172 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1878
conversation was when someone introduced the subject of mechanics. Then he started off, greatly to my surprise, talking in a lively way, and giving us a lot of information about mechanics. Then someone referred to politics, and he stopped in an instant. He would never talk politics unless something had to be done.'
I asked an Irish member, who had been a Fenian, on one occasion, if Parnell had been forced to quarrel either with the Fenians or the Church, which it would be ? He said: ' The Church, for Parnell liked the Fenians, but he did not like the Church. He knew, however, the power of the Church, and he wished unquestionably to have a great conserving force like it at his back. Parnell would never quarrel with the Church unless the Church forced the quarrel, there can be no doubt of that/
Butt was now breaking fast. One remembers how in the session of 1878 he moved about the House careworn and dejected. He felt that the ground was slipping beneath his feet. He knew the time was gone when he could hope to lead a united Irish party to victory. The dissensions among the Parliamentarians were fatal to his command, if they were not, in truth, fatal to the triumph of the Home Eule cause itself. All these things he saw clearly, and he was bowed down with sorrow and despair. In April he addressed a manifesto to the electors of Limerick, condemning .the policy of obstruction, pointing out the disasters which he believed it would bring on the Home Eule cause, pleading ill-health as a reason for retirement, and formally announcing his resignation of the leadership. But his followers urged him to reconsider his decision, .and ultimately he withdrew his resignation. The breach, however, between him and Parnell remained