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784
[FROM ANGLO-NORMAN INVASION
IRELAND

firing into houses, the mutilation of cattle and intimidation of every sort.” In this year the campaign of outrage in Ireland Dynamite. was reinforced by one of dynamite in Great Britain. The home secretary, Sir W. Harcourt, brought in an Explosives Bill on the 9th of April, which was passed through all its stages in one day and received the royal assent on the next. The dynamiters were for the most part Irish-Americans, who for obvious reasons generally spared Ireland, but one land-agent’s house in Kerry was shaken to its foundations in November 1884. At Belfast in the preceding June Lord Spencer, who afterwards became a Home Ruler, had announced that the secret conspirators would “not terrify the English nation.” On the 22nd of February 1883 Forster made his great attack on Parnell in the House of Commons, accusing him of moral complicity with Irish crime. A detailed answer was never attempted, and public attention was soon drawn to the trial of the “Invincibles” who contrived the Phoenix Park murders. On the 11th of December Parnell received a present of £37,000 from his followers in Ireland. The tribute, as it was called, was raised in spite of a papal prohibition. As a complement Labourers Act. to the Land Act and Arrears Act, boards of guardians were this year empowered to build labourers’ cottages with money borrowed on the security of the rates and repayable out of them. Half an acre of land went with the cottage, and by a later act this was unwisely extended to one acre. That the labourers had been badly housed was evident, and there was little chance of improvement by private capitalists, for cottage property is not remunerative. But the working of the Labourers Acts was very costly, cottages being often assigned to people who were not agricultural labourers at all. In many districts the building was quite overdone, and the rent obtainable being far less than enough to recoup the guardians, the system operated as out-door relief for the able-bodied and as a rate in aid of wages.

The Explosives Act, strong as it was, did not at once effect its object. In February 1884 there was a plot to blow up four London railway stations by means of clockwork infernal machines containing dynamite, brought from America. Three Irish-Americans were convicted, of whom one, John Daly, who was sentenced to penal servitude for life, lived to be mayor of Limerick in 1899. In January 1885 Parnell visited Thurles, where he gave a remarkable proof of his power by breaking down local opposition to his candidate for Tipperary. In April the prince and princess of Wales visited Ireland. At Dublin they were well received, and at Belfast enthusiastically, but there were hostile demonstrations at Mallow and Cork. In May it was intended to renew the Crimes Prevention Act, but before that was done the government was beaten on a financial question by 264 to 252, Parnell and 39 of his followers voting with the Conservatives. The Crimes Prevention Act expired on the 12th of July, and the want of it was at once felt. The number of agrarian outrages reported in the first six months of the year was 373; in the last six months they rose to 543, and the number of persons boycotted was almost trebled. Lord Salisbury came into office, with Lord Carnarvon as lord-lieutenant and Sir W. Hart Dyke as chief secretary. The lord-lieutenant had an interview with Parnell, of which very conflicting accounts were given, but the Irish leader issued a manifesto advising his friends to vote against the Liberals as oppressors and coercionists, who promised everything and did nothing. The constitutional Liberal party in Ireland was in fact annihilated by the extension of the franchise to agricultural labourers and very small farmers. The most important Irish measure of Ashbourne Act. the session was the Ashbourne Act, by which £5,000,000 was allotted on the security of the land for the creation of an occupying proprietary. Later the same sum was again granted, and there was still a good deal unexpended when the larger measure of 1891 became law. In December 1885, when the general election was over, an anonymous scheme of Home Rule appeared in some newspapers, and in spite of disclaimers it was at once believed that Gladstone had made up his mind to surrender. In October 1884, only fourteen months before, he had told political friends that he had a sneaking regard for Parnell, and that Home Rule might be a matter for serious consideration within ten years (Sir A. West’s Recollections, 1899, ii. 206). The shortening of the time was perhaps accounted for by the fact that the new House of Commons consisted of 331 Liberals, 249 Conservatives, 86 Home Rulers and Independents, Parnell thus holding the balance of parties. In Ireland there had been 66 elections contested, and out of 451,000 voters 93,000 were illiterates. Such were the constituencies to whom it was proposed to hand Ireland over. On the 26th of January 1886 the government were defeated by a combination of Liberal and Nationalists on an issue not directly connected with Ireland, and their resignation Home Rule Bill, 1886. immediately followed. Gladstone became prime minister, with Lord Aberdeen as lord-lieutenant and Mr John Morley as chief secretary. Lord Hartington and Mr Goschen were not included in this administration. In February Parnell again showed his power by forcing Captain O’Shea upon the unwilling electors of Galway. He introduced a Land Bill to relieve tenants from legal process if they paid half their rent, and foretold disorder in consequence of its rejection. In April the Government of Ireland Bill was brought in, Mr Chamberlain (q.v.), Mr Trevelyan and others leaving the ministry. The bill attempted to safeguard British interests, while leaving Ireland at the mercy of the native politicians. Irish members were excluded from the imperial parliament. The local legislature was to consist of two orders sitting and voting together, but with the power of separating on the demand of either order present. The 28 representative peers, with 75 other members having an income of £200, or a capital of £4000, elected for ten years by £25 occupiers, were to constitute the first order. The second was to have 204 members returned for five years by the usual parliamentary electorate. The status of the lord-lieutenant was unalterable by this legislature. Holders of judicial offices and permanent civil servants had the option of retiring with pensions, but the constabulary, whom the Home Rulers had openly threatened to punish when their time came, were to come after an interval under the power of the Irish Parliament. Parnell accepted the bill, but without enthusiasm.

The Government of Ireland Bill gave no protection to landowners, but as the crisis was mainly agrarian, it would have been hardly decent to make no show of considering them. A Land Purchase Bill was accordingly introduced on the 16th of April by the prime minister under “an obligation of honour and policy,” to use his own words. Fifty millions sterling in three years was proposed as payment for what had been officially undervalued at 113 millions. It was assumed that there would be a rush to sell, the choice apparently lying between that and confiscation, and priority was to be decided by lot. The Irish landlords, however, showed no disposition to sell their country, and the Purchase Bill was quickly dropped, though Gladstone had declared the two measures to be inseparable. He reminded the landlords that the “sands were running in the hour-glass,” but this threat had no effect. The Unionists of Ireland had been taken by surprise, and out of Ulster they had no organization capable of opposing the National League and the government combined. Individuals went to England and spoke wherever they could get a hearing, but it was uphill work. In Ulster the Orange lodges were always available, and the large Protestant population made itself felt. Terrible riots took place at Belfast in June, July and August. In October there was an inquiry by a royal commission with Mr Justice Day at its head, and on the report being published in the following January there were fresh riots. Foolish and criminal as these disturbances were, they served to remind the English people that Ireland would not cease to be troublesome under Home Rule. In parliament the Home Rule Bill soon got into rough water; John Bright declared against it. The “dissentient Liberals,” as Gladstone always called them, were not converted by the abandonment of the Purchase Bill, and on the 7th of June 93 of them voted against the second reading,