeen
or so. When they got half-way to the house which Smith had appointed
as a meeting-place a man in the bog which bordered the road called
out, and waved a paper, which he then placed on a heap of turf. Young
Smith went for it, and it read. YOU'LL NOT GO HOME ALIVE THIS NIGHT.
'Drive on, Tom,' said the father. 'We'll do our work, whether we go
home alive or dead.' Coming back the same evening the father was
driving, the son, this young lad, sitting at the side of the car,
which was furnished with a couple of repeating rifles and a revolver.
Suddenly three men spring up from behind a fence and fire a volley at
the two Smiths, but as they rose the horse shied and plunged forward,
and hang me! if they didn't all miss. The elder Smith still struggled
with the frightened horse, which the shooting had made ungovernable,
but the boy slipped off the car, and, seizing one of the rifles,
looked out for a shot in return. It was growing dusk, and the bog was
full of trenches and ups and downs, of which the three fugitives
cleverly availed themselves. Besides, to be shot at from a point-blank
range of three or four yards, scrambling down afterwards from behind a
frantic horse, is not the best Wimbledon method of steadying the
nerves. The boy put the rifle to his shoulder, and bided his time.
Presently up came one of the running heroes, and young Smith shot him
through the heart, as neat a kill as ever you saw. The dead man was
identified as a militiaman from Crossmolina, up Sligo way. The League
always brought its marksmen from a distance, and it is known that most
of them were persons who had received some military training. Then the
youngster covered another, but missed, and was about to fire again when
his father shouted, 'Hold hard, Tom, that's enough sport for one day.'"

My friend was wrong. The second shot lacerated the man's shoulder, and
laid him up for many a long week. I had the fact, which is now first
recorded, on _undoubted authority_. Young Smith may be gratified to
learn, for the first time, that his second bullet was not altogether
thrown away. This may console him for the loss of the third reprobate,
whom he had got "exactly between the shoulders," when the elder Smith
ordered him to desist. The occurrence was such a lesson to the Land
League assassins that they for ever after forswore Achil and its
immediate surroundings. As Dennis Mulcahy remarked, "The ruffians only
want shtandin' up to, an' they'll not come nixt or near ye." Mr.
Morley would do well to apply this moral to the County Clare.

The best authority in Achil said:--"The hat is always going round for
the islanders, who are much better off than the poor of great English
cities. They have the reputation of being in a state of chronic
famine. This has no foundation in fact. They all have land, one, two,
or three cows, and the sea to draw upon. For their land and houses
they pay nothing, or next to nothing; for good land in some cases is
to be had for a shilling an acre. The lakes also abound with fish.
They glory in their poverty, and hail a partial failure of crops with
delight. They know they will be cared for, and that provisions will be
showered upon them from all sides. They say, 'Please God, we'll have a
famine this year,' and when the contributions pour in they laugh and
sing, and say, 'The distress for ever! Long live the famine!' The word
goes round at stated intervals that they are to 'have a famine.' They
jump at the suggestion, act well together, and carry out the idea
perfectly. The Protestants never have any distress which calls for
charitable aid. They live on the same soil, under the same laws, but
they never beg. They pay their rents, too, much more regularly than
the others, who of late years can hardly be got to pay either rent or
anything else. The Protestants are all strong Unionists. The Catholics
are all strong Home Rulers. Their notions of Home Rule are as
follows:--No rent, no police, a poteen still at every door, and
possession of the land now held by Protestants, which is so much
better than their own because so much more labour has been expended on
it, and for no other reason. Who tells them to 'have a famine'? Why,
the same people who arouse and keep alive their enmity to the
Protestants; the same people who tell them lies about the early
history of the Colony--lies which the tellers know to be lies, such as
the stories of oppression, spoliation, and of how the mission took the
property of the islanders with the strong hand, aided by England, the
home of robbery, tyranny, and heresy. The people would be friendly
enough but for their priests. Yet they have marched in procession
before our houses, blowing defiance by means of a drum and fife band,
because we would not join one or other of their dishonest and illegal
combinations. They opened a man's head with a stone, producing a
dreadful scalp wound, and when Doctor Croly, the greatest favourite in
the whole island, went to dress the wound, five or six of them stopped
his horse, with the object of giving him a 'bating,' which would have
ended nobody knows how. The doctor produced a revolver, and the heroes
vanished like smoke."

The good doctor is himself a Unionist, but more of a philanthropist
than a politician. He is the parish doctor, with eight thousand people
to look after, the whole being scattered over an immense area. I
accompanied him on a twenty-mile drive to see a girl down with
influenza, much of the road being almost impracticable. Some of his
experiences, coming out incidentally, were strange and startling. He
told me of a night when the storm was so wild that a man seeking him
approached the surgery on all-fours, and once housed, would not again
stir out, though the patient was his own wife. The doctor went alone
and in the storm and blackness narrowly escaped drowning, emerging
from the Jawun, usually called the Jordan, after an hour's struggle
with the flood, to sit up all night in his wet clothes, tending the
patient. On another occasion a mountain sheep frightened his horse
just as the doctor was filling his pipe. The next passer-by found him
insensible. Nobody might have passed for a month. A similar
misadventure resulted in a broken leg. Then on a pitchy night he
walked over the cliffs, and was caught near the brink by two rocks
which held him wedged tightly until someone found him and pulled him
up, with the bag of instruments, which he thinks had saved him. And it
was as well to pause in his flight, for the Menawn Cliffs, with their
thousand feet of clean drop, might have given the doctor an ugly fall.
Two girls, whose male relations had gone to England, had not been seen
for three days. Nobody would go near the house. The doctor found them
both on the floor insensible, down with typhus fever, shut up with the
pigs and cows, the room and its odour defying description. The
neighbours kept strictly aloof. Dr. Croly swept and garnished, made
fires, and pulled the patients through. "Sure, you couldn't expect us
to go near whin 'twas the faver," said the neighbourly Achilese. Mr.
Salt, the Brum-born mission agent, was obliged to remain all night on
one of the neighbouring islands--islands are a drug hereabouts--and
next morning he found an egg in his hat. Fowls are in nearly all the
houses. Sometimes they have a roost on the ceiling, but they mostly
perch on the family bed, when that full-flavoured Elysium is not on
the floor. I saw an interior which contained one black cow, one black
calf, some hens, some ducks, two black-and-white pigs, a mother, and
eleven children. Where they all slept was a puzzle, as only one bed
was visible. The hens went whir-r-r-up, and perched on the bedstead,
when the lady smiled and wished me Good Evening. She looked strong and
in good going order. The Achilese say Good Evening all day long. A
young girl was grinning in the next doorway, a child of fourteen or
fifteen she seemed. "Ye wouldn't think that was a married woman, would
ye now," said a neighbour, with pardonable pride. "Aye, but she is,
though, an' a foin lump iv a son ye have, haven't ye, Maureen." Mr.
Peter Griffin, once a land commissioner, told me that a boy having
applied for the fixing of a judicial rent, the commissioners expressed
their surprise upon learning that he was married. "Arrah, now," said
the applicant, "sure 'tis not for the sake of the bit that the crathur
would ate that a boy need be widout one o' thim!"

In Achil, as elsewhere, the better people are certain that the Home
Rule Bill will never become law. From their point of view, the thing
seems too absurd to be possible. They are face to face with a class of
Irishmen, among whom civilisation seems to have made no perceptible
progress for centuries, who scorn every improvement, and are so tied
and bound down by aboriginal ignorance and superstition as to be
insensible to everything but their ancient prejudices. It cannot be
possible, they argue, that Ireland should be given over to the
dominion of these people, who, after all, are in the matter of
advancement and enlightenment fairly representative of the bulk of the
voters for Home Rule all over the country. The civilised community of
Achil are unable to realise the possibility of such a surrender. They
do not discuss the measure, but rather laugh at it. An able business
man said:--

"We get the daily papers a little old, no doubt, but we follow them
very closely, and we concur in believing that Mr. Gladstone will in
the long run drop the bill. We think he will turn round and say,
'There now. That's all I can do. Haven't I done my best? Haven't I
kept my promise? Now, you can't blame me. The Irishmen see it coming,
and they will get out of it as much dramatic effect as possible. The
party organs are already urging them to open rupture with the
Government. Compulsion is their game, and no doubt, with Gladstone, it
is the most likely game to pay. But he might rebel. He might grow
tired of eating Irish dirt; he might pluck up spirit enough to tell
these bullies who are jockeying him, and through him the British
Empire, to go to the Divil. Then we'd have a fine flare-up. Virtuous
indignation and patriotic virtue to the fore! The Irish members will
rush over to Ireland, and great demonstrations will be the order of
the day. The Irish love demonstrations, or indeed anything else which
gives a further excuse for laziness. The priests will orate, the
members will prate, the ruffians elate will shoot or otherwise murder
a few people, who will have Mr. Gladstone to thank for their death.
For what we wanted was twenty years of resolute government, just as
Lord Salisbury said, and if Mr. Balfour had been left to carry it out
Ireland would have come her nearest possible to prosperity and
contentment. But with steady rule one day, and vacillation, wobbling,
and surrender the next, what can you expect? The Irish are very smart,
cute people, and they soon know where they can take advantage of
weakness. The way these poor Achil folks, those who have been to
England, can reckon up Mr. Gladstone! They call him a traitor now. And
yet he promises to let the Irish members arrange their own finance!
'Here, my boys,' says he, 'take five millions and spend it your own
way.' Will John Bull stand that? Will he pay for the rope that is to
hang himself? Will he buy the razor to cut his own throat? Where are
his wits? Why does he stand by to witness this unending farce, when he
ought to be minding serious business? This Irish idiocy is stopping
the progress of the Empire. Why does not Bull put his foot on it at
once? He must do so in the end. Where are the working men of England?
Surely they know enough to perceive that their own personal interests
are involved.

"In Achil we have practically peasant proprietary and nothing else.
Eleven hundred men and women are at this moment in England and
Scotland from Achil alone. They will return in October, each bringing
back ten, fifteen, or twenty pounds, on which they will live till next
season. The Irish Legislature would begin by establishing peasant
proprietary all over Ireland. The large farmers would disappear, and
men without capital, unable to employ labour, would take their place.
Instead of Mayo, you would have the unemployed of the whole thirty-two
counties upon you. Ireland would be pauperised from end to end, for
everybody who could leave it would do so--that is, every person of
means--and as for capital and enterprise, what little we have would
leave us. Which of the Irish Nationalist party would start factories,
and what would they make? Can anybody tell me that?"

I submitted that Mr. William O'Brien, the member for Cork, might open
a concern for the making of breeches, or that Mr. Timothy Healy, the
member for Louth, who was reared in a tripe shop, might embark his
untold gold in the cowheel and trotter business, or might even prove a
keen competitor with Walsall in the manufacture of horsewhips, a
product of industry of which he has had an altogether exceptional
experience. "Is not this true?" I enquired.

My friend admitted the fact, but declined to believe in the factory.

Dugort (Achil Island), June 22nd.



No. 39.--IRISH UNFITNESS FOR SELF-GOVERNMENT.


There stands a city neither large nor small, Its air and situation
sweet and pretty. It matters very little if at all. Whether its
denizens are dull or witty. Whether the ladies there are short or
tall, Brunettes or blondes--only there stands a city. Perhaps 'tis
also requisite to minute, That there's a castle and a cobbler in it.
It is not big enough to boast a barber. These indispensable adjuncts
of civilisation exist in Connaught, but only at rare intervals.
Roughly speaking, there is a space of about a hundred miles between
them. From Athlone to Dugort, a hundred and thirty miles, there is
only one, both towns inclusive. Castlereagh is a deadly-lively place
for business, but keenly awake to politics. The distressful science
absorbs the faculties of the people, who care for little else. Like
all the Keltic Irish, they are great talkers, and, surely, if talking
were working the Irish would be the richest nation in the world.
"Words, words, words," and no deeds. The Castlereagh folks are growing
despondent. The Irish Parliament that was to remit taxation, present
every able-bodied man with a farm, do away with landlords and police,
and reduce the necessity for work to a minimum, seems to them further
off than ever. They complain that once again the people of Ireland
have been betrayed. Mr. Gladstone has done it all. To be sure they
never trusted him, but they thought him an instrument in the hands of
Fate and the Irish Parliamentary party. Spite of all he is supposed to
have done for the Irish, Mr. Gladstone is not popular in Ireland, and,
as I pointed out months ago, they from the first declined to believe
in his sincerity. They rightly regarded his action anent Home Rule as
the result of compulsion, and, rightly or wrongly, believed that he
would take the first opportunity of throwing over the whole scheme.
That he should act thus treacherously (they say) is precisely what
might be expected from an impartial review of his whole career, which
presents an unequalled record of in-and-out running--consistent only
in its inconsistency. Having apparently ridden straight for awhile, it
is now time to expect some "pulling." His shameful concessions to the
Unionist party may be taken as a clear indication of his congenital
crookedness, and the refusal of the Nationalists at Killybegs, on the
visit of Lord Houghton, the other day, to give a single shout for the
Grand Old Man, bears out my previous statement as to the popular
feeling. Amid the carefully organised show of enthusiasm and mock
loyalty which greeted the visit of the Viceroy, not a cheer could be
raised for Mr. Gladstone. The local wirepullers did their best, but
the priests who for weeks have been arranging their automata, at the
last moment found that the dummies would not work. There were rounds
of cheering for this, that, and the other, and when the mob were in
full cry, someone shouted, "Three cheers for Mr. Gladstone." Dead
silence. The Gladstonian Viceroy and his following were left high and
dry. The flood of enthusiasm instantly receded, and the beating of
their own hearts was the only sound they heard. Mr. Morley's name
would have obtained a like reception. The people were doubtless
willing to obey their leaders, and to make some slight sacrifice to
expediency, but every man left that particular cheer to his neighbour.
Hence the fiasco for which the people have already been severely
reprimanded. Someone should have called for cheers for Balfour. Anyone
who knows the West of Ireland knows there would have been an outburst
of hurrahs, hearty and spontaneous. The Irish are delightfully
illogical.

A respectable old Fenian had a poor opinion of the present Home Rule
agitation. He said:--"I am of the school of Stephens and Mitchel. When
a people or nation is radically discontented with its rulers it should
throw them off by force. If the Irish could hold together long enough
to maintain an armed insurrection for two weeks only, help would be
forthcoming from all quarters. When a young man I cherished the hope
that this would be accomplished, but I have long abandoned the notion
that anything of the kind will be possible in my time. For individual
Englishmen I have as much friendship as anybody, not being himself an
Englishman, can entertain. What I dislike is English rule, and the
present movement does not interest me, because its leaders profess
allegiance--for the present, anyhow. No doubt the general idea is to
obtain as much advantage as possible, and to gradually increase the
strength of Ireland; but, in my opinion, the Fenian movement was the
true and legitimate method, and the one best suited to the genius of
the Irish nation. Notwithstanding all that has been said and written
by English speakers and writers, the movement was worthy of honour,
and had it been successful, would have received high praise and
commendation from every country except England. To be respectable,
revolutions or insurrections must be successful, or at any rate, must
have a certain amount of success to commence with. The English people
never properly understood the Fenian movement. To begin with, the name
of Fenians was not assumed by the Irish body of conspirators. The
Fenians proper were entirely confined to America, where they acted
under the instructions of John O'Mahony, with Michael and Colonel
Corcoran as lieutenants. The Colonel commanded the Irish brigade of
the American army, and was pledged to bring over a strong contingent
at the right moment. The Irish party in Ireland under Stephens was
called the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, to which I am proud to say
I belonged. That is all over now, and I am content to be loyal, under
compulsion. There is nothing else for it. The young men are all gone
to America, and the failure of the enterprise has damaged the prestige
of the cause. The organisation was very good, and you might say that
the able-bodied population belonged to it, almost to a man. England
never knew, does not know even now, how universal was the movement.
The escape of James Stephens, the great Number One, from Richmond
Bridewell, was something of an eye-opener, but not half so astonishing
as some things that would have happened if the general movement had
been successful. It was Daniel Byrne and James Breslin, who let him
out. Byrne was a turnkey, Breslin was hospital superintendent, and
both held their posts on account of their well-known loyalty. Byrne
was found out, or rather it was discovered that he was a Fenian, but
they could not prove his guilt in the Stephens affair, and he never
rounded on Breslin, who went on drawing his screw from the British
Government for many a long day, until he took a trip to America, where
his services to the cause landed him in a good situation. So he stayed
there, and told everything, and that was the first the British
Government knew about it, beyond suspicion of Byrne.

"If Stephens had made up his mind for an outbreak the funeral of
MacManus was the right occasion. He missed his tip then, and no
mistake. There never was another chance like that. He said the
arrangements were not complete, and from that moment the thing
dwindled away, and we who were working it up in the rural districts
began to think he did not really mean business. We were short of arms,
but a small success would have improved our condition in that respect.
Lots of the country organisers went to Dublin to see his funeral, and
when we saw the crowds and the enthusiasm we all agreed that such a
chance was not likely to occur again. MacManus had been a chief of the
insurrectionary movement of 1848, and had been transported for life to
Botany Bay, I think. He escaped to America, and died there in 1861.
Mahony, the Fenian commander-in-chief, proposed to spend some of the
revolutionary funds in bringing the body to Ireland, there to give it
a public funeral. This was a great idea, and as the Government did not
interfere, it turned out a greater success than anyone had
anticipated. There were delegates from every city in America, and from
every town in Ireland. It took about a month to lug MacManus from the
Far West to Dublin, and the excitement increased every day. In my
little place we collared all the timid fellows who had been holding
back before, until there was not a single man of the peasant class
outside the circle. MacManus was worth more dead than alive.

"A hundred thousand men followed the hearse through the streets of
Dublin. At the critical moment Number One held back. If the streets
had been barricaded on the evening of the funeral the country would
have stood an excellent chance of obtaining its independence. The
moment was missed, and such chances never come twice. The French would
have made a big thing of that affair. Stephens was great at
organisation, but he had not the pluck to carry out the enterprise. He
had not the military training required, nor the decision to act at the
right moment. So here we are and here we shall remain, and I am your
humble, obedient, loyal servant to command.

"No, I do _not_ believe in the present leaders at all. I think they
want to be paid big salaries as Irish statesmen, and that they are
unfit to clean the boots of the men with whom I acted thirty years
ago. The Fenians, or rather the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, had
no wish to make money by their patriotism, and what is more, they were
ready to risk their skins, whenever called upon to do so. They were
willing to fight. These chaps do nothing but spout. The I.R.B. agreed
among themselves, and obeyed orders. These fellows can't agree for
five minutes together, and their principal subject of quarrel is--Who
shall be master? Gladstone is fooling them now, and good enough for
them. A pretty set of men to attempt to govern a country! They don't
know what they want. We did. We swore every man to obedience to the
Irish Republic. That was straightforward enough. The young 'uns round
here have the same aspirations, but they dislike the idea of fighting.
They expect to get round it some other way.

"John Kennedy, of Westport, damaged the cause in Mayo more than any
man in Ireland. He was a young fellow of about five-and-twenty, only a
few years in the constabulary, but somehow he got into sworn meetings
in disguise, and burst the whole thing up. The queerest feature about
this business is the fact that although everybody knew the man not a
shot was ever fired at him. That shows the fairness of the Fenians. A
member of the Brotherhood would have been promptly dealt with, you
bet. But Kennedy was an open enemy, and had a right to circumvent us
if he could. Give us credit for some chivalrous feeling. We certainly
deserved it, as this case amply proves.

"The Land League? The Ruffian League, the Burglar League, the
Pickpocket League, the Murder League--that's what I always called it.
A hole-and-corner way of carrying on the fight, which had been begun
by MEN, but which the latest fashion of Irishmen have not the courage
to canduct as men. The Fenian conception was high-souled, and had some
romance about it. We had a green flag with a rising sun on it, along
with the harp of Erin. Our idea was an open fight against the British
Empire. There's as much difference between the Fenians and their
successors as between the ancient Romans and the Italian organ-grinders
with monkeys. Good morning, Sir, and--God save the Queen."

This was a jocosity if not a mockery, but it was the first time I had
heard the words in Ireland. The tune is almost unknown, and the
current issue of _United Ireland_ ridicules the notion that the Irish
are going to learn it. The band of the Royal Irish Constabulary,
playing in front of their barracks in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, on
Friday evenings, sometimes include the tune in their programme, but
when I heard them it was led up to and preceded by "St. Patrick's Day
in the Mornin'," to which it was conjoined by one intervening chord. A
Castlereagh Protestant said:--

"The children here are taught to curse the Queen in their cradles.
Don't know how it is, but hatred to England seems bred in the bone of
the Catholic Irish. They make no secret of their hopes of vengeance.
The Protestants will have to levant in double-quick time. The people
here hate Protestants, whether English or Irish, likewise anybody who
holds a Government appointment. Some few days ago I was at Westport,
and while in the post office there, a beggar asked Mr. Hildebrand for
alms. You know that every western town swarms with beggars. He said
No, and this tramp immediately turned round and said:--

"'We'll very soon have ye out o' that, _now_.'

"A relative of mine, who holds a sub-office, has been told the same
thing fifty times. There you have the spirit of the poorer people. And
don't forget that the illiterates have the power in their hands. Just
think what this means.

"In England, with all your agricultural districts, with all your back
slums of cities, there was only one person in each hundred and seventy
who could not write his name, or at all events, one in a hundred and
seventy who was unable to manage his voting paper.

"In Ireland the figures were one in every five, and of the remainder
two at least were barely able to perform so simple an operation as
making a cross against the right name. Are these people fit to govern
themselves?

"There were two polling booths in Westport. There were three priests
at each door. Tell the English people that, and see what they think of
it.

"A Scotch gentleman staying in Westport during the late 'mission' was
stopped at the door of the Roman Catholic Church. He was not permitted
to enter, because the priests are ashamed to show civilised people the
credulity and crass ignorance of their congregation. At one of these
services everybody held a lighted candle, and at a given signal, Puff!
out went out the lights, and with them away went the sins of the
people.

"A priest was sent for in Achil. The case was urgent. A man was dying,
and without Extreme Unction his chances in the next world were
reckoned shady. The priest was enjoying himself in some festivity, and
the man died before his salvation arrived. A relative declared he
would tell the bishop. The priest reassured him with a scrap of paper,
whereon were written these words, signed by himself, 'Saint Peter.
Admit bearer.' 'Stick that in the dead man's fist,' said he. The man
went away delighted. These are the intelligent voters whose influence
is now paramount in the Parliament of England. It is by these poor
untutored savages, manipulated by their priests, that the British
Empire is now worked. The semi-civilised peasants of Connaught, with
the ignorant herds of Leinster and Munster, at the bidding of their
clergy have completely stopped the course of legislation, and left the
long-suffering and industrious working men of England and Scotland to
wait indefinitely for all the good things they want. The cry is,
Ireland stops the way. Why doesn't England kick it out of the way?

"Turn about is fair play. Let England have a turn now. Fair play is a
jewel, and Ireland has fair play. Ireland has privileges of which
neither England nor Scotland can boast. The Protestants of Ireland are
everywhere prosperous and content. The Catholics of Ireland are
everywhere impoverished and discontented. Wherever you go you find
this an invariable rule. The two sects may hold their farms from the
same landlord, on precisely similar terms, and you will find that the
Protestants pay their rent, and get on, while the Catholics don't pay,
and go from bad to worse."

"Is this extraordinary difference the result of British rule?"

Many a time I have asked Catholics this question. They cannot explain
the marked difference on the ground of alien government, as both are
subject to the same. They will say, 'Oh, Protestants are always well
off,' as if the thing were a matter of course, and must be looked upon
as inevitable. But why? I ask. That they can never tell.

Stand on a big hill near Tipperary and you will see four Roman
Catholic churches of modern build, costing nearly a hundred thousand
pounds. Father Humphreys will tell you how the money was raised, will
show you over Tipperary Cathedral, and will let you see the pig-styes
in which the people are housed. That is the man of God who wrote to
the papers and complained that it had been reported that the Catholic
clergy of Tipperary had done all they could to stop boycotting. Father
Humphreys said:--"I protest against this libel on me. _I am doing
nothing to stop boycotting._"

A neighbour of my friend spoke of many changes he had witnessed in the
political opinions of people who had become resident in Ireland,
having previously been Gladstonians in England. He said:--"When the
Achil Sound viaduct was opened, chiefly by the efforts of a Northern
Protestant who gave £1,500 towards the cost, a Scotchman named Cowan
was chief engineer. He came over a rabid Home Ruler, and such a
worshipper of Mr. Gladstone as cannot be found out of Scotland. In six
months he was Unionist to the backbone, and not only Unionist but
Conservative. The Achil folks, when once the bridge was built and
given to them, decided to call it Michael Davitt Bridge. It had not
cost them a penny, nor had they any part in it. At the priest's orders
they rushed forward to christen it; it was all they were good for.
They put up a big board with the name. Cowan went down alone, he could
not get a soul with pluck to go with him, and chopped the thing down,
the Achil Nationalists looking on. In the night they put up another
board, a big affair on the trunk of a tree, all well secured. Cowan
went down and felled it as before, watching it drift away with tide.
Then they gave it up. They wouldn't go Three! Carnegie, the Customs
man, came here a strong Home Ruler. Looking back, he says he cannot
conceive how he could be such an ass. A very cute Scotchman, too. Some
of the Gladstonians mean well. I don't condemn them wholesale, like
father does. You should hear him drop on English Home Rulers. He
understands the Irish agitator, but the English Separatist beats him.
I have been in England, and several times in Birmingham, and I have
heard them talk. Father is very peppery, but I moderate his
transports. Speaking of the English Home Rulers he'll say--

"'Pack o' rogues.'

