A Different America—A Different Ireland
"Your May is before you still," Hyde had assured the ambivalent graduating class of 1891 on May 28, as, torn between anticipation and uncertainty, he and they prepared to part from one another and the University of New Brunswick. Few beside his sister Annette understood that it was the kind of assurance that he, too, needed on Wednesday morning, June 3, when having packed clothes, books, and memorabilia and made his last farewells but one, he was again torn between anticipation and uncertainty as he boarded the 7:45 train for Boston. It had been one thing to count the ways in which Canada had been good for him and to assert, as he had in letters written shortly before his departure, that he was not the same young man who nine months earlier, with no definite prospects, had gratefully seized Willie Stockley's suggestion of a temporary appointment. At that time—only weeks ago—daily anticipation of favorable news concerning the possibility of a university post in Toronto, Montreal, or Chicago had buoyed his spirits, increased his optimism, and given him a sense of control over his own destiny. The anticipated news, however, had not arrived. Fredericton would soon be behind him. Before him lay—what?
Even as Hyde's anxieties mounted with the increasing speed of the train that carried him out of Canada into Maine and through northeast New England, these were countered in some measure by the prospect of spending the next three weeks among the brash and volatile American Irish. In New Brunswick he had met few countrymen—almost none of
his own class—and even fewer aside from his friends in the officer's barracks who shared his nationalist sympathies. Historically, Fredericton was Tory territory. Between 1776 and 1812 it had absorbed a number of American colonists, Irish and English (the census rarely distinguished between them), who had sided with the British. During the same period such cities as Boston, New York, and Charleston had developed a continuous Irish presence that, although chiefly Ascendancy in class and Protestant in religion, was not pro-British and in fact included a number of Irishmen whose opposition to English rule had made them persona non grata at home and patriots in the New Island.
The first major change in this Irish presence in the United States had occurred in the 1830s when, tuberculosis and cholera having become serious threats at home, a small but steady stream of families, extended families, and even neighbors from Irish villages had arrived in search of economic security and a healthier environment. Mostly Catholic and of modest means, thrifty, hardworking, and respectable, these new immigrants had proved to be such desirable citizens that communities had begun to compete for them, advertising incentives in American Irish newspapers for Irish families willing to settle in the inland states of the East and Midwest. A second major change had occurred in the late 1840s with the appearance of the earliest refugees from the Famine. Year by year, month by month, and day by day their numbers had multiplied with the arrival of "coffin" ships so packed with the penniless, homeless, unskilled, and illiterate that public perception of the "typical" Irish immigrant family had become the dockside tableau favored by artists, of a skeletal man standing beside an exhausted woman nursing an emaciated infant, her other half-clothed, half-starved children clinging to her knees. Yet, largely unnoticed by the public, the earlier pattern of emigration—of families of modest means and marketable skills and of unmarried males seeking opportunity, adventure, or a stake in the New World—had continued. Among them always were also the rebels and reformers whose participation in the various movements that marked late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and Irish relations had placed them in jeopardy. Safe in the United States, in frequent communication with their counterparts in Paris, Canada, and other established places of refuge, they continued their efforts on the part of their countrymen, while in Ireland stories about them circulated at crossroads meetings, in tenant cottages, on the steps of city tenements, and in local pubs.
By the 1860s the profile of the American Irish was very different from that of the turn of the century. Except for those involved in the Irish nationalist cause, Anglo-Irish Protestants were generally neither distinguished nor distinguishable from their English-born neighbors. Others who had cut their cultural and emotional ties to the old country sought a similar assimilation. There was now, however, a visible and vocal majority—mostly Catholic and largely working-class, but consisting also of successful business and professional men—that considered themselves both Irish and American. The bulwark of Irish-American social, fraternal, and cultural societies, they openly expressed their resentment of British rule in Ireland; enthusiastically provided refuge for escaped patriots; encouraged anti-British activism; and funded Irish nationalist organizations.
