. 37] MR. FORSTER'S INDICTMENTS 5
and proved himself an able, an adroit, a vehement advocate. He certainly had a sympathetic jury to address, but he deserves the credit of having played upon their feelings, their passions, and their prejudices with complete success. The burden of the speech may be summed up in a sentence spoken by Mr. Gladstone himself on another occasion: ' Crime dogged the footsteps of the League.' For this crime, the ' outcome of the agitation,' Mr. Porster held Parnell, the leader ' of the agitation/ responsible. This was the gravamen of the indictment:
1 My charge is against the hon. member for the city of Cork. ... It has been often enough stated- and shown by statistics that murder followed the meetings and action of the Land League. Will the hon. member deny and disprove that statement? I will repeat again what the charge is which I make against him. Probably a more serious charge was never made by any member of this House against another member. It is not that he himself directly planned or perpetrated outrages or murders, but that he either connived at them or, when warned, did not use his influence to prevent them.5
This was Mr. Forster's case. What thoughts passed through Parnell's mind while he sat listening to the indictment, hearing the wild cheers with which it was received, and watching the angry glances flashed at himself from almost every part of the House ?
He stood arraigned of high crimes and misdemeanours at the bar of English public opinion. Of all the agitators he had been singled out as the chief criminal; he alone was to be cast to the lions. Yet what was the exact measure of his guilt ? He was certainly the ' head of the organisation.' He had