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192 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1887-88
ministers, was presented to him. Eeferring to Mr. Parnell's speech of the previous evening he said:
' Mr. Parnell has very properly said he was not the author of that plan, and that he is not prepared to vindicate it. Nor am I prepared to vindicate it, but I ana prepared to say it ought, like the Eebecca riots and a hundred other cases, to be fairly judged. It ought to be well considered who were the real authors of the Plan of Campaign. I say boldly that the real authors of the Plan of Campaign are the present Government, and Mr. O'Brien and those who acted with him were really in the main instruments in the hands of the Government, for reasons which I will immediately tell you. What had taken place ?
' In the year 1886 a most disturbing incident had arisen in the Irish land question. The fall in agricultural prices brought about a crisis, and there was general apprehension that even judicial rents could not be paid by the tenants, and that the whole question of the land in Ireland must be reopened by the admission of the leaseholders, whom, in our supreme respect for contract, we had not consented to admit to the benefits of the Act of 1881. The G-overnment appointed a commission to inquire how far this was the case, and whether the rents could be paid or not. "We asked from the Opposition side of the House that while the commission was sitting temporary provision might be made to meet those cases where rents could not be paid. What did the Government do? They refused Mr. Parnell's Bill, and refused even the extremely modest demand I made myself that some time should be given to those who proved before the judicial tribunals that they could not pay rent. The Government declared judicial rents to be sacred, that it would be immoral toe event I state this will