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being established by law. A revolutionary assembly can easily do many things; it may confiscate property, cut off people's heads, and even seize upon all revenue as a sort of land-tax. But the introduction of a collective method of carrying on industry, the setting of trade on a co-operative footing, is beyond its power. As Mill admirably shows in his Chapters on Socialism, reforms such as these necessarily suppose workmen to be possessed of higher intellectual and moral culture than they can possibly acquire otherwise than by slow degrees. The powerlessness of a triumphant Socialist revolution, as far as economic reforms are concerned, was amply demonstrated by the absolute sterility in this respect of the Paris Commune of 1871, and of the Spanish Communes of Carthagena and Seville of 1873.

Mr. William Graham, in his book, " The Creed of Science" (" To the Poor," p. 280), pictures the triumph of a Socialistic revolution, and says:—

"After temporary social chaos, invading all order, extending to all departments of life, exhausted society would joyfully hail any self-styled saviour, promising deliverance from the unendurable delirium and horror of social anarchy. Things after their temporary wrench would revert to their old grooves, society being the sadder, the wiser, but scarcely the better, from the costly and not bloodless experience."

The Russian Socialist, Herzen, in his last letter to the father of Nihilism, Bakounine, writes :—" If even the bourgeois world were to be blown up, after the smoke had disappeared and the ashes been swept away, a new but still a bourgeois one, would reappear."

If the progress of humanity be not a mere idea, as that of democracy is, according to De Tocqueville, " the most ancient, the most continuous, and the most permanent fact in history," it follows that there will in future be greater equality amongst men; but violence will never be the means of the accomplishment of social transformations. Attempts at insurrections rather prevent these than otherwise, for they lead to a renewal of despotism, and to the enforcement of stricter and harder laws. The German regicides, Hodel and Nobiling, did their cause great harm. If the Socialists expound their views with persistency, and at the same time with moderation, bringing forward in support of them the powerful arguments of economic science, after the example of Mill and of the ex-Austrian Minister, Albert Schaffle, they would gain the ear of the upper classes, for it is quite impossible to ignore the sentiments of equality and justice which the Gospel places in the hearts of all. The Irish agrarian laws which Mr. Gladstone wrung from the House of Lords are a clear proof that Socialism may obtain most decisive conquests by peaceful means.



ORGANIZED murder, as a factor in what some Irish patriots call the " politics of despair," is not by any means a novelty in Ireland. The "Invincibles" of our days have had their prototypes, who have appeared at intervals from a rather remote past down to the present time. The " finest peasantry in the world,"—who arc also believed by their admirers to be the most supereminently virtuous, —though declared to be animated with a lively horror of secret assassination, would, nevertheless, seem, from recent revelations, to take iindly to it when, by its means, they can gain anything, or when— to put the most charitable construction on their motives—driven to desperation by unendurable wrongs. What is new as to the society of the " Invincibles" is, that it is said to have been specially organized for the murder of the higher Government officials.

Hitherto the secret conductors of assassination associations have been content to order the "removal"—as murder is delicately designated in "Invincible" phraseology — of landlords, "renegade" tenants, bailiffs, and lesser limbs of the law, either by way of reprisals for, or as deterrents against, landlord exactions; but never till now did they design to make British government impossible by the murder of the administrators of its laws.

Agrarian combinations, in fact, were not, as a rule, at all political, —that is, no change of the ruling power, or even reform of abuses, was expected or sought,—but merely defensive, retaliatory, or deterrent. The Land-League-Fenian-Invincible Confederacy, on the contrary, proposes the abolition of an influential class of the Irish people, and the establishment of a native Government.

Unlike that of the present combination, the record of the revolutionary societies of the remote and immediate past—that of the "United Irishmen," the "Young Irelanders," and the " Fenians"—is almost entirely unstained by agrarian murders and outrage. The insurgent excesses of '98 were the outcome of the mad delirium of a brief and almost unhoped-for success of the rebel arms, and the murder of Lord Kilwarden, on the occasion of a later emeute organized by the United Irishmen, was the work of a frenzied subordinate, and gave much concern to the leaders. Young Ireland's precarious vitality evaporated in heroic poetry and a harmless " rising f and although some Fenian " traitors" were assassinated by their betrayed confederates, the period of that society's most active existence wis remarkable for the total absence of agrarian murders or other crimes. Not till the present time, in fact, have men professing to be highprincipled patriots been open to the suspicion of the most remote alliance or connection with the suborners of secret assassination.

The murder-societies of the past—the "Peep o' Day Boys," "Heart of Oak Boys," "Heart of Flint Boys," "Heart" of Steel Boys," "Twelve o'Clock Boys," "Whiteboys," "Carders," "Threshers," "Ribbonmen," "Orangemen," and others—all, more or less remotely, had their origin in the tyranny of oppressive laws, and had no political objects whatever.

Curiously enough the earliest of them was a confederacy of Protestants. The Peep o' Day Boys was a Protestant society established in the north in the year 1772 for the extirpation of Catholic settlers. In that year the Earl of Donegal and other landlords in the county of Antrim evicted numbers of their tenants, who refused to assent to an increase of rents, and put their farms up for letting to auction. Several Catholics became tenants of these farms, most of the former occupants of which emigrated. The tenants who remained, and their sympathizers, combined to drive off the new occupiers, and founded a society called indifferently the "Peep o' Day Boys," and the "Heart of Steel Boys," while the Catholics set on foot an organization which they designated the "Defenders/' for their own protection. Between these opposing factions a deadly feud long raged, which culminated in a set collision between the strength of their forces, known as the "Battle of the Diamond," that resulted in establishing the supremacy of the Protestant party. Their object, which is also that of the "Moonlighters" of our day, was chiefly to deter tenants from occupying derelict farms,—that is, farms from which Protestant tenants had been evicted,—and to compel those who had taken such farms to surrender them; and their victory enabled them to a very great extent to realize their intentions. Soon after, the Peep o' Day Boys gave way to the formidable society of Orangemen, the objects and means of which were hi many respects similar to those of the parent society.

