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The Reminiscences of an Irish Land Agent
by S.M. Hussey
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The voting was even, until Mr. A.E. Herbert came into the room and gave his casting vote against the involuntary tenant of the Kilmainham hostelry. For this he was murdered three days later, and by the crime they hoped to ensure that on the next occasion the landlords would abstain from voting at all.

That murder of Mr. Arthur Herbert on his return from Petty Sessions at Castleisland was one of the worst, and as an exhibition of infernal hatred and vengeance it transcended the murders of Lord Mountmorres and Lord Leitrim. It cannot be denied that Mr. Herbert committed acts of a harsh and overbearing character. He was a turbulent, headstrong man, brave to rashness and foolhardiness, and too fond of proclaiming his contempt for the people by whom he was surrounded. As a magistrate, sitting at Brosna Petty Sessions, he expressed his regret that he was not in command of a force when a riot occurred in that village, when he would have 'skivered the people with buckshot,' language brought under the notice of the Lord Chancellor and the House of Commons.

He was the son of a clergyman, and lived at Killeentierna House with his mother, a venerable old lady over eighty, he being himself forty-five. His income was estimated at about four hundred a year, and as his relations with tenantry were not harmonious, he never went out without a six-chambered revolver in his pocket. Physically he was very robust—over five feet ten in height, and very corpulent. In his own neighbourhood he always was known as 'Mr. Arthur.'

Leaving Castleisland about five in the afternoon, he was accompanied for about a mile by the head constable, who then turned back. Mr. Herbert had not proceeded a quarter of a mile further when he was felled by the assassins. The spot chosen was singularly open, no shelter being visible for some distance. Several shots were heard by a labourer at work in a quarry, and when he came up he found Mr. Herbert lying on his face in the road, quite dead, the earth about him being covered with pools of blood. The body was almost riddled with shot and bullets.

That night a further illustration of the vindictive ferocity of the outrage was given. The lawn in front of Killeentierna was patrolled regularly by some of the large body of police which at once occupied the house. On this lawn eleven lambs were grazing. At half-past two these were seen by the police to be all right. At daybreak the eleven were found stabbed with pitchforks—nine of them killed outright, and two wounded to death. This act, as wretched as it was daring, added a new horror to the crime.

Mr. Herbert's murder was received with such exuberant delight in Kerry that my steward said to me:—

'You would think, sir, that rent was abolished and the duty taken off whisky.'

Constabulary had for a long while to be told off to prevent his grave being desecrated.

That is a pretty tough outrage for optimistic philanthropists to consider when they are addicted to announcing how far our generations have progressed from barbarism.

The price of blood in Kerry was not high. For example, the men that murdered FitzMaurice were paid L5 for the job, and they had never seen him before. His family had to be under police protection for five years, and I managed to get L1000 subscribed for them in England, Mr. Froude taking an enthusiastic and generous interest in a very sad case. The victim left two daughters, who both married policemen.

One young and cheery Kerry landlord was very proud, about 1886, at the price of forty shillings being offered for his life by the Land League, whereas nearly all the others were only valued at half a sovereign apiece.

As a matter of fact, almost any one could have been shot at Castleisland if a sovereign were offered, for they cared no more for human life than for that of a rat. Parnell himself would have been shot by any one of a couple of dozen fellows willing to earn a dishonest living if a five-pound note had been locally put upon his head. A patriotic philanthropist, destitute of the bowels of compassion and of every dictate of humanity, might have saved a great deal of undeserved suffering if he had made this donation towards his 'removal'—a pretty euphemism of Land League coinage.

Most of that generation are dead, in gaol, or have emigrated. It would take the deuce of a big sum to tempt any Castleislander to-day to commit murder, except under provocation, and the same improvement is observable all over Ireland. I believe a hundred pounds might be put on the head of the least popular agent or landlord, and he might walk unscathed without police protection.

All that has been set forth in this chapter might be regarded as a heavy indictment of crime and disorder, but I cannot avoid adding one confirmatory piece of evidence, as eloquent as it is accurate. This is the fearful description of the state of Kerry which appears in Judge O'Brien's charge to the Grand Jury at the Assizes, founded, of course, on the report of outrages submitted to him. It is impossible to guess in what stronger words his opinions would have been expressed if the total number of outrages committed had been laid before him; but it is well known that only a few of those committed were reported, as, if the criminals were taken up and identified, the victims would be likely to be shot in revenge, while the guilty persons, tried by a sympathising jury, would obtain acquittal and popular advertisement.

The charge was as follows:—

'COLONEL CROSBIE AND GENTLEMEN OF THE GRAND JURY OF KERRY—I requested your permission to defer any observations I was about to make to you, in order that I might have an opportunity of examining certain returns which had been made to me containing materials for forming a judgment upon the state of things in this county of which I was put in possession upon my arrival, and I was desirous of being afforded an opportunity of examining these materials to try if I could discern whether, in the considerable lapse of time that has happened since the last Assizes, I could see any reason to conclude that an improvement had taken place in the state of things that has now so long existed in the County of Kerry, and other counties in the south of Ireland, to try if I could discern whether lapse of time itself, the weariness of that state of things, if the law and influences that lead persons to avoid violations of the law, or to follow the pursuits of industry, had led in the end to any favourable change in the state of things; but I grieve to say that it is not in my power, unfortunately, to announce that any change has taken place. On the contrary, all the means of information that I possess lead to the unhappy conclusion that there is no improvement, but that, on the contrary, there exists, even at this moment, a most extraordinary state of things—a state of things of an unprecedented description—nothing short, in fact, of a state of open war with all forms of authority, and even, I may say without exaggeration, with the necessary institutions of civilised life.

'These returns present a picture of the County Kerry such as can hardly be found in any country that has passed the confines of natural society and entered upon the duties and relations, and acknowledged the obligations, of civilised life. The law is defeated—perhaps I should rather say, has ceased to exist! Houses are attacked by night and day, even the midnight terror yielding to the noonday anxiety of crime! Person and life are assailed! The terrified inmates are wholly unable to do anything to protect themselves, and a state of terror and lawlessness prevails everywhere. Even some persons who possess means of information that are not open to me, profess to discern in the signs of public feeling, in the views of some hope and some fear, the expectation of something about to happen, something reaching far beyond partial, or local, or even agrarian, disturbance, and calculated to create a greater degree of alarm than anything we have witnessed, or anything that has happened.

'When I come to compare the official returns of crime with those of the preceding period, I find that the total number of offences in this county since the last Assizes is somewhat less in number, even considerably less in number, than in the corresponding or the preceding period of the former years. But the diminution of number affords no assurance or ground of improvement at all, because I find that the diminution is accounted for entirely in the class of offences that acknowledges to some extent the power and influence of the law, namely, in threatening letters and notices, while the amount of open and actual crime is greater than it was in the former period, showing that there is an increased confidence in impunity, and that menace has given place to the deed. Within not more than ten days from the time that I am now speaking, not less than four examples of midnight invasion of houses in this county have occurred, accompanied with all the usual incidents of disguises and arms, and the firing of shots, and violence threatened or committed; in one instance the outrage having been committed upon the residence of a magistrate of this county, a man living with his family in his home, in the supposed delusive security of domestic life, of law, and respect for social station; and in another instance committed upon a humble man, and encountered, I am glad to say, in that instance, with a brave resistance, giving an example of courage which, if it were widely imitated, many of the evils that this country suffers from would no longer exist.

'I need not dwell upon the most aggravated instance of all which this calendar of crime presents—one that is quite recent, and within the memory of you all—the murder of Cornelius Murphy, a humble man, but one enjoying apparently the confidence and respect of all his neighbours, who had done no harm to any person, who was not conscious of any offence, whose house was invaded at a still early hour of the evening, and before the daylight had departed, by a band of men that is shown to have traversed a considerable distance of country, giving opportunities of recognition to many, and with hardly the pretext of an offence on his part, and in reality with the object of private plunder or private hostility—one of those motives that always take advantage of a state of disturbance in order to gratify private ends—slain in his own house in the presence of his own family. Certain persons, it would appear, have been arrested on a charge of complicity with this crime, and it may be that this cruel and wicked crime may be the means of discovering other crimes, and of leading in the end to the detection, if not to the conviction, of persons who have been connected in them, and those who rest in the supposed confidence of impunity may find the spell broken, may find the light of information to reach them, and may find in the end that the law will be able to prevail; because it must be in the experience of many of you that it is unhappily in the power of a few persons who engage in this system of nightly invasion of houses to multiply themselves, apparently by means of terror and intimidation, although at the same time there can be no doubt that, on account of interval of distances, and for many such reasons, there must be many such combinations in this country, acting entirely independent of each other.

'No person can be at a loss to understand the misery and suffering that arises from a state of crime; but perhaps all persons in the community do not equally understand one form of consequence to material prosperity that results from it. I have before me a document that contains most terribly significant evidence of mischief, alike to all classes of the community, that results from crime and a state of social disturbance. I have a return of malicious injuries which form the subject of presentment at these Assizes, in number, I understand, exceeding all former precedent. There are no less than eighty-six presentments, representing all forms of wicked outrage upon property, a tempest—I might say without exaggeration, a tempest—of violence and crime that has swept over a considerable portion of this county. The claims amount to L2700, with the result that the Grand Jury had presented upon a certain part of this county L1250, exercising apparently the greatest care and discrimination in reducing the amount of the claims, and this L1250 was not put upon the whole county, but on certain parts of the county, and the amount at the very least aggravated in a most serious degree the weight of taxation that falls upon the ratepayers of the County Kerry, deepening the difficulties that all classes alike must experience from the depression of the times, and from the other burdens they have to meet in providing against the demands that are made upon them.

