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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Tue 30 Oct 2012 - 23:36

Forty-third Day of Proceedings - Friday, February 1, 1889




Captain Slack again entered the box when the Court reassembled this morning. He was cross-examined by Mr. M. Davitt, the line pursued being a very ingenious one. The Captain yesterday produced about two dozen cases of outrage, which he alleged followed the denunciation of the League in the eight counties under his control. On an average, according to Mr. Davitt, as many as 6,000 meetings connected with the League are held every year, and it is estimated that as many as 144,000 speeches are delivered at these meetings. The Captain only mentioned two dozen cases of outrage, and those cases travelled over the whole series of years from 1880.
"Dividing 144,000 by 24, that would leave a very small percentage of outrages following these meetings," suggested Mr. Davitt.
"It would; but (replied the Captain) I only brought forward these cases as samples. I could bring others."


At this point Mr. Biggar rose and appealed to the Court. He had, he said, to ask when the Attorney-General intended giving evidence against the parties charged. They had been there forty-two days, and he submitted that Sir Richard had not attempted to give evidence against the parties named.
The Attorney-General (cynically) - That's not my view.
The President - No, no.


Here the matter ended; and Mr. Reid addressed himself to Captain Slack, expressing a desire to obtain from that gentleman an exhaustive history of the cases in which outrage had followed the denunciations of the League. Captain Slack said such a step would be an "interminable business"; in fact, it would necessitate his going through all the records, and producing witnesses to prove every incident.
Sir Charles Russell interposed also, and explained the importance of the point, urging upon the Court that it was necessary an exhaustive list should be produced of the whole cases upon which the Captain relied.
The Attorney-General followed. He addressed a few questions to Captain Slack, who asserted that he really could produce other cases, as anyone, examining his books, would see. At the same time, however, to produce an exhaustive record, he would have to obtain a large number of documents from the Castle.
Sir Charles Russell, who had read the list carefully through, informed the Commissioners that he did not wish those who were reporting the case to understand that the cases brought forward by Captain Slack were really those of outrage following the denunciation of the League. As a matter of fact, not one of those cases was one in which it was alleged that the outrage followed the denunciation. It was merely a statement of the outrage, with a suggested motive.
Incidentally it was here mentioned that it was intended to prepare, for the purposes of the Commission, two maps - one showing the number of evictions, and the other the cases of outrage since the agitation commenced.


For the first time since the Commission commenced an English police official entered the box. This was Mr. Wilkinson, head-constable of Rochdale. This gentleman told how he had occasion, in the course of his duties, to search for John Walsh, who was staying at the Navigation Inn, in Feb., 1883. However, Walsh escaped him; but the detective seized some of his bags. In one of them was a green card. It was rather a remarkable document. In contained the letters of the alphabet from "A" to "O" in one column; on the next was the heading "Men," on the next "Money," the next "Short Furniture," the next "Long Furniture," and the next "Amount of Pills." In the bag also was a key to the letters of the alphabet. Thus "A" meant Manchester, "B" Liverpool, "D" Leeds, "E" Tyne, "G" Bradford, "H" Preston, "J" Ramsbottom, and so on. There was also a document which was headed "cash received from F. Byrne from March 13," and contained various sums of money; a letter referring to a testimonial to Frank Byrne; several other papers containing accounts purporting to be accounts for travelling and salary; and a copy of the rules of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
In connection with John Walsh the Attorney-General put in extracts from the Nation and United Ireland relating to him. The extracts were from papers dating from 1877, and showed Walsh's connection with the English branches of the League, first as secretary, and subsequently as organiser.


