He was made co-respondent in a divorce suit brought by Captain OShea another Irishmanfor the dissolution of his marriage; and the disclosures made at the trial induced Gladstone, who was supported by the Nonconformists generally throughout the United Kingdom, to request Parnell to withdraw from the leadership of the Irish party.
First as the associate of Steele, with whom he quarrelled, and of Addison, whose esteem for him survived all differences, afterwards as the intimate comrade of Pope and Arbuthnot, the friend of Congreve and Atterbury, Parnell and Gay, he entered deeply into the literary life of the period.
Long and acrimonious debates followed in committee-room 15, and on the 6th of December Parnell was left in the chair with only 26 supporters.
See also the Report of the Parnell Special Commission (1890); the Report of the Bessborough Commission (1881), of the Richmond Commission (1881), of the Cowper Commission (1887), and of the Mathew Commission (1893), and the Report of the Congested Districts Board (1899).
It was not till the next session that he delivered his fiercest attack on Parnell in the debate on the address, denouncing him for his connexion with the Land League, and quoting against him the violent speeches of his supporters and the articles of his newspaper organs.
But Pope excelled, not only in the voluptuous and in the didactic epistle, but in that of compliment as well, and there is no more graceful example of this in literature than is afforded by the letter about the poems of Parnell addressed, in 1721, to Robert, earl of Oxford.
The shortening of the time was perhaps accounted for by the fact that the new House of Commons consisted of 331 Liberals, 249 Conservatives, 86 Home Rulers and Independents, Parnell thus holding the balance of parties.
The Land League, of which Michael Davitt was the founder, originated in Mayo in August, and at a meeting in Dublin in October the organization was extended to all Ireland, with Parnell as president.
The disclosures before the Parnell Commission, the O'Shea divorce proceedings, the downfall of Mr Parnell and the disruption of the Irish party, assisted him in his task; but the fact remains that by persistent courage and undeviating thoroughness he reduced crime in Ireland to a vanishing point.
On the 25th of January 1881 the jury disagreed, and Parnell became stronger than ever.