Charles Stewart Parnell
Overview
 
Charles Stewart Parnell (27 June 1846 – 6 October 1891) was an Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 landowner, nationalist
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

 political leader
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, land reform agitator, and the founder and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party
Irish Parliamentary Party
The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons at...

. He was one of the most important figures in 19th century Ireland and Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

, and was described by Prime Minister William Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

 as the most remarkable person he had ever met.

Parnell led the Irish Parliamentary Party as Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) through the period of Parliamentary nationalism in Ireland between 1875 and his death in 1891.
Encyclopedia
Charles Stewart Parnell (27 June 1846 – 6 October 1891) was an Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 landowner, nationalist
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

 political leader
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, land reform agitator, and the founder and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party
Irish Parliamentary Party
The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons at...

. He was one of the most important figures in 19th century Ireland and Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

, and was described by Prime Minister William Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

 as the most remarkable person he had ever met.

Parnell led the Irish Parliamentary Party as Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) through the period of Parliamentary nationalism in Ireland between 1875 and his death in 1891. Future Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 Prime Minister, H. H. Asquith
H. H. Asquith
Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC, KC served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916...

, described him as one of the three or four greatest men of the 19th century, while Lord Haldane described him as the strongest man the British House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 had seen in 150 years. The Irish Parliamentary Party split during 1890, following revelations of Parnell's private life intruding on his political career. He is nevertheless revered by subsequent Irish parliamentary republicans and nationalists.

Family background

Charles Stewart Parnell was born in County Wicklow
County Wicklow
County Wicklow is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Mid-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Wicklow, which derives from the Old Norse name Víkingalág or Wykynlo. Wicklow County Council is the local authority for the county...

, of Protestant
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 gentry stock. He was the third son and seventh child of John Henry Parnell (1811–1859), wealthy Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish was a term used primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify a privileged social class in Ireland, whose members were the descendants and successors of the Protestant Ascendancy, mostly belonging to the Church of Ireland, which was the established church of Ireland until...

 landowner, and his American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 wife Delia Tudor Stewart (1816–1898) of Bordentown, New Jersey
Bordentown, New Jersey
Bordentown City is in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 3,924. Bordentown is located at the confluence of the Delaware River, Blacks Creek and Crosswicks Creek...

, daughter of the American naval hero, Admiral Charles Stewart (1778-1869)
Charles Stewart (1778-1869)
Charles Stewart was an officer in the United States Navy.Born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stewart went to sea at the age of thirteen as a cabin boy and rose through the grades to become master of a merchantman. He grew up with Captain Stephen Decatur and Richard Sommers...

 (the stepson of one of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

's bodyguards). There were eleven children in all: five boys and six girls. Admiral Stewart's mother, Parnell's great-grandmother, belonged to the Tudor
Tudor dynasty
The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin that ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including the Lordship of Ireland, later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1485 until 1603. Its first monarch was Henry Tudor, a descendant through his mother of a legitimised...

 family so had a distant relationship with the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

. John Henry Parnell himself was a cousin of one of Ireland's leading aristocrats, Viscount Powerscourt
Powerscourt Estate
Powerscourt Estate , located near Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland, is a large country estate which is noted for its house and landscaped gardens, today occupying 19 hectares . The house, originally a 13th century castle, was extensively altered during the 18th century by German architect...

, and also the grandson of a Chancellor of the Exchequer in Grattan’s Parliament
Henry Grattan
Henry Grattan was an Irish politician and member of the Irish House of Commons and a campaigner for legislative freedom for the Irish Parliament in the late 18th century. He opposed the Act of Union 1800 that merged the Kingdoms of Ireland and Great Britain.-Early life:Grattan was born at...

, Sir John Parnell, who lost office in 1799 when he opposed the Act of Union.

The Parnells of Avondale
Avondale Forest
Avondale Forest is a wooded estate in County Wicklow, Ireland on the west bank of the River Avonmore. It contains the home of Charles Stewart Parnell which was built in 1777 by Samuel Hayes and is now the Parnell Museum...

 were descended from an English merchant family, which came to prominence in Congleton
Congleton
Congleton is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England, on the banks of the River Dane, to the west of the Macclesfield Canal and 21 miles south of Manchester. It has a population of 25,750.-History:The first settlements in...

, Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

, early in the 17th century where as Baron Congleton
Baron Congleton
Baron Congleton, of Congleton in the County Palatine of Chester, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1841 for the Whig politician and former Secretary at War and Paymaster of the Forces Sir Henry Parnell, 4th Baronet. His eldest son, the second Baron, devoted his life...

 two generations held the office of Mayor of Congleton before moving to Ireland. The family produced a number of notable figures, including Thomas Parnell
Thomas Parnell
Thomas Parnell was a poet and clergyman, born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He was a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He participated in the Scriblerus Club, contributing to The Spectator, and he also aided Pope in his translation of The Iliad...

 (1679–1718), the Irish poet and Henry Parnell, 1st Baron Congleton (1776–1842) the Irish politician. Parnell's grandfather William Parnell (1780–1821), who inherited the Avondale Estate in 1795, was a liberal Irish MP for Wicklow
Wicklow (UK Parliament constituency)
Wicklow was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. From 1801 to 1885 it returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland....

 from 1817–1820. Thus, from birth, Charles Stewart Parnell possessed an extraordinary number of links to many elements of society; he was linked to the old Irish Parliamentary tradition via his great-grandfather and grandfather, to the American War of Independence via his grandfather, to the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 (where his grandfather had been awarded a gold medal by the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 for gallantry); he belonged to the disestablished Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 (its members mostly unionists) though in later years he was to drop away from formal church attendance; and he was connected with the aristocracy through the Powerscourts. Yet it was as a leader of Irish Nationalism
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

 that Parnell established his fame.

Parnell's parents separated when he was six, and as a boy he was sent to different schools in England, where he spent an unhappy youth. His father died in 1859 and he inherited the Avondale estate. The young Parnell studied at Magdalene College, Cambridge
Magdalene College, Cambridge
Magdalene College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1428 as a Benedictine hostel, in time coming to be known as Buckingham College, before being refounded in 1542 as the College of St Mary Magdalene...

 (1865–69) but, due to the troubled financial circumstances of the estate he inherited, he was absent a great deal and never completed his degree. In 1871, he joined his elder brother John Howard Parnell
John Howard Parnell
John Howard Parnell was an older brother of the Irish Nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell and after his brother’s death was himself a Parnellite Nationalist Member of Parliament, for South Meath from 1895 to 1900...

 (1843–1923), who farmed in Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 (later an Irish Parnellite MP and heir to the Avondale estate), on an extended tour of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Their travels took them mostly through the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 and apparently the brothers neither spent much time in centres of Irish immigration nor sought out Irish-Americans.

In 1874, he became High Sheriff of Wicklow
High Sheriff of Wicklow
The High Sheriff of Wicklow was the British Crown’s judicial representative in County Wicklow, Ireland from Wicklow's formation in 1606 until 1922, when the office was abolished in the new Free State and replaced by the office of Wicklow County Sheriff. The sheriff had judicial, electoral,...

, his home county in which he was also an officer in the Wicklow militia. He was noted as an improving landowner who played an important part in opening the south Wicklow area to industrialisation. Perhaps due to lack of interest in other enterprises, his attention was drawn to the theme dominating the Irish political scene of the mid-1870s, Isaac Butt
Isaac Butt
Isaac Butt Q.C. M.P. was an Irish barrister, politician, Member of Parliament , and the founder and first leader of a number of Irish nationalist parties and organisations, including the Irish Metropolitan Conservative Society in 1836, the Home Government Association in 1870 and in 1873 the Home...

’s Home Rule League
Home Rule League
The Home Rule League, sometimes called the Home Rule Party, was a political party which campaigned for home rule for the country of Ireland from 1873 to 1882, when it was replaced by the Irish Parliamentary Party.-Origins:...

 formed in 1873 to campaign for a moderate degree of self-government. It was in support of this movement that Parnell first tried to stand for election in Wicklow, but as high sheriff was disqualified. He failed again in 1874 as home rule candidate in a County Dublin by-election.

