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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Mon 7 Jan 2013 - 10:40

Fifty-eighth Day of Proceedings - Friday, March 1, 1889






The peculiar uncertainty surrounding the future has aroused within the habitues of the Commission Court, and, indeed, within everybody who has followed the proceedings, a keen eagerness almost approaching anxiety, as to the next scene in the great historic drama. "What will the Times counsel do next?" "What is the 'other branch' yet undeveloped to which Sir Richard Webster referred?" "What course would he take?" Nobody seemed really to know in the Court met this morning. The queries were met by rumours, more or less vague and foundationless. One had it that the Attorney-General would give up the case; and another that in the interval since Wednesday there had been stormy scenes between the leaders and the subsidiary members of the Times party, which has spread something akin to dismay among the rank and file. These strange stories, given with all the authority of those who generally consider themselves capable of gauging men's actions by what their own would be under similar circumstances, flew about amongst the throng of excited beings huddled together round the Strand door of the Royal Courts this morning. They were expatiated upon with strange vehemence, declared, with marked pertinacity to be true by their authors, and passed on and embellished with a fringe of sensationalism by the willing listeners. In the Court, too, these same strange prognostications were abroad. The sole theme of the excited spectators who slipped into every nook and cranny of the little Court was the probable denouement. It agitated the minds of that group of fashionable young ladies crushed up there in the gallery against the ecclesiastically-prim widows; it was discoursed in monotones by the several stars of social and political life gathered together in the jury-box; and even the Court officials, accustomed as they are to singular developments of singular cases, congregated in knots and spoke of it in whispers.


Sir Charles Russell entered the Court at about a quarter-past ten. He shook hands with Mr. Justin M'Carthy, M.P., and Mr. J.J. O'Kelly, M.P., who secured seats soon after the Court opened on the solicitors' bench, and then took up his usual position, and attentively marked the contents of a letter. Mr. Reid and Mr. Lockwood followed quickly. The Times counsel were late in putting in an appearance, so much so, considering their assiduous attention to punctuality in the past, as to cause comment. Shortly before half-past ten o'clock a clerk entered, and quietly placed a huge bundle of documents, surmounted with a smaller bundle of the books, "Parnellism and Crime," on the Q.C.s' bench. Then Mr. Atkinson dropped into his seat, followed by Sir Henry James. Meanwhile the Court had gradually filled. Lady Rosebery and the Baroness Pollock were crushed into an uncomfortable little seat to the left of, and parallel with, the judicial bench. The Parnellite party were present in force. Mr. Campbell and Mr. Davitt - the latter of whom only reached London from the Continent this morning - arrived with Mr. Biggar, and Mr. Parnell's colleagues crowded the gangway to such an extent as to render ingress and egress a matter of great difficulty. Mr. George Augustus Sala sat between Mr. Macdonald, the Times manager, and Mr. Michael Davitt.


The Commissioners took their seats at exactly half-past ten, and hardly had the "Silence! silence!" of the usher produced the necessary quiet, when Mr. Houston, looking pale and nervous, rose from a seat in front of the Times counsel. He held a document in his hand, and, in a scarcely audible voice, asked, "May I, my Lords, be allowed to make a personal statement?"
"I don't think this is the time," was the President's sharp rejoinder, and Mr. Houston relapsed into his seat, and commenced to whisper excitedly to his neighbours.


Mr. J.J. O'Kelly, then entered the witness-box for the purpose of proving that the letters purporting to be his are not genuine. Sir Charles Russell examined him.
I had the witness (he remarked) a letter without date, purporting to be written by him, and addressed, "Dear Egan." Mr. O'Kelly, you are Member for Roscommon, I believe? - Yes.
(Handing him the letter) - Is that your handwriting? - It is not.
Does it bear any resemblance to your writing? - On examining it, I think not.
Did you authorise anyone to write such a letter? - No, I did not.
The Attorney-General - I don't ask any questions. Of course, I presume, this only deals with this part of the case?
The President - Oh, yes.
Sir Charles Russell - Everyone of these gentleman will be recalled, my Lord.


