servations, resolving them into their con- of common features or qualities seems to stituents, and separating out some of these be indispensable to any high degree of as common qualities. Whether in these generalization, and to any elaborate procnascent operations of thought there is ess of reasoning. It is the want of such some substitute for our mechanism of signs, and not the lack of the “ signs, we do not know and perhaps never abstraction,” that keeps certain animals, shall know. However this be, they re- for example the dog, from being rational main nascent processes never rising above animals in as complete a sense as a large a certain level. The addition of soine number of our own species. —Nineteenth kind of sign which can be used as a mark Century.

power of



I First became acquainted with Mr. followers made brilliant speeches. In Parnell shortly after his entering the fact, they had the argument and the eloHouse of Commons in 1875. I knew quence all to themselves. Very few Engnothing of him up to that tiine except his lish or Scottish members took any part in historic name. I knew that he belonged the debate. Two nights were resignedly to the family of the Sir John Parnell who given up to the parade of the Irish memstood by Grattan's side in the long strug- bers, and that was all. At the close of gle against the passing of the fatal Act of the debate the Minister in charge gut up Union. The mere name was naturally a and made a speech in which he complirecommendation to me. I used to watch mented Mr. Butt on his ability and his the House of Commons very closely in eloquence-praised the general tone of the those days, although I was not yet a mem- Irish speakers--gently deprecated the exber. At that time I did not intend to be treme utterances of some few of them, and a member. I had been asked more than then blandly put the whole question away. once to stand for an Irish constituency, le merely declared that it would not be and I had always refused. I did not see possible for any English Government even anything in particular to go into Parlia. to argue the Honie Rule question seriment for. I could not be an English ously : but considerately added that he member-I mean, I could not stand for an and his colleagues did not object to the English constituency-with my strong Irish members having their annual say on Irish national sentiments ; and there did the subject. Then the division was taken, not seem much that an Irish representa. thirty or forty one way-some hundreds tive could do. The national cause had the other way. Next morning the Lonindeed revived under the name of Home don daily papers all said that no English Rule, and there were many earnest men statesman could possibly promise even to in the House of Commons, even in those grant an inquiry into the reason of the days, to speak up for that cause. Mr. demand for Home Rule in Ireland. At Isaac Butt was the Home Rule leader, and tbat time all that members from Ireland among his followers were my late friend asked for was a Committec or Commission Alexander M. Sullivan, one of the most to inquire into the reasonableness of the brilliant speakers who ever addressed the demand for Home Rule. House of Comnions as an Irish represent- I did not see much promise in all this. ative since the days of O'Connell; and Yet I had nothing better to suggest. The there were many other eloquent and capa. people of Ireland then took but little inble men.

But there did not seem to me terest in Parliamentary agitation. There to be inuch life in the whole affair. The was no popular sutfrage. Men who went policy of Mr. Butt was to have what is into Parliament as avowed Irish Nationalcalled a “full dress debate" on Home ists usually ended by taking some sort of Rule once in every Session. Mr. Butt office or place of emolument under the made a capital speech himself, full of argu- Government. The memory of the treason ment and eloquence, and several of his of Keogh and Sadleir was still keen and


