1 OCTOBER 1881, Page 2

It is difficult, almost impossible, to keep one's temper with

the Irish Land-leaguers, but let us be just even to them. Exces- sive irritation is felt in England at the conduct of the released "suspects," who take every opportunity afforded by their freedom of abusing their liberators. Father Sheehy, in particular, who has just been released by Mr. Forster, on his return to his parish described Mr. Gladstone as "a smiling, hollow hypocrite, and the greatest offender against the liberties of Ireland who has appeared in this century," denounced Mr. Forster, and called on the peasantry to reject the Land Act. That is ungrateful, but it is necessary to understand the point of view of these men. They think they were cruelly punished without trial, and re- leased either from fear or policy, and that, so far from owing any gratitude to their captors, they owe, as self-respecting human beings, a bitterer hate. It has long been noticed by prison governors that prisoners do not bate the Judges, unless they were condemned when innocent. In his own judgment, Father Sheehy is not only innocent, but meritorious. That is the worst of Coercion Acts. -Unless death is inflicted, they do not terrorise, for release is sure to come, and every released prisoner is an implacable enemy. That is no reason for not re- leasing when releasing is expedient or just, but it is a reason for enduring passionate obloquy with calmness.