Mr. Henry Campbell was next sworn, and examined by Sir Charles Russell.
You are now Member for Fermanagh, I believe? - Yes.
And you have for some time acted as secretary for Mr. Parnell? - Yes.
And, for a short time, as secretary and assistant to Mr. Egan in letter-writing in Paris? - Yes, during the time of Mr. Parnell's imprisonment in Kilmainham.
You have never been under arrest? - No.
My Lords, the first letter I hand to the witness is one of the alleged Egan letters purporting to be written by Egan, and commencing, "My dear friend, - Write under cover to Madame Rouyer."
Are you conversant with Egan's writing? - Yes.
Just look at the letter, and tell me is it in his handwriting? - It is not.
I next hand the two letters - one on the 10th, and the other of the 18th of June, 1881, purporting to be signed by Egan, and beginning, "Dear Sir." Examine both of those. Are they in Egan's writing? - Neither of them is.
The witness next examined two letters of the 8th of March, 1882, and the other dated "Tuesday," beginning, "I had a conversation with Mr. Parnell." Both purported to be signed by Mr. Egan, but Mr. Campbell said that neither was in Mr. Egan's handwriting. Letters of the 11th March, 1882, and 25th October, alleged to be from Egan to James Carey, were then given him. This (said the witness) was more like Mr. Egan's handwriting than that in the others handed to him; but it was not Mr. Egan's writing. The "Bakery" letter was not in Mr. Egan's writing.


Sir Charles Russell next handed to witness the letter dated "Tuesday," and commencing, "Tell B. to write to me direct." "That letter," remarked Sir Charles, "purports to be written by Mr. Parnell." - Mr. Campbell replied that it was not Mr. Parnell's.
Another letter, alleged to be one from Mr. Parnell, and commencing, "I see no objection," was handed up. The witness gave the same answer to the question as to whether it was Mr. Parnell's. "It is not his handwriting, and the body of the letter is not in mine." The same reply was given as to the fac-simile letter, and another one purporting to be Mr. Parnell's.
Mr. Campbell was next handed a letter purporting to be sent from Mr. Parnell to Richard Pigott, but bearing no date. The witness replied that it was not in Mr. Parnell's handwriting.


Do you recollect the occasion when Pigott came to have an interview at the Imperial Hotel? - It was at Morrison's Hotel. He sent up his card to Mr. Parnell, but Mr. Parnell declined to see him. I wrote a letter to Pigott, and Mr. Parnell signed it.
(Reading.) "If you will fix an hour convenient to yourself." Did Mr. Parnell, to your knowledge, have any interview with Pigott about the Irishman? - No, and Mr. Parnell was very much annoyed that he called on him. Mr. Campbell added, "That sentence has been added."
The President - Then is the rest of the letter genuine.
Mr. Campbell said it was not.
Sir Charles Russell next handed up three of the letters which Mr. Pigott had declared he wrote to Mr. Egan, and containing a purported answer written on the back of the letter. Mr. Campbell said the letters were in the handwriting of Pigott, and the answers on the back of the letters were not in the handwriting of Mr. Egan.


The Attorney-General rose to cross-examine Mr. Campbell. "I understand you to say," he said, "that in all these seven letters purported to be signed by Mr. Parnell, the bodies of them are not imitations of your handwriting? - I should say that there is hardly an attempt to imitate my handwriting except in those two letters dated June.
Did you recognise any imitation at all in the body of the other letters? - Imitations of certain words of my handwriting.
Can you suggest any other handwriting which was imitated where yours was not? - No.


Mr. Michael Davitt next entered the witness-box. Sir Charles Russell at once handed him the letter purporting to be signed by Mr. Davitt, and beginning, "My dear Friend, - I need hardly say." - Mr. Davitt, after a brief examination of the document, declared that it was not written in his handwriting.
Sir Charles Russell (to the President) - May I ask about an alleged incident which occurred when the letter was inspected?
The President - Well, is it necessary?
The Attorney-General - I should first like to ask Mr. Davitt whether he will be good enough to produce the copy that he made of that letter?
Sir Charles Russell - I have asked him about it because I wanted it myself. He has not got it. (To Mr. Davitt) - Have you that letter? - No. I have been unable to find it.


What took place at Mr. Soames's office on that occasion? - I tried to imitate the forgery contained in this letter so as to show Mr. Lewis how it was a forgery.
When it was handed to you, what did you say? - I at once said it was a forgery.
But two other letters you said were quite right? - Yes; the letters to the Governor of Portland.


Mr. Justin M'Carthy, M.P., for Londonderry, was next placed in the box, and denied a statement that he ever had an interview with Mr. Pigott, neither did he ever know the man O'Brien.
The Attorney-General - Were you cognisant of Mr. Labouchere's negotiations? - At the time?
Witness - No.
If Pigott mentioned your name it is an invention? - Certainly.


