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212 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1880
It was the sudden Dissolution that forced Parnell to bring his American tour to an abrupt termination,, and to hasten back to Ireland, where he arrived on March 21.
Parnell thought much of the Clan-na-G-ael as a powerful political organisation. In his evidence before the Special Commission he said : ' I believe that so far as any active interest was taken at the time of my going to America by Irishmen in the Irish question, it was by the men of revolutionary physical-force ideas. I believe that the great bulk of the Irish people in America, until I went there, did not take any interest at ^all in Irish politics.' Nevertheless, he disliked the Clan, because he feared it would give him much trouble. Even at this early date he foresaw that some of its members might run into excesses, which would compromise him and bring discredit on the national movement. He knew, too, that as three thousand miles of ocean separated him from the organisation, he could exercise little restraining influence over its operations.
But he could not ignore the Clan; he could not ignore any important Irish political association. His central idea was to attack England. He took the help of all allies for that purpose, and faced the consequences. On landing at Queenstown he was met by some members of the I. R B., who presented him with an address which contained these words :
' We must take the opportunity to express our clear conviction of the hopelessness of looking for justice to Ireland from the English Parliament, and the firm belief of the intelligent manhood of the country that it is utterly futile to seek for any practical national good through the means of parliamentary representation.