bitter. Of the thoroughly honest Irish- from Mr. Parnell. I felt sure I had got men who had stood up for the cause in at the purpose of his policy of obstruction. the most desolate and desperate moments It was no mere wanton longing to disturb there were few left. Sir Charles Gavan the business and the order of a ParliamentDuffy was settled in Australia. My old ary assembly. It was a settled statesmanfriend, John Francis Maguire, was dead. like policy, at once bold and subtle. I Frederick Lucas, that noble Englishman read it thus. Mr. Parnell was a man who who loved Ireland as though she had been had no faith in the possibility of success his own land, was dead. George Henry for the Irish national cause by an armed Moore was dead. John Pope Hennessy insurrection. I have often heard him say had taken to tbe Colonial service, and was that an armed insurrection is a bopeless fighting everywhere a stout avd gallant business in a country which has no mounfight for the same rights of native popula- tains inland. Mountains round the coast. tions which he had made while he was in line only, and a flat country all between, the House of Commons. The moment make guerilla warfare hopeless, he used to seemed dark. Suddenly Mr. Parnell caine point out, and give the struggle into the into the House of Commons as successor hands of the Imperial enemy with his to Jobn Martin—"honest John Martin," ironclads and his long-range guns. But as friends and opponents alike called him neither had Mr. Parnell any faith in the -one of the rebels of Forty-eight and a sort of Parliamentary action which was brother-in-law of John Mitchel. Mr. being carried on just then, the annual deParnell took up and systematized the plan bate on Home Rule and the academic arof obstruction which Mr. Biggar had guments drawn from the United States started and was carrying on in a more or and Canada and Australia and Austria. less baphazard sort of way. I was im- Hungary. He saw that the vast majority pressed with Mr. Parnell's force of char- of the people of Great Britain did not acter from the very first. His peculiar know or care anything about Home Rule quietness of manner, combined with his --hardly knew that there was such a thing indomitable perseverance and his dauntless a Home Rule party in Parliament. courage, filled me with respect and admi- The great object, then, was to compel the ration. It seemed nothing to him, a raw English public to listen ; and Mr. Parnell young man just come from Cambridge, to became more and more convinced that the stand up night after night and every night, great platform to use for that purpose was and face the whole hostile House of Com- the House of Commons. If we could mons. He was a bad speaker at first-he only compel the English public to listen, was not anything of an orator even at the there would be some chance of our conlast ; he had a poor vocabulary-words vincing them and carrying them with us. came to him with difficulty—his range of Without them, we could do nothing. ideas seemed curiously narrow ; in short, But they would have to pay some attenaccording to all recognized rules and tradi- tion to us, when we systematically said to tions of Parliamentary criticism he ought the House of Commons : “If you will to bave been a dead failure in the House not listen to our claims you shall do no of Cominons. Yet there was the hard other business whatever. If you will not fact staring any impartial observer in the read our petition, we can at least, like the face—he was not a dead failure. The woman in the Roman story, throw ourHouse for the most part—almost alto- selves down before the feet of your horses gether-hated him ; but it could not de- and compel you either to stop on your spise him or ignore him : it had to listen way or to trample over our bodies." to him—it had to take account of him. That was the meaning of Mr. Parnell's The strength of genuine conviction and of obstruction. Of course, he was not the thorough manhood was in him. If the inventor of Parliamentary obstruction, House of Coinmons cannot conquer one Parliamentary obstruction has been a man, then the one

man conquers the weapon applied at all times since ever House of Commons. In ninety-nine cases there was a constitutional Parliament in out of a bundred the House conqners the England. But it was always before emman. In Mr. Parnell's case the man con- ployed for the purpose of resisting some quered the House.

particular measure or delaying some parI soon began to look for great things ticular policy. Mr. Parnell employed it

for the purpose of obtaining a hearing progress in political affairs impossible. for a great national cause. We know Yet it was for a long time a charge against what happened. He obtained the hear. Mr. Parnell that he had hounded Isaac ing, and the true Liberalism of England Butt to his death. Before Mr. Butt's and Scotland and Wales admitted at last death, I had identified myself with Mr. the justice of the cause.

Parnell's little party of some eight or ten It soon became apparent to me that Mr. members, and I stayed with bim through Parnell was on the right track, and I felt many dark days and many grim fortunes. a strong desire to be with him in his plan On the death of Mr. Butt, Mr. Shaw of campaign. Still I did not accept his became leader of our party for a short leadership. He offered me his influence time. But after the General Elections of and support if I would consent to stand 1880 it was clear to most of us that Mr. for an Irish county under his leadership. Parnell was destined to be the popular I refused to accept the offer. I preferred man in Ireland, and he was chosen leader to keep myself free. Suddenly a vacancy over the head of Mr. Shaw. Had Mr. occurred in a county, and I was invited Shaw died anywhere about that time, we to stand. I was asked simply on my should of course have been charged with reputation as an Irish literary man, who, having hounded him to his death. Then although making his living in London, came the most important crisis which, in had never ceased to be a Nationalist. I my opinion, Mr. Parnell ever had to face. accepted the invitation, and was elected All the “moderate men,” as they used to without opposition. I was not asked one be called, and as they called themselves, single question about Mr. Parnell or his straightway deserted him and us, and sat policy. I went into the House of Con- on benches opposed to us.

