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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Sun 3 Mar 2013 - 22:14

One hundred and ninth Day of Proceedings - Tuesday, July 23, 1889




When the Commission reassembled this morning there were a large number of people present. Ladies monopolised the seats in the jury-box and counsels' bench, and the Nationalist Members crowded the gangway. With Mr. Parnell were Mr. George Lewis and Mr. T. Harrington. Among the distinguished visitors were Lord Justice Bowen, Lord and Lady Wolmer, Lord Eustace Cecil, Sir Donald Currie, Lady Holker, Lady Salomans, and Lady Cunynghame.


The Judges having taken their seats, Mr. Parnell called attention to, and contradicted one of Sir Henry James's statements made on Thursday. On that occasion the counsel said the two letters Mr. Matt Harris wrote to Mr. Parnell and Mr. Parnell's reply were not included amongst the documents and letters submitted to their inspection. This Mr. Parnell said was entirely wrong. He gave instructions, and Mr. Campbell told him he had carried them out, that the letters should be supplied to the other side, and counsel for the Times had duly received them.
Sir Henry James having expressed his regret that any injustice should have been caused, read a letter handed in by Mr. Harris, which that gentleman had written to "the Irish patriot, Kickham." Then he read Matt Harris' funeral oration on the death of John O'Mahoney, the Fenian of 1848. The speech was really a high and somewhat poetic eulogy of the dead man, and was read with very great feeling by Sir Henry James.


The Attorney-General reminded the President of the conversation that took place on Thursday as to the calling of witnesses in connection with the Land League books. He said he regarded the books as of great importance in the case, and asked whether or not some of the witnesses who had been mentioned in connection with the Land League books and documents should be summoned, so that they might have the opportunity of asking some of them what had become of these records, and if they were still in existence.
The President - I have no observation to make at present.


Mr. Parnell then entered the box for the purpose of being cross-examined - principally with reference to his banking accounts. Before passing on to this question he told the Attorney-General that he had early in the case given Mr. Lewis instructions to subpoena Mr. Maloney, who was, he believed, the only person at present in England who, with himself, knew anything about L.L. Bowles. Then the accounts cropped up. The Attorney-General's first question had reference to the funds of the political organisation in 1883, or the beginning of 1884. He pressed Mr. Parnell as to whether moneys were not at different periods sent from Paris to pay off the debts of the old League. Money was sent, Mr. Parnell said, but he was unable to say to what fund the amounts would go. He presumed remittances could not be paid without his cognisance. He could not remember whether Patrick Egan was one of his co-trustees of the trust funds, nor could he recollect the amount of the trust funds. The income of the trust funds was sometimes utilised in the defrayal of the current expenses, and sometimes reinvested.


Is there an account in any English or Irish bank through which the drafts sent here passed? - I can't say that, I don't recollect it. I should say my connection with financial matters are quite casual.
Would Mr. Biggar know more about them than you? - I think, perhaps, he would; but you don't seem to ask him.
I am asking you, Mr. Parnell - Have you taken any steps as to the whereabouts of the Ladies' Land League books? - No; and I do not intend to do so. (Laughter.)


The Attorney-General next wished to know whether Mr. Parnell had had his attention called to Mr. Dillon's speeches in Australia, and his assertion about the existence of a secret Land League account. Mr. Parnell replied that he had not read the speeches, and that he knew nothing of such an account passing on. He said he had come to the conclusion that Mr. Egan took several books of the League covering a certain period out of England when he left. The Attorney-General pressed Mr. Parnell as to when he arrived at that conclusion, but Mr. Parnell could not positively say, thought he thought perhaps the opinion was definitely formed only last night.
Confronted by the statement in one of Mr. Egan's letters to Mr. Parnell that he (Egan) could not account for certain matters, "as the books were in Dublin," Mr. Parnell said he believed that referred solely to the books of the relief fund, which were left in Dublin, and which he had never said were removed by Egan.