"'No, no,' says I, 'only fools.'

"'Infernal idiots,' says he.

"'No, no,' says I, 'only ignorant.'

"As I said, I have been in England, and have heard them talk, so I
know."

He asked me if I had noticed the external difference between Irish
communities which support Home Rule and those which support the Union.
I said that a contrast so striking must impress the most casual
observer, for that, on the one hand, Unionism is always coupled with
cleanliness and decency, while on the other the intimate relationship
apparently existing between Home Rule and dunghills is most suggestive
and surprising.

Unionism and order: Separatism and ordure--that is about the sum.

Castlereagh, June 24th.



No. 40.--OBJECT LESSONS IN IRISH SELF-GOVERNMENT.


A small town with a great name, about one hundred miles west of
Dublin. There is a ruined castle, and one or two ruined abbeys, but
nothing else of interest, unless it be the herons which stalk about
the streams in its environs, and the Royston crows with white or gray
breast and back, which seem to be fairly numerous in these parts.
Ireland is a wonderful country for crows and ravens, which hop about
the village streets as tame as barndoor fowls. A King of Connaught is
buried in Saint Coenan's Abbey, but dead kings are almost as common as
crows, and Phelim O'Connor seems to have done nothing worthy of
mention beyond dying in 1265. I had hardly landed when I met a very
pronounced anti-Home Ruler, a grazier, apparently a smart business
man, and seemingly well up in the controversy. He said:--"I have
argued the question all over Ireland, and believe I have made as many
converts as anybody. Many of my countrymen have been carried away by
the popular cry, but when once they have the thing put to them from
the other side, and have time to think, they begin to have their
doubts. Naturally they first lean to the idea of an Irish Parliament.
It flatters Irish feeling, and when men look around and see the
country so poor and so backward they want to try some change or other.
The agitators see their opportunity, and say, 'All this results from
English interference. If we managed our own affairs we should be
better off all round.' This sounds plausible, and agrees with the
traditional distrust of England which the people have inherited from
past ages. Men who are fairly intelligent, and fairly reasonable, will
say, 'We can't be worse off than we are at present.' That is a stock
argument all over the country. The people who use it think it settles
the business. The general poverty of the people is the strength of the
Home Rule position. The priests tell them that a Government composed
of Irishmen would see them right, and would devote itself to looking
after their interests; and really the people have nobody to tell them
anything else. Nor are they likely to hear the other side, for they
are only allowed to read certain papers, and if Englishmen of
character and ability were to attempt to stump the country they would
not get a hearing. The clergy would make it warm for anybody who dared
to attend a Unionist meeting. So _that_ process is altogether out of
the question. Isolated Roman Catholic Unionists like myself need to be
in a very strong and independent position before they dare to express
their views. Roman Catholics of position are nearly all Unionists at
heart, but comparatively few of them dare avow their real convictions.
To do so is to couple yourself with the obnoxious land question. The
people, as a whole, detest landlords and England, and they think that
an opponent of Home Rule is necessarily a sympathiser with British
rule and landlordism, and therefore a foe to his country and a traitor
to his countrymen. Few men have the moral courage to face this
indictment. That is why the educated Catholic party, as a whole, hang
back. And then, they dislike to put themselves in direct opposition to
their clergy. Englishmen do not care one jot what the parson thinks of
their political opinions, but in Ireland things are very different. I
am against Home Rule because I am sure it would be bad for Ireland.
The prosperity of the country is of some importance to me, and for my
own sake and apart from sentimental considerations, and for the credit
of Ireland, I am against Home Rule. We should be poorer than ever. I
would not trust the present Irish party to manage anything that
required management. They have not the training, nor the business
capacity, nor sufficient consistency to work together for a single
week. They cannot agree even at this critical moment, when by their
own showing, the greatest harmony of action is required in the
interests of Ireland. I say nothing about their honesty, for the most
scrupulously honest men could not succeed without business ability and
united action. They are a set of talkers, good for quibbling and
squabbling and nothing more.

"They are M.P.'s because they can talk. Paddy loves a glib talker, and
a fellow with a good jaw on him would always beat the best business
man, even if Paddy were allowed his own choice. Of course he has no
choice--he votes as the priest tells him; but then the selected men
were all good rattling talkers, not in the House, perhaps, but in
their own country district in Ireland. Paddy thinks talking means
ability, and when a fellow rattles off plenty of crack-jaw words and
red-hot abuse of England, Paddy believes him able to regenerate the
world. These men are not allowed to speak in the House. They only
vote. But let me tell you they are kings in their own country.

"Since Parnell ordered his followers to contest all the elective
Boards in Ireland, the Nationalist party have almost monopolised the
Poor Law Boards, with the result that nearly every one has been openly
bankrupt, or else is in a state of present insolvency. Mr. Morley has
been asked for particulars but has declined to give them. He knows
that the list of insolvent Poor Law Boards in Ireland, if once given
with particulars, to the British public, would show up the prospects
of Home Rule in such a damaging way that 'the cause' would never
survive the shock. Why does not the Unionist party bring about this
exposure? Surely the information is obtainable, if not from Mr.
Morley, then from some other source.

"Why are they bankrupt? you ask. Partly through incompetence; partly
through corruption. In every case of declared bankruptcy Government
has sent down vice-Guardians receiving three hundred pounds to five
hundred pounds a year, and notwithstanding this additional burden to
the rates the vice-Guardians in every case have paid off all debts and
left a balance in hand inside of two years. Then they retire, and the
honorary Guardians come back to scuttle the ship again. Tell the
English people that. Mr. Morley cannot deny it. You have told them?
Then tell them again, and again.

"In the Killarney Union the Nationalists ran up the rates from one
thousand seven hundred pounds to three thousand six hundred pounds.
More distress? Not a bit of it. But even admitting this, how would you
account for the fact that the cost ran up from sixteen shillings a
head to twenty-five shillings a head for every person relieved?

"The Listowel Union was perhaps the biggest scandal in the country.
The Unionist Guardians relieved the people at a cost of five shillings
a head. The Nationalists got in and relieved them at a cost of fifteen
shillings a head. And there wasn't a reduction on taking a quantity,
for the Unionists only had two hundred on the books, while the
Nationalists had two thousand or more.

"At the same period exactly those Unions which remained under the old
rule showed little or no increase in the rates. Kenmare remained
Unionist, and when the great rise in poor-law expenses followed the
election of Nationalist Guardians Kenmare spent less money than ever.

"The Nationalist Guardians have been vising the poor rates to reward
their friends and to punish the landlords. They have been fighting the
landlords with money raised from the landlords by means of poor rates.
Evicted tenants generally received a pound or twenty-five shillings a
week out-door relief. This punishes the landlords, and saves the funds
of the Land League, now called the National League. Ingenious, isn't
it? These are the men who form the class furnishing the Irish
Parliamentary party. These bankrupt, incompetent, and fraudulent
Guardians are the men with whom English Gladstonians are closely
allied. The Board meetings are usually blackguardly beyond
description. You have no idea to what extremes they go. No Irishman
who loves his country would trust her to the tender mercies of these
fellows."

I have not yet been present at any meeting of an Irish Poor Law Board,
and probably, as my friend remarked, I "do not know to what extremes
they go." The _Mayo News_ of a week or two ago reported an ordinary
meeting of the Westport Board, and I noticed that one Guardian accused
his colleagues of stealing the potatoes provided out of the rates for
the paupers. This was reported in a Nationalist print edited by a
gentleman who has had the honour of being imprisoned for Land League
business. The report was evidently verbatim, and has not been
contradicted. The Westport folks took no notice of the affair, which
may therefore be assumed as representing the dead level of an Irish
Poor Law debate. To what sublime altitudes they may occasionally rise,
to "what extremes" they sometimes go, I know not. The College Green
Parliament, manned by such members, would have a peculiar interest.
The Speaker might be expected to complain that his umbrella (recently
re-covered) had mysteriously disappeared. The Chancellor of the
Exchequer might accuse the President of the Board of Trade of having
appropriated the National stationery, and the Master of the Rolls
might rise to declare that a sanguinary ruffian from Ulster had
"pinched his wipe." The sane inhabitants of the Emerald Isle affirm
that Home Rule would be ruinous to trade, but the vendors of
shillelaghs and sticking-plaster would certainly have a high old time.

An Englishman who has had exceptional opportunities of examining the
matter said:--"I don't care so much for Irish interests as for English
interests, and I am of opinion that no Englishman in a position to
form a correct judgment would for one moment support the bill. The
tension is off us now, because we feel that the danger to a great
extent is over. The bill could not be expected to survive a public
examination. The Gladstonians themselves must now see that the scheme
was not only absurd and impossible, but iniquitous. Under a Home Rule
Bill their native land would cut a sorry figure, such as would almost
shame the milk-sop Radical party, 'friends of every country but their
own.' A Government with a sufficient majority to carry a British
measure might at any time be turned out of office by the eighty Irish
members, who could at any time make their votes the price of some
further concession. And you know the character of the men, how
thoroughly unscrupulous they are. All are enemies of England, and yet
we who know them and the feeling of their constituencies are asked to
believe that they would never abuse their powers. Why give them the
temptation? Then, whatever debts Ireland might incur England would
have to pay, should Ireland repudiate them? The bill provides that
England shall be ultimately responsible for three-quarters of a
million annually for the servants of the Crown in Ireland, such
servants being at the orders of the Irish Legislature. It is a divorce
case, wherein the husband is to be responsible for the wife's debts
incurred after separation. This is Mr. Gladstone's fine proposition.
And then England will have no police under her control to make
defaulters pay up. You can't make the people pay rent and taxes with
all your present force. How are you going to collect the two or three
millions of Ireland's share in Imperial expenditure without any force
at all? The police will be at the orders of the Irish Parliament,
which will be returned by the very men who will owe the money. 'Oh
yes!' say Dillon, Healy, O'Brien, and all the rest of the No Rent and
Land League men. 'We'll see that the money is paid.' The previous
history of these men ought to be enough for Englishmen. But if Tim
Healy and Co. wished the money to be paid, they would have no power.
They must take their orders from the people. How would you collect the
interest on the eighteen or twenty millions Ireland now owes? The
police and civil officers would, under a Home Rule Bill, be the
servants of the Irish Government, and would have no sympathy with
England. A hitch would very soon arise between the two Parliaments
either on the interpretation of this or that clause, or else because
the Irish Parliament fell short of its duty in collecting the tribute.
The Irish Government would stand firm, and would be supported by
priests and people. The British Grenadiers would then come in, and
where would be the Union of Hearts? Irishmen are fond of a catch-word.
Like the French, they will go to death for a phrase. But the Union of
Hearts never tickled them. The words never fell from Irish lips except
in mockery.

"Protection would be the great rallying cry of a Home Rule Government.
The bill refuses power to impose protective duties, but Ireland would
commence by conceding bounties to Irish manufacturers, who would there
and then be able to undersell English traders. No use going further
into the thing, there is not a good point in it for either country. No
use flogging a dead horse. There never will be any Home Rule, and
there's no use in discussing it. A liberal measure of Local
Self-Government will be the upshot of this agitation, nothing more.
And that will come from the Tory party, the only friends of poor
Ireland."

The Parnellites are strong in Roscommon, and to hear them revile the
priests is both strange and sad. These are the only Catholics who
resent clerical dictation. They seem in a quandary. Their action seems
inconsistent with their expressed sentiments. They plainly see that
Home Rule means Rome Rule, and, while deprecating priestly influence,
they do their best to put the country into priestly hands. They speak
of the Anti-Parnellites with contempt and aversion, calling them
rogues and vagabonds, liars and traitors, outside the pale of
civilisation, and yet they work for Home Rule, which would put their
beloved Ireland in the power of the very men whose baseness and crass
incompetence they cannot characterise in terms sufficiently strong.
For the Anti-Parnellites outnumber the Parnellites by eight to one; so
that the smaller party, although monopolising all virtue, grace and
intellect, would have no show at all, unless, indeed, the Nationalists
were further subdivided, on which contingency the Parnellites probably
count with certainty. I interviewed a champagny little man whose views
were very decided. He said:--

"I think the seventy-three Federationists, as they want to be called,
are not only traitors to the greatest Irishmen of the age, but also
mean-spirited tools of the Catholic bishops. A man may have proper
respect for his faith, and may yet resent the dictation of his family
priest. I admit his superior knowledge of spiritual matters, but I
think I know what politics suit me best, and I send him to the
rightabout. Let him look after the world to come. That's his business.
I'm going to look after this world for myself. The main difference
between the Parnellites and the Anti-Parnellites is just this--the
Parnellites keep themselves independent of any English party; the
Anti-Parnellites have identified themselves with the English Liberals,
and bargain with them. My view is this, that the English Radicals will
use the Irish party for their own ends, that they want to utilise them
in carrying out the Newcastle programme, and that having so used them
the Irishmen may go and hang themselves. 'We give you Home Rule and
you give us the Newcastle budget'--that's the present arrangement. But
after that? What then? Ireland will want the Home Rule Bill amended.
The first bill (if ever we get it) must be very imperfect, and will
want no end of improvement. It is bound to be a small, mean affair,
and will want expansion and breadth. Then the Radicals will chuck over
the Anti-Parnellites, who will be equally shunted by the Tories, and
we shall be left hanging in the air. The Parnellites aim at getting
everything on its merits, and decline to identify themselves with any
party. They wish to be called Independents. And they one and all
decline to be managed by the priests. The seventy-three
Anti-Parnellites are entirely managed by the Clerical party. They have
no will of their own any more than the pasteboard men you see in the
shop windows, whose legs and arms fly up and down, when you pull a
string. They are just like Gladstonians in that respect."

The Parnellites are hard up, and their organ asks America for cash.
The dauntless nine want six thousand pounds for pocket-money and hotel
expenses. The cause of Ireland demands this sacrifice. After so many
contributions, surely America will not hold back at the supreme
moment. The Anti-Parnellites are bitterly incensed. To act
independently of their faction was of itself most damnable, but still
it could be borne. To ask for money from America, to put in a claim
for coppers which might have flowed into Anti-Parnellite pockets,
shows a degradation, an unspeakable impudence for which the _Freeman_
cannot find adequate adjectives. The priest-ridden journal speaks of
its fellow patriots as caluminators and liars, tries to describe their
"baseness," their "inconceivable insolence and inconceivable
stupidity," and breaks down in the effort. A column and a half of
space is devoted to calling the Parnellites ill names such as were
formerly applied by Irish patriots to Mr. Gladstone. And all because
they compete for the cents of Irish-American slaveys and bootblacks.
The Parnellites are not to be deterred by mere idle clamour. Both
parties are accustomed to be called liars and rogues, and both parties
accept the appellations as a matter of course. Nothing can stop them
when on the trail of cash. Is Irish sentiment to be again disappointed
for a paltry six thousand pounds? Is the Sisyphean stone of Home Rule,
so laboriously rolled uphill, to again roll down, crushing in its fall
the faithful rollers? Will not some American millionaire come forward
with noble philanthropy _and_ six thousand pounds to rescue and to
save the most beautiful, the most unfortunate country in the world
from further disappointment? Only six thousand pounds now required for
the great ultimate, or penultimate, or antepenultimate effort. Another
twopence and up goes the donkey!

Roscommon, June 27th.



No. 41.--THE CHANGED SPIRIT OF THE CAPITAL.


The Dubliners have quite given up the bill. The Unionist party have
regained their calm, and the Nationalists are resigned to the
position. Nobody, of whatever political colour, or however sanguine,
now expects the measure to become law. The Separatist rank and file
never hoped for so much luck, and their disappointment is therefore
anything but unbearable. My first letter indicated this lack of faith
and also its cause. The Dublin folks never really believed a British
Parliament would so stultify itself. The old lady who, on my arrival,
said "We'll get Home Rule when a pair of white wings grows out o' me
shoulders, an' I fly away like a big blackburd," finds her pendant in
the jarvey, who this morning said, "If we'd got the bill I would have
been as much surprised as if one o' me childhren got the moon by
roarin' for it." Distrust of Mr. Gladstone is more prevalent than
ever, and the prophets who all along credited that pious statesman
with rank insincerity are now saying "I towld ye so." The
Lord-Lieutenant is making his Viceregal progress in an ominous
silence. The Limerick people let him go without a cheer. At Foynes
something like a procession was formed, with the parish priest at its
head; but the address read by his Rivirince reads very like a
scolding. It points out that "our rivers are at present without
shipping, our mills and factories are idle, and it is a sad sight to
see our beautiful Shannon, where all her Majesty's fleet could safely
ride on the estuary of its waters, without almost a ship of
merchandise on its surface on account of the general decay of our
trade and commerce." The address further shows that "we enjoy a
combination of natural advantages in the shape of a secure, sheltered
anchorage, together with railway and telegraph in immediate proximity
to the harbour and the pier, and postal service twice daily, both
inwards and outwards, and a first-class quality of pure water laid on
to the pier. The facility for landing or embarking troops, or for
discharging or loading goods or stores is as near perfection as
possible, and having a range of depth of water of twenty-five feet at
low-water spring tide, the harbour can accommodate ships of deep
draught at any state of the tide." These advantages, mostly owing to
British rule, with others, such as the "unique combination of mountain
and river scenery," were not enumerated as subjects for thankfulness,
but rather by way of reproach, the effect of the whole address being a
veiled indictment of British rule. No doubt Lord Houghton's first
impulse would be to exclaim, "Then why on earth don't you use your
advantages? With good quays, piers, storehouses, and a broad deep
river, opening on the Atlantic, why don't you do some business?" But
he promised to do his best to send them a guard-ship, in order that
the crew might spend some money in the district. The Galway folks
asked him to do something for them. My previous letters have shown the
incapacity of the Galwegians to do anything for themselves, and how,
being left to their own devices--having, in fact, a full enjoyment of
local Home Rule--their incompetence has saddled the city with a debt
of fifty thousand pounds for which they have practically nothing to
show, except an additional debt of one thousand pounds decreed against
them for knocking the bottom out of a coaling vessel during their
"improving" operations, which sum they never expect to pay, as the
harbour tolls are collected by the Board of Works, which thus
endeavours to indemnify itself for having lent them the "improvement"
funds. The Killybegs folks showed the poor Viceroy their bay and told
him what wonderful things they could do if they only had a pier, or a
quay, or something. The Achil folks formerly said the same thing. Two
piers were built but no man ever goes near them. The Mulranney folks
pointed out that while Clew Bay, and particularly the nook of it
called Mulranney Bay, was literally alive with fish, the starving
peasants of the neighbourhood could do nothing for want of a pier. The
brutal Saxon built one at once--a fine handsome structure, at once a
pier, a breakwater, and a harbour, with boat-slips and three stages
with steps, so that boats could be used at any tide. I stepped this
massive and costly piece of masonry, and judged it to be a hundred
yards long. There were six great mooring posts, but not a boat in
sight, nor any trace of fishing operations. A broad new road to the
pier was cut and metalled, but no one uses it. The fishing village of
Mulranney, with its perfect appointments, would not in twelve months
furnish you with one poor herring. The pier of Killybegs would
probably be just as useful to the neighbourhood.

The Dublin Nationalist prints make some show of fight, but the people
heed them not. They know too well that their inward conviction that
Home Rule is for the present defunct is founded on rock. In vain the
party writers use the whip. Your Irishman is cute enough to know when
he is beaten. The new-born regard of the Irish press for Parliamentary
purity is comical enough. Obstruction is the thing they hate.
Ungentlemanly conduct in the House stinks in their nostrils. Fair play
is their delight, and underhand dealing they particularly abhor. Mr.
Gladstone is too lenient, and although his failings lean to virtue's
side, his action is too oily altogether. He is old and weak, and
lubricates too much. They in effect accuse him of fatty degeneration
of the brain. Something heroic must be done. Those low-bred ruffians,
the Unionists, must be swept from the path of Erin, while her eloquent
sons, actuated by patriotism and six pounds a week, and spurred on by
the hope of even a larger salary, obtain after seven centuries some
show of justice to Ireland. The Irish wire-pullers demand decisive
action. They declare that they will no longer submit to the
"happy-go-lucky policy of the gentlemen who survey life from the
Ministerial benches." They must "put themselves in fighting form and
show their supporters that they mean business." "Unless the Ministry
mean to throw up the sponge they had better begin the fighting at
once." The Irish party "are looking for the action of the Government
which is to make it evident to the Opposition that the majority mean
to rule in the House of Commons, for unless this be done Parliamentary
government becomes a farce." If Mr. Gladstone continues the policy of
hesitation and waiting on Providence, the fate of Home Rule, and with
it the fate of the Liberal party, are sealed. "Obstruction" (says the
Parnellite paper) cannot be permitted!" It is the revelation of the
impotency of Parliament, and Parliamentary procedure must be replaced
by some quicker means of effecting reform. Mr. Gladstone's feebleness
is an incitement to revolution. The Dublin press would manage these
things better. An autumn session must not be adventured. If the House
should rise before the bill has passed the Commons such a confession
of weakness would fatally damage the Government prestige. The House
must "be kept in permanent session, and not kept too long," which
sounds like a bull, but the next sentence is plain enough.

"The obvious policy is to at once take the Opposition by the throat.
That will excite enthusiasm, and convince the people that a Liberal
Government is good for something."

The Nationalist prints are assuming the office of candid friend, a
part which suits them admirably, and in the performance of which they
make wonderful guesses at truth. The Gladstonian Ministry "are
helpless and impotent in the hands of their opponents. The reforms so
ardently desired by the people are seen to be mere mirages, called up
to win the votes of the people for men who, once in office, make no
real effort to enforce the mandate given to them by the country." The
Liberal Ministry will be "swept out of existence because the people
will come to recognise that their promises and programmes are so many
hollow phrases, incapable of ministering to the needs or satisfying
the aspirations of the multitude." "The real tug of war," says this
Home Rule sheet, "will come in the next election." If Irish
Separatists talk like this, what do Irish Unionists say?

Very little, indeed. They are disposed to rest and be thankful. They
only want to be let alone. They are quiet and reserved, and thank
their stars that the worst is over. The nervousness, the high-strung
tension of three months ago, is conspicuous by its absence. They
feared that the thing would be rushed, and that Mr. Bull would stamp
the measure without looking at it, would be glad to get rid of it at
any price, would say to Ireland, "Take it, get out of my sight, and be
hanged to ye!" Thanks to the Unionist leaders, whose ability and
devotion are here warmly recognised, the Dubliners know no fear. The
ridiculous abortion has been dragged into the sunlight, and ruthlessly
dissected. John's commonsense can be trusted, once he examines for
himself, and worthy Irishmen lie down in peace. The graver Dubliners
prefer to speak of something else. The young bloods still make fun of
the "patriots," and conjure up illimitable vistas of absurd
possibilities under an Irish Government. They invariably place the
hypothetic Cabinet under the direct orders of Archbishop Walsh, and
continue to make fun of that great hierarch's famous malediction on
Freemasonry. The good Archbishop, they say, takes a large size in
curses. They declare that his curse on the Masonic bazaar for orphans
was a marvel of comprehensive detail; that it cursed the
stall-holders, the purchasers, the tea-pot cosies and fender-stools,
the five-o'clock tea-tables and antimacassars, the china ornaments,
and embroidered slippers, with every individual bead; the dolls, both
large and small; the bran that stuffed the dolls, and the very squeaks
which resulted from a squeeze on the doll's ribs. Never was heard such
a terrible curse. But what gave rise to no little surprise, nobody
seemed one penny the worse. These scoffers propose to discontinue the
habit of swearing. When the Archbishop produces no effect, what's the
good of a plain layman's cursing? They declare that the dentists of
Dublin are all Home Rulers, and that the selfishness of their
political faith is disgustingly obvious. These mocking Unionists
discuss probable points of etiquette likely to arise in the
Legislature of College Green, and dispute as to whether members will
be allowed to attend with decidedly black eyes, or whether they will
be excluded until the skin around their orbs has arrived at the pale
yellow stage. Some are of opinion that no Cabinet Minister should be
allowed to sit while wearing raw beefsteak, and a story is going the
rounds to the effect that some of the Irish members recently wished to
cross the Channel for half-a-crown each, and to that end called on a
boat agent, a Tory, who knew them, when the following conversation
took place:--

"Can we go across for half-a-crown each?"