Let it be remons absolutely free and unpledged to any membered that at that time there was no party-except, of course, to whatever popular franchise in Ireland. We knew party best represented in my opinion the very well that if the Irisa peasant could cause of Ireland. This was while Mr. be allowed to give his vote, that vote Butt still retained the leadership.

would have been given without hesitation Mr. Butt died soon after. Some of for Mr. Parnell. But the suffrage in Mr. Butt's devoted followers declared Ireland was still very narrow, and the that Mr. Parnell had hounded him to his peasant on the fields and the artisan in the death. Of course, when any public man towns had little or nothing to do with it. dies such a charge is made against some- When we got, through Mr. Gladstone's body. It was lung out as an accusation means, the extended franchise some years against Sir Robert Peel that he had after, we swept the country of the men hounded Canning to his death. What who had followed Mr. Shaw, Not one Mr. Parnell did with regard to Mr. Butt of them, I think, came in at the elections was that he pressed on a plan of action of 1880. But in the neantime it was a more strong and direct than any of the terrible crisis for Mr. Parnell. He had methods which Mr. Butt was willing to not a majority of Irish members. He had adopt. I knew Mr. Butt and greatly ad- no absolutely conclusive proof that the mired his varied abilities. But I could people of Ireland in general were with not help seeing that his policy was thor- him ; in the absence of a popular suffrage oughly played out. I believed then, and he could have no such proof. Yet he I believe now, that Mr. Parnell had held his course with the sustaining convicbreathed a fresh and vigorous life into tion that time would prove him to be in the party, and I gave him

such support as the right. I admired bim thoroughly I could give. I think Mr. Parnell was during all those years of trial. We had perfectly right in the course he took. It to fight a long battle against coercion, and is childish, and worse than childish, to say we had those against us who ought to that if you set yourself in opposition to have been for us. Mr. Parnell never lost sone particular policy conducted by a courage, temper, or confidence.

Then public man, with whose political purposes came the terrible crisis of the Phænix you are mainly in sympathy, and that man Park. For moment, Mr. Parnell afterward dies, you are open to the charge seemed desponding — almost despairing. of having hounded him to his death. “It is always like this in Ireland,” he Such an absurd principle would render all said inore than once ; “ whenever she



seeins to come near the attainment of her

were eager to mark their sympathy with desire, some calamity for which she is not the calumniated leader of a calumniated responsible strikes in between her and her nation. . The demonstration was all the hope." I have thought of that saying more splendid because it was spontaneous. since then.

In our generation no such scene is ever Mr. Parnell soon rallied from the cruel again likely to be looked upon in the effects of the murders in Phænix Park. House of Commons. He became composed again and hopeful The Special Commission and the whole again. The General Election of 1885 of the anxiety connected with it must made him the leader of eighty-six follow- have tried Mr. Parnell more than he ever ers—the large majority of the whole Irish admitted more than he knew at the representation. He kept up that majority time. IIe certainly maintained nearly all after the elections of 1886 consequent on through the ordeal the most absolute and the defeat of Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule serene composure.

But there was one He was perfectly consistent in day when, at the close of his cross-examihis political conduct up to this time.


nation, I and others who were near me in was quite willing to accept Mr. Glad- the court, felt only too well convinced stone's Home Rule measure-he would that his nervous power had given way, have been willing, before that, to accept and with it for the moment his undera Home Rule measure from the party to standing. IIe was evidently outworn, and which the late Lord Carnarvon belonged. he answered at random and without even How near we were to getting a measure looking at the report of some reputed of Home Rule from the Tory Governinent statement of his own which he was exat that time, history will find it hard to pected to explain. I felt convinced then, settle until the day comes when all the and I feel convinced now, that he was not political correspondence of 1885 may be quite responsible for the words he was safely made public. Mr. Parnell certainly uttering. I had a theory then, and I have did not seek out Lord Carnarvon. On it still, about Mr. Parnell's occasional disthe contrary, it was found difficult to in- appearances from public life. I have alduce him to meet Lord Carnarvon. But ways thought that he knew at certain when he had seen Lord Carnarvon he times that the wear and tear of nervous would have been willing, of course, as we power was becoming too much for him— all should have been, to accept Home Rule that he felt he must withdraw himself from Lord Carnarvon or any one else who from active life for a short time ; and that could give it to us.

Mr. Parnell, how he believed the risk of any misconception ever, expressed grave doubts as to whether or misconstruction was less than the risk Lord Carnarvon was strong enough to of carrying on his public duties at a time carry his party with him. Mr. Parnell, when his nerves were positively not equal in fact, attached but little importance to to the work. I give this but as a theory the whole negotiation.

