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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Tue 26 Feb 2013 - 2:24

Ninetieth Day of Proceedings - Tuesday, June 18, 1889


Judging by the appearance of the Probate Court, the general public were unaware of the fact that today was appointed for the resumption of the Parnell Commission. The attendance was remarkably scanty. The gallery was not more than half full, and, save for those directly concerned in the case, scarcely any spectators occupied seats in the body of the Court. Amongst those who did, however, were Mrs. Gladstone, looking much reinvigorated after her brief tour in the West; Lady Helmsley, and Lady Biddington. Amongst those on the Nationalist side of the Court were Mr. Biggar, Mr. Condon, Mr. E. Harrington, Dr. Commins, Mr. John O'Connor, and Mr. Davitt. The Judges took their seats shortly after half-past ten, and Mr. Murphy at once rose and renewed the cross-examination of Mr. E. Harrington, which was broken off when the Court rose a fortnight ago.


Mr. Harrington described the condition of the county Kerry as such that people were afraid to give evidence in order to bring people to justice, from fear lest they should get into trouble with the Moonlighters.
"Is it not a fact," asked Mr. Murphy, "that people were forced into the League from fear of the Moonlighters?"
"I have never heard that such was the case. Certainly the people were very much afraid of the Moonlighters."
Mr. Harrington went on to say that, in his opinion, strangers to the country were implicated in the Moonlighting outrages. Indeed, he considered the Moonlighting body itself a military or quasi-military body, organised or directed, perhaps, by militiamen or ex-militiamen.


Then followed a brief reference to an article which appeared in Mr. Harrington's paper, in which a sentence passed upon a person charged with an agrarian offence was described as brutal. Mr. Harrington complained that Mr. Reid, his counsel, was not in court to take notes of the examination, asserting his desire that the whole of the incidents should come out.
Mr. J. Harrington having intimated that he would re-examine his brother,
The President observed that there was no subject with which Judges had to deal that caused so much anxiety as the meting out of sentences. It was the most painful part of a Judge's duty, and the question was whether Mr. Harrington now felt it necessary so to refer to the action of the Judge.
"Under similar circumstances," said Mr. Harrington, "I shouldn't hesitate to write the same again."
An article which appeared in the Kerry Sentinel about the time of the Phoenix-park murders, dealing with the evidence given at the trial, and denouncing the conduct of the informer, was next touched upon. Mr. Harrington admitted that the article was of such a nature that he would not have published it had he seen it prior to its appearance. "Are you ashamed of it?" asked Mr. Murphy, whereupon the President interfered, observing that such questions were superfluous, and tended to give the witness pain. The question was not pressed, but Mr. Harrington again vouchsafed the information that he would not have published such an article had he seen it before it appeared.


Another question of a similar nature was persisted in by Mr. Murphy, who did not give Mr. Harrington the opportunity of explaining. This drew from Mr. Harrington the rather heated observation, "Allow me to explain, Sir. I am here more than a witness. I am one of the defendants. I come here as a criminal, charged" -
The President - At the present time you are a witness, and such an observation is not necessary, Mr. Harrington.


A few minutes later another little scene occurred. Mr. Murphy produced some of Mr. Harrington's speeches as reported by the police. Mr. Harrington over and over again emphasised the fact that the police did not write shorthand, and had not, as Government reporters, correctly reported any one of the speeches.
The reference to the Government had a most emphatic effect. The President, in a very warm manner, exclaimed, "The Government have nothing to do with this inquiry. The witnesses are ordinary witnesses."
"But I am not able to discriminate, my Lord," observed Mr. Harrington.
"You should," was the reply. "I will not allow such allusions to be made to the Government."


Then came some references to Mr. Harrington's own record. In June, 1882, he admitted he was convicted and sentenced to six months' imprisonment on a charge of being concerned in printing threatening notices. He appealed against the sentence, which was confirmed.
This notice was one announcing the formation of a branch of the Invincibles in the town, and threatening those who did not become members. Mr. Harrington (re-examined by Mr. Reid) explained that the notice was concocted and printed by two boys in his office, entirely unknown to him. He subsequently prosecuted the boys in the police-court for their conduct. Mr. Harrington further explained that the offence for which he had served imprisonment, and had only just been released, was that of publishing a report of a meeting of the League, and of one of his own speeches.


Then came a witness from Castleisland. This was Patrick Kenny, a tall man, with an iron-grey beard and hair, and attired in a prim black alpaca coat and black tie. He declared most emphatically that there was no ground for saying that the Castleisland branch of the Land League was either connected with or manifested any sympathy with crime. Here, again, the Timothy Horan letter came up. Speaking with a great deal of knowledge, he being the treasurer of the branch, he said he had never heard of the letter till it was mentioned at this Court, and had never heard of the alleged raid to which it was said to have referred.
Kenny, like many of his predecessors in the box, informed the Court, replying to Mr. Davitt, that when a person was evicted from his farm, he was also evicted from his house, which was generally erected by himself. Such evictions were fruitful causes of crime.


"Were you not expelled from the National League?" asked Mr. Atkinson, in cross-examination.
"Not expelled," was the reply.
"But were you not asked to resign your position?" "Yes."
"What for?"
"For shaking hands with Earl Spencer," was the reply, received with much laughter in Court.
The Court here adjourned for luncheon.
After luncheon Mr. Atkinson resumed his cross-examination of Kenny. For a long time he dwelt upon the absence of the records of the League, but elicited nothing from the witness as to their whereabouts. Kenny asserted that he had no idea as to where they were, but he "thought they might be in the hands of the secretary."
Before leaving the box Kenny wished to say most distinctly that there was no connection between the League and Moonlighters.


Father Godby, the curate of Ballybunion, in county Kerry, declared most positively that there were secret societies in the parish in direct opposition to the League and its work.
The rev. Father expressed his belief, in cross-examination, that there were several men in the neighbourhood of his parish who committed outrages "on their own hook," being entirely disconnected with the League. The rev. gentleman asserted that most of the parish priests in Kerry were "old Whigs," and did not work with energy in the conduct of the League. Thus people were boycotted at the outset, and "there they are now." In his own opinion, he would never buy from, sell to, deal with, or help a man who had grabbed another's farm.


Judge Andrews, of New York, has, under the habeas corpus procedure, discharged Moroney and M'Donald from custody, deducing that the evidence is insufficient to warrant their detention. The witnesses who came from Chicago to New York failed, according to the Philadelphia Correspondent of the Times, to identify either as connected with the Cronin case.

Source: The Echo, Tuesday June 18, 1889, Page 3

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

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