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^ET. 35] PAKNTELL'S POSITION 293
away. He could no longer increase rents at his pleasure, or, indeed, increase them at all. New tribunalsl were established for fixing rents, and generally for adjusting the relations of landlord and tenant. Increased facilities for the creation of a peasant proprietary were given, and the tenant's right to dispose of the goodwill of his farm was amply secured. The ' three F's '—fixity of tenure, fair rents, and free sale— for which Isaac Butt had agitated in vain (within the law, and without seeking to outrage Parliament or to humiliate English parties), were now wrenched from the Government by one of the most lawless movements which had ever convulsed any country.
( There is no use,' an Irish Unionist member once said in the House of Commons, * in any Irishman approaching an English Minister on Irish questions unless he conies with the head of a landlord in one hand or the tail of a cow in the other.' It was in this way the Land League came, and we all now know the Land League triumphed. ' I must make one admission/ said Mr. Gladstone in 1893, 'and that is, that without the Land League the Act of 1881 would not now be on the Statute-book/2
The Irish members were fairly astonished at the completeness of Mr.- Gladstone's Bill, and some of them were little disposed to accept it.
Parnell's position was one of extreme difficulty. To have wrecked the Land Bill would have been-an act of insensate folly; to have accepted it cordially might have made the Government feel that they had conceded too much, and would certainly have caused divisions in his own ranks. "What was he to do?
1 Land courts.
2 House of Commons, April 21, 1803.