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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Mon 24 Sep 2012 - 1:26

Nineteenth Day of Proceedings - Friday November 23, 1888





The Commission resumed this morning at half-past ten o'clock, at which hour there were very few persons present.

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.


District-inspector Huggins, who was under examination last night when the Court rose, again entered the witness-box. His evidence was directed to further proving the conduct of various gangs of moonlighters who visited portions of the Kenmare and other estates near Killarney in 1880, 1881, and subsequent years, and whom it was attempted to show were associated either directly or indirectly. The "Outrage Book" kept at the police-station at Castleisland again figured before the Court. This is a formidable record of crime, in which category, however, is associated such an act as the cutting off of a man's whiskers, reported to the Castleisland police at a time when Huggins resided there.
At the outset Sir Charles Russell objected to the witness directly declaring, as if it were a matter of his own personal knowledge, that "such and such an offence" occurred on any particular night, submitting that Huggins should merely state the case was reported as having occurred.
It appeared in the course of the discussion that ensued, that Huggins had not in his possession a second "Outrage Book," kept at Castleisland, and consequently the evidence was taken on different lines, the witness deposing to facts that had come within his own knowledge, it being stated that the second book would be to hand on Tuesday morning.


Huggins then produced a copy of a notice posted up on the door of a school in the district on the 19th Nov., 1881. In this Patrick Sheehy, Daniel Brosnan, and Edward Shannon were warned not to send their children to the school, at which was an assistant mistress, whose brother had taken an evicted farm in the neighbourhood. Then followed references to the visits of the Moonlighters and the outrages put down to their account. In one case a band of disguised and armed men visited a farmhouse and administered an oath to the tenant - in which he declared that he would pay no more rent; in another, an old man of 60 was shot in the leg for paying his rent, the leg being subsequently amputated, while on Christmas-day, 1881, no less than six houses in the district were visited by an armed party. On the 5th and 6th February, 1882, several men were warned that their ears would be alit if they paid their rent.


A few days later "Captain Moonlight" caused to be posted in the district certain remarkable notices. Here is a literal rendering of one of them: -
"Take notice. - This abomination. - Any person who will pay his rent will get the revenge of C.M. and his successful companions - the Rifles - and any person who will speak to the constables will get the same. Let this stand, as I have said before, and the person who will (here a word was torn out) and raise a hand to tear it, "C.M." will give him an early grave in an early century. I stand here as truly as before - C.M. - as sure as God is your guide."
Then followed a representation of a coffin, and a figure which Sir Henry James asserted he could not make out at all.


In another notice the writer, lamenting the imprisonment of Mr. C.S. Parnell "under the accursed Coercion Act," broke out into few really remarkable lines of doggrel. Here they are: -
"God that sees us all,

Rent-payers must surely fall.
For while Parnell in jail remains
Captain Moonlight must take pains,
In every way, both day and night,
To make the tenants all go right.
But now enough has been said,
So 50 pounds for a rent-payer's head."

This was signed by Captain Moonlight and United Irishmen.


These notices having been read, causing considerable amusement in Court, Huggins proceeded with his relation of the story of crime. The next event mentioned was the murder, on the 13th of March, 1882, of Mr. Arthur Herbert, of which no particulars were given, Huggins merely mentioning that people danced near the spot where the murder was committed, and that the grave of the murdered man was guarded for some time after the interment; the shooting of a man named Cullaghty, and the firing into the house of a young woman who was about to take an evicted farm.


Here Huggins once more reverted to "Captain Moonlight's" notices. He produced a tattered, rusty, square of paper, from which Sir Henry James Read: -
"100 pound reward for anyone giving information of paying rent. Captain Moonlight's Office, Tipperary. - Daniel Keefe, - We hereby have to give you notice, and a strict one. Why did you pay your rent a few days ago? You must know that the Moonlight Brigade is not dead yet, and I solemnly swear that before a few nights we will visit each of you and clip off your ears about that paying of rent."
Another one, inscribed in almost unintelligible calligraphy on a square of yellow paper, and addressed to a man named Horan, ran thus: -
"Captain Moonlight is now at hand. There is 50 pound reward by Captain Moonlight to any man giving intelligence of any person serving a "landgrabber." Horan, I am told you are giving a passage to Pat Keene for his cattle to the "Orphans'" land. Now, we tell you not to let his cows come through your land, or your life is not worth ------. Take very good care not to let Keene's cows go through any more, and spare your own life as long as you can." At the foot of the notice was a sketch of a man shooting over a coffin, and the words "mind the bog."


