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JET. 41-42] VIGILANT 181
coats as I came up/ was the answer. The House did divide, not immediately, as Parnell had suggested, but at the end of an hour, when the Government narrowly escaped defeat.
"When we speak of Parnell's comparative inactivity, we must never forget that—rightly or wrongly—he was at this period in favour of an inactive policy. ' We can be more moderate,' he had said in September 1886, ' than we were in 1879 or in 1880, because our position is very much stronger. I don't say that we should be unduly moderate, but our position is a good deal different from the position of 1874 and from the position of 1879, and I believe that the Irish members and the Irish people will recognise this.'
Though attending few public meetings, he kept his eye on business details and watched and influenced the progress of affairs. In January 1888 we find him writing to Dr. Kenny":
Parnell to Dr. Kenny
January 19, '88, House of Commons.
' MY DEAR DR. KENNY,—The party are making ^ great exertions to secure a full attendance of their i members for the divisions on the Local Government j Bill. AJQ important division will probably be taken at the morning sitting on Friday next, and another on Scotch Disestablishment at the evening sitting on the same day. I am very unwilling to ask you to come over, but I think I ought now to do so, and I hope that you will be able to stay for ten days or a fortnight. < 'Yours very truly,
i ' CHARLES STEWART PARNELL.'n in the House at the moment/ quietly Parneil.