PARNELL REBUKED BY ULYSSES S. GRANT
[PARNELL, Charles Stewart] Framed Display. An Autographed Letter Signed from John O’Connor Power to General Ulysses S. Grant, October 1st., 1879. Also signed and inscribed ”Chas. Stewart Parnell M.P. for County Meath”. The letter requesting to present the General with an address from the people of Ireland to mark the Centenary of the Declaration of American Independence. Together with other related items: Engraved portrait of Parnell; Black plates printed in gold with historical background. Framed display. 87 x 62cm. In fine condition.
Irish Leader Parnell Crosses the Ocean for America’s Centennial. Charles Stewart Parnell was a young member of England’s Parliament representing County Meath in eastern Ireland when he wrote this October, 1876 letter of diplomacy to pay homage to America and its Centennial. Parnell and his colleague, John O’Connor Power of County Mayo, were victims of protocol and poor international relations in this mission. In the reply President Ulysses S. Grant rebuked the two Irish politicians novice effort to deliver their words of congratulations. Grant wrote to them that it is customary for foreign emissaries wishing to deliver an address to the United States to first approach the State Department. The proper channels were then utilised by Parnell and Power, but President Grant ultimately refused to see them personally. Parnell, the victim of this snub, ironically was the son of an American woman who was the daughter of Charles Stewart, a noted naval hero of the War of 1812. Several years later, he was elected to fill a seat in Parliament representing County Mayo, Power’s home base. In Parliament, to which Parnell was first elected in 1875, he was the leading spokesman for advancing Irish nationalism through constitutional avenues.
By 1885, he was leading a party well-poised for the next general election, his statements on Home Rule designed to secure the widest possible support. Speaking in Cork on 21 January 1885, he stated:
“We cannot ask the British constitution for more than the restitution of Grattan’s parliament, but no man has the right to fix the boundary of a nation. No man has the right to say to his country, “Thus far shalt thou go and no further”, and we have never attempted to fix the “ne plus ultra” to the progress of Ireland’s nationhood, and we never shall.”