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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Mon 28 Jan 2013 - 7:14

Sixty-third Day of Proceedings - Wednesday, March 13, 1889





"NO. 1" AND THE M.P.'S.


There were very few of the general public present when the Court opened this morning. The gallery presented quite a deserted appearance compared with its daily congested state a few days ago. Mr. J.J. O'Kelly, whose alleged letter is to be the bone of contention today, arrived about a quarter-past ten, and took a seat behind the curtain of the doors on the Nationalist side of the Court, which he exchanged for a seat on the solicitors' bench on the arrival of Mr. Davitt. Lord Congleton had a seat in the Jury-box, as also did Mr. Corbett, M.P.


The Commissioners were again late. They did not take their seats till twenty to eleven. Mr. Soames immediately took his place in the witness-box, and was examined as to the man Coffey, who was yesterday committed to jail for contempt of court. He produced the various letters and telegrams that had passed between Coffey and himself down to the time of Coffey's appearance in the witness-box yesterday. In the first instance, after the subpoena had been served upon Coffey, he telegraphed to Mr. Soames asking him to at once forward 100 pounds, and threatening that if that amount were not sent he should not obey the terms of the subpoena. Mr. Soames replied by a letter. He told Coffey that it was impossible for him to comply with the request, and there was no reason why he should do so. He had been subpoenaed, and the Commissioners had power to compel him to attend. If he came he could rest assured he would suffer no pecuniary loss, and had better at once come to London and save further trouble.
Sir Henry James - He came to London, I believe? - Yes, I think so.


Had you any statement from him? - Yes, I had previously sent Mr. Shannon to see him at Ballinasloe, or some other Irish town, and received the statement from him. The next letter I received from him was one dated November 19, 1888.
The letter complained that Coffey, since the previous Friday, had been subjected to police supervision, which was most repulsive to his feelings. He was anxious for Mr. Soames to know that if it continued he should ask the Member for his county to ask a question in the House of Commons about it, either of the Home Secretary or Mr. Balfour.
To this Mr. Soames replied, expressing his regret that Coffey had been put to any inconvenience, and assuring him that if he was under police supervision the officers were not engaged by him nor at his instigation. Coffey might take what steps he chose, but Mr. Soames presumed, under any circumstances, he should show the M.P. he consulted that letter. Referring to the statement he had already made, Mr. Soames informed him that he had reason to believe Coffey could give other information than that already given. He would make further inquiries in the matter, and would so instruct counsel that any further questions might be put when he appeared in Court.
Had you learned that he had given information in respect of matters that occurred in 1881 and 1882? - I had.
And you were then treating him as a hostile witness? - I was.


The next letter Mr. Soames got from Coffey was dated November 19th, 1888. It explained that Coffey was anxious to dispel any illusion Mr. Soames was under. No agent of the Times had yet called upon him. A police-sergeant had, and he had given him a story which was untrue. Subsequently a professional gentleman called, and he declined to make any statement. He impressed upon Mr. Soames that he had nothing to communicate of importance to the inquiry, and could not help the Times in the least. He could easily understand that someone had been hoaxing the Times, so far as he was concerned. Mr. Soames could make any further inquiry he desired.
Apart from the statement you had received from Mr. Shannon, were you aware of the statement of 1881? - Yes.
And in your opinion was it material? - It was.
The next letter was one dated the 22nd of November, and was one from Mr. Soames to Coffey. In this Mr. Soames reminded Coffey that the statement he made to the police was stated by him to be true. He (Mr. Soames) went on to say that he was satisfied from inquiries that the witness was in a position to give further information.


Continuing his evidence, Mr. Soames said that Coffey came to his office on the 17th of December, when he (witness) read the statement to him, and Coffey declared that it was true.
Did he give you any reason to doubt it? - He said it was strictly true, and that he was prepared to give evidence, and, after that, to go abroad.
A letter from Coffey was next read, to the effect that he was ill.
Mr. Soames said he requested his own medical man to see Coffey, and then, upon that report, he again wrote to Coffey, and told him that he must attend the Court and give his evidence. The second statement made by Coffey, added Mr. Soames, stated that the first he made was true.


Mr. Soames was then cross-examined by Mr. Reid - The witness came over about the middle of November and returned to Ireland on the 17th or 18th of December. He was here about four weeks.
Did you not consider there was some danger in giving him so large an amount of money? - No; if he had been an ordinary witness he would have been entitled to more.
Why did you not call him at an earlier stage? - Because I would not call him until I could test his statement. Since January he has been ill, and I have had him visited by my own medical man.
Are there any other witnesses to whom such large sums have been paid? - I will give you an account of every witness, if you like. The expenses have been paid on a scale beginning at ten shillings a day, and going up to three guineas.
Three guineas? - Yes, for professional witnesses. I have had solicitors. I have paid them three guineas a day.


