Charles Stewart Parnell
Charles Stewart Parnell was born in June 1846 and died in 1891. Charles Stewart Parnell is one of the leading figures in recent Irish history and is most associated with Home Rule and the issues surrounding it.
Parnell’s parents were strong Irish nationalists and he grew up with an increasing resentment over London’s dominance of Ireland. Parnell actively involved himself in politics after the execution of three Fenians in 1874. These men became known as the ‘Manchester Martyrs’ and many in Ireland believed that their execution was a gross mis-justice. Parnell, aged 29, quickly made a name for himself and in 1875 he was elected the Member of Parliament for Meath. He joined Issac Butt’s Home Rule Party. Parnell quickly realised that one way of bringing attention to the cause of the Irish was to totally disrupt the workings of the ‘Mother of all Parliament’s’. Parnell became skilled at talking and talking. His speeches could go on for hours and caused great disruption to what were seen to be the sacrosanct ways of Westminster.
In 1879, the Irish National Land League was founded and Parnell was appointed its president. The Land League had three simple policies, the so-called ‘Three F’s’;
Fair rent Fixed tenure Free sale of land
Parnell’s long term target was for the farmers of Ireland to own their own land. Gladstone’s attempts to push through land reform for Ireland was defeated in the House of Lords. This pushed the Land League into supporting acts of violence in an effort to force Westminster into passing land reform acts. In 1880, Charles Stuart Parnell publicly stated his belief:
"When a man takes a farm from which another has been evicted you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him, you must shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him in the shop, you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the marketplace, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him in a moral Coventry, by isolating...