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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 3:23

Seventh Day of Proceedings - Wednesday, October 31, 1888

PARNELL COMMISSION.
SEVENTH DAY'S PROCEEDINGS.

CAPTAIN O'SHEA IN THE BOX.
HIS NEGOTIATIONS WITH MR. PARNELL.

MR. PARNELL'S PROMISES.
HIS APPLICATION FOR POLICE PROTECTION.

THE PHOENIX PARK MANIFESTO.
HOW MR. PARNELL REGARDED IT.

HIS CONNECTION WITH SHERIDAN.
CAPT. O'SHEA AND THE EXTREMISTS.

EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE.

To the surprise of early arrivals into Court, this morning, they found Mr. Parnell already in possession. Hitherto Mr. Parnell has been unpunctual in his attendance. But this morning he was in his place almost as soon as the doors were opened. He sat down, Mr. Michael Davitt accompanying him, on the solicitor's bench, right in front of Sir Charles Russell and Mr. Lockwood. Both of them were all the while engaged in animated conversation, frequently consulting their notes. Mr. T. Harrington also arrived in his wig and gown, and at once engaged in conversation with them. Mr. Biggar, likewise, arrived early, looking very much pre-occupied; so did Mr. Healy. The reason for all this was apparent as soon as the Court opened, For the Attorney-General stood up to request that he should be allowed to put Captain O'Shea in the witness-box now - Captain O'Shea being, as he said, obliged to leave the country for a time very shortly. To this Sir Charles Russell objected. The appearance of so important a witness against Mr. Parnell was evidently a surprise. After a moment or two's discussion the examination of the witness commenced. It turned on the negotiations between the Liberals and the Irish Chief in 1881-2, letters being produced - written by Mr. Parnell, Mr. Chamberlain, and others - and handed to the Judges for inspection. Captain O'Shea gave his evidence very readily, clearly, and promptly. He was slightly nervous, his fingers trembling and his mouth quivering as he fumbled among his papers for each document required. It was curious to note how Captain O'Shea avoided looking counsel, or, in fact, anyone else, in the face. His back was half-turned to the Attorney-General, but he never once looked at the Judges. He certainly did not look Mr. Parnell even once in the face. As for Mr. Parnell himself he wore all this while an expression of contemptuous amusement.

Captain O'Shea related in minute detail - and in reply to Sir Richard Webster's questions - his duties as go-between in the negotiations about the Kilmainham "treaty," and how, under certain conditions - such as a new Arrears Act - Mr. Parnell would undertake to use his influence to stop boycotting and outrage in Ireland. He also testified to Mr. Parnell's objections to the release of certain prisoners then in prison under the Crimes Act - his objections being that their release should be postponed from considerations of expediency. It will be remembered that in his opening speech the Attorney-General said he would show how desirous Mr. Parnell was that there should be a postponement of the release of those among the Land Leaguers who belonged to its extreme section, the Attorney-General's object being to prove that Mr. Parnell did possess control over the League, and that in that respect he was responsible for its illegal action. Captain O'Shea, who had meanwhile recovered his self-possession, lost it again, and completely, when the famous "forged" letters were put in in evidence. He grew red and pale by turns, and his hands shook and trembled as he inspected the signatures. "I'm not an expert in signatures," he said. "I'm not asking you that question," remarked the Attorney-General. "I believe they are Mr. Parnell's," said Captain O'Shea, firmly clenching his teeth - an habitual gesture with him. While Captain O'Shea examined each signature, and gave his answers, Mr. Parnell, with head erect, gazed at him quietly, fixedly.
The Attorney-General having concluded his examination, another discussion followed as to what course the investigation should take, and it was decided that Sir Charles Russell should now open his cross-examination. And now Captain O'Shea smiled, and grew positively lively, as he briefly and rapidly rapped out his answers. He faced his cross-examiner fully and directly, and became very animated as he described how, in the early days of August last, he had heard, for the first time, rumours to the effect that he was engaged in a combination or conspiracy to furnish the Times with the "forged" letters. "Stabbing a man in the back," said Captain O'Shea, with a bitter smile, now glancing straight at the place where Mr. Parnell and Mr. Davitt sat side by side; and he uttered something rapidly to the effect that he was glad to have the opportunity of clearing himself.
Re-assembling at two o'clock, after half-an-hour's interval, Sir Charles Russell resumed his cross-examination of Captain O'Shea. It was a rather tame performance until Sir Charles examined him as to the reasons for Mr. Parnell's objections to the immediate release of Mr. Davitt from Portland, and of certain of the Leaguers from Kilmainham. Captain O'Shea admitted that Mr. Parnell had given him no reasons for objecting to Mr. Davitt's immediate release, except that he (Mr. Parnell) wished to discuss with Mr. Davitt the general political situation before the latter should be released. As for the Kilmainham prisoners, whose immediate release Mr. Parnell was said not to approve of, Captain O'Shea could remember only the name of Brennan, a Land League official. He could not remember them, although, as he said, he discussed this subject of the release with Mr. Chamberlain. There was a burst of laughter all over the Court when Captain O'Shea explained his non-possession of memoranda on this subject by the intimation that, as soon as there was a talk in 1883 about a Parliamentary inquiry into the Kilmainham treaty, Sir William Harcourt gave instructions that the utmost possible reticence should be preserved in the matter. The President intervened with an expression of a hope that no such manifestation of feeling should occur again in Court.

Messrs. Parnell, T. Healy, Biggar, and Michael Davitt were early arrivals at the Court this morning. Business was resumed shortly after half-past ten.
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.

CAPTAIN O'SHEA'S CROSS-EXAMINATION.

