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I. Parnell's Ancestors ...... 1 

IL Birth and Early Days 82 

III. The Home Bule Moyement 58 

IV. Public Life 70 

V. In Parliamekt . 80 

VI. Gathering Clouds . . . . . . . 89 

VIL Wab 106 

VIII. The New Depabture . 158 

IX. The Land League . . . . . . . 175 

X. The Clan-na-Gael — The Général Election . . 198 

XI. Leader 226 

XII. Coebcion and Bedress. ...... 266 


XIV. The New Bégime 851 

Portrait of Charles Stewart Parnell . Frontispiece 





parnell's ancestors 

The founder of the Parnell family was Thomas Parnell 
1 mercer or draper,' who became Mayor of Congleton, 
Cheshire, in the reign of James I. He had four sons — 
William, Thomas, Richard, and Tobias. Of William 
and Thomas little is known, but Eichard seems to hâve 
been the most remarkable of the brothers. He was a 
staunch Cromwellian, the friend of Bradshaw, and thrice 
mayor of the town. Tobias was a gilder and décorative 
painter, and also stood high in the esteem of his fellow- 
citizens. He passed away with the Commonwealth. 
At the Bestoration, his son Thomas, quitting the old 
home, purchased an estate in Ireland, and took up his 
abode there. This Thomas Parnell — the first of the 
Irish Parnells — was the ancestor of an illustrious off- 
spring. Dying probably in 1685, he left two sons — 
Thomas, the poet, the friend of Swift, Pope, Gay 
Bolingbroke, and other famous wits; and John, who 
vol. i. B 


died one of the judges of the Irish Court of King's 
Bench. 1 

Thomas, the poet, was boni in Dublin in 1679. A 
bright lad with a remarkable memory, h<?attracted the 
spécial attention of Dr. Jones, to whose school he was 
first sent, and afterwards sustained his early réputation 
by a distinguished career at collège. Matriculating 
at Dublin University in 1693, he took his degree in 
1697. Then, entering the Church, he was ordained 
Deacon in 1700, and Priest in 1703. In 1704 he 
became Minor Canon of St. Patricks, and in 1706 
Archdeacon of Clogher. Soon afterwards he married 
Miss Anne Minchin, of Tipperary — a beautiful girl, to 
whom he was passionately attached. His life was soon 
divided between literary pursuits and Church affairs. 
In 1709 Convocation appointed a comrnittee to consider 
the best means for converting the Irish Catholics, and 
Parnell was made its chairman. But his heart was in 
literature. He now paid fréquent visjts to London, aud 
mingled in tbe society of the wits of the 4ay. He was 
yery popular, prized for his conversational gifts and 
3cholarly attainments. With Pope he was a spécial 
Javourite, while Swift held hiru in high esteem. The 
former was always impatient of his absence in Ireland, 
and would often write to urge his return to his English 

' Dear sir,' says Pope in one of thèse letters, ' not 
only as you are a friend, and a good natured m an, but 
0# you are a Christian and a divine, corne back speedily 
and prevent the increase of roy sins ; for at the rate I 
hâve began to rave, I shall not only damn ail the poets 
&nd commentators who hâve gone before me, but be 

1 Head, Congleton, Past and Présent. 


dainned myself by ail who corne after me. To be 
eerious, you hâve not only left me to the last degree 
impatient for your returo, wbo at ail times should hâve 
been so (though never so much as since I knew you 
in best health hère), but you baye wrought several 
miracles upon our family. You hâve made old people 
fond of a young and gay person, and inveterate papists 
of a clergyman of the Cburch of England. Even nurse 
berself is in danger of being in love m her old âge ; and, 
for aught I know, would evep marry Pennis for your 
sake, because he is your man, and loves his master. In 
short corne down forihwith, or give me good reasons 
for delaying, though but for a day or twp, by the next 
post. Jf I find them just, I will come up to you, 
though you must know bow precious my time is at 
présent ; my hours were never worth so much money 
before ; but perhaps you are not sensible of this, who 
give away your own works. Ypu are a generous 
author ; I, a hackney scribbler. Ypu are a Grecian and 
fcred at a University ; I a poor Engbshman, of my own 
educating. You are a révérend parson, I a wag. In 
short, you are a Doctor Parnelle (with an e at the end 
pf your name), and I your obliged and affectionate 
friend and faithful servant.' 

In August 1711 Parnell lost his wife, and her 
death seems to hâve overwhelmed him with grief. 
Nearjy a year later Swift wrote in his ' Journal to Stella ' : 
9 On Sunday Archdeacon Parnell came hère to see me. 
Jt seems he has been ill for grief of his wife's death, 
and has been twp months at Bath. He has a mind to 
gp to Punkirk with Jack JEU, and I persuaded him to 
it, and hâve spoke to Hill to receive him, but I doubt 
be won't hâve spirit tP go.' 

Towards tbe end of 1713 Parnell wrote a poetical 

B 2 







essay on the « Différent Styles of Poetry.' Swift made 
him insert 'some compliments ' to Bolingbroke, and 
then seized the opportunity of introducing him to the 
Minister. On December 22 the Dean notes in his 
1 Journal to Stella ' : ' I gave Lord Bolingbroke a poem of 
Parneirs. I made Parnell insert some compliments in 
it to his lordship. He is extremely pleased with it, 
and read some parts of it to-day to Lord Treasurer, 
who liked it much ; and, indeed, he outdoes ail our 
poets hère a bar's length. Lord Bolingbroke has 
ordered me to bring him to dinner on Christmas Day, 
and I made Lord Treasurer promise to see him, and it 
may one day do Parnell a kindness/ 

' Dec. 25th. — I carried Parnell to dine at Lord 
Bolingbroke's, and he behaved himself very well, and 
Lord Bolingbroke is mightily pleased with him.' 

' January 31 st. — I contrived it so, that Lord Trea- 
surer came to me and asked (I had Parnell by me) 
whether that was Dr. Parnell, and came up and spoke 
to him with great kindnesç, and invited him to his 
house. I value myself on making the ministry désire 
to be acquainted with Parnell, and not Parnell with the 
ministry. His poem is almost fully corrected, and shall 
be out soon.' 

February 19th. — I was at Court to-day, to speak 
to Lord Bolingbroke to look over Parneirs poem since 
it is corrected, and Parnell and I dined with him, and 
he has shown him three or four more places to alter a 
little. Lady Bolingbroke came down to us while we 
were at dinner, and Parnell stared at her as if she were 
a goddess. I thought she was like Parneirs wife, and 
he thought so too.' 

But despite Parneirs literary distractions, the death 
of his wife still seriously affected his health and spirits. 


On March 6, 1713, Swift says in his 'Journal': 'I 
thought to hâve made Parnell dine with him (Lord 
Treasurer), but he was ill ; his head is out of order 
like mine, but more constant, poor boy.' And again, 
on March 20 : ' Parnell's poem will be published on 
Monday, and to-morrow I design he shall présent it to 
L:>rd Treasurer and Lord Bolingbroke, at Court. The 
poor lad is almost always out of order with his head.' 
The poem was now published. ' [It is],' says Swift, 
'mightily esteemed ; but poetry sells ill/ 

In 1714 we find Parnell, who was still in precarious 
health, at Bath with Pope. In 1715 he was once more 
in Ireland. In 1716 he was presented to the Vicarage 
of Finglass, which he retained until his death two 
years later. Towards the close of his life he seems to 
hâve suffered more acutely from fits of dépression, to 
which he was apparently subject for many years. At 
thèse times he kept himself away from his friends, 
withdrawing to a remote part of tfce country, and there 
enjoying a 'gloomy kind of satisfaction in giving 
hideous descriptions of the solitude ' by which he was 
surrounded. In the surnmer of 1718 he paid his last 
visit to London, and met some of his old friends. But 
his health was now rapidly failing, and, on his way to 
Ireland in October, he fell suddenly ill at Chester and 
there died : pre-deceased by two unmarried sons, and 
leaving one daughter, who, it is said, lived to a ripe 
old âge. His remains rest in Holy Trinity church- 
yard, not far from the home of his ancestors. 1 

In 1721 Pope raised the most enduring monument 
to his famé by bringing out an édition of his works, 

1 Goldsmith, Life of Thomas Parnell ; Johnson, Livcs of the Poets 
(éd. Cunningham) ; Swift's Journal to Stella ; The Dictionary of 
National Biography. 


and dedicating the volume in immortal lines to the 
Earl of Oxford : 

* Such were the notes, thy once-loved poet sung, 
'Till death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongiie. 
Oh, just beheld, and lost ! adinired and mourn'd, 
With softest nianners, gentlest arts, ttdorn'd I 
Blest in each science, blest in eyery strain 1 
Dear to the muse, to Harley dear in vain ! 
For him thou oft hast bid the world attend, 
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend : 
For Swift and him, despis'd the farce of state, 
The sober follies of the wise and great ; 
Dext'rotis the craving fawning crowd to quit, 
And pleas'd to 'scape from âattery to wit. 
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear 
(A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear) ; 
Recall those nights that closed thy toilsome days, 
Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays : 
Who careless, now, of int'rest, famé, or fate, 
Perhaps forgets that Oxford ère was great, 
Or, deeming meanest what we greatest call, 
Behold thee glorious only in thy fall.' 

The family property (including land in Àttnagh, 
which the poet inherited from his mother) nowdescended 
to the poet's brother John. Beyond the fact that he 
was a barrister, a member of Parliament, and a judge, 
little is known of the détails of John Parneirs life. 
Married to the sister of Lord Chief Justice Whitshed, 
he died in 1727, leaving one son, John, who became 
member for Bangor in 1761, and was created a baronet 
in 1766. He married the second daughter of the Hon. 
Michael Ward, of Castleward, in the County Down, one 
of the judges of the Court of King's Bench, and, dying 
in 1782, was succeeded by his famous son, Sir John 
Parnell, Chancellor of the Excheqtter in Grattan's 


Sir John Parnell was born about 174S. At first 
intended for the diplomatie service, he ultimately gare 
himself up wholly to Irish politics. Becoliling & 
student of Lincoln's Inn in 1766, he was neve* called 
to the Bar either in England or Irelaïid; though 
elected, many years later, a bencher of the King's Iims, 
Dublin. He entered the Irish Parliament about 1776, 
and waô appointed a Commissioner of Customs and 
Excise in 1780. 

ParnelFs position was now unique. Holding office 
under the Crown, he possessed the confidence of 
Grattan and the Nationalists ; a supporter of the 
Government, he was in touch with popular feeling. 
He commanded a volunteer corps during the great 
crisis of 1780-82, and cordially identified himself with 
the struggle for législative independence. In 1783, 
however, he opposed Flood's Scheme of Parliamentary 
Reform, and later ôtill he declined, like many other 
patriotic Irishmen of the time, to follow Grattan's 
lead on the Catholic question. Standing high in favour 
with the authorities, he became Chancelier of thé 
Exchequer in 1785, and Privy Councillor in 178G. 
In 1788 he won popular applause by reducing the 
interest on the National Debt from 6 to 5 per cent. 
After the admission of the Catholics to the parlia- 
mentary franchise in 1793, he was drawn more into 
sympathy with them, and apparently looked upoû 
complète émancipation as inévitable. 

In 1794 he, Grattan, and some other Irish poli- 
ticians visited London and conferred with Pitt on Irish 
affairs. At a dinner party at the Duke of Portland's, 
Parnell, who sat next to Pitt, took the opportunity of 
introducing the subject of Catholics and Protestants 
in Ireland. He said that the old feeling of ilJ-will was 


disappearing, and that he looked forward hopefully to 
the establishment of more cordial relations between 
the members of both creeds. 'Yes, Sir/ said Pitt, 
' but the question is, whose will they be ? ' A union 
between Catholics and Protestants in the English 
interest would hâve been gratifying enough to the 
English Minister, but a union for the purpose of 
building up an Irish nation was not to his taste. It 
was, however, rather of the Irish nation than the 
English interest that both Grattan and Parnell were 
thinking, and Pitt no doubt shrewdly suspected the 
fact. ' What does Ireland want ? ' he said to Grattan. 
' What would she hâve more ? ' ' Mr. Pitt does not 
like Ireland/ Grattan observed afterwards. ' She is 
not handy enough for hini/ And handy enough, indeed, 
she was not for Mr. Pitt, nor has she been for any 
other English Minister. Before leaving England 
Grattan told Pitt that the time had corne when the 
Catholics should be completely emancipated, and, as we 
know, in 1795 Lord Fitzwilliam was sent as Viceroy 
to emancipate them. Parnell, at Grattan's urgent 
request, was retained in office, a fact which shows how 
thoroughly the Nationalist leader believed in the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer. The sudden recall 
of Lord Fitzwilliam and the breach of faith with the 
Catholics are amongst the best known and the most 
discreditable transactions in the history of the Eng- 
lish in Ireland. Rébellion followed, and when it 
was crushed Pitt determined to destroy the Irish 

In November 1798 Sir John Parnell was in London, 
and Pitt broached the subject of the Union to him. Par- 
nell dealt cautiously with the subject, saying, 'that 
before any decided step was taken communications 


ought to be opened with the leading men in Ireland 
and public opinion sounded.' 

In Deceniber 1798 Lord Cornwallis wrote to the 
Duke of Portland : ' I trust that the Speaker [Sir John 
Foster] and Sir John Parnell will not hâve left London 
before Lord Castlereagh's arrivai, as I consider it highly 
important that he should hâve an opportunity of hear- 
ing them state their opinions before the king's minister 
on the question. Some of the king's servants appeared 
to be amongst the most impracticable in their opinions ; 
and I feel confident that your Grâce will leave no means 
untried to impress thèse gentlemen more favourably 
before they return to this kingdom.' But Sir John 
Parnell was not ' impressed favourably,' for we find 
Cornwallis writing to Portland on January 16, 1799 : 
' On my finding from a conversation which I had 
with Sir John Parnell soon after he landed that he 
was determined not to support the Union, I hâve noti- 
fied to him his dismission from the office of Chancellor 
of the Exchequer.' Parnell now flung himself heart 
and soûl into the struggle against the Union. On 
January 22 he opposed the measure in limine, 
though in what Cornwallis described as a 'fair and 
candid ' speech, avoiding ' topics of violence.' ' I hâve 
only now to express my sincère regret,' Cornwallis 
wrote to Portland on January 23, ' to your Grâce that 
the préjudices prevailing amongst the members of the 
Commons, countenanced and encouragea as they hâve 
been by the Speaker and Sir John Parnell, are infi- 
nitely too strong to afford me any prospect of bringing 
forward this measure with any chance of success in 
the course of the présent session.' 

In 1800 the struggle was renewed, and Parnell 
fought against the Government with increasing vigour 


and véhémence. On February 17, 1800, we learn 
froni Cornwallis that ' Sir John Parnell rose at eleven 
and went into the détails of the measure, on which he 
commented with severity.' On March 13 he moved 
that ' an address be presented to his Majesty, to reqtle&t 
his Majesty to dissolve the présent Parliament and call 
a new one before the measure of législative Union 
should be concluded.' 

After a fierce debate the motion was defeated at 
three o'clock in the morning by a majority of 150 
to 104. 

On May 26 we find Parnell defending Grattan from 
the imputation of treason cast upon him by Lord 
Castlereagh. Grattan had said that the Union was a 
measure of slavery, but that liberty was immottal, and 
that the nation would yet rise to recover its rights. 
' Eebellion, treason,' cried Castlereagh. ' No/ retotted 
Parnell, ' for we shall recover our rights by consti- 
tutional means. The Sovereign himself will yet appeal 
to the people to vindicate the freedom of which they hâve 
been robbed.' But there was no such appeal. The 
people were not consulted. The Parliament was de- 
stroyed by force and fraud. The nation was cheated by 
intrigue and falsehood. Immediately after the Union 
Parnell took his seat in the English House of Commons 
as member for the Queen's County. But he did not long 
survive the Irish Parliament, dying somewhat suddenly 
in Clifford Street, London, on Deceînber 5, 1801. There 
were few members of the old Irish Parliament more 
universally esteemed than Sir John Parnell. Frank, 
upright, honourable, courageous, he won the confidence 
of friends and the admiration of foes. Moderate in 
opinion, firm in résolve, he entered every struggle with 
délibération and fought every issue without flinching. 


Called to high office in corrupt days, he neyer used his 
position for the adrancement of a single member of 
his faînily ; he never under any circumstances allowed 
Personal considérations to interfère with his lofty 
conceptions of public duty, He was no orator; but 
his speeches cotnmanded the attention and respect 
always given to a man who speaks with the authority 
which knowledge, sensé, and honesty confer. À 
short time after his death the Prime Minister, Mr. 
Addington, paid a just tribtite of esteem to his memory, 
describing hini as a man 'whose loss they deeply 
deplored and whose memory would be reverenced by 
ail who set any value on a Sound understanding, 
extensive information, and a benevolent heart.' 

8ir John married Letitia Charlotte, second daughter 
and co-heiress of Sir Arthur Brooke, Bart., of Cole- 
brooke, County Fermanagh, and had six children, 
amongst whom were Henry, the first Lord Congleton, 
and William, the grandfather of Charles Stewart 

Henry Parnell had a distinguished career. Born 
in 1776, he was educated at Eton, and Trinity Collège, 
Cambridge* In 1797 he entered the Irish Parliament, 
and took his place in the National ranks, in the struggle 
against the Union. Gn his fathér's death in 1801 he 
succeeded to the family estâtes which had been settled 
on him by Act of Parliament in 1789, owing to the 
incurable mental and physical disabilities of his eldest 
brother, John Augustus. Entering the English Parlia- 
ment in April 1802, he retired before the end of the 
year; only, however, to return to active life early in 
1806 as member for the Queen's County. Appointed 
a Commissioner of the Treasury in Ireland under the 
short-lired Grenville Administration (1806-7), he found 



himself again in Opposition after enjoying the sweets 
of office for less than a twelvemonth. In Opposition 
as in power he was a staunch supporter of the Catholic 
claims, and threw himself into the struggle for émanci- 
pation with persistence and energy. 

In 1809 he called the attention of Parliament to 
the Tithe Question, and moved for an inquiry ; but 
the motion was rejected by a large majority. In 1810 
he returned to the subject, but again failed to awaken 
the interest of the House of Commons in it. During 
the hard fight for the removal of the Catholic dis- 
abilities, he stood side by side with Grattan until 1815, 
when the two friends for a time parted. Grattan had 
expressed his willingness to accept émancipation, 
subject to the condition that the Crown should hâve a 
veto on the appointment of the Catholic bishops. But 
O'Connell, who was now rapidly rising to power, de- 
manded émancipation unfettered by any such restric- 
tions, and carried the country with him. In this crisis 
Parnell supported O'Connell, and thenceforth became 
the représentative of the Catholic Board in the House 
of Commons. 

In July 1815 Sir Henry moved for a commission 
to inquire into the nature and effects of the Orange 
Society in Ireland. ' I voted for the question,' says 
Sir Samuel Romilly in his diary, ' and, as is always the 
case in important questions of this kind relative to 
Ireland, in a very small minority. We were only 20, 
the majority being upwards of 80.' We get some 
more glimpses of Parnell in Sir Samuel Komilly's 
diary : 

'May 21, 1817. — Mr. Peel moved and obtained 
leave to bring in a Bill to continue the Irish Insurrec- 
tion Act. I intended to oppose it, but, knowing that 


Sir Henry Parnell meant to oppose it too, I waited for 
him to rise, as he meant to do. But the question 
having been put hastily, it was declared by the Speaker 
to be carried before he had risen ; and it was therefore 
passed without opposition. 

1 May 23. — I opposed on the second reading the 
further progress of the Bill for continuing the Irish 
Insurrection Act, on the ground that a measure of such 
extraordinary severity ought not to be continued, but 
in case of absolute necessity ; and that that necessity 
could not be apparent without an inquiry into the 
state of Ireland. That it was quite unjustifiable to 
persévère in such a System, upon no better grounds 
than the mère statements of the Irish Secretary. None 
of the members for Ireland supported me in this 
opposition except Sir Henry Parnell and General 

' June 13. — On a motion for going into committee 
on the Irish Insurrection Bill I again resisted the 
further progress of it, and supported a motion of Sir 
Henry Parnell for an inquiry into the facts which 
were stated as the grounds of proposing the measure. 
General Matthew and Sir William Burroughs were 
the only other members who opposed the Bill now, 
as they were the only members who had, together 
with myself and Sir Henry Parnell, opposed the second 

In 1825 Parnell opposed the Bill for the suppres- 
sion of the Catholic Association, urging that Ministers 
should adopt not a policy of coercion, but of redress. 

After the concession of Catholic Emancipation, in 
1829, Parnell co-operated with the Libéral party ; and, 
indeed, it was on his motion to refer the Civil List to a 
Select Committee that the Government of the Duke of 



! Wellington was defeated and drjven from office in 

\ November 1830. On the accession of the Grey 

Ministry, Parnell was made Secretary of War and 
Privy Councillor. But he proved a restive subaltern. 
He differed from the Postmaster-General on the subject 
of postal reform, he prepared army estimâtes which 
the Ministry would not accept, and, finally, be was dis- 
missed from office in January 1832 for refusing to vote 
in favour of paying the dividend on the Russian-Dutch 
Jjoan, contrary to treaty stipulations. 1 On leaving 
office be wrote to Brougham, urging him to induqe tbe 
Government of Lord Grey to corne to tenas witb 
O'Connell and to take up the Irisb question. ' Becurring 
to Ireland/ be said, ' I must press on you the urgency 
of your taking an active and decided part in its affaire. 
You are the only member of the Cabinet who at ail 
comprehends the case. Most of your colleagues are 
not only ignorant of it, but, as it seems to me, incapable 
of understanding it/ 

Parnell did not contest Maryborough at tbe gênerai 
élection of 1832, but in 1833 he was returned for 

In 183B he became Paymaster-General of the Forces 
in the Melbourne Administration, a post which he held 
until his élévation to tbe peerage as Lord Congleton in 
1841. He now ceased to take interest in public affairs. 
His health became seriously impaired. His mind Wfts 
ultimately affected, and, in August 1842, he died by his 
own band at his résidence in Cadogan Place, Chelsea. 

Sir Henry Parnell was an advanced Libéral of inde- 

1 During the French war Russia had borrowed from a Dutch house 
in Amsterdam the sum of 25,000,000 florins. After the war, the Iftng o| 
the Netber|ands and Great Brjtain agreed to bear ope-half of the charge 
until Holland and Belgium were separated — a contingency which hap- 
pened in 1830. 


pendent views and a sturdy spirit. At first interesting 
bimsejf chiefjy in Jrish and financial questions, he 
sopn pushed forward along the whole line of Libéral 
jreform. He advocated the extension of the franchise 
and vote by ballot, the sbortening of Parliaments, the 
repeal of the corn laws, and a rigorous policy of retrench- 
inent in ail public departments. Nearly half a century 
later his grand-nephew took a leading part in the agita- 
tion for the abolition of flogging in the anny. But Sir 
Henry anticipated the movement, and, in office and out 
of office, condemned the lash with uncompromising 
hostility. Like bis father, he was no orator, but a 
plain, bi^sinesslike, matter-of-fact speaker, who, how- 
cver, possesçed a complète mastery of every subject on 
which he touched, and was always listened to with 
attention and respect. His appearance in the House of 
Çommons is thus described by a contemporary autho- 
rity : ' Sir Henry Parnell is a respectable, but by no 
means a superior, speaker. He has a fine clear voice, 
but hé ne ver yaries the key in which he commences. 
He is, however, audible in ail parts of the House. His 
utterance is well timed, and he appears to speak with 
gre^t ease. He delivers his speeches in much the same 
way as if he were repeating some pièces of writing he 
bad committed to his memory in his schoolboy years. 
His gesticulation is a great deal too tame for his speeches 
to produce any effect. He stands stock still, except 
when he occasionally raises and lets fq.ll his right hand. 
Even this he does in a very gentle manner. What he 
excels in is giving a plain, luminous statement of com- 
plex financial matters. In this respect he has no supe- 
rior. Sir Henry is gentlemanly in his appearance ; so 
is he also in reality. His manners are highly courteous. 
His stature is of the middle size, rather inclining to 



» > 


stoutness. His complexion is fair, his features are 
regular, with a mild expression about them ; and his 
hair is pure white.' l Sir Henry published several 
books, the most important of which is a ' History of 
the Pénal Laws against Irish Catholics from 1689 to 
the Union ' — the best work, perhaps, on the subject. 

He married Lady Caroline Elizabeth Dawson, eldest 
daughter of the first Earl of Portarlington, by whom 
he had five children, three daughters and two sons. 

Sir Henry's youngest brother, William — the grand- 
father, as has been said, of Charles Stewart Parnell — 
was born about 1780. Of his early years little is 
known. But in 1801 he succeeded, under his father's 
will, to the property of Avondale, which had been 
settled on Sir John Parnell by a friend and admirer, 
Samuel Hayes, barrister-at-law. William Parnell was 
a modest, retiring man, fond of his books and his home ; 
and, though keenly interested in political affairs, 
unwilling to take active part in public life. An 
enemy of the Union, a friend to the Catholics, a good 
landlord, a just magistrate, amiable, benevolent, sym- 
pathetic, he was very popular amongst the people in 
whose midst he lived, and whose welfare he studied. 
From his quiet retreat near the beautiful Vale of 
Avoca he watched the political struggle beyond, and 
even sometimes gave signs of the faith that was in 
him. In 1805 he published a pamphlet, entitled, 'An 
Enquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontent,' setting 
out the causes thus : 

1 lst. The recollections which exist in Ireland of 
being a conquered people. 

1 2nd. The great confiscation of private property. 

1 Randam Recollectiotu of the House of Comtnons. 


1 3rd. The distinctions between Protestants and 

' 4th. The distinction between the inembers of the 
Church of England and the Presbyterians. 

'5th. Tithes. 

' 6th. The degraded state of the peasantry. 

' 7th. The influence of a Eepublican Party. 

'8th. The Union/ 

He dévotes many pages to a vigorous condemnation 
of the Union, putting the case at one point very happily, 
thus : ' The reasoning and practice of the Union was 
very like a transaction in " Mon Oncle Thomas." A 
grenadier sold his son's teeth to a dentist. The only 
difficulty was to persuade the child to part with them. 
The contracting parties took the f avourable opportunity 
of a severe fit of toothache and reasoned the matter 
thus : " This tooth y ou are going to hâve drawn gives 
you a great deal of pain ; ail the rest will decay in 
their turn, and give you as much pain; therefore, 
while you are about it, you had better hâve them ail 
drawn at once." " Oh, but," said the child, " how should 
I be able to chew my victuals? " " That is easily settled," 
said the father ; " I will chew them for you." The 
English,' said Parnell, ' hâve the disposition of a 
nation accustomed to Empire. Anything that com- 
promises their own dignity is out of the question. 
But the dignity of any other nation never makes any 
obstacle to their measures.' A few years later he 
published the work by which he is best known, 'An 
Historical Apology for the Irish Catholics/ This is a 
remarkable little book, showing an intimate knowledge 
of Irish history, and displaying both literary skill and 
logical acunien. Taking up the argument that Irish 
disaffection springs from religious causes, he proves 

vol. i. C 


; t 
• • 




t •. 

* • 



that the Irish were rebellions before religious différ- 
ences arose. The English came, he says in effect, 
to rob and kill, and the Irish fought for property and 
life. ' Contemporary writers never mentioned religion 
as a cause of rébellion till long after the Reformation ; 
on the contrary, their fears are always expressed against 
the Irishry, not against the Papists. They found the 
greatest opposition in national pride, not in religion.' 
He thus deals with the Protestant oligarchy, though he 
himself belonged to that oligarchy : ' The Protestants, 
in their terror of persécution, hâve become persecùtors, 
their alarm at Catholic atrocities has made them atro- 
cious. To hear them speak, one would imagine that 
they had been the patient and uncomplaining sufferers, 
from the reign of William till George III. ; that they 
had borne this long and cruel test with loyal résig- 
nation ; that they had been deprived of property, of 
arms, of every légal and honourable right. No, it is 
not suffering, but it is power, it is pride of artificial 
ascendancy, it is the jealousy arising from exclusive 
privilège that corrupts the understanding and hardens 
the heart.' Sydney Smith reviewed the book very 
favourably in the ' Edinburgh,' saying : ' We are truly 
glad to agrée so entirely with Mr. Parnell upon this 
great question ; we admire his way of thinking, and 
most cordially recommend his work to the attention of 
the public.' 

A warm f riendship existed between William Parnell 
and Thomas Moore. It was at Avondale that the poet 
wrote 'The Meeting of the Waters,' and the exact 
spot from which he is supposed to hâve viewed fche 
scène was pointed ont to me by Mr. John Parnell 
germe time ago. 

' Tom Moore's tree ' — under whose wide-spreading 


branches the poet sat, it is said, when he penned his 
famous sang — is still shown as one of the sights of 
Avondale. But there has always been uncertainty 
and mystety on the subject — uncertainty and mys- 
tery which, even at the request of William Parnell, 
Moore declined to clear up. Fourteen years after 
Parneirs death he revisited the scène, and notes with 
a touch of pardonable vanity in his journal : ' August 
25, 1835. After breakfast the landau and four was 
again at the door, and with a most clear morning, pro- 
mising a delicious day, we set ont for the Vale of Avoca 
and the meeting of the waters. I had not been in this 
beautiful région since the visit (âges ago it seems) 
which gave birth to the now mémorable song, " There 
is not in the wide world." How wise it was of Scott 
to connect his poetry with the beautiful scenery of his 
country. Even indiffèrent verses derived from such an 
association obtain a degree of vitality which nothing 
else could impart to them. I felt this strongly to-day 
while my companions talked of the différent discussions 
there were afloat as to the particular spot from which 
I viewed the scène ; whether it was the first or second 
meeting of the waters I meant to describe. I told 
them that I meant to leave ail that in the mystery beat 
suited to such questions. Poor William Parnell, who 
now no longer looks upon those waters, wrote to me 
many years since on the subject of those doubts, and, 
mentioning a seat in the Abbey churchyard belonging 
to him where it was said I sat while writing the 
verses, begged me to give him two lines to that effect 
to be put on the seat. " If you can't tell a lie for me," 
said he, " in prose, you will, perhaps, to oblige an old 
friend, do it in verse." ' 

But Moore did not comply with the request. 

o 2 


Though little inclined to take an active part in 
politics, Parnell was induced to enter Parliament as 
member for Wicklow in 1817. But his public career 
was of brief duration. In 1821 he died in the prime of 
life, deeply mourned by true and loving friends, and 
keenly missed by a f aithful and sorrowing tenantry. He 
married the eldest daughter of the Hon. Hugh Howard, 
of Castle Howard, County Wicklow, by whom he had 
two children, John Henry and Catherine. 

John Henry Parnell led an uneventful life. Kesid- 
ing on his estate at Avondale and interesting hiinself 
chiefly in questions of agricultural iinprovement, he 
sought by every means in his power to promote the 
well-being and happiness of his people. A good land- 
lord, a staunch Libéral, a kind friend, he was respected 
and esteeined by ail classes in the country. In his 
youth he was fond of travel, and during a visit to the 
United States, in 1834, he met, loved, and married 
Miss Délia Tudor, the daughter of Commodore Charles 
Stewart, of the American Navy. This was the one 
notable event in the life of John Henry Parnell. 

Délia Stewart was the daughter of a remarkable 
man. About the middle of the eighteenth century 
there were agrarian disturbances in Ulster ; and thou- 
sands of tenants, smarting under a sensé of wrong and 
despairing of the future, fled across the océan to seek a 
refuge and a home in the British colonies of North 
America. Among thèse emigrants were the parents of 
Charles Stewart. They settled in Philadelphia, and 
there he was born on July 28, 1778. Two years 
afterwards his father died, and Mrs. Stewart was left 
to face the world alone with a young and helpless 
family. But her forlorn position excited the pity and 
the love of a generous man, and after the lapse of some 


tirae she became the wife of Captain Britton, a member 
of Congress and Commander of Washington's body- 
guard. Britton was more than a stepfather to the 
little Stewarts, and to Charlie he took spécial fancy, as, 
growing up, the lad showed a brave spirit and a warm 
heart. In 1790 Britton introduced him to Président 
Washington, an incident in his life which Charles 
Stewart never forgot. In old âge he often spoke of 
this famous interview, dwelling particularly upon the 
effect which it produced on his playmates at Phila- 
delphia. 'Not one of them,' he would say, 'dare 
knock a chip off my shoulder after that.' Britton 
intended to hâve young Stewart trained for some quiet 
and honourable post in the public service. But the lad 
had his own plans. He resolved to go to sea. His 
mother and stepfather protested; but Charlie settled 
the question one day by running away from school and 
becoming cabin boy in a coasting schooner. Britton, 
like a sensible man, accepted the inévitable, and deter- 
mined to help the youth along the lines he had marked 
out for himself. With his own brains and grit, and by 
Britton's influence, Charlie went rapidly ahead, and 
before he was twenty-one rose to the command of an 
Indiaman. Then he left the merchant service, and 
in 1798 entered the navy as lieutenant on board the 
frigate ' United States.' Thenceforth his success was 
steady and remarkable. 

In 1800 he was sent in the ' Experiment ' to deal with 
French privateers in West Indian waters. During this 
mission he displayed the fighting qualities which were 
destined to make him famous, seizing privateers and 
warships, re-capturing American vessels, scouring the 
seas, and scattering his enemies. Nor was he less 
mindful of works of humanity, for this same year he 


rescued a number of women and childen who had 
been wrecked while escaping from a révolution in Ban 
Domingo. This gallant action brought a despatch of 
grateful acknowledgment from the Spanish Governor of 
tbe island to the Président of the United States. 

In 1803 he was despatched on a graver mission. 
The United States had made war on Tripoli for insults 
offered to the American flag, and Stewart was sent to 
co-operate with Captain Trible, who commanded the 
American squadron in the Mediterranean. In the 
opérations which followed (1803, 1804) Stewart again 
distinguished himself ; supporting Lieutenant Dicatur 
in his successful efforts to re-capture the frigate 
1 Philadelphia,' which had fallen into the hand of the 
Tripolitans ; seizing a British and a Greek vessel, 
which had attempted to run the blockade of the 
harbour ; and leading the attack on the enemy's flotilla 
in the bombardment of the town. For thèse services 
he was promoted to the rank of niaster-commandant. 

He was next sent in the ' Essex ' to Tunis, where 
fresh troubles had arisen. Tbe American Consul, 
fearing an attack on the consulate, had fled to the fleet. 
A council of war was held. Opérations against the 
town were suggested. But Stewart said, ' Jîo.' War 
had not been declared by the United States against 
Tunis, and the fleet, therefore, could not act. The 
fleet could not déclare war. Congress alone could do 
that. Negotiations, he urged, should be re-opened 
with the Bey. This advice was taken. Negotiations 
were re-opened. They were carried to a successful 
issue. The Consul was sent back, and peaceful rela- 
tions were established. Thus Stewart proved himself 
a skilful diplomatist as well as a hard fighter. His 
sound constitutional views and admirable tact on this 


occasion won the high commendation of Président 

In 1806 he was promoted to the rank of captain, 

and, a season of peace having supervened, he returned 

to the merchant service. But on the breaking out of 

the war with England in 1812 he once more joined 

the navy. England claimed the right to search 

American vesBels for English sailors. The United 

States repudiated this claim, and resolved to resist it 

by force. The Government at first decided to act on 

the défensive, collecting the fleet close to the American 

shore to await events. Stewart and Captain Bam- 

bridge, however, pointed out that this would be a fatal 

policy, and proposed instead that the vessels should 

put to sea and attack the Britisher wherever he was 

to be found. Their views finally prevailed, and in 

January 1813 Stewart was ordered to sail in the 

frigate ' Constellation ' from Washington to Norfolk, 

and thence to the open sea. But on reaching Norfolk 

he fonnd a British fleet in the offing. Dropping down 

the river, the American captain anchored abreast of 

Craney Ialand, to cover the fortifications which were 

in course of construction» There he was greatly 

exposed to the enemy. But he prepared a plan of 

defence which baffled his foes and won the admiration 

of naval experts. The ' Constellation ' was anchored in 

the middle of a narrow channel. On each side of ber 

were seven gunboats. A circle of booms protected 

the gunboats from being boarded, and enabled them 

at the same time to maintain a fianking fire on ail 

assailants of the frigate. On board the frigate herself 

the gréâtes t précautions were taken. The gun-decks 

were housed, the ports shut in, the stern ladders taken 

away, and the gangway cleats removed. Not a rope 


could be seen hanging over the side, while every 
means that ingenuity could suggest were devised for 
embarrassing, bewildering, and out-manœuvring the 
enemy, should he succeed in coming to close quarters. 
Then the carronades were chargea to the muzzle with 
musket-balls and depressed to the nearest range, in 
order to sweep the water around the ship. ' As the 
frigate was light and unusually high out of the water, 
it was the opinion of the best judges that, defended as 
she would certainly hâve been under the officers who 
were in her, she could not hâve been carried without 
a loss of several hundred men to the enemy, if she 
could hâve been carried at ail.' l 

This was clearly the opinion of the English admirai 
too. For, after reconnoitring several times with great 
care, he came to the conclusion that no attempt could 
safely be made to attack the ' Constellation ' ; the 
English officers confessing that the vigilance of the 
ship was too much for them, and insisting that Captain 
Stewart must be a Scotchman, he was so actively 
awake. 2 So Stewart remained abreast of Craney 
Island until the fortifications were completed, when he 
returned to Norfolk Harbour. 

Soon afterwards he was given the command of the 
' Constitution/ and in the summer of 1813 sailed in 
her for the West Indies. In this cruise he captured 
the British war schooner ' Piéton,' a letter of marque 
under her convoy, and several merchant vessels. 
Keturning to America for repairs, he fell in with two 
British ships, which gave him chase, but, skilfully evad- 
ing them, he ran his craft under the guns of Fort 
Marblehead, and a few days afterwards reached Boston 
Harbour in perfect safety. There, for a moment, he 

1 Fenimore Cooper, History of the American Navy. * Ibid. 


deserted the god of battles for the god of love, and 
married Délia Tudor, ' the belle of Boston,' daughter 
of Judge Tudor, who had fought against the British 
in the War of Independence. But the wedding was 
scarcely over when the * Constitution ' was once more 
ready for sea, and Stewart bade farewell to his bride. 
* What présent shall I bring you home ? ' he asked as 
they parted. 'A British frigate,' was the prompt 
reply. ' I shall bring you two,' said Stewart. In 
December 1814 he set sail for Europe, seizing two 
British vessels on the way, destroying one, and sending 
the other, which had a valuable cargo, to New York. 
On February 19, 1815, at 1 p.m., the 'Constitution' 
was off the coast of Spain. A sail was sighted some 
twelve miles ahead. The first lieutenant reported that 
she was probably a British ship of 50 guns. ' What- 
ever may be the number of her guns,' said Stewart, 
' Fil fight. Set every stitch of canvas ; lay me along- 
side.' With studding sails alow and aloft the ' Con- 
stitution ' sped through the waters, and by 4 p.m. she 
had shortened the distance between herself and the 
enemy by one-half. Then a second ship hove in sight, 
and she was soon pronounced to be the consort of the 
first. But the ' Constitution ' sped on. ' Before sunset, 
my lads,' said Stewart, ' we must flog thèse Britishers, 
whether they hâve one or two gun-decks each.' The 
' Constitution ' now came up hand over hand, and it 
was soon seen that the British ships — for so they 
turned out to be — were ready for action. AU three 
vessels formed (as Stewart put it) an equilateral 
triangle ; the British ships — the ' Cyane,' 34 guns, and 
the ' Levant/ 21 guns — making the base, the ' Consti- 
tution ' the apex. Stewart began the action by firing 
between the British ships. The British responded 


with a broadside, which was, bowever, ineffective owing 
jto the American's excellent stratégie position. Stewart 
now concentrated his fire on the foremost vessel, the 
1 Levant/ raking her fore and aft. The British replied 
gallantly, and a hot combat ensued. At this juncture 
the sternmost ship, the ' Cyane/ crept up to the 
' Constitution ' and endeavoured to take her on the 
weather side. But Stewart, handling his ship with 
admirable skill, out-manœuvred the Britisher, and 
getting to close quarters poured a tremendous broad- 
side into her. Both ships now maintained a running 
fire until about 6 p.m., when the enemy, raked, bat- 
tered, and disabled, was forced to surrender. Stewart, 
putting a crew on board the frigate, bore down on 
the * Levant,' passing under her stern and delivering 
a well-directed broadside. The ' Levant ' briskly re- 
turned the fire, striking the ' Constitution ' amidships ; 
but another broadside froni the American brought 
down the British colours, and made Stewart the victor 
of the day. He had kept his word with bis bride. 
He had captured two British frigates in less than 
two months since they had parted. When the battle 
was over the British commanders sat in the cabin 
of the ' Constitution ' and discussed the action in 
the présence of Stewart, each blaming the other for 
the dis as ter which had befallen them. 'Gentlemen/ 
said Stewart, ' it is idle to discuss the question. You 
both fought gallantly, and neither of you is to blâme. 
No matter wbat you had done the resuit would hâve 
been the same. If you doubt it, go back to your ships 
and we will fight the battle over again.' 

Stewart now made for home with his two frigates. 
On the way back he rested in neutral waters at Porto 
Praya in Santiago, the largest of the Cape Verde 


islands. But a British squadron Boon hove in sigbt. 
Stewart knew that the British would not respect the 
neutral waters of a weak Power like Portugal ; so he 
slipped his cable and, followed by bis prizes, set sail 
for America. Tbe British squadron gave chase and 
quickly overhauled the Americans. Fighting was out 
of tbe question, for tbe ' Constitution ' was under- 
manned, her crew being distributed in the prizes. 
Stewart 's only plan, therefore, was to escape the enemy. 
Signalling tbe ' Cyane ' and the ' Levant ' to vary their 
courses so as to distract and scatter the pursuers, he 
succeeded in getting ail tbree vessels out of range of 
tbe squadron's fire. Tbe ' Constitution ' and the 
' Cyane ' reached New York in safety, but the ' Levant,' 
pressed by two of tbe British ships, re-entered Porto 
Prayo and anchored under tbe shelter of tbe forts. 
The Britisb squadron, ignoring neutral rights, sailed in 
and recaptured her, and tbus the affair ended. 

On reaching New York Stewart was welcomed with 
honours. Congress voted him thanks, a sword, and a 
gold medai, the State of Pennsylvania thanks and a 
sword, New York the freedom of the city, wbile the 
masses of the people greeted him with tbe appropriate 
sobriquet of ' Old Ironsides.' l 

In September 1814 peace was made with England, 
and Stewart spent the rest of his life in tranquillity, 
althougb he remained still for nearly fifty years in the 
public service. From 1816 to 1820 he commanded 
the American squadron in the Mediterranean, from 
1820 to 1825 he guarded American interests in the 
Pacific with characteristic tact, skill, and patriotism. 

Afterwards he continued to fill important posts 

1 This was a name first given to the * Constitution ' ; it was now 
traosCerred to her captaio. 


afloat or ashore until 1862, when he was placed on 
the retired list as rear-admiral. The remainder of his 
days were serenely passed in his house at Bordentown, 
New Jersey, where he died, full of years and honour, 
on November 9, 1869. His personal appearance is 
thus described : 

' Commodore Stewart was about five f eet nine inches 
high and of a dignified and engaging présence. His 
complexion was fair, his hair chestnut, eyes blue, large, 
penetrating, and intelligent. The cast of his counte- 
nance was Koman, bold, strong, and commanding, and 
his head finely formed. His control of his passions 
was truly surprising, and under the most irritating 
circumstances his oldest seamen never saw a ray of 
anger flash from his eyes. His kindness, benevolence, 
and humanity were proverbial ; but his sensé of justice 
and the réquisitions of duty were as unbending as fate. 
In the moment of great stress and danger he was cool, 
and quick in judgment, as he was utterly ignorant of 
fear. His mind was acute and powerful, grasping the 
greatest or smallest subjects with the intuitive mastery 
of genius.' 

Commodore Stewart was predeceased by his son- 
in-law, John Henry Parnell, who died in Dublin in 
1859 ; but his daughter, Délia Tudor Stewart Parnell, 
lived until 1898. r In the autumn of 1896 I called on her 
in Dublin. She had just arrived from America and was 
recovering from a severe illness. She looked pale and 
délicate, but was bright and even incisive in conversa- 
tion, taking a keen interest in political affairs. Her 
face suggested no likeness to her remarkable son, but 
she had the calm, determined, self-possessed manner 
which always distinguished him. She knew her own 
mind, too. Her views might hâve been right or wrong, 


sensible or the reverse, but she had no doubts. She 
held her ground firmly in argument, and could not 
easily be moved from her opinions. She was certainly 
a woman of convictions, independent, fearless, resolute ; 
indiffèrent to established conventions and animated by 
one fixed idea, a rooted hatred of England ; or rather, 
as she herself put it, of ' English dominion.' ' How 
came it,' I said, ' that your son Charles had such an 
antipathy to the English ? ' ' Why should he not ? ' 
she answered, with American délibération. ' Hâve not 
his ancestors been always opposed to England ? My 
grandfather Tudor fought against the English in the 
War of Independence. My father fought against the 
Ejglish in the war of 1812, and I suppose the Parnells 
had no great love for them. Sir John Parnell fought 
against the Union and gave up office for Ireland, and 
Sir Henry was always on the Irish side against 
England, and so was my son 's grandfather William. 
It was very natural for Charles to dislike the English ; 
but it is not the English whom we dislike, or whom 
he disliked. We hâve no objection to the English 
people ; we object to the English dominion. We would 
not hâve it in America. Why should they hâve it in 
Ireland ? Why are the English so jealous of any out- 
side interférence in their affairs, and why are they 
always trying to dip their fingers in everybody's pie ? 
The English are hated in America for their grasping 
policy ; they are hated every where for their arrogance, 
greed, cant, and hypocrisy. No country must hâve 
national rights or national aspirations but England. 
That is the English creed. Well ! other people don't 
see it ; and the English are astonished. They want 
us ail to think they are so goody goody. They are 
simply thieves.' 



5 Although there was no physical resemblance that 

I could discern between Mrs. Parnell and Charles 
Stewart Parnell, there were mental traits of likeness 
which could not be mistaken, and the opinions and 
sentiments of the mother were certainly the opinions 
and sentiments of the son. 

The living members of the Parnell family are — 

John Howard, who now résides at Avondale ; 

Henry Tudor ; 

Emily, who married Captain Dickinson ; 

Theodosia, who married Lieutenant Paget, R.N. ; 

Anna, who played an important part in the Land 
League agitation. 

Those who hâve passed away are Fanny, a poet«ss 
of considérable ability ; William ; Hayes ; Délia, who 
married Mr. Livingston Thomson ; Sophia, who 
married Mr. MacDermott, and Charles Stewart, the 
story of whose life I hâve now to tell. 










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From Dublin to Eathdrum is a pleasant run of an hour 
and a half by the Dublin, Wicklow, and Wexford 
Eailway along the edge of the sea. Eathdrum is a 
neat little village, the centre for visiting the Vale of 
Avoca, Glendalough, and other scènes of infinité beauty 
in the county of Wicklow. 

Avondale lies close by, and thither one day in the 
September of 1896 I drove to visit the home of Parnell. 

The one pervading influence of this beautiful spot 
is melancholy. Perhaps it is difficult to dissociâtes the 
place from the sorrowf ul memories which linger around 
the naine of its late owner. But, however that may 
be, a feeling of sadness and gloom possessed me as 
I drove up the avenue leading to the house — a spacious, 
even in some measure a noble, résidence. There was 
an appearance of neglect— a look, indeed, as if death 
had been there, and as if his shadow still overhung the 
stricken home. 

As I alighted I was met at the door by the présent 
owner, Mr. John Parnell — a quiet, courteous, hospitable, 
kindly gentleman. He, too, looked sad and thoughtful, 
and there was for a moment in his eyes that far-away 
look which those who knew Charles Stewart Parnell 
will never forget 

Mt. 1] AVONDALE 33 

On entering the hall, which has quite a baronial 
appearance in miniature, there was a warm, pleasant 
feeling. There was no fire to be seen, but a génial, 
comfortable atmosphère which made me at once think 
of what Parnell used often to say, ' I likç a warm house.' 
In this respect Avondale is perfect. Above the hall is a 
little gallery, and hung ail around are mementoes of 
the dead Chief. ' In the old days,' said Mr. Parnell, 
' we used to hâve dances in this hall, and the band used 
to be placed in that gallery.' We lingered for a while 
in the hall. It is the distinguishing characteristic of 
the Parnells that they seem to be like no other people. 
They are absolutely unconventional. They ail give you 
the idea of having pre-occupations quite outside their 
immédiate surroundings. How often did one feel in 
walking with Parnell that he really was unconscious of 
your présence, that his thoughts were far, far away 
from you, and from anything of which you were think- 
ing or talking ! He did not strike you at thèse moments 
as a practical statesman. He looked a visionary, a 
poet, a dreamer of dreams — anything but the Charles 
Stewart Parnell that the world knew him to be. You 
felt that those eyes, with their inward look, took little 
notice of anything that was going on around. But, 
suddenly you said something that specially fixed the 
attention of the Chief. He at once woke up; the 
eyes were turned full upon you, the whole body was 
swung round, and you soon found that not only had the 
immédiate remark which produced this effect been fully 
taken in, but that ail you had been saying for the past 
half-hour had been fully grasped and most thoroughly 
considered. Well, ail the Parnells hâve that pre-occu- 
pied look that distinguished Charles, but they lack the 
practical skill and the genius which made him famous. 

VOL. I. D 


We walked through the house. Everywhere there 
was an exceptionally warm, agreeable atmosphère (in 
very pleasant contrast to the damp outside), but an 
inexpressible air of sadness ail the time. There was 
absolu te silence. The house might hâve been almost 
deserted. Indeed, one felt as if one were being shown 
over the castle or mansion of a great chief who had 
pafesed away long ago, and as if nothing had been 
touched since his death. There was furniture, there 
were bookcases and books, ail looking anoient, ail appa- 
rently belonging to another time. In the hall hung a 
pioture of the Irish House of Commons. The scène 
painted was an important debate. Curran was address- 
ing the House. Around sat Grattan, Sir John Parnell, 
and other well-known figures of the day. But the 
memories which this picture awakened did not, as it 
were, belong more completely to the past than did the 
memories awakened in walking through the rooms at 
Avondale. We stood at a window : what a beautiful 
BÎght met our eyes I The house stands on an eminence ; 
around rise the Wicklow hills ; beneath runs the little 
river Avonmore, through glens and dells that lend a 
delightful charm to a glorious scène. For quite ten 
minutes we exchanged not a word. It is the genius 
of the Parnells to invite silence and to suggest thought. 
I was thinking how beautiful everything was, and 
how sad. I said at length exactly what I thought. 
' It is most sad to wander through this house and to 
think what might hâve been.' 

We walked about the grounds, and new glimpses of 
interest and beauty constantly caught the eye. 

We passed through a wooded way close to the river's 
side — a delightfully solitary spot to commune with one- 
self. ' This/ said John, ' was Charlie's favourite walk. 

M*. 1] AVOCA 30 

He was fond of Avondale. "There is no place like 
Avondale, Jack," he would say/ 

After a ramble around the grounds we returned to 
luncheon. We sat in the library. It was still a dampish 
day outside, and there was a nice log fire which gave a 
pleasant air of comfort to the room. When luncheon 
was over, John rose, and said, * Let us walk to the Vale 
of Avoca, You hâve never seen it, and it is very beau- 
tiful.' To Avoca we strolled along the river-side, and 
I beheld for the first time the charining spot which 
Moore has made famous. Gleams of brightness lighted 
up the beautiful scène, and valley and waters lay bathed 
in the subdued light of the autumn sun. It was, indeed, 
a glorious panorama, and Moore's lines wçre readily 
recalled, not only by the picture on which we gazed, 
but by the appropriateness of the concluding lines to 
what might well hâve been the aspirations of Parnell 
amid the storms which closed his checkered life. 

There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet 

As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet ; 

Oh ! the last raya of feeling and life must départ 

Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart. 

Sweet Vale of Avoca ! how oalm oould I rest 

In thy bosom of shade, with the friands I love best, 

When the storms that we feel in tins cold world should 

And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace. 

At Avondale, within ten minutes* walk of the Vale 
of Avoca, Charles Stewart Parnell was born on June 27, 

As a lad he was délicate but wiry, nervous but 
brave, reserved but affectionate, thoughtful and delibe- 
rate, but bright and cheery. He was fond of home life, 



and wannly attached to the members of his family, 
especially to Emily, Fanny, and John, he had few 
companions outside the home circle, and was very shy 
with strangers. Delighting in ail sorts of gaines — 
outdoor and indoor — his favourite pastime was playing 
at soldiers. He never liked to be beaten at anything, 
and was resourceful and ingenious, though not too 
punctilious or scrupulous, in the adoption of ineans for 
out-manœuvring his opponents. One day he had a 
gaine of soldiers with his sister Fanny. ' He com- 
manded one well-organised division, while she directed 
the movements of another and opposing force. Thèse 
never came into actual conflict, but faced one another 
impassively, while their respective commanders pep- 
pered with pop-guns at the enemy's lines. For several 
days the war continued without apparent advantage 
being gained by either side. One morning, however, 
heavy cannonading was heard in the furthest corner 
of the room (produced by rolling a spiked bail across 
the floor). Pickets were called in, and in three 
minutes from the firing of the first shot there was a 
gênerai engagement ail along the line. Strange as it 
may seem, Fanny's soldiers fell by the score and hun- 
dred, while those commanded by her brother refused 
to waver even when palpably hit. This went on for 
some time until Fanny's army was utterly annihilated. 
It was learned, from his own confession, an hour after 
this Waterloo, that Charles had, before the battle 
began, glued his soldiers' feet securely to the floor.' l 
He also liked the game of ' follow-my-leader.' ' Charlie,' 
says a member of the family, ' liked playing the game 
of " follow-my-leader," but always insisted on being 

1 This story is told in Mr. Sherlock's clever little sketch of Parneil. 

JEt. 1-8] AT SCHOOL 37 

the leader.' * He was very fond of fighting,' says his 
brother John, ' and would fight with me if he had 
nobody else.' But there was no malice in his com- 
bativeness. He liked fighting for fighting sake, and 
was quite good friends afterwards with the boy whom 
he might hâve thrashed or who might hâve thrashed 
him. Insubordinate and headstrong in the hands of 
those for whom he did not care, he was obedient and 
docile with the people he loved. Even as a boy he 
had a keen sensé of justice, and was ever ready to 
assist the weak and helpless. * As a little boy,' writes 
his sister, Mrs. Dickinson, ' he showed that considéra- 
tion for ail things helpless and weak, whether human 
beings or animais, for which he was distinguished in 
after years.' * One day,' says his mother, * he thought 
the nurse was too severe with his sister Anna. Anna 
was placed in a room to be punished. Charles got into 
the room, put Anna on a table, rolled the table into a 
corner, and, standing in front of it with a big stick, 
kept the nurse at bay.' 

In 1853, when Charlie was just six years, Mr. 
Parnell took him to England, and put him in charge 
of a lady who kept a boarding-school for girls near 
Yeovil, in Somersetshire. It was not the custom to 
take boys in the school, but an exception was made in 
the case of little Parnell. Mr. Parnell, so he told the 
mistress of the school, was anxious that Charlie should 
* spend some of his earlier years in England, with some- 
one who would mother him and cure his stammering.' 
After returning from the mid-summer holidays of 1854 
the boy fell seriously ill with typhoid fever. * I nursed 
him/ says his schoolmistress, 'for six weeks, night 
and day, to an entire recovery,' and she adds : ' this 
formed a link between us which has made every event 


of his life most important to me.' He was a spécial 
favourite with this lady, who speakB of him as quick, 
interesting to teach, very affectionate to those he loved 
(a few), reserved to others ; therefore not a great favou- 
rite with his comparions.' He remained at Yeovil 
until 1855, and then returned to Avondale. For a time 
afterwards he was taught by his sister's governess, and 
later on by a tutor. But he got on with neither. He 
argued with the governess, defied the tutor, made fuir 
of the clergyman who was engagea to give him religious 
instruction, and generally infused a spirit of rébellion 
into the household. Finally he was despatched once 
more to Etigland, taking up his abode first at the Eev. 
Mr. Barton's, Kirk Langley, Derbyshire, and next at 
the Eev. Mr. Wishaw's, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. 
At both schools he was idle, read little, resisted the 
authority of the under masters (though submissive to 
the head of the establishment), disliked his fellow-pupils, 
and was disliked by them. 

On one occasion he was construing a Greek play 
and mistranslated a word. Wishaw corrected him, but 
Parnell argued the point. Wishaw said : ' Well, look 
the word out in the Lexicon,' passing the book to- 
wards him. Parnell looked into the Lexicon, and saw 
that it bore out Wishaw's views ; but coolly answered : 
' Well, the Lexicon says what you say, but I expect 
the Lexicon is wrong.' He cared only for two things, 
cricket and mathematics, and was proficient in the 
game and in the science. Still, he was not popular, 
either with the masters or the boys, though the one 
recognised his Bharpness and ability and the other his 
manliness and pluck. Even at school he showed the 
reserve and aloofness which were among his traits in 
after years ; and he was always glad when the vacation 

jEt. 8-19] CHIPPING NORTON 89 

came round to find himself back at Avondale free and 
amoUg friends and favourites. 

' I well remember,' saya one who was at Chipping 
Norton with Parnell, ' the day the Parnells (for John 
accompanied Charles) came. Their mother brought 
them. She wore a green dress, and Wishaw came 

to me and said : " I say, B , I hâve met one of 

the most extraordinary women I hâve ever seen — the 
mother of the Parnells. She is a regular rebel. I 
hâve never heard such treason in my life. Without 
a note of warning she opened fire on the British 
Government, and by Jove she did give it us hot. I 
hâve asked her to corne for a drive, to show her the 
oountry, and you must corne too for protection." So 
we went for a drive, but my présence did not prevent 
Mrs. Parnell from giving her views about the iniquities 
of the English Government in Ireland.' 

My informant added : * We liked John, who was a 
very good, génial fellow ; but we did not like Charles. 
He was arrogant and aggressive, and he tried to sit on 
us, and we tried to sit on him. That was about the 
state of the case.' 

Ât this time, and for many years afterwards, he 
was subject to nervous attacks and would walk in his 
sleep. When the nervous attacks were on he never 
liked to be left alone, and would send for some person 
to remain with him. The feeling continued even when 
he had grown up to man's estate, and was, indeed, in 

One night, in the days when the British Ministets 
were at their wits' end to devise means for suppressiilg 
the terrible agitation, he was alone at Avondale. No one 
was in the house except the old housekeeper (who had 
been his nurse) , her husband, and another servant. In 


the early morning the master's bell was vigorously rung, 
and old Peter and his wife caine up. Parnell lay in 
bed wide awake, looking nervous and distressed. < I 
am sorry/ he said, ' to ring you up, but the fact is I am 
not well, and hâve not slept ail night. I am better 
now, but feel nervous, and would like someone to stop 
with me for awhile.' Old Peter remained, and Parnell 
talked away on a variety of domestic topics until a 
couple of hours had passed, when he fell quietly asleep. 
His somnambulistic habits also continued after he left 
school and collège. But he ultimately cured himself 
by tying his leg to the bed, an inconvénient but effectuai 
remedy. He was at ail times very fond of dogs, but 
very much afraid of hydrophobia. One day a f avourite 
dog jumped on him in play, and pressed his teeth 
through the sleeve of his coat. Feeling the pressure 
he thought he was bitten, and ordered a car to drive 
for the doctor. ' But,' said his old housekeeper, 
' perhaps the dog has not bitten you at ail.' And on 
examination that was found to be the case. ' Ah ! I 
am glad, Mary/ said he, ' for I would not like to kill 
him, which they say you should do if a dog bites you/ 
1 And foolish to say so/ urged Mary, ' for the harm is 
done/ ' You are very wise, Mary/ said Parnell, and he 
went off with the dog for a ramble over the fields. 

In July 1865 Parnell went to Cambridge Uni- 
versity. * He was entered/ says a correspondent, ' as a 
pensioner on the boards of Magdalene Collège, Cam- 
bridge, July 1, 1865, and came into résidence the 
following October. The rooms allotted to him were on 
the ground floor of the right cloister in the Pepysian 
buildings, looking out on the collège close and im- 
mediately beneath the famous Pepysian Library. 
Before Parnell came up, Mrs. Parnell forewarned the 

^Et. 19-23] AT CAMBRIDGE 41 

tutor (Mr. Mynors Bright) that her son was given to 
somnambulism. The tutor accordingly instructed the 
collège servant to sleep in an adjacent gyp-room. On 
the first night of his résidence, however, Parnell, 
walking round, but not in his sleep, to take stock of 
his new tenement, discovered the intruder, and 
promptly expelled him. 

'Parnell showed considérable aptitude for mathe- 
matics. One of his tutors, Mr. F. Patrick, whose 
lectures he attended, used often to describe how 
Parnell, when he had been given the ordinary solution 
of a problem, would generally set about to find whether 
it could not be solved equally well by some other 

'On one occasion, after the collège gâtes were 
closed, there being some town and gown commotion 
in the street outside, Parnell ran up to Mr. Patrick 
as he was going to ascertain the cause, exclaiming : 
" Sir, do let me go out to protect you." ' But his career 
was undistinguished at Cambridge ; and indeed the 
place was utterly uncongenial to him. Whether he 
would hâve taken more kindly to Irish schools and 
collèges may be a matter of doubt. But he certainly 
regarded his school and collège days in England with 
peculiar aversion. The English he did not like. ' Thèse 
English/ he would say to his brother John, ' despise 
us because we are Irish ; but we must stand up to 
them. That's the way to treat the Englishman — 
stand up to him/ 

Parnell's English training had undoubtedly some- 
thing to do in the making of him, and if it did not 
make him very Irish, it certainly made him very anti- 

In 1869 he left Cambridge without taking a degree. 


He was, in fact, ' sent down/ under circumstances 
which hâve been related to me by Mr. Wilfrid A. Gill, 
Fellow and Tutor of Magdalene Collège, Cambridge : 
1 The story of ParneH's being Bent down from collège 
has never been authoritatively told, and has often been 
misstated or exaggerated. The case came (at first) 
before the Cambridge County Court on May 21, 1869, 
and the course which the collège subsequently took 
was the usual one in such instances of misconduct. 
A Mr. Hamilton, a merchant of Harestone, sought to 
recover SSL as compensation for alleged assault. To 
avoid the appearance of blackmailing, he undertook, if 
successful, to dévote the proceeds of the suit to Adden- 
brooke's Hospital. He stated in court that on Saturday, 
May 1, about 10 p.m., he saw a man lying across the 
path in the station road drunk, another man (Mr. 
Bentley) standing over hitn. Asking if he could be 
of any assistance, Bentley replied to him, " We want 

none of your d d help." Parnell then, springing up, 

struck witness on the face and collarbone, and kicked 
him on the knee. Hamilton's man retaliated by striking 

1 This was the plaintiff's statement. 

' ParnelFs statement in reply was as follows. He, 
with three f riends, drove in a fly to the station befcween 
9 and 10 p.m. to take some light refreshment, " sherry, 
Champagne, and biscuit," at the restaurant. In half 
an hour they prepared to return home. Parnell, with 
one of them, sat down and waited in the station road, 
while the others went in search of a fly. Meanwhile 
two men passing by exclaimed : " Hullo, what's the 
matter with this 'ère cove," or words to that effect. 
Bentley replied that he wanted no interférence. 
Hamilton answered in gross language. Then he 

jfe. 23] TOWN AND GOWN 48 

(Parnell) first interposed, striking at Hamilton but 
missiiig him. Hamilton next struck Parnell, where- 
upon Parnell knocked him down. Hamilton's man 
then ftttacked Parnell, who knocked him down also, 
though he at once offered a hand to raise him. Parnell 
never kicked Hamilton. A police constable corrobo- 
rated ParnelTs statement that he (Parnell) was perfectly 
Bober. After other évidence had been called, ParneH's 
counsel admitted to some fault on his client's part, and 
etated that he would not resist a verdict. He asked, 
however, for nominal damages, little harm really 
having been done ; and there also seemed to be some 
attempt at ex tort ion. 

1 The judge held that, the assault being admitted, 
the damages should be substantial. The jury, after 
some considération, found damages for twenty guineas. 

'On May 26 a collège meeting was convened, at 
which it was resolved to send down Parnell for the 
remainder of the term in conséquence of the mis- 
conduct proved againBt him. There being only two 
weeks before the end of the term, the actual punish- 
ment was not a severe one, and, had Parnell wished it, 
there was nothing to prevent his resuming résidence in 
the following term. He did not, however, return to 

Up to this time Parnell had paid no attention to 
Irish affairs. He had probably never read an Irish 
history or political tract. He knew nothing of the 
career of his great-grandfather, Sir John Parnell, or 
his grand-uncle, Sir Henry, or his grandfather, William 
Parnell. At Avondale politics were tabooed, and when 
Charles was there he spent his time fishing or shooting, 
riding or playing cricket. Ireland was almost a closed 
book to him. Something he had certainly heard of 


the rébellion of 1798 from the peasants in the neigh- 
bourhood, but the effect of thèse stories was transient. 

How came Parnell, then, to turn his attention to 
Irish affairs ? He has himself answered this question. 
He has told us that it was the Fenian movement that 
first awakened his interest in Ireland. 

Most of my readers know that about the year 1859 
two men who had taken part in the Young Ireland 
rising — John O'Mahony and James Stephens — formed 
a political organisation for the purpose of separating 
Ireland from England and of establishing an Irish 
republic. This organisation, called by its founders 
and members the Irish Bevolutionary Brotherhood, 
was popularly known as the Fenian Society. It grew 
steadily in numbers and influence. Fenian bodies 
were scattered throughout Ireland, Scotland, England, 
and America, and within five years of its formation it 
had already become a power in the land. 

In 1863 a Fenian newspaper, the 'Irish Peuple,' 
was founded, under the management of John O'Leary, 
assisted by Thomas Clarke Luby and Charles Kick- 
ham. Its office was within a stone's-throw of Dublin 
Castle, and there, under the very shadow of the 
authorities, it preached week by week a crusade of 
insurrection and war. Among the contributors to the 
1 Irish People ' was a handsome young girl, who used 
to corne to the office accompanied by a tall lanky youth. 
Entering the editor's room, she would place her ' copy ' 
in his hands and départ. The ' copy ' generally consistée! 
of some stirring verses which breathed a spirit of treason 
and revolt. The girl was Miss Fanny Parnell, and 
the youth her brother John. Fenianism soon invaded 
Avondale. The political indifférence which had hitherto 

Mt. 23] FENIANISM 45 

prevailed there gradually disappeared, and Ireland 
came to hâve a foremost place in the thoughts of the 
family. Mrs. Parnell especially took a keen interest 
in the movement, and did not hesitate to express her 
views and sympathies in the Government circles in 
which she moved. Lord Carlisle, the Lord Lieutenant 
in 1864, was a friend of the Parnell household. Mrs. 
Parnell, both at his table and at her own, felt no hési- 
tation in condemning British misrule and justifying 
Irish discontent. In 1865 there was a cri sis : the 
Government swooped down on the ' Irish People,' and 
arrested the editor and some of the leading members 
of the staff. State trials, the suspension of the Habeas 
Corpus Act, and an abortive insurrection followed. 
Fenianism was the question of the hour. People 
thought and spoke of nothing else. The whole empire 
watched the Fenian trials with interest and anxiety. 
In the dock the Fenian prisoners demeaned themselves 
like men of faith, courage, and honesty. They neither 
faltered nor flinched. Baffled for the moment, they 
believed that their cause would yet triumph, and they 
boldly told their judges that they neither repented nor 
despaired. 'You ought to hâve known,' said Judge 
Fitzgerald, in passing sentence on O'Leary, ' that the 
game you entered upon was desperate — hopeless.' 

Leary. ' Not hopeless.' 

Judge. 'You ought further to hâve known that 
insurrection in this country or révolution in this 
country meant not insurrection alone, but that it 
meant a war of extermination.' 

O'Leary. ' No such thing.' 

Judge. ' You hâve lost.' 

0' Leary. ' For the présent.' 

Judge. ' It is my duty to announce to you that the 


sentence of the court is such as may deter others — we 
hope it will.' 

O'Leary. ' I hope not.' 

Judge. • The sentence of the court is that you be 
detained in pénal servitude for twenty years.' 

'As long as there are men in my country,' said 
Luby, * prepared to expose theniselves to every difficulty 
and danger, and who are prepared to brave captivity — 
and even death itself, if need be — this country cannot 
be lost.' 

Years afterwards Isaac Butt, the advocate who 
defended almost ail the Fenian prisoners, wrote of 
them : 

'Whatever obloquy gathered round them at first, 
there are few men who now deny to the leaders of the 
Fenian conspiracy the merits of perfect sincerity, of a 
deep and honest conviction of the righteousness of their 
cause, and of an unselfish and disinterested dévotion to 
the cause. I was placed towards most of them in a 
relation which gave me some opportunity of observing 
them, in circumstances that try men's soûls. Both I 
and those that were assooiated with me in that relation 
hâve often been struck by their high-mindedness and 
truthfulness, that shrunk with sensitiveness from sub- 
terfuges which few men in their position would hâve 
thought wrong. No mean or selfish instruction ever 
reached us. Many, inany, many messages were con- 
veyed to us which were marked by a punctilious and 
almost over-strained anxiety to avoid even a semblanoe 
of departure from the strictest line of honour. There 
was not one of them who would hâve purchased safety 
by a falsehood, by a concession that would hâve brought 
dishonour on his cause, or by a disclosure that would 
hâve compromised the safety of a companion. It seems 


like exaggeration to &ay tbis, but tbis is a matter on 
which I can write as a wituess, and theref ore am bound 
by tbe responsibility of one. I know that my testimony 
would be confirmed by ail who had the same means of 
observing them aB myself . The conviction was forced 
upon ub ail, that whatever tbe men were, they were no 
vulgar revolutionists disturbing their country for any 
base or selfisb purpose ; they were enthusiasts of great 
heart and lofty minds, and in the bold and unwaveriug 
courage with which one and ail they met the doom 
which the law pronounced upon their crime against its 
authority, there was a startling proof that their cause 
and their principles had power to inspire in them the 
faith and the endurance which elevated suffering into 

No one followed the Fenian trials with keener 
intereat than Mrs. Parnell. But her interest was not 
merely of a passive character. Her house in Temple 
Street, Dublin, was placed under police surveillance. 
One night a batch of détectives paid a surprise visit 
and insisted on searching the premises. Mrs. Parnell 
(who was alone with her daughter) protested, but the 
police remained ; the daughter lef t, and spent the night 
at Hood's Hôtel, Great Brunswick Street. The police 
went on with their work, and were rewarded for their 
pains by finding a sword, which they carried off in 
triumph. The sword belonged to Charles, who was at 

that time an offioer in the Wicklow Militia. ' D 

their impudence in taking my sword/ he said after- 
wards, on haaring the news, ' but I shall make them give 
it back precious soon ' (which he did). 'Perhaps one 
day I will give the police something better to do than 
turning my sister into the street. I call it an outrage 
on the part of the Government of this country/ 


But the event which was destined to turn ParnelTs 
thoughts fully to Irish politics now occurred. In 
September 1867 two Fenian leaders, Kelly and Deasy, 
were arrested in Manchester. Their comrades in the 
city resolved to rescue them. Accordingly, as the van 
conveying them was on its way from the police court 
to the jail at Bellevue it was attacked. The prisoners 
were liberated, and a policeman, Sergeant Brett, was 
shot dead in the struggle. Many Fenians were arrested 
for coinplicity in this affray, including Allen, Larkin, 
Condon, and O'Brien, who were tried, convicted, and 
sentenced to death. In the dock they showed a bold 
front, a dauntless spirit, and an abiding faith in their 
cause. Ail protested their innocence of the crime of 
murder, but did not shrink from the charge of treason. 
Indeed, they gloried in it. ' No man in this court,' 
said Allen, ' regrets the death of Sergeant Brett more 
than I do, and I positively say in the présence of the 
Almighty and ever-living God that I am innocent — 
ay, as innocent as any man in this court. I don't 
say this for the sake of mercy. I want no mercy, 141 
hâve no mercy. Fil die, as many thousands hâve died, 
for the sake of their beloved land and in defence of it.' 

'I was not even présent/ said Condon, 1 'when the 
rescue took place. But I do not accuse the jury of 
wilfully wishing to convict, but I believe they were 
prejudiced. We hâve, however, been convicted, and, 
as a matter of course, we accept our death. We are 
not afraid to die. I only trust that those who are to 
be tried after us will hâve a fair trial, and that our 
blood will satisfy the craving which, I understand, 
exists. You will soon send us before God, and I am 
perfectly prepared to go. I hâve nothing to regret, or 

1 Condon was afterwards reprieved. 


to retract, or take back. I can only say, " God save 
Ireland ! " ' ' God save Ireland ! ' repeated ail the pri- 
soners, and ' God save Ireland ! ' has since become a 
political watchword in the country. 

Ail England was profoundly moved by this Man- 
chester aflfair. Irish discontent and Irish treason were 
painfully brought home to the English people. But 
the first feeling was one of vengeance and retaliation, 
when the mob which gathered round the gaol the night 
before the exécution, shouting, cheering, and reviling 
the men within, singing ' Eule, Britannia,' performing 
break-down dances, and bursting into yells of glee, only 
too f aithf ully represented the gênerai feeling of triumph 
and satisfaction at the fate of the doomed men. On 
the morning of November 23, 1867, Allen, Larkin, and 
O'Brien perished on the scaffold. Nothing can, per- 
haps, better show the chasm which séparâtes English 
from Irish political opinion than the way in which the 
news of their exécution was received in each country. 
In England it awoke a pœan of joy: in Ireland it 
produced a growl of indignation and horror. In the 
one country they were regarded as murderers and 
traitors, in the other as heroes and martyrs. Up to 
this time a section of the Home Bulers was more or less 
out of sympathy with the Fenian movement. But the 
Manchester exécutions brought ail Irish Nationalists 
into line. ' Commemorative funerals ' were held in 
almost every principal city in Ireland, and Consti- 
tutional-Nationalists and Bevolutionists marched side 
by side in honour of the Manchester martyrs. « The 
Dublin procession,' say s Mr. A. M. Sullivan, himself a 
persistent opponent of Fenianism, ' was a marvellous 
display. The day was cold, wet, and gloomy, yet it 
was computed that 150,000 persons participated in the 

VOL. i. b 


démonstration, 60,000 of them marching in a Une over 
a route some three or four miles in length. As the 
three hearses, bearing the names of the executed men, 
passed through the streets, the multitudes that lined 
the streets fell on their knees, every head was bared, 
and not a sound was heard save the solemn notes of 
the " Dead March in Saul " from the bands, or the sobs 
that burst occasionally from the crowd. At the cenie- 
tery gâte the procession formed into a vast assemblage, 
which was addressed by Mr. Martin in feeling and 
forcible language, expressive of the national sentiment 
on the Manchester exécutions. At the close once more 
ail heads were bared, a prayer was offered, and the 
mourning thousands peacefully sought their homes.' 
To Englishmen thèse démonstrations were only a proof 
of Irish sympathy with crime. A policeman had been 
killed by a gang of Irish revolutionists, and Ireland 
went mad over the transaction. That was ail that 
Englishmen saw in the Manchester célébrations. But 
Parnell, despite his English surroundings, caught the 
Irish feeling on the instant. * It was no murder,' he 
said, then and afterwards. It was not the intention of 
Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien to kill Sergeant Brett. 
Their sole object was to rescue their comrades. And 
why not ? Was England to sit in judgment on Fenian- 
ism, or upon anything Irish ? The Irish were justified 
in overthrowing the English rule, if they could. The 
Fenians who rescued Kelly and Deasy had a better case 
than the English Government which punished them. 
They acted with pluck and manliness. What they did 
they did in the open day. A few Irishmen faced the 
police and mob of a hostile city, and snatched their 
comrades from the clutches of the law — the law to 
which they morally owed no allegiance. The rescue 

! ■ 

.Et. 28] ' NO MURDER ' 61 

was a gallant act, the exécution a brutal and a 
cowardly deed. A strong and generous Government 
would never hâve carried out the extrême penalties of 
the law. But the English people were panic-stricken. 
The présence of Fenianism in their midst filled them 
with alarm, and they clamoured for blood. The killing 
of Sergeant Brett was no murder ; the exécution of the 
Fenians was. 1 

That was the Irish view of the case, and that was 
the view of Parnell. But, though the exécution of 
Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien made Parnell think about 
Ireland, he did not for several years afterwards take an 
active part in Irish politics. He never did anything in 
a hurry. He thought out every question. He looked 
carefully around before taking any forward step. But 
when once he put his hand to the plough he never 
turned back. When I was at Avondale in 1896 I met a 
middle-aged man, a retainer of the family, who remem- 
bered Parnell as a boy and a man. He said to me : ' You 
see, sir, if it was only the picking up of that pièce of 
stick (pointing to the ground), Master Charles would 
take about half an hour thinking of it. He never would 
do anything at once, and when he grew up it was just 
the same. I would sometimes ask him to make some 
altérations about the place. " I will think of that, 
Jim," he would say, and I would think he would forget 
ail I said ; but he would corne back, maybe in two 
days' time, and say, " I hâve considered it ail," and 
would do what I asked, or not, just as he liked.' 

1 It is quite clear that it was not the intention of the Fenians to kill 
Sergeant Brett. Brett was on guard inside the van. He was asked to 
give np the keys, but refused. Allen then fired to force the lock of the 
door. The bail penetrated, and killed Brett. Shaw, a police-constable, 
swore at the trial that it was his impression that Allen fired to knock 
the lock off Annual Register, 1867. 

e 2 


Parneirs favourite pastime was cricket. He became 
captain of the Wicklow Eleven, and threw himself 
with zest into the game. A strict disciplinarian, 
always bent on victory, and ever ready to take ad- 
vantage of every chance (which the rules allowed) to 
outwit his opponents, reserved, uncompromising, self- 
willed, he was obeyed and trusted rather than courted 
or liked. 

' Before Mr. Parnell entered poli tics,' says one who 
knew him in those days, ' he was pretty well known in 
the province of Leinster in the commendable character 
of cricketer. We considered him ill-tempered and a 
little hard in his conduct of that pastime. For 
example, when the next bat was not up to time, 
Mr. Parnell, as captain of the fielders, used to claim 
a wicket. Of course he was within his right in doing 
so, but his doing it was anything but relished in a 
country where the game is never played on the 
assumption that this rule will be enforced. In order to 
win a victory he did not hesitate to take advantage of 
the strict letter of the law. On one occasion a match 
was arrangea between the Wicklow team and an eleven 
of the Phœnix Club, to be played on the ground of the 
latter in the Phœnix Park. Mr. Parneirs men, with 
great trouble and inconvenience, many of them having 
to take long drives in the early morning, assembled on 
the ground. A dispute occurred between Mr. Parnell 
and the captain of the Phœnix team. The Wicklow men 
wished their own captain to give in, and let the match 
proceed. Mr. Parnell was stubborn, and, rather than 
give up his point, marched his growling eleven back. 
That must hâve been a pleasant party so returning 
without their expected day's amusement, but the 
Captain did not care. In later years Mr. Parnell used 

Mt. 23] NINETY-EIGHT 63 

to use the Irish party much as he used the Wicklow 
eleven.' l He was very fond of taking long rides in the 
country with his sister, Mrs. Dickinson. ' Used he ever,' 
I asked her, ' to talk politics upon thèse occasions ? ' 
She said : ' No. He was completely wrapped up in his 
f amily, and our conversations were chiefly about f amily 
matters and country life. The only politicâî! incident 
which seemed to affect him was the exécution of the 
Manchester martyrs. He was very indignant at that. 
It first called forth his aversion for England, and set 
him thinking of Ireland. But he rarely talked politics 
to any of us. He brooded a great deal, and was always 
one to keep things to himself.' ' Did you ever see him 
read in those days ? ' I asked another member of his 
family. ' The only book I ever saw him read,' he said, 
* was that (pointing to Youatt's " The Horse "), and he 
knew that very well.' 

Within a few miles of Avondale was Parnell's 
shooting - lodge, Aughavannah. Aughavannah was 
originally a barrack, built in 1798 for the soldiers 
who scoured that part of the country for rebels. The 
barrack ultimately fell into the hands of the Parnells, 
and was converted into a shooting-lodge ; hère Parnell 
spent several weeks in the autumn of each year. At 
the back of the barrack was a granité stone, where 
— so runs the tradition — the rebels sharpened their 
pikes. Parnell was very fond of showing this stone 
to his friends, and would, when in the humour, tell 
them stories of '98. Hère is one of them. A rebel 
was seized by the soldiers. He was court-martialled, 
and ordered to be whipped to death. The sentence 
was carried out, but the lashes were inflicted on his 
belly instead of on his back. The old lodge-keeper at 

1 Pall Mail Budget, 


Avondale, who had witnessed the scène, would say 
how the man shrieked in his agony and cried for 
mercy, calling upon the colonel of the régiment, 
Colonel Yeo, until his lacerated body fell, bleeding and 
torn, lifeless to the ground. Parnell seeins to hâve 
had some knowledge of the rebel Holt, picked up, no 
doubt, îrdtoi the tradition of the peasants rather than 
the memoirs of the insurgent himself. Holt was a 
Wicklow man and Protestant, and had led the rebels 
in his native county with courage, skill, and chivalry. 
Parnell always felt that if there had been many chiefs 
like Holt the rébellion might hâve had a différent 
termination. But Parnell was very proud of Wicklow 
and Wicklow men. ' I am,' he would say, ' an Irish- 
man first but a Wicklow man afterwards.' 

In 1871 he went to America on a visit to his 
brother John, who had settled in Alabama, and there 
he remained a twelvemonth. ' While he was with you 
at that thne,' I asked John, ' did he show any inclina- 
tion to go into politics or take up any career ? ' John 
said : ' No, he never talked politics. But he was never 
a good man at conversation ; and you could never very 
easily find out what he was thinking about. If some- 
thing turned up to draw him, then he would talk ; and 
I was often surprised to find on those occasions that he 
knew things of which he never spoke before. Sonie- 
thing practical was always necessary to draw him. 
One day we called to see a State Governor. When we 
came away, Charlie surprised me by saying, " You see 
that fellow despises us because we are Irish. But the 
Irish can niake themselves felt everywhere if they are 
self-reliant and stick to each other. Just think of that 
fellow, where he has corne from, and yet he despises 
the Insh." That always stuck in Charlie — that the Irish 

Mi. 23-25] IN AMERICA 55 

were despised. You see,' continued John, ' none of 
us take in many things at once. But we are awful to 
stick to anything we take up. The idea that the Irish 
were despised was always in Charlie's mind. But you 
would never know it if some particular thing did not 
happen to stir him up at the moment. In those days 
he was ready to take offence, and was even quarrelsome, 
though he worked himself out of ail that afterwards. 
One day I took him to see a house I was building for a 
man, an Irishman too. The man complained of some- 
thing I had done. I did not object. It was quite fair, 
and we were very good friends. While he was pointing 
out thèse things to me, Charlie went quietly over the 
house, and then, coming back, walked up to the man 
and said very coolly : "I tell you what it is, the house 

is a deal too good for you." " You're a d d liar," said 

the man. In an instant Charlie's coat was off, and it 
was only by the greatest effort that I prevented them 
from flying at one another. We then ail went off to 
luncheon, and were as hearty as possible. We ail 
laughed at the row, and I said there was no doubt but 
we were ail Irishmen. The man — his name was Ryan, 
a very good fellow — told us that in America they always 
say "it takes two Irishmen to make a row, three to 
make a revolt, and four to make an insurrection/' 
Charlie said if we knew our powers we could make 
ourselves felt in America and everywhere else.' 

While in America Parnell was nearly killed in a 
railway accident. He and John were travelling 
together. There was a collision on the line. John 
was flung to the bottom of the car with great violence, 
and there he lay bruised and unconscious. Parnell 
was unhurt. Seeing John on the grotfnd, he said to 
the other occupant of the car, * My brother is killed. 


I expect we shall be killed next, for this car is certain 
to tumble down the embankment.' The car, however, 
did not tumble down the embankment, and Parnell 
escaped without a scratch. John was laid up with a 
severe illness after the accident, and Parnell nursed 
him ail the time. * No one,' said John, ' could hâve 
been a better nurse than Charlie ; he was thoughtful, 
patient, and gentle as a woman.' 

In 1872 Parnell, accompanied by John, returned to 
Avondale. Vote by ballot had just been extended to 
Ireland. The measure drew Parnell's attention once 
more to politics. He thought it was of greater prac- 
tical importance than either the Irish Church Act or 
the Land Act, forit emancipated the voters. ' Now,' he 
said, ' something can be done if full advantage will be 
taken of this Ballot Act/ His sympathies had gone 
out to the Fenians after the Manchester exécutions. 
But he did not see how Fenianism was to be practically 
worked. The Ballot Act first suggested to him a 
mode of practical opération. The Irish voter was now 
a free man. He could send whom he liked to Parlia- 
ment. He was master of the situation. An in- 
dependent Irish party, free from the touch of English 
influence, was the thing wanted, and this party could 
be elected under the Ballot Act. 

One morning in 1873 the two brothers were at 
breakfast at Avondale. John, who was essentially a 
Democrat, said, ' Well, Charlie, why don't you go into 
Parliainent ? You are living ail alone hère, you re- 
present the family, and you ought to take an interest 
in public affairs. Our family were always mixed up 
with politics, and you ought to take your place. Go 
in and help the tenants, and join the Home Kulers.' 
Parnell answered — knocking the tip of an egg and 


peering into it suspiciously, as if its state was much 
more important to him than Parliament — * I do not 
see my way. I am in favour of the tenants and Home 
Eule, but I do not know any of the men who are 
working the movement.' John replied : ' It is easy to 
know the men. Go and see them/ 'Ah,' replied 
Parnell, ' that is what I don't quite see. I must look 
more around for myself first ; I must see a little more 
how things are going ; I must make out my own way. 
The whole question is English dominion. That is 
what is to be dealt with, and I do not know what the 
men in thèse movements intend. ' Then, with a little 
banter, in which he occasionally indulged, he added, 
i But, John, why don't you go into Parliament ? Why 
should not we make a start with you ? You are the 
head of the family. In fact, Avondale is more yours 
than mine. Do you lead the way.' 

This little conversation satisfied John that Parnell 
had been thinking more of politics than his family at 
ail suspected, though with characteristic réticence he 
kept his own counsel. Nor did he even after this 
show any disposition to résume the subject. He 
relapsed into his old state of apparent indifférence, 
devoting himself mainly to family and local affairs. 

He had, indeed, become a member of the Synod of 
the Disestablished Church, but he took more interest 
in the mining opérations which he had then com- 
menced on his estate than in the affpirs of that 
institution. And so the last days of the year 1873 
found Parnell still living the life of a quiet country 
gentleman, still leaving politics severely alone. 




' Well/ said an Old Irelander to me towards the end 
of the year 1870, ' out of evil cornes good. The un- 
fortunate Fenians hâve made the English disestablish 
the Church (1869) and pass the Land Act (1870). 
But, poor devils ! what good hâve they done for them- 
selves ? Pénal servitude and the gallows.' ' You are 
right enough, sir/ said a Fenian who was standing 
by. * The différence between the Whigs and Fenians 
is, the Fenians do good for Ireland but no good for 
themselves, the Whigs do good for themselves and no 
good for Ireland.' 'Begad, I believe you are right,' 
said the Old Irelander, who was a frank and génial old 

Old Irelander and Fenian were both right. Fenian- 
ism had roused the Fjnglish conscience, had ' rung the 
chapel bell,' and the resuit was disestablishment and the 
first grcat measure of land reform. Mr. Gladstone has 
made the matter very plain. ' It has only been since 
the termination of the American war,' he said, ' and the 
appearance of Fenianism that the mind of this country 
has been greatly turned to the considération of Irish 
affairs. ... In my opinion, and in the opinion of 
many with whom I coinmunicated, the Fenian con- 
spiracy has had an important influence with respect to 
Irish policy ; but it has not been an influence in 


determining, or in affecting in the slightest degree, the 
convictions which we hâve entertained with respect to 
the course proper to be pursued in Ireland. The 
influence of Fenianisrn was this — that when the 
Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, when ail the con- 
séquent proceedings occurred, when the overflow of 
mischief came into England itself, when the tran- 
quillity of the great city of Manchester was disturbed, 
when the Metropolis itself was shocked and horrified 
by an inhuman outrage, when a sensé of insecurity 
went abroad far and wide — the right honourable 
gentleman [Mr. Gathorne-Hardy] was, better than we, 
cognisant of the extent to which the inhabitants of the 
différent towns of the country were swearing them- 
selves in as spécial constables for the maintenance of 
life and property — then it was when thèse phenomena 
came home to the popular mind, and produced that 
attitude of attention and preparedness on the part of 
the whole of the population of this country which 
qualified them to embrace in a manner foreign to their 
habits in other times the vast importance of the Irish 

Again, answering Mr. Gathorne-Hardy in the 
House of Commons on April 3, 1868, he said : 

'The right hon. gentleman says, "Why did you 
not deal with the Irish Church in 1866, when you 
asked for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act ? " 
My answer is, for a perfectly plain and simple reason. 
In the first place, circumstances were not ripe then as 
they are now. Circumstances, I repeat, were not ripe, 
in so far as we did not then know so much as we know 
now with respect to the intensity of Fenianisrn. ' 

But though Fenianisrn forced disestablishment and 
land reform, the Fenians cared little either for the 


Church or the land. Their movement was purely 
political, and none of the leaders at that time saw any 
advantage in associating a struggle for national free- 
dom with an agitation for the redress of material 
grievances. Accordingly, while the Constitutionalists 
pushed forward their demands for Church and land 
reform, the Fenians concentrated themselves on a 
movement for the release of their comrades who had 
been sent to pénal servitude in the years 1865, 1866, 
and 1867. 

In 1868 the first Amnesty Association was formed. 
Isaac Butt became its président. 

Butt was one of the most remarkable men who 
hâve appeared in Irish politics during the past half- 
century. Born at Glenfin, in the County Donegal, in 
1813, he was educated at the Boyal School, Raphoe, 
and entered Trinity Collège, Dublin (as a scholar) in 
1832. He took his degree in 1835, became LL.B. in 
1836, and M.A. and LL.D. in 1840. As one of the 
founders and for a time editor of the Dublin ' Uni- 
versity Magazine,' he showed the culture and literary 
skill which always distinguished him. In 1836 he was 
appointed Whately Professor of Political Economy at 
Dublin University, and in 1838 he was called to the Bar. 
In 1841 he gave up his professorship, and thenceforth 
devoted himself absolutely to law and public affairs. 
Chosen in 1840 by the Municipal Corporation of 
Dublin — then a Tory stronghold — to défend their 
privilèges before the House of Lords and to oppose 
the Irish Municipal Reform Bill, he was, in récognition 
of his able but unsuccessful efforts, elected an alder- 
man of the Reformed Corporation. He now became 
one of the leading champions of Conservatism in the 
City, and was singled out to confront O'Connell in 

.Et. 27] ISAAC BUTT 61 

the famous three days' debate on Repeal, which took 
place in the City Hall in February 1843. 

In 1844 he was called to the Inner Bar, and in the 
same year he founded the ' Protestant Guardian/ l which 
became a leading Tory organ in the Press. But his 
Toryism did not prevent him from defending the Young 
Ireland leader, Gavan Duffy, in 1848, or indeed from 
showing a gênerai appréciation of the Nationalist posi- 
tion. He first entered Parliament in 1852 as the Tory 
member for Harwich ; but in the gênerai élection of the 
same year he was returned as a Libéral Conservative 
for Youghal, which borough he continued to represent 
until 1865. 

In 1865, when the Fenian prisoners looked around 
for leading counsel to défend them, they at once fixed 
on Butt. He stood in the front rank of his profession, 
he had been associated with the Young Ireland trials, 
and his politics were nothing to men who despised 
Whig and Tory alike. Butt flung himself zealously 
into the cause of his clients. He practically gave up 
ail other business at the Bar, and his advocacy of the 
hopeless case of the rebels was among the most earnest 
and brilliant of his forensic efforts. From 1865 to 
1869 thèse Fenian trials dragged on, and towards the 
end Butt became the friend as well as the advocate of 
the prisoners. The purity of their intentions, the 
uprightness of their aims, their courage, their honesty, 
their self-sacrifice, produced a deep impression on the 
generous and impulsive advocate, and made him feel 
that there was something essentially rotten in the 
State when such men were driven to such desperate 

1 Àfterwards incorporated in the Wardcr, See article on ' Butt ' in 
Dictionary of National Biography. 


4 Mr. Gladstone,' he exclaimed, ' said that Fenian- 
ism taught him the intensity of Irish disaffection. It 
taught me more and better things. It taught me the 
depth, the breadth, the sincerity of that love of father- 
land that misgovernment had tortured into disaffection, 
and misgovernment, driving men to despair, had ex- 
aggerated into revoit/ And again he says : * The con- 
viction forced itself upon everyone that the men whom 
they saw meet their fate with heroism and dignity were 
not a mère band of assassins actuated by base motives, 
but real earnest patriots, moved by unselfish thoughts, 
and risking ail in that which they believed to be their 
country's cause. The lofty faith of their principles 
and their cause which breathed through the words of 
many of them as they braved the sentence which closed 
upon them ail hope made it impossible for anyone to 
doubt their sincerity — difficult even for those who 
most disapproved of their enterprise to withhold from 
them the tribute of compassion and respect/ 

Butt was not content with advocating the cause of 
the Fenian prisoners when they stood in the dock. 
He followed them to the prison cells, and finally led the 
movement which was initiated towards the end of 1868 
to obtain their release. One of the first of the great 
amnesty meetings was held at Cabra, near Dublin, in 
October 1868. Butt took the chair. It was an extra- 
ordinary gathering. Quite 200,000 people were présent. 
Butt himself describes the scène : ' Words of far more 
power than any I can command would fail to give 
expression to émotions I can but faintly recall, when I 
stood in the présence of 200,000 human beings, and was 
conscious that every eye in that vast assemblage was 
turned upon me, and felt that every heart in that 
mighty multitude — far, far beyond the limit to which 

Mr. 27] AMNESTY 63 

the human voice could reach — was throbbing with the 
belief that I was giving utterance to the one thought 
that was actuating ail. That scène was worth the 
memories of a life. Into every human form in that 
great multitude God had breathed the breath of life as 
each of them became a living soûl. In the voice of 
that multitude spoke the spirit which that breath had 
sent into the heart of man. There was an awe and 
solemnity in the présence of so many living soûls. 
Dense masses of men, outnumbering the armies that 
decided the fate of Europe on the field of Waterloo, 
covered a space of ground upon the far-off verge of 
which their forms were lost in distance. Around that 
verge the gorgeous banners of a hundred trades' 
unions, recalling to the mind the noblest glories of the 
Italian free republics, glistened in the brightness of a 
clear autumn sun. Words fail to describe — imagination 
and memory fail in reproducing — the image of a scène 
which, like recollections of Venice, is so différent from 
ail the incidents of ordinary life that it seems like the 
remembrance of a vision or a dream.' 

Amnesty meetings were now held throughout the 
country. Amnesty became a rallying cry. Constitu- 
tional-Nationalists and Fenians stood shoulder to 
shoulder on the amnesty platforms. No word was 
now raised against the Fenians by any Home Euler ; 
and even outside the Nationalist ranks altogether there 
was a feeling of admiration and pity for the men who 
had shown their readiness to sacrifice liberty and life 
in the cause they held dearer than both. Many people 
did not see that thèse amnesty meetings were making ail 
the time for Home Eule. They were bringing ail Irish 
Nationalists, constitutional and revolutionary, together. 
They were inspiring Isaac Butt, they were inspiring 


the whole country, with intense national feeling. The 
farmers might be content with land reform ; the old 
Catholic Whigs might be content with disestablish- 
ment; but outside there was a new génération who 
believed that ail would be lost if national freedom were 
not gained. Accordingly, neither disestablishment nor 
land reform checked for one moment the flowing 
tide. Indeed, the first measure served only to accelerate 
it by driving discontented Protestants into the National 
ranks. The upshot was the establishment of the 
* Home Government Association of Ireland.' l On 
May 19, 1870, a remarkable gathering met at the 
Bilton Hôtel, Dublin. There were Protestants and 
Catholics, Tories and Libérais, Orangemen and 
Fenians — ail corne together to protest against the 
législative union with Great Britain. 

Speaking, some years afterwards, to a Fenian 
leader who was at this meeting, he said to me : * I went 
under an assumed name to watch the proceedings. 
The suppression of the rising in 1867 and the imprison- 
ment of our people did not damp our énergies a bit. 
We kept working away just the same as ever, with this 
différence, that we had thousands of sympathisers in 

1 To show the influence that Fenianism had gained in the country 
the case of the Tipperary élection of November 1869 may be cited. The 
Libéral candidate was Mr. Héron, a popular Catholic hamster. The 
Fenians suddenly started in opposition a Fenian convict, O'Donovan 
Bossa, who was actually undergoing his term of pénal servitude. Of 
course he was an impossible candidate, and everyone knew it. But he 
was started as a protest against Whiggery, to rally the Fenians. He 
was elected, to the amazement of the loyaliste, by 1,311 votes to 1,028. 
Of course the élection was declared void, and in January 1870 a new 
élection took place. Mr. Héron stood again. There was a différence of 
opinion now among the Fenians. Some said enough had been done for 
honour in Bossa's candidature. Othera said * No ' ; and thèse latter put 
up Kickham, who had just been liberated on aocount of serious illness. 
However, Kickham declared he would never enter the English Parliament. 
Nevertheless, the Fenians demanded a poil, with the resuit — Héron, 
1,668 ; Kickham, 1,664. 


1870 who would not touch us at ail in 1865. In fact, 
we had a stronger hold on the country after the rising 
than we had before. We were anxious to follow the 
new movement carefully. Even at that date the idea 
of the "new departure" had occurred to some of us. 
We felt that we might hâve a long time to wait before 
we could put 20,000 or 30,000 men into the field to 
fight England ; but we thought that by taking part in 
every political or semi-political movement that was 
going on we could exercise much influence, and mould 
thèse movements to our own ends. An Irish Parlia- 
ment was certainly the next best thing to absolute 
séparation, and many of us would be quite content to 
close the account with England on the basis of légis- 
lative independence. But then we had to see that this 
Parliament would not be a sham. If the Home Eule 
movement were a genuine affair, we would help it ail 
we could. But we had to take care it should be 
genuine ; we had to take care that there should be no 
backsliding on the part of the Parliamentarians. So I 
went to watch and report. I gave the name of James 
Martin, and I was greatly amused afterwards to find 
myself figuring in A. M. Sullivan's book as "James 
Martin, ,, J.P., ex-High Sheriff. I believe Martin, who 
is an old Catholic Whig, was very indignant at finding 
his name in such doubtful company. What would he 
hâve said if he had known that it had been used as a 
blind by a Fenian centre ? ' 1 

The first resolution of the meeting— carried by 
acclamation — was : 

' That it is the opinion of this meeting that the true 
remedy for the evils of Ireland is the establish- 

1 Before the meeting at the Bilton Botel ( Mr. Martin ' met Butt at 
the lodgings of another Fenian, when an understanding was arrived at 

VOL. I. F 


ment of an Irish Parliament with full control 
over our domestic affaira.' 

The objects of the new association were then defined 
specifically thus : 

I. — This association is formed for the purpose of pbfcaining fpf 
Ireland the right of self-gQvernment by raeans of a National 

II. — It is hereby declared, as the essential principle of this 
association, that the objects, and tpe only objects, contemplateç} 
by its organisation are : 

To obtain for our country the right and privilège of managing 
our own affairs, by a Parliament assembled in Ireland, corn- 
posed of her Majesty the Sovereign, and her successors, and 
the Lords and Commons of Ireland ; 
To secure for that Parliament, under a fédéral arrangement, the, 
right of legislating for and regulating ail matters rsjating J>o 
the internai affairs of Ireland, and control over Irish re- 
sources and revenues, subject to the obligation of contributing 
our just proportion of the Impérial expenditure ; 
To leave to an Impérial Parliament the power of dealing with 
ail questions affecting the Impérial Crown and Government, 
législation regarding the Colonies and otber dependencies pf 
the Crown, the relations of the United Empire with foreign 
States, and ail matters appertaining to the defence and the 
stability of the empire at large ; 
To attain such an adjustment of the relations between the fcwo 
countries, without any interférence with the prérogatives of 
the Crown, or any disturbance of the principles of the 
III. — The association invites the co-operation of ail Irishmen 
who axe willing to join in seeking for Ireland a fédéral arrangement 
based upon thèse gênerai principles. 

iy. — The association will en4eavour to forward |>he oj>ject it 
has in view, by using ail legitimate means of influencing public 
sentiment, both in Ireland and Great Britain, t>y tatinç ail 
opportunities of instructing and informing public opinion, and by 
seeking to unité Irishmen of ail creeds and classes in one nationa 

that the Fenians would at least assume an attitude of beneyolent 
neutrality towards the ' open movement.' 


mpvejnent, in ftuppprt of the great national object hereby contem- 

V. — It is 4eclared to be an essçntial prinçiple of the association 
that, while every member is understood by joining it to concur in 
its gênerai object and plan of action, no pèrson so joining is com- 
mitied to any political opinion, ezcept the advisability pf seeking 
for Ireland tfce ajnount qf self-gpyernment contemplated in the 
objects of the association. 

ThuB was the Home Rule movement launched. 
The words ' Home Eule ? were the invention of Butt. 
He thought the old cry of * Repeal ' would frighten the 
English ; but that the phrase ' Home Rule ' would com- 
mend itself to everyone as reasonable and innocent. 

The new movement was opposed by the orthodox 
Libérais and the orthodox Tories ; by the ' Freeman's 
Journal/ the most powerful newspaper in the country ; 
and, more important than ail, by the Gathoiic Ghurch. 
But it nevertheless grew and prospered. In 1871 
came the first trial of strength. There were four by- 
elections — Meath, West Meath, Galway (city), and 
Limerick (city). Home Rulers were returned for ail: 
John Martin for Meath, P. J. Smyth for West Meath, 
Mi tchell -Henry for Galway, and Butt himself for 
Limerick. In 1872 there were two more important 
by-elections, Kerry and Galway (county). Home 
Rulers were once more put forward for both, and were 
returned — Mr. Blennerhassett for Kerry, and Colonel 
Nolan for Galway. 

Great préparations were now made for the General 
Election, which it was felt would soon corne. In 
November 1873 a Home Rule Conférence was held in 
Dublin ; the name of the organisation was changed 
from the ' Home Government Association ' to the 
' Home Rule League.' The ' Freeman's Journal ' and 
the Church gave in their adhésion to the movement ; 

F 2 


and further resolutions were passed defining the object 
of the society. It was declared, among other things : 

' That as the basis of the proceedings of this con- 
férence we déclare our conviction that it is essentially 
necessary to the peace and prosperity of Ireland that 
the right of domestic législation on ail Trish affairs 
should be restored to our country. 

' That in accordance with ail ancient and constitu- 
tional rights of the Irish nation we claim the privilège 
of managing our own affairs by a Parliament as- 
sembled in Ireland, composed of the Sovereign, the 
Lords, and the Commons of Ireland. 

' That in claiming thèse rights and privilèges for 
our country we adopt the principle of fédéral arrange- 
ment which would secure to the Irish Parliament the 
right of legislating for and regulating ail matters re- 
lating to the internai affairs of Ireland ; while leaving 
the Impérial Parliament the power of dealing with ail 
questions affecting the Impérial Crown and Govern- 
ment, législation regarding the Colonies and other 
dependencies of the Crown, the relations of the empire 
with foreign States, and ail matters appertaining to 
the defence and stability of the empire at large, as 
well as the power of granting and providing the 
supplies necessary for Impérial purposes. 

' That such an arrangement does not involve any 
change in the existing constitution of Impérial Parlia- 
ment, or any interférence with the prérogatives of the 
Crown, or disturbance of the principles of the con- 

' That to secure to the Irish people the advantages 
of constitutional government it is essential that there 
should be in Ireland an Administration of Irish affairs, 
controlled according to constitutional principles by the 


Irish Parliament and conducted by the Ministers con- 
stitutionally responsible to that Parliament. ' 

In February 1874 the General Election came like 
a boit from the blue. The Home Eulers were taken 
by surprise, but they rallied vigorously, and, to the 
astonishment of everyone, carried over fifty-nine seats 
ail told. 

Four Fenians were subsequently returned. 

The return of thèse Fenians was not pleasing to 
the leaders of the I. E. B., who believed that an oath 
of allegiance to the Queen (which every member of 
Parliament was bound to take) was inconsistent with 
the oath of allegiance to the Irish republic (which ail 
those men had taken) ; but some of the rank and file 
were not troubled by scruples about the double oath. 
The Fenian members were, however, ail ultimately 
expelled from the organisation by the chief executive 

The General Election of 1874 was, then, a great 
Home Kule victory. While it was pending Parnell 
resolved to enter public life. 




