210 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1880
A portion of its population is attempting to sever the constitutional tie which unites it to Great Britain in that bond which has favoured the power and prosperity of both.'1 Mr. Gladstone refused to accept the issue as stated by Lord Beaconsfield, and resolved to fight the Government upon the whole line of their policy; but chiefly on the question of foreign affairs. To the paragraph in the Prime Minister's letter dealing with Ireland Mr. Gladstone replied in his address to the electors of Midlothian : ' Gentlemen, those who endangered the Union with Ireland were the party that maintained there an alien Church, an unjust land law, and franchises inferior to our own; and the true supporters of the Union are those who uphold the supreme authority of Parliament, but exercise that authority to bind the three nations by the indissoluble tie of liberal and equal laws. Let me say that in my opinion these two great subjects of local government and the land laws ought now to occupy a foremost place in the thoughts of every man who aspires to be a legislator. In the matter of local government there may lie a solution of some national and even Imperial difficulties. It will not be in my power to enter largely [now] upon the important question of the condition of Ireland; but you know well how unhappily the action of Parliament has been impeded and disorganised, from considerations, no doubt, conscientiously entertained by a part of the Irish repre-
1 A month before the Dissolution an election took place at Liverpool which once more showed the power of the Irish vote in the English constituencies. Lord Bamsay, the Liberal candidate, was obliged to take the Home Eule pledge (i.e. to vote for an inquiry). He was beaten by a majority of 2,000, but the fact that the Liberal wire-pullers felt that the Home Balers had to be won over in a great constituency like Liverpool produced a strong impression in political circles throughout the whole country.