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78 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1885
' March 24, 1885.
'DEAR LORD CARNARVON,—As you invite me to express an opinion on the determination you have arrived at, I will do so with the frankness and sincerity you would expect. You are so much better acquainted than I can possibly be with the difficulties to be encountered among your friends in raising the Irish question at present that it would be idle" to debate that point. I never doubted there were serious difficulties and rooted prejudices to overcome, but what has any statesman accomplished worth remembering of which as much might not be said ? Statesmen ignore the prejudices of their supporters because they are wiser and stronger than they. I pictured to myself that a statesman who possesses every blessing that fortune can bestow on a man would find in its difficulty one of the main charms of an enterprise. What is easily done, what any one can do, is scarce worth doing by the exceptional man. His purpose ought to " stream like a thundercloud against the wind."
'As respects the condition of parties and the approach of a general election, they seem to me to favour action rather than to forbid it.
'Is not something due to the Irish party? If they had not voted with the Opposition there would be no political crisis in Parliament, but a triumphant and irresistible Government. And again, remember, had the Conservatives taken up the question in the spirit you were disposed to do, there would probably not be one Whig elected for Ireland in 1886. In many English constituencies the result would have been felt, for Irish voters would naturally have supported candidates of the party most friendly to Irish interests.
' Of course I see, on the other hand, that English