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to him for that; and that is what gained the majority for Captain Nolan at
; the election.
Nor did Captain Trench's counsel make so much as an attempt to shake any part of this evidence, by any re-examination. See again the Bishop of Clonfert's very distinct testimony (p. 505).
Q. 17,283. From your very long experience of this county, do you know whether the ideas of the voters of the county, the great majority of the tenant class, harmonize with those you entertain ?-I am perfectly satisfied of that; I am perfectly convinced of it from knowledge ; I know it.
Q. 17,284. You know it as a matter of fact ?-I know it as a matter of fact and knowledge.
Q. 17,285. Does that extend to the great body, if not the whole body, of the frieze-coated voters ?-Most decidedly.
Q. 17,286. And to the better class of farmers I apprehend also ?- Well “farmer" is a very vague term. .... I believe, and I know even, that there is not a Catholic large farmer or grazier that I know of in the county, that does not think as I have spoken.
Testimonies of this kind might be multiplied indefinitely from the Evidence, and Captain Trench's own counsel hardly affected to deny the allegation. But there is still stronger proof of what we have said, in the language used throughout by bishops and priests. Thus, take the very document which was placed by Judge Keogh at the head of his indictment, and quoted by us in July (pp. 109, 110). clergymen of the four dioceses” are requested to explain to the electors of the several parishes, that the Legislature, in conferring on them the franchise, had intended that it should be used by each elector for the public weal, according to his conscience.” So the Archbishop of Tuam (Evidence, p. 158), trusts that “the electors at the coming Galway election ” may “in reality be free and independent voters, as the Constitution means." The Bishop of Clonfert said at Ballinasloe (Evidence, p. 501), that “the law of the land even required that no intimidation should be practised from any extrinsic source, whether lay or spiritual.” And such expressions are constantly recurring. Now, as every one must see, it is simply impossible that such language would have been used without exciting universal reclamation and disgust, had it not been a patent and undeniable fact known to all, that the mass of voters were really favourable to the priests' candidate. Their bitterest enemy does not deny that the priests heartily desired Nolan's success; but they could not hope to promote that success by these earnest and reiterated appeals to the independent conscience of the
electors, unless they knew thoroughly well that that independent conscience pronounced on the same side with their own.
Secondly we have said, that many a landlord pressed his tenants by motives of self-interest or (at least) of gratitude, either to vote against their conscience, or at least not to vote in conformity with its dictates. There is hardly, indeed, one considerable landlord in Galway, Protestant or Catholic, in whose case this fact is not established by the Evidence ;* though (as we have already said) every possible veil is thrown over the nakedness of the transaction. We begin with Lord Westmeath. He wrote a letter for his sons to sign (p. 365); though as a matter of fact they failed to sign it, not at all because they disapproved it, but because of illness in the family (q. 12,914). That letter ran as follows, and we italicize a few words :
Pallas : January, 1872. The great number of tenants, with small holdings and without votes, living on this property, and the great amount of arrears due, prove that the landlord had always more regard for his tenants than for his own interest. We [Lord Westmeath's sons) are like yourselves tenants ; and we expect that every man who has a vote will give it with us to Captain Trench at Loughrea or Portumna. He would, we think, be found one of the most useful and liberal members ever returned for this county. Sir T. Burke would not support him otherwise, who had been so long in Parliament, and who never gave a bad vote. On these grounds we ask you to vote for Captain Trench ; and any man who will try to avoid doing so, shall be deemed not to approve of, or value, the indulgence to tenants ever practised on this estate. You have heard enough of Captain Nolan : we shall say nothing to you against him, as we think that low vulgar abuse is unworthy of gentlemen, and can never bring any aid to establish facts.
We do not think Judge Keogh himself would attempt otherwise to interpret this, than as conveying a menace, that those who even “ try to avoid ” voting for Trench, shall not hereafter participate in "the indulgence to tenants ever practised on this estate.” Sir T. Burke also set forth a manifesto, which contains the following:
I now express my hope and confidence, that none of my tenants will vote against my will for any candidate ; and I feel certain they will not forget my conduct to them, when they required both forbearance and indulgence. I
* We are bound in justice to say, that we have not observed in the Evidence any testimony connecting Lord Dunsandle with this system of landlord oppression. At p. 490, q. 16,815, it is mentioned that “he sent a kind message saying he did not
to inflict any punishment, or to be unkind, to any man who had voted for Captain Nolan.” His tenants lighted a bonfire in gratitude ; showing by that very fact, how rare was such conduct among the landlords of the county.
would wish all my tenants who have votes to give them to Captain Trench
... Recollect, when the election is over, you have no one to expect any favour from, but your landlord and his agent” (p. 51, q. 1,667).
Lady Mary Burke supplies what we suppose may be taken as an authoritative exposition of Sir Thomas's view :
If it is against any of your consciences to vote for Captain Trench, do not do it. I will not ask you to do it. But surely you can stay at home, and you need not join or give your approval of a party which has so grossly insulted your good landlord” (p. 59, q. 1,869).
Lord Clanricarde's words are thus reported by his landagent:
There is a theory abroad, that the tenants have nothing to do but pay their rents. That is not the feeling upon which I have gone for the last forty-five years ; but, however, if that is the principle to be adopted for the future, I think that I ought to get a fair and equitable rent for my land” (p. 258, q. 8,760).
