Posterity frames its own verdict on the achievements of political leaders, and it is idle for contemporaries, Whose vision is naturally restricted to a particular angle, to antici pate, much less to dictate, what that verdict ought to be. Yet whatever may be added to or taken from the fame of Michael Davitt, it is difficult to believe that he will not remain to future generations, as he was to his own, the man whose hammer-strokes destroyed a system of land tenure, which for over three centuries had been the most powerful instrument in compassing the economic degradation of the Irish people, and ensuring their subjection to alien rule. Davitt, who was modesty itself where his own claims were concerned, would have been the first to admit the magnitude of the debt he owed to predecessors whose efforts failed to obtain the same measure of success. On its practical side The New Departure, as his policy was termed, was by no means so new as some of his admirers in the eighties imagined. Its underlying principle was that instinctively adopted by masses of the Irish tenantry when threatened with expulsion from their holdings. The difference was that what had been at the best a sectional effort on separate estates took shape in Davitt's scheme as a concentration of national force to strengthen the hands of the weak and the oppressed. In a phrase which has become the rallying cry of organised Labour, an injury to one was an injury to all; and the poorest cottier found the mass of his countrymen at his back 111 the struggle to keep a firm grip on his homestead.