Skip to main content

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

See other formats

110                 CHARLES  STEWA11T PARNELL            [1877
members were unruly, the orderly Irish members were apathetic. This was Butt's difficulty. While the House was smarting under Pamell's attacks, much, pressure was used by the Moderate Home Eulers and by the English members to induce Butt to crush him. Parnell was aware of this, but he stuck to his guns, and was resolved, in the last resort, to fight it out with his leader rather than abandon the policy of obstruction. In justice to the young member for Meath this much must be said. While in the main his object was obstruction pure and simple, yet he did introduce some amendments with a sincere desire of improving the measures under consideration. I will give an instance. On April 5 he moved an amendment on the Prisons Bill to the effect that any prisoners convicted of treason-felony, sedition, or seditious libel should be treated as first-class misdemeanants. ' It is high time/ he said, 'that an attempt was made to remove from England the reproach that she treated her political prisoners worse than any other country in the world. In Prance even the Communards, who half burnt Paris, and to whom were attributed the most atrocious designs, were not sent to the hulks or the galleys, but simply expatriated. When history comes to be written there is nothing for which the children of Englishmen now living would blush so much as for the treatment of the [Fenian] men coii-victed in 1865. ... I hope that this Bill when it leaves the committee will be so framed that political prisoners will not be treated as murderers, demons, and culprits of the worst order.' A. long debate followed, and Parnell ultimately, on the suggestion of Sir Henry James, withdrew the words 'treason-felony,' retaining the words 'sedition* and 'seditious