'But, of course, you can easily understand that these things do not at all give you any idea of other forms of material injury that arise from crime and disturbance, in the loss of employment and the discouragement of capital, the injury to trade, and the multiplied consequences of all kinds detrimental to the community that arise from insecurity to personal property and life. And to all those evils we have to add another, and perhaps the worst of all—that of which you are all conscious, of which experience and observation reaches you every day in all the forms of social life—a system of unseen terrorism, a system of terror and tyranny that the well-disposed class of the community ought to detest and abhor, and in reference to which, on all sides, I have heard, in this county and other counties, one universal expression of desire—that some means should be found to put an end to it.

'I possess no power myself to effect this state of things, and I cannot say that in the relation to the law which you fill as members of the Grand Jury, or in any other relation to the law, you possess the means to effect it. The duty of providing against so great an evil existing in the community—the duty and the obligation rests with others. My duty is simply confined to representing to you the state of things that exists, and, indeed, in that respect I know that I am doing what is entirely unnecessary, for the state of the County Kerry now, and for a period of five or six years, in all its essential features, is known far beyond the limits of the county, to every single person in the country. I will merely make use of one general observation—that I by no means share in the opinion that has been expressed as to the inability to deal with this state of things. On the contrary, I entertain the most perfect confidence that it is in the power of those who are intrusted with the duty of maintaining the public peace to re-establish order and law and peace in this county. And as my duty is confined to representing that state of things, that duty does not carry me to indicate to those on whom the responsibility rests the means to attain that object.'



CHAPTER XX

THE EDENBURN OUTRAGE

In the early part of the winter of 1884, so bad did the state of Kerry become, and so menacing was the attitude of the Land Leaguers towards myself, that I felt I had no right to endanger the lives of my wife and daughters by any longer permitting them to reside at Edenburn.

In all those years, from 1878 to 1884, be it noted that I gave more employment in Kerry than any one man, a fact which has been testified to by different parish priests, but at the same time I was agent for a great many landlords, and tried my level best to get in rents for my employers.

For this cause my life had been repeatedly threatened, and now, in November 1884, dynamite was put to my house, the back of it being badly blown up. There were sixteen individuals in the house, mostly women and children, and an attempt was therefore made to murder them all in the effort to take the life of one individual they were afraid to meet in the open.

The house was repaired and I received compensation in due course from the County, but my family did not think after what had occurred that Edenburn was a desirable place of residence. So I henceforth resided much in London, and therefore spent a great deal less money in Kerry.

Perhaps, however, I had better be a little more diffuse about what was known all over the British Isles as the Edenburn Outrage, but the bulk of this chapter will be drawn from observations by members of my family and newspaper accounts, for the episode left considerably less impression on my mind than it did on that of my womenfolk, and indeed on the public, at the time.

To show how matters stood, one of my daughters reminds me that I gave her a very neat revolver as a present, and that whenever she came back from school she always slept with it under her pillow. Moreover, she recollects that the customary Sunday afternoon pursuit was to have revolver practice at the garden gate.

There had been several episodes of an ugly nature; for example, one of my sons competing in some sports at Tralee was advised to make an excuse and to go home separately from the womenfolk.

He took the hint, and my wife with the governess and several children went back without him in the waggonette. About a mile and a half from the town, just where the horses had to walk up a steep hill, a number of men with bludgeons and sticks came out of a ditch, peered into the trap, and seeing it contained nothing but women and children let it pass on with a grunt of disgust, whilst they trudged back to Tralee.

One of my daughters, years after, on being taken in to dinner in London, was asked by her companion if she was any relation of mine.

She having confessed the fact—one I hope in no way detrimental, though I say so, perhaps, who should not—he mentioned that he had been to a most cheery dance at Edenburn, which had made a great impression on his mind, because for seven miles along the road by which he and his friends drove there were pickets of constabulary, and the hall table was piled so full with the revolvers brought by the guests, that all the hats and coats had to be taken to the smoking-room.

It may be as well to again mention that my wife during the very worst periods had never any difficulty in keeping or obtaining domestic servants. No doubt the maids liked having two or three stalwart constables always hanging about the place, and capital odd job men they made.

A constable neatly humbugged a footman, and I may here mention the incident, though it is subsequent to the episode of this chapter.

One house we took in London was in Glendower Place, and when the servants arrived, my wife found that the footman's face was covered with sticking-plaster. He was a regular gossoon, though shaped like a fine specimen of the pampered menials who condescend to open the front door of large mansions to their betters.

A constable had hoaxed him into believing that he could never walk in the London streets without using firearms, and having advised him to learn to do so, the idiot put the weapon against his cheek, and the first kick had knocked away a voluminous portion of his countenance.

At the end of November 1884, we were packing up to leave, and all the big cases were in the stable-yard ready to be carted away. There were five policemen at the time in the house, and two of them were on sentry duty all through the night.

None of us had had good nights for some time past, but on the evening of November 29th I came back from the meeting of the Board of Guardians at Listowel, and said to my wife as we sat down to dinner:—

'After all, we are starting for England to-morrow morning without any necessity, for I do believe the country is beginning to settle down.'

This is the only occasion on which I ever ventured on a cheerful prophecy since Ireland came under the baneful spell of Mr. Gladstone, and it was the most foolish remark I ever made.

That night came the explosion, but I prefer to let the press tell the tale.

The Manchester Guardian relates:—

'The explosive matter was placed under an area in the basement story, dynamite being the agent employed for the outrage. A large aperture was made in the wall, which is three feet thick. Several large rents running to the top have been made, and it now presents a most dilapidated appearance. The ground-floor, where the explosion occurred, was used as a larder, and everything in it was smashed to pieces, the glass window-frames and shutters being shivered into atoms. On the three stories above it, the explosion produced a similar effect. To the right of it, one of Mr. Hussey's daughters was sleeping, and the window of her room was entirely destroyed. Mr. J.E. Hussey, J.P., slept in another room about thirty feet from the scene of the explosion, and his window and room fared similarly. The butler slept in a small room on the basement, which was completely wrecked, the windows being shattered to pieces, the lamp and toilet broken, and the greater part of the ceiling thrown on him in the bed. The length of the house is about fifty yards, and the windows in the back, numbering twenty-six, have been altogether destroyed. Mr. S.M. Hussey and his wife slept in the front, and they were much affected by the explosion. Three policemen who had been stationed in the house for the past couple of years slept on a ground-floor in front. The coach-house and stables near the house were considerably damaged. In the garden two greenhouses, one about 120 yards away, and the other fully 150, were injured, the greater portion of the glass being broken and the roofs shaken. In several houses at long distances the shock was plainly felt. The dwelling-house subsequently presented a very wrecked appearance. On looking at the back of it, there are several rents or cracks to be seen in the solid masonry, and the slates are shaken and displaced. Everything shows the terrific force of the explosion. In the yard a large slate-house was much damaged, the slates being displaced and the roof shaken and cracked. A large stone was found here, having been blown from the dwelling-house.'

From the Times may be culled these additional particulars:

'There is a fissure some inches wide in the main wall from the ground to the roof, and a little more force would have effected the evident object of making the residence of the obnoxious agent a heap of ruins. The damage done is estimated at from L2000 to L3000, but this is only a rough conjecture.'

The Cork Constitutional throws further light in a somewhat badly expressed article:—

'The most extraordinary circumstance connected with the outrage is the secrecy and stealth which must have been resorted to in order to avoid detection. It was well known in the neighbourhood that not alone were three policemen constantly at Edenburn for Mr. Hussey's protection, but that a number of dogs were also kept on the premises, and it is, therefore, astonishing the care and caution which must have been resorted to in order to successfully lay and explode the destructive material. Some idea of the force of the explosion as well as the stability of the building which resisted it in a measure, may be gathered from the fact that it was distinctly heard in the town of Castleisland four miles away. Mr. R. Roche, J.P., who lives a mile from Edenburn, also distinctly heard the explosion, which he describes as resembling in sound that caused by the fall of a huge tree in close proximity. Those who were at Edenburn at the time state that between four and half-past four a low rumbling noise, followed by a sharp report, was heard. The house trembled and shook to its foundations. The inmates, some of whom were only awakened by the shock, were seized with an indescribable terror. All the windows were smashed to atoms, the furniture and fixtures in the interior were rattled, and some lighter articles disturbed from their position. The suddenness of the alarm, and the darkness of the night, coupled with an indefinite idea as to the nature and extent of the explosion, made the occupants of the house afraid to stir, and it was not until some servants living adjacent arrived that the consternation caused in the household subsided sufficiently to enable them to examine the house, and judge of the narrow escape they had had from a violent and horrible death.'

The consternation most decidedly did not spread to the master and mistress of the establishment. The Kerry Sentinel quickly had an allusion to 'a report that Mr. Hussey turned into bed after the outrage with one of his laconic jokes—that he should be called when the next explosion occurred.'

As a matter of fact what I did say was:-"My dear, we can have a quiet night at last, for the scoundrels won't bother us again before breakfast."

And I can solemnly testify that within ten minutes of that observation I was fast asleep, and never woke till I was called.

But perhaps the best impression of what occurred can be obtained from the recollection of my daughter Florence, now Mrs. Nicoll, who was an inmate of Edenburn at the time.

'I was awakened by a terrific noise, which to my sleepy wits conveyed the impression that the roof had fallen in. It was then between three and four in the morning. I lit a candle and ran out into the passage where were congregating my family in night attire. My father was perfectly calm.

