^Ei. 34] LORD COWPER 253
ever, is not what most impresses those who know the country, for the difficulty of detecting a criminal1 seems always to have existed. What strikes them most is the bitterness of feeling against all landlords and agents, and most of all against all those who have lately taken farms, even in cases where the previous tenant had owed three or four years' rent and was himself quite willing to leave. It seems really to be the case that in four or five counties none of these classes feel their lives to be safe, and the mischief is rapidly spreading. Tenants are also afraid to pay more than the Government valuation, or any other sum ordered. As to this point a crisis will probably arise in about a fortnight or three weeks. Most rents are due on November 1, and will be collected immediately after. We shall then see what happens. Many people expect a general refusal.
* The state of feeling which I have described is by the class which suffers from it universally ascribed to the Land League, and I have been repeatedly assured that places which were peaceful and contented before become very different after a meeting. If this is the case the population must be very inflammable, but it certainly is the general impression. I do not know whether you were surprised or annoyed by the news of the impending prosecution having oozed out. I have been inclined to look upon it as a lucky accident. It would, of course, have been better to have struck at once, but as this could not be done the announcement that we intend to strike appears to me the next best thing. The knowledge that the Government intends to do something has, I think, rather moderated the
1 An agrarian criminal.