"No, ye can't, thin."

"An' why not?"

"Because 'tis a cattle boat."

"Never mind that, sure we're not particular."

"No, but the cattle are."

There was a great rush for Dynamitard Daly's letter, and some of his
sentences were made subjects of leading articles in the Nationalist
press. One paragraph seems to have been neglected. He writes--"Friend
Jack, you amazed me when you mentioned the names of ex-felons now
honourable members of the Imperial Parliament. And so they seem to
forget the days when _they_ were felons? Ah, well, thank God, the
people did not forget them in their hour of need, and though some of
them may try to palm off their own selfish ambitions on the people to
whom they owe everything as genuine patriotism--oh, it won't do!" John
Daly holds the same opinion of his fellow patriots as is expressed in
a remarkable letter to the Separatist _Dublin Evening Herald_, wherein
the writer says that his party is "disgusted with the duplicity of Mr.
Gladstone," and goes on to say that "No one now believes that the bill
will pass, and almost everyone believes it was never intended to pass.
I have not yet met anybody who expressed themselves as even remotely
satisfied with it. Peace to its ashes." I quote this as proving two
points I have always endeavoured to urge--first, that the Irish
distrust Mr. Gladstone, and are not grateful to him or his party; and,
second, that no bill short of complete independence will ever satisfy
the Irish people. It is what they expect and look forward to as the
direct outcome of Home Rule, which they only want as a stepping-stone.
This cannot fail to impress itself on any unbiassed person who rubs
against them for long. The teaching of the priests is eminently
disloyal, and although the utmost care is taken to prevent their
disloyalty becoming public, instances are not lacking to show the
general trend. Father Sheehy, an especial friend of the Archbishop
Walsh aforesaid, thus delivered himself anent a proposed visit of the
Prince and Princess of Wales to Ireland:--"There is no need for a
foreign prince to come to Ireland. The Irish people have nothing to
say to the Prince of Wales. He has no connection with Ireland except
that link of the Crown that has been formed for the country, which is
the symbol of Ireland's slavery." This priest said he hated
landgrabbers; all except one. "There is but one landgrabber I like,
and that is the Tsar of Russia, who threatens to take territory on the
Afghan border from England." Father Arthur Ryan, of Thurles, the seat
of Archbishop Croke, has printed a manifesto, in which he
says:--"Ever since the Union the best and most honourable of Irishmen
have looked on rebellion as a sacred duty, provided there were a
reasonable chance of success. It has never occurred to me to consider
acquiescence to the Government of England as a moral obligation or as
other than a dire necessity. We have never, thank God, lied to our
oppressors by saying we were loyal to them. And when we have condemned
the rebels whose heroism and self-sacrifice we have loved and wept
over, we condemned not their want of loyalty, but their want of
prudence. We thought it wrong to plunge the land into the horrors of
war with no hope of success."

So much for our trusty and well-beloved fellow-subjects of this realm
of England. Father Ryan is candid, truthful, and outspoken, and
commands respect. Better an open enemy than a false friend. His
summing-up of Irish feeling to England is both concise and accurate,
but one of his sentences is hardly up to date. He thanks God that the
Irish have never lied by saying they were loyal. How many Irish
members can make this their boast? Compared with them, the Ribbonmen
were heroes. The glorious prototypes of the modern member murdered
their foes themselves, did their slaughtering in person, and took the
risk like men. They hated Englishmen, _qua_ Englishmen, and made no
secret of it. The modern method is easier and more convenient. To
murder by proxy, to have your hints carried out without danger to
yourself, and to draw pay for your hinting, is a triumph of
nineteenth-century ingenuity. To pose as loyal subjects and to disarm
suspicion by protestations of friendship and brotherly love may be a
more effective means of attaining your end, but it smacks too much of
the serpent. The Ribbonmen were rough and rugged, but comparatively
respectable. The Irish Separatists are just as disloyal, and
infinitely more treacherous. The parchment "loyalty to Her Most
Gracious Majesty the Queen," which Lord Houghton is in some places
receiving, is revolting to all who know the truth. The snake has
succeeded the tiger, and most people hate sliminess. Nationalist
Ireland is intensely disloyal from side to side, and from end to end.
Disloyal and inimical she has been from the first, and disloyal and
inimical she remains, and no concessions can change her character. She
is religious with a mediæval faith, and she follows her spiritual
guides, whose sole aim is religious ascendancy. So long as the Roman
Catholic Church is not predominant so long the Irish people will
complain. You may give them the land for nothing; you may stock their
farms--they will expect it; you may indemnify them for the seven
hundred years of robbery by the English people--they say they ought to
be indemnified; you may furnish every yeoman with a gun and
ammunition, with _carte blanche_ as to their use with litigious
neighbours; you may lay on whiskey in pipes, like gas and water, but
without any whiskey rate; you may compel the Queen to do Archbishop
Walsh's washing, and the Prince of Wales to black his sacred boots,
while the English nobility look after the pigs of the foinest pisintry
in the wuruld, and still the Irish would be malcontents. The Church
wants absolute predominance, and she won't be happy till she gets it.
Parnell was Protestant and something of a Pope. Tim Healy tried to
wear the leader's boots, but Bishop Walsh reduced him to a pulp. This
good man rules Dublin, and through Dublin, Ireland. You cannot walk
far without running against his consecrated name. At present the city
is labelled as follows:--

"By direction of his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, the annual
collections for our Holy Father the Pope will take place on July the
second." The National League and Our Holy Father the Pope between them
cut very close. No wonder that poor Paddy has hardly a feather left to
fly with.

"An ardent Nationalist" thus expresses himself in the Separatist
_Herald_:--"I fear we must reluctantly abandon hope of a Home
Parliament for a few more years. For the present we will have to
content ourselves with Local Government, an ample measure of which
will be given by the _Conservatives_. On the whole, ardent Nationalist
as I am, I do not look on this as an unmixed evil. What kind of
Government would be possible under six or seven factions?" This should
be a staggerer for the English Home Rule party. The italics are in the
original, and the writer goes on to say, "It is open to doubt that we
should be able to at once manage our own affairs without some
preliminary training." The whole letter is a substantial repetition of
the sentiments emanating from a Home Ruler of Tralee, recounted in my
letter from that town of Kerry.

Parnell is still worshipped in Dublin. He looks big beside his
successors. His grave in the splendid cemetery of Glasnevin is well
worth a visit, although there is no monument beyond a cast-iron Irish
cross painted green, which serves to hang flowers upon. The grave is
in a rope-enclosed circle, some twenty yards in diameter, and most of
the space is occupied by big glass shades, with flowers and other
tributes of respect and affection. I counted more than a hundred, many
of them elaborate. The Corkmen send the biggest, a small greenhouse
with two brown Irish harps and the legend DONE TO DEATH. An Irish harp
worked in embroidery lies sodden on the earth. Green shamrock leaves
of tin, with the names of all the donors--this is important--obtrude
themselves here and there. A six-foot cross of white flowers, like a
badge of purity, lies on the grave, labelled Katherine Parnell, in a
lady's hand. The place is swamped with Irish harps, and it occurs to
me that the badge would not be so popular if the patriots knew that
the harp was imposed as an emblem of Ireland by English Henry the
Second. The name PARNELL in iron letters is on the turf, flowers
growing through them, a poetical idea. As I walk past they vibrate
with a metallic jingle, which reminds me of the shirt of mail the
living man wore to preserve himself from his fellow-patriots. Tay
Pay's life of the dead leader proves that his sole secret of success
was inflexible purpose, and that his notion of party management was to
treat the patriot members as dirt. Parnell was an authority in Irish
matters, and his example should be useful to Messrs. Gladstone,
Morley, and Co. An eminent Irishmen to-day said:--"With your
wibble-wobble and your shilly-shally, your pooh-pooh and your pah-pah,
you are ruining the country. Put down your foot and tell the Irish
people that they will not now nor at any future time get Home Rule,
and not a word will come out of them." A word (to the wise) is enough.

Dublin, June 29th.



No. 42.--AT A NATIONALIST MEETING.


The most remarkable feature of Dundalk life is the fact that the
people are doing something. Not much, perhaps, but still something.
The port is handy for Liverpool and Glasgow, and a steam packet
company gives a little life to the quays. The barracks, not far from
the shore, indicate one large source of custom, for wherever you find
a British regiment you find the people better off. The Athlone folks
say that but for the soldiers the place would be dead and buried, and
the Galway people are complaining that the garrison, the hated English
garrison, has been withdrawn. This inconsistency at first surprises
you, but you soon grow familiarised with the strange inconsistencies
of this wonderful island. Dundalk has vastly improved during the three
dozen years which have elapsed since first I visited the town. There
is a Catholic church for every hundred yards of street, and on
Thursday last one of them at least was full to overflowing. It was the
festival of Saints Peter and Paul, and England was being solemnly
dedicated to Rome. There was no getting inside to witness the
operation, for the kneeling crowds extended into the street and
flopped down on their marrow-bones on the side walks. The men with the
collection plates could hardly hold their ground in the portals, and
many worshippers were sent empty away, raising their hats as they
reluctantly turned from the sacred precincts. This was between eleven
and twelve in the forenoon, so that the day's work was hopelessly
broken. Ireland has endless customs demanding cessation of labour, but
none demanding the pious to go to work. The Methodist and Presbyterian
churches were closed, and possibly their adherents were stealing a
march on the Catholics in the matter of business. The Church of
Ireland has a bright green spire, which at first puzzles the
unlearned. Its hoisting of the national colour is due to the fact that
the whole structure is covered with copper, which in its turn is
covered with verdigris. The surroundings of the town are pleasant,
and, although thatched cottages abound, they are very superior to the
dirty dens of Tipperary. Nearly all have the half-doors so convenient
for gossiping, and the female population of these cabins spend much
of their time in leaning over the lower half. The superiority of
Dundalk is by most people attributed to the strong mixture of
Northerners there resident, and the favourable position of the port.
Earnest Unionists are by no means scarce, and, as usual, they are the
pick of the population. The Parnellites are also present in strong
force, and this may account for the fact that Mr. Timothy Healy, the
respected member for North Louth, is unable to visit the chief town of
his constituency without a guard of two hundred policemen, paid and
commanded by his life-long foe--the base and brutal Saxon. A prominent
citizen said:--

"We have a number of Englishmen coming over here, and most of them are
Unionists. But a few birds of passage I have seen have vexed me with
their confident ignorance, and caused me to believe that English
Gladstonians are the densest donkeys under the sun. They are so
self-opiniated, and so full of self-satisfaction, that it is hard to
be patient with them. Not a few say simply that they are content to
leave the matter in the hands of Mr. Gladstone, and that as they
followed him so far, they will follow him to the end. They decline to
examine for themselves, although facilities are offered on the spot.
This must be the ruling temper of the English Home Rule party, for if
they stopped to examine for themselves, or even to hear the evidence
submitted by men of position and integrity they could never tolerate
the insane proposition of an Irish Parliament for a day. They
sometimes say that Irishmen should govern their own land, and that no
one could venture to dispute this proposition. This is their principal
argument, and some are led away by its show of reason. But what is the
truth?

"Irishmen _do_ govern Ireland. Listen. Is England governed by
Englishmen? Now Ireland has a far greater number of members in
proportion to her population than England has. These men have far more
power in the English Parliament than England herself, for they hold
the balance of parties. In every question, Irish or English, they have
the casting vote. So that they can almost always decide what is to
become law.

"Dundalk is at this moment placarded with a request that all men
should join in the glorious struggle for freedom. Unless the Irish
people were constantly told they were slaves, they would never know
it. They are fed on lies from their infancy. The current issue of
_United Ireland_ states in a leader that the prison authorities have
three times tried to get rid of John Daly, the dynamitard, by
poisoning him in prison. As if they could not do it if they liked! And
a few weeks ago, at an amnesty meeting at Drumicondra, a speaker
stated, in the presence of two or three members of Parliament, that
five of the thirteen political prisoners still locked up had been
driven mad by horrible tortures. What freedom do the Irish want? Have
they not precisely the same freedom as that enjoyed by England, the
freest country in the world? Have they not the same laws, except where
those laws have been relaxed in favour of Ireland? Have they not
religious equality, free trade, a free press, and vote by ballot? And
with all this they are told at every turn that they are the most
down-trodden nation of slaves on earth. Supposed they groaned under
conscription like France and Germany, what then?

"The English people have seen the results of the influence exercised
by the present Irish leaders. One would think that sensible Britons
would decline to entrust such men with power. Did they not bring about
the rule of the Land League, with its stories of foul murder which
sound like a horrible dream of the tyranny of the Middle Ages? Are
these men not hand and glove with the clerical party, which hates
England as heretic and excommunicate? It is not proposed by Home Rule
to put in office men who are the mere tools of the Catholic church,
the most unyielding and intolerant system in the world!"

I remembered the leader in the _Irish Catholic_, which sings a pæan of
triumph over alleged successes against the Freemasons of Italy.
British Masons may be interested to learn that this authority couples
them with Atheists, Fenians, and Ribbonmen, and holds up the craft to
contumely and scorn. The acceptance by Mr. Gladstone of the principle
of Home Rule seems to rejoice the Papist heart. "Never was it more
clear than it now is that the indestructible Papacy exercises an
authority over the hearts and minds of humanity which nothing, neither
fraud, nor oppression, nor misrepresentation, can weaken or destroy.
How near may be the day of its inevitable triumph no man can say,
while that its coming is as certain as the rising of the morning sun
... none will doubt or deny. That in the moment when the Vicar of
Christ is vindicated before the nations, and the reign of right and
truth and justice re-established throughout Christendom, Ireland can
claim to have been faithful when others were untrue, will be the
proudest trophy of an affection which no temptation and no tyranny was
ever able to weaken or destroy." The Freemasons are expressly stated
to lie under "the terrible penalty of excommunication," but they are
afterwards lightly dealt with. They are regarded with an amused
tolerance by Irish Catholics, who only laugh to see them "hung with a
number of trumpery glass and Brummagem metal trinkets about their
persons, and generally indulging in an amount of fantastic and
childish adornment which would turn the King of the Cannibal Islands
green with envy." Their profanation of God's holy name and their
sacrilegious oaths are regretted, but they will never do much harm in
Ireland, where the people laugh at their "fantastic tomfoolery." A
parallel column advises the public to join in the present pilgrimage
to Saint Patrick's Purgatory, where the saint saw, by special favour
of God, the purgatorial fires. Another column advertises prayers at
fixed prices--a reduction on taking a quantity. The men who hold these
beliefs and opinions are the sole governors of Irish action, the sole
creators of Irish opinion. For the lay agitators who from time to time
have dared to oppose the clerics have been mostly suppressed, and the
few still in existence will probably disappear before long. Colonel
Nolan must hold this opinion, for when canvassing in Headford, the
parish priest came up and cut his head open with a bludgeon. The
gallant militarian submitted to this, and would fain have passed the
affair in silence. How many Englishmen would have stood it? This
incident, properly considered, should enlighten Britons on the
dominant influences of Irish Parliamentary action.

On the way to Dundalk I met Major Studdert, of Corofin, County Clare.
He spoke of the disturbed state of the district, and thought the
present condition of things scandalous and intolerable. He mentioned
the case of Mr. J. Blood, who has been four times fired at for
dismissing a herdsman. He said:--"Mr. Blood is universally admitted to
be one of the most amiable and benevolent of men. His herdsman had a
son who would not work, and who was reckoned one of the greatest
blackguards in the county, which is saying a good deal in County
Clare. Mr. Blood told him to send away this son, or he himself must
leave his situation. He refused, and Mr. Blood discharged his
herdsman, but with an extraordinary liberality gave him one hundred
pounds as consolation money. Since then Mr. Blood is everywhere
protected by four policemen. One of the bullets aimed at him passed
between his back and the back of the chair he was sitting in."

"I have only one argument for the country folks who talk of Home Rule.
I challenge them to show me a single industrious man in the whole
country who is not well off. They can't do it. What Ireland wants is
not Home Rule but industry. When they are at work they do not go at it
like Englishmen. I go over to Cheshire every year for the hunting
season, and it is a treat to see the English grooms looking after the
horses. They pull off their coats and roll up their sleeves in a way
that would astonish Irishmen. It is worth all they get to see them at
work. They get twice as much as Irish grooms, and they are worth the
difference. The people around me, the working people, do not perform
five months' work in a year."

And these are the people who are surprised at their own poverty, and
who monopolise the attention of the British Parliament, which toils in
vain to give them an Act which will improve their worldly position.
The Irish farmer is petted and spoiled, and a victim of
over-legislation. Do what you will you can never please him. Mr.
Walter Gibbons, of South Mall, Westport, told me of a case which came
under his own observation, as follows:--Rent, five pounds a year.
_None_ paid for seven years. Tenant refused possession. Landlord paid
tenant twenty pounds in cash, and formally remitted all the rent,
thirty-five pounds to wit.

"I saw the money paid," said Mr. Gibbons, a fine specimen of the
British sailor, present in the Cornwallis at the bombardment of
Sebastopol.

"And was the landlord shot?" I inquired.

"Not that I know of," said the old sailor.

Most people will agree that if ever a landlord deserved shooting this
was the very man.

The walls of Dundalk were placarded with a flaming incitement to
Irishmen to meet in the Labourers' Hall at eight o'clock, to "join in
the onward march to freedom." The meeting was to be held under the
auspices of the Irish National Federation--Featheration, as the
Parnellites call it and most of its members pronounce it--and
therefore it was likely to be a big thing, especially considering the
Parliamentary tension existing at the present moment. I determined to
be present, To beard the lion in his den, The Douglas in his hall; to
see the labouring Irish in their thousands marching onward to Freedom.
A friend attempted to dissuade me from the project. "You'll be spotted
in a moment, and as you are very obnoxious to the priests, to be
recognised at such a meeting might be unpleasant." A public official
who pointed out the place followed me up with advice. "Unless you are
connected with the party, it would be better to keep away. These
people are very suspicious." These were fine preliminaries of a public
meeting. The building is poor, but not squalid, and seems to have been
built within the last few years. A gateway leads to the yard and the
Hall blocks the way. All the rooms are small, and I looked in vain for
anything like an assembly chamber. Two roughish-looking men, who
nevertheless had about them a refreshing air of real work, stood at
the gateway, and from them I learned that the meeting would take place
upstairs. Twenty-four steps outside the building almost gave me pause.
At the top was an open landing, whence the Saxon intruder might be
projected with painful results. Trusting in my luck, I entered a
narrow corridor, some fifteen feet long, with doors on each side, and
one at the opposite end. That must open on the assembly room. No, it
only led to another flight of outside steps, and here it was
comforting to observe that the drop might be into the soft soil of a
garden, instead of a bricked yard. But where was the great meeting?

Once more I left the Hall and spoke my rugged friends. Yes, it was
after eight, but the people wanted a bit of margin. Half-past eight
was the time intended. Half-an-hour's march around, and back again.
The crowd was swelled from two to three persons. Fifteen minutes more,
and further inquiry.

"When will the meeting begin."

"When the people comes."

"But they're an hour late already."

"Sure ye can't hurry thim."

At 9.15 I went again.

"Meeting begun yet?" I asked.

"Just startin' now. The praste's afther goin' in."

"You're rather unpunctual."

"Arrah, how would we begin widout his Rivirince!" This was
unanswerable. Once more into the breach, up the lonely shivery steps.
This time I heard voices, and opening a door found a narrow room with
about twenty people therein. The show was just agoing to begin, for,
as I entered, somebody proposed that the Priest should take the chair.
A short, stout, red faced man, with black coat and white choker,
seemed to expect no less, and moved into the one-and-ninepenny Windsor
with alacrity. He spoke with the vilest, boggiest kind of brogue, and
the hideous accent of vulgar Ulster; calling who "hu" with a French u,
should "shoed," and pronouncing every word beginning with un as if
beginning with on--ontil, onless, ondhersthand, ondhertake. "Ye'll
excuse me makin' a spache, fur av I did I'd make a varry bad one,"
said the holy man, and the audience seemed to believe him. Enrolment
was the order of the day, and the thousands were requested to come
forward. A man next me went to the front and paid a shilling,
receiving in return a green ticket, with Ireland a Nation printed at
the top. He twirled it round and round, and seemed disappointed to
find there was nothing on the other side. The secretary encouraged the
meeting by the official statement that the local Featheration now
numbered nearly sixty members, whereat there was great rejoicing, the
masses (to the number of twenty) working off their emotion by thumping
their heels on the floor. The meeting, after this exultant outburst,
got slower and slower, and threatened to expire of inanition. Divil a
mother's son could be got to shpake a single wurud. Some malevolent
influence overhung the masses. His Rivirince sent down a messenger to
me with the request that I would say a few wuruds. Declined, with
thanks, as being no speaker. Uncertainty as to my colour and object
still prevailed; and silence, not loud, but deep, succeeded this
artful feeler. Father O'Murtagh (or words to that effect) to the
rescue! The Rivirind Gintleman arose and delivered a bitter attack on
Parnell, whom he characterised as mean, base, untruthful, treacherous,
and contemptible. The foinest pisintry in the wuruld could not be
soiled by contact with anybody like Parnell, and therefore the
Catholic bishops had been compelled to give him up, and to say, Get
thee behind me, Satanas. The dear Father did not tell the meeting why
the bishops waited sixteen days after the verdict of the Court, and
until Mr. Gladstone had delivered judgment, before deciding to cut
Parnell adrift. Father O'Murtagh (I think that was the name) made some
allusion to the present crisis of public affairs--(he called it
cresses)--and assured his masses that the Tories were about to be for
ever plucked from the pedestal on which they had long been planted by
ascendency and greed! This was not so racy as the mixed metaphor of a
Galway paper, which assures its readers that "the Unionist party will
soon be compelled to disgorge the favouritism which for so long has
been centred in their hands;" but it might pass. His Rivirince made
some feeble jokes, and the audience tried to laugh, but failed. "They
say that whin we luck at ourselves in the lucking lass, we see nothin'
but Whigs," said the funny Father, and the audience sniggered. This
was his masterpiece. He finished with "It's wondherful what a spache
ye can make whin ye have nothin' to say;" and the masses sniggered
again. Ten minutes more of silence broken only by whispered
confabulations of the secretary and chairman, and I grew tired of
obstructing the march to Freedom. I left the chair, the only one at my
end of the room, with considerable regret. Part of the back, one
upright, was still remaining, and although the thing had evidently
been used in argument at some previous meeting, it hung together, and
good work might still have been done with the legs. A gentleman with a
complexion like a blast furnace, and a facial expression which looked
like a wholesale infraction of the Ten Commandments, was smoking
moodily on the steps.

"Did ye injy the matein?" he inquired.

"Thought it rather dead," I replied.

"Faix, 'twas yerself that kilt it."

I feared as much. What happened after I left no man will tell, though
doubtless the resolutions adopted by the twenty men sitting on the
forrums of ellum would vibrate through the Empire, and shake the
British monarchy to its iniquitous base. Irish meetings must be taken
with a grain of salt. A Westport man long drew fees for reports of
mass meetings which never took place. Three or four Nationalists met
in a back parlour, and their speeches, reported verbatim, rang through
Ireland. Gallant Mayo was praised as heading the charge of Connaught,
and Westport was lauded for its public spirit. And all the while the
Westport folks knew nothing about it. The Dundalk folks will doubtless
be equally astonished to learn that the cause is advancing so
powerfully in their midst. This hole-and-corner meeting, waiting for
the priest, addressed by the priest, bossed by the priest, is a fair
sample of the humbug which seems inseparable from the Irish question.
A very short acquaintance with the country and its people is
sufficient to convince any reasonable person that the whole movement
is based on humbug, sustained by humbug, and is itself a humbug from
beginning to end. To see the English Parliament managed and exploited
by these groups of low-bred and ignorant peasants, nose-led by
ignorant and illiterate priests, is enough to make you ashamed of
being an Englishman. The country has come to something when Britons
can be worked like puppets by mean-looking animals such as I saw in
the Dundalk Labourers' Hall, where the only respectable thing was an
iron safe bearing the stamp of Turner, of Dudley. And this meeting, in
status, numbers, and enthusiasm, was quite representative of
Nationalist meetings all over Ireland. The English people are waiting
for their turn while Papal behests are executed. John Bull stands hat
in hand, taking his orders from Father O'Baithershin. The Irish say
that England is in the first stage of her decadence, and they say it
with some reason. England, the land of heroes, sages, statesmen, is
the mere registrar of the parish priest and his poor, benighted dupes.
Raleigh, Cromwell, Burleigh, Pitt, Palmerston, are succeeded by Healy,
Morley, Sexton, Harcourt, Gladstone. England is Ireland's lackey, and
must wait till her betters are served, must toil and moil in her
service, receiving in return more kicks than halfpence. Britannia is
the humble, obedient servant of Papal Hibernia. To what base uses we
may return!

