194 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1887-88
' Eemember Mitchelstown.' His fellow-countrymen were scandalised. But the old man stood to his guns. Speaking at Nottingham on October 18, 1887, he said : ( Though I regret it very much, it has become a matter of absolute necessity not only to remember Mitchels-town, but even to mention Mitchelstown. It was our duty from the first to keep it in our minds for consideration at the proper time, but the sanction given to such proceedings by the Executive Government, of which the power in Ireland is enormous, requires from us plain and unequivocal and straightforward declarations, with a view to the formation of a sound opinion in England, in order that the pestilent declarations of Mr. Balfour may not be adopted, as they might be with great excuse, by his subordinate agents, and may not be a means of further invasion of Irish liberty, and possibly of further destruction of Irish life. To speak plainly, I say that the law was broken by the agents of the law, and that it is idle to speak to the Irish people about betraying the law if the very Government that so speaks, and that brings in these Bills, has agents which break the law, by advisedly and violently breaking the order of public meetings, and who are sustained in that illegal action.'
I remember being present at a great meeting in Bingley Hall, Birmingham, in 1888. I know not how many thousands were assembled there. But it was impossible for the human voice to reach the furthermost limits of the vast multitude gathered within the ample dimensions of that immense structure. Mr. Gladstone's speech was a wonderful effort, and the enthusiasm it evoked passed all bounds. Few who listened to him will forget the closing words of his address, or the extraordinary outburst of applause to a using these words;