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due to the overwrought state of her mind, the intense concentration of all her thoughts on the one subject of religion; and we may not omit to attribute some share in her mental trial to the awful agency of that temptation which comes to us from without, through the powers of darkness with whom we have to deal. From whencesoever it came however it did not last, a few days and nights Frances struggled in an agony which made her feel that the loss of all that was dearest to her on earth, father, mother, friends, home, all that the world contained would be as nothing to her compared to the appalling desolation of a soul bereft of faith and hope in the Eternal God, and in His Christ, and then suddenly as it had arisen, the terrible experience passed. With a sense of despair at last she had taken up the Gospels that seemed to have no longer any meaning for her, when there flashed upon her spirit in one bright ecstatic moment such a living Light from some of the Divine words uttered on earth by the Incarnate Truth, that the blackness of darkness which enveloped her rolled away before it, like thick clouds beneath the burning radiance of the sun.
She rose up free ! unspeakably thankful ! restored to God, to Paradise, to hope, and in the rapture and gratitude of her escape she took a solemn resolution, that never again while life lasted, would she place herself within reach of any influence that might risk a return of a temptation so awful and so unholy; cost what it might of intellectual gratification or of trial to her friendship or affection, she would avoid thenceforth as deadliest poison all that was in any way antagonistic to the Faith of CHRIST.
S. STEPHEN'S DAY.
“And when he had said this, he fell asleep."
He fell asleep; the opening Heaven
Rapt him in sunset light:
His dying face grew bright.
Stole haply on his dream,
By some remembered stream.
Had neither lot nor part
In the mad storm of rage and strife
That broke his loyal heart.
He fell asleep; no vain emprise
Was his; no low renown :
Held out a fadeless crown.
He fell asleep; nor ill betide,
Nor woe, that slumber blest :
A. M. H.
IMPRESSIONS OF IRELAND IN THE AUTUMN OF 1881.
[In the present disturbed and melancholy condition of our sister island we think that the following letters will be found of great value and interest to our readers. They were written in Ireland about a month before Mr. Parnell's arrest and previous to Mr. Gladstone's speeches at Leeds, and were sent by one brother to another. Both of them are well-known men, the one addressed being an able member of Parliament, and the writer a well-known scientific man of wide reputation. He is much accustomed to wander with pen
and pencil among people of all classes and many countries, and it will be seen from the intrinsic evidence of the letters themselves that he is one whose attainments render him unusually capable of forming a just opinion founded on the highest and purest principles.-Ed. C. C.]
Donegal, September 20th, 1881. MY DEAR BROTHER,
You have been much in my mind during my stay here. I came seeking a stone and have truly been given bread. My object was to examine and draw a cliff of 1970 feet. The end has been most instructive and charming intercourse with people, landlords, priests, clergy, coastguardsmen and officers; all, of course, having their several views, habits, and notions. I wish I could tell you a tithe of it all. But much that is new to me may be alphabet to you. Yet I have known and valued Ireland off and on for near forty years. You heard, no doubt, an apocryphal story current this year of Cardinal
Cullen and Mr. Gladstone-that the former asked the latter if he read his Bible, if he knew of Nicodemus. “Then I tell you, Mr. Gladstone, if ye wish to understand Ireland ye must be born again, and next time of an Irish mother !” There seems to me a deal of truth in the idea it implies. Whether I shall think later on, that the problem is not so hard, I know not, but I have no doubt one must live long in Ireland to really know the Irish. What people who do not live here long, and are not Irish, can do and think, I cannot now guess.
The place in which I am now living is a very wild spot on the north-west coast of the wildest part of Ireland. The inhabitants are of the poorest. They occupy small farms of from three to fifteen, or even twenty acres, with “cow pastures ”—one, two, or more
Cow" pastures—twelve geese being counted as one cow. The pigs, calves,
— fowls, ducks, dogs, for the most part, live in the single room with the whole family, sometimes two families. There are no chimneys. Each “smoke,” that is, each fire typifying a family, pays the priest four sbillings a year. They have potatoes and oats in rude
of culture -perhaps a patch of oats giving twenty sheaves, each giving a stone of oats. Some few go fishing in rude boats. Some weave their homespun. Few women or children have shoes or stockings. Many of the girls are really beautiful. They are quick and intelligent, with great powers of conversation in the way of humour and repartee. A large proportion can neither read nor write.