Mr. George Lewis was the next witness. Sir Charles called his attention to the interview on the 16th October at Mr. Labouchere's house. Mr. Labouchere, Mr. Parnell, and Pigott were there. As soon afterwards as possible Mr. Lewis dictated was occurred to his shorthand clerk, and he had it.
The Attorney-General - I don't see how this can be produced here at this point.
Sir Charles Russell - It was on this evening that the whole confession of forgery was made. We are dealing with the authenticity of the letters, and I wish to show that the confession was made then that they were forged.
The President - I think you are entitled to proceed, Sir Charles.
Mr. Lewis then read the statement explaining all that occurred on the eventful night in October, at the interview at Mr. Labouchere's house. When he entered the room Mr. Lewis told Pigott that the object of his visit was to obtain from him a full disclosure of the fact as the letters purporting to be written by Mr. Parnell and Mr. Egan, that he was convinced they were forgeries, that they were forged by him, and he would tell him how he had so forged them. "You had in your possession (continued Mr. Lewis) letters written by Egan to you." He said, "No." I said, "Didn't you write some letters to Egan, for I have some in my possession?" He then said, "Yes." I then told him that he took sentences out of the letters, and transferred them to the forged letters, adding sentences of his own." Mr. Lewis then told him he also had in his possession letters of Mr. Parnell. At first Pigott denied it; but, when asked if he did not receive letters from Mr. Parnell in June, 1881, relative to the purchase of the Irishman, he admitted that such was the case. Mr. Lewis then told him that the two letters purporting to be Mr. Parnell's were forged by Pigott, who substituted the dates in 1881 from those he had received from Mr. Parnell for 1882 in the forgeries.


He said he didn't understand, whereupon Mr. Lewis said, "I wish you to clearly understand I charge you with having forged these letters." He replied, "Do you really mean to say that I forged them?" and Mr. Lewis replied, "Yes; and if you do not tell me now you will have to divulge the truth in the witness-box." Pigott was fearful lest, should he confess, the Times would prosecute him for forgery, but Mr. Lewis explained that they could not, neither could Mr. Parnell, owing to the nature of the document. Then, said Pigott, they could prosecute him for having obtained the money from them. Mr. Lewis told him that was so, and then Pigott was desirous of knowing what was to be gained by his making a confession. Could he, above all, be saved from going into the witness-box? Mr. Lewis explained that the only chance was probably his confessing to the Times that the letters were forgeries. Pigott said that the letters had not gone to the Times direct from his possession, but upon Mr. Lewis pressing for a full disclosure, Pigott asked him to wait till the next day, when he would make a full statement.


Mr. Lewis, recognising that perhaps Pigott would not care to speak before Mr. Parnell, whom he had so seriously injured, asked Mr. Parnell and Mr. Labouchere to leave the room. This they did. Pigott then confessed that the letters were sent to the Times in three batches. He said that the first batch went there in July, 1887 - the Lord Frederick Cavendish letter being amongst them. He observed, "The Times has not paid so much as you may imagine for them." Mr. Lewis replied, "I imagine they have not," and Pigott's retort was, "Under a thousand." Pigott begged that Mr. Lewis would not ask any more questions of him. Mr. Lewis was inexorable. "You must answer one more question," he said. "Are these letters forgeries?" "Yes," was Pigott's reply. "I was in a severe state of destitution when I did it."


Pigott went on to explain that he had made a statement to Mr. Soames, whom he had led to understand that the letters were genuine. Pigott arranged to meet Mr. Lewis on the next day, and asked him to devise some means by which he might be kept out of the witness-box. "Before leaving," added the statement, "he told me that the Times would give him 5,000 pounds to establish the case; and asked how much I would give him if I believed they were forgeries. I declined to speak to him about the matter. I may say I do not believe the Times had ever made the offer."


Resuming his evidence, Mr. Lewis said the next day he called upon Mr. Pigott at Anderton's Hotel, where, in his bedroom, he made the confession read a few days ago in Court.
You took that down as he spoke to you, without any cross-examination? - Yes. The last interview I had was on the following day. Except that interview at Mr. Labouchere's house and one at my offices, Mr. Parnell had no interview with Pigott. I took notes, and read them over to Mr. Parnell.
"Do you recollect Mr. Labouchere handing you any documents? - Yes, he handed me a copy of the Egan letters, which have been given in, and the letter of June, 1881, in the handwriting of Mr. Campbell, sent to Pigott. I told Pigott at Mr. Labouchere's house that I believed he forged those letters. Mr. Labouchere also handed me some letters written by James Carey, the Phoenix Park murderer. I thought it necessary to make an affidavit as to those letters, and considered it was my duty to hand them in to the Commission.
You had subpoenaed Pigott to give evidence? - Pigott and Mr. Houston were the first two witnesses subpoenaed by me.


