"And it was spent, of course," I said, "on the repairs of the chapel, or given to the relatives of the poor people who were drowned."
"Oh, no doubt; very likely it was, sir! But the repairs of the chapel—there isn't a mason in Donegal but will tell you a hundred pounds would not be wanted to make the chapel as good as it ever was. And for the people that were drowned—two of them were old people, as I said to you, sir, that had no kith or kin to be relieved, and for the others they were of well-to-do people that would not wish to take anything from the parish."
"What was done with it, then?"
"Oh! that I can't tell ye. It was spent for the people some way. You must ask Father M'Fadden. He is the fund in Gweedore, just as he is the law in Gweedore. Oh! they came from all parts to see the great ruin of the flood at Gweedore. They did, indeed. And some of them, it was poor sight they had; they couldn't see the big rift in the walls, when Father M'Fadden pointed it out to them. 'Whisht! there it is!' he would say, pointing with his finger. Then they saw it!"
I asked him at what figure he put the income of Father M'Fadden from his parish. Without a moment's hesitation he answered, "It's over a thousand pounds a year, sir, and nearer twelve hundred than eleven." I expressed my surprise at this, the whole rental of Captain Hill, the landlord, falling, as I had understood, below rather than above L700 a year; and Gweedore, as Father Walker had told me, containing fewer houses than Burtonport.
"Fewer houses, mayhap," said the sergeant, "though I'm not sure of that; but if fewer they pay more. There's but one curate—poor man, he does all the parish work, barring the high masses, and a good man he is, but he gets L400 a year, and that is but a third of the income!"
I asked by what special stipends the priest's income at Gweedore could be thus enhanced. "Oh, it's mainly the funeral-money that helps it up," he replied. "You see, sir, since Father M'Fadden came to Gweedore it's come to be the fashion."
"The fashion?" I said.
"Yes, sir, the fashion. This is the way it is, you see. When a poor creature comes to be buried—no matter who it is, a pauper, or a tenant, or any one—the people all go to the chapel; and every man he walks up and lays his offering for the priest on the coffin; and the others, they watch him. And, you see, if a man that thinks a good deal of himself walks up and puts down five shillings, why, another man that thinks less of him, and more of himself, he'll go up and make it a gold ten-shilling piece, or perhaps even a sovereign! I've known Father M'Fadden, sir, to take in as much as L15 in a week in that way."
Sergeant Mahony told us a curious tale, too, of the way in which Father M'Fadden dealt with the people of the neighbouring parish of Falcarragh. He would go down to the parish boundary, if he wanted to address the people of Falcarragh, and stand over the line, with one foot in each parish!
At our request Sergeant Mahony made some remarks in Irish; very wooing and winning they were in sound. Before he left Baron's Court he promised to make out and send me a schedule of the parochial income at Gweedore, under the separate heads of the sources whence it is derived.
Obviously Sergeant Mahony would make a good "devil's advocate" at the canonization of Father M'Fadden. But, all allowances made for this, one thing would seem to be tolerably clear. Of the three personages who take tribute of the people of Gweedore, the law intervenes in their behalf with only one—the landlord. The priest and the "Gombeen man" deal with them on the old principle of "freedom of contract." But it is by no means so clear which of the three exacts and receives the greatest tribute.
We leave Baron's Court in an hour for Dublin, whence I go on alone to-night into Queen's County.
ABBEYLEIX, Sunday, Feb. 12.—Newtown-Stewart, through which I drove yesterday afternoon with Lord Ernest to the train, is a prettily situated town, with the ruins of a castle in which James II. slept for a night on his flight to France. He was cordially received, and by way of showing his satisfaction left the little town in flames when he departed. Here appears to be a case, not of rack-renting, but of absenteeism. The town belongs to a landlord who lives in Paris, and rarely, if ever, comes here. There are no improvements—no sanitation—but the inhabitants make no complaint. "Absenteeism" has its compensations as well as its disadvantages. They pay low rents, and are little troubled; the landlord drawing, perhaps, L400 a year from the whole place. The houses are small, though neat enough in appearance, but the town has a sleepy, inert look. On the railway between Dundalk and Newry, we passed a spot known by the ominous name of "The Hill of the Seven Murders," seven agents having been murdered there since 1840! I suppose this must be set down to the force of habit. At Newry a cavalry officer whom Lord Ernest knew got into our carriage. He was full of hunting, and mentioned a place to which he was going as a "very fine country."
"From the point of view of the picturesque?" I asked.
"Oh no! from the point of view of falling off your horse!"
At Maple's Hotel I found a most hospitable telegram, insisting that I should give up my intention of spending the night at Maryborough, and come on to this lovely place in my host's carriage, which would be sent to meet me at that station. I left Kingsbridge Station in Dublin about 7 P.M. We had rather a long train, and I observed a number of people talking together about one of the carriages before we started; but there was no crowd at all, and nothing to attract special attention. As we moved out of the station, some lads at the end of the platform set up a cheer. We ran on quietly till we reached Kildare. There quite a gathering awaited our arrival on the platform, and as we slowed up, a cry went up from among them of, "Hurrah for Mooney! hurrah for Mooney!" The train stopped just as this cry swelled most loudly, when to my surprise a tall man in the gathering caught one or two of the people by the shoulder, shaking them, and called out loudly, "Hurrah for Gilhooly—you fools, hurrah for Gilhooly!"
This morning I learned that I had the honour, unwittingly, of travelling from Dublin to Maryborough with Mr. Gilhooly, M.P., who appears to have been arrested in London on Friday, brought over yesterday by the day train, and sent on at once from Dublin to his destined dungeon.
An hour's drive through a rolling country, showing white and weird under its blanket of snow in the night, brought us to this large, rambling, delightful house, the residence of Viscount de Vesci. Mr. Gladstone came here from Lord Meath's on his one visit to Ireland some years ago. I find the house full of agreeable and interesting people; and the chill of the drive soon vanished under the genial influences of a light supper, and of pleasant chat in the smoking-room. A good story was told there, by the way, of Archbishop Walsh, who being rather indiscreetly importuned to put his autograph on a fan of a certain Conservative lady well known in London, and not a little addicted to lion-hunting, peremptorily refused, saying, "no, nor any of the likes of her!" And another of Father Nolan, a well-known priest, who died at the age of ninety-seven. When someone remonstrated with him on his association with an avowed unbeliever in Christianity, like Mr. Morley, Father Nolan replied, "Oh, faith will come with time!" The same excellent priest, when he came to call on Mr. Gladstone, here at Abbeyleix, on his arrival from the Earl of Meath's, pathetically and patriarchally adjured him, on his next visit to Ireland, "not to go from one lord's house to another, but to stay with the people." This was better than the Irish journal which, finding itself obliged to chronicle the fact that Mr. Gladstone, with his wife and daughter, was visiting Abbeyleix, gracefully observed that he "had been entrapped into going there!" Some one lamenting the lack of Irish humour and spirit in the present Nationalist movement, as compared with the earlier movements, Lord de Vesci cited as a solitary but refreshing instance of it, the incident which occurred the other day at an eviction in Kerry, of a patriotic priest who chained himself to a door, and put it across the entrance of the cabin to keep out the bailiffs!
It is discouraging to know that this delightful act was bitterly denounced by some worthy and well-meaning Tory in Parliament as an "outrage"!
Despite the snow the air this morning, in this beautiful region, is soft and almost warm, and all the birds are singing again. The park borders upon and opens into the pretty town of Abbeyleix, the broad and picturesque main thoroughfare of which, rather a rural road than a street, is adorned with a fountain and cross, erected in memory of the late Lord de Vesci. There is a good Catholic chapel here (the ancient abbey which gave the place its name stood in the grounds of the present mansion), and a very handsome Protestant Church.
It is a curious fact that two of the men implicated in the Phoenix Park murders had been employed, one, I believe, as a mason, and one as a carver, in the construction of this church. Both the chapel and the church to-day were well attended. I am told there has been little real trouble here, nor has the Plan of Campaign been adopted here. Sometimes Lord de Vesci finds threatening images of coffins and guns scratched in the soil, with portraits indicating his agent or himself; but these mean little or nothing. Lady de Vesci, who loves her Irish home, and has done and is doing a good deal for the people here, tells me, as an amusing illustration of the sort of terrorism formerly established by the local organisations, that when she met two of the labourers on the place together, they used to pretend to be very busy and not to see her. But if she met one alone, he greeted her just as respectfully as ever.
The women here do a great deal of embroidery and lace work, in which she encourages them, but this industry has suffered what can only be a temporary check, from the change of fashion in regard to the wearing of laces. Why the loveliest of all fabrics made for the adornment of women should ever go "out of fashion" would be amazing if anything in the vagaries of that occult and omnipotent influence could be. The Irish ladies ought to circulate Madame de Piavigny's exquisite Lime d'Heures, with its incomparable illustrations by Carot and Meaulle, drawn from the lace work of all ages and countries, as a tonic against despair in respect to this industry. In one of the large rooms of her own house, Lady de Vesci has established and superintends a school of carving for the children of poor tenants. It has proved a school of civilisation also. The lads show a remarkable aptitude for the arts of design, and of their own accord make themselves neat and trim as soon as they begin to understand what it is they are doing. They are always busy at home with their drawings and their blocks, and some of them are already beginning to earn money by their work.
What I have seen at Adare Manor near Limerick, where the late Earl of Dunraven educated all the workmen employed on that mansion as stone-cutters and carvers, suffices to show that the people of this country have not lost the aptitudes of which we see so many proofs in the relics of early Irish art.