One night dttring the General Election of 1874 Pamell 
diried with his sister, Mrs; Dickinsûn, in Dublin. 
Aftër ditllier Captadn Dickihsoh said : ' Wëll, Charlefe, 
why don't you go into Parliamefct ? Why don't you 
stand for your native county?' ïd the surprise of 
everyône at the table, Parnell said quickly : ' I will. 
Whom ought I to see ? * ' Oh ! ' said Difckinson, ' we 
will see about that to-morrow. The great thing is you 
have decided to stand/ ' I will see àbout it at once/ 
said Parnell. ' I have tnade up my mind, and I Won't 
wait. Whom ought I to see 4 ?' 'I think Grajr, of 
the " Freeman's Journal," ' said John, who was also 
présent. 'Very well,' said Parnell, rising from the 
table, ' I shall go to him at once. Do you corne with 
me, John.' The two brothers then went away together. 
It was now eleven o'clock, and they found Gray at 
the ' Freeman's ' office. He was amazed when Parnell 
entered and said : ' I have corne to say, Mr. Gray, that 
I mean to stand for Wicklow as a Home Euler.' 
Gray was much pleased with the intelligence, and he 
and the two Parnells sat down to consider the situation. 
• You know,' said Parnell, ' I am High Sheriff of the 
county, but then I can be relieved from the office by 
the Lord Lieutenant.' ' Then,' answered Gray, ' the 


first thing to do is to see the Lord Lieutenant. Seë 
him in the monling, and if he releases yôu start at 
once for Wicklow, and the Home Eule Leaguë will 
send you ail the hèlp they can. We hâve alreàdy a 
candidate in the field, Mr. O'Byrne/ Next day Paniëll 
and John wëht to Dùbhn Castle and saw the Lord 
Lieutenant. But his Excellency would not relievë 
Parnell from his duty as Sheriff. 'Very well/ said 
Pârnell, as he and John walked away from the Castle, 
' but We shall ndt be batilked. You shall stand, John. 
We shall start for Eathdrum this evening, arid begiii 
the campaign at once.' Having advised the Home 
Bule League of their intefationsj they proceeded thàt 
etening to Eathdrum. The news ôf John's candida- 
ture had travelled before them, and a crowd was 
collected at the village to givè thetn à hearty récep- 
tion. ' Chàrlië/ sàys John, ' rdounted a cart or a barrel 
and made a speech. He was not much of a speaket 
then* but he said things which caught on. I Was 
rather surprised at his trying to speak at ail. But 
he knew what td say; thbugh he said little* and they 
cheered him. It struck me at the time that what he 
said was rather wild, ànd on the way to Àvondale I 
said to him: "You know you ought not to make 
sjteeches, you dught not to interfère at ail. You will 
get into troublé." "What can they do to me?" he 
asked. " Tuin you out of the office of Sheriff, for one 
thing/ ' I replied. " What I want," said he, smiling. 
However, he finally agreed ndt to interfère agàin, and 
to act properly as Sheriff, and this he did. Well, the 
élection came off, and I wds left at the bottom of the 
poil/ ■ 

But the Wicklow élection was prfccticalty the 

1 Afr. 0. Bjrrtle (H.B.) and Mr. Diok (Libéral) tère elebied. 


beginning of Parneirs public career. He was now 
bent on plunging headlong into politics at the first 

The opportunity soon came. Colonel Taylor, one 
of the rnembers for Dublin County, had become Chan- 
cellor of the Duchy in Mr. Disraeli's Ministry, and 
had to seek re-election on his appointment to office. 
The Home Rule League, of which Parnell was now 
a member, resolved to contest the seat. It would, 
they knew, be a hopeless battle. Still they felt that 
the contest would rally the Home Eulers of the county, 
and be an incentive to action as well as a test of 
strength. But who would enter the list for this 
desperate conflict? A strong candidate, a candidate 
of means, was essential. Parnell offered to jump into 
the breach. But his offer was not quite regarded with 
satisfaction. He was a landlord and a Protestant, and 
he came of a good old stock ; in addition, he would be 
able to pay his own élection expenses. Thèse things 
were in his favour. But would he in other respects 
make a good candidate? Personally he was hardly 
known to the council of the League. A few Home 
Eulers had, indeed, met him. But they had formed an 
unfavourable opinion of him. He was at this time a 
tall, thin, handsome, délicate, young fellow ; very diffi- 
dent, very réticent, utterly ignorant of political affairs, 
and apparently without any political faculty. His 
whole stock of information about Ireland was limited 
to the history of the Manchester martyrs. He could 
talk of them, but he could not talk of anything else. 
Still, it must be allowed that even this limited know- 
ledge helped him. ' Did Parnell/ I asked one who was 
familiar with Irish politics, 'ever meet any Fenians 
about this time ? ' ' Yes/ was the answer, ' I some- 


times saw him with . They used to talk about 

the amnesty movement, so far as Parnell ever talked 
at ail, but he was a better listener than a talker. He 
knew nothing about Home Kule, but he was interested 
in Fenianism. For that matter,' my friend added, 
'so was Butt. Butt often said to me at the begin- 
ning of the movement that the Fenians were the best 
men in Irish politics.' Fenianism and Home Bule 
were certainly a good deal mixed up ; and at a dinner 
party at Butt's, when the question of the Wicklow 

candidature was practically decided, was présent 

and supported Parnell, though a leading Constitutional- 
Nationalist said 'he would ne ver do.' Butt himself 
was favourable to Parnell. 

One morning about this time I called on Butt at his 
résidence in Henrietta Street, Dublin. He came into 
the library in his usual génial radiant way, looking well 
pleased and in excellent humour. Without any formai 
words he rushed up to me and said : ' My dear boy, we 
hâve got a splendid recruit, an historié name, my friend, 
young Parnell, of Wicklow ; and unless I am mistaken, 
the Saxon will find him an ugly customer, though he is 
a good-looking fellow.' But the council of the Home 
Bule League had yet to pronounce judgment. When 
the question came forrnally before them there was 
much misgiving. ' Will he go straight ? ' one of the 
members asked. ' If he gives his word,' said the '48 
vétéran, John Martin, 'I will trust him. I would 
trust any of the Parnells.' ' Still,' says Mr. A. M. 
Sullivan, who was présent, ' there was hesitancy, and 
eventually we said, "Let us see him." The gênerai 
council adjourned for the purpose, and on re-assem- 
bling I saw Mr. C. S. Parnell for the first time. I do 
not Wish to prétend that I possessed any marvellous 


power of divination, btit when thfe young néophyte 
had fretifrëd I riot only joined John Martin irl espousin& 
hië catise, but undettook icf inoTe hi8 addption tot a 
public meëtihg which it waà dëcidfed tô hdld in thé 

Àt thls public meeting farfaell màdfe his début. 
Mr. Sullivah dëscribes thé scène. « Thfe resolution 
which I had iftoved in his favour hatihg bfeén âdopted 
With acclamation, he caihë forward to àddress the 
àssëihblàge; Tô ouf disinay, he brbke dottai uttërly. 
Hé fàlterëd, he paused, went dii, gdt confused, and, pale 
With intense but subdued herVôUs àniiëty, catised every- 
ôîie to feel deep s^mpathy fdr him. Thë audience 6aw 
it ail, and cheered him kindly atid heartiiy ; but many 
on the platform shook their hëads, sagely prophesjring 
that if ever he got to Wefttîninster, nô matter how 
long he fctayëd thëre; he Would eithef bë a "silent 
meIhber ,, ot be khown as " single-speeëh Pahiell." ' 
* What waâ thought of Pàrhëll at that time,' I àsked 
dnotheir p'rominent Nationalisa • Well,' he answered, 
' we thought him a riice gefatlemahly fellow who would 
be an orhaineht but tib use/ ' I flrst met Parnell,' said 
Mr. T. W. Eussell, ' in 1874, whën he was standing 
fdr Dublin. I wàs thëh sttuck by What I thought his 
extraotdiharjr politicàl ignoratlcè and incapacity. He 
khew nothingi and I thought he Would tiever do any- 
thing. I iritervieWed him on behalf of the Tempérance 
people. He pfoinisfed to vote fot the Sunday Closing 
Bill; and he kept his Wdrd. I fotmd him very straight 
ih what I had to do Witfa hiin.' 

1 1 met ParnelV says Mr. O'Cdnnor Power, ' in 1874, 
the time of the Dublin élection. He seemed td me a 
nice gfentlemtoly fellbw, but he was hofcelessljr igild- 
ratit, and seemed to iné to haVë nd politieal fcagafcity 


whatever. He could not spèàk àt ail. He \fras hafdly 
able to get up and say, " Gentlemen, I am a candidate 
for the représentation of the county of Dublin." We 
Ail listened to him with pain while he was on his legs* 
and felt immensely relieved when he sat down. No 
onfc ever thought he would eut a figure in politics. Wei 
thought he would be a respectable mediocrity.' So 
much for early proniises. 

On March 7 Parnell issued his address td the 
electdrs of thé county of Dublin, and on March 9 the 
parish priest of Bathdrum wrote supporting his can- 
didature, saying : * His coolness, sound judgmentj great 
prudence and modération, as well as eapàcity as a 
practicfcl man, will be a greàt acquisition tô thé 
National Party should he be retumed for the edunty 
of Dubliii.' 

A few days later the Tories circttlated a tepori 
that Patnell had treated some of his tenants with 

' It hds been sought,' Parnell said in si public lettfet 
dealing with the inatterj ' to côtinect the with some 
diffetence betweèn Mr. Henry Patnell and his tehaiits. 
In reply to this trândpaï-èflt electioneerihg ttick, î iti 
the most èmphatic màtlîier publicly déclare thdt î 
was in no way, diteetfy ot indirectly, conhected With 
or mixed up in any iriaiiner with the sàid disptttë, 
nor could I iri âfay ^ày côtittol or influente thè 
mat ter.' 

As John had been left at the bottom of the pdll in 
the Wicklow élection, so Charles ^as left at the bottom 
of thfei poil iù the Dttbliti; 1 

1 Parnell received 3002. from the Home Rule League to contest this 
élection. When the élection was oyer he handed back the 3002. to the 
Lekfcdë. The contesi cosi Ëiin 2,tXMH. 


* I well remember,' said one of the retainers of the 
Parnell family at Avondale, 'the day Master Charlie 
came home when he was beaten at the Dublin élection. 
He walked up hère, looking so handsome and grand 
and devil-may-care. "Well, boys," he said, "I am 
beaten, but they are not done with me yet." The 
driver, sir, who brought him home said to us after- 
wards, " That's a regular devil. He talked ail the way 
about fighting again and smashing them ail, and he 
looked wild and fierce." And, sir, Master Charles 
was a regular devil when his blood was up, and no 

Parnell now resumed once more his quiet life at 
Avondale, attending to his mines, his sawmills, and 
his other country avocations, and so he remained for 
a twelvemonth. Then an event occurred which drew 
him from his retreat. 

John Mitchell returned to Ireland. He had been 
sentenced to fourteen years' transportation in 1848 for 
treason-felony. In 1850 he escaped from Tasmania, 
and fled to the United States. There he remained 
for twenty-four years. Just about the time of his 
arrivai in Ireland in February 1875 a vacancy occurred 
in the représentation of Tipperary. The Nationalists 
resolved to nominate Mitchell, and he was elected 
without opposition. The House of Commons quashed 
the return on the ground that Mitchell was a félon 
who had neither received a free pardon nor purged his 
crime by serving the term of his imprisonment. A 
new writ was accordingly issued in March 1875. But 
the Nationalists resolved to defy the House of Commons, 
and to nominate Mitchell again. In this crisis Parnell 

Writing to the ' Freeman's Journal,' and inclosing 


a chèque for 25/. towards Mitchell's expenses, he said 
he hoped that Mitchell would again be returned for 
Tipperary, and that the * party vote of the House of 
Commons ' would be thus ' reversed,' adding, ' Let the 
légal question be fought out calmly and fairly after- 

The second Tipperary élection took place on March 
11. Mitchell was opposed by a Tory, but was returned 
by an overwhelming majority. He, however, never 
took his seat. A few days afterwards he fell seriously 
ill, and died in his native town, Newry, on March 20. 
Nine days later his old friend and comrade, John 
Martin, passed away, and a vacancy was thus created 
in the représentation of County Meath. Parnell, who 
was now a member of the council of the Home Eule 
League, was put up by the Nationalists. 

A short time prior to the élection Sir Gavan DuflFy 
arrived in Europe from Victoria. He had scarcely 
landed at Brindisi when he received the following tele- 
gram from an old friend, Father Peter O'Keilly : 

' John Martin dead, telegraph will you stand for 
Meath. At a conférence in Kells on Monday twenty- 
four priests présent, much enthusiasm, the bishop not 
disapproving. Corne home, success certain.' 

This telegram was followed by another, purporting 
to be signed by William Dillon, the son of John Blake 
Dillon, one of Duffy's colleagues in the '48 move- 
ment : 

1 John Martin dead. Parnell, candidate of Home 
Eule League, would probably retire if you join League 
and stand. Wire reply. Wm, Dillon, 15 Nassau Street, 


This telegram was a forgery. It was never signed 
by Mr. William Dillon, nor in any way authorised by 
him. But Sir Gavan Duffy naturally believed it to be 
genuine, and sent the following reply : 

' Thanks. I do not seek a constituency, but I am 
a rppealer, as I frave been alj my Ufe, and if Meath 
elept me I will do my best in concert with the Irish 
members to serve the Irish cause. Should the con- 
stituency be dissatisfied with me at any time I will 
resign. But if it be made a condition that I shall join 
the Jjeague and adopt its novel formula instead of the 
pri|iqiples held by me in common with O'Connell, 
Q'Brien, Davis, Dillon, Dr. Maginn, Meaghej:, and ail 
tjie Nationalists in my time, that I cannot do.' 

This telegram was read immediately to the Home 
Bule League. A rumour was spread that Duffy meant 
to repudiate the League, and to destroy it ; and in 
order to avoid a split in the Nationalist ranks, his 
friends in Meath did not press his candidature. 

Parnell, however, was opposed by a Tory and by 
an Independent Home Buler. But in April 1875 he 
was placed at the head of the poil, amid a storm of 
popular enthusiasm. ' There was tremendous rejoicing 
in Boy al Meath,' says a contemporary wri^er, ' oyer the 
victory. Enthusiastip crowds assembled in thoijsands 
to give vent to a common feeling of delight. Bonnes 
blazed in many quarters ; and the populace of Trim, 
in which town the déclaration of the poil had been 
made, having digpovergd Mr. Parnell walking down 
from the parqchial house to his hôtel, laid lovingly 
violent hands on him, carried him in triumph round 
their own spécial bonfire in the Market Square, and 


finally set him standing on a cask,' where he said a 
few words of thanks for his return and of congratu- 
lation for the Nationalist victory. The hour of the 
future leader had at length corne. 1 

1 Sir Gavan Duffy objected to Butt's Home Rule plan as a retreat 
from the historical position taken up by O'Connell and the Young 
Irelanders, and complained that the policy of independent opposition, 
initiated by him and the Tenant Right Leaguers of 1852, was not carried 
out. * I strove,' says Sir Oavàh Daily, ' to familiarise the people with 
the policy by which alone the cause might be carried to success — the 
policy of independent oppositjpn ; a pp)icy which meant union with no 
English party, and hostility to none which was prepared to advance our 
cause.' — North and South. 




Parnell took his seat in the House of Commons on 
April 22, 1875. He was introduced by Captain Nolan, 
member for Galway, and Mr. Ennis, senior member 
for Meath. 

There were at this time, as we hâve seen, fifty-nine 
Home Rulers. The parliamentary attitude of the 
great majority of thèse may be described as active 
rather than agressive . Butt hiniself was a model of 
courtesy and modération. He tried rather to win 
English sympathy than force English opinion. He 
addressed the House as he would address a jury. He 
sought to persuade, conciliate, humour, never saying 
or doing aught to shock the susceptibilities of his 
audience. He argued, he appealed, he based his case 
on facts and reason, he relied on the justice and fair- 
ness of England. He respected English sentiment, 
and hoped by modération and friendliness to remove 
English préjudice. He scrupulously observed parlia- 
mentary forms, and conscientiously kept the law of the 
land. He was, indeed, a perfect type of the consti- 
tutional agitator, seeking by légal methods to change 
the law, but doing no violence to it. ' The House of 
Commons/ said the late Mr. Henry Richards, ' is like 
the kingdom of Heaven in one respect, though it is 

yEr. 29] JOSEPH BIGGAR 81 

very unlike it in other respects ; but it is like it in this, 
it suffereth violence and the violent take it by force.' 
Thèse, however, were not the views of Isaac Butt. ' I 
am not,' he once said, ' in favour of a policy of 
exaspération.' The House cheered the sentiment ; and 
for the rest treated Butt with gentle contempt. There 
was at this time a member of the Irish party who did 
not sympathise with the tactics of his leader. He 
believed in a policy of blood and iron. 'Ail non- 
sense, sir,' he would say, 'the way Butt goes on. 
He thinks he will get something out of the English by 
rubbing them down. Nonsense; rub them up, sir, 
that's the thing to do ; rub them up. Make them 
uncomfortable. That's the right policy.' This amiable 
individual was Joseph Gillis Biggar. 

Biggar was a wealthy Ulster merchant and a 
member of the suprême council of the I. B. B. He 
came to the British Parliament practically to see how 
much mischief he could do to the British Empire. 
He had no respect for the House of Commons; he 
had no respect for any English institution. Of course 
he had no oratorical faculty, no literary gifts ; indeed, 
he could hardly speak three consécutive sentences. 
He had little political knowledge, he despised books 
and the readers of books; but he was shrewd and 
businesslike, without manners and without fear. He 
regarded parliamentary rules as ail 'rot,' delighted 
in shocking the House, and gloried in causing gênerai 
confusion. He had but two ideas — to rasp the House 
of Commons, and make himself thoroughly hated by 
the British public. It must be confessed that in thèse 
respects he succeeded to his heart's content. 

Curiously enough, the very day on which Parnell 
took his seat Biggar made his first formidable essay in 

VOL. I. G 


parliamentary debate. A Coercion Bill was under con- 
sidération. It had just reached the committee stage. 
Biggar rose to move an amendaient. It would be 
absurd to say that he made a speech. But he was on 
his feet for four hours by the clock. 

'We shall not,' wrote the ' Times,' in commenting 
on this performance, ' àttempt to inflict on our readers 
a réchauffé of Mr. Biggar's address, and as it was, 
indeed, to a large extent inaudible, it must be lost to 
the world, unless it be printed in sottie Dublin news- 

But Biggar's speech is not 'lost to the world.' 
It is enshrined in the pages of ' Hansard ' to the 
extent of seven columns, and has gained a good 
deal — as many another address has gained— at the 
hands of a friendly reporter. But as a tnatter of 
fact the oration was mainly inaudible and wholly 

Drawing at the start upon his internai resottrces» 
but flnding that they did not carry him very far, thè 
mfember for Cavan literally took away the breath of 
the House by phlnging into Blue Books, newspapers, 
and strewing disjecta membra over his discourse. There 
is much unconscious humour in ' Hansard's ' account 
of this part of the performance : 

4 The hon. member then read, in a manner which 
made it impossible to follow the application, long 
extracts from reports and évidence of the West Mfeath 
Commission, and from the Catholic newspapers ôf 
Ireland, and from statements and résolutions of various 
public bodies and meetings. The gênerai purport 
appeared to be to denounce the necessity for any 
exceptional législation in regard to Irëland, to assert 
the gênerai tranquillity and good order of the country, 


and the absence of Bibbonism, and to protest agaihst 
the invasion of the liberties of the people.' 

Having inflicted thèse documents on the Hotlse 
until the assembly groaned under their weight, Biggar 
once more varied the entertainment by falling back on 
original resources, jerking out a number of incohérent 
and irrelevant sentences, but still keeping on the eVen 
ténor of his way with imperturbable cahuness and 
resolution. The more the House groaned, thé more 
delighted was the orator. He was sparirig, however, 
of original matter, and soon took refuge iri literattire 
again. This time, to show the variety of his knowledge, 
he abandoned the Blue Books and the public Press, 
and gave the House a touch of the ' statutes at large.' 

' The hon. member/ says the dignified c Hansard/ 
' who was almost inaudible, was understood to recapitu- 
late Borne of the arbitrary enactments of older statutes, 
and to point out that they were in substance or effect 
re-enacted in the various Arms Acts ànd Peace Préser- 
vation Àcts of the présent reign/ 

Having completely overwhelmed the House with 
this légal lore, Biggar agàin dropped into a lighter 
vein, atld treated his listeners once more to some 
original observations. Thé House was now almost 
enipty ; ahd an hon. metnber called attention to the 
fact that 'forty members were not présent/ Biggat 
imtliédiately resumed his seat, beaming benevolently 
— for be it known thât Biggar was one of the most 
beneVôlent-looking men in the Hotise, atid his face 
was altnost one perpétuai smile — and observitlg to an 
Irish member by his side, ' I am not half done yet.' 
The House soon filled, and Biggar agaiti rose. Hé had 
now corne absolutely to ah end of ail original ideas ; 
he had exhausted his knowledge #f the stàtùtëë, fatit 

a 2 


the Blue Books were still before him. 'The hon. 
member/ says ' Hansard/ with delightful gravity, 
' proceeded to read extracts from the évidence before 
the West Meath Commission — as was understood — 
but in a manner which rendered him totally unin- 
telligible/ The Speaker at length interposed, saying 
that the rules of the House required that an hon. 
member should address himself to the Chair, and that 
this rule the hon. member was at présent neglecting. 
This was the crisis ; but Biggar was equal to it. 
He expressed great regret that he had not observed 
the rule in question, but said the fact was that feeling 
fatigued after speaking so long, and being so far away 
from the Chair, he could not make himself heard. 
This state of things, however, could be easily remedied, 
and he would, therefore, with the permission of the 
House, take up a more f avourable position. Accordingly, 
leaving his place behind the gangway, he marched right 
up to the Treasury Bench, taking with him Blue Books, 
Acts of Parliament, newspapers, and in fact a perfect 
library of materials, from which, to quote once more 
the decorous 'Hansard/ 'he continued to read long 
extracts with comments/ But the longest day must 
hâve an end, and even Biggar at length released the 
House from bondage, and sank complacently into the 
nearest seat. 

'If Mr. Biggar/ said the 'Times/ 'had devoted 
but one hour out of his four to the resolution upon 
which he was nominally speaking, he might hâve said 
Bomething effective/ But it was not Biggar's intention 
to say anything effective. He wanted to do something 
offensive, and he did. He proved that one member 
could stop the business of the House for four hours, 
and make its proceedings absolutely ridiculous. The 

.Et. 29] AN APT PUPIL 85 

lesson was not lost on Parnell, who sat calmly by and 
watched the performance with interest and amuse- 
ment. Four days later he himself took part in the 
discussion, and made his maiden speech. It was short, 
modest, spoken in a thin voice and with manifest 
nervousness. However, he got out what he wanted to 
say, and what he said, briefly and even spasmodically, 
was the kernel of the whole matter. * I trust/ he said, 
' that England will give to Irishmen the right which 
they claim— the right of self-government. Why should 
Ireland be treated as a geographical fragment of 
England, as I heard an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer 
call her some time ago ? Ireland is not a geographical 
fragment. She is a nation.' 

The year 1875 passed quietly away in Parliament and 
in Ireland. Parnell remained chiefly a calm spectator 
of the proceedings of the House of Commons, watching, 
learning, biding his time. He was ignorant of public 
affairs, and he read no books. But he was not ashamed 
to ask for information, and to pick up knowledge in that 
way. 'How do you get materials,' he asked one of 
the Irish members, ' for questioning the Ministers ? ' 
* Why/ said his friend, smiling at the simplicity of the 
novice, * from the newspapers, from our constituents, 
from many sources/ 'Ah/ said Parnell, 'I must try 
and ask a question myself some day.' 

With his eminently practical turn of mind he soon 
saw that it was absolutely necessary, for the purpose 
of parliamentary warf are, to obtain a complète mastery 
of the rules of debate. But he did not, as some 
suppose, read up the subject laboriously. He never 
did anything laboriously. What he knew, he knew 
intuitively, or learned by some easy method of his own 
devising. Books he avoided. 'How am I to learn 


the raies of the House ? ' a young Irish member asked 
him in after years. 'By breaking them,' was the 
answer. ' Tbat's what I did.' It was true enough. 
Parnell learned the rules of debate by breaking them 
himself, or by seeing others break them. But he was 
very quiet, very unobtrusive, very diffident, during 
the session of 1875. He came, he saw, and was for 
the time content. He did not, however, altogetber 
remain a silent member. He asked some questions ; 
he made some speeches, short, sharp, and to the 

Before the session closed he had formed his owxi 
views of the J3ouse of Gommons and of the position 
of Irishmen in it ; and he gave expression to thèse 
views during the recess in two brief and pithy sentences. 
Speaking at Navan on October 7, he said : ' We do not 
want speakers in the House of Commons, but men 
who will vote right.' Ten days later he said, at a 
meeting at Nobber : ' The Irish people should watch 
the conduct of their représentatives in the House of 
Commons.' Thèse sentences summed up the Parnell 
gospel : a vigilant public opinion outside, and practical 
rather than talking members inside Parliament. From 
the beginning to the end Parnell disliked speechifying. 
The process was absolutely painful to him. Talking 
was sometimes necessary to get things done (or to pre- 
vent their being done), and he was forced to put up 
with it. But he took no pleasure in oratory, and had 
not the least ambition to become a great public speaker. 
The only occasion on which he made or listened to 
speeches with any degree of satisfaction was when 
talking obstructed the business of the House. Piggar 
was, perhaps, his idéal of a useful public speaker — a 
mau who was silent when business had to be done, but 

Mt. 29] .' THE TIMES ' ON IRELAND 87 

who could hold the floor for four hours at a ptretch 
when business had to be prevented. 

Parnell from the outset seems to hâve thought that 
the atmosphère of the House of Commons was fatal to 
Irish activity, and that a healthy and vigorous public 
opinion in the country was absolutely neoessary to save 
the Irish représentation from inertia and collapse. He 
did nothing during the session of 1876 which fixed the 
public attention on him; but it is abundantly clear 
that even then he had resolved on his Une, and that he 
only waited the opportunity to take it. His faith was 
not in mère Parliamentarians, but in forces outside, 
stronger than Parliamentarianism, which he deter- 
mined to influence, and by whose help he hoped to 
dominate the parliainentary army. From the moment 
he first thought seriously of politics he saw, as if by 
instinct, that Fenianism was the key of Irish Nation- 
ality ; and if he could or would not hâve the key in his 
hand, he was certainly resolved never to let it out of 
his sight. We shall therefore see him as the years 
roll by standing on the verge of treason-felony, but 
with marvellous dexterity always preventing himself 
from slipping over. Perhaps this was the secret of his 
power. But the year 1875 ended without that power 
being revealed, or, indeed, even dreamt of. No one 
saw into the future. On the surface Ireland was tran- 
quil ; there seemed no signs of coming storm in any 
part of the political horizon ; ail was apparently quiet, 
peaceful, prosperous. The Dublin correspondent of 
the ' Times ' summed up the situation thus : ' The 
présent circumstances of Ireland may be briefly summed 
up in the statement that at no period of her history did 
she appear more tranquil, more free from serious crime, 
more prosperous and contented. But few of the dis- 


quieting éléments of former times are now at work. 
Political excitement has ail but died out with Mitchell 
and Martin, whose last effort to revive it exhausted its 
impotent fury. There is no longer the agitation which 
convulsed the country in days gone by. Home Rule 
still keeps a little cauldron simmering, but there is no 
fear that it mil ever become formidable ; for, though 
there is no want of a Hécate to practise the old spells, 
they hâve lost their power over the people. An organised 
attempt is made to fan into a gênerai flame the dis- 
satisfaction which is felt in some parts of the country 
with the working of the Land Act ; but its success has 
hitherto been slight, and confined to certain localities. 
The relations between landlord and tenant continue to 
be generally friendly, and both parties are, with some re- 
markable exceptions, adapting themselves with prudence 
and good feeling to the change conséquent upon the appli- 
cation of a new law. In the north a determined struggle 
is made to obtain a larger concession of tenant-right than 
the Act has given, and in the other provinces corre- 
sponding advantages are sought ; but the tenants whom 
it is sought to arouse and combine in gênerai action 
are giving but a faint response to the call of their 
leaders. The truth is that it is by no means so easy 
as it was formerly to make them discontented, and they 
are unwilling to be drawn away from more profitable 
pursuits to engage in an agitation which offers but little 
chance of success.' 

Thèse were strange words, written on the eve of a 
great convulsion. 

iET. 29] 89 



1t is unnecessary to say that the opening of the year 
1876 found ail England united against the Irish 
Nationalist demand. The Tories were in power. Mr. 
Disraeli was Prime Minister, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach 
was Chief Secretary for Ireland. 

Mr. Gladstone had retired f rom the leadership of the 
Libéral party, and Lord Hartington had taken his place. 
Differing on almost ail other points, Libérais and Tories 
were united in their hostility to Home Eule. The fact 
that nearly sixty Irish members had been returned 
pledged to the question made no impression on the 
House of Commons. The great majority of thèse 
members were moderate, respectable men, anxious to 
conciliate English opinion, careful not to wound 
English sentiment. I hâve said that Butt was a 
perfect type of a constitutional agitator. The Irish 
party was a perfect type of a constitutional party. But 
it was laughed at and despised by the House of Com- 
mons. Home Rule was regarded as a suprême joke ; 
the Home Bulers were looked upon as a collection of 
foolish but harmless ' gentlemen from Ireland.' Biggar 
alone stood out in bold relief from the whole crowd, 
and his efforts to seize every opportunity for outraging 
English opinion not only made him hateful to the 


English members, but even brought him under the 
displeasure of the majority of his own party. 

'Whigs, sir, Whigs, every one of them,' he said, 
speaking of his colleagues in moments of relaxation. 
No Irish Nationalist, be it said, can apply a more 
opprobrious epithet to another than to call him a 
Whig. To call him a Tory would be almost praise in 
comparison. In Ireland the Tory is regarded as an 
open enemy ; the Whig as a treacherous friend. It 
is the Whigs, not the Tories, who hâve habitually 
sapped the integrity of the Irish représentation. So at 
least the Irish think, and in 1876 there was a growing 
suspicion in the country that the Irish party was 
gliding into Whiggery. Indeed, the Irish members 
themselves used sometimes to twit each other on the 
subject. 'You know you are a Whig,' I heard one 
Irish member say to another in the lobby in 1876. 
' To be sure I am,' said S., ' and you are a Whig, and 
your father was a Whig, and Butt is a Whig, and 
Sullivan is a Whig, and Mitchell Henry is a Whig — we 
are ail Whigs.' Poor S. was naked but not asbamed ; 
he had indeed been the most orthodox of Whigs ail his 
life, until 1874, when the flowing tide swept him into 
Home Eule. The Irish parliamentary party was not, 
however, as a whole a party of Whigs. There were no 
doubt Whigs in its ranks, men who had been f orced by 
their constituents to take the Home Eule pledge, but 
who did not believe in it. The majority of the party, 
howpver, were true Nationalists, albeit sincerely con- 
stitutional agitators. ' We sh&ll fight JSngland/ one of 
them said, ' not with ballets, but with ballot-boxes ' ; 
an4 this was pr$ctically the creed of the whole body. 
They believed that the House pf Commons could be 
couvipced by reason and modération, that the battle 

Mx. 30] THE SESSION OF 1876 91 

could be fought within the lines of the constitution 
and in accordance with the usages which obtain in a 
socie^y of gentlemen. 'I think,' said one of them, 
animadverting on Biggar's activity, ' that a man should 
be a gentleman first and a patriot afterwards/ and the 
sentiment was cheered by Irish members. They did 
not think that the House of Commons would ? suffer 
violence,' and they certainly had not the most remote 
notion of ' taking it by force/ If a body of Irishmen 
bent on constitutional agitation pure and simple, eager 
to cultivate friendly relations with Englishmen, and 
desirous of treating opponents with the courtesy and 
respect which they expected fpr themselves, could hâve 
made way in the English Parliament, then the foljowers 
of Butt ought to haye succeeded. But they did not 
succeed. They made no way whatever. They pot 
only failed in pushing Home Bule to the front, but 
they failed in pushing any Irish question to the front, 
though their attention was given to every Irish ques- 
tion. They were vpted down by ' brutafinajorities ' or 
out-manœuvred by skilful parliamentary tacticians, and 
thus ^heiir efforts were unayailing. 

On the opening of the Session of 1876 the Irish 
^embprs mustered in full strengf;h, an4 nofiipes yeie 
given of a goodly array of Bills. The Land question 
and Education question were taken in hand- lyfeasures 
were announced for dealing with the subjects of 
Union Eating, Electoral Counjby Boards, Ppep-sea 
Fishing, Eeclamation qi Waste Lands, Grand Jury 
Befprtn, Municipal Bpform, farliamentary Jîefojrji}. 
But none of the Irish Bills found their way to the 
Statute Book. 

Butt's Land Bill, a very moderate measure indeed 
compared with récent enactments, was rejected by au 


overwhelming majority, 290 to 56 votes. 1 The House 
of Commons considered that the Land question had 
been settled in 1870, and that it was simply an imperti- 
nence to revive it. The Irish were not to hâve a 
Parliament of their own, and the English Parliament 
did not think it worth while to consider seriously an 
Irish demand which went to the very root of the well- 
being of the people. Such was the sagacious attitude of 
British statesmanship towards Ireland in the year 1876. 
Biggar, be it said, ' thoroughly disapproved of the 
tactics of the Irish parliamentary party. He looked on 
the introduction of ail thèse Bills as "mère moon- 
8hine. ,, ' 'What's the good?' he would say. 'We 
can't get them through, we know we can't get them 
through. The English stop our Bills. Why don't we 
stop their Bills ? That's the thing to do. No Irish 
Bills ; but stop English Bills. No législation ; that's 
the policy, sir, that's the policy. Butt's a fool, too 

1 The Land Act of 1870, it inay be said, provided that tenants 
should, on éviction, receive compensation for improvements, and in 
certain cases for disturbance. That Act had not worked well, and Butt 
now proposed to amend it. ' I propose,' he said, in introducing his Bill, 
4 that every tenant shall hâve permission to claim from the chairman of 
his county the benefit of his improvements, and if he does that I propose 
that a certificate shall be given him protecting him against éviction 
by his landlord. That will in point of time establish a perpetuity of 
tenure. The great difficulty in anything of this kind is to get a tribunal 
which will fairly value the land. I confess that it is a difficulty which 
I hâve found very hard to meet. This idea of a valued rent seems to be 
getting largely hold of some of the landlords, and I see that some of 
them suggest the valuation should be fixed by a Government valuer. 
There are, I admit, some attractions in that proposai. Another sugges- 
tion is that the appointaient of the arbitrators should be vested in three 
Privy Councillors, and some time ago I proposed that the judges of 
assize should appoint them. It is, however, the most difficult thing in 
the world to find a tribunal to which you can entrust this task. I 
therefore propose, by this Bill, that the landlord and tenant should each 
sélect one arbitrator, and the two arbitrators thus appointed shall agrée 
on a third. In cases wherc the landlord should not appear I suggest 
that the rent should be assessed by a jury, composed of three spécial 
and three common juron.' 


gentlemanly ; we're ail too gentlemanly. , There was 
at this time an Irish member who shared Biggar's 
views, or perhaps it might be more accurate to say that 
Biggar shared his views. Any way they thought alike 
on the subject of parliamentary tactics. This member 
was Joseph Eonayne. 

Eonayne had been a Young Irelander, and had sat 
for the city of Cork since 1872. He was a shrewd, 
business-like man, of quiet and retiring manners. 
Unwilling to take a prominent part in debate, he was 
helpful and earnest in council, always advising ener- 
getic action, but, as he would say, too old — he was only 
fifty-four — to put his views into practice. After three 
years' expérience in the House of Commons he came to 
the conclusion that Irish business could never be done 
by the adoption of Butt's conciliatory tactics. ' We 
will never,' he urged in 1874, ' make any impression on 
the House until we interfère in English business. At 
présent Englishmen manage their own affairs in their 
own way without any interférence from us. Then, 
when we want to get our business through, they stop 
us. We ought to show them that two can play at 
this game of obstruction. Let us interfère in English 
législation ; let us show them that if we are not strong 
enough to get our own work done, we are strong enough 
to prevent them from getting theirs.' 

But, with a single exception, the Irish party were 
at this time unwilling to take Bonayne's advice. Butt 
would not listen to it. He thought such tactics would 
be undignified, useless, mischievous. Bonayne did not 
press the point, but he would say to the younger men 
of the party : ' Well, it is for you to do the work. I 
am too old. But Englishmen will never pay attention 
to you until you make yourselves a nuisance to them.' 


' Eonayne is quite right/ Biggar would say. ' We'll 
never do any good until we take an intelligent interest 
in English affairs.' As Biggar preached, so he practised 
to the best of his abilities. 

Parnell had heard of Bonayne's advice. He had 
seen Biggar at work. He knew that Butt objected to 
obstruction. But, without a moment's hésitation, he 
backed Bonayne's words and Biggar's deeds. It was 
one of the characteristics of this remarkable man that 
he never seemed to be taken unawares. If you sug- 
gested what you conceived to be a new idea, you found 
that apparently it was an old idea with him. ' Yes,' 
he would say to you, as you came up brimful of 
brilliant thoughts, ' I hâve thought that ovet.' This 
would, perhaps, hâve been unpleasant coming from 
another man, as it would in a sensé take away the 
crédit of the initiative from you — and we are ail very 
vain— but it was never unpleasant coming from Parnell. 
After talking the matter over with him, he sent you 
away with the two-fold feeling: (1) that it was im- 
possible to anticipate him in anything ; (2) that you 
had done good service in bringing the subject under 
his notice, as the resuit might be to quicken his 
thoughts into action. He never wearied of impressing 
inen with a sensé of their usefulness, though you 
never spoke to him without feeling his absolute 
8uperiority as a political leader. The one idea which 
above ail others he fixed in the minds of those who 
had intercourse with him was that he could lead them, 
and that they could not lead him. 

When the subject of obstruction was brotight bëfore 
him, he was ready for it, and went briskly into action. 
Biggar was uncouth and brutal, and could scarcely 
succeed in getting members of his own party to stand 


by him in his c assàults ' on the House. But Parnell 
was polished and skilful, had a happy knack bf pûtting 
other people in the wrong; and used not only to win 
Irish support, but would occasioiially obtain English 

ParneH's first really notable utterance in the House 
was made on June 30, during the debate on Butt's 
motion for ail ihquiry into the Hoirie Eule demand. 
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, the Chief Secretary for 
Ireland, was speaking ; Parnell looked coldly and im- 
passively on. How far the speech of the Chief Secretary 
interested him, how far he was paying any attention 
to the subject, it would be difficult to tell. At length 
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach said: 'Of ail the extra- 
ordinary delusions which are connected with the 
subject, the most strange to me appears the idea that 
Home Eule can hâve the effect of liberating the Feniah 

prisoners, the Manchester murderers .' ' No ! No ! ' 

cried Parnell, with a sùddenness and vehenlence which 
startled everyone. The House was shocked at what 
seemëd to bè a justification of murder, and there Ms 
an indignant murmur of disapprobation. Sir Michael 
Hicks-Beach paused, and then, looking sttaight àt 
Parnell and amid sympatbetic cheers, said solemnly : 
' I regret to hear that there is an hon. member in this 
House who will apologise for murder/ The Housè 
thôùg;ht thdt the youh^ membeir fot Meâth Was crlished, 
and the cry of ' Withdtaw ! ' ' Withdraw ! * rang from 
ail qliarters. 

But Parneil rose with great dignity and greàt 
délibération, and sàid in clear and icjr accents : ' The 
right hon. gentleman looked at me so directly wheh 
he said that he regretted thàt any ihëmber of the 
House should apologise for murder that I wish to sajr 


as publicly as I can that I do not believe, and never 
shall believe, that any murder was committed at 
Manchester.' This rejoinder was received with loud 
cheers from the Irish benches, and Sir Michael Hicks- 
Beach passed from the subject of the l Manchester 
murderers.' l 

1 On August 1, 1876, a motion for the release of the Fenian 
prisoncrs was brought forward by Mr. O'Connor Power. Mr. Bright 
took part in the debate, and dealing with the case of the Manchester 
men, said : ' 1 hâve regretted that on a former occasion when this 
matter was before us 1 did not take the opportunity of saying what 
I hâve long thought with regard to the case which is called "The 
Manchester Outrage." There was in that case one man killed — one 
man shot — one fatal shot fired, and therefore it may be urged positively 
that only one man in a certain sensé was guilty of murder. I had, 
living in that neighbourhood, a very painful interview with the relatives 
of one of the three men who were hanged, and they were not willing 
to lay the blâme upon either of the other two, but they felt very con- 
fidently that there were no sufficient grounds for believing that the 
prisoner in whose fate they were particularly interested was the one 
who fired the fatal shot. One of the three, 1 présume, was the guilty 
perso n, but the three were hanged. Now, it always appeared to me 
that the course pursued by the Home Office on that occasion was an 
unwise one. I am averse to capital punishment, as most members of the 
House know, but in a case of this kind 1 think to hang three men for 
one fatal shot was a mis take— a mistake acoording to the order and 
practioe of our law, and a great mistake when we look at it in its political 
aspect. On the occasion 1 hâve alluded to, when représentations were 
made, it was denied that this was strictly a political case, or that severity 
was resorted to because it was a political case ; but I hâve always held 
the opinion that I held then, and hold now, that it was solely because 
it was a political case that three men were hanged for the murder of one 
man. 1 recollect urging it in this way : If thèse three men had been 
out on a poaching expédition, and in the conflict that took place one 
keeper was killed by one shot, and three men were tried for it, I believe 
there is no judge who would hâve sentenced, and no Home Secretary 
who would hâve thought it his duty to advise that, thèse three men 
should be hanged for the offence. I believe that the three men were 
hanged because it was a political offence, and not because it was an 
ordinary murder of one man, committed by one man and by one shot. 
The other day there was a case in my neighbourhood of an outrage 
committed by persons connected with a trade union in the neighbour- 
hood of Bolton. Unfortunately a man was attacked by a number of his 
fellow-workmen and was killed. No doubt ail who were présent and 
maltreated the man were guilty of an illégal act, but it is difficult to 
say who it was that was guilty of the offence of destroying that man's 
life. Three, I think, were convicted, not of murder, but of manslaughter. 


This utterance first fixed the attention of the 
Fenians on Parnell. Four years later I met a num- 
ber of Fenians in a town in the North of England. 
I asked how it came to pass that Parnell gained 
the confidence of so many Fenians. One of them 
answered : ' In 1876 we no longer believed in Butt ; 
we thought his way of dealing with the House of 
Commons was absurd. The House showed no défér- 
ence to the Irish members, yet Butt was always 
showing déférence to the House. Of course we had no 
belief in parliamentary agitation, but we wished to see 
Irish members stand up to the House. The humilia- 
tion of England anywhere was, of course, a pleasure to 
us, and there were some of us who thought that she 
might be humiliated even in the House of Commons, 
But it was quite clear that Butt's methods could lead 
to nothing but the humiliation of Ireland. We had 
grown quite tired of Butt, though we always liked him 
for his defence of our people in the State trials. What 
we wanted was a fighting policy. Even constitutional 
agitators who would defy England, who would shock 
English sentiment, who would show a bold spirit of 
résistance to English law and English custom, would 
help to keep the national feeling alive. But we knew 
pretty well that no Irish member would keep up a sus- 
tained fight against England unless he was in touch with 
us. A Constitutionalist could only do good by drawing 
inspiration from Fenianism, and Fenianism had ceased 

It was an illégal act, and they were punished by various ter m s of 
imprisonment —from, I think, three to fifteen years. Unless this was a 
political offence, the évidence of murder was not very much différent 
from the case I am now describing. I believe it was a great mistake. 
I said it then, and I say it now, and I hâve, I say, always believed 
that the eztremity of the law was put in force against three m en, 
only one of whom — supposing the one who committed the offence was 
captured— caused the death of the unfortunate and lamented policeman.' 

VOL. I. H 


to inspire Butt. We did not know very much about 
Parnell at this time. His defence of the Manchester 
men in the House of Commons was a révélation to us ; 
but we never lost sight of him afterwards, and I think 
he never lost sight of us.' 

Parnell certainly did not lose sight of the Fenians ; 
and he ultimately rode into power on their shoulders. 
But up to the end of 1876 he continued undistinguished, 
and almost unnoticed. He had not yet, so to say, 
drawn out of the ruck, and no one anticipated his 
extraordinary future. 

Parnell hated England before he entered the House 
of Commons ; and his hatred was intensified by his 
parliamentary expérience. He thought the position of 
the Irish members painfully humiliating. They were 
waiters on English providence ; beggars for English 
favours. English Ministers behaved as if they belonged 
to the injured nation ; as if, indeed, they showed exces- 
sive generosity in tolerating Irishmen in their midst at 
ail. This arrogance, this assumption of superiority, 
galled Parnell. It was répugnant to his nature to 
approach anyone with bated breath and whispering 
humbleness ; and he resolved to wring justice from 
England, and to humiliate lier in the process. He 
wanted not only réparation, but vengeance as well. 

In those days he would sometimes sit in one of the 
side galleries, and look down serenely on the performers 
below. He regarded the whole proceedings, so far as 
Irish business was concerned, as purely académie. The 
House of Commons seemed to him to be nothing better 
than a mère debating society, where Irishmen had an 
opportunity of airing their oratory, and were, appa- 
rently, satisfied when that was done. A distinguished 
Irish advocate once said that a ' speech was ail very 


good in its way, but that the verdict was the thing.' 
In the House of Commons the speech was ' the thing,' 
and Parnell despised the speech. He wanted 'the 
verdict.' One night an Irish Bill was under discussion. 
The member in charge of it acquitted hiniself with 
skill and ability. Butt sat near him, and was mani- 
festly much pleased with the performance. When the 
member sat down the Home Bule leader patted him 
paternally on the back and beamed satisfaction. Parnell 
smiled on the scène. When the debate was over, and 
when the Bill had been handsomely defeated, he met 
the member in the Lobby, walked up to him, patted 
him on the back in imitation of Butt, and said : ' You 
hâve been a very good boy, you did that very well, and 
you may now go home — and you won't hear any more 
about your Bill for another twelvemonth.' Then (in a 
more serious tone), ' Ah, it is not by smooth speeches 
that you will get anything done hère. We want rougher 
work. We must show them that we mean business. 
They are a good deal too comfortable in that House, 
and the English are a good deal too comfortable every- 

In the autumn a meeting of * advanced Nationalists ' 
was held at Harold's Cross, near Dublin. Among other 
business transacted, an address was voted to Président 
Grant, congratulating the American people on the 
centenary of American independence. Parnell and 
Mr. O'Connor Power were deputed to présent this 
address to General Grant. 

They arrived at New York in October. It so hap- 
pened that the Président was in the city at the time. 
Parnell suggested that they should see him at once. 
Grant received them, expressed himself personally 
gratef ul for the address, but said it would be necessary 

n 2 


for him to learn what was the étiquette in matters of 
this kind, and that he would communicate with them 
on his return to Washington. Grant immediately 
returned to Washington, whither the delegates pro- 
ceeded too. There they were informed that it would 
be necessary to hâve the address presented through the 
English Ambassador, but they declined to take this 

A correspondence then took place between the 
delegates and the American Secretary of State, they 
urging that the intervention of the British Minister 
was unnecessary and objectionable, he insisting that it 
could not be dispensed with. 

Parnell returned to England in November, leaving 
Mr. O'Connor Power in charge of the address, which 
was ultimately accepted by the Législative Asseinbly 
over the head of the Président. Immediately on his 
arrivai at Liverpool Parnell addressed a Home Kule 
meeting. He said : 

' You hâve also another duty to perforai, which is 
to educate public opinion in England upon Irish 
questions, which I hâve looked upon as a difficult and 
almost impossible task — so difficult that I hâve often 
been tempted to think that it was no use trying to 
educate English public opinion. The English Press 
encourage préjudice against Ireland. Englishmen 
themselves are in many respects fair-minded and 
reasonable, but it is almost impossible to get at them 
— it requires intelligence almost superhuman to remove 
the clouds of préjudice under which they hâve lived 
during their lives. I know the difficultés of the 
position of the Irish people in England. It is not easy 
for people, living as they are in friendship with their 
English neighbours, to keep themselves separated from 


English political organisations, but they hâve never been 

àfraid to lay aside private and local considérations in 

favour of supporting their fellow-countrymen at home. 

Our position in Ireland is peculiar. One party says we go 

too far in the Home Eule agitation, while another party 

says we do not go far enough. You hâve been told we 

hâve lowered the national flag — that the Home Eule 

cause is not the cause of Ireland a nation, and that we 

will dégrade our country into the position of a province. 

I deny ail this. There is no reason why Ireland under 

Home Eule would not be Ireland a nation in every 

sensé and for every purpose that it was right she 

should be a nation. I hâve lately seen in the city of 

New York a review of the militia, in which five or six 

thousand armed and trained men took part, at least 

half of them being vétérans of the war. They marched 

past with firm step, and armed with improved weapons. 

They were at the command of the législature of New 

York, and they could not budge one inch from the 

city without the orders of the governor. If in Ireland 

we could ever hâve under Home Eule such a national 

militia, they would be able to protect the interests of 

Ireland as a nation, while they would never wish to 

trespass upon the integrity of the English Empire, or 

to do harm to those they then would call their English 

brothers. It was a foolish want of confidence that 

prevented Englishmen and the English Government 

from trusting Ireland. They know Ireland is deter- 

mined to be an armed nation, and they fear to see her 

so, for they remember how a section of the Irish 

people in 1782, with arms in their hands, wrung from 

England législative independence. Without a full 

measure of Home Eule for Ireland no Irishman would 

ever rest content.' 


One who was présent has given me the following 
account of how Parnell delivered this speech. He 
says : 

'I remember that he came once to speak for us 
in Liverpool. It was in 1876. He was a bad speaker 
then — had a bad, halting delivery. In fact, it was 
painful to listen to him. You would think he would 
break down every moment. He seemed to be con- 
stantly stuck for want of a word. It was horribly 
awkward for the people listening to him, but, oddly 
enough, it ne ver seemed awkward to him. I remem- 
ber a number of us who were on the platform near 
him would now and then suggest a word to him 
in the pauses. But he never once took a word from 
any one of us. There he would stand, with clenched 
fists, which he shook nervously until the word he 
wanted came. And what struck us ail, and what we 
talked of afterwards, was that Parneirs word was 
always the right word, and expressed exactly the idea 
in his head ; our word was simply makeshift, for which 
he did not even thank us.' 

By the end of 1876 Parnell regarded Butt's move- 
ment as an absolute failure. Of the innumerable Bills 
and resolutions which had been introduced by the 
Irish party since 1871 only one measure of any im- 
portance had become law — the Municipal Privilèges 
Act, which enabled municipal corporations to confer 
the freedom of their cities and to appoint sheriffs. 
The failure of the parliamentary party was, he 
thought, in some respects attributable to a want of 
energy and boldness. The majority of Butt's followers 
were too apathetic, too deferential to English opinion 
and sentiment, too fond of English society — in a word, 
too 'respectable.' Biggar was Parneirs idéal of an 

Mt. 30] ' NO QUARRELS ' 103 

Irish member — a political Ishrnael, who would not 
conciliate and who could not be conciliated. Butt's 
policy was a policy of peace. Biggar's was the em- 
bodirnent of a policy of war, and Parnell believed in a 
policy of war. His faith was centred in a policy of 
' aloofness ' froni ail English parties, and indeed from 
ail Englishmen. He regarded them as enemies, and 
he would treat them as enemies. He did not believe 
in negotiations. He believed in fighting. The fighting 
force in Ireland was the Fenians. Any man, Consti- 
tutionalist or Revolutionist, who was prepared to fight 
England anywhere or anyhow was sure of Fenian 
sympathy, though his methods might not always meet 
with Fenian approval. 

Were the Fenians to be fought on the one hand, 
and the English on the other? Could any party of 
Constitutionalists hope to succeed if the Fenians 
were actively against them ? Butt himself had 
leant on the Fenians in founding the Home Eule 
movement. What would become of him if the Fenian 
support w T ere withdrawn? There was the Church, 
certainly. But what would become of Home Kule if 
there were to be an open struggle between the Church 
and the Fenians? The one thing Parnell hated 
throughout his whole career was quarrels among Irish- 
men. 'Parnell's great gift,' Mr. Healy once said, 
* was his faculty of reducing a quarrel to the smallest 
dimensions/ He was, in truth, a centre of unity and 
strength. He was able, if not to reconcile, certainly to 
neutralise the antagonism of opposing forces and hos- 
tile characters. He was, indeed, a great peacemaker 
as well as a great fighter, and herein lay his power. 
' No war ' was, we are told, a favourite expression of 
Elizabeth's at the council board. ' No quarrels ' was cer- 


tainly a f avourite thought, if not a favourite expression, 
of Parnell. To hâve any single force which made for 
Irish nationality in conflict with any other force which 
made in the same direction, or which could by any possi- 
bility be brought to make in the same direction, was 
utterly abhorrent to him. And yet danger of such a 
conflict there was in 1876. The Fenians were getting 
thoroughly tired of Home Eule. They had given the 
movement a fair trial, and nothing had corne of it. It 
was now time, many of them thought, to look to 
their own organisation and to that alone. Within the 
parliamentary ranks there were divisions and dis- 
sensions. Butt had ceased to be a power. The 
constitutional movement was drifting on the rocks. 
It was a period in the history of the country when 
everything depended on the appearance of a man. 
O'Connell would hâve got the Church at his back, 
broken with the Fenians, and inaugurated a mighty 
constitutional agitation. A Stephens would hâve 
reorganised Fenianism on a formidable basis, fought 
the Church and Constitutionalists, and drawn the 
country into insurrection. But there was no O'Connell, 
no Stephens. Parnell came ; he was unlike both the 
great agitator and the great conspirator. He was not 
a son of the Church. He was not a son of the révolu- 
tion. But he believed profoundly in the power of the 
one and of the other, and resolved to combine both. 
This was a herculean labour, but it was not above the 
stature of Charles Stewart Parnell. ' Ireland,' he once 
said, ' cannot afford to lose a single man/ That was 
his creed. To combine ail Irishmen in solid mass and 
hurl them at the Saxon, that was his policy. In the 
ensuing pages we shall find him pursuing that policy, 
steadily, skilfully. We shall find him gradually winning 

M*. 30] ' THE UNCROWNED KlNG * 10» 

the confidence of the Church and of the Fenians — the 
two great forces, be it said, in Irish politics — and 
ultimately obtaining an ascendency over both. We 
shall find hini forming and dominating a strictly 
disciplined parliamentary party, and at length reaching 
that position of eminence well described by the titlc 
which the people gave him — the * uncrowned King of 




The Queen's Speech in opening the parliamentary 
session of 1877 contained the following paragraph 
about Ireland : 

* You will be asked to constitute one Suprême 
Court of Judicature for Ireland, and to confer an 
équitable jurisdiction in the county courts of that 

Every question that stirred the nation was calmly 
ignored — land, éducation, parliamentary franchise, 
Home liule. The people had asked for bread in the 
shape of législative freedom ; they were offered a stone 
in the shape of a Judicature Bill. Yet Butt showed 
no disposition to harass the Government. He was 
resolved to bring forward his Irish measures, to fight 
them through the House of Commons in accordance 
with the ordinary rules of the game, and to abide the 
resuit. But Parnell and Biggar were now practically 
in revolt and on the war track. ' If we are to hâve 
parliamentary action/ said the former in one of those 
short, sharp, and décisive sentences which always 
meant business, ' it must not be the action of con- 
ciliation, but of retaliation,' and on the policy of 
rctaliation he was now more than ever inexorably 

jEx. 31] OBSTRUCTION 107 

In 1876 Parnell had already fleshed his sword. In 
the spring of 1877 he regularly opened the obstruction 
campaign. He singled out the Mutiny Bill and the 
Prisons Bill for attaek. Anyone reading ' Hansard ' 
now would see nothing unusual in his proceedings. 
For anything that appears to the contrary, he might 
hâve been influenced by a bonâ-fide désire to improve 
both measures. ' Parnell excelled us ail/ said one of 
his obstructive colleagues, ' in obstructing as if he were 
really acting in the interests of the British legislators.' 
He was cool, calm, business-like, always kept to the 
point, and rarely became aggressive in voice or inanner. 
Sometimes he would give way with excellent grâce, 
and with a show of conceding much to his opponents ; 
but he never abandoned his main purpose, never re- 
linquished his détermination to harass and punish the 
'enemy.' The very quietness of his demeanour, the 
orderliness with which he carried out a policy of dis- 
order, served only to exasperate, and even to enrage, 
his antagonists. One night an Irish member proposed 
that the committee on the Irish Prisons Bill should 
be put off, as the Irish members ' would shortly hâve 
to attend the grand juries at the assizes in Ireland.* 
This was barefaced obstruction. But Parnell would 
hâve none of it. Eising with the dignity of a 
Minister responsible for the despatch of public busi- 
ness, he said : * I think the business of the nation 
should be attended to before local affairs, and therefore 
the attendance at the grand juries is no reason for 
postponing the committee.' Who could charge this 
man with obstruction ? Upon another occasion he 
moved an amendment to the English Prisons Bill. 
Mr. Newdigate (who had sometimes gone into the 
same lobby with him in the divisions on the Bill, for 


Parnell drew his aiBendments with so niuch skill that 
he often caught an English vote) asked him to with- 
draw the amendment. Biggar (who used to say that 
he never withdrew anything) urged Parnell to persé- 
vère ; but Parnell, with much show of grâce, said : 
4 Out of déférence to the committee I will not press 
my amendment, although I consider I shall be doing 
wrong in abandoning it. I must, however, say that 
it is incorrect for any hon. member to say that I am 
chargeable with obstructing the business of the House. 
My opinion on obstruction is that when it is employed 
it should be like the action of the bayonet — short, 
sharp, and décisive/ 

From February 14, when his Bill for facilitating the 
création of a peasant proprietary under the opération of 
the Church Act was rejected, up to April 12 Parnell 
was constantly in évidence, constantly interfering in 
the business of the House, constantly obstructing, 
constantly seeking to turn everything upside down 
with tantalising politeness and provoking tenacity. 
' IIow came Parnell,' I asked one of his obstructive 
colleagues, * to lead you ail in thèse fights ? He was 
not an able speaker, he was déficient in intellectual 
gifts, which many of you possessed, he had little 
parliamentary expérience/ ' By tenacity/ was the 
answer. * Sheer tenacity. He stuck on when the 
rcst of us gave way/ 

* What was Parnell's distinguishing characteristic ? ' 
I asked another of his colleagues who loved him not. 
He answered, ' He was a beautiful fighter. He knew 
exactly how much the House would stand. One night 

I was obstructing. S was near me. He was gene- 

rally timid, afraid of shocking the House. He said : 
" o , you had better stop or you will be suspended." 

.Et. 31] IN REVOLT 109 

" Oh, no," quietly interjected Parnell, who was sitting 
by us, " they will stand a good deal more than this. 
You may go on for another half-hour." I did go on 
for another half-hour or so. Then there was an awful 
row, and I stopped. Parnell had gauged the exact 
limit. Another night I was obstructing again. Parnell 
came in suddenly and said, " Stop now, or there will 
be an explosion in five minutes, and I don't want 
a row to-night." In ail thèse things Parnell was 

It is needless to say that in ail thèse fights Mr. 
Biggar was his right-hand man. It was a rule of 
the House that no opposed business should be taken 
after half-past twelvc at night. Biggar used this rule 
to block every Bill, important or unimportant, which 
was introduced after the prescribed hour. * After 
every order of the day,' wrote the London corre- 
spondent of the ' Liverpool Daily Post ' in March 
1877, ' there is this announcement. " Mr. Biggar : 
That this Bill be read a second time this day six 
months." ' 

Butt was sadly perplexed by the tactics of his two 
unruly lieutenants. He hated obstruction. He believed 
it was discreditable and mischievous. And yet the 
House by its constant rejection of Irish Bills exposed 
itself to this policy of retaliation. Parnell and Biggar 
were not without justification. Butt felt this as well 
as anybody else. Yet he thought, upon the whole, 
that the policy of ' retaliation ' was undignified and 
useless, and that the proper remedy was more con- 
centration on Irish measures and more persistence in 
pushing them to the front. He had, however, this 
difficulty to contend with : the Moderate Home Eulers 
could not be kept up to the collar, the energetic Irish 


members were unruly, the orderly Irish members were 
apathetic. This was Butt's difficulty. While the 
House was smarting under Parnell's attacks, much 
pressure was used by the Moderate Home Rulers and 
by the English members to induce Butt to crush 
him. Parnell was aware of this, but he stuck to 
his guns, and was resolved, in the last resort, to fight 
it out with his leader rather than abandon the policy 
of obstruction. In justice to the young member for 
Meath this much must be said. While in the main 
his object was obstruction pure and simple, yet he did 
introduce some amendments with a sincère désire of 
improving the measures under considération. I will 
give an instance. On April 5 he moved an amendment 
on the Prisons Bill to the effect that any prisoners 
convicted of treason-felony, sédition, or seditious libel 
should be treated as first-class misdemeanants. 'It is 
high time,' he said, 'that an attempt was made to 
remove from England the reproach that she treated 
her political prisoners worse than any other country 
in the world. In France even the Communards, 
who half burnt Paris, and to whoni were attributed 
the most atrocious designs, were not sent to the 
hulks or the galleys, but simply expatriated. When 
history cornes to be written there is nothing for which 
the children of Englishmen now living would blush so 
much as for the treatment of the [Fenian] men con- 
victed in 1865. ... I hope that this Bill when it 
leaves the committee will be so framed that political 
prisoners will not be treated as murderers, démons, 
and culprits of the worst order.' A long debate 
followed, and Parnell ultimately, on the suggestion 
of Sir Henry James, withdrew the words 'treason- 
felony/ retaining the words 'sédition' and 'seditious 

,Et. 81] 'A SCENE' 111 

libel/ and with this altération the clause was added to 
the Bill. 

But there was more of pure obstruction in his 
opposition to the Mutiny Bill on April 12. He, 
Captain Nolan, and Biggar fought many clauses, and 
at length, about twelve o'clock, Biggar moved to 
'report progress.' 'Itwasquite too late,' he said, ' to 
go on with the Bill, as there were several important 
amendments to be proposed.' 

Mr. Gathorne-Hardy. 1 1 hope the committee will 
pass the unopposed clauses.' 

Parnell. * Will the Government undertake to report 
progress when Clause 55 is passed ? ' 

Mr. Gathorne-Hardy. 1 1 propose to take the clauses 
up to Clause 93/ 

Parnell. ' The Government are unreasonable. I 
hâve endeavoured to facilitate business. But an ex- 
ample of obstruction was set the other night by hon. 
members opposite, who would not allow the Bill of the 
hon. member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) to proceed, 
and not only so, but the Government followed their 
disorderly supporters into the lobby/ (Cries of ' Order.') 

The Ghairman. ' The expression just used is cer- 
tainly one that should not be used by hon. members.' 

The unimpassioned page of Hansard gives no notion 
of the state of excitement into which the House (a full 
House) was plunged during this altercation. Most of 
the clauses in question were unopposed. Members were 
impatient, and anxious to get the business through 
quickly. There was really nothing which needed 
serious discussion. But Parnell inexorably blocked 
the way. The House stormed and raged, but the 
member for Meath held his ground defiantly. The 
Moderate Home Eulers were as much shocked at hia 


conduct as any English meinber. Butt was not 
présent. He was sitting quietly in the smoking-room. 
Thither several Irish members hastened to tell their 
leader what was going on, and to urge him to interfère* 
English members came to him too, and implored him 
to save the dignity of Parliament and suppress his 
unnily follower. Butt, after some hésitation, at length 
yielded to thèse importunities, rushed into the House 
flushed with passion and indignation, and pounced on 
the member for Meath. 'I regret,' he said, 'thatthe 
time of the House has been wasted in this misérable 
and wretched discussion. If at this hour of the night 
any member really wished to propose a serious amend- 
ment, I would support the motion to "report progress," 
and so also, I think, would the Secretary for War. But 
when there was no amendment to a number of clauses, 
I must express my disapproval of the course taken by 
the hon. member for Meath. It is a course of obstruc- 
tion, and one against which I must enter my protest. 
I am not responsible for the member for Meath, and 
cannot control him. I hâve, however, a duty to dis- 
charge to the great nation of Ireland, and I think I 
should discharge it best when I say I disapprove 
entirely of the conduct of the hon. member for 

This speech was received with ringing cheers from 
ail parts of the House. But how did the member for 
Meath take his castigation ? He sat calmly, cynically 
by, watching his leader with a placid smile. Well he 
knew that the English cheers which greeted Butt only 
sounded the political death knell of the Home Bule 
leader. No Irishman who had attacked a comrade in 
the face of the ' common enemy,' and because he fought 
the common enemy, could ever again command the 


sympathy of the Fenian organisations; and without 
the help of the Fenians no man could lead the Home 
Eule movement. Butt had allowed himself to be 
carried away by the English cheers, and had for the 
moment thought only of the House of Commons. 
Parnell cared nothing for the House of Commons, and 
thought chiefly of the extrême men in Ireland and in 

Parnell disposed of Butt's oration in a single 
sentence : * The hon. and learned gentleman,' he said, 
• was not in the House when I attempted to explain why 
I had not put down notice of my amendments.' That 
was enough. Butt had attacked him without having 
heard him in justification of his position. Parnell 
knew that the single sentence he had spoken in reply 
would filter through the Fenian mind and would arouse 
Fenian sympathies ; and, as subséquent events proved, 
he did not count without his host. Four days later 
he was again in évidence, obstructing as vigorously 
and persistently as ever. 

On April 16 the Marine Mutiny Bill was under 
considération. Parnell protested against the clause 
dealing with crime punishable by death. He sug- 
gested that there should be some classification of 
offences, and that any offence which did not involve 
any moral depravity, or any injury to an officer, or 
any other person, might be punished by imprison- 
ment with or without hard labour instead of pénal 

Ail his amendments on the Mutiny Bill (Marine 
and Army) and on the Prisons Bill were directed to 
mitigate their severity, and several of them were 
adopted. There was obstruction — plenty of obstruc- 
tion, wilful obstruction — in his tactics ; but I feel I am 

vol. i. i 


doing him only the barest justice in saying that many 
of the amendments were inspired by humane and 
manly considérations. 1 

On June 5 he said, speaking on an amendment 
nioved by Mr. O'Connor Power, that it was unnecessary 
for him to go further into the question, for the com- 
plaints of the Fenian prisoners were fully established 
before the Devon Commission ; but before he sat down 
he wished to say that the Irish people were deeply 
interested in this question, that it was a question on 
which they could go to extremities as they could not go 
on any other Irish question. 

On June 14, 1877, he returned to the subject. He 
reminded the House that the Devon Commission had 
recommended that certain relaxations should be made 
in the treatment of political prisoners, and that they 
should be kept apart from other convicts ; and he 
trusted the Home Secretary would see his way to give 
effect to that recommendation. 

The breach between Butt and Parnell had now 
widened much ; and before the end of May the struggle 
for the mastery had commenced. 

A lengthy correspondence between them appeared 
in the ' Freeman's Journal.' Parnell wrote on April 13 
complaining of Butt's action in the House of Commons 
on the previous day : 2 

1 On the motion of Parnell the following clauses were added to the 
Prisons Bill on June 14, 1877 : ' It shall not be lawf ul for any jailor to 
order any prisoner to be confined in a punishment cell for any term 
exceeding twenty-four hours, nor shall it be lawful for the Visiting 
Conimittee of Justices to order any prisoner to be punished by con- 
finement in a punishment cell for any term exceeding fourteen days.' 
In a case where an inquest is held on the body of a person who dies in 
prison, no person engaged in any sort of trade or de&ling with the 
prison shall be a jnror on such inquest. 1 

3 Ante, p. 112. 


Parnell to Butt 

1 On that occasion I yielded my judgment to your 
opinion upon a matter regarding which full individual 
liberty of action had always been left to each member 
of our party. You will recollect that upon the only occa- 
sion when you suggested that our party should follow 
you on a question of Impérial policy it was, after a long 
discussion, decided that each individual should act for 
himself. I must then, in future, claim for myself that 
liberty of action upon Impérial and English matters 
which has hitherto been granted to every member of 
the party, while I shall continue to follow your lead in 
regard to Irish questions/ 

Butt replied on April 21 in a very long letter, the 
import of which may, however, be gathered from the 
following extracts : 

* If I rightly interpret your letter, I understand you 
to say that, while you owe to me in relation to Irish 
measures that which you are good enough to call 
" allegiance," your conduct in ail Impérial and English 
measures is free from obligation either to me or the 
party in whose ranks you hâve enrolled yourself . . . . 
I must dissent from your view of the relation in which 
each member of our party stands to the rest. 

* The pledge which we take is clear, plain, and 
distinct : 

* " That, deeply impressed with the importance of 
unity of action upon ail matters that can affect the 
parliamentary position of the Home Bule party, or the 
interests of the Home Kule cause, we engage to each 
other and the country to obtain that unity by taking 
counsel together, by making ail reasonable concessions 
to the opinions of each other, by avoiding as far as 

i 2 


possible isolated action, and by sustaining and sup- 
porting each other in the course that inay be deemed 
best calculated to proinote the grand object of self- 
government which the nation has coinmitted to our 

care. ,, 

* This pledge carefully defines the limits of our 
obligations. The application of that engagement to 
our conduct in the House does not dépend upon the 
point whether it relates to Irish or English or Impérial 
questions, but whether it is such as can affect the parlia- 
mentary position of the Home Kule party or the interests 
of the Home Bule cause. In ail matters that affect the 
parliamentary position of the Home Kule party or the 
interests of the Home Kule cause we hâve solemnly 
bound ourselves to avoid setting up any private opinions 
of our own, to defer to the judgment of our colleagues, 
and to sustain and support each other in the course 
that may be deemed best calculated to promote the 
great object we hâve in view. I am sure you will, on 
reflection, see that to limit the effect of this pledge to 
our conduct on Irish measures would be an évasion of 
its plain and direct terms. Were such a construction 
possible, it would reduce the pledge to an absurdity. 
It would enable any professing Home Kule member to 
intrigue with any English party, to give his vote on 
every Impérial or English question to serve the interests 
of the faction of which he might be the minion, and to 
fullil his pledge to his country by voting two or three 
times in the year on questions on which his vote could 
not do his masters any harm.' 

Butt went on to say that he had no objection to see 
Parnell and other Irish members take part in debates 
on English and Impérial affairs, provided they acted 
bond Jide in the public interests. 'But/ he added, ' it 


is impossible not to see that your action in the House 
is considered both by friends and enemies as an 
organised System of policy adopted not for English but 
for Irish purposes, and one which both friends and 
enemies do not hesitate to describe as a policy "of 
obstruction.' ' 

* I feel that I am in a position in which I can judge 
of the effect that is likely to be produced by any 
" policy of obstrue tion." It must tend to alienate 
from us our truest and our best English friends. 

* It must waste in aimless and objectless obstruction 
the time which we might, in some form or other, 
obtain for the discussion of Irish grievances. It must 
expose us to the taunts of being unfit to administer 
even the forms of représentative government, and even 
of discrediting and damaging every movement we 

' But, if I urge thèse grounds of prudence, I am not 
insensible of that which is higher than ail prudence — 
the duty of maintaining before the civilised world the 
dignity of the Irish nation and the Irish cause. That 
will only be done while we respect ourselves and our 
duties to the assembly of which we are members — an 
assembly to dégrade which is to strike a blow at 
représentative institutions ail over the world, a blow 
that will recoil with terrible severity on the very claims 
we make for our own country, but which, whatever be 
its effects, would be unworthy of ourselves and our 

Parneirs reply (which I am also obliged to abridge) 
was written on May 24, 1877 : 

' Your interprétation of the views which I expressed 
in my last letter regarding my obligations to yourself 
(not to the Home Kule party, as you st^te) is not ty 


correct one, and does not accurately convey either the 
expressions used by me or their sensé. I did not say, 
or in any nieasure convey, that my conduct on ail 
Impérial and English measures is free from any 
obligation to the Irish party ; but I did intend you to 
understand that I should préserve my individual liberty 
of action, unfettered by your control, upon those 
English and Impérial questions upon which the Irish 
party are agreed not to act as a party ; while I hâve 
always been ready cheerfully to surrender my own 
opinion to the majority upon any of those questions 
that our party decided to take up. You remark that 
" were the pledge only to embrace our conduct on 
Irish measures " (which I certainly never argued) "it 
would enable any professing Home Eule member to 
intrigue with any English party, to give his vote on 
every English and Impérial question, to serve the 
interests of the faction of whom he might be the 
minion, and to fulfil his pledge to his country by 
voting two or three times in the year on questions 
on which his vote could not do his masters any 

' Now, unfortunately, ail thèse things are precisely 
what many Home Kule members are constantly doing, 
and apparently without remonstrance or even attempt 
at restraint by you. It has been rendered perfectly 
évident by the expérience of four sessions that " any 
professing Home Iiule member may intrigue with any 
English party," either Whig or Tory, and yet bring 
upon himself neither your denunciation nor those of 
that Irish journal which is supposed to be devoted to 
your interests. . . . 

c Now [to go to another point], my clause on the 
Prisons Bill regarding the treatment of the political 


prisoners was supported by ail sections of the English 
Libéral party, and the Government were compelled to 
accept it lest they should be defeated on a division. 
Hère, then, no adverse effect as regards the support of 
Englishmen was produced by my course of action. 
Subsequently, on the Marine and Army Mutiny Bills, 
amendments that I moved were supported by the full 
strength of ail sections of the Libéral party présent, as 
many as 146 and 150 voting for some of the amend- 
ments, although at this very time the English Press 
was teeming with complaints of my " obstruction," and 
you had yourself thought proper to denounce me pub- 
licly in the House on similar grounds a night or two 
previously. Hère again no English votes were lost to 
me owing to my action. Furthermore, by our action 
on the Mutiny Bills I obtained some important re- 
strictions of power to inflict cruel punishments, and 
the Government also agreed to submit thèse Bills to 
the considération of a sélect committee — Bills that for 
many years had been adopted as a matter of course 
almost without discussion. 

' The hours at or after midnight are always reserved 
for Irish Bills, and it is a physical impossibility that it 
could be otherwise. Consequently no action of mine 
can diminish the chances of Ireland obtaining what 
she has never had — a share in the Government time. 
On the other hand, nothing that I hâve done interfères 
with the time at the disposai of private members, as I 
hâve not interfered with measures brought in by such 

' I cannot sympathise with your conclusions as to 
my duty towards the House of Commons. If English- 
men insist on the artificial maintenance of an anti- 
quated institution which can only perform a portion of 


its functions by the " connivance" of those intrusted 
with its working, in the imperfect and defective 
performance of much of even that portion — if the con- 
tinued working of this institution is constantly attended 
with much wrong and hardship to my country, as 
frequently it has been the source of gross cruelty and 
tyranny — I cannot consider it is my duty to connive in 
the imperfect performance of thèse functions, while I 
should certainly not think of obstructing any useful, 
solid, or well-performed work.' 

While this correspondence was going on Parnell 
wrote the following letter to Dr. Kenny with référence 
to the Tipperary élection, then pending : 

' My dear Dr. Kenny, — I do not think 

would be much use. We hâve too many men of his 
stamp already, who consider that they are sent hère 
to make a parliamentary réputation and not to attend 
to the interests of the country. I quite agrée with 
you, it is best to let Mr. Biggar, myself, and others 
work along quietly for the présent. If Butt can only be 
induced to let us alone, we are quite equal to the task 
we hâve set ourselves, which is not a very difficult one. 

* Yours very truly, 

' Chas. S. Parnell.' 

Parnell now resolved to carry on the fight with 
Butt to the bitter end. The Home Rule leader had 
the Moderate Home Rulers at his back. The member 
for Meath relied on the advanced men. The Home 
Rule Confédération of Great Britain — a body influenced 
by Fenians — took him up, and under its auspices he 
addressed public meetings in England and Scotlanc*, 
1 We got Parnell a platform,' said the fou»der of this 


organisation — himself a member of the Fenian brother- 
hood — to nie some years ago ; ' we made him.' It would 
not be accurate to say that the Fenians made Parnell. 
Parnell made himself. But it would be accurate to 
say that in Fenianism he found the lever on which 
his power turned. Hère it will be necessary to add 
a few words about the Home Rule Confédération of 
Great Britain. 

In 1873 a member of the suprême council of the 
I. K. B., whom I shall call X., asked Butt if he 
intended to take any steps for pushing forward the 
Home Rule cause in England. Butt said that he was 
rather puzzled to know what to do ; he was anxious 
to found an English organisation, but afraid that the 
Fenians might smash it. X. said that he did not 
think they would smash it ; that they certainly looked 
suspiciously on Home Rule and disbelieved in parlia- 
mentary agitation, but that nevertheless they would 
not place themselves actively in opposition to Butt. 
It was ultimately agreed between Butt and X. that 
a Home Rule organisation should be formed in 
England ; and X. set to work to form it. He found 
many difficulties in the way. Many Fenians did not 
take kindly to the notion of co-operating with the 
Constitutionalists ; they said that union with the 
Parliamentarians would only weaken their movement. 
The minds of the people would be fixed on parlia- 
mentary agitation and drawn away from Fenianism. 
Parliamentary agitation would end, as it always had 
ended, in failure ; the upshot of the whole business would 
be collapse, both of Fenianism and Constitutionalism. 
X. took a différent view. He said: 'We need not 
give up our own principles by joining the Home 
Rulers. They go part of the way in our direction; 


why not help them so far ? In addition we will stiffen 
their backs by joining them. Hère are the Irish in 
England — a great force ; but absolutely lost at présent. 
It is our policy to make the English feel the présence 
of the Irish everywhere. They don't know what a 
power the Irish can be made in their midst. The 
English only recognise power. We must make our- 
selves troublesome. We can make ourselves trouble- 
some by organising the Irish vote in Great Britain, 
and by forcing the English candidates to take the 
Home Rule pledge. We can control the parliamentary 
movement if we go into it. At ail events, let us 

X.'s arguments at length prevailed among a certain 
number of the rank and file of the Fenians, and 
the Home Rule Confédération of Great Britain was 

Butt had promised to attend the inaugural meeting 
at Manchester. Some of the Modérâtes, however, got 
at him, saying that the association was in the hands 
of the Fenians. He became uneasy, and wrote to 
X. just on the eve of the meeting to say that he 
was afraid he could not attend. X. wired back a 
telegram of nearly 1,000 words, urging Butt not to 
fail, saying that the meeting had been got up on 
the strength of his promise to attend, that dele- 
gates had been summoned from ail parts of Great 
Britain, and that his absence would be nothing short 
of an insuit. Butt subsequently related to X. the 
circumstances under which he received the monster 
telegram : 

* I was in court at the time ; I was addressing the 
judges. The telegram was placed in my hands. I 
opened the envelope — in itself a formidable document 


— and ont tumbled a package the like of which was 
certainly never seen in télégraphie form before. The 
judges looked at it ; everybody looked at it. I said : 
" My lords, will you allow me to read this message ? It 
may be of importance." They said, " Certainly," and 
I sat down and waded through the telegram, turning 
over sheet after sheet, to the amazement of the on- 
lookers. But it was not your arguments that made 
an impression on me— it was the length of the telegram. 
" The man," I said, " who has sent me this telegram of 
1,000 words must be terribly in earnest, and the men 
behind him must be terribly in earnest too," and so I 
sent off a reply to you at once.' Butt's reply was short 
and to the point. ' Shall be with you if I am alive.' 
And so Butt attended the meeting, and the Home 
Eule Confédération of Great Britain sprang into being. 
'Was the Confédération always under the control of 
Fenians ? ' I asked X. ' Always/ he answered. ' They 
were well represented on the council ; our best workers 
and best organisers were Fenians. Of course, there were 
plenty of members who were not Fenians, but the 
Fenians were the masters of the situation.' The Home 
Bule Confédération of Great Britain did excellent work 
for the Home Eule cause in Great Britain. The Irish 
vote was perfectly organised ; the Irish voter was 
made formidable. Every candidate who stood for a 
constituency where the Irish vote was strong had the 
following pledge submitted to him : ' To vote for the 
appointment of a sélect committee to inquire into and 
report upon the motive, extent, and the grounds of 
the demand made by a large proportion of the Irish 
people for the restoration to Ireland of an Irish Parlia- 
ment with power to control the internai affairs of the 


Between 1874 and 1877 several English candidates 
took this pledge and were returned to Parliament. 1 
* Did the candidates who took the pledge really believe 
in Home Kule ? ' I asked X. ' Not at ail,' he said ; ' they 
took it to get the Irish vote. The first rnan who took 
it was Jacob Bright. They wired to him from the 
central Libéral offices in London not to take it, and he 
refused at first. But we held him firm ; " the pledge 
or no Irish vote," we said. Then we went to the Tory, 
Powell, and he took it right off. The Libérais were in 
a devil of a fix ; but Jacob turned round and took 
the pledge too. Then we were in a fix, because as the 
Tory promised first we ought to hâve supported him ; 
but the Irish preferred the Libérais, and they particu- 
larly liked Jacob Bright. Butt came and made a 
speech. He said that as both candidates had taken 
the pledge, the Irish might go for whichever they 
pleased. They voted for Jacob and put him in. Jacob 
was a good fellow, and would just as soon take the 
pledge as not, though of course he wouldn't take it if 
it wouldn't get him in. That's ail that most of them 
thought about — getting in. Wilfrid Lawson and 
Joe Cow T en were exceptions. We had practically no 
influence in Lawson's constituency (Carlisle), but he 
went Home Kule ail the same. He believed in it. We 
had influence in Cowen's constituency (Newcastle),but 
it was not our influence that weighed with Cowen. 
He would hâve voted for Home Eule anyway. He 
was thoroughly Irish in feeling. There was another 
respectable man who took the pledge — Joseph Kay, of 
Salford. He took the pledge at the by-election at 

1 In 1877 the following were the English Home Rulera in the House 
of Couinions: Barran (Leeds), Jacob Bright (Manchester), Gourley 
(Sunderland), Hibbert (Oldham), Sir W. Lawson (Carlisle), Macdonalcl 
(Stafford), Ii. N, Philips (Bury), Cowen (Newcastle), 


Salford in April 1877. Of course we meant Home 
Rule by the pledge. It was the thin edge of the 
wedge. It was as far as we could then go. But I 
don't know that Kay meant Home Rule. He probably 
meant exactly what the pledge said, an inquiry.' 

Joseph Kay, Q.C., was the author of two remarkable 
books, ' Education of the Poor in England and 
Europe,' published in 1846, and ' Social Condition and 
Education in England and Europe/ published in 1850. 
In the latter work Mr. Kay showed a keen appréciation 
of the evils produced by the Irish System of land tenure. 
In fact he was an advanced reformer on ail subjects, 
and felt a deep sympathy for Ireland and the Irish. 
He married, in 1863, the eldest daughter of Thomas 
Drummond, whose administration of Ireland during 
the Melbourne Government (1835-40) has given him 
an abiding place in the affections of the people. As 
X. said, Kay was in favour of an ' inquiry ' pure and 
simple ; he wished to see what would corne of it. He 
was not sure that it would lead to Home Rule ; but he 
did think that it might lead to an examination and 
a removal of Irish grievances which might obviate the 
necessity of Home Kule. However, his supporters in 
Salford and in London thought chiefly of the Irish 
vote. With them the question was to get the Libéral 
candidate in. 

Some extracts from letters written by influential 
Libérais at the time anent the Salford élection will 
make this very clear. Thus, one writes from the 
House of Gommons on April 4 : * I hâve had a con- 
versation this evening about the Home Rulers. It is 
most essential that the promise to vote for Mr. Butt's 
motion should be given cheerfully [by Mr. Kay] and at 
once, as both Mr. Butt and Lord Francis Cunningham 


assure me that such a promise will secure the cordial 
and thorough support of the Irish voters, and without 
such promise, whatever else is said, many will abstain, 
and may possibly, under Bishop Vaughan's influence, 
go to the other side.' 

Another Libéral wrote, on April 6 : 

'I hâve had a long talk with S and J 

to-day. They are both against any promise to the 
Irish faction, but I feel a promise will be necessary if 

y ou are to win. 9 Ultimately S and J agreed 

that it was ' necessary ' for Kay to make the * promise,' 
in order * to win.' 

J himself wrote, oddly enough, on this very 

6th of April, saying : ' I understand that the Irish 
vote is so large that it would be necessary for the 
Libéral candidate to support Mr. Butt's motion for an 
inquiry on the subject of Home Rule. Of course I do 
not know Mr. Kay's views, but I hâve no doubt that 
this difficulty can be overcome.' 

On April 12 another Libéral wrote : ' I think Mr. 
Kay should go in for the inquiry into Home Rule. I 
got that up with Mr. Butt at the Manchester élection, 
and the Tory, Mr. Powell, swallowed it. If it will get 
the Catholic vote I think Mr. Kay should swallow it 
too. It means nothing, and I got it up with Mr. Butt 
for that very reason.' 

Mr. Kay did promise to vote for an inquiry, with 
the approbation of the party managers. But he lost 
the élection. Then the Libérais were, forsooth, 
scandalised, and ascribed his defeat to ' Home Kule 
crotchets.' * London and other newspapers at a dis- 
tance,' wrote a Salford Libéral, * may attribute the 
defeat to the concession to Home Rule. . . . How is 
it that. this burning zeal for putting down Home Rule 

.Et. 31] PARNELL AND X. 127 

crotchets on the part of Libéral newspapers did not 
manifest itself when a Libéral Home Ruler was 
elected for Manchester ? Verily nothing succeeds like 

'Kay lost the seat,' says X., ' by a small majority, 
and then there was a great howl among the Libérais 
against Home Eule. They never howled when Libérais 
got in on the Home Eule ticket ; but the moment 

they lost, then it was the " d d Irish." But we 

stuck to our guns. When Waddy stood for Sheffield 
some time later we made him take the pledge, and put 
him in. Then there was no howl against the Irish. 
We showed them our power. We had to be conciliated, 
and the only way to conciliate us — the only way to get 
the Irish vote — was to take the Home Eule pledge. 
That was the root of the matter.' 

In 1877 the Home Rule Confédération of Great 
Britain was, then, a formidable body, and to it Parnell 
came when his struggle with Butt had reached a crisis. 
X. and the Fenians within the Confédération, 
though warmly attached to Butt, were thoroughly out 
of sympathy with his conciliatory tactics. They 
believed not in soft words, but in hard blows. I hâve 
already said that the Irishman who carries out a 
fighting policy against England in any shape or form 
is bound to command the sympathy of the rank and file 
of the Fenian organisation. 

Throughout 1877 X. saw Parnell frequently in 
London. Parnell said that in order to keep up the fight 
in Parliament he should be supported in the country. 
' You must get me a plat form,' he said to X. in the 
summer of 1877. ' You must organise meetings in 
England. I must show that I hâve something at 
my back. A few men in the House of Commons 

li>8 CHAULES STEWAllt lURXELL [187? 

cannot carry on the struggle alone. We must hâve 
encouragement outside.' X. organised the meetings. 
' In a very short time/ he said, ' I organised thirteen 
meetings. I came to the House of Commons and told 
Parnell. I expected to find him very much pleased. 
But suddenly he looked quite melancholy. "Oh," 
said he, "that will never do." "What will never 
do ? " said I. " Thirteen meetings," said he, with a most 
lugubrious look ; " you will hâve to knock one off or put 
on one. Don't you know thirteen is a most unlucky 
number ? " ' 

On May 29 Parnell addressed what was practically 
a Fenian gathering at Glasgow. Speaking on obstruc- 
tion he said : 

' 1 am satisfied to abide by the décision of the Irish 
people. Are they for peace, and conciliation, or for 
hostility and w r ar? (Cries of " War.") Are you for 
inaking things convenient for England, and for ad- 
vancing English interests ? If so I will bow to your 
décision, but my constituents will hâve to get someone 
else to represent them.' 

On July 2 he was in his place in Parliament, again 
carrying on the war with renewed vigour. The second of 
July was a famous night in the obstruction campaign. 
The House was in Committee of Supply. About mid- 
night Mr. O'Connor Power moved to report progress. 
1 He declined to vote away the public money at such a 
late hour.' This was not quite the mode of obstruction 
Parnell favoured. It was too transparent, and gave no 
opportunity of amending some particular measure so as 
to show T useful results if the charge of obstruction were 
made. Nevertheless, he stood by his colleague. The 
motion was defeated by 128 votes to 8. But the fight 
was kept up. Mr. O'Donnell next moved ' that the 


chairman do now leave the chair.' This motion was 
defeated by 127 to 6. Then Major O'Gorman came to 
the front amid ' strong expressions of disapprobation, ' 
and moved to ' report progress,' and so the battle went on. 
Obstructive motion succeeded obstructive motion, until 
the House was thrown into a fever of excitement and 
anger. At three o'clock in the morning, when the 
obstructives were reduced to five, Parnell, with cha- 
racteristic coolness, asked the Chancellor of the Exche- 
quer what he wanted. ' Does the right hon. gentleman 
want a victory over five Irishmen? What is the 
principle for which he is contending ? ' 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer answered : ' That 
a small minority shall give way to a large majority.' 

But Mr. O'Connor Power, who led the fight, would 
not give way, and the struggle continued. At half-past 
three Mr. Whalley protested that the business of the 
House ought to be carried on 'in the light of day.' 
The House was weary and angry ; but the unconscious 
humour of this appeal was too much. It was a brilliant 
July morning, and the ' light of day ' was streaming in 
through the open windows. The House roared, and 
Whalley succumbed. Mr. O'Donnell rose nearly an 
hour later to protest once more ' against the shame of 
this midnight législation.' The House, however, sat 
on steadily voting down the irrépressible five, who kept 
alternately moving that ' the chairman do report pro- 
gress ' and that ' the chairman do now leave the chair ' 
until 7 a.m., when the Government threw up the sponge 
and left the obstructives triumphant. 

On July 15 Parnell addressed a great meeting at 
Manchester, one of X.'s thirteen, or rather fourteen 
meetings. He said : ' For my part, I must tell you that 
I do not believe in a policy of conciliation of English 

VOL. i. k 


feeling or English préjudices. I believe that you may 
go on trying to conciliate English préjudice until 
the day of judgment, and that you will not get the 
breadth of my nail from them. What did we ever get 
in the past by trying to conciliate thein ? ' 

A Voice. * Nothing except the sword.' (Applause.) 
Pamell. ' Did we get the abolition of tithes by the 
conciliation of our English taskmasters ? No ; it was 
because we adopted différent measures. (Applause.) 
Did O'Connell gain émancipation for Ireland by concilia- 
tion ? (Cries of " No.") I rather think that O'Connell 
in his time was not of a very conciliatory disposition, 
and that at least during a part of his career he was about 
the best-abused Irishman living. (Laughter and loud 
applause.) Catholic émancipation was gained because 
an English king and his Minister feared révolution. 
(Applause.) Why was the English Church in Ireland 
disestablished and disendowed ? Why was some mea- 
sure of protection given to the Irish tenant ? It was 
because there was an explosion at Clerkenwell and 
because a lock was shot off a prison van at Manchester. 
(Great applause.) We will never gain anything from 
England unless we tread upon her toes ; we will never 
gain a single sixpennyworth from her by conciliation.' 
(Great cheering.) 

On July 25 there was another encounter between 
the Irishmen and the Government. The South Africa 
Bill — the Bill for the annexation of the Transvaal — 
was in committee. It was opposed, not only by Parnell 
and his little band, but by some Britisfr members as 
well, notably by Mr. Courtney and M r. Jenkins. On 
this particular night Mr. Jenkins and 'other hon. 
members ' were chargea by Mr. Monk with ' abusing 
the forms of the House.' Mr. Jenkins indiyidually 


repudiated the imputation, and moved that Mr. Monk's 
words ' be taken down.' 

Parnell. 'I second that motion. I think the 
limits of forbearance hâve been passed in regard to 
the language which hon. members opposite hâve 
thought proper to address to me and to those who 
act with me.' Hère the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
somewhat precipitately pounced on Mr. Parnell, and 
moved that his words 'be taken down.' The House 
expected Parnell to withdraw or explain. He would 
do neither. On the contrary, he delivered, amidst con- 
stant interruption, a séries of short, cutting speeches 
which irritated the House, and expressed his own utter 
contempt of the whole proceedings. Sir Stafford North- 
cote watched him carefully to see if, under the excite- 
ment of the moment, he might slip into some incautious 
phrase which would deliver him into the hands of 
his enemies. At last the moment for which the 
Chancellor had anxiously watched arrived. Parnell, 
concluding his remarks with apparent warmth and 
raising his voice ajmost to a shriek, while the assembly, 
wild with passion, surged around him, said : ' As it 
was with Ireland, so it was with the South African 
Colonies ; yet Irish members were asked to assist the 
Government in carrying out their selfish and inconside- 
rate policy. Therefore, as an Irishman, coming from a 
countrythat had experienced to its fullest extent the 
results of English interférence in its affairs and the 
conséquences of English cruelty and tyranny, I feel a 
spécial satisfaction in preventing and thwarting the 
intentions of the Government in respect of this Bill/ 

There was a roar of indignation from ail parts of 
the House as the member for Meath jresunied his seat. 
Sir Staffofd at ojipe arose, amid a salvo pf cheers, 

K 2 


which were repeated again and again as he moved 
' that the words of the hon. member be taken down.' 
The Speaker was sent for. Parnell's words were 
taken down : ' I feel a spécial satisfaction in pre- 
venting and thwarting the intentions of the Govern- 
ment.' The wily rebel had at length been caught 
napping, his coolness had for once deserted him. 
So thought the House, as Sir Stafford moved, amid 
gênerai applause : ' That the hon. member for Meath 
be suspended from his functions of speaking and 
taking part in the debates of the House until 
Friday next.' The Speaker at once called on 
Parnell to ' explain.' Parnell rose, and in his iciest 
manner said that his words had been accurately taken 
down ; though he rather thought that he had used the 
word ' infcerest ' instead of ' satisfaction.' He regretted 
that the whole of his speech was not taken down, as he 
wished to emphasise his condemnation of the Govern- 
ment policy. ' I need not refer to history to support 
the accusation that successive Governments of this 
country hâve always treated those whom they thought 
they could bully and oppress without référence to their 

This was not ' explanation,' it was ' défiance,' and 
the Speaker called Parnell to order. Parneirs whole 
answer was that he condemned the policy of the 
Government, and would persévère in his efforts to 
thwart it. He then withdrew, and taking up a position 
in the gallery looked down on the scène below. He 
soon witnessed the complète discomfiture of the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer and his own absolute triumph. 
It was the Chancellor, not Parnell, who had been 
carried away by the excitement of the moment. Parnell 
had said that he would ' thwart/ not the business of 

jEt. 31] NEW RULES 133 

the House of Commons (which was the meaning attached 
to his words in the gênerai confusion), but the inten- 
tions of the Government — a very différent thing. 

Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen, who had not a particle 
of sympathy with Parnell, put the case clearly before 
the House after Parnell had withdrawn. ' I am sure/ 
said he, ' that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would 
not contend that the member for Meath should be 
punished because he wished to thwart the intentions 
of the Government. ' ' Certainly not,' said Sir Stafford 
with emphasis. The House soon saw the situation. 
Sir Stafford had blundered. Mr. Gathorne-Hardy rose 
immediately to move that the ' debate (on the motion 
to suspend Parnell) be adjourned until Friday.' l The 
motion was carried, and Parnell, escorted by Biggar, 
returned to the House, and resumed his speech on the 
South African Bill just at the point where he had been 
interrupted, as if no thing unusual had occurred. 

On Friday, July 27, Sir Stafford Northcote proposed 
two new rules for dealing with obstruction, the effect 
of which was (1) that a member twice declared out of 
order might be suspended ; (2) that the motion * to 
report progress,' and kindred motions, could only be 
moved once by the same member in the same debate. 
Parnell offered no serions opposition to thèse rules. 
He knew it would be useless. But he made a short 
speech in defence of his own conduct, which may be 
taken as a fair spécimen of his concentrated style of 
argument and gênerai mode of repelling obstructive 

1 1 suppose every newspaper in England contained 
charges of obstruction against me on account of my 
action on the Prisons Bill. But what was the resuit 

1 The debate was never resumed. 


of my action ? Why, it was that more of the clauses 
of the présent Bill bave been proposed and carried by 
me than by ail the Conservative members put together. 
Those clauses were admittedly useful and good ones ; 
and I was told afterwards that if I confined myself to 
moving such amendments or to discussing measures 
in that way, instead of obstructing them, I would be 
filling a good and useful part in the House. Then 
came the discussions on the Mutiny Bill. I ventured 
to propose some amendments in those time-honoured 
institutions, which I suppose hâve not been interfered 
with for a quarter of a century, and again I was told I 
was obstructing. I moved some amendments in com- 
mittee, but, owing to the paucity of attendance, I did 
not get many members to support them — not more 
than 40 or 50. There was also the disadvantage that 
they had been prepared hastily, and that I had not had 
time to get them on paper. I determined therefore to 
move them again on report. This also was obstruction. 
What right had an Irish member to move amendments 
on report which had already been rejected? Again 
I was justified by the results ; for I was supported by 
140 or 150 members, including the whole of the front 
Opposition bench, and including gentlemen who had 
since been loud in charging me with obstruction.' 

Four days after the adoption of the new rules ob- 
struction was carried to an extent hitherto unparalleled 
in the history of the House of Commons. On Tuesday, 
July 31, the HoUse was again in committee on the 
South African Bill. The Government wished to push 
the measure through the committee stage that night. 
The Irishmen were determined to prevent them. About 
5 p.m. Mr. O'Donnell began opérations by moving ' to 
report progressa Parnell supported the motion, saying 


that there was much information that the House yet 
needed on the whole question, and protesting against 
rash législation. Sir William Harcourt quickly joined 
in the fray, interrupting Parnell, charging him with 
deliberate obstruction, and appealing to the House to 
put down the small minority who sought to destroy its 
utility. When Sir William sat down, Parnell said, in 
the most unruffled manner, ' Sir, I will now continue 
my observations.' He was greeted with a perfect storm 
of yells from every part of the House. He paused, 
waited patiently until there w r as a lull, and then went 
on with his remarks. The chairman called him to 
order, but still he persevered with excellent temper and 
great courtesy, complimenting the chairman on the 
fairness of his ruling, but nevertheless showing no 
intention of giving way. Finally the motion ' to 
report progress ' was withdrawn. But other obstructive 
motions rapidly followed, and the House was soon 
thrown into a ferment of disorder. At one stage of 
the proceedings the din was so great that Parnell, 
finding it impossible to conmiand the attention of the 
chairman, walked very coolly from his place below the 
gangway to the table, and there, aniid a lull caused by 
his suprême audacity, resumed his observations. 

Upon another occasion he warned hon. members 
that they were wasting the time of the House in 
entering into personal quarrels, instead of sticking to 
the Bill. 'As for the threats of physical endurance 
held out to me, I can assure the House if hon. members 
divide themselves into relays, my friends l and I caii 
divide ourselves into relays too.' 

At three o'clock in the morning Butt burst in upon 

. » -. 

1 ParneU's force 4 ail told ' numbered five men — Biggar, O'Donnel, 
O'Connor Power, Kirk, and Parnell. 


the scène, denounced the obstructives, and then dis- 
appeared. But the fight went on. At 7 a.m. the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer asked the ininority to 
yield. * They were suffering considérable physical in- 
convenience,' he said, and he recognised the gallantry 
with which the struggle had been carried on. But 
Parnell would not yield. ' The Government are 
bringing up reserve forces,' he said, 'the first niail- 
boat will bring them from Ireland ; atid even in 
London the member for Cavan (Biggar), though now 
peacefully asleep, will soon return like a giant re- 
freshed.' At 7.40 a.m. Biggar re-appeared and informed 
the House that he had had ' a long sleep and a good 
breakfast,' and was ready to carry on the fight à 
outrance. Parnell retired at 8 a.m., but was back again 
at twelve noon, Mr. O'Donnell, Mr. Kirk, Captain 
Nolan, Mr. Gray, and Biggar, having meanwhile 
kept the obstructive flag flying. At twelve Parnell 
pressed the Government to allow progress to be 
reported ; but the Government refused. The fight 
then went on for two hours longer, when at 2 p.m. 
the Bill was passed through committee and the House 
adjourned, having sat continuously for twenty-six 
hours. Through that long sitting there was one 
occupant of the Ladies' Gallery who never deserted 
lier post — Miss Fanny Parnell. 

Parnell was now one of the most universally 
detested men in England. In Ireland and among 
the Irish in Great Britain he was a hero. He had 
flouted the House of Commons, he had harassed the 
Government, he had defied English public opinion. 
Thèse were his claims to Irish popularity. ' The 
Fenians,' said X., ' did not wish public attention 
to be fixed on Parliament. But Parnell fixed it on 


Parliament by fixing it on hiniself . Yet many of our 
people thought that he was simply wasting his time. 
He was a man of energy and resource, that was clear. 
But were not his powers lost in Parliament ? Could 
not his abilities be turned to infinitely better account 
in the Fenian organisation ? So many of our people 
thought. And in fact I was, about this time, deputed 
to ask Parnell to join us. I did ask him. He said 
" No " without a moment's hésitation. He had the 
fullest sympathy with us. He wished our organisation 
to remain intact. He had no désire to interfère with 
us in any way. But he said we ought not to interfère 
with him. He felt that he could turn the parlia- 
mentary machine to good account. He had no doubt 
on the point. He was not disposed to argue the 
question. Ail he would say was that he saw his way 
quite clear. " Hâve patience with me," he said ; " give 
me a trial for three or four years. Then, if I cannot do 
anything, I will step aside. But give me a trial and 
hâve patience with me ! " That was a favourite phrase 
of his, " hâve patience/' ' 

' What was it about Parnell that struck you most ? ' 
X. i His silence. It was extraordinary. One 
was not accustomed to it. AU Irish agitators talked. 
He didn't. He listened with wonderful patience. His 
reserve was a révélation. We used to say : " If ever 
there was a man for a secret society, this is the man — 
he can hold his tongue ! " But I could ne ver discover 
that Parnell had the least notion at any time of joining 
us. That was just what was so remarkable about him. 
He never led any of us to believe that he would become 
a Fenian, and nevertheless he gained a complète ascen- 
dency over us. Why he gained this ascendency nobody 
could very well tell, but that he gained it everyone felt. 


Then he was delightful to do business with : so quick, 
so ready, so clear-headed, and never in doubt about 
anything which ought to be done. He was a great 
man of action.' 

' Was he at this time pleasant, génial, sociable ? ' 
X. ' Pleasant, certainly, but génial, sociable — 
scarcely. Ail the pleasure was in doing business with 
him. He was always at his best when dealing with 
practical questions. In gênerai conversation he drooped. 
I think he hated talking. However, I hâve seen 
Parnell " at play." One evening coming from the 
House of Commons, in April 1877, 1 said : " Mr. Parnell, 
do you ever go to places of amusement?" "Oh, yes, 
sometimes," he said; "would you like to go to any 
place now? " I said, " Yes; let us go to the théâtre." 
" Oh, no," said he, " let us go and see Dan O'Leary 
walk." l And we went to the Agricultural Hall to see 
the walking match between O'Leary and Westoli. 
Parnell took a keen interest in the match, but the 
interest was centred entirely in O'Leary. O'Leary 
won and Parnell was highly pleased. The band struck 
up " God save the Queen " as soon as the match was 
over. " What nonsense ! " said Parnell, " why, it ought 
to be ' God save Ireland ' in honour of Dan O'Leary 
— the man who won. Make them play * God save 
Ireland.' " I said that was impossible ; that it was 
the custom of the country to play " God save the 
Queen" at the end of thèse entertainments. "Oh, 
nonsense ! " said he, " they must compliment the man 
who won, that's only fair. Tell them to play ' God 
save Ireland ' ; explain the reason. Hère, give thein 

1 Dan O'Leary was a native of Cork and a naturalisée! citizen of the 
United States. In April 1877 there was a great walking match between 
him and Weston (an American), at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, for 
10002., or 500/. aside. The match lasted six days and O'Leary won. 

.Et. 31] ' AT PLAY ' 139 

thèse twô sovereigns." Well, I laughed at the notion; 
but he was So earnest that I went ofif to the band. 
The bàndmaster was a German. I did not ask him 
to play " God save Ireland," for I knew he would not 
understand it. But I asked hiin to play " Tramp, 
tramp, tramp, the boys are marching," which is the 
same tune. He said : " Oh, now we hâve played ' God 
save the Queen ' it is ail over." I explained to him that 
" Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching " was 
very appropriate, and that O'Leary, who had won, was 
anxious to hear it. The German smiled at this, and 
seemed to think there was something in it. At the 
same time I slipped four sovereigns into his hand (two 
from niyself as well as Parnell's two), and the band 
immediately struck up "Tramp, tramp," &c, to the 
delight of Parnell and to the bewilderment of everybody 
else. I remember Sir John Astley was there, and he 
was very vexed.' 

' Had Parnell any sensé of humour ? ' 

X. 'Oh, yes, he had, but it was very peculiar. 
He would never laugh at the ordinary good story. In 
fact, you never could tell what would exactly amuse 
him. Certain things used to tickle him very much, 
though other people used not to see much fun in them. 
For instance, John Barry and Garrett Byrne, two of 
the stoutest men of the Irish party, were "paid ofif" 
on one occasion to " schedule " the distressed districts. 
Parnell used to smile immoderately at this (he never 
laughed outright). "Look," he would say, "at the 
tellers for the distressed districts," and he would enjoy 
the joke very quietly to himself. His face used quite 
to beam at the idea when he would see Barry or 
Byrne, fat and well favoured, walking across the lobby. 
There was a f armer in County Wicklow named Codd — 


Nicholas Codd ; he was popularly called Nicky Codd. 
He had a -dispute with his landlord. He offered the 
landlord a reduced rent, which the landlord would not 
accept. An ambassador was sent to Nicky to see if a 
compromise could be arrangea. " But suppose, Mr. 
Codd/' said the ambassador, "that the landlord insists 
on not accepting your offer, is tHere not some alterna- 
tive." " Yes," said Nicky, " there is." The ambassador 
was satisfied. He thought that they would at length 
arrive at a modus vivendi. " What is the alternative, 
Mr. Codd?" said he. " He may go to hell," said 
Nicky. I told this story to Parnell and it tickled him 
greatly. Afterwards, whenever he was engagea in 
negotiations himself, and whenever he made an offer 
which was refused, he would say, " Very well ; they 
can take Nicky Codd's alternative." Nicky Codd's 
alternative became quite a saying of his/ 

Another informant, one of Parnell's obstructive 
colleagues in the House of Commons, corroborâtes, 
more or less, X.'s statement about Parnell's 'social 
qualities.' This gentleman also said that Parnell was 
rather ' pleasant than génial, or sociable, though he 
always had a charm of manner which made him a 
most agreeable companion. We [the obstructives] used 
to dine together at Gatti's in the Strand. He certainly 
did not contribute much to the " fun " of the meeting. 
He never told a good story, he was not a good con- 
versationalist in any sensé, but he was appréciative 
and a splendid listener. We ail talked around him, 
and he seemed to enjoy the conversation while taking 
little part in it. He was only " on the spot " when 
something had to be done. One evening he and I 
were walking along Oxford Street (I think). We passed 
a music-hall. He looked at the people going in and 


said : " Let us go in to this place," and we went in. 
But he took little interest in the performance. He sat 
down in a dreamy state and seemed to me to be half 
asleep most of the time. But an acrobat soon appeared, 
and Parnell suddenly woke up. He watched this man 
ail the while, then said to me, " Now, why should that 
man be tumbling about on the stage and I sitting hère ? 
Why shouldn't I be on the stage and he hère ? Chance, 
just that. You see everything is chance." 

' This seemed to show the démocratie strain which 
ran through the Parnells' character. Aristocratie and 
autocratie as he was, he couldn't recognise anything 
but chance in the arrangement of things. The accident 
of birth was everything.' 

Parliament was prorogued on August 14. No 
measure of any importance had been passed for Ireland. 
Another year of failure had been added to the record 
of the Parliamentarians. 

Land, éducation, franchise, ail questions great and 
small were left unsettled; while, as for Home Rule, 
the ' Times ' l well expressed English public opinion on 
the subject in the following contemptuous sentences : 

4 Parliament will not, cannot grant Home Rule. 
The mère demand for it lies beyond the range of 
practical discussion. The utmost favour which the 
House of Commons can show to its advocates is to 
listen to them with patience and courtesy once a year.' 2 
England would not legislate for Ireland, nor allow 
Ireland to legislate for herself ; that was the situation. 