It was in New York in 1858 that after a few tentative starts two Irish immigrants, John O'Mahony and Michael Doheny, both veterans of revolutionary and reform movements of 1848, had founded the Fenian Brotherhood. Its chief purpose was to support the militant Ireland-based Irish Republican Brotherhood, but it provided also the quixotic headquarters for impossible dreams that set up an Irish government in exile in Philadelphia and sent its "Fenian army" to bring Great Britian to its knees by invading Canada through sporadic "battles" mounted between 1866 and 1871. Named to evoke nationalist feelings through association with the Fianna of the ancient Celts, the Fenian Brotherhood was perhaps the best known of the Irish-American political and paramilitary organizations for some thirty years (it gradually was superseded by the Clan na Gael), during which time "Fenian" was a term applied specifically to the American-based Brotherhood and its counterpart in Ireland, the IRB, but also generically to any anti-British Irish attitudes, actions, agents, agencies, and goals. Thus John O'Leary was known as "the old Fenian" who had been jailed for his part in "the Fenian conspiracy" of the 1860s, but in the Frenchpark cottages of Hyde's boyhood and among the Canadians and Americans who proclaimed their "Fenian sympathies," "Fenian" was used in both the particular and the extended sense. Hyde, therefore, was going to Boston to see the "Fenian" editor of the Pilot, James Jeffrey Roche; in New York he hoped to encounter such "old Fenians"—veterans, like John O'Leary, of the 1860s—as the celebrated O'Donovan Rossa, the daring patriot of heroic tales circulated in Hyde's Connacht, to whom Hyde himself had addressed a poem published in Irish and English in the Irishman of April 1880:
I drink to the health of O'Donovan Rossa,
Where will I find his like at home or abroad,
Who would drive the people without arms or uniforms
Into the midst of the soldiers, the swords and the bayonets,
Who bought and kept the powder and the guns
Which he could not send to the poor defenceless people,
Who nevertheless urged our poor unarmed peasantry
To drive the Saxon soldiers away across the sea.
By the time the train from Fredericton reached Boston at 9:30 P.M. on June 3, 1891, Hyde had been traveling for almost fourteen hours, watching the changing landscape and reflecting on his changing life. These thoughts had reawakened the Irish persona which had had little more than an epistolary identity for almost nine months. Making his way to the Crawford House on Court Street in the center of the city, he settled himself in his rooms. Then, before going to bed, he sat quietly in the lounge, sipping whiskey and considering what the next few days would bring. Boston would prove to his liking he was sure. His name was already known to the Boston Irish community through its two newspapers, the Pilot and the Irish Echo . The Echo, edited by P. J. O'Daly, had begun publication in 1886 as the organ of the Boston Philo-Celtic Society. In its December 1887 issue Hyde had published a special message to its readers, written in Irish and signed "An Craoibhin Aoihbhinn," that had exhorted them to enroll in the semiweekly Irish-language lessons offered by the society and to promote the Echo 's new "Irish Language Department." In January of 1888 the Echo had printed an English translation by Michael Cavanagh of one of his shorter poems. Entitled "Craoibhin Aoibhinn's Song" and ironically described by O'Daly as a typically Irish Christmas carol, it ended in characteristically Fenian rhetoric:
. . . though our hateful foemen,
Through tyrant force and guile
By English laws and "yeomen"
Should threaten us meanwhile
(The thought my heart doth lighten),
I think we yet shall see
Our country's future brighten—
The Saxon forced to flee.
In August 1888 the Pilot, the older and better-known of the two publications, also had printed one of his poems, for which he had received two pounds and a friendly note that John Boyle O'Reilly had written
before his death. Remembering O'Reilly, Hyde promised himself that the very next day he would hunt up James Jeffrey Roche, O'Reilly's successor as editor of the Pilot .
On the morning of June 4 Douglas Hyde was warmly greeted by Roche who, delighted with his visit, was eager to show him about Boston and introduce him to other leaders of the Boston Irish community. They began with lunch at the St. Botolph Club, described by Hyde as a meeting place for "the elite of the cultured Bostonians," "a nice set of men, . . . unassuming, perfectly educated, quiet and for the most part wealthy, but somewhat lacking in wit and readiness." There they joined a group whose major business of the day focused on proposed plans for a statue of John Boyle O'Reilly. As they warmed to their subject, Hyde's mind was on other concerns. It really was not at all against his best interests, he had begun to realize, to return home rather than settle in North America. It was in fact, as he later confided to his diary, much better that he did return home, for certainly he could not leave Annette with full responsibility for the supervision and maintenance of the glebe house or the care of their aging father. As for his future, in Fredericton he had been accepted not simply for his Trinity or family connections but as a man of creditable accomplishments in his own right. On parting, the president had spoken in the most complimentary way of the fine reputation he had earned as teacher, author, and scholar. In ballrooms, drawing rooms, and dining rooms he had been regarded as an interesting and charming gentleman, a versatile conversationalist, a desirable guest at dinners, soirees, and teas. Describing to Annette the farewell parties that had been given in his honor, he had written modestly, "You see I am getting slightly over the shyness which . . . life among the bogs afflicted me with." He knew this was an understatement, for at the university he had discovered that he was as comfortable in the lecture hall as he had been on the Dublin amateur stage or among his peers in the "Hist." The role of professor suited him well, in fact. Students ranging from rather dull to very keen not only had liked him but had shown a satisfying improvement under his tutelage. He had developed, moreover, a successful classroom manner—a combination of banter, anecdote, gentle chiding, and entertaining digression that had held their attention and piqued their curiosity. His relations with most of his colleagues had not been close, but he had made no enemies, he was sure, and he had managed to get on capitally with the president. Surely, given all these facts plus his reputation as a writer and scholar—his work was now being read not only in England and Ireland but in
North America and on the Continent—there would be an academic post for him in Dublin, Cork, or Galway.
