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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Wed 29 Aug 2012 - 12:40

Fifth Day of Proceedings - Friday, October 26, 1888






Among the earliest arrivals this morning were a brace of Irish priests. Several of their reverences have been prowling about the Court since the proceedings began. They are, so to speak, the right men in the right place; for in every parish of disaffected Ireland the "P.P." (parish priest) or "C.C." (Catholic curate), always is president, or vice-president, or chairman, or secretary, or treasurer - sometimes the actual founder - of the local branch of the National League - the institution which the Attorney-General is just describing and criticising. Before Sir Richard Webster resumed his address a little discussion arose between him and Sir Charles Russell and Sir James Hannen as to the course of business in the coming week - it being finally agreed that the hearing should be continued four days in the week. Once again, in a reply to a question by Mr. Davitt, who took his accustomed seat punctually at half-past ten, Sir Richard informed Mr. Davitt (who is to plead his own case) that the full "particulars" of the Times charges against him would be supplied to him. Then Sir Richard Webster resumed the very long thread of his dissertation on the Irish National League. It would be wearisome to follow Sir Richard in his wanderings over Ireland in search of revolutionary harangues, and crimes alleged to follow them as effects from their causes. The English public have already been pretty well drenched by disquisitions on the League. The gist of the Attorney-General's case as against the League is that the National League was planted all over the counties where the Land League had existed; that the matter and spirit of the speeches of the new organisation were exactly the same as those of the old; that crime followed as naturally from the new order of speeches as from the old; that wherever there was less crime under the new than under the old order, the reason lay in the increased strength of the police in the localities affected; that the National League was a merciless, cruel, tyrannical despotism, with outrage as its final resort.
In describing the National League activities in County Cork, Sir Richard Webster took for his hero the renowned Dr. Tanner. What Matt Harris was in Western Ireland, the Doctor was, in Sir Richard's estimation, in the South. Sir Richard said he would produce witnesses (tenants) to prove how they had been persecuted, shot at, stoned on their way to chapel, merely for the offence of having refused to join the League, or for having taken farms from which others had been evicted. But, of course, his point was that such outrages followed naturally and demonstrably - as his witnesses, he says, will show - from the violent speeches of men like Dr. Tanner, Mr. Lane, M.P., Mr. O'Hea, and others. The Attorney-General next took a trip into County Clare, and produced a long speech of Mr. Dillon's which, as Sir Charles Russell and Mr. Reid were asking for the reading of the context, the Attorney-General was proceeding to read straight through from beginning to end. The prospect was almost enough to drive Rhadamanthus to his nightcap; but after a little the President informed Sir Richard that he was at liberty to use his own discretion in selecting fairly representative extracts. This was a relief. "I do not want you to become Moonlighters," said Mr. Dillon to the men of Clare; but, according to the Attorney-General, Mr. Dillon's speech was none the less a direct incentive to violence and crime, as a means of preventing tenants from exercising their own liberty as to making their own terms with their own landlords.
Here Sir Richard, pausing for a moment, and glancing round about him, thumped his palm upon his piles of foolscap, and demanded, "Who or what are these Irish Members?," that they should interfere with the national liberties of other people? Mr. Cox, Mr. Redmond, and Mr. Kenny were among the other Parnellites, besides Mr. Dillon, from whose speeches the Attorney-General quoted passages to prove how crime dogged the footsteps of the League. Leaving Clare Sir Richard Webster proceeded to the Nationalist Convention at Castlebar in County Mayo, in the year 1885, and described how at that meeting Messrs. Parnell, Dillon, Sexton, and others spoke in high terms of a man named Nally, a violent orator, who had been sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. The question arising whether this was the same as the Nally whose speeches the Attorney-General had quoted on an earlier day, he replied it did not matter, one man being neither better nor worse than the other - both were rogues.
Next came the turn of County Galway and its hot district - the hottest in Ireland - the district of Loughrea. Among the speeches referred to was one of Father Considine's, in which tenants who rented evicted lands were described as being worse than landlords. Messrs. Crilly and Matt Harris were among the Nationalist Members specially mentioned as being guilty of having delivered in Galway speeches of which the object and result was intimidation, and other forms of breaches of the law. Besides the M.P.'s, several of the local leaders of what is known as the "Woodford movement" were described. Loughrea, it will be remembered, is situated in the Woodford district. Mr. John Roche was mentioned, Mr. Roche being the most prominent member of the Woodford branch of the League. Dr. Tulley's "pills" were also put in evidence, Tully not being a doctor, but a boatbuilder; and his "pills" not being the doctor's boluses, but a leaden medicine, after receiving a dose of which no patient would stand in need of further treatment. "Landlordism and foreign rule," said one of these Woodford orators quoted by the Attorney-General, "are our two great evils - destroy the first and the second will fall to the ground." On such statements Sir Richard Webster relied for proof of his position that the objects of the National League were just as criminal and revolutionary as those of the other organisations - Irish and American - which he had already described. The time covered by the Attorney-General's review extended from 1885 to 1887.