■ Times, April 20, 1877. 

* Bntt's annual motion for an inquiry into the nature, extent, and 
grounds of the demand for Home Baie was rejeoted in 1877 (April 24) 
by 417 to 67 votes. The following English members voted for the 
motion : Barran (Leeds), Jacob Bright (Manchester), Gourley (Sunder- 
land), Hibbert (Oldham), Lawson (Carlisle), Macdonald ( Staff ord). 
Philips (Bury), Cowen (Kewcastle). 


The Irish people were steadily losing faith in parlia- 
mentary agitation ; but they watched the career of 
Parnell with interest and curiosity. What would 
become of hini ? Would he remain in Parliament or 
would he glide into révolution ? That was the question 
which many men in Ireland asked themselves in 1877. 

On August 25 Parnell and Biggar attended a great 
meeting at the Botunda, Dublin. ' About this tirne/ 
says one who was présent, ' it was a question among 
advanced men whether Parnell or Biggar would take 
foremost place. The Botunda meeting settled it. The 
gathering was practically got up by the Fenians. 
Biggar and Parnell both spoke. Biggar made a very 
long speech and produced no effect'. 

* Parnell then came forward. He made a* short, 
quiet speech, badly delivered ; but it produced great 
effect. We said, talking the matj;er over afterwards : 
" Biggar has said ail he had to say, but Parnell h as 
barely opened his niind to us ; there is a lot behind." ' 

Nevertheless, Parnell stated his views with charac- 
teristic clearness, and in the language best suited to 
the audience he addressed. ' I care nothing/ he said, 
' for this English Parliament and its outcries. I care 
nothing for its existence, if that existence is to 
continue a source of tyranny and destruction to my 

On September 1 the most remarkable event which 
had yet taken place in the life of Parnell occurred. On 
that day the Home Rule Confédération of Great Britain 
held their annual meeting at Liverpool. I must again 
fall back on X. for an account of what happened : 
1 Butt was at this time our président, but many of our 
people had lost confidence in him. We ail were 
warmly attached to him ; for he was one of the most 

iET. 31] TU E OLD POL1CY r. THE NEW 143 

génial and affectionate of men. Then he had defended 
the Fenian prisoners, and had afterwards thrown 
himself heart and soûl into the amnesty movement. 
But his conciliatory tactics in the House of Comraons, 
his submission to the House of Commons, his déférence 
to English opinion and feeling, made us distrust him ; 
not his earnestness, not his anxiety to do the best for 
Ireland, but his power to effect anything. He was 
courting English opinion, instead of leaning on us. We 
thought his policy hopeless. We believed ail the time 
that you could get nothing out of England but by 
fighting her, by showing her we were a power, and 
that if she did not grant our demands we could and 
would do her harm. The Irish voters in England had 
forced English candidates to take the Home Rule 
pledge. It was not love of us ; it was not belief in 
Home Rule ; it was simply the knowledge that they 
could not do without us. Well, Butt was really 
ignoring ail that. He talked in the House of Commons 
as if he could, by mère reason and éloquence, persuade 
the English to give a Parliament to Ireland. Why, it 
was nonsense. Parnell's tactics were very différent. 
He did not believe in talk. He did not waste time in 
argument. He thought only of one thing (as the 
Yankees say), twisting the tail of the British lion. 
That was the true policy. But it was not the policy 
of Isaac Butt. 

' Well, as the time for holding the meetings of the 
Confédération came round I saw Parnell, and discussed 
the situation with him. He said to me one night : " I 
think there must be quite a new departure in our 
party. We are only at the beginning of an active 
forward policy ; but ij; must be pusfred to extrêmes. A 
few men in the House of Commons can do nothing 


unless they are well supported in the country. Some- 
thing striking must be done. Your organisation must 
do something striking. You must show plainly you 
mean to stand by the active men in the House of 
Commons." That was ail he said, but it was enough. 
" Something striking must be done." I well remember 
how he said thèse words ; what suppressed energy 
there was in the voice and manner of the man, and 
what a strange voice. And how the words used to be 
forced, as if they were too precious to be parted with — 
" Something striking must be done " — with outstretched 
hands and clenched fists, and eyes that went through 
you ail the time. Well, I left Parnell, determined that 
Butt should be deposed, and that Parnell should become 
président of the Confédération. That was the most 
" striking thing" I could think of. It was very painful. 
I was very fond of Butt. He was himself the kindest- 
hearted man in the world, and hère was I going to do 
the unkindest thing to him. I had brought him into 
the association, I had made him président, and hère 
was I now going to dépose him. But Parnell's words, 
" Something striking must be done," rang in my ears, 
and I felt he was right. But it was a sad business ail 
the same. The meeting took place in September. 
There was a great gathering. Of course the Fenians 
bossed the show, and they were determined to a man to 
make Parnell président. Butt was there, Parnell was 
there, everyone was there. And what a contrast 
between Butt and Parnell ! Butt with his léonine head, 
his beaming face, his sparkling eyes, and the merry 
laugh which used to ring out so cheerily and musically. 
Parnell, cold and reserved, dignified and almost austère. 
" My dear fellow, delighted to see you," Butt would 
say, and he would almost take you into his arms. How 

/Et. 31] A CRISIS 145 

différent Parnell's " How do you do, Mr. ?" with 

a handshake which was warm though hard, and a smile 
which was sweet and gracious; you felt there was a 
gulf between you and him. It was différent with Butt. 
You felt he brought himself down to your level. You 
forgot his genius in his pleasant homely ways. But 
Parnell never descended. No matter how farniliar he 
might be, he kept the distance always between himself 
and you. He was always encased in steel. Well, the 
hour of business came. One of the first items on the 
agenda was the élection of président. Parnell was 
proposed and seconded, and elected by acclamation. 
There was no competitor. The whole thing was done 
in a quiet business-like way, as if it were a mère matter 
of form. I looked at Butt. There was no mistaking 
his feelings. He felt the blow keenly. He rose, after 
a little time, and said that he was obliged to go to 
Dublin on urgent matters of business, and hoped that 
the meeting would excuse his absence. He then 
retired. I followed him from the hall. There was no 
blinking the fact — he was greatly pained by what had 
happened. I determined to tell him frankly the reason 
why we had chosen Parnell — that we wanted an ad- 
vanced policy, and that Parnell was the man to carry 
it out. I came up with Butt near the door. " Mr. 
Butt," I said, " I am very sorry for what has happened, 
but it could not be helped." He turned round; his 
eyes were filled with tears, as he said in the most 
touching way, "Ah ! I never thought the Irish in 
England would do this to me." Well, my voice stuck 
in my throat. I couldn't say anything. Butt took my 
hand in both his, pressed it, and rushed off. There 
was not a bit of malice in the man. He was full of 
sorrow, but I do not think he was angry with anyone. 
vol. i. L 


I went back to the meeting. Parnell was there, look- 
ing like a bit of granité. But no one could help 
thinking he was the man to fight the English ; he was 
so like theinselves, cool, callous, inexorable, always 
going straight to the point, and not caring much how 
he got there, so long as he did get there. There was 
one thing about Parnell on which the Fenians believed 
they could rely, his hatred of England. They felt that 
that would last for ever.' 

The élection of Parnell as président of the Home 
Kule Confédération of Great Britain was the turning- 
point in his career. The Irish in England and Scotland 
had practically passed a vote of censure on Butt, had 
practically endorsed the policy of Parnell. ' The Irish 
in Great Britain,' Parnell said to X., 'must take the lead. 
It is easier for the advanced men to push forward 
hère than in Ireland. Ireland will follow.' 

* How did he corne to rely on the Fenians ? How 
did he know anything about them ? ' 

X. * How did he know anything ? By instinct. 
He knew nothing of the détails of Fenianism. He 
hated détails— ail détails. But he knew that Fenians 
were men who had run risks, and were ready to run 
risks again. 

' A Constitutionalist was a man who was ready to 
go into Parliament for Ireland. A Fenian was a man 
who was ready to go into pénal servitude for Ireland. 
Parnell grasped that fact. He felt the Fenians were 
the men to drive the ship, but he wanted to steer her 
himself. That was about the state of the case. Of 
course many of the Fenian leaders did not want to 
drive the ship for Parnell, but the rank and file of the 
Fenians did. They believed that Parnell would not 
steer the ship into an English port, and that he would 


steer her into an Irish port, and perhaps a port not fàr 
from the one of their choice.' 

The following incident, related to me by an officiai 
of the Home Kule Confédération of Great Britain, fehbws 
how from the beginning Parnell kept in touch with the 
advanced men. ' The first time I saw Parnell was 
in 1875 — the time of the O'Connell centenary. The 
members of the Confédération resolved to attend the 
Dublin démonstration in honour of O'Connell. We 
came in great force from Liverpool, Manchester, and 
other northern towns. On arriving in Dublin, I was 
deputed to call on the Dublin organisers and to arrange 
for the place which our men should take up in the pro- 
cession. I waited on a gentleman whose name I noW 
forget. He met me very bluntly and said, " Oh, we are 
not going to give a place in the procession to Fenians." 
I replied : " We are not Fenians. We represent the 
Home Eule Confédération of Great Britain, and surely 
we ought to hâve a place." But he would not givè wày. 
Of course there were Fenians amongst us, and there were 
a good many Fenian sympathisers ; we apprëciâted 
the earnestness and grit of the Fenians, and we 
sympathised with the men who had suffered for Ire- 
land. But the majority of the men who came froiti 
England were not, so far as I know, sworn Fenians. 
I came back and told our people what had happened, 
how we had been refused a place in the procession. 
" Oh ! " said they, " very well ; if they do not give ils a 
place, we will take one ourselves." Accordingly, when 
the day came we formed in order with our cars and 
banners, and took up a position in advance of every- 
body else — in fact, we headed the procession — and 
marched forward. Some of the Dublin organisers 
were much annoyed, and very foolishly told the coal- 

L 2 


portera to dislodge us. The coal-porters generally had 
the place of honour in thèse processions sinceO'Conneirs 
time. In fact they used to be called "O'Connell's 
bodyguard." Well, so far as we were concerned we 
did not want a front place ; we dropped into the place 
as much by accident as anything else. The coal- 
porters came forward in great numbers. When they 
saw us with our banners flying, " Liverpool Home 
Rule Branch," " Manchester Home Rule Branch," 
and so forth, and at the head of ail an amnesty car 
with the words '*Freedom for the Political Prisoners," 
they simply cheered us and fell in, in the rear. 
Then P. J. Smyth — as a protest, I suppose, against 
our insubordination — swooped down on us with a 
number of men, and eut the traces of the amnesty car, 
and drove off the horses. Then I saw Parnell for the 
first time. He dashed to the front with a number 
of others — O'Connor Power was there and a lot 
more — and they seized the traces and dragged the car 
forward themselves, while we ail cheered heartily. 
We then got. to the place in Sackville Street where 
the centenary address was to be delivered. Lord 
O'Hagan had written the address. But we objected 
to his reading it. We said O'Hagan was a Whig, 
and the proper person to address us was Butt, the 
Home Rule leader. Butt could not be found, where- 
upon [X.] went off and discovered Butt at the Impérial 
Hôtel, brought him along at once, and then he 
addressed us from the platform. So altogether the 
Irish in England asserted themselves pretty firmly. 
But we had plenty of sympathisers in Dublin. The 
Dublin Fenians and the Fenians from the country 
of course stuck by our Fenians. Afterwards we 
adjourned to the Impérial Hôtel, where we ail talked 


over the day's doings. Parnell was at the Impérial 
Hôtel too, but he did not talk. Everybody talked but 
him. He seemed to be a shy, diffident, gentlemanly 
young fellow. Looking at him in the room at the 
Impérial you would never think that he would hâve 
flung himself into the work at the amnesty car as 
he did/ 

During September Parnell addressed several meet- 
ings in Great Britain and Ireland, dealing chiefly with 
the question of obstruction. In thèse speeches he never 
failed to impress on his hearers the necessity for 
parliamentary action — vigorous parliamentary action. 
He never hesitated to tell the Fenians that there must 
be parliamentary agitation. He never hesitated to 
tell the Constitutionalists that outside Parliament 
there must be forces to co-operate with the men 
within. ' The followers of Mr. Butt,' he said at Burs- 
lem in Staffordshire on September 8, ' say we must 
behave as the English members behave ; in fact, we 
must be Englishmen. We must go into English 
society and make ourselves agreeable, and not cause a 
ruffle on the smooth sea of parliamentary life, lest we 
forget our position as gentlemen and as members of 
the British House of Commons. Mr. Biggar and 
myself, however, think that that is a wrong view to 
take, and that it is better for us always to remember 
that we are Irish représentatives.' At Kilmallock, on 
September 17, he sounded another note : ' We none of 
us can do any good unless the Irish people stand 
behind us ; but if the people stand behind us I care 
nothing for the threats of the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer — thèse funny old womanish threats ; I care 
not for the threats of any Englishman. We shall 
show them that with the Irish people at our backs we 


shall ineet their threats with deeds.' At Greenock, on 
September 22, where the Fenians were in force, he 
declared : ' We must carry out a vigorous and energetic 
policy in the House of Commons. If that be done, 
then I believe we hâve a power in Parliament of which 
few men hâve any notion.' Addressing a meeting of 
his own constituents, where Fenians were not strongly 
represented, on September 24, he said : ' I think that 
opposition to English rule is best which is most felt. 
. . . O'Connell gained Catholic émancipation outside 
the House of Commons. . . . No amount of éloquence 
could achieve what the fear of an impending insurrection, 
what the Clerkenwell explosion and the shot into the 
police van, had achieved.' 

In October there was a conférence of Irish members 
in the City Hall, Dublin. Hère Butt denounced ob- 
struction with impassioned éloquence, and singled out 
Parnell for spécial animad version. 

Parnell replied briefly and quietly. He said he did 
not care whether his policy was called a policy of 
obstruction or not. There was no value in a name ; it 
was a policy of energy and earnestness, and that was 
w r hat the Irish people wanted. Mr. O'Connor Power 
and Mr. A. M. Sullivan, two éloquent speakers, de- 
fended the * forward ' policy at greater length. Indeed, 
Parnell left the talking to them. 

Parnell now felt he had many of the rank and file of 
the Fenians at his back, and he believed that the future 
was with them. Butt's policy of conciliation only 
helped to estrange Fenian sympathisera and to under- 
mine the influence of the Home Kule leader. 

In December an event fraught with important 
results in the development of Parnell's relations with 
the Fenians occurred. Michael Davitt, a Fenian 

;Et. 31] MICHAEL DAVITT 151 

convict, was released from Dartmoor Prison. Davitt 
was born near Straide, in the County Mayo, in 1846. 
When he was quite a child his parents emigrated to 
England, settling at Haslingden, near Manchester. 
There Davitt grew up. He attended a Wesleyan 
school in the town, entered a factory (where he lost 
his right arm, which was caught accidentally in 
the machinery), became in turn an assistant letter- 
carrier, a bookkeeper in the post office, a commercial 
traveller, and finally joined the Fenian organisation in 
1870. He was tried at Newgate for treason-felony, 
found guilty, and sentenced to fifteen years' pénal servi- 
tude. Seven years and seven months of this sentence 
he endured. He was then, on December 19, 1877, 
released on ticket-of-leave. 1 He immediately rejoined 
the organisation, and ultimately became a member of 

1 Davitt had been engaged in collecting arms, and sorne 14,000 
rounds of revolver cartridges and 400 Snider rifles were traced to him. 
Apropos of Davitt's release, the officiai of the Home Rule Con- 
fédération whom 1 hâve already quoted told me the following incident : 
4 There was a local Home Rule association called the " Westminster Home 
Rule Union." It was an association for the " respectable " members of the 
organisation who did not like to rub shoulders with Fenians and Fenian 
sympathisers. Of course, at the central office we were glad of the asso- 
ciation; every association in league with us helped. One night 
I was at a meeting of the Westminster Union. Suddenly a Fenian 

named C popped in his head rather mysteriously, and popped it out 

again without saying anything. He returned in about ten minutes, and 
brought in a dark, delicate-looking young fellow of about thirty with 
him. "Hère," he said, without any ceremony, "is Michael Davitt, who 
has just been released from Dartmoor." WeÙ, the " respectables " were 
in a fix. They couldn't turn Davitt out, so they asked him to sit 

down. He and C stopped for about twenty minutes, and then 

went away. When they were gone some of the members of the Union 

said : " What the devil does that fellow G mean by coming in hère 

and bringing this Davitt with him ?" I said : " You need not turn up 
your nose at a man who has suffered seven years' pénal servitude for 
Ireland whether you agrée with him or not." They simply sneered. 
However, before many weeks thèse gentlemen were on the same platform 
with Davitt, and were loud in their praises of the man who had " suffered 
for Ireland." You see that is the way Fenianism oolours our political 
movements and influences the most constitutional of us.' 


the suprême council. Three other Fenians were re- 
leased about the same time as Davitt — Sergeant 
McCarthy, Corporal Chambers, and John P. O'Brien. 
On January 5, 1878, ail three returned to Ireland. 
They were met on their arrivai at Kingstown by 
Parnell, O'Connor Power, and others. 

The men received a great ovation on reaching 
Westland Row, and with the cheers for the ' political 
prisoners ' were mingled cheers for ' Parnell/ 

Parnell invited the four men to breakfast at Mor- 
rison's Hôtel, where a tragic scène occurred. As 
Sergeant McCarthy, who had suffered much in prison, 
entered the room he was seen to grow faint and stagger. 
He was immediately helped to a sofa, where, in a few 
minutes, he died. Parnell was much shocked, but the 
tragedy served to increase the respect and sympathy 
which he always felt for those who did and dared for 
Ireland. McCarthy, like many another Fenian, had 
risked ail, and lost ail, for the faith that was in him. 

2En. 32] 153 



On January 14 and 15, 1878, another Home Rule con- 
férence was held in Dublin, in the hope of closing the 
widening breach between Butt and Parnell. 

Butt once more condemned the policy of obstruction, 
and Parnell once more defended it. An extract from 
the speech of each will suffice. 

Mr. Butt. 'I took the liberty some time ago at 
Limerick to lay down what I believed was the policy 
to pursue, and that was to make an assault ail along 
the whole line of English misgovernment, and to bring 
forward every grievance of Ireland, and to press the 
English House of Commons for their redress ; and I 
believed, and believe it still, that if once we got liberal- 
minded Englishmen fairly to consider how they would 
redress the grievance of Irish misgovernment, they 
would corne in the end to the conclusion that they had 
but one way of giving us good government, and that 
was by allowing us to govern ourselves.' 

Parnell. 'If I refrain from asking the country 
to-day, by the voice of this conférence, to adopt any 
particular line of action, or any particular policy, or to 
put any definite issue in référence to it before this con- 
férence, I do so solely because I am young, and can 
wait ~ 


But t. 'Hear, hear.' 

Parnell. 'And because I believe the country can 
also wait, and that the country which has waited so 
long can wait a little longer. Mr. Butt has very fairly 
explained the policy that he has carried out during the 
three or four years that this Parliament has lasted, and 
he has pointed to his speech at Limerick, in which he 
described his policy as one which was designed to make 
an attack on the whole line of English misgoverninent 
in Ireland by laying bare the grievances under which 
Ireland suffers. He has also told us his belief that if 
he made it clear to Englishmen that we did really suffer 
under many unjust laws, that he would be able to induce 
fair-minded Englishmen to direct their attention to the 
redress of thèse grievances, and that he would be able 
to persuade them that the best way to redress our 
grievances would be to leave us to redress them our- 
selves. Now I gladly agrée with Mr. Butt that it is 
very possible, and very probable, that he would be able 
to persuade a fair-minded Englishman in the direction 
that he has indicated ; but still I do not think that the 
House of Commons is mainly composed of fair-minded 
Englishmen. If we had to deal with men who were 
capable of listening to fair arguments there would be 
every hope of success for the policy of Mr. Butt as 
carried out in past sessions ; but we are dealing with 
political parties who really consider the interests of 
their political organisations as paramount, beyond every 
other considération.' 

This conférence led to no practical results. Parnell, 
backed by the advanced men, stood to his guns, and 
Butt, ill-supported by the Modérâtes and broken in 
health, gradually gave up the struggle. Indeed, before 
the end of the year 1878 the young member for Meath 


was virtually master of the situation. Almost im- 
mediately on the meeting of Parliament the Govern- 
ment took up the question of obstruction, and appointed 
a sélect committee to inquire into the subject of public 
business. Humorously enough, Parnell was placed 
on this committee. The chief criminal was not put 
into the dock ; he took his seat among the judges, and 
from that vantage ground he cross-examined with 
much shrewdness and skill the Speaker, the Chairman 
of Committees, and other high authorities on parlia- 
mentary procédure. The sittings of the committee 
lasted from March until July, when a report was 
prepared on which the Government took action early 
in 1879. 

Parnell drafted a report of his own, which, however, 
the committee refused to accept. In this report the 
member for Meath (inter alia) said : ' The Committee 
cannot shut their eyes to the fact that the House is com- 
posed of several différent nationalities who sympathise 
little with the aspirations, and who understand less of 
the affairs, of each other. Considérable friction, heat, 
and ill-feeling is frequently engendered by the inter- 
férence of members belonging to one nationality in 
the affairs of the others, with the resuit of delay, loss 
of time, and obstruction to the gênerai progress of 
business. In addition, the affairs of Ireland and India 
are neglected, and the représentatives of thèse two 
countries, if they attend the sittings of the House, find 
themselves in a position of enforced idleness, unless they 
occupy themselves with English affairs and so incur 
the risk of the ill-will of the majority of the House.' 

Leaving the question of obstruction, I must now 
turn to Parnell's relation with Fenians during the year 
1878. We hâve seen how X. formed the Home Kule 


Confédération of Great Britain, drew some of the 
Fenians into it, and made Parnell président. The 
difficultés which X. had to encounter from the begin- 
ning in reconciling Fenianism with Parliamentarianism 
in any shape or form much increased in 1878. I shall, 
however, let him tell his story in his own way : 

1 1 was always opposed by a party on the suprême 
council who wished to hâve nothing whatever to do 
with the Parliamentarians. They wished the Fenians 
to remain within their own lines, to go on collecting 
arms, drilling, keeping alive the separatist spirit, 
watching, waiting, preparing. They believed in a 
policy of open warfare. Parliamentarianism, they said, 
was bound, sooner or later, to undermine the secret 
movement. I had no objection to the policy of open 
warfare, but open warfare seemed a long way off, and 
hère was a new field of activity, which ought not to 
be neglected. Our great idea was to keep the spirit 
of nationality alive. This could always be done by 
fighting England. In Parnell we had a man who 
hated England, and who was ready and able to fight 
her at every available point. I thought that such a 
man ought to be given his head. He had asked for a 
fair trial, and I felt he was entitled to it. However, 
in the spring of 1878 there was a crisis. 

' The suprême council — which was the governing 
body of the Fenians on this side of the Atlantic — 
consisted of eleven members. It is an open secret 
that Kickham was a member of the suprême council, 
and the most important man among us. Well, 
Kickham was dead against any alliance with the 
Parliamentarians. He believed that contact with 
thcm was demoralising, and that Parliamentarianism 
was nothing more nor less than an Anglicising influ- 



3, In fact he did not think that the question was 
lable. It is also an open secret that Biggar and 
in were membera of the suprême council. The 
îi namea hâve not transpired, and accordingly 
oot be published. In 1878 Kickhani and those 
) thought with him determined to take action. 
:y brought forward a resolution pledging the council 
lever ail connection with the parliamentary party. 
s resolution wae carried by a majority of one. I 
aediately resigned. I said that I did not agrée 
i the décision of the council, and as I wished to 
e a free hand I would retire. Biggar agreed with 

but refused to resign. Parnell advised him to 
gn. He said, " No, sir, I never withdraw from any- 
ig. Let them expel me." Theydidexpel him. They 
i expelled Egan, and othera who voted with me. I 

Parnell and told him wbat I had done. He said 
ited quite rightly ; that I could not very well remain 
îember of a body from which I had differed on a 
linal point.' 

' Which would be the more accurate thing to say : 
t the Feniana helped, or did not help, the Parnell 
/ement, so called, in the years following 1878? ' 
X. ' Oh, helped, certainly. The heada of the I. K. B. 
e against Parnell, but many of the ranb and file 
it with him. That was just the cleverneBS of the 
i. He appreeiated the energy and earneatness of 

Feniana, but turned theae qualîtiea to the account 
lia own movement. He did not try to weaken the 
a of Fenianism, but he diverted it into a channel 
lia own chooBing. Had he attempted to break up 
lianism he woiild hâve gone to piecea. He therefore 
it on it ; he walked on the verge of treaaon-felony, 

so won the hearts of many of the rank and file. 

Mi. 82] THE CLAN-NA-GAEL 159 

Because Fenianism had held aloof from them. The 
land question was a vital question ; the Fenians should 
not leave it wholly in the hands of the Constitutionalists. 
Every man would not become a Nationalisa because 
nationality was a high idéal. Most people were not 
influenced by high ideals. They were influenced by 
selfish considérations, and thèse considérations had, 
unfortunately, to be worked upon. If the Fenians 
helped the farmers, the farmers would help the Fenians. 
By co-operating, then, with the ' open movement,' by 
mingling in the public life of the country, by directing 
the current of agitation into channels favourable to 
Fenian expansion, the cause of nationality would best 
be served. Let the Fenians go into the constitutional 
movement and keep it on national lines. That was the 
true policy to follow. 

'In the spring of 1878 one of the heads of the 
Clan-na-Gael, being in London, desired to bring about 
a meeting between Parnell and some of the Parliamen- 
tarians, and himself and some of the most influential 
among the Fenians. The meeting took place at the 
Clan-na-Gael man's lodgings in Craven Street, Strand. 
There were présent Parnell, an Irish member (who, it 
may as well be said, was selected by the Fenians 
because he had never been a Fenian and was not open 
to the fatal fault in their eyes of having taken two 
conflicting oaths), the chief officiai of the suprême 
council, one of the three most prominent Fenians then 
living, and, of course, the Irish-American gentleman 
himself. What occurred that night was shortly this. 
Parnell was mostly silent, but certainly impressively so. 
The Fenian officiai scarcely spoke at ail, and the Clan- 
na-Gael man said but little. Ail the talking, roughly 
speaking, was done by Parneirs colleague and the 


prominent Fenian, with the resuit that after much 
argument things remained very much as they had been 
at the beginning, the M.P. producing little or no effect 
upon the possibly too uncompromising Fenian, and the 
Fenian probably producing no effect whatever on the 
M.P. In fact the chasm between them was too wide 
to be overleaped. What effect either, or anything that 
occurred, produced upon Parnell it would be hard to 
say ; but most certainly Parnell, silent as he was, and 
possibly somewhat because of his silence, produced a 
very great effect upon everyone présent. The Clan-na- 
Gael man met the M.P. some days after, and, no doubt, 
Parnell more than once. The prominent Fenian also had 
a long talk with Parnell some short time afterwards, 
without their coming any nearer to each other in policy, 
though then, as before and even after, this Fenian 
was strongly impressed by the striking personality of 
Parnell; l 

Parnell had, as we hâve seen, the strongest 
sympathies with Fenianism, but he was resolved not to 
be managed by the Fenians — nor, indeed, by any force 
whatever. He believed profoundly in Fenian help, 
but saw the danger of Fenianism swamping the con- 
stitutional movement. His policy was to keep Parlia- 
mentarianism well in front, and to mass the Eevolu- 
tionists behind it. The Fenians were to be his reserves. 
He certainly had no objection to an alliance between 
Fenianism and Constitutionalism, but he was deter- 
mined that he should be master of the alliance. ' A 
true revolutionary movement in Ireland,' he said 
publicly, ' should, in my opinion, partake both of a 
constitutional and illégal character. It should be both 
an open and a secret organisation, using the constitu- 

1 This account has been given to me by one who was présent. Mr. 
44 Martin " (anU\ p. 65) was at this Craven Street meeting. 


tion for its own purposes, but also taking advantage of 
its secret combination. , l 

At this time another attempt was made to draw him 
into the ranks of the I. R. B. A Fenian agent was once 
more deputed to call on him, and ask him to join the 
organisation. He again refused firmly. ' I think,' he 
said, ' I can do good with the parliamentary machine. 
I mean to try it, at ail events. Purely physical-force 
movements hâve always failed in Ireland.' The Fenian 
reminded him that purely constitutional movements 
had always failed too. Parnell agreed, saying : ' But I 
do not want to break up your movement. On the 
contrary, I wish it to go on. Collect arms, do every- 
thing that you are doing, but let the open movement 
hâve a chance too. We can both help each other, but 
I am sure I can be of more use in the open movement.' 
On another occasion he said to another Fenian : ' I 
am sure I can do something with the parliamentary 
machine. I cannot explain how I am going to do it, 
but I am quite satisfied I can do it. I see my way 

Despite the attitude of the leaders of the I. R. B., 
Parnell was gaining some influence over the rank 
and file of the society. I asked the officiai of the 
Home Rule Confédération of Great Britain from whom 
I hâve already quoted 2 how far the Fenians were 
helping the Home Rule movement in England in 1878 
and 1879. He said : * The leaders opposed us, but the 
rank and file were divided. Some supported us, 
others did nothing. When there was nothing particu- 
lar doing, very few of the Fenians troubled them- 
selves about us. But when there was something 
spécial afoot— a parliamentary élection, a municipal 

1 New York Herald, January 2, 1880. * Ante, p. 145. 

VOL. I. M 


élection, anything of that kind — then certainly many 
Fenians came in and helped us. They were full of 
energy ; they were about the beat workers we had. It 
always seemed to me that they could not help having 
a " go " at England whenever an opportunity of any 
kind offered; and they certainly felt that in fighting 
for a Home Bule candidate against a Unionist they 
were striking in some way against English authority in 
Ireland. I had rather a curious expérience myself of 
the Fenians about this time. There was a working 
inen's club composed entirely of Irish. I came in 
contact with the members, as I was always knocking up 
against Irishmen in London and other parts of England. 
Thèse working men asked me to do some secrétariat 
business for them — to keep their books, &c. I agreed, 
and used to attend their meetings occasionally. Look- 
ing through their books I found there was a fine lot of 
names, and they were a fine lot of fellows too, and I 
did not see why they should not join the Confédération. 
So one day I sent a circular to ail the members of the 
club inviting them to join. Some time afterwards I 
went to the club as usual, but I was met with scowls. 
As every man dropped in he looked at me askance and 
suspiciously. I could see that I was in some sort of 
disgrâce, but I could not make out what it was ail 
about. At last one of them got up and said : " What 

I suspected has happened. I was against Mr. 

coining in hère and doing anything for us. He is 
a Home Rule agent, and I knew he would be inter- 
fering with us. I am as thankful to him as anyone 
hère for the work he has done for our club. But we 
are not Home Rulers. We are Fenians, and we do 
not want to be interfered with, that's ail." The cir- 
cular was the cause of the whole row. I expressed 

Mt. 32] AN EX-FENIAN'S VIEW 163 

regret for sending it, said I thought there was no 
harm, and so forth. The upshot of the whole business 
was that, after mutual explanations, they asked me 
still to corne and help in the business of the club, but 
to leave Home Kule alone. This I did. But when- 
ever there was an élection on, or whenever there was 
fighting to be done, I used to ask thèse men to give 
me a hand, and they always did. They did not join 
the Confédération, but they gave us outside help, 
and we got lots of assistance from Fenians in that 

An ex-Fenian who had suffered in the cause also 
throws some light on the effect produced by ParnelTs 
vigorous parliamentary action. He says : ' When I 
came out of prison I went back at once to the organi- 
sation. I began to collect àrms, to conceal them, to 
organise. Then my attention was turned to what was 
going on in Parliament, and to Parnell chiefly. This 
was something new. Hère was a handful of men 
fighting the British Government on its own ground. 
People do not become Revolutionists for the fun of the 
thing. Every Fenian carried his life in his hand. 
There is not much fun in that. Why were we Fenians ? 
Because in Fenianism was the only hope for Ireland. 
Parliamentarianism had always been contemptible. It 
was worse, it was mischievous. The London Parlia- 
ment was simply a school for Anglicising Irishmen. 
We hated the thing. But if there were the slightest 
chance of getting an Irish Parliament by constitutional 
méans, the vast majority of Fenians would be Con- 
Btitutionalists. A real Irish Parliament, not a sham, 
would hâve satisfied the great majority of our people 
ail the time. But we saw no chance of getting an 
Irish Parliament or anything else by constitutional 

H 2 


nieans, and we became Revolutionists. But hère was 
a new departure. Hère was a new man with new 
niethods. There was no chance of English society 
seizing him, for he was making himself détestable to 
ail Englishmen. Ought he not to get a trial, ought not 
his methods to get a trial ? That is what I thought, 
and as the years passed Parnell impressed me more and 
more with his power, and ultimately I left the Fenian 
organisation and joined him.' 

While, then, the Fenian mind in Ireland and America 
was much exercised by Parnell's manœuvres, Michael 
Davitt landed in New York in August 1878. Why 
had he gone? First, to visit his mother at Phila- 
delphia ; secondly, to meet the members of the Clan- 
na-Gael, and to discuss the political situation generally. 
Davitt was still a Fenian ; but there can be no doubt 
that he was gradually, perhaps unconsciously, drifting 
away from the movement. He took a keen interest 
in the land question. 1 He had corne from the peasant 

1 I hâve elsewhere given some account of the relation between land- 
lord and tenant in Ireland, and may hère repeat what I hâve written. 
4 The tenant, " scrambling for the potato " and left without any resource 
but the land, offered an exorbitant rent, which the landlord accepted 
and exaoted to the uttermost farthing. Freedom of contract between 
landlord and tenant there was none. The tenant came into the market 
under circumstances which left him entirely at the mercy of the land- 
lord. The "bit of land" meant life to him, the wantof it death; for 
in the absence of commercial industries the people were thrown upon 
the land mainly for existence. " The treaty between landlord and 
tenant [in Ireland]," says Mr. Nassau Senior, " is not a calm bargain, in 
which the tenant, having offered what he thinks the land worth, cares 
little whether his offer is accepted or not ; it is a struggle, like the 
struggle to buy bread in a besieged town, or to buy water in an African 
caravan." In truth, the landlord had a monopoly of the means of 
existence, and he used it for his own aggrandisément, regardless of the 
tenantes fate or the public weal. " The landlords in Ireland," said 
Lord Donoughmore in 1854, " hâve been in the habit of letting land, not 
farms." Ne ver has a happier description of the Irish land System been 
given than this. The landlord let " land "— a Btrip of bog, barren, wild, 
dreary. The tenant reclaimed it, drained, fenced, reduced the waste to 
a cultivated state, made the " land " a " farm." Then the landlord 


class ; he f elt their wrongs acutely, and longed to right 
them. He has sometimes been credited with the 
invention of what came to be called the ' new de- 
parture,' the combined action of Constitutionalists and 
Eevolutionists for the common purpose of national 
independence. But the fact is the ' new departure ' 
was in the air bef ore Davitt arrived in America. James 
O'Kelly, John Devoy, and others had been thinking it 
out while Davitt was in jail. ' Had Davitt corne to 
America in the beginning of 1877/ said a member of 
the Clan-na-Gael to me, ' he would hâve found a few 
men ready to discuss the new departure and to f avour it. 
But neither he nor we could hâve dared broach it at a 
public meeting of the clan. But a change had taken place 
in a twelvemonth. Parneirs action in Parliament had 
made people think that something might be done with 
the Parliamentarians after ail. Parliamentarianism 
was apparently becoming a respectable thing. It 
might be possible to touch it without becoming con- 
taminated. Parnell had, in fact, made the running for 
Davitt, and Davitt arrived in New York just in the 
nick of time. Many influential members of the Clan 
were full of the notion of an alliance with the Consti- 
tutional party, and were now ready to co-operate with 
Davitt in bringing it about.' Davitt had, of course, 

pounced upon him for an inoreased rent. The tenant could not pay ; 
his resources had been exhausted in bringing the bog into a state of 
cultivation, he had not y et recouped himself for his outlay and labour. 
He was evicted, flung on the roadside to starve, without receiving one 
shilling compensation for his outlay on the land, and the " farm " whioh 
he had made was given to another at an enhanced rental. What did 
the evicted tenant do ? He entered a Bibbon Lodge, told the story of 
his wrong, and demanded vengeance on the man whom he called a 
tyrant and an oppressor. Only too often his story was listened to and 
vengeance was wreaked on the landlord, or the new tenant ; and some- 
times on both. This is briefly the dismal story of the land trouble in 
Ireland.'— Thomas Drummond, Life and Letters, 


seen Parnell before he started for America, and Parnell 
knew that he would see the leaders of the Clan-na-Gael. 
But the cautious member for Meath gave him no code 
of instructions, and sent no message to the Clan, as has 
sometimes been suggested. That was not ParnelTs way 
of doing business. He never wished to know too much, 
and was at ail events careful not to let others into the 
secret of his knowledge, whatever it might be. On 
arriving at New York one of the first men whom 
Davitt met was John Devoy — the champion of the 
new departure in the Clan-na-Gael. Devoy was a 
Revolutionist. He wished to draw the farmers into the 
revolutionary movement ; and believed this could be 
done by making agrarian reform a plank in the national 
platform. Devoy and Davitt agreed at once on a 
common programme and worked together as one man 
to carry it out ; ' the land of Ireland,' to use the words 
of Davitt, ' was to be made the basis of Irish nation- 

In September both men attended a large public 
meeting, composed chiefly of members of the Clan-na- 
Gael, in New York, when the following resolutions, 
proposed by Devoy, were carried : 

' 1. That we deem the présent a fitting opportunity 
to proclaim our conviction of Ireland's right to an 
independent national existence. That as Ireland has 
never forfeited her right to independence, and as no 
action on the part of England has given any justifi- 
cation for the acceptance of the Union, we hereby 
protest against ail attempts at compromise, and renew 
our résolve to work for the complète overthrow of 
British domination. 

' 2. That the landlord System forced on the Irish 
people by English législation is a disgrâce to humanity 

Mi. 32] DEVOYS POLICY 167 

and to the civilisation of the présent century. It is the 
direct cause of the expatriation of millions of the Irish 
race, and of the misérable condition of the Irish pea- 
santry. That as the land of Ireland belongs to the 
people of Ireland, the abolition of the foreign land lord 
system and the substitution of one by which the tiller 
of the soil will be fixed permanently upon it, and 
holding directly of the State, is the only true solution 
of the Irish land question, which an Irish Kepublic can 
alone effect.' 

A month later Devoy and Davitt attended another 
public meeting in New York, when the former advo- 
cated the policy of the new departure in a vigorous 
speech. He said : ' I claim that by the adoption of 
a proper public policy and a vigorous propaganda the 
Nationalists can sweep away the men who misrepresent 
us [the followers of Butt chiefly] and obtain control of 
the public voice of the country. Every public body in 
the country, from the little boards of poor-law guardians 
and land commissioners to the city corporations and 
members of Parliament, should be controlled by the 
National [the Fenian] party, and until it is able to 
control them it will be looked upon by foreigners as a 
powerless and insignificant faction. . . . Now I believe 
in Irish independence, but I don't believe it would 
be worth while to free Ireland if that foreign landlord 
system were left standing. I am in favour of sweeping 
away every vestige of the English connection, and this 
accursed landlord system above ail and before ail. But 
while I think it is right to proclaim this, and that the 
national party should proclaim that nothing less than 
this would satisfy it, I know it is a solution that cannot 
be reached in a day, and therefore I think we should 
in the meantime accept ail measures tending to the 


prévention of arbitrary éviction, and the création of a 
peasant proprietary as a step in the right direction.' 

This was the policy of John Devoy. This was the 
policy of the New Departure. The Fenians were to 
hâve a hand in everything that was going on, and 
' above and before ail ' they were to hâve a hand in the 
land question. Agrarian reform or agrarian révolution 
was to be made the stepping-stone to séparation from 
England. Devoy did not believe in Home Eule. But 
he did not wish to raise the separatist flag publicly. 
He suggested that the limits of national independence 
should not be defined. Let ' self-government ' and 
' self-government ' only be demanded. Then the 
Fenians could co-operate cordially with the Constitu- 
tionalists. Each section could put its own construction 
on the meaning of the words. 

Devoy succeeded in carrying many of the leaders of 
the Clan-na-gael with him on thèse lines, and in October 
1878 he despatched a cablegram to Parnell, setting out 
the terms of alliance between the Kevolutionists and 
the Constitutionalists ; the cablegram ran as follows : 
' The Nationalists hère will support you on the follow- 
ing conditions : 

' First. Abandonment of the Fédéral demand and 
substitution of a gênerai déclaration in favour of self- 

' Second. Vigorous agitation of the land question 
on the basis of a peasant proprietary, while accepting 
concessions tending to abolition of arbitrary éviction. 

' Third. Exclusion of ail sectarian issues from the 

'Fourth. Irish members to vote together on ail 
Impérial and Home Eule questions, adopt an aggressive 
policy, and energetically resist coercive législation. 


' Fifth. Advocacy of ail struggling nationalities in 
the British Empire and elsewhere.' l 

Thèse were the ternis offered by the Clan-na-gael 
to Parnell in October 1878. 

What did Parnell do? He never answered the 
cablegram. The Clan had shown its hand. Parnell 
declined to show his. Devoy, a man of remarkable 
energy and grit, was not, however, discouraged. In 
December he addressed a letter to the ' Freeman s 
Journal ' — the Home Kule organ in Dublin — still 
further expounding his policy, and practically urging 
the union of Constitutionalists and Eevolutionists for 
the common purpose, however veiled, of undermining 
English authority in Ireland. Towards the end of the 
year he sailed for Europe, resolved to deal with the 
Irish situation on the spot. 

But to return to Parnell. He had now an esta- 
blished position in Parliament. He was a power in the 
House. The skill and ability which he displayed on 
the committee appointed to inquire into the subject of 
obstruction won the admiration of his most inveterate 
enemies, and even English publicists wrote that if 
Parnell would only apply himself seriously to public 
affairs he would soon become a valuable citizen. Of 
course there was obstruction during the session of 1878, 
but there were f ewer of those ' scènes ' which had 
characterised the manœuvres of 1877. Butt had said 
that the policy of obstruction would prevent useful 
législation for Ireland. This prophecy, however, was 
destined to be falsified, for in 1878 an important Irish 
measure became law — the Intermediate Education Bill. 2 

1 The cablegram was signed by Devoy, Dr. Carroll, Breslin, General 
Millin, and Patrick Mahon. 

2 A Board, called the ' Intermediate Education Board of Ireland/ was 


Parnell also scored a success by causing the Mutiny 
Bill — which he again obstructed — to be referred to a 
sélect committee, a step which was followed by im- 
portant reforms in the ensuing session. Altogether he 
had already proved to the House and to the country 
that he was a man with a future. 

Outside Parliament he devoted himself industriously 
to the cause of Home Eule. As Président of the 
Home Rule Confédération of Great Britain he attended 
regularly at the meetings of the executive body, and 
took a leading part in the transaction of its business. 

' Parnell was an excellent chairman,' says the officiai 
of the Confédération on whose information I hâve 
already drawn. ' He used to rattle through the busi- 
ness with great speed. Faith, he allowed no obstruction 
in our work.' 

' Was he as pleasant a man to do business with as 
Butt ? ' 

Officiai. «There was a great différence between 
them. Butt was génial and lovable. You did not feel 
you were doing business with him at ail. I used often 
to go to his lodgings in London. He always received 
you with open arms ; sat you down to a cup of tea, or 
a glass of whisky punch, and chatted away as if you 
had only called to spend a social evening. He was a 
delightful companion, so friendly, and so homely. 
He would crack a joke, tell a good story, and gossip 
away in the happiest style. I quite loved the old man. 
But Parnell was altogether différent. He was certainly 
a very pleasant man to do business with, very quick at 

formed for the purpose of holding examinations and granting exhibitions 
and prizes to students who passed in subjects of secondary éducation. 
A sum of 1 ,000,000/., taken from the Irish Church surplus, was devoted 
to the objeots of the Board. 


seeing a thing, very ready to show the way out of a 
difficulty, courteous, agreeable, making the most of 
what you did and the least of what he did himself . If 
he differed from you it was in the mildest way, and he 
always put his points as if it were for you and not for 
him to décide. " Don't you think it would be better ? " 
" Suppose we say so-and-so," that was his formula. 
But, pleasant and even charming as he could be, you 
always felt that there was a pièce of ice between you 
and him. I used to go to his apartment as I went to 
Butt's, but we never had a glass of punch together or 
even a cup of tea. It was business ail the time. Occa- 
sionally he would take a strong line, but very seldom 
However, when he said "That cannot be done," one 
knew there was an end of the discussion. I remember 
on one occasion reading a report for the executive 
when Parnell was in the chair. I stated in the report 
that the Catholic clergy in England gave the Confédé- 
ration a good deal of trouble, because they tried to 
raake the Irish vote Tory. The English priests did 
did not care about Home Rule, they only cared about 
éducation, and as the Tories were more with them on 
that subject than the Libérais, they went Tory, and 
wanted to bring our people with them. As soon as I 
had read the paragraph he said, " I'm not going to fight 
the Church." There was some dissent, but Parnell 
was very firm, though smiling and rather chaffing us 
ail the time. But the paragraph went out. That was 
Parnell's policy. He would not fight with any Irish 
force. His aim was to bring ail Irish forces into line. 
He would no more fight with the Church than he 
would with the Fenians. Parnell never talked freely 
with me or with anyone, so far as I could make out. 
The only time I ever heard him make any attempt at 


conversation was when someone introduced the subject 
of mechanics. Then he started oflf, greatly to my sur- 
prise, talking in a lively way, and giving us a lot of 
information about mechanics. Then someone referred 
to politics, and he stopped in an instant. He would 
ne ver talk politics unless something had to be done.' 

I asked an Irish member, who had been a Fenian, 
on one occasion, if Parnell had been forced to quarrel 
either with the Fenian s or the Church, which it 
would be ? He said : * The Church, for Parnell liked 
the Fenians, but he did not like the Church. He 
knew, however, the power of the Church, and he wished 
unquestionably to hâve a great conserving force like it 
at his back. Parnell would never quarrel with the 
Church unless the Church forced the quarrel, there can 
be no doubt of that.' 

Butt was now breaking fast. One remembers how 
in the session of 1878 he moved about the House care- 
worn and dejected. He felt that the ground was slip- 
ping beneath his feet. He knew the time was gone 
when he could hope to lead a united Irish party to 
victory. The dissensions among the Parliamentarians 
were fatal to his command, if they were not, in truth, 
fatal to the triumph of the Home Eule cause itself. 
Ail thèse things he saw clearly, and he was bowed 
down with sorrow and despair. In April he addressed 
a manifesto to the electors of Limerick, condemning 
the policy of obstruction, pointing out the disasters 
which he believed it would bring on the Home Eule 
cause, pleading ill-health as a reason for retirement, and 
formally announcing his résignation of the leadership. 
But his followers urged him to reconsider his décision, 
and ultimately he withdrew his résignation. The 
breach, however, between him and Parnell remained 


as wide as ever. In October the Home Rule Con- 
fédération of Great Britain held its annual meeting 
in Dublin. Butt objected to this proceeding. The 
organisation, he felt, ought to confine its opérations to 
the other side of the channel. But the Confédération 
had corne to Dublin for a spécial reason. By the Con- 
vention Act of 1793 no meeting attended by delegates 
could be held in Ireland. 'But/ the leaders of the 
Confédération argued, 'we shall hold our meeting in 
Dublin, and tvc shall summon delegates from England, 
and then we shall présent to the Irish and the English 
public the extraordinary spectacle of an Irish organisa- 
tion with its headquarters in England summoning dele- 
gates from England to sit in the Irish capital, while no 
organisation in Ireland can summon delegates from 
Ireland for the same purpose ; and if that does not kill 
the Convention Act we don't know what will/ I cannot 
say whether this manœuvre did kill the Convention 
Act, but, as a matter of fact, it was repealed the next 

Efforts were still made to bring about a modus 
vivendi between Butt and Parnell, but in vain. ' You 
are in rébellion/ said Prof essor Galbraith to Parnell. 
' Yes/ was the answer ; ' but in justifiable rébellion/ 
' 1 do not want you to become an obstructive/ he said 
to Butt ; ' I do not want anyone to become an obstruc- 
tive; but there must be a vigorous policy. I am 
young and active, and I cannot be kicking my heels 
about the English House of Commons doing nothing. 
Enghshmen will not give me an opportunity of con- 
cerning myself about the affairs of my own country, 
and I mean to concern myself about the affairs of their 

' Butt/ he said on another occasion, * is hopeless. 


He is too niuch under the English influence. He 
wants to please the English. But you may be sure 
that when we are pleasing the English we are not 
winning. We must not care for English opinion. 
We must go right on in the way Ireland wants.' 
' There is a great force in England,' he said, addressing 
the Confédération in Dublin. ' A British force,' cried 
a voice in the crowd. ' No,' retorted Parnell, amid 
tremendous cheers, ' an Irish force. We must,' he 
urged, 'see that the Irish in England think only of 
Ireland and vote only for Ireland, and that they 
make English candidates vote for Ireland too. I 
said when I was last on this platform that I 
would not promise anything by parliamentary action, 
nor any particular line of policy ; but I said we could 
help you to punish the English, and I predicted that 
the English would very soon get afraid of the policy of 

It was at this time suggested to Parnell that he 
ought to address more meetings in Ireland. * Ah,' he 
said ; ' but I hâve not an independent platform.' 

' If I get up a meeting for you, will you corne to 
it?' said a friend. ' Certainly,' answered Parnell. 
A great meeting— a land meeting — was organised in 
Tralee. Parnell addressed it in November. He made 
a vigorous speech, saying plainly enough that nothing 
short of a révolution would bring about a change in 
the land laws, and urging the establishment of a 
tribunal for fixing rents, and the création of a peasant 
proprietary. 'It will take an earthquake to settle 
the land question, Mr. Parnell,' someone said to him. 
' ïhen we must hâve an earthquake ' was the reply. 

jEt. 33] 175 



Devoy arrived in Ireland about January 1879. He 
was soon joined by Davitt, who had preceded him across 
the Atlantic. No one played a more important part in 
Irish politics at this crisis than Michael Davitt. He 
was still a Fenian. He was even yet a member of 
the suprême council of the I. K. B. He possessed 
the confidence of the Fenians in America. He was in 
touch with Parnell. In a word, he was the Connecting- 
link between the American Revolutionists and the 
extrême wing of the constitutional party; the vèry 
pivot on which the ' new departure ' turned. 

The time was ripe for the plans of the Neo-Fenians. 
The land agitation had already commenced, ' Tenants' 
Defence Associations ' had been formed in various parts 
of the country, and public attention was fixed on the 
subject. Distress accompanied discontent, and both 
causes combined to excite and influence the peasantry. 
Rents could not be paid, and non-payment of rent was 
followed by éviction. Landlords wçre unreaçonabje, 
tenants were exasperated, and soon the flame of agita- 
tion was fanned in every part of the country. I hâve 
already said that the Land Act of 1870 had proved a 
failure. It had been passed to prevent arbitrary evic- 


tions and to secure to industrious tenants compensation 
for improvements, and in certain cases for disturbance. 
But it neither effected the one purpose nor the other. 
The power of the landlords remained practically 
unchecked. Between 1876 and 1879 Bills had been 
introduced to make the législation of 1870 a reality. 
But they were rejected in the House of Commons. 
The Irish tenants saw at last that the Irish members 
could not help them, and they resolved to help them- 

Devoy had corne to Ireland with the view of 
bringing about an alliance between Kevolutionists and 
Constitutionalists for the common purpose of under- 
mining English authority in the island. The land 
question, he felt, was the basis on which that authority 
rested. The overthrow of the land System was accord- 
ingly, from his standpoint, a matter of paramount 
importance. Davitt was also in favour of sépara- 
tion, but nevertheless looked upon landlordism as an 
evil in itself, which ought, apart from ail other con- 
sidérations, to be swept utterly away. Both men now 
saw that a bond-fide land agitation had, without any 
référence whatever to their aims, commenced ; and the 
question was, how could it be turned to the account of 
the separatist movement ? 

Devoy had two interviews with Parnell in the 
présence of Davitt. The member for Meath was as 
usual cautious, and took good care not to give himself 
away. He entered into no compact with Devoy, but 
listened to ail that Devoy had to tell him about the 
Clan-na-Gael. The furthermost extent to which he 
went was to ask, as he had on previous occasions 
asked, for time to work the parliamentary machine. 
He did not mind letting Devoy see his antipathy to 


England and his sympathy with the Fenians. But he 
entered into no understanding with the Clan. 

At a meeting of the suprême council of the I. E. B. 
in Paris, when the question of the ' new departure ' was 
fully discussed, Kickham was présent, and offered a 
véhément opposition to it. He regarded it as dis- 
honest and immoral, and denounced Devoy in vigorous 
language. Kickham, it should be said, was very deaf, 
and could only be approached through a speaking- 
trumpet. As he proceeded in his condemnation of 
Devoy's scheme, Devoy and Davitt tried now and 
again to get at the trumpet and to put in a word in 
reply ; bat Kickham waved them off. He carried the 
council with him ; in fact Devoy and Davitt found 
only one supporter in that body. One point, however, 
Devoy gained. It was agreed that, while no alliance 
should be entered into between the suprême council 
and the Parliamentarians, ' the officers of the organisa- 
tion should be left free to take part in the open move- 
ment if they felt so disposed — such officers to be held 
responsible for acts or words deemed to be injurious to 
the revolutionary cause/ l 

Devoy now sailed for America, where, in défiance of 
the suprême council of the I. E. B., he threw himself 
heart and soûl into the work of the * new departure ' ; 
and Davitt stayed in Ireland to co-operate cordially 
and vigorously at his end with the American Fenians. 

Meanwhile the land agitation grew apace. Tn 
Connaught, Davitt's province, the pinch of poverty 
was most sorely felt, and Connaught became the 
centre of disturbance. 

On April 20 a great land meeting was held in 

1 This permission was withdrawn in 1880. Davitt attended no more 
meetings of the suprême council. 

VOL. I. N 


Irishtown, County Mayo. Three Fenians besides 
Davitt attended, and they were unquestionably the 
ablest and most energetic men présent. There is little 
use in mincing words over thèse transactions now. 
Officiai Fenianism in Ireland held aloof from the land 
agitation. But that agitation would probably hâve 
never reached the formidable proportions it assumed 
had not individual Fenians flung themselves into it 
with characteristic earnestness and daring. 1 The 
1 Land League Fenians ' were, no doubt, ultimately 
expelled from their own body ; but they carried into 
the new movement the fire and energy of the old, 
unchastened and unrestrained, however, by that purer 
spirit of nationality which animated the founders of 
the Fenian organisation. 

At the Irishtown meeting was struck the spark 
which soon set Ireland in a blaze. But before the 
conflagration had yet spread throughout the land 
Isaac Butt, perhaps fittingly, passed away. In July 
1878 he felt seriously alarmed about his health, and 
wrote to his médical adviser and friend, Dr. O'Leary : 

* United Hôtel, Charles Street, 8t. Jamcs's, 

4 July 4, 1878. 

'My dear O'Leary, — You hâve always shown 
such kindness and care to me that I would like you 
to know every little thing that happens to me. I am 
not happy about myself. Yesterday I crossed over in 
a good passage. I laid down the latter half of the way. 
Before getting up I felt an uneasy sensation at my 
heart, with something like palpitation. Getting up I 

1 The frecdom given to the Fenian oflicers at the Taris meeting was 
of course, very useful to Devoy and Davitt ; the reason, no doubt, why, 
it was taken away in 1880. 

Mi. 33] ILLNESS OF BUTT 179 

had difficulty in breathing, nearly as great as I tised to 
hâve at Buxton on the night I came over with you. 
It has continued more or less ever since. My journey 
to the sitting-room hère — you know the length — has 
been a séries of relays and pantings, and ail this is 
accompanied by vagueness in my trains of thought. 
Now surely, my dear friend, it is useless to say that 
this is of no conséquence. Is it not better to accept 
the truth that it is the knell of the curfew telling 
us the hour is corne when the fire must be put out 
and the light quenched? If not, is it not at least 
something that requires more care than you or I 
or Butcher hâve given it? In other respects I am 
improving. You will see in this letter that my hand 
is steadier, but does not this give to thèse symptoms 
a worse character? I hâve observed latterly that in 
writing I very frequently omit a word, far oftener 
the syllables or letters of a word. When half-an-hour 
in bed last night I had lost ail recollection of wherë I 
was, or how I came to be where I was. I had great 
difficulty in settling to myself whether the change from 
Irish to English time made my watch fast or slow. 
Is it not through the want of blood to feed the action 
of the brain, or is it only congestion of the ganglionic 
nerves ? Do not laugh at this, tell me honestly, and as 
a true, because a candid, friend what you think. I will 
go to Quain to-morrow, but I fear this is of no use. I 
hâve taken a strange notion in my head. I would like 
to consult a perfect stranger who does not know me, 
and see what he would say. If I were to carry out this 
perverse notion, who would be the best man to sélect ? 
Can I dépend on you to tell me the truth? I will 
write to you to-morrow what Quain says. I am afraid 
I must stay hère until the Education Bill passes. If I 

N 2 


go over I mu8t come back again. I will know to- 
morrow what I will do. 

' Yours ever sincerely, 


Parnell and Butt came into conflict for the last 
time on February 5, 1879. It was at a public meeting 
in the Leinster Lecture Hall, Molesworth Street, 
Dublin. The old question of obstruction was again 
discussed/ Butt again condemned the tactics of the 
forward party, and Parnell spoke once more of the 
inaction of Butt. Issue was joined on the following 
resolution, proposed by Mr. T. D. Sullivan and seconded 
by Mr. Biggar : 

' That this meeting highly approves of the décla- 
rations made by Mr. Butt at the National Conférence 
of November 1873, to the following effect : that " the 
more every Irish member keeps aloof from ail private 
communications with English ministers or English 
parties the better ; " that " there is enmity between 
the English Government and the Irish nation ; " and 
that " the représentatives of the people must accept this 
position; " that "they should hold no private parley 
with the power which is at war with the Irish people, 
and with which, therefore, the Irish members should 
be at war." That this meeting respectfully but 
earnestly recommends ail the Home Rule représen- 
tatives to act in the spirit of the foregoing déclarations, 
and re-affirms (as specially applicable to the présent 
time) the following resolution adopted by the National 
Conférence held in the Rotunda on January 15, 1878 : 
" That, in view of the présent circumstances, we think 
it désirable in the interests of the Home Rule cause 
that more energetic action should be taken in Parlia- 

.-Et. 33] DEATfl OF BUTT 181 

ment, and we therefore impress upon the Home Kule 
members the necessity of increased activity and more 
regular attendance during the ensuing session." ' 

Butt defended his policy with much of the old fire 
and éloquence, and succeeded in defeating the resolu- 
tion by eight votes. 1 

He was gratified with the resuit and left the hall 
in his usual génial pleasant way, leaning on the arm 
of a member of the ' forward ' party. He never 
appeared on the political stage again. A short time 
afterwards he fell seriously ill, and on May 13 sank 
peacefully to rest. 

The founder of the Home Eule movement has to 
some extent been overshadowed by the remarkable 
man who was so near bringing that movement to a 
successful issue. Nevertheless, Isaac Butt will always 
stand in the front rank of the Irish political leaders of 
the nineteenth century. 

On the collapse of Fenianism there was every danger 
that Ireland would sink into the slough of Whiggery. 
From any danger of such a calamity he saved her. He 
created a great national movement, and led it with 
conspicuous ability and in a true spirit of chivalry. 
Under his command Ireland sent sixty Home Kule 
members to the House of Commons, the Irish vote in 
England was organised, and many English parlia- 
mentary candidates were constrained to take the Home 
Eule pledge. He had, however, the defects of his 
qualities. He was a scrupulous constitutional leader, 

1 Technically, the division was taken on an amendment, proposed 
by Mr. D. B. Sullivan, to the effect that ail référence to Mr. Butt should 
be omitted, and that merely the resolution passed at the conférence of 
1878 should be re-affirmed. 


and instinctively shrank from revolutionary methods. 
He revered représentative institutions, and revolted 
against ail proceedings calculated to bring them into 
contempt. No Englishman respected the House of 
(Dominons inore than Isaac Butt, and he fought the 
advanced section of his own party in defence of that 
vénérable institution. 

* No man,' he said, addressing a meeting in Dublin 
in January 1879, 'can damage the authority of the 
House of Commons without damaging the cause of 
représentative government and of freedom ail over the 

It was a misfortune for which he certainly was not 
to blâme that, while the House of Commons influenced 
him, he did not influence the House of Commons. He 
appealed to the reason and justice of Englishmen, but 
the English did not respond to the appeal. He was 
a loyal citizen of the empire, but his loyalty did not 
get him a hearing. He kept the agitation within the 
limits of the law, respected the opinions and feelings of 
opponents, the conventions of society. But no English- 
man took him seriously. ' Do you really mean Home 
liule ? ' an old Whig said to him one day in the Four 
Courts, Dublin. ' Indeed I do,' he answered, with 
génial earnestness. The old Whig smiled and walked 
away. No one ever asked Parnell if he meant Home 
Kule. There were those who thought that he meant 
a great deal more. 

And what was Parnell ? A Revolutionist working 
with constitutional weapons. We hâve seen what Butt 
said of the House of Commons. What said Parnell ? 
4 1 said when I was last hcre [in Dublin] that I would 
not promise anything by parliamentary action, nor by 
any particular line of policy ; but I said we could 


punish the English, and I predicted that the English 
would very soon get afraid of punishnient.' 

Nothing can better show the chasm which separated 
the two nien in thought and feeling than thèse two 
sentences. Yet the House of Commons despised Butt ; 
and Parnell became the greatest figure in it, in his day, 
with a single exception. 

I hâve said that Butt was a constitutional agitator. 
He was also a great advocate. And if pure advocacy 
— able, earnest, courteous — could hâve won the Irish 
cause he would hâve succeeded. It could not, and he 
failed hopelessly. 

Constitutional agitation, strictly speaking, disappeared 
with Butt. Revolutionary agitation followed. Davitt 
preached the new departure in public and in private, 
visited the most distressed and disaffected districts, and 
swept ail the Fenians he could into the new movement. 
On June 7 another great land meeting, organised by 
Davitt and the local Fenians, though of course attended 
by thousands of tenant farmers who were not Fenians, 
was held at Westport, County Mayo. Parnell was in- 
vited. He hesitated, for he had not yet gauged the force 
of the agrarian agitation. His attention was probably 
first seriously directed to the subject in the course of 
a conversation with Kickham, the date of which I 
cannot give. ' Do you think, Mr. Kickham,' he asked, 
' that the people f eel very keenly on the land question ? ' 
' Feel keenly on the land question ? ' answered Kick- 
ham. ' I am only sorry to say that I think they would 
go to hell for it.' Finally Parnell resolved to accept 
the invitation of the Westport men. The Archbishop 
of Tuam, who saw something besides land in the new 
movement, condemned the meeting, and indirectly 


warned Parnell not to corne. But he came, and de- 
liveréd a stirring speech, which was long remembered 
by friends and foes. 

' A fair rent is a rent a tenant can reasonably pay 
according to the tirnes ; but in bad times the tenant can- 
not be expected to pay as much as he did in good times, 
three or four years ago. If such rents are insisted upon 
a répétition of the scènes of 1847 and 1848 will be wit- 
nessed. Now, what must we do in order to induce the 
landlords to see the position? You must show the 
landlords that you intend to hold a firm grip on your 
homesteads and lands. You must not allow yourselves 
to be dispossessed as you were dispossessed in 1847. 
You must not allow your small holdings to be turned 
into large ones. I am not supposing that the landlords 
will remain deaf to the voice of reason, but I hope they 
may not, and that on those properties on which the 
rents are out of ail proportion to the times that a réduc- 
tion may be made, and that immediately. If not, you 
must help yourselves, and the public opinion of the 
world will stand by you and support you in your 
struggle to défend your homesteads. I should be 
deceiving you if I told you that there was any use in 
relying upon the exertions of the Irish members of 
Parliament on your behalf . I think that if your mem- 
bers were determined and resolute they could help you, 
but I am afraid they won't. I hope that I may be 
wrong, and that you may rely upon the constitutional 
action of your parliamentary représentatives in this the 
sore time of your need and trial ; but above ail things 
remember that God helps him who helps himself, and 
that by showing such a public spirit as you hâve shown 
hère to-day, by coming in your thousands in the face 
of every difliculty, you will do more to show the land- 


lords the necessity of dealing justly with you than if 
y ou had 150 Irish members in the House of Commons.' 

Davitt also made a rattling speech, full of défiance 
and rébellion. 

The fire spread, and the Government did nothing 
to put it out. They did not concède, they did not 
coerce. They listened neither to tenants nor to land- 
lords. They unwittingly gave Davitt his head. With 
a little wisdom and foresight the fire might hâve been 
quenched at the outset. But the Irish Secretary — Mr. 
James Lowther — was ignorant, indiffèrent, incapable, 
and he faithfully represented English statesmanship 
in Ireland. On June 26 the question of agricultural 
distress in Ireland was brought before the House of 
Commons by Mr. O'Connor Power. He was treated 
with disdain by Mr. Lowther, and literally howled 
down by the Tories. Hère is the officiai account of 
the scène. 

' From the time when the hon. member stated his 
intention to move the adjournment of the House, and 
it appeared probable that a debate was about to be 
raised, hon. members ceased to pay any attention to 
the hon. member's remarks, and conversation became 
so gênerai and so loud that the hon. member could 
with difficulty be heard.' l 

So disgraceful were thèse interruptions that Mr. 
John Bright felt himself constrained to intervene and 
to sharply rebuke the Irish Secretary and his un- 
mannerly followers. Nothing, of course, was done. 
The Government had not the most remote notion of 
what was brewing in Ireland; not the faintest con- 
ception that by neglecting the demands of the farmers 

1 Hamard, 8rd séries, vol. ccxlvii. p. 696. 


they were throwing the country into the hands of the 

Other work now lay ready to Parnell's hands in the 
House of Commons. I hâve said that in 1878 a 
coinmittee was appointed to consider the subject of 
obstruction. Early in 1879 Sir Stafford Northcote 
gave notice of six resolutions for dealing with the 
question ; but he had to abandon them ail except one, 
which proved of little use. The object of this resolu- 
tion was to prevent members from discussing various 
miscellaneous grievances before the House went into 
Coinmittee of Supply. The House was kept for three 
nights discussing this single resolution, and in the end 
ainendments were added which much weakened its 

So far ail attempts to deal with obstruction had 
failed, as Parnell showed when the Army Discipline 
Bill came up for considération. Over this Bill — or 
rather over one subject included in it, flogging in the 
army— the fight of the session took place. 

We hâve seen that Parnell had opposed and ob- 
structed the Mutiny Bills in 1877 because the Govern- 
ment would not abolish flogging. In 1878 he returned 
to the charge, succeeded in getting the Bills referred 
to a sélect committee, and wrung from the Government 
a pledge that before they were brought in again an 
amended Army Bill would be introduced. In 1879 this 
pledge was redeemed, and the Army Discipline and 
ltegulation Bill was introduced. The new measure 
contained a clause retaining the punishment of flogging. 
Parnell opposed the clause. In 1877 and 1878 he and 
his band of obstructives stood almost alone in their 
opposition to the l cat.' Now they were supported by 
a crowd of Knglish liadicals. Parnell wisely allowed 

Mi. 83] THE ' CAT ' 187 

thèse Eadicals to take the lead. On May 20 Mr. 
Hopwood opened opérations by moving an amendment 
abolishing flogging altogether. He was supported by 
Parnell and the Irish, opposed by Sir William Haroourt 
(who asked what punishment could be substituted for 
flogging), and beaten by fifty-six votes. On June 10 
Parnell stepped to the front, moving an amendment 
which was technically in order, but which practioally 
raised the question which had, in fact, been settled by 
vote on May 20. ' I was asked the other night,' he 
said, ' by the hon. member for Oxford (Sir William 
Harcourt) what punishment could be substituted for 
flogging. I could not answer the question at the time. 
I hâve since consulted military authorities, and I 
can answer it now.' He then suggested alternative 
punishments ; but his amendment was def eated by f orty- 
three votes. Mr. Hopwood next came forward once 
more, moving that the number of lashes should be 
reduced from twenty to six. Parnell and the obstruc- 
tives supported. The amendment was still under 
considération when the House met on June 17 — in 
some respects the most eventful night of the debate. 
Mr. Chamberlain now interposed, condemning flogging 
as * unnecessary and immoral,' and calling upon the 
Government to put in a schedule specifying the offences 
for which it was to be inflicted. Sir William Harcourt 
supported this demand. Then John Bright, in a short 
but powerful speech, urged the Minister of War, 
Colonel Stanley, to show a spirit of conciliation, and 
to reduce the number of lashes from fifty to twenty- 
five at the least. This suggestion 1 was accepted, 
Hopwood withdrawing his amendment in favour of 

1 Bright's suggestion later on moved as an amendment by Mr. 


it. Nevertheless the battle of the ' cat ' was not yet 
over. Mr. Hopwood immediately moved that the 
punishment should be inflicted by a 'cat* with one 
tail, instead of a ' cat ' with nine tails. Lord Harting- 
ton opposed this amendment, which was defeated by 
110 votes. An Irish member, Mr. Callan, next pro- 
posed that a spécimen of the ' cat ' should be exhibited 
in the Library. ' Yes/ said Parnell, fastening upon 
this suggestion, ' I should like to see what sort of 
an instrument is to be used, for I understand there 
are several kinds.' The Government would not, how- 
ever, gratify the curiosity either of Mr. Callan or 
Parnell. Other amendments were now proposed, and 
on June 19 Parnell once more appealed to the Govern- 
ment to abolish the cat. ' Let us/ he said, ' as this 
day's work abolish flogging. If you do that I will 
wash my hands of the Bill and give you no further 

' No/ said Sir William Harcourt, supported by 
Ministers ; ' as the Bill now stands (with Bright's 
amendment) it is satisfactory, and when the schedule 
asked for by the hon. member for Birmingham 
(Chamberlain) is put in we may feel content.' 

' I will not accept the advice of the hon. member for 
Oxford/ said Mr. Chamberlain with much warmth ; 
'he is far too favourable to this Bill. Nothing can 
be done without obstruction/ he added, and then 
wound up with this compliment to Parnell : ' I will 
only add before I sit down that the friends of humanity 
and the friends of the British army owe a debt of 
gratitude to my hon. friend the member for Meath for 
standing up alone against this system of flogging when. 
I myself, and other members, had not the courage 
of our convictions. The hon. member had opposed 


flogging in the Mutiny Bill, but unsuccessfully ; he 
had opposed it unsuccessfully in the Prisons Bill ; but 
now he raises the question again, and I hope his efforts 
will be crowned with success.' l 

Parnell, with characteristic tenacity, had never lost 
sight of Mr. Callan's suggestion that spécimens of the 
' cat ' should be exhibited in the Library. ' I should 
like to know,' he said, ' what the Government knows 
about thèse " cats." I hâve a shrewd suspicion that 
they know very little. Let the "cats" be produced.' 
But the Government were obdurate. They had given 
way on Bright's amendment. They now meant to 
stand firm. Parnell, however, kept pegging away. He 
moved that when a man received more than twelve 
lashes he should be expelled from the army with 
ignominy, but the amendment was defeated by 109 

Obstruction, of which there had been very little up 
to about June 20, now began, and the Irish pushed to 
the front, ' Mr. Parnell,' as the ' Annual Begister ' 
put it, ' providing them with opportunities by moving 
a succession of minute amendments relative to the 
provisions for enlisting and bille ting.' 

On July 3 Mr. Callan, in an amusing speech, in- 
f ormed the House that he had paid a visit to the Library, 
and had seen the ' cat ' — in fact, several ' cats ' — which 
he graphically described. The Ministers questioned the 
accuracy of Mr. Callan's description of the ' instruments 
of torture/ ' Produce the " cats," ' said Parnell ; ' then 
we shall know who is right.' Ultimately the l cats ' 
were produced on July 5. Mr. Callan's description 

1 • Chamberlain/ said Mr. Justin McCarthy, ( spoke to me with great 
admiration of Parnell, and said that his obstructive tactics were the 
only tactics to suceeed.' 


was accurate, and the sight of the ' instruments of 
torture* proved fatal to the position of the Govern- 
ment. ' Abolish flogging,' urged Mr. Chamberlain on 
this same day (July 5), ' and your Bill will be passed 
at once; otherwise it will be systematically opposed 
and obstructed.' 

Colonel Stanley asked Mr. Chamberlain to suspend 
further opposition until the schedule was put in. 
' Agreed,' said Chamberlain, and he appealed to Parnell 
to let the clauses then under considération go through. 
' No,' cried Parnell, and he moved to report progress 
on the instant, showing a relentless front and keeping 
the committee sitting for three hours longer. 

On July 7 Colonel Stanley announced that the 
Government had resolved to abolish flogging in ail 
cases except when death was the alternative. 

Mr. Chamberlain expressed his dissatisfaction with 
this arrangement, and urged that flogging should be 
wholly and unconditionally abolished. Lord Hartington 
supported the Government, wheb Mr. Chamberlain 
denounced him in a bitter speech as : * The noble lord, 
lately the leader of the Opposition, now the leader of a 
section of the Opposition.' Bright stood by Chamber- 
lain, and Parnell and the Irish took the same side. 

On July 15 Parnell and Mr. Chamberlain still showed 
fight, when Lord Hartington promised that if they 
allowed the Bill to pass through committee he would 
move a resolution on the report to give effect to their 
wishes. They agreed, and on July 17 Lord Hartington, 
on behalf of the whole Libéral party, moved : ' That no 
Bill for the discipline and régulation of the army will 
be satisfactory to this House which provides for the 
rétention of corporal punishment for military offences.' 
This was the final struggle. The Government stood • 


by their concession of July 7, and defeated Lord 
Hartington's résolution by 291 to 185 votes. So ended 
the campaign against the ' cat ' in 1879 — flogging was 
abolished in ail cases except when the alternative 
punishment was death. In 1881 it was abolished 
altogether. In the end other men became as anxious 
for the abolition of the ' cat ' as Parnell ; but it was 
he who began the fight, and who carried it on with a 
skill and tenacity which made victory secure. 

From Westminster Parnell hastened to Ireland to 
take part in the Ennis élection in July. There were two 
candidates in the field : Mr. William O'Brien (Whig), 
a Catholic barrister and Crown prosecutor, and Mr. 
Finnigan (Home Ruler) , Parnell's nominee. The bishops 
and the priests supported Mr. O'Brien, the advanced 
men stood by Mr. Finnigan. It was the Ennis élection 
that tested Parnell's strength in the country. ' If Ennis 
had been lost,' hesaid afterwards, ' I would hâve retired 
from public life, for it would hâve satisfied me that the 
priests were suprême in Irish politics.' Ennis was 
not lost. Mr. Finnigan was returned. 

Some days later an incident occurred which caused 
a good deal of commotion at the time, and gave Parnell 
not a little trouble. The Irish University Bill (which 
afterwards became law) l was before the House of 
Commons. Parnell took an advanced position in the 
discussion. He was, in fact, in favour of the extrême 
Catholic demand — namely, a Catholic university. Mr. 
Gray, the proprietor of the ' Freeman's Journal/ and 
other moderate Catholic members were iti favour of a 

1 The Bill establishing a Royal uni versity— practically an examining 
board. Curiously enough, the Government said they would not deal 
with the subject at the beginning of the session ; but, to buy off Parnell's 
opposition to their measures generally, they intrôduced and passed it at 
the end. 


compromise such as the Government proposed. There 
was a meeting of the Irish members to consider the 
subject. Some hot words passed between the extrême 
and the moderate men, and Parnell was reported to 
hâve referred contemptuously to the modérâtes as 
' Papist rats.' Currency was given to this report in 
the ' Freeman's Journal.' Parnell said the statement 
was ' absolutely false,' and several of the extrême 
Catholics corroborated his assertion. Still, there was 
a good deal of unpleasantness over the matter, and 
many people believed that Parnell used the words. 
As a matter of fact he did not use them. They were 
used by an extrême Catholic just as the meeting had 
broken up and when there was a good deal of con- 
fusion in the room. ' The first time I ever had a talk 
with Parnell about politics,' Mr. Corbett, the présent 
member for Wicklow, said to me, ' was about the 
" Papist rats " incident. Gray and Parnell had differed 
on the éducation question. Gray was in favour of a 
compromise ; Parnell wanted the extrême Catholic 
demand. Gray succeeded in carrying the party with 
him, and Parnell was reported to hâve said, on leaving 
the room, " thèse Papist rats." I asked Parnell if 
he had used the words. He said : " No. The words 
were used, but not by me. Why, Corbett, should I 
offend the Catholics of Ireland by speaking insultingly 
of them ? Certainly it would be very foolish, to put 
the matter on no other ground. An Irish Protestant 
politician can least of ail afford to offend the Catholic 
priests or laity. No ; I would not insuit the priests." ' 
The condition of Ireland was now alarming. Dis- 
tress was increasing ; évictions were imminent ; agi- 
tation, fed by the poverty of the tenants and the follies 
of the landlords, spread like wildfire. Towards the end of 


April a great land meeting was held in Limerick. Parnell 
attended. The chairman — a parish priest — made a 
moderate speech, but the meeting was in no temper 
for modération. ' The farmers of Ireland,' said the 
priest, ' if there are to be peace and loyalty, ought to 
hâve free land, as the farmers of Belgium, France, and 
Hollande ' We want physical force,' shouted the 
crowd. ' We must not hâve Fenianism,' said the 
priest. ' Three cheers for the Irish republic, ' was 
the response. 

Parnell sat calm and impassive while the vast mass 
before him surged with discontent. When his time 
for speaking came he made one of those cold-blooded, 
businesslike speeches which fired the people more than 
the wild rhetoric of some of his more inflammable 
colleagues. Eepeating the advice he had given at 
Westport, he told the farmers to keep a ' firm grip on 
their homesteads/ and to show ' a firm and determined 
attitude ' to the landlords. ' Stand to your guns,' he 
said, ' and there is no power on earth which can 
prevail against the hundreds of thousands of tenant 
farmers of this country.' On September 21 he attended 
another land meeting in Tipperary. There he once 
more told the people to rely upon themselves, and 
themselves alone. 

'It is no use relying upon the Government, it is 
no use relying upon the Irish members, it is no use 
relying upon the House of Commons. (Groans.) You 
must rely upon your own détermination, that déter- 
mination which has enabled you to survive the famine 
years and to be présent hère to-day — (cheers) — and if 
you are determined, I tell you, you hâve the game in 
your own hands.' (Prolongea cheers.) 

Davitt, who was the soûl of this land agitation, 

vol. i. o 


now resolved to sweep the various tenant defence 
societies scattered over the country into one great 
organisation, and to call it the Land League. His 
plan was to hâve a central committee in Dublin, and 
local branches in the rural districts. He put his views 
before Parnell. Parnell for a moment hesitated. He 
had often heard Butt say that organisations of this 
kind were attended with a good deal of danger. The 
central authority could not always control the local 
branches, yet it was responsible for every act of a 
local branch. The moderate members of the parlia- 
mentary party, while sympathising thoroughly with 
the cause of the tenants, shrank from Davitt's proposai. 
Parnell, however, with the clearness of vision which 
always characterised him, saw that the promotion of 
the League was inévitable. The question was, should 
it go on without him ? 

After the conversation with Kickham, if not before, 
he fully realised that the tenant farmers could never be 
left out of account ; therefore, to hold himself apart 
from a great land movement would be political suicide. 
Farmers, Fenians, Home Kulers, bishops, priests — 
ail should be brought into line, and he should lead ail. 
That was the policy, that was the faith, of Parnell. 

' Unless we unité ail shades of political opinion in 
the country/ he had said at a meeting of the Home 
Rule League on September 11, 'I fail to see how we 
can expect ever to attain national independence.' To 
hâve a Land League standing by itself and out of touch 
with the Home Rule League seemed to him, after a 
little reflection, the height of folly. His principle ail 
the time was ' unity,' and assuredly it would not make 
for unity to hâve Davitt at the head of one league and 
himself, or somebody else, at the head of another. 

Mr. 38] THE LAND LEAGUE 195 

He saw ail the risks of the situation, and he resolved 
to face them. A united Ireland was the paramount 

On October 21 there was a conférence of Nationalists 
and Land Eeformers at the Impérial Hôtel, Dublin, and 
there and then the ' Irish National Land League ' was 
formed, for the purpose of ' bringing about a réduction 
of rack rents ' and facilitating the création of a peasant 
proprietary. * The objects of the League/ so ran one 
of the resolutions, ' can best be attained by defending 
those who may be threatened with éviction for refusing 
to pay unjust rents ; and by obtaining such reforms in 
the laws relating to land as will enable every tenant to 
become the owner of his holding by paying a fair rent 
for a limited number of years. Parnell was elected 
président of the League ; Mr. Biggar, Mr. 0* Sullivan, 
Mr. Patrick Egan, hon. treasurers; Mr. Davitt, Mr. 
Kettle, Mr. Brennan, hon. secretaries. Thus of the 
seven first chosen officers four were Fenians or ex- 
Fenians — Biggar, Egan, Brennan, Davitt — and ail were 
in sympathy with Fenianism. The Land League was, 
in fact, the organisation of the New Departure. Within 
twelve months of his return from America Davitt had 
established a formidable association, well fitted in 
every respect to carry out the policy which he and 
Devoy had planned. Davitt and his colleagues might 
be in rébellion against England. They were also in 
rébellion against the governing body of the Fenian 
society. Land League meetings were now held con- 
stantly throughout the country, and speeches of extrême 
violence were delivered. The fight between the League 
and the Government had commenced in earnest. 

The agitators acted with vigour and ability; the 
Government with supineness and stupidity. Disbe- 

o 2 


lieving in the reality of the land movement, they had 
allowed it to grow ; then, suddenly alarmed at the out- 
look, they struck at it in the moment of its strength, and 
finally recoiled from the impetus of their own blow. 
Davitt, Daly (a Mayo journalist), and Killen (a barrister) 
addressed a meeting at Gurteen, in the county of Sligo, 
on November 2. They made violent speeches, not, how- 
ever, exceeding in ' lawlessness ' of tone the calm incré- 
ments to ' rebelhon ' which had characterised the 
unrhetorical utterances of Parnell at Westport,Limerick, 
and Tipperary. Yet the Government resolved to punish 
them while letting the wily Parliamentarian go free. 
On November 19 the three Land Leaguers were 
arrested. Parnell showed his appréciation of this move 
by attending a meeting at Balla, County Mayo, a few 
days later, summoned to protest against évictions and 
to denounce the Government. Brennan, one of the 
secretaries of the League, was the orator of the day. 
He delivered a furious oration, defying the authorities, 
and appealing to the Koyal Irish Constabulary who 
were présent to stand by ' their kith and km,* and not 
to play the base part of the ' destroyers of their own 
people ' by helping on the work of éviction. While the 
meeting wildly cheered the fiery sentences of Brennan, 
Parnell sat unmoved. Then he rose, congratulated 
Brennan on the 4 magnificent speech ' to which they 
had listened, and added, with imperturbable gravi ty : ' I 
fear very much that the resuit of the lead which Mr. 
Brennan has taken in the movement will be that he 
will be sent to share the fate of Mr. Davitt, Mr. Daly, 
and Mr. Killen/ This proved a true prédiction. On 
December 5 Brennan was arrested. What happened ? 
In a few days the Government flinched, dropped the 
prosecution, and discharged the prisoners. They had 


realised, though rather late in the day for their own 
dignity, that no jury could be got to convict the 
Leaguers, and they did not wish to risk a verdict of 
' not guilty.' Ail Ireland laughed at this performance ; 
and landlords and tenants, who had so little in com- 
mon, joined in regarding the action or non-action of 
the Administration with contempt and ridicule. As 
winter approached famine threatened the west, and 
committees were formed by the Duchess of Marl- 
borough (the wife of the Lord-Lieutenant) and by 
the Lord Mayors to collect food and clothing for the 
starving peasantry. At the Land League Conférence 
of October 21 a resolution had been passed requesting 
Parnell to visit America ' for the purpose of obtaining 
assistance from our exiled fellow-countrymen.' This 
resolution was now put into eflfect, and on December 21 
Parnell set out for New York (accompanied by Mr. 
Dillon) on the twofold mission of appealing for funds 
to save the tenant farmers from immédiate ruin, and of 
consolidating the union between the Irish at home and 
the Irish abroad. 




1 Well, Parnell has his work eut out for him now, at 
ail events. If he can hold his ground with the 
Clan-na-Gael, and afterwards hold it in the House of 
Commons, he will win Home Eule. The Clan-na-Gael 
are the open and avowed enemies of England. Their 
policy is to strike her anywhere and anyhow. What 
is Parnell going to say to them ? If he speaks with 
an eye to the House of Commons his speeches won't 
go down with the Clan. If he speaks with an eye to 
the Clan his speeches will be used with tremendous 
effect against him in the House. It is ail very well 
for men who are not members of Parliament to go 
among Eevolutionists. But the member of Parliament 
has to face the music at St. Stephen's; and how 
Parnell is going to face it after his visit to the Clan- 
na-Gael I don't know.' 

So said an Irish Home Eule member to me on the 
eve of Parneirs departure for the United States. 

Parnell himself set out on his mission with a light 
heart. What the House of Commons would think, or 
would not think, gave him little trouble. He was not 
in the habit of f orecasting the future to an extent which 
would interfère with the opérations of the présent. 

JET. 38] A P0L1CY OF UNION 199 

* Sufficient for the day is the work thereof ' ; that was 
practically his motto. He saw his way clearly to a 
given point ; he went straight to that point, and then 
surveyed the situation afresh. ' The critical side of 
his character is too strongly developed. He can only 
see difficulties.' This has been said of an English 
Libéral statesman of our own day. It could not be 
said of Parnell. No man certainly was so quick in 
seeing, or rather in judging, difficulties; but neither 
was any man so adroit, so ready, so resourceful in over- 
coming them. Difficulties paralyse the mère man of 
thought ; they nerve the man of action. Parnell had 
the eye of a gênerai. He took in the whole situation 
at a glance. He knew when to advance, when to 
retreat. He divined with the instinct of genius when 
a position had to be stormed, and when it could be 
turned with safety. 

When the time for action came he made up his 
mind quickly ; he did not hesitate, he did not flinch. 
His objective now was the union of ail Irishmen, not 
only in Ireland but ail over the world, against England. 
This was a vital point, and he was prepared to do 
anything, to risk anything, for it. The opinion of the 
House of Commons was nothing to him. The House, 
he felt, would give way quickly enough before a united 
Ireland; and of a united Ireland he thought alone. 
The Irish in America were a great force. It was 
essential to bring them into line with the Irish at 
home. The Clan-na-Gael was probably not an im- 
maculate organisation. But was the English Govern- 
ment in Ireland immaculate ? He would avail himself of 
every power within his reach to attack that Government ; 
and would show exactly the same amount of ' scruple ' 
in dealing with England that England had habitually 


shown in dealing with his own nation. If he could he 
would hâve preferred to settle the Anglo-Irish question 
by open warfare. That was not possible. He would, 
therefore, use whatever means were ready to his hand 
for out-manœuvring the ' common enemy.' He had 
no more intention of giving himself away to the Clan- 
na-Gael than he had of giving himself away to the 
British Minister. But, after ail, there was something 
in common between him and the Clan, however much 
they might differ about the modus operandi. They 
both hated England. Between him and the British 
Minister there was nothing in common. He would 
accordingly use the Clan, as he would use every Irish 
organisation, to fight the Britisher. For the rest he 
would trust to the fortunes of war. 

Parnell arrived in New York early in 1880. His 
work was indeed eut out for him. The Clan-na-Gael 
were not united in favour of the ' new departure.' 
There were many important members of the organisa* 
tion opposed to the parliamentary movement and 
anxious to make war against it. Thèse men had to 
bo won over, or their hostility, at least, disarmed. 
Success in this respect was, however, only half the 
battle. There were thousands of Irishmen who were 
not Fenians, yet they had to be brought into line with 
the Fenians. Lastly, the sympathy of the Âmericans 
themselves had to be enlisted in the cause of Ireland. 
How were thèse things to be accomplished ? Most 
Irish agitators believe in talking. Parnell believed in 
•istening, and by listening, chiefly, he got into thegood 
# races of the Clan-na-Gael. He saw the leaders. He 
heard what they had to say. He held his tongue. 
Ile made no compact ; he entered into no undertaking. 
Ile asked only for fair play for the parliamentary 


movement. ' I believe in it,' he said ; ' give it a chance.' 
His path was not a smooth one in America. There 
were those in the Clan who said : ' Do not trust 
Parnell ; he will use you for his own purposes, he will 
make our movement subservient to his.' This was 
particularly the opinion of the Fenian agent who had 
been sent to Europe in 1878. Then he was more or less 
favourably disposed to the ' new departure/ Now he was 
vehemently against it. He quarrelled with Parnell. 
4 Mr. Parnell,' he said one day with much warmth, 
' you are always making inquiries about the Clan-na- 
Gael. We don't like it. It shows you suspect us. I 
cannot work with a man who suspects me. The fact 
is, Mr. Parnell, you want to become the master of the 
Clan-na-Gael, to use it for the constitutional move- 
ment. That is your aim. Well, I won't work on 
that basis.' It was Parneirs luck — if luck it is to be 
called — that he almost always succeeded in neu- 
tralising the hostility of the men who opposed him; 
and this particular Fenian soon found himself in a 

The public platform is the breath of the nostrils of 
the ordinary Irish agitator. He loves it. Parnell 
detested it. 'I hâte public assemblies/ he once said 
to a friend ; ' it is always an effort for me to attend 
them. I am always nervous. I dislike crowds/ 
The public platform had, however, to be used, and, 
despite his aversion to it, Parnell used it with effect in 

At Brooklyn, on January 24, 1880, he said : ' We 
do not ask you to send armed expéditions over to 
Ireland (a voice, " That's what we would like." Ap- 
plause.) I know that you would like to do that very 
much. (Applause, " Eight.") I think I know what 


you are going to say, and what you would like to do, 
and what you are willing to do, and how willing you 
will be to help us ail. But we ask you to help us in 
preventing the people who hâve taken our advice, and 
who are exhibiting an attitude of dévotion which has 
never been surpassed — what we ask you to do is to 
help us in preventing thèse people from being starved 
to death. This is not a new enterprise ; this struggle 
has gone on for many centuries, and it is bound to go 
on to the bitter end, and in one way or another the 
Irish people will insist upon having the land of Ireland 
for themselves, and the end of it will be that thèse men 
who till the soil will also own it. The high heart of 
our country remains unquelled, the will and courage of 
our race unquenched, and they are strengthened by the 
great power of our people in this free land. I feel 
very confident that the day is very near at hand when 
we shall hâve struck the first blow, the first vital blow, 
at the land System as it now exists in Ireland, and 
then we shall hâve taken the first step to obtain for 
Ireland that right to nationhood for which she has 
struggled so long and so well.' 

At Oleveland, on January 26, 1880, he said : ' I hâve 
said that we are fighting this battle against heavy odds. 
I hâve also said that we feel confident of winning it. 
It has given me great pleasure during my visit to the 
cities of this country to see the armed régiments of 
Irishmen who hâve frequently turned out to escort us ; 
and when I saw some of thèse gallant men to-day, who 
are even now in this hall, I thought that each one of 
them must wish, with Sarsfield of old, when dying upon 
a foreign battlefield, "Oh! that I could carry thèse 
arms for Ireland." Well, it may corne to that some day 
or other/ 

J£x. 84] 'THE LAST LINK ' 203 

At Cincinnati, on February 23, 1880, he said : ' I feel 
confident that we shall kill the Irish landlord System, 
and when we hâve given Ireland to the people of Ireland 
we shall hâve laid the foundation upon which to build 
up our Irish nation. The feudal tenure and the raie of 
the minority hâve been the corner-stone of English 
misrule. Pull out that corner-stone, break it up, 
destroy it, and you undermine English mis-govern- 
ment. When we hâve undermined English nris- 
government we hâve paved the way for Ireland to 
take her place among the nations of the earth. And 
let us not forget that that is the ultimate goal at 
which ail we Irishmen aim. None of us, whether 
we be in America or^in Ireland, or wherever we may be, 
will be satisfied until we hâve destroy ed the last link 
which keeps Ireland bound to England.' 

At Eochester, in February 1880, he said : ' I am 
bound to admit that it is the duty of every Irishman to 
shed the last drop of his blood in order to obtain his 
rights, if there were a probable chance of success, yet 
at the same time we ail recognise the great responsi- 
bility of hurling our unarmed people on the points of 
British bayonets. We must act with prudence when 
the contest would be hopeless, and not rush upon 

It would be doing scant justice to Parnell to suggest 
for an instant that thèse speeches were made merely 
for the purpose of conciliating the Clan-na-Gael. Far 
from it. In what he said he spoke the faith that was 
in him. Other speeches he made to Irishmen who 
were not Fenians, and then he dealt with the land 
question alone. But he did not take off his coat to 
reform the land laws of Ireland. He took off his coat 
to loosen the English grip on the i s land, Therefore at 


Brooklyn, Cleveland, and Cincinnati he spoke trom his 

His progress in America was a triumphal procession. 
He went everywhere, and everywhere he was received 
with open arms. Large towns and small vied witli 
each other in showing honour to him, and sympathy 
for the cause he represented. Public bodies présentai 
addresses to him. Irish soldiers lincd the streets of the 
cities through which he passed. Governors of States 
waited on him. Congress itself threw open its doors 
to let him plead the cause of his country before the 
Parliament of the republic. 'In spite, and partly 
pcrhaps because, of the attacks directed at us by a 
portion of the Eastern Press,' he wrote to P. Egan on 
March 1, ' the enthusiasm increases in volume as we 
proceed from place to place, military guarda and salvoes 
of artillery salute our coming, and the meetings which 
we address, although high admission charge is made, 
are packed from floor to roof. State Governoi 
members of Congress, local représentatives, judj 
clergymen, continunlly appear upon the platform.' 

' In two months,' he said snbsequently, ' we visitt 
sixty-two différent cities— that is, lîttle more than ( 
city a night. Between two of thèse cities i 
occasion travelled 1,400 miles. During the tv 
we remained in America we travelled together i 
like 10,000 or 11,000 by land. This, joined to 
miles of océan there and back, amounts rog^ 
miles in three months, which is not badj 
net resuit of thèse sixty-two 
actually in the ham of our < 

1 The honour utenled to Fui 
Ropre»entativuB m ih*i I only b] 
cnoagh O'Mew Contai, on- '* ' 

*Et. 84] IN CANADA 206 

From the United States Parnell went to Canada, 
whither he was accompanied by Mr. Healy, who had 
joined him in America. ' I was with him/ says Mr. 
Healy, ' for about three weeks, but I hâve not much to 
tell beyond what appears in the newspapers. We 
went to Canada together. Before starting the Bishop 
of Toronto wrote to Parnell to warn him against 
coming, suggesting that he would probably be attacked 
by the Orangemen. Parnell sent a dignified reply, 
saying he had promised to corne, that he would keep 
his word, and that he had no appréhensions of dis- 
turbance. We came. There was no row, nor sign of 
a row. "Perhaps," said Parnell with an enigmatical 
smile, " the Orangemen do not wish to attack a Pro* 
testant." On arriving at Toronto Parnell went straight 
to a telegraph station, and told me to " corne along." 
He took up a telegrain form, wrote out a message with 
great pains, and then tore up the form. He tried 
again, and went on boggling over his message until I 
thought he would never get done. At length he 
apparently satisfied himself, and then handed the 
message to me, saying, ' Is that ail right ? ' It was 
simply a wire to his mother in New York saying that 
he had arrived safely, and that she need hâve no fears 
about him as ail was quiet and peaceful. But it was 
written in French. That was the cause of the boggling. 
I thought it was very odd that he should (to secure 
secrecy) send a telegram in French from Toronto, where 
they speak French as well as they do in Paris. I felt 
inclined to tell him so ; but thought on reflection that 
it was no business of mine. Moreover, it struck me 

nection with the Manchester rescue, and who had cried from the 
dock, ' God save Ireland,' was a prominent member of the committee 
which organised ParneH's réception by Congress* 


that perhaps he wanted to keep someone in the dark in 
New York. Another thing struck me about this inci- 
dent. There was this cold, callous man, who seemed 
not to care for anyone, rushing off to a telegraph office 
to wire his mother not to be uneasy about hini. He 
was a man of surprises, and certainly very fond of his 
own family. 

'We had a great meeting at Toronto. But the 
biggest meeting I ever attended was at Montréal. It 
was hère he was first called the " uncrowned king." 
A high charge was made for admission. The hall, the 
biggest in the city, could not hold ail the people who 
wanted to corne. The enthusiasm was tremendous. 
Parnell sat like a sphinx the whole time. He seemed 
not to be a bit touched by the démonstration. The 
whole town went mad about him. Everyone was 
affected but himself . 

' Next day, as we steamed out of the railway station, 
returning to New York, I repeated some humorous 
lines which I had recently read about Montréal. I 
wanted to see if Parnell could see the fun of them. 
He listened in a dreamy way until I was done, and 
then said : " I hâve been thinking if anyone will ever 
pay to corne and hear me lecture again." The poem 
was thrown away on him. 

4 We left New York for Ireland on a bitterly cold 
March morning. The 69th Kegiment 1 saw us off. 
As soon as I got on board the tender I turned towards 
the cabin to get under shelter from the driving sleet. 
Parnell stood on the bridge the whole time until the 
tender left with head uncovered ; and it was a fine 
sight to see the 69th salute as we sailed off, and Parnell 
wave his hand in response, looking like a king.' 

1 This régiment was at one time composed entirely of Fenians. 


Parneirs last act before starting for Ireland was to 
form an American Land League. A hurried meeting 
was held in New York. The Fenians dominated it, 
though Constitutionalists also attended at Parneirs 
spécial request. A committee of seven was appointed 
to frame a constitution for the new association, and 
out of thèse seven four were members of the Clan-na- 
Gael. We hâve seen that Davitt was one of the secré- 
taires of the Irish Land League. John Devoy was 
now appointed one of the treasurers of the American 
Land League. Thus the joint authors of the policy 
of the new departure held important posts in the 
joint organisations founded (inter alia) to carry out 
that policy. What then, briefly, was the situation in 
the spring of 1880? Within the American Land 
League there were Constitutionalists, between whom 
and the Revolutionists much friction existed; but 
the Revolutionists were always in a majority. In 
the Irish Land League the overwhelming majority 
were Constitutionalists, but the most active spirits 
were Fenians or ex-Fenians. The suprême council of 
the I. R. B. fought to the last against the Leaguers — 
without, however, producing any permanent effect on 
the course of events. Parnell ail the time concentrated 
the whole of his énergies in uniting the discordant 
éléments of which the whole movement against Eng- 
land was composed. He was the centre of unity. 

Meanwhile the agitation in Ireland went steadily 
on. The distress of the people in the western districts 
grew appalling. Evictions increased. No réductions 
in rent were made. The landlords, with the madness 
of the old French régime, foresaw nothing, and un- 
consciously fanned the flames which were to consume 
them. On the meeting of Parliament Mr. Shaw moved 


an amendment to the Address affirming that, ' although 
in possession of timely warning and information, the 
Government had not taken adéquate steps to alleviate 
the di stress,' and adding that ' it was essential to the 
peace and prosperity of Ireland to legislate at once in 
a comprehensive manner on those questions winch 
affect the tenure of land in Ireland, the neglect of 
which by Parliament had been the true cause of the 
constantly recurring disaffection and distress in Ireland/ 
In the debate which followed Sir Stafford Northcote 
made a statement on the subject of that distress which 
we are told ' startled ' the House. ' The statistics,' says 
the 'Ànnual Begister,' 'given by Sir S. Northcote 
from the report of the Eegistrar-General on the agri- 
cultural condition of Ireland were startling. It was 
estimated that there had been a falling off in the prin- 
cipal crops from the yield of the previous year to the 
value of 10,0O0,000Z. The value of the potato crop 
was more than 6,000,000Z. below the average. . . . 
Figures of such an enormous deficiency startled many 
who had been previously disposed to believe that the 
Irish distress had no serious foundation except in the 
imaginations of the Home Bulers and anti-rent agi- 
tators.' The British Parliament, with characteristic 
indifférence, had turned a deaf ear to the remonstrances 
of the Irish représentatives until famine was upon the 
land and the fires of agitation were blazing in every 
district. Even then Ministers pottered with the situa- 
tion. Of course Mr. Shaw's amendment was defeated 
by an overwhelming majority — 216 against 66 — the 
notion of reforming the land laws of Ireland was 
scouted, and an inadéquate Belief Bill passed. 1 

1 This Relief Bill was thus described by the présent Lord Chief 
Justice of England before the Parnell Commission : • The form it took 


r Then, to the astonishment of everyone, the Dissolu- 
tion was sprung upon the country. 1 The Government 
tried to make Home Eule the issue of the conflict, and 
to stir up English passion and préjudice against Ireland. 
' My Lord Duke,' said Lord Beaconsfield in his letter 
to the Irish Viceroy, the Duke of Marlborough, 'A 
danger in its ultimate results scarcely less disastrous 
than pestilence and famine, and which now engages 
your Excellency's anxious attention, distracts Ireland. 

was advancing to Irish landlords 1,100,000Z. of the surplus funds of the 
disestablished Church in Ireland, to lend that money to Irish landlords 
without interest for two years, and at the end of two years at the rate of 
one per cent. ; and, unless numbers of landlords are gravely maligned, 
when they employed their tenants and paid them wages out of this fund 
for working upon their own farms (which wages went towards payment 
of rent), those tenants were charged in some cases four and five and 
even more per cent., and that in perpetuity, on the very money advanced 
by the State for their relief, thus getting the relief filtered through the 
hands of the landlords in this indirect and very ineffective fashion ' 
(Speech of Sir Charles Bussell, p. 159). 

1 The Government made another attempt in February to deal with 
obstruction, and passed the following resolution : ' That whenever any 
member shall hâve been named by the Speaker or by the chairman of a 
committee of the whole House as disregarding the authority of the 
chair, or abusing the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully 
obstructing the business of the House or otherwise, then, if the offence 
has been committed in the House, the Speaker shall forthwith put the 
question or motion being made, no amendment, adjournment, or debate 
being allowed : " That such member be suspended from the service of 
the House during the remainder of that day's sitting ; " and if the offence 
has been committed in a committee of the whole House, the chairman 
shall, on motion being made, put the same question in a similar way, 
and if the motion is carried shall forthwith suspend the proceedings of 
the committee and report the circumstance to the House, and the 
Speaker shall thereupon put the same question, without amendment, 
adjournment, or debate, as if the offence had been committed in the 
House itself. If any member be suspended three times in one session 
under this order, this suspension on the third occasion shall continue 
for one week and until a motion has been made, upon which it shall be 
decided at one sitting by the House whether the suspension shall then 
cease or for what longer period it shall continue, and on the occasion of 
such motion the member may, if he desires it, be heard in his place. 
Provided al way s that nothing in this resolution shall be taken to deprive 
the House of the power of proceeding against any member according to 
ancient usages.' 

VOL, I. P 


A portion of its population is attempting to sever the 
constitutional tie which unités it to Great Britain in 
that bond which has f avoured the power and prosperity 
of both.' l Mr. Gladstone refused to accept the issue 
as stated by Lord Beaconsfield, and resolved to fighfc 
the Government upon the whole line of their policy ; 
but chiefly on the question of foreign affaire. To the 
paragraph in the Prime Minister's letter dealing with 
Ireland Mr. Gladstone replied in his address to the 
electors of Midlothian : ' Gentlemen, those who endan- 
gered the Union with Ireland were the party that main- 
tained there an alien Church, an unjust land law, and 
franchises inferior to our own ; and the true supporters 
of the Union are those who uphold the suprême 
authority of Parliament, but exercise that authority 
to bind the three nations by the indissoluble tie of 
libéral and equal laws. Let me say that in my 
opinion thèse two great subjects of local government 
and the land laws ought now to occupy a foremost 
place in the thoughts of every man who aspires to be a 
legislator. In the matter of local government there 
may lie a solution of some national and even Impérial 
difficulties. It will not be in my power to enter 
largely [now] upon the important question of the 
condition of Ireland ; but you know well how un- 
happily the action of Parliament has been impeded 
and disorganised, from considérations, no doubt, con- 
scientiously entertained by a part of the Irish repre- 

1 A month before the Dissolution an élection took place at Liverpool 
which once more showed the power of tho Irish vote in the English 
constituencies. Lord Ramsay, the Libéral candidate, was obliged to take 
the Home llule pledge (t.e. to vote for an inquiry). He was beaten by a 
majority of 2,000, but the fact that the Libéral wire-pullers felt that the 
Home Bulers had to be won over in a great eonstituency like Liverpool 
produoed a strong impression in political circles throughout the wnole 


sentatives, and from their désire to establish what they 
term Home Bule. If you ask me what I think of 
Home Eule, I must tell you that I will only answer you 
when you tell me how Home Bule is related to local 
government. I am friendly to large local privilèges 
and powers. I désire, I may almost say I intensely 
désire, to see Parliament relieved of some portion of its 
duties. I see the efficiency of Parliament interfered 
with, not only by obstruction from Irish members, but 
even more gravely by the enormous weight that is 
placed upon the time and the minds of those whom 
you send to represent you. We hâve got an over- 
weighted Parliament, and if Ireland or any other 
portion of the country is desirous and able so to 
arrange its affairs that by taking the local part or 
some local part of its transactions off the hands of 
Parliament it can liberate and strengthen Parliament 
for Impérial concerns, I say I will not only accord a 
reluctant assent, but I will give a zealous support to 
any such scheme. One limit, gentlemen, one limit 
only, I know to the extension of local government. It 
is this ; nothing can be done, in my opinion, by any 
wise statesman or right-minded Briton to weaken or 
compromise the authority of the Impérial Parliament, 
because the Impérial Parliament must be suprême in 
thèse three kingdoms. And nothing that créâtes a 
doubt upon that supremacy can be tolerated by an 
intelligent and patriotic man. But, subject to that 
limitation, if we can make arrangements under which 
Ireland, Scotland, Wales, portions of England, can 
deal with questions of local and spécial interest to 
themselves more efficiently than Parliament now can, 
that, I say, will be the attainment of a great national 

p 2 


It was the sudden Dissolution that forced Parnell 
to bring his American tour to an abrupt termination, 
and to hasten back to Ireland, where he arrived on 
March 21. 

