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

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

In Oughterard I met an American tourist who said, "I should think Home Rule would about settle Old England. The Irish people show a most unfriendly spirit, and I have come to the conclusion that there is no such word as gratitude in the Irish language. There is some change in this district, and the people seem willing to work, but wherever the agitators have been everything is going to the bad. Nothing but distrust and suspicion. No Irishman would invest in Irish securities. They prefer South Americans! That startled me. I am told that Tim Healy is worth L30,000, all got out of Home Rule, and my informant says that Tim would not risk a penny in his own country. Tim is a blackguardly kind of politician, but he is mighty cute, and shirks Irish securities. Where are the business managers of the Irish nation coming from? That's what I want to know."

I told him of the Galway Harbour Commissioners, who, having been forgiven a Government debt of nearly L10,000, conceived the idea of building a new, grand, splindid, iligant, deep dock, which should increase the trade of the place by allowing ships of great draught to unload in the harbour. Let me repeat the story for the readers of the Gazette.

The Harbour Board consulted an eminent engineer, who said the right thing would cost L80,000. They sent him to the right about, and called in another man. "Now," said they, "we can only raise L30,000 by loans from the Board of Works. Will not that suffice? We give you 5 per cent. on the outlay, &c., &c., &c." The new man said L30,000 was ample, took the job, and the work was commenced. Ultimately they borrowed L40,000, which they spent, along with the L10,000 in hand. Then it was found that big ships could not get to the dock at all! No use in a deep dock unless you can swim up to it. To get the big vessels in you required to hoist them out of the water, carry them a few hundred yards, and drop them into the dock. As the Galway men still groan beneath the cruel English yoke, this operation was found impracticable. During some blasting operations a big rock was tumbled out of the dock in process of manufacture, dropping in front of another dock in full working order. The stone was just in the way of the vessels, but as there was no Parliament in College Green, the Harbour Board had not the heart to fish it up. So it crashed through the bottom of a Henderson collier, the owner of which sued the Harbour Board for damages, and was awarded a thousand pounds. The money never was paid, and never will be. The fortunate winner of the suit will sell his claim for L5 in English gold. He was thought to have done well in winning, and my informant, a typical Irishman, admired the complainant's successful attack on the Harbour Board. "But what good come of it at last," I ventured to put in. "Nay, that I cannot tell," said he, "But 'twas a glorious victory."

The Galway Harbour Board spent L50,000 or so on a deep dock which they have not got, and the harbour is in pawn to the Board of Works, which collects the tolls, and otherwise endeavours to indemnify itself. The Harbour Board meets as usual, but it has no powers, no money, no credit, no anything. This is a fair specimen of the business management which characterises the breed of Irishmen who favour Home Rule. The party paper, once a fine property, has in their hands sunk below zero, and they built New Tipperary on land to which they had no title; so that the money was completely thrown away. Almost every Board of Guardians in the country is insolvent, except in those cases where the Government has kicked out the Poor Law Guardians elected by the Parish, and restored solvency by sending down paid men to run the concern for a couple of years. This has been done in several instances, and in every case the paid men, drawing salaries of several hundred a year, have in two years paid off debts, leaving all in good working order, with a balance in the bank. The inference is obvious. Would the Belfast folks have made such a fiasco of a dock? Would Englishmen have exposed themselves to the ridicule of a story which is curiously remindful of Robinson Crusoe and his big canoe? Would the Galway folks ever have built the railway they wanted so badly; or sans England and Mr. Balfour, would not the Connemara men have proceeded to starve until the end of time? A keen old railway man who had thravelled, and who had done railway work in California, said to me, "Whin we get an Oirish Parlimint the labourers may jist put on their hats and go over to England. Thank God, we'll know something besides farm work now, the whole of us. We can get railroad work in England. There'll be none in Oireland, for every mother's son that has money will cut the country. I could take ye fourteen Oirish miles from Galway, along a road that was spotted wid great jintlemen's houses, an' ivery one of thim's in ruins. The owners that used to live in them, and be a blessin' to the counthry, is all ruined by the land agitation. All are gone, an' their foin, splindid houses tumblin' down, an' the people worse off than iver. If the Bill becomes law the young men will all be off to England and America. There'll be no work, no money in the counthry. Did ye hear what the cyar-dhriver said to Mr. Morley?"