Day after day, during Hyde's short stay in Boston, Roche continued to serve as host, friend, and guide. One evening after the two men had dined together, they walked all around Back Bay, discussing a subject of importance to Roche, the status of the American Irish, in which Hyde also had become keenly interested. In his notebook Hyde recorded his opinion that Roche and O'Reilly, through the Pilot, had helped the Irish displace the "Puritans" and increase their own political power in Boston. On another evening Roche invited Hyde to accompany him to the home of his brother-in-law in a suburb "far out of town." After tea the three men sat talking, drinking beer, and smoking cigars until midnight. Curious about the American educational system, Hyde questioned them on the subject of the comparative costs of parochial and public school tuition. Their reply, he noted, had less to do with money than with what each described as a trend toward "un-Irishness" among the Boston Irish in particular and the American Irish in general. Corroborating their statements, a Boston bookseller with whom Hyde talked complained of the diminishing demand for Irish books. Hyde attributed the situation to the improved social and economic status of affluent Irish Americans. Other immigrant groups, he knew, were having similar experiences. Yet among the Irish poor, there seemed to be no shame in or wish to shed their national identity. Was this, he asked himself, thinking of the tenant poor in Ireland, because they were giving up other distinguishing characteristics?
One morning Hyde took the trolley to Cambridge where faculty and staff whom Fredericton friends had told him to look up showed him "all over that mass of luxury, Harvard College." In his notebook he recorded the institutional statistics that they provided: the student body numbered 2,100, the professors, 180; fees for the Arts course totaled $150; the cost of rooms was $120. He also outlined the curriculum, noting the physical development requirement and elective system, and observed that all the people he encountered on campus were very friendly. Some he knew by reputation from their work; he was both pleased and amused to discover that he, too, was known by reputation. In fact, on one occasion, having been introduced to a folklorist who was unaware that Douglas Hyde was An Craoibhin Aoibhinn, he had been proudly shown a new book that he was urged to examine: his own Beside the Fire .
During the weekend the Fräulein arrived. On Sunday morning Hyde
escorted her to Trinity Church to hear a sermon by Phillips Brooks which he criticized as having been delivered "like a torrent for speed." They spent the afternoon at the home of a Miss Conway, where he became engrossed in a conversation with Louise Guiney, an American poet and essayist born in Boston of Irish parents who had visited Ireland and was a friend of Katharine Tynan. On Monday he and the Fräulein lunched at his hotel, then went to the new library and museum where he pronounced the pictures "worth nothing, all daubs." The obviously unsuccessful rendezvous ended before dinner "without tears on either side," leaving Hyde free to spend Tuesday with Louise Guiney, who had invited him to lunch. She was, he wrote to Annette, "one of the most fascinating creatures I ever met, a pleasant girl, full of talk and enthusiasm," although "a bit deaf." Of the Fräulein he said nothing but offered the general comment that Boston girls are pretty but have bad complexions ("owing to the changeable weather"), while Canadian women have "lovely" complexions—a last gallant remark, perhaps, regarding the woman to whom it could not be delivered directly without fear that his intention might be misunderstood.