Alluding to a statement made to Head Constable Clarke, Mr. Soames said: "I obtained it by application to the authorities at the Irish Office. I had never seen that document until yesterday. I had, however, made inquiries of the persons to whom the statement was made."
The statement, with others, was here handed to Mr. Reid, and he proceeded to read the first of a series. It was dated Limerick, 3rd August, 1881, and commenced as follows: - "In continuing the subject of my reports of the 11th and 18th ultimo, I wish to inform you that a regular organising expedition, composed of extreme Nationalists, are travelling through the country, and visiting fairs, as commercial gentlemen. I have seen several of this class passing through Limerick. There is John McInnerley, of London; W.D. Williams, of New York; and a man named Struth. They attended the fair at Clonroe. I further wish to state that a regular conclave was held at John Cullin's house - his wife is McInnerley's sister. We had some refreshments in the way of drink. McInnerley in a speech said the Nationalists of England, Ireland, and Scotland would receive the sympathy of their brethren in America, and would receive plenty of money and the means to upset the British Government in Ireland." He also referred to Crow as the inventor of a machine for the destruction of British ships. That would be the first blow to free Ireland from slavery. Coffey, in concluding his report, called the constable's attention to the necessity of supplying him with money to follow up his inquiries. If he did not do so, he, and the Government through him, would lose some valuable information which might prove beneficial to them.


Mr. Reid then pointed out that in his statement which he signed on the 17th of December last, Coffey stated that Mr. Abraham, in a speech, advocated the removal of the emergency man, and that Mr. Finucane supported him, while in this report nothing was mentioned of that circumstance.
Mr. Soames pointed out that he had not himself read those reports. He had, however, made inquiries of the constable to whom the report was sent, and had subpoenaed him to attend the Commission.


Did you try to find any persons who were present when Mr. Abraham made that speech? - I did not.
Mr. Soames went on to say that he made all inquiries that were usual and proper in such cases as these. He did not endeavour to find any person who had been at the meeting, because he was of opinion that, to speak to a Land Leaguer would be only to defeat his own ends. "I have been obstructed in getting evidence," added Mr. Soames, "throughout the whole of this inquiry."


Did you not think that in the case of a serious charge of murder against a man like Mr. Abraham, or any one else, it was incumbent upon you to ask for some details or some names from the man who gave the information?
Mr. Soames stated that he showed the statement to the local authorities, who believed it to be a true statement. Mr. Soames added, "I did make particular inquiries."
Of whom? - Of police authorities.
Who were they? - Gibbons and Doolan. Gibbons went through the statement word for word in my office, and said that from his own local knowledge he believed every word of the statement.
Did he tell you that from his local knowledge he believed Mr. Abraham had advocated murder? - He told me that he believed Mr. Abraham had been mixed up in all kinds of matters.


Now we come to the statement about Apjohn's house. He says that was blown up, and that Mr. Finucane and Mr. Abraham were present at a meeting of the League at which it was decided that outrage should be perpetrated. Did you make inquiries about that? - I told you generally of the inquiries I made.
Has any one of the inspectors or policemen whom you have made these inquiries of been called as a witness? - I believe Doolan has.
And has he been asked any question bearing upon this? - No. But he would have been had the counties been taken right through.


Did you ever inquire whether Coffey had been in prison? - I believe he was prosecuted for some political offence. He made a speech, and suffered imprisonment for it.
Was it for advocating murder? - I can't say.
When did you first learn of the fact that he had made reports to the police? - Previously to the service of my subpoena.
Were these statements as to Mr. Abraham and Mr. Finucane advocating the murder and the destruction of this house of Apjohn mentioned in the reports he made to the Government?
Sir Henry James - They were not.
Mr. Reid - Very well, that must be clearly noted.
(To the witness) - Did you ask anyone whether Coffey had reported that Mr. Abraham had advocated murder? - I didn't ask them. I saw certain persons, and I asked them if they thought these statements were true.
Did you discuss this very grave charge that Mr. Abraham had advocated the removal of the emergency man? - I discussed it with Gibbons.
Did you ask whether it was in the Government reports of Coffey? - No.
Don't you think it would have been fair to Mr. Abraham if you had asked that? - No; because I was talking to a man who has never seen the reports.