Dundalk, July 1st.



No. 43.--IN THE PROSPEROUS NORTH.


This is a blessed change from dirt and poverty to tidiness and
comfort. After the West of Ireland the North looks like another world.
After the bareheaded, barelegged, and barefooted women and children of
Mayo and Galway, the smartly-dressed people of Newry come as a
surprise. You can hardly realise that they belong to the same country.
There are no mud cabins here, no pigs under the bed, no cows tethered
in the living room, no hens roosting on the family bedstead. The
people do not follow the inquiring stranger about, as in Ennis or
Tuam, where they seem to have nothing better to do. The Newry folks
are minding their own business, and they have some business to mind.
Three extensive flax spinning mills, two linen weaving factories, and
an apron factory, give large employment to girls. There are several
flour mills, some of them possessing immense power, and having the
most modern machinery. Two iron foundries of long-established
reputation, two mineral water factories, salt works, stone polishing
mills, seven tanneries, cabinet furniture manufactories, and
coachbuilding works cater for the town and surrounding district.
Granite quarries of high repute, such as the Rostrevor green granite,
exist in the vicinity, and are worked energetically, the products
forming a valuable addition to the exports. The town is beautifully
situated on a continuation of Carlingford Lough, the choicest bit of
sea around Great Britain. Thackeray says that if England possessed
this beautiful inlet it would be reckoned a world's wonder. Twenty
miles of winding sea running inland like a league-wide river,
mountains on both sides, many of them wooded to the furthest height.
Rostrevor is a bijou watering place such as only France here and there
can boast. You walk on the cliff side, steep verdurous heights above
and below, looking through tree-tops on the shimmering sea and the
purple mountains beyond, for ten miles at a stretch, wondering why
nobody else is there. Newry is encompassed by mountains, one range
above another. Even as the hills stand round about Jerusalem, so stand
the hills about Newry. A big trade is done with Liverpool and Glasgow
by means of the Dundalk and Newry Packet Company's fine service of
boats. For this inland place has been made into a thriving seaport,
and these Northerners make the water hum. At low tide the artificial
cutting of the navigation works looks unpromising enough, but the
people of these parts would be doing business if they had to float
the boats on mud. The hills are cultivated to the topmost peak, or
planted with trees where tillage is impossible. The people seem to
have made the most of everything. They are digging, hammering,
chopping, excavating, building, mining, and generally bustling around.
They break up the mountains piece-meal, and sell the fragments in
other lands. To make you buy they show you how it looks when polished,
and they are ready to earn an extra profit by polishing all you want
by steam power. The streets are clean, well-paved, kept in perfect
order. The houses are well-built and far superior to the English
average. A little cockney from 'Ackney, who has sailed the six hundred
and seventeen miles between London and Cork and has explored most of
the South and West, is quite knocked over by Newry. Leaning on the
"halpenstock" with which he was about to tackle Cloughmore, he
confessed that Newry hupset his hideas of Hireland and the Hirish.
"The folks round 'ere," he said, "are hexactly like hus." He would
have accorded higher praise, had he known any.

Why this great difference? Look around the shop-keepers' signs in
Tipperary or Tuam and note the names. Ruane, Magrath, Maguire,
O'Doherty, O'Brien, O'Flanagan, O'Shaughnessy, and so _in sæcula
sæculorum_. In Newry you see a striking change. Duncan, Boyd, Wylie,
MacAlister, Campbell, McClelland, McAteer, and so on, greet you in all
directions. You are in one of the colonies. The breed is different.
You are among the men who make railways, construct bridges, invent
engines, bore tunnels, make canals, build ships, and sail them over
unknown seas. You are among a people who have the instincts of
achievement, of enterprise, of invention, of command, who depend upon
themselves, who shift for themselves, and believe in self-help rather
than in querulous complaint. The Newry folk belong to Ulster, where as
a whole the people can take care of themselves. A careful perusal of
the addresses presented to Lord Houghton on his current Viceregal tour
accentuates the difference in the Irish breeds. The aborigines all
want to know what is going to be done for them. We want a pier, we
want a quay, we want a garrison or a gunboat to spend some money in
the district. Will your Excellency use your influence with the powers
that be to get us something for nothing? And let it be something to
enrich us, or at least to keep us alive without work. We can't be
expected to do anything while groaning 'neath the cruel English yoke.
The Newry folks, and all of their breed, abstain from whining and
cadging. The Westport people have endless quarries of hard blue
marble, which they are too lazy, or too ignorant, or both, to cut. The
Ulster breed would have quarried, polished, exported a mountain or two
long since. The universal verdict of employers of labour proves that a
northern Irishman is worth two from any other point of the compass,
will actually perform double the amount of work, and is, besides,
incomparably superior in brains and general reliability. The worthless
hordes who approach the Viceroy with snuffling petitions are
invariably headed by Father Somebody, without whose permission they
would not be there, and without whose leave they dare not raise the
feeble and intermittent cheers which here and there have greeted the
Queen's representative. The lying expressions of loyalty referred to
in a previous letter are severely censured by the Nationalist papers.
One of the leading lights says: "Judging from a sentence in the
address presented by the Mullingar Town Commissioners to the
Lord-Lieutenant on Thursday last, it would appear that these gentlemen
are looking forward eagerly to the day when they can write themselves
down West Britons. This is what they said: 'In your presence as the
representative in this island of her Most Gracious Majesty Queen
Victoria, we wish to give expression to our fealty to the throne,
convinced as we are that the day will soon be at hand when we can with
less restraint, and in a more marked manner, testify our admiration
for the Sovereignty of the British Isles.'" The more sincere newspaper
which falls foul of these expressions goes on to say:--

"It is true that Ireland is described in the map made by Englishmen as
one of the British Isles, but it is not so written in the true
Irishman's heart, _and never will be_, in spite of the toadyism of
gentlemen like the Town Commissioners of Mullingar."

This pronouncement embodies the sentiments of every Nationalist
Irishman. The Union of Hearts is not expected to succeed the Home
Rule, or any other bill, and to do Irishmen justice, they never use
the phrase, neither do they profess to look forward to friendliness
with England. I have conversed with hundreds of Home Rulers, and all
looked upon the bill as a means of paying off old scores. The tone of
the Nationalist press should be enough for sensible Englishmen. Nobody
who regularly reads the leading Irish Separatist papers can ever
believe in the friendship supposed to be the inevitable result of the
proposed concession. Once the present agitation is crowned with
success, a tenfold more powerful agitation will at once arise. The
Irish people will have more grievances than ever. Already they are
complaining of insult and betrayal. And their reproaches are directed
against the G.O.M. and his accomplices, or rather against Mr.
Gladstone and Mr. Morley, for they know as well as Englishmen know
that the rest count for nothing; that, in fact, they resemble the
faithful and unsophisticated baa-baa of whom we heard in our early
infancy. "Mary had a little lamb, Whose fleece was white as snow, And
everywhere that Mary went, The lamb was sure to go." This is the
attitude of the English Gladstonian party, and the Irish people know
it. A Home Ruler I met to-day disavowed loyalty except to Ireland, and
asked what was the Queen and the rest of the British Royal pauper
party to him or to Ireland that he should be loyal? He said:--

"All interest is over here, whether among Nationalists or Unionist.
The fate of the bill affects us no longer. The new financial proposals
are the last straw that breaks the camel's back. Where is the
managing of our own affairs? Where does the Nationalism come in? And
Gladstone, in allowing himself to make in the first proposal a mistake
of one thousand pounds a day, damaged his prestige as the framer of
the bill, and fatally damaged the bill itself. Anybody can now say
that if he was so grossly mistaken in an ascertainable matter like
revenue and figures he stands to be equally wrong (at least) in
matters which are not demonstrable, but which are at present only
matters of opinion and argument. I am not sure that he ever intended
to give us any Home Rule at all. We are being fooled because we have
no leader. The bill, as it stood at first, would never have been
prepared for a man like Parnell. Gladstone dare not have done it. The
whole bill is a series of insults. As a reasonable, fair-minded man
you will not deny that. It purports to come from friends who confide
in us, and yet every line bristles with distrust and suspicion. There
is not one spark of generosity in the whole thing from beginning to
end. Better have no bill at all. For as a business man, I foresee that
the passing of any such bill would lead to a complete upset of trade.
We should have a most tremendous row. The safeguards would only invite
to rebellion. Tell a man he must not have something, must not do
something, and that is the very thing he wants to do. He might not
have thought of it if you had not mentioned it; but the moment you
point it out, and particularise the forbidden fruit, from that very
moment he is inspired with a very particular wish for that above all
things. So with a nation. We want our independence. We want to do as
we like. Otherwise, why ask for a Parliament? Gladstone says, Yes, my
pretty dear, it shall have its ickety-pickety Parliament; it shall
have its plaything. And it shall ridy-pidy in the coachy-poachy too;
all round the parky-warky with the cock-a-doodle-doo. But it mustn't
touch! Or if it touches it mustn't be rough, for its plaything will
break so easily. We don't want this tomfoolery, nor to be treated like
children. We want a real Parliament, and not one that can be pulled up
every five minutes by London. For if the English Parliament have the
power to veto our wishes, where's the difference? We might have just
as well stayed as we were. That's perfectly clear.

"So that I for one will be glad when the farce is over. The present
bill at best was but a fraud, a tampering with the national sentiment.
And I am beginning to think that we have no chance of a National
Legislature until the coming of the next great Irishman. I am not so
disappointed or broken-hearted as you might suppose. For the prospect
of an Irish Parliament under present auspices is not very enticing.
The country might be made to look ridiculous, and the thing, by
bursting up in some absurd way, might make a repetition of the attempt
impossible for a century. I would rather wait for a better bill, and
also for better men to work it. We are not proud of the Irish members.
But we didn't want Tories, and all the propertied men are Tories. What
were we to do? We know the want of standing and breeding which marks
most of our men, but we did the best we could, and came within an ace
of succeeding. Let me tell you the exact feeling of the respectable
Home Rule party of Ireland at this moment.

"Having exerted ourselves with enthusiasm, and having undergone
considerable pecuniary sacrifice with good chances of success, we now
see clearly that all our efforts are for the present thrown away. It
is the fortune of war. The fates were against us, and we rest content
with the hope that we have furthered the ultimate success of the
movement. For the moment, we make our bow, and hope to call on Mr.
Bull at a more propitious season. Of course we expect to win in the
end."

The next politician whose opinions I noted was a horse of quite a
different colour. He bore a Scottish name, and had the incisive,
argumentative style of the typical Ulsterman, who unites the cold
common-sense and calculating power of the Scot with the warmth and
impulse of the Irish nature. He said:--

"The bare existence of Belfast is, or should be, enough to negative
all arguments in favour of Home Rule. The agitators say that Ireland
is decaying from political causes, while all the while this Ulster
town is getting richer and more powerful and influential. While the
people of Cork are begging the Viceroy to please to do something for
their port, to please to be so kind as to ask Mr. Bull to favour the
city with his patronage, the Belfast people, with a far inferior
harbour, an inferior climate, an incomparably inferior position,
surrounded by far worse land, are knocking out the Clyde for
shipbuilding, and running the Continent very close in linen-weaving.
Belfast is actually the third in order of the Customs ports in the
United Kingdom. The Belfast people flourish without Home Rule, and
what is more, they know their neighbours. They've reckoned these
gentry up.

"How is it that the Catholic population, as a rule, are merely the
hewers of wood and drawers of water? They have precisely the same
opportunities as their Protestant countrymen. Where-ever you go you
will find the Protestants coming to the top. Cork is a very bigoted
Catholic city, and the huge majority of the population are Catholics.
How is it that most of the leading merchants are Protestants? Why do
heretics flourish where the faithful starve? Transfer the populations
of Cork to Belfast and _vice versâ_, and, as everybody knows perfectly
well, Belfast would at once begin to decay, while Cork would at once
begin to prosper. Therefore it is absurd to say that Home Rule would
cure the poverty existing in Catholic districts. Yes, there is a party
of ascendency. The Protestants are distinctly the party of ascendency.
They have the ascendency which ability and education and industry will
always have over incapacity and ignorance and laziness. Now, I know
something about the linen trade, and also something about the growth
and preparation of flax.

"Linen has made the North, and flax is grown in the North. But it
would grow much better in the South. If they would grow it we would be
very glad to buy it. But they won't. And why not? Because it needs
care and skill, and a lot of watching and management. The beggars are
too lazy to grow anything that wants tending from day to day. It would
pay them splendidly, and the advantages of flax growing and dressing
have over and over again been drummed into them without effect. The
climate and soil of Southern Ireland are far more suitable for flax
growing than the North, and as about three-quarters of all the flax
woven in Belfast is grown on the Continent, it is clear that the
market is waiting for the stuff. The Belfast merchants have done all
that in them lay to bring about flax cultivation in the South. They
have sent out lecturers and instructors, they have planted patches and
grown the stuff, and shown the pecuniary results, and with what
effect? Absolutely none. The people won't do anything their
grandfathers didn't do. They won't be bothered with flax, which wants
no end of attention. Why, if they grew flax, they'd have to work
almost every day! And nobody who knows Irishmen, real Keltic Irishmen,
ever expects them to do that, or anything like it. I've been in India,
and I deliberately say that I prefer the Hindoo to the Southern
Irishman for industry and reliability.

"These people, who are too lazy to wash themselves, expect their
condition to be improved by a Home Rule Parliament. Can anything be
more unreasonable or more unlikely? And because there are more of
them, their wishes are to be taken into account, and the opinions and
wishes of men of whom each one is worth a hundred are to be
disregarded. Where is the English sense of the eternal fitness of
things?

"What the Irish really seek is some effective substitute for work.
They have no idea of developing the resources which lie nearest to
them. Carlyle says a country belongs to the people who can make the
best use of it, and not the people who happen to be found there.
Ireland for the Irish is a favourite cry. Why? Is not England for the
Irish, America, Australia, New Zealand? My ancestors came here in the
time of Henry the Second, and I am told that I have no business in the
country. Wherever English and Scots settlers have been located, there
the country is well worked and the people are thriving. If we can
thrive, why can't they thrive? If we can get on without Home Rule, why
can't they get on without Home Rule? If it were going to be a good
thing for the country we'd all be on it like a shot. If it were good
for them, it ought to be good for us. We have shown by our success
that our judgment is sound. Their failure in everything they
undertake, their dirt, their general habits and character, should
cause their statements and opinions to be looked upon with very great
suspicion. Does it stand to reason that merely by Home Rule, by the
exercise of the privilege of making Irish laws by Irishmen in Dublin,
that these people would gain all we have attained by hard and honest
labour? That is what they expect up here.

"The Catholics are our servants, and in selecting them we seldom ask
their religion. Our employés in most cases expect by the bill to take
the place of their masters. That is their conception of Home Rule.
They have been told from infancy that the British Government keeps
them down because of their religion. They know that the British
Government is Protestant, and they believe that in some occult way the
superior position held by the Protestants in Ireland is due to
favouritism. Under a Home Rule Parliament, that is, a Catholic
Parliament, this condition of things will be reversed, and they will
at once, and by their own innate force, as faithful believers, spring
to the top of the tree, and exchange positions with their former
masters and mistresses."

The general effect of my friend's discourse was well summed up by Mr.
James Mack, of Galway, who said:--

"When I see that the Belfast men who would make fortunes out of river
mud, and who would skin a flea for his hide and tallow, turn their
backs on Home Rule, and declare they will have nothing to do with it,
I feel sure it can be no good. Then my own experience and observation
assure me that, instead of a settlement, it will only be the beginning
of trouble for both countries. Firmness is wanted, and equal laws for
all. At present everything is in favour of Ireland." _United Ireland_
says:--"It would be better to go on for twenty years in the old
miserable mill-horse round of futile and feverish and wasting
agitation than to accept this bill as a settlement of national claims.
And if the bill passes now it cannot deflect the national agitation by
a hair's breadth, or cause its intermission for a day."

Nobody who knows the Irish people ever expected anything else.
Agitators who live by agitation will always agitate, and only a few
namby-pamby Radicals ever thought otherwise. Those who would fain have
sold their souls for the Newcastle Programme also stand to be taken
in. This Home Rule Bill will not do. Another must be brought forward
immediately. Where is this dreary business going to end? When will Mr.
Gladstone consider that England has eaten dirt enough?

Newry, July 4th



No. 44.--THE PROSPEROUS NORTH.


This famous historical city must be eminently offensive to Irish
Nationalists. It is so clean and sweet and neat and tidy that you can
at once see the hopelessness of expecting Home Rule patriotism from
the place. There are no dunghills for it to grow in, and my somewhat
extensive experiences have long ago taught me that Home Rule and
Nationalist patriotism will not flourish in Ireland without manure,
and plenty of it. Anyhow, it is mostly associated with heaps of refuse
and pungent odours arising from decomposing matter, and in the south
and west is scarcely ever found flourishing side by side with modern
sanitation. Home Rule not only, like pumpkins and vegetable marrows,
requires a feculent soil, but like them, and indeed like all watery
and vaporous vegetables, it needs the forcing-frame. Left to its own
devices the movement would die at once. There is nothing spontaneous
about it. It is a weedy sort of exotic, thriving only by filth and
forcing. It cannot live an hour in the climate of Armagh. The cold,
keen air of these regions nips it in the bud. The peculative patriots
who are now monopolising Westminster have from time to time made
descents on the district, to sow the good seed, as it were, by the
wayside. But next day came a frost, a killing frost. The Northerners
are too mathematical. They have taken Lord Bacon's advice. They "weigh
and consider." They want logic, and will not be content with mere
rhetoric. They require demonstrations, and have opinions of their own.
Before accepting a theory they turn it round and round, and test it
with the square, the level, and the line. They care nothing for
oratory unless there is sense at the back of it. They know that fine
words butter no parsnips, and they know the antecedents of the
patriotic orators. They do not believe that a paid Parliament-man is
necessarily a self-sacrificing patriot, and they note that Nationalist
members are making their patriotism much more profitable than their
original and legitimate pursuits, if any. The Armagh folks believe in
work, and in keeping things in order. The Scots element is dominant.
Not so much in numbers, as in influence. The Kelts are easily
traceable, but the races are partly amalgamated, and the genuine Irish
are greatly improved. I paraded the streets for many hours, but I saw
no dirt, rags, wretchedness. It was market day, and the country people
came streaming in from all sides, everyone well dressed and
respectable, and in every way equal to the farmers and their wives who
on market days drive into Lichfield or Worcester. It was a pleasure to
see them, and my Cockney friend, quoted in the Newry letter, might
have been tempted to discard his affected superiority, and drawing
himself proudly up, to smite himself on the chest, and to say "And hi,
too, ham a Hirishman."

The country between Newry and Armagh is very beautiful from a pastoral
point of view. After the savage deserts of the West it "Comes o'er my
soul like the sweet south That breathes upon a bank of violets." Every
yard of ground is going at its best pace. The valleys stand so thick
with corn that they laugh and sing. Immense vistas of highly
cultivated country unroll themselves in every direction. The land is
richly timbered, and tall green hedges spring up everywhere. You are
reminded of Dorsetshire, of Cheshire, of Normandy, of Rhineland. The
people at the wayside stations are all well-dressed and well-shod.
Achil Island seems to be at an immeasurable distance. The semi-savages
who in Mayo demand autonomy have no supporters here. The Ulster folks
eschew them and all their works, and would no more associate with them
than with Hottentots. I use the term because the Irish people have ten
thousand times been told, and told untruthfully, that Lord Salisbury
had applied the term to the nation at large. The people of Mayo and
some other parts of Connaught are for the most part worthy of the
name, if, indeed, it be not a libel on the Africans. The disgusting
savagery of their funeral customs is of itself sufficient to stamp
them as lowest barbarians. I am prepared to prove this to the hilt.
Let their defenders come forward if they dare.

And so it happens that the inhabitants of Armagh city are mostly
Conservatives. They ought to be religious, too, for they have not only
two cathedrals and an archbishop, but also a cardinal archbishop, Dr.
Logue, to wit. I saw this distinguished ecclesiastic at Newry. He wore
the scarlet robe, the extraordinary hat, the immensely thick gold ring
of the cardinalate, in a railway carriage. An ordinary sort of man,
with the round face and mean features of the typical Keltic farmer. He
holds that the people should take their political faith from their
priests, but the Northerners hardly agree, and are not so proud of
their cardinal as they should be, seeing that he has been raised from
the ranks, his father (so they say) having been Lord Leitrim's
coachman, and the coachman who was driving when Lord Leitrim was shot.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Armagh has an imposing position on the
summit of a steep hill. The portal is approached by sixty or seventy
steps in flights of five and ten with steep terraces between,
extending over a great space, so that the flights of steps, seen from
the bottom of the hill, seem continuous, and have a fine Gustave Doré
effect of vastness and majesty. On a neighbouring steep stands the
Protestant Cathedral, with its sturdy square tower, memorial of remote
antiquity. The city is piled up between the two cathedrals, but mostly
around the heretic structure, and away from the Papist pile, which
stands among the fields. The Presbyterians have a very beautiful
church, apparently of the Armagh marble of which the city is built,
the perennial whiteness of the stone making the old place appear
eternally young. The market-place, behind the market-hall, and on the
steep slope to the Protestant Cathedral, was very busy indeed. Market
gardeners were there with young plants, useful and ornamental, for
sale. Home-made chairs with rushen seats were offered by their rural
makers. Wooden churns, troughs for cattle, and agricultural implements
were there galore. Crockery was artfully disposed in strategetical
corners, and gooseberry stalls were likewise to the fore. None of
these features are visible in the Western markets. A vendor of
second-hand clothing stood on a cart well loaded with unconsidered
trifles, and this gentleman was especially interesting. A number of
poor women stood around while the salesman, who knew his clientèle to
their smallest tricks, displayed his wares and recklessly endeavoured
to ruin himself for the good of the country. Holding up an article, he
would turn it round and round, expatiating on its excellent
qualities, and then, after naming the very lowest price consistent
with common business principles, would run down the figure to
one-tenth or less, with a pause or two here and there for critical
comment on his audience, of which he professed to entertain the most
unfavourable opinion. Then with a final thump, punching the article
contemptuously, he would offer it, regardless of consequences, for
half his previous offer. Sometimes he refused to accept the money
because the customer was not quick enough. Neither might the people
examine his goods. He was master, and more, and found his account in
it. He took up a frowsy old gown. "There ye are. Ten shillin's worth
of stuff in that. An' ten for the makin'. An' that's twinty. I'll take
ten, an' I couldn't afford to take a penny less. Will ye have it?
Don't all spake at once. Ye won't. But I'll make ye. I'll take five
shillin', four, three, two, one, I'll take sixpence. (Thump.) Take it
away. Here! Have it for thruppence. Ye won't? Sweet bad luck to the
one of ye is worth thruppence. Ye wouldn't raise tuppence in the crowd
of ye. Ye want me to clothe ye for nothin'. An' thin ye'd want me to
give ye lodgin' and washin'. 'Twas a black day on me whin I come among
such a ruinatin' lot. Here now, sure this ought to timpt ye. A lady's
jacket, an' a large, big, roomy jacket at that--fit for a lady that
can ate a stone of praties at a male. Thurty shillin's ye'll be
offerin' me, but I won't take it. Ye can give me ten, av ye're only
quick enough. Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two
shillin's. Eighteenpence. (Thump.) Take it for a shillin'! Ye won't?
Ye didn't sell yer ducks well. Ye didn't get the money for yer eggs.
Will I lind ye a trifle? What d'ye take me for? Am I to stand rammin'
me bargains down yer throats like wagon wheels? Do yez iver buy any
clothes at all, or do yez beg them? Me heart's bruk to pieces wid
blayguardin' and bullyraggin. Luk at this. A boy's coat. An it's lined
wid woollen linin'; that's the only fault wid it. An' here's a bonnet.
A fortin to any young woman. Will ye be plazed to take what ye want
for nothin'? Tis charity ye want, ye poor misguided crathurs. 'Tis a
pack of paupers I'm discoorsin', God help me."