In one of the seats usually set apart for the jury sat, when the Court resumed at two o'clock, a keen, intellectual-looking Irish priest in spectacles. This was Dr. Walsh, Archbishop of Dublin, Nationalist to the backbone. "I shall now," said the Attorney-General, "come to the last county which I propose to treat in this way." This was County Kerry, the oratorical campaigns in which, against rent payment, and for Irish independence, he rapidly reviewed. "You will observe," he remarked, "that in those speeches, not a word is said against landlords, but only against land-grabbers." Having given specimens of the speeches, the Attorney-General proceeded to show what the result of them was in crime and outrage. One of the instances on which the Attorney-General most relied was the murder of Fitzmaurice, in January, 1888, and he would produce evidence to show that the murder of this man was directly caused by the action of the local branch of the National League. The murder, he said, was the final act of a series of National League persecutions, which for two years had made his life a misery. All this said the Attorney-General, took place in the pattern county of Kerry, whose example Mr. Dillon was holding up to other Irish districts. We shall show, he added, that the men who perpetrated that murder received the support of League money. A deep hush fell over the Court as the Attorney-General, in his conclusion, declared to their Lordships that in all probability persons would be put in the witness-box who had taken part in these outrages, and he would show how these funds had been procured. I shall, he said, bring the knowledge of these crimes home to the Nationalist leaders, Mr. Parnell, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Dillon, and to others. "You will have," he continued, "to inquire why the Land League books, showing money payments, have disappeared, and how the vast balance of 100,000 pounds, to which I formerly referred, was expended."
This concluded Sir Richard Webster's address.

At half-past ten precisely, the Judges entered the Court this morning, and the business of the Commission was at once commenced. There was a very limited attendance of the general public.

The Counsel for the Times are the Attorney-General (Sir Richard Webster), Sir Henry James, Q.C., Mr. W. Murphy, Q.C., and Mr. W. Graham, of the English Bar, with Mr. J. Atkinson, Q.C., and Mr. Ronan, of the Irish Bar. The counsel for the Irish Members are Sir Charles Russell, Q.C., Mr. Asquith, Mr. R.T. Reid, Q.C., Mr. F. Lockwood, Q.C., Mr. Lionel Hart, Mr. Arthur Russell, Mr. Arthur O'Connor, and Mr. Harrington. Mr. P.A. Chance is represented by Mr. Hammond, solicitor, and Mr. Biggar, M.P., and Mr. Michael Davitt, appear personally.


The Attorney-General, at the outset, reminded the Commission of a former application with regard to the days upon which the Commission would sit. He pointed out that it would be necessary for their case to produce witnesses from various localities. It was impossible to get the witnesses at the same time, and he thought they should only sit four days - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Sir Charles Russell, however, objected to that course, and after discussing with his colleagues, the President said they were of opinion they should sit four days a week, but that they should be consecutive days. He thought that Saturday and Monday should be clear days.
Counsel on both sides intimated their concurrence in the arrangement.


Sir Charles Russell having observed that it would be a great saving of time if his learned friend would give them some intimation of the order of the evidence.
The Attorney-General said he would do so at the earliest possible moment.


Sir Charles Russell again referred to the documents known as being "in the box" of the Times' solicitor, observing that it would be, perhaps, desirable that the counsel and solicitors in the case should be present when they are examined by the Commission.
The Attorney-General called their Lordships' attention to a statement in Mr. Lewis's affidavit, which set out that certain documents were obtained for the purposes of the Commission only.
Sir Charles Russell replied that those were matters Mr. Lewis thought should not be disclosed. The documents were obtained from an English Member of Parliament, and came from America. They had an important bearing on some parts of the case. If, he was instructed to say, all the documents were examined, there would be no objection to these being examined.


Mr. Davitt again complained that he had not yet been supplied with particulars of the charges against him.
The Attorney-General having promised they should be delivered tomorrow, resumed his speech, again dealing specifically with the National League.


Sir Richard Webster said he had mentioned the outrages that occurred in Cork and various other counties for the purpose of illustrating to the Commission the character of the organisation (the National League) and its work. He desired now to state what his allegation was with regard to these years - 1885 and 1886. It was that the National League adopted identically the same methods and the same course of action - and with the same objects - that had been adopted by the Land League. They would find again organisers sent down to organise and to revive the somewhat flagging interest of the organisation in various counties; these men giving the same sort of speeches in different parts, and going from place to place inviting the people to take part in the same conspiracy. They would find, too, that these speeches were followed by outrages of the same description; and that this series of crimes soon grew into a positive system.


