108 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1877
Parnell drew his amendments with so much skill that he often caught an English vote) asked him to withdraw the amendment. Biggar (who used to say that he never withdrew anything) urged Parnell to persevere ; but Parnell, with much show of grace, said: ' Out of deference to the committee I will not press my amendment, although I consider I shall be doing wrong in abandoning it. I must, however, say that it is incorrect for any hon. member to say that I am chargeable with obstructing the business of the House. My opinion on obstruction is that when it is employed it should be like the action of the bayonet—short, sharp, and decisive.'
From February 14, when his Bill for facilitating the creation of a peasant proprietary under the operation of the Church Act was rejected, up to April 12 Parnell was constantly in evidence, constantly interfering in the business of the House, constantly obstructing, constantly seeking to turn everything upside down with tantalising politeness and provoking tenacity. 'How came Parnell/ I asked one of his obstructive colleagues, ' to lead you all in these fights ? He was not an able speaker, he was deficient in intellectual gifts, which many of you possessed, he had little parliamentary experience.' ' By tenacity,' was the answer. ' Sheer tenacity. He stuck on when the rest of us gave way.'
' What was Parnell's distinguishing characteristic ?' I asked another of his colleagues who loved him not. He answered, * He was a beautiful fighter. He knew exactly how much the House would stand. One night I was obstructing. S-----was near me. He was generally timid, afraid of shocking the House. He said: « o-----, you had better stop or you will be suspended/1