The Armagh shopkeepers are prosperous and content. "No Home Rule,"
they say. They are no longer angry with the Nationalists. The snake is
scotched, if not killed outright, they think. The whole absurdity has
received such a damning exposure that it cannot be revived for another
generation. The Separatist party will be perforce compelled to wait
until the people have forgotten what Home Rule really means.
Therefore, to work again! Useless to waste more time. Ulster will
sleep with one eye open, bearing in mind the favourite Northern saying
which advises men to put their trust in Providence, but to keep their
powder dry. For, like the Achilese, they believe that prayer is
effective in shaving, only the Ulstermen prefer to pray over a keen
razor. A genial citizen of Armagh said:--

"We would be as ready for Home Rule as any other Irishmen if it meant
what we are asked to believe it means. But we know better. We are
convinced that it will bring, not prosperity and peace, but bankruptcy
and war, intolerance and social retrogression, robbery and spoliation,
not only of the landlord but also of everybody else who has anything.
The propertied Roman Catholics are just as dead against Home Rule as
any Protestants. Only they dare not say so.

"England ought to have sense enough to see that instead of freedom
from Irish difficulties, the old grievances will be intensified, and
any bill whatever will at once generate a fresh series of
complications, so that the English Parliament will be crippled in
perpetuity, to the detriment of British interests. The Empire, as a
whole, must be weakened, because the Irish masses are most unfriendly,
and the more England concedes the more unfriendly Ireland becomes. For
Ireland regards all concessions as being wrung from England by
superior force and skill, and as being, in short, the fruits of
compulsion. Therefore, the more Ireland gets the more exacting she
will always become. Ask any Englishman or Scotsman resident in Ireland
if the Irish masses are friendly, and everyone will laugh at you. The
English Home Rule party say, 'Just so. Let us cure this. This is the
principal argument for Home Rule.' They think this sounds very fine.
Just as if in private life, a man to whom you have given his due, and
more than his due, should continue to abuse you, while you strain
every nerve to satisfy him, and go out of your way to obtain peace and
quietness, he all the time becoming more and more exacting and more
and more discontented. And then as if you were to say, 'I must
continue my concessions, my efforts, my sacrifices. I _must_ contrive
to satisfy this amiable person.' What a fool any man would be to adopt
such a course. A sensible man would say 'You have your due, and you'll
get no more.' Treat Ireland so, and all will be well. Be firm and the
trouble will amount to nothing. Paddy will soon drop shouting when he
sees it has no effect. The agitators will soon dry up, or waste their
sweetness on the desert air. But so long as there is a prospect of
success, so long as you have a weak-kneed old lunatic in power, so
long as Paddy sees a prospect of obtaining substantial advantages,
such as reduction of rent or rent-free farms, so long the row will be
kept up. If Englishmen could only realize that, the whole movement
would cease. For Gladstonian Englishmen mistakenly think that they can
settle the thing by further concession and get to their own business.
Few of them care for Home Rule on its own merits. They want Ireland
out of the way. They are going the wrong way about it. To give this is
to give everything. And let me tell you something new. Once the bill
becomes law, and the exactions of a Home Rule Government were enforced
by England a great part of Ulster would in pure self-protection, being
no longer bound to England by the ties of loyalty, sympathy, and
mutual dependence--a great part, practically the whole of Ulster,
would box the compass and go in for complete independence, as the best
thing possible under the circumstances. England would then feel
something in her vitals, something serious and something astonishing.
The only rebellion that ever gave England any trouble was worked by
Ulstermen. The most effective agitators have nearly always been
renegade Protestants. Let England think what she is about before she,
at the bidding of a foolish old man, turns her back on her faithful
friends to throw herself into the arms of her sworn enemies."

Another Conservative, for I met none other in Armagh, said:--"Surely
the minority are worth some consideration. There are one million two
hundred thousand loyal Protestants, and certainly many thousand Roman
Catholics, who are against the Bill. As Sir George Trevelyan said, 'We
must never forget that there are two Irelands,' and as John Bright
said, 'There are more loyal men and women in Ireland than the whole
population of men and women in Wales.' Yet Mr. Gladstone is so very
considerate of Wales. Ireland can point to fully one-third of the
entire population, who view with abhorrence the very name of Home
Rule, and are pledged to resist it to the last. These people have been
and are the friends of England, and England can be proud of them as
having flourished under her rule. They have been and are the English
garrison in Ireland, and England sorely needs a garrison here. Mr.
Gladstone cares nothing for their opinions. On the other hand, he
spends his life in pandering to disloyal Ireland, led by men who have
openly avowed and gloried in their hatred of England, and who have
hundreds of times publicly declared their determination to secure
complete independence; men who have broken the law of the land, and
have incited others to break it; men who turned a peaceful country
into a perfect hell, and have for ever upset the people's notions of
honesty. Parnellites and anti-Parnellites have only one end and aim,
and only one sentiment. They hate British rule and British loyalists,
and aim at the ultimate repeal of the Union, and the absolute
separation of the two countries. And they would always be unfriendly.
The party of lawlessness, outrage, and rebellion would never hold
amicable relations with a law-abiding and peaceful commercial country.
There would be no peace for Ireland either. The factions of the Irish
party are yearly becoming more and more numerous. In all except hatred
to England they are bitterly opposed. All very well to set up Ulster
as being the ugly duckling, as being the one dissentient particle of a
united Ireland. If every Protestant left the country Ireland would
still be divided, and hopelessly divided. Personal reviling, riot, and
blackguardism are already common between the factions, united though
they try to appear, so far as is necessary to deceive the stupid
Saxon. And if the Saxon cannot see the result of trusting the low
blackguards who form the working plant of the Nationalist party he is
stupid indeed, and deserves all that will happen to him.

"Have you noticed how the Irish people are gulled?"

Yes, I have noticed it. The _Freeman's Journal_, as the representative
paper of the party and the chosen organ of the Church, is run on a
pabulum of falsehood. Englishmen would hardly believe such lying
possible, but the _Freeman_, as a liar, has, by constant practice,
attained virtuosity. What Rubinstein is on the piano, what Blondin was
on the tight-rope, what the Bohee Brothers are on the banjo, what Sims
Reeves was in the ballad world, what Irving is in histrionic art, what
Spurgeon was as a preacher, what Patti is in opera, what Gladstone is
as a word-spinner, what Tim Healy is as a whipping-post, what the
Irish peasant is as a lazybones, what Harcourt is as a humbug, what
the member for Kilanyplace is as a blackguard, so is the _Freeman's
Journal_ as a liar. When quoting great masters examples of their work
are always interesting.

The late Chamberlain-Dillon episode is fresh in the minds of all
newspaper readers. Dillon wanted the date. The date was given him. He
promised to answer the charge, but anybody can see that no answer was
possible. He failed to come up to time. Being lugged to the front by
the scurf of the neck, he explained that he _had_ used the words,
namely, that when the Irish party got power they would remember their
enemies, but--much virtue in But--he used the words under the
influence of exasperation arising from the Mitchelstown affair--which
took place a year later!

Mr. Chamberlain pointed this out, and referring to this incident the
_Freeman_ says:--

"Mr. Chamberlain literally grew pale under the succession of
exposures, and wriggled in his seat, while he attempted to meet them,
now by wriggling equivocations, now by reckless denial." "Mr. Goschen,
prompted by Mr. Bolton," horrified the _Freeman's_ delicate taste by
"jocose allusions to watertight compartments and to the vessel's
toppling over, which grated horribly on the members of the House, with
the memory of the recent terrible calamity fresh in their minds." I
was in Dublin when the news of the Victoria disaster arrived, and I
heard a typical Nationalist express a wish that the whole fleet had
perished. Such sentiments are the natural result of the lying
literature provided by the "patriot" press of Dublin and the
provinces. Well may Home Rule opinion in Ireland be rotten through and
through! Mirabeau said of a very fat man that his only use was to show
how far the skin would stretch without bursting. The _Freeman_ exists
to show to what lengths human fatuity can go. Lying and slander and
all uncleanness, envy and hatred and malice and all uncharitableness,
are its daily bread. With Home Rule in Ireland, this sheet would be
the ruling power. To support Home Rule is for the _Freeman_ to breathe
its native air. Under an Irish Parliament, nutriment "thick and slab"
would abound, and the patriot print would wax in strength and stature
day by day. Enlighten the popular mind, and the _Freeman's_ hours are
numbered. It would vanish as a dream, forgotten by all except some
old diver into the history of the past, who having read its pages,
will shake his head sadly when he hears of Liars, and remembering its
Parliamentary notes will say--

"There were Giants in those days."

Armagh, July 6th.



No. 45.--A PICTURE OF ROMISH "TOLERATION."


The country from Armagh to Monaghan is a very garden of Eden,
undulating, well wooded, well watered, and in a high state of
cultivation. The intervening towns and villages are neat and sweet,
and the people seem to be hard workers. Monaghan itself, during the
last generation, has wonderfully improved. It suffers by reason of its
position on an almost inaccessible branch line, and the complete
absence of manufactories, but it has no appearance of poverty. The
Diamond is a well-built square, and the whole town, mostly built of
stone, some of the streets on terraces, many of them thickly planted
with trees, has a shady and sylvan look. The gaol, an enormous
building crowning a steep hill, looks like the capitol of a fortress,
and appears to have exercised a salutary effect on the neighbourhood,
for it has long been disused. The district did not furnish malefactors
enough to make the establishment pay. The gaol officials stood about
with folded hands wishing for something to do, and probably locked up
each other in turn by way of keeping up a pretence of work. The
governor had nothing to govern, and the turnkeys sighed as they
thought of old times. The thing was growing scandalous, and the
ever-diminishing output of convicts marked the decadence of the
country. Day by day the officials climbed to the topmost battlement in
the hope that rural crime-hunters might be descried bringing in some
turnip-stealer, some poacher, some blacker of his neighbour's eye, and
day by day these faithful prison-keepers sadly descended to renew the
weary round of mutual incarceration, so necessary if they wished to
keep their hands in, and to apply somebody's patent rust-preventer to
the darling locks, which formerly in better times they had snapped
with honest pride. At last the authorities intervened, discharged the
turnkeys, and locked up the place. It was a case of _Ichabod_. The
fine gold had become dim and the weapons of war had perished. The
officials departed in peace, each vowing that the country was going to
the Divil, and each convinced that such a state of things would never
come to pass under Home Rule. All became earnest Nationalists in the
sure and certain hope that under an Irish Parliament business would
revive, that the old place would be re-opened, that its venerable
walls would again re-echo the songs of happy criminals, that the
oakum-picking industry would revive and flourish, and that the
treadwheel (which they identify with the weal of the country) would
continuously revolve. Meanwhile, Armagh extends hospitality to stray
wrong-doers and Monaghan boards them out to the manifest injury of the
local turnkey industry.

The new Roman Catholic Cathedral is said to be the finest in Ireland.
It was over thirty years in building, and although the stone of the
main fabric cost nothing, the structure cost more than a hundred
thousand pounds. The interior is more gorgeous than beautiful, and the
money seems to have been expended with execrable taste. The marble
mosaic of the chancel floor is beautifully done, the work having been
entrusted to Italian workmen, who were engaged on it for several
years. The numerous statues of Carrara marble are well executed, and
other items are also of the best. But the effect of the whole is
inharmonious, and the great lines are obscured by over-ornamentation.
You are reminded of an over-dressed woman. The pulpit, surmounted by a
lofty conical canopy richly gilt, is supported on four lofty pillars
of coffee-coloured marble highly polished. The baldacchino is a
glittering affair, forty or fifty feet high, and big enough for a
mission church. This also rests on marble columns. The sacristy,
chapter-house and other offices are splendidly furnished, and the
furniture of the doors, brass branches spreading all over them,
massive as mediæval work, were remindful of Birmingham. The oak
drawers of the robing room contain sacerdotal raiment to the tune of
two thousand pounds, and the banners, many in number, and of richest
work, must also represent a small fortune. Beautiful oil paintings
from Italy hang around, and the bishop's throne is a marvel of gold
lace and luxury. A queer-looking utensil, like a low seat, but with
round brass bosses at each corner, proved to be merely a sort of
crinoline whereon the bishop might extend his robes, so as to look
inflated and imposing. So does the noble turkey-cock extend himself
when bent on conquest of his trustful mate, gobbling the while
strange-sounding incantations. To describe in detail would require a
book. The confessionals are snug, with rich external carving. Plenty
of accommodation for penitents here. Amid such surroundings to be a
miserable sinner must be indeed a pleasure. The spire is two hundred
and fifty feet high. I mounted and saw the great bell, over three tons
in weight. I also saw the bishop's robes of wondrous richness and
penetrative virtue, the consecrated slippers which the acolytes wear,
with their scarlet robes, remindful of Egyptian flamens and African
flamingoes; the blessed candle-box and the seven-times blessed
candles, which at once drop tallow on the holder's clothes and benison
on his sin-struck soul. All this expense in poor Ireland, all these
advantages for poor Ireland. And still the Irish are not happy. With
Roman Catholic cathedrals on every hand, with monasteries, nunneries,
seminaries, confraternities, colleges, convents, Carmelites, Christian
brothers, and collections whichever way they turn, the Irish people
should be content. What could they wish for more?

The principal shopkeepers of Monaghan have unpatriotic names.
Crawford, Jenkins, Henry, Campbell, Kerr, McEntee, Macdonald, and
their like must in some way be accountable for the smartness of the
town and for the emptiness of the prison on the hill. And you soon see
that the Cathedral was needed, for besides the Protestant church, the
town is polluted by two Presbyterian churches, to say nothing of a
schism-shop used by the Wesleyan Methodists. A Monaghan man said:--

"The respectable people are nearly all Protestants, and all the
Protestants, and most of the respectable Catholics, if not all, are
Unionists. In point of numbers the Catholics have the pull, and in the
event of a Home Rule Parliament, which, God forbid, our position as
Protestants would be no longer tenable. We should have to knock under,
and to become persons of no consideration. The small farmers among the
Protestant population would have an especially hard time of it. They
mostly held aloof from the Land League and such-like associations; and
when the other party get the upper hand they will have to smart for
it. What Mr. Dillon said about remembering in the day of their power
who had been their enemies, is always present to the minds of the
lower classes of the Irish people. It is that they may have the power
of punishing all sympathisers with England that some of them say they
want Home Rule. No doubt they have other temptations, but certainly
that is one great incentive. So keenly are they bent on getting power
that they in some cases quite disregard any possible disadvantages
accruing from the success of the movement. 'Let us get the power,'
they say, 'never mind the money.' I have heard the remark made more
than once, and it represents the dominant feeling in the minds of
many. Rubbish about struggling for equal rights. Where are the
disabilities of Irish Catholics?

"Ascendency is their game. Would they be tolerant? Why ask such a
question? When was Roman Catholicism tolerant, and where? Is not the
whole system of Popery based on intolerance, on infallibility, on
strict exclusiveness? Let me give you a few local facts to show their
'tolerance.'

"In the old times the Monaghan Town Commissioners were a mixed body.
Catholics and Protestants met together in friendly converse, and the
voting went anyhow, both religions on both sides, according to each
man's opinion of the business. Nowadays, wherever in Ireland the two
sects are represented the thing is worked differently, and you may
know the voting beforehand by reference to the members' religion. We
are not troubled with this in Monaghan, and for the very best of
reasons--all the members but one are Roman Catholics, and the solitary
Protestant is a lawyer who has always been identified with them, and
has always managed their legal business. He is practically one of
themselves, having always acted with them.

"When the modern political agitation became rife, the Romans of
Monaghan, under the orders of their priests, at once ousted all
Protestants, except the one I have mentioned, who does not count, and
monopolised the Town Council ever since. They forgot something--Lord
Rossmore has a claim on the market-tolls and other similar payments
which amount to about three hundred pounds a year, but so long as the
Town Council was worked by a mixed body of Catholics and Protestants
he consented to forego this claim, and made the town a present of the
money, which was expended in various improvements. Three hundred a
year is a large sum in a small country town where labour is cheap, and
in fifty years this sum, carefully laid out in ornamental and sanitary
arrangements, quite changed the aspect of the place. When, however,
the priests came on the scene and determined to have things
exclusively in their own hands, Lord Rossmore did not quite see why he
should any longer give the money to the town. And let it be understood
that his agent had always been a prominent figure on the Monaghan Town
Council, which was very right, having regard to the three hundred
pounds given by Lord Rossmore, and to the agent's superior knowledge
and business experience. He had been kicked out with the rest, and so
it was made known that in future my lord would keep the money in his
own pocket. They were astonished and suddenly cast down. 'Fear came
upon them, and sorrow even as upon a woman,' &c.--you know the text.
They said the money belonged to them, and really they had had it so
long that they might be excused for believing this. Lord Rossmore was
firm. They fought the thing out; but where was the good? They were
beaten at every point. They had no case. So the town is three hundred
pounds a year worse off, and Lord Rossmore three hundred pounds
better. And still they will not allow a Protestant on the Council,
although nearly all the best business men are of that persuasion.
How's that for tolerance? And if such a thing be done in the green
tree what will be done in the dry? If they flog us now with whips,
won't they flog us then with scorpions?"

Another thraitor to his counthry's cause, said:--"A great idea with
the priests is this--to get hold of the education of the country. They
do not like the present system of National education. They do not
approve of their youthful adherents growing up side by side with
Protestant children. At first the Catholic bishops welcomed the scheme
of National education, but now they are averse to it. They have seen
how it works. It goes against them. It has been weighed in the balance
and found wanting. The Catholic children grew up in amity with their
neighbours, and got dangerously liberal ideas on the subject of
religion. They were getting to believe that it mattered little whether
Catholic or Protestant so long as a man's life was right. I went to
school with Catholics, grew up with them, was always friendly with
them, and we keep up the friendship to this day. The Catholic bishops
disapprove of this. They want the line of cleavage sharp and distinct.
Fifty years ago mixed marriages were common enough. Such a thing never
happens now-a-days. It is most stringently forbidden by the Catholic
Church. A priest told me that emigrants to America, such as had been
educated in Irish National schools, along with Protestant children,
were very apt to drop their Romanism when once separated from their
native parish, and to become Protestants. I suppose he meant to say
that long familiarity with the unclean thing had undermined the
wholesome dislike of heresy which every Catholic should feel, and that
therefore such familiarity should be, if possible, avoided. Years ago
the priest would be friendly with his Protestant neighbours. We all
lived together pretty comfortably. Of late a great change has taken
place. The clergy as far as possible leave us, and cause us to be
left, out in the cold. The question of Home Rule is entirely a
religious question. Parnell was actuated by what might fairly be
called patriotism; that is, comparatively speaking. The clergy saw in
his fall a grand opportunity to use the movement he had created for
the furtherance of their own ends. Home Rule is a purely Roman
Catholic movement, and has had the most regrettable results on the
amity of neighbours everywhere. Formerly the question of religion
never arose. Now nothing else is considered. The Papists are almost
unbearable, while they as yet have only the hope of power. What they
would become if once they grasped the reality God only knows. I am not
prepared to stand it, whatever it be. My arrangements to leave the
country have long been made. At my age it will be a great grief, but I
have always lived in a free country, and I will die in a free country.
I was born in the town, and hoped to end my days at my birthplace. But
I shall go, if it almost broke my heart, rather than see myself and
the worthy men who have made the place domineered over and patronised
by Maynooth priests. _Ubi bene, ibi patria._ Where I'm most happy,
that will be my country."

The road to Kilmore is through a beautiful park-like country heavily
timbered with oak, ash, beech, chestnut, and fir. Tall hedgerows
twenty feet high line most of the way, which in many parts is
completely overhung with trees in green arches impervious to rain. The
country is undulating, with sharp descents and long clumps of beeches
and imposing pine woods, bosky entrances to country seats and grassy
hills, covered with thriving kine. From the church itself an extensive
landscape is seen on every side. A deep valley intervenes between the
church and a pretty farmhouse. I find a narrow lane with high hedges,
covered with honeysuckles, which seems to lead thitherward. A man is
toiling in a field hard by, digging for dear life, bare-armed and
swarthy. I mount the gate and make for him. He remains unconscious,
and goes on digging like mad. His brow is wet with honest sweat, and
he seems bent on earning whate'er he can. Perhaps he wishes to look
the whole world in the face, having an ambition to owe no rent to any
man. I woke him and asked why the flags were flying on Kilmore
steeple.

"To the pious, glorious, and immortal memory of William of Orange, who
gave us an open Bible, and delivered us from Popery brass money, and
wooden shoes. We put them up on the first of July and fly them till
the twelfth, when we walk in procession through Monaghan."

"An Orangeman, and a black Protestant, I fear?"

He laughed merrily, and said he was proud and thankful to be both. "If
we didn't hold together, and associate in some way, we might quit the
country at once. By banding together we hold our ground, and we will
do so until Home Rule comes on us. Then we'll have to give in, about
here. We're in a minority."

"Don't you think the Papists would be tolerant?"

"Aye, aye! Toleration indeed. As tolerant as a cat to a mouse. As
tolerant as I am to this thistle, bad scran to it," said my friend,
fetching up the obnoxious weed with a vigorous stroke, and chopping it
to pieces with the spade, after which he shovelled it to the bottom of
the trench. "Why, sir, the Papists are beginning to assume mastership
already. Before this Government had been a fortnight in office the
dirty scum began to give themselves airs. I mean, of course, the
lowest of them. They were not so civil as before. Tolerant, ye say!
Sure anybody that heard ye say the like of that would know ye were a
stranger in the counthry."

The farm house was a model of cleanliness and neatness, James Hanna a
model of a hard-working, debt-paying, honourable farmer. The living
rooms had every accommodation required for the decent bringing-up of a
family; and the parlour, with its carpets, knick-knacks, and
highly-polished solid furniture, showed both taste and luxury. Mrs.
Hanna, a buxom lady of middle age, was hard at work, but for all that,
the picture of comeliness and neatness. The children were just coming
in from school, well clad and good-looking, the boys ruddy and strong,
the girls modest and lady-like. Mr. Hanna was hard at it in some
contiguous field, but he came round and told me that he held twenty
acres of land, that the rent was £24 10s., that his father had the
farm for more than fifty years, that he was a Protestant, a Unionist,
and a strong opponent of Home Rule. I have visited two other farms of
the same size in Mayo and Achil, both held by Catholic Home Rulers.
The rent of the Achil farm described by its holder, Mr. McGreal, as
"very good land," was seventeen-and-sixpence for the whole twenty
acres. McGreal was very poor, and looked it. His house was of the type
described in my previous letters. Mr. James Hanna pays more for each
acre than McGreal for his whole farm, and yet the Kilmore man is
prosperous, his house, his family, all his belongings suggestive of
the most enviable lot. A gun was hanging over the fire-place, which
was a grate, not a turf-stone. I asked him if he used the
shooting-iron to keep his landlord in order. He said No, he was no
hunter of big game. I may be accused of too favourable an account of
this farmhouse and its inmates, but I have (perhaps somewhat
indiscreetly) given the name and address, and Monaghan people will
agree with me. A more delightful picture of Arcadia I certainly never
saw. Cannot Englishmen reckon up the Home Rule agitation from such
facts as these, the accuracy of which is easily ascertainable by
anybody? Everywhere the same thing in endless repetition. Everywhere
laziness, ignorance, uncleanliness, dishonesty, disloyalty, ask for
Home Rule. Everywhere industry, intelligence, cleanliness, honesty,
loyalty, declare that to sanction Home Rule is to open the floodgates
to an inrush of barbarism, to put back the clock for centuries, to put
a premium on fetichism, superstition, crime of all kinds, to say
nothing of roguery and rank laziness. What are Englishmen going to do?
Which party will they prefer to believe? When will John Bull put on
his biggest boots and kick the rascal faction to the moon?

Monaghan, July 8th.



No. 46.--A BIT OF FOREIGN OPINION.