The Attorney-General asked the permission of the Court to make a deviation from the course they had laid down. A very important witness - Captain O'Shea - had to leave England for Spain, and he asked that he might be called then.
Sir Charles Russell observed that his learned friend had been good enough to inform him of his intention to make that application last night. It would, he pointed out, be impossible at this stage of the case - he said this after deliberation with Mr. Asquith - to cross-examine Captain O'Shea as he must be cross-examined; and therefore - if it was a mere question of Captain O'Shea having business in Spain - he submitted that he must be called back again. It would be impossible to cross-examine him today.
The Attorney-General expressed himself as unable to understand why the Captain, who had been subpoenaed by both sides, could not be cross-examined then. Of course, the Court would form a judgement as to whether he should be cross-examined at once or not after hearing the evidence.
Sir C. Russell - No.
The Attorney-General - Sir C. Russell is not the Judge.
Sir C. Russell (warmly) - Neither are you.
The President (having consulted his colleagues) said that it was desirable to secure Captain O'Shea's evidence, as also the cross-examination. It was usual in a case where counsel was not in a position to proceed with cross-examination, to postpone it. They proposed to proceed in that way now. It was, of course, for the Attorney-General to consider whether, under those circumstances, he would proceed to the examination-in-chief now.
The Attorney-General replied that he would. He added that he trusted when the application was made for the postponement after the evidence had been given, their Lordships would require it to be supported by some other ground than the mere statement that the other side was not prepared to go on.

THE CAPTAIN IN THE WITNESS-BOX.

Captain William Henry O'Shea then entered the witness-box. He stated, in reply to the Attorney-General, that he was formerly a Member of Parliament, and a Magistrate for the county of Clare. He represented the county from 1880 till the Dissolution of 1885. In February, 1886, he became Member for Galway, resigning in June of that year.
"Were you on friendly terms with Mr. Parnell between 1880 and 1883?" asked the Attorney-General.
Captain O'Shea paused and considered for a moment. "I was," he replied, "on friendly terms with Mr. Parnell up to June, 1885."

HIS COMMUNICATIONS WITH MR. GLADSTONE.

Had you communication with people at Mr. Parnell's request at any time?
I had. In 1881 I had frequent private conversations with Mr. Parnell on particular matters, and in June, 1881, Mr. Parnell requested me to communicate with Mr. Gladstone.
Did you know from Mr. Parnell whether the communications were made with the knowledge of his other colleagues? - No; they were made without the knowledge of his colleagues.

IN REFERENCE TO MR. EGAN.

Did you have any conversation with reference to Mr. Egan? - I afterwards ascertained that they were not known to Mr. Egan.
From whom? - Mr. Parnell.
Did you know Egan yourself? - No.
When did you learn from Mr. Parnell that they were not known to Egan? - After Mr. Gladstone's speech in the House of Commons in May, 1882.
What was it that led you to know the communications had not been known to Mr. Egan? - Subsequently to the speech Mr. Parnell expressed complaint at the awkwardness of Mr. Gladstone in introducing the matter, and said that it had very much annoyed Mr. Egan and, I believe, others. He did not say who the others were.

"LET US NOT HAVE ANY LAUGHTER."

He did not? - No. The matter was brought before the Cabinet in 1881. (Laughter.)
Sir Charles Russell - How can he know?
The Attorney-General - Let us not have any laughter. The matter dropped until the year 1882.
Captain O'Shea - The matter dropped, but I used it again to commence communications in 1882.
In April, 1882, where was Mr. Parnell? - In Kilmainham - in the early part, prior to his leaving on parole.
Who were his prominent colleagues in Kilmainham? - Mr. Dillon and Mr. O'Kelly.
Do you know where Egan was then? - I have no doubt he was in Paris.

COMMUNICATING WITH MR. GLADSTONE.

Did you, in the early part of 1882, open communications with some Members of the Government? - Yes.
Were these communications made with any authority of Mr. Parnell? - With no authority from Mr. Parnell, direct or indirect.
Did you have any communications with Mr. Parnell until his release on parole? - No. I cannot remember the date he was released. Mr. Parnell called on me at Albert-mansions. I had an acute attack of gout, and he came up to see me. He came up from Eltham.
Did you know from Mr. Parnell that he came from Eltham? - Yes. I mentioned to him what I had done - that I had written to Mr. Gladstone. I promised him that if I got any answer from Mr. Gladstone I would communicate with him. I spoke to Mr. Parnell about his release, but that was not a condition offered.
Did Mr. Parnell leave before he received an answer? - He dined with me, and left London that night, by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, for Dover, to go to Paris. I shortly after received a reply from Mr. Gladstone. I received a letter from Mr. Parnell on the 16th of April, 1882, in which he spoke about the settlement of the land question.
Mr. Parnell went to Paris to attend his nephew's funeral? - Yes.
After you received that letter from Mr. Parnell did you continue making negotiations with certain Members of the Government? - Yes.
Did Mr. Parnell return from Paris before you expected him, or not? - Yes; he telegraphed to me to say he had arrived at Eltham.
Do you know whether any of Mr. Parnell's immediate followers were in London at the time? - Yes, after the sitting a great many were in London.
Did you see any of them with Mr. Parnell? - I saw Mr. Parnell alone. I had nothing to do with anyone else in these transactions.

CONVERSATION CONCERNING MR. DAVITT.

Do you remember any conversation with Mr. Parnell about Mr. Davitt? - Yes; I remember him saying something, because I was extremely anxious that Mr. Davitt should be released from Portland. I remember Mr. Parnell saying that if Mr. Davitt's release was to take place it would be very advantageous. "I felt very strongly," witness added, "on the point myself."
Did he say anything about the negotiations in connection with Mr. Davitt, or any difficulty? - Not at that time.
Do you remember him referring to the proposed release of other of his comrades? - Yes; there was an objection to the release of some of his party.

INEXPEDIENT TO RELEASE CERTAIN OTHERS.