Among the guests in the house is a distinguished officer, Colonel Talbot, who saw hard service in Egypt, and in the advance on Khartoum, with camels across the desert—a marvellous piece of military work. I find that he was in America in 1864-65, with Meade and Hunt and Grant before Petersburg, being in fact the only foreign officer then present. He there formed what seem to me very sound and just views as to the ability of the Federal commanders in that closing campaign of the Civil War, and spoke of Hunt particularly with much admiration. Of General Grant he told me a story so illustrative of the simplicity and modesty which were a keynote in his character that I must note it. The day before the evacuation of Petersburg by the Con federates, Grant was urged to order an attack upon the Confederate positions. He refused to do so. The next day the Confederates were seen hastily abandoning them. Grant watched them quietly for a while, and then putting down his glass, said to one of the officers who had urged the assault, "You were right, and I was wrong. I ought to have attacked them."
It is provoking to know that the notes taken by this British officer at that time, being sent through the Post Office by him some years ago to Edinburgh for publication, were lost in the transmission, and have never been recovered. Curiously enough, however, he thinks he has now and then discerned indications in articles upon the American War, published in a newspaper which he named, going to show that his manuscripts are in existence somewhere.
ABBEYLEIX, Monday, Feb. 13.—To-day, in company with Lord de Vesci and a lady, I went over to Kilkenny. We left and arrived in a snowstorm, but the trip was most interesting. Kilkenny, chiefly known in America, I fear, as the city of the cats, is a very picturesque place, thanks to its turrets and towers. It has two cathedrals, a Bound Tower (one of these in Dublin was demolished in the last century!), a Town Hall with a belfry, and looming square and high above the town, the Norman keep of its castle. The snow enlivened rather than diminished the scenic effect of the place. Bits of old architecture here and there give character to the otherwise commonplace streets. Notable on the way to the castle is a bit of mediaeval wall with Gothic windows, and fretted with the scutcheon in stone of the O'Sheas. The connection of a gentleman of this family with the secret as well as the public story of the Parnellite movement may one day make what Horace Greeley used to call "mighty interestin' reading." A dealer in spirits now occupies what is left of the old Parliament House of Kilkenny, in which the rival partisans of Preston and O'Neill outfought the legendary cats, to the final ruin of the cause of the Irish confederates, and the despair of the loyal legate of Pope Innocent.
Of Kilkenny Castle, founded by Strongbow, but two or three towers remain. The great quadrangle was rebuilt in 1825, and much of it again so late as in 1860. There is little, therefore, to recall the image of the great Marquis who, if Rinuccini read him aright, played so resolutely here two centuries and a half ago for the stakes which Edward Bruce won and lost at Dundalk. The castle of the Butlers is now really a great modern house.
The town crowds too closely upon it, but the position is superb. The castle windows look clown upon the Nore, spanned by a narrow ancient bridge, and command, not only all that is worth seeing in the town, but a wide and glorious prospect over a region which is even now beautiful, and in summer must be charming.
Over the ancient bridge the enterprise of a modern brewer last week brought a huge iron vat, so menacingly ponderous that the authorities made him insure the bridge for a day.
Within the castle, near the main entrance, are displayed some tapestries, which are hardly shown to due advantage in that position. They were made here at Kilkenny in a factory established by Piers Butler, Earl of Ormonde, in the sixteenth century, and they ought to be sent to the Irish Exhibition of this year in London, as proving what Irish art and industry well directed could then achieve. They are equally bold in design and rich in colour. The blues are especially fine.
The grand gallery of the castle, the finest in the kingdom, though a trifle narrow for its length, is hung with pictures and family portraits. One of the most interesting of these is a portrait of the black Earl of Ormon'de, a handsome swarthy man, evidently careful of his person, who was led by that political flirt, Queen Elizabeth, to believe that she meant to make him a visit in Ireland, and, perhaps, to honour him with her hand. He went to great expenses thereupon. At a parley with his kinsman, the Irish chieftain O'Moore of Abbeyleix, this black earl was traitorously captured, and an ancient drawing representing this event hangs beneath his portrait.
The muniment room, where, thanks to Lord Ormonde's courtesy, we found everything prepared to receive us, is a large, airy, and fire-proof chamber, with well-arranged shelves and tables for consulting the records. These go back to the early Norrnan days, long before Edward III. made James Butler Earl of Ormonde, upon his marriage with Alianore of England, granddaughter of Edward I. The Butlers came into Ireland with Henry II., and John gave them estates, the charters of some of which, with the seals annexed, are here preserved. There are fine specimens of the great seals also of Henry III., and of his sons Edward I. and Edmund Crouchback, and of the Tudor sovereigns, as well as many private seals of great interest. The wax of the early seals was obviously stronger and better than the wax since used. Of Elizabeth, who came of the Butler blood through her mother, one large seal in yellow wax, attached to a charter dated Oct. 24, 1565, is remarkable for the beauty of the die. The Queen sits on the obverse under a canopy; on the reverse she rides in state on a pacing steed as in her effigy at the Tower of London. The seals of James I. follow the design of this die. Two of these are particularly fine. At the Restoration something disappears of the old stateliness. A seal of Charles II., of 1660, very large and florid in style, shows the monarch sitting very much at his ease, with one knee thrown negligently over the other. Many of the private letters and papers of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, during which Kilkenny, as it had been often before, was a great centre of Irish politics and intrigues, have been bound up in volumes, and the collection has been freely drawn upon by historians. But it would obviously bear and reward a more thorough co-ordination and examination than it has ever yet received.
There is a curious Table Book here preserved of Charles I. while at Oxford in 1644, from which it appears that while the colleges were melting up their plate for the King, his Majesty fared better than might have been expected. His table was served with sixty pounds of mutton a day; and he wound up his dinner regularly with "sparaguss" so long as it lasted, and after it went out with artichokes.
An Expense Book, too, of the great Marquis, after he became the first Duke of Ormonde, Colonel Blood's Duke, kept at Kilkenny in 1668 throws some interesting light on the cost of living and the customs of great houses at that time. The Duke, who was in some respects the greatest personage in the realm, kept up his state here at a weekly cost of about L50, a good deal less—allowing for the fall in the power of the pound sterling—than it would now cost him to live at a fashionable London hotel. He paid L9, 10s. a week for the keep of nineteen horses, 18 shillings board wages for three laundry-maids, and L1, 17s. 4d. for seven dozen of tallow-candles. The wines served at the ducal table were Burgundy, Bordeaux, "Shampane," Canary, "Renish," and Portaport, the last named at a shilling a bottle, while he paid no more than L3, 18s. for six dozen bottles of Bordeaux, and L1, 1s. for a dozen and a half of "Shampane." This of course was not the sparkling beverage which in our times is the only contribution of Champagne to the wine markets of the world, for the Ay Mousseux first appears in history at the beginning of the eighteenth century. It was the red wine of Champagne, which so long contested the palm with the vintages of Burgundy. St. Evremond, who with the Comte d'Olonne and the great gourmets of the seventeenth century thought Champagne the best, as the Faculty of Paris also pronounced it the most wholesome of wines, doubtless introduced his own religion on the subject into England—but the entry in the Duke's Expense Book of 1668 is an interesting proof that the duel of the vintages was even then going as it finally went in favour of Burgundy. While the Duke got his Champagne for 1s. 2d. a bottle, he had to pay twenty shillings a dozen, or 1s. 8d. a bottle, for five dozen of Burgundy. He got his wines from Dublin, which then, as long before, was the most noted wine mart of Britain. The English princes drew their best supplies thence in the time of Richard II.
From the castle we drove through the snow to the Cathedral of St. Canice, a grand and simple Norman edifice of the twelfth century, now the Church of the Protestant bishop. An ancient Round Tower of much earlier date stands beside it like a campanile, nearly a hundred feet in height.
There is a legend that Rinuccini wanted to buy and carry away one of the great windows of this Cathedral, in which mass was celebrated while he was here. The Cathedral contains some interesting monuments of the Butlers, and there are many curiously channelled burial slabs in the floor, like some still preserved in the ruins of Abbeyleix. Lord de Vesci pointed out to me several tombs of families of English origin once powerful here, but now sunk into the farmer class. On one of these I think it was that we saw a remarkably well-preserved effigy of a lady, wearing a plaited cap under a "Waterford cloak"—one of the neatest varieties of the Irish women's cloak—garment so picturesque at once, and so well adapted to the climate, that I am not surprised to learn from Lady de Vesci that it is very fast going out of fashion. This morning before we left Abbeyleix she showed us two such cloaks, types from two different provinces, each in its way admirable. Put on and worn about the room by two singularly stately and graceful ladies, they fell into lines and folds which recalled the most exquisitely beautiful statuettes of Tanagra; and all allowance made for the glamour lent them by these two "daughters of the gods, divinely tall," it was impossible not to see that no woman could possibly look commonplace and insignificant in such a garment. Yet Lady de Vesci says that more than once she has known peasant women, to whom such cloaks had been presented, cut off the characteristic and useful hood, and trim the mangled robe with tawdry lace. So it is all over the world! Women who are models for an artist when they wear some garment indigenous to their country and appropriate to its conditions, prefer to make guys of themselves in grotesque travesties of the latest "styles" from London and Paris and Dublin!
Kilkenny boasts that its streets are paved with marble. It is in fact limestone, but none the worse for that. The snow did not improve them. So without going on a pilgrimage to the Kilkenny College, at which Swift, Congreve, and Farquhar,—an odd concatenation of celebrities—were more or less educated, we made our way to the Imperial Hotel for luncheon. The waiter was a delightful Celt. Upon my asking him whether the house could furnish anything distantly resembling good Irish whisky, he produced a bottle of alleged Scotch whisky, which he put upon the table with a decisive air, exclaiming, "And this, yer honour, is the most excellent whisky in the whole world, or I'm not an Irishman!"