'"Dynamite and badly managed," was his laconic explanation. We all asked each other if we were hurt, and began to be alarmed about my brother John, who, however, put in an appearance in a singularly attenuated nightshirt, with a candle in one hand and a revolver in the other, with which he was rubbing his sleepy eyes.

'"Singular time of night, John, to try chemical experiments without our permission, is it not?" said my father.

'Then John and my mother went downstairs to inspect the premises; of the back windows, thirty-four in number, there was not a bit of glass as big as a threepenny piece left. Our brougham was in the yard; the window next the explosion was intact, but the one on the further side was blown to smithereens.

'The servants were very scared, and one maid having rushed straight to a sitting-room, was there found hysterically embracing a sofa cushion.

'We received one odd claim for compensation. An old woman living half a mile off complained that the force of the explosion had knocked some of the plaster off the wall, and that it had fallen into a pan full of milk, spoiling it.

'Whilst we were all chattering about the outrage, father said:—

'"Don't be uneasy about a mere dynamite explosion; it's like an Irishman's pig, you want it to go one way and it invariably goes in the other."

'And with that he went off to bed again, with the remark about having a quiet night which he has mentioned earlier in this chapter.

'The only other thing which I now recall is, that a detachment of the Buffs in the neighbourhood had found us the only people to entertain them.

'On being told that Edenburn had been blown up, one of them said:—

'"They were the only neighbours we had to talk to, and the brutes would not leave us them as a convenience."'

The Cork correspondent of the Times wrote:—

'Among the general body of the people of Kerry, the news of the attempt to blow up Mr. Hussey's house at Edenburn caused comparatively little excitement. In the County Club at Tralee, the announcement was received with something like a panic. Hitherto, persons who considered themselves in danger were careful to be within their homes before darkness had set in, and when going abroad had a following of police for their protection. Now it is shown that their houses may prove but a sorry shelter, even when a protective force of police is about, and it is no wonder that, with the terrible example furnished in this instance of the daring of those who commit foul crimes, the class against whom the outrages are directed should be filled with fears for the future. The people generally show but small interest in the occurrence.

'The attempt to blow up Mr. Hussey's dwelling is the first of its kind in Kerry, and the third that has been made in Ireland. Within the past few years the districts of Castleisland and Tralee have been distinguished for the number and ferocity of the outrages that were committed there.'

I am also tempted to quote from the 'Leader' in the Times on the outrage:—

'Mr. Hussey has a reputation, not confined to Ireland, as an able, fearless, and vigorous land agent, the best type of a much abused class of men who have endured contumely and faced dangers, by day and night, in order to protect the rights of property intrusted to them.

'It appears that, owing to the disturbed state of the locality, he intended to leave it for the winter; and this probably being known to his enemies, they made an effort to destroy him before he got beyond their reach. He, at all events, seems to have been under the spell of no pleasing illusion as to the supposed tranquillity and the reign of order. On the contrary, he is alleged to have stated that more outrages than ever are committed, and that but for the deterrent force employed by the Government, there would be no living in the country, ... This is the opinion of the majority of Englishmen. They are not all satisfied that the spirit of lawlessness and disorder is rooted out; and they will find only too strong confirmation of their doubts in the reckless violence of the National Press, and in the attempt—marked by novel features of atrocity—to destroy Mr. Hussey's household.'

As for the National Press, it indulged in an ecstasy of enthusiasm over the perpetration, combined with intense disgust "at the miscarriage of justice" of my having escaped without hurt or more than very temporary inconvenience. On my departure, one eloquent writer compared me to 'Macduff taking his babes and bandboxes to England,' a choice simile I have always appreciated.

The United Ireland of December 6, 1884, in a characteristic leaderette, headed 'A very suspicious affair,' observes:—

'We should like to know by what right the newspapers speak of the affair as "a dynamite outrage"? A very curious surmise has been put forward locally, namely, that the house had been stricken by lightning. The shattering of a building by lightning is by no means phenomenal, and the absence of all trace of any terrestrial explosive agency, gives colour to the hypothesis that the destruction was due to meteorological causes.'

With one last quotation I cease to draw upon what may be termed outside contributions, and it is one which gratified me at the time.

It is taken from the Cork Examiner of December 12, 1884:—

'Dear Sir,—Authoritative statements having been made in the Press and elsewhere, that some persons living in Mr. Hussey's immediate neighbourhood must have been the perpetrators of the horrible outrage, or, at least, must have given active and guilty assistance to the principal parties concerned in it; now we, the undersigned, tenants on the property, and living in the closest proximity to Edenburn House and demesne, take this opportunity of declaring in the most public and solemn manner that neither directly nor indirectly, by word or deed, by counsel or approval, had we any participation in the tragic disaster of November 28. The relations hitherto existing between Mr. Hussey and us have ever been of the most friendly character. As a landlord, his dealings with us were such as gave unqualified satisfaction and were marked by justice, impartiality, and very great indulgence. As a neighbour he was extremely kind and obliging, ready whenever applied to, to help us, as far as he was able, in every difficulty or trial in which we might be placed. The bare suspicion, therefore, of being ever so remotely connected with the recent explosion, is, to us, a source of the deepest pain, a suspicion we repudiate with honest indignation. Furthermore, the singular charity, benevolence, and amiability of Mrs. Hussey are long and intimately known to us. We witness almost daily her bountiful treatment of the poor, and tender care of the sick and infirm. Her ears never refuse to listen with sympathy to every tale of distress, nor will she hesitate with her own hands to wash and dress the festering wounds and sores of those who flock to her from all the surrounding parishes. With such knowledge as this, we should indeed be worse than fiends did we raise a hand against the Hussey family, or engage in any enterprise that would necessitate their departure from among us:—

'Richard Fitzgerald. Denis Daly. John Reynolds. Cornelius Daly. William Hogan. Darby Leary. John Mason. Jeremiah Dinan. J. O'connell. John Neligan. Daniel Neill. John Daly. Thomas Connor. Jeremiah Connor. Thomas Shanahen. Michael Moynihar. Widow Aherne. James O'sullivan. John M'elligott. Henry Gentleman.'

As for those really concerned, people tell me that the three implicated in the dynamite business are all dead in America, and if the information is accurate no local person was connected with the explosion, though the miscreants were, of course, housed in the immediate vicinity.

There was one delicious incident.

The local branch of the Land League at Castleisland refused to pay any reward to the dynamiters because we had not been killed, and the leading miscreant actually fired at the treasurer. Eventually the passages to America of all the triumvirate were paid, and they thought it discreet to quit the country, cursing their own stingy executive even more deeply than they blasphemed against the Law and execrated me.

A man from the neighbourhood subsequently wrote to me from London that he could tell me who perpetrated the Edenburn outrage.

I told him to call on me at the Union Club, of which I was then a member, and informed him—his name was O'Brien—I would arrange with the Home Office, in the event of his information being valuable, that he should get a reward.

He replied that his life was in danger in London from another Fenian.

I went to the Home Office and saw Mr. Jenkinson on the subject. He asked me to send O'Brien down to him and he would settle matters, adding that he had reason for believing that the story of threats from another scoundrel was true.

I saw O'Brien and told him to call on Mr. Jenkinson.

He answered that he would go, but he never did, and Mr. Jenkinson subsequently told me that the Land League scented he was going to prove a troublesome informer, so they practically outbid the Government by paying O'Brien a large sum, which was handed to him on the steamer as it was starting for America.

From that time, until I have been recalling the incidents of the explosion for this book, I have never given a thought to the affair and not mentioned it half a dozen times in the twenty years that have elapsed.



CHAPTER XXI

MORE ATROCITIES AND LAND CRIMES

I brought my family back to Kerry in the following summer, and after I had rebuilt Edenburn I lived there until I gave it to my elder son, who has it to this day and resides there in peace.

Matters were very different to that state of idyllic simplicity in the critical times on which I am still dwelling.

One night, while in London, I was at the House of Commons, and the London correspondent of the Freeman, being presumably extremely short of what he would term 'copy,' he proceeded to make observations about me after this fashion:—

'Over here Mr. Hussey is something of a fish out of water. It would be hazardous to say that if he was to begin his career as an agent again he would eschew the system that has made him famous, but his present frame of mind is unquestionably one of doubt as to whether, after all, the game was worth the candle.'

That young man will go far as a writer of fiction.

I received, among more pleasant welcomes on my return to my native land, the following delightful blast of vituperation from the Irish Citizen, and beg to tender the unknown author my profound thanks for the diversion his ink-slinging afforded me:—

'Here is something about a man who ought to have been murdered any day since 1879—indeed we don't know that he should have been let live even up to that date, and as for his family, their translation to the upper regions by means of a simple charge of dynamite, which nobody of any sense or importance would even think of condemning, has been most unaccountably deferred to the present year. This man is Mr. S.M. Hussey, the miasma of whose breath, according to a well-informed murder organ in Dublin, poisons one-half of the kingdom of Kerry. Let any man read the speeches delivered in Upper Sackville Street, and the articles in United Ireland against Mr. Hussey, and he must ask why the fiend incarnate has not been murdered long since. The infamy of persistently turning hatred on a man like Mr. Hussey, and then escaping the consequences of having thereby murdered him, has no parallel in any country in the world. Inciting to murder is practically reduced to a science in Ireland. That Mr. Hussey has not been murdered years ago is not the fault of the scientist, but the watchfulness of the police.'

My experience while in England had been that few people I met really appreciated what boycotting was like, so how are my readers of twenty years afterwards to do so? Yet when I went back to Ireland, it seemed to me even more cruel than when I had grown comparatively accustomed by sheer proximity to it.

