JET. 34] DISTRESS IN IRELAND 207
ParnelTs last act before starting for Ireland was to form an American Land League. A hurried meeting was held in New York. The Fenians dominated it, though Constitutionalists also attended at Parnell's special request. A committee of seven was appointed to frame a constitution for the new association, and out of these seven four were members of the Clan-na-Gael. "We have seen that Davitt was one of the secretaries of the Irish Land League. John Devoy was now appointed one of the treasurers of the American Land League. Thus the joint authors of the policy of the new departure held important posts in the joint organisations founded (inter alia) to carry out that policy. What then, briefly, was the situation in the spring of 1880 ? Within the American Land League there were Constitutionalists, between whom and the Eevolutioiiists much friction existed; but the Eevolutioiiists were always in a majority. In the Irish Land League the overwhelming majority were Constitutionalists, but the most active spirits were Fenians or ex-Fenians. The supreme council of the I. E. B. fought to the last against the Leaguersó without, however, producing any permanent effect on the course of events. Parnell all the time concentrated the whole of his energies in uniting the discordant elements of which the whole movement against England was composed. He was the centre of unity.
Meanwhile the agitation in Ireland went steadily on. The distress of the people in the western districts grew appalling. Evictions increased. No reductions in rent were made. The landlords, with the madness of the old French regime, foresaw nothing, and unconsciously fanned the flames which were to consume them. On the meeting of Parliament Mr. Shaw moved