Another English police official. This was Inspector John Tunbridge, of Scotland-yard, who produced a letter purporting to be one of John Walsh's, which was sent to the Bank of England and afterwards sent to Scotland-yard in 1883.
Sir Charles Russell objected to the letter being read until the handwriting was proved, and so it was not read at this stage, being merely handed in.
Later, however, Sir Charles compared the letter with one he said a friend had handed him, and then said he would allow it to be read. It was dated from Havre, March 22nd, 1881, and addressed to the Secretary of the Bank of England. It informed the Secretary of Walsh's loss of two 10 pound notes in that town, and asked that they might be "stopped."
Inspector Tunbridge proved that one of the lost notes had been formerly in the possession of Frank Byrne. Tunbridge, later on, received further documents, amongst them being a letter from Walsh to the landlord of the Navigation Inn, at Rochdale, asking for particulars as to where his portmanteaus had gone.
For the purpose of tracing the bank-note, a man named Barton, who was a clerk in the Pearl Insurance Office, deposed to seeing, in a cheque-book in the office, the counterfoil of a cheque in payment for which the note had been accepted. He also asserted that he had frequently seen Frank Byrne in the office with Mr. Foley, who was the manager of the office, and is now a Member of Parliament.
The course of the cheque was further proved by a clerk in the Central Bank, who showed that the note lost by Mr. Walsh was one paid out of the private account of Mr. Foley upon a cheque drawn in favour of Mr. Byrne.


Sergeant Sheridan, of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force, produced the warrant issued for the arrest of Walsh. The charge upon which Walsh was to be arrested was that of being an accessory before the fact of the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke.
William Jackman, an inspector of the Bradford police, having proved that Walsh attended meetings of the Land League and the Fenian Brotherhood in Bradford in 1881-2. Police-constable Coulston, of the same force, corroborated the statement. The latter added that he searched the house of a man named Tobin, who was always in the company of Walsh, and found several boxes and trunks, containing forty pin-fire revolvers, and a large amount of cartridges to fit the revolvers.
James Withers, the Chief Constable of Bradford, proved the arrest of Tobin on November 14, 1881, and searching his house subsequently, finding several documents.
Sir Charles Russell submitted that they were not to inquire into all the movements of persons such as Tobin - a person who was not mentioned in the particulars at all.
The Attorney-General replied that it would be shown that Walsh and Tobin were in direct communication, and were working together in one organisation.
Sir Chas. Russell - But which organisation?
The Attorney-General - They are one and the same. When we have shown that Tobin was in connection with Walsh, when we have shown that there was a deposit of arms in Tobin's house, and that Walsh, a Land League organiser, was engaged in depositing arms about, we say the documents are admissible.
The President ruled the documents admissible.
This particular document, in reference to which the discussion arose, was accordingly read. It bore no date, but informed Tobin that the writer, a man named Doolen, was attending a meeting of the "D.C." shortly, and was desirous of obtaining names of all defaulters, and their birthplaces, in Ireland. It added that the amount collected would be taken on to Manchester by Mr. Davitt.


Sir Charles Russell excitedly rose and declared that he really must protest against the admission of these documents. The letter bore no date at all. Were they to go back to 1866-67-68?
The President - I must protest against the way in which you conduct this case, Sir Charles. We have given our decision. We are not infallible; but as we have given our decision it must not be reopened again.
Sir Charles Russell - I don't wish to reopen it. I say that we did not know of the contents of the letter until it was read, and that now it is read I am entitled to ask your lordships to consider the point again.
The President - Instead of asking us you address us in an aggressive mode that is most unbecoming.
Sir C. Russell - I don't wish to appear unbecoming or aggressive. But I feel very strongly upon the point, and I shan't attempt to conceal it.


Another letter was put in with the date Sept. 9th, 1880. It was from the London offices of the Home Rule Federation of Great Britain. It purported to be written by F. Byrne, who deplored a quarrel which had occurred in Bradford amongst the members of the Federation. It especially referred to a man named Molloy, who, Frank Byrne said, "must be squelched," and informed the recipient that Byrne had written Dr. Commins about the matter.
Chief Constable Whithers added that Tobin was convicted of treason felony in 1882, and sentenced to seven years' penal servitude. He said also that some arms were found in the house in Bradford that a man named Patrick Egan was building. They were, however, very rusty, but they resembled the forty pin-fire revolvers found at Tobin's house.


