MR. PARNELL AND THE OUTRAGES IN IRELAND.
WE publish in another column a letter of remonstrance from a correspondent, Mr. A. II. Beesly, charging us with having treated Mr. Parnell unfairly in considering him responsible for outrage in Ireland. To accept Mr. Beesly's theory that the leader of the Irish Party is as opposed to the use of terrorism and outrage in his political propaganda as was Mr. Cobden, or, indeed, as was O'Connell, is a view which the facts render it absolutely impossible to hold. An intense repugnance, an incapacity almost, to believe a man guilty who will not con- fess his crime, is the weakness of a certain type of mind. As long as an accused person resolutely denies his misdeeds, there are many men who, however strong the proof, cannot conquer the desire to believe him innocent. Since Mr. Parnell has refused to plead guilty, such persons prefer to accept his word to looking into troublesome arguments and bewildering facts. This attitude has been strengthened by the wise plan adopted by Mr. Parnell and his lieutenants of never answering or explaining a charge. If Mr. Parnell could be once drawn into an attempt to explain and defend his position as President of the Land League and the National League, he would be lost. As it is, his general denials commit him to nothing, and involve no entry upon awkward questions. Yet to any one who has read the history of the last few years, the facts are clear enough. Mr. Parnell indirectly countenanced and provoked outrage by his own speeches. He allowed colleagues, over whom he had complete control, to incite to outrage. As President of the Land League, and subsequently of the National League, he was responsible for the organisation of terror and lawlessness in Ireland. He permitted a paper, of which he was joint-proprietor, to publish matter directly calculated to produce outrage. He cordially accepted the help and support of the Irish World, the organ of dynamite and assassination. He was always willing to profit by the results of outrage. Of course, no one can show that Mr. Parnell, in so many words, recommended outrage, just as no one ever shows at an election petition that a Member of Parliament bribed with his own hands, directed any one else to bribe, or, indeed, knew anything about the matter. Yet for all that, the election Judges declare that the man in whose interest the bribery took place, and who benefited by it, must bear the blame and receive the punishment. This, as Mr. W. E. Forster pointed out long ago, is an exact analogy for the case -of Mr. Parnell. It is as idle to assert that because Mr. Parnell has never gone out moonlighting himself he has no responsi- bility for outrage, as it is to say that the man in whose interest a borough has been corrupted has had nothing to do with the offence of bribery. If this analogy is borne in mind, quite sufficient proof can be adduced to support amply every one of the contentions we have just made. In the first place, there was the celebrated speech on his arrival at Brooklyn on January 15th, 1880, a speech which seems to us to show that he had considered the subject as a statesman, and had made up his mind to use outrage as a means, moderately if it might be but at all events to use it :—" You have to act upon English public opinion in some extraordinary and unusual manner in order to obtain any attention for the Irish Question. We are, therefore, obliged to make the situation a very hot one indeed It is impossible to suppose that the great cause can be won without shedding a drop of blood." On September 26th, 1880, Mr. Parnell had occasion to speak at New Ross just after a brutal murder had been committed. It was Len that he pointed out "that re- course to such measures of procedure is entirely unnecessary and absolutely prejudicial where there is a suitable organisa- tion among the tenants themselves." Suppose a candidate, having heard of a crude case of bribery by paying money -down' described it as unnecessary and absolutely preju- dicial where there was suitable organisation, should we think him in earnest in his desire to put down corrupt prac- tices There is, again, the more famous speech at Ennis, where Mr. Parnell elaborated his famous theory of boycotting —" the more Christian and more charitable way" of dealing with a man, by isolating him "as if he were a leper of old "- and gave forth the prophecy, terribly true in its accomplish- ment,—" You may depend upon it, if the population of a county in Ireland carry out this doctrine, that there will be no man so full of avarice as to dare the public opinion of all right-thinking men within the county, and to transgress your unwritten code of laws." If a candidate gave out to his committee a new kind of legal intimidation which he had invented, would the Judges be likely to regard him as innocent if the most illegal consequences flowed directly from the practice of his precept? It is difficult to make a choice among the many incitements to outrage that are to be found in the speeches of Mr. Parnell's chief supporters. Perhaps Mr. Biggar deserves the first place when, with a fine flavour of commercial exactness in his words, he said, in October, 1880,—" We do not recommend shooting landlords. That is an extreme measure, and certainly we cannot recommend it ; and besides, it is held undesirable for the interest of the cause that it should be done, for this reason, that when such a thing takes place it is blazoned forth in all the English newspapers, and prejudice is excited in the English mind against the Irish tenant-farmers." Is this the language of men sincerely anxious to stop outrage, and holding it—as we are assured—in more detestation than ordinary Englishmen To press our analogy, the chairman of the can- didate's committee finds nothing stronger to say against the desire to bribe actively prevalent among his followers, than that "we cannot recommend it." The words of Mr. Boyton, a member of the executive of the Central Land League, and so an immediate lieutenant of Mr. Parnell, speaking on March 5th, 1881, used an extremely simple formula :—" We have seen plenty of landlords and agents that deserve to be shot at any man's hands. I have always denounced the commission of outrages by night ; but meet him in the broad daylight, and if you must blow out his brains, blow them out in the day- time." Of the minor agitators employed by the Land League to stir up outrage and spread the light, Mr. Mat. Harris and Mr. Gordon are the most conspicuous. Mr. Harris's remark (Galway, October 17th, 1880) that "if the tenant-farmers of Ireland shoot down landlords as partridges are shot in the month of September, Mat. Harris will never say one word against them," has lately received a considerable amount of attention, and need not be dwelt on here. Mr. Gordon's words (Abbeyknockmoy, October 3rd, 1880) are, however, somewhat less known, though more imaginative in their phraseology. It was he who recommended the people to address the landlord thus :—" I will neither beat you nor abuse you, but I will cry 'mad dog' till the people hunt you down and kill you."
