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Full text of "The Life Of Charles Stewart Parnell - Ii"

72                 CHAELES  STEWART PARNELL              [1885
When Emancipation came at last, more than a generation later, it was the Tories who carried it, and carried it against another revolt of their allies in Ireland. The gates of the Constitution were thrown open by Wellington and Peel, but to appease the discontented wing in Ireland not one Catholic was invited to enter and be seated. Soft words do not butter potatoes any more than parsnips, and Irishmen were not content with this barren victory. Thus another opportunity for making friends of a whole nation was wantonly thrown away.
The Irish land question had become the special property of the Liberal party, because they were first to legislate upon it. But the teaching which must precede legislation began with their adversaries. Michael Sadler, a Conservative gentleman, was the earliest Englishman to demand justice for Irish farmers. He preached their rights to Parliament and the English people with passionate conviction and genuine sympathy, but he preached to deaf ears. A generation later Sir Joseph Napier, Irish Attorney-General of the Derby Government of 1852, made a serious and generous attempt to settle the question. His measures passed the House of Commons, but the Irish peers, taking fright at the concessions which Mr. Disraeli made to the Tenant League party, induced Lord Derby to repudiate what had been done or promised; and a week later his Government came to an end by the desertion of the Tenant League members, who considered themselves betrayed. Again the Tory party were first to take in hand the question of middle-class education in Ireland ; and if the Queen's Colleges founded by Sir Robert Peel failed, it was once more the Tories, led by Mr. Disraeli and Lord Cairns, who proposed an effectual reform of the system. Thus free altars, secure homesteads, and that effectual education which is an essential equipment in the battle of modern life, were all in turn proposed, and two of the three carried into law, by the party whom I now addressed.
With such a record, why should it be impossible for English Conservatives to settle the Irish question ? Was it that the demand made by Irishmen for the control of their own affairs is repugnant to the principles and policy of the Tory party ? Very far from it. It was the Tory Cabinet of Sir Robert Peel which laid the basis of colonial freedom 'by establishing parliamentary government in Canada. The men who had been proclaimed rebels because they insisted on the government of Canada by Canadians were