Gladstone and the Irish Nation

By J. L. Hammond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXI
GLADSTONE'S DILEMMA

"The political situation was never more grotesque than at the present moment. The enthusiasts for Home Rule are moving heaven and earth to deprive the Irish majority of their right to choose their own leader; while the opponents of Home Rule can hardly conceal their passionate desire that Mr. Parnell may remain where he is, in order that the party which he leads may lose all the English and Scotch sympathy which it had gained."

Spectator, November 29, 1890.

"Mr. Parnell doubtless trusts greatly to the effect of time; but the Home Rule party is now called by his name, and at the Election England and Scotland will be placarded with the charge of the Judge in the Divorce Court."

Spectator, November 22, 1890.

"The Gladstonian party have gone to deplorable lengths already in countenancing scandals for which only the defence of revolutionary expediency could be set up; but they will court moral destruction for themselves if they continue to maintain even political intimacy with one who rests under so grave and so ineffaceable a stigma."

The Standard, November, 1890 (quoted in the Annual Register, 1890, p. 232).

To understand the difficulty that now overwhelmed Gladstone in the state to which the collapse of Parnell had brought politics we cannot do better than observe a remark that was made at the time by Hartington, recorded in the Queen's Journal. "I never thought anything in politics could give me as much pleasure as this does."1 Hartington,

____________________
1
Queen Victoria's Letters, Third Series, Vol. I, p. 658. November 29, 1890.

-622-

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