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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Thu 28 Feb 2013 - 21:57

One-hundredth Day of Proceedings - Thursday, July 4, 1889



The Attorney-General again resumed his cross-examination of Mr. Davitt this morning. The mysterious "Book of Keels," said to have been kept by the Ladies' Land League, was the theme of the cross-examination last night. It was a book in which were recorded all the cases of hardship amongst the peasants, cases of evictions, and particulars relating to landlords and their estates all through Ireland. Mr. Davitt now informed the Court that he knew not where the book was; nor could he given information as the whereabouts of the Land League books. Indeed, if he could he most willingly would, but he thought, perhaps, they were destroyed.


Landgrabbing and Mr. Davitt's opinion of it were again reverted to. Mr. Davitt explained that he was aware that there were several cases of outrage upon persons guilty of landgrabbing prior to 1884, and that it was generally supposed that these outrages were directly due to landgrabbing. He candidly confessed that he had denounced landgrabbers frequently, and that he hated that class of persons. Several extracts from these denunciations were read by the Attorney-General. In one of these, Mr. Davitt said "I have placed a line around the evicted farms, beyond which let no landgrabber walk."
Would not that be interpreted as meaning that an outrage might follow the passing of that line? - Oh, yes, it might, but I think it fair to say that you yourself, in your opening, stated that you would not say I had counselled an outrage upon the tenant-farmers of Ireland.
The boycott of Heggarty came up again. Mr. Davitt declared that he received the letter of Heggarty complaining of the treatment to which he was subjected, but he did not reply to Heggarty, as he did not regard the story as correct. He, however, wrote to the secretary of the local branch of the League. He could not say that Heggarty's letter was preserved, for there was no letter file at the Land League offices, and the business of the League was conducted in a very slovenly way at that time.


This brought us to Mr. Davitt's tour in Ireland in 1880. Mr. Davitt said he did not, on that occasion, seek out the local leaders of the I.R.B., but if he met a man he did not hesitate to associate with him, whatever his opinions were. He denied most positively that he obtained from a person at Claremorris the names of the county centres, but he learnt that arms were being seized in the County Mayo, and from that he drew the inference that arms were being sent down there, though he could not say from where.
Questioned as to the detection of crime, Mr. Davitt declared that he decidedly thought that the best means of detecting crime was that the real criminal should be brought to justice.


Do you remember what has been called Widow Walsh's case? - Yes. She wrote to me and told me that her boy was innocent of the charge of murder, and that the real criminal had gone to America.
Did you get that information before the trial? - I have no recollection.
The Attorney-General produced and read an extract from a speech applauding the action of the Widow Walsh for sacrificing the life of her boy rather than turn informer.
Did you approve of that conduct? - I say that the Irish peasantry have a great horror of the name informer.
Did you not know before the boy's death that the real murderer had escaped to America? - I had received the letter I have already referred to.
And you represented that it was a noble thing for the mother to give up her innocent boy rather than give information as to who the real murderer was? - I say it was an heroic thing, on account of the horror the Irish peasantry have of the name informer.
Did you give information to the authorities which would prevent this poor boy's death? - No; and I never will give information to the authorities so long as they remain as they are now. I say the authorities are the criminals in Ireland.
On what ground would you not communicate with the Government to prevent the execution of an innocent man? - They might at once charge me with being the criminal. And I say I would not give the Government such information because I consider them the criminals.
The President - But you would, I should think, give information even to savages, if you could save an innocent man's life?
Mr. Davitt - I had no information.
The President - Ah! I can appreciate that answer.
The Attorney-General - Then you had no reason for not writing to the Government except that they were the criminals? - No (excitedly); stick to the truth. Mr. Davitt went on to say he did not recollect having written to Mrs. Walsh on the matter, but he should be glad to learn that he did.