Will you explain that objection? - Mr. Parnell thought it would be inexpedient to release certain Members.
Why? - Because he did not think they could be released at the time with advantage to the policy which was then being pursued.
Do you remember whether on that occasion he mentioned any names? - Yes, some names were mentioned which I was to mention to Mr. Chamberlain, and which I did mention to him.
As persons not to be released? - Yes. Mr. Brennan was one of them.
Did you know what Mr. Brennan was - what his occupation would be? - I knew he was an agitator, and an official of the Land League.

"THE QUESTION OF OUTRAGES."

On that occasion was the question of outrages discussed? - Oh, yes, largely discussed.
Was the question of Mr. Parnell's future conduct in connection with future outrages discussed also? - Yes.
Will you tell us what was said? - Negotiations were being carried on at the time with the Government, and in the course of the negotiations naturally the question of release turned up. It is, however, only due to Mr. Parnell to say that he had not made it a condition himself. As to the conduct which he should adopt, he authorised me to say that he would do his utmost to put down outrages.
Did he refer to the payment of rents? - Yes. With regard to that he said he would withdraw the "No Rent Manifesto."

BOYCOTT AND INTIMIDATION.

Did he say anything about advice to tenants as to the payment of rents? - I take it that that was included in the withdrawal of the "No Rent Manifesto."
Do you remember whether he referred to the intimidation and boycotting? - Yes; he always thought that if the arrears question was settled it would be a material benefit, and, by the endeavours of himself and friends, outrage and boycotting would be put down.

THE CAPTAIN'S MEMORANDUM.

I embodied partly the result of my conversation with Mr. Parnell in a memorandum. But I have very few documents relating to the treaty. (Laughter from Mr. Biggar.)
Did you at the time embody the question discussed in a memorandum? - Yes, and I handed it to a member of the Government, or else it was drawn up by me in the presence of a member of the Government.
Will you let me see it?
The witness handed the document to the Attorney-General, who then asked, "In whose handwriting is that?"
"Mr. Chamberlain's," was the reply.
Does that represent what Mr. Parnell had said to you up to the date? - Yes.
The document was about to be put in, when Sir Charles Russell objected, observing that he had not read it. It was then handed to Sir Charles, and he having read it, was given into the possession of the Secretary of the Commission, who read it. It was as follows: -
"If the Government announce a satisfactory plan for dealing with arrears, Mr. Parnell will advise the tenants to pay rents, and will denounce outrages and resistance to the law and to all processes of intimidation, whether by boycotting or in any other way. No plan dealing with arrears will be satisfactory which does not wipe them off compulsorily, one-third being payable by the tenant, one-third by the State from the Church fund or some other public source, and one-third remitted by the landlord."
The note also stated that arrears should be defined as those accruing up to May, 1881.

VISIT TO KILMAINHAM.

On the 27th of April I went to Kilmainham to see Mr. Parnell (continued Captain O'Shea).
The Attorney-General - Did you know from what passed before and while you were there whether the fact of your communications was known to Mr. Parnell's colleagues or not?
Sir Charles Russell objected to the question as being too leading, and the Attorney-General varied it be asking of Captain O'Shea, "Did you know from Mr. Parnell, either then or afterwards, whether the communications between you and him were known to his colleagues in Kilmainham? - At my interview in Kilmainham he said they were not.

LETTER FROM MR. PARNELL.

Did anything pass prior to your going there as to your visit? - Yes. I received a letter from Mr. Parnell.
The letter was produced, and read as follows: -
"My dear O'Shea, - Wednesday's proceedings were very promising so far as they went. I think it will be well now to wait and see what proposals are made, as the appearance of over anxiety on your part might be injudicious. The journey from London was very fair and quiet, and I got as far as Holyhead without being recognised. If you come to Ireland I think it best not to see me, for reasons which I will explain hereafter. - Yours, very truly, CHARLES S. PARNELL."
Captain O'Shea explained that the Wednesday's proceedings referred to were proceedings in the House of Commons, at which Mr. Redmond, he believed, introduced a Bill.
The Attorney-General - Did Mr. Parnell explain what he meant by the statement that he thought it best for you not to see him? - As far as I remember, he said he thought it injudicious that I should see him in Kilmainham amongst the others who were there. You had an order to see Mr. Parnell? - Yes, Mr. Forster gave me one in order that it should be clear to the Cabinet that everything was going on all right.

THE CONVERSATION IN KILMAINHAM.

Was the letter written by you in Kilmainham? - It was written by Mr. Parnell while I was there.
Before that letter was written will you tell us what conversation passed between you and Mr. Parnell in Kilmainham? - I explained to him that this was a very important matter, and that the Cabinet was desirous of making it clear, and the outcome was the letter. I asked Mr. Parnell, besides my official questions, if he would give me an assurance that he would be able to carry out what he guaranteed, and whether he would enable his colleagues to put down boycotting and outrages and the no-rent movement. He gave me that assurance, saying that the outrages were largely committed by the sons of tenants in arrears, but that the Arrears Bill would, of course, have a considerable effect on them, and his authority and that of his colleagues was so great that he was confident of success.
Did that conversation occur before or after the letter was written? - Both before and after, I think. Mr. Parnell referred, in the course of the conversation, to various persons. I should state that it is due to Mr. Parnell to say that the question of his release was never put forward by Mr. Parnell as a condition.
What was the effect of the other parts of the conversation? - Mr. Parnell was anxious that certain men should be released. He mentioned a man called Boyton and one called Sheridan. He told me that Sheridan had been an organiser in the West, and that he (Mr. Parnell) believed if he were at liberty he would be of use for the purpose of putting down outrages. I should say, though, that with regard to Sheridan, he was not in prison, but a warrant was out against him.
Did he say anything more as to Sheridan? - Yes, that he was very anxious to see him. Mr. Parnell said similar things as to Mr. Boyton - that he was an organiser, only in a different district. In this conversation Egan was mentioned.

