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33. CHA.RLES STEWART PABNELL [1885
The General Election was now approaching, and Parnell girded up his loins for the struggle. The election was fought under new conditions. In December 1884 a new Eeform Act, establishing household suffrage in Ireland, became law. The result, contrary to the expectations of Ministers, was to strengthen the position of Parnell. The Irish electorate was increased from about 200,000 to about 700,000 voters, and the new voters were almost all Home Eulers. Ministers were ' hoisted with their own petard.' They believed that the new Franchise Act would make Ireland Liberal. In truth it effaced the Liberals.
For two years Parnell had kept quiet, flashing only now and then like a meteor across the political firmament, and again disappearing. Now he burst forth once more in a blaze of activity, and filled the world with his name. f When/ he said, speaking of his tactics between May 1882 and January 1883, ' when courage was required when it was necessary for the interests of the nation, I have shown it; and when moderation was necessary and temperate judgment for the interests of the nation, I had the courage to show it too/
He now made a short journey through the country, speaking at Clonmel (where the freedom of the city was presented to him) and at Bansha on January 9, and at Arklow on January 11. On January 21 he sounded the tocsin of war at Cork, in a speech which cheered the heart of every Nationalist in the country. He said : ' We cannot ask for less than the restitution of Grattan's Parliament, with its important privileges and wide, far-reaching constitution. We cannot, under the British constitution, ask for more than the restitution of Grattan's Parliament. But no man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation. No man has a right totforms by a million voices that the