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Dublin Notes., New Zealand Tablet, Volume XVIII, Issue 11, 11 July 1890
(From the National papers.)
It is worth observing that a number of J3urnalis s h^ve, indue course of Coercion, been sent to prison od evidence which even tne Qaeen's Bench is thus constrained to confess to be illegil. A striking example is Mr. Corcoran, foreman printer ot the Cork Examiner, convicted on such evidence alone ot publishing repoits ot buppreised branches of the League. This was after the bnive Haliour'bno- ipp.al manifesto. The ducreet Removables, hj giving cumula ive sentences of a month, precluding appeal, and by "exercising their discretion " in refusing a case stated, effectually provi led ajaiuat the illegal sentence being reversed.
It is a mißtake to suppose that Coercion is "ess rampant than ever. It is rather ttat long use has made us cillous. In the history of Coercion there has been no more outrageous decision ttu.n that of Removables Bodkin and Miller the other day at Gorey, when — " For the alleged boycotting of John Morris's cattle in the fair of March 15 last, Meßsra. Kennedy, P.L.G., W. P. Doyle, Patrick Grannell, M. Mulligan, Gregory Cavanagh, and Edward Mordaunt were each sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labour. B^or the alleged boycotting of the sheep of the obnoxious persona Langrell and Johnston in the fair of April 5, Messrs. Edward Mordaunt and Gregory Kavanagh were each tentenced to six months' lmprisouwith hard labour." Tne offence sought to ba proved was tn-it the accused " stood in the neighbourhoo 1 of the obnoxious cattle and looked in their direction." By what, procesi of reasoning the Removables make proximity to sheep just twice as criminal as proximity to cattle, it would require an intelligence equal to their own to discover. The thing has its ludicrous side certainly. But it is no laughing matter for the undaunted prisoners, wno were dragged handcuffed to prison through a wildly-cheering crowd.
We had thought that we had heard the la9t of the insolent pretence that the Parliamentary representation does not adequately express the proportionate opinion of the majority and the minority in Ireland, lhe matter was tested in the general contested election of '85. The miserable and ludicrous fiasco of the I.L.P.U. bogus candidates in that memorable contest through three provinces of Ireland ought, one would fancy, to have silenced the most audacious cavillers on the subject of Ireland's Parliamentary representation. But there is apparently no limit to the audacity of Judas Chamberlain. In his speech on the second reading of the Rackrenters' Accommodation Bill he sroke of " a great Irish minority consisting of two millions of the Irish pc pl« who certainly are not represented oy these gentlem n who are described as five-sixths of the representatives of Ireland." "Everyone knows," he continued, with sublime audacity, '"the electoral situation in Ireland. Everyone knows that whereas in England and in Scotland the minority is fairly represented according to its number, in Ireland that is not so."
if Judas hid publicly declared that England was smaller than Ireland and Scotland larger than them both together, he would scarcely have spoken in more direct contradiction of the no'orious facts. Tie Irish election returns of 'Ss gives him the lie at every word. In England and Scotland, indeed, tbe minority have the same fair reason to com plain. The majority often maintain their supremacy by a margin of a d^zen votes. But in three piovinces in Ireland it is not so. The contested electi -ns of '85 plainly demonstrated that in three provinces the Coercion anti-National minority was hardly worth counting, much less considering. We search tbe electoral records of England, Scotland, and Wales in vaiu tor a single example of the ludicrous overwhelming series of defeats that overtook the champions of Coeicion m '85. What, we wonder, would be thougat in England of a succession of elections in which the proportionate majority was something like fifty to one/ When would the vanquished begin to brag again after such a defeat ?
It seems quite plain that emigration is at the bottom of the benevolent Mr. Baifour'a scheme for the amelioration of the congested districts. He candidly confessed as much m his speech. "It tte Congested Board,' 1 he said, " come to a different conclusion, nobody will rejoice more than I." But as the Congested Board ib to cousibt of himself, as president, and his cieatuiea, that consummation is not likely. The brave Balfour still hankeis after CromweL's short way with the Irish people : clear them out ! The Irish population is about four millions less than fifty years ago. While all other civilised countries have increased in leaps and bounds, the liish population has fallen from nearly nine millions to less than five, and the prosperity of the country has dtcreascc* in proportion. Still self-sufficient quacks of the Balfour type have no lemedy to buggest bnt more emigration, and still more emigration, We will make no sentimental objection to the gradual extinction of the people. We prefer to quote on the subject the great political economist whom they profess to reverence. In his famous essay on " lhe Means of Abolishing Cottier Tenancy," John Stuart Mill declares — " To the owners of rent it may be very convenient that the bulk of the inhabitants, despairing cf justice m the country, where they and their ancestors have lived and suffered, thould sick in another country that property in land which is denied them at home. But the legislature ot the Empire ought to regard with other eyes ibe forced expatnation of millions of people. Win a the inhabitants oj a country quit a coun ri, en masse hi cause it/, Gott num nt )nll not make it a place Jit for t/tem to live in, the Govt rnnunt i,\judytd and condemned."
