When Mr. Deasy says to Stephen in Nestor, "You think me an old fogey and an old tory," he sounds the novel's first echo of struggles within the British Parliament to resolve the question of Irish independence. The Conservative party, known as Tories, generally supported the status quo in the 19th century and resisted major social reforms. The most consequential of these for Ireland, and doubtless the subtext of Deasy's taunt, was the push for "Home Rule" in the 1870s and 80s. 

John Hunt 2018

Photographic portrait of Charles Stewart Parnell from the 1870s, held in the Brady-Handy photograph collection of the Library of Congress. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

1874 oil on canvas portrait of William Ewart Gladstone by Franz von Lenbach, held in a private collection. Source: Wikimedia Commons.