Member of Parliament

Parnell was first elected to the House of Commons, as a Home Rule League Member of Parliament (MP) for County Meath on 21 April 1875 in a by-election backed by Fenian
Fenian
The Fenians , both the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood , were fraternal organisations dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th century. The name "Fenians" was first applied by John O'Mahony to the members of the Irish republican...

 Patrick Egan
Patrick Egan (land reformer and diplomat)
Patrick Egan was an Irish and American political leader.Egan was born in Ballymahon, Co. Longford, Ireland. His family later moved to Dublin and at the age of fourteen he entered the office of an extensive grain and milling firm, the North City Milling Company, in Dublin, and before he was twenty...

. He replaced the deceased League MP, veteran Young Irelander John Martin. He subsequently sat for the constituency of Cork City
Cork City (UK Parliament constituency)
Cork City was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. From 1880 to 1922 it returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 from 1880 until 1891.

During his first year Parnell remained a reserved observer of parliamentary proceedings. He first came to attention in the public eye when in 1876 he claimed in the Commons that he did not believe that any murder had been committed by Fenians in Manchester
Manchester Martyrs
The Manchester Martyrs – William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin, and Michael O'Brien – were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an organisation dedicated to ending British rule in Ireland. They were executed for the murder of a police officer in Manchester, England, in 1867, during...

. This drew the interest of the Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

 (IRB), a physical force
Physical force Irish republicanism
Physical force Irish republicanism, is a term used to describe the recurring appearance of non-parliamentary violent insurrection in Ireland between 1798 and the present...

 Irish organisation that had staged a rebellion in 1867. Parnell made it his business to cultivate Fenian sentiments both in Britain and Ireland and became associated with the more radical wing of the Home Rule League, which included Joseph Biggar (MP for Cavan
Cavan (UK Parliament constituency)
Cavan was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, which from 1801 to 1885 returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.-Members of Parliament:...

 from 1874), John O'Connor Power
John O'Connor Power
John O'Connor Power was an Irish Fenian and a Home Rule League and Irish Parliamentary Party politician and as MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland represented Mayo from June 1874 to 1885...

 (MP for County Mayo from 1874) (both, although constitutionalists, had links with the IRB), Edmund Dwyer-Gray
Edmund Dwyer Gray (Irish politician)
Edmund Dwyer Gray was an Irish newspaper proprietor, politician and MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 (MP for Tipperary
Tipperary (UK Parliament constituency)
Tipperary, also known as Tipperary County, was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, which from 1801 to 1885 returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.-Boundaries:...

 from 1877), and Frank Hugh O'Donnell
Frank Hugh O'Donnell
Frank Hugh O'Donnell , born Francis Hugh MacDonald was an Irish writer, journalist and nationalist politician.-Early life:...

 (MP for Dungarvan
Dungarvan (UK Parliament constituency)
Dungarvan was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, which from 1801 to 1885 returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 from 1877). He engaged with them and played a leading role in a policy of obstructionism
Obstructionism
Obstructionism is the practice of deliberately delaying or preventing a process or change, especially in politics.-As workplace aggression:An obstructionist causes problems. Neuman and Baron identify obstructionism as one of the three dimensions that encompass the range of workplace aggression...

 (i.e., the use of technical procedures to disrupt the House of Commons' ability to function) to force the House to pay more attention to Irish issues, which had previously been ignored. Obstruction involved giving lengthy speeches which were largely irrelevant to the topic at hand. This behaviour was opposed by the less aggressive chairman (leader) of the Home Rule League, Isaac Butt.

Parnell visited America that year accompanied by O'Connor Power. The question of his closeness to the IRB, and whether indeed he ever joined the organisation, has been a matter of academic debate for a century. The evidence suggests that later, following the signing of the Kilmainham Treaty
Kilmainham Treaty
The Kilmainham Treaty was an agreement reached in May 1882 between the United Kingdom Government under William Ewart Gladstone and the Irish nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell...

, Parnell did take the IRB oath, possibly for tactical reasons. What is known is that IRB involvement in the League's sister organisation, the Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain, led to the moderate Butt's ousting from its presidency (even though he had founded the organisation) and the election of Parnell in his place on 28 August 1877. Parnell was a restrained speaker in the House but his organisational, analytical and tactical skills earned wide praise, enabling him to take on the British organisation's presidency. Butt died in 1879 and was replaced as chairman of the Home Rule League by the Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

-oriented William Shaw
William Shaw (Irish politician)
William Shaw was an Irish Protestant nationalist politician. He was a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and one of the founders of the Irish home rule movement....

. Shaw's victory was temporary, however.

New departure

From August 1877 Parnell held a number of private meetings with prominent Fenian
Fenian
The Fenians , both the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood , were fraternal organisations dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th century. The name "Fenians" was first applied by John O'Mahony to the members of the Irish republican...

 leaders. He visited Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 where he met John O'Leary and J. J. O'Kelly
James Joseph O'Kelly
James Joseph O'Kelly was an Irish nationalist journalist, politician and Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and as member of the Irish Parliamentary Party represented the Roscommon constituency between 1880 and 1916.-Background:His...

 both of whom were impressed by him and reported positively to the most capable and militant Leader of the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 republican Clan na Gael
Clan na Gael
The Clan na Gael was an Irish republican organization in the United States in the late 19th and 20th centuries, successor to the Fenian Brotherhood and a sister organization to the Irish Republican Brotherhood...

 organisation, John Devoy
John Devoy
John Devoy was an Irish rebel leader and exile.-Early life:Devoy was born near Kill, County Kildare. In 1861 he travelled to France with an introduction from T. D. Sullivan to John Mitchel...

. In December at a reception for Michael Davitt
Michael Davitt
Michael Davitt was an Irish republican and nationalist agrarian agitator, a social campaigner, labour leader, journalist, Home Rule constitutional politician and Member of Parliament , who founded the Irish National Land League.- Early years :Michael Davitt was born in Straide, County Mayo,...

 on his release from prison, he met William Carrol who assured him of Clan na Gael's support in the struggle for Irish self-government. This led to a meeting in March 1878 between influential constitutionalists, Parnell and Frank Hugh O'Donnell, and leading Fenians O'Kelly, O'Leary and Carroll. This was followed by a telegram from John Devoy in October 1878 which offered Parnell a "New Departure
New Departure (Ireland)
The term New Departure has been used to describe several initiatives in the late 19th century where Irish republicans, who were committed to independence from Britain through use of physical force, attempted to find a common ground for cooperation with groups committed to Irish Home Rule through...

" deal of separating militancy from the constitutional movement as a path to all-Ireland self-government, under certain conditions: abandonment of a federal solution in favour of separatist self-government, vigorous agitation in the land question on the basis of peasant proprietorship, exclusion of all sectarian issues, collective voting by party members and energetic resistance to coercive legislation.

Parnell preferred to keep all options open without clearly committing himself when he spoke in 1879 before Irish Tenant Defence Associations at Ballinasloe and Tralee. It was not until Davitt persuaded him to address a second meeting at Westport, County Mayo
Westport, County Mayo
Westport is a town in County Mayo, Ireland. It is situated on the west coast at the south-east corner of Clew Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean....

 in June that he began to grasp the potential of the land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

 movement. At a national level several approaches were made which eventually produced the 'New Departure' of June 1879, endorsing the foregone informal agreement which asserted an understanding binding them to mutual support and a shared political agenda. In addition, the 'New Departure' asserted the Fenian movement and its armed strategies. Working together with Davitt who was impressed by Parnell, he now took on the role of leader of the New Departure, holding platform meeting after platform meeting around the country. Throughout the autumn of 1879, he repeated the message to tenants after the long depression had left them without income for rent:

You must show the landlord that you intend to keep a firm grip on your homesteads and lands. You must not allow yourselves be dispossessed as you were dispossessed in 1847.