Did you directly or indirectly offer any monetary or other inducement to Pigott to make his confession? - I never did, directly or indirectly, and never would be a party to give the man one farthing; and never made myself a party to any one else offering him anything. When I first heard of his demand for money, I expressed myself in strong terms.


Mr. Labouchere was next called. He said he remembered that certain gentlemen waited on him at the House of Commons with a packet of letters purporting to come from Egan. That was while the Commission Bill was under discussion. Witness handed those letters to Mr. Lewis, together with a letter in Parnell's handwriting to Pigott.
Sir Charles Russell said that that letter referred to the sale of the Irishman.
Mr. Labouchere said it was not true that he ever offered 1,000 pounds to Pigott if he would come into the box to swear he forged the letters.


In reply to further questions, Mr. Labouchere said that the person named O'Brien - known as Sinclair - said he came over from Egan and Fitzgerald, the heads of the Land League in America. When at witness's house Pigott said, "The Times has offered 5,000 pounds. I want to know what you are ready to give." He replied, "I will give you nothing." Pigott then stated that O'Brien had the original of the letters, and he had referred him to witness. Pigott asked him if he would give 5,000 pounds for them, and he replied, "No, certainly not." Pigott then asked, "Will you give 1,000 pounds?" and witness answered, "When I have seen the documents I will tell you," which was simply by way of an answer to question about the 5,000 pounds. There was no ground for the statement that witness offered Pigott 1,000 pounds if he would go into the box and say he forged the letters.


At a subsequent interview with Pigott did he come voluntarily or not? - Well, it was a mutual agreement.
Very good. Now I want to ask you about the second interview. Did Pigott make any "bones" about committing the forgery? - Oh no, he spoke quite openly about it, and explained the whole matter.
What did he say about his journeys to America, Paris, and Lausanne? - I said I wondered he did not give the letters to the Times as coming from America. He replied that he liked travelling about, and Houston gave him money; and he did not see why he should give up the letters at once.
Now I come to the final interview. Last Saturday Pigott came to your house? - He did.
Did you expect him? - No.
Had he warned you he was coming? - No.


Did you ask him to go? - No. I did not hear what name the servant mentioned.
Mr. Labouchere - I was writing at my desk, and, when I looked up I saw Pigott standing before me. He said, "I suppose you are surprised to see me here?" I said, "Not at all; take a seat." Nothing would surprise me with Mr. Pigott (Mr. Labouchere added, amid laughter.) After Pigott had sat down (witness continued) he said he had come there to confess everything. He said he supposed he should have to go to prison, but that he was just as well off there as anywhere else. His only regret was that his children would starve. I told him I hoped they would not starve; but if he wanted me to make any promises about his children, he must not expect it from me. I next told him that he must thoroughly understand that his confession would be handed to Mr. Lewis, and that I must have a witness.


He then told me (proceeded Mr. Labouchere) he had some of Mr. Houston's letters at his house at Kingston, and asked me if I could send someone over to get them. I told him I would do so if he would give me a letter to his servant telling her to give up the letters. He further asked me whether I thought he would get an indemnity from your Lordship. I told him I did not know, as I thought he had perjured himself a great deal. (Laughter.) He asked me whether if he was not granted an indemnity the Times or Mr. Parnell would prosecute him. I told him I thought that if he did not get an indemnity no doubt your Lordships would order a prosecution. I then sent a note to Mr. Augustus Sala, asking him to visit me, and left Mr. Pigott to read over his evidence, while I had some breakfast. I returned to him when Mr. Augustus Sala arrived.


Now, to take this shortly, did he then proceed to dictate his confession to you? - Yes; and I wrote it down at his dictation.
Mr. Sala being present at the time? - Yes. When it was finished I read it over to him, he at the time standing behind me, and looking over my shoulder; and he then signed it, and signed his initials to each page. As he was going away, I asked him for the letter to his servant at Kingstown authorising the delivery of Houston's letters. He, however, saw that he was too nervous to write it then, but he would send it on to me.
Have you ever received that letter? - No.
Were you in Court when the postscript in the letter to Pigott from his servant was read, "I have done what you wished with the box. All is consumed"? - Yes.
Mr. George Augustus Sala next entered the witness-box, and stated that all Mr. Labouchere had stated with regard to what took place in his presence was correct.
The Attorney-General then rose, and stated that as Pigott's statement to Mr. Labouchere had been read, he thought it only fair that the three statements made by Pigott to Mr. Soames should also be read.
Sir Charles Russell - Yes. I intend to deal with them in Pigott's cross-examination, which I have not yet abandoned hope of being allowed to continue. (Laughter.)


