JEi. 33] AN IRISH VICTORY 283
he will be entirely out of order.' This statement was received with ironical laughter by the Irish members, and met by Mr. Sullivan with a pointed and, I think, dignified reply. He said : ' Sir, I am about to move the adjournment of the House, and I trust I shall do so within the strict rules and privileges of the House, and not beyond them.' He then proceeded to deliver a clever speech on the question of adjournment which lasted nearly an hour. He was followed by Mr. Gray, who seconded the motion. In quick succession the rest of the Irish members, supported by Mr. Cowen and Mr. Labouchere, took part in the debate, which dragged on until a quarter to six in the evening, when the House adjourned. Thus the Irish members on Wednesday afternoon gained a victory over the House which was as complete as that gained by the House over them in the morning. Throughout the whole of Wednesday they obstructed the public business, and rendered the work of the Speaker in stopping the debate in the morning inoperative.1
The fierce obstruction of the first reading of the Coercion Bill convinced the Government that a drastic change in the Rules of Procedure was necessary to defeat the tactics of Parnell, and they resolved to make this change before the next stage of the measure. Mi\ Gladstone accordingly, on February 2, gave notice of a resolution to the effect that if a motion declaring the business urgent should be supported by forty members rising in their places, then the motion should be put forthwith without debate, and if carried by a majority of not less than three to. one, the regulation of the business for the time being should remain in the hands of the Speaker.
1 I have taken the description of this scene (which I witnessed) from Fifty Tears of Concessions to Ireland.