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Ex. 36] 351
THE NEW EEGIME
ON May 2 it was announced in Parliament that Lord Cowper and Mr. Forster had resigned.1 On May 4 Mr. Forster made his explanation in the Commons. The substance of what he said may be given in a few sentences. The state of Ireland did not justify the release of Parnell without a promise of ' amendment'2 or a new Coercion Act. He darkly hinted at a bargain between the Prime Minister and the agitator, but did not dwell on the subject. While he was in the middle of his speech, and just as he had uttered the following words : ' There are two warrants which I signed in regard to the member for the city of Cork'—Parnell entered the House. It was a dramatic scene.
Deafening cheers broke from the Irish benches, drowning Forster's voice, and preventing the conclusion of the sentence from being heard.
Parnell quickly surveyed the situation, and, bowing to the Speaker, passed, with head erect and measured tread, to his place, the victor of the hour.
One can easily imagine his feelings when Mr. Gladstone rose to answer Mr. Forster. ' To divide and govern' had always been the policy of the English in Ireland.
1 Lord Cowper had resigned some days before Mr. Forster.
2 On the lines already indicated, ante, p. 328.