"TO GET THE FIRST RUN AT THEM."

What did Mr. Parnell say as to Egan? - That he was anxious to see him, and that he was a useful man. I asked Mr. Parnell, in the course of conversation, about these three men, and he said he was certain he could induce those men to do what he wanted.
What was his expression when he said he wanted to see them? - To "get the first run at them." I had no knowledge myself of the working of the Land League. Mr. Davitt's name was mentioned. There was some difference about Mr. Davitt, as he was in penal servitude; but I spoke to Mr. Parnell about Davitt's release, although nothing was then said about his release.
You have told us about these men. Do you remember anything about keeping other persons in Kilmainham? - That subject was not referred to then.
Did you bring a letter from Mr. Parnell? - Yes. I took it the next morning - Sunday - to Mr. Forster, and it was given to the Cabinet.
The President - You had better not say anything about the Cabinet.
Captain O'Shea - I mean that it was given to a Cabinet Minister.
The Attorney-General then referred to Mr. Parnell's letter, addressed, "My dear Mr. O'Shea," which was read in the House of Commons on the 15th of May, 1882. It was dated, "Kilmainham, 28th April, 1882"; and Mr. Parnell said in that that the proposal described by Mr. O'Shea of a loan to the Irish tenants would be rejected.

"CORDIALLY COOPERATING WITH THE LIBERAL PARTY."

The Attorney-General asked if the last sentence of the letter was read, where Mr. Parnell said, "if his suggestions were adopted, his party would cordially cooperate with the Liberal Party in forwarding Liberal principles."
Captain O'Shea - When the letter was read by Mr. Parnell, the words left out were those at the end relating to the support to be given to the Liberal Party, "Enable us to cooperate in future with the Liberal Party to forward Liberal principles."
Sir Charles Russell interposed.
Captain O'Shea - Mr. Parnell read from a copy of a paper given him, I having previously taken out the last sentence. He knew, of course, that I had left it out. The omission was challenged by Mr. Forster, and, therefore, within a few minutes - it appears on the same page of "Hansard" - the other portion was read.

"AS MUCH AS IS GOOD FOR THEM."

The Attorney-General - Do you remember, Mr. O'Shea, Mr. Parnell mentioning any other persons to whom he would afterwards make a communication? - Yes; he said he would make a communication to Mr. Dillon and Mr. O'Kelly, and let them know.
Let them know what? - Mr. Parnell said, "As such as is good for them." (Laughter.)
With reference to the names you have mentioned? - Yes. It was at the end of the interview.
Captain O'Shea (continuing) - Mr. Parnell spoke to me about Davitt's release. He said it would not be expedient that Davitt should be released until he saw him.
Until Mr. Parnell saw him? - Yes; that Mr. Davitt's release should be deferred until Mr. Parnell saw Davitt first. Mr. Parnell asked me to get the warrant for Sheridan cancelled. I saw Mr. Parnell on a Sunday - the 7th, I think.
What time on Sunday, the 7th, was it that you saw Mr. Parnell? - I first saw him early in the morning at the Albert-mansions. I had several interviews with him that day.
Do you remember whether he spoke to you about the manifesto that day? - Yes.

VISIT TO MR. GLADSTONE'S SECRETARY.

Did you go to see Mr. Hamilton at the request of Mr. Parnell? - Yes.
He was secretary to Mr. Gladstone? - Yes.

MR. PARNELL'S OPINION OF THE MANIFESTO.

What did Mr. Parnell tell you about the manifesto? - He told me that it had been drawn up and I afterwards saw it at Mr. Chamberlain's house. That was in the evening.
Did he say whom it had been drawn up by? - Yes, by Mr. Davitt. Mr. Parnell said he was in favour of a manifesto; but he disliked signing so bombastic a manifesto as that. It was, however, necessary to pander to Mr. Davitt's vanity.

HIS REQUEST FOR POLICE PROTECTION.

On one occasion did Mr. Parnell tell you anything about himself? - Yes; he told me he was in personal danger, and asked me to get police protection for him.
Did you do anything for him? - Yes. When I returned to Albert-mansions, I found a request that I should go to Sir William Harcourt immediately, and I went.
Did you make a communication to Sir William Harcourt with reference to police protection? - Yes, and it was granted.
Was anybody present besides Sir William Harcourt? - I do not remember; but I believe his son was present.

WITHDRAWAL OF SHERIDAN'S WARRANT.

Now, answer my next question "Yes" or "No," said the Attorney-General. Was a communication made to Sir William Harcourt with reference to the withdrawal of Sheridan's warrant? - Yes.
Did you have an interview with Mr. Parnell afterwards - did you say anything to him about Sheridan? - Yes, I told him that I had been informed that Sheridan, whose warrant was cancelled at my request, was a murderer and a concocter of murder; that the police had informed the Home Secretary of the fact, and that he could not be allowed to remain in the country without arrest. As I had been the cause of his warrant being cancelled, I then requested that he should be given "short law" to enable him to get out of the country, and that he must be communicated with immediately. Mr. Parnell told me he did not know how to communicate with him directly; but he knew a person who did. He then left me for the purpose of seeing the person. I waited for him at the Charing-cross Station. He was gone some time, but he did not say who he had seen. When he came back he said it was "all right."

THE CELEBRATED LETTER - "WHOSE SIGNATURE IS IT?"

The Attorney-General then placed a letter dated the 15th of March, 1882, before the Captain, and asked him in whose handwriting he believed the signature to be written.
"I am not an expert in handwriting," answered Captain O'Shea.
"I am aware of that fact," said Sir Richard; "but you can tell us whose handwriting you believe it to be?
"I believe it to be Mr. Parnell's."
Two letters dated June 16, one dated "9-1-1882," and three other letters, were also placed before the witness, and he also declared that he believed them to be signed in the hand writing of Mr. Parnell.

