-Ex. 33] THE WESTPORT MEETING 183
punish the English, and I predicted that the English would very soon get afraid of punishment/
Nothing can better show the chasm which separated the two men in thought and feeling than these two sentences. Yet the House of Commons despised Butt; and Parnell became the greatest figure in it, in his day, with a single exception.
I have said that Butt was a constitutional agitator. He was also a great advocate. And if pure advocacy —able, earnest, courteous—could have won the Irish cause he would have succeeded. It could not, and he failed hopelessly.
Constitutional agitation, strictly speaking, disappeared with Butt. Eevolutionary agitation followed. Davitt preached the new departure in public and in private, visited the most distressed and disaffected districts, and swept all the Fenians he could into the new movement. On June 7 another great land meeting, organised by Davitt and some of the local Fenians, though of course attended by thousands of tenant farmers who were not Fenians, was held at "Westport, County Mayo. Parnell was invited. He hesitated, for he had not yet gauged the force of the agrarian agitation. His attention was probably first seriously directed to the subject in the course of a conversation with Kickham, the date of which I cannot give. ' Do you think, Mr. Kickham/ he asked, ' that the people feel very keenly on the land question ? ' ' Feel keenly on the land question ? ' answered Kick-ham. ' I am only sorry to say that I think they would go to hell for it/ Finally Parnell resolved to accept the invitation of the Westport men. The Archbishop of Tuam, who saw something besides land in the new movement, condemned the meeting, and indirectly