A brief reference to the murder of Pat Cahill in the month of June, 1882, on the bog of his farm, from which a man, under Mr. Hussey, had a few months before been evicted - and Huggins produced still more notices of the formidable "Captain Moonlight." For the first time since the inquiry the name of "Captain Daylight" came forward as Huggins proceeded. This was attached to a letter written to the proprietor of an hotel at Castleisland. It contained a warning that he should not landgrab again, and concluded with the observation, "So now prepare, you boycotted ruffian," and the declaration that he was a poisonous reptile, and that his body would be riddled with bullets. Another notice was written in October, and sent to Daniel Corney. It was dated "Moonlight Arms Hotel," and ran thus: -
"Take notice, pay no rent; if you do, you are liable to be shot. It is not what your father Jim got that you will catch. You are liable to death all together. Show this to Dan Keefe and Johnny Walsh. Tell John Walsh if he pays any rent he will catch it yet."


Hitherto Huggins had dealt with the early part of 1882. He now went on more rapidly. Between November, 1882, and February, 1883, there were, he said, thirty outrages in the district; from June, 1883, to January, 1884, there were thirty-three; from January, 1884, to July, 1884, there were no less than eighty-four; between September and November, in 1884, there were also a large number of outrages, including an attempt to blow up Mr. Hussey's house, for which he got 2,000 pounds compensation; and from November, 1884, to July, 1885, there were twenty-nine outrages. Meetings of the National League were next dealt with. The first referred to was one held at Gneeveguilla, in December, 1885, at which Mr. Sheehan, M.P., Mr. E. Harrington, M.P., and Mr. Stack, M.P., were present. At this meeting Lord Kenmare and Mr. Walsh were referred to, the tenants being advised not to accept 30 per cent reduction, but to go in for 50 per cent.


The second meeting mentioned was one held at Knocknagashill in January, 1886, Mr. E. Harrington and Mr. Stack being present. At the meeting Dr. Moriarty, a local, medical man, spoke. He stated that he knew all the prominent Fenians in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and, as a follower of James Stephens, advised the people to shun the landgrabber as a man who had the plague, and to refuse to fetch the doctor if he were ill. He declared that the landgrabber should go to his grave "unhonoured, unwept, and unsung," and that no one should be allowed to attend his funeral except the widow, who should fire a popgun over his grave. There were no expressions of dissent from anyone present at that meeting. Going back to 1881, the witness referred to the prosecution of a Mrs. Eliahan for taking forcible possession of a house in Castleisland. At the trial, he said, Mr. Timothy Horan attended at the Court, and said he appeared for the woman on the part of the Land League.


Sir Charles Russell cross-examined Huggins, who said he thought it strange that Horan should state that he appeared on behalf of the Land League. He could not swear positively that Mr. E. Harrington was present at the meeting referred to, when Dr. Moriarty spoke.
Did you take notes of other speeches than that of Dr. Moriarty? - No, I did not.
Did you take notes of Moriarty's speech? - Not at the meeting.
Then, you didn't write it out till you got home? - No.


Huggins was further cross-examined as to how many constables, inspectors, sub-inspectors, and Resident Magistrates were present in London on the trial. He informed Sir Charles that he was in London three weeks at the time of the "O'Donnell v. Walter" trial, and had been here on the present case since the 1st of November.
How many constables, head-constables, inspectors, sub-inspectors, district-inspectors, Magistrates, and Resident Magistrates are here now? - (Laughter.) - Well, I couldn't say.
Are there a hundred? - I don't think there is half a hundred. There might be from different parts of Ireland.
And how does Ireland get on without them? - (Laughter.) - I don't know.
Has there been a decrease in crime? - I don't think so.