The military call and spell the name Inniskilling, which corruption is
probably due to the proverbial stupidity of the brutal Saxon, and is
undoubtedly another injustice to Ireland. The Inniskilling Dragoons
have won their fame on many a stricken field, and to them the town
owes any celebrity it may possess. From a tourist's point of view it
deserves to be better known. It is a veritable town amidst the waters,
and almost encircled by the meandering channels that connect Upper and
Lower Lough Erne. It consists almost entirely of one long, irregular,
but tolerably-built street, at both ends of which you cross the river
Erne. A wooded knoll, crowned by a monument to Sir Lowry Cole, who did
good service under Wellington, is a conspicuous object, and through
openings purposely cut through the trees, affords some very pleasing
views. A hundred steps lead to the top, and the ascent repays the
climb. The Cuilgach range, source of the Shannon, the Blue Stack
mountains of Donegal, the ancient church and round tower of Devenish,
an island in the Great Lough Erne, and due west the Benbulben hills,
are easily visible. Devenish island is about two miles away, and,
although without a tree, is very interesting. Some of the Priory still
remains, and I have found a Latin inscription in Lombardic characters
which, being interpreted, reads Mathew O'Dughagan built this,
Bartholomew O'Flauragan being Prior, A.D. 1449. There is a graveyard
next the ruins, and a restored Round Tower, eighty-five feet high, not
far away, the door of which is ten feet from the ground. These towers
are sprinkled all over the country, and in nearly all the door is
eight feet to twenty feet from the ground. The process of eviction
seems to have been present to the minds of the builders. The sheriffs'
officers of a thousand years ago must have been absolutely powerless
in presence of a No Rent manifesto. Steamers are running on the Lower
Lough from Enniskillen to Belleek, about twenty-two miles. You can
sail there and back for eighteen-pence. The Upper Lough is said to be
still more beautiful, the tourist agents have recently been trying to
open up this lovely island-studded lake. The beauties of Ireland are
as unspeakable as they are unknown. The strip of sea holds some
tourists back, and others seek the prestige of holiday on the
Continong. A German traveller, hight Bröcker, declares that Ireland
beats his previous record, and that the awful grandeur of the Antrim
coast has not its equal in Europe, while the wild west with its heavy
Atlantic seas, is finer far than Switzerland. Germans are everywhere.
The Westenra Arms of Monaghan boasted a waiter from the Lake of
Constanz, and I met a German philologist at Enniskillen who had his
own notions about Irish politics. He ridiculed the attitude of
England, or rather of Gladstonian England, and rated Home Rulers
generally in good set terms.

"The business of England is to rule Ireland. Justly, of course, but to
rule. That is if England has any regard for her own reputation. A
colonel must rule his regiment, a teacher must rule his class, the
captain must rule his crew, or disorder and damage to all parties will
be the inevitable result. England stands to her acquisitions, whether
conquered or peacefully colonised, in the relationship of head of the
family. She has one member who is troublesome. There is always one
black sheep in the flock. There was a Judas among the twelve. England
has one, only one, at present, of her numerous family who gives
extraordinary anxiety. And why?

"Difference of race and difference of religion. The double difference
is too much. The races would amalgamate but for the religious
difference. They would intermarry, and in time a sufficient mixture
would take place; would have taken place long since but for the action
of Rome. Rome keeps open the old wound, Rome irritates the old sores.
Rome holds the two nations apart. We in Germany see all this quite
plainly. We have no interests at stake, and then, you know, lookers-on
see better than players. Rome keeps Ireland in hand as a drag on the
most influential disseminator of Protestantism in the world. Ireland
suits her purpose as a backward nation. We have quite snuffed out the
Pope in Germany. Education is fatal to the political power of Rome.
Ireland is not educated, and suits her purpose admirably. You will not
succeed in satisfying Ireland, because Rome will not allow the Irish
to remain quiescent. Rome will not permit Ireland to rest and be
thankful, to fraternise with England, to take the hand of friendship,
and to work together for good. This would not do for the Church. Any
Romish priest will tell you that his Church is destined to overspread
and conquer every country in the world, and that of all possible
events that is a thousand times the most desirable. An independent
Ireland, whose resources would be in the hands of the Romish Clergy,
and whose strategetical position would be the means of aiding some
Catholic power to crush the prestige of England--that is not a
possibility too remote for the imagination of Romish wirepullers. Are
Englishmen acquainted with the history of Papal Rome? Have they
adequate knowledge of the subtlety, the craft, the dissimulation, the
foresight of this most wonderful religious system? I think not, or
they would be more on their guard against her Jesuitical advances. The
idea of your Gladstone going to your Parliament to hand over this
country to Rome under the specious pretence of remedying Irish
grievances, is too ridiculous. I ask myself where is the English
commonsense of which we have heard so much in Germany?

"England must be master. Not with tyranny; of that there is no danger,
but with a judicial firmness. Your system of party government has good
points, but it has weak points, and the Irish make you feel them. You
pay too much attention to Irish clamour. I have been partly living in
England for twenty-two years, and I have seen your Gladstone 'finally'
contenting the Irish three or four times. Now, if he understood the
subject at all, he ought to know that for the reason I have stated
satisfaction is impossible. No use healing and dressing a wound which
is constantly re-opened. No use in dressing a sore which is
deliberately irritated. Rome will keep England going. With your Home
Rule Bills, your Irish Church Bills, your successive Land Bills, how
much have you done? How far have you succeeded in pacifying Ireland?
Are you any nearer success now than ever you were? On the other hand,
does not appetite grow with what it feeds on? The more you give, the
more they want. They are far more discontented than they were before
the passage of the three Land Bills, by each of which your Gladstone,
your amusing Gladstone, declared he would pacify and content the
Irish. And now your Gladstone is at it again. Funny fellow! He is like
the Auctioneer with his Last time, for the Last time, for the very
Last time, for the very _very_ Last time. And the grave English nation
allows itself to be made a sport. It is mocked, derided, by a number
of lawyers' clerks and nonentities from third-rate Irish towns. It is
bullied by a handful of professional politicians, paid by your
American enemies, and governed by the flabby-looking priests you see
skulking about the Irish railway stations and parks and pleasure
resorts. As I said before, England must be master, as the captain is
of his crew, as the tutor of his class, as the colonel of his
regiment; or she will go down, and down, and down, until she has no
place nor influence among the nations. And she will deserve none, for
she knew not how to rule.

"England is at present like a ship's captain, who in his futile
endeavours to please one of his crew first neglects the management of
the ship, and, then (if she grants Home Rule) allows the discontented
person to steer the course. And all to please one silly old man, who
should long ago have retired from public life. What man at eighty-four
would be reckoned competent to manage a complicated business
enterprise such as a bank, or an insurance business, or a big
manufacturing affair, or a newspaper office? Yet you allow Gladstone
to manage an Empire! Where, I ask is the English sense, of which we
hear so much in Germany? You want a Bismarck to make short work of
these Popish preachers of sedition. You want a Bismarck to rid your
country of the Irish vermin that torment her. The best Irishmen are
the most brilliant, polite, scholarly men I ever met. None of them are
Home Rulers. That should be enough for England without further
argument. Your House of Lords has sense. That will be your salvation
against Gladstone and Rome."

At the _Imperial_ was a warm discussion anent the propriety of keeping
alive the memory of the Battle of the Boyne, which the Orangemen
celebrate with great pomp on July 12. "The counthry's heart-sick of
Orange William an' his black-mouths," said a dark-visaged farmer. By
black-mouths he meant Protestants.

"The blayguards are not allowed to shout To Hell wid the Pope
now-a-days. In Belfast they'd be fined forty shillin's. An' they know
that, and they daren't shout To Hell wid the Pope, so they roar To
Hell wid the Forty Shillin's. That's what I call a colourable evasion.
But the law favours them."

A man of mighty beard looked on the speaker with contempt. "Sure, 'tis
as raisonable to celebrate King William, who _did_ live as a Saint
like Patrick, Phadrig as ye call him, who never existed at all. At
laste, that's what some of them say. Ye mix the life an' work of
half-a-dozen men, an' ye say 'twas all Saint Patrick. Sure, most of
him is a myth, a sort of a fog, jist. Ye can't agree among yerselves
as to whin he was born." Turning to me, the bearded man said, "Did ye
ever hear the pome about Saint Patrick's birthday?"

I regretfully admitted that the masterpiece in question had escaped my
research, but pleaded in extenuation that I came from England, where
the rudiments of polite larnin' and the iliments of Oirish litherature
have not yet permeated the barbarian population. Barbatus then recited
as follows:--

    "On the eighth day iv March, as sum people say,
    St. Patrick at midnight he furst saw the day.
    While others declare on the ninth he was born,
    Sure, 'tis all a mistake between midnight and morn!
    Now, the furst faction fight in Oireland, they say,
    Was all on account of St. Patrick's birthday.
    Some fought for the eighth, for the ninth more would die--
    Who didn't say right, they would blacken his eye.
    At length both the parties so positive grew,
    They each kept a birthday, so Patrick got two.
    Till Father Mulcahy (who showed them their sins)
    Said, No man can have two birthdays (barrin' he was twins).
    An' boys, don't be fightin' for eight or for nine;
    Don't be always disputin', but sumtimes combine.
    Combine eight wid nine, seventeen is the mark,
    Let that be his birthday." "AMEN," said the clerk.
    "Tho' he wasn't a twin, as history does show--
    Yet he's worth any other two saints that we know.
    So they all got blind drunk, which complated their bliss,
    An' they kept up the custom from that day to this."

"An' why wouldn't we remimber King William? An' why wouldn't we
remimber that the Enniskillen Protestants went out an' smashed up the
Papists under Lord Mountcashel, at Newtownbutler, on August 1, 1689?
The very day of the relief of Derry--so it was. An' more than ever now
we need to keep our heads above wather. Ye've an old fule over there
that's thryin' to upset the counthry wid his fulery an' his Home Rule.
But we'll not have it! Never will we bow the neck to Rome. In the name
of God, we'll resist to the last moment. Every man will stand to his
arms. Leave us to settle with the Papists, and we'd hunt them like
flies. Thim an' their Army of Independence! 'Twas an' Army of
Independence they levied to help the French invasion. The poor
parleyvoos landed at Killala (ye can see where they entrenched their
camp), and marched with the Irish Army of Independence to Castlebar,
where the English smashed them up, the Irish Catholic levies bolting
at first fire or before it." Four or five nameless stones mark the
graves of French officers killed in this engagement. I saw them on my
way from Castlebar to Turlough's Tower. My Orange friend went
on:--"We'll send a hundred Orangemen to fight their Army of
Independence. They shall be armed with dog-whips, to bring the brutes
to heel. No, we'll not send a hundred, either. We'll send thirty-two,
one for each county of Ireland. 'Twould be a trate to see the Army of
Independence hidin' thimsilves in the bogs, an' callin' on the rocks
an' hills to fall down an' cover thim, an' the airth to swallow them
up."

A political tradesman recommended to me as a perfect encyclopædia of
argument on the Home Rule question, said:--"The great difficulty is to
get the English people to understand the duplicity of this sacerdotal
movement. Of course, you understand that the agitation is really
religious, and not, strictly speaking, political at all. In England
the Romish priests are a better class of men, and no doubt they are
loyal enough for practical purposes. And then they have neither
numbers nor influence. You look upon the Catholic laity of England
very much as we look upon the Plymouth Brethren of Ireland--that is,
as a well-meaning, well-conducted body of people with whom you don't
agree. The Catholic laity of Ireland would be all right if they were
left alone, if they were allowed to follow the dictates of their
natural humanity. My Catholic neighbours were very good, none better,
until this accursed agitation began. Left to themselves the Irish
people would agree better and better every year. But that would not
suit Rome. The Church, which is very astute, too much so for England,
sees in agrarian agitation a means of influence and the acquisition of
power; and once an Irish Parliament became dominant, intolerance would
make itself felt. Not as of old by the fires and tortures of the
Inquisition, for nineteenth-century public opinion would not stand
that; and not by manifestly illegal means either, but by boycotting,
by every species of rascality. How can you expect tolerance from a
church the very essence of whose doctrine is intolerance? When
everybody outside the pale of that Church is outside the pale of
salvation, condemned beforehand to eternal damnation, anything and
everything is permissible to compel them to come in. That is their
doctrine, and they, of course, call it benevolence.

"Mr. Gladstone has said,--'My firm belief is that the influence of
Great Britain in every Irish difficulty is not a domineering and
tyrannising, but a softening and mitigating influence, and that were
Ireland detached from her political connection with this country and
left to her own unaided agencies, it might be that the strife of
parties would then burst forth in a form calculated to strike horror
through the land.' There is the passage, in my scrap-book. The speech
was made in the House. The English Home Rulers believe that their
troubles will be over when once Irishmen rule from College Green, and
they trust the Irish Catholic members, who from childhood have been
taught that it is not necessary to keep faith with heretics. That is a
fundamental tenet of the Church of Rome. Still, England will have no
excuse for being so grossly deceived, for these men have at one time
or other been pretty candid. William O'Brien said that the country
would in the end 'own no flag but the Green Flag of an independent
Irish nation,' and J.E. Redmond in March last said that it was the
utmost folly to talk of finality in connection with the Home Rule
Bill. Then you must remember what Parnell said about taking off his
coat. He would not have done it for anything short of independence.
Mr. Gladstone himself saw through this, and with all other Liberals
consistently and determinedly opposed every demand for Home Rule until
his desire for power compelled him to surrender unconditionally to
Parnell. At Aberdeen the G.O.M. said,--'Can any sensible man, can any
rational man, suppose that at this time of day we are going to
disintegrate the great capital institutions of the country for the
purpose of making ourselves ridiculous in the eyes of all mankind?' No
sane man ever supposed it, no honest man ever believed that Mr.
Gladstone would ever sell himself to Irish traitors for a short period
of power. The thing was incredible. In another speech Mr. Gladstone
said he would never consent to give Ireland any principle which could
not be given on equal terms to Scotland or any other part of the
Kingdom. So we may expect Scotch and Welsh Home Rule bills after this,
and then a separate Parliament for every country that wants it.
There's the speech, you can copy the reference.

"England is like an old-established business with a shop over the way
which only just pays, and is an awful lot of trouble; in fact, more
trouble than it's worth. You might say, let it go then. But if you let
it go somebody else will take it, and run in opposition. Home Rule
means the immediate return of the Irish-American ruffians who were
here during the Fenian agitation, or their successors. Home Rule means
that armed rebellion can be organised with much more reasonable
chances of success. The police will be under the control of traitors,
and it took you all your time to keep the country in order when the
police were in your own hands. Whatever happens to John Bull will be
the proper reward of his asinine stupidity. He'll have his hands full,
with an Irish Parliament against him. And if he gets a big quarrel on
his hands with Russia or France, or any other powerful military
nation, that is the time he'll feel it. Are you going to put into the
hands of your enemies the power to ruin you merely by biding their
time?"

I saw several other Enniskilleners, but they added nothing to the
disquisitions of those already quoted. A feeling of deep disgust was
the prevailing sentiment. Encamped in the enemy's country, from
childhood conversant with the tortuous windings of Papal policy, and
the windy hollowness of the popular cries, they stand amazed that
Englishmen can be deceived by such obvious imposture, that they will
listen to such self-convicted charlatans, that they will repose
confidence in such ten-times-exposed deceivers. The history of the
Home Rule movement will in future ages be quoted as the most
extraordinary combination of knavery, slavery, and credulity the world
has ever seen. And yet some Englishmen believe in it. After all, this
is not so wonderful. There were people who believed in Cagliostro,
Mormon Smith, Joanna Southcote of Exeter, Mrs. Girling, the Tichborne
Claimant, General Boulanger, electric sugar, the South Sea Bubble, and
a thousand other exploded humbugs. No doctrine could be invented too
absurd for human belief. No impostor would fail to attract adherents,
except through lack of audacity. Thousands of people believe in the
winking virgin of Loretto, and tens of thousands, a few months ago,
went to worship the holy coat of Tièves. So people are found who vote
for Home Rule as a means of settling the Irish Question, and rendering
justice to Ireland. _Populus decipi vult._ Doubtless the pleasure is
as great, In being cheated as to cheat.

Enniskillen, July 11th.



No. 47.--THE LOYALISTS AND THE LAWLESS.


Clones, which must be pronounced as a dissyllable, is a city set upon
a hill which cannot be hid. Viewed from the railway the clustered
houses surround the church spire like an enormous beehive. Like other
ancient Irish towns, it possesses the ancient cross, the ancient round
tower, and the ancient abbey, without which none is genuine. It has
not the sylvan, terraced, Cheltenham-cum-Bath appearance of its
neighbour Monaghan, though it somewhat resembles Bath in its general
outline. The ruins want tidying up, and no doubt they will be looked
after when the demand is greater. Ruins are a drug in Ireland, and as
Mark Twain would say--most of them are dreadfully out of repair. The
Irish have no notion of making them attractive, of exploiting them, of
turning an honest penny by their exhibition. The inhabitants of any
given neighbourhood can never give information as to their date, use,
decay, general history, beyond the stereotyped "They were built by the
owld ancient folks long ago." The Clones people are no exception to
the general rule. The town is on the main line from Dublin to
Londonderry, but is little troubled by tourists. The place is quiet
and tidy enough, and like many other Irish country towns seems to live
on the surrounding country, which sends in a strong contingent on
market days. The people are also quiet, civil, and decent, and the
land in the neighbourhood seems fertile and well cultivated. Industry
is evident on every side. Everybody has something to do. A farmer
living just outside the town said he experienced the greatest
difficulty in getting extra hands for harvest time. In his opinion the
people were incomparably better off than in the days of his youth,
some thirty years ago. He said "The labouring classes are far better
housed, better clothed, and better fed, than in old times. They live
far better than the well-to-do farmers of a generation ago. And the
queerest thing about it is the fact that the better off they are, the
more discontented they seem; and during the last few months they are
becoming unbearable. They are giving themselves airs in advance. And
no wonder, when they see the British Parliament entirely occupied with
their affairs, to the exclusion of all English business. They may well
feel important. They boast that they have compelled this attention,
and that they shortly will have their own way in everything. Last
Sunday a drunken fellow was making a row near my house. I told him to
go away, and he said, 'Before long you'll have to go away and every
Blackface in the country. We'll be masters in another month.' He was
alluding to Mr. Gladstone's gagging motion, which the poor folks here
in their ignorance believe to mean that Home Rule will set in about
the beginning of August. They are acting accordingly, and they expect
to have the land which the Protestant farmers now hold--at once. It is
to be divided amongst them by ballot. We feel very anxious about here,
for we feel that we are only staying on sufferance, and we have no
confidence in the support of the present Government. We have expended
our labour and our substance on the land, and if we lose these we lose
all. You may say there is no fear of that, as such a piece of iniquity
would never be tolerated by the English people. But when I see them
tolerating so much, I think we have good reason to feel uneasy and
unsettled. For my part, I have no heart for hard work, when I feel
that somebody else may reap the reward. And with a Catholic Parliament
in Dublin we should very soon have to give up. They can get at the
farming class in so many ways. We Protestants are pretty strong about
here, and all the way to Monaghan, but still we are in a considerable
minority. The mountain folks are Catholics, every one, and that is
where we are outnumbered. We could hold our own if the country were
like the town. We should be bound under Home Rule to suffer a large
increase of taxation, because all grants from Imperial sources are to
cease upon the passing of the bill. Then the country will be more
disturbed than over, because the bill is only valued as a
stepping-stone to an Irish Republic, and the success of the agitators
in obtaining the bill will encourage them and their supporters to
persevere. Instead of the end of the trouble it would only be the
beginning. It is a black look-out for both Ireland and England.

"Most of the Protestant farmers think that land purchase would be
stopped. If that could go steadily on, there would be in time
prosperity and contentment. The people would like this well enough,
and would be quiet enough, if they were let alone. But where is the
money to come from to purchase land? Who would lend money on Irish
securities? Who would trust an Irish Parliament with millions? Then
the better classes, who have money to spend, would leave the country,
and we should be poorer all round.

"The loyal party in an Irish Parliament would always be in a minority,
and for any good they could do, might as well stay away. For no matter
how the Nationalist factions might quarrel among themselves, the
priestly party would always have the pull. The English Protestants
ought to believe that we know the reality of the danger that threatens
us better than they can possibly do. There are nearly three thousand
Protestant ministers in Ireland, and only six or seven are in favour
of Home Rule. Are these men all infatuated? Are they all liars? Are
they in a position to know the facts? Of course they are truthful men,
and they understand if anybody does. Then why not take their advice?
The Meath election petitions ought to have settled Home Rule.
Englishmen cannot have read the reports of these trials. Mr. Gladstone
is fooling the people on both sides the water. He is satisfying
nobody, whether Home Rulers or not. The Nationalists round here say
the bill is an insult, but that they will take it as an instalment.
The end will be that both loyalists and traitors will be more
discontented than ever--a poor result after so much fuss and waste of
precious time."

If my friend had known of it he might have quoted Mr. William Heath,
an Englishman resident for six months in Tyrone. He arrived in Ireland
a bigoted Home Ruler, but six months in the country knocked his
nonsense out of him. He said:--"I have seen enough of Romanism to
convince me that Protestantism would be crushed if Home Rule became
law. I have seen the men who demand it, and I have seen the men who
are determined to oppose Home Rule--the one set idle, dissolute,
poverty-stricken, disloyal, and priest-ridden; the other industrious,
thrifty, comfortable, and loyal to England. I go back to England a
Unionist, and will do all I can to spread the light on the true state
of affairs in this unhappy country. If the people of England and
Scotland saw Nationalists as I have seen them they would not force
Home Rule on the Loyalists of Ulster so as to leave them at the mercy
of such a party." A Primitive Methodist Minister, the Rev. J.
Angliss, who came to Ireland a faithful follower of Mr. Gladstone,
changed his mind when acquainted with the facts, and confessed himself
a convert to Unionism. He said that he had used his influence against
the return of Sir Richard Webster, the late Attorney-General, but
since his visit to Ireland he had come to the conclusion that the Bill
would be a tremendous evil. He was "prepared to go back to the very
platform in the Isle of Wight from which he had supported Home Rule
and to tell the people he was converted. English people who come here
to investigate for themselves must be forced to the conclusion that
the Bill means confiscation and robbery."

A thriving tradesman of Clones said:--"I am surprised that any
Englishmen can be found to pin their faith to Mr. Gladstone, or to any
man with such an extraordinary record of change. Mr. Bright used to
say he could not turn his back on himself, but Mr. Gladstone spins
round and round like a teetotum. I should think that such an instance
has never been known since that good old parson who sung, 'Whatsoever
king may reign, Still I'll be Vicar of Bray, Sir.' Downing Street is
the Grand Old Man's vicarage, and he endeavours to cling to it at all
costs. In 1886 he said, 'I will not be a party to giving Ireland a
legislative body to manage Irish concerns and at the same time have
Irish members in London acting and voting on English and Scottish
concerns.' In seven years and one month he insists on that very thing,
and votes for it, with his crowd of noughts behind him. For I reckon
all his Parliamentary supporters as noughts, to which a value is given
by the figure 1 at their head. Isn't that true? What would the rest be
without him? The bulk of his adherents are precisely the kind of men
nobody ever pays any attention to. There's Morley, a good writer, but
not a man of business. Then there's Harcourt. How can Englishmen stand
such a hollow humbug? He'll say anything, any blessed thing. I prefer
Tim Healy, even, to Harcourt. Tim was roughly brought up, and, as he
gets his living by politics, he is to some extent excusable. The way
that Harcourt attacked the Irish party, so long as Mr. Gladstone
attacked them! The things he said, the strong language he used so long
as that course pleased Mr. Gladstone! Now he turns round and calls
them beauties; and for that matter so they are. It's what I mostly
call them myself. Beauties.

"The arrangement to keep the Irish Nationalists at Westminster is
something for Englishmen to consider. If they can swallow that they
can swallow anything. They can have no pride about them, or else they
are taking no further interest in their own affairs. To give the Irish
members power to vote on all questions coming before the Imperial
Parliament, while conceding to them the privilege of managing their
own affairs without interference, is indeed an eye-opener. The British
Parliament had sunk low enough when it began to heed the clamour of a
set of American-paid blackguards such as the bulk of the Irish members
are, by their own supporters, admitted to be. But how much lower has
England sunk when she accepts the dictation of these men, and says,
'You can manage your own affairs and direct my business too.' These
fellows are to be masters of Ireland _and_ masters of England. For of
course, they can always exert a preponderating influence in British
affairs, holding as they do the balance of voting power. And
Englishmen will submit to this; and will let their members be gagged
and the clauses shoved through the House by hydraulic power.
Englishmen are so fond of boasting of their Freedom and Independence.
Why, they are being treated like fools and slaves. And by such a low
set of fellows. Some of the Nationalist members wipe their noses on
the tails of their coats, and when those are worn out they use their
coat-sleeves. One of them was staying in an hotel where I was, and I
saw him eat eggs. He cut off the top, and worked up the yolk with the
handle of his spoon, mixing pepper and mustard. Then he cut his bacon
into dice, and dipped each square in the egg before stoking himself.
That is a sample of the class now working the British Parliament.
There was an Irish patriot M.P.