Mr. Soames then entered the witness-box, and read the first of the statements made to him by Pigott in the presence of Mr. Houston. It dealt mainly with his alleged interviews with Eugene Davis in Lausanne. He first stated that he wrote a pamphlet for Mr. Houston, and in this way became acquainted with Mr. Houston. In December, 1885, Mr. Houston asked him if he could find any materials for another pamphlet which would directly implicate the leaders with the crimes hinted at. Pigott then, he asserted, went to Lausanne to see Davis, who in an interview professed (according to Pigott) to know a great deal about the doings of the Parnellites in Paris, and said (so Pigott declared) that if he told all he knew it would be enough to hang Parnell and some of his followers. Davis was further said to have stated that he had quarreled with the Parnellites, and was determined to expose them. For the present, however, he was compelled by the Fenians to assist them. He then (said Pigott) wrote a pamphlet, for which he (Pigott) paid him 200 pounds, the work dealing with the doings of the Parnellites in Paris. He also averred Pigott told him about the letters in the bag, which Pigott was afterwards supposed to have obtained. A man named Hayes afterwards accused Pigott of trying to seduce Davis from his allegiance, and threatened to shoot him. Mr. Soames said he afterwards received a letter from Pigott, making two corrections in this statement. The letter had been read.


When did you receive that paper (handing Mr. Soames a paper)? - Before the statutory declaration was made.
Is it all in Pigott's handwriting? - Yes.
The Attorney-General read the statement. It was really the declaration Pigott made for counsel's proof. It related the story told by Pigott right from the commencement, when, as he assured the astonished Court last week, "he learnt from Eugene Davis," that a mysterious black bag crammed full of compromising documents had been found in some unmentioned and mysterious house in Paris. It described how Pigott was accosted in the street by the "agent of the Clan-na-Gael," how he went to America, received the sealed packet with the letters, addressed to Maurice Murphy, hurried back again to Paris, delivered the packet to the mysterious Murphy, and visited the cafe, and took that strange oath that he would never divulge the names of either of the parties with whom he had dealt in this remarkable transaction. Further than that, it was stated that he had proof of the fact that in 1881 the League money was spent in getting up outrages, declaring that Pigott remembered on one occasion, when in the League offices, he saw a cheque signed by Egan, which, the latter said, was intended for the purpose of "squaring" a Fenian head-centre who had threatened to obstruct the League.
Mr. Soames next produced the statutory declaration made by Pigott in Dublin on the 7th of November, 1888, in which he asserted that arrangements were made by O'Brien, otherwise Sinclair, for him to meet him at Mr. Labouchere's, and detailed the circumstances in connection with the alleged offer of Mr. Labouchere to give Pigott 1,000 pounds if he would go into the witness-box and confess that he forged the letters.


Mr. Soames was then handed another statutory declaration made by Pigott, and requested by the Attorney-General to read it.
Sir Charles Russell - All these statements so far are what he (Pigott) swore in Court.
The President - The object is to show what statements he made to Mr. Soames.
Sir Charles Russell - That will afterwards have to be inquired into, no doubt.
The President - I have explained already on what ground I have allowed it.
After hearing a few sentences of the statement, the President stopped the reading of it, as it had already been given in evidence.


Sir Charles Russell proceeded to cross-examine Mr. Soames.
Mr. Pigott describes Houston as a journalist and political agent? - Yes.
What position did Houston hold besides that of secretary of the Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union? - I don't know.
Did you never ask? - I did not. Mr. Houston wrote out his own statement.
You did not take it at all, then? - It is invariably my practice to get a witness to make his own statement.
Do you never cross-examine your witness? - Sometimes.
Did you, Mr. Houston? - I did not.
When did he make his statement? - I can't say, I'm sure.
Was it after October 21? - Oh, yes; a long time after it.
Did you read the statement through? - I did not till the morning he appeared in the box.
You will find that Pigott says the letters were found in a black bag, supposed to have been left in a certain house. Did you ever ask him where that house was situated? - I did not. I had no opportunity, for I did not see him.
Did you make any inquiries as to the names of individuals mentioned by Pigott? - I did not. I may say I knew there was a person named Maurice Murphy, that he passed in England under the name of Wainwright, that he was in America last July under another name, and that he was also in Paris afterwards.
Are you aware that Pigott, in cross-examination last Friday, the last day he appeared in this box, admitted to me that he invented the name of Maurice Murphy? - I was not in Court during your cross-examination.
When was the name of Casey mentioned? - I don't believe that he ever mentioned the name to me, unless it is in that statement, in conversation.


