« AnteriorContinuar »
then only jotted down the outcome of things which had been said to me, usually quite alone, and generally the result of very long conversations, often while sitting sketching, with sometimes a levee about me. I should like however, in a very few words to tell you some of the general impressions which I have derived from persons of high intelligence, e.g., one of the most important solicitors in Ireland, and medical men, and others who know and live among all classes in the community.
The first is, that there is a deep conviction of impending evils, greater than have existed since the most turbulent times. They look on Law as superseded by the Land League, and the rights of the weaker as set aside. I have conversed with more than one landlord who has had no rent for two years, and to-day with one who had received £40 instead of £800. I need not enlarge on this. The facts are too well known to
You may help however to realize the extent and depth of the distress from this quarter, when I tell you on what I believe to be good authority, that the jewellers of Dublin have their shops so filled with the silver and trinkets of small and respectable families who have secretly sold them to obtain subsistence, that they can hardly be prevailed on to buy more.
The disturbance to all social and commercial transactions and the injury thereby to the labouring classes need not be remarked upon.
Secondly. The Boycotting system has attained dimensions little understood, is daily extending, and will become, unless stopped, a burden too great to be borne.
To understand this, it is requisite to bear in mind the action of the Land League. I have had no access to its laws. But I look on its organisation to be nearly as complete as the constabulary, or local government, or any Institution with a central office, or the Parochial Boards. It is not yet universal, but it seems to be fast approaching it. Through its local officers, its various orders are executed, and executed blindly. They are orders, that is enough. I have no reason for doubting that there is existing a list of landlords to be murdered in rotation, and that the next two on the list (named to me) know that they are the next on the list, whenever they are told off. This indeed is no secret after all, for their names have been talked over in a common market-place. I know a young gentleman who will not let his father out of his sight, and always has a revolver in his breast. It is understood that matters will not go forward till the short days and long nights.
Now the agents of the League go about stealthily in the quietest districts. One night in a village where I was staying, two persons
(agents or not I do not know) were at midnight quietly expounding in the street the principles of the League, destruction of Landlords, expulsion of English, a Republic and the like. A clever woman who till lately was in a workhouse, and received relief from the Duchess of Marlborough's Fund till it closed, is now engaged in this service among the lower orders at fifteen shillings a week. I am quite afraid you may think these details tiresome or trivial or both. You might perhaps think more of them if you consider this, almost the last I will tell you. The Boycotting system began on a large scale, or rather the persons attacked were men of mark, more or less openly attacked, in daylight, by large numbers. The system is now quite different, and far more effectual in destroying social life of all the quiet and non-political law abiding inhabitants. No agents are too mean, and no objects too small : no persecution too petty, no family, selected by the central League or local committees too humble. Thus, a servant girl is asked to join the League—she declines—she is reported. No Leaguer dare buy butter or poultry of her—or sell her any. Pursue that. A farmer is asked to join, he declines, at the next market he finds he cannot either buy or sell from a large portion of the buyers and sellers. Remonstrance and resistance are vain. Each dreads he may be the next victim either of starvation, or loss of subsistence and business, or life. It is simply an invisible reign of terror. At a market in a place where I was, the Leaguers had their tickets in their hats : that is, the marked persons had no tickets.
A farmer's wife was boycotted last week at her confinement, so that no nurse dared go near her, and an Irish gentleman with his wife was three times fired at in last month, walking in their country place, where she had gone for her confinement.
One more instance and I have done. Lord George Hill in the north of Donegal had done all a man could do for his district, like what you try to do in yours. He built an excellent hotel at Gweedore. Some constables got food at the hotel. The place was marked, and no one in the whole valley dared feed them, convey food, or help them to move out. A considerable force was necessary to prevent personal violence. And it remains closed.
I cannot of course be answerable for statements which I am unable myself to prove. But I can answer for the good faith and credibility of every person who has told me these things, severally, and I can aver that I am but a simple peaceful observer, accustomed to see all classes, and loving all alike.
What follows is rather in the form of an opinion ; but opinion I think well founded, or I would not waste your time with it.
1st. The disestablishment of the Church of Ireland has aggravated the misfortunes of this distracted country. It has shaken the sense of security in property public and personal—has exasperated the Romanists by removing a grievance-has lowered the position in general social esteem of the clergy of all persuasions—has offended the most important landowners and has made Presbyterians more hostile to the Church of England, as being a lowered institution.