When did you first get the Government reports? - I only had leave to see them yesterday.
You had not seen them before? - I had had them in my hands before, but had not glanced at them, and had merely locked them up in my box.
When was that? - I have had them probably two or three days, but they have been in my private case and locked up the whole of the time.
When did you first apply to see them? - I didn't apply to see them. They were handed to me in the envelope I have here (holding up an envelope), and they have not been taken out of the case.
Am I to understand, then, that you did not apply for them? - I think I did.
When? - Two or three days ago.
When did you ask for them? - I have not got them all now. I applied for those that were sent to Dublin Castle, but have not yet got them.
Having regard to this grave charge against Mr. Abraham and Mr. Finucane, why did you not ask for this before? - For the simple reason that the reports have been uniformly kept from me. I have not seen a Government report any more than you have.
I have not seen any. Have you applied for any more? - I have.
And if you get them will you produce them here for the purpose of seeing whether they contain any reference to these charges? - Yes.
Did you ask Gibbons for these reports? - I believe I did.
The President - It does not appear to be important, because the witness has not seen them.
Mr. Reid said the object of his cross-examination had been rather to forestall observations as to the unreliability of the testimony coming from sources of this character.
By Mr. Reid - I am not aware that Mr. Gibbons has been getting evidence. He is attached to one of the departmental departments in Ireland.


In reply to Mr. Biggar, Mr. Soames admitted that he sent an agent named Kirby over to see Sheridan. He, however, denied that Kirby offered Sheridan 20,000 pounds to come over from America. Sheridan asked Kirby to give him 20,000 pounds, and he would come over and state his relations towards Ireland from 1879, 1882, 1883. A telegram was immediately sent over for Kirby to come back.
Mr. Biggar - What did Kirby telegraph? - That Sheridan wanted 20,000 pounds to come over, and I immediately telegraphed for Kirby to come back. I did not give him authority to offer a single six-pence to anyone.
By Sir Henry James - Constable Chalk, to whom the statement was made, is now in a lunatic asylum.


Mr. John Levy, a manufacturer of lawn tennis, formerly living in Dublin, said he joined the Fenian organisation about twenty years ago - on the night when the banquet was given to John Martin. Witness belonged to the Supreme Council. He was in it about three or four years. O'Connor Power was a member of the Supreme Council. Other members were Patrick Egan, Mr. Biggar, John Barry, and Sergeant Kickham.
Were these persons representing any portion of England? - Yes; a man named McInery, of Preston, and John Webb, of Middlesbrough, North of England.
Any for London or Scotland? - One for London by the name of Ryan, and one for Scotland - John Tawley. They were elected by the centres of each province on the Supreme Council. The honorary members were chosen by the elected members. Patrick Egan was the treasurer.


How came you to leave the Council? - I resigned from being insulted in the streets, and my life being threatened by James Carey.
Where were the meetings of the Council held? - At the Imperial Hotel, the last meeting.
Were the members sworn or not? - They were sworn at each meeting.
What was the nature of the oath? - An oath of secrecy.
You have mentioned the names of certain gentlemen who were present. Were you present when they took the oath? - Yes, all of them. The meetings were supposed to take place once a year, unless there was anything special required. Only three meetings took place during my time. Carey, who was a member of the organisation, told me he would have me killed, and pitched into the river.
Did you oppose him in any way? - Yes, for a long time.
You opposed him? - Yes, I opposed his election.
Was he supported by anyone in particular? - By Mr. Egan and Mr. Brennan. Brennan was the secretary then. Matthew Harris was a retiring member when I joined. There was a man named McInery, formerly secretary of the Council on Doran's resignation. Doran was formerly one of the Commissioners for Queenstown.
The President - What Commissioner?
Witness - A Town Commissioner. Barry resigned six months before me. A resolution was proposed at the meeting of the Council which led to his resignation - that the Parliamentary Party should no longer hold positions on the Council.
Do you know whether Mr. Barry then ceased to be a member of the Brotherhood? - I don't know.


Was a circular ever shown to you by Doran? - Yes.
What was on the circular? - It was a circular of the organisation, issued by O'Connor Power. Witness was then about to state the contents of the circular, but Sir Henry interrupted him. "I must not have that, please," he said. "Have you a copy of that circular?" - I have not.
Were there civil secretaries to the organisation? - Yes. Their duties were to witness elections, and to inspect the men in the county centres.
Who was your civil secretary? - Thomas Brennan. He, however, was not a member of the Supreme Council.


Had you knowledge of a body called the "Directory of Dublin?" - Yes. In 1880 I attended at the election of a member of that body.
Who was elected? - James Carey. I presided at the election.
What was the purpose of the directory? - To control the general management of the organisation in the city of Dublin.
Organisation of what character? - Fenian organisation.
What was its object? - To provide arms, and such things as that.


Do you know a man named John Daley, of Limerick? - Yes.
He was chief organiser for the organisation in Ireland, and when he was in my province it was his duty to make reports to me.
Did Daley at any time report to you the appointment of a centre at Tubbercurry? - Yes.
Who was that centre? - P.J. Sheridan.
Witness further stated that he had met persons from America - namely, Dr. O'Correll, and a person named John O'Connor. Dr. O'Correll attended the meeting of the Supreme Council, while the person John O'Connor received reports from the county centres.


