^Ei. 33] ROUSING THE COUNTRY 193
April a great land meeting was held in Limerick. Pamell attended. The chairman—a parish priest—made a moderate speech, but the meeting was in no temper for moderation. ' The farmers of Ireland/ said the priest, ' if there are to be peace and loyalty, ought to have free land, as the farmers of Belgium, France, and Holland.' ' We want physical force/ shouted the crowd. c We must not have Fenianisrn/ said the priest. l Three cheers for the Irish republic/ was the response.
Parnell sat calm and impassive while the vast mass before him surged with discontent. When his time for speaking came he made one of those cold-blooded, businesslike speeches which fired the people more than the wild rhetoric of some of his more inflammable colleagues. Repeating the advice he had given at Westport, he told the farmers to keep a ' firm grip on their homesteads/ and to show ' a firm and determined attitude' to the landlords. c Stand to your guns/ he said, ' and there is no power on earth which can prevail against the hundreds of thousands of tenant farmers of this country.' On September 21 he attended another land meeting in Tipperary. There he once more told the people to rely upon themselves, and themselves alone.
flt is no use relying upon the Government, it is no use relying upon the Irish members, it is no use relying upon the House of Commons. (Groans.) You must rely upon your own determination, that determination which has enabled you to survive the famine years and to be present here to-day—(cheers)—and if you are determined, I tell you, you have the game in your own hands.' (Prolonged cheers.)
Davitt, who was the soul of this land agitation,
VOL. I. Q