I confessed that the incident escaped my recollection.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oughterard (Connemara), May 23rd.



No. 27.—CULTIVATING IRISH INDUSTRY.

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

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

It was at Athenry that I first obtained a precise legal definition of the term Congested District, to the effect that wherever the land valuation amounts to less than 30s. per head of the population the district is held to be congested, and may receive assistance under the Act of 1891. The chief item of the Board's income is the sum of L41,250 a year, being interest at 2-3/4 per cent. per annum on the sum of L1,500,000 referred to in the Act as the Church Surplus Grant. The Board may, under certain conditions, use the principal, if needful. Two other smaller sums are also available, and the unexpended balance of the Irish Distress Fund has been applied to the completion of the Bealdangan Causeway in Connemara. This was Mr. Balfour's suggestion. There is a widespread idea that only the sea-board is touched, and that only fishermen have reaped the benefit of the Act. This is entirely erroneous. The Board works unceasingly at the development of agriculture, the planting of trees, the breeding of live stock and poultry, the sale of seed potatoes and seed oats, the amalgamation of small holdings, migration, emigration, weaving and spinning, and any other suitable industries, as well as in aid of fishing and fishermen. Besides the innumerable direct and indirect methods by which agriculture and industries are assisted in production, the Board has laboured successfully in the establishment of such means of communication, by railway, steamship, or otherwise, as will enable goods to be imported and exported at rates sufficiently low to make trade possible and profitable to producers and consumers in remote congested districts. Another popular error arises from regarding the work of the Board as merely a means of relief during periods of exceptional distress. Mr. Balfour would be the first to deprecate this notion. His scheme was constructed with a view to bringing about a gradual and lasting improvement in the poor districts of Ireland, by putting the people in a way to help themselves, and not by doling out large sums in charity. The works, which are wrongly called "relief works," are in every instance a well-considered effort to permanently and materially improve the trade and resources of a given area in connection with agriculture and miscellaneous industries. Such was the invariable principle of every action of the Board while under Mr. Balfour's administration. The people have been taught better methods, and helped to carry out the instruction they had received. The Royal Dublin Society has in some instances employed an instructor, whose duty it has been to teach the people the best system of cultivating portions or plots of their holdings, and to encourage them by gifts of seed and by giving prizes to those who were most successful in carrying out the instructions of their teacher. It is conceded that by proper management, by the adoption of modern methods of farming such as are well within the grasp of the smallest landowner, the produce of Irish farms might be increased from one-third to one-half. Consider the effect of this unassailable proposition on the eternal question of rent. The question can hardly be over-estimated. Compare the solidity, the practicability, the substantial usefulness of this kind of help, with the weak pandering to sentiment displayed by the present government. The Board admits that no matter how vigorously and constantly agricultural improvements are inculcated, the tenants of Ireland are tardy in their adoption. The small farmers dislike change, and at the present moment they are rapidly slipping back into their old grooves. They believe that the old system will pay when they have no rent-days to meet. The Balfour Administration encouraged honesty, industry, self-reliance. The Morley Government puts a premium on idleness, unthrift, retrogression, and dishonesty. It is easier to half-till the land, paying small rents or none at all, than to get the utmost out of the land with the object of paying the landlord his due.

