THE UNION 9
ought to be opened with, the leading men in Ireland and public opinion sounded.'
In December 1798 Lord Cornwallis wrote to the Duke of Portland : ' I trust that the Speaker [Sir John Foster] and Sir John Parnell will not have left London before Lord Castlereagh's arrival, as I consider it highly important that he should have an opportunity of hearing them state their opinions before the king's minister on the question. Some of the king's servants appeared to be amongst the most impracticable in their opinions ; and I feel confident that your Grace will leave no means untried to impress these gentlemen more favourably before they return to this kingdom.' But Sir John Parnell was not ' impressed favourably,' for we find Cornwallis writing to Portland on January 16, 1799: ' On my finding from a conversation which I had with Sir John Parnell soon after he landed that he was determined not to support the Union, I have notified to him his dismission from the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer.' Parnell now flung himself heart and soul into the struggle against the Union. On January 22 he opposed the measure in Iwiinie, though in what Cornwallis described as a 'fair and candid ' speech, avoiding 'topics of violence.' * I have only now to express my sincere regret,' Cornwallis wrote to Portland on January 23, ' to your Grace that the prejudices prevailing amongst the members of the Commons, countenanced and encouraged as they have been by the Speaker and Sir John Parnell, are infinitely too strong to afford me any prospect of bringing forward this measure with any chance of success in the course of the present session.'
In 1800 the struggle was renewed, and Parnell fought against the Government with increasing vigour