AFTER THE PHOENIX PARK TRAGEDY.

"Did the occurrence of the Phoenix Park murders affect Mr. Parnell's health," the Attorney-General then asked. "Yes, I believe it did," replied the witness. "It certainly affected his spirits."
What was his condition with regard to nerves and health during the month or five weeks following the murder? I can only say that he was very much depressed by the terrible occurrence.
In reply to other questions by Sir Richard Webster, the Captain added that he was engaged in business in Madrid, and was obliged to leave England, and he would be very glad now to be allowed to leave.

SHOULD THE CROSS-EXAMINATION BE POSTPONED?

A discussion then arose as to the cross-examination of the witness. Sir Charles Russell reiterated that he was not in a position to cross-examine the Captain at the present stage of the proceedings, but if Sir Richard Webster continued his case with regard to the letters, he should probably be able to cross-examine the witness in a few days. - Sir Richard Webster, however, declined to accede to this course. - The President at once intimated that he would allow the cross-examination of the witness to be delayed, but (added his Lordship) if from any unforeseen circumstances the witness should not again appear before the Commission, his evidence would have to be taken as it stood, without a cross-examination. He would, however, promise Sir Charles that the power of the Court should be exercised to bring all persons to the Court as witnesses who were required.
"Does your Lordship say (presently asked Sir Charles) it is within your discretion as to whether the witness shall return? - "Certainly," replied the President.
"Then under this disadvantage (said Sir Charles) I will go on."

A LETTER TO MR. CHAMBERLAIN.

When, Captain O'Shea (asked Sir Charles Russell), were you first applied to by the Times to give evidence? - On the 3rd of August, I find on reference to my diary. I was indirectly, by letter, asked if I would give evidence.
Was the letter written to you? - No.
To whom? - To Mr. Chamberlain. (Laughter.)
By whom? - By Mr. Buckle.
Did Mr. Chamberlain see you? - Yes, but I had called on him on other business.
What business? - About the attack made on me on the 31st July of the present year by Mr. Parnell in the House. I want to talk matters over with him.
And to consider whether you ought to make an answer in the Press or leave the House? - No, my letter had already appeared.
Did Mr. Chamberlain show you the letter? - The witness first of all said he was not quite sure. After pressing, however, he admitted that he saw the letter, but he did not remember "whether he saw it to read it."
What were the contents? - I believe it asked whether Mr. Chamberlain thought I should have any objection to give evidence.
You did not then agree to give evidence? - No. I did not till after I was subpoenaed by Mr. Parnell, on Thursday, August 23rd.
Did you see Mr. Chamberlain after that? - No; he had left town, but I communicated with him. I finally decided to give evidence on the 24th, in order that I might have the opportunity of refuting the slanders circulated about me with regard to the letters. I made that communication to Mr. Buckle.

A VISIT FROM MR. HEWSTON.

Directly? - No; through Mr. Hewston, a journalist. I don't know what paper he is connected with, nor do I know that he is the secretary of the Loyal and Patriotic Union, though I believe he is. Mr. Hewston called on me on Sunday, the 12th of August last. He told me that he called on behalf of Mr. Buckle. He took down my statements for Mr. Buckle at an interview on the day on which I asked the Times to subpoena me - on the 24th August last.
Did he produce the letters to you or speak to you about them? - He must have spoken about them, but he did not produce them.
Did he tell you what part he had had to do with them? - No.

"A SECRET OF STATE."

Did you ask how the letters had been obtained? - Yes. But he said it was a "secret of State." I may add that he repeated that Mr. Parnell had stated that I was in a conspiracy to get the letters, and that it was through me they were obtained, and, as I never stab a man in the back - (laughter from certain Irish Members) - I was anxious to come here to say they were not.
When did you hear of this rumour about yourself? - On the 1st of August, when Mr. Chamberlain said Mr. John Morley told him of it.
What did he say? - That Mr. Parnell believed I was instrumental in procuring what is known as the fac-simile letter.
Have you seen anyone else from the Times? - I met Mr. Buckle at dinner on Wednesday, August 22nd.
Who was there? - Sir Rowland Blennerhasset - (laughter) - Mr. Buckle, and I.
Who was the host, and who were the guests? - Sir Rowland was the host.
Did you discuss as to where these letters came from? - No.
Do you know a person named Piggott? - I do. I suppose you refer to the former editor of a paper in Dublin.
Quite so. Did you hear his name mentioned in connection with the letters from Hewston? - Yes.
Did Hewston say that he had got the letters from Piggott? - No. I think he said it was rumoured that I had entered into a conspiracy with Piggott to obtain the letters.
Captain O'Shea (continuing) repeated that there was a rumour that there was a conspiracy to get these letters, but he did not know whether Mr. Piggott's name was mentioned in the matter. Mr. Philip Callan's name was rumoured. Witness did not know who took the letters to the Times.
Sir Charles Russell - You know nothing as to who brought them to the Times? - No. I told Hewston, when I saw him, that I might tell Mr. Buckle of a political matter. On the 24th of August I went to Mr. Hewston's rooms, and he took down the account. On Wednesday last, for the first time, I went to Mr. Soames, the Times solicitor, to know when I should be called. I showed Mr. Soames the documents. I was Member for Clare in 1884 and 1885.

THE TWO ELECTIONS - THE CAPTAIN'S RESIGNATION.

At the election you were not supported by Mr. Parnell? - No, I complained that he had broken faith in not supporting me. In the spring of 1886 I stood for Galway, and was then supported by Mr. Parnell. I was returned. I resigned on the day after the division on the Home Rule Bill. I did not vote on that occasion.
Sir Charles Russell - You committed suicide to save yourself from slaughter? (Laughter.) - That is your comment. No one knew there was to be a dissolution then. I resigned because I wished to.