As soon as any person was found not to obey the orders of the Councils of the League, he was boycotted, or a notice that he would be was sent to him - having references to other people who had been boycotted previously. The result of this was that there was in a great many instances immediate obedience to the commands of the League and the orders they gave, and which they intended should be enforced first by boycotting, and then, if necessary, by outrage. During this time - he was speaking of 1885 and 1886 - the League actually held Courts, summoned people before these Courts, and fined them for not obeying their orders, and for paying rent; and, as one would expect, there was complete submission, and most abject terror amongst the people. Some remarkable instances would be given of resolutions being passed at a meeting of the council during the day, and of how those resolutions to moonlight certain persons were carried out the same night, or, at least, within twenty-four hours.


He should also mention another matter in connection with the League, and having reference to this time, and that was the way in which the newspapers were "worked." In a great many of the counties the names of persons were mentioned in papers which were under the immediate control of the persons whose names had been referred to in the particulars before the Court, the Kerry Sentinel, for instance, largely under the influence of, if not actually owned by, one of the Harrington's. This mentioning of names was undoubtedly a means of enforcing the power of the National League, and compelling obedience to its decrees. One of the results of this system was that persons in a small way, who were owed two or three years' rent, offered to receive a small portion - a year or a year and half's, representing four or five years' rent - from tenants perfectly willing and able to pay. When that was known - that a reduction was to be made - the tenant's name was mentioned in the newspapers. Frequently all his servants were at once threatened should they continue in his employ - providing, of course, he paid. Many dairy farmers were unable to work their farms in consequence of the system, and cattle died because no servants could be found to attend to their wants. Persons did pay their reduced rent - paid it secretly, paid it by night, or actually asked for writs to be served on them, and even eviction notices were asked for. What was the reason of that? That there was hanging over them some system - some tyranny - which they to a great extent feared.


At this juncture he (the learned counsel) would refer to the "Plan of Campaign." This, after all, was but the repetition of a scheme introduced by a man named Lalor in 1848. Supposing a number of tenants owed rent, some of whom could pay, others who could not. The "Plan of Campaign" brought them all down to the level of the rent of the person who was most impecunious, and if the amount was not accepted no rent at all was paid, but the sum was handed over to a trustee to carry on the warfare. Mr. Dillon, Mr. William O'Brien, Mr. Deasy, Mr. Sheehy, and others were amongst the leaders of the "Plan."
Sir Charles Russell - I am loathe to interfere, and if your Lordships desire it, I will not do so; but I do not find anything of this in "Parnellism and Crime."
The Attorney-General - Oh, yes.
Sir Charles Russell was not aware of it, and so mention was made of it in the particulars before the Court.
A short argument having ensued.
The President said the Attorney-General's contention was that it was one means of intimidation, and therefore it would be included under a general head. Certainly in the particulars there was no mention of the "Plan of Campaign" specifically.
The Attorney-General promised the Court that he would subsequently refer to passages in the particulars bearing on the "Plan."


Well, he would (proceeded the learned counsel) refer to some of the outrages which had followed some of the speeches of these organisers and others, dealing at present with Cork. There was the case of the man Heggatty. In this case the unfortunate fellow was referred to by name in several speeches by Dr. Tanner. The Cork outrages it would, however, be well to remember, began as far back as the year 1881. Mr. Heggatty set the Land League at defiance, and although many attempts were made to intimidate him and those who served him, and he had been put to much expense, and had even been in peril, he had succeeded, practically speaking, in beating the Land League. A bold and energetic man, he prosecuted those persons who had boycotted him and had endeavoured to injure his position. Their Lordships would find, however, that as early as 1881, sums of money, amounting to about 50 pounds, had been sent by the Dublin League's office to support the families of those men who had been imprisoned. Speeches were also made in 1884 at League meetings, and the fact was mentioned. Somehow or other the people in that district did not seem inclined to take part in the operations against Mr. Heggatty. In December, 1885, a resolution was passed by a local branch of the League at Ballyvourneen, in which Mr. Heggatty was condemned by name. Two days afterwards Dr. Tanner spoke in reference to the conduct of Heggatty.


The result of all this action was pretty evident. Mr. Heggatty was constantly followed about by the members of the local League, and attempts were made not only to intimidate him, but those who "dealt" with him. He, however, endeavoured, and, indeed, succeeded, in supporting the families of those who were boycotted because they worked for him. Mr. Heggatty was then threatened with personal violence, and several others were threatened simply because he gave them employment. One man's house was actually entered, shots were fired, and his ears were split for this same reason. Later on, threatening notices and letters were sent to persons who worked for Heggatty.