Mr. Parnell had himself given the order in a public speech:—

'Shun the man who bids for a farm from which a tenant has been evicted, shun him in the street, in the shop, in the marketplace, even in the place of worship, as if he were a leper of old.'

This was done with the thoroughness which characterises Irishmen when back-sliding into unimaginable cruelties. Should a boycotted man enter chapel, the whole congregation rose as with one accord and left him alone in the building. Considering the sensitive and pious disposition of the average Irishman, such ostracism was even more poignant than it would be to an Englishman.

Only two families in Kerry, possibly in Munster, at Christmas 1885, had the courage to resist the National League police, commonly called moonlighters. These two were the Curtins and the Doyles. The Curtins had to be under constant police protection, were insulted wherever they went, and their murdered father was openly called 'the murderer.' As for the Doyles, the Board of Guardians was urged to harass his unfortunate children, who were both deaf and dumb.

The same Board of Guardians was most lavish in its relief to any man evicted for declining to pay his rent. In one case they gave a man fifteen shillings a week—or treble the ordinary out-of-door relief—for over six years.

Sir James Stephen, a man of acute discriminations, who has done more justice to the Irish problem than any one else, wrote:—

'The great difficulty the Land League and the National League have had to contend with is that of hindering the neighbouring farmers, peasants, and labourers from frustrating the strike against rent by taking up vacant farms, however they came to be vacant. Boycotting never succeeded unless crime was at its back. The Crimes Act cut the ground from under the feet of the boycotters, not so much by its direct prohibitions of the practice as by making it unsafe to commit outrages in enforcing the law of the League. The Land League and the National League were nothing else but screens for secret societies whose work was to enforce the League decrees by outrage and murder.'

Whenever the 'History of Modern Ireland' comes to be written, that glowing outburst of truth ought to be quoted.

There were some evictions carried out at Farranfore on the estate of Lord Kenmare, by the sub-sheriff, Mr. Harnett, and a force of military and police numbering about one hundred and thirty.

During the eviction of one Daly, horns were blown and the chapel bell set ringing. These appeals drew about three thousand people to the place, who groaned and threw some stones, besides growing so menacing that the Riot Act had to be read, upon which the whole crowd moved off.

This brought a characteristic effusion from United Ireland:—

'We remember the time when Kerry was a county as quiet as the grave, when its member, Henry A. Herbert, in the debate on the Westminster Act of 1871, was able to rise in his place and boast that in purely Celtic counties like his there was no crime, and that agrarian outrages was confined to districts infused with English blood, like Meath and Tipperary. What has changed it? Principally the malpractices of a couple of agents ruling over half its area, whose bloated rentals grow swollen under their hands with the sweat of dumb and hopeless possessors.'

Whatever else he possessed, that writer had not one vestige of truth with which to cover the indecency of his misrepresentations.

He did not mention that Mr. Matthew Harris, a Member for Galway, had publicly observed that if the tenant farmers of Ireland shot down landlords as partridges are shot in the month of September, he would never say a word against them.

It is a fact that the convulsion of horror at the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish alone prevented an organised campaign for the 'removal' of Irish landlords on a systematic and wholesale scale.

By the way, according to his son, it was quite by chance that Professor Mahaffy—that illustrious ornament of Trinity College—was not also murdered. He had intended to walk over with poor Mr. Burke after the entry of the Viceroy and Chief Secretary, but he was detained by an undergraduate and so found it too late to catch the doomed victim before he started. Had he walked with them, it is questionable if the murderers would have attacked three men: on the other hand, he might, of course, have been added to the slain.

There was a meeting of Lord Kenmare's and Mr. Herbert of Muckross's tenants at Killarney addressed by Mr. Sheehan, M.P., who advised them, as the landlords refused 70 per cent, only to offer 50 per cent., and nothing at all in March (1887), as by that time the new Irish Parliament would have allotted the land free to the present holders, without any compensation to the landlords.

Despite the efforts of traitors on both sides of the Channel, that Irish Parliament has not yet been summoned.

The parish priest, Mr. Sheehy, stopped the Limerick hunting, and so took L24,000 a year out of the pockets of the very poor. That man did more harm than the landlords, who alone gave the poor work, and there is no doubt that many of the worst crimes were instigated and indirectly suggested from the altar.

At this point I want to interpose with one word to the reader to beg him not to regard this as either a connected narrative of crime, much less a regular essay with proper deductions—the trimmings to the joint—but only a series of observations as I recall events which impressed me, and which I think may come home with some force to a happier generation that knew neither Parnellism nor crime. To write a consecutive and connected history of these atrocities would be to compile a volume of horrors. I prefer to give a few recollections of outrages, and to let the direct simplicity of these terrible reminiscences impress those who have bowels of compassion.

A gentleman named Nield was killed in Mayo, simply because he was mistaken for my son Maurice. This was in broad daylight, in the town of Charlestown. It was raining hard at the time—a thing so common in Ireland that no one mentions it any more than they do the fact of the daily paper appearing each morning—and the unfortunate victim had an umbrella up, so the mob could not see his face. They shouted, 'Here's Hussey,' and tried to pull him off the car, but the parish priest stopped this. However, before he could reduce the villains to the fear of the Church, which does affect them more than the fear of the Law, they gave poor Nield a blow on the head, and, though he lived for six months, he never recovered.

Another time, when returning to his house in Mayo from Ballyhaunis, on a dark night, my son Maurice found a wall built, about eighteen inches high, across the road, for the express purpose of upsetting him. It was only by the grace of God—as they say in Kerry—and his own careful driving, that he was preserved.

In those same Land League times, my son was a prominent gentleman rider. At Abbeyfeale races he rode in a green jacket and won the race, which produced a lot of enthusiasm, the crowd not knowing who it was sporting the popular colour. They only heard it was my son after he had left the course, whereupon a mob rushed to the station, and the police had to stand four deep outside the carriage window to protect him, to say nothing of an extra guard at the station gates.

The cordiality of my fellow-countrymen also provided me with another disturbed night at Aghadoe, which I had leased from Lord Headley.

To quiet the apprehensions of my family, and also to relieve the mind of the D.I. from anxiety about my tough old self, there were always five police in the house, and two on sentry duty all night.

On this particular date, about two o'clock in the morning, we were aroused by hearing shots fired in the wood below the house, the plan of the miscreants being to draw the police away from the house. As this did not succeed, a second party began a counter demonstration in another quarter. The theory is that a third party wanted to approach the house from the back in the temporary absence of the constabulary, and disseminate the house, its contents, and the inhabitants into the air and the immediate vicinity by the gentle and persuasive influence of dynamite.

However, the police were not to be tricked, and soon the fellows, having grown apprehensive, or having exhausted all their ammunition, were heard driving off. Signs of blood were found on the road towards Beaufort next morning, so the attacking force suffered some inconvenience in return for giving us a bad night.

Lord Morris, among a group of acquaintances in Dublin, pointing to me, said:—

'That's the Jack Snipe who provided winter shooting for the whole of Kerry, and not one of them could wing him.'

'Mighty poor sport they got out of it,' I answered, 'and I have an even worse opinion of their capacity for accurate aiming than I have of their benevolent intentions.'

Other people know more of oneself than one does, and I was much interested to hear that, in this year of grace, the editor of the Daily Telegraph said of me:—

'Sam Hussey, yes, that's the famous Irishman they used to call "Woodcock" Hussey, because he was never hit, though often shot at.'

I always thought 'Woodcock' Carden had the monopoly of the epithet, but am proud to find I infringed his patent.

I was benevolently commended by a vituperative ink-slinger, Daniel O'Shea, in his letter to the Sunday Democrat in 1886, but none of those he blackguarded were in the least inconvenienced by 'the roll of his tongue,' as the saying is:—

'A vast number of the Irish have been heartlessly persecuted by the most despotic landlords of Ireland, such as Lord Kenmare, Herbert, Headley, Hussey, Winn, and the Marquis of Lansdowne, all of whom are Englishmen by birth, and consequently aliens in heart, despots by instinct, absentees by inclination, and always in direct opposition to the cause of Ireland. Poor-rate, town-rate, income-tax, are nothing less than wholesale robbery, and is it any wonder that some of the people who are thus oppressed should be driven to desperation? It is deplorable to learn that they should have had any cause to commit what are called "agrarian" crimes. Why not turn their attention to these landlords, the police, the travelling coercion magistrates, not forgetting the emergency men? These are the people to whom I would direct the attention of the men of Kerry.'

I have given a number of examples of how I have been genially appreciated in the hostile Press, but my family are of opinion that it would not be fair, considering how many kind things were published in loyal journals, not to render some tribute to them too. I was sincerely obliged when I received a good word, but, frankly, the bad ones amused me much more. However, I am not ungrateful, and I have specially prized one able description of my attitude which appeared in the Globe, the manly strain of the writing of which is in healthy contrast to the hysterical effusions tainted with adjectival mania of those who wanted me shot, but were too cowardly to fire at me themselves:—

'Mr. Hussey is admittedly fair and just in his dealings with his own tenants. But he is only just and fair, which, in the ethics of Irish agrarianism, is equivalent to being a rack-renter and a tyrant. He refuses to let his own land at whatever the tenants think well to pay for it. He persists, with exasperating obstinacy, in refusing to sacrifice the interests of the landlords for whom he acts. In short, Mr. Hussey is one of the most determined and formidable obstacles to the success of the Land League. While such men have the courage to face the agrarian conspiracy, that grand consummation of patriotic effort—the rooting out of landlordism—must be a somewhat tough and tedious business. He has lived in the midst of enemies, who would have murdered him if only they had the opportunity. His life, it may be safely said, has had no stronger security than his own ability to protect it.'

