-160 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1886
THE NEW PARLIAMENT
ONE of Parnell's first acts in the new Parliament, despite his desire to concentrate his efforts on the national question," was the introduction of a Land Bill. The Irish tenants, he said, could not pay the judicial rents. There had been a serious fall in prices, and there ought to be a proportionate reduction in rent.
He proposed three things :
' 1. The abatement of rents fixed before 1885, provided it could be proved that the tenants were unable to pay the full amount, and were ready to pay half the amount and arrears.
' 2. That leaseholders should be admitted to the benefits of the Act of 1881.
'3. That proceedings for the recovery of rent should be suspended on payment of half the rent and arrears.'
But the Government would not hear of the Bill; even many Liberals doubted its necessity; and it was rejected (September 21) by 297 to 202 votes.
Two months afterwards Parnell fell seriously ill. On November 6 he called on Sir Henry Thompson, who has kindly given me some account of the visit. 'Parnell/ said Sir Henry, 'first called on me on November 6, 1886. He did not give his own name. He gave the name of Charles Stewart. Of course Iat there shall be no land legislation. There might be an amendment of the Act of 1881 and of the Act of 1885. We should proceed slowly. But there should be no revolutionary changes. No attack upon the land system as a whole/