Skip to main content

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

See other formats

^ET. 36]                  THE ARREARS BILL                        361
through the House by a course of violence and subterfuge, and which, when passed into law, will be devoid of moral force and will be no constitutional Act of Parliament.'
While it was going through the House Mr. Gladstone brought in the Arrears Bill. As the one measure was based on lines laid down by Lord Cowper, the other was based on lines laid down by Parnell. During his incarceration in Kilmainham he had practically drafted the Bill. Mr. Healy tells a story a propos of this subject which curiously illustrates how Parnell's superstitious instincts never deserted him :
* While the Kilmainham treaty was in preparation, and the late Mr. W. E. Forster's throne in Dublin Castle was being sapped by his prisoner from the jail hard by, Mr. Parnell skilfully hit on the idea of availing himself of the introduction of an amending Land Bill, for which the Irish party had won a Wednesday for a second reading debate, as the public basis of his arrangement with Mr. Gladstone. The Bill was afterwards moved by Mr. John Eedmond, in April 1882, and one of the clauses became the Government Arrears Act of that year. To frame such a measure in prison legal help of course was necessary, and Parnell asked Mr. Maurice Healy to visit the prison and discuss the matter, which he did for several days.
' Even at so early a date after the passage of the Land Act of 1881 that enactment had been riddled by the judges in provisions vital to the tenants' interest. There was, therefore, a great outcry for amendments, and various proposals were discussed in turn in the prison. One suggestion, however, which my brother made Mr. Parnell refused to adopt. He was pressed again and again as to its necessity, but into the Bill he would not