"Dillon is comparatively respectable, and if you knew Dillon you
wouldn't think that meant much. Chamberlain showed him up, but why
stop at one quotation? I see the judge is now in Tipperary. That was
the place Dillon, along with O'Brien, got to conspire against the law
with such frightful results. You remember they were sentenced to six
months' imprisonment, but breaking their bail they both ran away,
while the poor men who had got into trouble, without funds to bolt
with, went to hard labour. Dillon once said that if certain people had
cattle on land '_the cattle wouldn't prosper very much_,' and sure
enough a number of cattle near Tipperary have had their tails cut off.
Dillon, I say, is reckoned one of the most respectable. That does not
say much for the others. You are giving these men power. Will they use
that power to wring further concessions? They have often declared that
they will. The English Home Rulers say that they won't, that Irishmen
will be too grateful. They know not what they say. You'll have a
hostile Government at your very doors. What did Parnell say? 'When
England is at war and beaten to her knees, the idea of the Irish
Nationalists may be realised.' And Sexton, this very Sexton who is now
so much to the front, said that the 'one prevailing and unchangeable
passion between Ireland and England is the passion of hate.' Then what
hope is there of friendship in a Home Rule Bill which will infinitely
increase the number of points of dispute? And these men don't mean to
be pleased, either. They don't mean to try to be content. It wouldn't
pay them. They have their living to get. Well, they have shown
themselves clever. They can work England."

A friend has furnished me with a few gems from the orations of the
Dillon aforesaid, whose threat of what would be done to loyalists
under an Irish Parliament has recently attracted so much notice. He
tried to show that this was said in a moment of warmth, in a fit of
exasperation at the "Mitchelstown massacre," which took place a year
afterwards. What had annoyed him when at Limerick he said that any man
who stood aside from the national movement was "a dastard and a
coward, and he and his children after him would be remembered in the
days that are near at hand, when Ireland was a free nation?"--Date
September 20th, 1887. Dillon delights in dates. Again, what had
ruffled the patriot soul, when at Maryborough he spoke of dissentients
in the following terms:--"When the struggle is ended and the people of
this country have obtained that control over their own affairs which
must come very soon, he will be pointed out to his neighbours as a
coward and a traitor?"--January 15th, 1889. It was on November 1st,
1887, at Limerick, that the same friend of England said "let the
people of Ireland get arms in their hands," and promised to "manage
Ulster." It was at Dublin on August 23rd, 1887, that Mr. Dillon
said:--"If there is a man in Ireland base enough to back down, to turn
his back on the fight, I will denounce him from public platforms _by
name_, and I pledge myself to the Government that, let that man be who
he may, his life will not be a happy one, either in Ireland or across
the seas." All this, be it observed, was after the promulgation of the
Union of Hearts. Well might Mr. Gladstone, speaking of Mr. Dillon, who
is now one of his closest allies, say in the House of Commons:--

"The honourable gentleman comes here as the apostle of a creed which
is a creed of force, which is a creed of oppression, which is a creed
of the destruction of all liberty, and of the erection of a despotism
against it, and on its ruins, different from every other despotism
only in this,--that it is more absolutely detached from all law, from
all tradition, and from all restraint." Sir William Harcourt also
referring to Mr. Dillon in the House once said, "The doctrine of the
Land League, expounded by the man who has authority to explain it, is
the doctrine of treason and assassination;" and in addition to this
strong pronouncement Sir William called it "a vile conspiracy." Both
Mr. Gladstone and Sir William Harcourt are now hand-and-glove with the
men of whom Mr. Gladstone said at Leeds:--"They are not ashamed to
point out in the press which they maintain how the ships of her
majesty's navy ought to be blown into the air, and how gentlemen they
are pleased to select ought to be the object of the knife of the
assassin and deprived of life because they do not conform to the new
Irish Gospel." Mr. Chamberlain's exposure of Dillon has brought down
the thunders of the Nationalist press. Did he ever say anything
stronger than this? One Nationalist paper, speaking of the member for
West Birmingham, says:--"There was something devilish in the
exultation of the strident voice and pale malignant face." The Home
Rule penmen are always describing him as "livid with impotent rage,"
"trembling with ill-concealed vindictive passion," "hurrying from the
House to escape the mocking laughter of the amused Senate." The
member for Bordesley is dealt with more lightly. "Mr. Jesse Collings
occupied some minutes with his usual amusing inanity" and so forth.
According to these writers the House rapidly empties when Mr. Balfour
or Mr. Chamberlain would fain hold forth, and fills to suffocation to
hear the noble periods of Dillon, Sexton, and Healy. Mr. Deasy, M.P.
for West Mayo, has recently been before the public rather prominently,
and his opinion of the Irish question may be interesting at the
present juncture. I heard much of this gentleman at Westport, where he
is well known. He is disgusted with the show of loyalty to which his
colleagues have treated Mr. Gladstone, who boasts of their
"satisfactory assurances." He knew that the Nationalist members,
speaking in England, made use of amicable expressions which no Irish
Nationalist audience would tolerate, and speaking of this he said:--"I
have never said on an English platform what I would not say here this
night. I have not been saying that we all want to be part and parcel
of the British Empire--with the lie on the top of my tongue, I am not
going to disgrace my constituency by going over to England and
uttering falsehoods there, and coming back and saying that I was
deceiving England at the time." This speech was made in 1891, only two
years ago. Is not this big print enough? Surely no reasonable person
will any longer believe in the loyal friendship of Nationalist
Ireland. To do so is to violate common sense. Only the fatuous
Gladstonians, Whose eyes will scarcely serve at most To guard their
wearers 'gainst a post, can be expected to take it in.

It is hard to find a decent person in favour of the bill. Its
supporters are eminently unsatisfactory, inasmuch as they furnish no
readable matter, and content themselves with saying that Ireland will
have her freedom, and that prosperity will follow, as the night the
day, in the wake of the bill. But they can never indicate wherein is
their want of freedom, nor can they ever say _how_ the bill will bring
about prosperity. Then, as a rule, the voters for the bill are persons
whose opinion no sane person would act upon in the most unimportant
matter. They never know the population of their own town, nor the
distance to the next. They are mostly sunk fathoms deep in blackest
ignorance, and characterised by most cantankerous perversity, now
rapidly merging, as the bill proceeds, into insolent bumptiousness.
The Lord-Lieutenant has returned to Dublin after having endured such
snubs and slights as Mr. Balfour never encountered. And yet Lord
Houghton waved the olive-branch. Everybody seems to have asked him for
a pier. I have given many instances of useless piers on the Western
Irish Coast. The parish priests who met the Viceroy asked for more,
and again more. Mr. Morley has been asked in the House what is going
to be done about the piers the priests have asked for. Let him appoint
a Commission to inquire into the history of Western Irish piers. The
report will be startling, and also instructive. A Glengariff man
admitted to me that the people of that famous town would make no use
of the pier if they had it. "But," said he, "the building of it would
bring a thousand pounds into the village." The English people are said
to dearly love a lord. The Irish people dearly love a pier.

Clones, July 13th.



No. 48.--A SEARCH FOR "ORANGE ROWDYISM."


Belfast is still of the same mind. Its citizens will not have Home
Rule. They are more than ever determined that the fruits of their
industry shall not be placed at the mercy of men who have consistently
advocated the doctrine of plunder. The law-abiding men of Belfast will
never submit to the rule of law-breakers, many of whom have expiated
their offences in the convict's cell. This debt-paying community will
not consent to be under the thumb of men whose most successful
doctrine has been the repudiation of legal contracts. The famous
merchants and manufacturers of the true capital of Ireland decline to
place their future fortunes in the hands of the unscrupulous and
beggarly adventurers who would form the bulk of a College Green
Parliament. The hard-working artizans of Belfast are firm in their
determination to resist the imposition of a legislature which will
drive capital from the country, diminish the sources of employment,
strangle all beneficial enterprise, and by destroying security
undermine and wreck all Irish industry. They know how the agitation
originates, and by whom it is directed. They have the results of Papal
influence before their eyes. While Belfast as a whole is clean, open,
airy, with splendid streets and magnificent buildings, the Catholic
portions of the city are as much like the pestilent dens of Tuam and
Tipperary as the authorities will permit. The uninstructed stranger
can pick out the Home Rule streets. In Belfast as elsewhere,
sweetness, light, and loyalty are inseparably conjoined, while evil
smells and dinginess are the invariable concomitants of disloyalty and
separatism. Fortunately for the Ulster city, the loyalists number
three to one, which fact accounts for its general cleanliness, the
thriving aspect of its commercial concerns, the decency and order of
its well-kept thoroughfares. And whatever Belfasters want they pay for
themselves. Belfast receives no Government grants for any municipal
purpose, while disloyal Dublin, screaming for equality of treatment,
is largely subsidised from Imperial sources. The Belfast people
entirely support their hospitals. The Dublin hospitals are largely
supported out of the public revenues. The Belfast Botanic Gardens are
kept going by Belfast. The Dublin Botanical Gardens are wholly
supported by Government. Further examples are needless, the facts
being simple as they are undeniable. Dublin gets everything. Belfast
gets absolutely nothing. Disloyalty is at a premium. Motley's the only
wear. The screamers are always getting something to stop their
mouths, a sop, not a gag. Steady, quiet, hard-working folks are of no
account. The Belfast men ask for nothing, and get it. They want no
pecuniary aid, being used to self-help, and liking it best. Stiff in
opinion, they know their own minds, and are accustomed to victory.
They do not in turn threaten and complain and cringe and curse and
fawn. They keep a level course and run on an even keel. They are bad
to beat, and can do with much letting alone. They are pious in their
way, and talk like Cromwell's Puritans. They abhor Popery, judging the
tree by its fruits, a test recommended by their chiefest classic. They
believe that Protestantism is daylight, that Popery is darkness, and
that the sun is rising. They believe with Carlyle that "Popery cannot
come back any more than paganism, which also lingers in some
countries." They also believe with the sage that "there is a perennial
nobleness and even sacredness in Work. Were he never so benighted,
forgetful of his high calling, there is always hope in a man who
actually and earnestly works; in Idleness alone is there perpetual
despair." So they work every day and all the day, save on rare
occasions, and for these holidays they make up by overtime. They think
Home Rule is useless at best, and not only useless, but dangerous.
They declare it would affect their liberties, and this notion is
ineradicable. Touch them in their freedom and the secold Northerners
become aflame. And while the Irish Kelts burn like straw--a flame and
a puff of smoke, and there an end--these Scots settlers are like oaken
logs, slow to take fire, but hard to extinguish. They prosper under
the Union, and therefore, say they, the Union is good. What the poor
Irish need is industry, not Acts of Parliament. The land is rich, the
laws are just, the judges are honest, and industry is encouraged. The
fault is in the people themselves, and in their pastors and masters.
The convergence of Ulster opinion reminds me of an old line, which
fitly illustrates the position of the Irish malcontent party--

_Heu mihi! quam pingui macer est mihi taurus in arvo._ Quaint old
Thomas Fuller (as I remember) has rendered this--

    My starveling bull,
      Ah, woe is me,
    In pasture full
      How lean is he!

I am almost disposed to believe that Horace anticipated the case; or
that, like Mr. John Dillon, he had the gift of remembering occurrences
before they took place.

Much has been spoken and written in England concerning "Orange
rowdyism." I saw the twenty thousand Orangemen who walked through
Belfast to Knocknagoney on Wednesday last. They had nearly five miles
to march on a hot day before they reached the meeting-place, some
hours to stand there listening to speeches, and then the long march
back again. Large numbers went to the Orange Halls, there to conclude
the day. I followed them thither, heard their speeches, noted their
modes of enjoyment, watched them unnoticed and unknown, save in one
instance, until they finally dispersed. Next day I went to Scarva,
forty miles away, to see the great sham fight which annually takes
place there between representatives of King James and King William of
Orange. There were sixty-four special trains, at cheap fares, running
to Scarva, besides the ordinary service, and let it be remembered that
Scarva is on the main line from Dublin to Belfast. Now let me state
precisely what I saw.

The Belfast procession was very like the tail of the Belfast Balfour
demonstration, and with good reason, for both consisted of twenty
thousand Orangemen. But on Wednesday the Orangemen, instead of being
preceded by a hundred thousand citizens of Ulster, had it all to
themselves. The authorities know the character of Orangemen. They know
that scorching weather and long dusty marches are apt to lead to
copious libations, especially in holiday time. They know that
political feeling runs high, and that the present moment is one of
undue excitement. They know that the Papist party have taunted
Orangemen with the supposed progress of the bill, and that the same
people say daily that Orangeism will be at once abolished, and that
this year sees the last Orange procession in Belfast. "This is yer
last kick before we kick ye to hell," said a broken-nosed gentleman at
the corner of Carrick Hill. The authorities knew all these things, and
taking into account the known character of Orangeism, with the special
exasperation of the moment, and remembering their own responsibility
in the matter of order, how many extra policemen were drafted into the
city?

Not one. The men who really know Orangemen knew that no precautions
were needed.

There were brass bands, drum and fife bands, and bands of bagpipes.
The drums were something tremendous. The Belfast drumming is a thing
apart, like a Plymouth Brother. We have nothing like it in England.
The big drums run in couples, borne by stout fellows of infinite
muscle, and tireless energy. The kettle-drums hunt in packs, like
beagles. The big drums are the biggest the climate will grow, and the
drummers lash them into fury with thin canes, having no knob, no
wrapper of felt, no softening or mitigating influence whatever. The
bands played "God save the Queen," "Rule Britannia," "The Boyne
Water," and "The Death of Nelson." The fifes screamed shrilly, the
brass tubes blared, and every drummer drummed as if he had the Pope
himself under his especial care. The vigour and verve of these
marching musicians is very surprising. You cannot tire them out. The
tenth mile ended as fresh as the first, though every performer had
worked like a horse. There is a reason for this. Their hearts are in
the work. To them it means something. The scarves and busbies and
uniforms and desperate paroxysms of drumming are somewhat comical to
strangers, but the people looked earnest, and as if engaged in serious
business. Thousands of well-dressed people walked with the procession,
or looked gravely on. There was no horse-play, and no noise other
than the music. No bare feet, no bare heads, no rags, no dirt, no
disorder. A Papist sprang from his lair in a side street and tried to
snatch the scarf from a young man, who promptly drove him back to his
den. Nothing else happened. At midnight there were for the whole city
twenty police cases against thirty-nine for last year's twelfth. So
much for Orange rowdies in the streets. Let us look upon their private
orgies.

At seven o'clock I went to the Orange Hall, Clifton Street, the
headquarters of the body. The various lodges were dispersed in several
rooms, where they seemed to be taking tea with their sisters and their
cousins and their aunts. A turn outside landed me opposite Saint
Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, and here was a strong guard of
police. The neighbouring streets of Carrick Hill, North Street, and
another, literally swarmed with filthy, bare-footed women, wearing the
hooded shawl of Limerick, of Tuam, of Tipperary. The men had a
dangerous look. Many were drunk, and some had bandaged heads. More
policemen half-way down Carrick Hill, and more still at the end. The
people who pay no taxes cost most to keep in order. I have somewhere
seen a body of returns showing that while the Unionist population
requires only ten or twelve policemen to every ten thousand people,
the Home Rule provinces take from forty-eight to fifty-two to manage
the same number. Returning to the Orange Hall a number of dirty,
bare-footed children walked in procession past the door singing
vociferously. They sung with great spirit to the tune of "Tramp,
tramp, tramp, the boys are marching," and seemed to enjoy it
amazingly. I did not catch the words. They stopped as I came up, but a
young fellow on guard at the hall said, "They grind up the children in
songs of a party nature, and send them here to annoy us. Of course, we
can't notice little children."

This time I dropped in the thick of the entertainment. A mild, mild
man occupied the chair, young men and maidens, old men and children
sitting around. They were inebriating on ginger beer and biscuits, and
their wildest revelry was the singing of "The Old Folks at Home" by a
young lady in white. Mr. E.J. Fullwood, of Birmingham, who was there
as a visitor, made a rattling speech, and received a great ovation. A
quiet gentleman, by special request, made a few remarks on the
political situation. He said:--"We will resist a Home Rule Parliament
at any cost and at every cost. We will not have it. Our faith is
plighted, and we are not the men to go back of our word." His manner
was very subdued, and the audience also kept very quiet. What these
men say they say in their sober senses, and not by reason of
excitement. Another room was livelier. An English gentleman was
holding forth. Then the band played "No surrender," after which a lady
sang "Killarney's hills and vales." In a third room a brother was
calling on the brethren to give three cheers for "our beloved Queen,"
under whose benignant reign blessings had been shed upon the British
Empire, "to which we belong, and to which we still belong, so long as
they will have us." In a fourth room the listening Orangemen sat under
a discourse on the efficacy of prayer, which they were urged to make a
living part of their everyday life. All this was very disappointing,
and when in Royal Avenue the helmeted watchman of the night assured me
that nothing had happened, and that nothing was likely to happen, I
abandoned all hope of Orange rowdyism.

Next day at ten, I went to Scarva, or, as the natives spell it,
Scarvagh. A neat little place full of Black Protestants. The houses
are clean and tidy, and the people have a well-to-do look. There was a
great crowd at the station, and a band of drummers were laying on with
such thundering effect that my very coat sleeves vibrated with the
concussion. A big arch of orange lilies bore the one word WELCOME, and
the roadside was lined with stalls selling provisions and ginger beer.
The church on the hill flew the Orange flag with the Union Jack. The
Presbyterian meeting-house and a Methodist Chapel complete the tale of
worship-houses. The place is without rags, dirt, beggars, or any other
symptoms of Home Rule patriotism. Neither is there a Roman Catholic
Chapel. The signboards bore Scots and English names. Mr. J. Hawthorne
stood at his door, big-boned and burly, with a handsome good-humoured
face. "Ye'll gang up the brae, till ye see an avenue with lots of folk
intil it," said this "Irishman," whose ancestors have lived at Scarva
from time immemorial.

"Yes, we pit up the airch o' lilies to welcome our friends. They come
every year, and a gude mony o' them too, so we pit up that bit thing
oot o' friendship like."

I told him this was to be the last occasion, as Mr. Dillon was
determined to manage Ulster. He laughed good-naturedly.

"Mon alive, d'ye tell me that any mon said sic a fuleish speech? Mon,
its borne in on me that we'll tak a dooms lot of managin'. These chaps
dinna ken ower weel what they're talkin' aboot. An' they maun say
somethin' to please the fellows that keep them in siller. These things
hae gane on in Scarva sin' auld lang syne, an' nothin' e'er stappit
them. They went on when the Party Processions Act was law, an' tho'
the sojers ance cam frae Dublin to stop the demonstration, the
Orangemen mustered in sic force that they never interfered aifter all.
An' in Ulster we'll hauld our own, d'ye mind that? We've tauld them
oor mind, an' that we wunna hae Home Rule. We've tauld them that, an'
we'll stand by it. They've gotten oor ultimatum, an' they can mak a
kirk or a mill o' it."

I gangit up the brae through dense crowds constantly increasing as the
sixty-four specials gradually came in. The way was sylvan and pretty,
big beech trees and elms meeting overhead, the road running along the
side of a steep hill sloping down to a small river, the slope
carefully tilled, and showing good husbandry. Then a beautifully
wooded and extensive demesne, and a mile of avenue, with many
thousands of well-dressed orderly people, the ladies forming about
half the company. Then a large low, brown mansion with a gravelled
quadrangle, around which marched fife and drum bands playing "No
Surrender" and "The Boyne Water." And everywhere incessant drumming
and drinking of ginger beer. Banners were there of every size, shape,
and colour, many with painted devices, more or less well done. The
Lurgan Temperance Lodge exhibited Moses in the wilderness, holding up
the brazen serpent. "Three-fourths of the Orange Lodges are based on
temperance principles," said an Orange authority standing by, "and
what is more, they don't allow smoking. We Orange rowdies are to a
great extent temperance men." I remembered that the three meetings of
the night before were smokeless concerts, and that the fourth
resembled a Methodist love-feast, with an old brother telling his
experiences. Also that Captain Milligen, a leading Plymouth Brother of
Warrenpoint, had told me that he had been present at a Scarva meeting,
and that from beginning to end he never heard a bad word, nor saw
anything objectionable. The sham fight took place on a hill hard by.
Two fine young fellows fenced with old cavalry swords, and King James,
with green coat and plumes, succumbed to King William with orange coat
and plumes, while their respective armies to the number of about
thirty, fifteen on each side, fired in the air. I noticed that while a
few had ancient brass-bound muskets, which looked as if converted from
flint locks, most were armed with Snider rifles of army pattern. The
drums excelled themselves, and the fifers shrieked martial airs. The
people waved their hats and cheered, and that was the whole of it.
Returning to the station, a good young man gave me a tract, wherein I
found myself addressed as a Dear Unsaved Reader, and later as a
Hell-deserving Sinner. Then a Salvation Army man telling a crowd to
Escape for their lives, which I was just doing, and that once he had
loved pleasure, which seemed likely enough. Then a big banner whereon
was depicted David in the act of beheading Goliath with a yeomanry
sword, the Wicklow mountains in the distance. Then an old man on the
bridge declaring to the multitude that he would not be a Papist for
all that earth could give, and that nothing could induce his
fellow-citizens to submit to Home Rule for one second of time. "No,
never, never, never. Rather than accept of Popish rule, we'll take
arms in our hands as our fathers did, and like them we will conquer.
Have we not their example before us? Are we such dastards as to give
up that for which they shed their blood? Shall the sons be unworthy of
the sires? Never shall it be said that the children were unworthy
their inheritance of Freedom. Old as I am, I would take a musket, and
go forth in the name of the Lord. Shame on the Scots and English if
they desert us in our hour of need. Are they not our own kith and kin?
But whether they aid us, or whether they desert us, we will stand
firm, and be true to ourselves. Our cause is good, and we are bound to
win, as we won before. Only stand firm, shoulder to shoulder. Shall
we bow down to Popery? No, by the God that made us, No. Shall we
truckle to Rome, shall we become slaves to Popish knaves, shall we
become subservient to priestcraft and lying and roguery and trickery?
Never shall it be said of us. We claim to be part and parcel of the
glorious British Empire. We have helped to upbuild that Empire, and we
claim our inheritance. We will NOT sell our birthright, we will NOT
connive at the destruction of Britain's greatness, we will NOT have
Home Rule. 'Shall we from the Union sever? By the God that made us,
never!'"

The people listened silently, with grave, earnest faces. They mean
business. During my first visit to Belfast I interviewed the leading
citizens, the clergy, nobility, and gentry. This time I spoke with
artisans and craftsmen, and I found the same feeling, a deep and
immovable resolve to fight till the last extremity. It should be
remembered that all Ulstermen are not Orangemen. But the religious
bodies which have held aloof from Orangeism are just as determined. On
the Irish Church question the Orange body stood alone. The dissenting
sects were against them everywhere. All are united now, and the
attempt to force Home Rule on these resolute men would be attended by
the most awful consequences. They are not of a breed that easily
knocks under. They remind you of the Scottish Covenanters. They are
men with whom you would rather dine than fight. In Belfast, besides
Mr. Fullwood, of Birmingham, previously mentioned, I met with Mr.
Lyons, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, who in his walks abroad in the city had
put down in his pocket-book the names of all streets he judged to be
exclusively Catholic. He was right save in three cases, where the
people were mixed. He also observed that in the poorer quarters the
windows of all Protestant places of worship were protected by wire
netting, but that the Catholic chapels were not so protected. As the
Protestants are three to one, he thought this a curious commentary on
the statements anent Orange rowdyism. Mr. Deacon, of Manchester, and
the Englishmen hereinbefore mentioned were present at the Orange Hall,
and all saw what I have related. Mr. Henry Charlton, J.P., of
Gateshead-on-Tyne, agrees with them that the religious question is the
secret of the whole agitation, and that the sooner a leading statesman
meets the Home Rule movement on this, the true ground, the better for
the country. "We are too squeamish in England. We fear to offend our
Catholic friends, with whom there is no fault to be found. But we want
an influential speaker to say at once that the conflict is reality
between Protestantism and Popery. The best plan would be to state
things as they are, and to meet the enemy directly." So spoke one of
these visitors, a gentleman of great political experience. Is this
opinion not well worth consideration? Is not the time for soft
speaking nearly over?

Mr. Dillon says he will manage Ulster. He will need the British Army
at his back. His Army of Independence will not avail him much. The
position of the Nationalist members towards Ulster is not unlike that
of the Chinaman who wanted an English sailor punished. "There he
stands," said the skipper, "go and punch his head." "No, no," said the
Celestial complainant, "me no likee-pikee that way. But spose three,
five, 'leven big sailors tie him up, hold him fast, then very much me
bamboo he." And that is how the Dillonites would hope to manage
Ulster.

Belfast, July 15th.



No. 49.--THE CONSTITUTION OF THE ORANGE LODGES.


