JET. 34] A ' FENIAN RAID ' 233
being agreed to. The third reading was carried on July 26 by 304 to 237 votes; 16 Liberals voting against the measure, and Parnell and his followers (dissatisfied with the alterations and the ' weakness' of the Government) walking out. The Bill had been under the consideration of the Commons for over a month. The Lords disposed of it in two nights. It was rejected by 282 to 51 votes.
The rejection of this Compensation for Disturbance Bill was the signal for extreme agitation in Ireland.
' Soon after the rejection of the Bill,' says the ' Annual Register,' ' there came most disquieting reports from Ireland. There were riots at evictions ; tenants who had ventured to take the place of the evicted occupiers were assaulted, their property damaged, their ricks burned, their cattle maimed ; there was a mysterious robbery of arms from a ship lying in Queenstown Harbour; and it was said that a plot had been discovered for the blowing up of Cork Barracks.'
The story of the ' robbery of arms ' throws a curious light on the relations between the Fenians and the Land League. In August a party of Fenians attacked a vessel called the ' Juno ' in Cork Harbour, and carried off forty cases of firearms. The Constitutionalists in the local branch of the League were much exercised by this act. They were anxious, fearing that some suspicion might rest on their organisation, to vindicate themselves and to show their loyalty. Accordingly, a resolution was proposed by Mr. Cronin and seconded by Mr. J. O'Brien declaring that ' we deeply regret that a robbery of useless old firearms has taken place, that we condemn lawlessness in any shape, and we believe the occurrence must have been effected by those who desire to see a renewal of the Coercion Acts