And yet some one ventured to call Irish land agents 'popularity-hunting scoundrels.'

'Popularity and getting in money were never on the same bush,' as I told Lord Kenmare, and if I had stopped to think how I should make myself popular, I should have bothered my head about what I did not care twopence for, and provided an even more easy target for firing at at short range.

Drifting from a man who paid no heed to scoundrels, I am led to allude to the attitude of a profession, the members of which profited by their amenities—I, of course, mean solicitors—because some one put a question to me on the subject only the other day.

My answer is, that none of the solicitors were in the Land League, and they did not instigate outrages; but they drew comfortable fees for defending the perpetrators.

Swindlers and murderers never agree, for they practise distinct professions.

We were fighting a Land War, and though I have kept back land questions as much as I can, in order not to weary the reader with what never wearies me, I have one or two examples to give which cannot be omitted if I am to portray the true facts.

My firm was agent for an estate in Castleisland, the rent of which, in 1841, was L2300. I exhibited the rental, showing only three quarters in arrear. By 1886 it was cut down by the Commissioners to L 1800, and the landlord sold it for L30,000, for which the tenants used to pay four per cent, for forty-nine years, to cover principal and interest.

There was a tenant on that estate named Dennis Coffey. He took a farm at L105 a year; the Commissioners reduced that rent to L80. He purchased it for L1440—eighteen years' purchase, for which his son has L42 a year for forty-nine years. The father had purchased a farm for fee-simple of equal value for L3000, which he left to two others of his sons. So that one son, by paying half what he had covenanted to pay, and which he could pay, gets a farm equal in value to what his father paid L3000 in hard cash for. The man who is paying rent has his farm well stocked; the others are paupers, and one died in the poorhouse.

That may belong to to-day, and not to the period of outrage with which I have been dealing; but it duly points the moral, and is the outcome of those times.

At the Boyle Board of Guardians in 1887, upon a discussion over the Kilronan threatened evictions, Mr. Stuart said:—

'There was one of these men arrested by the police. His rent was L4, 12s. 6d., and, when arrested, a deposit-receipt for L220 was found in his pocket.'

This case had been freely cited at home and in America as a typical instance of the ruthless tyranny of Irish landlords.

My friend and neighbour, Mr. Arthur Blennerhassett, addressed the following letter to Mr. W.E. Gladstone, then Prime Minister:—

'Sir—I beg respectfully to call your attention to the following statement. In 1866, Judge Longfield conveyed to my uncle, under what was called an indefeasible title, the lands of Inch East, Ardroe and Inch Island, and previous to the sale, Judge Longfield caused them to be valued by Messrs. Gadstone and Ellis, and in the face of the rental, he certified that the fair letting value of Inch East and Ardroe was L230, and that the fair letting value of Inch Island was L75, now in hand. On the strength of will, my uncle purchased the lands valued at L305 for L6200, and your sub-Commissioners have just reduced the rental of Inch East and Ardroe at the rate of from L230 to L170 a year.

I therefore request you will be pleased to take some steps to recoup me for the L60 a year I have lost by the action of the Government, and I may say this can be partially done by abandoning the quit rent and tithe rent charge, amounting to L34, 5s. 4d., which I am now forced by the Government to pay without any reduction.

A. BLENNERHASSETT.'

The Right Honourable W.E. Gladstone.

The oracle of Hawarden was as dumb to this as to my effusion to a similar purport already mentioned. Not even the proverbial postcard was sent to Tralee, so the verbosity of Mr. Gladstone was strangely checked when he found himself pinned down to facts by Irish landlords.

Whilst landlords and their families were literally starving, and agents were collecting what they could at the peril of their lives, the real land-grabbers, the no-renters, were accumulating money, and investing it in land.

I sent the following series of sales to the Times to show the real value of land:—

(1) The interest on Lord Granard's estate, the valuation of which was five guineas, was sold for L280, and the fee-simple subsequently bought for L80.

(2) On one of his own farms for which the tenant paid L65 annual rent, the tenant's interest fetched L750 and auction fees.

(3) A farm at Curraghila, near Tralee, annual rent L70, Poor Law valuation, L51, 10s., area stat. 73 acres. The tenant's interest was sold for L700.

(4) Tenant's interest on a farm in County Tipperary, on Lord Normanton's estate, at yearly rent of L30, was sold for L600, and the fee-simple purchased for L450.

(5) Tenant's interest at Breaing, near Castleisland, held at the annual rent of L51, 10s., was sold for L550.

(6) At Abbeyfeale, County Kerry, tenant of a small farm, at annual rent of twenty-four shillings, sold his interest for L55.

All the sales, save the Tipperary one, were in a district in which, prior to the Land Act of 1881, tenant-right was unknown.

Poetry is always congenial to an Irishman, probably because it has licences almost as great as he likes to take, and has a vague, irresponsible way of putting things, much akin to his own methods.

Here are some lines from the 'Irish Tenant's Song' which express a good deal of the popular emotion:—

Oh, Parnell, dear, and did you hear the news that's going round? The landlords are forbid by law to live on Irish ground. No more their rent-days they may keep, nor agents harsh distrain, The widow need no longer weep, for over is their reign. I met with mighty Gladstone, and he took me by the hand, And he said, 'Hurrah for Ireland! 'tis now the happy land. 'Tis a most delightful country that I for you have made—You may shoot the landlord through the head who asks that rent be paid.' We care not for the agent, nor do we care for those Who come upon us to distrain—we pay them back in blows. And when hopeless, helpless, ruined, these landlords vile shall roam, We'll hunt and hound them from the roofs they've held so long as home.

I don't say that was sung in Castleisland, but it might have been the local hymn and verbal companion to the brutal misdeeds of the benighted inhabitants.

As if matters were not bad enough, that Apostle of outrage Mr. Michael Davitt came to Castleisland on February 21, 1886, and in a pestilential speech, inciting to crime, he showed that, at all events, he appreciated that for sheer blackness and turpitude Kerry was bad to beat. He said:—

'For some time past Kerry has attracted more attention for the occurrences which have been taking place here, than the whole remainder of Ireland put together. I am not without hope that henceforth, until the battle with landlordism and Dublin Castle is triumphantly over, the people of Kerry will be towers of strength to the national cause. The hope of Irish landlordism is now centred in Kerry. Elsewhere it has none, it is a social rinderpest, since the National League was started 1600 families have been turned out in this one county.'

Captain M'Calmont in the House of Commons, three weeks afterwards, called attention to Mr. Baron Dowse's address to the Grand Jury of the County of Kerry in which he stated:—

'That this county is in a very much worse state than it has been for years: that there are no less than three hundred offences specially reported to the constabulary since the Assizes of 1885, consisting of two cases of murder, eighteen cases of letters threatening to murder, thirty-nine cases of cattle, horse, and sheep stealing, eleven cases of arson, eighteen cases of maiming cattle, fifty-two cases of seizing arms, seventy-four cases of sending threatening letters, and twenty-four cases of intimidation.'

You will observe that this is the same picture from two different points of view.

Almost the worst case in which I was personally interested, was that of the Cruickshank family.

The father, an industrious, respectable, elderly Scotsman, supported his family at Inch by the proceeds of a rabbit-warren which he rented. He had no farm, and therefore might expect to live in peace, even in Kerry, in those times; but, as he was a Scotch Protestant, and had arms, he was a marked man.

Having been threatened, he was partially guarded by the police who patrolled the district. However, in April 1885, when the Prince of Wales visited Ireland, and the constabulary from country districts were drafted into the towns through which he had to pass, a number of disguised Nationalists entered Cruickshank's house at night. They gave him a frightful beating, even breaking a gun on his head, which was seriously injured. This was done in the presence of his wife and daughters, and of a young son who, with one of his sisters, went off in the night to a police station four miles distant, to obtain assistance for his father.

Between the fight and the chill received that night, the boy fell into a decline of which he died in May 1886. One daughter, not strong at the time of the outrage, became a chronic invalid. The father, as soon as he was able to move after the perpetration, applied for compensation under the Crimes Act, but as it was then to expire in about a fortnight, the Lord-Lieutenant refused to consider the case. The poor fellow continued to suffer from the wounds on his head, and so affected was he by the shock of his son's death, that he became insensible and only survived him a few weeks, leaving his widow and three daughters without any means of support.

My wife and the former Archdeacon of Ardfert appealed for subscriptions and obtained L120, which enabled the unfortunate survivors to return to Scotland.

That was the settlement of the land question that suited the Nationalists, namely, to cause the death of the head of the family, and to get the rest out of the country. It did not say much for the civilisation of the nineteenth century, but after the brutalities of the spring of 1871 in Paris, there can be no doubt how thin is the veneer over the barbarity of even the most civilised; those deeds were perpetrated in the heart of the European capital specially devoted to amusement: what I describe took place in the most distant portion of Europe, where Nature is lovely and man, alas, the creature of impulse, the prey of those who lead him into the worst temptations.

Another settlement was suggested by an anonymous writer who concealed his identity under the pseudonym of Saxon. He observed:—

'Two hundred millions of English money are now (1886) to be spent buying out Irish landlords, but would it not be surely better and more in accordance with reason and justice to buy out the tenants? At a very low calculation, two hundred millions would put a couple of hundred pounds in every Irishman's pocket, and there is not one of them that would refuse to leave his beloved country, and bless America or Australia on these terms. The island could be populated with Scotch and English settlers, and our difficulties be at an end. The Irish must not have their own loaf and ours too. I commend this scheme to Messrs. Gladstone and Morley. It is quite as just, quite as reasonable, and more forcible than their own.'