Urged by the cold we tempered it with hot water and tasted it. It shut us up at once to believe the waiter a Calmuck or a Portuguese—anything, in short, but an Irishman. It is an extraordinary fact that, so far, the whisky I have found at Irish hotels has been uniformly quite execrable. I am almost tempted to think that the priests sequestrate all the good whisky in order to discourage the public abuse of it, for the "wine of the country" which they offer one is as uniformly excellent.
Kilkenny ought to be and long was a prosperous town. In 1702, the second Duke of Ormonde made grants (at almost nominal ground-rents) of the ground upon which a large portion of the city of Kilkenny was then standing, or upon which houses have since been built.
These grants have passed from hand to hand, and form the "root of title" of very many owners of house property in Kilkenny. The city is the centre of an extensive agricultural region, famous, according to an ancient ditty, for "fire without smoke, air without fog, water without mud, and land without bog"; but of late it has been undeniably declining. For this there are many reasons. The railways and the parcel-post diminish its importance as a local emporium. The almost complete disappearance of the woollen manufacture, the agricultural depression which has made the banks and wholesale houses "come down" upon the small dealers, and the "agitation," bankrupting or exiling the local gentry, have all conspired to the same result.
From Abbeyleix station we walked back to the house through the park under trees beautifully silvered with the snow. At dinner the party was joined by several residents of the county. One of them gave me his views of the working of the "Plan of Campaign." It is a plan, he maintains, not of defence as against unjust and exacting landlords, but of offence against "landlordism," not really promoted, as it appears to be, in the interest of the tenants to whose cupidity it appeals, but worked from Dublin as a battering engine against law and order in Ireland. Every case in which it is applied needs, he thinks, to be looked into on its own merits. It will then be found precisely why this or that spot has bees selected by the League for attack. At Luggacurren, for instance, the "Plan of Campaign" has been imposed upon the tenants because the property belongs to the Marquis of Lansdowne, who happens to be Governor-General of Canada, so that to attack him is to attack the Government. The rents of the Lansdowne property at Luggacurren, this gentleman offers to prove to me, are not and never have been excessive; and Lord Lansdowne has expended very large sums on improving the property, and for the benefit of the tenants. Two of the largest tenants having got into difficulties through reckless racing and other forms of extravagance found it convenient to invite the league into Luggacurren, and compel other tenants in less embarrassed circumstances to sacrifice their holdings by refusing to pay rents which they knew to be fair, and were abundantly able and eager to pay. At Mitchelstown the "Plan of Campaign" was aimed again, not at the Countess of Kingston, the owner, but at the Disestablished Protestant Church of Ireland, the trustees of which hold a mortgage of a quarter of a million sterling on the estates. On the Clanricarde property in Galway the "Plan of Campaign" has been introduced, my informant says, because Lord Clanricarde happens to be personally unpopular. "Go down to Portumna and Woodford," he said, "and look into the matter for yourself. You will find that the rents on the Clanricarde estates are in the main exceptionally fair, and even low. The present Marquis has almost never visited Ireland, I believe, and he is not much known even in London. People who dislike him for one reason or another readily believe anything that is said to his disadvantage as a landlord. Most people who don't like the cut of Dr. Fell's whiskers, or the way in which he takes soup, are quite disposed to listen to you if you tell them he beats his wife or plays cards too well. The campaigners are shrewd fellows, and they know this, so they start the 'Plan of Campaign' on the Portumna properties, and get a lot of English windbags to come there and hobnob with some of the most mischievous and pestilent parish priests in all Ireland—and then you have the dreadful story of the 'evictions,' and all the rest of it. Lord Clanricarde, or his agent, or both of them, getting out of temper, will sit down and do some hasty or crabbed or injudicious thing, or write a provoking letter, and forthwith it is enough to say 'Clanricarde,' and all common sense goes out of the question, to the great damage, not so much of Lord Clanricarde—for he lives in London, and is a rich man, and, I suppose, don't mind the row—but of landlords all over Ireland, and therefore, in the long-run, of the tenants of Ireland as well."
At Luggacurren, this gentleman thinks, the League is beaten. There are eighty-two tenants there, evicted and living dismally in what is called the Land League village, a set of huts erected near the roadside, while their farms are carried on for the owner by the Land Corporation. As they were most of them unwilling to accept the Plan, and were intimidated into it for the benefit of the League, and of the two chief tenants, Mr. Dunn and Mr. Kilbride, men of substance who had squandered their resources, the majority of the evicted are sore and angry.
"At first each man was allowed L3 a month by the League for himself and his family. But they found that Mr. Kilbride, who has been put into Parliament by Mr. Parnell for Kerry, a county with which he has no more to do than I have with the Isle of Skye, was getting L5 a week, and so they revolted, and threatened to bolt if their subsidy was not raised to L4 a month."
"And this they get now? Out of what funds?"
"Out of the League funds, or, in other words, out of their own and other people's money, foolishly put by the tenants into the keeping of the League to 'protect' it! They give it the kind of 'protection' that Oliver gave the liberties of England: once they get hold of it, they never let go!"
I submitted that at Gweedore Father M'Fadden had paid over to Captain Hill the funds confided to him.
"No doubt; but there the landlord gave in, and the more fool he!"
With another guest I had an interesting conversation about the Ulster tenant-right, which got itself more or less enacted into British law only in 1870, and of which Mr. Froude tells me he sought in vain to discover the definite origin. "The best lawyers in Ireland" could give him no light on this point. He could only find that it did not exist apparently in 1770, but did exist apparently twenty years later. The gentleman with whom I talked to-night tells me that the custom of Ulster was really once general throughout Ireland, and is called the "Ulster" custom, only because it survived there after disappearing elsewhere. There is a tradition too, he says, in Ulster that the recognition of this tenant-right as a binding custom there is really due to Lord Castlereagh. It would be a curious thing, could this be verified, to find Lord Castlereagh, whose name has been execrated in Ireland for fourscore years, recommending and securing a century ago that recognition of the interest of the Irish tenant in his holding, which, in our time, Mr. Gladstone, just now the object of Irish adulation, was, with much difficulty and reluctance, brought to accord in the Compensation for Disturbances clause of his Act of 1870!
Of this clause, too, I am told to-night that the scale of compensation fixed for the awards of the Court in the third section of it was devised (though Mr. Gladstone did not know this) by an Irish member in the interest of the "strong farmers," who wish to root out the small farmers. There is an apparent confirmation of this story in the fact that under this section the small farmers, under L10, may be awarded against the landlord seven years' rent as compensation for disturbance, while the number of years to be accounted for in the award diminishes as the rental increases, a discrimination not unlikely to strengthen the preference of the landlords for the large farm system.
DUBLIN, Tuesday, Feb. 14th.—I left Abbeyleix this morning for Dublin, in company with Mr. and Mrs. Henry Doyle. Mr. Doyle, C.B., a brother of that inimitable master of the pencil, and most delightful of men, Richard Doyle, is the Director of the Irish National Gallery. He was kind enough to come and lunch with me at Maple's, after which we went together to the Gallery. It occupies the upper floors of a stately and handsome building in Merrion Square, in front of which stands a statue of the founder, Mr. William Dargan, who defrayed all the expenses of the Dublin Exhibition in 1853, and declined all the honours offered to him in recognition of his public spirited liberality, save a visit paid to his wife by Queen Victoria. The collection now under Mr. Doyle's charge was begun only in 1864, and the Government makes it an annual grant of no more than L2500, or about one-half the current price, in these days, of a fine Gainsborough or Sir Joshua! "They manage these things better in France," was evidently the impression of a recent French tourist in Ireland, M. Daryl, whose book I picked up the other day in Paris, for after mentioning three or four of the pictures, and gravely affirming that the existence here of a gallery of Irish portraits proves the passionate devotion of Dublin to Home Rule, he dismisses the collection with the verdict that "ce ne vaut pas le diable." Nevertheless it already contains more really good pictures than the Musee either of Lyons or of Marseilles, both of them much larger and wealthier cities than Dublin. Leaving out the Three Maries of Perugino at Marseilles, and at Lyons the Ascension, which was once the glory of San Pietro di Perugia, the Moses of Paul Veronese, and Palma Giovanni's Flagellation, these two galleries put together cannot match Dublin with its Jan Steen, most characteristic without being coarse, its Terburg, a life-size portrait of the painter's favourite model, a young Flemish gentleman, presented to him as a token of regard, its portrait of a Venetian personage by Giorgione, with a companion portrait by Gian Bellini, its beautiful Italian landscape by Jan Both, its flower-wreathed head of a white bull by Paul Potter, its exquisitely finished "Vocalists" by Cornells Begyn, its admirable portrait of a Dutch gentleman by Murillo, and its two excellent Jacob Ruysdaels. A good collection is making, too, of original drawings, and engravings, and a special room is devoted to modern Irish art. I wish the Corcoran Gallery (founded, too, by an Irishman!) were half as worthy of Washington, or the Metropolitan Museum one-tenth part as worthy of New York!
The National Gallery in London has loaned some pictures to Dublin, and Mr. Doyle is getting together, from private owners, a most interesting gallery of portraits of men and women famous in connection with Irish history. The beautiful Gunnings of the last century, the not less beautiful and much more brilliant Sheridans of our own, Burke, Grattan, Tom Moore, Wellington, Curran, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, O'Connell, Peg Woffington, Canning, and Castlereagh, Dean Swift, Laurence Sterne are all here—wits and statesmen, soldiers and belles, rebels and royalists, orators and poets. Two things strike one in this gallery of the "glories of Ireland." The great majority of the faces are of the Anglo-Irish or Scoto-Irish type; and the collection owes its existence to an accomplished public officer, who bears an Irish name, who is a devout Catholic, and who is also an outspoken opponent of the Home Rule contention as now carried on.
