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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Tue 6 Nov 2012 - 7:03

Forty-sixth Day of Proceedings - Thursday, February 7, 1889

PARNELL COMMISSION.
FORTY-SIXTH DAY.

SIR R. WEBSTER DEFINES THE ACCUSATION.
HIS CHARGE AGAINST MR. PARNELL.

HIS CONNECTION WITH THE I.R.B.
EGAN'S STORY OF HIS ESCAPE.

BRENNAN'S FLIGHT FROM LONDON.
WHAT GALLAGHER MIGHT HAVE DONE.

EGAN'S CREDENTIALS TO THE MAJOR.

The public exhibit a great deal of interest in Major Le Caron and his sensational story. The Court was crowded this morning when the Commission resumed, and several persons who had tickets were unable to obtain admission.

THE MAJOR CORRECTING INACCURACIES.

Prior to resuming this story, Major Le Caron corrected various slight inaccuracies which occurred in the report of his examination on the opening day. This step on his part exemplified one of the most remarkable characteristics of the Major - his strict regard for the very minutest details. Thus he detailed such mistakes as the substitution of "le" for "n" as the terminating letter in his name. He also corrected a statement he made yesterday. He then said he saw Sheridan at the Philadelphia Convention of 1883, but now wished the name to be altered to M.J. Boyton, the Major explaining that Sheridan did not arrive in America until some time after the Convention.

PENSION TO THE LOMASNEY FAMILY.

Then the Major resumed his story. He again produced the copy of the constitution of the "U.S.," which was under discussion last night when the Court rose. This contained various symbols of a most remarkable nature, each of which had, in the parlance of the organisation, some significant meaning. Thus a sort of rectangle with the corners overlapping signified the secretary, and a cross the treasurer. The Major returned once more to the case with Mackay Lomasney, who is supposed to have been killed in the dynamite outrage at London-bridge, in 1884, and whose wife, family, and father are now in receipt of a pension from the organisation. In June of last year Le Caron attended a Convention of the re-united U.B. at Chicago. There, in the course of a discussion, the services of Lomasney were brought up by the delegate from Detroit, where the family lives, something being said about the amount allowed to them.
Sir Charles Russell objected to the statement of the delegates being reproduced by Le Caron, and renewed the objections he took yesterday to the admission of similar conversations. It was submitted both by Sir Charles Russell and Mr. Reid that the Court should require something more - some more solid foundation - than these mere vague conversations, innocent in themselves, alleged to have taken place from time to time.

"NOT CONNECTED PERSONALLY WITH MURDEROUS OUTRAGES."

The Attorney-General replied, declaring that while he did not at the present moment attempt to connect Mr. Parnell or his associates personally with murderous outrages, he had shown that they had allied themselves with people who they knew, or should have taken the trouble to have inquired, had been for years prominently connected with these murderous outrages. Everything that he said in the Court was - not intentionally, perhaps - misrepresented, and so he found it necessary to make the matter clear.

MR. PARNELL AND THE "I.R.B."

They did not say (proceeded Sir Richard) - the libels did not say - that Mr. Parnell planned the murders; but they said that he was directly associated with the I.R.B.; that the I.R.B. was connected with the national organisation and was in receipt of its money; and they said that, knowing the character of the I.R.B., and knowing the character of the men connected with it, and knowing that the I.R.B. and U.B. had been carrying on their work from beginning to end under one organisation, Mr. Parnell did not attempt to end his connection with them.
The argument was carried on for some time, and the Commissioners then adjourned to consider the points submitted.

COURT'S DECISION ON AN IMPORTANT POINT.

Upon returning into Court, after an absence of about twenty minutes; the President said: - "We have considered this point, having due regard to the importance of it, and we have come to the conclusion that there is one ground upon which it is admissible. That is this - All the evidence as it stands (saying nothing of the value of it after it has been considered, and undergone the test of cross-examination and counter-evidence) all the evidence, as it stands at present, appears to prove that the body over in the United States, by whatever name it may be best designated - the U.B. and the Clan-na-Gael - and the I.R.B. here were practically one and the same body; that is to say, that they were intimately united and the members were interchangeable one upon the other. It has further been proved that certain persons - amongst them have been mentioned the names of Egan, Brennan, and Sheridan - were members of the I.R.B. and these are amongst the persons charged. This is evidence, therefore, of what was done, not by mere conversation of some member of one or the other body, but of what was done in the Convention, in the formal assembly, of the U.B. Society in the United States, and it is consequently evidence against them. With regard to other persons, undoubtedly it appears to me they stand in a different position - I mean the Members of Parliament represented by Sir Charles Russell and other gentlemen with him. But on the question of the admissibility of the evidence we rule it is admissible."

AMOUNT GIVEN TO THE LOMASNEYS.

