J2T. 34] INDEPENDENT OPPOSITION 229
side of the House ; Parnell and his party, reviving the practice of the Independent Opposition party of 1852, sat on the other. He said that the Irish Nationalists should always sit in Opposition until the full measure of their demands was conceded. In the last Parliament they had sat in Opposition with the English Liberals. They would now, since the Liberals had succeeded to office, sit in Opposition with the Tories. Thus they would emphasise their position as an independent party, and show that Whigs and Tories were all alike to them.
Mr. Shaw took a different view. The Liberals, he said, were the friends of Ireland. It was, therefore, the duty of the Irish members to support the Liberal Government. He would accordingly adhere to the old custom, and sit on the Liberal side of the House.
This idea of an independent Irish party Parnell constantly said he had got from Gavan Duffy and the Tenant Leaguers of 1852. 'I had some knowledge, not very deep, of Irish history,' he said before the Special Commission, 'and had read about the independent opposition movement of Sir Charles Gavan Duffy and the late Mr. Frederick Lucas in 1852, and whenever I thought about politics I always thought that that would be an ideal movement for the benefit of Ireland. Their idea was an independent party reflecting the opinions of the masses of the people ; acting independently in the House of Commons, free from the influence of either English political party; pledged not to take office or form any combination with any English political party until the wants of Ireland had been attended to. The passing of the Ballot Act rendered this possible in my judgment, because for the first time