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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Tue 30 Oct 2012 - 2:03

Forty-first Day of Proceedings - Wednesday, January 30, 1889

PARNELL COMMISSION.
FORTY-FIRST DAY.

HEARING OF EVIDENCE RESUMED.
ANOTHER LANDLORD'S EXPERIENCE.

Mr. Davitt, who had not visited the Court since Tuesday in last week, was in his usual place by the solicitors' table this morning when the Commission resumed business.
Sir Henry James again addressed himself to the extracts from letters, reports, speeches, and articles that have appeared in United Ireland from time to time. Amongst these was a speech delivered by Mr. O'Brien at Gorey in 1885. This principally referred to the Land Purchase Act, upon which Mr. O'Brien recommended the branches of the League to hold a conference. They could then, he said, arrive at some conclusion as to how far they would go with it, and he saw no reason why those who would not adopt their resolutions should not be boycotted, because they were those who would drag the country to ruin with them.
Having read a resolution passed at a branch of the League, denouncing several persons who had been guilty of landgrabbing.
Mr. Reid asked Sir Henry James if he would state whether he would suggest later on that these people were outraged.
Sir Henry James replied that if it was a very marked case he would give evidence of it by way of a return subsequently.

"HON. MEMBER WOULD RECOGNISE IT."

A speech, attributed to "the Member for Cavan," provoked from Mr. Biggar the remark that it might not be his.
Sir Henry James, however, thought the hon. gentleman would recognise it, and proceeded to read several extracts. In one portion of it the speaker said the landgrabber deserved any punishment which the people had in their power to inflict, morally and legally, and advised his hearers not even to sit with him in the Church on the Sabbath.
Having read several other extracts, a task which occupied about two hours, Sir Henry James observed to Mr. Reid, who had been engaged in carefully reading one of Mr. Davitt's speeches, "Is there anything more you wish to read, Mr. Reid?" "Oh no," was the reply. "There is nothing that would throw more light upon the matter. "We have long since passed that stage," replied Sir Charles Russell, amidst laughter. He added, however, that it might be advisable that the text of the speech - which was really a lecture - should be read.
Sir Henry James objected. He pointed out that the task would occupy a very long time.
Sir Charles Russell - I should like to read it.
Sir Henry James (to Sir Charles) - It might be very valuable in Hackney. (Laughter.) However, my Lord, if there is to be any discussion about the matter, I would rather not put in the extracts than read the whole of the article.
Mr. Davitt - Very well.

THE COURT AGAIN HEARS EVIDENCE.

This being the whole of the extracts, the Court once more settled down to listen to the evidence.
Mr. O'Keethe, the cashier in the Castleisland branch of the National Bank in 1881, was the first witness. He deposed to Timothy Horan, the treasurer of the local branch of the League, having an account at the bank at that time, and to his paying in various cheques during that year. They were, he said, drawn on the Hibernian Bank in Dublin, and signed "J.E. Kenny."
"Was that Dr. Kenny the Member of Parliament?" asked Mr. Murphy.
"Oh, there's no doubt about it at all," exclaimed Sir Charles Russell.
At this point the Court adjourned for luncheon.

Upon resuming, evidence was given of the cheques paid into the Castleisland Branch of the National Bank having been debited to the account of John E. Kenny, at the Hibernian Bank in Dublin.

A LANDLORD'S VARIED EXPERIENCES - AFTER 1880.

William Hanley, a landlord and agent, who lived in Thurles in 1880, described the condition of the locality prior to and after the Land League was established. In the year 1887, he said, he had the rents raised on some of the estates under his care, but prior to 1880 there had never been an eviction for about twenty years. In 1881, however, the land agitation began in the neighbourhood, and Mr. Hanley's tenants called upon him to demand a reduction. After that four of the tenants paid secretly. In one instance a friend of the tenants' called at the house at night and paid Mr. Hanley in the hall, and other tenants asked that their cattle might be seized. Mr. Hanley was unable to get anyone to serve writs, and he served them himself, with the result that he was very severely boycotted for about four years. His servants, so they told him, were ordered to leave him, he had to have police protection, and the servant who remained in his employ had his house fired into because he remained in his employ. Later on, in 1882, several of the tenants on the O'Keethe estate, which was also under the care of Mr. Hanley, paid their rents secretly. Prior to that time he had an office in the hotel at Thurles, but was there told by the landlord that he must give up his office, or he would have to leave the place and would be ruined. After that he found it impossible to get cars to carry on his business, so he purchased horses and cars and contracted to have the police driven to different places. After that one of his cars was so cut about, that when driving home the vehicle broke down, he was thrown out, and very seriously injured.

"WOULD MAKE MORE OUT OF THE LEAGUE."

Mr. Hanley gave further particulars of incidents connected with the conduct of the estates under his control, stating, in one case, that a man named Lynch asked him to evict him, giving as his reason that "it would be better for him if he were evicted, as in that case he would make more out of the League."
Sir Charles Russell (sotto voce, and with an air of lassitude) - Oh dear! I daresay he would.
In another case, said Hanley, a schoolmistress sent him her rent by the priest of the parish. Subsequently the road leading to her house was ploughed up, and a wall built around the entrance to her residence. The children attending the woman's school were withdrawn, and since then "the poor woman" had had really no means of obtaining a livelihood.
In cross-examination, Sir Charles Russell referred to the raising of the rents, as spoken to by Hanley. The latter stated that the tenants on his estate were leasehold tenants, and the majority of the leases dated back to 1795.
Did you not mean to convey to the Court, in your answer to the Attorney-General, that the tenants, when their rents were raised, were under a very low and almost charitable rental? - No, I -
The President - He replied to the questions put to him.
Sir Charles Russell - Oh! Then perhaps the blame ought to be placed upon the shoulders of the questioner?
The Attorney-General - Certainly.
(The report will be continued.)

WHEN WILL THE "TIMES" CASE END.

News to hand concerning the Commission this morning is of rather a divergent character. The Leeds Mercury London Correspondent tells us he has reason to believe that the "Times expect to conclude their case in about three weeks from this time. The letters will, it is expected, be reached either at the end of this week or the beginning of the next." The London Correspondent of the Birmingham Post, however, tells us that "It is regarded as scarcely within the bounds of possibility that February will pass without the letters being reached; but I hear from an authoritative source favourable to the Times that, before that point, some very startling evidence is to be given. When the speeches, therefore, are once out of the way an era of sensational testimony may be expected to commence."

Source: The Echo, Wednesday January 30, 1889, Page 3

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Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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