Huggins, in further cross-examination, admitted that there were cases in which the outrages were "got up" by farmers' sons, so that they should have an excuse not to pay their rent. He knew of least twenty of these cases. Many of these cases were never sent to London to appear in official returns as to outrages, the Inspector-General recommending their exclusion.
And may I take it that those cases the Inspector-General considered were merely "got up" cases? - Yes. The witness added that about 60 per cent of the outrages reported consisted of raids upon houses for arms, threatening notices, and maiming of cattle; but many of them were very serious. He had been in the force since 1881, but he asserted most emphatically that he had never heard of raids for arms in Cork in 1886 and 1885. However, Sir Charles Russell pressed him very severely, and he then admitted that he heard of a raid for arms in Cork City, and one or two other similar cases, long before the Land League was formed. Sir Charles Russell took Huggins seriatim through the outrages reported in the book, ascertaining from him the particulars connected with each particular occurrence. In one case, he distinctly said, after investigating a complaint laid by a farmer to the effect that his house had been fired into, and that he had been compelled to take an oath not to pay further rent, that he came to the conclusion that the whole story was a fabrication, and that such an outrage had never occurred at all.
Has it not come across your mind that men who had obtained high compensation for malicious injury were very willing after that to allow their farms to be injured? - I can't say that it has.
Have you never had a suspicion that the persons claiming were the persons who got up the "outrages" themselves? - I can't say that I have.


In connection with the murder of Mr. Herbert, Huggins mentioned that he was very unpopular in the neighbourhood. On one occasion he could get no process-server to serve writs, and served them himself, protected by the police; and on another occasion he complained publicly that the police had not "skivered" - or bayonetted - the people on the occasion of a disturbance. With regard to the case of the man Hickey, who was shot and conveyed to a public-house upon which was posted a notice threatening anyone who entered the house during his stay there, he said that the case was never reported for official reference because it was considered that the notice had no effect.


Do you think it fair to this court, Sir, that you should have mentioned all the outrages that occurred, and should have omitted mention of these which you knew were "got up" cases? - I never took a note of them.
Have you any other explanation? - I have not. He knew of the case, he added, in which a man complained of the malicious burning of his house, but, believing it was an accidental case, he refused him police protection.
Sir Charles Russell, in the course of further cross-examination, obtained from the witness a written statement to which he continually referred while giving his evidence. After reading this, Sir Charles asked if it was not a fact that the sham outrages were entirely omitted from the statement, the learned counsel receiving a reply in the affirmative.


Continuing his replies, Huggins said that in the Castleisland district there were two Land League branches in 1881, one in Brosna, and one in Cordell. After the Act of that year, when the League was suppressed, a Ladies' Land League was established; but he was not aware of any meetings of the League being held after the suppression. Under Mr. Forster's Act, he went on, the police had power to arrest people if they had reasonable suspicion of their conduct. People so arrested were known as suspects, but no charge was ever formulated against one of them. Around Castleisland there were over twenty people so arrested. He, however, could give no definite information on the topic without referring to his notes.
"Now, taking the three months before October, 1881, when the League was suppressed, and the three months after, which was the worst in point of crime and outrage? - I think there was not much difference; but, if anything, the three months afterwards were the worst.
Have you any clear impression that the twelve months preceding October, 1881, were much worse than the twelve months afterward? - I believe there were forty or fifty more reports in the latter period. The witness continued to say that under Mr. Forster's Act most of the principal local men, such as shopkeepers, &c., were put in jail as "suspects," and remained there generally till April or May of 1882. Most of these were respectable people, and members of the Land League.
The Court here adjourned for luncheon.


Upon resuming, Huggins re-entered the box, and produced a list of names of those who were arrested as suspects. There were nineteen names, which included those of T.B. Kenny, a farmer; Brosnan, a tenant, aged between 65 and 70, and his son Timothy, a shopkeeper; and also those of Edmund Hussey and Cornelius Hussey; William, Patrick, and Laurance Quinlan, Timothy Karl, Thomas, O'Connell, Thomas Walsh, and a man named Murphy. These men were described either as farmers' sons or shopkeepers.
Sir Charles Russell - The result of these arrests was that most of the responsible heads of the league were in prison? - Some of them. The witness went on to say he could not actually state whether there were any branches of the National League in the Castleisland district before 1885.