Parnell thought much of the Clan-na-Gael as a 
powerful political organisation. In his évidence before 
the Spécial Commission he said : ' I believe that so far 
as any active interest was taken at the time of my 
going to America by Irishmen in the Irish question, it 
was by the men of revolutionary physical-force ideas. 
T believe that the great bulk of the Irish people in 
America, until I went there, did not take any interest 
at ail in Irish politics.' Nevertheless, he disliked thé 
Clan, because he feared it would give him much. 
trouble. Even at this early date he foresaw that some 
of its members might run into excesses, which would 
compromise him and bring discrédit on the national 
movement. He knew, too, that as three thousand 
miles of océan separated him from the organisation, he 
could exercise little restraining influence over its 

But he could not ignore the Clan; he could not 
ignore any important Irish political association. His 
central idea was to attack England. He took the help 
of ail allies for that purpose, and faced the consé- 
quences. On landing at Queenstown he was met by 
some members of the I. K. B., who presented him with 
an address which contained thèse words : 

1 We must take the opportunity to express our clear 
conviction of the hopelessness of looking for justice to 
Ireland from the English Parliament, and the firm 
belief of the intelligent manhood of the country that 
it is utterly futile to seek for any practical national 
good through the means of parliamentary représentation, . 


Impelled by such convictions, the Nationalists of the 
country hâve determined, as a political party, they will 
take no part in the coming élections, and consequently 
no part in the adoption, rejection, or support of the 
parliamentary candidates/ 

We hâve seen that in 1879 the suprême council of 
the I. B. B. passed a resolution to the effect that the 
members of the rank and file might take part in the 
parliamentary movement at their own risk. In 1880 
this resolution was rescinded, and it was declared that 
no Fenian, under any circumstances, should co-operate 
with the constitution al party. The Queenstown address 
simply gave expression to this détermination. Some 
days later Parnell received further proof that ail the 
Fenians had not acquiesced in the new departure. 
The platform from which he addressed a meeting in 
Enniscorthy in support of the parliamentary candida- 
ture of his nominees, Mr. Barry and Mr. Byrne, was 
attacked, and he himself almost dragged from it to 
the ground. Mr. John Bedmond, who stood by his 
side on the platform, has thus described the scène 
to me : 

'I met Parnell in 1880 after his return from 
America. I was at Enniscorthy with him. It was an 
awful scène. There were about 4,000 to 5,000 people 
there. They ail seemed to be against him. I re- 
member one man shouting, though what he meant I 
could not tell : " We will show Parnell that the blood 
of Vinegar Hill is still green." The priests were 
against Parnell. Parnell stood on the platform calm 
and self-possessed. There was no use in trying to 
talk. He faced the crowd, looking sad and sorrowful, 
but not at ail angry ; it was an awful picture of patience. 
A rotten egg was flung at him. It struck him on the 


beard and trickled down. He took no notice of it, 
never wiped it off, and was not apparently conscious 
of it; he faced the crowd steadfastly, and held his 
ground. One man rushed at him, seized him by the 
leg, and tore his trouser right up from bottom to top. 
There was no chance of a hearing, and we got away 
from the platform and went to the hôtel to lunch. 
Parnell ate a hearty lunch while a waiter was busy 
stitching his trousers ail the time. It was a comical 
sight. Afterwards we went for a walk. We were 
met by a hostile mob, and I was knocked down and 
eut in the face. I got up as quickly as I could and 
made my way to the railway station. When Parnell 
saw me he said: "Why, you are bleeding. What is 
the matter?" I told him what had happened, andhe 
said, smiling : " Well, you hâve shed your blood for me 
at ail events." ' 

Into the General Election Parnell flung himself with 
ardour and vigour, working literally day and night, 
selecting candidates, superintending ail détails, flying 
from constituency to constituency, and inspiring every- 
one with his energy and détermination. Three con- 
stituencies vied with each other for the honour of 
electing him — Meath, Mayo, and Cork City. The 
circumstances under which he was nominated for Cork 
were curious, and even remarkable. Hère is the story 
as told to me by his élection agent and faithful friend, 
Mr. Horgan : 

'The nomination for Cork City was fixed for 
March 31, the candidates being H. D. Murphy (Whig), 
William Goulding (Conservative), and John Daly 
(Home Euler). Up to the day of the nomination 
the advanced Nationalists of Cork took no interest in 
the élection. Of course, they cared nothing for the 


Whig nor the Tory, and the Home Euler was far too 

' On the day of the nomination, however, a politician 
of supposed Nationalist leanings (whom we shall 
call Y.) came into my office, accompanied by some 
genuine Nationalists. He handed me a nomination 
paper bearing Parnell's name. The paper was signed 
by the Kev. John O'Mahony, C.O., and another 
priest, the Kev. Denis McCarthy, and by several other 
electors. Y. asked me to sign as nominator, and 
to hand the paper to the Sheriff. Before signing I 
asked him if he had Mr. Parnell's sanction. He replied 
that he had, and produced 250Z. in bank-notes, which 
he said Mr. Parnell had sent him from Dublin that 

* I was at once convinced by the production of : the 
money that the matter was ail right. I signed the 
nomination paper, and had only time to rush from my 
office across the street to the Sheriff's office and hand 
it in. Y. gave me 501. to pay the Sheriff's fées. 
There were a few thousand people on the South Mail, 
opposite the Sheriff's office, and when they heard that 
Parnell had been nominated théy cheered vigorously 
and became intensely excited. 

' The friends of Daly and Murphy were both greatly 
annoyed, and as I was returning to my office I was 
jostled about by some of them, and the late Sir 
D. V. 0' Sullivan shouted into my face: "Parnell will 
not poil the 511 given to John Mitchell at the last 
élection.' ' 

' Of course it was the advanced Nationalists who 
had supported Mitchell at the last élection, and the 
same men were supporting Parnell now. The resnlt 
of bringing Mitchell f orward then was to split the 


Libéral vote and to let the Tory Goulding slip in. 
O' Sullivan feared a similar resuit now, though in any 
case he would not like to see an " Extremist " like 
Parnell returned. 

' Murphy was a strong candidate, having immense 
local influence, and the Catholic Bishop, Dr. Delaney, 
was at his back. In the evening I had a wire from 
Parnell from Morrison's Hôtel, Dublin, thanking me 
for nominating him, and saying he would corne down 
by the night mail on Friday, April 2. 

'During Friday afternoon a rumour was freely 
circulated that Parnell was the Tory nominee. On 
Saturday morning he arrived at 2 a.m. I met him at 
the railway station. He surprised me by asking how 
he came to be nominated. " Why," I said, " did you 
not authorise Y. to nominate you, and send him 
250Z. to pay expenses?" "I did not send him a 
farthing," said Parnell, "and I know nothing whatever 
about him ; never heard of him. There is something 
that wants looking into here. ,, " Well," I said, "let 
us corne to the hôtel, at ail events ; hâve a rest, and I 
will send for Father O'Mahony." Accordingly, we 
went to the hôtel. Parnell had some hours' rest, and 
came down to breakfast looking as fresh as paint. 
Father O'Mahony had also corne, and was much 
excited about the rumour that Parnell was being 
run by the Tories. Tim Healy was présent too. I 
told the whole story of how Y. came to me over 

1 When I was done Parnell said, as quick as light- 
ning : " Send for Y." We despatched a messenger for 
Y., who soon appeared upon the scène. Parnell at 
once took Y. in hand, and went straight to the point 
without a moment's delay. " Where did you get the 


250Z. y ou showed Mr. Horgan on Wednesday last ? " 
he asked, with a keen, determined look. Y. shuffled 
for a bit, but soon collapsed and made a clean breast 
of it. He had gone one evening into Goulding's com- 
mittee rooms, where they were freely discussing the 
chances of the Nationalists putting f orward O'Donovan 
Kossa or some other impossible candidate, who, like 
Mitchell, might draw away five or six hundred votes 
from Daly and Murphy. In such case, they said, 
Goulding would once more slip in between the broken 
Libéral ranks. 

' Y. was personally known to some of the Tory 
wire-pullers, and looked upon as an " Extremist " who 
cared neither for Whig nor Tory, and would not in 
the least object to spoil the Whig game. He was 
sounded there and then, and told that if he could get 
an extrême Nationalist candidate the Tories would 
pay the Sheriff's fées and give him (Y.) 200?. for 

1 Y. undertook to bring forward such a candidate, 
but said he would not disclose the name until the 
day of nomination. He stipulated, however, that the 
250L should be given to him at once. This was agreed 
to, and Mr. B handed Y. the money (2501.). 

'That was Y/s plain unvarnished taie. When 
he had finished Parnell said : " You gave 501. to 
Mr. Horgan on the day of the nomination. Where is 
the remaining 2001. ?" Y. refused to tell. Parnell 
pressed him; he still held out. "Y.," said Parnell 
at last, with a determined look, " if you do not tell 
me at once where the money is I will raise that 
window and denounce you to the citizens of Cork." 
An immense crowd had by this time gathered outside. 
Y. looked at the crowd and then at Parnell, and 


finally put his hand into his breeches pocket and pulled 
ont a bundle of bank-notes. " There is the 200Z.," said 
he. Healy, who was nearest to him, seized the notes 
at once. " Now," said Parnell, " the question is what 
shall we do with the money." "Beturn it to the 
Tories at once/' said Father O'Mahony. " Nonsense/ 
said Healy. " We'll fight the élection with it. It will 
be ail the sweeter to win the seat with Tory money." 
Tim relished the fun of the thing immensely. "I 
think the best thing to do at présent/ ' said Parnell, 
" is to hand the money to Mr. Horgan until we hâve 
time to consider the matter." Tim then handed me 
the notes. Well, we kept the money. It was barely 
enough, although we ran the contest on the most 
economical lines. 

4 Parnell addressed the citizens (an enormous crowd) 
from the hôtel Windows that night, and was cheered 
with wild delight. I remember that the " Cork 
Examiner " (Whig), which attacked Parnell, was 
publicly burned outside the window. On Sunday, 
April 4, we started after breakfast with Parnell and a 
large body of supporters on cars for Douglas, a village 
three miles from Cork, where Parnell addressed the 
rural voters after Mass, and then we drove to Blackrock, 
another rural parish, where he also addressed another 
meeting. Then we drove to the other side of the city 
to Glanmire, where the people took the horses from 
his car and drew him back to Cork. 

'Next we proceeded to the city park, where he 
addressed thirty thousand people wild with excitement. 
His horses again were unyoked, and he was drawn 
back to the hôtel. That night at eight o'clock he 
addressed the people from the hôtel window. The 
crowd was enormous, and occupied the whole of 


Patrick Street. I never will forget his opening words, 
They acted like an electric shock on the excited 
people. He said, in slow and measured language, with 
a deep pause after each word : " Citizens of Cork. This 
is the night before the battle. To your guns then." 
It was quite évident that we had ail Cork with us, and 
that there was no fear of Parnell at the élection next 

' At breakf ast on Monday morning Parnell decided 
to nominate Mr. Kettle for the county l ; the nomination 
was to be on that day from ten to twelve o'clock at the 
Court House. The difficulty was to get a nomination 
paper without disclosing what we were about. So I 
wrote out the form of nomination on an ordinary sheet 
of notepaper. Then the difficulty was to get ten 
county electors to sign it, as the city liberties extend 
seven or eight miles around the city. As twelve o'clock 
was the latest hour fixed for receiving nominations, we 
were hard pressed for time. I suggested that I should 
get a county list of voters, and with it proceed to the 
corn and butter markets, where numbers of county 
farmers usually were. Accordingly we drove off to the 
corn market, and every man we saw with a f rieze coat 
we asked his name and where he was from, and then 
looked out for the name in the list of voters, and, on 
finding it, got the man to sign the nomination paper. 
At the corn market we only got a f ew naines ; we then 
drove to the butter market, where we got some farmers 
from Castletown Bearhaven, and some from Chorle- 
velly, and différent other parts of the county. Then 
we drove to the Court House, where Kettle and Parnell 
missed each other, and as the last moment for lodging the 

1 The Home Baie candidates already nominated were Shaw and 
Colonel Colthurst. 


paper was at hand great excitement prevailed. Kettle 
— who, as the candidate, had to hand in the nomina- 
tion paper — could not be f ound ; none of his nominators 
were on the spot either. Parnell was very anxious, 
and kept dashing up and down the stairs and about the 
court doors, seeking for Kettle. At the last moment 
Kettle arrived and handed Mr. Johnson, the sub-sheriff, 
the nomination paper. John George McCarthy, the 
agent for Shaw and Colthurst, objected, first on the 
ground that we were late ; but the Sheriff said the time 
by his watch wanted half a minute to twelve o'clock, 
and accordingly ruled that we were in time. Then 
McCarthy objected to the paper because it was in- 
formai, being on a sheet of notepaper instead of the 
SherifFs printed form. That was also overruled, and 
then the names of the nominators were questioned ; 
but they were found to be ail right, and so Kettle was 
nominated. There was a great commotion as soon as 
it was known that Parnell had put up Kettle against 
Shaw and Colthurst. The local Press were dead 
against him. Next day the county was placarded with 
a letter signed by the four Catholic bishops of Cork, 
Cloyne, Ross, and Kerry (the latter has jurisdiction 
over several parishes, Millstreet, Glengariff, and Castle- 
town Bere, which, though in the County Cork, are 
in the Kerry diocèse), strongly advocating Shaw and 
Colthurst. I managed the élection ail over the county. 
The priests attended the polling booths, ranged on 
the side of Shaw and Colthurst, and did ail they 
could against Kettle. Parnell went off imniediately 
after nominating Kettle to Mayo and Meath, being 
also candidate for each of thèse counties. On April 6 
the poil for the city was declared, and Parnell and Daly 
were elected. From this until the county polling on 


April 14 Parnell kept flying around the counties of 
Cork, Mayo, and Meath. He was nights and days 
travelling between the three counties and addressing 
meetings. James O'Kelly, with Healy and Kettle, 
remained with me in Cork, and also Lysath Finnigan. 
Thèse gentlemen scattered themselves about parts of the 
county, but they were unable to visit one-fifteenth part 
of the constituency. One day Parnell was in Mayo, 
next day in Cork, and next in Meath, and so on, 
eternally flying from one county to the other. I do 
not believe Parnell slept in a bed for ten days. He was 
also much engagea with looking after his other various 
candidates ail over Ireland. The county élection took 
place on April 14. Keports came in that the priests 
were working hard at every polling centre on behalf of 
Shaw and Colthurst. On April 15 the scrutiny took 
place. It was very exciting. The voting was very 
even for some hours. Colthurst was so sure of defeat 
by Kettle that he retired from the room ; but towards 
the end it was found that Colthurst was ahead of 
Kettle by 151. Shaw polled 5,354, Colthurst 3,581, 
and Kettle 3,430, which was a splendid resuit con- 
sidering the opposition of the four bishops and ail 
the priests, and the short time we h ad for prépara- 

'About a month after the élection Y. brought 
me a letter from Mr. Harvey, solicitor, demanding 

payment on behalf of Mr. B of the 250?. which 

B had given Y., and threatening an action at law 

if it was not paid. I took Mr. Harvey's letter, and 
told Y. I would see him harmless over the matter 
and attend to it myself . I wrote to Harvey saying I 
would accept service of the writ on behalf of Y. I 
was never served with the writ, so that we had the 


satisfaction of returning Parnell at the expense of the 

Parnell was returned for ail three constituencies — 
Meath, Mayo, and Cork City. He elected ultimately 
to sit for Cork. It may be asked, What was the atti- 
tude of the Catholic Church towards him at this crisis ? 
The majority of the priests were certainly for him, the 
majority of the bishops were against him. Cardinal 
McCabe, the late Archbishop of Dublin, was indeed a 
véhément opponent both of Parnell and of the League. 

'The schemes of amélioration proposed by the 
League,' his Eminence said, ' are of such an order that 
no Government laying claim to statesmanship can for 
a moment entertain them.' The Archbishop of Tuam 
was in sympathy with the Archbishop of Dublin. We 
hâve seen how the Bishops of Cork, Cloyne, Koss, and 
Kerry opposed him at the Cork élection. Dr. Croke, 
the Archbishop of Cashel, was, however, then as later, 
in favour of a forward policy, and not hostile to the 
man who was the embodiment of that policy. Of the 
National Press, the 'Nation' supported Parnell, the 
' Freeman's Journal ' opposed him. He himself made 
light of his opponents, feeling that the masses of the 
people were at his back, and that the dissensionists 
would soon fall into line. 

' But is the movement not opposed by the National- 
ists (Fenians) and the priests ? ' he was asked by an 
interviewer. ' Indeed it is not,' he answered. * I should 
despair of Ireland if the most active forces in the 
country arrayed themselves against a movement like 
this. Individual priests may hâve condemned chance 
indiscrétions; individual Nationalists hâve protested 
that we should he by while préparations are being made 
to cope with England by physical force, but that is ail. 


Everyone is welcome to his opinion about this move- 
ment, and to express it.' 

In Great Britain the Libérais swept the constitu- 
encies. In Ireland the Nationalists more than held 
their ground. Out of 105 seats they won 60, against 
44 Unionists. Thus the gênerai resuit of the élection 
in Great Britain and Ireland (ail told) was — Libérais, 
349 ; Tories, 243 ; Home Eulers, 60. 

On April 26 the Irish parliamentary party met in 
Dublin to elect a leader and to consider other business. 
The élection of leader was postponed until the adjourned 
meeting in May. ' If Parnell,' an experienced National- 
ist said to me at the time, ' allows himself to be nomi- 
nated as leader of the party he will commit a great 
mistake. He will do infinitely better, for the présent, 
at ail events, by remaining leader of the extrême left, 
and by keeping the modérâtes up to the collar. As 
leader of the whole party his relations with the 
advanced men would make his position very embar- 
rassing. What we want is a moderate man like Shaw 
to command the whole party, and an extrême man like 
Parnell to lead the van.' This was not Parnell's view 
of the situation. He believed that he was able to lead 
the Irish party, and that no other man could. The 
élection of leader came off in May. Shaw was nominated 
by Morris Brooke and Eichard Power ; Parnell by the 
O'Gorman Mahon and Biggar. 


Parnell 23 votes 

Shaw 18 „ 

Majority for Parnell . • 5 l „ 

1 For Parnell: Sexton, Arthur O'Connor, O'Kelly, Byrne, Barry, 
McCarthy, Biggar, T. P. O'Connor, Lalor, T. D. Sullivan, Dr. Comyns, 


On April 30 there was a great Nationalist meeting 
at the Eotunda, and it was upon that occasion that 
Parnell made what has been called the 'bread and 
lead speech.' He said : ' The Americans sent me 
back with this message — that for the future you must 
not expect one cent for charity, but millions to break 
the land System. And now before I go I will tell you 
a little incident that happened at one of our meetings 
in America. A gentleman came on the platform and 
handed me #25, and said: "Hère is $5 for bread and 
#20 for lead." ' 

Parnell was now in the saddle, where for eleven 
years he sat firmly without a competitor or an equal. 
' How came Parnell/ I asked Mr. Justin McCarthy, ' to 
acquire his great ascendency ? ' He answered : ' He 
owed his ascendency to his strength of will and his 
readiness to see what was the right thing to do at a 
given moment. He was not liked by the party as a 
whole. S. never liked him. H. very soon began to 
dislike him. D. was loyal to him, but did not like 
him. 0. liked him. I liked him. But, like or 
dislike, ail bowed to him, because ail felt that he was 
the one man who knew what to do in moments of 
difficulty, and that he was always right. He had the 
genius of a Commander-in-Chief. It was that which 
gave him his power. Others of us might be useful in 
fixing lines of policy in advance. But when a crisis 
arose, when something had to be done on the instant 
which might hâve a serious effect in the future, we 
were no good. We were paralysed. Parnell made 

Gill, Dawson, Leamy, Corbet, McCoan, Finnigan, Daly, Martini, W. H. 
O'Sullivan, J. Leahy, O'Gorman Mahon, O'Shea— 23. 

For Shaw : McFarlanc, Brooke, Colthurst, Synan, Sir P. O'Brien, 
Foley, Smithwick, Fay, Errington, Qabbett, Smyth, B. Power, Blake, 
McKenna, P. Martin, Meldon, Callan, Gray — 18. 

JE*. 34] AN ' IRON WILL ' 225 

up his mind in an instant, and did the thing without 
doubting or flinching.' 

' As a parliamentary strategist,' says Mr. Healy, 
1 Parnell was simply perfect. No one was like him 
for seeing the difficulties of a situation and for getting 
out of them.' 

' To what do you ascribe ParneU's success ? ' I asked 
Sir Charles Dilke. 

He answered : * To his aïoofness. He hated Eng- 
land, English ways, English modes of thought. He 
would hâve nothing to do with us. He acted like a 
foreigner. We could not get at him as at any other 
man in English public life. He was not one of us in 
any sensé. Dealing with him was like dealing with a 
foreign Power. This gave him immense advantage, 
and, coupled with his iron will, explains his ascendency 
and success.' Inexorable tenacity, sound judgment, 
knowledge of his own mind at ail times, dauntless 
courage, an iron will, and the faculty of controlling 
himself and others — thèse were the qualities which 
made Parnell leader of the Irish people and arbiter of 
English parties. 

VOL. I. Q 




Mr. Gladstone was now Prime Minister, Lord Cowper 
Irish Viceroy, Mr. Forster Chief Secretary. The new 
Parliament met on April 29. The Queen's Speech 
dealt with every subject of public importance except 
the Irish land question. The Government, in truth, 
did not realise the gravity of the Irish situation. Mr. 
Gladstone has said with perfect frankness that he 
thought the Irish question was settled by the Church 
Act of 1869 and the Land Act of 1870. It troubled 
hiin no more. Mr. Bright, however, still felt keenly 
interested in one branch of the Irish question — the 
land ; but he did not see his way to do anything. On 
January 9, 1880, he wrote : ' On this question of the 
land the difficulty would not be great. Ail might be 
done which is not of a revolutionary character, and the 
présent time seems favourable for such changes as are 
possible without violence and by consent of the Im- 
périal Parliament.' l 

On January 12 he returned to the subject, expressing 
his doubt as to the practicability of establishing any 
satisfactory tribunal for fixing * fair rents.' He said : 
* I do not see how what is called a " fair rent " is to be 

1 Private leiter. 


determined. A " fair rent " to one man would be mnch 
more than another could pay, and less than a third man 
could without imprudence agrée to give.' l 

Lord Hartington also showed some interest in the 
land question, though, like Mr. Bright, he did not see 
his way to action. On January 22 he wrote : ' I think 
that the failure of the Land Act [1870] is not established 
by the figures which you give. The différence between 
rentals and the Government valuation in some cases, as 
well as the increase in the number of notices of eject- 
ment, may be, and I think probably are, capable of 
some explanation, and so far as I am aware ail the 
cases of cruel évictions on a large scale which are 
related by you took place before the passing of the Act. 
I am not opposed to any reasonable or practical pro- 
posais for improving the working of the Bright clauses 
[the purchase clauses] of the Act, but I am of opinion 
that the difficulties of inducing Parliament to legislate 
in this direction hâve been greatly increased by the 
récent anti-rent agitation. The advice which has been 
given, and which has to some extent been acted upon, 
to disregard the contract now existing between lancÛord 
and tenant, is not calculated to give Parliament any 
confident expectation that greater respect will be shown 
to the contract which it is proposed to create between 
the State and the tenant purchaser. , 2 

I think it but just to Mr. Bright and Lord Hartington 
to set out the views which they privately expressed in 
January 1880. Nevertheless, in April the Libéral 
Government as a whole thought not of Ireland. ' The 
Government/ said Lord Cowper, 'were not thinking 
of the land question when I came to Ireland.' « The 

» Ibid. * Ibid. 


présent Government,' said the Duke of Argyll in 1881, 
1 was formed with no express intention of bringing in 
another great Irish Land Bill . . . it formed no part 
of the programme upon which the Government was 

It is strange that this should hâve been so. The 
land question had been kept constantly before Parlia- 
ment since 1876. Mr. Butt's Bill, based on the 
three F.'s, was then introduced. It was rejected by 
290 against 56 votes. 

In 1877 Mr. Crawford, an Ulster Libéral, introduced 
a Bill to extend the Ulster custom — the right of free 
sale — through the rest of Ireland. It was talked ont. 
In 1878 Mr. Crawford again introduced the Bill. It 
was defeated by 85 against 66 votes. Mr. Butt's Bill 
of 1876 was also re-introduced. It was defeated by 286 
against 86 votes. In 1879 Mr. Butt's Bill was again 
brought in. It was again defeated by 263 to 61 votes ; 
and Mr. Crawford's Bill was again talked out. The 
land agitation had been growing in intensity since 
1877. l Sir Stafford Northcote's statement in the House 
in February 1880 demonstrated the reality of Irish 
distress. Everything that was happening showed the 
discontent and the misery of the people. Yet on the 
meeting of Parliament in April Mr. Gladstone's Govern- 
ment gave no sign that Ireland filled any place in the 
thoughts of Ministers. 

The first appearance of the Irish members in the 
House of Commons showed that there was still a 
division in their ranks. Mr. Shaw, with those who 
had supported him at the public meeting, sat upon one 

1 I hâve dealt fully with the land controversy in The Irish Land 
Question and Ençlish Public Opinion and in the Parliamentary 
History of the Irish Land Question* See also Sir Gavan Duffy, League 
of North and South, 


side of the House ; Parnell and his party, reviving the 
practice of the Independent Opposition party of 1852, 
sat on the other. He said that the Irish Nationalists 
should always sit in Opposition until the full measure 
of their demands was conceded. In the last Parlia- 
ment they had sat in Opposition with the English 
Libérais. They would now, since the Libérais had 
succeeded to office, sit in Opposition with the Tories. 
Thus they would emphasise their position as an inde- 
pendent party, and show that Whigs and Tories were 
ail alike to them. 

Mr. Shaw took a différent view. The Libérais, 
he said, were the friends of Ireland. It was, there- 
fore, the duty of the Irish members to support the 
Libéral Government. He would accordingly adhère 
to the old custom, and sit on the Libéral side of the 

This idea of an independent Irish party Parnell 
constantly said he had got from Gavan Duify and the 
Tenant Leaguers of 1852. 'I had some knowledge, 
not very deep, of Irish history,' he said before the 
Spécial Commission, * and had read about the indepen- 
dent opposition movement of Sir Charles Gavan Duffy 
and the late Mr. Frederick Lucas in 1852, and when- 
ever I thought about politics I always thought that 
that would be an idéal movement for the benefit of 
Ireland. Their idea was an independent party reflect- 
ing the opinions of the masses of the people ; acting 
independently in the House of Commons, free from the 
influence of either English political party ; pledged not 
to take office or f orm any combination with any English 
political party until the wants of Ireland had been 
attended to. The passing of the Ballot Act rendered 
this possible in my judgment, because for the first time 


it enabled the Irîsh electors to vote f ree from the coercion 
of the Irish landlords.' 

In the last Parliament Parnell had to fight Butt as 
well as the British Minister. Now he had to fight 
Shaw and the ' moderate * Home Kulers. But his 
task was comparatively easy. In the struggle agaînst 
Butt he began by having only a handful of Fenians at 
his back. Now he was supported by a section of the 
Clan-na-gael, by many of the rank and file of the 
I. R. B., by the farmers, by the priests, and by the 
1 Nation ' itself, partly a clérical organ. Shaw and 
the ' modérâtes ' were supported by the bishops and 
the ' Freeman's Journal/ A new, perhaps unexpected, 
ally came also to his side — her Majesty's Government. 
Timely concessions from Ministers would hâve strength- 
ened the hands of Shaw and the 'modérâtes/ and 
might hâve broken up the union between Fenians, 
farmers, and priests. The refusai of concession in 
time Consolidated this union, discredited the policy of 
the 'modérâtes,' and threw the game into ParnelTs 

The Parnellite members lost no time in calling the 
attention of Parliament to Ireland. Mr. O'Connor 
Power brought in a Bill practically to c stay évictions.' 
Under the Land Act of 1870, compensation for dis- 
turbance could not be awarded if the 'disturbed' 
tenant owed a year's rent. Mr. O'Connor Power 
now proposed that compensation should (under exist- 
ing circumstances) be awarded in any case of dis- 

The Government — who, at the beginning of the 
session, had refused to deal with the land question — 
were now undecided what to do. They would not 
support the Parnellite Bill ; but, -said Mr. Forster, f I 


am not prepared to vote against the principle.' A few 
days later the Government gave way, and on June 18 
Mr. Forster himself , taking up the question, introduced 
the famous ' Compensation for Disturbance Bill.' This 
measure proposed that an evicted tenant should be 
entitled to compensation when he could prove to the 
satisfaction of the Court — 

1. That he was unable to pay the rent. 

2. That he was unable to pay it, not from thrift- 
lessness or idleness, but on account of the bad harvest 
of the current year, or of the two preceding years. 

3. That he was willing to continue the tenancy on 
just and reasonable terms as to rent and otherwise. 

4. That thèse terms were unreasonably refused by 
the landlord. 

Lord Hartington justified this measure in an 
effective speech. 

The Bill, he said, was the logical outcome of the 
Act of 1870, and had been framed simply with a view 
of preventing the objects of that Act from being 
defeated by exceptional circumstances which could not 
be foreseen. ' In some parts of Ireland the im- 
poverished circumstances of the tenant hâve placed in 
the hands of the landlord a weapon which the Govern- 
ment never contemplated, and which enables the 
landlord, at a sacrifice of half or a quarter of a year's 
rent, to clear his estate of hundreds of tenants, whom 
in ordinary circumstances he would not hâve been able 
to remove, except at a heavy pecuniary fine. 

' I ask whether that is not a weapon calculated to 
enable landlords absolutely to defeat the main purposes 
of the Act. 

* Supposing a landlord "wished to clear the estate of 
a number of small tenants ; he knows that this is the 


time to do it, and if he should lose this opportunity 
he can never hâve it again, without great pecuniary 
sacrifice.' But, despite the weight which Lord 
Hartington carried with ail moderate men, many 
Libérais opposed the Bill. It was, however, read a 
second time, on July 5, by 295 against 217 votes ; 
20 Libérais voting against it, and 20 walking out. 

The Irish Nationalists to a man supported the 
Government. Harried by the dissentient members of 
their own party, Ministers proposed in committee to 
introduce an amendment, which aroused the hostility 
of Parnell. The purpose of the amendment was to 
disallow the tenant's claim to compensation, provided 
the landlord gave him permission to sell his interest 
in the holding. ' This is impossible/ said Parnell. * In 
the présent state of affairs in Ireland no one will buy 
the tenant right, and/ he added, turning to Mr. Forster, 
" unstable as water thou shalt not excel." ' Parnell was 
supported by Mr. Charles Kussell (now Lord Kussell of 
Killowen, the Lord Chief Justice of England), who 
denounced the amendment as a ' mockery ' and begged 
the Government to withdraw it. The Government, 
still wavering, did finally withdraw it, substituting in 
its place an altération proposed by Mr. Gladstone (and 
carried), to the effect that the tenant ' should be entitled 
to compensation if the landlord had refused the terms 
set out in the Bill without the offer of any reason- 
able alternative.' The next crisis in the fate of the 
Bill was the acceptance by Ministers of a proposai 
from the Opposition to the effect that the application 
of the measure should be limited to tenancies not 
exceeding 152. a year. Parnell protested against this 
limit, which, under his pressure, was abandoned, a 
new limit of 302. valuation, équivalent to 427. rent* 

-Et. 34] A ' FENIAN KAID ' 233 

being agreed to. The third reading was carried on 
July 26 by 304 to 237 votes; 16 Libérais voting 
against the measure, and Parnell and his followers 
(dissatisfied with the altérations and the 'weakness' 
of the Government) walking out. The Bill had been 
under the considération of the Commons for over a 
month. The Lords disposed of it in two nights. It 
was rejected by 282 to 51 votes. 

The rejection of this Compensation for Disturbance 
Bill was the signal for extrême agitation in Ireland. 

' Soon after the rejection of the Bill/ says the 
' Annual Kegister,' ' there came most disquieting reports 
from Ireland. There were riots at évictions ; tenants 
who had ventured to take the place of the evicted 
occupiers were assaulted, their property damaged, 
their ricks burned, their cattle maimed ; there was a 
mysterious robbery of arms from a ship lying in 
Queenstown Harbour ; and it was said that a plot had 
been discovered for the blowing up of Cork Barracks/ 

The story of the * robbery of arms ' throws a curious 
light on the relations between the Fenians and the 
Land League. In August a party of Fenians attacked 
a vessel called the ' Juno ' in Cork Harbour, and carried 
off forty cases of firearms. The Constitutionalists in 
the local branch of the League were much exercised by 
this act. They were anxious, fearing that some sus- 
picion might rest on their organisation, to vindicate 
themselves and to show their loyalty. Accordingly, a 
resolution was proposed by Mr. Cronin and seconded 
by Mr. J. O'Brien declaring that ' we deeply regret 
that a robbery of useless old firearms has taken place, 
that we condemn lawlessness in any shape, and we 
believe the occurrence must hâve been effected by 
those who désire to see a renewal of the Coercion Acts 


inflicted upon this country, and who wish to give 
the Government good value for their secret service 

An amendment was moved by an ' advanced man,' 
Mr. O'Sullivan, who protested against the right of the 
League to interfère with any other organisation. Mr. 
O'Sullivan was, however, in a hopeless minority on 
that day, and the résolution was triumphantly carried. 
But the Fenians were resolved to teach the Con- 
stitutionalists in the League a lesson which should not 
be f orgotten. The matter was at once brought under 
the notice of the central body in Dublin, when, on 
August 17, Mr. Brennan, himself a Fenian, condemned 
the action of the Cork branch, saying that they had no 
more right to consider the subject of the ' Juno ' raid 
than they had to discuss the relative merits of the 
candidates for the presidency of the United States. 
Mr. Dillon, who was the chairman on the occasion, 
agreed with Mr. Brennan, and said that ' the meeting 
entirely disclaimed the resolution passed by the Cork 
branch.' On August 21 there was another meeting of 
the Cork branch. Mr. John O'Connor attended. Mr. 
0* Sullivan was again in évidence. He proposed that 
the resolution of August 13 should be expunged, and it 
was expunged nem. con. However, the incident was 
not yet closed. On October 3 Parnell visited Cork. 
As he approached the city an armed party of Fenians 
stopped the procession, seized Mr. Cronin and Mr. 
O'Brien, who were in the carriage by his side, carried 
them off, and detained them for the day. They wexe 
resolved that no man who had struck at Fenianism 
should join in the welcome to Parnell. Soon afterwards 
the Cork branch of the League was ' reconstructed.' 

Meanwhile Parnell had made up his mind to wage 

Mt. 34] ' WAR TO THE KNIFE ' 235 

relentless war against the Government. He did not 
throw ail the blâme for the rejection of the Compen- 
sation Bill on the House of Lords. * If the Govern- 
ment/ he would say, 'had the people of England 
behind them the Lords dare not do this. Well, we 
will stiffen the back of the Government. Then we 
shall see what the Lords will do.' He told the Minis- 
ters that they were half-hearted, that they did not 
believe in their own measures, that they wanted grit. 
He called upon them to give assurances of législation 
for the next session, else they would receive little hôlp 
from him. Lord Hartington — who was leading' the 
House in the absence of Mr. Gladstone through serions 
illness — refused to give assurances, and said the Govern- 
ment had no further concessions to make. Parnell 
had thrown down the gauntlet. Lord Hartington 
picked it up. 'War to the knife, sir — war to the 
knife/ said Biggar. ' The next thing will be a State 
trial. The Whigs always start with a State trial. 
Something for the lawyers, you know. Whigs — rogues, 

Beturning to Ireland, Parnell flung himself heart 
and soûl into the land agitation. The Government 
had failed to protect the tenants. The tenants 
should now protect themselves. The scènes of 1847 
should not be re-enacted. No more peasants should 
be cast on the roadside to die. What the Govern- 
ment had failed to do the Land League would do. 
But the tenants must rally to the League ; they must 
band themselves together; they must cast aside the 
weak and cowardly in their ranks, and fight sturdily for 
their homes and country against the destroying land- 
lords and their ally, the Government of England. 
This was the doctrine which Bamell and the Leaguers 


preached from the hilltops, and which the masses of 
the people willingly obeyed. 

On September 19 Parnell attended a mass meeting 
at Ennis. There, in a speech which rang throughout 
the land, he struck the keynote of the agitation ; he 
laid down the lines on which the League should work. 
Slowly, calmly, deliberately, without a quiver of passion, 
a note of rhetoric, or an exclamation of anger, but in a 
tone that penetrated his audience like the touch of cold 
steel, he proclaimed war against ail who should resist 
the mandates of the League. 

' Dépend upon it that the measure of the Land 
Bill next session will be the measure of your activity 
and energy this winter. It will be the measure of 
your détermination not to pay unjust rents; it will 
be the measure of your détermination to keep a firm 
grip on your homesteads. It will be the measure of 
your détermination not to bid for farms from which 
others hâve been evicted, and to use the strong force 
of public opinion to deter any unjust men amongst 
yourselves — and there are many such — from bidding 
for such farms. Now what are you to do to a tenant 
who bids for a farm from which his neighbour has 
been evicted ? ' 

Hère there was much excitement, and cries of ' Kill 
him ! ' ' Shoot him I ' Parnell waited, with his hands 
clasped behind his back, looking quietly out upon the 
crowd until the tumult subsided, and then softly re- 
sumed : ' Now I think I heard somebody say " Shoot 
him ! " — (A voice : " Yes, quite right ") — but I wish to 
point out to you a very much better way — a more 
Christian and a more charitable way, which will give 
the lost sinner an opportunity of repenting.' 

Hère there were inquiring glances, and a lull, and a 

Ato. 34] BOYCOTTING 237 

silence, which was scarcely broken until Parnell finished 
the next sentence — a long sentence, but every word of 
which was heard, as the voice of the speaker hardened 
and his face wore an expression of reraorseless déter- 
mination. 'When a man takes a farm from which 
another has been evicted, you must show him on the 
roadside when you meet him, you must show him in 
the streets of the town — (A voice : " Shun him ! ") — 
you must show him at the shop counter, you must 
show him in the fair and in the market-place, and 
even in the house of worship, by leaving him severely 
alone, by putting him into a moral Coventry, by 
isolating him from his kind as if he was a leper of old 
— you must show him your detestation of the crime he 
has committed, and you may dépend upon it that there 
will be no man so full of avarice, so lost to shame, as 
to dare the public opinion of ail right-thinking men and 
to transgress your unwritten code of laws.' 

The closing sentence was received with a shout of 
applause ; the doctrine of boycotting, as it afterwards 
came to be called, was accepted with popular enthusiasm. 

Three days afterwards the peasants of Connaught 
showed how ready they were to practise as Parnell had 
preached. Captain Boycott, the agent of Lord Erne, 
had been offered by the tenants on the estate what they 
conceived to be a just rent. He refused to take it, and 
the tenants refused to give more ; whereupon eject- 
ment processes were issued against them. 

On September 22 the process server went forth to 
serve the ejectments. He was met by a number of 
peasants, who forced him to abandon the work and 
retreat precipitately to the agents house. Next day 
the peasants visited the house and adjoining farm, and 
ordered the servants in Captain Boycott's employ to 


départ — a mandate which was promptly obeyed ; the 
resuit being that the unfortunate gentleman was left 
without farm labourers or stablemen, while his crops 
remained ungathered and unsaved. Nor did the 
peasants stop hère. They forbade the local shop- 
keepers to serve him, told the blacksmith and laun- 
dress not to work for him, threatened the post-boy 
who carried his letters, and upon one occasion stopped 
and ' cautioned ' the bearer of a telegram. 

Captain Boycott was left * severely alone,' ' put 
into moral Coventry.' As days wore on it became 
a matter of pressing importance to him to hâve his 
crops saved, but no one in the neighbourhood could 
be got to do the work. In thèse circumstances an 
opportunity, gladly seized, for ' demonstrating in force ' 
was given to the Ulster Orangemen. One hundred of 
them offered to 'invade' Connaught to save Captain 
Boycott's crops. The Captain informed the authorities 
of Dublin Castle that fifty men would be quite sufficient 
for agricultural purposes ; and being hiinself a man of 
peace, he did not feel at ail disposed to see a hundred 
Orangemen marching in battle array over his farm, 
shouting ' to hell with the Pope/ and drinking the 
memory of the glorious, pious, and immortal William 
at his expense. Fifty Orangemen were accordingly des- 
patched to Connaught under the protection of a large 
force of military and police (with two field pièces) to 
save Captain Boycott's crops. The work done the 
Orangemen, accompanied by Captain Boycott, departed 
in peace» and the Connaught peasants were left masters 
of the situation. 

The ' isolation ' of Captain Boycott was followed by 
another famous case. Mr. Bence Jones, of Clonakilty, 
in the County Cork, had incurred the popular dis- 


pleasure, and was, in the phraseolbgy of the dày, boy- 
cotted. He tried to sell his càttle in Cork market, bat no 
one could be got to buy . He then sent them to Dublin 
to be shipped off to the Liverpool markets, but the men 
in the service of the Dublin Steam Packet Company 
refused to put them on board. Finally, after a great 
deal of difficulty, the cattle were taken in small batches 
across the Channel and sold. 

After thèse cases boycotting became a great weapon 
in the armoury of the League, and was, as one of the 
Iseaguers said, 'better than any 81-ton gun ever 

ParnelTs Ennis speech was altogether an agrarian 
speech. He concentrated himself upon the land, and 
told the people how the campaign against landlordism 
was to be carried on. But at Galway, on October 24, 
he plunged into politics and dealt with the more con- 
genial subject of national freedom: 'I expressed my 
belief at the beginning of last session that the présent 
Chief Secretary, who was then ail smiles and promises, 
would not hâve proceeded very far in the duties of his 
office before he would hâve found that he had under- 
taken an impossible task to govern Ireland, and that 
the only way to govern Ireland was to allow her to 
govern herself .' (Cheers.) 

A voice. ' A touch of the rifle.' 

'And if they prosecute the leaders of this inove- 
inent ' 

A voice. l They dare not.' 
: Parnell. 'If they prosecute thé leaders of this 
movement it is not because they want to préserve the 
lives of one or two landlords. Much the English 
Government cares about the lives of one or two land- 


A voice. ' Nor we.' 

Another voice. ' Away with them.' 

Parnell. ' But it will be because they see that 
behind this movement lies a more dangerous movement 
to their hold over Ireland ; because they know that if 
they fail in upholding landlordism hère — and they will 
fail — they hâve no chance of maintaining it over 
Ireland ; it will be because they know that if they fail 
in upholding landlordism in Ireland, their power to 
misrule Ireland will go too/ (Cheers.) Then he 
uttered one of those sentences which, coming straight 
from the heart, and disclosing the real thoughts and 
feelings which animated him, burned themselves into 
the minds of his hearers. 'I wish to see the 
tenant farmers prosperous; but large and important 
as this class of tenant farmers is, constituting, as 
they do, with their wives and families, the majority 
of the people of the country, I would not hâve 
taken off my coat and gone to this work if I had not 
known that we were laying the foundation in this 
movement for the régénération of our législative inde- 
pendence. (Cheers.) Push on, then, towards this goal, 
extend your organisation, and let every tenant farmer, 
while he keeps a grip on his holding, recognise also 
the great truth that he is serving his country and the 
people at large, and helping to break down English 
misrule in Ireland.' 

The Land League now grew in importance and 
influence day by day. Money poured into its treasury, 
not only from Ireland, but from America. Its branches 
extended ail over the country. Its mandates were 
every where obeyed. It was, in truth, nothing more 
nor less than a provisional Irish Government, stronger, 
because based on popular suffrage, than the Government 


of the Castle. * Self-elected, self-constituted, self-assem- 
bled, self-adjourned, acknowledging no superior, tole- 
rating no equal, interfering in ail stages with the 
administration of justice, levying contributions and 
discharging ail the functions of regular government, 
it obtained a complète mastery and control over the 
masses of the Irish people/ 

So Canning described the Catholic Association. 
So might the Ministers of the day hâve described (so in 
effect they did describe) the Land League. 

'Things are now corne to that pass that the 
question is whether O'Connell or I shall govern Ire- 
land' — so said the Irish Viceroy, Lord Anglesea, in 
1831. And Lord Cowper might hâve said in 1880 : 
'The question is whether Parnell or I shall govern 

While Parnell, helped by the Fenian Treasurer 
Egan l and the Fenian Secretary Brennan, was driving 
the League ahead in Ireland, Davitt was formîng 
branches throughout the United States. 

There was still a party in the Clan-na-Gael opposed 
to the new departure. The Clan-na-Gael man who 
had corne to England in 1878 to see Parnell, and 
who was then favourably disposed to an alliance 
between the Eevolutionists and the Constitutionalists, 
had now gone quite round. In addition to his hostility 
to the policy of Devoy and Davitt, he had formed an 
intense dislike to Parnell, and was resolved, so far as 
he could, to break off ail relations with the Parlia- 
mentarians. Davitt, who always kept himself well 

1 Egan has been described by the late Mr. A. M. Sullivan in New 
Ireland. ' He seldom or never made a speech. He aspired to no 
display on the platform, but was the ablest strategist of the whole cam- 
paign, and perhaps, except Davitt, the most resolute and invincible spirit 
amongst them ail.' 

VOL. I. B 


posted in the American news, soon learned that things 
were not going quite smoothly on the other side of the 
Atlantic. In May he sailed for New York, to co-operate 
with Devoy in defeating their opponents in the Clan. 
The suprême council of the I. E. B. were also aware 
that a party of American Fenians led by the Clan-na- 
Gael man shared their views about the inadvisability of 
working with the Constitutionalists, and they had pre- 
viously despatched the prominent Fenian of the Craven 
Street meeting to defeat Davitt's plans. A meeting of 
the council of the Clan was called in New York to hear 
both Davitt and this Fenian. 

The proceedings were opened by the Clan-na-Gael 
man, who moved a resolution severing ail connection 
between the Clan and the Parliamentarians. Parnell was 
not to be trusted. He would simply use them for his own 
purposes, and throw them over at the first opportunity. 
What were they asked to do ? Practically to supply 
funds for parliamentary agitation. The thing was 
absurd. They would keep their funds for their own 
organisation, and concentrate themselves upon it. The 
Parliamentarians had everything to gain by uniting 
with them. They had nothing to gain by uniting with 
the Parliamentarians. That was the Clan-na-gael man's 
case. Davitt replied. He said that Fenianism had lost 
ground by holding aloof from public movements in Ire- 
land. The Fenians ought to keep themselves in touch 
with ail that was going on. They should try to influence 
every inovement and to gain support from ail quarters. 
The land was the question of the hour. Was it to be 
lef t wholly in the hands of the Constitutionalists ? The 
farmers would be the friends of the men who helped 
them in this crisis of their fate, and no movement could 
be successful in Ireland unless the farmers were at its 


back. How were they to gain the f armers ? By throw- 
ing themselves into the land agitation, by identifying 
their cause with the cause of the tenants. 

The prominent Fenian attacked Davitt. He said 
that the new departure was immoral and impolitic. 
Fenians and Constitutionalists were to be combined in 
one movement. There was to be a pretence of loyalty, 
but in reality treason ail along the line. The upshot 
of this arrangement would be sham loyalty and sham 
treason. He did not believe in a policy of dust- 
throwing and lying, but that was the policy of the 
new departure. The Fenian movement was purely a 
national movement. If he were to stand absoltitely 
alone, he would resist this dishonest and unholy 
alliance. * Freedom cornes from God's right hand,' and 
he, at ail events, believed in righteous means as well as 
in righteous ends. 

A division was then taken on the Clan-na-Gael man's 
motion, and it was defeated. The prominent Fenian 
had beaten Davitt in 1879. Davitt had his revenge in 

The founder of the Land League, as Davitt has 
been called, next made a tour throughout the States, 
forming branches of the League and ' spreading thé 
light.* Ail his public utterances — and he addressed 
many meetings — resolved themselves into two main 
arguments : 

1. The cause of the tenant f armers was just in itself 
and ought to be supported. 

2. The destruction of landlordism would lead to the 
overthrow of the English power in Ireland. 

Two extracts may be given from his speeches to 
illustrate their character. Speaking at Chicago in 
August, he said, referring to the raid on the ' Juno ' : 

R 2 


' The convulsion of horror which grew out of it waè 
kecause the English Government knew there were men 
in Ireland to-day absolutely feverish to clutch hundreds 
and thousands of rifles, in order, not only to abolish 
Irish landlordism, but to consummate the hopes of 
Irishmen by abolishing something else.' 

At Kansas City, in September, he said : ' We hâve, 
as you hâve already been told, declared an unceasing 
war against landlordism ; not a war to call on our people 
to shoulder the rifle and to go out in the open field and 
settle the question that is now agitating Ireland — 
although I am not opposed to a settlement of that 
nature providing I could see a chance of success — but 
for the fourth time during the présent century we 
hâve tried a physical struggle with England, and 
instead of hurting England we hâve generally hurt 
ourselves. Now I believe it is far better to meet 
on différent ground and to do battle in a différent 
mode. And in declaring this war against Irish land- 
lordism, in not paying rent in order to bring down 
the garrison in Ireland, we know we are doingaproper 
work. We are preparing the way for that inde- 
pendence which you enjoy in this great American 
republic. ' 

In America Davitt formed a fast friendship with 
Patrick Ford, the proprietor of the ' Irish World,' 
who defended the policy of the new departure, col- 
lected funds for the Land League, and preached a 
furious crusade against England. 

The * Irish World ' was circulated freely in Ireland, 
and it must be confessed that a more inflammable pro- 
duction could scarcely be placed in the hands of the 
people. A few extracts from its columns may be given 
to make the point clearer. 

;Et. 34] THE ' IRISH WORLD ' 245 

'England's mode of warfare. What is it? Ask 
the biographer of Cromwell, ask the Ghoorkas of 
India, ask the signers of the Déclaration of Indepen- 
dence. Listen ! She has plundered our seas, ravaged 
our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of 
the people. This is the testimony of the men of 76. 
Ask the American historian of the War of 1812. Ask 
every unfortunate people upon whom England has 
ever breathed her unwholesome breath, and in whose 
midst her ruffian soldiery hâve planted her robber flag. 
The answer is ail the same.' 

In June 1880 the following passage appeared : 
* Some think it is an open question whether the 
political agent called dynamite was first commissioned 
in Bussia, or first in Ireland. Well, it is not of much 
conséquence which of the two countries takes pre- 
cedence in this onward step towards civihsation. Still, 
we claim the merit for Ireland. True the introductory 
blast was blown in England, and in the very centre of 
the enemy's head-quarters. But the work itself was 
no doubt done by one or two Irish hands, which settles 
both the claim and the priori ty.' 

In October its correspondent ' Transatlantic ' wrote : 
1 The Irish Land League is accepted by the Irish 
people at home and abroad as the faithful friend, 
philosopher, and guide. I am thoroughly grieved 
to find existing among my American friends, and my 
Dublin friends also, a disposition to quarrel with the 
trustées of the Skirmishing Fund 1 in New York, 
because they advanced 1,000 or 2,000 dollars over a 
year ago from the Skirmishing Fund to help to start 

1 Tbis fund was f ormed by O'Donovan Rossa and Ford for tbe purpose 
of employing agents to lay English cities in asbes. — Report of Spécial 
Commission, p. 60. 


the anti-rent agitation in Ireland. No possible appli- 
cation of a portion of the fund would to my mind be 
more legitimate, more in accordance with the désire 
of us ail to help on towards the deliverance of our 
downtrodden people. That little bit of seed, the first 
advance from the Skirmishing Fund, has worked as 
great a miracle as the grain of mustard seed spoken 
of in the Sacred Scripture. Behold now 200 Land 
League branches established through Ireland with at 
east 500 members in each, and ail in full cry against 
the land robbers. Behold almost as niany more co- 
operating branches established in America, Canada, 
Australia, and in England, Scotland, and Wales. Will 
any man tell me that this movement will die out 
without lifting Ireland to a vantage ground on which 
she may déclare and maintain her separate political 
existence? Wait till the numbers of the Land 
League branches swell to 300,000. Wait till they 
are enlightened with political knowledge, instructed 
in military drill, and armed with rifles, bullets, and 
buck-shot. One or two years more will work 

' Don't quarrel, friends, about 1,000 dollars or 2,000 
dollars. ... I pray and urge my friends at home and 
abroad to drop the controversy, and to unité against 
the common enemics of our people, the landlords of 
Ireland and of England, with their forces of armed 
men at their backs ! ' 

While Davitt was helping to ' spread the light ' l in 
America the state of Ireland was growing desperate. 

1 On May 5 Davitt cabled to Ford : ' Copies of Irish World shall be 
sent to ail paris of Ireland. Biahop Moran, of Ossory (a nephew of 
Cardinal Cullen) denounced it and the Land League. May Heaven 
open his eyes to the trath ; " Spread the light." ' 


The people in the western districts were starving. ' I 
must say,' wrote General Gordon, who visited the 
country in the winter of 1880, ' from ail accounts and 
my own observation, that the state of our fellow- 
countrymen in the parts I hâve named is worse than 
that of any people in the world, let alone Europe. I 
believe thèse people are made as we are ; that they are 
patient beyond belief ; loyal, but broken spirited and 
desperate ; lying on the verge of starvation in places 
where we would not keep cattle.' It rained évictions, 
it rained outrages. Cattle were houghed and maimed ; 
tenants who paid unjust rents, or took farms from 
which others had been evicted, were dragged out of 
their beds, assaulted, sometimes forced to their knees, 
while shots were fired over their heads to make them 
promise submission to the popular desires in future. 
Bands of peasants scoured the country, firing into 
the houses of obnoxious individuals. Graves were 
dug before the doors of evicting landlords. Murder 
was committed. A reign of terror had in truth com- 
menced. 1 

What were they doing at Dublin Castle ail this 
time? Lord Cowper and Mr. Forster fully realised 
the gravity of the situation. Neither was quite out of 
sympathy with the demands of the tenant farmers. 
Both desired a policy of concession to a certain extent. 
* If you pass the Bill ' [the Compensation for Disturbance 
Bill], Mr. Forster had said in the House of Commons, 

1 The following table will show the increase of évictions and outrages 
from 1877 to 1880 (inclusive) : 

Ycar Evictions (Persons) 

1877 • . . 2,177 

1878 , . . 4,679 
1870 . . • 6,239 
1880 . • 10,457 

Year Agrarian Outrages 

1877 ... 236 

1878 ... 301 
1871 ... 863 
1880 . . • 2,590 


'it will put out the fire.' The Bill was not passed. 
The fire blazed up with increased and increasing fury. 
How was it to be ' put out ' now ? The House of 
Lords would hâve no concessions. What was the 
alternative? Coercion, pure and simple. The Land 
League had, in fact, become a rival Government. If 
the Queen's authority were to prevail, no choice re- 
mained but to crush the League. The question really 
was, whether Lord Cowper or Parnell should rule 
Ireland, for both the Viceroy and the Chief Secrefary 
recognised that Parnell was the centre of disturbance. 

' When I was in Ireland/ says Lord Cowper, ' we 
considered Mr. Parnell the centre of the whole move- 
ment. We thought him the chief, if not the only, 
danger. We feared him because he had uriited ail the 
éléments of discontent, because we never knew what he 
would be up to, and we felt that he would stop at 
nothing. I certainly thought that his aim was sépara- 
tion. I thought that he used agrarian discontent for 
separatist purposes. There was very little said about 
Home Eule at that time. It was ail agrarianism, with 
séparation in the background, and Parnell was the 
centre of everything. 

'He had no second, no one at ail near him. I 
should say that the next man to him was Davitt; 
but he was a long way off. Mr. Healy was, I think, 
coming to the front then. We thought him clever, 
but he did not trouble us much. Mr. Dillon was 
better known, and he used to go about the country 
making speeches. But our view of him was that 
somehow he was always putting his foot in it. Our 
attention was concentrated on Parnell. We did not 
think he instigated outrages. We tjiought '. that he 
connived* at them. We thought that her would stop 


at nothing to gain his end, and, as I hâve said, we 
believed his end was séparation. I think he was very 
English. He had neither the virtues nor the vices of 
an Irishman. His very passion was English, his 
coolness was English, his reserve was English/ 

In September or October Lord Cowper and Mr. 
Forster came to the conclusion that the Government 
could not be carried on by the ordinary law. Still they 
were reluctant to take extrême measures until it ^vas 
patent to every law abiding and loyal citizen that 
extrême measures could alone meet the exigencies of 
the case. 

The suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act was an 
old familiar ' remedy.' The officiais at Dublin Castle 
had been accustomed to govern in a state of siège. 
Landlords, magistrates, police officers, judges, privy 
councillors — ail the loyal and ruling classes — cried put 
with one voice : ' Suspend the Habeas Corpus Act or 
the country will be ruined.' 'Everyone,' says Lord 
Cowper, 'advised us to suspend the Habeas Corpus 
Act ; the Lords-Lieutenant of Counties, the police, 
the law officers. The police said they knew ail the 
people who got up outrages ; and that if the Habeas 
Corpus Act was suspended they could arrest them 
ail.' Nevertheless, Lord Cowper and Mr. Forster still 
hesitated. ' We shall first,' they said in effect, ' make 
an effort to put down disorder by enforcing the ordinary 
law. We shall prosecute the Leaguers. If the jury 
refuse to convict on the plain facts which we shall 
produce, then it will be clear to every reasonable and 
loyal man that the administration of the country cannot 
be carried on unless we are invested with extraordinary 

1 If trial by jury breaks down, manifestly the only 


remedy is suspension of trial by jury, but trial by jury 

Lord Cowper placed his views before the Cabinet 
and before Mr. Gladstone personally in a séries of able 
communications, some of which I shall now set out : 

Lord Cowper to the Cabinet 

[Early in October 1880.] 

'.There has been an immense increase of agrarian 
crime. Men who hâve taken farms from which others 
hâve been evicted havè in many cases been intimidated 
into throwing them up, and of those who remain a 
large number are under police protection. Meetings 
denouncing in strong language the very class which 
has been subject to this outrage and intimidation hâve 
at the same time been held throughout the country, 
and it seems reasonable to connect the meetings with 
the increase of crime. In spite of the fact that some 
of the speakers hâve dissuaded their hearers from 
committing murder, and of the suggestion that if 
freedom of speech were stopped secret associations 
would dérive increased strength, it is my opinion that 
the meetings cause more crime than they prevent. 

' I would préserve freedom of speech to the very 
utmost as long as it is conâned to gênerai subjects, 
such as abuse of England, abuse of the Government, 
or advocacy of political measures, however impratic- 
able ; when it has the immédiate effect of endangering 
the lives or property of individuals, it should be stopped. 
One would wish to check it either by stopping meetings, 
or only prosecuting the promoters of meetings or the 
principal speakers. Can this be done ? We might, it 
is true, hâve stopped the Charleville meeting, because 


a particular farm was named in the placard and the 
occupier denounced; but this mentioning of a name 
was a slip which is not likely to be made again. We 
could not stop other meetings. As to speeches. No 
speech has yet been made in the présence of a Govern- 
ment reporter for which the speaker could be prosecuted. 
Government reporters can only be sent to a limited 
number of places, and thèse speakers, knowing that 
they are now being watched very carefully, will become 
more cautious. Even if the occupier of a farm is 
mentioned in a placard, and subséquent to the issue 
of that placard throws up the farm, the person re- 
sponsible cannot be prosecuted, as is évident from the 
answer of the law officers to the question about the 
Eiversdale case. From ail this it appears that we shall 
probably never hâve an opportunity of either stopping 
a meeting, or prosecuting a speaker, or issuer of a 
placard. If we think that agitation ought to be stopped 
it appears there is only one possible way. A combina- 
tion to prevent persons from taking evicted f arms or 
purchasing stock, &c, is illégal. We hâve not yet ob- 
tained a decided opinion upon the question whether the 
Land League is such a combination, but it would appear 
to be so. If so, it would also appear that its président 
or its leading members could be prosecuted. Such a 
course would hâve the advantage of striking at the 
head. It would fix the attention of the whole country 
from its announcement till its conclusion and divert 
the minds of the leaders of the League from their 
ordmary work, such as intimidating landlords and 
agents and the takers of farms from which men hâve 
been evicted. It would show the détermination of the 
Government to stop the présent state of things. If 
the prosecution failed through the perversity of the 


jury, it would give a reason for asking for stronger 
powers. The prosecution of the Land League, if possible, 
seems désirable in itself, but its chief recommendation 
is that it appears to be the only alternative to doing 
nothing. The proposed new Land Bill will be much 
more likely to hâve a good effect if it follows a strong 
blow against agitation than if it appears to resuit 
froni if 

Lord Cowper to Mr, Gladstone 

[October 20, 1880.] 

1 Dear Mr. Gladstone, — Though you are in con- 
stant communication with Forster, and though he 
and I take pretty much the same views, perhaps you 
would not object to an occasional line from me saying 
what I think and giving what information I can. 

4 Spencer will hâve shown you the statistics of crime, 
and you will hâve seen that outrages are very numerous, 
and will hâve gathered that they will probably increase. 
But the peculiarity of the présent state of Ireland seems 
to me to lie not so much in the number of outrages as 
in the gênerai ill-feeling among the tenants. I gather 
from ail sources, including men of Libéral politics, and 
who would naturally support the Government, such as 
Colonel Dease, my Chamberlain, Cork's agent, Leahy, 
and Kenmare's agent, Hussey, that there never has 
been such a state of panic on one side and lawlessness 
and ill-will on the other. The police fully confirm 
this. Of course, what strikes me is the universal 
sympathy of the population with the criminals, and the 
impossibility of bringing to justice any one member of 
large gangs of men who do not even, on some occasions, 
take the précaution of disguising themselves. This, bow- 

&i> 34] Lord cowper 253 

ever, is not what most impresses those who know the 
country, for the difficulty of detecting a criminal 1 
seems always to hâve existed. What strikes them 
most is the bitterness of f eeling against ail landlords 
and agents, and most of ail against ail those who hâve 
lately taken farms, even in cases where the previous 
tenant had owed three or four years* rent and was him- 
self quite willing to leave. It seems really to be the 
case that in four or five counties none of thèse classes 
feel their lives to be safe, and the mischief is rapidly 
spreading. Tenants are also afraid to pay more than 
the Government valuation, or any other sum ordered. 
As to this point a crisis will probably arise in about a 
fortnight or three weeks. Most rents are due on 
November 1, and will be collected immediately after. 
We shall then see what happens. Many people expect 
a gênerai refusai. 

' The state of feeling which I hâve described is by 
the class which suffers from it universally ascribed to 
the Land League, and I hâve been repeatedly assured 
that places which were peaceful and contented before 
become very différent after a meeting. If this is the 
case the population must be very inflammable, but it 
certainly is the gênerai impression. I do not know 
whether you were surprised or annoyed by the news of 
the impending prosecution having oozed out. I hâve 
been inclined to look upon it as a lucky accident. It 
would, of course, hâve been better to hâve struck at 
once, but as this could not be done the announcement 
that we intend to strike appears to me the next best 
thing. The knowledge that the Government intends 
to do something has, I think, rather moderated the 

1 An agrarian criminaL 


language of one party, and certainly mitigated the panic 

On November 2 the Government ' struck.' An 
information was on that day filed in the Crown Office 
of the Queen's Bench, Dublin, against theLand League 
for conspiracy to prevent the payment of rent, to resist 
the process of ejectment, to prevent the taking of farms 
from which tenants had been evicted, and to create 
ill-will *mong her Majesty's snbjects. 

The défendants named in the information were: 
Charles Stewart Parnell, M.P. ; John Dillon, M.P. ; 
Joseph G. Biggar, M.P. ; T. D. Sullivan, M.P. ; Thomas 
Sexton, M.P. ; Patrick Egan (Treasurer), Thomas 
Brennan (Secretary), Michael O'Sullivan (Assistant 
Secretary), M. P. Boyton (Organiser), Matthew Harris 
(Organiser), J. Nally, P. J. Gordon, John W. Walsh, 
P. Sheridan. 

The détermination of the Government to prosecute 
the League produced no effect on Parnell. He knew 
that a conviction was practically impossible ; the jury 
might disagree; they might acquit him. In either 
case the League would be triumphant. Two days 
after the information had been filed he referred to the 
matter with contemptuous brevity at a public meeting 
in Dublin. 

'I regret,' he said, 'that Mr. Forster has chosen 
rather to waste his time, the money of Government, 
and our money in thèse prosecutions. He has begun 
in a bad way, and I fear that the resuit of his attempt 
to govern Ireland on thèse lines will be to shatter 
his réputation for statesmanship which he formerly 
acquired in another branch. He is surrounded by a 
landlord atmosphère at the Castle of Dublin, and 
although he may be able to resist the effect of that 


atmosphère longer than most men, yet, sooner or later, 
it is bound to tell on him/ 

About the same time he told the people of Limerick, 
when they presented him with the freedom of the city, 
that no reliance could be placed ' permanently ' on an 
Irish party at Westminster. 

' 1 am not one of those,' he said in a remarkable 
utterance, ' who believe in the permanence of an Irish 
party in the English Parliament. I feel convinced that, 
sooner or later, the influence which every English 
Government has at its command — the powerful and 
demoralising influence — sooner or later will sap the 
best party you can return to the House of Commons. 
I don't think we ought to rely too much on the 
permanent independence of an Irish party sitting at a 
distance from their constituencies, or legislating, or 
attempting to legislate, for Ireland at Westminster. 
But I think it possible to maintain the independence of 
our party by great exertions and by great sacrifices on 
the part of the constituencies of Ireland, while we are 
making a short, sharp, and I trust décisive, struggle 
for the restoration of our législative independence.' 

I met Mr. Patrick Egan while the légal proceed- 
ings were pending. He was full of glee, for he antici- 
pated a crowning victory. 'When this prosecution 
breaks down,' said he, ' we ought to make Forster an 
honorary member of the League.' Biggar, however, 

was seriously angry. 'D d lawyers, sir/ saidhe. 

' D d lawyers. Wasting the public money, 

wasting the public money. Whigs — rogues ; Forster 
d d fool.' 

Lord Cowper scarcely expected that the prosecution 
would succeed, and warned the Cabinet that they must 
be prepared to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act : 


Lord Cotcper to Cabinet [abridged] 

1 The state of the country is undoubtedly most 
fierions. Nor do the number of outrages by any 
means represent the [gravity of the situation], and 
for this reason : that in many places . . . those who 
would profit [by outrages] are complète masters of the 
situation, and their temptation, therefore, is removed. 
Nobody dares to evict. Tenants of evicted farms, even 
those who hâve been in possession for more than a 
year, are daily giving thein up. Eighty persons are 
under police protection. We cannot y et say for 
certain how far the autumn rents will be paid, but it 
appears already that in many places tenants hâve 
refused to pay more than Government valuation. 
Landlords will not agrée to this, they w T ill evict, and 
then a great increase of outrages may be expected. 
It will then be too late to give us extra powers. If 
they are to be conferred, the décision must be corne to 
at once. 

' Her Majesty's Government raay well be reluctant 
to repeat once more the dreary old story of spécial restric- 
tive législation for Ireland, the evil of which has so of ten 
been exposed. I cannot regard it as an error to hâve 
trusted, even for a short period, to the coinnion law for 
the maintenance of order in this country. And if we 
could be sure of going through the coming winter with 
no greater amount of outrage than we hâve now, large as 
that amount is, so great is my detestation of coercive 
measures that I should hesitate to recommend them. 
But I feel strongly that there is nothing to prevent 
outrages from largely increasing at any moment both 
in number and atrocity, and if this should be the case 


I should reproach myself for the rest of my life with 
not having put my opinion on record that, in the présent 
state of feeling, the law is not strong enough as it 
stands. For the ordinary law to be sufficient to re- 
press crime it is necessary that the majority of the 
population be on the side of the injured person, and in 
the disturbed parts of Ireland the vast majority are, in 
cases of an agrarian nature, invariably on the side of the 
criminal. In spite, then, of ail my wishes being that 
we could trust to the ordinary law, I must repeat my 
conviction that to make up our minds to face the 
winter without stronger powers would be very danger- 
ous. If her Majesty décides upon coercive législation, 
what form is it to take ? . . . The one remedy sug- 
gested by every landlord and every agent is the sus- 
pension of the Habeas Corpus Act; and though the 
opinion of one class, particularly when in a great state 
of alarm and indignation, should certainly not be held 
conclusive as to the necessity of strong measures, it 
may nevertheless, if strong measures are resolved 
upon, be a good guide as to what direction they should 
take. The same remedy as to the whole of Connaught 
except Sligo is recommended by the police inspectors 
in their answer to a récent circular. Authority 
would therefore point to a suspension of the Habeas 
Corpus Açt as the proper remedy, and common 
sensé would appear to make the same suggestion. 
The sudden imprisonment of some of those who 
are known to instigate or to commit thèse crimes 
would strike gênerai terror in a way that nothing 
else would, for no man would know how far he was 
suspected or whether his own turn might not corne 
next. . . .' 

vol. i. s 


Lord Cowper to Mr. Gladstone 

1 November 13, 1880. 

' I am more convinced every day and every hour of 
the necessity of suspending the Habeas Corpus Act 
and having an Arms Bill. The fear of being unduly in- 
fluenced by the strong current of public feeling in favour 
of coercion, and a vivid conception of what a glorious 
triumph it would hâve been to get through the winter 
with nothing but the ordinary law, hâve prevented me 
f rom giving an opinion until the other day, and perhaps 
even then made me give it in too undecided a manner. 
You hâve ail the statistics before you, and everything 
that can explain them ; and, with Mr. Forster at hand 
to answer every question and give information of ail 
kinds, you will very likely think a letter from me 
unnecessary. But I write more to relieve my own 
mind than anything else. What impresses me most is 
the conviction that there is absolutely nothîng to pre- 
vent sudden outbursts of the worst kind. I do not 
know that it is an exaggeration to say that something 
like a gênerai massacre of ail landlords and agents not 
under police protection is a conceivable and possible 
even t. 

' Of course I do not mean that this is probable, 
but how can we say it might not happen ? The longer 
a suspension is put off, the more doubtful will it be 
whether the mischief has not got beyond the stage 
in which it can be cured by the arrest of a few im- 
portant people ; certainly, in order to hâve the desired 
effect more people would hâve to be arrested now 
than a short time ago — and more still in another 


Lord Gowper to Mr. Gladstone 

'November 23, 1880. 

' You know my appréhensions as to an outbreak of 
crime in this country. I must repeat that there is 
nothing to prevent this, and if it does take place it will 
be because the landlords are afraid of exercising their 
power, and because the greater part of the country is 
under the absolute dominion of the Land League and 
ail rights of property are at an end. 

' The remedy, and the only remedy, for this state of 
things is, I feel quite sure, the suspension of the Habeas 
Corpus Act. I hâve been anxiously considering during 
the last few days whether, holding this opinion, I am 
justified in retaining the position of Lord Lieutenant 
unless this remedy is provided. I am most unwilling 
to hâve the appearance of leaving the ship in the 
middle of the storm. I feel, also, as regards myself, 
that to resign now would be to put an end for ever to 
anything in the shape of a public career. 

' I had given up ail hope of this till your offer to 
me last May of the high place I occupy made me feel 
I had an unexpected chance which it would be a great 
sacrifice for me to forfeit. I can honestly say that it 
is a great source of pride and pleasure to me to serve 
in the Government of one whom I hâve always 
regarded with such feelings of admiration. What, 
however, has most weighed with me is a sensé of the 
embarrassment my retirement would cause others. 

' I feel that if I went Mr. Forster's position would 
become almost untenable, ail the more so as I know 
him to hold the same opinion as I do. Putting every- 
thing together, I hâve corne to the conclusion that 
I will not do anything until January, but that if then I 

s 2 


see no possibility of cbanging my mind as to the neces- 
sity of a suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and if 
it is not granted, I will place my résignation in your 

Mr. Gladstone to Lord Cowper 

1 November 24. 

' I am persuaded, after reading your letter of yes- 
terday, that in a very difficult case you hâve arrived 
at a wise conclusion. For my own part I incline to 
the belief that an outbreak of sécessions from the 
Government either way, at this particular moment, 
when the double question of order and of land reform 
is at issue, would render it impossible for us to effect 
any good solution of that question in its twofold 

' It is with regret, and perhaps with mortification, 
that I see the question of land reform again assuming 
or having assumed its large proportions. My désire 
certainly would hâve been to remain on the lines of the 
Act of 1870, if not exactly as it passed, such as (I speak 
of the occupying clauses) it left the House of Commons. 
It is needless to inquire in what proportions the 
scarcity, or the agitation, or the Disturbances Bill, or 
(last, not least) the rejection of that Bill may hâve 
brought about the resuit ; for there it is. I think that 
on this side of the Channel we feel not less really, if 
less acutely, than you in Dublin the pain, the embar- 
rassment, and discrédit of the présent condition of 
Ireland. Acquiescence in its continuance for even a 
f ew weeks seems to me dépendent on thèse conditions : 

' 1. That the disturbance so largely affecting pro- 
perty and causing terror should not assume the form 
of a great increase in crime affecting life. 

1 2. That by means of this delay we put ourselves 


in a position to propose with authority as a united 
Government a remedy applicable to the whole of the 

' The paralysis of very important rights affecting 
the tenure of land is the spécial characteristic of the 
présent mischief in Ireland, and it may be right to apply 
a thorough remedy a little later rather than a partial 
(indeed, as I think, a very doubtful) remedy a little, and 
only a little, sooner. What I personally think a very 
doubtful remedy is a suspension of the Habeas Corpus 
Act proposed alone,carried after much delay, in the teeth 
of two-thirds of the représentatives of Ireland (without 
taking British allies into account), and used in order to 
cope with a wide-spreading conspiracy embracing in 
certain districts large fractions of the population, and 
largely armed with means other than material for 
action. You may rely upon it that, when the time 
you indicate arrives, the Cabinet will look at the duty 
of defending proprietary rights without any mawkish 
susceptibilities, and the suspension, should you and 
Forster then still see cause to désire it, will be most 
impartially entertained. For my own part, what I lean 
to expecting is, that if requisite it will not be sufficient, 
and that we may hâve to legislate directly against the 
Land League, not against its name only, but against 
the purpose of ail combinations aiming at the non- 
payment of debts and non-fulfilment of contracts at 
the very least, when thèse illégal aims are so pursued 
as to endanger the public security.' 

Lord Cowper to Mr. Gladstone 

* December 12. 

' In my letter of November 23 I said that I had corne 
to the conclusion that if in January I saw no possi- 


bility of changing my opinion as to the necessity of a 
suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and if it was not 
granted, I should feel it my duty to place my résignation 
in your hands. I am sorry to say that I hâve not been 
able to change my opinion, and ail chance of my doing 
so may be considered at an end. 

' The state of the country becomes worse every day. 
Outrages hâve increased, and the Land League has 
taken a much deeper root. ... I feel very strongly 
that Parliament ought to be called together without 

The day after this letter was written the State trial 
began. It lasted twenty days before two judges — Mr. 
Justice Fitzgerald and Mr. Justice Barry — and a jury. 
At half-past one o'clock on Tuesday, January 25, 1881, 
the jury retired to consider their verdict. At half-past 
five they returned to court. * Hâve you agreed to your 
verdict, gentlemen ? ' asked the clerk of the crown. 
* No/ answered the foreman. * Is there any likelihood 
of your agreeing ? ' asked the judge. * Not a bit, my 
lord/ said the foreman ; and he added, amid a burst of 
laughter, 'we are unanimous that we cannot agrée/ 
The jury were sent back to their room for a couple of 
hours more ; they came into court again at half-past 
seven. 'Well, gentlemen/ said the judge, 'hâve you 
agreed ? ' ' No, my lord/ said the foreman, ' and there 
is no good in keeping us hère any longer ; we'll never 
agrée/ ' We are ten to two, my lord/ said an indiscreet 
juror, with the look of a man who had a grievance ; and 
the gallery rang with applause. ' Let the jury be dis- 
charged/ ordered the judge ; ' we shall not force an 

Parnell, who was in court, hastened from the scène. 


His appearance in the hall was the signal for another 
outburst of applause, and as he jumped on an outside 
car and drove rapidly off to catch the boat for England, 
the crowd on the quay cheered vociferously, shouting 
' Long live the Chief ! ' 

' The Land League,' cabled Parnell to the ' Irish 
World/ 'has scored a victory. The ten to two disa- 
greement of the jury is everywhere accepted as having 
the force of an acquittai. Thanks to the " Irish World " 
and its readers for their constant co-operation and sub- 
stantial support in our good cause. Let them hâve no 
fear of its ultimate success.' 

Brennan, the secretary of the League, cabled about 
the same time (February 2) to the * Irish World ' : 
'/1,000 cabled this week by " Irish World " isreceived.' 

The resuit of the trial was received with a blaze of 
approbation. Bonfires were lit on every hill, meetings 
were called in every district, resolutions of triumph 
and confidence were everywhere passed. The first 
move of the Government was a blunder. It served 
only to consolidate the strength of the League. 

I shall close this chapter with some account of a 
non-political function which Parnell attended in the 
autumn of 1880. I shall let Mr. Horgan, who took a 
leading part at the function, tell the story. 

1 In the summer of 1880 I was engaged to be 
married. One evening I took my intended wife to 
the House of Commons. She went to the Ladies' 
Gallery. I had some business to do with Parnell. 
He and I walked up and down one of the corridors 
for some time, talking over business matters. That 
done, I said to him, " Mr. Parnell, I am going to be 
married." "Quite right, Horgan," said he, placing 


his hand on my shoulder ; "Iam glad to hear it." I 
thought I should like to ask him to corne to my 
wedding, but I didn't know how he would take it. 
He was, however, so very pleasant and friendly thîs 
evening that I mustered up courage, and, faith, a good 
deal to my surprise, found myself saying, " I would 
feel very proud, Mr. Parnell, if you would corne to 
my wedding." "Certainly, Horgan," said he, in the 
most off-hand manner. When he consented to this I 
thought I might ask him to do anything. " Mr. Parnell," 
said I, " will you think it presumptuous of me if I ask 
you to be my best man ? " He looked amused, smiled, 
and said quickly, " With pleasure, Horgan ; and now 
you must introduce me to your intended wife." I told 
him she was in the Ladies' Gallery. We went up. I 
introduced him. He talked away pleasantly, took her 
over the House, said smilingly " he was glad Horgan 
was going to hâve someone to take care of him," and 
was altogether perfectly charming. I was married at 
the Redeniptorist Church, Clapham, on August 7. 
Eleven o'clock was the hour fixed for the ceremony. 
The rumour had got abroad that Parnell was coming 
to the wedding, and the church and the street were 
crowded with people anxious to see him. As the hour 
approached I felt very nervous, for I thought he might 
not turn up, or that at ail events he might not turn up 
in time. Indeed, I thought I would be a lucky fellow 
if he arrived at twelve or one o'clock. I âtood at the 
church door on the lookout. At about ten minutes to 
eleven a carnage and pair dashed up to the door, and 
there was Parnell, dressed magnificently and looking so 
handsome and dignified. Every head was uncovered 
as he stepped out of the carriage, with the air of an 
emperor, and walked up to n*e. "Ah, Horgan," h$ 

JEt. 80] ' BEST MAN ' 265 

said, " y ou look nervous (whichl was very). Corne and 
hâve a glass of Champagne ; that's what you want. We 
hâve plenty of time." We went to an hôtel close by 
and we had a pint of Champagne, which was what I 
wanted. We then returned to the church. He was 
very attentive during the ceremony, knelt down, and 
showed every respect and révérence. Afterwards he 
signed the register. Then I thought he would dash off, 
glad to be rid of us. Not a bit of it. He came to the 
luncheon, entered quite into the spirit of the whole 
business, and did not leave until my wife and I drove 
away. There was a great deal of kindness in the man, 
despite his coldness and reserve. The wedding must 
hâve bored him terribly, but he came because it gave 
pleasure to others.' 




Before the State trials had commenced the Cabinet 
resolved to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland. 
The décision was arrived at reluctantly. Mr. Gladstone 
was opposed to coercion. Mr. Chamberlain was 
opposed to it. Mr. Bright detested it. But the de- 
mands of the Irish Executive were imperative. The 
question was practically coercion or résignation ; and 
Bright, Chamberlain, and Gladstone ultimately yielded 
to the importunities of Dublin Castle. The détermina- 
tion of the Ministers was foreshadowed in the Speech 
from the Throne : 

'I grieve to state that the social condition of 
[Ireland] has assumed an alarming character. Agrarian 
crimes in gênerai hâve multiplied far beyond the 
expérience of récent years. Attempts upon life hâve 
not grown in the same proportion as other offences, 
but I must add that efforts hâve been made for personal 
protection far beyond ail former précèdent by the 
police under the direction of the Executive. I hâve to 
notice other evils yet more widely spread; the ad- 
ministration of justice has been frustrated with respect 
to thèse offences through the impossibility of procuring 
évidence, and an extended System of terror has thus 
been established in various parts of the country which 


has paralysed alike the exercise of private rights and 
the performance of civil duties. In a state of things 
new in some important respects, and hence with little 
available guidance from former précèdent, I hâve 
deemed it right steadily to put in use the ordinary 
powers of the law before making any new demand. 
But a démonstration of their insufficiency, amply 
supplied by the présent circumstances, leads me now 
to apprise you that proposais will be immediately sub- 
mitted to you for entrusting me with additional powers, 
necessary, in my judgment, not only for the vindication 
of order and public law, but likewise to secure, on 
behalf of my subjects, protection for life and property.' 

Thus the Queen's Speech. 

Parnell prepared for action. The Government 
might, he said, carry their coercive measures, but it 
would be only af ter a struggle which they should never 
forget. * 

In the thick of the fight he cabled to the ' Irish 
World ' : ' The fight the Irish members are making for 
the liberties of the people is inspiring and strengthening 
every Irishman. We are now in the thick of the 
conflict. The présent struggle against coercion will, 
please God, be such as never has been seen within the 
walls of Parliament.' 

The ' Times ' once said that Parnell might prophesy 
with safety, because he had the power of fulfilling his 
prophecies. This particular prophecy was at ail events 
fulfilled to the letter. In 1883 there was a mémorable 
struggle over Grey's Coercion Bill. Then the debate 
on the Address lasted five nights, the debate on the 
first reading six nights, the debate on the second 
reading two nights, and six nights were spent in 
committee. That record was now beaten. In 1881 


the debate on the Address lasted eleven nights, the 
debate on the first reading five, and even then the Bill 
was only ' read ' by a coup de main. The debate on 
the second reading lasted four nights, ten nights werè 
spent in committee, and two on the third reading. 

Forster's case may be stated in a few words. The 
Land League, the centre of disturbance, was ' suprême.' 
It was necessary its powers should be crippled. They 
could only be crippled by investing the Executive with 
extraordinary powers. The wretches who committed 
the outrages — 'village tyrants,' 'dissolute ruffians ' — 
were known to the police. If the Habeas Corpus Act 
were suspended they would ail be arrested and the 
disorder would be stopped. It gave him the keenest 
sorrow, he declared, to ask for extraordinary powers. 
This had been to him a most ' painful duty,' he added 
with pathetic honesty. 'I never expected I should 
hâve to discharge it. If I had thought that this duty 
would devolve on the Irish Secretary, I would never 
hâve held office; if I could hâve foreseen that this 
would hâve been the resuit of twenty years of parlia- 
mentary life, I would hâve left Parliament rather than 
hâve undertaken it. But I never was more clear than 
I am now that it is my duty. I never was more clear 
that the man responsible, as I am, for the administra- 
tion of the government of Ireland ought no longer to 
hâve any part or share in any Government which does 
not fulfil its first duty — the protection of person and 
property and the security of liberty.'- 

Parneirs answer may be given briefly too. The 
public opinion of Ireland was at the back of the 
League. The policy of the Government was the 
coercion of a nation. The people suffered wrongs. 
The Government admitted it. Let thèse wrongs be 

.fcr. 86] ' ï ÀM VERY IGNORANT * 269 

redressed, and peace would be restored ; but no amount 
of coercion wonld force the Irish people to submit to 
unjust and cruel laws. Let évictions be stopped and 
crime would disappear. ' What a spectacle hâve we ? 
Two great English parties united for one purpose only 
— to crush, put down, and bully a poor, weak, and 
starving nation ; a nation they did not attempt to 
assist in her hour of famine and suffering. In this 
state of things the duty of the Irish members is plain. 
They are bound to use every form of the House to 
prevent the first stage of the Bill. We shall hâve no 
indécent haste. We must hâve f ull and f air discussion ; 
and the Irish members are the best judges of the extent 
and value of the résistance which they ought to make 
to the measure of coercion.' 

'We are bound to prevent the first stage of the 
Bill.' This was a frank avowal of policy ; obstruction, 
not argument, was the weapon on which the Irish 
leader relied. Indeed, he ne ver tried to make a secret 
of his contempt for argument in the House of Com- 
mons. ' Don't embarrass the Government/ was the cry 
of the complacent Irish Whig. ' Embarrass the Govern- 
ment ' was the mandate of Parnell. 

During the six nights' debate on the first reading I 
spent some hours with him walking up and down the 
corridors of the House. He was always anxious to 
learn anything of Irish history which had any practical 
bearing on the issues of the day. He now wished to 
know something of the previous fights over coercion. I 
told him the story of the struggle over Grey's Coercion 
Bill. ' By Jove/ he would say, ' that's good — and 
O'Connell too ! They are always holding O'Connell 
up to me as a model, but you make him out to be as 
bad as I am. Can I get ail this in books ? You see I 


am very ignorant. I am very quick, though, at picking 
up things.' I named some books to him. ' AH right,' 
he said, ' I will go into the Library and get them. We 
will look through them together.' He went to the 
Library, and soon returned with the books. We stood 
at the little desk close to the door leading into the 
Reading-room. He plunged into the books, marking 
with blue pencil the passages that specially interested 
him. ' Do they allow you to mark books hère ? ' I 
asked, observing that he was disfiguring the pages in 
the most reckless fashion. * I don't know,' was the 
answer, with the air of a man who thought the question 
quite irrelevant. ' By Jove ! ' he would repeat, ' this is 
very good,' and he would once more daub the inargin. 
1 Well, they cannot say I invented obstruction, for hère 
is O'Connell doing the very thing, and defying every- 

A Whig Home Ruler came along, and was about to 
pass into the Reading-room, when Parnell suddenly 
stopped him. 

' Where are you going ? ' he asked. ' Just into the 
Reading-room, Mr. Parnell, to skim over the evening 

Parnell. ' Don't you think you ought to be in the 
House ? ' 

Whig Home Itulcr. 4 Yes, Mr. Parnell, I will return 

Parnell [laying his hand on the Whig's shoulder]. 
' You will speak against the Bill ? ' 

Whig Home liulcr. 1 1 would rather not, Mr. Parnell. 
I really am not able to speak.' 

Parnell [with a faintly humorous glance at me]. 
1 You can move the adjournment of the debate, or move 
the Speaker out of the chair. That won't take much/ 


Whig Home Buler [with alarm]. ' Oh, dear, no, 
Mr. Parnell, you must excuse me ; I never could do it.' 

Parnell [tightening his grip on the Whig's 
shoulder]. ' Mark, you must vote against this Bill. I 
suppose you can do that. It does not need a speech, 
and the sooner you get back to the House the better.' 

Someone else called Parnell's attention off at this 
moment, and as the Whig, passing into the Reading- 
roôm, turned to me and said, ' Desperate man, desperate 
màn/ Parnell returned to the desk. 

After a time another Irish member (a moderate 
Nàtionalist) came along. Parnell stopped him too. 
'Why hâve you corne away?' he asked. 

' I hâve just spoken, Mr. Parnell,' said the member, 
' to the motion for adjournment, and I cannot do any- 
thing until the division is taken. I cannot speak twice 
to the same motion.' 

Parnell. ' No, but you can help to keep a House 
and watch what is going forward. I think you should 
ail remain in your places.' 

After a little while I saw both the Nàtionalist and 
the Whig wending their melancholy way back towards 
the Lobby. 

Another member soon appeared. 

Parnell [stopping him]. ' Why are you ail coming 
out of the House ? You should remain at your posts. 
It is impossible to say what may turn up at any 

Member. i I hâve just spoken.' 

Parnell. ' That does not matter ; a speech is not 

Member. 'Hère is a telegram which I hâve just 

received from the corporation of , protesting 

against coercion.' 


Parnell. l Then go back and read it.' 

Member. ' I cannot ; I hâve already spoken.* 

Parnell. ' Then you can give it to someone else to 
read. Give it to me. Corne along.' And both walked 

Another night while we were together an Irish 
newspaper reporter came to him and asked : * Will you 
speak to-night, Mr. Parnell ? ' 

Parnell. * I really don't know.' Then, turning to 
an Irish member who had just joined us, ' I hâve lost 
the notes of my speech/ 

Irish member. 'Where do you think you left 
them, Mr. Parnell ? ' 

Parnell. 'I don't know.' Then, with a roguish 
twinkle : ' The notes of your speech are tied up with 

The Irish member, without asking any more 
questions, dashed off to the Library, and was soon back 
again and tearing off in other directions in search of 
the notes. 

1 1 am sorry for poor F ,' said Parnell, as he 

looked in an amusing way after him; 'but it really 
does not matter whether the notes are lost or not.' 
On another occasion, when the debate had lasted for 
several nights, and when the House was thoroughly 
exasperated, an Irish Libéral who had made one of 
the ablest speeches against the Bill came up to Parnell 
and said : 

' Will you allow the division to be taken to-night, 
Mr. Parnell ? ' 

Parnell. ' I think not.' 

Irish Libéral. * To be quite frank, I hâve a personal 
interest in asking the question. I came up from 
Liverpool to vote to-night. I am obliged to be in 

Mt. 36] * INEXORABLE ' 273 

Liverpool again to-morrow, and I don't want to hâve 
my journey for nothing.' 

Parnell. ' I don't think there will be a division to- 

Irish Libéral. * When will there be a division ? * 

Parnell. ' I don't know. It won't be to-night.' 

The Libéral pressed Parnell to allow the division 
to be taken, urging that there would be plenty of 
opportunities on the second reading and in committee 
to attack the Bill. 

ParnelPs simple answer was: 'No, I don't think 
there will be a division to-night.' 

He did not argue the question. He gave no reasons 
for his décision. He merely repeated : ' There will be 
no division to-night.' 

1 Inexorable,' whispered the Libéral to me as he 
went off. ' That's the character of the man, and it 
gives him his power.' 

Mr. Bright made a vigorous speech in support of the 
Bill. Mr. O'Connor Power, who was putup to answer 
him, failed utterly. I said so to Parnell. ' Your man 
failed to answer Bright. Bright ought to be answered. 
But he should not be treated as an ènemy. His past 
services to Ireland ought not to be forgotten. He is 
as much our friend now as ever, though he is wrong 
on this question/ 

Parnell. ' 1 agrée with what you say about Bright. 
He ought to be treated in a friendly way. I got one 
of our best men to reply to him. I can do no more.' 

' Do you think Bright has been answered ? ' 

Parnell. l Perhaps not. But if O'Connor Power 
failed, who is likely to succeed ? ' 

'Bright's speech is very damaging, and it is 
ridiculous of your people to try and make light of a 

vol. i. T 


speech which none of them hâve answered up to the 

We walked along the corridor in silence for a few 
seconds ; then Parnell turned round, faced me, and said : 
'What does it inatter? Do you think that Irish 
speeches hâve any effect on that House ? You know 
they mean to pass this Bill. Do you think ' (with a 
sneer) ' that any number of clever and pretty speeches 
will prevent them ? What does it matter who is right 
about the number of outrages? The question really 
is, Do the Irish people support the League or the 
English Government ? We ail know they support the 
League, because the League helps them, and they never 
trust the English Government. If we had not the 
people behind us we could do nothing. Mr. Forster 
talks as if he represented Ireland, and the House 
believes him. They believe what they like to believe. 
We must show them that Ireland supports us, and 
défies their House. They will get this Bill through, 
but it will be a big job I can assure you. They hâve 
not read it a first time yet. I don't know when they 
will, unless they break their own rules.' 

A few nights afterwards we were walking in one 
of the corridors. The excitement in the House at this 
time was intense, and almost every English member 
was against the Irish party. Parnell w r as, as usual, 
calm and self-possessed, and he seemed to enjoy the 
discomfiture of the enemy. After awhile Lord Granville 
came along the corridor. Parnell took no notice of 
him. I said : ' A pleasant face, Lord Granville's.' 

Parnell. 'I did not see it/ 

Then Lord Kimberley came along. Parnell looked 
furtively at him as he passed, but said nothing. Soon 
Lord Spencer came along, following his colleagues. 


Pflqrnell turned round and looked after him, saying : ' A 
Cabinet Council. I wonder what they are up to now. 
They are at their wits' end to get this Bill read a first 
time. I wonder what will they do. Something violent 
I suspect. I wish I knew.' It was amusing to watch 
him as he said this, rather aloud to himself than to me ; 
standing in the middle of the passage with folded arms, 
handsome, thoughtful face, figure erect and défiant, a 
very picture of dignity and authority. Looking at 
him one would hâve supposed that he was the Prime 
Minister, bent on upholding law and order, and that the 
innocent noblemen at whom he looked so suspiciously 
were Land Leaguers conspiring against the State. We 
walked once more towards the Library, when three 
more Cabinet Ministers approached us. ' I am right,' 
whispered Parnell as they passed; 'it is a Cabinet 
Council. I'm off' (with a smile). *I must get my 
people together,' and he disappeared through a side 

I wrote out an extract for him to use in his speech on 
the.Coercion Bill. Mr. A. M. Sullivan, who sat by him 
as he read it to the House, afterwards described the 
scène to me. ' He made an impressive speech, and was 
listened to as usual with much attention. Then he 
pulled a pièce of foolscap out of his pocket and began 
to read its contents. He got through the first two or 
three sentences fairly well, but stopped at the fourth. 
Ultimately he made it out ; only, however, to find him- 
self hopelessly stuck in the fifth and following sentences. 
The House watched him as he turned the paper in 
every direction to decipher the illegible words. I felt 
quite embarrassed on his account, though he was cool 
and unconcerned. I leant forward looking at the 
writing over his shoulder. " Mr. Parnell," I said, " I 

T 2 


am accustomed to that handwriting. Will you let xne 
read the extract for you?" "No," said he, "IwilT 
read it myself," and he stuck to it doggedly until he 
read the whole document through. It was the worst 
quarter of an hour he had ever had in the House of 

I met Parnell the next night. I said : ' I am 
afraid I caused you some embarrassment last evening.* 
' How ? ' he replied. ' A. M. Sullivan tells me you could 
scarcely make out my handwriting.' 

Parnell. ' Not at ail. I read it very well and pro- 
duced a very good effect.' 

This was characteristic of him — always ready to 
make the best of everything. 

Forster's Coercion Bill was introduced on January 
24. On the 25th Mr. Gladstone moved that it should 
hâve precedence of ail other business. Parnell and the 
Irish members fiercely opposed this motion, adopting 
the most extrême obstructive tactics, and keeping the 
House sitting continuously from 4 p.m. on Tuesday 
until 2 p.m. on Wednesday. On Thursday, 27th, the 
debate was resumed. On Monday, 31st, the Govern- 
ment declared their détermination to close the debate 
on the first reading that night. Parnell and the Irish 
protested, and prepared for another all-night sitting. 
Eelays were ordered on both sides, and English and 
Irish settled down doggedly to work. The House was 
once more kept sitting continuously from 4 P.M. oit 
Monday until 9 a. m. on Wednesday — forty-one hours. 
Then a mémorable scène occurred. 

On Wednesday morning, February 2, the Speaker 
— who had been relie ved from time to time in the 
discharge of his duties during an uninterrupted sitting 
of forty-one hours — resumed the chair, and, review^ 


ing the incidents of the debate, declared thafc in the 
interest of ' the dignity, the crédit, and the authority 
of the House,' he had resolved to stop the further 
discussion of the Bill, and to call upon hon. members 
to décide at once on the question of the first reading. 
This announcement fell like a thunderclap on the Irish 
party. They were thoroughly unprepared for it ; they 
had no conception that the debate would be closed in 
this manner. Accordingly, taken completely by surprise, 
they did nqt attempt to resist the Speaker's authority, 
and the first reading was then put, and carried by a 
majority of 164 to 19. Immediately afterwards the 
House adjourned until noon, the Irish members, 
astonished and perplexed, crying out as they retired : 
1 Privilège ! Privilège ! ' 

Mr. Parnell was not présent at this scène. He had 
been at his post until an advanced hour in the morning, 
and had retired for a brief rest. ' Parnell,' says Mr. 
Justin McCarthy, ' was not présent. He came into the 
House some time afterwards. The men were com- 
plaining of his absence. But there were no complaints 
when he appeared. Everyone seemed delighted to see 
him. There was a feeling of relief. He took the 
whole business very coolly, and said the action of 
the Speaker should at once be brought under the 
notice of the House. 

The House met at twelve o'clock. The report of 
the Speaker' s coup had spread rapidly throughout 
the West End, and many persons had gathered within 
the precincts of the House to watch the further develop- 
ment of events. The Lobby was crowded, as usual on 
great or critical occasions, and the question, 'What 
will Parnell do now ? ' passed hurriedly around. There 
was a gênerai impression that any attempt on the part 


of the Irish members to resist the ruling of the Speaker, 
or to reopen in any shape the discussion which had 
been so summarily closed that morning, would be 
attended with grave conséquences, the nature of which, 
however, no one ventured to define. ' They will be 
sent to the Tower/ said one bystander. 'Nonsense/ 
said another. * Then what will happen ? ' said the 
first. ' God knows/ was the reply, ' but the House is 
not in a temper to stand any nonsense now/ 

About twelve o'clock the Speaker passed through 
the Lobby to take the chair, looking as if nothing ont 
of the ordinary routine of business had occurred. 
He was soon followed by the Irish party, who marched 
from the Library through the Lobby in single file with 
Parnell at their head, looking somewhat perplexed, 
but combative and défiant. After some preliminary 
matters had been disposed of, Mr. Labouchere rose, 
and in a full House, breathless, I think I may say, 
with expectation, and perhaps anxiety, said in his 
clear, bell-like voice : ' I wish to ask you, sir, whether, 
in bringing the debate upon the question which was 
before the House this morning to a sudden close, 
you acted under any standing order of the House, and 
if so, which.' Mr. Labouchere's rising was received 
with complète silence, and when he resumed his 
place only a very feeble cheer broke from the Irish 
ranks. It was plain the Irish members had not yet 
recovered from the effects of the Speaker's blow, and 
they were far too anxious and too uncertain as to the 
issue of the combat to cheer much or heartily. When 
Mr. Labouchere sat down the Speaker rose, and, folding 
his gown around him with dignity, said : ' I acted on 
my own responsibility, and from a sensé of duty to the 
House/ Then a loud and prolongea cheer broke from 


the Whig and Tory benches — the cheer of men who 
had been victorious, and were resolved that the fruits 
of their triumph should not be lost. When the 
cheering ceased Parnell rose, and his rising was a 
signal for a cheer, but yet a feeble one, from his fol- 
lowers. He said : ' I venture, sir, to assume it will be 
proper for me, in conséquence of the reply which you 
hâve just vouchsafed to the question of the hon. mem- 
ber for Northampton, at once to bring forward, as a 
matter of privilège, a resolution declaring that the 
action of the Speaker in preventing further discussion 
on the Protection of Property and Person (Ireland) 
Bill this morning was a breach of the privilèges of the 
House.' Parnell resumed his seat, and the Speaker 
at once rose, and in measured language answered: 
'The hon. member having stated the resolution he 
proposes to submit to the House, I hâve to inform the 
hon. member that the resolution he so proposes relates, 
not to a question of privilège, but to a question of order.' 
Thèse words were received with another burst of cheer- 
ing from the Whig and Tory benches ; and the Speaker 
continued : ' If he thinks proper to bring the matter 
under the notice of the House in the regular way, he is 
entitled to do so by notice of motion, but not at the 
présent time and as a question of privilège.' Once more 
the words of the Speaker were received with Whig and 
Tory cheers, amidst which he resumed his seat. Mr. 
Parnell rose again, and again slight Irish cheers greeted 
him, his followers being desirous of showing their 
loyalty to him, but feeling that in the présent crisis of 
affairs they really were not in a position to cheer. 
They had been defeated in the morning, and there 
did not yet appear the slightest chance of the tide of 
battle being turned against their adversaries. In thèse 


circumstances they doubtless thought that it did not 
behove them to demonstrate too much. Their leader, 
addressing the Speaker, said : ' Sir, I respectfully sub- 
mit for your further considération that there is at least 
one précèdent for the course I propose to take.' The 
Speaker firmly replied : ' I hâve ruled that the course 
the hon. member proposes to take is out of order.' 
Again the Whigs and Tories cheered lustily, and the 
Speaker added : * If he wishes to challenge that ruling 
he is entitled to do so by motion.' Parnell rose again ; 
but the House had now grown impatient, and cries of 
1 Order, order ' broke from the benches on both sides 
above the gangway, in the midst of which he sat 
down. Hère The O'Donoghue interposed to ask when 
his ' hon. friend would hâve an opportunity of raising 
the question of order' — an interrogatory which was 
received with laughter. The Speaker answered, ' That 
is a matter for the House itself,' a reply which evoked 
another salvo of cheers from the Whigs and Tories. 
And now the struggle seemed ail over. There were 
slight ' movements ' in the House, as if hon. members 
were preparing to settle down to business. The 
Speaker leant back in the chair and waved his hand 
gently in the direction of the Treasury Bench, to indi- 
cate to the leader of the House — Mr. Gladstone — that 
the coast was at length clear for passing to the ' Orders 
of the day.' At this juncture Mr. A. M. Sullivan sprang 
to his feet. ' Do I understand you, sir,' he said, with 
outstretched hand and in a clear and manly voice, ' do I 
understand you, sir, to rule that my hon. friend cannot 
as a matter of privilège challenge the course which, 
without précèdent, you took this morning?' He 
paused for a moment, manifestly much agitated, but 
quite self-possessed, and then boldly continued: 'In 

JEt. 35] MR. A. M. SULLIVAN 281 

that case, sir, I rise to move that the House do disagree 
with Mr. Speaker in that ruling.' Now, for the first 
time, hearty cheers broke from the Irish ranks, mingled 
with cries of ' Chair,' ' Order, order,' from other parts 
of the House. Mr. Speaker quickly rose and said : ' In 
taking that course the hon. member will be disregard- 
ing the authority of the Chair, and I must caution the 
hon. member that the course he proposes to take will 
involve him in the conséquences ç>f that proceeding ' — 
a reply which again called forth shouts of applause 
from the Ministerial and Tory benches. Mr. Sullivan, 
nothing daunted or disturbed by the minatory words 
of the Speaker, replied that there was no member of 
the House more ready to bow to the ruling of the Chair 
than he, as there were none who more * totally disre- 
garded conséquences in the discharge of conscientious 
duties.' He was only seeking for advice and direction, 
and wished to be instructed and guided by the Speaker 
in the course he proposed to take. ' I ask you, sir,' he 
said, ' whether it is not a fact that in the Journals and 
records of this House there stand motions that the 
House do disagree with a particular ruling of Mr. 
Speaker on a point of order ? ' Again there were Irish 
cheers, which had scarcely subsided when the Speaker 
rose and said : ' I can quite understand that there may 
hâve been motions of that kind made in the House, and 
it may be that the hon. member can make such a 
motion, but not as a matter of privilège.' 

'I did not rise,' answered Mr. Sullivan, 'to make it 
as a matter of privilège, but to ask your advice as to 
the course proper to take.' 

The Speaker replied : ' If the hon. member admits 
that it is not a question of privilège his course is quite 
clear; he is bound to give notice of motion.' Once 


again the décision of the Speaker was the signal for 
Whig and Tory expressions of triumph and exultation. 
But thèse manifestations of feeling did not disconcert 
the sturdy Celt, who was now full of fight and quite 
indiffèrent to conséquences. 

'I thank you, Mr. Speaker/ he said, 'but I wish 
further to ask you if it is not a fact that the ruling of 
the Chair has been challenged on the instant ? ' 

The great crisis in the contest had now clearly 
arrived. The answer of the Speaker to this question 
would manifestly décide the issue, and it was accord- 
ingly awaited with much anxiety. 'The hon. mem- 
ber/ said the Speaker, 'asks me a question which 
at the présent moment I am not able to answer 
without searching for précédents.' No Whig or Tory 
cheer greeted thèse words, but a ringing shout of 
triumph broke from the Irish benches, which was 
repeated again and again as Mr. Sullivan rose and, 
waving his hand in the direction of his countrymen, 
essayed to speak, but in vain, for the plaudits of the 
Home Rulers rendered ail sounds save their own cheers 
inaudible. At length, the cheers gradually subsiding 
and complète silence having for a moment supervened, 
Mr. Sullivan, raising his voice to its highest pitch and 
speaking with great délibération and firmness, said : 
' Then, sir, in order that you may hâve time to search 
for précédents I shall conclude with a motion/ This 
déclaration was received with another outburst of Irish 
applause, which was not in the least checked — but 
perhaps rather stimulated — by the rising of the Speaker. 
When order was restored, the Speaker, looking grave 
and serious, said : ' I caution the hon. member that if 
he proposes to move the adjournment of the House with 
a view of calling in question what was done this morning 

iEi. 33] AN 1RISH 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 môvé the 
adjournment of the House, and I trust I shall do so with- 
in the strict rules and privilèges 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 complète 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 Eules of Procédure was necessary to 
defeat the tactics of Parnell, and they resolved to make 
this change before the next stage of the measure. Mr. 
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 régulation of the business 
for the time being should remain in the hands of the 

1 I hâve taken the description of this soene (which I witnessed) 
from Fi/ty Yeara of Concernons to Ireland. 


This resolution was the first order of the day on 
Thursday, February 3. But before it was reached Sir 
William Harcourt infonned the House that Michael 
Davitt had just been arrested in Dublin for violating 
the conditions of his ticket-of-leave. 

1 What conditions ? ' asked Parnell; but Sir William 
Harcourt gave no answer. 1 

Mr. Gladstone then rose to move the 'closure' 
resolution, but Mr. Dillon interposed to ask further 
questions relating to Davitt's arrest. The Speaker 
called on Mr. Gladstone. 

Mr. Dillon refused to give way. ' I demand,' he 
cried out, amid the din which his persistence produced, 
« I demand my privilège of speech.» 

The Speaker then ' named ' Mr. Dillon for wilf ully 
disregarding the authority of the Chair, and on the 
motion of Mr. Gladstone he was suspended. Called 
upon to withdraw, he refused to leave his place, and 
was removed by the Sergeant-at-Arms. Mr. A. M. 
Sullivan questioned the authority of the Chair in 
ordering the forcible removal of Mr. Dillon without 
first seeking the sanction of the House for that course, 
but the point was quickly overruled. 