Land League leader

He was elected president of Davitt's newly founded Irish National Land League
Irish National Land League
The Irish Land League was an Irish political organization of the late 19th century which sought to help poor tenant farmers. Its primary aim was to abolish landlordism in Ireland and enable tenant farmers to own the land they worked on...

 in Dublin on 21 October 1879, signing a militant Land League address campaigning for land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

. In so doing, he linked the mass movement to the parliamentary agitation, with profound consequences for both of them. Andrew Kettle
Andrew Kettle
Andrew J. Kettle : was an Irish nationalist politician, progressive farmer, agrarian agitator and founder member of the Irish Land League....

, his 'right-hand man', became honorary secretary.

In a bout of activity, he left for America in December 1879 with John Dillon
John Dillon
John Dillon was an Irish land reform agitator from Dublin, an Irish Home Rule activist, a nationalist politician, a Member of Parliament for over 35 years, and the last leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party....

 to raise funds for famine relief
Famine relief
Famine relief is an organized effort to reduce starvation in a region in which there is famine. A famine is a phenomenon in which a large proportion of the population of a region or country are so undernourished that death by starvation becomes increasingly common...

 and secure support for Home Rule. Timothy Healy
Timothy Michael Healy
Timothy Michael Healy, KC , also known as Tim Healy, was an Irish nationalist politician, journalist, author, barrister and one of the most controversial Irish Members of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 followed to cope with the press and they collected £70,000 for distress in Ireland. During Parnell's highly successful tour, he had an audience with American President Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford Birchard Hayes was the 19th President of the United States . As president, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction and the United States' entry into the Second Industrial Revolution...

, on 2 February 1880 he addressed the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 on the state of Ireland and spoke in 62 cities including in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, where he was so well received in Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 that Healy dubbed him "the uncrowned king of Ireland". (The same term was applied 30 years earlier to Daniel O'Connell
Daniel O'Connell
Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell (6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847; often referred to as The Liberator, or The Emancipator, was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century...

.) He strove to retain Fenian support but insisted when asked by a reporter that he personally could not join a secret society. Central to his whole approach to politics was ambiguity in that he allowed his hearers to remain uncertain. During his tour, he seemed to be saying that there were virtually no limits. To abolish landlordism
Absentee landlord
Absentee landlord is an economic term for a person who owns and rents out a profit-earning property, but does not live within the property's local economic region. This practice is problematic for that region because absentee landlords drain local wealth into their home country, particularly that...

, he asserted, would be to undermine English misgovernment, and he is alleged to have added:

When we have undermined English misgovernment we have paved the way for Ireland to take her place amongst the nations of the earth. And let us not forget that that is the ultimate goal at which all we Irishmen aim. None of us whether we be in America or in Ireland ... will be satisfied until we have destroyed the last link which keeps Ireland bound to England.


His activities came to an abrupt end when the United Kingdom general election, 1880
United Kingdom general election, 1880
-Seats summary:-References:*F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987* British Electoral Facts 1832-1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher *...

 was announced for April and he returned to fight it. The Conservatives
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 were defeated by the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

; William Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

 was again Prime Minister. Sixty-three Home Rulers were elected, including twenty-seven Parnell supporters, Parnell being returned for three seats: Cork City
Cork City (UK Parliament constituency)
Cork City was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. From 1880 to 1922 it returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

, Mayo
Mayo (UK Parliament constituency)
Mayo was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, which returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1885.-History :...

 and Meath
Meath (UK Parliament constituency)
Meath was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, which from 1801 to 1885 returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.-Members of Parliament:-References:...

. He chose to sit for the Cork seat. His triumph facilitated his nomination in May in place of Shaw as leader of a new Home Rule League Party, faced with a country on the brink of a land war.

Although the League discouraged violence, agrarian outrages grew widely from 863 incidents in 1879 to 2,590 in 1880 after evictions increased from 1,238 to 2,110 in the same period. Parnell saw the need to replace violent agitation with country-wide mass meetings and the application of Davitt's boycott
Boycott
A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons...

, also as a means of achieving his objective of self-government. Gladstone was alarmed at the power of the Land League at the end of 1880. He attempted to defuse the land question with dual ownership in the Second Land Act of 1881, establishing a Land Commission that reduced rents and enabled some tenants to buy their farms. These halted arbitrary evictions, but not where rent was unpaid.

Kilmainham crossroads

Parnell's own newspaper, the United Ireland, attacked the Land Act and he was arrested on 13 October 1881 together with his party lieutenants, William O'Brien
William O'Brien
William O'Brien was an Irish nationalist, journalist, agrarian agitator, social revolutionary, politician, party leader, newspaper publisher, author and Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

, John Dillon, Michael Davitt and Willie Redmond
William Hoey Kearney Redmond
William Hoey Kearney Redmond was an Irish nationalist politician. He was a Member of Parliament in the Irish Parliamentary Party for 34 years, a land reform agitator imprisoned three times, a determined advocate of Irish Home Rule, a barrister and a First World War fatality.-Family background:He...

, who had also conducted a bitter verbal offensive. They were imprisoned under a proclaimed Coercion Act
Irish Coercion Act
The Protection of Person and Property Act 1881 was one of more than 100 Coercion Acts passed by the Parliament of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland between 1801 and 1922, in an attempt to establish law and order in Ireland. The 1881 Act was passed by parliament and introduced by...

 in Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison, located in Kilmainham in Dublin, which is now a museum. It has been run since the mid-1980s by the Office of Public Works , an Irish Government agency...

 for "sabotaging the Land Act", from where the No-Rent Manifesto, which Parnell and the others signed, was issued calling for a national tenant farmer rent strike
Rent strike
A rent strike is a method of protest commonly employed against large landlords. In a rent strike, a group of tenants come together and agree to refuse to pay their rent en masse until a specific list of demands is met by the landlord...

. The Land League was suppressed immediately.

Whilst in gaol, Parnell moved in April 1882 to make a deal with the government, negotiated through Captain William O'Shea MP, that, provided the government settled the "rent arrears" question allowing 100,000 tenants to appeal for fair rent before the land courts, then withdrawing the manifesto and undertaking to move against agrarian crime, after he realised militancy would never win Home Rule. His release on the 2nd of May following the so-called Kilmainham Treaty
Kilmainham Treaty
The Kilmainham Treaty was an agreement reached in May 1882 between the United Kingdom Government under William Ewart Gladstone and the Irish nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell...

 marked a critical turning point in the development of Parnell’s leadership when he returned to the parameters of parliamentary and constitutional politics, and resulted in the loss of support of Devoy's American-Irish. However, his political diplomacy preserved the national Home Rule movement after the Phoenix Park Murders
Phoenix Park Murders
The Phoenix Park Murders were the fatal stabbings on 6 May 1882 in the Phoenix Park in Dublin of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Henry Burke. Cavendish was the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Burke was the Permanent Undersecretary, the most senior Irish civil servant...

 of the Chief Secretary
Chief Secretary for Ireland
The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, from the late 18th century until the end of British rule he was effectively the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland; usually...

 Lord Cavendish
Lord Frederick Cavendish
Lord Frederick Charles Cavendish was an English Liberal politician and protégé of the Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone...

, and his Under-Secretary, T.H. Burke
Thomas Henry Burke (Irish politician)
Thomas Henry Burke was Permanent Under Secretary at the Irish Office for many years before being killed during the Phoenix Park Murders on Saturday 6 May 1882. The killing was carried out by an Irish republican organisation called the Irish National Invincibles...

 on 6 May. Parnell was shocked to the extent that he offered Gladstone to resign his seat as MP. The militant Invincibles
Irish National Invincibles
The Irish National Invincibles, usually known as "The Invincibles" were a radical splinter group of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and leading representatives of the Land League movement, both of Ireland and Britain...

 responsible fled to America, which allowed him to break links with radical Land Leaguers. In the end, it resulted in a Parnell – Gladstone alliance working closely together. Davitt and other prominent members left the IRB and many rank and file Fenians drifted into the Home Rule movement. For the next 20 years, the IRB ceased to be an important force in Irish politics, leaving Parnell and his party the leaders of the nationalist movement in Ireland.