The gallery is open on liberal conditions to students. Mr. Doyle tells me that a young sister of Mr. Parnell was at one time an assiduous student here. He used to stop and chat with her about her work as he passed through the gallery. One day he met her coming out. "Mr. Doyle," she said, "are you a Home Ruler?" "Certainly not," he replied good-naturedly. Whereupon, with an air of melancholy resignation, the young lady said, "Then we can never more be friends!" and therewith flitted forth.
A small room contains some admirable bits of the work of Richard Doyle, among other things a weird and grotesque, but charming cartoon of an elfish procession passing through a quaint and picturesque mediaeval city. It is a conte fantastique in colour—a marvel of affluent fancy and masterly skill.
I found here this morning letters calling me over to Paris for a short time, and one also from Mr. Davitt, in London, explaining that my note to him through the National League had never reached him, and that he had gone to London on his woollen business. I have written asking him to meet me to-morrow in London, and I shall cross over to-night.
LONDON, Wednesday, Feb. 15th.—Mr. Davitt spent an hour with me to-day, and we had a most interesting conversation. His mind is just now full of the woollen enterprise he is managing, which promises, he thinks, in spite of our tariff, to open the American markets to the excellent woollen goods of Ireland. He has gone into it with all his usual earnestness and ability. This is not a matter of politics with him, but of patriotism and of business. He tells me he has already secured very large orders from the United States. I hope he is not surprised, as I certainly am not, to find that the Parliamentarian Irish party give but a half-hearted and lukewarm support to such enterprises as this. Perhaps he has forgotten, as I have not, the efforts which a certain member of that party made in 1886 to persuade an Irish gentleman from St. Louis, who had brought over a considerable sum of money for the relief of the distress in North-Western Ireland, into turning it over to the League, on the express ground that the more the people were made to feel the pinch of the existing order of things, the better it would be for the revolutionary movement.
The Irish Woollen Company will, nevertheless, be a success, I believe, and a success of considerably more value to Ireland than the election of Mr. Wilfrid Blunt as M.P. for Deptford would be.
As to this election, Mr. Davitt seems to feel no great confidence. He has spoken in support of Mr. Blunt's candidacy, and is hard at work now to promote it. But he is not sanguine as to the result, as on all questions, save Home Rule for Ireland, Mr. Blunt's views and ideas, he thinks, antagonise the record of Mr. Evelyn and the local feeling at Deptford. I was almost astonished to learn from Mr. Davitt that Mr. Blunt, by the way, had told him at Ballybrack, long before he was locked up, how Mr. Balfour meant to lock up and kill four men, the "pivots" of the Irish movement, to wit, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Harrington, Mr. Dillon, and Mr. Davitt himself. But I was not at all astonished to learn that Mr. Blunt told him all this most seriously, and evidently believed it.
"How did you take it?" I asked.
"Oh, I only laughed," said Mr. Davitt, "and told him it would take more than Mr. Balfour to kill me, at any rate by putting me in prison. As for being locked up, I prefer Cuninghame Graham's way of taking it, that he meant 'to beat the record on oakum!'"
If all the Irish "leaders" were made of the same stuff with Mr. Davitt, the day of a great Democratic revolution, not in Ireland only, but in Great Britain, might be a good deal nearer than anything in the signs of the times now shows it to be. Mr. Parnell and the National League are really nothing but the mask of Mr. Davitt and the Land League. Mr. Forster knew what he was about when he proclaimed the Land League in October 1881, six months or more after he had arrested and locked up Mr. Davitt in Portland prison. This was shown by the foolish No-Rent manifesto which Mr. Parnell and his associates issued from Kilmainham shortly after their incarceration, and without the counsel or consent at that time of Mr. Davitt—a manifesto which the Archbishop of Cashel, despite his early sympathies and connection with the agrarian agitation of 1848, found it expedient promptly to disavow. It would have been still more clearly shown had not Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Forster parted company under the restiveness of Mr. Gladstone's Radical followers, and the pressure of the United States Government in the spring of 1882. But after the withdrawal of Mr. Forster, and the release of Mr. Davitt, the English lawyers and politicians who led Lord Spencer and Sir George Trevelyan into allowing the Land League to be revived under the transparent alias of the National League, gave Mr. Davitt an opportunity, of which he promptly availed himself, to regain the ground lost by the blundering of the men of Kilmainham. From that time forth I have always regarded him as the soul of the Irish agitation, of the war against "landlordism" (which is incidentally, of course, a war against the English influence in Ireland), and of the movement towards Irish independence. Whether the agitation, the war, and the movement have gone entirely in accordance with his views and wishes is quite another matter.
I have too good an opinion of his capacity to believe that they have; and when the secret history of the Chicago Convention comes to be written, I expect to find such confirmation therein of my notions on this subject as I could neither ask nor, if I asked, could expect to get from him.
Meanwhile the manliness and courage of the man must always command for him the respect, not to say the admiration, even of those who most sternly condemn his course and oppose his policy.
Born the child of an evicted tenant, in the times when an eviction meant such misery and suffering as are seldom, if ever, now caused by the process—bred and maimed for life in an English factory—captured when hardly more than a lad in Captain M'Cafferty's daring attempt to seize Chester Castle, and sent for fifteen years by Lord Chief-Justice Cockburn into penal servitude of the most rigorous kind, Michael Davitt might have been expected to be an apostle of hate not against the English Government of Ireland alone, but against England and the English people. The truculent talk of too many of his countrymen presents Ireland to the minds of thoughtful men as a flagrant illustration of the truth so admirably put by Aubrey de Vere that "worse than wasted weal is wasted woe." But woe has not been wasted upon Michael Davitt, in this, that, so far as I know (and I have watched his course now with lively personal interest ever since I made his acquaintance on his first visit to America), he has never made revenge and retaliation upon England either the inspiration or the aim of his revolutionary policy. I have never heard him utter, and never heard of his uttering, in America, such malignant misrepresentations of the conduct of the English people and their sovereign during the great famine of 1847, for example, as those which earned for Mr. Parnell in 1880 the pretty unanimous condemnation of the American press. How far he went with Mr. Parnell on the lines of that speech at New Ross, in which murder was delicately mentioned as "an unnecessary and prejudicial measure of procedure" in certain circumstances, I do not know. But he can hardly have gone further than certain persons calling themselves English Liberals went when the assassins of Napoleon III. escaped to England. And he has a capacity of being just to opponents, which certainly all his associates do not possess. I was much struck to-day by the candour and respect with which he spoke of John Bright, whose name came incidentally into our conversation. He seemed to feel personally annoyed and hurt as an Irishman, that Irishmen should permit themselves to revile and abuse Mr. Bright because he will not go with them on the question of Home Rule, in utter oblivion of the great services rendered by him to the cause of the Irish people "years before many of those whose tongues now wag against him had tongues to wag." I was tempted to remind him that not with Irishmen only is gratitude a lively sense of favours to come.
I find Mr. Davitt quite awake to the great importance of the granite quarries of Donegal. He is bestirring himself in connection with some men of Manchester, in behalf of the quarries at Belmullet in Mayo, which, if I am not mistaken, is his native county. This bent of his mind towards the material improvement of the condition of the Irish people, and the development of the resources of Ireland, is not only a mark of his superiority to the rank and file of the Irish politicians—it goes far to explain the stronger hold which he undoubtedly has on the people in Ireland. "Home Rule," as now urged by the Irish politicians, certainly excites much more attention and emotion in America and England than it seems to do in Ireland. It seems so simple and elementary to John Bull and Brother Jonathan that people should be suffered to manage their own affairs! Yet the North would not suffer the South to do this—and what would become of India if England turned it over in fragments to the native races? The Land Question, on the contrary, touches the "business and bosom" of every Irishman in Ireland, while it is so complicated with historical conditions and incidents as to be troublesome and therefore uninteresting to people not immediately affected by it. If I am right in my impressions the collapse of the National League will hardly weaken the hold of Mr. Davitt on the Irish people in Ireland, and it may even strengthen his hold on the agrarian movement in Wales, England, and Scotland, unless he identifies himself too completely in that collapse with his Parliamentary instruments. On the other hand, the triumph of the National League on its present lines of action would diminish the value for good or evil of any man's hold upon the Irish people, for the obvious reason that by driving out of Ireland, and ruining, the class of "landlords" and capitalists, it would leave the country reduced to a dead level of peasant-holdings, saddled with a system of poor-rates beyond the ability of the peasant-holders to carry, and at the mercy, therefore, of the first bad year. The "war against the landlords," as conducted by the National League, would end where the Irish difficulty began, in a general surrender of the people to "poverty and potatoes."
ENNIS, Saturday, Feb. 18.—I found it unnecessary to go on to Paris, and so returned to Ireland on Thursday night; we had a passage as over a lake. In the train I met a lively Nationalist friend, whose acquaintance I made in America. He is a man of substance, but not overburdened with respect for the public men, either of his own party or of the Unionist side. When I asked him whether he still thought it would be safe to turn over Ireland to a Parliament made up of the Westminster members, of whom he gave me such an amusing but by no means complimentary account, he looked at me with astonishment:—
"Do you suppose for a moment we would send these fellows to a Parliament in Dublin?"
He told me some very entertaining tales of the methods used by certain well-meaning occupants of the Castle in former days to capture Irish popularity, as, for example, one of a Vice-Queen who gave a fancy dress ball for the children of the local Dublin people of importance, and had a beautiful supper of tea and comfits, and cakes served to them, after which she made her appearance, followed by servants bearing huge bowls of steaming hot Irish potatoes, which she pressed upon the horrified and overstuffed infants as "the true food of the country," setting them herself the example of eating one with much apparent gusto, and a pinch of salt!
"Now, fancy that!" he exclaimed; "for the Dublin aristocracy who think the praties only fit for the peasants!"
