The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER. THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 1880.
Large meetings of Irishmen, both in English and Scottish towns, have been held during this month, and have passed resolutions expressive of sympath) with the Irish peasantry who have been evicted from their holdings by the landlords. It will be remembered that during the worst time of the Irish distress, reliable newspapers reported, on the authority of their own special correspondents, sent over to ascertain as far as possible the real facts of the case, that there were hundreds of tenants so hopelessly in debt as to be beyond the chance of retrieving their position. The utter failure of almost all vegetation put the farmers in a state verging on desperation, and the Tenants Compensation Bill, opportunely introduced by the Gladstone Government, greatly exalted their almost dead spirits, and renewed their hopes for the future. The rejection of that Bill by the Lords again cast them down, and has only served, if possible, to aggravate their desolate and hopeless condition. Hence the agitation amongst their countrymen outside Ireland. At a meeting in Glasgow, 30,000 Irishmen were present, and from what we can gather from the cablegrams that have reached us, the feeling of the large assemblage was a very strong one. The interruption of telegraphic communication from the North shut_ us out from receiving further information regarding this question to that we had already obtained, and wlich showed us that there was considerable alarm in England over the phase the matter had assumed. The Fenians had begun to be active, and the agrarian outrages for which Ireland is now so notorious were becoming frequent. The Irish farmer, when he feels aggrieved with the man to whom he has to pay rent, gets behind a hedge in the dusk and at the proper time tumbles his landlord as he passes. This mode of paying rent is not adopted in any other civilised country, but it is easy to see that the population amongst wiiom such a mode of meeting rent day is popular could be a very ugly one when agitated by an intense and wide-spread feeling against the Government whom they look upon as the cause of their grievances. And upon the English Government —though not necessarily upon any particular Administration the Irish tenant looks as the source of all his ills. The Irish difficulty has been a chronic one ever since the country’s junction with Great Britain. It has assumed more or less intensity under every Government that held the reins, and the Irish difficulty more active than usual was one of the legacies of trouble that Disraeli left to his successor in office when a discontented country hurled the old Tory from office to make room for the veteran Liberal, Gladstone. Our last cablegrams direct told us that the feeling in Ireland had reached almost boiling point, and that Mr. W. E. Forster had gone on a mission to Ireland, to ascertain how matters stood. Fuller information, though of an earlier date, lets us understand that that mission was undertaken by the Chief Secretary for Ireland on strong representations being made to his Government that the state of the country was becoming serious, and that extreme measures would require to be resorted to if the disturbances and outrages now so common were to be repressed, and the Fenian organisation, which again threatened the peace of the country, was to be stamped out. At the date of our last cablegrams, Mr. Forster had not returned from Ireland, and later intelligence is, of course, wanting; but there can be no doubt, from the acknowledged angry state of public feeling in too many parts of Ireland, and the rumored probable renewal of the Peace Preservation Act, that the prospect is quite gloomy and foreboding enough.