These sentiments you will observe to be mainly of a worldly and not of a spiritual nature. Of the effect on the true religious life of our Church people I cannot now speak. I do not think it is dimmed in
any way. Perhaps it has elevated it.
2ndly. I gather as the conviction of every person whose opinions I should at all consider, that all concessions are absolutely uselessthat they are accepted as extorted instalments granted to minatory agitation—that the agitation will certainly continue, if concession continues, and that a reign of lawlessness will prevail, until collapse, misery and starvation produce some catastrophe, involving the innocent and the guilty alike.
Lastly. A clergyman of the most amiable character and gentle disposition said to me, “You have pressed me for my opinion of the future. I am an Irishman, and a minister of the Gospel, and you may be shocked when I tell you that I think the most merciful thing would be a prompt and sharp encounter in which the Celtic element had no quarter. But the Parnellites are too great cowards to fight, and they will only steadily disorganise all that is worth living for in Ireland, as long as you grant their demands."
My dearest brother, I had rather not write a word of all this. I was advised, being overworked and unwell, to go to sketch this year
in Switzerland because Ireland was unsafe. I love my country too much to act on that argument, and I love you too well to withhold what I have been forced to hear. I read Macaulay's Siege of Derry, opposite Old Walker's monument on the walls. That recital and that scene do not tend to faintness of heart.
And so I end with two remarks of my own and not the inspiration of others, competent and better than myself. First, I have not heard one word from woman or man of timidity or complaint, but only of patriotic sorrow and brightness of hope against expectation. Truly it
braced me up when I was saddened to hear tender and ruined women say they would rather than desert their homes fall with them.
And secondly, Looking at the character of the people, their wit, their quickness, their docility, the resources of the country (which I have again crossed with the geological map in my hand for the sixth time) I shall henceforward daily pray with hope that they may be better guided by truer leaders, and that it will please God to bless them and us with unselfishness, forbearance, industry, and faith, and in the end
Your most affectionate brother,
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
“ I am come a light into the world.”-S. John xii. 46.
“....0 South wind, breathe thy fragrant sigh:
The Quest of the Sangraal.-Rev. R. S. HAWKER.
“WATCHMAN, what of the night, Watchman, what of the night ?"
On gentle gales rich roseate scents from earth arise ;
And fleecy clouds like snow-plumed doves fleck Orient skies.
The Morning Star to gladden mortal sight appears ;
“Of endless sweet repose of the Eternal Years.”
The white flocks safely sleep, which faithful shepherds tend,
As swiftly Heavenly Hosts through ambient air descend.
The shining multitudes of Herald Angels sing ;
Of JESUS—manger-cradled—Israel's Promised King.
Fair Queen of Saints-Pure Virgin Mother of the LORD
On whose tender breast caressed clings the Holy Child,
The Eternal FATHER'S SON—the Trinal God Adored.
Which onward moves in clustered Orbs the ocean o’er,
Memorial of Redeeming Love for evermore.
As from a Vestibule to Heaven's inner Shrine-
C. A. M. W.
SNOWED UP IN 1881.
BY MRS. EDMUND FFOULKES.
“What a day! what extraordinary snow! it seems coming from everywhere and nowhere all at once.”
“ Is it snowing ?” said Agnes Trevor, a delicate girl lying with her back to the window and her feet to the fire, warmly covered up on a low couch, and turning her head as she spoke.
“Is it not snowing indeed ?" said the first speaker, a bright maiden of about twenty, looking a complete contrast to her prostrate sister, strong, tall, beaming with health and spirits.
“Sibyl,” she said, turning to a younger one much like herself, who sat drawing near the window, or rather what she would have called
designing,” “let us turn Agnes round to enlarge her mind by a view of the outer world.” Whereupon Kate the eldest took the head of the little sofa, and Sibyl the foot, and they moved Agnes to an angle from which she could see the marvellous prospect.
The snow on the 18th of January was indeed unlike any they could remember. Instead of an even steady descent of flakes, gradually making a white world, it whirled under the influence of a strong wind which in some places swept it off into the distance, leaving the trees and shrubs almost untouched, and in others heaped it up against any obstacle so violently, that though the storm had only lasted an hour, drifts were beginning to appear at the side of the garden which sloped up to a raised walk on the east. The air was thickened with the wild dance of the snow, and the darkness of the sky seemed to give no hope of its cessation.