In his last statement I think he said he had dealings with the Hibernian Bank? - Yes.
Did you make any inquiries at the bank, or cause them to be made? - No.
I think he also said you would find on inquiry at the bank that all his transactions had been satisfactory. Did he not say that he expected he would be charged with numerous forgeries? - He made that statement in his last declaration, but denied that the charges were true. I did not make inquiries at the Hibernian Bank, because they said they would put every obstacle in my way, and they had done so.


Mr. Healy then rose to ask Mr. Soames a few questions. The President, however, pointed out that this question did not affect Mr. Healy in any way.
Mr. Healy contended that he was affected by this question, as he was one of the alleged co-conspirators. He would, nevertheless, submit to his Lordship's ruling.


Mr. George Lewis at this point again stepped into the witness-box, and read a document containing an account of an interview between Mr. Parnell, Pigott, and himself. Mr. Parnell produced the photographs of the original letters, and asked Mr. Pigott to point out what letters were contained in the first batch he delivered to Mr. Houston. He pointed out two of the Parnell letters. He then pointed out those he received in the second and third batches. Mr. Parnell asked him what story was told to him by the person from whom he bought the letters, as to how he got possession of them. Mr. Pigott declined to say. He also declined to say what the person said from whom he purchased the other letters, as to how he came into possession of them. Mr. Parnell next asked him whether he knew the persons from whom he got the letters, previous to purchasing them. Mr. Pigott said he did.


Mr. Parnell said, "You know perfectly well you forged the letters, and we have proofs that you did so." Pigott denied it. "I said (proceeded Mr. Lewis's statement) 'It is no use you telling me these lies. You told me the other night that you forged the letters because you were in a state of destitution.' He said he did not tell me so. I told him that he told so many lies that he seemed to forget what he did say. He told me that he went to America to find out anything he could. He could not, however, mention the names of anyone in New York whom he had asked for letters purporting to be in Mr. Parnell's handwriting. Mr. Parnell again accused him of having forged the letters, and told him that he would have to confess it in the witness-box if he did not perjure himself. He said he hoped to get the Times to withdraw the letters by telling them that the letters were forgeries. Mr. Parnell, however, said they would not do so on that statement alone, and said the Commissioners intended to get to the bottom of that matter. Mr. Pigott ultimately said he would go into the box and declare he forged the letters sooner than be prosecuted for perjury."
Mr. Lewis, after reading the statement, said that as soon as Pigott hinted he should place himself outside the jurisdiction of the Court he immediately consulted counsel upon the matter. He (Mr. Lewis) was satisfied that Pigott forged the letters.


Mr. Houston here rose from the body of the Court - "I am (he exclaimed) sorry to intrude upon your Lordships, but a number of charges have been made" -
The President - Do you desire to correct any statements made in your evidence?
Mr. Houston - No. I simply desire to present myself for cross-examination again, and to say that I am quite willing to give security for my appearance here.
The Attorney-General and Sir Charles Russell were about to offer remarks, when the President said, "I think Mr. Houston has put it very properly."


Sir Charles Russell said he hoped Mr. Houston would not be called again at this stage. He (Sir Charles) had now to call their Lordships' attention to Section 7 of the Act, and to ask them to make a report as to the authenticity of the letters.
The President - We will consider it between this and Tuesday.
The Attorney-General submitted that, as Sir Charles Russell had made a statement as to a "foul conspiracy," the whole of the evidence should be before their Lordships before they framed a report.
The President - What the Attorney-General has said with reference to Sir Charles Russell's charge of "foul conspiracy" has no bearing upon this point we are now on. We have a limited duty and jurisdiction. We have only to report upon the charges and allegations against several persons, and it would be no part of our duty, upon the suggestion of "foul conspiracy" on the part of anybody, to make a report.
Sir Charles Russell - I quite agree.


The Attorney-General observed that he was going to read extracts from the Irish World, referred to in "Parnellism and Crime." The first extract was one that contained an allegation against Mr. Davitt.
Sir Charles Russell having raised the question of the admissibility of the evidence,
The Attorney-General urged that it was admissible, on the ground that the statement was merely to the effect that a certain letter appeared in the Irish World on the 7th of October, 1885. He submitted that it was not necessary to call witnesses to prove that the letter was conveyed to the Irish World, but that it actually appeared in that journal, which could be proved by the production of that paper.
Sir Charles Russell pointed out that that was not the ground upon which he opposed the admission of the evidence. There was a broader ground. It seemed to him that this was the insertion of the thin end of the wedge for making his clients responsible for what appeared in the Irish World.
This settled the dispute; and Sir Charles's objection on the broader ground was allowed to stand over.
The Attorney-General accordingly proceeded with his extracts, the spectators having in the meantime taken their departure, leaving the Court in almost as deserted a condition as it was when the newspaper extracts were read some weeks ago.
The first extract was from a letter of Mr. Davitt's, which declared that a great proportion of the funds of the Land League came by and through the efforts of the Irish World.