Hear, hear! say I, but our grandchildren's grandchildren when grey old men will still be trying to settle the Irish question, which can never be settled until there arises a big man strong enough to force his will on the Empire and fortunate enough to be able to hand over the reins of political dictatorship to an equally enlightened and powerful successor.

It is hopeless to expect Irish matters to go well, when the balance of parties in the House of Commons is held by hirelings and traitors, men who debase patriotism and would to-day encourage outrage as much as they did in 1884, if it was worth their mercenary while.

I had a word to write myself a year later to Mr. T. Harrington, who thought he could tell as many lies about me as suited his own purpose, and I addressed my reply, published on August 29, 1887, to the Editor of the Times. It ran as follows:—

'Sir—I have just read the speech of Mr. T. Harrington in the debate on Mr. Gladstone's motive relating to the proclamation of the National League, in which he states that I invented and gave to Mr. Balfour the particulars of the boycotting of Justin M'Carthy. I beg you will allow me to state that I never wrote to Mr. Balfour, or to any member of the Government, on that or any subject. Had I supplied the information, I would have mentioned some facts which Mr. Balfour omitted, for instance, that a man named Andrew Griffin was nearly murdered because he brought provisions to Justin M'Carthy, that four men were put on their trial for the outrage, but notwithstanding a plain charge from the judge, the jury, fearing the vengeance of the League, acquitted the prisoners. I would also mention a fact that would seem almost incredible to your English Catholic readers, that the old man cannot attend his place of worship without being hissed at in the church, and that his aged wife, while partaking of the sacrament of the Holy Communion, was hissed at and jeered. These things can be proved on oath, and are not to be set aside by frothy declamation. Neither can the fact be disproved that one of the offences for which Justin M'Carthy has suffered was that he purchased his farm from me under Lord Ashbourne's Act, a proceeding which (as it is likely to settle down the country) is considered a deadly crime; and for committing the same offence another man in the same barony had his cows stabbed.

Your obedient servant, S.M. HUSSEY.'

There is yet another case I cannot forbear from handing on to a generation that knows no outrages nearer home than Macedonia. Six ruffians, having their faces covered with handkerchiefs, and armed with heavy cudgels, entered the house of a farmer named Lambe and began to beat him. To save his head from the blows, he ran the upper part of his body up the chimney and held on by the cross-bar. His wife, on coming to his assistance, was beaten so severely that her skull was fractured, while an aged female—stated to be in her ninety-seventh year—was not only roughly handled, but also beaten. A most discreditable episode indeed, in a land formerly renowned for respect for womanhood, and for the warm-hearted generosity of her sons.

In only one instance in Kerry was police protection being regarded as necessary up to the present summer, and all who know the contemporary condition of affairs will at once recollect that Mrs. Morrogh Bernard is the lady in question.

The late Mr. Edward Morrogh Bernard of Fahagh Court, Bullybrack, was a Roman Catholic, who had resided in Kerry all his life, and some five-and-twenty years ago he built on his property the residence in which he died in the spring of 1904. He and his wife, an English lady, who was justly beloved for her wide charity, were one night, after dinner, sitting in their drawing-room, when a party of masked moonlighters walked in. One of them held a pistol to her head, and told her not to scream or move, else he would shoot her. Another performed the same kindly office for Mr. Bernard, whilst the rest ransacked the house for arms and money.

Mrs. Bernard noticed that the hands of the man who was threatening her with violence were not those of an agricultural labourer, because they were small and white. On the strength of this clue, the police arrested a little tailor in the village, and she courageously identified him in court, though every possible pressure was brought on her not to do so. He was sentenced to several years' imprisonment, and his friends vowed they would make it hot for Mrs. Bernard, and ever after she has been protected by two or three constables. The police did not live in Fahagh Court, but in a hut specially built for them a few yards off, and at night they always came into the house. To the very last days of Mr. Bernard's life whenever he and she went to pay a call on a neighbour, two policemen followed them either on a car or on bicycles, and I have never heard any reasons advanced to show that these precautions were superfluous.

Meeting this little party on the highway was the only thing in the twentieth century which brought home to the British tourist the terrible deeds which blackened Kerry in the eighties.

I have always looked on the light side of life, even when it has seemed blackest, and so I will not close this chapter without a more cheery anecdote.

There was a good deal of friction among Land Leaguers over the amount of relief money and other remuneration doled out by the rebel authorities. This seldom reached a more droll pitch than in the complaint of a girl at Rossbeigh, who wrote to a prominent member of Parliament—since deceased—that another girl had been awarded a pound for booing at a sergeant, 'while I, who broke a policeman's head, never got so much as would pay for a candle to the Blessed Virgin.'

Sometimes the crafty Paddy utilised the agitation for his own purposes, as the following example will prove.

A farmer's house was fired into, but no one could tell the reason why, for he had not paid any rent and was a good Land Leaguer. He was asked if he could account for it himself, and after some shuffling under promise of strict secrecy, made the following revelation.

'Well, it was this way, I married a dacent girl from the North, and all went well with us until her mother came along, and she had the divil's own tongue, and nothing could get her out of the house. I would say "the North has fine air, would not a change back there get you your health?"

'To which the old Biddy would reply:—

'"Where would I live except with my only daughter and her husband?"

'And this sort of thing made me desperate, and I promised the "bhoys" five shillings if they would fire round the house on a certain night. On the evening that had been agreed upon, I began reading on the paper how farms in Castleisland were being fired into, and the old woman said that if these things were so, County Kerry was worse than County Cork, and I thought to myself "maybe you'll find it so, you ould divil."

'Well, they came and did their work in grand style after we had gone to bed, and there was the mother-in-law screeching and bawling, and every hour too long for her until daylight, when I put her in the cart and drove her to the station.'

The sequel is that the couple left to themselves lived happily ever after, a thing more likely to happen to people in England and Ireland, if it was no one's business to make bad blood between them.



CHAPTER XXII

COMMISSIONS

I have probably given evidence to as many Commissions as any living man, for I have been before seven, and never once was asked a question that posed me.

I enjoyed the experience of being asked about what I knew by those who knew nothing on the subject, and if the legal mind was a little more obtuse than the civil, well, it was only the choice between a grey donkey and a black.

The earliest Commission I gave evidence before was one on Agriculture. Professor Bohnamy Price was one of the Commissioners, and he knew what he was talking about, others being Lord Carlingford, the Duke of Buccleuch, and the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, who presided. The peers were all used to big parks, obsequious bailiffs, and huge demesnes. I think they metaphorically picked up their coat tails and stepped carefully away from the Irish potato patches and acres of turf.

It was alleged that prosperity of nations was a good deal owing to tenant-right.

'I do not think so,' said I, 'because Donegal and Kerry have approximately the same value and area, same number of miles of road and sea frontage. There is extreme tenant-right in Donegal and none in Kerry, yet the prosperity of the farmers in Kerry is extremely superior to those of Donegal.'

'There is too much tenant-right in Donegal,' said Mr. Chichester Fortescue, who was examining me.

'Not if it is a good thing,' I replied, 'for then you could not have too much.'

Mr. Shaw Lefevre's Commission on the housing of the working classes in Ireland was very uninteresting. 'Oxen are stalled, pigs are styed or take possession of the cabin, but what is done for the Irish labourers?' asked a passionate mob-orator, and in many cases it might have been answered that a good deal more has been done for them than the idle ruffians deserve. I had no difficulty in showing that landlords were always willing to give assistance in housing labourers, and when an ex-mayor of Cork on the Commission seemed to doubt my assertions, I might have retorted that though he was used to factory hands, yet he had never bothered himself how they lived out of work time.

The Duke of Devonshire was on this board. He has obtained his great and honourable reputation by conscientiously slumbering through many duties. His tastes are for racing and shooting, but from sheer patriotism he has devoted himself to politics with all the energy of his lethargic manner, which successfully conceals abnormal common-sense. It was he, more than any other man, who saved Ireland from Home Rule, though as an Irish landlord he has not come much to the fore, because his vast English estates are immeasurably more important than those situated round Lismore. This picturesque town was once called the abode of saints, but only antiquarians remember that its university was once so important that Alfred the Great went there to study, and that in the old castle Henry II held a Parliament. The Cavendishs rebuilt the latter, and both in appearance and position it much resembles Warwick Castle. It has not very many bedrooms, and when the King was first expected, among various extensive alterations, a bathroom was put up. The Duke has generally visited Lismore twice a year, and has never stood unduly on his dignity, but been approachable by all, and reasonable about everything, which has also been characteristic of his political views.

Lord Bessborough presided over a Commission on Irish Land Laws. He was a very kind, very lean man, who was wont in old age to walk about London wrapped in a black cape, and was idolised at Harrow, where twenty generations of boys knew him and his brothers and valued their unabated interest in school cricket. Baron Dowse, a judge I have already mentioned, the O'Conor Don, and Mr. Shaw, were the members who put questions to me. I remember the O'Conor Don was much impressed when I mentioned I had made six tours in Scotland, and had been in Holland, in Belgium, in France, in Germany, in Italy, and just before in Spain, to inquire into the state of agriculture. I said that if a man persisted in farming badly I would serve him with notice to quit even if he paid his rent, and I pointed out that there were three hundred thousand occupiers of land in Ireland whose holdings were under L8 Poor Law valuation, and these occupiers, when their potatoes fail, have nothing to fall back upon but relief work, starvation, or emigration, and I further laid before the Commission a purchase scheme. There would be twenty years' purchase-money to be lent by the State, two years' purchase to be found by the tenant and two years more at the end of ten years. Thus the landlord would get a price for his property that would induce him to sell (reductions had not then been wholesale) and the tenant would get a lease for ever with abolition of rent at the end of thirty-five years by paying a fine of two years' rent down and two more at the end of ten years.

