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

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^Ex. 36]              THE NATIONAL LEAGUE                     369
again, evidently persuaded that his intervention alone had averted some political catastrophe. The conviction which he threw into his words, the instant motion to quench the unlucky candle at some inconvenience to himself and without a warning to me, the strange seer-like face, and the previous forebodings about October, made up a situation which felt almost awesome. It would have been as irreverent to smile as it would be to scoff in the presence of believers at the worship of their unknown gods. Afterwards I learnt that three candles are lit at wakes in Ireland around a corpseŚ possibly in some distant way to symbolise or reverence the Trinity.'1
On October 17 the convention met. Parnell presided. The National League was formed. Home Rule was put in the forefront. Land reform, local self-government, parliamentary and municipal reform came after. The President announced the policy of the future in a brief and pithy speech. He said : ' I wish to affirm the opinion which I have expressed ever since I first stood upon an Irish platform, that until we obtain for the majority of the people of this country the right of making their own laws we shall never be able and we never can hope to see the laws of Ireland in accordance with the wishes of the people of Ireland, or calculated, as they should, to bring about the permanent prosperity of our country. And I would always desire to impress upon my fellow countrymen that their first duty and their first object is to obtain for our country the right of making her own laws upon Irish soil.' Then, turning to the subject of land, he added: * I wish to re-affirm the belief which I have expressed upon every platform upon wiiich I have stood since the commence-
1 Westminster Gazette, November 3, 1893. VOL.-I.                                                              BB