Major Le Caron, who during the discussion had been absent from Court, again entered the witness-box, and the Attorney-General continued to question him concerning the discussion at the Convention of 1888 in relation to the Lomasney incident. The witness stated that Luke Dillon, Patrick Egan, and John Devoy were present during the discussion. A delegate from Detroit recited the amount that had originally been appropriated to the use of Lomasney's father, wife, and children shortly after his death. Instructions were then given to the executive body to look after Lomasney's family.

THE LEAGUE CONVENTION OF 1884.

Le Caron next referred to the Convention of the Irish National League held at Boston, in August, 1884. In his capacity as senior guardian of the U.B. he received a circular from headquarters, in which the men of the "V.C." were instructed to vote down at the League Convention every proposition to denounce physical force of any kind, "as it had been rumoured that a certain body of men would endeavour to pass resolutions denouncing certain kinds of warfare." He travelled to Boston from Chicago with Patrick Egan and several other members of the Brotherhood. He had a conversation with Egan.

HOW EGAN ESCAPED FROM DUBLIN.

Will you tell us what he said concerning his escape? - Explaining to me how readily information was obtained from the Castle, he said that, within ten minutes of the order being issued for a warrant for his arrest, he knew the fact. He was at his office at the time. He at once went to his home, where he had two children sick, and under the care of Dr. Kenny, packed his satchel, and destroyed several documents of the I.R.B. and letters from James Carey, which would tend to incriminate him if found. He fortunately had a friend from Belfast in the flour trade in the town at the time, and he assisted him in getting away. He gave Egan rag and bag, and told him to purchase a ticket for Belfast. He arrived at the railway station one minute before the train left. Jumping into it he was in Belfast at night. He remained in that town all night, and in the morning took a return ticket for Leeds, travelled with it to Manchester, returned to Hull, and took a boat for Rotterdam.

BRENNAN'S STORY OF HIS FLIGHT.

Did he tell you about Brennan's flight? - Yes.
What? - He said that while walking down the Strand in the company of Mr. Sexton, Brennan's attention was directed to some newspaper placards describing the evidence given by Carey relative to himself. They at once went down a side street, and parted, Brennan going to his lodgings and packing his bag. Mr. Sexton promised to go to Charing-cross Station and purchase a ticket for Calais. This he did, and Brennan went on to London-bridge Station. Mr. Sexton travelled that distance with the ticket, gave up the ticket to Brennan, who then went on to Calais, where he arrived that night.

ASSISTED THE FENIANS' ESCAPE.

What did he say about John Walsh and J.D. M'Carthy? - Speaking of the presence of M'Carthy, he deplored that he had given way to drink so much, and said he and Walsh were two of the men he sent to Fremantle, in Australia, to assist in the escape of the Fenian prisoners.
At this point Sir Charles Russell objected the the conversation with Egan, asking the witness if he knew that Egan was turned out of the organisation some years before this? - "Yes," replied Le Caron. "I knew that, as a matter of report, as I also knew that Michael Davitt was expelled because he had joined the open movement."
The President observed that he thought the witness might proceed with his narrative, as they would get into such a complication if they continually had these points to consider.
Le Caron went on to further describe topics of conversation that passed between he and Egan.

"GALLAGHER WAS VERY FOOLISH."

What did he say about Gallagher? - He said he was very foolish. He ought never to have been arrested, and that if he had stayed forty-eight more hours in London he would have had the principal buildings in ruins.
Did he say anything about M'Dermott? - He said he thought he "gave him away."
Had you heard anything about M'Dermott other than that? - I had.
The Attorney-General - My Lord, it is a fact, I believe, that M'Dermott gave evidence against Gallagher. (To the witness) - In connection with M'Dermott, did he say anything about O'Donovan Rossa? - Yes. He said the information was originally obtained from Rossa by which M'Dermott gave away Gallagher, through Gallagher making a confidant of Rossa before he left.
Le Caron went on to say that the second annual Convention of the Irish National League of America was held at Boston on the 13th and 14th of August, 1884. As upon previous occasions, the Clan-na-Gael organisation met in secret conference prior to the Convention, and arranged matters so as to insure success for their schemes at the open Convention.

INTRODUCED TO TYNAN - "NO. 1."

Did you know a man named Tynan? - I was introduced to him then.
By whom? - In the company of John Devoy, John Boyle O'Reilly, and some others at the bar of the Parker House.
Under what name? - Under his own name.
Did you know who he was before this? - By reputation only.
What had you heard of him as by reputation? - As No. 1.
The photograph of Tynan already identified by the convict Delaney was here produced and handed to Le Caron.
Is that a photograph of No. 1? - It is a very good photograph.

MR. REDMOND'S SPEECH AT THE CONVENTION.