You never communicated with Mr. Lewis as to the possibility of Mr. Egan having these books? - No. I should not regard Mr. Lewis as an expert in Irish politics. (Laughter.) I did not communicate with Mr. Egan at all. Mr. Parnell added that he chose another channel with reference to the important evidence he afforded as to the Pigott forgeries - namedly, Mr. Labouchere.
Did you ever ask Mr. Labouchere to write about the matter? - Well, I should not be disposed to enlist Mr. Labouchere in the hunt for books. Indeed, I don't think he would consent. His view of the Commission has always been that it should have broken off at the disclosure of the letters.
Mr. Parnell could give no information as to who instructed solicitors to defend prisoners. Every one of the suspects received allowances while in jail. Even he himself was a recipient of this bounty. (Laughter.) For instance, at one time the allowance was 15s. a week, and then it was raised to 1 pound. (Laughter.) As to the payments to the Phoenix Park murderers, while they were in jail as suspects, and before they were tried on the capital charge, Mr. Parnell said that, even had he been told these men were suspected of complicity in the murder he would have been bound, under the articles of the constitution, to sign the cheques all the same, as he could not presume a man guilty when he was merely in jail as a suspect.
Replying to Mr. Harrington, Mr. Parnell said he recollected that at some of the jails caterers were appointed to supply the suspects with provisions.


The President put a few questions to Mr. Parnell as to the whereabouts of the books or documents of the League. Mr. Parnell said he had heard that after Mr. Moloney's bankruptcy, and after he left the country, he gave instructions for the books he left behind to be burned. He believed they were so destroyed.


Asked as to reserve funds in Paris, and whether he would be inclined to disclose them, Mr. Parnell said, "I decline to give any information as to our reserve resources in Paris. I do not desire that that information should be given to either friend or foe."
The President: I understand (addressing Mr. Lewis) that there are now no other witnesses on the part of the parties charged.
Mr. Lewis: As solicitor I may say that there are no more witnesses.
But Mr. Lowden desired to make an explanation of evidence he had given, and this he did, very briefly.
Mr. Sexton sought and obtained permission to put a few questions to Mr. Lowden as to the Land League books. Replying to Mr. Sexton, Mr. Lowden said that in 1881 Mr. Brennan took the League cash-books to Paris from Dublin at a period when they anticipated a Government raid would be made upon the League offices. The books were left there, and he understood that all the books of importance were removed.


Mr. Sexton intimated that he had received a letter from Mr. Cunynghame asking him to disclose payments from January, 1883, to the 30th of June of last year. He explained that he had received no notice that such an order as he understood had been made had been issued. As these accounts were of purely a private nature he should certainly have appeared in the Court had he known such an order would have been issued, to show cause against it.
The President replied that Mr. Sexton was represented by counsel.
Mr. Biggar made a similar complaint, saying he understood a similar order was made in his case. Mr. Soames had inspected his own private account.
Here the matter rested when the Court rose for luncheon.


When the Court reassembled the matter again came up, and the President said it was a mistake - and the continued reiteration of it by Mr. Biggar didn't alter the fact - to say they had issued an order for the inspection of private accounts. They had never issued such an order. With regard to Mr. Sexton, if he went into the box and repeated the statement that the accounts were private, then they would not be produced.
Mr. Sexton accordingly went into the box, and, replying to the President, said the account was an entirely private one, and related in no way to the Land League or National League.
The President then said the Court desired the attendance of Mr. Maloney.
At this point, however, Sergeant Walsh put in a speech delivered by Mr. Dillon, in Longford, in 1886.
Mr. Miller, manager of the Charing-cross branch of the National Bank, gave evidence as to Mr. Biggar's accounts.
Mr. Wheeler, manager of the Broad-street branch, gave similar evidence, but as they had not produced the books they were ordered to appear again tomorrow morning.
After some little discussion as to the admission of more Irishman articles, the Court adjourned.

Source: The Echo, Tuesday July 23, 1889, Page 3

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

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