The Struggle for Freedom
July has been an exciting month. The most striking incident is the death of John Mandeville, who for the crime of having helped Wm. O'Brien to save the Kingston tenantry from ruin was imprisoned in Tullamore Jail during Nov, and December last year. He died on the 8th ult., and a coroner's jury has returned a verdict of "Killed through the brutal and unjustifiable treatment received while in Tullamore Jail." The inquest brought to light many shameful things which the Government no doubt intended to have kept dark, and the horror of it all was accentuated by the suicide of one of the prison doctors who had been suspended as a witness. Dr. Ridley shrank from the judgment of his fellow-men for reasons best known to himself and to Mr. Balfour with whom he had had interview a few days previous to the cutting of his throat.
One thing poor Mandeville's death has already done is to render the authorities of the jail, wherein John Dillon lies, doubly circumspect in the treatment of their precious charge, Balfour it is reported, was "considerably annoyed" by the receipt of a telegram during a debate in the House of Commons, from the men of Wexford, saying that "such was the solicitude of the entire Irish race for the health and circumstance of John Dillon, that he would have to render a strict account of that valuable life," and praying that before the expiration of Dillon's imprisonment that he (Balfour) and his party might be hurled from power. So say all of us!
Week after week discloses something more infamous and more ridiculous on the part of the Administration in Ireland. The exposure of the attempts at bribe in the Secret Inquiry Courts has caused such consternation that it has not been found convenient to produce notes of the evidence when demanded by the counsel for the accused, and repeated adjournments are applied for by the Crown.
In the superior Courts, where sit Judges who have some claim to education and legal training, contempt for Balfour's Removable Magistrates is openly expressed, their judgments causing much wonder and some merriment. On hearing the appeal concerning the lost depositions of William O'Brien's recent trial, Baron Dowse suggested that the Removables should bear in mind that even "men brought up under Balfour's Coercion Act have rights" and proposed that when one of these gentlemen who knew how to do his business could be found, he should be sent to the British Museum.
In other cases where the Removables had refused to state a case for appeal, the judges of the Queen's Bench over-ruled their decision, Judge Morris sending word to the Solicitor General that he declined to be a party to_any "hugger-mugger," and Baron Dowse proposing that that functionary's nickname should be changed from "Pether the Packer" to "Pether the Plausible."
Balfour himself has been rapped over the knuckles in a lower court and by one of his Removables, inadvertently of course. Judge Kelly anent the Ennis meeting reproved Colonel Turner for having arrested the poor and obscure and allowed the leaders to escape. Turner humbly replied he would know what to do next time.
The Hibernian Bank still declines to submit its books for inspection to the Secret Commissioners, so Balfour has not yet laid fingers on the rents banked under the Plan of Campaign.
Meanwhile some more of the generation of vipers warned of the wrath to come have made terms with their tenants. One of them going so far as to admit, when undergoing an examination as to the working of the Plan on his estate, that he had received his rent in bulk on his tenants' terms, and considered himself indebted to their priest for having brought about the settlement. Here was a piece of testimony which the Commissioners might have wished unspoken!
The majority of those dragged before this tribunal preserve an exasperating silence, or when they do speak they do not always "give evidence to please the magistrates," as was the case with an old man of 75, who went to prison for eight days for no other offense.
On the other hand the voluntary evidence for the most part reads like extracts from 'Nupkins Awakened.' Fancy a sub-sheriff solemnly deposing that he had been asked by a rude Nationalist "Was the sun up?" and another of official characterizing as "horrible" resolutions passed at a meeting of the Curras tenantry such as, "Stick to the Plan in spite of Balfour and the Peelers," and " In the event of more evictions be prepared to give the sheriff and bailiffs a hearty reception."
Horrible as the bitter sentiment may be it is being very generally carried into effect. At the Vandeleur evictions (Kilrush) each homestead has been desolated with considerable difficulty, and only by means of a huge battering-ram backed by an unusually large host of bailiffs, police and military. To the threatening rifles, tumbling walls, the rush of armed men and the dragging forth of struggling wounded peasants has been added the newer feature of bailiffs scrambling on to the roofs and blocking the chimneys with lumps of thatching or big stones so as to smoke the inmates out.
Another feature at the recent evictions has been the strict exclusion of all sympathizers whether priests, M.P.'s or reporters. Balfour is not going to be bothered any more by those awkward questions put to him in the House apropos of too truthful newspaper paragraphs concerning dying men and women and helpless babes.
His prison list has been a tolerably full one since June, 117 locked up, 17 allowed bail, 69 or so remanded, against 46 dismissed for lack of evidence. For unlawful assembly 30 went to jail (13 were sowing seed for a neighbor), rioting, 27; refusing evidence, 17; helping to barricade, 12 (four of them being hired carpenters); posting threatening notices, 2; refusing goods to emergency-men, 3 cheering, 2; assault and intimidation, 6 (one a boy of 16 who struck another aged 11 during a game of marbles, not sent to prison this time but bound over to keep the peace under a section of the Coercion Act), allowing cattle to trespass, 1 (3 months hard labor); inciting unknown persons to assemble unlawfully by wearing League card in hat-band, 1; inciting to same by other means, 5, speech-making, 5, resisting bailiffs or police, 6; groaning police, 4; reproaching a neighbor for associating with members of the R.I.C., 1(14 days h. l.), retaking possession of hovels, 2 (one an old woman over a hundred, kindly permitted by police to take her shroud into prison), carrying arms, 1.
The cost of collecting the Whelehan blood-tax in Co. Clare has absorbed the whole amount, and the collection round about Mitchelstown for Constable Leaby is, we are glad to say, faring no better.
GERMANY AND AUSTRIA
In consequence of the recent renewal of the minor state of siege in Leipzig and its neighborhood, 140 persons have been expelled from the place.
In Vienna a carpenter, Joseph Krahl, who was in 1886 expelled from Breslau as an Anarchist, has shot a police-agent by name Potter.
Italian workmen appear to grow impatient of bearing the yoke. As they experience that strikes, when kept within the bounds of legality, are a failure, they now resort to illegal means in order to force their masters to hear and comply with their demands. At Miagliano (near Biella) the spinners have revolted against their overseer and inflicted on him a severe lesson. A similar energetic attitude was displayed by the workmen of the Sugar Refining Company at Rivarolo, when they saw their demands for better pay rejected with contempt by the master of the factory. The same in many other places; insurrection among factory slaves is the order of the day.
The Anarchist press has been enriched by two new organs, La Bandiera Roja of Madrid, and Tierra y Libertad at Barcelona.
In order that our readers may appreciate the spread of Anarchism in Southern Europe, we supplement our June list of Italian Anarchist Journals by the subjoined catalog of those at present published in the Spanish tongue:---
El Productor (the Producer), Acracia (A-cratia, or no-power), Tierra y Libertad (Land and Freedom), all three at Barcelona; El Productor (the Producer) Havana (Island of Cuba); El Socialismo, Cadiz; La Bandiera Roja, Madrid; Tierra y Libertad (Land and Freedom), Gracia; La Bandiera Roja (the red Banner) Coruña