THE "BYRNE" CHEQUE - A STATEMENT TO THE CAPTAIN.

Tell me whether, in the beginning of 1886, you stated that a certain person knew that Mr. Parnell had paid for the escape of the Phoenix Park murderers? - No, I don't think I said that - not of the Phoenix Park murderers, but of one Byrne.
You stated that in 1886? - Yes, but I am not sure of the date. It was told me in the first instance by a man named Mulqueney. I inquired into the statement, and understood it was not correct. The statement was with regard to a letter, I think, acknowledging a cheque sent to Byrne.
Who is Mulqueney? - He is an Irishman in London. He assisted me very much when I was canvassing an East-end constituency for a friend of mine. I met him very much in Whitechapel. I think he is a clerk.
You say you investigated this statement. To whom did you apply? - I asked Mr. Chamberlain. I don't remember anyone else. Mulqueney said the letter had been taken out of the Land League chambers in London by the police.

"DID NOT BELIEVE THE STATEMENTS."

Did you ever see a letter of Byrne's? - No, never. It was after that statement of Mulqueney's that you were a candidate for Galway? - Yes.
Then you did not believe these statements about Mr. Parnell at that time? - Oh, no; certainly not.
Is Mulqueney a member of any secret society? - I know he is an advanced Nationalist, and, I believe, at one time a member of the Land League, but he never told me that he belonged to a secret society.
Did you ever meet Mulqueney anywhere beside at your own house? - I met him at meetings, and while canvassing in the East-end for Mr. Montagu, M.P.

A MEETING IN WARDOUR-STREET.

Have you ever been to Mrs. Lynch's house in Wardour-street? I have been to a house in Wardour-street on one occasion.
What did you go there for? - Because a number of advanced Nationalists had sent me a declaration protesting against my exclusion from Irish politics. I was told that if I went to a public-house in Wardour-street I should meet some of these men, and I went there.
What do you mean by saying that they were advanced Nationalists? Do you mean to say that they were Fenians? - I do not know whether they were Fenians. I believe they were members of the old Nationalist Party. The declaration was brought to me by Mulqueney.
Were all of these persons who made the representation to you residents in this country? - I do not know. Men of their party in county Clare were always great supporters of mine; and I presume some of them requested that the declaration should be made.

PATRICK CASEY'S SIGNATURE.

Were there signatures of persons in Paris to the document? Was there the signature of Patrick Casey? - I do not know.
Do you know that Casey is a professed dynamitard? - No.
Do you know that Mulqueney went to Paris to get Casey's signature? - It is possible that he did so.
Did you pay his expenses of going over there? - No, I think not; but I have often given Mulqueney money.
What have you given him money for? - Because I took a liking to the man, and also to his father. Mulqueney has been extremely useful to me. I have often given money to Irishmen.

HIS OPINION OF MR. PARNELL - PRIOR TO JULY, 1886.

Was any statement made by you in the winter of 1885 that there were letters compromising Mr. Parnell? - I don't remember.
I must press you. Did you tell any one in the winter of 1885-6 that there were American Fenians in London hostile to Mr. Parnell, who held letters compromising Mr. Parnell? - I don't remember, but I believe I told Mr. Parnell I knew there were Irish-Americans in London who were hostile to him. I mean to say that there were perhaps men who were over here for the purpose of committing outrages, and I believe Mr. Parnell to be absolutely free from connivance at outrages.
And a man of the highest honour? - Yes. Up to 1886 I considered him a man of the highest honour, and I think he did not have any connection with Sheridan, who was organising crime. In July of 1886, however, something came to my knowledge which absolutely destroyed my good opinion of him.
Who gave you the information that there were American-Irish in London who might be hostile to Mr. Parnell? - I didn't say that they were absolutely hostile, though it may have been said in the course of conversation. I can't recollect who told me.

THE AMERICAN-IRISH - "COMPROMISING DOCUMENTS."

Sir Charles Russell pressed the witness, and he then said it was possible Mulqueney told him. He certainly told witness that one of them had threatened him. "I will swear, to the best of my belief," added the witness, "that I never told Mr. Parnell about these American-Irish holding compromising documents."
Did Mulqueney give you the name of the man who threatened him? - Yes; but I am not quite sure whether it was one of these men or one of another party. At the same time he mentioned the name of General Carroll Thavis - at least, I think that was the name.

"THE MEN WHO THREATENED HIM."

As being one of the men in London? - No, as being one of the men who threatened him.
One of the men? Who was the other, then? - Not an American, I think.
What was his name? - I don't know. I think he was a civil engineer.
What was his name? - I think it was Hayes.
Don't you know him, Sir? - Yes.
Then why didn't you answer at once? I had to think over it. Mulqueney told me that he had a letter telling him to go to an hotel in Covent-garden. He saw these men or the man there who threatened him with reference to the testimonial to me.
Surely you asked Mulqueney who Hayes was - as a politician. - Oh! he told me he was a very violent man.
Sir Charles Russell asked the witness if he was told that Hayes was an emissary from New York.
Captain O'Shea replied that he was not.
Do you know that Hayes was supposed to be one of the men engaged in the London-bridge outrage? - It was generally supposed so.
Witness added that he saw no person at any hotel in Covent-garden with reference to what Mulqueney had said. Witness most certainly did not tell Mulqueney to give a warning to Carey, nor did he send him over to Paris for that purpose. He would swear he did not send Mulqueney to Paris.
Have you ever threatened Mr. Parnell? - I may have been angry with him.
Since the political events of 1885-6, when you were, you say, unfairly treated by Mr. Parnell, have you threatened him? - Threatened him! With personal violence? No.
Will you explain how you turned him out of your room? - I told him he was to get out, as I did not want to see him again.
Have you said you would be revenged on Mr. Parnell? - I never remember saying so.
Have you ever said that you had a shell charged with dynamite to blow him up with? - No.
In reply to further questions, the Captain said he saw the fac-simile letter when it appeared in the Times, and he had seen the original last week. He was astounded when he first saw the letters compromising Mr. Parnell.
The Court adjourned at 1:30 p.m. for luncheon.