The Attorney-General next produced the Irish World of the 5th of February, 1881. He proposed to read from that newspaper a long letter, purporting to be signed by "Charles Stewart Parnell."
Sir Charles Russell objected to the whole of the letters being read, because, he pointed out, in many instances short letters had been expanded when they reached the other side.
The Attorney-General consequently only read the following extract: - "Thanks to the Irish World and its readers for their constant co-operation and substantial support in our great cause. Let them have no fear of its ultimate success."
The Court then adjourned for luncheon.


When the Court reassembled, the Attorney-General read various extracts from "Parnellism and Crime," the Irish World, and the Nation. On page 200 of the Blue Book their Lordships (said the learned counsel) would observe - "All parts of Ford's paper teem with praises of the "political agent" called dynamite. He claims the merit for Ireland of first resorting to this new mode of murder. He exults in the horrible assassinations of Irish landlords as "executions of thieves." Then there was the remark of Transatlantic, "London, consisting of 4,000,000 of the wealthiest people in the world, is at the mercy of its criminal classes, who number a quarter of a million. Make a note. Spread the light."
Sir Charles Russell objected to the Attorney-General reading the extracts.
The President - But it has already been published.
Sir Charles Russell asked their Lordships to rule whether extracts from newspapers were to be taken as evidence against Mr. Parnell and the others.
The President - It is a very important question. These are passages which are given in the Irish World, and your point is, I suppose, that they would not meet with the approval of the persons charged.
Sir Charles Russell - Undoubtedly.
The Attorney-General proceeded to read other passages, some of which referred to meetings of the Irish National League, where subscriptions were announced from America - in one case 500 pounds, of which 281 pounds was for political purposes.


After several extracts from the Irish World had been read by Sir Henry James, showing that several sums of money had been received from time to time by the Land League through this source,
The President remarked: - I may assume, may I not, that these sums are not disputed?
Sir Charles Russell - My Lords, that assumption is correct. We do not dispute that from the Irish World, and subscriptions forwarded to that journal, the Land League received contributions, but the National League did not receive anything. The National League was established in October, 1882.
Sir Henry James intimated that they would read extracts dating after October, 1882.


Upon a question as to the admissibility of the evidence showing the National League receiving subscriptions from funds started by the Irish World, an argument arose, in which the Attorney-General submitted that there had been a free distribution in Ireland of the Irish World, enforcing the opinions of men with whom the Land League were in alliance; and preaching the principles of the conspiracy. He therefore contended that this evidence was admissible.
(The report will be continued.)


According to a rumour emanating from Conservative circles, the Attorney-General has placed his resignation in the hands of Lord Salisbury, but it is added that the Premier will not hear of the withdrawal of Sir Richard on any terms. So the London Correspondent of the Manchester Guardian says.


The hon. Secretary of the National Parnell Expenses Fund reports that the fund is slowly but surely progressing throughout the country, and that the action of the Committee is considerably assisting the collection of money by the Irish Party. It has been resolved, owing to the admitted forgery of the fac-simile letters, not to close the fund for some little time, but to make a fresh and urgent appeal in the belief that many would now come forward who had not hitherto subscribed. A letter was read at the weekly meeting from Dublin, in which it was stated that Mr. Parnell estimates that his expenses will amount to at least 50,000 pounds.


The London Correspondent of the Sheffield Independent - who is somewhat in the confidence of the Nationalists - believes the end cannot be far off. The counsel for Mr. Parnell and the other Irish Members are agreed in the determination to get through the business as quickly as is compatible with thoroughness. They have not the slightest intention of going back to Kerry, Galway, and Mayo to bring up witnesses to correct the version of ancient history given under the supervision of the Attorney-General through nearly forty days. A much more important part of the case that yet remains to be dealt with, and upon which Sir Charles Russell and his colleagues will bend all their energies, is the proof of the existence of the conspiracy which Sir Charles Russell declared in open Court, according to his belief and information, exists behind the personality of Houston.


