Skip to main content

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

See other formats

64                 CHAELES  STEWART PAKNELL             [1873
the whole country, with intense national feeling. The farmers might be content with land reform; the old Catholic Whigs might be content with disestablishment ; but outside there was a new generation who believed that all would be lost if national freedom were not gained. Accordingly, neither disestablishment nor land reform checked for one moment the flowing tide. Indeed, the first measure served only to accelerate it by driving discontented Protestants into the National ranks. The upshot was the establishment of the * Home Government Association" of Ireland.' 1 On May 19, 1870, a remarkable gathering met at the Bilton Hotel, Dublin. There were Protestants and Catholics, Tories and Liberals, Orangemen and Fenians—all come together to protest against the legislative union with Great Britain.
Speaking, some years afterwards, to a Fenian, leader who was at this meeting, he said to me: ' I went under an assumed name to watch the proceedings. The suppression of the rising in 1867 and the imprisonment of our people did not damp our energies a bit. We kept working away just the same as ever, with this difference, that we had thousands of sympathisers in
1 To show the influence that Fenianism had gained in the country the case of the Tipperary election of November 1869 may be cited. The Liberal candidate was Mr. Heron, a popular Catholic barrister. The Fenians suddenly started in opposition a Fenian convict, O'Donovan Rossa, who was actually undergoing his term of penal servitude. Of course he was an impossible candidate, and everyone knew it. But he was started as a protest against Whiggery, to rally the Fenians. He was elected, to the amazement of the loyalists, by 1,311 votes to 1,028. Of course the election was declared void, and in January 1870 a new election took place. Mr. Heron stood again. There was a difference of opinion now among the Fenians. Some said enough had been done for honour in Eossa's candidature. Others said ' No'; and these latter put up Kickham, who had just been liberated on account of serious illness. However, Kickham declared he would never enter the English Parliament. Nevertheless, the Fenians demanded a poll, with the result—Heron, 1,668; Kickham, 1,664.