182 CIIAELES STEWART PAHNELL [1879
and instinctively shrank from revolutionary methods. He revered representative institutions, and revolted against all proceedings calculated to bring them into contempt. No Englishman respected the House of Commons more than Isaac Butt, and he fought the advanced section of his own party in defence of that venerable institution.
' No man/ he said, addressing a meeting in Diiblin in January 1879, 'can damage the authority of the House of Commons without damaging the cause of representative government and of freedom all over the world.'
It was a misfortune for which he certainly was not to blame that, while the House of Commons influenced him, he did not influence the House of Commons. He appealed to the reason and justice of Englishmen, but the English did not respond to the appeal. He was a loyal citizen of the empire, but his loyalty did not get him a hearing. He kept the agitation within the limits of the law, respected the opinions and feelings of opponents, and the conventions of society. But no Englishman took him seriously. ' Do you really mean Home Rule ? ' an old Whig said to him one day in the Four Courts, Dublin. * Indeed I do/ he answered, with genial earnestness. The old Whig smiled and walked away. No one ever asked Parnell if he meant Home Eule. There were those who thought that he meant a great deal more.
And what was Parnell ? A Revolutionist working with constitutional weapons. We have seen what Butt said of the House of Commons. What said Parnell ? '• I said when I was last here [in Dublin] that I would not promise anything by parliamentary action, nor by any particular line of policy; but I said we could