Then came another attempt to kill him, he having, so he (the Attorney-General) believed, been shot at before. This was on the 6th of October, 1885. While driving home with his servant in a dogcart, he was shot at by some men who were concealed behind a hedge. He was, however, on that occasion uninjured. On the 16th of April, 1887, he was again driving home from the railway station when shot at. The first shot missed him. The second shot, however, struck him on the right shoulder and the right side of the head. No less than six grains of shot entered him, the unfortunate fellow being wounded very severely.


In connection with all these outrages he wished to point out one remarkable fact. In several of the speeches made in the various counties directions were given, or suggestions were made - he would put it in a milder form - that it was not necessary to shoot men dead, and that they might be shot in the legs. After that date they were shot in the legs, and not infrequently they died through their injuries. He would give one or two instances of this. On the 8th of August, 1885, Timothy Hayes was fired at and severely injured in the legs. On the 27th September, 1885, occurred the outrage on John Callaghan. He was a farmer, who had preferred to oppose the League rather than submit to its orders. A party went to his house, and having got him to open the door, on the pretext that they wanted a light, fired at and wounded him.


On the 29th of August, 1886, John Regan, a comparatively poor man, was attacked, as a result of which he died. He was a sub-tenant under a man named Sullivan, who was tenant under a Mr. Beamish. Sullivan had a dispute with Beamish, and he was evicted, though Regan stayed on. It was interesting to note the events leading up to this attack. In August, 1883, a gang broke down Mr. Beamish's fruit trees; in August, 1885, they killed three of his heifers, and then, in 1886, on the 25th of December, they broke down his fences. It was for nothing else but because he remonstrated with them that poor Regan was attacked. They first of all stoned him, and then fired shots at him. Neither of these was effectual, and on the 29th December, at a quarter to six in the evening they fired into his house and wounded him so much that, as he said, he died from the effects on the 13th January. He (the learned counsel) thought it would be proved that those who were engaged in that outrage were undoubtedly members of the branch of the National League in the neighbourhood.


This was typical of the many in which outrage followed the least opposition to the orders of the League, and showed that if they could not attack the landlords they were determined to attack them through the tenants, so that the "landlord garrison" was ultimately to be swept out of the land. He thought - Sir Richard incidentally remarked - that he should be able to put before their Lordships evidence as to the kind of revolvers that were used in every one of these outrages.


Now it would be interesting to note the part some of the most prominent men of the Nationalist Party took in a movement in Cork in 1886, and the way in which they attempted to prevent the proper trial of prisoners and the proper execution of the law. The case he particularly mentioned in connection with this was the trial of prisoners at the Cork Assizes, in December, 1886. Mr. John O'Connor went down, and it appeared that he publicly stated how the conduct of those Jurors would be regarded who convicted the men, who were charged with firing into houses, moonlighting, and of being in the possession of dynamite. Mr. O'Connor escorted the prisoners from the railway-station, and halted in front of the houses of the Jurors, shouting out, "Down with Cork Jurors!" "Down with English law!" You have hanged Gough and Barrett, but you shall not hang Hurley if we can help it." He called for cheers for the Kerry prisoners. Two days afterwards Dr. Tanner and Mr. J. O'Connor escorted Timothy Hurley, a man charged with having dynamite in his possession, from the railway station. Having been prevented from holding a meeting in the town during the trials, Mr. J. O'Connor shouted out, "We were prevented from holding a meeting by that paltry little fellow called Shannon, but we will hold it now. We will see that Hurley has a fair trial, or know why." Two of the Jurors upon that occasion were men named Cronan and Macmahon, and directly after they returned to their houses they were boycotted, and not even supplied with the common necessaries of life.


In 1886 there was an organised attempt to intimidate the tenants on the Ponsonby estate. In connection with this agitation, on the 7th of November, 1885, Mr. W.J. Lane, M.P., made a speech, which was followed by a series of outrages against persons who would not join the "Plan of Campaign." Mr. Lane made reference to "land-grabbers," while allusion was made to people who had been "cowardly" - they had paid their rent. On the 14th of February, 1887, occurred an outrage of two men named O'Keith and Cornelius Creed. On the 25th of the preceding month Dr. Tanner made a violent speech against persons who would not join the Land League. O'Keith and Creed occupied an evicted farm - were taking care of it. There firearms were taken away, and they were otherwise robbed. On the 23rd of January, 1887, a meeting was held, at which "land-grabbers" were denounced. On the 6th of February, at six o'clock in the evening, a man named Philip Cremin and his wife were fired at while they were in their house. They providentially escaped, for the bullets actually passed between the pair. On the 3rd of February, 1887, the two daughters of a man named Murphy were the victims. Their hair was cut off, and tar was poured over their heads. Perhaps that was intended as a Land League or National League joke; but it showed the effects of the speeches delivered by Dr. Tanner and others. There was, indeed, a most unfortunate coincidence with the speeches and the outrages which followed.