On Tuesday evening, June 9, Hyde took the train to Fall River, where for four dollars he boarded "an enormous floating palace of a steamer" for the overnight journey to New York City. Arriving at seven o'clock in the morning, he booked into the Everett House in Union Square and immediately set about sightseeing, accompanied by a man from Ohio who was a guest at the same hotel. First they took a day steamer to the Statue of Liberty, which impressed him mostly by its size: "so large that 12 men could stand round the torch held in the right hand." Then they boarded the elevated railway for Central Park. Meanwhile Thomas O'Neill Russell, who had kept up his correspondence with Hyde during the entire Fredericton year and had been scouting out possible university appointments for him, waited impatiently at the Everett House with Pádraig Ó Beirn, another language activist. As soon as Hyde returned, Russell and Ó Beirn, eager to introduce him to members of the New York Irish community, whisked him off to the Manhattan quarters of the Gaelic Society just over half a mile to the north on Twenty-eighth Street. There they remained until midnight, Hyde cautiously drinking little on account of his fatigue.
Early the next morning, June 11, Russell was again at the Everett House, to breakfast with Hyde and take him back to the Gaelic Society. There—his search interrupted by Russell, who insisted on showing him off as though he were "a prize fighting cock"—Hyde looked in vain
for O'Donovan Rossa and "another man" whom he did not identify but clearly had expected to meet. Of Russell's possessive behavior he complained to his diary, "This I don't like but can't help." Russell was "far too touchy" to address on the subject. Had he been less irritated, Hyde might have admitted that Russell was also far too helpful to alienate. Hyde did manage, however, to get away on his own for the evening, which he spent "very pleasantly with Pádraig [Ó Beirn], drinking and talking" until nearly midnight.
The next morning, June 12, Hyde breakfasted with two old Trinity friends, Carman and Gregg, then wandered downtown on his own to the foot of Manhattan to see the Brooklyn Bridge, which he sketched for Annette, and to look over the stock of several gun shops before returning as promised to the rooms of the Gaelic Society. There he passed the late afternoon and early evening sipping tea with Russell and joining others in a long and serious discussion of current affairs in Ireland. On June 13 Hyde at last had the chance to visit O'Donovan Rossa in his lodgings. After drinking and talking most of the morning, the two men went together to the office of the Irish World where, sitting close together around the desk of the Galway-born editor and founder, Patrick Ford, they continued to talk, mostly about the Irish language movement. It was a subject in which Ford, an ardent Land Leaguer, was not particularly interested. Hyde and O'Donovan Rossa tried to convince him of its strong political implications without success.
The morning's business over, Hyde planned to spend the afternoon at a baseball game in Harlem. However, with the temperature at ninety degrees in the shade, he soon left the ballpark to take refuge in the cooler lounge of the Gaelic Society. There discussion continued to focus on Irish politics. In the evening he and Russell dined together, after which they joined members of the society at a concert of Irish music by McGilvey's band at "Madison Hall" (Madison Square Garden)—"the biggest hall," Hyde declared, that he had ever been in. The next day was Sunday. Hyde, Russell, Gregg, and Carman lingered together over breakfast until half past twelve. Then, as the temperature was again over ninety in the shade, Russell and Ó Beirn suggested that Hyde go with them to a country house owned by the Gaelic Society on Long Island.
On Monday, to Hyde's dismay, the heat wave continued, interfering with many of his sightseeing plans. The thermometer now registered 113 degrees in the sun and 95 degrees in the shade—temperatures unheard of in Ireland. He had complimented himself on his ability to endure the winter cold of Fredericton; the summer heat of New York
required a far more difficult adjustment. Yet with only ten days remaining before he sailed for Ireland, it was time to shop for the purchases he wanted to make before his departure and the trip to Niagara Falls that he had promised himself, even before he left Canada. Returning to one of the gun shops he had visited earlier, he bought a Colt revolver and bullets for twenty dollars. After checking the commitments he had on his calendar—a feis in his honor that evening, a speech on the state of the Irish language the evening after—he booked a three-day excursion to Niagara on June 17. His round-trip ticket, noted in his expense book, cost sixteen dollars.