Had you heard of any secret societies in Kerry? - Well, I can't say I had. I had heard of the Moonlighters, but I believed them to be a part and parcel of the Land and National Leagues.
Did I ask you for that? - No.
Then did you not give the latter part of your answer because you thought it was a damaging statement? - No.
Will you, sir, tell the Jury - (laughter) - well, that is quite correct, for the Court is both Judge and Jury. Will you swear that you did not make that statement because you thought it was a damaging statement? - I will. I heard of secret societies in county Cork.
Did you ever, Sir, in making your report to your superiors, say that secret societies were connected with the Land League or the National League? - I did not.


Cross-examined by Mr. Reid as to the cause of the increase in crime after the arrest of the "suspects," Huggins declared in his opinion it was due to retaliatory measures for the arrests. He admitted that probably some of the outrages were due to malicious motives of revenge.
You have stated that you believed the Moonlighters to be part and parcel of the Land League. Can you give me your reasons? - Well, there was no crime in the locality before the Land League was established.
Is that your only reason? - No. I had reason to believe many of the members of the League were prompters of the crime. For instance, one night a process-server was visited, and his ears were clipped. He told me that Morris Murphy, a member of the League, called upon him before the outrage and warned him not to serve certain processes he had in his possession. However, he did serve the writs, and the outrage occurred.
And you infer from that that Murphy was connected with the outrage? - No, I do not. I infer that if the process-server had gone to Murphy and said he would not serve the writs, Murphy would have prevented the outrage.
Have you ever had, in your capacity as a high police official, any evidence to directly connect the National League or Land League with these outrages? - No.


Mr. Lockwood - When were you first engaged in getting up the case for the Times?
Sir Henry James - I must object to the "getting up" the Times case, indeed!
Sir Charles Russell (excitedly) - Yes, my Lord, and we charge deliberately, and we will make good our charges, that the whole of the executive authority represented by the police and the Magistrates have been engaged in getting up the case for the Times.
The President - Of course that is only an assertion.
Sir Henry James - My objection still holds good.
Mr. Lockwood - I submit it is a perfectly regular question, but I refuse to argue. (To the witness) - When were you first employed by the Times? - I was not employed by them at all.
Sir C. Russell - I want to add, my Lord, that I make my assertion because this man says from the Crown Solicitor he gets a communication, in accordance with which he decides to dispense with personal service of the subpoena; next, that he compiles from the records of the office lists of outrages; next, that he has not had his evidence taken directly by anyone representing the Times -
Mr. Soames, for instance - and, next, that he is allowed to go down to Castleisland and refresh his memory before he appears here.
The President - I, of course, think Mr. Lockwood is not entitled to put the question, but the incident may now terminate, for the witness says he was not employed by the Times.
Mr. Lockwood proceeded with his cross-examination, being interrupted by Mr. Justice Smith, who stated that the same ground had been gone over before. "I thought it was your side (he added) that was complaining of the duration of the case. I heard all this four hours ago."
Mr. Lockwood - If you heard it four hours ago I'm surprised Sir Henry James didn't take his objection before. However (to the witness) - During the time you are in London do you receive your Government pay? - Yes.
Have you had any money from the Times? - I have not.
How did you get over here, then? - I got 5 pounds when I had the subpoena. I was paid my expenses in the other case.


In re-examination by Sir Henry James, Huggins said in no case of a sham outrage did the person claiming get compensation. Only one man, to witness's knowledge, had asked for police protection without good cause, and that man only had protection for two years. There had been a large number of persons, however, who had had good cause to ask for protection and received it.
Mr. Lockwood here suggested that Sir Henry James was going over ground that had already been covered.
Sir Henry then became impatient, and complained that there had been a running interruption by his learned friends during the whole of his examination. He had, he asserted, not been able to ask one question without observations being made.
Mr. Reid denied that he had interrupted his learned friend in any way.
The Court subsequently adjourned.


The Correspondent of the Freeman's Journal is told that the Special Commission will adjourn on December 9th to some day after Christmas, thus further postponing the time when the Irish Members can meet the charge against them.

Source: The Echo, Friday November 23, 1888, pp. 2-3

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
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