They would not have it. Who ever expected that Justice would lift the bandage from her eyes for the sake of fair play to the landlord?

Lord Salisbury had a Commission on the working of the Land Act of 1881. Lord Dunraven, Lord Pembroke, and Lord Cairns were on it, the latter being chairman. He was so austere that, when he was made Lord Chancellor, it was said he had swallowed the mace and could not digest it. His law may have been profound, but it was never relieved by a gleam of humour, and his ecclesiastical proclivities were of the lowest Church type. For some time he nominated Tory bishops, and it was declared he was so evangelical that he would have suggested any clergyman for a vacant bishopric who promised to forego the ecclesiastical gaiters. His horror of Anthony Trollope's novels was notorious, especially his dislike of Mrs. Proudie and her attendant divines.

I said the working of the Land Act was ruin to Irish landlords, and cited a case. A Kerry gentleman had an estate of L1200 rent roll, with a mortgage of L8000 which involved charges of L400 a year, a jointure tithes and head rent took L400 more. The Commissioners by so cutting down the rent by L400 made a clean sweep of what that landlord had to live on. Fortunately, he had his mother's fortune of L40,000, which his grandfather had wisely provided should not be invested in Irish lands, having, in fact, established a contingency in case his grandson should be dispossessed of the property he had held for generations, by a Government truckling to blustering 'no-renters.'

Before Lord Cowper's Commission on the same subject, I said much the same thing over again and realised that Royal Commissions are most valuable for the purpose of shelving pregnant topics. The only good derived from these official inquiries is that the witnesses get their expenses and the Government printers have a lucrative contract.

There is a story told of a witness who was being brought over to London to give evidence.

'Patrick,' said the priest, 'you'll be having to mind what you're saying over there. Perjury won't help you no more than I can, my poor fellow.'

'What happens if I get a bit wide of the truth then, father?'

'You won't get your expenses, my son.'

'Holy Mother, to think of that! I'll be so careful that I won't know how many legs the blessed pig has that's round the cabin all day long.'

Sir Edward Fry's Commission had none of the tinsel of big names nor the tawdriness of aristocratic apathy. Sir Edward meant to find the truth, and so did his colleagues—all practical men. What they did was to strike against the hard rock of party government which was too adamant to receive the evidence sown by these gardeners. Dr. Anthony Traill, who was one of the Commissioners, has in this very year of grace been made Provost of Trinity, and from what I saw of him I am certain he will be the apostle of fair play between undergraduates and dons.

I answered over five hundred questions and rammed home one or two points. For instance, I expressed my disapproval of a system by which a man who is a sub-Commissioner at the hearing on the first term may become the Court valuer on the next.

In valuation, it is wrong that men from the north should be sent to value in the south, or vice versa, and to prove that I cited the example of my tenant, Anne Delane. Her rent was fixed first term in 1883 for L34, 10s. In 1896, for second term, the sub-Commissioner fixed it at L23, 10s., and on appeal it was raised to L25. Mr. O'Shaughnessy, who was one of the sub-Commissioners on the first term, acted as a Court valuer on the second. On the first time he allowed L103, 6s. 9d. for drains and buildings, and on the second omitted it.

In the case of Hoffman, who held a farm at a rent of L30, I reduced it to L20 in 1881. In 1896 he went into court, and the County Court judge reduced it to L15, and on appeal he got it again reduced to L13.

On land which came into my own hands after 1881, I was able to get rents over 50 per cent. in excess of those fixed by the sub-Commissioners. In the case of Patrick Quill, the farm on which the rent was cut down from L20 to L16 was sold for L300 with a charge of L9 on it.

In the case of Michael Callaghan, Colonel Hickson expended L300 and Callaghan L100 on the farm, for which the rent was L70, and he sold his interest for L700.

This perpetual wrangling and litigation is ruinous, for every man is farming down his land and letting it deteriorate as fast as he can; and there is a most marked difference in the county between those who have bought their land and those who are tenants. When a judicial rent was fixed and a tenant came into Court for a second judicial rent, I think the landlord should have been at liberty to stop him by tendering the farmer twenty years' purchase; that would give him a reduction of 20 per cent, and make him a proprietor in the course of time.

In 1850 at Milltown Fair, yearlings were selling for 30s. apiece. The same cattle now are selling for L5, and Kerry is a great stock-breeding country.

It is very hard to define a landlord, and you will hear of some being landlords who do not get a shilling from their estates. Under these circumstances they would be like the fox in AEsop's fable who had lost his own tail.

To show how the Land Act works, on the Harenc estate I was offered twenty-seven years' purchase before the Act for a holding, and at the time of the Commission they offered me sixteen years' purchase on two-thirds of the rent.

One other Commission besides that of the Times remains to be mentioned. Lord Balfour of Burleigh, a dour Scot with a lot of gumption in his head, was chairman of one on Imperial versus local taxation. My easy task was to show the excess of the latter in Kerry, which is the highest taxed county in the three kingdoms.

When a man thinks of the vast amount of information buried beyond all probable excavation in the Blue Books of the last fifty years, he may well break into Carlyle-like diatribes against the waste of the whole thing—which is paid for out of the taxpayer's pocket.

Alluding to all these Commissions reminds me that there were three Land Commissioners—Mr. Bewlay, who was very deaf; Mr. FitzGerald, who was rather hasty; and Mr. Wrench, who consistently absented himself to attend the Congested Board.

So they were respectively, though not respectfully, called, 'The judge who could not hear, the judge who would not hear, and the judge who is not here.' This was one of the witticisms of my clever friend, Mr. Robert Martin—'Bally-hooley'-one of the very few men who can write a good Irish song, and sing it well, into the bargain.

I appeared in the witness-box in the case of O'Donnell v. the Times. I suppose people buy newspapers to obtain information, or else to get a pennyworth of lies to induce equanimity in bearing the income-tax, the weather, and all other ills that an unnatural Government is responsible for; and I further suppose a halfpenny paper has to condense its inaccuracies, and serve them up in tabloid form for mental indigestion. However, that is as it may be; anyhow, I had a hearty laugh at the Star, which wrote:—

'A look round the Court again this morning brought the strange impression which one now always feels on entering the Court. The space is so comparatively small, but one feels as though it were all Ireland in microcosm. You see representatives of every class in the terrible conflict of war, of rival passions, hatred, and traditions. This man with the large nose, the large and disfigured face, is Mr. Hussey, and those scars that you see, and the distortion of the features, are perchance marks left by some desperate and homicidal tenant avenging his wrongs.'

That 'perchance' is good, considering my riding misadventure in County Cork, of which I gave an account earlier.

As for the Parnell Commission, it was the outcome of superb patriotism on the part of the Times. That great organ, in the spirit of purest devotion to the best interests of England and Ireland, honestly attempted to expose treachery, and to denounce treason. Hundreds of columns of the valuable space at their daily disposal, as well as thousands of pounds earned by the highest journalism of any country, were freely lavished in this tremendous denunciation, known as 'Parnellism and Crime.' The crime of Pigott eventually saved Parnell and his followers. But the last word on that has not yet been spoken. Another pen than mine may, perchance before long, tell the whole truth about that tragic episode, and explain what is still an unsolved riddle in all dispassionate minds. Without challenging and exciting the strongest racial prejudices, it will be impossible to lift the veil, and I have no intention of affording even the slightest preliminary peep behind the scenes of that dramatic affair. The wheels of God grind slowly, and they ground exceeding small almost before the absurd exultation of Nationalist relief over the Pigott episode had abated. It is almost time to treat the whole affair from the historical point of view, and then the idol of Home Rule will be pulverised. However, that is another story in which I have no chapter to write.

My own share in the Parnell Commission was on November 29, 1888, on the twenty-third day. I was examined by the Attorney-General, the present Lord Chief Justice, and the most popular and most honourable of men. At that very time, I have heard, he sang each Sunday in the surpliced choir of a Kensington church, and I suppose he is the very best chairman of a committee or of a public meeting of our own or any other time. A Parnellite once said he had the unctuousness of a retired grocer, but was contradicted by a more reverent English Radical, who said, 'No, he has the unction of grace,' whereas, the truth is, he has the platform manner with him always.

I told the Court I had been a Kerry magistrate for the previous thirty-seven years, and, after deposing to the earlier state of my property, I insisted that moonlighting and 'land-grabbing' were unknown terms before 1880. My examination under the Attorney-General was, in fact, too practical and useful to provide amusement for latter day readers.

My cross-examination was begun by Sir Charles Russell, who led off with a sneer about my being the most popular man in the county, and, when I adhered to other statements, he added, 'Well, a very popular man. I will not put you on too high a pinnacle.' (Laughter.) Then for an hour and a half he plied me with the best balanced statistical questions I ever heard put in a hostile spirit, and without a note I could answer every one. After considerable hesitation I admitted on consideration that there was in Kerry one farmer benefiting by the Act of 1870. I have never heard since that he was caught and exhibited as the solitary outward and visible sign of the inward and legal benefit of the legislative force of Imperial Parliament.

