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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Tue 26 Feb 2013 - 19:31

Ninety-third Day of Proceedings - Friday, June 21, 1889


The Judges were nearly half an hour late this morning. It was close on eleven o'clock when they took their seats. Sir Charles Russell was present for the first time this week. affraid


Father O'Connor resumed his story, under cross-examination, about the boycott of the Curtin family. It is alleged that the rev. gentleman refused to visit the Curtins after the murder, but Father O'Connor declares that his curate had always been in the habit of visiting the family, and thus there was no necessity for him also to do so. This, combined with the fact that when he did visit them he was received very coldly, kept him from forcing himself before them. He declared that the League was afraid to pass a resolution condemning the murders, because the proposer would stand in danger of assassination. The position was this: - On one side was the League, a body of peace; on the other the Moonlighters, a body of disorder, which terrorised the neighbourhood. The latter body was opposed to the former, but it sent its members into the League, for the sole purpose of hampering it and bringing discredit upon it. The body of disorder consisted of hot-headed youths, who, seeing land-grabbing and persecution going on all around them, declared that "they would not lie down like the Fellaheen at Tel-el-Kebir," and allow others to destroy them, and drive them from their homes. Such was the rev. Father's explanation.


More reference to the boycotting of the Curtins followed, in the course of which Father O'Connor very emphatically wished it to be understood he believed in boycotting if it were for the good of the community, and carried on on reasonable lines. But the incidents of this particular boycott were peculiarly sad. Hundreds of the parishioners assembled in the chapel yard and hooted the members of the family as they went to service. Conduct of a sacreligious nature was frequently observed in chapel, and the pew in which the Curtin family sat was smashed; but through it all, so Father O'Connor said, he frequently counselled his congregation not to persecute the children.
"But did you do anything to protect them?" asked Mr. Atkinson.
"Hadn't they the police?" was the only reply forthcoming.
According to the Times case a resolution was passed by the League condoling with Mrs. O'Sullivan, whose boy was killed in the raid on Curtin's house. But of this Father O'Connor said he had no knowledge, or it would never have been passed. He seemed to doubt whether it was really adopted, pointing out that frequently young members of the League sent off resolutions said to have been passed by the League to the newspapers, which at once published them.


After the murder Father O'Connor was interviewed by the representative of a London paper. This was now produced, and read through, the rev. Father admitting that he used the words published. For instance, he declared that the Curtins knew the men were there for the purpose of getting arms, and for what purpose the arms were wanted. But they did not give them up peacefully, hence the sad result - the demand, the refusal, the quarrel, and the loss of life, all of which, in his opinion, resembled a public-house brawl.
The re-examination was not of long duration, but in the course of it Father O'Connor explained that the League never passed a resolution to boycott the Curtins, and they were so persecuted by the party outside the League.


It came out that after the publication of the resolution which the League was said to have passed, condoling with Mrs. O'Sullivan, an anonymous letter appeared in the Kerry Sentinel denying that such a resolution was ever submitted or adopted. Some doubt arose as to who was the author, Mr. Atkinson suggested by his question that Father O'Connor was. This he denied, and Mr. Edward Harrington, coming to his rescue, asserted that the writer was Mr. Maurice Decoursey, a nephew of Mrs. Curtin, and a member of the League.
Mr. Foley, M.P. for Connemara, was called to trace the Byrne cheque, but as certain documents were not in Court, his examination was postponed.
Father Lawlor was here recalled, and produced several League books referred to in his examination the other day. He was asked several questions by Sir Henry James, and in his replies made several explanations.


Ultimately Sir Henry explained that he did not seek so much information, and the President backed him up, by observing that he did not think explanations were necessary. However, Father Lawlor proceeded to make the explanation.
Thereupon Mr. Lockwood observed, "Don't reply, Mr. Lawlor, till I ask you, if you're not to have the chance now."
"Don't make such observations, Mr. Lockwood," the President exclaimed, throwing down his pen on the desk.
"My Lord, my remarks were of course only addressed to my learned friend," pleaded Mr. Lockwood.
"But they were very loud," the President retorted, and there the incident ended.
In re-examination by Mr. Lockwood, the witness declared that, after suppression of the League, the books were kept as they had been before - that is, nothing was omitted.


Mr. Reid here made a very interesting statement which gave an indication of the course the counsel for the Irish Members will take. He explained that they had intended to bring evidence from all the five counties included in the Times indictment. In deference to their Lordships' desire, they had arranged to bring evidence on matter of fact thought to have a material bearing on the case. There might also be some evidence of instances of hardship and oppression in those counties.


The secretary of the League at Causeway, near Tralee, Henry O'Connor, was the next witness. He asserted that several men whom the Times had mentioned in the course of their case as being connected with the League had not, as a matter of fact, any connection with it.
Briefly cross-examined by Mr. Davitt, O'Connor said that he knew of a case in which a process-server was sent to serve an eviction notice upon a man, and, finding that the poor man was dead, laid the notice on the body.
Sir Henry James had just commenced his cross-examination when the Court adjourned.
(The report will be continued.)


A brutal assault was committed last evening on James Kelly, a farmer living at Flaure, in county Clare. Kelly was returning home last night from a fair, when six men set upon him, and beat him so severely about the head that his depositions have been taken. Two men, named James Mead and Patrick O'Gorman, have been arrested, and other arrests are expected. Kelly, who appeared to be very popular in the district, is not expected to recover.


"There is at least one person morally tired of the Parnell Commission, and that is Sir Charles Russell." So the London Correspondent of the Liverpool Post says. Sir Charles Russell has not been very well of late, being threatened with temporary loss of his voice. He is now in the hands of Sir Morell Mackenzie, and on the fair way to recovery, but he is not again likely to be seen in constant attendance at the Probate Court. He will take his place once more when Mr. Parnell returns for cross-examination, and he intends to lead the examination of Mr. Davitt, which is likely to prove not the least interesting feature in the case; otherwise he will pretty severely let the case drag on.

Source: The Echo, Friday June 21, 1889, Page 3

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

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