The feis was a cheerful affair attended by about twenty people, all Irish speakers. A good supper accompanied by chilled wine and plenty of punch held them, despite the heat, through six speeches in Irish and as many more in English, all in praise of Hyde's work. The party went on until three in the morning, after which some six of the guests returned with Hyde for a nightcap at his hotel. On June 16 he awoke close to noon and sat on his bed, looking at the thermometer which had risen to 100 degrees in the shade, uncertain how much more he could endure. At just that moment a storm broke, bringing the relief for which everyone had been waiting, and assuring the success of the evening's Gaelic Society meeting at which he was scheduled to present a speech in Irish and English. The next day he journeyed by boat and train up the Hudson River to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
Published in the Gaelic American for June 27, 1891, Hyde's speech of June 16 on the present state of the Irish language was not just the right thing at the right time but a preview of things to come. Identifying himself to his partly bilingual audience as no expert on his topic but only a late observer of a situation with which they were equally if not more familiar, he declared that the views he expressed were those he held personally, not as a spokesperson for any association concerned with the revival of the Irish language. Then dramatically balancing negative against positive, he established his facts: Irish was in "bad health" but not dead; it was not a patois nor the "poor, mean, limited language" described by those who for selfish and political reasons would have it destroyed but "a vast, varied, very opulent one" that "stands upon an equal footing with Greek, Latin, and Sanscrit"; it was the direct descendant and moreover the key to an "enormous mass of Irish literature, . . . lying at present in manuscript," which "has not only never been equalled but never been approached either in age, variety, or value by any vernacular language in Europe"; it was "the language of the
Bards and Brehons, of the Saints and sages," which must not be "kicked contemptuously aside" or allowed to crawl away, as it were, with a broken leg, to die like a hunted dog in a ditch, a vile and lingering death." Nevertheless, acknowledging the damage that had been done to Irish by well-meaning friends as well as enemies of Irish Ireland, Hyde assured his listeners that he recognized that he was "standing in a practical country amongst practical men" to whom he felt required to give "some adequate reason for continuing to keep alive the Irish language" and therefore "to state clearly" what he wished to see done.
His reasons, Hyde told his audience, were fourfold: it was not good for any race "to throw sentiment to the dogs"; for the Irish their language was the key to their "great national heritage"; language was one of the most effective means that could be used to bring a people together; a bilingual race was always and in every way "infinitely superior to a race that speaks only one language." Acknowledging that for the Irish in America much of what he had said about language applied to Catholicism—that indeed, for many, "Irish" and "Catholic" had become synonymous terms—Hyde questioned whether Catholicism alone could prove a satisfactory bond in the future, given the influx of other European Catholics even then in progress. Better to have also the advantages of bilingualism, he avowed, for "bilingual races" were "doubly men, and . . . double in sharpness and mental capacity."
Hyde next raised the question, at first quietly, of how the Irish language had been allowed to sink to its current sorry state. "It is a most disgraceful shame the way in which Irishmen are brought up," he then thundered, "ashamed of their language, institutions, and of everything Irish." Softly again he described a recent encounter with two young Irishmen. Asked where they were from, one had replied deprecatingly, "I come from a little village over there called Ireland." Hyde's voice rose again as he pointed to the self-deprecating but common practice of translating and anglicizing Irish names. Ashamed to bear the surnames of their saints and heroes, Hyde declared, there were Irish who adopted instead for themselves and their children such non-Irish names as "Stiggins or Hunk or Buggins." Nor had "one single word of warning or remonstrance" been raised "against this colossal cringing, either by the Irish press or by Irish public men." In the face of such facts the Irish of Ireland had good cause to be thankful to the Gaels of America, Hyde avowed, for without them the Irish language movement would not have achieved its present position.
But how now to proceed beyond the position—and, more impor-
tant, not lose any ground that had been won? Again, Hyde was practical and reasonable. He saw only two possible ways of keeping up "the Irish spirit of the people and a due regard for the language of the past." One was to win Home Rule; the other was to "put the Irish language in all institutions and examinations upon the same footing or a little more favorable footing than French, Latin, and Greek, and to insist on having Irish-speaking functionaries and schoolmasters in Irish-speaking parts of the country." Lest he be misunderstood, however, he stated clearly that in no way was he suggesting that Irish should replace English:
I do not for a moment advocate making Irish the language of the country at large, or of the National Parliament. I do not want to be an impossible visionary or rabid partisan. What I wish to see is Irish established as a living language, for all time, among the million or half million who still speak it along the West coast, and to insure that the language will hold a favorable place in teaching institutions and government examinations.
In conclusion he outlined briefly a practical program through which he believed that the goals he had set forth might be accomplished.
Following publication of Hyde's complete speech in the Gaelic American, excerpts appeared in newspapers in Ireland. Among those who read with interest and later recalled what Hyde had said were John MacNeill, 24, at his desk in the Accountant General's Office in Dublin; John Dillon, 40, in Galway Prison; Lady Gregory, 39, in her home near Gort overlooking the Seven Woods of Coole; and W. B. Yeats, 26, in Dublin. Unaware of Hyde, hearing only, like Joyce's Stephen Dedalus, the quarrels over Parnell that were dividing families and estranging friends, were two others whose world would later be changed by the implications of Hyde's speech: Patrick Pearse, 12, soon to be enrolled in the Christian Brothers school on Westland Row in Dublin, and Eamon de Valera, 9, a National School boy living in Bruree, county Clare.
