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Gladstone and the Home Rule. Gladstone, Parnell and Home Rule. After the Kilmainham treaty, Parnell was determined to turn the home rule group in the house of commons into a powerful, unified, Irish party. The national league’s first aim was national self-government.

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gladstone and the home rule
Gladstone and

the Home Rule

gladstone parnell and home rule
Gladstone, Parnell and Home Rule
  • After the Kilmainham treaty, Parnell was determined to turn the home rule group in the house of commons into a powerful, unified, Irish party.
  • The national league’s first aim was national self-government.
  • They intended to win support among all classes in Irish society, not just the farmers.
  • The League was dominated by Parnell and his followers.
  • By 1885, his efforts on behalf of the Irish Parliamentary party and the national cause generally, seemed to have been extraordinarily successful. He was known as the uncrowned king of Ireland.

Gladstone was out voted and resigned in June 1885

  • This was because in 1885, the Irish party switched their votes from Liberals to the Conservatives.
  • This was due to Parnell believing he would get more by way of self government for Ireland from a Conservative government.
  • When Gladstone resigned, Lord Salisbury then formed a Conservative caretaker Government.
  • The new government showed its good intentions by dropping coercion and passing the Ashbourne Act – the first really effective land purchase scheme for Ireland.
  • It provided 100% stated loans to tenants at a low rate of interest.
  • Parnell stood by the Tories and since Gladstone refused to commit himself publicly, over the Home Rule, in the general election in November 1885, he called upon the Irish voters to vote Conservative.

In that general election, the Irish Parliamentary Party, won every seat in Ireland, south of Eastern Ulster and ended up with 86 seats.

the first home rule bill 1886
The First Home Rule Bill, 1886
  • Gladstone would never publicly commit himself over the Home Rule, though, during the summer months of 1885, he appeared to have become convinced that Home Rule was the only solution to solve the Irish problems.
  • In January 1886, Gladstone was determined to grasp the Irish nettle and proceed with the Home Rule Bill swiftly and boldly.
  • This was because of the potentially revolutionary situation developing in Ireland.
  • The Home Rule consisted of two closely related bills which aimed to solve the political and social problems of Ireland.
  • The First Bill proposed the establishment of a bi-cameral Irish Legislature consisting of two orders that would sit and vote together.

The Second Bill consisted of a Land purchase scheme by which the British treasury would buy out the landlords at a cost of some 50 million pounds.

  • Gladstone believed that this was essential in order to prevent the new Irish legislature being burdened at the outset with the problems of Irish land systems.
  • The Land purchase Bill was soon abandoned due to its unpopularity within all sections of the House, though Gladstone hoped to re-introduce it later.
  • There was much opposition to the Home Rule; the first argument was that the Home Rule would lead to the break up of the United Kingdom
  • Second; Critics questioned whether the members of the Irish Legislature could be trusted
  • Third; Nationally, and unity could not really be said to exist when all classes in protestant Ulster were against the Home Rule.
the fall of parnell
The Fall of Parnell
  • In November 1890, Parnell was involved in a divorce case.
  • Captain O’Shea filed suit for divorce citing Parnell as co-respondent on the ground of his adultery with Mrs Katherine O’Shea.
  • At first, the divorce case seemed to have no political repercussions, though Gladstone soon found himself under pressure from the Liberal Party who refused to accept alliance with a party who’s leader was a confessed adulterer.
  • Gladstone felt he therefore had no alternative but to urge the Irish to repudiate Parnell as their leader for the Home Rule to be maintained.