The line of cross-examination led up to the Manchester martyrs. Mr. Davitt admitted that he eulogised these men, and he thought their motive should be respected by all Irishmen as an heroic one. "The heroism of sacrifice is something to be worshipped in mankind," he exclaimed, vehemently; and then, in a quieter tone, he went on to say he would again applaud the motive of Allan, Larkin, and O'Brien, and would even act as they had done, actuated by similar motives, in the cause of freedom.
A lengthy reference to the Irish World proved of little interest. Mr. Davitt admitted that he might have described that journal as the "best friend of the Irish people," and that he had written that Patrick Ford was his "guide, philosopher, and friend." When the Court adjourned for luncheon this was still the matter under discussion.


When it reassembled the Attorney-General brought up the Irish World. He read several articles from its columns which are already in evidence, and asked Mr. Davitt's opinion upon them. Many of them he disapproved of, and said the article in which the Phoenix Park murder was described as "an execution" was atrocious.
(The report will be continued.)



A great meeting of Chicago citizens has taken decided action on the Cronin murder. The resolutions passed declared that the citizens had assembled to express horror at the foul murder of the doctor, and detestation of the conspiracy of which he was the victim. "We accept (said one of the resolutions) the finding of the Cronin Jury, which declared Cronin's death the result of a plot, to which none but the members of an oath-bound society of outrage, murder, and perjury were party. We accept the unwilling testimony of its members as to the treasonable objects, oaths, and practices of this society. We view with alarm the ramifications of this league of crime, which decrees and sanctions murder on American soil, while under shelter of our flag it enacts allegiance to its own self-constituted organisation and levies war upon a friendly nation by agencies repugnant alike to the Law of Nations and to the sentiments of civilisation. Before the authorities of Illinois we denounce this society as responsible for the conspiracy to murder or "remove" Cronin. We charge it with the formation of committees by which he was tried and condemned, with providing methods and assassins for his "removal," and with interposing its secret obligations between justice and the principals in this most foul and infamous conspiracy.


"Before the officers of justice of the nation we impeach the United Brotherhood of the Clan-Na-Gael as an association of assassins, existing under the protection of the United States, and usurping the highest attributes of government, in that it decrees death, exacts fealty, and levies war. We impeach it with a treasonable conspiracy against the life, peace, and loyalty of American citizens. We call upon the Government at Washington to assert its supremacy to all such secret oath-bound organisations, and to stamp out treason under whatsoever flag it may conspire. We pledge our influence to aid all measures taken to vindicate the sacredness of human life in Illinois and the supremacy of American institutions in America."


In the course of the extradition trial of Burke, at Winnipeg, the expressman, Martensen, gave evidence (says the Chicago Correspondent of the Times) that he fully recognised the prisoner as the person who had hired him in March to haul furniture from 117, Clark-street, Chicago, to Carlson Cottage. He had seen Burke several times afterwards, and therefore knew him well. Among the furniture was the trunk used to remove Dr. Cronin's body, and Martensen had recognised it in the grand jury room. The cross-examination failed to shake this testimony. Another day may be occupied with the arguments of counsel, but the Court is expected in the end to order the prisoner to be committed for extradition, all the Judge's decision indicating that result.


In preparation for the trial of Canon Doyle, at Arthurstown, the military and police have this morning taken possession of all the approaches leading to the town. Large crowds are flocking towards the town from Ramsgrange, Ross, Duncannon, and Fethard. The district is proclaimed, and no person will be permitted to enter the town except those on business.
Mr. W. Redmond, M.P., Sir John Swinburne, and Mr. Raymond, representing the National Liberal Club, arrived at Waterford from London this morning, and, accompanied by the Mayor of Waterford, proceeded to Arthurstown, to be present at the trial of Canon Doyle.


A telegram from Belfast states that Father Stephens and Mr. Kelly, imprisoned in Londonderry Jail under the Crimes Act, who have been exercised by themselves for the past eleven weeks, were ordered yesterday morning to exercise in company with the prisoners who are serving their term in connection with the Belfast insurance frauds. They refused to do so, and were in consequence confined to their cells.

Source: The Echo, Thursday July 4, 1889, Page 3

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

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