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

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J2T/34]                       LORD COWPER                              .251
a particular farm was named in the placard and the occupier denounced; but this mentioning of a name was a slip which is not likely made again. We could not stop other meetings. As to speeches. No speech has yet been made in the presence of a Government reporter for which the speaker could be prosecuted. Government reporters can only be sent to a limited number of places, and these speakers, knowing that they are now being watched very carefully, will become more cautious. Even if the occupier of a farm is mentioned in a placard, and subsequent to the issue of that placard throws up the farm, the person responsible cannot be prosecuted, as is evident from the answer of the law officers to the question about the Eiversdale case. From all this it appears that we shall probably never have an opportunity of either stopping a meeting, or prosecuting a speaker, or issuer of a placard. If we think that agitation ought to be stopped it appears there is only one possible way. A combination to prevent persons from taking evicted farms or purchasing stock, &c., is illegal. We have not yet obtained a decided opinion upon the question whether the Land League is such a combination, but it would appear to be so. If so, it would also appear that its president or its leading members could be prosecuted. Such a course would have the advantage of striking at the head. It would fix the attention of the whole country from its announcement till its conclusion and divert the minds of the leaders of the League from their ordinary work, such as intimidating landlords and agents and the takers of farms from which men have been evicted. It would show the determination of the Government to stop the present state of things. If -the prosecution failed through the perversity of the