It would be, in this connection, of importance to observe the speeches delivered in Clare, and one especially. That speech was made by Mr. Dillon. In it he urged the people against the landlords, the bailiffs, "and every single man who hangs round the rent office if he is against the tenant." "You may make him (added the orator) suffer for it. Look at the lessons which have been taught to the people of Woodford." "No man in Woodford (continued Mr. Dillon) had suffered by being evicted, and, so far as money is concerned, they are richer than ever they were in their lives, and before this war is over they will be back in their farms at lower rents. Lord Clanricarde, instead of getting his rent, has two or three emergency men in the farms." "What I want to show is this (exclaimed Mr. Dillon), that the Irish people in America are collecting money for the evicted tenants, and we are expecting to get very large sums. We shall take care in Dublin that the money goes to the tenants, who are fighting like men for their rights. Not a shilling will go to those districts where they lie down and allow themselves to be trampled upon." Was it not (the Attorney-General asked) instigating those men to break the law; to decline to pay what they could pay; and decline to be turned out of their farms when they refused to pay their rent?


It would be necessary (continued Sir Richard), he referring to County Clare, to quote from a few other speeches selected from a number made in the years 1885, 1886, and 1887.
The President - Do you think it necessary to go through another county? Have you not given sufficient intimation of your line of argument?
Sir Charles Russell - I shall be satisfied if my learned friend will hand in copies of the speeches on which he relies, and of the outrages upon which he also relies.
The Attorney-General - I and my learned colleagues have anxiously considered this matter, and subsequently I made a selection of counties. I might have taken speakers only, and gone over the whole range of Ireland. I think it only right in the exercise of my responsibility to quote from many of the speeches, because there were many different speakers, and some particular speakers had organised, and were organising, different counties.


On the 24th of April, 1885, Mr. William O'Brien made a speech at Tulla. On that occasion he described "Lord Spencer as the next best organiser of the League to Mr. Harrington," because he dispersed large meetings at which little practical work was done, and induced the people to assemble at private meetings, where a great deal was done. Mr. O'Brien also described the landlords as land-grabbers, reptiles, and outcasts. "Now, what right," vehemently asked the Attorney-General, (emphasising his question by thumping the desk before him), "what right have these Members of Parliament, these eloquent, powerful Irish speakers, to influence men in all directions? What right have they to speak of the landlord as a land-grabber, a reptile, and an outcast?"


A series of speeches delivered at a meeting at Ennis on the 20th of November, 1886, was next cited. In one of these the people were reminded that they knew how the bailiffs and agents were "cured" at Woodford. "Now, my Lord," impressively observed the learned counsel, "only a few months before that a bailiff, Finlay by name, was "cured" at Woodford by being shot." Mr. John Redmond, he added, was present at that Ennis meeting. Next day the latter gentleman was present at a meeting at which a police superintendent was denounced as a "putrid companion" of his superior officer. There were other speeches important to the issue (and from these Sir Richard extensively quoted) delivered in 1887. These speeches had this effect - that those who offended the League were in some way attacked.


On November 1, 1886, at Ballycar, two men named Byas and McMarna took care of a farm from which the tenant had been evicted. At a speech delivered in the district reference was particularly made to the case, and shortly after Byas was shot and killed, and his companion wounded. No coffin could be procured for Byas's body, no one would supply it, and his wife was jeered at on her way to see her husband. Pursuing his chronological record, he would refer them to the fact that on the 21st of March, 1887, Mr. Crilly, M.P., attended a National League meeting. P.J. Gordon spoke in his presence. In that speech Gordon declared: - "If the glory of England is worth fighting for, the honour of Ireland is worth fighting for too. There is another fouler wretch than the landlord - the landgrabber. The landlords and the landgrabbers should be put in one ship and banished.


Now, having dealt with Clare - for his preceding mother referred to that county - he would deal with what he would describe as "a representative outrage" - unfortunately there were a great many in county Mayo. A man named Michael Burke, who occupied a farm, got into debt, and his farm was recovered from him by a man named Moran. A man named Gillespie, who lived on the land, was placed on the farm by Moran. Gillespie, in the month of December, was warned to cease all negotiations with the "landgrabber" Moran. If he did not do so, he would be - he was told - treated as other "landgrabbers" had been treated. He neglected that warning. Gillespie's house was afterwards fired into.


He would not (Sir Richard proceeded) ask their lordships' attention to a series of speeches made in Galway. He referred particularly to two speeches which principally abused the Royal family, and in which the Mahdi was mentioned eulogistically. He would have (said Sir Richard) to refer to these speeches in connection with the evidence which would be brought before their lordships. There was also a speech made by Mr. Matthew Harris at Kilreagh, on the 19th of April, 1885, in which he, too, referred to the Mahdi. Father Considine, in a speech delivered in the county, described the landlords, their agents, and parasites, as "a bad lot"; but the landgrabbers (said this gentleman) were worse than either. At a meeting on the 10th of September, 1885, Mr. Arthur O'Connor and Mr. Matthew Harris both spoke. The former advised the people to stand together and let the landlords see that the people would not let themselves be evicted. They had no right to be evicted, and must not be evicted. Was not that (the Attorney-General asked) a distinct invitation to the people to resist the ordinary process of the law?