Mr. Asquith then cross-examined the witness. He said he was elected a member of the Supreme Council during 1876. Although Patrick Egan was supposed to have resigned the treasurer-ship after the passing of the "Parliamentary" resolution, witness saw him at the meetings afterwards. He did not understand that that resolution was passed because it was thought that in following the Parliamentary policy the Parliamentary party were false to the principles of the Brotherhood.


Mr. Davitt then rose to question the witness.
You told us of Carey once threatening your life. When was that? - When I had handed in my resignation.
When did you do so? - As near as I can remember it was in the spring of 1880.
You have told us that Carey was in charge of the Home Rule Club? - Yes.
What was that Club? - A Club formed to enable our men to meet together, and to be drilled night after night, and the centres decided to call it "Home Rule Club, No. 1."
It was really a cover for the proceedings that actually took place? - Yes.
And was not such as would now be known as a Home Rule Club? - No.
You were sent to Kilmainham in 1881, were you not? - Yes.


And when you were liberated were you not prosecuted for embezzling the money of your employer? - Yes.
And were you not convicted? - Yes.
And you were sent to jail for twelve months, with hard labour? - Yes.
And you appealed against the decision, and the Court of Queen's Bench upheld that decision? - Yes. But I swear that two of the directors of Messrs. Kelly, Dunn, and Co. came to me just before the prosecution, and offered me my interest back in the contract I had with them - which was worth 20 pounds a week - if I would give up my opposition and return to them.
Was that in writing? - No, verbally.


In 1880 you and a man named Mulhall started a gut business in Dublin? - Yes.
Were you prosecuted by the Public Health Committee? - Yes.
And fined 5 pounds? - Yes.
Did you ever pay that fine? - No. (Laughter.)
But left Dublin instead? - Yes. (Laughter.)
In connection with the prosecution for embezzlement, did you make a communication to a man named O'Shaughenessy? - I made no communication to him except in connection with his work.
Did you ask him not to come forward and give testimony against you? - I did not.
And did you threaten that he would be assassinated if he did? - I did not.


Did you carry on a manufactory of illicit whiskey in Dublin at any time? - No, not at any time.
That you swear? - I do; but I knew of its being carried on.
Will you swear that you had nothing to do with its manufactory? - I will. I was not the proprietor of the place.
Did you derive any benefit from it? - None whatever.
And you took part in an illegal work without deriving any benefit from it? - It was opposite my place, and I only used to go backwards and forwards merely out of curiosity.
Will you tell the Court that you had nothing to do with the manufacture of illicit whiskey in Golden-lane, Dublin? - I solemnly swear it.
Very well, we will see about it.


Mr. Biggar next rose. "Do you remember (he asked) when I was expelled from the Supreme Council? - I remember when you resigned.
Do you swear that is a correct interpretation of how I left? - I won't. I remember your meeting me outside the room when the resolution was passed, and offering me 100 pounds if I would have the resolution rescinded. (Laughter.)
Do you swear that? - Yes.
Mr. Biggar - Were you present when I was expelled? - I was there when you came out, and you asked me to have the resolution rescinded.


Mr. Biggar said he did not like to contradict a man on his oath, but his evidence in that respect was false.
The witness said it was true.
Mr. Biggar - Did you embezzle any money while you were treasurer? - No; I expended more money than I received.
You swear that? - Yes.
By Sir Henry James - The substance of the resolution was, that the organisation should withdraw its support from Parliamentary agitation.
Are you certain about what took place between you and Mr. Biggar? - Yes. On the following day I sent in my resignation.


George Mulqueeny, examined by the Attorney-General, said - I am a clerk at the Victoria Docks. I have been there nine years. I was before in the employ of James Fleming, St. George's-in-the-East. I came from Cork City. When first I came to London I was van-guard in a railway company. I was formerly mixed up in Irish affairs. I became secretary to the Catholic Young Men's Association in London, and was a member of the Land League in London.
Did you know Frank Byrne? - Oh, yes. I got acquainted with Byrne later. He was secretary of the League. It then had offices at Palace Chambers, Westminster. I think he was secretary when I first knew him. I knew a man named Tynan perfectly well.
P.J. Tynan? - Yes. (Photograph shown to witness and identified.) I also knew Mr. Campbell well, the gentleman now sitting in Court. I knew J.P. Foley, M.P., Mr. P. Quinn, M.P., Dr. Hamilton Williams, Mr. T.P. O'Connor.
Do you know Mr. Parnell? - I have the honour of Mr. Parnell's acquaintance. (A laugh.)