Portadown is another of the clean, well-built towns of Ulster
dependent for its prosperity on the linen trade. The River Bann flows
through it, a fine stone bridge spanning its waters in the principal
street. Everybody seems comfortably off, and dirty slums are nowhere
to be found. Some of the shops are very much larger than the size of
the town would seem to warrant, and one ironmonger's store is far
larger than any similar shop in Birmingham. The Presbyterian
meeting-house, on the right as you enter, and the Protestant Church,
which occupies a conspicuous position at the meeting of two main
thoroughfares, are plain, substantial buildings without any striking
architectural pretensions, and the Orange Hall, which seems an
indispensable adjunct of all "settler" towns, is also modest and
unassuming. The meadows bordering the Bann are spread with miles of
bleaching linen, for which the river is especially famous, its waters
having a very superior reputation for the production of dazzling
whiteness. The town is half-a-mile from the station, which is an
important junction, and the number of cars in waiting show that the
people expect the coming of business men. When first I visited the
town, placards announcing drill meetings at the Orange Hall were
everywhere stuck up, but I saw none during my last march round.
Perhaps the Orangemen have completed their arrangements. The Portadown
people have no intention of accepting Home Rule. On the contrary they
are determined to have none of it. At present they are quiet enough,
because they are confident that the bill can never pass, and they do
not wish to meet trouble halfway. The House of Lords is their best
bower anchor, and for the present they leave the matter with the
peers. So they mind their work, and spend their time in making linen.
When they demonstrate they do it with a will, but they cannot live by
demonstrations, and they are used to paying their way. They see what
happens in so-called "patriotic" districts, how neglect of duty
accompanies eternal agitation, and how the result is poverty and
failure to meet the ordinary obligations of social life. The artisans
of Portadown go to work every day, and the farmers do their level best
with the land, which all about this region is highly cultivated. They
claim to belong to the party of law and order, and they agree with the
great orator who once said:--"The party of law and order includes
every farmer who does not want to rob the landlord of his due and who
does not want to be forced to pay blackmail to agitation--every poor
fellow who desires to be at liberty to earn a day's wages by
whomsoever they are offered him, without being shunned, insulted,
beaten, or too probably murdered." The orator in question bears the
well-known name of William Ewart Gladstone, now intimately associated
with the names of Dillon, O'Brien, Sexton, O'Connor, Tim Healy, and
the rest of the agitators to whom he was referring in the above-quoted
speech, delivered at Hawick just ten years ago.

A Portadown Orangeman complained bitterly of the attitude of the
English Gladstonian party with reference to his order. He said:--"We
have been denounced as rowdies and Orange blackguards until the
English people seem to believe it. They never think of comparing our
record with the record of the party denouncing us, nor do they know
anything of the history and constitution of the order. We have always
been loyal, always friends of England, and that is why the Nationalist
party so strongly disapprove of us. We have never occupied the time of
the English Parliament, nor have we leagued ourselves with the enemies
of England. We have maintained order, and taken care of English
interests in Ireland, besides looking after our own personal affairs.
We have not stood everlastingly hat in hand, crying, like the daughter
of the horse-leech, Give, give. And great is our reward. We are to be
handed over to a pack of Papist traitors and robbers, who for years
have made the country a perfect Hell. Mr. Gladstone would fain give
rich, industrious Ulster into the hands of lazy, improvident
Connaught. Let them try it on. Let them impose their taxes, and let
them try to collect them. They'll find in Ulster something to run up
against. We prefer business to fighting and disturbance, but when once
we make up our minds for a row we shall go in for a big thing. Most of
our people have a deep sense of religion, and they will look upon it
as a religious war. It will be the sword of the Lord and of Gideon. We
never will bow down to Popery. And that is what Home Rule means. We
see the abject condition of the Papists, and we know their slavish
superstitions. The bulk of them are body and soul in the hands of the
priests, and that is the secret of their non-success in life. The
poorest among them are taxed to death by the Church. A fee must be
paid for christening, and unless you pay a stiff figure you won't have
a priest at your funeral. The poor Catholics are buried without any
religious service whatever. They are taken to the churchyard by their
friends and put in a hole, like a dog. Pay, pay, pay, from the cradle
to the grave. And when the priests wish to raise money, they dictate
how much each person is to give. They do not believe in free-will
offerings, otherwise their receipts would be very small indeed. There
you have one explanation of Papist poverty. Are we to put our necks
under the heels of a Parliament worked by Bishop Walsh of Dublin?
Never, as long as we can strike a blow for freedom. We look to England
at present. If England fails us, we shall look to ourselves. Our
fathers died to preserve us from King James and Popery, and we are not
going back to it at this time of day.

"English Home Rulers have actually taken up the cry of Equality, and
down with Protestant ascendency. Such foolish ignorance almost amounts
to crime. Where are the Roman Catholic disabilities? For two
generations the Papists have had absolute equality. Every office is
open to them on the judicial bench. There have been Roman Catholic
Lord Chancellors, and Lord Chief Justices. O'Laughlin, O'Hagan, Naish,
Pallas, Barry, O'Brien, Keogh, and many others are all Roman Catholic
judges. The Papists have an overwhelming preponderance in
Parliamentary representation. They are looked after in the matter of
education, whether elementary, intermediate, or University. The system
of the National Board was introduced to meet the objections of the
Roman Catholics. They objected to the use of the Bible. As you know
the Papists object very strongly to the Bible, and as it came out some
time since, before the Commissioners of Education, of four hundred
Maynooth students only one in forty had a Bible at all. Theological
students without a Bible! But each was compelled to have a copy of
some Jesuit writer.

"Where is the inequality? The Romanists have their own college, this
very Maynooth, entirely under the control of their own bishops, where
they educate the sons of small farmers and peasants and whiskey-shop
keepers by means of funds very largely taken from the Protestant
Church of Ireland. They do not desire equality, they are resolved on
ascendency. We who live in Ireland know and feel the spirit of
intolerance which marks the Romanist body. It is proposed to make of
Ireland a sort of Papal state. We have the declarations of Cardinal
Logue, of Archbishop Walsh, of Archbishop Croke before us. We need to
know no more. The English people pay no attention to them, or have
forgotten them. We bear them in mind, and we shall act accordingly."

My friend's statements anent the raising of money by the Roman
Catholic clergy and the alleged poverty of Ireland reminded me that a
year ago at the opening of the Redemptorist Church of Dundalk the
collections of one day realised twelve hundred pounds, and that in the
same town a priest refused to baptise the child of a poor woman for
less than five shillings. She tendered four shillings and sixpence,
but the man of God sent her home for the odd sixpence. She then went
to the Protestant minister, who baptised the child for nothing. In
Warrenpoint the priest decided what subscriptions each and every
person should pay to the funds of the new Catholic Church, and in
Monaghan three well-to-do Papists had their cheques returned, as being
insufficient. The Romanist Cathedral of that poor little town is
currently reported to have cost half a million, but that it cost at
least a hundred thousand pounds, exclusive of the stone, which was
given by the Protestant landowner, Lord Rossmore, is admitted by the
most reliable authorities. The landlord agreed to give the stone on
condition that the quarry should be filled up and the land levelled as
it was found at first. Stone for the cathedral, a convent, and many
other buildings was taken, but the conditions were not fulfilled, and
a hole with forty feet of water was left, so that the field was
dangerous for cattle. The Catholic party refused to level, and a
lawsuit was the result. My Monaghan letter related the total exclusion
of Protestants, including Lord Rossmore's agent, from the Town
Council. So much for Papal tolerance and gratitude.

The English prejudice against Orangemen is ill-founded. Their
sheet-anchor is an open Bible, and their principles, as expressed by
their constitution, are such as ought to ensure the approval and
support of Englishmen. They read as follows:--"The institution is
composed of Protestants resolved to the utmost of their power to
support and defend the rightful Sovereign, the Protestant religion,
the laws of the country, the Legislative Union, and the succession to
the Throne being Protestant, and united further for the defence of
their own persons and properties and the maintenance of the public
peace. It is exclusively an association of those who are attached to
the religion of the Reformation, and _will not admit into the
brotherhood persons whom an intolerant spirit leads to persecute,
injure, or upbraid any man on account of his religious opinions_. They
associate also in honour of King William the Third, Prince of Orange,
whose name they bear, as supporters of his glorious memory." I have
italicised a few words which clear the association from the charge of
organised intolerance, which is made alike by English and Irish Home
Rulers. The Portadown folks are especially well-versed in the history
of the movement, and in the perils which impelled their forefathers to
band themselves together. According to Froude, it was on the 18th
September, 1795, that a peace was formally signed at Portadown between
the Peep-o'-Day Boys and the Defenders, and the hatchet was apparently
buried. But the incongruous elements were drawn together only for a
more violent recoil. The very same day Mr. Atkinson, a Protestant, one
of the Defender subscribers, was shot at. The following day a party of
Protestants were waylaid and beaten. On the 21st both parties
collected in force, and at a village in Tyrone, from which the event
took the name by which it is known, was fought the battle of the
Diamond. The Protestants won the day, though outnumbered. Eight and
forty Defenders were left dead on the field, and the same evening was
established the first lodge of an institution which was to gather into
it all that was best and noblest in Ireland. The name of Orangemen had
long existed. It had been used by loyal Protestants to designate those
of themselves who adhered most faithfully to the principles of 1688.
Threatened now with a general Roman Catholic insurrection, with the
Executive authority powerless, and determined at all events not to
offer the throats of themselves and their families to the Roman
Catholic knife, they organised themselves into a volunteer police to
prevent murder, and to awe into submission the roving bands of
assassins who were scaring sleep from the bedside of every Protestant
household. They became the abhorrence of traitors whose crimes they
thwarted. The Government looked askance at a body of men who
interfered with the time-honoured policy of overcoming sedition by
tenderness and softness of speech. But the lodges grew and multiplied.
Honest men of all ranks sought admission into them as into spontaneous
Vigilance Committees to supply the place of the constabulary which
ought to have been, but was not, established; and if they did their
work with some roughness and irregularity, the work nevertheless was
done. By the spring of 1797 they could place twenty thousand men at
the disposition of the authorities. In 1798 they filled the ranks of
the Yeomanry, and beyond all other influences the Orange organisation
counteracted and thwarted the progress of the United Irishmen in
Ulster, and when the moment of danger arrived, had broken the right
arm of the insurrection. After this brief sketch of the origin of the
movement it would not be surprising if the constitutions of the body
inculcated intolerance, or even revenge. On the contrary, both these
things are sternly prohibited, and their contraries expressly insisted
on. A pious Brother of Portadown said:--"As Protestants we endeavour
to make the Bible our rule and guide. We endeavour to love our
neighbour as ourselves, we obey the constituted authorities, we
maintain and uphold the law, we fear God and honour the Queen. We are
firmly resolved to maintain our present position to the British Crown,
and we deny the right of Mr. Gladstone to give us away, or to barter
us for power. By the confession of his own followers, all his previous
legislation for Ireland has been a failure, for if it be not so, why
the present measure? We claim no ascendency, and we will submit to
none. It was from our ancestors that ascendency received its
death-blow. Ever since 1681 our leading doctrine has been equality for
all, without distinction of class or creed. By thrift and industry we
have created a state of commercial prosperity which is a credit and an
honour to the empire, while the Nationalist party under precisely
similar conditions have discredited the empire, and by perpetual
agitation, and not sticking to business, have brought every part of
the country under their influence to degradation and poverty; besides
which they have, by their repudiation of contracts, undermined the
morality of their supporters all over Ireland. The Nationalist farmers
prefer to have twenty-five per cent. off their rent by agitation or
intimidation rather than to double or treble the productiveness of
their land by hard work and the application of modern principles of
farming. We have seen from the first that the whole movement was
originated in roguery and sustained by roguery, and we see that it is
carried on by roguery. We not only know the men who keep up the
agitation, but we know the influences at work behind them. All their
talk is of Protestant ascendency. Can they point out a single instance
in which we have the upper hand, or state anything in which we as
Protestants have any advantage whatever? Mr. Gladstone himself cannot
do it. He has said so in as plain terms as he can be got to use. But
the time for talking is over. We have said our say, and we are
prepared to do our do. The Papists round here are very confident that
before long they will have a marked ascendency. They expect no less.
Let them attempt it. We shall be ready to stand our ground. As the
poet says, Now the field is not far off When we must give the world a
proof Of deeds, not words, and such as suit Another manner of
dispute."

A Home Ruler encountered casually showed some temper. He said:--"All
the prosperity of which the Protestants boast is due to the fact that
for centuries they have been the favoured party. England has petted
them, and helped them, and encouraged them in every way. We were a
conquered people, and these settlements of Methodists, and
Presbyterians, and Quakers, and all the tag-rag-and-bob-tail of
dissent, were thrown into the country to hold it for England, and to
act as spies on the real possessors of the land, in the interests of
England. They were, and are, the English garrison. They have no part
with the natives, the original sons of the soil. What right, moral or
legal, have these Colquhouns, these Galbraiths, these Andersons, to
Irish soil? None but the right of the sword, the right of superior
force. Other nations have succumbed to the yoke of England, the
greatest tyrant with which the earth was ever cursed. The Scots and
Welsh lick the boots of the English because it pays them to do so. The
Irish have never given in, and they never will. For seven hundred
years we have rebelled, and as an Irishman I am proud of it. It shows
a spirit that no tyranny can break. What tyranny do we now undergo?
The tyranny of a master we do not like, and in whom we have no
confidence. We never agreed to accept the yoke of England. Now all we
ask is to be allowed to govern Ireland according to Irish ideas, and
after promising that we shall do so a bill is brought in which is a
perfect farce, and which puts us in a far worse condition than ever.
Some say that when once we get an Irish Parliament we can arrange
these small details. And mind this, we shall exact considerably more
because of English distrust and English meanness."

I note in Saturday's issue of the party sheets a quotation from an
Irish-American paper, the _Saint Louis Republic_, which thus opines as
to the policy of the Irish leaders:--

"They would better hold off until they have the bill out of the woods
before they start a scrimmage over small details. Ireland and America
will think any bill which establishes local government a progressive
step of glory enough for one year. If Ireland cannot improve the law
after it gets a Legislature it needs a few American politicians, more
than an extra fund." How does this promise for the peace that is to
follow this great measure of "Justice" to Ireland? With the improved
methods of the Irish-American politicians, who, on the establishment
of an Irish Parliament, would inundate the country, finding in its
chaotic and helpless state a fit subject for plunder, the
meek-and-mild Radicals of the bread-and-butter type, who trollop
through the lobbies after the Grand Old Bell-wether, would be highly
delighted. How did the Items get into Parliament at all? Why did they
desert the mothers' meetings, the Band-of-Hope committees, the five
o'clock tea parties at which they made their reputations? There,
indeed, they found congenial society, there they were listened to with
rapt attention, there they could coruscate like Tritons among minnows.
Among the blind a one-eyed man is King. The English Home Rule members
are a collection of intellectual Cyclops. They can vote, though. They
can walk about, and that suffices their leader. If weak in the head,
they are strong in the legs. Legislation must in future be pronounced
with a hard g, or to avoid confusion of terms, and to preserve a pure
etymology, a new term is needed to describe the law-making of the Home
Rule members. Pedislation might serve at a pinch. I humbly commend the
term to the attention of my countrymen.

Judged by classification of its friends and enemies, Home Rule comes
out badly indeed. The capitalists, manufacturers, merchants,
industrial community, professional men are against it. Six hundred
thousand Irish Churchmen are against it. Five hundred thousand
Methodists and Presbyterians are against it. Sixty thousand members of
smaller denominations are against it. A hundred and seventy-four
thousand Protestants in Leinster, and a hundred and six thousand in
Munster and Connaught are against it. The educated and loyal Roman
Catholic laity are against it. All who care for England and are
willing to join in singing "God save the Queen" are against it. On the
other hand amongst those who are for it, and allied with them, we find
the dynamiters of America, the Fenians and Invincibles, the illiterate
voters of Ireland, the idlers, the disloyal, the mutilators of cattle,
the boycotters, the moonlighters and outragemongers, the murderers,
the village ruffians, the city corner boys, and all the rest of the
blackguards who have flourished and been secure under the Land
League's fostering wing. Are we to stand quietly aside and see the
destinies of decent people entrusted to the leaders of a movement
which owes its success to such supporters? Are Englishmen willing to
be longer fooled by a Government of nincompoops?

Those who have studied the thing on the spot will excuse a little
warmth. And then, I am subject to a kind of Dillonism. I am
exasperated at the recollection of what may possibly take place next
year.

Portadown, July 18th.



No. 50.--THE HOLLOWNESS OF HOME RULE.


This beautiful watering place cannot be compared with the celebrated
holiday resorts of England, Wales, Scotland, or France without doing
it injustice. It is unique in its characteristics, and globe-trotters
aver that earth does not show a spot with an outlook more beautiful.
From the beach the view of the mountain-bordered Lough extends for
many miles seaward. On the opposite slopes to the right are the fresh
green pastures and woods of Omeath, backed by the Carlingford
mountains. On the left are wooded hills a thousand feet high which
lead the eye to the Mourne Mountains at Rostrevor, where is the famous
Cloughmore (Big stone), a granite block nine feet high by fifteen feet
long, poised on the very apex of the mountain in the most remarkable
way. How it got there is indeed a puzzle, as it stands on a bed of
limestone nine hundred and fifty-seven feet above sea level. You can
see it from the square of Warrenpoint, four miles away, and no doubt
good eyes would make it out at a much greater distance. Geologists
talk about the glacial age, and say that the boulder was left there by
an iceberg from the north; but the mountain peasants know better. They
know that Fin McCoul heaved it at Brian Boru, jerking it across the
Lough from the opposite mountain five or six miles away, as an
indication that he didn't care a button for his rival. These modern
mountaineers are almost as easily gulled as their ancestors. They
believe in Home Rule because they will, under an Irish Legislature,
"get all they want." They have votes, and they use them under clerical
advice. "I don't know anything about Home Rule except that we are to
get all we want." Those are the very words of an enlightened and
independent elector resident near Cloughmore. Never was there more
simple faith, or more concise _credenda_. The Newcastle programme is
comparatively unpromising. The wildest Radical, the most advanced
Socialist, never came up to this. The Grand Old Man himself in his
most desperate struggles for place and power, never exactly promised
everything that everybody wished. To get all you want is, indeed, the
_summum bonum_, the Ultima Thule, the _ne plus ultra_ of political
management. After this the old cries of peace, retrenchment, and
reform sound beggarly indeed. Never was there such a succinct and
complete compendium of political belief. Nobody can outbid the man who
offers "all you want." For compactness and simplicity and general
satisfactoriness this phase of Home Rule diplomacy takes the cake.
Failure to fulfil the promise is of course to be charged to the brutal
Saxon. Meanwhile the promise costs nothing, and like sheep's-head
broth is very filling at the price.

Not long ago the point in the Lough was a rabbit warren, whence the
name. Before that the situation was too exposed to the incursions of
rovers to tempt settlers, and Narrow-water Castle, built to defend the
pass, was (and is) between the town and Newry. But times have
changed. Settlers flocked across from Ayr, from Troon, from Ardrossan,
and other Scots ports lying handy. A smart, attractive town has sprung
up, starting with a square a hundred yards across. Big ships which
cannot get up to Newry discharge in the Lough by means of lighters. An
eight-hundred-ton barque from Italy is unloading before my window.
There is a first-rate quay, with moorings for many vessels. The
harbour is connected by rail with all parts of Ireland, and in it
seven hundred to eight hundred ships yearly discharge cargoes. The
grassy beach-promenade is half-a-mile long, and an open tramcar runs
along the shore for three miles. The residents are alive to the
importance of catering for visitors, and the Town Commissioners, a
mixed body, have provided bathing accommodation for both sexes.
Galway, with thrice the population, a fine promenade, good sands, and
a grand bay, has no such arrangements; and Westport has very little
accommodation for tourists. The contrast between the North of Ireland
and the South and West comes out in everything.

The Methodists and Presbyterians are strong in the town, to say
nothing of the two Protestant Churches, one in Warrenpoint and another
in the Clonallon suburb. The Catholic Chapel is counterbalanced by the
Masonic Hall. Wherefore it is not surprising to learn that the bulk of
the townsmen are staunch Unionists. The Nationalist papers have little
sale hereabouts, the _Belfast News Letter_ and the _Irish Times_
having the pull. A business man, who has lived here for forty years,
said:--

"We are fairly matched in numbers but the Conservatives have the
wealth and respectability. The fishermen and labourers are nearly all
Home Rulers, simply because they are Catholics. They are quite
incapable of saying _why_ they are Home Rulers, and some of them even
profess to regard the proposed change with alarm, and say they prefer
that things should remain as they are. But although they speak so
fairly, yet when the time comes to vote, they vote as the priest tells
them. They have no option, with their belief. I don't blame the poor
fellows one bit. I followed the report of the South Meath election
petition very closely, and I know that the same kind of pressure was
exerted here. At Castlejordan Chapel Father O'Connell commanded the
people, in a sermon, to go to a Nationalist meeting, and said he would
be there, and that their parish priest expected them to go. He said
that if any were absent he would expect them to give a good and
sufficient reason for their absence. On another occasion a priest met
a number of men who were going to an opposition meeting, and turned
them back with threats. These priests not only threatened to refuse
extreme unction to persons who voted against the clerical party, but
they also threatened personal violence, and then said, 'Don't hit
back, for I have the holy sacrament on me.' Father John Fay, parish
priest of Summerhill, County Meath, told his people that they must not
look on him as a mere man; if they did they might have some prejudice
against him, for all had their shortcomings. 'The priest is the
ambassador of Jesus Christ, and not like other ambassadors. He carries
his Lord and Master about with him, and when the priest is with the
people Almighty God is with them.' That is what Father Fay reckoned
himself. Almighty God, no less. He alluded to the consecrated wafers
he had in his pocket. The doctrine of transubstantiation is here
invoked to assist in carrying a Home Rule candidate of the right
clerical shade. And all the awful language used from the altar, in the
confessional, all the threats of eternal damnation, and burning in the
fires of hell, all the refusals of mass, and to hear dying
confessions, were directed against another section of the Home Rule
party, and not against a Unionist at all. How does this promise for
the working of an Irish Parliament?

"I note that the English Home Rule papers say nothing good of the
bill. They are always praising the management of the Old Parliamentary
Hand. They beslaver him with fulsome adoration. They cannot point out
anything good in the provisions of the bill, nor in the central idea
of the bill, but they must fill up somehow, and they praise his
artfulness, how he dodged this, and dexterously managed that. They
have nothing but admiration for his jugglery and House-of-Commons
tricks. They bring him down to the level of a practised conjuror or a
thimblerigger. But, with all his wonderful cleverness, he is not
admired or supported by any intelligent body of public men. The
gag-trick ought to settle him. We in Ulster feel sure that a general
election to-morrow would for ever deprive him of power. Of course the
Old Hand knows that, and will not give the country an opportunity of
pronouncing judgment. He and his flock of baa-lambs will put off the
day of reckoning as long as ever they can. Either on the present or
next year's register he is bound to be badly beaten. His course is
clear. He used to have three courses open to him, but now he has only
one. He must try to weather the storm until he has a chance of faking
the voters' lists so as to improve his own chances. It is said that
Mr. Henry Fowler is already preparing such a scheme. Like enough. If
tricks will win, I back the G.O.M. There are more tricks in him than
in a waggon-load of monkeys. The strangest thing I ever saw or ever
heard of is the calmness with which the English people take the
proposition that Ireland shall manage English affairs, while Ireland
is to manage her own without any interference. I should have expected
the British workman to processionise about this. I should have thought
the British middle-classes would have been up in arms at the bare
thought of so monstrous a proposition. And so they would if they
thought it would become law. But, like us, they know there will never
be any Home Rule. Then, they are not so nervous as we in Ireland are,
because they don't know as we do what Home Rule really means.

"No earthly power can assist the Irish peasantry so long as they
remain under the dominion of the priests. Popery is the vampire that
is sucking the life-blood of the country. It is fashionable nowadays
to abstain from denouncing other religious systems, on the plea of
toleration. I agree with perfect toleration, and I am not desirous of
making reference to Romanism. But they force it upon us. The Papist
clergy say that the poverty of the country is due to English rule. We
who live here know that it is due to Romish rule. How is it that all
Protestants are well off, and make no complaint? How is it that their
children never run barefoot? How is it that their families are well
educated, that their dwellings are clean, and that they pay their way?
Home Rule may impoverish those whom the teachings and habits of
Protestantism have enriched, but neither Home Rule nor anything else
will enrich those whom Popery has impoverished. England should turn a
deaf ear to the cry for Home Rule, which means the ruin of her only
friends in Ireland, and unknown damage to herself. To give her enemies
the means wherewithal to damage her is very midsummer madness."

The difference between Pr