Of a well-known and popular personage in politics, he told me that he once went with him on a canvassing tour. It was in a county the candidate had never before visited. "When we came to a place, and the people were all out crying and cheering, he would whisper to me, 'Now what is the name of this confounded hole?' And I would whisper back, 'Ballylahnich,' or whatever it was. Then he would draw himself up to the height of a round tower, and begin, 'Men of Ballylahnich, I rejoice to meet you! Often has the great Liberator said to me, with tears in his voice, 'Oh would I might find myself face to face with the noble men of Ballylahnich!"
"A great man he is, a great man!
"Did you ever hear how he courted the heiress? He walked up and down in front of her house, and threatened to fight every man that came to call, till he drove them all away!"
A good story of more recent date, I must also note, of a well-known priest in Dublin, who being asked by Mr. Balfour one day whether the people under his charge took for gospel all the rawhead and bloody-bones tales about himself, replied, "Indeed, I wish they only feared and hated the devil half as much as they do you!"
In a more serious vein my Nationalist friend explained to me that for him "Home Rule" really meant an opportunity of developing the resources of Ireland under "the American system of Protection." About this he was quite in earnest, and recalled to me the impassioned protests made by the then Mayor of Chicago, Mr. Carter Harrison, against the Revenue Reform doctrines which I had thought it right to set forth at the great meeting of the Iroquois Club in that city in 1883. "Of course," he said, "you know that Mr. Harrison was then speaking not only for himself, but for the whole Irish vote of Chicago which was solidly behind him? And not of Chicago only! All our people on your side of the water moved against your party in 1884, and will move against it again, only much more generally, this year, because they know that the real hope of Ireland lies in our shaking ourselves free of the British Free Trade that has been fastened upon us, and is taking our life." I could only say that this was a more respectable, if not a more reasonable, explanation of Mr. Alexander Sullivan's devotion to Mr. Blaine and the Republicans, and of the Irish defection from the Democratic party than had ever been given to me in America, but I firmly refused to spend the night between London and Dublin in debating the question whether Meath could be made as prosperous as Massachusetts by levying forty per cent. duties on Manchester goods imported into Ireland.
He had seen the reception of Mr. Sullivan, M.P., in London. "I believe, on my soul," he said, "the people were angry with him because he didn't come in a Lord Mayor's coach!"
When I told him I meant to visit Luggacurren, he said, a little to my surprise, "That is a bad job for us, and all because of William O'Brien's foolishness! He always thinks everybody takes note of whatever he says, and that ruins any man! He made a silly threat at Luggacurren, that he would go and take Lansdowne by the throat in Canada, and then he was weak enough to suppose that he was bound to carry it out. He couldn't be prevented! And what was the upshot of it? But for the Orangemen in Canada, that were bigger fools than he is, he would have been just ruined completely! It was the Orangemen saved him!"
I left Dublin this morning at 7.40 A.M. The day was fine, and the railway journey most interesting. Before reaching Limerick we passed through so much really beautiful country that I could not help expressing my admiration of it to my only fellow-traveller, a most courteous and lively gentleman, who, but for a very positive brogue, might have been taken for an English guardsman.
"Yes, it is a beautiful country," he said, "or would be if they would let it alone!"
I asked him what he specially objected to in the recent action of Parliament as respects Ireland?
"Object?" he responded; "I object to everything. The only thing that will do Ireland any good will be to shut up that talking-mill at Westminster for a good long while!"
This, I told him, was the remedy proposed by Earl Grey in his recent volume on Ireland.
"Is it indeed? I shall read the book. But what's the use? 'For judgment it is fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason.'"
This he said most cheerily, as if it really didn't matter much; and, bidding me good-bye, disappeared at Limerick, where several friends met him. In his place came a good-natured optimistic squire, who thinks "things are settling down." There is a rise in the price of cattle. "Beasts I gave L8 for three mouths ago," he said, "I have just sold for L12. I call that a healthy state of things." And with this he also left me at Ardsollus, the station nearest the famous old monastery of Quin.
At Ennis I was met by Colonel Turner, to whom I had written, enclosing a note of introduction to him. With him were Mr. Roche, one of the local magistrates, and Mr. Richard Stacpoole, a gentleman of position and estate near Ennis, about whom, through no provocation of his, a great deal has been said and written of late years. Mr. Stacpoole at once insisted that I should let him take me out to stay at his house at Edenvale, which is, so to speak, at the gates of Ennis. Certainly the fame of Irish hospitality is well-founded! Meanwhile my traps were deposited at the County Club, and I went about the town. I walked up to the Court-house with. Mr. Roche, in the hope of hearing a case set down for trial to-day, in which a publican named Harding, at Ennis—an Englishman, by the way—is prosecuted for boycotting. The parties were in Court; and the defendant's counsel, a keen-looking Irish lawyer, Mr. Leamy, once a Nationalist member, was ready for action; but for some technical reason the hearing was postponed. There were few people in Court, and little interest seemed to be felt in the matter. The Court-house is a good building, not unlike the White House at Washington in style. This is natural enough, the White House having been built, I believe, by an Irish architect, who must have had the Duke of Leinster's house of Carton, in Kildare, in his mind when he planned it. Carton was thought a model mansion at the beginning of this century; and Mr. Whetstone, a local architect of repute, built the Ennis Court-house some fifty years ago. It is of white limestone from quarries belonging to Mr. Stacpoole, and cost when built about L12,000. To build it now would cost nearly three times as much. In fact, a recent and smaller Court-house at Carlow has actually cost L36,000 within the last few years.
I was struck by the extraordinary number of public-houses in Ennis. A sergeant of police said to me, "It is so all over the country." Mr. Roche sent for the statistics, from which it appears that Ennis, with a population of 6307, rejoices in no fewer than 100 "publics"; Ennistymon, with a population of 1331, has 25; and Milltown Malbay, with a population of 1400, has 36. At Castle Island the proportion is still more astounding—51 public-houses in a population of 800. In Kiltimagh every second house is a public-house! These houses are perhaps a legacy of the old days of political jobbery. No matter when or why granted, the licence appears to be regarded as a hereditary "right" not lightly to be tampered with; and of course the publicans are persons of consequence in their neighbourhood, no matter how wretched it may be, or how trifling their legitimate business. Three police convictions are required to make the resident magistrates refuse the usual yearly renewal of a licence; and if an application is made against such a renewal, cause must be shown. The "publics" are naturally centres of local agitation, and the publicans are sharp enough to see the advantage to them of this. The sergeant told me of a publican here in Ennis, into whose public came three Nationalists, bent not upon drinking, but upon talking. The publican said nothing for a while, but finally, in a careless way, mentioned "a letter he had just received from Mr. Parnell on a very private matter." Instantly the politicians were eager to see it. The publican hesitated. The politicians immediately called for drinks, which were served, and after this operation had been three times repeated, the publican produced the letter, began with a line or two, and then said, "Ah, no! it can't be done. It would be a betrayal of confidence; and you know you wouldn't have that! But it's a very important letter you have seen!" So they went away tipsy and happy.
Only yesterday no fewer than twenty-three of these publicans from Milltown Malbay appeared at Ennis here to be tried for "boycotting" the police. One of them was acquitted; another, a woman, was discharged. Ten of them signed, in open court, a guarantee not further to conspire, and were thereupon discharged upon their own recognisances, after having been sentenced with their companions to a month's imprisonment with hard labour. The magistrate tells me that when the ten who signed (and who were the most prosperous of the publicans) were preparing to sign, the only representative of the press who was present, a reporter for United Ireland, approached them in a threatening manner, with such an obvious purpose of intimidation, that he was ordered out of the court-room by the police. The eleven who refused to sign the guarantee (and who were the poorest of the publicans, with least to lose) were sent to gaol.
An important feature of this case is the conduct of Father White, the parish priest of Milltown Malbay. In the open court, Colonel Turner tells me, Father White admitted that he was the moving spirit of all this local "boycott." While the court was sitting yesterday all the shops in Milltown Malbay were closed, Father White having publicly ordered the people to make the town "as a city of the dead." After the trial was over, and the eleven who elected to be locked up had left in the train, Father White visited all their houses to encourage the families, which, from his point of view, was no doubt proper enough; but one of the sergeants reports that the Father went by mistake into the house of one of the ten who had signed the guarantee, and immediately reappeared, using rather unclerical language. All this to an American resembles a tempest in a tea-pot. But it is a serious matter to see a priest of the Church assisting laymen to put their fellow-men under a social interdict, which is obviously a parody on one of the gravest steps the Church itself can take to maintain the doctrine and the discipline of the Faith. What Catholics, if honest, must think of this whole business, I saw curiously illustrated by some marginal notes pencilled in a copy of Sir Francis Head's Fortnight in Ireland, at the hotel in Gweedore. The author of the Bubbles from the Brunnen published this book in 1852. At page 152 he tells a story, apparently on hearsay, of "boycotting" long before Boycott. It is to the effect that, in order to check the proselyting of Catholics by a combination of Protestant missionary zeal with Protestant donations of "meal," certain priests and sisters in the south of Ireland personally instructed the people to avoid all intercourse of any sort with any Roman Catholic who "listened to a Protestant clergyman or a Scripture Reader"; and Sir Francis cites an instance—still apparently on hearsay—of a "shoemaker at Westport," who, having seceded from the Church, found that not a single "journeyman dared work for him"; that only "one person would sell him leather"; and, "in short, lost his custom, and rapidly came to a state of starvation."
On the margin of the pages which record these statements, certain indignant Catholics have pencilled comments, the mildest of which is to the effect that Sir Francis was "a most damnable liar." It is certainly most unlikely that Catholics should have arrogated to themselves the Church's function of combating heresy and schism in the fashion described by Sir Francis. But without mooting that question, these expressions are noteworthy as showing how just such proceedings, as are involved in the political "boycottings" of the present day, must be regarded by all honest and clear-headed people who call themselves Catholics; and it is a serious scandal that a parish priest should lay himself open to the imputation of acting in concert with any political body whatever, on any pretext whatever, to encourage such proceedings.
