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control, advising that, if this were rejected, it might be
left to the Radicals on the second reading to oppose
the principle of the measure. This appeared to be a
proper course, and I left Mr. Morley under the impres-
sion that this would fall to my duty.

"But in addition he made a remarkable proposal, re-
ferring to the probable approaching victory of the Liberal
Party at the polls. He suggested some considerations
as to the future of the Irish Party. He asked me whether
I would be willing to assume the office of Chief Secre-
tary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or to allow another

160



THE DIVORCE CASE

member of my party to take the position. He also
put before me the desirability of filling one of the law
offices of the Crown in Ireland by a legal member of
my party. I told him, amazed as I was at the proposal,
that I could not agree to forfeit in any way the inde-
pendence of the party or any of its members; that the
Irish people had trusted me in this movement because
they believed that the declaration I had made to them
at Cork in 1880 was a true one and represented my con-
victions, and that I would on no account depart from
it. I considered that, after the declarations we had
repeatedly made, the proposal of Mr. Morley that we
should allow ourselves to be absorbed into English poli-
tics was one based upon an entire misconception of our
position with regard to the Irish constituencies and of
the pledges which we had given.

"In conclusion he directed my attention to the Plan
of Campaign estates. He said that it would be impos-
sible for the Liberal Party, when they attained power,
to do anything for these evicted tenants by direct action;
that it would be also impossible for the Irish Parliament,
under the powers conferred, to do anything for them,
and, flinging up his hands with a gesture of despair, he
exclaimed: 'Having been to Tipperary, I do not know
what to propose in regard to the matter.' I told him
that this question was a limited one, and that I did not
see that he need allow himself to be hampered by its
future consideration; that, being limited, funds would
be available from America and elsewhere for the sup-
port of those tenants as long as might be necessary; that,
of course, I understood it was a difficulty, but that it was
a limited one, and should not be allowed to interfere with
the general interests of the country.

"I allude to this matter only because within the last

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CHARLES STEWART PARNELL

few days a strong argument in many minds for my ex-
pulsion has been that, unless the Liberals come into
power at the next General Election, the Plan of Cam-
paign tenants will suffer. As I have shown, the Lib-
erals propose to do nothing for the Plan of Campaign
tenants by direct action when they do come into power;
but I am entitled to ask that the existence of these
tenants, whom I have supported in every way in the
past, and whom I shall continue to support in the fu-
ture, shall not constitute a reason for my expulsion
from Irish politics. I have repeatedly pledged myself to
stand by these evicted tenants, and that they shall not
be allowed to suffer, and I believe that the Irish people
throughout the world will support me in this policy.

"Sixteen years ago I conceived the idea of an Irish
Parliamentary Party, independent of all English parties.
Ten years ago I was elected the leader of an independent
Irish Parliamentary Party. During these ten years that
party has remained independent, and because of its in-
dependence it has forced upon the English people the
necessity of granting Home Rule to Ireland. I believe
that party will obtain Home Rule only provided it re-
mains independent of any English party.

"I do not believe that any action of the Irish people
in supporting me will endanger the Home Rule cause
or postpone the establishment of an Irish Parliament;
but even if the danger with which we are threatened
by the Liberal Party of to-day were to be realised, I
believe that the Irish people throughout the world would
agree with me that postponement would be preferable
to a compromise of our national rights by the accep-
tance of a measure which would not realise the aspira-
tions of our race."



162



THE DIVORCE CASE

On November 18th, 1890, there was a meeting of
the National League in Dublin. On the same day the
following paragraph appeared in the London letter of
the Freeman's Journal:

"I have direct authority for stating that Mr. Parnell
has not the remotest intention of abandoning either
permanently or temporarily his position or his duties
as leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. This may
be implicitly accepted as Mr. Parnell's firm resolution,
and perhaps by learning it in time the Pigottist Press
may be spared the humiliation of indulging in a pro-
longed outburst of useless vilification. In arriving at
this determination, I need not say that Mr. Parnell is
actuated exclusively by a sense of his responsibility to
the Irish people, by whose suffrages he holds his public
position, and who alone have the power or the right to
influence his public action. The wild, unscrupulous,
and insincere shriekings of the Pigottists on the plat-
form and in the Press can and will do nothing to alter
Mr. Parnell's resolve."