There is one estate consisting of between 50,000 and 60,000 acres, with a population of about 8000 on them. One property runs along the coast about thirteen miles. It was purchased in three lots at different times under the Encumbered Estates Act by the present owners. They are men of great kindness, thorough business habits, very wealthy, and of the simplest ways. The churches are ten miles apart.
The owners take a deep, genuine, and intelligent interest in the condition and happiness of their people—have no special views of administration, except those which practical good sense as business men leads them to see to be likely to help the happiness of a very special race, specially circumstanced. They force no particular method of culture. By their example they show what can be done in the way of reclaiming and tillage of what they have in hand round their simple shooting box, where they live three or four months every summer.
Last year no tenant failed to pay his rent, and some paid in an advance. Agitators have been down and failed to make way with them. The Ulster custom prevails to the full. Yesterday a tenant near here sold his farm of five acres by auction, and obtained forty years' purchase of the regular rental. I gather from conversations with several, that their idea is, that their Farms are truly their own, and that the Landlord's relation to them is a sort of just tolerated eccentricity.
The Priests will not allow if they can help it, the landlord to purchase the tenant-right, for fear he should close the farm by adding it to another. Their 4s. "smoke money” is their income in fact, and diminution in population by emigration is of course fatal to it. Besides, they have large fees on all ordinances of the Church. For instance, every one who attends a funeral, has to place 6d. on the coffin plate as Priest's money, and the other day a popular man's coffin-plate money
gave €14. 5s.
The senior Priest here is a liberal and educated man, a “temperance” man, and refuses to join the Land League. But his curate does join it. It is said to be part of a policy to have this difference of action, in order that they may have a string in each bow. I cannot say more than the fact. The motive I do not know, even if there be one.
I have seen here by a rare and happy chance, some eminent business men of great energy and wealth. The impressions I have received, from all the several sources I have named, may, on the whole, be thus
(1.) The Land Act is a good, beneficent, useful Act. It will ork well. There will, however, be no cessation of agitators by reason of it. It will be set forth as a concession to provoke and obtain new demands. The Priests will foster the agitation partly for reasons I have hinted above, partly because their power depends on their leading ignorant numbers. The more sensible farmers, even the smallest are or will be convinced of the wisdom of the Act and its justice. In so far as they can be brought to resist the religious influence of Indulgences, Masses, and Terror of future suffering they will be for law and order.
(2.) The only prospect of peace being ever restored to the country depends perhaps on the development of manufactures, or of agriculture, by English capital and English workmen, who will set an example of success which the natives will follow.
(3.) If the Government is "firm” (whatever that may be in detail) this last may proceed. Whatever tends to alarm the capitalist tends to throw the country into anarchy, and so increase its sufferings.
(4.) The owners here, on the whole, as capitalists and landlords, are
hopeful. But they say Belfast and Ulster are more self-restrained and independent than the rest of Ireland, and they only speak for themselves.
(5.) Parnell is accounted a man of singular ability, not yet fully discounted; and of rare determination. He does not wish for actual separation from England. But he is not to be trusted in his statements of his real objects.
(6.) If the small farmers had their farms in Fee, the rougher parts of the population would be no better off.
(7.) The distress last year was great. Starvation of individual families was impending in Donegal and elsewhere. But many self-seeking persons in every station administered, or tried to have administered, the relief funds in a way not according to actual necessity but for mean motives of patronage.
(8.) The Priests generally have taken a great distrust of, almost aversion for Mr. Gladstone. Commercial and business men do not go this length, but many think both Mr. Forster and Mr. Gladstone too emotional, and therefore very dangerous for people who need a strong hand as well as a kind heart to guide them. They think that the adoption of a £4 franchise proposed by Mr. Forster, may lead to an absolute catastrophe, and make it necessary for the English Parliament to exclude the Irish Members even when English and Imperial business is transacted.
To all these I might add much derived from various quarters. I can give you authority for every statement, that is the authority of the person and his opinions. I have not conversed on the subject with any but resident Irish.
I think it right on reading this letter to say two things.
First. That the whole tone of it is derived from a most, perhaps the most, peaceable part of the country.
Secondly. That determined separatists, disloyal, and republican agitators are and will be permeating the whole country into the remotest corners. What can be done to avert evil and promote goodwill and peace ?
Your affectionate brother,
Written in the train from Derry to Dublin.
September 27th, 1881.