Mr. Lockwood, to whom, as artist, I had been serving as a model, evidently preferred to handle me with pencil rather than with questions, for he was almost as brief as Mr. Reid. It is my view that they both had consigned me to petrification under Sir Charles Russell, and finding me alive and kicking, thought me too tough to expire under such coups de grace as they could inflict.

We came to banter when Mr. Michael Davitt suggested that the young men of Castleisland took part in nocturnal raids because there was no such social inducement to keep them quiet, as a music-hall or a theatre; but I told him there ought to have been no inducement to them to shoot their neighbours, and that Castleisland was past redemption.

He blandly alluded to my popularity with the tenants before 1880; but I only said that I got on fairly well with them, for I do not think that any agent was ever really popular.

'Relatively?' insidiously.

'Yes.'

Then came this curious question, put with a gentleness that would have aroused the suspicion of a babe:—

'Did you ever say, in reply to a question put to you by Mr. Townsend Trench as to why you were not shot, that you had told the tenants that if anything happened to you he would succeed you as agent?'

'Yes, I did say so; but it is not original, because it is what Charles II. said to James II.'

This historic reference, which elicited laughter in Court, did not seem intelligible to my questioner, but some better informed person probably soon quoted it to him:—

'Depend on it, brother James, they will never shoot me to make you king.'

From the kid-glove amenities of Mr. Davitt to the aggressive harshness of Mr. Biggar was a sharp contrast. He heckled me vigorously, and I retorted to him pretty hotly. A great deal had been expected of this cross-examination, but the general opinion was that I gave rather better than I received. Coolness is the despair of cross-examiners, and I think mine made more impression on the Court than the impulsiveness of a dozen inaccurate Nationalists.

Mr. Biggar asked:—

'You said you were popular in the district up to 1880?'

I retorted with emphasis:—

'I never had a serious threat until you mentioned my name in Castleisland, and then people told me, 'Get police protection at once, or you will be shot!'

That made the Court laugh. Mr. Biggar did not appreciate the humour. He returned to the charge viciously:—

'Did not some of your sympathisers light a bonfire in 1878 at Castleisland on account of the triumphs of your buying the Harenc estate? and did not the population of Castleisland, who knew your character, scatter that bonfire, and put it out?'

'I heard they had a row over it. There were nine bonfires lighted in Kerry after I succeeded. I was fairly popular until you held up my name as a subject for murder in Castleisland. You said Hussey might be a very bad man, but you would take care of one thing—that if any person was charged with shooting him, or any other agent, they would be defended, which meant they would be paid.'

Mr. Biggar did not appear to relish the line he was on, and shunted to another topic; but he could not shake my view that the rents of 1880 were, on the average, twenty-five per cent. lower than in 1840.

'You bought the Harenc estate over the heads of the tenants?'

'No, I did not.'

'You spoke about an address which you received from the tenants when you were a candidate for Tralee?'

'Yes.'

Then, with the snarl of a wild beast, Mr. Biggar blurted out:—

'Have you any idea whether this was got up by the bailiffs on your property?'

'I am quite certain it was not, because I had no bailiffs on the property. I gave an immense deal of employment, and I believe that had something to do with it.'

Mr. Biggar presently sat down, having made less of me than he and his friends hoped.

On re-examination, the Attorney-General observed:—

'You say one of the bonfires, lighted when you succeeded, was put out. I suppose the Irish people are not very averse to a row at times?'

'Oh no.'

'And bonfires do produce rows at times?'

'Certainly.'

'Your popularity did not depend on one bonfire?'

'No.'

Nor did my life, fortunately, depend on the good will of Messrs. Parnell, Biggar, and their associates.

With reference to my freedom in telling the truth, an application was made against me, in July 1891, for an attachment of the Land Court. It ended abortively, and permitted me to continue with perfect impunity to give in letters to the Times evidence I was debarred from giving in Court.

I certainly did not miss a chance of pointing out the proper path to the Commissioners, and I have taken an even affectionate interest in every department of the Land Commission. Sarcastically, a Home Rule paper politely christened me as the fatherly patron of the Court, and informed me that my own conscience had given up communication with me, in consequence of the many snubs it had received.

The intimate knowledge of my most private affairs that this purports to represent proves the empty-headedness of the writer, and when he added that the strong indictment rebounded off my hide because I had heard myself a hundred times denounced in language equally eloquent, I can only agree that he was a mere lisping babe in comparison with some adjectival denunciators who, to their regret, find I am still alive and equal to them all.



CHAPTER XXIII

LATER DAYS

With advancing years comes a change in the point of view, for anticipation contracts even more than retrospect expands. Associates of early days have passed away, and where I was once one of a battalion, to-day I am only a survivor of the old guard. This is not a cause for sadness, but an incentive to take the best of what remains of life, though at times chills and other ills, including doctors, drugs, and income-tax, do their best to depress the survivor. It has been said to be a characteristic of Irish humour that tears are very near the laughter, and sometimes the unshed tears over lost opportunities must be the chief bitterness of age—one which I have been mercifully spared.

After all, youth may round the world away, as Charles Kingsley wrote; but when the wheels are run down, to find at home the face I loved when all was young is the blessing of life, and when, at our golden wedding, our children called us Darby and Joan, I am sure my wife and I were quite willing to answer to the names.

This was happiness very different to that of George IV., who, when the death of Napoleon was announced to him in the words:—

'Sir, your great enemy is dead,' exclaimed:—

'Is she? By Gad!' thinking it was his wife.

I remember an amusing case that occurred in our own family. One of my kith and kin, who had been married in the year of the battle of Waterloo, died at the ripe old age of a hundred and three.

There was a faithful old fellow on the estate who was much attached to her, and this was his view, just before her end:—

'I am sorry to hear the old mistress is dying, very sorry indeed, for she's been a good mistress to us all. Maybe if she had taken snuff she'd have lived to a good old age,' which suggests wonder as to what his conception of longevity really was. Probably the famous Countess of Desmond, who died from the effects of a fall from a cherry-tree in her one hundred and fortieth year, would have satisfied him.

I have already observed that much of my later years has been spent, much against my will, in London, and no portion of this period was so satisfactory to me as my friendship with Mr. J.A. Froude, which I regard as one of the privileges of my life.

My first acquaintance with him was in consequence of reading his English in Ireland, which I found so accurate and informative that I wrote to ask him for an interview. I came to like him very much, not only because he was the most gifted writer I have met, but also because he understood Ireland better than any other Englishman.

My first conversation with him was in his house in Onslow Gardens, and there I very frequently sat for hours with him, and he also presented me with copies of all his books, with an autograph letter on the fly-leaf of each. I think the recent Land Purchase Act, having been followed by increased agitation for Home Rule in Ireland, bears out what he said about the folly of trying to reconcile the irreconcilables, and also bears out what Lord Morris called the 'criminal idiotcy' of attempting to satisfy eighty Irish members, forty of whom would have to starve directly they were satisfied.

So far as I am aware, Mr. Froude never contemplated standing for Parliament, which would not have been a congenial atmosphere for him, though I am convinced he would have made more mark at Westminster than his friend Mr. Lecky, whom I never had the pleasure of meeting.

People to-day seem to regard Mr. Froude simply as the Boswell of Carlyle, and, forgetting his own great services to historical literature, degrade him to the mere chronicler of the bilious sage of Chelsea. This is absolutely a distortion of fact, and one calculated to do injury to the memory of both these famous men. Therefore it may be of real utility to state that during my long and very intimate acquaintance with Mr. Froude, he never mentioned the name of Carlyle to me but once, and that was to describe a conversation between Lord Wolseley and Carlyle, which dealt with the contemporary situation in Ireland. There was, therefore, nothing to show me that my friend 'was utterly absorbed in the Carlyles, and had no thought for any one else.' On the contrary, he was a man full of keen interests, of which they were only one, and, as far as I saw, an entirely subordinate one. He was a broad-minded man, who hated petty misconception or a narrow view of anything, and he would have been horrified at the prurient indecency with which the most private affairs of the Carlyles have been exposed and distorted to please a public which really has a higher moral tone than is possessed by those who have gibbeted the defenceless dead.

Mr. Froude was not addicted to talking much about his own works, but I remember his telling me that Oceana had paid him best of them all, and I think his view therein that the colonies will recede from England when they are strong enough, following the example of the United States, is accurate. Just tax Canada as Ireland has been taxed, and see how long the Canadians will be contented. The ministers of George III. tried that policy on the United States with the result that, before many years, George had to receive the Plenipotentiary Minister of dominions over which he himself had once reigned. It is absurd to compare Ireland with Yorkshire, as has been done, for Ireland once had a separate Parliament, and the Union was a matter of agreement, the outcome of which was that Mr. Childers's Commission found she was taxed three millions more than she should have been. The colonies are on the alert, with all the rather irritable uppishness of youth on the verge of manhood, and their younger generations are sure to take full advantage of any tactless conduct of the British Government. Such was Froude's view, and nothing has happened since his death to shake its inherent probability. The waves of Imperial patriotism in war time go for very little, for Ireland is admittedly disloyal, and yet Irish soldiers and Irish regiments were absolutely the most successful in South Africa.

When the Government was introducing some quack measure into Ireland, Froude wrote to me:—

'I see they are putting some fresh sticks under the Irish pot, so it will soon boil over.'

Which it did, with a vengeance.

To the end of his days Froude was a great reader, but his interest in Church affairs and in ecclesiastical differences had completely died away. He told me that the most accurate man of business of any period was Philip of Spain, and that his notes and memoranda were a marvel of practical aptitude. He derived the chief information for his History of England from Spanish despatches, and would to-day have benefited considerably by the translations of Major Martin Hume.

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