The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Charles Stewart Parnell, 1846-1891

Nationality: Irish
Date of Birth: 1846.06.27
Place of Birth: Avondale, County Wicklow
Date of Death: 1891.10.06
Place of Death: 9 Walsingham Terrace, Brighton


Charles Stewart Parnell was a nationalist leader and M.P. He was the second son of John Henry Parnell of Avondale, County Wicklow, and Delia Tudor, the daughter of Commodore Charles Stewart of the United States Navy. He was one of atleast eight children. His sister Anna became President of the Ladies' Land League in Dublin. His younger sister Fanny (1854-82) was a poet and also helped her brother in the Land League.

Parnell did not marry but had an infamous affair with Katherine O'Shea, the wife of Captain O'Shea, with whom he lived from 1886. Captain O'Shea instigated a divorce case in 1889 that brought public scandal on Parnell.


Parnell was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He then became an officer in the Wicklow militia. In 1872 to 1873 he travelled to the United States. On his return he became High Sheriff of Co. Wicklow in 1874. He also began to involve himself in Irish politics, being in sympathy with the Fenian Movement. In 1875 he was elected M.P. for Co. Meath and joined the Home Rule Party led by Isaac Butt. In 1876 he joined the Amnesty Association. In 1879 he was appointed President of the newly founded National Land League of Ireland. At the General Election in 1880, he sat for Cork city.

A staunce defender of home rule, he became the leading figure in the Irish nationalist movement from 1880 to 1882. He became known as 'the uncrowned king of Ireland.' He was elected Chairman of the Irish Parliamentary Party in 1886.

According to Emilia Venturi, in 1890 JW was a 'Parnellite' like herself (#05960).


O'Brien, R. Barry, Life of Parnell, 2 vols, London, 1898; 'Charles Stewart Parnell', 1895, Dictionary of National Biography Online, Oxford, 1997 (accessed 17 November 2003).