I asked one of the sergeants how the publicans who had signed the guarantee would probably be treated by their townspeople. He replied, there was some talk of their being "boycotted" in their turn by the butchers and bakers. "But it's all nonsense," he said, "they are the snuggest (the most prosperous) publicans in this part of the country, and nobody will want to vex them. They have many friends, and the best friend they have is that they can afford to give credit to the country people. There'll be no trouble with them at all at all!"
Walking about the town, I saw many placards calling for subscriptions in aid of a newsvendor who has been impounded for selling United Ireland. "It'll be a good thing for him," said a cynical citizen, to whom I spoke of it, "a good deal better than he'd be by selling the papers." And, in fact, it is noticeable all over Ireland how small the sales of the papers appear to be. The people about the streets in Ennis, however, seemed to me much more effervescent and hot in tone than the Dublin people are—and this on both sides of the question. One very decent and substantial-looking man, when I told him I was an American, assured me that "if it was not for the soldiers, the people of Ennis would clear the police out of the place." He told me, too, that not long ago the soldiers of an Irish regiment here cheered for Home Rule in the Court-house, "but they were soon sent away for that same." On the other hand, a Protestant man of business, of whom I made some inquiries about the transmission of an important paper to the United States in time to catch to-morrow's steamer from Queenstown, spoke of the Home Rulers almost with ferocity, and thought the "Coercion" Government at Dublin ought to be called the "Concession" Government. He was quite indignant that the Morley and Ripon procession through the streets of Dublin should not have been "forbidden."
There are some considerable shops in Ennis, but the proprietor of one of the best of them says all this agitation has "killed the trade of the place." I am not surprised to learn that the farmers and their families are beginning seriously to demand that the "reduction screw" shall be applied to other things besides rent. "A very decent farmer," he says, "only last week stood up in the shop and said it was 'a shame the shopkeepers were not made to reduce the tenpence muslin goods to sixpence!'"
This shopkeeper finds some dreary consolation for the present state of things in standing at his deserted shop-door and watching the doors of his brethren. He finds them equally deserted. In his own he has had to dismiss a number of his attendants. "When a man finds he is taking in ten shillings a day, and laying out three pounds ten, what can he do but pull up pretty short?" As with the shopkeepers, so it is with the mechanics. "They are losing custom all the time. You see the tenants are expecting to come into the properties, so they spend nothing now on painting or improvements. The money goes into the bank. It don't go to the landlords, or to the shopkeepers, or the mechanics; and then we that have been selling on credit, and long credit too, where are we? Formerly, from one place, Dromoland, Lord Inchiquin's house, we used regularly to make a bill of a hundred pounds at Christmas, for blankets and other things given away. Now the house is shut up and we make nothing!"
It is a short but very pleasant drive from Ennis to Edenvale—and Edenvale itself is not ill-named. The park is a true park, with fine wide spaces and views, and beautiful clumps of trees. A swift river flows beyond the lawn in front of the spacious goodly house—a river alive with wild fowl, and overhung by lofty trees, in which many pairs of herons build. A famous heronry has existed here for many years, and the birds are held now by Mr. and Mrs. Stacpoole as sacred as are the storks in Holland. Where the river widens to a lake, fine terraced gardens and espalier walls, on which nectarines, apricots, and peaches ripen in the sun, stretch along the shore. Deer come down to the further bank to drink, and in every direction the eye is charmed and the mind is soothed by the loveliest imaginable sylvan landscapes.
EDENVALE, Sunday, Feb. 19.—I was awakened at dawn by the clamour of countless wild ducks, to a day of sunshine as brilliant and almost as warm as one sees at this season in the south of France. Mrs. Stacpoole speaks of this place with a kind of passion, and I can quite understand it. Clearly this, again, is not a case of the absentee landlord draining the lifeblood of the land to lavish it upon an alien soil! The demesne is a sylvan sanctuary for the wild creatures of the air and the wood, and they congregate here almost as they did at Walton Hall in the days of that most delightful of naturalists and travellers, whose adventurous gallop on the back of a cayman was the delight of all English-reading children forty years ago, or as they do now at Gosford. Yet the crack of the gun, forbidden in the precincts of Walton Hall, is here by no means unknown—the whole family being noted as dead shots. I asked Mr. Stacpoole this morning whether the park had been invaded by trespassers since the local Nationalists declared war upon him. He said that his only experience of anything like an attack befell not very long ago, when his people came to the house on a Sunday afternoon and told him that a crowd of men from Ennis, with dogs, were coming towards the park with a loudly proclaimed intent to enter it, and go hunting upon the property.
Upon this Mr. Stacpoole left the house with his brother and another person, and walked down to the park entrance. Presently the men of Ennis made their appearance on the highway. A very brief parley followed. The men of Ennis announced their intention of marching across the park, and occupying it.
"I think not," the proprietor responded quietly. "I think you will go back the way you came. For you may be sure of one thing: the first man who crosses that park wall, or enters that gate, is a dead man."
There was no show of weapons, but the revolvers were there, and this the men of Ennis knew. They also knew that it rested with themselves to create the right and the occasion to use the revolvers, and that if the revolvers were used they would be used to some purpose. To their credit, be it said, as men of sense, they suddenly experienced an almost Caledonian respect for the "Sabbath-day," and after expressing their discontent with Mr. Stacpoole's inhospitable reception, turned about and went back whence they had come.
This morning an orderly from Ennis brought out news of the arrest yesterday, at the Clare Road, of Mr. Lloyd, a Labour delegate from London, on his return from an agitation meeting at Kildysart. Harding, the Englishman I saw awaiting his trial yesterday, became bail for Lloyd.
In the afternoon we took a delightful walk to Killone Abbey, a pile of monastic ruins on a lovely site near a very picturesque lake. The ruins have been used as a quarry by all the country, and are now by no means extensive. But the precincts are used as a graveyard, not only by the people of Ennis, but by the farmers and villagers for many miles around. Nothing can be imagined more painful than the appearance of these precincts. The graves are, for the most part, shallow, and closely huddled together. The cemetery, in truth, is a ghastly slum, a "tenement-house" of the dead. The dead of to-day literally elbow the dead of yesterday out of their resting-places, to be in their turn displaced by the dead of to-morrow. Instead of the crosses and the fresh garlands, and the inscriptions full of loving thoughtfulness, which lend a pathetic charm to the German "courts of peace"—instead of the carefully tended hillocks and flower-studded turf which make the churchyard of a typical old English village beautiful,—all here is confusion, squalor, and neglect. Fragments of coffins and bones lie scattered among the sunken and shattered stones. We picked up a skull lying quite apart in a corner of the enclosure. A clean round bullet hole in the very centre of the frontal bone was dumbly and grimly eloquent. Was it the skull of a patriot or of a policeman? of a "White-boy" or of a "landlord"?
One thing only was apparent from the conformation of the grisly relic. It was the skull of a Celt. Probably, therefore, not of a land agent, shot to repress his fiduciary zeal, but perhaps of some peasant selfishly and recklessly bent on paying his rent.
While we wandered amid the ruins we came suddenly upon a woman wearing a long Irish cloak, and accompanied by two well-dressed men. One of the men started upon catching sight of Colonel Turner, who was of our party, grew quite red for a moment, and then very civilly exchanged salutations with him. The party walked quietly away on a lower road leading to Ennis. When they had gone Colonel Turner told us that the man who had spoken to him was a local Nationalist of repute and influence in Ennis. "He would never have ventured to be civil to me in the town," he said. A discussion arose as to the probable object of the party in visiting these ruins. A gentleman who was with us half-laughingly suggested that they might have been putting away dynamite bombs for an attack on Edenvale. Colonel Turner's more practical and probable theory was that they were looking about for a site for the grave of the Fenian veteran, Stephen J. Meany, who died in America not long ago. He was a native, I believe, of Ennis, and his remains are now on their way across the Atlantic for interment in his birth-place. "Would a processional funeral be allowed for him?" I asked. Colonel Turner could see no reason why it should not be.
One exception I noted to the general slovenliness of the graves. A new and handsome monument had just been set up by a man of Ennis, living in Australia, to the memory of his father and mother, buried here twenty years ago. But this touching symbol of a heart untravelled, fondly turning to its home, had been so placed, either by accident or by design, as to block the entrance way to the vault of a family living, or rather owning property, in this neighbourhood. Until within a year or two past this family had occupied a very handsome mansion in a park adjoining the park of Edenvale. But the heir, worn out with local hostilities, and reduced in fortune by the pressure of the times and of the League, has now thrown up the sponge. His ancestral acres have been turned over for cultivation to Mr. Stacpoole. His house, a large fine building, apparently of the time of James II., containing, I am told, some good pictures and old furniture, is shut up, as are the model stables, ample enough for a great stud; and so another centre of local industry and activity is made sterile.
Near the ruins of Killone is a curious ancient shrine of St. John, beside a spring known as the Holy Well. All about the rude little altar in the open air simple votive offerings were displayed, and Mrs. Stacpoole tells me pilgrims come here from Galway and Connemara to climb the hill upon their knees, and drink of the water. Last year for the first time within the memory of man the well went dry. Such was the distress caused in Ennis by this news, that on the eve of St. John certain pious persons came out from the town, drew water from the lake, and poured it into the well!
As we walked away one of the party pointed to a rabbit fleeing swiftly into a hole in one of the graves. "I was on this hill," he said, "one day not very long ago when a funeral train came out from Ennis. As it entered the precincts a rabbit ran rapidly across the grounds. Instantly the procession broke up; the coffin was literally dropped to the ground, and the bearers, the mourners, and the whole company united in a hot and general chase of bunny. Of course, I need not say," he added, "that there was no priest with them. The fixed charge of the priest for a burial is twenty shillings, but there is usually no service at the grave whatever."