Party restructured

Parnell now sought to use his experience and huge support to advance his pursuit of Home Rule and resurrected the suppressed Land League on 17 October 1882 as the Irish National League (INL). It combined moderate agrarianism, a Home Rule programme with electoral functions, was hierarchical and autocratic in structure with Parnell wielding immense authority and direct parliamentary control. Parliamentary constitutionalism was the future path. The informal alliance between the new, tightly disciplined INL and the Catholic Church was one of the main factors for the revitalisation of the national Home Rule cause after 1882. Parnell saw that the explicit endorsement of Catholicism was of vital importance to the success of this venture and worked in close co-operation with the Catholic hierarchy in consolidating its hold over the Irish electorate. The leaders of the Catholic Church largely recognised the Parnellite party as guardians of church interests, despite uneasiness with a powerful lay leadership. At the end of 1885, the highly centralised organisation had 1,200 branches spread around the country, though less in Ulster. Parnell left the day-to-day running of the INL in the hands of his lieutenants Timothy Harrington
Timothy Charles Harrington
Timothy Charles Harrington , born in Castletownbere, County Cork, was an Irish journalist, barrister, nationalist politician and Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. As a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party he represented Westmeath...

 as Secretary, William O’Brien, editor of its newspaper United Ireland, and Timothy Healy. Its continued agrarian agitation led to the passing of several Irish Land Acts
Irish Land Acts
The Land Acts were a series of measures to deal with the question of peasant proprietorship of land in Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Five such acts were introduced by the government of the United Kingdom between 1870 and 1909...

 that over three decades changed the face of Irish land ownership, replacing large Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish was a term used primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify a privileged social class in Ireland, whose members were the descendants and successors of the Protestant Ascendancy, mostly belonging to the Church of Ireland, which was the established church of Ireland until...

 estates with tenant ownership.
Parnell next turned to the Home Rule League Party, of which he was to remain the re-elected leader for over a decade, spending most of his time at Westminster, with Henry Campbell
Henry Campbell (MP)
Henry Campbell was an Irish nationalist politician. He was Member of Parliament for South Fermanagh from 1885 to 1892, private secretary to the Irish leader Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880 to 1891, and Town Clerk of Dublin from 1893 to 1920...

 as his personal secretary. He fundamentally changed the party, replicated the INL structure within it and created a well-organised grass roots structure, introduced membership to replace "ad hoc" informal groupings in which MPs with little commitment to the party voted differently on issues, often against their own party. Or they simply did not attend the House of Commons at all (some citing expense, given that MPs were unpaid until 1911 and the journey to Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

 both costly and arduous).

In 1882, he changed his party's name to the Irish Parliamentary Party
Irish Parliamentary Party
The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons at...

 (IPP). A central aspect of Parnell's reforms was a new selection procedure to ensure the professional selection of party candidates committed to taking their seats. In 1884, he imposed a firm 'party pledge' which obliged party MPs to vote as a bloc in parliament on all occasions. The creation of a strict party whip
Whip (politics)
A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party's "enforcers", who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy...

 and formal party structure was unique in party politics at the time. The Irish Parliamentary Party is generally seen as the first modern British political party, its efficient structure and control contrasting with the loose rules and flexible informality found in the main British parties, which came to model themselves on the Parnellite model. The Representation of the People Act 1884
Representation of the People Act 1884
In the United Kingdom, the Representation of the People Act 1884 and the Redistribution Act of the following year were laws which further extended the suffrage in Britain after the Disraeli Government's Reform Act 1867...

 enlarged the franchise, and the IPP increased its number of MPs from 63 to 85 in the 1885 election
United Kingdom general election, 1885
-Seats summary:-See also:*List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1885*Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885–1918*Representation of the People Act 1884*Redistribution of Seats Act 1885-References:...

.

The changes affected the nature of candidates chosen. Under Butt, the party's MPs were a mixture of Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 and Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

, landlord
Landlord
A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, or real estate which is rented or leased to an individual or business, who is called a tenant . When a juristic person is in this position, the term landlord is used. Other terms include lessor and owner...

 and others, Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

, Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 and Tory
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

, often leading to disagreements in policy that meant that MPs split in votes. Under Parnell, the number of Protestant and landlord MPs dwindled, as did the number of Tories seeking election. The parliamentary party became much more Catholic and middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

, with a large number of journalists and lawyers elected and the disappearance of Protestant Ascendancy
Protestant Ascendancy
The Protestant Ascendancy, usually known in Ireland simply as the Ascendancy, is a phrase used when referring to the political, economic, and social domination of Ireland by a minority of great landowners, Protestant clergy, and professionals, all members of the Established Church during the 17th...

 landowners and Tories from it.

Towards home rule

Parnell's party emerged swiftly as a tightly disciplined and, on the whole, energetic body of parliamentarians. By 1885, he was leading a party well-poised for the next general election, his statements on Home Rule designed to secure the widest possible support. Speaking in Cork
Cork (city)
Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the island of Ireland's third most populous city. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city in the province of Munster. Cork has a population of 119,418, while the addition of the suburban...

 on 21 January 1885, he stated:

We cannot ask the British constitution for more than the restitution of Grattan's parliament
Henry Grattan
Henry Grattan was an Irish politician and member of the Irish House of Commons and a campaigner for legislative freedom for the Irish Parliament in the late 18th century. He opposed the Act of Union 1800 that merged the Kingdoms of Ireland and Great Britain.-Early life:Grattan was born at...

, but no man has the right to fix the boundary of a nation.
No man has the right to say to his country, "Thus far shalt thou go and no further", and we have never attempted
to fix the "ne plus ultra" to the progress of Ireland’s nationhood, and we never shall
.


Both UK parties toyed with various suggestions for greater self-government for Ireland, in March 1885 the settlement that the radical MP Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain was an influential British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman and had not attended Oxford or Cambridge University....

 proposed involved democratic county councils which in turn would elect a Central Board for Ireland, which was thrown out by the Cabinet. Gladstone on the other hand saying he was prepared to go ‘rather further’ than the idea of a Central Board .After Gladstone's government fell in June 1885, Parnell urged the Irish voters in Britain to vote against the Liberals. The delayed November general elections
United Kingdom general election, 1885
-Seats summary:-See also:*List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1885*Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885–1918*Representation of the People Act 1884*Redistribution of Seats Act 1885-References:...

 (boundaries were being redrawn after the Third Reform Act) brought about a hung Parliament in which the Liberals with 335 seats won 86 more than the Conservatives, with a Parnellite bloc of 86 Irish Home Rule MPs holding the balance of power in the Commons. Parnell's task was now to win acceptance of the principle of a Dublin parliament.

Parnell at first supported a Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 government - they were still the smaller party after the elections - but after renewed agrarian distress arose when agricultural prices fell and unrest developed during 1885, Lord Salisbury
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC , styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865 and Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, was a British Conservative statesman and thrice Prime Minister, serving for a total of over 13 years...

’s Conservative government announced coercion measures in January 1886. Parnell switched his support to the Liberals. The prospects shocked Unionists. The Orange Order, revived in the 1880s to oppose the Land League now openly opposed Home Rule. On 20 January, the Irish Unionist Party
Irish Unionist Party
The Irish Unionist Alliance was a Unionist party founded in Ireland in 1891 to oppose plans for Gladstonian and Parnellite Home Rule for Ireland. The party was led for much of its life by Colonel Edward James Saunderson and later by the William St John Brodrick, Earl of Midleton...

 was established in Dublin. By 28 January, Salisbury's government had resigned.

The Liberals regained power on 1 February, their leader Gladstone - influenced by the status of Norway, which at the time was self-governing but under the Swedish Crown - moving towards Home Rule, which Gladstone’s son Herbert revealed publicly under what became known as the "flying of the Hawarden Kite
Hawarden Kite
The Hawarden Kite was a famous British scoop of 1885, an apparent instance of flying a kite, when Herbert Gladstone, son of the then Leader of the Opposition William Ewart Gladstone revealed to Edmund Rogers of the National Press Agency in London that his father now supported home rule for...

