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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Sat 2 Mar 2013 - 1:38

One hundred and third Day of Proceedings - Wednesday, July 10, 1889




Dr. Tanner will be brought over to the Commission Court without delay. An order to that effect was made by the Judges this morning on the application of Mr. Lockwood. Dr. Tanner is a prisoner under the Crimes Act, and he will make the third in London, the other prisoners being Mr. John O'Connor (now under cross-examination), and Mr. Condon.


Mr. Atkinson again addressed himself to the task of cross-examining Mr. J. O'Connor. The early questions had reference to sums of money sent to Mr. O'Connor from the central branch of the League in Dublin at different periods. These, Mr. O'Connor explained, were expended in meeting sheriffs' costs, and on behalf of the tenants. The accounts were very minutely examined, a very dull proceeding, occupying a great deal of time. The date of some of the entries was not recorded, and this, we were informed, was due to the fact that they were only entered in ordinary pocket-books, at haphazard, and without that precision which would have been observed had such proceedings as these been anticipated.
Mr. O'Connor further explained that he could not produce other books because they were lost in a fire by which his house was burned to the ground.


From the accounts Mr. Atkinson passed on to briefly refer to some of Mr. O'Connor's speeches. One of these was delivered at Cork, in 1880, and in the course of it he told the people to make the Government in Ireland by the English people impossible. "I meant by that (Mr. O'Connor said) that the Irish were to show the utter lack of ability on the part of the English to govern Ireland. I have a doubt that I used the word "make" (he added), because I did not intend that." He went on to say that he had gone through the speech in his cell, and had "made a note of interrogation in his own mind" on that very sentence. (Laughter.)


The visit of the Prince of Wales to Mallow formed the next topic of discussion. In the reception, Mr. O'Connor said, he certainly took a very prominent part, but he certainly never showed any hostility to the Royal visitor.
Mr. Lockwood re-examined the witness, who said that, upon the occasion of the Prince of Wales's visit, it was contemplated to present him with an address, by the Nationalists, representing the true position of the Irish people. They were unable to do so, as the Nationalists were excluded from the station, and would, but for the intervention of an unusually humane Magistrate, have been slaughtered. Replying upon other questions relating to the cross-examination, Mr. O'Connor said that as a Fenian he had advocated the establishment of Irish independence, but on the inception of the Parnell movement he looked forward to the day when a legislative independence would be accorded his country, and, being disappointed with the Fenians, he seceded, and joined the open movement.


Speaking of the police of Ireland, he said they were regarded with absolute mistrust by the people. Their presence at evictions had broken down the barrier of co-operation and friendship between police and people, and the former were now regarded by the latter as their enemies rather than protectors.
Mr. Davitt asked permission to put a few questions to the witness, in cross-examination, but as they did not turn upon anything which came out in re-examination, the President - observing that he desired to allow Mr. Davitt every possible latitude - ruled that he could not admit the question.
Mr. Daniel Crilly, M.P. for North Mayo, was briefly examined, all he had to say being that he, as sub-editor of the Nation, had written on numerous occasions in denunciation of crime.


Mr. Lockwood here intimated that he would now produce a few witnesses who would speak to the condition of districts outside the five counties to which the evidence had hitherto been confined.
The President smiled, and jocularly replied, "We are all anxious that this inquiry should come to an end at some time."
"Yes," replied Mr. Lockwood, "I believe there is a widespread wish in that direction."
"However, I am perfectly willing," continued the President, "to leave the matter in your hands, but I hope you will make it as short as you can, for it is becoming a very serious thing for the course of justice that we should be kept so long from our other duties."
"Some of us would like to return to our usual duties," essayed Mr. Lockwood, and there the matter dropped.
Mr. Gallagher, of Strabane, in the county Tyrone, spoke to the establishment of the League there, declared that no crime or outrage had followed, and that the League had exercised a beneficial effect upon the tenants.
Mr. O'Haghan, who lives in the county Monaghan, gave similar evidence, and the Court rose for luncheon at half-past one o'clock.


