Skip to main content

Full text of "The Life Of Charles Stewart Parnell Vol - I"

See other formats

JET. 34]
The people in the western districts were starving. ' I must say/ wrote General Gordon, who visited the country in the winter of 1880, ' from all accounts and my own observation, that the state of our fellow-countrymen in the parts I have named is worse than that of any people in the world, let alone Europe. I believe these people are made as we are ; that they are patient beyond belief; loyal, but broken spirited and desperate; lying on the verge of starvation in places where we would not keep cattle/ It rained evictions, it rained outrages. Cattle were houghed and maimed ; tenants who paid unjust rents, or took farms from which others had been evicted, were dragged out of their beds, assaulted, sometimes forced to their knees, while shots were fired over their heads to make them promise submission to the popular desires in future. Bands of peasants scoured the country, firing into the houses of obnoxious individuals. Graves were dug before the doors of evicting landlords. Murder was committed. A reign of terror had in truth commenced.1
What were they doing at Dublin Castle all this time? Lord Cowper and Mr. Forster fully realised the gravity of the situation. Neither was quite out of sympathy with the demands of the tenant farmers. Both desired a policy of concession to a certain extent. ' If you pass the Bill' [the Compensation for Disturbance Bill], Mr. Forster had said in the House of Commons,
1 The following table will show the increase of evictions and outrages from 1877 to 1880 (inclusive):
1877 1878
Evictions (Persons) 2,177 4,679
1877 1878
Agrarian Outrages 236 301