In other words, his lordship considers, that hitherto his rent has in part been equivalently paid, by his tenants voting conformably to his instructions; and that, in all equity, if this practice ceases, his rents should rise. And we wish our readers would study the whole cross-examination of his land-agent, from p. 263 to p. 268. Similar is the doctrine of Mr. W. J. Burke, a Catholic landlord (p. 153) :
Q. 5,431. What was the substance of (your conference with your tenantry]? - They declared that they would vote for Nolan. One of them said to me, “ How would I prosper if I opposed the priests ?” Another said I had no right to ask for anything but my rent. I had often heard it said from the altar, by Rev. Mr. Conway, that I had no right to ask for anything but my rent. I told them I knew I had no legal right to anything but my rent ; but I had never looked at landlord and tenant as creditor and debtor until then.
Q. 5,432. Had you ever exercised any coercion towards them previously? --No; on the contrary, I told them they were at perfect liberty to stay at home.
Such is Mr. Burke's idea of what is meant by “coercion.” The liberty of neutrality is the highest he can even imagine granted to a voter. On this the cross-examining counsel asks (p. 154) :
Q. 5,441. I suppose you have received your rent ?-Yes, they pay me very punctually.
Q. 5,442. You do not think that you have any right legally to complain of the tenants having taken that position [that the landlord has no right to more than his rent] ?--Certainly, none : but I have not been dealing with them merely as regards rent; I have been doing them a thousand kindnesses, and I might expect from them a favour.
Another landlord, Mr. Power, uses the word “ coercion” in the same very singular sense. He was informed by a priest (p. 33, q. 1,158) that his tenants " believe that if they voted for Captain Trench they would vote contrary to the dictates of their conscience.” He replies (q. 1,162), “ I have no idea of using coercion with any man. If they vote for Captain Trench, I will be very much obliged; but if not, let them stay at home; and I hope you will tell them to stay at home.” Pretty cool this. Again, "I use no coercion, but merely ask the votes for Captain Trench. If they refuse to vote, I hope and expect they will remain at home.” And the bondage of these tenants was not really even to their landlord, but (through him) to Lord Clanricarde. Mr. Power was bound by an old promise (q.1,177) to vote always for the Clanricarde candidate. He is asked (a. 1,178), “ And you conceive your tenants bound by it too ? ' a promise, be it observed, about which they had been no more consulted, than had the man in the moon. He replies, “I considered that in good feeling they would consider themselves bound by it]; because I was always kind to them.” He gives Lord Clanricarde their votes, without even consulting them.
We pass to Archdeacon Butson. That Protestant dignitary thus curtly addresses his land-agent (p. 221, q. 7,787): “I wish the tenants at Caltra to support Captain Trench at the coming election by their votes. Please let them know this." And the agent, in executing this commission (q. 7,808), “pointed out to them, when asking them to vote for Captain Trench, that their cattle might die and things of that sort might happen, and who would they have to look to but their humane [!] landlord ? »
Mr. Barrett, another Protestant landlord, thus expresses his sovereign will and pleasure. “I am more determined than ever to vote for Captain Trench; and all the Ballintaber tenants, except one, promised me to do the same; although they had promised Nolan before they knew my mind” (p. 355, q. 12,548). Mr. Barrett does not share Judge Keogh's feelings apparently (see our last number, p. 111), on the sacredness of an election promise. His doctrine indeed is even more amazing than Judge Keogh's, though in the opposite extreme. The promise, it seems, of tenants to vote according to their conscience is null and void, if they afterwards find that their landlord's conscientious view differs from their own.
Lady Anne Daly, in a slightly different shape, has a similarly exalted view on Captain Daly's legitimate power over his tenants. Captain Daly is a Catholic; but she informs the priest that “it
would make Captain Daly look like a fool, if he remained in a chapel ” after mass was over,
" while his voters were desired to go in a way contrary to the way in which he thought it right for them to go" (p. 173, q. 6,016). He would appear to countenance, we suppose, the rebellion of his scrfs.
It may be worth while to give two illustrations, as to the effect of this dictation in the way of politically demoralizing the tenants. Thus Thomas Killeen (p. 115, q: 4,083) is asked, “Your politics are your landlord ?" and he replies, “ Yes; the man that gives me a good living I wish to compliment him.” John Forde, who voted for Trench, declared to Captain Cowan, a witness, « that he would as soon vote for the devil as for Captain Trench; but that he would vote for the devil, if his landlord asked him” (p. 490, q. 16,817). This same hero "got a very coveted piece of land from Lord Clanricarde: he was put in possession of it the day he went home after giving evidence" (q. 16,819). Who can be surprised that the priests feel keenly this moral degradation of their flock?
We really do not see how any fair-minded man, who reads the Evidence steadily through, can doubt what ought to have been the decision, on the three questions which had to be determined. It has been admitted by all the Irish members, that under circumstances Captain Nolan was rightly unseated. We are prevented from entering into details on this head, by the circumstance that certain Government prosecutions are imminent; and we will only therefore make the obvious comment, how provoking it is that the candidate, preferred by the immense majority of electors, should have lost his seat through the misconduct of a very few among his supporters. But it is no less plain to us that the second part of the Judge's decision was wrong, than that the first was right. The energetic and oppressive interference of the landlords(as the“Spectator”truly observed) is a fact simply undeniable; and Captain Trench was wholly ineligible therefore for the vacant seat. Lastly comes the Judg. ment pronounced by the Court of Common Pleas (opposed however by Chief Justice Monahan), to the effect, that Captain Nolan's disqualification was notorious to the electors; couscquently, that those who voted for him may reasonably be considered to have voluntarily thrown away their suffrages; and that Captain Trench therefore was duly elected. This extraordinary judgment took by surprise some even of those English journals, which were most violently opposed to Captain Nolan and the priests.
But another question is suggested by the whole history, indefinitely larger and more momentous than the merits of oue