Parnell wrote to me from London after the meeting
in Committee Room 15.

MY OWN DARLING WIFIE, I have received your letter
through Phyllis, and hope to return to Brighton to-night per
last train and tell you all the news. Meanwhile I may say
that I am exceedingly well, having had twelve hours' sleep
last night.

The meeting adjourned to-day till to-morrow at 12 or 1
to consider an amendment moved by one of my side that
Gladstone, Harcourt, and Morley's views should be obtained
as to their action on certain points in my manifesto.

YOUR OWN KING.

December 3, 1890.

163



CHARLES STEWART PARNELL

The following letters speak for themselves :

PARNELL to MR. WILLIAM REDMOND.
MY DEAR WILLIE, Thanks very much for your kind
letter, which is most consoling and encouraging. It did not
require this fresh proof of your friendship to convince me
that I have always justly relied upon you as one of the most
single-minded and attached of my colleagues. Yours very
sincerely, CHARLES S. PARNELL.

PARNELL to DR. KENNY.
MORRISON'S HOTEL, DUBLIN.

Saturday.

MY DEAR DOCTOR, I shall be very much obliged if you
can call over to see me this afternoon, as I am not feeling
very well, and oblige, yours very truly,

CHARLES S. PARNELL.

Don't mention that I am unwell to anybody, lest it should
get into the newspapers. C. S. P.

To all his brothers and sisters, and, most of all, to
his mother, Parnell was most generous and affectionate,
and of that generosity and affectionate regard I have
abundant proof.

One of the last letters he wrote was to his mother.

I am weary, dear mother, of these troubles, weary unto
death; but it is all in a good cause. With health and the
assistance of my friends I am confident of the result. The
statements my enemies have so often made regarding my
relations with you are on a par with the endless calumnies
they shoot upon me from behind every bush. Let them pass.
They will die of their own venom. It would indeed be dignify-
ing them to notice their existence!



164



CHAPTER XIII

A KING AT BAY

"Vulneratus non victus."

IN December a vacancy occurred in Kilkenny, and, on
December 9th, my King started for Ireland, and stayed
with Dr. Kenny for the night in Dublin. Of the great
meeting in the Rotunda I give Miss Katharine Tynan's
description, because of all the eye- witnesses' accounts
of it that I have kept, none gives the true glimpse of
Parnell as she does.

"It was nearly 8.30 when we heard the bands coming;
then the windows were lit up by the lurid glare of thou-
sands of torches in the street outside. There was a dis-
tant roaring like the sea. The great gathering within
waited silently with expectation. Then the cheering
began, and we craned our necks and looked on eagerly,
and there was the tall, slender, distinguished figure of
the Irish leader making its way across the platform. I
don't think any words could do justice to his reception.
The house rose at him; everywhere around there was a
sea of passionate faces, loving, admiring, almost wor-
shipping that silent, pale man. The cheering broke out
again and again; there was no quelling it. Mr. Parnell
bowed from side to side, sweeping the assemblage with
his eagle glance. The people were fairly mad with ex-
citement. I don't think anyone outside Ireland can
understand what a charm Mr. Parnell has for the Irish
heart; that wonderful personality of his, his proud bear-

165



CHARLES STEWART PARNELL

ing, his handsome, strong face, the distinction of look
which marks him more than anyone I have ever seen.
All these are irresistible to the artistic Irish.

"I said to Dr. Kenny, who was standing by me, 'He
is the only quiet man here.' 'Outwardly,' said the keen
medical man, emphatically. Looking again, one saw
the dilated nostrils, the flashing eye, the passionate face;
the leader was simply drinking in thirstily this immense
love, which must have been more heartening than one
can say after that bitter time in the English capital.
Mr. Parnell looked frail enough in body perhaps the
black frock-coat, buttoned so tightly across his chest,
gave him that look of attenuation; but he also looked
full of indomitable spirit and fire.

"For a time silence was not obtainable. Then Father
Walter Hurley climbed on the table and stood with his
arms extended. It was curious how the attitude silenced
a crowd which could hear no words.