Mr. Gladstone rose once more to propose his re- 
solution, when Parnell moved that 'the right hon. 
member be no longer heard.' Another scène of in- 
describable excitement and confusion followed. The 
Speaker refused to hear Parnell ; Parnell ' insisted ' 
that his motion should be put. The Speaker named 
him for persisting in a course of ' wilful and deliberate 
obstruction/ and he was at once suspended on the motion 

1 The Government recognised that Davitt was a danger, and simply 
made the violation of the conditions of the ' ticket-of-leave ' a prétest 
for arresting him. Davitt was immediately taken to Portland, where be 
remained until May 6, 1882. 


of Mr. Gladstone. Thirty-two Irish members refused 
to leave the House during the division, and they 
were immediately suspended. 'I was sitting quietly 
in my room off the Strand/ says Mr. Frank Hugh 
O'Donnell, ' when Biggar rushed in and said : " We 
hâve been suspended. Do you run down to the House 
and get suspended at once." Of course I rushed off. 
As I took my seat Mr. Gladstone was speaking on the 
"closure." I at once moved that he should be no 
longer heard, and was suspended on the spot.' Other 
Irish members who had been away, at the ' grand 
scène ' strolled in, moved that Mr. Gladstone should 
no longer be heard, and were suspended in détail. 
The last victim was ' Dick ' Power, one of the most 
génial and pleasant of men. He was a great friend of 
the Sergeant-at-Arms, Sergeant Gossett, and indeed 
spent many hours chatting away in that official's room 
during dull nights when the House bored him. ' Dick ' 
having refused to leave his seat during the division on 
Mr. O'Donnell's suspension, was named. He declined 
to withdraw unless under the pressure of superior 
force. The Sergeant-at-Arms appeared, placed his 
hand on Dick's shoulder, and asked his old friend to 
retire. ' I won't go, Sergeant/ said Dick. ' My dear 
Dick/ quoth the Sergeant, ' do corne away/ • Devil a 
foot, Sergeant. You'll hâve to get the police before I 
stir.' And he kept the Sergeant on tenterhooks for 
several minutes before finally quitting his place. Later 
on he might hâve been seen discussing the whole 
question in the Sergeant's room over a friendly cigar. 

' Did Mr. Parnell/ I asked Mr. McCarthy, ' seek 
the expulsion of the Irish members on this occasion ? ' 

He answered : ' Parnell certainly f orced the running. 
Dillon first got into difficulties with the Speaker. He 


said to Parnell: "Don't commit the party on my 
account. Let it be my affair alone." Parnell an- 
swered, " Go on, go on," and very soon made the 
matter a party affair. He did it deliberately. He 
always believed that the one thing necessary was to 
cause explosions in the House, and to show how hope- 
lessly strained were the relations between English and 

The active Irish members having been got rid of, 
Mr. Gladstone then nioved his resolution, which was 
carried with one altération — viz., that there should be 
at least a House of 300 as well as a majority of three 
to one before ' urgency ' could be voted. 

The resolution having been adopted, ' urgency ' 
was at once declared, and next day, February 4, Mr. 
Forster moved the second reading of the Coercion 

Despite the révolution in procédure, the Irish still 
fought vigorously against the measure, and it was not 
until February 25 that the last stage was passed in the 
Commons. On March 2 the Bill became law. Briefly, it 
enabled the Lord Lieutenant to arrest any person whom 
he reasonably suspected of treasonable practices or 
agrarian offences, and to keep such persons in prison 
for any period up to September 30, 1882. 

The Irish Executive were now possessed of the 
powers for which they had asked, and during the spring, 
summer, and autumn of 1881 hundreds of Land 
Leaguers were swept into Eilmainham. But the 
agitation did not abate. Men were readily found to 
jump into the breach ; the places of the suspects were 
quickly filled ; land meetings went on much as usual ; 
the speeches of agitators increased in violence and 
lawlessness ; crime and outrage were rampant — in a 


word, the policy o£ the Government was everywhere 
met with denunciation and défiance, the Land League 
remaining suprême. The difficulties of the situation, 
in nowise diminished by the suspension of the Habeas 
Corpus Act, were fully realised at Dublin Castle, as the 
following minute of Lord Cowper will show : 

Lord Cowper to the Cabinet 

* The first point which I will consider is whether it 
is désirable to break up the Land League. I mean 
whether it should be declared an illégal association, and 
the head committee in Sackville Street and the various 
local committees forcibly suppressed. There is no 
doubt that in the opinion of many lawyers it is an illégal 
association, and if our law officers had shared this 
opinion it might hâve been a grave question in the 
early autumn whether it should not hâve been put an 
end to. This could hardly be done now without an 
Act of Parliament, and how long such an Act would 
take to pass, and how far the business of the session 
would be interfered with, her Majesty's Ministers are 
better able to judge than I am. It must be remembered 
that the Land League has now taken very deep root 
throughout the country, and that Fenians, Eibbonmen, 
and bad characters of every description take advantage 
of its organisation, and are enrolled in its local branches. 
If the restraining influences of the central body were 
withdrawn, and the local branches driven to become 
secret societies, crime, particularly assassination, might 
increase ; for though the central body gives unity and 
strength to the movement, it does to a certain extent 
restrain crime. 

* The priests still exercise an extraordinary influence 


over the people, as has been showri lately in the most 
marked manner by the power they possess of con- 
trolling and pacifying the most excited crowd, and to 
withdraw the priests from the movement would be an 
object for which a great deal of risk might be run. 
I hâve thought it worth while to make thèse obser- 
vations, but from récent speeches in both Houses I 
infer that her Majesty's Government hâve corne to 
the conclusion that the Land League is not to be 
broken up. 

'Next cornes the question of stopping the Land 
League meetings. I hâve already expressed my opinion, 
in a minute of December 27, 1880, that they ought to 
hâve been stopped. They did an immense amount of 
mischief , and allowing them to go on has been and will 
be fixed upon as the chief error of our Administration. 
On the other hand, no one can suppose that under any 
circumstances there would not hâve been a vast number 
of outrages last year ; and if we had suppressed the 
meetings we should hâve been accused of sitting on 
the safety valve, and it would hâve been said that if 
we had allowed a freer expression of opinion and a 
constitutional agitation ail would hâve been well. 

' I think now that stopping the Land League meet- 
ings would be too late, that it would involve too great a 
change of front, and that it would be much more 
difficult than last year, as the people are better organised 
and able to change the time and place of meeting more 
rapidly than they could before. We must pursue the 
policy we began at the end of the year, drawing a Une 
at those meetings where there is sworn information 
that they would be attended w T ith danger to an 

'Now cornes the question of the arrest of indi- 


vidnals. To strike at the leaders is undoubtedly the 
right thing, and this is just what we hâve been accused 
of not doing. But openly teaching the doctrine of 
breach of contract, which is their real crime, does not, 
unfortunately, enable us to take them up. We are 
hampered in our action by an express agreement that 
we will not arrest any man unless we can say on our 
honour that we believe him to hâve actually committed 
or incited to outrage. This at first prevented us 
from attacking the leaders as vigorously as we might 
hâve done, but latterly some of them hâve been less 
cautious, and we hâve also prevailed upon ourselves to 
give a wider interprétation to our powers. For my 
part, I should be inclined to interpret them very widely. 
It is hardly too much to say that in the présent state of 
the country everybody who takes a leading part in the 
Land League does, by the very fact of so doing, incite 
to outrage. And there is now hardly anybody whose 
détention policy would demand that I would not 
personally arrest. Next to arresting ail the leading 
men that we can cornes the strict enforcement of the 
law. Every failure to serve a process, or to carry out 
a forced sale, or an éviction, does immense mischief. 
Of course, a collision should, if possible, be prevented, 
and for this purpose we always endeavour to send an 
overwhelming force. 

' I may hère notice that complaint has been made 
of the troops being exposed to stoning without being 
allowed to act in return. A certain amount of this 
may be unavoidable, but troops, in my opinion, should 
never be brought face to face with the mob unless they 
are intended to act. It is not fair for the troops, 
and it diminishes the moral effeet upon the people. 
The police should, if possible, be mployed in prefer- 

vol. i. u 


encc, as they can use their bâtons, which they are not 
afraid to use, and which inflict just the right sort of 

' Thèse are the gênerai principles which are impressed 
upon each Kesident Magistrate, but as to détails he 
must, of course, in each individual instance use his own 
discrétion. I hâve little more to recommend. The state 
of the country is very bad, after making every allowance 
for the exaggeration of the Press. Indeed, thèse very 
exaggerations are a proof of the uneasiness of public 
feeling. One of the worst points is the bad feeling 
which prevails in the south and west against the 
military and police. Worse still are the vast mobs 
which can be collected at a moment's notice. 

1 In the autumn individual assassination was the 
great danger. Now, in addition to this is the danger of 
a sudden overwhelming, by sheer weight of numbers, 
of small bodies of police or military. One such 
catastrophe would be of incalculable evil. Besides the 
disgrâce of the authorities, it would lead to after attempts 
of the same kind, and might actually be the beginning 
of a small civil war which could not be concluded with- 
out such an amount of bloodshed as would cause renewed 
bitterness of feeling against England for more than one 
génération. If the troops fire upon the people, as may 
bo necessary at any moment, and loss of life, even 
indeed that of women and children, is the resuit, it 
must be remembered their action may hâve saved the 
country from something even more déplorable.' 

If the Government had hoped to conciliate the 
agitators by the introduction of a big Land Bill they 
were doomed to disappointment. The bitterness caused 
by the fight over the Coercion Bill and the imprison- 

Mz. 35] THE LAND BILL 291 

ment of the Land Leaguers intensifiée! 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 pro- 
ceeded 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 charac- 
teristic abruptness : * Thoroughly bad Bill.' A delight- 
fully humorous smile was Parneirs only response. 
But Biggar's frame of mind was the frame of mind of 
many of the advanced Nationalists. They wanted a 
1 thoroughly bad ' Bill because a * thoroughly bad ' Bill 
would not ease the situation. 

There always hâve been certain Irishmen who 
believe that a policy of * remédiai législation ' would be 
fatal to the national demand. ' Let the grievances of 
the people be redressed,' they say, ' and there will be 
an end of Home Kule.' This was not ParnelFs view. 
He believed that the spirit of nationality could not be 
quenched ; that the clâim for législative independence 
would never be given up, whatever the course of 
remédiai législation might be. I once had a conversa- 
tion with him in the Smoking-room of the House of 
Commons on the subject. It was à propos of a sugges- 
tion to appoint grand committees for the considération 
of Irish, English, and Scotch Bills. Some of the Irish 
members thought that the appointment of thèse com- 
mittees might be accepted as a substitute for Home 
Bule, and accordingly opposed the proposai. 'Irish 
nationality,' 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 



Home Exile, and we should take everything. The 
better off the people are, the better Nationaliste they 
will be. The starving man is not a good Nationaliste 
Upon another occasion a rumour reached me that the 
Government (Lord Salisbury's Ministry, 1886) intended 
buying up the Irish railways. I mentioned the fact to 
an Irish member. ' Oh/ he exclaimed, 'we must not 
hâve that. It would settle Home Bule for ever. If 
the English Government sink money in the country 
that way, they will take care to keep everything in 
their own hands.' I told Parnell what his colleague 
had said. ' I am accustomed to thèse remarks,' was 
his commentary. ' Ail I say is, I hope what you tell 
me about the intentions of the Government is true. It 
would be a good business. It would open up the 
country, bring the people nearer good markets, and 
develop industry. Home Bule is not to be killed as 

easily as thinks. It would go on even if we 

lost .' 

Parnell wanted a good Land Bill, and he was 
determined to secure the fullest measure of justice 
which it was possible to obtain for the tenants. ' The 
measure of Land Beform,' he had said at Ennis in 
1880, ' will be the measure of your energy this winter.' 
The people were energetic with a vengeance, and the 
Land Bill was a sweeping measure of reform. 'I 
would strongly recommend public men,' Parnell said 
in the same Ennis speech, ' not to waste their breath 
too much in discussing how the land question is to be 
settled, but rather to encourage the people in making 
it ripe for settlement.' The people had made it ' ripe ' 
for settlement. Mr. Gladstone's Bill proclaimed a 

The old power of the landlord was for ever taken 

jEï. 35] PAKNELL'3 POSITION 298 

away. He could no longer increase rents at his 
pleasure, or, indeed, increase them at ail. New 
tribunals * were established for fixing rents, and gene- 
rally for adjusting the relations of landlord and tenant. 
Increased facilities for the création of a peasant pro- 
prietary were given, and the tenant's right to dispose of 
the goodwill of his farm was amply secured. The 
' three F's ' — fixity of tenure, fair rents, and free sale — 
for which Isaac Butt had agitated in vain (within the 
law, and without seeking to outrage Parliament or to 
humiliate English parties), were now wrenched from 
the Government by one of the most lawless movements 
which had ever convulsed any country. 

' There is no use/ an Irish Unionist member once 
said in the House of Commons, 'in any Irishman 
approaching an English Minister on Irish questions 
unless he cornes with the head of a landlord in one 
hand or the tail of a cow in the other.' It was in this 
way the Land League came, and we ail now know 
the Land League triumphed. ' I must make one admis- 
sion,' said Mr. Gladstone in 1893, ' and that is, that 
without the Land League the Act of 1881 would not 
now be on the Statute-book.' 2 

The Irish members were fairly astonished at the 
completeness of Mr. Gladstone's Bill, and some of 
them were little disposed to accept it. 

Parneirs position was one of extrême difficulty. 
To hâve wrecked the Land Bill would hâve been an 
act of insensate folly ; to hâve accepted it cordially 
might hâve made the Government feel that they had 
conceded too much, and would certainly hâve caused 
divisions in his own ranks. What was he to do? 

1 Land courts. 

2 House of Commons, April 21, 1893. 


'When in doubt, do nothing,' was one of Lord 
Melbourne's wise maxims. Parnell resolved to do 
nothing for the présent. Before the first and second 
reading of the Bill the Easter recess intervened. 
During that time he kept his own cotmsel. The 
gênerai impression was, however, that he meant to 
support the Bill. ' People whispered : ' Parnell will take 
the moderate line, he will accept the Bill.' A clique of 
Parliamentarians prepared to undermine his authority. 
A convention was summoned in Dublin to consider the 
situation. Like Parnell, the convention decided to do 
nothing. Every member of Parliament was to be left 
free to take any course he pleased, thus leaving the 
question still open. The second reading of the Bill 
was fixed for the 25th of April. 

A few days previously the parliamentary party met 
to consider finally what course should be pursued. 
'We were ail assembled on the appointed day,' says 
an Irish member. 'As usual, Parnell was not up to 
time, which gave an opportunity to the malcontents to 
grumble. At length he arrived, walked straight to the 
chair, of course, made no apology for being late, sat 
down, then rose immediately and said : " Gentlemen, 
I don't know what your view on this question is. 
I am against voting for the second reading of the 
Bill. We hâve not considered it carefully. We must 
not make ourselves responsible for it. Of course I 
do not want to force my views upon anybody, but I 
feel so strongly on the subject that if a majority 
of the party differ from me I shall resign at once." 
This was a thunderbolt. It took us ail by surprise. 
The clique who were plotting against Parnell looked 
perfect fools. He had trumped their card. There was 
dead silence. "I now move," said Parnell, "that we 

JEt. 35] ' A HIGH-HANDED ACT ' 295 

do not vote for the second reading." There were some 
expressions of dissent, but the motion was carried. 
The whole thing was done in less than an hour. 
Parnell, neither then nor at any other time, discussed 
the question with us.' 

Mr. A. M. Sullivan was one of those who had 
spoken publicly during the recess in favour of the Bill. 
ParnelTs décision that the party should abstain from 
voting on the second reading came as a surprise to 
him, as well as to everyone else. He was not at the 
party meeting, but news of what had occurred soon 
reached him. Corning into the chambers which we 
both occupied in the Temple and flinging himself into 
a chair, he said, with some warmth, * Do you know 
what has happened ? ' I said ' No.* He went on : 
' Parnell has carried a resolution pledging the party 
not to vote for the second reading of the Land Bill. 
He forced the party into this position by threatening 
to resign. This is a high-handed act. He did not 
give us the slightest inkling of what was passing in his 
mind. Some of us hâve made speeches in support of 
the Bill. I hâve myself stated publicly that I would 
vote for the second reading. Then Parnell cornes with- 
out giving us a moment's préparation, and says that 
we must not vote for the second reading, or, if we do, 
he will resign. The only course open to me is to leave 
the party. I will write to Parnell, telling him exactly 
what I think, and placing my résignation in his 

Mr. Sullivan did as he said. Afterwards he had an 
interview with Parnell, of which he gave me the follow- 
ing account : * Parnell is certainly the coolest hand I ever 
met. He is never put out at anything, and he never 
thinks that you ought to be put out. He is a regular 


Englishman. There is not a bit of the Celt in him. 
" Vote for the second reading if y ou think you hâve 
committed yourself. It will make no matter. As a 
question of tactics we ought not to make ourselves 
responsible for the Bill. Do whatever you think best. 
The Bill is safe." That is siniply his answer to me. 
Parnell may be quite right in holding back. I entirely 
appreciate his anxiety not to make himself responsible 
for the Bill. What I object to is, that he should keep 
us in the dark up to the very last moment, and then 
force us into a position inconsistent with our public 
déclarations.' Some days later Mr. Sullivan said: 'I 
never corne away from talking to Parnell without feeling 
that he knows better than any of us how to deal with 
the people on this side. Time always tells in his favour. 
Many of us are inclined to be carried away by what we 
think a kindly or a generous act. Parnell is never 
carried away by anything. He never dreams of giving 
the English crédit for good intentions. He is always 
on the lookout for the cloven foot. He distrusts the 
whole lot of them, and is always on the watch. They 
hâve got their match in him, and serve them right. 
It is not poor Isaac Butt that they hâve to deal with, or 
even O'Connell. Parnell is their master as well as ours.' 1 
The Land Bill was read a second time on May 19 
by 352 to 17G votes, 35 Home Kulers walking out with 
Parnell and 24 joining the majority. In committee, 
however, Parnell's true designs revealed themselves. 
The Bill was to be saved, but the Government were 
not to be ostentatiously supported. "Whenever the 
measure was in danger the Parnellites came to the 
rescue. When it was safe they criticised and objected, 
and, it must be allowed, improved the Bill. Mr. 

1 Mr. Sullivan did not vote for the second reading. 


Heneage, a Libéral, moved an amendment to exclude 
English-managed estâtes from the opération of the 
Act. The Parnellites stood by the Government and 
saved the clause. Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice moved 
an amendment to limit the jurisdiction of the Land 
Court in fixing fair rents to tenancies under 100Z. 
annual value. The Parnellites again stood by the 
Government and again saved that clause too. 1 

On July 30 the Bill was read a third time by 220 
to 14 votes. Mr. Parnell again walked out of the 
House, followed by a handful of friends, while the 
great bulk of the Irish party supported the Govern- 
ment. Two nights afterwards — August 1 — Parnell 
was suspended for defying the authority of the Chair. 
On a motion for regulating the business of the House 
during the remainder of the session he insisted on 
demanding a day for the discussion of the Irish ad- 
ministration. The Speaker called him to order again 
and again, but he held on the even ténor of his way. 
The Speaker warned, Parnell defied the warning. 
' The Ministry of the day,' he said, ' of course always 
gain the sympathies of the powers that be, in this 
House, and if we may not bring the cause of our 
imprisoned countrymen before the House, I may say 
that ail liberty and regard of private right is lost in 
this assembly, and that the Minister of the day has 

1 Another shifting of the political kaléidoscope occurred on the 
proposai of Mr. Parnell that the landlord should not be allowed to 
force the sale of the tenant's rights except with the consent of the 
court. The Government, desirous of giving the tenant a fair start with 
the new Bill, acoepted the proposai, bat on the protest of Mr. Gibson that 
the landlord should not possess less rights than other créditera, Mr. 
Parnell modified his proposai so as to place ail on the same footing. 
Thèse tactics somewhat disconcerted the Conservative leaders, who 
found themselves on a division supported by only seventy-six members, 
whilst Mr. Parnell was followed into the lobby by twenty members, 
ineluding the whole Treasary Bench.— Annual ifcgtsfer, 1881. 


transformée! himself from a constitutional Minister into 
a tyrant ! ' Hère the Speaker named Parnell at once. 

Mr. Gladstone. * I was about to move ' 

Parnell. ' I shall not await the farce of a division. 
I shall leave you and your House, and I shall call the 
public to witness that you hâve refused freedom of 

He was then suspended for the remainder of the 

The Land Bill now passed without further incident 
through the Commons, was of course ' amended ' in 
the Lords, and ultimately received the Royal assent on 
August 22. 

An Ulster Libéral has made the f ollowing statement 
to me with référence to the Land Bill : 

1 At the beginning of the year there was an article 
in the "Daily News" from which I gathered (rightly 
or wrongly) that it was the intention of the Govern- 
ment to introduce a strong Coercion Bill and a weak 
Land Bill. I wrote to the paper saying substantially 
that if this were the policy of the Government they 
could not rely on Ulster. 

• I met Sir William Harcourt in the Lobby, and he 
asked me what I meant by writing such a letter. I 
said that Ulster would hâve no tinkering with the land 
question ; that there should be a sweeping measure of 
reform. Sir William Harcourt asked me to breakfast 
with him next day, in order that we should talk the 
matter over. I then told him plainly that unless the 
Government meant to accept the "three F's" they 
had better not legislate at ail. He expressed no 
opinion on the subject, but listened quietly to ail I had 
to say. Some time afterwards, when the Bill was 
introduced, I met him in the Lobby again. He 

^Et.35] 'UNITED IRELAND» 299 

" D , when yoa told me that morning we break- 

fasted together that nothing less than the ' three F's ' 
would do, I thought you were mad ; but they are ail in 
the Bill." 

1 When the second reading was carried, a number 
of Ulstermen met at the Westminster Palace Hôtel to 
consider what message should be sent to the north. 
They had no copy of the Bill, and they asked me to 
get one. I went to the Irish office and saw Law (the 
Irish Attorney-G-eneral). I told him about the meeting 
at the Westminster Palace Hôtel, and asked for a copy 
of the Bill. He said : " The only copy I hâve is the 
one you see on the table, which has my private notes 
on it, and of course I cannot give you that." I pressed 
him to give it to me, and he finally consented, making 
me promise that I would not let it out of my hands. 
As he gave me the Bill he said : " Do you see 
that?" pointing to a figure — I think it was 22 — on 
the Bill. I said : " Yes ; what does it mean ? " " It 
means," he replied, "that that is the twenty-second 
Bill which has been before us!" "And, Law," I 
asked, " what was the first Bill like ? " " Well may 
you ask," he said with a smile. And then I learnt 
this moral lesson from my conversation with Law : 
that the first Land Bill was an insignificant amend- 
ment of the Land Act, 1870, but that as lawlessness 
and outrage increased in Ireland the Bill was broadened 
until it reached its final dimensions.' 

While the measure was going through Parliament 
Parnell lent himself to a new project. There was no 
organ in the Irish Press which he could absolutely 
control. The ' Freeman's Journal ' was in the hands of 
Mr. Gray ; the * Nation ' and ' Weekly News ' belonged 
to the Sullivans ; the ' Irishman,' the ' Shamrock/ and 


the 'Flag of Ireland' were owned by Mr. Pigott. 
Parnell resolved to buy out Pigott and start a journal 
which he could himself command. 

To carry out this purpose he formed the 'Irish 
National Newspaper and Publishing Company, 
Limited/ purchased ail Pigott's papers, dropped the 
' Shamrock/ converted the ' Flag of Ireland ' into 
' United Ireland/ and continued the ' Irishman.' 

Mr. William O'Brien was appointed editor of the 
Land League organs, as ' United Ireland ' and the 
' Irishman ' now became. 

While negotiations were pending Parnell wrote to 
Dr. Kenny on July 9, 1881 : 

Parnell to Dr. Kenny 

' M y dear Dr. Kenny, — Mr. O'Brien arrived hère 
yesterday morning. I hâve had to-day an interview 
with him, and he has definitely agreed to accept the 
position at a salary of 400Z. per annum. He wishes to 
be permitted to appoint a sub-editor, who will also act 
as commercial manager, at a salary of 3002. to 350/. ; 
and he mentions Hooper, who is at présent manager 
and factotum in gênerai of the " Cork Herald." He 
thinks that Mr. James O'Connor might hâve his présent 
salary in a third position on the paper ; but he is not 
quite certain about this — so that it may become désir- 
able to give Mr. O'Connor a hundred pounds or so and 
let him go. Mr. O'Brien will not be able to undertake 
the duties for two or three weeks ; so that meanwhile 
the paper will hâve to be brought out by Mr. O'Connor. 
Mr. O'Brien thinks it would tend greatly to insure the 
success of the paper if it were known that the pro- 
prietors were the leading members of the Land League ; 
and I hâve, on reconsideration of the question, corne to 

Mi. 35] ' UNITED IRELAND ' 301 

the conclusion that it would be better that our Limited 

Liability Company should be formed of such members. 

I would suggest the following names : Yourself , Mr. 

Egan, Mr. Dillon, Mr. Justin McCarthy, Mr. John 

Barry, Mr. Biggar, and myself. Thèse names will be 

fairly représentative of the différent shades of feeling in 

the organisation. Mr. Davitt's name should of course 

be one, but there might be danger of interférence from 

the Government under présent circumstances. Kindly 

say by wire what you think of thèse names for the 

Limited Liability Company. Mr. O'Brien is very 

hopeful of the success of the paper, if determinedly 

taken in hand by the organisation of the Land League. 

He thinks that a total capital of 10,000?., including the 

purchase money, will be sufficient. I hâve also commu- 

nicated the above names to Mr. Egan. — I am, yours 

very truly, 

'Chaules S. Pabnell.' 

Some difficulties arose in carrying out thèse schemes, 
but Parnell brushed them ail aside. On July 22 he 
wrote again to Dr. Kenny : 

Parnell to Dr. Kenny 

' I hâve had a good deal of business thèse last few 
days, so that I trust you will excuse my tardiness in 
replying to your letter. I think you were quite right 
to make the arrangement you hâve with O'Connor, which 
I suppose you did after consultation with O'Brien. 

' I regret very much that Dillon will not co-operate 
in référence to the " Irishman " ; but feel sure, when I 
am able to see him and explain matters fully, he will 
corne round. I do not apprehend any grave results 
from the position taken up by our friends in Kilmainham 
in regard to the matter.' 


Ail difficulties were finally got over, and on August 13 
the first number of ' United Ireland ' appeared. 

With the passing of the Land Bill Parnell's diffi- 
culties increased. His American allies, as represented 
by Ford and the 'Irish World,' did not in the first 
instance wish the Bill to become law ; they did not 
wish to see it in force. Parnell was resolved not to 
quarrel with his American allies, whose contributions 
filled the coffers of the League. On the other hand, 
he determined that the Land Act should not be made 
a dead letter. Indeed, he knew that the tenants would 
not permit it. What course, then, was he to pursue so 
that the farmers might reap the full benefit of the Land 
Act and his American friends be appeased ? He deter- 
mined to adopt his old tactics of drawing the fire of the 
English enemy on himself , believing that while English 
statesmen and publicists blazed at him from every 
quarter his influence in Ireland and in America would 
be unimpaired. Next, he determined that the tenants 
should be prevented from rushing precipitately into the 
Land Courts, and from abandoning ail agitation hence- 
forth. He had little faith in the Land Court per se. 
He believed that the réduction of rents would be in 
exact proportion to the pressure which the League 
could bring to bear upon the commissioners. 'By 
what rule,' I once asked an Irish officiai * do the Land 
Courts fix the rents ? ' ' By the rule of f unk ' was the 
answer. Parnell resolved that the ' rule of funk ' 
should be rigidly enforced. By the ' rule of funk ' he 
had got the Land Act. By the ' rule of funk ' he was 
determined it should be administered. 1 ' I thought at 

1 United Ireland, September 17, 1881, expressed this idea in 
unmistakable language : ' The spirit whioh cowed the tyrants in their 
rent offices must be the spirit in whioh the Land Commission Courts are 
to be approached.' 


the time,' said the Ulster Libéral whom I hâve already 
quoted, 1 'that ParnelTs policy of trying to keep the 
tenants out of the Land Courts in 1881 was foolish, and 
almost criminal. But I now believe he was quite right.' 
By keeping the tenants back, by looking suspiciously at 
the Act, by keeping up the agitation, he succeeded in 
getting larger réductions than would ever hâve been 
made if the farmers had rushed into the courts, and if 
Parnell had taken no pains to control the décisions of 
the commissioners. In fact it was Parnell who got the 
Land Act, and it was Parnell who administered it in 
the south ; though he refused to make himself respon- 
sible for it, and even appeared to be hostile to it. He 
played a deep game and played it with great ability. 
He kept his whole party together by not cordially 
accepting the Land Act, and he took pains at the same 
time to secure the best administration of it in the 
interests of the tenants. 

Mr. Gladstone thought that Parnell was bent on 
obstructing the Land Act and thwarting the Govern- 
ment. Nevertheless the Prime Minister believed that 
the Irish Executive ought to pursue a conciliatory 
policy. On September 5 he wrote to Mr. Forster : 

Mr. Gladstone to Mr. Forster 

' . . . We hâve before us in administration a problem 
not less délicate and arduous than the problem of 
législation with which we hâve lately had to deal in 
Parliament. Of the leaders, the officiais, the skeleton 
of the Land League, I hâve no hope whatever. The 
better the prospect of the Land Act with their adhé- 
rents outside the circle of wirepullers, and with the 

1 Ante, p. 298. 


Irish people, the more bitter will be their hatred, and 
the more sure they will be to go as far as fear of the 
people will allow them in keeping up the agitation 
which they cannot afford to part with on account of 
their ulterior ends. Ail we can do is to thin more and 
more the masses of their followers, to fine them down 
by good laws and good government ; and it is in this 
view that the question of judicious releases from prison, 
should improving statistics encourage it, may become 
one of early importance.' 

In September an élection took place in the County 
Tyrone. Mr. T. A. Dickson, the Libéral candidate, 
gained a great victory over Parneirs nominee, the Rev. 
Harold Eylett, a Unitarian Minister. The resuit filled 
Mr. Gladstone with hope. 

On September 8 he wrote to Mr. Forster, who had 
gone abroad for a short holiday : 

Mr. Gladstone to Mr. Forster 

' The unexpected victory in Tyrone is an event of 
importance, and I own it much increases my désire to 
meet this remarkable Irish manifestation and discom- 
fiture both of Parnell and the Tories with some initial 
act of clemency, in view especially of the coming 
élection for Monaghan. I do not know whether the 
release of the priest (Father Sheehy) would be a season- 
able beginning, but I shall be very sorry if we cannot 
do something to meet the varions friendly and hopeful 
indications of which the Ulster élection is the most 
remarkable. To reduce the following of Parnell by 
drawing away from him ail well-inclined men seems to 
me the key of Irish politics for the moment. Though 
I felt reluctant that anything should be done in your 


absence, yet I think the impendency of Mônaghan 
élection is a fact of commanding importance in the 
case before us.' 

To this letter Mr. Forster replied on September 11, 
saying that the Tyrone élection was certainly a stroke 
of luck, but reminding Mr. Gladstone that Tyrone was 
in Ulster, and that ' Ulster is not Connaught or 
Munster/ Upon the whole he was not disposed to 
take Mr. Gladstone's advice until there was some more 
cogent proof of the waning influence of Parnell than 
the Tyrone élection afforded. 

On September 14 a great Land League Convention 
which lasted for three days met in Dublin to consider 
the situation. There were divided counsels. Some 
thought that the Land Act should be freely used, others 
that it should be wholly repudiated. But, under the 
direction of Parnell, the convention unanimously re- 
solved on a middle course. The Act was to be ' tested ' ; 
certain cases were to be carefully selected for trial. 
But there were to be no indiscriminate applications to 
the courts. This resolution simply meant that the Act 
was to be administered under the control of Parnell. 
1 Nothing,' said Parnell, ' could be more disastrous to our 
movement and our organisation, and to your hopes of 
getting your rents reduced, than any indiscriminate 
rush of the tenantry into court, and it is with a view 
to prevent this that we désire to take the tenantry in 
hand and to guide them in this matter, because, dépend 
upon it, if we don't guide them there will be others that 
will. If we don't take hold of the Irish tenantry and 
guide them for their advantage, there will be others who 
will guide them for their destruction.' 

Parnell's policy, however, did not satisfy his 
American allies, and he was forced to send the follow- 

vol. i. x 


ing explanatory telegram to the Président of the Land 
League of America : 

« Dublin : Sept. 17, 1881. 

'The convention has just closed after three days* 
session. Besolutions were adopted for national self- 
government, the unconditional libération of the land 
for the people, tenants not to use the rent-fixing clauses 
of the Land Act, and follow old Land League lines, 
and rely on the old methods to reach justice. The 
Executive of the League is empowered to sélect test 
cases, in order that tenants in surrounding districts 
may realise, by the resuit of cases decided, the hollow- 
ness of the Act/ 

On September 26 Parnell attended a Land League 
convention at Maryborough, when a number of resolu- 
tions were passed endorsing the action of the Dublin 
convention, and practically advising the tenants to use 
the Act under the direction of the League. 

A private meeting of organisera was held some 
hours before the convention assembled to consider the 
resolutions which were to be submitted to it. ' I well 
remember,' says one who was présent, ' sitting beside 
Parnell at this private meeting. Proofs of the resolu- 
tions were handed around. There were fifteen resolu- 
tions altogether. Parnell fixed his attention at once on 
No. 11, which ran as follows : 

' " That the test cases selected for the Land Com- 
mission shall not be the most rack-rented tenants, but 
rather tenants whose rents hitherto hâve not been con- 
sidered cruel or exorbitant." 

1 Parnell took out of his pocket a blue-ink pencil, 
and, having glanced down the proof, turned it over and 
wrote on the back : 


1 " A/ter the eleve?ith resolution. 

1 " That, pending the resuit of the test cases selected 
by the Executive, no member of the League should 
apply to the court to fix his rent without previous con- 
sultation with, and obtaining the consent of , the branch 
of the League to which he belongs. ,, 

'Having written this, he handed me the proof to 
pass it on to the secretary so that the altération might 
be duly made. I looked at it, and said : " This is an 
interesting document, Mr. Parnell, and I think I will 
give the secretary a clean copy and, as the lawyers say, 
' file the original.' " He smiled, and simply said " It is 
business/' The resolution as amended by Parnell was 
carried at the convention.' 

I cannot say how far this Maryborough meeting 
affected the action of the Irish Executive, but curiously 
enough it was on this very day, September 26, that 
Mr. Forster wrote to Mr. Gladstone suggesting that 
Parnell should be arrested, adding : ' I think you will 
do great good by denouncing Parnell's action and policy 
at Leeds.' 1 

Mr. Gladstone did denounce Parnell's ' action and 
policy ' at the Leeds meeting on October 7, telling his 
audience that the 'resources of civilisation were not 
exhausted,' and plainly hinting that they would be 
used against the Irish leader who [in his efforts to 
obstruct the opération of the Land Act] stood between 
the living and the dead, not, like Aaron, to stay the 
plague, but to spread the plague.' 

'Parnell's reply to you,' Forster wrote to Gladstone 
on October 9, ' may be a treasonable outburst. If the 

1 Sir Wemyss Reid, Life of the Bight Hon, W. E. Forster. 

z 2 


lawyers clearly advise me to that effect, I do not think I 
can postpone immédiate arrest on suspicion of treason- 
able practices.' 

Pameirs reply, made at Wexford on October 9, 
may or may not hâve been a ' treasonable outburst,' but 
there can be no doubt that it was the reply which the 
occasion demanded — spirited and défiant. He began : 

' You hâve gained something by your exertions 
during the last twelve months ; but I am hère to-day 
to tell you thàt you hâve gained but a fraction of that 
to which you are entitled. And the Irishman who 
thinks that he can now throw away his arms, just as 
Grattan disbanded the volunteers in 1783, will find to 
his sorrow and destruction when too late that he has 
placcd himself in the power of the perfidious and cruel 
and relentless English enemy.' Then, turning to Mr. 
Gladstone's speech, he continued : 

4 It is a good sign that the masquerading knight- 
errant, this pretending champion of the rights of every 
other nation cxcept those of the Irish nation, should be 
obliged to throw off the mask to-day, and stand revealed 
as the man who, by his own utterances, is prepared to 
carry fire and sword into your homesteads, unless you 
humbly abase yourselves bcfore him and before the land- 
lords of the country. But I hâve forgotten. I said that 
he maligned everybody. Oh, no. He has a good word 
for one or two people. He says the late Isaac Butt 
was a most estimable man and a true patriot. When 
we in Ireland were following Isaac Butt into the 
lobbies, endeavouring to obtain the very Act which 
William Ewart Gladstone, having stolen the idea from 
Isaac Butt, passed last session, William Ewart Glad- 
stone and his ex-Government officiais were following 
Sir Staiford Northcote and Benjamin Disraeli into the 


other lobby. No man is great in Ireland until he is 
dead and unable to do anything more for his country. 

1 In the opinion of an English statesman, no man is 
good in Ireland until he is dead and buried, and unable 
to strike a blow for Ireland. Perhaps the day may 
corne when I may get a good word from English states- 
men as being a moderate man, after I am dead and 
buried. When people talk of " public plunder " they 
should ask themselves who were the first plunderers in 
Ireland ? The land of Ireland has been confiscated 
three times over by the men whose descendants Mr. 
Gladstone is supporting in the enjoyment of the fruits 
of their plunder by his bayonets and his buckshot. 
And when we are spoken to about plunder we are 
entitled to ask who were the first and biggest plun- 
derers. This doctrine of public plunder is only a 
question of degree. 

'In one last despairing wail Mr. Gladstone says, 
" And the Government is expected to préserve peace 
with no moral force behind it." The Government has 
no moral force behind them in Ireland ; the whole Irish 
people are against them. They hâve to dépend for 
their support upon a self-interested and a very small 
minority of the people of this country, and therefore 
they hâve no moral force behind them, and Mr. Glad- 
stone in those few short words admits that English 
government has failed in Ireland. 

' He admits the contention that Grattan and the 
volunteers of 1782 fought for ; he admits the contention 
that the men of '98 died for ; he admits the conten- 
tion that O'Connell argued for ; he admits the con- 
tention that the men of '98 staked their ail for ; he 
admits the contention that the men of '67, after a long 
period of dépression and apparent death of national 


life in Ireland, cheerfully faced tho dungeons and horrors 
of pénal servitude for ; and he admits the contention 
that to-day you, in your overpowering multitudes, hâve 
established, and, please God, will bring to a successful 
issue — namely, that England's mission in Ireland has 
been a failure, and that Irishmen hâve established their 
right to govern Ireland by laws made by themselves 
on Irish soil. I say it is not in Mr. Gladstone's 
power to trample on the aspirations and rights of the 
Irish nation with no moral force behind him. . . . 
Thèse are very brave words that he uses, but it 
strikes me that they hâve a ring about them like the 
whistle of a schoolboy on his way through a churchyard 
at night to keep up his courage. He would hâve you 
believe that he is not afraid of you because he has dis- 
armcd you, because he has attempted to disorganise 
you, because he knows that the Irish nation is to-day 
disanned as far as physical weapons go. But he does 
not hold this kind of language with the Boers. At the 
beginning of this session he said something of this kind 
with regard to the Boers. He said that he was going 
to put them down, and as soon as he had discovered 
that they were able to shoot straighter than his own 
soldiers he allowed thèse few men to put him and his 
Government down. I trust as the resuit of this great 
movement we shall see that, just as Gladstone by the 
Act of 1881 has eaten ail his own words, has departed 
from ail his formerly declared principles, now we shall 
see that thèse brave words of the English Prime Munster 
will be scattered like chaff before the united and 
advancing détermination of the Irish people to regain 
for themselves their lost land and their législative 

Parnell's speech was received with salvos of applause. 


He struck the keynote of défiance which suited the 
temper of the audience. Mr. Gladstone spoke at Leeds 
as if he had a spécial mission to stand between Parnell 
and Ireland. Ireland answered at Wexf ord repudiating 
the help of any Englishman, and reminding the Prime 
Minister that whatever she had got from England she 
had got by the strength of her own right hand. 

On the evening of the Wexford meeting two Irish 
members dined with Parnell. ' We felt,' one of them 
has since said to me, ' that he was bound to be arrested 
after this speech, and we thought that he ought to 
give us some instructions as to the future in case our 

suspicions should prove correct. P (the other 

member) suggested that I should ask him for instruc- 
tions. I suggested that P should be the spokesman. 

In fact neither of us quite liked the job, not knowing 
exactly how he would take it. We ail three sat down 

together. P and I were like a pair of schoolboys, 

anxious to get information but afraid to ask for it. It 

was a comical situation. P kept kicking me under 

the table to go on, and I kept h'niing and hawing, 
and beating about the bush, but Parnell, who was not 
at ail inclined to talk, could not be drawn. 

' At length I plucked up courage and said : "Do you 
think, Mr. Parnell, that you are likely to be arrested 
after your speech to-day ?" "I think I am likely to be 
arrested at any time — so are we ail. A speech is not 
necessary. Old Buckshot 1 thinks that by making 
Ireland a jail he will settle the Irish que8tion. ,, Tben 

1 < Buckshot ' was a nickname given to Mr. Forster in référence to 
the kind of ammunition which the constabulary were ordered to ose in 
case of being obliged to tire on the people. The name was scarcely 
appropriate to Mr. Forster, because the buckshot had been ordered by 
his predecessor. I once pointed this ont to Parnell. He said: *I 
believe so; but Forster uses the buckshot, so it cornes to the same 
thing. It is a very good name for him.' 


there was a pause. After a little while I returned to 
the charge. " Suppose tbey arrest you, Mr. Parnell," 
I asked, " hâve you any instructions to give us ? Who 
will take your place?" "Ah!" he said deliberately, 
looking through a glass of Champagne which he had 
just raised to his lips. " Ah, if I am arrested Captain 
Moonlight l will take my place." ' 

On Tuesday, October 11, Mr. Forster crossed to 
England, having previously arrangea with Sir Thomas 
Steele, the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Ireland, 
that in the event of the Cabinet consenting to the 
arrest of Parnell he would wire the one word ' proceed.' 

On Wednesday, October 12, the Cabinet met. 
Parneirs arrest was decided on. Forster immediately 
wired to Steele, ' Proceed.' 2 

Meanwhile Parnell, who had returned to Avondale 
on Tuesday, came back to Dublin on Wednesday night, 
intending to address a meeting next day in Naas, County 
Kildare. He was to hâve left the Knightsbridge 
terminus at 10.15 a.m. On Wednesday night he told 
the boots at Morrison's Hôtel to call him at half-past 
eight in the morning. I shall let Mr. Parnell himself 
continue the narrative. 

' When the man came to my bedroom to awaken 
me, he told me that two gentlemen were waiting below 
who wanted to see me. I told him to ask their names 
and business. Having gone out, he came back in a 
few moments and said that one was the superintendent 
of police and the other was a policeman. I told him 
to say I would dress in half-an-hour, and would see 

1 The threatening notices which used at this time to be served on 
landlords and obnoxious tenants were generally signed 'Captain 

* Sir Wemyss Reid, Life of the Right Hon. W. E. Forster. 


them then. He went away, but came back again to 
tell me that he had been downstairs to see the gentle- 
men, and had told them I was not stopping at that 
hôtel. He then said I should get out through the 
back of the house, and not allow them to touch me. 
I told him that I would not do that, even if it were 
possible, because the police authorities would be sure 
to hâve every way most closely watched. He again 
went down, and this time showed the détectives up to 
my bedroom.' 

The rest of the story is told by the 'Freeman's 

' Mr. Mallon, the superintendent, when he entered 
the bedroom, found Mr. Parnell in the act of dressing, 
and immediately presented him with two warrants. He 
did not state their purport, but Mr. Parnell understood 
the situation without any intimation. The documents 
were presented to him with gentlemanly courtesy by 
Mr. Mallon, and the honourable gentleman who was 
about to be arrested received them with perfect calm- 
ness and délibération. He had had private advices 
from England regarding the Cabinet Council, and was 
well aware that the Government meditated some coup 

* Two copies of the warrants had also been sent to 
the Knightsbridge terminus, to be served on Parnell 
in case he should go to Naas by an early train. 
Superintendent Mallon expressed some anxiety lest a 
crowd should collect and interfère with the arrest, and 
requested Mr. Parnell to corne away as quickly as 
possible. Mr. Parnell responded to his anxiety. A cab 
was called, and the two détectives, with the honourable 
prisoner, drove away. When the party reached the 
Bank of Ireland (to the former memories and future 


prospects of which Mr. Parnell had, but a fortnight 
previously, directed the attention of many thousands), 
five or six metropolitan police, evidently by preconceived 
arrangement, jumped upon two outside cars and drove 
in front of the party. On reaching the quay at the foot 
of Parliament Street a number of horse police joined 
the procession at the rear. In this order the four 
vehicles drove to Kilmainham. This strange procession 
passed along the thoroughfares without creating any 
remarkable notice. A few people did stop to look at it 
on part of the route, and they pursued the vehicles, 
but their curiosity was probably aroused by the présence 
of the force rather than by any knowledge that after a 
short lull the Coercion Act was again being applied to 
the élite of the League. They stopped their chase 
after going a few paces, and at half-past nine o'clock 
Mr. Parnell appeared in front of the dark portais of 

'We arrested Parnell/ Lord Cowper said to me, 
1 because we thought it absurd to put lesser men into 
jail and to hâve him at large. Furthermore, we thought 
that his test cases would interfère with the working 
of the Land Act.' 

And how were things going on inside Kilmainham 
at that moment ? One of the ' suspects ' shall answer. 
4 1 was in Kilmainham,' he says, ' several months 
before Parnell came. There was a little clique among 
the " suspects' ' who were always finding fault with 
Parnell, complaining of his modération, and saying that 
he wanted to work the Land Act and to unité with the 
Libéral party. Upon one occasion a " suspect " was 
about to be discharged on account of ill-health. It 
was suggested that he should see Parnell and " stiffen 
his back," and make him face the Government. I 

Ml. 30] IN PRISON 315 

asked this "suspect," when we were alone, what he 
would say to Parnell. He answered : " I don't know 
I suppose he will talk me over in half-an-hour." 

' When it became known that a convention would 
be held in September to discuss the Land Act thèse 
malcontents came together to consider what message 
they would send to the assembly. I remember they 
met in an iron shed in the récréation yard. One of 
them began the proceedings by taking a box of matches 
out of his pocket and saying, " Hère is the message I 
will send to the convention — a box of matches to burn 
the Land Act." This kind of thing was always going 
on, and ParneH's " modération " was a constant thème 
of conversation. One morning there was unusual 
bustle in the jail. A warder came to my room. I said : 
«Anything extraordinary going on. Is the Lord 
Lieutenant coming to see us?" He grinned and 
answered : " Mr. Parnell has corne. He is in the cell 
below." My first feeling was to laugh outright. Hère 
was the man whom the malcontents in Eilmainham 
condemned for his modération, and now the Govern- 
ment had laid him by the heels like the rest of us. 
I sent a message to the Deputy Governor to ask for 
permission to see Parnell. He consented at once. 
I went downstairs and found Parnell in a cell 12 feet 
by 6, sitting in a chair. " Oh, Mr. Parnell !" I said, 
" hâve they sent y ou hère too ? What hâve you 
done?" "Forster thought," he answered, "that I 
meant to prevent the working of the Land Act, so he 
sent me hère to keep me out of the way. I don't know 
that he will gain anything by this move." 

' The room looked misérable, and I thought I 
might improve its appearance and brighten it a bit by 
putting a beautiful green baize cloth, which had been 


specially worked for me by friends outside, on the bare 
table at which Parnell sat. I went up to my cell and 
brought down the cloth. " This, Mr. Parnell," I said, 
" will be better than nothing," and I put the cloth on 
the table, feeling very proud of myself. " Hâve you any 
good cigars ? " asked Parnell. " Certainly," I answered. 
" I hâve a box of splendid cigars upstairs," and away I 
went for them. When I came back I found Parnell 
sitting once more by a bare table, and my beautiful 
green baize cloth was huddled up in a corner on the 
floor. I gave Parnell a cigar, and then, looking round 
the room, I said : " What hâve you done with my 
beautiful green cloth, Mr. Parnell ? " " Ah ! " he said, 
lighting a cigar, " green is an unlucky colour." Then, 
puffing it, " This is a very good cigar." ' 

While Parnell was spending his first days in Kil- 
mainham Mr. Gladstone was holding high festival in 

A few hours after the Irish leader's arrest the 
freedom of the City was presented to the Prime 
Minister. The news had spread that a décisive blow 
had been struck at the Irish conspiracy by the arrest 
of the chief criminal, and when Mr. Gladstone rose 
to address the meeting he was received with signifi- 
cant cheers. 'Within thèse few minutes,' he said 
in solemn accents and amid dead silence, ' I hâve been 
informed that towards the vindication of the law, 
of order, of the rights of property, and the freedom of 
the land, of the first éléments of political life and 
civilisation, the first step has been taken in the arrest 

of the man .' Hère he was interrupted. The great 

meeting rose en masse, frantic with excitement and joy, 
and rounds of applause rang again and again throughout 
the hall, until the speaker himself was astonished, and 


perhaps startled, at the savage enthusiasin which this 
announcement called forth. When the cheering at 
length ceased he finished his sentence — 'who has 
made himself prominent in the attempt to destroy the 
authority of the law, and substitute what would end in 
being nothing more nor less than anarchical oppression 
exercised upon the people of Ireland.' 

* Parnell's arrest,' says the biographer of Mr.Forster, 
bearing strange testimony to the power of this extra- 
ordinary man, ' was hailed almost as though it had been 
the news of a signal victory gained by England over a 
hated and formidable enemy.' This description is as 
true as it is pithy. Indeed, the defeat of a foreign 
fleet at the mouth of the Thames could scarcely hâve 
excited a greater ferment than the simple announcement 
that Charles Stewart Parnell was safe and sound under 
lock and key in Kilmainham. The British Empire 
breathed once more. 

How was the news of Parnell's arrest received in 
Ireland ? A cry of indignation and anger went up from 
almost every part of the country. In niany towns and 
villages the shops were closed, and the streets wore 
the appearance of sorrow and mourning. In Dublin 
there were riots, and the people were bludgeoned by 
the police. Everywhere there were manifestations of 
discontent and irritation. It may indeed be said with- 
out exaggeration that scarcely since the Union was the 
name of England more intensely detested than during 
the four-and-twenty hours following Parneirs arrest. 

At the Guildhall, as at Leeds, Mr. Gladstone, in 
denouncing Parnell, assumed the rôle of the saviour of 
Ireland. But the memory of Cromwell was not more 
obnoxious to the Irish people than the personality of 
the Prime Minister at this moment. It was the old 


story. Public opinion in England went in one direction, 
public opinion in Ireland in another. The solitary 
individus! who regarded the whole proceeding with the 
most perfect equanimity was the prisoner himself . In 
the course of the day a reporter f rom the ' Freeman's 
Journal ' called to interview him. He ended the inter- 
view, with one of those significant sentences which 
displayed his faculty for always saying the thing that 
best suited the occasion : ' I shall take it as évidence/ 
he said, ' that the people of the country did not do their 
duty if I am speedily released.' 

In his cell at Kilmainham Parnell was a greater 
power in Ireland than the British Minister, surrounded 
by ail the paraphernalia of office and authority. 

ifiT. 35] 319 



The League's answer to ParneH's arrest was a manifesto 
calling upon the tenants to pay no agrarian rents, under 
any circumstances, until the Government had restored 
the constitutional rights of the people. 

This document was inspired by Ford and Egan, 
written by William O'Brien, and signed by Parnell, 
Kettle, Davitt, Brennan, Dillon, Sexton, and Egan. 1 Ail 
the prominent Leaguers were not in f avour of the policy 
of the No Eent manifesto. Mr. O'Kelly was opposed to 
it, and his views were shared by Mr. Dillon, who was 
sent back to Kilmainham (for a second time) a few 
days after Parnell's arrest. Indeed, the very day that 
Mr. Dillon arrived the document was under considéra- 
tion. As he entered the room the conspirators were 
sitting in council. Parnell exclaimed : ' Hère is Dillon ; 
let us see what he says about the manifesto.' The 
manifesto was handed to Mr. Dillon, who condemned 
it on the instant. ' A strike against rent,' he said, 

1 On the introduction of the Coercion Bill Egan retired to Paris, and 
there attended to the financial business of the League. On Ootober 17 
Ford wired to him : ' Communicate with Parnell if possible, consult with 
your colleagues, then issue manifesto " No Rent." ' Egan replied : ' Your 
suggestion is approved. Prompt measures are now in préparation to 
prépare a gênerai strike against rent. The manifesto wilî be issued 
throughout the land. It is the only weapon in our hands.' Davitt's 
name was signed by Brennan, Davitt being in Portland. 


' cannot be carried out without the help of the priests, 
and the priests cannot support so barefaced a répudia- 
tion of debt as this. Eome would not let them.' 
Parnell, who was really opposed to the manifesto, but 
reluctant at the moment to run counter to Ford and 
Egan, used Dillon's opposition as a pretext for re- 
opening the whole question. * That,' he said, ' is 
serious. I think we had better carefully reconsider 
the whole question. We will read the paper over 
again.' This was done, Parnell still holding the 
scales evenly balanced, and throwing his weight neither 
upon the one side nor the other. At length a vote 
was taken. The majority of those présent approved of 
the manifesto, which was accordingly issued and pub- 
lished in 'United Ireland' on October 17. It fell 
absolutely flat. It was condemned by the bishops and 
priests and ignored by the people. The arrest of 
Parnell had thrown the movement into the hands of 
the extremists. The No Rent manifesto was the 

Parnell was fond of telling a story which tickled 
his peculiar sensé of humour anent this manifesto and 
his own arrest. In the County Wexford there was a 
respectable fariner and a man of moderato political 

views named Dennis . He subscribed to the 

funds of the Land League, but took no further part in 
its work. He was, in fact, what in Ireland is con- 
temptuously called an * Old Whig.' Like many persons 
who sympathised little with the opérations of the 
League, he had an intense admiration for Parnell. 
The arrest of the Irish leader was a shock to him. 
The one man of sensé and modération in the move- 
ment had been flung into jail, the one restraining hand 
had been paralysed — such was the wisdom of the 

^Er. 35] A CONVERT 321 

British Government. So reasoned Dennis , and 

so reasoning he resolved to make a protest on his own 

A Land League meeting was convened in his own 
district. He determined to attend it. The day of 
meeting came. Dennis put in an appearance. The 
' boys ' were astonished and delighted to see him, and 
everyone said, ' Dennis must take the chair.' Dennis 
emphatically declined the most unexpected ho'nour 
thus thrust upon him. But the chance of holding a 
Land League meeting under such respectable auspices 
was not to be thrown away. Despite ail remonstrances, 
Dennis was borne to the chair amid popular acclama- 
tions. Strong resolutions were proposed, violent speeches 
were made, and a paper, which made the chairman's 
ears tingle, though he did not take it ail in at once, was 
read. Then he was called upon to put the resolution to 
the meeting and to read the paper. He read the paper. 
It took his breath away, but he went through manfully 
to the end. The paper was the ' No Kent * manifesto, 
and the resolution pledged the meeting to support it. 
Three days afterwards Dennis found himself inside 
Kilmainham. The mildest-mannered man in Wexford 
was within the grip of the law. That was not ail. 
Dennis was at first much shocked by the conversation 
of some of his fellow * suspects.' He did not appreciate 
the good stories of the Leaguers. Gradually, however, 
he became reconciled to them. Finally, he began to 
retail them. At length the crisis arrived. One day he 
approached Parnell in the récréation yard. 'Mr. 
Parnell,' said he, * I would like to hâve a word with 
you.' ' Certainly, Dennis/ said Parnell. They walked 
apart. ' Then ' — as Parnell would say, telling the 
story — * Dennis came very close to me, put his lips very 

vol. I. Y 


nephew. The following letter will dispose of thèse 

slanders : 

Parnell to Mrs. Dickinson 

1 8, Rue Presbourg, Paris : April 17, 1882. 

' My dear Emily, — I shall be sure to call to see 
Theodosia and Claude before I return to Ireland, but 
cannot fix the day just yet. I will wire him the day 
before. Délia is much eut up by her dreadful loss, but 
is somewhat better now ; my being hère has done her a 
great deal of good. It appears Henry used to live in 
an apartment of his own, and it was quite by accident 
that they discovered he was ill. In the first ten days 
it did not seem to be much, but the fever then went to 
his head, and after a week's constant delirium the poor 
fellow died. He used to dévote himself entirely to 
music, composing, &c, and it is thought that his brain 
was injured or weakened by dwelling too much upon 
this one subject, and so was unable to stand disease. 

' Your affectionate brother, 

'Charles S. Parnell. 

« PS. I am sorry to hear Theodosia is not looking 

at ail strong.' 

A few days afterwards Parnell returned to Kil- 

Mr. Forster's Coercion Act had now been twelve 
months in force. It had proved an utter failure ; and, 
to do Mr. Forster justice, no one was more painfully 
conscious of the fact than he. His confessions of 
failure are indeed pathetic. ' I can never do now what 
I might hâve done for Ireland/ he sorrowfully admits 
as early as June 1881, and he adds, 'it is seriously to 
be thought whether after the Land Bill is passed I 
ought not to get out of it ail/ 


In September he writes again : ' Up to now, 
Limerick, West Cork, Kerry, and the Loughrea 
district of Galway hâve been as bad as ever.' 

In October Mr. Gladstone, in the innocence of his 
heart, was anxious that law-abiding citizens in Ireland 
should be sworn in as spécial constables. There is a 
touch of humour in Mr. Forster's reply, though it also 
affords a curious commentary on the complex state of 
affairs in Ireland. ' As regards spécial constables, one 
of the first questions I asked months ago was, why 
could we not hâve them ? I was soon convinced that 
in Ireland they are impossible ; in the south and west 
we cannot get them, and in the north Orangemen 
would offer themselves, and we should probably hâve 
to put a policeman at the side of every spécial to keep 
him in order.' In November he writes again : ' I am 
sorry to say there is a turn decidedly for the worse, and 
we are going to hâve a most anxious winter. . . . We 
hâve more secret outrages and attempts to murder ' ; 
and he concludes sorrowf ully : ' If we could get the 
country quiet I should be anxious to leave Ireland. 
While we are fighting for law and order I cannot 
désert my post ; but this battle over and the Land 
[Act] well at work, I am quite sure that the best 
course for Ireland, as well as for myself, would be my 
replacement by someone not tarred by the Coercîon 
brush.' l 

The early months of 1882 still found Ireland the 
prey of anarchy and disorder. 2 On April 12 Mr. Forster 
wrote to Mr. Gladstone : ' My six spécial magistrates 
ail bring me very bad reports. Thèse are confirmed by 

1 Sir Wemyss Reid, Life of the Right Hon. W. E. Forster. 

2 The Irish Government seems to hâve lost its head over the 
anarchical condition of the country ; and Mr. Clifford-Lloyd, one of the 
spécial magistrates, issued an insane circular to the police stating that 


constabulary reports. The împunity from pnnishmcnt 
is spreading like a plague.' 

On Àpril 19 Lord Cowper wrote to the Cabinet : 

Lord Cowper to the Cabinet 

1 The returns of agrarian crime during the last two 
years are before the Cabinet. They hâve been pre- 
sented in every kind of shape, and comparisons may be 
made by weeks, by months, and by quarters. The 
increase of murders and other serious outrages is 
fluctuating, and not uniform, but this increase is very 
serious, and for this reason new législation is demanded. 
With regard to this fluctuation, I may remark in passing 
that after any very great crime, towards which any 
considérable attention lias been attracted, there appears 
generally to bc a lull. 

* For instance, since the murders of Mr. Herbert 
and Mrs. Smvthe l there were verv few outrages for 
ncarly a fortnight. This seems to point towards 
proving that a strong organisation still exists, and 
that the Land League is not so completely broken 
down as was imagined. This is, I am afraid, very 
much owing to the fact that since the imprisonment or 
dispersion of the mon who led it the work lias been 
taken up by woinen. We know that women go about 
the country conveying messages and encouraging dis- 
affection, and that they distribute money in large 
quantities both by hand and by letter. 

if they should ' acci<lontally commit an error in shooting any person on 
suspicion of that person beinj: about to commit a murder/ the produc- 
tion of the circular would exoneratc them. This document — which, as 
the Animal lieyistcr says. was practically authority ' to shoot on sight ' — 
had ultimately to be withdrawn. — Annual licghter, 1882, p. 187. 

1 On April 2 a most scnsutional agrarian murder was committed. 
Mr. Smythe, while driving witli his sistcr-in-law, Mrs. Henry Smythe, 
was fired at. The shot missed him, but hit and killed Mrs. Smythe. 


' My own idea, looking solely to the state of things 
in this countrv, would bave been to treat the women 
exactly like the men, both as to the ordinary law and 
as to arrest under the Protection of Person and Property 
Act ; and to hâve made no more différence between the 
two sexes than a magistrate or judge would in the case 
' of stealing a loaf of bread or a pair of boots. I am 
aware, however, that the feeling of the British public 
and of the House of Gommons must be consulted, and 
if the arrest of women would raise such a storm as to 
render the renewal of the Act impossible this may be. 
sufficient reason for not acting as I should wish. The 
returns of outrage of themselves appear to demand new 
measures. But they are not the only mode by which 
we should judge the necessity for thèse. If I am asked 
what other means of judging there are, I answer, 
" gênerai opinion, as far as it can be collected, of those 
likely to know." 

' The Irish Press of ail shades of political feeling is of 
one mind as to the serious state of the country. I hâve 
seen many landlords, agents, and others. I hâve seen 
many of the judges, and their personal accounts more 
than confirm what they hâve said in public. Above 
ail, I hâve seen résident magistrates, inspectors, and 
sub-inspectors, who corne to the Castle almost every 
day from ail parts of the country to recommend arrests ; 
and the gênerai, I may say universal, opinion is that 
the amount of intimidation is as serious as it can be, 
and that a sudden increase of agrarian crime at any 
moment, to any extent, is quite possible. 

' But it is hardi y nocossary to go further than the 
printed reports of the six spécial résident magistrates, 
who hâve charge of the worst part of the country. It 
must be remembered that thèse six men are picked out 


from more than seventy of their class, that each one 
of them is known to be of exceptional ability, and that 
their expérience is drawn from separate districts. They 
ail concur in their views of the déplorable state of the 
country and the utterly crushing intimidation which 
prevails, and we know what this intimidation may at 
any time produce. They agrée also as to the necessity 
for further législation, and their recommendations are 
substantially the same. 

'In addition to the renewal of the Protection of 
Person and Property Act for another year, thèse 
recommendations are as follows : 

' 1. Increase of summary jurisdiction. 

'This is the point to which I should personally 
attach the highest importance of ail. A résident 
magistrate, and in serious cases a spécial résident 
magistrate, should be présent. 

* 2. Spécial commission to try agrarian cases in 
certain districts without jury. Unless the judge can 
be compelled to act there will be difficulties about this. 
If so it will be ail the more necessary that, under 
No. 1, twelve months* imprisonment with hard labour 
could be given as recommended by Messrs. Plunkett, 
Clifford-Lloyd, and Blake. 

1 3. Improvement of Arms Act, so as to make one 
warrant do for a whole townland and allow search by 
night ; also power to search for papers. 

* 4. Power to tax districts for payment of extra police, 
and for compensation for death or injury to the person. 

' 5. Power to arrest strangers and persons at night. 

' As I consider the présent question to be whether 
any fresh législation is required, and in what gênerai 
direction, I do not enter into more minute particulars. 
I content myself with saying that in my opinion legis- 

/Et. 36] 13REÀKD0WN OF COEËCION 329 

lation is required, that it is required at once, and that 
every day during which crime can be committed with 
impunity will make the dealing with it more difficulté 

This minute of Lord Cowper's bears witness to the 
failure of Mr. Forster's policy. The last state of Ireland 
was worse than the first. ' If you are arrested, who will 
take your place ? ' Parnell was asked after the Wexford 
meeting. ' Captain Moonlight will take my place ' was 
the answer. Captain Moonlight had taken his place 
in earnest. The National Land League had been 
suppressed immediately on the publication of the 
' No Eent ' manifesto. Its place was at once taken by 
the Ladies' Land League, an organisation formed some 
twelve months previously on the suggestion of Mr. 
Davitt to meet the very contingency which had arisen. 

The ladies very soon outleagued the League. Lord 
Cowper, as we hâve seen, said on one occasion that the 
central executive of the Land League did exercise some 
controlling influence over the wilder spirits in the 
country districts. But no controlling influence was 
exercised now. Things went from bad to worse. 

The total number of agrarian outrages for the ten 
months — March to December 1880 — preceding the 
Coercion Act was 2,379. The total number for the 
ten months — March to December 1881 — succeeding 
the Coercion Act, 3,821. When one classifies thèse 
outrages the case appears even worse. 

Ten months preceding Coercion Act 

Homicides Firing at the person Firing into dwellings 

7 21 62 

Ten months succeeding Coercion Act 

Homicides Firing at the person Firing into dwellings 

20 63 122 


In the first quarter of 1881 tliere was one murder ; 
in the first quarter of 188-2 there were six. The total 
number of cases of homicide and of firing at the person 
in tlie first quarter of 1881 was seven ; in the first 
quarter of 1882, thirty-three. 

The total number of agrarian outrages in October 
1881, when the Land League was suppressed, stood at 
511 ; in Mardi 188*2 tlie figure was 531. But it is 
unnecessary to dwell further on thèse détails. The 
utter breakdown of the Coercion Act is beyond 

4 Everyone/ says Lord Cowper with perfect frank- 
ness, * advised us to suspend the llabeas Corpus Act — 
the lords-lieutenant of counties, the police, the law 
officers. The police led us quite astray. They said 
they knew ail the people who got up the outrages, and 
that if the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended they 
could arrest theni. Of course we found ont afterwards 
that the police were mistaken/ 

Some two vears aftor the events with which I am 
now dealing I called one morning on Mr. Bright at his 
apartments in Biccadilly. Ile was sitting at the table, 
wrapped in a dressing-gown and reading Plowden's 
'History of Ireland/ ' A 1 1 ! * he oxclaimed, 'they say 
I hâve lost ail interest in Ireland sinec I voted for 
coercion, as they call it ; still I have been reading this 
book ail the morning. The historv of Ireland has 
alwavs interested me. 1 After some talk about Irish 
history the subject of coercion came up again. 4 They 
call it coercion,' he said, 'but they forget the coercion 
of the Land League/ 

4 Their coercion, Mr. Bright/ I said, 4 is at ail events 
more effective than vours. Mr. Forster's Act was a 


complète failure. I felt very sorn* that you voteâ for 


the Bill. I heard your speech in support, and I didn't 
like if 

Mr. Bright (with a smile, and stroking his chin with 
his finger). 'I dare say you didn't. What would you 
hâve ? Eemember, I voted for coercion before. The 
position I hâve always taken has been that you cannot 
resist the demand of the Minister who is responsible for 
the administration in Ireland, though you may say, as 
I hâve certainly said, that other remédies must be 

I said : ' The Minister in this case was wrong.' 

Mr. Bright. ' Well, yes ' (getting up and throwing 
some coal on the fire and then turning his* back to it, 
looking withal a noble figure, as he there stood with 
léonine head, vénérable grey hair, and dignified bearing). 
' The suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act,' he con- 
tinued, ' had been successful in the case of the Fenians ; 
we supposed it would be successful in the case of the 
Land League. That was the mistake. The League was 
a bigger organisation. It extended ail over the country. 
The arrest of the leaders did not affect it : the local 
branches were too well organised. For every man who 
was arrested there was another ready to take his place. 
Our information was wrong. The conspiracy was more 
widespread and more deeply rooted than we were led to 
suppose. It was not a case for the suspension of the 
Habeas Corpus Act.' 

I said : ' The policy was inexcusable.' 

Mr. Bright. i To be fair you must consider the cir- 
cumstances under which the policy was adopted. Put 
yourself in the place of a Cabinet Minister. Suppose 
the Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary— the men, 
mark, who are responsible for the government of the 
country, the Executive — suppose they tell you that 


they will resign unless you give them the powers they 
demand, what would you say ? ' 

I made no reply. 

Mr. Bright. ' You don't answer, but what you feel 
inclined to say is, « Let them resign." ' 

I said : ' Exactly.' 

Mr. Bright. ' If you say that, it shows thatyou cannot 
put yourself in the place of a Cabinet Minister. Résig- 
nations are very serious things for a Government. They 
are not to be lightly accepted. There is another point. 
Suppose you could not get anyone to fill their places. 
I do not say it was so ; it did not corne to that. I put 
the case. No. I admit the policy was a failure, or, at 
least, not as successful as we anticipated it would be. 
But under the circumstances, in face of the représenta- 
tions of the Irish Government, it was impossible 
to avoid trying it. Eemember, too, that if we had 
not passed a Coercion Act we could not hâve got a 
good Land Bill through. That was a considération 
which weighed much with me, and I think with ail 
of us.' 

The failure of Mr. Forster's policy was patent to ail. 
What was now to be done ? The Irish Executive had 
no misgivings on the point. More coercion ; that was 
their reinedy. The Protection of Person and Property 
Act, which would expire in September, should be 
renewed, and a new Crimes Bill passed. Thèse were 
the proposais of Lord Cow r per and Mr. Forster. But 
Mr. Gladstone was little disposed to plunge deeper into 
a policy which had been tried and which had failed. 
Ail along it had been his wish rather to let the ' sus- 
pects ' out than to keep them in, and the thought 
uppermost in his mind at this crisis was, * Is there any 
chance of a modus Vivendi with Parnell ? ' 


Mr. Chamberlain also had been against coercion 
from the beginning ; he had been Forster's enemy in 
the Cabinet during the whole period of the Chief Secre- 
tary's term of office, and he was now determined to 
thwart the efforts of the Irish Executive in committing 
the Government any longer to a policy which had been 
marked by failure. Mr. Chamberlain was energetically 
supported in the Press by Mr. John Morley, then editor 
of the 'Pall Mail Gazette.' 

' We knew,' said Lord Cowper, ' that Mr. Chamber- 
lain and Mr. Morley were working together to thwart 
Mr. Forster,' and Lord Cowper was right. But this 
was not ail. The Tories were suddenly seized by a vir- 
tuous fit, and cried out against coercion too. ' The 
présent measures of coercion,' said Mr. Gorst on 
March 28, 'hâve entirely failed to restore order in 
Ireland. The assizes just concluded show that the 
amount of crime was more than double what it was 
in ail the various districts last year; in almost every 
case the juries failed to convict, and therefore there 
must be some new departure on the part of the 

A Conservative member, Sir John Hay, gave notice 
of motion : 

' That the détention of large numbers of her 
Majesty's subjects in solitary confinement, without 
cause assigned and without trial, is répugnant to the 
spirit of the constitution, and that to enable them to be 
brought to trial jury trials should, for a limited time 
in Ireland, and in regard to crimes of a well-defined 
character, be replaced by some form of trial less liable 
to abuse/ 

Mr. W. H. Smith proposed ' to ask the First Lord 
of the Treasury if the Government will take into their 


considération the urgent nccessity for the introduction 
of a measure to cxtend the purchasc clauses of the 
Land Act, and to niake effectuai provision for facili- 
tating the transfer of the ownership of land to tenants 
who are occupiers on tcrms which would be just and 
reasonable to the existing landlords.' 

Hère were the Tories apparently condemning coer- 
cion and proposing an alternative policy. 

A peasant ])roprietary had always been Parneirs 
solution of the Land question. A peasant proprietary 
was now the solution of Mr. W. II. Smith. Were the 
Tories going to outflank Mr. Gladstone? Was the old 
parliarnentary hand going to be checkmated ? There 
ne ver existed a parliarnentary tactician on whom it was 
more diilicult to exécute a ilank manœuvre than Mr. 
Gladstone, and lie had no notion now of allowing the 
Opposition to pose as the enemies of coercion and the 
friends of tlie Iri^h tenants at his expense. Indeed, 
the Tory manœuvres servud only to streugthen the 
hands of the anti-cocieionists in tlie Cabinet, and to 
stimulate the Prime Minuter in his eagerness to end 
the Forster régime. 

Whilo Whigs and Tories were thus playing the 
usuul party game, regarding Ireland merely as a pawn 
on the chess-boanl, Paniell sat in his spacious room in 
Kilmainhain rr\ol\ing tlic- wlmle situation in his inind. 
4 And what a îoom ! ' said a iïieiid whu visited hini at 
this time. ' The table strewn with everything, news- 
papers, books, magazines, li^ht literature, Blue Books, 
illustrated periodicals, fruit, addresses from public 
bodies, présents of every deseriptiuii, ail lying in one 
indiscriminate lu-ap lu-foiv him, and he supremely 
indiffèrent to their exi&ience.' 

1 You hâve everything hère, Mr. Parnell, except a 


green flag,' said an admirer; and Parnell smiled at this 
délicate allusion to one of his many superstitions. 
* How is the No Eent manifesto working, Mr. 
Parnell ? ' said another visitor. ' Ail I know about it 
is that my own tenants are acting strictly up to it/ was 
the grim answer. 

Keports of the state of the country reached him 
almost every day. Indeed, he knew ail that was going 
on as well as, perhaps even better than, Mr. Forster. 
Ireland was in a state of lawlessness and anarchy. 
Lawlessness and anarchy which served only to em- 
barrass the British Minister mattered little to Parnell. 
Lawlessness and anarchy which served to embarrass 
himself mattered a great deal. The country was drift- 
ing out of his hands, and drifting into the hands of 
reckless and irresponsible men and women whose wild 
opérations would, he felt sure, sap his authority and 
bring disaster on the national movement. It was quite 
time for him to grasp the reins of power once more, and 
to direct the course of events. His release from prison 
became, in fact, a matter of paramount importance. 
How was he to get out ? I hâve said that the thought 
uppermost in Mr. Gladstone's mind was how to bring 
about a modus vivendi with Parnell. The thought 
uppermost in Parnell's mind was how to bring about a 
modus vivendi with Mr. Gladstone. It occurred to the 
Irish leader that a treaty might be made on the basis 
of doing something more for the Irish tenants. He 
had pointed out the defects of the Land Act, he had 
dwelt on the importance of dealing with the question 
of arrears, and he now thought that this question 
might be made the ground of some arrangement 
whereby the présent intolérable and (it seemed to him) 
insane condition of affairs would be ended. 


Parnell, as has been already mentioned, 1 had left 
Dublin for Paris on April 10. At Willesden Junction he 
was met by Mr. Justin McCarthy, Mr. Quin, and Mr. 
Frank Byrne. They had organised a public démonstra- 
tion, which, however, Parnell avoided, saying that he did 
not consider himself free by the terms of his release to 
take part in any political proceedings. That same 
evening he had a long conversation with Mr. Justin 
McCarthy on Irish affairs. ' I told him/ says Parnell, 
1 that the tenants, ail of them who could pay their rents, 
had done so and obtained good réductions, and that there 
only remained those who could not pay — the smaller 
tenants in arrears. That the "No Eent manifeste" 
had been practically withdrawn, as when the [new] 
Land Bill was drafted 2 it had been withdrawn from 
circulation, and no further attempts made to get the 
tenants to refuse to pay their rents ; and that now the 
thing was to press Parliament for some législation to 
assist the small tenants, some 100,000 in number I 
suppose, who were unable to pay their rents and who 
were threatened with évictions. I told him that if 
thèse tenants were evicted on any large scale the resuit 
would be great increase of crime and terrible suffering, 
and that I had every reason to believe that the state of 
the country, and the crime in the country, was entirely 
due to the inability of those small and poor tenants to 
pay their rents, and that in self-protection they were 
going about, or their sons were going about, banding 
themselves together to intimidate the larger tenants 
from paying, or that they had been doing so, and that 
an Arrears Act would hâve an immédiate effect in 

1 Ante, p. 323. 

* A Bill drafted by Parnell in priion for tht amtndment of tht 
Land Act of 1881, 

JEt. 36] A WÀY OUÎ 837 

producing tranquillity and restoring peace in the 
country.' l 

On April 11 he saw Captain O'Shea (an Irish 
Home Bule member of Whig proclivities, who was 
in touch with the Government), and repeated what he 
had said to Mr. McCarthy. That night Parnell crossed 
to Paris. Captain O'Shea immediately put himself in 
communication with Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Cham- 
berlain, apparently suggesting the feasibility of some 
arrangement by which the ' suspects ' might be released 
and an Arrears Bill passed. Subsequently he received 
the following letters : 

Mr. Gladstone to Captain O'Shea 

1 April 15, 1882. 

* Dear Sir, — I hâve received your letter of the 
13th, and I will communicate with Mr. Forster on 
the important and varied matter which it contains. I 
will not now enter upon any portion of that matter, 
but will simply say that no apology can be required 
either for the length or freedom of your letter. On the 
contrary, both demand my acknowledgments. I am 
very sensible of the spirit in which you write ; but I 
think you assume the existence of a spirit on my part 
with which you can sympathise. Whether there be 
any agreement as to the means, the end in view is of 
vast moment, and assuredly no resentment, personal 
préjudice, or false shame, or other impediment extra- 
neous to the matter itself, will prevent the Government 
from treading in that path which may most safely lead 
to the pacification of Ireland. 

1 Truly yours, 

1 W. E. Gladstone/ 

1 Spécial Commission, Q. 58,758, et seq. 
VOL. I. S 


Mr. Chamberlain to Captain O'Shea 

' April 17, 1882, 

1 My dear Sir, — I am really very much obliged 
to you for your letter, and especially for the . copy of 
your very important and interesting communication to 
Mr. Gladstone. I am not in a position, as you will 
understand, to write you fully on the subject, but I 
think I may say that there appears to me nothing in 
your proposai which does not deserve considération. I 
entirely agrée in your view that it is the duty of the 
Government to lose no opportunity of acquainting 
themselves with représentative opinion in Ireland, and 
for that purpose that we ought to welcome suggestions 
and criticism from every quarter, and from ail sections 
and classes of Irishmen, provided that they are ani- 
mated by a désire for good government and not by 
blind hatred of ail government whatever. There is one 
thing must be borne in mind — that if the Government 
and the Libéral party generally are bound to show 
greater considération than they hâve hitherto done for 
Irish opinion, on the other hand, the leaders of the 
Irish party must pay soinc attention to public opinion 
in England and in Scotland. Since the présent 
Government hâve bccn in office they hâve not had 
the slightest assistance in this direction. On the 
contrary, some of the Irish members hâve acted as if 
their object were to embitter and préjudice the English 
nation. The resuit is that nothing would be easier 
than at the présent moment to get up in every large 
town an anti-Irish agitation almost as formidable as 
the anti-Jewish agitation in Russia. I fail to see how 
Irishmen or Ireland can profit by such policy, and I 

-Et. 3f>] NEGOTIATIOXS 339 

shall rejoice whenever the time comes that a inore 
hopeful spirit is manifested on both sides. 

' Truly yoùrs, 

' J. Chamberlain/ 

Mr. Gladstone at orççe,put.Mr f Fprster in possession 
of O.'.Shea's . .conwnuniçations. The _ .Irish Secretary 
seeras to hâve been quite sympathetic on the question 
of arrears ; but he did not see his way to the release of 
Parnell. He would not bargain with the Irish leader. 
He would not allow himself to be undermined by Mn 
Chamberlain and Mr. Morley. He looked upon the 
whole business as an underhand proceeding, quite in 
keeping with the attempts which had been constantly 
made to thwart him in his Irish administration, and 
he resolved to take no part in negotiations which had 
been begun over his head. 

1 Forster himself/ says Lord Cowper, ' thought ulti- 
mately that Parnell would hâve to be let out on certain 
conditions. It was the way the thing was done rather 
than the thing itself to which he objected/ 

On April 18 Parnell wrote a characteristic letter, 
making an appointment with Mr. McCarthy, but saying 
nothing of the business in hand. 

Parnell to Justin McCarthy 

1 8 Rue Presbourg, Paris : Tuesday, April 18. 

1 My dear McCarthy, — I hope to pass through 
London next Sunday, and will try to look you up at 
your house in Jermyn Street. Hâve had a bad cold 
since I hâve been hère, but am nearly ail right again; 
With best regards to ail friends, 

' Yours very truly, • 

'Charles S. Parnell/ !. 


Parnell to Mr. Justin McCarthy 

1 Saturday [April 22, 1882]. 

1 My dear McCarthy, — I hâve arrived in England, 
and will call to see y ou to-morrow afternoon some time. 
I cannot at présent give you the exact hour, but would 
it be too much to ask you to remain at home af ter three 
o'clock ? I trust you will hâve some news of resuit of 
Cabinet to-dav. 1 

1 Tours very truly, 

' C. S. P.' 

On Sunday afternoon Parnell discussed the whole 
situation with Mr. McCarthy. He had previously seen 
Captain O'Shea, who expressed the hope that, as a 
resuit of the negotiations then going on, the ' suspects ' 
might be permanently released. ' Never mind the " sus* 
pects," ' he said ; 4 try and get the question of the arrears 
satisfactorily adjusted, and the contribution made not a 
loan, but a gift on compulsion. The Tories hâve now 
adopted my views as to peasant proprietary. The great 
object to be attained is to stay évictions by an Arrears 
Bill/ 2 

On April 24, as wc hâve seen, Parnell was back at 
Kilmainham. On the following day he wrote to Mr. 
McCarthy : 

1 ' It was not,' says Sir Womyss Rekî in lus Life of Forstcr, • until 
the 22nd [of April] that the Cabinet took up the Irish question, Mr. 
Forster having by this time retumed to London.'— Vol. ii. p. 428. 

* There were 100,000 tenants in arrears, and connequently nnable to 
avail themselves of the benefit of the Land Aot. Thèse tenants conld 
ail be evicted. Pamell's object was to get a Bill which would practicallj 
wipe oui thèse arrears. See Annual lUgistcr, 1882, p. 21. 

&t. 36] NEGOTIATIONS 341 

Parnell to Mr. Justin McCarthy 

« Kilmainham : April 25, 1882. 

' My dear McCarthy, -^-1 send you a letter em- 
bodying our conversation, and which, if you think it 
désirable, you might take the earliest opportunity of 
showing to Chamberlain. Do not let it out of your 
hands, but if he wishes you might give him a copy of 
the body of it. 

' Yours very truly, 

'Charles S. Parnell.' 

The body of the letter ran as follows : 

' We think, in the first place, no time should be lost 
in endeavouring to obtain satisfactory settlement of the 
arrears question, and that the solution proposed in the 
Bill standing for second reading to-morrow (Wednes- 
day) would provide a satisfactory solution, though the 
Church Fund would hâve to be supplemented by a grant 
from Impérial resources of probably a million or so. 

4 Next, as regards the permanent amendment of the 
Land Act, we consider that the rent-fixing clauses 
should be extended to as great an extent as is possible, 
having in view the necessity of passing an Amendment 
Bill through the House of Lords; that leaseholders 
who hâve taken leases, either before or since the Act of 
1870, should be permitted to apply to hâve a fair rent 
fixed ; and that the purchase clauses should be amended 
as suggested by the Bill the second reading of which 
will be moved by Mr. Eedmond to-morrow. 

1 If the Government were to announce their inten- 
tion of proposing a satisfactory settlement of the arrears 
difticulty as indic^ted q,bove, we on our part would 


inake it known that the No Rent manifesto was with- 
drawn, and we should advise the tenants to settle with 
their landlords. We should also then be in a rnuch 
better position than we were ever before to make our 
exertions effective to put a stop to the outrages which 
are unhappily so prévalent. 

* If the resuit of the arrears seulement and the 
further améliorât ive measures suggested above were the 
material diminution of outrage before the end of the 
session, and the prospect of the return of the country, 
iifter a time, to something like a normal condition, we 
should hope that the Government would allow the 
Coercion Act to lapse, and govern the country by the 
same laws as in En gland.' 

Mr. Chamberlain acknowledged the receipt of this 
communication in the following letter : 

Mr. Chamberlain to Mr. Justin McCarthy 

1 April 30. 

' Mv DKAH McCakthy, — Many thanks for your 
note, with the extract from Mr. Parneirs letter. I will 
ondeavour to mako good use of it. I only wish it could 
1)0 published, (or the knowledge that the question still 
undur discussion will be treated in this conciliatory 
spirit would hâve a great effect on public opinion. 

4 You may rely on me at ail times to do my best to 
help forward the solution of the Irish problem, and, in 
spite of past failure and past mistakes, I am still 
hopcful for the future. 

* Yours very truly, 

'J. Chamberlain/ 

Àbout the samc time Parnell wrotc to Captain 
O'Sluïrt : 


Parnell to Captain O'Shea 

1 Kilmainham : April 28. 

' I was very sorry that you had left Albert Mansions 
before I reached London from Elthani, as I had wished 
to tell you that after our conversation I had made up 
my mind that it would be proper for me to put Mr. 
McCarthy in possession of the views which I had pre- 
viously communicated to you. I désire to impress upon 
you the absolute necessity of a settlement of the arrears 
question which will leave no recurring sore connected 
with it behind, and which will enable us to show the 
smaller tenantry that they hâve been treated with 
justice and some generosity. 

' The proposai you hâve described to me as sug- 
gested in some quarters of inaking a loan, over however 
inany years the payment might be spread, should be 
absolutely rejected, for reasons which I hâve already 
fully explained to you. If the arrears question be 
settled upon the lines indicated by us, I hâve every 
confidence — a confidence shared by my colleagues — 
that the exertions which we should be able to make 
strenuously and unremittingly would be effective in 
stopping outrages and intimidation of ail kinds. 

1 As regards permanent législation of an ameliorativc 
character, I may say that the views which you always 
shared with me as to the admission of leaseholders to 
the fair rent clauses of the Act are more confirmed 
than ever. So long as the flower of the Irish peasantry 
are kept outside the Act there cannot be any permanent 
settlement of the Land Act, which we ail so much désire. 

4 1 should also strongly hope that some compromise 
might be arrived at this session with regard to the 
amendment of the tenure clauses. It is unnecessary 


for me to dwell upon the enormous advantages to be 
derived from the full extension of the purchase clauses, 
which now secm practically to havc been adopted by ail 

'The accomplishment of the programme I hâve 
sketched would, in my judgment, be regarded by the 
country as a practical settlement of the land question, 
and would, I feel sure, enable us to co-operate cordially 
for the future with the Libéral party in forwarding 
Libéral principles; so that the Government, at the 
end of the session, would, from the state of the country, 
feel themselves thoroughly justified in dispensing with 
further coercive measures. 

' Yours very truly, 

'C. S. Parnell.' 

On April 30 Captain O'Shea called on Mr. Forster 
at his résidence in Eccleston Square, and showed him 
this letter. Mr. Forster has given us a detailed account 
of the interview : 

'After carefully reading [the letter] I said [to 
Captain O'Shea] : " Is that ail, do you think, that 
Parnell would be inclined to say ? " He said : " What 
more do you want? Doubtless I could supplément 
it." I said : " It cornes to this, that upon our doing 
certain things he will help us to prevent outrages," or 
words to that effect. Ile again said : " How can I 
supplément it ? " referring, I imagine, to différent 
measures. I did not feel justified in giving him my 
own opinion, which might be interpreted to be that of 
the Cabinet, so I said : " I had better show the letter to 
Mr. Gladstone, and to one or two others. ,, He said : 
"Well, there may be faults of expression, but the 
thing îs done. If thèse words will not do I must get 


others ; but what is obtained is " — and hère he used 
most reinarkable words — " that the conspiracy which 
has been used to get up boycotting and outrages will 
now be used to put them down, and that there will be a 
union with the Libéral party ; " and as an illustration of 
how the first of thèse results was to. be obtained, he 
said that Parnell hoped to make use of Sheridan and 
get him back from abroad, as he would be able to help 
him put down the conspiracy (or agitation, I am not 
sure which w r ord was used), as he knew ail its détails 
in the west. (This last statement is quite true. 
Sheridan is a released suspect, against whom we hâve 
for some time had a fresh warrant, and who under 
disguises has hitherto eluded the police, coming back- 
wards and forwards from Egan to the outragemongers 
in the west.) I did not feel myself sufficiently master 
of the situation to let him know what I thought of this 
confidence ; but I again told him that I could not do 
more at présent than tell others what he had told me. 
I may say that in the early part of the conversation he 
stated that he (O'Shea) hoped and advised — and in this 
case he was doubtless speaking for Parnell — that we 
should not to-rnorrow — I suppose meaning Tuesday — 
" pledge ourselves to any time for bringing on fresh 
répressive ineasures." He also said that he had per- 
suaded Parnell to help to support a large émigration 
from the west, and that Parnell had told him that he 
had a good deal of conversation with Dillon, and had 
brought him round to be in full agreement with himself 
upon the gênerai question.' 

Mr. Forster immediately sent Parnell's letter and 
the above account of his own interview with Captain 
O'Shea to Mr. Gladstone. * I expected little from thèse 
negotiations,' whs the Irish Secretary's comment upon 


the whole transaction. But Mr. Gladstone was highly 
gratified. ' This,' said he, ' is a hors d } œuvre which we 
had no right to expect, and I rather think hâve no 
right at présent to accept. I may be far wide of the 
mark, but I can scarcely wonder at O'Shea saying " the 
thing is done." ... On the whole Parnell's letter is, 
I think, the most extraordinary I ever read. I cannot 
help feeling indebted to O'Shea.' 1 

The thing was done. On May 1 the Cabinet met 
to discuss the prospective policy in lieu of coercion. 
After the meeting of the Cabinet Mr. Gladstone wrote 
to Lord Cowper : 

Mr. Gladstone to Lord Cowper 

' My dear Cowper, — In conséquence of the altered 
position of the No Bent party, further attested to us by 
important information which (without any covenant) 
we hâve obtained, the Cabinet has discussed anxiously 
the question whether the threemembers of Parliament* 
now in prison should be released, with a view to further 
progressive release of those not believed to be impli- 
cated in crime upon careful examination of their cases. 
No décision has been absolutely taken, but the Cabinet 
meets again to-morrow at twelve, and it is probable 
that a telegram may be sent to you requesting you to 
give directions for the immédiate libération of the 
three. The information we havc had in the briefest 
words is shortly this : we know that Parnell and his 
friends are ready to abandon "No Bent " formally, and 
to déclare against outrage energetically, intimidation 
included, if and when the Government announce 
a satisfactory plan for dealing with arrears. We hâve 

1 Sir Wemyss Reid, Life of tlie Right Hon. W. E. ForsUr. 
s The three were Parnell, Mr. O'Kell.v, and Mr. Dilton. 


already as good as resolved upon a plan, and we do not 
know any absolute reason why the form of it should 
not be satisfactory. 

' Sincerely yours, 

1 W. E. Gladstone.' 

On May 2 Mr. Gladstone telegraphed in cypher to 
Lord Cowper : 

* Matters being settled hère for immédiate action 
and on a footing named in last telegram to sign and 
give necessary directions for the three forthwith.' 

To this Lord Cowper wired in reply : 

' I should much pref er, for reasons I will give by 
letter, that your intention should be carried out by my 
successor. But I will obey orders if insisted on.' 

This letter, giving the reasons, ran as follows : 

Lord Cowper to Mr. Gladstone 

4 Vice-Regal Lodge, Dublin : 

4 May 2, 1882. 

1 My dear Mb. Gladstone, — The proposed release 
of the three members of Parliament so took me by 
surprise that I hâve hardly been able to form a deliberate 
opinion about it. Nothing but a séries of formidable 
objections lias yet occurred to me. This is the way in 
which the circumstances présent themselves to my 
mind. Thèse men hâve been imprisoned for a gross 
violation of the law. They follow this up with a 
violation still grosser, the No Kent manifesto. Therè 
is at this moment a great amount of bad outrage. We 
know or suspect that this is instigated by the prisoners. 
At the same time their organs in the Press taunt us with 
having put under restraint the only people who hâve 


power to stop it. We, apparently despairing of restoring 
order ourselves, let them out on condition that they 
will help us and will refrain for the future, not from the 
conduct for which they were iniprisoned, but only from 
the more outrageous policy to which they hâve after- 
wards committed themselves, and even this they are 
only willing to do in return for fresh législation in 
favour of the tenant. 

1 There inay be another side to the question, but, as 
I am not able to grasp it, y ou will understand my 
objections to being the instrument of their release. 

* Yours very truly, 


Mr. Gladstone wired immediately : 

'Your signature, if required, as it would be after 
résignation, would be merely ministerial and without 
political responsibility. When do y ou corne to London? 
I quite understand your letter, as it shows me, to my 
surprise, that you hâve had no previous information.' 

This terminated the correspondence. 

Lord Cowper immediately signed the order of 
release, and Parnell (with his colleagues, Mr. O'Kelly 
and Mr. Dillon) walked forth a free man once more. 
AH Ireland, outside the loyal corner of Ulster, hailed 
the libération as a national triumph, and a shout of 
victory went up from one end of the land to the other. 
The Irish Executive had been beaten. The Prime 
Minister, who but seven months before had announced 
Parneirs arrest with such dramatic efifect to an excited 
English meeting, had now flung the Irish agents of 
the Government over and made peace with the 
invincible agitator. Mr. Forstcr, rightly appreciating 


the omnipotence of Parnell, described this situation 
thus : 

1 ' A surrender is bad, but a compromise or arrange- 
ment is worse. I think we may remember what a 
Tudor king said to a great Irishman in former times : 
" If ail Ireland cannot govern the Earl of Kildare, 
then let the Earl of Kildare govern ail Ireland/' The 
king thought it was better that the Earl of Kildare 
should govern Ireland than that there should be an 
arrangement between the Earl of Kildare and his 
représentatives. In like manner, if ail England cannot 
govern the hon. member for Cork, then let us acknow- 
ledge that he is the greatest power in ail Ireland to-day.' 

On his release Parnell hastened to Avondale, 
whither he was accompanied by an Irish member, who 
shall describe the scène of his arrivai at home : 

' 1 went to Avondale with Parnell after his release 
from Kilmainham. When we arrived at the place ail 
the old servants rushed out to see him. They were 
crying with joy. I was horribly afifected, and began to 
cry myself. Parnell was absolutely unmoved. I 
thought he was the most callous fellow I had ever 
met. An old woman rushed out and seized him by 
the hand, kissed it, covered it with tears, and said : 
" Oh, Master Charley, are you back to us again ? " He 
was like a statue. He made some casual remark as if he 
had been out for a morning walk, and passed through 
them ail into the drawing-room, where Mrs. Dickinson 
was. I hung back, as I did not like to be présent at the 
meeting between brother and sister, but Parnell said : 
" Corne along." Mrs. Dickinson was as icy as himself. 
She got up calmly as he entered, and said quite 
casually : "Ah, Charley, is that you? I thought they 
would ne ver let you back again." 


' ParneU. " Well, what did you thînk they would 
do tome?" 

'Mrs. Dickinson. "I thought they would hrftag 


' Pamdl <smjlin#).; ".WeH, it may: coύ tQ~th&t 

jrCfc». • - ... ' 

- -*-TBatwas the whole greeting. They then tslked 
about family affairs.' 

It has been said that there was no Kilmainhara 
treaty. Well, it is idle to quibble about words, There 
was a Kilmainham treaty, and thèse, in a single 
sentence, were its terms. The Government were to 
introduce a satisfactorv Arrears Bill, and Parnell was 
to ' slow down ' the agitation. ' One of thc most 
sagacious arrangements,' says Mr. Healy, commenting 
on Pamell's conduct, 'that ever enabled a hard 
pressed gênerai to securc terms for his forces/ 

/Ex. 36] 351 

, w **• «• **»* ' 



One of the first results of the Kilmainham treâty was 
the résignation of Lord Cowper and Mr. Forster. On 
May 4 Mr. Forster made his explanation in Parliament. 
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 ' l 
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 '-— Parnel 
entered the House. It was a dràmâtic scène. 

Deafening cheers broke from the Irish Benchës, 
drowning Forster's voice, and preventing the con- 
clusion of the sentence from being heard. 

Parnell quickly surveyed the situation, and, bowing 
to the Speaker, passed, with head erect and meàsured 
tread, to his place, the victor of the hour. 

One can easily imagine his feelings when Mr. Glad- 
stone rose to answer Mr. Forster. ' To divide and govern ' 
had always been the policy of the English in Ireland» 

> On the Unes already indicated, ante, p. 838. 


Parnell Was now applying that policy to the English 
themselves. Seven rnonths before Mr. Gladstone and 
Mr. Forster had been united in sending him to prison. 
They were united no longer. 

The English in Ireland never more thoroughly 
appfeciated the importance of dividing their enemies, 
while standing shoulder to shoulder themselves, than 
did this man, who was so English in tempérament and 
in method. To see English parties at sixes and sevens 
while he commanded an unbroken phalanx was tbe 
central idea of his policy. He now saw the Prime 
Minister rise to fight his battle, which was, in truth, 
the battle of the Prime Minister too. 

What a révolution ! Mr. Gladstone and Parnell in 
the same boat and Mr. Forster flung to the waves. 
Mr. Gladstone's reply was simple and courteous. In 
brief it came to this. The circumstances which had 
warranted the arrest no longer existed ; in addition, he 
had an assurance that if the Government dealt with 
the arrears question the three members released would 
range themselves on the side of law and order. 

Parnell followed, saying : 

' In the first portion of his (Mr. Gladstone's) speech 
the idea conveyed was that if the hon. members for 
Tipperary and Koscommon (Messrs. Dillon and O'Kelly), 
along with myself, were released we would take some 
spécial action with regard to the restoration of law and 
order. I assume that the right hon. gentleman has 
received information from some of my friends to whom 
I hâve made either written or verbal communication 
with regard to my intentions upon the state of this 
Irish question. But I wish to say emphatically that I 
hâve not in conversation with my friends or in any 
written communication to my friends entered into the 


question of the release of my hon. friends and myself 
as any condition of our action. (Mr. Gladstone, 
"Hear, hear.") I hâve not, either in writing or 
verbally, referred to our release in any degree what- 
soever, and I wish to call attention to the first state- 
ment of the Prime Minister in order to show that it 
conveyed — although I am sure the right hon. gentleman 
did not intend it should do so — the reverse of that fact. 
("No, no," from Mr. Gladstone.) Still, sir, I hâve 
stated verbally to more than one of my hon. friends, 
and I hâve written, that I believe a settlement of this 
arrears question — which now compels the Government 
to turn out into the road tenants who are unable 
to pay their rents, who hâve no hope of being able to 
pay their rents, for which they were rendered liable 
in the bad seasons of 1878, 1879, and 1880— would 
hâve an enormous effect in the restoration of law and 
order in Ireland — (Cheers) — would take away the last 
excuse for the outrages which hâve been unhappily 
committed in such large numbers during the last six 
months, and I believed we, in common with ail persons 
who désire to see the prosperity of Ireland, would be 
able to take such steps as would hâve material effect in 
diminishing those unhappy and lamentable outrages.' 
(Ministerial and Irish cheers.) 

And so the discussion practically ended on May 4, 
to be resumed, however, some time later with more 
bitterness and rancour. In the interval a terrible 
tragedy occurred. On May 6 the new Lord Lieutenant 
(Earl Spencer) made his state entry into Dublin. The 
new Chief Secretary (Lord Frederick Cavendish) took 
part in the pageant. Afterwards he drove on an out- 
side car to the Chief Secretary's Lodge in the Phœnix 
Park. On the way he met the Under-Secretary (Mr. 

vol. I. A A 


Burke), alîghted, and both walked together through the 
park. As they came opposite the Viceregal Lodge 
about 7 p.m. a band of assassins fell upon them and 
stabbed them to death. Thèse men belonged to a 
murder sbciety, self-called the 'Invincibles/ which 
had sprung up under Mr. Forster's règinié 1 for the 
purpose, as one of them said, of ' making hïstory ' by 
' removing ' obnoxious political personages. Mr. Burke 
and Lord Frederick Cavendish were their first victims. 
The assassins were ultimately arrested and hanged.* 
The ' Annual Register ' of 1882, in giving an account 
of this horrible transaction, says : ' It is even more 
painful to know that from the Viceregal Lodge Lord 
Spencer himself was looking out of the Windows, 
and saw with unconcerned eyes tho scuffle on the road 
some hundred yards away, little thinking that what 
seemod to be the horseplay of half a dozen roughs was 
in reality the murder of two of his colleagues.' 

This statement is inaccurate. Lord Spencer did 
not see the ' scuffle/ 

Hereis his Lordship's recollection of what happened : 
' It is said that I saw the murder. That is not so. I 
had asked Cavendish 3 to drive to the park with me. 
He said he would not ; he would rather walk with 
Burke. Of course, if he had corne with me it would, 
not hâve happened. I then rode to the park with a 
sinall escort, I think my aide-de-camp and a trooper, 
Curiously enough, I stopped to look at the polo match 
which Carey described, so that he and I seem to hâve 

1 Forster's own life was frequently in jeopardy, and he seems to 
hâve had some miraculous escapes. — Sir Wemyss Eeid, Life ofthe Itight 
lion. W. E. Forster. 

- One of the * Invincibles/ Carey, turned informer. He was aiter- 
wards shot by a man named O'Donnell, on board ship off Cape Cohmy. 
O'Donnell was arrested, and brought to England and hanged. 

9 On hearing that Burke had already set ont for the park Lord- 
Frederick Cavendish took the car to overtake him. * * 

/Et. 36] LO&D SPENCER 355 

been together upon that occasion. I then turned 
towards the Viceregal Lodge. The ordinary and more 
direct way for me to go was over the very scène of the 
murder. Had I so gone the murder would -not pro- 
bably hâve been committed, Three men ckming , up 
would hâve prevented anything-of that kindL -ButI 
made a slight détour, and got to the lodgô another 
way. When I reached the lodge I sat down near the 
window and began to read sonie papers. Suddenly I 
heard a shriek which I shall never forget. I seem to 
hear it now ; it is always in my ears. This shriek was 
repeated again and again. I got up to look out. I 
saw a man rushing along. He jumped over the palings 
and dashed up to the lodge, shouting : " Mr. Burke 
and Lord Frederick Cavendish are killed." There 
was great confusion, and immediately I rushed out ; 
but someone of the Household stopped me, saying that 
it might be a ruse to get me out, and advising me to 
wait and make inquiries. Of course the inquiries were 
made and the truth soon discovered. I always déplore 
my unfortunate décision to make that détour, always 
feeling that if I had gone to the lodge by the ordinary 
way the murder would hâve been prevented. ï hâve 
said that I did not see the murder, but my servant did. 
He was upstairs and saw a scuffle going on, but of 
course did not know what it was about.' 

The news of the crime sent a thrill through the 
land. Agrarian outrages were common enough. But 
political assassination was something new. 1 ' Had the 
Fenians anything to do with it ? ' a correspondent of an 
American paper asked Kickham. * I don't know/ was 

1 The object of the assassins was to kill Burke. Lord Frederick 
Cavendish was killed simply through the accident of his being with 
Burke. , 

AA 2 


the answer ; ' but if they had they were Fenians Sedllced 
by the Land League.' Candour compels me to say that 
it was the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish which 
produced a real feeling of sorrow and of shame among 
the people. He was a stranger. He had never up to 
that hour taken part in the government of the country. 
He was an ' innocent ' man. An old Fenian — a hâter of 
the Land League and ail its works — told me the 
following anecdote, which I think fairly illustrâtes Irish 
popular feeling : * I went into a shop/ he said, ' in New 
York a few days after the murder to buy something. 
I said casually to the man behind the counter : " This 
is bad work." He agreed, and denounced the crime in 
strong language. Hère, at ail events, thought I, is a 
man who has escaped the influence of the Land 
League. I turned to leave, and as I got to the door 
he added : " What harm if it was only Burke ? But to 
kill the strange gentleman who did nothing to us ! " 
That was what he thought about it, and no doubt that 
was what a great many other Irish people thought 
about it too/ 

What thought Parnell ? There cannot be a ques- 
tion that he was profoundly moved by the event. It 
was not easy to startle him, to take him by surprise. 
But the Phœnix Park murders did both. An out- 
burst of agrarianism would probably hâve produced 
no effect upon him. The reports which he had 
received in prison rather prepared him for that. 
Hère, however, was a new development for which he 
was not prepared, and the exact meaning and extent of 
which he did not on the instant grasp. As a rule, no 
man was so ready in cases of emergency. Now he 
collapsed utterly. He read the news in the ' Observer * 
on Sunday morning, and went immediately to the 


Westminster Palace Hôtel, where he found Davitt. 
' He flung himself into a chair in my room/ says 
Davitt, ' and declared he would leave public life. " How 
can I," he said, " carry on a public agitation if I am 
stabbed in the back in this way?" He was wild. 
Talk of the calm and callous Parnell. There was not 
much calmness or callousness about him that morning.' 

Later in the day he called on Sir Charles Dilke 
with Mr. Justin McCarthy. 

'Parnell,' says Sir Charles, 'called upon me with 
Mr. Justin McCarthy the morning after the Phœnix 
Park murders. I never saw a man so eut up in my 
life. He was pale, careworn, altogether unstrung.' 

. ' On the Sunday after the Phœnix Park murders/ 
says Mr. Gladstone, ' while I was at lunch, a letter was 
brought to me from Parnell. I was much touched 
by it. He wrote evidently under strong émotion. He 
did not ask me if I would advise him to retire from 
public life or not. That was not how he put it. He 
asked me what effect I thought the murder would hâve 
on English public opinion in relation to his leadership 
of the Irish party. Well, I wrote expressing my own 
opinion, and what I thought would be the opinion of 
others, that his retirement from public life would do no 
good ; on the contrary, would do harm. I thought his 
conduct in the whole matter very praiseworthy.' 

Mr. John Redmond gives the following 'réminis- 
cence ' : ' I was in Manchester the night of the Phœnix 
Park murders. I heard that Cavendish and Spencer 
had been killed. I went to the police station to make 
inquiries, but they would not tell me anything. I made 
a speech condemning the murder of Cavendish, saying 
the Government was the real cause of the crime. The 
" Times " reported my speech with the comment that 


I said nothing about Burke. Parnell spoke to me on 
the subject. I told him that I did not know that 
Burke had been killed when I made the speech. He 
said, " Write to the ' Times ' and say so." I wrote to 
the " Times. ,, They did not publish the letter.' l 

À manifesto 2 signed by Parnell, Dillon, and Davitt 
(who had been released from Dartmoor on that very 
May 6) was immediately issued * to the Irish people,' 
condemning the murders, and expressing the hope that 
the assassins would be brought to justice. It concluded 
with thèse words : ' We feel that no act lias ever been 
perpetrated in our country during the exciting struggles 
for social and political rights of the past fifty years that 
has so stained the name of hospitable Ireland as this 
cowardly and unprovoked assassination of a friendly 
stranger, and that until the murderers of Lord Fre- 
derick Cavendish and Mr. Burke are brought to justice 
that stain will sully our country 's name.' 

When the House of Commons met on May 8 
Parnell was in his place, looking jaded, careworn, 
anxious, and depressed. Hc had won a great victory. 
He had beaten the Irish Executive. He had drawn the 
Prime Minister to his side. He had obtained a promise 
of more concessions, and there was every prospect that 
the policy of coercion would be abandoned. His success 
was complète, and now ail was jeopardised by a gang of 
criminal lunatics. He had, so to say, hemmed in the 
British forces opposed to him, only to find on his flank 
an enemy whose power for mischief he could not at 
that moment gauge. 