For the purpose of proving handwriting only, the Attorney-General handed in two letters written by Mr. Parnell to Mr. O'Donnell. They were of no importance, and, as the Attorney-General said, were merely to prove the handwriting. One was written from Paris, and the other from Kilmainham Jail.
These letters were produced by Mr. Beale, Mr. O'Donnell's solicitor in the "O'Donnell v. Times" case.
Richard Tighe, a solicitor, who lives at Ballinasloe, deposed to being consulted by Mr. Matt Harris as to defending some ejectments, and to Mr. Harris promising that the League would pay him. He ultimately received the cheque from the League.
Mr. Daly, a solicitor, practicing in Ballinrobe up to last summer, but now of Galway, gave evidence of defending person accused of the murder of Lord Mountmorres, Feerewick, Huddy, Freeley, a herd at Ballinrobe, and a man named Gibbons, and several people accused of participation in outrages, riots, and firing at the person. As to the murder cases he was never instructed directly by the Land League. He was, however, instructed several times by persons acting for the Land League, from whom he received between 300 pounds and 400 pounds as miscellaneous costs. He did a great deal of work for the League without receiving payment, and eventually sent in a bill of costs, amounting to between 700 pounds and 800 pounds. This bill was, he presumed, taxed by the officials of the League, and was ultimately reduced to 150 pounds, which was paid him. (Laughter.) His services to the League would certainly have brought him 500 pounds, if paid for in the ordinary way.
Replying to the President, witness said he did not believe the League knew anything about any of the murder cases, which were, he thought, the result of an outbreak of local feeling.
The Attorney-General - Who did you send the costs to? - To the League.
At this point the Court adjourned for luncheon.

Upon resuming, several men of the R.I.C. were called to prove the action of the public on the arrest of certain members of the League in Cork. In one case the people surrounded the police-barracks, and demanded that the bailiffs who had attempted to distrain upon the Leaguer's farm, and had been sheltered by the police, should be given up.


At this point three letters from Frank Byrne to Mr. Quinn were put in. One was that in which Byrne described to Quinn how, acting under the advice of his doctor, he had left England for a "warmer climate," and had decided to accept his medical adviser's advice to go on a long sea voyage.
District Inspector Creaghe produced documents found on a man named O'Brien, arrested at Rhoda for drunkenness, and supposed to be a Land Leaguer. The documents were not read, as there was no evidence to show that O'Brien was a Leaguer.


The Chief Superintendent of the Liverpool Detective Force, Mr. George Williams, proved searching the office of a printer named Hynes, in Liverpool, on the 15th May, 1883. In that office he found a document, for the issuing of which Patrick O'Brien, one of the parties charged, was convicted in August of the same year. The documents contained this passage: "Woe to you who have any of the goods of the Jurors in your hands, for then you, as well as they, will have the blood of the innocent sufferers on your hands." Another document was an analysis of Special Jurors who had served in Ireland under the Crimes Act.
(The report will be continued.)



Patrick Molloy, aged 26, of 43, York-street, Dublin, described as a clerk, was charged on a warrant before Sir James Ingham at Bow-street Police-court, today, with having committed wilful and corrupt perjury in evidence given in the Parnell Commission on the 7th of December, 1888.
- Mr. Charles Matthews, instructed by Messrs. Soames and Co., solicitors for the Times, appeared to prosecute, and said he did not propose to do more at present than to read over the evidence upon which the warrant was granted. He would then ask for a remand, in order to get such information as would prove to his Worship that the case was one to go before a Jury.
Patrick Quinn, inspector of the Criminal Investigation Department, Scotland-yard, stated: - On the afternoon of the 31st January a warrant was placed in my hands for the arrest of the defendant for wilful and corrupt perjury committed at the Royal Courts of Justice on the 7th of December, 1888. With that warrant I proceeded to Liverpool the same day. At two o'clock this morning I arrested the defendant at 3, Richmond-road, Liverpool. I was accompanied by another officer, and said to the defendant, who was in bed, "We are police officers. I have a warrant for your arrest." I read the warrant to him. He said, "Very well, I will go with you." We then took him to Dale-street Station, and he there remained in custody till a quarter to ten this morning. We then brought him to London, and straight on to this station and Court.
In the course of the journey did he make any statement to you in relation to the charge?
Witness: No.
Sir J. Ingham (to defendant) - Do you wish to put any question to the witness?
Molloy: No.
Mr. Alexander (Chief Clerk) then proceeded to read the information on which the warrant was granted.
The prisoner, having been cautioned by Sir James Ingham, was formally remanded until this day week.

Source: The Echo, Friday February 1, 1889, pp. 2-3

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

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