Were you ever a member of the Fenian organisation? - Yes, I was a member of the I.R.B. about 1881. I was sworn in in London. I think a man named Payne swore me in. I attended meetings of the National League with Frank Byrne. I attended several public meetings at Kennington, Hyde-park, and other places, Frank Byrne and Mr. Biggar being also there.
Have you ever seen P.J. Tynan at any of those meetings? - Yes.
Do you know whether any of the gentleman you have mentioned were acquainted with Tynan? - Certainly. Byrne and Tynan were acquainted. Mr. Campbell, I think, knew him.
Anybody else? - I cannot remember. There was a meeting to get money for Maurice Collins, an Irishman, who had lost a lot of money, and had failed in business. I think Mr. Davitt was one of the speakers.
Did you ever attend any meetings at which British branches of the National League were opened? - I have opened, in conjunction with Mr. Biggar, and also with Byrne, branches of the National League myself, in various parts of London. I remember one at Tower-hill. Frank Byrne and P.J. Tynan were there. Then I remember a branch being opened at a public-house in Poplar. It was opened by Byrne, Hamilton, Williams, and myself. I was a member of the Executive of the Land League.


How long did you remain on the executive? - Until 1883, when an arrangement was made at the Leeds Convention that the Executive was to consist of Parliamentary members. After that time I was president of one of the branches of the League.
In 1882, was Frank Byrne's conduct called into question by any member of the executive? - Some members of the executive were dissatisfied with his administration of the funds as secretary of the organisation. There were also complaints about his conduct. It was thought he used to be ill oftener than we thought was necessary.
Did any members support Byrne when these attacks were made? - Yes, I was one. Quite a little crowd of us used to support him. Amongst others there was Mr. T. Quinn, Mr. Foley, and Mr. Sheehan, not the M.P.


When Byrne returned - after having gone to Kickham's funeral - did a question arise between him and the executive respecting two organisers - Kelly and Walsh? - Yes.
Who were these two men? - I believe they were Eugene Kelly, and John Walsh, of Middlesbrough.
Did you hear of some complaint being made by the executive to Byrne respecting these organisers? - Yes; the complaint was that it was generally felt that Byrne was endeavouring to keep those men in employment longer than was necessary.
A complaint was also made of the expense of paying those men when the funds were so very low.
Was the organisation, about the years 1881-2, well off or poor? - Very badly off - in a state of bankruptcy.
Did they get money from anybody? - We were assisted by concerts and that sort of thing.
But did they get any money from the Irish National League? - Yes. I remember three remittances of 100 pounds each coming from Dublin.


Did Byrne ever show you any arms? - Yes.
What were the first? - Well, the first and last were revolvers. On one occasion he showed me a revolver which Mr. W. Redmond had given him for safety when he went to Australia. These he compared with three of a more modern production.
Whose make were they? - They were Colt's double-action Army-pattern revolver. I believe he said they were bought at the Co-operative Stores.
You remember the date of the Phoenix Park murders? - Very well.
How long before that did he show you the revolvers? - Well, it was before, but I can't say how long.


Did he ever mention any other weapons? - Unfortunately he did.
What? - He showed me a brown paper parcel.
Where? - In a drawer in the offices of the National League at Palace Chambers, Westminster.
Did he show you the contents of the parcel? - Yes.
What were they? - Some knives.
Did he make any remarks? - Yes.
What did he say? - He said that the doctor had been buying some new surgical instruments.
Who did you conclude he meant by "the doctor"? - Hamilton Williams.
How long before the Phoenix Park murders was that? - I can't fix the date.
Did you see the parcel more than once? - Only once.
Had Frank Byrne a brother? - Yes, Patrick Byrne, who lived here in London, and worked as a labourer for Mr. Thomas Quinn, the Member of Parliament.
Did you meet him one evening carrying a parcel? - Yes; we walked together from the National League offices to Astley's Theatre. He had a parcel which he took from the League offices, and which he dropped on my toe, asking me to guess what it contained. I said, "I think it must be rifles," and he replied, "Quite right. They are Winchester repeaters."
Did you see that parcel again? - The next day I saw it at Byrne's house at Peckham.


Now, I hand you the letter dated Feb. 8th, 1883, in Byrne's handwriting, and addressed to the Executive of the League. Who was in the chair when that letter was read at the meeting? - I think I was.
Do you remember that letter being read? - Yes.
It is the letter in which this passage occurs -
"Mr. M'Sweeney will also inform you that I received the promised cheque for 100 pounds from Mr. Parnell on the day I left London? - Yes.
Well, before that, had you known anything of the 100 pounds from Mr. Parnell? - Yes.
How? - He applied to the executive in Dublin through Mr. Parnell. That is how I knew.
Was any other letter produced at that meeting? - Yes, Mr. Quinn produced a letter which, until a few days ago, I was under the impression was one from Mr. Parnell, which stated that he had sent Byrne 100 pounds.
Was the letter read purporting to be from Mr. Parnell? - Mr. Quinn produced a letter and read extracts from it.
What did he say? - He said that he had received information that Mr. Parnell had sent on 100 pounds to Byrne.
Who were at the meeting when the letter was read and the statement was made? - I am sure I don't know now.
Was M'Sweeney? - Certainly. He was acting secretary at the meeting.
Do you remember anybody else? - I cannot remember anybody else. There was a subscription got up for Byrne when he left London - a few gentlemen gave a sovereign or half a sovereign each. I subscribed myself. I believe Mr. Quinn and Foley subscribed. Frank Byrne made payments to John Walsh.
Did you know Mrs. Byrne? - Perfectly well. I saw her the day before she was arrested in London. I was at her house.


