Mr JP Gledstone to HJ Wilson

Scope and Content

Written from London. His conversation with Mr Williams gave him useful views upon the position and prospects of the repeal cause; 1) at the time the repeal bill was brought forward the House was fully occupied with other bills and business, so members were paralysed not knowing what to do; 2) Mr Stansfield was not adequately supported in the debate.. a relay of speakers should have been arranged; 3) atmosphere of the House was to the last degree chilling and 'Mr Stansfield deserves the best thanks of the repealers for his courage'. Mr Williams said that nothing could be done but by outside agitation. He suggested that an analysis should be made of the Committee's report, and also of the minority report [this appeared in Aug 1882 P.C. dated 12th gave as an addition that the apathy of members may be owing partly to our question not being a party one.

Administrative / Biographical History

'A misfortune that the Repeal Bill was brought forward just before the publication of the Parliamentary Committee.RR:No.418, 13 Feb, Repeal Bill introduced by Mr Stansfeld. No.423, 19 Jul, Repeal Bill 2nd reading. Motion to exclude strangers defeated by 175 to 38. 'Previous question' carried. No.426, 1 Aug, Select Committee of House of Commons on operation etc. of the CD Acts issues its report. 'also when the House of Commons was fully occupied with the Arrears Bill. The Irish business made the possibility of Mr Stansfeld's bringing forward his bill very small.' 'Some 100,000 Irish tenants owed large arrears of rent. Till these were paid they could not take advantage of the Land Act, but all remained liable to be evicted. ... A secret informal bargain was struck that the government should bring in a satisfactory Arrears Bill, while Parnell should use his influence to end crime and disorder.' [This was at the beginning of May and was followed by the Phoenix Park murders.] Ann Arrears Act was passed later but watered down. (From RCK Ensor, England 1870-1914.) 'Mr Stansfeld was not adequately supported in debate.' There was also his domestic trouble: his wife was dying (see letter of 27 Aug 1882). Biog: Mr Carvell Williams; Mr J. Stansfeld; Alderman William McArthur.