Charles Stewart Parnell

(1846 - 1891) 19th century Irish political leader.

Charles Stewart Parnell
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About Charles Stewart Parnell

Charles Stewart Parnell in (1846 - 1891) 19th century Irish political leader..

Charles Stewart Parnell was born in Avondale, County Wicklow. He was educated at Yeovil and Chipping North Schools before going to Magdalene College, Cambridge that he left without graduating in 1869.

Parnell farmed the family estate at Avondale until he joined Issac Butt's Home Government Party in 1874 and was elected to Parliament for Meath in 1875.

Parnell, together with Michael Davitt, recently released from prison, founded the National Land League and Parnell was elected its first President in 1879.

In 1880 Parnell toured America with John Dillon to raise funds for the League and was elected Chairman of the Irish Parliamentary Party in the same year.

On October 13th, 1881 Parnell was arrested under the Coercion Act and imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. He was released after signing the 'Kilmainham Treaty' with the English Prime Minister Gladstone in April 1882. The Land League was then disbanded and replaced by the National League.

Parnell was re-elected to Parliament for Cork in 1885. However the first Home Rule Bill, introduced in Parliament in 1886, was defeated.

In 1888 the British Government established a Special Commission to investigate the Irish Party after a series of letters on 'Parnellism and Crime' appeared in The Times. The Commission found the letters to be forgeries but the Irish Party demanded Parnell's resignation, largely because William Shea, husband of Parnell's lover Kitty, had sued for divorce and named Parnell as co-respondent. Simultaneously the forger Richard Pigott published letters proportedly from Parnell to Kitty O'Shea in which Parnell voiced his support for the Invincibles who had assassinated Lord Fredrick Cavendish, the Chief Secretary and his Under Secretary Burke in the Phoenix Park, Dublin in May 1882. In spite of pressure to resign Parnell refused and married Kitty O'Shea in June 1891.

He died in Brighton in October 1891.

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