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54 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1885
Irish parliamentary party, and his power was singularly and exceptionally large. He stood at the head of the parliamentary body, who have proved their strength by virtually controlling the business of the House of Commons. It was notorious that when the new Parliament should be elected his strength would be at least doubled. When I, therefore, received such an intimation I felt that, on my part at least, I had no option in the matter. It seemed to me to be niy duty to make myself acquainted with what Mr. Parnell's views and opinions were. . . .
' I endeavoured to make myself explicit to Mr. Parnell. I explained that the three conditions upon which I could enter into conversation with him were :
' First of all, that I was acting for myself by myself, that all the responsibility was mine, and that the communications were from me alone—that is, from my lips alone.
' Secondly, that that conversation was with reference . to information only, and that it must be understood that there was no agreement or understanding, however shadowy, between us.
'And, thirdly, that I was there as the Queen's servant, and that I would neither hear nor say one word that was inconsistent with the union of the two countries.
' To these conditions Mr. Parnell consented, and I had the advantage of hearing from him his general opinions and views on Irish matters. This really is the whole case. Mr. Parnell was quite frank and straightforward in all he said. I, on the other hand, had absolutely nothing to conceal, and everything I said I shall be perfectly contented to be judged by. Both of us left the room as free as when we entered it. It was thenterview which Parnell had just givene answered: " I have made up my mind on that