Do you know of any money being paid to Mrs. Frank Byrne? - I paid some.
Did you know of any money being sent to Mrs. Frank Byrne when she went away? - A man showed me some money in the Lobby at the House of Commons. I only knew from what Patrick Byrne told me.
Do you know whether Byrne wrote any letters to Egan in Paris? - Certainly.


Do you know anything of the packing of Byrne's box? - I don't think I had anything to do with the packing.
Has Mr. Campbell said anything to you about the packing of Byrne's box - I don't know. I know that Mr. Campbell was present when Byrne's box was being packed with a few books at Gothic-villas.
Did you go to Phoenix-place, Clapham? - Yes. It was a house kept by a man named Brien. I went there with Pat Byrne.
What did you do at that house? - I saw documents. Pat Byrne took them away out of a box - a square wooden box, like a dispatch box. I went there with Pat Byrne, and we left together.


Mr. Reid - When were you first asked to give evidence for the Times? - Two or three weeks after I received Mr. Lewis's subpoena. I have since then corrected a statement to the Times. I have given a short history of my life - from a Nationalist point of view.
Have you received any money from the Times? - I have received 4 pounds a week - a pound a day while the Court was sitting. At Christmas I received nothing.
The President - Four pounds a week when the Court was sitting? - Yes.
Mr. Reid - Mr. Lewis has given you nothing? - Yes, he has. Five shillings on my subpoena, and 10s. when I went to see him.


What is your income? - 150 pounds a year.
Is not your wages 24s. a week? - My income is about 130 pounds a year.
But what is your salary? - About 29s. a week; but the income from my business is about 130 pounds a year.
Then what are you? - A clerk.
In whose employment? - The London and St. Katherine's Dock Company.
Are you still in their employ? - Well, I don't know, after this expose, whether I shall be able to retain my position there.


You have mentioned the names of Byrne and Tynan? - Yes; Tynan was introduced to me by Byrne. I saw him frequently at the offices of the National League.
When did you last see him? - I think about two weeks before Byrne left London for Paris.
What was Mr. Tynan? - Oh! he was a mystery. (Laughter.)
But what was his ostensible position? - He was ostensibly a traveler.
Did you afterwards hear that Tynan was No. 1? - I knew he was No. 1 a week after the fact was made known that there was such a person as "No. 1." That was in December, 1882, when the disclosures were made respecting the perpetration of the Phoenix-park murders.


Before that date did you believe Tynan to be a ruffian? - No, or I should not have mixed with him, or with Byrne either. Up to that time I had every reason to believe he was a respectable man. With respect to Byrne, until he and his wife acknowledged in America complicity in the Phoenix-park murders, nothing could have convinced me that they were anything but perfectly honourable. I had a suspicion that Byrne was not working straight from a national point of view, but from a commercial point of view I believed he was a perfectly honourable and upright man.
When did you first suspect him to be connected with crime? - I suspected him at the same time that everybody else did - when his name was mentioned in connection with the Phoenix Park murders.
Did you take part or sympathy with crime? - Certainly not. I thought Byrne a proper companion for honest men, and called him a jolly fellow.
In the spring of 1882 did Byrne show you some knives? - Yes, unfortunately.
I don't know why you say unfortunately? - Because I consider that the means of my being here. I have seen similar knives in shop windows. The blade of one he showed me was about seven or eight inches long, and the handle two or three inches long.
The Court then adjourned for luncheon.


On resuming after luncheon, Mr. Reid continued his cross-examination.
Did this occurrence - this showing to you of the knives - did it appear to you to be a suspicious circumstance? - Well, I was surprised to see them there, but I did not consider it a suspicious circumstance.
And when did it first appear so? - When I read the evidence in the Phoenix Park murders.
Were you ever in Paris? - Yes; I took Byrne's things there.
Did you then believe him to be a suspicious person? - Well, I believed, from what had been said in the public Press, that he was a man who should be regarded as a "wrong man."
You took his things to Paris for him? - Yes, at his wife's request.
And you thought him a suspicious man at that time? - Well, I didn't think that he had been so deeply implicated as I have since heard.
Did you think he was connected with the Phoenix Park murders? - I had no means of knowing except what I read in the public Press. I think if I had thought he had been I should not have associated with him.
Did you see him in Paris? - No.


