I had not much hope that I could influence Mr. McCarthy's decision; but it was so serious an obstacle to further action that I made one more appeal. I wrote to my respected and courteous correspondent, pointing out the misconception of my proposal, which had arisen from the use made of the six words quoted by him, which were hardly intelligible without the context. I asked him to reconsider his refusal to join in the proposal for promoting the material improvement of our country, on account of a contingency which he confidently declared could not arise. But in those days economic seed fell upon stony political ground.
The position was rendered still more difficult by the action of Colonel Saunderson, the leader of the Irish Unionist party, who wrote to the newspapers declaring that he would not sit on a Committee with Mr. John Redmond. On the other hand, Mr. Redmond, speaking then for the "Independent" party, consisting of less than a dozen members, but containing some men who agreed with Mr. Field's admission in the House of Commons that "man cannot live on politics alone," joined the Committee and acted throughout in a manner which was broad, statesmanlike, conciliatory, and as generous as it was courageous. His letter of acceptance ran as follows:--