"We send you 10,000 pounds for bullets, and not a penny for back-rents," was a sentence that occurred in a letter from America, read at a meeting near Ballinasloe, and some of the speakers pointed out that if a landgrabber entered church there was nothing to prevent their getting up and leaving. Mr. Matt Harris, at a subsequent meeting, explained the circumstances under which he would enter the House of Commons. He would go there, said he, "into the citadel of the enemy," not to assist that House. "I will," he observed, "always keep in mind, first the independence of my country, and, secondly, the total abolition of landlordism." Mr. Dillon also spoke at that meeting. "We are," said he, "carrying out these conventions under the eye of the Irish people in America and all over the world, who are watching to see if Mr. Parnell is in the same position as he was some time ago."


Matt Harris, James Linam, and J. Kilmartin spoke at a meeting on November 15, 1885. At this Linam expressed the pride he felt in being a personal friend of one of the men who was undergoing penal servitude for participation in some outrage. He advised the people not to commit outrages; and, in explaining what he meant, said, "Don't be burning hayricks and straw ricks, don't be cutting the tail off a mule jackass, but there is nothing to prevent you boycotting a landgrabber." He proceeded to refer to landgrabbers as "cowardly, sneaking, low-life curs, who go sneaking to the big fellows to get into their favour." Mr. Matt Harris having addressed the crowd, Linam again rose and vehemently declared that if they were of his way of thinking they would have rifles in their hands. The strong arms of the men he saw before him would pierce to the hearts of the landlords sooner than the vigorous speech of his friend Matt Harris. "Don't cut off the tails of jackasses," he repeated. When I say jackasses, I don't mean the landlords, though you can cut the tails off them as you like, devil a bit should they be left." He (the Attorney-General) asked what their Lordships thought would be the effect of such a speech upon a crowd of ignorant men.


On December 18th occurred the famous speech of John Roche at Woodford. He referred to the unfortunate man Finlay, when he said that the landlords had their Balaclava, but the people would have their Fontenoy. Sir Richard explained that Fontenoy was generally regarded by the Irish as a victory of the Irish over the English, and Balaclava was the nickname of the man Finlay, who was a pensioner, and had the reputation of having been in the famous engagement.


At Tyna, county Galway, said the learned counsel, a Dr. Tully delivered a speech. This Dr. Tully had at numerous meetings made reference to "pills," which - he told his audience - "if they take them they won't want anything else." On the 14th of March, 1886, Dr. Tully, alluding to a man who had offended the League, said, "So help me, God. I will use my medicine on him." (A laugh.) "You use the medicine I give you," continued the agitator; "and, if a mild dose won't do, give it to him stronger." Passing on in direct order, Sir Richard - amid many speeches - called attention to one delivered by Mr. John Dillon, in October, 1886. In this the hon. Member said that if a person took an evicted farm, such a one would be detested by every honest man. "The land of Ireland should be owned by men who live in Ireland, and men who love Ireland."
The Commission adjourned for lunch.


Now, said the Attorney-General, on resuming after luncheon, it would only be necessary for him to call their Lordships' attention to a few outrages out of a considerable number which had occurred in the year with which he was dealing. He would also show their Lordships how some of those outrages were directly connected with the speeches delivered. There was poor Finlay's case. Finlay was a man who supplemented the income derived by a pension by serving processes. It was a scandalous thing that a man in so humble a capacity should have been subjected to such perils as he had been subjected to. Finlay was compelled to go under police protection; but, this notwithstanding, he was ultimately shot dead while cutting wood near his house. The person from whom the coffin would have been obtained under ordinary circumstances was Carey, the Secretary of the National League Branch, but he - and his example was followed by others belonging to the League - refused to supply the materials for it. Finlay's widow was also boycotted, and no one would give her food. In the month of May of the same year there was another outrage at Curragh. William Conway cut some turf for Sir Henry Burke. The National League, at Woodford, had just issued a notice warning persons not to cut turf for landlords. At the end of May Conway's offices were set fire to, and burned to the ground, and all his stock was destroyed. There were several other instances of outrage in connection with county Galway, and he would (the Attorney-General repeated) ask their Lordships to infer that they were the result and direct consequences of the same violent agitation as that which existed in 1881-82.


