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parts of the Report. They distinctly have proved that the agrarian crime, which, Mr. Gladstone significantly said, “dogged the Land League" wherever it appeared, was not to be attributed in any large degree, either to the distress of the Irish peasantry, or to evictions inflicted by Irish landlords, or to the rejection of the remedial measure of 1880, or to the operation of secret societies; and they find that “the increase of “ agrarian crime from 1879 to 1882, though not exclusively “to be ascribed to the agitation, was mainly due to the “ action of the Land League, its founders and leaders." To this I would add a striking fact, conclusive, if other proof were wanting; distress and evictions largely prevailed in 'Protestant Ulster throughout this period, if secret societies did not exist; but Protestant Ulster repelled the Land League, and there was no agrarian disorder within its bounds. Another finding of the judges is here important: and I commend it to the sentimental persons who swallow League falsehoods about Irish landlords, and run over to Donegal striving to witness dramatic scenes got up to illustrate the “ exile of a down“trodden peasantry.” “That the landlords in such “ circumstances should oppose the League, and resort to “the only weapon they had for their protection, viz., “ eviction, is not to be wondered at, and, in our judgment, “ the increase in evictions which began in 1879 and con“ tinued during the subsequent years, was the result of the “ agitation against the landlords."
The fourth charge is that the accused Members “ dissemi“ nated the Irish World and other newspapers tending to “ incite to sedition and the commission of other crime.” The movement, we have seen, had a double aspect; it had a political and a social side ; it was treasonable, and aimed at destroying Property. To effect their purpose the leaders “ spread the light” that streamed from the studio of
Patrick Ford, apostle of incendiary fire and dynamite; and published the Irishman and United Ireland, Irish imitations of the evangel of Hébert, and of the abominations of the Pere Duchéne. We quote a few of these detestable passages. The Irish World proposed to lay London in ashes; and this has been a tradition since 1798 :—
“ Our Irish skirmishers would be well disguised; they would enter London " unknown and unnoticed. When the night for action came—the night that " the wind was blowing strong—this little band would deploy, each man setting " about his own allotted task; and no man, save the captain of the band “ alone, knowing what any other man was to do, and at the same instant, “ ' strike with lightning' the enemy of their land and race. . . . . In “ two hours from the word of command, London would be in flames, and " shooting up to the heavens in fifty different places."
And again :—
“ I believe that all the material damage possible ought to be inflicted on the “ enemy, and that the war against the foeman ought to be persisted in without " quarter to the end. Ibelieve that England ought to be plagued with all " the plagues of Egypt—that she ought to be scourged by day and terrorised by " night. I believe that this species of warfare ought to be kept up until " England, hurt as well as scared, falls paralysed upon her knees, and begs “ Ireland to depart from her."
United Ireland thus referred to the Queen :
" Surely six hundred Irish gentlemen could not eat their dinners without “ pouring out libations to the adoration of an old lady who is only known in " Ireland by her scarcely disguised hatred of this country, and by the inordi" nate amount of her salary."
As it was part of the game to deny authority, the following
was the strain in which patriots wrote of Lord Spencer :
"Lord Spencer stopped at nothing; not at subsidising red-handed "murderers; not at knighting jury packers; not at sheltering black oflicial " villainy with a coat of darkness; not at police quarterings, blood taxes, the " bludgeoning of peaceful meetings, the clapping handcuffs on M.P.’s, mayors “ and editors; not at wholesale battues of hangings and transportations by “ hook or crook; not at burying the proof of his victims’ innocence in "their graves."
As for the agrarian passages, they will be mostly found in a series of papers, without comment, under the appropriate heading, “ Incidents of the Campaign ”—a desire to
evade the Crimes Act of 1882. One or two specimens must suffice :—
"On Monday evening, a man living near Kanturk was fired at, and it is “believed mortally wounded. I-Ie had carried oats for a boycotted farmer." . “The blowing up of the Limerick police barracks, which was “ expected on Monday,did not happen. . . . . Perhaps it was postponed." . . . “A man named Dempsey, who had taken a derelict farm near "Clara, had employed men to van his hay. Several hundreds of people “ collected and scattered the party in all directions.”
The Parnellite Irishman, the paper of Pigott, for Parnellism, felix opportunitate mortis, was quite as outspoken
as Patrick Ford :—
“ We know what instruments England has employed in repressing us. We “know she never scrupled to murder and assassinate that she might rob,
“despoil, and conquer. . . . . Against such a foe any weapons are "lawful."