The Attorney-General put in the proceedings of the Convention. He especially read an extract from Mr. W.E. Redmond's speech delivered on that occasion. In the course of this speech Mr. Redmond said, referring to their demands for self-government, that they would be able to make the demand with more emphasis, because they could point to the demand of the Irish people in America, in Australia, and the Convention of the Irish in Ireland - "all filled with the same holy determination, come what may, that we will work as long as we have life for the consummation of the object for which our fathers worked far more bitterly than we may be called upon to work, until we have made Ireland a nation, and given her a harp without a crown."

MR. SEXTON'S EULOGY OF ALEXANDER SULLIVAN.

Referring to Alexander Sullivan, Mr. Sexton, on the same platform, said, "I am bound to say a few words upon one of the resolutions. I refer to the resolution in which you speak the gratitude of the Convention to Alexander Sullivan. There is but one feeling concerning him in the hearts of the Irish race. He is a man who does honour to the race from which he sprung; he is a man of whom any race might well be proud."
At that Convention, the Attorney-General pointed out, Judge Prendergast proposed as President, "that clean-handed, that patriotic, that heroic exile for the sake of Mother Ireland, Patrick Egan."
When did Egan rejoin the I.R.B.?
Sir Charles Russell - But does he know he rejoined?
The Attorney-General - Did he rejoin? - Well, he became a member of the U.B. in 1883, and is still a member. After his expulsion from the I.R.B. he never rejoined it.

O'DONOVAN ROSSA'S CLAIM.

A rule issued after the Convention at Boston was here put in, asking the members to make the next two years particularly active, and referring to the fact that others had claimed to have done a great deal of work during the past three years.
Who did that word "others" refer to? - To O'Donovan Rossa, who claimed that he had done the work which we did.
At this point the Court adjourned for luncheon.

Upon resuming the Attorney-General continued to examine Major Le Caron. The latter produced a document, being a copy of a circular which he had received from headquarters.

A TORN CORNER.

Sir Charles Russell rose, and pointed out that a portion of the document had been recently cut away. He asked for that part of the document to be produced.
Witness - May I appeal to the indulgence of the Court in this matter?
The Attorney-General pointed out that the other part of the document did not contain anything relevant to the evidence at present. He therefore contended that Sir Charles was not entitled to see the other portion of the document.
The President confessed that he did not quite understand the matter, but Sir Charles had better bring up the question in cross-examination.

AN IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE.

The Attorney-General afterwards handed another document to the witness, who, after looking through it, pointed out a footnote on the paper. "I should like to tear it off, my lord," he said.
"I cannot allow that," was Sir James Hannen's reply.
Sir Charles Russell - Hand it to me, sir. It was accordingly given to Sir Charles, who examined the footnote, but confessed he could see nothing of importance in it.
Major Le Caron, however, pointed out that there was a name mentioned in it. The note, in fact, governed the whole of his private correspondence. It was a matter of honour. The note was accordingly not read. The document itself was a circular to the men of the U.S., warning them that the "enemy" was endeavouring to penetrate their secrets, and instructing them not to talk about U.S. affairs. "A man," it said, "whose patriotism is so frothy that he cannot control his feelings in public, is not the sort of man for a revolutionary movement."
Sir C. Russell now read the foot-note Le Caron had wished to cut off. It described a certain unmentioned person as "tall, and fair hair, light moustache turning grey, accompanied by a lady who constantly covers her face with her pocket-handkerchief. They are said to be travelling for their health." The note concluded with the words "B spies."
Major Le Caron looked very confused and annoyed as he rose to answer the Attorney-General's question. It was put thus: - You have a lot of writing have you not? - Yes.
And does that pertain to some persons who were coming to England? - It does.

CREDENTIALS FROM EGAN.

Now, did you see Egan in 1885? - I did.
Did you get from him a letter (handing witness a letter)? - I did. I told him that I contemplated a tour in the South; and he said it would be better that I should get credentials; and, knowing that I could do good work for the cause, he gave me this letter.
The Attorney-General read the letter, Le Caron and the Court being very much amused at its contents. It was written from Nebraska, in November, 1885, and was signed by P. Egan. It said that it afforded him (Mr. Egan) great pleasure to introduce to the friends of the National League his most intimate friend Dr. Le Caron, of Chicago. He had ever proved himself one of the truest friends of the Irish cause - (laughter) - and was amongst the foremost of those who had been indefatigable in the formation of branches of the organisation.

FALLEN FROM HIS HIGH ESTATE.

In another of the circulars it was stated that Dr. D.H. Cronin had been expelled by the organisation, and Le Caron explained that he was upon the committee who tried Cronin. He was expelled for treason to Ireland and violation of his oath and obligation.
A circular received by Le Caron on the 25th March, 1886, was next produced.
Sir Henry James, prior to reading it, observed that they only desired to read a few parts of it, and asked if Sir Charles Russell wished it all read.
Sir Charles Russell - Yes, every bit of it.
The President - Couldn't you leave it out altogether, Sir Henry?
The Attorney-General - No, I'm afraid we cannot, my Lord.
Sir Henry James accordingly read the document which complained that the time for the revolutionary blow had not yet arrived, but assured the members that the silent secret warfare had been productive of good results.

