176 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1879
tions and to secure to industrious tenants compensation for improvements, and in certain cases for disturbance. But it neither effected the one purpose nor the other. The power of the landlords remained practically unchecked. Between 1876 and 1879 Bills had been introduced to make the legislation of 1870 a reality. But they were rejected in the House of Commons. The Irish tenants saw at last that the Irish members could not help them, and they resolved to help themselves.
Devoy had come to Ireland with the view of bringing about an alliance between Eevolutionists and Constitutionalists for the common purpose of undermining English authority in the island. The land question, he felt, was the basis on which that authority rested. The overthrow of the land system was accordingly, from his standpoint, a matter of paramount importance. Davitt was also in favour of separation, but nevertheless looked upon landlordism as an evil in itself, which ought, apart from all other considerations, to be swept utterly away. Both men now saw that a bond-fide land agitation had, without any reference whatever to their aims, commenced; and the question was, how could it be turned to the account of the separatist movement ?
Devoy had two interviews with Parnell in the presence of Davitt. The member for Meath was as usual cautious, and took good care not to give himself away. He entered into no compact with Devoy, but listened to all that Devoy had to tell him about the Clan-na-Gael. The furthermost extent to which he went was to ask, as he had on previous occasions asked, for time to work the parliamentary machine. He did not mind letting Devoy see his antipathy to