He was now glad (said the Attorney-General) to turn to the last of the counties with which he should have to deal. There was a very long list of outrages connected with county Kerry. It would only, however, be necessary for him to mention sufficient instances to show the invitation of Mr. Dillon to the men of Kerry to follow the example of those who had lived in Kerry before them, and put an end to the landlord system. In this connection it would be well to recall a few of the orations. At Killarney, on the 30th of August, 1885, a meeting was held at which Mr. Sheehan, M.P., Mr. T.M. Healy, M.P., and Mr. W. O'Brien, M.P., were present. It was there stated that the programme before the country was "Independence for Ireland." Mr. Healy, speaking against landlordism and land grabbing, declared that they would expedite the departure of the vultures and harpies from that district. Resolutions were passed avowing national independence, and asking the farmer to make no use of the Land Purchase Act, except with the approval of his branch of the League, and further express abhorrence of land grabbing. Mr. Michael Davitt reminded another meeting that the English Government had hanged Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien, well-knowing them to be innocent, simply to satisfy their thirst for vengeance on the Irish people. In that speech he declared that none of the three men executed fired the shot which killed Sergeant Brett. He had, he said, spoken to the man in America who really fired it. "Now," said Sir Richard, "Davitt did not attempt to bring that man to justice. I cannot," he added, "conceive a more monstrous speech, even for a political agitator. It was in this speech, too, he declared that not only the butchery at Manchester, but all the grievances under which the Irish people lived would be avenged."


After these specimens of the oratory (said Sir Richard), he would next deal with outrages in county Kerry - a county which, according to various speakers, was worthy to receive the palm for the way in which the treatment of landgrabbers was understood. In the autumn of 1884 Michael Moriarty sent some cattle to graze upon an evicted farm, and early in 1885 he was shot at, a bullet passing through his clothes. In December of 1885 a man named Williams was fired at because he worked for a landlord - Orpin by name. In Jan., 1886, an old writ or process server, named Ray, was seized in the presence of his wife, and, though a one-armed man and an old man of 80 years of age, those who attacked him sliced off one of his ears. (The statement created some sensation in Court, which was increased when the Attorney-General said his instructions were that this outrage was perpetrated solely because Ray served a writ for rent.) On the 6th May, 1886 (said the Attorney-General, resuming his citation), a man named Cornelius Kearney was fired at because he would not join the National League; O'Connor, in May of the same year, was shot at because he went to live on a farm from which he evicted a tenant; his servant Sheehy was warned not to work for him, and he also was shot at, O'Connor subsequently going and making his peace with the local branch of the League; a man named Conway, at Killguth, in the same year, cut turf on Ardrahan Bog, and was shot in consequence, and, wounded though he was, he actually went down to the Aberdaughney branch of the League and asked forgiveness. The case of Patrick Tanquay, a bog-ranger for Mr. Richard Goee, was also one of a similar nature. This man, it was suspected, had allowed people other than those who had been his master's tenants to have turf. In June some men visited his house, and shot at him, and in less than ten minutes he bled to death. On another occasion, the house of a caretaker having been fired into, the police found some rifles and revolvers, which the assailants had evidently left behind in their flight. He thought he would be able to show where those weapons came from. There were numerous other crimes in the county in the same year, which he would not now refer to, but it was a fact that in various districts people were over and over again brought up before the local branches of the League and warned of their course of conduct.


He would now call attention to the case of James Fitzmaurice, 60 years of age, whose murder was one of the most brutal character. He was killed on the 31st of January, 1880; but for two or two and a half years his life had been made a misery to him. His murder was directly traceable to the Lixnaw Branch of the Land League. It might be said that the Land League was suppressed three weeks before his murder, and, therefore, the organisation could have had nothing to do with it; but he should be able to show that it had. In 1887 Fitzmaurice helped Mr. Hussey, a landlord's agent, over a ditch. That was his offence, and the local branch of the Land League then issued the following resolution, which was given in the Kerry Weekly Reporter: - "That as James Fitzmaurice has acted the part of special constable to S.N. Hussey on the 14th inst., we consider his neighbours should hold no further intercourse with him."
That was in June, 1887. On the 31st of January, 1880, Fitzmaurice was shot while driving with his daughter in the morning. There were several persons who then passed them on the road, but they dared not go to the assistance of the dying man and his daughter. The men charged with that murder were defended by the National League funds. He (the learned counsel) supposed it was to see that they got a fair trial.


The strongest arguments that he (Sir R. Webster) should adduce would be of a negative character - that there was started in Ireland, for the first time, a system of crime which, both for its frequency and the circumstances under which it was committed, was absolutely new. Crime was directed against persons who had never before been subjected to similar outrages. Before 1880 the crime of shooting a man who did not pay his rent was unknown. After that the outrages could be numbered by the hundred; and he should ask their Lordships to attribute these outrages, to a great extent, as perpetrated by men to whom appeals had been made - appeals of self-interest and motives of personal aggrandisement. No steps were taken by Mr. Parnell, Mr. Davitt, Mr. O'Brien, or the other leaders, to point out to these ignorant peasants that the outrages ought to be put down. During the whole of these years these leaders were either silent or encouraging the people to commit outrages. The policy was directed from America, and it was from America that the financial resources principally came.


