Neglect as well as mob violence left the ecclesiastical buildings in a ruinous condition, but the authority of the preachers, with their power of boycotting (excommunication), became a theocracy.
In the House of Commons, on the 24th of May 1882, Gladstone said that boycotting required a sanction like every other creed, and that the sanction which alone made it effective " is the murder which is not to be denounced."
The following description by a resident in Munster was published in The Times of the 5th of November 1885: " Boycotting means that a peaceable subject of the queen is denied food and drink, and that he is ruined in his business; that his cattle are unsaleable at fairs; that the smith will not shoe his horse, nor the carpenter mend his cart; that old friends pass him by on the other side, making the sign of the cross; that his children are hooted at the village school; that.
" The people," says the report of the Cowper Commission, " are more afraid of boycotting, which depends for its success on the probability of outrage, than they are of the judgments of the courts of justice.
In February 1883 Mr Trevelyan gave an account of his stewardship at Hawick, and said that all law-abiding Irishmen, whether Conservative or Liberal, were on one side, while on the other were those who " planned and executed the Galway and Dublin murders, the boycotting and firing into houses, the mutilation of cattle and intimidation of every sort."