116 CIIAKLES STEWART FARNELL [1877
possible isolated action, and by sustaining and supporting each other in the course that may be deemed best calculated to promote the grand object of self-government which the nation has committed to our
fc • • * This pledge carefully defines the limits of our obligations. The application of that engagement to our conduct in the House does not depend upon the point whether it relates to Irish or English or Imperial questions, but whether it is such as can affect the parliamentary position of the Home Eule party or the interests of the Home Rule cause. In all matters that affect the parliamentary position of the Home Eule party or the interests of the Home Eule cause we have solemnly bound ourselves to avoid setting up any private opinions of our own, to defer to the judgment of our colleagues, and to sustain and support each other in the course that may be deemed best calculated to promote the great object we have in view. I am sure you will, on reflection, see that to limit the effect of this pledge to" our conduct on Irish measures would be an evasion of its plain and direct terms. Were such a construction possible, it would reduce the pledge to an absurdity: It would enable any professing Home Eule member to intrigue with any English party, to give his vote on 6very Imperial or English question to serve the interests of the faction of which he might be the minion, and to fulfil his pledge to his country by voting two or three times in the year on questions on which his vote could not do his masters any harm.'
Butt went on to say that he had no objection to see Parnell and other Irish members take part in debates on English and Imperial affairs, provided they acted fond fide in the public interests. 'But/ he added, 'it