IS THERE NOT ENOUGH OF THIS?

The President - It seems to me, and I am sure I have the concurrence of my brothers in what I am about to say, that for any purpose that you can have in view, Mr. Attorney, you must have done enough with regard to these circulars.
The Attorney-General - I am quite satisfied, my Lord; and, except all material matters, I won't refer to any more.
Sir Charles Russell - If my friend would hand them over to me, I will see what I think, for my part is necessary. Why should we not have all the other side has?
The President - But don't you see the witness produces these documents? If this were a criminal trial you would not get them.
Sir Charles - I beg your pardon; we should have the evidence, and if a new witness were called we should receive a proof of the evidence. However, I have no desire to prolong the argument; if my learned friend will not provide me with the documents I must fish for them.
The Attorney-General - You are an expert in that, Sir Charles.
The President - It is very discouraging to me, after I have tried to shorten the case, to find that I provoke discussion.

"DON'T."

The examination of Le Caron was proceeded with. He referred particularly to the Convention at Chicago on the 18th and 19th of August, 1886. The Attorney-General produced a report of the proceedings in manuscript, Sir Charles Russell observing, "I have a printed copy if you like to have it -"
Mr. Davitt (interrupting) - No, don't let him have it.
Sir Charles Russell (smiling) - Mr. Davitt believes in reciprocity, my Lord.
Mr. Davitt - It's my document, my Lord, and if the Attorney-General allows me to have some of his he can have mine.
The Attorney-General - You have had documents.

THE STORY CONTINUED.

Once more Le Caron pursued his story, explaining that he came to London, and in the summer of 1887 he saw Dr. Fox, M.P., who was treasurer of the League for the New York State, and as such attended the Convention. He returned to America in October of that year, and at the latter part of that month was present at a demonstration in Chicago, which was attended by Mr. A. O'Connor, M.P., and Sir Thomas Esmonde, M.P. The demonstration was got up entirely by the leading men of the I.N.B., which was really the I.R.B., but had, prior to the Chicago Convention of 1886, altered its name to the Irish National Brotherhood. In 1888 there was a joint Convention of the I.N.B. and the U.B., and it was decided, on the motion of Brother Delaney, to use all possible efforts to endeavour to bring about the release of Dr. Gallagher.
Now do you know what Gallagher had done? - He had risked his life for his country's cause.
Was it stated what he had done? - Yes.
What? - It was a well-known fact that he had engaged very extensively on dynamite business.

EXTENT OF THE ORGANISATION.

About the extent of the organisation. What sort of a number of men had you in your camp? - Well, it was a better organisation on paper than it was de facto, and we had a good many men in bad standing who were not regularly paying their dues, but in times of excitement they came to the front; but they required to be "inthused." (Laughter.)
Did you hear of John Walsh? - Yes; he was always a very active organiser on this side of the water.

THE WITNESS AT FAULT.

At this point the witness wrote a note to the Attorney-General, which Sir Charles Russell called the attention of the Court to.
Major Le Caron - I beg your pardon, my lord, but I am not acquainted with the rules of English Courts.
The Attorney-General - We are very particular here, Major Le Caron, in our etiquette.
The President - We adhere to only one rule, and that is to answer questions when asked.

THE CROSS-EXAMINATION.

Sir Charles Russell then rose to cross-examine Major Le Caron.
"When did you first go to America?" he asked. - In 1861.
What were you before you went to America? - I was first a clerk in a draper's shop in Colchester, and afterwards in shops in London. I was subsequently a clerk at a bank in Paris.
What employment did you first get in America? - I immediately joined the Army, and continued in it until long after the war.
What regiment did you join? - First I joined Anderson's troop, which was reserved as a bodyguard for General Anderson, and afterwards the bodyguard of General Bune.
When did you leave the Army? - In 1866.

WHEN HE BECAME A FENIAN.

And when did you join the Fenian organisation? - In the fall of 1865.
While you were in the army, then? - Yes.
Who invited you to join? - No one. It was not then a secret society, and anyone who expressed sympathy with Ireland could join. I joined purely for the purpose of gaining all the knowledge I could of the organisation.
Did you take an oath? - Yes. It was, "To fight for the cause of Ireland's independence, and the establishment of a Republic in Ireland. I also - as an officer - took a military oath of obedience."
(The report will be continued.)

Amongst the spectators in Court during the day were Lady Knutsford and the Hon. Lady Cecil (daughter of the Premier). During the afternoon Mr. Parnell again put in an appearance, and occupied his usual seat at the solicitors' table near Mr. Davitt.

Source: The Echo, Thursday February 7, 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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