Cross-examined by Mr. Asquith, the witness said he knew men named Cronin and Rogers.
Do you remember this resolution, proposed by Cronin and seconded by Rogers: - "That the Executive instruct the Secretary to apply, through Mr. Parnell, to the Irish National League for a sufficient sum of money to meet our present requirements"? - Yes.
The witness was next asked if he remembered a letter being read by MacSweeney at a meeting on the 29th of November of the Executive, from Frank Byrne, stating that he had made an application to Mr. Parnell for 100 pounds, but had received no reply. The witness replied that then Byrne was away.
Did you go and visit him? - Yes, and played cards with him. (Laughter.)
Did he say that he had written to Mr. Parnell making application for 100 pounds, to which he received no reply? - I don't remember it.


When questioned as to whether he had seen the letter about the 100 pound cheque to Byrne in the office at Palace-chambers after the meeting of the Executive, and prior to its publication in the Times, Macqueeny said it was possible he might have seen it half-a-dozen times.
You are a friend of Captain O'Shea? - Yes; pretty friendly up to the time he appeared here.
When did you first communicate with Captain O'Shea? - You must take Captain O'Shea's word for that, because I do not remember.
When further questioned as to whether he knew Captain O'Shea had stated that he told him there was such a letter, the witness answered, "If Captain O'Shea said so I would not contradict him. Possibly I did."
Have you any doubt? - I have a doubt.


Did you tell Capt. O'Shea that certain people knew that Mr. Parnell had paid for the escape of the Phoenix Park murderers? - I don't think so.
Then if Capt. O'Shea says that, what he says is not correct? - I don't know.
You must know whether you made such a statement as that to Captain O'Shea. - Possibly I did, but I have no recollection of it. If Captain O'Shea says I did, then I did.
Did you tell him that this letter of Frank Byrne's had been taken away from the rooms in Palace-chambers? - I cannot say I told him that.
Did you tell him the police had taken it away? - I don't remember. I heard it from MacSweeney.


Now tell me - did you tell Captain O'Shea that certain people knew that Mr. Parnell had paid for the escape of the Phoenix Park murderers? - Well, to my mind he did.
Did what? - Paid for the escape of Byrne.
How? - By the 100 pounds.
And do you now suggest that this 100 pounds was paid by Mr. Parnell to Byrne to enable him to escape from justice? - I suggest that the money was sent to Byrne, and that he used it to go to America.
In other words, that Byrne misappropriated the money? - Probably that is so.
That Mr. Parnell having sent him 100 pounds for Land League purposes, he bolted to Paris, and thence to America? - Well, I don't know. Possibly that is correct.
Was that what you meant when you told Capt. O'Shea that certain people knew that Mr. Parnell had paid for the escape of the Phoenix-park murderers? - I don't think I told him anything of the kind.
If you made that statement to Captain O'Shea, had you any foundation for it other than that this 100 pounds had been, as you believed, misappropriated by Byrne? - I can't say.
Have you any other ground for the statement now? - I had nothing else in my mind than Byrne's letter.


In answer to further questions, the witness said Mr. Soames first communicated with him on the 20th of October, 1888. He did not know who introduced him to Mr. Soames, but it was certainly not Capt. O'Shea. Witness also alleged that it was not himself who had communicated either directly or anonymously to any member of the Times staff the fact that Mr. Parnell had given Frank Byrne 100 pounds to escape to America. He did not, in fact, give that information to any other person than Capt. O'Shea; and, indeed, he was not certain that he gave it to that gentleman.
Mr. Davitt asked the witness whether the parcel containing the knives could have been hidden in any of the drawers without a casual visitor seeing it.
"You know the office well enough, Mr. Davitt," answered the witness. "There is only one set of drawers, and they are Byrne's private desk."


In answer to Sir Henry James, Macqueeny stated that he first received a subpoena from Messrs. Lewis and Lewis, and in consequence of that subpoena had to leave his situation. Messrs. Lewis and Lewis refused to give him any money, and it was not until he got a subpoena from the Times that he received any money at all. All the money he had received from the Times he had devoted towards his support.
Is there one word of truth in the suggestion that you sent the letter of Frank Byrne to the Times newspaper? - Not at all, Sir.
Is there any foundation for the suggestion that Capt. O'Shea sent it? - Not that I know of.
Have you seen Mr. Parnell recently? - Yes.
When? - Since I received my subpoena.
Under what circumstances? - I received a letter from Mr. Campbell, who also called upon me at my house.
Have you any letter you received? - Yes; I have one that he wrote to me, but it is only one that asked me to meet him at the Court on the 4th of December of last year.
This concluded the witness's examination.


Sir Henry James explained a question he put to the man Coffey yesterday. He then suggested that two men named Dwyer were arrested for complicity in an outrage. He wished to remove that impression by stating that further inquiries had revealed the fact that no one of that name was arrested in connection with the outrage mentioned.