From the public ptiformanee cf the Removables we may have some faint notion ot the absurdities and degradation into which they descend in remote districts, when they fancy the eye of the public is off them. It is not too much to say that in out-of-the-way petty sessions through the country all law and decency is completely ignored in favour of the ascendency party and their tools. The following little incident, tor which we can vouch, will give some notion of Removable Hickson'a performances at the Petty Sessions at Woodford. A couple of Emergency men at Woodford, named M. Neland
and Peter Moraa, with truculen' recklessness born of impunity, seized and carried off the ducks of an unfortu iate tenant named Lahy. — He hid the audacity to summon those sturdy upholders of law and order and guardians of the rights of projerty for petty larceny before Removabb llick3on and a notorious local rackrenter o<imel Lewis, J P. Tue off itice ( ccirred about tnree months previously. As M. jrau did not appear on surani ins, Lihy madj aa iaforunttou, aid a warrant was lg-ued for his anvst. Oa the following Pjtty Sessions day the casa was again adjommd, as the warrant was not executed ; and on Monday fortnight, when the case was called, Sergeint .Morris, R.1.C., stited ti at M-iran was sick and uaable to atteud. The casj was ag.-in aljjurned uutil lait .Monday, when the police had the au iacity to declare Mor.m could not be found, and Removable Hickson calra'v aij juruc 1 the cisc for a month. Result:— Poor Lahy, after attending the court with witnesses abjut six tim.-s m viaJicatioa of justice. wa< told he need no come again uatil he hears from the po ice. This is only one of many buch cases 'hat occur in the district. Hickßon ib de/ulupmj: into one of tbe grossest paitis ma that ever sat on the Wood lord bench. We need say no more. Last week (ending May 10) we instanced in a small w.iy tho process of law aid order at Woodford, au i the license allowel to Emerg-ncymeo an 1 pohc N>w let us have a look at Portumna.— Tne Government of boih dutnets is delegated to Removable Hickson, of whom we have alrealy spoken, and who publicly proclaims his mission to put down the agitation. He is asnsiei m this crusade by Mr. Tener, J.P., whose absolute impartiality in all disputes between Clanricardc, for whom he is agent, and his tenants can, of course, be relied on. and by an empty-headei, malignant, would-be aristocratic District-Inspector named Wale, of wnose unseemly performauce ia a recent serious criminal ca-;e we mty give the public soon soms reliible inform ttion. It is, pjrhaps, needless to add that this notable triumviiate are on terms of special intimacy with Mr. CrownProsecutor Blake, than whom there is no more zealous servant of the Castle.
In Portumna there is worse than military law established. There is a sy6tem of petty insult that is absolutely intolerable. If a known Nationalist farmer walks through the streets a drunken polic9man steps out bsside him. If he stands at the corner to smoke his pipe a drunken policeman knocks it out of his moutn. The other day two Nationalists, whose ciime was tnat they had gone to see Mr. Roche, M P. -elect at Woodford, were arrested without charge or warrant, and shut up in prison for the night. Next day they were brought up before Mr. fener, J. P., and as nothing was or ould be alleged against them, he discharged them with a caution, at the stme time commending the constables for their activity ani imelii*eoc\
Some little time ago a cartful of farmers, returning from the market, were overtaken by a gang of drunken police, who whipped furiously to come abreast with them. The puisuers forthwith proceeded to assault the unoffending farmers. One of the constables, who was somewhat moie drunk than his fellows, carried his zeal for the cause of " law and order " so far as to fire off three shots from his rill a in rapid buccession, scattering the cartridges on the road. — Luckily his drunkenness, which prompted his firing, disturbed the aim, otherwise murder might have been done. No thanks to him, nobody was killed outright on the Queen's highway. The active and intelligent Dittrici-Inspector forthwith had the assaulted farmers arrested 1 , aad charged before the Removables at Portumna. The case h^s been adjourned ; but the tiial will come off in due course before the Removables, and it is not difficult to anticipate the result. Let us tdke the very latest cave in w hich " law and order " vindicated itse f superbly at Portumna. There is a somewhat disreputable old man there, named Dillon, who is just out of gaol for breaking a neighbour's head with a spade. He has a wife to match, who has just been bound over for twelve months for violent conduct and abusive language. Well, it apparently struck the police that this Dillon, who hud refused four years ago, he says, to join the " Land League," could be made useful in getting some of the prominent Nationalists into gaol. This is how it was managed. A charge was brought against the men selected for conspiracy and intimidating one Mitchell, to prevent him from selling his hay to Dillon. Dillon swore that he saw the men charged, or some of them, wagging their heads and laughing. His little daughter, who was not quite up in her part, swore that they were pointing their fingers, but not wagging their heads. This was the case against them for the Crown.