". The third Gladstone administration paved the way towards the generous response to Irish demands that the new Prime Minister had promised, but was unable to obtain the support of several key players in his own party. Lord Hartington
Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire
Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire KG, GCVO, PC, PC , styled Lord Cavendish of Keighley between 1834 and 1858 and Marquess of Hartington between 1858 and 1891, was a British statesman...

 (who had been Liberal leader in the late 1870s and was still the most likely alternative leader) refused to serve at all, while Joseph Chamberlain briefly held office then resigned when he saw the terms of the proposed bill.

On 8 April 1886, Gladstone introduced the First Irish Home Rule Bill, his object to establish an Irish legislature, although large imperial issues were to be reserved to the Westminster parliament. The Conservatives now emerged as enthusiastic unionists, Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill MP was a British statesman. He was the third son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough and his wife Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane , daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry...

 declared, "The Orange card is the one to play". In the course of a long and fierce debate Gladstone made a remarkable Home Rule Speech, beseeching parliament to pass the bill. However, the split between pro- and anti-home rulers within the Liberal Party caused the defeat of the bill on its second reading in June by 341 to 311 votes.

Parliament was dissolved and elections called, with Irish Home Rule the central issue. Gladstone hoped to repeat his triumph of 1868
United Kingdom general election, 1868
The 1868 United Kingdom general election was the first after passage of the Reform Act 1867, which enfranchised many male householders, thus greatly increasing the number of men who could vote in elections in the United Kingdom...

, when he had won a General Election on the topic of Irish Disestablishment (which had been a major cause of dispute between Conservatives and Liberals since the 1830s), but the result of the July 1886 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1886
-Seats summary:-See also:*MPs elected in the UK general election, 1886*The Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885-1918-References:*F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987**...

 was Liberal defeat. The Conservatives and the Liberal Unionist Party
Liberal Unionist Party
The Liberal Unionist Party was a British political party that was formed in 1886 by a faction that broke away from the Liberal Party. Led by Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain, the party formed a political alliance with the Conservative Party in opposition to Irish Home Rule...

 returned with a majority of 118 over the combined Gladstonian Liberals and Parnell's 85 Irish Party seats. Salisbury formed his second government - a minority Conservative government with Liberal Unionist support.

The Liberal split made the Unionists (the Liberal Unionists sat in coalition with the Conservatives after 1895 and would eventually merge with them) the dominant force in British politics until 1906
United Kingdom general election, 1906
-Seats summary:-See also:*MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1906*The Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885-1918-External links:***-References:*F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987**...

, with strong support in Lancashire, Liverpool & Manchester, Birmingham (the fiefdom of its former mayor Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain was an influential British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman and had not attended Oxford or Cambridge University....

 who as recently as 1885
United Kingdom general election, 1885
-Seats summary:-See also:*List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1885*Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885–1918*Representation of the People Act 1884*Redistribution of Seats Act 1885-References:...

 had been a furious enemy of the Conservatives) and the House of Lords where many Whigs sat (a second Home Rule Bill would pass the Commons in 1893 only to be overwhelmingly defeated in the Lords).

Pigott forgeries

Parnell next became the centre of public attention when in March and April 1887 he found himself accused by the British newspaper The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

of supporting the brutal murders in May 1882
Phoenix Park Murders
The Phoenix Park Murders were the fatal stabbings on 6 May 1882 in the Phoenix Park in Dublin of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Henry Burke. Cavendish was the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Burke was the Permanent Undersecretary, the most senior Irish civil servant...

 of the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland
Chief Secretary for Ireland
The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, from the late 18th century until the end of British rule he was effectively the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland; usually...

, Lord Frederick Cavendish
Lord Frederick Cavendish
Lord Frederick Charles Cavendish was an English Liberal politician and protégé of the Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone...

 and the Permanent Under-Secretary, Thomas Henry Burke
Thomas Henry Burke (Irish politician)
Thomas Henry Burke was Permanent Under Secretary at the Irish Office for many years before being killed during the Phoenix Park Murders on Saturday 6 May 1882. The killing was carried out by an Irish republican organisation called the Irish National Invincibles...

 in Dublin's Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is an urban park in Dublin, Ireland, lying 2–4 km west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its 16 km perimeter wall encloses , one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. It includes large areas of grassland and tree-lined avenues, and since the seventeenth...

, and of the general involvement of his movement with crime (i.e., with illegal organisations such as the IRB
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

). Letters were published which suggested Parnell was complicit in the murders. The most important one, dated 15 May 1882, ran as follows:

Dear Sir, – I am not surprised at your friend's anger, but he and you should know that to denounce the murders was the only course open to us. To do that promptly was plainly our best policy. But you can tell him, and all others concerned, that, though I regret the accident of Lord Frederick Cavendish's death, I cannot refuse to admit that Burke got no more than his deserts. You are at liberty to show him this, and others whom you can trust also, but let not my address be known. He can write to House of Commons.
Yours very truly,
Chas S. Parnell.


However, a Commission of Enquiry
Parnell Commission
The Parnell Commission was a judicial inquiry in the late 1880s into allegations of crimes by Irish parliamentarian Charles Stewart Parnell which resulted in his vindication.-Background:...

, which Parnell had requested, revealed in February 1889 after 128 sessions that the letters were a fabrication created by Richard Pigott, a disreputable anti-Parnellite rogue journalist. Pigott broke down under cross-examination after the letter was shown to be a forgery by him with his characteristic spelling mistakes. He fled to Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

 where he committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

. Parnell was vindicated, to the disappointment of the Tories and the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury.

The 35-volume commission report published in February 1890, did not however clear Parnell's movement of criminal involvement. Parnell then took The Times to court and the newspaper paid him £5,000 damages in an out-of-court settlement. When Parnell entered parliament on 1 March 1890 after he was cleared, he received a standing ovation from his fellow MPs led by Gladstone. It had been a dangerous crisis in his career, yet Parnell had at all times remained calm, relaxed and unperturbed which greatly impressed his political friends. For while he was vindicated in triumph, links between the Home Rule movement and militancy had been established. This he could have survived politically were it not for the crisis to follow.

Pinnacle of power

During the period 1886–90, Parnell continued to pursue Home Rule, striving to reassure English voters that it would be no threat to them. In Ireland, unionist resistance (especially after the Irish Unionist Party was formed) became increasingly organised. Parnell pursued moderate and conciliatory tenant land purchase and still hoped to retain a sizeable landlord support for home rule. During the agrarian crisis, which intensified in 1886 and launched the Plan of Campaign
Plan of Campaign
The Plan of Campaign was a stratagem adopted in Ireland between 1886 and 1891, co-ordinated by Irish politicians for the benefit of tenant farmers, against mainly absentee and rack-rent landlords. It was launched to counter agricultural distress caused by the continual depression in prices of dairy...

 organised by Parnell’s lieutenants, he chose in the interest of Home Rule not to associate himself with it.

All that remained, it seemed, was to work out details of a new home rule bill with Gladstone. They held two meetings, one in March 1888 and a second more significant meeting at Gladstone’s home in Hawarden
Hawarden
Hawarden is a village in Flintshire, North Wales. Hawarden forms part of the Deeside conurbation on the Welsh/English border. At the 2001 Census, the population of Hawarden Ward was 1,858...

 on 18–19 December 1889. On each occasion, Parnell's demands were entirely within the accepted parameters of Liberal thinking, Gladstone noting that he was one of the best people he had known to deal with, a remarkable transition from an inmate at Kilmainham
Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison, located in Kilmainham in Dublin, which is now a museum. It has been run since the mid-1980s by the Office of Public Works , an Irish Government agency...

 to an intimate at Hawarden in just over seven years. This was the high point of Parnell's career. In the early part of 1890, he still hoped to advance the situation on the land question, with which a substantial section of his party was displeased.