The troubles connected with the collection of tithes were the fruitful source from which sprang other secret associations for murder and outrage. The Carders, the "Threshers," the "Oak Boys," and other confederacies, were constituted to resist the payment of this tax. The Carders collected in large bodies and went about at night armed, forcing the peasantry to take oaths not to pay tithes to proctors. The penalty of refusal was sometimes death, but more frequently the horrible torture of " Carding"—that is, the back of the unfortunate victim was lacerated by a strong and sharp steel comb, used in carding wool, being drawn over it. In the year 1T84, iu the Irish Parliament, which was then engaged in the enactment of measures of coercion far more severe than any which of late years the British Parliament has passed for Ireland, the AttorneyGeneral described the modus operandi of the Threshers as follows :—

"The commencement," he said, "was in one or two parishes in the county of Kerry, and they proceeded thus:—-The people assembled in a Catholic chapel, and there took an oath to obey the laws of Captain Right, and to starve the clergy. They then proceeded to the next parishes on the following Sunday, and there swore the people in the same manner; with this addition, that they (the people sworn) should on the ensuing Sunday proceed to the chapels of their next neighbouring parishes, and swear the inhabitants of these parishes

in like manner Bodies of 5,000 of them have been seen to march

through the county unarmed, and if met by any magistrate, they never offered the smallest rudeness or offejice; on the contrary, they had allowed person* charged with crimes to be taken from amongst them by the magistrate alone, unaided by any force."

This is not greatly different from the "passive resistance" recommended to the peasantry for adoption in the early days of the Land League.

And it was an Irish Parliament which was responsible for the iniquitous impost which occasioned such grave crimes and tumults. A vote of the Irish House of Commons in 1735 decreed that the tithes, which constituted a considerable part of the income of the Protestant clergy, should be levied off the corn, cattle, pigs, poultry, and potatoes of the Catholic cottiers, thus specially exempting the opulent graziers and Protestant proprietors. This law declared in effect that the established clergy should get nothing from the parks and demesnes of the Protestant nobility and gentry, the proprietors of the whole country, but that they might mulct the poor Catholic cottier of one-tenth of the substance of his starving family. The clergy generally employed an agent, or proctor, who, immediately before harvest, valued the standing crops and fixed the sum to 1)3 paid to his spiritual superior, who was, moreover, minister of a religion different from that held by the unfortunate tenant. Nor could the latter appeal to law for redress against exaction with any hope of success. That was a luxury reserved for the rich. "The peasant,"


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wrote Mr. J. W. Croker, secretary to the Admiralty in 1822, "oppressed or defrauded to the amount of .£10 cannot bring even a claim of redress in the lottery of the laws for less than £60. By victory or defeat he is equally irremediably ruined."

Such oppression as this naturally produced outrages, and the secret societies of the time waged war against tithe proctors and police, as well as against landlords and Orangemen. The wrongs they endured, and the tyranny to which they were subjected, drove the people to despair; and, banded together, they wreaked indiscriminate vengeance on the upper classes, and perpetrated, without doubt, many horrible crimes.

Not only were the small farmers ground down by tithes and other oppressive taxation, but they were the bond slaves of their landlords. Their religion was proscribed, and they were not permitted to educate their children. At the beginning of the present century the population of the country was estimated to stand at about five millions and a half, of whom at least two millions lived in a state of absolute serfdom under half a million slave-owners—that is landlords and aristocrats.

"The domineering aristocracy," said Arthur Young, "of five hundred thousand Protestants feel the sweets of having two millions of slaves;" and, sustained by the British Government, they were able to preserve their power and exert their privileges through many a dreary round of weary years. Twenty years after, these miserable serfs had multiplied amazingly. In 1820, the population had increased to seven millions, of whom six millions were Catholics. And their condition grew worse with increased numbers. In no country in Europe were the people so completely degraded.

"The landlord of an Irish estate," wrote Arthur Young, "inhabited by Roman Catholics, is a sort of a despot, who yields obedience in whatever con■cerns the poor to no law but his own will. A landlord in Ireland can scarcely invent an order which a servant, labourer, or cottier dares to refuse to execute. Nothing satisfies him but an unlimited submission. Disrespect, or anything tending towards sauciness, he may punish with his cane or horsewhip, with the most perfect security; a poor man would have his bones broke if he offered to lift his hand in his own defence. Landlords of consequence have assured me that many of these cottiers would think themselves honoured by having their wives or daughters sent for to the bed of their master; a mark of slavery that proves the oppression under which such people must live. Nay, I have heard anecdotes of the lives of people being made free with without any apprehension of the justice of a jury."

Further details are too distressing for narration. Never were a people subjected to a more galling or intolerable tyranny. They were powerless for open resistance, and had no resource save in secret conspiracy. They were guilty, no doubt, of many savage acts of atrocity, which were encountered and revenged by ferocious enactments. "Acts," said Mr. Young, "were passed for their punishment which seemed calculated for the meridian of Barbary. This arose to such a

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