Sir Charles Russell continued the cross-examination on the Court resuming after luncheon.
Did you hear from any person at any time before the publication of the fac-simile of the Byrne letter, asked Sir Charles, that there were in existence letters or documents of a compromising character: - To the best of my belief, no.

THE HILLSIDE MEN.

In speaking of members of the old Nationalist Party, I think you said they advocated physical force? - The old Nationalist Party were what were called the Hillside men. They were men who believed in open revolt, and believed that the time would come when they would be able to fight their country's battle on the hillside.
John Leary's name was mentioned, did he advocate assassination? - No; he did not.

HIS DISPUTE WITH MR. PARNELL.

Up to June, 1886, I believe, you believed implicitly in Mr. Parnell's honour, and you knew that he was opposed to outrages? - Certainly.
And as regards outrage, he continued in that mind till a later date? - Yes. I afterwards altered my opinion with regard to Mr. Parnell, but I do not know anything against him.
Were you not disappointed because you were not supported for the County of Clare, and were you not also anxious to get Mr. Parnell's support to the modifications of the Home Rule Bill which were proposed by Mr. Chamberlain, and which would make it a Local Government Bill? - "Home Rule had nothing to do with it," answered the witness.
"Were you or were you not in favour of Mr. Chamberlain's Local Government scheme" reiterated Sir Charles.
The President here remarked that he did not see the relevancy of the question; but Sir Charles Russell pointed out that he wished to show Mr. O'Shea's position at the time. "I think you declined to vote for the Home Rule Bill?" he continued, addressing the witness.
"That is a fact," replied Mr. O'Shea.
Were not Mr. Chamberlain's alterations in the Home Rule Bill proposed with the object of making it a Local Government Bill? - Certainly not.
"Very well, very well," replied Sir Charles, with a gesture of impatience; "we differ upon that point."
"Did you alter your opinion of Mr. Parnell about October, 1886?" he then asked the witness. - "Yes," was the answer.
In relation to your communications with the Government, when did they begin? - In June, 1881.

NATIONALISTS AND THE LAND BILL.

At that date, Sir Charles pointed out to their Lordships, Mr. Forster's Coercion Bill of February, 1881, was in operation. The Land Bill, which afterwards passed through Parliament, was, however, under discussion. "There were, I think (said Sir Charles, addressing the witness), some three or four very important points which the Irish Members wished to get into the Land Bill?" - Yes.
They wished to have a properly comprehensive scheme for arrears; next, there was the clause, which was subsequently called the Healy Clause, which was framed so as to prevent the possibility of tenants' improvements being taxed by policemen; and next the inclusion of the leaseholders? - Yes.
You supported these claims? - Yes.
The Bill was, however, passed without any of those points being dealt with? - The Healy Clause was dealt with. When I first entered into communication with the Government it was at Mr. Parnell's request. I offered, on his part, that he, on conditions, would break up the Land League. The great principle was that it should be broken up, on condition that the Irish landlords, reducing their rents within a certain time, should get compensation from the Exchequer. That was embodied in a letter to Mr. Gladstone. I used the term "dissolve the Land League." The letter was written after a viva voce communication with Mr. Gladstone, who said, "Well, this is a serious matter. I must consult my colleagues. Put it down in writing."
After the introductory conversation with Mr. Gladstone, the medium of communication was Mr. Chamberlain? - Yes. Negotiations were renewed by me without the knowledge of Mr. Parnell, who was informed of it when he was allowed out on parole at the funeral of his relation.

MR. PARNELL AND THE ARREARS BILL.

Is it not a fact that, when you mentioned the question of release, Mr. Parnell said there must be no reference to that matter at all? - Certainly.
Is it not a fact that, in every attempt made to put down outrage, Mr. Parnell referred to the proposed measure of the Government - the Arrears Bill - as a means of tranquillising the country? - Yes, certainly.
You were aware that Mr. Parnell had drafted a Bill dealing with the land question in Kilmainham - the Bill introduced by Mr. Redmond probably. The words in Mr. Parnell's letter, that "Wednesday's proceedings were satisfactory so far as they went," meant that the way in which the Bill was received, by arrangement with the Government, was satisfactory? - I do not recollect Mr. Parnell saying at the Eltham conference that it would be better, in the event of the Arrears Bill being passed, to leave some of the political prisoners in Kilmainham, otherwise it would look as though there had been negotiations on both sides.

WHY MR. PARNELL DESIRED TO SEE MR. DAVITT.

Did Mr. Parnell ask that he might see Mr. Davitt first because he thought perhaps Davitt would not accept his release on a ticket-of-leave? - Certainly not. He said he wished to talk matters over with him. He said there were certain men whom it was not desirable to let out. Brennan was one of them.

WHY THE MEMORANDA WAS DESTROYED.

Can't you remember any more? - No.
Have you any memoranda? - No; I have no memorandum.
How is that? - Well, the bulk of the memoranda was destroyed when there was a danger of a Select Committee of the House of Commons being appointed to inquire into the Kilmainham Treaty.
Destroyed! Why was it destroyed? - It was suggested to me that it was expedient that all matters connected with it should be regarded with the utmost reticence.
Who suggested that? - Sir William Harcourt - (laughter) - he intimating that it had been suggested to him by another person - Mr. Gladstone.
And what became of the documents? - They were destroyed.
Where? - At 1, Albert-mansions.

