JEi. 33] ENGLISH INDIFFERENCE 185
lords the necessity of dealing justly with you than if you had 150 Irish members in the House of Commons/
Davitt also made a rattling speech, full of defiance and rebellion.
The fire spread, and the Government did nothing to put it out. They did not concede, they did not coerce. They listened neither to tenants nor to landlords. They unwittingly gave Davitt his head. "With a little wisdom and foresight the fire might have been quenched at the outset. But the Irish Secretary—Mr. James Lowther—was ignorant, indifferent, incapable, and he faithfully represented English statesmanship in Ireland. On June 26 the question of agricultural distress in Ireland was brought before the House of Commons by Mr. O'Connor Power. He was treated with disdain by Mr. Lowther, and literally howled down by the Tories. Here is the official account of the scene.
1 From the time when the hon. member stated his intention to move the adjournment of the House, and it appeared probable that a debate was about to be raised, hon. members ceased to pay any attention to the hon. member's remarks, and conversation became • so general and so loud that the hon. member could with difficulty be heard.'l
So disgraceful were these interruptions that Mr. John Bright felt himself constrained to intervene and to sharply rebuke the Irish Secretary and his unmannerly followers. Nothing, of course, was done. The Government had not the most remote notion of what was brewing in Ireland; not the faintest conception that by neglecting the demands of the farmers
1 Hansard, 3rd series, vol. ccxlvii. p. 696.