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Full text of "The Life Of Charles Stewart Parnell Vol - I"

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62                 CHARLES  STEWABT  PAHNELL            [1873
' Mr. Gladstone/ he exclaimed, ' said that Fenian-ism taught him the intensity of Irish disaffection. It taught me more and better things. It taught me the depth, the breadth, the sincerity of that love of fatherland that misgovernment had tortured into disaffection, and misgovernment, driving men to despair, had exaggerated into revolt/ And again he says : ' The conviction forced itself upon everyone that the men whom they saw meet their fate with heroism and dignity were not a mere band of assassins actuated by base motive?, but real earnest patriots, moved by unselfish thoughts, and risking all in that which they believed to be their country's cause. The lofty faith of their principles and their cause which breathed through the words of many of them as they braved the sentence which closed upon them all hope made it impossible for anyone to doubt their sincerity—difficult even for those who most disapproved of their enterprise to withhold from them the tribute of compassion and respect/
Butt was not content with advocating the cause of the Fenian prisoners when they stood in the dock. He followed them to the prison cells, and finally led the movement which was initiated towards the end of 1868 to obtain their release. One of the first of the great amnesty meetings was held at Cabra, near Dublin, in October 1868. Butt took the chair. It was an extraordinary gathering. Quite 200,000 people wer6 present. Butt himself describes the scene : ' Words of far more power than any I can command would fail to give expression to emotions I can but faintly recall, when I stood in the presence of 200,000 human beings, and was conscious that every eye in that vast assemblage was turned upon me, and felt that every heart in that mighty multitude—far, far beyond the limit to which