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92 CHARLES STEWAET PAENELL [1885
avowal on that question before the Dissolution the Irish electors would undoubtedly prefer candidates who adopted his opinion. To make sure that they should, I would be willing to return immediately to Ireland and confer with the leaders of the Irish party. The difficulties of premature action were of course serious ; but there is no necessity of dwelling further on the subject, as nothing came of this inchoate negotiation.
When the General Election took place, this was the result of the contest: Gladstonians elected, 333; Conservatives, 251; Irish Nationalists, 86. Mr. Parnell had supported the Conservatives in England and Ireland, but his speeches during the election did not at all echo the spirit of fierce hostility to the Gladstonian party which animated the address to the Irish electors in England. Conservatives and Parnellites united would make a majority of four in the new Parliament, but this was not a working majority, and there was no longer any real harmony between the two parties. On the other hand, a union of the Gladstonians and Parnellites would make an effective majority, and this was a result widely anticipated.
The story of Mr. Gladstone's pronouncement for Home Eule and the loyal adhesion which Irish Nationalists gave him is beside my present purpose. But it was in this new relation that Mr. Parnell committed what I consider the most serious offence of his political life. He disclosed to Parliament and the public the conversations with Lord Carnarvon, which were essentially private. If Lord Carnarvon had renounced and deserted the opinions which he held before the General Election, some excuse might be found for Mr. Parnell holding him to account for his backsliding. But Lord Carnarvon had not altered at all; simply, heecent Hpeeehr^ tbut Mr. CtiiuiHtono wn« untdtiitlly iippri.nieiiiii^ litujit* Ituh*. ami if he coutd bit indiired to initke it »utti*fiu*tt<ryhem. His answer was that there were no such persons :