Parnell, Charles Stewart (1846-91), was born at Avondale, in Wicklow, and educated at Cambridge. In 1875 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the county of Dublin, but was soon after returned as a Home Ruler for Meath. During this. his first parliament, he and Mr. Biggar elaborated the policy of obstruction. When Isaac Butt died, in 1879, Parnell became the virtual leader of the Home Rulers, though Mr. Shaw nominally succeeded him. Parnell was elected for three constituencies in 1880, and now left Meath for the city of Cork. He threw himself into the land agitation, and visited the United States to raise funds. As President of the Land League he was prosecuted at the end of the year, but the jury could not agree upon a verdict. The pitch to which he carried his opposition to the Coercion Bill of 1881 necessitated his removal, with more than thirty of his followers. from the House of Commons, on February 3rd.
Next year he was sent to Kilmainham for issuing the "No Rent" manifesto, but was released, after eight months' confinement, in May, 1882. He condemned the Phoenix Park murders, opposed the Crimes Bill, and in 1884 the Land League was revived under another name, with Parnell as its president. His popularity among Irishmen was attested by a testimonial presented to him in 1883, and his power in Ireland was shown by the fact that in the elections of 1885 the Home Rule candidates were practically his nominees. The number of- his following now enabled him to hold the balance between parties in the Imperial Parliament; and, being unable to obtain anything from the Conservatives, he assisted Mr. Gladstone to overthrow their Ministry. When the Liberal leader 'brought in a Home Rule Bill he supported him, and opposed the Coalition Ministry which followed the rejection of it by the country. In 1889 Parnell reached the height of his popularity, after the exposure of the Pigott forgery. A year later, however, the result of the O'Shea divorce case closed his career. He died in 1891.