Pro contra, the man, Mitchell, on whose behalf and for whose protection ostensibly the prosecution was brought, swore that no one intimidated at all or attempted to intimidate him. There was no wagging of heads or po'nting of fingers, nor was he in any way interfered with. A bitter cross-examination, on behalf of the Crown, which had instituted the prosecution for his protection, failed to disturb his testimony in the least. It was proved conclusively that Dilltn was not, as a matter of fact, boycotted. His farm produce was publicly bought, and he was himself supplied with all he desired by pi\ niinent menibi rb of the League. It is hardly credible, but on such evidence Removable Hickson (a promoted policeman, by the way) and his colleague, Removable Maine, convicted the accused, aod sentenced them to two months' imprisonment a-piece. All except one. There was one man, named Williams, against wuom there was absolutely not one tittle of evidence, whom neither Dillon nor his little girl even alleged they saw. This man the Removables felt bound to acquit, having the fear ot a habeas corpvs befoie their eyes, but they supplemented the enforced acquittal by subjecting him to a rule of bail, at d refused to give him a day's imprisonment to enable him to appeal. Of course they refused a case stated in regard to the other ■victims. The Removables know jubt enough law 10 have a vague notiou how wrong they are going, and they have a wholesome terror of the Court of Exchequer. The accused, they said, had their appeal to the Recorder Henn, Q.C. Of course they have, and much good it will do them. It is generally whispered that Mr. Crown- Prosecutor Blaki privately boasts that he has Recorder Henn, Q.C, in hia pocket, that he just takes him out, shakes him up a bit, Bits him on the bench, and directs his decision. The Nationalist innocently nccused has a great chance in that quarter. Even the Removables, have no objection to such an. appeal.
We have entered somewhat into detail of these Portumna prosecutions and persecutions, because they can be taken as a fair sample of the condition of every small town in Ireland where there is a rampant evictor on the warpath. It is a case of crimme ab nno disce omnes. If there were not the certainty of speedy relier, the people would not tolerate the accursed system for a week.
There is a stage when impudence from its very audacity becomes amusing. The stage was undoubtedly reached in the application of the Dublin 1 eceiver-Qeneral of the Police to the Presentment Seesionsof the county of Kildare for a presentment of £8 10a lOd, to pay for the recent precept performances of tbe Royal Irish at Glongorey. The memory of this escapade is fresh in the public recollection. There were four absolutely illegal raids on the house of an evicted tenant, Mrs. Kelly, of Clongorey. Between sixty and seventy men, in all, were illegally arrested, including the parish priest of the district. They were dragged through the town of Newbridge in bandcuffs ; one man had three of his ribs broken by police violence. A number of persons were packed, like herrings in a barrel, in the blackhole of the police-barrack for the night, bail being refused. Another batch, including the parish priest, were sent straight off to gaol, under Edward 111., by Removable Fitzgerald, without the semblance of a trial. At length a trial was graciously vouchsafed. So plain was the evidence demonstrating that tbe whole performance was grossly illegal that even the Removables felt constrained to dismiss the case. The Crown asked for a case stated, and got it, with the result that the Exchequer Division confirmed the Removables' decision of the gross illegality of the proceedings, and rebuked the Crown for bringing so utterly frivolous a case before the Court. It is for this splendid vindication of the law aod order that the Castle preBented its little bill to the county of Kildare. The landlords and their nominees were greatly in the ascendant at the presentment sessions, which fact probably prompted the application. But even the most out-and-out local rack-rentev and Coercionist could not Fee his way to do this little bit of paper to accommodate the Government. The police bill was unanimously dishonoured by the sessions with the endorsement that "the proceedings were abortive, and that, in the opinion of the sessions, tbe charge should be paid by the parties guilty of the illegality."