After consulting with his colleagues for a few moments, Sir Henry James said: - "My Lords, - In the absence of my learned friend the Attorney-General, I have to say that those are the witnesses that we are now in a position to place before your Lordships in support of the case we have had to present to you on behalf of our clients.


Sir Charles Russell - There are several matters that I have to mention to your Lordships. The first is to ask whether your Lordships intend to express an opinion as to an interim report on the evidence now submitted to you.
The President (who was scarcely audible to the reporters) - We are not prepared to give any answer which will limit our action in this matter in the future. The extraordinary circumstances which attended the withdrawal of the letters speak for themselves; and we are not in a position to make an answer that will diminish its effect hereafter. We have not yet come to any decision.


Sir Charles Russell - I have to state that my clients are quite satisfied with your Lordships' announcement. The next point is that we shall have to ask your Lordships to adjourn for a reasonable time, in order that we may go through all this mass of evidence that has been presented to you, and in order that we may be able to make some attempt to collate the matters deposed to, and put them in order for presentation to your Lordships in an intelligible form. There is no doubt as to a certain class of evidence that will be called before your Lordships; that is to say, every one who has been accused, or every one of the persons incriminated, will be called before you -
Mr. Asquith - With one exception.
Sir Charles Russell - Yes, with one exception. Mr. John Dillon, against whom there is nothing beyond the fact that he has been a member of the Land League, and beyond the fact that he made certain speeches, will not be called. With that exception every Member of Parliament will be called before your Lordships, against whom any evidence has been given, or of whom any evidence has been given, and if there is anything alleged against any other person, we shall certainly have to put him in the box for the purpose of examination and cross-examination. Also, we shall have to submit to your Lordships evidence in every case where there has been an attempt to connect the central body of the League, or the local body of the League, as such, with any outrage that may have occurred in any part of the country. There is also another very great question which, unless some arrangement is made, would necessitate me calling a very great number of witnesses. There is the point in which persons, as members of the Land League, are charged with complicity in outrage, and in which the individual actions of men are brought into consideration. We have had one question arise out of this one already in relation to the County of Mayo, which would involve the calling of


We have carefully considered whether it would be possible to arrange these matters without making it necessary to call all this evidence; although I know your Lordships would gladly hear it if you thought it your duty. I, therefore, have to ask your Lordships that an adjournment should be granted until next Tuesday fortnight, upon which occasion the course of our evidence can be determined.


Sir Charles Russell went on to say that upon him devolved the burden of opening up the whole of the case as relating to all of the members of the Irish Parliamentary Party. Then his learned friends would probably speak in the interests of those whom they represented; and he did not know whether Mr. Healy and Mr. Biggar would follow the same course. He (Sir Charles Russell) claimed the right, either for himself or his friend Mr. Asquith, to say a few words in the final summing up of the evidence they would call. He thought the application for an adjournment a reasonable one, and before the Court adjourned for the Easter holidays they would have made a considerable impression upon the main body of evidence. Upon that part of the case he (Sir Charles) had nothing to say.


He had now (proceeded Sir Charles) to make another application to their Lordships - an order for the release of Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Harrington, now prisoners in jail. Their Lordships had already acceded to the request that they should be furnished with the files of newspapers for their defence. Something more than that was desired. They wished to have reasonable access to their legal advisers for consultation, in order to prepare their defence. Their Lordships, of course, in giving that order - if they saw fit to do so - would have the power of recalling it. In the meanwhile he should ask their Lordships to make that order in regard to Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Harrington. Mr. O'Brien's offence, for which he was now in prison, was committed before the Commission began. The same was equally true in regard to Mr. Harrington in this sense - his offence was the publication in his newspaper of the report of a suppressed branch of the Land League.
The President asked Sir Henry James what he had to say as to the adjournment.
Sir Henry James said he had not a word to say against the course proposed by Sir Charles Russell.


The President thought the application for adjournment quite reasonable, considering the magnitude of the case. With regard to the other matters, he would point out that it was their duty to take steps to prevent the liberty which they had the power to grant being abused for the purposes of agitation. He was perfectly willing to accept these gentlemen's assurances that they would not use their liberty for any other purposes than that of attending the Commission, and if they would give that promise then they would release them.
Sir Charles Russell - I am not going to say anything beyond this - that if any conduct is pursued that in your Lordships' opinion is not fit, your Lordships have a complete remedy.
The Court subsequently adjourned until Tuesday fortnight.


The London Correspondent of the Manchester Guardian says: - "I have reason to believe that undue importance has been attached to the evidence given by Major Le Caron before the Special Commission. So little value was set upon his reports at the Home Office that Sir William Harcourt, when he held the post of Home Secretary, was not even informed of their existence."

Source: The Echo, Wednesday March 13, 1889, Pages 2-3

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