Divorce crisis

Parnell's leadership was first put to the test in February 1886 when he forced the candidature of Captain William O'Shea, who had negotiated the Kilmainham Treaty, for a Galway seat by-election. Parnell rode roughshod over his lieutenants Healy, Dillon and O'Brien who were not in favour of O'Shea. Galway was the harbinger of the fatal crisis to come. O'Shea had already separated from his wife Katharine O'Shea, but would not divorce her as she was expecting a substantial inheritance. Mrs. O'Shea acted as liaison in 1885 with Gladstone during proposals for the First Home Rule Bill. Parnell later took up residence with her in Eltham, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 in the summer of 1886, and was a known overnight visitor at the O'Shea house in Brockley
Brockley
Brockley is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Lewisham. It is situated south-east of Charing Cross.It is covered by the London postcode districts SE4 and SE14.-History:...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. When Mrs O’Shea’s aunt died in 1899, her money was left in trust (later inherited by cousins).

On 24 December 1889, Captain O'Shea filed for divorce, citing Parnell as co-respondent, although the case did not come for trial until 15 November 1890. It was soon 'revealed' (though it had been widely known among politicians at Westminster) that Parnell had been the long-term partner of Mrs O'Shea (also known derogatively as "Kitty") and had fathered three of her children. Meanwhile, Parnell assured the Irish Party that there was no need to fear the verdict; he would be exonerated. During January 1890, resolutions of confidence in his leadership were passed throughout the country.

Parnell did not contest the divorce case on 15 November to ensure that it would be granted and he could marry Mrs O'Shea; so Captain O'Shea's allegations went unchallenged. A divorce decree was granted on 17 November 1890 and Parnell's two children were placed in O'Shea's custody (his first child having died when he was in Kilmainham Gaol). The next day, the Irish National League passed a resolution upholding his leadership. The Catholic Church hierarchy
Catholic Church hierarchy
The term Hierarchy in the Catholic Church has a variety of related usages. Literally, "holy government", the term is employed in different instances. There is a Hierarchy of Truths, which refers to the levels of solemnity of the official teaching of the faith...

 in Ireland was largely silent, some bishops explicitly declaring the issue to be purely political, though divorce is forbidden under Catholic doctrine and most of Parnell's supporters were members of the Catholic Church. As co-respondent, Parnell was legally the apparent cause of the divorce, so that it was rather the 'nonconformist conscience
Nonconformism
Nonconformity is the refusal to "conform" to, or follow, the governance and usages of the Church of England by the Protestant Christians of England and Wales.- Origins and use:...

' in England which openly rebelled against him, and resulted in Gladstone's warning, given to Justin McCarthy
Justin McCarthy
Justin McCarthy was an Irish nationalist and Liberal historian, novelist and politician. He was a Member of Parliament from 1879 to 1900, taking his seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland- Early life :He was born in Cork, and was educated at a school there...

 as intermediary, that if Parnell retained leadership, it would mean the loss of the next election, the end of their alliance and also of Home Rule. When the annual party leadership election was held on 25 November, this threat was not conveyed to the members whom Parnell managed to control, until they loyally re-elected their 'chief' in his office. Gladstone published his warning in a letter the next day; subsequently, angry members demanded a new meeting, called for 1 December.

Party divides

Parnell issued a manifesto
Manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.-Etymology:...

 'To the people of Ireland' on 29 November saying a section of the party had lost its independence, and Gladstone's terms for Home Rule were inadequate.
A total of 73 members were present for the fateful meeting in committee room 15 at Westminster. The party tried desperately to achieve a compromise, with Parnell retiring temporarily. But Parnell, a proud and passionate man, refused, saying, "If I go, I go forever". He vehemently insisted that the independence of the Irish party could not be compromised either by Gladstone or by the Catholic hierarchy and, as chairman, blocked any motion to remove him. On 6 December, after five days of debating, a majority of 44 present led by Justin McCarthy walked out to found a new organisation, thus creating rival Parnellite and anti-Parnellite parties. The minority of 28 who remained true to their embattled 'Chief' continued in the Irish National League under John Redmond
John Redmond
John Edward Redmond was an Irish nationalist politician, barrister, MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1900 to 1918...

, the vast majority of anti-Parnellites forming the Irish National Federation
Irish National Federation
The Irish National Federation was a nationalist political party in Ireland. It was founded in March 1891 by former members of the Irish National League who had left the Irish Parliamentary Party in protest when Charles Stewart Parnell refused to resign the party leadership as a result of his...

, later led by John Dillon and supported by the Catholic Church. See also: Diocese of Meath
Diocese of Meath
The Diocese of Meath is an Irish diocese which took its name after the ancient Kingdom of Meath. In the Roman Catholic Church it still exists as a separate diocese, but in the Church of Ireland it has been united with other dioceses.-History:...

.

During the meeting, Parnell had challenged Gladstone's intervention with the question, "Who is the master of the party?" Timothy Healy
Timothy Michael Healy
Timothy Michael Healy, KC , also known as Tim Healy, was an Irish nationalist politician, journalist, author, barrister and one of the most controversial Irish Members of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

, a notoriously waspish MP, responded with the quip, "Who is the mistress of the party?" Parnell retorted, how dare he in an assembly of Irishmen insult a woman. Healy continued in public with a series of polemics viciously attacking Parnell, articulating an aggressively Catholic nationalism. Parnell in contrast had insisted in a major speech in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 in May 1891,

It is undoubtedly true that until the prejudices of the Protestant and Unionist minority are conciliated …..
Ireland can never enjoy perfect freedom, Ireland can never be united.


All of his former close associates, Michael Davitt, John Dillon, William O’Brien and Timothy Healy deserted him to join the anti-Parnellites. The bitterness of the split was to tear the country apart and resonated well into the next century.

Undaunted defiance

On 10 December, Parnell arrived in Dublin to a hero's welcome. He and his followers later forcibly seized the offices of the party paper United Irishman. His prestige had risen to unprecedented heights, but the crisis crippled this support, and most rural nationalists turned against him. In the December North Kilkenny
North Kilkenny (UK Parliament constituency)
North Kilkenny was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It returned one Member of Parliament from 1885 to 1922.-Boundaries and Boundary Changes:...

 by-election, he attracted Fenian
Fenian
The Fenians , both the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood , were fraternal organisations dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th century. The name "Fenians" was first applied by John O'Mahony to the members of the Irish republican...

 "hillside men" to his side. This ambiguity shocked former adherents, who clashed physically with his supporters, his candidate beaten by almost two to one. Deposed as leader, he fought a long and fierce campaign for re-instatement. He conducted a political tour of Ireland to re-establish popular support. In a North Sligo
North Sligo (UK Parliament constituency)
North Sligo was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1885 to 1922....

 by-election, the defeat of his candidate by 2,493 votes to 3,261 was less resounding, the clergy not united.

He fulfilled his loyalty to Katharine when they married on 25 June 1891 in Steyning
Steyning
Steyning is a small town and civil parish in the Horsham District of West Sussex, England. It is located at the north end of the River Adur gap in the South Downs, four miles north of Shoreham-by-Sea...

 Register Office
Register office
A register office is a British term for a civil registry, a government office and depository where births, deaths and marriages are officially recorded and where you can get officially married, without a religious ceremony...

, after Parnell had unsuccessfully sought a church wedding. On the same day, the Irish Catholic hierarchy, worried by the number of priests who had supported him in North Sligo, signed and published a near-unanimous condemnation: "by his public misconduct, has utterly disqualified himself to be … leader." Only Bishop Edward O'Dwyer of Limerick
Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

 withheld his signature. The Parnells took up residence in Brighton
Brighton
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, England on the south coast of Great Britain...

.

He returned to fight the third and last by-election in County Carlow
Carlow County (UK Parliament constituency)
Carlow County was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, which from 1801 to 1885 returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and one MP from 1885 to 1922....