"When Mr. Parnell came to speak, the passion within
him found vent. It was a wonderful speech; not one
word of it for oratorical effect, but every word charged
with a pregnant message to the people who were listen-
ing to him, and the millions who should read him. It
was a long speech, lasting nearly an hour; but listened
to with intense interest, punctuated by fierce cries against
men whom this crisis has made odious, now and then
marked in a pause by a deep-drawn moan of delight.
It was a great speech simple, direct, suave with no
device and no artificiality. Mr. Parnell said long ago,
in a furious moment in the House of Commons, that he
cared nothing for the opinion of the English people. One
remembered it now, noting his passionate assurances
to his own people, who loved him too well to ask him
questions."

166



A KING AT BAY

During this meeting the anti-Parnellites took the op-
portunity to seize Parnell's paper, United Ireland, and
the offices. A witness's account of the incident con-
tained in Mr. Barry O'Brien's "Life of Charles Stewart
Parnell" appealed to me immensely, because this little
affair was of intense interest to me, and all, or nearly
all, I could get out of Parnell himself on the subject was
a soft laugh and, "It was splendid fun. I wish I could
burgle my own premises every day!"

Something like this appears to have happened. The
anti-Parnellite garrison was strongly entrenched in the
offices of the newspaper doors and windows all barred.
The streets were filled with a crowd of Parnellites crying
death and destruction on the enemy, and pouring in
faster from the side streets. Men threading their way
through the mass were distributing sticks and revolvers.

Parnell had been apprised of the event at the meeting,
and a pony-trap was waiting for him outside the Ro-
tunda. He got into it with Dr. Kenny, and they dashed
off to the scene of action. At the sight of their Chief
the crowd went wild; cheers for Parnell and curses for
his enemies filled the air. At full gallop the pony-trap
dashed through the mass of people (which gave way as
if by magic), and was brought up before the offices with
a jerk that sent the horse sprawling on the ground.
Parnell jumped out of the trap, sprang up the steps, and
knocked loudly at the door of the offices. There was a
dramatic moment of silence the crowd hushed and
expectant. Then Parnell quietly gave some orders to
those nearest him. In a brief space they were off and
back again with pick-axe and crowbar. Parnell wished
to vault the area railings and attack the area door, but
he was held back. So several of his followers dropped
into the area, while Parnell himself attacked the front

167



CHARLES STEWART PARNELL

door with the crowbar. The door yielded, and he and
many others rushed into the house. A second party
came from the area, and the united force dashed up-
stairs. The rest was a Homeric struggle between garri-
son and besiegers, fought from staircase to staircase and
story to story. At length the garrison was downed to
the last man. A window of the second story was re-
moved, and Parnell came out to his people. He had
lost his hat, his hair was tumbled, his face was quite
white, his eyes were filled with the wild joy of the battle.
His face and clothes were powdered with dust and plas-
ter. For a moment again the crowd was silent; then
it burst into a roar.

Parnell made a short speech, came down, got into
the trap, and drove to the railway station.

On the llth, when he nominated Mr. Vincent Scully,
he stayed at Kilkenny. That day he wrote to me that
he was feeling ill, and his telegram of "good-night" was
weary in tone. But the next day he wrote that he was
feeling far better, and his letter was very hopeful of
success. He insisted on returning to me every Saturday,
if it was in any way possible, during these months of
fighting, and going back to Ireland on the next evening,
Sunday. I begged him to spare himself the fatigue of
this constant journeying, but he could not rest away;
so, in despair, I gave up the fight against my own de-
sire to have him at home for even these few hours.
This election lasted ten days. Polling took place on
December 22, and that morning he telegraphed to me
not to expect victory, so I knew he was sure of defeat
long before the poll was declared. He returned to Dub-
lin that night, and addressed a meeting outside the Na-
tional Club.

It was during one of these last meetings that some-

168



A KING AT BAY

one in the crowd threw lime in the Chief's face. It has
been said that the thing was a hoax, and that the sub-
stance thrown was flour. It was not flour, but lime,
and had not Parnell shut his eyes in time he would un-
doubtedly have been blinded. As it was his eyes were
not injured, and but for a tiny scar on the outer edge of
his right eye he was not hurt. I well remember the
awful hours I passed pacing up and down my room at
Brighton waiting, waiting for news after seeing the morn-
ing paper. He had telegraphed to me directly after
the cowardly assault was made, but he could not send
it himself as he could not leave his friends. The man
to whom he gave the telegram for despatch boasted to
his fellows that he had a message from Parnell, and in
the crowd and scuffle it was taken from him; so it was
not until mid-day, when my own telegram of inquiry
reached him, that Parnell knew that I had not received
his ; and by the time his reassuring message arrived I was
nearly out of my mind . The newspapers had made the very
most of the affair, and I thought my husband was blinded.

