^Ei. 36] BREAKDOWN OF COERCION 327
* My own idea, looking solely to the state of things in this country, would have been to treat the women exactly like the men, both as to the ordinary law and as to arrest under the Protection of Person and Property Act; and to have made no more difference between the two sexes than a magistrate or judge would in the case of stealing a loaf of bread or a pair of boots. I am aware, however, that the feeling of the British public and of the House of Commons must be consulted, and if the arrest of women would raise such a storm as to render the renewal of the Act impossible this may be sufficient reason for not acting as I should wish. The returns of outrage of themselves appear to demand new measures. But they are not the only mode by which we should judge the necessity for these. If'I am asked what other means of judging there are, I answer, " general opinion, as far as it can be collected, of those likely to know."
' The Irish Press of all shades of political feeling is of one mind as to the serious state of the country. I have seen many landlords, agents, and others. I have seen many of the judges, and their personal accounts more than confirm what they have said in public. Above all, I have seen resident magistrates, inspectors, and sub-inspectors, who come to the Castle almost every day from all parts of the country to recommend arrests; and the general, I may say universal, opinion is that the amount of intimidation is as serious as it can be, and that a sudden increase of agrarian crime at any moment, to any extent, is quite possible.
' But it is hardly necessary to go further than the printed reports of the six special resident magistrates, who have charge of the worst part of the country. It must be remembered that these six men are picked-out