The Fall of Parnell, 1890-91

The Fall of Parnell, 1890-91

The Fall of Parnell, 1890-91

The Fall of Parnell, 1890-91

Excerpt

It is still not easy for Irishmen to take an objective view of Parnell, and much of the literature which has grown up around him has been partisan or controversial to an extreme degree. It is, indeed, only within the last twenty years that his career has been studied with any real detachment, and even then mainly in isolated articles by scholars writing for highly specialised readers. To this generalisation there are only two significant exceptions--J. L. Hammond Gladstone and the Irish nation, published in 1938, and Dr Cruise O'Brien Parnell and his party, 1880-90, which appeared two years ago.

I owe much to both these books, but since Hammond was by no means exclusively concerned with the Parnellite period, my principal debt is to Dr Cruise O'Brien's admirable and in many ways pioneering work, and I take particular pleasure in recording how much I have profited from it. I have leaned heavily on it in my earlier chapters, and especially the first; but perhaps I should make clear that while we have occasionally found ourselves on the same ground, our intentions have been very different. Dr Cruise O'Brien's main concern was with Parnell's relations with his party over the whole decade of his ascendancy, and the unity of his narrative is contained within the two fixed points of Parnell's election as chairman in 1880 and his deposition in 1890. My more limited purpose has been to analyse in detail the final crisis of Parnell's life and to explore it, not only as the crisis of an individual, or even of a party, but as a crisis in liberal-nationalist and, ultimately, Anglo-Irish relations. My unity, therefore, is not the same as Dr Cruise O'Brien's, for it comprises simply the eleven months between the hearing of the . . .

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