/ET. 36] BREAKDOWN OF COERCION 325
In September he writes again: 'Up to now, Limerick, West Cork, Kerry, and the Loughrea district of Galway have been as bad as ever.5
In October Mr. Gladstone, in the innocence of his heart, was anxious that law-abiding citizens in Ireland should be sworn in as special constables. There is a touch of humour in Mr. Forster's reply, though it also affords a curious commentary on the complex state of affairs in Ireland. ' As regards special constables, one of the first questions I asked months ago was, why could we not have them ? I was soon convinced that in Ireland they are impossible; in the south and wrest we cannot get them, and in the north Orangemen would offer themselves, and we should probably have to put a policeman at the side of every special to keep him in order.' In November he writes again : (I am sorry to say there is a turn decidedly for the worse, and we are going to have a most anxious winter. . . . We have more secret outrages and attempts to murder'; and he concludes sorrowfully: ' If we could get the country quiet I should be anxious to leave Ireland. "While we are fighting for law and order I cannot desert my post; but this battle over and the Land [Act] well at work, I am quite sure that the best course for Ireland, as well as for myself, would be my replacement by someone not tarred by the Coercion brush.' l
The early months of 1882 still found Ireland the prey of anarchy and disorder.2 On April 12 Mr. Forster wrote to Mr. Gladstone: ' My six special magistrates all bring me very bad reports. These are confirmed by
1 Sir Wemyss Reid, Life of the Bight Hon. W. E. Forstcr.
2 The Irish Government seems to have lost its head over the anarchical condition of the country; and Mr. Clifford-Lloyd, one of the special magistrates, issued an insane circular to the police stating that