A terrible vista is opening up before the Times. Mr. Parnell's action for libel will certainly come on, and damages will, as we said yesterday, be laid at a sum adequate to what the hon. Member's legal advisers deem the enormity of the charges and the utter ruin they would have brought upon Mr. Parnell and his friends, supposing he had been unable to disprove them. But beyond that will be four or five other actions, each standing on its own merits, and each demanding money reparation. Mr. Campbell's action has been already formally commenced. Mr. O'Kelly and Mr. Davitt, who were both tarred with Pigott's brush, will each have his action for damages. There may (says the London Correspondent of the Liverpool Post) possibly be some difficulties in the case of Mr. Egan, who has taken up his residence in the United States, but it is believed that these will not be found insurmountable.


The London Correspondent of the Dublin Express says that the writers of "Parnellism and Crime" are to be called as witnesses before the Commission.



Still no news of Pigott. It is, however, considered almost certain that the interesting individual is not now in Paris, although those chiefly interested in his whereabouts are satisfied that he paid an early and brief visit to the Hotel des Deux Mondes on Tuesday, and that he left Victoria at twenty-five minutes past six on Monday evening, the night service carrying him to his destination at half-past five the following morning. There is not a little speculation as to the two mysterious strangers who were said to have "shadowed" Pigott at Anderton's Hotel, in Fleet-street. It is suggested in certain quarters that the two men were merely a creation of Pigott's brain, but as against this theory there is the evidence of Head-constable Gallagher and Sergeant Fossett, the latter of whom stated that the strangers were pointed out to him by Pigott. If Pigott is not speedily arrested he may, it is thought, turn up on Irish soil. He could not have had more than 20 pounds in his possession when he arrived in Paris, and it is evident this cannot last him more than a few days.


In commenting on the flight of Pigott to France, and the causes which led to it, the French Press raise a doubt as to whether the fugitive can be surrendered under extradition. Most of the papers publish a telegram purporting to come from London, setting forth that "the extradition of Pigott presents insurmountable difficulties, the warrant against him referring solely to perjury, which, according to the Anglo-French Treaty, does not involve extradition." This is altogether inaccurate.
The Convention for the mutual surrender of fugitive criminals, which was concluded on the 14th August, 1876, provides for the case of Pigott. Article 3 specifies, among the crimes for which the extradition is to be granted, "forgery, counterfeiting, or altering and uttering what is forged, counterfeited, or altered," and the French text of the Treaty is even more explicit, being "Faux, ou usage de pieces fausses." Paragraph 15 of the same Article is even more conclusive. It runs thus - "Perjury, or subornation of perjury," which is thus expressed in the French text: "Faux temoignage subornation, de temoins d'experts ou d'interpretes."
The process, of course, involves some delay. For instance, diplomatic action is necessary. The only difficulty which may possibly arise in the case is twofold - namely, the inability of the police to arrest him, and secondly, the not improbable contingency that, if arrested, he may set up a plea that his offence is not one at common law, but a political one. If that plea could be sustained, the surrender of the fugitive would not be granted. At least, the Standard Correspondent thinks so.


Mr. Lindsay, of Glasgow, whose name was mentioned in Pigott's cross-examination, is a stationer. He is in London, and a reporter had an interview yesterday with Mrs. Lindsay, who said: - "We got the Irishman newspaper weekly from Pigott for some time. We paid for papers as we got them, weekly, but at length Pigott wrote pressing Mr. Lindsay for a bill in advance, as he said he was hard up. Mr. Lindsay sent bills till I had my suspicions, and we wrote Pigott saying we would not send bills in advance. Pigott must have been using Mr. Lindsay's name and drawing bills upon it in the bank in Dublin. We, of course, did not know anything of this until the recent revelations, but Pigott must have paid the bills as they came due, otherwise they would have come back upon us."


*An astonishing report reached the Reform Club at midday yesterday, that Mr. Labouchere had been shot at his house in Grosvenor-gardens. It is, says the London Correspondent of the Manchester Guardian, a curious instance of the circumstantiality with which rumour invests its productions, that the excited quidnunc who brought the story to the Club vouched for the sound of firearms, for a large crowd assembled before Mr. Labouchere's door, and for great local excitement. Some eager inquirers rushed off precipitately to Grosvenor-gardens, which they found in its normal tranquility, modified only by a smart wedding at St. Peter's Church, and of murders, firearms, crowds, and excitement not the slightest trace.

Source: The Echo, Friday March 1, 1889, Pages 2-3

* Seeing as there was no trace of Pigott anywhere, and he visited Mr. Labouchere's house to confess, I am thinking to myself now - "What if it were Pigott who was shot at Mr. Labouchere's house?" Shocked

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

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