to others ; for myself it has always been Mr. Parnell's great triumph came on an explanation of much that otherwise the memorable night when, after the would have been a mystery. breakdown of the Pigott plot, he arose in I have often been asked whether Mr. the House of Commons and was greeted Parnell was an intellectual man. Disby the uprising of every Liberal member tinguo." He was unquestionably a man on the benches of the Opposition. A of commanding intellect. What he acgreater triumph no man ever had in the complished proves that much more clearly llouse of Cominons. “ If 'twere now to than any panegyric or any argument could die, 'twere now to be inost happy.” He do. His work proves his intellect. But had been cruelly wronged. He had been I suppose we can all see a distinct, albasely calumniated. An indictment had though perhaps a subtle, difference bebeen drawn up against a nation-against tween a man of intellect and an intellect. the nation of which he was the chosen ual man. An intellectual man, in the representative. The calumnies had been literary or artistic sense, Mr. Parnell was disproved—had been atoned for in money, not. le cared nothing about literature ; in shame, and in blood. The indictment he cared nothing about music ; he cared against the nation bad utterly failed. The little about painting or sculpture ; he had Liberals of England, Scotland, and Wales no feeling whaterer for poetry or for the


beauty of a landscape, or for any of the in Parliament, they are free to vote for unnuinbered subjects and questions con- one side or the other, as either might be nected with all these. He had not the made indirectly or even remotely a means slightest interest in what are called “prob- of advancing the interests of the Irish lems of life.” I never heard from him a

Nothing has been decided by the word. that appertained to anything meta. Irish party ; they are waiting for the dephysical or psychological, or to any form velopment of the debate and of events. of self-analysis—that morbid pastime of Events have changed, there is a collapse the age-or analysis of any life-problem. here, a breakdown there ; an admission whatever. He had but a slight and gen- made on the one side, a promise exacted eral knowledge of history.

on the other. The whole situation is men who must be described as famous new, and there is no time to consider it. among the living in our day in art or let. The division bell will ring in a moment, ters, and whose names would have con- and on the vote of the Irish party depends veyed to Mr. Parnell's mind no manner the fate of a Ministry. Parnell sits for a of idea. I do not think I say a word too moment silent, and his men all look to much when I say that the whole of the him. Suddenly he says, in the quietest literary and artistic side of life was dark- and most unmoved tone : “I think we ness to Mr. Parnell. It was not so much bad better vote with the Government this that he turned away from it as that he time ;'' or, “I think we shall do well by passed it without looking at it. But one voting with the Opposition.” I never could not talk with Mr. Parnell for long knew Mr. Parnell to make a mistake in without gaining the impression that he strategy or in tactics when he was thus was talking with a man of commanding suddenly thrown back upon his own inintellect. Mr. Parnell never talked mere stinct and his own inspiration as commandcommonplaces. He took in new ideas er-in-chief. Most of those who have bad slowly, but when once they had got into anything to do with journalism must have his mind they spread and germinated and known the Special Correspondent who is became fertile there. He had a very good for little or nothing if he is set down quick and keen observation, and a remark- to write an account of some peaceful civil able judgment as to character and nature. ceremonial, but who becomes a brilliant He could look across a whole field of poli- and powerful writer when he is wrapped tics, and take in the complete situation at in the smoke of a battle-field, and has to a glance. He had above all things the scratch down his 'copy'' on horseback, instinct and the genius of the commander and with the shells screaming about him. in-chief. In the council-room he was The excitement gives him instant possesoften slow, uncertain, undecided ; sat sion and command of all his finest faculsilently listening to the opinions of others, ties. Mr. Parnell sometimes reminded put off bis own judgment to the last, me of this order of Special Correspondent. sometimes gave no opinion of his own, The more exciting the crisis, the more but suddenly adopted the opinion of an- severe the responsibility, the brighter and other man, In wbatever course he de- calmer became the intellect of our comcided on taking he was alınost sure to mander-in-chief. We knew we could alprove himself right in the result. But it ways trust to his judgment then. was not in council that he showed him- Mr. Parnell's policy grew upon him, self at his best. It was in a crisis that his and developed within him, as events went genius came suddenly out. A great un. He could no more have intended at expected political crisis arises in the House the beginning to do all that he did than of Commons. Perhaps a vote of censure Julius Cæsar could bave started in life is brought forward and pressed against the with the determination to become the Ministry. The subject is one which does greatest man in the world. In his Uninot involve any principle, so far as Irish versity days he had no care about politics opinion is concerned, and the decision of whatever ; he hardly knew that there was which either way would not directly affect any Irish national question. He himself any Irish interest. The Irish members told me some years ago of the accident, are free to abstain altogether from voting, as it might almost be called, which first and, according to the traditions and the sent him into political life. Of course he unwritten law of all independent parties must have come into politics sooner or

There are


« VorigeDoorgaan »