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

104                 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL            [1876
tainly a favourite thought, if not a favourite expression, of Parnell. To have any single force which made for Irish nationality in-conflict with any other force which made in the same direction, or which could by any possibility be brought to make in the same direction, was utterly abhorrent to him. And yet danger of such a conflict there was in 1876. The Fenians were getting thoroughly tired of Home Rule. They had given the movement a fair trial, and nothing had come of it. -It was now time, many of them thought, to look to their own organisation and to that alone. Within the parliamentary ranks there were divisions and dissensions. Butt had ceased to be a power. The constitutional movement was drifting on the rocks. It was a period in the history of the country when everything depended on the appearance of a Man. An 0'Conn.ell would have got the Church at his back, broken with the Fenians, and inaugurated a mighty constitutional agitation. A Stephens would have reorganised Fenianism on a formidable basis, fought the Church and the Constitutionalists, and drawn the country into insurrection. But there wasiio O'Connell, no Stephens. Parnell came; he was unlike both the great agitator and the great conspirator. He was not a son of the Church. He was not a son of the revolution. But he believed profoundly in the power of the one and of the other, and resolved to combine both. This was a herculean labour, but it was not above the stature of Charles Stewart Parnell. ' Ireland,' he once said, ' cannot afford to lose a single man.' That was his creed. To combine all Irishmen in solid mass and hurl them at the Saxon, that was his policy. In the ensuing pages we shall find him pursuing that policy, steadily, skilfully. We shall find him gradually winning