Nearly all the accused were convicted of this charge ; a charge of extreme gravity, if we recollect that the Irish peasant is alike vindictive and ignorant, and that half Ireland was in a revolutionary state.
I pass lightly over the sixth charge, that “the respondents “ did nothing to prevent crime, and expressed no bomi fide “ disapproval of it,” for it is only a corollary from previous charges. The judges have found on this count, that “while some of the respondents, and in particular, Mr. “Davitt, did express bomi fide disapproval of crime and “ outrage, the respondents did not denounce the system of “ intimidation which led to crime and outrage, but persisted “in it, with knowledge of its effect ” ; in other words, they did not condemn “boycotting,” and all the atrocities to which it led. Two observations, besides, must be made here; the statement that some of the respondents and Mr. Davitt did sincerely deprecate deeds of violence, does not apply to all the accused Members, or to chiefs of the Leagues who would not stand trial; and the Commissioners have significantly remarked, that “ during the years 1880, 1881, “and 1882,”—the worst period of agrarian lawlessness
“ we cannot find that the League, as an organisation, took “any step whatever to aid in the detection of crime, or gave “ any directions for that purpose, to its numerous branches “throughout the country. Opinion, therefore, may be left to fix the responsibility of guilt on this charge; and I proceed to consider the seventh and eighth charges, which, for the sake of convenience, I place together. The seventh charge is (1) that “ the respondents subscribed testimonials “for and were intimately associated with notorious “criminals”; and (2) that “they defended persons sup“posed to be guilty of agrarian crime, supported their “families, and made payments to procure the escape of “criminals from justice.” The Commissioners say “not “ proven ” on the first part of this charge, and also on the last branch of the second, and this may be fairly deemed an acquittal; but here again our readers will note, that the absolution is confined to the persons accused, and does not embrace many of the League leaders. On the second part of the charge, the Commissioners report, that “ proof has “ been given that the Land League systematically and “indiscriminately paid for the defence of persons charged “with agrarian crime”; and the Report adds, “ that if it “ cannot be said that the supplying means of defence to “ prisoners is, in the abstract, unjustifiable, we can entertain “ no doubt that the knowledge that such assistance would in “ all cases be afforded, must have the effect of encouraging “ persons disposed to commit outrage, and the same obser“ vation applies to the support of their families.” The Public may also decide for themselves whether the encouragement given in this way to the interesting class of persons well known in Ireland by the name of “ Parnell’s police,” is not an offence of extreme significance ; and I pass on to the eighth charge, that the “respondents made compensa“ tion to persons who had been injured in the commission “of crime.” The gravity of this charge cannot be gain
said; for it represents the accused as accessories after the fact to crime, sometimes of the worst kind ; and Mr. Gladstone endeavoured in vain to get rid of its terrible import, by a plausible statement that it had been established in only a single instance. Unfortunately for the value of this statement, the example proved the general practice ; a few letters only from the huge correspondence, “in sacks“ full,” of the League, were brought to light; one of these shewed that a payment of this kind was made evidently on system; and the judges have reported “that the respon“ dents did make payments to compensate persons who had “ been injured in the commission of crime.” With respect to this subject, too, they have added remarks which brand “ Parnellism ” with a sufficiently severe stigma. The books of the Land League were shewn to exist ; the Commissioners called for them, often, in vain ; and there is evidence that an enormous sum of £108,000 passed into the hands of the League, the application of which could not, therefore, be traced ! The judges have properly reported on this most pregnant circumstance :—“ We may say generally that we “have not received from Mr. Parnell and the officers of “ the League the assistance we were entitled to expect in “ the investigation of the Land League accounts, in order “ that it might be seen how its funds were expended.”
I now come to the ninth charge, that “the respondents “ invited the assistance and co-operation of, and accepted “ subscriptions from, known advocates of crime and “dynamite.” This is one of the gravest accusations of The Times; it declares that Parnellism trafficked with the worst criminals; and the movement, in fact, drew its strength from America, and had little material support in Ireland. The Commissioners have examined this charge at length; but I can do no more than glance at the evidence. The conspiracy from which the two Leagues sprang was first hatched by Mr. Davitt, and the violent party known