Coercion and eviction have of late, after smou'dering for a bit, blazed up furcely again through the country. Tbe crowbar brigade and the Removables are both hard at work once more, It would seem as if the Government were making one final, desperate effort to crush the spirit out of the people, to grind them to pieces between the upper and nether millstone of Coercion and extermination, or goad them into violent resistance. When the infamies of the existing system in Ireland come to be impartially viewed hereafter in the calm light of history, the wonder will grow greater daily that they were so patiently endured. The rack-renters are running amuck like savage Malays, whose destruction is inevitable. The one thought left them seems to be to concentrate as much human misery as possiole in the brief space left them. Hell has broken loose again on the Clanricaide estate, and ■' the devil's work" goes bravely on under the auspices of the Castle. A thousand lesser Clanncardes are playing the same game through the country. We read of evictions everywhere. To take a single example in the County Clare, Colonel the Hon. Chailes Whre, London, has just achieved tbe glory (vicariously, of course, and with the aid tf his emergencymen) of turning ughi families adrift, helpKsj and homeless, iv the midst of a pelting rain storm.
They have abol'shed imprisonment for debt in England, They retain torture for debt in Ireland, Eviction— with Us hateful accompaniments, the crowbar, batt-iing-ram, and the petroleum can —is scarcely a whit more humane than the old feudal system of the barons who, when they wanted money, used the red-hot pincers or the tooth- forceps as thur persuader. What man would not as soon have his flush ciushed or hib tooth urawu as have his little home, which Ins own hand-, icared, brought tumbling about the tars of his family by that instrument &nd emblem of modern philanthropy the "self-dett-n^ive" battering-ram? Ireland is the one civilised country in the whole world where such things are possible. It is the one country where they would be patiemly endured. We cmnot too strongly nor too often impre-s this great central fact on our readers that the main function of government m Ireland at present is the extortion of rack-rent or the encouragement ot eviction. For this the police aiekept at a cost rapid y mounting to two milhcns a-year. For this, and this alone, the Removables are kept. The whole administration of the country has its eyes turned this way. Tne exteimiuators advance to their evil woik under cover of the fire of the Castle.
The Government are much mistaken if they fancy for one moment that the question of the prison treatment of Mr. John Daly will rest where the ont-sided report of the packed Commissiou of visitors has It ft it. The public will look, not to the report, but to the sworn and uncontradicted testimony on which it falsely purports to be based. It is now made quite clear that Mr. Daly was visited in person by accredited emissaries of the Government and the " Forger " alliance, mciudiug the serviceable Pigott, and was almost in terms offered freedom and reward if he would give evidence to implicate Mr. larneil and the League in the Prucnix Park assassination. By a cunoua coincidence (some are asked to believe) his prison treatment increased in Beventj, and he was dosed to death's door with belladonna when he refused to oblige his gaolers in his behalf. It was absurdly futile for the Chairman of the Inquiry to attempt to put an innocent construction on the pledge oiteied to Mr. Daly (a prisoner for life), tfaat if he swore up to the mark he would be assured of the protection and patronage of ihe Government. We remember that the reason given by the virtuous bir. Wie-ched Fibster for not producing his " unimpeachable " witness (Pigott) in tha O'Donnell trial was, that giving hi-s uame would subject him to the inevitable vengeance ot the assassins of the League. But the utmost stretch of audacious hypocrisy could hardly prettnd that this applied to a life-prison in the condemned cell of a Government gaol. The promise of protection to Mr. Daly plainly included a promise of his liberation as well.
Pigott rest visited the prison cell also with the connivance of tho Government. He knew, as Mr. Daly swore, that there was no love lost between the prisoner and Mr. Pamell, and he strove hard to work on this feeling, aa well as on the hope held out of pardon, to induce v v l 4 y t0 ] ' om the great cohort of tbe '• Forger's " perjurers, of which ligott himself was the distinguished cnief. Read all this in conjunction with the private letter, fortunately unearthed, of the miserable man, Delaney, to the gaol doctor, Harte, complaining bitterly, that he had not received the freedom promised as the price of his perjuries, so found by tbe selected Commission of thd Government- Party feeling may for a whilu blind men's minds to the infamy of these proceedings. But the time cannot, we are certain, be far^distant when they will appear in their true light aod be regarded with impartial loathing by all honourable men, no matter to what party they belong. We cannot trust ourselves to write of the loathsome tortures aud degradations to which Mr. Daly was subjected, as detailed in his uncontradicted evidence and set out in full in the Blue Book report. The details are too horrible for general reading. But we trust they will not escape the notice of strong-minded English electors who have a stern duty to perform. If such things are condoned and approved as part and parcel of the glorious British Constitution, for heaven's cake let us have an end to the hypocritical horrors of the milder and more generous system of Siberia. But we have too much faith in English humanity to believe*hat such infamies will be condoned.