Mr. Parnell might plead, perhaps, that it was not then possible for him to keep his supporters quiet ; though the ease with which he has shown himself able to muzzle them if necessary is a strong evidence to the contrary. At any rate, he need not have remained President of the Land League. If Mr. Parnell was sincere in his desire to avoid outrage, why did he not either insist that the branches of the League should not organise outrage, or else retire from the Presidency ? The answer is, of course, plain enough. He considered the out- rages, to use the phrase of his own paper—the United Ireland —as mere incidents of the campaign, and cared no more to stop them than did Marat when he viewed with sombre acquiescence the massacres of the Terror. This may be a statesmanlike and reasonable way of looking at bloodshed, and incidentally useful in carrying out a political purpose ; but, at any rate, it is not the attitude of one who has always detested outrage as English Home-rulers try to fancy that Mr. Parnell has done.
Perhaps the strongest influence at work in Ireland for the demoralisation of her people has been the influence exercised by United Ireland. This paper is owned jointly by Mr. Parnell and Mr. Justin McCarthy. It is engaged in furthering Mr. Parnell's views, and it has been subject to constant criti- cism. It is, therefore, impossible for its owner to set up as a defence that he cannot control its writers,—as in the case of all other newspapers, the proprietor's voice is paramount. Under headings with such names as " The Campaign," or "Incidents in the Campaign," appeared records of the brutal outrages which in 1881 were taking place throughout Ireland. It is true that they, for the most part, are without comment ; but their publication all over Ireland was doubtless intended to stimulate the resistance, and to inspire the peasantry with the notion that outrages on landlords were a safe and a profitable way of making war on Saxon tyrants. The Irish World has become too well known to English readers to need any description. Every one has read how, when Mr. Glad- stone's Home-rule scheme was announced, the Irish World received it in such terms as these :—" It is not respectable, we know, to say anything in favour of dynamite ; but we had rather feel like an honest man than to be thought respectable. But dynamite itself can lift up its head and look the respecta- bilities in the face, when their Grand Old Man, whose spittle they deem it an honour to lick, makes the avowal that the influence which induces England to make concessions to Ireland is an influence akin to fear." This, of course, is mild writing for the paper which in sober earnest has used the threat of "indiscriminate slaughter ;" but it serves to remind us of its methods. The Irish World has no doubt lately been drawing closer to Mr. Parnell ; but it has always been a warm friend, and he has never scrupled to accept its contributions. In the House of Commons he acknowledged it as his "unofficial organ," and in 1881 he telegraphed these words,—" Thanks to the Trish TVorld and its readers for the constant co-operation and substantial sup- port in our great cause. Let them have no fear of its ultimate success.—CHARLES STEWART PARNELL." Mr. Parnell did not scruple to adopt the "constant co-operation and support" of a paper which has not only openly and persistently advocated the assassination of individuals, but the "indiscriminate slaughter" of Englishmen, wherever they could be come at, in order to terrorise us into submitting to the Irish demands. Nor did he even lack the effrontery to acknowledge his obligations. Surely a man who will take money from, and give thanks to, such people hardly needs protection from our charge that he was not always sincere in his attempt to put down outrage. The whole record of the struggle with Ireland shows that Mr. Parnell is a man whose hatred of England is far greater than his love of Ireland. A real Irish patriot like O'Connell would have shrunk from debauching the moral sense of Ireland in the way the Land League and the National League have debauched it. He would have seen that to allow the spread of anarchy was to allow forces to work which must end in demoralising the people. Fancy Garibaldi trying to free Lombardy by forming an association to withhold contract debts and to terrorise private individuals! Fancy Garrison pressing the cause of emancipation not by open means, but by forming secret terror organisations among the slaves on the plantations ! Great causes are not won by men who dare not risk their lives. The Irish say it would be useless to rise in rebellion and fight for independence. Yet Garibaldi, when he made his raid upon the Italian lakes, and seized the steamers on Maggiore, was fighting greater odds than they would be. Mr. Parnell has to deal with a people who, though a very brave race, are not sincere enough in their desire for independence to fight for it, but who are callous to certain kinds of crime, and can therefore be bribed into a state of revolt, just up to the line where it becomes dangerous to the re- volter, by the promise of land for prairie value, and what is still dearer to them, a reign of lawlessness when there will be no cursed Saxon to bother men to be tidy, or clean, or industrious, or to prevent them from every now and then indulging in the luxury of a faction fight. Englishmen so little understand the lack of sincerity, of nobility of purpose, of generosity, of hatred of cruelty, in a man of Mr. Parnell's gifts—for they are great gifts, and Englishmen will never believe that a man cm come to the top without good gifts as well as great—that they are always inclined to fancy that somehow they are doing him injustice when they draw the necessary conclusions from his acts. But they must learn to do so. They must cease to exaggerate talent of a high cold order into genius, and must learn to understand that Mr. Parnell is not the man of generous mind who, however much an enemy to us, has at least had his mind widened and made strong by patriotic feeling ; but instead, is a cold, calculating politician, who tries to win not by ennobling and strengthening his own cause, but by inperious will, cynical calculation, and imperturbable sang- froid.