This may possibly be a trace of the practices which grew up under the Penal Laws against Catholics. When Rinuccini came to Ireland in the time of the Civil War, he found the observances of the Church all fallen into degradation through these laws. The Holy Sacrifice was celebrated in the cabins, and not unfrequently on tables which had been covered half-an-hour before with the remains of the last night's supper, and would be cleared half-an-hour afterwards for the midday meal, and perhaps for a game of cards.
Several guests joined us at dinner. One gentleman, a magistrate familiar with Gweedore, told me he believed the statements of Sergeant Mahony as to the income of Father M'Fadden to fall within the truth. While he believes that many people in that region live, as he put it, "constantly within a hair's-breadth of famine," he thinks that the great body of the peasants there are in a position, "with industry and thrift, not only to make both ends meet, but to make them overlap."
Mr. Stacpoole told us some of his own experiences nearer home. Not long ago he was informed that the National League had ordered some decent people, who hold the demesne lands of his neighbour, Mr. Macdonald (already alluded to) at a very low rental, to make a demand for a reduction, which would have left Mr. Macdonald without a penny of income. To counter this Mr. Stacpoole offered to take the lands over for pasture at the existing rental, whereupon the tenants promptly made up their minds to keep their holdings in defiance of the League.
Last year a man, whom Mr. Stacpoole had regarded as a "good" tenant, came to him, bringing the money to pay his rent. "I have the rint, sorr," the man said, "but it is God's truth I dare not pay it to ye!" Other tenants were waiting outside. "Are you such a coward that you don't dare be honest?" said Mr. Stacpoole. The man turned rather red, went and looked out of all the windows, one after another, lifted up the heavy cloth of the large table in the room, and peeped under it nervously, and finally walked up to Mr. Stacpoole and paid the money. The receipt being handed to him, he put it back with his hand, eyed it askance as if it were a bomb, and finally took it, and carefully put it into the lining of his hat, after which, opening the door with a great noise, he exclaimed as he went out, "I'm very, very sorry, master, that I can't meet you about it!" This man is now as loud in protestation of his "inability" to pay his rent as any of the "Campaigners." Mr. Stacpoole thinks one great danger of the actual situation is that men who were originally "coerced" by intimidation into dishonestly refusing to pay just rents, which they were abundantly able to pay, are beginning now to think that they will be, and ought to be, relieved by the law of the land from any obligation to pay these rents.
It seems to be his impression that things look better, however, of late for law and order. On Monday of last week at Ennis an example was made of a local official, which, he thinks, will do good. This was a Poor-Law Guardian named Grogan. He was bound over on Monday last to keep the peace for twelve months towards one George Pilkington. Pilkington, it appears, in contempt of the League, took and occupied, in 1886, a certain farm in Tarmon West. For this he was "boycotted" from that time forth. In December last he was summoned, with others, before the Board of Guardians at Kilrush, to fix the rents of certain labourers' cottages. While he sat in the room awaiting the action of the Board, Grogan, one of its members, rose up, and, looking at Pilkington, said in a loud voice, "There's an obnoxious person here present that should not be here, a land-grabber named Pilkington." There was a stir in the room, and Pilkington, standing up, said, "I am here because I have had notice from the Guardians. If I am asked to leave the place, I shall not come back." The Chairman of the Board upon this declared that "while the ordinary business of the Board was transacting, Mr. Pilkington would be there only by the courtesy of the Board;" and treating the allusions of Grogan to Pilkington as a part of the business of the Board, he said, "A motion is before the Board, does any one second it?" Another guardian, Collins, got up, and said "I do." Thereupon the Chairman put it to the vote whether Pilkington should be requested to leave. The ayes had it, and the Chairman of the Board thereupon invited Pilkington to leave the meeting which the Board had invited him to attend!
Grogan has now been prosecuted for the offence of "wrongfully, and without legal authority, using violence and intimidation to and towards George Pilkington of Tarmon West, with a view to cause the said Pilkington to abstain from doing an act which he had a legal right to do, namely, to hold, occupy, and work on a certain farm of land at Tarmon West."
Plainly this case is one of a grapple between the two Governments which have been and are now contending for the control of Ireland: the Government of the Queen of Ireland, which authorises Pilkington to take and farm a piece of land, and the Government of the National League, which forbids him to do this. Is it possible to doubt which of the two is the government of Liberty, as well as the government of Law?
It illustrates the demoralising influence upon society in Ireland of the protracted toleration of such a contest as has been waging between the authority of the Law and the authority of the League, that, when this case came up for consideration ten days ago, an official here actually thought it ought to be put off. Colonel Turner insisted it should be dealt with at once; and so Mr. Grogan was proceeded against, with the result I have stated.
The trees on this demesne are the finest I have so far seen in Ireland, beautiful and vigorous pencil-cedars, ilexes, Scotch firs, and Irish yews. There is one noble cedar of Lebanon here worth a special trip to see. In conversation about the country to-night, Mr. Stacpoole mentioned that tobacco was grown here, strong and of good quality, and he was much interested, as I remember were also the charming chatelaine of Newtown Anner and Mr. Le Poer of Gurteen four or five years ago, to learn how immensely successful has been the tobacco-culture introduced into Pennsylvania only a quarter of a century ago, as a consequence of the Civil War. The climatic conditions here are certainly not more unfavourable to such an experiment in agriculture than they were at first supposed to be in the Pennsylvanian counties of York and Lancaster. Of course the Imperial excise would deal with it as harshly as it is now dealing with a similar experiment in England. But the Irish tobacco-growers would not now have to fear such hostile legislation as ruined the Irish linen industries in the last century. The "Moonlighters" of 1888 lineally represent, if they do not simply reproduce, the "Whiteboys" of 1760; and the domination of the "uncrowned king" constantly reminds one of Froude's vivid and vigorous sketch of the sway wielded by "Captain Dwyer" and "Joanna Maskell" from Mallow to Westmeath, between the years 1762 and 1765. On that side of the quarrel there seems to be nothing very new under the sun in Ireland. But the spirit and the forms of the Imperial authority over the country have unquestionably undergone a great change for the better, not only since the last century, but since the accession of Queen Victoria.
Upon the question of land improvements, Mr. Stacpoole told me, to-night, that he borrowed L1000 of the Government for drainage improvements on his property here, the object of which was to better the holdings of tenants. Of this sum he had to leave L400 undrawn, as he could not get the men to work at the improvements, even for their own good. They all wanted to be gangers or chiefs. It reminded me of Berlioz's reply to the bourgeois who wanted his son to be made a "great composer." "Let him go into the army," said Berlioz, "and join the only regiment he is fit for." "What regiment is that?" "The regiment of colonels."
In the course of the evening a report was brought out from Ennis to Colonel Turner. He read it, and then handed it to me, with an accompanying document. The latter, at my request, he allowed me to keep, and I must reproduce it here. It tells its own tale.
A peasant came to the authorities and complained that he was "tormented" to make a subscription to a "testimonial" for one Austen Mackay of Kilshanny, in the County Clare, producing at the same time a copy of the circular which had been sent about to the people. It is a cheaply-printed leaflet, not unlike a penny ballad in appearance, and thus it runs:—
"Testimonial to Mr. AUSTEN MACKAY, Kilshanny, County Clare.
"We, the Nationalists and friends of Mr. Austen Mackay, at a meeting held in March 1887, agreed and resolved on presenting the long-tried and trusted friend—the persecuted widow's son—with a testimonial worthy of the fearless hero who on several occasions had to hide his head in the caves and caverns of the mountains, with a price set on his body. First, for firing at and wounding a spy in his neighbourhood, as was alleged in '65, for which he had to stand his trial at Clare Assizes. Again, for firing at and wounding his mother's agent and under-strapper while in the act of evicting his widowed mother in the broad daylight of Heaven, thus saved his mother's home from being wrecked by the robber agent, the shock of which saved other hearths from being quenched; but the noble widow's son was chased to the mountains, where he had to seek shelter from a thousand bloodhounds.
"The same true widow's son nobly guarded his mother's homestead and that of others from the foul hands of the exterminators. This is the same widow's son who bravely reinstated the evicted, and helped to rebuild the levelled houses of many; for this he was persecuted and convicted at Cork Assizes, and flung into prison to sleep on the cold plank beds of Cork and Limerick gaols. Many other manly and noble services did he which cannot be made known to the public. At that meeting you were appointed collector with other Nationalists of Clare at home and abroad. This is the widow's son, Austen Mackay, whom we, the Committee to this testimonial, hope and trust every Irishman in Clare will cheerfully subscribe, that he may be enabled in his present state of health to get into some business under the protection of the Stars and Stripes, where he is a citizen of."
"Subscriptions to be sent to Henry Higgins, Ennis.
"Treasurers: Daniel O'Loghlen, Lisdoonvarna; James Kennedy, Ennistymon."
Then follow, with the name of the Society, the names of the committee.
In behalf of the Stars and Stripes, "where he is a citizen of," I thanked Colonel Turner for this interesting contribution to the possible future history of my country, there being nothing to prevent the election of any heir of this illustrious "widow's son," born to him in America, to the Presidency of the Republic. The use of this phrase, the "widow's son," by the way, gives a semi-masonic character to this curious circular.
One officer says in his report upon this Committee: "All the persons named are well known to their respective local police, and, except one, have little or no following or influence in their respective localities. They are all members of the National League." The same officer subjoins this instructive observation: "I beg to add that I find no matter how popular a man may be in Clare, start a testimonial for him, and from that time forth his influence is gone."
Can it be possible that the "testimonial," which, as the papers tell me, is getting up all over Ireland for Mr. Wilfrid Blunt, can have been "started" with a sinister eye to this effect, by local patriots jealous of any alien intrusion into their bailiwick? I am almost tempted to suspect this, remembering that a Nationalist with whom I talked about Mr. Blunt in Dublin, after lavishing much praise upon his disinterested devotion to the cause of Ireland, moodily remarked, "For all that, I don't believe he will do us any good, for he comes of the blood of Mountjoy, I am told!"