The very able letter of Mr. Robert Tyrrell to the Freeman puts ma true and striking light the effect of Mr. Goechen's additional iniquitous tax on whisky, which is amongst the few industries left ua in .Ireland. When on industry is hit at by oppressive taxation the blow is felt through many different classes and grades of society, and it often happens that the producer of the raw material is hardest hit of all. Bo it is in this case. The Irish barley-growing farmer is most injuriously affected by this whisky tax. The whisky duty, as Mr. Tyrrell shows, already means a tax of £80 aa acre on Irish barley, and to this Mr. Goschen kindly proposes to add an additional impost of &i an acre. Barley has been for a long the one crop that fairly paid the Irish farmer :-" Everybody," Mr. Tyrell says truly, " knows that since the repeal of the Coin Laws the cultivation of wheat (once the rent-paying crop) has ceased to be profitable in these countries, and has practically been abandoned in Ireland. The only cereal that of late years has really paid the farmer over a lar?e part of this country has been barley. It is the only grain in whico we are still ab e to hold our own against the world, the climate and the soil being peculiarly suitable for its growth ; and to the fine quality of Irish barley is undoubtedly due the excellence and fame of genuine Irish whisky. This being so. one would imagine a Government desirous of fostering the prosperity of the country would do everything possible to encourage the cultivation of this crop and the manufactures which support it ; but what are the facts ? The duty on whisky 30 or 40 years ago was 23 8d per proof gallon ; the duty on foreign wines at mat time was 5s 6d per gallon and 5 per cent. ; since then the duty on whisky has by successive bounds been increased to 10j, while on foreign wines it has been reduced to 2s (3d." If this were really done in the interest of temperance, there might be some show of excuse for it, But it is quite clear it is not. A oaan can get as drunk on beer or wine as on whisky ; but beer and wine arc English drinks, and are, therefore, let down lightly in the matter of taxation, though twice as much alcohol is consumed in England as in Ireland. I here is a nauseous compound cf potato-spirit and dher ingredients, which, under the norn do gxterrv of " Hambro' sherry, 1 ' is sent over from Hamburgh, and welcomed with a comparatively nominal duty of 2s 6d, while Irish spirit— tbe purest, bent, and wholesomest in the world— is already subjected to a crushing import of 10s a gallon, which it is proposed to further increase. Wtiy is this? Because Germany is considered worth conciliating and Ireland is not. What reason can be given for imposing the heaviest tax on the purest and most wholesome cf stimulants, and the one most frequently recommeuded by the doctors, except the one unvarying, all-sufficient reason that it is Irish 1 Mr. Goschen's explanation is peculiarly charming. "Quite true," he cays, in effect, " we over-tax Irish industries, and we are determined to still further overtax them. But then remember that by way of compensation the imperial Treasury contributes handbcmely towards the support of the vast, worthless standing army of iho lush Constabulary, who baton the Irish people and help to evict them, and the Imperial Tresßury is now further prepared to lend £dd,ouo,()UO to the well-beloved Irish rack-renters aud evictors, and only require the Irish people (whether they like it or not) to go security fur the loan. If such benefactions as these don't content you , there id no gratitude in man."
Mr. Gladstone is just now engaged in one of those famous political campaigns by means of which he periodically rouses the enthusiasm and devotion of bis supporters all over the country, and encourages the Liberal rank and rile to renewed efforts. Tbe scene this time is the East of England, which has long been neglected by the Liberal leaders, with the not unnatural result that, the nineteen county divisions of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex are represented by sixteen Ministerialists and thiee Liberals. That there are plenty of good Home Kulers in eastern England has been abundantly proved by the extraordinary enthusiasm with which the Grand Old Man has been received whenever and wherever he has been seen in public since his arrival in tbe distiict yesterday morning at Norwich. — Yesterday afternoon 2,000 Liberal delegates assembled in St. Andrew Hall, a building over 400 years old, and adopted by acclamation a political programme so radical in character as to make old-fashioned Tones gasp witb horror, and in the evening Mr, Gladstone a idressed a meeting of 10,00 l) Liberals with the energy nnd passion of a young man. He spoke lur an hour md a quarter without a tremor in his \oice, every tone of which reached the remotest corners of the vast hall. The speech was a wonderfully effective impeachment of tbe whole policy of the Government, and the tone throughout was hopeful of coming triumph,
Dublin Notes., New Zealand Tablet, Volume XVIII, Issue 11, 11 July 1890
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