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

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^Ex. 35]                     THE  LAND BILL                            291
ment of the Land Leaguers intensified the old feeling of distrust and ill-will, so that when Mr. Gladstone brought in his sweeping measure of land reform on April 7 he spoke to unsympathetic Irish benches. Biggar sat next to Parnell as the Prime Minister proceeded to unfold his scheme. When he had been on his feet for about ten minutes—and, of course, before he had touched the fringe of the subject—the member for Cavan turned to his colleagues and said, with characteristic abruptness : ' Thoroughly bad Bill.' A delightfully humorous smile was Parnell's only response. But Biggar's frame of mind was the frame of mind of many of the advanced Nationalists. They wanted a ' thoroughly bad' Bill because a ' thoroughly bad ' Bill would not ease the situation.
There always have been certain Irishmen who believe that a policy of ' remedial legislation' wrould be fatal to the national demand. ' Let the grievances of the people be redressed,' they say, ' and there will be an end of Home Bule.' This was not ParnelTs view. He believed that the spirit of nationality could not be quenched ; that the claim for legislative independence would never be given up, whatever the course of remedial legislation might be. I once had a conversation with him in the Smoking-room of the House of Commons on the subject. It was apropos of a suggestion to appoint grand committees for the consideration of Irish, English, and Scotch Bills. Some of the Irish members thought that the appointment of these committees might be accepted as a substitute for Home Bale, and accordingly opposed the proposal. 'Irish nationality,3 said Parnell, ' must be very thin if it is to be given up for grand committees or anything else. My opinion, is that everything they give us makes for