The Board is carrying on the afforestation of Ireland, which in many parts is almost without trees. When the potato crop failed in 1890 Mr. Balfour commenced to plant trees on the western sea-board. In 1891 a sum of L1,970 was spent in draining, fencing, and roadmaking, and in planting 90 acres of 960 acquired by the Tory Government for the purpose. In 1892 a further sum of L1,427 was spent in carrying on the work. It is said that a previous Liberal Government had rejected the scheme on the ground that trees would not grow in a situation exposed to the salt gales of the Atlantic, but Mr. Balfour's trees have thriven remarkably well. He tried all sorts, convinced that something should be done, and that an ounce of experiment was worth a pound of theory. Sycamore, ash, elm, beech, birch, poplar, alder, larch, Scotch fir, spruce, silver fir, sea buckthorn, elder, and willow—he gave them all a chance, some as main plantations, some as shelter belts. All proved successful except the silver fir. Besides this, three hundred and fifty holdings have been planted with shelter belts, and about six hundred and fifty more were being planted when Mr. Balfour loosed the reins.

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

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

In a former letter I described the Aran sea-fisheries, and before that I adverted to the fact that the Shetland fishermen came to the Irish Coast, caught ling, and brought it back salted to sell to Irish fishermen. The Board has engaged an experienced fish-curer from Norway to show Irishmen how the thing is done, and English and Scotch fish-curers have been sent to several stations to give instruction in mackerel and herring-curing. Fifteen fish-curing stations are now in full swing, and the poor Irish fishermen, instead of buying salt ling at 2d. a pound, are now selling it at L18 to L20 per ton. A big steamer has been chartered to carry the salt, the fish, and for other useful purposes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Athenry, May 27th.



No. 28.—COULD WE RECONQUER IRELAND?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barna (Co. Galway), May 30th.



No. 29.—WHAT RACK-RENT MEANS.

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

Mullingar is a thriving town situate in a fertile district. The land is very rich, and the rents are reasonable. The farmers are well off, and admit the soft impeachment. They are Home Rulers to a man, and they boldly give their reasons. "Did ye ever know a man who was contint wid a good bargain when he has a prospect of a better bargain still?" said a prosperous agriculturist residing a mile outside the town. The country around has a decidedly English appearance. Fat land, good roads, high hedges, daisied meadows, and decent houses everywhere. The main street is long, wide, clean, well-paved, well-built. The shopkeepers who live in the surrounding district make money, and when they "go before," cut up for surprising sums. Said Mr. Gordon, "Everybody here has money. The people are downright well off. Living in constant communication with Dublin, fifty miles away on the main line of the Midland and Western Railway, they have adopted the prevailing politics of the metropolis. They do not understand what Home Rule means, and they blindly believe that they will do better still under a Dublin Parliament. I am quite certain of the contrary. Suppose we want L500 for some improvement, who will lend us the money? I am satisfied that the prosperity of the place would immediately decline. The priests influence the people to an extent Englishmen can never understand. The Protestant clergy do not intervene in mundane matters, but the Catholic clergy consider it their duty to guide the people in politics as well as in religion. Given Home Rule, Protestantism and Protestants would be nowhere. There is no doubt in my mind on this point."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1861 L8,990,830 1877 L9,937,681 1891 L9,941,368

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

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

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

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

I looked, and this is what I saw:—

1880 L9,980,543 1881 L9,980,650 1882 L9,980,215 1883 L9,981,156 1884 L9,982,072 1885 L9,982,031 1886 L9,954,535

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

Mullingar (Co. Westmeath), June 1st.



No. 30.—THE "UNION OF HEARTS."

