Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 43.djvu/333

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he was received by the president, and visited the members of the cabinet. Subsequently he addressed the legislatures of five states. At Cincinnati, on 20 Feb., he spoke out boldly in a revolutionary sense. ‘None of us,’ he said, ‘whether we are in America or Ireland, or wherever we may be, will be satisfied until we have destroyed the last link which keeps Ireland bound to England’ (Irish World, 6 March 1880). Visits to Iowa followed, and on 6 March he arrived in Toronto. On 8 March, while at Montreal, he learned that Lord Beaconsfield's ministry was about to dissolve parliament, and he thereupon brought his tour to a close. He at once travelled to New York, and hastily summoned a conference, at which the foundation of the American land league was laid and arrangements for forwarding to him pecuniary contributions completed. On 21 March he landed at Queenstown, and three days later parliament was dissolved. Lord Beaconsfield, in announcing the dissolution, declared that Parnell was organising a movement in Ireland which would menace the unity of the British empire.

Parnell was welcomed back by the fenians of Cork, who presented him with an address; and he straightway engaged in the parliamentary elections. Although the original laws of the land league forbade the application of any of its fund to parliamentary purposes, Parnell drew 2,000l. from its exchequer, in order to support the parliamentary struggle. The Irish Republican Brotherhood was still unconverted, and there were signs that it was bent on resisting his growing power. At meetings which he attended at Enniscorthy on 28 March 1880, and on 30 April at the Rotunda at Dublin, when a development of the constitution of the land league was under consideration, attempts at disturbance were made by the fenians. At the second meeting he told the story how a gentleman gave him thirty dollars on a platform in America, with the remark, ‘Here are five dollars for bread, and twenty-five dollars for lead.’ The story was repeated on at least one other platform. The rank and file of the Irish Republican Brotherhood showed no further opposition to Parnell, although the chiefs still withheld their sanction and support.

The result of the general election was the return of the liberals to office. Parnell, who was elected for three constituencies—Meath, Mayo, and Cork city, chose to sit for the last. The home-rule party consisted of sixty-eight members. A few were lukewarm in the cause, and proved inefficient workers. But the majority were new men, who had been selected by Parnell from various classes of society for their activity and habits of obedience, and on 17 May he was elected chairman of the home-rule party in the house. Over his parliamentary supporters he henceforth exerted an iron sway which is unparalleled in parliamentary annals. With very few of his followers did he encourage any social intimacy. In private life he held aloof from most of them. Their business in public affairs was to fear and obey him.

Outside the house, too, Parnell had become a foe whom the English government could no longer despise. He had the support not only of the Clan-na-Gael and many members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, but also of the land league and the tenant-farmers and peasantry of Ireland. Moreover, without any efforts on his part, the suspicions with which the catholic church in Ireland had at first viewed him were quieted, and the mass of the priests and many of the bishops had declared themselves his active allies. Such forces were not homogeneous; many of the component parts were divided from each other by strong antipathies. But Parnell's skilful hand and iron will—his personal power alone—held the great army together for nearly ten years.

The new parliament met on 29 April. There was much distress in Ireland, many evictions, and general discontent. William Edward Forster [q. v.], a statesman of high reputation, had been made chief secretary for Ireland. Earl Cowper was lord lieutenant. The government at once introduced a remedial measure, giving compensation to tenants on eviction. The bill was maimed in the commons and rejected by the lords on 3 Aug. Its rejection added fuel to the agrarian agitation which the land league was fomenting in Ireland. In April and May the league had greatly extended its operations; organisers had been despatched to form new branches in all directions, and Parnell had not relaxed the earnestness with which he first flung himself into this agitation. On 19 Sept. he made a speech at Ennis which marked an epoch in the struggle. ‘When a man,’ he told his peasant hearers, ‘takes a farm from which another had been evicted, you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him, you must shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him at the shop-counter, you must shun 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 the rest of 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 depend upon it, if the population of a county in Ireland carry out