On Hyde's return from Niagara Falls, O'Neill Russell and Ó Beirn took him to the Irish school on the Bowery about which he had heard extraordinary reports. About thirty people were in attendance. All were speaking Irish; all had, it was clear, an immense interest in the language. When Hyde addressed them in Irish, they responded enthusiastically and with obvious understanding. He questioned Russell and Ó Beirn about the methods and materials that were used at the school, the cost of instruction, and the background of the people who were attracted
to Irish classes. If such a school could flourish in New York, he asked himself, why not in Dublin, Galway, Limerick, or Cork?
On June 23, with but two days to finish all his business in New York, Hyde again went to visit O'Donovan Rossa. After a drink and a long talk, they set out for the top of the Herald Building, from which they had a view of the entire city, and then parted. Hyde's afternoon was spent at the British Consulate filling out forms and attempting to obtain the necessary approval concerning the shipment of his gun and his books. Shortly after six-thirty he arrived at the Gaelic Society where, he discovered, a feast had been prepared in his honor. After dinner there were speeches and dancing and drinking and talking far into the night. Most of the guests went home at about two-thirty in the morning. Six or seven remained behind, discussing Parnell, until six in the morning.
The news of the day was that on June 25 Parnell was to marry Kitty O'Shea. Details of the civil ceremony scheduled to take place at Steyning near Brighton had been published by the Irish-American newspapers. They had all given full coverage to the O'Shea divorce trial. Most had opposed Parnell. The Irish World had been particularly bitter in its invective. Yet reluctant to desert him, the American Irish were as divided as the Irish at home. Even so, few believed that Parnell could recover the political support needed for him to continue as head of the Irish party. At the same time, as some pointed out, if the Parnell era was over, what would take its place?
At noon on the twenty-fifth of June, Douglas Hyde boarded the State of Nevada bound for Moville and Londonderry, his portmanteau bulging with bottles of rye whiskey and other gifts from the Irish-American community. He stood at the stern of the ship as it eased past the tip of Manhattan under the eyes of the Statue of Liberty, then headed through the Narrows into New York's outer harbor toward the open Atlantic. Nine months had gone by since September 10, 1890, when, bound for Montreal, he had boarded the Polynesia in Liverpool. Political observers of the time had then been speculating not on whether but on when and how there would be Home Rule in the country that at the time they were calling "Parnell's Ireland." Expecting the year to be historic, Hyde had anticipated that he would return to an Ireland very different from the one he was leaving. But neither he nor anyone else had foreseen what that difference would be: an Ireland in which Home Rule had again slipped out of reach and Parnell was fighting for his political life. Once before, over an earlier incident, the Tories had almost
succeeded in containing the man known to his party as "the Chief" and to the voters who supported him overwhelmingly as "Ireland's uncrowned king." But the attempt to discredit him publicly by implicating him in the Phoenix Park murders had only boosted his popularity when evidence presented to the Special Commission had proved that the incriminating letters on which charges were based were forgeries.
Small wonder that the divorce suit filed in December 1889 by Captain William O'Shea against his wife, Katherine, in which Parnell was named as co-respondent, was at first widely regarded as just another doomed anti-Parnell plot, designed "to recover in the Divorce Court," in the words of Winston Churchill, what had been "lost before the Special Commission." Even when the divorce was granted on November 17, 1890, there was little to suggest the trouble to come. Rallies on behalf of Parnell had drawn large crowds in Ireland, England, and America. On November 25 he had been unanimously reelected chairman of the Irish party. But after Gladstone called for Parnell's resignation on November 26 and the Catholic hierarchy followed with a similar message on December 3, the anti-Parnellites within the party had seized the initiative. The vote had gone against Parnell by a margin of almost two to one. For the next six months, as Parnell stumped the countryside, taking the issue to the voters, controversy had raged. The latest announcement that he would now marry Kitty O'Shea in a civil ceremony had again raised a clamor. From what Hyde had been hearing from the Irish in America who knew much more of the situation than he himself had been able to fathom in New Brunswick, Canada, it was unlikely that Parnell would be able to recover the support he needed to regain control of the party.