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

The Invincibles had a few recruits in Mullingar and district, and the Land Leaguers also made their mark. The stationmaster sued somebody for travelling without a ticket. He was shot dead in the street immediately afterwards. Miss Croughan did not meet popular opinion in the matter of farm management. She was shot as she walked to church one fine Sunday morning. Patrick Farrelly took land which somebody else wanted. Shot as he walked home from work. Mr. Dolan, of a flour mill in the neighbourhood, had some misunderstanding with his workmen. Shot, on the chance that his successor would take warning, and accommodate himself to the public sentiment. Miss Ann Murphy, who with her two brothers lives at a small farm a mile or two away, supplied a jug of milk, and said that things were quiet for the moment, but there was no telling what might happen. The house was roofed with corrugated iron. "Ah," said Miss Murphy, "we were nearly burned to death, myself an' my two brothers. An' this was the way iv it. Tramps and ruffians would call here at nightfall, an' would ask for a shelter an' a lie down, an' I would lay a few bags or something on the flure over beyant, an' they would sthretch themselves out till mornin', an' often and often I would wash their cheeks an' heads where they had been fightin', an' would be all cut an' hacked. One fellow was often here, an' my brothers had reason to refuse him free lodgin's, an' so the next mornin' we found the gate lifted off the hinges an' carried away down the lane. My brothers spoke to the police-sergeant about this, an' the very next thing was to try to burn us alive in our beds. Some ruffian came in the night an' put a match in the thatch, an' I woke almost suffocated. I ran out, an' there was the house on fire, and the cow-house, with a beautiful, lovely cow, all a solid piece of blazin' flames, till ye could see nothin' else. We saved the four walls an' some of the furniture, an' we got L50 from the County. That's the sort of people the Land League brought out all over the country."

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

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

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

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

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

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

A financial authority told me that poor Ireland has thirty-six millions of uninvested money lying idle in the banks. The Irish not only lack enterprise, but they will not trust each other. Great opportunities are lying thickly around, but they seem unable to avail themselves of the finest openings. Mr. Smith, of Athlone, makes twelve and a half miles of Irish tweed every week, and sells it rather faster than he can make it. He commenced with two shillings a week wages, and now he owns a factory and employs five hundred people. A Black Protestant, of course. Mr. Samuel Heaton, of Bradford, is about to go and do likewise. I went over his place an hour ago, and this is what he said:—"This was a flour mill which cost L10,000 to build. The machinery would cost L10,000 more, I should think. It did well for many years, and then it was left to three brothers, who disputed about it until the concern was ruined as a paying business, and the place was allowed to lie derelict. The water power alone cost them L100 a year, and goodness knows what these splendid buildings would be worth. The Board of Works had got hold of it, and it was understood that anybody might have it a bargain, but nobody came forward. I offered them L30 a year for the whole of the buildings, the waterpower, and the dwelling house hard by, also that other immense building yonder, which might prove handy for a store-house; and my offer was accepted. I took all at that rent for sixty years, with six months' free tenancy to start with, and I was also to have a free gift of all machinery and fittings in the place. Here we are going nicely, only in a small way, but we shall do. We make blankets, tweeds for men's suits and ladies' dresses. When the Athlone people saw us knocking about they were surprised they had never thought of it before. There are hundreds of derelict flour mills going to ruin all over the country, and the owners would gladly let anyone have them and grand water power for nothing for two or three years, just to get a chance of obtaining rent at some future day. We work from morning till night, and neither I nor my sons have ever tasted a spot of intoxicating liquor. Now there are many small mills going in the country, the proprietors of which go on the spree three days a week. If they can do, we can do. This is going to be a big thing. The only difficulty I have is to turn out the stuff. Irish tweeds have such a reputation that we simply cannot meet the demand. Mills and water power may be had for next to nothing, but the Irish have no enterprise, and the English are afraid to put any money in the country under present circumstances."

The Lock Mills above mentioned are three or four stories high, with perhaps a hundred yards of front elevation, a grandly built series of stone buildings close to the Shannon, which is here about a hundred and twenty yards wide, and carries tolerably large steamers and lighters. Six months' occupancy for nothing, the old machinery a free gift, water power and buildings for sixty years at L30 a year. I have previously mentioned the twelve big mills abandoned on the Boyne. Twelve openings for small capitalists—but Irishmen put their money in stockings, under the flure, in the thatch. They will not trust Irishmen, although they have no objection to John Bull's doing so. A bank manager of this district said:—

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

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

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

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

Athlone, June 3rd.



No. 31.—THE "UNION OF HEARTS."

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

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

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

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

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

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