The murders were the one topic referred to in Parlia- 

1 The Times subsequently explained that they did not receive tht 

* The manifesto was written by Davitt. 

M*. 36] THE CRIMES BILL 359 

ment on that 8th of May. Parnell made a short, 
manly, straightforward speech, condemning the outrage 
in unqualified terms, saying that it was a deadly blow 
dealt to his party, and expressing the fear that, under 
the circumstances, the Government would feel con- 
strained to revert to the policy of coercion — a déplorable 

The Government did revert to the policy of coercion. 
On May 11 Sir William Harcourt (the Home Secretary) 
introduced a ' Crimes Bill/ based practically upon the 
lines laid down by Lord Cowper in his letter to Mr. 
Gladstone already quoted. 1 In certain cases (interalia) 
trial by judges or by magistrates was substituted for 
trial by jury, and power was given to the Executive to 
summon witnesses and to carry on inquiries in secret, 
even when no person was in custody chargea with 
crime. Mr. Forster had his revenge. The assassins of 
the Phœnix Park had, for the moment, placed him in a 
position of triumph. They had in a single hour done 
more to subdue the spirit of ^Parnell than he during 
the whole of his administration. The Irish members, 
of course, opposed the new Coercion Bill, opposed it 
even with energy ; but it was clear ail the time that 
they, and Parnell especially, fought under the shadow 
of the crime of May 6. While keenly criticising the 
détails of the measure and rebuking the Government 
for this backward step, he spoke rather in sorrow than 
in anger. There was a touch of pathos, a tone of 
déjection, in his speeches which sounded unusual and 
strange. Mr. Gladstone especially he treated with 
the utmost gentleness ; nor did he attempt in any way 
to conceal the bittemess of his conviction that the 
Phœnix Park murders strengthened the hand of the 

1 Ante,?. 328. 


Government and weakened his own. He looked and 
spoke like a man under a cloud. An extract from 
one of his speeches on the Bill will perhaps suffice to 
show the character of them ail. On May 29 he said : 
' We hâve been contending against the right hon. 
gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) for two years. We hâve 
found him to be a great man and a strong man. I 
even think it is no dishonour to admit that we should 
not wish to be fought again in the same way by any- 
body in the future. I regret that the event in the 
Phœnix Park has prevented him continuing the course 
of conciliation that we had expected from him. I 
regret that owing to the exigencies of his party, of his 
position in the country, he has felt himself compelled 
to turn from that course of conciliation and concession 
into the horrible paths of coercion.' 

Nevertheless, the struggle over the measure was 
protracted. There were many scènes. There was an 
all-night sitting, and eighteen Irish members were 

Finally the Irish withdrew from the contest, pro- 

testing : ' That inasmuch as the Irish parliamentary 

party hâve been expelled from the House of Commons 

under threat of physical force during the considération 

of a mcafeure affecting vitally the rights and liberties of 

Ireland, and as the Government during the enforced 

absence of the Irish members from the House pressed 

forward material parts of the measure in committee, 

thus depriving the représentatives of the Irish people 

of the right to discuss and to vote upon coercion 

proposais for Ireland ; we, therefore, hereby résolve to 

take no further part in the proceedings in committee on 

the Coercion Bill, and we cast upon the Government 

the sole responsibility for a Bill which has been urged 

^Et. 36] THE ARREARS BILL 361 

through the House by a course of violence and subter- 
fuge, and which, when passed into law, will be devoid 
of moral force and will be no constitutional Act of 

While it was going through the House Mr. Glad- 
stone brought in the Arrears Bill. As the one measure 
was based on Unes laid down by Lord Cowper, the other 
was based on lines laid down by Parnell. During his 
incarcération in Kilmainham he had practically drafted 
the Bill. Mr. Healy tells a story à propos of this 
subject which curiously illustrâtes how Parneirs super- 
stitious instincts never deserted him : 

* While the Kilmainham treaty was in préparation, 
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 skilf ully 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 after- 
wards 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 légal 
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 af ter 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 proposais 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 Bijl he would not 


allow it to go. The enemies of the alleged agrarian 
jacquerie in Ireland little supposed that at its head was 
a moderate, almost conservative, leader, averse, except 
when driven to it by the " stokers " of the movement, to 
lend his approval to extrême demands. Indeed, later 
on, as his power increased, he grew still more moderate, 
so that Mr. Biggar once said of him, musingly, "I 
wonder what are Parnell's real poli tics ! " At ail events, 
by Easter 1882 Mr. Parnell, having obtained a fort- 
night's release on parole, had effected an understanding 
with Mr. Chamberlain, who was acting for the anti- 
Forster section in the Cabinet, and he was extremely 
anxious for some compromise. He was, therefore, 
unwilling that the proposed Land Bill should be 
weighted with unacceptable provisions, so the measure 
took shape without the clauses which his young adviser 
recommended. After some days a draft was got ready 
to be sent across to Westminster, where it was urgently 
required, as the Bill had to be printed and distributed 
the following Wednesday. When ail was completed 
a fair copy was taken up to the prison, lest any 
final revising touches should be required before being 
posted. Clause by clause the great prisoner went 
over his Bill, until at last the final page was reached. 
Thcn he turned over the leaves again and counted the 
clauses. Suddenly, having contemplated the reckoning, 
he threw the manuscript on the table as if he had been 
stung. " Why," said he, " this will never do ! " " What 
is the inatter? " said his solicitor, in alarm. " Thereare 
thirteen clauses," said Mr. Parnell; "we can't hâve 
thirteen clauses.*' " But is there anything out of order 
in that?" asked the other, wondcring whether some 
point of parliamentary practice could be involved. 
" No," said Mr. Parnell sternly ; " but what Bill ^ith 


thirteen clauses could hâve any chance ? It would be 
horribly unlucky." This was a staggerer for the 
draftsman. Not even the treaty with Mr. Cham- 
berlain and the promise of favourable considération of 
the Bill by the Cabinet could induce the wary prisoner 
to risk a défiance of his boyhood's teaching. His 
amazed adviser then asked what was to be done — could 
any clause be omitted ? It was late in the afternoon, 
post hour approached, and another day's delay might 
prevent the draft reaching the Queen's printers in 
London in time for distribution to members before the 
second reading. The humour of the situation did 
not at ail strike the légal mind at this crisis. A hasty 
dissection of the Bill was made, but only to disclose 
that it could not well be shorn of a clause. What 
could be hit upon ? There in bewilderment and anxiety 
stood the statesman and draftsman in her Majesty's 
prison at Kilmainham, eyeing each other in despair in 
the darkening cell as the minutes to post hour slipped 
away. At last a gleam flashed from Mr. Parneirs eyes, 
half ironical, half triumphant. " I hâve it," said he. 

" Add that d d clause of yours, and that will get 

us out of the difficulty." It was an inspiration, and so 
it was done.' 1 

This Arrears Bill (which became law in July and 
applied only to tenancies under 30Z.) provided that the 
tenants' arrears should be cancelled on the following 
conditions : 

1. That the tenant should pay the rent due in 1881. 

2. That of the antécédent arrears he should pay one 
year's rent, the State another. 

1 Westminster Gazette, November 2, 1892. « This danse,' saya 
Mr. Healy, ' though not adopted then, was ultimately embodied in the 
Tory Land Act of 1887.' 


3. That the tenant should satisfy a légal tribunal of 
his inability to pay the whole of the arrears. 

We hâve seen how Mr. Healy describes Parnell as 
a man of moderate and even conservative tendencies. 
The description is true. Never was a revolutionary 
movement led by so conservative a politician. He was 
not violent by choice. He was only violent through 
necessity. When the exigencies of the situation de- 
manded, he never hesitated to raise a popular storm. 
When the occasion required, he was the first to throw 
oil upon the troubled waters. At this crisis he desired 
a calm in public affairs, because the country had got out 
of hand and he wanted a lull to take his bearings 
afresh and to shape the future course of the agitation. 

On May 6 he had gone to Dartmoor to meet 
Davitt. They travelled to London together. ' Ail the 
the way,' said Davitt, ' he talked of the state of the 
country, said it was dreadful, denounced the Ladies' 
Land League, swore at everybody, and spoke of anarchy 
as if he were a British Minister bringing in a Coercion 
Bill. I never saw him so wild and angry ; the Ladies 9 
Land League had, he declared, taken the country out 
of his hands, and should be suppressed. I defended 
the ladies, saying that after ail they had kept the bail 
rolling while he was in jail. " I am out now," said he, 
" and I don't want thein to keep the bail rolling any 
more. The League must be suppressed, or I will leave 
public life." 

1 In August we met at Dublin. The Ladies' League 
wanted 500/. I called on Parnell, at Morrison's Hôtel, 
and asked him for a chèque for that amount. " No/' he 
said, " not a shilling ; they hâve squandered the money 
given to them, and I shall take care that they get no 
more." I said ; " But, Mr. Parnell, their debts must be 


paid whatever happens." But he would not discuss the 
matter. I left him in a bit of a temper, and Would not 
corne back when he sent Dillon for me later in the day. 
Next day, however, I saw him again. He gave me 
the chèque. " There," said he, "let those ladies make 
the most of it. They will get no more money from me, 
and let the League be dissolved at once." ' 

I believe the Ladies* Land League was never 
formally dissolved, but it died of inanition, for Parnell 
stopped the supplies. 

The Land League had been suppressed by the 

The Ladies* Land League was practically suppressed 
by Parnell. 

There was now no public organisation. It was 
necessary to found one. Parnell, however, moved 
slowly. He had made the Kilmainham treaty. He 
wished to keep it. ' There is one thing about the man/ 
said Mr. Forster, ' of which I am quite sure — his word 
can be relied on.' 

It was difficult for him to keep the Kilmainham 
compact, for the Crimes Act, which violated the letter 
if not the spirit of the treaty, exasperated the people 
and made the Government intensely unpopular. Never- 
theless Parnell kept his word. ' What are your inten- 
tions?' said Mr. Dillon, who thought that the land 
agitation should still be carried on with fierce energy. 
' Do you mean to carry on the war or to slow down the 
agitation ? ' ' To slow down the agitation/ said Parnell, 
with emphasis. 

Mr. Davitt wished Land Nationalisation to be made 
a plank in the new platform. 

Parnell said « No.' 

'He was/ says Mr. Davitt, 'opposed to a fresh 


land agitation, and wished to keep solely on the Home 
Bule tack.' 

Brennan (who with Davitt and Egan made the 
working triumvirate of the Land League) denounced 
Parnell privately for his modération, said his days of 
usefulness had gone by, and ultimately left the country 
in disgust. Before leaving he had asked Parnell to 
send him on a mission to Australia. Parnell refused 
point blank, and sent Mr. Redmond instead. Egan 
(who had already left Ireland) used ail his influence to 
keep the agitation on the old lines, but in vain. No one 
could prevail against the inexorable Chief. 

On August 16 he was presented with the freedom of 
the City of Dublin. He asked permission to sign the 
roll in private. He wanted no public démonstration, 
but the corporation insisted on it. He then made a 
short speech, warning his audience that an ' Indepen- 
dent Irish Party* could not be maintained 'for any 
length of time' in the English House of Commons, 
and urging them to concentrate their énergies on that 
' great object of ref orm which has always possessed the 
hearts of the Irish people at home and abroad, I mean the 
restoration of the législative independence of Ireland.' • 
Afterwards he went to Avondale and Aughavanagh 
to enjoy a brief period of repose. Mr. John Redmond, 
who joined him at the latter place, tells the following 
anecdote à propos of Parnell's relations with his people 
in the country. ' One day,' says Mr. Bedmond, * we 
were walking up a mountain, and we met an old man, 
a tenant on the property, named Whitty. " Whitty," 
said Parnell, "y ou hâve been on the land for many 
years, you never pay me any rent, and ail I ask you is 
to keep the sheep off the mountains when I am ont 
shooting, and, you old villain, you don't even do that." • 


'Used he to talk politics to you?' I asked Mr. 
Redmond. 'No/ he answered, 'his conversation was 
principally about sporting. He was always looking for 
gold in Wicklow. Gold, sport, and the applied sciences 
were his subjects out of Parliament.' 

In October the new organisation was founded. 

' On the Sunday previous to the convention,' says 
Mr. Healy, * I went in the evening to Morrison's 
Hôtel with the draf t constitution, which Parnell wished 
to talk over. This was in the month of October 
1882. I found him in bed, and apparently poorly 
enough. Seeing this I suggested postponing the work 
of revision. " Oh, no," said he ; " it is nothing." After 
a pause he added, musingly, " Something happens 
to me always in October." This remark fell from him 
as if he were announcing a decree of fate, and struck 
me intensely. October, in Mr. Parnell's horoscope, 
was a month of " influence," and he always regarded it 
with appréhension. 

* In October 1879 he became Président of the Land 
League, which was then started for the first time, and 
he was commissioned to visit America to spread the 
new movement and collect funds. In October 1880 
the agrarian agitation in Ireland culminated, and the 
Government commenced the State prosecutions of that 
year. Curiously enough, in the same month of that 
year, for some occult reason, Mr. Parnell divested 
himself of his beard and made himself almost unrecog- 
nisable by the people. In October 1881 he was arrested, 
and arrested, strange to say, on October 13. In October 
1886 he sickened almost to death in the critical autumn 
follpwing the rejection of the Home Eule Bill. In 
October of that year also the Plan of Campaign, as he 
complained, was published by Mr. Harrington without 


his authority or that of the Irish party. The resnlt was 
the enactment of the perpétuai Coercion Act of 188Ï 
and the éviction of many tenants, whose fate deeply 
affected the Irish party in their décision in Boom 15 
against Mr. Parneirs leadership. Strangest of ail, in 
view of his prémonitions, is the fact that it was in the 
month of October that he died so unexpectedly in 1891. 
A belief that a particular month might be " influential " 
would probably react with depressing effect on physical 
health at the critical period and thus weaken the 
resisting power at that time. Nevertheless, the stoutest 
disbeliever in unseen influence will deem the coinci- 
dences noteworthy. 

1 On this Sunday of October 1882, while I worked 
away at the draft constitution of the National League 
in Morrison's Hôtel, the sick man lay with his face to 
the wall, replying composedly now and again as to the 
points which remained to be settled in it. I wrote at a 
table by his bedside, on which four candies stood 
lighted. Ilours passed b) r , and being engrossed in the 
work I did not heed the fact that one of the candies 
was burning to the socket and finally spluttered itself 
out. A stir from the patient aroused me, and I looked up. 
With astonishment I saw that Mr. Parnell had turned 
round, raised himself in the bed, and, leaning over my 
table, was furiously blowing out one of the remaining 
candies. " What on earth is that for ? " said I, amazed 
at this performance. " I want more light than that." 
His eyeB gleamed weirdly in their pale setting as he 
answered : " Don't you know that nothing is more 
unlucky than to hâve three candies burning? " Almost 
petrified, I confessed that I did not. " Your consti- 
tution, then, would hâve been very successflill, ,, said he 
with quiet sarcasm, and he turned his face to the wall 


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 candie 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 hâve been as irreverent to smile as it would be 
to scoff in the présence of believers at the worship of 
their unknown gods. Aiterwards I learnt that three 
candies are lit at wakes in Ireland around a corpse — 
possibly in some distant way to symbolise or révérence 
the Trinity.' l 

On October 17 the convention met. Parnell pre- 
sided. The National League was formed. Home Rule 
was put in the forefront. Land reform, local self- 
government, parliamentary and municipal reform came 
after. The Président announced the policy of the 
future in a brief and pithy speech. He said : ' I wish 
to affirm the opinion which I hâve 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 désire 
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 hâve expressed upon every 
platform upon which I hâve stood since the commence- 

1 Westminster Gazette, November 8, 1893. 


ment of the land agitation — that no solution of the 
land question can be accepted as a final one that does 
not insure the occupying farmers the right of becoming 
owners by purchase of the holdings which they now 
occupy as tenants.' 

Home Eule and a peasant proprietary were, then, 
the principal planks of the new platform. 

Later in the year Parnell sent Mr. Eedmond to 
Àustralia and to America to collect funds for the League. 
Mr. Redmond had some strange expériences. ' When 
I arrived at Sydney,' he says, ' the Phœnix Park 
murders were the talk of the colony. I received a 
chilling réception. AU the respectable people who had 
promised support kept away. The priests would not 
help me, except the Jesuits, who were friendly to me as 
an old Clongowes boy. The man — a leading citizen — 
who had promised to take the chair at my first meeting 
would not corne. Sir Harry Parkes, the Prime Minister, 
proposed that I should be expelled the colony, but the 
motion was defeated. The Irish working men stood 
by me, and in fact saved the situation. They kept me 
going until telegrams arrived exculpating the parlia- 
mentary party. Then ail the Irish gradually came 
around and ultimately flocked to my meetings. I col- 
lected 15,000/. and went to America. Fenians did 
everything for us there. Without them we could hâve 
done nothing. I addressed a great meeting at the Opéra 
House, Chicago. Boyle O'Reilly was in the chair. 
There were 10,000 people présent. It was a grand 
eight. It was grand to see the Irish united as they 
were then. I was escorted to the meeting by the 
Governor and the Mayor, and the streets were lined 
with soldiers, who presented arms as we passed.' 

During the winter Parnell addressed a few meetings 


in the country, speaking with studied modération, and 
showing clearly that it was his wish to keep things 
quiet for the présent. Alderman Eedmond, who travelled 
with him by train to one of thèse meetings — from 
Waterford to Dungarvan and back — has given me the 
following note of a conversation which took place 
between them : 

'I found Parnell a pleasant companion. He did 
not like talking, but he listened to you with great 
attention. I said : " Mr. Parnell, how do you think 
Home Eule is getting on ? " " Very well, M he answered. 
" If the people pull steadily together we shall get it in 
a few years." 

' Alderman Bedmond. " Surely, Mr. Parnell, the 
English people are strongly opposed to Home Eule. 
You will take a long time to bring them round." 

' Parnell. " They were strongly opposed to Catholic 
Emancipation, but they had to corne round in the end. 
O'Connell had nothing like our power ; he stood almost 
alone. We hâve only to fight and stick together, and 
we will win. We must not yield an inch. You get 
nothing from the English by yielding." 

"Alderman Bedmond. "But, Mr. Parnell, some 
people think that we are not fit for Home Eule, that we 
would misuse it. They say ail this in the North." 

' Parnell. " The North certainly show us a bad ex- 
ample, for they exclude Catholics from ail power there. 
There might be difficulties in working Home Eule at 
first, but the good sensé of the country would make 
things right after a time. Even the fears of the North 
would soon be set at rest." 

'Alderman Bedmond. "How would you make 
Ireland prosper under Home Eule? " 

'Parnell (laughing). " Well, I will ask you another 



question. How can any country prosper that has not 
the management of its own affaire, of its own income ? 
Do you think England would prosper if she were to 
allow France to take care of her purse ? The income 
of Ireland is nearly 8,000,000Z. a year. Where does it 
ail go to ? England can do, is doing, what she likes 
with it. An Irish Government could keep down ex- 
penses. Take the one item of police. We could save 
a million under that head alone. We do not want the 
costly establishments of England.*' 

' Alderman Redmond. "What would you do with 
the landlords ? " 

' Parnell. " I would treat them fairly and honestly. 
I would encourage them to live quietly among their 
own people. I would give them a fair share of parlia- 
mentary honours, and I would make them happy in 
their own country, which they are not at présent." 

' In returning from Dungarvan to Waterford I said 
to him, " Well, Mr. Parnell, you made a good, sensible 
speech to-day." He replied, " I hâte public speaking, 
and always feel nervous before and after I get on a 
public platform." ' 

Mr. William Kedmond (who had been in Kilmain- 
ham with Parnell) made a ' treasonable ' speech in 
Cork towards the end of the year 1882, and subse- 
quently left Ireland. Soon after his departure a 
warrant was issued for his arrest. Learning this, he 
wrote to Parnell, expressing his wish to return and 
' face the music.' Parnell replied : 

Parnell to Mr. William Redmond 

4 House of Commons : December 6, 1882. 

'Dear Mr. Redmond, — Your letter of the lst 
instant to bond, and I am strongly of opinion that you 

JEr. 26] 



ought not to return. You should carry out your 
original programme of going to Nice and looking after 
your health. If you were to corne back now you would 
be certain to be sentenced to a period of imprisonment 
with hard labour, and in any case the state of your 
health will be in a better position to face a prosecution 
when you return than it is now. I hope, however, that 
the matter will hâve blown over by then. 

' Yours very truly, 

' Chas. S. Parnell.' 

Mr. Eedmond ultimately joined his brother in 
Australia. When he returned the matter had blown over. ! 

The year 1882 marks one of the darkest periods 
in the land agitation in Ireland. The following table, 
submitted by Sir Charles Kussell to the Parnell Com- 
mission, speaks volumes : 2 

Agrarian Crime for the Whole op Ireland 

Two years, 188U-81. 
Average for two years. 

Total In 1882 alone. 

Murders .... 
Firing at persons 
Incendiary fires and arson . 
Cattle outrages . 
Threatening letters . 
Firing into dwellings 













Totals . 



1 ' I was at Parnell's house, Ironsides, Bordenstown, in 1882/ says 
Mr. William Redmond, * when Fanny Parnell died. She died very 
suddenly. One day she went out for a walk. She returned in a great 
state of excitement with a copy of the New York Herald in her hand. 
It was the time of the Egyptian war, and there was a rumour of an 
English defeat. I remember well seeing Fanny burst into the drawing 
room, waving the paper over her head, and saying, " Oh, mother, there is 
an Egyptian victory. Arabi has whipped the Britishers. It is grand." 
That was the last time I saw Fanny Parnell alive. Next day she died 
quite suddenly.' 

* Sir Charles Russell's speech before the Parnell Commission, 
p. 294. 


It was especially a year of sensational murders. In 
January, the Huddys, Lord Ardilaun's bailiffs, were 
killed. In February, Bernard Bailey, an informer, was 
shot dead in a crowded thoroughfare in Dublin. In 
March, Joseph McMahon, another informer, was killed. 
In April, as bas been said, Mrs. Smythe was shot dead 
in open day while driving in a carriage with her 
brother-in-law from church. 1 In May, the Phœnix 
Park murders took place. In June, Mr. Walter 
Bourke, a land agent, Mr. Blake, another land agent, 
Mr. Keene, a land steward, and Mr. McCausland were 
killed. In August, the Joyce family were killed afc 
Maamtrasna, because it was said that they knew the 
murderers of the Huddys and might give évidence 
against them. In November, an unsuccessful attempt 
was made to assassinate Mr. Justice Lawson. In the 
saine month, Field, who had served on a jury which 
had convicted a prisoner charged with the murder of a 
policeman, was stabbed almost to death just outside his 
housc in North Frederick Street, Dublin. The country 
recked with blood. Mr. Forster had hoped to restrain 
the ' dissolute ruffians ' of Ireland. In truth, he had, 
unwittingly, let them loose. 

No man was more deeply concerned by the dis- 
tracted condition of Ireland in 1882 than Parnell. He 
was not ' alarmed ' because English public opinion was 
* shocked.' He had no faith in the fine moral sensé of 
the English. 'Much the English care,' he had said, 
' for the shooting of a few landlords in Ireland/ He 
looked upon the English as a nation of hypocrites. 
' They murder and plunder,' he would say, « ail over the 
world, and then they howl when somebody is killed in 
Ireland, because the killing is of no use to them.' He 
1 The ballet was intended for her brother-in-law. 


would as soon hâve thought of favouring a plan for the 
construction of a railway to the moon as appealing to 
the moral sensé of England. Therefore, when moderate 
men used to say to him, ' Mr. Parnell, you ought to 
restrain your people; nothing shocks a law-abiding 
commnnity like the English so much as lawlessness,' 
he would simply smile. His one idea of dealing with 
the English was to put thein in a tight place. He felt 
that English party leaders thought as much and no 
more of the ' morality ' of the ' moves ' in the game of 
politics than a chess player thinks of the morality of 
the moves in a game of chess. An English statesman 
was to him an individual who would risk his soûl to sit 
on the Treasury bench. It was the duty of the Irish 
agitator to see that the English statesman should sit on 
the Treasury bench only on his conditions. An outburst 
of lawlessness in Ireland was regarded by Parnell simply 
with a view to its effect on the national 'movement/ 
And, in his opinion, at this moment there was every 
danger that the extrême wing of his army might, under 
the evil influences of men who gained the upper hand 
while he was in jail, run amuck, which could only end in 
the disorganisation and collapse of the National cause. 
Mr. Dillon and Davitt did not see eye to eye with 
Mr. Parnell. The former, as I hâve said, was of opinion 
that the land agitation ought still to be kept at fever 
heat. The latter thought that there ought to be a new 
development of that agitation in the direction of land 
nationalisation. Parnell differed from both and would 
not yield a jot to either. Mr. Dillon was much incensed 
and threatened to resign his seat in Parliament. Parnell 
did not want this. He did not wish to see the smallest 
rif t within the lute ; but he would not give way. It was 
about this time that Mr. Dillon went to Avondale to 


ask him point blank if he meant to ' slow down ' the 
agitation. On receiving his Chiefs answer, delivered 
with inexorable précision, and acting on the advice of 
his médical attendant, Mr. Dillon sailed for Colorado 
and troubled Parnell no more. 

Davitt's opposition was a more serious affair. He 
was a power. He had the ' Irish World ' at his back. 
He could easily hâve formed an anti-Parnellite party in 
America. He could not, of course, hâve driven Parnell 
from the position of Irish leader, for ail Ireland was 
now solid for the Chief — the Church, the farmers, and 
many of the rank and file of the Fenians, who* had, 
contrary to the direction of the suprême council, joined 
the Land League — but he could hâve made divisions 
in the ranks. The ' Irish World ' was only too ready 
to dethrone Parnell, whom Ford disliked for his modéra- 
tion and his strength. Had Davitt only spoken the word 
there would probably hâve been an internecine struggle 
full of péril to the national interests. Parnell knew 
this well. The one thing he detested was a quarrel 
with any set of Irishmen. But he felt that, at ail costs, 
the Extremists should be taught that he was master. 
He would take money from his American allies. He 
would remain in alliance with them. But the direction 
of the national movement should rest in his hands, and 
in his hands alone. He had no notion of allowing his 
American auxiliaries to boss the situation, and that they 
meant to boss it he had not a particle of doubt. America 
should help, but should not lead Ireland. That was 
the principle on which he acted. 

His feelings towards Davitt were friendly. He had 
always the warmest sympathies for a man who had 
suffered so much for Ireland. He always recognised 
the power and the usefulness of the political convict. 


Davitt, we know, was the connecting-link with America, 
and ParnelFs policy was to curb, not break with, the 
Americans. Davitt had therefore to be kept by his side, 
while Davitt's pet scheme of Land Nationalisation had 
to be flung to the winds. It was in the manipulation 
of affairs of this nature that Parnell excelled. In such 
cases the charm of his personality, the strength of his 
character told. He did not conquer you by argument. 
He threw over you the spell of irrésistible fascination, 
or impressed you with an uneasy sensé of relentless 
authority. I hâve said that, ' had Davitt only spoken 
the word there would probably hâve been an internecine 
struggle full of péril to the national interests/ He did 
not speak it. He made no attempt at revolt. He 
tried to convert Parnell to his views. He failed and 

' Parnell and I differed seriously,' says Davitt, ' but 
we remained fairly good friends almost to the end.' 

From 1882 onwards there was constant friction 
between Parnell and the Extremists. Nevertheless he 
held ail the Nationalist forces together ; he presented 
an unbroken front to the common enemy. It is dan- 
gerous for an Irish leader to be * moderate.' He runs 
the risk of exposing himself to the fatal charge of 
' Whiggery.' Yet in his 'moderate' days this charge 
was never levelled at Parnell. Why? Simply because 
he never won, never wished to win, the applause of the 
British public. Butt's fate was scaled the moment he 
fell in anydegree under English influence, the moment 
English cheers in the House of Commons became 
pleasant to his ears. Parnell never fell in the slightest 
degree under English influence, and he avoided an 
English cheer as a skilful pilot would keep clear of the 
breakers on a rock-bound coast. He did nothing to 


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please Englishmen at the expense of any Irishman ; 
indeed, he did nothing to please them at ail. This gave 
him his strength. He was asked upon one occasion 
to move a resolution in public condemning outrages. 
' No/ said he ; ' I dislike outrages as much as any man, 
but I am not going to act police for the English 
Government. ' ' Why do y ou not keep your young 
barbarians in order, Mr. Parnell ? ' a friend said to him 
one night in the House of Commons. ' Ah ! ' said 
Parnell, ' I like to see them flesh their spears.' 

It was in his moderate days that Parnell spoke the 
following words, which sank deeply into the Fenian 
niind : ' I do not wish to attach too much importance 
to what can be gained by the action of your members 
in the House of Commons. Much good has resulted, 
and much good will resuit, from an independent parlia- 
mentary représentation, but I hâve never claimed for 
parliamentary action anything more than its just share 
of weight.' 

' Extrême ' or ' moderate/ Parnell held his ground 
because the Irish, ' at home and abroad,' were convinced 
— and he took good care never under any circumstances 
to weaken the conviction — that he was ever the un- 
changing cneiny of England. 







I846- l89I 












XV. The Grimes Act , ■ ■ • • • 1 

XVI. Wooing Parnell 84 

XVII. The Carnarvon Controversy , . . « 58 
(By Sir Charité Oavan Duffy) 

XVIII. The General Election of 1885 . • • • 96 

XIX. Home Rule Bill of 1886 111 

XX. The New Parliament 160 

XXI. The Forged Letter 197 

XXII. A New Trouble 285 

XXIII. AtBay 257 

XXIV. Kilkenny 289 

XXV. The Boulogne Negotiations . 810 

XXVI. Nearing thk End 880 

XXVII. An Appréciation 853 

Appendix 869 

Index 873 

Avondale Fronttspiece 

Facsimilk Letter to Dr. Kënky. . To face j>. 181 







The Government of Lord Spencer soon became as 
odious as the Government of Lord Cowper. This was 
inévitable. No English governor can rule Ireland by 
coercion and win the popular favour. ' The question 
is/ said Lalor Shiel, ' do you wish to rule Ireland by 
putting yourselves in contact or in collision with the 
people ? ' It was the wish of Lord Spencer to rule 
Ireland by putting himself in contact with the people. 
But the Phœnix Park murders forced the Ministry to 
pass a Coercion Act, 1 which, in the words of Parnell, 
' Lord Spencer administered up to the hilt.' 

The beginning of the year 1883 was signalised by 
a séries of blunders on the part of the Administration. 
Mr. Biggar had made a fierce attack upon the Viceroy. 

1 August 16, 1882. There was an autumn session of Parliament in 
1882, when the closure, the most effective measure bitberto taken 
against obstruction, was passed. 



Proceedings were taken against him. He was com- 
mitted for trial. Then the prosecution was suddenly 
dropped. Mr. William O'Brien published a seditious 
libel in ' United Ireland.' He was prosecuted and was 
sent for trial. The jury disagreed, and he was dis- 
charged. Mr. Davitt and Mr. Healy were sentenced to 
six months' imprisonment because they refused to find 
sureties to keep the peace. They were discharged at 
the end of three months. 1 

Ail thèse measures, feeble in their ' strength,' served 
pnly tô discrédit the Government, to consolidate the 
Nationalists, to lessen the chances of a split, to improve 
the position of the Extremists, and to make it more 
difficult for Parnell to persévère in his efforts to keep 
the Kilmainham treaty. 

1 * I delivered a very strong speech, 1 says Mr. Davitt, ' in view of the 
possible return of distress, and I threatened that if the Government did 
not undertake some public works I would call upon the starving 
peasantry of the west to march down on some fruitful lands whioh their 
ancestors were given to make room for cattle. I was prosecuted for 
that speech under a statute of Edward III., and sentenced to imprison- 
ment or to find bail. I refused to find bail, and was sent to prison. I 
was released after three months.' — Davitt' s évidence before the Spécial 
Commission, Qs. 86,906-7. 

Mr. William O'Brien's article was entitled ' Accusing Spirits,' and it 
dealt with a subject which at the moment excited a good deal of 
popular interest. Four men had been hanged for the murder of the 
Joyces. One of thèse men, Myles Joyce, asseverated his innooenoe 
on the scaffold. The other three prisoners admitted their guilt, bat 
declared in a paper (which had been Bubmitted to the Lord Lieu- 
tenant) that Myles Joyce was innocent. Nevertheless he was hanged. 
Mr. O'Brien, expressing the popular view, denounced the Government 
as judicial murderers. Guriously enough the judge— the lato Lord 
Justice Barry— who tried the prisoners was much impressed by the 
statement of the three men who asserted the innocence of Myles Joyce. 
' The évidence against Myles Joyce,' he said subsequently to an Irish 
Q.C., ' seemed to me to be as strong as the evidenoe against the other 
prisoners, and yet I find it very difficult to believe that thèse three men 
(who did not deny their own guilt) should on the verge of the grave 
hâve insisted on the innocence of Myles Joyce if he were guilty too.' 
Bightly.or wrongly, the people of the district believed in the innooenoe 
of Myles Joyoe, and his exécution made the Government intente]/ 


The Executive, however, showed more vigour in their 
pursuit of the Phœnix Park murderers. In January 
they were arrested. In February the public inquiry 
began. There was startling évidence ; there were 
' astounding révélations.' As the investigation pro- 
ceeded Englishmen cherished the hope that proof of 
complicity in the crime would be brought home to the 
parliamentary party, perhaps to Parnell himself, and 
that the ' Home Eule bubble ' would thus at length be 
effectually pricked. One of the murderers, James 
Carey, turned informer, and gave everyone away. 
Carey was a Home Euler. He was personally known 
to several of the Irish members, one of whom had 
proposed him as a member of the Dublin Town 
Council. The knives with which the murders were 
committed had been concealed in the London office of 
the National League. They had been brought to 
Dublin by Mrs. Frank Byrne, the wife of the paid 
secretary of the English organisation. Byrne himself 
was particeps criminis. 

Thèse révélations whetted the English appetite, 
and every day the newspaper reports Were eagerly 
scanned in the expectation of finding that the Irish 
members themselves were involved in the plots of 
the 'Invincibles/ 'This,' Sir William Harcourt is 
reported to hâve said, ' will take the starch out of 
the boys. 1 

Mr. Forster would hâve been more than human if 
he did not take advantage of the public excitement and 
the public sympathy — for the Phœnix Park inquiry 
proved that his lif e had been almost constantly in 
danger — to strike at Parnell, and even at the Ministry. 
An amendment to the Address (moved by Mr. Gorst), 
expressing the hope that the récent change in Irisl* 



policy would be maintained, that no f urther concessions 
would be made to lawless agitators, and that the secret 
societies would continue to receive the energetic vigilance 
of the Government, gave him his chance. 

On February 22 he came down to the House full of 
fight and bent on vengeance. He had been thrown 
over by Mr. Gladstone at the instigation of one of his 
colleagues in the Cabinet and under the skilf ul manipu- 
lation of Parnell, who had used the hostility of that 
colleague to accomplish his overthrow. He would 
now expose his enemies. He would show that the 
man with whom Mr. Gladstone had treated, with 
whom Mr. Chamberlain had intrigued, was the enemy 
of En gland, and the head of a lawless and rebellions 
agitation aimed at the very heart of the Empire. He 
had a popular thème, and he did it justice. His indict- 
ment of Parnell was trenchant and éloquent, pitched 
in a key which pleased old Whigs and delighted young 
Tories. The Opposition roared themselves hoarse with 
joy at every sentence, not merely because the oration 
was calcul ated to damage Parnell, but much more 
because it was calculated to bring discrédit on the 

The whole Libéral party would hâve cheered 
vociferously too, but they felt that the ex-Chief 
Secretary was girding at their own leader as well as at 
the Irish ' rebel ' whom they abhorred, and this con- 
sidération kept them in restraint. In the speech itself 
there was nothing new. It was, in fact, based on a 
pamphlet published some months before by Mr. Arnold 
Forster entitled ' The Truth about the Land Leagne * 
— a pamphlet made up of extracts from the inflam- 
matory and seditious speeches and newspaper articles 
of the Leaguers. Mr. Forster spoke from this brief f 


and proved himself an able, an adroit, a véhément 
advocate. He certainly had a sympathetic jury to 
address, but he deserves the crédit of having played 
upon their feelings, their passions, and their pré- 
judices with complète success. The burden of the 
speech may be summed up in a sentence spoken by 
Mr. Gladstone himself on another occasion : ' Crime 
dogged the footsteps of the League.* For this crime, 
the * outcome of the agitation,' Mr. Forster held 
Parnell, the leader ' of the agitation,' responsible. This 
was the gravamen of the indictment : 

'My charge is against the hon. member for the 
city of Cork. . . . It has been often enough stated and 
shown by statistics that murder followed the meetings 
and action of the Land League. Will the hon. member 
deny and disprove that statement? I will repeat 
again wh'at the charge is which I make against him. 
Probably a more serious charge was never made by 
any member of this House against another member. 
It is not that he himself directly planned or perpetrated 
outrages or murders, but that he either connived at 
them or, when warned, did not use his influence to 
prevent them.' 

This was Mr. Forster's case. What thoughts 
passed through Parnell's mind while he sat listening 
to the indictment, hearing the wild cheers with which 
it was received, and watching the angry glances flashed 
at himself from almost every part of the House ? 

He stood arraigned of high crimes and misde- 
meanours at the bar of English public opinion. Of ail 
the agitators he had been singled out as the chief 
criminal ; he alone was to be cast to the lions. Yet 
what was the exact measure of his guilt ? He was 
certainly the ' head of the organisation.' He had 


favoured a 'forward policy,' united extrême and 
moderate men, kept the agitation at fever heat, and 
fanned the flame of discontent into a blaze which 
overwhelmed the enemies of his country. What 
was the resuit ? A measure of reform which revolu- 
tionised the System of land tenure in Ireland, and, 
despite grave defects, gave the masses of the people a 
chance — long withheld — of working out their own sal- 
vation by honest labour and industrious exertion. He 
had certainly never acted ' police ' for the British 
Government ; he never would. He had never stretched 
forth a hand to arrest any movement tending to sap 
the foundation of British authority in Ireland, and he 
never would. Yet from the passing of the Land Act 
in 1881 to the hour of Mr. Forster's indictment his 
influence had been used to hold the Extremists in 
check ; not, indeed, in the interests of England, not 
under the pressure of English opinion, but in the 
interest of Ireland, and under the pressure of the con- 
viction that, for her sake, the time had corne to 
slow down the agitation. He met with opposition in 
his own ranks, made enemies in America, ran the risk 
of disunion ; nevertheless he was bent on playing the 
part of moderator when, in the autumn of 1881, he 
was attacked by the English Press, denounced by the 
Prime Minister, and flung into jail by Mr. Forster. 
On his release he took up the work of slowing down 
the agitation precisely where he had left it on the day 
of his arrest. He had made a treaty with the Prime 
Minister, and was doing ail in his power to keep it, 
though the Prime Minister had thrown almost insur- 
mountable obstacles in his way. Determined on a 
'truce of God,' he had incurred the displeasure of 
Davitt, earned the enmity of the * Irish World/ and 


been constrained to dispense with the services of Mr. 
Djllon, Mr. Egan, and Mr. Brennan. 

It was at this moment, when ail his efforts were 
being used to keep the peace in Ireland, that Mr. Forster 
decided to hold him up to public odium as a criminal, 
with whom no honourable man could associate. But 
what was Mr. Forster, what was English opinion, to 
him ? He had to think of his own countrymen, and of 
his own countrymen only. Mr. Forster's attack and 
the English cheers which welcomed it would serve him 
with them. That was the main fact. The answer to 
the Extremists, who called him a reactionary, would 
be Forster' s speech ; thus fortified he could moderate 
the agitation without exposing himself to the odious 
charge of Whiggery. He could hold them in check 
without forfeiting his réputation as an advanced 
politician ; he could keep ail the Nationalist forces 
together without breaking the treaty of Kilmainham. 
The expression — sometimes indiffèrent, sometimes 
scornful, sometimes sinister —which passed over his face 
while Mr. Forster was speaking faithfully reflected 
the thoughts within. Only for an instant did he show 
the least sign of émotion. It was when the late Chief 
Secretary said : * It is not that he himself directly 
planned or perpetrated outrages and murders, but that 
he either connived at them, or, when warned — — ' 
' It is a lie,' cried Parnell, darting a fierce glance at his 
antagonist, and relapsing again into silence. When 
Mr. Forster sat down, everyone expected that Parnell 
would spring to his feet to repel the charges hurled at 
him. But he quietly kept his seat. There was a 
painful pause, an awful silence. Parnell did not stir. 
The whole House swayed with émotion. His own 
party were touched by the sçene wd stung by the 


onslaught made upon him ; he alone remained un- 
moved. * Parnell, Parnell,' English members shouted 
again and again. A scornful smile was ParnelTs ordy 
response. The discussion seemed about to collapse 
when an English member interposed to avert a 
division. The Irish members got around their Chief , and 
urged him to reply on the instant. He refused. His 
colleagues persevered. Finally he yielded to their im- 
portunities, and at the close of the night's proceedings 
moved the adjournment of the debate. ' He did not want 
to answer Forster at ail/ says Mr. Justin McCarthy ; 
' we had to force him.' 

On February 23 the House met in a state of intense 
excitement. The approaches were thronged, the 
lobbies crowded, the galleries full ; members them- 
selves had scarcely standing room. Among the dis- 
tinguished strangers who looked down upon the scène 
the portly figure of the Prince of Wales and the refined, 
ascetic face of Cardinal Manning were conspicuous. 

Parnell sat amongst his followers, calm, dignified, 
frigid, quietly awaiting the summons of the Speaker to 
résume the debate. It came. He rose slowly and 
deliberately, and in chilling, scornful accents began : ' I 
can assure the House that it is not my belief that 
anything I can say at this time will hâve the slightest 
effect on the public opinion of this House, or upon the 
public opinion of the country ' (a pause) ; then, raising 
his head proudly, looking defiantly around, and speak- 
ing with marked emphasis : ' I hâve been accustomed 
during my political life to rely upon the public opinion 
of those whom I hâve desired to help, and with whose 
aid I hâve worked for the cause of prosperity and 
freedom in Ireland, and the utmost I désire to do in 
the very few words I shall address to the House is to 


make my position clear to the Irish people at home and 

Every British member was disgusted with thèse 
opening sentences. The Irish ' prisoner ' repudiated 
the jurisdiction o£ the court ; there would be no 
apology, no explanation, no defence. * Défiance ' was 
the watchword of this incorrigible enemy. But the 
Irish member8 cheered as only Irish members can 
cheer. Parnell had struck a keynote which would 
reverberate throughout Ireland and America. 

What was England to him or to them ? Parnell 
in effect continued. Mr. Forster had asked many 
questions. What right had Mr. Forster to interrogate 
him ? Who was Mr. Forster ? A discredited politician, 
who had been repudiated by his own party, and whose 
administration of Ireland had been an ignominious 
failure. He (Parnell) had , forsooth, according to Mr. 
Forster, been deposed from his place of authority. If 
that were so, he had consolation in knowing that Mr. 
Forster had been deposed too. But the fact was that 
he (Parnell) still possessed the confidence of his fellow- 
countrymen, while Mr. Forster was left out in the cold. 
Upon what did the accusation against him rest ? Upon 
speeches and newspaper articles, made or written by 
others, and which he had not even read. But it was idle 
for him to try to strike a responsive chord in that House. 

*I say it is impossible to stem the torrent of 
préjudice that has arisen out of the events of the past 
few days. I regret that the officiais charged with the 
administration of this Act are unfit for their posts. I 
am sure the right hon. gentleman, the présent Chief 
Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, must admit that to 
the f ullest extent, and when he looks round on the right 
hon. member for Bradford, he must s^y, " Why am I 


hère while he is there ? " Why was he (Mr. Forster) 
deposed — he, the right hon. gentleman who has 
acquired expérience in the administration of Ireland — 
who, according to his own account, knew everything, 
although he was almost invariably wrong ? Why was 
he deposed, and the right hon. gentleman (Mr. 
Trevelyan), a 'prentice, although a very willing hand, 
put in his position ? I feel that the Chief Secretary to 
the Lord Lieutenant must say with the Scriptures, 
" I am not worthy to unloose his shoe latchet." It 
would be far better to hâve the Act administered by the 
seasoned politician now in disgrâce and retirement. 
Call him back to his post ; send him to help Lord 
Spencer in the congenial work of the gallows in Ireland. 
Send him to look af ter the secret inquisitions in Dublin 
Castle. Send him to distribute the taxes which an 
unfortunate and starving peasantry hâve to pay for 
crimes not committed by themselves. Ail this would 
be congenial work for the right hon. gentleman. We 
invite you to man your ranks, and to send your ablest 
and best men to push forward the task of misgoverning 
and oppressing Ireland. For my part I am confident 
as to the future of Ireland. Although the horizon may 
be clouded, I believe our people will survive the présent 
oppression, as they hâve survived many and worse mis- 
fortunes, and although ourprogress may be slow, it will 
be sure. The time will corne when this House and the 
people of this country will admit, once again, that they 
hâve been deceived, and that they hâve been cheered 
by those who ought to be ashamed of themselves; 
that they hâve been led astray as to the right mode 
of governing a noble, a brave, a generous, and 
an impulsive people ; that they will reject their 
présent leaders, who are conducting them into thç 


terrible courses into which the Government appear 
determined to lead Ireland. Sir, I believe they will 
reject thèse guides and leaders with as much déter- 
mination, and just as much relief, as they rejected the 
services of the right hon. gentleman the member for 

When Parnell ended I was in the Lobby. There 
was a rush from the House. I met an English Libéral 
member. I asked, 'How has Parnell done?' He 
answered, ' Very badly. He has made no reply at ail. 
He has ignored the whole matter, and says that he 
cares only for the opinion of Ireland ; but it won't go 
down in this country.' Later on I met an Irish 
member. I said : * What do you think of ParnelTs 
speech ? ' He replied, * Splendid ! He just treated 
them in the right way ; declined to notice Forster's 
accusations, said he cared only for Irish opinion, and 
that Ireland would stand by him. Quite right ; that 
is the way to treat the House of Commons. , 

The following account of the scène from the pen of 
a British politician of Cabinet rank is fair and judicial : 

' Two things were remarkable about Mr. Parnell 
in the House of Commons — his calm self-control, 
and his air of complète detachment from ail English 
questions, coupled with indifférence to English opinion. 
Never were thèse more conspicuous than on the night 
when, at the beginning of the session of 1883, Mr. 
W. E. Forster, no longer bound by the trammelling 
reserve of office, delivered an elaborate and carefully 
prepared attack upon him. The ex-Chief Secretary had 
accumulated a number of instances of outrages, and in- 
citement to outrage, perpetrated or delivered in Ireland, 
and of the language used from time to time by Irish 
members encouraging, or palliating, or omitting to 


condemn thèse acts, and summed up his long indict- 
nient by arraigning Mr. Parnell as the author of thèse 
offences. Though far from being an éloquent speaker 
or an agreeable one to listen to, Mr. Forster was in 
his way powerful, putting plenty of force and directness 
into his speeches. On this occasion he was more 
direct and telling than I ever remember him ; and it 
was easy to see that personal dislike and resentment, 
long pent up, entered into the indictment. Someone 
compared it to the striking of a man over the face with 
repeated blows of a whip, so inuch fierce véhémence 
burnt through it ail. Everyone had listened with 
growing excitement and curiosity to see how Mr. 
Parnell would take it and what defence he would 

'Next day Parnell rose to reply, amid breathless 
silence, perfectly cool and quiet. He had shown no 
signs of émotion during the long harangue, and showed 
none now. To everyone's astonishment he made no 
defence at ail. With a dry, careless, and almost con- 
temptuous air, he said that for ail his words and acts 
in Ireland he held himself responsible to his country- 
men only, and did not the least care what was thought 
or said about him by Englishmen. 

* By the judgment of the Irish people only did he 
and would he stand or fall. 

1 Thèse words, pronounced with the utmost dé- 
libération in his usual frigid voice, but with a certain 
suppressed intensity beneath the almost négligent 
manner, produced a profound effect. Most were 
shocked and indignant. Those who reflected more 
deeply perceived what a gulf between England and 
Ireland was opened, or rather revealed as existing 
already, by such words. They saw, too, that as * 

JEt. 37] LOfiï) SPENCER ON OtïRAGES 13 

matter of tactics this audacious line was the best the 
Irish leader could take. What he had done could not 
be defended to such an audience as the House o£ 
Commons. The right course was, as lawyers say, " to 
plead to the jurisdiction," and to deny the compétence 
of the House, as a predominantly English body, to judge 
him. Mr. Forster's speech did, of course, produce an 
effect on English opinion, and quotations were often 
made from it. But as Mr. Parnell could not hâve 
refuted many (at least) of its statements, he lost 
nothing by his refusai to meet them, and his défiance 
of English opinion both pleased his own friends and 
made the English feel the hopelessness of the situation. 
It wanted a strong will and great self-command, as 
well as perfect clearness of view, to hold this line 
under the exasperating challenges of Mr. Forster. 

' Mr. Parnell was an extraordinary parliamentary 
tactician. Nobody except Mr. Gladstone surpassed him, 
perhaps nobody else equalled him. Mr. Gladstone was 
the only person he really feared, recognising in him a 
force of will equal to his own, an even greater fertility 
of resource. * 

The Phœnix Park inquiry — the peg upon which 
Forster had hung his speech — was soon over. The 
prisoners were committed for trial. Five were hanged, 
nine were sent into pénal servitude. 

Of course the attempt to connect the Irish members 
with the crime failed utterly. 

I had a conversation with Lord Spencer upon this 
subject, and upon the charge generally that Parnell 
and the Irish party helped to get up outrages. 

He said : f I never could get any trace that either 
he or any of his party were concerned in getting up 
outrages, and I stated this publicly in a speech at 


Newcastle. I remember very well Parnell sending 
someone to me, I think it was Mr. Morley, on an 
occasion when he had been bitterly attacked in the 
House o£ Commons about crime, to let him know what I 
said in my Newcastle speech. I wrote out what I had 
said for him on a large sheet of foolscap paper. 

* I went to the House of Commons the night that 
he was to défend himself. He was interrupted as he 
went along, and in the middle of this interruption he put 
his hand in his pocket and, greatly to my surprise, 
pulled out the sheet of paper on which I had written 
the extract from my speech for him, and then he read 
it right out to the House, just as I had written it, I 
think Parnell disliked crime, but he never publicly 
condemned it.' 

About a month after Forster's attack Parnell 
introduced a Bill to amend the Land Act of 1881. 
Most of the provisions of this measure hâve since 
become law, but they were ail scornfully rejected then. 1 

Some weeks later another measure of Irish signifi- 
cance was run through the House of Commons at a 

1 Whigs and Tories united in voting against the Bill, which was 
defeated by 250 to 63 votes. The provisions hâve been summarised by 
the Annual licgister thus : 

4 The Bill provided for the inclusion of certain classes which were 
left out of the Act of 1881, such as the leaseholders and occupiers of 
town parks. It further proposed to eztend the opération of the 
purchase clauses. The chief provisions of the measure were : 

4 1. The dating of the judicial rent from the gale day suooeeding the 
application to rîx the fair rent. 

4 2. Power to the court to suspend proceedings for ejectment and 
recovery of rent pending the fizing of a fair rent on the payment by the 
tenant of a rent equal to the Poor Law valuation of his holding. 

1 3. A définition of the term " improvemcnt " as any work or agri- 
cultural opération ezecuted on the holding which adds to the vaille 
of the holding, or any ezpenditure of capital and labour on the holding 
which adds to its letting value. 

• 4. Direction to the court that, in fizing fair rent, the increase in 
the letting value of the holding arising from improvements effeoted by 
the tenant or his predecessor in title shall belong to the tenant, and tha 


single sitting. This was the Explosives Bill — Parlia- 
ment's response to the dynamite plots of American 
Extremists. Parnell did not oppose the Bill. He 
wrote to Mr. Justin McCarthy : 

Parnell to Mr. Justin McCarthy 

1 Monday. 

' My dear McCaethy, — I hâve been unable to go 
out of doors since I saw you on Friday, but am some- 
what better to-day, and hope to be able to return to 
the House to-morrow (Tuesday). Please inform T. P. 
of this, as I should like to see him to-morrow. 

'I do not know what the party hâve decided to 
do about the Explosives Bill, but I think it would be 
well not to oppose it on the first or second reading 
stage, but to confine ourselves to pointing out that it is 
far too wide and vague in its provisions and will require 
altération in committee. If the Government désire 
to take the committee stage to-night, I do not think 
you ought to oppose them, as postponing it till to- 
morrow or Wednesday will only resuit in depriving us 
of opportunities for discussing two Irish questions of 
importance. However, I think the différent stages of 
the Bill should be made to last throughout the evening 
until half-past twelve. 

' As regards altérations in committee : 

landlord shall not be permitted to ask for an increase of rent in respect 
of such increase of letting value. 

4 5. The use and enjoyment by the tenant of his improvements shall 
not be held to be compensation for such improvement. 

* 6. The presumption as regards the making of the improvement to 
be for the future in favour of the tenant. 

( 7. Power given to leaseholders and to holders of town parks of 
applying to the court to fix a fair rent ; and, lastly, the Land Commission 
to be permitted to advance the full amount of purchase money, and in 
the case of holdings under 30Z. the period of repayment is to be extended 
over 52 years instead of 35 years/ — Annuel BegUter, 1888, p. 65. 


' 1. It appears to me that the Bill is not rétrospective 
in its character, but if there is any doubt about it an 
amendment should be moved so as to ensore that it 
shall not be rétrospective ; otherwise this point had best 
not be alluded to by us. 

4 2. The second clause should be amended so as to 
secure that the explosion of cartridges or gunpowder in 
an ordinary gun, pistol, or other firearm shall not 
come within the section, otherwise nobody could dis- 
charge a gun or pistol for sporting or other purposes. 

4 3. The third clause should be amended in a similar 
way, otherwise nobody would be able to hâve or carry 
a pistol or ammunition for his personal protection. 

'4. Sub-section [ ] of clause 4 should also be 

modified in a similar direction; and, with regard to 
the carriage of blasting materials, railways should be 
compelled to receive and carry consignments of such 
materials from any licensed maker or magazine, as 
at présent they refuse to carry them, and the only 
way to get them is to send a spécial messenger, who 
is obligea to convey them surreptitiously, and under 
such circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable 

' 5. The 5th clause should be altered by the insertion 
of the word " knowingly " before " procures/' 

' 6. Clause 6 is a very objectionable one, giving the 
right of private examination, which is being so much 
abused in Ireland at présent. An attempt might be 
made to modify it in the following direction : 

4 (1) That the inquiry should take place in public if 
the witness désire it. 

' (2) That he should be entitled to hâve a légal 
ad viser présent. 

4 (3) That no witness should be kept under exami- 


nation for more than two hours at a stretch, or for 
more than six hours in any one day. 

4 (4) That he should be permitted a suitable interval 
during his examination each day for the purpose of 
obtaining refreshment, but that no refreshment should 
be given him by the Crown. 

' (5) That where a witness is imprisoned for refus- 
ing to answer questions, the total period of imprison- 
ment shall be limited to six months, and that he shall 
not again be imprisoned for refusing to answer questions 
in respect of such crime. 

' (6) That where a person is imprisoned for refusing 
to answer, he or his légal adviser shall be furnished with 
mémorandum of the question, and [of] any statement 
made by the prisoner in explanation of his refusai to 
reply, or in partial reply to such question, and such 
prisoner shall be entitled to apply on affidavit to the 
Court of Queen's Bench for his release, on the ground 
that his refusai to answer was justified by his inability 
to answer, or other reasonable cause, or that he had not 
refused to answer or had answered such questions to 
the best of his ability. 

' Thèse appear to me to be some of the points 
worthy of attention in the Bill, and in référence to 
which exertions should be made to alter it. 

' Truly yours, 

'Chas. S. Parnell. 

'P.S. — I omitted to say that the duration of the 
Bill should be limited to three years, and Ireland should 
be excluded from its opération on the ground that the 
Crimes Act is sufficient. ' C. S. P. 1 

On April 25 there was a great Irish convention 
at Philadelphia. Parnell was invited, and urged to 

VOL. II. c 


attend. His parliamentary followers were divided on 
the question whether he should go or not. He decided 
for himself. He did not go. He sent the following 
cablegram instead : 

• My présence at the opening of the most représenta- 
tive convention of Irish-American opinion ever assem- 
bled being impossible, owing to the necessity of my 
remaining hère to oppose the^Criminal Code Bill — which 
re-enacts permanently the worst provisions of coercion, 
and which, if passed, will leave constitutional move- 
ments at the mercy of the Government — I would ask 
you to lay my views before the convention. I would 
rcspectfully advise that your platform be so framed as 
to enable us to continue to accept help from America, 
and at the same time to avoid offering a pretext to 
the British Government for entirely suppressing the 
national movement in Ireland. In this way only can 
unity of movement be preserved both in Ireland and 
America. I hâve perfect confidence that by prudence, 
modération, and firmness the cause of Ireland will con- 
tinue to advance ; and, though persécution rest heavily 
upon us at présent, before many years hâve passed ' 
we shall liave achieved those great objects for which 
through many centuries our race has struggled.' l 

1 The London correspondent of the Xation wrote on April 21 : ' The 
question of the advisability of Mr. ParnelTs attending the fortheoming 
Irisli convention ut Chicago (sic Philadclphia) was, as the newi- 
papt-rs statc. con*idered am" resolved upon by u meeting of his 
culleagues a f«w dnya ago. The view of the majority was strongly 
opposed to his so dning. Weighty relisons were adduced by them 
in support of their view; but reasons were also given on the 
other suie. \Ye niu^t ati hepe that the best and wisest thing hu 
been donc; but if a new-paper correspondent may express an 
opinion on so important and complicatcd a question, I would say 
that I li ad much rather the décision had gonc the other way. The 
proceedings of the convention bave been looked forward to with great 
in te rest by everyone hère. It is said that the plain issue to be deter- 
mined there, is whether the use of physical force of ail kinds— dynamite 


The resuit of the convention was the formation of 
a National League of America l to co-operate with the 
National League of Ireland. 

Partisans at one side hâve said that the National 
League of America was nothing more nor less than a 
Clan-na-Gael association; partisans on the other, that 
it was independent of the Clan-na-Gael altogether. 
The truth lies between thèse extrêmes. There were 
hundreds of members of the League who did not 
belong to the Clan; nevertheless the Clan, without 
absorbing, controlled the League. 

It is idle to shirk the truth. The National League 
of America was run by the Eevolutionists, who were 
only held in check, so far as they were held in check at 
ail, by the fact that they had Parnell to count with. 
So much for the National League of America. 2 

It has been said in allusion to Parneirs counsels 
of modération at this period that he was ' submerged ' 
during the years 1883 and 1884. This statement is only 
true, if true at ail, in a limited sensé ; for whenever his 
présence was necessary he came quickly enough to 
the surface. Thus in the summer of 1883 a vacancy 
occurred in the représentation of Monaghan. Parnell 

included— may not properly be employed by the Irish people in their 
struggle for the libération of their country froxn British raie. To take 
the affirmative side of the discussion would, putting ail other considéra- 
tions aside, hardly be a saie thing for anyone who would contemplate 
returning to and living in any part of the so-called United Kingdom, 
least of ail would it be safe for a member of the British Parliament. On 
the other h and, it would be no easy task to argue before an Iriah -American 
audience that the use of force by Ireland, or by any other oppressed 
nation, for the recovery of its liberties would be immoral.* 

1 In place of the American Land League. 

2 Towards the end of 1883 the Clan-na-Gael was divided into two 
branches, the one called * The United Brotherhood ' ; the other (under 
the presidency of Mr. Alexander Sullivan) * The Triangle ' — a name 
derived from the fact that the government consisted of a committee of 


at once seized the opportunity to invade the North and 
to bombard the strongholds of Unionism. The tenant- 
farmers of Monaghan cared little for Home Rule. 
They cared much for the land. Parnell accordingly 
sent Mr. Healy — the hero of the Land Act of 1881 — to 
storm the Ulster citadel. He himself appeared upon 
the scène, and plunged into the struggle with charac- 
teristic élan. The following incident of the campaign 
shows that Parneirs superstitious instincts did not 
désert him, even in the heat of the battle. 

' The night before the polling/ says Mr. Healy, 
' we found ourselves in the comfortable hôtel at Castle- 
blayney, exhausted by dusty driving and incessant 
speaking through a long suinmer day. We ordered 
dinner and were shown to our rooms. The rooms 
adjoined, and immediately after closing my door I 
heard Parnell's voice in the corridor ordering his apart- 
ment to be changed. Apparently there was a difficulty 
about this, as the hôtel was crow T ded for the élection 
next day. Knowing he was not in the least a stickler 
for luxury or hard to please about a room, I went ont 
to ask what was the matter. There he was, standing 
in the passage opposite his bedroom door, with his bag 
in his hand, evidently chafing and very much put ont. 
" Look at that," said he, pointing to the number on his 
door. It was No. 13. " What a room to give me ! 
They are Tories, I suppose, and hâve done it on 
purpose." I laughed and said, "Take mine; let us 
exchange." " If you sleep in that room," said he, " you 
will lose the élection." I looked into it, and found a 
good roomy chamber, much better than the one allotted 
to me, and I said so, pointing out that the " Tory " 
hotel-keeper had probably given him the best room in 
the house. He was not to be pacified, however, so 

JEt. 37] ULSTEÎt OliATORY 21 

without arguing the matter I put him into my room, 
and installed myself in his. " I tell you, you will lose 
the election, ,, he repeated, as I took refuge in No. 13/ ! 

The élection, however, was not lost. Mr. Healy 
was placed at the head of the poil by a handsome 
majority. 2 

The Monaghan victory roused the Ulster landlords. 
The Orangemen took the field against the ' invaders/ 
The invaders pressed forward everywhere, determined 
to improve their position in the northern province. 
There were démonstrations and counter-demonstrations* 
marching and counter-marching, Nationalist displays 
and Orange displays, until the province rang with the 
oratorical artillery of the opposing parties. 

' Conipel the rebel conspirators/ urged an Orange 
placard, ' to return to their haunts in the south and 
west/ 'We are not an aggressive party/ said an 
Orange orator, Mr. Murray Ker, D.L. ' Let there 
be no revolver practice. My advice to you about 
revolvers is, never use a revolver except you are firing 
at someone/ 

4 If the Government/ said Lord Claud Hamilton, 
1 fail to prevent Mr. Parnell & Co. from making inroads 
into Ulster ... if they do not prevent those hordes of 
ruffians from invading us, we will take the law into our 
own hands/ 

4 Keep the cartridge in the rifle,' said the degenerate 
Home Kuler, Col. King Harman. ' Keep a firm grip 
on y our sticks/ said Mr. Archdale. ' Only for the 
police and soldiers/ exclaimed Major Saunderson, 
' those rebels would hâve been in the nearest river/ 

1 Westminster Gazette, November 3, 1893. 

2 Mr. Healy was re placed in the représentation of Wexford by Mr, 

William Redmond. 


The Government proclaimed an Orange meeting at 
which Lord Eossmore was to préside. ' It is a great 
pity,' said his Lordship, referring to this action of the 
authorities, ' that the so-called Government of England 
stopped loyal men from assembling to uphold their 
institutions hère, and had sent down a handful of 
soldiers whom we could eat up in a second or two 
if we thought fit. The Orangemen, if they liked, 
could be the Government themselves. I only wiflh 
they were allowed, and they would soon drive rebels 
like Parnell and his followers out of their sight.' 

Despite Orange violence and Orange threats the 
Nationaliste did their work in Ulster, and did it well, 
as the General Election of 1885 proved. 1 

Parnell himself ' lay low ' after the Monaghan 
élection, allowing his lieutenants to conduct the cam- 
paign in Ulster and elsewhere. He had for some time 
been in financial difficulties. The fact got abroad, and 
the people resolved to relieve him of his embarrass- 
ments. He told the story himself in his accustomed 
laconic style to the Spécial Commission : ' A mortgage 
on my estate was foreclosed, and I filed a pétition for 
its sale. This fact, somehow or other, got into the 
newspapers, and the Irish people raised a collection for 
me to pay off the mortgage. The amount of the 
collection considerably exceeded the amount necessary/ 

The Parnell tribute (as this * collection ' came to be 
called) was a remarkable expression of popular confi- 

1 * Unfortunately, however,' said Mr. Trevelyan, then Irish Secretary, 
1 the counter-demonstrations of the Orangemen were, to a great estent* 
démonstrations of armed men. At their last meeting at Dumore sackfaU 
of revolvers were left behind, close to the place of meeting. . . . The 
Orange meetings were bodies of armed men ... 8o far as the Govern- 
ment knew, it was not the custom of the Kationalists to go armed to 
their meetings until the bad example was set by the Orangemen.'— 


dence and enthusiasm. Seizing the opportunity which 
Parnell's embarrassments gave them, priests and 
people combined to give him a substantial proof of 
their regard, affection, and gratitude. Inaugurated at 
the beginning of the year, the fund increased gradually 
at first, and afterwards by leaps and bounds, until 
before the end of the year it reached nearly 40,000Z. 1 
This munificent gif t in itself bore striking testimony to 
Parneirs popularity. But an incident occurred some 
time af ter the subscription lists had been opened which 
showed in a more remarkable way still his hold on the 
mind and heart of the nation. 

The Pope had never looked with favour on the 
Land League agitation. Indeed, he regarded it as 
nothing more nor less than a revolt against the law- 
fully constituted authorities, which in truth it was. 
And now Catholic bishops and priests and people of 
Ireland were uniting to place the Protestant leader of 
the revolt on a pedestal of glory. There were not 
wanting, it is said, English agents at Eome who readily 
used the Parnellite tribute as a lever to move the Pope 
against the agitators. The Irish were losing the faith ; 
even their religious guides had been led astray, and 
nothing but the interférence of the Pontiff could avert 
the dangers which imperilled the very salvation of the 
people. So it was whispered and believed at the Vatican. 
Impressed by thèse représentations, the Pope acted 
with vigour and promptitude. A letter, signed by 
Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect, and Monseigneur Dominico 
Jacobini, Secretary of the Sacred Congrégation de 
propaganda Fide, was despatched to the Irish bishops 
condemning the ' tribute ' and calling upon them to 
give it no countenance. Of, course the bishops obeyed 
1 The amount of the mortgage was about 18,0001. 


this mandate, and the priests henceforth ceased to take 
any public part in collecting subscriptions. But the 
people heeded not the papal letter. They saw nothing 
in it but the hand of England. Certain facts were sub- 
sequently revealed which seemed to show that the 
suspicions of the people were not without some founda- 
tion. Thèse facts may now be related. 

Towards the end of 1882 an Irish Catholic Whig 
member (Mr. George Errington) went to Eome — on 
4 his own affairs,' it was said. Before starting, how- 
ever, he called at the Foreign Office, told Lord Gran- 
ville of his intended visit, and said that he might hâve 
an opportunity of discussing Irish affairs with the 
Pope. Lord Granville there and then gave him a 
letter oi recommendation, which he had authority to 
show to the papal Secretaries of State. In the begin- 
ning of 1883 we find this gentleman practically filling 
the post of English Envoy at the Vatican. The 
Government wished to use the Pope to put down 
Parnell, and to control Irish affairs generally in the 
English interest. The Pope was anxious to re- 
establish diplomatie relations with England. Hère 
was a basis of negotiation. Lord Granville dared 
not, in the light of day, send a diplomatie mission 
to the Pope. English public opinion would not stand 
that. But he thought that a private channel of com- 
munication might be opened through Mr. Errington, 
and that thus Downing Street could be kept in touch 
with the Vatican. ' What was thought of Errington 
at Rome? ' I asked an officiai of the Papal Court when 
the Errington mission had become a matter of history. 
' Oh,' he answered, ' we looked upon him as an English 
envoy. I remember in those days whenever I called 
to see Cardinal I was habitually told that I could 


not see him ; Errington was constantly closeted with the 
Cardinal. When he walked about in the vicinity of 
the Vatican the Swiss Guards saluted him. He was 
looked upon as a man of authority. It is easy for 
the English Government to repudiate Mr. Errington 
now, but they gave him the means of holding himself 
out to us as their agent. 1 The English Envoy used 
his influence to discrédit the Irish agitators — lay and 

One story will suffice to show how the Vatican 
regarded the Irish movement about this time. ' Had you 

been in Italy,' said Cardinal to an Irish ecclesiastic, 

'in the time of Garibaldi you would hâve supported 
Garibaldi.' ' Yes, your Emmence,' said the Irishman, 
4 1 would hâve supported Garibaldi if he had had at his 
back the bishops and priests and people of Italy.' 

Despite ail attempts at secrecy, the Errington 
mission became a public fact, and Ministers were forced 
to admit in the House of Commons that Mr. Errington 
had received a letter of recommendation from Lord 
Granville, and that his despatches from Borne were 
deposited, like the despatches of any other ambassador 
or envoy, in the archives of the Foreign Office. In 
Ireland the papal rescript was at once ascribed to Mr. 
Errington's handiwork. 

England had secretly sought the services of the 
Pope, her ancient enemy, to strike at the Irish leader 
and the Irish movement. Could the force of England's 
meanness further go? 'If we want to hold Ireland 
by force/ said an English member l in the House of 
Commons, * let us do it ourselves — let us not call in the 
Pope, whom we are always attacking, to help us.' The 
Irish were not irritated with the Pope. Their anger 

1 Mr. Joseph Cowen. 


was wholly directed against the English Libéral 
Ministry, which, while constantly denouncing them as 
the créatures of Borne, had invoked the thunder of the 
Vatican to overwhelm a political opponent. The prac- 
tical question now was, how the Pope and England 
should be answered. There was only one way of 
answering them. By making the Parnell tribute a 
conspicuous success. Ail Ireland worked for this end. 
Subscriptions, which before the rescript came in 
hundreds, now came in thousands, until a few months 
after its appearance the grand total of 37,0002. was 
reached. The English Ministers might hâve chuckled 
when the rescript ! was issued. They did not chuckle 
when the tribute was closed. Then they realised the 
folly of invoking the aid of the Pope to crush an Irish 
popular leader. 

' May I ask,' I said to Mr. Gladstone, ' if Cardinal 
Manning ever gave you any help in your relations 
with Parnell ? ' He answered : ' Never. He had, I 
think, something to do with the Errington mission * — a 
very foolish affair. Spencer thought it might do some 
good, and so I tried it. It did no good. Why, it is 
absurd to suppose that the Pope exercises any influence 
in Irish poli tics.' In order to dispose of the Errington 
mission at once, I may hère, though anticipating dates, 
insert a letter from Mr. Errington to Lord Granville. 
It was written in May 1885. Cardinal McCabe had 
recently died. The question of his successor in the 
archiépiscopal see of Dublin was under considération. 
Dr. Walsh, of Maynooth, was the popular favourite. 

1 The papal rescript was dated May 11, 1883. On that day the 
Parnell tribute amounted to 7,6881. Ils. 5d. On June 19 it amoanted to 
15,10*2/. On December 11 it reached the grand total of 37,0112. 17s. 

* I understand that Cardinal Manning was opposed to the Errington 


Dr. Moran, of Sydney, was practically the English 
nominee. Mr. Errington's services were, of course, 
used to secure tbis appointaient. But the following 
letter fell into the hands of Mr. William O'Brien, who 
published it in * United Ireland ' on August 1, 1885 : 

' House of Commons : 

« Monday, May 15 [1885]. 

1 Dear Lord Granville, — The Dublin arch- 
bishopric being still undecided, I must continue to 
keep the Vatican in good humour about you, and keep 
up communication with them generally as much as 

' I am almost ashamed to trouble you again when 
you are so busy, but perhaps on Monday you would 
allow me to show you the letter I propose to write. 

' The prématuré report about Dr. Moran will cause 
increased pressure to be put on the Pope, and create 
many fresh difficulties. The matter must therefore be 
most carefully watched, so that the strong pressure I 
can still command may be used at the right moment, 
and not too soon or unnecessarily (for too much 
pressure is quite as dangerous as too little). To effect 
this, constant communication with Eome is necessary. 

' I am, dear Lord Granville, 
' Faithfully yours, 

1 G. Errington.' * 

The publication of this letter blew the bottom out 
of the Errington mission, and secured the appointment 
of Dr. Walsh. 

In December 1883 the Parnell tribute was closed. 

It was decided to give the Irish leader a chèque 

for the full amount, and to invite him to a banquet 

1 Mr. Errington however, had his reward. He was made a baronet. 


at the Rotunda. The Lord Mayor, a man of culture 
and an éloquent speaker, was — so runs the story — 
deputed, with some other leading citizens, to wait 
on Parnell at Morrison's Hôtel and to hand him the 
chèque. His lordship naturally prepared a few suitable 
observations for the occasion. At the appointed hour 
the deputation arrived, and were ushered into a private 
sitting-room, where stood the Chief. The Lord Mayor 
having been announced, bowed, and began : ' Mr. 

Parnell .' ' I believe/ said Parnell, ' you hâve got 

a chèque for me.' The Lord Mayor, somewhat surprised 
at this interruption, said ' Yes,' and was about to 
recommence his speech, when Parnell broke in : ' Is it 
made payable to order and crossed ? ' The Lord Mayor 
again answered in the affirmative, and was resuming the 
thread of his discourse when Parnell took the chèque, 
folded it neatly, and put it in his waistcoat pocket. 
This ended the interview. The whole business was 
disposed of in five minutes, and there was no speech- 

On December 11 the banquet took place. There 
was, it is needless to say, an enthusiastic gathering. 
Parnell made a speech on the gênerai situation, but said 
nothing about the chèque. 

' I remember,' say s Lord Spencer, ' the incident of 
the Parnell tribute. I hear that when Parnell received 
the chèque lie put it in his pocket and never thanked 
anybody. Then there was a public meeting. I 
remember he made a long speech, but never said a 
word about the chèque. That struck me as a very 
extraordinary thing and very characteristic. Hère is 
this handsome sum of money collected for him. He 
does not make the least référence to it, and he gives 
offence to nobody. That little incident always mada an 

;Et. 37J DYNAMITE PLOTS • - 29 

impression on me, because it showed the immense 
power of the man.' 

I hâve said that Parnell derived his political 
ascendency in no small degree from the fact that he 
walked ail the time on the verge of treason-feiony. 
He kept that path still. At no period since the begin- 
ning of the agitation was English feeling more incensed 
against Irish-Americans than during the years 1883 
and 1884. The policy of dynamite had been boldly 
proclaimed by the * Irish World/ Attempts were 
made to destroy the offices of the Local Government 
Board and to blow up London Bridge. Victoria, 
Paddington, Charing Cross, Ludgate Hill railway 
stations were marked out for destruction. Scotland 
Yard was attacked. Dynamite plots and rumours of 
dynamite plots filled the air. There was an épidémie 
of outrages. 

A dynamite factory was discovered at Birmingham. 
Batches of dynamitards were seized, and the public 
investigations which followed proved the American 
origin of thèse plots to lay London in ruins. The 
public mind was disturbed, the Government was 
alarmed. Spécial guards of police and soldiers were 
placed in charge of public buildings, and the streets of 
London presented the appearance of a town under the 
sway of some despotic ruler who feared the vengeance 
of his people. 1 Those who believed in the beneficent 
influence of the Anglo- Saxon race were enraged and 
horrified at this state of affairs. Any man who was, 
even to the slightest extent, under English influence 
would at this moment hâve shrunk from contact with 

1 Thèse outrages took place in 1883 and 1884. On January 24, 
1885, attempts were made to blow up the Tower, the Uouse of Commons, 
and Westminster Hall. 


the Clan-na-Gael. But Parnell held on his course. 
English opinion was naught to him. His one thought 
was to keep ïrishmen united. He was prepared to 
suffer much, to risk much, for this. He did not hesitate 
in 1883 to proclaim to the world his détermination to 
keep up communication with the American Revolu- 
tionists by despatching a cablegram to the Philadelphia 
convention ; and in 1884 he sent Mr. William Bedmond 
and Mr. Sexton to another convention in Boston. He 
was cautions and circumspect. He did not désire 
publicity. But when publicity was necessary he did 
not shrink from it, let ail England denounce him as it 

Yet his relations with the Clan-na-Gael were not 
cordial. In sympathy with the rebellious spirit of the 
brotherhood,he looked upon the dynamite policy as sheer 
insanity. It was, besides, unfair to him and his 
parliamentary colleagues. Men in Chicago might easily 
hatch plots for the destruction of London, but they 
had not to run the gauntlet of the English House of 
Commons. Some considération ought to be shown 
to those who had to carry on the struggle on this 
side of the Atlantic. None was shown. He did not 
conceal his private répugnance to the methods of the 
American Extremists. He spoke of Ford and Finerty 
as ' d d fools. 1 

The ' Irish World ' denounced the parliamentary 
inoveinent, and opposed the parliamentary party after 
the Kilmainhaiu trcaty. In fact, from about August 
1882 until about the middle of 1884, or even later, 
tho 'World' was hostile to rarnell. 'Therc are no 
organisera,' it wrote in October 1H82, 'going about 
knitting the people together. There are no orators or 
teachers sent through the coimtry to educate men. Ou 


the contrary, ail agitation has been discontinued, and a 
qnieting down policy is the order of the day. Davitt, 
Dillon, Egan, Brennan hâve been wishing and pray- 
ing for vigorous action, ail in vain.' In November 
1882 the * World ' wrote : ' We hâve not as much faith 
in the wisdom and ability of Mr. Parnell as we once 

If the Clan could hâve fitted out a fleet of torpédo 
boats to blow up the British fleet Parnell would hâve 
offered no objection. That would hâve been war. But 
a conspiracy to damage the British empire by abortive 
dynamite explosions in the streets of London was the 
conception of lunatics. 

He would sometimes smile grimly at the grotesque- 
ness of thèse plots, occasionally hatched with utter 
indifférence even to the lives of the Nationalist members 
themselves. Had the attempt to destroy the Charing 
Cross Bailway Station been successful, a score of Irish 
members who were stopping at the Charing Cross Hôtel 
would hâve been blown into eternity. It transpired at 
the trial of some of the dynamitards that a proposai 
had been made to throw a bomb into the Hou se of 
Commons. * I entered the House of Commons about 
this tirne,' said Mr. Harrington. 'I remember being 
in the Smoking-room one evening with Parnell and 
Lord Randolph Churchill. " Well, Parnell," said Lord 
Bandolph Churchill, referring to the dynamite trials, 
" I suppose y ou would object to hâve a bomb thrown 
into the House of Commons. You would not like to 
be blown up, even by an Irishman." "I am not so 
sure of that," said Parnell, " if there were a call of the 
House." ' 

'Mr. Parnell,' asked the Attorney-General at the 
Parnell Commission, ' you know that Daly [a convicted 


dynamitard] at ail events was tried for being a dyna- 
mitard ? ' * Yes,' answered Parnell, ' he was tried and 
convicted of having bombs in his pocket which, it was 
suggested, were going to be thrown on the floor of the 
House of Commons, which would probably hâve had 
an equal effect ail round.' 

But what did Parnell think of the morality of 
dynamite? He did not think about it at ail. He 
regarded the moral sermons preached by English 
statesmen and publicists as the merest cant, and 
looked upon the ' Times' ' denunciations of the ' Irish 
World ' as a case of the pot calling the kettle black. 
Morality was the last thing the English thought of in 
their dealings with Ireland. Morality was the last 
thing he thought of in his dealings with them. There 
are men who can readily argue themselves into the 
belief that whatever serves their purpose is moral. 
Such men could easily explain away the dynamite 
outrages to their own satisfaction. But ParnelTs mind 
was too simple to indulge in the subtleties and refine- 
ments necessary for this achievement. He was content 
to call the dynamitards fools, and to laugh at the 
moral pretensions of the House of Commons. For the 
rest, he concentrated ail his énergies upon the main 
purpose of bringing the British 6tatesmen to their 
bearings on the question of Ireland. He had no faith 
in an English party. He advised his fellow-country- 
men to trust in none. Speaking at the St. Patrick's 
Day célébration in London in 1884, he said : ' I hâve 
always endeavoured to teach my countrymen, whether 
at home or abroad, the les3on of self-reliance. I do 
not dépend upon any English political party. I should 
advisc you not to dépend upon any such party. I do 
not dépend upon the good wishes of any section of the 


English. Some people désire to rely on the English 
democracy — they look for a great future movemeût 
among the English democracy ; but I hâve never 
known any important section of any country which has 
asôumed the government of another country to awaken 
to the real necessities of the position until compelled to 
do so. Therefore I say, do not rely upon any English 
party; do not rely even upon the great English 
democracy, however well disposed they may be towards 
your claims ; but rely upon yourselves, upon the great 
power which you hâve in every industrial centre in 
England and Scotland, upon the dévotion of the sea- 
divided Gael, whether it be under the southern cross 
or beyond the wide Atlantic ; but, above ail, rely upon 
the dévotion and détermination of our people on the 
old sod at home.' 

In the struggle which was now imminent we shall 
see him playing off one English party against the 
other, and out-manœuvring both. 

YOL. il. 




I have given one instance — the Monaghan élection — of 
how quickly Parnell, though ' submerged ' during the 
years 1 HH'J and 1884, could corne to the surface when 
his présence was necessary. I shall give another. We 
hâve seen that in 1882 Davitt wished to make Land 
Nationalisation a plank in the National League plat- 
for m, and that Parnell would not allow it. Davitt still 
adhered to his views, and, not unfairly, endeavoured in 
privatc and public to enforce them. Parnell — shrinking 
froin public controversy with a colleague, yet fearing 
that perhaps even a small section of the people might 
accept the principle of Land Nationalisation and that 
a division would thus be caused in the Nationalist 
ranks felt himself eonstrained to make a public 
déclaration on the subject. ttpeaking at Drogheda on 
April 1-"), IHis-l, he said : * It is necessary for me to take 
advantage of this occasion to warn you against cléments 
of future difhculty — cléments of possible future diffi- 
culté, and possibilités of grave disunion in our ranks, 
whirh may be obviated by a timely déclaration. I 
refer to the project termed the nationalisation of the 
land, and in dealing with this question I don't wish to 


intrude upon you anything of a personal character. 
I prefer, as I always hâve done in public life, 
to deal with principles, and not with men. I hâve 
shown you two planks of the platform of the Land 
League —the destruction of rack-rents and of landlord 
oppression and évictions, and the facilitation of occupy- 
ing ownership by the tiller of the soil. Well, un- 
mindful of this fact, we hâve been recently informed 
upon distinguished authority, at a meeting in Dublin, 
that we hâve been false to the spirit of the Land 
League, that we are unmindful of its principles, because 
we refused to désert that which has been our pro- 
gramme up to the présent moment and follow this new 
craze. Ownership of land by anybody, we are told, is 
theft. Whether that anybody be landlord or tenant, it 
is equally a crime and a robbery, and because we refuse 
to agrée with the sweeping assertion we are condemned 
as slack and as yielding basely to the présent Coercion 
Act. The désire to acquire land is everywhere one of 
the strongest instincts of human nature, and never more 
developed than in a country such as Ireland, where land 
is limited and those who désire to acquire it are nume- 
rous. I submit further, that this désire to acquire landed 
property, and the further désire to be released from the 
crushing impositions of rack-rents, was the very basis 
and foundation of the National Land League, and that 
without it, although not solely owing to it, we never 
could hâve progressed or been successful. As reason- 
ably might we hâve supposed that we could hâve 
persuaded the poor man that it was with him a crime 
to endeavour to hope for the ownership of the holding 
lie tilled. No more absurd or preposterous proposition 
was ever made to a people than, after having declared 
on a thousand platforms by a million voices that the 

x> 2 


tenant should be the owner of his holding — that after 
this déclaration had been agreed to by a million of our 
own countrymen in England, America, and Australia — 
after having, with unexampled success, proceeded 
forward on thèse lines for five years, we should quietly 
turn round, retrace our steps to the starting-post, and 
commence anew a movement which should be wanting 
in every élément and prospect of success. ... I hâve 
neither advanced nor receded from the position which 
I took up in 1879. It was a position which I thought 
you would be able to carry, and which in ail probability 
you will be able to carry. ... I said in New York, in 
1879, when I landed there, what I say to you to-night 
— that you must either pay for the land or fight for 
it. . . . Constitutional agitation and organisation can 
do a great deal to whittle down the price that the 
landlord asks for his land, but it must be paid unless 
you adopt the other alternative which I say nothing 
about. We are told of some great wave of English 
democracy which is coming over hère to poor Ireland 
to assist the Irish democracy. The poor Irish 
democracy will hâve, I fear, to rely upon themselves in 
the future as they hâve had to do up to the présent 
moment. The land question of Ireland must be settled 
by the Irish people at home.' 

This speech disposed of the question of Land 
Nationalisation. Davitt still held his own views, bat 
he despaired of gaining any adhérents in Ireland, and 
soon afterwards went on a tour to Egypt. 

Towards the end of 1884 there was much discussion 
in Nationalist circles about the ' inactivity ' of Parnell. 
' Do you think,' a Nationalist said to me in December, 
' that Parnell is tired of the whole business and that 
he means to chuck it up ? ' I ventured to remind my 


friend of the Monaghan élection and of the Drogheda 
speech, and suggested that Parnell would probably 
always appear upon the scène when he thought his 
présence was necessary ; that he would not be forced 
into activity by the abuse of the ' Irish World/ any 
more than he would be forced into inactivity by the 
abuse of the ' Times.' He would always take his own 
line at his own time, and disregard the critics. A 
fortnight after this conversation Parnell was again in 
évidence. An élection was pending in the County 
Tipperary. His nominee was Mr. John O'Connor, of 
Cork. A local convention nominated a local candidate, 
Mr. O'Ryan. Hère was a new danger. A fight 
between two Home Eule candidates would certainly 
give the enemy an opportunity to blasphème. English 
publicists looked at the situation with joy, Irish 
Nationalists with alarm. What was to be done ? How 
was this fresh péril to be averted ? One day Parnell 
arrived suddenly in the town of Thurles. Next day 
the danger had passed. Mr. O'Kyan had retired. Mr. 
O'Connor was accepted with acclamation. On January 
8, 1885, Parnell addressed a meeting in Thurles. He 
said : ' When I went to Meath I was told that I was not 
a Meath man, but I was not told so by Nationalists. I 
was told so by landlords. When I went to Cork, no 
one there said that I was not a Cork man. The 
question is not whether you belong to this county or 
to that, but whether you are a good Irishman. Mr. 
O'Ryan has proved himself a good Irishman by the 
handsome way in which he has retired from this 
contest ; and I will answer for it that Mr. O'Connor 
will prove himself a good Irishman if he is returned for 

He was returned for Tipperary without opposition. 


The General Election was now approaching, and 
Parnell girded up his loins for the struggle. The 
élection was f ought under new conditions. In December 
1884 a new Eeform Act, establishing household 
suffrage in Ireland, became law. The resuit, contrary 
to the expectations of Ministère, was to strengthen the 
position of Parnell. The Irish electorate was increased 
from about 200,000 to about 700,000 voters, and the 
new votera were almost ail Home Eulers. Ministère 
were ' hoisted with their own pétard.' They believed 
that the new Franchise Act would make Ireland 
Libéral. In truth it effaced the Libérais. 

For two years Parnell had kept quiet, flashing only 
now and then like a meteor across the political firma- 
ment, and again disappearing. Now he burst forth once 
more in a blaze of activity, and filled the world with his 
name. ' When,' he said, speaking of his tactics between 
May 1882 and January 1883, 'when courage was 
required when it was necessary for the interests of the 
nation, I hâve shown it ; and when modération was 
necessary and temperate judgment for the interests of 
the nation, I had the courage to show it too.' 

He now made a short journey through the country, 
speaking at Clonmcl (where the freedom of the city 
was presented to him) and at Bansha on January Ô, and 
at Arklow on January 11. On January 21 he sounded 
the tocsin of war at Cork, in a speech which cheered 
the heart of every Nationalist in the country. He said : 
' We cannot ask for less than the restitution of Grattan's 
Parliament, with its important privilèges and wide, far- 
reaching constitution . Wc cannot, under the British con- 
stitution, ask for more than the restitution of Grattan's 
Parliament. But no man has a right to fix the boundary 
of the march of a nation. No man has a right to 


Mt. 39] « MARCH OP A NATION > 89 

say, " Thus far shalt thou go, and no further" ; and 
we hâve never attempted to fix the ne plus ultra to 
the progress of Ireland's nationalhood, and we never 

On January 23 he delivered a lecture before the 
Cork * Young Ireland Society ' on Ireland and her 
Parliament. Mr. Horgan has given me the following 
réminiscence of this lecture : 

''Parnell always stopped at my house in Cork. 
He was very pleasant in a house; quiet, and ready 
to put up with anything. He stayed with me in 
January 1885. The Young Ireland Society asked 
him to deliver a lecture on Irish history. He con- 
sented. Afterwards he said to me, " I really do not 
know anything about Irish history. Hâve you got 
any books I can read ?" I knew as little about Irish 
history as he did, but I fished out some books for him. 
The day of the lecture came. The hour fixed was 
8 p.m. We dined a little earlier than usual. Dinner 
was over at a quarter to eight. "Now," said Parnell, 
rising from the table, " I must read up the history. 
Will you give me a pen and ink, and some note-paper ? " 
I put him into a room by himself, with pen, ink, and 
paper, and the books. I came back about a quarter 
to nine. He looked up smiling and said : " I'm 
ready ! " He had made notes in big handwriting on 
the paper ; about three notes on each sheet. " I think 
I will be able to say something now," he said. We then 
drove off to the rooms of the society. The streets were 
crowded, the rooms were crowded. We were an hour 
and a quarter late. When Parnell showed himself he 
received a magnificent réception. When he ascended 
the platform they cheered him again and again. What 
a king he looked, standing on that platform that night ; 


so handsome, so quiet, so self-possessed, so dignified. 
People thought of looking at no one but him. He 
dwarfed ail around him. There was a majesty about 
the man which fascinated and awed you. I felt 
horribly nervous for him. I knew how he had got 
up the lecture, and I feared he would break down. 
I felt so anxious that I really did not follow the lecture 
at ail. But I heard the cheers, and they cheered from 
beginning to end. 

' Corning home he was as simple and as proud as 
a child of the whole performance. "I think," he 
said, " I got through very well." He did not seem to 
hâve the faintest notion that people looked up to him, 
not only as the greatest man in Ireland, but one of the 
most remarkable men in Europe. He spoke like a 
young man making his début at a debating society. 
I can see him now walking upstairs to bed with the 
candie in his hand, and stepping so quietly and lightly 
so as to disturb no one. He was like a young fellow 
who has corne home late and was afraid to wake " the 
governor." Yet, with ail his self-depreciation, modesty, 
and gentleness, you always felt that you were in the 
présence of a master. You dare not présume on his 
familiarity when he chose to be familiar. Without 
any effort whatever upon his part you always felt 
the overpowering influence of his extraordinary 

From Cork Parnell went on January 25 to Ennis. 
On the 26th he addressed a meeting at Milltown 
Malbay. In February he was once more in London 
attending to his parliamentary duties. 

On March 17 he presided at the St. Patrick's Day 
banquet, and again laid down the principle on which 
the struggle should be carried on. 'England,' he 


said, ' will respect you in proportion as you respect 
yourselves. Englishmen will not give anything to 
Ireland out of justice or righteousness. They will 
concède your liber ties when they must, and no sooner.' 
In April the Prince and Princess of Wales visited 
Ireland. Some Nationalists thought that the occasion 
should be used to demonstrate against the Government. 
Parnell did not hold this view. He was of opinion that 
the royal visitors should be allowed to pass through 
the country like ordinary visitors ; that there should be 
no démonstrations one way or the other. On April 11 
he wrote to * United Ireland ' : 

Letter to ' United Ireland ' 

' You ask for my views regarding the visit of 
the Prince of Wales. In reply I désire to say that 
if the usages of the constitution existed in Ireland 
as they do in England] there would, to my judg- 
ment, be no inconsistency in those who believe in 
the limited monarchy as the best form of govern- 
ment taking a suitable part in the réception of the 
Prince. But in view of the fact that the constitu- 
tion has never been administered in Ireland according 
to its spirit and précédents, that the power of the 
Crown as wielded by Earl Spencer and other Viceroys 
is despotic and unlimited to the last degree, and that 
in the présent instance the royal personage is to be 
used by the two English political parties in Ireland 
for the purpose of injuring and insulting the Irish 
Nationalist party, and of impeding if possible their 
work, I fail to see upon what ground it can be claimed 
from any lover of constitutional government under a 
limited monarchy that the Prince is entitled to a 


réception from the independent and patriotic people 
of Ireland, or to any récognition, save from the garrison 
of officiais, and landowners, and place-hunters who 
f atten upon the poverty and niisfortunes of the country. 
Let me suggest a parallel. Would it be tolerated in 
England for a moment if the Government for their 
own party purposes, on the eve of a gênerai élection, 
were to use the Prince of Wales as an electioneering 
agent in any section of the country, and were to send 
him upon a royal progress in order to embarrass their 
political opponents? The breach of constitution^ 
privilège becomes still graver when we consider that it 
is the march of a nation which is now sought to be 
impeded — the fruition of a long struggle and of many 
sacrifices which the adventitious aid of this royal 
visit is enlisted to injure. I hâve, however, every 
confidence that our people, having been suitably fore- 
warned, will not allow their hospitable nature and 
cordial disposition to carry them into any attitude 
which might be taken as one of condonation for 
the past, or satisfaction with the présent state of 

* Charles S. Parnell.' 

ParneH's advice to reçoive the roval visitors with 
courtesy and reserve was not taken. There were hostile 
démonstrations in the south. In sonie districts black 
flags were hung along the line of route and the 
inscription was shown : * Wc will hâve no Prince but 
Charlie.' English people were relieved, says the 
* Animal Register,' when the Prince returned. 

On the eve of the General Election of 1885 Ireland 
was boiling with sédition. Lord Spencer, like Mr. 
Forster, was tarred with the coercion brush. Wherever 

Mr. 39] THE CAMPAIGN OF 1885 48 

he went throughout the south and west he was received 
with manifestations of disloyal ty. From the hour of his 
landing to the hour of his departure ' United Ireland/ 
expressing popular opinion, never ceased to denounce 
him in language of unmeasured vitupération. 

His excursions through the streets of Dublin sur- 
rounded by a military escort suggested rather the 
présence of an arbitrary despot than the rule of a con- 
stitutional Viceroy. The people sought his overthrow 
and the overthrow of the Minister who sent him with 
a singleness of purpose and a tenacity of will which 
for the moment dwarfed almost every popular grievance 
and obscured every popular aspiration. 'Eemember 
Coercion ! Down with Gladstone ! ' was the war-cry 
of the day. 

Parnell was unmoved by the passions which swayed 
the multitude. He surveyed the situation with his usual 
calmness, and with his usual clearness of vision. Mr. 
Gladstone's Government was doomed. That much 
was évident. He had the power to destroy it, and he 
would destroy it. But what then ? 

In opening the campaign of 1885 Parnell fixed his 
eyes on three men in public life — Lord Bandolph 
Churchill, Mr. Chamberlain, and Mr. Gladstone. As 
we hâve seen, he had no faith in English parties. He 
believed that neither Whigs nor Tories would do any- 
thing for Ireland because of righteousness. Office was 
the goal of every English politician. It was for him 
to see that no English politician should reach it except 
through the open ranks of the Irish parliamentary 
party. The new Eeform Act would enable him to 
command a following of eighty or ninety members. 
With this force, well disciplined, he would be master 
of the situation. It was said that he ought to address 


public meetings in England. He laughed contemptu- 
ously at the suggestion. He would concentrate ail his 
efforts to bring English statesmen to his feet. Then 
he would let them convert the English people. That 
was his plan of opération. 

Parneli liked few men ; above ail, he liked few 
Englishmen. Yet he regarded Lord Eandolph Churchill 
with no unfriendly feelings. He thought that the 
young Tory Democrat possessed generous instincts, 
entertained kindly feelings towards the Irish, and was 
full of originality, resource, and courage. A pleasant 
companion, frank, witty, joyous, with a dash of fun and 
inischief, there was no English member w T ith whom 
Parneli would rather spend an hour in the Smoking- 
room of the House of Commons than this Kadical who 
was boni a Tory. But would Lord Eandolph take up 
Home Kule? Well, Parneli was of opinion that he 
was as likely to take it up as any other Englishman, 
and (at the w T orst) for the same reason — to get into office ; 
at his best, however, Parneli believed that Lord Eandolph 
was more likely to be genuinely touched by the Irish 
case than any of his compatriots. He also had a 
shrewd suspicion that there was nothing which this 
rattling young Tory would relish more keenly than 
' dishing ' the Whigs — except, perhaps, ' dishing ' the 
Tories. But if he were drawn towards Home Eule, 
would he bring the Tory party with him? Of 
this Parneli had grave doubts. Yet he was satisfied 
that with Lord Bandolph's help he could at least create 
a diversion on the Tory side which would fill the 
Libérais with alarm and force them forward in his 

Politically, Parneli held the member for Birmingham 
in high esteem. They had combined to throw over 


Mr. Forster. Would they combine to carry Home 
Bule ? No member of the Cabinet was more advancèd 
on Irish questions than the Badical leader. He had 
prepared a scheme of self-government which gave the 
Irish everything but a Parliament. He had always 
considered, and even at times consulted, the Irish party 
on Iriôh subjects. He kept in touch with the Natiônal- 
ists when his colleagues in the Cabinet shunned them 
as pariahs. He disbelieved in the policy of coercion. 
He was fully in sympathy with a policy of redress and 
reform. Assuredly, if there were any English politician 
with whom Parnell might be expected to cultivate 
cordial relations, it was with Mr. Chamberlain. Yet as 
the crisis approached he kept the member for Birming- 
ham at arm's length. 

Mr. Healy and Mr. Chamberlain saw a good deal 
of each other in those days. On one occasion Mr. 
Chamberlain asked Mr. Healy to dine with him in 
order to hâve a talk about Ireland. Mr. Healy asked 
Parneirs permission. Parnell said, ' No,' angrily, and 
showed very clearly that he did not désire the con- 
tinuant of friendly relations between the two men. 
In fact, Parnell seems to hâve made up his mind that 
Mr. Chamberlain would go to the verge of Home Bule 
and stop there. He would make the running for Mr. 
Gladstone. He could be relied on to that extent, but 
no more. 

Mr. Gladstone remained. Parnell had no love for 
Mr. Gladstone. But he regarded every person in public 
life in England as an intellectual pigmy compared to 
the Grand Old Man. ' Ah,' he once said to me in the 
Smoking-room of the House of Commons, ' you do not 
know what it is to fight Mr. Gladstone. I am no 
match for him.' I said : ' Don't you think y oxx ' VMC ^ fcT - 


estimate your powers ? ' He answered : ' No ; I coula 
not explain to you what a strain it is to hâve to fight 
him. I know it. I hâve fought him, and am ready to 
fight him again; but he knows more moves on the 
board than I do.' He then paused ; an Irish member 
entered *from the Terrace. Parnell, shaking the ashes 
from a cigar, looked at him, adding quickly, with an 
arch smile, 'But he thinks he is a match for Mr. 

Man for man, Parnell would rather hâve Mr. 
Gladstone on his side than anyone in England. Party 
for party, he preferred the Tories to the Libérais. 
'The Tories,' he said, 'can carry a Home Kule Bill 
through the Lords. Can the Libérais ? ' Hoping to 
convert the Tories, he believed nevertheless that Mr. 
Gladstone would in the end outstrip ail competitors 
in the race for the Irish vote. The greatest parlia- 
mentary tactician of the âge, the chances were he 
would out-manœuvre every antagonist. He might even 
out-manœuvre Parnell himself . Still the course of the 
Irish leader was perfectly clear. He had to threaten 
Mr. Chamberlain with Lord Randolph Churchill, and 
Mr. Gladstone w T ith both, letting the whole world know 
meanwhile that his weight would ultimately be thrown 
into the scale which went down upon the side of 
Ireland. His first move was against the Government. 
Hc wished to înake the Libérais fed the power of the 
Irish vote. That could be doue l>y bcating them with 
the Irish vote. 

On May 15 Mr. Gladstone announced the détermi- 
nation of the Cabinet to renew the Crimes Act. 1 The 

1 Mr. Gladstone' s Cabinet had decided, according to the account 
given by the Prime Minister, 4 with the Queen's permission,' to abandon 
the coercion clauses of the Act, but to invest the Viceroy by statate with 
Dower to en force, wherever and whenever necessary, the 'Procédure 


Bill was to be introduced on June 10. Parnell bided 
his time, watching his opportunity. On June 8 the 
second reading of the Budget Bill was moved by the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer. ' Sir Michael Hicks- 
Beach moved an araendment condemning the increase 
of béer and spirit duties proposed by Ministers. The 
House divided on the question. The Irish vote was caet 
upon the side of the Tories, and the Government were 
defeated by a majority of 14. When the figures, 264 — 
252, were handed in, a wild cheer of triumph and 
vengeance, mingled with cries of 'Remember coercion/ 
broke from the Irish benches. Parnell had shot his 
boit and brought down his man. Mr. Gladstone 
resigned immediately, and before the end of the month 
the Tories were in office. Lord Salisbury was Prime 
Minister, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, Lord Bandolph Churchill Secretary of State 
for India, and the Earl of Carnarvon Viceroy of Ireland. 
The effect of this coup de main on Libéral opinion has 
been described by Mr. Morley : ' A second point that 
cannot escape attention in this crisis is the peremptory 
dissipation of favourite illusions as to the Irish vote 
"not counting." The notion that the two English 
parties should establish an agreement that if either of 
them should chance to be beaten by a majority due to 
Irish auxiliaries the victors should act as if they had 
lost the division has been cherished by some who are 
not exactly simpletons in politics. We now see what 
such a notion is worth. It has proved to be worth 
just as much as might hâve been expected by any on- 
looker who knows the players, the fierceness of the 

clauses * which related to changes of venu*, Spécial jtiries, Boyoottmg. 
Ministers proposed, in fact, to dispense with the name and maintain the 
reality of coercion.— Jeyes, The Right Hon. Joseph Cjuimterto™^ \4&. 


game, and the irrésistible glitter of the prizes. When 
it suits their own purpose the two English parties will 
unité to baffle or to crush the Irish, but neither of them 
will ever scruple to use the Irish in order to baffle or to 
crush their ôwn rivais. This fancy must be banished 
to the same limbo as the similar dream that Ireland 
could be disfranchised and reduced to the rank of a 
Crown colony. Three years ago, when Ireland wa» 
violently disturbed and the Irish members were ex- 
tremely troublesome, this fine project of governing 
Ireland like India was a favourite consolation even to 
some Libérais who might hâve been expected to know 
better. The absurdity of the design and the shallow- 
ness of those who were captivated by it were swiftly 
exposed. A few months after they had been consoling 
themselves with the idea of taking away the franchise 
from Ireland they ail voted for a measure which 
extended the franchise to several hundreds of thousands 
of the inhabitants of Ireland who had not possessed it 
before, and who are not at ail likely to employ their 
newpower in the direction of Crown colonies, or martial 
law, or any of the other random panaceas of thoughtless, 
incontinent politicians. As for the new Government, 
sharp critics — and some of the sharpest are to be 
found on their own benches — do not shrink from 
declaring that they corne into power as Mr. ParneU'8 
lieutenants. His vote has installed, it can displace 
them ; it has its price, and the price will be paid. In 
the whole transaction the Irish not only count, they 
almost count for cverything.' 

Parnell scored heavily by his first move. He put the 
Libérais out, and the Tories in ; punished the one party, 
and made the other dépendent on his will. It was 
check for Lord Salisbury, and checkmate for Mr. 


Gladstone. That was the state of the game in July 

Kept in office by Parnell, the Tories did not of 
course attempt to renew the Crimes Act. They were 
more Libéral than the Libérais themselves ; and Lord 
Carnarvon, in a gracions speech, expressed his détermina- 
tion to rule by the ordinary law. Parnell asked for an 
inquiry into the trials of the Maamtrasna murderers. 
It was granted. Sir William Harcourt denounced the 
action of the Executive in reopening the subject as a 
reflection both upon the Government of Lord Spencer 
and upon the administration of justice in Ireland. Lord 
Eandolph Churchill scoffed at Sir William's qualms, 
repudiated ail responsibility for the Government of Lord 
Spencer, and condemned the Libéral policy of coercion. 
The Tory Press was shocked. ' We admit,' said the 
' Standard,' * the force of the temptation to conciliate 
Mr. Parnell. We do not at ail dispute the probability 
that the simple expédient adopted will succeed. But 
that, in our opinion, is not enough to justify the tactics 
that hâve been employed.' 

' It was not Lord Spencer alone whose good faith 
has been impeached,' said the * Times,' 'but the Irish 
judiciary, the law officers of the Crown, the public 
prosecutor, the magistracy, and the police.' 

The following extracts will give the reader some 
notion of the efforts which were made by the Tory 
leaders to ' conciliate ' Parnell. 

Lord Bandolph Churchill. ' Undoubtedly we do 
intend to inaugurate a change of policy in Ireland. . . , 
The policy of the late Government so exasperated 
Irishmen — maddened and irritated that imaginative 
and warm-hearted race — that I firmly believe that had 
the late Government remained in office no amount ot 

VOL. il. B 


bayonets or niilitary would hâve prevented outbreaks 
in Ireland.' 

Lord Carnarvon. ' I believe for my own part that 
spécial législation of this (coercion) sort is inexpedient. 
It is inexpedient while it is in opération, and it is still 
more inexpedient when it has to be renewed at short 

Lord Salisbury. l The effect of the Crimes Act has 
been vcry inuch exaggerated. While it was in existence 
there grew up a thousand branches of the National 
Lcague, and it is from them that thosc difficulties 
procceded with which we hâve now to contend. The 
provisions in the Crimes Act against boycotting were 
of very small effect. It grew up under that Act because 
it is a crime which législation has very great difficulty 
in rcaching. I hâve seen it stated that the Crimes Act 
diminishcd outrages ; that boycotting acted through 
outrages ; and that the Crimes Act diminished boycot- 
ting. . . . It is not truc ; the Act did not diminish 
outrages. In Scptember without the Crimes Act there 
were fewer outrages than in August with that Act. . . . 
The truth about boycotting is that it dépends upon the 
passing humour of the population. I do not believe 
that in any community it has endured. I doubt 
whctlier in any community law has been able to 
provide a satisfactory remedy ; but I believe it contains 
its own Neniesis.' 