When the Court reassembled, a most extraordinary scene occurred. Mr. Davitt, rising in his seat, called attention to paragraphs in the Evening News and Post of the previous night and today, in which reference was made to the presence of imitation dynamite machines in the Law Courts. He especially directed the attention of the Court to the paragraph purporting to be an interview with Mr. Hautler, the superintendent of the Courts. The paragraph read thus: -
In answer to a question by our representative as to whether he had taken special precautions in the consequence of the number of possibly disaffected Irishmen present at the Parnell Commission, Mr. Hautler said that he asked for twelve extra men. He was allowed six, but by possibly weakening other spots in the Courts, he had managed to get thirteen or fourteen men especially watching the Commission.

Mr. Davitt pointed out that in the interview Mr. Hautler further said that the gallery was constructed so that his assistant and he could see that nothing was left in the witness-box. Having read this through, Mr. Davitt said, "My application is that the persons who placed these things in this building, and the editor of this paper should be brought before the Court, and asked to give an explanation. It seems to me that there is a good deal in this similar to what we have experienced in Ireland at the hands of Mr. French and Mr. Macdermott."


The President - I have heard something of this before, and I believe the police are endeavouring to find out anything that it to be found out about it. If anybody is brought before me, of course, I shall have to deal with him, but it might perhaps be dealt with by another tribunal. With regard to the articles, I do not see anything to complain of - anything which would call upon me to bring the editor before the Court. It is a statement of alleged fact.
Mr. Davitt - But it says, "In consequence of a number of possibly disaffected Irishmen present at the Parnell Commission," twelve extra men were placed here.
The President - No. What I gather is that, having heard that these machines were brought here, he took proper steps to protect these Courts.
Mr. Davitt - But the inference is very broadly put that this paragraph refers to witnesses on this side.
The President - No. I do not gather that a great deal comes before me that does not come to the knowledge of the general public. I have heard all about the matter, and I may tell you I don't feel the least apprehensive about it. (Laughter.) I rather suspect if you can get at the bottom of it, it is a silly hoax.
Mr. Davitt - And made with the deliberate intention of placing us in a derogatory position in the eyes of the public.
The President - So far as I can see, I don't think so. They brought these machines into this building to show how easily such a matter could be arranged.


Mr. Davitt (excitedly) - Then my broad accusation is that they were brought in here by Henri Le Caron, with the sanction of Houston.
Mr. Justice Smith - You have no right to say that, Mr. Davitt, without direct evidence.
Mr. Davitt - Well, if I can not obtain the right to inquire into the matter, I can at least make this broad accusation.


Sir Henry James - I am informed that Le Caron has not been in this country for the past seven days.
The President - I regret that Mr. Davitt should have departed from his usual course in this matter.
Mr. Davitt - I feel very strongly about it.
The President - Yes, I know that is so.
A few moments later, when Mr. Houston returned he asked permission to make a denial of Davitt's allegation, which the President refused to give.
Several witnesses followed of the same nature as those examined before the Court adjourned. They all agreed on the general good the League had effected wherever it existed.
(The report will be continued.)


A surprise is said to be in store for the Special Commission and the public. It is nothing else - so the London Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph says - than an application to the Court to commit Lord Salisbury, Lord Curzon, Lord Cadogan, Mr. Walter, and others for contempt of Court in tampering with a subpoenaed witness. Lord Cadogan and Lord Curzon are said to have conspired for the purpose of squeezing the witness in question between pecuniary pressure on the one hand and bribery on the other.


The officials of the Royal Courts of Justice were yesterday the victims of a senseless hoax. They were told that four imitation infernal machines had been deposited in the corridors which runs round the building. Search was thereupon instituted at the spots indicated, and four small cardboard boxes filled with wet sand, and having a small American clock attached to the outside, were found, the whole being wrapped in what appeared to be a newspaper. The boxes were handed over to the police authorities.

Source: The Echo, Wednesday July 10, 1889, Page 3

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

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