, having lost the support of the Freeman's Journal when its proprietor Edmund Dwyer-Gray
Edmund Dwyer-Gray
Sir Edmund John Chisholm Dwyer-Gray was an Irish-Australian politician, who was the 29th Premier of Tasmania from 11 June to 18 December 1939.-Early life:...

 defected to the anti-Parnellites. On the difficult campaign trail, his health visibly worsened since Kilmainham Gaol and seriously deteriorating during the year, quicklime was thrown at his eyes by a hostile crowd in Castlecomer
Castlecomer
Castlecomer is a town in the barony of Fassadinin, County Kilkenny in Ireland.The Irish name for the town translates to "The castle at the confluence of the rivers"; the "rivers" refers to the rivers Deen, Brocagh and Clohogue while the "castle" refers to the castle built by the Normans in 1171...

, County Kilkenny
County Kilkenny
County Kilkenny is a county in Ireland. It is part of the South-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the city of Kilkenny. The territory of the county was the core part of the ancient Irish Kingdom of Osraige which in turn was the core of the Diocese of...

. Fr. P. J. Ryan, a Land League protagonist, called in medical aid given by his brother, Dr Valentine Ryan of Carlow
Carlow
Carlow is the county town of County Carlow in Ireland. It is situated in the south-east of Ireland, 84 km from Dublin. County Carlow is the second smallest county in Ireland by area, however Carlow Town is the 14th largest urban area in Ireland by population according to the 2006 census. The...

, a Home Rule sympathiser. Parnell continued the exhausting life of an Irish public agitator, refused to regard parliamentary pressure as outmoded and looked to the next election
United Kingdom general election, 1892
The 1892 United Kingdom general election was held from 4 July to 26 July 1892. It saw the Conservatives, led by Lord Salisbury, win the greatest number of seats, but not enough for an overall majority as William Ewart Gladstone's Liberals won many more seats than in the 1886 general election...

 to restore his fortunes. On 27 September, rather than disappoint his followers in the west, he addressed a crowd in pouring rain at Creggs
Creggs
Creggs is a small village in County Galway, in the west of Ireland, on the R362 regional road between Glenamaddy and Athleague.Although it has a population of only a hundred the village contains three Public Houses and used to contain seven...

 on the Galway
County Galway
County Galway is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the city of Galway. Galway County Council is the local authority for the county. There are several strongly Irish-speaking areas in the west of the county...

/Roscommon
County Roscommon
County Roscommon is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the town of Roscommon. Roscommon County Council is the local authority for the county...

 border, subjecting himself to a severe soaking. This was taking a great risk with his health, for Parnell was suffering from a serious kidney disease.

Death

He returned to Dublin, departing by mail boat on 30 September ("I shall be all right. I shall be back next Saturday week."). He died in his home at 10 Walsingham Terrace, Hove
Hove
Hove is a town on the south coast of England, immediately to the west of its larger neighbour Brighton, with which it forms the unitary authority Brighton and Hove. It forms a single conurbation together with Brighton and some smaller towns and villages running along the coast...

 (now replaced by Dorset Court, Kingsway) on 6 October 1891 of a heart attack and in the arms of his wife Katharine (formerly Katharine O'Shea). He was 45 years of age. Though an Anglican
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

, his funeral at the Irish National nondenominational Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery , officially known as Prospect Cemetery, is the largest non-denominational cemetery in Ireland with an estimated 1.5 million burials...

 in Dublin on 11 October was attended by more than 200,000 people. His notability was such that his gravestone of unhewn Wicklow
County Wicklow
County Wicklow is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Mid-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Wicklow, which derives from the Old Norse name Víkingalág or Wykynlo. Wicklow County Council is the local authority for the county...

 granite, erected in 1940, reads only "Parnell".

His brother John Howard
John Howard Parnell
John Howard Parnell was an older brother of the Irish Nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell and after his brother’s death was himself a Parnellite Nationalist Member of Parliament, for South Meath from 1895 to 1900...

 inherited the Avondale estate. He found it heavily mortgage
Mortgage
A mortgage is a security interest in real property held by a lender as a security for a debt, usually a loan of money. A mortgage in itself is not a debt, it is the lender's security for a debt...

d and eventually sold it in 1899. Five years later, at the suggestion of Horace Plunkett it was purchased by the state. It is open to public view and is where the "Parnell Society" holds its annual August summer school. The "Parnell National Memorial Park" is in nearby Rathdrum, County Wicklow
Rathdrum, County Wicklow
Rathdrum is a village in County Wicklow, Ireland. It is situated high on the western side of the Avonmore river valley, which flows through the Vale of Clara.-People:Born in Rathdrum:...

. The capital city Dublin commemorated Parnell with the naming of Parnell Street
Parnell Street
Parnell Street is located on Dublin's Northside and runs from Capel Street in the west to Gardiner Street and Mountjoy Square in the east, and is at the north end of O'Connell Street, where it provides the south side of Parnell Square....

 and Parnell Square. At the north end of O'Connell Street
O'Connell Street
O'Connell Street is Dublin's main thoroughfare. It measures 49 m in width at its southern end, 46 m at the north, and is 500 m in length...

 stands the Parnell Monument. This was planned and organised by John Redmond
John Redmond
John Edward Redmond was an Irish nationalist politician, barrister, MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1900 to 1918...

, who chose the American Augustus Saint Gaudens to sculpt the statue, and which was eventually completed in 1911.

He is also commemorated on the first Sunday after the anniversary of his death on October 6, known as "Ivy Day", which originated when the mourners at his funeral in 1891, taking their cue from a wreath of ivy sent by a Cork woman "as the best offering she could afford", took ivy leaves from the walls and stuck them in their lapels. Ever after, the ivy leaf became the Parnellite emblem, worn by his followers when then gathered to honour their lost leader.

Personal politics

Parnell's personal political views remained an enigma. An effective communicator he was skilfully ambivalent and matched his words depending on circumstances and audience though he would always first defend constitutionalism on which basis he sought to bring about change. But he was hampered by the crimes that hung around the Land League, and by the opposition of landlords aggravated by attacks on their property.

Yet he condoned radical
Radicalization
Radicalization is the process in which an individual changes from passiveness or activism to become more revolutionary, militant or extremist. Radicalization is often associated with youth, adversity, alienation, social exclusion, poverty, or the perception of injustice to self or others.-...

 republican
Republicanism
Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections. The exact meaning of republicanism varies depending on the cultural and historical context...

 and atheist Charles Bradlaugh
Charles Bradlaugh
Charles Bradlaugh was a political activist and one of the most famous English atheists of the 19th century. He founded the National Secular Society in 1866.-Early life:...

 and associated with the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, was linked both with the landed aristocracy class and the Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

, with speculation in the 1890s that he may have even joined the latter organisation. The historian Andrew Roberts argues that he was sworn into the IRB in the Old Library
Trinity College Library, Dublin
Trinity College Library Dublin, the centrally-administered library of Trinity College, Dublin, is the largest library in Ireland. As a "copyright library", it has legal deposit rights for material published in the Republic of Ireland; it is also the only Irish library to hold such rights for the...

 at Trinity College Dublin in May 1882 and that this was concealed for 40 years. He was conservative by nature, leading some historians to suggest that personally he would have been closer to the Conservative rather than to the Liberal Party, but for political needs. Andrew Kettle
Andrew Kettle
Andrew J. Kettle : was an Irish nationalist politician, progressive farmer, agrarian agitator and founder member of the Irish Land League....

, Parnell's right hand man, who shared a lot of his opinions, wrote of his own views, "I confess that I felt [in 1885], and still feel, a greater leaning towards the British Tory party than I ever could have towards the so-called Liberals."Some significance can be given to Parnell's penultimate words when lying on his deathbed, he invoked not Mother Ireland, but rather 'the Conservative party'. In later years, the double effect of the Phoenix Park trauma and the O’Shea affair reinforced the conservative side of his nature.

Overall assessment

Charles Stewart Parnell possessed the remarkable attribute of charisma
Charisma
The term charisma has two senses: 1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, 2) a divinely conferred power or talent. For some theological usages the term is rendered charism, with a meaning the same as sense 2...

