Biography of Charles Stewart Parnell


Parnell, Charles Stewart. Irish politician. Was born in 1846 in Avondale, County Wicklow, and educated at Cambridge. He entered public life as member for Meath in 1875, and two years later became conspicuous by the "obstruction" with which he met the Prisons Bill. He gradually ousted Mr. Butt from the leadership of the Home Rule Party and, in 1880, became leader of the Irish Party and entered upon the land agitation. At the general election, he was elected for three constituencies, but chose Cork; as the head of the Land League, was prosecuted in 1880 by the Gladstone government, the result being a disagreement of the jury. In the following session he, with the majority of his followers, was removed by the sergeant-at-arms for obstruction, and in October was imprisoned in Kilmainham under the Coercion Bill. He was released in April, 1882, but the "no rent" manifesto had meanwhile been issued, and in 1883 the National League took the place of the suppressed Land League. At the general election of 1885, he nominated every home rule candidate, and subsequently entered into an alliance with the followers of Mr. Gladstone. In the next parliament he proposed a bill to suspend evictions and reduce rent, after the rejection of which the agitation continued. In 188, a special commission was appointed to examine the charges made against Mr. Parnell and others by the "Times," the result being his acquittal on the greatest, but condemnation on many others. In consequence of the result of the O'Shea divorce case in 1890, he was deposed by the majority of his party, but continued to lead the minority and carry on an active campaign until his death in 1891.