Parnell set his heart on anewLand Bill to facilitate 
the création of a tenant proprietary. Such a Bill was 
passed. Lord Ashbournc's Act took its place on the 
statute-book. By this nieasure the State was empowered 
to advance a part or the wholc of the purchase money 
to tenants who had agreed with their landlords to pur- 
chase their holdings. Forty-nine years were allowed 

Mt. 39] LOÎfcî) CARNARVON 51 

for repayment of the purchase money, at the rate of 
4 per cent., and 5,000,000Z. were taken from the sur- 
plus fund of the Irish Disestablished Church and set 
aside for the purposes of the Act. But the most 
remarkable development of the Tory Irish ' alliance ' 
has yet to be unfolded. 

In the summer of 1885 Lord Carnarvon invited 
Parnell to meet him to discuss the affairs of Ireland. 
Mr. Justin McCarthy shall begin this story : 

' Some time in the summer of 1885 Howard Vincent 
came to me in the House of Commons and said that 
Lord Carnarvon wished to hâve a talk with Parnell 
about Ireland. Vincent asked if an interview could be 
arrangea. I said that Parnell was a difficult man to 
see, and that I doubted if it could be arrangea. 

' Vincent said that the interview could take place at 
his house, and that everything would be managcd very 
quietly ; he would keep ail the servants out of the way, 
and open the door himself . I promised to see Parnell and 
to put the matter before him. I did see Parnell, and I 
told him ail that Howard Vincent had said. Parnell 
replied : " I will see Lord Carnarvon at his own house if 
he wishes to see me. There must be no mystery." I told 
this to Vincent, and it was finally settled that I should 
see Lord Carnarvon first. I called on Lord Carnarvon 
at his own house. He opened the conversation, saying 
he wished to talk about Ireland and to hear Parnell's 
views. He asked me if there were any suggestions 
about the government of the country which I would 
like to make. I said: "The first suggestion, Lord 
Carnarvon, I would like to offer is that you should go 
about without a military escort and without détectives. 
Trust the people." 

' He answered : " I hâve made up ixw, juin! on ti&afc 


point already. I mean to trust the people. M Next he 
said that he was in favour of Home Rule.' 

I asked : * Are you sure he said Home Bule ? ' 

McCarthy. 'Yes, hedid.' 

' Did he give any sort of explanation as to what he 
meant by Home liule ? ' 

McCarthy. 'Yes, he said some such arrangement 
as existed in the English colonies. He did not conceal 
that he would hâve some difficulty with his colleagues 
in the Cabinet, but he made no secret that he was him- 
self in favour of Home Rule. I said that Parnell was 
willing to sec him in his own house. He replied that 
they could meet at his sister's house in Grosvenor 
Square. The liouse was not, I believe, at that time 
occupied. The carpets were up. That was the reason, 
I suppose, that Parnell said af terwards that the meeting 
took place in an empty house. I saw Parnell imme- 
diately, and told him what had taken place between 
Carnarvon and myself. 

4 A few days later Parnell and Carnarvon met at the 
house in Grosvenor Square. They were quite alone. 
Parnell never gave me an account of the interview. 
He often had interviews which he kept to himself. 
Subsequently — it might be some months later — Car- 
narvon wrote to a lady, a mutual friend, saying that he 
was going to Hatfield to see Lord Salisbury, and that 
if he should happen to see me, to say that he would 
like to hâve a talk with me. This lady invited me to 
dinner to meet Lord Carnarvon ; the only persons pré- 
sent were the lady and her hnsband, and Lord Carnarvon 
and myself. After dinner the lady and her husband 
took some opportunity of retiring from the room, and 
Carnarvon and I were left alone. He at once called my 
attention to an interview which Parnell had just given 


to an American newspaper. In this interview Parnell 
was reported to hâve said that he expected more from 
Mr. Gladstone than he did from the Tories. " If this 
newspaper report be true," said Lord Carnarvon, " there 
is no use in our going on." That was his expression, 
or something like it, as well as I can recollect. I 
unf ortunately had not seen this report. I knew nothing 
about it. I could not give any explanation. I could 
not say anything. 1 

' Carnarvon added something to the effect that if 
Parnell looked to Mr. Gladstone to settle the question 
of Home Eule it was idle for him to discuss the subject 

'That was substantially what happened at this 
interview. I had always a high opinion of Lord 
Carnarvon. I feel satisfied he was willing to give us 
Home Eule, but how far he could carry the Cabinet 
with him, of course, I do not know. It is possible that 
Carnarvon was honestly thinking of Home Eule, while 
the Cabinet were thinking of the General Election.' 

Lord Carnarvon's account of the transaction may 
now be given : 

' Towards the end of last July it was intimated to 
me that, if I were willing, Mr. Parnell would also be 
willing to meet me in conversation. ... At that 
moment there was no one who could precisely say 
what the wishes and the desires of the Irish parlia- 
mentary party were. There had been singular réticence 
on their part, and it was impossible really to know what 
their views and opinions were. 

' There was only one man who was in any way 
qualified to speak. He was the chosen leader of the 

1 This was an interview with a reporter of the New York Herald in 


Irish parliamentary party, and his power was singu- 
larly and exceptionally large. He stood at the head of 
the parliamentary body, who hâve proved their strength 
by virtually controlling the business of the House of 
Commons. It was notorious that when the new Par- 
liament should be elected his strength would be at least 
doubled. When I, therefore, received such an intimation 
I felt that, on my part at least, I had no option in the 
matter. It seemed to nie to be my duty to make myself 
acquaintcd with what Mr. Parneirs views and opinions 
were. . . . 

* I cndeavoured to make myself explicit to Mr. 
Parnell. I cxplained that the three conditions upon 
which I could enter into conversation with him were : 

' First of ail, that I was acting for myself by myself, 
that ail the responsibility was mine, and that the com- 
munications were from me alone — that is, from my lips 

* Secondly, that that conversation was with référence 
to information only, and that it must be understood 
that there was no agrcement or understanding, however 
shadowv, between us. 

'And, thirdly, that I was there as the Queen's 
servant, and that I would neither hear nor say one 
word that was inconsistent with the union of the two 

' To thèse conditions Mr. Parnell consented, and I had 
the advantage of hearing from him his gênerai opinions 
and views on Irish matters. This reallv is the whole 
case. Mr. Parnell was quitc frank and straightforward 
in ail lie Raid. I, on the other hand, had absolutely 
nothing to concoal, and everything I said I shall be 
perfectly contented to be judged by. Both of us left 
the room as frec as when we entered it. It was the 


first, the last, and the only time that I had the pleasure 
of meeting Mr. Parnell.' l 

Parnell's statement cornes next : 

' Lord Carnarvon originally proposed that I should 
meet him at the house of a gentleman (a member of 
Parliament 2 ) who subsequently undertook a mission to 
Ireland, and obtained letters of introduction to several 
leading members of the Irish parliamentary party, with 
whom he discussed in détail the species of an Irish 
Parliament which would be acceptable to Ireland. I 
declined, however, to meet Lord Carnarvon at the house 
of a stranger, and suggested that if the interview were 
to take place at ail it had best be at his own rési- 
dence. I must take issue with the correctness of Lord 
Carnarvon's memory as to two of the three conditions 
which he allèges he stated to me, as the conditions 
upon which he could enter into any conversation with 
me — namely, that first of ail he was acting of himself, 
by himself, and that the responsibility was his, and the 
communications were from him alone ; and secondly, 
that he was there as the Queen's servant, and that he 
would neither hear nor say one word that was incon- 
sistent with the union of the two countries, and that I 
consented to thèse conditions. Now, Lord Carnarvon 
did not lay down any conditions whatever as a pre- 
liminary to his entering into conversation with me. It 
must be manifest that if he desired to do so he would 
hâve intimated them when requesting the interview. 
He certainly made no use whatever of the two terms of 
the two conditions which I hâve repeated. There is, 
however, some foundation for his statement concerning 
the remaining one, inasmuch as he undoubtedly re- 

1 House of Lords, Jane 10, 1885, 
3 Sir Howftrd Vincent, 


marked at thc commencement of our conversation that 
he hoped I would understand that we were not engaged 
in making any treaty or bargain whatever. Lord 
Carnarvon then proceeded to say that he had sought 
this interview for the purpose of ascertaining my 
views regarding, should he call it, a " Constitution for 
Ireland." But I soon found that he had brought me 
there in order that he might give his own views upon 
this matter as well as ascertaining mine. I readily 
opened my mind to him on the subject, and in reply 
to an inquiry as to a proposai which had been made to 
build up a central législative body on the foundation 
of county boards, I told him that I thought that this 
would be working in a wrong direction, and would not 
be accepted as a seulement by Ireland ; that the 
central législative body should be a Parliament in name 
and in fact, that it should be left to the considération 
of whatever System of local government for the 
counties might be found necessary. Lord Carnarvon 
then assured me that that was his own view also ; 
that he strongly appreciated the importance of giving 
due weight to the sentiments of the Irish in this 
matter. He then inquired whether in my judgment 
some plan of constituting a Parliament in Dublin 
short of Itepeal of the Union might not be devised and 
prove acceptable to Ireland ; and he made certain 
suggestions to this end, taking the colonial model as a 
basis, which struck nie as being the resuit of much 
thought and knowledge of the subject. Then came 
the référence to protection. We were discussing the 
gênerai outline of a plan for constituting a Législature 
for Ireland on the colonial model, when I took 
occasion to remark that protection for certain Irish 
industries against English and foreign compétition 


would be absolutely necessary; upon which Lord 
Carnarvon said : " I entirely agrée with you, but what 
a row there will be about it in England." 

' At the conclusion of the conversation — which lasted 
more than an hour, and to which Lord Carnarvon was 
very much the larger contributor — I left him, believing 
that I was in complète accord with him regarding the 
main outlines of a settlement conferring a Législature 
upon Ireland. In conversing with him I dealt with the 
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who was responsible for 
the government of the country. I could not suppose 
that he would fail to impress the views which he had 
disclosed to me upon the Cabinet, and I hâve reason to 
believe that he did so impress them, and that they were 
strongly shared by more than one important member 
of the body, and strongly opposed by none.' l 

But the most interesting communication which I 
hâve received on this subject is from the pen of Sir 
Charles Gavan Duffy. 

1 Communicated to the Central News Agency, Jane 12, 1886. 




By Sir Charles Gavan Dujfy 

I assent, my dear O'Brien, to your request that I 
should write the story of Lord Carnarvon's pourparler 
with Mr. Parnell and other Nationaliste in 1885, chiefly 
because I think that Lord Carnarvon has never had 
fair play in that transaction either from friends or 
enemies. He was misrepresented not so inuch from 
malice as from sheer misconception, for he was a type 
of man with whom his critics were not familiar. To the 
cynical nothing seems simpler than the case : a lead- 
ing member of a Government much in need of votes 
conferred with the leader of a numerous parliamentary 
party on a measure which they greatly desired, and 
with which he expressed substantial sympathy ; but at 
a period when their votes happened to be no longer 
necessary the Government separatcd themselves 
peremptorily from the Minister who had conducted the 
parley, and of course he could effect nothing without 
them. To men, however, acquainted with Lord Car- 
narvon's strict and sensitive code of honour, to which 
he had more than once sacrifieed office, the implied 
hypothesis was unacceptable, but they confessed it was 
unfortunate that his sympathy with Irish autonomy 


should coincide so strictly with the necessities of his 
own party. The reader who follows this narrative to 
the end will acknowledge that the coincidence was 
purely accidentai. Lord Carnarvon had been long of 
opinion that among the unsettled problems which 
disturb the peace and security of the Empire the dis- 
content of Ireland was the most dangerous, and that a 
statesman could attempt no higTaer task than to abate 
or suppress it. He did not take up the Irish problem 
on a sudden party emergency, but, as we shall préfeently 
see, acting on a long held and well-weighed conviction 
that its solution by some just and reasonable method 
was vital to the public peace and security of the Empire. 
I undertake to tell the story because I know more of it 
than most men, perhaps than any man, and I désire and 
design to speak the naked truth, which just men hâve 
no need to fear. 

When I returned from Australia to Europe in the 
spring of 1880 I made Mr. ParnelTs acquaintance. 
He was then a tall, stately-looking young man of 
reserved manners, who spoke little, but the little was 
always to the purpose. He questioned me as to my 
political intentions, and I told him I came home to 
work for Ireland, but not in Parliament. I hoped to 
Write certain books, and a career in the House of 
Commons was hard to reconcile with any serioua 
literary enterprise. Outside of Parliament I should 
consider myself free to take whatever course seemed 
best to me on public questions without giving anyone 
a right to complain, for I would connect myself with 
no party. He renewed the subject once or twice, but 
this was always the substance of my reply. 

During the five stormy years that followed I resided 
chiefly on the Continent, and watched his career from 


a distance. On îny annual visits to London I saw 
him occasionally at a dinner-table or under the gallery 
in the House of Commons, and our conversation on 
thèse occasions generally consisted of my criticism on 
his policy or that of his supporters in Ireland, which 
lie bore with consummate good humour. I thought 
they might hâve done more to suppress outrages and 
abate endless turbulence, and I insisted that talking of 
obtaining the land for the people at • prairie value ' was 
misleading and must end in disastrous disappointment. 
The Irish movement was one in favour of as just a 
cause as ever man advocated, but it was not only often 
reckless in its violence, but, as 1 was persuaded, hide- 
bound by want of knowledge and expérience. Mr. 
Parnell was entirely unfamiliar with the studies and 
experiments which had brought a new soûl into Ireland 
nearly half a century before. He belonged to a family 
which had reared Thomas Parnell, the author of ' The 
Hennit/ but he was so little sympathetic with that an- 
cestry that one of his friends told me he seriously asked 
him what was the use of poetry ? His friend told him, I 
trust, that one of its most practical uses was to kindle 
patriotism, to feed it with Divine nourishment, and to 
re-kindle it after every defeat. The ' new movement,' 
as it was named, made conflicting impressions upon 
me. I could not fail to see that Mr. Parnell possessed 
one gift in perfection — the great and rare gift of domi- 
nating and controlling men. I had hcid much expérience 
of Irish parties at home and abroad, and I had seen no 
one who possessed such mastery of a race among whom 
individuality is a passion. Grattan did not long control 
the Parliament which he made independent ; O'Connell 
among men whose position depended altogether on his 
will was a joyous companion, among the gay loud- 


speaking Celts, or at highest a peer among peers ; but 
the proud, silent, isolated attitude of the new dictator 
was something altogether différent. And it increased 
the marvel of his authority that he possessed none of 
the gif ts by which his predecessors had won popularity. 
He had not a gleam of the éloquence of Grattan, or the 
passion and humour of O'Connell, or any trace of the 
generous forbearance by which Smith O'Brien aimed 
to efface himself in the interest of his cause, or of 
Butt's exact knowledge of Irish interests and annals, 
but he ruled with more unquestioned authority than 
any of them had done. 

But his rule was rudely disturbed by a horrible and 
unforeseen calamity, the murder of Lord Frederick 
Cavendish. A howl rose from the English Press 
against Parnell, to whom the crime was more disastrous 
than to any man in the community. He was so 
stricken by the calamity that he resolved to retire from 
Parliament and public life, and abandon a cause which 
villains and imbéciles had covered with so much 
shame. He proffered his résignation to Mr. Gladstone, 
and announced it to his party, but no one thought that 
a crime which he detested would justify such a retreat. 
I may mention, as a circumstance which partly ex- 
plains the appeal to him I am about presently to 
describe, that while he was still resolved to retire he 
recommended his friends to find a substitute by the 
impossible expédient of inducing me to re-enter Parlia- 
ment and take his place, 1 and in public and private he 
alluded gratefully to the création of Independent Oppo- 
sition in 1852 ; and more than once intimated that my 
relation with that event made him always ready to 
listen to my friendly counsels. 

1 Becollections of C. S. ParneU, by T. M. Healy, M.P. 


In the discussions over a new Crimes Bill, which the 
Government introduced to crush the Phœnix Park con- 
spirators, the friendly relations between the Administra- 
tion and the Irish party were altogether shattered, and 
the parliamentary contests between them were fierce 
and furious. During the same session the Gladstone 
Government carried the Irish Land Bill of 1881, which 
has proved a great boon to Ireland. They carried also 
a Keform Bill, which for the first time gave Ireland 
the same franchise as England. Strange to say, Mr. 
Parnell did not vote for the Land Bill (which he pro- 
bably considered inadéquate), and it was only at the 
last moment, on the eve of the second reading, that he 
consented to support the Keform Bill. On every divi- 
sion threatening the existence of the Government the 
Irish party at this time voted with the Opposition, and 
finallv, in June 1885, the Gladstone Government was 
overthrown by their assistance. 

After the fall of Mr. Gladstone's Government 
Lord Salisbury was called to power, and as he was 
only supported by an accidentai majority a dissolution 
of Parliament became necessary. 

I was in London at this time, and I was pro- 
foundly surprised by the intimation from one of 
ParneH's lieutenants that the Irish party had corne 
to the resolution of supporting Tory candidates at 
the coming élection. At a later period an address 
was published to the Irish electors in England 
which confirmed ail I had heard. The address waB 
a violent and implacable impeachment of the Libéral 
party, arraigning them as having coerced Ireland, 
deluged Egypt with blood, menaced religious liberty 
in the school, and freedom of speech in Parliament. 
The Gladstone party, it declared, had attained power 


by promises which were ail falsified. It promised 
peace, and made unjust wars ; promised economy, and 
its Budget reached the highest point yet attained ; it 
promised justice to aspiring nationalises, and it merci- 
lessly crushed the national movement in Egypt under 
Arabi Pasha and murdered thousands of Arabs, 'rightly 
struggling to be free.' To Ireland, more than any 
other country, it bound itself by most solemn pledges, 
and thèse it flagrantly violated. It denounced coercion, 
and it practised a System of coercion more brutal than 
that of any previous Administration. Juries were 
packed in Ireland with unprecedented shamelessness, 
and innocent men were hung or sent to the living 
death of pénal servitude ; twelve hundred men were 
robbed of their liberty in Ireland without trial; and 
for a period every utterance of the popular Press or 
of the popular platform was as completely suppressed 
as if Ireland were Poland and the administration of 
England Eussian autocracy. I was much alarmed 
at the insensate policy about to be pressed upon my 
countrymen. Parnell was difficult to find, but I called 
upon Dwyer Gray and told him that I desired very 
much to hâve a conférence with Parnell on the policy 
of the hour. Gray promised to arrange a tête-à-tête 
dinner for the ensuing Saturday, which took place at 
his house accordingly, the party consisting of Parnell, 
Gray, and myself. 

I asked Parnell what he was to get from the 
Tories for Ireland in return for the support about to be 
given to them. He said the new Government were 
not going to renew Forster's Coercion Bill ; beyond 
that he did not know what they meditated. I replied 
that he ought to know ; he was bound before obtaining 
the support of Irish voters for candidates who in 


Ireland would be often Orangemen, and in England 
often bigots or blockheads. His support was enor- 
mously important to the Tory party, and to get nothing 
in exchange for such a boon was not policy or strategy, 
but childish folly. What could he get, and how could 
he get it ? he demanded. You might get, I replied, the 
promise of a Select Committee or a Boyal Commission 
to hear évidence and report on the best means of allay- 
ing Irish discontent ; the best and only means being, 
as we knew, Home Eule. As to the method, I re- 
minded him of what happened recently with respect to 
the late Keform Bills ; the leaders of the two parties 
met in private, and came to a compromise which their 
supporters accepted without controversy. 'Yes/ he 
said, ' but an august personage was understood to hâve 
recommended that compromise, and he had no august 
personage to help him.' No, I rejoined, but he had 
something as décisive ; he had the power of turning 
the Tory minority into a majority. If the new Govern- 
ment promised to consider Home Eule favourably 
there was probably not a seat in Ireland which they or 
we could not carry. Gray asked whom was Parnell to 
approach. The whips were worth nothing in such a 
case ; they had no authority, and might be disavowed. 
I said I could put him into communication with a 
Cabinet Minister who was well disposed towards Ireland, 
even to the extent of desiring to give her self-govern- 
ment, and who was a man of integrity and honour, 
who might be relied upon to do whatever he promised. 
The man, I added, was the new Lord Lieutenant for 
Ireland, Lord Carnarvon. Parnell expressed much 
satisfaction, and we debated the method by which this 
opportunity might be made most fruitful. I said if 
Parnell abandoned the idea of vengeance on the 


• e - • , # • 

Libérais, which I considered insensate in a popular 
leader, and took the ground that he would help the new 
Government to the best of his ability at the élections 
and in Parliament provided they took up the Home 
Rule question, at least to the extent of promising an 
inquiry, I would go to Ireland and open negotiations 
with |Lord Carnarvon which Parnell might confirm 
later. Gray asked if my récent article in the ' National 
Review,' appealing to the Conservative party to carry 
Home Rule, was written in concert with any Con- 
servatives. Yes, I said, I had consulted some Conser- 
vatives in the House of Commons on the subject, and 
the article was sent to the ' National Review/ of whosé 
editor I knew nothing, by Lord Carnarvon. Before 
separating I urged on Parnell and Gray the need of 
getting the Tories to give a Catholic University tô 
Ireland. Parnell demanded if there were any great 
need of it. Yes, I said, vital need. The Scotch had 
excellent schools and collèges, and they beat the Irish 
everywhere in the battle of life. This was very signifi- 
cant in the Colonies, and Gray would tell him that in 
Ireland the business of his large office was managed by a 
Scotch Presbyterian, and that James Duffy's publishing 
establishment was managed by another Scotch Presby- 
terian ; not certainly that they preferred Scotch Presby- 
terians, but that they were of opinion that they could 
not get so suitable men at home. Gray assented, and 
Parnell said that if it could he done it ought to be doné. 
I agreed to go to Ireland immediately, and I said 
I w r ould open the business by a public letter to Lord 
Carnarvon on the justice and policy of conceding Homp 

I must now state the grounds upon which I 
counted on the assistance of Lord Carnarvon. During 

VOL. II. p 


a visit to Europe from Àustralia in 1874 I made his 
acquaintance, he being at that time Secretary of State 
for the Colonies. I was his guest repeatedly at High- 
clere and in London, and had much conversation with 
him on Colonial and Impérial affairs, and had an 
opportunity of noting hirn in action and in council. I 
was much impressed by the essential justness aûd fair- 
ness of his opinions, especially on questions which long 
controversy had rendered morbid. He was a Tory 
without a soupçon of the religious bigotry which I had 
so habitually seen associated with Toryism in Ireland 
and Australia, and as ready as any man I hâve ever 
encountered to hear his opinions frankly debated. He 
took up public questions, not to estimate the party 
results they might yield, but to détermine what was 
just and necessary respecting them. He spoke of 
Au8tralian Fédération, Impérial Fédération, and, to my 
great satisfaction, the claims of Ireland to self-govern- 
ment. He seemed to hâve arrived at the conclusion 
that the honour and interest of the Empire demanded 
some settlement of the Irish claims which would put 
an end to chronic disaffection. Thèse were topics on 
which I had long pondered, and had naturally much to 
say, to w T hich he listened with courtesy and attention* 
I probably proposed, at any rate I undertook, to write 
a paper on the Fédération of the Empire, including the 
Fédération of Ireland. I did not keep a copy of this 
paper, and after a quarter of a century might hâve 
forgotten its existence but that a note of Lord 
Carnarvon of that date acknowledging the receipt 
of it revives the subject in my memory, and shows 
conclusively that for a dozen years before his Irish 
Vice-Royalty he was deeply engaged on the Irish 


1 Gedling Reetory, Nottingham : September 74. 

I De ar Sir Gavan Duffy, — Your letter and mémo- 
randum hâve found me where I am staying for a few 
days. Let me thank you much for them. The subject 
of our conversation at Highclere had not in any way 
escaped me. I hâve indeed thought much of it, but I 
was very glad to hâve your opinion actually on paper, 
and in a form so clear and complète as that in which 
you hâve expressed it. I will give it every attention, 
and when later in the autumn we again meet I will tell 
you the resuit of my considération. 

I I certainly will not fail to give you notice of my 
scheme for an undress réception, for I retain a lively 
recollection of the friendly interest that you hâve taken 
in it. It only dépends on our getting access to the new 
buildings, and this I should hope may be early in 

' I hope that you will now feel the benefit of your 
baths (at Aix-les-Bains). As a rule the advantage of 
them cornes out after your return home. Àt the time 
they mainly exhaust the patient. 

' Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

1 Carnarvon.' 

The undress réception referred to in the end of the 
note was a very practical project of having together 
once a fortnight, I think, the leading colonists then in 
Europe, who might frarikly interchange opinions with 
the Minister and with each other. 

When I returned finally to Europe, in 1880, 1 saw 
much of Lord Carnarvon. His mind was set on 
attempting certain large measures, and he perhaps 
thought that I might be of some service in removing 
difficulties. As I was an unequivocal Home Euler, he 

* 2 


assumcd, and had a right to assume, that I saw means 
of carrying Home Rule into opération without injustice 
to the great interests which it would affect. I urged 
him to make some sign of his sympathy with Irish 
claims, but he very naturally sought to hâve the ques- 
tion threshed out before committing himself in any 
public manner. In the spring of 1883 he suggested 
the main difficultés of the case, the préjudices which 
ought to be allayed, and the interests which ought to 
be rendered safe from possible spoliation : 

1 43 Portman Square : April 28, 1883. 

' Dear Sir Gavan Dufpy, — I hâve received and 
carefully read the paper which you hâve sent me. The 
subject is one which it would be far easier to talk over 
in friendly conversation than to discuss on paper, but, 
writing in confidence and as lawyers say "without 
préjudice," I do not like to remain entirely silent in 
answcr to your letter. 

' Viewing the matter, then, as one of argument I 
should say that the w T eak point in the reasoning is this 
— that it is difficult to see the guarantee which you 
and every fair man would désire to give to the English, 
and especially the English landowning population, for 
the security of their property when once the légis- 
lation and government of the country are transferred 
to the Irish people. After the events of the last three 
years sonic real security cannot be considered unreason- 
able, and they should be free either to part with their 
property at a fair value, or their possession of it should 
be guaranteed to theni by some process, which I am 
afraid from the nature of the circumstances is im- 
possible. I do not sec how a money compensation 
could be found without unduc recourse to the English 


taxpayer, and a constitution furnished with safeguards 
to give a voice to the minority and security to property 
would or might become an object of attack to agitators, 
and unless supported by English force — which is a 
supposition fatal to the whole idea on which we are 
arguing — it would be swept away. I do not say that 
this would necessarily happen, but the récent agitation 
in Ireland makes it at least essential to guard against 
it ; for, bad as things are, such a contingency, which 
would mean anarchy of the worst kind, would only 
make it worse. 

1 Some option to sell at a fair price or to remain 
and take their chance under a fair constitution as 
carefully guarded and guaranteed as possible seerns 
alone, in point of argument, to meet the conditions of 
the case ; but hère, as I hâve said, you would be 
confronted by the magnitude of the amount required 
and the practical impossibility of providing it. 

' 1 conclude that you are still at Nice, and I hope 
the better for it in health. Believe me, 

* Yours very sincerely, 


I feared that the whole plan might 'be wrecked by 
the need of purchasing out the landlords at an enor- 
mous cost, and I urged upon him not to insist on 
that condition. It seemed to me that the essential 
basis of an arrangement acceptable to the Tory party 
must bc that the Irish proprietors shall stay at home 
and do their duty, as the gentry of other countries do. 
Why should they not do so ? It was the unspoken 
condition on which their class exists, and its privilèges 
can be justified only if they perform the public duties 
for which they are specially fit, 


There was one class of proprietors, and one only, 
in respect to whoin I thought a provision ought to be 
made for buying out their interests — the absentées 
who hâve estâtes in England. They could not be ex- 
pected to réside in Ireland, and they hâve always been 
a disturbing élément -there. Ireland has been governed 
at their discrétion, and with a care mainly to their 
individual interests, at any time that can be specified 
from the sixteenth century downwards. 

But the securities which he claimed against the 
rash or illegitimate disturbance of the fundamental 
conditions of the new constitution ought, I adinitted — 
and could, I insisted — be provided. It is not necessary 
that I should go into détails hère, as I specified at a 
later period in a ' Review ' article the securities I 
relied on. 

I was fortunate enough to obtain the admission of 
many noted Unionists that it was sufficient. 1 

In the middle of October 1884 I made a visit of 
some days to Highclere with a view to the free 
colloquial discussion which Lord Carnarvon desired. 
The time had manifestly corne to consider the Irish 
question, not as an académie thesis, but as a practical 
problem which might soon demand immédiate handling. 
I was of opinion that there were many other Con- 
servatives, especially in the Housc of Commons, who 
thought that this problem ought to be speedily dealt 
with, and I undertook to write an article showing that 
there was nothing in the principles or practice of the 
party which prohibited them from undertaking the 
task. I wrote an article entitled ' An Appeal to the 

» A Fuir Constitution for Ireland, by Sir C. Oavan Duffy, K.G.M.O. 
Itepublishcd as a pamphlet from the Çontcmporary Review by Samptoa 
Low, Marston il* Co., London. 


Conservative Party/ which Lord Carnarvon sent to 
the ' National Beview,' l their monthly organ. It 
excited wide controversy, and was unexpectedly well 
received by the Conservative Press. A mère glance ai 
the Appeal will be sufficient for my présent purpose, 
but such a glance is necessary to explain Lord Carnar<« 
von's connection with the Irish problem, for I stated 
only opinions which I was persuaded he also heïcL 
I reminded Conservatives that there was nothing îû 
their hereditary policy which forbade them to take the 
çlaims of Ireland into favourable considération, and 
nothing in the nature of thèse claims which juôtifiëd 
English gentlemen in rejecting them without furthei? 

The Tories got their historié naine (Toree = Irish Rapparee) 
from their sympathy with oppressed Catholics whom the Whigff' 
were plundering or loading with pénal laws. On thé fund*î 
mental principles of loyalty and obédience to authority, Iridr 
Catholics and English Tories were then in accord ; but the Irish 
wing of the Tory party were Puritans for the most part (were, in 
fact, bitter Whigs of the original type), and they gave what in 
modem times would be called an Orange tinge to the policy of the* 
entire connection. The original amity, however, justified ther 
preslimption that there is no essential and immovable barrie* 
between Conservatives and the Irish people. They were friend» 
at the beginning— why should they not still be friends ? 

It was on behalf of Tories of the last century that the fini 
offer to repeal the pénal laws was made. William Pitt, prompted 
by Edmnnd Burke, projected the complète émancipation of 
Catholics. Burke said, in so many words : * If you do not 
emancipate the Catholics, they will naturally and inevitably join 
the Bepublican conspiracy hatched in Belfast.' But a cabal in 
Dublin, in the interest of Protestant ascendency, thwarted the 1 
design of the statesmen, and from that day forth the Whigs, who 
took up the measure which their opponents abandoned, hâve been 
ablo to count on Irish Catholics as allies against the Tories* 

1 February 1885, 


To indicate that Ireland need not dépend exclusively 
6n the Tory party I quoted some language of Mr^ 

When Emancipation came at last, more than a génération later, it 
was the Tories who carried it, and carried it against another revolt 
of their allies in Ireland. The gâtes of the Constitution were 
thrown open by Wellington and Peel, but to appease the dis- 
contented wing in Ireland not one Catholic was invited to enter 
and be seated. Soft words do not butter potatoes any more than 
parsnips, and Irishmen were not content with this barren victory. 
Thus another opportunity for inaking friends of a whole nation 
was wantqnly thrown away. 

The Irish land question had become the spécial property of the 
Libéral party, because they were first to legislate upon it. But 
the teaching which must précède législation began with their 
adversaries. Michael Sadler, a Conservative gentleman, was the. 
earliest Englishman to deniand justice for Irish farmers. He 
preached their rights to Parliament and the English people with 
passionate conviction and genuine sympathy, but he preached to 
deaf ears. A génération later Sir Joseph Napier, Irish Attorney* 
General of the Derby Government of 1852, niade a serious and 
generous attempt to settle the question. His measures passed the 
House of Couinions, but the Irish peers, taking fright at the 
concessions which Mr. Disraeli made to the Tenant League party, 
induced Lord Derby to repudiate what had been done or promised ; 
and a week later his Government came to an end by the désertion 
of the Tenant League members, who considered themselves 
betrayed. Again the Tory party were first to take in hand the 
question of middle-class éducation in Ireland ; and if the Queen'i 
Collèges founded by Sir Robert Peel failed, it was once more the 
Tories, led by Mr. Disraeli and Lord Cairns, who proposed an 
effectuai reform of the System. Thus free altars, secure home- 
steads, and that efTectual éducation which is an essential equip- 
ment in the battle of modéra life, were ail in turn proposed, and 
two of the three carried into law, by the party whoin I now 

"NYith such a record, why should it bo impossible for English 
Conservatives to settle the Irish question ? AVas it that thedemand 
made by Irishmen for the control of their own afTairs is répugnant 
to the principes and policy of the Tory party ? Ycry far from it. 


Gladstone's which seemed to me a guarantee that 
sooner or later he would déclare for Home Rule and 
take in hand the greatest question which remained 
for the treatment of an Impérial statesman. ' I honour 
Mr. Gladstone,' I said, 'for his services to Ireland, 
and I would rejoice to see his career crowned by the 
greatest achievement which remains for a British 
statesman to perform. But if another be ready to do 
it sooner and better, the wreath and the palm, the 
applause and the bénédictions, are for the victor. We 
hail as a Hercules not him who has planned* but him 
who has accomplished one of the twelve labours/ 

To illustrate the acceptance of the overture by the 
Press would occupy inordinate space ; an extract from 
the Irish correspondent of the ' Times ' will sufficiently 
indicate its gênerai tendency : 

It was the Tory Cabinet of Sir Robert Peel which laid the basis of 
colonial freedom by establishing parliamentary government in 
Canada. The tuen who had been proclaimed rebels because they 
insisted on the government of Canada by Canadians were 
called to power as responsible Ministers of the Crown ; with 
what results we know. Canada has become more and more 
an intégral part of the Empire It was the first Government 
of Lord Derby, a dozen years later, which established similar 
institutions in Australia. Thèse prosperous and aspiring States 
are now ruled as England is ruled, and as Ireland desires to be 
ruled. The Impérial Government cannot control their local 
institutions any more than it can control the rising or setting of 
the morning star. And among the divers communities who 
recognise the supremacy of the Impérial Crown, who are more 
faithful to its interests than the colonists of Canada and Australia ? 
Had the claims of Canada been trcated as the claims of Ireland 
hâve been treated hitherto, there would hâve been a différent resuit 
to exhibit. 

On the eve of an élection which may and must fix their 
position for a long future, it surely behoves Conservatives still 
more than Whigs to consider what it is fitting they should do in 
the promises, 


. Sir Charles Gavon Dufîy's article in the ( National Review, 9 
rècommending the Conservative party to corne to an understanding 
with the Home Rulers for a settlement of the Irish question upon 
fair and équitable ternis, has excited much interest among varions 
classes of politicians hère, and is very freely discussed. The 
writer's early connection with the Young Ireland movement as 
one of its inost prominent and influential leaders, his long ex- 
périence afterwards as a member of a colonial législature which 
enjoys self-government, and as a statesinan invested with the 
responKibilities of office as Prime Minister, and the moderate and 
cpnciliatory tone in which lie writes, are éléments of considération 
which give a weight and significance to his proposai such as no 
essay of a mère theorist or spéculative politician could possess. 
Loyalists are ready to enter into any combination which ofiers a 
chance of expressing, by their action, the bitter disappointment and 
resentment which they feel. Others, taking a calm and practical 
view of the altered circumstances, seem to think that it is a matter 
of imperative necessity to make the best ternis they can with their 
opponents, and no longer maintain a hopeless struggle against a 
power which has been so strengthened by Ministerial encourage- 
ment and Impérial législation as to become in a short time over- 
whelming. Sir Charles Duflfy is too keen a politician and too 
sagacious an observer of public events not to seo the favourable 
moment which is now presented for interposing as a mediator 
between parties who hâve hitherto been contending and are now 
resting upon their arms, and endeavouring to bring about an 
entente cordiale which may help to realise the object which he has 
alwavs had at heart. 

It mav well be that the tone of the Press on this 
occasion encouraged Lord Carnarvon to believe the 
opportunity for settling the Irish question was at 
length at hand. As a gênerai élection was approaching, 
I urged upon hini to induce his colleagues, the leaders 
of the Opposition, to indicate the intention of con- 
siderintf the Irish problem with a view to a settlement. 
The objections he niade to immédiate action were just 
and reasonable. Ile was determined to act, but not 
to act prematurely or without the co-operation of his 
ordinary allies. This was his reply ; 


Piston Park, Dulverton : Maroh 3, '85. 

' DeÀr Sir Gavan Duffy, — You will hâve seen by 
the papers how severe the political crisis has been, and 
you will hâve known froin your own political expérience 
how impossible it was to do anything beyond the 
necessities of the liour. The pressure is somewhat 
relieved ; but I find very many difficulties on ail sides 
—and some of them aggravated by the récent Fenian 
explosions and by the reports which are constantly 
appearing in the papers of dynamite conférences and 
further intended outrage. But I am mindful of pur 
correspondent and conversation, and am very anxious, 
so far as I hâve the power, to get the whole question 
considered by those who can best deal with it, and' 
without whom it would be vain to look for a satis- 
factory resuit. Ail this means more delay than I 
personally désire ; but you know what public life is, 
and how impossible it is to hurry matters even when 
one is conscious oneself of the value of time. This 
above ail seems clear to me, that prématuré action 
would do far more mischief than présent delay. There 
are so many différent interests, individuals, party con- 
sidérations, that it is extremely difficult to act, and the 
présent extraordinarily disturbed condition of politics 
abroad makes it almost impossible to secure the 
necessary attention for any subject, however important. 
Egypt, France, Germany, and Iiidia threaten, each of 
them, from day to day to raise issues which for the 
moment obscure everything else, however important. 
I never remember in my public life a time of such 
pressure and real anxiety. I write to you quité freely. 
and frankly, because I know that you prefer this, and 
because I wish you tô understand how very great are 
the difficulties which exist ; at the same time, I do not 


think the time has been wasted since my return to 
England. My tendency, as I think I said to you, is 
in ail thèse matters to be cautious, and to avoid any 
prématuré step which must préjudice future action ; 
and I specially dislike to seem to promise more than I 
can fulfil. In this case, as you know, the action of an 
individual is worth little ; it must be the concurrence 
of many to bring about any satisfactory resuit, and 
this is not easy or very quickly to be obtained. 

' I am hère only for a few days, and London is on 
the whole my safest address. 

' I hâve had both your letters, including your last of 
February 27, which, however, only reached me hère' 
this morning. 

' Lady Carnarvon desires me to thank you very 
much for the book on the vine cultivation, which she 
will doubtless receive in a day or two, and to which 
she is looking forward. I wish we were in a climate 
suitable to the growth of grapes ! It is now blowing 
and pouring in a truly English fashion. Believe me, 

' Yours very truly, 

1 Cabnabvon.' 

I doubtless urged various reasons for prompter 
action than he contemplated — of which, however, I hâve 
kept no record — for this was his rejoinder : 

'Dear Sir Gavan Duffy,— I hâve just returned 
hère from London, and I take the first opportunity of 
rcplying to your last letter. 

'Knowing as I do your anxious désire to find a 
solution for that great question on which your heart 
is naturally set, I am afraid you will not think my 
answer a very satisfactory one — and yet it is the only 
one which I can honestly give. 


4 My personal sympathies are, as you know, largely 
with you. I believe I might say the same of many of 
my political friends, though, as I hâve always said, I 
can only speak for myself ; but I hâve corne unwillingly 
to the conclusion that at this moment, in the very 
critical state of foreign affairs, with a gênerai élection 
close upon us, with a condition of parties which 
enormously enhances the great difficulties of the ques- 
tion itself, it is not practicable — or indeed wise — to 
attempt any forward step. And however strong your 
own wish is towards a différent conclusion, I think you 
will agrée that this view is not an unreasonable one. 

4 My belief is that till the General Election is over 
and both parties know their strength any attempt to 
settle this great controversy will not only be hopeless, 
but will distinctly préjudice the resuit ; and if this is 
so, it is clearly one of those cases in which the best 
chance of a settlement lies in patience and some — and 
not a very long — delay. 

* I hope that you will believe that I say this from 
no désire to spare myself labour or anxiety. I appre- 
ciate too much the transcendent importance of the 
subject. But I hâve corne slowly to this conclusion, 
and only after taking every means in my power to 
satisfy myself of the correctness of it. If you do not 
agrée with me, I should yet like to know that you do 
not wholly disagree. Believe me, 

' Yours very truly, 

1 Cabnarvon. 

* Pixton Park, Dulverton : March 18, 1885.» 

I have kept copies of none of my letters to Lord 
Carnarvon, but I find this rough draft of my reply to 
the last note, which contains at least the substance of 
what I said to him : 


' March 24, 1885. 

'Dear Lord Carnarvon, — As you invite me tq 
express an opinion on the détermination you hâve 
arrived at, I will do so with the frankness and sin- 
cerity you would expect. You are so much better 
acquainted than I can possibly be with the difficultés 
to be encountered among your friends in raising thé 
Irish question at présent that it would be idle to 
debate that point. I never doubted there were serions 
difficulties and rooted préjudices to overcome, but what 
has any statesman accomplished worth remembering of 
which as much might not be said ? Statesmen ignoré 
the préjudices of their supporters because they are 
wiser and stronger than they. I pictured to myself 
that a statesman who possesses every blessing that 
fortune can bestow on a man would find in its diffi- 
culty one of the main charms of an enterprise. What 
is easily donc, what any one can do, is scarce worth 
doing by the exceptional man. His purpose ought to 
" stream like a thundercloud against the wind." 

'As respects the condition of parties and the 
approach of a gênerai élection, they seem to me to 
favour action rather than to forbid it. 

4 Is not somcthing due to the Irish party ? If 
they had not voted with the Opposition there would 
be no political crisis in Parliament, but a triumphant 
and irrésistible Government. And again, remember, 
had the Conservatives taken up the question in the 
spirit you were disposed to do, there would probably 
not be one Whig elected for Ireland in 1886. In many 
English constituencies the resuit would hâve been felt, 
for Irish voters would naturally hâve supported candi- 
dates of the party most friendly to Irish interests. 

' Of course I see, on the other hand, that English 


counties, if the question were as suddenly presented 
to them, might be alarmed and offended; that yoù 
don't know the views of the new electors ; and that 
there are party troubles enough already without 
increasing them. Thèse are solid and prudent reasonp 
in ordinary times ; but we live in a period of révo- 
lution, when the party of résistance must stake every- 
thing on a gênerai élection. If, without the help of 
new friends, they are likely to be in a minority in the 
new Parliament, then the urgent problem is to find 
new friends. 

1 1 may mention — though of course it counts for 
nothing — that I had taken certain measures in relation 
to the intended movement. The Irish Catholic bishops 
are going to Eome after Easter, and I proposed to sefc 
certain of them at Nice on their way back, if I were by 
that time authorised to make a spécifie statement to 
them. I had also replied to letters from some of the 
Irish members that I would go to London in Juné, 
with a view to consult with them, expecting to be able 
to speak to them on the same subject. I can now say 
nothing to either/ 

Four months later the Gladstone Government fell 
and the Tories were called to office. To my great satis- 
faction, Lord Carnarvon undertook the office of Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland. Before leaving London, to 
secure himself from the ravenous herd of place-beggarjs 
who assail a new Minister, he took up his quarters for 
a week or two in a friend's house where no one could 
reach him without a passport. I saw him several 
times there, and was much pleased with his scheme of 
Irish policy. I promised to go to Ireland, and obtained 
his consent that I should address a letter to him in the 


newspapers urging him to adopt Home Rule, without, 
however, intimating in any manner that I had reason to 
hope for a favourable answer. 

When I arrived in Dublin I had immediately a letter 
from Lord Carnarvon, inviting me and my wife, who 
had accompanied nie to Ireland, to an officiai dinner at 
the Castle on an early day, and an immédiate con- 
versation at the Viceregal Lodge in the Phœnix Park, 
where he was then residing. I excused myself from 
going to the Castle for any purpose ; I had promised 
long ago never to enter its portais till it was occupied 
by a National Government or a Government in sym- 
pathy with the aims of the people, and it would seriously 
impair my usefulness in conferring with the National 
party if I accepted Castle hospitalities. But I went 
immediately to the Viceregal Lodge in the park, and I 
had a prolonged conversation with Lord Carnarvon on 
the business which brought me to Ireland. 

Lord Carnarvon was not even now prepared to 
pledge himself to Home Rule, but he was prepared to 
inquire what spécifie measure of self-government would 
satisfy Nationalists, and whether the Protestant and 
propertied niinority could be reconciled to such a claim. 
He hoped to collect a body of évidence which would 
enable his collcagues to corne to a décision on the 
question, and he ccrtainly desired that the décision 
might be a favourable one. He repeatedly said : ' I 
cannot answer for my collcagues ; I can answer for no 
one but myself. But I will submit to them whatever 
information I can collect, and report to you frankly 
what they détermine. ' I had urged more than once or 
twice that if the Government would not be prepared to 
go to the country with a proposai for Home Rule, which 
I scarcely hoped, they might authorise him to promise 


that, if they came back from the General Election with 
a- majority, they would appoint a sélect committee 
empowëred to hear évidence on the question, and whôse; 
report might f orna the basis of future législation. He 
thought there would be great difficulty in getting them 
to consent to a measure which involved such manifest 
conséquences, and I suggested that the proposai might 
be for a committee to inquire into the fédération of the 
Empire, of which the relations with Ireland would form 
a necessary part. He still saw difficulties, as no doubt 
there were. I told him frankly I had advised Mr. 
Parnell not to take the serious responsibility of recom- 
merfding Irish electors to support Tory candidates 
unless they knew what Ireland was to hâve in return, 
and as the élection was near at hand this was a question 
which must be settled without delay for the mutual 
convenience of the parties concerned. 

The Under-Secretary at this time was Sir Eobert 
Hamilton, a Scotchman of the just and sympathetic 
nature of Thomas Drummond. He was impatient of 
the total want of local government in Ireland, and the 
absence of the popular élément from whatever boards 
or committees administered public affairs. He was of 
much service to Lord Carnarvon in gathering his 
materials and formulating his opinions, and when I 
met him I found a man whom I could esteem and 
respect. I speedily published a letter to Lord Car- 
narvon, entitled 'The Price of Peace in Ireland.' It 
consisted in a great degree of arguments which I had 
pressed on him pcrsonally from the time we had first 
debated the question down to the date of writing. As 
the letter excited much controversy, and was weH 
received by the organs of the Çonservative party in 
Ireland, I must fly through its leading features. I 

VOL. il. G 


welcomed Lord Carnarvon to Ireland, because I Was 
persuaded his object in coming there was to perforai 
work which would render his Irish Viceroyalty 
mémorable. Its routine duties could hâve few 
attractions for a statesman who had handled important 
interests and guided large issues. Out of a long list of 
soldiers and nobles who had held that office the majority 
were quite forgotten, some were remembered only 
because they had left an evil réputation, but a chosen 
few would live for ever in the grateful meinory of the 
Irish people. Lord Fitzwilliam shines in our annals 
like the morning star of dawning liberty. Commis- 
sioncd by Pitt to concède complète émancipation to the 
Catholics in the last century, while O'Connell was still 
an unknown law student, lie was baffied and thwarted 
by the bigotry which has been the blackest curse of the 
island ; but though he failed, he is fondly remembered 
for what he dcvised and attempted. Lord Wellesley 
and Lord Anglesea bade us hope and strive when our 
counsels were most crossed and troubled. But above 
ail, Lord Mulgrave, the first représentative of the 
Crown in Ireland since the surrender of Limerîck 
who dared to be greatly just. His son, the présent 
Marquis of Xormanby, served at the centre and at 
the cxtremities of the Empire, and wherçver he wënt 
he assurée! nie he found Irishmen who held his father's 
naine in révérence and affection. But there was a 
wider and mon? permanent renown to be won than any 
of thèse Yiceroys achieved. It remained by one happy 
stroke to give pcace to Ireland, and to make the con- 
nection of thèse islands secure and permanent. 

There was only one method — an easy and obvious 
one. It succeeded in other countries in graver diffi- 
culties. There never was any other method, there 


never would be any other. Ail others were doomed tp 
certain disaster aud failure. It was needless to name 
it; it was in every nian's mind and on every ma&'« 
tongue. The statesman who accomplished this ttffik 
wbliM leave a name which would live as long as histoify 
endures. No one knew better than an ex-Secretary of 
State for the Colonies what pregnant examples the 
colonial empire furnishes of the suprême policy and 
wisdom of doing justice to the oppressed. Half a 
century ago the great colonies were more disturbed and 
• discontented than Ireland in 1880. 

Lower Canada was organising insurrection under Catholic 
gentlemen of French descent, and Upper Canada was in arma 
under a Scotch Presbyterian. Australia was then only a great 
pastoral seulement, but bitter discontent and angry menaces were 
heard in ail its centres of population, provoked by the shameful 
practice of discharging the criminals of England like a déluge of 
filth on that young country. 

But Sir Robert Peel set the example of granting to the Colonies 
the control of their own affairs, and now Melbourne or Montréal 
was more exuberantly loyal to the Empire than London or Edîh- 
burgh. 'The New South Wales. expédition to the Soudan was 
received with a roar of exultation throughout England; but that 
remarkable transaction, however warmly it was applauded, was 
imper/ectly understood. The trûe moral it teaches is this— that it 
is wise and safe to be just. The acting Prime Mînistér of ihe 
çolpny who despatch ed that expédition was an Australien Catholic 
bf Irish descent. If his native country were govemed as Ireland 
' has been governed, he had the stuff in him to be a leader of reyoty. 
But it is permitted to govern itself, and we see the resuit. . In 
"Victoria the risk of war with Russia called out a démonstration as 
énergetic. The Irish population undertook to raise a régiment of 
a thousand men for the defence of the territory where they found 
freedom and prosperity. Their spokesman was a young Irish 
Catholic, who had bean a Minister of State at Melbourne at an âge 
when his father was a prisoner of State in Dublin for the crime of 
insisting that Ireland should possess the complète autonomy which 
his children now enjoy in the new country.' were some of 



M m " * * * • 

* ■ 

the natural conséquences of fair play in the Colonies. Was there 
any reason to doubt that a like cause in Ireland would produce like 
éffects? Nothing that the blackest pessimist predicted on the 
danger of entrusting Ireland with the management of her ewh 
•flairs was more offensive or alarmist than the* vaticination** of 
.colonial officiais hait* a century ago on the périls of entrusting 
colonists with political power. 

Human nature has the same spiritual warp and 
woof in the Old World as in the New, and what has 
made Irish Catholics contented and loyal on the banks 
of the Paramatta and the Yarra Yarra would make 
them contented and loyal on the banks of the Liffey or 
the Shannon. 

I felt ahnost ashamed to add that what I meditated was a 
seulement of the Irish question, accepted, as wcll as offered, in 
good faitli ; a plan capable of being worked for the cornmon good 
of Irishmen, not for any spécial creed or class, but for ail alike, and 
which would be defended against ail enemics froni within or from 
without in the Haine spirit in which it was accepted. This, and 
nothing short of this, had been the design of my whole public life ; 
and I was as faithful to it now as when I shared the counsels of 
O'Connell or O'Brien. 

In conclusion, I said I was not in the least afraid 
that the religious freedom of the ininority would be 
endangered, but I would rejoice to see a risk which was 
improbable frankly rendered impossible. 

' No one, as far as I knew, desired to disturb the Act of Settlt- 
ment, but the Act of Seulement ought to be put entirely beyond 
question. Your Excellency knows that in Colonial and American 
constitutions dangers of the same gênerai character had to be 
guarded against, and hâve been guarded against successfully. The 
French-Cnnadian Cntholics, who nre now a hnndful in the midst of 
a nation, would not enter into the Dominion without guarantees 
for their religious libcrty nnd their hereditary possesnions ; and you 
know thèse hâve boeu elTcctually secured and nre safe beyond ail 

For niyHelf, as one C'atholic Celt, I would say that the men I 


most honour in our history, and the friends I hâve most loved in 
life, belonged in a large proportion to a race and creed which are 
not mine. Swift and Molyneux, Flood and G rat tan, were not only 
Protestants, but the sons of English officiais serving in Dublin 
courts and bureaux. Curran, Tone, and Father Mathew were the 
descendants of Cromwellian settlers. The father of the best Irish- 
rnan I hâve ever known, or ever hope to know, who has been the 
idol of two générations of students and thinkers, was a Welshman, 
wearing the uniform of an English régiment. The price of peace in 
Ireland was simple and spécifie. To proffer reforms and révisions 
of the existing System in lieu of National Government was insen- 
sate. If a sane man had been put into a lunatic asylnm and thé 
administration of his estate given to étrangers, it would be idle to 
offer him améliorations of his condition as a remedy. What he 
wants is to get out. À softer bed and more succulent fare are good 
things doubtless, but what are they worth to a détenu impatient to 
escape from bonds and résume the control of his life ? 

It is tragical to recall the cordial sympathy with 
which thèse sentiments were received by Protestants of 
the professional classes, by officiais, and by the journal- 
ists of the Conservative party. Irish Nationalists of 
the extrêmes t type also welcomed this solution of our 
difficulties. There was only one class intractable — the 
Irish gentry. I prefer that they should be judged by 
one who knew them more intimately, and perhaps 
judged them more considerately, than I did. The Rev. 
Dr. Galbraith, Senior Fellow of Trinity Collège, was 
the ablest and most steadfast of the Protestant middle 
class who haà joined Mr. Butt's Home Eule movement. 
I had been absent thirty years from Ireland, and I 
asked him to advise me who were the leading men 
among the gentry able to influence them, and perhaps 
entitled to speak for them. His answer was that there 
were no such persons : 

4 Trinity Collège, Dublin : February 22, 1885. 

1 M y dear Sir Charles, — I am much flattered by 


your addressing me on so importaut a question, yet I 
read your letter with a melancholy interest. I need 
hardly say that I quite concur in your political opinions 
with regard to Ireland, but I am sorry to say that the 
Protestant gentry of Ireland are as blind to the future 
as ever they were. They stand on the brink of a préci- 
pice, and don't seem to be aware of it. Within the last 
few days, I may say, they hâve begun to perceive that 
the English Conservatives are prepared to throw them 
over. You must hâve seen by the time you read this 
of their deputation to Sir Stafford Northcote, asking 
that something should be done for the " Loyal 
Minority" with new Franchise and Redistribution 
Scheme, and his cold and slighting answer. 

1 A handful of them hâve met in a back parlour in 
London to found an " Independent Irish Conservative 
Party," bless the mark ! ' 

'One hundred and three years ago they met in 
Collège Green with colours flying, drums beating, and 
cannon loaded to demand and insist on their rights. 
Alas ! how changed ! I see no hope for them unless 
God works a miracle. There is not a single man with 
brains among them, but one, but he has no legs and 
could not lead even if he had a mind to. You perceive 
I give them up. From my position I ought to wish 
them well. Not that they hâve done much for "Old 
Trinity " ; quite the opposite. Yet I do wish them 
well, but their cause is hopeless. 

1 1 am sorry to hâve to write such a letter, espe- 

cially to a man like you, who has spent a long life in 

serving Ireland and wishes to crown it by a gloriouB 


4 Believe me, yours sincerely, 

'Joseph A. Galbraith/ 


Lord Carnarvon might attain better access than I 
could to the Irish gentry, such as they were, and a 
notable English member of Parliament, who has been 
much heard of since as the leader of a clamorous 
parliamentary group, made inquiries for him among 
the landed and professional classes. To illustrate how 
securities for sensitive interests might be obtained, I at 
the same time wrote a séries of papers in the ' Free- 
man's Journal ' on ' Colonial Constitutions/ which 
Lord Carnarvon found very useful. 

' 1 hâve read,' he wrote, ' your articles on " Colonial 
Constitutions " with great interest, and I am glad to see 
that there is another in to-day's "Freeman." I hope 
that you will continue them, for I am satisfied that 
they are very useful/ 

In Whig society in Dublin at that time there was 
manifestly a growing conviction, and not by any means 
a too cheerful one, that the great change was coming. 
But old officiais, and men who had prospered in finance 
and spéculation, were intractable. 'What does the 
man want ? ' said one of thèse to me at a dinner party, 
speaking of Lord Carnarvon. ' He has got ail a 
sensible man can hope for or désire — high rank, an 
adéquate fortune, charming wife, political and social 

influence — what the d 1 more can he hope to get 

by this new " will o' the wisp " ? He may lose much, 
but he can gain nothing worth having.' It would hâve 
been talking an unknown tongue to tell my interlocutor 
that thèse great gifts of fortune which Lord Carnarvon 
enjoyed implied corresponding duties from which an 
honourable man dare not shrink. 

I saw Lord Carnarvon as often as his engrossing 
engagements would permit, and he made occasional 
visits to London. In one of thèse visits he fulfilled a 


purpose which he had long held of seeing Mr. Parnell 
personally. He was naturally anxious to ascertain the 
views of the parliamentary leader of the limits and 
conditions to which the Nationalists would consent, if 
a statutory Parliament were created. He had certainly 
no intention of promising Home Eule to Mr. Parnell, 
but such a conférence would naturally raise hopes that 
as far as he was concerned he wished it to corne, as no 
doubt he did. But he guarded himself alwayswith thè 
scrupulous care of a conscientious gentleman against 
committing anybody. He thought it would be discreet 
to see a second member of the party, and I told him I 
regarded Mr. Justin McCarthy as next in importance 
to the leader ; and he had a conversation with him, 
which I think took place before his interview with Mr. 
Parnell. None of thèse proceedings were communi- 
cated to Mr. Dwyer Gray, and as that gentleman was 
bound to specify from day to day in his newspaper the 
position and prospects of the Irish question, he grew, 
not unnaturally, discontented and complained to me. 
I told him that I considered as strictly confidential ail 
communications with Lord Carnarvon, and could not 
utter a word, but that his complaint, in my opinion, 
was a reasonable one, and I would ask Lord Carnarvon 
to reçoive him personally, and he doubtless would tell 
him as much as ho thought fit of his purpose and 
proceedings. Mr. Gray was received by Lord Carnarvon 
more than once, T thiuk, and communicated with Mr. 
Parnell on the situation. But ho respected my con- 
fidential relations with Lord Carnarvon, and asked mè 
no more questions. 

There can be no doubt that Lord Salisbury and 
that inner Cabinet of the party which contrôle ail 
•administration were habituallv informed of what Lord 


Carnarvon was doing, and were, it may be fairly 
assumed, weighing the policy of conceding what the 
Irish demanded, as Pitt weighed the policy of conceding 
the Catholic claims. I had soon reason to fear that 
their conclusions were not favourable to our demand. 
At the beginning of August Lord Carnarvon had need 
to go to London, saw his colleagues, and returned to 
Dublin much perturbed. He announced his intended 
run to England in this note : 

♦ Vice-Regal Lodge, Dublin : July 29, 1885. 

' Dear Sir Gavan Duffy, — You will haye seen in 
the papers the death of Lady Chesterfield, which makes 
it necessary for me to leave Ireland for the funeral, 
which is on Friday. As I shall then be in England, 
I must go on to London to see my colleagues, and 
cannot be back till Monday night at earliest. 

4 1 hâve been unable to settle this till this morning, 
but I write at once to ask you whether you can corne 
over hère this afternoon instead of to-morrow. 

4 1 am engaged to be in Dublin by 4 p.m., and hâve 
not one moment after that hour at my disposai ; but 
any time this morning I am quite free. About a quarter 
before one, if quite convenient to you, would on the 
whole suit me best. Pray excuse the haste with which 
I write, and 

* Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

1 Carnarvon.' 

After his return I saw in a moment that his high 
hopes were chilled, that he had not found the assistance 
from his colleagues which he anticipated, and would 
not be in a position to satisfy the expectations he had 
raised. I shall not attempt to report a conversation at 


such a distance of time, but Lord Carvarvon used one 
phrase which I concluded was an écho from Hatfield : 
4 We might gain/ he said, ' ail you promise in Ireland 
by taking the course you suggest, but we should lose 
more in England.' This was the keynote of the policy 
adopted by the Government in the autumn of 1885. 
Lord Carnarvon was willing and anxious to do ail he 
could, but it was manifest he could do very little when 
such a sentiment possessed his colleagues. 

Lord Carnarvon did not despair of having the 
Irish question reconsidered after the General Election. 
It seemed to me, however, highly improbable that it 
would be more favourably considered when the fight 
for a majority was over than when Irish support at the 
hustings was of vital importance. I did not doubt 
Lord Carnarvon's good faith ; but I altogether doubted 
that he would obtain the co-operation of men who 
came to the conclusion that they had more to lose in 
England than to gain in Ireland. I told him I would 
leave Ireland to avoid any responsibility for the course 
taken at the General Election. He was in personal 
communication with the leader of the Irish party and 
with two of his principal lieutenants, and it was their 
duty to détermine whether they would be justified in 
supporting the Government at the coming élection 
without the certainty of any political compensation. 
I would tell Mr. Dwyer Gray what I thought of the 
situation and the disappointment I had met with. 

Beforc leaving Ireland I gave an interview to a 
représentative of the ' Freeman's Journal/ in which I 
answered scveral pertinent questions. To the inquiry 
what the Government were going to do, I replied 
that of the intentions of the Government I could say 
nothing, but I had talked to men of ail parties and 



« i 

» I 



\ : 


classes in Ireland, and there ne ver was so much dis- 
position to consider the question of Home Eule as one 
that must be dealt with. To questions about the dis- 
position of the gentry I replied that if they did not fall 
in with the présent movement the conséquences would 
probablybe disastrous to them. The most shameful 
fiscal System in any civilised country was the one by 
which three-and-twenty gentlemen in a grand jury 
impose taxation, often for the improvement of their 
own property upon a rack-rented tenantry. And the 
declared enemy of monopoly, Mr. Chamberlain, wheh 
his turn came, might be counted on to make short work 
of that system. The English Eadicals generally were 
of opinion that the cost and trouble of misgoverning 
Ireland hâve corne from the habit of protecting Irish 
landlords in the exercise of a feudal tyranny, and that 
a prodigious saving might be effected by simply ceasing 
to protect them. 

After I left Ireland I fulfilled an engagement to 
spend a few days at the country house of a public man 
who had been one of Mr. Gladstone's colleagues in 
the last Libéral Cabinet and became a colleague in the 
ensuing one. He naturally spoke of the design of 
the Irish electors to vote against the party who had . | 

disestablished the Irish Church and gave Ireland a 
popular land code and a popular franchise. 

I told him that I sympathised with the intention of 
the Irish electors to support the Tories at the poil 
when I thought the Tory Government were about to 
consider the Home Eule question favourably, but I had 
no longer any confidence in that intention. I added 
that I could not doubt from some récent speeches that 
Mr. Gladstone was gradually approaching Home Eule, 
and if he could be induced to make a satisfactory : ] 

• i 


avowal on that question before the Dissolution the 
Irish electors would undoubtedly prefer candidates who 
adopted his opinion. To make sure that they should, I 
would be willing to return immediately to Ireland and 
confer with the leaders of the Irish party. The diffi- 
culties of prématuré action were of course serious ; but 
there is no necessity of dwelling further on the subject, 
as nothing came of this inchoate negotiation. 

When the General Election took place, this was the 
resuit of the contest : Gladstonians elected, 333 ; Con- 
servatives, 251 ; Irish Nationalists, 86. Mr. Farnell 
had supported the Conservatives in England and Ire- 
land, but his speeches during the élection did not at 
ail écho the spirit of fierce hostility to the Gladstonian 
party which animated the address to the Irish electors 
in England. Conservatives and Parnellites united would 
make a majority of four in the new Parliament, but 
this was not a working majority, and there was no 
longer any real harmony between the two parties. 
On the other hand, a union of the Gladstonians and 
Parnellites would make an effective majority, and this 
was a resuit widely anticipated. 

The story of Mr. Gladstone's pronouncement for 
Home Eule and the loyal adhésion which Irish National- 
ists gave him is beside my présent purpose. But it 
was in this new relation that Mr. Parnell committed 
what I consider the most serious offence of his political 
life. He disclosed to Parliament and the public the 
conversations with Lord Carnarvon, which were essen- 
tially private. If Lord Carnarvon had renounced and 
deserted the opinions which he held before the General 
Election, some excuse might be found for Mr. Parnell 
holding him to account for his backsliding. But 
Lord Carnarvon had not altered at ail; simply, he 


had failed to induce his colleagues to coroperate with. 

him. . ... ... ....... .- 

On the second reading of Mr. Gladstone's Home" 
Rule Bill, Mr. Parnell,. on the twelf th . night of the 
debate, said : ' When the Tories wëre în office wé had 
reason to know that the Conservative party, if they 
should be successful at the poils, would hâve offered 
Ireland a statutory législature with a right to protect. 
her own industries, and that this would hâve been 
coupled with the settlement of the Irish land question 
on the basis of purchase, on a larger scale than that 
now proposed by the Prime Munster.' 

Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, later in the debate, said : 
1 1 must, for myself and for my colleagues, state, in the 
plainest and most distinct terms, that I utterly and 
categorically deny that the late Conservative Govern- 
ment ever had any such intention.' 

Parnell. 'Does the right hon. gentleman mean to. 
deny that that intention was communicated to me by 
one of his own colleagues — a Minister pf the Crown ? ' 

Sir M. Hicks-Beach. ' Yes, sir, I do (cries of 
" Name "), to the best of my knowledge and belief ; and 
if any such statement was communicated by anyone to. 
the hon. member, I am certain he had not the authority 
to make it. (Renewed cries of <f Name."> Will. the. 
hon. member do us the pleasure to give the name to 
the House ? ' 

Parnell. ' The right hon. gentleman has asked me 
a question which he knows is a very safe one. (Cries 
of " Oh ! ") I shall be very glad to communicate the 
naine of his colleague when I receive his colleague's 
permission to do so.' (Cries of " Oh ! " " Name ! M ) 

Sir M. Hicks-Bcach. ' Insinuations are easily 
made. To prove them is a very différent thing ; and I 


hâve observed that the rules of the code of honour of 
hon. members below the gangway step in at the point 
when proof becomes nècessary.' l 

Things had now reached a point which any man of 
parliamentary expérience might hâve foreseen, when 
privacy could not be maintained, and Lord Carnarvon's 
name was disclosed in the newspapers. Lord Carnarvon 
iminediately justified hiinself in the House of Lords. 
Ile had certainly not entitled Mr. Parnell to déclare 
that the Conservative party had proffered Ireland a 
statutory Parlianient in case of their success at the 
poils, though he had inquired into the nature of the 
measure which in Mr. Parneirs opinion would satisfy 
Ireland, and expressed his own willingness that such a 
measure should be conceded. And as he had certainly 
conimunicated to Lord Salisbury and other of his col- 
leagues the nature of his parley with Mr. Parnell, Sir 
M. Hicks-Beach was not justified in the sweeping 
nature of his déniai. 

Speaking for himself, Lord Carnarvon said : 'Y 
would gladly see some limited form of self-government, 
not in any way independent of Impérial control, such 
as may satisfy real local requirements and, td some 
extent, national aspirations. I would gladly see' -a 
seulement where, the rights of property and of riiinorî-" 
ties being on the whole secured, both nations might 
rest from this long and weary struggle, and steady and 
constitutional progress might bc puticntly and gradu- 
ally evolvod.' And with rt^pcct to liis cofleagues, in a 
later speech Lord Carnarvon sait! : * I should hâve 
been wanting in my duty if I had failed to inform my 
noble friend at the head of the Government of my 
intention of holding that meeting with Mr. Parnell, 

1 Hansard, vol. ccevi. pp. 1199-1200. 


and of what had passed between us at the interview, at 
the earliest possible moment. Accordingly, both by 
writing and by words, I gave the noble Marquis as 
eareful and as accurate a statement as possible of what 
had occurred within twenty-f our hotirs af ter the meeting, 
and my noble friend was good enough to say that I had 
conducted that meeting with perfect discrétion.' 

The case will now, I think, be plain to any expe- 
rienced reader. 

It is my personal belief that Mr. Parnell ought 
not, for any party gain, to hâve made public thèse 
strictly private negotiations ; but when the Lord- 
Lieutenant of Ireland, confessing himself a Home 
Ruler, though speaking strictly for himself alone, 
enterèd into such negotiations and made such inquiries 
in July, it was not strange that Mr. Parnell thought 
that if his party obtained a majority at the poils in 
August by the help of Irish votes they would be pre- 
pared to make the concession that Irish voters desired. 
His fâult was not to believe this, but to make a positive 
assertion of what was à mère hypothesis, and to refer 
at ail in public to transactions covered by an honourable 
confidence. But the disclosure could not injure Lord 
Carnarvon ; he sincerely desired to concède Home Eiilé 
to Ireland and to induce his colleagues to CQ-operate 
with him in the concession. It was an honourable and 
public-spirited design, and its failure was in no respect 
discreditable to him. 




The élection campaign of 1885 was practically opened 
by Lord Salisbury in a speech at the Mansion House. 
on July 29. 

Referring to the charge that the Tories were 
coquetting with the Irish, the Prime Minister justified 
the conduct of the Governnient in dropping the Crimes 
Act, and defended the policy of Lord Carnarvon in 
ruling by the ordinary law. That policy, he declared, 
was the logical outcome of the Franchise Act of 1884, 
for to extend the suffrage and at the same time to ignore 
the voice of the people was impossible. This was the 
first bid for the Irish vote. 

Parliament was prorogued on August 11. On 
August 15 we find Parnell at Aughavannah, enjoying 
some sport, but not unmindful of business. He wrote 
to Mr. McCarthy : 

Parnell to Mr. McCarthy 

1 Aughavannah, Àughrim : August 15, 1885. 

' M Y deau McCarthy,- -"\Vill you kindly give 
a chtMjur for 100/. ont of tho fund at your and 

Kiggar's disj>osal ? 

1 1 havc» reason to bolitîvc that 's affairs are not in 

a good position, so much so that he fears to accept the 


position on the Eoyal Commission on Trade Dépres- 
sion, lest his financial arrangements might corne to a 
climax this autumn. It would be a public calamity to 
permit him to be overwhelmed or driven from public 
life ; so do you not think he might be spared, say, 300Z. 
out of the f und ? 

' We hâve been having nice weather hère the last 
two or three days, and some sport. I am sending you 
a brace of birds by parcel post this morning. 

' Yours very truly, 

1 Chas. S. Parnell. 

'P.S. — I am glad to say that I am informed Davitt 
shows some signs of modifying his very offensive récent 
action, so that there may now be some chance of 
avoiding an open rupture, at ail events for a time.' 

Nine days later Parnell took the field, raising the 
Home Kule flag, and saying his people would fight 
under it alone. The Irish platform, he declared, would 
consist of only one plank — législative independencéf. 
Speaking at Dublin on August 24 he threw down the 
gage of battle : 

' I say that each and ail of us hâve only looked 
upon the Acts — the législative enactments which we 
hâve been able to wring from an unwilling Parliament 
— as means towards an end ; that we would hâve at any 
time, in the hours of our deepest dépression and greatest 
discouragement, spurned and rejected any measure, 
however tempting and however apparently for the 
benefit of our people, if we had been able to detect 
that behind it lurked any danger to the législative 
independence of our land. . . . It is admitted by ail 
parties that you hâve brought the question of Irieh 
législative independence to the point of solution. It 

VOL. h, ^ 


is not now a question of self-government for Ireland ; 
it is only a question as to how much of the self- 
government they will be able to cheat us out of . It is 
not now a question of whether the Irish people shall 
décide their own destinies and their own future, but it 
is a question with, I was going to say, our English 
masters — but we cannot call them masters in Ireland 
— it is a question with them as to how far the day, 
that they considcr the evil day, shall be deferred. You 
are, therefore, entitled to say that so far you hâve done 
well, you hâve almost done niiraculously well, and we 
hand to our successors an unsullied flag, a battle more 
than half won, and a brilliant history. ... I hope that 
it may not be necessary for us in the new Parliament 
to dévote our attention to subsidiary measures, and that 
it may be possible for us to hâve a programme and a 
platforin with only one plank, and that one plank 
National Indépendance.' 

This speech roused England. The Press with one 
voice dcnounced the Irish leader and the Irish pro- 
gramme. The ' Times ' said an Irish Parliament was 'im- 
possible.' The * Standard ' besought Whigs and Tories 
' to présent a firm uncompromising front to the rebel 
Chief.' The ' Daily Telegraph ' hoped that the House 
of Commons would not be l seduced or terrified into 
surrendcr.' The * Manchester Guardian ' declared that 
Englishnicn would * condomn or punish any party or 
any public man who attonipted to walk in the path 
traced by Mr. Famell.' The ' Loeds Mercury ' did not 
think the question of an Irish Parliament worth dis- 
cussing ; whilc the ' Daily News * felt that Great 
Britain could only be saved from tho tyranny of Mr. 
Parnell by 4 a strong Administration composed of 
advanced Libérais.' 


Lord Hartington was the first English statesman 
who took up the gage thrown down by the Irish 
leader. Speaking at Waterfoot on August 29, he said 
that ' Parnell had for once committed a mistake by 
proclaiming that Ireland's sole demand was an Irish 
Parliament, adding that ail England would now unité 
in resisting " so fatal and mischievous a proposai." ' 
Parnell, in reply, hurled défiance at the leader of the 
Whigs, and indeed at ail England. Eesponding to the 
toast of ' Ireland a nation,' at the Mansion House, 
Dublin, on September 1, he said : ' I believe that if it 
be sought to make it impossible for our country to 
obtain the right to administer her own affairs, we shall 
make ail other things impossible for those who strive 
to bring that about. And who is it that tells us that 
thèse things are impossible? It is the same man 
who said that local government for Ireland was im- 
possible without impossible déclarations on our part. 
Thèse statements came from the lips which told us 
that the concession of equal électoral privilèges to 
Ireland with those of England would be madness ; 
and we see that what was considered madness in the 
eyes of the man who now tells us that Ireland's right 
to self-governmerit is an impossibility, has been now 
conceded without opposition, and that the local self- 
government which was then also denied to us from the 
same source, is now offered to us by the same person, 
with a humble entreaty that we may take it in order 
that we may educate ourselves for better things and for 
further powers. . . . Well, gentlemen, I am not much 
given to boasting, and I should be very unwilling to 
assume for myself the rôle of a prophet ; but I am 
obliged, I confess, to-night to give you my candid 
opinion, and it is this — that if they hâve not succeeded 



in "squelching" us during the last five years, they are 
not likely to do so during the next five years, unless 
they brace themselves up to adopt one of two alter- 
natives, by the adoption of either one of which we 
should ultimately win, and perhaps win a larger and 
heavier stake than we otherwise should. They will 
either hâve to grant to Ireland the complète right to 
rule herself, or they will hâve to take away from us the 
share — the sham share — in the English constitutional 
System w T hich they extended to us at the Union, and 
govern us as a Crown colony.' 

Two days afterwards (September 3) Lord Eandolph 
Churchill addressed a meeting at Sheffield, but said not 
a word about Home Rule. Mr. Chamberlain was the 
next English statesman who appeared upon the scène- 
Addressing a meeting at Warrington on September 8, 
he said : ' Speaking for myself, I say that if thèse, and 
thèse alone, are the terms on which Mr. Parneirs sup- 
port is to be obtained, I will not enter into compétition 
for it. This new programme of Mr. Parneirs involves 
a greater extension than anything we hâve hitherto 
known or understood by Home Rule ; the powers he 
clainis for his support in Parliament are altogether 
beyond anything which exists in the case of the State 
Législatures of the American Union, which has hitherto 
been the type and model of Irish demands, and if this 
claim were conceded we might as well for ever abandon 
ail hope of maintaining a united kingdom. We 
should establish within thirty miles of our shores a 
new foreign country animated from the outset with 
unfriendly intentions towards ourselves. Such a policy 
as that, I firmly believe, would be disastrous and 
ruinous to Ireland herself. It wonld be dangerous to 
the security of this country, and undçr thèse circum- 

JEt. 39] MR. GLADSTONE 101 

stances I hold that we are bound to take every step in 
our power to avert so great a calamity.' 

On September 16 Mr. John Morley came to the 
front, protesting against séparation, but acquiescing in 
some system of Home Eule fashioned on the Canadian 

What was Mr. Gladstone doing ail this time ? In 
answering this question I am obliged, in justice to 
Mr. Gladstone, to import so insignificant a person as 
myself into the narrative. 

On August 111 received a letter from a well-known 
English publicist asking me to call upon him, as he 
desired my help ' on a subject connected with the 
Union between England and Ireland.' I called. He 
opened .the conversation by saying, ' Well, I hâve 
asked you to call upon me at the suggestion of a 
great man — in fact, a very great man. I won't mention 
his name now, but you will probably guess it. He 
thinks that this Irish question — this question of Home 
Eule — has now corne to the front and must be faced. 
He wishes me to publish some articles, not on Home 
Eule, but on the Irish case generally. They must be 
dispassionate and historical, and he named you as the 
man to write them.' I suggested that the great man 
probably meant articles which would give some account 
of Ireland during the Union, which would, in fact, deal 
with the question whether the Union had proved a 
successful experiment or not. ' Exactly,' said the 
editor, ' and the articles must be written, not from 
the point of view of a political partisan, but from the 
point of view of an historical student.' I said I would 
be happy to write the articles if he liked, but that I 
could suggest someone who would do it infinitely 
better, and whose name would carry weight. ' Who ? ' 


' Sir Gavan Dufifv, who is now in London.' It was 
finally arranged that I should see Sir Gavan Duffy and 
ask him. 

'This means,' said Sir Gavan Duffy, 'that Glad- 
stone is going to take up Home Rule ; and we 
ought certainly to help him in any way we can.' Sir 
Gavan, however, thought that we ought to corne to 
closer quarters with the question than had been sug- 
gested by the editor. ' The article ought,' he said, ' to 
be a Home Rule article point blank.' I immediately 
communicated his views to the editor, who, however, 
was not prepared to go so far as the vétéran Young 
Irelander. After some further pourparlers it was 
decided to let the matter ' hang fire ' for a month, as 
I was leaving town. Meanwhile Mr. Gladstone had 
gone to Xorway. He returned in September, and on 
the 18th of that month issued the famous Hawarden 
manifesto. I need not deal with that remarkable 
document gencrally, but the paragraph relating to 
Ireland must be set out : 

' In my opinion, not now for the first time delivered, 
the limit is clear within which the desires of Ireland, 
constitutionally ascertained, may, and beyond which 
they cannot, reçoive the assent of Parliament. To main- 
tain the suprcmacy of the Crown, the unity of the 
Empire, and ail the authority of Parliament necessary 
for the conservation of that unity, is the first duty of 
every représentative of the people. Subject to this 
governing principle, every grant to portions of the 
country of enlarged powers for the management of 
their own affairs is, in my view, not a source of danger, 
but a means of averting it, and is in the nature of 
a new guarantee for increased cohésion, happiness, 
and strength/ And he added, ' I believe history and 

J&t. 39] Mil. GLADSTONE 103 

posterity will consign to disgrâce the memory of every 
man, be he who he may, on whichever si de of the 
Channel he may dwell, that, having the power to aid in 
an équitable arrangement between Ireland and Great 
Britain, shall use the power, not to aid, but to prevent 
or retard it.' 

Sir Gavan Duffy sent this paragraph to me, saying : 
' It is quite clear that Gladstone means to take up 
Home Eule, and I am more convinced than ever that 
the proper course is to write an article on Home Eule 
developing some scheme for an Irish Constitution. 
Then the question will be put fairly before the country. 
I am willing to write this article, taking the inclosed 
paragraph as my text.' I called upon the editor to tell 
him what Sir Gavan Duffy had said. He declined, 
hçwever, to take an article on those lines. 'You 
must,' he said, 'write the article yourself on the lines 
you hâve already laid down. I told you that I had 
asked you to corne to see me at the suggestion of a 
great man. Well, ifc is Mr. Gladstone himself, and 
the lines you hâve laid down are the lines he approves 
of for the first article at ail events. In the second 
article we may corne to closer quarters on the question.' 
At length I agreed to write the article. I understood 
that a proof was sent to .Mr. Gladstone, and that 
he was satisfiedwith it. It was publishedinNovember. 1 
About that time I first met Mr. Gladstone. He was 
then, as always, courteous and agreeable, and showed 
an unmistakable interest in Ireland ; but in the short 
conversation we had the words ' Home Eule ' were not 
mentioned. I spoke of the ' Irish Libérais/ and said 
they would be swept off the board at the General 

1 Sir Gavan Duffy suggested the title : * Irish Wronga and English 


Election. ' The Irish Libérais,' he said, with an expres- 
sion of sublime scorn which I shall never forget, ' the 
Irish Libérais! Are there any Libérais in Ireland? 
Where are they ? I must confess [with a magnificent 
roll of the voice] that I feel a good deal of difficulty in 
recognising thèse Irish Libérais you talk about; and 
[in delightfully scoffing accents, and with an intonation 
which had often charmed me in the House of Commons] 
I think Ireland would hâve a good deal of difficulty in 
recognising them either ' [laughing ironically], Hô 
asked me if I thought the Irish Tories would hang 
together : for there had been a foolish rumour at the 
time of a split in the Tory ranks. I said, 'Yes,' 
that the Tories and the Nationalists would divide the 
représentation of the country between them. This 
ended the conversation. It was very short, but J* 
carried away two clear ideas : (1) that Mr. Gladstone's 
mind was full of Ireland ; (2) that he now foresaw the 
révolution which the Franchise Act of 1884 would 
make in the Irish représentation. 

While Mr. Gladstone was thinking out the Irish 
question, Lord Salisbury did not neglect the subject. 
At Newport, in Monmouthshire, on October 7, the 
Prime Minister boldly faced the Home Rule problem. 
He said : 

1 The Irish leader bas referred to Austria and 
Hungary. . . . Some notion of Impérial Fédération 
was floating in his mind. ... In speaking of Im- 
périal Fédération, as entirely apart from the Irish 
question, I wish to guard myself very carefully. I 
deem it to be one of the questions of the future. . . . 
But with respect to Ireland, I ain bound to say that I 
hâve never seen any plan or suggestion which gives 
me, at présent, the slightest grourid for anticipating 


that in that direction we shall find any substantial 
solution of the problem.' 

Hère certainly there was no promise of Home 
Rule, yet the passage excited much comment in Whig, 
Tory, and Nationalist circles. Lord Salisbury knew 
what Parnell had demanded — an Irish Parliament ; the 
1 name and fact.' Yet he did not pooh-pooh the pro- 
position. He did not, like Mr. Chamberlain, put down 
his foot and cry non possumus. On the contrary, he 
showed a willingness to argue the point ; he was con- 
ciliatory, he was respectful — a remarkable departure 
from his usual style in dealing with political opponents 
and disagreeable topics. The Newport speech was in 
truth a counter move to the Hawarden manifesto. ' I 
promise you,' Parnell had said some weeks previously, 
1 that you will see the Whigs and Tories vieing with 
each other to settle this Irish question.' So far, however, 
he made no public comment either on the Hawarden 
manifesto or the Newport speech. He waited for further 
developments. Meanwhile everything was going pre- 
cisely as he wished. Whigs and Tories were bidding 
against each other for his patronage. He was master 
of the situation. On October 12 the most important 
pronouncement hitherto made on the Irish question was 
delivered by Mr. Childers, the friend and confidant of 
Mr. Gladstone, at Pontefract. He was the first English 
politician who had courage to grapple with détails. 
Ile was ready, he said, to give Ireland a large measure 
of local self-government. He would leave her to legis- 
late for herself, reserving Impérial rights over foreign 
policy, military organisation, external trade (including 
customs duties), the post office, the currency, the 
national debt, and the court of ultimate appeal. Mr. 
Childers by himself did not carry much weight, but it 


was generally supposée! that he représentée! Mr. Glad- 
stone. 'This,' said Sir Gavan Duffy, 'is the voice of 
Childers, but the hand of Gladstone ; ' and what Sir 
Gavan Duffy said, Pamell felt. He had ' played * the 
Tories up to this point. He now resolved ' to play ' Mr. 

On October 30 he stated to a reporter of the ' New 
York Herald/ for the benefit of his American allies, 
that while no English statesman ' had absolutely shut 
the door against the concession of a very large measure 
of législative independence to Ireland,' Mr. Gladstone 
had made strides in that direction. 

' In his great and cloquent appeal to public men to 
refrain from any act or word which might further 
embitter the Irish difficulty, or render full and calm 
considération more difficult, he administered a rebuke 
to the Eadical section of his following, who, in fear that 
an Irish Parliament might protect some Irish industries, 
were commencing to raisc a shrill alarm on this score. 
Mr. Gladstone's déclaration that législative control 
over lier own affairs might be granted to Ireland, 
reserving to the Impérial Parliament such powers as 
would insure the maintenance of the supremacy of the 
Crown and of the unity of the Empire, is in my judg- 
ment the most remarkable déclaration upon this 
question ever uttered by an English statesman. It is 
a déclaration which, if agreement as to détails could be 
secured, would, I believe, be carcfully considered by 
those of my countrymen at home and abroad who 
hâve hitherto desired the séparation of Ireland from 
England by any and every means, because they hâve 
despaired of elevating the condition of their country, or 
of assuaging the misery of our people, so long as any 
vestige of English rule is permitted to remain.' 


1 Why do you not give guarantees,' the reporter 
asked, ' that législative independence will not be used 
to bring about séparation ? ' 

Parnell answered with characteristic directness, 
honesty, and courage : ' I refuse to give guarantees 
because I hâve none of any value to give. If I were 
to offer guarantees I should at once be told they are 
worthless. I can reason only by analogy, and point to 
what has happened in our time in the relation of other 
States placed in similar circumstances to England and 
Ireland, but cannot guarantee absolutely what will 
happen if our claims are conceded. I hâve no mandate 
from the Irish people to dictate a course of action to 
those who may succeed us. When the Irish Parliament 
has been conceded, England will hâve a guarantee 
against séparation in the présence of her army, navy, 
and militia, and in her occupation of fortresses and other 
strong places in the country; but she will hâve far 
better guarantees, in my opinion, in the knowledge of 
the Irish people that it is in their power by constitu- 
tional means to make the laws which they are called 
upon to obey just and équitable.' 

On November 9 Mr. Gladstone set out on his 
second Midlothian campaign. That night he made 
two apparently contradictory statements on the Irish 
question at Edinburgh. He said : 

1. ' What Ireland may deliberately and constitution- 
ally demand, unless it infringes the principle connected 
with the honourable maintenance of the unity of the 
Empire, will be a demand that we are bound at any rate 
to treat with careful attention. . . . To stint Ireland in 
power which may be necessary or désirable for the 
management of matters purely Irish would be a great 
error, and if she were so stinted, the end that any 


such measure might contemplate could not be at- 

2. ' Apart from the terms Whig and Tory, there is 
one thing I will say, and will endeavour to impress 
upon you, and it is this — it will be a vital danger to 
the country and the Empire if at a time when the 
demand of Ireland for large powers of self-government 
is to be dealt with there is not in Parliament a party 
totally independent of the Irish vote.' 

The first of thèse stateinents — so everyone said — 
meant Home Rule ; the second might hâve meant 
anything but Home Rule. 

On November 10 Parnell addressed a great meeting 
at Liverpool. Brushing aside the second of Mr. 
Gladstone's stateinents, lie fastened at once on the 
first, and tried to coax the Libéral leader still further 
forward in the direction of Home Rule : 

' Although in many respects vague and unsatis- 
factory, the Edinburgh speech was,' he declared, ' the 
most important announcement upon the Irish national 
question which had ever been delivered by any English 
Munster,' and he complimented Mr. Gladstone ' on 
approaching the subject of Irish autonomy with that 
breadth of statesmanship for which he was renowned.' 
Still he could not help reminding the Libéral leader 
that until the Irish question was disposed of it would 
be impossible for any English question to proceed. 
He concluded by inviting Mr. Gladstone to frame a 
constitution for Ireland, ' subject to the conditions and 
limitations for which he had stipulated regarding the 
supremacy of the Crown and the maintenance of the 
unity of the Empire.' 

But Mr. Gladstone was not to be coaxed. He 
replied to Mr. ParnelTs invitation on November 17, at 


West Calder, in a bantering tone, saying that it was 
not for him to usurp the functions of a Government. 
Ministers had kept their counsel on the Irish question. 
He could not intervene when Ministers were silent. 
Moreover, he told Parnell that until Ireland had 
declared her wishes at the poils nothing could be done. 
Parnell regarded this speech as simply trifling with 
the issue. He had tried the suaviter in modo, he 
would now try the fortiter in re. Two days after the 
West Calder speech he authorised the publication of a 
furious manifesto by the National League of Great 
Britain denouncing the Libéral party as the embodi- 
ment of ail that was infamous and base. The Irish 
electors of Great Britain were called on to vote against 
' the men who coerced Ireland, deluged Egypt with 
blood, menaced religious liberty in the school, the 
freedoin of speech in Parliament, and promise to the 
country generally a répétition of the crimes and follies 
of the last Libéral Administration.' l 

War to the knife was now declared between the 
Libérais and the Irish, and the fight began in earnest. 
' Ireland,' said Parnell, ' has been knocking at the 
English door long enough with kid gloves. I tell the 
English people to beware, and be wise in time. Ireland 
will soon throw off the kid gloves, and she will knock 
with a mailed hand.' Behind Parnell was a thoroughly 
united Ireland at home and abroad. In niilitary 
parlance the formation of his army may be described 
thus : in the centre the Parliamentarians ; left wing, 
the Clan-na-Gael, and many of the rank and file of the 
I. li. B.; right wing, the Catholic Church. With thèse 
forces, naturally antagonistic, but held together by the 
attractive personality and iron will of a great com- 

1 Tbe manifesto appeared Noveraber 21. 


mander, Parnell swept Ireland from end to end. In 
Munster, Leinster, and Connaught, every county, 
every borough, was carried by Nationaliste. Half 
Ulster was captured, and even the maiden city of 
Londonderry and one of the divisions of Orange 
Belfast fell before the fiery onset of the rebels. The 
north-east corner of Ulster and Dublin University alone 
remained in the hands of the ' Loyalists.' Out of a 
total of 103 Irish members, 85 Home Eulers and 18 
Tories were returned. The Whigs were eliminated. 
In Great Britain the Libérais were confronted in 
many important centres by the Irish enemy. Libéral 
majorities were pulled down, Libéral candidates were 
beaten, and one Nationalist was returned by the Irish 
vote. ' But for the Nationalist vote/ said the ' Man- 
chester Guardian,' ' the Libérais would hâve gone back 
to Parliament with more than their old numbers.' 
As it was the Libérais went back to Parliament with 
a majority of 86 over their Tory opponents, thus : 

Libérais 335 

Tories 249 

Libéral majority over the Tories . 86 

But Parnell held the balance. By throwing his 
86 men upon the side of the Tories he could neutralise 
the Libéral majority. Whereas by supporting the 
Libérais lie could enable Mr. Gladstone to form a 
Government with a working majority of 172. Thus 
the Irish leader was master of the situation. 

.Et. 39] 111 



In the winter of 1885 Parnell had perhaps reached the 
height of his unpopularity in England. He had thrust 
himself into English politics, comproraising the Tories 
and baffling the Whigs. The one party had sacrificed 
principles to court his alliance, the other had sacrificed 
his alliance to assert principles inconsistent with the 
Libéral faith. The former had gone to the country 
with the cry of ' no coercion ' inscribed upon their flag. 
The latter had gone to the country with the stigma of 
coercion impressed upon their character. Both had lost. 
With Parnell's support the Tories could meet the House 
of Commons on equal terms. Without his support the 
Whigs could not forin a Government. 

' Until the Irish question is disposed of/ Parnell had 
said at Liverpool on November 10, ' it will be utterly 
impossible for any English question to proceed.' He 
had kept his word. English parties were reduced to a 
state of impotence. English questions were brushed 
aside. Ireland held the field. 

An amusing incident, significant of English feeling, 
occurred some time after the General Election, when 
Parnell was on his way to London. A stranger, an 
Englishman from South Africa, accosted him on board 


the mail packet. After some preliminary remarks, thia 
gentleman plunged into politics and sharply criticised 
Parnell's hostile attitude to the British people. Parnell 
tried to shake off his tormentor, but in vain. On 
reaching Holyhead he quickly disembarked and shut 
himself in a first-class carnage, hoping to escape 
his troublesome companion. However, as the train 
was moving out of the station the door was pulled 
open and the Afrikander jumped in. For a wliile 
Parnell resigned himself to the situation with cha- 
racteristic sang froid and patience. The Afrikander 
resumed his discourse, vigorously denouncing the Irish 

Suddenly Parnell thrust his hand into his trousers 
pocket and took out several bits of ore. Stretching his 
open palm towards the stranger, he said : ' Look at 

that.' ' By Jove, sir, iron pyrites, I'm d d,* was 

the response. The stranger was right ; they were iron 
pyrites. Parnell guessed that the Afrikander knew 
something of mining opérations, and resolved to niake 
a diversion by showing him the iron pyrites picked up 
on Avondale. The movement was completely successful. 
The Afrikander dropped politics at once, and talked 
about mining until the Irish leader fell into a gentle 

Lord Salisbury, Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Glad- 
stone, were now brought face to face with the Irish 

Lord Salisbury's course was clear. The Irish were 
no longer of any use to him, and he accordingly threw 
tliem over. Parnell's relations with the Tories did 
not survive the General Election. What Lord Salis- 
bury mîght hâve donc could he hâve formed a Govern- 
ment with ParnelFs help must remain a matter of 


conjecture. But an alliance without a quid pro quo 
was impossible. 

On learning from Mr. McCarthy that there was no 
longer any chance of the Tories touching Home Bule, 
he wrote : 

Parnell to Mr. Justin McCarthy 

1 London : December 17, 1885. 

4 My deab McCabthy, — I thank you very much 
for the information contained in your note ; it coïncides 
very much with the impressions I hâve been able to 
form. I think, however, that the Conservatives in 
shrinking from dealing with the question, in addition 
to bringing about the speedy destruction of their 
party, are little regardful of the interests of the Irish 
land-owning class, since they might hâve obtained 
guarantees, guarantees which the Libérais, who I am 
convinced will shortly deal with the question, will hâve 
no interest in insisting upon. 

' Yours very truly, 

'Chas. S. Pabnbll/ 

After the élection, as before, Mr. Chamberlain was 
against Home Kule, but in favour of a large measure of 
local government. He would give the Irish the fullest 
powers for administering their own affairs, but he 
would not consent to the création of any législative 

It has been said that it was the resuit of the General 
Election which made Mr. Gladstone first think of Home 
Kule. This statement is clearly inaccurate. I hâve 
already shown that Mr. Gladstone was thinking of 
Home Bule in August 1885, and I am obliged to import 

VOL. II. x 


myself again into the narrative in order to finish this 
part of the story. 

A few davs before Mr. Gladstone left Hawarden for 
Midlothian I received a letter from the publicist whom 
I hâve already mentioned saying, ' When can we hâve 
a talk about your second article ? Would to-morrow 
(November 5) suit you ? ' I called on the morrow. 
' Now,' he said, ' I think the time has corne to hâve an 
article on Home Bule. What I should like you to tell 
me is, not what you think would be the best System, 
but what Mr. Parnell would accept. We want to get 
Mr. Parnell's mina on paper.' I then stated the points 
on which I thought Parnell would insist, and the points 
on which he would be prepared to accept a compromise 
or to give way : 

1. There must be an Irish Parliament and an Irish 
Executive for the management of Irish affaire. No 
system of local govemment would do. It was not local, 
but national government which the Irish people wanted. 

2. Parnell would not stand out upon the question 
whether there should be one or two Chambers. He 
would be quite willing to follow Mr. Gladstone's lead 
on that point. 

3. Neither would he stand out on the question 
whether the Irish members should remain in the 
Impérial Parliament or be excluded from it. The 
Catholic Church would certainly be in favour of their 
rétention, in order that Catholic interests might be 
represented, but the bulk of the Irish Nationaliste 
would not really care one way or the other. The 
chances are that if they were retained they would 
rarely attend. 

4. What should be Irish and what Impérial affairs ? 
This really was the crux of the whole scheme. 


(a) Irish affairs : Irish affairs should include land, 
éducation, law and justice, police, customs. 

Publicist. ' Are you sure about the police ? ' 

1 Certainly. Parnell would insist upon the police. 

If you ref used he would make the refusai a casus belli. 

I hâve no doubt about that.' 
Publicist. l Well, customs ? ' 

* Parnell would certainly like the customs. He 
wants protection for Irish industries, for a time at ail 

Publicist. 'Well, he won't get it. That much is 
perfectly clear. We won't give him the customs. 
Would he make the refusai a casus belli ? ' 

' No ; if you give him land, éducation, law and justice, 
and police, he would be satisfied ; but thèse things are 
vital. He would, however, make a fight for the 
customs, I think/ 

(b) Impérial affairs : Impérial affairs should include 
foreign policy (peace or war), the army and navy, the 
Crown, the currency, and the post office. 

* The Irish would not trouble themselves much 
about Impérial affairs. What they want is to hâve the 
building up of their own nation in their own hands. 
Give them an Irish Parliament with f ull power for the 
government of Ireland, and they would let the British 
run the Empire/ 

It was finally arranged that I should write an 
article on thèse lines. I sent in the 'copy' about 
November 20, but the article did not appear until 
January following. It was then published under the 
title : * A Fédéral Union with Ireland/ 

Early in December Mr. Gladstone returned to 
Hawarden. Some time afterwards a communication 
sanctioned by him was sent to a leading Libéral. It 

i 2 


contained the momentous statement that he was willing 
to establish a Parliament in Ireland. No détails were 
discussed, but the principle of Home Rule was conceded. 

The Libçral in question, though allowed to make 
free use of this startling intelligence, kept it for awhile 
to himself . ' Has Lord Hartington been consulted ? ' 
was his first question. ' No/ was the answer of Mr. 
Gladstone's agent, ' but Lord Spencer and Mr. Robert 
Hamilton (the Irish Under-Secretary) are thoroughly 
in favour of Home Rule.' ' Lord Spencer and Mr. 
Hamilton/ rejoined the Libéral, ' are very good, but if 
Lord Hartington does not throw in his lot with Mr. 
Gladstone, Mr. Gladstone will be beaten.' « What 
about Mr. Morley ? ' ' We are not sure about John 
Morley/ was the reply. ' He is now with Mr. Cham- 
berlain, at Birmingham, and Chamberlain is, we hear, 
preparing a scheme of local government. Whether 
Morley will go for local government or Home Rule 
we do not know.' 

A day later the Libéral in question was dining at 
the Reform Club, when Mr. Morley, who had just 
returned from Birmingham, entered the room. ' What 
is the news ? ' asked Mr. Morley. ' What is your 
news ? ' said the Libéral ; ' I hear you hâve been at 
Highbury. What is the news there ? ' Mr. Morley 
said that he and Chamberlain had differed. ' Well, then, 
read that/ said the Libéral, producing the Hawarden 
pronunciamento. ' Is this authentic ? ' exclaimed Mr. 
Morley, with an air of astonishment, on reading the 
document. ' Authentic enough/ was the reply. ' Then/ 
added Mr. Morley, ' if this be true I will break with 
Chamberlain and join Mr. Gladstone/ Next day the 
Libéral told Mr. Gladstone's right-hand man in the 
business that ' John Morley was ail right ' ; whereupon 



the right-hand man exclaimed joyonsly, ' Hurrah ! we I 

were afraid Morley might not join us.' 

That evening an ' inspired ' paragraph announcing 
Mr. Gladstone's adhésion to Home Eule was given to 
Mr. Dawson Kogers, the manager of the National 
Press Agency. Similar paragraphs — coming, however, 
from independent sources — were sent to the ' Leeds 
Mercury ' and the ' Standard.' On December 16 the 
fluttered dove-cotes of the Libéral party knew the worst. 
' Mr. Gladstone,' wrote the ' Leeds Mercury/ ' recognises 
that there is no use in proposing a scheme [for the 
settlement of the Irish question] which has not some 
élément of stability and permanence. The plan, there- 
fore, which he has in view provides for the establish- 
ment of a Parliament in Dublin for dealing with purely 
Irish affairs. ' 

Of course Mr. Gladstone was called on to ' explain.' 
He did explain, through the Central News Agency, 
thus : ' The statement is not an accurate représentation 
of my views, but is, I présume, a spéculation upon 
them. It is not published with my knowledge or 
authority; nor is any other, beyond my own public 

Obviously this ' explanation ' did not reassure the 
public mind. On the contrary, the Libéral dove-cotes 
were more fluttered than ever. 

To do Mr. Gladstone justice, he desired at this 
crisis to consider the Irish question without any 
référence to party tactics. Chancing about the middle 
of December to meet Mr. Arthur Balfour at the Duke 
of Westminster's, he said to the brilliant young Tory 
that if Lord Salisbury wished to deal with the Irish 
demand no obstacles ought to be thrown in his way ; 
that, in fact, both parties should combine to consider 


the question of Irish government in a just and libéral 
spirit. This wisc and generous suggestion met with 
no response from the Prime Minister, who had, indeed, 
now made up his mind not to touch the Irish question 
on any account. 

On January 12, 1886, Parliament met. An English 
Eadical was doputed by one of Mr. Gladstone's friends 
to sound Parnell on the situation ; to see how much, or 
how little, he would take. This Radical was authorised 
to show a copy of the Hawarden pronunciamento to 
the Irish leader, but enjoined not to part with it. ' I 
showed him the paper/ said the Eadical, ' one evening 
in the House of Gommons. He glanced hurriedly over 
it, then coolly folded it and put it into his pocket. " Oh, ,f 
I said, " you cannot do that. I hâve been toldnot to let 
the paper out of my hand." "Do you suppose," replied 
Parnell, " that I can give you an answer now on so 
serious a matter. I must take this paper away, and 
read it carefully. Then I shall be able to tell you what 
I think." So saying he buttoned up his coat and 
walked off. Somo days later he saw the Eadical again, 
and said that if Mr. Gladstone brought in a Bill upon 
the lines foreshadowed in the paper, which was really a 
forecast of the Home Eule Bill of 1880, the Irish would 
support it.' 

On January 26 the Government declared war against 
Parnell. Lord Eandolph Churchill announced in the 
House of Commons that a Bill would immediately be 
introduced to suppress the Land League. The Irish 
alliance was no longer of any use, and Ministère made 
a virtue of necessity and repudiated it. ' I will only 
say,' exclaimed Parnell a year later, ' that history will 
not record a more disgraceful and unscrupulous volte- 
face than that executed by the Tory party when they 


found that our vote was not numerous enough to keep 
them in office.' Before the end of the month the 
Tory Governraent was no more. Mr. Jesse Collings 
moved an amendment to the Address, expressing regret 
that the Government hacl announced no measure 
enabling agricultural labourers to obtain allotments 
and small holdings on 'équitable terms as to rent 
and security of tenure.' The Irish members voted solid 
for the amendment, and the Government were beaten 
by 331 to 252 votes. Lord Salisbury resigned imme- 
diately, and on February 1 Mr. Gladstone once more 
became Prime Minister. 

He immediately set to work on the Home Kule Bill, 
the principle of which was the establishment of an Irish 
Parliament and an Irish Executive for the management 
of Irish affairs. He consulted no one. He did not take 
the Cabinet as a whole into his confidence. He evolved 
the measure out of his inner consciousness. He occa- 
sionally spoke to one or two friends, notably Mr. John 
Morley (Irish Secretary) and Lord Spencer, who were 
in complète agreement with him on the subject ; but 
he avoided the critics. The critic of the Cabinet was 
Mr. Chamberlain (Président of the Local Government 
Board). From the outset the relations between him 
and Mr. Gladstone were strained. There seems at this 
time to hâve been a personal antipathy between the 
men. There certainly was no personal sympathy, and 
to this fact may in some measure be ascribed the 
defeat of the Home Bule scheme of 1886. ' Gladstone 
plus Chamberlain can carry Home Bule,' Sir Gavan 
Duffy said to me when rumours were afloat of disunion 
in the Cabinet, 'but Gladstone minus Chamberlain 
cannot ; and what will become of Gladstone if Cham- 
berlain and Hartington combine against him?' Mr. 


Chamberlain did not enter the Cabinet as a Home 
Ruler. He accepted office really to see if a modus 
vivendi between himself and the Prime Minister was 
possible. Mr. Gladstone was now bent on establishing 
a Parliament in Ireland. *Mr. Chamberlain was still 
only a local government reformer — though, it must be 
allowed, a local government reformer on a large scale. 
Hère at once was a différence of principle between the 
Prime Minister and the Président of the Local Govern- 
ment Board. There was also a différence of détail, 
which, as it seemed to Irish Nationalists, at ail events, 
assumed a magnitude of importance out of proportion 
to its merits. Mr. Gladstone proposed to exclude 
the Irish members from the Impérial Parliament. Mr. 
Chamberlain insisted on their rétention. Parnell would 
certainly hâve preferred the exclusion of the Irish 
members. Such an arrangement would in a very 
marked way hâve given the Irish Parliament a distinct 
and independent character, which Irishmen above ail 
things desired. Yet he would not* hâve made the point 
a casu8 belli. So long as a Parliament and an Execu- 
tive for the management of Irish affaire generally, 
subject to certain Impérial réservations, were established 
he would hâve been content. To him the question 
of rétention or exclusion was a question of détail — 
important no doubt, but still détail. 

With Mr. Chamberlain the case was différent; to 
him it was a question of principle, and for the reason 
that he was not a Home Ruler at ail. He had his 
ow r n scheme of provincial councils always at the back, if 
not always at the front, of his mind. His real object was 
to out-manœuvre Mr. Gladstone by substituting local 
government for Home Bule. If he could succeed in 
persuading Mr. Gladstone to retain the Irish mçmberg, 


in their full numbers and for ail proposes, in the Impé- 
rial Parliament, at the same time establishing a body 
in Dublin for the transaction of certain specified busi- 
ness, and even for the making of certain specified laws, 
then, no matter what that body might be called, it would 
in reality be nothing more nor less at the utmost than a 
sort of glorified county council. If, on the other hand, 
the Irish members were excluded altogether, and if the 
new body were given législative and executive powers 
generally, reserving certain subjects for Impérial con- 
trol, then an Irish Parliament — and practicaUy an 
independent Irish Parliament, as independent as any 
colonial Législature — would beyond ail doubt be set up. 
Hence it came to pass that this question of the exclu- 
sion or rétention of the Irish members became the crux 
of the whole scheme. Mr. Chamberlain insisted on it, 
because he hoped by thèse tactics to turn Mr. Glad- 
stone's flank, and to convert the Home Bule Bill into a 
Local Government Bill. But the old parliamentary 
hand was far too wary to allow his central position to 
be taken in this way. ' I hâve drawn this clause/ he 
said to one who was trying to smooth over the différ- 
ences between himself and Mr. Chamberlain. 'It is 
the best I can do. Let Mr. Chamberlain draw a clause 
for the rétention of the Irish members, then we shall 
be in a position to consider both clauses.' This message 
was conveyed to Mr. Chamberlain, who shook his head 

While negotiations were in train between Mr. 
Gladstone and Mr. Chamberlain on the subject of the 
rétention of the Irish members, a cloud, no bigger than 
a man's hand but full of mischief, appeared upon the 
political horizon in Ireland. At the General Election 
Mr, T. P. O'Connor had been returned foi the borough 




of Galway and the Scotland division of Liverpool. He 
elected to sit for Liverpool, and it thus became neces- 
sary to choose a new candidate for Galway. Parnell 
consulted Mr. O'Connor on the subject. 'Do the 
Galway people,' he asked, 'want a local man?' 'No/ 
said Mr. O'Connor, ' they do not care ; they will accept 
anyone you propose.' 'Very well. I will propose 
Captain O'Shea,' said Parnell. The story goes that 
Mr. T. P. O'Connor had a candidate of his own — not a 
local man. Having satisfied Parnell that the people of 
Galway had no prédilection on the subject, he naturally 
felt that the Chiefs next question would be, 'Well, 
whom do you suggest ? ' when he could hâve proposed 
his own nominee. 1 The Chief was a man of surprises. 
He wîshed to learn the state of local feeling from Mr. 
O'Connor ; for the rest he had his own plans. Hasten- 
ing, somewhat surprised and disappointed, from the 
présence of his leader, Mr. O'Connor went to the Hôtel 
Métropole, where Mr. Biggar was staying. He told 
the news to 'Joe,' as the member for Cavan was 
f amiliarly called by his friends. ' What ! ' said Joe — and 
no one who has not heard Mr. Biggar say what can 
havc the most remote idea of how the human voice 
niay perform on that simple word. 

