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

192               CHARLES  STEWART PARNELL             [1879
compromise such as the Government proposed.    There was a meeting of the Irish members to consider the subject.    Some hot words passed between the extreme and the moderate men, and Parnell was reported to have referred   contemptuously to   the moderates  as ' Papist rats.'    Currency was given to this report in the ' Freeman's Journal/    Parnell said the statement was  ' absolutely  false/  and  several  of   the  extreme Catholics corroborated his assertion.    Still, there was a good deal of unpleasantness over the matter, and many people believed that  Parnell used  the words. As a matter of fact he did not use them.    They were used by an extreme Catholic just as the meeting had broken up and when there was a good deal of confusion in the room.    * The first time I ever had a talk with Parnell about politics/ Mr. Corbett, the present member for Wicklow, said to me, ' was  about the " Papist rats " incident.   Gray and Parnell had differed on the education question.    Gray was in favour of a compromise;   Parnell wanted the  extreme  Catholic demand.    Gray succeeded in carrying the party with him, and Parnell was reported to have said, on leaving the room, "these Papist rats."    I asked  Parnell if he had used the words.    He said : " No.    The words were used, but not by me.    Why, Corbett, should I offend the Catholics of Ireland by speaking insultingly of them?    Certainly it would be very foolish, to put the matter on no other ground.    An Irish Protestant politician can least of all afford to offend the Catholic priests or laity.    No ; I would not insult the priests." ' The condition of Ireland was now alarming.    Distress was increasing; evictions were imminent; agitation, fed by the poverty of the tenants and the follies of the landlords, spread like wildfire. Towards the end of