"I am afraid," continued the learned counsel, with an air of solemnity, "that I have but given to your Lordships an outline of the different heads of what will be placed before the Court in evidence; but before the inquiry is over there will be persons called who actually took part in some of these outrages - (sensation) - not only to speak of the way in which the money was paid, but the method which was on foot for arranging the perpetration of some of these crimes. I am well aware in this case there will be great difficulty with witnesses of a certain class; but your Lordships will have the power - having regard to the terms of this Act - of getting at the truth in a way and to an extent which cannot be done at an ordinary tribunal."


He hoped (continued Sir Richard) to bring before their Lordships information which would, at any rate, enable their Lordships to get at the truth. Their Lordships' powers would be employed to search to the bottom the matters relating to these horrible systems to which he had alluded, and they would decide as to who were the persons upon whom the responsibility rested. He did not think it would be right for him to say anything more on the subject at the present stage of the case. Evidence would be placed before their Lordships of a kind that would prove whether or not the action of those who were at the head of affairs was after all so absolutely free from suspicion, or that their organisation had nothing to do with these terrible crimes and outrages to which he had called their Lordships' attention. To a very large extent, he would bring home the charge of knowledge to all of the Members that had been mentioned. As to the principal leaders - men like Mr. C.S. Parnell, Mr. Biggar, Mr. Harrington, Mr. Matthew Harris, Mr. W. O'Brien, and Mr. Davitt - there would be, in the end, no doubt in their Lordships' minds that knowledge of what had been the result of the National League's action was brought home to them. Could they, indeed, adopt the view that those gentlemen were innocent victims of a system intended to be harmless, and intended to have been worked by lawful means, but which had been worked by unlawful means, and put to unlawful purposes, by the foul treachery of some of its subordinate officers.


He could not help again calling their Lordships' attention to the fact that only one gentleman - Mr. Kelly - spoke in his affidavit of any documents of the League having been ever in the possession of any of the officers of the Land League. The Treasurer and Secretary of the League in their affidavits had sworn that they had never had possession of any of the books, or any papers of the Land League. If those books did not exist, why did they not exist; and if they had existed, he would ask their Lordships to consider why they were not now forthcoming.

THE 144,000 POUNDS.

Their Lordships would also, no doubt, seek an explanation as to what became of the 144,000 pounds, which was acknowledged to have been secured by the Land League, and what became of the large sums of money acknowledged to have been received by the National League. It would be well, if these subjects would bear the light of day and would bear criticism. Where these organisations connected with any outrage or where they worked by constitutional methods. They would have to make careful inquiry as to what had been done with all the money and the books of the League. If he, the Attorney-General, could prove to their Lordships' satisfaction the cause and effect of those crimes, and their Lordships would admit that if the effect was due to that cause, then the Times case would be established. If, however, it was a fact that the leaders of the Irish Party were the victims of a secret conspiracy, and were not responsible, then he admitted that it might be possible to answer the case of the Times. In conclusion, the Attorney-General regretted that he had been compelled to occupy so much of their Lordships' time, but it was impossible for him to explain the case of the Times without making a full and complete statement.
The Court then adjourned until Tuesday.


The Exchange Telegraph Company is informed that Mr. O'Donnell and his solicitor (Mr. Beale) have been subpoenaed by the Times to produce documents before the Parnell Commissioners.


The Freeman's Journal believes that the first witnesses for the Times will be reporters, who are nearly all members of the Irish police.


Mr. Henry Campbell, M.P., has been subpoenaed by the Times, and he is required to produce all the letters he wrote for Mr. Parnell to Mr. Egan and others since 1879.


The London Correspondent of the Dublin Express, today, says Mr. Chamberlain is to be called as a witness for Mr. Parnell. This resolve is, it is said, based on the rather startling announcement of Sir R. Webster that Captain O'Shea will go into the witness-box and swear that Mr. Parnell refused to sign the document condemning the Phoenix Park murders. What Mr. Chamberlain can prove does not appear, but probably he would be asked to state what Mr. Parnell said to him in private on the subject.


A writer in the Freeman's Journal, under the signature of "T.," discusses the liability of the Hibernian Bank to disclose the accounts of its customers on the order of the Parnell Commission. The writer contends that the Judges have only the powers of the English High Court, to order the production of documents by parties not by third persons. If they had such power the warrant of attachment has no force in Ireland. If they had, would it be against the clerks, secretary, manager, directors, or shareholders? All the officials might resign. The Commissioners have no power to break into the bank and seize goods. Justice Holmes recently decided that the Irish Courts had no such right.

Source: The Echo, Friday October 26, 1888, pp. 2-3

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