1 What ! O'Shea ! D d Whig ! He won't sit for 

Galway, sir ; d d ribnsense, sir. 1*11 go to Ireland 

at once. I'il stop it ; d d Whig.' Mr. O'Connor's 

next step was to wire to Mr. Healy, on whom he knew 
he could rely to make a stand against O'Shea. His 
third step was to accompany Mr. Biggar to Ireland. If, 
thought Mr. O'Connor, we can only rouse Galway before 
O'Shea's candidature is publicly announced, the situa- 

1 Mr. O'Connor's choice was, I believe, the late Mr. Quixi, afterwardft 
member for Kilkenny. 


tion may be saved. On reaching the Irish capital Mr. 
O'Connor ' rushed,' as he tells us, to get a copy of the 
' Freeman's Journal.' Opening the paper, the first 
thing which met his eye was the ' fateful announce- 
ment ' that Parnell had selected Captain O'Shea to sit 
for Galway. 

This statement knocked Mr. O'Connor completely 
'out of time.' He now knew that he would hâve to 
fight Parnell if he opposed O'Shea, and he was scarcely 
prepared for that opération. But Biggar did not care 
a jot. Parnell or no Parnell, he was resolved that 
O'Shea should not be elected. Mr. Healy was seen 
immediately. He was full of fight, and determined 
to stick to Biggar through thick and thin. The 
majority of the Irish members then in Dublin were, 
however, unwilling to question Parnell's authority. 
O'Shea, they said, was certainly an undesirable can- 
didate, but it would be more undesirable to oppose 
Parnell than to accept his nommée. Mr. O'Connor 
wavered, but Biggar and Healy said, ' We don't care ; we 
will go to Galway. We will oppose O'Shea whatever 
happens.' They asked Mr. O'Connor to accompany 
them, but he preferred for the présent to remain in 
Dublin. Speaking of the matter afterwards, Biggar 
said, *I took a return ticket to Dublin and went to 
Galway. T. P. took a return ticket to Galway and 
stopped in Dublin.' Biggar and Healy soon roused 
Galway. A local man — Mr. Lynch — was selected to 
oppose O'Shea, and the people rallied to their own 
townsman. Biggar threw himself fiercely into the 
fight. He did not mince his words in denouncing 
the candidature of O'Shea ; he did not spare Parnell. 
He told the electors of Galway bluntly and openly 
that Parnell had chosen O'Shea because O'Shea's wife 


was Parnell's mistress. He did not even stop there. 
He sent a telegram to Parnell in thèse words : ' Mrs. 
O'Shea will be your ruin.' Healy saw the telegram 
and changed its form thus: ' The O'Sheas will be your 
ruin.' A graver crisis had not arisen during Parneirs 
leadership than this Galway élection. Parnell could 
defy any man on a political issue, for he was literally 
an absolutist mler of his people. But hère was 
a moral issue, which, if pushed to the uttermost, 
inust end in disaster. Biggar's speeches — the first 
public announcement made of Parnell's unfortunate 
relationship with Mrs. O'Shea — were suppressed by the 
• Freeman's Journal/ but the Irish members knew by 
private advices that he had set the heather on fire in 
Galway. They wired to Parnell to hasten from London 
to the scène of action. Parnell did not answer their 
telegrains. He was never in a hurry. He had the 
patience, the reserve, of the strong, self-confident man. 
He never would move when other persons thought he 
should move. He moved when in his own opinion 
the time for action had corne. If Mr. O'Connor had 
told him the people of Galway wished to hâve a local 
man, the probability is that Captain O'Shea would 
never hâve been nominated. Now, however, that his 
candidature had been publicly announced retreat was 
impossible. Parnell never looked back when he had 
once put his hand to the plough. 

On the morning of February 9 he arrived in Dublin. 
He summoned Mr. O'Connor to his side at once. ' I am 
going straight on to Galway,' he said, 'by the next 
train, and I want you to corne with me.' The situation, 
serious enough in its main aspects, was not without a 
touch of humour. Mr. T. P. O'Connor had corne to 
Ireland to oppose Captain O'Shea. Ile ijo^f suddenly 


f ound himself travelling by express train to support the 
candidature of that obnoxious individuaJ. Parnell was 
also accompanied by Mr. Sexton, Mr. Campbell, and 
Mr. J. J. O'Kelly. Biggar was enjoying a hearty 
breakfast when the news reached Galway that Parnell 
was en r&iite for the city of the Tribes. 

1 What will we do with Parnell ? ' asked Mr. Healy. 
' Mob him, sir,' said Mr. Biggar, ' mob him.' Long 
before the train bearing the Ghief and his staff arrived 
an angry multitude had gathered at the railway station. 
Parneirs visits to the provinces in Ireland were gene- 
rally like the progress of a sovereign enthroned in the 
hearts of the nation. Everywhere he was received 
with révérence, joy, enthusiasm. But the mob at the 
Galway railway station on February 9 was forbidding, 
sullen, fierce. How would they receive the Chief? 
Would they mob him ? The train at length steamed 
into the terminus. The mob growled. Parnell alighted. 
The crowd scanned him and his companions closely, 
but not an angry or a disrespectful word was addressed 
to the ' uncrowned king.' It was clear, however, that 
the mob were looking for someone with no friendly 
intent. The object of their search soon appeared. 
Then there was a yell of passion, a fierce rush, and Mr. 
T. P. O'Connor was struck at by the foremost man in 
the throng and nearly swept off his feet. With the 
true instinct of Connaught peasants, thèse Galway 
electors made their late member responsible in the 
first degree for what had happened. He should hâve 
communicated with them, ascertained their views, 
advised Parnell of their désire to hâve a local candidate, 
and saved them from the indignity of being compelled 
to accept the detested Whig. Mr. O'Connor had done 
none of thèse things. Worse still, he had begun by 


joining Biggar and Healy in revolt, and ended by 
coming to Galway to oppose theni and to help in 
forcing O'Shea upon the constituency. The man to be 
mobbed was not Parnell, but their late member ; so 
thought the men of Galway. Seeing Mr. O'Connor 
assailed, Parnell sprang to his side in an instant, seized 
him by the arm and marched him off to the hôtel — the 
mob falling back under the spell of the Chief 's resistless 
influence. Parnell went directly to his room, made a 
careful toilet, and then came down spick and span, 
looking more régal than ever, to meet Mr. Biggar and 
Mr. Healy and the Irish members. Healy stated the 
case against Captain O'Shea. His observations may be 
summed up in a sentence : O'Shea was a Whig, and 
therefore unfit to sit for any Irish constituency. Biggar 
stood by the while, smiling pleasantly. The member 
for Cavan never looked more peaceful than when bent 
on war. Parnell listened patiently and attentively, and 
then said his say briefly and resolutely. O'Shea could 
not be withdrawn ; it might be a question whether he 
ought to hâve been brought forward, but having been 
brought forward he must remain. ParnelTs leadership 
was involved in the issue, and upon that leadership 
the success of the Irish cause depended. It must not 
therefore be jeopardised even by the suspicion of a 
revolt. That was the fiât of the Chief. ' A rumour 
lias been spread,' he said, ' that if Captain O'Shea is 
withdrawn I would retire from the party. I hâve no 
intention of resigning my position. I would not resign 
it if the people of Galway were to kick me through the 
streets to-day.' This single sentence, Mr. O'Connor 
tells us, swept Mr. Healy off his feet. However that 
may be, the whole business was certainly settled in a 
shorter tinie than I now take to tell the story. When 


Parnell had concluded, ail présent, except Biggar, 
acquiesced readily in his décision. While the conférence 
of the members was going on a vast crowd had collected 
in the streets impatiently awaiting the word which 
would rid Galway of O'Shea. Then the news spread 
that everything had been settled — that O'Shea was to be 
member for Galway. This was followed by the further 
intelligence that Parnell would address the people. A 
great meeting was gathered together. Parnell f aced the 
sullen and dissatisfied crowd. He had, according to Mr. 
O'Connor, swept Mr. Healy off his feet with a single 
sentence. He conquered the multitude with two sen- 
tences. Stretching forth his left hand, he said : ' I hâve 
a Parliament for Ireland within the hollow of my 
hand/ Then, bringing his right hand down on his 
left, he added, 'destroy me and you take away that 
Parliament.' ' It was an impressive sentence, a révé- 
lation,' says Mr. Healy. ' The people learned for the 
first time how near they were to victory. Every man 
in the crowd was aw T ed, except Biggar.' The people, 
who up to that point had shown an unwillingness to 
hear Parnell, now listened with bated breath. The 
Chief saw lais advantage, and quickly followed it up. 
1 Eeject Captain O'Shea, destroy me, and there will 
arise a shout from ail the enemies of Ireland : " Parnell 
is beaten, Ireland has no longer a leader." ' A thrill of 
émotion ran through the meeting. There was no 
cheering, no enthusiasm, but complète submission. 
Corne what might the enemy should not be given the 
opportunity to blasphème. They would accept O'Shea 
rather than it should be said they were disloyal to 
Parnell. That was the décision of the men of 
Galway. When ail was nearly over, when the people 
were about to disperse, and as Parnell had risen to 


leave, Biggar pushed his way to the front, and in 
deep guttural tones jerked out the words : ' Sir, if 
Musther Lynch goes to the poil FU support him/ 
Parnell made a gentle inclination of the head in 
response to this characteristic speech of his old friend 
and retired. Mr. Lynch went to the poil, but was left 
at the bottom of it by an overwhelming majority. 1 A 
grave crisis had been averted, but the Galway élection 
of 1886 threw a dark shadow over the fateful career 
of the Irish leader. 

The élection over, Parnell returned to London. The 
22nd of March was the day originally fixed for the intro- 
duction of the Home Rule Bill. But the différences 
between Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Chamberlain had not 
yet been settled. So far, indeed, were the two men 
from agreement that on March 15 Mr. Chamberlain 
tlireatened to resign. Writing to Mr. Gladstone he 
said : 

1 1 gathered from your statements that although your 
plans are not fully matured, yet you hâve corne to the 
conclusion that any extension of local government on 
exclusive lines, including even the création of a national 
council or councils for purely Irish business, would 
now be entirely inadéquate, and that you are convinced 
of the necessity for conceding a separate législative 
assembly for Ireland, with full powers to deal with ail 
Irish affairs. I understood that you would exclude 
from their compétence the control of the army and 
navy and the direction of foreign and colonial policy, 
but that you would allow them to arrange their own 
customs tariff, to hâve entire control of the civil forces 
of the country, and even, if they thought fit, to establish 

1 At the General Election Parnell had supported the candidature of 
Captain O'Shea for the Exchange division of Liverpool. 


a volunteer army. It appears to me a proposai of this 
kind must be regarded as tantamount to a proposai for 
séparation. I think it is even worse, because it would 
set up an unstable and temporary form of government, 
which would be a source of perpétuai irritation and 
agitation until the full demande of the Nationalist 
party were conceded. . . . My public utterances and 
my conscientious convictions are absolutely opposed to 
such a policy, and I feel that the différences which hâve 
now been disclosed are so vital that I can no longer 
entertain the hope of being of service in the Govern- 
ment. I must therefore respectfully request you to 
take the necessary steps for relieving me of the office 
which I hâve the honour to hold.' 

Mr. Gladstone subsequently made some modifica- 
tions to conciliate Mr. Chamberlain, but in vain. In 
fact, there was a radical différence between the Prime 
Minister and the Président of the Local Government 
Board, which could not be overcome. The one was a 
Home Euler and the other was not. The latter 
suggested altérations in the hope of undermining 
the principle of the Bill. The former held fast to the 
principle, and avoided every amendment which in his 
opinion endangered it. In truth, neither trusted the 
other, and from the outset both had really assumed a 
position of mutual antagonism. 

On March 26 Mr. Chamberlain finally left the 
Ministry, and was accompanied by Mr. Jesse Collings 
(Secretary to the Local Government Board), Mr. 
Trevelyan (Secretary for Scotland), and Mr. Heneage 
(Chancellor of the Duchy). 

After writing the foregoing I called on Mr. 
Chamberlain, who was good enough to gWo me hia 

VOL. II. K. 


views with much frankness and fairness. Though 
there are some parts of thc conversation which carry us 
a little back, and other parts which rather anticipate the 
narrative, I prefer to set it out, as a whole, in this place. 

I saw Mr. Chamberlain at the Colonial Office on 
February 15, 1898. 

I said : ' Mr. Chamberlain, I know that your 
relations with Mr. Parnell were friendly in the early 
days. I think you saw a good deal of each other, and 
you worked together on some questions. You worked 
together in attacking flogging in the anny.' 

Mr. Chamberlain. 'Not quite worked together, if 
you mean that we worked on a concerted plan or that 
we had consultations and conférences. We certainly 
worked for the same end. Parnell attacked flogging 
in the anny in pursuance of his gênerai policy of 
obstruction. I am not blaming him. He thought 
the best thing to do for his cause was to obstruct the 
business of the House of Commons, and he seized 
every subject which enabled him to carry out that 
policy. On this gênerai principle he attacked flogging 
in the anny. I was opposed to flogging in the army 
becauso I did not like the thing. Some of my friends 
who were also opposed to it did not wish to take the 
question up becauso Parnell had begun it. I thought 
that was foolish. I said : " What does it matter who 
lias begun it, if it is a right thing to do ? Let us help 
Parnell, whatever may be his objects, when he is doing 
the right thing. Let us go in and take the question 
out of his hands." We did ultimately go in and take a 
prominont part in the discussion. Parnell then dropped 
back, and let us fight. He came forward again when- 
ever he saw the question was in danger, or whenever 
any of our people flagged. In that sensé, if you like, 


Parnell and I worked together in abolishing flogging in 
the army.' 

' Did you think him a remarkable man ? ' 
Mr. Chamberlain. 'Very remarkable. A great 
man. Unscrupulous, if I may say so. I do not 
wish to be misunderstood in my meaning of the word 
"unscrupulous." I mean that he was unscrupulous 
like every great man. I hâve often thought Parnell 
was like Napoléon. He allowed nothing to stand in his 
way. He stopped at nothing to gain his end. If a 
man opposed him, he flung him aside and dashed on. 
He did not care. He did not harbour any enmity. He 
was too great a man for that. He was indiffèrent about 
the means he used to gain his object. That is my 


1 You say he was unscrupulous. Did you find that 
he was a man who kept his word ? ' . 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' Certainly. He was a pleasant 
man to deal with in that respect. He was a good man 
to make a bargain with, and he had a keen eye for a 
bargain. He was a great Parliamentarian. He under- 
stood politics. He knew that you cannot always get 
your own way, and that you must sometimes take the 
best thing you can get at a given moment. There was 
nothing irreconcilable about him. His main purpose 
he no doubt always had at the back of his mind, but it 
did not prevent him from dealing with every important 
issue that arose. He could approach any question — 
apart from the subject of an Irish Parliament, which I 
suppose was his main purpose — and deal with that 
question for the time being as if no other question 
existed. My relations with Parnell were business 
relations, and I found them very pleasant. He often 
dined with me. I should not say that he was socially 



interesting. I thought him, indeed, rather dull. He 
did not seem to hâve any converijational powers, and 
he had no small talk. In business he was very frank.' 

' You and he made the Kilmainham treaty ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' Yes. There has been a good 
deal of discussion about the Kilmainham treaty — about 
the terms of the treaty, or whether there was any 
treaty. There was a treaty. And the terms on our side 
were that we should deal with some phases of the land 
question — the arrears question, I think. This very 
Kilmainham treaty is an instance of what I mean when 
I say that Parnell could divest himself of every subject 
except the one that was practical at the moment. He 
did not talk about Home Ilule then. He knew it would 
be useless. He took up a subject which was practicable, 
and which could be used for the end he then had in 
view. The Kilmainham treaty was made, the arrears 
question was taken up, and Parnell got out. That 
compact would hâve been carefully kept, and a great 
change might hâve been made in affaire in Ireland, 
but the Phcenix Park murders came and made a 

' The murders led to the Crimes Bill, which was a 
violation of the treaty ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' Yes ; the murders led to that 
particular Crimes Bill. Had there been no murders 
there still would hâve been some sort of Bill for dealing 
with outrages. The suspension of the Habeas Corpus 
Act would hâve been dropped, but something put in 
its place.' 

4 But the Crimes Bill which was passed had been 
prepared by Lord Cowper and Mr. Forster before they 
lef t office ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain, ' Yes ; that is so. But that Bill 


would not hâve been introduced if the murders had not 
been committed.' 

' May I ask if Captain O'Shea took any initiative 
in making the Kilmainham treaty, or was he simply a 
go-between ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' He took no initiative. He 
simply took what I said to Parnell, and brought back 
what Parnell said to me.' 

* Parnell called upon you the morning after the 
Phœnix Park murders. How did he then seem ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' Yes ; he called ; he and Mr. 
McCarthy. Parnell looked like a man quite broken 
down — quite unnerved. He said to me : " I would 
leave public life at once if I were satisfied it would 
do any good." I said: " Nonsense, Mr. Parnell; 
you can do no good by leaving public life, you can 
only do harm. No one supposes you hâve any 
responsibility in this matter. If you were to go 
away, everyone would say it was because you were 
afraid — because you were mixed up in some way in the 
matter. You must remain and exercise a restraining 
influence/' I believe, afterwards, he made a communi- 
cation to Mr. Gladstone on the subject.' 

* Did not Captain O'Shea corne in while McCarthy 
and Parnell were with you ? Was not something said 
about the Kilmainham treaty by O'Shea, and did you 
not say, " O'Shea, it is not your treaty that is going to 
be carried out at ail ; it is another treaty " ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. i I hâve no recollection of that. 
If anybody bas told you so he may be right. It is a 
long time ago, but I scarcely think it can be accurate. 
I think there must be some confusion about dates, for I 
do not think there was any treaty but the one. Later 
on another treaty was discussed between Parnell and 

VOL. II. *i 3 


me, but that was in '84 or '85. I think your informant 
must be mixing up the dates. In fact, we were so 
absorbed in the Phœnix Park murders that morning 
that I do not think we thought of anything else.' 
4 May I ask what was the other treaty ? ' 
Mr. Chamberlain. ' Certainly. It was, I think, in 
1884. Perhaps towards the end or the autumn of 
1884. O'Shea came to me. He said : " The Kilmain- 
ham treaty has broken down. Do not you think that 
you and Parnell ought to try and corne together again, 
and to see if it is possible to do anything on the subject 
of Ireland ? I think Parnell is anxious to hâve some 
sort of settlement." I said that I was quite willing 
to consider any proposai relating to the government of 
Ireland, and to discuss any question with Parnell, to 
see how far it was possible for us to corne together. 
I should add that my authority in this matter is O'Shea. 
Parnell was staying at his house at this time, and I 
think that O'Shea was accurate in saying he had 
corne from Parnell, and that Parnell was anxious 
for a settlement. However, no letters passed between 
Parnell and myself in the matter, therefore my 
évidence on the subject is O'Shea. It was then that 
I proposed the National Councils scheme. My idea, 
as well as I can recollect now, was this: There 
was to be a council in Dublin ; possibly it would be 
necessary to hâve another council in Belfast, but if 
possible there was only to be one central council. This 
council should take over the administrative work of ail 
the boards then existing in Dublin. It might besides 
deal with such subjects as land and éducation and other 
local matters.' 

' When you say the council should deal with land 
and éducation, do you mean that it should legislate? ' 


Mr. Chamberlain. l Not absolutely. I think my 
idea was that it should take the initiative in introdnoing 
Bills, and that it should pass Bills, but that thèse Bills 
should not become law until they received the sanction 
of the Impérial Parliament. If any particular measure 
was brought in in the council and passed through the 
council, that measure should then be sent to the House 
of Commons, and be allowed to lie on the table of the 
House of Gommons for say forty days, and then, if 
nothing was done upon it, it would become law.' 

1 That was a bigger scheme than what one ordinarily 
understands by local government ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. 'Certainly, it was a very big 
scheme. Perhaps it was too big a scheme. I do not 
think I should agrée to it now, but I was ready to give 
it then. So far as I could learn, Parnell was not 
opposed to that scheme ; hère again I hâve to dépend 
on O'Shea. I remember another thing in this con- 
nection which supports O'Shea. Âbout this time 
Cardinal Manning asked me to call upon hini, and talk 
over the Irish question. I went to see hini, and we 
discussed this National Gouncils scheme. I asked him 
if he thought Parnell would accept it, and if it would 
be satisf actory to the bishops and priests, for I considered 
that important. He said he was in a position to speak 
for the bishops, because he had seen some of them 
passing through on their way to Borne, and that they 
were in favour of some such scheme as I had proposed. 
He said, in fact, that he thought the bishops would 
prefer a National Councils scheme to an independent 
Parliament. He also said he thought Parnell would 
accept it. I told Mr. Gladstone ail that had happened, 
and he quite approved of the National Councils scheme. 
This was in 1884 or early in 1885. Ultimately I 


brought the scheme before the Cabinet, that is, the 
Cabinet of 1884. I cannot, of course, tell you Cabinet 
secrets, but it is a public matter that I did submit 
such a scheme to the Cabinet. Mr. Gladstone was 
quite in favour of it. Well, the Cabinet rejected it.' 

' That is, I suppose, the majority of the Cabinet 
rejected it ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' Yes, and the very men who 
afterwards were in favour of a Parliament for Ireland 
opposed the National Councils scheme most vigorously, 
and caused its def eat. There never was such a volte-face. 
Mr. Gladstone was very vexed. When that scheme was 
rejected I did not care how soon the Government went 
out. We were thrown out in June 1885, and I was 
very glad. It left me free. Then I took up the Irish 
question, and I made a speech at some place in the 
north of London.' 

' Holloway ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' Yes ; Holloway. 1 That speech, 
as you know, excited a good deal of criticism. Well, 
I still stand by that speech. I attacked the bureau- 
cratie System which existed in Ireland, and I ex- 
pressed my désire to see it changed. The speech was 

1 This is what Mr. Chamberlain said at Holloway : * I do not bélier© 
that the great majority of Englishmen hâve the slightest conception of 
the system under which this iree nation attempts to rule the siiter 
country. It is a System which is founded on the bayonets of 80,000 
soldiers encamped permanently as in a hostile country. It is a System 
as completely centralised and bureaucratie as that with which Basai* 
governs Poland, or as that which prevailed in Venice under the Austrian 
rule. An Irish man at this moment cannot move a step — he cannot lift 
a finger in any parochial, municipal, or éducation al work, without being 
confronted with, interfered with, controlled by an English officiai, ap- 
pointed by a foreign Government, and without a shade or shadow ol 
représentative authority. I say the time has corne to reform altogethar 
the absurd and irritating anachronism which is known as Dublin 
Castle.'— June 17, 1885. 


made in pursuance of the policy of national councils. 
It was arranged that Sir Charles Dilke and I should 
go to Ireland, and lay that policy before the people. 
Then suddenly our plans were overturned. A state- 
ment was made to me that Parnell no longer wished 
us to go to Ireland, and that he would not hâve our 
scheme now; that he had got something better. At 
this time I believe he was in touch with Lord 
Carnarvon and the Tories.' 

1 I hâve heard it said that Mr. Parnell treated you 
badly over the national councils business. I should 
like to know your views ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. 'I never said he treated me 
badly. I never thought he treated me badly. I think 
it is idle to talk of Parnell treating me badly, or of my 
treating Parnell badly. We acted as politicians. He 
was doing what he thought the best he could for his 
cause ; I was doing the best I could, according to my 
opinions. But no doubt his action was quite in keeping 
with his gênerai practice. He would probably hâve 
taken national councils if he could not hâve got 
anything better, and he would afterwards, I suppose, 
hâve pushed on, or tried to push on, for his Parliament. 
But it was quite like Parnell to take the thing which 
was feasible at the moment, and national councils 
perhaps seemed to him feasible in '85. Then he 
thought he could get something better, and he was 
resolved to take it. It was quite natural. I do not 
think I was badly treated at ail. I do not think he 
treated me badly at ail. I hâve never complained.' 

'Parnell had, as you know, Mr. Chamberlain, a 
very difficult battle to fight. It seems to me that his 
aim was to see how far English statesmen would go, 
p,nd that he really desijred, if I may say bq, to play 


you ail off against each other, and to close with the 
man who would, in the end, go farthest.' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' I think that is very likely/ 

1 Mr. George Fottrell had something to do with the 
National Councils scheme ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' Yes, lie saw me at that time. 
Hc gave me his views, and we talked about the matter 

'Did not Mr. Fottrell write an article in the 
" Fortnightly " on national councils ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. i Yes, lie did.' 

' Did you see the proof s of the article ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' Yes, I did.' 

1 May I ask if you did not make some suggestions 
in the proof ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. 'Yes, I did.' 

I said : ' There is one matter which has puzzled 
me in considering Parnell's tactics at the moment. It 
has seemed to me that lie ought not to hâve given you 
up so soon. You had gonc further than an y man at 
the outset. It was natural for him to think that in 
the end you would be more likely to go the whole way 
than anybody else. Why did he not keep up negotia- 
tions with you ? It seems to me he broke them off 
very suddenly. First he broke them off to deal with 
Lord Carnarvon, and then lie broke them off in dealing 
with Mr. Gladstone. As a matter of tactics, did he 
commit a mistake ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. 'I do not know that he did. I 
suppose lie came to the conclusion that I could 
not bc got beyond national councils. He thought» 
rightly or wrongly, that Lord Carnarvon would go 
further, and then lie opened negotiations, or what 
seemed to be negotiations, with him. I may say that 


I think there was a misunderstanding between Lord 
Carnarvon and Parnell at that time. However, if 
he thought Lord Carnarvon and the Tories would go 
further, it was only natural that he should approach 

1 It seems to me that in the élection campaign of 
'85, and leading up to it, he fixed his eye chiefly upon 
Mr. Gladstone, you, and Lord Eandolph Churchill, 
and he seems to hâve corne very suddenly to the 
conclusion that Mr. Gladstone after ail was his man. 
Why could he not hâve kept up negotiations with you 
while he was negotiating with Mr. Gladstone? He 
broke off with you very abruptly, as I think. Was it 
not a mistake ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' I assume that Parnell was 
satisfied that he himself could not get me to go beyond 
national councils ; but he probably thought that Mr. 
Gladstone might persuade me. I think that was his 
idea. Then he resolved to lean entirely upon Mr. 
Gladstone, and he trusted that Mr. Gladstone would 
carry me over. I cannot say that I see any tactical 
error on his part in that way.' 

' I should now like to talk about the Home Eule 
Bill. I hâve corne to the conclusion, after giving the 
matter — your speeches and ail that has been written 
and said upon the subject — the best considération I 
could, that you were never a Home Buler in our sensé ; 
but there are some points which I should feel obligea 
if you would clear up for me. You opposed the 
exclusion of the Irish members from the Impérial Par- 
liament. I thought at that time, and I think a great 
many other people thought too, that you were in f avour, 
or that ultimately you came to be in favour, of the 
principle of Mr. Gladstone's Bill, but that you objected 


to the exclusion of the Irish members as a matter of 
détail. What I should like to ask is, if you objected to 
the exclusion as a matter of détail, or if you really used 
that clause for the purpose of attacking the Bill? 
Was it really your aim to turn Mr. Gladstone's flank 
by attacking that point ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' I wanted to kill the Bill.' 

' And you used the question of the exclusion of thé 
Irish members for that purpose ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. 1 1 did, and I used the Land Bill 
for the same purpose. I was not opposed to the reform 
of the land laws. I was not opposed to land purchase. 
It was the right way to settle the land question, but 
there were many things in the Bill to which I was 
opposed on principle. My main object in attacking it, 
though, was to kill the Home Kule Bill. As soon as 
the Land Bill was out of the way l I attacked the 
question of the exclusion of the Irish members. I used 
that point to show the absurdity of the whole scheme.' 

4 Well, I may say, Mr. Chamberlain, that that is 
the conclusion I hâve myself corne to. It was strategy, 
simply strategy.' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' I wanted to kill the Bill. You 
may take that ail the time.' 

I Mr. Jeyes, in his short life of you — which seems 
to me a very f air as well as a clever book — says you were 
once on the point of being converted to Home Rule.' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' He is wrong. I was never near 
being converted to an Irish Parliament. The national 
councils was my extrême point. There I stood.' 

I I should like to talk to you about what you said on 
the subject of Canadian Home Rule. I am satisfied 

1 Mr. Gladstone introduced a Land Purchase Bill at the Mme fenf 
US the Home Rule Bill, and suddcnly dronped it, 


that you attacked the exclusion of the Irish members to 
kill the Bill, but I think you said things about Canada 
which are open to the interprétation that you might 
favour the establishment of an Irish Parliament. The 
matter is not quite clear to me.' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' I do not think you should press 
me too hard. I stated my object was to kill the Bill. 
I hâve no doubt that I said many things that may hâve 
been open to some such interprétation as you suggest. 
I will take this case of Canada, though I really cannot 
recollect very well now what I did say. Still, I think 
my idea was this. Other people had been talking 
about Canadian Home Rule besides me, and the point 
I took up was, What is meant by Canadian Home 
Rule? Is it meant that the relations between Eng- 
land and Ireland are to be the same as the relations 
between the Dominion Parliament and England ? If that 
is meant, then it is séparation. Mr. Gladstone himself 
is not prepared to establish the same relations between 
England and Ireland as exist between the Dominion 
Parliament of Canada and the Impérial Parliament. 
Or do you mean such relations as exist between 
the Dominion Parliament and the Provincial Parlia- 
ments ? But what are the relations between the 
Dominion Parliament and the Provincial Parliaments 
in Canada? Certain powers are delegated by the 
Dominion to the provincial législatures, but that is not 
what the Bill proposes to do with référence to Ireland. 
It does not delegate certain powers to Ireland. On the 
contrary, it gives Ireland power to legislate upon Irish 
matters generally, reserving certain things to the 
Impérial Parliament. I think that was the line I took. 
However open I may be to criticism in whateverl said, 
my aim was, as I say, to kill the Bill.' 


i By the way, there is another point, Mr. Chamber- 
lain, that I had forgotten, which I should like to put 
to you. Going away from the question of Canada, I 
find that in '85 Parnell was in touch with Lord 
Carnarvon through Mr. Justin McCarthy, or directly. 
He was in touch with you through Captain O'Shea. 
Was he in communication with Mr. Gladstone at thia 
time, directly or indirectly ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. *Yes. He was in communica- 
tion with Mr. Gladstone through a lady.' 
< Mrs. O'Shea?' 

Mr. Chamberlain. 'Yes.' 

1 Mr. Gladstone has frankly told me that. He told 
me that he had seen Mrs. O'Shea for the first time in 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' Yes, he told me the same 

1 May I take it that the Cabinet was practically in 
relation with Parnell through Mrs. O'Shea from 1882 ? f 

Mr. Chamberlain. l Yes.' 

'May I ask a word about the Eound Table 
Conférence ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. 'Yes.' 

• Well, what was it exactly ? What w r ere the points 
raised exactly ? ' 

Mr. Chamberlain. ' I revived my National Councils 
scheme at the liound Table Conférence. I believe they 
were willing to accept it. They asked Parnell. Parnell 
would not hâve it, and that of course made an end in 
the matter. They thought they could turn him round 
like Trevelyan, but found they were mistaken.' 

On April 8 Mr. Gladstone moved the first reading 
of the Home liule Bill. He proposed to establish 


Irish Parliament and an Irish Executive for the 
management and control of Irish affaire, reserving to 
the Impérial Parliament the following subjects : the 
Crown, peace or war, the army, navy, militia, volun- 
teers, defence, &c, foreign and colonial relations, 
dignities, titles of honour, treason, trade, post office, 
coinage. Besides thèse ' exceptions,' the Irish Parlia- 
ment was forbidden to make any laws respecting (inter 
alia) the endowment of religion, or in restraint of 
educational freedom, or relating to the customs or 

The Dublin metropolitan police were to remain 
under Impérial control for two years, and the Royal 
Irish Constabulary for an indefinite period ; but eventu- 
ally ail the Irish police were to be handed over to the 
Irish Parliament. Ireland's contribution to the Impérial 
revenue was to be in the proportion of one-fifteenth to 
the whole. Ail constitutional questions relating to the 
powers of the Irish Parliament were to be submitted to 
the Judicial Committee of the English Privy Council. 
The Irish members were to be excluded from the 
Impérial Parliament. 

The Bill was read a first time without a division, 
but not without sharp criticism from the Tories and 
Dissentient Libérais. On April 16 Mr. Gladstone 
introduced a Land Bill, which was, in fact, a pendant 
to the Home Rule Bill. The chief feature of this mea- 
sure was a scheme for buying out the Irish landlords 
and for creating a peasant proprietary. The State was 
in the first instance to buy the land at twenty years' 
purchasc of the judicial rents, or at the Government 
valuation, and then sell to the tenants, advancing the 
purchasc money (which involved the issue of 50,000,0002. 
Consols), and giving them forty-nine years to pay it back 


at the rate of four per cent, per annum. A Eeceiver- 
General was to be appointée!, under British authority, 
to receive the rents and revenues of Ireland, while 
this scheme was in opération. Thus Mr. Gladstone's 
complète plan for the pacification of Ireland was an 
Irish Parliament and a peasant proprietary. 

This plan was now discussed throughout the Empire, 
approved in the main by the vast majority of the Irish 
people in Ireland, in America, in the Colonies, accepted 
by the bulk of the Libéral party ; but condemned by 
the Tories and Dissentient Libérais. Mr. Gladstone 
had hoped that the Land Bill, by buying off the 
hostility of the landlords, would smooth the way for 
the Home Kule Bill. 

He was mistaken. The hostility of the landlords 
was not bought off, while new issues which troubled his 
own friends were raised. The Irish did not like the 
appointaient of the Receiver-General, and the Libérais 
did not like the public expenditure which was in the 
first instance involved. Tactically, the Land Bill was a 
blunder, and Mr. Gladstone soon found it out. 

On May 10 he moved the second reading of the 
Home Rule Bill. Lord Hartington moved its rejection, 
and a debate which lasted until June 7 ensued. In 
the interval Mr. Gladstone tried to win back the Dis- 
sentient Libérais. He expressed his willingness to 
reconsider every détail, if only the principle of the Bill 
were affirrned. * Vote for the second reading,' he said in 
effect ; ' consent to the establislnnent of an Irish Par- 
liament and an Irish Executive for the management 
and control of Irish affairs, and let the détails wait. 
The second reading pledges you only to an Irish 
Parliament. Every other question remains open.' As 
for the Land Bill, he praçtically threw it over. ' While 


the sands are running in the hour-glass,' he said in an 
oft-quoted sentence, ' the Irish landlords hâve as yet 
given no intimation of a désire to accept a proposai 
framed in a spirit of the utmost allowable regard to 
their appréhensions and their interests. ' If the landlords 
were not prepared to accept the Bill he would ask no 
Libéral to vote for it. In this shape he offered the 
olive-branch to his old friends. Up to May 28 Mr. 
Bright had taken no very prominent part in opposition 
to the Ministerial policy, and there were rumoors afloat 
that he was favourable to the Bills. 

I was anxious to learn if there was any foundation 
for thèse rumours, and I wrote to Mr. Bright, asking 
him to give me an interview. He quickly sent the 
following reply : 

1 Reform Club : May 28, 1886. 

I I expect to be hère to-morrow from 12 to 2, and 
shall be glad to see you, if it be not inconvénient for 
you to call upon me.' 

I called at 12.30. He was sitting in the hall of 
the club talking to Lord Hartington. I took a place 
opposite to them, and waited for about an hour. At 
the end of that time Mr. Bright looked at his watch, 
rose, said something (smiling) to Lord Hartington 
(who went away), and then walked across the hall 
to me. 

* Well,' he said pleasantly, ' I hâve kept you waiting 
for an hour, but I hâve been talking about Ireland ail 
the time. I came to the club this morning at 10 
o'clock, and I hâve talked of nothing but Ireland since. 
Corne, sit down.' 

I went straight to the point. To talk to Mr. Bright 
and not go straight to the point would be fatal. ' I hâve 

VOL. II. I4 


corne, Mr. Bright/ I said, ' to ask if you are in favour 
of the Home Kule Bill/ 

He paused for a moment, lookcd on the floor, then 
raised his head and answered : ' I am not. Wait (at a 
motion of my hand) . I am against the Land Bill too ; 
I am against both Bills/ 

1 1 am only interested in the Home Rule BiU, Mr. 
Bright. May I ask you why you are against it ? Are 
you afraid that Home Bule would lead to religious 
persécution ? ' 

' No ; the fact is the days of religious persécution 
are gone by. You cannot hâve it anywhere now. We 
are ail watching each other too much. You know my 
views of the Irish. They are like most other people — 
neither better nor worse — and you are not going to 
hâve a condition of things in Ireland which is im- 
possible anywhere else. Moreover, if the Irish were 
disposed to persécute, they would hâve to be on their 
good behaviour, living so near a Protestant country. 
Besides, the Protestants of Ireland are very well able 
to take carc of themsclves. I would havc more concern 
for somc of the poor Catholics. liemcmber that it is 
Catholics and not Protestants who hâve corne under 
the harrow of the League. (A pause.) I think, 
though, that some of thèse fellows [the Irish members] 
are far too fond of talking of Ireland as a Catholic 
nation. They do harni. (A pause, and then a smile.) 
I expect that some of thèse fellows who talk about 
Ireland as a Catholic nation arc precious bad Catholics. 
They remind me of the Pope's brass band, Keogh and 
Sadler. I remember thosc times. You don't. But I 
hâve no fear of a religious persécution/ 

1 Then do you think that we would try to separatq 
from England if we got an Irish Parliament ? * 


' Certainly not. How could you ? Why, the thing 
is madness. Mark, there are people in this country 
who would be very glad if yon would try. That 
would give them an opportunity of settling the Irish 
question very quickly. Just think of our population 
and of yours ; then your population is steadily diminish- 
ing, and ours always increasing. Séparation is absurd. 
Whether you hâve a Parliament or not, you can never 
separate. (A pause.) I do not know that séparation 
would be a bad thing if you could separate far enough.' 

I said, quoting a famous passage from one of Mr. 
Bright's speeches : * If we could be moved 2,000 miles 
to the westward.' 

Mr. Bright (smiling). ' Just so. Many of us would 
be glad to be rid of you ; but we hâve been thrown 
together by Nature, and so we must remain. (A 
pause.) The history of the two countries is most 
melancholy. Hère we are at the end of the nine- 
teenth century, and we do not like each other a bit 
better. You are as rebellious as ever. I sometimes 
think that you hâte us as much as ever.' 

I interposed : ' It is a sad commentary, sir, on your 

Mr. Bright (warmly). 'I know our government 
has been as bad as a Government could be, but then 
we hâve donc many things during the past fifty years. 
You do not thank us in the least.' 

I said : * Because, as you often pointed out, you 
hâve only yielded to force. The Irish tenants do not 
thank you for the Land Act of 1881. They thank Mr. 
Parncll and the Land League. Are they wrong ? ' 

Mr. Bright. ' Well, of course I know only too well 
how much truth there is in what you say about our 
policy in Ireland. But you do not recognise that there 

L 2 


is an effort now being made in this country to do 
better by Ireland. If Mr. Gladstone, who bas done 
so much for y ou, would only persévère on the old 
lines instead of taking this new step we would yet 
ruake everything right in Ireland.' 

I remarked : ' Weli, sir, I am glad that you tbink 
the new step will not lead to séparation.' 

Mr. Bright. i Oh, no, I am not afraid of that.' 

1 Do you think that the présent Irish représentatives 
would sit in an Irish Parliament, and that they would 
adopt a policy of public plunder ? ' 

Mr. Bright. l Well, I hâve said to you already that 
the Irish are very much the saine as other people, and 
no people in the world would stand thèse fellows per- 
manently. No ; if you had an Irish Parliament you 
would hâve a better class of men in it. I quite 
understand that. I do not mean to say that you 
would hâve a better représentation at once, for thèse 
fellows would try to hold on. But the man who is 
their master would shake them off one by one, and 
the people would support him. Mr. Parnell is a 
remarkable man, but a bitter enemy of this country. 
He would hâve great difficultés in the first years of 
an Irish Parliament, but he might overcome them. 
Yet many of thèse fellows hâte him (smiling). The 
Irish hâte ail sort of government. He is a sort of 

1 A popular government ? ' 

Mr. Bright. 'Well, perhaps so, but even that may 
not save him in the end. I do not know how long he 
will be able to control thèse fellows.' 

• Well, Mr. Bright, you are not afraid of a religions 
persécution, nor séparation, nor public plunder. "Why 
do you object to Home Bule ? ' 

M*. 40] INTERVIEW Wlîtt MR. ÊRIGHT 149 

Mr. Bright. * I will tell you. I object to this Bill. 
It either goes too far or it does not go far enough. If 
you could persuade me that what you call Home Kule 
wouldbe a good thingfor Ireland, I would still object to 
this Bill. It does not go far enough. It would lead to 
friction — to constant friction between the two countries. 
The Irish Parliament would be constantly struggling 
to burst the bars of the statutory cage in which it is 
sought to confine it. Persuade me that Home Rule 
would be a good thing for Ireland, and I would give 
you the widest measure possible, consistently with 
keeping up the connection between the two countries.' 

I asked : * You would give us control of the land, 
police, judges ? ' 

Mr. Bright. ' Certainly, I would give you a measure 
which would make it impossible for the two Parlia- 
ments to corne into conflict. There is the danger. If 
you get only a half-hearted measure, you will imme- 
diately ask for more. There would be renewed agita- 
tion — perhaps an attempt at insurrection — and in the 
end we should take away your Parliament, and probably 
make you a Crown colony.' 

I said : * Would you keep the Irish members in 
Westminster ? ' 

Mr. Bright. ' Certainly not. Why, the best clause 
in Mr. Gladstone's Bill is the one which excludes 

* If you were a Home Euler, Mr. Bright, you would, 
in fact, give Ireland Colonial Home Rule ? f 

Mr. Bright. ' 1 would give her a measure of Home 
Rule which should never bring her Parliament into close 
relation with the British Parliament. She should hâve 
control over everything which by the most libéral inter- 
prétation could be called Irish. I would either hâve trust 


or distrust. If I had trust, I would trust to the full ; if I 
had distrust, I would do nothing. But this is a halting 
Bill. If you cstablish an Irish Parliament, give it 
plenty of work and plcnty of responsibility. Throw the 
Irish upon themselves. Make them f orget England ; 
let their énergies be engaged in Irish party warfare ; 
but give no Irish party leader an opportunity of 
raising an anti-English cry. That is what a good 
Home Rule Bill ought to do. This Bill does not do it. 
Why, the Receiver-General appointed by it would alone 
keep alive the anti-English feeling. If you keep alive 
that feeling, what is the good of your Home Rule? 
Mark, I am arguing this matter from your own point 
of view. But I do not think that Home Rule is 
necessary. Let us work on the old lines, but work 
more constantly and more vigorously. We hâve passed 
some good land laws. Wcll, let us pass more if 

I said : ' But will you ? ' 

Mr. Bright. 'I think so. I think that theEnglish 
pcople are now thoroughly aroused to the necessities of 
Ireland : they are beginning to understand the country, 
and the old System of delay and injustice will not be 
renewed. If Mr. Parnell would only apply himself to 
the removal of the practical grievances of Ireland, there 
is no " concession, ,, as you call it, which he could not 
get from the Impérial Parliament. I hâve said that I 
am not afraid that Home Rule would lead to séparation. 
We are too strong for that. But I think that there aie 
certain mon in Ireland who would make an effort to 
obtain séparation. I mean what you call the OH 
Fenians. I saw a letter from one of those men a féw 
days ago — he does not know I saw it — a very long 
letter. I was much interested in it. I should like to 


know what you are going to do with him. He is an 
upright, honourable man, ready, I can quitè believe, to 
risk anything for his country. Now, he wants sépara- 
tion, and he wants to obtain it in regular warfare. 
He is mad, but a madman with a conscience is some» 
times dangerous. I should think that he could appea 
to the young men of the country, young fellows fui 
of sentiment and enthusiasm — (a pause) — fools; but 
they might make themselves troublesome to your 
Irish Parliament. Now, what will you do with — ? 
Will he be content with an Irish Parliament of any 

' Well, Mr. Bright, I am in a good position to 

answer that question. I saw last night. I asked 

him if he would accept an Irish Parliament and an 
Irish Executive which would hâve the fullest control 
of Irish affairs — the connection with England, of course, 
to be preserved.' 

Mr. Bright. ' Yes ; and what did he say ? ' 

' He said : " I would take an oath of allegiance tô 
an Irish Parliament ; I will never take it to an English 
Parliament. I would enter an Irish Parliament; I 
would give it a fair trial " ' 

Mr. Bright. 'Well, you surprise me. This is 
certainly a new light. The man is quite honourable. 
He will do what he says. Well, but does your friend 
think that you will get a Home Bule Parliament ? ' 

'No ; he thinks that we are living in a fool's 
paradise, and that his tara will corne again. Still, I 
fancy that he is somewhat astonished that an English 
Prime Minister should introduce any sort of Home 

Mr. Bright. ' So am I. So far your Old Fenian 
and I agrée.' 


We then parted. As I left the club he said: 
' Good-bye ; I wish I was on your side. I hâve been 
on the Irish side ail my life, and now at the end of 
my life I do not like even to appear to be against you ; 
but I cannot vote for this Bill. I hâve not spoken 
against it. I do not know that I will speak against 
it, but (a pause) that is on account of Mr. Gladstone. 
My personal regard for him may prevent me from 
taking any part in the discussion.' 

He said no more, and I came away. But hifl 
opposition to the Bill did not weaken the affectionate 
regard in which I had ever held him ; nor do I cherish 
his memory the less now because he was not on the 
Irish side in the mémorable struggle of twelve years ago. 
If he went wrong then, I cannot forget that for the 
best part of his public life Ireland had no stauncher 
friend in this country. 

Two days after our conversation Mr. Bright de- 
clared publicly against Home Kule. 

Writing to a friend in Birmingham on May 31 he 
said : ' My sympathy with Ireland, north and south, 
compels me to condemn the proposed législation. I 
believe a united Parliament can and will be more just 
to ail classes in Ireland than any Parliament that can 
meet in Dublin under the provisions of Mr. Gladstone'e 
Bill. If Mr. Gladstone's great authority were with- 
drawn from thèse Bills, 1 I doubt if twenty persona 
outside the Irish party would support them. The 
more I consider them, the more I lament that they 
hâve been offered to Parliament and the country.' 

While the debate on the second reading was pro- 
ceeding rumours were afloat that the Government 

1 The Home Baie Bill and the Land BilL 


were ready to ' hang up ' the Bill provided the second 
reading was carried. Parnell strongly opposed thèse 
tactics. In May he wrote to a member of the Cabinet 
saying that such a course could not be taken. The 
Government must show, he said, that they were in 
earnest in the business. To hang up the Bill would 
be to strengthen the position of the extrême men who 
did not want it, and to weaken the position of the 
moderate men who did. It would be difficult, he 
concluded, to persuade the people of Ireland if the 
Government dropped the Bill that they ever intended to 
take it up again. In fact, Parnell had got the Libérais 
into Home Bule, and he meant to pin them to it. 

On June 7 the debate on the Home Bule Bill was 
brought to an end. Parnell reserved himself for that 
night. He then spoke in a moderate and conciliatory 
tone, warning the House, however, that the rejection 
of the Bill would lead to a renewal of turmoil in Ireland. 
He said : * During the last five years I know, sir, that 
there hâve been very severe and drastic Coercion Bills, 
but it will require an even severer and more drastic 
measure of coercion now. You will require ail that 
you hâve had during the last five years, and more 
besides. What, sir, has that coercion been? You 
hâve had, sir, during those five years — I don't say this 
to inflame passion — you hâve had during those five 
years the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act ; you 
hâve had a thousand of your Irish fellow-subjects held 
in prison without spécifie charge, many of them for long 
periods of time, some of them for twenty months, 
without trial, and without any intention of placing 
them upon trial (I think of ail thèse thousand persons 
arrested under the Coercion Act of the late Mr. 
Forster scarcely a dozen were put on their trial) ; you 

i54 OH^ ^^Z JZ 

have fcad the »»»%£»> »* ££&• ci a 

hâve authonsca > u tyect in « ^ oi th* 

citizen, oi yoxvc teUow ^^ ^ _ ç q twarra nt. 

ï the aay or mgW, ^ the^oxnen^tbo^. 
domicile, ejen the be ^ offences ^ 

you hâve fined them ^et t° e *^ totr and 

*e guUty -, ^r ha ve reviyed the ^f ; you 

th e country; l£ t Korman conq «ed 

the Wood xnoney çrf y ^ e d and ^ ^ 

vehemently.ohjected ; b tween ^ 

that there » no J» ftnd rder i ^ 

and the ^^ I 6 ay, ^\^lerience as the 
impérial authonty. ^ mucb e *oe«e fe 

reritv o£ hehei ana ] judgmem. We 

c ? r t7 v on gentleman, that i ces8 ion oi &&* ^ 

hall-vray » Tre i an d and tne u Cr0 wn coiouj 

autonomy to £» Governnl ent tj » a ^ fl m ^k 

COttntty ' freîuse to helieve that ^ fficien t nnn*« 
But ' ttt T am convinced *** »f£ oU6e to «*■•** 
corne. If , nietn bers m tn» » hooae tne 


of ail future générations that England and her Parlia- 
ment, in this nineteenth century, were wise enough, 
brave enough, and generous enough to close the strife 
of centuries, and to give peace and prosperity to 
suffering Ireland.' 

'England and her Parliament' were not 'wise 
enough/ 'brave enough,' or 'generous enough* to 
close the ' strife of centuries ' by accepting Mr. Glad- 
stone's Bill. It was rejected in a full House by 343 to 
313 votes. A Dissolution immediately followed, and in 
July the three kingdoms were once more in the whirl of 
a gênerai élection. In December 1885 the Libérais had 
gone to the country denouncing Parnell and the Irish. 
In July 1886 they went to the country in alliance with 
Parnell and the Irish. This extraordinary révolution 
was due to the genius and character of a single man — 
Mr. Gladstone. Libérais indeed there were — a mère 
handful — who had given in their adhésion to Home 
Bule before the conversion of Mr. Gladstone, but the 
bulk of the Libéral party had yielded to the personal 
influence and authority of the Libéral leader. Parnell 
had conquered Mr. Gladstone ; Mr. Gladstone conquered 
the Libéral party. 

While the élection was pending it occurred to me 
that in the changed condition of affairs some effort 
ought to be made to educate the English constituencies. 
One day Mr. George Meredith had said to me : ' Why 
is not something done to inform the public mind on 
Home Kule ? I admit the necessity of agitation, but 
you want something besides. Having blazed on the 
English lines with the artillery of agitation, you ought 
now to charge them with the cavalry of facts.' I made 
my proposai first to Mr. Davitt. He cordially accepted it. 
'Parnell/ he said, c has neglected the English democracy, 


I hâve been at him again and again to do what you 
now propose, but he would not listen to me. We hâve 
friends in this country, and we must help them to help 
us. I will see Parnell this evening, and do you call 
upon him to-morrow. He has plenty of money, and he 
ought to spend some in this way.' 

I saw Pamell next day in the Smoking-room of the 
House of Commons. He looked ill and depressed. I 
was surprised. There was assuredly, I thought, much 
to cheer him. The Home Kule Bill had no doubt 
been rejected. But he had in ten short years done 
more for the cause of Irish législative independence 
than ail his predecessors had done in eighty years. He 
was a victor even in defeat. Still, he looked anything 
but cheerful, and as we talked he gazed thoughtfully 
through the window out on the Thames, and his mind 
seemed to be far away from the stirring scènes around 
us. ' Yes/ he said, ' Davitt has spoken to me about 
your plan. He thinks it a very good thing. You 
propose to form a committee and publish pamphlets. 
Who are your committee ? ' I gave him the names. 
' Very well,' he said, ' I will try the experiment. I 
don't believe it will do the good Davitt expects, but I 
am willing to try it to please him. How much money 
do you want ? ' I named a sum. ' I will give you 
half,' he said. Then, smiling — ' I eut down every 
demand by half. Half is quite enough for an experi- 
ment. If it succeeds, then we can do the business on a 
larger scale. I admit that as Mr. Gladstone has joihed 
us we must hâve some change of policy. But we 
cannot persuade the English people. They will only 
do what we force them to do.' I said : ' Mr. Gladstone 
can persuade them.' * Yes,' he answered, 'they will 
listen to an Englishman. They won't listen to us/ 



As I was leaving he said — and the remark showed his 
thoughtfulness — ' I don't want you to be out of pocket 
in this matter. I will give you the money when you 
Write for it,' which he did promptly. 

During the élection Parnell addressed meetings at 
Plymouth and at other places in Great Britain. ' While 
in the West of England,' says Sir Eobert Edgcumbe, 
1 he stopped with me at Totnes. He said he had, as a 
boy, lived at Torquay, and that he should much like to 
revisit it. He drove over to Torquay between lunch 
and dinner, and when he returned he told me, with 
some regret, that he had been unable to identify the 
house in which he had lived. Torquay, too, did not 
seem to corne up to his boyish recollections. For 
myself, I can honestly say that of ail the men I hâve 
ever met, Mr. Cecil Ehodes alone equals Mr. Parnell 
in possessing that peculiarly indefinable quality, the 
power to lead men — that rare power which induces 
people to lay aside their own judgment altogether and 
to place implicit reliance, absolute and unquestioning, 
in the guidance of another.' 

The élections were over before the end of July. 


Tories .... 

. 316 

Dissentient Libérais 

. 78 

Unionist total 

. 394 


. 191 

Irish Nationalists . 

. 85 

Home Bule total . 

. 276 

Unionist majority, 118 



CHAKI-ES w» -uni» ne» 

derty, Vicooy- lost . Lobby »{ter 

ha d been îougW ^ di one day m ^ <There 

Û Pamell w-*£ ^, Cha^f ^ the Home 
^General S***» • p-néfl> « *bo ^led 
goes the man, Gla dstone b*d 

The l^ su . • i ^istaKe in por\iameut. ** e 

par«f«- * p ar \i a tnent m Al 
that U * e b 7j land question.' R oîl earth 

rame» • * Op ; The rc nngnt "* * 5 \Vc shouU 

proccod *»*• ftUack up0 n tbe 

changes. > lb c ould you 

twist attache 


your speeches? If you were Irish Secretary in an 
Irish Parliament, how could you défend yourself in the 
face of thèse speeches. What would you do ? ' 

Parnell. ' The first thing I should do would be to 
lock you up.' 




One of ParnelTs first acts in the new Parliament, 
despite his désire to concentrate his efforts on the 
national question, was the introduction of a Land Bill. 
The Irish tenants, he said, could not pay the judicial 
rents. There had been a serious fall in priées, and 
there ought to be a proportionate réduction in rent. 

He proposed three things : 

' 1. The abatement of rents fixed before 1885, pro- 
vided it could be proved that the tenants were unable 
to pay the full amount, and were ready to pay half the 
amount and arrears. 

' 2. That leaseholders should be admitted to the 
benefits of the Act of 1881. 

'3. That proceedings for the recovery of rent 
should be suspended on payment of half the rent and 

But the Government would not hear of the Bill ; 
even many Libérais doubted its necessity ; and it was 
rejected (September 21) by 297 to 202 votes. 

Two months aftervvards Parnell fell seriously ill. 
On November 6 he called on Sir Henry Thompson, 
who has kindly given me some account of the visit. 
'Parnell,' said Sir Henry, 'first called on me on 
November 6, 1886. He did not give his own name. 
He gave the name of Charles Stewart. Of course I 

M?. 40] 1LLNESS 161 

had often heard of Parnell, but I iad never seen 
him. I had never even seen a photograph of him. 
When he called he was quite a stranger to me.' 
(Then, abruptly) : ' Was Parnell an Irishman ? ' 
I replied, 'Yes.' 'I should never hâve thought it,' 
resumed Sir Henry ; ' he had none of the characteristics 
of an Irishman. He was cold, reserved, uncommuni- 
cative. An Irishman is not uncommunicative. Start 
him on any subject (with a smile), and he will rattle 
along pleasantly on many subjects. But Parnell was, 
I should say, a very silent man. He answered every 
question I asked him fully and clearly, but he never 
volunteered information. Often a man will wander 
from the subject, and feel disposed to be chatty. 
Parnell kept to the point. He never went outside the 
business of our interview. He was anxious and 
nervous about himself, and listened very attentively 
to my directions. I gave him some directions about 
diet, as I do to ail my patients. He said there was a 
lady with him in the next room, and that he would be 
glad if I would give the directions to her. The lady 
then came in. I really don't remember how Parnell 
described her. I gave her the directions about dietary. 
She seemed to be very anxious, and listened carefully. 
I saw Parnell several times af terwards. Our interviews 
were always of a strictly professional character. Of 
course I finally learned who my patient was, and then 
I put his full name on my books. There it is — Charles 
Stewart Parnell. He didnot strikeme as a remarkable 
man. He said nothing which made any impression on 
me. I should hâve taken him, and did take him, for a 
quiet, modest, dignified, English country gentleman/ 
The lady who accompanied Parnell to Sir Henry 
Thompson's was Mrs. O'Shea. 

VOL. il. M 


Mrs. O'Shea «was the wife of Captain O'Shea, who 
had practically acted as Mr. Chamberlain's ambassador 
in ncgotiating the Kilmainham treaty, and who sub- 
sequently became member for Galway. 1 During the 
General Election of 1880 Captain O'Shea (then a success- 
ful candidate for the représentation of the County Clare) 
was introduced to Parnell by The O'Gorman Mahon, 
Some weeks afterwards Parnell met Mrs. O'Shea for 
the first time at a dinner party given by her husband 
at Thomas's Hôtel, in Berkeley Square. A friendship, 
which soon ripened into love, sprang up between thêm, 
and from 1881 to 1891 they Hved as husband and 

The O'Sheas had a house at Eltham. Parnell took 
quarters near them. Captain O'Shea' s suspicions of 
improper intimacy between Parnell and his wife wexe 
aroused so early as 1881. 

Corning to Eltham one day — he had chambers in 
town, where he generally stopped — he found ParneU's 
portmanteau in the house. He at once flew into a 
rage with his w r ife, and sent a challenge to Parnell. 

Captain O'Shea to Parnell 

1 Salisbury Hôtel, St. James's : July 13, 1881. 

1 Sir, — Will you please be so kind as to be at Lille, 
or at any other town in the north of France which may 

1 ' It seenis to me, 1 1 said to Mr. Healy, ' that O'Shea was Chamber- 
lain's ambassador in negotiating the Kilmainham treaty.' ' Certain!/,' 
he replied. ' O'Shea and Chamberlain were very intimate. It was 
O'Shea who brought me to Chamberlain's house and introduced me to 
liim.' It may be stated that Captain O'Shea followed Mr. Chamberlain 
rather than Tamell at the parting of the ways over the Home Rule BS1 
iu 1680. He did not vote on the second reading— •he walked oat» 1 
boon afterwards he resigned his beat fer Galway and disappeared ~ 
fcelitical htê-. 


suit your convenience, on Saturday morning, 16th 
instant. Please let me know by 1 p.m. to-day, so that 
I may be able to inform you as to the sign of the inn 
at which I shall stay. I want your answer, in order to 
lose no time in arranging for a friend to accompany 

Captain O'Shea did not receive an immédiate answer 
to this letter, whereupon he wrote again : 

1 I find that you hâve not gone abroad ; your luggagè 
is at Charing Cross Station. 1 

Returning from Eltham, he brought Parneirs 
portmanteau with him to Charing Cross. 
Parnell replied : 

Parnell to Captain O'Shea 

• Westminster Palace Hôtel : July 14, 1881. 

' Sib, — I had your letter of yesterday, bearing the 
postmark of to-day. I replied to your previous letter 
yesterday morning, and sent my reply by a careful 
messenger to the Salisbury Club. You will find that 
your surmise that I refuse to go abroad is an incorrect 

But there was no duel. Mrs. O'Shea satisfied the 
Captain that there was nothing wrong, and friendly 
relations were at once resumed between him and 

I do not think that it is any part of my duty as 
Parneirs biographer to enter into the détails of his 
liaison with Mrs. O'Shea. I hâve only to deal with 
the subject as it affects his public career, and when 
I hâve stated that he lived maritally with Mrs. 
O'Shea I feel thftt I bave done ail that may reasonably 
he expected of me. ■ . ' 



I am not going to excuse Parnell, neither shall I 
sit in judgment on him. He sinned, and he paid the 
penalty of his sin. For ten years this unfortunate 
liaison hung like a millstone round his neck, and 
dragged him in the end to the grave. There it lies 
buried. I shall not root it up. 

It has been said — and this is a topic with which I 
am bound to deal — that Parnell neglected Ireland for 
Mrs. O'Shea. 

I will try to deal with this charge fairly and, I hope, 
dispassionately, limiting the inquiry at présent to the 
point at which the narrative has now arrived. It is 
not suggested that Parnell neglected Ireland in 1881 or 
in 1882 up to the date of his arrest ; neither is it sug- 
gested that he neglected Ireland from January 1886 
until the fall of the Gladstone Ministry in June 1886. 
The charge, then, covers the period between May 1882 
and December 1884. 

During this period Parnell did not certainly act with 
his wonted energy in Irish affaire. 

The question is — 

1. What were the causes of his comparative inac- 
tivity ? 

2. Did that inactivity amount to neglect of duty, 
and, if so, to what extent ? 

1. Many causes conspired to make Parnell inactive 
between May 1882 and December 1884, and among 
those causes I am free to say that his entanglement 
with Mrs. O'Shea must be counted. She threw a spell 
over him which changcd the current of his domestic 
life and affected the course of his political career. In 
the old days he was glad to corne to Avondale, glad to 
be among his own people, happy in the company of 
his sisters, bound up with every family interest. 


' Charley,' says John, ' was very fond of Avondale. 
He used to be hère often ail alone, but he never minded 
it. He went about among the people, was always doing 
something on the property, looking after his mines, and 
quite happy. He would go on to Aughavanagh to shoot ; 
then some of my sisters would corne and stop with him, 
and he would go out walking or riding and living a 
pleasant life. Then we noticed a change. He did not 
corne so frequently to Avondale. He spent more time 
in England.' The rest and solace which he had once 
found in the old home in the beautiful Wicklow vale he 
now sought in the new retreat of a London suburb. 
He loved Mrs. O'Shea, and it would be idle to deny 
that this passion exercised a distracting and absorbing 
influence upon him. There were weeks, months, which 
he would hâve spent in Ireland, to the immense advan- 
tage of the National movement, but for his unfortunate 
attachment to that unhappy lady. Ail this I admit 
frankly and fully. But be it remembered that Mrs. 
O'Shea was only one of the factors in the case — only 
one of the causes which conspired to his comparative 
inactivity during the years under review. 

What were the others ? Health and public policy. 
First as to health. There can be no doubt that 
ParnelTs health was impaired during the years '82-84, 
and his nervous System unstrung. 

One evening in 1883 he came into the Dining-room 
of the House of Commons. He had been at a private 
meeting, attended by some of his parliamentary col- 
leagues, and by other Nationalists who were not in 
Parliament. He looked jaded, careworn, ill. Mr. 
Corbet, one of the members for Wicklow, was dining 
at a table by himself. 

'On coming into the room/ says Mr. Corbet, 


' Parnell looked around, and Lis quick eye sôon picked 
me out. Ile walked across to my table, and said, " May 
I dine with you, Corbet?" "My dear Parnell/' I 
replied, " I ani only delighted to hâve you with me." 
lie looked worried, ill, broken down. "Parnell," I 
said, "is there anything wrong? You look upset." 
"No," lie replied, "I ani not very well just now, 
and things minerve me. I shall be ail right when 
I hâve had some dinner." I said, " Parnell, will you 
let an old friend and neighbour take a liberty with 
you?" "Certainly, Corbet," lie answered; "what 

1 " You are not well," I said ; " you look tired and 
worn out. For heavcn's sake, fling up everything and 
go away. The Government cannot do us much harm 
if you go away for a few months ; do take a complète 
rest. Suppose you break down altogether, what will 
happen then ? " " Oh, I won't break down," he said, 
quickly pulling himself together ; 'TU be ail right soon." 
"But," I urged, " why not go away even for two months? 
Two months' complète rest, free from ail anxiety, would 
set you up at once." " I cannot go away," he said 
wearily. " I ani not afraid of the Government ; they 
can't do us much hann for a few months, as you say, 
and I am not going to fight them Just at présent. I am 
thinking of our own party. I cannot leave them. I must 
keep my eye on them and hold them together. But " 
(brightening up) " I mean to rest, Corbet, I mean to 
take it easy for a bit. But I cannot go away." After- 
wards I heard that he had had un unpleasant meeting — 
that the men were ail at sixes and sevens, and that he 
had a good deal of trouble in smoothing over difficultés 
and in inaking peace. He was always smoothing over 
difficultés, making peace, and holding us together/ 


I do not wish to press this point of health unduly. 
I désire only to reniind my readers that it was a factor 
in the case. But the dominating factor was, I believe, 
public policy. 

While Parnell was in prison every turbulent 
spirit in the country had been let loose. The accounts 
from the west .filled him with alarm. Ireland was 
passing out of his hands, and into the hands of 
an irresponsible jacquerie. His first thought was to 
leave jail, to crush the jacquerie, and to stamp his own 
authority once more upon the people. He made the 
Kilmainham treaty, the terms of which, as I hâve 
already said, were : (1) that an Arrears Bill should 
be introduced, (2) that he should slow down the 
agitation. The Kilmainham treaty might hâve been 
wise or unwise. Mr. Healy, the shrewdest man in 
Irish politics, thought it was wise. 

But wise or unwise, Parnell, having made it, was 
resolved to keep it. * We hâve always,' one of the 
Libéral whips said to me, ' found it diffîcult to pin 
Parnell to any thing. But when he has made a promise 
we find that he keeps his word.' Within a few days of 
his release the Phœnix. Park murders were committed, 
This outrage literally prostrated him. Davitt's descrip- 
tion of his appearance and conduct at the Westminster 
Palace Hôtel on Sunday, May 7, 1882, gives one the 
idea of a man who had gone mad under a shock. He 
walked frantically up and down the room, flung himself 
passionately on the sofa, and petulantly cried out : ' I will 
leave public life. I will not hâve the responsibility of 
leading this agitation when I may at any time be 
stabbed in the back by irresponsible men/ He had 
lost his habituai self-control* He was completely un- 


In f avour of peace before the Phœnix Park rnurders, 
he was a thousand times more bent upon it afterwards. 
He was more than ever convinced that Ireland needed 
a period of repose, and he made up his mind that she 
should hâve it. Three causes, then, conspired to make 
Parnell inactive — public policy, health,and Mrs. O'Shea. 

2. I now pass to the next point. Did Parnell's 
inactivity amount to neglect of duty, and, if so, to what 
extent ? 

Having made up his mind to adopt a policy of 
inactivity, it goes without saying that he himself was 
bound to be inactive. To hâve addressed public 
meetings, to hâve roused the country, to hâve inflamed 
the people, would hâve been contrary to his aims and 
a violation of the Kilmainham treaty. His first duty 
was to keep that treaty, and to see that the Govern- 
ment kept it. 

The Government passed an Arrears Bill, and so far 
kept faith. Ko doubt they also passed the Crimes Bill, 
which was practically a violation of the treaty. But 
the hands of Ministers had been forced by the Phœnix 
Park murders. Had there been no murders there 
would hâve been no Crimes Bill. 

In the autumn Mr. Davitt proposed the formation 
of the National League. Parnell was opposed to the 
project, for the obvious reason that this move meant 
fresh agitation, which he did not want. Ultimately 
he gave way, taking care, however, to superintend the 
establishment of the new organisation and to thwart 
the plans of the ' active ' men. He did not allow Mr, 
Davitt to thrust a scheme for nationalisation upon the 
country ; he told Mr. Dillon that the agitation should 
be ' slowed clown,' he bridled Brennan. Finally ail. 
three left the country. 

<Ei> 40] l'AHNELL'S ÏNÀCTlVlTÏ 169 

The years 1883 and 1884 were dynamite years, and 
the dynamite épidémie, like the Phœnix Park murders, 
served only to strengthen his détermination to keep 
Ireland quiet. I hâve already shown how, wherever 
his authority was questioned, whenever there was the 
least sign of a division in the ranks, he appeared in an 
instant on the spot, to restore order and crush revolt. 
During thèse two years and a half he was, if I may say 
so, active — though probably not active enough — in 
enforcing a policy of inactivity. At length in January 
1885, when, in his opinion, the time for a renewal of 
hostilities had arrived, he burst brilliantly upon the 
scène, and splendidly led his men to victory. 

To sum up : 

1. Parnell was comparatively inactive between 1882 
and 1884, chiefly on public grounds, and partly owing 
to ill-health and to his entanglement with Mrs. 

2. His inactivity did not in the main amount to 
neglect of duty — he never failed in any crisis — though 
he was frequently absent from Ireland and from the 
House of Commons when his présence might hâve 
been of advantage to the national cause. So far I 
hâve dealt with the charge of négligence during the 
years 1882 and 1884 brought against Parnell. I shall 
now résume the narrative, and my readers can judge 
for themselves of his political conduct between 1886 
and 1891. 

Parnell warned the Government that if the Land 
Bill were rejected there would be a renewal of turmoil 
in Ireland. His words were justified by events. In 
December 1886 the famous Plan of Campaign was 
launched, çind another agrarian war broke out. « Who 


CIIABIJ* S" 11 ' aBked one 

rt*. oi tbe Plan of CviffîL» <yBri*u 

WM lt l „ .1 \ ia d to lace, 

w hicb PameU ha ^ by _ 

teeatbing-tuœ to J bave secnrecl ? ^ tb 

' HiS Y" exaln oî ta*" ^ ton «<*«* ort 

fiovemment w* 5 , tbe \ an dlorus ^a- 

1 x The tenante asKea Qut- n\x 

rcnts. i fte ; Tbe tenants ni ■ . iïick8-13eac n 

lords reiuscd. ^ ^ Biï *^ teland grave* 

éviction ^Jtopes oî a ^1 landlord* not to 
9U ddcn\y »* k» » * ftlcd to tbe lan wbobad 

jcopardise^ ^g;' Sir ***» » ^^ 

Ust on tbcu »o b on son* * 8tfty je 

supportcd tbe Un* tbe landlor^ ^ ^ 

lt vfas at tw fforts t feu : x ^ o{ tne 

tak t aCtl °S;e ÏÏlords in <*^"l^ 
t0keeP ?^unU,aea*.UM,Bea^eP 

Mt. 40] . PLAN Of CAMPAtGtf 171 

country. O'Brien argued that if thèse efforts succeeded 
the Libérais would be dished, agitation prevented, and 
reform staved oflf. The tenants, he said, should not be 
allowed to wait the resuit of Sir Michael Hicks-Beach's 
opérations. They should themselves take the initiative. 
His original idea was that if the landlords persisted in 
refusing réductions the tenants should refuse to pay. 
Funds were to be provided to enable them to stand 
out, one-third of the money being provided by the 
local men and two-thirds by the League in Dublin. 

' O'Brien tried, in the first instance, to see Parnell 
and to place the plan before him. But Parnell could 
not be seen. He was, as I hâve said, very ill, and 
nobody could approach him. O'Brien then saw Dillon, 
who took up the scheme at once. In nine cases out of 
ten O'Brien was able to lead Dillon. Both of them 
finally came to me. I proposed an amendment in the 
original scheme to the effect that the tenant should 
offer a fair rent ; that if the landlords refused it, the 
money should be banked and the tenant should sit 
tight. This amendment was accepted and became the 
basis of the plan. In every district a managing 
committee was to be elected. The rent was to be 
banked with the committee, and the committee was 
to deal with the landlords. If the landlords refused to 
corne to terms, the money should be used to support 
the tenants in cases of ejectment or sale, and to fight 
the landlords generally. That roughly was the principle 
of the Plan of Campaign. There were détails dealing 
with the question of machinery, but I don't think you 
need trouble about them.' 

'Was Parnell,' I asked, 'in favour of the Plan of 
Campaign ? ' 

'Dead against it/ my friend answered. 'As I 


hâve said, lie wanted peace. He wanted time to turn 
round. In addition, he was altogether against a revival 
of a land agitation on a large scale. He would not 
go back to 1879, 1880, 1881. Of course he did not 
forget the land question. He had brought in his Bill 
of 1886, and he meant to bring it in again. But he 
was against setting the country again in a blaze on 
the land question. He was really thinking more of 
the national question at this time, and meant to keep 
the movement on national as opposed to agrarian Unes.' 

Some time towards the end of 1886 or early in 
1887 I met Mr. Campbell, Parnell's secretary, near 
Charing Cross. The Plan of Campaign had by this 
time been published in * United Ireland ' and was put in 
force in the west. Everyone was talking about it. 4 Is 
the Chief in f avour of the Plan of Campaign ? ' I asked 
Mr. Campbell. He answered, with characteristic Ulster 
caution : * I really can't say. I hâve not seen him for 
some time. He is very ill. I don't think he has been 
consulted by thèse gentlemen.' A short time af ter this 
conversation the following circular was issued from the 
London offices of the Irish parliamentary party : ' Mr. 
Parnell does not propose to express any opinion as to 
the " Plan of Campaign " at présent, as he is désirons 
of first going to Ireland and having an opportunity of 
consulting with the gentlemen responsible for its 
organisation and working, whom he has not seen since 
the close of last session. He also wishes for further 
information than that at présent in his possession with 
regard to various matters before he speaks publicly on 
the subject. Mr. Parnell was not aware that the Plan 
of Campaign had been devised or was going to be 
proposed until he saw it in the newspapers.' 

The Plan of Campaign constituted a serions drain 


on the financial resources of the League, but kept the 
bail of agitation rolling. The turmoil which Parnell 
had anticipated was renewed, the Government were 
forced to abandon ail hope of governing by the ordinary 
law, a perpétuai Coercion Bill l was added to the 
statute-book, and Ministers and agitators stood face to 
face in a fierce and protracted struggle. 

The ' war ' lasted throughout the years 1887, 1888, 
and 1889, and was attended by the usual ' incidents.' 
Public meetings were suppressed, whole districts pro- 
claimed, popular représentatives were flung into jail, 
juries packed (when, indeed, there was trial by jury at 
ail). Evictions were multiplied, peasants and police 
were brought into collision, and the old feeling of 
hatred and distrust between rulers and ruled was kept 
painfully alive. 

Ireland was once more a prey to lawlessness upon 
one side and to arbitrary authority on the other. 
Eighty-seven years of union still found the island 
distracted, disloyal, and impoverished. 

We hâve seen that the Government had rejected 
ParnelPs Land Bill of 1886 ; had refused (1) to admit 
leaseholders to the benefits of the Land Act of 1881, 

1 The most important provisions of the Crimes Act were : (1) That 
when a crime was committed an inqniry upon oath might take place, 
though no one was in custody chargea* with commit ting the crime. (2) 
That trial by jury might be suspended, and trial by magistrate substituted, 
in the following cases : (a) taking part in any criminal conspiraoy now 
punishable by law ; (6) using violence and intimidation ; (c) riot and 
unlawful assembly ; (d) forcibly seizing premises from which a tenant had 
been evicted ; (c) interfering with the omcers of the law in discharge of 
their duties ; (/) inciting to any of thèse offences. The Lord Lieutenant 
was given power to proclaim disturbed districts and dangerous associa- 
tions. The right of appeal was given where the sentence was over a 
month. In March Sir Michael Hicks-Beach retired from the office of 
Irish Secretary. He was succeeded by Mr. Arthur Balfour. It may be 
stated that early in the session of 1887 the closure, by a bare majority 
and on the motion of any member (provided the consent of the Chair 
waa given to the motion and 200 members voted for it), was adopted. 


(2) to révise the judicial rents prior to 1885. * I am not 
at ail sure,' Lord Salisbury had said in August 1886, 
' that the judicial rents were not fixed with a perfect 
cognisance of the fall in priées ; 1 the fall has been going 
on for many years, and it is highly improbable that the 
courts, in assigning judicial rents, hâve not taken that 
into considération. . . . We do not contemplate any re- 
vision of judicial rents. We do not think it would be 
honest, and we think it would be exceedingly inexpe- 
dient.' Nevertheless Lord Salisbury did in 1887 the 
précise thing which he had declared in 1886 it would 
not be * honest ' or ' expédient ' to do. He carried h 
Land Bill admitting leaseholders to the benefits of the 
Land Act of 1881, and authorising the revision of the 
judicial rents fixed during the years 1881, 1882, 1883, 
1884, and 1885. Parnell sat quietly in the House of 
Commons and looked cynically on while this measure, 
supported by the full strength of the Tory party, passed, 
practically without opposition, into law. 

A close alliance was now formed between Irish 
Nationalists and English Libérais, and the Home Rule 
cause entered on a new phase. Irish members who 
twelvc months before had been regarded as pariahs were 
now welcomed on Libéral platforms and fêted in 
Libéral drawing-rooms. 

The whilom rebels of the Land League (once 
describcd as roady to ' march tlirough rapine to the 
dismeinberinent of tho Empire ') had suddenly become 
political lions and social pets. A Libéral candidate 
would scarcely think of beginning an élection contest 
without having a brace of Irishmen by his side. ' Send 

1 * In 1886 the price of produce had fallen from 30 to 40 per cent, and 
the judicial rents fixed during the four preceding years, when prioe* had 
been higher, becamt in eon séquence rack rente. 1 — Ànnual RéffiêUr. 



us an Irish member ' was the stereotyped order des- 
patched periodically by the provincial Libéral asso- 
ciations to the Irish Press agency in London. Irish-, 
men who had been in jail were in spécial request. 
Irish members swarmed in the English constituencies, 
preaching ' peace and goodwill.' Libérais overran 
Ireland, sympathising with the victims of the Castle, 
and glorying in the heroes of the Plan of Campaign. 

I met no English Libéral at this period who 
doubted the loyal professions of the Irish Parliamen- 
tarians. I met many Libérais who doubted the loyal 
professions of Parnell. They believed that every Irish 
member was willing to accept a settlement of the Irish 
question on the basis of a ' subordinate ' Parliament. But 
they did not know what was at the back of ParneU's 
mind. ' Outwardly he is much changea/ an English 
Libéral said to me, ' but I suspect in his heart he hâtes 
us as much as ever.' It would be a bold man who 
would at any time say positively what was at the back 
of Parnell's mind, or in the recesses of his heart ; but 
this much is certain — he was never moved, as other 
Irish members were moved, by the apparent zeal with 
which the Libéral party, spurred by Mr. Gladstone, 
had taken up the cause of Ireland. 

'Parnell was staying with me in Cork, in 1887,' 
say s Mr. Horgan. ' We were ail at that time full of 
Mr. Gladstone and the Libéral party. Almost every 
Nationalist in the city had a portrait of Mr. Gladstone 
in his house. The old man was nearly as popular as 
the young Chief. But Parnell remained unaffected by 
the gênerai enthusiasm. While he was with me he 
never spoke of Mr. Gladstone or the Libérais. I 
thought this strange, so one evening I said to him : 
"Mr Parnell, everyonc in Cork is talking about Mr, 

*rW *°°£* . , e eag er to *>. °» 

mak e thexn *\ ber8 were as • «^J^ attentions 

The Insb mem a ^fo tue ^ thongnt, 

Bn owered^»^ meBu le ***£SJjE relations 
^ere makmg J° **", cU ltWated the ftM» ^ He 

fn the ferais- and eu Parne» stood T? ^ 

^ith theit new ^ lisn platforms and ^ 

He did not odj on the encafled . i 

Hi8 reliance was which lt jmght , ^ „> 

thcmgh the covenng ^ me ^ate Y ^ ^ 

d0 not <*y*JSriflh * e can ^ contaol* 

Eng lish ^^^hicbtheEngUshcontt & ^ 

The Insï 1 raeiu . aS tue ow . ke a 

see on *^^**^?ï£*« <* 
iked to co^^eB *ould addre*. * ^ ^ 

the Iris* ^t .il * ^ Bft w toW ^ ere wa8 » 

his constituent ^ a to attend. ^ 

some persuasion, ^ ^ taken t° * ^ 

R teat gatbenn& . * ion . He nevet o! 

*"** a Ti fSbS cornue Jo*£ ^ to 
distinguished ^oe ^ reporte d 

tbi9 treatment. ^ «* 

Mr. 41--42] IN SOCIETE 177 

Another meeting was called. Parnell attended, 
and never, even in Ireland, did he receive a more 
hearty welcome. One of the most charming leaders 
of society invited him to dinner. He did not answer 
the invitation, and he did not corne to the dinner. 

A week afterwards Lady received a telegram 

from him saying he would dine with her the following 
evening ; she, however, was engaged to dine out. What 
was to be done ? for the chance of meeting Parnell was 
not to be lightly thrown away. With a woman's wit 
and resource she got over the diffîculty by inviting her 
hostess to hâve the dinner party at her house. Parnell 

came. In the course of the evening Lady said : 

' We are very pleased to hâve you with us, Mr. Parnell, 
but this is not the evening we asked you for.' How is 
that ? ' he said. ' I wrote to you to the House of 
Commons inviting you for last Wednesday/ ' Ah I ' 
he said, ' never write to me ; always wire to me/ 

An ex-Cabinet Minister had invited him to dine. 
He did not answer the letter, and he did not corne to 
dinner. A month later the ex-Minister met him in the 
Lobby and reminded him of the invitation. ' I never 
got your letter/ said Parnell. The ex-Minister men- 
tioned the date. ' I expect/ said Parnell, ' it is lying 
on the table amongst a heap of letters I hâve not yet 

A great Libéral meeting was held at St. James's 
Hall. Mr. Morley presided. Parnell was invited, and 
he accepted the invitation. The managers of the 
meeting, however, did not feel sure of him. First, they 
thought it extremely doubtful that he would corne. 
Secondly, they were a little uneasy as to what he 
would say if he did corne. Ail the other Irish members 
çould be relied on to make orthodox Libéral speeches. 

VOL. il. N 


Bat what Parnell might say no man coula forecast. 
It was finally arrangea that Mr. Morley should meet 
Parnell at a given point, should drive him to St. James's 
Hall, and generally take care of him. They dined 
together, and then drove to the meeting. On the way 
Parnell suddenly thrust his hand into his coat pocket, 
and took out a little box wrapped in paper. Mr. 
Morley's attention was diverted. He knew some- 
thing about Parnell's superstitions, and probably sus- 
pected that this was a charm. Parnell treated the 
box with great care, unfolded the paper, opened it 
gingerly, and took out — a flower, which he immediately 
put in his buttonhole. By the time this opération was 
over the carriage stopped at St. James's Hall. Mr. 
Morley and Parnell alighted. The Chief had not spoken 
a word about politics, nor indeed about anything else, 
during the drive. 

' I was at the meeting,' say s Mr. Frédéric Harrison, 
'and sat next Parnell. I was much struck by his 
appearance when he spoke. He had one hand behind 
his back, which he kept closing and opening spas- 
modically ail the time. It was curions to watch the 
signs of nervous excitement and tension which one 
saw looking from the back, while in front he stood 
like a soldier on duty, frigid, impassive, resolute — 
not a trace of nervousness or émotion. He did not 
seem to care about putting himself in touch with his 
audience. He came to say something, and said it 
with apparent indifférence to his surroundings.' On 
leaving the hall a crow r d closed around him, everyone 
eager to get near, and many struggling to grasp his 
hand. It was only by the help of some friends that 
he was extricated from the throng and led to a car- 
riage, in which he drove away. 

;£t. 41-42] A RAMBLE IN THE STRAND 179 

* He will soon set the English as mad as the Irish/ 
observed a bystander, as an enthusiastic cheer broke 
from the mob. 

Throughout the years 1887, 1888, and 1889 Parnell 
remained comparatively inactive, as he had remained 
throughout the years 1883, 1884, and part of 1885, 
and for the same reàsons — public policy, health, and 
Mrs. O'Shea. His health seems to hâve been in a 
precarious state ail the time. He appeared to me 
during the latter years to be léthargie and morbidly 

One evening I sat with him in the Smoking-room of 
the House of Commons. * This place/ he said, ' is 
killing me. There are draughts everywhere. There 
is a draught now under this seat, I feel it on my legs. 
It is a badly constructed building.' One used to see 
him occasionally in the streets closely wrapped up in a 
long coat, with a muffler round his throat and his hat 
pulled tightly over his eyes. 

' Parnell liked to go about partly disguised,' says a 
parliamentary colleague. 'He did not like people to 
talk to him in the streets. He did not wish to be 
recognised. One day I met him in the street so 
wrapped up, and wearing a long shabby coat, with his 
face half hidden in a big muffler, that I hardly khew 
him. But his firm, stately bearing could not bé mïs- 
taken. I kept out of his way, but watched him as he 
walked along, following him at a respectful distance. 
He would stop now and then, and look into the window 
of agun shop, or of a shop where there were mechanical 
contrivances. He would also stand and look at any 
workmen who were about. He came to a part of the 
Strand where the street was taken up, and a lot of 
workmen were engagea. I should say he stood there for 

N 2 


quite fifteen minutes watching the inen. I stood there, 
too, keeping out of his sight. Suddenly he wheeled 
around and saw me. I was quite in a funk, for I was 
afraid that he knew I h ad been following him ail the 
time. ' He beckoned to me. I went to him. " You are 
hère too," he said. " I like looking at thèse working 
men. Â working man has a pleasant life, when he 
has plenty to do and is fairly treated." We then 
walked together to the House.' 

Parnell was walking another day along the Strand, 
with, I think, his secretary, Mr. Campbell. An Irish 
member passed and saluted the Chief . * Who is that ? ' 
asked Parnell. ' Why, don't you know ? ' said his 

companion; 'it is one of our party, it is Mr. .' 

1 Ah ! ' said Parnell, * I did not know we had such an 
ugly man in the party.' 

He was frequently absent from the House of 
Commons in those years. ' It must hâve been very 
awkward for Parnell 's people to hâve him away so 
often,' one of the Libéral whips said to me. ' And 
yet,' he added quickly, ' I am not sure that his very 
absence does not add to his authority. They (the 
Irish members) know he is there, and that he may 
appear at any moment ; that knowledge keeps them in 
order.' ' And,' I ventured to observe, ' keeps other 
people in order too.' 'Perhaps,' he said, with a 

One afternoon Parnell dropped into the House. 
He sat near the Irish whip. ' If the House divides 
now,' he said, 'the Government will be beaten.* 
1 Impossible/ said the whip ; ' think of their majority/ 
4 There are more Libérais than Tories in the House 
at the présent moment, 1 quietly responded Parnell. 
1 How do you know ? ' asked the whip. ' I counted the 



Ivuw^fa Tf Au^wi^ *- pdf 
jjfc ilvtovisfi^ û^lkt, ^n^f 4rrf~ 

-fa ~t*X<^ //- fc 

/ bu»J m */ Hc -^£w frvnZ r^iâ^ 

ii *#L 

tri**, tvtA 









/Et. 41-42] VIGILANT 181 

coats as I came up/ was the answer. The House did 
divide, not immediately, as Parnell had suggested, but 
at the end of an hour, when the Government narrowly 
escaped defeat. 

When we speak of ParneU's comparative inactivity, 
we must never f orget that — rightly or wrongly — he was 
at this period in favour of an inactive policy. 'We 
can be more moderate,' he had said in September 1886, 
' than we were in 1879 or in 1880, because our position 
is very much stronger. I don't say that we shonld be ) 

unduly moderate, but our position is a good deal 
différent from the position of 1874 and from the 
position of 1879, and I believe that the Irish members 
and the Irish people will recognise this.' 

Though attending few public meetings, he kept his 
eye on business détails and watched and influenced 
the progress of affairs. In January 1888 we find him 
writing to Dr. Kenny : 

Parnell to Dr. Kenny 

January 10, '88, House of Gommons. 

1 My dear Dr. Kenny, — The party are making 
great exertions to secure a full attendance of their 
inenibers for the divisions on the Local Government 
Bill. An important division will probably be taken at 
the morning sitting on Friday next, and another on 
Scotch Disestablishment at the evening sitting on the 
same day. I am very unwilling to ask you to corne 
over, but I think I ought now to do so, and I hope that 
you will be able to stay for ten days or a fortnight. 

*Yours very truly," 

1 Chaules Stewabt Parnell.' 




In the spring of 1888 Mr. Edward Dwyer Gray, the 
managing director of the ' Freeman's Journal ' Com- 
pany, died. Parnell wrote to Mr. McCarthy : 

Parnell to Mr. McCarthy 

1 22 Cheyne Gardons, Chelsea Embankment : April 2, '88. 

1 My dear McCarthy, — Your son tells me that 
if I call hère to-inorrow about ûve in the afternoon 
I shall hâve a chance of finding you in. Kindly, 
therefore, expect me at that hour, as I am anxious to 
see you about the position of managing directorship of 
the " Freeman's Journal," vacant by the death of poor 
Gray. You will hâve guessed that there is likely to be 
a very lively compétition for the office and considérable 
difficulty in reconciling the various claims, as well as 
a total absence, so far, of any candidate who combines 
ail the necessary qualifications. 

4 It is of the highest importance that the " Freeman M 
should continue to occupy the position — financial, 
political, and journalistic — it has hitherto held, and 
this cannot be expected unless a first-class man can 
be found to fill Gray's place. 

1 I hâve from the first been convinced that you are 
the man, and that if you will allow yourself to be 
brought forward you will be acceptable to ail parties 
and be unanimously elected. Of course I do not know 
how the position would suit you personally, but pray 
do not dismiss the matter too hastily, but consider it 
caref ully, until I hâve the opportunity of seeing you 

1 Yours very truly, 

•Charles Stewart Parnell/ 

McCarthy did not allow himself to be 'brought 

2Et. 41-42] DRILLING A MEMBER 188 

forward/ and the vacant place was ultimately filled 
by another. 

Of course the Irish supported the Libéral candidates 
everywhere in those days. Upon one occasion an Irish 
member, 0., who had a personal quarrel over some 
business matters with a Libéral candidate, called at the 
Irish Press agency, saw the gentlemen in charge of the 
department (whom I shall call A. and B. respectively), 
and said: 'Don't send any member to support E. 
(the Libéral candidate) ; ' the fellow is not worth it/ 

1 When/ says B., ' 0. left, I said to my colleague : 
"I think we ought to tell this to the Chief. He 
won't like to hâve the agency used for O.'s purposes." 
The next evening I told the Chief as we were walking 
up and down the corridor leading from the Lobby to 
the Library. Parnell turned round sharply, his eyes 
flashing with anger, and said: "Where is O.?" "In 
the Lobby," I answered. " Send him to me at once." 
I went into the Lobby and told 0. that Parnell wanted 
to sce him. He walked off with a light and jaunty 
step. I could not resist the temptation of watching 
the interview through the glass door leading out of the 

'Parnell turned sharply on O. as he came up. 
Then they walked up and down the corridor. Parnell 
seemed to be speaking with much véhémence. His 
face was as black as thunder, and his eyes gleamed 
with passion. I could see him stretching out his hand, 
clenching his fist, and turning fiercely on O. Then 
he shook his head, pointed to the Library, and walked 
off to the Lobby, leaving O. alone in the passage. 
O. came back to the Lobby, no longer with a light and 
jaunty step. 

1 " My God ! " said he to me, " just see what [A] 


(naming my colleague) has let me in for. Parnell has 
abused me like a pickpocket, ail on accoont of that 

d d scoundrel K. (the Libéral candidate). It is a 

shame for [A.], and what harm, but we were at school 
together." ' 

Mr. Gladstone and Parnell now changea places. 
The ex-Minister became an agitator; the agitator a 
circumspect statesman. In England Mr. Gladstone 
fought the battle of Home Eule earnestly and bravely. 
He thought of nothing but Ireland, and allowed his 
f ollowers to think of nothing but Ireland. His speeches 
were full of fire and energy. Had he been an Irish- 
man they would hâve been called violent, perhaps 
lawless. He had, in truth, caught the spirit of Irish 
agitation. Had he been born under the shadow of 
the Galtee mountains his denunciations of English 
rule could not hâve been more racy of the soil. 

Parnell, on the other hand, had become very 
moderate. It was clear that if the principle of an Irish 
Parliament and an Irish Executive were accepted, and 
if the subjects of land, éducation, and police were 
handed over to the Irish authorities, he would hâve 
been willing to consider every other question of détail 
in a conciliatory spirit. 

'Parnell/ says Mr. Cecil Khodes, 'was the most 
reasonable and sensible man I ever met ; ' and then the 
great colonist, whose extraordinary personality, whose 
remarkable power for commanding men, remind one 
80 much of the Irish leader himself , told me the story 
of his relations with our hero. As this story bears upon 
the question of Parnell's modération, and serves to 
show how ready he was to accept a policy of ' give and 
take,' provided his main purpose was not jeopardised, 
it may be inserted hère : 

.Et. 41-42] MR. CECIL RHODES 185 

' I first saw Parnell in 1888. I had closely followed 
the Home Rule movement. It struck me in the light 
of local government. I always, even when I was at 
Oxford, believed in the justice and wisdom of letting 
localities manage their own affairs. 

'Moreover, I was interested in the Home Rule 
movement because I believed that Irish Home Eule 
would lead to Impérial Home Rule. I had met Mr. 
Swift McNeill at the Cape, and I explained my views 
to him. I furthermore said that I was prepared to 
back my opinion on Home Rule substantially, which I 
did, for I sent Parnell 10,000Z. for the Home Rule 

'I came to England in 1888, and saw Mr. Swift 
McNeill again, and he made arrangements for a meeting 
between myself and Parnell. 

' We met at the Westminster Palace Hôtel. After 
some preliminary conversation, Parnell said : 

'"Why, Mr. Rhodes, do you take an interest in 
this question ? What is Ireland to you ? " 

' I replied that my interest in Ireland was an Impé- 
rial interest ; that I believed Irish Home Rule would 
lead to Impérial Home Rule. 

'Parnell. " What practical proposai doyoumake? 
What can I do for you? " 

* Rhodes. " I think that the Irish members should 
be retained in the Impérial Parliament ; first, for their 
own sake, next with a view to Impérial Fédération, 
which is my question. 

' " (1) If the Irish members are excluded, nothing 
will persuade the English people but that Home Rule 
means séparation ; that Home Rule is the thin end of 
the wedge ; and that when you get it you will next 
set up a republic, or try to do so. As long as the 


English people feel this, how can you expect to get 
Home Bule ? That is the political question as it 
affects you. 

1 " (2) Next there is thc personal question, if you 
like, which affects me. I want Impérial Fédération. 
Home Bule with the Irish members in the Impérial 
Parliament will be the beginning of Impérial Fédéra- 
tion. Home Kule with the Irish members excluded 
from the Impérial Parliament would lead nowhere, 80 
far as my interests, which are Impérial interests, are 
concernée. Now do you see my point ? " 

'Parnell. "Yes. I do not feel strongly on the 
question of the rétention or the exclusion of the Irish 
members, but Mr. Gladstone does. The difficulty is 
not with me, but with him. He is strongly opposed to 
their rétention. I havc no objection to meeting English 
public opinion on that point if Mr. Gladstone would 
agrée. Do you ask me for anything else? " 

' Rhodes. " Yes. I want a clause — a little clause — 
a permissive clause, in your next Bill, providing that 
any colony which contributes to Impérial defence — to 
the Impérial army or navy — shall be allowed to send 
représentatives to the Impérial Parliament in propor- 
tion to its contributions to the Impérial revenue. Then 
I think the number of the Irish représentatives should 
be eut down in proportion to Ireland's contribution to 
the Impérial revenue, so as to keep Ireland in line with 
the Colonies. I think that would be quite fair." 

'Parnéll. "I hâve no objection to your permissive 
clause, but I should not consent to the réduction of the 
number of the Irish members in the Impérial Parlia- 
ment. It is only by our strength that we can make 
ourselves felt there, and if you were to eut us down to 
fifty or forty or thirty they would pay no attention to 

/Et. 41-42] MB. CEGIL RHODES 187 

us. We must remain in our présent numbers» In 
addition, certain questions will remain still unsettled 
after the Home Bule Bill has been passed. There aie 
questions relating to the police and the judiciary which 
may remain unsettled. We must hâve our full number 
of members in the Impérial Farliament until those 
questions are settled." 

'Bhodes. "Very well. I can understand your 
difficulties. I do not press that point. Are we agreed 
on the other points ? " 

' ParneU. " I hâve no objection to the rétention of 
the Irish members in their présent numbers, nor to the 
permissive clause you suggest." 

1 Rhodes. " Will you put those points to Mr. 

' ParneU. " No. I do not think it would be wise 
for me to put the point to Mr. Gladstone now, he is so 
strongly opposed to retaining the Irish members. We 
must bring him gradually round." 

• Ultimately it was arrangea that I should write a 
letter to ParneU setting out my views, and that he 
should send me a reply.' 

ParnelTs reply was as follows : 

ParneU to Mr. Cecil Bhodes 

' Jane 38, 1888. 

1 Deab Sir, — I am much obliged to you for your 
letter of the 19th inst., which confirms the very 
interesting account given me at Avondale last January 
by Mr. McNeill as to his interviews and conversations 
with you on the subject of Home Bule for IrelancL I 
may say at once, and frankly, that you hâve correctly 
judged the exclusion of the Irish members from West* 
minster to hâve been a defect in the Home Bule 

" , 1886 and, ***- .^J&Si*» 

masure oi 1**\ - ven so me coloui to i atatl8 t 

* clusion may *£* tbe Bill ^^tsert^g «f 
80 îreely made ^ this w bile stron^ ft a by tbe 

tcndcncy. * ■* mea8U re itsetf *£ * { t & k ind, an* 
bc Ueving ^ ^ aoy aiterthought <rf ^ 
Irisb people **» ^. ork j ou q{ c0tdial 

« I ain very b ^nted to ^ lete control 

Home ^»JJ^^»*^1~**I 
over ber <** a^ ^ tbere f*W ^ 

Lrce ti-ith your opm inte n a nce oi 1»P Home 

ta égards ior tbe m* ^ alternative B> ^ 

Hulc is also entueiy 1 t 8e rni ^ tbe 

tbe continua^ ^ icable . But to » ^^ a j 

«item is f*V rétention o£ tbe » • t8 ^d 

^ est ion oî %f e 0WU v^Taringoi^s^^ 
Westminster. My allà tbe ^L my *n ff - 

probabiliticsoi tbe W rial îederat^n > e .^ 
Ipon tbe que stion oi * l ^ . £ ^ <^st rf 
inc uçon tbe measure the prc»» ^ 

^ne^ Home *uk - ^ concur ^ ^ 

SÎioÎ oi .t^JJïK Se event I **£# 
H 'caf Indlbat tbe **£%£* to »*. 
ï£ tbTduties and »*»** 

JEt. 41-42] MR. CECIL RHODES 189 

and will justly value the position given to them in the 
Impérial System. I am convinced that it would be 
the highest statesmanship on Mr. Gladstone's part to 
devise a feasible plan for the continued présence of the 
Irish members hère, and f rom my observation of public 
events and opinions since 1885 I am sure that Mr. 
Gladstone is fully alive to the importance of the 
matter, and that there can be no doubt that the next 
measure of autonomy for Ireland will contain the 
provisions which you rightly deem of such moment. 

' It does not corne so much within my province to 
express a full opinion upon the larger question of 
Impérial fédération, but I agrée with you that the 
continued Irish représentation at Westminster im- 
mensely facilitâtes such a step, while the contrary 
provision in the Bill of 1886 would hâve been a bar. Un- 
doubtedly this is a matter which should be dealt with 
in accordance largely with the opinion of the colonies 
themselves, and if they should désire to share in the* 
cost of Impérial matters, as undoubtedly they now do 
in the responsibility, and should express a wish for 
représentation at Westminster, I certainly think it 
should be accorded to them, and that public opinion in 
thèse islands would unanimously concur in the neces- 
sary constitutional modifications. 

* I am, dear sir, yours truly, 

'Chas. Stewart Parnell.* 

Besides this letter, besides his relations with Mr. 
Rhodes — of which more later on — Parnell gave many 
proofs of his modération and reasonableness at this time. 

He did not, he said, want an ' arrned ' police for 
Ireland. He would hâve been content with such a 
police force as existed in the English towns. If 


Englishmen preferred the rétention of the Irish 
members, he would hâve given way on that point. Mr. 
Gladstone insisted on a ' subordinate ' Irish Parliament. 
Parnell said : ' So be it/ 

Mr. Gladstone declared that the ' supremaçy ' of 
the Impérial Parliament should be acknowledged -and 
upheld. Parnell said : ' Âgreed.' And while making 
thèse concessions he nevcr ceased to impress on hiB 
followers the necessity of keeping the peace in Ireland. 

I cannot give a better illustration of the différence 
between Mr. Gladstone and Parnell at this period than 
by showing how each dealt with the Plan of Campaign. 
Parnell was opposed to the ' plan.' But it had been 
sprung upon him, and for a time he felt some difficulty 
in condemning it outright, though he always took care 
to disclaim ail responsibility for its initiation and 
adoption. Finally he did condemn it in a speech at 
the Eighty Club on May 8, 1888. He was the guest 
of the evening, and I doubt if he ever addressed a 
more sympathetic and even enthusiastic audience. 
The young men who gathered around him that night 
would, I think, hâve cheered almost anything he said* - 

They were prepared for an advanced policy and an- 
extreme speech. There was not a branch of the 
National League which would hâve more readily 
declared for the Plan of Campaign than the rising 
young Libérais of the Eighty Club. 

When Parnell rose he was received with a burst of 
cheering which would certainly hâve gone straight to the 
heart of a ' mère Celt.' But he was impassive, frigid, 
unmoved. Having dealt with the Carnarvon incident,. 
and by so doing won the plaudits of the company , he 
turned to the Plan of Campaign. This part of the 
speech acted as a cold douche on the assembly. I 

Mt. 41-42] AT THE E1GHTY CLUB 191 

never saw a highly strung meeting thrown so com- 
pletely into a state of collapse. When he finished the 
fourth sentence my next neighbour poked me in the 
ribs and said: 'This is bad.' I think my friend's 
verdict was the verdict of almost everyone in the 

Parnell said : ' I was ill, dangerously ill It was 
an illness from which I hâve not entirely recovered up 
to this day. I was so ill that I could not put pen to 
paper or even read a newspaper. I knew nothing 
about the movement until weeks after it had started, 
and even then I was so feeble that for several months, 
absolutely up to the meeting of Parliament, I was 
positively unable to take part in any public matter, 
and was scarcely able to do so for months after. If I 
had been in a position to advise about it, I candidly 
admit to you that I should hâve advised against it. 

' I should hâve advised against it not because I 
supposed it would be inefficacious with regard to its 
object — the protection of the Irish tenants. I believe 
I hâve always thought that it would be most successful 
in protecting the Irish tenants from éviction, and in 
obtaining those réductions in their rent which the 
Government of Lord Salisbury in 1886 refused to 
concède to me when I moved the Tenants* Eelief Bill. 
My judgment in that respect has been correct. But I 
considered, and still consider, that there were features 
of the Plan of Campaign, and in the way in which it 
was necessary it should be carried out, which would 
hâve had a bad effect upon the gênerai political situation 
— in other words, upon the national question.' 

Next day Mr. Gladstone addressed a great meeting 
at the Mémorial Hall, Farringdon Street, when a 
Home Rule address, signed by 3,730 Nonconformist 



CHALES STl,— „ f «fa* to Ut- 
esters, ^ I^Ï^^^Ï^U*. 
Pamell's «fl*^^ çroperly «** * epate a te 

' ^ f Ct Plan, and tbat »»^*»\, **\ 
autbor of thai ;V l eà t m t(J a £ 

^tared te s*y * ^'faSyl^- * ^ tbe 

a» ^ ar ot het cases, to be fr»Vn ^ autho ts of tbe 

hundred otner were tne . r ^ a utbors 

L *eU considered * lffl tha t ^«^ment, 

Plan of Ca^ f X mp ^/are tbe pre-n^° 

01 n Pl ô n Bri^nd tbose *ho ^bands «I «J 

cultutal çnces bro » ^ judiciaire tion i 

gênerai apP^f^fand ^ tho *botoq ^ 

tbe land in Ix^Jf hom , m ont supr ^^ 

oi tbe ^ 8e ^f ^t consented to acbn t * inted a 
contract W e bad no ^ Governmen ^ ^ ^ 

oî tbe Act oï w h {ar tbis *a» ^^ 

ta»**? to vnqun. ^ paid or ^ ^ 
whc tber tbe rents q{ ^ llousej ^ 

from tbe Opposât 101 mÇO rary P«>™ not be paid. 

cession .as -*£, ^*"f^ "fused^ 

road e ^ ^ f Govenunent J^^ndy ««** 
Wbat arf .tbe even tbe e ^ ^ 

jadicial rents to ne 

^Et. 41-42] ' REMEMBER MITCHELSTOWN ! ' 198 

alter them, that faith and honour forbade it. Then 
canie the distress, then the évictions, then Bodyke, and 
then the Plan of Canipaign.' Nor was Mr. Gladstone 
satisfied with a single référence to the subject. Speak- 
ing at a garden party at Hampstead on June 30, he 
referred to it again. He said : ' Do not suppose that I 
think the Plan of Campaign is a good thing in itself, or 
that I speak of it as such. I lament every thing in the 
nature of machinery for governing a country outside 
the regular law of a country. But there are circum- 
stances in which that machinery, though it may be an 
evil in itself — and it is an evil, because it lets loose 
many bad passions and