At the end of December Mr. William O'Brien returned
from America, but, as a warrant was out for his arrest,
he could not return to Ireland. Much against his own
wish Parnell went over to Boulogne to see him, as the
Party were so anxious that he should go. He did not
think that it would do any good, and, feeling ill, he hated
undertaking the extra fatigue. He felt, too, that he
would have to fight "all along the line" in Ireland, and
continued the war without cessation, although he went
over to Boulogne several times to hear what Mr. O'Brien
had to say. He was, however, on good terms with O'Brien,
and suggested him as leader of the Party in the event
of his own resignation. The suggestion did not prove
acceptable to the Party.

169



CHARLES STEWART PARNELL

Throughout this time he occasionally attended the
sittings of the House, and, on returning home one sad
evening, he did not speak much after his first greeting.
I felt that something had troubled him unusually, but
forbore to worry him, knowing that he would tell me
presently. After a while he turned to me, and all he
said was, "O'Kelly has gone too."

I did not answer in words, for my heart bled for him
in this the only personal sorrow he had suffered in the
disloyalty of his Party. Anger, scorn, and contempt,
yes ! but this was the first and only blow to his affections.
For the first time since that miserable and most cowardly
exhibition of treachery in Committee Room 15 there was
a little break in his voice. They had been friends for so
long, and had worked with each other in American and
Irish politics so intimately. He had loved him, and now
O'Kelly had "gone too."

When Mr. Gladstone gave the word, and the insecure
virtue of the country obeyed it, because it is a very
shocking thing to be found out, the anti-Parnellites were
extremely ingenious in inventing new forms of scurrility
in connection with my supposed name. From one end
of chivalrous Ireland to the other urged on more es-
pecially by a certain emotional Irish member of Parlia-
ment the name of "Kitty" O'Shea was sung and
screamed, wrapped about with all the filth that foul
minds, vivid imaginations, and black hatred of the aloof,
proud Chief could evolve, the Chief whom they could
not hurt save through the woman he loved!

They hurt him now a little, it is true, but not very
greatly. My husband said to me after the Kilkenny
election, "It would really have hurt, my Queen, if those
devils had got hold of your real name, my Queenie, or
even the ' Katie ' or ' Dick ' that your relations and Willie

170



A KING AT BAY

called you." And then I was glad, so very glad that
the gallant company of mud-slingers had with one ac-
cord leapt to the conclusion that those who love me called
me "Kitty" because my name was Katharine. For me
it was a little thing to bear for the man who loved me as
never woman has been loved before, and the only thing
that I could not have borne would have been the thought
that one of those who hated him had pierced the armour
of his pride and touched his heart.

The conferences with Mr. William O'Brien resulted in
his finally sending him the following letter:

My proposal now is: (1) That you should suggest to Mr.
McCarthy to obtain an interview with Mr. Gladstone at
Hawarden, and ask from him a Memorandum expressing the
intentions of himself and his colleagues upon these views and
details, as explained by the delegates in their interview with
Mr. Gladstone on December 5th. (2) That Mr. McCarthy
should transfer this Memorandum to your custody, and that
if, after a consultation between yourself and myself, it should
be found that its terms are satisfactory, I should forthwith
announce my retirement from the chairmanship of the Party.
(3) That the terms of this Memorandum should not be dis-
closed to any other person until after the introduction of
the Home Rule Bill, and not then unless this Bill failed to
carry out those terms; but that if the Bill were satisfactory
I should be permitted to publish the Memorandum after the
passing of the former into law. I would agree that instead
of adopting the limit of two years as the period in which the
constabulary should be disarmed and turned into a civil force,
and handed over to the Irish Executive, the term might be
extended to five years; but I regard the fixing of some term
of years for this in the Bill of the most vital importance. I
also send you the enclosed copy of the clause of the Bill of
1886 relating to the Metropolitan Police and Constabulary.
I do not think it necessary to insist upon the charge for the

171



CHARLES STEWART PARNELL

latter during the period of probation being paid out of the
Imperial funds, as I do not wish to increase Mr. Gladstone's
difficulties.