THE REWARD - "WAS IT CHIEF-SECRETARY-SHIP?"

What was to be your reward? Have you ever said that as a result of your negotiations, you expected to become Chief Secretary for Ireland? - (Laughter.) - No. Mr. Chamberlain intimated that I might if the Local Government measure came into force.
Was there any talk of a baronetcy? (Laughter). - No; the only time I heard of such a thing was in connection with some scurrilous speaker at an Irish county fair.

CAPTAIN O'SHEA MAKES AN EXPLANATION.

If you will allow me (here continued Captain O'Shea, turning to the President), I should like to make a correction. I believe, having thought the matter over, it is possible Mr. Parnell did say something about Mr. Davitt refusing to accept the ticket-of-leave.
Was that the reason given for postponing his release? - It is possible that was one of the reasons.

"GREAT BLOW TO THE PARNELLITES."

The Phoenix Park murders was for a while the subject of question. Captain O'Shea, continuing, said he took a letter from Mr. Parnell to Mr. Gladstone, after the tragedy, in which Mr. Parnell offered to retire from public life. He (witness) considered himself, at the time, that the Phoenix Park murders were a cruel blow to Mr. Parnell's policy.
Do you consider that? - Certainly.

THE FAC-SIMILE LETTER - ITS GENUINENESS.

At this juncture the cross-examiner recurred to the question of the fac-simile letters. "How many letters have you?" said Sir Charles Russell, when he had obtained an assurance from Captain O'Shea that he had still some epistles from Mr. Parnell. Captain O'Shea said he could not say. He had received a great many at one time and another - the number was considerably more than a dozen. He was thus familiar with Mr. Parnell's handwriting. He saw the fac-simile and the other letters at the office of Mr. Soames last Wednesday, and his impression was that they were genuine. "But I did not intend giving any evidence as to that," added the Captain. "If asked, I should say I believe they were all written by Mr. Parnell," was the reply, when they were handed up to the occupant of the witness-box. The gallant officer put on his glasses, turned over the documents again and again, and finally said, "They seem to me to be in his handwriting"; and with that the witness somewhat testily handed the letters back to the usher.
Have you heard how this letter got to the Times? - referring to the fac-simile letter - asked Sir Charles.
The witness said he did not know anything about it. When he first saw the letter in the Times, he did not think it was genuine, but the signature he did.
"What made you think it was not genuine?" asked Sir Charles.
"Well, I thought it funny that he should say, 'You may show him this, but don't tell him my address.;"
Sir Charles Russell - Yes, it certainly is odd.

POLICE PROTECTION FOR MR. PARNELL - AND CAPTAIN O'SHEA.

Again the questioner recurred to the subject of police protection for Mr. Parnell. Captain O'Shea said he knew that Mr. Parnell had police protection. Mr. Parnell had, indeed, asked witness to get him protection. - "And did you ask for police protection for yourself?" asked Sir Charles.
Captain O'Shea replied that that was so - for his house at Eltham, and also for his residence at Albert Mansions.
A letter was then read - published in the Times in May, 1882 - in which Captain O'Shea detailed a conversation with Mr. Forster, when he said he told Mr. Forster that if Messrs. Davitt, Sheridan, and Boyton were released they would use their exertion for the pacification of Ireland; and that Sheridan's influence was specially important in the West, where he had been engaged in the work of organisation.

A FEW QUESTIONS FROM MR. HEALY.

Mr. Healy - I wish to ask Captain O'Shea some questions.
The President assented.
Mr. Healy - You were opposed at Galway by some Members of the Irish Party? - Yes.
Who were they? - Yourself and Mr. Biggar.
Mr. Healy - We addressed meetings against you, and attacked and denounced you in every way in our power?
Captain O'Shea said that was so.

"NOTHING EXTRAORDINARY IN IT."

Head-constable Irwin next entered the witness-box, and his examination was continued. Mr. Murphy read a transcript of the speech of the Rev. Mr. Constantine, on the 12th of December, 1880. When the speech had been read the President remarked that he could see nothing of an extraordinary character in it.
Mr. Murphy pointed out that they had only today received the speeches in extenso, and it was therefore necessary to read them, as it might be suggested that they had made unfair extracts.
Sir Charles Russell said all he asked was that he should be supplied with copies of the speeches.
Mr. Murphy said he hoped to be able to fall in with that suggestion in the future, but it was impossible to do so at present. He then proceeded to read a speech made by Mr. Thos. Griffin at a meeting at which Mr. Matthew Harris was present. During the reading of the speeches another discussion arose, Sir Charles Russell claiming that they ought to be furnished with copies of the speeches in the same way as the Times had been provided with them from the Irish Office.
Mr. Murphy pointed out that the particular report he was then reading was that made by Irwin himself. After some further conversation, Mr. Murphy said it was a matter of impossibility to make any concessions to Sir Charles Russell, after the way in which such concessions as they did make were received.
The President interposed, and the reading of the speeches proceeded.
Mr. Murphy proceeded to read a long speech delivered by Father Murphy at Fenice, County Kerry, on the 25th of September, 1881.
The Court then adjourned.

CAPTAIN O'SHEA TO BE RECALLED.

Captain O'Shea is to be recalled tomorrow morning for the purpose of producing a memorandum in his possession. This memorandum is the address which was presented to him in Wardour-street, and which formed so prominent a part in the earlier portion of the cross-examination.

THE "TIMES'" COUNSELS' FEES.

It has before been stated that the Attorney-General receives refreshers of a hundred guineas a day. Truth states that both Sir Richard's and Sir Henry James's briefs are marked 1,500 guineas. The other Times briefs are marked in the usual descending scale.

Source: The Echo, Wednesday, October 31, 1888, pp. 2-3

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