EDENVALE, Monday, Feb. 20.—This morning Colonel Turner called my attention to the report in the papers of a colloquy between the Chief Secretary for Ireland and Mr. J. Redmond, M.P., in the House, on the subject of last week's trials at Ennis. In speaking of the boycotting at Milltown Malbay of a certain Mrs. Connell, Mr. Balfour described the case as one of barbarous inhumanity shown to a helpless old woman. Mr. Redmond denying this, asserted that he had seen the woman Connell a fortnight ago in Court, and that so far from her being a decrepit old woman, she was only fifty years of age, hale and hearty, but disreputable and given to drink; he also said she was drunk at the trial, so drunk that the Crown prosecutor, Mr. Otter, was obliged to order her down from the table.
"What are the facts?" I asked. "Mr. Balfour speaks from report and belief, Mr. Redmond asserts that he speaks from actual observation."
"The facts," said Colonel Turner quietly, "are that Mr. Balfour's statement is accurate, and that Mr. Redmond, speaking from actual observation, asserts the thing that is not."
"Where is this old woman?" I asked. "Would it be possible for me to see her?"
"Certainly; she is at no great distance, and I will with pleasure send a car with an officer to bring her here this afternoon!"
"Meanwhile, how came the old woman into Court? and what is her connection with the cases of boycotting last week tried?"
"Those cases arose out of her case," said Colonel Turner; "the publicans last week arraigned, 'boycotted' a fortnight ago the police and soldiers who were called in to keep the peace during the trial of the dealers who 'boycotted' her.
"Her case was first publicly made known by a letter which appeared in the Dublin Express on the 28th of January. That day a line was sent to me from Dublin ordering an inquiry into it. I endorsed upon the order, 'Please report. I imagine this is greatly exaggerated.' This was on January 30th. The next day, January 31st, I received a full report from Milltown Malbay. Here it is,"—taking a document from a portfolio and handing it to me—"and you may make what use you like of it."
It is worth giving at length:—
"James Connell, ex-soldier, and his mother, Hannah Connell, of Fintamore, in this sub-district are boycotted, and have been since July last. James Connell held a farm and a garden from one Michael Carroll, a farmer, who was evicted from his holding for non-payment of three years' rent, July 14, 1886. After the period of redemption, six months, had passed, the agent made Connell a tenant for his house and garden, giving him in addition about half an acre (Irish) of the evicted farm which adjoins his house. In consequence Connell was regarded by the National League here as a 'land-grabber.' About the same time the agent also appointed him a rent-warner.
"On the 22d June last Connell received a letter through the Post-Office threatening him if he did not give up his place as a rent-warner. I have no doubt the letter was written by (here a resident was named). On the 10th, and again on the 17th, of July, Connell was brought before indoor meetings of the National League here for having taken the half acre of land, when he through fear declared he had not done it.
"At the first meeting the Rev. J.S. White, P.P., suggested that in order to test whether Connell had taken the land, Carroll, the evicted tenant, should go and cut the meadowing on it, which he did, when Connell interfered and prevented him. At the next meeting Carroll brought this under notice, and Connell was thereupon boycotted. Immediately afterwards the men who had been engaged fishing for Connell refused to fish, saying that if they fished for him the sale of the fish would be boycotted, which was true.
"Since then Connell has been deprived of his means of livelihood, and no one dare employ him. He, however, through his mother, was able to procure the necessaries of life until about the 22d of November last, when his mother was refused goods by the tradesmen with whom she had dealt, owing to a resolution passed at a meeting of the 'suppressed' branch of the League here, to the effect that any person supplying her would be boycotted. December 23d she came into Milltown Malbay for goods, and was refused. The police accompanied her, but no person would supply her. On the 2d of January she came again, when one trader supplied her with some bread, but refused groceries. The police accompanied her to several traders, who all refused. Ultimately she was supplied by the post-mistress. On the 7th of January she came, and the police accompanied her to several traders, all of whom refused her even bread. Believing she wanted it badly, we, the police, supplied her with some. On these three occasions she was followed by large numbers of young people about the street, evidently to frighten and intimidate her, and their demeanour was so hostile that we were obliged to disperse them and protect her home. On a subsequent occasion she stated that stones were thrown at her. Since then she has not come here for goods, and, in my opinion, it would not be safe for her to do so without protection. She and her son are now getting goods from Mrs. Moroney's shop at Spanish Point, which she opened a few years ago to supply boycotted persons.
"The Connells find it hard to get turf, and are obliged to bring it a distance in bags so that it may not be observed. As for milk, the person who did supply them privately for a considerable time declined some weeks ago to do so any longer. They are now really destitute, as any little money Connell had saved is spent, and, although willing and anxious to work, no person will employ him. Summonses have been issued against the tradesmen for refusing to supply Hannah Connell on the occasions already referred to. I have only to add that I have from time to time reported fully the foregoing facts with regard to the persecution of this poor man and his aged mother; and I regret to say that boycotting and intimidation never prevailed to a greater extent here than at present. Connell's safety is being looked after by patrols from this and Spanish Point station."
Three things seem to me specially noteworthy in this tale of cowardly and malignant tyranny. The victims of this vulgar Vehmgericht are neither landlords nor agents. They are a poor Irish labourer and his aged mother. The "crime" for which these poor creatures are thus persecuted is simply that one of them—the man—chose to obey the law of the land in which he lives, and to work for his livelihood and that of his mother. And the priest of the parish, instead of sheltering and protecting these hunted creatures, is presented as joining in the hunt, and actually devising a trap to catch the poor frightened man in a falsehood.
Upon this third point, a correspondence which passed between Father White and Colonel Turner, after the conviction of the boycotters of Mrs. Connell, and copies of which the latter has handed to me at my request, throws an instructive light.
When the report of January 31st reached him, Colonel Turner ordered the tradespeople implicated in the persecution to be proceeded against. Six of them were put on their trials on the 3d and 4th of February. All the shops in Milltown Malbay were closed, by order of the local League, during the trial, and the police and the soldiers called in were refused all supplies.
On the 4th, one of the persons arraigned was bound over for intimidation, and the five others were sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labour.
A week later, February 11th, Colonel Turner addressed the following letter to Father White, twenty-six publicans of Milltown Malbay having meanwhile been prosecuted for boycotting the police and the soldiers:—
"DEAR SIR,—I write to you as a clergyman who possesses great influence with the people in your part of the country, to put it to you whether it would not be better for the interests of all concerned if the contemptible system of petty persecution, called boycotting, were put an end to in and about Milltown Malbay, which would enable me to drop prosecutions. If it is not put a stop to, I am determined to stamp it out, and restore to all the ordinary rights of citizenship.
"But I should very greatly prefer that the people should stop it themselves, and save me from taking strong measures, which I should deplore. The story of a number of men combining to persecute a poor old woman is one of the most pitiful I ever heard.—I am, sir, yours truly,
As the cost of the extra policemen sent to Milltown Malbay at this time falls upon the people there, this letter in effect offered the priest an opportunity to relieve his parish of a burden as well as to redeem its character.
The next day Father White replied:—
"DEAR SIR,—No one living is more anxious for peace in this district than I. During very exciting times I have done my best to keep it free from outrage, and with success, except in one mysterious instance. There is but one obstacle to it now. If ever you can advise Mrs. Moroney to restore the evicted tenant, whose rent you admitted was as high as Colonel O'Callaghan's, I can guarantee on the part of the people the return of good feelings; or, failing that, if she and her employees are content with the goods which she has of all kinds in her own shop, there need be no further trouble.
"I have a promise from the people that the police will be supplied for the future. This being so, if you will kindly have prosecutions withdrawn, or even postponed for say a month, it will very much strengthen me in the effort I am making to calm down the feeling. Regarding Mrs. Connell, the head-constable was told by me that she was to get goods, and she did get bread, till the police went round with her. This upset my arrangements, as I had induced the people to give her what she might really want. In fact she was a convenience to Mrs. Moroney for obvious reasons, and her son is now in her employment in place of Kelly, who has been dismissed since his very inconvenient evidence. It is, and was, well known they were not starving as they said, they having a full supply of their accustomed food.—Thanking you for your great courtesy, I am, dear sir, truly yours,
On the 14th Colonel Turner replied:—
"My dear Sir,—We cannot adjourn the cases. But if those who are prosecuted are prepared to make reparation by promising future good conduct in Court, I can then see my way to interfere, and to prevent them from suffering imprisonment.
"These cases have nothing whatever to do with Mrs. Moroney. They are simply between the defendants and the police and other officials, who were at Milltown Malbay that day. I am greatly pleased at your evident wish to co-operate with me in calming down the ill-feeling which unfortunately exists, and I am satisfied that success will attend our efforts."
On Thursday and Friday last, as I have recorded, the cases came on of the twenty-six publicans charged. Between February 4th, when the offences were committed, and the 17th of February, one of these publicans had died, one had fled to America, and there proved to be an informality in the summons issued against a third. Twenty-three only were put upon their trial. As I have stated, one was acquitted and the others were found guilty, and sentenced to be imprisoned. In accordance with his promise made to Father White, Colonel Turner offered to relieve them all of the imprisonment if they would sign an undertaking in Court not to repeat the offence. Ten, the most prosperous and substantial of the accused, accepted this offer and signed, as has been already stated. One, a woman, was discharged without being required to sign the guarantee, the other eleven refused to sign, and were sent to prison. Father White, whose own evidence given at the trial, as his letter to Colonel Turner would lead one to expect, had gone far to prove the existence of the conspiracy, encouraged the eleven in their attitude.