P. S. It should be noted that Gladstone can scarcely re-
fuse to communicate with Mr. McCarthy on these subjects,
as in his letter to the delegates he stated that as soon as the
question of the leadership of the Party was settled he would
be in a position to open confidential communications again,
and he has publicly acknowledged Mr. McCarthy's election
as valid.

On the 4th of January, 1891, Mr. O'Brien wrote, say-
ing that he had given as much thought as he was able
to the important proposal it contained. On a first read-
ing of ParnelPs letter O'Brien thought he saw a dispo-
sition to drop the objection to McCarthy as chairman.
If so, the new proposal would seem to diminish the diffi-
culties of conciliating English opinion. If not, the neces-
sity which the Hawarden plan involved of employing
McCarthy in a transaction so painful to himself per-
sonally would seem to O'Brien to raise a formidable
obstacle to that form of securing the guarantees desired.
He had been trying to think of some other way, and
when they met in Boulogne on Tuesday, he hoped to
be able to submit it with sufficient definiteness to enable
them to thrash it out with some prospect of an imme-
diate and satisfactory agreement. Those who were bent
on thwarting peace at any price were building great
hopes upon delays or breakdowns of their Boulogne ne-
gotiations; but he was beginning to entertain some real
hope that with promptness and good feeling on both
sides they might still be able to hit upon some agree-
ment that would relieve the country from an appalling
prospect, and that neither of them would have any reason
to regret hereafter.

172




MR. PARNELL IN 1 886

(From a photograph by W. Lawrence, Dublin)



A KING AT BAY

On January 5 Redmond telegraphed to Parnell that
O'Brien had written to the latter the previous day, and
asking that nothing should prevent Parnell meeting "us"
on the morrow.

On January 9 O'Brien telegraphed that McCarthy and
Sexton would be with him that day, and that there were
difficulties with D.*

Again, on the 18th, from Boulogne, he wired that in-
dications were favourable; he presumed that there would
be no objection to McCarthy's voice as to satisfactori-
ness of assurances if obtained.

Whereupon Parnell wired to Mr. O'Brien from Lime-
rick :

While at all times willing to consult with McCarthy upon
any points of special difficulty which may from time to time
arise, I am obliged to ask that the terms of the Memorandum
shall be adhered to, which provide that you and I shall be
the sole and final judges.

On January 30th O'Brien wired that he had just re-
ceived materials for final decision. It was most impor-
tant that Parnell should see them at once. If Parnell
could cross to Calais or anywhere else that night, O'Brien
would meet him with Dillon.

On February 4th Parnell wrote to Dr. Kenny :

I went to Calais on Monday night to see O'Brien. He
had received the draft of a letter proposed to be written and
purporting to meet my requirements, but I found it of an
illusory character, and think that I succeeded in showing him
that it was so. He will endeavour to obtain the necessary
amendments to the draft.

*Dillon.
173



CHARLES STEWART PARNELL

The next day he sent the following letter to Mr. Gill:

MY DEAR GILL,* I have carefully considered the position
created by the information conveyed to me by you yester-
day as to the new proposals and demands of the Liberal
leaders, and it appears to me to be a very grave one, and to
add materially to the difficulties attending a peaceable solu-
tion. You will remember that under the Memorandum of
agreement arrived at between O'Brien and myself more than
a month since at Boulogne it was provided that the judg-
ment as to whether the intentions of Mr. Gladstone were in
accordance upon certain vital points with the views expressed
in that agreement was to be given by myself and O'Brien,
acting in conjunction, and that I have since felt myself
obliged to decline a proposal from O'Brien to add another per-
son to our number for the performance of that duty. In
addition, you are aware that last Tuesday I met O'Brien at
Calais for the purpose of coming to a final decision with him
as to the sufficiency of a draft Memorandum respecting the
views of the Liberal leaders which he had obtained, and which,
although at first sight it appeared to him to be sufficient,
after a consultation with me was found to require considera-
ble alteration and modification in order to secure the necessary
guarantees regarding the vital points in question.


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Online LibraryKitty O'SheaCharles Stewart Parnell; his love story and political life (Volume 2) → online text (page 12 of 20)