, was an enigmatic personality, politically gifted and is regarded as one of the most extraordinary figures in Irish and British politics. He played a part in the process that undermined his own Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish was a term used primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify a privileged social class in Ireland, whose members were the descendants and successors of the Protestant Ascendancy, mostly belonging to the Church of Ireland, which was the established church of Ireland until...

 caste; within two decades absentee landlord
Absentee landlord
Absentee landlord is an economic term for a person who owns and rents out a profit-earning property, but does not live within the property's local economic region. This practice is problematic for that region because absentee landlords drain local wealth into their home country, particularly that...

s were almost unknown in Ireland. He created single-handedly in the Irish Party the first modern disciplined political party machine with its whip, holding together all strands of Irish nationalism and harnessing Irish-America into the Irish cause. He had the power to make and unmake governments in the United Kingdom and converted the British Prime Minister Gladstone to Irish Home Rule.

Over a century after his death he is still surrounded by public interest. His death, and the divorce upheaval which preceded it, gave him a public appeal and interest that other contemporaries, such as Timothy Healy or John Dillon, could not match. Historians speculate as to whether, had Parnell lived and home rule been granted a decade earlier, All-Ireland independence could have, in time, flowed from such a settlement and have meant there would have been no Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

, no Anglo-Irish War
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

, no independent twenty-six county Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 and no ensuing civil war
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

. The enactment of All-Ireland independence could certainly only have taken place with the consent of all of Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

, its inclusion in an All-Ireland parliament, at the time, a debatable issue. However, after Edward Carson the Ulster leader, backed by the Ulster Covenant
Ulster Covenant
The Ulster Covenant was signed by just under half a million of men and women from Ulster, on and before September 28, 1912, in protest against the Third Home Rule Bill, introduced by the Government in that same year...

 and his armed Ulster Volunteers, forced through his amending "exclusion of Ulster Bill" to the 1914 Third Home Rule Act, and with the establishment of a Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 Home Rule Government in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 under the Government of Ireland Act 1920
Government of Ireland Act 1920
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 was the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which partitioned Ireland. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill or as the Fourth Home Rule Act.The Act was intended...

, Unionist opposition since 1885 to "All-Ireland independence" proved itself to be extremely resilient and steadfast.

The scale of Parnell's impact can be seen in the fact that parties from Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

 and Fine Gael
Fine Gael
Fine Gael is a centre-right to centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland. It is the single largest party in Ireland in the Oireachtas, in local government, and in terms of Members of the European Parliament. The party has a membership of over 35,000...

 have tried to claim him as "one of their own". The uniqueness of his appeal was shown when, in the early 1890s two visiting members of the Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

, the Duke of Clarence
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale was a member of the British Royal Family. He was the eldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and Alexandra, Princess of Wales , and the grandson of the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria...

 and the Duke of York
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 (later King George V), paid a private visit to the grave of the "uncrowned king of Ireland" in Glasnevin.

Ultimately the O'Shea divorce issue and Parnell's premature death changed the shape of late 19th century politics, to an extent that can be but speculated. He had been prepared to sacrifice everything for his love to Mrs O'Shea, including the cause to which he had devoted his political life. For generations of Irish people, his life as the "lost leader" was highly dramatic and deeply tragic, against whose mythical reputation no later leader who lived a normal lifespan and who faced the practicalities of governance that Parnell never faced, could hope to prevail.

Portrayal in fiction

In Knut Hamsun
Knut Hamsun
Knut Hamsun was a Norwegian author, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920. He was praised by King Haakon VII of Norway as Norway's soul....

's 1892 novel Mysteries
Mysteries (novel)
Mysteries is a novel by Norwegian author Knut Hamsun.-Plot introduction:In this intensely psychological Modernist novel, the community of a small Norwegian coastal town is "[shaken]" by the arrival of eccentric stranger Johan Nagel...

, the characters, on a couple of occasions, briefly discuss Charles Stewart Parnell, particularly in relation to Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

: "Dr. Stenerson had a high opinion of Parnell, but if Gladstone was so opposed to him, he must know what he was about—with apologies to the host, Mr. Nagel, who couldn't forgive Gladstone for being an honourable man". Parnell's death shocks the character Eleanor in Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

's novel The Years
The Years
The Years is a 1937 novel by Virginia Woolf, the last she published in her lifetime. It traces the history of the genteel Pargiter family from the 1880s to the "present day" of the mid-1930s....

, published in 1937: "...how could he be dead? It was like something fading in the sky."

Parnell is toasted in the famous 1938 poem of William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms...

, "Come Gather Round Me, Parnellites", while he is also referred to in "To a Shade".

In W. Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham
William Somerset Maugham , CH was an English playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and, reputedly, the highest paid author during the 1930s.-Childhood and education:...

's The Razor's Edge
The Razor's Edge
The Razor’s Edge is a book by W. Somerset Maugham published in 1944. Its epigraph reads, "The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard." taken from a verse in the Katha-Upanishad....

, published in 1944, the author mentions Parnell and O'Shea: "Passion is destructive. It destroyed Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony...

, Tristan and Isolde, Parnell and Kitty O'Shea."

Parnell is the subject of a discussion in Irish author James Joyce's
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

 first chapter of the semi-autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce, first serialised in the magazine The Egoist from 1914 to 1915, and published first in book format in 1916 by B. W. Huebsch, New York. The first English edition was published by the Egoist Press in February 1917...

, first serialized in The Egoist
The Egoist (periodical)
The Egoist was a London literary magazine published from 1914 to 1919, during which time it published important early modernist poetry and fiction. In its manifesto, it claimed to "recognise no taboos," and published a number of controversial works, such as parts of Ulysses...

magazine in 1914-15. Parnell appears in several stories in Dubliners
Dubliners
Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They were meant to be a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century....

, notably in "Ivy Day in the Committee Room
Ivy Day in the Committee Room
Ivy Day in the Committee Room is a short story by James Joyce published in his 1914 collection Dubliners.-Plot summary:In a committee room, Mat O'Connor, a canvasser for Richard Tierney, a candidate in an upcoming municipal election, discusses child-rearing with Old Jack, who tries to keep a fire...

". He is also discussed in Ulysses
Ulysses (novel)
Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. One of the most important works of Modernist literature,...

, as is his brother. The main character in Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake is a novel by Irish author James Joyce, significant for its experimental style and resulting reputation as one of the most difficult works of fiction in the English language. Written in Paris over a period of seventeen years, and published in 1939, two years before the author's...

, HCE, is partially based on Parnell; among other resemblances, both are accused of transgressions in Phoenix Park.

Parnell was played by a clean-shaven Clark Gable
Clark Gable
William Clark Gable , known as Clark Gable, was an American film actor most famous for his role as Rhett Butler in the 1939 Civil War epic film Gone with the Wind, in which he starred with Vivien Leigh...

 in Parnell
Parnell (film)
Parnell is a 1937 MGM film starring Clark Gable as Charles Stewart Parnell, the famous Irish politician. It is considered Gable's worst film, and is classified in The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.-Production:...

, the 1937 MGM production about the Irish leader. The film is notable as being Gable's biggest flop and occurred at the height of his career, when almost every Gable film was a smash hit. Parnell was portrayed by Robert Donat
Robert Donat
Robert Donat was an English film and stage actor. He is best-known for his roles in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps and Goodbye, Mr...

 in the 1947 film Captain Boycott. In 1954, Patrick McGoohan
Patrick McGoohan
Patrick Joseph McGoohan was an American-born actor, raised in Ireland and England, with an extensive stage and film career, most notably in the 1960s television series Danger Man , and The Prisoner, which he co-created...

 played Parnell in "The Fall of Parnell (December 6, 1890)", an episode of the historical television series You Are There.

In 1991, Trevor Eve
Trevor Eve
Trevor John Eve is a British film and television actor. In 1979 he gained fame as the eponymous lead in the detective series Shoestring and is also known for his role as Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd in BBC television drama Waking the Dead.-Early life:Eve was born in Sutton Coldfield,...

 played Parnell in the television mini-series "Parnell and the Englishwoman."

External links

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