Mi. 32] 11EPORT ON OBSTRUCTION 1-55
was virtually master of the situation. Almost immediately on the meeting of Parliament the Grovern-ment took up the question of obstruction, and appointed a select committee to inquire into the subject of public business. Humorously enough, Parnell was placed^ on this committee. The chief criminal was not put into the dock ; he took his seat among the judges, and from that vantage ground he cross-examined with much shrewdness and skill the Speaker, the Chairman of Committees, and other high authorities on parliamentary procedure. The sittings of the committee, lasted from March until July, when a report was prepared on which the Government took action early in 1879.
Parnell drafted a report of his own, which, however, the committee refused to accept. In this report the member for Meath (inter alia) said: ' The Committee cannot shut their eyes to the fact that the House is composed of several different nationalities who sympathise little with the aspirations, and who understand less of the affairs, of each other. Considerable friction, heat, and ill-feeling is frequently engendered by the interference of members belonging to one nationality in the affairs of the others, with the result of delay, loss of time, and obstruction to the general progress of business. In addition, the affairs of Ireland and India are neglected, and the representatives of these two countries, if they attend the sittings of the House, find themselves in a position of enforced idleness, unless they occupy themselves with English affairs and so incur the risk of the ill-will of the majority of the House.'
Leaving the question of obstruction, I must now turn to ParnelFs relation with Fenians during the year 1878. We have seen how X. formed the Home Kule